July 1, 2021

In-Depth Issues:

Video - FBI: Jews Are the Most Targeted Group in America - Nick Watt (CNN)
    Jews are the most targeted group in America, says the FBI.
    Data on anti-Semitic attitudes show rising levels of prejudice among young people.

    See also Campus Group Shares Data on Hundreds of Anti-Semitic Experiences - Dion J. Pierre (Algemeiner)
    Jewish on Campus (JOC) released a report on Tuesday documenting 1,097 anti-Semitic incidents of harassment and bullying on college campuses.
    The report included a list of the 15 colleges and universities with the most reported incidents of anti-Semitism.
    See also Report: Anti-Semitism on Campus (Jewish on Campus)

    See also Attacks Against Canadian Jews Soar in May - Sue-Ann Levy (Toronto Sun-Canada)
    B'nai Brith Canada reported Tuesday that Canadian Jews came under attack in May in "unprecedented ways."
    The 61 acts of violence are the "highest ever reported in one month," with Jews "singled out and targeted" in Toronto, London, Winnipeg, Montreal, Calgary and Mississauga.
    "Anti-Israel zealots" traveled to predominantly Jewish neighborhoods across Canada to harass and intimidate the people living there, while individuals displaying Israeli flags were beaten in plain view of the police.
    See also Report: Surge of Anti-Semitism in Canada (B'nai Brith Canada)

Iran-Backed Militias Fire Rockets at U.S. Forces in Syria - Michael R. Gordon (Wall Street Journal)
    U.S. troops near the al-Omar oil field in northeast Syria came under rocket fire Monday night after Iran-backed militias vowed revenge for U.S. airstrikes earlier that day in Iraq and Syria. There were no U.S. injuries.
    American forces responded by firing artillery at the rocket launching positions.

Iran's Drone Transfers to Proxies - Andrew Hanna (U.S. Institute of Peace)
    Iran has provided drones or drone technology to proxies in Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, and Gaza in order to attack U.S., Israeli and Saudi forces.

UN Calls on PA to Halt Crackdown on Journalists, Political Opponents (Gaza Post)
    The Palestinian Authority must stop harassing journalists and political opponents, Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said Monday.
    "We call on the Palestinian Authority to ensure that security forces protect freedom of expression, freedom of thought, and peaceful assembly. Any 'excessive use of force' should be investigated and prosecuted according to the law."
    He spoke in the wake of the killing of Palestinian political activist Nizar Banat, who was battered to death by PA security personnel during a raid on his home.
    PA security officers have also beaten journalists covering the protests after Banat's death.

It's Time Ilhan Omar and "the Squad" Learned the Truth about Israel and Hamas - Bassem Eid (Investigative Project on Terrorism)
    I'm a Palestinian who grew up in a UNRWA refugee camp outside of Jerusalem and have been a human rights activist all my life.
    U.S. politicians like the members of "the Squad" spend a considerable amount of time attacking Israel for the supposed harm it inflicts on Palestinians. If they truly care about the well-being of Palestinians, they ought to focus their attention elsewhere.
    These days, the vast majority of suffering Palestinians experience is the direct result of the corruption of the Palestinian Authority and the influence of the terrorist group Hamas.
    The writer is a Jerusalem-based Palestinian political analyst and human rights pioneer.

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Israel Air Force Trains with U.S. Marines and Royal Air Force F-35s (Israel Air Force)
    On Tuesday, the Israeli Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, and Royal Air Force completed the "Tri-Lightning 2" joint exercise, flying F-35s from the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier.
    The forces drilled in air-to-air combat, air strikes, advanced surface-to-air threats, as well as strikes deep in enemy territory.
    See also Israel Forms Third F-35 Squadron - Lilach Shoval (Israel Hayom)
    The Israeli Air Force on Thursday formed its third F-35 stealth fighter jet squadron.
    Israel currently has 27 F-35 jets, part of a 50-aircraft deal with the U.S. to be completed by 2024.

Iranian Christians Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison for "Sectarian Activities" (Jerusalem Post)
    Three Christians from the Church of Iran were each sentenced to five years in prison on Saturday by the Revolutionary Court in Karaj in northern Iran, after being charged with "sectarian activities" and convicted of "engaging in propaganda against the Islamic regime."
    Mervyn Thomas, president of the human rights organization Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), said, "We urge the Iranian authorities to release all prisoners detained on account of their religion or belief, and to end the relentless campaign of harassment of Christians and other religious minorities through the judicial system."

Turkey's IHH Aid Organization Linked to ISIS Brides - Abigail R. Esman (Investigative Project on Terrorism)
    The Turkish Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH) has a dark side, with allegations linking it to the Islamic State.
    Witnesses in an ongoing Ankara trial have disclosed how IHH helped women seeking to join ISIS to cross the Turkish border into Syria in the first place, and later helped them to escape back to Turkey.
    Former ISIS member Elif Sancar told the Kurdish ANF news agency last summer that "the majority of ISIS women" have fled the Kurdish-run refugee and prison camps.

UK Ministry of Defense Chooses Israel's Trophy Protection System for Tanks (i24News)
    Israeli defense technology company Rafael on Thursday announced that its Trophy protection system for armored vehicles against rockets will be incorporated by the UK Defense Ministry for the Army's Challenger 3 Main Battle Tank, currently in development.
    Trophy has been installed on the IDF's Merkava tanks since 2010 and also on its Namer APCs. Four U.S. Army Abrams tank brigades are equipped with Trophy and the technology will soon be supplied to Germany for its Leopard tanks.

Israeli Startups Raised over $2.3 Billion in June (Globes)
    Israeli startups raised over $2.2 billion in June 2021, with the total for the first six months of the year reaching $10.9 billion, more than the record $10 billion raised in all of 2020.

Israel Donates Cows to Rwanda - Alice Kagina (New Times-Rwanda)
    Twenty vulnerable households in Gisagara district have received a cow each from the Embassy of Israel in Rwanda.
    The move is in line with the government's Girinka program to provide a cow to every poor family. When the cow gives birth, the first female calf is given to another poor family.
    "I will be able to get milk, feed my children, and get manure for my farm," said Eugenie Muhoza, a mother of two, after receiving a cow on Thursday.
    This is the second donation of cows by Israel to support the Girinka program.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli President Rivlin to PA President Abbas: "We Are Destined to Live Together"
    At UN headquarters in New York, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday appealed to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "We are destined to live together," Rivlin said. "It is up to us to end the conflict. Let us forget the past. Let us build confidence. There are possibilities to ensure a bright future for our people."
        Rivlin later told UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, "Peace between Israel and the Palestinians will never be achieved through anti-Israel decisions or commissions of inquiry. The bias against Israel in the UN institutions must end."
        "We wish to continue working with the UN to meet the humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza, with whom we have no conflict. However, any arrangement must include the return of our soldiers and civilians detained by the terrorist organization Hamas."  (i24News)
  • U.S. Opposes Conditioning Gaza Reconstruction on Return of IDF Troops' Bodies - Jacob Magid
    The Biden administration opposes Israel's desire to condition post-war reconstruction projects in Gaza on the return of the bodies of two fallen IDF soldiers held by Hamas, two Western diplomats told the Times of Israel Monday. However, an Israeli official said Israel's new government won't enable long-term rehabilitation projects as long as Hamas refuses to return the bodies of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, held since the Gaza war in 2014. "All plans to rehabilitate Gaza must include bringing back our boys," Israel's Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan told American Jewish leaders on Sunday. (Times of Israel)
  • German President Steinmeier: The International Criminal Court Has No Jurisdiction over Israel - Jonathan Lis
    German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier responded to questions submitted by Ha'aretz in advance of his visit to Israel which began Wednesday:
        "Germany lives with the historical legacy of the monstrous abuses of political power perpetrated by the Nazi regime....Israel has repeatedly experienced discrimination and pressure in its dealings with the United Nations and associated organizations....It has much greater confidence in itself than in international organizations."
        "Regarding the opening of investigations [of Israel]: the German government's position is that the International Criminal Court has no jurisdiction in this matter due to the absence of Palestinian statehood. A Palestinian state and the determination of territorial borders can only be achieved through direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians."  (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Stabs Soldier in West Bank - Yoav Zitun
    An IDF soldier was wounded Thursday in a stabbing attack at a bus stop next to her military base in the West Bank. The attacker tried to seize the soldier's weapon and in the ensuing struggle stabbed her in the back. The attacker was apprehended by security forces. (Ynet News)
  • Coronavirus in Israel: Cases Rise while Deaths Decline - Rossella Tercatin
    307 new coronavirus cases were identified on Wednesday, the highest number in over two months, the Israel Health Ministry announced Thursday. However, only 6 people died from Covid in June, the lowest number since the beginning of the pandemic. There are 1,990 active cases, with 54 people hospitalized. (Jerusalem Post-Israel Ministry of Health)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:


  • Iran's New President Has a Track Record of Anti-Semitism - Jonathan Greenblatt
    An obsessive hatred of the Jewish state is a major feature of the career of Iran's President-elect, Ebrahim Raisi. This information is deeply relevant as the world considers whether to return to the Iran deal. In 2016, as head of the Astan Quds Razavi Foundation, Raisi oversaw the production of a 50-episode documentary film, titled "The Devil's Plan," promoting The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a 19th century forgery by Russian intelligence services designed to scapegoat Jews.
        In 2020, Raisi alleged America and "global Zionism" are plotting to subjugate all Muslims, pulling the strings of a global media empire, hatching devious plans in think tanks, and conspiring to insult the Prophet Muhammad.
        What's needed now is a forthright recognition by the Biden Administration that Iran's regime remains the number one state sponsor of anti-Semitism. The U.S. and all world powers must work together to assure that Raisi can commit no additional crimes against humanity.
        The writer is the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League. (Newsweek)
  • Broad Consensus in Israel over Security Challenges - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin interviewed by Yoav Limor
    According to Amos Yadlin, who was closely involved in the destruction of Iraq's nuclear reactor in 1981 and Syria's reactor in 2007, "The vast majority [in Israel's Knesset], from both the coalition and the opposition, support advancing the following goals: preventing Iran from reaching nuclear capability, preventing Iran's military entrenchment in Syria and Iraq, thwarting Hizbullah's precision missile project, severely damaging and deterring Hamas, cultivating and strengthening the vital alliance with the U.S., maintaining good relations with Russia and China, promoting and expanding the Abraham Accords to other countries, and maintaining peace with Egypt and Jordan."
        Regarding the Iran nuclear agreement, Yadlin said, "Contrary to claims made in 2015 that the agreement blocks all of Iran's paths to a nuclear weapon, today it is clear that this agreement has many holes, and the Iranians have many ways to get around it....The Americans will not decide whether or not to sign the agreement because of Israel's position. They do not ask us."  (Israel Hayom)
  • Iran as a Challenge to Jerusalem and Washington - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Michael Herzog
    Israeli-American disagreement on Iran is a strategic dispute of the first order, one pertaining to what Israel sees as the greatest threat to its national security - Iran's nuclear ambitions and plans. Both sides agree about the nature of the Iranian threat, that Iran should be prevented from achieving military nuclear capability, and that the use of diplomatic tools to achieve that end is preferable to the use of military force.
        Israel argues against returning to an agreement that is fundamentally flawed - one that does not, by any means, block all paths toward nuclear weapons. Moreover, once Iran returns to the original agreement after most of the punitive sanctions have been lifted, it will dig in its heels and refuse to proceed towards an improved agreement. If Iran remains in the original deal, within a decade most of the restrictions on its nuclear program will be removed as per the agreement's "sunset clauses," and it will then be able to become a legitimate nuclear threshold state.
        From Israel's point of view, such a scenario is intolerable. Furthermore, Israel does not believe that, at the moment of truth, there would be enough time or international political will to block Iran from quickly crossing the threshold to military nuclear capability. Israel sees Iran as a close and direct threat of the highest strategic order, and itself as having narrow security margins in the face of that threat.
        The U.S., in contrast, is a distant global power with wide security margins and different priorities, including a growing weariness of wars in the Middle East. Israel perceives the U.S. as relatively tolerant of a scenario in which Iran becomes a nuclear threshold state, and as lacking the political will to confront Iran, also considering that its partners in the agreement are uninterested in doing so. Israel may ultimately have no choice but to shoulder the burden of halting Iran's nuclear program, should diplomacy prove fruitless.
        The writer is a Senior Fellow at the Jewish People Policy Institute, and an International Fellow of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (JNS)
  • The Iran Nuclear Deal Isn't the Problem, Iran Is - James Jeffrey and Dennis Ross
    With the sanctions relief that will result from returning to compliance with the JCPOA, Tehran's troublemaking resources will increase. So we can expect more Iranian expansion in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, as well as threats to neighboring states.
        Many in the U.S. Congress as well as leaders of Middle East states worry that the administration and its European partners will wrongly see the Iran file as "closed" because they see the threat Iran poses too narrowly, and in only nuclear terms. The regional perspective on Iran is driven by these leaders' experience with the Islamic Republic. For many in the region, there is no way to build trust with Iran because Iran has an agenda to dominate the Middle East.
        American officials are making commitments in private conversations with our allies in the region to not allow the nuclear file to change what the U.S. tolerates when it comes to Iran in the Middle East. The challenge will be to follow up and contest the Iranians as they directly and via proxies expand and threaten others. If we want to deter Iran's egregious actions, we must be able to show its leaders that they will pay a price.
        James Jeffrey, Chair of the Middle East program at the Wilson Center, is a former U.S. ambassador to Turkey and Iraq. Dennis Ross, a former special assistant to President Obama, is the counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Atlantic)
  • The Iran Deal May Still Be Dead - Blaise Misztal and Jonathan Ruhe
    Many assumed Tehran would rejoin some version of the nuclear deal (JCPOA), driven by a desire for economic benefits. Yet getting back into the original agreement was never going to be easy. Iran's nuclear program has advanced much further than the JCPOA accounted for.
        The original deal has no provisions regarding Iran's extra enrichment and centrifuge manufacturing facilities, nor the irreversible know-how Iranian scientists have gathered from operating advanced centrifuges in violation of the deal. "Linear return to 2015 is no longer possible," Rafael Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, warned last month.
        Meanwhile, Iran's vital banking and energy sectors, as well as its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, would remain blacklisted for ties to terrorism even if Washington lifts all the JCPOA's nuclear-related sanctions. This U.S. position is irreconcilable with Iran's demand for total economic relief before rolling back its nuclear breaches.
        Given its diminishing presence in the region, America should also make clear that it backs Israel if it takes military action in self-defense against Iran. Since July 2020, Israel's covert strikes have taken thousands of centrifuges off line and set back Tehran's mass-production of advanced centrifuges, delaying its breakout time.
        Blaise Misztal is vice president for policy at the Jewish Institute for National Security of America, where Jonathan Ruhe is director of foreign policy. (Wall Street Journal)

  • Palestinians

  • Israel's Unique Public Diplomacy Dilemma - Alan Baker
    The initial few days of international sympathy and understanding for Israel's right to defend its population rapidly metamorphosed into a wave of condemnation. The change came with the deliberate propagation of a false and distorted equivalence between a terror organization blatantly violating humanitarian norms and a democratic state legitimately defending itself against terror.
        In so doing, the media chooses to ignore the Palestinian use of its civilian population as human shields and the blatant abuse of hospitals, schools, mosques, private homes, public buildings as rocket emplacements and weapons storage facilities, and the hundreds of kilometers of offensive, strategic tunnels under Gaza that endanger civilian life above.
        Public diplomacy should bring to the attention of the international community the extensive and illegal use and abuse of children by Hamas for military and propaganda purposes, as well as the illegal use of incendiary balloons and other anti-environment and anti-ecology weapons to destroy Israel's agriculture and to pollute its environment.
        The writer, former legal counsel to Israel's foreign ministry and former ambassador to Canada, heads the international law program at the Jerusalem Center. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Hamas' Human Rights Violations in the 2021 Gaza War - Amelia Navins and Lenny Ben-David
    From a young age, Palestinian children are indoctrinated by the Palestinian leadership to seek death through war. For example, the daughter of a Hamas official was recorded saying, "If we die, we will die as Martyrs for the sake of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa." Such indoctrination is reinforced in summer camps for children and culminates in the conscription of children into military units, in direct violation of international humanitarian law.
        In the course of the 2021 Gaza War, Hamas launched 4,300 rockets at Israeli civilians in a blatant violation of international humanitarian law, which calls to protect civilian populations during military operations. Article 25 of the 1907 Hague Regulations specifically prohibits attacks or bombardment of towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings that are undefended.
        Hamas unapologetically uses its own civilians as human shields. On May 12, 2021, UN Special Coordinator Tor Wennesland told the UN Security Council, "Hamas and other militants' indiscriminate launching of rockets and mortars from highly populated civilian neighborhoods into civilian population centers in Israel violates international humanitarian law, is unacceptable, and has to stop immediately."
        It is vital that Hamas be held accountable for its illegal actions in international forums and international courts of law. Without doing so, there will be no justice for those who have suffered from the grave human rights abuses committed by Hamas.
        Amelia Navins is a student at the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. Lenny Ben-David served 25 years in senior posts in AIPAC in Washington and Jerusalem, and as Israel's Deputy Chief of Mission in Washington. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • U.S. Should Bypass Palestinian Authority to Provide Aid to Gaza - Mike Pompeo and Sander Gerber
    There has been a recent push in the U.S. to utilize the Palestinian Authority as a "go-between" to ensure that aid to Gaza reaches civilians and is not pocketed by Hamas. Yet any reliance on the PA to be the broker of stability in the Arab-Israeli conflict is ill-considered, because it means partnering with a group implicated in terrorist activities.
        The Taylor Force Act, passed by Congress in 2018, cuts U.S. funding to the PA until it stops what has been described as a "pay to slay" program. The program issues stipends to the families of Palestinians killed or imprisoned for crimes committed against Israel, and has, in effect, subsidized terrorist activity. If foreign governments are serious about assisting the Palestinian people, they should not rely on groups who have remained only tenuously off the State Department's list of Foreign Terror Organizations.
        Mike Pompeo is a former U.S. secretary of state. Sander Gerber is a fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (The National-Abu Dhabi)
  • Book Review: Academic Freedom in Palestinian Universities - Eve Garrard
    Cary Nelson's new book, Not in Kansas Anymore: Academic Freedom in Palestinian Universities, finds that academic freedom in Palestinian universities is indeed very badly eroded and in certain respects non-existent. While Israeli measures are sometimes responsible, these are greatly outweighed in their effect on academic freedom by measures taken by Palestinian students, academics, and wider political forces.
        These measures, often deployed by students though sometimes by faculty, involve intimidation and physical violence. They receive wide social support, have done so for many years, are very resistant to change, and are largely ignored by Western critics of Israel.
        In fact, much of the conflict in Palestinian universities is not focused on Israel at all. There is violent conflict between groups which support Fatah and Hamas, and also between splinter groups. Faculty are afraid of being branded by students as collaborators, which can put their lives in danger. Administrators are too frightened to enforce respect for freedom of expression, and with good reason.
        It's hard not to feel desperately sorry for those young people who have so little freedom to try out a range of different ideas for themselves. And it's hard not to feel a measure of contempt for those who, in the safety of their Western universities, turn their eyes away from the forces denying Palestinian students that freedom.
        The writer is Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Manchester. (Fathom-BICOM-UK)

  • Weekend Features

  • Why Israel Got to Surfside So Fast - Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin
    Almost immediately after the horrific building collapse in Surfside, Florida, members of the Home Front Command of the Israel Defense Forces were on their way to help with search and rescue efforts. Israeli rescue teams went to Mexico City after earthquakes in 1985, Buenos Aires after a terror attack on the headquarters of the Jewish community in 1994, Nairobi after a terror attack in 1998, New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Nairobi after a building collapse in 2006, Haiti after an earthquake in 2010, Ghana after a department store collapse in 2012, and Mexico City after an earthquake in 2017.
        Israel responds immediately - not because the victims are Jewish. There are not a whole lot of Jews in Ghana, Kenya and Haiti. Israel responds immediately because Israel is Jewish and is engaged in being a light unto the nations.
        The writer is the spiritual leader of Temple Israel in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Religion News Service)
  • Arab Social Media Stars Find Common Ground with Israelis - Tara Kavaler
    Social media influencer Yousif Mohamed, 20, is one of the first Bahrainis to visit Israel. "You're never too young to want to try and change the world," he says. "Ignorance can sometimes hinder us and it was because of this that I decided to visit and see things for myself, and I'm really happy that I've taken that step....It's completely different from what you see in mainstream media. They aren't people who want death to Arabs....In fact, they live with Arabs like their brothers." Mohamed is one of 25 social media influencers from the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco who came to Israel for a week-long tour and to find common ground with Israelis.
        Saoud Saqer, 30, is from Abu Dhabi. One lesson that Saqer wants to take back with him is that Israelis come from all different backgrounds. "Israel is a nation, it's a country....Within that state there are Muslims, Jews, Christians, and all of them share their love for the land and for the state of Israel. There are even Israeli [Jews] who have an Arab background. I want the world to know...there are Arabs and Muslims who are working in Israel's health department, the police, in the army."  (Media Line-Ynet News)
  • The IDF's Secret for Success - Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Moshe Ya'alon interviewed by Samuel Nurding
    As Israel's Defense Minister, I met a U.S. general commanding an international exercise flying F-16s who asked me, "What is your secret? How come your pilots are the best in all the fields: air-to-air battles, navigation, accuracy targeting?"
        I pointed to my heart and my mind, and told him: "This is the Jewish-Zionist spirit. All our pilots understand their responsibility to defend our country, and the price of not doing so. They will do their utmost to be the best. As long as we educate our youngsters according to Jewish-Zionist values, our future is bright."  (Fathom-BICOM-UK)

  • Is the Biden administration continuing to support Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights that was formally recognized by President Donald Trump?
  • A 1975 letter from President Gerald Ford to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin stated that the U.S. "will give great weight to Israel's position that any peace agreement with Syria must be predicated on Israel remaining on the Golan Heights."
  • In 1991, Secretary of State James Baker wrote to Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir that "the United States continues to stand behind the assurance given by President Ford to Prime Minister Rabin" in 1975.
  • A second American letter reconfirming the Ford letter was written in 1996 by Secretary of State Warren Christopher to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
  • President Biden and Secretary of State Blinken have not renounced President Trump's recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan on March 25, 2019, but they haven't accepted it either.
  •  Iran is seeking to encircle Israel with its Shiite militias, in Lebanon, in new bases within Syria, and eventually in Jordan.
  • If U.S. policy over the Golan Heights is interpreted as changing, that might even invite a conflict that neither the U.S. nor Israel is seeking.

    The writer is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
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