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NEWS WITH VIEWS ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Red flags and anti-Semitism: Ruthie Blum

The current American election campaign is being touted as the most fraught in recent history. After arduous internal battles, the Republican and Democratic parties have finally nominated their candidates for the presidency of the United States — presenting the public with a choice between two unpopular and widely vilified candidates.

This turn of events is disheartening, as it is causing many voters to claim they will shun the ballot box in November. Far more disturbing, however, is the societal genie it has let out of the bottle — open expressions of Jew-hatred across the political spectrum. Thanks to social media, it is neither necessary nor possible to sugarcoat or qualify the nature of the comments on Facebook and Twitter. Nor can the words of angry mobs defending their candidate of choice by attacking their opponents be interpreted as political criticism.

The cat is out of the bag, and its name is anti-Semitism.

First came the white supremacists sending Donald Trump’s critics — whether Jewish or only perceived as such — to the gas chambers and bemoaning the fact that “Hitler didn’t finish off the job.” And now there are the Black Lives Matter and Students for Justice in Palestine gangs, banishing “Zionist pigs” from the Middle East and American universities. Oh, and burning the Israeli flag outside the Democratic National Convention — to protest Hillary Clinton’s victory over contender Bernie Sanders, a Jew. The irony would be sweet if it weren’t so tragic.

Meanwhile, as was revealed by the latest report released by the AMCHA Initiative — a watchdog organization that monitors anti-Semitism on U.S. campuses — Jewish students are the group most targeted for systematic attack. According to the report, which bases its findings on the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism, this phenomenon has sharply increased since last year alone. And the top institutions of higher learning at which Jews feel least safe are Columbia, Vassar and the University of Chicago — illustrious schools filled with Jewish students, academics, alumni and donors.

As the late historian Robert Wistrich told me in an interview nearly a decade ago, “On the substantive issue of when criticism of Israel becomes anti-Semitic, I think that there are good criteria. Every rational person understands the difference between criticism and defamation. If you talk about an individual in a defamatory way, you’re going to the heart of his character, his essence. The same is true of countries.”

Ex-Saudi general issues scathing critique of Palestinian terror groups see note please

Oh Puleez! Scathing? Hardly…he gratified their goals by discussing ” Jerusalem and Palestine” and spoke of their “cultural and media occupation.” Spare me the pieties of these faux friends…..rsk
Eshki posited that PIJ and Hamas leaders have a flawed understanding of normalization.Former Saudi Arabian General Anwar Eshki, who visited Israel and the Palestinian Territories ( real name is Judea and Samaria, Israel…rsk)last week, issued a scathing critique of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Hamas for claiming his visit amounted to normalization.

Speaking to the Egyptian news site, al-Youm al-Sabaa, Eshki, who currently serves as chairman of the Middle East Center for Strategic and Legal Studies in Saudi Arabia, said that he did not visit Israel as Israeli newspapers reported, but rather “Jerusalem and Palestine”, and added that PIJ and Hamas leaders were wrong to suggest otherwise. “[My visit] infuriated some leaders of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas because they based their decisions on what Israeli newspapers published, which proves that they are living under a cultural and media occupation,” he said.

Eshki posited that PIJ and Hamas leaders have a flawed understanding of normalization. He said that normalization is the establishment of normal relations between two peoples and two countries and that the dialogue meetings he held with various Israelis and Palestinians do not reflect that.

He also accused Hamas and PIJ leaders of hypocrisy, saying they have shook hands with and hugged Israelis at international conferences and asked him and his center to develop plans to improve their relations with Israel. Moreover, Eshki argued that many of PIJ’s and Hamas’s allies are partaking in “real normalization”. He said the relationship between Turkey and Israel and the comments of an Iranian minister that Saudi Arabia, not Israel, is the real enemy, embody the true concept of normalization.

The activism industry:Annika Hernroth-Rothstein

Earlier this month, the visitors’ log of the Jewish part of Hebron enjoyed a boost as activists, largely American Jews, ‎descended on the ancient Jewish city. Not as tourists to the Cave of the Patriarchs, or for contemplation ‎or prayer at the Avraham Avinu synagogue, but to organize a protest against “Israel’s crimes” and to support the Palestinian community.

There was no mention of the ‎fact that only 3% of Hebron is accessible to Jews and the remaining 97% is Palestinian, ‎with a small area functioning as a military buffer zone, or that Palestinian Hebron has ‎functioned as a terrorist hub for some time. The group’s main objective, ‎according to their spokesperson, was to take over an old Palestinian factory, now part of ‎the buffer zone, and turn it into a movie theater.

Some of the activists brought ‎popcorn labeled “Cinema Hebron” with them as a prop to drive the point home. ‎There were 45 American Jewish activists and a handful from various other countries. They did their best to provoke the authorities in the already volatile city, but while a ‎few activists with Israeli citizenship were detained and charged with presence in a ‎closed military zone and organizing an illegal protest, the others were merely banned from ‎entering Hebron for two weeks and then permitted to return to Tel Aviv. ‎No violence erupted, and despite a heavy media presence, the event could be ‎considered a calm affair. At around 2 p.m. the activists left Hebron to go have lunch, and, ‎according to their spokesperson, they have no plans to come back to complete the movie theater task.

The leaders of this pack were Peter Beinart, an American left-wing activist and self-‎proclaimed intellectual, and Amna Farooqi, the Muslim president of J Street U. The activists belonged to such well-known groups as J Street, the New Israel Fund and Jewish ‎Voice for Peace, an organization that supports the boycott, divestment and sanctions ‎movement against Israel. During the hours spent in Hebron, Beinart said he was very happy with what they had achieved that day and that he saw this as ‎proof of not only the success of their message, but also of a “new leadership” emerging ‎within the Jewish world. ‎

Beinart has every reason to be happy and content, because he is a major player in ‎one of the world’s most lucrative and trendy industries — conflict and activism. I have ‎personally seen an example of this industry much closer to home, as my home of Sweden is also the home of the infamous Gaza flotilla, known as “Ship to Gaza,” involving well-known intellectuals, ‎politicians and pundits far more concerned with an idea than with actual results. This is clearly demonstrated by their cargo manifest, which includes 10-year-old antibiotics, a few footballs, canned goods, a second-hand fridge and a ‎generator — a considerably more humble contribution than the 700 trucks entering Gaza ‎every day from Israel, carrying building material, food, medicine and clothes.

Europe’s Glaring Hypocrisy on Terror and Israel Adopting measures that—when used by Israel—it vilifies.

Western Europe is now being hit by a wave of terror. Israel has expressed sympathy to the governments and peoples, and is helping or has offered to help the hardest-hit countries—France, Germany, and Belgium—fight the terror.

It has been different when terror has pounded Israel. Even during the five-year onslaught known as the Second Intifada (2000-2005), Europe was sharply critical of Israel and denounced all its terror-fighting methods as immoral.

The contrast is particularly striking in light of some disparities. From the Charlie Hebdo attack on January 7, 2015 to Tuesday’s attack in a church, 239 have been killed in France (pop. 67 million). In the Brussels bombings on March 22 this year, 32 were killed in Belgium (pop. 11 million). Since September 15, 2015, terror attacks (counting the Munich shooting late last week) have killed 15 in Germany (pop. 82 million).

During the five years of the Second Intifada, however, 1000 were killed in Israel (current pop. 8.5 million; even smaller then)—a much higher rate even than France has endured since the start of 2015.

Yet, in the course of those intifada years—and since then as well, including, of course, the Gaza wars—Europe’s criticism of Israel’s fight against terror has been unremitting.

The irony is deepened by the fact that some of the Israeli measures that Europe has most fiercely condemned are now used routinely by European countries themselves—without, of course, having to put up with criticism from Israel or anyone else.

For instance, there was once a time when targeted killings—if practiced by Israel—stirred world outrage. On April 17, 2004, with the Second Intifada still seething, an Israeli airstrike killed Hamas terror master Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi in Gaza.

Condemnations followed like clockwork. From the European direction, they were voiced, among others, by then-EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, then-Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini, and then-British foreign minister Jack Straw, who said: “The British government has made it repeatedly clear that so-called targeted assassinations of this kind are unlawful, unjustified and counterproductive.” Only a U.S. veto saved Israel from UN Security Council censure for the killing.

Today, of course, drone strikes on terrorists by the U.S. and European countries are so routine that they can hardly compete for attention with weather forecasts. On November 26, 2015, the Daily Mail reported that “British drone strikes have killed 305 ISIS targets in the last year….”

David Singer: Shifting Winds: European Union Rejects PLO Call To Boycott Quartet Report

European Union High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini has publicly rejected PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s call for Arab nations to lobby the UN Security Council to not endorse a Quartet Report that Abbas considers biased in favour of Israel.

Addressing the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on 22 July, Mogherini declared:

“John Kerry and I sit together in quite an impressive number of different formats. Together we decided to revitalize the Middle East Quartet. The report we have come up with just a few weeks ago cannot be underestimated. For the first time ever, the US, the EU, Russia and the United Nations have agreed on a clear analysis of the situation on the ground, and also more importantly on recommendations on the way forward to turn the two states solution into reality. Together we have also agreed to engage more regularly with the key Arab states such as Saudi Arabia – the initiator of the Arab Peace Initiative – Egypt – for obvious reasons – and Jordan – for its role in the Holy places.”

The Report certainly cannot be underestimated – condemning and identifying the PLO and Hamas as fostering and condoning terrorism, including:

* “recent acts of terrorism” against Israelis, and incitement to violence including over 250 attacks and attempted attacks by Palestinians against Israelis since October 2015 – resulting in at least 30 Israelis having been killed in stabbings, shootings, vehicular attacks, and a bombing.

* Palestinians committing “terrorist attacks” being often glorified publicly as “heroic martyrs”

* Some members of Fatah – which Abbas heads – publicly supporting attacks and their perpetrators, as well as encouraging violent confrontation – including a senior Fatah official referring to perpetrators as “heroes and a crown on the head of every Palestinian”.

* Palestinian leaders having not consistently and clearly condemned specific “terrorist attacks”. And streets, squares and schools having been named after Palestinians who have committed “acts of terrorism”.

Voice from a ‘West Bank Settlement’ By Ron Kean

I live in Ma’ale Adumim, Israel. Some call it a West Bank Settlement but actually it’s a beautiful municipality of about 40,000 Jews. It has a mall with typical women’s shoe stores, places to eat, jeans stores, ACE hardware and more. It’s about 30 minutes east of Jerusalem by bus.

Ma’ale Adumim was almost given away to the PA by either PM Barak or PM Ohlmert in one of the land-for-peace deals that were turned down by the Arabs because 95% of what they asked for wasn’t enough. They can get way more dollars and euros complaining about an imaginary plight than by having their own state.

Between us and Jerusalem are Palestinian villages. Actually they’re townships with 8 to 12 story residential apartment buildings. There are large signs at the entrances to these townships warning Jews not to make a wrong turn and accidentally enter them. The signs say it’s dangerous to your life.

Israel is different than most countries; its immigrants are Jewish. First they sell their houses in America, France, South Africa, the former Soviet Union and other countries. Then many arrive with good amounts of cash. Not all have money, but enough to drive up the prices of apartments. The prices are alright for some but difficult for many children of those who’ve immigrated in the past decades and marry in their 20s.

In the Jerusalem area land is expensive and rents are high. New construction advertises luxury apartments and old buildings are constantly being renovated. But there’s lots of land around Ma’ale Adumim. It’s desolate. It’s desert. It’s comprised of rolling hills barren of vegetation.

Our mayor has been asking for permission to build on outlying land for years but the Israeli government had not given permission because of international pressure.

It’s been called Palestinian land but a Palestinian people never existed. The land was Jordanian or it was part of the Ottoman Empire. The desolate land around us never had a recognizable population. Most of today’s so-called Palestinians originally came from Jordan and Egypt for jobs. Yasser Arafat was Egyptian.

Palestine never existed beyond a map at British headquarters.

The Presbyterian Church USA’s Obsession With Israel Institutional anti-Semitism becomes too apparent to ignore. Joseph Puder

The Presbyterian Church USA (PC-USA) assembled in Portland, Oregon for its 222 General Assembly, lasting from June 18-25. Once again, latent anti-Semitism in the form of controversial resolutions on divestment from Israel became a major issue in the proceedings. Delegates from 171 PCUSA presbyteries, representing the 1.57 million members, along with other participants and observers from around the world, gathered in Portland for the biennial General Assembly (GA).

Elements from within the PCUSA displayed their unrestrained prejudice against the Jewish state when according to the former Vice President of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, Alan Wisdom, only one resolution about the Middle East entailed “anything besides the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” He described the PCUSA GA as an “onslaught of anti-Israel legislation.”

Wisdom further explained that “of the six items placed before the assembly’s Middle East Issues Committee, five aimed harsh criticism at Israel.” Only one issue raised gently concerned itself with the threats to Middle Eastern Christians. That resolution does not even bother to identify the threat as being Islam and Muslim radicalism and jihadism. Instead, it qualified the threat coming from “unnamed religiously based actors in the region.”

The multiple anti-Israel resolutions proposed divesting from companies doing business in the Jewish state, with one specifically called the PCUSA, to prayerfully consider Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against the State of Israel. Israel alone was singled out. The only vibrant democracy in the Middle East where religious freedom exists and is flourishing, where human and civil rights are sacrosanct, was vilified. Yet, Arab Palestinian Muslim terrorism, authoritarianism, anti-Semitism, incitement against Israelis and Jews, and denial of human rights and religious freedom has been ignored.

There were no “overtures,” i.e. resolutions against the most notorious dictatorships in the Middle East including the Islamic Republic of Iran, which tramples on basic human rights, denies religious freedom to Christians, Jews, or Baha’is, hangs youthful dissidents, gays and lesbians, and oppresses its minority Kurdish, Baluchi, and Ahwazi people. The hypocrisy and glaring bias displayed by the PCUSA General Assembly was obvious when the worst human rights offenders in the Middle East including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Assad of Syria, and a host of other Middle East Muslim states did not get mentioned, let alone subjected to BDS.

Congressman Hank Johnson Compares Israeli Settlers to Termites By Rick Moran see note please

Dummiecrat Johnson is well rewarded by the Arab American Institute and gets a 5+ for his anti Israel sentiments…..rsk
Rep. Hank Johnson is not known for his towering intellect or penetrating insight. In fact, he’s an ignorant loon.

Back in 2010, Johnson astonished attendees at a House Armed Services Committee hearing by claiming that if too many U.S. military personnel transferred to our base on Guam, it could cause the island to “capsize.”

These days, Johnson has turned his attention to the cause of the Palestinians. At a meeting for the anti-Israel U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, Johnson compared Israeli settlers to “termites” and Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman to Donald Trump.

Washington Free Beacon:

“There has been a steady [stream], almost like termites can get into a residence and eat before you know that you’ve been eaten up and you fall in on yourself, there has been settlement activity that has marched forward with impunity and at an ever increasing rate to the point where it has become alarming,” Johnson said during an event sponsored by the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, an anti-Israel organization that galvanizes supporters of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, or BDS.

“It has come to the point that occupation, with highways that cut through Palestinian land, with walls that go up, with the inability or the restriction, with the illegality of Palestinians being able to travel on those roads and those roads cutting off Palestinian neighborhoods from each other,” Johnson continued. “And then with the building of walls and the building of check points that restrict movement of Palestinians. We’ve gotten to the point where the thought of a Palestinian homeland gets further and further removed from reality.”

Johnson, who in 2010 voiced his fears that Guam would tip over and capsize if too many people resided on the island, said that “Jewish people” routinely steal land and property from Palestinians.

“You see one home after another being appropriated by Jewish people who come in to claim that land just because somebody did not spend the night there,” he said, referring to claims that Israeli settlers plot to seize Palestinian land. ‘“The home their [Palestinian] ancestors lived in for generations becomes an Israeli home and a flag goes up,” he said, adding, “the Palestinians are barred from flying flags in their own neighborhoods.”

Johnson went on to compare Lieberman to Trump as he lashed out against the Israeli government.

“The fact is the Israeli government, which is the most right-wing government ever to exist in the state of Israel in its history, the most right wing government, you got a guy like Trump who is now the minister of defense in Israel calling the shots on defense,” he said, adding that he is not the only member of Congress who holds these views.

RUTHIE BLUM: THE SPOILS OF DEFEAT

If there’s one lesson to be learned on the 10th anniversary of the Second Lebanon War, it is that ‎brokered cease-fires and U.N. resolutions are not to be trusted in the Middle East, where the ‎definitions of “victory” and “defeat” are elusive.‎

For 34 days during the summer of 2006, Hezbollah pummeled the Jewish state with rockets, and the ‎Israel Defense Forces conducted airstrikes to destroy the infrastructure and weaponry of the ‎bloodthirsty Shiite organization, which — in typical Arab terrorist fashion — were strategically placed in ‎and around the homes and schools of civilians.‎

When the war was over, both sides declared victory, though then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s ‎announcement sounded feeble to most Israelis. The regular IDF soldiers and reservists who ‎participated in the fighting felt particularly deflated and bitter. When the war was over, their stories of ‎inadequate equipment and lack of training for the missions they were sent to conduct emerged to ‎everyone’s horror and disgust. One friend of mine recounted having to improvise all the time — for ‎example, by using chocolate spread as face camouflage, and operating a tank with which he was ‎completely unfamiliar.‎

The Winograd Commission, set up in the aftermath of the war, delved into these and other mishaps ‎on the leadership and military levels. But the real culprit was a false assessment, reached more than a ‎decade earlier, that the “conventional battlefield” was a thing of the past. According to this ridiculous ‎theory, it would be wasteful to expend energy and resources training for ground incursions, when the ‎era of high-tech sorties from the air was the wave of the future.‎

Still, analysts pointed to the major blow suffered by Hezbollah in the war, pointing to the “restoration ‎of quiet” in the north and the heavy losses incurred by the terrorist group. One such optimist was ‎Iranian-born, London-based Middle East expert Amir Taheri, who visited the Jewish state in May 2007, ‎less than a year after the war was over — on the eve of the release of the Winograd Commission’s ‎interim findings. ‎

Israel Deserves Better by Yleem D.S. Poblete

The German intelligence service recently reported many clandestine Iranian attempts to obtain dual-use chemical, biological and nuclear technology.

In the Iran nuclear deal, the parties decided to engage “in different areas of civil nuclear co-operation,” including construction and modernization of Iranian light water reactors, provision of technical assistance and on-the-job training. Meanwhile, Israel has been denied a bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement with the US.

Israel’s reported MOU requests on security assistance, missile defense, and regional qualitative military advantage are justified.

The terms of any U.S.-Israel agreement must withstand comparison to the concessions offered Iran in the JCPOA and show unequivocally that Israel, a trusted ally and major strategic partner, fared better in negotiations than an unconstrained enemy.

The one-year anniversary of the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between Western powers and Iran focused public attention on the regime’s activities and Obama Administration policies and actions regarding this avowed enemy. Virtually unnoticed, despite the linkage to Iran-related developments, were reports that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is being pressured to set aside reservations and accept the terms the White House is offering for the Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S.

As recent developments show, such an acquiescence would be mistake. There is cause for concern.

Iran continues to take Americans and other Westerners hostage, indicting three dual-nationals just days ago on unknown charges. This remains a troubling pattern of diplomatic blackmail, negotiation by coercion. Last month in Lebanon, a so-called parliamentarian for Hezbollah, a terrorist surrogate of the Iranian regime, called for “Israeli civilians to be kidnapped in a future war with Israel.” He “boasted” that Hezbollah’s missiles “can now reach Tel Aviv from Iran, not just Damascus, Beirut, or Cairo.”

The German intelligence service recently reported on numerous Iranian attempts to clandestinely obtain dual-use chemical, biological and nuclear technology. The report by the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV), the domestic intelligence service of the Federal Republic of Germany, also noted “a further increase in the already considerable procurement efforts in connection with Iran’s ambitious missile technology program, which could, among other things, potentially serve to deliver nuclear weapons.”

In early May, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Brigadier General Ali Abdollahi, reportedly revealed at a conference in Tehran that the regime had test-fired a high-precision ballistic missile “with a range of 2000 kilometers and pinpoint accuracy of 8 meters.” In March, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) launched two Qadr medium-range ballistic missiles. On one of them, in Hebrew, was inscribed the phrase, “Israel must be wiped out.”