November 8, 2018

In-Depth Issues:

UAE Minister Scolds Hamas over "Solidarity" with Iran - Adam Rasgon (Times of Israel)
    After Hamas condemned Washington's reimposition of sanctions against Iran in a statement on Monday, Anwar Gargash, the UAE's minister of state for foreign affairs, tweeted Tuesday:
    "Hamas' solidarity with the Iranian government does not take into consideration the Gulf and Arab anxiety over Tehran's regional interference."
    "It is unnecessary. It pushes the Palestinian issue into a maze and confirms the opinion that the movement, in its orientation, is nothing more than an Iranian regional tool."
    Senior Arab government officials seldom issue public criticism of Hamas.

Israeli Minister in Oman to Attend Transport Conference (Al Jazeera)
    Israel's Transport and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz arrived in Muscat, Oman, on Sunday to attend an international transport conference and to pitch the Tracks for Regional Peace initiative - a railway project that would link the Gulf to the Mediterranean via Israel.
    See also U.S. Backs Railway Plan to Connect Jordan, Israel and Gulf States - Mohammad Ghazal (Jordan Times)

Israel's Collplant Signs Deal to Develop 3D-Printed Lungs for Transplants - Abigail Klein Leichman (Israel21c)
    CollPlant, an Israeli regenerative medicine company focused on 3D bioprinting of tissues and organs, signed a license, development and commercialization agreement with United Therapeutics Corporation of Maryland for 3D bioprinted lung transplants.
    CollPlant has developed proprietary recombinant human collagen (rhCollagen) derived from engineered tobacco plants, as well as BioInk technology.
    BioInk includes a soft-tissue repair matrix for treating tendinopathy and a wound repair matrix to promote rapid optimal healing of acute and chronic wounds.

U.S. Company Mueller Water Products Buys Israeli Firm Krausz for $140 Million - Yuval Azulai (Globes)
    U.S. water infrastructure company Mueller Water Products announced Monday that it will acquire Israel's Krausz Industries for $140 million.
    Krausz produces innovative and proprietary pipe couplings, grips and clamps for the water and wastewater industries.

Friends of the Israel Defense Forces Gala Raises Record $60 Million for Soldiers - Margeaux Sippell (Variety)
    Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) raised an all-time high of $60 million at the annual FIDF Western Region Gala, held at the Beverly Hilton on Thursday.
    The money goes to support IDF soldiers and the families of fallen soldiers and wounded veterans through social, cultural, recreational, and educational programs.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Syria Envoy: U.S. to Contest Iran Activities in Region - Bassem Mroue
    The U.S. will focus on pressuring Iran financially and contesting its activities in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, Ambassador James Jeffrey, the U.S. envoy to Syria, said Wednesday. Jeffrey said the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran had a bad effect on Iran's behavior that "accelerated its activities." In Syria, Jeffrey said, "Iranians are part of the problem, not part of the solution," adding that Tehran should eventually withdraw all Iran-commanded forces from Syria.
        Jeffrey expressed concern about Russia's delivery last month to Syria of sophisticated S-300 air defense systems after the downing of a Russian plane by Syria forces. "In the past, Russia has been permissive in consultations with the Israelis about Israeli strikes against Iranian targets inside Syria," he said. "We certainly hope that that permissive approach will continue." Jeffrey said Israel has an "existential interest in blocking Iran from deploying long-range power projection systems such as surface-to-surface missiles" and drones aimed at and used against Israel. (AP-New York Times)
  • Israel to Secure Its Interests Despite Placement of Russian S-300 Systems in Syria
    The Israeli military will continue to ensure the security of the country and protect its interests, despite the placement of Russian S-300 missile systems in Syria, Israel Defense Forces Spokesman Lt.-Col. Jonathan Conricus told Russian journalists on Wednesday. (Tass-Russia)
        See also Israel Taking Safety Measures after Syrian Downing of Russian Aircraft
    The Israeli military is taking de-escalation measures so that the tragic downing of the Russian Il-20 aircraft in Syria on Sep. 17 would not repeat itself, Israel Defense Forces Spokesman Lt.-Col. Jonathan Conricus said Wednesday. "We are constantly doing this. There are safety measures that are constantly being taken," adding that it is in the interest of both Russia and Israel. "Syrians hit the airplane. We hope that the Syrians and everybody else will learn the lessons of that event and will be much more careful in the future."  (Tass-Russia)
  • Macron Stokes Anger with Plan to Honor Nazi Collaborator Petain
    French President Emmanuel Macron faced a wave of criticism Wednesday after defending Nazi collaborator Philippe Petain, who led France's Vichy regime during World War II. The French army announced Tuesday that a ceremony would be held Saturday to commemorate the eight marshals who commanded French forces during WWI, including Petain.
        Francis Kalifat of the CRIF association of French Jewish groups said he was "shocked" by Macron's comments praising a leader who helped deport thousands of Jews to their deaths. "The only thing we will remember about Petain is that he was convicted, in the name of the French people, of national indignity during his trial in 1945."
        As head of the Vichy regime, Petain actively collaborated with the Nazi occupiers, pursuing French resistance fighters while enacting second-class status for Jews and helping German soldiers round them up for the death camps. After the war's end he was arrested for treason and given the death sentence, which was commuted to life imprisonment. (AFP-France 24)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Shooting Attack on Israeli Bus in West Bank Injures Two
    Two Israelis were lightly injured Wednesday from flying glass after a shooting attack on a bus near Beit El in the West Bank, the Israel Defense Forces said. One of the injured was the bus driver. (Times of Israel)
  • Photos: Ethiopian Jews Celebrate Sigd Holiday Overlooking Jerusalem - Juliane Helmhold
    Tens of thousands from the Ethiopian-Israeli community gathered at the Armon Hanatziv promenade in Jerusalem to celebrate the colorful Sigd Festival on Wednesday. President Reuven Rivlin opened this year's ceremony and thanked the leaders of the community for inviting him. "Citizens of Israel will not be party to discrimination on the basis of skin color. We are brothers and sisters, and anyone who tries to undermine that has no place among the tribes of Israel," he said.
        "You brought a spirit of heroism and nobility that was sorely tested on the difficult journey you undertook, and over the long years of expectation and yearning. And you brought with you an ancient and passionate love for Zion, a love without bounds."  (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Don't Expect Democrats to Obstruct Trump's Pro-Israel Policies - Jonathan S. Tobin
    In the wake of the 2018 U.S. midterm elections and the Democrats' capture of the House of Representatives, the leadership of the Democrats remains solidly pro-Israel, including presumptive House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Whip Steny Hoyer. Some in the new House will make noise about Netanyahu or sign letters Israel won't like, but they lack the power to hinder Trump's ability to conduct foreign policy.
        For all of the attention given to the victories of critics of Israel, other critics lost - such as Leslie Cockburn in Virginia and Scott Wallace in Pennsylvania. Among the Republicans' House losses was Dana Rohrabacher of California, who was among the handful in the GOP who are not ardent friends of Israel. (Ha'aretz)
        See also The Sky Is Not Falling in Washington: The U.S. Mid-Term Elections - Lenny Ben-David
    I have watched Arab-American and progressive Members of Congress over the last 50 years. Some were often strong critics of Israel, but their impact was negligible and their national parties tended to limit their exposure. Examples of Arab-Americans include Senators James Abourezk and James Abdnor, and Representatives Nick Rahall, John Sununu, and Mary Rose Oakar.
        There have always been members of Congress critical of Israel, such as Senators William Fulbright and George McGovern (Democrats), and Representatives Paul Findley and Pete McCloskey (Republicans). None was particularly influential in their parties or the Congress in issues related to Israel.
        There will be 28 Jewish members in the House of Representatives and eight in the Senate. The few Holocaust deniers, anti-Semites, and white supremacists who were running lost after their own parties distanced themselves from these candidates. The writer served 25 years in senior posts in AIPAC in Washington and Jerusalem and was Israel's Deputy Chief of Mission in its embassy in Washington. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • UCLA is allowing the national conference of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) to be held on its campus on November 16-18. SJP believes Zionism "can be destroyed," which is a call for mass murder.
  • While SJP members claim they are just critics of Israeli policy, on Nov. 2 the SJP Facebook page had a graphic regarding who controls the press. A dozen media outlets were listed - along with the names, photos, and titles of Jews who work at them. Next to each picture was a Jewish star.
  • As Dan Diker noted in his expose of SJP, the group "has maintained links to convicted terrorists and terror groups" and "sanctions violence, bigotry, harassment and intimidation of Jewish and Israel-friendly students and faculty on campus."
  • The group's support for terrorists is reflected by past invitations to the conference given to convicted terrorists such as Khader Adnan, a senior member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Rasmea Odeh, a former member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
  • Professor Judea Pearl told the Los Angeles Jewish Journal: "I have served on the faculty of UCLA for 49 years and I have never thought I would see the day when the symbol of my university would turn into a Hamas recruitment poster."
  • "The NSJP Conference reminds us that hate did not stop at Pittsburgh. U.S. campuses, emboldened by our blindness and inaction, are now offering racist groups a fertile ground to spawn their venom, test out intimidating tactics, and gain academic legitimacy."
  • Do the right thing UCLA, and cancel the conference.

    The writer is executive director of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (AICE) and the Jewish Virtual Library.

        See also Students for Justice in Palestine Unmasked - Dan Diker and Jamie Berk (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)