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

Tag: Jerusalem Status

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

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

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

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

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

 

On Topic Links

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

2017 BROUGHT A FEW SIGNS OF HOPE

IN AN OTHERWISE BRUTAL AND DREARY YEAR

Terry Glavin

National Post, Dec. 27, 2017

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

                                                                                   

 

Contents

THE CONFLICT OVER JERUSALEM IS ALL OBAMA’S FAULT

Alan Dershowitz

Gatestone Institute, Dec. 20, 2017

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

                                                                       

 

Contents

DISCRETION IN DEALING WITH EUROPE’S POPULIST PARTIES

Isi Leibler

Israel Hayom, December 26, 2017

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

 

Contents

 

13 OF THE BIGGEST HEALTH BREAKTHROUGHS IN ISRAEL IN 2017

Nicky Blackburn

Israel 21C, Dec. 26, 2017

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

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

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

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

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

                                                              

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

On Topic Links

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

DHIMMIS NO MORE CHRISTIANS’ TRAUMA IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Daniel Pipes

Breaking Israel News, Dec. 21, 2017

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

                                                                       

 

Contents

HOW ROGER WATERS STOLE CHRISTMAS

Bradley Martin

Christian Post, Dec. 12, 2017

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

           

                                                                       

Contents

EUROPE: THE ISLAMIZATION OF CHRISTMAS

Soeren Kern

Gatestone Institute, Dec. 24, 2017

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

Contents

CONDEMNING THE JEWISH STATE IN JESUS' NAME,

THEOLOGIAN GARY BURGE IS MAKING A COMEBACK

Dexter Van Zile

Jerusalem Journal, Dec. 15, 2017

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

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

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

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

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

                                                              

 

 

TRUMP AND HALEY’S PRO-ISRAEL STANCE, DESPITE LEFTIST & U.N. BACKLASH, REFLECTS REALISM & MORAL CONVICTION

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

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

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

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

 

On Topic Links

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

NIKKI HALEY’S RIGHT: TIME TO START ‘TAKING NAMES’ AT THE U.N.

Jonathan S. Tobin

National Review, Dec. 21, 2017

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

                                                                       

 

 

Contents

MOVING JERUSALEM FROM HEAVEN TO EARTH

Donna Robinson Divine and Asaf Romirowsky

Ynet, Dec. 18, 2017

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

                                                                       

 

Contents

IDENTIFYING THE ENEMY

David M. Weinberg

Jerusalem Post, Dec. 21, 2017

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

                                                           

                                                                       

 

Contents

DINING WITH BAHRAINIS AT A JERUSALEM MALL

Manfred Gerstenfeld

Arutz Sheva, Dec. 14, 2017

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

                                                              

 

 

PALESTINIAN VIOLENCE & DENIAL OF JEWISH HISTORY IN JERUSALEM BEGAN LONG BEFORE TRUMP’S ANNOUNCEMENT

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

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

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

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

 

On Topic Links

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

IS IT REALLY ABOUT JERUSALEM?

Bassam Tawil

Gatestone Institute, Dec. 19, 2017

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

                                                                       

 

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JERUSALEM DEALS IN REALITY

Jonathan Spyer

Breaking Israel News, Dec. 18, 2017

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

                                                                      

 

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THE PALESTINIAN GRINCHES STEALING CHRISTMAS

Lahav Harkov

Jerusalem Post, Dec. 20, 2017

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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A PALESTINIAN STATE? WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?

Dr. Martin Sherman

Arutz Sheva, Dec. 15, 2017

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

Contents

On Topic Links

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

                                                              

 

 

DESPITE SEVERAL ONGOING AND BLOODY M.E. CRISES, CONFLICT WITH PALESTINIANS DOMINATES MEDIA

Policy Speeches vs Policy: Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 14, 2017— President Donald Trump is scheduled to release a new US national security strategy on Monday.

Where Russian and Iranian Aircraft Carriers Clash: Amir Taheri, Asharq Al Awsat, Dec. 17, 2017 — Last week, the Tehran daily Kayhan, believed to reflect the views of "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenei offered its readers a front-page treat.

Is the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict the “Middle East Conflict”?: Prof. Hillel Frisch, BESA, Dec. 15, 2017— “Can Trump Solve the Middle East Conflict?” ran the headlines in al-Jazeera in July 2017.

Jerusalem, Israel’s Capital: Watch the Masks Fall: Najat AlSaied, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 17, 2017 — Many analysts say that US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is a campaign promise to evangelical Christian and right-wing Jewish voters…

 

On Topic Links

 

United States Policy in the Middle East: The Need for a Grand Strategy: Moshe Ya'alon, INSS, Nov. 28, 2017

Syria, Security, Migration, and Eurabia: An Interview: Daniel Pipes, Alpha Institute, Dec. 7, 2017

US Must Bolster Its Presence In MidEast As ISIS Falls: Michael Makovsky, Eric Edelman and Charles Wald, Breaking Defense, Dec. 06, 2017

Why the International Community Should Follow Trump’s Lead on Jerusalem: Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Mordechai Kedar, BESA, Dec. 17, 2017

 

 

POLICY SPEECHES VS POLICY

Caroline B. Glick

Jerusalem Post, Dec. 14, 2017

 

President Donald Trump is scheduled to release a new US national security strategy on Monday. This past Tuesday Trump’s National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster gave a speech laying out some of its components in a speech in Washington. McMaster’s speech was notable because in it he laid out a host of policies that McMaster himself has reportedly opposed since he was appointed to his position in February.

 

McMaster for instance has been open in his opposition to linking terrorism with Islam. He has also reportedly insisted on limiting US actions in Syria and Iraq to defeating Islamic State. McMaster reportedly fired his deputy for Middle East policy Derek Harvey last summer due to Harvey’s advocacy of combating Iran’s consolidation of control over Syria through its proxies President Bashar Assad and Hezbollah.

 

In his speech on Tuesday, McMaster embraced the policies he has reportedly opposed. He discussed at length the threat of what he referred to as “radical Islamist ideology.” That ideology, which the US had previously interpreted “myopically,” constitutes “a grave threat to all civilized people,” he said. McMaster regretted US myopia noting, “We didn’t pay enough attention to how it’s being advanced through charities, madrassas and other social organizations.” McMaster fingered Turkey and Qatar, two ostensible US allies, as the main sponsors and sources of funding for Islamist ideology that targets Western interests. He noted that in the past Saudi Arabia had served as a major sponsor of radical Islam. But Riyadh has been replaced by Qatar and by Turkey, he said.

 

Trump’s electoral victory raised hopes of his supporters and some of his advisers that the US would designate the Muslim Brotherhood has a terrorist organization. The Brotherhood has spawned multiple jihadist terrorist groups including al-Qaida and Hamas. President Recep Erdogan’s AK Party is a Turkish version of the Muslim Brotherhood. Whereas McMaster reportedly opposed those calls, and his opposition played a role in Trump’s avoidance of the designation to date, McMaster took a significant step on Tuesday toward designating the Brotherhood a terrorist group.

 

While stipulating that not all Muslim Brotherhood groups are alike, McMaster said there is a “big problem when Islamist radical ideology bridges into political Islam.” He criticized the short-lived Muslim Brotherhood regime of Mohamed Morsi in Egypt and singled out Qatar for its support of “the Morsi model.” He also noted that Turkey’s ruling AK Party operated through civil society to “consolidate power through one party.” He then said that the AKP’s consolidation of power “is a problem contributing to Turkey’s drift from the West.”

 

McMaster referred to Iran as a “rouge regime and a revisionist regional power.” He said the US must “counter destabilizing [Iranian] activity, especially in Syria.” Among other things, he said this includes blocking Iran’s path to nuclear weapons and blocking support for Iran’s proxies. The problem with McMaster’s speech and the policy paper it set the stage for is that it is hard to know if they reflect an actual change in policy. Certainly his position and general drift haven’t been reflected in US actions in several key countries this week.

 

The day after McMaster’s speech the US Embassy in Beirut announced delivery of another $120 million in military assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces. As Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman has repeatedly stated, the LAF is a wholly owned subsidiary of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps controlled directly by Hezbollah, Iran’s Lebanese proxy army. The Hezbollah-controlled LAF is the fifth-largest recipient of US military assistance worldwide. According to Ambassador Elizabeth Richard, the LAF has received in excess of $1.5 billion in military aid over the past decade. The newest arms shipment will include six MD 530G light attack helicopters, six Scan Eagle drones, and communications and night vision equipment.

 

Earlier shipments this year included Hellfire missiles, M1A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, rocket-propelled grenades, carbines and ammunition as well as helicopters, fighter jets, drones, advanced night vision and communications equipment. Recently, Iran has become brazen in asserting its military control over Lebanon. A YouTube video posted this week portrayed Kais al-Ghazali, an Iranian- controlled Iraqi militia commander, standing 200 meters from Lebanon’s border with Israel. He and his colleagues were all wearing military uniforms. Ghazali declared, “I am here with my brothers from Hezbollah. We announce that we are fully prepared and ready to stand as one with the Lebanese people with the Palestinian cause.”…

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

                                                                       

 

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WHERE RUSSIAN AND IRANIAN AIRCRAFT CARRIERS CLASH

Amir Taheri

Asharq Al Awsat, Dec. 17, 2017

 

Last week, the Tehran daily Kayhan, believed to reflect the views of "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenei offered its readers a front-page treat. It claimed that Arabs "are clamoring for statues of General Qassem Suleimani to be installed in Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut, cities that he has saved from ISIS." The claim came hot on the heels of the Sochi meeting in which Russian President Vladimir Putin officially asserted his control over the Syrian dossier, at least as far as one side of that tragedy is concerned.

 

Did the mullahs want to contest Putin's role as "savior of Syria" by advancing an even bigger claim on behalf of Soleimani, known in Tehran as "The Selfie General"? It is almost certain that regardless of what happens next in Syria, the mullahs of Tehran are unlikely to grab the leading role in shaping that nation's future. Besides Russia there are several other major players in Syria who won't welcome the take-over bid from Tehran. So, there is no chance of a Soleimani statue in Damascus anytime soon.

 

The same thing could be said about Baghdad, the Iraqi capital where Tehran is suffering from the loss of even some of the staunchest of its allies. Large chunks of Iraqi Shi'ites are beginning to feel self-confident enough to reject tutelage from Tehran. As for Iraqi Kurds, only the remnants of the Talabani faction, liked to Tehran through juicy business deals, still look to Tehran for guidance and support. Iran's bizarre decision to join Turkey in threatening the use of force over the abortive secession referendum has torn the mask of "friendship for the Kurds" that the mullahs had worn for decades.

 

That leaves Beirut where Gen. Soleimani's "Hezbollah" gunmen may still look able to plant his statue. But even that is now open to question as dark clouds gather on the horizon. Having illegally extended its term, the parliament is still tempted with the idea of prolonging its own life yet again. And that would mean the continuation of a presidency and a premiership on the basis of decisions by a parliament which lost its legitimacy years ago. Elected on the basis of quotas for the country's 18 religious communities the self-perpetuating parliament is split down the middle and unable to decide anything one way or another.

 

One half of the parliament is controlled by a coterie of politicians who spend more time abroad than Beirut. To them, Lebanon is more of a milking cow than a country. A former President retired with $200 million, most of it immediately invested in Parisian property. Another top leader has spent more time building a Crusaders' style chateau than mingling with his constituents. Because top posts and juicy contracts are distributed according to sectarian quotas, the sect leaders wield immense powers of patronage in pork-barrel politics. One half of the Parliament wants Lebanon to reassert its "Arab identity" and join the front against Iran's hegemonic ambitions.

 

The other half controlled by a coalition led by "Hezbollah" sees Lebanon as "Iran's aircraft carrier on the Mediterranean", as the Tehran daily Kayhan put it. For "Hezbollah" what matters is the interest of the sectarian Khomeinist movement led by the mullahs in Tehran. In that context, Iran has sent thousands of "Hezbollah" fighters to Syria, helping Bashar al-Assad kill Syrians. According to estimates by Iranian media, "Hezbollah" sustains heavy losses so that Iran avoids sending its own fighters to Syria.

 

With a heavily armed militia of 30,000, "Hezbollah" is better equipped than the Lebanese National Army. It is also the public face of over 400 companies, banks and Shi'ite associations financed and controlled by Iran, often acting as a state within the state. With a mixture of bribes and threats of assassination, Iran also runs a network of political clients in other communities. Its generosity includes some Christians, Druze and even Sunni Muslim personalities and groups.

 

Iran's priority in Lebanon is to ensure the territorial contiguity of Shi'ite- areas from the Syrian border to the ceasefire line with Israel. This means annexing Christian, Druze and other minority villages that resemble an archipelago in a sea of Shiism. To achieve that, according to local reports, Iran is paying generous prices to buy those villages. Where money doesn't work, the shadow of the gun does the trick. By some estimates, Iran might achieve its aim within a year or two.

 

So far, the two halves of Lebanon have managed not to come to blows because neither side is sure of winning. An important reason is that right now only one camp is armed and the other exposed. However, the fragile balance is in danger for two reasons. The first is that the Assad regime may not be able to hang on much longer. Despite Russia's diplomatic gesticulations that included a brief seaside encounter between President Vladimir Putin and Bashar al-Assad, when it comes to Syria's future regime, Moscow and Tehran do not sing from the same hymn sheet. Tehran still pursues the dream of restoring Syria's unity under Assad even if that means many more years of war…

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

                                                                       

                                                                                   

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IS THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT THE “MIDDLE EAST CONFLICT”?

Prof. Hillel Frisch

BESA, Dec. 15, 2017

 

“Can Trump Solve the Middle East Conflict?” ran the headlines in al-Jazeera in July 2017. A year earlier, The New York Times ran an article on students and the Middle East conflict that referred exclusively to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

 

The media are hardly alone in conflating the Israeli-Palestinian standoff with the Middle East conflict. They take their cue from UN officials and institutions and other international bodies. In a statement similar to those of many of his predecessors, in August 2017, UN Secretary-General António Guterres “reiterated his call for a political solution to the Middle East conflict.” The UN’s official news site on the Middle East deals exclusively with news related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Quartet, the political forum comprised of the US, Russia, the EU, and the UN, which came into existence in 2002 in Madrid to bring peace to the area, is officially known as the Middle East Quartet.

 

Does the conflation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with the Middle East conflict reflect reality? Not at all. Not only is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict one of many conflicts in the Middle East (true even when it was a conflict principally between Israel and Arab states), but it is not nearly one of the deadliest or most explosive. In fact, relatively speaking, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is not very violent, which may be one of the reasons it has persisted so long.

 

A cursory comparison with contemporary conflicts in the Middle East brings this point home. During the first intifada, the second intifada, the three rounds of violence between Hamas and Israel in the past decade, and the intermittent waves of low intensity violence, 2,000 Israeli civilians and security personnel and 11,000 Palestinians have been killed (the majority in the second intifada). To this one might add about fifty foreigners killed in acts of terrorism against Israelis. All told, the total casualty figures, including both sides, do not exceed 14,000 over the past twenty years, or 700 annually.

 

Compare this with the 200,000 deaths in the Syrian civil war, a conflict that is only six years old. True, the Syrian population is more than double that of the combined Israeli and Palestinian populations in the Holy Land. Nevertheless, the death rate proportionately has been fifteen times higher. Despite the Syrian government’s success against the rebels (achieved with considerable help from Iran, Hezbollah, Iraqi and Afghani Shiite fighters, and Russian airpower), the end of the civil war is nowhere in sight. Is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict really the Middle East conflict?

 

Why isn’t the internecine Iraqi conflict the Middle East conflict? According to Iraq Watch, over 100,000 Iraqis were killed during the eight years of massive US military presence in the country. To those one might add the 4,000 US troops and civilians who met their death there. On a proportionate basis, the Iraqi conflict is (and persists in being) at least five times more lethal than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And again, despite the gains made by the Iraqi Federal Army and the Iranian-controlled Shiite militias in the war against ISIS, an end to the internecine war between Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq is nowhere in sight. The brutality of the Shiite militias in the “occupied” Sunni areas of Iraq increases the likelihood that variations on ISIS will rise once again.

 

The same is probably true of the conflicts in Libya and Yemen, where few bother to churn the terrible numbers. In these arenas, too, the end of violence is nowhere in sight. This is not to mention the “persistent, enduring and explosive” (all adjectives used to conflate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with the Middle East) wars of Sudan, the duration of which is almost as long as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But perhaps body count is not the only metric to be used when judging the centrality of a conflict. Perhaps foreign involvement ought to be considered.

 

It’s certainly true that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict commands foreign attention, but it does not command foreign involvement. Whereas the conflict between Israel and the Arab states during the superpower rivalry ran the risk of igniting World War III, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict long ago became parochial. The last time any Arab state or foreign organization became involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was 35 years ago, when the Syrian army tried to stop the Israeli advance into Lebanon in 1982. In 2006, Hezbollah conducted the longest military campaign to have been conducted against Israel since Israel’s War of Independence – and the Palestinians stood on the sidelines. Hezbollah returned the favor during the rounds of clashes between Israel and Hamas in 2008, 2012, and 2014. Its soldiers remained in the barracks.

 

As the Israeli-Palestinian trajectory has become increasingly parochial, the trajectories of the other regional conflicts have gone in the opposite direction: They began as local civil wars but evolved into regional and international conflagrations. The Syrian, Iraqi, and Yemeni conflicts have become three-tiered conflicts – civil or sectarian wars at their base, proxy wars between regional rivals (Iran, Saudi Arabia, and, to a lesser extent, Turkey), and arenas of international contest among world powers. The same Hezbollah that stayed home during the high points of violence between Israel and the Palestinians took to the battlefields of Syria on Iran’s behalf to prop up the Assad regime. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the Middle East conflict? Give me a break!                                  

                                                                       

Contents

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL’S CAPITAL: WATCH THE MASKS FALL

Najat AlSaied

Gatestone Institute, Dec. 17, 2017

 

Many analysts say that US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is a campaign promise to evangelical Christian and right-wing Jewish voters, but there is another way of looking at it. Trump’s recognition might be a golden opportunity for two-faced opportunists to be unmasked — a shot of reality that might eventually help the peace process and solve this long-lasting conflict.

 

Since the declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, many Arab observers, intellectuals and academics have started to question the veracity of those jihadists who claim they are sacrificing themselves to defend Jerusalem, because when the actual announcement came — nothing happened. Those who were exploiting sensitivities related to Jerusalem — especially political Islamists, such as Hamas and Hezbollah — come mainly from the axis of resistance, led by Iran. Other opportunists are the two-faced countries in the region, such as Qatar and Turkey. While publicly hostile towards Israel, behind closed doors they support it. Further opportunists are the Western and Arab media, who for decades have been promoting the idea that the problem is the Israeli occupation, but never mention the Palestinian Authority corruption.

 

Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has also revealed the shortcomings of the US Department of State. It has not played any role in clarifying the above-mentioned points and, by this negativity and bureaucracy, only generated further hatred towards the US. Trump’s recognition has exposed the hypocrisy of the armed militia Hezbollah which always claims it will never disarm because of its fight against Israel. Now after the recognition of Jerusalem, many Arabs are questioning Hezbollah’s motivations regarding Israel. Lebanese and other Arabs are questioning why Hezbollah has not sent its armed militia to fight in Israel as it did in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Dr. Hadi El Amine, a Lebanese researcher in political science and governmental studies, tweeted, “The axis of resistance’s words are aimed against Israel, but their missiles are pointed at the Arabs.”

 

Adhwan Alahmari, a Saudi journalist based in London for Asharq al-Awsat also tweeted: “The soldiers, rockets and suicide bombers of Hezbollah are at Israel’s borders yet they did not support Jerusalem after Trump’s declaration, instead supporting the Wilayat al-Faqih [Iranian Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist] to fight in Syria to displace and annihilate its people to protect the shrine.”

 

Yet another opportunist is Hamas and its supporters who have succeeded in turning Arabs against the Palestinians. This time, the Palestinians’ anger was not turned only towards Israel and the US, but mainly at Saudi Arabia. Hamas and its followers attacked the Saudi flag and insulted King Salman of Saudi Arabia. These Palestinians seem to think that Trump did not make this announcement without a wink of approval from Saudi Arabia. Their reaction has angered countless Saudis, who consider this attack a demonstration of ingratitude from the unappreciative Palestinians, to whom they have given billions of dollars.

 

In response, the Saudis started several hashtags on Twitter such as #hellwithyouand your issue, and #Saudis are angry for their king. Many Saudis behind these hashtags regret every penny that has been given to defend the Palestinians, especially after they saw these Palestinian traitors, as they put it, insulting Saudi Arabia, which has enriched them and channeled exorbitant financing into Palestinian development projects. Salman Al-Ansari, a Saudi writer and political commentator based in Washington DC, tweeted: “We want to make everyone aware that the salaries of Palestinian diplomats around the world come from Riyadh-Saudi Arabia; salaries which are 30% higher than that of Saudi diplomats. What did Doha and Ankara do for them other than offer empty slogans and stab Jerusalem in the back?”

 

If you now ask the Saudis, the one of their main supporters and funders, about this conflict, the majority will say, “It is none of our business”. The Saudis would rather, it seems, focus on their own internal affairs and save their money rather than pay ungrateful Palestinians. A large numbers of Saudis additionally seem surprised by the attitude of Palestinians, who support Qatar and Turkey, countries which have diplomatic relationships with Israel. As a result, many Saudis think the Palestinians are not serious about defending their cause…

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

 

Contents

On Topic Links

 

United States Policy in the Middle East: The Need for a Grand Strategy: Moshe Ya'alon, INSS, Nov. 28, 2017—The first year of the Trump administration has been characterized by the lack of clear policy guidelines vis-à-vis the Middle East.

Syria, Security, Migration, and Eurabia: An Interview: Daniel Pipes, Alpha Institute, Dec. 7, 2017With the fall of Raqqa, what is the future of Syria? ISIS has been a minor factor in Syria for over a year; the real battle is between the many powerful states active in the country, both regional (Iran, Turkey, Israel) and international (Russia, the United States). The fate of Syria depends on their kaleidoscopic relations.

US Must Bolster Its Presence In MidEast As ISIS Falls: Michael Makovsky, Eric Edelman and Charles Wald, Breaking Defense, Dec. 06, 2017—As ISIS goes down to military defeat, the United States requires a longer-range plan and an enduring force presence to deny Iran total victory in Syria. Otherwise, the United States risks losing influence as a new Middle Eastern order is being forged.

Why the International Community Should Follow Trump’s Lead on Jerusalem: Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Mordechai Kedar, BESA, Dec. 17, 2017—Now that US President Trump has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announced plans to relocate the US embassy to Jerusalem, Arab and Muslim leaders and spokespersons have been trying to frighten other nations out of following his lead. To counter that effort, the world should consider a few salient points.

 

 

                                                              

 

 

“VICTORY IS ONLY WON WHEN INDIVIDUALS HAVE THE COURAGE TO STAND UP AND TAKE ON EVIL TOGETHER”—RABBI COOPER

Hanukkah Should Shine a Bright Light and Unite us all in the Battle Against Evil: Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Fox News, Dec. 12, 2017 — Charles Dickens’ famous opening words from his 1859 novel “A Tale of Two Cities” accurately describe how many American Jews are feeling this year at the start of Hanukkah, our Festival of Lights, which begins at sundown Tuesday.

A Capital Idea: Elliott Abrams, Weekly Standard, Dec. 8, 2017 — President Trump on December 6 ended all hope of Middle East peace, recklessly encouraged terrorism, and ruined U.S. relations with all Arab countries.

How to Bring Peace to Palestine: Philip Carl Salzman, Frontier Centre, Dec. 11, 2017— The Canadian Government is sending $25,000,000 of taxpayers’ money to UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which is uniquely dedicated to supporting Palestine refugees.

Iranian Terror. Argentinian Cover Up. Justice at Last?: Mark Dubowitz and Toby Dershowitz, New York Times, Dec. 11, 2017 — One morning last week, Argentines woke up to a political earthquake: A judge had charged a former president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, with “treason against the homeland,” punishable by up to 25 years in prison.

 

On Topic Links

 

Most Jewish Life & Holiday Customs Are Both Joyful and Portable: Allan Levine, CIJR, Dec. 15, 2017

WATCH: Trump Elaborates on Ancient Jewish Ties to Jerusalem at White House Chanukah Party: United With Israel, Dec. 8, 2017 

List of Reasons Why all Foreign Countries Should Follow President Trump on Jerusalem: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz Sheva, Dec. 7, 2017

Thoughts for Vice President Pence: David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom, Dec. 15, 2017                                       

 

 

HANUKKAH SHOULD SHINE A BRIGHT LIGHT

AND UNITE US ALL IN THE BATTLE AGAINST EVIL

Rabbi Abraham Cooper

Fox News, Dec. 12, 2017

 

Charles Dickens’ famous opening words from his 1859 novel “A Tale of Two Cities” accurately describe how many American Jews are feeling this year at the start of Hanukkah, our Festival of Lights, which begins at sundown Tuesday. Dickens wrote: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness .…”

 

In 2017 American Jews have never been so free to pursue the American Dream. We have many blessings to be thankful for in this great country, which has opened its doors to Jews from around the world. And yet, we sense a new season of darkness casting shadows on our collective future. Jewish paranoia? No. For decades, FBI annual hate crime statistics have identified African-Americans as the top target of race-based hate crimes. Jews – despite being just 2 percent of the U.S. population – are atop the list of targets of religious-based hate crimes.

 

But anti-Semitism this year has been different in scope and diversity. This year saw Jewish Community Centers targeted by over 120 bomb threats. The evacuations of Jewish toddlers from child-care centers at these Jewish Centers – and the months of not knowing who was behind the criminal bomb threats – devastated young Jewish parents. Older Jewish students in grades K-12 were subject to bullying and worse. Meanwhile, anti-Semitic invective, graffiti, overt threats and intimidation were directed against Jewish students who dared stand up for the Jewish State of Israel on our nation’s university campuses from coast to coast.

 

For example, Jewish students at Rutgers University were confronted by a blatant anti-Semite among their tenured professors who posted anti-Jewish statements and cartoons on Facebook.  Fortunately, Professor Michael Chikindas was removed by Rutgers last week as director of the Center for Digestive Health at the university, was barred from teaching required courses and will receive training in cultural sensitivity. But despite all the promises of an intimidation-free campus, too many such bigots are consistently shielded in the name of free speech, while Jewish students are left twisting in the wind.

 

Even before President Trump’s declaration last week that he recognizes Jerusalem as capital of Israel – a simple acknowledgement of reality – universities, some churches and elements of the progressive movements had legitimized those who demonize Jews and anyone daring to publicly declare support for the Jewish State. The anti-black and anti-Jewish outpouring of hatred by neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members and their allies in Charlottesville, Virginia in August introduced a new, younger, social media-savvy generation of anti-Semites and racists.

 

Gone are the days when neo-Nazis had to leave hate-filled flyers on car windshields. Today these hatemongers deploy bots to personalize attacks on Jewish reporters, upload high-quality videos of their marches, and fully deploy the bells and whistles of social media to find new recruits. Radical imams promote overt Jew-hatred and some have even declared “death to the Jews” at mosques in our nation. There has been nary a response from other clergy, law enforcement or politicians. Public solidarity against history’s oldest hatred has grown dimmer even as anti-Semitism grows.

 

Last week I testified at the House Homeland Security Committee in Washington on the growing threats of domestic terrorism as it relates to the Jewish community. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, expressed genuine concern about the scope of hate in America today and asked if the answer was more money. I told the congresswoman that while we could always use more funds to bolster the security of our institutions, some problems will not disappear by throwing money at them. We need the grassroots in all our communities to fight together against hate.

 

This brings me to a core lesson for Jews and all Americans from the story of Hanukkah, which commemorates two very distinct miracles. The first miracle was the incredible victory of a ragtag band of outnumbered Jewish fighters, known as the Maccabees, over a powerful Greek military force controlling the Land of Israel more than 2,000 years ago. Yet our ancient sages downplayed the military miracle.

 

It was the second miracle that is the centerpiece of Hanukkah. This was the rekindling of the lights of the Menorah in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem with only a small container of pure olive oil that was untainted by the idol-worshipping occupiers. The oil, which should have kept the menorah lit for only 24 hours, lasted for eight days.

 

Our sages understood that military might is necessary in confronting and defeating evil. But they knew that embattled civilizations can only survive if they can defeat the enemy in the marketplace of ideas. The Maccabees, like all freedom-loving heroes through the ages, prevailed because they knew what they were fighting for. They would not allow their values about the sanctity of humanity to be erased by a conqueror, however powerful. Tuesday night and for the seven nights that follow, Jews around the world will place the lit menorah where neighbors and passersby can see it. By doing, so we remind ourselves and the world that ultimate victory is only won when individuals have the courage to stand up and take on evil together. It’s a lesson that must be applied this Hanukkah by Americans of all races and creeds if we are ever to prevail against evil.                                                    

 

Contents

A CAPITAL IDEA

Elliott Abrams

Weekly Standard, Dec. 8, 2017

 

President Trump on December 6 ended all hope of Middle East peace, recklessly encouraged terrorism, and ruined U.S. relations with all Arab countries. Or so one would think reading the reactions to his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The foreign minister of Sweden called the decision “catastrophic.” Not to be outdone, the veteran Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem would lead to “chaos, lawlessness, and extremism.” That wasn’t enough, so Erekat added, “President Trump just destroyed any possibility of a two-state [solution]” and “President Trump tonight made the biggest mistake of his life.”

 

The move that produced this hyperbole was announcing that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and the United States would eventually build an embassy there. This was done in accordance with the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which Congress passed with huge bipartisan majorities. This week, Democrats couldn’t exactly eat those votes, but they could sure chew on the edges. Here was Nancy Pelosi: “Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish homeland. But in the absence of a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians, moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem now may needlessly spark mass protests, fuel tensions, and make it more difficult to reach a durable peace.” In other words, I used to be for it but now Donald Trump is for it so I’m not.

 

In the American Jewish community there was extremely widespread support—but the head of the Reform movement, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, cemented the view that it is a branch of the Democratic party by saying, “while we share the president’s belief that the U.S. Embassy should, at the right time, be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, we cannot support his decision to begin preparing that move now, absent a comprehensive plan for a peace process.” The “right time” for him is apparently just after the arrival of the Messiah.

 

Why all the hyperbole? After all, it’s a simple fact that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and has been ever since its War of Independence ended in 1949. When an American president or secretary of state goes to see the Israeli prime minister or speak to the Knesset, that’s where he or she goes. In 2016 Barack Obama went to the Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem to deliver a eulogy for Shimon Peres. The White House released the transcript under the heading “Remarks by President Obama at Memorial Service for Former Israeli President Shimon Peres, Mount Herzl, Jerusalem, Israel.” Nine hours later, it released a corrected version with Israel crossed out, like this: “Jerusalem, Israel.” This ludicrous action raised a question: In what country did Obama and his White House think Peres was being buried?

 

This absurd incident helps explain why Trump took his action. It was a victory for common sense and as well for history. After nearly 70 years, it was long past time for the United States to acknowledge what is obvious: Like every country, Israel has a capital, and it is unacceptable that Israel be the only country on earth that is refused the right to choose that capital. Refusing to acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is part of the campaign, as old as Israel itself, to deny the Jewish state legitimacy. So what explains the ridiculous overreaction? For someone like Pelosi, there’s a simple rule: Never give Donald Trump credit for anything, period. For the Europeans, hatred of Trump combines with longstanding anti-Israel bias, especially in the foreign ministries. The many phony statements of regret and copious crocodile tears about possibly forthcoming violence broadcast the clear hope that there would be plenty of rioting, just to prove Trump wrong. For Arab regimes, fearful of public sentiment that is always pro-Palestinian and often propelled by simple Jew-hatred, the path of least resistance and greatest safety was to denounce Trump’s move.

 

There will be violence if Arab rulers want violence, and very little if they want to stop it. The Palestinian Authority itself is the main exhibit here. It should be held responsible for violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank because its overreaction and its deliberate mischaracterizations of what Trump has done will fuel violence. When the PA closes schools, as it did the day following Trump’s remarks, so students can be free to riot, it is encouraging violence. We have seen this play before, initially under Yasser Arafat and as recently as July, when two Israeli policemen near the Temple Mount were shot and killed and Israel installed metal detectors to prevent weapons from being brought there. The Palestinians might have said, “well, there are metal detectors all over Mecca, and for the same reason, to stop terror, so what’s the big deal?” Instead the ruling Fatah party called for “days of rage” and got them. What is the proper American response? To bow to threats of violence or to do what President Trump did and move forward? After all, when threats of violence and acts of violence are seen to change U.S. policy, there will be more of them. If, instead, they achieve nothing, there will be fewer of them.

 

 

Contents

HOW TO BRING PEACE TO PALESTINE

Philip Carl Salzman

Frontier Centre, Dec. 11, 2017

 

The Canadian Government is sending $25,000,000 of taxpayers’ money to UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which is uniquely dedicated to supporting Palestine refugees. Some observers say that UNRWA actively supports Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood movement dedicated to the destruction of Israel and the genocide of Jews. Hamas controls Gaza, from which it launches rocket and tunnel attacks on Israel. “’I’m horrified,’ said Conservative foreign affairs critic Peter Kent, who said there is ample proof that ‘massive amounts’ of UN aid have been redirected to support Palestinian military efforts against Israel. We have abundant evidence that UNRWA is part of the problem.” Conservative M.P. Andrew Scheer said that “UNRWA is an obstacle to achieving peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Canadian official policy states that “Canada is committed to the goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.” The goal of Canadian aid to Gaza and the West Bank is to “support the establishment of a law-based, peaceful and prosperous society.” Canadians need to ask themselves whether Canada’s financial aid advances to cause of peace, or impedes it.

 

Champions of Palestine argue that Palestinians are victims of Israeli imperialism and colonialism, theft of Palestinian land, ethnic cleansing and genocide, apartheid, and white supremacy. Jewish Israelis are thus alleged to be oppressors of Palestinians, and the Palestinians are victims of Israeli oppression. It follows from this, goes the argument, that the hundred years of Palestinian mob violence and terrorism against the Jews in Palestine and Israel, the repeated invasions by Arab armies, the Palestinian and Arab refusal to engage with Israel or to “normalize” relations, the Palestinian rejection of all peace plans offered, and the continuing incitement to violence by the Palestinian Authority, are justified by the demand for Palestinian liberation from oppression. However poorly this argument fits with the facts, many Canadians seem to believe it. The demand for “liberation” from “oppression” is, however, not the same as a desire for peace. In fact, the Palestinians have multiple reasons for not wanting peace with Israel, all feeding together to strengthen one another and to reinforce the determination to reject peace:

 

The first reason that Palestinians reject peace with the Jewish State of Israel is the despised status of Jews in the view of Islam. Jews are viewed in the foundational texts of Islam as, at best, stubborn rejecters of the true faith, and, at worse, enemies of Islam. For 1400 years, Jews in Islamic lands had to pay heavy taxes not to be killed, accept ritual humiliation and a wide range of restrictions, and provide labour for the Islamic state, in order to claim “dhimma” protected status as subordinates. The idea that Jews could be politically independent and run their own state and society is monstrous to Islam and to many Muslims, and a violation of God’s order. The Palestinian Hamas Charter (Article 7) openly calls for the elimination not only of Israel but of all Jews everywhere: “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews. (Related by al-Bukhari and Moslem).” (Hamas Charter, Article 7)

 

The second reason why the Palestinians reject peace with the Jewish State of Israel is that for 1400 years Palestine—so named by the Roman Empire after two centuries of wars with the Jews, to erase the names Israel and Judea—was occupied by invading Islamic forces, first the Arabs as they expanded their Empire from Europe to India, then the Ottoman Turks. Under Islamic law, lands governed by Muslims became Islamic waqf, Islamic foundations, which belong to Muslims in perpetuity. The establishment of a Jewish state on land long controlled by Muslims is thought by Muslims to be theft from God. Making peace with Jewish Israel would mean that the Palestinians would be surrendering Islamic territory to Jews, and by doing so betraying Islam and God…

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

 

 

Contents

IRANIAN TERROR. ARGENTINIAN COVER UP. JUSTICE AT LAST?

Mark Dubowitz and Toby Dershowitz

New York Times, Dec. 11, 2017

 

One morning last week, Argentines woke up to a political earthquake: A judge had charged a former president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, with “treason against the homeland,” punishable by up to 25 years in prison. Her crime? Nothing less than covering up Iran’s role in one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in the Americas before Sept. 11. On July 18, 1994, Ibrahim Hussein Berro, an operative of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, drove a van filled with 606 pounds of ammonium nitrate fertilizer and fuel oil into the Buenos Aires Jewish community center, known as AMIA. More than 300 Argentines were wounded; 85 were murdered. It remains the bloodiest terrorist attack in Argentina’s history.

 

From 2004 until 2015, our friend, the prosecutor Alberto Nisman, tirelessly pursued the truth behind this crime. He knew from his investigation that the attack was an Iranian-planned operation. And he determined that Ms. Kirchner was behind a cover-up designed to whitewash Iran’s role. What drove Ms. Kirchner? Argentina faced deep economic problems at the time, and the financial benefits of closer relations with Iran might have tempted her. Her government also had populist ties to Iran and the Bolivarian bloc of nations led by Venezuela. Whatever the reason, never has Ms. Kirchner been formally charged in the crime. Until now.

 

When the federal judge Claudio Bonadio handed down the 491-page indictment against Ms. Kirchner; her foreign minister, Hector Timerman; her handpicked intelligence chief; her top legal adviser; two pro-Iran activists; and 10 others, he didn’t mince words. He called the attack on the Jewish community center an “act of war” by Iran and accused Ms. Kirchner of covering up the role of senior Iranian leaders and their Hezbollah proxies in exchange for a trade deal. If only Alberto Nisman were alive to see justice finally being pursued.

 

Three years ago, Mr. Nisman was set to testify to the country’s Congress on Ms. Kirchner’s role in the cover up. The day before his testimony, on Jan. 18, 2015, he was found dead in his apartment in Buenos Aires, with a bullet in his head. This, despite the fact that he had a 10-man security detail paid to protect him. Within hours, Ms. Kirchner announced that Mr. Nisman had committed suicide. In the days that followed, she strangely claimed his death was part of a lovers’ spat. Finally, she changed her story once more: His death may have been the result of rogue intelligence operatives.

 

When we heard the news of Mr. Nisman’s death and of Ms. Kirchner’s suspected cover-up, we were horrified, but not entirely shocked. Anyone who had followed Mr. Nisman’s pursuit of this case knew that he was assuming grave risks by taking on both a terrorist state and his own government. Through a decade of investigation, Mr. Nisman received death threats against not only him but his children as well. One email he told us about had a picture of bloodied and brutalized bodies lying on the ground, with a note saying this would be the fate of his young daughters if he did not cease his investigation.

 

None of it stopped him. Fearless and resolute, Mr. Nisman and his team had determined that former Iranian and Hezbollah officials planned the AMIA attack. He was able to show definitively that the plan included no less than Iran’s former president, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani; its minister of intelligence; its foreign minister; the head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps; the head of the corps’ elite Quds force; the Iranian cultural attaché in Argentina; and the third secretary at Iran’s Embassy in Buenos Aires, as well as the former head of Hezbollah’s external security. His investigation led Interpol to issue red notices — akin to international arrest warrants — against six of the perpetrators. Argentina itself issued arrest warrants for Mr. Rafsanjani and Ali Akbar Velayati, then foreign minister, which Iran predictably disregarded.

 

But Mr. Nisman did not stop there. In May 2013, he released a 500-page indictment outlining how Iran had penetrated not just Argentina, but also Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Guyana, Paraguay, Trinidad, Tobago and Suriname, and how it used mosques, social service organizations and its own embassies to radicalize and recruit terrorists. Mr. Nisman also shared information that helped American authorities determine that Mohsen Rabbani, the Iranian embassy cultural attaché and one of the AMIA bombing masterminds, helped four men, including his disciple, a Guyanese official named Abdul Kadir, plot to blow up the fuel lines at Kennedy International Airport in New York. Mr. Kadir is serving a life sentence in the United States for the foiled plot, which could have led to the loss of countless lives.

 

In a normal democracy, investigating the murder of a man like Alberto Nisman would be a top priority. But Ms. Kirchner and her allies assured that justice for Mr. Nisman’s murder was stymied for years. That changed three months ago, when, under Argentina’s new president, Mauricio Macri, a fresh investigation by the Argentine national police found that Mr. Nisman had been drugged with Ketamine, a drug used to sedate animals, then brutally beaten before he was shot in the head…

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

 

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

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Most Jewish Life & Holiday Customs Are Both Joyful and Portable: Allan Levine, CIJR, Dec. 15, 2017—No doubt many traveling readers who've carried the Hanukkah/Chanukah Menorah & candles or oil while traveling during this well-known family centered Jewish holiday can relate memorable tales of others joining in with them, when engaging in honoring this practice in public places. 

WATCH: Trump Elaborates on Ancient Jewish Ties to Jerusalem at White House Chanukah Party: United With Israel, Dec. 8, 2017—President Donald Trump, addressing the annual White House Chanukah party, repeated his commitment to recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish people. Demonstrating the ancient Jewish ties to Jerusalem and the Holy Temple, he told the story of Chanukah, including the miracle of the oil – “a sign of God’s presence in his dwelling place and a symbol of the faith and resilience of the Jewish people.”

List of Reasons Why all Foreign Countries Should Follow President Trump on Jerusalem: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz Sheva, Dec. 7, 2017—Arab and Muslim leaders and spokespersons have been trying to frighten the entire world in order to prevent other nations from recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – Trump’s declaration notwithstanding – and from relocating their embassies to Jerusalem. It’s time to tell the world what it should have realized a long time ago.

Thoughts for Vice President Pence: David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom, Dec. 15, 2017—Dear U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. As you prepare to visit Israel next week, I ask you to take a few minutes to contemplate history and to think about fate.          

                                                              

 

 

ERDOGAN’S ANTI-ISRAEL RHETORIC, ISLAMIZATION, & AUTHORITARIANISM CONTINUE

Islamic Summit on Jerusalem Showcases New Mideast Alliances: Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, December 14, 2017— Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called in Istanbul on Wednesday for unity among Muslim nations in opposing US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Turkey’s Tantrum: Editorial, Washington Times, Dec. 13, 2017— The ability to respond smartly to controversy is a measure of responsible leadership. Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan just flunked a test.

Why Does the Average Turk Love Erdoğan?: Burak Bekdil, BESA, Dec. 10, 2017— Since his Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in 2002, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has never lost an election, be it parliamentary, municipal, presidential, or a referendum. Countless theories, academic and otherwise, have tried to explain why he has remained unchallenged.

Trump, Jerusalem, Arabs, Muslims: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz Sheva, Dec. 14, 2017 — Trump's declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital city aroused, unsurprisingly, a massive wave of opposition in the Arab and Islamic world for two main reasons – one religious and one nationalist.

 

On Topic Links

 

Erdogan and Abbas Bark About Jerusalem, But Their Threats Have No Bite: Raphael Ahren, Times of Israel, Dec. 14, 2017

Erdogan Invokes Islamic Text Sanctioning Killing Jews at Party Convention: John Rossomando, IPT, Dec. 12, 2017

Reza Zarrab Reveals a Plot to Kill Him, and Is Accused of Rape: Benjamin Weiser, New York Times, Dec. 9, 2017

Turkey Ignores NATO Threats – Russian Air Defence System to be Delivered in 2019: David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen, Nov. 26, 2017                                        

 

ISLAMIC SUMMIT ON JERUSALEM SHOWCASES NEW MIDEAST ALLIANCES

Seth J. Frantzman

Jerusalem Post, December 14, 2017

 

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called in Istanbul on Wednesday for unity among Muslim nations in opposing US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. However, the attendees at the emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation were not unified. The leaders of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates did not attend, sending a message that they would not be standing shoulder to shoulder with Iran.

 

Eighteen heads of state attended the meeting, including those of Azerbaijan, Qatar, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Kuwait, Lebanon and Jordan. In addition the prime ministers of Malaysia and Pakistan came to Istanbul. Leaders of several weak and failed states, such as Yemen, Somalia and Libya, showed up as well. Lower-level attendance was common from the allies of Saudi Arabia, the same group that cut relations with Qatar in June.

 

The Egypt-Saudi-UAE alliance represents a new Arab core in the Middle East. In the strictest sense it opposes Iran and Iran’s proxies such as Hezbollah. However, this alliance also opposes Qatar because it views Doha as supporting extremism and terrorism, by which it means the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Turkey has recently grown closer to Iran, first via its alliance with Qatar, which it sent troops to protect in July, and also via its discussions on Syria that it had with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iran at Sochi in November. Turkey has hosted Hamas and supported Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi in Egypt, even after he was deposed in 2013.

 

These countries are not on the same side in Yemen either. There, Iran is with the Houthis and Qatar’s media highlights the civilian casualties in Saudi Arabia’s bombing campaign. Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun attended the Istanbul summit as well. He is an ally of Hezbollah.

 

Outside the Turkey-Qatar-Iran and Egypt-UAE-Saudi groups are countries that straddle the fence. King Abdullah of Jordan was in Turkey on the day of Trump’s Jerusalem announcement last week and it is clear that he and Abbas see Erdogan as a key ally on the Jerusalem issue. Jordan and Turkey are also on the same side in Syria. Ostensibly Saudi Arabia is also on their side in Syria, which adds a layer of complexity to a complex region. Kuwait is an ally of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, but it too seeks to go its own way on the Qatar dispute. It is too geographically close to Iran not to know that it can be destabilized more easily than Riyadh.

 

Why was attendance so weak from Central Asia and Africa? In Africa the OIC only garnered the heads of tiny Togo, Djibouti and Guinea. Of the five “stans” in Central Asia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan sent parliament speakers, it appears the other three didn’t. Russia and Venezuela sent observers. The poor attendance was not lost on commentators. Dr. Ali Bakeer, an analyst on the Middle East, noted that news media in Saudi Arabia showed the weather and economic news as Erdogan spoke. Ammar Ali-Qureshi, who tweets about a variety of topics, noted that in 1969 arson against al-Aksa Mosque had been a catalyst for founding the OIC, yet today the “low key attendance” by some members was telling.

 

King Salman of Saudi Arabia made a point of addressing his Shura council during the OIC meeting. “The kingdom has called for a political solution to resolve the regional crises. Foremost of which is the Palestinian issue and the restoration of the Palestinian people’s legitimate rights, including the right to establish their independent state with east Jerusalem as its capital.” The reference to “east Jerusalem” is a clear indication Saudi Arabia accepts the concept of Israel’s capital in west Jerusalem.

 

The fallout from the OIC meeting is that its decisions on Jerusalem will lack wholehearted support from key play players in the region. The growing divisions in the region come as the war against Islamic State ends and the Syrian civil war seems to slow into a frozen conflict. In some ways it appears Iran has been successful in its outreach to non-Shi’ite states such as Turkey and Qatar. It would like to use the Jerusalem issue to solidify this pan-Islamic unity and fuel tensions on the border with Israel.

 

That Jordan and the Palestinians are seeking leadership from Ankara, as opposed to Riyadh, is not encouraging for Israel. This is especially true given the Turkish president’s comments calling Israel a “terror state.” This could leave Riyadh more isolated unless it can achieve some kind of success, either in Yemen or elsewhere.                                                       Contents

TURKEY’S TANTRUM

Editorial

Washington Times, December 13, 2017

 

The ability to respond smartly to controversy is a measure of responsible leadership. Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan just flunked a test. The Turkish president-cum-caliph with a tart tongue has flown off the handle over the U.S. foreign policy turn toward Israel, demonstrating why he is an unreliable ally. Eliminating common ground undermines the basis for friendship.

 

President Trump’s announcement that the United States would move its embassy to Jerusalem, endorsed by a succession of presidents of both parties and long delayed, was treated like poison in the Islamic capitals, where poison abounds. Better than that would have once been expected from Istanbul.

 

No one should have been surprised that Mr. Trump delivered on the promise made by several presidents. The decision was classic Trump, somewhere between fearless and oblivious. And it is classic retribution that an ally of the Turkish strongman has placed a reward of $800,000 on the heads of two U.S. diplomats who dared condemn the Erdogan retaliation against supposed organizers of a 2016 coup attempt.

 

Mr. Erdogan reacted with venom in keeping with his full salute to the forces that have conducted the siege of Israel in their long war to establish an adjacent Palestinian state from which to dislodge the Jewish nation. “Palestine is an innocent victim,” Mr. Erdogan said in a speech the other day to his masses. “As for Israel, it is a terrorist state, yes, terrorist. We will not abandon Jerusalem to the mercy of a state that kills children.” If diplomacy is war by other means, such harsh language is close to the real thing.

 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned a volley: “I am not used to receiving lectures about morality from a leader who bombs Kurdish villagers in his native Turkey, who jails journalists, who helps Iran get around international sanctions, and who helps terrorists, including in Gaza, kill innocent people.” Mr. Netanyahu’s rhetoric is fact-based. Mr. Erdogan’s is not. The difference is between defending one’s homeland and invading another’s. Turkey lowers itself by joining in the Muslim me-too campaign that blames Israel’s mere existence for disturbing the peace that never was.

 

Mr. Erdogan might at one time have felt emboldened by the winds of change sweeping the Middle East. Then, a tack toward Islamism could have looked promising on the strength of fellow Sunnis and their ascendant Islamic State. But times have changed. Visions of a new caliphate shattered with the destruction of the ISIS army. Mr. Erdogan’s ambition to reverse the secularization of Turkey is hardly a worthy one.

 

Turkey has been a sometime partner of the Jewish state in moderating the excesses of other Muslim regimes, but Mr. Erdogan’s failure to make even a whisper of reason about Jerusalem as the Israeli capital betrays a full about-face. For a nation that once proudly proclaimed its NATO membership as proof of an irreversible commitment to Western values, Turkey is moving the wrong way.

 

Turks deserve better. A new Pew Research Center survey reveals that 63 percent of respondents in Turkey, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia believe Turkey is playing a greater role in Middle East affairs than it did 10 years ago. With elevated influence comes greater responsibility. The nation that was a bridge between East and West should think twice about blowing up that bridge.

Contents

WHY DOES THE AVERAGE TURK LOVE ERDOĞAN?

Burak Bekdil

BESA, Dec. 10, 2017

 

Since his Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in 2002, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has never lost an election, be it parliamentary, municipal, presidential, or a referendum. Countless theories, academic and otherwise, have tried to explain why he has remained unchallenged. Erdoğan’s opponents, Turkish and not, blame Erdoğan and his one-man rule for the visible Islamization of the once secular country. In their view, Erdoğan has taken a nation of 80 million souls hostage.

 

That is not true. A quick glance at Turkey’s facts and figures should explain why. There are remarkable parallels between the political sociology of the average Turkish voter and Erdoğan’s Islamist worldview. It can be argued that Erdoğan is, in a way, what the average Turk sees when he looks in the mirror.

 

It is true that Erdoğan has won millions of votes through his impressive “mega projects,” including a huge mosque on an Istanbul hill; a third airport (one of the world’s biggest) for the city; roads, highways, and bridges elsewhere on Anatolian land; a third bridge over the Bosphorus; generous social transfers; and persistent economic growth (though Turkey looks more like a consumption-construction economy). But one must also consider the sociological profile of the voters.

 

The number of families receiving free coal from Erdoğan’s governments rose from 1.1 million in 2003 to 2.15 million in 2014. Is this good news or bad? The rapid rise in the number of poor families means poverty was spreading, which suggests that millions should be unhappy about Erdoğan’s governance. Apparently it works the other way around: Turks are happy because they receive free coal to heat their homes.

 

Turks seem to care more about free coal and other social transfers than about the embarrassing democratic credentials of their country. Turkey ranks 155th out of 180 countries surveyed on the Global Press Freedom Index. Nearly 200 journalists are in jail and more than 120 on the run abroad – but 60% of Turks say they believe media censorship can be legitimate.

 

They do not much care about domestic tranquility, either. Turkey ranks 146th on the Global Peace Index. There are an average of 5.6 murders per day in the country, and that number excludes terror attacks. There are an average of 18 physical attacks on individuals per day. According to a 2014 survey, 11.3% of Turks do not view ISIS as a terrorist organization. But in the past couple of years alone, ISIS has killed 304 people in 14 major attacks inside Turkey. Of course, death does not always come via machine guns or bombs. In the 10 years leading up to 2016, more than 43,000 Turks lost their lives in fatal road accidents.

 

The Turks have been living under emergency rule since July 2016, when a group of military officers staged an unsuccessful coup d’état against Erdoğan’s government. More than 50,000 people have been imprisoned since then, and 150,000 public employees have been removed from their positions. In the aftermath of the Sept. 12, 1980 military coup, the purge within Turkish academia was limited to 120 scholars – but more than 5,000 scholars were purged following the failed putsch of 2016. A top judge recently revealed that a total of 6.9 million Turks, or nearly 9% of the entire population, are under some kind of legal investigation.

 

Let’s consider education. In Turkey, the average schooling period is a mere 6.51 years. In the age group 18-24, only 26.6% of male Turks and 18.9% of female Turks attend a school. The August 2017 OECD Regional Well-Being Index showed that Turkey came dead last out of 362 in the education area, and only 16% of Turks over the age of 18 are university graduates. The number of Turkish students studying to become imams, however, rose from a mere 60,000 in 2002 to 1.2 million in 2014.

 

But who is your average Turk, sociologically speaking? Seventy-four percent of Turks identify themselves as people who perform “all duties” of Islam. Ninety-four percent say they have never had holidays abroad, and 70% say they have never participated in any cultural or arts events. Seventy-four percent identify as either conservative or religiously conservative – which, among other reasons, explains Erdoğan’s popularity, especially among conservative Turks. It makes mathematical sense that Erdoğan, who does not hide his hatred of alcohol consumption for religious reasons, is popular in a country where 79% say they never consume alcohol (per capita alcohol consumption in Turkey is as low as 1.5 liters, compared, for example, to 12 liters in Austria).

 

And Turks are poor. Boasting barely $10,000 per capita income, the country has 92% of its population living on incomes between $180 and $1,280 per month – with 56% earning between $180 and $510 per month. But despite the country’s failings, happiness seems to be a Turkish word. In a 2015 survey, 56.6% of Turks said they were happy. In 2016, after thousands of terror victims, a near civil war, arbitrary rule by decree, poverty, tens of thousands of new prisoners, murder, attacks, and thousands of deaths by road accident, that number rose to 61.3%. The Turks believe they have a wonderful leader who makes their country great again. Don’t disturb their conservative peace.                                

 

Contents

TRUMP, JERUSALEM, ARABS, MUSLIMS

Dr. Mordechai Kedar

Arutz Sheva, Dec. 14, 2017

 

Trump's declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital city aroused, unsurprisingly, a massive wave of opposition in the Arab and Islamic world for two main reasons – one religious and one nationalist. The religious reason is rooted in Islam's conception of itself as a faith whose mission is to bring both Judaism and Christianity to an end, inheriting all that was once Jewish or Christian: Land, places of worship and people. In Islam's worldview, Falestin in its entirely belongs to Muslims alone because both Jews and Christians betrayed Allah when they refused to become followers of His prophet Mohammed, the punishment for that being expulsion from their land and the forfeiture of all rights to it.

 

Throughout the history of Islam, Muslims turned churches into mosques, including: The Great Mosque of Ramle, the Beni Omaya Mosque in Damascus, the Hagia Sofia of Istanbul, and many Spanish churches. The reason for this is the belief that Christianity, like Judaism, was nullified by Islam, making churches unnecessary. The prophets revered by these obsolete religions are Muslims, according to Islamic tenets. That list includes Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron and others – all of them Muslims. And, according to Islam, Solomon built a mosque, not a Temple, in Jerusalem. The fifteen hundred year gap between the reign of King Solomon and the birth of Islam is of no import to true believers.

 

Jews and Christians can be protected under Muslim rule by being subservient to Islam in what is known as dhimmi status, deprived of the right to own land, bear arms and, naturally, not allowed to harm Muslims. Dhimmis are forced to pay a head tax (jyzia) and are to be kept in a downtrodden state, as is the Quran mandates.  In Islam's view, Jews are not a nation but a collection of communities to be found in various countries: A Jew in Poland is a "Pole of the Mosaic religion" and a Jew in Morocco is a "Moroccan Arab of the Mosaic religion."

 

Suddenly, towards the end of the 19th century, it all changed. Jews began coming to Falestin in ever increasing numbers and the Zionists invented a new nation, the "Jewish People" and decided that the land holy to Islam is their homeland and known as Eretz Yisrael. They built communities and a protective fighting force even though, as Jews, they were not supposed to be allowed to bear arms.

 

In 1948, the Jews actually declared a state, although they were not allowed sovereignty either, and in 1967, they "conquered" Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem. They now attempt to pray on the Temple Mount, making it a distinct possibility that Judaism has returned to being an active, live and even dynamic religion. This brings the very raison d'etre of Islam into question, as, after all, Islam came into the world in order to make Judaism obsolete. Muslims loyal to their religion and aware of this danger cannot possibly accept the existence of a Jewish state, not even a tiny one on the Tel Aviv coast. To them, Israel as the state of the Jewish people is a theological threat to Islam and only later a nationalistic, political, judicial or territorial threat.

 

Along comes Trump and authorizes Israel's existence by recognizing Jerusalem as its capital, a double blow for Islam: Trump, a Christian, has granted recognition to the Jews!! This must be a Christo-Judaic plot against Islam, and it infuriates the Muslim world. Trump's Declaration reminds them (and also several Jews) of the Balfour Declaration exactly a century ago, concerning which the Arabs continue to accuse the world, saying: “You made the promises of non-owners to those who do not have the right to be given those promises.''

 

Accordingly, during the week following Trump's declaration, we have seen Muslims all over the world expressing their fury at the stamp of approval granted the Jewish State, despite its very existence being opposed to that of Islam. Leader and ordinary citizens, men and women, have been going out to the streets to demonstrate their inability to live with the fact that Trump, a Christian, has recognized the capital chosen by the Jewish nation and by extension, the right to their own land.

 

The disturbances in Wadi Ara, in central Israel, were another manifestation of Muslim fury, as rioters attempted to block the main road and damaged a public bus. The location is not surprising, because the Wadi Ara area includes the city of Umm el Fahm, where the main concentration of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement headed by the infamous Raed Salah is to be found. The Northern Branch has been declared illegal along with some of the smaller organizations it fostered, resulting in its members having no lawful way to express their fury at the existence of the state of Israel, so that they attempt to act in the public, open space as individuals – without an organizational identity.

 

Anyone with eyes in his head and an active brain knows and understands that the entire raison d'etre of the Palestinian nationalist movement is based on negating the Jewish people's right to its land and state. The Palestine Liberation Organization was established in 1964 when the only "occupied" areas were Tel Aviv and Haifa. Its mission was to destroy the State of Israel, a goal Arabs expressed openly at the end of the 1948 War of Independence.

 

Despite what certain naïve people think, the PLO has never amended its Charter calling for the destruction of Israel and  the Oslo Accords and the agreements with the PLO that followed in their wake were worth nothing  These babes in the woods included Yossi Beilin, Shimon Peres, Yitschak Rabin, Yossi Sarid, Shulamit Aloni, Ehud Barak, Ehud Olmert and a good many others, who, despite proofs of Arafat and his inheritor Mahmoud Abbas' treachery staring them in the face, continued to foster the illusion of peace in the hearts of war-weary Israelis.  This put the country to sleep, allowing it to be hit with a fatal plague while still drunk on the perfume of the very temporary peace those true believers had achieved…

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

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Erdogan and Abbas Bark About Jerusalem, But Their Threats Have No Bite: Raphael Ahren, Times of Israel, Dec. 14, 2017—At the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s “Extraordinary Islamic Summit” Wednesday in Istanbul, many leaders from Arab and Muslim-majority countries spoke out harshly about the US administration’s recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Erdogan Invokes Islamic Text Sanctioning Killing Jews at Party Convention: John Rossomando, IPT, Dec. 12, 2017—Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan invoked a Muslim hadith commonly used by Hamas and other terrorist supporters to sanction killing Jews during a party convention Sunday.

Reza Zarrab Reveals a Plot to Kill Him, and Is Accused of Rape: Benjamin Weiser, New York Times, Dec. 9, 2017—Reza Zarrab, the star prosecution witness in the trial of a Turkish banker charged in a billion-dollar scheme to violate United States sanctions on Iran, was in his seventh day of testimony in Manhattan this past week when he revealed what he called a jailhouse attempt to kill him.

Turkey Ignores NATO Threats – Russian Air Defence System to be Delivered in 2019: David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen, Nov. 26, 2017—There had been talk about whether NATO will somehow punish Turkey for its purchase of the S-400 air defence system. NATO is worried its own air defence systems could be compromised or interoperability could be hindered. It has warned Turkey about the ramifications of such a purchase.

                                                              

 

 

WHILE BIBI LEADS ISRAEL IN UNPRECEDENTED GLOBAL OUTREACH, HE FACES CRITICS AT HOME AND ABROAD

Netanyahu’s Meeting With the EU Foreign Ministers: Susan Hattis Rolef, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 10, 2017— I admit that I would love to be a fly on the wall when our prime minister meets EU foreign ministers in Brussels today.

Israel's Mythical "Isolation": Elliott Abrams, Council on Foreign Relations, Nov. 30, 2017— This week Kenya inaugurated a president (Uhuru Kenyatta, for his second term).

If Netanyahu is So Corrupt and Dangerous, Why Don’t Rivals Unite to Defeat Him?: David Horovitz, Times of Israel, Dec. 4, 2017— One after another, the would-be leaders of Israel compete to excoriate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

More on Bibi and Friends: Ira Sharkansky, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 7, 2017— Compared to selected other national leaders here and there, Bibi's done well from public office.

 

On Topic Links

 

Thousands Protest Against Netanyahu for Second Week in Tel Aviv: Moshe Cohen and Maariv Hashavua, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 9, 2017

Israel’s “Teflon” Prime Minister: Naomi Ragen, Breaking Israel News, Nov. 14, 2017

Israeli Prime Ministerial Hopeful Avi Gabbay: We Should Scare Our Enemies, Instead of Letting Them Scare Us: Barney Breen-Portnoy, Algemeiner, Dec. 5, 2017

Israel’s Ruinous Right: Dr. Martin Sherman, Jewish Press, Nov. 19, 2017

                                               

 

 

NETANYAHU’S MEETING WITH THE EU FOREIGN MINISTERS

Susan Hattis Rolef

Jerusalem Post, Dec. 10, 2017

 

I admit that I would love to be a fly on the wall when our prime minister meets EU foreign ministers in Brussels today. There is no doubt the event will be highly charged, and I suspect Netanyahu will not have an easy time getting his messages across to the Europeans. And what is that message? Primarily that an Iranian presence in Syria as part of long-term arrangements in that miserable, battered country poses a threat not only to Israel’s security but to that of the rest of the democratic world; that US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem is a positive and promising development; and that EU meddling with human rights issues in the West Bank, and its support of and engagement with Israeli human rights organizations, is something the current Israeli government cannot tolerate.

 

There are many reasons why the relations between Israel and the EU have become charged and uncordial, and why this particular meeting is liable to be especially explosive. The EU has long expressed its disapproval of Israel’s policy in the West Bank, the Golan Heights and east Jerusalem, which it views as occupied territories to which the Fourth Geneva Convention applies. Within the framework of this policy the EU has published guidelines regarding the marking of Israeli products produced in the “occupied territories” and of Israeli companies that are engaged in business activities in them. This is not a direct call for the boycott of products and companies, but rather more of an irksome recommendation.

 

About a third of EU members have recognized a Palestinian state; all the former Communist member states recognized Palestine in 1988 and did not cancel their recognition after becoming democracies, and two West European members, Iceland and Sweden, recognized Palestine in 2011 and 2014, respectively. The parliaments of several other EU states voted in favor of recognition of Palestine toward the end of 2014, including the UK and France.

 

Quite a few EU members financially support Israeli human rights organizations (as they do organizations in other countries that regularly breach the human rights of citizens and non-citizens under their rule) and collaborate with them. Most recently representatives of the EU, headed by the newly selected EU ambassador to Israel, Emanuele Giaufret, participated in a celebration to mark International Human Rights Day with NGO B’Tselem at a photo exhibition titled “Fifty years of occupation,” which presented the images of 50 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, from all walks of life, who were born in 1967 and have lived their whole life under the abnormal reality of the last 50 years.

 

As to President Trump’s formal recognition last week of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital (without defining its boundaries), and his repetition of the promise made by three previous presidents that in future the US embassy will be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, neither the EU nor any of its member states is likely to follow suit. The maximum that can be expected are statements, such as that made by the Czech Republic, recognizing west Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and a promise to move embassies to Jerusalem after a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians is attained. In truth, recognition of west Jerusalem as Israel’s capital should have occurred already in 1948, and the reason why it didn’t – the fact that the 1947 UN partition plan called for the internalization of Jerusalem – was a feeble excuse given the political and military reality at the time.

 

All of this is viewed with disapproval and disdain by official Israel. Typically, the Foreign Ministry referred to the official EU attendance at the photo exhibition last week “a spit in the face.” The EU, of course, sees things differently, and most of its members have full sympathy with the EU’s positions, while feeling despair regarding Israel’s reactions. For example, one of the protests that will be greeting Netanyahu upon his arrival in Brussels will be by a group of members of the European Parliament demanding that Israel pay the 1.2 million euros in compensation for its destruction of various construction projects financed by the EU in Area C of the West Bank, which Israel considered to be illegal, including houses for expelled Beduin, structures that served as schools and kindergartens for Beduin children, pipes, water cisterns and electricity generators.

 

The EU and its members also remember Netanyahu’s embarrassing statement to the premiers of Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia last July in Budapest in which he urged them to try to change the EU’s attitude toward Israel. An open microphone he was not aware of recorded him saying, “The European Union is the only association of countries in the world that conditions the relations with Israel – that produces technology and every area [sic] – on political conditions. The only one! Nobody does it. It’s crazy… there is no logic here. The EU is undermining its security by undermining Israel… I think Europe has to decide if it wants to live and thrive, or if it wants to shrivel and disappear.”…

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

 

 

Contents

ISRAEL'S MYTHICAL "ISOLATION"

Elliott Abrams

Council on Foreign Relations, Nov. 30, 2017

 

This week Kenya inaugurated a president (Uhuru Kenyatta, for his second term). One and only one Western head of government was present, joining ten African presidents. One and only one foreign leader was asked to speak at the celebratory lunch, while being seated next to Kenyatta. Who was that? Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And while in Nairobi for one day, Netanyahu met with the presidents of Rwanda, Gabon, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, South Sudan, Botswana, and Namibia, and the prime minister of Ethiopia. The prominence of Israel’s leader during this occasion would be worth mention even if he were one of a dozen Western leaders who were present—but he was alone. The British sent a second level minister handling foreign aid, for example, not even a Cabinet member.

 

There are two points worth making. The first is that Israel is succeeding in an extraordinary campaign of outreach across the globe, to India and China, to Africa, and recently to Latin America. The second is that this is no automatic development, but a tribute to the energy, dedication, and perspicacity of Prime Minister Netanyahu. They aren’t just welcoming Israel; they are welcoming him. They are interested in his extraordinary country, obviously, but also in his personal understanding of economic change, of the role of military strength, and of world affairs. Similarly, in September 2016 Netanyahu was a hotter ticket at the UN General Assembly than even Barack Obama: more African leaders sought meetings with Netanyahu than with the President of the United States.

 

Netanyahu’s critics are legion in Israel, but even they ought to be honest enough to acknowledge what he has achieved for his country in countering isolation, BDS, and anti-Semitism and greatly widening and deepening Israel’s global ties. And it has just been announced that Netanyahu has been invited to address all 28 EU foreign ministers at their December meeting. QED.  

 

 

 

Contents

IF NETANYAHU IS SO CORRUPT AND DANGEROUS,

WHY DON’T RIVALS UNITE TO DEFEAT HIM?

David Horovitz

Times of Israel, Dec. 4, 2017

 

One after another, the would-be leaders of Israel compete to excoriate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Many of them have served under him — as defense ministers, finance ministers, ministers of environmental protection — and have concluded that he is unfit for office, that he is, variously, a criminal, the head of a dishonest government, leading Israel to disaster with his diplomatic and security policies, inciting sectors of the Israeli populace against each other, undermining the courts and the police, capitulating to the ultra-Orthodox, alienating world Jewry, and plenty more.

 

Yair Lapid, whose centrist Yesh Atid is generally polling as the main competition to Netanyahu’s Likud, has long asserted that the prime minister is both personally corrupt and running a corrupt coalition. Lapid, a former finance minister under Netanyahu, has most recently been at the forefront of critics of the so-called police recommendations bill (latterly suspended amid an escalating public outcry), which he alleges was personally “tailored” to help shield Netanyahu from the corruption cases in which he is embroiled.

 

For Avi Gabbay, the new Labor leader, whose Zionist Union alliance is not too far behind in some of the polls, Israel under Netanyahu is “really getting close to becoming Turkey” in its corrupt, one-man rule. Gabbay is demanding “elections as soon as possible.” As a member of the Kulanu party, he too served as a minister in Netanyahu’s coalition, quitting in May 2016 when Avigdor Liberman was appointed as defense minister in place of the “temperate” Moshe Ya’alon. At his farewell press conference, Gabbay protested against what he said was becoming an “extremist” government and, full of biblical foreboding, warned: “The Jewish people already destroyed the Second Temple with their civil wars, we must stop these processes that will lead to the destruction of the Third Temple.”

 

“Temperate” ex-defense minister Ya’alon himself, a former IDF chief of staff and Netanyahu’s right-hand man through several rounds of conflict with Hamas and innumerable other security challenges, declares most weeks that Netanyahu is a crook and that he must resign over an allegedly corruption-riddled deal to purchase German submarines, for which Netanyahu’s two chief legal lieutenants, David Shimron and Yitzhak Molcho, are under investigation. “It can’t be that the prime minister is not involved, Ya’alon says. And if the truth doesn’t come out, he vows, “I will go on a speaking tour to tell all.”

 

One of Ya’alon’s distinguished predecessors as both chief of staff and defense minister, Ehud Barak, who also long served together with Netanyahu, let rip just days ago to catalog Netanyahu’s failings. In a New York Times op-ed, Barak accused the Netanyahu-led government of showing a general disrespect for the rule of law, and claimed that it had “declared war” on the courts, the media, civil society and the ethical code of the IDF.

 

“For all of Israel’s great achievements in its seven decades of statehood, our country now finds its very future, identity and security severely threatened by the whims and illusions of the ultra-nationalist government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,” Barak declared. “In its more than three years in power, this government has been irrational, bordering on messianic,” Barak wrote. “It is now increasingly clear where it is headed: creeping annexation of the West Bank.” Netanyahu had also capitulated to the ultra-Orthodox members of his coalition, Barak charged, and damaged Israel’s “crucial relationship with American Jews.”

 

Other resonant figures have weighed in, too, some of them a little more gently. Netanyahu’s former education minister Gideon Saar, who took a break from politics to spend more time with his family, has said he feels “ill at ease” over one of the Netanyahu corruption cases — involving an alleged deal with the Yedioth Ahronoth daily for more favorable coverage — and that he ultimately intends to become prime minister, but so far has refrained from directly challenging his Likud party leader. Another former Likud highflier, Moshe Kahlon, chose to bolt and set up his own party, rather than directly challenge Israel’s second-longest serving prime minister, and now exalts in the position of Netanyahu’s finance minister.

 

Two other former chiefs of staff, Benny Gantz and Gabi Ashkenazi, have been the most restrained of all, steering clear of party politics thus far and instead establishing a “social movement” aimed at bringing “an end to the divisions, an end to the incitement, an end to the baseless hatred.” At their launch, partnered by yet another former Netanyahu education minister Shai Piron, they didn’t so much as mention the name Netanyahu. They really didn’t need to.

 

What’s quite staggering is not merely the avalanche of criticism and doomsaying by the prime minister’s would-be successors, however. It is, rather, the disconnect between the insistence that Netanyahu has to urgently go — for the sake of Israel, no less — and the critics’ abiding unwillingness to take the one step that would most effectively advance this ostensible national imperative. No matter how grave the purported danger, they simply refuse to get together to defeat it.

 

Few of Isaac Herzog’s greatest admirers would claim that he was the most potent opposition leader ever to face off in an election campaign against Netanyahu. Yet the Zionist Union chairman, mild-mannered, limited in his appeal, outmaneuvered in the campaign by the experienced Netanyahu, undermined by some in his own party, and also battling the country’s most widely read newspaper, raised his party’s share of Knesset seats in 2015 to 24 (in partnership with Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua), while Netanyahu’s Likud fell back a little to 30. It would be false to claim that Herzog came within a whisker of winning the elections, but this fairly unchallenging challenger did give Netanyahu a run for his money. And we will never know how those elections would have been affected had Kahlon and Lapid put their egos aside and agreed on their parties running together.

 

More than two years later, some of Netanyahu’s critics would have us believe that the very fate of our country is at stake, that we are deeply threatened both internally and externally. And yet, still, the egos hold sway. Gabbay and Lapid snipe at each other. While asserting that there is nobody better qualified than he is to lead us to salvation, Barak merely snipes from the sidelines. Poll after poll shows the uncharismatic Ya’alon failing to so much as clear the threshold to win any Knesset seats at all, and yet he insists on heading his own new political movement rather than bolstering somebody else’s.

 

Tens of thousands of Israelis protested on Saturday night due to their sense that corruption is taking an ever greater hold on Israel under Netanyahu (and that was before his coalition chief, David Bitan, was called in for a full day’s police questioning in an escalating graft investigation). A far greater number of Israelis, needless to say, wish we had a different prime minister. Netanyahu, in poll after poll after poll, remains by far the public’s most popular choice — but at about 26-31%. That leaves well over two-thirds for whom Netanyahu is not the favored premier. This, in turn, would suggest that many Israelis are searching around, thus far in vain, for credible alternatives. It would surely give the long list of Netanyahu’s would-be successors considerably more credibility if, when complaining about the damage the prime minister has done, is doing, and will do if he is not stopped, they also declared that, given the gravity of the hour, they were putting aside their relatively marginal ideological differences and unifying to protect the country.

 

The Israeli public proved in 1999, after three relatively terror-free years, that it was prepared to oust Netanyahu, in part because of a sense that he was missing opportunities for peace. Almost two decades later, the critics would have us believe that the dangers posed by Netanyahu are far more acute. But their egotistical approach, as all their own surveys must be telling them, continues to leave much of the public unpersuaded.                                                                       

                                                                       

 

Contents

MORE ON BIBI AND FRIENDS

Ira Sharkansky

Jerusalem Post, Dec. 7, 2017

 

Compared to selected other national leaders here and there, Bibi's done well from public office. He and Sara have gotten used to demanding expensive gifts from individuals wanting his help. With respect to the two most prominent exchanges we know about, they weren't all that serious. He helped an Israeli billionaire get an American visa that allowed him to continuing making his pile there; and he helped an Australian billionaire get a residence permit for Israel that has allowed him to avoid taxes.

 

Bibi's life style isn't all that different from what was acquired by originally poor folk like Americans Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson, and the Israeli Ariel Sharon. Israelis are fond of comparing him to predecessors who were models of modesty. David ben Gurion lived with his wife in a desert shack. Yitzhak Shamir flew tourist class to the US when he traveled on official business. Ehud Olmert began his career on the path of getting rich and living well, but encountered a change in the media and officials charged with law enforcement. His prison term was not severe, but according to recent pictures was enough to change his appearance.

 

Netanyahu's involvement in a deal with a German shipyard and manipulations by the major shareholder in Israel's prime communication firm may have been indirect, but weightier than gifts of cigars and champagne, or free lodging at luxurious sites for the younger Netanyahu. It's Bibi's friends, relatives, and appointees who have gotten rich, and it seems doubtful if it could happen without his knowledge and help.

Signs are that Israeli media, police, and prosecutors are operating in the mode that ended Olmert's career, and it doesn't look good for Bibi and the Missus. Son Yair may get off with a bad name.

 

If Donald Trump is the best that Americans can put in the White House, his record doesn't make Bibi or Israel look out of step. Trump's boorish behavior may not be anything more than embarrassing, providing it doesn't start a war that destroys parts of South Korea, Japan, and maybe the US. His string of corporate bankruptcies and callous treatment of what was promised to students at Trump University look as bad as anything we're seeing in Jerusalem. American individualism going back to colonial history makes us wonder what should have been expected. US history hasn't produced the pride in modesty along the models of ben Gurion or Shamir.

 

Trump is getting high marks for his proclamation about Jerusalem, but we're concerned about the downside of Palestinians' response, whatever it'll be. The US is seeing the embarrassment and dismissal of one overprivileged male after another on account of sexual misconduct. Watchers are wondering when that shoe is going to drop in Trump's bedroom. Israelis who knew our own elite equivalents of John Kennedy and Bill Clinton changed their norms during the era of Moshe Katsav. Commentators on these notes have accused me of going overboard in my criticism of Bibi. I'll repeat the assessment that he is better as a policymaker and politician than as an individual, husband and father with respect to personal behavior. He seems far less dangerous than his current American counterpart. No surprise that Bibi has adopted Donald as patron. The act may gain Israel support from the world's most powerful country. It may even be true that the support from the Trump administration will be greater than that received from most if not all of his predecessors…

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

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Thousands Protest Against Netanyahu for Second Week in Tel Aviv: Moshe Cohen and Maariv Hashavua, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 9, 2017—Approximately 25,000 protestors took to Tel Aviv's Rothschild Boulevard on Saturday evening to oppose alleged corruption at the highest echelons of Israeli government and called for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign.

Israel’s “Teflon” Prime Minister: Naomi Ragen, Breaking Israel News, Nov. 14, 2017—While the Donald Trump era has brought a new level of hysteria to U.S. political discourse, the attempts to topple Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by the seemingly weekly revelation of yet another corruption scandal have only slightly dented his popularity.

Israeli Prime Ministerial Hopeful Avi Gabbay: We Should Scare Our Enemies, Instead of Letting Them Scare Us: Barney Breen-Portnoy, Algemeiner, Dec. 5, 2017—Turmoil is the new status quo in the halls of the Knesset, amid a number of deepening police investigations into corruption allegations against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israel’s Ruinous Right: Dr. Martin Sherman, Jewish Press, Nov. 19, 2017—It is neither an easy nor an enviable undertaking today for anyone trying to alert the public as to the perilous vulnerability in which the nation currently finds itself.

 

 

U.S. M.E. POLICY SHIFT MAY REFLECT BEGINNING OF A PROFOUND RE-ORDERING OF THE REGION

As Campus BDS Inanities Continue Here, Serious Events in the M.E. Indicate Radical Israeli-U.S. Reorientation: Frederick Krantz, CIJR, Dec. 8, 2017 — This Hanukkah issue of ISRAFAX confronts the sad descent of our university campuses into the vicious inanities of antisemitic and anti-Israel BDS campaigns.

Trump’s Truth-Telling on Jerusalem Marks an All-New Middle East: John Podhoretz, New York Post, Dec. 6, 2017 — “This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality,” President Trump said in announcing America’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Israelis Will Pay for Trump's Jerusalem Gambit: Noah Feldman, Bloomberg, Dec. 6, 2017 — From the standpoint of producing Middle East peace, President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in a speech Wednesday can only be called irrational.

American Jews, Look in the Mirror: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 5, 2017— There are some unpleasant facts and bitter truths about a large component of Diaspora Jews that are being swept under the carpet.

 

On Topic Links

 

Why Moving the Embassy Advances US Interests: Yoram Ettinger, Algemeiner, Dec. 7, 2017

Pushing-Back Against Palestinian Denialism: David M. Weinberg, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 7, 2017

Trump, Often Polarizing, Draws Broad Jewish and Christian Support on Jerusalem: Sean Savage, JNS, Dec. 7, 2017

Why the 1947 UN Partition Resolution Must Be Celebrated: Martin Kramer, Mosaic, Nov. 27, 2017

                                               

 

 

AS CAMPUS BDS INANITIES CONTINUE HERE, SERIOUS EVENTS

IN THE M.E. INDICATE RADICAL ISRAELI-U.S. REORIENTATION

Frederick Krantz

CIJR, Dec. 8, 2017

 

This Hanukkah issue of ISRAFAX confronts the sad descent of our university campuses into the vicious inanities of antisemitic and anti-Israel BDS campaigns. Sustained by “speech codes” and so-called “diversity” quotas, pro-Palestinian propaganda, in fact, violates core academic values like free speech, free thought, and individual rights.

 

Insofar as such well-funded campaigns have a practical purpose, it is to delegitimate the Jewish state and so prepare it for destruction. (So far, thankfully, this purpose has been without any practical consequence.)

 

Yet at this very moment serious events involving real issues and power politics are underway in the Middle East, which may throw the heinous, and ultimately inconsequential, campus shenanigans into high relief.   The outcome of moves currently underway may well result in a marked strengthening of Israel’s real regional strength and position.

 

As we go to press, President Trump is about to make good on campaign promises and recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital (whether the Embassy will actually be moved there at this point remains moot). The fact of an impending move is confirmed by the squeals of protest and threats already issuing from P.A. head Abbas, Hamas, Hezbollah and the Arab League. 

 

This move, in turn, reflects an improved Saudi Arabian Israel-Palestinian peace plan, issuing from the ascendancy of the reformist Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (“MBS”), First Deputy Prime Minister, president of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs., and the youngest minister of defense in the world.   

 

This plan, while reinforcing Israel’s current, defensible,  borders and reportedly recognizing Jerusalem as its capital, would create a Palestinian statelet by combining  some West Bank areas, Gaza and, innovatively, territory in northern Sinai

 

Under MBS, Saudi Arabia has embarked on an aggressive, anti-Iranian foreign policy. Movement on Jerusalem and the Saudi-backed peace process should, therefore, be seen in conjunction with several other recent developments. Saudi-supported Lebanese President Saad Hariri, responding to Saudi pressure, first   “resigned”, and then agreed to be recalled to office, calling in the process for an end to Iranian-backed Hezbollah’s domination of Lebanon and its interventionist role in Syria. Simultaneously, Israel—after warning Teheran not to build permanent bases–has attacked several suspected new Iranian military sites in that country with missiles.

 

Meanwhile, the situation of the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen has deteriorated, after they assassinated their erstwhile ally, former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Saleh, who aligned with Iran-backed Houthi rebels against Yemeni President Abd–Rabbo Mansour Hadi, had recently called for opening “a new page” with the Saudi-backed Hadi. This earned him the title of “traitor” and led to his recent murder by the Houthis.  (Saudi-backed Hadi has now called for unity in the battle against the Houthis and their Iranian backers.)

 

The common denominator connecting these recent events seems to be U.S.-led and Saudi- and Israeli- (and, indirectly, Egyptian- and Jordanian-) pushback against hitherto unopposed Iranian expansion in the Middle East.  Having defeated the IS terrorist caliphate in Iraq (Mosul) and Syria (Raqqah), the US-backed coalition may finally be turning to deal with Iran. 

 

This Israel-supported Sunni political-military force has obvious implications not only for Iran’s Shiite-related imperialism but also for the Iranian nuclear project. Obama’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action not only licensed ultimate Iranian nuclear and missile development, it also agreed to, and indirectly funded, Iran’s regional political expansion.

 

Now, this is under attack, and behind it too lies the deepening North Korean crisis. Here direct action against either Teheran or Pyongyang (who have helped one another in both nuclear and missile development) can have practical, sobering, and reciprocal consequences for both rogue states. 

A resumed and more realistic Saudi/Egyptian-backed peace process, conjoined with consistent pushback against, and blockage of, Iran’s expansionism, will also negatively affect three of the other major players in the region—Russia and Turkey, and Iraq. 

 

Russia and Turkey have backed Assad and excluded the US from their Syrian “peace talks” in Astana, and both have played ball with Iranian expansionism.  And a weak Shiite-dominated Iraq has fallen under Iranian domination. Russia acts like, but in fact is no longer,  a Great Power,  while Turkey–increasingly Islamist and authoritarian (and economically unstable)–has alienated its former ally, the U.S. 

 

A defeat of Iranian expansionism in Syria and Yemen, conjoined with a successful Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative and a clipping of Hezbollah’s Lebanese wings, would isolate and weaken both Russia and Turkey, and increase American influence in Iraq. 

 

Although the Middle East is ever unstable and often disappoints projections, it is possible that we are looking at the beginning of a profound re-ordering of the region. If so, events there will throw into high relief the utopian dimensions of the BDSers’ dream of playing a role in Israel’s destruction. What may work here in ivory towers isolated by student ignorance, faculty hypocrisy, and administrative cowardice has little to do, ultimately, with the power relationships and civilizational values marking the “real” world.

 

North American society, unlike some of our campus play-pens, is deeply pro-Israel, and temporary Russian and Hezbollah-Iranian gains in the Middle East may well be erased as the US recovers the world and regional leadership roles formerly played during and after World War II and the Cold War. 

 

And insofar as Israel’s, and the Jewish people’s, enemies are concerned, on campuses as well as in the Middle East, it is well for them to understand that propaganda lies, “safe spaces”, and "magical thinking" are not political facts. And that Jews, since 1945 and the re-founding of the state of Israel in 1948 are, like their Maccabean forebears who defended Jewish freedom against the Greeks, not powerless.

 

(Professor Frederick Krantz [Liberal Arts College, Concordia University] is Director of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research and Editor of its ISRAFAX and Daily Isranet Briefing journals.)

 

 

 

Contents

TRUMP’S TRUTH-TELLING ON JERUSALEM MARKS

AN ALL-NEW MIDDLE EAST

John Podhoretz

New York Post, Dec. 6, 2017

 

“This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality,” President Trump said in announcing America’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Never have truer words been spoken, and they were delivered in the best speech Trump has ever given.

 

What Trump did was stunning. He could just have signed the waiver of the law passed in 1995 compelling the executive branch to move America’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He did it six months ago, just like his three immediate predecessors did every six months since 1996. Or he could have not signed the waiver and simply said he was going to start the process of building the new embassy.

 

Instead, he called the international community’s seven-decade bluff and ended a delusion about the future that has prevented Palestinians from seeing the world and their own geopolitical situation clearly. It is a bold shift.

 

The idea that Jerusalem is not Israel’s capital has been a global pretense for decades, including here in the United States. It’s a pretense because Jerusalem has been Israel’s capital from the moment the new country secured a future by winning a bloody war for independence waged against it by Arab nations after they rejected the UN partition of the old British mandate into a Jewish state and an Arab state.

 

Under the plan, Jerusalem was to be an international city governed by the United Nations. But the Arab effort to push the Jews into the sea — an effort no other nation on Earth intervened in to prevent — left a divided Jerusalem in the hands of the Jews in the West and Jordan in the East. There would be no “international” Jerusalem because the Arabs made sure there could not be one.

 

So, in 1949, Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion moved the government from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. “The people which faithfully honored for 2,500 years the oath sworn by the Rivers of Babylon not to forget Jerusalem — this people will never reconcile itself with separation from Jerusalem,” Ben-Gurion told the United Nations at the time. After Israel’s triumph in the Six-Day War in 1967, Jerusalem was unified and became, in the words spoken by every Israeli prime minister, the “eternal and undivided capital” of the Jewish state.

 

And yet the international fiction that Jerusalem is not only not Israel’s capital but isn’t even to be considered formally part of Israel has persisted for 50 years now. Nominally, the idea is that Palestinians need to be allowed to believe they’ll secure sovereignty over at least a part of Jerusalem for them to pursue a final peace deal with the Israelis. And so most of the world has chosen to act as though Israel has no legal dominion over any part of Jerusalem.

 

That is, in a word, insane. Jerusalem is now home to 860,000 people — 10 percent of Israel’s population, nearly double that of its second city, Tel Aviv. Every one of them, Jew and Arab, is a citizen of the state. (The city is 60 percent Jewish and 35 percent Muslim.) It is the locus of Israel’s government, where the parliament sits, where the prime minister lives and where most government agencies are located.

 

The pretense has been allowed to continue for two reasons. The more rational reason is this: There has always been fear that any change in Jerusalem’s status might ignite a violent Palestinian response, retard peace efforts and inflame the “Arab street” throughout the Middle East. So why create a crisis when the status quo is at least stable? Then there are those who simply believe Israel is a bad actor deserving of international scorn and isolation and should not be allowed to get away with it — it, in this case, being Jerusalem. Trump rightly scorns the latter view and has an answer for the former: “This is a long-overdue step to advance the peace process. And to work towards a lasting agreement.”

 

The Palestinians need to accept reality. They continue to act as though they will get what they want through rejection and resistance and rage. “It is time,” Trump said, “for the many who desire peace to expel the extremists from their midsts. It is time for all civilized nations and people to respond to disagreement with reasoned debate, not violence.” The Palestinian refusal to accept Israel for what it is and what it has become has been the greatest bar to peace. And there are reasons to believe the so-called Arab street has bigger problems to concern itself with right now than Israel’s capital…

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

 

 

Contents

ISRAELIS WILL PAY FOR TRUMP'S JERUSALEM GAMBIT

Noah Feldman

Bloomberg, Dec. 6, 2017

 

From the standpoint of producing Middle East peace, President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in a speech Wednesday can only be called irrational. It raises the risk of Palestinian violence that could derail peace efforts by his son-in-law Jared Kushner. It makes it harder for crucial U.S. allies like the Saudis to side with Trump and push the Palestinians to a deal. It won’t make Israel feel more secure. And it will hearten right-wingers in the U.S. and Israel whose endgame is actually to avoid a two-state solution.

 

Yet there is one possible silver lining to the coming storm — a consequence of the decision that may affect the calculus of the peace process more positively. Trump, intentionally or not, is signaling to all concerned that he is unafraid of backing Israel in ways that go further than the traditional pro-Israel U.S. stance.

 

That’s a huge threat to the Palestinians — if peace talks fail, Trump could be prepared to support Israeli annexation of more of the West Bank. And it’s an implicit promise to the Israelis that also contains an implicit threat: Given how generous Trump is being to Israel, its leaders had better agree to whatever deal Trump will seek to impose on them — or else.

 

To see why Trump’s move is so extraordinary, you have to understand that the recognition of “Jerusalem” as Israel’s capital amounts to a recognition of Israel’s unilateral annexation of East Jerusalem — and its subsequent expansion of the Jerusalem municipality far beyond the cities’ traditional limits to include multiple Palestinian villages and newly built Jewish neighborhoods.

 

If recognizing Jerusalem as the capital only meant acknowledging that the Knesset and the rest of Israel’s governing institutions are there, it wouldn’t be quite so big a deal. They’ve been in the western part of the city since Israel’s independence in 1948. Countries presumably have the right to choose any city they want as their capital. And no one realistically thinks that West Jerusalem shouldn’t be part of Israel under a final status agreement. The tricky part is that, since 1967, Israel has considered East and West Jerusalem to be a single, unified city, at least as a legal matter. (Lots of differences exist on the ground.) The act of annexing Jordanian territory into Israel has not been recognized by the international community, including the U.S.

 

Israel has deepened the problem by successive further expansions of Jerusalem that themselves have come with further annexation. Today, the Jerusalem border extends almost all the way to Bethlehem, south of the city. When you drive from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, there’s almost no noticeable break until you get to the Israeli security barrier and cross into Palestine. And from Bethlehem, you can see new Jerusalem neighborhoods looming on nearby hills.

 

Although recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital doesn’t necessarily entail formal recognition of Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem, it certainly suggests that the Trump administration is willing to come very close — far closer than any prior U.S. administration. That carries meaning for the Palestinian and Israeli negotiators alike. It hints that Trump is willing to threaten the Palestinians with endorsement of Israeli annexation of more Palestinian territory — a nightmare from the Palestinian perspective. The fact that Trump is so blatantly pro-Israel suggests that the Palestinians had better bend over backward to accept whatever deal is on offer, lest the consequences be dire…

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

                                                                                   

 

Contents

AMERICAN JEWS, LOOK IN THE MIRROR

Isi Leibler

Jerusalem Post, Dec. 5, 2017

 

There are some unpleasant facts and bitter truths about a large component of Diaspora Jews that are being swept under the carpet. The reality is that many of those who classify themselves as Jews live in an environment in which being Jewish has become associated with endorsing a meaningless universalism dominated by liberal mumbo jumbo.

 

An ever-increasing number of American Jews in this category describe themselves as secular but lack the cultural and national characteristics of their secular predecessors who rejected religion but in most cases retained a national identity. Having said that, some of their secular predecessors were Bundists, and until the creation of Israel, most American Jews were non-Zionist.

 

Today’s middle-aged Jews grew up in a postwar world where antisemitism was receding and many concluded that it was becoming extinct. The generation born between 1950 to 1980 was not exposed to the vicious antisemitism that their parents endured in the prewar era. In addition, with the passage of time, the horror of the Holocaust and what it implied for the Jewish people has become a dim historical memory rather than a collective experience. This generation of American Jews never experienced the pre-State of Israel feeling of powerlessness. This was further accelerated by the decline of Jewish education, with most youngsters not having even a rudimentary knowledge of their Jewish heritage or culture.

 

The greatest factor affecting today’s Jews is the massive acculturation that has taken place due to the open society in which they live, where, in contrast to the past, prejudice does not inhibit intermarriage. Today it is estimated that over 70% of non-Orthodox Jews intermarry – an astronomical figure. Surveys show that the vast majority of children of intermarried couples are hardly conscious of their Jewish identity. The relevance of Israel as a haven from persecution simply does not resonate today as it did with previous Jewish generations. According to a recent Pew survey, only 43% of American Jewish youth have visited Israel and as many as 31% said that they had no attachment to Israel.

 

We must therefore acknowledge that a substantial and growing proportion of American Jews cannot be relied upon for support, and that for many younger Jews, concern for Israel’s security has become a low priority. Indeed, for some, displaying an anti-Israel attitude is considered chic and a means of socially integrating into the liberal community where opposition to Israel is required for eligibility. This has led some Jews, utterly ignorant of their heritage, to express their Jewish identity by attacking Israel and becoming darlings of anti-Israel agitators on college campuses and in the left-wing media.

 

This disturbing trend was accelerated by then-US president Barack Obama, who created a rift between many of his Jewish supporters and Israel. They remained silent while he treated Israel like a rogue state and fawned over Iran. Today, a considerable number of Jewish students choose to identify with the Black Lives Matter movement or endorse terrorist sympathizers like Linda Sarsour as preferable to supporting Israel. Some even prattle about keeping all Jews in the “big tent” and justify dialogue with anti-Israel Jews and those who actively campaign for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement…

 

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

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

Contents

On Topic Links

 

Why Moving the Embassy Advances US Interests: Yoram Ettinger, Algemeiner, Dec. 7, 2017—Here are seven reasons why moving the US embassy to Jerusalem was a wise decision: 1. Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and relocating the US embassy to Jerusalem — as proscribed by the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act — represent President Trump’s resolve to focus on US interests, defy Arab pressure/threats, and overrule the politically-correct bureaucracy of the State Department.

Pushing-Back Against Palestinian Denialism: David M. Weinberg, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 7, 2017—The Palestinians have no one to blame except themselves for President Donald Trump’s declaration regarding Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem. The same goes for European leaders, who were so busy this week condemning Trump’s move.

Trump, Often Polarizing, Draws Broad Jewish and Christian Support on Jerusalem: Sean Savage, JNS, Dec. 7, 2017—It’s not often that the American Jewish community is united on issues pertaining to President Donald Trump, or on any political topics for that matter. But Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital — and his expression of the intent to move the US embassy to that city — drew widespread support from Jewish organizations, dovetailing with the expected backing of Christian Zionist groups.

Why the 1947 UN Partition Resolution Must Be Celebrated: Martin Kramer, Mosaic, Nov. 27, 2017—Earlier this month, the governments of Britain and Israel marked the centenary of the Balfour Declaration with much fanfare. From London to Jerusalem, prime ministers, parliamentarians, and protesters weighed in. The world’s major media outlets ran extended analyses, while historians (myself included) enjoyed their fleeting few minutes of fame.

Frederick Krantz: AS CAMPUS BDS INANITIES CONTINUE HERE, SERIOUS EVENTS IN THE M.E. INDICATE RADICAL ISRAELI-U.S. REORIENTATION

 

 

This Hanukkah issue of ISRAFAX confronts the sad descent of our university campuses into the vicious inanities of antisemitic and anti-Israel BDS campaigns. Sustained by “speech codes” and so-called “diversity” quotas. pro-Palestinian propaganda, in fact, violates core academic values like free speech, free thought, and individual rights.

 

Insofar as such well-funded campaigns have a practical purpose, it is to delegitimate the Jewish state and so prepare it for destruction. (So far, thankfully, this purpose has been without any practical consequence.)

 

Yet at this very moment serious events involving real issues and power politics are underway in the Middle East, which may throw the heinous, and ultimately inconsequential, campus shenanigans into high relief.   The outcome of moves currently underway may well result in a marked strengthening of Israel’s real regional strength and position.

 

As we go to press, President Trump is about to make good on campaign promises and recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital (whether the Embassy will actually be moved there at this point remains moot). The fact of an impending move is confirmed by the squeals of protest and threats already issuing from P.A. head Abbas, Hamas, Hezbollah and the Arab League. 

 

This move, in turn, reflects an improved Saudi Arabian Israel-Palestinian peace plan, issuing from the ascendancy of the reformist Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (“MBS”), First Deputy Prime Minister, president of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs., and the youngest minister of defense in the world.    

 

This plan, while reinforcing Israel’s current, defensible,  borders and reportedly recognizing Jerusalem as its capital, would create a Palestinian statelet by combining  some West Bank areas, Gaza and, innovatively, territory in northern Sinai

 

Under MBS, Saudi Arabia has embarked on an aggressive, anti-Iranian foreign policy. Movement on Jerusalem and the Saudi-backed peace process should, therefore, be seen in conjunction with several other recent developments. Saudi-supported Lebanese President Saad Hariri, responding to Saudi pressure, first   “resigned”, and then agreed to be recalled to office,  calling in the process for an end to Iranian-backed Hezbollah’s domination of Lebanon and its interventionist role in Syria. Simultaneously, Israel—after warning Teheran not to build permanent bases–has attacked several suspected new Iranian military sites in that country with missiles.

 

Meanwhile, the situation of the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen has deteriorated, after they assassinated their erstwhile ally, former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Saleh, who aligned with Iran-backed Houthi rebels against Yemeni President Abd–Rabbo Mansour Hadi, had recently called for opening “a new page” with the Saudi-backed Hadi. This earned him the title of “traitor” and led to his recent murder by the Houthis.  (Saudi-backed Hadi has now called for unity in the battle against the Houthis and their Iranian backers.) 

 

The common denominator connecting these recent events seems to be U.S.-led and Saudi- and Israeli- (and, indirectly, Egyptian- and Jordanian-) pushback against hitherto unopposed Iranian expansion in the Middle East.  Having defeated the IS terrorist caliphate in Iraq (Mosul) and Syria (Raqqah), the US-backed coalition may finally be turning to deal with Iran. 

This Israel-supported Sunni political-military force has obvious implications not only for Iran’s Shiite-related imperialism but also for the Iranian nuclear project. Obama’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action not only licensed ultimate Iranian nuclear and missile development,  it also agreed to, and indirectly funded, Iran’s regional political expansion.

 

Now, this is under attack, and behind it too lies the deepening North Korean crisis. Here direct action against either Teheran or Pyongyang (who have helped one another in both nuclear and missile development) can have practical, sobering, and reciprocal consequences for both rogue states. 

 

A resumed and more realistic Saudi/Egyptian-backed peace process, conjoined with consistent pushback against, and blockage of, Iran’s expansionism, will also negatively affect three of the other major players in the region—Russia and Turkey, and Iraq. 

 Russia and Turkey have backed Assad and excluded the US from their Syrian “peace talks” in Astana, and both have played ball with Iranian expansionism.  And a weak Shiite-dominated Iraq has fallen under Iranian domination. Russia acts like, but in fact is no longer,  a Great Power,  while Turkey–increasingly Islamist and authoritarian (and economically unstable)–has alienated its former ally, the U.S. 

 

A defeat of Iranian expansionism in Syria and Yemen,  conjoined with a successful Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative and a clipping of Hezbollah’s Lebanese wings, would isolate and weaken both Russia and Turkey, and increase American influence in Iraq. 

 

Although the Middle East is ever unstable and often disappoints projections, it is possible that we are looking at the beginning of a profound re-ordering of the region. If so,    events there will throw into high relief the utopian dimensions of the BDSers’ dream of playing a role in Israel’s destruction. What may work here in ivory towers isolated by student ignorance, faculty hypocrisy, and administrative cowardice has little to do, ultimately, with the power relationships and civilizational values marking the “real” world.

North American society, unlike some of our campus play-pens, is deeply pro-Israel, and temporary Russian and Hezbollah-Iranian gains in the Middle East may well be erased as the US recovers the world and regional leadership roles formerly played during and after World War II and the Cold War. 

 

And insofar as Israel’s, and the Jewish people’s, enemies are concerned, on campuses as well as in the Middle East, it is well for them to understand that propaganda lies, “safe spaces”, and "magical thinking" are not political facts. And that Jews, since 1945 and the re-founding of the state of Israel in 1948 are, like their Maccabean forebears who defended Jewish freedom against the Greeks, not powerless.

 

(Professor Frederick Krantz [Liberal Arts College, Concordia University] is Director of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research and Editor of its ISRAFAX and Daily Isranet Briefing journals.)

 

 

 

 

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