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Some will argue that Gérard Filoche, who has been expelled by the French Socialist Party (PS) over an anti-Semitic tweet, has the right to free speech. But an elected official’s first responsibility is to the electors, the taxpayers and the entire community one serves. PS was right to boot Filoche from its ranks, and parties in other countries dealing with instances of anti-Semitism should feel free to copy its example, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.
Israel is concerned that a cease-fire in Syria brokered by the U.S., Russia and Jordan does not create a large enough buffer zone that is free from Iranian forces near the Israeli border. Additionally, the Jewish state fears that the deal heavily favors Russia and Iran, with the U.S. uninterested in becoming involved in Syria. “The U.S. remains committed to Israel…but this [cease-fire] agreement raises concerns for Israel’s security,” said Anna Borshchevskaya, an expert on Russia’s Mideast policy and a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “Perhaps some believe that Russia can restrain Iran, but that’s highly unlikely to happen.”
Robert Mugabe, the ailing 93-year-old dictator of Zimbabwe, finds himself under house arrest in the same country where he proclaimed himself a “Hitler.” He might get to live out his remaining months in out-of-sight luxury, rather than where he belongs—in a prison cell. When we are reduced to looking at dictators through the lens of historical analysis, rather than placing them on trial in the halls of justice, we are compelled to consider the role of our own governments and societies in perpetuating their rule, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.
Representatives from 12 NATO countries recently visited Israel to take part in a first-of-its-kind conference on the challenges of urban warfare. The need to engage enemies embedded in urban combat zones, megacities and other populated regions is a challenge that is set to become increasingly prevalent for security forces around the world. Israel has amassed significant experience in this area, experts say. “From Operation Defensive Shield in 2002, the IDF’s operations have been focused in built-up village and city areas,” said Dr. Eitan Shamir, former head of the National Security Doctrine Department in Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry.
Recent events in the Middle East—including the sudden resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri—show that one cannot play checkers or chess in that region. The game is three-dimensional chess, where the loss of a pawn on one board affects the positioning of the knights, queens and kings on two other boards, writes columnist Sarah N. Stern.
In recent months, we have been brought together through external trauma, whether it be natural or man-made disasters. Yet healing must be about more than unity. To survive and thrive daily, victims and volunteers alike—and those who fall into neither category—need to experience life’s simple, yet profound gifts. There is nothing in our lives that better allows us to experience these gifts than Shabbat, writes Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein, the chief rabbi of South Africa.
Another week, another centennial. Following the Balfour Declaration milestone, it’s time to look back on Russia’s 1917 Bolshevik Revolution—a reminder of how scarred the Jewish people were by the twin Soviet and Nazi experiments in totalitarianism, and why we need to remain vigilant about our liberties in our own troubled century, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.
Earlier this year, President Donald Trump said Iran was violating the “spirit” of the 2015 nuclear deal. Now, the Iranians are clearly disregarding the letter of the accord, but the international community is denying that reality, experts say. International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano is campaigning to counter Trump’s objections to the nuclear deal. “It is mind-boggling that [Iran’s] violations are occurring in the open and all the parties to the agreement are pretending not to see it, and instead are dealing with issues that are important, but are not connected to the [deal],” said Yigal Carmon, head of the Middle East Media Research Institute.
Tal Hagin, 18, is one of the first Zionist and Israeli speakers to present his message on university campuses in Ireland. With mentorship and funding from the watchdog group CAMERA, Hagin used Israel as a case study on overcoming media bias during a recent speaking tour. “I went with the hope of changing opinions, helping the students to question the media in what they see of coverage of Israel, and I was able to do that,” Hagin said. But how did it all come together? JNS.org tells the story of Israel education efforts on campuses in Ireland, a country where many believe there is a hostile environment for Israel supporters.
While November 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the much-discussed Balfour Declaration, which helped pave the way for the modern state of Israel, another important centennial—the World War I Battle of Be’er Sheva—was also marked this week by the leaders of Israel, Australia and New Zealand. For the three young democracies, the centennial events made for an unprecedented showing of historical bonds and present-day unity.
Prior to the recent referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan, the leaders of Iran, Turkey and Iraq all foretold of the coming of a “second Israel” if Kurdish independence was the end result. Yet the result has instead been a “second Iran.” For all of President Donald Trump’s bluster about Iran, he chose appeasement when put to the test; thus the Kurds are plunged into crisis once more, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.
When the words Israel, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Jordan appear in the same sentence, the story usually involves security or diplomatic developments in the volatile Middle East. But these three Middle Eastern neighbors, as well as Spain, recently did something unusual together that has nothing to do with regional controversies—they convened in southern Israel for a joint national emergency exercise. Should a major natural disaster strike, Israel, the PA and Jordan have reached quiet understandings that they will assist one another in saving lives.
The United Nations has earmarked some $1.3 billion to fund Palestinian legal campaigns against Israel and to support the creation of an independent Palestinian state, in what experts are calling an unprecedented act singling out the Jewish state at the world body. “The funding of this unprecedented and prejudicial aggression against a member state by the U.N. is clear evidence that the international body’s goal and solution is for a single Palestinian state to replace Israel,” Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, president of the Shurat HaDin - Israel Law Center, told JNS.org.
It was a minor news story when it broke in the summer of 2016. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced he was suing Great Britain over the Balfour Declaration, issued on Nov. 2, 1917. But as we prepare to observe the centennial of the document this week, it’s important to understand that although Abbas’s lawsuit was a stunt, the symbolism of his protest tells us more about what is preventing Israeli-Palestinian peace than any of the usual explanations, writes JNS.org Opinion Editor Jonathan S. Tobin.
For the Palestinians, the year zero is not 1948, when the state of Israel came into being, but 1917, when Great Britain issued the Balfour Declaration—expressing support for a “Jewish national home” in Palestine. When it comes to Palestinian political identity, the declaration represents a neat historical proposition upon which the entire Palestinian version of events rests: an empire came to our land and gave it to foreigners, we were dispossessed, and for five generations now, we have continued to resist, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.
In a development that could spark Israel’s latest achievement within the medical cannabis sector, the Israeli-British cannabis start-up CIITECH announced that it will fund a research project exploring methods for treating asthma with medical cannabis. “CBD (a non-psychoactive cannabis compound) is proven to have anti-inflammatory properties. Since asthma and other respiratory conditions present themselves as inflammation of the airway, it’s long been believed that cannabis might be a good therapeutic candidate,” said CIITECH founder Clifton Flack.
The Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from UNESCO is one shot across the U.N.’s bow. Notoriously hospitable to dictatorships, hostile to Israel and mismanaged as well, UNESCO deserves the warning. But what does the U.S. do about U.N. member countries consistently voting against it and against Israel without even a national policy excuse for doing so? Not enough, writes columnist Eric Rozenman.
While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly lobbies world leaders to protect the Kurds as they lose ground in Iraq, some activists and experts feel that the U.S. has sided with Iran in this regional conflict. Dr. Kamal Sido, a Syrian Kurd who works at the Society for Threatened Peoples, a German human rights NGO, told JNS.org, “The Kurds in Iraq and Syria are fighting against radical Islam and are protecting Western values. After the Americans abandoned the Iraqi Kurds, Syrian Kurds fear that the U.S. will also abandon them.”
While some hope remains for preventing Iran’s nuclear weaponization, the case that Iran’s nuclear ambitions have essentially remained unaltered needs to be stated with absolute clarity. In that sense, a timely example arrived this week, in the form of testimony by a former Argentine intelligence operative to a court in Buenos Aires, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.