Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at
Daily Alert Mobile
January 19, 2015

In-Depth Issues:

Jihad Mughniyah, Son of Hizbullah Commander, and Six Iranians Killed in Israeli Strike in Syria (Ya Libnan-Lebanon)
    The son of late Hizbullah military leader Imad Mughniyah was killed on Sunday when an Israeli helicopter fired missiles at his car in the Syrian province of Quneitra, near the Golan Heights, two sources close to Hizbullah said.
    Jihad Mughniyah was killed with four other members of Hizbullah including commander Mohammad Issa.
    Six members of the Iranian Revolutionary guards were also reportedly killed in the strike including Iranian commander Abu Ali al-Tabtabani.
    An Israeli security source told AFP that the militants were preparing an attack on Israel and that the airstrike took place near Quneitra, close to the ceasefire line separating Syria and Israel.
    See also Jihad Mughniyah Planned Attacks on Israel in the Golan Heights - Yoav Zitun, Roi Kais (Ynet News)
    Western intelligence sources said Sunday that Jihad Mughniyah, 25, appointed as Hizbullah's commander in the Syrian Golan sector last October, "was a man who stood at the head of a wide-scale terrorist infrastructure with direct sponsorship from Iran."
    "Jihad Mughniyah was already planning, and had prepared, more major murderous attacks against Israel in the Golan Heights. These attacks include rocket fire, infiltrations, explosive devices, anti-tank missile fire, etc., with the goal of killing soldiers, hitting Israeli communities in the Golan Heights and killing Israeli civilians."

Belgian Terror Cell Head Arrested, Reportedly with Mossad's Help - Eli Leon (Israel Hayom)
    Belgian authorities reported that the Israeli Mossad and the American FBI were involved in intelligence efforts to capture the leader of a Belgian terror cell uncovered in the city of Verviers last week.
    On Saturday, Greek authorities detained four terrorism suspects, including Abdelhamid Abaaoud, 27, believed to be the ringleader of a Belgian jihadi cell. Abaaoud was featured in propaganda videos distributed by ISIS.

Anchor Leaves CNN after Tweets - Emily Steel (New York Times)
    Veteran CNN anchor Jim Clancy has left the network after a series of Twitter messages he wrote about the terrorist attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
    Clancy began criticizing supporters of Israel. In one tweet Clancy said, "These accounts are part of a campaign to do PR for #Israel @JewsMakingNews @elderofziyon Nothing illegal - but PR not HR: Human Rights."

Palestinians Burn French Flag in Rally against Mohammad Cartoons - Dov Lieber (Jerusalem Post)
    Hundreds of Palestinians rallied Friday on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem against the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which featured a drawing of Prophet Muhammad.
    In a video uploaded by the Hamas-affiliated Shehab News Agency, protesters are seen burning a French flag, and shouting: "Burn it, burn the cause of God, Allah." 

The Paris Jewish Market Attack: Eyewitnesses to Murder - Yehuda Shlezinger (Israel Hayom)
    Zari Siboni and Andrea Shamak, who worked at the Paris supermarket that was targeted by a terrorist last week, recall being held hostage and watching four people get murdered.

RSS Feed 
Key Links 
Media Contacts 
Back Issues 
Fair Use/Privacy 

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • ICC Opens Inquiry into Possible War Crimes in Middle East Conflict - Faith Karimi
    The International Criminal Court opened an inquiry into attacks in Palestinian territories. In a statement Friday, the court's top prosecutor said the decision follows the Palestinians' signing of the Rome Statute of the ICC. A preliminary examination allows the court to review evidence and determine whether to investigate suspects on both sides.
        The U.S. State Department said, "We do not believe that Palestine is a state and therefore we do not believe that it is eligible to join the ICC." However, the ICC stated, "Since Palestine was granted observer State status in the UN by the UNGA (General Assembly), it must be considered a 'State' for the purposes of accession to the Rome Statute."  (CNN)
        See also Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Opens Investigation into "the Situation in Palestine"
    The Office of the Prosecutor previously conducted a preliminary examination of the situation in Palestine and concluded in April 2012 that Palestine's status at the UN as an "observer entity" at the time meant that it could not sign or ratify the Rome Statute - the ICC's founding treaty.
        On 29 November 2012, the UN General Assembly granted Palestine "non-member observer State" status. The Office considers that, since Palestine was granted observer State status in the UN by the UNGA, it must be considered a "State" for the purposes of accession to the Rome Statute. (International Criminal Court)
        See also U.S.: We Oppose Actions Against Israel at ICC as Counterproductive to Peace
    Jeff Rathke, Director of the State Department's Bureau of Public Affairs, said Friday: "It is a tragic irony that Israel, which has withstood thousands of terrorist rockets fired at its civilians and its neighborhoods, is now being scrutinized by the ICC. The place to resolve the differences between the parties is through direct negotiations, not unilateral actions by either side. We will continue to oppose actions against Israel at the ICC as counterproductive to the cause of peace."  (State Department)
  • AMIA Special Prosecutor Alberto Nisman Found Dead - Damian Pachter
    AMIA special prosecutor Alberto Nisman was found dead in his apartment in Buenos Aires on Sunday. Nisman was expected to take part in a closed-door hearing in Congress on Monday to reveal the details of explosive allegations that involved President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman. Nisman had accused Kirchner of ordering immunity for the Iranian suspects in the 1994 attack on the AMIA Jewish community center that killed 85 people in order to boost trade with Tehran. (Buenos Aires Herald-Argentina)
        See also Prosecutor in Argentina Jewish Center Bombing Found Shot
    Nisman had filed a 300-page complaint accusing Fernandez, Timerman and others of seeking to "erase" Iran's role in the AMIA bombing. "The president and her foreign minister took the criminal decision to fabricate Iran's innocence to sate Argentina's commercial, political and geopolitical interests," the Buenos Aires Herald quoted Nisman as alleging.
        Since 2006, Argentine courts have demanded the extradition of eight Iranians, including former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, former defense minister Ahmad Vahidi and Mohsen Rabbani, Iran's former cultural attache in Buenos Aires, over their involvement in the bombing. Nisman traced the authorization for the July 18, 1994, terrorist attack to a meeting of Iran's National Security Council held a year before. (Times of Israel)
  • EU to Appeal Ruling that Hamas Should Be Off Terror List
    EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Monday that the EU would appeal last month's decision by the EU's General Court that the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas should be removed from the bloc's terrorist list. As a result of the appeal, Hamas will remain on the EU's terrorism list and its assets will remain frozen for now, pending a final judgment by the European Court of Justice. (Reuters)
        See also Statement by Federica Mogherini on the Decision to Appeal the Judgment Regarding Hamas (European Union)
  • Palestinians Throw Eggs and Shoes at Visiting Canadian Foreign Minister
    In Ramallah in the West Bank, dozens of Palestinians hurled eggs and shoes at Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird's convoy Sunday in a show of defiance toward Canada's perceived pro-Israel stance. Baird was on his way to meet Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki when his convoy was pelted.
        "We take a strong position supporting the only liberal and democratic state in the region," Baird said. "We take the view that in a peace process, progress is best made at the negotiating table and not through unilateral actions on the other side. We're proud of that position, we believe it's the best one and don't apologize for it." Alluding to the International Criminal Court, Baird said he asked Malki to "strongly reconsider the consequences of moving forward with any action that may be counterproductive to a negotiated solution" with Israel. (AP-Toronto Star-Canada)
        See also Video: Palestinians Throw Eggs at Canadian Foreign Minister - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israeli, Japanese Premiers Call for Closer Cooperation
    Visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday in the first visit to Israel by a Japanese premier since 2006. (AP-Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu: ICC Ignores International Law
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday evening: "Israel rejects the absurd decision of the ICC prosecutor. It's absurd for the ICC to ignore international law and agreements, under which the Palestinians don't have a state and can only get one through direct negotiations with Israel."
        "It's absurd for the ICC to go after Israel, which upholds the highest standards of international law. Our actions are subject to the constant and careful review of Israel's world-renowned and utterly independent legal system."
        "But this decision is even more preposterous given that Israel is legitimately defending itself against Palestinian terrorists who routinely commit multiple war crimes. They deliberately fire thousands of rockets at our civilians, while hiding behind Palestinian civilians whom they use as human shields."
        "We see here something truly tragic. The lofty goals of the ICC are being turned upside-down. The court was founded to prevent a repeat of history's worst crimes, foremost among them the genocide of six million Jews. Now the Palestinians are cynically manipulating the ICC to deny the Jewish state the right to defend itself against the very war crimes and the very terror that the court was established to prevent."  (Prime Minister's Office)
  • Self-Proclaimed "Islamic State Chief of Staff in Palestine" Arrested - Hassan Shaalan
    Seven Israeli Arabs have been charged with membership of an illegal organization for attempting to join Islamic State, it was announced Sunday, including Adnan Jamil Ala a-Din, 39, a former public defender from Nazareth who has branded himself the "Islamic State chief of staff in Palestine." Ala a-Din was fired from the Public Defender's Office last September for his pro-Islamic terror comments during the 2014 Gaza war.
        Israel has also arrested an Israeli citizen in the Negev, Omar Musa Khalil Abu Kush, on suspicion of belonging to Islamic State. The arrest is unrelated to the group in the north. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Palestinian Move at International Criminal Court Signals a Volatile New Stage - William Booth and Ruth Eglash
    Following a decision by prosecutors at the International Criminal Court on Friday to launch an inquiry into possible war crimes in the Palestinian territories, no one knows exactly what ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda will examine in the coming months. The high number of civilian deaths in Gaza during the summer war? Indiscriminate Hamas rocket fire at Israeli towns?
        Her announcement of a preliminary examination refers only to "the situation in Palestine." The inquiry will focus on the nature of possible crimes, the admissibility of evidence and whether the court has jurisdiction.
        According to the Obama administration, Palestine is not a state and the Palestinians do not have standing with the court. Further complicating matters, one of the Palestinian governing partners is Hamas, designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. and several other nations. The Israeli military, too, is conducting its own investigations into the Gaza war, undercutting the need for an ICC investigation. (Washington Post)
  • NY Gov. Coumo: ICC Action Is "Incomprehensible"
    Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said Friday: "The International Criminal Court (ICC) stated that it was opening a preliminary examination with respect to Israel....I saw first-hand the Hamas tunnels that lead directly into communities and whose sole purpose is to inflict terror and kill civilians. Given the extraordinary threat to Israel from Hamas and other terrorist organizations, today's action of the ICC is incomprehensible."
        "Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, has a right to defend itself against terrorist organizations. Friends stand with friends in times of crisis, and New York will continue to stand with the people of Israel." (New York State Governor)

Anti-Semitism Is Never Solely about the Jews - Ruth R. Wisse (Wall Street Journal)

  • Since the start of this millennium there have been attacks on Jewish houses of prayer in Dusseldorf, Brussels, Minsk, Mumbai, Istanbul, London and Caracas. Disparate local factors cannot account for the single-minded choice of targets.
  • In every case, Jews are convenient targets standing in for the liberalizing aspects of individual freedom, democratic governance and modernity complete with its anxieties. Anti-Jewish politics aims at the tolerant societies in which Jews flourish.
  • The intelligence agencies have become good at their work - though never good enough - but so far they seem not to have focused on the trail leading to the ideology that set terror in motion. If we follow the trail of Middle East terror back, past its current practitioners - Islamic State, al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hizbullah - we arrive at the Palestine Liberation Organization.
  • The PLO was founded in 1964 - three years before the war launched by the Arab states from which Israel emerged in possession of some disputed territory on the west bank of the Jordan River. After 1967, as the PLO focused its terror exclusively against the Jews, money began to flow to the organization from the Arab states.
  • Opposition to Israel was the unifying feature of an otherwise splintered Arab League that found in anti-Zionism the same ideological energy that Europeans had found in anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism unite otherwise contentious parties against a common target.
  • For their own safety, those already living in free societies have to hunt down the terror cells to destroy them. But beyond them, what needs to be confronted is the ideology that brought terrorism into being. Only the incubators of this fatal hatred can accomplish that. The rest of the world can help by refusing to join the diversion of condemning Israel and by urging Arab and Muslim leaders to make up for seven lost decades of blame.

    The writer is a former professor of Yiddish and comparative literature at Harvard.

Unsubscribe from Daily Alert.