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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.
More than 11,000 world athletes have converged on Brazil’s second largest city, Rio de Janeiro, for the 2016 Summer Olympics, which began on Aug. 5. Despite the problems that led up to the games, such as Rio’s issues with pollution and crime, and the threat of the Zika virus, many have also hailed the games as bringing forth an Olympic spirit of peace and friendly competition during a time of global stress and conflict. Yet, before and shortly after the games began, athlete delegations from Lebanon and Saudi Arabia had already violated this spirit by bringing their respective countries’ ongoing conflict with Israel to the Rio games.
As anti-Semitism continues to rise in Germany, a new watchdog group in Berlin, the Department for Research and Information on Anti-Semitism (RIAS), is encouraging German Jews to speak up and report incidents in order to to expose, monitor and hence prevent attacks against Jews, writes JNS.org reporter Orit Arfa.
Since being elected as the leader of the world’s roughly 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in 2013, Pope Francis has never shied away from breaking with traditional Catholic dogma by speaking his mind. However, recent comments by the pontiff on radical Islamic terrorism have overshadowed his first official visit to Poland and Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, writes JNS' Editorial Assistant Shalle' McDonald.
Long panned for harboring deep anti-Israel bias, the United Nations (UN) has often been discounted by critical Israeli leaders as an organization with little hope for any success. However, after a tireless effort by the Israeli delegation to the UN, earlier this summer the Jewish state was selected for the first time to head the UN’s Sixth Committee. In an interview with a UN expert as well as current Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, JNS' Associate Editor Sean Savage asks: Can this new proactive strategy by Israel led to a seat on the UN Security Council?
Beginning with the bloody July 14 Bastille Day terror attack in Nice, France that left 84 people dead, Western Europe has seen an unrelenting wave of violence mainly perpetrated by individuals with connections to or sympathies with the Islamic State terror group. Amid the shock and confusion that many Europeans are grappling with over the unprecedented wave of terrorism, European media organizations are similarly confounded over how to report on the violence that conflicts with the values of liberalism and humanism that have long defined Europe.
It’s been a long time since JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen saw a gesture this desperate. At the recent Arab Summit in Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania, the Palestinian Authority (PA) foreign minister announced that PA President Mahmoud Abbas had asked the Arab states prepare a legal case against Britain in retaliation for the Balfour Declaration of 1917. The Balfour Declaration, which took the form of a letter from British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to the Zionist leader Lord Rothschild, confirmed Britain’s favorable view of a “national homeland” for the Jewish people in Palestine, which came under British control towards the end of World War I. For that reason, the PLO’s National Covenant dates the beginning of the “Zionist invasion” to 1917—any Jews who arrived in the land after that date are considered to be illegal settlers. These days, that’s basically every Jew in Israel. Depicting the Balfour Declaration as a crime against the Palestinians suggests that Abbas still cannot stomach the idea of legitimizing Zionism, Cohen writes.
Sonnenallee, a street in Berlin’s Neukölln district, looks like it comes straight out of an Arab city. Kebab and bakery shops are advertised in Arabic; men sit in men-only coffee shops; and bridal shop windows showcase glittery, not-so-stylish gowns. But take a random turn, and you’ll find a swath of bars, burger joints, and Indian restaurants where hip Berliners announce that they have arrived to urban coolness. In this gentrifying neighborhood, Israeli investors are hoping to find some of the remaining affordable gems in the German capital’s increasingly competitive housing market. According to Gili Waldman—an investment consultant for Berlin Inspiration, one of several Israeli real estate companies marketing Berlin properties to Israeli investors—Berlin property values increase at a rate of about 10 percent a year. The rising costs have made Israeli investors in Germany turn east for real estate bargains.
We live in an era of resurgent, strongman leaders. There’s one class of strongman leader who accumulates more and more power by presenting himself as the innocent victim of murky outside conspiracies, spinning his unfortunate condition as an attack on the sovereign will of the people. Case in point? Enter Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has established himself as a dictator and is dismantling what precious few civil liberties remain in his country. There was a time when Turkey’s apologists, particularly in the American-Jewish community, sycophantically described the country as “the only democracy in the Middle East besides Israel.” Only the most foolish of them would do so now. This is what fascism looks like, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.
The names of former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir and U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher are familiar as prominent symbols of strong female leadership in times when women heads of state were rare. By 2015, however, the number of female leaders of nations reached 19, according to the United Nations. On July 13, British Home Secretary Theresa May joined the club by replacing outgoing U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, becoming the U.K.’s second female prime minister after Thatcher. As America waits to see if Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton becomes the country’s first female president in the November 2016 election, JNS.org provides eight examples of current and former non-Jewish female heads of state, their relations with Israel and the Jewish community, and how they embody tikkun olam—the Jewish value of repairing the world.
British-Jewish and pro-Israel groups are congratulating Home Secretary Theresa May for winning the leadership of the Conservative Party and replacing outgoing United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron, who resigned following the U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union in the Brexit referendum last month. May takes over the role after all other candidates for the Conservative leadership exited the race earlier in the week, and after Cameron expedited his resignation to Wednesday, July 13. May’s ascension to the post has been viewed positively by the Jewish and pro-Israel communities due to her record of support for those sectors. “Israel can rest assured that a U.K. led by Theresa May will be there in its moments of need,” said British lawmaker MP Eric Pickles, the parliamentary chairman of the Conservative Friends of Israel group.
One year after they signed a nuclear deal with world powers, the Iranians are secretly attempting to procure illicit nuclear technology and equipment. So says Germany’s domestic intelligence agency. It appears that the mullahs are supremely confident that America and the West will do nothing to enforce the agreement. Looking back on the Iran deal and the singular role Iran’s American lobby—the National Iranian American Council—played in the formulation and promotion of the agreement, it’s clear that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s past experience with President Barack Obama has given him good reason to believe the current U.S. administration will continue to play ball, writes columnist Ziva Dahl.
The nuclear agreement signed on July 14, 2015, between Iran and the P5+1 powers—the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia, and Germany—was a watershed event in international diplomacy and a key moment for U.S. President Barack Obama, who staked his legacy on the deal’s success. One year later, should world nations, and perhaps most notably Israel, still view the Islamic Republic as a nuclear threat? Ilan Berman, vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council think tank, told JNS.org that the Iranians “remain within the letter of the agreement but not the spirit” of the deal. “They have been a little more transparent in their nuclear processes, but it has not fundamentally changed Iranian behavior,” he said, alluding to Iran’s continued military buildup; support for terrorist organizations; and hostility towards Israel, the U.S., and America’s Arab allies.
At a memorial in Rwanda to the victims of the 1994 genocide, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week wrote in the visitors’ book that he was “reminded of the haunting similarities to the genocide of our own people.” Certainly all instances of genocide have some characteristics in common. But perhaps the most compelling analogy between the Holocaust and the Rwandan slaughter concerns the international community’s apathetic response to the news of those genocides, writes historian Rafael Medoff.