Prepared for the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Updated: 8 min 22 sec ago
(Politico) Josh Meyer -
According to a Politico investigation, the White House derailed its own much-touted National Counterproliferation Initiative at a time when it was making unprecedented headway in thwarting Iran's proliferation networks, when President Obama released as a "one-time gesture" Iranian-born prisoners who "were not charged with terrorism or any violent offenses" last year. Three of the men were part of an illegal procurement network supplying Iran with U.S.-made microelectronics with applications in surface-to-air and cruise missiles. Another was serving an eight-year sentence for conspiring to supply Iran with satellite technology and hardware.
At the same time, in a series of unpublicized court filings, the Justice Department dropped charges and international arrest warrants against 14 other men for similar activities. When federal prosecutors and agents learned the true extent of the releases, many were shocked and angry. Some had spent years, if not decades, working to penetrate the global proliferation networks that allowed Iranian arms traders to obtain crucial materials for Tehran's illicit nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
In addition, Justice and State Department officials denied or delayed requests from prosecutors and agents to lure key Iranian fugitives to friendly countries so they could be arrested. Similarly, Justice and State, at times in consultation with the White House, slowed down efforts to extradite some suspects already in custody overseas.
Valerie Lincy, executive director of the nonpartisan Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, said, "This is a scandal. The cases bear all the hallmarks of exactly the kinds of national security threats we're still going after." Those investigations were providing U.S. officials with a roadmap of how, exactly, Tehran was clandestinely building its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, and were providing key operational details of how the Iranian procurement networks operate.
(Washington Times) Rowan Scarborough -
Iran is cheating on its deal with the U.S. by secretly conducting research into nuclear weapons components such as bomb triggers and enriched uranium, the Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said Friday. The regime is doing engineering and weaponization testing at a walled military complex south of Tehran which Iran has declared off-limits to inspectors.
The group provided satellite photos and descriptions of the exact locations of nuclear research inside the Parchin complex. In addition, it released the identities of 15 personnel working on triggers and explosive yields at Iran's Center of Research and Expansion of Technologies on Explosions and Impact (METFAZ) and their jobs descriptions, as well as addresses of various secret sites.
(Washington Post) Karen DeYoung -
The Trump administration on Monday imposed financial sanctions on 271 named employees of Syria's Scientific Studies and Research Center, responsible for developing and producing the sarin gas used to kill dozens of people in the April 4 chemical weapons attack by the Assad government.
(New Haven Register) Randall Beach -
Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement that targets Israel, received the Gandhi Peace Award at Yale University on Sunday. Yale University officials issued an unusual statement distancing the university from the event. "A student organization reserved space for the awarding of the Gandhi prize, which is given by an organization not affiliated with Yale. Views expressed at these events are those of the individuals involved and do not represent the views of the university."
(New Haven Register) Honoring Omar Barghouti with a peace prize is tragically misguided. The BDS movement is built on subterfuge. It exploits progressive viewpoints to undergird an openly hostile agenda to Israel's very existence. Barghouti and other co-founders of BDS have made clear time and again that they reject a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, reject Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, and will only accept a single state where Palestinians have total sovereignty. Giving Barghouti a peace prize is an insult to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi.
Norman Ravski, M.D., president; Judy Alperin, CEO; Arthur L. Levy, M.D., Israel chairman; Rabbi Joshua Ratner, director, Jewish Community Relations Council, Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven.
(Times of Israel) Thousands of Jews from Israel and around the world participated in the March of the Living on Monday in honor of the millions who perished in the Holocaust at the former Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz. As in previous years, the march was led by Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, a child survivor of Auschwitz. Other Israeli officials present included Education Minister Naftali Bennett, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, and Supreme Court Chief Justice Miriam Naor.
(Jerusalem Post) Lahav Harkov -
Each year, the Knesset holds a ceremony on Holocaust Remembrance Day in which MKs read names of those who were murdered by the Nazis. This year many of the names read were of Sephardic Jews. Kulanu MK Merav Ben-Ari's mother, Eti Ben-Ari, lit a candle for those killed in the Jado concentration camp in Libya, including her relatives. MK Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin (Zionist Union) lit a candle in honor of her relatives from Salonika, Greece, who were murdered. MK Amir Peretz (Zionist Union) read names of North African Jews who were in France during the Holocaust and were murdered by the Nazis.
(Times of Israel) Avi Dichter -
On August 23, 1942, 3,870 Jews - men, women and children, including members of my family - were taken from the Jewish ghetto in Rozyszcze, Ukraine, and walked to a huge pit a kilometer away. On the edge of the pit, they were lined up six at a time, all day long, and shot in the back of the neck. The writer, chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, served as director of the Israel Security Agency and Minister of Public Security.
(Times of Israel) The Trump administration has ordered U.S. ambassadors in UNESCO member states to work to defeat an anti-Israel resolution to be debated by the organization next week, Israel's Channel 10 reported Monday. The resolution includes clauses denying any Jewish connection to the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem. The administration described the upcoming UNESCO motion as one-sided and counter-productive to U.S. efforts to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace.
(Jerusalem Post) Jamal Barakat -
My younger brother, Salim, was a first responder - a dedicated police officer who loved serving his country and fellow citizens, and who in 2002 ran straight into danger when he heard a Palestinian terrorist throwing grenades and shooting up the Seafood Market restaurant in Tel Aviv. With two innocent civilians on the ground dying and over a dozen others wounded, Salim charged the terrorist and shot him before he could kill more innocent people. But as Salim moved in to see if the terrorist was wearing a suicide explosive belt, the wounded terrorist suddenly thrust a knife into my brother, killing him. The man who organized that attack was Marwan Barghouti.
When I heard that the New York Times gave him a stage from which to launch his mass prison hunger strike, my blood boiled. This is the cold-blooded killer who orchestrated murderous attacks and sent terrorists to hurt innocent people.
I am a proud member of Israel's Druse community. Even though we are fully committed to our country, we are not against the Palestinians. I support the two-state solution, but not by Barghouti's way of killing innocent people. It is Barghouti who put himself where he belongs, behind bars for life. It is an offense to the civilized world to hear that Barghouti is pretending to be a "political prisoner."
(National Review) Jonathan S. Tobin -
It's not surprising that Iran is complying with the nuclear deal. The pact let Iran keep its nuclear infrastructure - including its most advanced equipment - and allowed it to keep enriching uranium. Iran can simply wait until the pact expires and then have the freedom to get a bomb while claiming - with justice - that the West has implicitly sanctioned that outcome.
Meanwhile, without the economic sanctions that were lifted, there is nothing to deter Tehran from pursuing its long-range goal of regional hegemony. Trump and his advisers are now grasping that their objectives of defeating ISIS and promoting peace between Israel and the Palestinians will have little or no chance of success in an environment where Iran feels it can act with impunity.
Tehran's well-armed Hizbullah auxiliaries and its ties to radical Palestinian factions also give it a potential veto over any progress toward peace with Israel, despite Trump's hopes that Sunni Arab states like Saudi Arabia could broker an agreement.
(AP-Washington Post) Bassem Mroue and Gerry Shih -
Thousands of Chinese jihadi fighters of the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) have come to Syria. While many don't speak Arabic, they are battled-hardened and have been instrumental in ground offensives against President Assad's forces in the country's northern regions.
The majority of Chinese jihadis are Muslims from the Turkic-speaking Uighur majority native to the Xinjiang region in China. Their growing role has resulted in increased cooperation between Syrian and Chinese intelligence agencies who fear those same jihadis could one day return home and cause trouble there. TIP considers China's Xinjiang to be East Turkistan.
Abu Dardaa al-Shami, who fought alongside TIP fighters in Syria, said, "They are the lions of ground offensives." Their role is to infiltrate their targets, unleash mayhem and fight to the death before a major ground offensive begins. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said there are about 5,000 Chinese fighters in Syria, but Li Wei, a Chinese terrorism expert, said the number was about 300, who brought with them about 700 family members.
Sean Hannity -
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview on Friday:
On an annual basis, the Palestinian Authority is giving hundreds of millions of dollars to terrorists or the families of terrorists who murdered Israelis, murdered Americans. It's unimaginable. I mean, after a decade, it could be more than a billion dollars that are given to terrorists! This is from the main-line Palestinian Authority headed by President Abbas, who's going to see President Trump in Washington.
I think the first test of peace is to say to them, "Hey, you want peace, prove it. Confront terrorism. Stop rewarding terrorism. Stop paying terrorists." They pay terrorists on a sliding scale, not on the cost of living, but on the cost of killing. The more you kill, the more you get. Unacceptable! Has to change. That's a test for peace.
You know, in our free, open, transparent societies, if we say a syllable to a domestic audience, it gets beamed around the world immediately. We're held accountable for every word. But in the case of Abbas, you know, it's like he lives in a different universe! He can say "I want peace" to Western leaders, but then to his own people, he says the very opposite!
In the case of the Palestinian leadership, including President Abbas, to his own people he says, we don't want a state next to Israel, we want a state instead of Israel. First, we get a state. Then we flood Israel with the descendants of Palestinians. We go back to Haifa, Jaffa, Tel Aviv, Acre. That's the end of Israel.
You make peace by demanding from the Palestinians to pass the test of peace. Hold the Palestinian leadership accountable. Don't let them get away with double talk. How about if what Abbas says to President Trump he has to say to his own people? How about if he says, "Yes, Mr. President, our laws will forbid paying terrorists. And I'm going to make sure that not a penny goes to the terrorists or their families."
The only chance that this will change is if there's pressure brought to them to make this real change, to say, "No, we're not going to accept just generic, fluffy words of peace while you indoctrinate your own people with a doctrine of death. We want you to change the way you speak to your own people."
There's no one that wants peace more than Israel. This canard that Israel doesn't want peace is a joke. We teach peace to our children. We yearn for peace. And we don't have double talk because what we say inside is what we say outside, and everybody holds us accountable. It's high time that that accountability was put on the Palestinians, that you tell them, "No, I want to see what you tell your children. I want you to stop paying terrorists and their families. I want to see a change." If that kind of demand for genuine accountability is put forward, that could make for a turning point.
(JTA) UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the World Jewish Congress on Sunday, "A modern form of anti-Semitism is the denial of the right of the State of Israel to exist. As secretary-general of the United Nations I can say that the State of Israel needs to be treated as any other state, with exactly the same rules." He said he supports "the absolutely undeniable right of Israel to exist and to live in peace and security with its neighbors."
"You can be absolutely sure, as secretary-general of the United Nations, I will be in the front line of the struggle against anti-Semitism, and to make sure the United Nations is able to take all possible actions for anti-Semitism to be condemned and, if possible, eradicated from the face of the earth."
(Mail on Sunday-UK) Nick Craven -
Palestinian terrorist Jamil Tamimi, who killed British theology student Hannah Bladon, 21, in a frenzied knife attack on Good Friday in Jerusalem, will be paid a salary of more than 800 pounds a month by the Palestinian government - which receives more than 25 million pounds a year from the UK in foreign aid. Terrorists are paid a monthly amount by the PA and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on a sliding scale related to the severity of their sentence.
(Wall Street Journal) Ali Soufan -
Al-Qaeda has been eclipsed by the Islamic State - a group that began as al-Qaeda's Iraqi franchise but broke away in 2014. In the nearly six years since its founder, Osama bin Laden, was killed in Pakistan, al-Qaeda has transformed itself into a vast network of insurgent groups spread from southeast Asia to northwest Africa. Together, this network now commands an army of tens of thousands of Islamist militants, united in their commitment to bin Laden's ideology.
In Syria, more than 20,000 militants follow the banner of the Liberation of the Levant Organization (formerly known as the Nusra Front). In Yemen, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula numbers at least 4,000 fighters and holds major sections of coastline and highways. In Somalia, al-Shabaab has at least 7,000 members and continues to attract recruits, including from Somali communities in the U.S.
(Jerusalem Post) Herb Keinon -
Israel commemorated the six million Jews who were murdered by Nazis in the Holocaust on Monday with a two-minute siren that brought the country to a halt at 10 a.m.
Prime Minister Netanyahu, speaking at Yad Vashem on Sunday evening, said: "The simple truth is that in our world...the strong survive, the weak are erased....The lesson is that we must be able to defend ourselves, by ourselves, against all threats and all enemies." Some 189,000 Holocaust survivors live in Israel.
(Ha'aretz) Yaniv Kubovich and Gili Cohen -
A Palestinian man, 18, from the West Bank wounded four people in Tel Aviv on Sunday. The assailant was apprehended. He had an entry permit issued at the request of Natural Peace Tours, a travel and tourism service for Palestinians.
(Ha'aretz) Gili Cohen and Nir Hasson -
A female Israeli soldier was wounded on Monday when a Palestinian woman stabbed her at a West Bank checkpoint north of Jerusalem.
(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs-Hebrew) Yoni Ben Menachem -
Sources in the PA claim that in closed forums, Mahmoud Abbas has expressed concern that Marwan Barghouti - leader of the week-old hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners - coordinated the timing of the strike with his good friend and Abbas rival Mohammad Dahlan in order to embarrass Abbas before his meeting with President Trump at the White House on May 3. The sources claim that the PA leadership is currently facing Arab and international pressure and that this is not the time to generate a conflict with Israel and the U.S.
Israel's political leadership sees Barghouti as a symbol of the terror of the Second Intifada, convicted in a civil court of five murders of Israeli citizens. Abbas does not want to appear in Washington as someone who supports a terrorist with "blood on his hands."