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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 Wednesday,
February 22, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Israeli Military Expert: U.S. National Security Adviser McMaster "The Right Man in the Right Place" - Ruthie Blum (Algemeiner)
    Gen. H.R. McMaster is "the right man in the right place" for both America and Israel, Dr. Eitan Shamir, a senior research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University, told the Hebrew news site nrg on Tuesday.
    McMaster, the new U.S. national security adviser, has been in Israel "many times; he has many Israeli friends, and I remember an event at which he called Israel an ally which fights with the U.S., just as Canada, Britain and Australia do."

Israeli Soldier Sentenced to Prison for Killing Wounded Palestinian Attacker - Stuart Winer and Judah Ari Gross (Times of Israel)
    A Tel Aviv military court on Tuesday sentenced Israeli soldier Elor Azaria, 21, to 18 months in prison for killing a disarmed, wounded Palestinian assailant last year.
    Azaria was convicted of manslaughter in January in the shooting death of Abdel Fattah al-Sharif, who was lying on the ground after stabbing a soldier in the West Bank city of Hebron.
    Another stabber, Ramzi Aziz al-Qasrawi, was killed in the course of the attack.
    In reading out the sentence, Chief Judge Col. Maya Heller noted that Azaria violated the army's rules of engagement.

The Disturbing History of Vandalizing Jewish Cemeteries - Kayla Epstein (Washington Post)
    The vandalism of a Jewish cemetery in Missouri has caused an uproar after more than 170 headstones were toppled at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in University City.
    For Jews, the act of desecrating cemeteries recalls a dark history of prejudice and intimidation against Jewish communities.

Citing Anti-Semitism, UK University Cancels Israel Apartheid Week Event - Rosa Doherty (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
    The University of Central Lancashire has cancelled a panel discussion looking at the boycott of Israel as part of "Israel Apartheid Week" activity on its campus.
    A spokesperson for the university said, "We believe the proposed talk contravenes the new definition [of anti-Semitism adopted by the government] and furthermore breaches university protocols for such events, where we require assurances of a balanced view or a panel of speakers representing all interests."
    "In this instance our procedures determined that the proposed event would not be lawful and therefore it will not proceed as planned."

Israel's Elta Wins USAF Contract for Shoulder-Fired Anti-Aircraft Missiles (Armscom)
    The U.S. Air Force has ordered 21 MANPADS anti-aircraft defense kits costing $15.5 million from Elta North America, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries, to be manufactured in Israel.
    MANPADS are shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles used against low-flying aircraft and helicopters. The announcement Tuesday said the contract was "for counter-unmanned aerial systems."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Trump Calls Anti-Semitic Threats Targeting Jewish Community Centers "Horrible and Painful" - John Wagner
    President Trump, visiting the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture on Tuesday, said his tour "was a meaningful reminder of why we have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms. The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community at community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil."  (Washington Post)
        See also U.S. Jewish Leader Wants World Conference to Fight Anti-Semitism
    Malcolm Hoenlein, CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, called on Tuesday for an international conference on anti-Semitism, saying the "intensifying challenge" of rising anti-Jewish incidents around the world required global mobilization. Hoenlein said reports of hate crimes were on the rise in both the U.S. and Europe. "There must be a universal policy of zero tolerance of anti-Semitism, racism, and bigotry," he said. (Times of Israel)
  • Australian PM Criticizes "One-Sided UN Resolutions" as Israeli PM Arrives for State Visit - Colin Packham
    Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull offered a staunch defense of Israel on Wednesday. "My government will not support one-sided resolutions criticizing Israel of the kind recently adopted by the UN Security Council and we deplore the boycott campaigns designed to delegitimize the Jewish state," he wrote in The Australian newspaper. Turnbull welcomed Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday as the first Israeli prime minister to visit Australia. (Reuters)
        See also In Sydney, Netanyahu Lauds "Clear-Eyed Australia" for Blasting UN - Sue Surkes
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday praised Australia for being "courageously willing to puncture UN hypocrisy" on resolutions singling out Israel for condemnation. "The UN is capable of many absurdities and I think it's important that you have straightforward and clear-eyed countries like Australia that often bring it back to Earth," Netanyahu said.
        Netanyahu dismissed calls from former Australian prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Bob Hawke for Australia to formally recognize Palestine as a state. "I ask both former prime ministers to ask a simple question: What kind of state will it be that they are advocating? A state that calls for Israel's destruction? A state whose territory will be used immediately for radical Islam?" Netanyahu said.
        "I want them to have all the freedoms to govern themselves but none of the powers to threaten us. Let them govern themselves, but not have the military and physical power to threaten the State of Israel."  (Times of Israel)
        See also Netanyahu Took Two-Hour Flight Detour to Avoid Indonesian Airspace - Elle Hunt (Guardian-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Obama, Not Israel, Blocked Initiative for Regional Diplomatic Process - Herb Keinon
    It was the Obama administration, and not Israel, that poured cold water on the idea of a wider regional diplomatic process following a meeting in Aqaba in February 2016 among Israeli, Egyptian, Jordanian and U.S. leaders, a senior Israeli diplomatic official said Tuesday. According to the official, the Americans wanted to "dictate terms" that were unacceptable to Israel.
        He added that the U.S. acted similarly during discussions to end the 2014 Gaza war when it insisted on incorporating Qatar and Turkey into a cease-fire framework. The cease-fire went into effect, the official said, only after the U.S. was nudged to the side and an agreement was reached between Israel and Egypt. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Report: Israel Air Force Strikes in Syria
    Lebanese media claimed on Wednesday that the IDF struck targets on the outskirts of the Syrian capital overnight at least twice. Syrian media suggested the attack was aimed at Hizbullah weapons. (Jerusalem Post)
  • BDS Protest Nixes Israeli Envoy's Talk at Dublin College - Tovah Lazaroff
    A pro-Palestinian protest at Trinity College in Dublin on Monday forced the cancellation of a talk by Ambassador to Ireland Ze'ev Boker as a campus group stood outside the lecture hall with signs and Palestinian flags chanting against the State of Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israel Foreign Ministry Decries Bullying by BDS Movement
    The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday that the ministry "is horrified by the vicious action of a group of protestors, which denied the Ambassador of Israel his right to freedom of expression at Trinity College Dublin last night. These protestors chanted genocidal refrains, which call for Israel's destruction, while barring access to the lecture theater.... Unfortunately, these are the bullying, intimidating tactics of the BDS movement."  (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
        See also Trinity Criticizes "Unacceptable Attack on Free Speech" - Roisin Power
    Trinity College Provost Patrick Prendergast described the cancellation of an event with the Israeli ambassador after protests as "an unacceptable attack on free speech." "This was most unfortunate and represents the antithesis of what Trinity stands for. Universities should be able to facilitate the exchange of ideas. The protesters have violated that fundamental belief....We will do everything possible to make sure that efforts to suppress the free exchange of ideas do not succeed. I look forward to welcoming Ambassador Boker back to Trinity to speak again in the near future."  (University Times-Ireland)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Anti-Israel Slogans at Tehran Conference in Support of Palestinian Uprising - Thomas Erdbrink
    At this year's International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Intifada in Tehran on Tuesday, prominent seating was reserved for the heads of Parliament for Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Syria, as well as the leaders of Islamic Jihad, Hamas and Hizbullah. All three groups are considered terrorist organizations by the U.S. All three have offices in the Iranian capital and all have received money, intelligence and even weapons from Iran.
        Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, delivered a long speech pledging support to all groups that fight against Israel. He also insisted that any compromise with Israel, even a peace deal based on a two-state solution, would be "a grave and unforgivable mistake."  (New York Times)
  • Israel Does Not Cause Anti-Semitism - Alan M. Dershowitz
    The view that it is Israel that is causing anti-Semitism is simply wrong. Anyone who hates Jews because they disagree with the policy of Israel would be ready to hate Jews on the basis of any pretext.
        Has there been growing anti-Chinese feelings around the world as the result of China's occupation of Tibet? Is there growing hatred of Americans of Turkish background because of Turkey's unwillingness to end the conflict in Cyprus? Do Europeans of Russian background suffer bigotry because of Russia's invasion of Crimea? The answer to all these questions is a resounding no. If Jews are the only group that suffers because of controversial policies by Israel, then the onus lies on the anti-Semites rather than on the nation state of the Jewish people. (Gatestone Institute)

American Resolve Is Required Against the Threat from Iran - Amos Yadlin and Avner Golov (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)

  • In order to formulate a different policy on Iran, the Trump administration must confirm the following basic assumptions: a) rejection of the Obama administration's assumption that there is no alternative to an agreement; this assumption paralyzed the previous administration; b) the alternative to the existing agreement, should Iran pull out of it, is the restoration of significant sanctions and a credible military option.
  • If Iran should move to nuclear breakout, the response should be a surgical military strike only against nuclear facilities and containment of the incident. Against a strong and determined administration, the possibility of escalation should scare Iran rather than the U.S.
  • In the short and medium terms, the Trump administration should work with other world powers to form a consensus regarding which actions by Iran would be considered a violation of the nuclear agreement. Even without Russian or Chinese agreement, the U.S. and its European allies should coordinate a response for the "gray area" violations.
  • In parallel, Washington should push for a new Security Council resolution to replace Resolution 2231, which would unequivocally prohibit the test of Iranian ballistic and cruise missiles that can carry a nuclear warhead.
  • Furthermore, the American administration should increase pressure on Iran's alliances and relationships with terror organizations in the region, using counterterrorism and deterrence. This policy should include a joint intelligence effort of the U.S. and its regional allies, as well as Israel, along with the employment of targeted force aimed at stopping Iranian weapon deliveries by sea and air.
  • Also in this arena, an aggressive policy against Iran's system of alliances, and injury to the Quds Force, is necessary so that Tehran will understand that the Trump administration intends to deal with Iran and take risks not taken in the past by the U.S.

    Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin, former chief of Israeli military intelligence, heads Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies, where Avner Golov is a research fellow.

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