Prepared for the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Updated: 2 min 48 sec ago
(Jerusalem Post) Tovah Lazaroff -
The Biden administration abstained Tuesday on a UN General Assembly Resolution affirming the right of return for Palestinian refugees to sovereign Israel. The Trump administration had voted against such resolutions, but the Obama administration had abstained. The measure was one of six anti-Israel resolutions adopted. Israel says the right of return for Palestinians to Israel would destroy the country's identity as the national homeland for the Jewish people.
(Jewish Chronicle-UK) Editorial -
On Tuesday, 83 years after the Nazis instigated a pogrom in Germany known as Kristallnacht, Israel's ambassador to the UK, Tzipi Hotovely, was forced out of the London School of Economics by violent racists on the hunt for a Jew to attack. Social media posts called for her car windows to be smashed. "Let's frighten her. Let's make her shake."
On campuses across the UK, Israeli spokespeople are always subject to attack when they appear. But it is not just official Israeli spokespeople who are targeted - it is Jews, and Jewish students. 83 years after Kristallnacht, the ambassador of the world's only Jewish state was attacked by a hate-filled mob on the streets of London.
(Spiked-UK) Brendan O'Neill -
It was the visceral, aggressive vibe at the protest against Tzipi Hotovely at the London School of Economics on Tuesday by a mob of howling students that was most disturbing. A mob calling for the terrorizing of a Jewish woman? Classy. The whole thing seemed to drip with hatred.
They think nothing of visiting fury upon a representative of the Jewish state in a way they wouldn't do for the representative of any other country on Earth. Why is it Israel and Israel alone incites such fury and passion among the protesting set? It makes some of us wonder if something questionable and dark is at play in these orgies of Israel-bashing - if this is more an outburst of prejudice than a display of political displeasure.
It is hard to see Israel constantly being talked up as the most toxic nation on Earth and not contemplate the possibility that for some people the Jewish state now plays the same role the Jews once played. "It is not anti-Semitic to agitate against the policies of the Israeli government," protesters say. And they're absolutely right. But that isn't what is going on here, and it hasn't been for a long time.
(Spectator-UK) Jake Wallis Simons -
The baying crowd that surged around Israeli ambassador Tzipi Hotovely at the London School of Economics on Tuesday perceived themselves as simply supporting the oppressed, sticking up for the underdog. But a closer look among the Palestinian flags revealed other, less easily recognizable banners: those of Kata'ib Hezbollah, a radical Iraqi Shi'ite paramilitary group funded by Iran, and a group called Innovative Minds, a pro-Iran organization that has carried at least one tribute to a suicide bomber on its website.
Students, convinced of the righteousness of their cause, are being utilized by more sinister forces to further the agenda of Iran and its sympathizers.
The writer is deputy editor of the Jewish Chronicle.
(Ha'aretz) David Rosenberg -
Tehran is counting on China as a counterbalance to the U.S. and Europe. "China is a major factor in why Iran feels it can overcome the sanctions campaign," says Alex Vatanka, director of the Iran program at the Middle East Institute in Washington.
A report by Kevjn Lim of the business-intelligence firm IHS Markit on Iran-China relations, published by Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies, estimates that in 2019 China took half of Iranian oil exports directly, and probably even more via third countries. Yet China is buying Iranian oil at huge discounts, since the Iranians are so desperate to sell it.
Even after sanctions were lifted following the 2015 nuclear agreement, Chinese companies were having trouble doing business in Iran. One reason is because Tehran has yet to sign the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) conventions on money laundering and terror finance, which effectively blocks doing business in dollars or using U.S. clearinghouses. Unless Iran does so, Chinese banks can't provide the finance and transaction services needed for long-term business agreements.
"China is not giving Iran a blank check on its nuclear program," notes Vatanka. Moreover, Iran and China's interests diverge over the issue of Middle East stability. While Iran is sponsoring non-state militias across the region, undermining regimes in Iraq and Lebanon, and helping to perpetuate wars in Syria and Yemen, China sees stability as good for business. Indeed, China values the U.S. regional security umbrella, which protects the flow of Gulf oil to China, with Washington picking up the cost, says Lim.
(1945) Danny Citrinowicz and Jason M. Brodsky -
Iran has created an infrastructure of mosques, cultural centers, charitable networks, and educational institutions to spread its revolutionary ethos to Africa. Increased Iranian operations in Africa started after the death of former IRGC Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani.
In January 2020, the head of U.S. Africa Command told Congress that intelligence reports indicated Iran was planning attacks on Americans in Africa to avenge Soleimani's demise. In September 2020, news reports said Iran was plotting to assassinate U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Lana Marks. In April 2021, U.S. Africa Command warned that "Iran is increasingly active on the continent."
The Economist reported in November 2020 that police in Niger arrested an operative who admitted working for the IRGC's Quds Force. He built networks in the Central African Republic, Chad, Eritrea, Gambia, Sudan, and South Sudan.
Maj. (res.) Danny Citrinowicz, who served for 25 years in Israeli defense intelligence, is a senior research fellow at the Abba Eban Institute for International Diplomacy. Jason M. Brodsky is policy director at United Against Nuclear Iran.
(Fathom-BICOM-UK) Gerald M. Steinberg -
For at least 20 years, the 6 Palestinian NGOs designated by Israel as prohibited terrorist fronts have received core funding from foreign governments (primarily Western European, including the EU). More than ten years ago, my colleagues at NGO Monitor and I began to discern a pattern pointing to an organized network linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian (PFLP).
As of October 2021, we identified 74 PFLP officials who simultaneously held and continue to hold significant positions in 13 NGOs. The PFLP opposes any recognition of Israel and the Oslo framework - they are hard-core Palestinian rejectionists (further highlighting the contradictions inherent in the embrace of the NGO network by European governments).
The 6 designated Palestinian "civil society" organizations do not involve isolated cases or a few "bad apples," as some have tried to claim. The systematic connections between the NGO network and the PFLP extend to diversion of major funding for terror.
The writer, professor emeritus of political studies at Bar-Ilan University, heads the Institute for NGO Research in Jerusalem.
(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Amb. Alan Baker and Lea Bilke -
While the Palestinians claim that according to the law and UN Resolution 181, Jerusalem is international territory, this claim has absolutely no basis. Resolution 181, commonly known as the UN Partition Plan, recommended that Jerusalem would be a special international entity, called a corpus separatum, with an international administration under the auspices of the UN.
But as with all General Assembly resolutions, which cannot determine legal obligations, Resolution 181 was nothing more than a non-binding recommendation. Moreover, the Arab population and the neighboring Arab/Muslim states forcefully rejected the resolution. In addition, the UN failed to adopt any proposal giving it the legal responsibility for Jerusalem as the General Assembly had envisioned. Thus, Jerusalem has never been determined to be international territory.
Alan Baker, former legal counsel to Israel's foreign ministry, heads the international law program at the Jerusalem Center. Lea Bilke is a law student at the Free University of Berlin in Germany, specializing in international and European law.
(Ha'aretz) Ari Flanzraich -
Rawabi markets itself as the first new Palestinian city in modern times, situated 35 minutes north of Ramallah. Construction began in 2010, financed initially by Palestinian-American entrepreneur Bashar Masri and aided by substantial Qatari funds. To date, 1,600 housing units have been built, with work underway on an additional 400, while the master plan is for 6,000 units.
Rawabi has gained popularity among wealthier Palestinians and has also attracted Israeli Arabs. It's current population is 5,000, of whom 70% consider the city their permanent home. A municipal official described the other 30% as "weekend/ vacation" visitors.
Amal, 46, a resident of the Israeli Arab city of Umm al-Fahm, said his brother was among the first to buy a property there. "I thought there would be people living there. They are selling lots of apartments, but no one is living there: you pass through in the evening and the place is empty." Amal says, "The simpler villagers of the West Bank see Rawabi as something alien and ill-fitting." The central commercial strip is usually bustling late into the night, while the outer residential areas feel like a ghost town, with few cars and little movement.
(JNS) Farley Weiss and Leonard Grunstein -
Even after two successive administrations (those of former President Trump and President Biden) have recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the State Department is still flirting with the concept of locating a symbolic consulate to the Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem. Article IX, Section 5a of the Oslo II Accord, signed in Washington in 1995 and witnessed by then-President Clinton, expressly prohibits establishing a consulate for the P.A. Why would the State Department seek to breach Oslo II, the very basis of the two-state solution for which it so fervently advocates?
Last year, Congress passed the Tibetan Policy and Support Act, requiring the U.S. to open a consulate in Tibet. Yet, to this day, there is no consulate in China-occupied Tibet serving Tibetans. Nor is there a consulate in Turkey serving only the Kurds; in China serving only the Uyghur Muslims; or in Myanmar serving only the Rohingya Muslims. Why, then, the double standard when it comes to Israel? Given that Israel has repeatedly said no, shouldn't this end the discussion?
Israel is a loyal friend and vital strategic ally of the U.S. Diminishing it or sending mixed signals serves no useful purpose; it only tarnishes the prestige of the U.S. There is no genuinely rational or constructive reason to impinge on the legitimacy of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Farley Weiss is an intellectual property attorney. Leonard Grunstein, a retired attorney, serves on the AIPAC National Council.
(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Dennis Ross -
The sense that America is retrenching is one of the factors that has fostered Israel's ties with Sunni Arab leaderships. The more the U.S. has been seen to be pulling back in the Middle East, the more Sunni Arab leaders have seen the security value of Israel as a bulwark against threats from Iran and its Shiite militias and ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the radical Sunni Islamists. As one senior Gulf official said to me, the U.S. can withdraw, but we know Israel is not going anyplace.
As long as the U.S. realizes it has stakes in the Middle East - whether because of the need to fight terror or to prevent the area from being characterized by disorder and refugee flows - it will depend on regional partners who can help. Israel's status as the foremost military power in the region makes it an increasingly valued partner for the U.S.
The writer, who served in senior national security positions for four presidents, is counselor at the Washington Institute.
(Globes) Guy Lieberman -
A few weeks ago, the Haifa Bayport container terminal, operated by Chinese port giant Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG), was officially inaugurated. In his first interview in Israel, Bayport CEO Miao Qiang said SIPG operates Yangshan Port near Shanghai, considered the world's largest automated port. When the tender for operating the port took place, "the Mayor of Haifa, Yona Yahav, approached the mayor of Shanghai and urged him...to make a bid." The Shanghai municipality owns 40% of SIPG.
While the U.S. has raised suspicions about the involvement of a Chinese company, Qiang said, "We at SIPG came to Israel to do business, not politics....Do you know that 90% of the cranes in U.S. ports are made in China?...There is no government directive about coming to Israel. There are many large tenders in Israel and companies are looking to do business."
He clarified, "We are operating under Israeli regulation. If we receive an order from the Chinese government to cease activity, something that could not happen, then according to the terms of the contract, the State of Israel has the option of removing us from the port. Even if there is a security incident, we are subject to the security officer who is not subject to the CEO. The activity in Israel is entirely according to the conditions set by the state."
(Irish Times) Oliver Sears -
Unfortunately, support for the cultural boycott of Israel in Ireland, especially among some writers, musicians and artists, has grave and unintended consequences that I suspect are little understood by those whose intentions may be well-meaning. The reality is that every time a high-profile individual embraces the cultural boycott of Israel, incidents of anti-Semitism increase in every form, everywhere.
It is bewildering to witness the haranguing by some Irish politicians of successive Israeli ambassadors while these same representatives refuse to condemn some of the world's worst offenders of human rights with anything like the same vigor. Some are even embraced. The absence of any expression of genuine empathy for the suffering of Israelis or Jews is telling.
(Times of Israel) Ricky Ben-David -
U.S. carmaker Ford is partnering with Israeli water-from-air company Watergen to offer built-in drinking water in its recreational vehicles. The Watergen Mobile Box, which buyers can have installed in new Ford Ranger vehicles, can make up to 20 liters of fresh drinking water a day. Watergen said, "The ability to produce clean drinking water without relying on an external water source is a gamechanger for those who seek off-grid adventure."
(The Herald-Rock Hill, SC) Joseph Bustos -
Elbit Systems of America plans to open a new facility in North Charleston to assemble automatic self-propelled howitzer guns for the Israel Defense Forces that will bring 300 jobs to Charleston County next year. The company identified 280 suppliers in South Carolina that can provide materials and services in that effort.
"Establishing this facility is part of a strategy to increase Elbit Systems' engineering and manufacturing capabilities in the U.S. and contribute to strengthening America's defense industrial base," with future efforts to include supplying the U.S. Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security, said Elbit Systems CEO Raanan Horowitz.
(Jerusalem Post) Issy Lyons -
A year ago I moved to Israel and officially made it my home. Today I am officially a combat soldier, physically defending Israel, whereas before it was just in words. My closest friends in high school were a group of elite triathletes that trained together. Among them, I had found a community and bonded with a group of girls who like me believed we could do anything we put our minds to. We were all strong, independent feminists; however, as the only Jew and the only Zionist in the group, I never felt like I could truly be myself.
I remember wondering whether I'd feel less alone after making aliyah to a country where I knew few people, had no family, and struggled with the language - where I would be labeled a "lone soldier." I live with other "lone soldiers" when off base and do miss my family and friends, but I have now found family among my fellow soldiers. Among them I am the whole me.
In a female combat unit, all the girls have volunteered to be there in the specific roles they serve. None of us were required to be combat soldiers. We are all really here for the same reasons, a personal sense of duty to use every skill we have to defend Israel. I have learned what it means to come home and be accepted for all the parts of me.
The writer, 19, serves in a combat intelligence unit.
(Ha'aretz) Judy Maltz -
Israeli anthropologist Emanuel Marx was 11 years old on Nov. 10, 1938, when the doorbell rang and his father Yitzhak was taken away. Marx's father's family had lived in Germany for more than 300 years. "I knew then that Kristallnacht was not just another escalation in the series of tribulations, prohibitions and restrictions that rained down fast and furious on the Jews....It announced a fundamental change in our fate."
As he walked to school that day, he saw huge flames engulfing the synagogue next to it. "We had no idea then that synagogues around the country were being burnt or that 30,000 Jewish men had already been rounded up and taken to concentration camps." Kristallnacht marked a major shift in Nazi policy toward the Jews. "Up until then, all they wanted was for Jews to leave the country. But from Kristallnacht on, that wasn't enough for them....The Nazis no longer cared what the rest of the world thought about what they were doing, and they could do whatever they wanted."
(Investigative Project on Terrorism) Yaakov Lappin -
A senior Hamas delegation that visited Iran in October and met with Supreme Leader Khamenei is the latest sign of the close partnership between the Sunni Palestinian terror organization and the Shi'ite Islamic Republic.
"Iran has an interest in relations with Hamas, because it wants to surround Israel from all sides," said Col. (res.) David Hacham, a former Arab affairs adviser to seven Israeli defense ministers and a senior research associate at the Miryam Institute. "By establishing strongholds in Gaza, Lebanon, and Syria, it is surrounding Israel."
The head of Hamas' political bureau, Ismael Haniyeh, who is based in Qatar, and the head of Hamas in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, have a positive view of Iran. Haniyeh was a prominent guest at the funeral of the late Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani in January 2020.
"Since 2017, the money has been flowing to Hamas without stop, and the sum is estimated to be many tens of millions of dollars per year," Hacham said. At the same time, Iran provides support to "all variants of radical Islamic organizations in Gaza, with an emphasis on Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which is a central Iranian proxy."
Within Gaza, Hamas is using Iranian technical know-how to enhance its rocket arsenal's range. "Iran has taught Hamas how to build its own domestic rocket manufacturing industry," Hacham said.
Iran also provides training for Hamas operatives, shares offensive and defensive operational plans and battle doctrines, and passes along scientific and engineering information needed for producing ever-improving rockets, explosives, and other weapons in Gaza. "This is all continuing at full speed," said Hacham.
"Around a decade ago, according to Palestinian reports, Iranian military experts were on Gazan soil, and were killed in an Israeli attack," he added.
(Jewish Insider) Gabby Deutch -
Vice President Kamala Harris told the Anti-Defamation League on Sunday: "I want to be very clear about this: When Jews are targeted because of their beliefs or their identity, when Israel is singled out because of anti-Jewish hatred: that is anti-Semitism, and that is unacceptable."
"We know that anti-Semitism is not a relic of the past. In recent years, the Jewish-American community has faced an alarming rise in hate crimes....We know a harm against one of us is a harm against all."
(Reuters) Dan Williams -
Israel stepped up its public opposition on Saturday to a plan by President Biden to reopen a U.S. consulate for Palestinians in Jerusalem. "My position, and it was presented to the Americans...is that there is no place for a U.S. consulate which serves the Palestinians in Jerusalem. We are voicing our opinion consistently, quietly, without drama," Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said. Foreign Minister Yair Lapid added, "If they (the U.S.) want to open a consulate in Ramallah, we have no problem with that."