June 6, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

Poll: Most Americans Support Israel, Say BDS Movement Is Anti-Semitic - Jeffrey Cimmino (Washington Free Beacon)
    According to a new poll of 1,000 likely U.S. voters released this week by the Hudson Institute, 51% held a favorable opinion of Israel, while only 21% held an unfavorable opinion.
    75% agreed it is in America's interest to have Israel as its closest ally in the Middle East.
    Almost 60% said anti-Semitism is happening more frequently today than 15 years ago. 37% attributed anti-Semitism in the U.S. to Muslim extremists, 28% to right-wing extremists, and 22% to left-wing extremists.
    A majority considered support for the BDS movement to be anti-Semitic, while a plurality said the U.S. should support Israel in opposing the BDS movement.
    Over 60% said it is not Islamophobic to criticize Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) for her views on Israel.

Putin Inaugurates Memorial to Jewish WWII Resistance (Moscow Times-Russia)
    Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday inaugurated a monument dedicated to Jewish heroes of resistance in Nazi concentration camps and ghettos during World War II at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow.

Jewish Agency Leader: Remove Chicago Monument of Nazi Collaborator (Jerusalem Post)
    Jewish Agency for Israel Chairman Isaac Herzog last week expressed his support for the efforts of Jewish leaders in Chicago who have protested a newly erected monument honoring a Lithuanian World War II-era commander who collaborated with the Nazis.
    According to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas admitted in his memoirs that he led a gang of vigilantes that persecuted the Jewish community of Druskininkai, Lithuania.
    "It is inconceivable that on the soil of the United States...there is a memorial to an alleged murderer who cooperated with the Nazis and was involved in the mass slaughter of Jews," Herzog said.

Polish, Israeli Envoys Protest Nazi Collaborator Monument in Ukraine (Tass-Russia)
    Polish Ambassador to Ukraine Bartosz Cichocki and Israeli Ambassador to Ukraine Joel Lion on Monday protested over the unveiling on May 23 of a monument to Roman Shukhevych, a Ukrainian nationalist chief, in the city of Ivano-Frankovsk.
    In a letter to the city's mayor, they wrote that "Roman Shukhevych was personally responsible for the killing of tens of thousands of people like them." Witnesses of these mass murders still live in Ukraine, Poland and Israel.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israel Says Iran Continues Ballistic Missile Launches - Jeremy Binnie
    Iran launched seven ballistic missiles between December 2018 and February 2019, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told the Security Council in a letter released on June 5. In December Iran launched a Khorramshahr medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM), said to have a range of 2,000 km. with a 1,800 kg. warhead. The other missiles included three Zolfaghars (the longest-range version of Iran's Fateh-110 tactical ballistic missile), a Qiam (Iran's significantly improved derivative of the R-17 Scud), a Shahab-3 MRBM, and a Scud variant. (Jane's Defence Weekly-UK)
        See also Former IAEA Deputy Head: Iran Could Make Weapons-Grade Uranium in 6-8 Months
    Olli Heinonen, former Deputy Director-General for Safeguards at the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency, told Israel's Army Radio Wednesday that Iran could make weapons-grade enriched uranium in "perhaps half a year, seven to eight months maximum, if they put everything into it."  (Ha'aretz)
  • China Providing Saudis with Missile Technology - Phil Mattingly
    The U.S. government has obtained intelligence that Saudi Arabia has expanded both its missile infrastructure and technology through recent purchases from China. Although Saudi Arabia is among the biggest buyers of U.S. weapons, it is barred from purchasing ballistic missiles from the U.S. The Saudis say they need to match Iran's missile capability. Satellite imagery suggests the Kingdom has constructed a ballistic missile factory at a missile base in al-Watah. (CNN)
  • Hate Crimes Surge in NYC, Attacks on Jews almost Double - Tom Winter
    The number of hate crimes in New York City jumped by 64% this year, officials said Tuesday, fueled by a major spike in attacks on Jews. The New York Police Department recorded 184 hate crimes through June 2 - up from 112 in 2018. 110 targeted Jews, up from 58 in 2018. (NBC News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • U.S. Envoy Tells Palestinian Leaders Dire Situation Is of Their Own Making - Michael Bachner
    U.S. Mideast Envoy Jason Greenblatt on Wednesday hit back at PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh who called the U.S. Mideast peace plan "blackmail" and warned the PA was on the verge of collapse, telling him that the Palestinians' woes were their own leadership's fault. "Time for the PA to step-up & take responsibility for their people & the economy. The PA can't continue to blame the U.S. & everyone else for a situation they caused," Greenblatt tweeted. (Times of Israel)
  • Ex-Mossad Official: All of EU Seeks Israeli Intelligence Cooperation - Yonah Jeremy Bob
    EU countries push hard to obtain Israeli intelligence cooperation because "they recognize our abilities," Haim Tomer, the former director of Tevel - the Mossad's foreign intelligence cooperation unit - said Wednesday. "The secrecy of the intelligence world allows cooperation separate from what goes on at the political" level, he said. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • How Will Israel Cope with the Iran Deal's Sunset Clauses? - Amos Yadlin and Ari Heistein
    If the Iran deal (JCPOA) continues to limp along, Israel should devise a method for coping with the agreement's sunset clauses over the next decade that could leave Iran with a full-scale nuclear program, accompanied by a dangerously short breakout time, by 2030.
        Preparing for this will require a great deal of investment in diplomatic, intelligence collection, and force-building efforts that can be utilized for an international push, bolstered by an effective military option, to prevent Iran's nuclearization, perhaps by seeking to extend the sunset clauses.
        This would be no simple task even with the current level of support from the U.S. administration, and it will be considerably more complex should one of Trump's opponents win the presidency next year and choose to rejoin the JCPOA. Whether or not the nuclear deal survives, Israel could be faced with a severe Iranian nuclear crisis within the next decade.
        Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin served as Chief of Israel's Military Intelligence from 2006-2010. He is now the executive director of Israel's Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in Tel Aviv. Ari Heistein is a policy and security consultant. (War on the Rocks)
  • A Profile of the Palestinian Youth Generation - Michael Milstein
    The younger generation of adult Palestinians is in many ways radically different from Palestinian youth of the past. This "post-Oslo" generation, born since the 1990s, lives under a combination of Palestinian self-governance and the continuation of Israeli control. The Arab Spring has also affected this generation as it encouraged defiance against authority figures.
        Simultaneously, the digital realm provides instant gratification through the charms of Western consumer culture, as well as easily accessible exposure to extremist ideology, such as that of the Islamic State. The modern discourse of youth worldwide is increasingly emphasizing the importance of civil and individual rights as well.
        Palestinian youth are interested in individual development and self-actualization, but are instructed by Palestinian leadership to continue fighting and sacrificing for the collective good. Through the internet, they are exposed to permissive modern culture, but continue to live in a traditional society with strict behavioral codes. It is hardly surprising that many Palestinian youth report a profound alienation from political leadership.
        Like many members of the Palestinian public, the younger generation seems to have essentially given up on the national administration of the Palestinian Authority and displays impatience with the older "era of revolutionary slogans." These feelings are leading to a trend of apoliticism, clearly manifested in the reduction in membership within political organizations and declining participation in the activities these organizations promote.
        The writer is Head of the Palestinian Studies Forum at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

Russia and Iran: Is the Syrian Honeymoon Over? - Udi Dekel and Carmit Valensi (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
  • After the victory of the Assad regime over the rebels in Syria with the assistance of Russia, Iran, and Iranian proxies, inherent tensions between Russia and Iran regarding influence in Syria have emerged in greater relief.
  • While Russia is intent on leading the process of reconstruction in Syria and aims to recruit the wealthy Sunni Arab states to this end, those states are making their assistance conditional upon limiting Iran's activities in Syria. However, Russia does not have sufficient leverage to remove Iran's military capabilities.
  • Changes to Syria's top echelon made in early April with Russian encouragement, including the appointment of the pro-Russian Salim Harba as chief of staff, were meant to weaken the power of Syrian commanders connected to Iran and to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force.
  • For its part, Iran has for some time sought to integrate its Shiite militias, which include Iranian commanders, within the Syrian military. There are an estimated 30,000 fighters in Iranian-backed Shiite militias present in Syria.
  • Arrests of pro-Iranian Syrian activists by Syrian security forces, ordered by Russia and sometimes with the participation of Russian military police, have been reported.
  • Assad has rejected Iran's request to sign a strategic contract that would guarantee Iran's presence in Syria for the next 50 years, similar to the agreement that it signed with Russia.

    Brig.-Gen. (res.) Udi Dekel, former head of the IDF Strategic Planning Division, is managing director of INSS, where Dr. Carmit Valensi is a research fellow and manager of the Syria research program.