Saturday, October 24, 2020

From Ian:

Ballots come and go, Abraham Accords are here to stay
I've read multiple pieces accusing President Trump of using the Abraham Accords as an election success story. Any candidate trying to get elected or re-elected as president of the United States of America will use whatever gains they possess to gain votes. If you have something better than the first peace deal in 25 years by all means use that to your advantage- any politician would.

Similar claims are made against Netanyahu who is standing trial on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Neither Trump nor Netanyahu have been given a grace period following the Abraham Accords. In Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's case, it is not because Israelis don't have foreign policy high on their list, but because there are more pressing domestic issues to deal with.

Israelis refer to Netanyahu as "the magician" – a term used both positively and negatively. Recent polls however indicate the opposition right-wing Yamina party is closing the gap with Netanyahu's Likud, calling the entire magic theory into question yet again.

The peace agreement between the United Arab Emirates, Israel and Bahrain is widely favored among Israelis, but it contrasts with serious dissatisfaction at home. While Israelis are eager to travel to the Gulf, let's not forget that they have been stuck at home for several weeks until recently due to a second nationwide lockdown. Ask any one of the tens of thousands of Israelis protesting across Israel and they will blame Netanyahu for miserable handling of the Pandemic. At this point Israelis are feeling so helpless, a trip to the local grocery store will suffice.

All this is to say that the Abraham Accords, amazing as they truly are, cannot erase – or even ease – domestic strife.

The biggest mockers of the new Israeli-Gulf relationship are unquestionably the Palestinians. They rejected the deal immediately and left no room to recognize their longtime Emirati ally's achievement in blocking Israel's plan to extend sovereignty to large parts of Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley.

Palestinians see the deal as a betrayal as it calls for normalization with Israel through the good ol' formula they grew up on "if we don't get a piece of peace, no one does." The Abraham accords aren't killig the prospects of an independent state of Palestine, the Palestinian reaction to it is.

Those who believe that Jerusalem's holy sites are in danger due to the agreement can rest assured the Hashemite custodianship of Muslim and Christian holy sites hasn't changed. The only ones threatening the city right now are extremists targeting and harassing Emirati worshippers who have come to visit the Temple Mount, Islam's third holiest site.
The US: An Inspirational Leader in the Middle East
By taking a robust approach to some of the region's more intractable issues... such as relocating the American embassy to Jerusalem, the US has produced a number of profound changes to the regional landscape, the consequences of which are likely to be felt for many years to come.

The breakthrough in the peace process, moreover, has resulted in the region being clearly divided between moderate, peace-loving countries that are prepared to engage in the peace process, and rejectionist regimes, such as Turkey and Iran, that are only interested in causing further bloodshed.

It is these countries, as well as China, Russia, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela that have most to fear in next month's presidential election if a strong and successful America returns again.

Yisrael Medad: A Letter to the NY Review of Books Not Published
Commenting on Israel's presumed 'vulnerability' regarding the legality or illegality of civilian Jewish residency communities ("settlements") in the "West Bank", a new geopolitical term created in 1950, territory the United Nations termed Judea and Samaria in its 1947 Partition Plan, David Luban, Georgetown Professor in Law, writes in "America the Unaccountable" that "[t]ransferring your own people into occupied territory violates the Geneva Conventions". He pursues this by adding that "Israel has devised an arcane legal theory that it never occupied the West Bank, but it is fair to say that nobody outside Israel and the US takes that position seriously" [NYR Aug 20].

The international legal experts who do not agree with that thinking, among them Stephen M. Schwebel, Eugene Rostow, Abraham Bell and Eugene Kontorovich and many others, point out that the actual language in the 1949 Geneva Convention is "forcible transfers", that "Palestine" never existed, nor does it at present exist, as a "state", that indeed Israel is a "belligerent occupier", quite a proper legal status and that the non-arcane legal doctrine of Uti Possidetis Juris applies - in which the territorial sovereignty of emerging states covers their pre-independence administrative boundaries - as does United Nations Article 80 as well. Moreover, the IJC's 2004 advisory opinion does not hold "that the [Israel–Palestine] boundary is 'subject to such rectification as might be agreed upon by the parties'" as Luban writes. Quite to the contrary, a "Demarcation Line" was to be subject to rectification (see para. 71), a line that the 1949 Armistice Agreement specifically stated in Article IV, 9 that "Lines...of this Agreement are agreed upon by the Parties without prejudice to future territorial settlements or boundary lines or to claims of either Party relating thereto".

As someone who lives in such a community, I think that Luban could have noted that the Arabs of Mandate Palestine refused the offer of a state in 1947, consistently rejected diplomacy (the Khartoum 3 Noes), that they had been engaged in an anti-Jewish terror campaign since 1920 which has never stopped until this day and that they ethnically cleansed all Jews from this area intended to be reconstituted as the Jewish "national home" due to the Jews' "historic connection" to it, as the League of Nations decided in 1922. Some of those families had been living in that territory for centuries. Luban could, even in passing, had referred to the 1967 war when Israel, threatened with aggression, came into administrative possession of Judea and Samaria (and until 2005, Gaza as well) as a defensive war. Had he done so he would have provided a better, indeed, a more philosophical framework to judge the matter.

RJC: Trump solved world’s most intractable foreign policy problems
Jewish Republicans said the Sudan-Israel normalization agreement was proof of the US president’s negotiating prowess while some Jewish Democrats said the deal only served his own interests.

Republican Jewish Coalition national chairman Norm Coleman said the Trump administration deserves tremendous credit for this diplomatic success.

“The Israel-Sudan agreement comes on the heels of the Abraham Accords, brokered by President [Donald] Trump, which established peaceful and friendly relations between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain,” said Coleman. “These are truly historic diplomatic achievements led by the Trump administration.”

According to Coleman, Trump and his team have quietly produced innovative solutions to some of the world’s most intractable foreign policy problems.

“Today, Muslim countries are entering into diplomatic, trade and other relations with the State of Israel. These amazing changes will bring greater peace, stability, security and opportunity to millions of people. And the credit for bringing those historic achievements to fruition goes to President Donald Trump.”

The Jewish Democratic Council of America, on the other hand, expressed “optimism and concern” about the announcement of normalization of relations between Israel and Sudan.

Israel expects Oman to normalize next, Mossad chief says Saudi deal soon — TV
Israeli officials believe Oman is next in line to normalize relations with Israel in the near future, following the Jewish state’s blitz of deals with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and most recently Sudan, according to a new report Saturday.

Channel 12 said sources in the government claimed an announcement was even potentially possible before the US presidential election on November 3rd, though they stressed it could take more time, as Muscat would likely wait to see where political winds are blowing in Washington before making any major decisions.

Oman hailed the accords between Israel and the two Gulf states last month, expressing hope they would “contribute to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Oman in 2018, the first trip by an Israeli leader in over two decades, in what was seen as a sign of warming ties between the Jewish state and the Sunni Arab world. This image made from video shows Oman’s new sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said taking part in a cannon-fire salute outside the Royal Family Council in Muscat, Oman, January 11, 2020. (Oman TV via AP)

Oman’s former sultan Qaboos bin Said died in January and was replaced by cousin Haitham bin Tariq Al Said.

Meanwhile, Channel 12 also reported that Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen has stated he believes Saudi Arabia will normalize ties with Israel, but will do so after the election, to capitalize fully on such a decision with whoever is the next US president.
US Jewish Groups Overjoyed by Israel-Sudan Peace Announcement
The pulses of American Jewish leaders were set racing again on Friday as they reacted to the announcement of a historic US-brokered normalization agreement between Israel and Sudan.

“We applaud the beginning of the process of normalizing relations between the State of Israel and the Republic of Sudan, which deserves universal support by all who seek peace in the Middle East,” declared the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, in a statement lauding the news.

“Sudan is the third Arab country to make peace with Israel in the past two months, the significance of which cannot be overstated, as these landmark diplomatic agreements represent the dawn of a new age for the relationship between the Jewish State and the Muslim world,” the statement asserted. “In normalizing relations with Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and now Sudan pave the way for more Arab and Muslim countries to embrace peace and reconciliation.”

Predicted the Conference of Presidents: “The rapidly shifting dynamics of the Middle East signify a future that will be defined by diplomacy and cooperation, with rejectionism and extremism relegated to the past.”

In a separate statement, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) noted that the “Israel-Sudan agreement comes amidst a pivotal transition in Sudan as the country prepares for democratic elections in 2022, following last year’s historic revolution overthrowing dictator Omar al-Bashir.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Says Anti-Hezbollah Efforts ‘Bearing Fruit’ Around Globe
Israel’s foreign minister, Gabi Ashkenazi, hailed on Friday the growing number of countries that have blacklisted Hezbollah as a terrorist group.

The Jewish state’s top diplomat — a former IDF chief of staff — singled out Guatemala, which recently announced new legislation to hamper Hezbollah’s ability to move money, for praise, and urged other nations in the region to follow suit.

On Thursday, Ashkenazi’s focus was on eastern Europe, as he lauded Estonia for designating all of Hezbollah — Iran’s Lebanon-based Shi’a proxy — as a terrorist group.

“The Estonian government’s decision to recognize Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, including all of its wings, and to bar the group’s members from entering the country, sends a clear message against terrorism and against Hezbollah’s terrorist activities, which threaten world peace and undermine regional stability,” he stated.
Sudan to designate Lebanon’s Hezbollah as terrorist organization under Israel deal
Sudan has agreed to designate Lebanese Hezbollah as a terrorist organization as part of a recent deal to normalize ties with Israel, a senior US official said Friday.

“After decades of living under a brutal dictatorship, the people of Sudan are finally taking charge,” a joint statement between the United States, Sudan and Israel said.

But there was no mention of Hezbollah's designation, which the senior US official confirmed to Al Arabiya English that Sudan agreed to.

It remains unclear if this was a demand by other Arab states or only Israel and the US.

Friday marked 37 years since one of the deadliest attacks against US troops on foreign soil. On Oct. 23, 1983, a suicide bombing at the US Marine Barracks in Beirut killed 241 American service members.

US President Donald Trump Friday announced that Sudan would normalize relations with Israel, in a landmark step after two Gulf Arab nations moved to recognize Israel.
Key Sudanese parties blast normalization deal with Israel, vow to oppose it
Several key Sudanese political parties announced their opposition to the country’s decision to normalize relations with Israel.

Saturday also saw sporadic demonstrations against the deal in Khartoum. At one such protest, an Israeli flag was burned. According to the Guardian, at the events some chanted “go to hell” and “no to normalization with Israel.”

Opponents of the agreement, announced Friday in a joint statement from the US, Israel and Sudan released by the White House, said they would form a unified front against normalization.

The parties form essential parts of the civilian coalition that overthrew longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir last year. They accused the transitional government of violating its authorities as previously agreed upon.

The government is led by a civilian, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, and a military general, Chairman of the Sovereignty Council Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman al-Burhan. Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, at a press conference in Khartoum, Sudan, August 21, 2019. (AP Photo, File)

Parties opposing normalization included the country’s largest party, National Umma Party; the Sudanese Baath Party; and the Popular Congress Party.
Sudanese protesters burn Israeli flag, reject normalization with Israel
Sudanese protesters marching in Khartoum set the Israeli flag on fire on Wednesday, expressing their rejection of normalizing relations with Israel.

According to the local newspaper Al-Intibaha, the demonstrators chanted slogans against establishing relations with Israel and demanded that political parties who have supported the step revise their position.

Photos and videos of Sudanese protesters burning the Israeli flag have since circulated on social media.

The Al-Hadaf newspaper, owned by the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, posted photos on its Facebook page of the incident, with the caption: “The protesters burned the flag of the Zionist entity during the 21 October marches in Khartoum,” the Middle East Monitor reported.

The incident took place on the same day that an Israeli delegation reportedly visited the Sudanese capital to discuss the peace agreement and prepare for its announcement.
Joint List condemns normalization with Sudan
The Joint List of Arab parties roundly condemned the normalization deal between Israel and Sudan, while a former chairman of the Balad Party, one of the constituents of the Joint List, called for the Sudanese people to overthrow the government because of the agreement.

Several Joint List MKs denounced the deal for ignoring the conflict with the Palestinians and said that only the establishment of a Palestinian state would lead to real peace in the region.

Immediately after the announcement of the normalization agreement, former Balad MK and chair Jamal Zahalka took to Twitter to castigate the development.

“I condemn Sudan’s agreement with Israel which comes at the expense of the Palestinians,” he tweeted.

“I am sure the Sudanese people oppose it and will depose those who sign it. It [Sudan] is not the [United Arab] Emirates and there is strong opposition to the agreement.”

Current Joint List MK Ofer Cassif of the Hadash Party alleged that the “Trump-Netanyahu axis of evil” was seeking to obtain “recognition for Israel’s occupation through bribery of benighted regimes.”

Cassif was referencing reports that the US pressured Sudan into the normalization deal in return for removing it from its list of state sponsors of terror, as well the reports regarding the sale of F-35 fighter jets to the UAE as part of its normalization deal with Israel.
What’s behind the PA’s muted response to Israel-Sudan deal?
The Palestinian leadership’s subdued reaction is seen by some Palestinians as a sign that Ramallah is careful not to aggravate tensions with the Arab countries.

The Palestinian attacks on the UAE and Bahrain drew powerful and unprecedented responses from many citizens of the Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia. Scenes of Palestinians burning photos of the UAE and Bahrain rulers and the flags of the two countries drew even stronger condemnations from politicians, journalists and political activists in several Gulf states.

The PA has since appealed to Palestinians to stop “harming the symbols and leaders of Arab countries.”

The Palestinian leadership clearly understands that it made a big mistake when it accused Arab countries that once supported the Palestinians of treason and back-stabbing the Palestinians.

Moreover, PA President Mahmoud Abbas seems to understand that recurring attacks on Arab countries that establish relations with Israel will place him on a collision course with Egypt and Saudi Arabia, both of which have explicitly and implicitly supported the normalization deals.

As one Palestinian official in Ramallah put it, “We don’t want to be seen as if we are standing against the whole Arab world. We also need to take into consideration the interests of Palestinians living in the Arab countries.”

Iran Says US-Brokered Sudan-Israel Deal Secured by ‘Ransom’
Iran’s foreign ministry on Saturday described a US-brokered Sudan-Israel deal to normalize ties as “phony” and accused Khartoum of paying a ransom in return for Washington removing it from a list of state sponsors of terrorism.

The deal agreed on Friday marked the third Arab government after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to set aside hostilities with Israel in the last two months.

“Pay enough ransom, close your eyes to the crimes against Palestinians, then you’ll be taken off the so-called ‘terrorism’ blacklist,” the ministry tweeted in English. “Obviously, the list is as phony as the US fight against terrorism. Shameful.”

US President Donald Trump announced on Monday he would take Sudan off the list once it had deposited $335 million it had pledged to pay in compensation.

Khartoum has since placed the funds in a special escrow account for victims of al Qaeda attacks on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.

Trump also said the Palestinians “are wanting to do something” but offered no proof. Palestinian leaders have condemned recent Arab overtures to Israel as a betrayal of their nationalist cause for statehood in the disputed territories. They have refused to engage with the Trump administration, seeing it as biased in favor of Israel.
JPost Editorial: Netanyahu makes deals at the expense of the country
This is just the latest example of how Netanyahu makes side deals at the expense of the country’s security without transparency or accountability. This is similar to the green light he gave Germany to sell advanced Dolphin-class submarines to the Egyptian military, at a time that no one in the IDF knew or approved of such a sale.

What happened now with the UAE is not that different. Netanyahu wanted to advance a diplomatic peace deal, and for that to happen he had to condone a massive arms sale. Instead of simply telling the truth and dealing with the consequences – it’s likely the defense establishment would have agreed – he decided to hide it and pretend this was a “peace for peace” deal, unlike previous deals with Jordan and Egypt, which required concessions from Israeli leaders.

In other words, to make himself seem better and stronger, he hid the truth. He kept state secrets from the people whose responsibility it is to safeguard the nation and instead issued statements full of falsehoods.

This is just another reason why a proper investigation is needed to uncover what really happened with the deal to purchase new submarines and surface vessels from Germany alongside the permission Netanyahu gave to sell submarines to Egypt. Last week, an effort to establish a parliamentary commission of inquiry was scuttled after the coalition succeeded in annulling a previous vote in which establishment of the commission had passed.

The people need to understand what is happening at the highest echelons of power with regard to their safety and security. Is Netanyahu making the right decisions, and where is the system of checks and balances meant to oversee these decisions and hold the people who make them accountable? Right now, it seems like there are not any.

These two cases – submarines to Egypt and F-35s to the UAE – raise a serious cloud over Netanyahu’s decision-making as well as the claims he made after they both were uncovered. He says the opposite of the truth, only to have to reverse at a later date.

Netanyahu’s calculation is the public doesn’t care. But people should care. These decisions impact the security of this nation. If they are hidden from the defense establishment, something is wrong. A parliamentary commission of inquiry is needed now more than before.
Israel Announces It Won’t Oppose F-35 Sales to UAE
Israel signaled to the Trump administration that it would not oppose F-35 sales to the United Arab Emirates, the Hill reported Friday.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and defense minister Benny Gantz declared they would not oppose the sale of "certain weapons systems" to Abu Dhabi, in reference to the American-made fighter jets. "The prime minister and the defense minister both agree that since the U.S. is upgrading Israel's military capability and is maintaining Israel's qualitative military edge, Israel will not oppose the sale of these systems to the UAE," Netanyahu and Gantz said in a joint statement.

Jerusalem's approval comes soon after Secretary of Defense Mark Esper met with Gantz in Washington Thursday and signed a joint declaration that the United States would continue to prioritize Israel's military strength in future arms deals. "It was important for me once again to reaffirm the special relationship between our two countries, the commitment we have made to Israel's security based on our shared values, our shared history," Esper said.

Abu Dhabi's acquisition of F-35s would bolster the range and lethality of the Gulf country's air force and deter potential Iranian aggression. Assurances of military cooperation between the UAE and Washington were an integral part of the historic peace deal between the UAE and Israel brokered by the Trump administration. Since the formal establishment of relations between Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi in September, Bahrain and now Sudan have joined the ranks of countries to normalize relations with Israel.

Weapon sales could proceed in a rapid fashion to the UAE without opposition from the Senate. Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) and Bob Menendez (D., N.J.), however, introduced a bill this week that could restrict the sale of fighter jets to Abu Dhabi.
When Biden met Meir: Joe Biden advised Jewish PM to trade land for peace
A meeting between Joe Biden and former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, described in a memo published by Israeli reporter Nadav Eyal, sheds light on the former Vice President's thought process at that time, and what he believed Israel should do shortly before the Yom Kippur war broke out.

The meeting took place following his return from Egypt where he discussed with Saadat several things, roughly 40 days before the surprise attack that would turn into the Yom Kippur war.

Biden attempted to convince then Prime Minister Golda Meir that Israel withdraw first from areas with no strategic importance - meaning not the Golan heights - suggesting that peace could be acquired this way.

To that, Meir is described as rejecting his offers, arguing that the Jewish people could not afford to make such "mistakes" after the Holocaust, and that Arab Regimes tend to be unstable. Biden is also described as lacking experience in the diplomatic field by the "enthusiasm in his voice."

Biden further told Meir during the meeting that no serious debate was being held regarding the Middle East, as Senators didn't want to say anything that would displease Jewish voters.
Turkey seeks to whitewash Palestinian Islamic Jihad as normal 'group'
The outreach to Islamic Jihad may be linked to this attempt to unify Islamic groups linked to Iran and to challenge Israel. In August the Times in the UK reported that the head of Mossad had said Turkey could be a larger threat than Iran in the future. The substance of the Islamic Jihad report notes that Daoud Shehab, a spokesperson for PIJ, had praised Turkey and that PIJ had slammed Franch President Emmanuel Macron. Macron is one of the toughest critics of Turkey’s regime, opposing its role in Libya, the Eastern Mediterranean and its exporting of Syrians to attack Armenia and its ethnic cleansing of Kurdish areas in Syria. That means that Turkey appears to be highlight Islamic Jihad’s view of Israel and France. Anadolu reported that Islamic Jihad had critiqued France for “neglecting the achievements of Muslims.” It was unclear why, out of many Muslim voices, Turkish media sought to highlight an extremist group known for terror and rocket attacks on Israel to critique France. The overall perception is that Islamic Jihad is just a normal “group” and a legitimate voice for “Muslims.”

Turkey in the past used to be against Islamic Jihad and Hamas before Erdogan changed Ankara’s role. Israel blamed Islamic Jihad for a rocket attack in August 2015 on the Golan. In 2004 former Egyptian leader visited Turkey to meet Erdogan and discussed how Egypt was confronting Hamas and Islamic Jihad. At the time diplomatic reports noted that Turkey wanted to play a larger role in the Middle East and also welcomed Egypt’s initiatives. Things have changed today. A leaked diplomatic report from January 2004 also notes that Turkey had asked Syrian regime leader Bashar al-Assad, during a visit to Turkey, to “stop supporting Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and for the PFLP.”

Turkey’s pro-government media embrace of Islamic Jihad is therefore symbolic of an attempt by Ankara to whitewash, provide a platform for, embrace and highlight Islamic Jihad as if it is a normal and important group. PIJ has historically been a very small part of the Palestinian political landscape and even though it is a dangerous terror group support by Iran and hosted by the Syrian regime, it is not very large. That means any media that gives its statement front page news and feels its “praise” is important is clearly indicating that Islamic Jihad is important, otherwise why would Ankara highlight the “praise.” The contradictory way Ankara’s pro-government media calls the PKK and other Kurdish groups “terrorists” but does not refer to many other groups as “terrorists” shows that Turkey does not believe firing rockets at Israeli civilians is a terrorist act.

While the media report is only one report, the way it presented PIJ could be symbolic of a larger shift in Turkey. While Turkey sought to portray itself as fighting Hezbollah during clashes in Syria in the spring of 2020, even appearing to feed media reports about how it had harmed Hezbollah’s Radwan unit, Ankara may have been doing this to try to scupper Israel-UAE relations as part of a brief charm offensive to torpedo Israeli work on the East Mediterranean gas forum. In the end Turkey’s embrace of Hamas, and now its media embrace of Islamic Jihad, as well as vows to liberate Jerusalem and claim ownership of Israel’s capital, shows the Turkish leadership’s real intentions.
83% of Israelis believe country on way to third COVID-19 closure - survey
The vast majority (83%) of Israelis are convinced that the country is on its way to a third coronavirus lockdown, according to a new survey published over the weekend by N12.

The survey, conducted by Midgam’s Mano Geva on behalf of the station, found that the majority of Israelis (56%) said they do not trust the government’s handling of the pandemic. A similar number (55%) said that the government’s efforts were “less good” than in most other countries around the world.

As a result, 56% of Israelis say they are living with stress and anxiety.

The survey found that most worrying for Israelis is expected economic damage (32%) - less than one-third of the public (31%) has continued to work as before the pandemic. Everyone else was either laid off (9%), sent on furlough (17%) or has started working mostly from home (21%).

Some 28% of Israelis say getting sick with the virus is their top worry, although two-thirds said they were afraid of getting sick in general. A quarter of Israelis personally know someone who died from the disease.
EU parliamentarians: Hate has no place in the Palestinian curriculum
Is the European Commission serious about ending Palestinian hate education? Given the recent debacle on the matter within the European Union institutions over the last few months, some parliamentarians are beginning to suspect that it isn’t, particularly.

It has long been known within Brussels’s corridors of power that school textbooks issued by the Palestinian Authority and funded in large part by European taxpayers include incitement to violence and egregious antisemitism.

Children are taught that Israel is the enemy, that terrorists are martyrs, and that their actions are to be emulated. And not just in religious or history studies – first graders are taught the word “martyr” when learning their Arabic alphabet. Newtonian physics is taught via the example of the slingshot.

The issue has been raised in Brussels at least since January 2008 when Britain’s Taxpayers’ Alliance released its report Funding Hate Education. A follow up report in 2011 drew widespread support from across the political spectrum. President Barack Obama stated at the time: “[The Palestinians] have to deal with incitement issues.”

Further reports, including two by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-SE), an Israeli NGO, and votes within the European Parliament for action placed mounting pressure on the commission to act, and so in May 2019 the EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, announced that a full-scale review of the Palestinian curriculum was to take place. In September 2019 the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research (GEI) embarked upon this review.
Joe Truzman: Israel’s military steps up campaign against Iran and its proxies in southern Syria
The recent IDF operations in southern Syria is a part of a multi-pronged effort to dismantle the presence of Iran’s military and its proxies in southern Syria which Israel views as a threat. The effort also includes foiling the transfer of Precision Guided Munitions (PGM) and its components from Iran to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

In a recent interview, the Defense Minister of Israel, Benny Gantz, hinted of Israel’s involvement in Wednesday morning’s attack in southern Syria.

“I won’t go into who fired what last night. We won’t allow terrorist operatives from Hezbollah or Iran to set up on the Golan Heights border and we will do what is necessary to drive them out of there,” Gantz stated.

When asked if Israel was behind the strikes, Gantz replied: “Listen, things happen.”

The recent events have demonstrated that Israel has not yet accomplished deterring Iran’s military ambitions in southern Syria. For the foreseeable future, Iran will likely continue its attempt to turn southern Syria into another front against Israel and continue the transfer of PGM components to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Luke Moon on the Decline of Anti-Israel Evangelicals
Luke Moon, deputy director of the Philos Project, spoke to participants in an August 24 Middle East Forum webinar (video) about the reinvigoration of evangelical Christian support for Israel in recent years.

In 2014, Moon wrote an article in The Tower Magazine highlighting how several "pillars of evangelicalism" in the United States were actively "leading evangelicals away from support for Israel." That same year, a Middle East Quarterly article by David Brog, founding executive director of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), warned that anti-Israel evangelicals were "on a roll."

Moon provided an update on how each of these "pillars" of anti-Zionist evangelicalism has weakened in the past six years.

The first pillar is the global charity World Vision, which in 2014 had a staff of 120 in Jerusalem. Its work providing anti-poverty assistance to Palestinians in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza was combined with public advocacy portraying Israel as solely responsible for the plight of Palestinians, and of Palestinian Christians in particular. In 2016, a World Vision staffer was arrested for laundering money to Hamas. Following that scandal, Moon wrote an article exposing World Vision's anti-Israel, anti-Zionist history. Citing the forced resignation of the organization's second president, who had compared the IDF in Southern Lebanon to Nazis, Moon also drew attention to World Vision's social media platforms, replete with accusations of Israel "hurting children." Due to efforts by Moon and others to expose World Vision's "singular focus on anti-Israel and anti-Zionist, particularly anti-Christian Zionist," rhetoric, its funding has been cut significantly. Today, World Vision's Jerusalem office has been reduced to a staff of about 15.

A second pillar of evangelical anti-Zionism is Willow Creek Community Church, located in the Chicago suburb of South Barrington, Illinois. It is one of the largest megachurches in the U.S., drawing in over "2,500 people on [an] average Sunday," and exerts further influence through its annual leadership summit. Its senior pastor, Bill Hybels, and his wife Lynne "were known for their ... anti-Christian Zionist, anti-Israel rhetoric," which had a great deal of influence on church followers. In 2018, Bill Hybels was forced to resign amid accusations of marital infidelity. As a result, according to Moon, Willow Creek's involvement in the Middle East has "dried up."

Protesting Delay, Canadian Jews Demand Immediate Deportation of Nazi War Criminal Helmut Oberlander
A Canadian Jewish group on Friday called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to proceed with the deportation of Helmut Oberlander — a Nazi war criminal who served with a death squad unit responsible for the murder of more than 90,000 people in Russia and Ukraine.

“Canada cannot continue to allow a mockery to be made of its processes,” Michael Mostyn — CEO of B’nai Brith Canada — declared in a statement.

“Oberlander has had his day in court, and he lost,” Mostyn noted. “To not remove him now would be a punch in the gut to every Holocaust survivor in this country — and would render meaningless the prime minister’s promises of justice.”

The Canadian government has been attempting to deport Oberlander, who was also an infantryman in the German army, because of his Nazi past for the last 25 years.

Oberlander, who is now 95, had his Canadian citizenship stripped on four separate occasions by lower courts, but those decisions were reversed in three appeals.

Finally, in last December, Canada’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal to restore his citizenship, which Oberlander obtained in 1960.
Looking Back on the Anti-Semitism in Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES
1990’s The Witches, an adaptation of the Roald Dahl novel, is something of a cult classic. But while the forthcoming remake has generated buzz and excitement, some Jewish fans remain wary. Expressions of skepticism point to the anti-Semitic tropes and caricatures that fill the original film, as well as its source material.

It’s fair criticism, and not new. Connections between Jews and witches and witchcraft go back throughout literature. Jewish stereotypes in general have existed in media for most of history. Chaucer’s Middle English story collection Canterbury Tales, for instance, features an entry about Jews kidnapping and murdering a small child. Centuries of negative Jewish representation in fiction has resulted in a robust canon of Jewish stereotype tropes. And children’s media is no exception.

Samuel French Ltd.

In an article for the Free Library of Philadelphia, librarian Joel Nichols refers to the complexities of rereading problematic childhood favorites. Nichols notes that, as adults, we’re more aware of messaging that slips in, especially from older authors. In revisiting The Witches as adults, we may notice three primary anti-Semitic tropes in play: the association of “Jewish features” with evil or wicked characters; blood libel/child-snatching; and wealth as a symbol of power and corruption.

Attributing Jewish features to “bad witches” goes back centuries. In an article about the origins of archetypical witches, Elie Bufford writes, “The stereotype of the ‘Jewish nose’ is often used in anti-Semitic media, including Nazi propaganda such as ‘The Eternal Jew…While in early folklore it was likely not initially tied to antisemitism, the feature is used in modern times to code characters as Jewish.”

She highlights The Wizard of Oz as an example, noting Glinda the Good Witch’s bubbly, glowing personality and attractive features against the Wicked Witch of the West’s (who, in pre-Wicked days, doesn’t even get a name) long, hooked nose. Furthermore, Nichols references a Facebook post by librarian and children’s author Kyle Lukoff concerning The Witches. Lukoff noted references to large noses in both the book and original film. He cites Dahl’s mention of “queer noses” and “enlarged nostrils,” adding, “they gave Angelica Huston a f***ing foot-long hook in the movie. [sic]”
Israeli drug to overcome antibiotic resistance receives $20M in funding
NovaQuest Capital Management in North Carolina announced a $20 million financing agreement with Israeli biopharmaceutical company Mileutis Ltd. whose products are used to mitigate the use of antibiotics in animals.

Antibiotic resistance, born from the over usage of antibiotics including in animals used in food production is a major global health problem. At least 2.8 million people contract an antibiotic-resistant infection, and more than 35,000 people die each year according to the US Center for Disease Control. Worldwide, it is estimated that antimicrobial resistance is responsible for 700,000 deaths each year globally, and that figure is predicted to rise to 10 million.

NovaQuest's investment will drive the continued development of and commercialization of Mileutis’ novel, biologically sourced, and residue-free therapies for animal health called Imilac™.

Mileutis plans to introduce Imilac™ for use in the management, treatment, and prevention of bovine mastitis. The disease causes inflammation to the udder, and is the most frequent disease in dairy herds worldwide while also being the most costly problem.

Mastitis is a serious medical disorder in dairy cattle, involving the mammary gland and udder tissue in dairy cows. The disease can impair milk-secreting tissues in the cattle and its impact on the global dairy industry is enormous. Dairy farmers experience losses due to lower milk production, lower quality of milk, and the loss of dairy cows from the disease. It can additionally cause billions of dollars in damage every year.
Lithuania mints first euro coin with Hebrew letters
The Bank of Lithuania minted the first euro piece of currency containing Hebrew letters.

The 10-euro coin was minted on Tuesday and is a limited-edition commemorative collector’s item celebrating the 300th anniversary of the birth of the Vilna Gaon, the 18th-century rabbinical luminary Elijah ben Solomon Zalman, who lived and died in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius.

The heads side of the coin features the Hebrew letter shin, whose value according to the gematria alphanumeric code is 300, followed by the acronym in Hebrew of Gaon Rabbi Elijah. The tails’ rim reads in Hebrew: “The year of the Vilna Gaon and the history of the Jews of Lithuania.”

The commemoration of individual people is very rare on banknotes and coins of the European Union, partly because of the political sensitivity in a political union made up of former foes.

Earlier this month, a mural of the late Israeli poet Leah Goldberg, who grew up in Kaunas, was unveiled there along with other notable individuals connected to the city ahead of its crowning as Cultural Capital of Europe in 2022.
Israel marks Aliyah Day with more 15,000 new immigrants so far this year
In what has become an extremely complicated year for immigration to the Jewish State, Israel celebrates Aliyah Day on Sunday and the more than 15,000 new immigrants who have made it to the country so far this year, despite the global pandemic raging across the world.

The COVID-19 crisis around the world shut down air travel for long periods of time, drastically reduced the number of flights available, and closed down or restricted the operations of government bureaucracies, all of which have made the usually daunting task of aliyah even more difficult this year.

Nevertheless, a total of 15,647 pioneering souls have made it to the shores of the Jewish state so far this year, despite the additional obstacles, the youngest of whom was just 20-days old from the UK, and the oldest was the grand old age of 97, from Canada.

This figure is however far below the 29,419 immigrants who had arrived in Israel from January to October 2019.

"Aliyah Week is a great opportunity to salute the new Olim as well as the ones who have already settled, for their tremendous contribution to national, economic and social growth,” said Immigration and Absorption Minister Pnina Tamano Shata.

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