The annual (2018) AIPAC conference is no longer the intimate experience of thirty years ago. It is however understandable, with over 18,000 attendees, including over 4,000 students. The AIPAC conference at the Washington D.C. Convention Center has become akin to what we might call a small city, and a far cry from the village it once was at the Sheraton Hotel. Still, the experience of listening live to such exciting luminaries as the U.S. ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, generated a sense of intimacy that superseded the vastness of the audience.
Speaking at the Tuesday morning plenary session, PM Netanyahu was the climax of this year’s conference. He was introduced by AIPAC Board Chair Lillian Pinkus. She reminded him of the few hundred AIPAC activists that filled the Sheraton Hotel in 1988, when he first spoke at AIPAC. Netanyahu, feeling uplifted by the previous days meeting with President Donald Trump, commanded the stage like a rock star, moving from one end of the stage to the other, waving to old friends and soliciting applause for President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and his pledge to open the Jerusalem embassy in May of this year, to coincide with Israel’s Independence Day.
Netanyahu expressed special thanks to U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer. He also expressed his special thanks to “a friend of Israel,” former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He began the core of his speech with the theory of ‘The Good, The Bad, and the Beautiful,’ a play on the Clint Eastwood movie ‘The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.’ Netanyahu said, “The good, are all the good things we are doing in Israel that are helping make the world a better place.” He elaborated on Israel’s contributions to the world. “The bad,” he said, “are all the bad things done to Israel – especially by Iran.”
Netanyahu announced that Israel has never been stronger militarily. He pointed to a slide presentation showing the F-35 fighter plane, the most advanced in the world, and the Iron Dome interceptor, which Israel developed together with the U.S. He praised Israeli intelligence services for making flying safer for passengers by foiling various plots, and thus saving lives. He also highlighted Israel’s strong economy, which is based on innovation and entrepreneurship. Water technology, an Israeli specialty that Netanyahu termed “precision agriculture”, has increased the yield of Indian farmers by six fold. But not only in India has Israel improved the lives of ordinary people…also in Asia, Africa and Latin America. “Israel’s technology,” Netanyahu declared “is driving the world.” He pointed out by example that Israel’s population is but one tenth of one percent of the world population, yet Israel receives 20% of all global investments in cyber security.
Netanyahu alluded with pride to the flourishing of Israel’s diplomatic relations in the world. He said, “When I joined Israel’s Foreign Service as the deputy Chief of Mission in Washington (DCM), Israel had relations with about 80 countries. Today, the number is 160 countries. There are those who talk about boycotting Israel. We will boycott them.”
“Whereas the good is very good and improving,” Netanyahu said, “the bad is very bad and getting worse.” The force behind the bad, Netanyahu alluded to, is the radical tyranny in Tehran. Netanyahu reminded the audience that when he last spoke here (in Washington), he warned of the threat from the Ayatollahs regime to the survival of Israel, the security of the region, and world peace. “Iran repeatedly lied to the world about its nuclear activities, and it cannot be trusted,” Netanyahu said. “The nuclear deal gives Iran a clear path to develop its nuclear arsenal in a little more than a decade.” Netanyahu had warned that removing the sanctions will not make Iran more peaceful, but rather more belligerent and dangerous. “And this ladies and gentlemen, is exactly what has happened,” Netanyahu declared. “I have a message for you today. We must stop Iran, and we will stop Iran!” Netanyahu mentioned the Esther Scroll that was read last week in synagogues, which was a story of an attempt by another Persian anti-Semite (Haman) to destroy the Jewish people. Haman failed, and so will the current Ayatollahs.
While Netanyahu promised that he will never let Iran develop nuclear weapons, “not now, nor ever,” he had a conciliatory message for the Iranian people. He said that while Israel will counter Iran’s aggression, “We shall always remember and stand with the brave people of Iran.” They are suffering, their hopes dashed, and their courage expressed by women removing their hijabs and being jailed for it, or the brave students who are tortured and shot for advocating freedom. “The day will came,” Netanyahu continued, “when this terrible tyranny will perish from the earth. Today we have Haman, but tomorrow we might have Cyrus, and the historic friendship between the Jewish and Persian people.”
“I salute President Trump,” Netanyahu said, relating to President Trump’s declaration that his administration will counter Iranian aggression as well as a nuclearized Iran. President Trump made it clear that if the fatal flaws in the nuclear agreement are not improved, he will walk away from the deal and restore sanctions on Iran. “Israel,” Netanyahu said, “will stand by America’s side, and so will other countries in the region.”
The Arab countries now know that Israel is not their enemy but rather, Netanyahu pointed out, an indispensable ally. Touching on regional peace, he added that President Trump and he are both committed to peace between Israel and the Arab world as well as with the Palestinians. Netanyahu charged that Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority (PA) President, should invest in life rather than in death. He called on Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) to stop financially supporting families of terrorist killers. What kind of message does it convey to Palestinian children? The message Netanyahu clarified is “kill Jews and get rich.” Netanyahu added, in his message to Abbas, “build life, and don’t pay for death, invest in peace and in life.” According to Netanyahu, 10% of the PA budget is being spent on funding families of terrorist killers.
In touching on “the Beautiful,” Netanyahu referred to the unbreakable alliance between Israel and the U.S.A that AIPAC makes stronger and better. It is our “shared values,” which is the wellspring that binds the two countries together. These common values come from a book – the Bible.
Netanyahu ended his speech saying, “Today, together, we are writing a new chapter in our common story — a story of freedom, of justice, peace, of hope, and it’s because we’re inspired by the same idea. Because we’re animated by the same values that America and Israel have forged an eternal bond that can never, ever be broken.”
Jeremy Corbyn leads a pro-Palestinian demonstration in London in 2014, one year before becoming Labour Party leader. Photo: File.
This marked a massive rise from the previous such survey, in which only 39% of Jews believed Corbyn was antisemitic.
British Jews also expressed an extremely low opinion of the Labour Party in general. The poll showed that 85.6% believed Labour suffered from “very high” levels of antisemitism.
Corbyn and his party have been beset with a series of high-profile antisemitism scandals for several years, which has resulted in the resignation and suspension of several prominent officials. Corbyn himself was recently caught on video saying that “Zionists” did not understand “English irony” despite “having lived in this country for a very long time.”
Makuya in Jerusalem 201 (YouTube)
Like an apple tree among trees of the forest, So is my beloved among the youths. I delight to sit in his shade, And his fruit is sweet to my mouth. (Song of Songs 2:3)
For ten days in late August, Israeli Rabbi Benny Lau and his wife, Rabbanit Noah Lau, traveled from Jerusalem to Japan to lead Bible study for groups of Makuya Japanese Christians. The Laus traveled to five Japanese towns and spent three days together at a weekend conference with 3,400 members of the Makuya group.
Makuya is Japanese for the Hebrew word Mishkan, the tent of meeting, where human beings come into contact with God. The Mishkan was the portable sanctuary that the Israelites used in the desert, before entering Israel and building the First Holy Temple.
The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. (Psalm 11:5)
Brazilian presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro. (Credit: Agencia O Globo)
Jair Bolsonaro, the front-runner in the upcoming presidential election in Brazil, was stabbed during a campaign rally Thursday and was undergoing surgery.
The far-right politician, whose heated rhetoric has electrified some voters and angered others – -who accuse him of racism and homophobia – in a deeply polarized electorate, was attacked amid a crowd in the south-east state of Minas Gerais. Bolsonaro has performed strongly in recent opinion polls.
Those same polls suggested that he will likely receive the most votes in next month’s presidential elections, especially if the country’s former president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva (‘Lula’) remains blocked from standing. He is currently in prison, but is appealing against his candidacy ban – imposed after his conviction for corruption.
Republican lawmakers have made it clear they have no intention of repealing Obamacare in the current Congress.
Republicans in the nation’s top lawmaking body have never really wanted to get rid of Obamacare. They would prefer to present the program, which David Horowitz correctly describes as “the greatest assault on individual freedom and individual choice in our lifetimes,” as a villain and whip up sentiment against it and run against it every election. They view Obamacare as good for the business of politics. They may chip away at it from time to time or tinker with it at the margins, but make no mistake: these creatures of Washington want to keep it in place. This is the Republicans’ dirty secret.
The Trump administration has decided to reopen a case brought by a Zionist group against Rutgers University, previously closed by the Obama administration in 2014, alleging that the university had allowed Jewish students to be subjected to a hostile environment in violation of Title VI of the U.S. Civil Rights Act. The issue, ignored by the Obama administration, was whether the students were discriminated against based on their actual or perceived Jewish ancestry or ethnicity. Kenneth L. Marcus, the new assistant secretary of education for civil rights, decided that the case deserved another look.
Nestled in the Han River in the middle of South Korea’s bustling capital of Seoul, Yeoui Island is hardly where one would expect to find the largest mega-church in the world. Home to the city’s business and financial district, its skyline dotted with skyscrapers, the island boasts some of the country’s most powerful institutions, such as the Korean stock exchange and the headquarters of LG, the international conglomerate.
The AfD’s opponents, who often brand the party as “far right” or “extremist,” claim that the party’s alleged ties to neo-Nazi groups pose an existential threat to Germany’s constitutional order. The AfD’s supporters counter that Germany’s politically correct establishment, afraid of losing its power and influence, is attempting to outlaw a legitimate party that has pledged to put the interests of German citizens first.
Israel’s Palestinian foes regard “martyrdom” as the supremely highest expression of Islamic sacredness. Nonetheless, there are certain conspicuously prominent disjunctions between the relevant obligations of faith and expectations of international law. Unambiguously, only the latter set of obligations can offer a suitably authoritative source for assessing Palestinian resorts to armed force.
This is the case even when the stated objective of such resorts would be “self-determination” and/or “national liberation.”
“Setting fire to the ground,” a “major catastrophe,” bringing “new instability” are the headlines that have greeted Donald Trump’s unorthodox decisions over the past year. Withdrawing from UNESCO, moving the US Embassy, leaving the Iran deal and cutting funding to UNRWA and funding for Pakistan were seen as extreme decisions in the Middle East and around the world. Insofar as there is a “Trump Doctrine,” it has been to call this bluff.
In the mind-set of Trump and his team, the time has come for the United States to move quickly to reverse decades of foreign policy norms, ending the status quo, and ripping up what the previous administrations did.
The jihadi assault on and massacre of Christians continued unabated throughout the Muslim word. According to one report titled, “Armed gangs WIPE OUT 15 villages in mass Christian slaughter in Nigeria,” several Islamic terrorists “stormed through 15 villages to massacre Christians and destroy their churches in a violent crackdown against the religion…. Dozens of people have been killed after the gangs ransacked towns and villages to clear them of all aspects of the Christian faith.
Wars are raging in various parts of the Middle East, although there is a tendency not to call the conflicts by that name because of the fear conjured up by the word.
One conflagration is the war Iran is waging against those – headed by Israel – who stand in the way of its plans to take over the entire Middle East.
Another is the Assad regime’s war to take back control of the entire country, and a third is the PLO’s battle for survival.
Much has been written about the first of these wars, and reports have claimed that from early 2017 on, Israel has launched over 200 attacks in Syria, mainly at targets connected to Iran.