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Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
February 21, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

New U.S. National Security Adviser Emphasized Importance of Remembering the Holocaust - Barney Breen-Portnoy (Algemeiner)
    Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, the new U.S. national security adviser, spoke in 2012 at the dedication of a new Holocaust exhibit at the National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning in Georgia.
    He spoke of having visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem three times.
    Read his remarks.

Egypt Using Chinese Attack Drones Against ISIS in Sinai - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
    The Egyptians have registered a string of successes in recent months with aerial attacks in Sinai which hit many ISIS members.
    The Arab media's automatic attribution to Israel of these drone attacks is not necessarily correct.
    The Egyptians have started using Chinese attack drones called Wing Loong. The Chinese have sold various types of attack drones to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the UAE.

    See also ISIS in Sinai: The Libyan Connection - Zvi Mazel (Jerusalem Post)
    According to Egypt's Al-Masri al-Yom, ISIS owes its continued success in Sinai to the ease with which it keeps acquiring superior weapons from stockpiles of the Libyan Army.
    These include Russian Kornet antitank missiles, Grad missiles (of the type recently launched at Eilat), anti-tank rocket propelled grenades, Strela anti-aircraft missiles, the latest Kalashnikov rifles, Austrian Steyr sniper rifles, and Russian DShK heavy machine guns.
    ISIS in Sinai is still getting a steady supply of choice weapons from Libya, transferring some to Hamas in Gaza.

Israeli Hospital Helps Deaf Palestinian Children Hear for First Time - Dr. Itay Gal (Ynet News)
    16 deaf Palestinian children were able to hear for the first time after undergoing cochlear implant surgery at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem over the past several months, sponsored by the Peres Center for Peace.
    "These children couldn't speak prior to the surgery, they were bereft of any supporting environment, uncommunicative," said Dr. Michal Kaufmann, the performing surgeon.
    "The surgery opened up their world, the ability to communicate and spread their wings."

Performers Are Flooding Israel: A Sign of the Cultural Boycott's Failure - Itay Stern (Ha'aretz)
    Many top performers have had good runs in Israel in recent years.
    Guy Besser, one of the owners of Blue Stone Productions, the company bringing over Guns and Roses and Aerosmith, says, "The boycott has only marginal influence on artists, and the ones who do come here leave as goodwill ambassadors."
    "After their performance they realize that there is a huge gap between what they were told as part of the pressure they were subjected to and the local reality."
    "We notice the weakening of the boycott from year to year."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Advisors Fighting Alongside Iraqi Forces in the Battle for Mosul - W.J. Hennigan and Nabih Bulos
    Hundreds of U.S. military advisors are now fighting alongside Iraqi forces near the front lines against Islamic State in Mosul, a sign of President Trump's willingness to grant more latitude to American commanders in Iraq's ground war against the militants. U.S. special forces and spotters direct airstrikes against Islamic State positions and advise Iraqi ground commanders on how best to advance on the battlefield. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Islamic State-Linked Group Expands Foothold in Southern Syria near Israel - Suleiman Al-Khalidi
    Islamic State-linked militant groups on Monday launched a surprise attack on the Free Syrian Army in southwestern Syria near the Golan Heights, seizing several villages and a large town, rebels said. The militants deployed dozens of armored vehicles and several tanks, aided by sleeper cells among locals who helped the attackers. The militants are members of the Khalid Ibn Al Walid Army, which formed from two jihadist factions that have pledged allegiance to Islamic State. (Reuters)
  • Jewish Community Centers Receive Fourth Wave of Bomb Threats - Christopher Brennan
    11 Jewish community centers across the U.S. received bomb threats on Monday in the fourth such wave of calls this year. No explosives were found. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told NBC on Monday, "Hatred and hate-motivated violence of any kind have no place in a country founded on the promise of individual freedom. The president has made it abundantly clear that these actions are unacceptable."  (New York Daily News)
        See also FBI Investigating Bomb Threats Targeting Jewish Centers - Tim Stelloh and Peter Alexander (NBC News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu in Singapore: "Israel Is Pivoting towards Asia"
    During a visit to Singapore on Monday, Prime Minister Netanyahu said: "There's a great battle that is taking place right now in the world...and we all have a stake in making sure that tolerance, diversity and progress win the day...against barbarian medievalism."
        "I believe that the key to peace is the abandonment of the goal of liquidating people, accepting them and working out the various conflicts. I think there's an opportunity to do this today because I sense a great change in the Arab world in many Arab countries, and I be able to use that newfound attitude towards Israel to help to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as well."
        "Israel is pivoting towards Asia in a very clear and purposeful way. Next month I'll go to China, somewhat later this year Prime Minister Modi of India will come to visit Israel."  (Prime Minister's Office)
        See also Netanyahu Visits Singapore Jewish Community (Prime Minister's Office)
        See also PM Lee: Israel, Singapore "Old Friends Whose Ties Are Expanding" - Eileen Ng
    Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Monday that Israel is now the second-largest contributor of foreign direct investment in Singapore from the Middle East and noted that quite a number of Israeli companies and start-ups are in Singapore. Lee said Singapore will "always be grateful" to Israel for help to build up its armed forces when it became independent in 1965. (Today-Singapore)
  • Steinitz: Keep Iran Away from Israel's Northern Border - Gil Hoffman
    Israel's Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz told the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on Monday in Jerusalem that "the most urgent issue and the first big challenge of the Trump administration is Syria. The mission of Iran is to make Syria into an Iranian stronghold and an extension of the Islamic Republic. The last thing we want is to have Iran on our northern border."
        Since world powers made a deal with Iran, it has expanded operations all over the region. "In Washington there were hopes Iran would moderate itself after the deal, but it only became more dangerous," he said.
        Steinitz added that "there actually is very strong linkage between the behavior and ambitions of North Korea and Iran. If you fail to contain North Korea, you will have to deal with Iran. If you let North Korea develop more, Iran will follow."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Pro-ISIS Israeli Arab Charged with Plotting to Plant Bomb on Tel Aviv Bus
    Anas Haj Yahiya, an Israeli Arab resident of Taibeh, was indicted on Monday for planning to bomb a bus on Tel Aviv's Dizengoff Street, the Central District prosecutor's office has announced. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Thinking Out of the Box - Zalman Shoval
    While U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley reiterated that U.S. policy is two states for two peoples, she added that the U.S. administration is indeed "thinking out of the box as well." In other words, it is not fixed on establishing a Palestinian state here and now.
        The new U.S. administration has apparently been convinced that a Palestinian state may remain the final destination, but in today's chaotic, extremist and violent Middle East, it would be the equivalent of establishing a base for Islamist terrorism, whether for the Islamic State or for Iran - at any rate, a serious threat to the State of Israel. The writer is a former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. (Israel Hayom)
  • Palestinians Must Earn a Two-State Solution - Alan Dershowitz
    Back in the 1930s, Great Britain established the Peale Commission, tasked to recommend a solution to the conflict between Arabs and Jews in Mandatory Palestine. It recommended a two-state solution with a tiny noncontiguous Jewish state alongside a large Arab state. The Jewish leadership reluctantly accepted this sliver of a state; the Palestinian leadership rejected the deal, saying they wanted there to be no Jewish state more than they wanted a state of their own.
        Palestinian leaders missed many opportunities over the years to secure a state. And for the past several years, the current Israeli government has offered to sit down and negotiate a two-state solution with no preconditions, but the Palestinian leadership has refused to negotiate.
        The time has come - indeed it is long past - for the U.S. to tell the Palestinians that they must negotiate with Israel if they want a Palestinian state, and must agree to end the conflict, permanently and unequivocally. Otherwise, the status quo will continue, and there will be only one state, and that state will be Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Assault on Freedoms - Khaled Abu Toameh
    More than two decades after the foundation of the PA, Palestinians are as far from democracy as ever. In fact, the Palestinians seem to be marching in the opposite direction - towards establishing a regime that is remarkably reminiscent of the despotic and corrupt Arab and Islamic governments. A PA government funded by Americans and Europeans should be held accountable for persecuting dissidents and throwing objectors into prison. By refusing to hold the PA accountable for its crackdown on public freedoms, American and European taxpayers actively contribute to the emergence of another Arab dictatorship in the Middle East.
        Palestinians used to say that their dream was to have a free media and democracy like in Israel. But thanks to the apathy of the international community, the Palestinians have come to learn that if and when they ever have their own state, its role model will not be Israel or any Western democracy, but the regimes of repression that control the Arab and Muslim world. (Gatestone Institute)

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley: We Will Never Repeat the Terrible Mistake of Resolution 2334 Condemning Israel (U.S. Mission to the UN)

Following UN Security Council consultations on the Middle East on Feb. 16, U.S. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said:

  • The Security Council is supposed to discuss how to maintain international peace and security. But at our meeting on the Middle East, the discussion was not about Hizbullah's illegal build-up of rockets in Lebanon. It was not about the money and weapons Iran provides to terrorists. It was not about how we defeat ISIS. It was not about how we hold Bashar al-Assad accountable for the slaughter of hundreds and thousands of civilians. No, instead, the meeting focused on criticizing Israel, the one true democracy in the Middle East....I understand that's how the Council has operated, month after month, for decades.
  • I'm here to say the United States will not turn a blind eye to this anymore. I am here to underscore the ironclad support of the United States for Israel. I'm here to emphasize the United States is determined to stand up to the UN's anti-Israel bias. We will never repeat the terrible mistake of Resolution 2334 and allow one-sided Security Council resolutions to condemn Israel. Instead, we will push for action on the real threats we face in the Middle East.
  • We stand for peace. We support a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that is negotiated directly between the two parties....The outrageously biased resolutions from the Security Council and the General Assembly only make peace harder to attain.
  • Incredibly, the UN Department of Political Affairs has an entire division devoted to Palestinian affairs. Imagine that. There is no division devoted to illegal missile launches from North Korea. There is no division devoted to the world's number one state-sponsor of terror, Iran. The prejudiced approach to Israeli-Palestinian issues does the peace process no favors. And it bears no relationship to the reality of the world around us.
  • Israel exists in a region where others call for its complete destruction and in a world where anti-Semitism is on the rise. These are threats that we should discuss at the United Nations.

        See also Haley's Comet - Editorial
    A star is born is our reaction to the first press briefing by the new U.S. ambassador at the UN Nikki Haley. (New York Sun)
        See also U.S. UN Ambassador Comes Out Swinging on Israel Bias - Editorial (Jerusalem Post)

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