France has been the target of the most devastating recent terrorist attacks because, apparently, almost half of young French Muslims support suicide bombing, probably the most extreme act of terrorism (compare with the Japanese Kamikaze pilots, who represented the Japanese Empire’s final, most desperate lashing at an overpowering enemy).
But a November, 2015 Pew Poll found that while a large percentage of Muslim youths in the West support suicide bombing, and out of those the largest percentage live in France, the numbers in the US are only somewhat better.
“The higher levels of support for suicide bombing seen among young American Muslims resembles patterns found among Muslims in Europe, where Muslims also constitute a minority population,” the Pew poll concluded. “In Great Britain, France and Germany, Muslims under the age of 30 are consistently the least likely to say that suicide bombing is never justified.
“In other words, the share who think suicide bombing against civilians can ever be justified, even if rarely, is higher among those younger than 30 compared with those who are older. About a quarter (26%) of younger US Muslims say suicide bombing can at least rarely be justified, 17 percentage points higher than the proportion of Muslims ages 30 and older (9%) who share that view. The age gap is about as wide in Great Britain (18 percentage points) but somewhat narrower in Germany (12 points), France (11 points) and Spain (7 points).”
Reconectar, the movement to reconnect the descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jewish communities and the Jewish world, welcomed the recommendations made by Israel’s Ministry of Education’s Committee to Empower the Heritage of Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews in the Education System, led by Chairman Erez Biton.
“It is an important day for Sephardi Jews where our history, culture and tradition will be recognized and taught in the Israeli school system,” President of Reconectar Ashley Perry (Perez) said. “This has taken far too long, but it is vital that the scope of Jewish history and culture be widened to include Jews from the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East.”
“However, there is still more work to be done and it should be widened further to include our millions of Sephardi brothers and sisters who were forcibly disconnected from us over the centuries and are seeking a reconnection to the Jewish world. Our education system should be preparing the formal Jewish world for the immense and necessary challenge of reconnecting our people,” Perry said.
Beginning in the 14th Century, hundreds of thousands of Jews were forcibly converted, or otherwise disconnected from the Jewish People, and many among their descendants, numbering around 100 million, are seeking different levels of reconnection with Israel and the Jewish world.
Perry, who is also Director General of the Knesset Caucus for the Reconnection with the Descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jewish Communities, Chaired by MK Robert Ilatov, said that the more Israeli children travel to Spain, as the recommendations state, the more they will encounter the story of the Anousim who are becoming more and more aware of their Jewish roots.
“We have an enormous opportunity to use our shared history and traditions, to empower and embolden relations with those who share our roots and heritage whether in the Iberian Peninsula, Latin America or among Latinos and Hispanics in the US,” Perry said. “We have a moral, ethical and even a halakhic mandate to do so, and the more we learn about our roots in the Hispanic world and the more the Hispanic world learns about their possible Jewish roots, the closer the potential relations between our communities will grow.”
Perry was also heavily involved in placing the issue of the Jewish refugees from Arab countries on the national and international agenda while he worked in government as advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and other politicians, including former MK Dr. Shimon Ohayon, who passed a law to create a day of commemoration in the official Israeli calendar.
“The history of the Jews of the Middle East and North Africa is sadly overlooked, even though every other Jew in Isr
ael comes from this region,” Perry said. “It is vital for Jewish Peoplehood that the vibrant and ancient Jewish communities of the Middle East and North Africa and their subsequent ethnic cleansing in the Twentieth Century are understood and studied.”
“It is absurd that it has taken 68 years for Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews to be able to learn about their own history and culture, and it is hoped that their history will be placed on an equal plane to the history of other Jews from around the world,” Perry said.
“He was a bad guy, really bad guy. But you know what? He did well. He killed terrorists. He did that so good. They didn’t read them the rights. They didn’t talk. They were terrorists. Over,” Donald Trump said at a campaign rally in Raleigh, North Carolina Tuesday. In comparison, Trump said, “today, Iraq is Harvard for terrorism. You want to be a terrorist, you go to Iraq. It’s like Harvard. Okay? So sad.”
That assertion may be challenged by Israelis, as Clinton’s senior campaign adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN, “In reality, Hussein’s regime was a sponsor of terrorism — one that paid families of suicide bombers who attacked Israelis, among other crimes.”
Then Sullivan added that “Trump’s cavalier compliments for brutal dictators, and the twisted lessons he seems to have learned from their history, again demonstrate how dangerous he would be as commander-in-chief and how unworthy he is of the office he seeks.”
Not necessarily so. In retrospect, after the violent collapse of the “Arab Spring” everywhere but in Tunisia, Trump’s assessment of what the Arab world requires to keep it stable is not necessarily democracy. Back in October, 2015, Trump said he believed Iraq and Libya would be more useful in forging a stable Middle East if ruthless dictators like Saddam Hussein and Moammar Gadhafi had not been terminated by a succession of American presidents.
“If you look at Iraq from years ago,” Trump said in October, “I’m not saying [Hussein] was a nice guy, he was a horrible guy, but it was a lot better than it is right now. Right now, Iraq is a training ground for terrorists. Right now Libya, nobody even knows Libya, frankly there is no Iraq and there is no Libya. It’s all broken up. They have no control. Nobody knows what’s going on.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) rushed to the defense of both Bushes and Obama, telling Fox News’ Megyn Kelly that Saddam Hussein “was one of the 20th century’s most evil people. He was up there. He committed mass genocide against his own people using chemical weapons. Saddam Hussein was a bad guy.”
Yes, but, in the immortal words of FDR, when someone asked him about the wisdom of supporting Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza, “He may be an SOB but he’s our SOB.” Back in 1979, when Iran’s Shah was overthrown by the Islamic Revolution, giving way to an Islamic republic led by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, which drove the US out of Iran (and kept hundreds of American hostages), only Saddam Hussein was able to limit the spread of Iranian influence in the region. The Iran–Iraq War lasted from September 1980 to August 1988, exacting millions of victims in the service of Western interests in the region. No Arab democracy (an oxymoron if ever there was one) could have stopped Iran. The only force able to facilitate Iran’s yearning for regional hegemony were presidents Bush I and Bush II, followed by Obama.
On July 25, 1990, US ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie held an emergency meeting with Saddam, who attacked American policy with regards to Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Saddam complained bitterly: “So what can it mean when America says it will now protect its friends? It can only mean prejudice against Iraq. This stance plus maneuvers and statements which have been made has encouraged the UAE and Kuwait to disregard Iraqi rights.”
Saddam was referring to his neighboring oil sheiks “drilling sideways” into Iraqi deposits. Saddam viewed the entire concept of there even being a country named Kuwait to have been a conspiracy of British Petroleum and Her Majesty’s government to steal oil-rich Iraqi land. Saddam felt that in light of his service to the US, he should receive its support in his conflict with the Kuwaitis.
Ambassador Glaspie replied that the US would rather see the conflict resolved through peaceful means, but in the end, “…we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait.”
And so, after his ultimatum to the Sabah ruling family of Kuwait had failed, Saddam invaded Kuwait, believing the US was going to take a neutral position on his move. But his move frightened the Saudis, whose Ambassador under both Bush administrations had his own desk in the Oval office, and they pressured Bush I to start what is now a 26-year program of completely destabilizing the Middle East, complete with attacks on US soil, lingering civil wars in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, two worldwide Islamic terrorist armies, one of them a Caliphate wannabe blowing up half of Europe. All of which could have been avoided had the Bush I and certainly Bush II administrations been more accommodating to the monstrous dictator who used to be our monstrous dictator.
The Democratic and Republican establishments insist on presenting Trump as an admirer of dictators, which he may be — but that was not the case Trump has been making for boosting rather than unseating dictators, such as Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Trump has a much clearer view regarding US foreign interest than do the establishment politicians on either side of the aisle, and it ain’t about spreading the spirit od democracy and goodwill to all mankind.
R’ Asher Weiss has dedicated his life to continuing the quest started by his holy father and the Klausenberger Rebbe. As they survived the fires of Auschwitz, to rise up and rebuild Torah after the war, so too is R’ Asher Weiss creating a new army of Torah leaders.
Today Jews around the world have the opportunity to join with him to continue this holy work.
Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office issued the following statement regarding the dispute between the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the Obama Administration over US support for Israel’s anti-missile program:
“In the wake of numerous misleading reports, the Prime Minister’s bureau would like to clarify there has been no cut in American assistance. There is an internal debate between Congress and the White House on the size of the annual supplement to the missile defense program.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu is working to anchor this supplement as part of the discussions on the assistance agreement for the next ten years.
“Not only will security assistance for missile defense not be cut, it will be increased.
“The attempt to turn the dialogue with the US into a domestic Israeli political tool is improper; expressions of panic are not warranted,” the PM’s statement concluded.
A Russian state news agency TASS story in the wake of the Friday Paris Conference for peace, quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov who advocated concrete territorial exchanges between Israel and the Arabs in Judea and Samaria, in order to preserve Israeli settlements. “The border should be established between Israelis and Palestinians,” Bogdanov said, adding, “This border may envisage territorial exchanges, appropriate and adequate, taking into account that such an approach allows to resolve the problem of Israeli settlements on the West Bank.”
The Deputy Foreign Minister stressed that Israeli settlements “may remain in some regions with the understanding that in exchange for territories with Israeli settlements, Palestinians will get an appropriate compensation in the form of parts of the territory. This is a so-called territorial exchange.”
It should be noted in this context that Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman in the past advocated handing over to the Palestinian State the Israeli cities of the Arab Triangle, such as Um El Fahm and Tira — a suggestion that caused an uproar and accusations of racism.
Following the Paris international conference on a peace deal between Israel and the Arabs, in which 29 nations as well as the UN and EU participated, but Israel did not, Bogdanov, the Russian president’s Special Representative for the Middle East and Africa, told TASS that the conference had been “useful. We still need to analyze the content of the Paris discussion; study the final document and then see what can be done, by using common approaches, to promote a sustainable negotiating process between the Palestinians and the Israelis,” Bogdanov said. He recommended that both sides assess the conference’s results, and promised that “We are going to have contacts at a very high level with both sides.”
Signaling the Russians’ intense interest in remaining involved in the process, TASS on Friday ran five different stories involving Mikhail Bogdanov and the peace agreement. According to the diplomat, Moscow is prepared to host negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli representatives. “Of course, we will be prepared to do this, if there is the wish and readiness of the two parties — Israelis and Palestinians — to have a meeting… if they wish to meet in Moscow, we are prepared to host them.”
In another story, Bogdanov lamented the fact that the split among the Palestinians hampers progress in the Middle Eastern settlement. “This problem should be resolved as a priority task so that Palestinians present a single and united delegation at the talks on the final status,” Bogdanov advised.
He also promised that “Russia fully supports efforts to restore inter-Palestinian unity on the basis of the PLO and Arab Peace Initiative.” He suggested a “dialogue with representatives of the whole range of Palestinian forces, first of all Fatah and Hamas, in the interest of achieving appropriate agreements.”
It was not easy to asses whether the high-ranking diplomat was being naïve or cynical, but it appears that he is promoting peace between Hamas and the Jews it has sworn to annihilate. In fact, Bogdanov is serious about preventing the next clash between Israel and Hamas:
“The exchange of strikes between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza in early May of this year that became the biggest since the ceasefire agreement was reached in August 2014 is another confirmation of a well-known point, which is that the recurrence of confrontation is not ruled out without solving the enclave’s problems, lifting the blockade imposed on it and restoring its infrastructure destroyed by Israel, including in the summer of the year before last,” Bogdanov said.
He did not mention that those clashes in May erupted when IDF bulldozers were crossing a few yards into Gazan territory to demolish Hamas terror tunnels that lead into Israel. Hamas was unhappy to see its work being destroyed, and so their snipers shot at IDF soldiers to shoo them away.
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.