December 16, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

Brazil Opens Jerusalem Trade Office as Step to Embassy Shift (AFP-Al Arabiya)
    Brazil opened a trade office in Jerusalem on Sunday, in a ceremony attended by President Jair Bolsonaro's son and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
    Speaking at the ceremony, Eduardo Bolsonaro, a lawmaker who chairs the International Affairs and National Defense Committee in the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies, said his father intended to make good on a pledge he made early this year to move Brazil's embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
    "We want to do a movement to Jerusalem not only for Brazil but to be an example for the rest of Latin America."

Report: Israel Helped Denmark Thwart Terror Attacks - Yonah Jeremy Bob (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel's Mossad was behind Denmark's arrest of 20 terrorists planning a wave of attacks, Israel's Channel 12 reported Saturday. Danish security officials seized a variety of weapons.

U.S. Sanctions Two Lebanese Men as Top Donors to Hizbullah - Ian Talley (Wall Street Journal)
    The U.S. on Friday sanctioned two Lebanese businessmen, Nazem Said Ahmad and Saleh Assi, who have channeled millions of dollars to Hizbullah by using the African diamond trade and high-value works of art to launder money.

Iranian-Chinese-Russian Naval Exercise to Be Held near Persian Gulf - John C.K. Daly (Arab Weekly-UK)
    Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Hunzadi announced that Iran's naval forces would conduct military exercises with naval units from China and Russia in the Indian Ocean near the entrance to the Persian Gulf.
    The U.S. usually has a carrier task force in the region and the U.S. Navy 5th Fleet is based in Bahrain.
    Moreover, Israel keeps one of its five Dolphin-class submarines on patrol in the area as a deterrent against Iran.

Newsweek Claims that If Iran Falls, ISIS Will Rise Again - Seth J. Frantzman (Jerusalem Post)
    The cover of Newsweek's Dec. 27 issue offers a photo of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei with the title: "If Iran Falls, ISIS Rises Again."
    Alireza Nader, senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, wrote that Newsweek "is basically arguing for the preservation of the Islamic Republic."
    Mike Doran of the Hudson Institute wrote, "A once great magazine is reduced to spreading propaganda for the Islamic Republic."
    It's unclear why the article uses the term "fall" for any democratization that would remove the theocratic dictatorship in Iran.

Jerusalem Ranked World's Fastest Growing Tourist Destination - Michal Raz-Chaimovich (Globes)
    Jerusalem is the world's fastest growing tourist destination, UK business intelligence company Euromonitor International reports.
    The city saw 3.93 million overseas tourists in 2018, up 12% from 2017, and is expected to enjoy 38% growth in 2019 to 4.8 million.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Warns Iran of Decisive Response to Its Proxy Attacks in Iraq - Hamza Mustafa
    The U.S. Embassy in Iraq on Saturday accused Iran's proxies of carrying out attacks on Iraqi military bases where U.S. troops are stationed. It warned "Iran's leaders that any attacks by them, or their proxies of any identity, that harm Americans, our allies, or our interests will be answered with a decisive U.S. response. Iran must respect the sovereignty of its neighbors and immediately cease its provision of lethal aid and support to third parties in Iraq and throughout the region."  (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
  • U.S.: Iran Protesters Showing No Hostility toward America
    Asked if Iranians were upset about America's economic pressure, the chief U.S. diplomat on Iran, Brian Hook, told the Council on Foreign Relations on Dec. 12 that there were "protests in over a hundred cities. And there was not a single protest that we have seen against the United States, against the president, or against American sanctions. And this is very significant."
        "There was one video I saw of an Iranian woman climbing a pole that had a 'death to America' banner on it, and she pulled it down. Instead of seeing images of the American president burned, you saw videos of the supreme leader's images being burned."  (Radio Farda)
  • British Baroness Claims Labour Lost the Election Due to Attacks by Pro-Israel Lobby on Corbyn - Sam Whitworth
    Former Liberal Democrat MP Baroness Jenny Tonge claimed after the UK elections: "The Chief Rabbi must be dancing in the street. The pro-Israel lobby won our General Election by lying about Jeremy Corbyn."
        Her remarks have drawn widespread criticism from former cabinet ministers, senior lawyers and leaders of industry and commerce. In a letter, 88 peers said, "Baroness Tonge has brought Parliament into disrepute and we demand that she withdraws her remarks and issues a full and unqualified apology without delay."  (Daily Express-UK)
  • Erdogan Threatens to Shut Major U.S. Base in Turkey
    Turkey could shut down its Incirlik air base, which hosts U.S. nuclear warheads, in response to threats of U.S. sanctions and a separate U.S. Senate resolution that recognized mass killings of Armenians a century ago as genocide, Turkish President Erdogan said on Sunday. Turkey can also close down the Kurecik radar base if necessary, he added. "If they are threatening us with the implementation of these sanctions, of course we will be retaliating."  (Reuters-New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Turkish Navy Forced Israeli Research Ship near Cyprus to Move - Lahav Harkov
    The Turkish Navy forced an Israeli research ship near Cyprus to move away from its position two weeks ago, the Israeli government confirmed on Saturday. The Bat Galim vessel was doing research approved by the government of Cyprus in Cyprus' territorial waters, in an area where Turkey does not have jurisdiction. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Helped Find Crashed Chilean Plane near Antarctica - Michael Bachner
    The Israel Defense Forces Military Intelligence Directorate was instrumental in finding a Chilean military transport plane that vanished en route to Antarctica last week. After Chilean authorities asked Israel for help, IDF aerial photographic and satellite image interpreters, geologists and technology experts analyzed satellite images and significantly reduced the search area. (Times of Israel)
  • Four German Parties Call for Ban on Hizbullah Activities - Benjamin Weinthal
    The Bundestag political factions of four parties on Friday urged Chancellor Angela Merkel to ban Hizbullah activities in Germany. Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, the Christian Social Union, the Social Democratic Party, and the Free Democratic Party support the ban, DPA reported. Hizbullah raises funds, recruits new members, and spreads anti-Semitic and jihadist ideologies in Germany. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • To Fight Campus Anti-Semitism, More Tools Are Welcome - Jodi Rudoren
    The President's executive order basically says that if a Jew is being discriminated against in the way that people are discriminated against for race, color or national origin - in other words, for being a member of the tribe - it counts. It says anti-Semitism should not be tolerated, and I agree.
        The Anti-Defamation League praised the order last week for giving "law enforcement and campus officials an important additional tool to help identify and fight this pernicious hate." That's why I don't hate the executive order. Because like the vast majority of American Jews, I'm deeply worried about anti-Semitism on college campuses. We need more tools to combat it. The writer is editor-in-chief of the Forward. (Forward)
  • Executive Order on Anti-Semitism Continues the Civil Rights Legacy of Martin Luther King - Dan Diker
    The Executive Order signed on December 11, 2019, applying Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to Jewish Americans, is arguably the most significant single presidential action protecting their civil rights since President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the landmark Civil Rights Act into law 55 years ago. The Executive Order calls upon federal agencies to protect the civil rights of Jews as an ethnically distinct religious minority.
        The presidential order is a setback for anti-Semites on U.S. campuses who have masked their hatred and discrimination against Jews supporting Israel, claiming their speech and actions are "legitimate criticism" protected as free speech. Anti-Zionist Jewish and Palestinian groups hostile to Israel have now mobilized to fight the White House's expanded protections against anti-Semitism.
        During a meeting between Harvard students and Martin Luther King shortly before he was assassinated, one of the young men present happened to make some remark against the Zionists. Dr. King snapped at him and said, "Don't talk like that! When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You're talking anti-Semitism!" The writer is a foreign policy fellow at the Jerusalem Center. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Hizbullah Member Condemns Group on TV
    On Dec. 8, 2019, Al-Arabiya interviewed a Shi'ite protestor in Beirut, Hussein Ali Matar, who destroyed his Hizbullah membership card on camera. Matar said: "We are all dying of hunger....For any job I apply to, I need connections to either Hizbullah or Amal....I support four sisters and one brother, and I haven't worked in six or seven months....I used to work for Hizbullah and they let me go....You think that I am well-fed just because I'm from Hizbullah? I am in the same situation as everybody else."
        "Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri...you've been Parliament Speaker for 30 years. You have billions of dollars and your children live in America. How come your children go to America and it's okay, but if we say a single word...we are pronounced collaborators with America and Israel?... Nobody is a collaborator with Israel. All the Lebanese are against Israel."  (MEMRI)

  • When I first started at NYU, I was excited to go to a school that championed diversity and inclusion - until that diversity and inclusion applied to everyone except my community.
  • After years of overt protests, boycotts, and direct aggression toward Jewish students from NYU's chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the university honored the organization with the President's Service Award for "outstanding contribution to NYU life."
  • Violent acts against students on the basis of their views are not only tolerated, but celebrated, and the concerns of Jewish students are not taken seriously.
  • NYU's position stands in direct defiance of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which states, "If an institution knows or has reason to know about student-on-student harassment, Title VI requires that the school take immediate and effective action to eliminate the harassment."
  • When I sued NYU for campus anti-Semitism, religion was not a protected class under civil rights law - at least until last week. The new executive order expands Title VI's existing protections to explicitly include discrimination against Jews, correcting a longtime gross injustice against Jewish students.
  • The president's executive order should serve as a source of empowerment to ensure that Jewish students can proudly live on campuses without checking any part of their identities at the door. Anti-Semites have won when they are allowed to define where a Jew can and cannot feel comfortable. To that I say, never again.

    The writer is a Syrian-Lebanese, Mexican Jew who graduated from NYU in May 2019.

        See also Students for Justice in Palestine Unmasked: Terror Links, Violence, Bigotry and Intimidation on U.S. Campuses - Dan Diker and Jamie Berk (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)