Monday, June 30, 2014

Media Will Ignore Hamas Attacks On Israel, Until Israel Responds -- So Read This

Giora Eiland, IDF Major General, and former Israeli National Security Advisor, was interviewed on Israel's Reshet Bet radio show, about the overnight rocket Hamas rocket barrages from the Gaza Strip.

Eiland noted that Israel is working very hard to deescalate the situation, but if things do not calm down in the next few days, there will be no stopping an escalation -- and Israel would be forced to launch a major operation to stop the rocket fire.

Here is part of what he said:
“I assume it’s a matter of days for us to know if we succeeded [together with other parties] to create the required calm, or if not we will certainly be prepared to carry out a larger process than the [current] spontaneous responses... a hard/harsh Israeli action against Gaza would be accepted, maybe not with encouragement, but with great understanding in Washington and most places in the world...

Friday, June 27, 2014

Video: 3 Songs Dedicated to The 3 Kidnapped Israeli Students

Here are 3 songs that have come out, dedicated to Naftali Fraenkel , Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrah.
I posted them to Google Plus, and am posting them here in case you did not hear them yet.

Here they are:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

NGO Monitor: Antisemitism Exposed Within Presbyterian Church Activist Group Behind Divestment Vote

Antisemitism exposed within Presbyterian Church activist group behind divestment vote  

Jerusalem - NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem based research institute, has released evidence that anti-Jewish prejudice was prominent among the internal church advocates for boycott and divestment (BDS) efforts.

The Israel-Palestine Mission Network (IPMN), a church affiliated activist group centrally responsible for lobbying the church to divest from companies that do business with Israel and publisher of the highly controversial booklet, Zionism Unsettled: A Congregational Study, also promoted antisemitism on its Facebook page.    

"The IPMN's Facebook page is in fact a hate site operating under the protective wings of the Presbyterian Church," said Yitzhak Santis, NGO Monitor's Chief Programs Officer. "None of the antisemitic postings were repudiated by the IPMN leadership or other members of this Facebook group. Several Presbyterian Church senior staff members are also members of this group, and they remained silent."

Monday, June 23, 2014

Arlene Kushner: Israelis, Jews United In Face of Kidnapping of 3 Students

From Arlene Kushner:
June 21, 2014

Hoping, Waiting, Praying...

Motzei Shabbat (After Shabbat)
When last I wrote, I expressed the fervent hope that by the time I posted again the kidnapped students would have been brought back alive.  Days have gone by since then, but, most regretfully, we do not yet have them home.  I can do no more here than report on what is transpiring, to the degree that we are privy to information.
The mood of the nation is somber, watchful.  But what shows clear is a spirit of unity - Israel is with the boys and their families, in prayer, in thought, and in written word.  The Operation that is being conducted to find the boys and bring them back is called Operation Brothers Keeper, which tells us something as well.
We see prayers for them in different locales at different times, including...

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Solidarity Among Jews, Non-Jews -- And Muslims -- In Reaction to 3 Kidnapped Israelis

The condemnation by human rights groups and other organization of the kidnapping of Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrach may have been slow in coming, but the response by people has been strong and heartening.

Three examples:

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Raymond Ibrahim: The New York Times Defends Al-Qaeda

The following by Raymond Ibrahim is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

The New York Times Defends Al-Qaeda

by Raymond Ibrahim
Gatestone Institute
June 11, 2014

Why are some of the biggest Western mainstream media outlets—especially the New York Times (NYT)—often apologetic, not only for radical Islamists, but for al-Qaeda, an organization responsible for, among other atrocities, killing nearly 3000 Americans on September 11, 2001?

A recent NYT report titled "Abduction of Girls an Act Not Even Al Qaeda Can Condone" tries to exonerate al-Qaeda of the actions of another jihadi organization, Nigeria's Boko Haram—when both groups are not only affiliated but remarkably similar in outlook and method. The report's opening sentence summarizes its thesis: "As word spread like wildfire on Twitter and Facebook that Nigerian militants were preparing to auction off more than 200 kidnapped schoolgirls in the name of Islam, a very different Internet network started quietly buzzing too," one which, according to the NYT, reflects "the dismay of fellow jihadists at the innocent targets of Boko Haram's violence":

Monday, June 16, 2014

Arlene Kushner on Latest Developments In Hamas Kidnapping of 3 Israeli Students

From Arlene Kushner:
June 16, 2014

The Struggle Goes On

This is not an uncommon refrain for me these days: This posting must be short because other considerations are pulling at me. I did want to follow through a bit more about the search for the three kidnapped students. But, unfortunately, the very same matter that has my attention today may prevent me from posting again until later in the week. Please God, let there be good news to post!

Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel, and Eyal Yifrach

What we are seeing now is:

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Photo: Will Obama Pressure Palestinian To Return 3 Kidnapped Boys?

Will fact one of the kidnapped boys is an American citizen make a difference?

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Collective US/Abbas Response to Another Unity-Government Rocket Fired on Israel: Oops!

Palestinian terrorists fired another post-unity government rocket at Israeli civilians -- and the collective response of the US government and Abbas is the same: Oops!

The Jewish Press reports that US Admits: Hamas Unity Government Can Launch Rockets, and Still Receive US Funds
US State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said at a press briefing on Wednesday that the US condemns the rocket fire from Gaza, and expects the Palestinian Unity Government and PUG president to condemn those attacks. But Psaki admits that condemning, not stopping those attacks is the maximum they expect from PUG President Mahmoud Abbas.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Arlene Kushner: Australia: Israeli Settlements Not Occupation; Reuven Rivlin Wins

From Arlene Kushner:
June 10, 2014

Rays of Light

More and more it seems, the nations of the world are arrayed against us:  Israel is criticized for not accepting a Fatah-Hamas unity government, for building in Judea and Samaria, etc. etc.  But there is one turn-around that, while modest, is significant.
The government of Australian Prime Minister “Tony” Abbott (pictured) “has ruled out using the term ‘occupied’ when describing Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem, prompting suggestions about a shift in Australia's foreign policy.”
Credit: Getty
“The government on Thursday delivered a statement to clarify its stand on the controversial question of the legality of settlements after the issued flared up at a [Australian] Senate hearing the night before.

"’The description of East Jerusalem (sic) as “occupied” East Jerusalem is a term freighted with pejorative implications which is neither appropriate nor useful,’ [Attorney General George] Brandis told a Senate estimates hearing [speaking for Foreign Minister Julie Bishop].

"’It should not and will not be the practice of the Australian government to describe areas of negotiation in such judgmental language.’"

Read: Australia drops 'occupied' from references to Israeli settlements
This does not mean that Australian policy now considers Judea and Samaria irrefutably Israeli, but, rather, that it acknowledges that Israel may have a legitimate claim, which must be resolved in negotiations.  And it’s a giant step in terms of fairness.
The shift in attitude began with Julie Bishop, who on a visit here in January famously said:
“I would like to see which international law has declared them [the settlements] illegal.”

Read: Australia FM: Don’t call settlements illegal under international law
In light of this apparent shift in policy, the Australian foreign ministry has taken hits from a host of countries that are “shocked” that anyone could fail to see eastern Jerusalem (there is no such place as “East Jerusalem”) and Judea and Samaria as anything but “occupied.”  This goes, by the way, for some members of Australia’s Senate as well.
And the Palestinian Arabs, who are considerably threatened by such a position?  Saeb Erekat, the PLO chief negotiator, wrote that “diplomatic recognition of the situation created by the attempted annexation of our capital is a flagrant violation of international law.”
Sigh... they rarely make a statement without evoking a non-existent “international law.”
What this shift does is provide a bit of hope.  If only some other foreign ministries were to take note.  Many, I recognize, are lost causes. But not all.
It provides a signal lesson as well: Where there is even a modicum of open-mindedness and willingness to learn on the part of diplomats, attitudes can be changed as facts are presented.
It is unlikely that it is a coincidence that in recent weeks there have been meetings between Israelis – presenting the case for Israel’s rights – and representatives of the Australian government.  Most significant was a meeting between Minister of Housing Uri Ariel (Habayit Hayehudi) and Australia’s ambassador to Israel, Dave Sharma.  This was held in – shock! – eastern Jerusalem, where Minister Ariel has his office. And there was also a meeting held in Tel Aviv between Australian Embassy political attaché Bill Rhee,  and Ari Briggs, Director of International Affairs forh Regavim (and originally from Australia himself), Elie Pieprz from the Yesha Council foreign desk, and Jeff Daube, head of ZOA in Israel and my Legal Grounds co-chair.
We – all of us! – have to continue to make the case for Israel.

Another ray of light:  Ruby (Reuven) Rivlin  of Likud has just been elected by the Knesset to be the 10th president of Israel.
Credit: The Guardian
He won in a run-off vote against Meir Sheetrit of Hatenua, 63-53, after neither candidate, in a crowded field of would-be presidents, secured a majority the first time around.  I had scrupulously avoided reporting on the presidential campaign, as it was hardly one to do Israel proud.  The accompanying scandals and accusations, and political jockeying were not the sort of issues I choose to write about in the limited space of my postings.
From where I sit, Rivlin – who leans right and is opposed to a Palestinian state - is by far the best of the candidates.  A lawyer and member of a family whose roots in Jerusalem go back for several generations, he has served twice as speaker of the Knesset.  He wrote, before being elected, that:
’'...the position [of president] is shaped primarily by the character of its incumbent and his cultural, historical, personal, and human identity. The president’s agenda is determined mainly by the goals he sets for himself.

“...I believe that the president, as Israel’s representative to the world at large, must also give thought to Israel’s role on the international stage.  Against the background of the criticism of Israel, it sometimes seems that we are neglecting our aspiration to be a ‘light to the nations’ in favor of the vital and unavoidable task of trying to explain ourselves and to fend off the efforts to eat away at the legitimacy of the State of Israel.  Israel’s strength lies in its human capital.  It can and must serve as a key player that contributes some of its cumulative experience and capacities to the rest of the world...

”The presidency is a sort of social compass whose nonpartisan character is its raison d’être. The ability of the president to be perceived as someone with whom all Israelis can identify depends on his ability to avoid being a party to debate...”

Read: The ‘extra soul’ of Israeli democracy


I say amen to this last: may he honor it throughout his presidency.  He began with the right tone, immediately after his election, by saying he was going to be a “man of the nation.”  The disparate elements of our nation badly need a figure who can tie us together.  We shall see...

It is with no regret that I bid goodbye to outgoing president Shimon Peres who maddeningly overstepped the bounds of his office time and again by making highly politicized and inappropriate statements that reflected a position far to the left of that of the government.  Although I will mention an enormous unease that exists in some quarters that Peres, out of office, will utilize his prestige to undermine the government and do even more damage.

Should Rivlin step out of his “man of the nation” role and espouse a public political position as president, at least we know he won’t go in the direction that Peres went. And we won’t hear him refer to Abbas as a “man of peace.”


Also semi-encouraging is the announcement last week by Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Habayit Hayehudi) that tenders have been published for building 1,500 new units in eastern Jerusalem, with 400 units in Ramat Shlomo, and in Judea and Samaria, with 700 units in the Gush Etzion towns of Efrat and Beitar Ilit, and smaller numbers of apartments in Ariel, Alfei Menashe, and Givat Ze’ev.

Building is good. Why this is only semi-encouraging is because the announcement was said to be a response to the PA involvement in the unity government.  What should be our right, and declared as such, is demeaned what it is presented as “retaliation.”

Read: Israel okays 1,500 West Bank homes in response to Palestinian unity

Needless to say, US Ambassador to Israel wasted no time in condemning this announcement of building.


With the items above, I think we’ve covered the major “rays of light” at present. It would be foolish to expect too much at one time.

I alluded above to tensions within disparate parts of our nation, and we are seeing this in particular right now with the disputes within the governing coalition as to what should come next, now that the “negotiations” have fallen apart.  Some of the statements we’ve been exposed to are patently ridiculous.

I refer in particular to what Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) has now proposed: “Israel should halt settlement construction deep inside the West Bank and in any case withdraw from areas that it does not expect to keep under a peace agreement. He said such moves would clear the way for a final agreement and negotiated borders with the Palestinians.”

Read: Failure of peace talks leaves Israel divided

How far removed from reality can he be?  A final agreement with Fatah, which is in a unity arrangement with Hamas?  Does he not realize how quickly Hamas would move into areas we withdrew from?

Netanyahu, for his part, responded that Lapid is demonstrating lack of experience – that proposing concessions without the promise of a return is foolish.  He’s correct of course. Not that our prime minister, for his part, has seriously grappled with the current situation or avoided statements that are troubling.


Economy Minister Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) is probably only a bit more realistic than Lapid at this point in suggesting that annexation of Area C begin.

I go on record here, as I have in the past, as totally supporting Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria. But I recognize that – unfortunately - neither the nation nor the government is ready to stand behind this move.  Not yet.  Which is why I co-chair the Legal Grounds Campaign: to promote the concept of Israel’s legal rights, and to continue to promote it until there has been a shift in the paradigm of thinking.

If any part of Bennett’s proposal possibly makes sense right now, it is the annexation of Gush Etzion, as a starting point. This bloc just south east of Jerusalem that is home to 20 Jewish communities has a long history of Jewish settlement and sacrifice that pre-dates the State.  See: The History of Gush Etzion

To make the case for the Gush as intrinsically part of Israel is not difficult.


The prediction here at the moment is for continuing tensions amongst various factions of the coalition.

And what of the unity government?

At the Cabinet meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu said:

“Whoever hoped that the Palestinian unity between Fatah and Hamas would moderate Hamas is mistaken. Instead of the Palestinian Authority taking over Gaza, the signs are being more and more seen that the complete opposite is taking place, i.e., that Hamas is increasing its control in the Palestinian Authority areas in Judea and Samaria.”

Read: Netayahu Says Hamas Increasing Control in PA Areas Due to Unity Deal

This was entirely predictable.  It is what I’ve observed over the years: in shared ventures, Hamas always gains the upper hand over Fatah and further radicalizes Fatah.


The prime minister also noted that Hamas is reiterating its intention to destroy Israel.  This is clearly the case, with Hamas retaining its “resistance” policy and its separate “resistance” forces in Gaza.

He then called upon the international community to “apply pressure” on Abbas to break with Hamas. And here is where he also departed from reality.  For the international community has already done their “hear no evil, see no evil” routine and agreed to support that unity government.  At this point, his calls constitute no more than “blowing in the wind.”  They will change nothing.

Netanyahu condemned support for the unity government at the beginning.

Would that he had simply said now that it is greatly regrettable that the international community will not apply pressure upon Abbas, that failing to do so is a moral as well as diplomatic error, and that the community cannot expect Israel to adopt similar policies in this matter. Period.


© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.  

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

MEQ Summer 2014: Surprising Ties between Israel and the Kurds

The following by Ofra Bengio is reposted here with permission of the Middle East Forum:

Surprising Ties between Israel and the Kurds

by Ofra Bengio
Middle East Quarterly
Summer 2014

Monday, June 09, 2014

Will The Media Forget About Meriam Ibrahim in Sudan?

The following by Raymond Ibrahim is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Anne Bayefsky: Benghazi, Bergdahl and Hamas:The Common Thread in Obama's Foreign Policy

For Immediate Release:
June 3, 2014
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Benghazi, Bergdahl and Hamas:The Common Thread in Obama's Foreign Policy

This article by Anne Bayefsky originally appeared on FoxNews.

It is about time that pundits stop describing President Obama’s foreign policy as weak. There is a straight line between emboldening Syria’s Assad by calling him a reformer, Egypt’s Morsi a democrat, Turkey’s Erdogan a friend, Iran’s Rouhani a moderate, and now a Palestinian government that includes Hamas, a peace partner.

Monday's speedy announcement that the United States will work with and pay for a PLO-Hamas coalition government is a strong and predictable step in an alarming pattern.

Monday, June 02, 2014

What is Israel Doing to Respond To The Al Qaeda Threat From Syria?

The following by Jonathan Spyer is reposted here with permission of the Middle East Forum:

A Most Discreet Israeli Intervention in Syria

by Jonathan Spyer
The Jerusalem Post
May 29, 2014

Since the outbreak of the civil war in Syria in 2011, Israeli officials have observed events to the north with caution and concern. The concern has derived from the presence of anti-Israel paramilitary and terrorist elements on both sides of the fighting lines in Syria.

The caution, meanwhile, relates to the very deep aversion felt in the Israeli system toward the possibility of Israel's being sucked in to the morass of the Syrian war. Israel's Lebanon experience has left a deep institutional memory warning against overly ambitious incursions into the affairs of neighboring states.

Nevertheless, evidence is emerging of an increasing, though still modest Israeli involvement in events beyond the separation of forces line on the Golan Heights.

Fatah and Hamas Unity Government Sworn In: There Goes The Neighborhood

The Israel Project hosted a conference call discussing the new Palestinian unity government between the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas terrorist group. The speaker was Dr. Kobi Michael, senior lecturer in political science at Ariel University and the INSS, and former Deputy Director General at Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs.

Here are some of the key points Dr. Michael made, centering on:

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Uproar Over Painting Of Detroyed Mosque -- Relief When It's A Synagogue In Gush Katif

There was an uproar when the Arab students at Tel Aviv University protested the hanging of a picture there allegedly showing the demolishing of the Al Aqsa Mosque:

Protest art painting featuring Arab students claimed the destruction of the Al - Aqsa exciting the Tel Aviv University. MK Taleb Abu Arar Ra'am - Taal academic institution requires the president to be removed immediately.

In recent days hanging around the university two paintings by artist Dina Zeifer Luzon. One of them, who was hanged at the entrance to the library, created a storm . The picture shows a bulldozer destroys a building and a group of Jews holding Torah scrolls in their hands behind her seven-branched candelabrum.[Google Translation of the Hebrew]

Here is the offending painting: