October 24, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

Jews Increasingly See Discrimination and Danger in U.S. - Daniel Elbaum (Chicago Tribune)
    According to a recent survey of American Jews on the topic of anti-Semitism in the U.S., 88% believe anti-Semitism is a problem in America today, and 84% say it has gotten worse over the past five years.
    35% say they have personally been the targets of anti-Semitism over the past five years. 31% avoid publicly wearing, carrying or displaying things that might identify them as Jews.
    American Jews see a connection between undue criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism, with 84% saying the statement "Israel has no right to exist" is anti-Semitic.
    80% said the statement "The U.S. government only supports Israel because of Jewish money" is anti-Semitic.
    73% said the statement "American Jews are more loyal to Israel than America" is anti-Semitic.
    The writer is the American Jewish Committee's chief advocacy officer.
    See also Survey of American Jews on Anti-Semitism in America (American Jewish Committee)

Hate Crimes Against British Jews More than Double - Lee Harpin (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
    Hate crimes against Jews in England and Wales more than doubled in a year, figures released by the Home Office have shown.
    Police recorded 1,326 offenses classed as religious hate crimes in which Jewish people were the victims during 2018/19 - compared to 672 in the previous year.

Number of Arab University Students in Israel Doubled in 10 Years (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
    The number of Arab university students has doubled in Israel over the last decade, jumping from 24,000 in 2008 to 51,000 in 2018, Israel's Council for Higher Education said Monday.
    Arab students constitute 18% of the total and 61% are female.
    The number of Arab students pursuing a master's degree has risen from 2,855 in 2008 to 9,274 in 2018.

Jordan to Increase Electricity Exports to Palestinians (Xinhua-China)
    Jordan on Tuesday signed an agreement with the Palestinian Authority to increase its export of electricity from 30 megawatts to 100 megawatts, the Petra news agency reported.
    At present, Jordan exports electricity to the West Bank city of Jericho, but will increase exports to cover areas closer to Jerusalem.
    Jordan's Minister of Energy Hala Zawati said Jordan is currently generating electricity at capacities that exceed its needs.
    Jordan exports electricity to Syria and Egypt and recently signed a deal to export electricity to Iraq in early 2020.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Hizbullah under Rare Pressure in Lebanon's Street Protests - Hashem Osseiran
    As mass anti-government protests engulfed Lebanon, a taboo was broken as strongholds of the Shiite Hizbullah movement saw rare demonstrations criticizing the party and its leader Hassan Nasrallah. On live TV and in protest sites, citizens accused the party of providing political cover for a corrupt government. "No one ever expected that in any of these areas in south Lebanon we would hear a single word against Nasrallah," said Sara, 32, who participated in protests in Nabatiyeh. "It's unbelievable."  (AFP)
  • Albanian Police Say Iranian Terror Cell Planned to Attack Exiles
    Albanian Police Chief Ardi Veliu said the foreign wing of Iran's Revolutionary Guards operated an "active terrorist cell" targeting members of the Iranian opposition group Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) in Albania. A police statement said that two Iranian security officials led the cell from Tehran, and that the network was linked to organized crime groups in Turkey.
        Veliu said a planned attack on the MEK in Albania by Iranian government agents was foiled in March. Around 2,500 MEK members moved to Albania from Iraq in 2014. Last year Albania expelled Iran's ambassador and another Iranian diplomat over illegal activities threatening Albania's security. (AP-Guardian-UK)
  • Israel and Gulf States Are Going Public with Their Relationship - Ivan Levingston
    Business ties and warming diplomatic relations between Israel and the Arab states of the Persian Gulf have been an open secret for years. Those ties will be unveiled with fanfare next October when Israel opens its pavilion at the World Expo in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates' largest city.
        Elazar Cohen, the Israel Foreign Ministry's point person on the project, has been flying back and forth to Dubai for about a year to work on the arrangements. "You feel the interest from their side," says Cohen. "They are trying to give us the feeling that everything is normal, we are as any other country."  (Bloomberg)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Senior Air Force Commander: Israel Mounted "Hundreds of Strikes" Against Terror Targets in "Campaign between the Wars" - Lilach Shoval
    Col. G., commander of the Ramon Airbase, said, "This has been one of the most intense years we've had since the onset of the campaign between the wars. We've mounted hundreds of strikes." The "campaign between the wars" encompasses a host of covert and low-intensity military and intelligence efforts focused on disrupting the force build-up of the Iranian-Shiite axis throughout the Middle East. "The rate at which we operate stems from the challenges posed by the other side," he said.
        Col. G. noted that "over the past year alone, the number of surface-to-air missiles fired from Syria at Israeli aircraft has exceeded their number in wars. They've fired hundreds of missiles, everything they have." Asked about the Russian S-300 air defense system, which was delivered to Syria earlier this year, G. said, "If necessary, we will know how to deal with it as well. Naturally, we have to make sure it doesn't violate our operational freedom." He noted that there have been cases when the IAF aborted missions because Russian jets had crossed into the target airspace. (Israel Hayom)
  • IDF Demolishes Rebuilt Home of Soldier's Killer - Judah Ari Gross
    The Israeli army on Thursday demolished the family home in Ramallah of Islam Yousef Abu Hamid, a Palestinian convicted of murdering Israeli soldier Staff Sgt. Ronen Lubarsky in the West Bank last year, Palestinians reported. The IDF had previously destroyed the structure in December 2018, but it was rebuilt with funding provided by the Palestinian Authority. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Egypt's New Commercial Border Crossing with Gaza - Neri Zilber
    In February 2018, Egypt opened a new commercial border crossing with Gaza called Salah al-Din Gate, located 4 km. northwest of Rafah. The crossing is open 10-15 days per month, allowing the entry of nearly 1,000 trucks into Gaza monthly. In the first half of 2019, nearly 6,000 tons of cement per month and 6 million liters of diesel fuel per month were imported into Gaza via Salah al-Din, the Hamas-run Gaza Economy Ministry reported. Israel's Kan television reported that 16 trucks carrying 82,000 cellphones crossed into Gaza, along with 12 trucks carrying 150 tons of ketchup.
        Hamas and Egypt both reap substantial revenue by taxing this new trade route. Qatari envoy Mohammed al-Emadi told Al Jazeera that trade between Egypt and Gaza totals $45 million per month, out of which the Egyptian military and intelligence service take $15 million in commissions, and Hamas takes $12 million in taxes.
        However, it is unclear if the Egyptian military is providing any real oversight on the type of materials being imported. The writer is an adjunct fellow with The Washington Institute and a senior fellow at BICOM. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Was the American Decision to Abandon the Kurds a Surprise? - Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah
    The withdrawal of American troops ordered by President Trump from Kurdish-held territories in northeastern Syria was no surprise to the Kurds, who had been expecting this move since mid-summer 2019.
        President Erdogan's intention to resettle the three million Syrian refugees in the territories "liberated" by the Turkish army can only mean a policy of ethnic cleansing to the Kurds. The entire Kurdish population in Syria is estimated at 2-3.5 million, located mainly in the big cities, with a minority residing in towns and villages bordering Turkey. An influx of three million Arab Sunnis would mean the disappearance of the Kurdish majority in the area.
        The writer, a special Middle East analyst at the Jerusalem Center, was former Deputy Head for Assessment of Israeli Military Intelligence. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • The Dark Night of Anti-Semitism in Turkey - Matt A. Hanson
    On Aug. 3, the independent Turkish news platform T24 released a video from a children's summer camp. More than 50 girls covered in floral hijabs faced the camera, with a dozen more standing behind them in black burkas. They raised their fists as a young female leader screamed in Turkish: "Jews!" The chorus responded: "Death!" "Palestinians!" she yelled. "Will be saved," they answered.
        "You experience anti-Semitism in Turkey at every level and interaction," said Henri J. Barkey, Professor of International Relations at Lehigh University and a former U.S. State Department adviser who grew up in a Sephardi family in Istanbul. "Anti-Semitism in Turkey is at its peak now."  (Jerusalem Post)

Erdogan Is No Friend to America - Daniel Pipes (Wall Street Journal)
  • President Erdogan's invasion of Syria found broad support within Turkey. Yet the invasion damages Turkey internationally: Western and Arab governments have condemned the military operation, as have the Russian, Iranian, Indian and Chinese governments.
  • Erdogan wrongly assumes that the cunning and aggression that brought him political success internally will also work internationally. This explains his unleashing thugs on the streets of Washington, abducting Turkish citizens accused of coup plotting from multiple countries, attempting to smuggle dual-use materials to Gaza, illegally drilling for natural gas in Cypriot waters, and shooting down a Russian jet fighter, among other bellicose actions.
  • Europeans seethe when Erdogan threatens to send 3.6 million displaced Syrians their way. Israelis despise him for a vitriolic anti-Zionism that compares them to Nazis. Egypt's president hates Erdogan's backing of the Muslim Brotherhood.
  • Erdogan has consolidated power over Turkey's institutions: the military, the intelligence services, the police, the judiciary, the banks, the media, the election board, the mosques and the educational system. He has supported the private security company Sadat, which some analysts consider a "private" army.
  • Academics who signed a 2016 petition critical of Erdogan's policies toward the Kurds have lost their jobs, faced criminal charges and even been jailed. The 1,150-room palace he had built symbolizes his grandiosity and ambition.
  • In short, Erdogan is a dictator with strange ideas, wild ambitions and no restraints.

    The writer is president of the Middle East Forum.