June 3, 2021

In-Depth Issues:

Opposition Parties in Israel Reach Deal to Oust Netanyahu - Shirit Avitan-Cohen (Globes)
    Yesh Atid party chairman Yair Lapid informed Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday that he had succeeded in forming a new government based on a coalition of eight opposition parties that hold 61 seats in the 120-member Knesset.
    The Knesset must still vote to approve the new government.
    According to the deal, Yamina party chairman Naftali Bennett will serve as prime minister for the first two years, rotating with alternate Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Yair Lapid.
    The new coalition includes the 4-seat United Arab List led by Mansour Abbas, deputy chairman of the Southern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel.

Most of the Gazans Killed in the First Two Days of the War Were Terrorists (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
    An examination of the names of the 74 Palestinians reported killed on May 10-12, during the first two days of the Gaza War, found that 16 were killed by Palestinian rockets launched at Israel.
    Of the 58 remaining fatalities, at least 42 (two-thirds) were terrorist operatives: 31 Hamas, 3 Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and 8 Fatah.
    Hamas is trying to create a false impression that the vast majority of those killed were uninvolved civilians.

IRGC General: Iran Carried Out Attacks Against Israel (MEMRI-TV)
    IRGC General Mazaher Majidi told Iran's Hamedan TV on May 7, 2021, that Iran was behind an explosion in an Israeli weapons factory and an attack on its atomic facilities in April, as well as an incident in the Haifa oil refineries.
    Majidi said: "We did it, and it was according to a plan."

Hamas Chief Haniyeh's Niece Treated for Cancer in Israeli Hospital during Conflict (Jerusalem Post-Times of Israel)
    Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh's 17-year-old niece is in Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv after receiving a bone marrow transplant during the recent Gaza conflict.
    A hospital spokesperson said that "during the war she was treated with dedication."
    Haniyeh's mother-in-law, daughter and granddaughter have all been treated in Israeli hospitals.

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The "Islamophobia" Red Herring - Liel Leibovitz (New York Post)
    As Jews were being pummeled, punched, spat at, intimidated with explosive devices and singled out for violence and harassment all across America, Sen. Bernie Sanders declared, "We've recently seen disturbing anti-Semitic attacks and a troubling rise in Islamophobia."
    Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted: "Anti-Semitism has no place in our country or world. Neither does Islamophobia."
    Here are two fun facts: Between 2012 and 2018, there have been 763 total incidents motivated by anti-Muslim bigotry, according to the New America think tank.
    According to the Anti-Defamation League, we had 2,000 anti-Semitic incidents last year alone.

Trying to Make Israel vs. Hamas about Race Is Nonsensical and Dangerous - James Kirchick (Washington Post)
    In the weeks since Israel launched a defensive military operation against Hamas missiles emanating from Gaza, a chilling series of anti-Semitic attacks have occurred in the U.S.
    "Enough of Black and brown bodies being brutalized and murdered, especially children," declared Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) in a May 11 tweet condemning Israel.
    Yet casting the Israel-Hamas conflict as racial is nonsensical. A majority of Israel's Jewish citizens trace their roots from North Africa and the Middle East. Their skin tone mirrors that of Arab Palestinians.
    And even for Jews whose ancestors came from Europe, portraying them as White is perverse. As the Israeli writer Matti Friedman observed, "My grandmother's parents and siblings were shot outside their village in Poland by people the same color as them."
    According to the FBI, attacks on Jews in the U.S. account for more than 60% of religiously motivated hate crimes, despite Jews representing 2% of the population.
    The writer is a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Israel Has the Ability and the Will to Defend Itself - Amb. Zalman Shoval interviewed by Christian Sagers (Deseret News)
    Former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Zalman Shoval, who worked with both the George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations, said:
    "Here we were, without any provocation from our side, attacked by Hamas with hundreds and hundreds of missiles. Most of those missiles, by the way, are either manufactured according to Iranian technology or actually supplied by Iran."
    "If Hamas and its Iranian friends won't be put before a situation where they have to disarm or give some very, very serious guarantees that they won't start something like that again, then we'll just have another round in a few years or maybe in a few months."
    "The Hamas regime is a dictatorial, extremist regime. They have an ideology, which they don't even disguise, which says they have to destroy the state of the Jews, the state of Israel, and install an Islamic caliphate."
    "Now, the only means by which this is being prevented is because Israel fortunately has the ability and the will to defend itself."
    "Life is continuing. The Jewish population in Israel is steadfast, and even though we are under attack, we are very confident of our future."

Israeli Diplomat: The First War We Lose Will Be the Last - Raphael Vassallo (Malta Today)
    Israel's ambassador to Malta Eyal Sela said in an interview:
    "Israel aims to have peace with its neighbors: with our Palestinian neighbors, with the Arab countries surrounding Israel, and with other countries that do not directly border Israel."
    "The main goal is to enhance [peace], as much as we can, with almost everyone that is ready to live in peace in the region. But not everyone wants to live in peace. Not everyone is moderate."
    "There is Shia extremism, whose center is in Iran, and whose proxy is mainly Hizbullah in Lebanon. There is Sunni extremism: like ISIS...Al Qaeda...and the Muslim Brotherhood movement, of which Hamas is a part....They don't accept anyone who is not Muslim."
    "See what's happening now in the Gaza Strip....Our security was, is and always will be the most important factor. The first war that we lose, will be the last war."

Raw Sewage Pours into Ocean from Gaza (AP)
    In Gaza, raw sewage has been pouring into the ocean and is spreading along the coast after heavy fighting that erupted on May 10 exacerbated a longstanding electricity crisis and further eroded sewage management capabilities.

Propaganda Aside, Israel Is Thriving as Never Before - Asaf Shimoni (Times of Israel)
    Recent headlines about Hamas "successes" are no more than wishful thinking. How on earth was the shooting of more than 4,000 missiles with an ensuing 13 deaths a victory?
    In May, Intel announced it is investing $10 billion in its second mega-factory in Israel. In 2020, $10 billion was invested in Israeli high-tech start-ups - a record. In 2021, the figure is expected to be $20 billion. The UAE recently announced it is establishing a $10 billion fund for investments in Israel.
    Israel's birthrate is double that of other Western nations. The demographic threat is a myth.

Israel Aerospace Signs $200 Million Drone Services Deal with Asian Nation (Globes)
    Israel Aerospace Industries has signed a $200 million contract to provide services to an Asian country for IAI's Heron unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
    IAI says this is the fourth such transaction it has completed this year.
    Heron UAVs are operated by over 20 customers worldwide.

Israeli Startups Raised nearly $2 Billion in May (Globes)
    Israeli startups raised nearly $2 billion in May 2021, after raising $2.2 billion in April and $2.8 billion in March.
    Israeli tech companies have now raised $8.6 billion since the start of the year.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • UN Watchdog Unable to Access Data on Iran Nuclear Program since February - Kiyoko Metzler
    The International Atomic Energy Agency reported Monday that it has "not had access to the data from its online enrichment monitors and electronic seals, or had access to the measurement recordings registered by its installed measurement devices" which monitor Iran's nuclear program, since Feb. 23. The IAEA acknowledged it could only provide an estimate of Iran's overall nuclear stockpile.
        The IAEA also said that it was still awaiting answers from Iran on three sites where inspections had revealed traces of uranium of man-made origin. (AP-Washington Post)
  • Iran's Largest Navy Ship Catches Fire, Sinks in Gulf of Oman - Amir Vahdat
    The support ship Kharg, the largest ship in the Iranian navy, caught fire and sank Wednesday near the Iranian port of Jask in the Gulf of Oman, Iranian news agencies reported. The British-built ship was one of a few vessels in the Iranian navy capable of providing replenishment at sea for other ships. It also could lift heavy cargo and serve as a launch point for helicopters. (AP-Washington Post)
  • Israel Destroys Syrian Army Post Set Up on Israeli Territory in Golan Heights
    The Israeli army Tuesday "destroyed a forward observation post of the Syrian army that was set up in an Israeli area west of the Alfa line in the Golan Heights," IDF spokesman Avichay Adraee wrote on Twitter, the third such operation in a year. He added that the IDF would not "tolerate any attempt to violate the sovereignty" of Israel. (AFP)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Isaac Herzog Elected 11th President of the State of Israel - Greer Fay Cashman
    Isaac Herzog, 60, was elected the 11th President of Israel by the Knesset on Wednesday, succeeding retiring President Reuven Rivlin. His father, Chaim Herzog, was Israel's sixth president, and his grandfather was the first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel. Herzog served as leader of the Labor Party, leader of the opposition, and had headed four government ministries. For the past three years he has served as chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
  • New Mossad Chief: Israel Will Fight to Prevent Iran's Nuclear Dream - Itamar Eichner
    New Mossad intelligence agency director David Barnea said on Tuesday: "The agreement with world powers [and Iran] that is taking shape only reinforces the sense of isolation in which we find ourselves on this issue [of limiting Iran's nuclear program]. I say it clearly - no, we do not intend to act according to the majority opinion since this majority will not bear the consequences for the erroneous assessment of this threat."
        "Iran is working, even at this very moment, to realize its nuclear vision, under international protection. Under the protection of the agreement and without it, through lies and concealment of the truth, Iran is constantly advancing toward a weapons of mass destruction production program."  (Ynet News)
  • Israeli Security Officer Describes Life-or-Death Struggle with Knife-Wielding Gazan - Stuart Winer
    Andrei Dustov, a security officer at a Gaza border community, prevented a terror attack by a knife-wielding terrorist from Gaza on Sunday, whom he fought hand-to-hand. Dustov, who was not carrying a weapon, was injured, while the Palestinian man was later shot by another security officer. (Times of Israel)
        See also Palestinian Stabber Entered Israel through Hole in Security Fence Caused by Gaza Mortar Fire - Judah Ari Gross (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    The 2021 Gaza War

  • Hamas' War Crimes and Israel's Right to Self-Defense - Amb. Alan Baker
    The success of Israel's "Iron Dome" anti-missile defense system in reducing the threat of over 4,000 rockets fired by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in May 2021 cannot in any way reduce the extent of the Palestinians' criminal liability for severe war crimes in willfully and deliberately directing massive barrages of missiles toward civilian centers in Israel.
        The deliberate and cynical use by Hamas and Islamic Jihad of their own civilians as human shields, as well as their use of mosques, hospitals, schools, and private houses as weapons storage facilities and firing platforms, are no less severe war crimes and violations of international humanitarian law. The construction of tactical tunnels beneath urban civilian areas, hospitals, public facilities, and urban roads are also war crimes and grave violations of international humanitarian law.
        The indiscriminate targeting of Israeli cities and civilians practiced by Hamas violates the rule of distinction in international law, which requires combatants to limit attacks to legitimate military targets. Moreover, advocating a religious holy war aimed at creating a regional Islamic entity encompassing the whole of the territory of Israel appears to contravene the provisions of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention of Genocide. For all such crimes, Hamas and PIJ leaders and commanders are accountable and prosecutable under international law.
        The writer, former legal counsel and deputy director-general of Israel's foreign ministry, heads the international law program at the Jerusalem Center. This article is part of the forthcoming study - The Gaza War 2021: The Iranian and Hamas Attack on Israel. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Hamas and Islamic Jihad's Military Dependence on Iran - Tony Badran
    Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) fired over 4,300 rockets at Israel in the latest round of fighting. Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar recently gloated, "If not for Iran's support, we would not have obtained these capabilities." At the end of the fighting in May, Doha-based Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh also thanked Iran for its support.
        Iran's ties to the various factions in Gaza are longstanding and extensive. Whereas PIJ is more widely recognized as a direct proxy of the Iranians, Hamas' portfolio of diplomatic and economic relations with countries like Qatar and Turkey tend to obscure the exclusivity of its military dependence on Iran.
        Moreover, as Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Shimon Shapira told Tablet in 2014, Iran has bypassed Hamas' political leadership, which is largely dependent on the assistance of foreign countries, by developing direct relationships with its military commanders, who actually manage the arsenal of Iran supplies.
        The writer is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Tablet)
        See also Iran's Destabilizing Role Has Been Exposed in Gaza - Mike Rodgers
    The almost surreal images of Israel's Iron Dome anti-rocket system engaging Hamas-fired rockets masks the fact that Tehran is supplying Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups with technology, assistance, and materials, enabling these groups to amass 30,000 rockets and mortars.
        Until we recognize and call out Iran's destabilizing influence in the region, we will not be able to make any real progress on any of the issues facing the Middle East. It is well past time to hold Iran accountable for its fomenting of this conflict and its destabilizing role in the region.
        The writer is a former congressman who chaired the House Intelligence Committee. (The Hill)
  • Israel Military Says U.S. Should Copy Gaza Strategy, Not Criticize - David Brennan
    IDF officials who spoke with Newsweek defended Israel's extensive recent airstrikes on Gaza, with one official saying Western countries should learn from what he called a "phenomenal" military success. "Not only should the IDF not be criticized for its choice of targets, and procedures and techniques, the IDF should actually be commended by these people."
        "Tell me another conflict where a Western military achieved a 1:1 ratio [of combatant to civilian deaths] in a populated urban area using an air force; it hasn't been achieved." While they were "not belittling even one single civilian non-combatant casualty...to achieve a ratio of almost one to one, I think is unprecedented....They should be sending their militaries to us to see and learn and adapt what we did and how we managed to strike so many militants."
        Regarding the destruction of the al-Jala Tower in Gaza City - home to the Gaza offices of the Associated Press and Al Jazeera - the IDF said the building was also home to multiple significant Hamas targets, including teams responsible for electronic warfare. IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi told Israel's Channel 12 that "the building was destroyed justly" and he did not have a "gram of regret."
        The IDF official said the strikes on high-rises were also designed to be a deterrent against other hostile Palestinian, Lebanese, Syrian, and Iranian groups in the region. "They all need to understand very clearly two things: Yes, we are committed to the law of [armed] conflict and we do our best not to strike non-combatants. But two, there is no safe place to hide for any terrorist."  (Newsweek)
  • Israel Has Set a New Standard for the Ethics of War - Rabbi Daniel Rowe
    In the recent fighting in Gaza, Israel delivered the greatest moral miracle in the history of warfare. The conduct of the Israel Defense Forces vis-a-vis the protection of civilians on both sides has no equal or precedent. Indeed, Israel has set a new standard for the ethics of war.
        Urban warfare is hell. Since the 1990s, civilian deaths have accounted for 90% of all casualties of urban warfare. Coalition airstrikes against ISIS in Mosul inadvertently killed 3,200 civilians. American bombing of ISIS' last stronghold in Raqqa killed 1,200 ISIS fighters and 1,600 civilians.
        In 11 days of fighting, Israel eliminated most of Hamas' significant military infrastructure. But the high number of civilian deaths Hamas counted on did not happen. Many Gazans were killed by the 600 Hamas rockets that fell short and landed inside Gaza. Whatever the precise civilian casualty count turns out to be, it is by far the smallest in the history of modern warfare.
        Israel saved thousands of Israeli lives, as well as those of many thousands of Gazan "human shields." Those who are rallying to have the U.S. Congress cut military funding to Israel are missing the point. It's because of military aid, technology and shared moral values that thousands of Palestinians and Israelis are alive today.
        The writer is executive director of Aish UK. (JNS)
  • In the Palestinian Arena, Hamas Declares Victory - Lt.-Col. (ret.) Yohanan Tzoreff
    In the recent fighting, notwithstanding considerable gaps in terms of loss of life and physical damage in Israel's favor, Hamas has managed to present a picture of victory, signaling a change in the balance of power among leaders in the Palestinian arena. In the dialogue that developed in the Palestinian arena and in most of the Arab world, Hamas was heralded, adulated, and exalted. By contrast, PA President Mahmoud Abbas was mocked as irrelevant and on the way out.
        Hamas has also presented the destruction in Gaza as relatively minor. The Gaza population, which in the 2014 conflict pointed an accusing finger at Hamas, has not done so this time, as the spirit of victory prevails. Hamas leaders claim that the relatively small number of fatalities is proof of their improved military performance, and of course do not attribute this to the caution adopted by Israel.
        The writer is a visiting research fellow at INSS. (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
  • International Aid for Gaza Must Not Build Hamas Rockets - Gerald Steinberg
    How did Gaza - which, we are repeatedly told, is one of the world's most impoverished territories - obtain an arsenal of 30,000 rockets? How were the Palestinian militias, led by Hamas, able to launch 4,350 of these mass terror weapons at Israeli cities and towns in just 11 days, while also leaving plenty for the next round?
        The numerous UN agencies that claim to be helping the people of Gaza, which receive hundreds of millions of dollars from various governments, publish an endless flood of reports highlighting the urgent need for additional funds. And yet, mysteriously, none mention the numerous factories in Gaza where these rockets are produced. Will the UN and donor countries begin to act responsibly to ensure, finally, that Hamas will stop stealing the materials donated for rebuilding Gaza in order to restart the missile factories and rebuild the terror tunnels?
        The writer, a fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is emeritus professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University and heads the Institute for NGO Research in Jerusalem. (National Interest)

  • Other Issues

  • America Is Misreading the Situation in the West Bank and Gaza - Prof. Eytan Gilboa interviewed by Israel Kasnett
    Eytan Gilboa, an expert on U.S. policy in the Middle East at Bar-Ilan University, said the Biden administration believes that Sheikh Jarrah and Israeli police action on the Temple Mount triggered the attacks by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza. "They are wrong," he said. "Hamas' goal is to take over the West Bank and turn it into Gaza. Playing up the Sheikh Jarrah issue means playing right into Hamas' hands." The problem, Gilboa says, is that America thinks economic prosperity will reduce the Palestinian appetite for violence, "but Hamas doesn't care."
        Moreover, U.S. plans to inject huge sums of cash into the PA's coffers will only further deepen its systemic corruption, and increase violence and incitement against Israelis.
        According to Gilboa, while Biden has said he favors a two-state solution, it won't happen until the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. "This is critical because it has been the No. 1 obstacle on the road to peace. The U.S. still thinks the settlements are the major obstacle, and they've always been wrong about that."  (JNS)
  • The Demilitarization Delusion - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen
    The threat Hamas poses through rocket firepower directed at Israeli cities should set off warning bells about a possible Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank. A Palestinian state on the 1967 lines will have the capacity to become a far greater threat than Gaza. The magnitude of the self-production of weapons under Hamas and Islamic Jihad using civilian machinery and raw materials reveals the hollowness of the demilitarization delusion.
        There is no way to prevent a state from possessing computerized lathe machines, iron pipes, or phosphates. The fact that, at present, there is no rocket production in the Palestinian cities of the West Bank stems entirely from the monitoring and prevention made possible by the presence of IDF forces deep inside the territory.
        When one compares the resources and efforts required to secure Israel's coastal plain, which are built around IDF activity in the West Bank and the support of the Israeli communities there, to what the defense establishment has to invest in Gaza, it becomes clear that the existing situation in the West Bank is more effective, economical, and suitable.
        The writer, a senior research fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, served in the IDF for 42 years, commanding troops in battle on the Egyptian and Syrian fronts. (BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)
  • Britain's Distinction between Hamas' Military and Civilian Arms Is Artificial - Jake Wallis Simons
    The British government may have deep military and security ties to the Jewish state, but London itself has been allowed to become one of the world's most important Hamas hubs. NGOs allegedly linked to Hamas raise millions of pounds a year, which (according to Israeli intelligence) is funneled into the terror group's coffers.
        This week, the Board of Deputies - British Jewry's main representative body - held an emergency meeting with the Prime Minister, at which it called for Hamas' political wing to be banned in Britain. At present only the military wing of Hamas is proscribed by the UK government. Given the recent hostilities, Britain cannot continue to defend its Janus-faced stance on Hamas, one of the world's most insidious and brutal Islamist terror groups.
        The dividing line between civilians and combatants simply does not exist in the world of Hamas. Security sources allege it was Yahya Sinwar, the group's political leader in Gaza, who initiated the latest round of violence. As a senior Israeli security official who focuses on Hamas foreign funding told me: "The distinction between the military and civilian arms is - to be very polite - artificial, and has no place in the fight against modern terrorism."  (Spectator-UK)
  • Fighting Israel on other Battlefields - Clifford D. May
    Hamas and Islamic Jihad have stopped shooting rockets at Israelis and, in response, Israelis have stopped targeting weapons arsenals in Gaza. But the Long War on Israel is now moving to other battlefields. In Geneva last week, the UN Human Rights Council voted to establish an "indefinite Commission of Inquiry" - jargon for a permanent inquisition to brand Israelis as war criminals.
        This offensive was instigated by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The OIC is an alliance of more than 50 nation-states that self-identify as Muslim. Yet many of them agree with Hamas that one tiny Jewish state is one too many and that its existence, therefore, must be terminated. A Hamas policy document written in 2017 plainly states: "Hamas rejects any alternative to the full and complete liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea." If you support Hamas, that's what you support.
        Those fighting to exterminate Israel - whether with rockets, reports, or newspaper articles - are making clear that, to them, Jewish lives do not matter.
        The writer is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD). (Washington Times)
  • Ireland's Delusional Orgy of Criticism of Israel - Alan Shatter
    In World War II, while thousands left Ireland to join the British forces fighting Nazi Germany, the Irish state assumed a position of neutrality, acting as a bystander. Charles Bewley, the anti-Semitic Irish ambassador in Berlin during the 1930s, advised the Irish government to refuse German and Austrian Jewish families trying to escape Nazi rule permission to live in Ireland, concerned Jews would contaminate Catholic Irish purity. Prime Minister Eamon DeValera expressed his condolences in Germany's Dublin embassy in May 1945 on Hitler's death.
        Debating last month's Israel-Hamas war, all opposition parties and various Dail deputies engaged in an orgy of condemnation of Israel. Israel was pilloried for defending Israelis. Ireland demanded more Israeli dead for Israel's defensive action to be justified. Embraced by the Irish government and passed unanimously, the Dail labeled Israeli "settlements" in eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods and on the West Bank as the sole barrier to a two-state solution.
        Legislators, including Ireland's foreign minister, celebrated the motion's anti-Semitic objective of achieving a Judenrein eastern Jerusalem and West Bank. It is truly delusional for politicians of a country which denied a safe haven to persecuted Jews to claim moral authority to dictate where it is permissible for Jewish people to reside today.
        The Irish foreign minister also had a much-publicized friendly meeting in Dublin with Iran's visiting foreign minister. No public criticism was voiced of Iran for its many threats to eliminate Israel, for its funding and training of terrorists or for cheering on Hamas rockets.
        The writer, a former Irish minister for Justice, Equality and Defense, was a member of the Dail (primary house of parliament) for 30 years. (Jerusalem Post)

  • Anti-Semitism

  • Anti-Semitism Far Worse than Reported, Say U.S. Jewish Leaders - Lazar Berman
    Anti-Semitism in the U.S. is even more pervasive than it appears "because the majority of incidents are not reported," Malcolm Hoenlein, vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, told the Times of Israel on Monday. "We get reports all the time of it. I see it not only in my own community but from rabbis who call me and others. And often the police will not classify it as a hate crime because then the FBI has to come in, and the FBI doesn't necessarily want to because it's a lot of paperwork."
        "Anti-Semitism has really shaken up our community. The sense of insecurity is pretty widespread, even among sectors that felt that they were not vulnerable to what Orthodox Jews were subject to, in terms of attacks on them, because they were visible. Now we've seen it everywhere, people being stopped and asked, 'Are you a Jew?'...We have Jewish members of faculties who are finding themselves and their jobs being put in danger because of being identified as pro-Israel, or not joining the anti-Israel onslaught."
        Hoenlein also highlighted the May 28 New York Times front page, which featured photographs of children killed in Gaza during the recent fighting. The newspaper does not typically put images of children killed by U.S. forces on its front page. "That one front page shook up the community and shook up everybody more than anything I remember."  (Times of Israel)
  • Jews Always Speak Up for Everyone Else. Now's the Time to Stand Up for Ourselves - Elisha Wiesel
    Once again, too many of us have become the Jews of Silence. We have spoken up for every cause but our own. If you have been silent because you feel Israel can take care of itself, think again. Your voice matters. Just weeks ago, Hamas fired thousands of rockets at Israeli population centers with the express intent of maximizing civilian deaths. Iron Dome is why there aren't thousands of murdered Jews. Some in Congress are clamoring for the U.S. to defund it.
        Speak up for Israel, which has given up land in the name of peace, most recently with disastrous consequences in Gaza. It is now our generation's turn to speak our truth: Neither the millions of us here in the U.S. nor our Jewish brothers and sisters in Israel are going anywhere. We will not bow to terror.
        The writer is the son of Marion and Elie Wiesel. (JTA)

  • Weekend Feature

  • When the Mob Came for the Jews of Baghdad - Joseph Samuels
    I was 10 when mobs attacked the Jewish community of Baghdad with cruel and unimaginable violence. Rioters maimed, raped, killed and robbed the unsuspecting Jews. This massacre, which began June 1, 1941, was called the Farhud, Arabic for "violent dispossession" or pogrom.
        Two months earlier, on April 1, a pro-Nazi coup d'etat overthrew the pro-British Iraqi government and seized power. On May 31, 1941, the British army arrived at the outskirts of Baghdad and the pro-Nazi government collapsed. The Jewish community in Baghdad felt a sense of relief. But the absence of a functioning government created a power vacuum and lawlessness followed.
        On June 1, soldiers in civilian clothes, policemen and large crowds of Iraqi men, including Bedouins brandishing swords and daggers, plundered more than 1,500 Jewish homes and stores. For two days, the rioters murdered between 150 and 780 Jews, injured 600 to 2,000 others, and raped an indeterminable number of women. Unarmed and unprepared to defend themselves, Jews were vulnerable and helpless.
        On the first day, my brother Eliyahu returned home traumatized. He had seen men on a main thoroughfare dragging Jewish passengers from a minibus, stabbing them to death, and then robbing them in broad daylight. My family stacked heavy furniture against our front door. I carried buckets of water to the roof to boil and stay ready to toss on marauders should they attempt to break in. We stayed up through the night, barricaded in our home.
        My uncles Moshi and Meir had their homes totally ransacked. They escaped with their lives by jumping from rooftop to rooftop. The riots ended in the late afternoon of June 2 when Iraqi, Kurdish and British forces entered Baghdad, killing some of the rioters and establishing order. (Wall Street Journal)

Dear Mr. President of South Africa, There's No Apartheid in Israel - Chief Rabbi of South Africa Warren Goldstein (Sunday Times-South Africa)

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa wrote on May 17 about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The writer, who has a PhD in human rights and constitutional law, responds:
  • Mr. President, you have dedicated your life to achieving peace, and sacrificed much for this noble cause. There can be no peace without truth. The truth is that there is no apartheid in Israel. All its citizens are equal before the law, have the right to vote, and serve at every level of government. At this very moment it is the Arab-led parties in parliament that hold the balance of power and will determine who will form the next government.
  • The truth is that this conflict also has nothing to do with the situation at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Israel is the only country in the Middle East where Christians, Jews and Muslims can safely practice their faiths, and have free access to all the holy sites. The status quo at Al-Aqsa has remained unchanged in decades. And though the mosque sits atop the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site, the Israeli government has given custody over the site to a Muslim trust and bans prayer by Jewish visitors to the site.
  • The truth is that the ongoing conflict has nothing to do with "the illegal occupation of Palestinian land and the denial of the Palestinian people's right to self-determination," as you put it. There have been many opportunities to establish a Palestinian state. Over the past two decades alone, there were two formal offers made by successive Israeli prime ministers to establish a Palestinian state in the West Bank with Jerusalem as its capital. Both were rejected.
  • Hamas is open about the fact that it is Israel's very existence that cannot be tolerated. Their unambiguous goal is the eradication of the Jewish state, as they make clear by firing thousands of rockets into densely populated civilian areas. Unsurprisingly, Hamas is designated a terrorist organization by most democracies in the world.
  • Finally, consider that since the times of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob there has been an unbroken Jewish presence in Israel for almost 4,000 years, and that the Jewish people are indigenous inhabitants of the land and not colonialists.

        See also South Africa Muslim Leaders Reject Chief Rabbi's Call for Tolerance of Differing Views on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict - Alex Mitchley (News24-South Africa)
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