January 24, 2022

In-Depth Issues:

Houthi Missiles Target Saudi Arabia and UAE on Monday (Al Jazeera)
    The UAE Defense Ministry reported it intercepted two Houthi ballistic missiles that targeted Abu Dhabi on Monday, as Saudi defenses destroyed a missile launched into southern Saudi Arabia on Sunday.
    A spokesman for Yemen's Houthis took responsibility for the attacks.
    See also Iranian Proxy Houthis Are Becoming a Major Regional Threat - Seth J. Frantzman (Jerusalem Post)
    The ability of the Iran-backed Houthis to stop air traffic into Abu Dhabi international airport shows the Iranian proxy is graduating to become a major regional threat, much as Hizbullah became an international threat, with tentacles stretching to South America and Africa.

U.S. THAAD Missile Defense System Intercepts Houthi Missile Attacking UAE for First Time - Jen Judson (Defense News)
    The UAE used its U.S.-made Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System (THAAD) to intercept a Houthi-launched ballistic missile aimed at an oil facility near Al-Dhafra Air Base in Abu Dhabi on Jan. 16, marking the system's first known use in a military operation.

Israeli Jets Hold Massive Mid-Air Refueling Drill (Times of Israel)
    Israeli jets participated in a large drill over the Mediterranean that included mid-air refueling, the Saudi-owned Elaph news site reported Thursday.

U.S.-Backed Forces in Syria Battle to Regain Control of ISIS Prison - Louisa Loveluck (Washington Post)
    The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces said Sunday they were still fighting to regain control of the largest prison for Islamic State detainees in Hasakah after a three-day standoff.
    ISIS attacked the SDF with two car bombs that sparked a prison break on Thursday.
    The SDF said at least 160 ISIS militants and 27 of its members had been killed in the fighting.

Unilever's Israel Boycott Said to Cost Company $26 Billion (JNS)
    Unilever's stock has plunged 20.7% in the six months since it ordered Ben & Jerry's Israel to stop selling ice cream in Judea and Samaria.
    That amounts to a $26 billion loss, according to Israel's Channel 12.

U.S. Muslim Group Accuses Jewish Charities of Funding Islamophobia - Asaf Shalev (JTA)
    The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), in a report issued on Jan. 11 on "Islamophobia in the Mainstream," cited five donor-advised funds affiliated with Jewish federations in New York, Boston, Los Angeles and the San Francisco area, as well as other entities with a focus on the U.S. Jewish community and Israel including the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA).
    In response, Sean Durns, CAMERA's senior analyst, said, "CAIR's assertions are gross falsehoods seeking to deflect from CAMERA's factual commentary about CAIR's extremist activity....The FBI itself has suspended ties with CAIR, which had no fewer than five former lay leaders or staffers arrested, convicted and/or deported on terrorism-related charges."

Hizbullah Facing Calls to End Iran's "Occupation" of Lebanon - Dalal Saoud (UPI)
    In Lebanon, the poverty rate has nearly doubled from 42% in 2019 to 82% in 2021, electricity is on only 2 hours a day, and the national currency has lost 90% of its value.
    "More and more people are expressing their discontent openly," said a Shiite woman from the Baalbeck region, a Hizbullah stronghold.
    Some 200 political figures, including former ministers and parliamentarians, have established the National Council to Lift the Iranian Occupation of Lebanon.
    Ahmad Fatfat, head of the council and former minister, said their goal was to restore Lebanon's sovereignty.

Only Finland Ignores the Jewish Holocaust on Holocaust Remembrance Day - Risto Huvila (Jerusalem Post)
    On Jan. 27, most Western countries mark the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
    In 1995, the European Commission recommended that all its member states mark the date.
    Finland adopted Remembrance Day in 2002, but, unfortunately, they call it the "Remembrance Day for the Victims of Persecutions," the only European country that fails to refer to the Holocaust.
    The writer is Vice-Chair of the Finnish Holocaust Remembrance Association.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Iran Rejects Russian Proposal for Interim Nuclear Deal - Carol E. Lee
    As part of an effort to revive the nuclear deal with Iran, Russia has discussed a possible interim agreement with Iran in recent weeks that would involve limited sanctions relief in return for reimposing some restrictions on Tehran's nuclear program. Sources said the U.S. is aware of Russia's proposal. The Iran Permanent Mission to the UN said on Friday that Tehran does not want an interim deal. A senior U.S. official said, "we are certain that no such interim arrangement is being seriously discussed."
        Under one draft interim agreement that sources said Russia presented to Iran, Tehran would be required to stop enriching uranium up to 60% purity and dispose of its current stockpile, possibly by exporting it to Russia. In exchange, Iran would receive access to billions of dollars in oil revenues frozen in foreign bank accounts, including in South Korea. The proposal had a six-month duration, and stipulates Iran would receive additional sanctions relief for each extension and $10 billion in sanctions relief from unfrozen assets in South Korea, Japan and Iraq. (NBC News)
        See also South Korea Pays Iran's UN Dues with $18 Million in Frozen Funds
    Iran is to regain its vote in the UN General Assembly after South Korea paid Tehran's $18 million in delinquent dues with frozen Iranian funds, South Korea said on Sunday. Release of Iran's frozen funds requires the approval of the U.S.  Tehran has demanded the release of $7 billion of its funds frozen in South Korean banks under U.S. sanctions. (Reuters)
  • UN Approves Israeli Measure to Condemn Holocaust Denial - Rick Gladstone
    The UN on Thursday adopted an Israeli resolution that condemns denial and distortion of the Holocaust. The resolution adopted by consensus by the General Assembly was co-sponsored by Germany and supported by the U.S. and Russia. Only Iran objected. Diplomats said it was only the second time in history that the General Assembly had adopted an Israeli-backed resolution.
        The vote coincided with the 80th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference, where high-ranking Nazi leaders in 1942 devised the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question," a plan to exterminate Jews. A third of the world's Jewish population, including 1.5 million children, were murdered under their organized policy of gassing, shooting and slave labor in concentration camps.
        Gilad Erdan, Israel's ambassador to the UN and a grandson of Holocaust victims, said, "we now live in an era in which fiction is now becoming fact and the Holocaust is becoming a distant memory." He said only about half of the world's population had even heard of the Holocaust, and that some believe the events were a "complete myth." The resolution expresses concern about "the growing prevalence of Holocaust denial or distortion through the use of information and communications technologies" and urges all UN members to "reject without any reservation any denial or distortion of the Holocaust."  (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Corona-Omicron Continues to Spread in Israel
    The Israel Ministry of Health reported Monday that there were 527,223 active coronavirus cases on Sunday, with 2,181 in hospital including 783 in serious condition. Nearly 30% of those tested were positive. 104 people have died in the past week. Out of 280 localities, 268 were classified as "red," while only 1, a small Bedouin town, was classified as "green." In Jerusalem there were 41,463 active cases. (Israel Ministry of Health-Hebrew)
        See also Over 10 Percent of Israel's Population Caught Covid in January, Health Ministry Says - Yaron Druckman (Ynet News)
  • Islamic Jihad Stages Pro-Iran, Anti-Saudi Rally in Gaza
    At a demonstration led by Islamic Jihad in Gaza on Sunday, dozens of protesters chanted "Death to the House of Saud," and waved posters of the leader of Yemen's Houthi militia. The hashtag "#Palestinians Support the Houthis" was trending on social media on Sunday. (Times of Israel)
  • Gulf Arabs Slam Palestinian Terror Groups for "Supporting" Houthi Attacks - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) condemned over the weekend the Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in Yemen. Several political analysts from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain responded with scathing attacks on the Palestinian groups and Palestinians in general for supporting the Iranian-backed Houthi militia in Yemen, which has launched drone and missile attacks on Saudi Arabia and the UAE. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Stopping Iranian Entrenchment in Syria: Time to Lower Expectations - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Udi Dekel
    There are currently a few hundred Iranian officers and about 20,000 Shiite militia fighters in Syria, operating under the command of the Iranian Quds Force, according to the outgoing head of IDF Military Intelligence, Maj.-Gen. Tamir Heyman. Former Quds Force commander Gen. Qasem Soleimani sought to create a friction zone with Israel along its northern borders, including the Golan Heights. When Iran began to set up military deployment and facilities on the Golan front, Israel responded with determination and prevented Iran from gaining a military foothold close to its borders, while disrupting Hizbullah efforts to build terror cells in southern Syria.
        After ten years of war in Syria, Iranian forces have reduced visibility while infiltrating the fabric of civilian and religious life in the country. Iran has set up dozens of centers in Syria which organize economic, religious, educational, and cultural activities and dispense humanitarian aid and medical services, and has established financial institutions, particularly in Damascus and Aleppo.
        Tehran seeks to avoid conflict with Russia and has responded to Moscow's demand to pull back its proxies - mainly the Shiite militias, but not Hizbullah - from southern Syria. Instead, the Iranians have recruited over 10,000 local residents and organized them into dozens of local militias operating under Iranian command and with Iranian training. Militia members are sometimes used to collect information and attempt to carry out terror attacks against Israel on the Golan Heights.
        At the same time Iran is reinforcing its foothold in eastern Syria, deploying its proxies and equipping them with advanced weapons, as a launchpad for seizing control of the area and the Iraq-Syria border once the U.S. withdraws its forces.
        The writer, former head of the IDF Strategic Planning Division, is Managing Director of INSS. (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
  • What an Anti-Semite's Fantasy Says about Jewish Reality - Bret Stephens
    A man travels 4,800 miles from the north of England to the heart of Texas. Appearing to be homeless, he gains entry into a synagogue where the rabbi welcomes him with a cup of tea. With a handgun, he takes the rabbi and others hostage for 11 hours while demanding the release of a convicted terrorist held in a nearby prison. A hostage reports him as saying, "I know President Biden will do things for the Jews."
        The common denominator in each of the mutations of anti-Semitism over the centuries is an idea, based in fantasy and conspiracy, about Jewish power. The old-fashioned religious anti-Semite believed Jews had the power to kill Christ. The 19th-century anti-Semites who were the forerunners to the Nazis believed Jews had the power to start wars, manipulate kings and swindle native people of their patrimony. Present-day anti-Zionists attribute to Israel and its supporters vast powers that they do not possess.
        If you think the reason Israel gets so much support in Congress is the money and influence of the pro-Israel lobby, you might be surprised to learn that that lobby ranks 20th on the most recent list of congressional donors, giving away a paltry $4.5 million compared with the $95 million that retiree interest groups donated.
        The likeliest reason there was so much hesitancy to describe the attack in Texas as anti-Semitic was that the assailant was a British Muslim of Pakistani descent. Not white. Not privileged. Not right-wing. In the binary narrative of the powerful versus the powerless, his naked anti-Semitism just doesn't compute: Powerless people are supposed to be victims, not murderous bigots. (New York Times)
  • Has the Palestinian "Apartheid Assault" Backfired in the Middle East? - Dan Diker
    The decades-long Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) strategy seeks to replace Israel with "Palestine" by recasting the Jewish and democratic state as another white supremacist apartheid South African regime. While the apartheid libel continues to damage Israel and wound diaspora Jews in violent anti-Semitic attacks, the PA's growing popularity in the West has failed it in the Arab East. Abbas' pivot to Turkey and Iran has backfired among the PLO's strongest Arab League supporters, weakening it regionally, while its internal corruption has damaged it domestically.
        The writer directs the Program on Political Warfare at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Emirati Official: We Accept Israel as Part of the Region - Justin Cohen
    Senior Emirati official Dr. Ali Al Nuaimi, who helped pave the way for the Abraham Accords, told Jewish News the impact of the normalization agreement with Israel had "exceeded" all expectations within a year. He suggested his generation of Arabs had been "hijacked by a narrative that created hate between us" and his government was taken aback by the level of support on the Israeli street for warmer relations.
        The process has confirmed that people in the region have changed, Al Nuaimi said. "The Arab people are fed up with wars and terrorism, they want peace....The Israelis have changed, the Palestinians have changed and the Arabs have changed. Some leaders didn't yet change but they will."
        "Now when Israelis visit the UAE they see with their own eyes that we are Arab, we are Muslim, but we believe they are part of the region. The message that went to them in the last 70 years was that they are not accepted. That whenever there is an opportunity to destroy Israel it will be taken. They see from our people, not only our leadership, it's different."  (Jewish News-UK)
        See also Israel Approves $95 Million Joint Research Fund with UAE - Lazar Berman
    Israel's cabinet approved on Sunday a joint Israel-UAE R&D fund to encourage collaboration on technological innovation, and to help Israeli companies access resources that are not available in Israel. Israel will allocate NIS15 million a year over the next decade and the UAE will provide matching funds, for a total of NIS 300 million ($95 million). (Times of Israel)

The UN Descent to its Deepest Depths of Hostility against Israel - Amb. Alan Baker (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • The recent unprecedented decision to establish and finance an "ongoing, independent, international commission of inquiry" to function as a permanent "inquisition" or "kangaroo court" aimed solely against one state - Israel - to the exception of all other countries in the world, raises the fearful specter, reminiscent of times gone-by, of unjustifiable persecution and discrimination.
  • The UN Human Rights Council has lost any professional credibility as a genuine, bona fide human rights body capable and willing to substantively function in accordance with the principles and purposes for which it was established.
  • With the establishment of this ongoing international commission of inquiry, both the UN Human Rights Council, as well as the UN organization itself, have permitted themselves to be abused and manipulated by states that have absolutely nothing to do with any genuine concern for promoting and protecting human rights. To the contrary, they are intent on nothing more than seeking the vilification and delegitimization of Israel.
  • Those states that provide the bulk of the UN's budget are called upon to oppose the continued financing and functioning of this commission, and to withhold their funding in the proportion of the UN budget devoted to the inquiry commission.

    The writer, former legal counsel to Israel's foreign ministry, heads the international law program at the Jerusalem Center.
  • The three members appointed to the new UN Human Rights Council "Commission of Inquiry" targeting Israel make a mockery of the most elementary preconditions of fairness and legitimacy. Navi Pillay, the chairperson, resurrected the UN's anti-Semitic hate-fest held in Durban in 2001 and preaches "help end decades of Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people...recognized as apartheid" and that "the Israeli Government treats international law with perpetual disdain."
  • Miloon Kothari of India has already reported to the UN on "the practice of ethnic cleansing and expulsion of land-based people and communities, as has historically been the case in Palestine."
  • Chris Sidoti of Australia is "a close friend and ally" of the Palestinian Human Rights Commission created by Yasser Arafat. He also "provides strategic guidance and advice" to the Australian Centre for International Justice (ACIJ), which claims that "Israel is also subjugating...Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line...under an institutionalized regime of racial domination and oppression, which amount to the crime against humanity of apartheid."
  • These are not "inquirers," and this is not a "commission of inquiry." They are hired guns on a global hit job.

    The writer is director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, and president of Human Rights Voices.

        See also The Newest Anti-Israel UN Action Must Be Challenged - Now - Anne Bayefsky (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

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