Thursday, February 23, 2017

Dershowitz Nails Anti-Semitism



Israel Does Not Cause Anti-Semitism - Alan M. Dershowitz

The view that it is Israel that is causing anti-Semitism is simply wrong. Anyone who hates Jews because they disagree with the policy of Israel would be ready to hate Jews on the basis of any pretext.
    

Has there been growing anti-Chinese feelings around the world as the result of China's occupation of Tibet? Is there growing hatred of Americans of Turkish background because of Turkey's unwillingness to end the conflict in Cyprus? Do Europeans of Russian background suffer bigotry because of Russia's invasion of Crimea? The answer to all these questions is a resounding no. If Jews are the only group that suffers because of controversial policies by Israel, then the onus lies on the anti-Semites rather than on the nation state of the Jewish people.
(Gatestone Institute)
*

BDS Failing




Performers Are Flooding Israel: Sign of Cultural Boycott's Failure
- Itay Stern    

Many top performers have had good runs in Israel in recent years.
  

Guy Besser, one of the owners of Blue Stone Productions, the company bringing over Guns and Roses and Aerosmith, says, "The boycott has only marginal influence on artists, and the ones who do come here leave as goodwill ambassadors."

"After their performance they realize that there is a huge gap between what they were told as part of the pressure they were subjected to and the local reality."
  

"We notice the weakening of the boycott from year to year."
(Ha'aretz)
*

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Saudi - Israel Alliance Comes Out of the Closet

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir

Saudi Foreign Minister: Arab-Israeli Conflict will be Resolved

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir spoke at the 53rd Munich Security Conference today about the option of achieving regional cooperation in order to put an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “I believe that 2017 will be a year when a number of challenges in the Middle East will be resolved,” he said, adding that Saudi Araba is ready to do what is necessary in order to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Al-Jubeir also sounded optimistic about the Trump administration, saying that the US president and Riyadh both want to destroy ISIS and stop Iran from gaining too much power. “Iran remains the single main sponsor of terrorism in the world,” al-Jubeir said. “It’s determined to upend the order in the Middle East.”

Shortly before al-Jubeir spoke, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman called on the Arab world to help put an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “The Palestinians do not have a capacity to sign a final status agreement with Israel,” he said. “It is possible only as a part of [an] all regional solution. We must sign simultaneously a regional solution with the Arab world and [the] Palestinians.”
[Jerusalem Online]


Saudi Arabia, Israel Present United Front Against Iran
- John Irish and Andrea Shalal

Saudi Arabia and Israel both called for a new push against Iran, signaling a growing alignment in their interests. Their ministers demanded at the Munich Security Conference that Tehran be punished for propping up the Syrian government, developing ballistic missiles, and funding separatists in Yemen.
   

Turkey also joined the de facto united front against Tehran, as Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu criticized an Iranian "sectarian policy" aimed at undermining Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. He added, "It's good that we are now normalizing our relations with Israel." 
(Reuters)


Regional Cooperation with Israel Is Growing - Tamara Zieve

After visits to Morocco and Egypt, Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, stressed the importance of fostering ties between Israel and moderate countries in the region. The Conference of Presidents works to foster closer relations between Israel and countries in Asia, Africa and the Arab world, largely behind the scenes. Hoenlein said there are many other "surprising" countries which have privately expressed interest in increasing cooperation with Israel.

(Jerusalem Post)
*



Nikki Haley Knocks It Out of the Park: VideoBite




 
A poignant video displaying strong US support for Israel. 
We haven't seen anything like this in some time.
 
 
 
Haley's Comet - Editorial

A star is born is our reaction to the first press briefing by the new U.S. ambassador at the UN Nikki Haley. 
(New York Sun)
Full text click HERE

Friday, February 17, 2017

Mistaken for a Jew, Shifts Views on MidEast


  • How a Pro-Palestinian American Reporter Changed His Views on Israel - Hunter Stuart
    In the summer of 2015 I moved to Israel for a year-and-a-half stint freelance reporting in the region. I was very pro-Palestinian. Almost everyone I knew was, viewing Israel as an aggressor, oppressing the poor noble Arabs who are being so brutally denied their freedom.
        It wasn't until the violence became personal that I began to see the Israeli side with greater clarity. When I traveled to the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan for a story, a Palestinian kid pointed at me and shouted "Yehud!" which means "Jew" in Arabic. Immediately, a large group of his friends were running toward me with a terrifying sparkle in their eyes. I shouted at them in Arabic "I'm not Jewish," over and over. I told them in Arabic that I was an American journalist who "loved Palestine." They calmed down after that, but the look in their eyes when they first saw me is something I'll never forget.
        Even the kindest, most educated, upper-class Palestinians reject 100% of Israel - not just the occupation of east Jerusalem and the West Bank. They simply will not be content with a two-state solution and they want the Israelis who live there now to leave. They almost never speak of coexistence; they speak of expulsion, of taking back "their" land. The ongoing desire of Palestinians to wipe Israel off the map is unproductive and backward-looking and the West must be very careful not to encourage it.
        I know a lot of Jewish-Israelis who are willing to share the land with Muslim Palestinians, but for some reason finding a Palestinian who feels the same way was near impossible. If the Palestinians are given their own state in the West Bank, who's to say they wouldn't elect Hamas, an Islamist group committed to Israel's destruction? That's exactly what happened in Gaza in democratic elections in 2006. Having Hamas in control of the West Bank and half of Jerusalem would be suicide for Israel. And no country can be expected to consent to its own destruction. (Jerusalem Post)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Trump Buries Oslo: Warm Greeting for Netanyahu


 
You can see the warmth



The President & Netanyahu followed by Jared & Ivanka Kushner

The Presidential Guest House welcomed Netanyahu with an Israeli flag
(ABC News)

Quote of the week:
"The two-state model is widely viewed as the formula for Middle East peace. But the fact of the matter is that it makes peace impossible to achieve, by holding normal relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors hostage to grandiose peace deals."
-Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post, 2/17/17
 
 
Trump Backs Away from Palestinian State - Peter Baker and Mark Landler
 
President Trump jettisoned two decades of diplomatic orthodoxy by declaring that the U.S. would no longer insist on the creation of a Palestinian state as part of a peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians. Hosting Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel for the first time since becoming president, Trump said he was flexible about how an agreement would look and that he would not be bound by past assumptions. "I'm looking at two-state and one-state" formulations. "I like the one that both parties like. I'm very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one."
(New York Times)
 
 
 
A major takeaway from the Trump-Netanyahu press conference is that differences between the U.S. and Israel will be dealt with very differently - as among friends, not rivals. The jocular tone was significantly different from the heavy, tense tone of most of the Obama-Netanyahu meetings.   

Another major takeaway was Trump's refusal to unequivocally endorse the two-state solution, U.S. policy since President George W. Bush announced support for a Palestinian state in 2002. Trump essentially said that he is open to entertaining ideas and approaches to the diplomatic process other than the ones that have been tried - and have failed - since the Oslo process began in 1993. The third major takeaway is the administration's endorsement of looking at a wider regional diplomatic process, as Netanyahu has been advocating for a number of years.
(Jerusalem Post)
 
 
Those who expected Donald Trump to effect genuine change in Washington still might be waiting for him to take action on some issues, but when it comes to altering existing Middle East policy, the president has not disappointed. With his refusal to specifically endorse a two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, the president has seemingly discarded the idea that has been the bedrock principle of U.S. Middle East diplomacy for the past generation.
 
[T]he president...was endorsing a diplomatic principle: The U.S. cannot impose peace on terms that aren’t accepted by the parties, and we shouldn’t behave in a manner that encourages Palestinians’ ongoing refusal to make peace.
 
The Palestinians believe that pressure from the international community will isolate the Jewish state and make it vulnerable. Trump’s refusal to sanctify the two-state mantra is a warning that if Palestinians want a state, they will not get it by jettisoning negotiations and asking the United Nations to impose terms on Israel — which is how they rewarded Obama for his efforts on their behalf.
 
Trump’s willingness to put pressure on the Palestinians — rather than pointlessly hammering the Israelis as Obama did — actually increases his chances of success, minimal though they may be.
[National Review]
 
 

The Trump administration is in talks with Arab allies about having them form a military alliance that would share intelligence with Israel to help counter their mutual foe, Iran, several Middle Eastern officials said. The alliance would include Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as well as Egypt and Jordan. Other Arab countries could also join. The U.S. would offer military and intelligence support to the alliance.
   
One Arab diplomat said, "Israel's role would likely be intelligence sharing, not training or boots on the ground. They'd provide intelligence and targets. That's what the Israelis are good at." 
(Wall Street Journal)
 
 
 
  • For eight years, President Obama insisted that the Israelis give up the West Bank and part of Jerusalem in order to allow a Palestinian state. He didn't take into account that Palestinian politics and the Hamas-Fatah rivalry made it impossible for them to accept the legitimacy of a Jewish state, no matter where its borders might be located. Obama's approach had the effect of rewarding Palestinian intransigence, which doomed his efforts.
  • Trump sent the opposite message to the Palestinians. His refusal to sanctify the two-state mantra is a warning that if Palestinians want a state, they will not get it by jettisoning negotiations and asking the UN to impose terms on Israel. Trump's willingness to put pressure on the Palestinians - rather than pointlessly hammering the Israelis as Obama did - actually increases his chances of success, minimal though they may be.

  • (National Review)
     
     

    With Netanyahu's visit to the White House, the pressure for a Palestinian state is lessened on Israel, and it's a way of saying to the Palestinians: "You conduct terror. You teach your children to hate. We are not going to reward you in advance with statehood unless you do it in negotiations."
    (Fox News-National Review)
     
     
     
    During the war in Vietnam, the North Vietnamese intention was to conquer South Vietnam, but they spoke of the "Two-State Solution" to disguise their aims and manipulate world public opinion. They adopted a strategy of phases which would enable them to reach their goal by gradual steps.
      
    In the early 1970s, Salah Khalaf led a PLO delegation to Hanoi to learn from the North Vietnamese. There, they met the legendary General Vo Nguyen Giap and political advisors who coached them on presenting their case and changing their image of being terrorists.
      
    Khalaf recounted that the North Vietnamese advised the Palestinians to devote attention to the intermediate stages of their war. "The Politbureau members gave a long expose of the various stages in the Vietnamese People's struggle, explaining why they had had to resign themselves to various concessions, sometimes important ones such as the division of the country into two separate, independent states."
      
    It is still necessary to listen carefully to what the enemy is saying and what he means. We live in a high-technology culture of sound bites, but in order to understand what is wrong here, we must remember the history of this slogan, which was designed from the start to be a swindle. It began as a tool of political warfare, and its purpose never changed.
    (Mosaic-Mida)
    *
     
    UPDATES:
     

    The time has come - indeed it is long past - for the U.S. to tell the Palestinians that they must negotiate with Israel if they want a Palestinian state, and must agree to end the conflict, permanently and unequivocally.
     
    Otherwise, the status quo will continue, and there will be only one state, and that state will be Israel
    (Jerusalem Post)
     
     
    - Rafael Medoff

    At his press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on Feb. 15, President Trump said "the Palestinians have to get rid of" the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish material that appears in PA school texts. "They're taught tremendous hate," he said. "I've seen what they're taught...it starts at a very young age and it starts in the schoolroom."
       
    Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said, "The U.S. government should use all leverage at its disposal to do something about changing the Palestinian schoolbooks, especially when the U.S. provides the Palestinians with over $350 million in aid each year. It's an outrage that the incitement continues." Hoenlein emphasized that "ending the incitement should not be a result of negotiations, but rather must be a prelude to negotiations."
       
    Rabbi Joel Meyers, executive vice president emeritus of Conservative Judaism's Rabbinical Assembly, said, "I am glad President Trump believes it is time for us to become more forceful in our efforts to force change....The road to peace cannot be achieved by teaching hate to generation after generation in school curriculums or by publicly praising killers of Israelis."
       
    Rabbi Dr. Irving (Yitz) Greenberg, former president of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership (CLAL), noted that "the U.S. in the past verbally urged the PA to stop incitement, but there was no enforcement. If this was enforced, it would push the Palestinians to shift from the victimhood mode and start acting like a peace partner." 
    (JNS.org)
    *

    Monday, February 13, 2017

    Drone Selfie: Made in Israel


     
    Drone selfies!

    Europe's "Occupation Hypocracy"

    The Island of Corsica is occupied by France

    Europe’s occupation hypocrisy - Michael Freund

    After Monday’s passage of the law aimed at regulating certain land issues in Judea and Samaria, Israel’s ostensible friends in Europe wasted little time before lambasting the Jewish state in remarkably harsh terms. Mustering all the vitriol at their disposal, which appears to be boundless when the subject is Israel, the leaders of the Continent went on a rhetorical rampage that was as obscene as it was offensive.

    As usual, it was the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, who scaled the heights of hyperbole when she called the law “new and dangerous,” as though resolving land disputes through compensation was an entirely unheard-of concept in modern law. But then Mogherini went further, declaring that “the Israeli parliament has legislated on the legal status of land within occupied territory which is an issue that remains beyond its jurisdiction.”

    The irony of her own statement was apparently lost on her. After all, what “jurisdiction” does Mogherini have to interfere in Israel’s internal affairs, berate its democratically- elected parliament or interpret the legislation it chooses to pass? Other leaders, such as French President Francois Hollande, denounced the legislation, saying it would “open the way to the annexation of the occupied territories,” while the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nikolai Mladenov said that by legislating “in the occupied Palestinian lands,” Israel had crossed “a very thick red line.”

    Well if European and international statesmen really want to have a debate about “occupied territories,” I say: bring it on.

    A good place to start would be with some of Europe’s own colonial relics, which it greedily clings to, like a hung-over hobo grasping a bottle with a few remaining drops of vodka.

    Take, for example, the island of Corsica, whose beautiful beaches, tranquil bays and dense forests conceal an ugly historical act: France’s 1768-69 invasion and annexation of the nascent republic. Despite the passage of nearly 250 years, many Corsicans continue to yearn for greater autonomy or even independence.

    In December 2015, the nationalist Pè a Corsica Party dramatically won the island’s regional elections, coming within just two seats of an outright majority. And opinion polls show that two-thirds of Corsicans want to hold a referendum on independence from France.

    Independence-minded Corsicans say that Paris has been deliberately trying to “Frenchify” the island, subduing its culture and language.

    But when was the last time you heard European leaders, or anyone else for that matter, denouncing France for its “occupied territories”? 

    And then, of course, there is Catalonia, where the regional government plans to hold a referendum on independence in September of this year despite opposition from Spanish authorities. Curiously, however, the Catalonians’ longing for independence doesn’t seem to elicit as much interest in Europe’s capitals as that of the Palestinians, even though the former have a much better case for a state of their own.

    To begin with, there actually was a Catalonian state, albeit briefly, in the 17th century, whereas there has never been an independent Palestine in all of history. And even if one believes the Palestinians have been occupied since 1967, Spain has been occupying Catalonia for more than three centuries. That makes it a longer-running dispute, and justice delayed is justice denied. Moreover, Catalans can legitimately claim to be a nation with its own distinct language; the Palestinian Arabs cannot.

    The list of course goes on, and includes places such as the Falklands.

    It was 35 years ago this April that Britain dispatched a naval task force of more than 100 ships to take the islands back from Argentina, thereby reasserting their century- old colonial occupation.

    More recently, in one of the biggest land-grabs in modern history, Norway cemented its hold on more than 2.7 million square kilometers of Antarctica when it unilaterally declared in June 2015 that its territory in the eastern part of the region extended all the way down to the South Pole. A white paper issued by the Norwegian Foreign Ministry stated openly that “the purpose of annexation was to subdue the land that now lies unclaimed,” and Norway asserts that the land belongs to it because it was there first.

    Oddly, they don’t seem to apply the same logic to Judea and Samaria, where the Jewish presence predates the founding of Islam by over 1,500 years.
    Clearly, when one puts things in historical perspective, Europe’s bellowing about Israel’s “occupied territories” is nothing more than diplomatic duplicity. This is especially true in light of the fact that Judea and Samaria are the ancient heartland of the Jewish people and the cradle of our civilization.

    Unlike many of Europe’s own occupied territories, Israel has every right – morally, historically, theologically and militarily – to be in Judea and Samaria, and so we shall remain.

    So next time the EU decides to holler about the need for “ending the occupation,” Israel should announce that it is sending human rights monitors to Corsica, Catalonia and other such areas, to ensure that the European occupying powers are not trampling on the rights of the indigenous residents.

    And the Jewish state should also start working on some draft UN resolutions denouncing the ongoing European occupation of various parts of land around the world.

    It might sound silly, but instead of constantly being on the defensive, perhaps it is at last time for Israel to give Europe a taste of its own medicine.
    [Jerusalem Post]
    *

    Travel Ban Musings



    72 convicted in U.S. terror cases came from nations targeted for vetting
    - Stephen Dinan

    At least 72 convicted terrorists came from the seven countries President Trump targeted in his extreme vetting executive order, according to a new report this weekend that directly undercut part of the courts’ rulings halting the program.

    Seventeen of those entered the U.S. under the refugee program that Mr. Trump has said is of special concern to him, according to the data compiled by the Senate Judiciary Committee and analyzed by the Center for Immigration Studies.

    The convictions came in terrorism-related investigations since the Sept. 11 attacks, but some were for relatively minor crimes such as identity fraud. Nevertheless, more than 30 of the convicts served at least three years in prison because of their terrorism-related crimes, the CIS report said.

    Judge James L. Robart, who first blocked Mr. Trump’s executive order on Feb. 3, insisted in court that there were no such terrorists at all.
    [Washington Times]


    Travel Ban Is About Anti-Semitism, For Some - Jonathan Mark

    Mort Klein, the president of the Zionist Organization of America, declared the ZOA’s unequivocal support of the president, support based as much on Jewish safety as on national security.
    Mort Klein, ZOA President


    Why,” he asked us, when we know the Arab Middle East is overwhelmingly anti-Semitic, “would Jews want to welcome those anti-Semites into the United States?”
     
    According to the FBI, in every year since 2001, Jews have been the leading victims of religious-oriented hate crimes. In 2014, the Anti-Defamation League conducted a global survey of anti-Semitism and found “the highest concentration of respondents holding anti-Semitic attitudes was found in the Middle East and North African countries,” and of the seven countries named by Trump, three were at the top of the ADL’s list: Iraq, 92 percent anti-Semitic; Yemen, 88 percent; and Libya, 87 percent. Of the listed countries, Iran had the lowest percentage of anti-Semitism, 56 percent, but Klein pointed out that Iran is also a country that regularly threatens Israel with a nuclear attack. Syria’s ongoing civil war has made it impenetrable for pollsters, but bordering countries have anti-Semitic attitudes ranging from 78-93 percent, making it reasonable to place Syrians in a similar range.

    A 2015 ADL survey found that 55 percent of Muslim migrants to Western Europe continued to hold anti-Semitic attitudes, far above the 12-15 percent among the general population of France, Germany and the U.K.

    With ongoing reports of a surge in American anti-Semitism, from the left and the right, Klein told us, “It is dangerous and immoral to bring anti-Semites into America; Jew-haters who will advocate anti-Israel boycotts, join anti-Semitic activities on campus and support the anti-Israel politicians in Congress.”

    Peggy Noonan recently wrote in The Wall Street Journal, “Battle lines are sharply drawn. … Everyone’s political views are now emotions and everyone now wears their emotions on their faces. People are speaking more loudly and quickly than usual.

    Fred Ehrman, a national vice president of the Orthodox Union, speaking only for himself, told The Jewish Week, “The phrase ‘extreme vetting,’ which makes absolute sense, is characterized as xenophobic, only because [Trump] is proposing these measures. Coming from the mouth of a Barack Obama or a Hillary Clinton, it would seem undeniably reasonable.

    “We’re getting to the point,” said Klein, “where almost every major synagogue has security guards on Shabbos, and the reason is fear of [radical Islamic] terrorists.”
    [The Jewish Week]


    Radical Muslim Cleric Caught Being Smuggled into U.S. at Mexican Border     

    U.S. border guards found a hardline Muslim cleric - banned from France and Canada - curled up in the trunk of a BMW crossing from Mexico into California.
      

    Said Jaziri, who led protests calling for the death of a Danish cartoonist that drew pictures of the prophet Mohammed, was deported from Canada to Tunisia in 2007. 
    (Daily Mail-UK, Jan 2011)
    *


    Thursday, February 02, 2017

    Moxie Returning to US Foreign Policy?

    U.S. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn

    U.S. Warns Iran after Ballistic Missile Launch

    U.S. National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn said:
    "Recent Iranian actions, including a provocative ballistic missile launch and an attack against a Saudi naval vessel conducted by Iran-supported Houthi militants, underscore...Iran's destabilizing behavior across the Middle East. The recent ballistic missile launch is also in defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which calls upon Iran 'not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.'"
        

    "Tehran's malign actions includ[e]...weapons transfers, support for terrorism, and other violations of international norms. The Trump Administration condemns such actions by Iran that undermine security, prosperity, and stability throughout and beyond the Middle East and place American lives at risk....Iran is now feeling emboldened. As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice."  
    (White House)

    Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY)

    House Leaders: Review Policy on Iran - Barney Breen-Portnoy
         

    Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) said,
    "Iran needs to suffer consequences for its dangerous behavior....We should slam the door, be firm with them and make them understand that we're not going to put up with their nonsense."


    He added that "one of the ways we can show Iran we mean business is we can keep up our close alliance with Israel." 
    (Algemeiner)


    U.S. Warns Palestinian Leaders Against Suing Israel in International Courts
    - Jack Khoury

    The U.S. has warned Palestinian leaders that suing Israel in international courts would trigger severe steps including the closure of PLO offices in Washington and an end to economic aid to the Palestinian Authority. A high-ranking Palestinian source told Ha'aretz that President Trump signed an order to execute a congressional resolution, passed in 2015, to bar the transfer of any funds to the Palestinian Authority were it to initiate any investigation against Israel at the World Court or support such an investigation.


    "Messages arriving from Washington in recent days made clear that any such step by the Palestinians would lead to a severe American reaction, so much so that some talked about returning the PLO to the list of terrorist organizations," said the Palestinian source. Palestinian leaders consider the messages from Washington an attempt to sabotage the Palestinian strategy of recent years which involves international diplomacy. 
    (Ha'aretz)
    *

    UPDATE:

    Trump's Push Back Against Iran - Liz Sly and Loveday Morris

    Any misgivings America's Sunni Arab allies may have had about Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric have been dwarfed by their enthusiasm for an American president they believe will push back against Iran.

    (Washington Post)
    *

    Tuesday, January 31, 2017

    UN: Jewish Jerusalem is Illegal


     
     
    A short, poignant video pointing out the stupidity of the recent UN resolution

    Friday, January 20, 2017

    Deepening Sunni - Shia Conflict



    Iran Repopulates Syria with Shia Muslims - Martin Chulov

    People are starting to return to the valleys between Damascus and Lebanon, where whole communities had abandoned their lives to war. But the people settling in are not the same as those who fled during the past six years. Unlike the predominantly Sunni Muslim families who once lived there, the new arrivals are Shia Muslims, not just from elsewhere in Syria, but also from Lebanon and Iraq.    


    The population swaps are central to a plan to make demographic changes to parts of Syria, realigning the country into zones of influence that backers of Bashar al-Assad, led by Iran, can directly control. Iran's project will fundamentally alter the social landscape of Syria, as well as reinforce Hizbullah in Lebanon, and consolidate its influence from Tehran to Israel's northern border. "Iran and the [Syrian] regime don't want any Sunnis between Damascus and Homs and the Lebanese border," said one senior Lebanese leader. "This represents a historic shift in populations."  
    (Guardian-UK)
    *

    U.S. Should Isolate Iran Immediately - Jeb Bush and Dennis Ross

    A pattern of Iranian aggression has accelerated in the year since the nuclear deal with Iran was implemented. Yet the Obama administration has ignored the comprehensive nature of the Iranian threat and soft-pedaled non-nuclear sanctions seemingly out of fear that Iran would walk away from the nuclear deal. As a result, Iran's leaders have become more emboldened and its footprint continues to grow across the region.
      

    Iranian advisors with Shia militias from as far away as Afghanistan flooded Syria, giving Tehran a military arc of influence stretching to the Mediterranean. Eleven Arab states also recently accused Iran of sponsoring terrorism and meddling in their internal affairs.

    The U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control should not provide licenses to Boeing and Airbus until Iran stops using Iran Air and other carriers to ferry weapons and personnel for the Assad regime and Hizbullah in Lebanon. The new administration must also establish unmistakable red lines for continued Iranian harassment of U.S. Navy ships in the Persian Gulf. Only through a new campaign of pressure can the U.S. demonstrate to Iran that it runs very great risks if its policies don't change and if it is ever tempted to pursue nuclear weapons again.
    Jeb Bush was governor of Florida (1999-2007). Dennis Ross, counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, was a special assistant to President Obama (2009-2011).
    (TIME)


    The Sunni Muslim World vs. Iran - Zvi Mazel

    Sunnis make up 85% of the Muslim world, while Shi'ites are less than 15%. Nevertheless, Iran enjoys an advantage because it is the supreme Shi'ite religious and political authority, whereas in the Sunni world, every imam can issue his own fatwas - though there is no general obligation to follow them. The lack of religious solidarity - let alone a common policy - severely hampers the ability of Sunni countries to counter the Iranian threat.
     

    Beginning with Khomeini, Tehran has developed a powerful and aggressive army to push its agenda: exporting its Islamic Revolution to Sunni states as a first step before attacking "the great Satan" - the U.S. and its allies. Iran was a major driving force in the disintegration of Iraq, Syria, Yemen and the shambles that is Lebanon.
    The writer is a former Israeli ambassador to Romania, Egypt and Sweden.
    (Jerusalem Post)


    Trump Administration: Turning Point in MidEast Policy? - Dore Gold 

    The inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States is likely to lead to a major transformation of U.S. Middle East policy. Many of the assumptions that accompanied the years of President Barack Obama will no longer be held by American policymakers.
    (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    *

    Thursday, January 19, 2017

    The Embassy Move: Correcting Historic Injustice



    Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem - Robert Satloff

    Any assessment of moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem needs to place appropriate value not just on repairing a historic injustice but on the powerful signal broadcast to the Middle East - and the wider world - that a new administration is determined to chart a new course in the region, one in which fulfilling commitments to allies is a top priority.

    The move of the U.S. embassy is 69 years overdue. Given that American administrations of both parties have done official business with the government of Israel in Jerusalem for seven decades and that five presidents have held official meetings with Israeli prime ministers in Jerusalem going back to the early 1970s, it is right and proper that America's main diplomatic mission to Israel be situated in the city Israelis have considered their capital from the founding of the state. Moreover, the U.S. should call on all UN member states to join in establishing their embassies to Israel in Jerusalem.


    U.S. officials should tell Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that the relocation is happening and that he and the PA have an interest in preventing, not provoking, violence from which only radicals, especially Hamas, can benefit. Abbas should be told not to urge mass protest that has the potential to turn violent, and that the continued provision of economic aid will depend on how the Palestinian leadership comports itself in presenting the facts of the embassy relocation to the Palestinian people. 
    The writer is executive director of The Washington Institute.
    (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)


    Trump: I Did Not Forget Jerusalem Pledge
    - Alexander Fulbright

    President-elect Donald Trump was asked by Israel Hayom if he intends to go through with his pledge to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. "Of course I remember what I said about Jerusalem. You know that I am not a person who breaks promises," Trump responded in remarks published in Hebrew on. 

    (Times of Israel)
    *

    UPDATE:

    Call to Move U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem Began as a Liberal Initiative with McGovern
    - Robert Abrams

    Moving the U.S. embassy to Israel's capital began as a liberal initiative in 1972. As early supporters of George McGovern, my friend Hilly Gross and I were asked at a meeting of key advisers to help hammer out elements for a McGovern Middle East program. That summer, Democrats adopted the following statement in the party's platform: "The next Democratic administration should recognize and support the established status of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, with free access to all its holy places provided to all faiths. As a symbol of this stand, the United States Embassy should be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem." It was the first time an American political party adopted such a proposal. Soon thereafter, Republicans adopted it as well.
     

    In 1995, during Bill Clinton's presidency, the Jerusalem Embassy Act was passed to fund the relocation of the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The legislation included the ability of the president to waive the requirement of moving the embassy. That, however, was envisioned as a safeguard in the event negotiations were at a particularly sensitive moment; it was never intended to be the default policy of the U.S., certainly not during a time when negotiations were not even taking place.

    The embassy would be placed in West Jerusalem, a part of the city that under any peace plan will remain part of Israel. The real reason Palestinians object to an embassy move to any part of Jerusalem is that they still do not accept Israel's existence as a Jewish state, which is what truly hinders prospects for peace. If moving the embassy to an undisputed section of Jerusalem is sufficient "provocation" to derail any chance for peace, we must concede that such a chance was an illusion to begin with.
    The writer is former attorney general of New York.
    (New York Daily News)
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    Friday, January 13, 2017

    It's Jihad Stupid

    In Paris, Kerry called ISIS attackers there "psychopathic monsters."  He appears to hold another standard for Palestinian jihadis.

    The Threat of Radical Islamic Terrorism Is the Same in Europe and Israel
    - Dan Diker

    Radical Islamic terrorism in Europe and Jerusalem are both motivated by extremist ideologies and must be condemned equally.

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry branded the ISIS terrorists who massacred 130 people in Paris in 2015 as "psychopathic monsters." "Psychopathic," ideologically and religiously motivated terrorists also live and work in Jerusalem, like the "truck terrorist" Fadi al-Qanbar.

    He was not driven by socioeconomic deprivation or nationalist sentiment. He enjoyed complete freedom of movement and received the same social and economic benefits as Jewish residents of Jerusalem.
    From a jihadi point of view, there is no difference between terrorism in Berlin, Nice, or Jerusalem. Palestinian jihadis and their fellow travelers in ISIS, al-Qaeda, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham in Syria, Hamas, Iran's IRGC and its Hizbullah proxy have declared that Islamic terrorism against Europe and Israel stems from the same radical roots and aims for the same extremist end: exclusive Islamic sovereignty across the lands of the Near East and ultimately the world.
     

    The West must condemn and battle Islamic terrorism unconditionally and without reservation wherever it strikes.
    The writer is director of the Program to Counter Political Warfare and BDS at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
    (Jerusalem Post)
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    Palestinian Thugocracy



    A Life of Degradation and Bitterness under Fatah Rule
    - A letter from a West Bank Palestinian attorney 
    (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    The Jerusalem Center was contacted by a respected Palestinian attorney from a West Bank city. After personally interviewing him, we are publishing a letter he wrote. His identity will not be made public to ensure his safety.
        Below are excerpts. Read the
    full letter here.

    • Palestinian Authority/Fatah leaders forget that the people lean toward Hamas not because they love it, but because they hate what the Fatah movement does - which only gets worse by the day.
    • The Palestinian citizen suffers from ugly terror if he expresses an opinion that is opposed to that of the PA, or insists on his rights before an official or has refused to pay a bribe to a senior official, his sons, or his bodyguards.
    • The citizen wonders - is he supposed to pay the extortion money to the members of the Fatah Executive Committee, or to the members of the Fatah Central Committee, or to their sons, when he does not have the wherewithal to protect himself from their evil and from the evil of their sons, their bodyguards, and Fatah?
    • I demand of the international legal organizations that pretend to defend human rights, the states of the European Union, and the United States, the great economic and rhetorical supporter of the PA, and even of the United Nations, which has a commitment to human rights, to set up investigatory committees on the irregularities of the Palestinian Authority.
    • The security apparatus of the PA and the Fatah movement has been committing crimes against the Palestinian people, which reach the level of crimes against humanity, for half a century - and the crimes continue. I still have never heard of any settler, Israeli soldier, or Israeli officer extorting a Palestinian citizen. It is what the PA and Fatah people do.

    Tuesday, January 10, 2017

    Israelis Don't Need Theories



    On Palestinian Statehood - Bret Stephens
    • Would a Palestinian state serve the cause of Mideast peace? This used to be conventional wisdom, on the theory that a Palestinian state would lead to peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
    • Today the proposition is ridiculous. No deal between Jerusalem and Ramallah is going to lift the sights of those now fighting in Syria, Iraq or Yemen. Nor will a deal reconcile Tehran and its terrorist proxies in Lebanon and Gaza to the existence of a Jewish state.
    • Aren't the Palestinians entitled to a state? Maybe. But are they more entitled to one than the Assamese, Basques, Baloch, Corsicans, Druze, Flemish, Kashmiris, Kurds, Moros, Native Hawaiians, Northern Cypriots, Rohingya, Tibetans, Uyghurs or West Papuans - all of whom have distinct national identities, legitimate historical grievances and plausible claims to statehood? What gives Palestinians the preferential claim?
    • Comparisons aside, would a Palestinian state be good for Palestinian people? A June 2015 poll by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion found that a majority of Arab residents in east Jerusalem would rather live as citizens with equal rights in Israel than in a Palestinian state.
    • But isn't a Palestinian state a necessity for Israel? Can it maintain its Jewish and democratic character without separating itself from the Palestinians?
    • In theory, Israel would be well-served living alongside a sovereign Palestinian state that lived in peace with its neighbors. But Israelis don't live in theory. They live in a world where Israeli prime ministers made good-faith offers of Palestinian statehood and were met with rejection and violence.
    (Wall Street Journal)
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    Friday, January 06, 2017

    Drumroll: the MidEast Colonialists Are Arabs



    Shun Palestinian Colonialism - Melanie Phillips


    The goal of the Palestinians is the colonial conquest of another people's country. That country is the State of Israel, the homeland of the Jewish people, whose unique connection goes back to antiquity. In the 7th century the Arab world conquered Judea, as the ancient kingdom of the Jewish people had been known. The Jews are the only people for whom this was ever their national kingdom. Now the Arabs want again to conquer and colonize the same land, which since 1948 has been restored to the Jewish people.


    Mahmoud Abbas has explicitly rejected Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state. The Palestinian Authority indoctrinates its children to conquer Israeli cities. You've only got to look at the insignia and maps, not just of Hamas but also Abbas' "moderate" Fatah, to see that the land they demand for a state of Palestine includes the whole of Israel.

    The Palestinians claim there can't be a state of Palestine while Israelis are living in the disputed territories. Well, why not? Arabs make up some 20% of Israel's population. There is no reason apart from sheer racism and antisemitism - racist ethnic cleansing. Israel's "occupation" is nothing of the kind and the "settlements" are lawful.
    The writer is a columnist for The Times (UK).
    (Jerusalem Post)