Tag: Jews

PAS FACILE D’ÊTRE JUIF EN TERRE PERSANE

 

 

 

 

 

Etre juif en terre persane

Pascale Bourgaux

upjf.org, 6 mai 2013

   

C'est le grand jour. Arvin, 13 ans, s'avance vers l'autel sculpté en bois et or. Les chants résonnent dans la synagogue. Fière et rayonnante dans son chemisier en soie rouge vif, sa mère verse une larme. Aujourd'hui, elle ne porte pas le foulard, pourtant obligatoire en République islamique, mais une fleur épinglée à son chignon. Car c'est un jour un peu particulier. Celui de la bar-mitsva de son fils. C'est ici, à Yussef Abad, quartier cossu du centre-nord de Téhéran, que se trouve la plus grande synagogue de la capitale. Les copains d'Arvin sont venus, tous scolarisés dans des écoles juives. Il en reste cinq à Téhéran, les dernières du pays. Elles subsistent grâce aux subventions du ministère de l'éducation. Le frère d'Arvin, lui, va à l'école publique, républicaine et islamique. "J'ai des amis juifs et des amis musulmans, ce n'est pas mal vu. Entre nous, la question de la religion ne se pose pas.

 

Après la cérémonie, les convives se retrouvent autour d'un buffet somptueux. Au menu : des mets traditionnels iraniens et… du vin. Le patriarche porte sous le bras son trésor : une bouteille de deux litres. "Ce vin a trente ans !", dit-il fièrement. Distillé à la maison, à l'ancienne. Et autorisé uniquement dans le cadre du culte. La bouteille s'arrête devant d'élégantes bourgeoises. Foulard en cachemire sur la tête, elles pourraient ôter leur voile, mais la présence d'hommes musulmans – l'interprète officiel et le photographe – les gêne. Des gobelets se tendent puis, au dernier moment, se ravisent. "Vous savez, c'est vraiment une exception liturgique…", précise l'une d'elles tout en refusant catégoriquement d'être photographiée et de poursuivre le dialogue. Face à notre obstination, elle lance : "Je suis conseillère de Khatami [président réformateur de 1997 à 2005, NDLR], je suis une figure publique. Alors si vous insistez, j'appelle la police !" Pas si simple d'être juif en Iran…

 

Reconnus comme minorité dans la Constitution de 1979, au même titre que les chrétiens et les zoroastriens, les juifs sont représentés au Parlement par un unique député. Dans ce grand hémicycle à la moquette verte, Ciamak Morsadegh siège parmi 289 autres élus, dont quelques femmes couvertes du long tchador noir et des mollahs coiffés du turban de la même couleur réservé aux sayyid, les descendants du Prophète. Quand il n'est pas au Parlement, Ciamak Morsadegh passe ses journées à l'hôpital juif de Téhéran, dont il est le directeur. Fondé sous le Shah, le lieu accueille désormais principalement des patients musulmans. "Cet hôpital est un symbole de la tolérance en Iran, dit-il d'emblée. Nous recevons l'aide du président Ahmadinejad. Et, nous, les médecins, nous travaillons quasi gratuitement, juifs, musulmans et chrétiens, tous unis pour le bien de la nation iranienne."

 

Une peinture idyllique dans un contexte où Israël menace régulièrement l'Iran de frappes ciblées sur ses sites nucléaires… Mais en cas de guerre, cette "nation iranienne" resterait-elle unie ? Les juifs combattraient-ils sous la bannière de la République iranienne ? "Bien sûr !, s'agace le député. Nous avons eu des martyrs, nous aussi, pendant la guerre Iran-Irak ! Qui veut détruire les intérêts nationaux est notre ennemi. Il n'y a pas de différences. Que ce soit Israël ou, auparavant, l'Irak. Nous sommes prêts à défendre notre pays contre l'OTAN, contre les Etats-Unis et contre Israël !" Malgré ces gages de patriotisme enflammés, la loyauté des juifs iraniens reste, aux yeux du régime, sujette à caution. Comme tous les autres jeunes hommes du pays, ils accomplissent leur service militaire, mais ne deviennent jamais officiers. Et si la communauté compte quelques rares hauts fonctionnaires, ils n'accéderont jamais à des postes de responsabilité gouvernementale.

 

Il en va de même pour les autres minorités iraniennes. Même si pour les juifs, la situation est plus complexe encore, à cause de l'antisionisme déclaré de l'Iran depuis la révolution islamique. Car le fond du problème, pour les ayatollahs, c'est bien l'existence même d'Israël, qu'ils utilisent comme thème "fédérateur" dans la région. En niant le droit d'exister à l'Etat hébreu et en se présentant comme le champion de la cause palestinienne, ce régime chiite parvient, depuis trente-quatre ans, à séduire la rue arabe, pourtant majoritairement sunnite. Il pousse d'ailleurs la logique jusqu'au bout en y interdisant les voyages. Tout Iranien, qu'il soit juif ou non, qui franchit des frontières présentées comme "illégitimes", est passible de cinq ans de prison.

 

Mais, comme souvent en Orient, quand il s'agit de la sphère privée, la règle n'est pas vraiment respectée. Le système est simple et connu de tous : les passagers prennent deux avions, en passant par une escale "alibi" comme la Turquie, et les douaniers israéliens apposent les cachets d'entrée et de sortie sur une feuille du passeport "volante". Ces voyages sont importants pour une communauté juive très éparpillée. Des 80 000 juifs présents à l'époque du Shah, il en reste à peine un huitième aujourd'hui : 8 500, recensent les statistiques officielles ; 10 000, rectifie l'Association nationale des juifs d'Iran, qui affirme que certains juifs vivent "cachés", préférant taire leur religion. Ce qui est sûr, c'est qu'il y a aujourd'hui plus de juifs iraniens en Israël et aux Etats-Unis qu'en Iran…

 

Ceux qui sont restés défendent donc soigneusement leur choix. "Dans les autres pays où il n'y a pas de menaces de frappes militaires, les juifs doivent beaucoup plus se protéger que nous. En France, par exemple, vous le savez bien, la communauté juive a eu beaucoup de problèmes, avance le président de l'association. En Turquie, en Egypte, les synagogues sont régulièrement attaquées, incendiées. Dieu merci, en Iran, aucune minorité religieuse n'a eu ce genre de problème. Et cela malgré l'hostilité qui existe entre l'Iran et Israël… En fait, l'Iran fait vraiment la différence entre le sionisme et le judaïsme."

 

Président de l'Association nationale des juifs d'Iran, Homayoun Sameyah reçoit dans un vaste appartement, situé au deuxième étage d'un bâtiment officiel : le siège de son association, subventionnée par l'Etat, qui organise activités pour les jeunes, fêtes et concours. Comme la plupart de ses coreligionnaires, il sait que sa liberté a un prix : la prudence, voire le silence. Il avance donc à pas comptés sur des sujets aussi délicats que le négationnisme affiché du président ultraconservateur, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "Il y a eu des discussions et, malgré mon respect pour la présidence de la République islamique d'Iran, je pense, personnellement, que même s'il n'y avait eu qu'un seul juif tué pendant la deuxième guerre mondiale, à cause de son appartenance religieuse, l'acte est un crime et doit être condamné."

 

Une thèse que ce pharmacien peut défendre en public, avec une marge de manœuvre très limitée. "En Iran, la liberté d'expression existe. Il y a trois ou quatre jours, je parlais devant une assemblée d'étudiants bassidjis, donc très conservateurs. Lors de mon intervention, j'ai condamné le massacre des juifs pendant la seconde guerre mondiale et il n'y a pas eu de problème." Le professeur Sameyah insiste sur le mot "massacre", à défaut d'"holocauste", terme que réfute le régime des mollahs, l'utilisant plus volontiers au sujet des Palestiniens. "Mais il y a bien eu un massacre et un génocide pendant la deuxième guerre mondiale", conclut le pharmacien, audacieux.

 

Tous ne vont pas aussi loin, faute de maîtriser à la perfection l'art de la dialectique persane. La plupart fuient cette bataille sémantico-politique et évitent carrément le sujet. A Yussef Abad, la fête pour la bar-mitsva d'Arvin bat son plein, et le vin qui circule en petite quantité ne délie pas vraiment les langues. Lorsqu'on aborde la question avec un fidèle, il balbutie, tétanisé : "Nous n'avons pas beaucoup d'informations sur l'Holocauste. Cet événement s'est apparemment passé pendant la deuxième guerre mondiale. Comme nous étions en Iran, loin du conflit mondial, et que l'Iran était un pays neutre, nous ne pouvons pas savoir ce qui s'est passé en Allemagne." Pas facile décidément d'être juif en Iran.

 

 

Oui à la nouvelle initiative arabe ! Niet aux lignes de 1949 !

Freddy Eytan

Le CAPE de Jérusalem, le 2 mai 2013

 

Depuis les célèbres « Trois Non » prononcés par la Ligue arabe au sommet de Khartoum tenu juste après la guerre des Six Jours, fin août 1967, nous constatons que les chefs d’Etats arabes réalisent que l’Etat juif existe bien et qu’il sera impossible de le vaincre un jour sur le champ de bataille. En 1977, Anouar el Sadate avait bien compris ce message, conscient que seule la négociation et la fin de la belligérance pourraient aboutir à une paix viable. En effet, il a obtenu gain de cause en récupérant son territoire sans tirer un seul coup de feu. Quant aux chefs palestiniens, ils ratent à chaque fois les bonnes occasions diplomatiques et les grands rendez-vous de l’Histoire en rêvant toujours de la grande Palestine, de la « mer au fleuve ».

 

Certes, la fameuse déclaration de Khartoum proclamant : Non à la paix, Non à la négociation, et Non à la reconnaissance d’Israël est  devenue pathétique après plus de 4 décennies, mais elle sert toujours de slogan pour les saboteurs de la paix : le Hamas, le Hezbollah, l’Iran et les extrémistes islamistes.

 

Comment donc relancer le processus de paix sans aucune condition préalable comme l’exige très justement le gouvernement Netanyahou ? Et comment ne pas aussi prendre en considération la nouvelle donne sur le terrain puisque plus de 750 000 Israéliens vivent au-delà des frontières d’avant juin 67, notamment dans la périphérie de Jérusalem ? Le dossier est donc complexe et compliqué et pour certains demeure insoluble car le conflit n’est pas uniquement territorial ! Tant que les Palestiniens, le Hamas et le Fatah réunis, ne décideront pas de mettre un terme à la belligérance et ne reconnaîtront pas clairement et sincèrement l’existence de l’Etat juif sur sa terre trimillénaire et son droit légitime de se doter de frontières sûres et défendables, la paix avec les Arabes ne pourra jamais se réaliser ! Cette position est aussi partagée par la majorité des ministres du gouvernement et par une grande partie des Israéliens qui souhaitent certes la paix mais sont profondément déçus des accords précédents signés avec l’Autorité palestinienne, et surtout par les néfastes conséquences provoquées par le « printemps arabe ».

 

Cette tendance négative a été renforcée par les démarches diplomatiques unilatérales et la délégitimation systématiques de l’Etat juif au sein des instances internationales. Elles furent provocantes et contreproductives.

 

Dans ce contexte, comment sortir de l’impasse ? Nous apprécions bien entendu les dernières déclarations des chefs arabes et leur décision de gommer définitivement les déclarations de Khartoum, ainsi que leur volonté pragmatique pour des rectifications de frontières. Certes, il s’agit d’un pas significatif et dans la bonne direction, et nous disons OUI à la négociation et à la reprise du processus de paix, car c’est aussi notre propre intérêt. Toutefois, ce n’est sans doute pas une Ligue arabe divisée et impuissante devant les turbulences dans la région, et incompétente pour régler la crise syrienne qui pourra relancer le processus de paix. Ni non plus le Qatar qui a pris l’initiative car ses intérêts sont transparents et ne sont que mercantiles.

 

Notre conflit a lieu avec nos voisins les plus proches, avec les Palestiniens, et un règlement ne se fera qu’avec eux et par étapes. Tant que les Palestiniens ne se réveilleront pas de leur torpeur, qu’ils ne renonceront pas à leur revendication sur toute la Palestine et le « droit au retour », eh bien, une paix sincère et viable avec eux ne pourra pas voir le jour ! Nous rejetons avec force l’idée d’un Etat binational et nous espérons que les Américains et les Européens partagent notre conception et respectent notre droit légitime sur notre terre ancestrale. Soyons clairs, les pressions ou un diktat de leur part n’aboutiront à rien de positif et le résultat serait que le conflit perdurera de longues années encore.     

 

 

Google identifie désormais la Palestine en tant que pays

Le Figaro, 3 mai 2013

 

Sur la déclinaison palestinienne du moteur de recherche, le mot «Palestine» remplace la mention «Territoires palestiniens» qui apparaissait auparavant.

 

La diplomatie se joue aussi sur Internet: Google a décidé de remplacer le terme «Territoires palestiniens» par «Palestine» sur sa page palestinienne. Un choix pas anodin, qui irrite le ministère des Affaires étrangères israélien.

 

Le moteur de recherche américain offre des déclinaisons nationales de son interface. Les versions différent peu, en dehors de critères de recherche. La page de Google France, accessible à l'adresse google.fr, s'affiche en français avec la mention «France» au-dessous du logo de la firme. Le schéma est similaire pour la plupart des pays.

 

Sur le portail palestinien, le logo affichait auparavant «Territoires palestiniens», tel que les régions de Jérusalem-Est, de Cisjordanie et de la bande de Gaza sont dénommées depuis les Accords d'Oslo de 1991. Mais depuis le 1er mai, c'est la mention «Palestine» qui est lisible à l'adresse google.ps.

 

Ce changement de la mention du pays sur le portail palestinien fait suite à la décision prise par l'ONU, en novembre, de reconnaître la Palestine comme État observateur non-membre.. Elle était jusqu'alors «entité» observatrice. Cette reconnaissance a constitué un pas diplomatique supplémentaire vers la définition de la Palestine comme État.

 

«Nous changeons le nom de «Territoires palestiniens» en «Palestine» dans tous nos produits», a confirmé vendredi un porte-parole de Google à l'AFP. «Nous consultons une série de sources et d'autorités pour nommer les pays. Dans ce cas, nous suivons l'ONU, l'Icann (régulateur des noms de domaine sur internet, NDLR) l'ISO (Organisation internationale de normalisation, NDLR) et d'autres organisations internationales», a-t-il expliqué pour justifier ce choix.

 

Le porte-parole du ministère israélien des Affaires étrangères a regretté cette décision. Il estime que «ce changement soulève des questions sur les raisons» qui ont poussé «une entreprise internet privée» à s'impliquer «dans la politique internationale, et d'une manière controversée».

 

Sur Twitter, beaucoup de messages ont salué l'initiative du géant d'Internet. Certains commentaires ironisaient néanmoins sur le fait que cette question diplomatique se joue sur le site. Un utilisateur se demande ainsi si «ces choses sont désormais de la responsabilité de Google?».

 

Une autre internaute s'interroge sur les prochaines mesures que pourrait prendre Google: «Et maintenant, qu'en est-il de la mise à jour de Google Maps, qui ne mentionne aucunement la Palestine?»

 

Ce n'est effectivement pas la première fois que la firme américaine est impliquée dans une polémique liée au conflit israélo-palestinien. Sur son service de cartographie Google Maps, une recherche de la mention «Palestine» fait apparaître les territoires palestiniens sans indiquer de nom d'État. Le service de vue satellite Google Earth a aussi été critiqué pour rendre inaccessible certains territoires occupés. Les équipes de Google avaient d'ailleurs dû faire face au mécontentement de responsables palestiniens avant de pouvoir se rendre sur place.

ISRAEL OIL & GAZ FINDS PORTEND MAJOR GEO-POLITICAL SHIFT AS ARABISM DECLINES & ISLAMISTS TAKE THE MIDDLE EAST

Download Today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf 

 

Contents:                          

 

 

 

Looking Beyond Jan. 22: Gerald M. Steinberg, Jerusalem Report, Dec. 26, 2012—Israel is always seemingly on the verge or in the middle of a crisis and, usually, more than one. In 2012, we focused on the life-and-death questions related to a possible military attack to halt Iran’s illegal efforts to acquire nuclear weapons.

 

Israel Has No Other Alternative But the Alternative it Has is a Good One: Barry Rubin, Rubin Report, Dec. 10, 2012—The Palestinian leadership, abetted by many Western governments, has now torn up every agreement it made with Israel. Once the efforts of two decades of negotiations were destroyed, the world has decided to focus the blame on Israel approving the construction of 3000 apartments.

 

Israel’s Emergence As Energy Superpower Making Waves: Walter Russell Mead, American Interest, July 2, 2012—The ability of the Arab governments to influence political opinion in Europe and the rest of the world is likely to decline as more oil and gas resources appear — and as Israel emerges as an important supplier. We could be heading toward a time when the world just doesn’t care all that much what happens around the Persian Gulf. The emerging new energy picture in Israel has the potential to be one of the biggest news developments of the next ten years. Potentially, the energy revolution and the change in Israel’s outlook has more geopolitical implications than the Arab Spring.

 

On Topic Links

 

 

Arabism Is Dead! Long Live…?: Barry Rubin, Rubin Report, Jan. 20, 2012

Why Sunni Islamism is The World’s Greatest Threat: Barry Rubin, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 26, 2012

The Promise of the Arab Spring: Sheri Berman, Foreign Affairs, January, 2013

The Israeli Public on Security and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Dec. 2012

Israel Should Annex the Jordan Valley: Michael Harris, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 2, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

LOOKING BEYOND JAN. 22

Gerald M. Steinberg

Jerusalem Report, Dec. 26, 2012

 

Israel is always seemingly on the verge or in the middle of a crisis and, usually, more than one. In 2012 (and much of 2011), we focused on the life-and-death questions related to a possible military attack to halt Iran’s illegal efforts to acquire nuclear weapons.

 

The debate brought out visible (and probably exaggerated) differences between Jerusalem and Washington, as highlighted in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s UN speech in September and in the US election campaign. Of late, the dispute has been narrowed and the heat on this issue has been lowered, at least temporarily, but it will return very soon.

As Iran receded temporarily, the perpetual Gaza/Hamas crisis resumed, with escalating rocket attacks on southern Israel, triggering another IDF operation. In this case, there was total harmony between Netanyahu, US President Barack Obama and even most of Europe’s fickle political leadership.

 

But this harmony was very short-lived, and the diplomatic isolation resumed as the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the unilateral Palestinian statehood strategy. The Netanyahu government, in the midst of an election campaign, responded with its own unilateralism, through noisy announcements of plans to increase building around Jerusalem – most notably an area known as E1. This brought the predictable condemnations, including blunt attacks from the Obama Administration and its surrogates in the editorial pages of The New York Times. Even Canada, whose government takes a consistent moral and principled position on Israeli issues, felt obliged to criticize this move.

 

These events reinforced the political isolation of Israel, particularly in Europe, where much of the media, academic community, charities, church groups and others promote the delegitimization of Israel and Jewish national sovereignty….Although European governments officially oppose delegitimization, the campaigns are led by NGOs…and charities receiving taxpayer funds (estimated at 100 million euros annually) via top-secret processes.

 

The funding frameworks were established to promote human rights, peace, democracy, and humanitarian aid, but have been widely abused, and lack parliamentary and other oversight. All of this activity took place against a backdrop of renewed political turmoil in Egypt, a vicious civil war in Syria, instability in Jordan, and other changes that have altered the regional context in an unrecognizable and unprecedented manner.

 

The era of hostile but predictable behaviour from the closed and corrupt totalitarian regimes was abruptly ended by what was euphemistically called “the Arab Spring.” Instead, Israel is now faced with an entirely unpredictable and chaotic regional environment, including along its immediate borders. Taken together, the potential foreign policy challenges might appear to be overwhelming. At the same time, there are also some new opportunities that might allow the post-election government to navigate through the earthquake zone, and come out on the other side with some distinct improvements in the political and diplomatic environment.…

 

The management of relations between Israel and the United States remains the key to almost everything else, and here, the pundits who have predicted continued and unprecedented friction due to the personal differences between Obama and Netanyahu should be taken with many grains of salt. With so much at stake for both nations, personalities are largely irrelevant. There is good evidence that close cooperation in preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons will increase, despite legitimate differences over details….

 

Maintaining this coordination is very important, but may be complicated by internal instability in Egypt. As developments unfold, Israel will need to emphasize flexibility and be prepared for many scenarios. As long as Morsi, or subsequent Egyptian leaders, recognize the country’s dependence on massive American economic aid, and on stability and tacit cooperation with Israel, Israel should be able to manage this relationship successfully….

 

Turning to Syria, the end of the Assad regime will be a crushing defeat for Iran, and will also greatly weaken Hezbollah’s position in Lebanon. However,…the aftermath is likely to pose numerous threats to vital interests. Syria might disintegrate into fortified cantons, with the largest led by radical Sunni jihadists. This could lead to increased instability along the Golan Heights, including terror attacks….

 

Amidst this demanding agenda, immediately after the election and coalition formation, massive pressure will be exerted for resuming the “peace process” (in which the emphasis is often more on process than on peace) with what remains of President Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority (or pseudo-state). At least in theory, a more pro-active approach would diminish friction with Europe, the US, and much of the world.

 

Critics will argue that the sources of the conflict have not changed since November 29, 1947, and any Israeli concessions and “risks for peace” will be the springboard for the next effort to “wipe Israel off the map.” Instead of Gamal Nasser and Yasser Arafat, these objectives are being pursued by Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah, backed by Iran. Israelis remember the high costs of failure in the Oslo process and the 2005 unilateral withdrawal from Gaza.

 

Nevertheless, the pressure from the US, echoed by Europe, is very likely to lead to negotiations focusing on a partial construction freeze, and, if the process continues, transfer of some land and removal of settlements. This will require a government with sufficient support necessary to overcome fierce internal opposition.

 

To justify such moves, Israel will demand that Palestinians really end incitement, and not only pay lip service; halt the political war, including BDS and lawfare campaigns; acknowledge the legitimacy of Israel as the Jewish nation-state and Jerusalem as its capital; and agree that resolution of refugee claims will take place in the negotiated boundaries of any Palestinian state. From the US and Europe, Israel will seek official recognition of the Sharon-Bush parameters, with the “consensus blocs,” including those in and near Jerusalem, and secure borders….

 

With so many dimensions, Israel’s foreign policy agenda will be taxed to the limit and beyond. Coping with developments on Iran, the complexities of relations with the United States, regional revolutions and counter-revolutions, preventing the rearmament of Hamas, political warfare from Europe, and Palestinian negotiations will result in inevitable crises, each with its own magnitude and complexities. At least, in this sense, some things never change.

 

 

Top of Page

 

 

 

 

ISRAEL HAS NO OTHER ALTERNATIVE BUT
THE ALTERNATIVE IT HAS IS A GOOD ONE

Barry Rubin

Rubin Reports, December 10, 2012

 

The Palestinian leadership, abetted by many Western governments, has now torn up every agreement it made with Israel. Once the efforts of two decades of negotiations—including irrevocable Israeli compromises in giving the Palestinian Authority control over territory, its own armed forces, dismantling settlements, and permitting billions of dollars of foreign aid to the Palestinians—were destroyed, the world has decided to focus the blame on Israel approving the construction of 3000 apartments….

 

What is shocking is not just that this has happened but there has been no discussion much less hesitation by dozens of countries to destroy an agreement that they hitherto supported. Indeed, a study of the history of this agreement shows clearly that the Palestinian side prevented the accord from succeeding, most obviously by permitting and carrying out continuing terrorism and rejecting Israeli offers for a Palestinian state with its capital in east Jerusalem both in the 2000 Camp David summit and in the ensuing offer conveyed by President Bill Clinton at the end of that year….

 

They have rewarded the party that refused to make peace. They have rewarded the side that rejected the offer of a state and pursued violence instead, cheering the murder of Israeli civilians. They have removed the framework on the basis of which Israel made numerous risky concessions including letting hundreds of thousands of Palestinians enter the West Bank and Gaza Strip; establish a government; obtain billions of dollars of money; created military organizations that have been used to attack Israel; establish schools and other institutions which call and teach for Israel’s destruction; and a long list of other things.

 

As a result of these concessions, terrorists were able to strike into Israel. Today, Hamas and its allies can fire thousands of rockets into Israel. Israel has paid for the 1993 deal; the Palestinian Authority has only taken what it has wanted. Abbas Zaki, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, was one of many who stated that the Oslo Accords have now ceased to exist. What then governs the situation and Israel-Palestinian (Palestine?) relations? Nothing.  There is, for example, no standing for any claim that the Palestinian side has recognized—much less accepted—Israel’s existence. Indeed, a “one-state solution” is daily advocated by Palestinian leaders.

 

Yet the world’s outrage is reserved for Israel’s announcement that 3000 apartments will be constructed on land claimed by Israel on the West Bank, all built on settlements whose existence until a bilateral agreement was reached was accepted by the PLO and the Palestinian Authority.…

 

Again, what’s important here is not to complain about the unfairness of international life, the hypocrisy of those involved, and the double standards applied against Israel. This is the reality of the situation and must be the starting point for considering what to do….[W]hat’s important is to do that which is necessary to preserve Israel’s national security and to ignore to the greatest possible extent anything that subverts it.

 

What has experience taught us? Very simply this: The Palestinian leadership's priority is not on getting a state of their own–they have missed many opportunities to do so–but to gain total victory. No matter how much you might think it is rational for them to seek to have a country living peacefully alongside Israel forever as it develops its economy and culture and resettles refugees out of the camps they do not think so. And that's all that's important….

 

What has the world's behavior taught us? Very simply this: Nothing we can do will suffice. If Israel were to accept unconditionally a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders with its capital in east Jerusalem, the Palestinian Authority would then demand that all Palestinians who so wished and had an ancestor living there before 1948 must be admitted to Israel with full voting and all other rights. And then what would the UN do?

 

What has diplomacy taught us? That the other side will not keep commitments and those guaranteeing those commitments will not keep their word to do so. And then they will complain that Israel doesn't take more risks, give more concessions, and defend itself too vigorously. Well, that's the way things are and in some ways they've been like that for decades; from a Jewish standpoint, for centuries. So what else is new?

 

Of course, all the proper statements will be made and the diplomatic options pursued by Israel. They will not make any difference on the rhetorical dynamics but their point is to limit the material effects. That is not a pessimistic assessment at all. Basically, this process has now been going on for about 40 years. It will continue to go on, partly because the West has been and will continue to be content with purely symbolic anti-Israel measures so it can reap some public relations’ benefits without any costs. The quality of existence is more important than the quality of the ability to justify one's existence….

 

In the World Happiness Report, Israel rated 14th and in health it was in the 6th position, ahead of the United States, Germany, Britain, and France. Living well, as the saying goes, is the best revenge. Meanwhile, Israel’s neighbours don’t get criticized by the UN—many of them get elected to the Human Rights Council despite their records—but are sinking into violence, disaster, and new dictatorships.

 

So which fate is preferable? To win the wars forced on you, to develop high living standards, to enjoy real democratic life, or to writhe under the torture of dictators, terrorists, and totalitarian ideologies? Israel's fate includes to be slandered, its actions and society so often distorted by those responsible for conveying accurate information to their own societies. And that also means to be attacked violently by its neighbours, though it can minimize the effectiveness of that violence.  Like our ancestors we have to deal with this bizarre situation, this mistreatment that others don't even understand still exists….

 

Truly, as the Israeli saying puts it and as the story of the Oslo agreement so vividly proves, ein breira, there’s no choice. Fortunately, the real-life alternative available is a good one. Go ahead; do what's necessary; reconcile everyone possible; but don't let that stand in the way of survival.  And, to paraphrase Bob Dylan, Time will tell just who fell and who's been left behind. When you go your way and I go mine.

 

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ISRAEL’S EMERGENCE AS ENERGY SUPERPOWER MAKING WAVES

Walter Russell Mead

American Interest, July 2, 2012

 

Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir famously lamented that Moses led the children of Israel for forty years of wandering in the desert until he found the only place in the Middle East where there wasn’t any oil. But could Moses have been smarter than believed?

 

Apparently the Canadians and the Russians think so, as both countries are moving to step up energy relations with a tiny nation whose total energy reserves some experts now think could rival or even surpass the fabled oil wealth of Saudi Arabia.  Actual production is still minuscule, but evidence is accumulating that the Promised Land, from a natural resource point of view, could be an El Dorado: inch for inch the most valuable and energy rich country anywhere in the world. If this turns out to be true, a lot of things are going to change, and some of those changes are already underway. Israel and Canada have just signed an agreement to cooperate on the exploration and development of what, apparently, could be vast shale oil reserves beneath the Jewish state.

 

The prospect of huge oil reserves in Israel comes on top of the recent news about large natural gas discoveries off the coast that have been increasingly attracting attention and investor interest. The apparent gas riches have also been attracting international trouble. Lebanon disputes the undersea boundary with Israel (an act somewhat complicated by the fact that Lebanon has never actually recognized Israel’s existence), and overlapping claims from Turkey and Greece themselves plus both Greek and Turkish authorities on Cyprus further complicate matters. Yet despite these tensions, following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s surprisingly cordial visit…, Gazprom and Israel have announced plans to cooperate on gas extraction….

 

The stakes are not small: the offshore Levantine Basin (which Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Israel and even Gaza will all have some claim to) is believed to have 120 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and “considerable” oil.  Drillers working in Israeli waters have already identified what look to be 5 billion barrels of recoverable oil in addition to over a trillion cubic feet of gas. Israel’s undersea gas reserves are currently estimated at about 16 trillion cubic feet and new fields continue to be rapidly found.

 

The new Israeli-Russian agreement is part of a conscious strategy by the Israeli government to use its nascent energy wealth to improve its embattled political position. With Italy reeling under the impact of big wrong-way bets on Iran, Rome may also begin to appreciate the value of good ties with a closer and more dependable neighbour. Another sensible target for Israeli energy diplomacy would be India: the two countries are already close in a number of ways, including trade and military technology, and India is eager to diversify its energy sources.

 

Gas is one thing, but potential for huge shale oil reserves under Israel itself, however, is a new twist. According to the World Energy Council, a leading global energy forum with organizations and affiliates in some 93 countries, Israel may have the third largest shale oil reserves in the world: something like 250 billion barrels….If the estimates of Israeli shale oil are correct, Israel’s gas and shale reserves put its total energy reserves in the Saudi class, though Israel’s energy costs more to extract.

 

Many obstacles exist and in a best case scenario some time must pass before the full consequences of the world’s new energy geography make themselves felt, but if production from the new sources in Israel and elsewhere develops, world politics will change….OPEC’s power to dictate world prices is likely to decline as Canadian, US, Israeli and Chinese resources come on line. In fact, the Gulf’s most powerful oil weapon going forward may be the ability of those countries to under-price rivals; expensive shale oil isn’t going to be very profitable if OPEC steps up production of its cheap stuff.

 

Nonetheless, the ability of the Arab governments to influence political opinion in Europe and the rest of the world is likely to decline as more oil and gas resources appear — and as Israel emerges as an important supplier. We could be heading toward a time when the world just doesn’t care all that much what happens around the Persian Gulf — as long as nobody gets frisky with the nukes.

 

Another big loser could be Turkey. For years the Kemalist, secular rulers of Turkey worked closely with Israel, and the relationship benefited both sides. Under the Islamist AK party, that relationship gradually deteriorated. Both sides were at fault: Turkish politicians were all too ready to demagogue the issue to score domestic political points, and Israelis did not respond with all possible tact. But if Israel really does emerge as a great energy power, and a Russia-Greece-Cyprus-Israel energy consortium does in fact emerge, Turkey will feel like someone who jilted a faithful longtime girlfriend the week before she won a huge lottery jackpot. More, Turkey’s ambitions to play a larger role in the old Ottoman stomping ground of the eastern Mediterranean basin will have suffered a significant check.

 

If the possibility of huge Israeli energy discoveries really pans out, and if the technical and resource problems connected with them can actually be solved, the US-Israeli relationship will also change. Some of this may already be happening. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s evident lack of worry when it comes to crossing President Obama may reflect his belief that Israel has some new cards to play. An energy-rich Israel with a lot of friends and suitors is going to be less dependent on the US than it has been — and it is also going to be a more valuable ally.

 

The emerging new energy picture in Israel has the potential to be one of the biggest news developments of the next ten years. Potentially, the energy revolution and the change in Israel’s outlook has more geopolitical implications than the Arab Spring….Even at this very early stage, the impact of Israel’s energy wealth is dramatic. On President Putin’s visit to Jerusalem, he donned a kippah and went to pray at the Western Wall of the ancient Temple….

 

Putin had more honeyed words for his Israeli hosts. Touring the Wall, he said “Here, we see how the Jewish past is etched into the stones of Jerusalem.” This is not quite a formal recognition of Israeli claims to the Old City, but it is much more than Israelis usually hear….If the oil and the gas start to flow in anything like the quantities experts think now may be possible, expect many more visitors to Jerusalem to say similar things to Israelis…. An Israel with vast energy endowments may be less coolly received in certain circles than it is today.

 

In the meantime, we wonder if there was an 11th, hitherto undiscovered commandment on those tablets at Sinai: Thou shalt drill, baby, thou shalt drill.

 

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Arabism Is Dead! Long Live…?: Barry Rubin, Rubin Report, January 20, 2012—The biggest change has been the collapse of Arab nationalism, the ideology and system that governed many countries, controlled the regional debate, and intimidated everyone else into line for six decades.

 

Why Sunni Islamism is The World’s Greatest Threat: Barry Rubin, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 26, 2012 —No, it sure isn’t the Age of Aquarius or of multicultural, politically correct love-ins. It’s the age of revolutionary Islamism, especially Sunni Islamism. And you better learn to understand what this is all about, real fast.

 

The Promise of the Arab Spring: Sheri Berman, Foreign Affairs, Jan. 2013—It’s easy to be pessimistic about the Arab Spring, given the post-revolutionary turmoil the Middle East is now experiencing. But critics forget that it takes time for new democracies to transcend their authoritarian pasts. As the history of political development elsewhere shows, things gets better. In Political Development, No Gain Without Pain

 

Views of the Israeli Public on Israeli Security and Resolution of the Arab-Israeli Conflict: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Dec. 2012— 76% of Israelis (83% of Jews) believe that a withdrawal to the 1967 lines and a division of Jerusalem would not bring about an end of the conflict. 61% of the Jewish population believes that defensible borders are more important than peace for assuring Israel’s security (up from 49% in 2005). 78% of Jews indicated they would change their vote if the party they intended to support indicated that it was prepared to relinquish sovereignty in east Jerusalem. 59% of Jews said the same about the Jordan Valley.

 

Israel should annex the Jordan Valley: Michael Harris, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 2, 2013—There is nothing that should prevent Israel from annexing the Jordan Valley, a territory that encompasses 25 percent of the West Bank.  Israel has not annexed the West Bank because it is undesirable to give citizenship to 2.5 million Palestinians, but the demography of the Jordan Valley is different. 

 

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

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

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

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

 

 

Ber Lazarus, Publications Editor, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

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

Turkey: Old Kemalist Order in Decline as Islamist PM Reorients Eastward and 
Fans the Flames of Anti-Semitism

Download Today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf 

 

Contents:                          

 

 

Talking Turkey: Daniel Pipes, National Review, Dec. 26, 2012—During recent discussions in Istanbul, I learned that Turks of many viewpoints have reached a consensus about Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan: They worry less about his Islamic aspirations than about his nationalist and dictatorial tendencies.

 

Turkey: Is Atatürk Dead? Erdogan Islamism Replaces Kemalism: Asli Aydintasbas, The Daily Beast, Dec. 17, 2012—Under Mustafa Kemal’s [Ataturk] leadership, the young republic made a clean break from its Ottoman past nearly nine decades ago, ditching the caliphate for a secular regime and turning away from the empire’s former Arab territories in favor of an anti-clerical, pro-Western vision that became known as Kemalism.

 

Jew-Hatred Increasing Even in Liberal Parts of Turkey: Ege Berk Korkut, Elder of Ziyon, Die Welt, Dec. 20, 2012—Jew-hatred has become an everyday phenomenon in Turkey. Although I live in Izmir, the most democratic city in Turkey, [even here there is] growing anti-Semitism. Everywhere I meet Jew-haters and enemies of Israel, listen to their prejudices on the daily bus trip or during a visit to a popular fast-food restaurants.

 

On Topic Links

 

 

Troubling News for Turkey’s Jews: Adam Chandler, Tablet, Dec. 19, 2012

Will There Be an Independent Kurdistan?: Jay Newton-Small, TIME, Dec. 21, 2012

Putin’s visit rekindles the Russia-Turkey affair: Dimitar Bechev, CNN, Dec. 4th, 2012

 

 

 

 

TALKING TURKEY

Daniel Pipes

National Review, Dec. 26, 2012

 

The menu for meals on my Turkish Airlines flight earlier this month assured passengers that food selections “do not contain pork.” The menu also offered a serious selection of alcoholic drinks, including champagne, whisky, gin, vodka, raki, wine, beer, liqueur, and cognac. This oddity of simultaneously adhering to and ignoring Islamic law, the sharia, symbolizes the uniquely complex public role of Islam in today’s Turkey, as well as the challenge of understanding the Justice and Development Party (known by its Turkish abbreviation, AKP), which has dominated the country’s national government since 2002.

 

Political discussions about Turkey tend to dwell on whether the AKP is Islamist or not: In 2007, for example, I asked: “What are the AKP leadership’s intentions? Did it . . . retain a secret Islamist program and simply learn to disguise its Islamist goals? Or did it actually give up on those goals and accept secularism?”

 

During recent discussions in Istanbul, I learned that Turks of many viewpoints have reached a consensus about Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan: They worry less about his Islamic aspirations than about his nationalist and dictatorial tendencies.

 

Applying the sharia in full, they say, is not a feasible goal in Turkey because of the country’s secular and democratic nature, something distinguishing it from other Muslim-majority countries (except Albania, Kosovo, and Kyrgyzia). Accepting this reality, the AKP wins ever-greater electoral support by softly coercing the population to be more virtuous, traditional, pious, religious, conservative, and moral. Thus, it encourages fasting during Ramadan and female modesty and  discourages alcohol consumption. It has attempted to criminalize adultery, indicted an anti-Islamist artist, increased the number of religious schools, added Islam to the public-school curriculum, and introduced questions about Islam to university entrance exams. Put in terms of Turkish Airlines, pork is already gone, and it’s a matter of time until the alcohol also disappears.

 

Islamic practice, not Islamic law, is the goal, my interlocutors told me. Hand chopping, burqas, slavery, and jihad are not in the picture, and all the less so after the past decade’s economic growth, which empowered an Islamically oriented middle class that rejects Saudi-style Islam. An opposition leader noted that five districts of Istanbul “look like Afghanistan,” but these are the exceptions. I heard that the AKP seeks to reverse the anti-religiousness of Atatürk’s state without undermining that state, aspiring to create a post-Atatürk order more than an anti-Atatürk order. It seeks, for example, to dominate the existing legal system rather than create an Islamic one. The columnist Mustafa Akyol even holds that the AKP is not trying to abolish secularism but that it “argues for a more liberal interpretation of secularism.” The AKP says it emulates the 623-year-old Ottoman state that Atatürk terminated in 1922, admiring both its Islamic orientation and its dominance of the Balkans and the Middle East. Mohamed Morsi could learn a thing or two from Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

 

This neo-Ottoman orientation can be seen in the prime minister’s aspiration to serve as informal caliph, in his change in emphasis from Europe to the Middle East (where he is an unlikely hero of the Arab street), and in his offering the AKP’s political and economic formula to other Muslim countries, notably Egypt. (Erdogan staunchly argued for secularism during a visit there, to the Muslim Brotherhood’s dismay, and looks askance at Mohamed Morsi’s ramming sharia down Egyptians’ throats.) In addition, Ankara helps the Iranian regime avoid sanctions, sponsors the Sunni opposition against Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, picked a noisy, gratuitous fight with Israel, threatened Cyprus over its underwater gas finds, and even intervened in the trial of a Bangladeshi Islamist leader. Like much else in Turkey, the headscarf can have subtle qualities.

 

Having outmaneuvered the “deep state,” especially the military officer corps, in mid-2011, the AKP adopted an increasingly authoritarian cast, to the point that many Turks fear dictatorship more than Islamization. They watch as an Erdogan “intoxicated with power” imprisons opponents on the basis of conspiracy theories and wiretaps, stages show trials, seeks to impose his personal tastes on the country, fosters anti-Semitism, suppresses political criticism, justifies forceful measures against students protesting him, manipulates media companies, leans on the judiciary, and blasts the concept of the separation of powers. Columnist Burak Bekdil ridicules him as “Turkey’s elected chief social engineer.” More darkly, others see him becoming Turkey’s answer to Vladimir Putin, an arrogant semi-democrat who remains in power for decades.

 

Freed of the military’s oversight only in mid-2011, Erdogan possibly will win enough dictatorial power for him (or a successor) to achieve his dream and fully implement sharia.

 

 

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TURKEY: IS ATATÜRK DEAD?
ERDOGAN ISLAMISM REPLACES KEMALISM

Asli Aydintasbas

The Daily Beast, Dec 17, 2012

 

The photograph shows a pair of men in dusty work clothes, saluting proudly as they stand at attention inside a gutted reinforced-concrete building. The caption, in Turkish, tells us that the picture was taken Nov. 10. Every year on that date, the entire country—schools, government offices, hospitals, even traffic—comes to a halt at 9:05 a.m., the exact minute of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s death in 1938. The photo went viral on the Internet this year, desperately offered via Twitter and Facebook as proof that even though an Islamist government has ruled the country for the past decade, modern Turkey’s fiercely rationalist founder remains a source of inspiration to the masses.

 

The question is how much longer Mustafa Kemal can remain on that pedestal. To the people of his country, Atatürk—the sobriquet means “father of the Turks”—has been both a national hero and an ideology, bolstered by decades of indoctrination in the schools and by his ubiquitous image in the form of busts, portraits, statues, figurines, T-shirts, currency, key chains, and even iPhone cases. A reformist Ottoman Army general, he led an independence struggle against the invading Greek, French, and Italian armies after the First World War, culminating in the establishment of a modern republic in 1923.

 

Under Mustafa Kemal’s leadership, the young republic made a clean break from its Ottoman past nearly nine decades ago, ditching the caliphate for a secular regime and turning away from the empire’s former Arab territories in favor of an anti-clerical, pro-Western vision that became known as Kemalism. He pushed for women’s suffrage, decreed the alphabet’s conversion from Arabic to Latin overnight, established parliamentary government, declared war on Islamic zealotry long before jihadism became a global concern, even banned the Ottoman fez in favor of European-style hats. Turkish schoolbooks today summarize the changes he imposed as “the Atatürk revolutions.”

 

Nevertheless, Mustafa Kemal’s staunchly secularist legacy is now being challenged by a new Turkish strongman, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Free at last to espouse and promote his conservative Muslim faith publicly, the prime minister embodies the political aspirations of millions of Turks who have been alienated from the military-backed secular establishment for generations: the rural folk, the urban poor, conservative Muslim clerics, and the rising religiously conservative business classes. While studiously avoiding direct confrontation with Atatürk’s Westernized ideals, Erdogan and other pro-Islamist leaders of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have inaugurated an era of deep political transformation.

 

With the party’s encouragement, many Turks have come to regard Kemalism as an outmoded ideology unsuited to the needs of present-day Turkey’s dynamic society. “I don’t know if Atatürk himself is dead,” says liberal academic and commentator Mehmet Altan. “But Kemalism will eventually die, as Turkey democratizes.” Altan has argued for years against the Kemalist doctrine, calling instead for the creation of a “second republic” that would be less centralized, more inclusive of Kurds and Islamists, and less rigid in its secular and nationalist policies.

 

That’s what’s already happening as the Erdogan government dismantles the Kemalist establishment. The military, once the country’s most powerful political force and the self-proclaimed guardian of secularism, has been relegated to the barracks and publicly reprimanded for the series of coups that have stunted democracy’s growth since Atatürk’s death. Religious conservatism is on the rise, and Ankara has turned its attention away from the country’s longstanding bid for European Union membership, seeking instead a more prominent role in the Middle East and the former Ottoman lands. Vestiges of the old Kemalist order—the headscarf ban on university campuses, restrictions on use of the Kurdish language, Soviet-style commemorations held in stadiums on national days—have nearly disappeared.

 

And yet liberal democrats like Altan are not happy. Many feel that Erdogan’s government has lost its reformist drive, becoming authoritarian and single-mindedly Islamic instead. Intellectuals who once supported Erdogan against the military now complain about his efforts to control the media, his intolerance for dissent, and his half-hearted concessions to Kurdish demands. “Politics in Turkey has always been a struggle between the barracks and the mosque,” says Altan. “Because we never had a proper capitalist class, the Army represented the bourgeoisie, and the mosque represented the underprivileged. With AKP, we thought a democracy would emerge out of the mosque. But instead what we got was simply the revenge of the mosque.”

 

A year ago Altan finally became one of the many journalists who have lost their jobs for criticizing Erdogan. It’s the same penalty commentators used to incur for finding fault with Atatürk. Altan grieves for the fading of Turkey’s European dreams. Bringing European standards to Turkey’s democracy was the only possible solution for the conflict between the secularists and the Islamists, he says. “But the EU reforms have stopped, and the government’s Islamic reflexes are more obvious now, making the division even sharper.”

 

 

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JEW-HATRED INCREASING,
EVEN IN LIBERAL PARTS OF TURKEY
Ege Berk Korkut

Elder of Ziyon, Die Welt, Dec. 20, 2012

 

Jew-hatred has become an everyday phenomenon in Turkey. Although I live in Izmir, the most democratic city in Turkey, [even here there is] growing anti-Semitism. Everywhere I meet Jew-haters and enemies of Israel, listen to their prejudices on the daily bus trip or during a visit to a popular fast-food restaurants.

Many of them admired Hitler, wish he would have his "mission" brought to an end and not stop at six million murdered Jews. Though it disgusts me, I can do nothing. I belong to a minority in this country and I know that the government will not protect my rights, which is why it would not be a good idea to respond.

…I visit the twelfth grade of an [exclusive] high school. During a lesson the religious teachers talk about the operation "Pillar of Cloud" in Gaza.

Some students began to complain about Israel. They became more and more violent, and the teacher, an official of the Turkish state, said, "Do not worry, Israel will be destroyed one day, and the day is near that all Jews will pay for it." After the teacher had incited the students some students began to praise Hitler, while others expressed their readiness to drive the Israelis into the sea. [Emphasis original – Ed.]

I was surprised. I did not expect that a teacher, a Turkish government official, would incite students to kill people just because they are different, especially in Izmir, where the people are known for their tolerance.

Jew-hatred is spreading and the influence of Sharia law have changed the secular society, even in the most advanced parts of Turkey, such that it is no longer possible to ignore it, at least as a Jew.

I have no hope that the situation will improve in the future. On the contrary, it gets worse every day. This is not surprising. Biased media and politicians spread the manipulative rhetoric, and the textbooks that are issued by the Turkish state are dripping with hatred of Jews.

In a country where children are taught to hate, true respect for diversity cannot thrive, which is the foundation of any free society. While the secular society collapses, the growing power of the Islamists continue every day. Therefore I am not pessimistic, but realistic when I say that Turkey's future is not rosy.

 

Ege Berk Korkut is a Turkish high school student.

 

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Troubling News for Turkey’s Jews: Adam Chandler, Tablet, Dec. 19, 2012—Life for Turkish Jews has been less than comfortable in recent years. Gone are the days when a young Ben-Gurion-type would even dream of going there to study law. Turkey’s Jewish community, which numbered as many 80,000 in the late 1920s has dwindled down to approximately 20,000 and, more than ever, suffers alienation at every bloody bend in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

 

An Interview with Nechirvan Barzani: Will There Be an Independent Kurdistan?: Jay Newton-Small, TIME, Dec. 21, 2012—If there is one man who deserves the credit for the growing Turkish-Kurd rapprochement, it’s Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani of Iraqi Kurdistan. Five years ago Kurds and foreigners alike laughed in his face when he told them that not only did he want Iraqi Kurdistan to export its own oil, but that he wanted to export it to Turkey, which has had an intractable problem with its own large Kurdish minority.

 

Putin’s visit rekindles the Russia-Turkey affair: Dimitar Bechev, CNN, Dec. 4th, 2012—Yet the truth is that Ankara and Moscow are going through an extremely rough patch in their relationship – over Syria. On October 10, Turkey intercepted and force landed a Syrian jet flying from Moscow with 35 passengers, including Russian nationals. Erdoğan asserted that Russian munitions had been discovered onboard the plane. Soon afterwards, Putin postponed his trip to Ankara, prompting speculation of a freeze in bilateral ties.

 

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

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

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

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

 

 

Ber Lazarus, Publications Editor, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

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

JÉRUSALEM : UN IMPÉRATIF JUIF ET SIONISTE

 

 

 

 

Construire à Jérusalem : un impératif juif et sioniste
Éditorial
upjf.org, 19 décembre 2012

 

Les condamnations internationales et européennes faisant suite à l’annonce de la construction de 1500 logements à Ramat Shlomo ne sont pas une surprise, mais il est utile de rappeler à cette occasion quelques vérités occultées par les médias, en France notamment. Comme l’a déclaré le Premier ministre israélien Binyamin Nétanyahou, la construction à Jérusalem est une politique constante de tous les gouvernements israéliens depuis 1967, qui jouit d’un large consensus au sein de la population israélienne.

 

Contrairement à ce que qu’affirment les dépêches mensongères de l’AFP, le quartier de Ramat Shlomo n’est pas situé à « Jérusalem-Est », ni dans un « quartier de colonisation », mais au nord de la capitale israélienne, dans une zone urbaine habitée en majorité par des Juifs religieux au taux de natalité élevé.

 

La construction de logements d’habitation dans sa capitale est non seulement le droit élémentaire de tout gouvernement souverain, mais c’est aussi une nécessité vitale pour répondre à la pénurie de logements à Jérusalem.

 

Le fait que cette décision purement administrative soulève les condamnations internationales est difficilement compréhensible et s’explique par ce que le général Michel Darmon appelait la « croisade contre Jérusalem » de la communauté internationale et de la diplomatie française en particulier.

 

Les Juifs du monde entier sont indéfectiblement attachés à Jérusalem, capitale du peuple Juif depuis l’aube de son histoire plurimillénaire. Face à des ennemis voués à la haine et à la destruction, Israël construit, édifie et embellit sa capitale, Jérusalem, ville de paix où coexistent – depuis sa réunification en 1967 et pour la première fois dans l’histoire – Juifs, chrétiens et musulmans.

 

« Les chiens aboient, la caravane passe » dit le proverbe. Malgré les condamnations internationales, la construction à Jérusalem se poursuivra, car elle n’est pas seulement un droit, mais aussi un impératif juif et sioniste. Am Israël Haï ! Le peuple Juif est vivant !

 

La Shoah et le silence des intellectuels juifs américains
Blogue Philosémitisme, 22 décembre 2012

 

L'antisémitisme, brièvement discrédité par l'Holocauste, est devenu l'idéologie "par défaut" de l'Europe. L'Europe pourrait devenir judenrein dans la prochaine décennie. 

 

Edward Alexander, professeur émérite d'anglais à l'Université de Washington, vient de publier un nouvel ouvrage “The State of the Jews: A Critical Appraisal” (L'État des Juifs: une évaluation critique). Le Professeur Alexander a accordé une interview à Peter Kelley pour l'Algemeiner.
 
Le titre du livre est volontairement ambigu et se réfère à la Terre d'Israël, au peuple d'Israël, et à la relation entre eux. C'est un sujet très ancien, défini dans sa forme la plus spectaculaire et accusatoire par Moïse lui-même quand il reproche aux fils de Gad et de Ruben: "Vos frères iront-ils à la guerre, et vous, resterez-vous ici?"
 
Edward Alexander rappelle que, pendant la persécution et l'extermination des Juifs d'Europe par les nazis et leurs collaborateurs, les intellectuels juifs américains y ont prêté peu d'attention, voire pas d'attention du tout. Irving Howe a reconnu que ce fut un manquement moral. Et Saul Bellow a reconnu que personne en Amérique n'avait pris toute la mesure de l'extermination des Juifs. Que par ailleurs seulement quelques juifs, comme Primo Levi, avaient vraiment compris ce qui était arrivé.  Bellow explique que les intellectuels se sont mutuellement fait des reproches et que toute personne ayant un peu de conscience se rend compte de la honte d'un tel comportement.
 
Non seulement les intellectuels juifs firent preuve d'une indifférence terrible envers le sort de leurs frères d'Europe mais également envers ce que les Juifs de Palestine avaient accompli. Or quelques années après la destruction des Juifs d'Europe, le peuple juif avait créé l'Etat d'Israël. Une création qui provoqua l'admiration de Winston Churchill que la qualifia de: "événement dans l'histoire du monde à être considéré dans la perspective, non pas d'une génération ou d'un siècle, mais dans la perspective de mille, deux mille ou trois mille ans."
 
La conviction qui sous-tend le livre du Professeur Alexander est que le peuple paria est devenu l'État paria, et que la question nazie – "Les Juifs ont-ils le droit de vivre?" – a été remplacée par la question "anti-sioniste", une question habituellement posée par les "progressistes": "Israël a-t-il le droit d'exister?" En d'autres termes, les Juifs, parce qu'ils sont Juifs, ne peuvent pas encore considérer le droit de vivre comme un droit naturel.

 

Pakistan: homme brûlé vif par 200 musulmans pleins d’amour et de tolérance
Jean-Patrick Grumberg

dreuz.info, 22 décembre 2012

 

Brûler un homme est moins terrible que brûler un coran, selon les musulmans.
 
Un homme qui a été accusé d’avoir brûlé un Coran au Pakistan a été brûlé vif par la foule qui a forcé les portes du commissariat où il était détenu.
 
Il avait passé la nuit dans une mosquée de Seeta, dans la province du Sindh (sud), et l’imam a retrouvé des restes carbonisés du coran le lendemain matin.
 
« Il était seul dans la mosquée durant la nuit, il n’y avait personne d’autre pour faire cette terrible chose », a déclaré l’imam, Maulvi Memon, qui n’a pas considéré que brûler un homme soit aussi terrible que brûler le coran.
 
Les villageois avaient déjà lynché l’homme avant de le remettre à la police mais quelques heures plus tard, 200 personnes est revenu sur place, et a fracturé le commissariat, traîné l’homme dehors, et brûlé vif.
 
Lorsque les musulmans brûlent une mosquée, comme à Bruxelles en avril dernier, de nombreux coran sont détruits, mais là, miracle !, aucun musulman ne proteste jamais. Et c’est parce que je dénonce ces atrocités que la police de la pensée me traite de fasciste, jamais ceux qui les commettent. Cela m’encourage d’ailleurs à continuer.

Charles Bybelezer: Israelis Are Not Racists

 

 

Originally published, October 29, 2012 in The Jewish Tribune.

 

Last week, Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper ran a front page article claiming that “most Israeli Jews support an apartheid regime in the country, if the territories are annexed.”

 

The publication of the piece, promoting the findings of a recent poll, created a firestorm, setting abuzz every antisemitic and jihadist website in the Middle East and even garnering the attention of media overseas, including the Globe and Mail.

 

Apparently, it seems not to matter that the poll is littered with inconsistencies and pejorative nuances, or that the survey’s financiers and promoters are, to understate the matter, of dubious integrity; so long as any propaganda, masquerading under the guise of a “study,” provides antisemitic fodder, anti-Israel travellers worldwide will revel in the opportunity to muddy Israel’s name.

 

That those involved in the poll acted in bad faith, and that the article in question is profoundly flawed, is easily deduced through a cursory analysis of Ha’aretz’s piece. The first red flag is that, after Israelis are accused of supporting the implementation of ‘apartheid’ in the headline, the following qualification is buried 16 paragraphs later: “The survey conductors say perhaps the term ‘apartheid’ was not clear enough to some interviewees.”

 

Accordingly, the newspaper, though obtuse on the applicability of the term ‘apartheid,’ contends that most Israelis support apartheid, whereas a small majority believes that apartheid is already practised to a degree in the country; this, despite the acknowledgement of ‘some’ not knowing what apartheid means and thus what it actually entails. If someone is unfamiliar with the institutionalized racism against blacks that existed in South Africa, then obviously they cannot be expected to discern that no such system, process or attitudes shape or inform Israeli society or its mindset.

 

Significantly, there remains the small matter of the inclusion of the word ‘IF’ in the context of annexing ‘territories,’ itself an ambiguous term which Ha’aretz insinuates to be a reference to the West Bank, also known as the ‘Palestinian territories.’ In fact, respondents were never asked whether they supported the annexation of any predominantly Palestinian areas in the West Bank, containing some 2.5 million Arabs over whom the so-called ‘apartheid regime’ would, presumably, be implemented. (That poll after poll shows a strong majority of Israelis opposing any such move no doubt accounted for the question’s omission.)

 

Instead, participants were only asked whether they would support the incorporation into Israel of an unspecified number of “settlements,” which cover a fraction of the overall geographical area of the West Bank, are comprised almost entirely of Jews, and which invariably would remain under Israeli sovereignty in any future peace deal forged with the Palestinians. Even this prospect was rejected by a plurality (48%) of those surveyed.

Accordingly, one is hard-pressed to fathom how Ha’aretz arrived at the conclusion that “most Jews would support an apartheid regime…if the territories were annexed,” given that a plurality of respondents rejected annexation of any ‘territories,’ including ‘settlements’ devoid of Palestinians.

 

To further expose the journalistic disingenuousness of Ha’aretz, it is noteworthy to compare the paper’s use of the vague word ‘territories’ in connection with UN resolution 242, adopted in the aftermath of the 1967 Six Day War. The resolution set as a condition for “the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East…[the] withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.” Specifically omitted from that text, however, was any reference to “all” or “the” territories captured by Israel in order, thereby, to recognize under International Law Israel’s right to retain – even in the event a future peace deal calling for limited territorial withdrawals – land vital to preserving its security. In other words, the notoriously anti-Israel UN conscientiously used the undefined term ‘territories’ with a view to conferring legitimate legal rights upon Israelis, whereas Ha’aretz did so in order to slander them.

 

That media worldwide felt no compunction about uncritically regurgitating Ha’aretz’s libel reaffirms the prevailing anti-Israel bias; that the New Israel Fund (NIF), which in the past proudly has lent its name to initiatives defaming the Jewish state, disassociated itself from the survey reveals the extent of that bias.

 

On the very same day that Ha’aretz wrote that the poll “was commissioned by the New Israel Fund’s Yisraela Goldblum Fund,” the NIF issued a statement saying the organization “does not stand behind the survey in Ha’aretz and is not related with it in any way.”

That the far-left NIF assumed and publicly asserted such stance confirms a level of partiality in the poll surpassing even the infamous Goldstone Report, formulated in conjunction with and featuring testimony from Israeli NGOs backed by the NIF, which falsely accused Israel of perpetrating “war crimes” during its 2008-2009 incursion into Gaza. (Richard Goldstone, who chaired the UN’s “fact-finding mission” into the Gaza War and after whom the Report was named, repudiated the allegation in a highly publicized Washington Post op-ed in April 2011). The full significance of the organization’s denial is best understood in the context of Wikileaks’ release in 2010 of a confidential US government cable quoting Hedva Radanovitz, the NIF’s Associate Director in Israel, as expressing hope that “in 100 years Israel would be majority Arab and that the disappearance of a Jewish state would not be the tragedy that Israelis fear since it would become more democratic.”

 

The NIF’s decision likely had something to do with the fact that the Yisraela Goldblum Fund was created by Amiram Goldblum, the more radical leftist founder of Peace Now, who still runs the foundation named after his late wife Yisraela, herself a former senior official at the NIF.

 

Goldblum’s thoughts on Israel were restated as recently as this past May 5 at a Peace Now event: “Israel’s future regarding elections and demography has already been predetermined…in the bedroom of the settlers and the ultra-Orthodox.” Goldblum then called on the global left to counter the growing strength of Israel’s right by finding a way to impose its agenda on the country through foreign political entities.

 

Perhaps even the NIF realizes that this kind of racist, seditionist rhetoric precludes someone from commissioning an objective poll. In fact, it takes a special type of Israel-hater to disseminate such invective in ignorance of the forgoing.

 

Enter Gideon Levy. Not only did Ha’aretz’s resident anti-Zionist pen the article presenting the findings of the survey, Levy also wrote an accompanying opinion piece, Apartheid without shame or guilt. In his op-ed, he waxed hysterically: “We’re racists, the Israelis are saying, we practise apartheid and we even want to live in an apartheid state. Yes, this is Israel.”

 

In a moment of charitable wilfull blindness in his favour, one could attribute to Levy a desire to provide analytical commentary on what he deemed to be a reliable survey – if not for the fact that in May Levy wrote a column entitled, Israel is the most naive and racist country in the West. Now ask yourself whether Levy, like Goldblum, is qualified to critique objectively a study alleging Israeli racism, given that he already held the position that “Israel is the most naive and racist country in the West.”

 

As but one example of Levy’s bias extending even beyond the parameters of the poll, consider that in his op-ed he wrote: “The majority [of Israelis] doesn’t want Arabs to vote for the Knesset, Arab neighbours at home or Arab students at school. Let our camp be pure – as clean of Arabs as possible and perhaps even more so.” Yet, in fact, no plurality of respondents answered in the affirmative any of the questions connected to Levy’s assertions – not for banning Arabs from voting for parliament or for the implementation of segregation in apartment buildings and schools.

 

That the editors of Ha’aretz failed to definitively declare Levy’s patent conflict of interest perfectly encapsulates why the newspaper currently is on life-support. In this respect, this episode also reflects a shameless attempt by a gasping newspaper to grasp any straw-man to generate publicity and a few more subscriptions.

 

On the macro level, the survey is yet another example exposing the depths to which the Israeli left has sunk. First its failed policies were discredited; then it was abandoned by its base; and now it is self-destructing.

 

Charles Bybelezer, former Publications Editor for CIJR,  recently moved to Israel to begin working as a breaking news editor at The Jerusalem Post.

Wednesday’s “News in Review” Round-Up

 

Contents: Media-ocrity of the Week | Weekly Quotes |  Short Takes |  On Topic Links

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Media-ocrity of the Week

 

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is turning Israel into South Africa, opposition leader Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) said in his speech opening the Knesset’s winter session on Monday. “Stop trying to scare everyone and say we could turn into Greece or Spain,” Mofaz said. “I think you’re turning us into South Africa of last century.”  Mofaz did not specify whether he was calling Netanyahu’s policies apartheid-like or if he meant the prime minister is leading Israel to international isolation.

 

[A once leading Israeli politician provides ammunition to the forces of delegitimation, likening Israel to South Africa from the rostrum of the Knesset!! – Ed.] (Jerusalem Post, October 16, 2012)

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"Are you telling us that the day after the Benghazi attack you stood in the Rose Garden and called it an act of terror? Is that what you are saying? Let's get that on the record." —Mitt Romney to President Barak Obama in disbelief during the second presidential debates. (Newsday presidential debate transcript, October 17, 2012)

 

“And the suggestion that anybody in my team, whether the secretary of state, our U.N. ambassador, anybody on my team would play politics or mislead when we’ve lost four of our own, Governor, is offensive. That’s not what we do. That’s not what I do as president. That’s not what I do as commander in chief.” —President Barak Obama’s heated response to Mitt Romney who said that “the president the day after [the assassination of the United States ambassador] flies to Las Vegas for a political fundraiser, then the next day to Colorado for…another political event, I think these actions taken by a president and a leader have symbolic significance, and perhaps even material significance, in that you'd hoped that during that time we could call in the people who were actually eyewitnesses. We've read their accounts now about what happened. It was very clear this was not a demonstration. This was an attack by terrorists.” (Newsday presidential debate transcript, October 17, 2012)

 

"We weren't told they wanted more security there, we did not know they wanted more security again." —US Vice President Joe Biden during the vice-presidential debate (Oct. 12). "The vice president directly contradicted the sworn testimony of State Department officials. He's doubling down on denial." candidate for president, Mitt Romney in response. (Wall Street Journal, October 13, 2012)

 

“The Global Jihad is stepping up its efforts to target us, and we will continue to interdict it with aggression and might, in terms of both response and pre-emption,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the Israeli cabinet in Jerusalem on Sunday (Oct. 14) following increased Gaza rocket attacks from al-Qaeda linked terrorists against communities in southern Israel where two people were treated for shock. (Matzav, October 14, 2012)

 

“Iran has provided Hezbollah with the funds, training and advanced weapons to hijack the Lebanese state and turn it into an outpost of terror.” Israeli ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, in an address to the UN Security Council. “One does not need any further evidence that Hezbollah is a direct proxy of the Iranian Regime. Hezbollah’s continued provocations could have devastating consequences for the region.” In a clear reference to the European Union which refuses to list Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, he said: “…some countries around this table continue to define Hezbollah as a charitable and political group, not a terrorist organization. This is no less ridiculous than describing the Mafia as a gentlemen’s social club….It is time for all responsible nations to call Hezbollah exactly what it is: a global terrorist organization” (National Post, October 16, 2012)

 

"The Jews have…spread corruption on earth, spilled the blood of believers and in their actions profane holy places, including their own … [Badie called on Arabs to confront Israel] "…through Holy Jihad, high sacrifices and all forms of resistance. … Zionists only understand the language of force and will not relent without duress." — Muslim Brotherhood's Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie, in Egypt's Official Government-Owned Al Ahram Newspaper, October 11, 2012 (Simon Weisenthal Center, October 14, 2012)

 

“They have used violence, which now everyone has seen. They are worse than Mubarak.” —Alef el-Sayyed , 45, a liberal author and columnist who said Islamists had torn her shirt during a clash in Tahrir Square between opponents and supporters of Egypt’s president Mohammed Morsi.  Waleed Sayed, 22, returning to the square with his head bandaged and a bloody shirt in his hand, said an Islamist had hit him with a rock. “We did not do anything,” he said. “We were just protesting the situation in the country. We have no jobs. We have no money.” (New York Times, October 13, 2012)

 

“We were discussing a clause [proposed for the constitution] prohibiting forced labor and sex trafficking in women and children. I and some other members objected to this clause. We said that "trafficking in women" in the UN covenants refers to child marriage….Then they wanted to add an article protecting women from violence. With such a clause, you wouldn't be allowed to say anything to her, let alone touch her. And there were things worse still… If your wife claims that you were intimate with her without her consent, it will be considered rape according to the law. This is part of women's protection from violence. If you have full sexual relations with your wife against her will, she will be able to file a complaint against you. That's where things are headed.” Muhammad Saad Al-Azhari, a member of the Egyptian Constituent Assembly responsible for drafting the new Egyptian constitution, on an Egyptian TV talk show broadcast on Al-Nas TV, September 24, 2012. (Elder of Ziyon, MEMRI, September 24, 2012)

 

"The Nobel Peace Prize isn’t so much a peace prize as it is an appeasement prize. There is nothing that I can think of that would recommend giving this honor to a bunch of unelected bureaucrats sitting in Brussels. All too often, the EU’s foreign policy interventions have been marked by cowardice….[and] there is one policy dilemma that symbolizes the EU’s weakness better than any other: its refusal to designate the Lebanese Islamist organization Hezbollah as a terrorist group." —Ben Cohen commenting on the recent awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union. (Algemeiner, October 15, 2012)

 

“There was great mirth on Friday of the “at least the Nobel committee did not give the European Union the economics prize” variety. Except that the use of the Nobel Peace Prize as a morale boost for Eurocrats struggling to contain a currency crisis is no laughing matter. It diminishes the prestige of the prize – and the achievements of those who truly deserve it. Worse, the pretext offered, that the EU gave Europe peace, is an insult to the role of Canadians and Americans in ending centuries of European bloodshed….Want to trace the origins of European peace? Read Article 1 of the North Atlantic Treaty of 1949, which calls for members to settle international disputes “by peaceful means.” Article 2 committed members to maintain a “free” political system. This was backed up by military muscle…The year NATO should have been given the prize was 1991, when the West won the Cold War. Except that would have meant giving the Nobel Peace Prize to NATO militaries, with the U.S. military earning the biggest share in it, something the leftish Norwegian Nobel Committee could not countenance.” —Globe and Mail editorial. (Globe and Mail, October 13, 2012)

 

“This negligence [on the part of the United Nations concerning Bosnia] 20 years ago was explained by the international community being caught unprepared in dealing with the issues of the post-cold-war era,” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashing out at the UN’s inaction vis-à-vis Syria, in a sign of escalating frustration in Turkey after days of cross-border shelling with Syria. “Well, how can the injustice and weakness displayed in the Syrian issue be explained today?” (New York Times, October 14, 2012)

 

“Human Rights Watch found that the authorities in Gaza have a broken justice system,” Bill Van Esveld, author of a Human Rights Watch report about Hamas justice in Gaza. “They are putting people in prison without warrants, denying people access to their lawyers while in detention, cases of abuse in detention are not being investigated and some people have been executed on the basis of confessions that were extracted under torture.” Mr. Van Esveld says at least 100 Palestinians said they had been tortured in 2011, although he believes the number to be much higher as many are afraid to speak out. “We were in Cairo,” Mr. Van Esveld said “and urged members of the Muslim Brotherhood to use their influence on Hamas,” which is an outgrowth of the Muslim Brotherhood. (National Post, October 12, 2012) (Top of Page)

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ROMNEY LEADS NATIONALLY BY 4 IN GALLUP POLL (Columbus, Ohio)A new Gallup national poll has Romney up among likely voters by 50-46 percent. Gallup’s daily tracking poll out [Tuesday] was the latest evidence of the Romney surge that began after the first presidential debate two weeks ago, giving the Republican a 4-point margin over his rival. And Gallup found the president’s lead among women — one of his key voting blocks — eroding to 6 points. In 2008, Obama won the election with a commanding 14 percent margin among women. Among men who are likely voters, Gallup showed Obama trailing by 14 points. In Obama’s race against John McCain four years ago, they split the male vote. Even college grads seemed to be fleeing the president, with Romney leading 61-39 when likely voters were counted. In 2008, Obama won this group by a 2-point margin. (New York Post, October 17, 2012)

 

CANDY CROWLEY’S BENGHAZI LIFELINE TO OBAMA (Hempstead, New York)

[T]he moderator [Candy Crowley, CNN] of  [Tuesday’s] hotly contested presidential debate uttered an untruth about President Obama’s deadly bungling in Libya after Obama overtly asked her on live television to support his dishonest version of it. During the debate, GOP candidate Mitt Romney stated –correctly— that “it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.” After Romney’s statement, Obama interjected, “Get the transcript.” At that cue, Crowley cut off Romney, claiming that Obama had in fact called the attack an “act of terror” around the time it took place. “He did call it an act of terror,” [Crowley] said of the president.  Crowley also happens to be wrong.  In the White House’s Rose Garden on Sept. 12, Obama suggested that an anti-Islam video had provoked the attack. He then offered a throw-away line, making a general statement that “no acts of terror would shake the resolve of this great nation.” At no time did he say the events in Benghazi were instigated by terrorists. (Front Page Magazine, October 17, 2012)

 

NETANYAHU MOVES TO ADOPT ‘LEVY REPORT’ ON SETTLEMENTS (Jerusalem)

Israel Radio reported that Netanyahu was seeking to implement sections of the Levy Report, which recommends the legalization of unauthorized Jewish settlements in the West Bank and declares Israel’s presence in the territory legal under international law. In the report, Supreme Court justice Edmund Levy, former Israeli Ambassador to Canada Allan Baker, and retired justice Techiya Shapira wrote that ever since the 1917 Balfour Declaration, no sovereign state had formally annexed the West Bank territory and that, consequently, the Geneva Convention was not applicable. “A belligerent occupation is between two sovereigns,” Baker said. “We could not accept the definition that this is a classic occupation. That is the novelty of this report.” (Times of Israel, October 17, 2012)

 

FIGHTING ISRAEL HATERS WITH THE LAW (Netanya) Shurat HaDin's director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, Esq., speaks at Netanya Academic College, during a conference titled "Countering Assaults on Israel's Legitimacy." In her remarks, she discusses the battle Shurat Hadin is waging against delegitimation and Arab lawfare against Israel.  To view the video click here: Shurat Hadin. (Israel Video Network, October 16  , 2012)

 

IAF KILLS TOP GAZA AL-QAEDA LEADER(Tel Aviv) Israel Air Force planes targeted a terrorist cell in the southern Gaza Strip that was preparing to launch a rocket into Israel, the Israel Defense Forces said. Two Gaza terrorists killed by Israel on Saturday (Oct. 13) were the most senior al-Qaeda affiliates in the Palestinian enclave, and one had links to jihadi networks in Egypt, Jordan and Iraq, (Matzav, October 14, 2012)

 

GAZANS FIRE FIRST ANTI-AIRCRAFT MISSILE AT IAF —(Gaza)Gaza terrorists fired shoulder-mounted anti-aircraft missiles last week at Israeli aircraft, according to Yediot Aharonot. The missiles missed and no injuries or damage were reported. Sources said the missiles were probably the Strela-2/SA7, a Soviet-era shoulder mounted missile. This is the first time these missiles were used by Gaza terrorists, although there have been reports that Gaza groups had them for years. (Elder of Ziyon, October 17, 2012)

 

VIDEO SHOWS PALESTINIANS CUTTING DOWN OLIVE TREES(Shomron)A video entitled “Harvesting Incitement” released by the Shomron Regional Council on YouTube purports to show Palestinians and left-wing activists cutting down olive trees in a tactic meant to frame West Bank settlers as the perpetrators according to an unnamed witness in the video. “They cut down these trees to start a fire in the media or in their ovens. It’s suspicious because it comes close to the Jewish settlements.” the witness says. In all more than 450 trees were vandalized last week as the harvest began. This is not the first time that Palestinians have been accused of framing settlers. In 2010, Israeli news service Tazpit claimed to have documented the destruction of trees in an effort to accuse settlers. (Algemeiner, October 15, 2012)

 

NOBEL GIVES PEACE PRIZE TO CRISIS-RIDDEN EU(Oslo, Norway) Norway's Nobel Committee handed its 2012 Peace Prize to the European Union, even as the bloc faces its most serious crisis since it emerged from the ruins of two world wars, an award that served as both endorsement and warning. The committee, whose decision Europeans both celebrated and mocked, said the prize recognized more than six decades during which the conflict-ridden continent pulled together and became a harbinger of "peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights" at home and beyond. (Wall Street Journal, October 12, 2012)

 

EUROPEAN SATELLITE PROVIDER CUTS OFF IRANIAN TV (Paris)A top European satellite provider took 19 Iranian television and radio broadcasters off the air as a result of European Union sanctions aimed at punishing human rights abusers. Satellite provider Eutelsat agreed with media services company Arqiva to block the Irib channels as of Monday morning [Oct 15] because of "reinforced EU council sanctions" Eutelsat spokeswoman Vanessa O'Connor said. Critics have long argued that Iran’s state-run Press TV and the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (Irib) are plagued by hatred of the West and contain anti-Semitic broadcasts denigrating Israel, Jews and Zionists. (Jerusalem Post, Honest Reporting, October 15, 2012)

 

AT BAR ILAN, 100 YIDDISH STUDENTS ARE – ARAB! (Tel Aviv) About a quarter of the 400 students studying Yiddish at Bar Ilan University are Arabs, says Ber Kotlerman, academic director of Bar Ilan’s Center for Yiddish Studies. According to Kotlerman, some of the Israeli Arabs are searching for a way to connect to the Jewish culture with which they must cope, and it is not easy for them. “Even Jews in the Diaspora search for this — a way to connect to the local culture — and it is wonderful that Yiddish can be a sort of ambassador, a bridge between nations and cultures,” he says. (Al Monitor, October 15, 2012)

THE HIDDEN HORROR OF ‘THE SCREAM’ (New York) Already under fire by heirs who claim their art was stolen during the Nazi era, the Museum of Modern Art plans to display what one man claims is another painting with a shady Nazi past — “The Scream.” MoMA will unveil an exhibit of the Edvard Munch masterpiece next week. But relatives of German-Jewish banker Hugo Simon, who owned the work in the 1920s and ’30s, came forward before a Sotheby’s auction this spring to contest its sale, and they say it’s wrong for the museum to display it without at least explaining its tragic history. Rafael Cardoso, a Brazilian curator and Simon’s great-grandson, says his forbear had to sell the treasure when he was declared an enemy of the state and driven from Germany after the Nazis came to power in 1933. The Nazis deemed it “degenerate” art and would have sold or destroyed it. (New York Post, October 14, 2012) (Top of Page)

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A Presidency Squandered  :Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, October 16, 2012

The Obama narrative is that he inherited the worst mess in memory and has been stymied ever since by a partisan Congress — while everything from new ATM technology to the Japanese tsunami conspired against him. But how true are those claims?

 

How Will History Remember Obama’s ‘Cairo Speech’? : Mary Grabar, Front Page Magazine, October 16, 2012

Obama felt his words would heal the wounds inflicted by the United States before his tenure and therefore titled his speech “A New Beginning.”  By falsifying history, he built up the Middle East and Islam, while he disparaged the United States, the West, and, of course, President George W. Bush. 

 

Syrian refugees flocking to Turkey push the limit : Linda Gradstein, Jerusalem Post, October 17, 2012

For weeks now, the Ankara government has been saying that the number of 100,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey was a “psychological limit” – the point at which the border crossings would be closed.

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L’ÉCHEC DE L’OCCIDENT DANS LA CONFRONTATION AVEC LES « FOUS D’ALLAH » : LE DÉCLIN DES USA

 

 

 

L’ÉCHEC DE L’OCCIDENT DANS

LA CONFRONTATION AVEC LES « FOUS D’ALLAH »
Freddy Eytan
le CAPE de Jérusalem,13 septembre 2012

 

Depuis les attentats spectaculaires du 11 septembre 2001 contre l’Amérique, le combat inlassable contre le terrorisme n’a pas cessé un seul jour, mais il a fallu plus de dix ans à la CIA pour réussir à tuer le chef commanditaire, le tristement célèbre Oussama Ben Laden.

En dépit du combat tous azimuts contre l’Axe du Mal, les islamistes de tous bords, chiites et sunnites, continuent sans crainte à dicter leur loi fanatique et à propager le culte de la mort. Ces groupes extrémistes tels qu’al Qaïda rêvent d’instaurer un sinistre objectif, à savoir un califat de l’Indonésie au Nigéria dont le centre serait al Qouds…

 

Ces « fous d’Allah » se permettent de  ravager, d’incendier et tuer tous les objectifs infidèles. Ces barbares ont franchi toutes les lignes rouges, couleur sang! Désormais, les ambassades, lieux sanctuaires des diplomates ne sont plus protégés, les lois internationales sont bafouées; les drapeaux des pays occidentaux dont celui de l’étoile de David sont piétinés et brûlés avec une haine féroce et devant des foules en délire.

 

 Après une longue décennie de confrontation nous constatons que les résultats sont néfastes. L’Occident a échoué dans sa politique et cet échec est cuisant sur tous les plans et dans tous les domaines. La peur d’affronter directement les « fous d’Allah » dépasse l’entendement. Des reportages éloquents diffusés ces jours-ci à la télévision israélienne prouvent que la crainte est criante. La perplexité sera toujours à double tranchant. Culpabilisée par la colonisation en Europe ou complexé par le racisme noir en Amérique, les deux continents hésitent à agir sans merci  pour des raisons également  mercantiles, par manque de leadership et surtout d’audace.

 

Le « Printemps arabe » transformé en révolte islamiste à la chaîne et les massacres quotidiens en Syrie, ont délaissé l’administration Obama perplexe, voire indifférente. Par manque de vision, par sous estimation du monde islamique et par l’absence de renseignements fiables, les Occidentaux et en particulier les  Américains ont laissé des fidèles  alliés et toute influence dans les Etats devenus islamistes. Plus grave encore, ils risquent ainsi de légitimer indirectement les « représailles »  des « fous d’Allah » contre la moindre  tentative d’éclairer les esprits et d’apporter des aspects et des versions différentes de l’Islam. Hier le déchainement était contre Salman Rushdie pour la publication de son roman « les versets sataniques », puis contre des caricatures du prophète Mahomet publiées dans la presse et notamment à la une de Charlie Hebdo, et récemment contre la diffusion d’un film insultant sur la vie du prophète.  

 

Certes, nous condamnons vigoureusement la provocation et nous devrions respecter toutes les religions, mais il est inadmissible que des extrémistes nous dictent leur loi en imposant un agenda  obscur et en nous empoisonnant la vie quotidiennement! Les barbares devraient savoir qu’en Occident et dans toutes les démocraties, les règles sont différentes et les hors la loi sont jetés en prison. La liberté d’expression est chez nous sacrée contrairement à ceux qui la qualifient de sacrilège!

 

En pleine campagne électorale, et au risque de perdre des voix, le président Obama a réagi timidement et sans vigueur après l’attaque contre le consulat américain à Benghazi. Il ne s’agit pas simplement de condamner, de renforcer les effectifs  et de promettre que justice sera faite. Les terroristes islamistes comprennent un autre langage. Rappelons qu’en juin 1982, Menahem Begin avait lancé son opération militaire contre l’OLP au Liban au lendemain de l’attentat contre notre ambassadeur à Londres Shlomo Argov. Et que le président Ronald Reagan n’a pas hésité en avril 1986 d’expédier 45 avions de chasse et larguer plus des bombes sur des casernes, camps militaires et aérodromes en Libye en apprenant que Kadhafi était responsable de l’attentat d’une discothèque fréquentée par des militaires américains à Berlin-Ouest. Ce fut une autre période où les terroristes tremblaient et n’osaient sortir de leurs trous. On respectait la force des Américains et la dissuasion l’emportait tout naturellement.

 

Aujourd’hui nous vivons dans un monde où les voyous dictent leur lois et les shérifs tremblent avant de tirer sur la gâchette. Comment ne pas traiter de casus belli l’assassinat de l’ambassadeur et trois autres diplomates américains, ainsi que la mise à sac et à feu du consulat à Benghazi? La défaillance des services américains n’est-elle pas flagrante? Les autorités libyennes ne sont-elles pas responsables du fiasco sécuritaire dans un pays toujours plongé dans le chaos total?  Décidément, l’Amérique  est méconnaissable et s’est bien affaiblie durant ces dernières  décennies, en fait, depuis l’époque de l’administration Carter, lors de la prise d’otages des diplomates à l’ambassade des Etats-Unis à Téhéran par les ayatollahs et en connivence avec l’OLP d’Arafat. Le prestige et l’influence des pionniers du Far-West se trouvent hélas en déclin.

 

Pour l’Etat juif qui demeure le plus fidèle des alliés cela est grave et très inquiétant. Devant la menace la plus dangereuse du siècle, celle de la bombe atomique des ayatollahs, nous devons rapidement en tirer des leçons.

 

USA/ DÉCLIN ET DESTIN
Michel Gurfinkiel
Valeurs Actuelles, 30 août 2012

 

L’Amérique a beau être la plus jeune des grandes puissances – trois cent quatre-vingt douze ans en prenant la traversée de la Mayflower, en 1620, comme point de départ, deux cent trente-six ans en ne retenant que la Déclaration d’Indépendance, en 1776 -, elle est hantée par l’idée du déclin. Sans doute en raison d’un abus de lectures bibliques. L’Ancien Testament, en effet, ne cesse de mettre en garde les heureux de ce monde : s’ils trahissent l’Alliance, leur chute sera à la mesure de leur ascension.
 
Jusqu’à présent, l’Amérique a toujours surmonté ses épreuves. Et déjoué ses rivaux. La Russie lui avait infligé en 1957 le « choc du spoutnik »  mais en 1969, douze ans plus tard, c’est la mission Apollo qui se pose sur la Lune. Après le Vietnam, la stagflation, les années Carter : l’ère Reagan. La guerre froide ? Au bout de quatre décennies, elle la gagne. Le défi asiatique (« confucéen ») des années 1980 : effacé par la contre-attaque de la Silicon Valley dans les années 1990. Les attentats hyperterroristes du 11 septembre 2001 : vengés par des guerres éclair en Afghanistan et en Irak. Les enlisements dans ces deux pays, au milieu des années 2000 : corrigés par la stratégie du « Surge » et le recours aux drones.
 
Mais depuis 2008, le doute s’installe. Pour faire face à une crise financière subite, les Américains élisent pour la première fois un président noir, le démocrate Barack Obama. Il est jeune, élégant, éloquent : on veut voir en lui la synthèse de Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy et Martin Luther King. Las, il échoue. L’économie ne repart part, l’emploi s’effondre, la dette publique triple. Ses réformes sociales ne convainquent pas. Sa politique étrangère est minée par d’étranges contradictions : activisme militaire et passivité diplomatique ou géopolitique, maintien des priorités de l’ère Bush et main tendue aux ennemis, notamment dans le monde islamique. L’un dans l’autre, quatre « années perdues ».
 
Comment interpréter cette situation ? Effet mécanique des idées fausses ou approximatives que professe l’administration actuelle ? C’est ce qu’affirment officiellement les républicains. Ainsi que leur candidat, Mitt Romney, qui joue la carte des idées « vraies » et « claires » en choisissant pour colistier le congressman (député fédéral) Paul Ryan, théoricien et même « théologien » du conservatisme économique et stratégique.
 
De nombreux auteurs étayent cette analyse. Les plus radicaux : Aaron Klein et Brenda Elliot. Leurs ouvrages – The Manchurian President, Red Army (« Le président-robot », « L’Armée rouge américaine ») – figurent en permanence sur la liste des best-sellers du New York Times. Selon eux, Obama a été mis en orbite par des réseaux crypto-communistes infiltrés au sein du parti démocrate. Il aurait tenté de mettre en place une politique quasi-marxiste dès 2009. L’échec de son parti aux élections de mi-novembre, en 2010, l’aurait contraint à une politique plus modérée, en vue d’une réélection  en 2012 qui lui permettrait de reprendre son programme initial. C’est le scénario exposé dans Fool Me Twice (« Moque toi une seconde fois de moi »), le tout dernier livre du tandem, qui vient de paraître.
 
Hugh Hewitt, dans The Brief against Obama (« Le Dossier contre Obama »), met en cause la médiocrité personnelle du président actuel, personnage « sous-dimensionné » par rapport aux exigences du moment : « Obama disait en 2008 : Yes we can ! (Oui nous le pouvons). C’est triste à dire, mais non, il ne pouvait pas. »  Le réquisitoire est précis, minutieux, implacable. Et plein d’humour.
 
Quant à James Mann, passé du Los Angeles Times à l’Ecole des Relations internationales de l’université Johns Hopkins, il s’en tient dans The Obamians (« Les Obamiens ») à une analyse plus classique. D’après lui, les contradictions et les échecs de l’administration Obama tiennent à son caractère composite. Il y aurait, d’une part, les proches d’Obama, issus de l’extrême-gauche démocrate, et d’autre part les caciques du parti, de sensibilité centriste, ralliés à lui par opportunisme. Après avoir suivi les premiers, avec des résultats négatifs, Obama aurait finu par se rapprocher des derniers – et de leur tête de file Hillary Clinton – depuis 2010.
 
Mais certains républicains pensent qu’Obama et son administration ont tellement aggravé la crise américaine qu’un simple retour à l’orthodoxie conservatrice en 2013 ne suffirait pas. Et un autre secteur de l’opinion américaine, républicains et démocrates confondus, ose poser la question d’un déclin structurel – indépendamment de ce qu’Obama fait ou ne fait pas.
 
Cette question est double : le succès d’une nation tient-il à des facteurs objectifs et quantifiables (la situation géographique, la masse critique humaine, la technologie) ou à des facteurs subjectifs et inquantifiables (la culture, les valeurs, l’identité) ?
 
Et d’autre part, si l’on souscrit au second point plutôt qu’au premier, l’Amérique des années 2010 est-elle encore l’Amérique ? Ou bien, dans une proportion croissante, un autre peuple ?
 
Au pays du Premier Amendement, cet addendum à la constitution qui prescrit une liberté totale d’opinion et d’expression, de telles questions sont aujourd’hui quasiment taboues. Victor Davis Hanson, professeur de lettres classiques et historien militaire, est l’un des rares intellectuels conservateurs ayant à la fois le courage et le talent de les poser. Dans Mexifornia, paru en 2003, il s’interrogeait par exemple sur la reconquête démographique de l’Ouest américain par le Mexique.
 
Le fait est que si Obama a été élu par une nette majorité d’Américains en 2008. Mais aussi que sa majorité était plus nette dans certaines communautés que d’autres. Il obtenait 95 % des suffrages au sein de la communauté noire (ce qui se comprend de soi-même). Mais il l’emportait également chez les Hispaniques (66 %), les Asiatiques (63 %), les Amérindiens (58 %). Les communautés hindoue et sikhe avaient voté démocrate à plus de 60 %. Chez les Américains originaires du Moyen-Orient islamique, il l’avait emporté à 60 %. On a pu parler d’un vote « non-blanc » massif en sa faveur. Chez les Blancs, il n’y a guère eu que les juifs non-orthodoxes pour le soutenir de la même façon.
 
Ces pesanteurs décideront peut-être également du scrutin présidentiel de 2012. De même qu’elles pèsent de plus en plus lourd dans les scrutins européens, notamment en France. Derrière la crise tout court, la crise d’identité.

 

COMBIEN DE JUIFS AMÉRICAINS SONT-ILS PRÊTS

À "POUSSER ISRAËL SOUS LES ROUES DE L’AUTOBUS" ?
Guy Millière
dreuz.info, 9 septembre 2012

 

Deux mois de campagne vont encore s’écouler avant le 6 novembre, date à laquelle on saura si Barack Obama sera réélu, ou si Mitt Romney le remplacera. Pour l’heure, après les conventions Républicaine et Démocrate, les sondages indiquent une élection très serrée. La décision finale se jouera dans une poignée d’Etats, parmi lesquels l’Ohio, la Virginie, le Colorado et la Floride.
 
Il peut paraître surprenant que le scrutin s’annonce si étroit entre les deux candidats, si l’on regarde les données économiques et sociales. Celles-ci consacrent en effet l’échec écrasant de la présidence Obama.
 
On peut être surpris, en outre, par le décalage entre certains chiffres, qui indiquent d’un côté un net pessimisme de la population américaine et la certitude majoritaire au sein de celle-ci, que le pays va dans la mauvaise direction (pourquoi persister si la direction est mauvaise ?), et qui indiquent, en parallèle, une bonne cote de popularité personnelle de Barack Obama. Comme si l’homme était perçu comme sympathique tandis que sa politique est rejetée.
 
Les explications que l’on peut donner à cette dichotomie tiennent au fait que nombre de gens ne s’informent pas, ou très peu, et votent en fonction de la tête du candidat et de ce qu’il semble être : Obama s’est placé en position de symbole d’une Amérique post-raciale, ce qui constitue un atout immense parlant en sa faveur.
 
De plus, les grands media américains sont très largement aux mains de la gauche, et, comme en 2008, ne jouent plus leur rôle d’informateurs et se transforment en propagandistes au service de la campagne du président-candidat.
 
Enfin, l’une des explications découle de ce que Barack Obama s’est constitué des clientèles électorales.
 
D’une part, on trouve les Américains qui vivent de l’assistance sociale et qui sont incités à voter pour qui reconduit une telle aide. Il faut dire que le nombre de pauvres a littéralement explosé sous Obama, tout comme le nombre de personnes placées en invalidité permanente sous des prétextes spécieux. Le nombre de bénéficiaires de bons d’alimentation (food stamps) a augmenté de plus de trente pour cent, passant de trente-deux millions de personnes à plus de quarante-sept millions aujourd’hui.
 
D’autre part, il y a les minorités. Obama recevra massivement les bulletins des Afro-Américains, appartenant lui-même à cette communauté. Il récoltera aussi les votes de plus de soixante pour cent des Hispaniques, se présentant comme celui qui régularisera la situation des immigrants clandestins.
 
Barack Obama recevra aussi, sans doute, une majorité nette du vote de la communauté juive américaine. Là, l’explication est bien plus difficile à apporter.
 
J’ai consacré des articles dans ces colonnes à ce sujet. Norman Podhoretz, dans son livre « Why Jews Are Liberal? »(Pourquoi les Juifs sont-ils libéraux ?) (éditions Doubleday, 352p., 2009, 27$), explique que nombre d’Israélites américains ont changé d’allégeance et sont désormais bien moins juifs que membres d’une gauche qui se veut « progressiste », et qui accorde plus d’importance à l’avortement tardif et au mariage gay qu’à l’avenir d’Israël. Il n’en reste pas moins qu’il existe là une anomalie consternante ; cette année, davantage que lors des présidentielles précédentes.
 
De fait, Barack Obama représente sans aucun doute le président des Etats-Unis le plus anti-israélien depuis 1948. Nul besoin d’énoncer à nouveau les raisons illustrant ce propos. Je les ai déjà évoquées à plusieurs reprises, en détail, notamment dans mon dernier livre, « Le désastre Obama » (éditions Tatamis, 200p., 2012, 15€).
 
De fait, aussi, le parti Démocrate, dans son ensemble, se trouve entraîné dans une dérive gauchiste par le président américain, et s’avère désormais nettement anti-israélien.
 
Si des preuves supplémentaires devaient être apportées à cette mutation, elles l’ont été lors de la convention Démocrate de Charlotte.
 
Premier élément. La plate-forme du parti Démocrate ne mentionne plus, à la différence de ce qui était en vigueur en 2008, les dangers terroristes auxquels Israël est confronté – ce qui est logique, puisque, lors des réunions du Global Counter-terrorism Forum (Forum Mondial Anti-terroriste), cénacle créé par l’administration Obama pour lutter contre le terrorisme à l’échelle planétaire, Israël a été exclu des débats et jamais cité.
 
Le programme ne mentionne plus non plus le fait que le retour des « réfugiés palestiniens » se ferait dans un futur Etat palestinien, position qui était déjà très minimaliste, et laisse ouverte la possibilité d’un droit au retour comprenant le territoire israélien, qui est celui demandé par l’Autorité Palestinienne.
 
Elle n’avançait plus que Jérusalem devait être reconnue comme la capitale d’Israël, jusqu’à ce qu’advienne une improvisation très significative. Discernant que l’omission du nom de Jérusalem, ainsi que celle de Dieu, au sein de la plate-forme, faisait scandale. Aussi, mercredi après-midi, Antonio Villaraigosa, co-président du Democratic National Committee (Comité Démocratique National), a fait voter par acclamations la réintroduction du mot « Jérusalem » dans le texte. Le moins qu’on puisse dire est que ces acclamations ont été houleuses et ont montré une forte hostilité à l’encontre d’Israël dans la salle.
 
Deuxième élément. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, co-présidente du Democratic National Committee, a déclaré, lors d’une interview, que les positions des Républicains concernant Israël, favorables à une reconnaissance de Jérusalem comme capitale, et soutenant le gouvernement israélien dans la crise présente face à l’Iran, étaient désavouées par le gouvernement hébreu.
 
L’ambassadeur d’Israël aux Etats Unis, Michael Oren, a aussitôt démenti. Debbie Wasserman Schultz a alors rétorqué que le journaliste l’avait citée faussement ; à la suite de quoi, ledit journaliste a aussitôt diffusé l’enregistrement de l’interview. Qu’une responsable importante du parti Démocrate se comporte ainsi vis-à-vis d’Israël et procède à un double mensonge est assurément inquiétant.

 

 

ARAB “SPRING” UPDATE: MOROCCO, TUNISIA, LIBYA, YEMEN

 

Tunisia's Culture War: Salafists Run Amok
October of last year, Tunisia held national elections for a '
constituent assembly' – a legislative body mandated to
re-write the Tunisian constitution for the post-Ben Ali era.

Is the Much Celebrated Arab Spring Coming To An End?
The rising Islamist tide may recede sooner than expected
in the Arab world — if recent events in Morocco are any guide.

 
Echoes of Iraq: Yemen’s War Against  al-Qaeda Takes a Familiar Turn

Even amid the escalating suicide-bomb campaign across Yemen, the attack
on a wake in Jaar in southern Yemen’s Abyan province was particularly
grisly and premeditated…

On Topic Links
_________________________________________________________________________

TUNISIA'S CULTURE WAR: SALAFISTS RUN AMOK

Rob Prince
Foreign Policy in Focus, July 25, 2012

 
October of last year, Tunisia held national elections for a 'constituent assembly' – a legislative body mandated to re-write the Tunisian constitution for the post-Ben Ali era. The Ennahda (Renaissance) Party, an Islamic Party cruelly and unfairly repressed for decades under the Ben Ali regime, gained 41% of the vote, the largest percentage of any political party participating.
 
While it claims to be in a coalition with two more secular parties – a fact which is technically accurate but politically empty – despite appearances to the contrary, Ennahda wields the power behind the scenes in the country, in a manner which is virtually undisputed. If the recent Ennahda congress, which drew 30,000 attendees, is an accurate measure, all indications are that, despite opposition, it will tighten its grip in the period ahead.
 
The other two political parties involved in the ruling coalition exist more on paper than in fact; unlike Ennahda that has a nationwide organization and its eyes and ears everywhere, the other two are essentially Tunis- (and a few other metropolitan areas) based. There is organized opposition to some of Ennahda's policies, especially its economic policies by the trade union federation, but apart from that and a few disparate elements, the opposition is weak, disorganized and with little influence. Ennahda runs the show.…
 
Despite rhetoric to the contrary and fine words about the Tunisia's Arab Spring, since October, the political atmosphere in the country has shifted markedly to the right as a new and hitherto marginal element in Tunisian society has raised what I can only describe as its ugly head: radical Islamic fundamentalism, or as it is also known, Salafism.
 
Salafism's base in Tunisian society in the past has been narrow to naught. That it should emerge with such force and unchecked violence is the result of a number of factors: the sufferings of Islamists in Ben Ali's prisons whose anger has been easily manipulated; some Tunisians trained by fundamentalist militants in Afghanistan and Iraq; some spill over from Libya; U.S. acquiescence.
 
More importantly though, Tunisian Salafism has been fueled by Saudi and Qatari funding and Ennahda tolerance for and defense of their actions. A great deal of money has been pouring into Tunisia, both formally (loans to the government) and informally through the mosques….The strings attached to Saudi and Qatari aid include opening up Tunisia's political space to Salafist elements to grow if not thrive uninhibited by any legal niceties.
 
And as both Saudi Arabia and Qatar are close and strategic allies to the United States, one can surmise that at the very least, the Obama Administration is aware of the Saudi-Qatari role and has either turned a blind eye to it, or more likely, has encouraged these developments.…It appears as long as the current Tunisian government adheres to U.S. neo-liberal economic guidelines – which it does – and generally supports regional security interests, which it has proven faithful to concerning current U.S. policy towards Libya and Syria, it is more than likely that the Obama Administration and any that might follow – minus a few weak protests – will turn a blind eye from the current Tunisian Islamist religious offensive.…
 
Ennahda, which fashions itself internationally as 'a moderate Islamic party' bares much responsibility for this current Salafist surge. They have failed to rein them in, something which would have been easy to do earlier on. Nor do they seem to want to. Their defense of Salafism is hollow and disingenuous, empty as an Egyptian Salafist imam's advice on satellite television. Ennahda speaks of defending Salafist free speech rights and thus says nothing about the repeated anti-Jewish slander (that has included calls of killing, removing Jews from the country). It claims TO be caught in the middle between Salafist excesses and 'secular fundamentalism'.
 
…[B]y focusing on cultural questions – what makes or doesn't make a good Muslim – rather than what makes or doesn't make a good citizen, Ennahda has shifted the national discussion away from Tunisia's economic crisis which has only worsened since Ben Ali departed the country so unceremoniously. Low wages, high unemployment levels, especially among the country's educated youth, combined with a regime with a reputation for rampant corruption, were among the key factors triggering the Tunisian Revolt.…
 
Although  Salafists now claim that the Arab Spring was a call to institute Shari'a, nowhere in the Arab World, certainly not in Tunisia, were these elements out on the streets, risking life and limb to overthrow the Ben Alis and Mubaraks of the Arab World. But in the aftermath of the historic events, with a little help from their Saudi and Qatari friends, Salafists have become quite active. There seems to be a division of labor between Ennahda and the Tunisian Salafists. Ennahda controls the levers of political power.

The Salafists have targeted the mosques, the media and the educational system for their special attention. If Ennahdha formally renounces basing the new Tunisian constitution on  Shari'a law, the Salafists informally and actively work with such a goal in mind, and they are not shy about admitting it. Far from it.
 
In Tunisia, Salafist rallies regularly include attacks against secularists, Islamic moderates and Jews; calls for shari'a law; and, where possible,  hoisting of the black banner of Salafist Islam to replace the Tunisian national flag. They have also desecrated Christian churches in Tunis. Their actions have long ago surpassed simply violent and bigoted speech.

It has included trashing media outlets, threatening journalists and cultural people, trying to 'take over' universities, attacking trade union offices, threatening women who refuse to be pressured to dress as the Salafists demand, burning down bars and liquor stores. It is not only an attack on diversity, on the place for the more secular elements within Tunisian society, it is also an offensive against the more moderate forms of Islam that have existed in the country for centuries.
 
None of this has been prosecuted by the Ennahda-dominated Tunisian government. The list goes on. Tunisia's Salafists have become nothing short of the brown shirts of the Tunisian Arab Spring, and their actions and strategies parallel similar Salafist campaigns in Egypt, Yemen, Libya and Syria. Their role is clear: reshape the country's tolerant cultural map with an increasingly narrow vision of an Islamic society; to freeze the Arab Spring social revolution dead in its tracks, to reverse the progress demanded by millions throughout the Arab world for social and economic justice.…(Top)
 

IS THE MUCH CELEBRATED ARAB SPRING COMING TO AN END?

Richard Miniter
Forbes, July 19, 2012

 

The rising Islamist tide may recede sooner than expected in the Arab world — if recent events in Morocco are any guide.

Six months after a surprising win in that North African country’s first elections under its new constitution, the Islamist Party of Justice and Development (known as PJD) is in trouble with voters. Urban and rising middle-class Moroccans—the core of the PJD’s support—are questioning whether the ruling party can create jobs. These voters supported the more secular Socialist and Liberal parties in the 2007 elections, switched to the Islamists in 2011, and now seem to be returning home. Meanwhile, the PJD’s cultural policies have emboldened rival parties, business leaders and activists. Now they are fighting back and the Islamists are falling in public opinion polls.

Most Middle East analysts make two fundamental errors: They have a static perspective that simply extends the present into the future in a straight line, and they tend to focus on Egypt, where one-quarter of the Arab League lives, while ignoring the North African and Gulf states where important changes are underway.

The Muslim Brotherhood has been a strong force [in Egypt] since the end of colonial rule in the 1940s….This institutional force allows it to mobilize voters and win elections. The Brotherhood’s powerful and well-oiled political machine in Egypt lacks counterparts in many other Arab nations.

Elections can sweep Islamists to power, but they can also sweep them out when they fail to perform. This is precisely what happened in Iraq, when Mocter al-Sadr’s radical party failed to deliver on its promises when it controlled the Health and Education ministries. The party continued in the ruling coalition but its ministers were removed from governing in these vital areas, lest the coalition suffer a defeat in the next election cycle.

Now we are seeing both phenomena in Morocco. Arab Spring came there in February 2011, with massive but largely peaceful demonstrations. In a July 2011 referendum, a new Moroccan constitution established a constitutional monarchy, akin to that of Sweden or Great Britain. That constitution provided for an elected prime minister to lead the government and all ministries, while the king maintained his status as the country’s highest religious authority and commander of the armed forces.

Following the November 2011 elections, a new PJD-led government took power in January, ruling in a coalition based on a 27% parliamentary plurality. Both the king and the new Islamist government were tested by a skeptical public that watched to see whether the king would actually share power (he did) and whether the Islamists would govern as centrists as they promised (they haven’t yet).

Today the king of Morocco is more popular than ever. And the Islamists much less so. Even fringe Islamist elements, left out of the government, who have challenged the monarchy for decades have now altered their rhetoric. They have stopped campaigning against the king’s role as the nation’s religious authority and taken instead to criticizing the ruling Islamist PJD for its handling of domestic social issues.

While the system has gained credibility for empowering voters and been a quiet triumph for Arab democracy…the ruling PJD appears to have lost some credibility due to their poor performance on the economy.

Part of the reason may be the understandably high expectations of voters: unlike in Tunisia and Egypt, where Islamist movements were banned from the political process, in Morocco the monarchy has actively encouraged their participation over the past two decades. Moroccans felt that the PJD’s experience in political opposition would allow it to hit the ground running when governing as a majority bloc.

This optimistic view has faded. Even defenders of the Islamist government now admit that the PJD still hasn’t made the transition from a platitude-driven opposition party to a ruling party capable of making economic reforms.

Amid a global economic crisis and grave security concerns arising from Libya and other nations ringing the Sahara, elements of the PJD have focused on minor social issues that animate only their hard-core supporters, such as whether to allow the sale or consumption of alcohol, or which Moroccans should be described as “Zionists.” At times, moreover, PJD activism on these fronts appears to have taken precedence over the fostering of democratic freedoms, economic development, and anti-corruption measures—the items that won them the election just seven months ago.
 
Democratic freedoms were not advanced when some PJD members of parliament called for the censoring of 2M, the popular Moroccan television network, for broadcasting a documentary about Moroccan Jews emigrating to Israel. (The bigger and more worrying question—why does one of the Arab World’s oldest Jewish populations feel it must flee?) Islamist officials claimed that the network was “Zionist” for airing the program. Liberals responded that airing a historical documentary about Moroccan Jews was a legitimate choice and in keeping with Morocco’s tradition of tolerance toward Jews.
 
Indeed, King Muhammad V, the present king’s grandfather, memorably protected the Jewish population from the pro-Nazi Vichy government during World War II, and both his son and grandson have worked hard to support peace initiatives between Israelis and Palestinians. The PJD attack on the network backfired. The press and the public rallied to the network’s side. Suddenly the PJD was on the defensive.…
 
Meanwhile, the PJD-led government has not yet advanced a coherent strategy to fight corruption in Morocco. Much of the talk about corruption has been accusations of corrupt behavior leveled against particular political figures, who are coincidentally political rivals of the PJD. In a few cases, these accusations were retracted by the PJD after they proved unable to substantiate them.…
 
Before the Islamist government, some agencies were created to fight bribery and promote fair competitive practices — but they were not granted the legal mandate needed. That was supposed to be left to a new elected government. Many Moroccans hoped that the PJD would give these institutions the “teeth” they require, but so far nothing has happened. The Islamists seem uninterested in what was the biggest applause line of Arab Spring demonstrations this past year. Now their inaction is costing them precious political support.…
 
Among political parties, as well, factionalism is out of vogue and coalition building is in. For decades, Morocco’s liberal, socialist, and secular parties have been splintered — divided by personal differences in a low-stakes parliamentary game that only alienated voters. Today, a confluence of political streams are flowing together to form a pact to challenge the PJD with a no-confidence vote in parliament.…
 
…[T]he patience of the public is wearing thin. Every day, the Islamists have new opportunities to advance strategically shrewd policies to redress the country’s social and economic problems. So far, the party has passed up these opportunities and squandered time on 7th century priorities.
 
But the people have not passed up these opportunities. Fighting the Islamists seems to have galvanized large sections of Moroccan society and invigorated that nation’s nascent democracy. The Islamists—in  Morocco and across the Arab world—may be finding out that the Arab appetite for reform and economic growth is large, but the demand for theocratic restrictions much less so. Arabs want their own Switzerland, not their own Iran.…(Top)
 

ECHOES OF IRAQ: YEMEN’S WAR AGAINST  AL-QAEDA TAKES A FAMILIAR TURN

Casey Coombs
Time World, August 10, 2012

 

Even amid the escalating suicide-bomb campaign across Yemen, the attack on a wake in Jaar in southern Yemen’s Abyan province was particularly grisly and premeditated, designed to inflict maximum damage. It took place on Aug. 4, at around 11 p.m., as some 150 neighbors and relatives gathered outside the home of local tribal sheik Abdulatif Sayed following the funeral of his close relative.

While they were grieving, a young al-Qaeda recruit from Jaar infiltrated the crowd, resting on a cooler he had brought with him. Then, according to several survivors, he detonated his suicide vest, and that blast ignited the cooler, which was packed with more explosives and metal ball bearings. Shrapnel killed some 50 guests, including the sheik’s two brothers.

However, the intended target, Sayed, survived. Al-Qaeda had particularly wanted to assassinate him. Sayed had defected from the terrorist organization three months earlier to head a growing force of anti-al-Qaeda tribal militias, also known as Popular Committees, sweeping the region.

If the tribal uprising against al-Qaeda sounds familiar, then you are hearing echoes of Iraq. Aysh Awas, director of Security and Strategic Studies at Sheba, a think tank in Sana‘a, says Ansar al-Shari‘a — the political front of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) — is doing in Yemen what al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) did following the U.S. invasion in 2003: wage suicide-bomb-led jihad to derail the country’s nascent Washington-supported democracy and replace it with an Islamic state based on Shari‘a.

And just as anti-al-Qaeda, U.S.-backed tribal sheiks in Iraq banded together to secure their territory from AQI, Popular Committees are popping up across Yemen to combat the local franchise of the movement founded by the late Osama bin Laden. “In light of the recent attacks, it seems that anything is likely to happen, and the situation in Yemen may be turning into the Iraqi model,” Awas says.

Unlike Iraq, however, the tribal Popular Committees don’t seem to be getting the big boost that Iraq’s Sunni Awakening groups did. In the past couple of weeks, the suicide-bombing campaign has led local Popular Committees to abandon their patrols and refuse to return unless Yemen’s new government provides them with greater autonomy, salaries and other benefits enjoyed by government troops. But President Rabu Mansour Hadi, who succeeded Ali Abdullah Saleh earlier this year, is mired in a military-reform battle with the country’s top brass and unwilling or unable to act on those demands.

Amid the tumult of last year’s Arab Spring–related popular uprisings in Yemen, AQAP and Ansar al-Shari‘a seized Jaar and neighboring towns like Lawder along the Gulf of Aden. It took the government months — with the help of the Popular Committee militias — to take back Jaar and the AQAP-occupied towns.

But morale has broken down. Popular Committee fighters from Lawder have stopped cooperating with government soldiers in their pursuit of Ansar al-Shari‘a, claiming that it is their land and they are responsible for protecting it. “My men won’t continue to fight alongside the military. We have shown that we can handle Ansar al-Shari‘a ourselves, and we are prepared do it, but not for nothing,” says Popular Committee leader Ahmed Ashawi from Lawder. Ashawi argues that the tribesmen need to be accommodated soon, before their allegiance shifts to other power brokers in the region. The tension has fueled mutual distrust between the two groups, leading some government troops to return to Sana‘a.

Soldiers in the region took another blow on Aug. 6, when President Hadi placed Lawder’s Republican Guard brigade, along with more than a dozen others, under a new commander. The move was seen as part of Hadi’s attempt to tip the country’s balance of power toward himself and away from its top two military commanders: the former President’s son, Brigadier General Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh, head of the elite Republican Guards; and his chief rival General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, who broke away from Saleh’s forces during last year’s uprisings, taking the First Armored Division with him. Hadi designated himself the head of the Presidential Protective Forces, which is made up of three Republican Guard brigades and one from the First Armored Division.

Ahmed al-Zurqa, an independent political analyst and AQAP expert, describes Hadi’s decree as a farsighted measure. “It’s an initial step toward rebuilding the military away from personal loyalties to make it capable of conducting the war against al-Qaeda without parties playing the al-Qaeda card as a weapon in their own conflicts,” he says. Both generals Saleh and Mohsen have been suspected of playing the al-Qaeda card to settle personal disputes and further political objectives.

Like other observers, al-Zurqa would rather the war against al-Qaeda not depend on tribal militias. “The role of the Popular Committees must be terminated or they must be incorporated within the security forces because at the moment, they are militias with independent loyalties. They may soon become a source of problems.” The long-term solution to Islamic extremism, according to Awas, would involve conducting a “smarter war based on intelligence and enforcing the state through public services, job opportunities, resettling conflict refugees and rebuilding what the war destroyed.”…(Top)