December 19, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

Police Arrest Man Suspected of Vandalizing Beverly Hills Synagogue (CBS Los Angeles)
    Anton Nathaniel Redding, 24, of Millersville, Pa., was arrested in Hawaii in connection with vandalism at the Nessah Synagogue in Beverly Hills on Saturday.
    He will be charged with vandalism of a religious property and commercial burglary.

PLO Calls on Arab States to Take Action Against Brazil (Middle East Monitor-UK)
    Secretary-General of the PLO Executive Committee Saeb Erekat on Monday called on Arab states to take serious action against Brazil after it opened a trade office in Jerusalem, Al-Watan Voice reported.
    He said Arab states should not allow countries which relocate their embassies and offices to Jerusalem to do so without having their relations affected.
    See also PA Requests Urgent Arab League Meeting over Brazil Trade Mission in Jerusalem - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)

Shiite Cleric Lashes Out at Hizbullah, Amal Movement (Naharnet-Lebanon)
    Prominent Lebanese Shiite cleric Ali al-Amin lashed out at Hizbullah on Wednesday after its accusations that he is "normalizing ties with Israel."
    Hizbullah denounced the participation of Amin in a religious forum in Bahrain attended by "Zionist figures," while Amin noted that Lebanon's ambassador to Bahrain also attended.
    Amin said: "My disagreement with Hizbullah and Amal is not new, and I will remain supportive of the Lebanese people's uprising....I will remain opposed to Hizbullah's policy of oppression and domination."

Israel's Elbit Launches Nanosatellite for Commercial Communications - Tova Cohen (Reuters)
    Israeli defense electronics firm Elbit Systems said Wednesday its Nanova nanosatellite was successfully launched into space from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in India.
    Nanova will be operated from a ground control station in Haifa, Israel, with a communication payload providing a direct satellite link for data, voice and text messaging.

Israel Electric Company Cuts Power to West Bank over Palestinian Debt (Reuters)
    The Israel Electric Corp. on Sunday began daily, three-hour power cuts in the cities of Ramallah and Bethlehem to press for payment of a $519 million debt owed by the Palestinian Jerusalem District Electricity Company (JDECO), which buys electricity from IEC and then sells it to Palestinians in the West Bank.

Israel Completes Oil Pollution Drill in Red Sea (Xinhua-China)
    Israel completed a two-day exercise to practice treating pollution from oil in the Gulf of Eilat, the Ministry of Environmental Protection reported Tuesday.
    The drill simulated a collision between a ship and an oil tanker in the Red Sea.
    Drill participants deployed blocking and pumping equipment to clean up fuel stains, pumping 60 tons of oil from the sea.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S.: UN Security Council Ignores Palestinian Rocket Attacks on Israel
    U.S. UN Ambassador Kelly Craft told the UN Security Council on Wednesday: "This Council seems either unwilling or unable to see the reality that Israelis live in constant fear of attack. In place of recognizing this reality, the Council tolerates an endless string of condemnations of Israel."
        "Millions of Israelis live under the threat of attack each and every day....Rocket fire impacts both Israelis and Palestinians. In Gaza, Palestinian women were also forced to take shelter, as rockets - fired by terrorists from crowded civilian neighborhoods - flew overhead....Will this Council also condemn them? Will this Council even take them seriously?"  (U.S. Mission to the UN)
        See also Resident of Rocket-Stricken Israel Addresses UN Security Council
    Adele Raemer - who lives in Kibbutz Nirim, adjacent to the border with Hamas-ruled Gaza - was invited to speak at the UN Security Council on Wednesday by U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft. Raemer, whose bedroom was destroyed by a rocket in the summer of 2014, asked: "Have you ever had to run for your life? When I hear the Red Alert early warning system for incoming rockets, I know that I have between 5-10 seconds to get to someplace safe....If I am out, I either throw myself down next to a wall, or just lie down wherever I am, cover my head and hope that whatever falls doesn't fall too close."  (Algemeiner)
        See also Palestinians in Gaza Fire Rocket at Israel on Thursday (Times of Israel)
  • Former Jerusalem Mayor Targeted by Hamas' Istanbul Cell Calls for Sanctions on Turkey - Raf Sanchez
    Nir Barkat, the former mayor of Jerusalem, was in the sights of an Istanbul-based Hamas cell, an investigation by the Daily Telegraph revealed. In response, Barkat called David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, and urged the U.S. to begin imposing sanctions on Turkey. "We must never allow any country to get away with providing infrastructure for terror organizations," Barkat said in an interview.
        Israel Foreign Ministry director general Yuval Rotem said, "Israel calls on Turkey to immediately cut its support for Hamas operations out of its territory and to close Hamas' headquarters in Istanbul."  (Telegraph-UK)
        See also below Commentary: Turkey's Protection of Hamas Is a Huge Blow to Peace in the Middle East - Dore Gold (Telegraph-UK)
  • Congress Sides with Cyprus Against Turkey in Eastern Mediterranean - Bryant Harris
    The U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday passed a compromise foreign aid spending bill in a 297-120 vote that bolsters security aid for Cyprus while rebuking Turkey for its oil exploration activities off the Cypriot coast. The bill requires the administration to report on Turkish interference against Cypriot efforts "to explore and exploit natural resources in its Exclusive Economic Zone."  (Al-Monitor)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Arrested Palestinian Terrorist Leader Was BDS Official - Sean Savage
    Khalida Jarrar, 56, whose arrest was announced on Wednesday by the Israel Security Agency, was the head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine's terror operations in the West Bank. Until recently, Jarrar also served as vice chairperson, director and board member of the BDS organization Addameer.
        Marc Greendorfer, president of the Zachor Legal Institute, said, "Jarrar is simply one example of the extensive overlaps between terror organization leadership and BDS, going all the way to the top, where the organizing and operational leadership of BDS [the BDS National Committee, or BNC] includes a coalition of groups designated as foreign terror organizations by the United States."
        According to NGO Monitor, more than half of Addameer's current and former employees, as well as lawyers that work for it, have links to the PFLP, while other employees have ties to Hamas. Yifa Segal, director of the International Legal Forum, said, "The BDS movement was funded by terrorists, and it is being led by terrorists."  (JNS-Israel Hayom)
  • Missile Defense Expert: Israel Needs to Expand Its Detection Technology - Yonah Jeremy Bob
    Top Israeli missile defense expert Uzi Rubin said that Israel may need to invest in expanding existing detection technology to cover all of its borders and establish a 360-degree wall of detection in order to prevent Iran from attacking with UAVs in a manner similar to its attack on the Saudis in September. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Completes Large-Scale Drill Simulating Hizbullah Attack in North - Anna Ahronheim
    The IDF completed a large-scale drill simulating a range of threats on the northern front on Tuesday, the IDF Spokespersons' Unit said. The drill focused on the possibility of a widespread attack and infiltration by Hizbullah into Israeli communities near the border. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Turkey's Protection of Hamas Is a Huge Blow to Peace in the Middle East - Dore Gold
    The latest reports that Turkey is now permitting senior Hamas commanders to order attacks against Israel from Istanbul represents a huge setback in the quest of the U.S., the UK, and their Western allies to bring about a more peaceful Middle East. In mid-2014, three Israeli teenagers were abducted by Hamas operatives in the West Bank and subsequently murdered. The mastermind of the attacks was Salah al-Arouri, who issued orders to Hamas from Turkish soil. The main center of Hamas overseas operations cannot be a member of NATO.
        In recent years, Tehran has been infiltrating Turkey, seeking to convert whole villages in the eastern parts of the country to Shiism - a practice the Iranians followed in Morocco, Sudan and Egypt. The writer is President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (Telegraph-UK)
        See also Turkey's Shameful Support for Hamas Terrorists - Col. Richard Kemp
    Turkish President Erdogan's support for Hamas is itself an act of aggression against Israel. In 2015 Turkey agreed to prevent Hamas planning attacks from its territory but has never done so. Erdogan's support for Hamas reduces the prospects for peace in the region.
        NATO, the UN, the EU and the U.S. have an obligation to pressure Erdogan to kick Hamas out and cease all backing for them. The UK should be part of this effort. The writer is former commander of British forces in Afghanistan. (Telegraph-UK)
  • U.S. Anti-Semitism Official: Harassment Is Not Free Speech - Allison Kaplan Sommer
    Elan Carr, U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, told Ha'aretz in Tel Aviv on Wednesday that the White House executive order aimed at protecting Jewish students at U.S. universities "has nothing to do with free speech. Harassment and intimidation is not protected speech. All the executive order says is that the same kind of racism that is prohibited as a civil rights violation when applied to blacks and Hispanics is equally a civil rights violation when it's applied to Jews. You can't be racist against Jews any more than you can be racist against Hispanic Americans or black Americans. That's all this order does."
        "Every time you try to label something anti-Semitic, the people who traffic in anti-Semitism yell about free speech and censorship....Surely it can't be that the only people who have free speech are the anti-Semites. You also need free speech to call it anti-Semitism."  (Ha'aretz)

  • Is it anti-Semitism to support the destruction of the one and only Jewish nation-state - home to approximately half of the Jews in the world today? Is it anti-Semitism to say that Jews do not have a right to self-determination in their ancestral homeland, the Land of Israel? These questions lie at the heart of today's debate over anti-Semitism.
  • The Executive Order on Combating Anti-Semitism signed last week answered these questions in the affirmative by incorporating the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Definition of Antisemitism, which includes as a contemporary example of anti-Semitism "[d]enying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor."
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin in programs and activities that receive federal funding. National origin discrimination has been interpreted for years to include discrimination against those who have shared ancestry or ethnicity.
  • What is new is that the Executive Order requires all executive branch agencies and departments charged with enforcing Title VI to apply the IHRA Definition of Anti-Semitism when determining whether unlawful conduct has been motivated by discriminatory intent. It is the "adoption" of this definition of anti-Semitism that is causing the ruckus.
  • There is nothing in either the IHRA Definition or the Executive Order that precludes anyone from criticizing the policies of the government of Israel. In fact, the IHRA definition explicitly states that "criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic." But opposing Israel's existence as a Jewish homeland is anti-Semitism.
  • It is not unlawful in the U.S. to make racist or anti-Jewish comments. In America, the First Amendment protects your right to express yourself as a bigot. But the First Amendment does not insulate and prevent those who make racist or anti-Semitic comments from being labeled as racists and anti-Semites.

    The writer is president and general counsel of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law.