March 7, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

New UN Report Documents Iran's Continued Human Rights Abuses - Tzvi Kahn (Foundation for Defense of Democracies)
    A new report by Javaid Rehman, the UN special rapporteur for human rights in Iran, documents Iran's imprisonment or execution of political dissidents, human rights activists, women, journalists, and ethnic and religious minorities.
    The report also highlights Tehran's ongoing detention of foreign and dual nationals, including several U.S. citizens.
    The writer is a senior Iran analyst at FDD.
    See also Report: Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran (United Nations)

Russian Special Forces Train Palestinian Militia in Syria - Caleb Weiss (Long War Journal)
    In a video released Tuesday by the Russian news channel RT, Russian special forces were shown training members of Liwa al Quds, a pro-regime Palestinian militia group in Syria.

Teaching the Holocaust to "New Swedes" - Camille Bas-Wohlert with Gael Branchereau (AFP)
    Many young refugees in Sweden from Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia have never heard of the Holocaust.
    Siavosh Derakthi, 27, founded the group Young People Against Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia in Malmo, Sweden.
    He organizes seminars in schools, group talks and study visits to former concentration camps to raise young people's awareness of the horrors of the mass killing of Jews during World War II and the need for peaceful co-existence.
    Derakthi, originally from Iran, explains: "Some of them come from dictatorships, from war zones brimming with anti-Semitic, homophobic and misogynist beliefs."

Missing Page of Einstein's Unified Field Theory Found in Jerusalem - Brandon Specktor (Live Science)
    A lost page of Albert Einstein's handwritten notes and equations on his unified field theory of physics has been discovered in an archive of manuscripts recently acquired by The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
    The page, part of the appendix to a scientific journal article published in 1930, shows Einstein's attempts to unite all the fundamental forces into a single set of equations, or a "theory of everything."

Israel's Elbit Wins Greek Coast Guard Deal (Globes)
    Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems has been awarded a contract to supply combat suites for three new patrol vessels of Greece's Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG).
    The systems to be supplied and integrated include electro-optic payloads, radars, navigation systems, warship automatic identification systems, and remote-control weapon stations.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Iranian Hackers Have Caused Hundreds of Millions in Damages Worldwide - Robert McMillan
    Cyberattacks linked to Iranian hackers have targeted thousands of people at more than 200 companies over the past two years, Microsoft Corp. said. The campaign stole corporate secrets and wiped data from computers. It caused damages estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars in lost productivity and affected oil and gas companies, heavy machinery manufacturers, and international conglomerates in more than a half-dozen countries including Saudi Arabia, Germany, the UK, India and the U.S.  Activity surged in late 2018, according to Microsoft. (Wall Street Journal)
  • EU Court Upholds Terrorist Listing for Hamas
    The Luxembourg-based EU General Court on Wednesday rejected a challenge by Hamas against its 2015 listing as a "terrorist" organization, a decision that made the Palestinian group liable to EU sanctions. As a result, "the decision to extend the freezing of Hamas funds is confirmed," the court said. (Al Jazeera)
  • Jordan Jails Two over Attempt to Attack Israeli Forces
    A Jordanian court on Wednesday sentenced two men to 10 years in prison for planning an attack on Israeli forces on the Israel-Jordan border. The men, armed with a Kalashnikov assault rifle and a pistol, were caught by Jordanian border guards last May before reaching the border, where Israeli forces were patrolling. (AFP)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu: Iran Bypassing Sanctions, Secretly Smuggling Oil - Stuart Winer
    "Iran is trying to bypass the sanctions on it through the covert smuggling of petroleum via the sea," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday. "I call on the international community to halt, by any means, Iran's attempts to bypass the sanctions via the sea."  (Times of Israel)
  • Talks Underway with Jordan to Solve Temple Mount Crisis - Itamar Eichner
    A senior Israeli official reported Wednesday that talks are being conducted with Jordan regarding a solution to the crisis on the Temple Mount surrounding the Gate of Mercy (Golden Gate). (Ynet News)
  • Hamas' Al-Aqsa TV Declared a Terrorist Organization - Sara Rubenstein
    Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed an order on Wednesday declaring Hamas' Al-Aqsa TV to be a terrorist organization after the Israel Security Agency discovered that Hamas utilizes the TV channel to recruit operatives. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Al-Aqsa TV Promotes Murder of Jews - Sara Rubenstein
    "Declaring Al-Aqsa TV a terror organization is a precise labeling," said Itamar Marcus, director of Palestinian Media Watch (PMW). "Al-Aqsa TV promotes all the components of Palestinian terror, including murder of Jews, suicide bombings, kidnapping of soldiers, bombing our cites and destruction of Israel."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Two Balloon Bombs from Gaza Explode over Southern Israel
    Two explosive devices attached to balloons were launched from Gaza on Wednesday and detonated above a community in Israel. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • For Jews, Ilhan Omar's Attack on "Allegiances" to Israel Is All Too Familiar - Alex Zeldin
    Rep. Ilhan Omar has repeatedly made clear that her framework for understanding the U.S.-Israel relationship is deeply embedded in notions of allegiance and even dual loyalties, rather than shared interests. She and her supporters are likely unaware of the violent history behind the dual-loyalty canard she invokes - that Jews are untrustworthy and have foreign loyalties superseding their domestic ones. Throughout Jewish history, the belief that Jews harbor a dual-loyalty has resulted in state-sanctioned oppression and produced deadly violence against Jews.
        Already in the Book of Exodus, Pharaoh tells the Egyptians to enslave the Jews, for "in the event of war they may join our enemies in fighting against us." Later this month, Jews will be celebrating the holiday of Purim, whose story describes how Jewish difference was cast as a threat to the king in ancient Persia.
        After World War I, German veterans came home and asked themselves how they were defeated. The "stab-in-the-back" myth cast Germany's loss as the result of Jewish traitors working with foreign interests to undermine the war effort. Despite a German army survey showing that Jews served in disproportionate numbers in combat units, when the Nazis swept into power 15 years later, they set about propagating the belief that Jews were inherently disloyal to their own nation. (Forward)
  • Some Democrats Running Out of Patience with Congresswoman Ilhan Omar - Sam Brodey
    Some Democrats are seeing their well of patience with freshman lawmaker Rep. Ilhan Omar run low. "Nobody wants to deal with this," said a senior House Democratic aide. "For the second time in two months, we're diverting the floor of the U.S. House to address an issue directly because of her."  (Daily Beast)
        See also House Democrats' Moment Stomped On by Fight over Israel - Anna Palmer, Jake Sherman and Daniel Lippman
    Instead of focusing on the agenda that sent them into the majority, this week Democrats are enmeshed in a messy, divisive internecine food fight over support for Israel. Democrats seem to be heading for an extended discussion about America's support for Israel - something that will certainly split their caucus. (Politico)
        See also House Democrats Erupt in Protests over Indirect Sanction of Rep. Omar for Alleged Anti-Semitism - Mike DeBonis and Rachael Bade (Washington Post)
        See also Former Democratic Vice Presidential Nominee Joe Lieberman: Ilhan Omar's Comments a "Moral Test" for Democrats - Tim Hains (RealClearPolitics-Fox News)

  • The border between Israel and Iran - between the West and radical Islam - now passes through the Golan Heights. Iranian militias, looking a lot like Hizbullah, are digging into bases on the border with the Golan, the Shia population in the area grows larger, and rocket supplies threaten the Israeli residents of the Golan Heights and the eastern Galilee.
  • American recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the Golan will send a clear message to Iran, stating that Israeli sovereignty is unquestionable.
  • The Golan Heights is chock-full of both ancient and current Jewish farms, homes, and places of worship. Archeological digs in the Golan have thus far revealed the remains of 25 synagogues that operated between the first century CE and the Muslim conquest in the mid-seventh century CE, as well as evidence of numerous Jewish villages and communities.
  • The Zionist movement saw the Golan as an inseparable part of the renewed Jewish sovereign territory in the Land of Israel. But in 1946, the French mandate in Syria officially ended, leading to the establishment of an independent Syrian state which included the entire territory of the Golan.
  • Syria controlled the Golan for 21 years - as opposed to 52 years of Israeli control. In those years, it encouraged terrorist organizations to use the Golan as a base for attacks against Israel, ceaselessly bombarded communities around the Kinneret, and attempted to divert the Golan's water sources. In 1967, during the Six-Day War, Israel launched a preemptive strike to remove the ongoing threat posed by the Syrians in the Golan, taking over the territory.
  • Israel and the U.S. must act as soon as possible to achieve international recognition of Israel's sovereignty in the Golan Heights, not as a gesture of goodwill but out of a clear understanding that it is a strategic security interest that both nations share.

    The writer served as Israel's Cabinet Secretary between 2009 and 2013 and is Chairman of the Coalition for the Israeli Golan.