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

Tag: United Nations

UN’S BIASED AND HYPOCRITICAL OBSESSION WITH ISRAEL ENDURES IN NEW YEAR

No Palestinian-Israel Peace in 2019 — But Here Are Some Developments We Can Expect: Abraham Cooper, Algemeiner, Dec. 31, 2018— For Israel, 2019 will likely bring great achievements but also great disappointments.

Thank Heaven We’re Done With UNESCO: Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom, Jan. 2, 2019 — Thank God, it’s over.

The UN’s Obsession With Israel Makes Peace Harder to Achieve: Nikki Haley, New York Post, Dec. 18, 2018— When I first came to the United Nations two years ago, I was taken aback a bit by this monthly meeting.

The Late Moshe Arens: A Noble Spirit, a Truthful Man: Benjamin Netanyahu, JNS, Jan. 9, 2019— The life story of my faithful teacher and close friend, the late Moshe (“Misha”) Arens, ended after he had the privilege of seeing Israel celebrate 70 years of independence.

On Topic Links

First Ethiopian Jewry Research Hub Aims to Preserve Community’s Traditions: Melanie Lidman, Times of Israel, Jan. 8, 2019

UN Elects Yemen, Worst on Gender Equality, as VP at UN’s Gender Equality Agency: UNWatch, Jan. 9, 2019

Maybe UNESCO Will ‘Learn a Lesson’ From US and Israeli Withdrawals, Ex-Envoy Says: Benjamin Kerstein, Algemeiner, Jan. 1, 2019

French Resistance Hero Who Saved Hundreds of Jewish Children Dies Aged 108: Alexandra Topping, Guardian, Dec. 30, 2018

 

NO PALESTINIAN-ISRAEL PEACE IN 2019 —

BUT HERE ARE SOME DEVELOPMENTS WE CAN EXPECT

Abraham Cooper

Algemeiner, Dec. 31, 2018

For Israel, 2019 will likely bring great achievements but also great disappointments. The achievements will include: continued growth of Israel’s innovation economy; increased tourism; and development of a broad range of new inventions, along with drugs and devices to help people deal with many severe health issues.

The disappointments will include: continued Iranian-induced terrorist attacks and looming threats of war; endless hostility from the halls of the United Nations and the European Parliament; and the continued Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement — waging asymmetrical economic and cultural warfare – seeking to demonize, isolate, and ultimately eliminate the Jewish state.

Despite the best efforts of President Trump, his senior advisers and son-in-law Jared Kushner to come up with a peace plan acceptable to the Palestinians and Israelis, they are taking on an impossible task at a time of new elections and political upheaval in Jerusalem, and an aging, corrupt, and unrepresentative Palestinian leadership in Ramallah.

Make no mistake: Israelis yearn for the day when their 18-year-olds no longer have to devote two years of their young lives to put themselves in harm’s way. They want to live in peace with their Arab neighbors. Israel today provides its Arab citizens, who comprise nearly one-fifth of the population, with more rights and a higher living standard than are enjoyed in Arab nations. But continuing Palestinian terrorism at its southern and northern borders — and in the West Bank — forces Israel to take significant security precautions, as any nation would when faced with similar threats.

Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority (PA) is holding out for impossible demands in any peace treaty, including the “right of return” for any Palestinian who left Israel when the Jewish state was created in 1948 – plus all their millions of descendants. No Israeli government will ever accept the “right of return” poison pill that would create an Arab majority overnight  and spell the end of the lone, democratic Jewish state.

The PA also demands the return of every square inch of territory that Israel captured in the 1967 Six-Day War, leaving Israel with what Abba Eban, the late Israeli foreign minister, called indefensible “Auschwitz borders” — and without much of its historic capital and its holiest sites in the eastern part of Jerusalem. The Hamas and Islamic Jihad Palestinian terrorist groups and their patron state Iran go even further, calling for Israel’s destruction through violence and terrorism.

The Palestinian Authority and Hamas both use a school curriculum that denies Israel’s existence, and teaches children to venerate terrorists. As a result, there will be no peace breakthrough with the Palestinians in 2019, no matter how innovative President Trump’s peace plan may be — or how much Israel wants peace. It’s not about money, it’s not even so much about borders. It’s about psychology.

Many Palestinians — even those who claim to want to live in peace side by side with Israel — are opposed to the very concept of a Jewish state. But Jews, inspired by a vision of a return to Zion, founded Israel specifically to be a Jewish state, a refuge for Jews fleeing antisemitism and genocide; Israel was envisioned as a modern democracy — protecting the rights of all — in the ancient homeland of the Jewish people.

Still, in the year ahead, we can expect continuous Iranian threats to drive greater cooperation between Gulf States and Israel. This could lead that one or more of them finally recognizing Israel 70 years after its creation. Having personally met Bahrain’s King Hamad and hosted two dozen Bahrain interfaith leaders in Jerusalem, my best hope and prayer is that the king will lead the way in normalizing relations with Israel. Other Arab states will follow and so eventually will a new generation of Palestinian leaders — but don’t look for that to happen anytime soon.

Not only does peace seem to be a distant dream, but Israel’s raucous political battles have yielded a December surprise and not a happy one: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his coalition government was dissolving and that snap elections would be held in April. So is the Jewish state, a failing state? Quite the contrary. Indeed, there must be other aspects of Israel’s 2018 that help explain why 89 percent of its 8.9 million citizens have reported that they are happy with their lives…

Here’s some good news about Israel you rarely hear in the US and international media: First, Israel actually experienced a huge increase in global tourism this year, led by Asia. Whatever tourists may have been hearing from biased media, there is nothing like experiencing the only Middle Eastern democracy and its holy sites firsthand to debunk the Big Lie that Israel is an “apartheid state.”

Nowhere was the tourist boom more in evidence than in Jerusalem, Israel’s eternal capital. An estimated four million tourists have visited the Holy City this year. This came as President Trump was true to his word and announced that the United States was recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The actual move of the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem took place in business-like (not diplomatic) speed, and I was honored to witness the opening of the embassy on May 14.

Secondly, the “I” in Israel really does stand for innovation. Despite the fact that young Israelis have to serve in the IDF and can be called up to the reserves for decades – and despite the barbs, hatred, and violence flung their way — Israelis are committed to making a difference in ways that are impacting the lives of friends and enemies the world over.

Here’s a tiny sample of the world-changing innovations that emerged from Israel this year: The world’s first 3D- printed vegan steak — which will help address how the planet can feed its exploding population; Research to create tissue implants of any kind by using patients’ own cells; A new tool to better assess pain that patients experience in the intensive care unit; A new device to detect problems in lesions before cancer develops; and promising research on the inner ear that could help address hearing loss. And this spring, Israel is expected to land an unmanned spacecraft on the moon in April. Furthermore, we can all expect to see more spectacular innovation from Israel that will improve our economies, our lives, our health, and our iPhones in the near future.

We can only hope and pray that someday a new generation of Palestinian leaders will realize their people are better off cooperating with their neighbors and living in peace than entrusting their children to corrupt leaders who reward young people not for innovation and education, but for murdering Jews — thus ensuring a never-ending conflict.

It’s unfortunate that this will not happen in 2019 — unless the Messiah himself intervenes. To hasten real change on the ground in the New Year, nations like Germany, France, and Japan should follow President Trump’s lead by snapping shut their checkbooks to the Palestinians unless and until they can prove that “humanitarian aid” doesn’t go to build terror tunnels or financially reward families whose sons murder and main Jews.

 

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THANK HEAVEN WE’RE DONE WITH UNESCO                                                    

Nadav Shragai

Israel Hayom, Jan. 2, 2019

Thank God, it’s over. When 2018 ended, Israel’s withdrawal from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization took effect. Don’t feel bad. Under existing conditions, there was no reason to keep our place at the table with the gang of hypocritical liars that every few months rewrote another chapter of the history of the land of Israel and the Jewish people, and coopted it for the Palestinians. Rather than thrilling at the glorious cultural, religious, historic, and archaeological legacy of the Jewish people in the land of Israel, the organization chose time and again to adopt “fake history” and give its seal of approval to more fabrications from the Palestinian pack of lies.

UNESCO questioned Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. It treated us as if we were occupiers in our own capital, even though Jerusalem in all its holiness was never a capital – in terms of either politics or conscience – for any Arab or Muslim ruling entity. Even the Jordanians, who together with the Palestinians prompted UNESCO to pass resolutions hostile to Israel – never used Jerusalem as their capital in the years in which they occupied the city. They desecrated the places that are holy to Jews, and in violation of agreements we signed with them, even denied us access to those places. Back then, the Jordanians and the Palestinians – before they invented themselves as a “people” – cited the Temple Mount as the location of Solomon’s Temple on their maps and in their writings. Today, they boldly deny ever doing so and UNESCO is helping them by partly adopting their denial.

But UNESCO has more than Jerusalem in its sights. Rachel’s Tomb, which UNESCO decided to call, as the Palestinians term it, Bilal Ibn Rabah mosque, was never traditionally called that. Ibn Rabah, of Ethiopian descent, was one of the first muezzins who served the Prophet Muhammad. He was killed in Syria and buried in Aleppo or Damascus. Only when the Palestinian Authority realized it had failed to capture the site from Israel during the Second Intifada did they link Ibn Rabah to “Kubat Rachel,” the Arabic name for the site that had been used for generations. In the case of Rachel’s Tomb, UNESCO supported an attempt to take over people’s minds in place of a physical occupation of the site which failed.

The Palestinians also biased UNESCO on everything having to do with the Cave of the Patriarchs. The cave, which Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite, was long ago stolen from us by Muslims. The fact that the two religions co-own it today is a generous compromise we forced the Muslims to accept about 50 years ago. Israel, with help from the forces of history, rectified a few colossal absurdities that the Muslims thought would remain in place forever. The Palestinians appealed to UNESCO so that at least as far as people’s thinking went, they could regain full ownership of the Cave of the Patriarchs, and UNESCO helped them with that, as well.

With each delusional resolution, UNESCO made itself more ridiculous and less relevant. But every cloud has a silver lining. Despite the total absurdity of the organization’s decisions, they carried one main advantage for Israel – they held up a mirror. They forced us to go back to our roots, to study them, to delve into them and understand that we are not passersby in this land. We weren’t just born here and we didn’t just move here. The UNESCO resolutions helped us reach the vital recognition that the land of Israel is not just a haven, it’s also a destination; that its many holy sites are the cradle of our people’s birth and still correspond to our present and our future here, which rests on more than “security needs.” Now, without UNESCO, we’ll need to remind ourselves of that from time to time.

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THE UN’S OBSESSION WITH ISRAEL MAKES PEACE HARDER TO ACHIEVE

Nikki Haley

New York Post, Dec. 18, 2018

When I first came to the United Nations two years ago, I was taken aback a bit by this monthly meeting. The fact that the UN would consider the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was not striking. It is, after all, a matter of international peace and security. What was striking was the frequency of the discussion and the one-sidedness of it. Members of the Security Council have heard me say this many times. The problems of the Middle East are numerous, and yet we spend a vastly disproportionate amount of time on just one of them. And the UN has shown itself to be hopelessly biased, as we witnessed again just two weeks ago when the General Assembly failed to condemn Hamas’ terrorist activity against Israel.

Over the past two years, I have attempted to provide more value in this monthly meeting by using my time to speak about other pressing problems in the Middle East. I have spoken about Iran’s illegal weapons transfers and destabilizing support for terrorism throughout the region. I have spoken about the barbarism of the ­Assad regime in Syria. I have spoken about Hamas’ illegal and diabolical use of human shields. I have done this for two reasons. I’ve done it to illustrate that most of the region’s problems have absolutely nothing to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And I’ve done it to encourage the UN to move away from its obsession with Israel.

This UN obsession has sent a loud and false message to the Palestinians that they just might be able to achieve their goals by relying on the UN, rather than through direct negotiations. And it has sent a loud and accurate message to the Israelis that they can never trust the UN. This biased obsession is not the path to peace. It is the path to an endless stalemate.

Today is my last time addressing this monthly session as the United States ambassador. Because it is, I’m going to deviate from my practice of the last two years. Today, I will directly address the Israel-Palestinian issue. Given my record, some may mistakenly conclude that I am unsympathetic to the Palestinian people. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here’s how I see it. Israel is a thriving, strong, prosperous country. It has always wanted peace with its neighbors. It has clearly demonstrated its willingness to make big sacrifices for peace, including giving up large ­areas of land.

But Israel will not make a peace agreement at just any price, and it shouldn’t. No UN resolutions, anti-Semitic boycotts or terrorist threats will ever change that. Throughout its existence, and even today, Israel has been surrounded by threats to its security. It would be foolish for it to make a deal that weakened its security. And yet, even in the face of constant threats, Israel has become one of the leading nations in the world. Israel wants a peace agreement, but it doesn’t need one.

And then there are the Palestinian people. Like the Israelis, they are a deservedly proud people. They, too, do not need to accept a peace agreement at any price. But the condition of the Palestinian people is very different. Economic opportunity, health care, even electricity are all scarce in the Palestinian territories. Terrorists rule much of the territory, undermining the safety of all civilians. The Palestinian people are suffering terribly while their leadership clings to 50-year-old demands that have only become less and less realistic.

It is time we faced a hard truth: Both sides would benefit greatly from a peace agreement, but the Palestinians would benefit more, and the Israelis would risk more. Ultimately, as always, the final decisions can only be made by the parties themselves. Israelis and Palestinians will decide their own futures. They will decide what sacrifices they are willing to make. And they will need leaders with real vision to do it.

As for the American people, we have demonstrated time and again our commitment to peace in the Middle East. We will continue to offer our hand in friendship to the Palestinian people, whom we have financially supported by far more than any other country has done. The Palestinians have everything to gain by engaging in peace negotiations. But whatever it is that others decide, the world must know that America will remain steadfast in our support of Israel, its people and its security. That is an unshakeable bond between our two peoples. And it is that bond — more than anything else — that makes peace possible.

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THE LATE MOSHE ARENS: A NOBLE SPIRIT, A TRUTHFUL MAN

Benjamin Netanyahu                            

JNS, Jan. 9, 2019

The life story of my faithful teacher and close friend, the late Moshe (“Misha”) Arens, ended after he had the privilege of seeing Israel celebrate 70 years of independence. That national peak filled Misha’s heart with great satisfaction. As one who followed our struggle for freedom, and even wrote glowing pages about our founding as a state, he was always astounded at the country’s achievements, which proved the justice of the Zionist vision. Misha was a vital leg in the Zionist relay race. He was raised on the theories of Revisionist thinker Ze’ev Jabotinsky and wanted to implement them.

I was happy to accept his invitation to join the Israeli Embassy delegation in Washington in 1982. Even before that, our two families had formed deep ties because of the help Misha gave my father, Professor Benzion Netanyahu, in his Zionist activity — and at the time, I was aware of how privileged I was to continue that work. As Israel’s ambassador to the United States and as foreign minister, Misha was eloquent in representing our diplomatic positions. In accordance with Jabotinsky’s theory on pressure, he waged an unflagging diplomatic battle for our vital interests. As defense minister, Misha strengthened the iron wall that defends us. His contribution to the development of Israel’s air defenses, as well as the steps he took to bolster its ground forces and homefront, stemmed from his correct appraisal of the dangers in the Middle East.

Misha also encountered struggles and disappointment. That is natural in a career of public service that spanned more than four decades. He felt that the cancellation of the decision to develop the Lavi aircraft in Israel was a missed opportunity. In our in-depth discussions, I tried to convince him that when it came down to it, he had been very successful — our military might in the air, at sea, and on land; military intelligence; and cyber capabilities are the equivalent of an iron fist. Our enemies know that they will pay a heavy price for any attempt to attack us.

Misha was a great gentleman, a noble spirit, and, no less important, a truthful man. In the name of the truth, he devoted himself to retelling the story of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. He could not rest at the fighters from the right-wing Betar movement being left out of the tale of the heroic stand against the Nazis. His exciting book Flags over the Warsaw Ghetto rights that wrong. Misha gave Pavel Frenkel and his Betar comrades the honor they deserved. They led the uprising, along with Mordechai Anielewicz and his people, and set a path towards the future — a strong stance against those who seek to kill us and ensuring our ability to defend ourselves.

Moshe Arens, the beloved Misha, was part of some of the decisive moments in the history of the new State of Israel. The personal, unique stamp he put on building sovereignty in the homeland will stay with us for generations to come. May his memory be a blessing.

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporter: Shabbat Shalom!

 

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On Topic Links

First Ethiopian Jewry Research Hub Aims to Preserve Community’s Traditions: Melanie Lidman, Times of Israel, Jan. 8, 2019—Ethiopian Israeli religious leaders are hoping a new academic center will “create a new language” to talk about the richness of Ethiopian culture and traditions, after decades of discrimination dismissing the contribution of Ethiopian Judaism.

UN Elects Yemen, Worst on Gender Equality, as VP at UN’s Gender Equality Agency: UNWatch, Jan. 9, 2019— A human rights watchdog organization today condemned the UN’s election of Yemen, the worst-ranking country in the world on gender equality, to be vice-president of the Executive Board of UN Women, which is the United Nations entity for gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Maybe UNESCO Will ‘Learn a Lesson’ From US and Israeli Withdrawals, Ex-Envoy Says: Benjamin Kerstein, Algemeiner, Jan. 1, 2019—“Maybe they will learn a lesson,” a former Israeli ambassador to UNESCO told The Algemeiner on Tuesday as the Jewish state officially left the global cultural institution.

French Resistance Hero Who Saved Hundreds of Jewish Children Dies Aged 108: Alexandra Topping, Guardian, Dec. 30, 2018—Georges Loinger used all his skill and cunning – and a large dash of chutzpah – to rescue Jewish children from deportation and near-certain death during the second world war.

 

UN, ONCE AGAIN, CONDEMNS ISRAEL BUT IGNORES HAMAS AND OTHER SERIAL HUMAN RIGHTS OFFENDERS

Making History Amid the Same Old UN Farce: Editorial, New York Post, Dec. 7, 2018— UN Ambassador Nikki Haley this week warned the General Assembly, “Today could be a historic day at the United Nations, or it could be just another day.”

Human Rights Day Nothing to Celebrate: Gerald M. Steinberg, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 6, 2018— International Human Rights Day – commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Genocide Conventions on December 10, 1948 – is marked every year in the United Nations and by other organizations claiming to carry out its noble principles.

Why Do NGOs Sacrifice Palestinian Welfare Over Political Goals?: Jamie Berk, Algemeiner, Dec. 11, 2018 — During International Human Rights Week, we commemorate the UN’s 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that every person in the world has the right to maintain an adequate standard of living, health, and protections in the event of illness or unemployment.

More UN Chicanery: Bruce Bawer, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 9, 2018— In Britain, the rage over Muslim rape gangs and Theresa May’s Brexit foul-up is spreading.

On Topic Links

How Does Trump’s New U.N. Ambassador Stack up on Israel?: Josh Axelrod, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 7, 2018

Despite Support from Canada, U.S., UN Fails to Pass Anti-Hamas Resolution: JNS, Dec. 7, 2018

With Nikki Haley’s Resignation, We Israelis Lost A Hero: Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll, Forward, Oct.9, 2018

The Human Rights Declaration Turns 70: Sean Nelson, National Review, Dec. 7, 2018

 

MAKING HISTORY AMID THE SAME OLD UN FARCE        

Editorial

New York Post, Dec. 7, 2018

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley this week warned the General Assembly, “Today could be a historic day at the United Nations, or it could be just another day.” As things turned out, it was both. For the first time ever, an overwhelming plurality voted to condemn Hamas for its ongoing war of terror against Israel.

But a last-minute maneuver set an unusually high bar, a two-thirds vote, for passage. So the US-sponsored resolution officially failed. Then the General Assembly went on to approve another measure demanding “an end to the Israeli occupation” and a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 borders. Business as usual, that is, in a body that has passed over 700 resolutions condemning Israel — yet not one calling out Hamas.

Still, don’t underestimate the significance of the 87-57 vote (with 33 abstentions and 23 no-shows) citing Hamas for “repeatedly firing rockets into Israel” and calling on it and Islamic Jihad to “cease all provocative actions and violent activity, including by using airborne incendiary devices.” Or the fact that the two-thirds requirement passed by a mere three votes.

Yet the fact remains that the UN continues to ignore terrorism directed against Israel — a maddening double standard that, as Haley declared, “is a condemnation of the United Nations itself.” It’s also painfully self-defeating, as she also noted, since those “who have suffered the most [from] Hamas are the Palestinians themselves.”

General Assembly resolutions aren’t binding, so the vote has little practical effect. But the Trump administration had lobbied hard for passage, eventually winning the support of the entire European Union. It would’ve been nice for Haley to finish her successful tenure at the UN with a crowning achievement — and she did come close. Instead, this goes down as another moral failure by the feckless world body, albeit with hope that justice may triumph someday.

 

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HUMAN RIGHTS DAY NOTHING TO CELEBRATE                                             

Gerald M. Steinberg

Jerusalem Post, Dec. 6, 2018

International Human Rights Day – commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Genocide Conventions on December 10, 1948 – is marked every year in the United Nations and by other organizations claiming to carry out its noble principles. But in stark contrast to the self-congratulation and high-sounding rhetoric that characterize these events, the reality makes a particularly desolate picture.

If anything, this day is a timely reminder of the failures of the institutions that were created after the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust to protect and defend human rights. Indeed, 2018 was another dismal year, and there is little to celebrate. The massive government bureaucracies and millions provided to groups such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International did nothing to prevent the carnage in Syria that destroyed millions of lives. And the triumph of the Assad-Russia-Iran-Hezbollah coalition offers no hope for the future. In Venezuela, the tyranny of oppression and repression continues, and hopes that after the death of Hugo Chavez the situation would improve have been dashed.

Ignoring most of the victims around the world, the agenda of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva continues to be controlled by some of the worst violators, including Cuba, Russia, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia (a major offender long before the murder of Jamal Khashoggi), Egypt and China. The member-states and UN officials they appoint routinely exploit the rhetoric of international law to deflect attention from their own behavior, and obsessively target Israel. Syrian and Iranian diplomats take the floor to make poisonous accusations against Israel, while their governments make genocidal threats that turn the 1948 declaration into a mockery.

This year, the council voted to again conduct a pseudo-investigation of Israel, this time over the claims of excessive force and war crimes during the Hamas-orchestrated violent “Grand Return March” incidents along the Gaza border with Israel. Like the infamous (and eventually discredited) Goldstone Report published in 2009, the one-sided results of this version were decided before the commission members were named. For these reasons and more, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley declared “the Human Rights Council is the United Nations’ greatest failure.” After all efforts to enact reforms were rejected, the US suspended its membership, further diminishing the council’s legitimacy.

ADDING TO the disaster, powerful non-governmental organizations claiming to promote human rights, including Amnesty and HRW, promote the agendas of the dictatorships they are ostensibly monitoring. At the UN meetings, these NGOs routinely take the floor to repeat unsupported claims and denounce democracies, with a particular relish for reinforcing the attacks against Israel. After HRW sought funds from Saudi Arabia, referred to the Libyan dictator Ghaddafi as a “human rights reformer” and took a leading role in “turning Israel into a pariah state,” founder Robert Bernstein denounced his own organization. But nothing changed, and the same radical anti-Western and anti-Israel ideologues continue to lead HRW.

The plague of antisemitic attacks in 2018 from the extreme Right and Left that culminated in the massacre of worshipers in a Pittsburgh synagogue highlights another blatant failure of the human rights industry. The HRC has given the barest of lip service to attacks on Jews in Europe, North America and elsewhere, while a number of its member-states are flagrant violators. Antisemitism is not on the agendas of the NGOs such as HRW and Amnesty that claim to act in the name of the 1948 Universal Declaration, and which, in a number of cases, contribute to this hatred.

Amid these bleak developments, it is difficult to find a basis for optimism as we are about to enter 2019. The best hope comes from increasing exposure of those responsible for these moral failures who exploit the language of human rights and international law in order to justify their own roles in promoting hate and discrimination.

In a number of parliaments and among responsible journalists, the officials responsible for making policy and providing funding ostensibly designated for human rights are being held to account, which is an important beginning. Denmark and the Netherlands, for example, recently adopted criteria for NGO funding that will end support for the groups that promote hate – including the boycott movement against Israel – and violence. In addition, a growing number of countries and institutions have accepted the definition of antisemitism adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Association (IHRA). If these trends continue, and go beyond empty declarations, perhaps by next year’s International Human Rights Day, enough will change to give us something to celebrate.

 

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WHY DO NGOS SACRIFICE PALESTINIAN WELFARE

OVER POLITICAL GOALS?

Jamie Berk

Algemeiner, Dec. 11, 2018

During International Human Rights Week, we commemorate the UN’s 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that every person in the world has the right to maintain an adequate standard of living, health, and protections in the event of illness or unemployment.

In order to achieve these goals, the UN recognizes that economic growth can be “instrumental for the realization of human rights.” The UN’s 2030 goals for Sustainable Development build off this principle and call for an end to global poverty by creating social, economic, and environmental sustainability for all. Why then, do so many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that claim to help Palestinians fail to advance these goals?

Many NGOs that say they are focused on Palestinian rights have actually sacrificed economic development and peaceful relations with Israel in favor of their own radical and ideological objectives. For example, BDS and anti-normalization campaigns — which are promoted by a wide range of Palestinian and international NGOs — work to economically and socially isolate Palestinians from Israel and Israelis, eschewing peaceful neighborly relations, and curbing potential economic development.

For more than a decade, a number of Israeli and local Palestinian leaders lobbied the Palestinian Authority to cooperate with a plan to build sewage treatment and wastewater infrastructure plants in the Kidron Valley in Area B of the West Bank. Water is very scarce in this region, and due to the lack of infrastructure, many Palestinians are unable to utilize this resource — some even fall ill due to sewage and wastewater pollution. The proposed Israeli project aimed to solve this problem.

However, instead of helping to promote a solution, Dutch “development” and “peace” NGOs — such as Cordaid, the IKV Pax Christi, and the InterChurch Organization for Development — petitioned their government and a Dutch engineering firm to sabotage the initiative because Israel would be involved. This project would have truly benefited Palestinians in the area. Instead, the organizations’ political considerations outweighed improving the public health and sustainability of the Palestinian population. Finally, in April 2017, after 13 years of negotiation and impasse, and despite the best efforts of these NGOs, a plan to build Israeli and Palestinian pipelines to divert sewage from the Kidron Valley was approved by the PA.

A similar case occurred during the construction of Jerusalem’s light rail line. For more than a decade, numerous international and Palestinian NGOs protested the construction of the new transit system because it passes through east Jerusalem. The powerful French NGOs Ligue des droits de l’Hommes (LdH) and International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), as well as Swedish NGO Diakonia and Amnesty International, ran BDS campaigns against participation in the project, and successfully pressured French contractor Transdev to exit the light rail system in 2015.

Not surprisingly, the ideological convictions that drove these NGO campaigns ignored the needs of Arab Jerusalemites. Prior to the construction of the light rail, many residents of neighborhoods like Shuafat and Beit Hanina had few public transportation options. And today, a large portion of the 140,000 people who ride the train daily are members of Jerusalem’s Arab community. This doesn’t even mention the environmental benefits of the transit system, including a reduction in the level of pollution from private cars.

In 2012, the BDS National Committee (BNC), a leading BDS group, issued a statement decrying the Palestinian entrepreneur Bashar al-Masri. Al-Masri, a leader behind a new planned Palestinian city in the West Bank, was condemned by the group for participating in the “Israeli High Tech Industry Association” annual conference. For BNC, instead of seeing Rawabi and al-Masri’s efforts as an opportunity to improve the local economy, the group, like others, favored politics at the expense of development.

Oxfam International also placed politics over economic needs in 2014, when it protested the location of SodaStream’s manufacturing plant in the Mishor Adumim industrial zone. Oxfam argued that the facility furthered “the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities,” overtly disregarding the 600 Palestinians that worked at the Mishor Adumim factory. In 2016, SodaStream chose to move its factory to Israel’s Negev desert, resulting in the unemployment of many of its Palestinian workers. Moreover, Oxfam abandoned its rights-based approach to development, and its actions resulted in negative consequences for the people it was supposedly trying to help.

These few of many examples show that although the UN and international NGOs espouse “development,” this concept is often secondary to partisan political expediency. In reality, ending normalized relations with Israel and boycotts of the Jewish state take precedence, while infrastructure projects and employment opportunities for Palestinians are discouraged. During International Human Rights Week, it is important to remember that rights, such as development, should come before politics.

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MORE UN CHICANERY

Bruce Bawer                                                           

Gatestone Institute, Dec. 9, 2018

In Britain, the rage over Muslim rape gangs and Theresa May’s Brexit foul-up is spreading. In Germany, anger about Merkel’s recklessly transformative refugee policies is mounting. In France, the growing cost of immigrant freeloaders to taxpayers has sparked the most sensational public demonstrations since 1968. In Italy and Austria, opponents of the Islamization of Europe now hold the reins of power. Elsewhere in Western Europe, more and more citizens are standing up to their masters’ open-borders dhimmitude.

Yet much of this principled and patriotic resistance may turn out to be for naught, thanks to the so-called Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which is scheduled to be signed by representatives of the UN member states at a December 10-11 conference. Supporters of the compact are quick to reassure its critics that it is not a binding treaty and that it reaffirms the concept of national sovereignty. Nevertheless, when you come right down to it, it is nothing more or less than a dangerous effort to weaken national borders, to normalize mass migration, to blur the line between legal and illegal immigration, and to bolster the idea that people claiming to be refugees enjoy a panoply of rights in countries where they have never before set foot.

As for the 34-page-long document itself, it is written in the kind of numbing, abstraction-heavy prose that will be familiar to anyone who has ever read anything issued by the UN. It declares that “migration is a defining feature of our globalized world, connecting societies within and across all regions, making us all countries of origin, transit and destination.” It states that the goal of the Global Compact is “to create conducive conditions that enable all [!] migrants to enrich our societies through their human, economic and social capacities, and thus facilitate their contributions to sustainable development at the local, national, regional and global levels.” It also affirms that:

“[w]e must save lives and keep migrants out of harm’s way. We must empower migrants to become full members of our societies, highlight their positive contributions, and promote inclusion and social cohesion. We must generate greater predictability and certainty for States, communities and migrants alike. To achieve this, we commit to facilitate and ensure safe, orderly and regular migration for the benefit of all.”

There is a lot more where this came from, and it is not entirely clear what most of it means. Is it just a load of empty, feel-good rhetoric, or is it meant to commit signatories to specific action? What does it mean to say that the Global Compact “mainstreams a gender perspective” or that “a whole-of-government approach is needed to ensure horizontal and vertical policy coherence across all sectors and levels of government”? On the other hand, the document certainly does appear to encourage illegal migration. It unambiguously urges governments to feed their citizens propaganda about the delights of migrants and migration and to “sensitiz[e] and educat[e] media professionals on migration-related issues and terminology” and, in effect, to strong-arm journalists who refuse to play ball. Some readers of the document say that it calls for the criminalization of any criticism of migration, although its backers deny this.

One thing about the agreement, in any event, is irrefutable: almost nobody in the Western world has been clamoring for this. It is, quite simply, a project of the globalist elites. It is a UN power-grab. As the Guardian reported last year, Louise Arbour, the hack put in charge of this project, “regards the global compact as a chance to shift world opinion on the need to address future migration, in the same way that the UN had managed to persuade the world it needed to address climate change.” In short, this is yet another reminder that the UN is run by power-hungry busybodies who see it as their job not to respond to and act upon world opinion but to shape it and, if necessary, punish it.

It is something else, too: it is an effort to enhance the clout of the UN’s largest and most influential power bloc – namely, the Arab and Muslim states. Just check out the UN website devoted to this Global Compact — it’s illustrated by a picture of a young man and woman holding their index fingers and thumbs together to form a heart. She is in hijab. Repeat: she is in hijab. Briefly put, whatever this deal is or is not, it is definitely not good news for the West, for freedom, or for national identity and security. It seems fitting that the December 10-11 signing ceremony will take place in Marrakesh, Morocco.

US President Donald J. Trump, to his credit, saw through this mischievous piece of work last December, when he announced that the U.S. wanted nothing to do with it. He got flak for that move. In a UN vote this past July, the Global Compact was approved by every member nation except for the U.S. But then at least some media starting paying attention and a resistance formed. In recent weeks, more and more governments have said that they are not going to sign the deal after all. So far, the list includes Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Poland, Slovakia, and Switzerland.

In several other Western European countries, the issue is still being debated. I suspect the situation in Norway, where I live, is not unique. Most of the political parties here ardently support the Global Compact and, in the run-up to the signing ceremony, have striven — with the collaboration of the country’s mainstream media — to keep this potentially controversial agreement out of the public eye in the run-up to the signing ceremony. After a handful of alternative news and opinion websites sounded the alarm about the deal, however, it was reported on December 5 that the Progress Party had forced the government to allow a parliamentary discussion of the proposed accord.

Alas, the Big Three countries of Western Europe are all in. Theresa May has committed her government to the deal. Ditto Angela Merkel. Emmanuel Macron has stuck to his line that the Global Compact is “admirable.” What’s more, thanks to Justin Trudeau, whose mantra continues to be “diversity is a source of strength,” Canada is on board as well. So while there is no need to worry that the Global Compact will supersede the U.S. Constitution any time soon, there is legitimate reason for concern that this devious deal will constitute yet another obstacle to citizens of the free world who care about protecting and preserving their countries — but whose elites are dead set on thwarting their will.

 

Contents

On Topic Links

How Does Trump’s New U.N. Ambassador Stack up on Israel?: Josh Axelrod, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 7, 2018—Heather Nauert, State Department spokeswoman and former Fox News reporter, will be replacing Nikki Haley as the next ambassador to the United Nations. With big shoes to fill, many Israelis wonder how Nauert will compare to her predecessor.

Despite Support from Canada, U.S., UN Fails to Pass Anti-Hamas Resolution: JNS, Dec. 7, 2018— The United Nations rejected a resolution on Thursday that required a two-thirds majority to pass condemning the terrorist group Hamas for launching rockets from Gaza into Israel in addition to its infrastructure such as building tunnels to infiltrate and attack the Jewish state.

With Nikki Haley’s Resignation, We Israelis Lost A Hero: Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll, Forward, Oct.9, 2018— It felt like a blow. “Nikki Haley resigned” kept popping up in my messages.

The Human Rights Declaration Turns 70: Sean Nelson, National Review, Dec. 7, 2018— This month marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

 

JERUSALEM’S INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMACY IMPROVES, DESPITE ONGOING UN ANTI-ISRAEL BIAS

Trump Stands Firm Against Bias and Abuses at International Organizations: Prof. Eytan Gilboa, BESA, Oct. 11, 2018— Critics of President Donald Trump often accuse him of being erratic and inconsistent on foreign policy.

As the US Cuts Funding, UNRWA Employees Forced to Flee Gaza: Asaf Romirowsky and Alex Joffe, Washington Examiner, Oct. 11, 2018— The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine evacuated at least 10 international senior officials from the Gaza Strip last Monday.

UNRWA’s Message of Hate and Indoctrination: Deborah Singer Soffen and Joan Lurie Goldberg, Algemeiner, Sept. 26, 2018 — The education of Palestinian schoolchildren must change drastically if there is ever to be a lasting negotiated peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Is Israel’s International Isolation Diminishing?: Elliott Abrams, CFR, January 17, 2018— In December 2017, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution rejecting and criticizing the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

On Topic Links

‘Many of Us Owe Meir Dagan Their Lives’: Moshe Ya’alon, Arutz Sheva, Mar. 21, 2018

Nikki Haley: A Warrior for Truth and Justice: Danny Danon, JNS, Oct. 11, 2018

Israel’s Nationality Law, UN Resolution 181, and the Arab List: Prof. Hillel Frisch, BESA, Sept. 21, 2018

The Impact of Non-Orthodox Jews on America: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 10, 2018

 

                    TRUMP STANDS FIRM AGAINST BIAS

AND ABUSES AT INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

Prof. Eytan Gilboa

BESA, Oct. 11, 2018

Critics of President Donald Trump often accuse him of being erratic and inconsistent on foreign policy. In one particular area, however, he has been clear and consistent: the UN, international organizations, and international law. As in other areas of foreign policy and national security, Trump has completely reversed the policies of his predecessor Barack Obama. From the beginning of his tenure in the White House, Trump has shown little respect for the Security Council, the UN General Assembly, and several other UN and international agencies. He views them as highly politicized, corrupt, ineffective, and anti-American.

Trump appointed Nikki Haley, a highly popular and very sharp politician, to the position of US Ambassador to the UN. Haley, of Indian-Sikh origin, was the first female governor of South Carolina and was considered for vice president. She regularly and defiantly holds up a mirror to the delegates at the UN to expose the body’s hypocrisy, falseness, and double standards. (On October 9, Haley resigned her position, to be effective at the end of calendar 2018.) John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the UN who became Trump’s National Security Advisor in April 2018, is another key player in the new American approach to the UN and other international organizations.

In his speech to the 2018 UN General Assembly (his second to the body), Trump clarified a doctrine he often repeated during the 2016 presidential campaign and has continued to emphasize since becoming president: The US is a sovereign state and will determine its functions in world affairs solely on the basis of its national interests. “America is governed by Americans,” he said. “We reject the ideology of globalism and accept the doctrine of patriotism.”

Trump has consistently applied this doctrine to multiple international organizations and processes. When the US decided to leave the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo explained, “Too many commitments have gone unfulfilled. President Trump wants to move the ball forward. From day one he has called out institutions or countries who say one thing and do another, and that’s precisely the problem at the Human Rights Council.”

In June 2018, the US left the UNHRC. Ambassador Haley said that for almost a year, she had demanded reforms to the Council’s operations to no avail. “Regrettably,” she said, “it is now clear that our call for reform was not heeded. Human rights abusers continue to serve on, and be elected to, the Council.” She mentioned the election of the Democratic Republic of Congo as a new member, and the Council’s failure to conduct a single session on massive abuses committed by Venezuela and Iran, two Council members.

Haley added, “The world’s most inhumane regimes continue to escape scrutiny and the Council continues the politicizing and scapegoating of countries with positive human rights records in an attempt to distract from the abusers in their ranks. For too long the Human Rights Council has been a protector of human rights abusers and a cesspool of political bias.” The US decision to leave the UNHRC was also prompted by talks at the Council on condemning the Trump administration for immigration policies, particularly regarding the separation of illegal parents from their children.

The UNHRC was established in 2006 to replace the UN Commission on Human Rights, which ran from 1947 to 2006. The Commission was dismantled because of overt politicizing and the membership of many countries that have been among the greatest abusers of human rights on earth, such as Cuba, China, Russia, Libya, Sudan, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Zimbabwe. The Council has done no better. The same abusers were elected to the new body and the Council’s performance has been as ludicrous as that of the Commission. Its handling of Israel has been especially biased and outrageous.

The UNHRC has one item, Agenda Item 7, dedicated solely to Israel and another for the entire rest of the world. More than 50% of all resolutions this body adopts every year are against Israel. Most are one-sided and based on false information. The Council has appointed two committees to investigate alleged “war crimes” by Israel in Gaza warfare – but only Israel’s alleged crimes, not those of Hamas, the extreme Islamic terror organization that controls Gaza. The Goldstone Report (April 2009) and the Davis Report (June 2015) were skewed, flawed, and baseless (and, indeed, Goldstone himself later disavowed his namesake report). The UNHRC commissioned them in order to question and limit Israel’s right to self-defense. No other country in any other international conflict has ever been subjected to this type of biased and false inquiry…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

Contents

   

                        AS THE US CUTS FUNDING, UNRWA EMPLOYEES FORCED TO FLEE GAZA

                                                Asaf Romirowsky and Alex Joffe                                                                                           Washington Examiner, Oct. 11, 2018

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine evacuated at least 10 international senior officials from the Gaza Strip last Monday. The reason? These top staffers had received death threats following the announcement of budget cuts and planned layoffs by the agency. This is all because U.S. had decided not to renew its funding — emboldened, perhaps, by the Taylor Force Act’s prohibition on funding organizations that abet terrorism.

UNRWA confirmed later that it had “decided to temporarily withdraw part of its international staff from Gaza following a series of worrying security incidents affecting its personnel in the Strip.” These threats were so real that it prompted an emergency exit via the Erez Crossing, which was closed for the Sukkot holiday (the Feast of Tabernacles). It had to be specially opened just to permit the group of UNRWA employees to flee.

What sort of organization lives in dire fear of its own employees? From a human resource perspective, UNRWA is a case study of a client hijacking a service provider. The majority of the approximately 30,000 employees are Palestinians. The few hundred internationals employed by the agency are also overwhelmingly pro-Palestinian. It is rare that any employee has dared to break the code of silence regarding UNRWA’s alleged indispensability or its internal affairs. It is a demonstration of where the power lies that international employees have become the pawns that can be sacrificed.

To UNRWA’s Palestinian employees, the internationals are somehow representatives of the international system. The U.S., under this system, is simultaneously hated and expected to provide funding in perpetuity. We only know of a handful of individuals who have ever aired UNRWA’s dirty laundry. One such case was back in 2010, during a speech to an Arab-American group. Andrew Whitley, outgoing head of UNRWA’s New York office, stated the obvious: “We recognize, as I think most do, although it’s not a position that we publicly articulate, that the right of return is unlikely to be exercised to the territory of Israel to any significant or meaningful extent. … It’s not a politically palatable issue, it’s not one that UNRWA publicly advocates, but nevertheless it’s a known contour to the issue.”

UNRWA’s new leadership swiftly and “unequivocally” distanced itself from these comments, saying that they “in no way reflect the policies or positions of the agency and are the personal views of Mr. Whitley.” Whitley then came under such pressure from his former employer that he had to publicly repudiate his own comments as “inappropriate and wrong.”

This was not unlike what had occurred in 1952, when Lt. Gen. Sir Alexander Galloway, a noted British soldier-diplomat and UNRWA director in Jordan, made a famous statement to a group of visiting American church leaders: “It is perfectly clear that the Arab nations do not want to solve the Arab refugee problem. They want to keep it as an open sore, as an affront against the United Nations and as a weapon against Israel. Arab leaders don’t give a damn whether the refugees live or die.”

Shortly thereafter, Galloway was fired at the demand of the Jordanian government because he refused to dismiss international employees and hire locals. Galloway then published a blunt op-ed in the Daily Telegraph and Morning Post where he lambasted UNRWA and the international approach to the Palestinian refugee problem.

What is the solution? Of course the problem is difficult. Refugee settlement, except under dictatorship, is a long, expensive business. Somehow or other, the Arab Governments, the United Nations, UNRWA and some of the refugees have got to face facts: The refugees cannot in the foreseeable future return (or in the case of most of them, go) to Israel. Public acceptance of this is a matter of politics, beyond the function of UNRWA. Second, a determined effort should be made to get the “host” countries to take over relief from the Agency, thus freeing it to get on with the much more important task of resettlement.

UNRWA’s international employees, who were threatened by their local counterparts, were not going to speak publicly about its frequent hiring of terrorists and about Hamas’ use of UNRWA facilities. But they were apparently driven out precisely because they had failed in their primary task: to ensure the continued flow of funds. This is the crux of the problem. In 1949, before UNRWA was created, protesters challenged a group of UN officials visiting Gaza. As one observer described it, “A large sign had been printed in English, on which were the following, numbered as indicated: ‘1. Send us back home. 2. Compensate us. 3. Maintain us until we are refreshed.’ Just what they had in mind by ‘refreshed’ I leave to your imagination.”

UNRWA’s funding problems, and the flight of its international employees from Gaza, mask the real issue, a culture of entitlement that goes back almost 70 years, and which seeks to preserve Palestinians as internationally supported “refugees” until Israel magically disappears, rather than encourage their resettlement, self-reliance, and dignity. Until there is a cultural change, international employees will continue to be sacrificed, and the international community will be expected to pay up.                                                                                    Contents

   

                    UNRWA’S MESSAGE OF HATE AND INDOCTRINATION                                                   Deborah Singer Soffen and Joan Lurie Goldberg

                                                Algemeiner, Sept. 26, 2018

The education of Palestinian schoolchildren must change drastically if there is ever to be a lasting negotiated peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. Why? Because these schools have been inciting three generations of young Palestinians to hate and kill Jews, and the only means of conflict resolution that these students have been exposed to is violence.

For children all over the world, the new school year is filled with promise and excitement, affording them the opportunity for personal development so that they may eventually become productive citizens of their perspective communities. The same cannot be said for Palestinian children. The United Nations’ Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA and the Palestinian leadership have manipulated their education system to serve a different purpose. Rather than an education that strives to better the child, they exploit impressionable minds, indoctrinating these children into a culture of hate, thereby perpetuating the conflict rather than resolving it. Until their education system changes, the region is at least a generation away from a true, sustainable peace.

Palestinian schools, including various private schools belonging to Christian churches and Islamic charity foundations, all receive their textbooks from the PA Ministry of Education’s Curricula Center in Ramallah. According to Dr. Arnon Groiss, whose research on the subject spans 18 years, the most recent set of books published in 2016/2018 are even more radical than their predecessors. According to him, a curriculum of hatred permeates all subject matter, from elementary arithmetic to high school social studies and science. Martyrdom is glorified, the Jews’ historical connection to their biblical homeland is rejected, and contemporary maps of the region omit the existence of the UN member state of Israel. Jews are demonized and terrorist/jihad concepts are woven into songs, plays, and academia.

“The Right of Return” for more than five million Palestinians, clearly an attempt to destroy the State of Israel, is taught as a birthright. “Summer camps” for UNRWA students in Gaza are essentially Hamas paramilitary training programs. It is nothing short of hair-raising to see an adorable schoolgirl demonstrate the best way to stab a Jew or hear a young schoolboy say that he dreams of one day becoming a martyr.

UNRWA was set up in 1949 to provide social services, including education, to the Palestinian refugee population that resulted following the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, which occurred when the newly declared State of Israel was attacked by its Arab neighbors. The agency’s schools now employ 30,000 teachers, many of whom are products of these same incitement-filled schools. Therefore, it should be no surprise that peace in the region has been so elusive. Nor should it be a surprise that there have been so many teenage Palestinians attending these schools who have been willing to sacrifice their lives in order to murder Jews. This phenomenon of a society indoctrinating children is eerily similar to that of the Hitler Youth. The Nazis employed propaganda, hate-filled rhetoric, rabid antisemitism, paramilitary training, and the concept of self-sacrifice for the cause in order to ensure that there would be a crop of new young soldiers at the ready to feed the Third Reich. To quote Hitler, “He alone who owns the youth gains the future.”

It has been a monumental error in judgement to ignore the fact that UNRWA has been complicit in allowing a hate-filled education system to function unfettered in its schools all these years. If this indoctrination had been properly addressed decades ago, we would likely not be in the situation we are in today, faced with a population of Palestinians educated in UNRWA schools (for which the US was the major donor) unwilling to even consider a peaceful resolution to a conflict that has cost far too many innocent lives and benefits no one — certainly not Palestinians.

The indoctrination of impressionable children in a racist, violent ideology that encourages martyrdom puts a child’s personal well-being in jeopardy. In fact, the Palestinian education system meets the definition of child abuse as outlined by a number of organizations. For example: “The Convention of the Rights of the Child,” ratified by the UN General Assembly in 1989, recognizes and urges respect for the human rights of children. In particular, Article 19 calls for legislative, administrative, social, and educational actions to protect children from all forms of violence. The International Criminal Court has recognized that “conscripting or enlisting children under the age of 15 and using them to participate actively in hostilities” is a war crime….[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]                                                                                                                                              Contents

   

IS ISRAEL’S INTERNATIONAL ISOLATION DIMINISHING?

Elliott Abrams

CFR, January 17, 2018

In December 2017, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution rejecting and criticizing the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The vote was 128 in favor and 9 against (including Israel and the United States), with 35 abstaining and 21 absent. That result was variously interpreted as a sort of victory for the United States and Israel, in that fifty-five countries did not support the resolution, or a great defeat, reminiscent of the 1975 General Assembly resolution equating Zionism with racism. (That resolution was repealed in 1991.)

But Israel’s international standing at the start of 2018 is markedly different than it was in 1975. The 1975 vote reflected Israel’s isolation in the world, while the 2017 vote reflects Israel’s recent successes in diminishing that isolation. The pattern that could be developing is one in which Israel will lose votes in the General Assembly and other UN bodies (though sometimes by diminishing margins) while developing bilateral relationships with more and more countries, even Muslim-majority ones.

While Israel does maintain diplomatic relations with most countries, thirty-two UN members refuse diplomatic relations with the Jewish state; most are Muslim-majority countries. Israel has long been treated with unique severity in the UN system, where there has long been a nearly automatic majority for any resolution criticizing Israel or supporting the Palestinian cause, whether over Israeli settlement activity, claims of human rights abuses, Israeli responses to terrorist attacks, or other allegations. Its geographic location should place it within the Asia-Pacific Group in the United Nations along with its neighbors, but Arab states have prevented this, and, as a result, Israel has had to join the West European and Others Group instead.

According to Geneva-based watchdog group UN Watch, in the decade after its creation in June 2006, the UN Human Rights Council adopted 135 resolutions criticizing individual countries; 68 of them, or just over half, have been against Israel. The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has over the last decade adopted about ten resolutions a year against Israel. Over that period, it adopted only one resolution criticizing any other country: Syria, in 2013. That focus largely explains why the United States and Israel announced their departure from UNESCO in 2017. The UN General Assembly itself has over the last decade adopted roughly twenty-five resolutions a year criticizing individual countries; more than 75 percent of them have targeted Israel.

How can Israel’s recent diplomatic progress be measured? First, the December 2017 General Assembly vote was followed by no concrete steps (some previous resolutions established special UN procedures targeting Israel or demanded that states take various actions against Israel). UN votes are significant indicators of symbolic support for the Palestinian cause or the two-state solution, but no country has changed its economic or diplomatic relationship with Israel in the wake of the latest UN vote, with the exception of Guatemala, which announced that it would follow the United States in moving its embassy to Jerusalem.

Second, there have been notable examples of Israel’s wider diplomatic outreach in the past two years. At the 2016 General Assembly session, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with fifteen African heads of state and ambassadors. In November 2016, he became the first Israeli prime minister in three decades to travel to East Africa, where he met with the heads of Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and Ethiopia. Visiting Kenya again in November 2017, Netanyahu was received by President Uhuru Kenyatta at his residence on inauguration day; he was the only Western leader who took part in the festivities and was seated next to Kenyatta during the celebratory meal. He was also the only foreign leader asked to speak at the lunch. Similarly, in September 2017 Netanyahu set another diplomatic precedent, venturing to Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico in the first-ever trip by an Israeli prime minister to South America…

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

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

Contents

On Topic Links

‘Many of Us Owe Meir Dagan Their Lives’: Moshe Ya’alon, Arutz Sheva, Mar. 21, 2018 —I congratulate the political, operational, and intelligence echelons on the decision and the implementation of the attack to destroy the nuclear reactor in Syria about a decade ago. This important operation reflects what the State of Israel has long advocated and maintained as policy.

Nikki Haley: A Warrior for Truth and Justice: Danny Danon, JNS, Oct. 11, 2018—Over the years, we have grown accustomed to seeing the United Nations as an institution of lies and twisted half-truths the likes of which are disseminated by Arab countries and our enemies around the world, but with Nikki Haley’s appointment as US ambassador to the United Nations, a new era was born.

Israel’s Nationality Law, UN Resolution 181, and the Arab List: Prof. Hillel Frisch, BESA, Sept. 21, 2018—Ever since 1988, when, after 40 years of rejection, the PLO feigned acceptance of General Assembly Resolution 181 on the partition of mandatory Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, the resolution has been the document used most frequently by Palestinians to underscore two of their major claims – the right to statehood within borders that were larger by far than those envisaged by the Oslo “peace” process, and the supposed “right of return.”

The Impact of Non-Orthodox Jews on America: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 10, 2018—There is no disputing that, except for the vast majority of Orthodox Jews, American Jews and their leaders have distanced themselves from their Jewish identity. In most cases, this reflects an indifference to global Jewish issues, and often, a deliberate display of contempt toward Israel and its security challenges and the belief that Israeli leaders are not willing to discard an “outdated nationalist ideology.”

 

 

LIKUD AND BIBI CONTINUE TO LEAD POLLS AHEAD OF 2019 ELECTION

Likud, Israel’s Natural Party of Government: Micah Levinson, Jerusalem Post, June 16, 2018— P olls suggest that Likud is a shoo-in to win the next Knesset election, which will occur no later than November 2019.

Israel’s Battle of the Ex-Generals: Ben Caspit, Al-Monitor, June 11, 2018 — Israel’s political establishment is expecting the next elections to take place between March and June 2019…

Cyprus, Greece, and Israel Chart a Common Path: George N. Tzogopoulos, Algemeiner, June 12, 2018 — Cyprus, Greece, and Israel are steadily building a democratic geopolitical bloc in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Who Leads Israel?: Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, June 1, 2018— Israel has a problem with its security brass.

On Topic Links

Israel Needs ‘Iron Dome for Diplomacy,’ Deputy Minister Says: Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, June 17, 2018

New Strategic Dimensions of the Eastern Mediterranean: Dr. Spyridon N. Litsas, BESA, June 11, 2018

The Positive History of Israeli-African Relations: Benji Shulman, Algemeiner, June 6, 2018

Silicon Wadi: Israel’s Arab Tech Boom: Simone Somekh, Tablet, June 3, 2018

 

 

LIKUD, ISRAEL’S NATURAL PARTY OF GOVERNMENT

Micah Levinson

Jerusalem Post, June 16, 2018

 

Polls suggest that Likud is a shoo-in to win the next Knesset election, which will occur no later than November 2019. Although a week is an eternity in politics, Likud today boasts twice as much support as the runner-up, Yesh Atid, and enjoys systemic advantages that will prevent other parties from forming governments in the foreseeable future. The four factors likely to keep Likud in power include: (1) the Israeli political center-left’s fragmentation, (2) the decline of Shas, (3) the center-left’s alienation of religious Jews, and (4) the center-left’s reliance on the Arab parties to form a government.

After Knesset elections, the Israeli president invites the leader of the party most likely to be able to assemble a coalition representing a parliamentary majority to form a government. Because Israel uses a proportional voting system that guarantees a proliferation of parties across the ideological spectrum, the president, except for a unique case, simply invites the leader of the largest party to form a government.

Between 1973 and 1996, the Knesset contained only two large parties that could feasibly form a government. On the right was the religion and settlement friendly Likud while the Alignment (renamed Labor when its constituent parties merged in 1991), secular and more invested in the “land-forpeace” concept, dominated the left.

In recent years, however, the centrist Yesh Atid has joined the rank of first tier parties, finishing second in the 2013 election and polling second now. Militantly secular, but more nationalistic than Labor, Yesh Atid poaches more votes from Labor than Likud. Simultaneously, Yesh Atid loses many centrist votes to the medium-sized Kulanu party and some strident secularists to Yisrael Beiteinu.

Conversely, Likud’s competition on the right is declining. Traditional Jews originating from Muslim countries are an integral part of the Likud’s base. Consequently, former Sephardic chief rabbi Ovadia Yosef launching the Shas party in 1984 to represent the interests of religious Jews of Middle Eastern descent impaired Likud’s electoral performance. In 1999, Shas won 17 out of the Knesset’s 120 seats, only two less than Likud. However, since Yosef’s passing in 2013, Shas has been hemorrhaging voters to Likud, falling from 11 seats in the 2013 election to seven in 2015 and presently polling between four or five.

Although Shas’ influence is waning, the religious parties remain a potent bloc. To maintain majority support in the Knesset, Labor has always required the support of either Orthodox Jewish or Arab parties. Today, that poses an insuperable obstacle to the left gaining power. Any government excluding Likud would require Yesh Atid, whose uncompromising opposition to draft exemptions for yeshiva students makes a coalition with Shas or United Torah Judaism impossible.

Up until the 1970s, the Alignment included affiliated Arab parties, such as Progress and Development and the Arab List for Beduin and Villagers, in their governments. However, today’s Arab parties are explicitly anti-Zionist. Rabin’s 1992-1995 government was the only one to depend on such parties to remain in power and it compromised his government’s legitimacy in many Israelis’ eyes. The centrist Kulanu and probably even Yesh Atid would refuse to join a government reliant on these Arab parties, again making a coalition government excluding Likud impossible.

Theoretically, future breakaway parties from Likud could cancel out the effect of Shas’s demise. After Ariel Sharon created Kadima in 2005 to promote disengagement from the West Bank, Likud was reduced to just 12 seats in the subsequent election, the party’s worst performance in history. Likud also lost a few seats in the 1980s and 1990s to far-right splinter groups, such as Tehiyah and Herut, and centrist ones, like the Center Party. Such fragmentation, however, is much less likely now for two reasons: (1) A higher electoral threshold makes small splinter groups unfeasible. (2) Kadima’s establishment purged Likud of its moderates, making it nearly ideologically homogenous and immune from large splits.

Kulanu represents not so much a medium-sized centrist breakaway party from Likud than a case of a disgruntled ex-Likudnik founding a faction that includes no other Likudniks on its list and appeals to a different group of voters, namely lower-working class centrists who feel unrepresented by Lapid’s middle class centrist politics.

While Likud’s prospects look bright, some might assume that their continued success depends on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s leadership. For years, Netanyahu has topped polls asking voters which party leader they would prefer as prime minister. Yet, some surveys show Likud winning even more seats with another leader at the helm. A Testnet poll released in April 2017 found Likud winning two more seats lead by Gideon Sa’ar than by Netanyahu and the margin increased to five seats in a November 2017 Maariv poll. It appears that, whether Netanyahu retires or is felled by the current corruption investigations, Likud will remain Israel’s ruling party for the foreseeable future.

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ISRAEL’S BATTLE OF THE EX-GENERALS                                                                  

Ben Caspit

Al-Monitor, June 11, 2018

 

Israel’s political establishment is expecting the next elections to take place between March and June 2019, about half a year before the original date in early November. Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon talks about the earlier election dates, as does Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The most dramatic question of all is whether Netanyahu will still head the Likud list in the next elections. The answer to this question lies mainly with Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit. Netanyahu will do everything possible to act before Mandelblit makes his decision of whether or not to indict him, and rush into the elections. The prime minister believes that he will emerge from early elections stronger than ever. For the moment, Mandelblit is taking his time and the chances are low that in the coming months he will come to a decision in regard to the investigations into the prime minister.

Behind the scenes, a real political battle is being waged: the battle of the generals. On the political stage stand former chiefs of staff, generals, defense ministers and Mossad higher-ups, all of whom want to jump into the political waters. What unites them is their bitter grudges against Netanyahu and their strong desire to bring about his replacement. What separates them is one thing: their egos.

The list includes former Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. (Res.) Benny Gantz; his predecessor, former Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. (Res.) Gabi Ashkenazi; Moshe Ya’alon, a former defense minister who also served as chief of staff; Deputy Director of Mossad Ram Ben-Barak; other former Mossad and Shin Bet personages and several junior has-beens. Even the name of Shaul Mofaz, a former chief of staff and defense minister who took a break from the political system in 2015, is still bandied about in this context.

Each party apart from the Likud dances around this company of generals in the hope that one of them will give the party an edge in the battle for second place (Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid is currently Netanyahu’s strongest rival in the polls) or help them publicly challenge Netanyahu’s position and status. Netanyahu doesn’t seem to be very worried. He has long since fortified his position as “Mr. Security.” This time, for a change, he is not dependent on external strengthening. The burden of proof is on the other side now.

To the electorate, the most interesting and attractive figure is Gantz. In recent months, Zionist Camp Chair Avi Gabbay has been pressuring Gantz to join the party. Gabbay’s position in the polls appears hopeless; he has completely lost the momentum he had created after conquering the Labor Party. To get back into the fray against Lapid, Gabbay needs Gantz. During advanced negotiations between them, an option was raised that Gantz be floated “above Gabbay’s head” and serve as the party’s candidate for prime minister while Gabbay retains the role of party chairman. Gabbay also floated this idea in a poll he recently ordered. It turns out that while Gabbay only brings about 15 Knesset seats or less to the party, Gantz would bring 25 to the 120-seat legislature. Party seniors are convinced that Gabbay and Gantz will close this deal soon. Gabbay denies this but does verify that Gantz is “becoming close” to the party.

The next in line, Ashkenazi, is playing hard to get. He has been in civvies for seven years already, enjoying his life, but the scars of the 2010 Harpaz affair have not yet healed. Ashkenazi, who is viewed as one of Netanyahu’s more stinging critics, will only roll up his sleeves to join a winning platform. He dreams that Lapid and Kahlon unite into one political entity, which he would be willing to join without any preconditions. Ashkenazi told Al-Monitor that such a unification would constitute a real alternative to the rulership that could bring about change and create new hope. Lapid was a predecessor to Kahlon as finance minister, and while they are friendly they lack mutual respect; it is mainly Kahlon who respects Lapid less. Thus, under the current circumstances, the chances are that Ashkenazi will prefer to remain a bystander.

A tragic figure is that of Ya’alon. After he was ousted from his position in 2016 by Netanyahu for the benefit of Avigdor Liberman, Ya’alon chose to quit the Likud altogether and become Netanyahu’s No. 1 nemesis. Ya’alon founded an association and spends his days and nights ploughing through the country and appearing almost every day before different audiences. But he still hasn’t seen positive results in the polls. Should Ya’alon’s takeoff continue to stall, there is a good chance that he will join one of the other existing forces on the ground, such as Yesh Atid. Lapid lacks a military background and thus is searching for an attractive general figure to retain his party’s electoral edge over Gabbay and create a springboard for himself in the battle for the premiership. He dreams about Ashkenazi, prefers Gantz, but will be happy to take Ya’alon with both hands.

The problem is really psychological in nature. Lt. Gen. (Res.) Ya’alon is the man who headed the commando unit that penetrated the villa of Khalil al-Wazir, also known as Abu Jihad, and eliminated him 30 years ago in Tunis. A military senior of Ya’alon’s stature would have a hard time taking orders from someone like Lapid, a former military newspaper correspondent who is about 20 years younger and with far less experience. Nonetheless, Lapid hopes that Ya’alon will get used to the idea…

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

 

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CYPRUS, GREECE, AND ISRAEL CHART A COMMON PATH

George N. Tzogopoulos

Algemeiner, June 12, 2018

 

Cyprus, Greece, and Israel are steadily building a democratic geopolitical bloc in the Eastern Mediterranean. They are exploring ways to collaborate in fields ranging from energy to communication technology and defense. Greek- and Jewish-American communities are exploiting the momentum to further boost the developing “triangle” and encourage US support. However, despite progress among the governments and the generally positive climate, warning signs of antisemitism in Greece underline the need for grassroots action to combine political achievements with wide public support.

The fourth Cyprus-Greece-Israel tripartite summit, which took place in Nicosia on May 8, 2018, made plain the determination of the three countries to deepen their cooperation. Nicos Anastasiades, Alexis Tsipras, and Benjamin Netanyahu discussed new fields of interest, including public security, cinema co-production, maritime pollution, telecommunications, and the reduction of data roaming costs. They agreed that the fifth trilateral summit will take place within a year in Beersheba, a place described by Netanyahu as “cyber city.” At that event, the parties plan to advance their dialogue on communication technologies.

At present, the countries are emphasizing their collaboration at the military level. Symbolically, Greek fighter planes participated in an Israeli Air Force aerial show to celebrate Israel and the IDF’s 70th Independence Day. Also, the Chief of the Hellenic Army General Staff, Lt. Gen. Alkiviadis Stefanis, visited Israel at the invitation of Maj. Gen. Yaacov Barak, the IDF’s Ground Forces Commander, who had already visited Greece in January. According to media reports, the two sides are discussing potential joint actions against new threats, as well as exchange programs. Staff talks involving representatives of the armed forces of Cyprus, Greece, and Israel took place in the Jewish state on May 9.

Energy remains at the center of attention. Cyprus and Israel currently disagree on the division of the Aphrodite reservoir and this disagreement could lead to international arbitration. Το avoid such a scenario, Nicosia and Jerusalem are engaging in a “transparent and productive dialogue,” as Israeli Ambassador to Cyprus Shmuel Revel put it to the Cyprus News Agency. Cypriot Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said that companies should first attempt to reach settlements on gas quantities on their own, but this process has not yet begun.

This issue is not expected to be easily solved. Lakkotrypis sees it as “one of the most important differences” between Cyprus and Israel. His Israeli counterpart Yuval Steinitz declares, “Israel cannot give up, not even as a gesture of friendship, on its territories or its natural resources.” The lack of a sharing formula on the Aphrodite gas field does not prevent Cyprus, Israel, and Greece from examining the construction of an EastMed pipeline. Following the tripartite Nicosia summit, the Israeli ambassador to Greece, Irit Ben-Abba, spoke about a fast rhythm for the potential realization of this “adventurous project.”

An EastMed pipeline would cost more than a pipeline connecting Israel to Turkey, but would enhance security in the Eastern Mediterranean. That is why it is anathema to Ankara. Following the Nicosia meeting, the Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said EastMed might not function as a route to peace and advocated for the transportation of gas resources from the Levantine Basin to Europe via Turkey. Comments like these show Ankara’s unease with the evolving cooperation among Cyprus, Greece, and Israel. The creation of a democratic bloc in the Eastern Mediterranean does not serve Turkish President’s Erdoğan’s neo-Ottoman aspirations — indeed, it might disrupt them.

Executive director of the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC) Endy Zemenides said in an interview that his organization and the American Jewish Committee (AJC) were coordinating an advocacy campaign in Washington to strengthen the Cyprus-Greece-Israel triangle with US support. A restriction on F-35 jet sales to Turkey and the end of the Cyprus Arms Embargo Act are among the goals. In May 2018, the fifth anniversary of the Congressional Hellenic-Israel Alliance was also celebrated in the US. The more Ankara’s tactics are exposed by Cyprus, Israel, and Greece, the more the international community becomes aware of Erdoğan’s motivations.

The fourth Cyprus-Greece-Israel tripartite summit took place on the same day that US President Donald Trump made his Iran speech. This led both Cyprus and Greece to take a public position on how they view Israel’s sensitivity towards the Iranian threat — despite their need to align their policies with that of the EU. President Anastasiades told i24NEWS that he “urged Iran to pursue good relations with all of their neighbors and to respect the principle of non-interference.” Prime Minister Tsipras underlined that he shared Prime Minister’s Netanyahu’s concern, but advocated for the preservation of the Iran nuclear deal. Greek companies like Hellenic Petroleum that are importing oil from Iran are reportedly coming up with alternative plans. Notwithstanding the strong momentum and high level of political support for the strengthening of the Cyprus-Greece-Israel geopolitical alliance in the Eastern Mediterranean, old stereotypes and prejudices are undermining wider acceptance.

Worryingly, signs of antisemitism are resurfacing, at least in Greece. Α Greek cartoonist recently compared the situation in the Gaza Strip with the Holocaust, and drew a parallel between Israeli policies and Nazi practices. Both the Central Israel Council of Greece and the Embassy of Israel criticized the comparison. However, the Greek blogosphere teems with articles calling the “targeting” of the cartoonist unfair and suggesting that he was correct in condemning Israel’s behavior towards the Palestinians…

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

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WHO LEADS ISRAEL?

Caroline B. Glick

Jerusalem Post, June 1, 2018

 

Israel has a problem with its security brass. And this week we received several reminders that the situation needs to be dealt with. Since the Hamas regime in Gaza announced in March that it was planning to have civilians swarm the border with Israel, through this week’s Hamas-Islamic Jihad mortar and rocket assault on southern Israel, the IDF General Staff has been insisting there is only one thing Israel can do about Gaza.

According to our generals, Israel needs to shower Hamas with stuff. Food, medicine, water, electricity, medical supplies, concrete, cold hard cash, whatever Hamas needs, Israel should just hand it over in the name of humanitarian assistance. Every single time reporters ask the generals what Israel can do to end Hamas’s jihadist campaign, they give the same answer. Let’s shower them with stuff.

The fact that the Palestinian Authority is blocking humanitarian aid to Gaza makes no impression on the generals. For months now, PA chief Mahmoud Abbas has refused to pay salaries to Hamas regime employees or pay for Gaza’s electricity and fuel. Hamas, for its part, destroyed the Kerem Shalom cargo terminal two weeks ago, blocking all transfer of gas and food to Gaza. And this week it blew up its electricity lines with a misfired mortar aimed at Israel.

Hamas’s determination to use civilians as human shields for its terrorists is a pretty clear message that it does not care about the people it controls. But for whatever reason, it didn’t register with the General Staff. As residents of the South were rushing to bomb shelters every 10 minutes or so on Tuesday, generals were briefing reporters that Israel must give them medicine.

When Hamas then refused to receive medical supplies from Israel, the generals doubled down and said that the only card Israel has to play is to give Gaza humanitarian aid. And they told reporters that their job at the next security cabinet meeting will be to convince Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his ministers that Israel needs to give the Hamas regime stuff.

Then there is the issue of terrorist bodies. Hamas holds the bodies of Lt. Hadar Goldin and St.-Sgt. Oron Shaul, both killed in action during Operation Protective Edge in 2014. Hamas also holds Israeli civilian hostages Avra Mengistu and Hisham a-Suwaid. In January 2017, the security cabinet decided that Israel will retain the bodies of terrorists rather than transfer them to Palestinian authorities for burial. The purpose of the decision was to pressure Hamas to release the Israeli hostages and remains of the IDF personnel it holds. Despite the cabinet decision, since the cabinet made its decision, Israel has transferred to Hamas the bodies of five terrorist murderers. Each time, the IDF General Staff stood behind the move.

Currently, the government is holding the body of Hamas terrorist Aziz Awisat who just died in prison. Media reports indicate the IDF is pushing for the government to appease Hamas again and transfer his body to Gaza for burial. To block the move, Goldin’s parents petitioned the High Court on Monday and demanded the government inform them 72 hours in advance of any transfer of a terrorist’s body to Hamas. The government agreed to the Goldin family’s demand on Thursday morning. It is inarguable that these bodies of terrorists are valuable bargaining chips in the government’s efforts to repatriate its hostages and the remains of its soldiers. The fact that the IDF General Staff repeatedly undercuts the government’s efforts to secure their release, by surreptitiously transferring the terrorists’ bodies to Hamas, is of a piece with its irrational belief that it is Israel’s responsibility to ensure a quality of life for denizens of Hamasland…

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

 

Contents

On Topic Links

Israel Needs ‘Iron Dome for Diplomacy,’ Deputy Minister Says: Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, June 17, 2018—Israel needs to create an “Iron Dome” for diplomacy, to help the nation protect its image on the battlefield of public relations, Michael Oren, Israel’s deputy minister for public diplomacy said on Sunday at a conference on terrorism and cybersecurity in Tel Aviv.

New Strategic Dimensions of the Eastern Mediterranean: Dr. Spyridon N. Litsas, BESA, June 11, 2018—For the first time since the collapse of the Byzantine Empire, the Eastern Mediterranean is in the midst of a tectonic shift.

The Positive History of Israeli-African Relations: Benji Shulman, Algemeiner, June 6, 2018—Just last month Israel scored another big diplomatic win in Africa, when Israeli President Reuven Rivlin successfully toured Ethiopia. He took along a massive entourage, including government officials, business people, NGOs, and even Ethiopian-Israeli singer Ester Rada.

Silicon Wadi: Israel’s Arab Tech Boom: Simone Somekh, Tablet, June 3, 2018—Paulus VI is the single, narrow artery that snakes through the old city of Nazareth, choked with a seemingly endless line of vehicles. On either side of the thoroughfare, there is dust and noise and vendors chatting at high decibel in Arabic in relentless heat. For the last two years, a sign above a modern sand-colored building spells out in English, “Microsoft.”

UN, OBAMA, KERRY & OTHER “PEACE PROCESSORS” VILIFY ISRAEL BUT IGNORE ARAB COLONIALISM

 

 

NB: PLEASE WATCH THE EXCELLENT VIDEO BY RABBI ASHER JACOBSON, CONGREGATION CHEVRA KADISHA, MONTREAL—Ed: Stab In The Heart (Video): Rabbi Asher Jacobson, Youtube, Jan. 11, 2017

 

Dear French Foreign Minister Ayrault: David Harris, Huffington Post, Jan. 9, 2017— I take the liberty of writing this open letter in the wake of the latest Palestinian terror attack…

Real Liberals Must Shun Palestinian Colonialism: Melanie Phillips, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 5, 2017— With Israel still looking down the barrel of a diplomatic gun as the Obama presidency approaches its final days, it’s high time to change the narrative.

Defund the United Nations: Rich Lowry, National Review, Dec. 30, 2016— We’ve come a long way from Daniel Patrick Moynihan excoriating the U.N.’s 1975 “Zionism is racism” resolution in one of the finer exhibits of righteous indignation in the history of American speechifying.

So Now All of a Sudden I’m a Jewish ‘Settler’ According to Obama?: Oren Safdie, National Post, Jan. 9, 2017— I never considered myself a Jewish Settler.

 

On Topic Links

 

Stab In The Heart (Video): Rabbi Asher Jacobson, Youtube, Jan. 11, 2017

Netanyahu Dismisses 'Rigged' Paris Peace Conference: Mike Smith, AFP, Jan. 12, 2017

Debunking 11 More False Assumptions Regarding Israel: Amb. Alan Baker, JCPA, Jan. 10, 2017

              

 

 

DEAR FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER AYRAULT

David Harris

Huffington Post, Jan. 9, 2017

 

I take the liberty of writing this open letter in the wake of the latest Palestinian terror attack, which killed four young Israelis and wounded many others in an assault eerily similar to the one in Nice in July, and days ahead of the “Middle East peace conference” in Paris you will be hosting. I do so with respect, coming from a Francophone home and with deep roots in France and French culture.

 

I do so representing an organization, AJC, that has engaged with France at the highest levels for decades, and that, even when we have disagreed vigorously, has rejected those in the Jewish community who have called for boycotts and spread “fake news” about the situation in your country. And I do so, if I may say, no less eager than you to find a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, ideally based on a two-state agreement. For me, the issue is not another geopolitical quagmire in need of resolution. As a Jew, there is also a metaphysical link to an ancestral land in an age-old search for peace, not to mention the contemporary home of many of my closest relatives and friends.

 

Mr. Minister, please understand the reasons why we have voiced the hope that the Paris gathering would be canceled. As the one-and-only La Rochefoucauld said, “It is easier to be wise for others than for ourselves.” With everything happening in Europe today, is this the one issue that deserves such an investment of effort and energy?

 

The European Union, soon to mark 60 years since the ground-breaking Treaty of Rome, is at risk, especially after the Brexit vote in June. Terrorists are exposing the weakness of the Schengen agreement. Disaffected parallel societies have emerged in the cities and suburbs of France, Belgium, and elsewhere. Populist parties opposed to the EU and the Eurozone, and promoting xenophobia and anti-Semitism, are threatening the established order. Ukraine, on the EU’s eastern border, remains a partially occupied land, as does Cyprus, an EU member state. Turkey, so key to the European migration challenge, is hurtling towards authoritarianism. Greece and Spain, among other EU countries, have alarmingly high youth unemployment rates.

 

But instead of focusing on any or all of these issues, the Quai d’Orsay is organizing yet another international effort to address a conflict that everyone knows, a priori, can only be resolved by the parties themselves, no matter how many nations travel to Paris for the conference you are hosting. I’d add that, if France nonetheless has decided on the need for an international conference of some sort at this time, how about one on Syria, the greatest human tragedy of this century and a country that France has claimed, since the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement carved up the Middle East, to know better than others?

 

Or how about on Libya, where a French decision in 2011 to help topple Muammar Gaddafi achieved its immediate goal, but left the country in tatters, a breeding ground for jihadism, and a grave danger to European interests? Or how about on the Kurds, a people in the Middle East with all the elements of nationhood – and among our most reliable allies – but denied any chance for sovereignty because of superseding geopolitical interests among the great powers? Or how about a summit on Russian meddling in the European Union, including financial support for extremist, anti-EU political parties, creation of faux environmental groups to oppose any energy projects without Russian involvement, and malicious manipulation of the media?

 

No, the conference to begin on January 15th in Paris is about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, even though one of the two main parties, Israel, has opposed the idea; even though the United States, key to any progress on this front, will have a change of administrations (and policies) exactly five days later; and even though France, it must be said, cannot be viewed as an honest broker.

 

Why? Well, despite strong bilateral ties between Paris and Jerusalem in some spheres, when it comes to the international arena, France is too often on the other side. This occurred in the recent vote at the UN Security Council on Resolution 2334, just as it did at the World Health Organization General Assembly in May, when France voted in favor of a measure that bizarrely singled out Israel by name as the only country in the world accused of undermining “mental, physical and environmental health,” and when France could do no more than abstain at UNESCO in April on a resolution that denied any Jewish (and Christian) link to the holy sites in Jerusalem. If the aim is to advance a two-state accord, then it’s high time to face facts.

 

Fact #1: From the Peel Commission report of 1937 until today, the Palestinians and their supporters have, in the end, rejected every compromise put on the table to find a viable solution. Fact #2: Every effort that circumvents the face-to-face negotiating table only emboldens the Palestinians to believe they can get all they want without the need for direct talks with Israel, and the inevitable compromises that would result from any agreement.

 

Fact #3: Palestinian incitement is not just a minor issue, to be thrown into UN resolutions and diplomatic speeches as an afterthought or footnote, but the heart of the problem. As long as Palestinians glorify suicide bombings and “martyrdom,” and deny the Jewish people’s legitimacy in Israel, there will be no solution. Fact #4: The role of nations of good will should be to send a clear message to the Palestinians that their every whim, no matter how counter-productive to the cause of peace, will no longer be indulged. Israel has certainly gotten its share of clear messages from the international community, but, alas, not the other side.

 

Talleyrand, the legendary French foreign minister who once occupied your post, said: “The art of statesmanship is to foresee the inevitable and to expedite its occurrence.” The inevitable should not be more dead-end international gatherings, but rather face-to-face Israeli-Palestinian talks. When everyone wakes up to that stark reality, perhaps a two-state accord can be expedited.

 

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REAL LIBERALS MUST SHUN PALESTINIAN COLONIALISM

Melanie Phillips

Jerusalem Post, Jan. 5, 2017

 

With Israel still looking down the barrel of a diplomatic gun as the Obama presidency approaches its final days, it’s high time to change the narrative. Western progressives define themselves through various fixed positions. They are against racism. They are against colonialism. They are against ethnic cleansing. They are against police states. And they are against antisemitism. So there is a political agenda that is surely tailor-made for Western liberals and left-wingers to shun and condemn as an utter negation of all they hold dear.

 

The goal of the Palestinians is the colonial conquest of another people’s country. That country is the State of Israel, the homeland of the Jewish people whose unique connection goes back to antiquity. In the 7th century the Arab world conquered Judea, as the ancient kingdom of the Jewish people had been known. The Jews had previously been driven out of this land by the Romans, who renamed it Palestine in order to conceal its Jewish antecedents.

 

The Jews are the only people for whom this was ever their national kingdom. Now the Arabs want again to conquer and colonize the same land, which since 1948 has been restored to the Jewish people. They make this abundantly clear. Mahmoud Abbas has explicitly rejected Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. The Palestinian Authority indoctrinates its children to conquer Israeli cities.

 

You’ve only got to look at the insignia and maps, not just of Hamas but also Abbas’s “moderate” Fatah, to see that the land they demand for a state of Palestine includes the whole of Israel. Palestinian identity was invented purely to negate the Jews’ unique rights to the Land of Israel. The very idea of a Palestine state was adopted solely as a strategic platform to bring about Israel’s destruction. Leading Palestinians have said so, in so many words. All progressives should therefore condemn this colonialist, exterminatory Palestinian agenda.

 

The Palestine Mandate of 1922 prescribed the “close settlement” by Jews throughout the whole of Palestine, which then consisted of what is now Israel, the territories known as the West Bank, and Gaza. That Jewish right to settle all the land has never been abrogated. That means it remains unaltered in international law.

 

The term “occupied territories” is legally illiterate, since the “West Bank” never belonged to any sovereign state and only sovereign land can be occupied as defined by international law.

 

The Palestinian Arabs have no collective rights in Judea and Samaria. Only the Jews were given the legal right to settle there. This has never been taken away from them. The Jews are therefore not only entitled to live in these disputed territories, but they are the only people who have any legal, moral or historical right to be there. Yet the Palestinians want to rip up this unique Jewish right to the land. All progressives should therefore condemn this denial of international law.

 

The Palestinians claim there can’t be a state of Palestine while Israelis are living in the disputed territories. Well, why not? Arabs make up some 20% of Israel’s population. Why couldn’t there be a Jewish minority in a future state of Palestine? No reason apart from sheer racism and antisemitism. In other words, the cause of a state of Palestine and “settlers out” inescapably involves racist ethnic cleansing.

 

The Palestinian Authority pumps out deranged, Nazistyle antisemitism. It locks up journalists and other dissidents who dare oppose its policies. Obviously, all progressives should condemn such an agenda. Yet for liberals and left-wingers in the West, Palestine is the cause of causes – while they falsely and outrageously ascribe the offenses of colonialist conquest, ethnic cleansing and racism to the Jews of Israel instead. This is because Western progressives inhabit a grotesque universe of mirrors, created by viewing the world through an ideological prism which casts the West as inescapably oppressive and the developing world as its blameless victims.

 

Crucially, they also see themselves as innately virtuous while everyone who does not view the world through this distorting prism is damned as irredeemably hateful, bigoted and evil. This, however, is the progressives’ Achilles’ heel. For if they themselves are shown to be supporting actual racism and colonialism, their supposed place on the moral high ground crumbles into dust and they are left with nowhere else to go. Publicly calling them out in this way for betraying their supposed ideals would bring further benefits. For others would be listening whose minds are not hermetically sealed through ideology or malice.

 

Those people have no knowledge of the Middle East or Jewish history. They have no idea that the Jews are the only indigenous people of the Land of Israel who are still around; no idea that the Arabs are the historic occupiers; no idea that Israel’s “occupation” is nothing of the kind and that the “settlements” are lawful. They have no idea because no one has ever told them. The delegitimization of Israel rests on the hijacking of the language so that victims are turned into oppressors and vice versa. We must now reclaim the language for truth and justice. Palestinian colonialism means the Palestine cause is one that liberals must condemn and shun. Conversely, “progressives” who support Palestinian colonial conquest and the ethnic cleansing of the Jews from their historic homeland are nothing of the kind. It’s time to start letting them know.

                                                           

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DEFUND THE UNITED NATIONS                                                                                                        

Rich Lowry                                                                                                            

National Review, Dec. 30, 2016

                       

We’ve come a long way from Daniel Patrick Moynihan excoriating the U.N.’s 1975 “Zionism is racism” resolution in one of the finer exhibits of righteous indignation in the history of American speechifying. The Obama administration acceded to — and, reportedly, assisted behind the scenes — a less notorious but still noxious Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements. By the administration’s lights, the action is clever — it will be extremely difficult to reverse and will increase Israel’s international isolation.

 

But the bipartisan outrage over a resolution that, once again, demonstrates the U.N.’s hostility to our closest ally in the Middle East affords an opportunity to force an overdue crisis in the U.S.–U.N. relationship. We are the chief funder of a swollen, unaccountable U.N. apparatus that has been a gross disappointment for more than 70 years now. Proving that no country is perfect, we came up with the idea for the United Nations in the first place. Franklin Roosevelt thought that the Four Policemen of Britain, the United States, the Soviet Union, and China (with France eventually added as well) would keep the peace in the post–World War II world. Spot the flaw in this plan.

 

This vision immediately foundered on the reality of power politics. The first major event in the U.N.’s life after the Security Council began meeting in New York City was a threatened Soviet walkout. The Soviets used their Security Council veto about 50 times in the U.N.’s first years of existence. It turned out that states with different interests and values weren’t going to act as a band of righteous international enforcers. In fact, as demonstrated in Rwanda and the Balkans, when confronted by hideously predatory forces bent on mayhem and murder, U.N. peacekeepers would simply stand aside.

 

In the decades after the U.N.’s founding, the influence of Third World dictatorships grew, and so did the institution’s anti-Western and anti-Israel orientation, culminating in the Zionism resolution that U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Moynihan so memorably inveighed against. That vote was finally reversed in 1991, but prejudice against Israel has become one of the U.N.’s core competencies — as well as impenetrable bureaucracy. As early as 1947, a U.S. Senate committee flagged “serious problems of overlap, duplication of effort, weak coordination, proliferating mandates and programs, and overly generous compensation of staff within the infant, but rapidly growing, UN system.” And those were the early, lean years. We pay more than anyone else to keep the U.N. in business, about 22 percent of the U.N.’s regular budget. As Brett Schaefer of the Heritage Foundation notes, “the U.S. is assessed more than 176 other U.N. member states combined.”

 

Because nothing involving the U.N. is clean or straightforward, it’s hard to even know how much the U.S. pays in total into the U.N. system. But it’s probably around $8 billion a year. We should withhold some significant portion of it, and demand an end to the U.N.’s institutional hostility to Israel and the implementation of reforms to increase the organization’s accountability. There are individual U.N. agencies that do good work, and we can continue to support those.

 

Realistically, though, the U.N. will always be a disappointment. The fact is that the closest thing to what FDR envisioned in the U.N. is NATO, a like-minded group of nations that has been a force for peace, order, and freedom. This is why President-elect Donald Trump should embrace NATO and turn his critical eye to the U.N., where there is the genuine opportunity to, if nothing else, save the U.S. some money and rattle the cages of people taking advantage of our beneficence. Charles de Gaulle dismissively called the U.N. “the thing.” The thing will always stumble on, but maybe Donald Trump can teach it a lesson or two about how we truly value our ally and its nemesis, Israel.

                                                                       

Contents

 

 

SO NOW ALL OF A SUDDEN I’M A JEWISH ‘SETTLER’

ACCORDING TO OBAMA?

Oren Safdie

National Post, Jan. 9, 2017

 

I never considered myself a Jewish Settler. Growing up, spending my summers in our family home in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem, it was always considered different than living in the settlements of the West Bank or Gaza. Perhaps this had to do with the name — Jewish Quarter — or that it was understood by everyone that the Western Wall and surrounding neighbourhood would always remain part of Israel in any final peace settlement. Then again, this is the same argument many of the Jewish settlements along the Green Line have made when building within their given city limits. But to the eyes of the Palestinians —  and since the passing of UN Resolution 2334, also to Barack Obama and his UN ambassador, Samantha Power — there’s absolutely no difference.

 

From the time we moved into the house, many Israeli, Jewish and non-Jewish artists, journalists, politicians and other dignitaries have passed through the doors. I remember poet Yehuda Amichai coming over for lunch and giving me advice about becoming a writer. I once ran into Peter Jennings in the street and showed him to our rooftop where he filmed a final scene of his ABC special on the Middle East, showing just how close the Western Wall was to the Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

 

One thing almost every visitor shared in common was their staunch opposition to the “settler” movement, as did my parents. West Bank and Gaza “settlers” were seen as radical messianic religious zealots, responsible for wrecking the peace process, much in the way John Kerry recently characterized present Israeli government policy.

 

And yet with the passing of Resolution 2334, it now stands that anyone who stepped foot in the Jewish Quarter or had gone to pray at the Wailing Wall were playing an equal part in condoning the occupation. Even the many Israeli performing artists who recently signed a petition refusing to perform in Ariel in the West Bank will now have to contend with the prospect of adding the Old City to the list. Of course, what makes this so complicated is that the American players who are rumoured to have played an active role bringing the resolution forth, exhibited inconsistent behaviour themselves in the lead-up to the resolution vote.

 

Nobody thought twice when President Barack Obama visited Israel, and to the delight of Israelis and Jews, deposited a note in the cracks of the “occupied” Wailing Wall. And Ambassador Samantha Power must not have thought of the Jewish Quarter as too occupied since she was known to stay in the Jewish Quarter when she came to Jerusalem prior to becoming an ambassador. In reality, this convenient double standard has not only served Obama and Power, but almost all Israelis, as well as many visiting Jews and non-Jews with strong feelings against the settler movement.

 

The question is, now what? Will Israelis who supported Obama refuse to attend their sons’ and daughters’ army graduation ceremonies at the Kotel? Will the progressive Jewish movement “Women of the Wall” cease their campaign to find a spot along the last remnants of Herod’s Second Temple — which, incidentally, UNESCO recently rejected any historical connection to Jewish history? Where will presidents and foreign ministers like John Kerry go to pay their respects to Israeli and Jewish people when they come to visit Israel? Will they now feel obliged to go to Tel Aviv and slip a note into the cracks of the cement wall off Dizengoff Square? Or will everyone simply reject the United Nations resolution and go about their business, even as new International legal sanctions are bound to grow?

 

Resolution 2334 may have blurred the line on one double standard, but it also has highlighted a triple standard. Even though there are over two dozen countries that have border disputes with neighbouring countries, Israel is the one that the Security Council and Barack Obama have chosen to single out for condemnation. I say triple standard because if Israel is to be singled out for anything, it should be for its repeated efforts to return land for peace, even taking the unprecedented step of abandoning land without getting anything in return … except Hamas rockets.

 

Perhaps President Obama and Ambassador Power should sponsor a new UN resolution before they leave office. Not one that imposes a basic outline to a final peace agreement, but one that celebrates Israel’s herculean efforts in striving for peace. It might help enforce their own double standards on the Jewish Quarter and Wailing Wall before they abstained on Resolution 2334.

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

Contents           

 

On Topic Links

 

Stab In The Heart (Video): Rabbi Asher Jacobson, Youtube, Jan. 11, 2017—“Is it possible that Israel is right and the whole world is wrong?”

Netanyahu Dismisses 'Rigged' Paris Peace Conference: Mike Smith, AFP, Jan. 12, 2017—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday dismissed as "rigged" this weekend's Middle East peace conference in Paris, with his government refusing to play any role in the meeting.

Debunking 11 More False Assumptions Regarding Israel: Amb. Alan Baker, JCPA, Jan. 10, 2017—Further to the recent publication of “Ten False Assumptions Regarding Israel,” which addressed many of the widely-held and universally-disseminated false and mistaken assumptions regarding Israel, a number of additional false assumptions – some even more willful and malicious – are addressed.

 

 

 

 

 

ISRAEL RESILIENT, BUT ENEMIES EMBOLDENED BY OBAMA’S BETRAYAL

 

Obama’s Final, Most Shameful, Legacy Moment: Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, Dec. 29, 2016— “When the chips are down, I have Israel’s back.”

Obama’s Last-Minute Backstab Against Israel: Clifford D. May, Washington Times, Dec. 28, 2016 — Palestinian Islamic Jihad is, as its name suggests, an organization committed to jihad — against Israel most urgently, though not exclusively.

UN, Obama Further Radicalize Palestinians: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 29, 2016— Buoyed by the latest United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements as illegal…

The Resilience of Israel: Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, Dec. 29, 2016— Israel would seem to be in a disastrous position, given the inevitable nuclear capabilities of Iran and the recent deterioration of its relationship with the United States…

 

On Topic Links

 

Obama and Trump are Engaged in a $3 Billion Game of Chicken Over Israel: Jake Novak, CNBC, Dec. 27, 2016

Can Trump Construct a New World Order?: Prof. Efraim Inbar, BESA, Dec. 18, 2016

A New Approach to Israeli-Palestinian Peacemaking: Arik Elman, Algemeiner, Jan. 2, 2016

How Obama Cracked Jewish Solidarity: Michael Lumish, Jewish Press, Jan. 3, 2017

 

                     

 

OBAMA’S FINAL, MOST SHAMEFUL, LEGACY MOMENT          

                                                Charles Krauthammer

                                                   Washington Post, Dec. 29, 2016

 

“When the chips are down, I have Israel’s back.” — Barack Obama, AIPAC conference, March 4, 2012.

 

The audience — overwhelmingly Jewish, passionately pro-Israel and supremely gullible — applauded wildly. Four years later — his last election behind him, with a month to go in office and with no need to fool Jew or gentile again — Obama took the measure of Israel’s back and slid a knife into it. People don’t quite understand the damage done to Israel by the U.S. abstention that permitted passage of a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel over settlements. The administration pretends this is nothing but a restatement of long-standing U.S. opposition to settlements.

 

Nonsense. For the past 35 years, every administration, including a reelection-seeking Obama himself in 2011, has protected Israel with the U.S. veto because such a Security Council resolution gives immense legal ammunition to every boycotter, anti-Semite and zealous European prosecutor to penalize and punish Israelis. An ordinary Israeli who lives or works in the Old City of Jerusalem becomes an international pariah, a potential outlaw. To say nothing of the soldiers of Israel’s citizen army. “Every pilot and every officer and every soldier,” said a confidant of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, “we are waiting for him at The Hague,” i.e. the International Criminal Court.

 

Moreover, the resolution undermines the very foundation of a half-century of American Middle East policy. What becomes of “land for peace” if the territories that Israel was to have traded for peace are, in advance, declared to be Palestinian land to which Israel has no claim? The peace parameters enunciated so ostentatiously by Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday are nearly identical to the Clinton parameters that Yasser Arafat was offered and rejected in 2000 and that Abbas was offered by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2008. Abbas, too, walked away.

 

Kerry mentioned none of this because it undermines his blame-Israel narrative. Yet Palestinian rejectionism works. The Security Council just declared the territories legally Palestinian — without the Palestinians having to concede anything, let alone peace. What incentive do the Palestinians have to negotiate when they can get the terms — and territory — they seek handed to them for free if they hold out long enough? The administration claims a kind of passive innocence on the text of the resolution, as if it had come upon it at the last moment. We are to believe that the ostensible sponsors — New Zealand, Senegal, Malaysia and a Venezuela that cannot provide its own people with toilet paper, let alone food — had for months been sweating the details of Jewish housing in East Jerusalem.

 

Nothing new here, protests deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes: “When we see the facts on the ground, again, deep into the West Bank beyond the separation barrier, we feel compelled to speak up against those actions.” This is a deception. Everyone knows that remote outposts are not the issue. Under any peace, they will be swept away. Even right-wing Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who lives in one of these West Bank settlements, has stated publicly that “I even agree to vacate my settlement if there really will be a two-state solution.” Where’s the obstacle to peace?

 

A second category of settlement is the close-in blocs that border 1967 Israel. Here, too, we know in advance how these will be disposed of: They’ll become Israeli territory and, in exchange, Israel will swap over some of its land to a Palestinian state. Where’s the obstacle to peace here?

 

It’s the third category of “settlement” that is the most contentious and that Security Council Resolution 2334 explicitly condemns: East Jerusalem. This is not just scandalous; it’s absurd. America acquiesces to a declaration that, as a matter of international law, the Jewish state has no claim on the Western Wall, the Temple Mount, indeed the entire Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem. They belong to Palestine. The Temple Mount is the most sacred site in all of Judaism. That it should be declared foreign to the Jewish people is as if the Security Council declared Mecca and Medina to be territory to which Islam has no claim. Such is the Orwellian universe Israel inhabits.

 

At the very least, Obama should have insisted that any reference to East Jerusalem be dropped from the resolution or face a U.S. veto. Why did he not? It’s incomprehensible — except as a parting shot of personal revenge on Benjamin Netanyahu. Or perhaps as a revelation of a deep-seated antipathy to Israel that simply awaited a safe political interval for public expression. Another legacy moment for Barack Obama. And his most shameful.           

                                                           

Contents                                                                                                                                                                     

OBAMA’S LAST-MINUTE BACKSTAB AGAINST ISRAEL

Clifford D. May                                                                                                     

Washington Times, Dec. 28, 2016

 

Palestinian Islamic Jihad is, as its name suggests, an organization committed to jihad — against Israel most urgently, though not exclusively. So when the UN Security Council on Friday passed a resolution condemning Israel, P.I.J. spokesman Dawood Shihab was pleased. He called it a “victory.” He wasn’t wrong. Nor was Fawzy Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, another organization openly committed to Israel’s extermination, as well as to “a jihadi revolution” that will be a “prelude to the establishment of the future Islamic caliphate.” He called the resolution an “important evolution in international positions.” He expressed Hamas’ “appreciation.”

 

Most deserving of their gratitude is Barack Obama, who decided to spend his last days in office playing golf in Hawaii and throwing America’s most reliable ally to the wolves at the UN, an organization that exhibits passivity when it comes to the ongoing carnage in Syria, the genocide of Christians, Yazidis and other minorities in the broader Middle East, the conflict in Yemen, failing states — the list goes on and on.

 

The UN does, however, expend considerable energy railing against the world’s only Jewish state, a tiny democratic nation on the front lines of the war against radical Islam, a war the West is fighting in only the most desultory fashion. This year alone, the UN General Assembly passed 20 resolutions censuring Israel, compared to one against Iran and none against Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Venezuela and China. With assistance from President Obama, who instructed his ambassador not to veto Resolution 2334, the Security Council has now piled on as well.

 

For decades, Democrats and Republicans have agreed that it would be “unwise” to give the Security Council the responsibility “to attempt to resolve the core issues that divide Israelis and Palestinians.” Those words were spoken by Susan Rice, Obama’s first ambassador to the UN when, following his instructions in 2011, she blocked a similar resolution. But back then Obama still had one more presidential election to win so antagonizing Israel’s supporters may have seemed ill-advised. Perhaps that’s unfair. Perhaps Obama sincerely believes that a two-state solution could be achieved if only Israel would withdraw from the “occupied territories.” If so, he’s ignoring both history and experience. Start with the fact that Arab, Muslim and Palestinian leaders first rejected a two-state solution back in 1948 — almost a generation before Israelis took possession of the West Bank and Gaza.

 

Those lands fell to Israel as a consequence of the 1967 war, one of several attempts by Israel’s neighbours to drive the despised Jews into the sea. It was from Jordan and Egypt respectively that Israel took those territories. Palestinians had never governed them. But that led to a bright idea: Why not trade land for peace with the Palestinians? With President Bill Clinton serving as honest broker, specific offers were put on the table in 2000 and then again in 2001. Another offer was proffered in 2008. Palestinian leaders turned them down. They made no counteroffers.

 

In 2005, an experiment was conducted: Israelis withdrew from one of the occupied territories. Within two years, Hamas was firmly in charge of Gaza, from which it began launching missiles at Israeli villages. Israelis learned a lesson. The “international community” did not. On the contrary, President Obama and the UN Security Council have just told the Israelis that they envision a land-for-peace deal that omits the peace part. Meanwhile, on the West Bank, only thanks to Israel’s military and intelligence presence (read: occupation) does Fatah maintain its hold on power. Mahmoud Abbas, who leads both Fatah and the Palestinian Authority, is no wild-eyed jihadi. But, he, too, refuses to acknowledge the right of Jews to self-determination in any part of their ancient homeland.

 

Resolution 2334 demands nothing of Palestinians. Its definition of “occupied territory” is extreme, including even the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City. Conquered in 1949 by Jordan’s Arab Legion, it was then “cleansed” of Jews. Synagogues and cemeteries were destroyed. Jewish holy places were desecrated. The UN, of course, did nothing. Look at the map: across North Africa and the Middle East, from Morocco to Pakistan, there is only one state not ruled by Muslims, only one in which minorities — ethnic, religious, sexual — are guaranteed basic human rights. The dream of P.I.J, Hamas, the Islamic State, the Islamic Republic of Iran and other Islamic revolutionaries is to destroy that exceptional state, to incorporate it into a new empire — an empire that, over time, is to expand well beyond the region.

 

Obama has now encouraged that dream. That will be his legacy. And he still has a few weeks left to do more damage. I wouldn’t put it past him. The day before the UN vote, President-elect Trump stated what President Obama once claimed to believe, that “peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations.” After the vote, he added: “As to the UN, things will be different after Jan. 20th.”

 

His nominee for ambassador, David Friedman, has proposed moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. That would be an appropriate response to this latest provocation. Among the additional measures Mr. Trump will consider: dramatically reducing American funding for the UN. Like other transnational progressives, Obama regards the UN as a proto-global government. Mr. Trump, an anti-globalist, does not. It will be useful for him to emphasize that so long as he’s in the White House, America’s sovereignty will not be surrendered to transnational organizations, America’s tax dollars will not be squandered on transnational organizations, America’s enemies will not be rewarded and America’s allies will be abused no longer.   

                                                              

Contents

 

 

UN, OBAMA FURTHER RADICALIZE PALESTINIANS

Khaled Abu Toameh

Gatestone Institute, Dec. 29, 2016

 

Buoyed by the latest United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements as illegal, Palestinian leaders are now threatening to step up their diplomatic warfare against Israel — a move that is sure to sabotage any future effort to revive the moribund peace process. Other Palestinians, meanwhile, view the resolution as license to escalate "resistance" attacks on Israel. By "resistance," of course, they mean terror attacks against Israel. The UNSC resolution sent the following message to the Palestinians: Forget about negotiating with Israel. Just pressure the international community to force Israel to comply with the resolution and surrender up all that you demand.

 

Meanwhile, the Palestinians are not wasting any time by waiting for the international community to act against Israel on their behalf. Rather, they are thinking of ways of taking advantage of the UNSC vote to promote their campaign to isolate and delegitimize Israel, especially in the international arena. One thing is certain: Abbas and his Palestinian Authority cronies are not planning to return to the negotiating table with Israel. In fact, they are more belligerent, confrontational and defiant than ever.

 

In the days following the UNSC vote, the voices emerging from Ramallah and the Gaza Strip clearly indicate that Palestinians have put themselves on a collision course with Israel. This bodes badly for any peace process. Earlier this week, Abbas convened the PLO Executive Committee — a decision-making body dominated by his loyalists — to discuss the implications of the new resolution. The declared purpose of the meeting: to discuss the decisions and strategy that the Palestinian leadership needs to take in the aftermath of the resolution.

 

The decisions announced following the PLO meeting are a clear sign of the new approach that Abbas and the Palestinian leadership have endorsed. The Palestinian leaders have chosen the path of confrontation, and not direct negotiations, with Israel. They see the UNSC resolution, particularly the US abstention, as a charge sheet against Israel that is to be leveraged in their diplomatic effort to force Israel to its knees.

 

The PLO decisions include, among other things, an appeal to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to launch an "immediate judicial investigation into Israeli colonial settlements on the land of the independent State of Palestine." Another decision envisages asking Switzerland to convene a meeting to look into ways of forcing Israel to apply the Fourth Geneva Convention to the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. The Geneva Convention, adopted in 1949, defines "humanitarian protections for civilians in a war zone."

 

The appeal to the ICC and Switzerland is part of Abbas's strategy to "internationalize" the conflict with Israel, by involving as many parties as possible. In this context, Abbas is hoping that the UNSC resolution will ensure the "success" of the upcoming French-initiated Middle East peace conference, which is slated to convene in Paris next month. For Abbas, the conference is another tool to isolate Israel in the international community, and depict it as a country that rejects peace with its Arab neighbors.

 

In addition, Abbas and his lieutenants in Ramallah are now seeking to exploit the UNSC resolution to promote boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel: "The PLO Executive Committee renews its call to the world countries for a comprehensive and full boycott of Israeli colonialist settlements in all fields, as well as all companies working in or dealing with these settlements." One of Abbas's close associates, Mohamed Shtayyeh, hinted that the UNSC resolution should be regarded as a green light not only to boycott Israel, but also to use violence against it. He said that this is the time to "bolster the popular resistance" against Israel. "Popular resistance" is code for throwing stones and petrol bombs and carrying out stabbing and car-ramming attacks against Israelis.

 

The UNSC resolution has also encouraged the Palestinians to pursue their narrative that Jews have no historical, religious or emotional attachment to Jerusalem, or any other part of Israel. Sheikh Ekrimah Sabri, a leading Palestinian Islamic cleric and preacher at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, was quick to declare that the Western Wall, the holiest Jewish site in Jerusalem, belongs only to Muslims. Referring to the wall by its Islamic name, Sheikh Sabri announced: "The Al-Buraq Wall is the western wall of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Muslims cannot give it up."

 

While Abbas and his Palestinian Authority consider the UNSC resolution a license to proceed with their diplomatic warfare to delegitimize and isolate Israel, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the two groups that seek the elimination of Israel, are also celebrating. The two Gaza-based groups see the resolution as another step toward achieving their goal of replacing Israel with an Islamic empire. Leaders and spokesmen of Hamas and Islamic Jihad were among the first Palestinians to heap praise on the UNSC members who voted in favor of the resolution. They are also openly stating that the resolution authorizes them to step up the "resistance" against Israel in order to "liberate all of Palestine."…

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

 

Contents

THE RESILIENCE OF ISRAEL

                                                Victor Davis Hanson                                                                                           

National Review, Dec. 29, 2016

 

Israel would seem to be in a disastrous position, given the inevitable nuclear capabilities of Iran and the recent deterioration of its relationship with the United States, its former patron and continued financial benefactor. Immediately upon entering office, President Obama hectored Israel on so-called settlements. Obama promised to put “daylight” between the U.S. and Israel — and delivered on that promise…

 

Obama has long been at odds with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Over objections from the Obama administration, Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress last year about the existential dangers of the Obama-brokered Iran deal and the likelihood of a new Middle East nuclear-proliferation race. Obama then doubled down on his irritation with Netanyahu through petty slights, such as making him wait during White House visits. In 2014, an official in the Obama administration anonymously said Netanyahu, a combat veteran, was a “coward” on Iran.

 

At a G-20 summit in Cannes, France, in 2011, Obama, in a hot-mic slip, trashed Netanyahu. He whined to French president Nicolas Sarkozy: “You’re tired of him? What about me? I have to deal with him every day.” In contrast, Obama bragged about his “special” relationship with autocratic Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Never mind that Erdogan seems to want to reconstruct Turkey as a modern Islamist version of the Ottoman Empire, or that he is anti-democratic while Israel is a consensual society of laws. The Middle East surrounding democratic Israel is a nightmare.

 

The Middle East surrounding democratic Israel is a nightmare. Half a million have died amid the moonscape ruins of Syria. A once-stable Iraq was overrun by the Islamic State. The Arab Spring, U.S. support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the coup of General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to regain control of Egypt, and the bombing of Libya all have left North Africa in turmoil. Iran has been empowered by the U.S.-brokered deal and will still become nuclear…

 

Yet in all this mess, somehow Israel is in its best geostrategic position in decades. How? The answer is a combination of unintended consequences, deft diplomacy, political upheavals in Europe and the United States, and Israel’s own democratic traditions. Huge natural gas and oil finds off Israel’s Mediterranean coast and in the Golan Heights have radically changed Israel’s energy and financial positions. Israel no longer needs to import costly fossil fuels and may soon be an exporter of gas and oil to needy customers in Europe and the Middle East. (America recently became the world’s greatest producer of carbon energy and also no longer is dependent on Middle Eastern oil imports, resulting in less political influence by Arab nations.) Israel is creating its own version of Silicon Valley at Beersheba, which is now a global hub of cybersecurity research.

 

The Obama administration’s estrangement from Israel has had the odd effect of empowering Israel. Rich Persian Gulf states see Obama as hostile both to Israel and to themselves, while he appeases the common enemy of majority-Shiite Iran.

Democratic, free-market Israel is the sole safe port amid a rising Middle East tsunami. After a “leading from behind” U.S withdrawal from the Middle East, many Arab nations now see Israel more as a powerful ally against Iran than as an old existential enemy. They also see Israel as a country that has likewise been snubbed by America.

 

The idea of an Arab-Israeli understanding is surreal, but it is developing from shared fears of being targets of Iranian bombing and American indifference. Many of Israel’s neighbors are threatened by either ISIS or al-Qaeda nihilists. Those deadly dangers remind the world that democratic, free-market Israel is the sole safe port amid a rising Middle East tsunami.

 

Changing Western politics are empowering Israel as well. More than 2 million migrants — for the most part, young males from the war-torn Middle East — have terrified Europe, especially after a series of radical Islamic-terrorist killings. Suddenly, Europe is far more worried about Israel’s neighbors than about lecturing Israel itself.

 

Pushback against the Obama administration extends to its foreign policy. President-elect Donald Trump may be more pro-Israel than any recent U.S. president. And he may be the first U.S. leader to move the American embassy to Israel’s capital in West Jerusalem. For all the chaos and dangers abroad, the map of global energy, Western politics, and Middle Eastern alliances has been radically redrawn. At the center is a far stronger Israel that has more opportunities than at any other time in its history. It will have an even brighter future after Obama has left office.

 

Contents           

On Topic Links

 

Obama and Trump are Engaged in a $3 Billion Game of Chicken Over Israel: Jake Novak, CNBC, Dec. 27, 2016—President Obama and President-elect Donald Trump are engaged in a $3 billion game of chicken. It started last week when the United Nations began considering a deeply one-sided resolution calling on Israel to end all Jewish settlement building in disputed areas of the West Bank and even East Jerusalem without a single word calling on Palestinians to end violent attacks on civilians or do anything else.

Can Trump Construct a New World Order?: Prof. Efraim Inbar, BESA, Dec. 18, 2016—US President-Elect Donald Trump lacks foreign policy experience, and during the election campaign did not proffer any comprehensive outlook on global affairs. He offered bits and pieces of ideas (building a wall along the Mexican border, moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, disparaging NATO, and demanding that allies raise their defense expenditures). Overall, he expressed isolationist sentiments alongside inconsistent and unpredictable thoughts. In any case, his focus is likely to be on domestic affairs.

A New Approach to Israeli-Palestinian Peacemaking: Arik Elman, Algemeiner, Jan. 2, 2016—Some of my friends — even intelligent friends — say that, however unpleasant, a Borat-esque “running of the Jew” must now be enacted, because we need a reminder that the two-state solution is the only way to be rid of the Palestinian problem, as we can’t absorb Palestinians into our state, can’t rule them and can’t deport them.

How Obama Cracked Jewish Solidarity: Michael Lumish, Jewish Press, Jan. 3, 2017—Fifty years from now Barack Obama will be known to most Americans as, quite simply, the first African-American president of the United States. Aside from this he will have precious little to distinguish himself other than in the notable electoral deterioration of the Democratic Party under his tenure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REMEMBERING 2016 & PROGNOSTICATING THE NEW YEAR AND NEW PRO-ISRAEL WHITE HOUSE

 

A Crystal Ball on 2017: David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom, Dec. 30, 2016— Alas, my crystal ball has been working well in recent years, accurately anticipating the troubles before Israel.

Responding to Obama’s Malicious Betrayal of Israel: Isi Leibler, Candidly Speaking, Dec. 29, 2016— As predicted, on the eve of his retirement President Barack Obama betrayed Israel.

The Main Antisemitic Incidents of 2016: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 13, 2016 — It has become a tradition that at year’s end the Simon Wiesenthal Center publishes a selection of the year’s major antisemitic incidents.

Hanukkah: The Festival of Religious Freedom: Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Religion and Ethics, Dec. 19, 2016— Hanukkah is the festival on which Jews celebrate their victory in the fight for religious freedom more than two thousand years ago.

 

On Topic Links

 

12 Reasons the US Should Never Have allowed UN Resolution 2334: Hillel Neuer, Times of Israel, Dec. 29, 2016

Israel Sees 27,000 New Immigrants in 2016, Slight Dip From Previous Year: JNS, Dec. 29, 2016

Meet The Winners: Our Pick For 2016’s Coolest Israeli Startups: Einat Paz-Frankel, No Camels, Dec. 29, 2016

Campus Antisemitism: The Year in Review: Kenneth L Marcus, Algemeiner, Dec. 26, 2016

 

                                  

 A CRYSTAL BALL ON 2017              

David M. Weinberg                       

Israel Hayom, Dec. 30, 2016

 

Alas, my crystal ball has been working well in recent years, accurately anticipating the troubles before Israel. Outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama: Two years ago, I impeccably predicted in these pages that Obama would cut a grand nuclear deal with the Iranians at Israel's expense. One year ago, I forecast that Obama would sandbag Israel with a "December surprise" — a hostile U.N. Security Council resolution in the seam zone between the Nov. 8 presidential election and the Jan. 20 inauguration of a new president. I also guessed correctly that Obama would never mention the words Islam and terrorism in the same sentence; not even once, right down to the dying days of his sad eight-year tenure.

 

Looking ahead, I sense that Obama will continue to ride on Israel's case. He is young, angry, petulant and unrepentant, and a true believer in Palestinian and Iranian rights and in his own prodigious powers. The presidency of the United States was just a stepping stone, in his view, toward real global clout. Obama will remain a thorn in Israel's behind, and surely in the side of his successor too. Watch for a series of revelatory Obama interviews with Jeffrey Goldberg, in which Obama will undiplomatically pour out his wrath on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and further delegitimize Israel, while repeatedly referencing the "legacy of Shimon Peres" as cover for his contempt.

 

Incoming President Donald Trump: I was wrong to dismiss Trump's candidacy for president as hopeless, but right to suggest that moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem was a realistic possibility. Now it will happen. I don't think that the Trump administration will sanction Israeli annexations in Judea and Samaria, but it can quietly green-light renewed Israeli building in the greater Jerusalem envelope, including E1, along the lines of the "Bush letter" understandings of 2004.

 

Equally important, Trump will reject the Obama administration's obsessive and false narratives about Israeli settlement construction being illegal, massive, and the main obstacle to peace. And he will acknowledge the plain reality that the status quo in Judea and Samaria is the least-worst option in the medium term. On another front, I doubt that Trump will throw the U.N. out of New York or cut its funding, despite Republican threats to do so. As the late, great Ed Koch once said of the U.N.: Every city needs a cesspool.

 

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas: I was wrong in predicting last year that Abbas would finally resign from his dictatorial perch in the Palestinian Authority. But I am confident in calculating that even if he does so this coming year, the Palestinian Authority won't collapse. That's because there is no precedent in business or international affairs of anybody just walking away from a $3 billion enterprise. More than 200,000 Palestinian families in the West Bank — a million people — are dependent on PA salaries and pension plans, paid by the international community and essentially buttressed by Israeli bayonets.

 

The PA's autocratic rule is the default and preferred paradigm for much of the Palestinian political elite (and for Israel). This gives the lie to the PA's threats to dissolve itself. Such threats are simply not credible. One more thing should be kept in mind: It is only ongoing invasive and pervasive security activity by the IDF that keeps the Palestinian Authority alive. Without this, there isn't a shred of a doubt that the PA would fall to Hamas rule within a matter of weeks. And then Jerusalem and Israel's Gush Dan heartland would be under assault from the strategic heights of Judea and Samaria. This is a reality that all those who still hanker for rapid establishment of a full-fledged Palestinian state prefer to ignore.

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin: My analysis of the situation in Syria going back two years remains prescient. While Russia and Iran share an interest in stabilizing the Assad regime, Putin has no reason to provide cover for Iranian and Hezbollah operations against Israel. Thus careful Israeli maneuvering, for which Netanyahu deserves credit, has driven enough of a wedge between Russia and Iran to preserve Israel's freedom to operate against terrorist operations over our northern border.

 

The big question ahead is this: As Trump moves towards a strategic entente with Putin (with China as their common adversary), can Trump peel the Russians away from Iran, and secure Putin's cooperation in checking Iran's hegemonic troublemaking across the Middle East? I'm betting on this. Perhaps Putin will win the Nobel Peace Prize for bringing "stability" to Syria. After all, Obama won the prize for doing nothing at all.

 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: He will overcome all the pesky, petty investigations into his finances. Challenges to his Likud leadership by Gideon Sa'ar and Moshe Ya'alon will come to naught. His governing coalition will hold firm too. However, Netanyahu will find it increasingly difficult to square the circle diplomatically, even with Trump in the White House. It will be hard to strengthen Israel's hold on Jerusalem and the settlement blocs, and assert Israel's rights on the Temple Mount while fending off lawfare in the International Criminal Court and other forums. Unless and until Netanyahu adopts a real discourse of Israeli rights in Judea and Samaria (historic, religious and national), and doesn't just talk about its security needs, Israel will continue to lose ground internationally…

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

                                                           

Contents                                                                                                                                                           

RESPONDING TO OBAMA’S MALICIOUS BETRAYAL OF ISRAEL

Isi Leibler                                                                                                   

Candidly Speaking, Dec. 29, 2016

 

As predicted, on the eve of his retirement President Barack Obama betrayed Israel. The former long-standing congregant of the paranoid anti-Semitic pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright who has a penchant for supporting to the Moslem Brotherhood, broke with forty years of U.S. bipartisan policy of protecting the Jewish state from the wolves at the United Nations.

 

His action as a lame duck president was a last ditch effort aimed at undermining his successor’s intended policies, realizing that it is virtually impossible to rescind a Security Council resolution. At the end of his eight years in office he exhibited an unprecedented abuse of power knowing that in his last month he would be unaccountable, despite the fact that his vindictive initiative was totally opposed by Congress, the American people and even by many members of his own party.

 

European countries represented on the Security Council voted in favor of this abominable resolution 2334 which was essentially drafted and orchestrated by the US and ultimately initiated by New Zealand, a Western country whose foreign policy is largely determined by the extent that it promotes export of lamb. Its co-sponsors were the rogue state of Venezuela, as well as Malaysia and Senegal.

 

The resolution, passed during the week that Aleppo was conquered by President Assad in the midst of brutal torture and massacres of thousands of innocent civilians, highlights the duplicity and hypocrisy of the United Nations, a body dominated by anti-Israeli and rogue states with democracies groveling in an effort to appease the dominant Muslim nations. It will serve as an instrument for Israel’s adversaries to further promote boycott, divestment and sanctions and the International Criminal Court will be encouraged to define Israel as a criminal state.

 

It officially nullifies the disastrous Oslo Accords, negates UN Resolution 242 and repudiates the concept of defensible borders. It paves the way for criminalizing all settlers, including those in the major blocs that will always remain part of Israel and even Jews resident in Jewish neighborhoods of east Jerusalem. It actually defines the Old City of Jerusalem and the Kotel (Western Wall) as occupied Palestinian territory.

 

In this context the Palestinians will demand that any future negotiations accept these bizarre territorial definitions as opening benchmarks – a status that no Israeli government would ever contemplate accepting. The UN Resolution has effectively negated the concept of direct negotiations, thus ensuring that a peaceful solution to the conflict is more remote than ever.

 

In this poisonous anti-Israeli international climate, we should not be influenced by the pessimistic prophets of doom in our midst. We are more powerful today than ever before and in the course of our history we have successfully overcome far greater threats to our existence than the United Nations. Now is a time for us to display unity and strength. Despite the many initial concerns, we should thank the Almighty that the American people elected Donald Trump as president. Were we now faced with a Clinton Democratic Administration, which in all likelihood would retain Obama’s policies, we would be confronting a real nightmare.

 

In this context, if the proclaimed decision to move the U.S Embassy to Jerusalem is implemented it will send the world a powerful message. To his credit, Trump used all his weight as an incoming president in efforts to ward off the UN resolution, albeit unsuccessfully. He described the UN “just as a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time” and stressed that after January 20th “things at the UN will be different”. In the wake of his selection of pro-Israeli David Friedman as ambassador to Israel he appointed another pro-Israeli from his team, Jason Greenblatt as his point man for Middle East negotiations. He also demonstratively refused to grant an audience to retiring UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon.

 

In light of these developments most of the mainstream Jewish leadership who were in denial for over eight years should share a deep sense of guilt and shame. They remained silent as Obama treated Israel diplomatically as a rogue state whilst he groveled to the Ayatollah. They continued voting for him and we now see how he repaid them. The only consistent critic was indefatigable Morton Klein, head of the Zionist Organization of America who has now been more than vindicated.

 

Individual American Jews are free to express their personal political opinions in any manner they deem fit, but mainstream Jewish organizations are obliged to avoid activity which reflects political bias. The disgusting behavior of liberal mainstream leaders exploiting their positions to promote a partisan bias against Trump, including accusations of anti-Semitism against him and his co-workers before and during the elections, now stands out as being utterly unethical and outrageous.

 

After the elections the Anti-Defamation League, the religious Conservative and Reform leaders all issued statements conveying their anguish and even mourning the results. Some of these publicly supported the election to the Democratic Party leadership of the Muslim extreme left-wing anti-Israeli congressman Keith Ellison whilst bitterly protesting Trump’s appointment of a pro-Israeli ambassador. Others even protested that moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem would harm the peace process. The climax was the almost comic but bizarre boycott by major liberal mainstream Jewish organizations of a Hanukah celebration hosted by the Presidents’ Conference at the Azerbaijani Embassy in Washington because it was being held in a Trump-owned hotel.

 

But now is the time for us to look forward and unite. This U.N. resolution was not just about settlements. It was to undermine the security of the state and pave the way for anti-Semitic boycotts and sanctions by those seeking Israel’s demise. The resolution employing Obama’s malevolent views made no distinction between isolated outposts and settlements in outlying regions and Jewish suburbs of Jerusalem including the Western Wall…

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

                                                                       

Contents

 

THE MAIN ANTISEMITIC INCIDENTS OF 2016

Manfred Gerstenfeld

Jerusalem Post, Dec. 13, 2016

 

It has become a tradition that at year’s end the Simon Wiesenthal Center publishes a selection of the year’s major antisemitic incidents. When the list was started in 2010 it was two pages long. By last year it had tripled to six pages. Concerning 2016 there are two new aspects. The first is that a widely accepted definition of antisemitism has been in existence since May, namely that of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

 

Its acceptance required the approval of its 31 democratic member countries. The second aspect is that the perhaps largest antisemitic incident this year did not even mention Jews: in 2016, UNESCO accepted a resolution which refers to the Temple Mount exclusively as Al-Haram Al-Sharif/Al-Aksa Mosque. In so doing, it dissociated Jews (and Christians) from Jerusalem. This year it will be difficult for the SWC executives to do their work in view of the many major antisemitic incidents to choose from. A few suggestions thus may be helpful. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) coalition should be high on the list. Its platform falsely claims that Israel is an “apartheid state” which perpetrates genocide against the Palestinians.

 

Another prime candidate for the SWC list is Jeremy Corbyn, the extreme left-wing leader of the British Labour Party. Under his leadership antisemitism in the party has greatly expanded. Corbyn has called Hamas and Hezbollah his “friends” and for so many months refused to distance himself from that statement that when he finally did, it was meaningless. Corbyn promoted his strategy adviser Seumas Milne, who is a Hamas proponent. He also gave notorious antisemitic slur producer Ken Livingstone an important position in the party. The latter was later suspended because of antisemitic remarks about Hitler supporting Zionism. When the antisemitism in the party became clear, he chose an unqualified investigator who produced a highly unprofessional report on the issue. Corbyn’s acts do not fit the IHRA definition. This shows that the definition in relation to anti-Israel antisemitism is far too concise and should be complemented by a more detailed definition of this type of antisemitism…

 

The Muslim world is a prime supplier of antisemitic recidivists. One of these is the Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan. One statement from 2016 which qualifies him is “I don’t approve of what Hitler did, and neither do I approve of what Israel has done,” according to a translation by AFP. “When it’s a question of so many people dying, it’s inappropriate to ask who was the more barbarous.” In view of Hungarian antisemitism at least one candidate from that country should make the list. Perhaps it should be the Hungarian government for awarding antisemitic Magyar Hirlap columnist and conservative party Fidesz publicist Zsolt Bayer the “Hungarian Middle Cross,” the third highest decoration of achievement the government bestows.

 

No annual list of antisemitic slurs can be complete without including candidates from the Scandinavian hotbeds of hypocrisy and antisemitism, Norway and Sweden. The third largest Norwegian town, Trondheim, is now in the running as candidate for Europe’s capital of the anti-Israeli version of antisemitism for deciding to boycott products from the settlements. SWC circles informed me that Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallström barely escaped the list of major antisemitic incidents last year. This year she should definitely be on the list for her comments calling for an investigation into whether Israel is guilty of extrajudicial killings of Palestinians during the most recent wave of terrorism. The leader of the Yesh Atid Party, Yair Lapid, explicitly called her an antisemite during a rally in Stockholm.

 

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement is also an annually returning antisemitic phenomenon. Seventy Jews wrote a letter to The New York Review of Books supporting only a targeted boycott of all goods and services from all Israeli settlements as well as investments there. They would be a representative candidate of the BDS list because of their double standards, which are a core element of antisemitism. The above selection may be somewhat helpful to the SWC executives. The problem is that it only contains a small part of the many candidates for this year’s list.                                

 

Contents

                  HANUKKAH: THE FESTIVAL OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM                                                 

                                            Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

Religion and Ethics, Dec. 19, 2016

 

Hanukkah is the festival on which Jews celebrate their victory in the fight for religious freedom more than two thousand years ago. Tragically that fight is no less important today – and not only for Jews, but for people of all faiths. The Jewish story is simple enough. In around 165 BCE Antiochus IV, ruler of the Syrian branch of the Alexandrian empire, began to impose Greek culture on the Jews of the land of Israel. Funds were diverted from the Temple to public games and drama competitions.

 

A statue of Zeus was erected in Jerusalem. Jewish religious rituals such as circumcision and the observance of the Sabbath were banned. Those who kept them were persecuted. It was one of the great crises in Jewish history. There was a real possibility that Judaism, the world's first monotheism, would be eclipsed. A group of Jewish pietists rose in rebellion. Led by a priest, Mattathias of Modi'in, and his son, Judah the Maccabee, they began the fight for liberty. Outnumbered, they suffered heavy initial casualties, but within three years they had secured a momentous victory. Jerusalem was restored to Jewish hands. The Temple was rededicated. The celebrations lasted for eight days.

 

Hanukkah – which means "rededication" – was established as a festival to perpetuate the memory of those days. Almost twenty-two centuries have passed since then, yet today religious liberty, enshrined as article 18 in the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is at risk in many parts of the world. Christians are being persecuted throughout the Middle East and parts of Asia. In Mosul, Iraq's second city, Christians have been kidnapped, tortured, crucified and beheaded. Over the last two years, the Christian community, one of the oldest in the world, has been driven out, and the Yazidis, members of an ancient religious sect, have been threatened with genocide.

 

Over the past year in Nigeria, Boko Haram has captured Christian children and sold them as slaves. In Madagali, Christian men have been taken and beheaded, and the women forcibly converted to Islam and taken by the terrorists as wives. Nor has Boko Haram limited itself to persecuting Christians; it has targeted the Muslim establishment as well. Sectarian religious violence in the Central African Republic has led to the destruction of almost all of its mosques. In Burma, more than 140,000 Rohingya Muslims and 100,000 Kachin Christians have been forced to flee.

 

The 2016 report of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom speaks concludes that "serious and sustained assault" on religious freedom is a major factor behind the rolling series of worldwide "humanitarian crises." Countries where this crisis is acute include Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Vietnam. In Syria alone, where some of the worst crimes against humanity are taking place, 6.6 million people are internally displaced while 4.8 million have become refugees elsewhere…

Is there a way forward? More than half a century ago the Oxford philosopher John Plamenatz noted that religious freedom was born in Europe in the seventeenth century after a devastating series of religious wars. All it took was a single shift, from the belief that, "Faith is the most important thing; therefore everyone should honour the one true faith," to the belief that, "Faith is the most important thing; therefore everyone should be free to honour his or her own faith."

 

This meant that people of all faiths were guaranteed that whichever religion was dominant, he or she would still be free to obey their own call of conscience. Hence Plamenatz's striking conclusion: "Liberty of conscience was born, not of indifference, not of scepticism, not of mere open-mindedness, but of faith." The very fact that my religion is important to me allows me to understand that your quite different religion is no less important to you. It took much bloodshed before people were prepared to acknowledge this simple truth, which is why we must never forget the lessons of the past if we are to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. Hanukkah reminds us that people will fight for religious freedom, and the attempt to deprive them of it will always end in failure.

 

The symbol of Hanukkah is the menorah we light for eight days in memory of the Temple candelabrum, purified and rededicated by the Maccabees all those centuries ago. Faith is like a flame. Properly tended, it gives light and warmth, but let loose, it can burn and destroy. We need, in the twenty-first century, a global Hanukkah: a festival of freedom for all the world's faiths. For though my faith is not yours and your faith is not mine, if we are each free to light our own flame, together we can banish some of the darkness of the world.

 

                     CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters:

 

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Urim Sameach!

Contents  

         

On Topic Links

 

12 Reasons the US Should Never Have allowed UN Resolution 2334: Hillel Neuer, Times of Israel, Dec. 29, 2016—What follows is part of an open letter I sent to U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power following the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 2334:

Israel Sees 27,000 New Immigrants in 2016, Slight Dip From Previous Year: JNS, Dec. 29, 2016— Israel saw approximately 27,000 new immigrants arrive this year, with newcomers from Russia and Brazil rising significantly but overall immigrations down from 31,000 in 2015, according to newly released year-end figures from the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Israeli Ministry of Aliyah and Immigration Absorption.

Meet The Winners: Our Pick For 2016’s Coolest Israeli Startups: Einat Paz-Frankel, No Camels, Dec. 29, 2016—2016 was another remarkable year for Israeli innovation, with the Startup Nation showing no signs of slowing its breakneck pace. The startup ecosystem has made global headlines with a host of new cutting-edge technologies that have the potential to better our lives, and even change them for good.

Campus Antisemitism: The Year in Review: Kenneth L Marcus, Algemeiner, Dec. 26, 2016—This has been an extraordinarily eventful year in the campaign against campus antisemitism, especially from our perspective at the Louis D. Brandeis Center. On the one hand, Jewish students face a worsening climate. This year, an AMCHA Initiative study showed a 45% increase in campus antisemitism during the first half of 2016 as compared with the first half of 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OBAMA & KERRY JOIN THE ANTI-ISRAEL JACKALS WITH PARTING SHOT AT JERUSALEM

 

PM Netanyahu's Statement in Response to US Secretary of State Kerry's Speech: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dec. 28, 2016 — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening (Wednesday, 28 December 2016), issued the following statement in response to US Secretary of State John Kerry's speech:

John Kerry's Meaningless Speech and Tragic Missed Opportunity: Alan Dershowitz, Fox News, Dec. 28, 2016 — What if the Secretary of State gave a policy speech and no one listened?

Joining the Jackals: The Case Against U.N. Resolution 2334 – Open Letter to Amb. Samantha Power: Hillel C.  Neuer, UNWatch, Dec. 29, 2016— Dear Ambassador Power…

The Obama Administration Fires a Dangerous Parting Shot: Editorial, Washington Post, Dec. 23, 2016 — President Obama’s decision to abstain on a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements reverses decades of practice by both Democratic and Republican presidents.

 

On Topic Links

 

Full Text of John Kerry’s Speech on Middle East Peace, December 28, 2016: Times of Israel, Dec. 28, 2016

Donald Trump Tweets Support for Israel Ahead of Kerry Speech on Middle East: Ruth Eglash & Carol Morello, Washington Post, Dec. 28, 2016

Israeli Ambassador: We’ll Give Trump Proof Obama Drove UN Vote (Video): Times of Israel, Dec. 26, 2016

Obama Despises Israel Because He Despises the West: Ben Shapiro, National Review, Dec. 28, 2016

 

PM NETANYAHU'S STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO US SECRETARY OF STATE KERRY'S SPEECH

                                        Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dec. 28, 2016  

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening (Wednesday, 28 December 2016), issued the following statement in response to US Secretary of State John Kerry's speech:

 

"Before why I explain why this speech was so disappointing to millions of Israelis, I want to say that Israel is deeply grateful to the United States of America, to successive American administrations, to the American Congress, to the American people. We're grateful for the support Israel has received over many, many decades. Our alliance is based on shared values, shared interests, a sense of shared destiny and a partnership that has endured differences of opinions between our two governments over the best way to advance peace and stability in the Middle East. I have no doubt that our alliance will endure the profound disagreement we have had with the Obama Administration and will become even stronger in the future.

 

But now I must express my deep disappointment with the speech today of John Kerry – a speech that was almost as unbalanced as the anti-Israel resolution passed at the UN last week. In a speech ostensibly about peace between Israelis and Palestinians, Secretary Kerry paid lip service to the unremitting campaign of terrorism that has been waged by the Palestinians against the Jewish state for nearly a century. What he did was to spend most of his speech blaming Israel for the lack of peace by passionately condemning a policy of enabling Jews to live in their historic homeland and in their eternal capital, Jerusalem.

 

Hundreds of suicide bombings…tens of thousands of rockets, millions of Israelis in bomb shelters are not throwaway lines in a speech; they're the realities that the people of Israel had to endure because of mistaken policies, policies that at the time won the thunderous applause of the world. I don't seek applause; I seek the security, and peace, and prosperity and the future of the Jewish state. The Jewish people have sought their place under the sun for 3,000 years, and we're not about to be swayed by mistaken policies that have caused great, great damage.

 

Israelis do not need to be lectured about the importance of peace by foreign leaders. Israel's hand has been extended in peace to its neighbors from day one, from its very first day. We've prayed for peace, we've worked for it every day since then. And thousands of Israeli families have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our country and advance peace. My family has been one of them; there are many, many others.

 

No one wants peace more than the people of Israel. Israel remains committed to resolving the outstanding differences between us and the Palestinians through direct negotiations. This is how we made peace with Egypt; this is how we made peace with Jordan; it's the only way we'll make peace with the Palestinians. That has always been Israel's policy; that has always been America's policy. Here's what President Obama himself said at the UN in 2011. He said: 'Peace is hard work. Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations. If it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now.'

 

That's what President Obama said, and he was right. And until last week this was repeated over and over again as American policy. Secretary Kerry said that the United States cannot vote against its own policy. But that's exactly what it did at the UN, and that's why Israel opposed last week's Security Council resolution, because it effectively calls the Western Wall 'occupied Palestinian Territory,' because it encourages boycotts and sanctions against Israel – that's what it effectively does, and because it reflects a radical shift in US policy towards the Palestinians on final status issues – those issues that we always agreed, the US and Israel, have to be negotiated directly, face to face without preconditions.

 

That shift happened despite the Palestinians walking away from peace and from peace offers time and time again, despite their refusal to even negotiate peace for the past eight years, and despite the Palestinian Authority inculcating a culture of hatred towards Israel in an entire generation of young Palestinians. Israel looks forward to working with President-elect Trump and with the American Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike, to mitigate the damage that this resolution has done and ultimately, to repeal it.

 

Israel hopes that the outgoing Obama Administration will prevent any more damage being done to Israel at the UN in its waning days. I wish I could be comforted by the promise that the US says we will not bring any more resolutions to the UN. That's what they said about the previous resolution. We have it on absolutely incontestable evidence that the United States organized, advanced and brought this resolution to the United Nations Security Council. We'll share that information with the incoming administration. Some of it is sensitive, it's all true. You saw some of it in the protocol released in an Egyptian paper. There's plenty more; it's the tip of the iceberg…

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

                                                           

Contents                                                                                                                                                                               

                    JOHN KERRY'S MEANINGLESS SPEECH

AND TRAGIC MISSED OPPORTUNITY

                       Alan Dershowitz                                                                                                    

                  Fox News, Dec. 28, 2016

 

What if the Secretary of State gave a policy speech and no one listened? Because Secretary Kerry’s speech Wednesday came after the U.S.'s abstention on the Security Council vote, nobody in Israel will pay any attention to anything he said. Had the speech come before the abstention, there would have been some possibility of it influencing the debate within Israel. But following the U.S. abstention, Kerry has lost all credibility with Israelis across the political spectrum. This is why his speech wasn’t even aired live on Israeli TV.

 

The speech itself was as one-sided as the abstention. It failed to mention the repeated offers from Israel to end the occupation and settlements, and to create a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza: Arafat’s rejection of the Clinton-Barak proposals in 2000-2001: and Abbas’ failure to respond to the Olmert offer in 2008. To fail to mention these important points is to demonstrate the bias of the speaker. Kerry also discussed the Palestinian refugee, without even mentioning the equal member of Jewish refugees from Arab and Muslim countries.

 

Finally Kerry, seemed to confirm that in his view any changes from the pre-1967 lines would not be recognized without mutual agreement. This means that the prayer plaza at the Western Wall, the access roads to Hebrew University and Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus and the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem are now all illegally occupied. This is, of course, a non-starter for Israelis. It is also wrong as a matter of history and law. Jordan captured these historically Jewish areas in 1948 when all the surrounding Arab countries attacked the new Jewish nation in an attempt to destroy it. When Jordan attacked Israel again in 1967, Israel recaptured these Jewish areas and allowed Jews to return to them. That is not an illegal occupation. It is a liberation.

 

By failing to distinguish between settlement expansion deep into the West Bank and reclaiming historical Jewish areas in the heart of Jerusalem, Kerry made the same fundamental error that the Security Council resolution made. His one-sidedness was also evident in his failure to press the Palestinian leadership to accept Netanyahu’s open offer to begin negotiations immediately with no pre-conditions. Instead, he seemed to justify the Palestinian unwillingness to enter into negotiations now.

 

Kerry’s pessimism about the two-state solution poses the danger of a self-fulfilling prophecy. The existing settlements — even if expanded — do not pose any danger to the two-state solution, if the Palestinians really want their own state more than they want there not to be a Jewish state. A contiguous Palestinian state is certainly possible even if all the existing settlements were to remain. Israel proved that in Gaza when it dismantled every single Jewish settlement and evacuated every single Jew from the Gaza strip.

 

It is simply a historical geographical and logical error to assume that continuing settlement building — whether one agrees with it or not, and I do not — dooms the two-state solution. To the contrary, settlement expansion is the consequence of Palestinian refusal to accept repeated offers from Israeli governments to end the occupation and settlements in exchange for peace. The primary barrier to the two-state solution remains the Palestinian unwillingness to accept the U.N. resolution of 1947 calling for two states for two peoples — the Jewish people and the Arab people. Kerry did not sufficiently address this issue. This means explicit recognition by Palestinians to accept Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.

 

The most important point Kerry made on Wednesday is that the Obama administration will not unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state, without an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. He also implied that U.S. will not push for any additional Security Council resolutions. Kerry’s speech is therefore just that: a speech with little substance and no importance. It will be quickly forgotten along with the many other one-sided condemnations of Israel that litter the historical record.

 

Kerry could have done a real service to peace if he had pressed the Palestinian leadership to come to the negotiation table as hard as he pressed the Israeli leadership to end settlement expansions. But his one-sided presentation did not move the peace process forward. Let us hope it does not set us back too far. What a missed opportunity and a tragedy that could have been easily avoided by a more balanced approach both at the Security Council and in the Kerry speech.                                  

                                                                       

Contents

 

 

JOINING THE JACKALS: THE CASE AGAINST U.N. RESOLUTION 2334 –

OPEN LETTER TO AMB. SAMANTHA POWER

Hillel C.  Neuer

UNWatch, Dec. 29, 2016

 

Dear Ambassador Power, I write in response to your abstention on Friday which allowed a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel, and in response to the substantial explanation of vote that you delivered. With even further U.N. measures still possible before President Obama leaves office on January 20th, I urge you and the Administration—where you play an influential role as a member of the President’s Cabinet, and as one of President Obama’s most trusted advisors—to reconsider your approach.

 

Your speech on Friday had much to applaud. As you have vigorously done for three years, your remarks exposed in compelling detail the U.N. double standard applied to the Jewish state, which, you rightly said, “not only hurts Israel, it undermines the legitimacy of the United Nations itself.” As you noted last year on the 40th anniversary of the infamous Zionism is Racism resolution, at the U.N. “rarely a day goes by without some effort to delegitimize Israel.” On that occasion, you called for everyone to “relentlessly fight back” against this “ignorance and hatred.”

 

Your vote on Friday, however, makes a dramatic break with all of this. While it is perfectly legitimate to disagree with Israel about settlements, allowing Resolution 2334 to pass was morally wrong and strategically damaging. As set forth below, we believe the U.S. decision to acquiesce in the adoption of this lopsided resolution reverses decades of past practice, sets back the cause of peace, and harms the interests of Israelis, Palestinians, and Americans…

 

Immediate and compelling evidence demonstrates that the Administration has failed to achieve its objective, which you articulated as promoting the two-state solution. Secretary Kerry’s speech yesterday failed to acknowledge the telling fact that Israel’s mainstream society, including leading supporters of the two-state solution, have sharply rejected the U.N. resolution, and criticized the U.S. role in its advancement and adoption.

 

Consider: Isaac Herzog, leader of the opposition and chairman of the Labor Party—whom you recently recognized for being “so principled on behalf of peace”—called for Resolution 2334 to be annulled, saying it caused “severe damage.” Similarly, his colleague, former foreign minister Tzipi Livni, who led efforts to achieve a two-state solution at the Annapolis Conference, and who welcomed the 2008 Security Council resolution endorsing that summit, said by contrast that Friday’s U.S.-backed resolution “harms the interests of Israel,” “harms Jerusalem,” and threatens to haul Israeli officers to the International Criminal Court.

 

Yair Lapid, chair of the Yesh Atid opposition party, who has endorsed the Saudi-Arab Peace Initiative as a basis for peace talks, and who opposes the proposed Knesset bill to legalize outposts which you cited on Friday, called the U.N. resolution “dangerous”, “unfair, and “an act of hypocrisy.” Ehud Barak, who as prime minister went to Camp David in 2000 and extended an unprecedented and far-reaching peace offer to the Palestinians, called this resolution a “humiliating blow to Israel.” Amos Yadlin, head of Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies, the country’s most influential think tank, and another prominent supporter of the two-state solution, said that the resolution was “extremely problematic for Israel and the peace process alike,” and he accused President Obama of committing “a severe anti-Israeli move” which “harmed the United States’ staunchest ally in the Middle East.”

 

To be sure, all of these left-leaning figures faulted or admonished Prime Minister Netanyahu for failing to head off the blow. Yet neither President Obama, Secretary Kerry or anyone else in your Administration has yet addressed the astonishing fact that their closest Israeli political allies and interlocutors in promoting the peace process have uniformly denounced an action which you claim will advance their position…

 

By contrast, are you not troubled that among the first to endorse the resolution were the terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad? “Hamas commends the countries that voiced their opposition to the Israeli occupation’s aggressive settlement policy aimed against the Palestinian people,” said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum. Hamas praised “the important about-face in the international position in favor of the Palestinian people.” Iran-backed Islamic Jihad welcomed the U.S.-backed resolution, saying, “It’s plain to see the world opinion is against Israel and its policies,” and “now Israel can be isolated and boycotted, as well as prosecuted in the international arena for all its crimes.”

 

12 Reasons Why the U.S. Should Have Vetoed U.N. Resolution 2334: To understand why, by contrast, so many supporters of Israeli-Palestinian peace oppose what you did on Friday, I urge you and the Administration to consider the following 12 points.

 

1. Resolution 2334 Encourages Palestinian Rejectionism, Undermines Negotiations: The resolution dangerously disincentivizes Palestinians to come to the negotiating table. Instead, Resolution 2334 will for the foreseeable future encourage them to await being handed the same or more by international fiat. This will feed into the Palestinian strategy of preferring to deal with international institutions over bilateral talks with Israel. Contrary to its stated objective, therefore, the resolution will only push negotiations further away.

 

In this regard, we recall that in 2011, your predecessor Susan Rice vetoed a similar resolution on the grounds that it risked “hardening the positions of both sides,” and “could encourage the parties to stay out of negotiations.” She said it was “unwise for this Council to attempt to resolve the core issues that divide Israelis and Palestinians.” Though your speech claims that circumstances have now changed, many will see the only meaningful difference as the fact that the current transition period allows a president to make unpopular decisions at no political cost.

 

2. Resolution Fuels Palestinian Targeting of Israelis with BDS & International Prosecutions

Secretary of State John Kerry pledged this month to oppose any “biased, unfair resolution calculated to delegitimize Israel.” And though he likewise said on Friday after the vote that he is proud of “defending Israel against any efforts to undermine its security or legitimacy in international fora,” and “steadfastly opposing boycotts, divestment campaigns and sanctions targeting the State of Israel,” the fact is that these are precisely the efforts empowered by Resolution 2334.

 

Friday’s text not only provides the first Security Council endorsement of the scandalous 2004 ICJ advisory opinion, which denied Israel’s right to defend itself from Gaza rockets, but it implicitly encourages the International Criminal Court (ICC) to move forward in its preliminary examination of whether Israeli officials have engaged in the “war crime” of settlement building, and provides the same impetus to prosecutions in national courts that claim universal jurisdiction. If Tzipi Livni was already being served with UK arrest warrants before, Resolution 2334 will only aggravate anti-Israel lawfare. The U.S. should never have lent its hand to a campaign designed to delegitimize Israeli civil and military leaders as criminals…

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

 

Contents

         THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION FIRES A DANGEROUS PARTING SHOT                                                         

                                                           Editorial      

Washington Post, Dec. 23, 2016

 

President Obama’s decision to abstain on a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements reverses decades of practice by both Democratic and Republican presidents. The United States vetoed past resolutions on the grounds that they unreasonably singled out Jewish communities in occupied territories as an obstacle to Middle East peace, and that U.N. action was more likely to impede than advance negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.

 

The measure, approved 14 to 0 by the Security Council Friday, is subject to the same criticism: It will encourage Palestinians to pursue more international sanctions against Israel rather than seriously consider the concessions necessary for statehood, and it will give a boost to the international boycott and divestment movement against the Jewish state, which has become a rallying cause for anti-Zionists. At the same time, it will almost certainly not stop Israeli construction in the West Bank, much less in East Jerusalem, where Jewish housing was also deemed by the resolution to be “a flagrant violation under international law.”

 

By abstaining, the administration did not explicitly support that position, which has not been U.S. policy since the Carter administration. In explaining the vote, U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power pointed out that the council was sanctioning Israel even while failing to take action to stop a potential genocide in South Sudan or the slaughter in Aleppo, Syria. Yet in failing to veto the measure, the Obama administration set itself apart both from previous administrations and from the incoming presidency of Donald Trump, who spoke out strongly against the resolution.

 

A lame-duck White House may feel a radical change in policy is justified by Israel’s shift to the right under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; Israel’s governing coalition is supporting legislation that would legalize dozens of settlements that Israel itself defines as illegal, because they were constructed on private Palestinian property. Mr. Netanyahu supported a partial settlement freeze for 10 months in 2009 and 2010 at Mr. Obama’s behest, but has since allowed construction, including in some areas deep in the West Bank.

 

Nevertheless, settlements do not explain the administration’s repeated failures to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace. The Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas proved unwilling to negotiate seriously even during the settlement freeze, and it refused to accept a framework for negotiations painstakingly drawn up by Secretary of State John F. Kerry in 2014. In past negotiations, both sides have acknowledged that any deal will involve the annexation by Israel of settlements near its borders, where most of the current construction takes place — something the U.N. resolution, which was pressed by the Palestinians, did not acknowledge or take into account.

 

Israeli officials charged that the abstention represented a vindictive parting shot by Mr. Obama at Mr. Netanyahu, with whom he has feuded more bitterly than he did with most U.S. adversaries. The vote could also be seen as an attempt to preempt Mr. Trump, who appears ready to shift U.S. policy to the opposite extreme after naming a militant advocate of the settlements as his ambassador to Israel. Whatever the motivation, Mr. Obama’s gesture is likely to do more harm than good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Chag Urim Sameach!

 

Contents      

     

On Topic Links

 

Full Text of John Kerry’s Speech on Middle East Peace, December 28, 2016: Times of Israel, Dec. 28, 2016 — In address as he nears end of term, secretary of state says Washington ‘cannot, in good conscience, do nothing and say nothing, when we see the hope of peace slipping away’

Donald Trump Tweets Support for Israel Ahead of Kerry Speech on Middle East: Ruth Eglash & Carol Morello, Washington Post, Dec. 28, 2016 —President-elect Donald Trump tweeted messages Wednesday showing his support for Israel and accusing President Obama of making inflammatory statements and damaging relations between Israel and the United States.

Israeli Ambassador: We’ll Give Trump Proof Obama Drove UN Vote (Video): Times of Israel, Dec. 26, 2016—Israel’s ambassador to the United States said Tuesday that the country will present President-elect Donald Trump with “evidence” that the Obama administration orchestrated an anti-settlement resolution at the United Nations Security Council on Friday.

Obama Despises Israel Because He Despises the West: Ben Shapiro, National Review, Dec. 28, 2016—Barack Obama has done his best for nearly eight years to undermine the state of Israel. He’s signed a treaty that enshrines an Iranian path to a nuclear weapon while funding their global terrorist activities to the tune of tens of billions of dollars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OBAMA’S “PARTING BETRAYAL” OF ISRAEL AT UN: AN ENDORSEMENT OF PALESTINIAN NARRATIVE

 

Obama’s Parting Betrayal of Israel: John Bolton, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 26, 2016 — Last Friday, on the eve of Hanukkah and Christmas, Barack Obama stabbed Israel in the front.

Obama’s War Against America: Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 26, 2016 — In 1989, following her tenure as President Ronald Reagan’s ambassador to the United Nations, Jeane Kirkpatrick described how the Palestinians have used the UN to destroy Israel.

We Are Not Occupiers in Our Own Land: Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom, Dec. 25, 2016 — We can continue the argument over the settlements with the world of U.S. President Barack Obama and his supporters in legal and diplomatic language, rightfully protesting his hypocrisy and hoping for better under incoming President Donald Trump.

Obama’s Fitting Finish: Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 26, 2016 — Barack Obama’s decision to abstain from, and therefore allow, last week’s vote to censure Israel at the U.N…

 

On Topic Links

 

The Dangers of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 (2016): Amb. Alan Baker, JCPA, Dec. 26, 2016

Blame the New York Times for the Disgraceful Anti-Israel UN Security Council Vote: Ira Stoll, Algemeiner, Dec. 25, 2016

Rejecting the False Notion that Israel is Occupier: Alan Clemmons, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 26, 2016

Dershowitz: Obama Will Go Down In History As One Of The Worst Foreign Policy Presidents Ever: Huffington Post, Dec. 26, 2016

 

 

OBAMA’S PARTING BETRAYAL OF ISRAEL

John Bolton

Wall Street Journal, Dec. 26, 2016

 

Last Friday, on the eve of Hanukkah and Christmas, Barack Obama stabbed Israel in the front. The departing president refused to veto United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334—a measure ostensibly about Israeli settlement policy, but clearly intended to tip the peace process toward the Palestinians. Its adoption wasn’t pretty. But, sadly, it was predictable.

 

Mr. Obama’s refusal to use Washington’s veto was more than a graceless parting gesture. Its consequences pose major challenges for American interests. President-elect Donald Trump should echo Ambassador Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s defiant and ringing 1975 response to the U.N.’s “Zionism is racism” resolution: that America “does not acknowledge, it will not abide by, it will never acquiesce in this infamous act.”

 

Mr. Obama argues that Resolution 2334 continues a bipartisan American policy toward the Middle East. It does precisely the opposite. The White House has abandoned any pretense that the actual parties to the conflict must resolve their differences. Instead, the president has essentially endorsed the Palestinian politico-legal narrative about territory formerly under League of Nations’ mandate, but not already under Israeli control after the 1948-49 war of independence.

 

Resolution 2334 implicitly repeals the iconic Resolution 242, which affirmed, in the wake of the 1967 Six-Day War, that all affected nations, obviously including Israel, had a “right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.” It provided further that Israel should withdraw “from territories occupied in the recent conflict”—but did not require withdrawal from “the” or “all” territories, thereby countenancing less-than-total withdrawal. In this way Resolution 242 embodied the “land for peace” theory central to America’s policy in the Middle East ever since.

 

By contrast, Resolution 2334 refuses to “recognize any changes to the [1967] lines, including those with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations.” This language effectively defines Israel’s borders, even while superficially affirming direct talks. Chatter about Israeli-Palestinian negotiations is nothing but a truism, equally applicable to the U.S. and Canada, or to any nations resolving trivial border disputes. There can be no “land for peace”—with Israel retroceding territory in exchange for peace, as in the 1979 Camp David agreement with Egypt—if the land is not legitimately Israel’s to give up in the first place. Anti-Israel imagineers have used this linguistic jujitsu as their central tactic since 1967, trying to create “facts on the ground” in the U.N.’s corridors rather than by actually negotiating with Israel. Mr. Obama has given them an indefinite hall pass.

 

The Trump administration could veto future Security Council measures that extend Resolution 2334 (e.g., purportedly recognizing a Palestinian state). Mr. Trump could also veto efforts to implement Resolution 2334 (e.g., the sanctions for what it calls Israel’s “blatant violation under international law”). Still, there are significant dangers. Other U.N. bodies, such as the General Assembly and the numerous specialized agencies where America has no veto, can carry Resolution 2334 forward. Even more perilous is that individual nations or the European Union can legislate their own sanctions under Resolution 2334’s provision that “all States” should “distinguish in their relevant dealings” between Israel’s territory “and the territories occupied since 1967.” This is a hunting license to ostracize Israel from the international economic system, exposing it and its citizens to incalculable personal and financial risk.

 

Once in office, President Trump should act urgently to mitigate or reverse Resolution 2334’s consequences. Mr. Obama has made this significantly harder by rendering America complicit in assaulting Israel. Nonetheless, handled properly, there is an escape from both the current danger zone and the wasteland in which the search for Middle East peace has long wandered. First, there must be consequences for the adoption of Resolution 2334. The Trump administration should move to repeal the resolution, giving the 14 countries that supported it a chance to correct their error. Nations that affirm their votes should have their relations with Washington adjusted accordingly. In some cases this might involve vigorous diplomatic protests. But the main perpetrators in particular should face more tangible consequences.

 

As for the United Nations itself, if this mistake is not fixed the U.S. should withhold at least its assessed contributions to the U.N.—which amount to about $3 billion annually or 22%-25% of its total regular and peacekeeping budgets. Meanwhile, Washington should continue funding specialized agencies such as the World Health Organization and the International Atomic Energy Agency, if only to dissuade them from entering the Resolution 2334 swamp. Second, Mr. Trump should unambiguously reject Mr. Obama’s view that Resolution 2334 is justified to save the “two-state solution.” That goal, at best, has been on life-support for years. After Mr. Obama’s provocation, its life expectancy might now be only until Jan. 20. And good riddance. This dead-end vision, by conjuring an imaginary state with zero economic viability, has harmed not only Israel but also the Palestinians, the principal intended beneficiaries.

 

Far better to essay a “three-state solution,” returning Gaza to Egypt and giving those parts of the West Bank that Israel is prepared to cede to Jordan. By attaching Palestinian lands to real economies (not a make-believe one), average Palestinians (not their political elite), will have a true chance for a better future. Other alternatives to the two-state approach should also be considered. Mr. Obama loves using the word “pivot” for his ever-changing priorities. It is now up to Mr. Trump to pivot away from his predecessor’s disastrous policies on Israel. Taking up the challenge will be difficult, but well worth the effort for America and its friends world-wide.   

                                                           

Contents                                                                                                                                                                                         

OBAMA’S WAR AGAINST AMERICA

Caroline B. Glick                                                                                        

Jerusalem Post, Dec. 26, 2016

 

In 1989, following her tenure as President Ronald Reagan’s ambassador to the United Nations, Jeane Kirkpatrick described how the Palestinians have used the UN to destroy Israel. Following outgoing US President Barack Obama’s assault on Israel at the UN Security Council last Friday, longtime UN observer Claudia Rossett wrote an important article at PJMedia where she recalled Kirkpatrick’s words. In “How the PLO was legitimized,” published in Commentary, Kirkpatrick said that Yasser Arafat and the PLO worked “to come to power through international diplomacy – reinforced by murder.”

 

Kirkpatrick explained, “The long march through the UN has produced many benefits for the PLO. It has created a people where there was none; a claim where there was none. Now the PLO is seeking to create a state where there already is one. That will take more than resolutions and more than an ‘international peace conference.’ But having succeeded so well over the years in its campaign to delegitimize Israel, the PLO might yet also succeed in bringing the campaign to a triumphant conclusion, with consequences for the Jewish state that would be nothing short of catastrophic.”

 

As Rossett noted, in falsely arguing that Obama’s support for Friday’s UN Security Council Resolution 2334 is in line with Reagan’s policies, Obama’s UN Ambassador Samantha Power deliberately distorted the historical record of US policy toward Israel and the PLO-led UN onslaught against the Jewish state. As Rosett noted, in stark contrast to Power’s self-serving lie, neither Reagan nor George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton nor George W. Bush would have ever countenanced a resolution like 2334.

 

Obama’s predecessors’ opposition to the war against Israel at the UN was not merely an expression of their support for Israel. They acted also out of a fealty to US power, which is directly targeted by that war.

It is critical that we understand how this is the case, and why the implications of Resolution 2334 are disastrous to the US itself. Resolution 2334 is being presented as an “anti-settlement” resolution. But it is not an anti-settlement resolution.

 

Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and neighborhoods in Jerusalem are being used – as they always have been used – as a means of delegitimizing the Jewish state as a whole, and legitimizing Palestinian terrorists and Islamic terrorists more generally. Resolution 2334 serves to criminalize Israel and its people and to undermine Israel’s right to exist, while embracing Palestinian terrorists and empowering them in their war to annihilate Israel. America’s historic refusal to countenance such actions at the UN Security was never a purely altruistic position. It was also a stand for American power and the inherent justice of American superpower status and global leadership.

 

Throughout most of its history, the UN has served as a proxy battlefield first of the Cold War, and since the destruction of the Soviet Union, for the war against the US-led free world. Beginning in the early 1960s, the Soviets viewed the political war against Israel at the UN as a means to undermine the moral basis for the US-led West. If Israel, the only human rights defending state in the Middle East, and the US’s only stable ally in the region could be delegitimized, then the very coherence of the US-led Western claim to moral superiority against the totalitarian Soviet empire would be undone.

 

Hence, the first Soviet attempt at the UN to castigate Zionism, the Jewish national liberation movement, as a form of racism was made in 1965, two years before Israel took control of Judea and Samaria and united Jerusalem in the Six Day War. That attempt failed. But nine years later the wording first raised in 1965 was adopted by the UN General Assembly which passed resolution 3379 slandering libeled Zionism as “a form of racism.”

 

With their automatic majority in the General Assembly and all other UN organs, the Soviets used the Palestinian war against Israel as a proxy for their war against America. After the demise of the Soviet Union, the Islamic bloc, backed by members of the former Soviet bloc, the non-aligned bloc and the Europeans continued their campaign. The only thing that kept them from winning was the US and its Security Council veto. When Obama chose to lead the anti-Israel lynch mob at the Security Council last week, he did more than deliver the PLO terrorist organization its greatest victory to date against Israel. He delivered a strategic victory to the anti-American forces that seek to destroy the coherence of American superpower status. That is, he carried out a strategic strike on American power.

 

By leading the gang rape of Israel on Friday, Obama undermined the rationale for American power. Why should the US assert a sovereign right to stand against the radical forces that control the UN? If US agrees that Israel is committing a crime by respecting the civil and human rights of its citizens to live in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, then how can America claim that it has the right to defend its own rights and interests, when those clash with the views of the vast majority of state members of the UN? Following Obama’s assault on Israel Friday, Senators Lindsay Graham and Ted Cruz called for the US to end its financial support for the UN at least until the Security Council abrogates Resolution 2334. They are correct.

 

But it isn’t anger at how Obama has and is expected to continue to use the Security Council to imperil Israel that should inform the incoming Trump administration’s actions. Rather a determination to maintain US power and secure its national security requires that the UN be permanently defunded and defanged. For eight years, through his embrace and empowerment of US enemies, betrayal and weakening of US allies, emaciation of the US armed forces and repeated apologies for America’s past assertions of global leadership, Obama has waged a determined war against US superpower status. The last vestige of the strategic and moral rationale for US power was the protection America afforded Israel at the Security Council.

 

Now with that gone, it has become a strategic imperative for the US to render the UN irrelevant. This can only be undertaken by permanently defunding this corrupt institution and using the US’s Security Council veto to end the UN’s role as the arbiter of international peace and security, by among other things, ending the deployment of UN forces to battle zones. Only by stripping the UN of its financial wherewithal to assault US allies and American interests and by denying it the institutional and operational capacity to serve as an arbiter of disputes morally and legally superior to the US can America protect its sovereignty and advance its interests…

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

                                   

                                                                       

Contents

 

WE ARE NOT OCCUPIERS IN OUR OWN LAND

Nadav Shragai

Israel Hayom, Dec. 25, 2016

 

We can continue the argument over the settlements with the world of U.S. President Barack Obama and his supporters in legal and diplomatic language, rightfully protesting his hypocrisy and hoping for better under incoming President Donald Trump. But all this cannot be done without screaming in the ears of the world — especially during Hanukkah — a single basic truth, as Simon the Hasmonean put it some 2,200 years ago: "We have not taken foreign territory or any alien property, but have occupied our ancestral heritage, for some time unjustly wrested from us by our enemies; now that we have a favorable opportunity, we are merely recovering our ancestral heritage" (Maccabees 1, 15:33-34).

 

Our real and imagined friends in the United States and all over the world must finally hear that the historical, religious, legal and emotional links the nation of Israel has to Hebron, Beit-el, Shiloh and of course, Jerusalem, is no less than that of the Palestinians. They must hear that we are not occupiers in our own land, and that we are connected to it with bonds of love, the Bible, heritage and nature; that the settlements in Judea and Samaria, as elsewhere in the Land of Israel, are the realization of justice and natural rights.

 

This basic truth relating to the Land of Israel in its entirety will not change due to a U.N. resolution made on the Sabbath. Morally speaking, there is no difference between settlement in the Land of Israel, where Arabs lived at the beginning of the last century, and settlement in the Land of Israel, where Arabs live in the current century. There is no difference between settling Petach Tikva, which Zionist leader Moshe Smilansky described a few generations ago as a "small Arab settlement between Arab villages," and large settlements in Judea and Samaria.

 

Our justice and our natural rights are not based on security needs, nor on international law. They may not be considered to be "realpolitik" today, but they are explicitly a part of the discourse on rights, whose content, essence and language must once again be laid on the table. What Simon the Hasmonean understood more than 2,000 years ago, and what our sage Rashi understood in his interpretation of the first verse in Genesis some 1,000 years ago, followed by Israel's first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and later Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and certainly Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is that we exist here by way of force and of diplomacy, but, above all, we exist here by right.      

                                               

Contents

                         OBAMA’S FITTING FINISH                                               

                                    Bret Stephens        

Wall Street Journal, Dec. 26, 2016

 

Barack Obama’s decision to abstain from, and therefore allow, last week’s vote to censure Israel at the U.N. Security Council is a fitting capstone for what’s left of his foreign policy. Strategic half-measures, underhanded tactics and moralizing gestures have been the president’s style from the beginning. Israelis aren’t the only people to feel betrayed by the results.

Also betrayed: Iranians, whose 2009 Green Revolution in heroic protest of a stolen election Mr. Obama conspicuously failed to endorse for fear of offending the ruling theocracy. Iraqis, who were assured of a diplomatic surge to consolidate the gains of the military surge, but who ceased to be of any interest to Mr. Obama the moment U.S. troops were withdrawn, and only concerned him again when ISIS neared the gates of Baghdad.

 

Syrians, whose initially peaceful uprising against anti-American dictator Bashar Assad Mr. Obama refused to embrace, and whose initially moderate-led uprising Mr. Obama failed to support, and whose sarin- and chlorine-gassed children Mr. Obama refused to rescue, his own red lines notwithstanding. Ukrainians, who gave up their nuclear weapons in 1994 with formal U.S. assurances that their “existing borders” would be guaranteed, only to see Mr. Obama refuse to supply them with defensive weapons when Vladimir Putin invaded their territory 20 years later.

 

Pro-American Arab leaders, who expected better than to be given ultimatums from Washington to step down, and who didn’t anticipate the administration’s tilt toward the Muslim Brotherhood as a legitimate political opposition, and toward Tehran as a responsible negotiating partner.

 

Most betrayed: Americans. Mr. Obama promised a responsible end to the war in Iraq. We are again fighting in Iraq. He promised victory in Afghanistan. The Taliban are winning. He promised a reset with Russia. We are enemies again. He promised the containment of Iran. We are witnessing its ascendancy in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. He promised a world free of nuclear weapons. We are stumbling into another age of nuclear proliferation. He promised al Qaeda on a path to defeat. Jihad has never been so rampant and deadly. These are the results. They would be easier to forgive if they hadn’t so often been reached by disingenuous and dishonorable means.

 

The administration was deceptive about the motives for the 2012 Benghazi attack. It was deceptive about Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s service record, and the considerations that led it to exchange five Taliban leaders for his freedom. It was deceptive about when it began nuclear negotiations with Iran. It was deceptive about the terms of the deal. It continues to be deceptive about the fundamental aim of the agreement, which has less to do with curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions than with aligning Washington’s interests with Tehran’s. Now the administration is likely being deceptive about last week’s U.N. vote, claiming it did not promote, craft or orchestrate a resolution that treats the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City as a settlement in illegally occupied territory. Yet in November, John Kerry had a long talk on the subject with the foreign minister of New Zealand, one of the resolution’s sponsors.

 

“One of the closed-door discussions between United States Secretary of State John Kerry and the New Zealand government today was a potential resolution by the United Nations Security Council on a two-state solution for the Israel-Palestine conflict,” the New Zealand Herald reported last month. “‘It is a conversation we are engaged in deeply and we’ve spent some time talking to Secretary Kerry about where the U.S. might go on this,’” the paper added, quoting Foreign Minister Murray McCully. The Israelis claim to have more evidence along these lines. If so, it means the administration no longer bothers to lie convincingly.

 

Even this might be excusable, if Mr. Obama at least had the courage of his mistaken convictions, or if his deception were in the service of a worthier end. Instead, we have the spectacle of the U.S. government hiding behind the skirts of the foreign minister of New Zealand—along with eminent co-sponsors, Venezuela, Malaysia and Senegal—in order to embarrass and endanger a democratic ally in a forum where that ally is already isolated and bullied. In the catalog of low points in American diplomacy, this one ranks high.

 

After the Carter administration pulled a similar stunt against Israel at the Security Council in December 1980, the Washington Post published an editorial that does the paper honor today. “It cannot be denied,” the editors wrote, “that there is a pack and that it hounds Israel shamelessly and that this makes it very serious when the United States joins it.” The editorial was titled “Joining the Jackals.” Unlike Mr. Carter, Mr. Obama hasn’t joined the jackals. He has merely opened the door wide to them, whether at the U.N. or in the skies over Syria or in the killing fields in Ukraine. The United States abstains: What a fitting finish to this ruinous presidency.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Chag Urim Sameach!

 

Contents          

 

On Topic Links

 

The Dangers of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 (2016): Amb. Alan Baker, JCPA, Dec. 26, 2016—The December 23, 2016, resolution adopted by the UN Security Council regarding Israel’s settlement policy has been received with mixed and even extreme reactions.  [Click to read the text of UN Security Council Resolution 2334]

Blame the New York Times for the Disgraceful Anti-Israel UN Security Council Vote: Ira Stoll, Algemeiner, Dec. 25, 2016— In the aftermath of Friday’s disastrous and disgraceful UN Security Council vote condemning Israel, a competition has emerged over who deserves the blame. In the aftermath of Friday’s disastrous and disgraceful UN Security Council vote condemning Israel, a competition has emerged over who deserves the blame.

Rejecting the False Notion that Israel is Occupier: Alan Clemmons, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 26, 2016—President Obama against the State of Israel, has rightly evoked great anger across all parts of the American political spectrum.

Dershowitz: Obama Will Go Down In History As One Of The Worst Foreign Policy Presidents Ever: Huffington Post, Dec. 26, 2016—Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz slammed President Obama for "stabbing Israel in the back" on Monday morning's edition of 'Fox & Friends.' "[History will see President Obama] as one of the worst foreign policy presidents ever," Dershowitz said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HANUKKAH 5777: THE “FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS”

 

Hanukkah 5777: The Festival of Lights: Baruch Cohen, CIJR, Dec. 22, 2016 — The message of Hanukkah is clear to anyone who reads the Biblical books of the Maccabees.

Why Does the Hanukkah Menorah Have Nine Branches?: Steven Fine , Wall Street Journal, Dec. 16, 2016 — The menorah—“lamp stand” in Hebrew—has been the pre-eminent symbol of Jews and Judaism for millennia.

Why Diplomats Are Agog at Trump’s Ambassador to Israel: Vivian Bercovici, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 19, 2016 — President-elect Trump’s choice for ambassador to Israel, the attorney David Friedman, has been received in some quarters with contempt and disbelief.

Israel Is Ready for a Reset at the U.N.: Danny Danon, New York Times, Dec. 21, 2016 — In January, an important world leader will take office when António Guterres of Portugal replaces Ban Ki-moon as secretary general of the United Nations.

 

On Topic Links

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Greeting for the New Year: Prime Minister’s Office, Dec. 21, 2016

Chanukah and Divine Emanations: Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo, Breaking Israel News, Dec. 22, 2016

A Dangerous Choice for Ambassador to Israel: Editorial, New York Times, Dec. 16, 2016 

Read Peter Beinart and You'll Vote Donald Trump: David Friedman, Arutz Sheva, May 6, 2016

 

HANUKKAH 5777: THE FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS

Baruch Cohen

CIJR, Dec. 22, 2016

 

The message of Hanukkah is clear to anyone who reads the Biblical books of the Maccabees. Only by following the lessons of our history can we rekindle the Hanukkah spirit, our tradition, and give the Jewish People the hope, the strength, and the will to be a light unto the nations.

 

We must never let history repeat itself. We should, and we will, go on, one generation after the other until the end of days. Nothing is more miraculous than the survival, both physical and spiritual, of Am Israel, the Jewish People. The waves of hatred against the Jewish People, and the State of Israel, teach us that we must remember: NEVER AGAIN! Am Israel chai!

 

The Jewish People live, today and forever! Our fight is not only a fight against our enemies, but it is also fight for Jewish Values, For Judaism! The lights of Hanukkah will forever illuminate the way for future generations.

 

Chag Urim Sameach!
Am Israel Chai!
Happy Hanukkah 5777!

Baruch Cohen is CIJR’s Research Chairman

 

 

                                               

Contents                                                                                                                                                          

         

WHY DOES THE HANUKKAH MENORAH HAVE NINE BRANCHES?                                                           

Steven Fine                                                                                                 

Wall Street Journal, Dec. 16, 2016

 

The menorah—“lamp stand” in Hebrew—has been the pre-eminent symbol of Jews and Judaism for millennia. It is the oldest continuously used religious symbol in Western civilization. Yet at this time of year, many people—Jews and non-Jews alike—find themselves puzzled about it. Why is there a nine-branched menorah for Hanukkah (which begins this year on the evening of Dec. 24) rather than the more familiar seven-branched one, as in the seal of the State of Israel?

 

Since biblical times, the seven-branched menorah has symbolized Judaism. It first appears in Exodus, as a lighting fixture within the Tabernacle, a sort of portable temple used by the Israelites during their desert wanderings. The menorah is described in Exodus in minute detail, based on a heavenly prototype.

 

For many Jews in antiquity, the menorah’s seven branches represented the five visible planets, plus the sun and the moon, and its rounded branches suggested their trajectories across the heavens. One ancient Jewish thinker, Philo of Alexandria, compared the “harmony” of the menorah’s branches to “an instrument of music, truly divine.” Others noted that seven is a key number in Judaism—one need only mention the biblically ordained week.

 

So the seven-branched menorah evolved into the most important “branding” icon of Judaism. It was stamped on coins, engraved on tombs and inscribed on sundials, jewelry and synagogue furnishings. The Romans considered the menorah so recognizable a Jewish symbol that they depicted it on the Arch of Titus in Rome to illustrate the spoils that they had carried away after conquering Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

 

So why nine branches for the observance of Hanukkah? The holiday’s menorahs come in all shapes and sizes and may be lighted with either olive oil or wax candles (both of which burn pure flames). The defining characteristic of a Hanukkah menorah is eight lights in a row, with a ninth lamp off to the side or above, separated from the other eight. The ninth lamp is called a shamash, a “servator,” and it symbolically differentiates the eight holy flames from other, mundane light sources. It is usually used to light the other eight.

 

Each night of Hanukkah, an additional lamp is lighted—one the first night, two the second and so on until all eight are ablaze on the holiday’s final night. The eight (plus one) lamps of the Hanukkah menorah represent a tradition that dates all the way back to the earliest history of this minor, albeit richly symbolic, Jewish festival.

 

The first-century Jewish historian Josephus called Hanukkah the “Festival of Lights.” It commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem during a Jewish rebellion led by the Maccabees against the Seleucid Greeks in 164 B.C. The Temple, the holiest site in the world for Jews, was restored and the seven-branched menorah lighted. This event occurred on the winter solstice, in late December—making the lighting of festive lamps a natural way to celebrate the shortest day of the year.

 

The Maccabees designed the festival of Hanukkah (Hebrew for “dedication”) as an eight-day celebration modeled on earlier temple-dedication ceremonies—first by Moses after the completion of the Tabernacle and then by King Solomon, who dedicated the Temple in Jerusalem just after 1000 B.C.

 

The most famous explanation for the eight-day festival appears in the Babylonian Talmud, which infuses the Maccabees’ victory with divine purpose. The Talmud says that although the victorious Maccabees had only enough sacred olive oil available to burn for a single night, it miraculously lasted for eight.

 

Judaism associates the lighting of lamps on Hanukkah, one for each night, with the lighting of the seven-branched Temple menorah by the Maccabees in 164 B.C.E., and many Jews use the word “menorah” to describe both lamps. This connection may create some confusion, but it also links every lighting of a nine-branched Hanukkah menorah in a Jewish home with the great day when the Maccabees rekindled the Temple menorah more than 2,100 years ago—giving a symbol-rich holiday even more power.

 

                                               

                                                                       

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WHY DIPLOMATS ARE AGOG AT TRUMP’S AMBASSADOR TO ISRAEL

Vivian Bercovici

Wall Street Journal, Dec. 19, 2016  

 

President-elect Trump’s choice for ambassador to Israel, the attorney David Friedman, has been received in some quarters with contempt and disbelief. Mr. Friedman’s presumed failings are said to be many. As a lawyer, he has no diplomatic or foreign policy experience. He is a right-wing “extremist,” supposedly because he supports expanding settlements and moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

 

At its core, criticism of Mr. Friedman reflects the erroneous notion that only professionally trained diplomats can do the job. That is simply false. Modern diplomacy—which I experienced as Canada’s ambassador to Israel—is an anachronistic system of entitlement and privilege aligned with the aristocratic sensibilities of the late 19th century. The “foreign service” model that prevails today was the institutional response to a surfeit of well-bred, indolent men needing something to do. So they were sent abroad to underwrite fancy parties and salons, in the name of the King, Queen or Republic.

 

Two world wars made a hash of the old order, but Western diplomats have held fast to their entitlements. They indulge a posh lifestyle that mostly disappeared from the private sector as governance standards were enhanced. It is difficult to explain layers of servants and personal drivers to shareholders, never mind taxpayers.

 

Diplomats used to be important emissaries for their governments. Today that role is greatly diminished. Communication is instant and world leaders are overexposed, like rock stars on MTV. Forty years ago presidents and prime ministers might have attended one international meeting each year; today they are on a summit treadmill. They phone one another and cultivate personal relationships. Diplomats are often sidelined and left to churn out reports that circulate in a bureaucratic vortex.

 

Diplomacy still turns on the exercise of geopolitical power, as it always has, and on trade, which has changed completely in 50 years. Yet tradition-bound foreign services disdain the sullied world of commerce. In their world view, they—and they alone—are destined to solve the great issues of our time. As a result, there is a notable deficit of business acumen, one of the key elements of modern diplomacy, in many foreign services. Private-sector talent and experience are desperately needed but maligned when recruited.

 

I know neither Mr. Trump nor Mr. Friedman other than through the media. But I do know that Mr. Friedman has been selected to represent America’s democratically elected president. He will serve at the pleasure of Mr. Trump and represent the president’s policies. Mr. Friedman is not anointed to go rogue and indulge in personal fantasies.

 

When I was appointed as Canada’s ambassador to Israel in 2014 by then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper, I was attacked by the press much as Mr. Friedman is today. The star political anchor of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation slammed my appointment.

 

Why? Because I am Jewish and was therefore supposedly biased toward Israel. This was seen as vitiating any competence or skill I might have brought to the job. As a private-sector lawyer with an extensive business background, I was declared—often by cranky retired diplomats purporting to represent the views of their former colleagues—to have no relevant experience. But this simply made plain their ignorance of what goes on in professions in the real world.

 

Today, Messrs. Trump and Friedman are excoriated for expressing serious intent to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Some argue this would ignite Muslim fury and global mayhem. But it raises the question: How, exactly, does locating the embassy in West Jerusalem—which is not disputed territory—in any way predetermine the outcome of any negotiations regarding East Jerusalem? It doesn’t. This is a fallacy propagated by rejectionists of Israel and accepted unquestioningly by the international diplomatic community.

 

The effect of political appointments to diplomatic posts is critical. It signals to foreign governments (as well as domestic interests) that the relationship is a priority for the elected leader. It also allows the officeholder to select an envoy that he or she deeply trusts.

 

Professional diplomats resent the affront that such appointments represent. They reject “outsiders” for leapfrogging the system, for their access to the top, for their perceived impunity, for their utter unsuitability to the exalted foreign service. Mr. Friedman may be many things. But the notion that only those who have passed the foreign-service examination are worthy of an ambassadorship is laughable.

 

Mr. Trump was elected by the American people on a platform of change. Those who bring change, by nature, shock the system. The world of diplomacy—in the Middle East and elsewhere—could use more of them. Which is to say, it could use more David Friedmans.

 

                                                           

 

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ISRAEL IS READY FOR A RESET AT THE U.N.                                                   

                             Danny Danon                              

New York Times, Dec. 21, 2016

           

In January, an important world leader will take office when António Guterres of Portugal replaces Ban Ki-moon as secretary general of the United Nations. As he assumes his post, he should know that Israel is ready to work together on repairing our fractious relationship with the United Nations and finally becoming a full partner in the world’s most important international forum.

 

There is good reason for skepticism about the prospects for such a change. The hostility toward Israel of an automatic majority in the General Assembly is well documented. In 2015 alone, the assembly passed some 20 resolutions condemning Israel — far more than any other country. Like all truly democratic countries, Israel has always been open to legitimate constructive criticism. Yet our critics in the General Assembly single out my country for unwarranted and excessive attention, while giving a pass to some of the world’s most brutal and despotic regimes like Syria and North Korea.

 

Despite these difficulties, Israelis have not despaired of the parliament of nations. Now there is a real opportunity to lay out practical steps that Israel and the new secretary general can take to reset this fraught history.

 

For Israel, the expectation from the United Nations can be summarized in one word: equality. We want to be treated no different from its 192 other member states. In particular, hatred against the Jewish people should be treated like hatred against all other groups.

 

Recently, there has been an increase in anti-Semitic statements at the United Nations. Ambassadors have used its forums to accuse Israel of everything from harvesting the organs of slain terrorists to committing a “final solution” against the Palestinian people. In one case, a United Nations under secretary general has made coded comparisons of Israel’s actions to those of the Nazis during the Holocaust (a common anti-Semitic trope).

 

The silence that met these incidents has been deafening. In the name of a false impartiality, no real action was taken against such hate. The new secretary general should pursue a different path, putting officials on notice that bias and hate will not be tolerated, and warning ambassadors who spread modern-day blood libels that they will be shunned at the United Nations.

 

Equality also means ending unfair support for one side in one of the world’s oldest conflicts. The Palestinian cause receives disproportionate attention and budget appropriations at the United Nations. To be sure, Palestinian people deserve whatever aid and assistance they need from the United Nations. But there is a superfluity of bodies, and agencies too often depart from their humanitarian mission to fuel a cycle of violence by inciting hatred.

 

Here, too, Mr. Guterres can act, by taking a long, hard look at these bodies and their budgets. Where there are cuts to be made, they should be — including to jobs that do nothing to further the principles of the United Nations but simply malign one member state. Where the secretary general’s powers do not extend to budgets, he should use his bully pulpit to end Turtle Bay bureaucracies that are dedicated to advocacy against Israel.

 

Equality for Israel also involves a positive agenda. Last June, my election to chairman of the General Assembly’s legal committee — as the first Israeli to head one of its permanent committees — turned into a protracted political battle. Candidates for such positions from every other member state are adopted by consensus. Not Israel. Instead, we had to individually lobby each country to win the 109 votes that enabled my election.

 

It is within Mr. Guterres’s power to fix this if he is willing to see Israel as a potential full partner at the United Nations. To do so, he must eliminate efforts to classify Israel as a second-class member, directing all bodies to remove the de facto bylaws that deny Israel equal access to participation in the United Nations.

 

Once it is treated as an equal, Israel wants nothing more than to build on the successful areas of cooperation it has established at the United Nations. Over the past two years, the United Nations has doubled its purchase of goods and services from my country — a sign of growing recognition among the international community of the value of Israeli companies and service providers. When it comes to humanitarian efforts, Israel was proud to be the largest contributor (per capita of population) toward the international efforts to eradicate the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

 

More than this, Israel stands ready to contribute to the core areas of United Nations operations: peace and security.

 

The United Nations’ World Health Organization recently ranked the Israel Defense Forces’ field hospital as the best in the world. These brave Israelis serve in disaster zones around the world, providing lifesaving care. We look forward to a day when even more lives can be saved if Israel’s capabilities are incorporated regularly into United Nations missions.

 

Our security forces, too, are global leaders by many metrics, from safeguarding civilian lives to female participation in combat units. We know that our personnel, technology and experience would be much-needed additions to the United Nations “blue helmets.” Mr. Guterres can help make this happen.

 

Israel was the first country in the world whose establishment was directly linked to a United Nations decision. We want nothing more than to play a full part in helping this august body live up to its founding charter: “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war” and “to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security.” If Mr. Guterres is ready to implement these just and overdue changes, then Israel is ready to meet the challenge.

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supproters: Shabbat Shalom & Chag Sameah!

CIJR Will Be Closed on Monday, Dec. 26, 2016

Contents  

         

On Topic Links

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Greeting for the New Year: Prime Minister’s Office, Dec. 21, 2016—To all of our Christian friends around the world, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Chanukah and Divine Emanations: Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo, Breaking Israel News, Dec. 22, 2016 —History, the study of cause and effect in the annals of humankind, has been a serious challenge for honest historians. In many ways, interpreting history is conjecture. What motivates many historians, more than what actually occurred, is what they would like to believe happened.

A Dangerous Choice for Ambassador to Israel: Editorial, New York Times, Dec. 16, 2016—In appointing David Friedman as the next ambassador to Israel, Donald Trump voiced a desire to “strive for peace in the Middle East.” Unfortunately, his chosen representative would be far more likely to provoke conflict in Israel and the occupied territories, heighten regional tensions and undermine American leadership.

Read Peter Beinart and You'll Vote Donald Trump: David Friedman, Arutz Sheva, May 6, 2016—Several weeks ago, I was “outed” as one of Donald Trump’s two advisors on the relationship between the United States of America and the State of Israel.