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

Tag: United States

ISRAEL RESPONDS TO THREATS FROM HEZBOLLAH-SYRIA-IRAN AXIS

Are Israeli Raids on Syrian Targets Legal?: Prof. Louis René Beres, BESA, Mar. 23, 2017— Syria, a country in the midst of chaos, has launched multiple aggressions against neighboring Israel.

Warning, War Clouds on the Horizon!: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz Sheva, Mar. 24, 2017— Academic research has explored in depth the factors leading to the wars that broke out between nations in previous centuries…

World Shrugs as Hizballah Prepares Massive Civilian Deaths: Noah Beck, Breaking Israel News, Mar. 23, 2017— Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah recently warned Israel that his Iran-backed terror group could attack targets producing mass Israeli casualties, including a huge ammonia storage tank in Haifa, and a nuclear reactor in Dimona.

Trump’s Greatest Deal: Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 23, 2017— What can be done about Iran?

               

On Topic Links

 

US Investment in – Not Foreign Aid to – Israel: Yoram Ettinger, Ettinger Report, Spring, 2016

Israel Explains Arrow Intercept of Syrian SAM: Barbara Opall-Rome, Defense News, Mar. 20, 2017

In-House Hizballah Missile Factories Could Add to Massive Arms Buildup: Yaakov Lappin, IPT, Mar. 17, 2017

Lebanon’s Army and Hizbullah Join Ranks: Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira, JCPA, Mar. 2, 2017

 

                  

 

ARE ISRAELI RAIDS ON SYRIAN TARGETS LEGAL?

Prof. Louis René Beres

BESA, Mar. 23, 2017

 

Syria, a country in the midst of chaos, has launched multiple aggressions against neighboring Israel. In recent years, most of these assaults have assumed the form of heavy weapons transfers to Hezbollah, a Shiite terror group with not only genocidal views about the Jewish State but also correspondingly destructive military capacities. Moreover, the de facto army of Hezbollah – a fanatical adversary sponsored by non-Arab Iran – has become even more threatening to Israel than the regular armies of its traditional Arab state enemies. These are not just operational or strategic matters. From the standpoint of international law, Israel has an unassailable right to launch appropriate measures of self-defense against Syria. Accordingly, the Israel Air Force has been conducting selective strikes against relevant targets inside Bashar al-Assad's fractured country.

 

Significantly, almost exactly one year ago, in April 2016, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed for the first time that Israel had been attacking convoys transporting advanced weapons within Syria bound for Hezbollah. Among other substantial ordnance, these weapons included SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles, Russian arms that could enable Hezbollah to shoot down Israeli civilian aircraft, military jets and helicopters, and drones. (It is plausible that at least some of the latest Israeli-targeted weapons are of North Korean origin. Until Israel's preemptive September 6, 2007 "Operation Orchard," an expression of "anticipatory self-defense" under international law, Syria had been actively working towards a nuclear weapons capacity with North Korean assistance and direction.)

 

Certain noteworthy operational ironies ought to be referenced here. For one, Israel's regular need to act against Hezbollah could inadvertently enlarge the power of ISIS and/or other Sunni militias now operating against Israel in the region. For another, because the Trump administration in Washington remains reluctant to criticize Russian war crimes in Syria (or anywhere else, for that matter), Jerusalem now has less reason to seek security assurances from the US.

 

But our concern here is law, not strategy or tactics. As a purely jurisprudential matter, Israel's measured and discriminate use of force against Hezbollah terrorists and associated targets in Syria has been conspicuously consistent with legal rules concerning distinction, proportionality, and military necessity. Although both Tehran and Damascus sanctimoniously identify Israel's defensive actions as "aggression," these actions are supported, inter alia, by Article 51 of the UN Charter. Under law, Israel, in the fashion of every other state on the planet, has a primary and incontestable prerogative to remain alive.

 

Legally, there is nothing complicated about the issues surrounding Israel's counter-terrorist raids within Syria. By willfully allowing its territory to be used as a source of Hezbollah terrorist weapons against Israel, and as an expanding base for anti-Israel terrorist operations in general, Assad has placed Syria in unambiguous violation of both the UN Charter and the wider body of international rules identified in Article 38 of the UN's Statute of the International Court of Justice. There is more. Because Syria, entirely at its own insistence, maintains a formal condition of belligerency with Israel (that is, a legal "state of war"), no charge levied by Damascus or Tehran of "Israeli aggression" makes jurisprudential sense.

 

More practically, of course, Syria has become a failed state. In some respects, at least, with the Assad regime in full control of only limited portions of Damascus, Aleppo, and the Syrian Mediterranean coast, it makes little legal sense to speak of "Syrian responsibility" or "Syrian violations." Nonetheless, even amid the collapse of traditional boundaries between states, the Syrian president must bear full responsibility for blatantly illegal arms transfers to a surrogate Shiite militia. For Israel, the principal legal issues here are easy to affirm. Express prohibitions against pro-terrorist behavior by any state can be found in Articles 3(f) and 3(g) of the 1974 UN General Assembly Definition of Aggression. These prohibitions are part of customary international law, and of what are identified in Article 38 of the ICJ Statute as “the general principles of law recognized by civilized nations.”

 

Following the 1977 Protocols to the Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949, insurgent organizations are expected to comply with humanitarian international law, sometimes called the law of armed conflict. Additionally, any documented failure to comply, such as resort to "human shields" (a common practice with Hezbollah) would be known in formal law as "perfidy." Under international law, every use of force by states must be judged twice: once with regard to the justness of the cause, and once with regard to the justness of the means. This second standard concerns core issues of humanitarian international law. Specifically, even when it can be determined that a particular state maintains a basic right to apply force against another state, this does not automatically imply that any such use would comply with the law of war.

 

In defending itself against Hezbollah terror, Israel’s actions have always been consistent with humanitarian international law. In stark contrast to the Shiite terrorist militias operating in Lebanon and southern Syria, and similarly unlike the Syrian-supported Islamic Jihad Sunni forces, who intentionally target noncombatants, Israel has been meticulous about striking exclusively hard military targets in raids on Syria.

 

Unlike Syria, which even in its currently attenuated form opposes any peaceful settlement with Israel, Jerusalem resorts to defensive force only as a last resort. As for Syrian charges that Israel’s actions somehow raise the risk of “escalation,” this alleged risk would disappear entirely if Damascus and Tehran ceased their lawless support of Hezbollah and other criminal organizations. In this connection, it should be recalled, terrorism is always a codified crime under binding international law. It is never considered a permissible form of national liberation or self-determination…

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

 

 

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WARNING, WAR CLOUDS ON THE HORIZON!                    

Dr. Mordechai Kedar

Arutz Sheva, Mar. 24, 2017

 

Academic research has explored in depth the factors leading to the wars that broke out between nations in previous centuries, both in order to understand why wars take place and to develop ways of predicting nascent wars by "connecting the dots" between the signs signalling an approaching conflagration. Since the signals are clearly directly connected to the relations between the countries involved in a war, the literature points out the connection between internal problems affecting a state and the desire of its leaders to initiate a war with other countries. The literature also lists war-delaying factors, foremost of which is the high price of military and civilian fatalities and the damage to the country's infrastructure.

 

Syria is no exception to the rule in terms of academic theory, since the reasons the regime was pressured into past wars were always a mixture of internal and external factors. The external cause for the ongoing state of war with Israel was the very fact of Israel's existence, never recognized by the Syrian regime.  The encouragement to attack Israel came from the USSR while Israel was supported by the West. Add to that the desire to be granted a position of power in pan-Arab leadership and the need to erase the humiliating Syrian defeats in 1948, 1967, 1973 and 1982 at the hands of the Zionists.

 

Syrian media have always played a part in the country's war effort, adding the battle for the army's morale and that of the general population to the one waged with conventional weaponry, so that the people remain willing to suffer the sights of war and continue fighting despite injuries suffered by soldiers and citizens. Syria's media are controlled by the regime, which gives them the messages they are expected to deliver to the public. This fact allows the researcher to know what the feelings of the groups leading the country are at any given time.

 

The factors that prevented war from breaking out in the past were mainly the damage to the army and the country's infrastructure, but also the possibility that another defeat by Israel would bring more humiliation to the regime. Today, when social networks allow everyone to express his opinion freely, Syria's leadership knows that the battle for the hearts of the population will not be won through the Syrian media, because every Arab – in Syria and outside of it – knows that its reliability is limited and that its journalists cannot express themselves freely.

 

In the past, one of the main internal reasons that pushed the Assads, father and son, to declare war on Israel was their desire to create an external threat that would cause the Syrians – especially the opposition – to put their differences aside and join Assad's fight against the "Zionist enemy threatening all of us." Today, with Syria torn between the rebel regime and the areas still under ISIS control, it is far from certain that a war with Israel would bring the rebels and ISIS to stop attacking Assad, and definitely not to the point where instead of attacking Assad, they join him in a war against Israel,

 

Despite the losses and damage sustained by the opposition to Assad since Russia entered the fray, and despite the fact that they too are light years away from recognizing Israel's right to exist, they will not desist from fighting Assad. In fact, over the last few days, the rebels have intensified their battle for Damascus because of their defeats in other arenas, mainly in Aleppo and Homs. A war between Assad and Israel might cause the rebels to take advantage of the regular army's preoccupation with fighting Israel to score some victories. After suffering close to half a million fatalities in six years of fighting, some of the rebels might even prefer that Israel finish off Assad, not for love of Israel but due to their hatred of the despotic dictator. In sum, a war with Israel will not weaken the desire of Assad's enemies to be rid of him.

 

Once, the external reason for war to break out was pressure exerted by the USSR in its desire to defeat the USA and Europe on a Middle Eastern battlefield. Today, it is far from certain that Russia wants a war between Syria and Israel, partly because of the minor role the West plays in today's Middle Eastern politics and partly because Putin does not want to force Trump to have to show active and obvious support for Israel, Putin is aware that the US sent fighters – "boots on the ground" – to the war being waged against ISIS. He realizes that Obama's non-interventionist policies are over and he has no wish to find himself opposite the USA in a war between Syria and Israel in which he will be forced to support Syria and oppose Israel.

 

How great Putin's fears of Israeli military technology are is not clear to me, but the downing of a Russian SA-5 missile last week by an Israeli "arrow" missile is enough to give the Russian army pause and raise doubts about the feasibility of war between Russian and Israeli weapons. It looks as though the Russian army, which found it very difficult to overcome the light weapons in the hands of the Syrian rebels, is not overjoyed at the thought of a direct confrontation with Israeli military technology. There is also an economic situation behind the scenes, the possibility that Israel will be marketing gas to Europe on a massive scale in the near future, causing Russia significant economic difficulty, as Europe may decide to do without Russian gas. To sum up the Russian issue, it does not seem to be in Russia's best interests to bring about a struggle between Syria and Israel, because that would only complicate Syria's internal problems even more and cause Russia's attempts to have the two sides reach some kind of agreement, to fail.  Thursday, March 23, is when the two sides were to begin their fifth round of talks.

 

There are other powers functioning in Syria. The list includes Iran, Hezbollah, Iraqi Shiite militias, as well as Afghans. They have their own interests, far removed from those of Russia and Assad. In my estimation, Iran and Hezbollah want to involve Israel in the war in Syria so as to show their people, that is, the Iranians and Lebanese, many of whom are against their country's involvement in Syria, that there is no choice, despite the high price in casualties and equipment, They could then claim that this is not only a war against the rebels and ISIS, it is a campaign against the "threatening Zionist entity." Iran wants to drag Syria into a war with Israel which would be in essence a war against Trump, whose mettle the Iranians would like to test, along with his loyalty to Israel and his hostility towards Iran. They expect Russia to join the war while the US remains outside it, so as to avoid getting embroiled in a regional war and in addition, to avoid a confrontation that would damage the relations between Trump and Putin.

 

Hezbollah is also interested in a war with Israel in order to prove to its detractors in Lebanon and the Arab-Islamic world that its weapons, especially its rocket arsenal, are meant to fight Israel and not "our Syrian brothers." In order to prove to itself, its fighters and its Iranian supporters that despite the loss of manpower Hezbollah suffered in Syria, the army is as strong as ever and that the northern Shiite alliance that has coalesced from Iran to Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, is continuing to advance towards Israel in order to surround Saudi Arabia with a southern Shiite flank in Yemen…

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

 

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WORLD SHRUGS AS HIZBALLAH PREPARES MASSIVE CIVILIAN DEATHS

                                     Noah Beck

                                    Breaking Israel News, Mar. 23, 2017

 

Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah recently warned Israel that his Iran-backed terror group could attack targets producing mass Israeli casualties, including a huge ammonia storage tank in Haifa, and a nuclear reactor in Dimona. Also last month, Tower Magazine reported that, since the beginning of the Syrian civil war, Iran provided Hizballah with a vast supply of “game-changing,” state-of-the art weapons, despite Israel’s occasional airstrikes against weapons convoys.

 

In a future conflict, Hizballah has the capacity to fire 1,500 rockets into Israel each day, overwhelming Israel’s missile defense systems. Should such a scenario materialize, Israel will be forced to respond with unprecedented firepower to defend its own civilians. Hizballah’s advanced weapons and the systems needed to launch them reportedly are embedded across a staggering 10,000 locations in the heart of more than 200 civilian towns and villages. The Israeli military has openly warned about this Hizballah war crime and the grave threats it poses to both sides, but that alarm generated almost no attention from the global media, the United Nations, or other international institutions.

 

Like the terror group Hamas, Hizballah knows that civilian deaths at the hands of Israel are a strategic asset, because they produce diplomatic pressure to limit Israel’s military response. Hizballah reportedly went so far as offering reduced-price housing to Shiite families who allowed the terrorist group to store rocket launchers in their homes.

 

But if the global media, the UN, human rights organizations, and other international institutions predictably pounce on Israel after it causes civilian casualties, why are they doing nothing to prevent them? Hizballah’s very presence in southern Lebanon is a flagrant violation of United Nations Security Council resolution 1701, which called for the area to be a zone “free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons” other than the Lebanese military and the U.N. Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL). The resolution also required Hizballah to be disarmed, but the terror group today has an arsenal that rivals that of most armies. Hizballah possesses an estimated 140,000 missiles and rockets, and reportedly now can manufacture advanced weapons in underground factories that are impervious to aerial attack.

 

“Israel must stress again and again, before it happens, that these villages [storing Hizballah weapons] have become military posts, and are therefore legitimate targets,” said Yoram Schweitzer, senior research fellow at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS). Meir Litvak, director of Tel Aviv University’s Alliance Center for Iranian Studies, agrees, adding that global attention would “expose Hizballah’s hypocrisy in its cynical use of civilians as… human shields.”

 

Even a concerted campaign to showcase Hizballah’s war preparation is unlikely to change things, said Eyal Zisser, a senior research fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies. Hizballah exploits the fact that “the international community is too busy and…weak to do something about it,” Zisser said. All of “these talks and reports have no meaning. See what is happening in Syria.” Israel has targeted Hizballah-bound weapons caches in Syria twice during the past week. Syria responded last Friday by firing a missile carrying 200 kilograms of explosives, which Israel successfully intercepted. If Hizballah provokes a war, Israel can legitimately attack civilian areas storing Hizballah arms if the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) first attempts to warn the targeted civilians to leave those areas, Litvak said. But “it will certainly be very difficult and will look bad on TV.”…

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

                                                                           

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TRUMP’S GREATEST DEAL

Caroline B. Glick

Jerusalem Post, Mar. 23, 2017

 

What can be done about Iran? In Israel, a dispute is reportedly raging between the IDF and the Mossad about the greatest threat facing Israel. IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot thinks that Hezbollah is the greatest threat facing Israel. Mossad Director Yossi Cohen thinks Iran’s nuclear program is the greatest danger facing the Jewish state. While the media highlight the two men’s disagreement, the underlying truth about their concerns has been ignored.

 

Hezbollah and Iran’s nuclear program are two aspects of the same threat: the regime in Tehran. Hezbollah is a wholly owned subsidiary of the regime. If the regime disappeared, Hezbollah would fall apart. As for the nuclear installations, in the hands of less fanatical leaders, they would represent a far less acute danger to global security. So if you undermine the Iranian regime, you defeat Hezbollah and defuse the nuclear threat. If you fail to deal with the regime in Tehran, both threats will continue to grow no matter what you do, until they become all but insurmountable. So what can be done about Tehran? With each passing day we discover new ways Iran endangers Israel and the rest of the region. This week we learned Iran has built underground weapons factories in Lebanon. The facilities are reportedly capable of building missiles, drones, small arms and ammunition. Their underground location protects them from aerial bombardment.

 

Then there is Hezbollah’s relationship to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). For more than a decade, the Americans have been selling themselves the implausible claim that the LAF is a responsible fighting force capable and willing to rein in Hezbollah. Never an easy claim – the LAF provided targeting information to Hezbollah missile crews attacking Israel in 2006 – after Hezbollah domesticated the Lebanese government in 2008, the claim became downright silly. And yet, over the past decade, the US has provided the LAF with weapons worth in excess of $1 billion. In 2016 alone the US gave the LAF jets, helicopters, armored personnel carriers and missiles worth more than $220 million.

 

In recent months, showing that Iran no longer feels the need to hide its control over Lebanon, the LAF has openly stated that it is working hand in glove with Hezbollah. Last November, Hezbollah showcased US M113 armored personnel carriers with roof-mounted Russian anti-aircraft guns, at a military parade in Syria. The next month the Americans gave the LAF a Hellfire missile-equipped Cessna aircraft with day and night targeting systems. Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun is a Hezbollah ally. So is Defense Minister Yaacoub Sarraf and LAF commander Gen. Joseph Aoun. Last month President Aoun told Sen. Bob Corker, the chairman of the US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, that Hezbollah serves “a complementary role to the Lebanese army.”

 

And yet the Americans insist that it continues to make sense – and to be lawful – to arm the LAF. You can hardly blame them. Denial is an attractive option, given the alternatives. For the past eight years, the Obama administration did everything in its power to empower Iran. To make Iran happy, Obama did nothing as hundreds of thousands of Syrians were killed and millions more were forced to flee their homes by Iran and its puppet Bashar Assad. Obama allowed Iran to take over the Iraqi government and the Iraqi military. He sat back as Iran’s Houthi proxy overthrew the pro-US regime in Yemen. And of course, the crowning achievement of Obama’s foreign policy was his nuclear deal with the mullahs. Obama’s deal gives Iran an open path to a nuclear arsenal in a bit more than a decade and enriches the regime beyond Ayatollah Khamenei’s wildest dreams…

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

 

 

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On Topic Links

 

US Investment in – Not Foreign Aid to – Israel: Yoram Ettinger, Ettinger Report, Spring, 2016—At the "Strategic Challenges in the Eastern Mediterranean" conference, Prof. Eyal Zisser of Tel Aviv University gives an account of the "miracles" which saved Assad's regime and turned him into the "Liberator" of Aleppo: Obama's decision not to strike, the Russian intervention, and now (perhaps) the ascension of President Trump. He suggests three possible outcomes to the civil war in Syria: a Spanish outcome (total victory for one side), an Afghan one (continued insurgency in the periphery), and a Libyan result (chaos and disintegration).

Israel Explains Arrow Intercept of Syrian SAM: Barbara Opall-Rome, Defense News, Mar. 20, 2017—A senior Israeli Air Force officer on Monday provided operational context to the unusual March 17 Arrow intercept of a Syrian SA-5 surface-to-air missile, which the jointly developed U.S.-Israel anti-ballistic missile system was not designed to fight.

In-House Hizballah Missile Factories Could Add to Massive Arms Buildup: Yaakov Lappin, IPT, Mar. 17, 2017—A recent report saying that Iran constructed underground missile factories in Lebanon for Hizballah would, if accurate, indicate a disturbing boost in the Shi'ite terror organization's ability to self-produce weapons.

Lebanon’s Army and Hizbullah Join Ranks: Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira, JCPA, Mar. 2, 2017—Hizbullah has completed the process of usurping the Lebanese state and its institutions. The election of Michel Aoun as president, through a forced arrangement with Hizbullah, has fulfilled the Iranian vision of controlling Lebanon without changing the power equation that has prevailed there since the National Pact of 1943.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CIJR HONOURS THE UNIQUE, VITAL CONTRIBUTIONS OF JUDAISM, ISRAEL, & THE JEWISH PEOPLE TO HUMANTY

The 400-Year-Old Foundation of the Unique US-Israel Ties: Yoram Ettinger, Jewish Press, Jan. 25, 2017— 1. According to Prof. Robert Bellah, a leading sociologist from UC Berkeley, there is “civil religion” in the US: separation between religion and state, but not between religion and society. 

When Gatekeepers of Justice Leverage the Law to Abet Injustice: Abraham Cooper and Yitzchok Adlerstein, Huffington Post, Mar. 11, 2017— In keeping with democratic Germany’s commitment to combat anti-Semitism, a court in Essen ruled last year that chanting “death and hate to Zionists” at a demonstration was an illegal anti-Semitic activity.

Zion’s Mother Tongue: Visions of a Promised Land: Benjamin Balint, Wall Street Journal, Mar. 17, 2017— The other day, I took some American visitors to the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem to see the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Montreal Poet Seymour Mayne Remembers his Friend Leonard Cohen: Seymour Mayne, Jewish Quarterly, 13 Feb. 2017— Leonard was holding court at the front table unit of the café on upper Stanley Street one Sunday in 1960…

               

On Topic Links

 

For U.K.’s Holocaust Memorial, a Canadian Architect Envisions Light in a Personal Darkness: Paul Waldie, Globe & Mail, Mar. 10, 2017

Converted Masters; World Famous Masterpieces With a Jewish Twist: Lori Samlin Miller, Jewish Press, Mar. 20, 2017

Archaeological Discoveries in the Holy Land Could Provide Clues on how Jesus Lived: Ruth Eglash, Washington Post, Mar. 20, 2017

Natan Alterman or Amos Oz? The Six-Day War and Israeli Literature: Liam Hoare, Fathom, Spring, 2017

 

     

 

THE 400-YEAR-OLD FOUNDATION OF THE UNIQUE US-ISRAEL TIES

                                                            Yoram Ettinger

                                                     Jewish Press, Jan. 25, 2017

 

1. According to Prof. Robert Bellah, a leading sociologist from UC Berkeley, there is “civil religion” in the US: separation between religion and state, but not between religion and society.  Civil liberties are Bible-driven, reflecting more responsibility than rights. 2. For instance, on December 24, 1968, the Apollo 8 astronauts chose to recite Genesis 1:1-10, the Creation, in their a special broadcast to earth upon entering the lunar orbit. 3. President Lincoln referred to Exodus, Chapter 20, the Ten Commandments, as the summation of his theology. 4.  President Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount….”

 

5. On June 27, 2005, the US Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the 6-foot-high Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol. According to Chief Justice Rehnquist: “Acknowledgements of the role played by the Ten Commandments in our nation’s heritage are common throughout America…. Since 1935, Moses has stood, holding two tablets that reveal portions of the Ten Commandments written in Hebrew, among other lawgivers in the south frieze [of the US Supreme Court….] Representations of the Ten Commandments adorn the metal gates lining the north and south sides of the Courtroom as well as the doors leading into the Courtroom.  Moses also sits on the exterior east façade of the [US Supreme Court] holding the tablets of the Ten Commandments…. Since 1897, a large statue of Moses holding the Ten Commandments, alongside a statue of the Apostle Paul, has overlooked the rotunda of the Library of Congress’ Jefferson Building.  A medallion with two tablets depicting the Ten Commandments decorates the floor of the National Archives.  Inside the Justice Department, a statue entitled ‘The Spirit of Law’ has two tablets representing the Ten Commandments lying at its feet.  In front of the Ronald Reagan Building stands another sculpture that includes a depiction of the Ten Commandments. So too a 24-foot-tall sculpture, outside the Federal Courthouse, depicting, among other things, the Ten Commandments and a cross. Moses is also prominently featured in the Chamber of the United States House of Representatives…. Moses was a lawgiver as well as a religious leader, and the Ten Commandments have undeniable historical meaning….”

 

6. A February 25-27, 2005 Gallup Poll shows that 76% of Americans were in favor of displaying the Ten Commandments monument on the ground of the Texas State Capitol.

 

7. On March 29, 2006, the California State Senate approved bill SCR 108 stating: “This measure would recognize and acknowledge that the Decalogue, also known as the Ten Commandments, ranks among the influential historical documents that have contributed significantly to the development of the secular governmental and legal principles and institutions of the USA and the State of California…. The integral secular role played by the Decalogue in the legal history of Western civilization, from the time of England’s King Alfred the Great, through the era of William Blackstone and the American Framers…. In the history of American institutions, no other book – except the Bible – has played so great a role…. The American Revolution preserved the Biblical seven-day week, dictated by the Ten Commandments, with the seventh day – a day of rest…. Members of the US Supreme Court have noted the foundational role played by the Ten Commandments in the development of our legal system….

 

8. Eight sculptures of Moses are featured in the US Supreme Court and a bust of Moses faces the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Moses and/or the Ten Commandments also feature in the US Federal Courthouses in Cleveland, OH and Indianapolis, IN; the Supreme Courts in Harrisburg, PA, St. Paul, MN, Lansing, MI and Knoxville, TN; the County Courthouses in Cleveland, OH, West Chester, PA, Pittsburgh, PA, Ft. Wayne, IN and Jackson, MS; the Appellate Court in Brooklyn, NY; the Boston Public Library and the State Capitol in Lincoln, NE; etc.

 

9. On April 8, 2015, Arkansas Governor, Asa Hutchinson, signed into law a bill instructing the state to erect a privately-funded Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the State Capitol in Little Rock. The Arkansas State House and the Senate approved the bill 72:7 and 27:3 respectively.

 

10. The Ten Commandments have been an integral part of the legal, cultural, religious and political fabric of the American people and their representatives on Capitol Hill, highlighting the 400-year-old Judeo-Christian foundation of the US-Israel covenant. This foundation has transcended transient politics and geo-strategic considerations, catapulting US-Israel cooperation to unprecedented levels.

 

 

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WHEN GATEKEEPERS OF JUSTICE LEVERAGE

THE LAW TO ABET INJUSTICE                                     

Abraham Cooper and Yitzchok Adlerstein

Huffington Post, Mar. 11, 2017

 

In keeping with democratic Germany’s commitment to combat anti-Semitism, a court in Essen ruled last year that chanting “death and hate to Zionists” at a demonstration was an illegal anti-Semitic activity. Unfortunately, however, there are other German judges today who subvert that commitment by ignoring common sense, morality, and history.

 

We refer to a decision by the Wuppertal court, recently upheld by a regional court, found that the three Muslims who set fire to a synagogue did so as an act of political protest against Israel’s actions in the Gaza War, and therefore could not be convicted of anti-Semitism. As Prof. Alan Dershowitz put it, “The idea that attacking a synagogue can be justified as an anti-Israel political protest rather than anti-Jewish hate act, is as absurd as saying that Kristallnacht was merely a protest against poor service by Jewish store owners.” Or, we might add, torching a mosque could be considered a protest against ISIS. Or desecrating the Cologne Cathedral might be dismissed as a consequence of long-simmering discontent over the medieval Crusades.

 

Common sense and Jews are not the only victims of this court. It has twice dismissed charges against a group of local Salafists who enjoyed patrolling the streets with jackets announcing themselves as Sharia Police, and warning locals not to defy Islamic practice though music and alcohol. The court found their actions not “suggestively militant,” and lacking “intimidating effect.” One of the accused was on trial for supporting a terrorist organization. Had they beheaded someone, that court undoubtedly would have ruled that they were merely testing their shaving apparatus.

 

At a pivotal moment in German and world history, German jurists—far from using the law to protect the persecuted, first turned a blind eye to the way laws that destroyed millions of lives were made, then eagerly confirm Nazism’s absolute evil as binding law. From the outset of the Third Reich in 1933, German judges formulated and presided over the Rassenschutzgesetz, which allowed Jews, Roma, Poles, Russians and other untermenschen to be legally recognized as less than human. The judiciary perverted the old Rechtsstaat, meant to protect the citizen against the power of the State, and turned it into the legal basis for the eventual murder of millions. It became a willing vassal of an empire of death and destruction, quickly dispatching Stauffenberg, Bonhoeffer and any other German who resisted to quick and painful execution – all under the banner of the law.

 

In the aftermath of WW II, the very same judges maintained their moral perch above postwar society. While many sectors of public life worked to prevent the stain of Nazi thought from blackening the German future (including purging Party members from teaching social studies in German schools), the legal sector often protected Nazi criminals from prosecution again and again. The numbers confirm this. A full 77 percent of senior Justice Ministry officials in the late 50’s were former Nazi Party members, exceeding the percentage during the War itself. In fact, according to the recent Rosenburg Project, between 1949 and the early 1970s, 90 of the 170 top ministry officials were former Nazi Party members. Absent were judges who had belonged to the Resistance, or who had spent the War in exile.

 

Many friends of Germany are worried that some gatekeepers of German law may once again be using the law to open the gates of hell. The target today is once again the Jews. Providing a moral and legal free pass to attack a synagogue is quintessentially anti-Semitic, and seen as such by the rest of the world. Meanwhile, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled that the National Democratic Party, despite embracing positions opposed by Germany’s Constitution, could not be banned because it was not a threat to democracy. The rest of the world – and many Germans – looks on in horrified disbelief, remembering that this was exactly what they said about the Nazi Party and Hitler in 1933…

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

                                                                       

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ZION’S MOTHER TONGUE: VISIONS OF A PROMISED LAND

                                     Benjamin Balint

                                    Wall Street Journal, Mar. 17, 2017

 

The other day, I took some American visitors to the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem to see the Dead Sea Scrolls. My guests were struck not so much by the parchments themselves as by the sight of a group of Israeli fourth-graders, their noses pressed to the display cases, reading aloud from texts that were two millennia old.

 

In “The Story of Hebrew,” Lewis Glinert, a professor at Dartmouth College, aims to track the fate of the Hebrew language “from the Israelites to the ancient Rabbis and across two thousand years of nurture, abandonment, and renewal.” The most ambitious attempt since William Chomsky’s groundbreaking 1957 study, “Hebrew: The Eternal Language,” Mr. Glinert’s biography of Hebrew succeeds in representing the language not just as a vehicle of communication but as a crucible of national cohesion.

 

Mr. Glinert’s narrative, related with impressive sweep, begins with the classical Hebrew of biblical literature. The Bible’s sublime idiom is marked by stylistic suppleness and breadth, he says, that could encompass “narrative, prophecy, law, proverbs, philosophy, elegy, romance” and much else. The era of biblical Hebrew reaches as far back as the second millennium before the Christian era, and Mr. Glinert suggests that the spoken language survived the Jews’ exile to Babylon, their return and their struggles under Roman rule.

 

Spoken Hebrew seems to have died with little fanfare around A.D. 200, more than a century after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. But throughout the diaspora, Jews used written Hebrew to scaffold elaborate edifices of religious and legal interpretation. Though stateless, Hebrew would flourish as a written medium of cultural continuity. If the Jews safeguarded Hebrew, it was said, the holy tongue safeguarded “the people of the Book.”

 

The first of these edifices, the Mishnah, was compiled in the second and third centuries. This record of religious teachings and laws “created a rich lexical heritage that could be passed on to future generations,” Mr. Glinert writes, “and that Hebrew poetry and prose would draw upon long after Hebrew had ceased to be a spoken language.” The Babylonian Talmud—another great edifice of interpretation, setting out the authoritative commentary on rabbinic law—expanded Hebrew’s expressive possibilities by inflecting Hebrew with Aramaic, the lingua franca of the ancient Near East.

 

In the ensuing centuries those who standardized Hebrew’s grammatical architecture and honed its philological precision saw the language not just as a precious possession in itself but also as a fulcrum of Jewish life. “It must constantly be on our lips,” the Egyptian-born linguist and sage Saadiah Gaon wrote in the year 902, “for it affords us an understanding of the Divine Law.” While Hebrew commingled with Arabic in Islamic Spain, it preserved a separate reservoir of expression in the realms of law and liturgy. During the golden age of Hebrew literature, roughly the 10th to the 13th centuries, Andalusian poets like Judah Halevi and Solomon ibn Gabirol wielded a Hebrew of astonishing allusive density in order to blur the lines between sacred and sensual.

 

In a pair of chapters on the neglected story of how Hebrew figured in the Christian imagination, Mr. Glinert tells how Christians learned Hebrew both to access “hebraica veritas,” or Hebrew truth, and to monitor the Jews in their midst “with the goal of mastering the mischief and the falsehoods of the Jews,” as a 14th-century writer put it. Martin Luther’s call for “sola scriptura,” or “only the Scriptures,” led Protestants back to the original texts of the Hebrew Bible. In the 15th to 17th centuries, Christian Hebraists—including Johannes Reuchlin in Germany, Guillaume Postel in France, and John Selden in Britain—put Hebrew at the center of Western humanism.

 

In the 18th century, leaders of the Jewish Enlightenment sought, through Hebrew, to emancipate Jews from the confines of the ghetto; by making Hebrew an aesthetic equal to European languages, they hoped to open the doors to modernity. Their efforts, while incomplete, prepared the ground for a small group of secular Eastern European writers in the following century to dig channels through which Hebrew’s hidden vitality could course once more. These cultural Zionists brought about a rebirth of Hebrew, an achievement, Mr. Glinert writes, “without precedent in linguistic and sociopolitical history.”

 

In its early stages, this revival didn’t seem to have much prospect for success. For the pious, Mr. Glinert says, “using the holy tongue for everyday speech smacked of desecration.” For pragmatists, resurrecting a bookish tongue that lacked words for tomato, theater, microscope or fun seemed either ridiculous or inconceivable. Even the father of political Zionism, Theodor Herzl, envisioned a Jewish state of German speakers…

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

 

                                                                           

Contents

 

MONTREAL POET SEYMOUR MAYNE REMEMBERS

HIS FRIEND LEONARD COHEN

Seymour Mayne

Jewish Quarterly, 13 Feb. 2017

 

Leonard was holding court at the front table unit of the café on upper Stanley Street one Sunday in 1960, when our mutual friend, the poet Henry Moscovitch, ushered me forward to meet him. He was twenty-six that spring, the lion of the McGill University arts crowd, and I was a high school student aged sixteen. I had just entered the Canadian literary world, small as it was then, having published several poems in The Canadian Forum. The first sight of the debonair figure, with two beautiful young women who flanked him on his left and right side, remains framed in my memory. He must have said something encouraging to me. And that is how our long friendship began. As he grew older, the strength of affection and respect he inspired in his old Montreal friends increased in depth and intensity. When he left us this November, he was still that gracious Davidic figure.

 

How Jewish was Leonard Cohen? He had no way not to be, born into the unique Montreal Jewish community, sandwiched as it was between the French-speaking working-class quartiers to the east and the English-speaking middle-class suburbs to the west. While Yiddish was the first language of many Jewish immigrants in the working-class neighbourhoods of Montreal, it did not have the same currency among the wealthier members of the community. Leonard’s home was not suffused with the expressive language. At school he studied mainly in English, with French added as a second language. In synagogue he heard biblical and liturgical Hebrew, which echoed and strongly resonated for him right up to his last album, You Want It Darker. In his middle years, he ranged out from Biblical texts to studying the Kabbalah, which fascinated him to his last days.

 

In a province defined by linguistic and religious affiliations, our Jewish community was an almost autonomous city-state of its own, with health facilities, its own hospital, and school system. Every writer and artist who emerged from Montreal in those first decades of the last century was shaped by these communal influences, and Leonard was no exception, even though he was raised in the upper-class neighbourhood of Westmount. Leonard never forgot nor could he forget that he was Jewish. He carried it as a mark of honour all his life while he alluded to and punned on his priestly name, Cohen, in poem, song and fiction. Called to the Torah by his Hebrew name, Eliezer, he nevertheless published exclusively under his English name, like almost every Jewish boy in Montreal who bore two names, double identities. Although he passed through a Buddhist initiation on Mount Baldy, in his last years his Jewish heritage took more and more of his observance, to the point that he was returned at the end to be buried, not in Los Angeles, but in one of the Jewish cemeteries of Montreal, alongside generations of his noted family…

 

At this juncture, A.M. Klein (1909–1972)—a member of this Montreal group and, later, by general consensus, one of Canada’s major poets—proudly affirmed a strong Jewish voice. Klein unashamedly celebrated his roots and tradition while exploring the bilingual Canadian milieu. Such was the older poet’s abiding influence on the younger poet over the years, that Leonard dedicated a number of poems to him, including the resonant “To a Teacher”, which later became a song in the album, Dear Heather. The Montreal dynasty of Jewish poets continued from Klein to Irving Layton (1912–2006), with whom Leonard maintained a close and special relationship for decades. The Jewish lineage in Canadian poetry, then, begins with Klein, continues with Layton from the 1950s on, and finds new force in Leonard’s poetry and lyrics.

 

While I am beholden to Leonard for the inspirations of his writing and friendship, he remains indebted with an unfulfilled promise, made over a half-century ago in the apartment of his friend, Robert Hirschhorn. We made a bet one day in 1963, as a group of Leonard’s friends sat in a circle in Robert’s living room and Leonard strummed his guitar, offering us song after song. Impetuously, as the youngest enthusiast in that room, I predicted that he would easily make a million with his then-unrecorded songs. Leonard quickly responded that he would present me with $10,000 for my little magazine, if that indeed materialized.

 

Over the years and on various occasions, I would remind him, with a smile, of his pledge, and he would aver, with an even more winsome smile, that he still hadn’t reached that magic million-dollar figure. Over time, of course, I let the matter slip. And then came Leonard’s difficult years, when he discovered that his manager had availed herself of his pension fund, which meant that he had to go out on the road again, a wandering minstrel even in his seventies.

 

Given his recent successes, this past summer, for fun, I was thinking of writing him one more friendly reminder. But his emails began to reveal a darker edge. He was “out of the loop for a while”—in his own words, “dealing with some disagreeable visitations from the Sitra Achra”, those fearful Kabbalistic presences from the dark and shadowed side of existence. Who under such circumstances could have the heart to raise the issue of an amusing wager made decades earlier? Along with his innumerable fans and followers, I would have to remain satisfied with the ample offerings of his prolific works. You got away, Eliezer, and the $10,000 was never paid out. But you left us a legacy which, contrary to your expectations in the rebellious years, I along with all your friends and devotees recognize as rich and bountiful. Your songs and name call up an abundance of blessings. Wager met and copiously acquitted. We’ll miss you, chaver.

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

Contents                                                              

On Topic Links

 

For U.K.’s Holocaust Memorial, a Canadian Architect Envisions Light in a Personal Darkness: Paul Waldie, Globe & Mail, Mar. 10, 2017—Jack Diamond has long been considered one of Canada’s best architects and he’s designed award-winning landmarks around the world. But few projects have touched him as deeply as the one he’s working on now: Britain’s National Holocaust Memorial.

Converted Masters; World Famous Masterpieces With a Jewish Twist: Lori Samlin Miller, Jewish Press, Mar. 20, 2017—Why would an observant woman with a talent for drawing and painting publish a book with images of her canvas creations of reworked masterpieces? What, in addition to her obvious artistic abilities, is she expressing?

Archaeological Discoveries in the Holy Land Could Provide Clues on how Jesus Lived: Ruth Eglash, Washington Post, Mar. 20, 2017—When a revamped highway into Jerusalem fully opens in coming months, it will be just the latest makeover of a road that has served Holy Land travelers for centuries.

Natan Alterman or Amos Oz? The Six-Day War and Israeli Literature: Liam Hoare, Fathom, Spring, 2017—In the immediate aftermath of the Six-Day War, poetry and song captured the moment in Israeli history when the people, as Natan Alterman, said were ‘drunk with joy’. Naomi Shemer’s addendum to ‘Jerusalem of Gold,’ a song penned, as the legend has it, while Israeli troops celebrated at the Western Wall, groans with the sound of ram’s horns echoing round the Old City. ‘We have returned to the water cisterns, to the market and to the square,’ Shemer sang. ‘We shall return and go down to the Dead Sea by the Jericho Road.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ISRAEL’S CULTURE OF INNOVATION IS CHANGING THE WORLD, FROM U.S.A., TO CHINA, AFRICA, & BEYOND

Good Schools Aren’t the Secret to Israel’s High-Tech Boom: Naftali Bennett, Wall Street Journal, Mar. 20, 2017— I am often asked how a country the size of New Jersey, with fewer residents than New York City, became a global high-tech force.

Can Israel's High-Tech Sector Make America Great Again?: David Patrikarakos, National Interest, Mar. 2, 2017— Here, in Israel, a joke is making the rounds. How does a Saudi do business with an Israeli? Very quietly.

An Economic Powerhouse and a Rising Hi-Tech Superpower – 25 Years of Diplomatic Relations Between China and Israel: Avi Luvton, Times of Israel, Mar. 23, 2017— This January, Israel and China marked 25 years of diplomatic relations.

From Tragedy to Tech: Israelis and Rwandans Partner to Build the ‘African Start-up Nation’: Shterny Isseroff, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 18, 2017— With a modest population of 12 million, bordered by the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west and Uganda to the north, Rwanda today is renowned for its green highlands, active volcanoes and rare silverback gorillas.

               

On Topic Links

 

Israel Aims to Become World’s 15th Largest Economy by 2025 — Minister: Raphael Ahren, Times of Israel, Mar. 19, 2017

The Sky is the Limit for China and Israel: Meir Javedanfar, CGTN, Mar. 20, 2017

Tech Talk: Israeli Satellite to be Launched into Space: Ariel Shapira, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 14, 2017

Trump, China, and the Middle East: Roie Yellinek, BESA, Feb. 7, 2017

 

     

 

GOOD SCHOOLS AREN’T THE SECRET TO ISRAEL’S HIGH-TECH BOOM

                                                            Naftali Bennett

                                                     Wall Street Journal, Mar. 20, 2017

 

I am often asked how a country the size of New Jersey, with fewer residents than New York City, became a global high-tech force. In a dynamic world, where innovation and adaptation are crucial, everyone wants to know Israel’s secret educational ingredient. Despite its small size, Israel lists 93 companies on the Nasdaq—more than India, Japan and South Korea combined. In 2016 investors sank $6 billion into Israel’s more than 6,000 startups. Google, IBM, Apple and Intel all have research-and-development centers located here.

 

Many people look to the Israeli education system to explain this success. During my two years as minister of education I have come to understand that although Israel’s schools are good, our secret weapon is a parallel education system that operates alongside the formal one. This is where our children learn to become entrepreneurs.

 

Israel’s shadow education system has three components. The first is our heritage of debate—it’s in the Jewish DNA. For generations Jews have studied the Talmud, our legal codex, in a way vastly different from what goes on in a standard classroom. Instead of listening to a lecture, the meaning of complex texts is debated by students in hevruta—pairs—with a teacher offering occasional guidance.

 

Unlike quiet Western libraries, the Jewish beit midrash—house of study—is a buzzing beehive of learning. Since the Talmud is one of the most complex legal codes ever gathered, the idea of a verdict is almost irrelevant to those studying. Students engage in debate for the sake of debate. They analyze issues from all directions, finding different solutions. Multiple answers to a single question are common. Like the Talmud itself—which isn’t the written law but a gathering of protocols—the learning process, not the result, is valued.

 

The second component of our shadow education system is the peer-teaches-peer model of Jewish youth organizations, membership-based groups that we call “movements.” Teenagers work closely with younger children; they lead groups on excursions and hikes, develop informal curricula, and are responsible for those in their care. As an 11th-grade student, I took fifth-graders on an overnight hike in the mountains. Being given responsibilities at a young age helped shape me into who I am today.

 

The third component is the army. Because we are constantly defending ourselves from Islamic terror, 18-year-old boys and girls are drafted into the military for stints of two or three years. Young Israeli adults must literally make life-or-death decisions every day. As a 23-year-old officer in 1995, I led 70 soldiers behind enemy lines. The covert mission required me to prepare my troops, mobilize people and equipment, build contingency plans, and function under immense physical and mental pressure. These situations teach a person how to execute plans—or adapt and improvise. Consider a hypothetical 19-year-old soldier in the intelligence corps, analyzing aerial photographs or intercepted communications. She must decide if the material in front of her indicates an impending attack or not. This isn’t a rare occurrence. Thousands of Israeli soldiers experience it daily.

 

Good teachers in vibrant classrooms are necessary for children—and nations—to succeed. Schools provide a base of literacy, mathematics and social interaction. But Israel’s extracurricular system goes further. Peer-led debate and intellectual dialogue enhances learning. Actual responsibilities, like caring for younger children, nurture growth and maturity. Real-life tasks show young adults how much they are capable of achieving. These are the principles that anyone wishing to replicate Israel’s success should emulate.

 

Two qualities are needed to change the world: innovation, to think of new ideas, and entrepreneurship, to turn those ideas into reality. That is the essence of today’s economy. The way to create citizens steeped in the ethos of both is to give children, at a young age, the room to try.

 

Contents

 

CAN ISRAEL'S HIGH-TECH SECTOR MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN?                                      

David Patrikarakos

National Interest, Mar. 2, 2017

 

Here, in Israel, a joke is making the rounds. How does a Saudi do business with an Israeli? Very quietly. Like all the best jokes, it contains an essential truth: that in the face of mounting criticism and the spread of Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) campaign on campuses across western Europe and the United States, Israeli business—notably its high-tech sector—is going from strength to strength. The “start-up nation” is living up to its name, and its benefits are being felt most strongly in the United States.

 

Donald Trump has entered the presidential office vowing to make “America Great Again.” It is hard to discern what this woolly statement—reminiscent of Obama’s “Yes We Can!” in its triumphant yet nebulous tone—means, or indeed what most of his policies actually entail. But it is clear that, as a businessman (albeit one of questionable success), his political ideology is largely economically based. Trump has said he wants to bring jobs back to the United States and to impose tariffs on imports, but this is twentieth-century economic thinking in a twenty-first-century world. As automation will increasingly come to dominate manufacturing and associated industries, technology and innovation will be the true drivers of economic growth. And nowhere are these two areas more prevalent than in the United States and Israel.

 

Jerusalem is cold. There is a biting February wind. Nonetheless, thousands have descended on the 2017 OurCrowd Global Investor Summit near the city center. With five thousand attendees, it’s the world’s largest equity crowdfunding conference. Investors looking for everything from artificial intelligence to robotics have made the trek to Israel’s capital.

 

And it soon becomes clear why. Last year, Eric Schmidt, formerly the chief executive of Google and now executive chairman of its parent company, Alphabet, told an audience at Google’s offices in Tel Aviv that “for a relatively small country, Israel has a super role in technological innovation. I can’t think of a place where you could see this diversity and the collection of initiatives aside from Silicon Valley . . . That is a pretty strong statement.” He also noted that several Israeli technology companies were on their way to being worth $1 billion.

 

Israel, with a population smaller than that of New York, has long punched above its weight in a variety of arenas—and there are reasons for that. Israel is surrounded by a mass of mostly hostile nations, many of which have tried repeatedly to defeat it. The country has had to fight—literally (and the word is used correctly here)—for its survival from its birth. It is also a Middle Eastern country without oil or an abundance of natural resources (though that somewhat changed with the discovery of the Leviathan and Tamar gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea, just off Israel’s coast). These factors have forced the nation to be innovative—in everything from the military to medicine. It is innovation born of scarcity.

 

And it is innovation that is now bearing ripe and timely fruit. According to Jonathan Medved, a serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist, as well as the founder and chief executive officer of the OurCrowd Global Investor Summit, “Israel high-tech is raising capital like nowhere else. Globally, venture-backed exits declined 26 percent in 2016. Israel, however, was the outlier—seeing record growth and a record year with $4.8 billion invested—up from $2.2 billion in 2013; 120 percent growth in three years.”

 

Medved is a large and imposing man. Gregarious and charming, he wore a kippah and a bushy beard at the summit. He spoke with a broad American accent. I asked him about the effect of the BDS campaign, which has sought to exert political—and especially economic—pressure on Israel, lobbying international firms to cease doing business with the country. It’s all the rage in Europe and the United States, especially amongst the youth. Isn’t this, I asked, a huge problem, for Israeli-American cooperation?

 

His reply was as swift as it was unequivocal. “Israeli business is not like Israeli politics,” he said. “In India, China, Japan, Israel is a top brand—BDS is important on college campuses, NGOs and some part of the church, but not in business. And the trend is an upward one. Ten years ago, there was a fear that Asian companies would not do business with Israel because of pressure from Arab states. That no longer exists.” He continued: “I was sitting at my Shabbos table with one of [the] top U.S. hedge fund managers and an Israeli MK—and I asked him about BDS. His response? ‘What is BDS?’” “Look,” he concluded: “Anyone with a brain cannot support BDS. If you do: get off Google, Facebook, your laptop, anything with an Intel chip.”

 

What does this boom in Israeli tech mean to the United States? The answer, according to David Goodtree, who sits on the Board of Directors of OurCrowd, is simple: it creates jobs; it creates wealth. He takes the state of Massachusetts as a case study. “There are over 200 Israeli-founded companies in the state alone,” he said. “In 2015 those companies brought $9 billion in revenue and $18 billion in economic impact to the state, representing almost 4 percent of its GDP. They also brought twenty-seven thousand jobs and $400–500 million dollars of venture capital.”

 

“Israeli companies drive the mass economy in the U.S.,” he continued. “Similar influence can be found in NYC and Florida. Last year, thirty state governors visited Israel, and they came for economic—not political—reasons.” The Florida Israel Business Accelerator is an example of how a U.S.-Israeli partnership is flourishing across the country. The initiative was set up via Israeli inroads into Massachusetts. Meanwhile, in Vermont, Plasan, an Israeli company that pioneers armor technology, is now among the state’s top employers—along with Ben and Jerry’s—with around one thousand, mostly local, employees. Plasan also has a $30 million plant in Walker, Michigan, to mass-produce carbon composite parts for an automotive customer and application. “This country is on fire in terms of innovation,” Medved told me with a wide grin. “People say it will run out of steam but it won’t—it’s about collaboration and Israel is coming to be seen as international hub. And it’s gaining momentum.”

 

The secret to the growing the Israeli-U.S. technology partnership is that each country brings its own unique skill that the other critically lacks. Israeli companies need to hire American talent to compensate for their areas of weakness. At the center of the partnership lies the ability to scale up. Israeli companies have the innovation—the research and the skills to create a great product, often a prototype. Unfortunately, those companies lack the know-how to make that product go “big” by producing it on a mass scale, an American specialty. This phenomenon is seen from the case of Rewalk, an Israeli technology designed to help paraplegics walk again. The product was exceptional, but Rewalk’s creators lacked the knowledge necessary to get the funding to produce it to scale or get FDA approval. Then an American firm stepped in. Technology from Israel combined with management experience from Boston: it was the perfect combination.

 

This scenario is replicated everywhere. Israel is the fastest innovator in the world. Israeli companies start in beta mode back home, shake the bugs out of their products there, get funding and customer testimonials before importing—mid-stage—companies to the United States. The United States then, rather than incubating its own companies and then facing the prospect of possibly watching them fail, gets the cream of the crop. The process is simple yet highly effective. About 80 percent of Israel’s technology companies are majority funded by North America through increased cash flow. U.S. money flows into Israeli companies that then go to the United States to set up shop, employ people and pay taxes, before they are eventually bought out by U.S. companies. It’s the definition of a virtuous circle…

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

 

                                                                       

Contents

 

    AN ECONOMIC POWERHOUSE AND A RISING HI-TECH SUPERPOWER –

25 YEARS OF DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS BETWEEN CHINA AND ISRAEL

                                                   Avi Luvton

                                                               Times of Israel, Mar. 23, 2017

 

This January, Israel and China marked 25 years of diplomatic relations. Israel was the first Middle Eastern country to recognize the People’s Republic of China in January 1950, but formal diplomatic relations were only established in January 1992. This move enabled cooperation in a variety of fields, peaking in recent years with joint activity in trade, tourism, healthcare, academia, technological R&D and more. Nevertheless, the great economic potential has yet to be fully realized. Today, trade between the countries stands at over $11 billion, of which only $3 billion come from exports.

 

China is perceived by many as the world’s center of manufacturing, but it is less often considered a center of innovation. We are used to thinking of “Made in China” but vary rarely think of “Designed in China” or “Invented in China.” This may have been true in the past, but China has been working energetically to become a central player in the global innovation ecosystem. Over the past several years, China has invested tremendous efforts in the field of innovation. This is evident in its investment in R&D as a percentage of GDP (2.1%), in research ($200 billion) and in human resources (30,000 PhDs in the sciences and in engineering), annually. This profound transformation in China from a production to an innovation powerhouse – has created an invaluable opportunity for Israeli hi-tech companies.

 

The Chinese government’s goal of turning the country into a global economic leader, in part by harnessing innovation to create a competitive edge in the international arena, has created a range of opportunities for Israel, itself a global innovation trailblazer. China is therefore of the utmost significance to Israeli industry and an important target market for technological exports and business cooperation in fields like cloud computing and big data, medical equipment, artificial intelligence, advanced automotive technologies, FinTech and more. China’s unique interest in Israel is evidenced by the dozens of delegations of senior government officials and businesspeople who have visited Israel in recent years. Representatives of large companies and private investors from China often arrive in Israel in an attempt to crack “the Israeli code,” to understand the local innovation ecosystem and to implement the innovative and entrepreneurial Israeli character into their own DNA.

 

Likewise, China’s involvement in Israel’s economy has grown over the past five years as evidenced in major M&A activity like the purchase of controlling shares in Makhteshim Agan by ChemChina in 2011, the purchase of Alma Lasers by Fosun Pharma in 2013, the sale of Tnuva in 2014 to China’s Bright Food and the acquisition of Ahava Cosmetics by Fosun in 2016. Growing Chinese investment in Israeli hi-tech is further evidence of this phenomenon. At the same time, the interest of Israeli companies in Asian markets, specifically the Chinese market, is growing as well. If in the past Israeli companies were primarily active in Western markets, today they look eastward to seek opportunities and expand their opportunities. This trend is not without its challenges: penetrating this giant market comes with numerous obstacles on the road to success.

 

The Israel Innovation Authority (formerly the Office of the Chief Scientist) has developed tools to help meet these challenges. The Authority offers eight unique funding programs to Israeli industry, in cooperation with the Chinese Ministries of Science and Technology. These programs help Israeli companies find a potential Chinese partner in innovative R&D, and spread the risk inherent in joint projects through Israeli and Chinese government grants…

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

                                                                           

Contents

 

FROM TRAGEDY TO TECH: ISRAELIS AND RWANDANS

PARTNER TO BUILD THE ‘AFRICAN START-UP NATION’

Shterny Isseroff

Jerusalem Post, Mar. 18, 2017

 

With a modest population of 12 million, bordered by the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west and Uganda to the north, Rwanda today is renowned for its green highlands, active volcanoes and rare silverback gorillas. In the 1990s, the narrative of the Rwandan people revolved around stories of political strife, genocide and war, but today it is one of the safest places in Africa for volunteers, tourists and entrepreneurs alike. Relative to its sub-Saharan neighbors, Rwanda is a small, landlocked country lacking valuable natural resources with a population that does not fit the criteria needed to support a labor-based economy. As a result, the country developed a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, often teaching its students not to “find a job, but to create a job.”

 

At the geographical heart of Rwanda lies its capital Kigali, which has put its start-up scene at the center of its initiative to rebrand itself as a city of tech and creativity. Now two Israeli entrepreneurs, Hezi Bezalel and Guy Cherni, have tagged along for the ride. Their goal? To use all their hometown resources to help support the small African city on its journey to become the African Start-up Nation. “In a lot of aspects, they [Rwanda] are pretty similar to Israel; there is a great commonality that the two countries share,” explains Cherni, who has an MA in global community development from the Hebrew University and in 2012 was one of the first proponents of the Jerusalem start-up ecosystem. “Both grew out of a tragedy; Israel, in Europe, and Rwanda, with its genocide 21 years ago. This has created a link between us.”

 

Bezalel first arrived in Rwanda in July 1994, and has been taking part in the development of the country ever since through investments in fields such as infrastructure and telecom. During his frequent trips to the country, Bezalel, a Ramat Gan native specializing in banking and private equity, began to take notice of the city’s start-up potential. Through chance encounters, the two met and began brainstorming possibilities of what could be done to support the developing ecosystem in Kigali. But to have a real impact on the Rwandan ecosystem, they would first have to understand it – as locals. Next thing he knew, Cherni was on a flight to Rwanda to spend the next month mapping out the start-up ecosystem.

 

He began working on identifying the local resources that were available to the community to assess the key challenges Kigali’s tech scene had been facing. He spoke to everyone and anyone who could provide information, interviewing local entrepreneurs, government officials and existing companies in the region. His findings concluded that there was a thriving local tech scene, including co-working spaces, academic initiatives, and active stakeholders – yet almost no link between them. A start-up ecosystem, according to Startup Commons, is formed by people, startups in their various stages and various types of organizations in a location (physical and/or virtual), interacting as a system to create new start-up companies. “We realized what was missing was an incubator, investments and a way to connect them. Based on this, we decided to build an incubator, invest in some later- stage companies, and work on creating connections between the different parts of the ecosystem,” Cherni explains.

 

Interestingly, his observations in Kigali were quite similar to his experiences when first arriving on the Jerusalem hi-tech scene seven years ago. All ingredients for a successful ecosystem were there but not working collectively with one another. At the time, this led to the creation of Jerusalem’s first start-up accelerator program, Siftech, a grassroots project of the Hebrew University Student Union that is now preparing for its sixth batch of start-ups. Today, the 42Kura project is the outcome of all their planning. Starting its new program this month, 42Kura will accept 10 early-stage start-ups and provide them with Israeli and Rwandan expertise, mentorship and support…

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

 

Contents                                                              

 

On Topic Links

 

Israel Aims to Become World’s 15th Largest Economy by 2025 — Minister: Raphael Ahren, Times of Israel, Mar. 19, 2017—Israel aspires to become the world’s 15th largest economy by 2025, Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen said Sunday, arguing that Israel’s power depends on its economic growth.

The Sky is the Limit for China and Israel: Meir Javedanfar, CGTN, Mar. 20, 2017—Looking at the current levels of bilateral trade between Israel and China, it is difficult to believe that the two countries only established diplomatic relations 25 years ago.

Tech Talk: Israeli Satellite to be Launched into Space: Ariel Shapira, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 14, 2017—Duchifat-2, a small satellite built at the science center in Herzliya with the active participation of high-school students, will be launched on the morning March 20 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, toward the international space center along with 28 other small satellites from around the world. The aim of the constellation of satellites will be to map the thermosphere, which will help in the transfer of GPS signals.

Trump, China, and the Middle East: Roie Yellinek, BESA, Feb. 7, 2017—Ever since Donald Trump won the US presidential race, the issue of US-China relations has been high on the agenda of both parties. The subject preoccupies the president more than Islamic terror, Vladimir Putin, and other more pressing issues facing the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AMID WESTERN CRISIS & DECLINE, RUSSIAN F.M. CALLS FOR A “POST-WEST WORLD ORDER”

Do We Still Want the West?: Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 20, 2017— In the late 1980s Stanford University did away with its required Western civilization course after Jesse Jackson led students in a chant of “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Civ has got to go!”

What Does 'Western Culture' Mean Anyway?: Giulio Meotti, Arutz Sheva, Mar. 20, 2017— In a Wall Street Journal column, Bret Stephens recently wrote that Western societies lack the “civilizational self-belief” that others have.

Fear a ‘Post-West World’: Noah Rothman, Commentary, Feb. 21, 2017— Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov did the world a service this weekend when he abandoned coyly evasive and tiresome Russian diplo-speak by outright advocating for the creation of a “post-West world order.”

Europe: "The Era of Liberal Babble": Judith Bergman, Gatestone Institute, Mar. 14, 2017— Europe, so many years after the Cold War, is ideologically divided into a new East and a West.

               

On Topic Links

 

Whose West?: Daniel Larison, American Conservative, Feb. 21, 2017

It's OK to Say Western Civilization is Superior: Tarek Fatah, Toronto Sun, Mar. 14, 2017

"Celebrating" Orientalism: Richard Landes, Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2017

The West has Finally Woken Up: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz Sheva, Mar. 17, 2017

 

                                      

 

 DO WE STILL WANT THE WEST?

Bret Stephens

Wall Street Journal, Feb. 20, 2017

 

In the late 1980s Stanford University did away with its required Western civilization course after Jesse Jackson led students in a chant of “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Civ has got to go!” Campus conservatives tried to bring it back last year, but the effort failed in a student vote by a 6 to 1 margin. They should try pushing Western Civ again. To adapt the line in that Passenger song, you only know you love it when you let it go.

 

The thought comes to mind following Sergei Lavrov’s Orwellian speech last week at the Munich Security Conference, in which the Russian foreign minister called for a “post-West world order.” He also used the occasion to deny Moscow’s involvement in hacking U.S. and European elections, to announce that his government would recognize passports issued by its puppet state in eastern Ukraine, and to call for an end to the “post-truth” and “post-fact” state of international relations.

 

Mr. Lavrov understands something that ought to be increasingly clear to American and European audiences: The West—as a geopolitical bloc, a cultural expression, a moral ideal—is in deep trouble. However weak Russia may be economically, and however cynical its people might be about their regime, Russians continue to drink from a deep well of civilizational self-belief. The same can be said about the Chinese, and perhaps even of the Islamic world too, troubled as it is. The West? Not so much.

 

The United States has elected as president a man who has repeatedly voiced his disdain for NATO, the World Trade Organization and other institutions of the Western-led world order. He publicly calls the press “an enemy of the American people” and conjures conspiracy theories about voter fraud whose only purpose is to lend credence to his claim that the system is rigged. He is our first post-rational president, whose approach to questions of fact recalls the deconstructionism of the late Jacques Derrida: There are no truths; reality is negotiable.

 

Then there’s Europe, where youth unemployment runs close to 20% and centrist politicians wonder why they have a problem. In France, the National Front’s Marine Le Pen is gaining in the polls, despite expert predictions that she can’t possibly win the presidency. In Holland, nationalist politician Geert Wilders says of Moroccan immigrants: “Not all are scum.” Where have we heard these things before?

 

In Munich on Saturday, Mike Pence implored NATO members to spend more on their defense—a complaint Europeans also heard from the Obama and Bush administrations. Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s foreign minister, instantly brushed the vice president’s plea aside. “I don’t know where Germany can find billions of euros to boost defense spending,” he said, “if politicians also want lower taxes.” Berlin spends 1.2% of its GDP on defense, well below the 2% NATO requirement and among the lowest in Europe. As of 2014, it could deploy a grand total of 10 attack helicopters and one submarine. Does Germany still want the West, insofar as it’s able to contribute to its collective defense?

 

What about other countries? Twenty-five years ago, becoming a part of “the West” was the dream from Budapest to Ulan Bator. Not anymore. Russia took itself off the Westernization track shortly after the turn of the century. Turkey followed a few years later. Thailand is on its way to becoming a version of what Myanmar had been up until a few years ago, while Malaysia is floating into China’s orbit. Ditto for the Philippines. Mexico may soon follow a similar trajectory if the Trump administration continues to pursue its bad-neighbor policy, and if a Chavista-like figure such as Andrés Manuel López Obrador comes to power in next year’s presidential election.

 

One can point to many reasons, specific and general, why the West no longer attracts imitators. Let’s point to the main reason. There was a time when the West knew what it was about. It did so because it thought about itself—often in freshman Western Civ classes. It understood that its moral foundations had been laid in Jerusalem; its philosophical ones in Athens; its legal ones in Rome. It treated with reverence concepts of reason and revelation, freedom and responsibility, whose contradictions it learned to harmonize and harness over time. It believed in the excellence of its music and literature, and in the superiority of its political ideals. It was not ashamed of its prosperity. If it was arrogant and sinful, as all civilizations are, it also had a tradition of remorse and doubt to temper its edges and broaden its horizons. It cultivated the virtue of skepticism while avoiding the temptation of cynicism.

 

And it believed all of this was worth defending—in classrooms and newspapers and statehouses and battlefields. We’ve since raised generations to believe none of this, only to be shocked by the rise of anti-Western politics. If you want children to learn the values of a civilization that can immunize them from a Trump, a Le Pen or a Lavrov, you can start by teaching it.

 

 

Contents

 

 

WHAT DOES 'WESTERN CULTURE' MEAN ANYWAY?                                                                 

Giulio Meotti

Arutz Sheva, Mar. 20, 2017

 

In a Wall Street Journal column, Bret Stephens recently wrote that Western societies lack the “civilizational self-belief” that others have. Daniel Larison in the American Conservative replied to him that “in modern times, ‘the West’ has often been even more narrowly defined to exclude nations that objectively share the same intellectual and religious heritage for contemporary political reasons”.

 

Larison is right: “Western culture” is not what liberals have in mind. Europe’s political establishment is still suffering from shock at the election of Donald Trump and the wave of populist movements, from France to the Netherlands. “The West”, the liberal establishment repeats as a mantra, is under threat from Russian expansionism. But what are these “Western values,” according to our élites?  Gender ideology? Multiculturalism? Secularism? Ideological and mandatory open borders? Pacifism? Slander of Israel? Eugenics? Feminism? Cultural sanctimony?

 

Take Emmanuel Macron, the most Western of the French presidential candidates, the icon of the pro-European élite. He just decried French colonialism and preached more open borders for Europe. Malia Sorel-Sutter in an interview with Le Figaro explained the difference between Macron and his contender, Francois Fillon: “For one, French culture does not exist, when for the other it is part of a desire to continue France from a cultural point of view,” said the author of Decaying France.

 

Think about what just happened to Charles Murray, the conservative guru, who was almost lynched at the liberal college of Middlebury. “Western culture” for these liberals means that a conservative philosopher cannot take the podium in the socialist state of Vermont. “Western culture” for these liberals means that the Norwegian minister Sylvi Listhaug can be slammed for wearing a crucifix.  Western culture” for these liberals is under attack if Trump defunds the shameful abortion provider Planned Parenthood. “Western culture” for these liberals is under threat if the US Supreme Court refuses to hear the case for transgender rights in restrooms.

 

Steve Bannon’s ideas about the West, capitalism and the threat of Islam to the Judeo-Christian civilization seem much better to me than the oped pages of the New York Times or the London University students’ ideology, who just asked to remove from their curricula Plato and Kant, among other Western philosophers, because they represent “colonialism”. “Western culture” for me means Goethe’s books, Leopardi’s poems, Bach’s cantatas, the French abbeys, the Sistin Chapel, Solzenitsyn’s Gulag Arcipelago. For these puerile liberals, “Western culture” is a caricature to be protected by trigger warnings and safe spaces. No wonder Europe and the West are not respected today.                                  

                                                                       

Contents

 

                               FEAR A ‘POST-WEST WORLD’

                                                   Noah Rothman

                                                               Commentary, Feb. 21, 2017

 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov did the world a service this weekend when he abandoned coyly evasive and tiresome Russian diplo-speak by outright advocating for the creation of a “post-West world order.” These comments, made before an audience of European and American security professionals who are already sufficiently spooked by Donald Trump’s campaign-trail flirtation with the abandonment of the Atlantic alliance, surely disturbed the conference’s Western attendees. Good. It is about time that someone properly framed the stakes of the ideological and strategic competition between revisionist powers and the Western-led post-War order. The West’s intellectual elite certainly are not up to the task.

 

Wall Street Journal editor…Bret Stephens observed in a recent column that the constructs of the West—cultural, educational, and geostrategic—are no longer defended by their inheritors and chief beneficiaries. Indeed, Western elites have for too long evidenced only shame in their shared heritage. A self-hating strain of liberal intellectual culture that equates the advancement of Western values and interests as some form of exploitive imperialism isn’t new (although adherents of this view are rarely so critical of revisionist powers’ military and commercial exploits). What is both new and worrisome is that this impulse among prohibitively self-critical Westerners has not abated even as revisionist powers like Russia are presenting as clear and unattractive a contrast with the West as they have in a generation.

 

Moscow is a unique threat to Western intellectual life, in part, because it is so interested in engaging in it. Unlike China, which makes no pretense toward democratic aspirations, Russia pretends to be a representative republic. It devotes extensive effort and vast sums to influencing the Democratic process in the West and to courting its agents of influence (or, in the Soviet parlance, “subconscious multiplicators,” aka “useful idiots”) to advance its self-serving propaganda. As its active measures campaigns intensify, so, too, do its abuses and crimes.

 

On the international stage, Moscow has become the first European power to invade and summarily annex territory in a neighboring country since Stalin absorbed portions of Poland in 1945. Those sovereign territories it does not seize and appropriate outright it destabilizes and gradually reintegrates into the Russian sphere (the Donbas region of Ukraine now joins the mock sovereignties of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which are being integrated into the Russian Federation). Moscow has discovered that it doesn’t need to invade and occupy whole nations in its near abroad to paralyze them and enjoy a veto over their political evolution.

 

The West often pursues its geopolitical interests in ways that trouble its critics on the populist right and the socialist left, but neither can convincingly draw a moral or strategic equivalence between these actions and those of Western capitals.

 

These are only the most destabilizing actions taken by Moscow that threatens to topple the post-War order. The way in which Moscow has partnered with its illiberal allies in Damascus and Tehran provide us with a window into what a “post-West” world would look like. In Syria, Moscow directed and participated in direct attacks on civilians, hospitals, and first responders, including the alleged use of bunker-buster and incendiary munitions on civilian targets. There is clear evidence that Russia has abetted in and facilitated starvation campaigns targeting whole cities.  The United States has provided evidence implicating Russia in an attack on a United Nations aid convoy that would have relieved the siege on rebel-held Aleppo.

 

Moscow’s disregard for civilian life in a warzone is as much deliberate is it is careless. The not-so-frozen conflict in Ukraine’s East opened with an attack by Russian-armed-and-funded “separatists” on a civilian airliner using a sophisticated surface-to-air missile, killing over two hundred Western civilians. The most recent flare-ups along the contact line between Ukrainian troops and separatists have often been preceded by OSCE monitors suddenly discovering truckloads of grad rockets headed for the front. These deliberate violations of the so-called “Minsk process” and the lives that are lost are of strategic value for the Kremlin. No international agreement or multilateral framework prevents Russia from pursuing its near-term objectives.

 

This is to say nothing of how Moscow treats dissenters on the home front. Modern-day Moscow is a place where prominent opposition figures are repeatedly shot within eyesight of the Kremlin, where auditors who allege government-sanctioned corruption are imprisoned on trumped-up charges and tortured to death, and where reporters who investigate the conduct of military campaigns are targeted for assassination. It is a place where homosexuals are attacked for their deviancy, where church life is regulated, and evangelism is legally prohibited. It is a place where abortions are prolific, and life expectancy is short.

 

Given all this, it boggles the mind that any classically liberal Westerner would even entertain the notion that a “post-West world order” is a desirable alternative to the order stewarded by the West and the United States, in particular. American voters flirting with the prospect of shrugging off the burdens bequeathed to them by the ambitious, self-sacrificing predecessors are playing with fire. Though they might imagine it as such, a “Post-West world order” is not one that absolves Americans of thankless responsibilities to global peace. Indeed, it would be one that would demand of them sacrifices they cannot possibly imagine.       

                                                                           

                                                                           

Contents

 

EUROPE: "THE ERA OF LIBERAL BABBLE"

Judith Bergman

Gatestone Institute, Mar. 14, 2017

 

Europe, so many years after the Cold War, is ideologically divided into a new East and a West. This time, the schism is over multiculturalism. What Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has termed "liberal babble" continues to govern Western Europe's response to the challenges that migration and Islamic terrorism have brought, especially to personal security. The Western European establishment considers arming oneself against terrorists, rapists and other ill-wishers outlandish, even in the face of the inability of Europe's security establishments to prevent mass terrorist atrocities, such as those that took place in Paris at the Bataclan Theater or the July14 truck-ramming in Nice.

 

The European Union's reaction to terror has been to make Europe's already restrictive gun laws even more restrictive. The problem is that this restrictiveness contradicts the EU's own reports: these show that homicides committed in Europe are mainly committed with illegal firearms. In Eastern Europe, on the other hand, it is still normal to want to defend yourself. Last summer, Czech President Milos Zeman even encouraged citizens to arm themselves against Islamic terrorism. "I really think that citizens should arm themselves against terrorists. And I honestly admit that I changed my mind, because previously I was against [citizens] having too many weapons. After these attacks, I don't think so".

 

Since the president's remarks, the Czech Interior Minister, Milan Chovanec, has proposed extending the use of arms in the event of a terrorist attack. He explained that despite strict security measures, it is not always possible for the police to guarantee a fast and effective intervention. Fast action from a member of the public could prevent the loss of many lives. Such reasoning, often seen as laughable in Western Europe, reflects an understanding of the fear that has become a recurring theme on the continent. In Germany, a recent poll showed that two out of three Germans are afraid of becoming the victim of a terrorist attack and 10% perceive an "acute threat" to their safety. Among women, the figures were even higher. 74% responded that they sometimes feel unsafe in crowded places, and 9% said they felt permanently threatened and scared.

 

Western European leaders, on the other hand, pretend not to understand this fear. In 2015, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was asked how Europe could be protected against Islamization. Merkel, who does not move without her own personal security team consisting of 15-20 armed bodyguards around her, working in shifts, answered: "Fear is not a good adviser. It is better that we should have the courage once again to deal more strongly with our own Christian roots." In December, she told members of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), who were asking how to reassure the public about integrating migrants, "This could also broaden your horizons." (This is the same Merkel, who in 2010 said that multiculturalism had "utterly failed").

 

As Western Europeans are discovering, however, that the state is increasingly unable to protect them, they have begun acting on their fears: In France, a survey showed an increase of almost 40% in gun license requests since 2011. "Before the beginning of 2015, it was only a vague trend. Since the 'Charlie Hebdo', Bataclan and Nice attacks, [gun license requests] have become a growing phenomenon", wrote Le Nouvel Observateur.

 

In Belgium, requests for gun license applications soared in one major province, Liège, doubling in just five years. "The explanation may lie in the current security context, which generates feelings of insecurity among the population", said officials from Liège's Arms Service, the state body in charge of granting gun licenses in the province. In the wake of mass sexual attacks by migrants in Cologne, major German cities all reported an increase of requests for weapons permits. Cologne police estimated that they received at least 304 applications within just two weeks of the mass sexual assaults. In 2015, the city's police force saw only 408 applications total over the entire year.

 

Switzerland has also seen a drastic rise in gun permit applications, with all 12 cantons reporting an increase from 2015. Interim 2016 figures show a further escalation. "There's no official explanation for the rise, but in general we see a connection to Europe's terrorist attacks," said Hanspeter Kruesi, a police spokesman in the Swiss canton of St. Gallen. Gun sellers in Austria also said that interest in weapons grew after a large number of refugees arrived. "Fear is very much a driving force," said Robert Siegert, a gun maker and the weapons trade spokesman at the Austrian Chamber of Commerce.

 

Uninhibited by the obvious alarm of their citizens, the EU nevertheless carries on its immigration policies. "I believe Europeans should understand that we need migration for our economies and for our welfare systems, with the current demographic trend we have to be sustainable," said Federica Mogherini, the EU's high representative for foreign affairs and security policy. She added that the continent "does not and will not close its doors" to migrants. Mogherini is probably not interested in a recent Chatham House study, in which an average of 55% of the people across the 10 European countries surveyed wanted to stop all future immigration from mainly Muslim countries. Only two of the countries surveyed were from Eastern Europe. A ban was supported by 71% of people in Poland, 65% in Austria, 53% in Germany and 51% in Italy. In the UK, 47% supported a ban.

 

Ironically, Western political elites consider this clearly widespread sentiment against Muslim immigration "racist" and "Islamophobic" and consequently disregard it — thereby empowering anti-immigration political parties. Several countries in Eastern Europe, such as Poland, Hungary and Slovakia, have refused to take in more migrants, and several Balkan countries have completely closed their borders. Czech President Milos Zeman has openly stated, "The experience of Western European countries which have ghettos and excluded localities shows that the integration of the Muslim community is practically impossible"…

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

 

Contents                                                              

 

On Topic Links

 

Whose West?: Daniel Larison, American Conservative, Feb. 21, 2017—Bret Stephens thinks Western societies lack the “civilizational self-belief” that others have: Mr. Lavrov understands something that ought to be increasingly clear to American and European audiences: The West—as a geopolitical bloc, a cultural expression, a moral ideal—is in deep trouble.

It's OK to Say Western Civilization is Superior: Tarek Fatah, Toronto Sun, Mar. 14, 2017—Are those of us who believe contemporary Western civilization, rooted in Europe’s Enlightenment, is superior to what, say, modern China or Egypt have to offer, racist?

"Celebrating" Orientalism: Richard Landes, Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2017—Whether one views the impact of Edward Said (1935-2003) on academia as a brilliant triumph or a catastrophic tragedy, few can question the astonishing scope and penetration of his magnum opus, Orientalism.

The West has Finally Woken Up: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz Sheva, Mar. 17, 2017—Sometimes it's a good idea to take a step backwards, look at reality from a distance, and see the larger picture, taking in the whole forest rather than just the individual trees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHILE OBAMA FOOLED LIBERAL JEWS, TRUMP RODE POPULIST WAVE THAT BEGAN IN EUROPE

 

 

How Barack Obama Fooled the Jews and Betrayed them Once He Had Their Money: Lawrence Solomon, National Post, Dec. 29. 2016— “(President Obama) called me into the Oval Office before the election and he said to me, ‘Alan, I want your support. And I have to tell you, I will always have Israel’s back.’

The 'Trump Effect': Dominic Green, Weekly Standard, Dec. 26, 2016 — A historian can be wise after the fact, but a political analyst must be wise before it.

Giorgio Perlasca: The ‘Italian Wallenberg’: Menucha Chana Levin, Jewish Press, Jan. 2, 2017— While not as famous as some other Holocaust heroes, Giorgio Perlasca saved more Jews than the 1,200 saved by the famous Oskar Schindler.

Marion Pritchard, Who Risked Her Life to Rescue Jews From Nazis, Dies at 96: Richard Sandomir, New York Times, Dec. 23, 2016— Marion Pritchard, a gentile whose shock at watching Nazi soldiers storm a home for Jewish children in Amsterdam and load them into a truck for deportation inspired her to enter a clandestine world of rescuing Jews, died on Dec. 11 at her home in Washington. She was 96.

 

On Topic Links

 

Israel and the Trump Administration: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 5, 2016

Saving Europe From Itself—Again: Mark Helprin, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 14, 2016

Meet Henry Orenstein, the Man Who Changed How the World Plays: Abigail Jones, Newsweek, Dec. 21, 2016

How Celine Dion Helped Save Montreal’s Most Iconic Jewish Deli: Gabe Friedman, JTA, Dec. 29, 2016

              

                               

 

HOW BARACK OBAMA FOOLED THE JEWS

AND BETRAYED THEM ONCE HE HAD THEIR MONEY                                               

Lawrence Solomon

National Post, Dec. 29. 2016

 

“(President Obama) called me into the Oval Office before the election and he said to me, ‘Alan, I want your support. And I have to tell you, I will always have Israel’s back.’ I didn’t realize that what he meant was that he’d have (Israel’s) back to stab them in the back.”

 

So spoke this week a livid Alan Dershowitz, the famed Harvard professor, legal scholar and criminal lawyer whose judgment American Jews have long trusted and respected. Dershowitz now realizes that Obama had repeatedly duped him, and that through his endorsements of Obama, Dershowitz in turn duped many American Jews, helping to secure Obama’s election and re-election. Now Israel has been compromised as never before, with the United Nations through Obama’s manoeuvrings having declared that Jews have no right to live in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, which they have inhabited for the greater part of 3,000 years, and that Israel has no rights to its holiest sites, including the Western Wall and the Temple Mount.

 

Winning Jewish support wasn’t especially important to Obama and other Democrats in terms of votes — Jews represent just two per cent of the U.S. electorate, generally making their numbers inconsequential at the ballot box. But Jews are hugely important — even decisive — in their political giving. The Jewish two per cent — which is overwhelmingly liberal — accounts for about two-thirds of all donations received by the Democratic Party. Put another way, the Jewish two per cent donates twice as much to Democrats as the non-Jewish 98 per cent.

 

The importance of Jewish money to Democratic fortunes explains why Obama waited to make his moves against Israel until after his two presidential campaigns and the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, whom he hoped would preserve his legacy. If Jews understood his real intentions toward Israel, Obama knew, many would withdraw their financial support.

 

Obama’s prudent course — his only viable course — in realizing his desire to strip Israel of its paramount possessions, embodiments of its heritage, was to keep his intentions secret, all the while upping his rhetoric that “no president has ever done more for Israel.” Obama also needed to maintain this public pretence to keep his fellow Democrats in the dark, most of whom would blanche at the thought of offending, and losing, their Jewish backers. The American public’s general sympathy for Israel, and general antipathy toward Palestinians, also made any prior anti-Israel coming out a non-starter.

 

Persuading Dershowitz — an important step to winning over the Jewish community — could not have been an easy feat. Shortly after Dershowitz’s first endorsement of Obama, in the 2008 presidential election, Dershowitz became alarmed at Obama’s apparent willingness to let Iran develop nuclear weapons, coming to believe that Obama’s policies were dangerous for Israel and that Obama could be “remembered in history as the Neville Chamberlain of the 21st century, the person who didn‘t see the greatest evil, didn’t recognize the greatest evil of the 20th century.” Yet despite these concerns, coupled with pique that Obama had ties to anti-Semites and a staff that was hostile to Israel, Obama somehow managed to persuade Dershowitz that he would never, ever let Israel down. Dershowitz endorsed Obama for a second time and even campaigned for him against Mitt Romney, a true friend of Israel.

 

After Obama’s reelection, Dershowitz again had buyer’s remorse, becoming ever more forceful in his criticisms of Obama, calling him a bully and an inept negotiator, to the point that when they met Obama “won’t look me in the eye.” Yet Dershowitz continued to have faith in Obama’s good intentions. Unlike America’s conservative Jews, most of whom saw Obama’s animus toward Israel early on — Obama combined a courtship of the Muslim states with deliberate slights of Israel and its prime minister — Dershowitz remained under Obama’s spell, seeing him as merely misguided, and persuadable.

 

The Dershowitz delusion persisted with Obama’s successor, Hillary Clinton, whom Dershowitz backed despite her own close and questionable associations, including Huma Abedin, an aide and travelling companion who had worked for a radical Muslim publication, and Sid Blumenthal, who fed Hillary with the bigoted material of his son, Max Blumenthal, “a despicable anti-Semite and a horrible person,” in Dershowitz’s estimation.

 

With this week’s passage of the anti-Israel UN resolution, the Dershowitz infatuation with Obama is over. The famed criminal lawyer finally sees the evidence that had been in plain sight all along, and now understands the extent of Obama’s deception. It was “so nasty. He pulled a bait-and-switch,” Dershowitz laments, in explaining how Obama in private pretended that it was “the settlements deep in the West Bank” that were negotiable, not the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, so core to Judaism and to Israel’s heritage. Dershowitz, and with him the great majority of America’s Jews, took the bait. The rest is history.    

                                                           

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THE 'TRUMP EFFECT'

Dominic Green                                                                                                    

Weekly Standard, Dec. 26, 2016

 

A historian can be wise after the fact, but a political analyst must be wise before it. Most commentators failed to detect the signs of Donald Trump’s presidential victory, despite their received wisdom and psephological sensitivity. (The exception seems to have been those relying on that most sensitive of all predictors, the gut.) Since the election, some of the commentariat, straining to get ahead of the next inconvenient fact, have settled upon a new narrative. A concept sufficient to explain all unforeseen, objectionable, and confusing phenomena; an insurance policy so extensive as to forestall any accident of reality: the Trump Effect.

 

The Trump Effect, the wise now agree, is a kind of sickness in the democratic system. The early symptoms—nativist grumblings, nocturnal tweeting, and disinhibited behavior around women and immigrants—may lead to a crisis, especially in cases where the major parties have left their voters to fend for themselves in a globalized economy. This crisis may continue for as long as four years. Public life may be impaired and civility permanently weakened. Grandiosity and an increase in risk-taking behavior may lead to a rise in the racial temperature and the loss of old friendships. It is not yet clear if the Trump Effect can be remedied by treatment with tariffs, subsidies, and border defenses involving moats and alligators—or if these are actually signs of its terminal phase. It may in fact be incurable, like senility and other symptoms of decay.

 

Worse, the Trump Effect can jump like a virus from one sick constitution to another. Named for its first appearance in the United States in early November 2016, within weeks the Trump Effect claimed its first European victim. The Italian prime minister was overthrown in a referendum on constitutional reform. In their presidential election, 46 percent of Austrians showed symptoms, voting for Norbert Hofer and the anti-immigrant Freedom party. A full-scale epidemic is expected in 2017, with significant outbreaks of populism in France, Italy, Germany, Holland, and Britain. Further complications may induce the amputation of the southern tier of the European Union.

 

This is the newly received wisdom of the Trump Effect. Except there is no Trump Effect. Pundits have correctly diagnosed one thing: the symptoms of America's domestic problems and the possible effects of a Trump presidency on America's global position. But their assumption that Trump's victory makes electoral revolts in Europe more likely is erroneous. Europe's insurrections may arise for similar reasons, and may even take similar form, but correlation, as the analysts hate to admit, is not causality. Europeans and Americans may face similar challenges in a globalized economy, but they are heirs to different histories.

 

The Trump Effect is in reality a misleading narrative that reverses the current of recent events. Internationally, the Trump Effect is a domino theory of democratic reaction, in which Trump, to use the key term, "emboldens" Europeans to vote for the alt-right flat-earthers for whom they would not otherwise have voted. Yet the sorry truth is that Europeans are already uninhibited when it comes to voting for bigots and xenophobes. Further, the extremity of Europe's "New Right" parties is not uniform, and some of Europe's antiestablishment parties are not of the right at all. As for the alleged domino effect, if any dominoes are falling, they are falling towards the United States, not from it.

 

If we were to name a political condition after a deliberately controversial populist with a blond bouffant and a fondness for anti-immigrant statements, a more accurate name would be the Wilders Effect. Its symptoms appeared in Holland several years before the crash of 2008 and the subsequent rush of blood to the extremities that produced the Tea Party, the Occupy Movement, and the Trump candidacy.

 

In 2004, when Donald Trump was beginning his career in the entertainment business with the first season of The Apprentice, the bleached and bequiffed Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders was expelled from Holland's center-right People's Party for Freedom and Democracy. As party spokesman, Wilders had repeatedly embarrassed his colleagues with hostile statements about Islam and immigration. The last straw was his refusal to agree that the European Union should start negotiating Turkey's long-promised entry into the club.

 

Following his expulsion, Wilders launched the Party for Freedom. He combined a Thatcherite economic agenda with strongly nationalistic positions on Islam, immigration, and identity. Almost immediately, he required police protection because of regular death threats from Islamists. As Trump was to do a decade later, Wilders cultivated popular support by mocking professional politicians, the media, and political correctness. A born entertainer, he exploited the media's amoral appetite for drama by discussing delicate subjects in crude language. His rivals made the mistake of responding in equally melodramatic fashion and his enemies the mistake of trying to censor him…

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

                                                           

                                                                       

Contents

 

GIORGIO PERLASCA: THE ‘ITALIAN WALLENBERG’

Menucha Chana Levin

Jewish Press, Jan. 2, 2017

 

While not as famous as some other Holocaust heroes, Giorgio Perlasca saved more Jews than the 1,200 saved by the famous Oskar Schindler. Like Raoul Wallenberg, Perlasca boldly rescued Hungarian Jews from under the noses of the Nazis. Yet, while Schindler and Wallenberg are well-known names from this terrible era, heroic Giorgio Perlasca still remains virtually unheard of.

 

Born in 1910 in the small northern Italian town of Como and raised in nearby Padua, Perlasca was born into a family of civil servants and army officers. Initially attracted to Italian fascism, he volunteered for the army when Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935. Later he joined the Corps of Volunteer Troops, an Italian force assisting the rebel forces of Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil War from 1936 to 1939. In gratitude for his service, Perlasca received a letter of thanks from Franco’s victorious new government. The letter instructed the Spanish foreign service to come to his aid if he should ever need diplomatic assistance. At the time Perlasca had no idea how important this letter would turn out to be.

 

Upon his return home to Italy, he found Mussolini had aligned with Hitler’s Third Reich and introduced its racial laws in 1938. Perlasca, who had many Jewish friends from Padua and from his army service, was strongly opposed to anti-Semitism. At one time he explained, “I was neither fascist, nor anti-fascist; I was anti-Nazi.” From then on, he reserved his loyalty for the Italian king, Victor Emmanuel III.

 

In the early days of World War II, Perlasca avoided the draft by working as an import-export agent for the Italian army. He traveled to Zagreb, Belgrade, and Eastern Europe, where he witnessed vicious Axis massacres of Jews and Serbs. In 1942, he was assigned to Budapest. He found the Hungarian capital “full of life, where nothing was lacking and the restaurants and theaters were full of seemingly carefree people, many of them Jews.” Tall, well-dressed and stylish, Perlasca also enjoyed an active social life.

 

That came to an abrupt end in September 1943 when Italy surrendered to the Allies and the country was split. Some aligned themselves with Mussolini’s Italian Social Republic while others supported the king who joined the Allies. Perlasca was arrested as an enemy alien and interned in a camp near the Austrian border. Escaping in October 1943, he made his way back to Budapest.

 

Life changed drastically in March 1944 when the Hungarian Nazis seized power. Perlasca ran to the Spanish Consulate in Budapest and, producing his vital letter from the Spanish authorities, he received a Spanish passport with his new name: Jorge Perlasca. He soon discovered that the Spanish Consul Angel Sanz Briz was issuing “letters of protection” for Hungarian Jews who were forced to wear the yellow Star of David. The embassy was overwhelmed with requests from stateless Jews seeking asylum in a neutral country such as Spain or safe passage out of Europe.

 

The Consulate also employed Jews as clerks, and housed them in eight apartment buildings under its control. Perlasca offered his assistance. The Hungarian government then discovered that the Spanish officials had been harboring Jews in their houses and embassy and began raiding them. With Budapest in chaos, Ángel Sans Briz and other officials received orders to vacate immediately. He left a note for Perlasca imploring him to leave as well. Realizing that without protection many Jews would be killed, Perlasca bravely decided to remain.

 

As the only person in the Consulate with a Spanish passport, he went to the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and, utilizing his boundless chutzpah and a letter he had forged, Perlasca succeeded in convincing the officials he had been appointed the new Spanish Consul and that Sanz Briz was simply on leave. The German and Hungarian officials believed him, as well as his warning that Spain would retaliate if forced to turn over the refugees under his protection. Fortunately, they were unable to confirm Perlasca’s new status with Madrid and he was permitted to continue working. “I couldn’t stand the sight of people being branded like animals… I couldn’t stand seeing children being killed. I did what I had to do,” he stated.

 

Perlasca described his situation: “At first, I didn’t know what to do, but then I began to feel like a fish in water. I continued giving out protective passes and looked after the Jews in the ‘safe houses’ flying the Spanish flag. As the proverb says, ‘Opportunity makes the thief.'” The new “Consul” organized food, medical aid and protection for 5,200 Jews in the Consulate’s apartments. An intelligence network warned him in advance of possible Nazi searches. The diplomatic missions of four other neutral states – Portugal, Switzerland, the Vatican and Sweden – also helped save Jewish lives…

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

 

 

Contents

MARION PRITCHARD, WHO RISKED HER LIFE TO

RESCUE JEWS FROM NAZIS, DIES AT 96        

Richard Sandomir                                               

New York Times, Dec. 23, 2016

 

Marion Pritchard, a gentile whose shock at watching Nazi soldiers storm a home for Jewish children in Amsterdam and load them into a truck for deportation inspired her to enter a clandestine world of rescuing Jews, died on Dec. 11 at her home in Washington. She was 96. The cause was cerebral arteriosclerosis, her family said. “By 1945, I had lied, stolen, cheated, deceived and even killed,” Ms. Pritchard said in a lecture in 1996 at the University of Michigan, where she received the Wallenberg Medal, a humanitarian award given by the university in memory of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who rescued tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews during World War II.

 

In the spring of 1942, Ms. Pritchard was a social work student who had been imbued by her father, a judge, with a strong sense of outrage about the injustices perpetrated against the Jews during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. One day, she recalled, as she was riding her bicycle to class, she saw Nazis at the children’s home “picking up the kids by an arm or a leg or by the hair” and throwing them into a truck. “Well, I stopped my bike and looked,” she said in an oral history recorded in 1984 by the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. “Two other women coming down on the street got so furious, they attacked the German soldiers, and they just picked the women up and threw them in the truck after the kids. “I just stood there,” she added. “I’m one of those people who sat there and watched it happen.”

 

To save and shelter Jews, Ms. Pritchard registered Jewish infants as her own children and found safe, non-Jewish homes for them. She helped feed Jews and get them ration cards. She secured false identification papers to help them avoid capture by the Nazis, and found medical care for children through a friendly pediatrician. Sometimes her role was simply to be one in a line of rescuers who handed Jewish children to someone else, who would then lead them out of danger. By her estimate, she helped rescue 150 Jews.

 

She never discussed her activities with her parents, or with her younger brother, Jan, fearing that saying anything would endanger them. “You just did not talk,” she said. Ms. Pritchard was recognized in 1981 by Yad Vashem, the world center for Holocaust research and commemoration in Jerusalem, as “Righteous Among the Nations,” an honor given to gentiles who saved Jews during the Holocaust. Ms. Pritchard, who was Anglican, is one of about 26,000 people to receive the award. About one-fifth of them were from the Netherlands.

 

She was born Marion Philippina van Binsbergen on Nov. 7, 1920, in Amsterdam, one of two children of Jacob and Grace van Binsbergen…Her best-known rescue started in late 1942. She was asked by a friend to hide Fred Polak and his young children, Erica, an infant, and her brothers, Lex, 4, and Tom, 2. When she could not find a safe place, her friend persuaded his mother-in-law to let Ms. Pritchard and the Polaks move into the servants’ quarters of her villa in Huizen, 15 miles outside Amsterdam. Jews in hiding, like the Polaks, feared the Nazis’ nighttime raids demanding their papers. So they developed a routine: If they felt in danger — most often by hearing the approach of the vehicle the Germans would arrive in — they would push aside the coffee table and rug in the living room, pull up the floorboards and hide below in a pit. They practiced the drill often and could complete it in less than a minute.

 

One night in late 1944, three Nazis and a Dutch collaborator, who had been a police officer before the war, came to the door. The Polaks were in the pit. “They didn’t find the hiding place,” Ms. Pritchard recalled. “But the Nazis had learned that if they didn’t find the hiding place, if they came back an hour later, the Jew or Jews might have come out of the hiding place and they could pick them up.”

 

The Dutch collaborator returned in about a half-hour, entering through an unlocked door. The children were out of hiding because Erica had started crying — she had not been given sleeping powder — and her brothers had wanted to be out as well. The hiding place had not yet been concealed again, and knowing that the children were in mortal danger, Ms. Pritchard took out a revolver hidden on a bookshelf in the room and shot the intruder. “I couldn’t think of anything else to do but kill him,” she told the filmmaker Aviva Slesin in an interview for her 2002 documentary “Secret Lives: Hidden Children and Their Rescuers.” “There was a moment of great exhilaration. Thank God the kids were safe.”…                                                       

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

                                                           

                        CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

Contents   

        

On Topic Links

 

Israel and the Trump Administration: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 5, 2016—In just two weeks, a new US administration will enter the White House. It may well prove to be a turning point for Israel, reversing the tide of global hostility of the past eight years, in which the outgoing administration regarded us diplomatically as a rogue state rather than an ally.

Saving Europe From Itself—Again: Mark Helprin, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 14, 2016—Though Europeans bridle when confronted with the possibility that Americans have something to offer, the Champs Élysées is not called Unter den Linden, and the Thousand-Year Reich and Warsaw Pact are no more, because—intelligently, successfully, and sacrificially—the U.S. came three times to Europe’s aid.

Meet Henry Orenstein, the Man Who Changed How the World Plays: Abigail Jones, Newsweek, Dec. 21, 2016—Henry Orenstein was standing outside his concentration camp barracks, shivering, when the amplified voice of his salvation cut through the frigid air: “All Jewish scientists, engineers, inventors, chemists and mathematicians must register immediately.”

How Celine Dion Helped Save Montreal’s Most Iconic Jewish Deli: Gabe Friedman, JTA, Dec. 29, 2016—Near, far — wherever you are — Schwartz’s is known for being one of Montreal’s oldest and most storied Jewish delis. Its famed smoked meat — a subtly different cousin of pastrami — has attracted scores of customers since it opened in 1928.

 

 

 

TURKEY, POLARIZED AND ALIENATED, BLAMES U.S. FOR CRISES, & TURNS AWAY FROM WEST

 

 

The Turmoil in Turkey: Editorial, Wall Street Journal, Jan. 3, 2017— Islamic State claimed responsibility Monday for a New Year’s terrorist attack at an Istanbul nightclub that killed 39 people…

In Turkey, U.S. Hand Is Seen in Nearly Every Crisis: Tim Arango, New York Times, Jan. 4, 2017— Turkish officials accused the United States of abetting a failed coup last summer.

Turkey’s True Tragedy Is the Anti-Israel Tyrant Erdogan: Ruthie Blum, Algemeiner, Dec. 14. 2016  — On Sunday, after visiting the Haseki Hospital in Istanbul, where scores of survivors of Saturday night’s twin bombings near the capital city’s Besiktas stadium were being treated for serious injuries, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was surrounded outside by crowds shouting “Allahu akbar” (“God is great”).

Turkey's "Long Arm" in Europe: Burak Bekdil, Gatestone Institute, Jan. 1, 2017— Officially, Turkey's General Directorate for Religious Affairs (Diyanet in Turkish) has a mission about offering institutional religious services independent of all political ideologies.

 

On Topic Links

 

ISIS’s Jihad on Turkey: Roy Gutman, Daily Beast, Jan. 2, 2017

Turkey Brandishes Incirlik Card to Threaten US: Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor, Jan. 4, 2017

How Istanbul Nightclub Attack was Linked to Turkey’s Culture War: Mustafa Akyol, Al-Monitor, Jan. 4, 2017

Turkey’s Genocidal Shame: Robert Fulford, National Post, Sept. 16, 2016

 

                                    

THE TURMOIL IN TURKEY         

Editorial                                          

Wall Street Journal, Jan. 3, 2017

 

Islamic State claimed responsibility Monday for a New Year’s terrorist attack at an Istanbul nightclub that killed 39 people, and the Turks deserve Western support as they fight on the front lines against jihadists. The tragedy is that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seems intent on alienating so many of his friends and antiterror allies, including anyone who supports democratic values.

 

ISIS is suspected of having carried out previous attacks in Turkey, such as June’s suicide bombings at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport that killed 45. Though this is the first direct claim of responsibility, ISIS is known for attacking soft targets popular with foreigners. The victims included citizens of Belgium, Canada, Kuwait, Lebanon, India, Israel, Morocco, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia. ISIS said it targeted the nightclub because Christians would be “celebrating their pagan holiday.” The killer was still at large as we went to press, but the ISIS claim will make it harder for Mr. Erdogan to resort to his usual default of blaming the Kurds for every attack in Turkey. The Kurdish insurgency broke out anew after Mr. Erdogan abandoned peace talks in 2015 and some Kurds have committed atrocities.

 

But the escalating tempo and intensity of Turkey’s Islamist insurgency reveals the folly of Mr. Erdogan’s history of underestimating the ISIS threat. For years Ankara looked the other way as hard-line jihadists poured into Syria, destabilizing both sides of the border. He still sometimes implies he might let Syrian migrants flood Europe again to gain diplomatic leverage, as if the threat doesn’t also hurt Turkey’s security. Mr. Erdogan’s own Islamist and autocratic tendencies have also compounded the country’s vulnerability. Since an attempted coup last summer, the President has purged thousands of police officers and soldiers, and the resulting talent and resources gap may have damaged Ankara’s counterterror capabilities.

 

He is also using the coup and terrorism as excuses to crack down on institutions like a free press and independent judiciary that could help counter the Islamist threat. After Islamic State recently burned alive two Turkish soldiers, Mr. Erdogan’s government instructed the Turkish media not to publish images from an Islamic State video of the murders. Does he think Turks won’t hear about it? A Wall Street Journal reporter in Turkey, Dion Nissenbaum, was detained and held incommunicado last week for reasons that were never made clear. Mr. Nissenbaum was denied contact with his family, lawyers and colleagues for nearly three days before he was released and allowed to leave the country. Our Sohrab Ahmari has written about Andrew Brunson, a Christian pastor and U.S. citizen imprisoned by Turkish police on charges of belonging to a terrorist group after 23 years raising a family in the country. The Turks have provided scant evidence for the charge.

 

Mr. Erdogan is polarizing Turkish society when it badly needs a unified front to fight jihadists. He also needs allies against Islamic State, but he sees treachery everywhere these days except among his new friends in Moscow. Turkey would be a more secure country, and a better one, if Mr. Erdogan’s response to every problem wasn’t to put more power in his own hands.           

                                                           

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IN TURKEY, U.S. HAND IS SEEN IN NEARLY EVERY CRISIS

Tim Arango                                                                                                                     

New York Times, Jan. 4, 2017

 

Turkish officials accused the United States of abetting a failed coup last summer. When the Russian ambassador to Turkey was assassinated last month, the Turkish press said the United States was behind the attack. And once again, after a gunman walked into an Istanbul nightclub early on New Year’s Day and killed dozens, the pro-government news media pointed a finger at the United States. “America Chief Suspect,” one headline blared after the attack. On Twitter, a Turkish lawmaker, referring to the name of the nightclub, wrote: “Whoever the triggerman is, Reina attack is an act of CIA. Period.”

 

Turkey has been confronted with a cascade of crises that seem to have only accelerated as the Syrian civil war has spilled across the border. But the events have not pushed Turkey closer to its NATO allies. Conversely, they have drifted further apart as the nation lashes out at Washington and moves closer to Moscow, working with the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, to secure a cease-fire in Syria.

 

One story in the Turkish press, based on a routine travel warning issued by the American Embassy in Turkey, was that the United States had advance knowledge of the nightclub attack, which the Islamic State later claimed responsibility for. Another suggested that stun grenades used by the gunman had come from stocks held by the American military. Still another claimed the assault was a plot by the United States to sow divisions in Turkey between the secular and the religious. Rather than bringing the United States and Turkey together in the common fight against terrorism, the nightclub attack, even with the gunman still on the run, appears to have only accelerated Turkey’s shift away from the West, at a time when its democracy is eroding amid a growing crackdown on civil society.

 

All of this is a reflection, many critics say, of what they call the paranoia and authoritarianism of Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose leadership has so deeply divided the country that, instead of unifying to confront terrorism, Turkish society is fracturing further with each attack. The West, symbolized by the United States, is the perennial bogeyman. While seeming to pile on the Obama administration in its waning days — by accusing it of supporting Turkey’s enemies, including the Islamic State; Kurdish militants; and supporters of an exiled Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen, whom Mr. Erdogan blamed for directing the coup — Turkish officials are also telegraphing something else: that they are willing to open the door and improve relations with the United States once President-elect Donald J. Trump takes office.

 

“Our expectation from the new administration is to end this shame,” Turkey’s prime minister, Binali Yildirim, said this week while accusing the United States of providing weapons to Kurdish militants in Syria who are fighting the Islamic State, but are also an enemy of Turkey. “We are not holding the new administration responsible for this,” Mr. Yildirim said. “Because this is the work of the Obama administration.”

 

Meanwhile, the nightclub assailant is on the loose. The Turkish authorities said on Wednesday that they had identified the killer, but refused to release any other details, although photographs of the man, from surveillance cameras, have been released. Also, a video surfaced that appeared to show the assailant recording himself in Istanbul’s Taksim Square. A senior United States official, who has been briefed on the investigation and spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential details, said the Turks had recovered the video from a raid on a house in Istanbul. The official said the Turks now believed the killer was from Uzbekistan, not Kyrgyzstan, as many reports this week had first suggested. The official expressed alarm at the growing anti-Americanism in Turkey, which seems to accumulate after each crisis here, and said it put the lives of Americans in the country in jeopardy.

 

The chaotic investigation has added to the anxiety on Istanbul’s streets, with vehicle checkpoints, night raids on houses and low-flying helicopters. “There is significant fear in ordinary people,” said Aydin Engin, a columnist at the daily newspaper Cumhuriyet, who was detained last year as part of the government’s crackdown on the news media. “Fear prevails when it comes to going to an entertainment place, being in a crowd, going to a shopping mall, getting on the metro.”

 

With each passing day, public life descends deeper into what many Turks concede is a mix of darkness and seeming absurdity, with growing fears of violence and expressions of xenophobia set next to repressions on civic life. In the days before and after the nightclub massacre on the shores of the Bosporus, nationalists staged a mock execution of Santa Claus in the name of defending Islam; a reporter for The Wall Street Journal was detained, strip-searched and placed in solitary confinement — for, according to the newspaper’s account, “violating a government ban on publication of images from an Islamic State video”; and a well-known fashion designer was beaten up at the Istanbul airport and arrested for his social media posts…

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

                                                                       

Contents

 

TURKEY’S TRUE TRAGEDY IS THE ANTI-ISRAEL TYRANT ERDOGAN

Ruthie Blum

Algemeiner, Dec. 14. 2016 

 

On Sunday, after visiting the Haseki Hospital in Istanbul, where scores of survivors of Saturday night’s twin bombings near the capital city’s Besiktas stadium were being treated for serious injuries, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was surrounded outside by crowds shouting “Allahu akbar” (“God is great”). As funerals began to be held for the 44 people killed in the bombings, most of them police officers, the government declared a national day of mourning, and Erdogan vowed to bring the perpetrators of the latest mass assault in Turkey to justice.

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opened his weekly cabinet meeting that morning by saying, “In the struggle against terrorism there has to be a mutuality in condemnation as well as in thwarting the attacks, and that is Israel’s expectation from all countries it has relations with.” The message he was conveying to Erdogan was harsh, but apt. Though Jerusalem and Ankara have restored diplomatic ties after a six-year split — with the incoming Turkish emissary’s arrival in Tel Aviv virtually coinciding with the attack — relations between the two are cold.

 

Erdogan is an Islamist tyrant, who has spent the past 14 years transforming the previously democratic country into his personal fiefdom, incarcerating anyone he deems a threat to his rule. This practice burst into full flower following the failed coup attempt against him in July, which some believe he orchestrated for the purpose of legitimizing his sweeping oppression. Nor are his repeated declarations about combating terrorism anything more than propaganda. He has illustrated in word and deed that he is selective about which groups he believes need eradicating and which others are worth bolstering. So, while joining the West in fighting Islamic State thugs, he boasts a close partnership with Hamas, the equally vicious murder machine that controls the Gaza Strip, and the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s outlawed terrorist organization.

 

Indeed, it was his instigation of the attempt to break Israel’s naval blockade on Gaza that precipitated the Turkey-Israel schism. This was only bridged when Israel conceded to a list of utterly unjust and draconian demands, including $20 million “compensation” to the families of the perpetrators killed and injured on the Mavi Marmara ship by IDF commandos who shot at their assailants in self-defense.

 

In August, a month after the attempted coup in Turkey, a Qassam rocket struck a yard in the southern Israeli city of Sderot. Though the attack was committed by a different terrorist group, Israel made good on its oft-repeated promise to hold Hamas responsible for any such activity emanating from Gaza, and bombarded a number of targets in the terrorist-run enclave. The rocket attack and retaliatory strike took place two days after the Turkish parliament ratified the rapprochement agreement with Israel reached in June. Nevertheless, Erdogan’s Foreign Ministry ripped into Israel, “strongly condemning” its “disproportionate attacks, unacceptable whatever prompted them.”

 

“The normalization of our country’s relations with Israel does not mean we will stay silent in the face of such attacks against the Palestinian people,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s statement read. Israel’s Foreign Ministry shot back: “The normalization of our relations with Turkey does not mean that we will remain silent in the face of its baseless condemnations. Israel will continue to defend its civilians from all rocket fire on our territory, in accordance with international law and our conscience. Turkey should think twice before criticizing the military actions of others.”

 

As if to prove that he never “thinks twice” before engaging in hypocrisy and brutality, Erdogan launched a full-fledged military operation in the town of Jarablus, along the Turkey-Syria border, three days later. The purpose of the operation, code-named “Euphrates Shield,” was to wrest the area from Islamic State terrorists and Syria-based Kurdish militias affiliated with insurgents in Turkey. That the Kurds were also fighting Islamic State, and receiving U.S. aid to do so, was of no interest to Erdogan, who views them as a danger to his reign. This is why his first reaction to Saturday night’s carnage was to blame the Kurds and their “Western” backers. His second was to impose a ban on news coverage of the event, and arrest a number of people who posted comments about it on social media. This is but one tiny example of Erdogan’s lack of genuine desire to stomp out terrorism.

 

Another was apparent at the end of last month. A week before Israel’s new ambassador to Turkey, Eitan Na’eh, presented his credentials in Ankara, Istanbul hosted the first annual conference of the association of “Parliamentarians for Al-Quds.” During the two-day gathering, Erdogan said, “Policies of oppression, deportation and discrimination have been increasingly continuing against our Palestinian brothers since 1948. Actually, I am of the belief that the Palestinian issue serves as a litmus test for the UN Security Council.”

 

Erdogan’s statement was a milder version of what he had said several days earlier, in an interview with Israel’s Channel 2: “I don’t agree with what Hitler did and I also don’t agree with what Israel did in Gaza,” he told interviewer Ilana Dayan. “Therefore there’s no place for comparison in order to say what’s more barbaric.” Erdogan’s open assertion that the establishment of the Jewish state is responsible for its “Nazi-like” response to decades of Palestinian-Arab terrorism tells us all we need to know about his true attitude towards the slaughter of innocent people. It is he who is Turkey’s greatest tragedy.

 

 

Contents

                    

                     TURKEY'S "LONG ARM" IN EUROPE                

         Burak Bekdil

                                                  Gatestone Institute, Jan. 1, 2016

 

Officially, Turkey's General Directorate for Religious Affairs (Diyanet in Turkish) has a mission about offering institutional religious services independent of all political ideologies. In practice, Diyanet's understanding of "offering institutional religious services" can be different from what the term should mean. Recently, the office of Istanbul's mufti, an official of Diyanet, described the location of a mosque as "… it was [in the past] a filthy Jewish and Christian neighbourhood." After press coverage, the depiction was removed from the web page.

 

Diyanet's "institutional religious services" may sometimes even overlap with what in other countries people call intelligence. In a briefing for a parliamentary commission, Diyanet admitted that it gathered intelligence via imams from 38 countries on the activities of suspected followers of the US-based preacher Fetullah Gülen, whom the Turkish government accused of being the mastermind of the attempted coup on July 15. As if it is the most normal thing in the world, Diyanet said its imams gathered intelligence and prepared reports from Abkhazia, Germany, Albania, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Japan, Montenegro, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Kosovo, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mongolia, Mauritania, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Turkmenistan and Ukraine.

 

After several other political absurdities, Turkey has finally won the title of having the world's first spook-imams — and that is official. This is unnerving for many European countries hosting millions of Turks. In October, a Turkish-German political scientist, Burak Copur, warned that growing support for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan could lead to Germans of Turkish descent creating a violent Turkish nationalist movement. In July, Cem Ozdemir, an ethnic Turk and leader of Germany's Greens Party, warned of the influence of the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB), which he claimed took its funding and its orders directly from Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP). A similar statement was made the month before by integration commissioner Aydan Ozoguz.

 

The Dutch government has warned people about "agent imams" from Turkey, and has solicited complaints about malfeasance. The Netherlands also said it would challenge every instance of the "long arm" of Ankara extending to its territory, after a report that the Turkish embassy had sent home many Dutch Turks who might have sympathized with July's failed coup. Turkey's ambassador to The Hague was summoned after reports that a Diyanet official acknowledged he had compiled a list of "Gülenists".

 

Germany was less diplomatic in expressing its discontent about Turkish spies. Earlier in December, German police arrested a 31-year-old Turkish man suspected of providing information on Kurds living in Germany to Turkish intelligence agencies, according to the German federal prosecutor's office. A statement from the office said: "The accused is strongly suspected of working for the Turkish intelligence agency and providing information about Kurds living in Germany, including their whereabouts, contacts and political activities". Turkey is exporting its political wars and tensions to Europe. That is not a good sign for the Old Continent.

 

Contents

                    

             “ISLAMOPHOBIA” MOTIONS IN PARLIAMENT SEEN AS THREAT TO FREE SPEECH

 

The Government of Canada is proceeding to address unproven increases in instances of “Islamophobia” while calling for countering unsubstantiated charges of “systemic racism and religious discrimination”. This issue was originally tabled in Parliament in the form of a House of Commons “E” petition (e-411) by Thomas Mulcair, leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada. The petition called for the condemnation of “all forms of Islamophobia” and received UNANIMOUS consent by Canadian Members of Parliament on 26 October, 2016. This was followed in rapid-fire fashion by a second motion sponsored by Iqra Khalid, Member of Parliament from Mississauga Erin-Mills. The first initiative was progressed with little public input and scant interest displayed by the media at-large. The second motion was tabled on 01 December, 2016 and called for the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage to produce related findings and recommendations within 240 calendar days of the motion’s acceptance…

 

Given the current Government’s stated goal of obtaining a seat at the United Nations Security Council, pressures from within and outside the country from powerful Islamic lobby groups and the Government’s demonstrated proclivity to progress the “Islamophobia” initiative with undue haste and in the absence of evidence, there is a real risk that the fundamental right to “free speech” by all Canadians will be unnecessarily curtailed to accommodate the sensibilities of a specialized group….No such breach of the rights of Canadian citizens (should) be countenanced…all Canadians’…fundamental right to free speech (should be) preserved.                                                                                                                        

[To review the resolutions, and the petition related to them, click the following link—Ed.]

 

Contents           

 

On Topic Links

 

ISIS’s Jihad on Turkey: Roy Gutman, Daily Beast, Jan. 2, 2017—Ten days before the New Year's attack on an Istanbul night club for which the so-called Islamic State now claims responsibility,  it posted a grisly video on social media showing its forces burning two Turkish soldiers alive—and coupled it with a warning of worse atrocities to come.

Turkey Brandishes Incirlik Card to Threaten US: Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor, Jan. 4, 2017—Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu renewed calls today for Washington to sever ties with the Syrian Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the top ally of the US-led coalition against the Islamic State, and to provide air support to Turkish forces fighting to dislodge the jihadists from the Syrian town of al-Bab.

How Istanbul Nightclub Attack was Linked to Turkey’s Culture War: Mustafa Akyol, Al-Monitor, Jan. 4, 2017—On New Year’s Eve, many Turks, including myself, were hoping to begin a less bloody and less depressing year than 2016. It took only one hour and 15 minutes, however, for 2017 to present its first carnage. A lone gunman, later identified as a militant of the Islamic State (IS), entered Reina, one of Istanbul’s top nightclubs, and killed 39 people who were celebrating the New Year. He also triggered a deep fault line in Turkish society between the more secular, Westernized Turks, and more traditional Islamic ones.

Turkey’s Genocidal Shame: Robert Fulford, National Post, Sept. 16, 2016 —A question Adolf Hitler once asked still haunts the history of political atrocities: “Who remembers the Armenians today?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.   

                                                           

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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.