Favorable American Moves Shouldn’t Change Israel’s Red Lines

Weekly Commentary:
Dr. Aaron Lerner 30 November, 2017

If President Trump were to honor his campaign promise and move the American embassy to Jerusalem it would be the right thing to do.  But it wouldn’t change the fundamentals on what should and should not be acceptable for Israel in a “deal” with the Palestinians.

It would not even change the fundamentals on what concessions of a permanent nature Israel should and should not make to the Palestinians prior to such a “deal”.

And for good reason.

Whether the American embassy is in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv the fundamental problems with having a sovereign Palestinian state remain just that: fundamental.

A sovereign Palestinian state remains a sovereign state even if it openly declares the agreements that they signed as part of the package that facilitated its creation null and void.

And the Palestinians would be smart enough to find ways to trash the agreements without an explicit declaration.

And they would continue to be a sovereign state.

By the same token, permanent “pre deal” concessions that either cede control over parts of Area A or introduce a greater Palestinian presence in Area A can’t be justified as a quid pro quo for an embassy move or other favorable moves.

We are here for the long haul.

We simply cannot afford to fritter away our assets no matter how friendly or supportive an acting president may be.

________________________________________
IMRA – Independent Media Review and Analysis

Since 1992 providing news and analysis on the Middle East with a focus on Arab-Israeli relations

Website: www.imra.org.il

The New Anti-Semitism at the New School

The New Anti-Semitism at the New School

 
Hatred gets a respectable cap and gown

 
By Phyllis Chesler at Tablet Magazine      11/27/17

 
In 1969, I received my doctoral degree from the New School. In those days, few did. The expectations, the standards, were notoriously high.

 

Founded by John Dewey and Thorstein Veblen, The New School hosted an eminent American and European expatriate professoriate that included Franz Boas, W.E.B. Du Bois, Hans Jonas, Maynard Keynes, Margaret Mead, Erwin Piscator, and, in my field (psychology), Karen Horney and Erich Fromm—and my most beloved professors: Nathan Brody, Mary Henle, Ausma Rabe, Robert Terwilliger, and Bernard Weitzman.

And now, I would like to return my degree—but the New School I once knew and respected no longer exists. Yes, many of the professors are still “distinguished”—they have all the right publishers and prizes—and yet, what they utterly lack is even the speck of moral imagination required to refrain from giving their imprimatur to a rather rough bunch of Jew-haters.

WHO IS FINDING THEIR WAY INTO AMERICAN STUDENTS’ MINDS?
Nov 28, 2017  Posted By Sarah Stern In Anti-Semitism, ArticlEs, BDS, Israel

Congress will soon re-authorize Title VI of the Higher Educational Opportunities Act, a bill that was first introduced as the National Defense Education Act of 1958. The original legislative intent was to cultivate a consortium of university graduates who were best equipped to deal with the Soviet threat during the Cold War.
It was at a time when people in Washington began to notice how woefully ignorant American students were about foreign languages and cultures, so they crafted legislation that created regional studies departments—African Studies, Asian Studies,

 

Latin Studies and Middle Eastern Studies—to educate our nation’s youngsters to equip them with the necessary tools to best deal with our adversaries

 

But somehow, through the years, the original legislative intent of these programs has been turned on its head. Today, the U.S. government pours $65.1 million annually into various regional studies centers run by staffers who overwhelmingly possess strong anti-American and anti-Western biases that they are communicating to their students.

Even more pernicious is that in order to receive the grant, college professors must conduct workshops for librarians and for teachers of kindergarten through 12th grade. A study of the educational materials used in these teacher training workshops amounts to nothing more than “trickle down propaganda.”

 

The Middle Eastern Studies programs widely use a supplementary curriculum guide by Audrey Shabbas, called “The Arab World Studies Notebook”—a joint publication by the Middle East Policy Council, which receives its funding directly from Saudi Arabia, and the Arab World and Islamic Resources and School Services, which is bankrolled by Saudi Aramco, the oil conglomerate.

 

When leafing through “The Arab World Studies Notebook,” one can easily find instructions on what the Quran teaches, including a lesson on the Quran’s commandments, descriptions of the five pillars of the Muslim faith, glorifications of Muhammad, instructions on how to turn a classroom into a mosque and suggestions to “make a field trip” to such a place of worship. (One wonders if the ACLU would have long ago intervened if a Christian or Jewish teacher’s guide offered such blatant religious instructions.)

 

 

In the section on “Palestine,” complete untruths are told that are presented as though they are unassailable facts. For example, the material claims that “the Jews wanted to drive out all the Arabs.” And just in case one is not determined to intellectually accept the anti-Israel bias, the student is reached emotionally through the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish.
Darwish’s poems, including “Identity Card,” are as one-sided as they are emotionally galvanizing, such as:
Write Down!
I am an Arab
You have stolen the orchards of my ancestors
And the land which I cultivated
Along with my children
And you left nothing for us
Except for these rocks.
So will the State take them
As has been said?!
Saudi Arabia is not the only Islamic nation that is finding, or rather funding, its way into the minds of America’s youngest, most vulnerable, most impressionable children. In August, The Wall Street Journal reported that Qatar—a state which has long provided funding and logistical support for Al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, the al-Nusra Front and the Taliban—has been providing $30.6 million directly to school districts from New York to Oregon.

 

One has to wonder why the Muslim world, with a startling illiteracy rate of nearly 40 percent, has such an avid interest in the education of American youngsters.

 

Even though the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), the organization that I founded, had worked in 2008 to amend Title VI of the Higher Educational Opportunities Act to “provide a diversity of perspectives,” any review of the writings of the professors of the Middle East programs demonstrates a profound anti-American and anti-Israeli bias.

 

Take for example a Nov. 14 facebook post by Hamid Dabashi, the Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University’s Middle Eastern Studies Program. Posted under a photo of Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and Prince Mohammed bin Salman, it reads, “There is a reason why a small gang of European Zionists could land in Palestine and in broad daylight of history steal it under the feet of Palestinians.” Dabashi continued, “Like a rich brat teenager…[Salman] hides behind the wing of his Israeli and American protectors and benefactors, buys them with his windblown wealth, so that Jared Kushner’s Zionist kins can kill and rob Palestinians even more as they enable him to slaughter Yemeni women and children apace.”

 

It is simply appalling that our taxpayers’ dollars are helping to fund a professor with such blatant biases. This policy must end. Beyond that, no foreign government should be paying their way into the precious minds of our American students—either directly as Qatar does, or indirectly through Title VI of the Higher Educational Opportunities Act.

 

As long as our American youngsters receive this poisonous propaganda as a paltry substitute for a solid education of the region, we will never learn to acknowledge and appreciate the extremist ideology of radical Islam that is trying to defeat us. Our enemy has never relented in pursuit of its hegemonic aspirations, and we will be, once again, caught off guard.

 

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The Shambles of the Middle East by Dr. Yoram Ettinger

Redacted by Jerome S. Kaufman from an in-depth discussion by:

Ambassador Yoram Ettinger
Shabbat November 11, 2017 – Cheshvan 22, 5778

We were delighted to once again have Professor Yoram Ettinger, political analyst nonpareil, address us following the Shabbat services.

What exactly did Ambassador Ettinger say?

He began by relating his political discussion to the weekly parsha (portion) of the Hebrew Bible. The parsha of the week was Chai Sura – The Life of the Matriarch Sarah, the wife of the first Jew, Abraham and thus the First Lady of the Jews.

Sara instinctively knew Ishmael, son of Hagar, Sara’s hand maiden, would not be a proper son to carry on Abraham’s work with G-d establishing monotheism using the Hebrews  as his chosen people. She consequently, a few years after the birth of Yitschak, had Ishmael and his mother Hagar exiled from the land.

Professor Ettinger lamented thatm unlike Sarah, there is a critical lack of American and world foresight in dealing with genuine threats to their own very existence — Iran, Russian and North Korea.

To make matters worse, US and world powers muddy their own waters further by somehow bringing Israel’s 100 plus year conflict with the Arabs into the equation as contributory to the problem. In fact, there is no correlation whatever. Israel’s prowess and military strength is instead a huge part of the required solution rather then any part of the problem.

In a supreme act of delusion, the US, via Barack Obama, engineered the disastrous Iran nuclear deal despite the outspoken warnings of Bibi Netanyahu addressing a joint session of the US Congress.

The deal not only recognized Iran’s nuclear program but also contributed billions of dollars into the Iranian economy. As expected, these huge funds were not used for the benefit of the Iranian people but rather they expedited development of Iran’s nuclear program.

These new weapons are already aimed at US military installations and of course, at Israel, planning to actuate its bellicose promises to destroy the Jewish state.

By contrast, the Arab states in the immediate area – Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Republics, Yemen, Oman, Jordan and Egypt – fully understand the threat to their own existence and are disenchanted with the United States any longer having their backs. As a result, huge steps of rapprochement with Russia have been taken — even buying billions of dollars in Russian military equipment.

These Arab nations agree with Ambassador Ettinger’s statement that Iran’s machete although not quite yet at the throat of the US or Western Europe, it is literally directly at the throat of the surrounding Arab states.

The dubious decision-making and lack of foresight of the US State Department is replete with egregious political errors that have created the current disaster. The original faux pax was promoting the toppling of the Shah of Iran in 1979 – a tried and true friend of the West. The Iranian Muslim extremist Ayatollahs quickly took total control of the country and imposed Sharia law upon the entire population. The friendly, cooperative, mutually beneficial cooperation with the West quickly vanished.

 

Another frightening development has been the recent visit of the Saudi King to Russia’s Putin. The music coming out of the current White House, especially accompanied by President Trump’s visit to Riyadh is a welcome, much more acceptable state of affairs to the Saudis than the  “leadership from behind” of Barack Obama.  But, the Gulf Arab nations await any real “walk” to accompany President Trump’s “talk” while none so far has appeared.

Unfortunately, the American State Dept. is once again attempting to use the Israel/PA “peace” process as a fall guy for their current failures all over the world so cleverly engineered by Obama during his entire eight year term.

President Trump is trying valiantly to correct this deliberate disaster despite the mindless opposition of the American media that remains totally occupied instead in attempting to get Hillary Clinton into the White House. How they consider that a step forward is beyond any figment of the imagination.

The Saudis are well aware of this disconnect between reality of the Middle East and the Israel/PA impasse. They have suddenly demonstrated their unqualified interest in resuming a relationship with Israel that is in their mutual best interests and has nothing to do with a phantom, relatively recently invented “Palestinian” people.  Israel’s long delayed building of settlements on land that was supposed to be Israel in the first place has certainly nothing to do with any of it.

The US State Department unfortunately, sticks to its original obtuse concepts of Arabs’ real goals, the Middle East and the PA/Israeli conflict. It does not allow the facts to get in the way regardless of gargantuan changes in circumstances, current events and a true knowledge and understanding of the history of the Middle East.
Instead, the State Dept. has always taken the position that US relations with the 21 Arab states is far more important than that with Israel. Knowledgeable military experts have rather considered Israel the indispensable virtual American aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean. It has always been a bulwark against Russian aggression and now is the primary US opposition to Iran’s ceaseless attempt to overpower the entire area.

The State Dept. also labors under the total illusion that since a large part of Israel’s current population came from Russia, they must all be Communists! Talk about obtuse! In fact, only 4 members of the 120 Knesset members belong to the Communist Party which barely exists and is hardly a threat to the American State Dept. or anyone else.

Furthermore, it was the US State Dept. that explicitly gave the green light through their US Ambassador, for Saddam’s invasion and take over of Kuwait, thus initiating the first Gulf War and the later dismantling of Iraq and unopposed growth of Iran.

It was also the Dept. of State that enthusiastically supported the Oslo Accords demanding Israel’s complete compliance with the agreement while the Palestinians have not observed any part of their obligations whatever.

The Dept. of State also vigorously opposed Israel’s bombing of Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981 which ultimately saved thousands of American soldier’s lives and insured the US victory in the 1991 war with Saddam Hussein.

Finally, the State Dept.’s latest miscalculation was opposing Israel’s bombing of an impending nuclear reactor in Syria in 2007. One can only imagine the catastrophe that would have resulted to this day if that reactor were still in place.

State’s latest and most destructive gambit is the virtually unfettered Obama Iran Nuclear Agreement. Hopefully, President  Trump can find a way to counter this genuine existential threat.

Let us pray  also, that the President knows all about Chai Sura (The Life of Sarah), how she anticipated the future and got rid of the bad actors that could destroy us.
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Israeli policy can’t be guided by fear of world criticism, deputy foreign minister says

Israel Commentary

www.israel-commentary.org

Israeli policy can’t be guided by fear of world criticism, deputy foreign minister says

By Rafael Medoff
jns.org/ Jewish News Service
November 15, 2017
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely spoke at the Kemp Mill Synagogue in Silver Spring, Md., and discussed her remarks in a subsequent interview with JNS.org.

Hotovely said the notion that Israel is isolated and must change its policies in order to gain international acceptance is “a myth.” She pointed out that while just 33 countries voted in favor of Jewish statehood at the United Nations in 1947, Israel today enjoys diplomatic and trade relations with 160 countries—“pretty much every country in the world except the ones that want to destroy us,” as she put it.

The deputy foreign minister suggested that many countries’ criticism of Israel is little more than lip service.

“They go through the motions of criticizing Israel, but then they do a tremendous amount of trade with us,” she told JNS.org.

Hotovely recalled that during her first year in her current post, she met with more than 200 representatives of foreign governments, including some “that are not always thought of as being so friendly to Israel.”

At the same time, Hotovely noted, Israel throughout its history has sometimes “had no choice but to take actions that the world didn’t like.”

She recalled that in 1949, when the U.N. was demanding that Jerusalem be internationalized, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion responded by moving Israel’s government buildings from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“The world didn’t like it then, and they still don’t like it, but Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish state and the Jewish people, and it will be forever,” Hotovely said.

She also pointed to a number of actions that were crucial to Israel’s national security, even though most of the international community opposed them—including the pre-emptive strike that enabled Israel to win the 1967 Six-Day War, the rescue of the Entebbe hostages in 1976 and the bombing of Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981.

In each of those instances, Israel’s action was met with strong criticism from around the world.

“In fact, the United States not only condemned the bombing of the Iraqi nuclear facility, but even strongly considered imposing sanctions on Israel for violating Iraqi airspace,” Hotovely said. “But during the Gulf War of 1990, the U.S. was very glad that Saddam Hussein did not have nuclear weapons.”

“Israel’s policies cannot be guided by fear of international criticism,” she said. “At the end of the day, our survival is more important than world opinion.”

Sarah Stern, president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth, which hosted Hotovely’s visit, said the deputy foreign minister presented “a thoughtful and reasoned explanation of Israel’s position in the world, a message that has been resonating with her audiences throughout her trip to the United States.”

Hotovely, 38, speaks fluent English, thanks in part to a year she spent in Atlanta as an emissary of the Bnei Akiva religious Zionist youth movement. She is widely regarded as one of Israel’s rising political stars and is frequently mentioned as a possible successor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

When she was named deputy foreign minister in 2015, Hotovely became the de facto foreign minister, because Netanyahu declined to appoint a foreign minister. The prime minister has held that portfolio himself, and has offered it to the opposition’s Zionist Union alliance if it were to join his governing coalition. But to date, the Zionist Union has preferred to remain in the opposition.

Dep Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely – YouTube

▶ 2:37

Israeli policy can’t be guided by fear of world criticism, deputy foreign minister says

www.israel-commentary.org

Israeli policy can’t be guided by fear of world criticism, deputy foreign minister says

 

By Rafael Medoff
jns.org/ Jewish News Service

November 15, 2017
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely spoke at the Kemp Mill Synagogue in Silver Spring, Md., and discussed her remarks in a subsequent interview with JNS.org.

Hotovely said the notion that Israel is isolated and must change its policies in order to gain international acceptance is “a myth.” She pointed out that while just 33 countries voted in favor of Jewish statehood at the United Nations in 1947, Israel today enjoys diplomatic and trade relations with 160 countries—“pretty much every country in the world except the ones that want to destroy us,” as she put it.

The deputy foreign minister suggested that many countries’ criticism of Israel is little more than lip service.

“They go through the motions of criticizing Israel, but then they do a tremendous amount of trade with us,” she told JNS.org.

Hotovely recalled that during her first year in her current post, she met with more than 200 representatives of foreign governments, including some “that are not always thought of as being so friendly to Israel.”

At the same time, Hotovely noted, Israel throughout its history has sometimes “had no choice but to take actions that the world didn’t like.”

She recalled that in 1949, when the U.N. was demanding that Jerusalem be internationalized, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion responded by moving Israel’s government buildings from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“The world didn’t like it then, and they still don’t like it, but Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish state and the Jewish people, and it will be forever,” Hotovely said.

She also pointed to a number of actions that were crucial to Israel’s national security, even though most of the international community opposed them—including the pre-emptive strike that enabled Israel to win the 1967 Six-Day War, the rescue of the Entebbe hostages in 1976 and the bombing of Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981.

In each of those instances, Israel’s action was met with strong criticism from around the world.

“In fact, the United States not only condemned the bombing of the Iraqi nuclear facility, but even strongly considered imposing sanctions on Israel for violating Iraqi airspace,” Hotovely said. “But during the Gulf War of 1990, the U.S. was very glad that Saddam Hussein did not have nuclear weapons.”

“Israel’s policies cannot be guided by fear of international criticism,” she said. “At the end of the day, our survival is more important than world opinion.”

Sarah Stern, president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth, which hosted Hotovely’s visit, said the deputy foreign minister presented “a thoughtful and reasoned explanation of Israel’s position in the world, a message that has been resonating with her audiences throughout her trip to the United States.”

Hotovely, 38, speaks fluent English, thanks in part to a year she spent in Atlanta as an emissary of the Bnei Akiva religious Zionist youth movement. She is widely regarded as one of Israel’s rising political stars and is frequently mentioned as a possible successor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

(She is also a knock-out – the best looking deputy foreign minister I have ever seen!) jsk

When she was named deputy foreign minister in 2015, Hotovely became the de facto foreign minister, because Netanyahu declined to appoint a foreign minister. The prime minister has held that portfolio himself, and has offered it to the opposition’s Zionist Union alliance if it were to join his governing coalition. But to date, the Zionist Union has preferred to remain in the opposition.

Dep Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely – YouTube

▶ 2:37

The US Betrayal of Kurdistan Should be a Warning Sign for Israel

www.israel-commentary.org

By Dr. Mordechai Kedar
Israel, October 23, 2017

The Kurdish people have an inalienable right to their own national homeland just as other nations do. The Kurds are the largest ethnic entity in the world, numbering some 30 million people, which does not have a state of its own.

Over three years ago, I declared – here on Arutz Sheva – that the world is obligated to see to it that historic justice is granted the Kurds by supporting their dream of being a free nation in their own land.

A referendum was held last month among the Iraqi Kurds over whether or not they should declare independence, while in the background threats emanating from Turkey, Iran, the Iraqi government and even Bashar Assad could be discerned.

Joining them were other countries, including the USA and Europe, all of them warning the Kurds – and especially their leader, Masoud Barzani – not to attempt a one-sided declaration of independence. The neighboring countries fear a snowball effect on other minorities in their own countries, including their resident Kurds. More distant countries fear another war in the oil-rich regions such as northern Iraq, which could lead to a much wider conflict.

The referendum showed that a vast majority, over 90% of those voting, support independence. This resulted in Masoud Barzani, head of the Kurdish region, acquiring the ability to wield powerful leverage against the Iraqi government, which was naturally unnerved by the results and tried its best to convince Barazani not to declare independence.

The two main issues in the dialogue between Barzani and the Iraqi regime are:

  1. Delineating the borders of the Kurdish region and whether the oil fields and the nearby city of Kirkuk are within those borders and
  2. What happens to the oil that flows under the ground in the Kurdish region – are the profits Iraqi or do they belong to the Kurds?

Except that Barzani is not the only Kurdish actor on the stage. Jilal Talabani, his rival, did not support the hopes for Kurdish independence espoused by Barzani, and was of the opinion that the Kurds must remain within the national framework of Iraqi sovereignty. He was once the Iraqi president – mainly a ceremonial post – from 2005 to 2014, and died in Germany two weeks ago, on October 3, 2017.

The differences between Barzani and Talabani are nothing new. In fact, the two families have been at odds for decades, and in the second half of the twentieth century there were actual battles between the two, involving weapons and resulting in dead and wounded.

The Iraqi regime knew this well and took advantage of it by forming a coalition of one side against the other. The factionalism of the Kurds prevented them from forming a united stand and the neighboring states – Turkey, Iran and Syria – knew how to make use of this factionalism for their own ends.

This week, the dispute led to facts on the ground: The Iraqi army, supported by Shiite militias, moved towards Kirkuk and the Kurdish Peshmerga fighting force left the city without doing battle. Within two days the Iraqis took over the city and its adjacent oil field without resorting to violence, neutralizing an important part of the leverage Masoud Barzani was hoping to wield during negotiations with the Iraqi government.

It seems that the Pershmega are not united and reflect the ongoing internal dispute among the Kurds. Some listen to Barzani’s orders and others act under the influence of Talabani. The forces guarding Kirkuk were under the sway of Talabani and gave up in the struggle against the Iraqi army’s takeover, to Barzani’s dismay. The internal strife among the Kurds distances them from their dream of independence, a dream that will only move farther away for as long as they cannot agree on its parameters.

The Kurds expected the world, headed by the US, to stand behind them once ISIS was defeated, remembering their large contribution to that defeat and supporting their demand for independence. These hopes were dashed very quickly when the official American stand turned out to be that “we have no intention of interfering in internal Iraqi affairs” – that is, the US will not support the Kurdish demand for independence led by Masoud Barzani, this despite the referendum and their historic rights.
It is possible that the American stand is based on Talabani’s approach, one which saw no need –certainly not an immediate one – for declaring independence and preferred that the Kurds integrate into the Iraqi state for good. Naturally, Talabani’s loyalty to the Iraqi regime is explained by rumors of bribery, jobs and other favors he and his men received from Iraq and Iran.

Conclusions Israel must draw from the Kurdish saga

For the last several years, and particularly since the signing of the nuclear agreement between Iran and the world powers, there has been a discernible warming of relations between Israel and the Arab nations who feel threatened by Iran. Those include Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Kuwait, Egypt and Jordan.

Because all these countries fear Iran as much as, and possibly more, than Israel does.

The answer is simple: What happened to the Kurds will happen to Israel. The Kurds fought ISIS, sacrificed their soldiers and people, and were thrown to the wolves once they were not needed. That is exactly what the world’s nations will do to Israel once it extricates them from the Iranian problem. Why not? The immediate interests of each and every country and not the moral rights of the Kurds and the Israelis are what makes the world go round.

For this reason, Israel would do well not to give up its lands for a piece of paper with the word “peace” stamped on it, because that paper can easily fly away in the desert wind while the worlds on it fade in the blazing Middle Eastern sun. (AMEN)

As soon as the Sinai became Jihadistan and began fighting Egypt, the weapons smuggling from Sinai to Gaza ceased abruptly. In sum, the peace between Israel and Egypt exists for as long as it suits Egyptian interests.

The second proof is the peace with Jordan, based on Yitzchak Rabin and King Hussein’s shared interest in preventing a Palestinian state from being established. This common interest created wide-ranging cooperation between the two countries. Hussein’s son, Abdullah II, changed his father’s policies and is a strong backer of the idea of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria whose capital is East Jerusalem .

The clear conclusion from the Kurdish, Egyptian and Jordanian situations is that Israel must not jeopardize its existence, security and interests by placing them in bankrupt Arab insurance companies.

 

Israel absolutely must strengthen its position in the Land of Israel, create local governing emirates for the powerful Arab families in urban Judea and Samaria while battening down Israeli control of the rural areas. No peace treaty can give Israel a lasting insurance policy, and the faster Israel and the world internalize this truth the better.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar

Dr. Mordechai Kedar is a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University. He served in IDF Military Intelligence for 25 years, specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena. Thoroughly familiar with Arab media in real time, he is frequently interviewed on the various news programs in Israel

To subscribe to Israel Commentary:
Send your email address to: israelcommentary@comcast.net
Twitter: @israelcomment

The US Betrayal of Kurdistan Should be a Warning Sign for Israel

By Dr. Mordechai Kedar
Israel, October 23, 2017

The Kurdish people have an inalienable right to their own national homeland just as other nations do. The Kurds are the largest ethnic entity in the world, numbering some 30 million people, which does not have a state of its own.

Over three years ago, I declared – here on Arutz Sheva – that the world is obligated to see to it that historic justice is granted the Kurds by supporting their dream of being a free nation in their own land.

A referendum was held last month among the Iraqi Kurds over whether or not they should declare independence, while in the background threats emanating from Turkey, Iran, the Iraqi government and even Bashar Assad could be discerned.

Joining them were other countries, including the USA and Europe, all of them warning the Kurds – and especially their leader, Masoud Barzani – not to attempt a one-sided declaration of independence. The neighboring countries fear a snowball effect on other minorities in their own countries, including their resident Kurds. More distant countries fear another war in the oil-rich regions such as northern Iraq, which could lead to a much wider conflict.

The referendum showed that a vast majority, over 90% of those voting, support independence. This resulted in Masoud Barzani, head of the Kurdish region, acquiring the ability to wield powerful leverage against the Iraqi government, which was naturally unnerved by the results and tried its best to convince Barazani not to declare independence.

The two main issues in the dialogue between Barzani and the Iraqi regime are:
Delineating the borders of the Kurdish region and whether the oil fields and the nearby city of Kirkuk are within those borders and

2. What happens to the oil that flows under the ground in the Kurdish region – are the profits Iraqi or do they belong to the Kurds?

Except that Barzani is not the only Kurdish actor on the stage. Jilal Talabani, his rival, did not support the hopes for Kurdish independence espoused by Barzani, and was of the opinion that the Kurds must remain within the national framework of Iraqi sovereignty. He was once the Iraqi president – mainly a ceremonial post – from 2005 to 2014, and died in Germany two weeks ago, on October 3, 2017.

The differences between Barzani and Talabani are nothing new. In fact, the two families have been at odds for decades, and in the second half of the twentieth century there were actual battles between the two, involving weapons and resulting in dead and wounded.

The Iraqi regime knew this well and took advantage of it by forming a coalition of one side against the other. The factionalism of the Kurds prevented them from forming a united stand and the neighboring states – Turkey, Iran and Syria – knew how to make use of this factionalism for their own ends.

This week, the dispute led to facts on the ground: The Iraqi army, supported by Shiite militias, moved towards Kirkuk and the Kurdish Peshmerga fighting force left the city without doing battle. Within two days the Iraqis took over the city and its adjacent oil field without resorting to violence, neutralizing an important part of the leverage Masoud Barzani was hoping to wield during negotiations with the Iraqi government.

It seems that the Pershmega are not united and reflect the ongoing internal dispute among the Kurds. Some listen to Barzani’s orders and others act under the influence of Talabani. The forces guarding Kirkuk were under the sway of Talabani and gave up in the struggle against the Iraqi army’s takeover, to Barzani’s dismay. The internal strife among the Kurds distances them from their dream of independence, a dream that will only move farther away for as long as they cannot agree on its parameters.

The Kurds expected the world, headed by the US, to stand behind them once ISIS was defeated, remembering their large contribution to that defeat and supporting their demand for independence. These hopes were dashed very quickly when the official American stand turned out to be that “we have no intention of interfering in internal Iraqi affairs” – that is, the US will not support the Kurdish demand for independence led by Masoud Barzani, this despite the referendum and their historic rights.
It is possible that the American stand is based on Talabani’s approach, one which saw no need –certainly not an immediate one – for declaring independence and preferred that the Kurds integrate into the Iraqi state for good. Naturally, Talabani’s loyalty to the Iraqi regime is explained by rumors of bribery, jobs and other favors he and his men received from Iraq and Iran.

Conclusions Israel must draw from the Kurdish saga

For the last several years, and particularly since the signing of the nuclear agreement between Iran and the world powers, there has been a discernible warming of relations between Israel and the Arab nations who feel threatened by Iran. Those include Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Kuwait, Egypt and Jordan.

Because all these countries fear Iran as much as, and possibly more, than Israel does.

The answer is simple: What happened to the Kurds will happen to Israel. The Kurds fought ISIS, sacrificed their soldiers and people, and were thrown to the wolves once they were not needed. That is exactly what the world’s nations will do to Israel once it extricates them from the Iranian problem. Why not? The immediate interests of each and every country and not the moral rights of the Kurds and the Israelis are what makes the world go round.

For this reason, Israel would do well not to give up its lands for a piece of paper with the word “peace” stamped on it, because that paper can easily fly away in the desert wind while the worlds on it fade in the blazing Middle Eastern sun. (AMEN)

As soon as the Sinai became Jihadistan and began fighting Egypt, the weapons smuggling from Sinai to Gaza ceased abruptly. In sum, the peace between Israel and Egypt exists for as long as it suits Egyptian interests.

The second proof is the peace with Jordan, based on Yitzchak Rabin and King Hussein’s shared interest in preventing a Palestinian state from being established. This common interest created wide-ranging cooperation between the two countries. Hussein’s son, Abdullah II, changed his father’s policies and is a strong backer of the idea of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria whose capital is East Jerusalem .

The clear conclusion from the Kurdish, Egyptian and Jordanian situations is that Israel must not jeopardize its existence, security and interests by placing them in bankrupt Arab insurance companies. Israel absolutely must strengthen its position in the Land of Israel, create local governing emirates for the powerful Arab families in urban Judea and Samaria while battening down Israeli control of the rural areas. No peace treaty can give Israel a lasting insurance policy, and the faster Israel and the world internalize this truth the better.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar

Dr. Mordechai Kedar is a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University. He served in IDF Military Intelligence for 25 years, specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena. Thoroughly familiar with Arab media in real time, he is frequently interviewed on the various news programs in Israel

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We live in an age where it is not fashionable to pray

From the book, To Pray as a Jew (or anyone else)

BasicBooks 1980

By Rabbi Hayin Halevy Donin
Introduction 4-6

Even among those who join synagogues, only as a small percentage pray daily. They are somehow beyond that stage — needing to pray daily or even weekly.

Those who do not worship regularly claim their reason for affiliating with a synagogue is to identify with the Jewish people and the Jewish community and perhaps, even with the Jewish faith but, not for the purpose of prayer.
Some consider the spiritual arrogance of contemporary man to be a stumbling block to prayer. Since prayer requires the capacity to be in awe and feel thankful, the immodest and arrogant personality simply cannot pray because he has no sense of awe or gratitude. He puts too much faith in his own ability to do wonders and ascribes all achievements to his own powers. He lacks the necessary measure of humility.
While this may be true for some individuals, it is perhaps skepticisms and doubt that make it difficult for other people to engage God in conversation. It is not that they are atheists or even agnostic.  It is simpIy that they waver between faith and doubt.

Even of Noah, who is described in the Bible as a “righteous man” who “walked with God,” it is said that ‘he believed and did not believe,”  for he lacked the faith to move immediately into the ark that he was commanded to build and did not move into the very last moment.

Our generation, too, often appears to be precariously balanced between believing and not believing, sometimes leaning in one direction, sometimes in the other.
Or perhaps the reason for the unfashionably of prayer is simply that most people dan’t know how to pray. They were never properly taught. Yet prayer is more commonplace than most people realize if we do not think of it as taking place only within a structured religious service and only through the medium of prescribed and sanctioned words.

“Dear God make her well” is as simple and classic a prayer as there can be. Moses said in his prayer for his sister Miriam when she was stricken with leprosy. In one form or another this prayer is recited by countless mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, children, friends, and lovers.

Or, consider the sigh of relief,  “Thank God”  that comes after going through a period of intense anxiety in the wake of a serious accident or a dangerous illness or a fateful mission  or when loved ones seem suspended between life and death or between success and ruin. This, too, is a prayer and is just as likeIy to be said by people who think that they never pray as by those who pray with deliberate and conscious regularity.

Or, consider the feeling of awe and admiration that wells up in one’s heart when coming upon great natural scenes — vast oceans, breath-taking mountains, stunning deserts.

King David summed it up saying, “Oh Thy works Lord, how great are Thy works!” Is this not a prayer, even though it may come out simply as “Magnificent!”  by those with less poetic talent than the author of the Book of Psalms! But if they believe these phenomena to be God’s handiwork and mean to praise Him, then this word, too,  constitutes a prayer.

Or consider the person who has qualms of conscience about some wrong-doing and in the privacy of his own thoughts says,”How truly sorry I am!” This, too, is a a prayer, especialIy if the words “forgive me” are added.

These examples are universal; they are also the four types of prayer that make up the content of the siddur (Hebrew prayer book). The prayer of petition which people most people think of as the nature and purpose of all prayer, is just one of four types of prayer.

The other three types of prayer consist of thanksgiving,v of praise of God, and of that are basically self-searching and confessional.

The Hebrew word for “to pray” does not mean or “to ask” or “to petition” It means for God to judge.

Here lies a clue for the real purpose for engaging in prayer. Whether we petition God to give us what we need, or thank Him for whatever good was granted, or extol him for his awesome attribute, all prayer is intended to help make us into better human beings.

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How the liberal leanings of Google, Facebook, (Twitter) shape the political landscape

www.israel-commentary.org

How the liberal leanings of Google, Facebook, (Twitter) shape the political landscape

(Redacted from a much more detailed, documented and shocking expose’)

By Jeff Mordock – The Washington Times – Monday, October 23, 2017

Robert Epstein tried a simple experiment in the run-up to the presidential election: running searches on Google and Yahoo for political topics.
The results were stunning. Google searches returned twice as many pro-Hillary Clinton news articles as Yahoo searches.

Perhaps even more stunning was that men and blue-state residents saw more than double the number of pro-Clinton articles than women and people living in red states, Mr. Epstein, of the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, and Robert E. Robertson, a professor at Northeastern University, argued in a report this year.

Mr. Epstein said he is still studying what caused the bias but worries that Google’s search algorithm — a form of artificial intelligence that chooses what results a searcher is looking for — ranked pro-Clinton articles ahead of positive articles about her opponent, Donald Trump.

Those algorithms have become the modern-day Walter Cronkite or Edward R. Murrow, deciding what news reaches the eyes and ears of Americans in an increasingly Google-Facebook-Twitter media environment.

(There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this is true. They definitely pick and choose which of my submissions agree with their limited, biased political position and that encompasses virtually the entire media.) Jerome S. Kaufman

In recent months, the focus has been on whether the companies were able to be manipulated by Russian-connected operatives who attempted to sow “chaos” in the U.S. surrounding last year’s elections.

But the power of the companies to shape American politics goes well beyond that.

“The social media companies are the gatekeepers,” said Frank Foer, a writer at The Atlantic and former editor of the New Republic who has authored a book on social media’s power. “Whatever choices these companies make to elevate or bury information is very powerful and will have a big impact on what people read.”

Mr. Epstein and Mr. Robertson, in their research, looked at 4,045 election-related searches on Google and Yahoo during a 25-day period from mid-October through Election Day. They found that the pro-Clinton articles swamped pro-Trump news.

“The algorithms are not programmed with an equal time rule,” said Mr. Epstein, a vocal Clinton supporter. “They are programmed to put one thing ahead of another in a way that is highly secret and ever-changing.”

He said his experiments show the power of news searches to affect politics and has found that he could boost support for a candidate by as much as 63 percent after just one Google search session. He has dubbed this the “search engine manipulation effect.”

Analysts have caught some deeper glimpses over the years, based on testing and on information gleaned from patent applications Google has filed, saying Google judges trustworthiness and importance of a news site, how much content it produces and even length of stories to gauge whether to elevate a site’s content.

Facebook workers raise questions
Accusations of an indirect bias may not carry as much weight if not accompanied by accusations of direct bias by the social media companies.
In May 2016, a group of several former Facebook workers told technology blog Gizmodo that they routinely suppressed news about prominent conservatives, including Mitt Romney, Rand Paul and the American Conservative Union’s Conservative Political Action Conference.

The employees, who worked as ‘news curators,’ also said stories reported by conservative outlets such as Brietbart and Newsmax were dismissed unless The New York Times, BBC or CNN covered the same article.

Facebook denied the accusations and said an internal study found virtually identical rates of liberal and conservative new topics. The company did concede bias could have occurred through improper human actions and it would take steps to prevent it from happening in the future. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg invited 16 conservative leaders to the company’s headquarters for a meeting.

“The meeting opened on a positive, honest note and went that way throughout the whole meeting,” said Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center. Mr. Bozell said Facebook has made a sincere effort since the meeting to include conservative voices. “We’ve never had a serious problem with Facebook,” he said. “Does that make us the exception to the rule? I don’t know.”

It’s not just Facebook and Google. Earlier this month, Twitter blocked a campaign ad by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee Republican, claiming it included “an inflammatory statement that is likely to evoke a strong reaction.” In the ad, Ms. Blackburn said she helped stop Planned Parenthood from selling baby body parts.

“The damage being done to conservatives is almost incalculable,” said Seton Motley, a technology policy specialist and president of Less Government, a conservative organization dedicated to reducing government power. “If network television media bias can give a candidate a 4- to 6-point advantage and social media giants have more power than the networks, can we even quantify a number?”

Facebook also donated heavily to the Democratic Party. Of the nearly $4.6 million Facebook employees and affiliates spent on last year’s election, 67 percent went toward Democrats and 32 percent went to Republican candidates. Mrs. Clinton received $478,000 from Facebook, while Mr. Trump received about $4,665.

Google and Facebook have increased their lobbying efforts over the past few months as Congress scrutinizes their power. Facebook spent $285 million on lobbyists from July through September, a 41 percent increase over the same period last year. Google spent $417 million during those three months, including hiring Republican lobbyists Jochum Shore & Trossevin PC to fight a bill that would penalize tech companies for content that promotes sex trafficking. The companies are fighting the bill because it weakens some of their legal protections.

“The social media companies will engage in full-scale censorship with the approval or rejection of advertising content in the next presidential election,” he said. “Trump’s advertising will be critiqued in a way that they will not do to the Democrats.”

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Germany “Replenishes” Itself With 6 Million Muslims. How many Muslims to “Replenish” the US?

Interesting number, that.

 Contact Editor

Bogart and Bergman will “always have Paris.” For the rest of us there is no more Paris.

There is no more Europe, and it’s happening awfully fast.

Millions, even as we speak, are emptying the hellholes of Syria and Iraq and Afghanistan for the fleshpots of France, Spain, Italy and any other European country that will take them in, and most do so happily or reluctantly. Germany is the prime destination, and Germany appears to welcome the invasion.

We have it from various sources (grateful help from Soeren Kern at the Gatestone Institute) that by the end of the year, Germany will have taken in six million new people, mostly Muslims. Do we have to spell it out, what this means – Six Million? No, not necessary.

But call it payback. Call it Karma, for the day is nearing for a new anthem to the tune of  “The Koran Uber Alles.”

As followers of these pages are aware, Europe has never been our favorite continent. Even so the comeuppance isn’t pretty to watch.

Merkel and the other EU leaders are frantic. The BBC is near hysterical with hourly on-site reports about the migrant takeover that’s coming straight at them. We saw it coming in this book that spelled it out page after page, the perfect storm of Islamic migration – but nobody in high places heeded the warning or bought the book. Five bucks could have saved the world.

Yet word is that the Germans are happy to welcome this new resource, blissfully untroubled that this new population brings with it unique lifestyles and too often does not play well with others. Let’s try political correctness and just say that Islam is different. Different rules, and before you know it, it’s their rules that do the ruling.

Some time ago, in a particularly dark frame of mind, we wrote this for Arutz Sheva:

“As for you masters of Europe and your treachery; one day your sly anti-Semitism will come back to haunt you. Over the centuries, you have uprooted a thousand synagogues and replaced them with ten thousand mosques. Wait, now, and see what grows from the soil of Ishmael. Your churches are next.”

That was back in 2003, and we guessed right.

The typical German – if there is such a thing anymore – says that the influx is good. Why? Because the Christian birthrate has flattened.

We need fresh blood, they say. Olga, my Swedish waitress, says the same thing about Sweden. “We have no culture,” she says. “We need fresh culture.”

Okay! You want fresh culture? You will get fresh culture.

You want fresh blood? You will get fresh blood. Just wait.

You want birthrate? You will get birthrate.

Hungary is trying to stop the flow – but the multitudes keep on coming. On the one hand this is a humanitarian crisis that merits kindhearted justice. On the other hand, one culture, arriving in numbers so large, is consuming the established culture, threatening to obliterate a thousand years of tradition.


For your next European Vacation, leave your Bibles back home.
Back during the Korean War, America’s generals were worried that China might simply make it a stampede.

Ten million Chinese – UNARMED – would simply march in and erase all borders.

That’s Europe in a nutshell, only it’s Muslims who are encamping Europe by the millions. They don’t need guns to change the face of a continent, and make no mistake, the face lifting is a drama being played out by the hour, so for your next European Vacation, leave your Bibles back home.

Forget your Guide to the Cathedrals. Brush up on your Arabic. Beware the no-go zones.

Forget Marseille. Once a French jewel it is now a dangerous Kasbah.

In England girls and women face a rape epidemic caused by Pakistanis who’ve been imported by a welcoming government.

So it goes throughout much of Europe.

The word schadenfreude comes to mind. This means happiness at another’s misfortune. Be careful about this.

Yes, Europe, the continent that wiped its Jews off the map, Six Million one at a time — deserves what it’s getting.

But the influx is not stopping in Europe. They’re coming. In waves they’re coming to the United States and they are coming to Israel.

They come as migrants seeking shelter. Our mercy knows no bounds. That’s how it begins. That is never how it ends.

Case by case we owe the refugees our mercy, but it is strange that they are not crashing the gates of Muslim countries, their brothers.

Continents are shifting. The globe is being turned upside down. But there is a method to the chaos. There is a plan.

One morning we will wake up to find out what it is. But by then it may be too late.

New York-based author and bestselling Novelist Jack Engelhard writes a regular column for Arutz Sheva. Website: www.jackengelhard.com

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