Prepared for the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Updated: 31 min 27 sec ago
(Ha'aretz) Ofer Aderet -
Israel's population stands at 9,506,000, the Central Bureau of Statistics announced Sunday. That includes 7.02 million Jews (74%); 2 million Arabs (21%); and 478,000 others (5%), including non-Arab Christians, members of other religions, and those designated as without religion, most of whom are immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Today 78% of Israeli Jews were born here, while 45% of the world's Jews live in Israel.
(Jerusalem Post) 38,000 new immigrants have arrived in Israel since Independence Day 2021, the highest number in two decades, the Jewish Agency reported Sunday. About half are from Ukraine and Russia, while 4,000 came from the U.S. and 3,700 from France. More than 1,000 came from Belarus and Argentina, more than 700 from the UK, 600 from South Africa, 500 from Brazil, 400 from Canada and others from Australia, Germany, Belgium, Chile, Italy and other countries.
(JNS) Amb. Danny Danon -
On Remembrance Day for Israel's Fallen Soldiers on May 3-4, the country unites. The nation stands together to cherish the memory of the brave men and women who gave their lives to fight for and secure their nation's future. Every loss of a soldier tears a hole in the hearts of all the people of Israel. Each one is publicly reported with an extensive description of the circumstances. In addition to these fallen servicemen and women, each year dozens of wounded fighters pass away as a result of their injuries.
While serving as a reservist, my late father, Joseph Danon, was badly wounded in a battle with terrorists in the Jordan Valley when he was just 29. After a lengthy hospitalization and numerous complex surgeries, the start of his never-ending rehabilitation process began.
I was privileged to know a large number of severely injured IDF fighters. I will always remember that, despite the heavy price they paid as a result of their horrific injuries, their love for the State of Israel only grew and their belief in the righteousness of our nation's path was never undermined. May their memories be a blessing.
The writer served as Israel's ambassador to the UN.
(Wall Street Journal) Richard Goldberg -
If President Biden believes Tehran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is a terrorist organization, he must withdraw his administration's offer to lift terrorism sanctions on the group's top financiers. Given IRGC plots to assassinate current and former U.S. officials, Mr. Biden owes Congress an explanation why he is offering to lift terrorism sanctions on the institutions that illicitly fund the organization.
The U.S. Treasury Department has revealed that the IRGC's Quds Force had been using the Central Bank of Iran to receive "the vast majority of its foreign currency" since at least 2016.
The writer, a senior adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, served as White House National Security Council director for countering Iranian weapons of mass destruction, 2019-20.
(Gatestone Institute) Dr. Majid Rafizadeh -
Revolutionary and authoritarian regimes such as the Islamic Republic of Iran do not alter their malign policies through appeasement and concessions. If anything they regard these as green lights and double down, go twice as bad.
One of the Islamic Republic's most non-negotiable and critical revolutionary ideals is exporting its ideology and system of Velayat e faqih (Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist) to other countries. This revolutionary notion in Islamic Shiite thought, introduced by the late founder of the regime, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, means an ayatollah should have power over the people across the world, should rule over people and be the final decision-maker.
The regime calls this core mission "jihad," which has to be achieved through hard power and violence. Iran's constitution calls on the Army and the Revolutionary Guards to fulfill "the ideological mission of jihad in God's way; that is, extending the sovereignty of God's law throughout the world."
(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Amb. Alan Baker -
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) recently introduced a series of resolutions in Congress calling on the U.S. to become a full member of the International Criminal Court and to establish within the State Department a new "Office of Global Criminal Justice."
The U.S. has been at the forefront of international activity in the sphere of international criminal justice. But with regard to the International Criminal Court, the U.S. position has been consistent since the establishment of that Court in 1998, in opposing the danger and likelihood that the Court will be politically manipulated. The justification for those fears became all the more evident when the Palestinian leadership started to politicize the court, to turn it into their own private Israel-bashing tribunal.
Omar's primary aim is to find a way to enhance U.S. activity against Israel through the creation of mechanisms within the U.S. administration that she could use as platforms to hound Israel.
The writer, who heads the international law program at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, served as legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
(Middle East Quarterly) Roie Yellinek and Assaf Malach -
The all-Arab assault on Israel in 1948 was launched in pursuit of the invading states' imperialist goals - not in support of Palestinian self-determination. Arab League secretary-general Abdel Rahman Azzam said that Transjordan's Emir "Abdullah was to swallow up the central hill regions of Palestine, with access to the Mediterranean at Gaza. The Egyptians would get the Negev. Galilee would go to Syria, except that the coastal part as far as Acre would be added to Lebanon."
In the decades following the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, the Arab states did nothing to facilitate the crystallization of Palestinian nationalism and the attainment of statehood. This consistent lack of recognition of a separate Palestinian nationality was perpetrated by Jordan, Egypt, and Syria.
In the years between 1948 and 1967, the Jordanian government systematically erased all traces of a distinct Palestinian identity in an attempt to create a wider Jordanian national identity. In 1960, Abdullah's grandson and successor King Hussein declared his firm opposition to the idea of a separate "Palestinian entity" and denounced the "despicable innovation" of the establishment of a Palestinian entity.
Roie Yellinek is a research associate at the BESA Center and a non-resident scholar at the Middle East Institute. Assaf Malach is a lecturer at Shalem College and a research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute.
(Telegraph-UK) Zoe Strimpel -
The once-noble UN, formed in 1945 to be the very imprimatur of humane global order, is in fact often biased, ideological and actively obstructive of the pursuit of international justice - with subsets of its 193 member states clubbing together to advance all manner of malign interests. All in the name of peace and human rights, naturally.
Although the UN helped bring Israel into being in 1947, since the 1970s, strong anti-Israel alliances within the UN have produced volleys of resolutions designed to isolate, undermine and harm the Jewish state, checked solely by America's vetoes at the Security Council. Moreover, the world's many anti-Semitic countries are free to gang up on Israel year after year.
The UN is home to the permanent Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat, the Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices in the Territories, and the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
(Ha'aretz) Ksenia Svetlova -
An experienced diplomat, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov knew perfectly well what he was saying when he erupted into a tirade about Jews, anti-Semites and Hitler in an interview this week on Italian TV. When Putin and his loyal servant Lavrov need to justify the crusade against a Ukrainian president who happens to be a Jew, any comparison, metaphor, hyperbole or blood libel is good enough. Nothing is sacred.
To many in Israel, it came as a shock, a sharp departure from what is commonly described as "Putin's philosemitism." But for Russian speakers in Israel, Ukraine and Russia, there was nothing new. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, anti-Semitism in Russia certainly did not disappear. In times of crisis - for instance, when a Russian intelligence plane was downed in Syria (by Syrian air defense systems), or when Israeli gymnast Linoy Ashram won the gold medal for rhythmic gymnastics at the Tokyo Olympics, ending Russia's 20-year monopoly - the social networks were suddenly full of anti-Semitic malice.
After a horrific 2018 fire in a Kemerovo trade center, various Christian circles argued that the Jews were behind the tragedy, as it coincided with a Jewish holiday. Ultra-nationalist Russian Orthodox circles, which have enjoyed increasing access to the Kremlin, have long propagated anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
Since the invasion of Ukraine, Russian TV propaganda has condemned Russian Jews who "left their motherland in a critical hour and are now hiding in Israel," and lists artists and journalists, both in Russia and abroad, critical of the war, explicitly mentioning that all of them have Jewish names.
The writer, a former member of the Knesset, is director of the Israel-Middle East program at Mitvim - the Israeli institute for Regional Foreign Policy.
(Los Angeles Jewish Journal) Aaron Bandler -
Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt told the ADL's 2022 Virtual National Leadership Summit on May 1: "To those who still cling to the idea that anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism, let me clarify this for you as clearly as I can: anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. Anti-Zionism as an ideology is rooted in rage" because it aims for "the negation of another people, a concept as alien to the modern discourse as white supremacy. It requires a willful denial of even a superficial history of Judaism and the vast history of the Jewish people."
"When campus organizations like SJP [Students for Justice in Palestine] interrupt speeches, disrupt events and call for an end to any action that normalizes any relationships, or programs associated, with Israel or Israelis...that is extremism. When groups like Jewish Voice for Peace tweet out 'Jews, hands off Al Aqsa,' when they absolutely know that such language is inflammatory, that the community literally is nowhere near the Al Aqsa Mosque, let alone even permitted to pray there, that is extremism."
When the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) promulgates conspiracy theories "of interconnected Jewish organizations that supposedly are planning and plotting to harm Muslims, including the groundless accusation that the Israeli military secretly trains U.S. police to harm people of color...that is extremism."
(New York Sun) Lawrence H. Summers -
During my presidency of Harvard 20 years ago I warned that "serious and thoughtful people are advocating measures that would be anti-Semitic in their effect if not their intent." In light of the resounding endorsement of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions by the Harvard Crimson, it is clear to me that anti-Semitism is being practiced in both intent and effect.
Free expression must be sacrosanct in an academic community. Academic freedom, though, does not mean freedom from criticism or the right to have contemptible views treated with respect. It is no shield against moral bankruptcy.
There is nothing "anti-First Amendment" about calling out anti-Semitism. Indeed, not identifying and attacking anti-Semitism in our midst would be a major moral failing, especially when it comes in conjunction with proposals to instrumentalize the university by having it engage in anti-Semitism.
BDS crosses the line by singling out the world's only Jewish state for opprobrium in a way totally disproportionate to its deficiencies.
The writer, former president of Harvard University, served as U.S. Secretary of the Treasury.
(Israel Hayom) Dan Diker -
The Harvard Crimson editorial board's April 29 editorial "In Support of Boycott Sanction and a Free Palestine" legitimizes and normalizes BDS's core claim and genocidal rhetoric. While it claims to oppose all forms of anti-Semitism, the Crimson's uncritical embrace of Harvard's Palestine Solidarity Committee thrusts Harvard's daily paper into a cauldron of the new Israel-targeted anti-Semitism, rendering the Crimson either unschooled or willfully blind to the radical roots and extremist ends of the PSC and the international BDS Movement. The Crimson's board exhibits either stunning ignorance of BDS's political ideology or malice in endorsing the PSC's totalitarian goals.
Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the BDS movement and a stalwart Harvard PSC guest, has repeated ad nauseum that BDS does not seek a two-states-for-two-peoples compromise. It seeks Israel's destruction. In 2019, the German Bundestag unanimously condemned the BDS movement as anti-Semitic, resolving that a boycott of the Jewish state is reminiscent of Nazi propaganda and its Juden boykott of the 1930s.
The writer, a Harvard graduate, heads the program to counter political warfare and BDS at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
(Harvard Crimson) Ira E. Stoll -
How are Israeli students, or Jewish students, supposed to feel valued and included when the Crimson is calling for a boycott of the Jewish state - literally, advocating exclusion in the form of unlawful discrimination on the basis of religion and national origin.
The Crimson's position is so extreme it is almost laughably obsolete. Just months after diplomats from Israel's Arab neighbors such as the UAE, Morocco, Egypt and Bahrain showed up in Israel to deepen trade, security and people-to-people ties, the Crimson wants to revert to the bad old days of Arab rejectionism.
Nowadays, the Crimson is propped up by annual giving from alumni. We may ask ourselves why we'd volunteer to fund an organization participating in a campaign to wipe the Jewish state off the map and to rid Harvard of any Israelis.
The writer was president of the Crimson in 1993.
(National Interest) Lt.-Col. (res.) David Siman-Tov -
According to the commander of Unit 8200, the cyber unit of IDF military intelligence, at least for the foreseeable future, machines will not replace humans' role in intelligence decision-making. However, new technologies are changing the intelligence profession.
In recent years, we have seen unprecedented advancements in automatic translation technology offering a highly accurate level of translation. The translation of languages - such as Arabic and Persian - into Hebrew allows intelligence analysts to have direct contact with raw material.
Another technology focuses on identifying targets for attack, cross-linking many layers of geographic information to reveal anomalies in the data. In its May 2021 operation in Gaza, Israeli military intelligence used artificial intelligence to identify many real-time terror targets.
The writer is a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies and deputy head of the Institute for the Research of the Methodology of Intelligence at the Israeli Intelligence Community Commemoration and Heritage Center.
(Miami Herald) Lieutenant Governor of Florida Jeanette Nunez -
Recently, I had the privilege of visiting Israel, our greatest ally in the Middle East, alongside five other lieutenant governors from across the county. Israel is a vibrant country where faith is palpable and warmth is exuded at every turn.
Pride is clearly in the Israeli's DNA. They do not apologize for their zeal. They promote it. They do not reflect on their trials and lament; they perceive the triumph through their battles. They do not wallow in defeat; they learn and surge in victory.
America's unbreakable bond with Israel is essential if we are to see peace in the region and beyond. We must encourage leaders at every level to closely reevaluate policies, such as the disastrous Iran deal. We must not allow BDS and anti-Semitism in any form to gain a foothold. We must never forget the horrors of the Holocaust.
This visit has been an encounter like none other - an encounter with beauty, light, and resilience. Israel, though small geographically, is a country with an enormous impact.
(Times of Israel) Yaakov Schwartz -
Sharaka, a grassroots organization founded in December 2020 to strengthen the bond between Israel and the Arab world following the Abraham Accords, is participating in the International March of the Living Holocaust commemoration, which includes a two-mile trek from Auschwitz I to Birkenau in Poland. There are delegates from the Emirates and Bahrain, as well as Syria and Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Turkey and eastern Jerusalem. They include authors, activists, social media influencers and politicians.
Dan Feferman, Sharaka's director of communications, said, "For too long because of the conflict, the Arab world has either minimized, downplayed, ignored, or denied the Holocaust, claiming it's a conspiracy....This is really meant to be an eye-opening trip. All of these people through their various platforms - traditional media, social media - are going to relay this and use this as a platform to start a wider movement of educating the Arab and Muslim world about the Holocaust."
Aysha Jalal, who works at Bahrain's National Commission for Education, Science and Culture for UNESCO, visited Israel with Sharaka this past October and visited Yad Vashem, Israel's national Holocaust museum. She then wanted to see the extermination camps for herself. "It's a very hard experience, but we have to see it....I always heard that the Holocaust didn't happen."
(Times of Israel) Rich Tenorio -
In Watching Darkness Fall: FDR, His Ambassadors, and the Rise of Adolf Hitler, author David McKean recalls that in 1938, William Dodd, the U.S. ambassador to Nazi Germany, publicly declared that Hitler wanted to kill all the Jews not just in Germany, but in the entire European continent. The author, a former U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg during the Obama administration, also describes how William Bullitt, who served as ambassador to the USSR and France, helped get Sigmund Freud out of Austria after the Anschluss in 1938.
When Roosevelt first took office in 1933, "the United States, frankly, was also quite an anti-Semitic country at the time," said McKean. Breckenridge Long, an ambassador to Italy who praised Benito Mussolini, hindered Jewish refugees from reaching the U.S. while serving as assistant secretary of state during WWII.
However, first lady Eleanor Roosevelt overruled Long to save the mostly Jewish passengers on the refugee ship SS Quanza in 1940. The U.S. was "quite isolationist. The American people wanted to keep it that way," said McKean.
(United Hatzalah) Raphael Poch -
Walter and Oscar Blau were sure they were the only ones in their family who survived World War II. They recently discovered that they have an entire family living in the U.S., and reunited with them for the first time last month in Jerusalem. The brothers, then aged 10 and 6, fled with their families from Austria and were sent to an orphanage in Belgium. They later immigrated to Israel and for decades believed they were the sole remaining survivors of their family.
Meanwhile, three cousins who managed to flee Austria prior to the war thought that they were the last remaining family members. In the U.S., a granddaughter, Suzanne, searched for survivors in various databases and archives in Europe and Israel for 25 years until she finally found a clue and made contact on March 30, 2021, with Daphne Blau, Oscar's daughter.
(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Amb. Dore Gold -
There has been an effort by those who wish to promote violence to use the Muslim holy month of Ramadan as a war cry to mobilize people. But there's really no basis in Islamic theology for doing that.
A number of years ago, the idea was put forward to put cameras on the Temple Mount to see who exactly is smuggling weapons into the Al-Aqsa Mosque. But both the Muslim religious Wakf and the Jordanians opposed this idea.
When I visited Abu Dhabi I saw security cameras at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, one of the most beautiful mosques in the Muslim world. Cameras have also been installed at the Great Mosque of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. But for some reason, they are not acceptable at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
If you go to Saint Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, you will see people there of many different faiths. Israel, as a caretaker of the holy sites in Jerusalem, should follow the precedents around the world where there are religious sites that are free and open.
While we have to respect Muslim religious sensitivities, at the same time, a place like the Temple Mount should be open for all faiths.
I believe we can coexist. I have been having meetings with Muslim colleagues from the Arab world and we demonstrate understanding for each other. That's what we should be promoting.
The writer is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. This is from a podcast by the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute New Books Network on April 27, 2022.
(Politico) Stephanie Liechtenstein -
Despite having an agreement to restore the Iran nuclear deal virtually ready to go, there is one final sticking point: the terrorist status of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The terrorist label for the group technically falls outside the purview of the nuclear agreement.
"The U.S. position has been that unless Iran agrees to take certain steps to assuage security concerns beyond the JCPOA, Washington will not lift the terror designation, which itself is beyond the JCPOA," a U.S. official said. And that stance is not changing, "especially given ongoing threats by the IRGC against [Americans]." "The Biden administration is highly unlikely at this point to drop the designation in the context of the JCPOA talks."
In the meantime, the tide in Washington has been turning against taking the group off the terrorist list. A growing number of Republican senators, as well as some key senators from Biden's Democratic Party, are putting pressure on the White House to not budge.