October 30, 2018

In-Depth Issues:

Israeli Judo Gold Medalist in Abu Dhabi: We Sang "Hatikva" in Memory of the Murdered in Pittsburgh and for Israelis Living near Gaza - Peter Paltchik (Israel Hayom-Hebrew, 30Oct2018)
    Israeli judo gold medal winner Peter Paltchik wrote in Israel Hayom on Tuesday:
    "I want to dedicate our medals...to the families of those murdered in the hate attack in the synagogue in Pittsburg, to send condolences to the families of the murdered and wishes for a speedy recovery to the wounded."
    "I dedicate this also to the residents living near Gaza, who are going through days that are not simple. My heart is with you."
    See also Israel Wins Second Judo Gold in Abu Dhabi (Times of Israel)
    Israel won its second gold medal at the International Judo Federation Grand Slam in Abu Dhabi on Monday when Peter Paltchik won in his weight class.
    For the second time this week, Israel's Hatikva anthem was played in the arena.

Israel Has Struck in Syria since Russia Plane Downed (Reuters)
    Israel has carried out attacks in Syria since the Sept. 17 downing by Syrian anti-aircraft fire of a Russian surveillance plane, a senior Israeli official said Monday.

Muslim Religious Ruling Prohibits Arabs from Voting in Jerusalem - Gil Hoffman (Jerusalem Post)
    Sheikh Akram Sabri, sheikh of Al-Aqsa Mosque, convened the Council of Jerusalem sheikhs, which issued a fatwa (Muslim religious ruling) prohibiting Arab residents of Jerusalem from participating in Tuesday's municipal election.
    Ramadan Dabash, a citizen of Israel from Jerusalem's Sur Baher neighborhood, is a candidate for the city council.
    A source in Dabash's party said the decision "does not reflect the Koran. Dabash has received 22 fatwas that he can run if he is helping his people."
    There are 180,000 eligible voters in the Arab sector of Jerusalem.

Brazilians Elect Pro-Israel President - Marcus M. Gilban (JTA)
    Brazilians elected a president who is ardently pro-Israel. Jair Bolsonaro, 63, a seven-term congressman, secured over 55% of the vote.
    Bolsonaro has declared he will move the Brazilian embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
    His first international trip as president, he said, will be to Israel, and he promised to close the Palestinian embassy in Brasilia.

Denmark Won't Fund Groups that Promote BDS, Question Israel's Legitimacy, Foreign Minister Says - Cnaan Liphshiz (JTA)
    Denmark won't fund organizations that have ties to terrorists, engage in attempts to boycott Israel or question its right to exist, Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen announced earlier this month following a foreign ministry audit of politicization and abuse of Danish aid funds.
    Olga Deutsch, director of the Europe Desk at NGO Monitor, called the Danish move "groundbreaking among European governments."
    "Switzerland and Norway addressed similar issues earlier this year, and we hope that Denmark's guidelines will serve as an example for other European countries."

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Growing Anti-Semitism Stuns American Jews - Laurie Goodstein
    Until recent years, many Jews in America believed that the worst of anti-Semitism was in Europe. American Jews were welcome in universities, country clubs and corporate boards that once excluded their grandparents. So the massacre on Saturday of 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue, by a man who told the police that he "wanted all Jews to die," was for many a shocking wake-up call.
        In 1985, a man killed a family of four in Seattle after he had mistakenly thought they were Jewish. In 1999, a white supremacist attacked a Jewish community center filled with children in Los Angeles, injuring five. In 2014, a white supremacist opened fire outside a Jewish community center in a suburb of Kansas City, Mo., killing three people.
        Deborah E. Lipstadt, a professor of Holocaust history at Emory University in Atlanta, likened anti-Semitism to a herpes infection that lies dormant and re-emerges at times of stress. It does not go away, no matter how "acculturated" Jews have become in America, because "it's a conspiracy theory."  (New York Times)
        See also Synagogue Massacre Follows over 50 Anti-Semitic Incidents in Pittsburgh in 2018 (Times of Israel)
  • New Polls Show Most Gazans Oppose Border Riots - David Pollock
    Two new, reliable Palestinian opinion polls taken inside Gaza this month demonstrate that the majority of its people actually oppose the violent border protests by Hamas against Israel and at least half would support a formal cease-fire with Israel. Most Gazans say they want direct dialogue with Israelis, and would like Israeli companies to provide jobs for them inside the territory.
        Most also blame Hamas, the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, or the UN, not Israel, for their severe economic woes. Moreover, a plurality of Palestinians in Gaza say they want Hamas to change its rejectionist position and agree to make peace with Israel. Altogether, popular attitudes in Gaza are more attuned to reality than either the militant image propagated by Hamas or the desperate anger at Israel often portrayed in outside media. The writer is a fellow at the Washington Institute. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • 15 Arab, Islamic Countries Cooperate with Israel
    20% of Arab and Islamic countries possess diplomatic relations with Israel, the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) global campaign reported Monday. "Nine Arab countries possess full diplomatic ties...while six others are experiencing lower-scale relations with Israel," BDS said, noting the "Arab countries' unprecedented normalization with Israel." BDS rejects co-existence with Israel and countries who normalize relations with it. (Middle East Monitor-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli Minister in U.S. after Synagogue Shooting: We Want to Help in Any Way Possible - Gil Hoffman
    Israel's Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett will meet with top U.S. Jewish leaders in New York on Tuesday after the murder of 11 Jewish worshippers in Pittsburgh. "I am coming to listen to them and tell them we are at their service in any way possible," Bennett said. "But America is a sovereign country and Israel is not the provider of security abroad. The responsibility ultimately lies with local authorities."
        "Anti-Semitism has existed as long as there has been Jews, and it has nothing to do with domestic politics in the U.S."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • PLO Calls to Suspend Recognition of Israel - Tovah Lazaroff
    The PLO Central Council approved a non-binding decision in Ramallah on Monday to suspend its recognition of the State of Israel. Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon told Army Radio, "This is a big mistake. Over the last year, Ramllah has become more and more extreme and is torpedoing any chance of an agreement."
        Yesh Atid party chairman Yair Lapid called the PLO decision a "bad joke." "When the Palestinians decide to recognize reality, they are more than welcome to give us a call."  (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • The Oldest Hatred: All Good Americans Stand in Solidarity Against Anti-Semitism - Editorial
    The massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh is an awful reminder that there are human hatreds far more virulent and ancient than those that animate our current political divisions. The killer of 11 human beings on the Sabbath Saturday morning was an anti-Semite who was out to kill Jews.
        This irrational hatred is one of humanity's oldest and manifests itself in murder almost daily in the Middle East. Jews are killed simply because they are Jews, as they have been throughout history. This is why millions have sought refuge in a Jewish state, Israel.
        Anti-Semitism is a hatred that goes back millennia. That is the toxin to banish as much as possible from American life. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Israeli Border Kibbutz on Frontlines of "Prolonged War" with Palestinians - Laura Kelly
    In the small farming and industrial community of Kibbutz Kfar Aza, residents wake up to a dark, daily reality. They are typically tired from the night before when rockets launched from Gaza, located only 1 mile west of their community, trigger air raid sirens and send families running to bomb shelters. For seven months, Palestinians have violently rioted at the border, launching flaming balloons that burned thousands of acres of farmland and shooting hundreds of rockets into Israel. When Palestinians burn tires to block the view of Israeli soldiers, the acrid black smoke blows into the community. (Washington Times)
  • Petraeus: Why the World Must Curb Iran - Rawan Radwan
    Gen. David Petraeus, who commanded U.S. and coalition forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan, told a security conference in Bahrain organized by the International Institute for Strategic Studies on Friday: "I've been on battlefields where American, coalition and Iraqi soldiers have been killed by lethal weapons and ammunition provided by Iran, along with funding. Iran is a country...that pushes until there is firm pushback. I think that you are now seeing an American administration that is willing to push back very firmly."
        "Iran has continued its support for lethal activities in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and other places. It has continued the threatening missile program developments and a variety of different activities....Iran wants to 'Lebanonize' not just Lebanon, but Iraq, perhaps Syria, and other countries."  (Arab News-Saudi Arabia)

Israel's Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer told MSNBC on Monday:
  • Q: How do you, as an Israeli government official, explain this explosion of anti-Semitism in the U.S.?
    Dermer: This is not a new problem, it did not start in 2016. Anti-Semitism has been going on for many, many centuries. In fact, in 2014 and 2015, according to FBI statistics, attacks against Jews accounted for over 50% of hate crimes in America.
  • This is a growing problem around the world. It's a huge problem in Europe - for Jewish communities in France, Britain, Belgium. For half a century after the Holocaust, people thought anti-Semitism was a thing of the past. Unfortunately, it has been growing for about two decades and it hasn't stopped. With the advent of social media, it has allowed these purveyors of hate to spread their message far and wide, and to connect with other purveyors of hate in a way that they couldn't do before.
  • We were pleased to hear very strong statements from the president and from leaders of both parties condemning anti-Semitism. President Trump said: To those who seek to destroy the Jewish people, we will destroy them. I've never heard a non-Israeli leader say that, and so we appreciate that very much. And we know it wasn't just on one side of the partisan divide in America. I've met with congressmen, both Democrats and Republicans, who have come together to condemn this heinous attack against the Jewish community in Pittsburgh and I think it sends a very strong message.
  • When people attribute anti-Semitism to one side of the political debate, they make a very big mistake. Jews have been accused of being capitalists. Jews have been accused of being communists. Jews have been accused of being the biggest doves. Jews have been accused of being the biggest hawks. There have been people on all sides of the debate who have been accusing Jews for centuries. The people who we should blame for anti-Semitism are the anti-Semites. This guy who came in and killed eleven people at prayer - he is the one to blame.
  • I hope that people from both sides of the political aisle will put the politics aside and will work together to confront anti-Semitism. The president of the United States is not the reason why you have Jeremy Corbyn in Europe, a leader of the Labour party in Britain who is an anti-Semite, or why you have attacks against Jews in European countries.
  • To simply say that this is because of one person or only comes from one side is not to understand the history of anti-Semitism or the reality of anti-Semitism. One of the big forces on college campuses today is anti-Semitism and those anti-Semites are usually coming from the radical left. So we have to stand against anti-Semitism whether it comes from the right or the left.