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H.R. 5732, also known as the Caesar Civilian Protection Act of 2016, passed through the House this week in a voice vote. The bill includes tough sanctions against individuals and entities associated with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, in such vital sectors as banking, airline and energy. It would also require the president to make available to Congress the names of Syrian regime war criminals. If passed into law, the measure would send a message to those who believe that Assad is now safe from international justice that many past dictators thought that they too would go on forever, but they were wrong, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.
The United Nations has made it a major priority to advocate for the resettlement of refugees, so the following fact may come as a surprise: 40 years ago this week, the U.N. actually condemned a country for resettling refugees. But this part may be less surprising: that country was Israel, writes Aron White of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was at his repellent best when he was interviewed by Israeli television journalist Ilana Dayan this week. Although the interview was pegged to the restoration of Turkish-Israeli bilateral ties this past summer, Erdoğan used the occasion to spit his usual invective against Israel and Jews. As tempting as it is to conclude that while political rhetoric is one thing, political action is another—an impression increasingly conveyed in the aftermath of the U.S. presidential election—in Erdoğan's case, such a distinction isn't really possible. That's because Erdoğan really is a dictator, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.
Stuart Rosenblatt, head of the Irish Jewish Genealogical Society, remembers a vibrant childhood of involvement with Jewish scouting, the Bnei Akiva youth group, a Jewish drama society, a golfing club, writers’ circles and many charities. But the once-verdant Irish Jewish community is paling. Ireland’s 2011 census revealed that there are 1,900 Jews in the country. Dublin-based Cantor Alwyn Shulman said the actual Jewish population figure is likely lower because many Jews remaining in Ireland are intermarried or non-practicing. Others are transient Israelis working in Ireland’s high-tech sector. “Could build up the community again?” asks Shulman. “It’s bleak at the moment, but there’s always hope.”
Despite the increasing number of terror attacks in the United States, for most Americans the various Middle East conflicts remain a distant and misunderstood affair. Chris Mitchell, a Massachusetts native and the Middle East bureau chief for the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), shed light on these issues from his perspective as an Evangelical Christian covering the Middle East.
A new organization, The Committee to Destroy ISIS, believes an alternative is needed to defeat the terror group. They propose creating a secular homeland for Sunni Muslims and other minority groups in western Iraq. JNS.org spoke with the organization’s executive director, Sam Patten, to get his thoughts on the current situation in Iraq and how the U.S., including the next president, can successfully destroy ISIS.
On Aug. 28, Iranian state television broadcast live images of Russian-made, highly advance S-300 surface-to-air missiles being transported by trucks to the Fordo nuclear facility south of Tehran. The move by Iran to further fortify one of its most secretive nuclear sites has led to questions over its intentions at the site, while also raising doubts about their commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or Iran nuclear deal that was agreed to by Iran and the world powers last July.
Just as the war against Islamic State has, for Russia and Iran, been a war to keep Assad in power and extend the territory under his control, so it is with Turkey, which last week sent its troops over the border into Syria. The Turks say they are targeting IS, but in the same way that the Russians and Iranians have turned their firepower on civilian targets and non-Islamist rebels alike – strengthening IS by default – Turkey's real agenda in Syria is to crush the burgeoning Kurdish national movement in the north and east of that country, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.
Still flushed with the success, for the Iranians anyway, of the 2015 nuclear deal reached with the United States and other powers, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif this week embarked on a five-nation tour of Latin America to spread the message that Tehran's global influence is on the up, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.
World Vision and other foreign aid organizations that have funneled millions of dollars to the terror group Hamas are directly responsible for the murder of scores of Israeli Jews, an Israeli legal expert contends. Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, president of Shurat HaDin Israeli legal center, warns that groups like World Vision cannot collect charity that ends up in the hand of terrorists “on the blood of the citizens of Israel."
Peter Hegseth, a rising figure in American conservative media, has one eye on the current war on terror and another on history. On a recent visit to Israel, Hegseth toured sites in Sderot, Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights to see first-hand Israel’s national defense and the fight on terror. “It is fact-finding trip,” Hegseth told JNS.org reporter Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman in an exclusive interview, over sips of American-style coffee, with the sunlit Old City of Jerusalem gawping through the window.
Russia’s unprecedented move last week of dispatching warplanes to bomb targets in Syria through an Iranian airbase may have Israeli officials worried. The move shows growing cooperation between Russia and Iran, Israel’s biggest foe in the Middle East in recent years, and a regime that, like Russia, has been working to maintain the rule of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Could Russia’s apparent growing closeness to Iran affect its growing relationship with Israel?
In early August Israeli media reported that the campaign of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has launched outreach to an estimated 300,000 eligible American voters living in Israel. The Trump campaign is working with the Israel branch of Republicans Overseas, an organization that works to reach American citizens abroad who can vote via absentee ballot. JNS.org asks, could votes by Americans in Israel affect the presidential election’s outcome?
Could satellite photos of a tiny island in the South China Sea affect the debate over creating a Palestinian state? The photos, released earlier this week by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), show that China is building military aircraft hangars on the disputed Spratly Islands. That violates a promise China's president, Xi Jinping, made to President Barack Obama less than a year ago, that "China does not intend to pursue militarization" of the islands. Israeli policymakers might want to keep an eye on these developments, writes JNS.org contributor Rafael Medoff.