July 20, 2023
A project of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Israel's Global Embassy for National Security and Applied Diplomacy
Dan Diker, President - Yechiel Leiter, Director General

In-Depth Issues:

Expert: U.S. Ignores Iran's Active Nuclear Weapons Activities by Using "Defective" Definition - Benjamin Weinthal (Fox News)
    The U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence released an assessment last week that "Iran is not currently undertaking the key nuclear weapons-development activities that would be necessary to produce a testable nuclear device."
    However, David Albright, a physicist who is the founder and president of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, told Fox News that the agency applied an obsolete definition in making its assessment.
    "It is amazing that the U.S. intelligence community is still digging its heels in and using the defective, overly defensive 2007 NIE [National Intelligence Estimate] framework."
    "By their own definition, Iran had a nuclear weapons program in 2007, but they didn't realize it and will never admit it now. There are other problems as well. The European definition is more comprehensive and typically includes buying the wherewithal to develop or make nuclear weapons components."
    A series of European intelligence reports from the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany point to Iran's regime actively building a nuclear weapons program.

U.S. Sending F-16 Fighter Jets to Protect Ships from Iranian Seizures - Lolita C. Baldor (AP-Military Times)
    The U.S. will send F-16 fighter jets to the Gulf region to augment the A-10 attack aircraft that have been patrolling there to protect ships from Iranian seizures, a senior defense official said Friday.
    The move comes after Iran tried to seize two oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz last week.

Israel Sends Two Firefighting Aircraft to Aid in Greece Wildfires (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel sent two Elad firefighting aircraft early Thursday to help control wildfires in Greece.
    The Prime Minister's Office said Israel will "stand by Greece in combating massive wildfires and acknowledges Greece's aid given in recent wildfire incidents in Israel."

Israeli Missiles Hit Hizbullah Military Positions and Warehouses in Damascus (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights)
    Israeli missiles hit military positions on Tuesday near Al-Dimas airport and the Al-Sabourah area which hosts battalions of the Syrian Army's 4th Division and Hizbullah warehouses, which caused fires in the targeted sites.

PA: No Plans to Disarm Jenin Armed Group - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    The Palestinian Authority does not have plans to crack down on the Jenin Battalion, whose members are affiliated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or other armed groups in Jenin refugee camp, Palestinian officials said on Wednesday.
    PA officials added that they won't tolerate scenes of anarchy and lawlessness and won't allow gunmen to run wild in any part of the West Bank.

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U.S. Allocates $500 Million for Israel's Missile Defense Systems (Army Recognition)
    On July 14, 2023, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2024. The legislation includes $500 million for funding Israel's missile defense systems including the Iron Dome, Arrow II, Arrow III, and David's Sling.
    Additional provisions include a requirement for at least two joint military exercises per year, an increase of $50 million for advanced technology research and development with Israel, $47.5 million for U.S.-Israeli counter-tunnel cooperation, and the establishment of a U.S.-funded grant program for joint research on post-traumatic stress disorder.

Iran's Network of 19 Terrorist Organizations on Israel's Borders - Joe Truzman (Foundation for Defense of Democracies)
    The terrorist organizations highlighted in this report are active, possess military capabilities to attack Israel, and have acknowledged receiving support from Iran or are closely affiliated with armed groups who do.
    Palestinian groups: Abd Al-Qadir Al-Husseini Brigades, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Lions' Den, Palestinian Mujahideen Movement, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command, Popular Resistance Committees
    Lebanon: Hizbullah, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps - Quds Force
    Iraq and Syria: Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, Badr Organization, Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba', Kataib Hezbollah, Liwa Al-Quds, Liwa Fatemiyoun, Liwa Zeynabiyoun

Water Taps Are Running Dry across Iran - Miriam Berger (Washington Post)
    From Tehran to rural regions, Iranians are posting videos complaining of days on end in the heat without running water, their faucets emitting nothing but murky drops.
    The water shortages are driven in large part by decades of mismanagement, experts say.
    Even after a relatively rainy year, the reservoirs most crucial for drinking water and irrigation are more than 80% empty, Iran's official Water Resources Management Company reported this month.

Is Iran "Retuning" Its Relations with Africa? - Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    Iran is stepping up its diplomatic activity in North Africa, Sudan, and East Africa.
    Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi visited Uganda, Kenya, and Zimbabwe beginning on July 12, 2023. Iran sees East Africa as a fertile field for political, military, and economic activities.
     Iran has a limited diplomatic presence in Africa, with fewer than 20 embassies. In contrast, Turkey has embassies in 44 African countries.
    Iran is perceived as a malign actor by many governments in Africa, mainly due to its efforts to export its favored version of political Islam.
    No doubt Iran will continue to encourage the spread of Shiism in Africa, while taking advantage of the instability that prevails in many regions to penetrate those shaky regimes.
    The writer was formerly Deputy Head for Assessment of Israeli Military Intelligence.

What I Saw in Israel Reveals Abraham Accords in Action - Senator Rick Scott (R-Fla.) (Fox News)
    Earlier this month, I was in Israel, Bahrain and the UAE to see the impact of the Abraham Accords. These agreements spur economic growth, innovation, sharing of technology, and trade among former rivals.
    The Accords increase defense cooperation among partners that deters America's enemies, like Iran, and will help us defeat them if necessary.
    Most importantly, the Abraham Accords have defeated the false narrative that Israel was the cause of conflict in the region.
    It has always been the case that instability in the Middle East was driven by Iran, Syria, and terrorist groups determined to destroy Israel and attack and undermine any country that accepts the legitimacy of the State of Israel.
    We can never forget that Israel is a shining example of diversity in the region. Across Israel, Jews, Christians and Muslims work and live side by side. In fact, it's Israel's diversity that makes it such a target for terror from religious extremists like those in Hamas.
    These killers want to destroy Israel because it represents a modern world where Jews, Christians, and Muslims live together, enjoy each other's cultures and work hand-in-hand to advance their society.

Arab Workplaces Are Anti-Innovation - Omar Al-Ubaydli (Al Arabiya)
    The characteristics of Arab organizations are almost the exact opposite of what is required to promote innovation. The principals of Arab organizations tend to be conservative, administratively sclerotic, suspicious of change, reactive, and totally bereft of creativity.
    When an excited employee brings an innovative idea to an Arab CEO, the response is likely to be: "I like things as they are - why should we rock the boat? How dare this underling insinuate that my leadership decisions are flawed?"
    Employees are instructed to stop thinking outside the box and do as they are told by their superiors.
    While there are many organizations in the Arab world that function well and promote innovation, the aggregate statistics on innovation paint a picture of woeful underperformance by the Arab world.
    Our companies do not compete globally, our scientists do not win international prizes, and our economies do not grow.
    The writer is a researcher at the Derasat think tank in Bahrain.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. House Backs Israel in 412-9 Vote - Karoun Demirjian
    The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a resolution in a 412 to 9 vote pledging support for Israel, condemning antisemitism, and declaring that the country is neither racist nor an apartheid state. Rep. Kathy Manning (D-NC), who voted for the resolution, said, "Israel is not now and never has been a racist state. That characterization is contrary to the facts. It is an untrue and unfair characterization that slanders our strongest ally in the region."
        Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said the resolution was necessary to reject "false accusations and repulsive anti-Israel statements. Israel's not a racist country. It is deeply disturbing and concerning to me that some in this body have such a profound misunderstanding of Israel and Israeli society."  (New York Times)
  • President Joe Biden Welcomes President Isaac Herzog of Israel
    President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. welcomed President Isaac Herzog of Israel to the White House on Tuesday. The two consulted on key issues, including enhanced coordination to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and Iran's growing defense partnership with Russia. They noted the strength of the U.S.-Israel relationship, based on the bedrock of shared democratic values, and discussed the need for a consensus-based approach to the judicial reform package.
        The President stressed the need to take additional measures to improve the security and economic situation in the West Bank and prevent acts of terrorism. The two also reviewed opportunities to advance Israel's regional integration. (White House)
        See also Israel's Herzog Tells Biden Its Democracy Remains Sound - Zeke Miller
    Israeli President Isaac Herzog told U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday that Israel's democracy remains "sound, strong" and "resilient."
        President Biden sought to stress the importance of the U.S.-Israeli relationship. "This is a friendship I believe is just simply unbreakable. As I confirmed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday, America's commitment to Israel is firm and it is ironclad."  (AP-Washington Post)
        See also below Observations: Israeli President Isaac Herzog's Speech to Congress - Key Excerpts (Jerusalem Post)
  • Biden Invites Netanyahu to Visit Him in U.S.
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Joe Biden had a long and warm conversation on Monday. The conversation focused on thwarting threats from Iran and its proxies, expanding the circle of peace, and the continued efforts to deescalate and stabilize the situation in Judea and Samaria.
        President Biden invited Prime Minister Netanyahu to meet soon in the U.S. The Prime Minister accepted the invitation and Israeli and American teams will coordinate the details of the meeting. (Prime Minister's Office)
        See also President Biden Phones Prime Minister Netanyahu (White House)
  • Israel Officially Recognizes Morocco's Sovereignty over Western Sahara - Safaa Kasraoui
    Israel announced Monday its recognition of Morocco's sovereignty over the Western Sahara region in a letter from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to King Mohammed VI. (Morocco World News)
        See also Israel-Morocco Security Ties to Deepen after Western Sahara Recognition - Rina Bassist
    A few hours prior to the announcement on Monday of Israel recognizing Morocco's sovereignty over the Western Sahara region, the IDF appointed its first military attache to Morocco, Col. Sharon Itach, who is of Moroccan origin.
        Bruce Maddy-Weitzman, professor emeritus at Tel Aviv University, said that the past two years have seen a quantum leap in Israel-Morocco relations, particularly in security, and the two states are developing an alliance. "Israel now helps building the capabilities of the Moroccan army, and this angers Algeria immensely. We have a sort of arms race with Morocco, the U.S. and Israel on the one hand, and Algeria, Russia and Iran on the other."
        Since 2017, Iran has been arming the Western Sahara separatist Polisario front via Hizbullah and with the help of Algeria. Morocco has also accused Iran of attempting to spread the Shiite doctrine in the largely-Sunni country. (Al-Monitor)
        See also Israel Should Recognize Morocco’s Territorial Integrity - Dr. Yechiel M. Leiter (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
        See also Morocco Invites Netanyahu to Visit - Isabel Kershner (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Palestinian Islamic Jihad Gunmen Attack Jewish Worshippers at Joseph's Tomb
    Palestinian gunmen attacked Jewish worshippers at Joseph's Tomb in Nablus on Wednesday night, the IDF reported. In addition to shooting, Palestinians threw explosives, burned tires, and threw stones. The IDF acted to protect the worshippers, and several Palestinian gunmen were wounded in the exchange of fire. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel, U.S. Announce $70 Million Agriculture Tech Fund for Mideast, Africa - Lazar Berman
    Israeli President Isaac Herzog and U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris announced Wednesday a new joint five-year initiative in which each country will invest up to $35 million "to support climate-smart agriculture through innovative technologies and improved capture, storage, use, and protection of critical water resources in the Middle East and Africa."  (Times of Israel)
  • Israel Launches Pilot for U.S. Visa Waiver, Easing Travel for Palestinian-Americans - Jacob Magid
    Starting Thursday, U.S. citizens on the Palestinian Authority's population registry will be allowed to travel to and through Israel - including Ben-Gurion International Airport - for up to 90 days, a senior State Department official said Wednesday. Previously, Palestinian-Americans had to travel first to Jordan.
        The change is a key component as Israel seeks to join the U.S. Visa Waiver Program. The U.S. will monitor Israel's implementation of the new measures over the next six weeks and decide whether Israel "merits admission into the program" by Sept. 30. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    U.S.-Israel Relations

  • Biden and Netanyahu - Editorial
    On Monday, President Biden called Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and made plans to meet this year. Will it be a White House meeting or a quick 30 on the sidelines of the UN? The Biden Administration seems to think it matters. The point is driven home by the treatment accorded this week to Isaac Herzog. For him, the Biden Administration rolls out the red carpet it refuses Mr. Netanyahu.
        The message to Israelis is that the U.S. is with you but not your government. It's the kind of thing we tell Cubans and Iranians, or at least we used to. That the White House adopts the same approach with an allied democracy is a sign of the times.
        Last week the White House issued a statement urging Israel "to protect and respect the right of peaceful assembly" for judicial-reform protesters - as if Israel has done something else. (Wall Street Journal)
  • A Rift among Democrats over Israel Ends with a Whimper - Philip Elliott
    My friends who work outside of politics sometimes ask me: "I just saw this person on TV saying crazy things; is this what the party believes these days?" I respond that this is the price of having big-tent parties in the U.S: the ringmaster can't always command the center stage when sometimes the circus clowns get their hands on the microphones.
        Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) once again grabbed the spotlight. Just days ahead of the Israeli President's speech to Congress, she said his nation "is a racist state." But amid all this predictable outrage, there's no reason to expect any change in U.S. policy toward Israel, which has stayed relatively steady since it came into being after World War II. Even at their most frustrated with Israeli governments, American officials in both parties have offered typically unwavering support for the State of Israel. (TIME)
  • Dozens of House Democrats Denounce Rep. Jayapal's "Unacceptable" Comments on Israel - Olafimihan Oshin
    43 House Democrats publicly denounced Rep. Pramila Jayapal's remarks calling Israel a "racist state," referring to them Monday as "unacceptable." Jayapal, chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, made the remarks while reportedly trying to calm down pro-Palestinian protesters at a conference where she was speaking.
        The House Democrats said, "Israel remains the only vibrant, progressive, and inclusive democracy in the region." Israel is the "legitimate homeland for Jewish people," adding that remarks and efforts to delegitimize and demonize the country "are not only dangerous and antisemitic, but they also undermine America's national security." They added that Israel is critical to the U.S.' ongoing fight against terror and a partner in America's defense and intelligence efforts. (The Hill)
  • There's No Ban on Criticizing Israel - Abe Greenwald
    Rep. Pramila Jayapal said what she said - deliberately, brazenly, sweepingly. And she said it to people she knows to be animated by the idea that "Israel as a nation is racist." It's the equivalent of reassuring neo-Confederate activists that you believe the U.S. is an illegitimate tyranny.
        The claim of a taboo against criticizing Israel is itself an anti-Semitic trope. Israel is defamed in the dominant press, boycotted by politicians, athletes, and celebrities, denounced by global bodies, demonized on campuses, dragged through the social-media mud, and criticized by increasing numbers of Israelis and American Jews.
        If this is a country protected from criticism, just imagine if critics were free to speak their minds. Yet the critics aren't doing a very good job. Despite all the calumnies and hit jobs, Israel is thriving and building alliances.
        The writer is executive editor of Commentary. (Commentary)
  • Rep. Jayapal's Myopic View of Israel Obscures the Reality - Regina Sassoon Friedland
    Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) told demonstrators on Saturday, "I want you to know that we have been fighting to make it clear that Israel is a racist state." Jayapal has implied in the past that Israel is at fault for there not being a two-state solution. She forgets to mention that the Palestinians rejected every peace plan offered, and that there could have been an independent Palestinian state as far back as 1947.
        The facts are that Zionism is deeply rooted in Jewish history and tradition. It is the right to self-determination and statehood for the Jewish people in their ancestral homeland. False claims that Israel is a racist state serve to advance hatred, including right here in Seattle.
        On April 16, the day before Holocaust Remembrance Day, Temple De Hirsch Sinai, the region's largest congregation, was defaced with antisemitic graffiti. Antisemitic incidents across Washington state hit record numbers last year. Jewish places of worship are vandalized, Jewish schools receive bomb threats and Jewish leaders are targeted by extremists. Many of these incidents are directly tied to libelous claims about Israel.
        The writer is director of the American Jewish Committee, Seattle region. (Seattle Times)

  • Oslo at 30: Jerusalem Center Scholars Assess the Diplomatic Process

  • Foreword - The PLO and PA Political Warfare and Israel's Response - Dan Diker
    As the 30th anniversary of the Oslo Accords approaches, these agreements have not materialized as their proponents had hoped. The scholars and analysts at JCPA, who have scrutinized the unfolding of this process over three decades, have written a series of articles expounding on the failures of Oslo. They expose, explore, and assess how the Oslo diplomatic process, particularly Israel's concessionary approach and passivity towards PLO and PA financial incentivization of terror, corruption, and international defamation of Israel's legal and diplomatic rights, have enabled the PLO-PA to assault Israel and defame its international standing.
        This "Oslo at 30" compendium concludes with a series of recommendations for a more effective pathway for Israel to hold the PA accountable, in order to achieve a more secure and viable approach to Israel-PA relations.
        The Oslo Accords were designed to end PLO terrorism, terror incentivization, hate indoctrination, antisemitism, radicalism, and political warfare. Ironically, the Accords have brought the opposite outcome.
        The writer is President of the Jerusalem Center. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Introduction - The Oslo Accords' Unintended Consequences - Dr. Yechiel M. Leiter
    Since the signing of the Oslo Accords in September 1993, consecutive Israeli governments have enacted a policy of tolerance and restraint with regard to egregious Palestinian Authority violations of those agreements. Despite sustained delegitimization and demonization of Israel, the use of antisemitic tropes and annihilationist language, and the financial payments to Palestinian terrorists and their families, Israel has not exacted a price for this enduring malevolent behavior.
        Motivated by an interest of maintaining stability, Israel has chosen to overlook what would in any other situation be understood as the culpable actions of an enemy entity. This has resulted in grievous unintended consequences that are destroying Israel's legitimacy in the international arena, growing antisemitism, and depriving Palestinians of civil society.
        What is needed is an immediate and thorough change of political course, one that will hold the Palestinian Authority accountable to a basic standard of ethics, indeed to the very commitments they have made.
        The writer is Director-General of the Jerusalem Center. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Has Israel Enabled Palestinian Violations of the Oslo Accords? - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser
    The Palestinians know Israel prefers to avoid a harsh response to their violations of the Oslo Accords, fearing that such a response would undermine the PA's stability and its security cooperation with Israel. Israel's accommodating stance was based on a combination of willful blindness toward the Palestinians' true intentions and a belief that making economic and diplomatic gestures, while ignoring most of the Palestinians' infractions, would bolster more pragmatic Palestinian elements and curtail the terror and the other violations of the Accords. In addition, Israel believed that its placatory approach would soften international criticism. In reality, these hopes were disappointed.
        In recent years, most Israelis have realized that the PA is not a partner for peace who will work to ensure Israel's security. Moreover, the international community and the Arab world increasingly understand that the chances of reaching a settlement that will stabilize Israeli-Palestinian relations are fading and close to zero in the foreseeable future. The political implications of such understandings have seriously weakened Israelis who believed that satisfying Palestinian demands would promote a settlement.
        Israel acts based on a (groundless) assumption that absent Israeli support, the PA could collapse at any moment and that the alternative to the present situation would likely be worse. Yet, the PA is not in danger of collapse and continues to function in the civilian spheres. Israel sees the PA as a convenient tool that exempts it from closely administering the lives of the Palestinian population.
        While coordination with the PA's security mechanisms is perceived as contributing to Israel's security, the value of this coordination has been exaggerated, since the PA acts only against the terror operatives that challenge it. It does not act against all the terror operatives in its territory, and it even encourages them by paying high salaries to terrorists imprisoned in Israel and portraying terrorists as exemplary, praiseworthy figures.
        The writer, former head of the Research Division of IDF Military Intelligence, is Director of the Project on Regional Middle East Developments at the Jerusalem Center. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • The Incredible Hostility and Double Standards of the UN and the EU - Amb. Alan Baker
    In response to Israel's military action against the Palestinian terror infrastructure in Jenin in July 2023, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs Josip Borrel, and the International Red Cross called upon Israel to respect "obligations under international law, including the duty to exercise restraint and use only proportional force." Such accusations display either utter ignorance or deliberate disregard of international law and practice, which expressly prohibits the use of civilian areas, especially refugee camps, as centers of terror and violence.
        International law provides that such civilian areas may lose their privileged protection if they are used for offensive military purposes and, as such, become legitimate military objectives. International law and practice outlaw the use of terror for any reason or justification.
        The calls upon Israel to exert "restraint and proportional force" are curious. How does Israel exert "proportionate force" to deal with explosive devices planted beneath roads or weapons and bombs produced in laboratories and stored under mosques? How do principles of "restraint and proportionality" deal with responding to the dispatching of hundreds of terrorists to kill Israelis?
        Israel needs to defend itself against those intent on killing its citizens. Such double standards by international bodies achieve nothing except to encourage the Palestinian terror apparatus, supported by Iran, to continue to harm Israel.
        The writer, who directs the international law program at the Jerusalem Center, served as the legal adviser to Israel's Foreign Ministry and as Israel's ambassador to Canada. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • Palestinian Arabs

  • 50 U.S. Lawmakers Call on Biden to Negotiate End to Palestinian "Pay for Slay" - Andrew Bernard
    A bipartisan group of 50 members of Congress on Tuesday wrote to Secretary of State Antony Blinken urging him to negotiate an end to the Palestinian Authority's "pay for slay" program. The letter, led by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), notes that the Palestinian "Martyrs' Fund," which makes official payments to Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, the families of "martyrs" killed in attacks on Israelis and to injured Palestinian militants, makes up 8% of the Palestinian Authority's total budget, costing $300 million a year.
        The letter says, "The Palestinian Authority has clearly continued down the path of more hatred, violence, and terror, without regard for the damage inflicted, or for their role in diminishing the prospects for peace. But, so long as they pay citizens to murder civilians, they will do so without benefiting from the support of United States taxpayers." Under the Taylor Force Act of 2018, the U.S. government is prohibited from funding the Palestinian Authority so long as it maintains the pay-for-slay payments. (Algemeiner)

  • Iran

  • Israel Still Disrupting Tehran's Takeover in Syria - Yaakov Lappin
    Israel's "campaign between the wars" against Tehran's effort to build a war machine in Syria began a decade ago and has seen hundreds of airstrikes on weapons supply runs and efforts to build attack bases by Iran, Hizbullah and other pro-Iranian Shi'ite militias in Syria. Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, former head of the IDF Military Intelligence Research Division, said the campaign has prevented a substantial quantity of Iranian weapons from reaching Hizbullah and Iranian-controlled forces in Syria and Lebanon.
        "The campaign's achievements include weakening the grip of Iran and Hizbullah in the Syrian Golan Heights region and degrading their ability to attack Israel from Syrian territory. The campaign also succeeded in shaping the rules of the game and thereby enabling broad Israeli freedom of action in Syria."
        That doesn't mean that Iran is giving up, he cautioned. "This is similar to Gazan terror factions that fire rockets at Israel despite Iron Dome intercepting 95% of the projectiles. They see the 5% of rockets that get through as an achievement, and this is how Iran views the weapons supply runs that do get through."
        Ely Karmon, a senior research scholar at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) in Herzliya, noted, "Iran is also pursuing a long-term civilian-demographic goal of moving Shi'ites, mainly militia members and their families, from Iraq and Afghanistan to what were once Sunni areas of Syria. Iran also wishes to convert Syria's Alawites to Shi'ite Islam so that they develop full allegiance to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei." Russian assurances that Iranian-axis forces would not move within 80 km. (50 miles) of the Syrian-Israeli border have proven to be highly unreliable, Karmon added. (JNS)

  • Antisemitism

  • Hoenlein Criticizes Biden Antisemitism Strategy - Josh Kraushaar
    Malcolm Hoenlein, the longtime leader of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and its current vice chair, sharply criticized the Biden administration over its strategy to combat antisemitism on Monday. "I welcome the fact that the administration has issued a policy paper on antisemitism....I regret that the document did not adopt the IHRA [International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance] definition. It endorsed [it] but it also endorsed a Nexus definition, which is very unhelpful and waters down the actual definition of antisemitism. So much so that the terrorist-backed CAIR [Council on American-Islamic Relations] issued a statement welcoming the document."
        "But because they did not adopt [IHRA] and because they accepted the Nexus definition, CAIR feels they now have a license to say that anti-Zionism was not ruled to be antisemitism as it [says] in the IHRA definition."
        Hoenlein also called the recent Biden administration decision to halt funding to academic institutions in the West Bank a "boycott," and called on the administration to end the policy. (Jewish Insider)
  • Jewish Conspiracy Theories Find an Audience in China - Jordyn Haime and Tuvia Gering
    A May 19 article on the popular Chinese WeChat social media platform claimed that during the Japanese invasion of China in the 1930s, "Japan's military industry, which was financed by Jewish capital, massacred tens of millions of Chinese civilians." While in 1939, Japanese experts had proposed to invite 50,000 German-Jewish refugees to the puppet state of Manchukuo in northeast China, Jews were never seriously involved in the Fugu Plan, which never came to fruition, writes Meron Medzini, a professor of modern Japanese history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
        The Fugu Plan is featured as the top search result for the word "Jew" on Douyin, the Chinese equivalent of TikTok. A three-part video series about the historical "mistakes" of the Jews blames the Holocaust on Jewish greed, accuses Jews of starting China's "century of humiliation" by financing the Opium Wars, and describes their cunning Fugu Plan with the Japanese.
        A quick search for "Jews" on WeChat, BiliBili, Weibo, or Zhihu reveals that negative, anti-Jewish content and conspiracies take up significant real estate among the top results. Antisemitism can also be found among leading academics, party-state journalists, and military strategists. It begs the question of how a country with a negligible Jewish population and an even smaller indigenous Jewish community could form such strong opinions about people they had never met. (China Media Project)
Observations: Israeli President Isaac Herzog's Speech to Congress - Key Excerpts

"Israel Is Tremendously Proud of Our Two-Way Alliance with the U.S." - Text of Israeli President Isaac Herzog's Speech (Jerusalem Post)

Israeli President Isaac Herzog addressed a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Wednesday in honor of Israel's 75th year of independence. His father, President Chaim Herzog, had addressed Congress in 1987 in honor of Israel's 40th year of independence.
  • "In 1949, President Harry Truman met with the Chief Rabbi of the newly established State of Israel, my grandfather Rabbi Yitzhak Isaac Halevi Herzog, in the Oval Office....Against all odds, the Jewish people returned home and built a national home, which became a beautiful Israeli democracy, a mosaic of Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze and Circassians, secular, traditional and orthodox, of all denominations, and all possible views and lifestyles. A land which welcomed the ingathering of exiles from one hundred different countries."
  • "Perhaps the greatest challenge Israel and the United States face at this time is the Iranian nuclear program. Let there be no doubt: Iran does not strive to attain nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Iran is building nuclear capabilities that pose a threat to the stability of the Middle East and beyond....Iran is the only nation on the planet publicly calling, plotting, and developing means to annihilate another nation, a member of the family of nations, the State of Israel....I am here to reiterate what every Israeli leader has declared for decades: the State of Israel is determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapon capabilities."
  • "We are grateful to the United States for the necessary means you have provided us to keep our qualitative military edge, and to enable us to defend ourselves, by ourselves....We are also tremendously proud that ours is a two-way alliance, in which Israel has been making critical contributions to the national security and interests of the United States in numerous ways....When the U.S. is strong, Israel is stronger. And when Israel is strong, the U.S. is more secure."
  • "Over the years, Israel has taken bold steps towards peace and made far-reaching proposals to our Palestinian neighbors....But it should be clear that one cannot talk about peace while condoning or legitimizing terror, implicitly or explicitly. True peace cannot be anchored in violence."
  • "Palestinian terror against Israel or Israelis undermines any possibility for a future of peace between our peoples. Israelis are targeted while waiting for busses, while taking a stroll on the promenade, while spending time with their family. At the same time, successful terror attacks are celebrated, terrorists are glorified, and their families are financially rewarded for every Israeli they attack. This is inconceivable. It is a moral disgrace."
  • "I respect criticism, especially from friends, although one does not always have to accept it. But criticism of Israel must not cross the line into negation of the State of Israel's right to exist. Questioning the Jewish people's right to self-determination is not legitimate diplomacy, it is antisemitism."
  • "Over the past few months, the Israeli people have engaged in a heated and painful debate....In practice, the intense debate...is the clearest tribute to the fortitude of Israel's democracy....I am here to tell the American people, and each of you, that I have great confidence in Israeli democracy. Although we are working through sore issues, just like you, I know our democracy is strong and resilient. Israel has democracy in its DNA."

        See also Video: Israeli President Isaac Herzog Addresses Congress (CBS News)

        See also Israeli President Herzog's Speech to Congress Marked by 30 Standing Ovations - Itamar Eichner
    President Herzog's speech in front of a joint session of Congress was marked by 30 standing ovations by members of Congress. Out of a total of 535 members of Congress, only five decided not to attend. (Ynet News)

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