Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Thursday sat with schoolchildren in the Jewish community of Susiya in south Mt. Hebron, next door to which a squatter Arab community has emerged recently, in an obvious attempt to challenge Israeli sovereignty over Area C of Judea and Samaria. Liberman told the children the encroachment by the residents of Yata Village to the lands near Susiya was not an accident, but a planned effort to physically separate the new community of Susiya and the historic synagogue on the nearby archeological site.
Susiya is a legitimate archaeological site in the southern Judean Mountains that bears the archaeological remains of a 5th century CE enormous synagogue, one of the largest and most magnificent ever discovered, which was turned into a mosque by the Arab invaders in the 8th century.
“Are you familiar with the archeological site of Susiya?” Liberman asked, and continued, “One day all kinds of illegal buildings started popping there, supported by foreign countries. And why did they pop there? On purpose, to divide between the community of Susiya and the historic Susiya.”
Liberman revealed that he had been under “pressure from all over the world” not to apply the demolition order handed out more than once by the Supreme Court. “The European Union, the US — they all discovered Susiya. Suddenly the United Nations Security Council is also interested in Susiya.” He promised the children he would obey the law and carry out the demolitions. “The free world is preaching especially for this to be a country of laws, and we must honor our judiciary system,” he said, with a hint of sarcasm.
UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov told the Security Council that the demolitions of illegal Arab construction in Area C, which is under full Israeli control, violate the recommendations of the so-called Middle East Quartet, comprising the US, Russia, the EU and the UN, on the way forward in the peace process.
Liberman attacked the Europeans and the Americans who demand that Israel ignore the Supreme Court ruling to demolish Susiya, but to enforce the same court’s ruling on demolishing the Jewish Amona community in northern Samaria. “We are a country of laws,” he said, and we will honor ourselves and our laws, regarding Amona, E1 (the area connecting Jerusalema nd Ma’ale Adumim), and Susiya,” he clarified.
Liberman called on the residents of Amona to embrace the compromise being offered by the government, and moved to the promised homes to be built near their community. “I say to the residents of Amona, there’s a ruling of the high court and we will obey it. If anyone is delusing themselves that we won’t, it’s not going to happen. Whatever the court permits we will do. That’s why we offered many alternatives, and I hope we’ll find one the Amona residents will also accept.”
GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump on Monday gave a foreign policy speech in Youngstown, Ohio, outlining his plan to fight terrorism. Addressing the large crowd (as usual), Trump opened, “Today we begin a conversation about how to Make America Safe Again. In the 20th Century, the United States defeated Fascism, Nazism, and Communism. Now, a different threat challenges our world: Radical Islamic Terrorism.”
The candidate cited a very long list of terrorist attacks against individual Western targets (Paris, Brussels, Orlando), as well as a more generalized but no less forceful depiction of attacks on Muslims: “Overseas, ISIS has carried out one unthinkable atrocity after another. … We cannot let this evil continue.”
Trump promised, “We will defeat Radical Islamic Terrorism, just as we have defeated every threat we have faced in every age before.” He then threw a jab at both president Obama and Democratic presidential Candidate Clinton, saying, “Anyone who cannot name our enemy, is not fit to lead this country.”
This led to a Trump analysis of how President Obama and his Secretary of State Clinton are to blame for the current alarming state of events. He blamed them for policies that led to the creation of ISIS, saying, “It all began in 2009 with what has become known as President Obama’s global ‘Apology Tour.’”
Remarkably, Trump omitted eight whole years in which the US was attacked by a different group of Islamic radicals, and the fact that then President GW Bush retaliated by invading a country that had nothing to do with that attack, inflicting chaos on Iraq and taking out the one fierce regional enemy of Iran, Saddam Hussein. According to Trump, none of those eight bloody years of a Bush war had anything to do with the creation of ISIS (which took place in 2004) — it all began with “a series of speeches,” in which “President Obama described America as ‘arrogant,’ ‘dismissive,’ ‘derisive,’ and a ‘colonial power.'”
“Perhaps no speech was more misguided than President Obama’s speech to the Muslim World delivered in Cairo, Egypt, in 2009,” Trump said Monday night. Of course, the Obama Al Azhar University speech did launch a bizarre foreign policy that punished America’s friends and rewarded its enemies. Even if one were not pro-Israel, one would have to wonder what drove that disastrous foreign policy. But the Obama speech did not instigate the catastrophic failure of US policy in the Middle East, it only picked up Obama’s predecessor’s very bad situation and made it worse.
Trump believes that “the failure to establish a new Status of Forces Agreement in Iraq, and the election-driven timetable for withdrawal, surrendered our gains in that country and led directly to the rise of ISIS.” But in eight miserable years, having spent trillions of borrowed dollars our grandchildren and their grandchildren after them will continue to pay for, there were no US gains in Iraq — which is why when Obama honored the Bush agreement with the Iraqi government and withdrew some of the US forces, the whole thing came tumbling down.
Trump blames Hillary Clinton for destabilizing Libya, a claim supported by many, including President Obama and former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. He also added a jab at the Clintons, saying, “Yet, as she threw the Middle East into violent turmoil, things turned out well for her. The Clintons made almost $60 million in gross income while she was Secretary of State.” It’s factually true, but the implied moral outrage is hard to accept with a straight face, seeing as it came from a man who prided himself on turning homeowners’ misery into a hefty profit for himself during the housing crisis of 2008.
After much more of the candidate’s unique view on US foreign policy and the causes for rise of terrorism, Trump finally cut to the chase.
“If I become President, the era of nation-building will be ended,” he said. “Our new approach, which must be shared by both parties in America, by our allies overseas, and by our friends in the Middle East, must be to halt the spread of Radical Islam. … As President, I will call for an international conference focused on this goal. We will work side-by-side with our friends in the Middle East, including our greatest ally, Israel. We will partner with King Abdullah of Jordan, and President [Al] Sisi of Egypt, and all others who recognize this ideology of death that must be extinguished.”
Trump added to the list of his envisioned coalition partners the NATO countries, explaining that although he “had previously said that NATO was obsolete because it failed to deal adequately with terrorism; since my comments they have changed their policy and now have a new division focused on terror threats.”
He also wants Russia to participate, clearly despite its dubious new alliance with both Iran and Turkey that threatens the very presence of US troops in that part of the region.
On this point, the Trump vision looks an awful lot like the current Administration’s policy on fighting ISIS: “My Administration will aggressively pursue joint and coalition military operations to crush and destroy ISIS, international cooperation to cutoff their funding, expanded intelligence sharing, and cyberwarfare to disrupt and disable their propaganda and recruiting. We cannot allow the Internet to be used as a recruiting tool, and for other purposes, by our enemy – we must shut down their access to this form of communication, and we must do so immediately.”
So far so good, but then Trump suggested “we must use ideological warfare as well. Just as we won the Cold War, in part, by exposing the evils of communism and the virtues of free markets, so too must we take on the ideology of Radical Islam.”
Trump then depicted his opponent as contributing to the repression of Muslim gays and women, promising his “Administration will speak out against the oppression of women, gays and people of different faith. Our Administration will be a friend to all moderate Muslim reformers in the Middle East, and will amplify their voices.”
At which point one must ask if the candidate is relying on expert advise on the Middle East. Because while he is absolutely right in condemning the cruelty and repression that have been the reality in Muslim countries from Pakistan to Morocco, his idea of promoting an American foreign policy of “speaking out against the horrible practice of honor killings” and against the myriad other acts of unimaginable violence against women, his ideas that to defeat Islamic terrorism, the US must “speak out forcefully against a hateful ideology that provides the breeding ground for violence and terrorism to grow” is shockingly sophomoric. Surely Trump knows that these attempts are a recipe for a far worse disaster than the one brought on by the Obama Al Azhar speech.
At this point, Trump turned to an area with which he is more familiar, the need for a new immigration policy. “A Trump Administration will establish a clear principle that will govern all decisions pertaining to immigration: we should only admit into this country those who share our values and respect our people,” the candidate declared, adding that “the time is overdue to develop a new screening test for the threats we face today.”
“In addition to screening out all members or sympathizers of terrorist groups, we must also screen out any who have hostile attitudes towards our country or its principles – or who believe that Sharia law should supplant American law,” Trump said, explaining that “those who do not believe in our Constitution, or who support bigotry and hatred, will not be admitted for immigration into the country. Only those who we expect to flourish in our country – and to embrace a tolerant American society – should be issued visas.”
Easier said than done, of course, because it’s naturally difficult to discern what lurks inside the mind of any person, immigrants included. Trump’s solution is, to “temporarily suspend immigration from some of the most dangerous and volatile regions of the world that have a history of exporting terrorism.”
“As soon as I take office, I will ask the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security to identify a list of regions where adequate screening cannot take place. We will stop processing visas from those areas until such time as it is deemed safe to resume based on new circumstances or new procedures.” It should be interesting to gauge the response of, say, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, to the news that no more cash-laden Arab oil sheiks would be allowed to visit Vegas under a Trump Administration.
“Finally, we will need to restore common sense to our security procedures,” Trump declared, listing several notorious murders committed by Muslims on US soil, noting that in each case there had been warning signs that were overlooked by the authorities.
“These warning signs were ignored because political correctness has replaced common sense in our society,” Trump stated flatly, adding, “That is why one of my first acts as President will be to establish a Commission on Radical Islam. … The goal of the commission will be to identify and explain to the American public the core convictions and beliefs of Radical Islam, to identify the warning signs of radicalization, and to expose the networks in our society that support radicalization.”
“This commission will be used to develop new protocols for local police officers, federal investigators, and immigration screeners,” Trump said, essentially suggesting legitimizing the police profiling that has been so vilified in the media and by many politicians. He also promised to keep Guantanamo Bay prison open (although Obama has just released fifteen of its inmates). He wants additional staff to Intelligence agencies and will keep drone strikes against terrorist leaders as part of his options. He also wants military trials for foreign enemy combatants.
In conclusion, there was absolutely no new policy idea in the Trump speech on foreign policy Monday night, but there was an implied, if mostly unspoken promise, to encourage all levels of law enforcement to be less restrained in pursuing their targets. In fact, across the board, what Trump was offering Monday night were not so much new ideas as the promise of taking existing ideas to a new level of dedication in their execution. It could mean a wider loss of individual civil rights, and serious economic hardship for US industries that cater to any aspect of immigration, and it could also end up with the alienation of both European and Mid-Eastern countries who would not take kindly to Trump’s promised level of fierceness, and would retaliate.
It should be noted in that context, that after having spoken bluntly about extreme security measures that could harm specific ethnic and religious groups, Trump attempted to soften his own tone with a final paragraph that promised: “As your President … I will fight to ensure that every American is treated equally, protected equally, and honored equally. We will reject bigotry and oppression in all its forms, and seek a new future built on our common culture and values as one American people. — Only this way, will we make America Great Again and Safe Again – For Everyone.”
Like him or hate him, Donald Trump remains the champion of cognitive dissonance.
A Swiss activist with the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement has been deported from Israel for the first time, according to Channel 2 News.
Rita Faye has visited the Jewish State a number of times in the past, and is known for her harassment of IDF soldiers at Palestinian Authority crossing checkpoints around Jericho.
She is a member of a Christian organization that supports the BDS movement and has recorded the activities of the soldiers she has tracked, and then sent the information abroad, according to the report.
Upon her arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport on Tuesday, she was taken for questioning by security personnel.
Faye was put back on a plane with a deportation issued by Interior Minister Arye Deri at the request of the IDF when it was discovered she was headed to Israel.
July 7 is International Chocolate Day, so Claude BenSimon, head pastry chef of the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem, has unveiled two new chocolate dishes: Louie’s Mousse and Waldorf 28. Both have been added to the menu of the the hotel’sKing’s Court Restaurant. Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem opened in 2014, has been named Top Hotel In the Middle East and 7th in the world by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine, and has received international praise for its innovative cuisine.
A second generation pastry chef, Bensimon was trained in the bakeshops and pastry kitchens of Paris, including the Michelin-rated Taillevent, and worked under pastry designer Jacques Genin. In 2001 BenSimon immigrated to Israel and in 2013 joined the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem staff as head Pastry Chef.
“Louie’s Mousse” by Chef Claude Ben-Simon
Yields up to 5 medium cups
Part 1—Milk Chocolate Chantilly Cream
1 ¼ cup (10 fl oz) Heavy Cream
1 ¼ cup (1/2 lb) Milk Chocolate
Bring the cream to a boil and then add, in 3 parts, the boiling cream into the chocolate while stirring during every addition
Allow the cream to cool down for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator
After it has cooled, place the cream in a pastry bag with a St. Honore nozzle
Part 2—Vanilla Crumble
5 ½ oz (11 Tbsp) cold butter cut into cubes
2 ¾ oz (6 ½ Tbsp) sugar
1 ¼ Tbsp salt
1 ¼ cups flour
2 ½ cups crumbled almonds
3 oz light brown sugar
Mix the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl
Add the butter and mix gently until you get the dough becomes pea size crumble
Move the mixture into a baking pan with parchment paper and bake at 320 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes, or until the crumble is golden brown and crispy
Take the pan out and put on the side to cool.
Part 3—Exotic Coulis
3 ½ oz (7 Tbsp) banana puree
2 ¾ oz mango puree
1 ½ oz apricot puree
2 ¼ oz passion fruit puree
1 stick of vanilla bean, scraped
¼ cup white sugar
In a medium sized pan, add the fruit puree. Scrape the vanilla pod into the pan, and mix with the sugar over a low flame.
While the pan is on a medium flame, bring the mixture to a boil for about 7 minutes until the mixture becomes thick to nappy consistency.
Remove from the flame and set aside in the refrigerator before using.
In a medium-sized cup, first place a spoonful of exotic coulis. Over this place 2 spoonfuls of vanilla crumble. Pipe out the cream to the rim of the cup. Decorate with crushed nuts and serve.
Earlier this month, Israeli authorities refused to renew the travel documents of Omar Barghouti, a founding committee member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
Barghouti was born in Qatar, grew up in Egypt and later moved to Jaffa and then to Acre in Israel as an adult, but he insists on counting himself as part of the indigenous people, as when he told the AP back in 2007, that the “Palestinians cannot possibly observe the same boycott guidelines as asked of internationals” and that the “indigenous population” is entitled to all services they can get from the system.
After marrying his wife, an Israeli Arab, Barghouti, was granted permanent residency in Israel, which he has enjoyed for the past 23 years. He holds a master’s degree in ethics from Tel Aviv University, and is pursuing a PhD. A petition drew more than 184,000 signatures asked the university to expel him, but he was never expelled.
Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) has threatened to revoke Barghouti’s residency on the grounds that “he is using his resident status to travel all over the world in order to operate against Israel in the most serious manner.”
Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) called for a campaign of “targeted civil elimination” of BDS leaders with the help of Israeli intelligence.
Minister of Public Security, Strategic Affairs and Information Gilad Erdan (Likud), who is in charge of the fight against the BDS, said that activists including Barghouti should “pay the price” for their work.
Well, the Israeli system this month decided to deny the BDS leader one vital service: they will not renew his travel papers. Barghouti told the Arab press in response: “I am unnerved but certainly undeterred by these threats. Nothing will stop me from struggling for my people’s freedom, justice and peace.”
They could take away his Internet connection, of course.
Sixteen organizations from American, Asian, and European countries are demanding that Israel make it possible for Barghouti to travel around the world to sabotage Israeli commercial and national interests. But rather than addressing Israel’s foreign ministry (which is currently headed by PM Benjamin Netanyahu), these NGOs sent their protest to the foreign ministers of 14 countries and international organizations, including, naturally, John Kerry of the USA, Federica Mogherini, High Representative for the European Union, Margot Wallström of Sweden, and Charles Flanagan of Ireland.
After relating Israel’s repressive attitude against its enemy within, the NGOs demanded that the foreign ministers “use the power and influence that resides in your office to impress on the Israeli government the absolute necessity of ceasing its repressive measures against Palestine’s civil leaders, and in particular to permit Omar Barghouti to play his full role, both inside Israel and without, in representing the aspirations of the Palestinian people.”
Incidentally, any one of the 14 countries addressed by those NGOs could offer Omar Barghouti residency or citizenship and travel papers galore. There must be a reason why they haven’t so far.
The new Hillel International College Guide which has just been released, offers articles on every facet of Jewish life on campus, including highlighting innovative programs at Hillels around the US, as well as everybody’s favorite — the latest data on the “top 60 schools Jews choose.”
Out of the top 60 Jewish-friendly state schools, here are the top ten, courtesy of the Hillel Guide:
1. University of Florida, 33,720 undergraduates, out of whom 6,500 or 19% are Jewish.
2. Rutgers university, New Brunswick, 34,544 undergraduates, out of whom 6,400 or 19% are Jewish.
3. University of central Florida, 52,532 undergraduates, out of whom 6,000 or 11% are Jewish.
4. University of Maryland, college Park, 27,056 undergraduates, out of whom 5,800 or 21% are Jewish.
5. University of Michigan, 28,395 undergraduates, out of whom 4,500 or 16% are Jewish.
6. Indiana University, 36,419 undergraduates, out of whom 4,200 or 12% are Jewish.
7. University of Wisconsin, Madison, 31,289 undergraduates, out of whom 4,200 or 13% are Jewish.
8. CUNY, Brooklyn college, 14,115 undergraduates, out of whom 4,000 or 28% are Jewish.
9. Pennsylvania state University, University Park, 40,541 undergraduates, out of whom 4,000 or 10% are Jewish.
10. Queens College, 15,773 undergraduates, out of whom 4,000 or 25% are Jewish.
The guide offers information on every one of the state schools, and on its top Jewish choices for private universities (NYU, BU, YU, GWU and Cornell are the top five), including on their Jewish graduate students, Jewish courses, Jewish studies offerings, Jewish educators, Israel abroad programs, kosher options, and percentages of males and females in the Jewish student populations.
You may want to read Josh Marks’ item “Tel Aviv comes to you,” about the Israel Fellows program, which was started in 2003 by the Jewish Agency for Israel in partnership with Hillel International. Marks interviews Raz Tidhar, a program emissary, one of 75 Israel Fellows sent by the agency to develop Israeli content for student activities at the Hillel-serving campuses throughout Montreal.
“These programs are meant to present Israel on campus as a country that is more than what we read in the newspapers and in the headlines,” explains Mason Hillel executive director Ross Diamond. “Often, Israel is portrayed as a black and white country that has one issue, which is the conflict, and our role on campus is to educate students and present Israel beyond the conflict, because it’s a country that’s rich with culture and is exciting to be a part of.”
Don’t miss Zachary Schaffer’s article on 70 Faces magazine, a project at Pittsburgh Hillel, discussing Hillel’s building diverse and inclusive Jewish communities; Gabrielle Magid’s piece on a program she founded at the University of Florida Hillel, Stronger Than Stigma, where Hillel staff address mental illness on campus; and Tyler Grasee’s report on his experience at Lawrence University in Wisconsin and Hillel’s work to include students from interfaith families and help them explore and develop their Jewish identities.
Peace in the Middle East between Israel and its neighbors—including the Palestinians—is generally described as “elusive.” Why have forty years of active efforts not led to permanent peace in the region? Why 20 years after Oslo is there no great sign that peace stands ready to break out between the Palestinians and Israelis? The simple answer is that parties are negotiating on different planes that can never intersect.
Let’s analyze the ostensible goals of the parties to the current round of talks. The Israelis want peace and one can see why: lower regional threats, less military spending, greater regional cooperation, increased tourism revenue, export of Israeli technology, increased trade with Europe and more. What do the Palestinians get in the peace deal? They get less than half of the land they believe they deserve. They can look forward to a million or more Arab “refugees” showing up, expecting housing, food, work, and schools. They will be saddled with building an economy without natural resources or a strong technical ethos, while international donations will dry up (especially from Muslim countries, for the sin of recognizing a Jewish state). In short, the Israelis have much to gain from peace, while the Palestinian leaders who are running their side of the talks have much to lose.
Additionally, Israelis negotiate like Americans and Europeans: they try to cut a deal, but if it does not work, then they fall back to the present conditions. The Palestinians work in a different way: either they get what they want, or they pull out the terror card. Lawyers who reviewed signed confessions of Marwan Barghouti’s lieutenants found a singular pattern: if negotiations in the Arafat period were going well, then Tanzim and the like were told to lay low. If the Israelis were intransigent—on borders, refugees, or the like—then the order was given to attack. Negotiations cannot proceed when one side is willing to take a much greater liberty than the other side is willing to entertain. Picture if one football team had to respect the out-of-bound lines, while the other did not. The Israelis might walk away from talks, but they would not order the murder of Palestinian citizens, leftist propaganda aside. The Palestinians, on the other hand, are more than comfortable using attacks on Israeli citizens as a means to get what they want at the negotiating table—and this is a point that Americans and Europeans diplomats have never understood. They are convinced that everyone thinks like they do: peace is always good, and the rules of negotiations exclude violence between sides.
The reason for this failed understanding is cultural. Let’s look back at the Nazis, some of the greatest murderers ever. One notes that no German soldier was ever commanded to either kill or injure himself in order to gas, shoot, blow up, torch or otherwise kill a Jew. The Nazis were sadists and invented horrific ways to kill Jewish men, women and children; still, they would not have considered personal bodily harm or worse as being required to kill a Jew. The Palestinians, on the other hand, not only are active practitioners of suicide bombings, but polls still show that their citizenry supports such activities. We of a Western mind-frame find it impossible to consider such an act—whom do we hate so much that we would be willing to undertake such horrific activity? Are there any children or aged citizens of any country that we would hope to obliterate with flying shrapnel so as to somehow exact revenge on somebody else who has some tenuous relationship to the ones blown up? I have asked these questions to student groups visiting from the US; no one can answer in the affirmative.
This week marked another gratuitous prisoner release by Israel in the ersatz peace process.
These releases have generally been categorized as “confidence building measures.” Is there anyone who could define or identify any confidence built by releasing 26 murderers? The Palestinians partied with the released convicts and demanded the release of all Palestinian prisoners; Israelis felt anguish at the release and saw protests and complaints against the release of more murderers. What confidence was built by this act? None. The prisoner release is a bribe to the Palestinian leaders to continue with the worthless process of peace-making, so that they can show their base that they are getting something from the talks. The terrorists are free, the Palestinians only want more, and the Israeli leadership is put in the uncomfortable position of explaining why murderers walk free, with nothing to show for it. The Palestinians get their terrorists back, but the act has no tangible effect on the direction, good will or pace of the negotiations.
The current peace talks will enjoy the same fate as their predecessors; and ditto for any future talks. The talks will break down because even the most left-wing Israeli politician is not yet ready to commit national suicide to accommodate the minimal Palestinian demands on dividing Jerusalem, accepting indefensible borders, and welcoming anything more than some token refugees. The Palestinians will blame the Israelis, as will most of the international community. Israel will point the finger at an intransigent Palestinian Authority, and we’ll wait for the whole process to start again sometime in the future.
I would argue that the above analysis is pragmatic and not in the least pessimistic. The Palestinians have too much to lose by making peace and also play by rules not understood or appreciated by the likes of John Kerry or Catherine Ashton. The simple fact is that the Palestinian Authority today enjoys large contributions from international donors and avoids all responsibility for building a functional society designed to absorb four generations of self-made Palestinian “refugees” living in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and the like. Israel looks forward to a rosier future, one that would include peace; the Palestinian cannot see getting a better deal than they have in the present. And for that, negotiations will—again—go nowhere, however much John Kerry and his Israeli partners try to tell us otherwise.