Why There Is No Peace in the Middle East
Peace is not possible in the Middle East because values and goals other than peace are more important to Middle Easterners. Most important to Middle Easterners are loyalty to kin, clan, and cult, and the honour that is won by such loyalty.
There was no group and no loyalty above the tribe or tribal confederation until the rise of Islam. With Islam, a new, higher, more encompassing level of loyalty was defined. All people were divided between Muslims and infidels, and the world was divided between the Dar al-Islam, the land of believers and peace, and Dar al-harb, the land of unbelievers and war. Following the tribal ideology of loyalty, Muslims should unite against infidels, and would receive not only honour, but heavenly rewards.
Honour is gained in victory. Losing is regarded as deeply humiliating. Only the prospects of a future victory and the regaining of honour drives people forward. An example is the Arab-Israel conflict, in the course of which the despised Jews repeatedly defeated the armies of Arab states. This was not so much a material disaster for the Arabs, as it was a cultural one in which honor was lost. The only way to regain honor is to defeat and destroy Israel, the explicit goal of the Palestinians: “from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea.” This why no agreement over land or boundaries will bring peace: peace does not restore honor.
We in the West, unlike Middle Easterners, love “victims.” But what if Middle Easterners are victims of the limitations and shortcomings of their own culture? (h/t Elder of Lobby)
Melanie Phillips: Modernity starts here, if only the world realized it
So it begins once more. In the synagogues this week, it’s Groundhog Day. Jews go back to the opening of the Five Books of Moses and start the narrative all over again.
The secular world looks on with indifference, bemusement or contempt. Among unbelievers, it is an article of faith that reason, science and modernity are in one box and religion, superstition and obscurantism in another.
Ah yes; the rational, factual, grounded secular world. The one that is currently disinviting speakers and violently attacking universities on the grounds of upholding freedom and equality. The one that is spewing unhinged lies and paranoid distortions at Israel and the Jewish people. The one that appears to be spinning off its axis into utter madness.
The reason for this is something the secular world cannot bring itself to grasp.
For in setting out to destroy the biblical basis of western civilization, the secular world is in the process of destroying reason itself. This is is how it works.
IsraellyCool: Hello, Refugees! Book Review
Tuvia’s travels reveal a number of interesting things. For a start, while Germany has perhaps allowed in the most refugees, Germany does not really have a good game plan after they have arrived. The refugees lived in squalid conditions, often with different enemy factions living right near each other. Night-time knife hilarity ensues.
Then there’s the question as to why Germany has let in the most refugees. Invariably, the answer is the same – and it rhymes with Madolf Mitler. Germany is trying to shed its past as the Dr Evil of nations, and is doing so to the extent that they are now the kindest people in the world! Or so Tuvia is told. The people telling him this also invariably add something along the lines of “unlike those inhumane Israelis who mistreat the poor palestinians.”
Yep, Tuvia encounters antisemitism among his Germans, but also among not an insignificant amount of the refugees he meets. Perhaps this is the glue that can make this marriage work!
Another interesting finding: the Right-wing Germans he meets, much reviled by the liberals, are actually not against bringing in refugees. They just want to make sure the refugees are really fleeing persecution, and not the economic refugees just wanting a better life (which often seems to include wanting to marry a beautiful blonde German girl).
Once again, Tuvia Tenenbom has delivered with an entertaining and provocative read that gets beyond mainstream media narratives.
Incidentally, I attended a Q&A with Tuvia Tenenbom earlier this week. You can view it yourself below; in it, Tuvia expands on some of the topics I have addressed in this review, in his inimitable style.
Tuvia Tenenbom: Refugees & Anti-Semitism in the US – Moderated by Melanie Phillips
US President Donald Trump announced Friday that he would not recertify the Iranian nuclear deal, while not withdrawing from the pact, and outlined a new, tougher approach toward Tehran.
Trump said he was launching a tougher strategy to check Iran’s “fanatical regime” and warned that 2015’s landmark international nuclear deal could be terminated at any time.
In a much-anticipated White House speech, Trump stopped short of withdrawing from the accord, but “decertified” his support for the agreement and left its fate in the hands of Congress.
“We cannot and will not make this certification,” he said. “We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout.”
And, outlining the results of a review of efforts to counter Tehran’s “aggression” in a series of Middle East conflicts, Trump ordered tougher sanctions on Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps and on its ballistic missile program.
Trump said the agreement, which defenders say was only ever meant to curtail Iran’s nuclear program in return for sanctions relief, had failed to address Iranian subversion in its region and its illegal missile program.
The US president said he supports efforts in Congress to work on new measures to address these threats without immediately torpedoing the broader deal.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday welcomed US President Donald Trump’s announcement that he would not recertify the nuclear accord with Iran, saying Trump had “boldly confronted Iran’s terrorist regime.”
In a video posted to YouTube, the Israeli leader said: “If the Iran deal is left unchanged, one thing is absolutely certain — in a few year’s time, the world’s foremost terrorist regime will have an arsenal of nuclear weapons.”
He said Trump’s actions on Friday create an opportunity to fix “this bad deal, to roll back Iran’s aggression and to confront its criminal support of terrorism.”
“That’s why Israel embraces this opportunity, and that’s why every responsible government and any person concerned with the peace and security of the world should do so as well,” he added.
Netanyahu recorded his response before the start of Shabbat on Friday evening — that is, before Trump had spoken — having been briefed about the speech’s content in a phone call from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
We don’t know a lot about how Iran is complying with the deal, but what we do know isn’t encouraging. As early as July of 2016, German intelligence charged and Chancellor Angela Merkel confirmed that Iran violated not just the spirit but the letter of the deal by engaging in clandestine efforts to obtain “high-level” nuclear technology without United Nations Security Council permission.
While Iran’s heavy water reactor at Arak was being reconverted with Russian assistance, Iran’s Tansim News Agency reported on joint Russian and Iranian efforts to transform the underground military facility at Fordo into “installations for heavy isotope production.”
In testimony before the House subcommittee on national security in April, President of the Institute for Science and International Security David Albright illustrated the extent to which Iran has violated not just the JCPOA but a variety of UNSC resolutions. Though he noted that “the extensive secrecy surrounding the implementation of the deal and its associated parallel arrangements” have hindered his organization’s ability to make an accurate assessment of the JCPOA, what he could assess was troubling.
With varying degrees of significance, Albright illustrated the extent to which Iran has cheated by continuing with centrifuge development and materials procurement, natural-uranium imports, uranium-enrichment levels and amounts, and by denying inspectors access to suspect sites. He ultimately concluded, though, that it was impossible to fairly judge whether Iran was in full compliance with the JCPOA because the deal was structured in a way to ensure that compliance was always going to be subject to the observer’s interpretation.
And that’s where we find ourselves today. Now Republicans are compelled to take up where Democrats left off, pretending for the sake of the dance that Iran is technically, theoretically, in principle complying with the nuclear accords. To say otherwise would present the United States with only bad options.
Congress will now be compelled to do what Trump would prefer to avoid: having to confirm Iran’s compliance with the the JCPOA despite all indications to the contrary. And Congress will do just that because, right up to the minute that Iran detonates a fission device, the fiction of the Iran nuclear deal is far preferable to its reality.
Elliott Abrams: John Kerry’s Attack on the Iran Nuclear Decision
This is not important because the former officials will look partisan, nasty, and egotistical; in a sense, who cares if people now out of power forever look foolish or petty. It is important because our political system works better when those who have held the highest offices in the land do not lower themselves into petty partisan or worse yet personal attacks.
That is why former Secretary of State John Kerry’s attack on President Trump and his Iran decision yesterday is worthy of note— and condemnation. In a logorrheic six-paragraph attack, Kerry used the following terms: “Dangerous, international crisis, endangers America’s national security interests, reckless, ego, ideology, game of chicken, destabilizing, closer to military conflict, adults in the room, polluted the negotiating waters, lacks common sense, lacks maturity.”
And then he said “I can’t think of a more important moment than this one where cooler, wiser voices have had a bigger responsibility.” Indeed—which is why his own attack reflects very poorly on him. His statement reflects neither cool nor wisdom, but rather emotion and ego. The very tone of his remarks undermined his argument, and fortified the criticism that he and President Obama were so determined to get an agreement that they were willing to accept uneven terms—better for Iran than for the United States. During the long negotiations, European diplomats on several occasions told me they shuddered when Iranian foreign minister Zarif went off alone with Kerry, for this often meant further American concessions. No European diplomat ever, in private, told me Kerry was a tough negotiator who outsmarted Zarif. The emotions visible in Kerry’s screed substantiate these criticisms.
The President’s decisions on the Iran nuclear deal may be wrong, though that is not my view. We do need a sensible, careful debate on what the JCPOA does, and fails to do, and what the Trump policy may achieve and may sacrifice. We do not need a series of nasty, emotional attacks on the President and his policy—especially from those individuals, to restate the point yet again, least likely to be able to make disinterested judgments.
The governments of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen quickly expressed support for President Trump’s tough new approach to Iran.
In a statement published Friday afternoon by the Saudi Press Agency, the Kingdom said it welcomes President Trump’s “resolute strategy” for Iran, “praising his vision in this regard” and pledging to work with the U.S. and its allies against “Iran’s aggressive policies and actions.”
The Saudis said they originally supported the Iran nuclear deal, believing it was “necessary to limit the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in our region and the world.”
“However, Iran had exploited the economic benefits of lifting the sanctions and used them to continue to destabilize the region, especially through its ballistic missile development program and support of terrorism, in the region, including Hezbollah and the Houthi militias, in Yemen,” the statement continued.
The Saudis further responded to Iran’s claims that its ballistic missile program is purely defensive in nature, pointing out that Iran has a history of providing weapons to hostile actors such as the Houthis, who have used those weapons not only against the legitimate government of Yemen but to interfere with navigation through international waters.
Also mentioned in the statement were Iran’s “continuing cyber-attacks against the Kingdom and other regional countries.”
US President Donald Trump’s speech in which he outlined an aggressive new strategy against Iran shows the US is “more than ever isolated in its opposition to the nuclear deal,” President Hassan Rouhani said Friday.
Rouhani spoke in a televised address after Trump gave a much anticipated White House speech in which he “decertified” his support for the 2015 nuclear agreement, and left its fate in the hands of Congress.
“Today the United States is more than ever isolated in its opposition to the nuclear deal and in its plots against the Iranian people,” Rouhani said.
“What was heard today was nothing but the repetition of baseless accusations and swear words that they have repeated for years,” Rouhani said. “The Iranian nation does not expect anything else from you.”
Rouhani dismissed Trump’s threat to tear up the landmark deal between Tehran and six world powers including Washington if Congress does not impose tough new sanctions on Iran.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani blasted President Trump as “a dictator” in a televised address on Friday after Trump’s announcement that he would not re-certify Iran’s compliance under a multinational nuclear deal.
“The Iranian people will not bend down before a dictator. It has never surrendered and will never,” Rouhani said in comments reported by The Wall Street Journal.
He added, “No paragraph or article or note will be added” to the deal in order to please Trump.
Rouhani’s scathing comments come after Trump announced on Friday that the 2015 deal, which was brokered in part by the Obama administration, was not in the national security interests of the U.S., and aided what he called Iran’s support for terror organizations in the Middle East.
“We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout,” Trump said, stopping short of killing the U.S. role in the accord completely.
The United States announced Thursday that it is withdrawing from the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), citing financial considerations, the need for reform and the organization’s “continuing anti-Israel bias.”
In a statement, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said that the decision was “not taken lightly and reflects US concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform within the organization and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO.”
Nauert said Washington would establish an “observer mission” to replace its representation at the Paris-based agency.
The withdrawal will take effect on December 31, 2018.
“I wish to express profound regret at the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from UNESCO,” Bokova said in a statement.
In July, when UNESCO made its latest outrageous and politically based decision, designating the Old City of Hebron and the Tomb of the Patriarchs as part of Palestinian territory, the United States clearly stated that this decision would negatively affect our evaluation of our level of engagement with the organization. The United States will continue to evaluate all agencies within the United Nations system through the same lens.
“The purpose of UNESCO is a good one. Unfortunately, its extreme politicization has become a chronic embarrassment. The Tomb of the Patriarchs decision was just the latest in a long line of foolish actions, which includes keeping Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad on a UNESCO human rights committee even after his murderous crackdown on peaceful protestors. Just as we said in 1984 when President Reagan withdrew from UNESCO, U.S. taxpayers should no longer be on the hook to pay for policies that are hostile to our values and make a mockery of justice and common sense,” said Ambassador Nikki Haley.
US State Department: The United States Withdraws From UNESCO
On October 12, 2017, the Department of State notified UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova of the U.S. decision to withdraw from the organization and to seek to establish a permanent observer mission to UNESCO. This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects U.S. concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO.
The United States indicated to the Director General its desire to remain engaged with UNESCO as a non-member observer state in order to contribute U.S. views, perspectives and expertise on some of the important issues undertaken by the organization, including the protection of world heritage, advocating for press freedoms, and promoting scientific collaboration and education.
Pursuant to Article II(6) of the UNESCO Constitution, U.S. withdrawal will take effect on December 31, 2018. The United States will remain a full member of UNESCO until that time.
Reporters at the State Department press briefing asked Nauert if the decision was made because the Palestinian Authority is a full member of UNESCO. Nauert said that Congress previously passed a law that states the U.S. will provide no funding to a U.N. entity of which the Palestinians are a full member. She also called for reform at UNESCO and the U.N. more broadly.
Nauert then said that UNESCO has made anti-Israel “political statements” in the past. She would not speculate on whether the U.S. would pull out of other U.N. bodies as well.
Israel will begin preparations to withdraw from the UN’s cultural and education body now that the United States has made its decision to do the same, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday
“The prime minister instructed the Foreign Ministry to prepare Israel’s withdrawal from the organization alongside the United States,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement, hours after the US said it is quitting the organization, citing its “anti-Israel bias” alongside financial considerations.
Netanyahu said he “welcomes the decision by President [Donald] Trump to withdraw from UNESCO. This is a courageous and moral decision because UNESCO has become the theater of the absurd and because, instead of preserving history, it distorts it.”
The US withdrawal is to take effect on December 31, 2018.
Earlier Thursday, Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama-Hacohen, said his personal recommendation to Netanyahu would be to “immediately withdraw” from the organization.
UN Watch: Factsheet: UNESCO and Israel (2014)
UN Watch condemned UNESCO’s last-minute suspension of a major exhibit at its Paris headquarters on the Jewish people and Israel, under pressure from Arab states, and issued the statement and fact-sheet below.
“UNESCO chief Irina Bokova justified her cancellation of Monday’s Jewish exhibit by invoking UNESCO’s alleged concern not to endanger the fragile Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. Yet somehow this noble principle of caution for peace never stopped UNESCO from excoriating Israel incessantly,” said Hillel Neuer, director of the Geneva-based human rights group.
“Sadly, Bokova’s decision to sacrifice education, science and culture to backroom political pressure is routine at UNESCO when it comes to Israel,” added Neuer.
“Since 2009, UN Watch has counted no less than 46 UNESCO resolutions against Israel, one on Syria, and zero on Iran, North Korea, Sudan or any other country in the world.”
“This malicious treatment is especially tragic because UNESCO was founded after World War II with the express purpose of combating the doctrine of the inequality of men and races, Today it as sadly become a serial perpetrator of inequality.”
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman lauded the ”important moral and moral step of our great ally the United States towards an antisemitic and politically biased organization” that has ”lost its way and relevance.”
Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads Israel’s UNESCO commission, on Thursday applauded the American decision to leave the organization and called on the Israeli government to do the same and complete the process he started last year.
Justice Minister Ayalet Shaked expressed support for the Trump administration, saying that UNESCO ”harms the state of Israel” and ”fuels the BDS campaign.”
“UNESCO has turned itself into a political puppet of Israel-haters. I congratulate the US Administration for standing by the truth. Israel needs to join them and withdraw too. As President of the Israel National Commission for UNESCO I announced one year ago the suspension of all professional work with the organization. That decision was fully implemented.”
Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan also praised the US decision that proved “the depth” of its friendship with Israel.
“It is time to officially inform the United Nations that if it publishes the ‘black list’ of economically active companies in Judea and Samaria, the funding of the United Nations by the United States and Israel will cease altogether.”
Danny Danon, the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, took to Twitter to applaud the US. “Today is a new day at the UN,” he wrote. “There is a price to pay for discrimination against Israel.”
Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avi Dichter also called UNESCO antisemitic.
“The Western world is beginning to understand that the truth is an option, too,” Dichter quipped. “The fate of UNESCO’s lies is to be thrown in the trashcan of history. The Jewish People’s connection to holy places, which UNESCO undermined, is stronger than 1,000 decisions.”
Kulanu MK Michael Oren praised the US move in a Twitter post, writing that “by cutting ties with anti-Israel UNESCO that denied the Jewish ties to our two holiest cities, the US sends a moral message to the world.”
Much of the opposition was no less enthusiastic about America’s departure.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today announced he will introduce the Senate companion to H.Res.570, a resolution introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), reaffirming the deep historical connection between the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem. The resolution also expresses support for the Israeli government’s protection of religious freedom for all faiths, and condemns the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for the anti-Israel resolutions it has passed in recent years.
The U.S. State Department announced on Thursday that the U.S. would be leaving UNESCO because of its “anti-Israel bias.” Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, called the decision “brave and moral,” and indicated that Israel is planning to withdraw from UNESCO as well. The U.S., however, will remain an “observer state” in UNESCO. Sen. Cruz’s and Rep. Gaetz’s resolution urges the U.S., regardless of its UNESCO membership, to work with its allies and prevent future anti-Israeli resolutions from being adopted.
“The Trump Administration has demonstrated strong moral clarity in deciding to withdraw and continuing to withhold U.S. taxpayer dollars from UNESCO as a result of its relentless hostility towards our close ally Israel,” Sen. Cruz said. “I am proud to have worked with Rep. Matt Gaetz on this bicameral resolution that formally rejects UNESCO’s shameful and absurd attempts to deliberately erase the history of Jerusalem, Israel’s eternal capital. This resolution reaffirms the profound historical connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem that has existed for thousands of years, describes archeological excavations at the City of David that have revealed incontrovertible, physical evidence of the Jewish, as well as Christian ties to Jerusalem, and denounces efforts at UNESCO to delegitimize Israel and deny historical truth.”
“The Jewish people, and the people of Israel, have a deep and ancient connection to the holy city of Jerusalem. Yet the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, is actively trying to rewrite history. UNESCO has not been silent in their condemnations of Israel. Each year brings new horrors. Their cruelty, their attempts to erase history, and their anti-Semitism cannot be tolerated any longer,” Rep. Gaetz said.
A resolution on Jerusalem passed in May described Israel as the “occupying power,” denying the Jewish state’s claim to its own capital. Another Jerusalem resolution, approved last year, referred to the Western Wall and the Temple Mount by their Muslim names only. The agency thus attached the U.N.’s name to the odious Arab project to de-Judaize the City of David. That move prompted then U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to distance himself from “any perceived undertaking to repudiate the undeniable common reverence for these sites.” Even UNESCO’s left-leaning chief, Irina Bokova, criticized the text.
Yet anti-Israelism and–it must be said–anti-Semitism are part of UNESCO’s diplomatic culture. When, in July this year, Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO called for a minute of silence for Holocaust victims, Cuba’s envoy objected: “Only the Chair can request a minute of silence. So with your indulgence, let me request Mr. Chairman, that we stand for a minute of silence for all of the Palestinians who have died in the region.” Footage of the scene, available on the website of the indispensable U.N. Watch, shows numerous delegates standing up and clapping in favor of the Cuban motion.
It was this black record that impelled the Trump administration to withdraw from UNESCO. The decision, by the way, is not without precedent. President Carter withdrew the U.S. from the International Labor Organization for three years and didn’t rejoin until the ILO took steps to reform itself. The Reagan administration in 1983 pulled the U.S. out of UNESCO over its “hostility toward the basic institutions of a free society.” President Reagan was worried about a creepy UNESCO proposal to have the agency and its authoritarian members license and regulate foreign reporters. Washington returned to UNESCO in 2002, under George W. Bush.
By withdrawing from UNESCO (once more), the Trump administration is sending an important message to the U.N. mandarins: that America doesn’t have infinite patience for international institutions that function as platforms for Jew-hatred. Long before Donald Trump came on the scene, that used to be a bipartisan American position.
NY Post Editorial: Exiting UNESCO was the right thing to do
Just as outrageous as its efforts to eradicate Israel from world culture, UNESCO has retained Syria’s government on its human rights committee — even after documented evidence that Bashar al-Assad’s regime has committed genocidal war crimes against his own people.
Trump is the first president in more than three decades to do something about this behavior. In 1984, Ronald Reagan pulled out of UNESCO, citing its pro-Soviet and anti-Western bias, and suspended payments, which covered one-fifth of the agency’s budget.
George W. Bush rejoined in the runup to the Iraq war, but Barack Obama was forced to suspend payments under a Clinton-era law — which he tried hard, but unsuccessfully, to overturn.
Now Trump has taken strong action. We suspect it won’t be the last while the UN continues to violate its own principles.
A UNESCO resolution passed in May referred to Israel as the “conquering power” in Jerusalem and called Israel’s Basic Law defining a unified Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “null and void.” Just two months later, the organization declared the ancient city of Hebron a Palestinian World Heritage Site.
Back in 2016, in light of the deeply rooted bias against Israel, then-candidate Trump warned UNESCO there would be consequences. Now Trump is making good on his word. Despite the immediate Israeli connection to the decision, this is not the only reason for the move, which also reflects the White House’s deep reservations about a number of political and economic agreements and organizations that Trump believes do not have America’s best interests at heart. From this standpoint, Trump’s decision to withdraw from UNESCO is in line with his basic approach to NATO, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the U.N. in general.
The decision may also be aimed at signaling Trump’s determination to act in this same spirit toward these other organizations under the appropriate circumstances. At any rate, Trump now appears to be bringing the United States back in time to 1984, when President Ronald Reagan decided to pull the U.S. out of UNESCO in response to its pro-Soviet stance. The U.S. rejoined in 2003. Now all that remains is to wait and see whether it will take two decades before the American superpower rejoins the organization.
Another dimension of UNESCO’s cover-up role is its legitimation of questionable Palestinian institutions. In 2012, UNESCO endowed a chair in astronomy, astrophysics, and space sciences at the Islamic University in Gaza, also known as Hamas U. According to the Israeli foreign ministry, Hamas uses the university as “a warehouse for weapons and a venue for secret meetings of military leaders” and employs its laboratories “to develop and produce explosives and rockets.”
Shortly after UNESCO recognized “Palestine” in 2011, the Obama administration cut its funding, prompting complaints from Director General Irina Bokova that the loss of revenue had left UNESCO crippled. But evidently not crippled enough to move past its obsession with erasing Judaism, slandering Israel, and covering up Palestinian crimes. According to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the front-runner in UNESCO’s election for Bokova’s replacement, Qatar’s former Culture Minister Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari, “has repeatedly endorsed anti-Semitic works and denied a Jewish connection to Jerusalem.” He’ll fit right in.
The United States has spent years trying to reform UNESCO from within as its co-creator and chief donor. Having correctly concluded that those efforts have run their course and having withdrawn the U.S. completely from UNESCO, President Trump should now focus his powers of persuasion on encouraging U.S. allies around the world to do likewise.
Minutes after France’s former culture minister Audrey Azoulay was elected to head UNESCO on Friday evening, Israel’s Minister of Intelligence Yisrael Katz, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing Likud party, was asked whether her victory over the Qatari candidate for the post might prompt Israel to reconsider its decision Thursday to join the US in withdrawing from the UN body.
Katz, who was in the Channel 2 TV studio to comment on President Donald Trump’s Iran speech, was momentarily taken aback. “Don’t expect UNESCO to suddenly now become a Zionist organization,” he retorted. But then he reflected a little, and added, “If it does change its policy,” he said, then “certainly” Israel might reconsider.
Azoulay’s path to the leadership of UNESCO was paved by a division in the Arab world. Egypt and Qatar both fielded candidates for the post, and Azoulay eventually squeezed past both of them over six tortuous rounds of voting.
For Israel, Azoulay’s victory is plainly a cause for celebration. She is the first Jewish head of UNESCO, and, Channel 2 reported, has relatives in Israel.
At the same time, the accuracy of Katz’s waspish retort that UNESCO would not now automatically change its nature is reflected in the fact that the outgoing UNESCO chief, Irina Bukova, was a firm critic of some of her own organization’s anti-Israel resolutions.
What a nasty, bigoted, ahistorical piece Donald Macintyre wrote for yesterday’s Guardian. Macintyre is upset that while there is a Jewish state in light of the 1917 Balfour Declaration there is no Palestinian one and, predictably, he blames Israel 100 years later for this and thinks that the best way to resolves this is to destroy Jewish communities living in the West Bank. Macintyre suggests:
“Britain would ideally use the new economic relationship it will have to strike with Israel post-Brexit to exercise leverage on it by deciding on a clear boycott, not of Israel proper, but of trade with and goods coming from the settlements.”
Targeting Jewish communities for destruction resonates for Jewish people. Protagonists have always invented a reason to punish Jewish communities and Macintyre’s reasoning is just the latest fad.
Macintyre tries to back all this up by quoting the Balfour Declaration, which he claims has been breached by Britain because “the rights of ‘existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine’” have been prejudiced.
The wording of the Balfour Declaration is pretty ambiguous because it did not define exactly where “in Palestine…a national home for the Jewish people” would be.
A team of doctors at an American hospital said top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat underwent a successful lung transplant surgery Thursday evening, PLO Ambassador to the US Husam Zomlot said on Friday.
Erekat, well-known to American and Israeli officials, was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis five years ago, a disease that scars and damages lung tissue. In a recent interview with Palestinian Authority television, the senior Palestinian official said he was in need of a lung transplant due to a significant deterioration in his ability to breathe over the past five months.
“The medical team announced the surgery was successful and Erekat’s new lung is working and responding well,” Zomlot said in a statement published in the official PA news site Wafa.
The transplant surgery, which took place at the Inova Fairfax Hospital in Virginia, lasted four hours and 33 minutes, according to Erekat’s son Ali.
Zomlot added that while Erekat “is in good condition,” he “needs to receive follow-up treatment for several weeks.”
It usually takes some three to six months to recover fully from lung transplant surgery, according to the University of California San Francisco Medical Center website.
Israeli-Arab MK Haneen Zoabi has long shown her disloyalty to the Jewish state, working from within to undermine us, despite being an MK and living the good life here.
Last week, she was the keynote speaker at a gala in Dallas for the Jerusalem Fund for Education and Community Development, an American pro-palestinian organization. Her entire speech is currently available on YouTube. If you have the time, patience and low-enough blood pressure, listen to the entire thing to understand just how shameless this woman is. But at well over an hour long, most will not be able to get through it. That is why I have done the dirty work for you, and have distilled some of the statements that need to be highlighted and see the light of day – including admissions as to her true goals, complaining about the rights Israeli Arabs are given, imploring her people to not see Hamas as the enemy but Zionism as the enemy, and some good old fashioned antisemitism (denying the Jews the right to self-determination because “the Jews are not a nationality”, and comparing Israel to Nazi Germany).
In particular, I want this to be brought to the attention of the Knesset so she can be charged with treason and have her MK privileges revoked – which is what needs to happen in my opinion.
An American doctor working in an Israeli field hospital treating wounded Syrians in the Golan Heights was lightly injured Tuesday night as a result of shots fired from across the border towards the medical facility.
The army said it was investigating “the possibility that the incident was caused due to stray fire.”
“A few hours ago, shots were fired towards a field hospital that is part of Operation Good Neighbor in the southern Golan heights, adjacent to the border on the Syrian side,” according to the IDF spokesman’s unit. “As a result, a foreign staff member was very lightly injured and was treated at the scene.”
Israel has largely stayed out of the Syrian civil war, which broke out in March 2011, but has over the years acknowledged that it helps treat wounded Syrians who arrive at its border, and provides some of them with humanitarian assistance.
A top Israel Defense Forces general warned Wednesday of an Israeli “response” to “provocative” actions by Hamas, saying tensions between the sides could escalate if the terror group does not control its fighters.
In a Facebook post in Arabic, Coordinator of the Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai said Hamas members have been using lasers to blind IDF soldiers operating on the border with the Gaza Strip.
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“This situation is dangerous, as the continuation of the provocative blinding operations being carried out by terror operatives, even if not [done] at the instruction of their commanders, could lead to an escalation at a sensitive moment for developments in the Palestinian theater,” said Mordechai.
“You’ve been warned,” he added.
A top Israeli minister will on Sunday demand that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu several all ties between Israel and the Palestinian Authority following a reconciliation deal signed in Cairo on Thursday between the Fatah party, which dominates the PA, and the Gaza-based Hamas terror group.
“We can’t allow ourselves to be weakened” by continuing to interact with the PA in the wake of Thursday’s Palestinian unity deal, Education Minister Naftali Bennett told Israel’s Channel 10 News. “We won’t be able to ask the international community to impose sanctions on Hamas if we essentially, de facto, recognize Hamas. Negotiating with the PA amounts to accepting Hamas as a legitimate entity.”
Asked whether he would therefore press Netanyahu to cut all ties with the PA at the next cabinet meeting, Bennett said he would.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman dismissed the demand, saying that Israel’s national security interests are served by economic stability in the West Bank and by security coordination with the PA. Bennett, he indicated, was merely advancing his own “electoral interests.” Added Liberman, who heads the Yisrael Beytenu party: “I prefer to focus on our security interests.”
Hamas and Fatah on Thursday agreed to declare December 1 as a final deadline for the Palestinian Authority to take over the Gaza Strip.
Hamas has controlled Gaza since 2007 when it forcibly ousted the Fatah-dominated PA from the territory. However, less than a month ago, Hamas announced its readiness to cede control of Gaza to the PA.
The rival parties’ agreement on Thursday came after senior Hamas and Fatah delegations met in Cairo for two days.
“The two movements agreed to measures to enable the [PA] national unity government to undertake its full responsibilities in administrating the affairs of the Gaza Strip as it does in the West Bank,” an official Egyptian statement published in PA media said.
Fatah leader Azzam al-Ahmad, who led the Fatah delegation to the Egyptian capital, told a press conference in Cairo that “enabling the government” entails the PA taking over all the government institutions and bodies in Gaza without exception.
Ahmad added that his party and Hamas consented to the PA taking over Gaza’s border crossings with Egypt and Israel and deploying its security forces along the Egyptian-Gaza border.
After the breakthrough in Cairo, Arab and Palestinian media reported that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to visit the Gaza Strip within a month. Fatah official Zakariya al-Agha said the visit, the first in over a decade, would be allowed thanks to the understandings concluded in Cairo with the Fatah movement.
The Palestinian president welcomed the agreement between the two sides and, in a message sent to Egypt’s leadership, thanked President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for his efforts in achieving Palestinian reconciliation. As part of the agreement, 3,000 policemen will be stationed in the Gaza Strip subordinate to the Palestinian Authority.
The Al Hayat report that Hamas will hand the Palestinian Authority responsibility for everything above the ground in Gaza is significant because Hamas is trying to preserve its terrorist infrastructure, particularly the massive tunnel system that has been built underground in Gaza, as well as weapons caches and workshops, especially those that produce rockets in preparation for a future conflict with Israel.
The much-hailed accord signed in Cairo between Hamas and Fatah this week reportedly contains secret clauses, one of which was that Hamas will longer carry out terror attacks on Jewish settlements in the West Bank, according to veteran army radio analyst Jacky Hugi, reported Maariv.
Hugi reported that sources that are ‘in the know’ told him that Major General Majid Faraj, head of the Palestinian General Intelligence Agency, refused to sign the agreements until Hamas will agree to a truce in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
The meaning of this truce is that Hamas will refrain from planning and executing attacks on Israelis living in the West Bank. While Hugi is clear in stating that the truce is unlikely to last beyond the time Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has left in office, and that individual terrorists may still attempt to attack Israelis regardless of what Hamas has agreed to – this is a ‘revolutionary step’.
Hugi pointed out Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri, who now serves as the unofficial Hamas envoy for foreign relations, gave an inspired speech at the signing ceremony in Cairo in which he sought to sow unity between the rival factions.
What do Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Hamas and the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) have in common? These terrorist groups have all been lionized and glorified by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the campus arm of the global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign.
Many on university campuses misunderstand SJP.
The group describes itself as a grassroots student organization that supports “Palestinian freedom and equality” in advocating for Palestinian statehood. This is a false and misleading characterization.
SJP is more accurately an international network of some 200 student chapters that actively seek the dismantlement of the Jewish state. They have launched often violent antisemitic assaults against Jewish and Israel-friendly students and have demonstrably expressed support for Palestinian terrorists and Islamic jihadist groups.
The organization’s chapters have defied official university warnings and sanctions and have transformed leading campuses in the United States and Europe into fortresses of fear, intimidation and retribution. Exposing and thwarting Students for Justice in Palestine is essential to restoring universities as a safe environment for the peaceful and respectful exchange of ideas.
SJP’s proprietary notion of “justice” simply means ridding the world of the Jewish state. Its exclusive use of the term “Palestine” signals its rejection of Israel.
The group’s expressions of support for Palestinian terrorists is no secret.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday on behalf of a teacher challenging Kansas’ new law barring state contractors from participating in boycotts against Israel, saying it’s a clear violation of her free speech rights.
The lawsuit was brought on behalf of Esther Koontz, a math and science curriculum coach at a Wichita public school, seeks to overturn a law that took effect July 1 and prohibits the state from entering into contracts with individuals or companies participating in a boycott of Israel. Twenty-one states have such policies, from liberal California to conservative strongholds such as Alabama and Texas; in Kansas, the measure had strong bipartisan support.
States have enacted their laws in recent years amid an increasingly visible movement protesting Israel’s policies toward Palestinians. Backers of boycotting Israeli companies argue that they’re defending Palestinians’ human rights, while boycott critics contend the goal is to destroy the Jewish state.
“The government does not get to use its leverage to silence one side of the debate,” Brian Hauss, an ACLU attorney, told The Associated Press. The ACLU is asking to have enforcement of the law blocked while the case proceeds.
Last week, two Republican state lawmakers in Wisconsin introduced legislation to prohibit businesses from engaging in boycotts of Israel as a condition of any state contract.
In recent years, more than 20 US states have passed legislation condemning BDS or prohibiting their governments from doing business with entities that boycott Israel. Additional states — including Wisconsin — are expected to suit follow before the end of the year.
Released by State Senator Leah Vukmir and State Representative Dale Kooyenga, the Wisconsin bill is currently being circulated among both chambers for co-sponsors. The measure “prohibits any state agency or other body in state government and any local governmental unit, including a special purpose district, from adopting a rule, ordinance, policy, or procedure that involves the state agency or local governmental unit in a boycott of Israel or a person doing business in Israel or in a territory under Israeli jurisdiction.”
It also “requires contracts for materials, supplies, equipment, and services between state purchasing agents and nongovernmental entities to include a provision that the nongovernmental entity is not currently participating, or will not for the duration of the contract participate, in a prohibited boycott.”
One of Denmark’s largest pension funds announced that it will bar investment in four companies that operate in West Bank settlements.
Sampension – with some $46.1 billion (290b. Danish kroner) under management – announced the blacklist in a press release last week, which excludes Israel’s two largest banks, Hapoalim and Leumi, along with Israeli telecom giant Bezeq and German- based Heidelberg Cement.
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The Danish public-employee pension fund is divesting from the four companies due to their role in “the financing of settlements, the extraction of natural resources and [the] establishment of infrastructure for telecommunications in occupied territory.”
Heidelberg Cement is barred because its subsidiary, Hanson Ltd., operates an asphalt factory and quarry in the West Bank .
In addition to these four companies, Sampension said that it was talking with six other multinational corporations about how their economic activity in settlements may violate “international principles.”
A bridge in Beersheva’s Gav Yam high-tech park was chosen as the winner in the long-span category of the triannual Footbridge Awards, at the Footbridge 2017 conference held in Berlin, Germany recently.
The Beersheva High-Tech Park Bridge, nicknamed the double-helix bridge or the DNA bridge, because of its unusual design, was chosen by a panel of judges, beating out bridges in Canada and New Zealand.
The $25 million footbridge, which is 210 meters long and has 36 varied sections, was commissioned by Beersheva municipality, and designed by Bar Orian Architects. Structural engineers were Rokach Ashkenazi Engineers, and lighting design was by Orly Avron-Alkabes.
The bridge, which lights up at night, was opened in January 2016, and links Beersheva University railway station in the north of the city with the Gav Yam High Tech Park, which is next door to Ben Gurion University of the Negev.
Jewish actress Mayim Bialik said she was shocked and disgusted by “the scope” of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s predatory behavior toward women in an industry that profits on their objectification, but was “not surprised” by the fact that he abused his position of power to do so.
In a New York Times op-ed titled “Being a Feminist in Harvey Weinstein’s World” published on Friday, Bialik said that “nothing has been a harsher reminder that I work in an industry that profits on the exploitation of women — and not just on screen — than the accusations against Harvey Weinstein as a serial sexual assaulter, particularly of aspiring young actresses.”
The actress, who played the role of “Blossom” in the early 90s and more recently, Amy Farah Fowler on “The Big Bang Theory” — for which she earned four Emmy nominations — wrote about her early start in Hollywood at age 11 and her awareness and discomfort at such a young age of her “nontraditional” appearance while being immersed in a business that “rewarded physical beauty and sex appeal above all else.”
Bialik wrote that though the pressure to look and behave like “the pretty girls” started way before she entered Hollywood as a pre-teen, she quickly learned that “young girls with doe eyes and pouty lips who spoke with a high register were favored for roles by the powerful men who made those decisions.”
Wonder Woman leading lady, Israeli actress and model Gal Gadot, took to Instagram on Friday to denounce the phenomena of bullying and sexual harassment following the countless allegations that have emerged against Jewish Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of assaulting, harassing and raping numerous actresses.
Gadot, whose reprisal of the role of Princess Diana in the box office hit has garnered her the love of millions of movie-goers across the globe, used the social media platform to call against acts of violence targeting women.
“Bullying and sexual harassment is unacceptable! I stand by all the courageous women confronting their fears and speaking out,” Gadot wrote in a picture of a black-and-white text she posted.
“Together we stand. We are all united in this time of change,” she added.
Gadot’s expression of solidarity with women who were victimized by men such as Weinstein comes as many other powerhouse actresses expressed their sympathy with their coworkers (such as Angelina Jolie, Gwenyth Paltrow, Kate Beckinsale and Ashley Judd) who have all alleged that Weinstein attempted to assault them in some capacity over the years as they sought his insight or guidance.
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