Tag: UN


Don’t Separate Families at the Border — But Don’t Expropriate the Holocaust Either: Abraham Cooper, Algemeiner, June 21, 2018— As an Orthodox rabbi, it is not for me to comment on US Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ invocation of the New Testament to justify separating children from parents who were caught trying to illegally enter the US at the Mexican border.

Trump’s Wise to Quit the UN Human Rights Council — It’s an Oxymoron Not Worthy of Our Respect or Support: Anne Bayefsky, Fox News, June 20, 2018— President Trump has rightly decided to terminate U.S. membership in what U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday called the “misnamed” U.N. “Human Rights” Council.

A Week of Infamy at the United Nations: David Gerstman, Tower, June 4, 2018— When Syria ascended to the role of presidency of the United Nations Conference on Disarmament for one month on Monday, Robert Wood, the United States ambassador to the conference, called it “one of the darkest days in the history of the Conference on Disarmament.”

A Tribute to Charles Krauthammer: David M. Weinberg, Jerusalem Post, June 21, 2018— Dr. Charles Krauthammer, perhaps the most luminous and incisive columnist of this generation, announced two weeks ago that he was stricken with terminal cancer and had only weeks to live.

On Topic Links

Charles Krauthammer, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Columnist and Intellectual Provocateur, Dies at 68: Adam Bernstein, Washington Post, June 21, 2018

Ending The ‘Theater of the Absurd’ At The UNHRC: Gregg Roman, The Hill, June 20, 2018

Why are We Backing UNRWA, the United Nations’ Permanent Inciter?: Bradley Martin, American Spectator, May 23, 2018

Conference: Reforming UNRWA (Video): BESA Center, March 18, 2018





Abraham Cooper

Algemeiner, June 21, 2018

As an Orthodox rabbi, it is not for me to comment on US Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ invocation of the New Testament to justify separating children from parents who were caught trying to illegally enter the US at the Mexican border. Suffice it to say that New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who represents 2.6 million Catholics, called the crackdown “unbiblical.”

Speaking for our constituency at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, we said the following: Like millions of Americans on both sides of the political divide, we want our leaders to solve the humanitarian crisis at hand. No matter what the divisions are over immigration policies, it is unacceptable to separate little children from their parents. That isn’t what America stands for. Those are not our values. We urge immediate steps to ameliorate this situation and for the Administration and Congress to finally take the necessary steps to end this problem.

We are not naïve, and know full well that it will take nothing short of a miracle to triangulate the divergent views of Democrats, Republicans, and President Trump and come up with a comprehensive solution to all the issues related to illegal immigration. Now in the midst of the contentious debate, there are some thoughtful legislators, including Senator Ted Cruz and Congressman Mark Meadows, who are weighing in to deal with the children caught in the middle. And yesterday, Donald Trump issued an executive order that he claimed would end the practice of parents being separated from their children.

Without action on immigration, our society will lurch from emotional and incendiary crisis to crisis — sometimes focusing on an innocent child’s wail, sometimes on the sobs of a bereaved family robbed of a loved one by a criminal who never should have been in the United States in the first place.

But there is another victim of the children at the border debate: historic truth. Those entrusted with protecting the memory of the six million victims of the Nazi Holocaust — and teaching lessons from history’s greatest crime, which included the mass murder of 1.5 million Jewish children — are shocked by the wholesale and dishonest expropriation of the symbols and imagery of the Holocaust by critics of the treatment of children at the US border.

For starters, Wikipedia now includes the detention centers where these children are held in the article about Concentration and Internment camps. Social media has been abuzz with comparisons including to the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, where innocents were beaten, starved, and gassed to death. No less than former CIA Director Michael Hayden, now a CNN pundit, posted a picture of the entrance to the infamous Auschwitz death camp. He later offered an “apology” that read more like gloating over “overachieving.” A more apt lesson for Hayden from that era was the failure of the CIA’s World War II predecessor, the OSS, to do anything to stop or slow down the Nazi genocide of Jews.

Then there was MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough who opened “Morning Joe” last Friday by declaring: “Children are being marched away to showers — just like the Nazis said they were taking people to the showers, and then they never came back. You’d think they would use another trick.” On Sunday, another cable commentator insisted, “Increasingly, Donald Trump is turning this nation into Nazi Germany and turning these [detention centers] into concentration camps.” Social media postings invoked the same imagery and talking points.

For 25 years, our Museum of Tolerance has educated millions of visitors, including 160,000 law enforcement officials, about Auschwitz, Anne Frank, and the murder of 1.5 million Jewish children and their families by the Nazi perpetrators of the genocidal “Final Solution.” Visitors also learn about today’s real-time civil and human rights crises, and contemporary mass murder and genocide. But we would never tell a young visitor that every human rights outrage is equivalent to Auschwitz. That is a lie. We can only hope that the depths of its moral depravity will never again be repeated in our world.

Finally, the images emanating from along the Texas border are powerful enough to inspire people to act without deploying Holocaust imagery that demonizes other Americans and debases the memory of six million murdered Jews. US border guards and Homeland Security personnel are not Nazis. Critics should stop slandering them. We live in the world’s greatest democracy. Our elected officials have the tools to fix what’s broken.




IT’S AN OXYMORON NOT WORTHY OF OUR RESPECT OR SUPPORT                                                             

Anne Bayefsky

Fox News, June 20, 2018

President Trump has rightly decided to terminate U.S. membership in what U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday called the “misnamed” U.N. “Human Rights” Council. The move comes after the Trump administration gave the council 17 months to get serious about reform and to stop spreading anti-Semitism under the false flag of promoting human rights.

Many believed it was 17 months that the U.N. didn’t deserve. U.S. membership on the council legitimized an especially treacherous adversary to liberal democracies: the faux human rights victim. But in response, U.N. actors squandered the more than generous opportunities for change provided during hundreds of meetings and are left with no one to blame but themselves. The Human Rights Council was the U.N.’s cure for the Human Rights Commission – presided over by Muammar Qaddafi’s Libya shortly before somebody noticed it lacked credibility.

Other than the name change from “Commission” to “Council,” the other big difference was that when the the commission ended in 2006, its members included China, Cuba, Russia and Saudi Arabia, and when the General Assembly elected the members of the new Council, they chose China, Cuba, Russia and Saudi Arabia. (No joke.) Now among the 47 U.N. states calling the shots on the organization’s top human rights body are such human rights paragons as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Qatar and Venezuela.

The Trump administration tried hard to address the conditions for membership on the council. While the General Assembly was first drafting the rules for the council back in 2005, then-U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton (currently President Trump’s national security adviser) worked tirelessly to do the same. During a five-year “review” to fix the council back in 2011, the Obama administration pushed for membership reform as well. They all failed, Democrat and Republican alike.

The main distinction between Republican and Democratic approaches to the council was over the issues of whether to join it and whether to foot the bill. President George W. Bush said that if the council was a tool for human rights abusers to masquerade as human rights authorities, and to foment anti-Semitism by using the Jewish state as a proverbial scapegoat, the leader of the free world would not join or legitimize the council. President Obama said it’s better to engage, just as it was better to engage and empower Iranian sponsors of terrorism, to engage and enable Syrian dictator Bashar Assad “the reformer,” and to engage and reset relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin until he felt secure enough to invade his neighbors.

There is no doubt that the U.N. Human Rights Council is a productive tool for anti-Semites. Discrimination against the Jewish state is baked into procedures and output as well as into its composition. The council reserves one permanent agenda item for every one of its regular sessions for condemning only Israel. All other 192 U.N. member states are considered together under a separate item, if they are discussed at all. The council has adopted more resolutions condemning Israel than any other country on Earth, and nothing condemning almost 90 percent of the world’s states. The council has held more emergency special sessions on Israel than on any other country, including Syria – where at least 500,000 have died and up to 12 million people have been displaced.

But even beyond the disturbing fact that anti-Semitism thrives at the United Nations under the guise of human rights is that the “human rights” experts, the nongovernmental organizations and the academic entourage surrounding this whole apparatus, have the council’s back. For months, they have been flooding the airwaves and Haley and Pompeo’s email inboxes begging the Trump administration to stay on the council.  In a nutshell, they make one basic point: the demonization of Israel, even if undeserved, is peripheral to the common good.

Pompeo and Haley have courageously decided to set them straight. Equal rights cannot be built on inequality for Jews and the Jewish state. Playing minority groups against each other is not progress, it’s discrimination. And unless and until the common good has no Jewish exemption clause, the U.N. “Human Rights” Council is an oxymoron that does not deserve our respect or support.




David Gerstman

Tower, June 4, 2018

When Syria ascended to the role of presidency of the United Nations Conference on Disarmament for one month on Monday, Robert Wood, the United States ambassador to the conference, called it “one of the darkest days in the history of the Conference on Disarmament.”

The week at the U.N. did not get better. Syria assumed the role of presidency of the conference, despite committing the war crime of deploying chemical weapons against civilians, by virtue of its place in the alphabet — it followed Switzerland. The New York Times explained that the reason for the rotating scheme was “to prevent major powers dominating the forum.” The problem is that the U.N., according to its charter, was founded, in part, to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind.”

How does giving a regime that uses prohibited weapons presidency over a conference devoted to abrogating such weapons save anyone from “the scourge of war?” As the Times subsequently pointed out, Syria only agreed to join the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, one of the treaties authored by the conference that prohibits the manufacturing, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons, AFTER the regime was found to have used sarin in a 2013 attack on a Damascus suburb that killed 1,400 people. Even once Syria joined the treaty, investigators have documented more than 30 additional chemical weapons attacks carried out by the Syrian government.

The idea that major powers shouldn’t dominate a U.N. conference may be reasonable. However, there should be some way to police who serves or presides over conferences based on their records. That Syria, which violated one of the primary objectives of the Disarmament Conference — the banning of chemical weapons — should preside over the conference is a travesty. Syria was not the only bad actor to avoid the consequences of its actions this week at the U.N. On Wednesday, Hamas, the Iran-backed terrorist organization, was spared a U.N. Security Council statement condemning the latest barrage of rockets and mortars fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip.

The U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley responded to Kuwait’s veto, saying that condemning Hamas for firing rockets at civilians should have been a “no-brainer.” “Apparently, some Council members did not think Hamas launching rockets qualified as terrorism,” she added. “The United States begs to differ.” Again, if we look at the U.N. charter, one the goals stated is “to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used.” How does letting a terrorist group firing rockets and mortars at civilians without, at least, condemnation reinforce the message that “armed force shall not be used?”

If the U.N.’s week was marked by letting human rights abusers and terrorists off the hook, how could it be worse? Because European diplomats decided that Israel, the Middle East’s only democracy, should continue to be singled out for special scrutiny and inevitable condemnation by the misnamed United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

Colum Lynch reported Wednesday for Foreign Policy that unnamed “key European allies” would not support a U.N. General Assembly vote to remove UNHRC’s notorious Agenda Item 7, which singles out Israel — the only nation so treated — for special scrutiny by the council. Lynch described the motivation of the European diplomats, who are concerned that the U.S. initiative “could inflict long-lasting damage to the world’s principal human rights agency and undermine efforts to expose human rights violations elsewhere.” But Lynch also observed that the council was formed in 2006 to replace “the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, whose credibility had been tainted by the presence of member states with abysmal rights records.”

Currently, as UN Watch has documented, the new, “improved” council has such gross human rights violators  Qatar, Pakistan, DR Congo, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Burundi, China, Cuba, Venezuela, and UAE, to the council violating the “UN’s own basic membership criteria.” It’s hard to understand Europe’s concern about the possible “long-lasting damage” to the council when it appears that it is just as tainted with human rights abusers as its discredited predecessor was.

Agenda Items 7 doesn’t just single out Israel for scrutiny, it effectively prejudges Israel as guilty in any violence with the Palestinians.  Given that Israel is the only nation singled out, it also makes the agenda item discriminatory and anti-Semitic. Whichever European nations refused to support the U.S. initiative should have done so even if there wasn’t their misplace concern about damage to the council.

To refer again to the U.N.’s charter, the founders said that the goal of the organization is promoting “equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small.” A provision that singles out one nation — especially a free nation — for extra scrutiny and condemnation violates this vision of equal rights for all nations. By allowing Syria to assume the presidency of its Conference on Disarmament, the U.N. experienced a dark day. By subsequently refusing to condemn Hamas, and leaving Israel open to even more unjust vilification, the U.N. has darkened itself even further.





A TRIBUTE TO CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER                                                           

David M. Weinberg

Jerusalem Post, June 21, 2018

Dr. Charles Krauthammer, perhaps the most luminous and incisive columnist of this generation, announced two weeks ago that he was stricken with terminal cancer and had only weeks to live. I feel an obligation to pay homage to this incredible man, and to add a Jewish, Zionist and personal angle to the many tributes to him that have rightly poured forth.

For 38 years, Krauthammer’s columns, essays, and lectures have stood as pillars of conservative principle and moral clarity. On foreign policy matters, he was unquestionably the most radiant intellectual hawk in America, and on Middle East affairs he was the most consistent defender of Israel and the US-Israel special relationship.

Two examples of his razor-sharp writing regarding Israel and American Mideast policy will suffice, among hundreds of exhibits. Krauthammer wrote in 2014 about “Kafkaesque ethical inversions” that make for Western criticism of Israel. “The world’s treatment of Israel is Orwellian, fueled by a mix of classic antisemitism, near-total historical ignorance and reflexive sympathy for the ostensible Third World underdog,” he wrote. He understood that eruptions featuring Palestinian casualties (such as recent Hamas assaults on the Gaza border) were “depravity.”

“The whole point is to produce dead Palestinians for international television; to deliberately wage war so that your own people can be telegenically killed; indeed, moral and tactical insanity,” he said. “But it rests on a very rational premise. The whole point is to draw Israeli counter-fire; to produce dead Palestinians for international television, and to ultimately undermine support for Israel’s legitimacy and right to self-defense.”

In 2015, he repeatedly skewered then-president Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, calling it “the worst agreement in U.S. diplomatic history.” To Obama, he wrote accusingly: “You set out to prevent proliferation and you trigger it. You set out to prevent an Iranian nuclear capability and you legitimize it. You set out to constrain the world’s greatest exporter of terror threatening every one of our allies in the Middle East and you’re on the verge of making it the region’s economic and military hegemon.”

Krauthammer’s profound understanding of Jewish history, his admiration for Israel, and his very deep concern for its future were on fullest display in a magisterial essay he published in The Weekly Standard in 1998 entitled “At Last, Zion.” The essay conducted a sweeping analysis of Jewish peoplehood, from Temple times and over 2,000 years of Diaspora history to the modern return to Zion.

Krauthammer understood that American Jewry was dying. “Nothing will revive the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe and the Islamic world. And nothing will stop the rapid decline by assimilation of Western Jewry.” The dynamics of assimilation were inexorable in America and elsewhere, he wrote. Israel, Krauthammer understood, was different. “Exceptional,” he called it – because Israel was about “reattachment of Russian and Romanian, Uzbeki and Iraqi, Algerian and Argentinean Jews to a distinctively Hebraic culture,” and this gave it civilizational and societal staying power for the long term.

Israel “is now the principal drama of Jewish history,” he wrote. “What began as an experiment has become the very heart of the Jewish people – its cultural, spiritual, and psychological center, soon to become its demographic center as well. Israel is the hinge. Upon it rest the hopes – the only hope – for Jewish continuity and survival.” However, because the “cosmology of the Jewish people has been transformed into a single-star system with a dwindling Diaspora orbiting around,” Krauthammer was apprehensive. It frightened him that “Jews have put all their eggs in one basket, a small basket hard by the waters of the Mediterranean. And on its fate hinges everything Jewish.”

Israel’s centrality, he feared, was a “bold and dangerous new strategy for Jewish survival” because of the many security threats posed to the country, chiefly among them the specter of Iranian nuclear weapons. Indeed, Krauthammer’s essay “thinks the unthinkable” and “contemplates Israel’s disappearance.” And while Jewish political independence has been extinguished twice before and bounced back following centuries of dispersion, Krauthammer doubted that the Jewish People could pull the trick again. “Twice Jews defied the norm [and survived Diaspora]. But never, I fear, again.”…


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!



On Topic Links

Charles Krauthammer, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Columnist and Intellectual Provocateur, Dies at 68: Adam Bernstein, Washington Post, June 21, 2018—Charles Krauthammer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist and intellectual provocateur who championed the muscular foreign policy of neoconservatism that helped lay the ideological groundwork for the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, died June 21 at 68.

Ending The ‘Theater of the Absurd’ At The UNHRC: Gregg Roman, The Hill, June 20, 2018—It is possible that there is no more misplaced and absurdly titled international body than the United Nations Human Rights Council. Though the name sounds noble, its work is anything but, so it is entirely correct that the United States no longer plays along with this macabre charade and has officially withdrawn from the organization.

Why are We Backing UNRWA, the United Nations’ Permanent Inciter?: Bradley Martin, American Spectator, May 23, 2018—After the latest violence in Gaza, it is clear that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency’s continuous support of Palestinian terrorism is a major cause of instability in the Middle East and should be defunded.

Conference: Reforming UNRWA (Video): BESA Center, March 18, 2018—“Palestine refugees” have been exceptionally indulged by the international community for 70 long years. Consider the ways: They should not even have been classified as refugees, they had the unprecedented benefit of a relief agency created exclusively for their welfare (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA), and they uniquely can pass on the “refugee” status to future generations.


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




The Festival Of Lights 5774: Baruch Cohen, Nov. 29, 2013 — The first Hanukkah was celebrated in Jerusalem in the year 164 BCE on the twenty-fifth day of Kislev.

Chanukah Guide For the Perplexed, 2013: Yoram Ettinger, Algemeiner, Nov. 27, 2013 — For the first time – and never again – the first day of Chanukah will be celebrated on Thanksgiving, the fourth Thursday in November, Nov. 28, 2013.    

UN Condemns Israel 6 Times, Declares “Year of Palestine”: Hillel Neuer, Times of Israel, Nov. 27, 2013 — The U.N. General Assembly is poised to condemn Israel in six resolutions today, the most significant of which declares 2014 as a “Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian people.”                                  

The UN and Israel: A History of Discrimination: Joshua Muravchik, World Affairs, Nov/Dec, 2013 — Unfortunately . . . Israel [has] suffered from bias—and sometimes even discrimination” at the United Nations, said none other than the UN’s highest official, Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, speaking in Jerusalem in August.                                                                                                                                                                                                  The Banality of Robbing the Jews: Sarah Gensburger, New York Times, Nov. 15, 2013 — The recent discovery of more than 1,400 prized paintings in the Munich residence of Cornelius Gurlitt, an art collector whose father collaborated with the Nazis, has brought the pillage of the Jews back into the limelight.


On Topic Links


From “Four Score” to “Yes We Can!”: Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 18, 2013                                                                 

An Outbreak of Lawlessness: Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, Nov. 28, 2013

Teaching About the Holocaust in a Small Town in Romania: Raphael Vago, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 7, 2013

Exile, Prejudice, Victory: A Jewish Thanksgiving Story From the New World: Steve Brodner, Tablet, Nov. 27, 2013



THE FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS 5774                                                    Baruch Cohen  

Nov. 29, 2013


                                                                       In Loving Memory of Malka z’l


The first Hanukkah was celebrated in Jerusalem in the year 164 BCE, on the twenty-fifth day of Kislev.


To understand the meaning of Hanukkah, we must look into the ancient world, and see some of the similarities that exist between that period and our present day lives.  Hanukkah in fact celebrates the victory of Hebraism over Hellenism. The victory of the camp of light over the camp of darkness. A flame rising from the camp of freedom and democracy – against the principles of totalitarianism, and bigotry.


The primary aim of the Maccabees to preserve their own identity in face of Syrian Greek religious oppression, to safeguard Israel's role as a “light unto the nations.” It was not only a struggle against the danger of physical extermination, but one to affirm the value and joy of Judaism.


The Jewish people have a long history of surviving in defiance of savage murder and aggression. Our roots are in ancient, and modern,  Israel, our old/new homeland, and our defense today, as then, lies with our heroic Maccabees, today the IDF, Israel's Defense Force . Our brave Israeli soldiers are the shield of the Jewish people in our ongoing fight for freedom, democracy, independence, and security–for the Jewish state, the land of Israel, and the entire Jewish people.


The splendor of our Fathers' lives!  Hod avinu chai! Hag Hannukah Sameach! Happy Festival of Lights 5774 to all CIJR's supporters and friends, to the Jewish people, and to all men and women of good will!!


CHANUKAH GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED, 2013                                 Yoram Ettinger

Algemeiner, Nov. 27, 2013


1.  For the first time – and never again – the first day of Chanukah will be celebrated on Thanksgiving, the fourth Thursday in November, Nov. 28, 2013. Since the Jewish calendar is based on a 19 year cycle (when a “leap month” is added – seven times – to the shorter Jewish year) and Thanksgiving is part of a 7 year cycle, they coincide every 133 years.  However, Thanksgiving was formally adopted by President Lincoln in 1863, and therefore it could not coincide with Chanukah 133 years ago, in 1861. Moreover, due to the moving gap between the Jewish lunar calendar (with 29-30 day months) and the general Gregorian solar calendar, they will not coincide before the year 79,811….


2.  David Ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister of the Jewish State, stated: “The struggle of the Maccabees was one of the most dramatic clashes of civilizations in human history, not merely a political-military struggle against foreign oppression…. The meager Jewish people did not assimilate, as did many peoples.  The Jewish people prevailed, won, sustained and enhanced their independence and unique civilization…. The Hasmoneans overcame one of the most magnificent spiritual, political and military challenges in Jewish history due to the spirit of the people, rather than the failed spirit of the establishment ….” (Uniqueness and Destiny, pp 20-22, Ben Gurion, IDF Publishing, 1953).


3. Chanukah is the only Jewish holiday that commemorates a Land of Israel national liberation struggle, unlike Passover (the Exodus from Egypt), Sukkot/Tabernacles and Shavuot/Pentecost (on the way from Egypt to the Land of Israel) and Purim (deliverance of Jews in the Persian Empire). Chanukah is the longestJewish holiday (8 days) with the most intense element of light (8 consecutive nights of lighting candles).


4. The critical Chanukah developments occurred, mostly, in the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria: Mitzpah (also the Prophet Samuel’s burial site), Beth El (Judah’s first headquarters), Beth Horon (Judah’s victory over Seron), Hadashah (Judah’s victory over Nicanor), Beth Zur (Judah’s victory over Lysias), Ma’aleh Levona (Judah’s victory over Apolonius), Adora’yim (a Maccabean fortress), Elazar and Beit  Zachariya (Judah’s first defeat), Ba’al Hatzor (where Judah was defeated and killed) and the Judean Desert.  Unified Jerusalem was the Capital of the Maccabees. Thus, Chanukah is not a holiday of “occupied territories”; Chanukah highlights the moral-high-ground of Jews in their ancestral land.


5. Shimon the Maccabee – who succeeded his brothers, Judah and Yonatan – defied an ultimatum by the Syrian emperor, Antiochus (Book of Maccabees A, Chapter 15, verse 33), who demanded an end to the “occupation” of Jerusalem, Jaffa, Gaza, Gezer and Akron. Shimon declared: ”We have not occupied a foreign land; we have not ruled a foreign land; we have liberated the land of our forefathers from foreign occupation.”


6.  The name Maccabee (מכבי or מקבי) is a derivative of the Hebrew word Makevet (מקבת), Power Hammer, which described Judah’s tenacious and decisive fighting capabilities. Or, it could be a derivative of the Hebrew verb Cabeh (כבה), to extinguish, which described the fate of Judah’s adversaries. Another source of the name suggests that Maccabee, מכבי, is the Hebrew acronym of “Who could resemble you among Gods, Jehovah” (מי כמוך באלים יי). However, the saga of the Maccabees was written, during ancient times, in Latin, which sometimes pronounces C like a TZ.  Hence, Maccabee could be the Latin spelling of the Hebrew word Matzbee, the commander.


7.  Chanukah’s historical context is narrated in the Books of the Maccabees and the Scroll of Antiochus. Alexander The Great – who held Judaism in high esteem and whose Egyptian heir, Ptolemy II, translated the Torah to Greek — died in 323 BCE following 12 glorious years. Consequently, the Greek Empire disintegrated into five provinces, and 30 years later into three kingdoms: Macedonia, Syria and Egypt. The Land of Israel was militarily contested by Syria and Egypt. In 198 BCE, Israel was conquered by the Syrian Antiochus III, who considered the Jewish State as an ally. In 175 BCE, a new king assumed power in Syria, Antiochus (IV) Epiphanies, who wished to replace Judaism with Hellenic values and assumed that Jews were allies of Egypt. In 169 BC, upon his return to Syria from a war against Egypt, he devastated Jerusalem, massacred the Jews, forbade the practice of Judaism (including the Sabbath, circumcision, etc.) and desecrated Jerusalem and the Temple. The 167 BCE-launched rebellion against the Syrian (Seleucid) kingdom featured the Hasmonean (Maccabee) family: Mattityahu, a priest from the town of Modi’in, and his five sons, Yochanan, Judah, Shimon, Yonatan and Elazar. The heroic (and tactically creative) battles conducted by the Maccabees, were consistent with the reputation of Jews as superb warriors, who were frequently hired as mercenaries by Egypt, Syria, Rome and other global and regional powers.

[To Read The Full Article Follow This Link – ed. ]




Times of Israel, Nov. 27, 2013


The U.N. General Assembly is poised to condemn Israel in six resolutions today, the most significant of which declares 2014 as a “Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian people.” In a related development, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has categorically rejected the now-famous UN interpreter’s criticism of anti-Israel bias, caught on an open microphone, through his spokesperson’s response to a reporter’s question seeking the UN chief’s views on the now-famous gaffe, the video of which Prime Minister Netanyahu played to his cabinet meeting last week. As seen on the YouTube video, publicized by UN Watch today, Ban’s spokesperson on November 19th told journalists that “the Secretary-General respects the right of the Member States as they move forward on their resolutions” which, he insisted, “need to be upheld by all countries.”


Given that Ban Ki-M oon has himself criticized the singling out of Israel by UN bodies such as the Human Rights Council, I am disappointed that he is rejecting and refusing to acknowledge the simple truth of the UN interpreter’s candid and entirely correct observations. After all, if the secretary-general could voice disappointment at the Human Rights Council’s “decision to single out Israel as the only specific regional item on its agenda, given the range and scope of allegations of human rights violations throughout the world,” why can’t he endorse the virtually identical sentiment expressed by the interpreter at this year’s absurd amount of General Assembly resolutions singling out Israel?

Today’s cluster of condemnations will be adopted as the UN observes its annual “Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People,” which was held four days earlier than usual due to the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. The event is usually held on November 29, to effectively mourn the day the UN voted to partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab states. Beyond the hypocrisy of adopting six resolutions on Israel and none on egregious abusers of human rights such as China, Russia, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia, there is a particular absurdity in the content of the resolutions. We have a resolution condemning Israel for its actions on the Golan Heights yet none on Syria’s massacre of 100,000 of its own people; the same text also absurdly asks Israel to immediately hand the population in the Golan over to the murderous rule of Syria’s Assad regime. There are also resolutions recognizing the self-determination of the Palestinians, even though the UN already recognized Palestine as a state; yet there is no resolution on the right to self-determination of the Tibetans, who really could use such a text.


There will be massive politicization in 2014 at the UN now that it has been declared a year for “Palestinian solidarity.” The resolution requests the UN “to organize activities to be held during the year, in cooperation with Governments, relevant organizations of the United Nations system, intergovernmental organizations and civil society organizations.”


THE UN AND ISRAEL: A HISTORY OF DISCRIMINATION                      Joshua Muravchik

World Affairs, Nov/Dec, 2013


“Unfortunately . . . Israel [has] suffered from bias—and sometimes even discrimination” at the United Nations, said none other than the UN’s highest official, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, speaking in Jerusalem in August. Back at headquarters a week later, Ban withdrew the substance of the comment without denying he had made it. The retraction was less surprising than the original assertion, which was remarkable because of the identity of the speaker, not for what was said, the reality of which is about as well concealed as the sun on a cloudless noon.


Israel’s status as a pariah state at the United Nations reflected a change in the world body dating from the 1970s. In its early decades, the UN was dominated by the Cold War competition between East and West, but between 1952 and 1968 these two blocs became outnumbered by a third, as the UN’s rolls increased from eighty-two to one hundred and twenty-six member states. Most of the new members were former colonies that had recently won their independence, and they formed what became the leading bloc at the UN, the Non-Aligned Movement. The dearest cause of the NAM was anti-colonialism, which put the West in the dock. Thus, the new bloc was non-aligned far more emphatically with the West than with the Communist world. Indeed, while the Soviet Union was held at arm’s length by the NAM, other Communist states, some of them Soviet-allied, such as Cuba and Vietnam, played leading roles in the organization.


The new anti-Western, anti-American zeitgeist of the UN, and the dominance of the NAM, with President Nasser of Egypt among its leaders and many Arab and other Muslim states among its members, reshaped the body’s stance toward the Middle East and its central “conflict.” It became the principal instrument for advancing Arab claims and actions against Israel, including even legitimating Palestinian terrorism.


Thus, in October 1974, fourteen years before the Palestine Liberation Organization even nominally forswore terrorism, the General Assembly voted to invite the organization to send a spokesman to take part in its deliberations. No one who was not a representative of a government—except the pope, and even he was the head of a quasi-state—had ever before been granted such a privilege, but the vote was overwhelming, one hundred and five to four, with only the United States, Israel, and two Latin American governments opposed.

Not a single European or other major industrial state joined America in resisting this extraordinary move. Most of them abstained, although a handful voted with the majority, largely because the PLO had proved so adept at playing on European fears. Harris Schoenberg, an author who represented the NGO B’nai B’rith at the UN, interviewed various European delegates who told him that “PLO spokesmen had undertaken to halt and actively seek to prevent further Arab aerial piracy and terrorist attacks in countries other than Israel if permitted to participate in the General Assembly debate.”


The assembled delegates heard Yasir Arafat proclaim the necessity of getting at the “historical roots” of the issue, namely, “the Jewish invasion of Palestine [that] began in 1881,” and addressing it with a “radical . . . antidote,” rather than “a slavish obeisance to the present.” The “present” from which Arafat wished to banish “obeisance” was the very existence of Israel. He pledged his “resolve to build a new world . . . a world free of colonialism, imperialism, neo-colonialism, and racism in each of its instances, including Zionism.” This harangue was received with a standing ovation unique in its intensity. An alliance of Communist and third-world states was after the scalps of its chosen enemies. The United States, in the throes of losing its agonizing war in Vietnam, resisted with diminished strength, often unable to rally even its Western allies.                                                                                                                                            [To Read The Full Article Follow This Link – ed. ]              



Sarah Gensburger

 New York Times, Nov. 15, 2013


The recent discovery of more than 1,400 prized paintings in the Munich residence of Cornelius Gurlitt, an art collector whose father collaborated with the Nazis, has brought the pillage of the Jews back into the limelight. Yet the bulk of anti-Semitic looting during World War II was at once much more banal and more widespread. In Paris, the plunder of Jewish possessions began with the arrival of German troops in June 1940. At first, it applied only to art collections. But as soon as the Final Solution was devised in January 1942, the confiscations spread to the entire Jewish population, most of which comprised poor immigrants from Eastern Europe. Stripping Jews of their belongings was part and parcel of the effort to destroy them; pillage was an essential tool of extermination.


But what would be done with these items? Could they be reused, or were they too Jewish for that? Were the dishes and the blankets that had been touched by Jews fit for use by Aryans? In Berlin in February 1942, Hitler himself ordered Alfred Rosenberg, who had been overseeing the looting of artworks throughout Western Europe, to entirely empty the apartments of Jews who had been deported or arrested, or had fled. The spoils would then be sent back to the Reich. This widespread plunder, known as Möbel Aktion, occurred in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. From 1942 to 1944, at least 70,000 dwellings were emptied; in Paris 38,000 apartments were stripped bare by French moving companies at the request of the German authorities. It took 674 trains to transport the loot to Germany. Some 2,700 train cars supplied Hamburg alone.

Everything was taken: toys, dishes, family photos, tools, light bulbs. The goods were placed in crates and taken to warehouses and sorting centers specifically established for this purpose in the heart of Paris. Pianos were stored in the cellars of the Palais de Tokyo in the 16th arrondissement. Porcelains and fabrics went nearby, to Rue de Bassano. Books and musical scores were gathered at 104 Rue de Richelieu, furniture at the Quai de la Gare. The plunder of the Jews spread far beyond the famous Jeu de Paume and Louvre museums, the main gathering sites for looted art. With German soldiers busy fighting on the Eastern Front, the Nazis in Paris were short-staffed for the sorting and crating required for Möbel Aktion. So they turned three warehouses into work camps. And they resorted to Jewish prisoners from the Drancy internment camp, a vast cluster of lodgings under construction just outside the city, and an antechamber to Auschwitz.


From 1943 to 1944, nearly 800 Jewish men and women worked — ate, slept, lived — among these objects. Some saw their own possessions or those of family members pass before their eyes, and at that moment understood that they, too, had been slated for internment or deportation. The contents of each apartment were divided into two groups. Damaged objects or personal ones, like papers or family photos, were burned almost daily in a bonfire at the Quai de la Gare. The other items were sorted and classified by category, rather than source. A saucepan taken from one family would be added to a stack of other saucepans rather than kept in the original set. Stripped of their provenance, items lost their identity. Belongings became goods. The supervisors of Möbel Aktion set aside the most appealing items — porcelain, fine linens, fur coats — for themselves and their friends. Former prisoners from the sorting work camps later described regular inspections by German soldiers; they would come to shop “just like at the Galeries Lafayette,” the Parisian department store. Detainees who had been tailors, cobblers or leather workers before their arrest were forced to make luxury clothes for the Nazi dignitaries and their wives. Shipments of spoons, dishes, clothes and other items were regularly sent on to Germany. They were distributed to German civilians as compensation for losses caused by the Allied bombings or to support their immigration eastward, where they were sent to populate newly conquered territories.


But the systematic looting and redistribution of everyday goods of little value and often in poor condition suggest a motivation that goes well beyond economic calculation in a time of hardship. Indeed, several Nazi services, including those of Hermann Göring, regularly questioned the financial rationale of Möbel Aktion. If the project endured nonetheless it’s because one of its fundamental objectives was to destroy all trace of the Jews’ very existence. Since the end of the war, the French and German governments have offered some indemnities, though often partial, to the small number of looted owners or their descendants who have asked for compensation. The goods themselves could not be retrieved. Unlike stolen works of art — some of which were preserved and continue to resurface — the colossal spoils of that other, mundane looting have vanished. Either they have been destroyed, or they remain with German families, who to this day probably have no idea where they came from.     




On Topic


From “Four Score” to “Yes We Can!”: Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 18, 2013 — Seven score and 10 years ago, Abraham Lincoln delivered his sacred speech on the meaning of free government.

An Outbreak of Lawlessness: Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, Nov. 28, 2013 — For all the gnashing of teeth over the lack of comity and civility in Washington, the real problem is not etiquette but the breakdown of political norms, legislative and constitutional.

Teaching About the Holocaust in a Small Town in Romania: Raphael Vago, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 7, 2013— Knesset Member Shimon Ohayon’s recent article, “Teaching about the Holocaust as an antidote to rising hate in Europe”

Exile, Prejudice, Victory: A Jewish Thanksgiving Story From the New World: Steve Brodner, Tablet, Nov. 27, 2013— In 1642, a ship of Jewish émigrés left a colony in Recife, Brazil, headed for New Amsterdam.


On Topic Links


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

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Behind the Saudi-U.S. Breakup: Karen Elliot House, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 24, 2013 — When Saudi Arabia this week rebuked the United States, using media leaks to send a message to the kingdom's longtime ally, the episode was no petty fit of pique.
Saudi Arabia Gets Tough on Foreign Policy: Nawaf Obaid, Washington Post, Oct. 24, 2013— Last week, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry announced that the kingdom would not join the U.N. Security Council until the council “reformed so it can effectively and practically perform its duties and discharge its responsibilities in maintaining international security and peace.”

Quietly, Israel and the Gulf States Draw Closer Together: Jonathan Spyer, PJ Media, Oct. 24, 2013— Recent remarks by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have fueled renewed speculation of behind-the-scenes links between Israel and the Gulf monarchies.

Obama Loses the Middle East: Daniel Greenfield, Frontpage Magazine, Oct. 28, 2013— There are things that Obama just doesn’t understand. Like math. And health care. And alliances.


On Topic Links


The U.S. Saudi Crackup Reaches a Dramatic Tipping Point: David Ignatius, Washington Post, Oct. 23, 2013

For Once, Saudi Arabia Has a Point: Father Raymond J. de Souza, National Post, Oct. 24, 2013

After Rejecting Security Council, What’s Next for Saudi Arabia: Khaled al-Dakhil, Al-Monitor,  Oct. 23, 2013

Saudi Women Rise Up, Quietly, and Slide Into the Driver’s Seat: Ben Hubbard, New York Times, Oct. 26, 2013



Karen Elliot House
Wall Street Journal, Oct. 24, 2013

When Saudi Arabia this week rebuked the United States, using media leaks to send a message to the kingdom's longtime ally, the episode was no petty fit of pique. It reflected a calculated decision by the Al Saud rulers that their own survival requires distancing themselves from the very country that has protected the royal family for more than half a century.

In a tribal society like Saudi Arabia's, it is well understood that weakness breeds contempt and invites aggression. To the Al Saud, the Obama administration's retreat from its red-line ultimatum on Syria's use of chemical weapons and the administration's unseemly rush to negotiate with Iran over its nuclear program are simply the latest evidence of such weakness. It diminishes U.S. influence in the region while offending and endangering America's allies. Already facing social tensions inside the kingdom and confronting growing instability throughout the Mideast, the ruling Al Saud have concluded that they can no longer risk being seen holding hands with a timorous great power.


Sadly for the Saudis, there is no alternative protector, which means the two countries will continue to share an interest, however strained, in combating terrorism and securing stability in the Persian Gulf. The kingdom has courted Russia and China in recent years, but they won't protect the Saudis from the primary threat of Iran. Indeed, they support the regime in Tehran. This reality makes Saudi Arabia's distancing itself from the U.S. all the more startling.

To understand the U.S.-Saudi rift, it is essential to realize that from the capital in Riyadh the world looks more threatening than at any time since the founding of modern Saudi Arabia in 1932. There have been other menacing times. Egypt's President Gamal Abdel Nasser in the 1960s sought to destabilize the Al Saud by fomenting trouble in neighboring Yemen. In 1979, religious fanatics took over the Grand Mosque in Mecca and had to be ousted by military action. The Saudis feared, in 1990, that their kingdom was next after Iraq's Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. In all those troubled moments, the U.S. was either a trusted if silent supporter of the Saudis or an active defender, as in the 1990 Gulf War.

Today, the Saudis find themselves alone regarding Syria, trapped in a proxy war with Iran, their religious (Sunni Saudi Arabia vs. Shiite Iran) and political enemy. The Saudis had sought and expected U.S. help in arming the rebels against Syrian ruler Bashar Assad, but the military aid never materialized. Instead, last month at the United Nations General Assembly gathering, President Obama eagerly sought a private meeting with Iran's new president, Hasan Rouhani, to discuss its nuclear program. Mr. Obama seemed desperately grateful merely to get him on the phone.

A few days later, the Saudi foreign minister abruptly canceled his own speech to the General Assembly. Then last week, Saudi Arabia took the extraordinary step of turning down a Security Council seat it had long sought. According to a Reuters report this week, Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, head of the kingdom's intelligence and national security operations, told European diplomats that both moves at the U.N. were intended as a blunt message to the Obama administration.

Only a year ago, Saudi officials expressed great confidence that Assad would be ousted from Syria by this fall. Instead, the Saudis now find themselves trapped with their foot on the snake Assad: They can't step away, lest the snake strike, but lacking American help, they don't have the means to kill the snake either. The kingdom's relationship with the rebels is similarly precarious. The longer the Saudis supply them with arms, the longer the war drags on, and the greater the risk that the rebels—whose ranks already include at least 500 Saudi jihadists—will grow more radical and eventually return home to fight the regime that funded them.

Worst of all for the Saudis is the new U.S. dialogue with Iran. The Saudis, much like the Israelis, fear the sort of deal likely to result from a weak and naïve U.S. administration eager to avoid a military confrontation. Such a deal, the Saudis worry, would paper over Tehran's nuclear ambitions while boosting Iran's prestige and influence at the expense of Saudi Arabia. If Iran can convince the U.S.—the country that Tehran still calls the Great Satan—to lift economic sanctions without first obtaining ironclad evidence that Iran has abandoned its nuclear program, in Mideast eyes Iran would be the clear winner. The Saudi nightmare doesn't end there. Iran, supported by Russia and China, is seen by the Saudis as a direct threat to their oil exports, the lifeblood that keeps the ruling Al Saud in power by providing the billions of dollars annually that allow the regime to buy, bribe and, when it deems necessary, brutally repress its citizens.

Meanwhile, with U.S. oil and gas production soaring, Americans may increasingly question the wisdom of spending billions on a military presence to protect the Persian Gulf through which Saudi oil exports flow—increasingly to China. When President Obama briefly threatened to strike Syria for using chemical weapons on its citizens, Saudi Arabia understandably sought a larger U.S. naval presence in the Persian Gulf to protect against a potential Iranian counter-strike. The U.S. told Riyadh it lacked the ships to meet the request, another shock to the Saudis.

These external challenges come at a time when senior members of the Saudi royal family are consumed with a generational succession. A geriatric band of brothers has ruled the kingdom since the death in 1953 of their father, Abdulaziz Ibn Saud, the country's founder. Power soon will have to go to a son of one of those three-dozen brothers. But who? Each brother feels one of his own sons deserves the crown—which would keep his family's branch in line for royal succession and likely shut out the others. There are hundreds of these grandsons of the founder. Managing royal family politics must be a daunting task for the 90-year-old King Abdullah, already weakened by three back surgeries in four years…

Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al Faisal is fond of saying that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia no longer have a Catholic marriage but rather a Muslim one. This is a clever way of saying that Saudi Arabia and the U.S. are not faithful to each other. In the absence of any major-power alternative to the U.S., for the Saudis in this Muslim marriage the U.S. may well remain Wife No. 1. Even if she is not about to be divorced, however, the Saudis are clearly declaring a trial separation.



Nawaf Obaid

Washington Post, Oct. 24, 2013


Last week, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry announced that the kingdom would not join the U.N. Security Council until the council “reformed so it can effectively and practically perform its duties and discharge its responsibilities in maintaining international security and peace.” Although this decision stemmed from Saudi frustration over the council’s failure to end the civil war in Syria and to act on the issue of Palestinian statehood, there is more to the rejection. Saudi Arabia opting out of a temporary position in an international forum is a sign of things to come as the kingdom pursues a new, and assertive, foreign policy.


The decision came after several weeks of intense debate among senior officials in Jeddah, the summer capital, over whether Saudis can achieve more by assuming a relatively nominal position in an international setting or by unilaterally expanding their work and implementing their doctrine. Over the past two years, the Saudi government had expended a great deal of energy and resources to prepare their diplomats and U.N. mission to join the Security Council.


But events in Syria over the summer and the manner in which the debate over the war has played out on the Security Council changed the calculations of the Saudi foreign policy establishment. Central to the internal discussions was the question of whether, in such a charged regional environment, the kingdom could politically afford to be a powerless member — albeit with a “voice” on a docile council — when it faces the urgent imperative of ending the massacres in Syria.


The tipping point came the week before the U.N. General Assembly meeting last month, when a draft resolution on dismantling Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons circulated among the permanent members of the Security Council. The Saudis, supported by the French and, to a lesser extent, the British, wanted the draft to say that President Bashar al-Assad and his thugs would suffer extreme punitive military actions for noncompliance. The Russians, however, were adamant that even an insinuation of this sort would be unacceptable. To get the resolution through, U.S. officials acquiesced to Russian wishes and pressured France and Britain to drop this demand. The tyrant Assad, then, was saved and practically given a U.N. mandate to continue slaughtering the Syrian people and destroying the remnants of the Syrian state. For the Saudis, this was a cold lesson in the Security Council’s dysfunction.


At this point, the Saudis faced two options: become a non-binding member of a largely inactive clique in which only the five permanent members are able to push through policy, or excuse themselves from this ceremonial, and ultimately empty, responsibility. In choosing the latter, Saudi Arabia has sent a powerful message about the effectiveness of the Security Council and the Obama administration’s Middle East policy. The Saudis realistically assessed their limited options within the Security Council as well as the fact that the kingdom already has power to influence global events and exerts enormous influence in the Muslim world. Joining the Security Council would not change those things.


This unprecedented decision also signals the coming of age of Saudi Arabia’s forceful foreign policy and the methods it is willing to pursue to achieve its objectives. Out of necessity, the kingdom is reformulating its foreign policy to assess how best to solve the Syrian tragedy… this necessity is the result of deeper trends that are also guiding Saudi decisions: the lack of U.S. leadership in the region, regional turmoil sparked by the “Arab Awakening” and the new policy of Iranian rapprochement toward the West.


In short, the Saudis find themselves in a drastically different foreign policy situation than even one year ago, having essentially been left alone to maintain stability in the Arab world. Given the pressure of this predicament, the fundamental basis of the new Saudi foreign policy doctrine is about changing course from being protected by others to protecting themselves and their allies… It is clear…that the Saudis fully intend to pursue their national security interests much more assertively, even if that leads to a strategic break with the United States.




Jonathan Spyer

PJ Media, Oct. 24, 2013


Recent remarks by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have fueled renewed speculation of behind-the-scenes links between Israel and the Gulf monarchies. Netanyahu, speaking at the UN, said that “the dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran and the emergence of other threats in our region have led many of our Arab neighbors to recognize, finally recognize, that Israel is not their enemy.” He added: “This affords us the opportunity to overcome the historic animosities and build new relationships, new friendships, new hopes.”


There have been subsequent rumors of visits by senior Gulf officials to Israel, to discuss matters of common interest. While it is difficult to acquire details of these contacts at the present time, it is a near certainty that they exist, on one level or another. Conversations with Israeli officials suggest that much is happening behind the scenes. Israel and the key states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (most importantly, Saudi Arabia) share core views on the nature of key regional processes currently underway, and their desired outcome.  These commonalities have existed for some time, and it is likely that the contacts are themselves not all that new.


There are three areas in which Israel and the countries of the GCC (with the exception of Qatar) are on the same page. They are: the urgency of the threat represented by the prospect of a nuclear Iran, the danger represented by the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood over the last two years, and the perception that the United States fails to understand the urgency of these threats and, as a result, is acting in a naive and erroneous way on both.


On the Iranian nuclear issue, Riyadh is deeply troubled by the current Iranian ‘charm offensive’ and its apparent effects on the west.  Most importantly, the Saudis fear the prospect of a nuclear Iran, which could force Riyadh and the Gulf states to bend to its will, in return for guaranteeing the flow of oil through the Straits of Hormuz, and avoiding direct encroachment on their sources of energy. Saudi Arabia faces Iran, directly across the Gulf.  It is a far more fragile construction than its Shia, Persian neighbor.  Over the decades, Riyadh and the other Gulf states sought to balance Iranian encroachment of this type through alliance with the U.S. But the U.S. no longer seems such a reliable ally. So new strong and like-minded friends are needed.


On the Muslim Brotherhood, the Saudis feared the spread of this movement across the region, and were infuriated by the role of Qatar in supporting its successes in recent years. Israel, too, was deeply concerned at the prospect of a new alliance of Sunni Islamist states, with AKP-led Turkey and Morsi’s Egypt chief among them. Over the past year, the advance of the Muslim Brothers has been halted and partially reversed. In Tunisia and Egypt, the MB administrations have gone.  Qatar has a new, less activist emir.  The Muslim Brothers and Qatar have grown weaker among the Syrian rebels.

Saudi Arabia has been responsible for some of this, through financial support and political action. It has welcomed all of it.  So has Israel.


On the U.S.: the Saudis think that the current U.S. administration is hopelessly naive on the Middle East.  They were shocked at the abandonment of Hosni Mubarak of Egypt in 2011.  They are equally vexed at the current indications of American and Western willingness to lift some sanctions against Iran in return for cosmetic concessions that would leave the core of Teheran’s nuclear program intact.

The Saudis were the first to congratulate General Abd al-Fatah al Sissi following his military coup in early July.  They are utterly dismayed by the current U.S. withholding of part of Washington’s package of military aid to Cairo because of what the U.S. regards as the insufficiently speedy transition back to elections in Egypt. Again, Israel shares these perspectives. The absence of American leadership may well be the key factor in causing Israel and the Gulf states to draw closer.


On the face of it, any alliance between Jewish Israel and Salafi Saudi Arabia might appear an absurdity.  Israel is a liberal democracy and a Jewish state.  Saudi Arabia is a repressive absolute monarchy, based on a particular Salafi Muslim outlook which is deeply anti-Jewish and anti-Christian in nature…


But a clear distinction is made by the Saudis between the world of ideology/media/culture and the realm of raison d’etat.  Hence, there is no reason to think they would not be able to publicly vilify Israel, while maintaining off the radar links with it against more immediate enemies. In this regard, it is worth remembering the Wikileaks revelation of remarks made in private by Saudi King Abdullah to American General David Petraeus in April, 2008, in which he recommended military action against the Iranian nuclear program.  The king referred to Iran as the “head of the snake,” which should be cut off.   No similarly venomous remarks on Israel were quoted from the conversation, which took place far from the public eye.


Of course the common interests only go so far.  Saudi Arabia supports Salafi Islamist forces in both Syria and Egypt.  Saudi money finds its way to Salafi elements among the Palestinians.  But the areas of commonality are on issues of cardinal importance to both countries. The de facto, unseen alliance between Israel, Saudi Arabia and the GCC countries is one of the most intriguing structures currently emerging amid the whirling chaos of the Middle East.




Daniel Greenfield

Frontpage Magazine, October 28, 2013


There are things that Obama just doesn’t understand. Like math. And health care. And alliances. Alliances are as vital to foreign policy as a website that works is to online health care enrolment…


During his two terms, Obama has managed to wreck nearly every alliance the United States had. The only alliances that survived were so low-pressure that even he couldn’t manage to destroy them. Obama’s alliance vandalism pushed aside allies and courted enemies…


It took a lot for Obama to lose the Saudis, but now even they have turned on him. America’s greatest Middle Eastern frenemy was an enemy who pretended to be our ally. The frenemy game had paid off for Saudi Arabia with American soldiers being sent off to protect the House of Saud, but by Obama’s second term, the Saudis had figured out that they could do better by being our open enemies than by pretending to be our friends. The Saudis, who had always been noted for being subtle, stopped being subtle when a member of one of their think tanks openly declared, “We are learning from our enemies now how to treat the United States.” There is no better metric of contempt in a region where everyone wears a false face than honesty like that. The Saudis have decided that we are no longer even worth lying to. They believe that we have become so worthless that they can tell us what they really think of us. There’s no easier way to tell that you’ve hit bottom than when the people who have been sponging off you decide to move on like lice fleeing roadkill or rats abandoning a sinking ship.


For generations the Saudis piggybacked their foreign policy on the United States, (though American diplomats liked to fool themselves into thinking that it was the other way around), but now the Saudis have decided that the United States under Obama only serves as a willing tool for open enemies.From their Iranian Shiite enemies, they have learned that Obama only responds to confrontation and intimidation. If a country isn’t openly threatening to nuke the United States, it no longer gets listened to. So the Saudis have abandoned the behind-the-scenes diplomacy that they used to be so good at and have begun engaging in open confrontations.


Their United Nations Security Council tantrum and their warning that they will no longer even pretend to filter their arms shipments to the Syrian rebels through the CIA are their attempts at getting Obama’s attention by slapping him around. Considering the long history of Saudi political influence in the United States, it’s a sign of a complete breakdown in foreign policy that they really think that their best option for getting Obama to do what they want is to engage in public spats. It’s not that the United States should be doing what Saudi Arabia wants, which in this case involves bombing Syria, but it’s a profound failure of foreign policy when your allies are convinced that their only way to get your attention is by humiliating you in public and worse still when they expect it to work. The fault lies in a leader whose foreign policy is completely unmoored from realpolitik. Obama’s first and foremost consideration is his ideological program with no concern for the real world consequences of implementing it. That is as true of his foreign policy as it is of his domestic policy.


Obama has done to America’s allies what he did to America by trashing their interests for ideological reasons with no concern for their feelings. Ideology drives the Obama agenda. And American allies, like Americans, are expected to be grateful for the privilege of sacrificing their own interests for his political agenda. It hasn’t worked out that way in the real world. The millions of Americans who work for a living may have no other option but to endure the depredations of a radical activist, but American allies have begun making different arrangements. While America’s foreign policy agenda is weighed down with Green Energy and Muslim self-esteem, Russia is beginning to politically dominate the old territories of its red empire. The Middle East has imploded into war and violence. And Latin America is once again dominated by a bankrupt left.


None of this is good news… Obama may have traded national interests for ideology, but the rest of the world still has interests that it is not about to sacrifice for ideological constructs like the Arab Spring. American allies have lost their ability to communicate with Obama. They don’t understand how to reach him and explain that while he thinks the United States no longer has national interests, they still do…

On Topic



The U.S. Saudi Crackup Reaches a Dramatic Tipping Point: David Ignatius, Washington Post, Oct. 23, 2013 — The strange thing about the crackup in U.S.-Saudi relations is that it has been on the way for more than two years, like a slow-motion car wreck, but nobody in Riyadh or Washington has done anything decisive to avert it.

For Once, Saudi Arabia Has a Point: Father Raymond J. de Souza, National Post, Oct. 24, 2013— This week, United Nations diplomats are rubbing their eyes in disbelief over Saudi Arabia’s decision to decline a seat on the UN Security Council.

After Rejecting Security Council, What’s Next for Saudi Arabia: Khaled al-Dakhil, Al-Monitor,  Oct. 23, 2013— Saudi Arabia’s decision to turn down a seat on the UN Security Council surprised everyone and confused many.

Saudi Women Rise Up, Quietly, and Slide Into the Driver’s Seat: Ben Hubbard, New York Times, Oct. 26, 2013—Hackers defaced their Web site. Delegations of clerics appealed to the king to block their movement. And men claiming to be security agents called their cellphones to leave a clear message: O, women of the kingdom, do not get behind the wheel!


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

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


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America’s Impending Defeat in Syria: Barry Rubin, PJ Media, Aug. 27, 2013—It’s really pretty simple. The American people understandably don’t want to go to war with Syria — not to mention with Syria’s patron, Iran — and especially not for the goal of putting the Muslim Brotherhood and murderous Islamists into power there.


Syria Resolution Dies at U.N., and British Lawmakers Balk: Paul Richter and Henry Chu, LA Times, Aug. 28, 2013—The Obama administration's move to punish Syria's government for allegedly using chemical weapons in a deadly attack last week appeared to suffer a setback Wednesday when the U.S. failed to get United Nations approval for use of force and British support was thrown into question.


Moscow Muddle: Editorial, The Daily Star, August 29, 2013—According to Vladimir Putin, the world faces a “terrible precedent” and a development that could “shake the entire foundations of the international system,” should it come to pass.

Putin was not speaking about an impending military strike against the Syrian regime, but rather the possibility – back in 2000 – that countries would dare to support the independence of the Kosovo region. Needless to say, the international order did not collapse.


Threatening Israel: Editorial, Jerusalem Post, Aug.28, 2013—“If Damascus is attacked, Tel Aviv will burn,” a Syrian higher-up bristled this week. Israel, in light of such statements, cannot regard the escalating situation up north with the equanimity of a detached observer. There can be no passivity when a coterie of evil powers hurls deadly threats at Israel in the context of a struggle in which it is uninvolved.


What will the Syria Strikes Accomplish?: Max Boot, Commentary, Aug. 28, 2013—Yesterday I wrote about President Obama’s three options on Syria–light bombing designed to “send a message,” medium bombing combined with Special Operations raids to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, and heavy, sustained bombing in combination with ground action by rebel forces to topple Bashar Assad.



On Topic Links


Israeli Compassion Amidst Syrian Atrocities: Dave Sharma, Times of Israel, Aug. 28, 2013

Obama: I Have not yet Made Decision on Syria Strike: Michael Wilner, Maya Schwayder, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 29, 2013

Hezbollah Will Attack Israel if Strike Aims to Topple Assad: Hussein Dakroub, The Daily Star, Aug. 28, 2013

If  Bombs Hit Damascus, Israel Looks to Tehran: David Makovsky, Tablet Magazine, Aug. 28, 2013

Obama is Talking America into a War: George F. Will, National Post, Aug. 29, 2013




Barry Rubin

PJ Media, Aug. 27, 2013


It’s really pretty simple. The American people understandably don’t want to go to war with Syria — not to mention with Syria’s patron, Iran — and especially not for the goal of putting the Muslim Brotherhood and murderous Islamists into power there. Going to war is a serious matter, to say the least. There’s no assurance how long it will take, how many lives it will cost, and what turns it may take. And the Middle East has just had several examples of these wars.


Iraq and Afghanistan cost a lot of money and lives as they extended for a much longer time than had been expected. In addition, they derailed the Bush administration’s electoral fortunes and domestic programs. With the main emphasis of the Obama administration being a fundamental transformation of America, such distractions are not desired.


There is one other important consideration: the Obama administration does not accept the traditional diplomatic and great power strategies. It believes that it can reconcile with Islamist states, it does not comprehend deterrents, it does not keep faith with allies, and it does not believe in credibility, the belief that only power exerted can convince a foe of seriousness. Of course, that wouldn’t rule out a one-time targeted attack. But even if that were to be done, is America going to fight a full-scale war on the ground with allies–including al-Qaeda –which will never be satisfied and will always be eager to stab them in the back?


The administration has trapped itself with two problems: the rebels who are being supported in Syria are extreme radicals who may set off bloodbaths and regional instability if they win; and a challenge has been given to the very reckless forces of Iran, Syria, and Hizballah. When the United States threatens these three players, the response is always: “Make my day!”


So this is the situation, and the Obama administration is bluffing. It does not want to exert force and probably won’t. Iran and Syria would be quite willing to fight a war, but the United States–people and government–do not have the will to do so.


What is the best option for the Obama administration? To try to negotiate — as unlikely as it is — a deal in which some kind of interim or coalition arrangement would be arranged with Russia and Iran to make a transition from the current regime. Mainly, this means a stalling tactic. This could work, though, if the regime does not actually win the war. Aid to rebels and some gimmicks perhaps, but no decisive action. There is, however, still a problem — the two Syrian sides want to wipe each other out.


Why should the Russians and Iranians make a deal if they have a winning hand? No diplomatic arrangement is possible. In fact, the diplomatic option is fictional. To put it flatly, there is no alternative. It is not inconceivable that the White House would consider easing sanctions on the Iranian nuclear program to have a chance in Syria. What is likely then is stalling, with the probability that the civil war will settle into stagnation for several years and thus a de facto partition of Syria.


The United States simply can’t win given what it is willing to do. And in a great power standoff, that’s a very dangerous situation. Remember, though: Iran cannot be said to have won as long as the civil war is continuing. The administration can simply depend on denial, which should be sufficient for domestic purposes. Finally, ask yourself one question: will the United States under Obama dare a confrontation with Iran, Syria, and Russia to keep up American credibility, deterrence, and the confidence of allies who it is already opposing on Egypt? Of course not. This is a president who could barely decide to kill Osama bin Laden.




Paul Richter and Henry Chu

LA Times, Aug. 28, 2013


The Obama administration's move to punish Syria's government for allegedly using chemical weapons in a deadly attack last week appeared to suffer a setback Wednesday when the U.S. failed to get United Nations approval for use of force and British support was thrown into question. The collapse of diplomatic efforts aimed at securing a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Syria was expected. The British impediment was not.


The developments came as President Obama warned in a TV interview that chemical weapons "that can have devastating effects could be directed at us" and made clear he is considering limited military action against Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces. "I have no interest in any kind of open-ended conflict in Syria," Obama said on "PBS NewsHour." "But we do have to make sure that when countries break international norms on weapons like chemical weapons that could threaten us, that they are held accountable."


How soon such strikes might occur remained unclear after British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has repeatedly called for strong action on Syria, was unable to muster enough support from lawmakers to push ahead with a vote to approve military intervention. Members of Parliament from both his Conservative Party and the opposition Labor Party insisted that a vote be delayed until U.N. chemical experts now in Syria issue a report.


U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the team needed four days to complete its work. "It is essential to establish the facts," he said. "The team needs time to do its job." On Wednesday, the team visited the eastern Ghouta region northeast of Damascus, the zone that apparently was hit hardest by poison gas before dawn on Aug. 21. Assad's government is suspected of carrying out the attack, which killed hundreds….


In London, Parliament will consider a weaker-than-expected motion Thursday that deplores the use of chemical weapons and says that a humanitarian response might require "military action that is legal, proportionate and focused on saving lives by preventing and deterring further use of Syria's chemical weapons." It will also say that "every effort" should be made to win a U.N. blessing for any military response. Russia, which is Assad's primary international supporter, made it clear Wednesday that it would not support any Security Council move to censure Syria or sanction military action.


At the U.N., in a meeting of the five permanent members of the Security Council, British representatives had proposed a resolution condemning Syria's use of banned chemical agents and called for "all necessary measures" to respond to it. But Russia killed the proposal and foreclosed any further discussion, diplomats said. Harf said U.S. officials would consult other countries about possible military action as well as other options, and "will take appropriate actions to respond in the days ahead."


The White House got a vote of support from the 28-member North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the key Western military alliance. After a meeting of the group's policymaking arm, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in Brussels that the suspected use of poison gas "cannot go unanswered. Those responsible must be held accountable." His statement didn't commit NATO to joining a military operation but gave its blessing if one is launched, said Jorge Benitez, an analyst with the Atlantic Council of the United States and editor of the NATOsource blog. "They're saying, 'We support what you're going to do.' "


NATO members signalled fewer misgivings than before other recent U.S.-led interventions. Germany and Poland, which did not support the NATO-led air campaign against Moammar Kadafi's forces in Libya in 2011, supported the NATO statement on Syria, for example. The United States appears likely to have support from France, Britain, Turkey and at least four Persian Gulf states. The Arab League voted Tuesday to condemn Syria's apparent poison gas use but stopped short of supporting military action.


The U.N. special envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, told reporters in Geneva that an armed response without U.N. approval would be illegal under international law. He also said the Obama administration had not shared its evidence on the Assad government's alleged role in the attack. "We will be very, very, very interested to hear from them what this evidence they have is," Brahimi said. U.S. officials are expected to release an intelligence report as early as Thursday that they believe shows Syrian commanders ordered the use of chemical weapons.


On Capitol Hill, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said the White House's outreach to Congress "has, to date, not reached the level of substantive consultation." His office sent the administration a list of questions about potential U.S. entanglement in Syria, including whether Congress would be asked to appropriate more money should a military operation drag on. Boehner urged Obama to "personally make the case to the American people and Congress for how potential military action will secure American national security interests, preserve America's credibility, deter the future use of chemical weapons and, critically, be a part of our broader policy and strategy." Assad's government has denied responsibility for the attack, blaming rebels who have fought to oust him from power since early 2011.





The Daily Star, August 29, 2013


According to Vladimir Putin, the world faces a “terrible precedent” and a development that could “shake the entire foundations of the international system,” should it come to pass. Putin was not speaking about an impending military strike against the Syrian regime, but rather the possibility – back in 2000 – that countries would dare to support the independence of the Kosovo region. Needless to say, the international order did not collapse. In the post-Soviet era, Moscow has sought to protect allies that it inherited from the USSR, such as Yugoslavia (in the form of Serbia), Iraq and Libya. Now it’s Syria’s turn, and Russian officials are busy sending out confusing signals in a policy that appears to be a case of hoping for the best.


Russia has signalled that it will veto any resolution at the United Nations Security Council authorizing punishment of the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. However, Russian officials have also made it clear that their country doesn’t intend to act militarily if the West launches a military strike at Syrian regime targets.


Meanwhile, the Russians have taken the regime’s side on the issue of last week’s chemical weapons strikes. Moscow insisted that the attacks were the work of anti-government rebels, who apparently only have the technical ability to launch such projectiles into areas under their control, but not in the direction of military airports under the control of the regime. Russia’s stance of nearly unconditional support for Assad isn’t surprising, but the lack of forward thinking and leadership continue to puzzle some people.


Is Russia hugely confident that Assad’s forces will defeat the rebels and oversee a stable Syria in the wake of this victory? Moscow has begun evacuating Russian nationals, which doesn’t help its standing with Syrians who support the regime, after it alienated those Syrians who support the opposition. In the end, Russian officials are fond of showing how keen they are to protect their national interests, but their track record has been one of stubbornly hanging on, in the face of inevitable change.


For more than two years, Russia never managed to convince its Syrian ally that it should engage in meaningful change. Instead, it followed the regime mindset of reducing everything to a foreign-led conspiracy. Throughout all of the horrific carnage in Syria, Russia has declined to push forcefully in the direction of a political settlement, and is now faced with the prospect of international military action against its ally. And now, as Syrian officials make fiery statements of defiance, Russia is again following instead of leading, telling the world that it favors a diplomatic solution after doing nothing to see such a scenario come to pass.






Jerusalem Post, Aug.28, 2013


“If Damascus is attacked, Tel Aviv will burn,” a Syrian higher-up bristled this week. Israel, in light of such statements, cannot regard the escalating situation up north with the equanimity of a detached observer. There can be no passivity when a coterie of evil powers hurls deadly threats at Israel in the context of a struggle in which it is uninvolved. In a fairer existence, this alone ought to have unsettled the international community. But it is futile to expect fair-mindedness where Israel is concerned.


The anti-Israel bluster from Damascus, Tehran and Hezbollah strongholds in Lebanon appear to have disturbed none of the foreign statesmen or opinion-molders, whose alacrity to condemn Israel for any perceived transgression is nothing short of remarkable. Moreover, the veiled hints from Moscow about dire repercussions for the entire region in the event of an American attack on the Assad regime might imply warnings of punishment for Israel.


All the while, Israeli commentators strive to outdo each other with educated guesses about whether we are vulnerable, whether it would serve Bashar Assad’s interests to fire at us, whether we should retaliate and how. Much of the babble is superfluous. Regardless of what eventually happens, all Israelis should be deeply troubled by the profound indifference abroad to our lot – blameless as we are in the Syrian strife. The very fact that a neighboring state could be presumed to be held to ransom for events entirely outside control should shock world opinion. But it does not.


Israelis might be forgiven for suspecting the reaction would be radically different had any other country been similarly threatened for no fault of its own. Sadly we must come to terms with the likelihood that different criteria are applied to the Jewish state. This is disconcertingly reminiscent of our traumatic experience during the First Gulf War. Events then were also played out beyond the Israeli context. Nonetheless, Israel suffered repeated heavy missile attacks, including 40 Scud hits. The Iraqi warheads were aimed directly and unmistakably at civilian population centers.


Saddam Hussein’s raison d’être was that by targeting Israel he was hurting the US. In the view of all too many Middle Eastern despots and potentates, Israel is nothing but an American underling. At the time there was no audible international indignation. The only American response was to advocate Israeli restraint. Indeed Israel refrained from retaliating, thereby compromising its deterrence and underscoring its vulnerabilities for the sake of American interests. But there was no gratitude for Israel’s sacrifices.


Washington only pressured Israel for territorial concessions, never counted Saddam’s anti-Israel aggression among his sins and treated Israel largely as a mistress whose favors are required but must never be publicly acknowledged. The Obama administration might well want Israel to reprise this role. It is precisely this behavior that Israel must under no circumstances repeat. This time Israel has made it clear – through pronouncements by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz – that this country and its people will not be pawns in the wars that others wage.


Notice has been duly served to friend and foe alike and to all shades in between that Israel will not again consent to being a whipping boy. If anything can daunt the Shi’ite axis that buttresses Assad, along with his more distant supporters in Russia and China, it is such an unequivocal message from Israel. Some Assad-watchers in Israel maintain that he understands quite well that the Israel of 2013 is not the Israel of 1990. They note that it would make no sense for him to strike out against Israel because he knows that vigorous Israeli retribution would seal his fate.


The experts are right – in rational terms. We, however, heard precisely such learned estimations immediately before the first American invasion of Iraq, and they, too, sounded eminently reasonable… to us. The problem is that this region does not operate according to our logic.





Max Boot

Commentary, Aug. 28, 2013


Yesterday I wrote about President Obama’s three options on Syria–light bombing designed to “send a message,” medium bombing combined with Special Operations raids to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, and heavy, sustained bombing in combination with ground action by rebel forces to topple Bashar Assad. All of the news coverage since yesterday morning makes clear that–unless the administration is engaging in strategic deception on a gigantic scale–only the lightest of light options is likely to be implemented.


News accounts suggest that the likeliest scenario is a few days of strikes employing cruise missiles fired from warships in the Mediterranean safely out of the range of Syrian retaliation. Their target list would not include the actual depots where chemical weapons are stored but “would instead be aimed at military units that have carried out chemical attacks, the headquarters overseeing the effort and the rockets and artillery that have launched the attacks.”


The amount of damage that will be done, if only Tomahawk cruise missiles are used, will be strictly limited since they carry relatively small warheads of 260-370 pounds, compared with 500-pound, 1,000-pound, 2,000-pound, and even 15,000-pound bombs (the BLU-82 “Daisy Cutter”) that can be carried by aircraft. The use of airdropped munitions can make it possible to penetrate bunkers and incinerate chemical weapons stockpiles without risking the dispersion of the deadly weapons. And even if aircraft were to be employed, they would have to bomb for considerable periods to achieve any strategic effects–witness the 78 days of bombing of Kosovo in 1999 or the even longer bombing of Libya in 2011.


A few days of attacks with cruise missiles is a pinprick strike reminiscent of Bill Clinton’s attacks on al-Qaeda and Iraq in 1998. What did those strikes achieve? Precisely nothing beyond blowing up a poor pharmaceutical plant in Sudan wrongly suspected of manufacturing, ironically, chemical weapons. Actually, worse than nothing: those strikes, which Osama bin Laden survived easily, convinced him that the U.S. was a “weak horse” that could be defied with impunity.


Similar strikes would likely have a similar effect in Syria: It would convince Bashar Assad, and a lot of other people in the region, that he successfully defied the superpower. It could have, in other words, the effect of enhancing Assad’s aura of power–precisely the opposite of what Obama intends.


The U.S. goal in Syria, as enunciated by no less than the president himself, is to topple Assad and to end the suffering created by the Syrian civil war. That will not be achieved with cruise missiles. It will require months of bombing, combined with the arming, training, and coordination of rebel forces. Even a lesser goal of destroying Assad’s chemical weapons stockpiles–a reasonable objective given the strategic threat posed by WMD–would require weeks of bombing combined with commando raids. A few days of cruise missile strikes, by contrast, will only make the U.S. appear to be a weak, posturing giant.


On Topic


Israeli Compassion Amidst Syrian Atrocities: Dave Sharma, Times of Israel, Aug. 28, 2013—Some 72 Syrian patients have been admitted to Ziv Medical Center in Safed in northern Israel since February. If they had remained in Syria, most would have died or been left permanently incapacitated.


Obama: I Have not yet Made Decision on Syria Strike: Michael Wilner, Maya Schwayder, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 29, 2013

US President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he had not yet made a decision on intervention in Syria, acknowledging that military engagement in the country would not stop the killing of innocent civilians, but stressing the need to deter the use of chemical weapons.


Hezbollah Will Attack Israel if Strike Aims to Topple Assad: Hussein Dakroub, The Daily Star, Aug. 28, 2013—A massive military strike by the United States and its Western allies on Syria aimed at changing the balance of power in the country will likely trigger a swift intervention by Hezbollah, political analysts and sources close to the group said Tuesday.


If  Bombs Hit Damascus, Israel Looks to Tehran: David Makovsky, Tablet Magazine, Aug. 28, 2013—Amid the killing in Syria, Lebanon and Egypt—three of Israel’s four borders—one senior security official recently likened Israel to a “coffee shop in the middle of a slaughterhouse.” The US has widely advertised its pending missile strikes on Syria.


Obama is Talking America into a War: George F. Will, National Post, Aug. 29, 2013—Barack Obama’s foreign policy dream — cordial relations with a Middle East tranquilized by “smart diplomacy” — is in a death grapple with reality. His rhetorical writhings illustrate the perils of loquacity. He has a glutton’s rather than a gourmet’s appetite for his own rhetorical cuisine, and has talked America to the precipice of a fourth military intervention in the crescent that extends from Libya to Afghanistan.



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

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La victoire de Rohani :

un cadeau empoisonné pour l’Occident

Freddy Eytan

Le CAPE de Jérusalem, 6 juin 2013


La victoire imprévue d’Hassan Rohani et la participation massive des Iraniens aux élections prouvent que les sanctions occidentales imposées à Téhéran sont douloureuses et efficaces. Le peuple iranien souhaite vraiment le changement et en a ras le bol de l’isolement de son pays dans l’arène internationale. Il a trop souffert de la politique désastreuse menée ces dernières années par le grotesque et l’extravagant illuminé Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.


En évitant de descendre dans la rue et d’affronter les Gardiens de la Révolution, les Iraniens pensent par un vote sanction populaire réussir à faire sortir leur pays de la quarantaine et pouvoir renouveler le dialogue régional et international. Cette approche naïve mais sincère est en fait l’idée manigancée par le Guide spirituel, l’Ayatollah Khamenei. Pour apaiser la grogne et la contestation, il a choisi avec la ruse et la manipulation un nouveau président qui aux yeux du monde arabe et des Occidentaux représente le compromis et une certaine modération par rapport à son prédécesseur et ses concurrents malheureux. Qu’on ne se trompe pas, Rohani fait partie de la classe religieuse chiite et agit en connivence avec le chef de l’Etat.


La communauté internationale, notamment la France et les Etats-Unis, s’est empressée de réagir favorablement à l’élection de Rohani comme s’il s’agissait de résultats démocratiques. Leurs réactions hâtives rappellent celles prononcées juste après les révoltes intervenues en Tunisie, en Libye et en Egypte, les qualifiants naïvement de « Printemps arabe »…


Certes, le peuple iranien n’est pas notre ennemi. L’Iran bouge lentement et dans le bon sens, et nous devons encourager la jeune génération, celle de Facebook et de Twitter, à intervenir dans les décisions gouvernementales et rejeter toute tentative des ayatollahs de plonger l’Iran dans l’obscurantisme du Moyen-âge, mais à l’évidence, l’Iran demeure une théocratie chiite et son souverain sera toujours considéré comme le représentant d’Allah jusqu’au jour où un véritable changement démocratique écartera définitivement tous les ayatollahs. D’ici là, vigilance et prudence obligent. Rohani sera jugé par ses actes, par ses réformes et son pouvoir de résister au guide spirituel. Un désaveu pourra également renforcer le désespoir, la frustration et la contestation dans les rues. 


Devant le cadeau empoisonné qu’offre ayatollah Khamenei à l’Occident, notre tâche se complique et nous laisse quasiment seuls dans notre combat existentiel. Nous devons poursuivre sans relâche notre objectif d’empêcher l’Iran de se doter de l’arme nucléaire, et prouver au monde que l’Iran change peut-être de tactique en cherchant à abolir les sanctions et à sortir de son isolement, mais son idéologie et son but n’ont pas changé de cap. La stratégie des ayatollahs demeure la même, à savoir « faire flotter l’étendard chiite au Moyen-Orient et libérer toute la Palestine des occupants sionistes par tous les moyens ». L’intervention iranienne en Syrie et la participation du Hezbollah aux côtés du régime d’Assad pour libérer ensuite le Golan et la Palestine font partie de cette stratégie chiite. Les Etats-Unis et l’Europe peuvent donner une certaine chance à Rohani mais doivent à tout prix éviter de tomber dans le piège tendu par des ayatollahs aux commandes depuis 1979. 



Israël-Autorité palestinienne :

des relations économiques en quête d’horizon politique

Nathalie Hamou

juif.org, 20 juin 2013


Avec le gel des négociations, le concept de «paix économique» a fait long feu. Très dépendante d’Israël, l’économie palestinienne peine à trouver des débouchés. Mais le secteur privé explore de nouvelles voies.


Ramallah et Jérusalem parviendront-elles à relancer leur coopération économique ? Tel est du moins le souhait des ministres des finances israélien et palestinien qui ont annoncé dimanche 16 juin leur intention de renforcer leurs liens. A l’issue d’une rencontre organisée après plusieurs mois d’interruption, Yaïr Lapid et son homologue de l’Autorité Palestinienne, Shoukri Bishara, ont décidé de rétablir les réunions régulières sur des questions techniques « comme les points de passage (…), la fourniture de carburants, d’électricité et d’eau aux Palestiniens et le financement des soins des Palestiniens dans les hôpitaux israéliens », selon un communiqué palestinien.


Un changement de climat qui n’augure pas forcément d’un réchauffement majeur… Signe des temps, lors de la conférence annuelle « Facing Tomorrow » qui se tient du 18 au 20 juin à Jérusalem à l’initiative du Président de l’Etat hébreu, Shimon Pérès, fervent défenseur d’une solution à deux Etats, un seul intervenant palestinien a figuré au menu des deux journées. A en croire les organisateurs de la manifestation à laquelle assistent Bill Clinton ou encore Tony Blair, des invitations ont bien été envoyées côté palestinien, mais les intéressés ont décliné. « A l’heure où le processus de paix reste au point mort (Ndlr : depuis septembre 2009), aucune figure palestinienne ne peut prendre le risque de cautionner un semblant de normalisation avec Israël », souffle un observateur.


D’évidence, les relations économiques entre Israël et les Territoires palestiniennes, régies par les Accords de Paris (1994), n’ont jamais cessé d’exister. Au point que l’économie palestinienne reste largement dépendante d’Israël. L’an dernier, les exportations de produits industriels et agricoles de l’Autorité palestinienne (Cisjordanie) vers l’Etat hébreu, se sont élevées à 550 millions de dollars, soit environ 76% du total. Tandis que les exportations israéliennes (secteurs industriels et agricoles, hors marchandises en simple transit) ont atteint 670 millions de dollars, sur un total supérieur à 40 milliards. « Simplement, il existe une tension entre la sphère publique et privée », note Dan Catarivas, responsable des relations internationales au sein de l’Association des Industriels israéliens.


De fait, le politique interfère régulièrement sur les échanges entre les deux entités. Ces derniers mois, l’Autorité palestinienne a ainsi connu une crise budgétaire, en raison du désengagement des bailleurs de fonds de certains pays arabes ; mais aussi, du fait de la saisie pendant quatre mois des taxes collectées par Israël pour le compte des Palestiniens, suite à la décision de Mahmoud Abbas de demander un statut d’Etat observateur aux Nations-Unies.


Plus généralement, c’est le concept de « paix économique », cher au premier ministre israélien Benyamin Netanyahou, qui semble avoir fait long feu. « Depuis quatre ans, les officiels palestiniens font valoir que la paix économique risque de se substituer à la paix politique et l’ont rejetée, poursuit Dan Catarivas. Ils essayent de réduire les relations économiques avec Israël car à leurs yeux, ces échanges ne font que cautionner l’occupation israélienne. Mais dans les faits, ce raisonnement ne tient pas. Ce qui ne veut pas dire qu’il ne faille pas explorer des voies pour réduire la dépendance de l’économie palestinienne à l’égard d’Israël ».


A en croire ce responsable, les Palestiniens n’ont pour l’heure pas d’autre choix que d’acheter des produits de base israéliens. Pour autant, Israël fournit du travail à plus de 30.000 Palestiniens dans ses zones industrielles, et à 22.500 autres dans ses implantations situées au-delà de la ligne verte, à un niveau salaire trois à quatre fois plus élevé que celui versé par les employeurs palestiniens.


Reste que la rhétorique est bel et bien en train de changer. Lors du dernier Forum économique mondial, qui s’est tenu fin mai sur la rive jordanienne de la mer morte, quelque 300 hommes d’affaires palestiniens et israéliens, à l’origine de l’initiative « Briser l’impasse », ont appelé leurs dirigeants à se rassoir à la table des négociations : un préalable selon eux à la relance de la coopération économique. Ce qui n’empêche pas nombre d’opérateurs du secteur privé de travailler ensemble malgré le « Mur » qui les sépare. A l’image de l’entreprise israélienne Mellanox, qui fait de l’outsourcing avec des programmeurs de Ramallah. Selon PITA, qui chapeaute le secteur high tech palestinien, pas moins de 500 ingénieurs de Cisjordanie, s’inscrivent déjà dans ce schéma…



Un Etat palestinien serait en

contradiction avec la Charte de l’ONU

Zvi Tenney

terredisrael.com, 19 juin 2013


Voici quelques remarques à ce sujet émises dernièrement par des juristes en droit international qui pourraient surprendre nombreux….Certes cela ne peut changer la perception courante et actuelle du conflit, mais il n’empêche qu’il est intéressant d’avoir ces remarques en mémoire, surtout quand on pense à la solution de ce conflit en coopération avec la Jordanie.


L’ONU a dans sa Charte la résolution 80 qui, lorsqu’elle a été votée, a officieusement été appelée la « clause du peuple juif « , car elle conserve intacts tous les droits accordés aux Juifs par le Mandat britannique pour la Palestine, même après l’expiration dudit mandat les 14/ 15 mai 1948.


Cette résolution 80 de la charte de l’ONU a force de traité international car la Charte des Nations Unies dans son entier est un traité international. Appliquée à la Palestine, elle explique que les droits qui ont été donnés aux Juifs sur la terre d’Israël ne peuvent être modifiés d’aucune façon, sauf si un accord de tutelle entre les États ou parties concernés avait transformé le mandat en tutelle, ou en « territoire sous tutelle ».


En vertu du chapitre 12 de la même Charte, l’ONU avait une fenêtre de trois ans pour cela, entre le 24 Octobre 1945 (date où la Charte des Nations Unies est entrée en vigueur) et le 14/15 mai 1948, date où le mandat a expiré, et l’Etat d’Israël a été proclamé.

Comme aucun accord de ce type n’a été passé pendant ces trois ans, les droits donnés aux juifs sous le mandat britannique sur la Palestine ont force exécutoire, et l’ONU se doit de respecter cet article 80 qu’elle n’est d’ailleurs pas autorisée à modifier.


L’ONU n’a donc aucune possibilité de transférer ou de reconnaître le transfert d’une partie des droits qui ont été donnés au peuple juif sur la Palestine à une entité non juive, en l’occurrence, à l’Autorité palestinienne. Tous les juristes de l’ONU le savent, et buttent sur cette résolution incontournable.


Parmi les plus importants des droits conférés aux Juifs, figurent ceux de l’article 6 du Mandat qui reconnaît aux Juifs le droit « d’immigrer librement sur la terre d’Israël et d’y établir des colonies de peuplement « . Ce droit, comme mentionné plus haut, est totalement protégé par l’article 80 de la Charte des Nations Unies .Il faut rappeler que sous le mandat britannique, toute la Palestine était réservée à l’établissement du foyer national juif et du futur Etat juif indépendant, en confirmation de ce qui avait été décidé lors de la conférence de paix de San Remo en Avril 1920.


Aucune partie de la Palestine concernée par le mandat britannique (soit la Cisjordanie, après la création de la Jordanie), n’a été donnée pour la création d’un Etat arabe.


Les droits des Arabes à l’autodétermination leur ont été accordés ailleurs : en Syrie, en Irak, en Arabie, en Egypte, en Afrique du Nord et en Jordanie (après l’accord spécial modifiant le dit Mandat comme mentionné plus haut). Il a été créé en conséquence 21 Etats arabes sur un immense territoire qui va du golfe Persique à l’océan Atlantique.


Il n’y a donc aucune possibilité de créer un Etat arabe supplémentaire indépendant en Cisjordanie, territoires de la Palestine mandataire réservée à l’autodétermination juive.


Créer un tel état sur ces terres attribuées aux juifs serait illégal en vertu de l’article 80 de la Charte des Nations Unies, et outrepasserait l’autorité juridique que l’ONU s’est elle-même donnée…Et cela, en dépit de sa tendance et de sa volonté politique !







La fête de la liberté – Pessah 5773

Baruch Cohen



A la mémoire de Malca z”l

Pessah est une histoire d’espoir (Élie Wiesel)


Pessah, Pâque, est la fête de la liberté. Se réunir autour de la table du Seder fournit un sentiment de chaleur et de joie.


La Haggada est l’histoire d’un événement vivant, non pas la compilation d’un fait disparu. Quand nous récitons la Haggada nous nous rappelons, nous nous identifions de façon unique et personnelle avec le ici et le maintenant.


Historiquement, l’esprit de Pessah représente un symbole glorieux du combat pour la dignité

 humaine, la quête éternelle pour la liberté et la justice.


Durant des siècles de difficultés, nous, Juifs, avons trouvé une force renouvelée et l’espoir dans l’histoire de Pessah. Chacun, à chaque génération, doit se considérer comme ayant été personnellement libéré de l’esclavage. De notre passé nous renouvelons la force et la confiance du combat pour la victoire ultime : Eretz Israel, Israel.


Autour de la table du Seder, nous racontons les événements de notre longue histoire, et nous retrouvons la confiance dans notre conviction que la justice et la liberté l’emporteront pour tous.


La lecture de la Haggada réaffirme notre confiance en nous-mêmes et notre conviction que le Dieu d’Israël apportera amour et justice à Israël et à toute l’humanité.


Hag Pessah Sameah


Joyeux Pessah à toute la Maison d’Israël et à tous les contributeurs et amis de ICRJ.


Toute concession rapproche l’Iran de la bombe atomique

Dore Gold

Le CAPE de Jérusalem, 14 mars 2013


Les informations médiatiques sur les dernières négociations des pays occidentaux (« P5+1 ») avec l’Iran, tenues récemment au Kazakhstan, ont été positives de manière surprenante. Le Washington Post du 27 février dernier en soulignait le ton positif tandis que Saad Jalili, le représentant iranien, déclarait aux correspondants étrangers que les deux parties étaient arrivées à « un tournant » dans les négociations. Cet optimisme béat est-il vraiment justifié ?


Jalili défend bien entendu les intérêts iraniens, mais il a expliqué que les Etats-Unis font actuellement de nouvelles concessions qui les rapprochent de Téhéran. Selon le Wall Street journal, le comportement iranien autour de la table des négociations a été influencé par la décision de Washington de réduire à un seul le nombre de porte-avions américains dans le Golfe persique, ce qui affaiblit le pouvoir de l’Occident à négocier.


Le Washington Post a également adopté une ligne critique à l’égard de l’administration Obama. Dans son éditorial publié le 28 janvier, il se pose la question en ces termes : « les Etats-Unis s’agenouillent-ils devant l’Iran ? » Le journal rappelle qu’au cours des précédentes négociations, tenues à Bagdad en mai 2012, le forum des Etats « P5+1 » a exigé de l’Iran de fermer définitivement l’installation souterraine de Fordue, spécialisée dans l’enrichissement de l’uranium. Les puissances occidentales avaient aussi insisté sur le fait que l’Iran retire toutes ses réserves d’uranium enrichi à 20% pour les acheminer hors du pays. Cependant, lors des négociations au Kazakhstan, les pays occidentaux se sont contentés de suspendre l’activité de l’installation à Fordue sans exiger sa fermeture. Selon certaines informations, l’Iran pourra également garder une partie de l’uranium enrichi à 20%.


Il semble que les Iraniens cherchent à atténuer les positions des pays principalement européens afin de pouvoir exercer des pressions sur Washington pour qu’elle fasse des concessions supplémentaires. La chargée des Affaires étrangères de l’Union européenne, Catherine Ashton, utilise d’ailleurs un langage différent de celui du Secrétaire d’Etat américain John Kerry, qui déclarait que « le temps presse pour une solution diplomatique ».


Au cours d’une Conférence pour les Affaires sécuritaires tenue à Munich au début du mois dernier, Ashton a refusé d’adopter une position claire et ferme à ce sujet. Il semble qu’elle reflète une vision européenne commune, selon laquelle les négociations avec l’Iran doivent se poursuivre à tout prix, même si elles ne pourront conduire à des résultats concrets.

La position israélienne sur ce sujet est bien connue mais celle de l’Arabie Saoudite est aussi intéressante et claire. Lors d’une conférence de presse commune tenue le 4 mars dernier à Riyad avec John Kerry, le prince Saoud al-Faysal, ministre des Affaires étrangères d’Arabie saoudite, a déclaré que les pourparlers avec l’Iran ne peuvent pas durer éternellement, et a-t-il ajouté : « les négociations doivent s’achever à un certain moment ».


Il a souligné que les Iraniens manquent de sérieux dans leurs discussions avec l’Occident et précisé : « ils poursuivent leurs négociations uniquement pour les maintenir. Nous nous trouverons un jour face à des armes nucléaires, et donc nous ne pouvons permettre que cela se produise. » La vision réaliste des Saoudiens est liée sans doute à leur position stratégique : l’Arabie Saoudite est entourée de satellites chiites bénéficiant d’un soutien direct de Téhéran.


Rappelons certains faits : au Yémen, un troisième navire transportant des missiles et des katiouchas en provenance d’Iran destinés au rebelles chiites a été arraisonné et la cargaison confisquée. En Irak, le Premier ministre Nourri al-Maliki est considéré par l’Arabie Saoudite comme un agent des Ayatollahs. Et au Bahreïn, les forces de sécurité viennent d’accuser les Gardiens de la Révolution de la planification d’attaques terroristes dans le pays, situé à 25 kms seulement de la province orientale de l’Arabie Saoudite.


Dans ce contexte, et face aux tentatives des Ayatollahs de semer la terreur au sein même de l’Arabie Saoudite, il n’est pas surprenant que les Saoudiens parlent en connaissance de cause. Ils connaissent parfaitement la ruse iranienne et la technique de négociation qui permet de gagner du temps et de progresser ainsi vers l’arme atomique.


De nombreux experts estiment à ce sujet que Téhéran adopterait la même stratégie que la Corée du Nord puisque elle rejette la supervision de l’Agence internationale d’énergie atomique (AIEA) et agit en conséquence pour pouvoir achever rapidement l’enrichissement de l’uranium à un niveau militaire. C’est justement pour ces raisons que le Premier ministre Benyamin Netanyahou a défini une ligne rouge en ce qui concerne l’uranium enrichi à 20%, quantité qui permet la fabrication d’une bombe (d’environ 225 kgs).


L’Iran poursuit donc son projet dans le cadre d’une nouvelle stratégie qui permet l’installation d’un nombre considérable, et sans précédent, de centrifugeuses dans l’usine de Natanz. Certaines sont sophistiquées pour accélérer la production d’uranium enrichi et produire plusieurs bombes.


Téhéran a donc réussi à ce jour à obtenir des Européens des concessions supplémentaires face à la fermeté américaine et israélienne. l est clair qu’en observant les manigances de l’Iran dans notre région, toute concession de la part de l’Occident encouragera le comportement agressif de l’Iran.


Iran-Egypte : Les enjeux des relations sunnites-chiites

Michel Segall

Le CAPE de Jérusalem, 20 mars 2013


Le « printemps arabe » a aggravé le conflit entre les Etats arabes et l’Iran. Tandis que l’Iran continue à observer les manifestations islamiques pour promouvoir ses objectifs hégémoniques, les bouleversements dans le monde arabe ont en fait élargi le fossé entre Téhéran et les capitales arabes. Cette profonde divergence est due principalement au soutien sans équivoque de l’Iran à la Syrie d’Assad et à l’opposition chiite au Bahreïn.


La participation d’Ahmadinejad à la conférence de l’OCI tenue au Caire le 5 février 2013 a mis en lumière le grand écart existant entre les camps chiites iraniens et les camps sunnites arabes. Ces derniers sont engagés dans un processus de consolidation : le resserrement des rangs dans le monde arabe augmente les conflits entre les Etats arabes et l’Iran. Les pays arabes de la région s’opposent farouchement aux interventions iraniennes dans leurs affaires internes et déjouent les tentatives de fomenter le chaos et l’instabilité dans leurs régimes.


Cependant, l’Iran réalise que l’Egypte est toujours plongée dans une révolution islamique inachevée mais qu’elle demeure encore sous influence des Etats arabes « modérés » – l’Arabie saoudite et les Etats du Golfe – et maintient ses relations avec les Etats-Unis et Israël.


Cette donne n’indique pas un changement significatif dans l’hostilité fondamentale iranienne envers l’Egypte et les autres pays arabes de la région, toujours considérés comme faisant partie du camp occidental.

Les progrès réalisés par l’Iran dans son programme nucléaire augmentent les craintes des Etats arabes. Ils redoutent en effet qu’un Iran nucléarisé ne sème la subversion politique, la terreur et les graines de la révolution chiite. Ces craintes sont de nature à renforcer l’unité du camp arabe dans sa confrontation avec l’Iran.


La dernière visite du président iranien en Egypte, première effectuée depuis la révolution islamique, fut destinée au départ à être une première étape vers l’amélioration des relations bilatérales à la suite de la révolution islamique et le renversement du régime de Hosni Moubarak. En fait, cette visite a mis au jour les tensions entre les deux pays concernant le leadership régional et a approfondi les désaccords fondamentaux entre sunnites et chiites.


Cette visite a été publiquement humiliante pour le président iranien lors de la conférence de presse tenue avec les hauts responsables d’Al-Azhar, où une chaussure lui a été jetée dessus… Cette humiliation a été fortement critiquée à Téhéran et d’ailleurs aucun représentant du dirigeant suprême Ali Khamenei ne s’est présenté à l’aéroport pour accueillir Ahmadinejad à son retour.


Le « péché originel »  de l’Egypte demeure, aux yeux des Iraniens, la décision historique du Président Sadate d’ouvrir la voie à la normalisation des relations avec Israël. Il s’agit pour les ayatollahs d’une trahison pure et simple du monde arabo-musulman. Ainsi Téhéran a rompu ses relations diplomatiques avec le Caire après la signature du traité de paix et suite à l’asile politique donné au Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.


Rappelons la glorification de l’assassin d’Anouar el-Sadate, Khalid Islambouli, dont une rue de Téhéran porte le nom ; un timbre fut même créé à son effigie. En outre, l’Iran a mené des activités subversives en Egypte et a utilisé le Hezbollah libanais pour coordonner son aide militaire et financière au Hamas et au Djihad islamique palestinien à Gaza.

En 2009, un réseau du Hezbollah a été arrêté pour avoir planifié des attaques terroristes et avoir propagé le chiisme en Egypte. Des contraintes ont été imposées par Moubarak sur les activités des chiites dans le pays.


Aujourd’hui, malgré la montée des islamistes, l’Egypte de Morsi continue d’entraver les ambitions régionales de l’Iran. La stabilisation du régime égyptien dirigé par les Frères musulmans ajoute un élément religieux idéologique dans la lutte pour l’hégémonie dans le monde arabe et cette situation ne fait qu’amplifier les différences entre l’Egypte et l’Iran en soulignant la rivalité historique entre sunnites et chiites en Syrie, au Bahreïn, en Irak, en Arabie saoudite et en Afrique du Nord, et bien évidemment en Egypte.


En conclusion, les relations irano-égyptiennes demeurent tendues et la visite du président iranien au Caire n’a pas contribué à rapprocher les positions ni à renouveler les liens entre les deux Etats. Cette visite a révélé le grand écart existant entre les camps chiites et les camps sunnites ; une confrontation latente et historique qui se réalise quotidiennement sur le terrain, principalement en Syrie.


Enfin, soulignons que l’Arabie saoudite et le Qatar contribuent dans ce sens et empêchent l’Egypte de tomber dans les bras de l’Iran. Dans le pays des ayatollahs, les prochaines élections détermineront l’avenir des relations avec le Caire mais à ce stade rien n’indique que la page tumultueuse entre les deux pays soit tournée.


Pessah à l’espagnole

Sandra Ores

Menapress.org, 25 mars 2013


Pessah, fête juive en l’honneur de la libération des Hébreux du joug égyptien aux temps bibliques, sera célébrée, ce soir, dans le village de Galice de Ribadavia. Evènement notable, car cette commune du nord-ouest de l’Espagne de cinq mille cinq cents âmes n’avait pas fêté Pessah depuis… 1492.


Jusqu’à cette date, Ribadavia abritait une forte présence juive, comme le reste de la province et de la péninsule Ibérique par ailleurs. Les Israélites d’Espagne représentèrent, jusqu’au XVème siècle, l’une des plus importantes et des plus prospères communautés de diaspora. Mais pendant la période de l’Inquisition, ils furent forcés de choisir entre la conversion ou la fuite du royaume catholique d’Espagne.


Cinq siècles plus tard, pas une famille juive n’habite encore les lieux. Cependant, depuis plus d’une décennie, Ribadavia a décidé d’embrasser son héritage culturel juif ainsi qu’une partie intégrante de son histoire ; et de se rapprocher de traditions ancestrales qui participaient du caractère du village aux temps anciens.


Chaque année, depuis le milieu du XXème siècle, la ville se livre à la Festa da Istoria, la fête de l’histoire, le dernier samedi d’août. A l’occasion de cet évènement aux couleurs médiévales, les rues se décorent au goût du Moyen-âge, la population enfile des vêtements d’époque, et un tournoi de chevaliers est organisé.


Le caractère juif est érigé au premier plan : des comédiens s’adonnent à une mise en scène rituelle de noces juives, de même qu’à une représentation, sur les planches, d’un procès de l’Inquisition. "C’est un spectacle folklorique et touristique", me raconte Abraham Haïm ; Haïm est l’instigateur  du seder de Ribadavia, le dîner rituel de Pessah, qui se déroulera ce soir, le premier jour de la fête1, en partenariat avec la mairie et le Centre d’Etudes Médiévales de Ribadavia.


Abraham Haim est un Israélien d’origine espagnole, docteur en histoire établi à Jérusalem. Eu égard à son action de relais entre les associations culturelles espagnoles et Israël, il a été nommé président d’honneur dudit Centre d’Etudes Médiévales. "Grâce à la tenue de cette soirée particulière, je souhaite montrer une tradition dans les conditions réelles et contemporaines, afin de permettre à des non Juifs de vivre une expérience in situ", m’explique-t-il ; poursuivant : "il s’agira d’un évènement authentique, avec de la matza (le pain azyme non levé), des salades, du poisson grillé, une soupe aux légumes ; je ferai la prière". Le dîner est ouvert à tous, sous condition de s’y inscrire.


Haïm estime qu’il rassemblera une population quasi unanimement non juive. Même sa famille n’aura pas l’occasion de participer à la fête. Le dîner se tiendra dans un restaurant du quartier juif de la ville, un arrondissement historique, conservé dans son aspect ancestral.


Ribadavia fut la première d’une vingtaine de cités espagnoles, depuis une décennie, à s’être investies dans la promotion de son patrimoine culturel juif longtemps mis de côté. Elle fait partie, avec entre autres Tolède, Besalu ou Caseres, de l’association Red de Juderias, le réseau des Juifs. L’objectif de ce projet consiste à faire connaître, au niveau international, l’héritage juif des villes membres.


Par des initiatives culturelles et artistiques, telles l’ouverture de musées, la rénovation architecturale ou la promotion d’anciens quartiers juifs, ces villes illustrent la fierté qu’elles retirent d’un passé dans lequel ont pris part les Israélites.


Abraham Haïm me rapporte qu’à Ribadavia, certains marranes, ou conversos3 (convertis), revendiquent ouvertement leurs origines juives. Le mot péjoratif marrane, signifiant porc en espagnol, désigne usuellement les Juifs qui se sont convertis au christianisme pendant l’Inquisition tout en conservant, secrètement, leurs traditions juives.


Si les coutumes ont pu se perdre au fil des siècles, chez certaines familles, l’identité s’est transmise à travers les générations. Des études montrent qu’environ 20% de la population espagnole moderne possèderait une ascendance hébraïque.


Ces revendications identitaires librement décidées sont récentes. C’est qu’en Espagne, à partir de 1492, alors que le décret d’Alhambra ordonne l’expulsion des Juifs d’Espagne, et pendant le plus clair de la durée de l’Inquisition jusqu’à son abolition au milieu du XIXème siècle, s’adonner à des pratiques juives ou se revendiquer de la religion mosaïque pouvait mener au bûcher.


En 1869, une nouvelle constitution fut enfin votée en Espagne, qui rétablit, officiellement, la liberté religieuse. A partir de ce moment, se reforma lentement une population juive en Espagne, venue, dans un premier temps, notamment du Maroc, terre d’accueil où quelques milliers d’exilés ibères avaient trouvé refuge plusieurs siècles auparavant.


Quelques deux mille Juifs gagnèrent également le pays après la Première Guerre mondiale, notamment des Turcs, à la suite de la chute de l’Empire ottoman. Au XXIème siècle, une immigration en provenance d’Amérique du Sud vint augmenter le nombre d’Israélites. Selon la Fédération des Communautés Juives Espagnoles, et comme le soutient Abraham Haïm, ils seraient aujourd’hui entre quarante et cinquante mille.


Autour de Ribadavia, en Galice, quelques petites communautés juives existent, notamment dans le port de pêche de Vigo. L’essentiel d’entre elles reste toutefois concentré à Madrid et à Barcelone. L’introduction d’évènements culturels, à l’instar du dîner de Pessah à Ribadavia, témoigne d’une volonté certaine, parmi la population espagnole, d’intégrer dans le présent une partie de l’identité du pays, écartée pendant plusieurs siècles.


La présence juive, relevée dans la péninsule ibérique depuis au moins l’époque romaine, engendra une culture riche, notamment sur les plans littéraire et linguistique. La communauté juive espagnole, dite sépharade, développa en outre son propre dialecte, le judéo-espagnol, dérivé du vieux castillan et de l’hébreu, et connut son âge d’or sous le premier califat de Cordoue, au Xème siècle.


Au même titre qu’ils souhaitent se réapproprier ce capital historique, les Espagnols se plaisent à valoriser l’héritage culturel de la domination musulmane, laissé par les royaumes mauresques qui régnèrent dans la région entre les VIIIème et XVème siècles. Au-delà du patrimoine artistique et architectural, la tolérance envers les autres cultes religieux a en outre marqué cette période.





La fête de Hanoukka :

un rappel de l’incroyable courage du Peuple Juif pour défendre Jérusalem

Souhail Ftouh

identitejuive.com, 12 décembre 2012


A partir de ce samedi 8 décembre au soir au dimanche 16 décembre 2012 le Peuple juif célèbre la fête de Hanoukka, une fête que l’on célèbre le 25 Kislev en commémoration de la victoire miraculeuse des Hasmonéens sur les Syro-Grecs dirigés par Antiochus Epiphane et de la ré-inauguration du saint Temple de Jérusalem avec le miracle de la fiole d’huile.


Cette coutume commémore la reconquête de l’Israël du IIè siècle avant J.C., dirigée à l’époque contre le roi gréco-syrien : Antochius. Il avait profané le Temple de Jérusalem et voulait imposer au Peuple Juif l’adoration de divinités grecques.


Judas Maccabée incita ses compatriotes juifs à se révolter. Une poignée de Juifs prend alors, en 165 avant Jésus-Christ, la tête d’une révolte contre le dictât cruel d’Antiochus. Après des mois de combats acharnés, ils réussirent à chasser les Syriens de Jérusalem, les armées grecques sont mises en déroute et les Juifs réinstaurent un service juif au Temple. Hanouka est célébrée en l’honneur de cette victoire.


C’était la victoire des faibles contre les forts : les Hasmonéens , armés par les enseignements de la Thora, se sont battus par idéal. Grâce à leurs prières, ils ont vaincu les épées, les javelots et les flèches. Ils ne souciaient ni de conquête, ni de butin. Leur seul désir était de libérer Jérusalem, de pouvoir, à nouveau, prononcer le Hallel et chanter la gloire divine. Ainsi, dès leur arrivée à Jérusalem, ils chassèrent les prêtres païens qui avaient fait des sacrifices à leurs idoles sur l’autel juif.


Grâce à une petite fiole d’huile, les Juifs victorieux ont pu de nouveau allumer la Menorah et adorer leur ville sainte.


En effet un autre miracle avait eu lieu ; une petite fiole contenant assez d’huile pour une seule journée qui avait été trouvée dans les débris du Temple de Jérusalem après sa destruction, avait miraculeusement permis d’illuminer le chandelier pendant huit jours… C’est pour cela que pendant Hanoukka, la fête des lumières, chaque famille juive est censée allumer une bougie d’un chandelier à huit branches, chaque soir de la semaine.


La fête de Hanoukka reste un rappel de l’incroyable courage du peuple juif pour défendre Jérusalem, site sacré pour le judaïsme. Quand on a la foi et qu’on porte dans son cœur l’amour pour cette ville qui touche le cœur des Juifs plus que d’autres, aucune force ne pourra arracher cette ville aux mains des Juifs. Une ville qui symbolise jusqu’à aujourd’hui l’héroïsme et le sacrifice sans lesquels Jérusalem n’aurait pu être réunifiée.


II y a une vérité qui est intangible ; le Peuple juif existe depuis plus de trois millénaires, il a traversé de multitudes d’épreuves, certaines nations ont essayé de le supprimer et elles ont généré beaucoup de malheurs pour le Peuple juif. Mais ces civilisations ont disparus depuis, mais ce peuple est toujours là.


Le Peuple Juif est le peuple le plus indestructible, après tout ce qui a été fait pour essayer de l’éteindre, Pogroms, Shoah, et je ne parle même pas des massacres au Moyen Age, mais les Juifs sont toujours là !


Si les prêtres juifs du Temple, les Cohanim à l’époque de Hanouka, se sont concentrés sur leurs forces spirituelles pour vaincre les troupes syriennes d’Antiochus c’est parce que jamais ils n’ont baissé la tête et jamais ils n’ont cédé au désespoir.


La véritable puissance du Peuple d’Israël repose donc sur sa foi incandescente et son amour d’Hachem. Cette flamme lui a permis de vaincre tous les ennemis et toutes les servitudes. Aujourd’hui encore, la force du Peuple juif réside dans sa foi concernant la terre d’Israël et Jérusalem comme capitale une et indivisible. Malgré tous les discours de haine qu’on véhicule contre eux, le courage des Juifs est toujours intact pour défendre leur petit morceau de terre. C’est d’ailleurs ce même courage qui a transformé ce désert en un beau pays.


Les deux mille ans d’exil ont appris au Peuple juif à être en adhésion avec ce pays et à savoir que leurs enfants seront toujours prêts à se battre car ils sont simplement déterminés à survivre. Aujourd’hui heureusement Israël est suffisamment fort pour se défendre devant le matraquage systématique et le bourrage de crâne incessant des nouveaux nazis qui contestent Jérusalem comme capitale définitive d’Israël.


La liberté d’Israël sera toujours un fait, car les Israéliens d’aujourd’hui ne toléreront pas que les monstres soient vainqueurs. Tout comme leurs ancêtres, les Hasmonéens, ils portent toujours cette flamme qui leur a permis de vaincre tous leurs ennemis et toutes les servitudes.


Aussi souhaitons-nous à la veille de Hanoukka, un nouveau commencement pour Israël pour UN Seul et Même Roi, le Saint béni d’Israël.


Très joyeuse fête de Hanoukka. Que la lumière de ces bougies illumine tous nos cœurs !


(Ftouh Souhail, avocat et journaliste tunisien, est connu pour avoir publié plusieurs articles à l’appui d’Israël dans divers médias)


Réflexions sur Hanoucca

Guy Millière

dreuz.info, 12 décembre 2012


C’est présentement la fête juive de Hanoucca.


Je suis depuis des années très proche et très respectueux de tout ce qui concerne le judaïsme et le peuple juif, et je suis, depuis des années, particulièrement sensible à la signification de Hanoucca. J’y suis un peu plus sensible cette année dans la mesure où je me suis rendu voici peu à Nice pour une cérémonie décernant des Menoras d’or, organisée par le B’nai Brith. J’ai eu l’honneur d’être l’un des récipiendaires, et j’ai désormais chez moi, en bonne place, la Menora qui m’a été remise.


Je suis particulièrement sensible à la signification de Hanoucca parce que c’est une fête qui renvoie à un soulèvement au sein du peuple juif en un moment où son identité et sa survie en tant que peuple juif étaient menacées. Le soulèvement, on le sait, était celui des Maccabées contre l’hellénisation forcée infligée au peuple juif par les Séleucides, au deuxième siècle avant l’ère chrétienne. Ce soulèvement a sauvé le peuple juif et son identité. Il n’a pas empêché les déchirures ultérieures, la dispersion, les conquêtes de la région par d’autres empires, mais il a constitué un marqueur crucial.


Je suis particulièrement sensible à la signification de Hanoucca parce que nous sommes en un temps où, une fois de plus, l’identité et la survie du peuple juif sont menacés.


En disant cela, je pense à Israël, bien sûr. Et je sais qu’Israël est un pays fort et solide, à même de résister à ceux qui aspirent à le détruire, qu’ils utilisent les voies directes du djihad et parlent comme les dirigeants du Hamas ces jours derniers à Gaza, ou qu’ils utilisent des voies plus indirectes et plus sournoises, tels les dirigeants de l’OLP devenue l’Autorité palestinienne.


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Mais je dois constater que la propagande anti-israélienne, le travail de sape incessant mené par de multiples falsificateurs et opportunistes sans éthique ni honneur, ont porté leurs fruits : l’Europe est désormais, essentiellement, à l’exception d’un pays près, un continent anti-israélien, en position de dhimmitude avancée, prêt à se vendre pour une poignée de dollars venus du Qatar ou d’un autre émirat, pétrifié par la peur de l’islam et de l’islamo-terrorisme. Les Etats-Unis sont en train de fléchir, et les positions « pro-palestiniennes » progressent chez les Démocrates de manière inquiétante.


Je dois constater aussi que le futur s’annonce sombre pour les Juifs en Europe, ce qui signifie que le futur s’annonce sombre pour l’Europe elle-même.


Je dois noter que nous sommes très peu à défendre encore certaines valeurs pourtant essentielles et que, parce que nous le faisons, nous sommes insultés, condamnés au boycott et aux marges qui, dans un contexte de type totalitaire, constituent la dissidence (dois-je le dire : en Union soviétique, on appelait déjà les défenseurs du droit naturel des êtres humains, de la liberté de parole et de pensée et des idéaux juifs et chrétiens des « fascistes », comme le fait, par exemple, le Nouvel Observateur aujourd’hui en France).


Je dois constater en outre, et cela me consterne et me révolte, que le présent est moins sombre pour les Juifs aux Etats-Unis, mais qu’une part majeure de ceux-ci se conduisent comme ceux qui se soumettaient à l’hellénisation au temps des Séleucides. Ceux-là ont voté pour Barack Obama. Ceux-là peuvent parler comme Rahm Emanuel ou comme les membres de J Street, cette association créée pour contrer l’AIPAC et qui se situe sur la gauche de Shalom Arshav, et à hauteur de paillasson pour dignitaire crapuleux de Ramallah. Ceux-là fêtent Hanoucca en ce moment sans discerner, semble-t-il, qu’ils trahissent chaque jour l’esprit de Hanoucca. Ceux-là fêtent Hanoucca sans comprendre que l’esprit de Hanoucca devrait impliquer qu’ils ouvrent les yeux, qu’ils regardent ce qui est en train de se passer en Europe et ce qui est en train de se passer au Proche-Orient.


Ceux-là ne semblent pas voir que lorsqu’Israël est isolé, Israël est menacé, et que lorsqu’Israël est menacé, c’est le peuple juif et le judaïsme qui sont menacés. Ils ont la possibilité et les moyens de se lever, et ils ne se lèvent pas.


Je n’ai pas à les juger et je ne les juge pas. Je dirai seulement qu’ils ont renoncé. Et j’ajouterai comme Norman Podhoretz l’a fait en écrivant Why Jews Are Liberal, qu’ils ne sont plus juifs, et ont choisi une autre voie. Pas très digne, à mes yeux.


J’ajouterai que si Israël est un pays fort et solide, il existe aussi en Israël des gens qui, bien au delà de ce qui sépare la droite de la gauche, se conduisent eux-mêmes comme s’ils n’étaient plus juifs et comme s’ils avaient eux suivi une autre voie, pas très digne elle-même. Un auteur les a décrit comme constituant la « république de Tel Aviv », par comparaison avec la république de Weimar, en laquelle des intellectuels qui se pensaient brillants, dissertaient au nom de grands principes abstraits, sans voir que l’enfer était à leur porte. Les membres de la république de Tel Aviv sont dignes des intellectuels de Weimar. Les pires parmi eux peuvent aller jusqu’à écrire, comme Shlomo Sand, que le peuple juif n’existe pas ou que la terre d’Israel n’a jamais existé. Je vois en eux, et je l’écris, des ennemis de l’intérieur pour Israël, des gens qui contribuent à la propagande anti-israélienne et au travail de sape incessant des falsificateurs et opportunistes que j’évoquais plus haut.


J’espère en l’émergence de descendants spirituels des Maccabées, des gens qui, sans nécessairement prendre les armes, se dresseront : parce qu’ils verront, précisément, qu’Israël, le peuple juif et le judaïsme sont menacés. Aujourd’hui. En cet instant. Il en existe en Israël. Il en existe en Europe et en Amérique du Nord.


Et je suis résolument à leur côté.


J’espère que des gens qui ne sont pas Juifs, comme moi, sauront discerner que, dès lors qu’Israël, le peuple juif et le judaïsme sont menacés, c’est ce qui fonde l’humanité en l’être humain, et ce que la civilisation occidentale a en elle de plus fécond et de plus grand, qui se trouve menacé.


Je suis résolument à leur côté aussi. Leur combat est mon combat, et c’est le combat que je mène depuis des années déjà.


Les dictateurs, c'est mieux que les islamistes élus

Daniel Pipes

The Washington Times, 11 décembre 2012

Adaptation française: Anne-Marie Delcambre de Champvert


Qui est le pire, le Président Mohamed Morsi, l'islamiste élu cherchant à appliquer la loi islamique en Egypte, ou le président Hosni Moubarak, l'ancien dictateur déchu pour avoir tenté d'initier une dynastie? De façon plus générale, un ordre libéral, démocratique a-t-il plus de possibilités d'émerger avec des idéologues islamistes qui triomphent par la voie des urnes ou avec des dictateurs cupides qui n'ont en vue que leur propre survie et leur exercice du pouvoir?


Les actions récentes de Morsi fournissent une réponse, établissant que les islamistes sont encore pires que les dictateurs.


Cette question a été soulevée dans un débat intéressant pour le compte de Intelligence Squared US au début d'octobre lorsque Reuel Marc Gerecht, de la Fondation pour la Défense des Démocraties, et Brian Katulis, du Centre pour le Progrès Américain, ont soutenu que "les islamistes élus c'est mieux que les dictateurs" , tandis que Zuhdi Jasser, du Forum islamique américain pour la démocratie, et moi-même, soutenions le contre-argument. Eh bien, personne n'a vraiment argumenté «pour» personne. L'autre équipe n'a pas approuvé les islamistes, nous n'avons pas, bien sûr, célébré les dictateurs. La question était plutôt quel type de gouvernant est le moindre de deux maux, et peut se battre pour imposer la démocratie.


Katulis a blâmé les dictatures pour favoriser «les sortes d'idéologies» qui ont conduit au 11 septembre et Gerecht a insisté sur le fait que les juntes militaires, et non les islamistes, sont généralement «le vrai danger …. La seule façon que vous avez d'obtenir un ordre plus libéral dans le Moyen-Orient c'est à travers les gens de religion» qui votent pour avoir les islamistes au pouvoir. Katulis a fait valoir que les élus islamistes changent et se transforment, devenant de moins en moins idéologiques et plus pragmatiques ; ils évoluent en réponse à la prise de conscience de la rudesse de la politique qui les fait retomber sur terre pour se concentrer sur les «besoins essentiels» tels que la sécurité et l'emploi.


En Irak, Gerecht a affirmé avoir observé «un véritable raz –de- marée de gens qui étaient autrefois des islamistes purs et durs qui …sont devenus des démocrates assez profondément convaincus, pour ne pas dire libéraux». Quant à l'Egypte, il a noté d'un ton approbateur, mais de façon inexacte que "Les Frères musulmans ont de graves débats internes parce qu'ils n'ont pas compris comment gérer [leur succès]. Or nous ce que nous voulons c'est qu'ils règlent la question en se disputant pour aller de l'avant»


Jasser et moi avons répondu à ce catalogue d'inexactitudes (les juntes militaires ont conduit au 11 septembre?) et de vœux pieux , prenant leurs désirs pour des réalités (les vrais croyants feront des compromis sur leurs objectifs? Une immense vague, véritable raz-de-marée, d'islamistes irakiens sont devenus libéraux?) en affirmant d'abord que les idéologues sont «des dictateurs cortico-dépendants»qui ne se modèrent pas en atteignant le pouvoir, mais se préparent à attaquer, construisent les bases pour rester indéfiniment au pouvoir. Deuxièmement, les idéologues négligent les questions mêmes sur lesquelles nos adversaires ont mis l'accent- la sécurité et l'emploi – en faveur de l'application des lois islamiques. Les dictateurs cupides, en revanche, faute d'idéologie et de vision, n'ont pas une vision de la société et peuvent donc être convaincus de s'orienter vers le développement économique, les libertés personnelles, un processus politique ouvert, et la règle de droit (par exemple, la Corée du Sud).


Et voilà, Morsi et les Frères musulmans ont suivi exactement notre scénario. Depuis qu'il a pris le pouvoir en août, Morsi (1) a mis à l'écart l'armée, s'est ensuite concentré sur l'enracinement et l'expansion de sa suprématie, notamment en émettant une série d'ordres le 22 novembre par lesquels il s'arrogeait des pouvoirs autocratiques et en répandant les théories du complot sioniste à propos de ses adversaires. Il a ensuite (2) donné un coup de boutoir par une constitution orientée islamiste le 30 novembre et a appelé à un brusque référendum le 15 décembre. Absorbé par ces deux tâches, il a pratiquement ignoré les multiples problèmes qui affligent l'Egypte, en particulier la crise économique imminente et le manque de fonds pour payer la nourriture importée.


La prise de pouvoir de Morsi a stimulé les Egyptiens anti-islamistes pour unir leurs forces comme c'est le cas dans le «Front de salut national» et se confronter aux islamistes dans les plus violents combats de rue jamais vus en six décennies, le forçant à retirer partiellement ses ordres du 22 novembre. Ironie du sort, après avoir habilement mis de côté l'armée en août, le fait pour Morsi d'avoir été trop loin a créé des circonstances qui ont renvoyé l'autorité ultime aux généraux, qui peuvent intervenir pour ou contre lui. En choisissant des sympathisants des islamistes comme officiers supérieurs et en offrant des privilèges militaires renforcés dans le projet de constitution, il a, selon toute vraisemblance gagné leur soutien. La loi martiale est probablement pour bientôt


En seulement trois mois, Morsi a montré qu'il aspirait à de plus grands pouvoirs dictatoriaux que ceux de Moubarak et que son régime laissait présager être une calamité encore plus grande pour l'Egypte que ne le fut Moubarak. Il a parfaitement justifié le point de vue de Jasser et mon point de vue: c'est mieux d'avoir des dictateurs que des islamistes élus. Comme je l'ai noté dans le débat, les Occidentaux devraient claquer la porte au nez aux dictateurs idéologiques comme les islamistes tout en faisant pression sur les dictateurs cupides pour permettre [le développement] de la société civile. Cela offre la seule porte de sortie de la fausse alternative entre les deux formes de tyrannie.


La diplomatie israélienne face à une réalité unilatérale

Dore Gold

Le CAPE de Jérusalem, 9 décembre 2012


Jusqu’à ce jour, l’Etat d’Israël a focalisé sa politique sur la nécessité de faire avancer les négociations de paix avec les Palestiniens, et de ce fait, Jérusalem a fait de nombreuses concessions. Aujourd’hui, à la lumière de la résolution en faveur des Palestiniens adoptée à l’ONU, l’Etat juif devrait résister à ne pas résister à ses revendications légitimes pour assurer sa sécurité.


La direction palestinienne avait répandu au cours des derniers mois une rumeur selon laquelle Mahmoud Abbas reprendrait le chemin de la négociation juste après le vote de l’ONU. Certains observateurs avaient même écrit qu’il renoncerait aux conditions préalables qu’il avait imposées en 2009, à savoir: le gel de la construction dans les implantations et notamment dans les quartiers juifs de Jérusalem. Ainsi, les Palestiniens ont présenté leur initiative aux Nations-Unies comme un tremplin positif et constructif vers la bonne voie.


Le 12 novembre dernier, suite à une rencontre avec les ministres des Affaires étrangères de la ligue arabe, Mahmoud Abbas déclare : « nous sommes prêts à reprendre les pourparlers ». Selon le correspondant de l’agence Reuters au Caire, à la veille du vote à l’Assemblée générale, il avait promis de revenir sans délai à la table des négociations.


En fait, Mahmoud Abbas n’a pas voulu reprendre le processus de paix sachant parfaitement que durant cette dernière décennie il n’a pas réussi à arriver à un accord avec Israël.


Déjà en 2009, il avait révélé au « Washington Post » que même la généreuse proposition finale de l’ancien Premier ministre Ehoud Olmert ne pouvait aplanir les divergences pour pouvoir parvenir à un accord de paix. Abbas sait aussi que de véritables négociations avec Israël exigeraient en revanche des concessions palestiniennes. Cependant et depuis 2006, le Hamas est devenu une force montante dans la vie politique palestinienne. Il s’est renforcé après la chute du président Hosni Moubarak au détriment du Fatah et de l’Autorité de Mahmoud Abbas.


En observant la conduite des Israéliens et des Palestiniens nous constatons que chaque partie agit sur un plan diplomatique différent. Les Israéliens représentant divers partis politiques se sont préoccupés par la réussite des négociations. Ils ont essayé de comprendre ce qui est nécessaire pour les Palestiniens pour parvenir à un accord et souvent ils ont proposé des concessions préalables.


Ainsi, lorsque les Palestiniens ont exigé un retrait total de la Cisjordanie vers les lignes d’avant juin 1967, des hommes politiques israéliens ont suggéré d’offrir aux Palestiniens un territoire de la même dimension, sans aucun rapport avec le tracé final de la frontière. Cette flexibilité était destinée à prouver un acte de bonne volonté et présentait l’Etat d’Israël aux yeux de la communauté internationale comme capable de faire des concessions majeures.


Malgré tout, Mahmoud Abbas a adopté une approche unilatérale, et déjà en janvier 2009, lorsqu’Ehoud Olmert était toujours au pouvoir, le ministre palestinien de la Justice s’est directement adressé à la Cour pénale internationale demandant de définir l’Autorité palestinienne comme Etat. Nul ne le doute qu’il visait déjà l’ONU.


Ainsi, Mahmoud Abbas exige depuis des conditions préalables sachant que les Israéliens les rejetteront par avance. Il est conscient que l’approche unilatérale servira d’outil à long terme pour sensibiliser les chancelleries et en particulier les occidentaux.


C’est bien pour cette raison là qu’il na jamais abandonné l’option onusienne et a transformé l’Assemblée générale en tribune pour pouvoir adopter des résolutions hostiles à Israël.


En fait, Mahmoud Abbas combine divers éléments pour délégitimer l’Etat d’Israël et le lien historique indéfectible du peuple juif à Jérusalem et à sa terre trois fois millénaire. Un ouvrage officiel publié récemment par l’Autorité palestinienne met en relief le terme « colonialisme » lorsque qu’on se réfère à Israël, et cela afin de déterminer le sionisme comme un mouvement « raciste » et non un projet d’autodétermination et indépendance du peuple juif.


Dans ce contexte, Israël devrait « changer de disquette » car la tactique antérieure qui était peut être bonne pour une période déterminée lors des négociations ne peut correspondre aux intérêts israéliens dans un scénario d’unilatéralité.


Israël ne sera pas non plus en mesure de mener une campagne internationale contre un retour aux lignes d’avant juin 1967 sans qu’il n’explique les dangers qui pourraient s’abattre sur lui.


En conclusion, Israël aura du mal à obtenir un consensus au sein de la communauté internationale sur la nouvelle construction autour des blocs d’implantations, s’il n’explique pas clairement et systématiquement qu’il existe en Cisjordanie certaines zones auxquelles l’Etat juif ne pourra jamais renoncer!




Download Today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf 





‘Setback for Peace’: Israeli Envoy: Ron Prosor, National Post, Nov. 29, 2012In a speech to the General Assembly before the vote, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, ron Prosor, said granting non-member observer status to the Palestinians would be a setback for peace.


UQAM Professor Office Door Vandalized With Anti-Semitic Slogans: Montreal Gazette,  Nov. 21, 2012—Political-science professor Julien Bauer at the Université du Québec à Montréal  had the door of his office vandalized with anti-Semitic slogans recently, during the Gaza/Israel flare-up…


What Your Son Did to Deserve This: Nathan Elberg, National Post (letters), Nov. 16, 2012—I would like to respond to the question posed by Jihad Misharwi in your article today regarding Israel’s Gaza response.  He asks what his son did to deserve death at the hands of an Israeli shell.  The answer is in the old adage, “every people has the government it deserves.”  


The Palestinians at the UN and the International Criminal Court: Allan Baker, JCPA, Nov. 15, 2012—It is incorrect to assume that by upgrading their status in the UN to a non-member state, the Palestinians would necessarily be able to refer complaints against Israeli leaders to the International Criminal Court.


Jerusalem to Rebuild Iconic Synagogue Destroyed in 1948: Melanie Lidman, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 28, 2012—The Jerusalem Municipality awarded initial approval to a plan to rebuild the iconic Tifereth Israel synagogue in the Old City’s Jewish Quarter, a magnificent domed synagogue from the 19th century which was destroyed in the 1948 War of Independence.


Colombian Evangelical Christians Convert to Judaism, Embracing Hidden Past: Juan Forero, Washington Post, Nov. 24, 2012—They were committed evangelicals, devoted to Jesus Christ. But what some here called a spark, an inescapable pull of their ancestors, led them in a different direction, to Judaism. 


On Topic Links



Israel’s UN  Ambassador: Speech at the UN: Ron Prosor, Elder of Ziyon (text), UN WebTV,  Nov. 29, 2012

Canada, Question of Palestine, UN General Assembly: H.E. Mr. John Bair, UN Web TV, Nov. 29, 2012

Palestinian Search for UN Status Will Undermine Hopes of Statehood: Irwin Cotler, National Post, Nov 29, 2012

Ant-Jewish Apartheid at the UN: Joel B. Pollak, Breibart, Nov 29, 2012
Thoughts on a Visit to Warsaw: Dr. Catherine Chatterley, Winnipeg Jewish Review, Nov. 13, 2012

Touch Judaic History at Penn’s Herbert D. Katz Center: Jacquie Posey, Univ. of Pennsylvania, Oct. 12, 2012




Ron Prosor
National Post, November 29, 2012


The Vote: 
In favour: 138;  Abstensions: 41

Voting against: Canada, Israel, USA, Czech Republic, Panama &
Pacific Island states: Nauru, Palau & Micronesia


In a speech to the General Assembly before the vote, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, ron Prosor, said granting non-member observer status to the Palestinians would be a setback for peace.

“For as long as President Abbas prefers symbolism over reality, as long as he prefers to travel to New York for UN resolutions, rather than travel to Jerusalem for genuine dialogue, any hope of peace will be out of reach,: he said.


“The truth is that 65 years ago today, the United Nations voted to partition the British Mandate into two states: a Jewish state, and an Arab state. Two states for two peoples. Israel accepted this plan. The Palestinians and Arab nations around us rejected it and launched a war of annihilation to throw the ‘Jews into the sea.’”


Mr. Prosor said Mr. Abbas had “asked the world to recognize a Palestinian state, but you still refuse to recognize the Jewish state.”


Mr. Prosor said, “The UN was founded to advance the cause of peace. Today the Palestinians are turning their back on peace. Don’t let history record today the UN helped them along their march of folly.”


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the UN decision would not “change anything on the ground. It will not further the establishment of a Palestinian state, but will make it more distant.


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Montreal Gazette,  November 21, 2012

[P]olitical-science professor Julien Bauer at the Université du Québec à Montréal  had the door of his office vandalized [recently, during the Gaza/Israel flare-up] with anti-Semitic slogans. The professor said he had an email from the [political science] department head saying it was “unacceptable.” …[T]he door has been cleaned and, Bauer said, while such incidents are upsetting, “I’m not afraid.”…


[Prof. Bauer is a long-standing member of the CIJR executive and one of its early co-founders. We at CIJR roundly condemn this act of intolerance and wish the Professor continued success, in peace and safety, at UQAM.  – Ed.]


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Nathan Elberg

National Post (letters), November 16, 2012


I would like to respond to the question posed by Jihad Misharwi in your [N.P.] article today regarding Israel’s Gaza response.  He asks what his son did to deserve death at the hands of an Israeli shell.  The answer is in the old adage, “every people has the government it deserves.”   Misharwi, his family, friends and neighbors support a government sworn to the destruction of Israel through the instrument of terrorism.  They allowed Hamas to place rocket launchers and munitions depots in densely populated areas, in order to use those populations as human shields.  They schooled their children in the value of violence, the beauty of martyrdom, the greatness of killing Israeli civilians.  So while it is highly unlikely that Misharwi’s eleven-month-old baby did anything to “deserve” his death, his blood is on the hands of his father, his family, his community.  It’s on the hands of all Gazans who rejoice in the spilling of Israeli blood, whether that of a student at his books, a soldier at his post, or a baby in its father’s arms.


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Allan Baker

JCPA, Nov. 15, 2012


It is incorrect to assume that by upgrading their status in the UN to a non-member state, the Palestinians would necessarily be able to refer complaints against Israeli leaders to the International Criminal Court.


The politically-driven General Assembly resolution that would presumably be adopted by automatic majority would not create a Palestinian state, and would not turn the Palestinian delegation into that of a state, except for the purpose of seating in the General Assembly hall, between Panama and Pakistan, rather than among the observers.


The UN General Assembly does not have the power or the authority to establish states. Any such General Assembly resolution upgrading the Palestinian delegation would be no different from any other non-binding, recommendatory resolution of the General Assembly, and would have no legally binding status.


The 1998 Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) enables only states – genuine states that are party to the Statute – to refer complaints to the court (in addition to the Security Council and the ICC Prosecutor). In the same way Palestinians failed in 2011 to prove statehood when they attempted to attain membership in the UN, in light of the clear lack of national unity and capability of governance and inability to fulfill international obligations of a state, so now in 2012 it would be highly unlikely, even after an upgrade-resolution, that they will be able to prove to the ICC that they are a genuine state entitled to initiate complaints against Israeli officials and officers.


In 2011, after conducting an in-depth examination and consulting with experts, the Prosecutor rejected the Palestinian attempt to instigate complaints against Israeli officials and officers, and referred their request to the Assembly of States Party to the ICC Statute and to the UN Secretary-General.


While the Palestinians will doubtless attempt to utilize their upgraded status in order to achieve political advantages in various UN bodies such as the Specialized Agencies (which are in any event urged to act pursuant to General Assembly resolutions), this would not necessarily be applicable to the ICC, which is an independent organization, not part of the UN System.


But even if, as a result of political pressures and manipulation of the automatic majority, they do succeed in persuading the ICC Prosecutor to consider them as if they are a state, for the purpose of initiating a complaint, there is no guarantee that such complaints would be accepted by the court, which, since its establishment in 1998, has barely dealt with two complaints against Ugandan and Sudanese officials….


Clearly we should not underestimate the Palestinian upgrade exercise, as a blatant political PR exercise to enhance the reputation of Abu Mazen in light of his clear lack of any political achievements, especially prior to his ending his term of office. But it is highly unlikely that this exercise will have any legal or serious political consequences.


Thus, it appears to be absurd to claim, as several Palestinian leaders have recently been claiming, that the upgrade of their UN status would alter the status of the territories, that the Oslo Accords would no longer be relevant, that the 1967 lines would become the recognized border and that Jerusalem would be re-divided, etc.


In my opinion, nothing will change unless Israel decides to view this exercise as a fundamental breach of Article 31 of the 1995 interim Agreement (1995) and declare the Oslo Accords no longer valid, with all that that would imply, but this would be very doubtful in view of the upcoming elections. Ultimately the Palestinians and the Israelis will have no choice but to return to negotiations in order to determine mutually their common border and to solve all the other issues between them, all of which cannot be dictated by a UN General Assembly resolution.


(Amb. Alan Baker, Director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, CIJR’s Israeli associate,  is former Legal Adviser to Israel’s Foreign Ministry and former Ambassador of Israel to Canada)


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Melanie Lidman

Jerusalem Post, Nov. 28, 2012


The Jerusalem Municipality awarded initial approval to a plan to rebuild the iconic Tifereth Israel synagogue in the Old City’s Jewish Quarter, a magnificent domed synagogue from the 19th century which was destroyed in the 1948 War of Independence.


The project will recreate the three-story-tall synagogue as well as the iconic dome on the top, with only minor changes to the original, such as the introduction of an elevator to make the building more accessible. On Tuesday, the municipality’s Local Planning and Building Committee approved the plan for the next step of the process, where it must receive the approval of the Interior Ministry. An anonymous donor who has been active in previous rebuilding projects in the Old City donated nearly NIS 50 million needed for reconstruction…


Ashkenazi hassidim bought the land for Tifereth Israel Synagogue in 1843, though the building wasn’t inaugurated until 1872. The synagogue is also known as the Nissan Bek synagogue, after its founder. The prominent white dome on top of the building was informally known as “Franz Joseph’s cap,” after the Austrian emperor who visited Jerusalem in 1869. On a tour of Jewish sites, Franz Joseph inquired as to why the unfinished synagogue had no dome, to which one quick-thinking rabbi replied, ''Your majesty the Emperor, the synagogue has doffed its hat for you!'' The emperor donated the sum needed to finish the roof.


During the Independence War in 1948, the building was used as a Haganah defense position, similar to the nearby Hurva synagogue. Arab League forces demolished the synagogue with explosives at 1 a.m. on May 21, just a few days before the Hurva met the same fate. Following the Six Day War, the city decided to leave the ruins of the synagogue as they were….


The Jerusalem Post first reported plans to rebuild the Tifereth Israel Synagogue in June. A UNESCO report expressed apprehension over the project due to the possibility of wide-spread rioting. In March 2010, riots broke out across east Jerusalem and the Old City with the dedication of the Hurva Synagogue, located in the same plaza.


The Hurva synagogue, which stood since the early 18th century, was also destroyed in the 1948 Independence War. As the dedication neared, Palestinians called for a “day of rage,” stoked by Muslim extremists who said the rededication was the first step towards building the Third Temple and destroying the Dome of the Rock. Police arrested sixty people, and more than 100 protesters were injured, as well as 15 policemen.


A municipality spokeswoman said the city is unconcerned about the possibility of a resurgence in violence sparked by the reconstruction project. “The synagogue is a symbol of the Jewish Quarter and is not controversial,” she said.


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Juan Forero

Washington Post, November 24


They were committed evangelicals, devoted to Jesus Christ. But what some here called a spark, an inescapable pull of their ancestors, led them in a different direction, to Judaism. There were the grandparents who wouldn’t eat pork, the fragments of a Jewish tongue from medieval Spain that spiced up the language, and puzzling family rituals such as the lighting of candles on Friday nights.


So, after a spiritual journey that began a decade ago, dozens of families that had once belonged to a fire-and-brimstone church became Jews, converting with the help of rabbis from Miami and Jerusalem. Though unusual in one of the most Catholic of nations, the small community in Bello joined a worldwide movement in which the descendants of Jews forced from Spain more than 500 years ago are discovering and embracing their Jewish heritage.


They have emerged in places as divergent as the American Southwest, Brazil and even India. In these mostly remote outposts, the so-called Anusim or Marranos, Jews from Spain who fled the Inquisition and converted to Christianity, had found refuge.


“There’s a real awakening that’s taking place,” said Michael Freund, who directs Shavei Israel, a Jerusalem-based group that helps new Jewish communities such as Bello’s. “The Jewish spark was never quenched, and these Anusim are really fulfilling the dreams of their ancestors in that they are taking back the Jewish identity that was so brutally stolen from their forefathers.”


This northwest state of Antioquia, with its high purple mountains, picturesque pueblos and fervent, almost mystical Catholicism, is surely one of the most unusual corners of the world for such Jewish stirrings. For the families of Bello, the journey to Judaism began after the minister of a 3,000-member evangelical church, the Center for Integral Family Therapy, visited Israel in 1998 and 2003 and began to feel the pull of Judaism.


Juan Carlos Villegas, who has taken on the Hebrew name Elad, then told his flock that he planned to convert. Dozens joined him.“These people had the capacity to say, yes, I’m open to finding the roots of my family,” said Villegas, 36, speaking in the community’s synagogue, a white-washed, two-story building on a street of rowhouses.


Villegas and the others said they felt history coursing through their veins as they explored the past and put together pieces of a puzzle that pointed to a Jewish ancestry.“It was like our souls had memory,” he said. “It awakened in us a desire to learn more — who were we? Where were we from? Where are the roots of our families?”…


At the University of Antioquia, geneticist Gabriel Bedoya and his team of scientists found in a 2000 study that 14 percent of the men in Antioquia are genetically related to the Kohanim, a priestly Jewish cast that is traced back three millennia to Moses’s brother, Aaron.


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Israel’s Ambassador to the UN: Speech at the UN: Ron Prosor, Elder of Ziyon (text), UN WebTV, Nov. 29, 2012—Today I stand before you tall and proud because I represent the world’s one and only Jewish state. A state built in the Jewish people’s ancient homeland, with its eternal capital Jerusalem as its beating heart.  We are a nation with deep roots in the past and bright hopes for the future.


Canada, Question of Palestine, UN General Assembly: H.E. Mr. John Bair, UN Web TV, Nov. 29, 2012—Statement by Minister for Foreign Affairs of Canada on the Question of Palestine at the 44th plenary meeting of the General Assembly.


Palestinian Search for UN Status Will Undermine Hopes of Statehood: Irwin Cotler, National Post, Nov 29, 2012—…declarations opposing the Palestinian unilateral bid for observer-state status can be said to be anchored in a series of foundational principles and related precedents of international law….


Anti-Jewish Apartheid at the UN: Joel B. Pollak, Breibart, Nov 29, 2012—Today, for the first time, the United Nations will name Palestine a (non-member) “observer state” by first engaging in exactly the charge that they press against Israel: apartheid…[T]he UN Division for Palestinian Rights sent a letter to the UN pass office to insist that they step in to deny invitees of the UN-accredited Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust…


Thoughts on a Visit to Warsaw: Dr. Catherine Chatterley, Winnipeg Jewish Review, Nov. 13, 2012 —The ghetto was completely destroyed by the Germans in May 1943 after the uprising so everything in the Muranow district with the exception of two buildings is postwar construction.


Touch Judaic History at Penn’s Herbert D. Katz Center: Jacquie Posey, Univ. of Pennsylvania, Oct. 12, 2012—At the University of Pennsylvania’s Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, you can touch some of the oldest tomes in the history of Judaism… Approximately 200,000 volumes, including 17 Hebrew and 15 Latin incunabula and more than 8,000 rare printed works, in Hebrew, English, German, French, Yiddish, Arabic, Latin and Ladino are at the Library at the Katz Center.


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Freddy Eytan
Le CAPE de Jérusalem, 10 octobre 2012


Les trois prochains mois sont imprévisibles mais décisifs pour l’Etat juif, le Moyen-Orient et la communauté internationale. Tout semble volatil et même  sur le dernier sprint dans la course à la Maison Blanche, le pronostic reste hasardeux.
Dés que la Knesset est dissoute et les élections anticipées sont proclamées le gouvernement de transition demeure maître du pays et fonctionne dans tous les domaines sans opposition aucune. Rappelons que Menahem Begin avait détruit la centrale nucléaire à Bagdad en pleine campagne électorale.
Durant ces quatre dernières années, Netanyahou n’a pas réussi à nous amener vers un havre de paix et ne nous a pas non plus lancé dans une guerre meurtrière comme ses prédécesseurs. Il a sauvegardé une certaine stabilité dans un environnement en turbulence islamique et face à une crise économique mondiale. Cette situation de ni guerre ni paix est surtout le résultat d’un refus arabe de reconnaître l’existence de l’Etat juif dans des frontières défendables et d’un constat d’échec de la politique américaine dans notre région. Certes le statu quo évite des conflits mais l’immobilisme politique risque également l’escalade. En dépit de la nouvelle donne géopolitique Netanyahou a eu aussi la sagesse de ne pas intervenir dans la révolte en Syrie et a maintenu des contacts permanents  avec le régime islamiste égyptien et le royaume hachémite tout en sauvegardant les deux  traités de paix  avec nos voisins.
Le gouvernement Netanyahou a aussi réussi à mettre le dossier iranien à l’ordre du jour mondial. Aujourd’hui nous constatons que sans sa détermination il est peu probable que la communauté internationale aurait imposé des sanctions contre le régime des ayatollahs.
Dans ce contexte, les semaines à venir seront focalisées uniquement sur la campagne électorale et il est difficile de savoir à ce stade qui dirigera la nouvelle  prochaine coalition malgré l’avantage certain de Netanyahou dans les sondages. Toutefois une certitude, les voix flottantes sont de plus en plus nombreuses et tout se jouera sur les indécis. La prochaine Knesset comptera de  nombreux partis et de nouveaux visages. Enfin, pour maintenir une cohérence gouvernementale et éviter des gaspillages budgétaires inutiles nous souhaitons que le prochain cabinet sera formé d’un minimum de ministres possible et décidera enfin de modifier le système électoral qui prouve à chaque échéance son incapacité de gouverner efficacement.


Dore Gold
Le CAPE de Jérusalem, 10 octobre 2012


Lors de la dernière réunion plénière de l’Assemblée générale de l’ONU, le Président de l’Autorité palestinienne, Mahmoud Abbas, a fait part de son intention de mettre en œuvre son initiative pour la reconnaissance de l’Etat palestinien comme membre non étatique de l’organisation onusienne. Cependant, rien n’indique comment cette décision sera prise puisque cette initiative a déjà échoué l’année dernière.
Dans ce contexte, la direction palestinienne aussi s’interroge et se demande si cette nouvelle démarche sert vraiment  leur propre intérêt.  Il y a quelques semaines seulement, le ministre palestinien des Affaires étrangères,  Riyad al Maliki, n’avait-il pas  déclaré que la démarche n’était pas encore dans l’ordre du jour des Nations-Unies. Et puis, que gagneraient-ils les Palestiniens si le Congrès américain décidait de mettre un terme à leur soutien, notamment  financier?
En fait, ces modifications  techniques dans la définition de la délégation palestinienne à l’ONU ne pourront offrir aux résidents de la Cisjordanie un sentiment de changement significatif sur le terrain. Quant au Hamas il en profiterait pour mettre au pilori l’Autorité palestinienne et continuera à se moquer éperdument des « réussites diplomatiques » de Mahmoud Abbas.
Il convient de souligner que sur le plan juridique la levée du niveau diplomatique de la représentation palestinienne à l’ONU d’un statut « d’observateur » au statut  » d’Etat observateur non-membre » ne conduirait pas à l’établissement d’un Etat palestinien. Des nouveaux Etats comme le Kosovo et le Soudan-Sud ont été créés suite à la proclamation de leur indépendance, et seulement après une reconnaissance officielle de plusieurs  pays ils se sont adressés à l’ONU pour pouvoir devenir membres.
En mai 2011, Mahmoud Abbas avait publié un article dans le « New York Times » expliquant ses motifs et en révélant que son but n’était pas que politique mais « d’internationaliser le conflit sur le plan juridique », et de se fait il espérait entraîner Israël devant les instances   internationales.
Les Palestiniens ont adopté cette stratégie depuis  janvier 2009 quand  le ministre de la Justice de l’Autorité palestinienne a transmis au procureur de la Cour pénale internationale(CPI) Luis Moreno Ocampo, une déclaration reconnaissant le pouvoir juridique « dans les paramètres de la Palestine » sans préciser ses frontières. La missive  a été faite conformément au processus réservé aux pays sollicitant l’intervention de la Cour internationale, et c’était au procureur de décider si l’Autorité palestinienne était considérée pour cette fin comme Etat.
Ce n’est qu’après trois longues années de délibérations que le procureur Ocampo  répondra en affirmant qu’il n’avait pas le pouvoir de décider si l’Autorité palestinienne est considérée comme Etat et que la question devrait être soumise au secrétariat général  de l’ONU.
Les Palestiniens auront tort de penser que leur nouveau statut leur serait accordé automatiquement. Le secrétaire général de l’ONU Ban Ki Moon a déclaré récemment que « l’espoir du peuple palestinien d’adhérer à l’ONU date en effet depuis longtemps, mais la procédure et sa  mise en œuvre devraient être le résultat d’accords conclus lors de négociations et dans le cadre d’un processus de paix au Proche-Orient. »
En outre, l’initiative de Mahmoud Abbas  pourrait aboutir à un résultat à double tranchant car sa demande devrait  reconnaître un Etat incluant la bande de Gaza, et par conséquent  il serait directement responsable des tirs de roquettes lancés sur les villes et villages israéliennes.
 Mahmoud Abbas et ses proches conseillers sont apparemment inquiets par la définition israélienne  de la Cisjordanie comme « territoire disputé » et de ce fait les revendications territoriales israéliennes comme palestiniennes sont légitimes. Par conséquent, les Palestiniens pourront demander d’inclure dans leur proposition à l’ONU une clause déterminant les lignes d’avant juin 1967 comme des frontières futures de l’Etat palestinien, et  probablement  ils réussiront à obtenir le soutien de la plupart des pays membres de l’ONU, à l’exception des Etats-Unis et Israël.
Rappelons que les lignes d’avant juin 1967 n’ont jamais été reconnues comme frontière internationale, et elles étaient en fait des lignes d’armistice de 1949. La  résolution 242 du Conseil de sécurité adoptée après la guerre des Six Jours, n’a pas appelé Israël à se retirer complètement de ces lignes d’armistices d’avant guerre.
Au fil des ans, la résolution 242 est devenue la pierre angulaire du processus de paix au Moyen-Orient et a servi de base aux accords de paix signés entre Israël, l’Egypte, et la Jordanie. Le 1er septembre1975 les Etats-Unis ont transmis à Israël des garanties affirmant qu’ils s’opposeraient à toute initiative visant à modifier les résolutions 242 et 338.
En conclusion, la démarche palestinienne à l’ONU nous semble bien suspecte. Les changements techniques dans le statut de la délégation de l’OLP dans le Palais de verre ne pourront changer la situation sur le terrain et donc n’auront qu’un faible impact sur la rue palestinienne.
L’intervention de cette semaine aura donc un prix pour Israël : elle dispose d’environ six mois pour persuader Obama ou Romney d’émettre l’ultimatum, ou elle devra livrer bataille toute seule. Je désirais que vous ayez conscience de ce nouvel élément lorsqu’il s’agira d’observer l’évolution des choses. L’environnement stratégique a changé depuis mercredi dernier.


Certes, on peine à saisir la raison pour laquelle la Maison Blanche n’adresse pas le carton jaune à Khamenei sans tarder. Le rapport de force est tel, entre les USA et la "République" Islamique, que point n’est besoin d’attendre que Téhéran ait terminé la phase d’enrichissement moyen – à 20 pour cent – pour agir. Un simple avertissement public de la part d’Obama, du genre "vous avez jusqu’au quinze octobre pour cesser toute activité liée au développement de l’arme atomique !" suffirait, à notre sens, à persuader les Iraniens d’arrêter.


Il est même inutile de préciser ce qui se passerait s’ils n’obtempéraient pas, cela pourrait intervenir plus tard.
Depuis notre rocher au vent, que les rigueurs de l’automne ont jusqu’à présent épargné, nous n’entrevoyons pas non plus de retombées négatives pour l’Amérique et pour le président-candidat au cas où il délivrerait cette mise en garde. Au contraire, il marquerait des points face à son rival Républicain en faisant enfin preuve de fermeté.
Lorsque, ce printemps, les Iraniens avaient menacé de bloquer la passe d’Ormuz si les Yankees envoyaient un nouveau porte-avions dans le golfe arabo-persique, les Américains en envoyèrent deux et les Perses n’entreprirent rien de suicidaire.
La Ména avait disséqué cet incident à l’époque et en avait tiré les leçons ; Netanyahu en a fait de même mercredi, mais Washington n’a toujours pas pris la mesure de son adversaire.
Sûr, au micro de l’Assemblée Générale, deux jours avant le chef de l’exécutif israélien, le président US avait assuré, pour la cinquième fois, qu’il n’autorisera pas l’Iran à posséder des armes nucléaires et qu’il fera tout ce qui est indispensable pour l’en empêcher.

Hier aussi, lors d’un entretien téléphonique, M. Obama a réitéré l’engagement de son pays pour la sécurité d’Israël, et, pour la sixième fois, la même promesse qu’à Manhattan. A en croire un communiqué officiel de la Maison Blanche, les deux pays partageraient les mêmes points de vue au sujet de cette crise.


A entendre ces promesses, on devrait se sentir rassuré. Elles sont à la fois nécessaires et suffisantes, alors pourquoi avons-nous autant de difficultés à accorder notre confiance à l’homme le plus puissant de la planète ? Pourquoi continuons-nous à penser qu’il n’adresse ces paroles rassurantes que dans un souci électoraliste, pour attirer à lui les nombreux Américains qui se soucient du bien-être d’Israël ?

A cause de ces "bruits" dont Obama s’est plaint ; pour les brimades qu’il avait infligées au Président Pérès, l’une des personnalités les plus consensuelles de la planète, lors d’une visite à la Maison Blanche ; à cause de son refus de rencontrer Binyamin Netanyahu, alors que celui-ci se trouve à New-York, et que la menace nucléaire persane risque, à tout moment, de plonger le Moyen-Orient dans un conflit régional.


Et parce que Susan Rice, l’ambassadrice étasunienne à l’ONU, n’a pas jugé nécessaire d’être présente lors de l’intervention de mercredi du président du Conseil hébreu, que cela n’a pas pu se décider sans l’accord personnel du président, et que Mme Rice est pressentie pour remplacer Hillary Clinton au Département d’Etat en cas de succès électoral d’Obama en novembre.


Mais surtout, si nous ne pouvons pas placer notre confiance en M. Obama, c’est parce qu’il ne nous semble pas assimiler l’étendue du péril que constituerait, non plus uniquement pour Israël, mais pour les USA et l’ensemble du monde libre, une "République" Islamique d’Iran possédant l’arme atomique.

Parce que le candidat Démocrate paraît graviter dans un univers virtuel fort éloigné de celui que nous nous efforçons d’étudier sans relâche. Et qu’il nous donne l’impression de vouloir superposer ses visions au monde, en ne rechignant pas à employer son extraordinaire puissance politique et médiatique afin d’y parvenir.
Par exemple, le pensionnaire de la Maison Blanche fait montre d’une peine certaine pour accepter l’idée de l’existence d’un terrorisme islamique, pour en parler, et, a fortiori, pour le combattre. Et il a distribué les ordres pour que, dans son administration, on emboîte son pas.
Si bien que, longtemps après que les services de renseignement US eurent avisé le président de ce qu’à Benghazi, c’étaient des terroristes de la mouvance Al-Qaeda qui avaient assassiné l’ambassadeur américain, au terme d’une opération dûment planifiée pour commémorer le 11 Septembre, les porte-parole d’Obama continuèrent, plusieurs jours durant, à affirmer le contraire.


Susan Rice et Hillary Clinton en tête, prétendirent sur presque toutes les chaînes TV d’Amérique que Christopher Stevens, ainsi que trois autres fonctionnaires US avaient trouvé la mort suite à une manifestation spontanée contre le film islamophobe qui avait mal tourné. Susan Rice utilisa le terme d’ "accident".
Naturellement, cet incident, survenant en période électorale, fait scandale de l’autre côté de l’Atlantique, avec des élus Républicains qui demandent la démission de Susan Rice. Et d’autres, qui expliquent que le candidat-président ne saurait endosser la réalité, puisque, dans sa propagande électorale, il prétend avoir… éradiqué Al-Qaeda.
Or, dans ces conditions de distorsion des faits, les auteurs de l’assassinat et ceux qui l’ont planifié coulent des journées paisibles au Maghreb, sans que le bras puissant de l’Amérique ne se soucie de leur donner la chasse.
D’autre part, Barack Obama persiste à présenter les régimes issus des printemps arabes comme des "amis des Etats-Unis", en dépit de tous les efforts que ces régimes consentent pour lui démontrer le contraire. 

Il s’obstine à voir dans ces printemps un succès, et parmi les nouveaux dirigeants islamistes, des partenaires en puissance, en marche vers la démocratie et le progrès.
Il n’a ostensiblement rien à faire de la préservation des intérêts politiques, stratégiques et économiques du pays qu’il dirige, dans ces régions où les USA, sous sa présidence, ont perdu pied.


Nulle part Obama n’envisage l’urgence d’endiguer l’avancée islamiste ; c’est à croire qu’il se réjouirait presque de l’avènement de l’islam radical au détriment de ce que l’on considérait jusqu’à maintenant comme les intérêts essentiels de Washington.
Dans la même foulée, il ne démontre aucune empathie pour le sort des femmes dans ces contrées soumises à la Charia, aux excisions et aux viols en groupe, pour le destin des minorités, à l’instar des chrétiens, des Kurdes et des alaouites, pour le recul des droits de l’Homme et le sort terrible des homosexuels.



Daniel Pipes
National Review Online, 2 octobre 2012
Adaptation française: Anne-Marie Delcambre de Champvert


Alors que les foules musulmanes se dispersent et que les missions diplomatiques américaines reprennent leurs activités normales, voici trois considérations finales sur les émeutes qui ont débuté le 11 septembre dernier et tué une trentaine de personnes:


Le film a vraiment eu de l'importance: le gouvernement d'Obama de façon malhonnête a éludé la responsabilité pour le meurtre des quatre Américains en Libye en affirmant que l'attaque était une protestation imprévisible et hors de tout contrôle contre la vidéo «l'innocence des musulmans». En réaction, des analystes de premier plan ont conclu que la vidéo n'avait joué pratiquement aucun rôle, quel que soit le lieu. . Barry Rubin méprise la vidéo comme étant une «excuse bidon pour la manifestation» en Egypte. Michael Ledeen reproche au gouvernement son affirmation selon laquelle «les attaques contre les Américains ne sont pas du tout des attaques contre les Américains, mais des attaques contre une vidéo». «Il ne s'agit pas d'une vidéo», écrit Andrew McCarthy, «pas plus que des épisodes similaires ces dernières années n'ont eu lieu à propos des caricatures, des ours en peluche, des incendies accidentels de Corans, etc» . Hussein Haqqani rejette les protestations comme une «fonction de la politique, pas de la religion." Pour Victor Davis Hanson, la vidéo et les incidents similaires «ne sont rien de plus que des prétextes lamentables pour orienter la fureur parmi leurs masses ignorantes et pauvres, à des moments opportuns, contre les États-Unis, et ainsi gagner en puissance.» Lee Smith spécule que «blâmer la vidéo fait partie d'une campagne de diplomatie publique complexe» Cliff Kinkaid appelle carrément la vidéo "une diversion destinée à sauver la présidence Obama."
Je respecte et apprends beaucoup de tous ces écrivains, mais je ne suis pas d'accord avec eux en ce qui concerne la vidéo. Oui, individus, organisations et gouvernements ont aiguillonné les foules – en effet, il aura toujours un instigateur qui mobilise les musulmans contre une déclaration, un texte, un dessin ou une vidéo incriminés. Mais ce serait une erreur de ne voir la foule que seulement comme l'instrument de conflits d'intérêts (comme les salafistes contre Frères musulmans en Egypte) ou d'impératifs politiques américains. La rage dirigée contre la vidéo était sincère, réelle et durable.
La personne de Mahomet a acquis un caractère de quasi sainteté-parmi les musulmans et ne peut pas être critiquée, encore moins moquée. L'orientaliste allemande Annemarie Schimmel a fait remarquer (dans son étude de 1985 sur la vénération du prophète Mahomet) que sa personnalité est , à part le Coran, «le centre de la vie des musulmans». L'indignation des musulmans s'agissant des insultes envers sa personne est sincère; notons, par exemple, la section tristement célèbre 295-B du Code pénal pakistanais, qui punit toute diffamation de Mahomet, même involontaire, par l'exécution du coupable. Ces règlements trouvent tellement de soutien[de la part du public]que deux éminents politiciens, Salman Taseer et Shahbaz Bhatti, ont été assassinés en 2011 simplement pour avoir exprimé leur opposition aux lois pakistanaises sur le blasphème. Le meurtre commis à leur encontre n'avait rien à voir avec l'Occident et n'était certainement pas une diversion dans une campagne présidentielle américaine.


Obama contre Morsi: Les présidents américain et égyptien ont présenté des vues radicalement différentes sur la liberté de blasphémer dans leur discours à l'ONU la semaine dernière. Barack Obama a insisté sur le fait qu '«en 2012, à une époque où n'importe qui avec un téléphone mobile peut propager des vues insultantes à travers le monde juste en cliquant sur un bouton, l'idée que nous pouvons contrôler la circulation de l'information est obsolète. La question, alors, est comment nous réagissons. Et sur ceci nous devons être d'accord qu'il n'y a pas de discours qui justifie la violence aveugle ". Mohamed Morsi est en désaccord: «Les obscénités publiées récemment dans le cadre d'une campagne organisée contre le caractère sacré islamique sont inacceptables et exigent une position ferme. Nous avons la responsabilité dans ce rassemblement international d'étudier comment nous pouvons protéger le monde de l'instabilité et de la haine.». En bref, chaque partie a une approche et une méthode (la liberté d'expression contre l'interdiction du blasphème) qu'elle estime fondamentales pour son identité et la promotion d'un certain respect. Depuis l'édit de Khomeiny contre Salman Rushdie en 1989, chaque côté a l'intention d'imposer sa manière d'être à l'autre côté, ce qui laisse à penser que cet affrontement de volontés ne fait que commencer.
Les tendances:m'étant penché sur ce conflit depuis l'époque de Khomeiny, je suis à même de constater trois tendances principales. Tout d'abord, les musulmans de plus en plus se donnent comme impératif politique de préserver la sainteté de Mahomet. Deuxièmement, les élites et les gouvernements occidentaux (c'est.-à-dire les journalistes, les avocats, les intellectuels, les artistes) sont devenus de plus en plus timides, au fil du temps, face à la fureur islamiste, toujours prêts à s'excuser, à apaiser et à calmer. A titre d'exemple épouvantable, il faut voir les épanchements, le 11 septembre passé, de l'ambassade des USA au Caire, alors que la foule faisait rage à l'extérieur. Troisièmement, les non-élites occidentales ont de plus en plus répondu aux islamistes avec une attitude du genre «vous voulez être-insultés-et-bien prenez cela!! attitude qui comprend le fait de brûler le Coran, les annonces de "la défaite du Djihad"», les agressives caricatures offensantes françaises, et la promesse de publication de films de Mahomet.
La combinaison de ces trois points me conduit à prévoir que le conflit sur les valeurs continuera à s'échauffer.


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

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



Mike Cohen
Jewish Tribune, October 11, 2011

During the past two decades the Montreal-based Canadian Institute for Jewish Research (CIJR) has attracted a following around the world. Its Daily Briefings on Israel are sent out to more than 40,000 subscribers worldwide. So, with the help of today’s internet technology, a much anticipated all-day international conference in Montreal on Combatting the Delegitimation of Israel, will not only be held on Sunday, Nov. 6 at Congregation Chevra Kadisha B’nai Jacob Beit Hazikaron (5237 Clanranald Ave.), but also will be viewable online at http://www.isranet.org.

“We have just revamped our website and added new video components,” said Professor Fred Krantz, director and founder of CIJR.… “We will have it [the Conference video] uploaded and ready for viewing. People should check our website closer to the date to learn more.”

A number of internationally renowned academics and specialists on Israel will be presenting papers including: Daniel Pipes (Hoover Institution/MEF); Efraim Karsh (U. London/Middle East Forum); Catherine Chatterley (U. Manitoba); Barbara Kay (National Post); Richard Landes (Boston U./Paliwood); Mordechai Nisan (Hebrew U.); Asaf Romirowsky (Middle East Forum); Charles Small (New Haven); and Sally Zerker (York U.)

“The delegitimation of Israel is a key weapon in the ongoing pro-Palestinian struggle against the democratic Jewish state,” Krantz explained. “It is occurring in Europe, at the UN, on and off campuses in North America, and in Israel itself.”

Bankrolled by Saudi Arabian and other Arab sources, West European governments, and various church and NGO groups and foundations, the campaign is affected by anti-Israel NGOs, anti-Zionist academics and left-wing student groups, including some Jewish students.

“There are Israeli Apartheid Week activities on many university campuses. This is all done to try to weaken and destroy Israel. Why is this not happening to places like Syria and Sudan?”

Krantz notes that the hallmark of this propaganda campaign is its inverted use of traditional human rights, free speech, and democratic-liberal language and values, as well as the misrepresentation of Holocaust memory and historical truth generally.

Founded 23 years ago, the CIJR is an independent Israel—and Jewish—issues-centric think-tank, focused on Middle Eastern foreign policy and international relations. Current topics studied include Judaism, Islam, the Arab world, antisemitism, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Iran and nuclear weapons, Holocaust and Holocaust denial, and Egypt and the Arab rebellions.

CIJRalso works closely with students on and off campus, supporting their unique Dateline: Middle East journal and administering the innovative Student Israel-Advocacy Program, training students in responding to anti-Israel and antisemitic issues and events on campus.…

“CIJR’s Student Israel-Advocacy Program is designed to take back the campus by empowering Jewish and interested non-Jewish students through the acquisition of crucial historical-political knowledge concerning the Jewish people, Zionism and the state of Israel in its Middle East context,” said Joseph Shier, national CIJR chair.

To register for the Nov. 6 conference, visit www.isranet.org, call (514) 486-5444 or email cijr@isranet.org.


Richard J. Goldstone

NY Times, October 31, 2011

The Palestinian Authority’s request for full United Nations membership has put hope for any two-state solution under increasing pressure.… So it is important to separate legitimate criticism of Israel from assaults that aim to isolate, demonize and delegitimize it.

One particularly pernicious and enduring canard that is surfacing again is that Israel pursues “apartheid” policies.… While “apartheid” can have broader meaning, its use is meant to evoke the situation in pre-1994 South Africa. It is an unfair and inaccurate slander against Israel, calculated to retard rather than advance peace negotiations.

I know all too well the cruelty of South Africa’s abhorrent apartheid system, under which human beings characterized as black had no rights to vote, hold political office, use “white” toilets or beaches, marry whites, live in whites-only areas or even be there without a “pass.” Blacks critically injured in car accidents were left to bleed to death if there was no “black” ambulance to rush them to a “black” hospital. “White” hospitals were prohibited from saving their lives.…

In Israel, there is no apartheid. Nothing there comes close to the definition of apartheid under the 1998 Rome Statute: “Inhumane acts…committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.” Israeli Arabs—20 percent of Israel’s population—vote, have political parties and representatives in the Knesset and occupy positions of acclaim, including on its Supreme Court. Arab patients lie alongside Jewish patients in Israeli hospitals, receiving identical treatment.… In Israel, equal rights are the law, the aspiration and the ideal; inequities are often successfully challenged in court.

The situation in the West Bank is more complex. But here too there is no intent to maintain “an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group.” This is a critical distinction.… South Africa’s enforced racial separation was intended to permanently benefit the white minority, to the detriment of other races. By contrast, Israel has agreed in concept to the existence of a Palestinian state in Gaza and almost all of the West Bank, and is calling for the Palestinians to negotiate the parameters.…

The mutual recognition and protection of the human dignity of all people is indispensable to bringing an end to hatred and anger. The charge that Israel is an apartheid state is a false and malicious one that precludes, rather than promotes, peace and harmony.

(Richard J. Goldstone, a former justice of the South African Constitutional Court,
led the United Nations fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict of 2008-9.)


Joseph Klein
FrontPage, November 1, 2011

In its own special version of a Halloween “trick or treat,” the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) became the first UN agency to admit Palestine as a full member since the Palestinians launched their full court press for total recognition as a UN member state. The final UNESCO vote tally was 107 votes in favor, 14 against and 52 abstentions. The United States, Canada and Germany voted against Palestinian membership in UNESCO. France joined the countries that voted in favor. Britain abstained.…

The Palestinian bid for full membership in the United Nations as a whole is currently before the Security Council, where it is not expected to succeed this year. However, by piling up individual UN agency memberships, which can be approved by those agencies even for non-members of the entire United Nations system, the Palestinians are hoping to create momentum towards achieving their ultimate objective. The chain reaction will start with Palestinian bids to gain membership in the World Intellectual Property Organization, the UN Industrial Development Organization (in which the United States is not a member), and the UN Conference on Trade and Development, which admit entities that belong to another specialized UN agency such as UNESCO.

Sabri Saidam, adviser to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, declared: “This is a historic moment, a moment of jubilation on route to full recognition of Palestinian independence and self-determination, that’s equally a call for reconsideration of positions to those wavering on the Security Council vote. It is also a foundation stone for what’s to come at the (Security Council) and other international organizations.”

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, speaking after the vote, said the “admission of a new member state is a mark of respect and confidence.” Bokova falsely believes that a government which lacks the basic prerequisites of statehood under international law deserves membership in her organization.… Abbas’s government does not control all the territory it purports to represent, and there are no internationally recognized borders negotiated with Israel in accordance with Security Council Resolution 242. Moreover, a government contemplating “unity” with Hamas, a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of a member state of the United Nations, deserves neither the respect nor confidence of the international community.

UN Ambassador Susan Rice, piercing through the nonsense coming from UNESCO, tweeted: “Today’s vote to grant Palestinian membership in UNESCO is no substitute for direct negotiations, but it is deeply damaging to UNESCO.” David Killion, the U.S. permanent representative to UNESCO, said the United States “cannot accept the premature Palestinian admission for membership in a United Nations specialized agency such as UNESCO.” Under U.S. law, the Obama administration must cut off funding for UNESCO, as acknowledged by State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.

“The United States will refrain from making contributions to UNESCO,” Nuland said. This action stems from a provision of the U.S. code that states: “No funds authorized to be appropriated by this Act or any other Act shall be available for the United Nations or any specialized agency thereof which accords the Palestine Liberation Organization the same standing as member states.” The Palestine Liberation Organization is technically the Palestinian entity that represents the Palestinians in the United Nations.

The U.S. cut-off of funding will blow a big hole in UNESCO’s budget since the U.S. has been paying 22% of its budget—approximately $80 million in annual funding. A $60 million payment to UNESCO due in November will be the first casualty of the cut-off.…

UNESCO is reverting to the same kind of irresponsible behavior that led to a U.S. boycott for almost two decades until it was finally ended by President George W. Bush in 2003. In November 2010, UNESCO had already foreshadowed its pro-Palestinian agenda by adopting several proposals by Arab states reclassifying Jewish historical landmarks as “Palestinian sites.” This attempt to use the UN’s cultural agency to blur or obliterate the Jewish people’s historical connection to their homeland reinforces Abbas’s oft-repeated refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. A little more than a week ago, he proclaimed that “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I will never recognize the Jewishness of the state, or a ‘Jewish state.’” Yet he points to the UN General Assembly partition resolution (Resolution 181), which explicitly recognizes a “Jewish State,” as a legal justification for his bid for Palestinian UN member state status.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, had it right when she said the UNESCO cut-off of funding should be just the beginning. “Congress must pass pending U.N. reform legislation to cut off funding to any U.N. entity that grants any upgraded status to ‘Palestine,’” said Rep. Ros-Lehtinen.…

Rash actions must have significant consequences or the rash actions will simply multiply. The United Nations has been misusing American taxpayers’ money for too long. It is time to push back.


Jason Edelstein & Naftali Balanson
Jerusalem Post, October 25, 2011

On Tuesday, October 18, as Gilad Schalit returned home, Israelis took to the streets in a bittersweet celebration—the joy of a son coming home tempered by the release of convicted murderers and other terrorists. Similar to the annual transition of Remembrance Day to Independence Day, the Schalit celebrations felt uniquely Israeli.…

At the center of the five-year ordeal to free Schalit was an abject failure of justice and international law. The hundreds of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that operate in this region—and claim in some manner to promote human rights—never adopted the Schalit cause as a raison d’etre. On the contrary, since his captivity began, organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN), B’Tselem, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, Gisha, and Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) did not conduct sustained, coordinated campaigns on his behalf. Gilad Schalit was simply not a priority for these NGOs.

Instead, NGOs used this issue to condemn Israeli responses to terror from Gaza. The few statements released by NGOs in the past five years drew moral equivalence between Schalit, who was illegally held incommunicado and without access to the International Red Cross, and Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisoners according to international legal standards.

During the week preceding Schalit’s return, these same NGOs continued to display moral bankruptcy. Not a single NGO condemned the extortion exacted by Hamas on Israel, resulting in freedom for hundreds of terrorists who were tried and convicted according to due process of law.…

The failure is particularly severe for Israeli NGOs, which proudly claim to uphold human rights for all Israelis and frequently appear before the Supreme Court in pursuit of their own agendas on Gaza. In contrast, they were nowhere to be seen when the families of the terror victims made their case in court.

Similarly, if they had acted with moral consistency, B’Tselem, similar NGOs, and foreign governments, would have used their close connections to UN and other bodies to make Gilad Schalit’s case a serious issue internationally, as they did regarding both the blockade of Gaza and Palestinian prisoners. Would Schalit have returned home sooner if Israeli NGOs had used their influence in these forums? Or if Human Rights Watch had held a press conference in Jerusalem’s American Colony hotel, as they have done for so many reports critical of Israeli policies?…

(The writers are communications director and managing editor of NGO Monitor.)


Efraim Karsh
Jerusalem Post, October 10, 2011

Sari Nusseibeh has done it again. In an article titled “Why Israel Can’t be a ‘Jewish State,’” published on the Jewish New Year of all dates, the supposedly moderate president of al-Quds University goes to great lengths to explain why Jews, unlike any other nation on earth, are undeserving of statehood.

“[T]he idea of a ‘Jewish State’ is logically and morally problematic because of its legal, religious, historical and social implications,” he wrote. “The implications of this term therefore need to be spelled out, and we are sure that once they are, most people—and most Israeli citizens, we trust—will not accept these implications.”

Not that this should have come as a surprise. For decades, Nusseibeh has tirelessly advanced the “one-state solution”—a euphemistic formula that proposes the replacement of Israel by a country, theoretically comprising the whole of historic Palestine, in which Jews will be reduced to the status of a permanent minority.

This advocacy of the destruction of a long-existing state, established by an internationally recognized act of national self-determination, has hardly dented Nusseibeh’s “moderate” credentials. That can be partly explained by the desperate yearning among Jews and their supporters worldwide for Palestinian and Arab peace partners. That desire dates back to the 1920s and the 1930s, despite countless setbacks and disillusionments. It is also a corollary of the narcissist and patronizing mesmerization among educated westerners with the “noble savage” in general, and the Westernized native in particular. With his posh Jerusalem high school education, his Oxford and Harvard degrees and impeccable western demeanor, Nusseibeh, like cultured Arabs and Muslims before him, represents the ultimate product of the “white man’s civilizing mission.…”

I was personally privy to this feting during a London meeting in the spring of 1989. I was then a senior fellow at Tel Aviv University’s Jafee Center for Strategic Studies, and like many well intentioned Israelis at the time and since, we aspired to lay the ground for Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation through secret talks with Palestinian interlocutors, including members of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, then an outlawed organization in Israel. The group we met was headed by Faisal Husseini, then the PLO’s most senior official in the disputed territories, flanked by Nusseibeh and a few prominent London-based Palestinian academics.

The meeting was pleasant and informative enough, with the courteous British hosts going out of their way to keep their Palestinian guests sweet. Yet I was taken aback when Nusseibeh, the celebrated epitome of Palestinian moderation, turned out to be the most extreme member of the group. Dismissing out of hand the two-state solution—Israel and a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip—he sang the praise of the “one-state paradigm,” demanding the incorporation of the West Bank and Gaza population into the Jewish state as full-fledged citizens, to be followed by Palestinian “refugees” from the neighboring Arab states and beyond.

In subsequent years, Nusseibeh would pay customary lip service to the two-state solution while consistently questioning the very legitimacy of the state with which he ostensibly wished to make peace. On a few occasions he even let the mask drop, unveiling his true agenda. In the late 1990s, for example, he told an old Oxford friend that “one day, in the near or further future, all this [Israel and Palestine] will be one binational state. It’s just a question of how we get there.”

In an April 2005 debate at Dartmouth College, Nusseibeh advocated the creation of a bi-national state as the only viable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.… In a 2007 political memoir Nusseibeh missed no opportunity to denigrate and delegitimize the Jewish state through sharp, short, often subtle yet always false readings of history.

He does this in spades in his latest article. A Jewish state cannot exist, he argues, because “no state in the world is—or can be in practice—ethnically or religiously homogenous.” But the Jewish state that has existed for over 63 years has never been, nor aspired to be, totally homogenous: unlike the Palestinian Arab leadership which, since the early 1920s to date, has insisted on a Judenrein Palestine. Rather, Israel has been home to diverse religious and ethnic minorities accounting for nearly 20 percent of its total population.

As David Ben-Gurion told the leadership of his own (Mapai) party in 1947, the non-Jews in the Jewish state “will be equal citizens; equal in everything without any exception; that is, the state will be their state as well.”

Nusseibeh claims that a Jewish state must by definition be either a theocracy or an apartheid state, and that its Jewish nature opens the door to legally reducing its substantial non-Jewish minority (whose very existence he previously denied) “to second-class citizens (or perhaps even stripping them of their citizenship and other rights).” This, too, flies in the face of Israel’s 63-year history, where Arabs have enjoyed full equality before the law, and have been endowed with the full spectrum of democratic rights—including the right to vote for and serve in all state institutions.

In fact, from the designation of Arabic as an official language, to the recognition of non-Jewish religious holidays as legal resting days for their respective communities, to the granting of educational, cultural, judicial, and religious autonomy, Arabs in Israel enjoy more formal prerogatives than ethnic minorities anywhere in the democratic world.

Small wonder that whenever an Israeli politician proposes the inclusion of some frontier Israeli-Arab settlements in the future Palestinian state, as part of a land exchange within the framework of a peace agreement, the residents of these localities immediately voice their indignation. Moreover, recent surveys show that more Palestinians in east Jerusalem, who are entitled to Israeli social benefits and are free to travel across Israel’s pre-1967 borders, would rather become citizens of the Jewish state than citizens of a new Palestinian one.

But Nusseibeh is not someone to be bothered by the facts. His is the misconception, prevalent among Arabs and Muslims, that Jews are a religious community and not a nation deserving of statehood. Hence, instead of insisting on being accepted for what it has been for 63 years, or what the UN partition resolution envisaged it to be, Israel should shed its Jewish identity and become “a civil, democratic, and pluralistic state whose official religion is Judaism” like many of its Arab neighbors which have Islam as their official religion “but grant equal civil rights to all citizens.” This of course is the complete inverse of the truth.

The Jewish state is a civil, democratic and pluralistic society, something that none of its Arab neighbors can stake a claim to. On the contrary, precisely because Islam is enshrined as state religion throughout the Middle East, the non-Muslim minorities have been denied “equal civil rights” and have instead been reduced to the historic dhimmi status whereby they can at best enjoy certain religious freedoms in return for a distinctly inferior existence, and at worst suffer from systematic persecution and oppression.

And this is the “one-state paradigm” offered by Nusseibeh to Israel’s Jewish citizens.

(Efraim Karsh, a professor at King’s College London and director of the Middle East Forum,
is presenting a paper in Montreal at
CIJR’s November 6th International Conference.)