August 30, 2018

In-Depth Issues:

Iran's Persecuted Christian Minority - Julie Lenarz and Benjamin Weinthal (Fox News)
    On August 9, an organization that promotes religious freedom in Iran reported that a court in Boushehr had sentenced two Christian converts and ten other Iranians to one year in prison for "propagating against the Islamic Republic in favor of Christianity."
    There are an estimated 350,000 Christians in Iran. Non-Muslims have been barred from all influential positions in state organs since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Blasphemy and apostasy remain capital offences.

Amb. Friedman: Release of U.S. Peace Plan "Not Imminent"  (Jewish Insider)
    U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said Wednesday during a conference call with the American Jewish Congress:
    "There's no schedule [for the rollout of the U.S. peace plan]....It's not imminent. There are some rumors that we might present something at the UN. It's not going to happen."

Israeli Doctors Save Lives in Myanmar (Times of Israel)
    Two Israeli gynecologists spent two weeks in Myanmar this month helping local doctors at a hospital in Pindaya. On their first day, doctors Michal Dishi-Galitzky and Ronit Almog from Tel Aviv's Ichilov Hospital saved two lives.

American Students Go Back to School with Israeli Bulletproof Backpacks - Anna Ahronheim (Jerusalem Post)
    With at least 28 school shootings in the U.S. in 2018, hundreds of parents have bought their children a made-in-Israel Switchblade bulletproof backpack.
    In addition to protecting the wearer's back, a rip cord releases a protective bulletproof vest to slide over the wearer's head for frontal protection.

Israeli Smart Software Flags Patients at Risk for Colon Cancer - Shoshanna Solomon (Times of Israel)
    Medial EarlySign, an Israeli startup, has developed machine learning-based software that analyzes standard blood test results to identify patients at high risk of colon cancer.
    Medial EarlySign taps into the databases of healthcare organizations to analyze the blood patterns of patients afflicted with colon cancer.
    The company is working on finding blood patterns for other illnesses including flu, diabetes and hypertension.

Israeli Cybersecurity Outfit Offers Training in Japan - Akane Okutsu (Nikkei Asian Review-Japan)
    CyberGym, backed by the Israel Electric Corp., opened a training center in Tokyo this month to teach companies and institutions how to protect themselves online.
    CyberGym has a presence in eight countries, and since late last year it has set up sites in Australia and New York, with a new site to open in South Africa in September.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Corbyn Claims Israeli Ambassador Wrote Speeches Made by British MPs in Parliament - Jake Wallis Simons
    In remarks captured on video in 2010 at the time of the Mavi Marmara incident, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told a meeting of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in London that "[British MPs] all turned up with a pre-prepared script. I'm sure our friend Ron Prosor (the Israeli ambassador) wrote it."
        Gideon Falter, chairman of the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, said: "Anti-Semitic conspiracy theories cast Jews as sinister manipulators, pulling the strings and subverting democracy. Without any evidence, Jeremy Corbyn seems to have visions of the Jewish state literally putting words into many of our politicians' mouths."  (Daily Mail-UK)
        See also My First Encounter with Jeremy Corbyn - Amb. Ron Prosor
    On Tuesday I learned that - according to Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn - as well as being Israel's ambassador to the United Kingdom between 2007 and 2011, I was also chief speechwriter for senior MPs in the British Parliament. According to Corbyn, the Israeli ambassador forces legislators to do his bidding.
        I met Jeremy Corbyn for the first time in 2008. He was spearheading a demonstration in front of the Israeli Embassy in London that was replete with Hamas and Hizbullah flags. He was vocal in his opposition to Israel's efforts to defend itself, insisting that the rocket attacks on Israeli communities at the time were a result of the "occupation" of Gaza, despite the fact that Israel had left Gaza several years earlier. The writer holds the Abba Eban Chair of International Diplomacy at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya. (Israel Hayom)
  • Former Jordanian PM: If We Ever Become Stronger, We Will Take Haifa by Force
    Former Jordanian Prime Minister Abdelsalam Al-Majali told Jordan Today TV on August 18, 2018: "The Arabs do not have any power. If we ever have military power, will we let them [Israel] keep Haifa? We'll take it. If tomorrow, we become stronger and can take Haifa by force, will we really decline just because we have an agreement with them?"  (MEMRI)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Hamas Leader: We'll Fire Hundreds of Rockets at Israel If Ceasefire Talks Fail
    Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar said Wednesday that if the ceasefire talks break down, Hamas would fire hundreds of rockets at Israel. "What the resistance launched in 51 days in the last war [in 2014], it can launch in five minutes during any [future] Israel aggression....Hamas could set off rocket warning sirens in the Tel Aviv region for six months straight."  (Times of Israel)
  • Israel Investing Unprecedented Funds in East Jerusalem Arab Schools - Nir Hasson
    In May, the Israeli Cabinet decided on an unprecedented investment in Arab east Jerusalem - $550 million over five years, of which $125 million would go to education. (Ha'aretz)
  • Canadian Radio Host with Leukemia Saved by Israeli Bone Marrow Donor - Tamar Beeri
    In 2016, Majic 100 radio host and Ottowa Senators announcer Stu Schwartz was diagnosed with leukemia and given three months to find a bone marrow donor. Israeli David Levi, 50, had undergone a swab test during his service in the IDF and his results were listed with the non-profit organization Ezer Mizion, which found the match that saved Schwartz's life. Ezer Mizion maintains the largest international Jewish bone marrow registry in the world. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Is a Historic Decision on UNRWA Imminent? - Adi Schwartz
    The U.S. contributes $350 million annually to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) out of a $1.2 billion budget. Earlier this year, the U.S. slashed its contribution to UNRWA by half.
        The U.S. supported UNRWA for decades, even though it knew the agency is a disruptive organ that harms the prospects for peace and keeps the Palestinians locked in a trap of dependency. UNRWA encourages Palestinians to dream that someday they will resettle in Israel - a significant obstacle to achieving peace. The U.S., along with other Western powers, has continued to sustain UNRWA all these years as a means of appeasing the Arab world.
        An American decision to withdraw from UNRWA would signify that the U.S. believes the dispute is not territorial but existential. By addressing the core ethos of the Palestinians - that the entire land is theirs, and therefore all refugees should be entitled to "return" - the U.S. could make an invaluable contribution to the prospects for future peace.
        This would be the first time the Palestinians pay a price for their intransigence. Up to now, they have been encouraged to harden their position every time they refuse a peace deal offered to them by Israel. Pulling U.S. funding from UNRWA will break this twisted logic. An American decision to stop supporting UNRWA would show that the U.S. understands that the "refugee problem" is a political disguise for the Palestinians' real aim, which is to dismantle the State of Israel entirely. (BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)
  • The Palestinian Authority Sponsors Terror - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser and Sander Gerber
    The Palestinian Authority repeatedly declares that it is determined to keep paying salaries to terrorists, as well as to the families of terrorists who died while performing terror attacks. In the PA's 2018 budget, this amounts to $355 million, nearly half of the foreign aid the PA expects in 2018. The PA has long proven itself not to be a potential partner for peace through its hate indoctrination and incitement.
        There is no reason to worry about the fate of the PA. It will survive at least until Abbas leaves and if it falls, then it is going to happen because of internal power struggles. Security cooperation will probably continue because it benefits the PA in its struggle against Hamas. Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser and Sander Gerber are fellows of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (Times of Israel)

U.S. Seeks Global Consensus to Counter the Threat of a Revolutionary Iran - Brian Hook (Foundation for Defense of Democracies)

Brian Hook, who leads the State Department's Iran Action Group, told the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington on Tuesday:
  • The Iranian regime is the last revolutionary regime on earth. The ideologues who forcibly came to power in 1979, and remain in power today, are driven by a desire to conform all of Iranian society to the tenets of the Islamic Revolution. And the full achievement of the revolution at home and abroad is the regime's ultimate goal. We can see the effects of the revolutionary mindset across the Middle East, and even the world.
  • The revolutionary worldview means that the regime cannot tolerate any ideas coursing through the veins of Iranian society that would threaten them. This is why the regime throws a teenage gymnast in jail for dancing on Instagram.
  • Instead of using the wealth generated from the Iran deal (JCPOA) to boost the material wellbeing of the people, the regime grabbed it for themselves. And they use the money to line the pockets of dictators, terrorists and rogue militias.
  • Iran provides Lebanese Hizbullah about $700 million per year. Iran has spent at least $16 billion on supporting its proxies in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Iran has historically provided over $100 million per year to Palestinian groups, including Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Iran has extended at least $4.6 billion in lines of credit to Syria.
  • As a result of the failure of the Iran nuclear deal to effectively restrain proliferation, or to curb Iran's destabilizing behavior, on May 8 the president ended America's participation in the nuclear deal. Secretary Pompeo announced a new Iran strategy shortly thereafter with 12 objectives. And we have launched a multipronged pressure campaign that reflects his goal of protecting the American people and our allies and our partners from this outlaw regime.
  • The goal of aggressive sanctions is to force Iran into simple but hard choices of whether to cease or persist in the policies that trigger the sanctions. Regime leaders should feel painful consequences for their violence and bad decision-making. We are asking every nation that can no longer tolerate the Islamic Republic's destructive behavior to protect its people by joining this pressure campaign.