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December 28, 2014 / 6 Tevet, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘democratic’

Democratic Platform Omits Language on Jerusalem, Notes Iran Military Option

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

The 2012 Democratic Party platform omits language recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and suggests that military force is “on the table” as an option for addressing the Iranian nuclear issue.

The platform released late Monday night makes no mention of Jerusalem or of the issue of Israel’s capital. By contrast, the 2008 platform stated that “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel.” The 2008 platform also stated that the parties to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations.”

The new platform touts President Obama’s work on implementing tougher international sanctions against Iran. It says that Obama “is committed to using all instruments of national power to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.”

“President Obama believes that a diplomatic outcome remains the best and most enduring solution,” the platform states. “At the same time, he has also made clear that the window for diplomacy will not remain open indefinitely and that all options — including military force — remain on the table.”

The 2008 platform referred to “keeping all options on the table.”

On Israel, the new platform emphasizes the Obama administration’s support for Israeli security measures such as Iron Dome and refers to Obama’s “consistent support for Israel’s right to defend itself and his steadfast opposition to any attempt to delegitimize Israel.”

It also states that the president and his party are committed to seeking peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

“A just and lasting Israeli-Palestinian accord, producing two states for two peoples, would contribute to regional stability and help sustain Israel’s identity as a Jewish and democratic state,” the platform states. “At the same time, the President has made clear that there will be no lasting peace unless Israel’s security concerns are met.”

The Republican Jewish Coalition, on Twitter, criticized the omission in the new platform of language describing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The current Republican platform refers to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The RJC also highlighted the absence from the new Democratic platform of language in the Democrats’ 2008 platform calling for Hamas to be isolated, Palestinian refugees to return to a future Palestinian state rather than to Israel, and stating that “it is unrealistic to expect the outcome of final status negotiations to be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949.” The Republican platform also does not articulate these positions.

Incorrect And Ill-Advised Assumptions: A Response To Critics Of The Levy Report

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Mr. Peter. A. Joseph, Chairman, Israel Policy Forum Mr. David A. Halperin, Executive Director, Israel Policy Forum Dear Mr. Joseph and Mr. Halperin,

Permit me to introduce myself. I am Ambassador Alan Baker, a member of the Edmond Levy Commission established to examine the status of building in Judea and Samaria and to make recommendations to the government on this and related issues.

As you may know, I am the former ambassador of Israel to Canada and former legal adviser to Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the latter capacity, since the early ‘90s I have served as a member in the Israeli delegations to the peace process negotiations with Israel’s neighbors, including the negotiation and drafting of the various agreements between Israel and the PLO.

I read with considerable dismay the letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu, dated July 13, 2012, sponsored by IPF and signed by 41 prominent personalities in the U.S. Jewish community, urging him to reject the Levy Commission’s findings and recommendations.

Rather than responding to each individual signatory directly, I am forwarding this response to you both, as chairman and executive director respectively of IPF, in the hope you will ensure that it is circulated among all the other signatories to the letter.

From the content and tenor of the letter, I suspect the signatories are basing themselves on selective media reports and other sources that in fact bear no relation whatsoever to the actual content of the Levy Commission report itself. This is perhaps understandable because, to the best of my knowledge, no English language version of the report exists (apart from a translation by me of the brief summary of the basic conclusion and recommendations).

Accordingly one may presume that none of the signatories have actually read the content of the report. In this context, one may wonder on what basis 41 prominent, important and responsible leaders of the U.S. Jewish community could seriously proffer criticism of a report that they have not read and presume to advise the prime minister of Israel to reject it.

Permit me, with respect, to presume that had the signatories read the report, they would not find any reason to claim, as stated in the letter, that the report “will place the two-state solution, and the prestige of Israel as a democratic member of the international community, in peril.”

Similarly, the description of the report as “legal maneuverings” and as something that will “add fuel to those who seek to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist,” other than insulting to myself and the other members of the commission in light of our respective contributions to the welfare and prestige of Israel, is totally devoid of any basis.

The central and reasoned conclusion of the report, reaffirming the legal and historic rights and claims of Israel with regard to the area and the nature of Israel’s presence therein, is no different from Israel’s policy statements over the years, including speeches by all of Israel’s leaders and ambassadors in the United Nations, as well as in official policy documents issued over the years by Israel’s Foreign Ministry.

There is nothing in the report that could in any way be interpreted as placing the “two-state solution” in peril. The opposite is in fact the case. The report reiterates, in paragraph 9, that despite Israel’s well-based and solid legal and historical claims to sovereignty over the area and the right of Israelis to settle therein in accordance with the requisite legal norms and requirements, as set out in the body of the report, consecutive Israeli governments have chosen to opt and continue to opt in favor of conducting bone fide and pragmatic negotiations with the representatives of the Palestinian people and the Arab states, with a view to determine the fate of the area.

This is completely compatible with the address by Prime Minister Netanyahu to the U.S. Congress last May, quoted in your letter.

The main body of the Levy Report deals with practical ways of resolving the outstanding issues concerning planning, zoning and building in the area, in light of the confusing situation in this field that has developed over the last few years. The report proffers recommendations for adjudicating land-ownership disputes between Palestinian and Israeli claimants – all with a view to ensuring just, proper and fair administration.

Paid for by Charles Bronfman, ‘Jewish Stars’ Attack Pro-Settlement Report

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Forty U.S. Jewish leaders sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressing concerns about the findings of an Israeli judicial committee that said Judea and Samaria settlements are legal.

The letter, initiated and organized by the Israel Policy Forum (IPF), was delivered Sunday to the Prime Minister’s Office.

“As strong advocates for Israel’s security and well-being as a Jewish and democratic state, we are deeply concerned about the recent findings of the government commission led by Supreme Court Jurist (Ret.) Edmund Levy,” the letter read. “We fear that if approved, this report will place the two-state solution, and the prestige of Israel as a democratic member of the international community, in peril.”

IPF, which used to be the darling of former president Bill Clinton, who used an IPF gala in 2001 to unveil his Clinton Parameters for Arab-Israel peacemaking, has greatly diminished in influence and presence in recent years. But a June report by JTA suggested the organization is being pulled out of mothballs to become the prestigious pro-2-State Jewish powerhouse which J-Street just isn’t.

The group that has restarted IFP is made up of Jewish stars in search of a steady employment: Aaron David Miller, a former negotiator in the first Bush and Clinton administrations, Eric Yoffie, who just ended his term as president of the Union for Reform Judaism, and Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), who is retiring from office. With funding from philanthropist Charles Bronfman, the resurrection appears all but certain.

Charles Bronfman is Co-Chairman of Birthright Israel International, a successful program providing an educational travel experience to Israel for young Jewish adults aged 18 to 26.

The IPF rhetoric is the same old tired stuff, extremely 1999:

“A two-state solution – an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip existing peacefully alongside Israel – is an imperative.”

As if the past ten years or so, with thousands of Palestinian rockets and mortar shells dropping on Israeli civilian populations, are not even a speck of schmootz on their rosy glasses, as if the evacuation of thousands of Jews has not led to untold suffering for both Jews and Arabs, as if every Israeli attempt to urge on a concession has not been met with torrents of violence, the 2-staters push on:

“It is the only way to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and ensure Israel’s security and future as a Jewish and democratic state.  It is also in the interests of the United States, Israel, the Palestinians and the international community.”

But would to do if the Arabs once again react to Israeli peace gestures with fire? Not to worry, IFP has a solution:

“Israel’s security is a core American interest,” they declare (now, that’s a relief). and: “Terrorism, violence and incitement are central impediments to peace in the region and should be collectively and explicitly renounced. Similarly, rockets targeting innocent civilians along Israel’s northern and southern borders should be condemned by the United States.”

There you go – if Jews start getting killed all over the place, God forbid, this will not go by without the strongest condemnation from the U.S. government!

Signatories on the IFP letter to Netanyahu include the aforementioned Charles Bronfman, who is joined by fellow-philanthropist Lester Crown; Marvin Lender, the former national chairman of United Jewish Appeal; Deborah Lipstadt, Dorot professor of modern Jewish history and Holocaust studies at Emory University; Bernard Nussbaum, former White House counsel; Richard Pearlstone, former chairman of The Jewish Agency ; and Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.

This group of Jewish leaders between jobs has discovered the platform that would pay their rent for the foreseeable future, and will utilize their skills in one direction: getting Israel back to a position of weakness, torn by internal conflict over the future of the settlements, and once again exposed to Arab violence.

The IFP gang is receiving its first important task, to throw its full, prestigious weight against the findings of an exceptionally distinguished jurist, retired Supreme Court justice Edmond Levy. The Levy committee 89-page report released last week has established what has been known for decades, that “Israel does not meet the criteria of ‘military occupation’ as defined under international law” in Judea and Samaria, and therefore settlements and outposts there are legal.

IFP deals with Levy with the kind of flippant approach Bill Clinton would have appreciated:

“Securing Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state requires diplomatic and political leadership, not legal maneuverings,” they wrote Netanyshu.

See, this is not about justice, it’s about getting things done. What things? Well, justice for the Palestinians, of course.

And, as always in the U.S. Jewish left’s dealings with Israel, there’s the unveiled threat:

“…our great fear is that the Levy Report will not strengthen Israel’s position in this conflict, but rather add fuel to those who seek to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist.”

See? In the end it’s not about solutions, or about priorities, or about—God forbid—the rule of law. In the end it comes to if you don’t do as we say you’ll die.

Finally, somewhere on the list of 40, you’ll rather incongruously find Conservative Rabbi Daniel Gordis, President of the Shalem Center, who’s been making such a profound case all over You Tube for Israel’s need to exist, debating Peter Beinart who sees the settlements as the mother of all evils – what happened to Gordis? Is he over his conflict? Did he go over to the dark side?

Anyway, at this point it is clear that Israel would do much better with fewer friends…

UJA content was used in this article.

Western Critics of Democracy – “Accomplices to Injustice”

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Support for people who criticize their own Western democratic societies is now all too apparent among many Western intellectuals, academics, members of the media, international organizations, and religious groups which, while refusing to challenge cases of injustice, particularly in Muslim countries, instead criticize and condemn the state of Israel at every turn, despite the continuing physical and rhetorical aggression against it.

Intellectual support for, or acquiescence in, tyrannical regimes and unjust rulers is familiar in history. It runs from Plato supporting the tyrant of Syracuse; Seneca praising Nero; Aristotle advising Alexander the Great, and it extends to modern times with individuals such as Martin Heidegger approving, for a time, Hitler, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, who, in 1947, justified the fraudulent Moscow Trials which condemned the Russian critics of Stalin.

The Dean of Canterbury in Britain for over 30 years, Hewlett Johnson, embodied a deluded, fanatical mind at work: safe in his ecclesiastical position, and suffering no penalties for his utterances and actions, Johnson was a life-long admirer of both Communism in theory, and the Soviet Union in action. He defended the Nazi-Soviet Pact of September 1939 — the prelude to Hitler’s start of World War II. Johnson’s undying admiration for Communism led him to defend both the arrest in 1949 on false charges, of Cardinal Mindzenty by the Hungarian secret police, and the Soviet invasion of Hungary — for which he was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize in 1950, and the Stalin International Peace Prize in 1951.

As George Orwell – himself familiar with such “fellow travelers” of the Soviet Communist regime who, in their irresponsible fashion, supported or excused that regime despite its tyranny and brutality, and at no cost to themselves – wrote, “So much of left-wing thought is a kind of playing with fire by people who don’t even know that fire is hot.”

These critics, consciously or not, are now allying with groups and states whose open, ultimate, objective is the destruction of the state of Israel. In fairness, people with this mindset have, in recent years, also supported worthy causes, such as sanctions against the apartheid state of South Africa and calls for its abolition. Such support, however, could hardly be considered courageous: no one had to pay any price for it; on the contrary, there were benefits, both ideological and personal, such as enlarged self-esteem or glory in success.

What is important is that the compassion shown by these individuals has not been present in the face of gratuitous attacks on democratic values, or in the face of aggression, physical and rhetorical, against the state of Israel. Nor have Western Europeans, at least, been willing to face the real problems currently exponentiating there, such as the mass immigration of people from other cultures, who have failed to be successfully integrated into Western societies, as well as the rise of Islamism. The critics of their own democratic societies rarely discuss the real difficulties, both demographically and politically, of the multicultural societies of Britain and France, or what the significance might be of over half the Muslims in Britain believing that it was actually the CIA or the Israeli Mossad which were responsible for the 9/11 attacks in New York City.

What can explain this failure by self-proclaimed high-minded people to respond not only to the physical violence against a tiny democratic ally, but also to the attacks on free speech, or the attempts to prevent criticism of some activity supposedly based on religious principles, such as Christians continually being burned alive in their churches in Nigeria by the fundamentalist goup, Boko Haram [literally: "Western Education Is Forbidden"], or the the possible judicial murder by Iran of Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani for refusing to recant his conversion to Christianity, or Iran’s illegal, ongoing threats of genocide against a fellow member of the United Nations?

Part of the explanation, at least regarding Europeans, may be due to what Walter Laqueur, in After the Fall, called a “crisis of lack of will, inertia, tiredness, self-doubt, a lack of self-confidence.” Other people, who are perhaps seeking fame, or acceptance as politically correct, or even material rewards, or who are simply ignorant of political reality, pay no price for their appeasement of the actions and language of countries and groups that are critical of, and actively threaten, democratic values.

The Problem was Oslo – not the Occupation

Monday, May 28th, 2012

“The truth is harsh. The occupation is destroying Israel. It is undermining Israel’s ethical, democratic and diplomatic foundations.”

So claimed Haaretz Correspondent Ari Shavit on 17 December 2009.

I would suggest that, in retrospect, much of the activity surrounding Oslo – rather than the “occupation” – has been “undermining Israel’s ethical, democratic and diplomatic foundations.”

#1 Respect for Human Life

Oslo corrupted our respect for human life. Soldiers and civilians alike became no more than pawns in a game of peacemaking under the gun. And today, after sinking up to our noses in the mire of Oslo, with politicians often ultimately treating brutal murders as temporary insignificant inconveniences, we find a dramatic increase in murder, violent crime, even violence in the schoolyard.

#2 Israel’s intelligence system

Oslo corrupted the very top of Israel’s intelligence system. Some allowed their ideology to seriously cloud their judgment as they naively thought they could sub-contract Israel’s security to their Palestinian pals who they wined and dined on open expense accounts. Others, with an eye on their career track, opted to present reports and analysis that supported the “process” rather than what they really thought. And it didn’t stop there. Some of these top Israelis entered into a web of business relations with their Palestinian counterparts. Money – the ultimate corrupter.

#3. Political system

Oslo corrupted the political system, with it becoming acceptable to make bare-faced lies to the Knesset, as was the case when Shimon Peres denied the existence of his “Jerusalem Letter”, and later when time and again the explicit policy choices made by the citizens was ignored after election day. But it wasn’t just the lies and the vote buying. Oslo introduced brazen and open foreign interference in the Israeli democratic process with money from the European Union and other nations financing various leftist groups in Israel and even some politicians.

Oslo so corrupted respect for the democratic process that the ruling government even went so far as to use the services of the State’s intelligence apparatus to undermine the standing of their political rivals and silence them rather than engage them in serious debate. To this day serious public debate is marred by the efforts to silence voices with charges of incitement and the “extremist” label.

Oslo corrupted the news media as reporters abandoned their critical “watchdog” role, opting to either distort or ignore the truth as their contribution to the “peace process”.

Oslo corrupted our society. Oslo corrupted our democratic system. Oslo corrupted our security.

#4. Security

Yes. And it undermined our security.

Defenders of the retreat from Gaza cite the security conditions faced by Israelis in the Gaza Strip just before the retreat. They either forgot – or hope their audience has forgotten – that before Oslo the security situation was so favorable that places like Netzarim were “defended” by a single bored soldier sitting at the main entrance to the community.

The “terror” that the Labor Party blamed the Shamir Government for in the election campaign before Oslo’s birth was a series of knifing incidents.

Thanks to Oslo, instead of knives, guns, and an occasional homemade bomb we find ourselves facing trained armies in our backyard and even living room. And under the “quiet for quiet” policy our enemies can do pretty much anything they want to to upgrade the weapons they have as long as they don’t use them. Yet. [We try to comfort ourselves by claiming that the quiet is thanks to Israeli deterrence when it could just as easily be described as our enemies opting to pick the time and place – and that time and place hasn’t yet arrived.].

#5. Flood of foreign workers

Thanks to Oslo our country is swamped with the foreign workers who were brought in to replace the masses of Palestinian workers who, thanks to the Oslo security fiasco, could no longer be trusted.

#6. Diplomatic standing

And Oslo – not the occupation – served to undermine Israel’s diplomatic foundations.

Oslo took Yasser Arafat and his PLO off the dung heap of history (wallowing in Tunis after being thrown out of Lebanon) when only radicals in the West were talking about anything beyond a Palestinian autonomy and lead ultimately to the diplomatic challenge we face today – with the critical message of UNSC 242 (no requirement of full withdrawal) being ignored.

Exclusive: New Yorker Gideon Ariel Running Against Netanyahu for President of Likud Convention

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

UPDATE: About 100 Likud Central Committee members have been refused entrance into the hall where the vote on the next President of the Likud convention is to be held. Police say the the hall is too small for the number of committee members who are entitled to come in and vote.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will face off against veteran Likud Central Committee member Gideon Ariel for the position of President of the Likud Convention (the pre-central committee institution). The Likud Convention will determine how Likud MKs will be re-elected as well as make various changes in the Likud constitution. The vote is expected sometime tonight Israel time and only Likud Central Committee members will be able to cast a ballot.

Netanyahu’s previous challengers, Minister Michael Eitan and MK Danny Danon, have indicated earlier today that they would drop out, paving the way for a veteran Central Committee member to submit his candidacy. Ariel’s candidacy can be seen as the Likud Central Committee members attempt to keep the power with the Likud and challenge some of the Prime Minister’s policies with which they might not agree.

Knesset insider Jeremy Saltan told JewishPress.com that Ariel, who was backing Danon, is relying mainly on the support of the Danon camp, however, he has confirmed contacts with Michael Eitan’s people. Jewish Leadership Moshe Feiglin’s sizable camp is leaning heavily towards endorsing Ariel as well.

Saltan said, “It would seem that if Ariel can maintain the Danon camp support and add Eitan’s camp he actually has a decent shot at defeating the Prime Minister. There are many veteran Likud Central Committee members who are not happy with Netanyahu and don’t want him to block their amendments to the party constitution”.

The Jewish Press sat down with Gidon Ariel in an exclusive interview where he discussed his background and candidacy.

“I made aliyah from New York in High School and I have always had a strong commitment for the democratic tradition and values both the United States and Israel were founded on. That is the reason I joined the Likud because I am a believer in a two-party system. I am proud that I have become a key player in the political establishment in Israel after having signed hundreds and hundreds of Israeli citizens up for the Likud. I am a leader in the Likud branch of Ma’leh Adumim and I recently ran a slate that finished in first place in the internal Likud primaries”.

“The Likud convention is a complex body that is responsible for amending the Likud constitution within 90 days of it convening. There have already been a lot of motions floated and I am confident that with the 11-man presidium that will be elected with me, we will be able to empower the members of the central committee, the Likud itself and ultimately the state of Israel. We will work together hand and hand with the Prime Minister and Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu to assure a party that is clean, democratic and strong for Israel.”

“I consulted with a great number of my friends from all of the Likud’s camps and all wished me luck in my bid and respected my decision to run. Many grassroots leaders and activists have promised me their support.”

“I am disappointed to hear that Danny Danon is withdrawing his candidacy and it would seem that Danon’s move will be very difficult to explain to key central committee members such as myself. However, I will gladly drop out if he stays in the race”.

“I think Netanyahu and his advisers might attempt to politically maneuver my candidacy out, but it is possible that Netanyahu will express his gratitude to me for having a democratic process in our democratic party. My chances are 100% that I will protect the honor of the Likud as the countries only center-right leadership democratic leadership party”.

A Year Later, ‘Arab Spring’ Ushering In an Islamist Egypt

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

It’s not as if no one in the West has been warning about it; and it’s not as if Egyptians, exposing themselves to violence while demonstrating gallantly in a relentless effort to topple a corrupt, repressive regime, weren’t aware of the possibility of it; nevertheless, the prospect of an imminent takeover—albeit using democratic means—by the radical Muslims is terrifying.

According to Al Ahram, Saturday, the Muslim Brotherhood, reneging on its former commitment not to participate in the presidential race—a commitment made largely to allay the fears of Egypt’s military, which is forever suspicious of just such an Islamist takeover—elected a religious conservative businessman named Khairat Shater, 62, who had been the architect of the movement’s economic empire, as its presidential candidate. This is the Brotherhood’s endgame, about which experts have been warning since the day the first massive demonstration disturbed the peaceful Tahrir Square.

For a self portrait of the Muslim Brotherhood’s presidential candidate, visit his profile on his own website, khairatshater.com. The text appears to have been processed via Google Translate (“Students began his public and political at the end of his secondary education in 1966″ and similar gems).

A week earlier, Egyptians discovered who were the 100-member of the post-revolution constituent assembly which will draft Egypt’s new constitution, divided equally between members of parliament and unelected public figures. Picked from 2,078 nominees, the final list is reported to be 70 percent Islamist. This guarantees that a future Egypt will not reflect the values of liberal Egyptians who were yearning to institute a Western democracy in their country, but will resemble instead the new Islamist regime in Tunisia.

The NY Times surmises that a presidential run had been part of Khairat Shater’s plans ever since he had been freed from prison following the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak: “With firm control of Egypt’s Parliament, the Brotherhood’s political arm is holding talks to form the next cabinet while Mr. Shater is grooming about 500 future officials to form a government-in-waiting.”

Al Ahram suggests the Brotherhood had not planned to break its word on avoiding a presidential bid for now. Believing in gradual change, the Brotherhood leadership even threatened members with expulsion if they ran for—or even supported anyone who run for—the Presidency.

Back in the summer of 2011, the Brotherhood actually expelled one of its most admired leaders, Abdel Moneim Abul-Fotouh, who disobeyed the party elders and announced he was running for President.

In the end, the Brotherhood appears to have been dragged into Presidential politics before it felt ready for the challenge. It was becoming worried about the growing success of two Islamist candidates, their own former brother Abul-Fotouh and a Salafist preacher named Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, who were both becoming too popular for comfort with the radical youth.

Ever eager to prevent a clash with the military, the Brotherhood is now facing the very situation it was seeking to avoid, by gaining too much too soon, only to have its new gains be thwarted by a military pushback which would suspend state institutions indefinitely.

Still, as the Times put it, “Egypt’s Brotherhood, the original Islamist movement at the center of the Arab world, has never flinched from demanding an Islamic government and opposing secular rule.”

Mohssen Arishie, writing in The Egyptian Gazette, suggests that “el-Shater the Conqueror should not expect that his ‘Battle of the Caliphate’ in May would be an easy task.” Besides his expelled former colleague in the Brotherhood Abul-Futuh, Shater will be facing the very colorful Sheikh Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail, an unusual candidate in any election, in Egypt and elsewhere.

Abu Ismail’s platform envisions 10 great national projects in every area of Egyptian society, topmost among them is doing away with the centralized presidential system, buolding instead an institutional democracy which is, nevertheless, run according to Muslim principles.

And, according to Arishie, Abu Ismail has expressed a deep interest in imitating Israel’s economic success story to stimulate Egypt’s ailing economy.

That won’t be easy to accomplish without a real, Western-style democracy.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/a-year-later-arab-spring-ushering-in-an-islamist-egypt/2012/04/02/

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