The Israel Brief – 01 July 2019 – We are on the move – Iran violates clause in enriching uranium, PA arrest attendees to Bahrain confab and off duty policeman investigated for murder of young Ethiopian.
The Israel Brief – 02 July 2019 – Solomon Tekah z”l laid to rest. Iranian nuclear standoff intensifies. Is this the return of Ehud Barak?
The Israel Brief – 03 July 2019 – Riots in Israel. Netanyahu open to peace plan. Disturbed dedicates Hatikvah to IDF.
The Israel Brief – 03 July 2019 – Tekah family appeals for calm. More Trump peace plan soon and Netanyahu reassures South.
head of Israel Section, SAICC / SA Israel Chamber of Commerce Johannesburg, South Africa.
Time passes, memories fade, events are forgotten. I needed to remind myself of past traumas in Israel, and I did.
In 2001, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Al Aqsa Brigades and other terrorist groups began launching Qassam rockets at Sderot (the small town that lies about a mile outside of the Gaza Strip in the western Negev Desert) as part of the Second Intifada (2000-2005), and have continued intermittently since then.
Not only continued but intensified!
In a single day in November 2018, more than 460 rockets were launched into the south of Israel, cruelly outmatched a few months later when over a 24-hour period in May 2019, 500 rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza.
Back in 2002, the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) installed a radar warning system known as Shakhar Adom, or ‘red dawn’. It operated as follows: an alarm was sounded across the town when the IDF realised that a rocket was inbound. It worked extremely well, and citizens mostly had time – about 15 seconds – to find shelter from the inevitable destruction which followed.
In 2007, a young 7-year old Israeli girl by the name of Shakhar complained about her name being associated with the warning system. In true Israeli style, ensuring that as little discomfort as possible would affect the citizens, authorities changed the name to TsevaAdom – meaning ‘red colour’ or ‘code red’ – and Tseva Adom became known across the Jewish world as ‘15 seconds’ – the difference between life and death.
Seventeen years: 17 years during which the citizens of Sderot, and later those of other cities and towns near Gaza, have lived with the terror of imminent attack, imminent destruction, imminent death. 17 years of treading softly, holding one’s breath, praying that children and spouses have reached safety in time, wondering when the next warning would come. 17 years of angst, of apprehension, of foreboding – how do people live like that?
Three years after the first radar warning was installed in Sderot, it was installed in Ashkelon, a city lying north of the Gaza Strip near the Mediterranean coast, further away from Gaza than Sderot, then also under siege from rockets and imminent death. But aha! Ashkelon did better than Sderot. Why? Because its citizens had 30 seconds’ warning instead of 15 – much more time to find shelter. And did the citizens of Ashkelon cope with that trauma? 30 seconds – the difference between life and death. Not quite shades of Sophie’s Choice, but near enough.
While everyone involved suffered unimaginable horrors, it was the children who really bore the brunt of the attacks. Post-traumatic stress disorders, hyperactivity, problems with sleeping, detachment from friends, from activities, from integration into any social world – that was then, but those children who are now adults are still traumatised, still terrified, still emotionally fragile. Yet because the actual number of deaths caused by the rockets was very low, what happened there has taken a back seat as people continued to live every day and to marginalise their horrific experiences. And as for the media? Of course, there were no stories – there seldom are, when they concern Israeli tragedies.
The New ‘Normal’
Let’s fast-forward 17 years and look at Sderot today, and at Ashkelon, and at the other parts of Israel where breathing is less often taken for granted and instead has become a symptom of apprehension. Sderot is now home to three converted bomb shelters that were adapted to meet the needs of teenagers for space and their own activities. Each can accommodate about 50 teens, and each can expand to make room for at least another 20. The best part of this is that those children are already gathered in bomb shelters: should there be a Tseva Adom warning, it will have no effect either on them or their pursuits, except psychologically and emotionally – does that matter?
According to NGO officials who visited Sderot to show support specifically to the teenagers, ‘We came into this large two-floor bomb shelter and it was like coming into someone’s living room. There are comfortable sofas, a well-stocked kitchen, a giant TV on the wall and downstairs there is a games room and a homework room. Everything is well maintained by the kids.” In this safe environment, the children are given leadership training courses, they are encouraged to interact socially with one another and establish healthy relationships, and they are assisted with their schoolwork.
Almost normal – almost, but not quite. These are tomorrow’s leaders of Israel: passive victims of the worst kind of hatred and enmity. Can their future be predicted? I wonder.
In the latest incident in March this year, Ashkelon was once again targeted from Gaza and Israeli families were woken up once again by the sound of air-raid sirens from Hamas rocket fire. Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad determined yet again to create as much devastation as possible in the city, firing rockets and launching several airborne incendiary devices (including kites); and there was a cross-border arson attack in which Palestinians breached the Gaza security fence and burned whatever they could find in the area.
More of the same trauma, the same anguish, the same shattering blows to the lives of those living there. Unceasing, and now focusing on central Israel, Tel Aviv, other vulnerable cities.
What is life like for those who live under this constant barrage of attack, combined with the hatred that initiates it? How do the people of south Israel, wanting nothing more than peaceful lives and opportunities to enjoy life, cope with these perpetual offensives? And what about those Palestinians who want much the same as the Israelis, but who are held hostage by their corrupt and devious leadership, forced to endure terror and torture for ideologies with which they may well disagree, as seen in the many on-the-ground normal everyday relationships that have developed between them and Israelis in their neighbourhoods?
The sound of the siren – the Tseva Adom – remains terrifying for Israelis in the south of the country, even though the attacks are less frequent than they used to be. When the siren goes off, they must drop everything, run to bomb shelters and ensure that their families are with them. They are often too afraid to leave their homes and venture out to do the tasks any normal family does, because the sirens might go again, at any moment. They fear the slamming of doors, the backfiring of cars and trucks, unusual music being played: to many of them, these strange noises sound like that dreadful sign. They cannot even stop and freeze in panic in case they don’t make it to the shelter in time. These are offensives of wartime, yet the world refuses to believe Israel is in a constant war with her enemies because the numbers of casualties are so low.
Sderot has been described by some of its citizens, with gallows humour, as “the biggest bull’s-eye on the map of Israel”. When the bombing began at the turn of the century, and because of its “proximity to the border and the concentration of Hamas-led amateur bomb-makers on the other side, Sderot has (and has) a unique civic claim: on a rocket-per-head-of-population basis, it is the most targeted town in Israel, indeed the world.” That’s quite a reputation for Sderot: Hamas is making sure that other Israeli towns gain the same reputation.
I remember years back, during the infamous Vietnam war, that one of the most iconic photos to come out of that tragedy was the one entitled “Vietnam Napalm 1972”. The caption read: “South Vietnamese forces follow after terrified children, including 9-year-old Kim Phuc, as they run down Route 1 near Trang Bang after an aerial napalm attack on suspected Viet Cong hiding places on June 8, 1972. A South Vietnamese plane accidentally dropped its flaming napalm on South Vietnamese troops and civilians. The terrified girl had ripped off her burning clothes while fleeing.” That photo, and others from that time, and the explanatory texts, made history. They were distributed widely; the world was shocked and stunned; the anger was palpable.
Israel has had more than its fair share of tragedies, of bombings, of fires, of in-bed murders, of terror attacks, yet whenever these have happened, world opinion has been quiet. Jewish lives – Israeli lives – are far less important than those of many others. We number so few in the world’s population that the thinking probably is that we have no standing. Like putting one’s finger into a glass of water, pulling it out and seeing no difference whatsoever in the level of water, so too with murdering a few Israelis here and there, some children, teenagers and the aged, the end effect is negligible. Not worthy of media attention. Not worthy of comment.
It is what it is….
Bev Goldman worked for many years in education and journalism, and she holds a master’s degree in Feminist Literature. Prior to joining the SA Zionist Federation where she dealt with media and education for 12 years, she was the editor of the ‘Who’s Who’ of Southern Africa; a member of WordWize which taught English language skills to Russian and Polish immigrants in South Africa; an occasional lecturer in English at RAU (now the University of Johannesburg); and Director of Educational Programmes at Allenby In-Home Studies. Currently she runs the Media Team Israel for the SA Zionist Federation; she sits on the Board of Governors of the Rabbi Cyril Harris Community Centre (RCHCC); she is the National Vice-President of the Union of Jewish Women South Africa; she is an executive member of the International Council of Jewish Women (ICJW); and she edits and proofs Masters and PhD dissertations.
In its efforts to undermine the State of Israel, South Africa’s premier university may well be undermining itself.
The University of Cape Town (UCT) is South Africa’s oldest university. Established in 1829, it maintained a proud tradition of academic excellence, but these days it is making international news branding stupidity, rather than excellence.
On March 30, 2019, the Council of the University of Cape Town (UCT) declined to adopt a resolution by its Senate on an Israeli boycott and sent it back requesting clarification before the resolution could go to a vote, notably:
“a full assessment of the sustainability impact” and
“more consultative process was necessary before the matter could be considered any further”.
This issue has now gone global as alumni across the world from Australia and Hong Kong to the UK, Israel , Canada and the USA – many of them donors and potential donors – have submitted their thoughts of some of the ramifications and repercussions that UCT would face if it decided to implement an Israeli academic boycott in any form.
They have responded to the call by UCT Vice-Chancellor, Prof.Mamokgethi Phakeng for UCT stakeholders (including staff, students, alumni, and donors) to submit their views online on the proposed academic boycott of Israel by no later than Friday 21 June.
Many of the submissions have drawn attention that a boycott would cause:
“A major decrease in donor support, including contributions towards funding bursaries.”
“Irreparable harm to the principle of academic freedom”
“A loss in reputation and credibility for UCT as the leading university in Africa.”
“A sense that Jewish students and academics may feel uncomfortable at a university that has severed ties with their Jewish, spiritual and religious homeland.”
“A concern that past degrees and certifications of the university will fail to enjoy international recognition.”
“A restriction in UCT’s ability to work with other international institutions and the subsequent degradation in its academic work.”
“A loss of potential outstanding students who will chose to study elsewhere.”
One of the many alumni submitting their views is a contributor to LOTL, Adv. Charles Abelsohn, and who has a BA from UCT, a LLB from the Univ of Stellenbosch and a B.Com Hons from UNISA.
18 June 2019
Totally opposed to resolution proposed by the Palestinian Solidarity Forum (PSF).
No expertise or evidence supporting the Resolution
There are no details on the expertise or knowledge of PSF on the Israel – Arab conflict. Declarations of support for one party are not proof of expertise on the conflict.
The resolution contains no definition of the alleged “gross human rights violations“. Instituting a boycott based on generalizations and/or declarations is not academic and not worthy of an academic institution such as UCT.
PSF has not provided any facts or evidence to the Senate supporting allegations of “gross human rights violations” by Israel generally or specifically by Israeli academic institutions.
Let`s all agree that the most important human right is the right to healthcare and life. According to the CIA factbook:
Life Expectancy: The West Bank is in 92nd place with 76 years. South Africa, in 191th place with 63 years.
Infant mortality rate: The West Bank is in 120th place with a rate of 14.6. South Africa, in 162nd place with an infant mortality rate of 32.
South Africa`s gross human rights violations regarding healthcare are worse than the West Bank and are amongst the worst in the world.
Israel`s ‘Save a Child’s Heart’ organization has performed heart surgery on nearly 5,000 Third World children since it was started over 20 years ago, including more than 2,000 from the West Bank and Gaza and 300 from Iraq and Syria. Does this constitute a gross human violation? There is no South African equivalent.
More “gross human rights violations” by Israel are treating Palestinian leaders, and their families as well as, in 2018, 20,000 Palestinians in Israeli hospitals. Approximately 1,975 Palestinian physicians participated in medical trainings in Israel in a variety of fields, such as: AIDS, women’s health care and cancer.
Healthcare: PSF has not shown any Israeli “gross human rights violations”.
Under Jordan`s illegal occupancy of the West Bank (1948-1967), no universities were allowed in the West Bank. Israel established the first university in the West Bank in 1971 – another “gross human rights violation”.
The PSF has not shown any Israeli academic “gross human rights violations”; On the contrary – the leader of BDS studied at an Israeli university. Omar Barghouti, a founder of BDS, a citizen of Qatar, with a Master`s degree from Columbia (USA) studied for his PH D at Tel Aviv University!
Martha Pollack, Cornell University president’s reply to a proposal for boycott: “Cornell is an educational institution, and its primary purpose is to further the education of students through our teaching, research and engagement mission. Cornell is not primarily an agent to direct social or political action. BDS unfairly singles out one country in the world for sanction when there are many countries around the world whose governments’ policies may be viewed as controversial.”
Professor Cary Nelson, past president of the American Association of University Professors has written a book: Israel Denial: Anti-Zionism, Anti-Semitism, and the Faculty Campaign Against the Jewish State (Indiana University Press).
Nelson takes a skeptical view of BDS. Many BDS people say their goal is to rebuke Israel and persuade it to improve the treatment of Palestinians. Nelson, having examined the words of BDS leaders in depth, believes they are in fact working toward the collapse of Israel. UCT, please take note:
All ten chancellors in the University of California system have reaffirmed their opposition to the academic boycott of Israel. In a statement, the chancellors said their “commitment to continued engagement and partnership with Israeli, as well as Palestinian colleagues, colleges, and universities is unwavering.” The boycott of Israeli universities and scholars “poses a direct and serious threat to the academic freedom of our students and faculty”.
President Melvin Oliver of Pitzer College in Claremont, California, vetoed a faculty vote to end an exchange programme with Haifa University, saying it is plain wrong, discriminatory and inconsistent to boycott Israel so long as Pitzer, along with many other American colleges, “promotes exchanges and study abroad in countries with significant human rights abuses.” “China, for example, has killed, tortured and imprisoned up to 1 million people in Tibet and utterly obliterated the Tibetan nation. China currently has 1 million Muslims imprisoned in ‘re-education’ camps. Why would we not suspend our program with China?”
One definition of anti-Semitism is singling out Jews or Israel to be punished for supposed but unproven actions that have been documented on a much larger or much more brutal scale in many other countries. UCT, for example, has not considered voting to boycott Saudi Arabia for its state-sanctioned assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi or Iran for the execution of homosexuals or the Palestinians for preventing free speech and assembly, never mind China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, Syria`s 500,000 deaths or Brunei`s death by stoning for homosexuals.
PSF has not shown why, worldwide, only Israeli academic institutions need to be boycotted for “gross human rights violations”.
European Union Cooperation with Israeli Universities
The European Union and Israel enjoy scientific cooperation under the Horizon 2020 programme. Grants have been awarded to 1062 Israeli projects from the beginning of the programme until the end of 2018. Israeli universities and research institutes can be found among the top 10 countries, worldwide, hosting projects. There is no EU boycott of Israel`s universities. There are no South African academic institutions participating in the EU programme.
Europe: PSF has not shown why Europe is wrong to cooperate intensively with Israeli academia despite Israel`s alleged “gross human rights violations”.
Proposed Resolution for UCT: UCT hereby resolves to deepen, not boycott or limit, its association with Israeli universities, for its own benefit and that of its students.
It suggests that one in three British Jews have considered leaving the UK due to rising antisemitism and refers to a 2018 poll by The Jewish Chronicle, that “British Jews between 35 and 54 years old are most concerned about the prospect of a Corbyn-led Labour government, with over half of those surveyed giving emigration serious consideration.”
Revealing prevailing fear among families was a quote from an enraged Jewish mother that “It is almost unreal to me that my daughter’s university choice is determined by her fear of antisemitism.”
She laments that “antisemitism is becoming a part of everyday life.”
This “everyday life” antisemitism, says another mother, is being exacerbated by an atmosphere created by the Leader of the Opposition and possible future Prime Minister:
“I used to wear a Magen David (Star of David) but now I am hesitant. Corbyn’s passive aggressive support of anti-Israel and antisemitic sentiments has created a climate where it is now okay to lash out at things Jewish. His actions speak louder than his words – his regular attendances at events and rallies that lobby for Palestine, coupled with pronounced silences whenever there is a tragedy involving Jewish or Israelis, tells me the allegations are not only well founded, but they are telling of a new kind of neoliberal socialist blood which Corbyn has created in the UK.”
The increasing anxiety level within the Jewish community recently led former chairman of the Conservative Party, Andrew Feldman, to pen a letter to Jeremy Corbyn saying:
“I want you to know that many Jewish people in the United Kingdom are seriously contemplating their future here in the event of you becoming prime minister. This is because they can see that Labour, a party with a proud tradition of tolerance and inclusiveness, is now a hotbed of feelings against Israel and therefore the Jewish people. Quietly, discreetly and extremely reluctantly, they are making their contingency plans, and this would be a tragedy.”
In response to the article, former South African and today a resident in London, UK, Chris Manson writes:
The nature and level of the anxieties raised in the article is entirely commensurate with the evidence that is all around.
Indeed, the only surprise to me is how long it seems to have taken to sink in!
There are many factors that inform that this situation has evolved over at least the past twenty years. As such, it is unlikely also to be just something transient.
These are some of them but by no means all:
The education profession is entirely dominated by a sort of post-modernist neo-Marxist orthodoxy.
The view disseminated by this establishment is rigidly anti-Israeli and unconditionally supportive of all her enemies.
Hence, this is the view held by educated young people, and to differ from it invites ridicule at best, but more likely ostracism or outright attack.
Nowhere is this culture more entrenched than in the universities. That is why one reference in the article is to the selection of university being dominated by consideration of which campus, relatively speaking, may be less hostile.
The “celebration” and elevation of multi-culturalism to totemic status. As part of the process of expiation of perceived Imperialist guilt, it has become a requirement of modernity, anti-racist purity and “progressive” political views to ascribe an almost sacred degree of absolute moral value to the views of the historic and contemporary immigrant communities.
Out of such communities were drawn the majority by far of British recruits for I.S.I.L.
For years, these groupings and many more mainstream organisations have campaigned also on behalf of the Palestinian cause.
Thus, over time the prevailing view has distilled into the perception that Israel is a sort of psychopathic “entity”, brutal, racist and simply vile in every way.
Anyone daring to even timidly question this this is simply tarred with the same brush.
These are crimes perpetrated by the Jews. Inevitably by implication, British Jewry provide a legitimate target. Payback for the defenceless victims of global “Zionism”.
British thought and direction of travel is skewed by the dominance and power of London; this is where the zeitgeist of the nation is defined. Factors (1) & (2) above are dominant in this location which also largely explains the Brexit division.
Jeremy Corbyn has always been an unrepentant advocate of the overthrow of Israel by any means.
The new recruits to Labour who form his praetorian guard, are social media people informed by factors (1) to (3) above. How surprising can it be that the amalgam of this is now reflected in a casual antisemitism for it is indeed an aspect of contemporary cool: along with anti-sexism, multiculturalism, climate change activism, Trump hatred and so on.
If Corbyn wins the next election which he may well, and this could be sooner rather than later, we can expect an exacerbation of antisemitism as it will then enjoy a thinly disguised State sanction. Rather like South Africa as is clear from a recent article published on Lay Of The Land. I think therefore that for the Anglo Jewish community in the United Kingdom, the options are what they more or less have eternally been everywhere.
Remain, keep a low profile, disguise yourself, hope that things will get better and discretely work to that end.
Or, accept that sadly, the tide has turned here for the foreseeable future and get out while hanging on to the passport!
In Europe, now South Africa – Jews are feeling uneasy
By David E. Kaplan
The recent spat between the South African Jewish Board of Deputies’ vice president, Zev Krengel and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, illustrates not only the widening chasm between South Africa’s ruling party and its Jewish community but something far more alarming.
It exposes an increasing unease Jews are feeling with their position in South Africa today.
The “issue” is not over anything pertaining to Jewish wellbeing in their country – the primary concern of Krengel’s organisation the SAJBOD – but over South Africa’s relationship with the Jewish State – Israel.
Once a ‘sign’ of inclusivity, the much touted “Rainbow Nation” image of the Mandela era has lost its sparkle. That inclusivity comes today for South Africa’s Jews with a price tag:
“Stop Supporting Israel.”
Can this really be expected as an option for a People who have repeated for over 3500 years from the Psalm of King David:
“If I Forget Thee, O Jerusalem! let my right hand forget its skill!”
Zionism – the nationalist movement of the Jewish people that supports the re-establishment of a Jewish homeland in the territory defined as the historic Land of Israel – is in the DNA of South African Jewry. Well over a half century before the Holocaust in Europe, Zionism arrived in South Africa “in the knapsacks of the Litvak Jews.”
Many of the young new arrivals from the late nineteenth century had been members of Hovevei Zion societies in Eastern Europe – the forerunners and foundation-builders of modern Zionism. These societies aimed to promote Jewish immigration to their ancestral homeland in Ottoman ruled Palestine, and advance Jewish settlement there, particularly in agriculture.
It was therefore no surprise the South African Zionist Federation was established as early as 1898 – over a decade before there was even a Union of South Africa – followed by the Board of Deputies in 1903. Nine years later the ANC was founded in 1912, with the aim of fighting for the rights of black South Africans.
Now the organisations tasked with fighting for the rights of Jews and Blacks are facing off over an issue a continent away!
What has startled the Jewish community even more, was the rebuke Krengel and the SAJBOD received as if they had no right to criticize the ANC member.
The criticism in question was Krengel referring to Minister Lindiwe Sisulu as “the single biggest enemy” in government to South African Jewry. This was in response for her crusade for South Africa to sever diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.
Krengel had every right to articulate his concerns particularly following the Minister’s ignorance, bias and antisemitism all evident in her accusing “the Israeli government of funding WITS” (University of the Witwatersrand) and adding to her accusation “This was a fact that must be taken into account when implementing the proposed downgrade of the South African embassy in Israel.”
If the British Labour Party, once the political home for much of Britain’s Jewish community is being investigated for institutional antisemitism – why should senior members of the ANC be free of similar rebuke?
The Jewish leadership would have been remiss in not taking the minister to task.
As national vice chairman of the South Africa Zionist FederationBen Levitas in Politicalweb expressed:
“the SAJBOD did what they were elected to do by opposing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu’s decision to act on the ANC’s 54th National Conference resolution “to immediately and unconditionally downgrade the South African Embassy in Israel”. The Boards mandate is to guard and protect the interests of the Jewish community and the downgrade of relations with Israel most certainly impacts on the well-being of the community.”
While the cracks have been paved over following the recent national election, some members within the community are seeing through the façade of rainbow-nation-like unity and camaraderie. A May 23 letter by Brian Josselowitz to the editor the SA Jewish Report is revealing:
“You can schmooze with the political elite, and even take selfies with ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa, but he serves at the pleasure of the national executive committee, and he will not vote against ANC policy, especially on the question of Israel.
The SA Jewish Report (SAJR) gave him its unqualified backing when he won the ANC presidency at the party’s last elective conference, and if he has, as the SAJR would have us believe, an open mind about the conflict, why didn’t he take cabinet colleagues Naledi Pandor and Sisulu to task, in public, for their anti-Semitic remarks? Why has he allowed Sisulu to say that all relations with Israel are being severed, and the embassy will be downgraded to a visa office, without repudiating her in public?”
A Deep Sense Of Foreboding
What is happening to freedom of speech in South Africa when the Board’s director, Wendy Kahn, feels the need to defend her organisation’s right to criticise government.
“…I think the Jewish community, as with all citizens of South Africa have got a right to criticise and condemn statements and actions of government.”
All this follows:
in 2018 the ANC put out the red carpet in Parliament for the terror organisation Hamas that had only weeks before fired close to 500 rockets from Gaza into southern Israel with the intention of endangering the lives of Israelis. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was co-signed by the ANC and Hamas that supported – inter alia – “the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel” and ensured that “ANC leaders and government officials do not visit Israel”
The ongoing crusade of South Africa’s premier university – the University of Cape Town (UCT) – to boycott academic institutions in Israel
The passing of a motion brought to the Johannesburg council by the ANC, Al-Jamaah and EFF to rename one of the city’s prominent roads, Sandton Drive, after Leila Khaled. While glorified as the “poster girl of the Palestinian struggle”, this is the same Leila Khaled who, holding two hand-grenades in her hands in 1970, terrified a planeload of passengers on an EL AL Flight from Amsterdam to New York City and who the previous year, in 1969, had hijacked a TWA Flight from Rome to Tel Aviv diverting it to Damascus International Airport, where together with her partner, blew up the nose section of the Boeing 707. These are South Africa’s role models today – dedicated to the destruction of the State of Israel. Khaled was not hijacking civilian aircraft in support for a Two-State Solution:
In 1970, there were only 1,514 Jews living in the West Bank!
Is it any wonder that Jews in South Africa are questioning the direction of their country, the policies of its political leaders and the nagging thorn pricking daily, whether it is a suitable place for their children and grandchildren?
An old acquaintance in Cape Town who recently put his property on the market remarked:
“It’s now just a house; it’s no more a home!”
* Feature Picture: Cyril Ramaphosa chating to Lindiwe Sisulu on the last day of the ANC National Conference on December 20, 2012 in Mangaung, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Foto24 / Felix Dlangamandla)
A selection of opinions and analysis from the Arab media
This week, Lay Of The Land notes how Arab journalists are increasingly revealing that Iran appears to be imploding from within and is on a direct trajectory to becoming “a failed state”. Whether the mullahs see the writing on the wall or not – Iran’s collapse – perceived by Arab writers in the region – is not a question of “if” but “when”.
Four Decades of Iranian Terrorism
By Mohammed al-Baladi
Al-Madina, Saudi Arabia, May 18
Four decades have passed since the Iranian Revolution of 1979. Forty years in which many waters passed under the bridge of the Arab Gulf, leading to widespread changes in our region. Despite these changes, however, one thing has remained unchanged: the expansionist ideology of the Iranian regime.
Since February 1, 1979, the people of Iran have been robbed of their freedom. Their money has been nationalized and appropriated for wasteful propaganda campaigns, under the Wilayat al-Faqih, throughout the entire world. Thankfully, this indoctrination campaign, despite all the resources being poured into it, will not succeed because it contradicts the most basic principles of Islam: peace and good brotherhood. A long-term strategic goal of the Iranian regime is to become the dominant force and the most influential country in the Middle East, from Iraq to Morocco. The mullahs have not relinquished this aspiration. Despite being boycotted by nearly every country in the world, the belligerent Iranian regime is still promoting itself as the official guardian of Shi’ism. It states that it is the ultimate protector of the interests of the most vulnerable Shi’ites around the world. To play this card effectively, the mullahs frequently use terms and slogans of emotional resonance, such as “Islamic unity” and “Islamic solidarity.” Worst of all, the Iranian regime tries to deceive Arab Shi’ites by portraying the supreme leader as their ultimate religious leader, who must be followed and obeyed even at the expense of betraying one’s own country. This is the most effective means by which the Iranian regime has succeeded in sparking sectarian strife between different groups in the same country. This creates a state of fear and confusion that helps give rise to extremist ideology. This is the strategy on which the Iranian philosophy is based. Iran supports, without limits, well-known terrorist groups such as Hizbullah, the Quds Force, the Houthi militias and Al-Qaida, all of which fuel conflict and spew hatred in countries like Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Gaza, Afghanistan, Somalia, Eritrea and Nigeria. In all of these places, Iran’s influence is a source of concern and tension for the government and a major impediment to development. In the four decades that have passed since the rise of the mullah regime, and despite facing harsh sanctions, Iran has continuously harmed its neighbors. In doing so, the regime has proved that terrorism and aggression are an integral part of its ideology. To defeat this ideology, we therefore have to fight the Iranian regime.
– Mohammed al-Baladi (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)
HE MULLAHS’ REGIME IS BOUND TO FALL
By Muhammad al-Sheikh
Al-Jazeera, Saudi Arabia , May 17, 2019
The survival of the mullah regime in Tehran will be impossible in the long run, so long as its formal objective remains to use all of its resources to fulfill the will of its founder, Khomeini, and reinstate the ancient Persian Empire.
I am not trying to suggest that the era of empires is completely over. This is a reality that one can hardly argue with, especially given the rise of the caliphate established by Islamic State.
I do, however, believe that [former] US president Barack Obama, for a mysterious reason that goes beyond me, saved the mullah regime from total collapse when he signed the catastrophic nuclear deal with Tehran. In doing so, Obama lifted the siege on Iran and provided its regime, which was very close to falling, with a $100 billion lifeline.
Whatever ideology is guiding the mullahs, their regime simply cannot keep up with the contemporary world. It stands against everything humanity stands up for today.
Even domestically, the people of Iran have realized that they have been led astray by their leaders for several decades. Internal grudges and anger are growing with each passing day.
This enormous Iranian public will eventually reach a boiling point that the regime will be unable to control. No matter how oppressive, cruel or coercive the mullah regime will be, it will eventually be forced to capitulate and collapse.
Needless to say, modern countries derive their political and military power from their economic power. The stronger their economies are, the more they can grow and develop, the more legitimate they are on the international stage, and the more they can withstand crises.
A look at the Soviet Union, which neglected its economic might and relied on socialism for its survival, will suffice to understand how failed economies can lead to political disintegration and collapse.
This is certainly the case in Iran as well. The mullahs can spend money spreading their ideology, ignore economic growth and impose their doctrine on others, without any hesitation to crush dissidents. Ultimately, however, their regime will be a failure.
Therefore, whether the mullahs admit this or not, Iran is on a direct trajectory to becoming a failed state. This tendency will only increase with time. Then, as many experiments in history have already taught us, the mullahs’ regime will collapse. It is simply a matter of time.
– Muhammad al-Sheikh
The Inevitability of a Clash with Iran
By Abd al-Rahman al-Rashed
Al-Sharq al-Awsat, London, May 18
All possibilities with Tehran are currently on the table. It is possible that we will witness a massive military campaign against Iran, a limited and targeted attack, or no strike whatsoever. However, regardless of how the current stand-off between Washington and Tehran devolves, there is no doubt that the mullah regime will eventually fall. Just like Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi disappeared from the world arena, the Iranian leadership, consisting of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, will eventually be crushed. There is no way to circumvent this reality. Every extremist regime we’ve witnessed in history ended up collapsing after it exercised enormous aggression. The ability of such regimes to survive and maintain their stability rests on their willingness to deploy force and violence on others. Once they engage in this kind of behavior, it only gets worse. Rarely, if ever, can the wheel be turned backwards. Therefore, there is no reason to believe that the mullah regime in Tehran will act any differently. Just like the Hitler regime fought until its bitter end of self-destruction, so, too, the Iranian regime will fight to its death. For too many years, the countries of the Middle East have swallowed the bitter Iranian pill for fear of facing war with Tehran. But now this scenario seems inevitable. If we look at the mullahs’ previous modus operandi, we can see that whenever they faced external pressure, they only toughened their positions. Some have suggested that this is due to the ill-advised American policy devised by President Donald Trump or National Security Adviser John Bolton. Others point fingers at Israel as the culprit. But the reality is very different: The Iranian regime, ever since the days of former US president Jimmy Carter, has sought to deploy violence in order to promote its political goals. This has been the case regardless of which president was sitting in the Oval Office. Instead of inventing conspiracy theories, we would be better off looking reality in the eye and understanding that the Iranian threat against stability in the Middle East is likely the most serious threat to our region today. The mullah regime in Iran has proven its evilness time and again. Its actions in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen are a clear case in point. Those who defend Iran live in deep denial. It’s time to muster the courage and stand up to the regime in Tehran. Otherwise, we will pay a heavy price for our complacency down the road.
Abd al-Rahman al-Rashed (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)