May 2, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

New York Times Issues Correction after Calling Jesus a "Palestinian" instead of Jewish - Ariel Zilber (Daily Mail-UK)
    The New York Times has issued a correction a week after it published an article on April 19 stating: "Jesus, born in Bethlehem, was most likely a Palestinian man."
    "Because of an editing error, an article last Saturday referred incorrectly to Jesus' background," the Times wrote.
    "While he lived in an area that later came to be known as Palestine, Jesus was a Jew who was born in Bethlehem."

DePaul University Faculty Condemn Colleague's Pro-Israel Views - Victor Garcia (Fox News)
    Dr. Jason Hill, a professor of philosophy who has been at DePaul University for nearly two decades, was condemned by the Faculty Council on Wednesday in a 21-10 vote for writing an article defending Israel.
    Hill vowed that he "will not be silenced," and noted, "in that article, aside from defending Israel, I made the point that Israel was the only democracy amidst a bunch of illiberal and primitive regimes that do not respect the inalienability of human rights and individual rights."

Jeremy Corbyn Endorsed Book about Jews Controlling Banks and the Press - Henry Zeffman (The Times-UK)
    British Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn wrote the foreword to a book which argued that banks and the press were controlled by Jews. In 2011 he agreed to endorse a new edition of J.A. Hobson's 1902 book Imperialism: A Study.
    In it, Hobson analyzes "pressures" behind British imperialism at the turn of the 20th century, arguing that those pressures were brought to bear by finance - which he claimed was controlled in Europe "by men of a single and peculiar race, who have behind them many centuries of financial experience" and "are in a unique position to control the policy of nations."
    Hobson added: "Does anyone seriously suppose that a great war could be undertaken by any European state...if the house of Rothschild and its connections set their face against it?" 

Last Letters from the Holocaust - Deborah Fineblum (JNS)
    Of the millions of Jews who were taken to their deaths during the Holocaust in cattle cars, many of them scribbled last words to loved ones, addressed them and tossed them out the train window, hoping against hope that someone would find them and send them on.
    Some were discovered alongside the train tracks and, against all odds, reached their destination.
    "Last Letters from the Holocaust: 1944" is a new online exhibit from Yad Vashem.

Anti-Semitic Incidents in Canada Rise to Record Number for 3rd Straight Year (JTA)
    An annual audit by B'nai Brith Canada released Monday showed 2,041 anti-Semitic incidents recorded in 2018 in Canada - 16.5% more than the 1,752 incidents in 2017.
    The group said the surge was fueled by social media and was a worldwide trend.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Survey: Jewish Americans Are the Least Islamophobic Group - Laura E. Adkins
    A majority of Jewish Americans have positive feelings about Muslims - and the feelings are mutual - according to the 2019 American Muslim Poll, conducted in January and released Wednesday. 53% of Jewish Americans reported having positive views of Muslims - the highest of any non-Muslim faith group surveyed - compared to 13% with negative views. Likewise, 45% of the Muslim-American respondents had favorable views of Jews, while just 10% reported having negative views. (JTA)
  • How an Anti-Semitic Cartoon Ended Up in the New York Times - Brian Stelter
    New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger wrote in an internal memo saying: "Our journalists work hard every day to...ensure prejudices of any kind do not make it into our report. Though I've been assured there was no malice involved in this mistake, we fell far short of our standards and values in this case."
        Lawyer Alan Dershowitz said at a protest outside the Times on Monday that the Times "has been wrong so often when it comes to Israel, when it comes to the Jewish people - the only good thing the New York Times has ever done for the Jewish people is that it put a lie to the notion that the Jews control the media and use it to support their own interests."  (CNN)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Comes to a Standstill in Remembrance of Holocaust Victims
    Israel came to a standstill at 10 a.m. Thursday as sirens wailed throughout the country in memory of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis during World War II. Ceremonies marked Holocaust Remembrance Day in schools, public institutions, and army bases. At the Knesset, members recited the names of victims.
        The national day began Wednesday evening at sundown, with solemn songs, candle-lightings and remembrances from survivors and their descendants. TV channels and radio stations switched to programming about the Holocaust and stores and restaurants shuttered early. (Times of Israel)
  • Hamas Launches Hundreds of Incendiary Balloons at Israel - Hagay Hacohen
    Hamas launched hundreds of incendiary balloons at Israel on Wednesday, causing fires. In response, the Israeli Air Force carried out a series of strikes in Gaza on Wednesday night. In retaliation, Palestinians launched two rockets at Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Egyptian Intelligence Officials Summon Leaders of Hamas, Islamic Jihad to Cairo after Rocket Fire at Israel - Elior Levy (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • The Iran Nuclear Archive: Impressions and Implications - Aaron Arnold et al.
    The Iran nuclear archive documents make it clear that Iran's nuclear weapons program - known as Project AMAD - was unambiguously aimed at producing nuclear weapons. It had an approved and budgeted plan for manufacturing five nuclear weapons and carrying out an underground nuclear test.
        At least one document indicates that the decision to manufacture nuclear weapons was approved by a committee that at the time included then-President Mohammad Khatami, then-Secretary of the Security Council Hassan Rouhani (now Iran's President), and then-Minister of Defense Ali Shamkhani (now Secretary of the Security Council), among others. This was a substantial, purposeful, sophisticated undertaking that operated with the approval of the political leadership in Iran.
        The archive also reveals that the "stop work" order in 2003 did not stop all the work. Rather, when the decision was taken to stop work on large identifiable facilities, the program's leaders decided to continue research to fill in some technical gaps they still believed needed work. The evidence reveals that Iran's nuclear weapons program made substantially more progress than described in the IAEA's "Final Assessment."  (Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs-Harvard Kennedy School)
  • Saudi Arabia Is Undergoing a Fundamental Transformation - Dennis Ross
    Saudi Arabia is in the midst of a fundamental transformation of its society. True, the monarchy retains all political power, but nationalism and modernization are replacing Wahhabism, a rigid, intolerant interpretation of Islam that fueled al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is conducting a revolution from above that is discrediting radical Islamist ideology, including the removal of several thousand clerics and dozens of judges deemed to be sympathetic to al-Qaeda.
        The social changes emerging in Saudi Arabia are visible to any visitor. Go into any restaurant and see men and women mixing; visit businesses or governmental offices and women are prominent; cinemas are opening; music, forbidden in the strict Wahhabi code, is now played in concerts drawing thousands. None of this was thinkable in the past.
        Having just returned from Saudi Arabia, I am struck by the enthusiasm for the crown prince, especially among young people who now can talk openly about their ability to shape their destinies and the destiny of the country. Like it or not, the policies of the Saudis will have a huge effect on what takes shape in the Middle East. America can't write them off. The writer, counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, served in senior national security positions during the Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Obama administrations. (Bloomberg)
  • The Attacks in Sri Lanka and Trends in Salafi Jihadist Activity - Yoram Schweitzer
    The assumption that the attacks in Sri Lanka that targeted the symbols of Christianity and Western tourists and businesspeople was revenge for the attack on mosques in New Zealand is questionable, since the preparations for the Sri Lanka attack began several months previously. Most of the Sri Lanka suicide attackers were educated, middle class, and fairly well off. The leader of the group, Hashim Zahran, who was also one of the suicide bombers, was known for some time as an imam with radical views.
        The lack of effective cooperation and intelligence sharing between the intelligence, security, and enforcement agencies in Sri Lanka was a central factor in the success of the attack.
        The military defeat of the Islamic State does not herald its destruction or the end of its activity. In the first quarter of 2019 there were 45 suicide attacks in 17 countries, killing 478 people and wounding 851. This represents a decline of 50% relative to the same period in 2018. The writer heads the Program on Terrorism and Low Intensity Conflict at INSS. (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
        See also Islamic State: Landless but Still Dangerous - Editorial (New York Times)

  • The Syrian army has retaken all of the southern part of the country, including the Syrian Golan Heights, but a variety of hostile entities are still active there. Recent reports say that Iran and Hizbullah are involved in open and secret activity on the Golan as part of their efforts to set up an additional front against Israel.
  • The commander of the Golan (Bashan) Division, Brig.-Gen. Amit Fisher, told Israel Hayom, "As a first stage, they are collecting intelligence. They have dozens of outposts that look toward Israel. In the second stage, they will try and build up operational capabilities here. Only recently, we exposed their secret 'Golan file,' [a Hizbullah unit] devoted to precisely that: attempts to take what it knows how to do - anti-aircraft, sniping, bombs - and bring that to the Golan Heights."
  • "Hizbullah doesn't want to take immediate action. It has time. It wants quiet to build up its capabilities, enlist cells built on local residents and its contacts with the Syrian army."
  • "The 'Golan file' is an Iranian name. Iran has a command center in Syria, and representatives in Lebanon, and its ties to Hizbullah are very close. What they [the Iranians] are doing, very cleverly, is drawing their forces back to a distance of 80 km. (50 miles) from the border, like Israel wanted, but sending Hizbullah to be its vanguard."
  • In addition, "There are Shiite militias to the east and north of Damascus. They are the ones that fired on us in May 2018, and toward Mt. Hermon in January - a heavy missile that we luckily intercepted, but it could have ended differently....To pose a threat to us, they don't need to be on the Golan Heights, they just need to be a few dozen kilometers away."
  • Today, the poor, neglected residents of southern Syria are seeking solutions after years of living off Israeli aid. Some of these solutions come from Iran, which is investing in civilian projects, and - as part of its efforts to gain a foothold in the region - trying to convert the locals from Sunni to Shia Islam. Fisher says the Syrian government is keeping its promise not to harm the rebels or even those who sought aid from Israel.