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Weekly Radio Alert
June 12, 2015

In-Depth Issues:

Security Guard at U.S. Embassy in Egypt Arrested as a Terrorist - Jamie Dettmer (Daily Beast)
    Egyptian authorities have arrested Ahmed Ali, 42, an Egyptian security guard at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, claiming he is a senior figure in the Islamist militant Helwan Brigades and helped plan or took part in more than a dozen attacks on security forces.

Orange Telecom and Occupied Territories - Eugene Kontorovich (Washington Post)
    The CEO of Orange telecom, Stephane Richard, just arrived in Israel for a two-day visit, apologizing for his apparent suggestion that his company would boycott the Jewish state due to its local affiliate's activities in "occupied territory."
    Now researchers at the Kohelet Policy Forum have discovered that Orange provides cell phone service in Nagorno-Karabakh, an area of Azerbaijan occupied by Armenia in a bloody 1992-94 war. Orange even supports fundraising for Armenian settlements in Karabakh.
    Unlike its Israel service, which is operated by a local company that merely licenses the trademark, Orange Armenia is directly run by the French-based company, and headed by a French executive, Francis Gelibter.
    There is absolutely no law, rule, or general practice against doing business in occupied territories.
    Europe wants Israel to believe that the friction between them is due to "the occupation." But the participation of European companies in "occupation" elsewhere (Western Sahara, Northern Cyprus, Nagorno-Karabakh) undermines the force of their argument.
    The writer is a professor at Northwestern University School of Law.

European-Funded NGOs Behind the Orange Boycott Israel Campaign (NGO Monitor)
    In May, a coalition of French NGOs, along with the Palestinian NGO Al Haq, published "Orange's Dangerous Liaisons in the Occupied Palestinian Territory."
    The NGOs met with Orange, which "recognizes that having business relations with [the Israeli firm] Partner poses risks to the company's reputation."
    Following the publication of the report, Saeb Erekat, lead negotiator of the Palestinian Authority, wrote to France's foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, to denounce the link between Orange and Partner.
    NGOs involved in the campaign against Orange and Partner include Who Profits, Al Haq, Catholic Committee Against Hunger and for Development-Terre Solidaire (CCFD), FIDH, and Association France Palestine Solidarite (AFPS).
    These groups are funded by Ireland, Spain, Netherlands, Germany, Norway, France, Finland, Sweden, Belgium, Switzerland, and Denmark.

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British Business Minister: "I Do Not Believe in Boycotts"; Golden Era for UK-Israel Trade - Henri Stein (European Jewish Press)
    "I do not believe in boycotts, nor, I am proud to say, does my party, my Prime Minister or, for the most part, my country," said British Business, Innovation and Skills Minister Sajid Javid in an address to the UK Israel Business, the bilateral chamber of commerce.
    "The past few years have been a golden era for Anglo-Israeli business," he stressed. Bilateral trade and services are currently valued at $6.9 billion. The UK is Israel's major export destination in Europe and second in the world.

Israeli Companies Bring Jobs to America - David Shamah (Times of Israel)
    In May, three Israel-based firms opened or finalized plans to build new facilities in the U.S.
    Avgol, a global producer of fabrics, announced it will expand its North American operations by building a new production line at its Mocksville, N.C., plant, creating dozens of new jobs.
    Bram Plastics Industries, a major producer of food storage and kitchen products, said it would invest $3 million in a new plant in Savannah, Georgia, which will generate at least 60 new jobs.
    Kitchen counter maker Caesarstone, based in Kibbutz Sdot Yam in Israel, officially opened its first American manufacturing facility in Richmond Hill, Georgia. The factory currently employs 107 people, with an additional 80 to be hired when the factory expands later this year.

Germany: Muslims Exempt from School Trips to Holocaust Sites? - Soeren Kern (Gatestone Institute)
    A debate has erupted in Germany over whether Muslim students should be exempted from mandatory visits to former concentration camps as part of Holocaust education programs.
    A proposal by the Free Voters party in the state of Bavaria would require students in all secondary schools to visit Holocaust memorials as part of the school curriculum.
    The governing Christian Social Union's Klaus Steiner explained his opposition: "We have immigrants and the children of asylum seekers. Among them are many children from Muslim families who have no connection to our past and who will need much more time before they can identify with our history. We need to be careful about how we address this issue with these children."
    The Simon Wiesenthal Center's director for international relations, Shimon Samuels, contrasted the CSU's stance with the federal government's $22.5 million investment plan to create Centers of Islamic Theology at four major German universities.
    The writer is a senior fellow at the Gatestone Institute and at the Madrid-based Strategic Studies Group.

New Israeli Cyber-Security Technique: Daze and Confuse Hackers - David Shamah (Times of Israel)
    The best way to beat hackers is to let them mine phony data that ends up leading nowhere.
    "Statistically, we have found that our system of deceptive attack points catches almost all hackers who try to mine a system for information," said Shlomo Touboul, the CEO of new Israeli cyber-security firm Illusive.
    "The fake attack vectors lead them in the wrong direction, keeping them busy with nonsense information. Meanwhile, the security department can gather information on them, including where the attack is originating from, and how it is being carried out."

Israel Demonstrates Anti-Drought Technology (Xinhua-China)
    At Expo Milano 2015, the Israeli Pavilion is showcasing innovative agricultural technologies.
    Its "vertical garden," a 70-meter-long, 12-meter-tall wall, is planted with rice, wheat and corn, managed by a computer program and a mobile application.
    For 1 kilo of rice, you generally use 5,000 liters of water. With a vertical system, you only need 1,500 liters of water.
    The biggest advantage of vertical farming is that it requires only drip irrigation and can be applied on the walls of residential buildings, thus saving valuable water and land resources. It also provides soundproofing and insulation for houses.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Iran Backs Taliban with Cash and Arms - Margherita Stancati
    When Abdullah, a Taliban commander in central Afghanistan, needs more rifles and ammunition, he turns to the same people who pay his $580-a-month salary: his Iranian sponsors. "Iran supplies us with whatever we need," he said. Afghan and Western officials say Tehran has quietly increased its supply of weapons, ammunition and funding to the Taliban, and is now recruiting and training their fighters. (Wall Street Journal)
  • To U.S. Allies, Al-Qaeda Affiliate in Syria Becomes the Lesser Evil - Yaroslav Trofimov
    The three main forces on the ground today in Syria are the Assad regime, Islamic State and an Islamist rebel alliance in which the Nusra Front - an al-Qaeda affiliate designated a terrorist group by the U.S. and UN - plays a major role. As the Assad regime wobbles and Islamic State gains ground in both Syria and Iraq, some of America's regional allies and even some Western officials argue that reaching out to the more pragmatic Nusra is the only rational choice left for the international community. In recent months, Saudi Arabia's new King Salman has moved to work much more closely with Turkey and Qatar in supporting the Islamist-dominated rebel alliance that includes Nusra.
        The dilemma facing policymakers is heightened by continued reports of atrocities committed by Nusra, including the killing on Wednesday of more than 20 Druse villagers by a local commander. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Boycott Movement Grows, But Israel Fights Back - Oren Liebermann
    The BDS movement made front-page headlines after Stephane Richard, CEO of Orange, a French telecommunications company, said last week in Cairo that he would cut ties with the company's Israeli partner "tomorrow" if he could. After Prime Minister Netanyahu and other Israeli politicians blasted Richard's comments, Richard apologized for his remarks, said he was misunderstood, and is expected in Israel this week to clarify his comments.
        To counter the growing influence of the movement, Jewish-American mega-donors Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban bridged their political differences and pledged to start and fund an anti-boycott movement. "This isn't over. This is just the beginning," Saban told Channel 2 Israel about the Orange CEO and the boycott movement. "Any company that chooses to boycott business in Israel is going to look at this case, and once we're done, they're going to think twice whether they want to take on Israel or not. Trust me, this is just the beginning."  (CNN)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF Probe Finds Deaths of Four Boys on Gaza Beach Was Accidental - Yonah Jeremy Bob
    One of the most famous incidents of the 2014 Gaza war with Hamas was the killing of four boys on a Gaza beach as they reportedly played soccer. No criminal charges will be filed against soldiers involved in the incident, the IDF Military Advocate General announced Thursday. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Decisions of the IDF Military Advocate General Regarding Exceptional Incidents During the 2014 Gaza War
    The IDF Military Advocate General (MAG) has reached decisions concerning several exceptional incidents that occurred during Operation Protective Edge (7 July-26 August 2014).
        Allegations Concerning the Death of Four Children on the Gaza Strip Coast (16 July 2014): Four children were killed on a beach adjacent to Gaza port. The MAG ordered the opening of a criminal investigation into the incident. Video footage documenting the attack in real time was reviewed.
        The incident took place in an area that had long been known as a compound belonging to Hamas' Naval Police and Naval Force (commandos), and which was utilized exclusively by militants. The compound is closed off by a fence and clearly separated from the beach serving the civilian population. Affidavits provided by Palestinian witnesses stated that the compound was known to the local residents as a compound which was used exclusively by Hamas' Naval Police. The IDF carried out a number of attacks on the compound in the days prior to the incident. On the day prior to the incident, a container inside the compound used to store military supplies was attacked.
        The attack was aimed at figures who were understood to be militants from Hamas' Naval Forces, who had gathered in order to prepare military activities against the IDF. Under the circumstances in question, it would not have been possible to have identified these figures, via aerial surveillance, as children. It became clear after the fact that the identification of the figures as militants was in error. Nonetheless, the tragic outcome of the incident does not affect the legality of the attack.
        Allegations Concerning the Death of 15 Individuals During an Attack on the Al-Salam Building in Gaza City (21 July 2014): The IDF conducted an aerial attack on Sha'aban Dachdouch, a senior commander in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, who was present in an office in the Al-Salam building. The attack was carried out in the late evening in light of the assessment, premised upon timely intelligence, that there would not be civilians present at that time in the building, which was known to be an office building. The munition was selected to limit the damage to that part of the building where the target was located in order to minimize, to the extent feasible, the collateral damage. Regrettably, after the fact, there was an unforeseen collapse in the upper floors of the building approximately half an hour after the attack.
        Allegations Concerning the Death of 9 Individuals as the Result of an Attack on a Cafe on the Khan Yunis Coast (9 July 2014): The IDF investigation found the existence of grounds for a reasonable suspicion that the attack was not carried out in accordance with the rules and procedures applicable to IDF forces. As a result, the MAG has ordered the opening of a criminal investigation into the incident. (Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson)
  • Hamas Begins Patrolling New Gaza Border Road - Elior Levy
    Armed Hamas jeep patrols have begun on a new border road in Gaza which runs parallel to IDF positions. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

    The BDS Campaign

  • BDS and the Politics of "Radical" Gestures - Todd Gitlin
    I was involved in the movement to make universities (and pension funds) divest from corporations involved in apartheid South Africa as a professor in the University of California Faculty for Full Divestment. No one in the American movement ever proposed to blacklist South African professors. The objective was not to drive the whites into the sea, or back to Holland or Great Britain.
        There are people of good will who support the BDS movement for boycotts and divestments against Israel, either because they think it can push Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians, or because they want to stamp their feet. Still, many supporters of BDS do not understand, or have not thought through, just what they are subscribing to. The 2005 BDS call, which can be read on the official BDS website, calls on Israel to end its "colonization of all Arab lands."
        According to Hamas, "Arab lands" include the entirety of Israel. The phrase is coded to imply that the very existence of the State of Israel is what constitutes "colonization." (If that were not so, it would suffice to say "end the occupation" that took place as a result of the 1967 war.) But one group's desire that another disappear deserves no respect.
        Unlike all proposals for just settlements of the murderous ethnic wars of our time - Rwanda, former Yugoslavia, Kashmir - BDS demands that one of those peoples give up the state in which they predominate. The writer is professor of journalism and sociology at Columbia University. (Tablet)
  • We Must Fight BDS in the Name of Human Rights - Jonathan Sacks
    There is a growing and widespread concern among friends of Israel everywhere at the increasing threat posed by the BDS movement. Our fight against this movement will not be easy, but it is a fight we can and must win, not just for the survival of Israel or the safety of the Jewish people, but for the world. Universities in particular should be vigilant in ensuring freedom of speech, which means listening respectfully to views contrary to one's own.
        The BDS movement is the latest incarnation of the denial to Jews as a distinctive faith and people the right to be: the right to govern themselves in the land of their beginnings. During the Middle Ages, Jews were hated for their religion. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, they were hated for their race. Today they are hated for their nation state. Anti-Semitism is not simply about Jews. It is an offense against the fundamental dignity of difference.
        The rebirth, in this mutated form, of anti-Semitism within living memory of the Holocaust should be chilling for anyone with a genuine sense of humanity. An assault on Jews or the Jewish state is never an assault on them alone.
        Today, when Christians are being persecuted and Muslims murdered by the forces of radical political Islam, all who care for human rights, particularly European governments and their Jewish communities, must stand together with the Israeli government in their defense. Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks is the former chief rabbi of the UK and Commonwealth. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Human Rights Activist Opposes Boycott of Israel - Elior Levy
    Human rights activist Bassam Eid headed the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group, which focused on human rights violations perpetrated by the PA in the West Bank and the Hamas regime in Gaza. Eid's organization received significant funding from European states until five years ago when funding from Europe came to an end. "I think it happened because European policy in recent years has been to come down hard on Israel and not the Palestinian Authority," Eid says.
        Eid has recently been trying to explain to the world that the activities of the BDS movement are only undermining the dream of a Palestinian state. "I'm opposed to the boycott because it only ends up harming the Palestinians themselves. Take, for example, the SodaStream plant in Mishor Adumim that is now moving some of its operations to Beersheba. I've met with Palestinians who worked at the factory....They told me they were earning an average of NIS 5,000 a month there, and that today they are being offered salaries of just NIS 1,400 in the PA....Do you think the boycott movement cares about them at all?"  (Ynet News)
  • Anti-Israel Sentiment on College Campuses Is Swelling; It's Time to Go on the Attack - Liel Leibovitz
    Too often, we respond to hate the way a hapless nerd might respond to the bully about to stuff him into a locker, with some sad mixture of pride in our intellectual superiority and desperate attempt to be liked no matter what. But the only way to stop bullies is to fight them.
        This means, first, stop apologizing. Haters are going to hate. Do not try to debate them or appease them or engage them in any sort of feel-good exercise. Instead, drag their bigotry into the light and make them pay for it. Force those who fail to condemn the atrocities of Hamas, those who believe that the Jews are somehow to blame for the rage of the maniacs who repeatedly rise to murder them, and those who defile history and morality by comparing Israel to Apartheid-era South Africa or to Nazi Germany, to explain their hateful positions, and then explain why anyone so disdainful of reason and so devoid of empathy, decency, and common sense should have a place in any American institution of higher learning. (Tablet)
  • The Evil of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel - Adrian Hilton
    To single out the democratic Jewish state for "special treatment" when so many other nations of the world are far worse is shameless anti-Semitism. The evil of the delegitimization of Israel is that it isolates the only democracy and persecutes the only free people in the Middle East. If the past century has taught us anything at all, it is that our failure to confront anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism has tragic consequences. (Archbishop Cranmer-UK)

  • Iran

  • Israel's Role in the Struggle over the Iranian Nuclear Project - Yossi Kuperwasser
    The fact that Iran has not yet developed nuclear weapons, in spite of the 27 years in which it has been trying to do so, is due in no small part to Israel's efforts. Thus, the claims made that Iran's success in proceeding towards the attainment of nuclear weapons represent an Israeli failure are themselves worthy of ridicule. Without Israel's actions, Iran would have obtained nuclear weapons several years ago. Even a bad deal will postpone to some extent the decision to break out toward a bomb.
        As long as the negotiations continue, Israel should keep doing everything it can to prevent a bad deal with Iran. But if a bad deal is signed, then: Israel should multiply its intelligence attempts to know what is happening in Iran, so that it may sound the alarm; it should accelerate its efforts to develop the military capability to defend itself if necessary; and it should find ways to form a regional alliance determined to block Iranian attempts to translate its achievements in the nuclear realm into greater regional influence, even without developing a weapon.
        Under no circumstances should Israel accept understandings with the U.S. which limit its ability to decide by itself what kind of actions it may take to protect itself against the nuclear threats that may follow the deal. Brig. Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser was chief of the research division in IDF Military Intelligence and, until recently, director general of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs. (Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)
  • How the Threat of a Military Option Against Iran Lost Its Coercive Power - Ray Takeyh and Roger Zakheim
    Speaking about Iran's nuclear program last month, President Obama said that "a military solution will not fix it, even if the United States participates." Such denigrations of the deterrent power of force have long been noticed in Iran. The U.S. administration is engaged in sensitive negotiations while systematically depriving itself of leverage.
        Military force may not be the ideal solution to the Iran nuclear issue, but it is an indispensable backdrop to viable diplomacy. In 2003, the Islamic Republic agreed to suspend all its nuclear activities. After the fear of being the target of American retribution dissipated in 2005, Iran resumed its nuclear activities. Had Iranians sensed that the U.S. was prepared to enforce its "red lines" with force, then they may have been less inclined to dismiss American mandates and the IAEA demands for access to atomic sites.
        Signaling that we have no intent to use force weakens our deterrence posture. Moreover, it has probably helped convince Iran that it can sign a deal and have a nuclear weapon, too. Ray Takeyh is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Roger Zakheim is a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. (Wall Street Journal)

  • Saudi Arabia and Israel

  • The Saudis Team Up with Israel - Michael J. Totten
    Saudi and Israeli diplomats jointly announced that they've held five meetings in secret since early last year. Retired Saudi general Anwar Majed Eshki and Israeli diplomat Dore Gold shook hands in front of the cameras during their announcement at the Council on Foreign Relations - a bigger deal than it seems. Not because it suddenly means that Israel and Saudi Arabia are best friends forever, but because shaking hands with or even saying hello to an Israeli is a crime in some Arab countries. But bigotries can fade in even the most reactionary countries over time and under the right circumstances, and it's actually happening in Saudi Arabia.
        Eshki says Saudi Arabia's number one priority is peace between Israelis and Arabs. Not between Israelis and Palestinians, but between Israel and the entire Arab world. It's true that the history between Muslims and Jews is long and unpleasant, but the history between Muslims and Christians is equally long and unpleasant, yet Saudi Arabia has normal relations with every Christian nation on earth. Officially, the Saudis don't recognize Israel's right to exist, but at least they acknowledge the reality of Israel's existence, and they're increasingly recognizing that the two nations have common interests and common real enemies. (World Affairs)
        See also Saudis and Israelis Meet in India - Shimon Shapira
    In May 2015, I visited the Indian city of Lucknow as part of an Israeli delegation from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, headed by Dr. Dore Gold, where we met a Saudi delegation from the Middle East Center for Strategic and Legal Studies, located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, chaired by Maj. Gen. (ret.) Dr. Anwar Majed Eshki.  Dr. Eshki visited Jerusalem this year and led Muslim prayers in the al-Aqsa Mosque. Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira is a senior research associate at the Jerusalem Center. (Weekly Standard)

  • Other Issues

  • The Case for Israel Is Rooted in More than Security - Jeff Jacoby
    Israel's new deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely told the diplomatic corps: "We need to get back to the basic truth of our right to this land." The Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people, she declared, and their claim to it is as old as the Bible. "It's important to say this" when making Israel's case before the world, she said, and not to focus solely on Israel's security interests. Of course security is a profound concern, Hotovely observed, but arguments grounded in justice, morality, and deep historical rights are stronger.
        Jewish sovereignty wasn't regained by downplaying the historical and religious bonds linking the Jews to the land. Many world leaders and opinion-makers found those links intensely compelling. In 1891, alarmed by reports of Jews being massacred in Russia, hundreds of prominent Americans, including the chief justice of the Supreme Court, the speaker of the House of Representatives, and future President William McKinley, signed a petition urging the restoration of Palestine to Jewish rule. President Woodrow Wilson also endorsed the Zionist cause "to help restore the Holy Land to its people." The League of Nations in 1922 unanimously recognized "the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine" and the justice of "reconstituting their national home in that country."  (Boston Globe)
  • Surrounded by Hostile Neighbors, How Is Israel the 11th Happiest Nation in the World? - Aaron David Miller
    According to the latest World Happiness Report, published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Israel now ranks 11th out of some 158 countries evaluated. The top 10 are affluent, secure, and some haven't been involved in a war in 70 years. They aren't living in the middle of ongoing, violent conflicts or are the objects of international campaigns to isolate or boycott them. None have groups on their borders with thousands of high trajectory weapons pointed at their civilian population centers.
        The Bloomberg Innovation Index ranked Israel as the fifth most innovative country in the world, ahead of both the U.S. and the UK. According to an OECD study, Israel is the fourth most educated nation. Above all, perhaps, in explaining the happiness stuff, is the very strong sense of identity that still seems to shape the way Israelis look at themselves and the rest of the world. Amidst all the fractiousness and divisiveness, there's still among Israelis a real sense of purpose, community, and pride of accomplishment. The writer is a vice president and distinguished scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. (Foreign Policy)

The Palestinians' Refusal Strategy - Yoni Ben-Menachem (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs-Hebrew)

  • The most talked-about issue in the territories last week was the Palestinian poll that found that half of Gaza residents want to emigrate. Palestinian experts explain the reason as the difficulties for the younger generation, for economic reasons, to marry, find a job and a place to live.
  • The fact that the younger generation in the territories has begun to lose hope is due to the Palestinian refusal strategy which Mahmoud Abbas leads, and Hamas' plan to establish an Islamic state.
  • Abbas has made a strategic decision not to return to negotiations with Israel without receiving international guarantees for an Israeli withdrawal to the '67 lines, a Palestinian state with its capital in east Jerusalem, and a solution to the refugee problem. Abbas has been encouraging boycott moves against Israel in recent days, to force Israel to accept Palestinian demands.
  • Therefore, it is crucial for Israel to wage an intensive response to the international boycott campaign in order to show the world that this is damaging the chances for a political solution and strengthening the Palestinians' stance of refusal. The Palestinians are not interested in real negotiations but rather in an international decision that comes at the expense of Israel's security interests.
  • But the Minister of History has other plans. The two major threats to the Middle East today are the spread of Iran and Islamic State, knocking aside the Palestinian problem. Within the Palestinian leadership are those who understand that Abbas' refusal strategy is mistaken and will only increase local distress because Israel is a strong state and in the end Abbas will not be able to force his will on Israel in the international political arena.
  • These Palestinian officials believe that the major changes in the Middle East create new opportunities to restart negotiations with Israel. They say the Arab states today are more prepared than ever before to accept an agreement between Israel and the PA. These states, particularly the Gulf States, see Israel as an ally in the war against the spread of Iran and IS.

    The writer is former Director General and Chief Editor of the Israel Broadcasting Authority.
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