July 28, 2022

In-Depth Issues:

Israel Beefs Up Defenses around Karish Gas Field after Hizbullah Threats - Yaniv Kubovich (Ha'aretz)
    The Israeli military has increased its forces securing the Karish gas field drilling rig in the Mediterranean Sea, after Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah said Monday that all Israeli gas and oil fields are potential targets.

Russia Fired at Israeli Jets during Syria Mission in May (Ha'aretz)
    Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Tuesday that IDF Air Force jets came under Russian S-300 anti-aircraft fire over Syria on May 13, describing the confrontation as a "one-off incident."
    Ha added that the Russian launch happened when the aircraft "were no longer around."
    Israel's coordination with Russia over Syria is "a situation that is stable right now," Gantz said. "But we are always reviewing this story."

Condoleezza Rice: "Israel Is the 800-Pound Gorilla on Technology" - Melissa Weiss (Jewish Insider)
    Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the Aspen Security Forum on Friday:
    "You could actually be at a place where the Arabs end the state of war against Israel - really end it. And why?"
    "Not because they've learned to love the Jewish democratic State of Israel, but because the smarter of them have realized that in order to modernize their own economies and not be completely dependent on oil, that they're going to have to deal with the 800-pound gorilla on technology in the region, and that's Israel."

Palestinian Islamic Scholar: Those Who Welcomed Biden Should Have Their Tongues Cut Off (MEMRI-TV)
    Palestinian Islamic scholar Abu Anas Al-Hasri said on the Al-Aqsa Call YouTube channel on July 21, 2022, that U.S. President Joe Biden's recent visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories was in order to "claim Christianity's rights" to Jerusalem.
    He said that President Biden came to wage war against Islam and to tighten the friendship between Arab rulers and Israel.
    He prayed that any hand that shook Biden's hand be paralyzed, and that any tongue that welcomed Biden to the region be cut off.

South African Government Funds Palestinian Embassy - Tali Feinberg (South African Jewish Report)
    The South African government's Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) has funded the Palestinian embassy in South Africa since it opened in 1995.
    Since 2018, Dirco has given R8,999,932 ($537,280) to the upkeep of the Palestinian embassy. This amount doesn’t include the money Dirco provides for training embassy staff.
    Political analyst Steven Gruzd asked, "Aren't there many more priorities in South Africa that require attention than paying for foreign embassies on our own soil?"
    According to The Angel Network's Glynne Wolman, this money could provide "3,600,000 meals from our soup kitchens."

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Iranian Mother Faces 100 Lashes for Protesting Death of Son in Demonstration - Rachael Bunyan (Daily Mail-UK)
    Mahboubeh Ramezani, the mother of Pejman Gholipour, 18, who was killed by Iranian security forces during a demonstration over rising fuel prices in 2019, was arrested on July 11 for protesting his death and sentenced to 100 lashes by the Iranian regime.

Seeking New Funds, Hamas Raises Taxes in Gaza - Fares Akram (AP-Washington Post)
    Gaza's Hamas rulers have imposed a slew of new taxes to go into effect on Aug. 1.
    The tariff on a ton of toilet paper rose from $90 to $580. The tax on a pair of jeans will be $3.
    In Gaza, electricity is in short supply, tap water undrinkable and the health care system is in shambles.
    With tens of thousands of civil servants to support, as well as heavy spending on its military, it is no surprise that Hamas is seeking new sources of revenue.

Morocco to Purchase Israeli Drones - Safaa Kasraoui (Morocco World News)
    Morocco has signed an agreement to purchase Israeli Harop drones.
    The Israeli drones can carry 20 kg. of explosives and can stay in the air for at least six hours.
    The Harop is a suicide drone, able to locate and attack targets without relying on external systems for targeting and mission intelligence.
    See also What the IDF Can Learn from Morocco - Ariel Kahana (Israel Hayom)

Ukraine Turns to Israel for Post-War Trauma Training - Emily Rose (AP-Washington Post)
    20 Ukrainian mental health professionals spent the past two weeks in Israel receiving training on how to treat trauma cases.
    Israel has deep experience in treating psychological or mental trauma. But in Ukraine, awareness for recognizing and treating mental trauma remains relatively low.
    The course's instructor, Danny Brom, a clinical psychologist, said:
    "They understand that we Israelis know what we are talking about. This...has happened to us in the different wars, so there's a very special connection between them and us. They really feel that we understand what we are talking about."
    The course included training in cognitive behavior therapy techniques (CBT).

Saudi Investor Becomes Largest Shareholder in Israeli Autotech Company - Shiri Habib-Valdhorn (Globes)
    Saudi Arabian company Mithaq Capital has increased its small stake in the Israeli autotech company Otonomo Technologies to 20.4%.
    The company provides a platform and commercial arena for data gathered from connected cars.
    Mithaq is already the biggest shareholder in Israeli ad-tech company Tremor International with a 22% stake.

Israel Aerospace Industries Signs $200 Million Aircraft Deal with NATO Country (Globes)
    Israel Aerospace Industries has signed a contract worth over $200 million to provide special mission aircraft to a NATO member country in Europe.
    IAI's special mission aircraft provide a strategic edge because they utilize miniaturized sensor technologies alongside developing algorithms and software applications based on artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Israeli Scientists Develop Two-Day Warning to Predict Devastating Earthquakes - Abigail Klein Leichman (Israel21c)
    Researchers from Ariel University in Israel reported in the scientific journal Remote Sensing that by studying changes in the ionosphere layer caused by both acoustic and gravity waves, they can make a positive prediction of a strong earthquake up to 48 hours ahead with 80% accuracy and a prediction where an earthquake will not occur with 86% accuracy.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Biden Adviser: Return to Iran Deal "Highly Unlikely" in Near Future - Barak Ravid
    White House Middle East coordinator Brett McGurk told think tank experts last week it's "highly unlikely" that the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran will be revived in the near future, increasing pressure on the Biden administration to formulate a Plan B. McGurk said Iran wants the U.S. "to add something to the pot," but "we are not going to do that." McGurk said the Biden administration intends to use sanctions and diplomatic isolation against Iran, "but not needlessly escalate the situation."  (Axios)
  • Tensions High over Russia's Looming Ban of Israel's Jewish Agency - Steve Hendrix
    A Russian court is expected this week to approve a government request to shut down the Jewish Agency for Israel, a private charity closely affiliated with the Israeli government that helps Russian Jews immigrate to Israel. A Jewish Agency official said Moscow seemed be characterizing the routine collection of immigrants' personal data as a violation of privacy laws. "It's routine paperwork. No one is hiding it. It's what the Jewish Agency has always done," said the official. "It's something absurd. And it shows us that there are ulterior motives."
        600,000 Russians remain eligible to migrate under Israel's right-of-return laws, the agency estimates. Many in Israel see Moscow's move as retaliation for Israel's increasingly vocal stance against the invasion of Ukraine.
        Natan Sharansky, a human rights activist who spent nine years in Soviet prisons and later served as Chairman of the Executive for the Jewish Agency (2009-2018), wrote Friday: "We must protect our interests in ways that don't rely on relinquishing our moral positions. The Jewish Agency does very important work in Russia, and I hope it will continue to do so. Nevertheless, it behooves us to remember that Israel knew how to fight for immigration even when the Jewish Agency and all Israeli diplomats were barred from Soviet Russia."  (Washington Post)
        See also Russia Plays Down Jewish Agency Court Case - Dan Williams
    Russia criticized Israel's stance on the war in Ukraine but said on Tuesday that a dispute over the activities of the Jewish Agency for Israel was a legal matter. "There is no need to politicize this situation and project it onto the entire range of Russian-Israeli relations," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. (Reuters)
  • Feds to Investigate USC Student's Complaint of Anti-Semitism
    The Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education will investigate the University of Southern California after a Jewish student, Rose Ritch, claimed she resigned as student body vice president because she endured harassment over her pro-Israel views. The complaint alleges USC failed to protect Ritch from harassment. (AP)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Defense Minister: Israel Can "Seriously Harm and Delay" Iranian Nuclear Program
    Defense Minister Benny Gantz was asked Tuesday if Israel has the ability to stop Iran's nuclear development or merely delay it. He told Channel 13, "We are able to seriously harm and delay the nuclear [program]."  (Times of Israel)
  • IDF Unveils Hamas Sites to Be Targeted in Future Gaza War - Anna Ahronheim
    The IDF on Wednesday briefed reporters about several future military targets in Gaza built in the heart of urban areas. They include a weapons warehouse next to Shifa Hospital as well as several mosques that will likely be targeted in a future conflict. The military believes that legitimizing its actions even before war would provide it with more freedom of action when conflict breaks out.
        The sites include a tunnel used to store weapons next to a now-closed Pepsi factory and an UNRWA elementary school used as an emergency shelter during hostilities. Another tunnel used by Hamas in the Zabara neighborhood of Gaza City is under an UNRWA school and a central ambulance center with 14 ambulances. The tunnel also runs under a church and schools that are used as shelters during hostilities.
        A tunnel entry shaft near Al-Azar University in Gaza City leads to a network of subterranean tunnels close to a police station, UNRWA school, medical clinic, mosque, community center and UNRWA headquarters in the area. Hamas has a munition production facility located in a building that is also used as a residential building. The site, which contains explosives and flammable material that would cause extreme damage should it explode, is 45 meters from a mosque, 55 meters from an UNRWA clinic, and 60 meters from Shifa Hospital. (Jerusalem Post)
  • "National Rescue Initiative" Challenges Palestinian Leadership, Seeks Reforms - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Nasser al-Kidwa, a former PA foreign minister and envoy to the UN, and a group of 65 Palestinian personalities on Tuesday launched a new initiative for major reforms and changes in the Palestinian political system and institutions. Al-Kidwa was expelled from the ruling Fatah faction's Central Committee last year after he formed his own list to participate in the parliamentary elections, which were called off by PA President Mahmoud Abbas. The announcement came amid growing criticism of the Palestinian leadership over rampant financial and administrative corruption, anarchy and lawlessness. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:


  • The Iran Nuclear Deal's Convulsive Death - Walter Russell Mead
    As Iran approaches the nuclear threshold, the saga of the Iran nuclear deal seems to be moving toward a close. Even the most optimistic Washington insiders are losing hope. In lead negotiator Robert Malley's words, "You can't revive a dead corpse."
        The definitive end of the Iran deal would almost certainly force the administration to choose between accepting a nuclear-armed Iran and initiating a confrontation likely to culminate in another American war in the Middle East. Both courses of action entail unpredictable but large risks and costs.
        Mr. Biden has repeatedly said that allowing Iran to build nuclear weapons is not an option. If his administration fails to hold that line, the consequences for American power in the Middle East and globally would be profound.
        The writer, a fellow at the Hudson Institute, is Professor of Foreign Affairs and Humanities at Bard College. (Wall Street Journal)

  • Palestinians

  • IDF Operating in Nablus after PA Failed to Keep Terror in Check - David Isaac
    Ibrahim Nablusi, the leader of an Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade cell, whom Palestinian admirers have dubbed "The Lion of Nablus," managed to flee as Israeli forces closed in on his terrorist hideout on Saturday night. He has participated in several attacks on Israelis in recent months.
        Yoni Ben Menachem, a senior researcher at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, told JNS that Nablusi is not the type to surrender and definitely will be killed. "Four of his cell have already been killed." Ben Menachem dismissed Palestinian attempts to lionize Nablusi as propaganda to drive recruitment.
        "Nobody takes it seriously. Only the young generation, the 13- and 14-year-old kids who don't understand anything, believe these people are heroes. Nablusi doesn't stand a chance against the special units of the IDF, who are very well trained and considered the best in the world." The terrorists "should be very worried, because the Israel Security Agency has very accurate information about their whereabouts. It knows how to reach them, even in the heart of Nablus."
        Among Arabs living in northern Samaria there has always been a "tradition of armed struggle," said Ben Menachem, especially in Jenin, the "capital of terrorism." The real issue, he said, is that for the past two years Israel has allowed the problem there to fester, giving the terrorists time to rebuild their infrastructure. They are now 500 to 600 strong, and the various Palestinian terrorist groups work together. (JNS)
  • The Palestinian Authority Never Pretended to Be a Democracy - Jalal Bana
    Formed by the 1993 Oslo Accords, with international guarantees and Israel's support, the Palestinian Authority cannot be seen as the basis for a democratic regime, chiefly over the lack of a functioning parliament comprising elected officials and the glaring absence of an independent judiciary. The Ramallah regime is mired in corruption and nepotism - a hallmark of totalitarian regimes.
        Fatah functionaries brutally fight anyone who goes up against them - on anything - and often violate human rights. Those who expose corruption or speak out against Abbas have paid with their lives. The media cowers before the regime and will not criticize it, and those who do are silenced. Under these circumstances, it is only a matter of time before the younger generation revolts against the regime. (Israel Hayom)
        See also Mahmoud Abbas Consolidates Fatah's Dictatorial Dominance over the PA - Lt.-Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch (Palestinian Media Watch)

  • Other Issues

  • The Achievements of Israel's Shadow Campaign in Syria - Yaakov Lappin
    As part of Israel's shadow war in Syria aimed at preventing Iran from installing advanced weapons and military bases there or transferring weapons to Hizbullah, an Israeli airstrike hit targets south of Damascus on July 22. Lt.-Col. (ret.) Orna Mizrahi, a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, told JNS that the main purpose of Israel's campaign "is to delay the next war, while also reducing enemy military capabilities, and creating deterrence while also creating more comfortable conditions for Israel at the start of any potential future war."
        Mizrahi, a former Deputy National Security Adviser for Foreign Policy at Israel's National Security Council, said the IDF's campaign has "pushed away problematic elements from the Syrian Golan near Israel and damaged Iranian entrenchment abilities in Syria. It reduced the arms flow to Hizbullah and forced the Iranian-Hizbullah axis to change working methods."
        With regard to Russia, "Israel has tried to walk a fine line....In the past, the assessment here in Israel was that Russia permitted Israeli strikes because of the tension that exists between Russia and Iran over who controls Syria. In this context, it was very comfortable for Russia that Israel worked against Iran, thereby boosting Russian influence in Syria and making it more significant than Iranian influence."
        While this could change, "I think that Russia has no interest in creating friction with Israel when it is so heavily engaged in Ukraine....Russia views Israel as a regional military power that has to be taken into consideration, and which can harm it. Hence, they hint that Israel should act differently in Syria, but they do not take significant military or diplomatic steps to make Israel stop its campaign."  (JNS)
  • The Guardian Misleads on Israel's Baby Boom - Adam Levick
    A July 16 article in the Guardian reported that in Israel, "a woman who doesn't want to have children is a threat to the social order....If you aren't a mother, you are betraying your homeland." Yet this doesn't even remotely resemble reality. As anyone who lives in Israel knows, by and large, Israeli women are empowered, confident and make their own decisions - often independent of others' expectations.
        Israel has the highest fertility rate in the OECD (at 3.1 children per women) based on many factors, including an efficient healthcare system which prioritizes pre-natal care, paid maternity leave, workplaces which adopt family friendly policies, and subsidized pre-school. Israel often ranks relatively high on lists of the best countries to raise a family.
        Israeli academic Barbara Okun notes: "a family system in which parents provide significant financial and caregiving aid to their adult children; relatively egalitarian gender-role attitudes and household behavior; the continuing importance of familist ideology and of marriage as a social institution." An additional possible factor could be happiness - Israel is ranked as the 9th happiest country in the world. (CAMERA-UK)
  • How Israel Has Strengthened the U.S. - Yoram Ettinger
    "Israel did not grow strong because it had an American alliance. It acquired an American alliance because it had grown strong," Professor Walter Russell Mead said recently. Since 1967, Israel has emerged as the most effective, reliable and democratic ally of the U.S., as well as a formidable force multiplier.
        After the 1967 Six-Day War, 25 U.S. military experts went to Israel to study the lessons of the war and examine captured Soviet military systems. Their findings upgraded the performance of the U.S. armed forces and defense industries. In 1966 and 1989, Israel acquired MIG-21 and MIG-23 Soviet combat planes through defecting Iraqi and Syrian pilots. The planes were shared with the U.S.
        In 1969, an Israeli commando unit snatched an advanced Soviet P-12 radar system from Egypt. The Soviet radar was studied by Israel and transferred to the U.S., as were additional Soviet military systems, enhancing the capabilities of U.S. intelligence, special operations forces and defense industries. After the 1973 Yom Kippur War, 50 American experts arrived in Israel, collecting information that benefited the U.S.
        The late Sen. Daniel Inouye, who served as chairman of the Appropriations and Intelligence Committees, said the scope of intelligence Israel shared with the U.S. exceeded the intelligence shared by all the NATO countries combined.
        The writer is a former ambassador and head of Second Thought: A U.S.-Israel Initiative. (JNS)

  • Anti-Semitism

  • The "Jews Are Defiling Al Aqsa" Narrative Is Inciting Anti-Semitism - Yifa Segal
    As Jews and Israelis, we have gotten used to the fact that there are religious extremists, large and powerful masses of people, who passionately hate us just because we exist. A greater problem is the support they seem to have successfully enlisted from some in the West who accept without question the claim that the mere presence of a Jew on the Temple Mount is a problem.
        The presence of a Jew on the Temple Mount is seen as a defilement, and a Jew, just by being there, is causing a provocation. Their visits to the site are said to provoke Muslim worshipers to commit violent acts, which the Jews brought upon themselves. Our presence is seen as problematic. We can be Jewish if we insist, but we had better be quiet about it.
        Walking up to the Temple Mount, I couldn't stop thinking of my freedom to visit churches, pagodas, ancient temples, and even the Vatican in my global travels. Somehow my presence in Jerusalem, the capital of my country, is considered a problem that can justify violence.
        It should be totally unacceptable to restrict access to some based on their religion. If security guards standing at the entrance to the Western Wall inquired about a person's faith and denied entry to any non-Jew, denying them the right to pray, this would be considered outrageous.
        The writer is an International Director at UK Lawyers for Israel and the Founder and CEO of the International Legal Forum. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The Old-School Anti-Semitism of Western Intelligence Agencies - A.E. Smith
    Douglas London, a Jew, spent three decades as a CIA case officer, working in hostile countries to recruit and handle agents. His book The Recruiter offers a worm's-eye view of the post-9/11 CIA. When he completed his initial training, London set his sights on the CIA's Near East and South Asia Division, known as NE. But almost as soon as he got there, he was told that the Arabic-speaking case officer cadre known as the "NE mafia" - almost all pro-Palestinian Arabists - "would not likely take to the idea of having a Jewish case officer in their fold."
        London was selected for NE nonetheless and had a happy career there. But for large parts of it, the exigencies of the job required him to conceal his personal religious identity not only from targets but from U.S. officials and public servants with whom he worked. "I soon came to realize," he says, "that keeping my religion in the closet eased my ability to establish friendships among many colleagues, and superiors, who tended to hold anti-Semitic, or at least negative, perceptions of American Jews."
        London's experience as a Jew in the world of Western intelligence resonated with me. For more than thirty years, I worked intelligence for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Like London, I discovered that the resident Arabists tended to view Israel as a blight on the Arab world and were reflexively suspicious of Jews who trespassed on their preserve. Their younger colleagues, meanwhile, cleaved firmly to the notion of Israel as a brutal colonial power engaged in a genocidal war against Palestinians. (Jewish Review of Books)

  • Weekend Features

  • Israeli Fighter Pilot Holds World Record for Jet Downings - Sharon Wrobel
    Israel Air Force pilot Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Giora Epstein shot down 17 enemy jet aircraft in combat, the most ever. He downed his first enemy fighter during the Six-Day War of 1967 and four additional aircraft during the War of Attrition of 1967-70. He downed another 12 aircraft over four days during the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
        When asked about his record, Epstein said: "There is no championship, and wars are not sports games. In order to down aircraft, you need a few things: First, to confront them. Second, you need to be good enough of a pilot to win the battle. Finally, to down many aircraft, you need many enemies."
        In 2020, Epstein published the memoir, Hawkeye: The Enthralling Autobiography of the Top-Scoring Israel Air Force Ace of Aces. (Algemeiner)
  • Israeli Researchers Train U.S. Police in Respectful Communication - Itay Mashiach
    Researchers, led by Prof. David Weisburd, a Hebrew University of Jerusalem criminologist, conducted an intensive, 40-hour training course for police officers in Houston, Tucson, and Cambridge, Mass., focusing on making the interaction between the police and the citizenry fair and dignified. The officers learn how to project empathy and suspend judgment, demonstrate attentiveness, and transmit a correct message via a look, a nod of the head, posture and tone. They were taught about working with minority populations and about methods for building trust.
        Then the officers were assigned to high-crime areas and their work was monitored for nine months. Weisburd, a recipient of the Israel Prize for his research in crime and policing, said, "We changed the officers' behavior....We [also] saw a decrease of 60% in arrests." Surveys conducted in the areas where the officers were stationed found that the public harbored a more positive attitude toward the police. There was also a 14% decline in crime incidents in these areas. (Ha'aretz)
  • A French University Confronts Its Nazi Past - Aurelien Breeden
    When Germany annexed the Alsace region of France in 1940, it poured in money and resources to transform the University of Strasbourg into a model Nazi institution. From 1941 to 1944, professors on the medical faculty forced at least 250 people from concentration or death camps to undergo experiments, some involving chemical weapons like mustard gas or deadly diseases like typhus. 86 Jews, brought from Auschwitz, were murdered at a nearby camp for a planned skeleton collection meant to exemplify the Nazi ideology on a hierarchy of races.
        In May, the university released a 500-page report stating that the medical crimes its professors committed were extensive, and that the school had worked closely with the nearby Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp, the only one on French soil. A dozen highly qualified international scholars worked meticulously for five years on the report. (New York Times)
  • Book Review: Cold War Nazi Mercenaries Who Escaped Justice - Dr. Colin Shindler
    Danny Orbach's Fugitives: A History of Nazi Mercenaries during the Cold War tells the story of how Western intelligence services held their collective nose and welcomed former Nazis into the fight against Stalin's Communism. Thus Klaus Barbie, the Gestapo chief in Lyon, was employed by U.S. Army Counterintelligence after the war. Otto von Bolschwing, a perpetrator of the Holocaust in Romania, was employed by the CIA to develop a spy network in several countries in Eastern Europe.
        The writer is emeritus professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. (Jerusalem Post)

Half of All Jews Now Live in Israel and That Is a Source of Strength - Prof. Vernon Bogdanor (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
  • A hundred years ago, in 1922, there were 14,400,000 Jews in the world. The centers of Judaism outside the U.S. were in central and eastern Europe - Berlin, Warsaw and Budapest. There seemed grounds for optimism. In 1922 the League of Nations awarded Britain the Palestine British mandate, which confirmed the legitimacy of Britain's promise in the Balfour Declaration of 1917 of a national home for the Jews. "The wandering Jews will at last have a home," the London Times declared in April 1920.
  • By 1939, the world Jewish population had increased to 17 million. But Jews on the Continent faced a precarious future with the spread of anti-Semitism and the rise of Hitler. Many sought to emigrate, but most countries closed their doors. And in 1939 the British government in its White Paper severely limited immigration into the national home, proposing to end it entirely.
  • In Chaim Weizmann's words, the world was now divided between countries in which Jews were not allowed to live and countries which they were not allowed to enter. By 1945, after the Holocaust the world's Jewish population had fallen to 11 million.
  • Today it is just over 15 million. Jews have not made up the losses of the Holocaust. Between 1939 and 2022, by contrast, the population of the world has increased by 250%. In the absence of the Holocaust, given a natural increase of population, there would perhaps have been a world Jewish population of 40 million.
  • Following the creation of Israel, the geographical balance of the world Jewish population has altered radically. In Palestine in 1939, there were only 450,000 Jews - 3% of the world's total. Today, nearly seven million Jews, almost 50% of the total, live in Israel. In 1948, Jews emerged from powerlessness to become authors of their own destiny.

    The writer is Professor of Government, King's College, London.
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