Tag: West


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





                                                            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.






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.]





                                     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.]                







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!



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.’

















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





                                                            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.




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.]







                                                   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.]    






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.]




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.

















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





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.






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.                                  




                               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.       






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.]




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.





















Obama aux Palestiniens: 

Accepter l'Etat juif

Daniel Pipes

The Washington Times, 
26 mars 2013

Adaptation française: Anne-Marie Delcambre de Champvert


Un changement majeur dans la politique américaine a été négligé dans le flot de nouvelles au sujet de la visite mouvementée de cinquante heures de Barack Obama en Israël, la semaine dernière. C'est probablement la demande que les Palestiniens reconnaissent Israël comme Etat juif, qualifiée par le dirigeant du Hamas Salah Bardawil "la déclaration la plus dangereuse [jamais faite] par un président américain au sujet de la question palestinienne."


Tout d'abord, quelques informations sur le passé: les documents fondateurs d'Israël ont visé à faire du pays un Etat juif  Le sionisme moderne a effectivement commencé avec la publication en 1896 du livre de Theodor Herzl, Der Judenstaat («L'État juif»). La Déclaration de Balfour de 1917 préfère dire «un foyer national pour le peuple juif». La résolution 181 de l'Assemblée générale des Nations Unies de 1947, divisant la Palestine en deux, mentionne l'expression l'Etat juif 30 fois. La Déclaration d'établissement d'Israël de 1948 mentionne l'Etat juif 5 fois, comme dans " nous …déclarons solennellement la création d'un Etat juif en Eretz-Israël [terre d'Israël (NDLT)], destiné à être connu comme l'Etat d'Israël."


En raison de ce lien très étroit [Israël-juif (NDLT)], lorsque la diplomatie israélo-arabe a véritablement commencé dans les années 1970, la formulation Etat juif a en grande partie été perdue de vue; tout le monde a simplement supposé que la reconnaissance diplomatique d'Israël signifiait l'acceptation de l'Etat juif. Ce n'est que dans ces dernières années que les Israéliens ont réalisé, par ailleurs, que les Arabes israéliens en étaient venus à accepter Israël, mais à rejeter sa nature juive. Par exemple, une importante publication en 2006 du Centre Mossawa à Haïfa, La vision pour l'avenir des Arabes palestiniens en Israël, propose que le pays devienne un État religieusement neutre et une patrie commune. En bref, les Arabes israéliens sont venus à considérer Israël comme une variante de la Palestine.


Eveillé à ce glissement linguistique, remporter l'acceptation par les Arabes d'Israël ne suffisait plus; les Israéliens et leurs amis ont compris qu'il fallait insister sur l'acceptation explicite des Arabes d'Israël comme Etat juif. En 2007, le Premier ministre israélien Ehud Olmert a annoncé que si les Palestiniens ne le faisaient pas, la diplomatie serait interrompue: «Je n'ai pas l'intention de transiger en aucune manière sur la question de l'Etat juif», a t-il souligné. L' Autorité palestinienne a immédiatement et unanimement rejeté cette demande. Son chef, Mahmoud Abbas, a répondu: «En Israël, il y a des Juifs et d'autres qui y vivent, c'est ce que nous sommes prêts à reconnaître, rien d'autre.».


Lorsque Binyamin Netanyahou a succédé à Olmert au poste de Premier ministre en 2009, il a réitéré cette demande comme condition préalable à des négociations sérieuses: «Israël espère que les Palestiniens d'abord reconnaîtront Israël comme un Etat juif avant de parler de deux Etats pour deux peuples». Les Palestiniens ont non seulement refusé de changer, mais ils ont ridiculisé l'idée même. Encore une fois, Abbas a dit: «Qu'est-ce qu'un « Etat juif»? Nous l'appelons «l'Etat d'Israël.» Vous pouvez, vous, l'appeler comme vous voulez. Mais je ne vais pas accepter cela…. Ce n'est pas mon boulot de … donner une définition de l'Etat et de ce qu'il renferme. Vous pouvez, vous, l'appeler République sioniste, ou la qualifier de [république] hébraïque, nationale, socialiste, appelez la comme vous voulez, je m'en fous.»


Il y a seulement six semaines, Abbas a de nouveau démoli le concept d'État juif. Le refus palestinien d'un Etat juif ne pouvait pas être plus catégorique. (Pour une compilation de leurs déclarations, voir "Reconnaître Israël comme Etat juif: déclarations" à DanielPipes.org.)

Les politiciens américains, y compris à la fois George W. Bush et Obama, ont depuis 2008 parfois fait référence à Israël comme Etat juif, même s'ils ont soigneusement évité de demander aux Palestiniens de faire de même. Dans une déclaration typique, Obama en 2011 a esquissé le but ultime diplomatique comme «deux Etats pour deux peuples: Israël en tant qu'Etat juif et patrie pour le peuple juif et l'Etat de la Palestine comme la patrie du peuple palestinien».


Puis, dans son discours de Jérusalem la semaine dernière, Obama a subitement et de façon inattendue adopté dans son intégralité la demande israélienne: «Les Palestiniens doivent reconnaître qu'Israël sera un Etat juif.»


Cette phrase ouvre de nouveaux et importants horizons et ne pourra pas facilement être annulée. Elle engage dans la voie d'une politique excellente, car sans une telle reconnaissance, l'acceptation palestinienne d'Israël est vaine, indiquant seulement la volonté d'appeler l'état futur plutôt "Israël" que "Palestine".


Bien que n'étant pas le seul changement dans la politique annoncée lors de la visite d'Obama (l'autre étant de dire aux Palestiniens de ne pas fixer de conditions préalables à des négociations), celui-ci attire plus l'attention parce qu'il enfreint le consensus palestinien. Bardawil peut de façon hyperbolique affirmer que cela «montre qu'Obama a tourné le dos à tous les Arabes», mais ces dix mots, en fait, établissent une volonté de traiter de la question centrale du conflit. Ils seront probablement sa plus importante contribution, la plus durable et la plus constructive à la diplomatie israélo-arabe.


Israël face à la désintégration de la Syrie

et devant l’impuissance occidentale

Freddy Eytan

Le CAPE de Jérusalem, 4 avril 2013


Voilà déjà deux ans que la guerre en Syrie fait rage et personne n’ose se prononcer sur la chute prochaine de Bachar el-Assad et l’avenir du chemin de Damas. Le bilan est désastreux et chaotique, des centaines de milliers de Syriens quittent le pays natal pour échapper à l’hécatombe, à l’enfer arabe. Les destructions, les tortures et les boucheries sont quotidiennes et bestiales. Depuis le déclenchement de la révolte contre le régime on a enregistré des dizaines de milliers de morts et de blessés, dont plus de 600 tués durant le mois dernier.


Le monde occidental observe le carnage quotidien dans le désarroi total. Et pourtant, quand un seul Palestinien est blessé par des tirs de l’armée israélienne, ou un détenu meurt suite à un cancer, les réactions dans la presse internationale sont virulentes et les condamnations des chancelleries affluent de toute part… l’hypocrisie est flagrante, les préjugés sont de routine et souvent pathétiques.


La guerre en Syrie n’est plus une affaire locale mais un enjeu d’une lutte géopolitique pour l’hégémonie de la région. Rappelons que l’Irak voisin est toujours dans une situation précaire. L’invasion américaine, lancée il y a tout juste dix ans, a certes renversé le régime de Saddam Hussein mais n’a pas résolu les graves problèmes. 4 500 soldats américains ont perdu leur vie et plus de 30 000 sont invalides pour avoir voulu instaurer une démocratie qui ne voit pas encore le jour. En Syrie comme en Irak, les groupes djihadistes sèment la panique et la terreur et sont soutenus bizarrement par l’Arabie saoudite et le Qatar. Dans ce combat ethnique focalisé entre chiites et sunnites, et devant des conditions si compliquées et complexes sur le terrain, nous constatons que les Etats-Unis et des pays européens hésitent toujours à soutenir les rebelles et que la Turquie, dont la frontière commune avec la Syrie est de plus de 900 kms, accélère sa normalisation avec Israël.


Désormais, la Russie et l’Iran, d’ailleurs pour des intérêts différents, sont les deux grands adversaires de l’Occident dans cette région du monde. Ils refusent tout compromis dans la crise syrienne et ils continuent à armer et à soutenir les soldats de Bachar el-Assad. 


Devant toutes ces menaces et la crainte d’un embrasement sur le plateau du Golan, l’Etat juif ne peut laisser faire et, d’ores et déjà, prend toutes les mesures et les précautions pour éviter l’escalade et surtout empêcher les djihadistes d’al-Qaïda ou du Hezbollah libanais de s’emparer de la partie syrienne du Golan. Ce plateau stratégique conquis en juin 1967 avec le Mont Hermon a bénéficié d’une accalmie certaine, mais risque en raison de la brusque montée des tensions de redevenir un nouveau champ de bataille, d’autant que les Casques bleus ont réduit leurs effectifs et ne peuvent contrôler les infiltrations et les attaques terroristes et surtout l’acheminement d’armes non conventionnelles.


Dans ce contexte, il est triste de constater que l’Etat d’Israël, à l’approche du Jour de la Shoah et de sa fête nationale, demeure plus que jamais menacé par des ennemis extrémistes et sanguinaires installés au nord comme au sud du pays, et dont le principal objectif est d’anéantir l’Etat juif. Fort heureusement et contrairement aux armées des pays voisins et des Casques bleus de l’ONU, Tsahal est assez puissant pour dissuader toute tentative néfaste et assez fort pour mettre rapidement hors jeu ses adversaires.


L’Egypte dans les sables mouvants

Zvi Mazel

Le CAPE de Jérusalem, 3 avril 2013


Pour les Frères Musulmans le rêve pourrait tourner au cauchemar. Ils se sont battus pendant près d’un siècle pour arriver au pouvoir, ils ont tenu bon malgré les persécutions et sont arrivés à leur but démocratiquement. Et soudain l’économie est en chute libre, l’anarchie gagne du terrain, tandis que la foule scande des slogans réclamant leur départ. Ils font la sourde oreille. Morsi n’a pas l’intention de céder la place. Il a toute la Confrérie derrière lui et ne reculera devant rien pour se maintenir au pouvoir.


L’Egypte est en proie à une crise économique, sociale et politique d’une telle ampleur qu’une guerre civile pourrait éclater à tout moment. Certes, de l’avis général, l’armée interviendrait pour éviter le pire ; seulement une telle intervention ne réglerait pas grand-chose et le pays aurait besoin de longs mois, sinon d’années, pour sortir du gouffre et retrouver un gouvernement civil accepté par tous. Les lois ne sont plus respectées ; à Port Saïd la police a déserté les rues et c’est l’armée qui assure l’ordre. Partout dans le pays des citoyens s’adressent aux tribunaux pour leur demander de nommer comme président par intérim le très populaire ministre de la défense, Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi. Des demandes qui n’ont aucune chance d’aboutir mais traduisent l’exaspération croissante des Egyptiens. D’ailleurs les manifestations se multiplient tant au Caire que dans le reste du pays. Les supporters des Frères y répliquent de façon musclée et on compte déjà une centaine de morts et des milliers de blessés. Pourtant, d’un côté comme de l’autre on essaie de limiter les dégâts – pour le moment. L’opposition reste unie, ce qui est une grande première en Egypte. Les partis non islamiques regroupés sous la bannière du Front de Salut National refusent tout dialogue avec le régime tant que la constitution islamique ne sera pas annulée et qu’un gouvernement neutre n’aura pas été constitué pour superviser les élections.


Les premières élections libres avaient donné aux Frères une solide majorité au parlement et amené leur candidat à la présidence mais la désillusion est à la hauteur des espérances du peuple. Rien n’a été fait pour améliorer leur sort. Morsi s’était engagé à régler cinq problèmes urgents dans les cent premiers jours de son mandat : l’insécurité grandissante, les embouteillages monstres de la capitale, le manque de pétrole et de gaz de cuisine, le manque de pain subventionné et enfin les piles d’ordures accumulées dans les rues. Il a échoué sur tous les plans. Il a essayé d’assumer le pouvoir législatif et de s’arroger l’immunité totale pour ses actes et a du faire marche arrière devant le tollé provoqué. Outrepassant ses prérogatives, il a démis de ses fonctions le procureur général et en a nommé un autre à sa place – mesure sanctionnée la semaine dernière par la Cour de Cassation. Pour prendre ces mesures aussi illégales qu’impopulaires, il n’a consulté aucun de ses conseillers, se contentant, selon des personnes bien informées, d’obéir aux instructions du Guide Suprême du mouvement des Frères Musulmans et de son équipe qui seraient les véritables dirigeants du pays.


Alors le mécontentement enfle. Les élections aux syndicats des étudiants à travers le pays ont vu l’échec des candidats des Frères et le triomphe des indépendants. Pire, c’est Dia Rashwan, le directeur du Centre Al-Ahram des Etudes Stratégiques, un opposant à la Confrérie, qui a été élu président de l’influent syndicat des journalistes. Les jeunes et les élites font désormais front commun contre les Frères et descendent dans la rue avec les masses qui ont perdu leur peur du régime. Un régime qui poursuit pourtant imperturbablement son chemin, nommant encore et encore ses hommes partout, du niveau national aux niveaux régional et local, assurant au président le contrôle du maintien de l’ordre et de la distribution de nourriture – enfin, du peu de nourriture. Morsi avance ses pions. Pour la première fois depuis Nasser, l’Académie militaire vient d’accepter des candidats issus de familles islamiques. Le président égyptien voit loin…


La chambre basse du parlement a été dissoute pour avoir été élue dans des élections marquées par la fraude. Qu’à cela ne tienne, Morsi a conféré le pouvoir législatif à la chambre haute, la Shura. Une mesure théoriquement destinée à parer à l’urgence. Qu’importe : tablant sur l’écrasante majorité islamique – 80% de Frères et de Salafistes – Morsi fait passer des lois censées régir les prochaines élections, limitant le droit de grève et le droit de manifester. Il planche aussi sur une loi très stricte concernant les ONG, dont le véritable objectif est de donner une existence légale à la Confrérie, un mouvement mis hors la loi par Nasser. Il faut dire que le conseil consultatif de la Haute Cour administrative venait de recommander la dissolution de ce mouvement, toujours illégal. En 48 heures le projet de loi était prêt ; il attend maintenant l’aval de la Cour. Rappelons que le mouvement refuse depuis sa création de rendre publique la liste de ses membres et ses sources de financement, deux conditions essentielles pour l’enregistrement de l’organisation.


Tandis que les organisations féministes manifestent contre les violences infligées aux femmes et contre les fatwas encourageant ces violences, le site officiel de la Confrérie condamne la résolution récente de l’ONU sur les droits de la femme comme « contraire à la Sharia ».


Alors que les manifestations de rues prennent de l’ampleur le président reste étrangement silencieux, comme s’il préférait faire le dos rond en espérant que les opposants se lassent ou abandonnent ayant perdu tout espoir de faire bouger le régime. Rien ne permet de croire qu’il a raison ; les affrontements autour du siège du mouvement au Caire ont pris une telle ampleur – avec leur cortège de blessés – que le président a pris la parole pour condamner « les voyous » et les menacer. Une déclaration qui a encore exacerbé les violences.


Pendant ce temps l’hémorragie des réserves de devises se poursuit faute d’investissements et de touristes ; il n’y aura bientôt plus assez d’argent pour importer pétrole et nourriture, d’autant que l’Etat consacre un quart de son budget à subventionner ces produits essentiels. Le Qatar, l’Arabie Saoudite et la Libye ont eu beau offrir une aide considérable, elle a servi à couvrir importations et subventions. Les indispensables réformes économiques sont encore à l’étude ; or c’est là une des conditions posées par le Fonds monétaire international pour octroyer à l’Egypte le prêt de 4,8 milliards dont le pays a désespérément besoin. Autre pierre d’achoppement, les cercles islamiques s’opposent au paiement d’intérêts, interdit par la Sharia. Tant que cette question ne sera pas résolue, les pays occidentaux ne prêteront pas d’argent à l’Egypte.


Les pannes d’électricité se multiplient, les files d’attente devant les stations d’essence et de distribution des bouteilles de gaz de cuisine s’allongent, le pain subventionné se fait rare, le départ des touristes aggrave le chômage. Le peuple murmure et les émeutes de la faim ne sont peut-être pas loin. Les Frères, encore éblouis d’une réussite obtenue après un siècle de lutte, n’ont pas l’air de s’en émouvoir. Alors partisans et opposants du régime continuent à s’affronter sans s’apercevoir que les sables mouvants pourraient les engloutir.








Guy Millière

menapress.org, 16 septembre 2012


Nous assistons présentement à l’implosion généralisée du monde musulman, à un isolement croissant d’Israël face à ses ennemis, soigneusement orchestré par l’administration Obama, et à un déferlement de lâcheté dans l’ensemble du monde occidental.


Un monde où les grands media voudraient faire croire que tout cela vient, d’une part, de l’intransigeance belliciste de Binyamin Netanyahu et, d’autre part, d’une vidéo antimusulmane mise en ligne sur Youtube au mois de juillet dernier. 


Comme si les dirigeants iraniens n’avançaient pas effectivement vers l’arme atomique, et comme si la rage islamique avait besoin de prétextes, disponibles sur Internet depuis longtemps, pour tuer.


Le gouvernement canadien, en prenant, la semaine dernière, la décision de rompre ses relations diplomatiques avec l’Iran, a illustré, face à ce contexte absolument navrant, ce que pouvait être la voie du courage et de la dignité. Elle est en cela importante, et pourrait engendrer des effets et des conséquences.

De fait, les arguments avancés par le Canada pour prendre cette décision sont, en soi,

difficiles à contourner. La déclaration de John Baird, chef de la diplomatie canadienne, accuse explicitement l’Iran de financer le terrorisme islamique international.


Baird précise qu’il n’est pas possible de prétendre lutter efficacement contre ce fléau tout en abritant l’ambassade d’un régime qui le finance ; avec, parmi ses cadres, des gens bénéficiant de l’immunité diplomatique pouvant, dans ces conditions, entretenir des liens avec des entités terroristes.
La question du maintien de relations diplomatiques entre les autres pays occidentaux et le régime en place à Téhéran peut être posée bien plus explicitement : le raisonnement du Canada ne devrait-il pas valoir pour tous les Etats civilisés ? Comment des gouvernements de pays qui affirment lutter contre le terrorisme peuvent-ils justifier la présence sur leur sol d’ambassades d’un pays concourant au terrorisme islamique mondial ? Et celle de personnes travaillant pour ce régime ?
Le maintien de relations diplomatiques avec tout Etat pratiquant la complaisance vis-à-vis du terrorisme, ou avec toute entité contribuant à ce dernier, soulève une autre question. Au minimum, vraiment au minimum, des pays qui affirment lutter contre le terrorisme devraient user de la diplomatie pour signifier, de manière claire, nette et abrupte, ce qu’ils refusent.


Les arguments fournis par le gouvernement canadien peuvent servir de base pour que des journalistes authentiques interrogent à ce sujet les dirigeants des pays concernés, et ne se contentent plus de réponses évasives. On peut, bien sûr, se demander s’il existe encore de tels journalistes. Au vu de la lâcheté susdite, l’on peut en douter. La balle est dans leur camp [et elle le restera. Ndlr.].


De fait, encore, la décision des responsables du pays à la feuille d’érable montre qu’Israël n’est pas, malgré les efforts de l’administration Obama, totalement isolé sur la scène internationale, et que les inquiétudes légitimes du gouvernement hébreu et de Binyamin Netanyahu concernant le danger constitué par le régime iranien et le terrorisme islamique rencontrent quelques oreilles attentives.
John Baird ne parle pas, dans sa décision, de la quête de l’arme nucléaire par les Perses : en mettant l’accent sur le terrorisme, il insiste sur ce qui rend absolument inacceptable l’accession du régime iranien à l’arme nucléaire. Non seulement un Iran nucléaire constituerait un danger pour Israël et une déstabilisation régionale majeure, mais la dictature chiite pourrait, de plus, fournir des matériaux radioactifs à des groupes terroristes, permettant ainsi à ceux-ci de réaliser des attentats avec « bombes sales ».
Comme ne cesse de le répéter Jérusalem, l’acquisition par l’Iran de la bombe atomique, et la mise à disposition du nucléaire au service du terrorisme islamique, constituent des menaces majeures et planétaires, que le monde occidental dans son ensemble ne peut pas se permettre de prendre à la légère.


Peut-on se contenter de sanctions, même renforcées, face au régime iranien, sans pour autant sous-estimer la menace ? L’Occident peut-il se limiter à mener des négociations, dont il est absolument évident qu’elles ne servent qu’à permettre au régime iranien de gagner du temps ? Les Etats développés peuvent-ils prétendre indéfiniment que la menace pesant sur Israël ne les concerne pas eux aussi, et très directement ? Peuvent-ils faire comme s’ils ne voyaient pas la conjugaison du nucléaire iranien avec le terrorisme islamique ?
Là encore, de « vrais » journalistes devraient interroger les dirigeants des pays concernés et ne pas se contenter des réponses qu’ils leur soumettent habituellement.


Enfin, s’il est un pays où la décision du Canada de rompre ses relations diplomatiques avec l’Iran pourrait avoir un impact, c’est bien son voisin immédiat. Les Etats-Unis se trouvent au milieu d’une campagne électorale, qui conduira, le 6 novembre prochain, à la réélection ou à la non-réélection de Barack Obama. Le score s’annonce très serré.
Israël, je l’ai déjà écrit, représente l’un des enjeux de la campagne, car les positions de Mitt Romney et de son adversaire sur le sujet sont éloignées à l’extrême. Des observateurs, à Washington, soupçonnent même le président-candidat – avec de très bonnes raisons à cela – d’être prêt, après avoir isolé Israël, à sacrifier ce dernier sur l’autel de relations plus apaisées avec un monde musulman basculant, frénétiquement, vers l’islam radical.


L’Iran constitue aussi l’un des enjeux de la campagne. Obama peut-il feindre indéfiniment de ne pas discerner tout à la fois le clair et présent danger constitué par l’accession du régime iranien à la bombe nucléaire et par le rôle actif de l’Iran dans le terrorisme planétaire ? Peut-il se contenter des réponses affligeantes de simplisme qu’il apporte actuellement à l’éruption de rage islamique ?
Le président des Etats-Unis est le Commander-in-chief (commandant en chef des armées) ; l’une de ses missions essentielles consiste à veiller à la sécurité du pays. Si j’étais Mitt Romney, je mettrais plus nettement encore Obama au pied du mur, concernant Israël comme concernant l’Iran, le nucléaire, le terrorisme, la rage islamique, et je lui demanderais si ce qu’ont décidé les responsables canadiens ne pourrait pas inciter le gouvernement US à adopter une posture plus précise et plus déterminée sur ces points.


Barack Obama ne peut plus arguer que l’ensemble du monde occidental tient des positions aussi ambiguës que les siennes aujourd’hui, car l’un de ces pays, qui plus est son allié traditionnel le plus proche et le plus fidèle, est sorti très explicitement de l’ambiguïté.



Dore Gold
Le Cape de Jérusalem, 19 septembre 2012


La modification in extremis du programme  démocrate américain sur la question de Jérusalem capitale de l’Etat d’Israël soulève des interrogations sur le traitement du sujet au fil des années.
Récemment les projecteurs ont été braqués sur la convention du parti démocrate réunie à Charlotte en Caroline du nord. Contrairement aux   trois programmes présidentiels précédents, la question de Jérusalem comme capitale d’Israël a été omise délibérément. Tandis que le sénateur Newyorkais, Charles Schoumer, critiquait cette omission, d’autres responsables du parti déclaraient qu’il s’agissait simplement   »d’une erreur technique »… En fin de compte, la charte démocrate a été rectifiée suite aux consignes du président Barak Obama, critiqué sévèrement et mis sur la sellette par le candidat républicain Mitt Romney.


S’agit-il vraiment d’un oubli? D’une erreur technique? Car comment expliquer que la modification a suscité tant de divergences au sein du parti démocrate et pourquoi fallait-il avoir l’approbation de toute l’Assemblée par trois votes consécutifs pour pouvoir obtenir la majorité des deux tiers nécessaires.  Cela s’est passé en direct, et les caméras de télévision ont zoomé sur  l’un des délégués manifestant sa colère et portant une chemise sur laquelle était inscrite une inscription en arabe…
Aucun journaliste n’a posé la question fondamentale: pourquoi le parti démocrate a modifié le texte de l’article sur le statut de Jérusalem; Pensaient-ils que la question n’aurait-elle pas d’impact durant la campagne et qu’en fait certains gouvernements israéliens étaient même prêts à diviser la ville dans le cadre d’un règlement définitif.
En réalité nous constatons au fil des ans une certaine érosion de la part des Etats Unis concernant leur position sur l’avenir de Jérusalem et cela concerne les deux grands partis. Les vétérans du parti démocrate n’étaient-ils pas conscients de la situation?  Ne savaient-ils pas que la question de Jérusalem avait déjà affecté significativement la campagne électorale de Jimmy Carter alors qu’il briguait un deuxième mandat?  Rappelons les faits: le 1er mars 1980, le Conseil de Sécurité de l’ONU  approuve la résolution 465. Celle-ci condamnait fermement la construction des implantations et avait appelé à les démanteler en se référant bizarrement sur les nouveaux quartiers juifs construits à Jérusalem. Contrairement au traditionnel veto des Etats- Unis,  l’ambassadeur américain à l’ONU, Donald McHenry, avait approuvé cette résolution, ce qui provoqua une tempête politique aux Etats Unis…En dépit des explications « techniques » de l’administration américaine sur les différents projets de proposition avant le vote, la communauté juive n’a pu oublier ce revers concernant la question de Jérusalem au Conseil de sécurité, et ainsi lors des élections présidentielles c’est bien le candidat du parti républicain, Ronald Reagan, qui remporta la victoire. Jimmy Carter avait obtenu le taux le plus bas des voix juives en comparaison aux autres candidats démocrates. Le message de la communauté  juive sur l’importance de Jérusalem fut sans équivoque et bien clair.
Certes, la campagne présidentielle actuelle n’est pas celle de 1980, et pourtant selon des sondages dirigés par Marvin Warbitt pour le compte du Comité juif américain –(AIC) à la question sempiternelle:
« Dans le cadre d’un règlement permanent avec les Palestiniens, pensez-vous qu’Israël  se contenterait de Jérusalem ville unifiée sous souveraineté israélienne? » En 2001, 44% avaient répondu favorablement pour un nouveau partage de Jérusalem contre 50% qui se sont opposés. En 2010, seulement 35% ont répondu favorablement à la question du partage de Jérusalem tandis que  60% se sont opposés farouchement à tout compromis. Ces résultats révèlent que Jérusalem unifiée demeure importante dans les esprits des Juifs américains et que « Jérusalem unifiée » a toujours obtenu le soutien traditionnel des  démocrates comme des républicains. La fameuse loi exigeant que l’ambassade des Etats-Unis soit transférée à Jérusalem reconnaissant  ainsi l’unité de Jérusalem capitale de l’Etat juif sous souveraineté israélienne  a été présentée en 1990 au Congrès conjointement par les chefs des deux grands Partis, démocrate et républicain.
Dans ce contexte, Il est fort important que l’administration actuelle et le parti démocrate se souviennent du passé et du soutien inconditionnel des deux partis sur l’avenir du statut de Jérusalem. Dans l’espoir que les « erreurs » commises lors de la dernière convention démocrate ne se répèteront plus jamais.



Daniel Pipes
The Boston Herald, 13 septembre 2012
Adaptation française: Anne-Marie Delcambre de Champvert


Les attaques de mardi contre les missions américaines au Caire et à Benghazi s'inscrivent dans un schéma familier d'intimidations islamistes et d'apaisement de l'Occident qui remontent à l'affaire Salman Rushdie en 1989. La réponse veule [* littéralement "supine" qui vient du latin supinus, couché sur le dos (NDLT)] de l'administration Obama à l'assassinat des diplomates américains augmente la probabilité d'autres agressions de ce genre.


La crise Rushdie a éclaté soudainement quand le chef de l'Iran, l'ayatollah Khomeiny, a émis une condamnation à mort d'un romancier pour avoir écrit un roman réaliste magique, Les Versets sataniques, déclarant que le livre était "contre l'Islam, le Prophète et le Coran." Cet incident a été suivi par une longue liste d'agressions similaires – concernant une frise sculptée du prophète Mahomet , la frise de la cour suprême des USA en 1997, un dirigeant évangélique américain Jerry Falwell en 2002, Newsweek en 2005, les caricatures danoises en 2006, le pape Benoît XVI également en 2006, le prédicateur de Floride Terry Jones en 2010, et les soldats américains en Afghanistan au début de 2012. Dans chacun de ces cas, ce qui est perçu comme insulte à l'islam conduit à des actes de violence, parfois contre les Occidentaux mais le plus souvent parmi les musulmans eux-mêmes.
En effet, l'incident de 2010 a causé quelque 19 morts en Afghanistan, ce qui incite David Goldman, alors au magazine First Things, à observer qu' «un fou ayant une allumette et une copie du Coran peut faire plus de dégâts dans le monde musulman qu'un bus rempli de kamikazes pour des attentats-suicide….». Quelle est la valeur monétaire des dégâts causés par une édition de poche usagée du Coran? " Goldman a spéculé sur la façon dont les services de renseignement pourraient s'inspirer de Jones et, pour quelques dollars, semer l'anarchie généralisée.
Jusqu'à présent, le spasme de violence de 2012 a donné lieu à quatre morts américains, avec plus peut-être qui vont suivre. Jones (avec sa "journée internationale du jugement de Mahomet" ) et Sam Bacile (qui peut-être n'existe pas, mais est accusé d'avoir créé la vidéo anti-islamique qui a principalement inspiré cette violence de ce 11 septembre 2012) peuvent non seulement causer des décès à volonté, mais ils peuvent aussi mettre des bâtons dans les roues des relations américano-égyptiennes et même devenir un critère déterminant dans une élection présidentielle américaine.


Quant au gouvernement Obama: en agissant avec son [désir d']apaisement et son mode apologétique habituels, il a fait retomber la faute sur les critiques envers l'islam. "L'ambassade des Etats-Unis au Caire condamne les efforts continus déployés par des individus malavisés pour heurter les convictions religieuses des musulmans …. Nous rejetons fermement les actions commises par ceux qui abusent du droit universel à la liberté d'expression pour blesser les convictions religieuses d'autrui." La secrétaire d'Etat américaine Hillary Clinton ("Les Etats-Unis déplorent tout effort en vue de dénigrer les croyances religieuses d'autrui») et Barack Obama («les États-Unis rejettent les efforts visant à dénigrer les croyances religieuses d'autrui») ont confirmé le mouvement de [lâche] recul initial.
Le candidat présidentiel républicain Mitt Romney à juste titre a rétorqué que «C'est scandaleux que la première réponse de l'administration Obama ne fut pas de condamner les attaques effectuées contre nos missions diplomatiques, mais de sympathiser avec ceux qui ont mené les attaques." Cet argument a des implications très importantes, non pas tant pour les élections (l'Iran est la question clé de politique étrangère là) mais parce qu'une telle faiblesse incite les islamistes à attaquer à nouveau, à la fois pour faire cesser définitivement la critique de l'islam et imposer un aspect de la charia, ou loi islamique, à l'occident.
Terry Jones, Sam Bacile et leurs imitateurs futurs savent comment aiguillonner les musulmans pour les pousser à la violence, embarrasser les gouvernements occidentaux, et faire bouger l'histoire. En réponse, les islamistes savent exploiter Jones, et les autres. Le seul moyen d'arrêter ce cycle est pour les gouvernements de se tenir fermement à ce principe: «Les citoyens ont la liberté d'expression, ce qui implique notamment le droit d'insulter et de gêner. Les autorités protègeront ce droit. Les musulmans ne jouissent pas de privilèges spéciaux, mais sont soumis aux mêmes règles de liberté de parole que tout le monde. Laissez-nous tranquilles. "