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October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Africa’

Liberman Begins African Tour

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman arrived in Rwanda for the first leg of a 10-day African tour that will also take him to Rwanda, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Ethiopia and Kenya. 

Liberman began the visit by placing a wreath at a memorial site to the 1994 victims of the Rwandan genocide. He also opened the Israel-Rwanda joint economic seminar, with the participation of 200 business people and met with Rwanda President Paul Kagame and with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Louise Mushikiwabo. The two countries signed a memorandum of understanding to upgrade diplomatic relations.

The foreign minister also met with Rwandan Minister of Agriculture Dr. Agnes Kalibata, inaugurated the Rwanda-Israel Center of Excellence for Horticultural Development, a joint project of the Rwandan government and MASHAV,  Israel’s agency for international development cooperation

The Center of Excellence, based on an India-Israel model of cooperation, was established following a request by Dr Kalibata to facilitate and serve all levels of the Rwandan farming community, from small holder farmers to commercial farmers.The center will be defined by four main products: transfer of knowhow, capacity building and demonstration; agro-inputs (nurseries for better seedlings and varieties) and fresh produce. The center will display a whole range of technologies for horticulture production under cover and open field, and will be made available for applied R&D, training and exhibition.

Prior to the visit, FM Liberman stated: “I see great importance to investment in Africa, in the humanitarian, economic and political spheres. There are many areas where Israel can help with aid and development: Agriculture, water management, medicine, and more. We have established partnerships with various countries for investment in Africa, including the United States, Canada, and Italy, and the highlight is the African Initiative, a joint project with Germany that was decided upon during the last meeting of the Israeli and German governments.”

FM Liberman Announces Knesset Lobby to Support Africa Ties

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and MK Shimon Solomon (Yesh Atid) have announced a new Knesset Lobby for Strengthening Relations Between Israel and African Countries, ahead of Liberman’s planned visit to five African countries next month.

Liberman said that Israel, as an economically strong state and member of the OECD, must invest in foreign aid. He added that investing in Africa will bring economic and political benefit to Israel.

“Africa is an important objective of Israel’s foreign policy, and we will strive to have Israel accepted during the coming year as an observer in the African Union,” Liberman told the group.

According to a release from Liberman’s office, economic growth in Africa last year was around 6 percent, compared to zero percent in Europe. Over the past year, high level visitors to Africa included US President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and the president, vice president, premier and vice premier of China. All this is indicative of the importance of Africa in the changing international arena.

Broadening Israel’s Horizons

Since assuming control of the foreign ministry five years ago, Liberman has made broadening Israel’s diplomatic relationships a priority. Early in his first term he toured South America, a region that Israel has traditionally failed to invest diplomatic resources. And his 2009 visit to Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, and Ghana was there first visit to Africa by an Israeli foreign minister since Golda Meir in 1959.

“Israel’s relationship with the United States is important, but for too many years we have placed all our foreign policy eggs in the American basket,” a senior aide to Liberman told this reporter at that time. “But the world is developing quickly: Africa, Asia, South America – all these regions are growing fast, in terms of economic progress and political influence. We have much to offer these regions, in terms of technology and economic opportunity, and we have much to gain from them in return. Developing these ties is very much a win-win situation for everyone.

Today, Africa is one of the most important of these destinations. Just 10 of Israel’s 106 diplomatic missions are located in Africa, down from 27 in the 1970’s. In the decades since the Yom Kippur War, African countries have voted as a bloc on the international stage in favor of the Arab world against Israel, but there are signs that that trend could change, given the proper diplomatic support: In December, al-Monitor.com reported that in 2012Israel’s ambassador to Senegal, Eli Ben Tura, hosted 14 imams for an Iftar dinner (Ramadan break the fast meal) at his residence. And last November, a delegation of moslem religious leaders from Senegal visited Israel in a first-of-its-kind interreligious cooperation project.

In addition, three years ago Israel’s ambassador to Ghana, Sharon Bar-Li, engaged in an interreligious dialogue with local Muslim leaders.

Today, Foreign Minister Liberman noted that he sees investment in Africa as important on both the humanitarian and socio-political planes. There are many areas in which Israel can provide assistance and training: in agriculture, water management, medicine, combatting terror, and more. Israel cooperates with various countries, among them the United States, Canada, and Italy, in various investment projects in Africa. The most important of these is the joint Israeli-German Africa Initiative established at the last Israel-Germany government consultations in February 2014, a program of development cooperation in Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Burundi, with an investment of 50 million Euro.

 

More Illegal Africans Going Back Home

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

The rising trend of illegal African infiltrators leaving Israel and going back home continued in early January, when their numbers were whittled down by another 250 who left voluntarily despite a protest campaign to convince the world they had not place to go.

Last year, slight more than 2,600 illegal Africans left Israel voluntarily. If the January rate continues, the number this year will be around 6,000.

One incentive for those leaving voluntarily is a $3,500 stipend from the government.

The protest movement, encouraged by leftists and foreign activists, will take its campaign next week to Israeli embassies to draw media attention to their claim that they are “refugees.”

Israel is examining the status of tens of nearly 50,000 illegal African infiltrators, and those who are deemed as refugees will be able to remain in Israel. Most of those checked so far were determined to have left their countries to seek a higher standard living in Israel.

Police Put an End to Protest by Illegal African Infiltrators

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Immigration police, backed up by Border Police, broke up an unauthorized protest by illegal African infiltrators in front of the office of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Tuesday and put them on buses that took them back to a new administrative detention facility near Be’er Sheva.

The infiltrators were demonstrating against last week’s law passed by the Knesset that allows holding them for one year without trial. The Supreme Court earlier this year struck down a Knesset law that provided for their detention for up to three years, but the judges said they might consider permitting a shorter time period.

If investigations determine that the infiltrators are not refugees and simply entered Israel to seek a better life, they can be deported.

Left-wing volunteers have been assisting the Africans to claim to win international sympathy based on the claim that they are refugees. Most of the infiltrators are from Sudan and Eritrea.

Prerequisites for Muslim-Jewish Reconciliation

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

I appreciate the fact that this Jewish publication was willing to publish my article. I’m not sure how easy it would be for a Jewish pundit to get his or her work published in a Turkish, Egyptian or Iranian magazine. I believe it’s high time someone gave it a try.

History buffs among us know all too well that the best time for Jews over the past two millennia—ever since they were overcome by the force of the Roman empire following two bloody rebellions—was under the rule of the Arab caliphates, both in Spain and in North Africa. So much so, that Jewish sources refer to that time as “The golden age.”

The various Muslim caliphates, which began ruling a very large chunk of the known world in the 7th and 8th centuries, were driven by a single, fundamental, religious mission: to spread Islam. But their agenda for the pagans populating Asia, Africa and Europe was different from their agenda for the “peoples of the book,” followers of Christianity and Judaism. While, most often, the heathens were given no choice about conversion: you became Muslim or you died – Christians and Jews who refused to convert to Islam only had to endure a kind of second class citizenship, with different features in different locales.

It would be helpful to recall that while Jews in Muslim territories at the time were forced to wear articles of clothing that set them apart, and were forbidden to ride horses or use the main public sidewalks—a few miles up north, in Christian Europe, they were being raped, pillaged and burned alive on a steady basis. And while in Christian Europe Jews were blocked from most of the professions, under the caliphates their economic options were much more exciting, hence the term “golden age.”

While Jewish culture in Christian Europe centered almost strictly around the houses of study, with little evidence of a robust culture, in Spain and North Africa the Jews wrote songs and books of philosophy, and excelled as military generals and court politicians—in addition to their flourishing business as traders and bankers.

It is true that Islam had its low point even during that golden age, and every once in a while the mainstream in various provinces—for a variety of geopolitical and social reasons—would take on an ominous spirit of fanaticism and start harassing the “peoples of the books” with fanatical impatience and zeal, threatening their lives unless they converted. But even those waves of fanaticism are dwarfed by the pogroms and expulsions that marked the lives of Jews under Christian rule.

Indeed, the demise of the thriving Jewish culture in Spain came not under Muslim rule, but only after the Christian invasion of the late 1300s, which ended with the expelling of all the Jews of Spain and Portugal in 1492.

What followed was particularly grim for Islam. Just as the original Muslim invasion of the Middle East, North Africa and Southern Europe was enabled by the decline of the Roman Empire, so did was decline of the Caliphate an invitation to a new force, the great Ottoman Empire, to quickly overtake those same areas, and to push far north into Central Europe, only to be blocked, finally, at the gates of Vienna.

But something went wrong in Muslim history at that point. Historians will continue to argue over the precise reasons – the reality is that sometime around the Renaissance period, while Christian Europe began to emerge from its barbarism, to usher in an age of discoveries, inventions and the rise of the human spirit—at a high cost to many indigenous peoples on several continents—Islam began its sad and disheartening decline that set aside Muslims in general and Arabs in particular as the second class citizens of a developing world. Instead of setting the tone in science and scholarship, as it used to do in the middle ages, Islam was relegated to the position of a spectator in a game it could not hope to win.

We have a big problem with cognitive dissonance in most Arab countries, which are trying to be simultaneously Muslim and modern. By “modern” I mean doing all the things a normal Western society takes for granted: publishing books, making movies, starting businesses, dining in restaurants, driving cars, writing laws to serve the community, delivering state services. Every single one of these aspects of your life which you take for granted represent a potential clash with Islam.

Why They Hate Us

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Boy, do they hate America.

I’m on a flight in Tanzania, having left Rwanda where we made a second tour of the genocide sites with the impending twentieth anniversary of the slaughter, when I meet a very fine Pakistani family going on safari.

We exchange pleasantries. They have children studying in the UK, as do many upper-class Pakistani families. My wife and I lived in the UK. We find much to talk about. I relate to them all the Pakistani students I knew at Oxford who were regulars at our events. They tell me of their trip to see the mountain gorillas and how they are enjoying Africa.

Suddenly, the father says to me, “I was in Israel recently. I enjoyed it. But I was disgusted at the treatment of the Palestinians who cannot even go from Bethlehem into Jerusalem.”

I explain to him that the checkpoints are relatively new. “They did not exist when I was a student in Jerusalem. They were set up after a wave of terror bombings killed thousands of Israeli civilians. You can hardly blame Israel from trying to stop the slaughter.”

“The slaughter?” he says, “You mean the way Israel massacres Palestinians every day. And it’s all funded by America, who is the biggest murderer in the world. Just look at the 100 people every day being killed in Iraq.”

I raise my eyebrows, trying to remain calm and provoked. “But that’s being done by Islamic terrorists. What does it have to do with America? We Americans died to liberate the Iraqis. We spent more than a trillion dollars of our national treasure on complete strangers to stop them from being slaughtered by Saddam Hussein.”

He ignores the facts and continues his diatribe. “America is now slaughtering everyone in Afghanistan, just to destabilize the region, and blaming everything on Pakistan.”

“America is trying to save Afghanistan from the Taliban,” I counter, “monsters who brutalize women, fanatics that behead those who don’t conform to their religious extremes.”

“Nonsense,” he says, “the Taliban is infinitely more humane that the Americans and their agents in the Middle East, the Israelis.”

By now I’ve had enough and I go on the offensive.

“Why was Osama bin Laden living in Abbotabad, a mile from Pakistan’s West Point? Who was sheltering a man who killed 3000 innocent Americans?”

And here he makes my jaw drop. “Three thousand Americans dead is nothing, a drop in the ocean, compared to how many Muslims America has killed.”

You may wonder why I am relating this story. It’s an isolated incident, right? But it’s not. It’s a sentiment I encountered in so many parts of Africa where I traveled to Rwanda, to again see the genocide sites and meet with government officials, and then to Arusha in Tanzania, to see the criminal courts where the Rwandan genocidaires were tried.

Readers of my columns will know that I am one of Jewry’s foremost defenders of Islam. I remind Jewish audiences constantly that we dare not de-contexualize the current frictions between Jews and Muslims. Saladin welcomed the Jews back to Jerusalem in 1187 when he captured the holy city from the crusaders who massacred every last Jew. The Ottomans took in large numbers of Jews when we were expelled from Catholic Spain and Portugal. Jews flourished in many Islamic lands where the Koran said they would have to be treated as second-class citizens but should otherwise not suffer persecution. I took Dr. Oz, during our recent visit to Israel together, to see the tomb of Maimonides in Tiberius, explaining that the greatest Muslim ruler that ever lived made the great sage his personal physician. Whenever some of my Jewish colleagues speak of Islam as an inherently violent religion, citing verses in the Koran to prove it, I remind them that there are plenty of verses of our own Torah which can be taken out of context and sound pretty violent. It all comes down to how these passages are interpreted.

But with that being said, there is no question in my mind that Islam is undergoing a modern crisis which perhaps only its clerics and lay leaders can rescue it from. Here in Tanzania there was a terrible story just a week ago when two British female Jewish teenagers were attacked with acid by Islamic assailants.

It’s not that imams and are preaching violence, although many unfortunately do. It’s rather that they preach victimhood. America is to blame for their problems. Israel is to blame for their suffering.

Where are the Islamic leaders and clerics who are prepared to say, “We are responsible for our own problems. We are taking a great world religion and turning it insular and away from secular knowledge rather than finding the balance between the holy and the mundane. We are not empowering women to be the equals of men in all spheres. We Palestinians took the largest per capita foreign aid ever given to a people and we allowed corruption and hatred of Israel to squander the funds on bombs and bullets rather than building universities and schools. We elect leaders democratically who then, like Hamas, or Muhammad Morsi, precede to dismantle democratic institutions. We see the Jews as our enemies rather than using them as an example of what we ourselves should aspire to. They returned to their land after long ago being dispersed by foreign European powers and made the desert bloom. We can surely do the same.”

Cancer Imagery and Jew Hatred

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Rowhani’s comment about Israel being a ‘sore’ (whether or not he added that it should be removed) expresses a popular meme in the Muslim world. The idea is expressed explicitly in the Hamas covenant, and it often appears in PLO media. Palestinian Journalist Khalid Amayreh published an article in 2010 on an Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood website in which he called  Jews “an abomination, a cancer upon the world.” Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Friday called Israel a “cancerous gland” which must be “excised,” echoing Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Other Iranian officials also use this language on a regular basis.

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The idea persists, despite the fact that — by any objective standard — the behavior of Israel is anything but expansionist and invasive. Although Israel ‘grew’ at the expense of the Arab nations in 1967, it has eagerly abandoned most of the territory conquered in the name of ‘peace’, even when that goal proved illusory. It would probably have given it all up if the Arabs had been more focused on strategic advantage than honor and vengeance.

Since 1948, the Arabs (and from 1979, the Iranian regime) have persisted in trying to ‘cure’ the Jewish ‘cancer’, sometimes by war, sometimes by diplomacy and often by both at once. The Arabs seem to have learned by successive humiliations (which only deepen their hatred) that direct means will not be successful. Now they have adopted a multi-pronged strategy of military pressure combined with delegitimization to reduce Western support for Israel, along with diplomatic offensives at the UN and with the US to obtain a solid territorial base. Once this is achieved, they expect to finish the job in another regional war.

The Arabs in particular have never been terribly original. First they borrowed the anti-Jewish ideology of the Nazis, exemplified by Palestinian Arab leader al-Husseini’s relationship with Hitler and the Nazi scientists and war criminals who found sanctuary in Egypt, Iraq and Syria after the war.

The rest of the world was understandably repelled by Nazi ideology, but in the late 1960′s Yasser Arafat was instructed by the KGB to present his gang as a movement of national liberation for a distinct ‘Palestinian people’, and Zionism as a form of imperialism. The international Left followed the KGB’s lead, and this marked the beginning of the Left’s fanatic anti-Zionism.

In 2001, a new element was added with the development of the Durban Strategy by anti-Israel NGOs. Gerald Steinberg explained it thus in 2005:

The Durban conference crystallized the strategy of delegitimizing Israel as “an apartheid regime” through international isolation based on the South African model. This plan is driven by UN-based groups as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which exploit the funds, slogans and rhetoric of the human rights movement.

On this basis a series of political battles have been fought in the UN and in the media. These include the myth of the Jenin “massacre,” the separation barrier, the academic boycott, and, currently, the church-based anti-Israel divestment campaign.

Each of these fronts reflected the Durban strategy of labeling Israel as the new South Africa.

Since then the campaign has expanded greatly, despite the complete absence of parallels between Israel and apartheid South Africa.

It’s important to understand — and the cancer imagery makes this clear — that despite the various guises that the Arab-Muslim-Palestinian cause affects, there is one basic element that underlies it: an extreme hatred of the Jewish people and the desire for another genocide against it.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/fresno-zionism/cancer-imagery-and-jew-hatred/2013/08/07/

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