Saturday, July 2, 2016

'We got what we wanted' - Dror Eydar

by Dror Eydar

Hat tip: Jean-Charles Bensoussan

Professor Moshe Sharon, Israel's greatest Middle East scholar, tells Israel Hayom that the reconciliation deal with Turkey is a success for Israel • "There was a crisis, and now it's over. So it cost us $20 million -- that's small change for us."

Professor Moshe Sharon: Turkey is the biggest competitor the Islamic State can take on
Photo credit: Dudi Vaaknin

• "In the diplomacy of the bazaar of the Middle East agreements are upheld not because they are signed, but rather because conditions exist that force them [to be.] Moreover, in the conflict between Israel and the Arab states there is a fundamental problem that does not allow an agreement at all. The problem is that the Israelis on one side and the Arabs on the other are not talking about the same goods…"
• "The most important rule says that if you demonstrate your desire to acquire a certain item, the seller will immediately raise the price considerably, and the greater an interest you show, the more he will increase the price. The "item" we're talking about is peace. Israel is going out of its way to show that it wants to buy it more than anything. The Arabs, therefore, are creating the impression that they are actually the ones who hold the keys to the storeroom where the desired goods are kept, when in truth, those storerooms are completely empty. To the Arabs' credit, it can be said that they have already said so countless times. But in this case, the Jews have also lost their ability to hear…"
• "The Arab proverb says: 'What comes for free, gives you a lot.' Bazaar wisdom holds that if you are sharp enough and the other side is na├»ve or a food, or both together, you can sell nothing at all and receive a high price for it…"
• "The 'goods' of peace in the Middle East exist only in one place -- in the storerooms of Israel and in the archives of the Jewish people. Only Israel can offer those goods in the Middle East bazaar, and anyone who wants it will have to pay full price for it…"
• "Go and learn one consistent, important rule from the bazaar of the Middle East: never conduct negotiations when you're facing two people or more. Therefore, don't go into negotiations held as part of conferences; don't approach international bodies; stand firm that only you and the trader you're dealing with will negotiate. The goods are in the open because they're yours -- increase the price several times so you can manage 'discounts.'"- Excerpted from "The Bazaar of the Middle East," by Professor Moshe Sharon

Two events prompted me to speak with Professor Moshe Sharon: Israel's reconciliation agreement with Turkey and the massive terrorist attack in Istanbul on Wednesday. Sharon, the greatest Middle East scholar in Israel today and former head of the Department of Middle Eastern History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is an expert on Islamic history and Middle Eastern studies. He served as an advisor to former Prime Minister Menachem Begin on Arab matters and took part in Israel's peace negotiations with Egypt.
The list of Sharon's academic and diplomatic achievements is a long one. Even at close to 80, he continues to pursue his studies, which encompass 1,500 years of history. He has authored an extensive study of Arabic inscriptions in the land of Israel, which delves into their discovery, their deciphering and their historic, linguistic and geographic background. The third volume of that study has just been published. 

The inscriptions are an important historical source, both in terms of the history of Islam and the history of the land of Israel under Islamic rule. One of the most important inscriptions Sharon discovered in the past few years is one by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II. Frederick, who was the king of Sicily, described in Arabic all the areas ruled by Europe. The inscription led Sharon to research the story behind Frederick's ties to Ayyubid Sultan al-Kamil of Egypt. Because of their special relationship, the Egyptian sultan gave him nearly all the land conquered by Saladin in 1187 -- including Jerusalem. Pay attention: A Muslim ruler gave Jerusalem back to the Crusaders. 

"That concession can teach us that well-ordered geopolitics and proper handling of negotiations can lead to things that now appear impossible," Sharon tells me. 

How do you see the attack in Istanbul? 

What are the goals of the Islamic State? The organization sees itself as the exclusive representative of true Sunni Islam, which should control the entire Islamic world. Therefore, any Sunni entity that represents the old rule, whether it's Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the Emirates, Egypt, and of course the most important Sunni state of all, Turkey, has to be destabilized from within. It has to create a situation of a lack of confidence to bring down these states, and then its great goal will be realized: the establishment of Islamic caliphates. 

Why Turkey? Or rather, why is a Sunni organization attacking a Sunni country? 

[Turkey] might be Sunni, but according to the ideology of the Islamic State, it's the biggest competitor it can take on, because Turkey also talks in terms of Islamic rule and Islamic caliphates. 

The way the Islamic State sees it, if we leave the Shiites aside, there is no regime in the Middle East that is not a target for destabilization, especially the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood has the same goals, but they want to achieve them in different ways. For the Islamic State, the Muslim Brotherhood -- like the rest of the Sunni states -- is heretical. 

There are "natural" heretics -- the Jews, the Christians, Europe, America and the rest of the world (Dar al-Harb). And there are Muslim heretics, who are no better than the original heretics and thus are "legitimate" attack targets. There is no Sunni state in the Middle East today that is not an object of attack for the Islamic State. 

The Istanbul attack was planned ahead of time. The Islamic State is striking Turkey because it cooperates with all the people who encompass all the heretics -- the Americans. After the current deal, Islamic State can accuse Turkey of cooperating with the worst heretics of all, Israel, by granting the Jewish state legitimacy. 

Do the Islamic State and Turkey hold different views of Islam? 

When it comes to the basic concepts, they are the same, but when it comes to the political goals of Islam, and in Islam politics and religion go hand in hand, Islamic State sees the political goals of Islam as going back to the time of the Salaf, the glorious past, and founding the Islamic caliphate that was destroyed by the Turks under Ataturk. [Turkish Prime Minister Recip Tayyip] Erdogan has taken propriety of "pure" Islam, but for the Islamic State he represents the old world order, while they represent a new one based entirely on the wonderful past. 

The Sunni-Shiite dispute is 1,350 years old. When did these bloody arguments begin among the Sunnis? 

They erupted from time to time. Sometimes as a messianic movement, like in Sudan at the end of the 19th century. Sometimes they erupted as they did in the case of the Islamic State, [which is] a phenomenon that goes back to the very early days of Islam, to a dispute over who was entitled to rule the Islamic world. It goes back to the days of the Khawarij [a group that appeared during the leadership crisis following the death of the Prophet Muhammad] leaving, when a terrorist movement arose that aspired to lead the Islamic state based on the principle that says that the most fervent believer should lead. The principle today is similar -- the Islamic State says that they know better than everyone else who should lead and what the correct interpretation of the Quran and Islamic tradition is. 

This week, I mentioned your classic article on the laws negotiating in the Middle East ["The Bazaar of the Middle East"], which you published after you identified failures in the Oslo Accords during the negotiation process. This time, in the agreement with Turkey, did Israel abide by the rules you laid out? 

Yes. Obviously, in "the Bazaar," both sides had to pay a certain price, but a price for something in return. The Turks didn't actually sell us anything; that's what is important. Generally, the Arabs want to sell us something -- "peace" -- that they don't have in stock. They do what a good stallholder does, sell something they don't have and you pay a lot for it. Under more stringent negotiating terms, it might have been possible to get slightly better conditions, but in general we know that it's over and that relations with Turkey will go back to what they used to be. When it comes to the Gaza Strip, we got what we wanted. 

The deal doesn't mention that we should remove the [naval] blockade on Gaza. In a certain sense, this is the first time there is agreement -- as is understood from the Palmer report ordered by the U.N. -- that acknowledges our right to enact a naval blockade on Gaza. 

The Turks want to send presents to the Gazans? By all means. There's a port in Ashdod, about 10 km (6 miles) from them. Send them to us and we'll pass them along, but if we don't check what goes in [to Gaza], nothing will. What's more, Israel allows building materials in, most of which aren't being used to rebuild Gaza. Gaza is in ruins, but these materials are used to build tunnels [attack tunnels into Israel]. The Turks can ask [us] to transfer humanitarian aid. By all means, let them send what they want. It's a savings for us. 

What disturbs many Israelis is the $20 million payment [to be disbursed among the families of the Turks who were killed in the Mavi Marmara raid]. While the contract stipulates that the payment is ex gratia, in good will, beyond the letter of the law. There is no admission of anything, and they can't sue us, etc. Nevertheless, the feeling is one of giving in and compensating the attackers. How do you see the Israeli payment to the Turks? 

Israel paid them "surra," a bundle of money the Ottomans would give to tribal leaders not to attack the convoys returning from Mecca, laden with goods. That's what we did now: 'You won't sue us for anything and we'll give you surra, we'll pay you to spare our blood, and that's the end of it. It's ex gratia -- out of good will; the Ottomans understood it well. You have a chance to harm me, so I'll pay you not to. I don't know how much you can hurt me, but you can. You know what? Take $20 million and stop all this. Let's not fight anymore. 

Does this give Erdogan a way of climbing out of the predicament he got himself into and presenting the deal he secured to the Turkish people? 

Yes. He'll say, "The Jews paid me." He can even present it as a jizya that the dhimmi (the protected class) pays to the Muslim. Fine. We'll say: We're paying you just like you would pay the Bedouin tribal leaders not to attack your convoys returning from Mecca. 

Does this payment affect our status with them? 

It will be forgotten, and within two or three weeks matters will go back to normal. Tourists will fly off, trade will develop. Everything will be over and forgotten. The standoff is over. It's not like there are suddenly diplomatic relations again, there always were. There was a crisis, and it's over. Everyone got off his high horse. It cost $20 million. That's small change for us. 

We made a great achievement in that nothing will enter Gaza. The Turks can set up a power station and other things there, so that the destruction in the next war will hurt. The more outside entities build in Gaza and promote expensive ventures, there will be more pressure on the Hamasniks not to upset us because we might destroy it in a day. Just like they built a big airport and it was razed in a single day. 

On a personal level, the demand of the families of [soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, whose remains are being held by Hamas and Israeli civilian Avera Mengistu, who has been in Hamas captivity since he crossed the border fence in September 2014] is certainly understandable. But can the Turks exert influence over Hamas on the matter of the soldiers' bodies? 

No. One has nothing to do with the other. What do the Turks have to do with the bodies -- did they fight a war with us? Hamas also won't give them a thing, because they want to use the bodies for their own gain. [The Turks] don't have that kind of ability to pressure [Hamas]. Maybe Egypt does. The Turks aren't in charge in Gaza. They make a lot of noise and want to look like the leaders of the Middle East. Will they give to Hamas? After a ship or two of Turkish aid to Gaza, that will stop, too. 

In principle, is it right to tie diplomatic agreements to the return of bodies? 

Any pressure on the government that might, heaven forbid, lead to the release of murderers in exchange for bodies is very dangerous. First and foremost, it's our own internal matter, not the Turks' and not anyone else's. We ourselves should understand that pressure on the government, like there was in the case of [captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit] is a disgrace, and even turned Schalit into a hero. The soldiers' bodies have nothing to do with the Marmara or this agreement. The Turks can't do a thing. Were we supposed to scrap an important agreement because of something impossible? 

You are a student of Bernard Lewis. About five years ago, I published a conversation with him in which he spoke about the ancient historical tensions between the Persians and the Turks. Where does Turkey fit in today in the Middle East puzzle? 

First, the Sunni-Shiite struggle always exists in the background, the tension between Turkey, which wants to establish itself as the speaker for Sunni goals, and Iran, which expresses the goals of the Shiites. This tension is currently playing out in two war zones: Iraq and Syria. 

Despite being a minority, do the Shiites want to turn all Islam into Shiite Islam? 

They want to turn the entire world Shiite. They have a long-standing emotional historical grudge against the Sunnis. It doesn't matter to them that they're a minority. In the end, they want to get even, even if Hussein [ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad] was murdered 1,350 years ago -- as far as they're concerned, it happened yesterday morning. 

This is a point I've addressed in my research: that in ultra-conservative societies, time is less linear and more a frozen loop, mythological. In other words, historic events didn't take place in the far distant past, but are constantly present. 

Very true. While the Shiite world says that it has a long grudge against the Sunnis, the Sunni world says that its answer to the Shiites and the world as a whole is to go back to the days of Muhammad, back to the caliphate. The Shiites talk about the Mahdi -- the living, hidden messiah. The Sunnis say that the world of Islam, which has sustained serious blows and almost reached the point of collapse, can be revived. Not by democratization or modernity -- the opposite: by returning to the time of Abu Bakhr [the first caliph after Muhammad], the time of Muhammad. If we revive the pure, clean Islam of the days of the Prophet, we'll found the caliphate. 

Why, after six years, did the Turks conclude that they had to compromise? 

Turkey wants to be accepted in Europe. Not just economically, but also to open the gates of Europe to the millions of Muslim migrants who will pass through it. It can't be in a situation of dispute with Israel. The Turks' feeling is that Israel is developing a ring of countries around it. The important one is Russia. The Russians are old enemies of the Turks. Recently, Israel is developing a relationship with Russia, which is of great concern to the Turks. 

I heard that Israel was secretly behind the Turkish apology to the Russians [for downing the Russian fighter jet]. Since when are they enemies? 

Since the days of Peter the Great (1672-1725.) The Russians very much want to reach what they call "the warm waters" -- the Mediterranean Sea, in other words. The only access they have to the Mediterranean, which is also why they're busy in the Ukraine now, is via the Black Sea, the Dardanelles strait and the Bosporus. So the Turks have one eye on Russia, and the other on Europe and NATO. NATO is their insurance policy against the Russians. Israel is part of that quartet. Aside from the economic and other reason, the Turks want to play a part in the Middle East itself. The roles they can play are to get deeply involved in the wars in Syria and Iraq, or to play some part in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. So the Turks say, let's dig in and we'll be a moderating influence in Gaza, we'll get closer with Egypt. At the same time, they acknowledge Israel's power. 

Why [Hamas-controlled] Gaza, and not Ramallah and [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas? 

As far as they're concerned, Abbas is irrelevant. They don't like him. Gaza is good for them for a simple reason: It echoes in the world. The Marmara [incident] was part of that -- Turkey wanted to look like the one that was lifting the Gaza blockade. It didn't lift the blockade, but looks like it's in charge in the region. Israel doesn't care, so long as we keep an eye on what the Turks are doing, and they know that. 

Don't forget that Erdogan wants to be a Muslim leader, to inherit the Turkish sultanate and caliphate. If it was up to him, he would declare himself caliph tomorrow. Because he sees himself as someone who is reversing the revolution of Kemalism [sweeping societal changes designed to differentiate the modern state of Turkey from its Ottoman predecessor, led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk]. 

Do you really see that a great change has taken place in Turkey over the past decade? 

The revolution of Kemalism succeeded in the big cities, but in the villages, which is most of Turkey, Kemalism had only the most limited success. So long as the villages used primitive agricultural methods, there were a lot of working hands there. But when modern agricultural tools appeared, the villages didn't need a lot of hands. So people left for the cities and in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Antalya, and other places, established neighborhoods that were essentially pure Muslim villages. The school system did cut them off from Arabic writing, but not from Islam. So Erdogan is depending not only on the villages, but also the Muslim areas in the cities -- that's his power. As long as the villages stayed villages and the cities stayed cities, the cities were the most important stronghold for the army and the revolution. But starting from the 1960s, the villages invaded the cities, and the picture changed. That's the rule.

Dror Eydar


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Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Dear Diaspora Jews: Your money is killing us - Ari Soffer

by Ari Soffer

Against your will, your governments will be donating a paycheck to the family of the terrorist who murdered a 13-year-old Israeli girl in her sleep. Stop this madness.

Shock, crippling sadness, despair, fury.

No doubt most people reading this article will have experienced that all too familiar, gut-wrenching roller coaster of emotions since the news broke this morning. Another deadly terrorist attack; this time, the horrific murder of an innocent 13-year-old Israeli girl by a Palestinian knifeman.

There is so much one could say - but what hasn't already been said? We've been here so many times before.

Yes, the murder of Hallel-Yaffa Ariel is a stark, tragic, chilling illustration of the brutal Arab-Israeli paradigm.

A talented, intelligent, beautiful young Jewish girl - whose hopes and dreams and ambitions included nothing more offensive than a passion for dancing - slaughtered as she slept in her bed by a brainwashed Arab jihadist, who stabbed her repeatedly in the back.

"What threat did she pose?" her distraught father asked. None whatsoever - she just existed as a Jew in her ancestral homeland, is the only real, jarring answer.

I could talk about how this is yet another illustration of the satanic brutality of Arab terrorism, or its racist, supremacist goal of dragging a blood-stained Jewish people back under the Muslim heel - or, failing that, annihilating us completely. For there can be no greater crime against Islam, no more galling insult to Arab manliness and honor, than the existence of proud, strong, confident, politically independent Jews in the heart of the Middle East. 

Or perhaps I could talk about the way in which the international media act as the enablers of such brutal terrorism, dehumanizing Israelis - and all the more so "settlers" - until the murder of our innocent children is worth far less outrage, hand-wringing and self-righteous preaching than the killing of Palestinian attackers, thereby gifting the Palestinians themselves with a sense of impunity to murder.

But it's already been said, by myself and countless others, so many times before.

So instead, I would like to address my Jewish brothers and sisters - and all supporters of Israel, Jewish and not - in the Diaspora.

I know what it's like. The outrage, then that sense of helplessness. What can we do, sitting so far away? (In truth, you should know that most Israelis feel the same way too.) 

But please do not simply make do with a deluge of angry or sad social media posts. You can act. In fact, you have a moral duty to act and not stand idly by as the blood of your brothers and sisters continues to flow.

Because the bloodthirsty terrorist who murdered young Hallel was, at least in some part, indoctrinated and encouraged courtesy of your own tax dollars - or pounds, or euros.

The Palestinian Authority is funded almost entirely by state donors, its most generous benefactors including none other than the United States of America, and a host of European states, chief among them the United Kingdom.

It is by now the worst-kept secret in the international aid industry (and what a lucrative industry that is) that a large portion of that money goes towards not just incitement and indoctrination - whether in schools and mosques, or official PA youth clubs and sporting events - but directly into the pockets of Palestinian terrorists and their families.

Your tax money is essentially bankrolling the murderers of our children.

And they're not even shy about it. 

Just recently, at an iftar meal to break the Ramadan fast in Ramallah, PA "Prime Minister" Rami Hamdallah vowed to increase spending to support "heroic" terrorists. This support, he boasted, included increasing the monthly wage paid to every terrorist imprisoned for carrying out an attack, as well as upping the cash prize awarded to every Palestinian family which offers up one of its children as a "martyr."

The family of Hallel's killer, 17-year-old Mohammed Nasser Tarayra of Bani Naim, near Hevron, will also be paid by the PA for his despicable actions. With money from your back pocket. Just know that.

Yesterday, the brother of another Israeli slain by Islamist terrorists - though in this case on the battlefield - made an appeal directly to you, my brothers and sisters in the galut.

Tzur Goldin, brother of IDF Lieutenant Hadar Goldin - whose body is still being held by Hamas in Gaza - urged you, appealed to you, not to stand silently while Hamas flagrantly flouts international law over the bodies - dead and alive - of our people.

"Help us to never surrender on an IDF soldier. Help us pressure the terrorist organizations... help us prevent the next kidnapping," he pleaded.

Certainly, there are ways in which pro-Israel groups and activists can and must raise awareness of the plight of our captives held by a vicious terrorist organization in Gaza, where international aid is flowing to (without much awareness of where it is being funneled upon arrival).

Why doesn't the whole world know the name of Avera Mengistu, a mentally ill civilian cruelly held against his will, without any access to the outside world, by a violent jihadist group?

But that is truer still when it comes to the Palestinian Authority. Your governments fund them directly.

So take action, right now. Write to your local member of parliament or congress; to your ministers and prime ministers and presidents, and ask for accountability. Ask them to cut off funding to the Palestinian Authority until it can prove that not a penny will go towards funding and encouraging terrorism.

Write to your communal leaders, and to your local pro-Israel organizations, and demand they take the lead in rallying and lobbying for accountability and an end to your tax money funding Palestinian terrorism. 

Spend at least as long as you took to vent on social media to write to your elected representatives and to others who can make a difference.

Please. It's the least you could do.

Ari Soffer


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How American Jews Assist Palestinian Blood Libels - Ronn Torossian

by Ronn Torossian

The sad source of claims that Israelis are poisoning Palestinian water supplies.

Last week, in front of the European Parliament, Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, claimed that Israeli rabbis had instructed Jewish residents to poison Palestinian water supplies.  Blood libels have long faced the Jews. There were those who believed Jews were baking Passover matzah with the blood of Christian children.  Need a scapegoat because a child went missing? It must have been those Jews. 

Blood libels have been around for a long time and eventually morphed into water libels. When the Black Death hit Europe in the 14th century, the Jews were blamed. 

The rationale was that the Jews were affected less, thus they must have been poisoning wells and collecting water elsewhere. Five hundred and ten Jewish communities were massacred between 1348 and 1350. On February 14, 1349, 900 Jews were burned alive in Strasbourg as a preventive measure; the plague had not even arrived there yet. Yet, the main cause of the Black Death’s sweep of Europe was most likely poor hygiene, assisted by fleas and rats.  

Shamefully, a Jewish organization helped the latest incarnation of this ancient blood libel emerge from Abbas. Breaking the Silence (BTS), best known for spreading false allegations of misdoings within the Israel Defense Forces, has apparently expanded the scope of their work.

On June 14, 2016, Yehuda Shaul, a co-founder of BTS, was filmed allegedly telling a group of tourists that Israeli settlers had poisoned the water system of a Palestinian village a few years ago, causing its residents to be displaced. In the anti-Semitism business, that was all that was needed for the story to spread

On June 16, the PLO expanded the rumor, claiming that Rabbi Shlomo Melamed, chairman of the Council of Settlement Rabbis, had given permission to settlers to poison the wells in Palestinian neighborhoods across the West Bank. 

The Palestinian Authority (PA) followed on June 20, claiming on television that the Council of Settlement Rabbis was trying to either scare away or kill Palestinians by poisoning their drinking water.  The Arab League condemned the supposed act - and then of course, Abbas took to the international stage with it. What all of these alleged human rights agents forgot to mention is that Rabbi Shlomo Melamed and the Council of Settlement Rabbis do not exist. 

A few days later, an extremist American Jewish organization, The New Israel Fund, sent out a donor request for Breaking The Silence.  As John Proctor asks in The Crucible, “Is the accuser always holy now?” Breaking The Silence does not deserve awards, let alone any funding from American Jews.  

Academic David Firester has asked on these pages, “how can smart people hold such dumb views? It has often been said that there is no cure for stupid, while ignorance is easily treated through education.” One wonders how can American Jews assist in blood libels.

Ronn Torossian


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The Turkey-Israel Agreement - Dr. Mordechai Kedar

by Dr. Mordechai Kedar

An analysis of the reasons for the rapprochement, those who helped it come to pass and why Israel did not include the return of the fallen soldiers' bodies.

My late father, Nahum Kuperschmidt, was a construction site metalworker, a job that was not especially complex, but required absolute honesty, because although no one knows exactly what a metalworker does to keep precipitation from leaking into a building, the first rains are enough to expose any careless work on his part.

He taught me an ironclad rule: When dealing with decent people you don't need a contract, but  if the people you are dealing with are not decent, a contract will do you no good. Every time I have to sign a contract I check on the decency of the other party before doing so. And the same rule that works in the private sphere works in the public sphere.

The agreement signed by Israel and Turkey this week is meant to restore relations between the two countries to the level they were before the Mavi Marmara incident in May 2010. When the Justice and Development Party headed by Recep Tayyib Erdogan won the 2002 Turkish elections and blanketed the relations between Turkey and Israel with an Islamist cloud emanating from the direction of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose modern version of political Islam's policy was to deny Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state or to be the homeland of the Jewish people.   The Jews were supposed to be under Islamic subjugation as a class of "protected dhimmi" with limited rights at best.

Diplomatic relations with Israel were part of Erdogan's inheritance, but he gradually chilled and downgraded them, while he warmed up to and developed relations with the Islamic entity in Gaza, ruled by Hamas , the Palestinian arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Marmara was Erdogan's contribution towards breaking the Israeli blockade on Gaza, and Israel's success in preventing that from happening was a bitter pill for him to swallow.

Under the Islamic party's rule, Turkey had to put up with, at first, a number of  heretical vestiges of the secular vision of the "Attaturk" (Mustapha Kamal) regimes that ran the country from the 1920's until the Islamists returned to power. That included several casinos that continued to operate until a few years past 2002, the sale of alcoholic beverages and beaches where the prevalent attire was light years away from Islamic norms.  

The flotilla crisis  occurred in May 2010 and its aftermath is now in the hands of President Erdogan, who has to decide if he, the Islamist, will reestablish the relations with Israel which he himself caused to be severed. The decision is not an easy one, especially for a person whose egocentricity trumps every objective factor, so that he has to swallow his pride in order to agree to the deal.

Except that the past few years have left him no choice. Despite his political ambitions to live in peace with all the nations surrounding Turkey, he managed to find himself in conflict with every one of them. He is accused of providing the bridge which Jihadists crossed into Syria, destroying that country; he supported ISIS mainly by purchasing raw fuel that the group produced in Syria and Iraq; he shot down a Russian warplane in 2015 and ound himself at odds with Putin; he is up to his neck in a struggle with the Turkish, Syrian and Iraqi Kurds; he is in  mess with the Iranians who strongly support  Assad, whom he hates with a passion, and he also has to sit by and watch the Iranians take over the Arab areas on the southern border of Turkey, Iraq and Syria, after their takeover of Lebanon by means of Iran's proxy, the Hezbollah.

As soon as Turkey itself became a target for ISIS terror attacks, Erdogan found himself in a war with Islamic fanatics – exactly like Israel. He knows one or two things about Hamas involvement in training, arming and drilling Jihadists in the "Sinai Province of Islamic State" and it is possible that his decision to reach an agreement with Israel will cause a certain chill in his relations with Hamas. Time will tell, especially if Turkey keeps its commitment to prevent Hamas from using Turkey as a base of operations.

In the agreement, Turkey agreed in principle to the continuation of Israel's sea blockade of Gaza, and all Turkish aid to Gaza will arrive through the port of Ashdod after its contents are checked and authorized by Israel. This is a great achievement for Israel - and it is quite possible that Hamas will refuse to accept the aid under these conditions.

Another Israeli achievement has to do with marketing gas to Turkey by way of an undersea pipeline, and perhaps even eliciting Turkey's help in marketing gas to Europe. This is a very important part of the agreement, considering the fact that in the past few years several Turkish politicians have expressed their belief that Turkey has rights to the gas in the deposits that Israel discovered, and there was even the possibility of Turkey initiating hostilities against Israeli gas installations in the Mediterranean. Including the gas issue in the agreement puts an end to any future Turkish claims on rights to the gas deposits.

The price Israel paid for the agreement with Turkey was not a minor one, nor is it an easy one  to pay. In exchange for ending all Turkish claims against IDF soldiers and Israeli politicians with regard to the Marmara, Israel agreed to apologize for the killing of ten Turkish citizens during the takeover of the ship and to the payment of 20 m. dollars, not directly to the families, but  to a fund to be managed by the Turkish government.

Israel dropped its demand to return Avera Mengistu and Hasham Alsaid as well as the remains of the bodies of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul. The reason for that is simple. Israel feels that Hamas will be far from pleased by the agreement, to put it mildly, and will not be willing to do anything that might help it succeed. Instead of empowering Hamas by granting it the ability to sabotage the agreement, Israel decided to leave the humanitarian issues on a bilateral level, between Israel and Hamas.

That aside, no country can mortgage its relations with another important country in order to solve and bring to an end problems involving specific persons. It is true that the two fallen IDF soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, were sent to war by the state, and it is true that the states' commitment to them is absolute, still – since they are, sadly, not among the living – the issue is an emotional and symbolic one for the citizens of Israel, while relations with Turkey are in the field of national, strategic, political and economic interests of the organizational aspects of the state.

All in all, the agreement with Turkey is a good one, balanced and of significant benefit to the important needs of the state of Israel. One wonders, naturally, what factors helped Israel reach this agreement. Turkey's needs are a critical factor, as described above, and there are rumors to the effect that Israel was the go between in the easing of the antagonism between Russia and Turkey with respect to the Russian aircraft downed by Turkey. It is not farfetched to assume that Saudi Arabia contributed to the rapprochement between Turkey and Israel as well, and perhaps even the US added its blessing to the nascent agreement. With all that,  the agreement is mainly a result of the extremely successful management of the negotiation process that brought it about.

Factors in the successful negotiations

The agreement signed this week is a result of long term negotiations that took place behind the scenes, and during which the negotiating team stuck strictly to three main points;

The first and most important point is that Israel gave the Turkish side the feeling that it is not in great need of an agreement with that country. Israel's situation has greatly improved over the past few years because of Syria's disintegration and the Syrian Army's disappearance from the list of strategic threats to Israel. Hezbollah is also mired in the Lebanese swamp and in the near future poses no threat to Israel. Israel therefore needs Turkey much less than it used to in the past and would only sign an agreement that benefited the Jewish state.

The second point, a derivative of the firs,t is that message that Israel is not in any rush to reach an agreement, Israel has allt ;he time in the world and is not willing to pay any price for an "agreement now."

Third, Israel never announced what it is willing to grant Turkey, because in the Middle East, if either negotiating party announces that he is willing to give up on something, this is considered a done thing, and the negotiations will be over the other things which he does not want to give up on. He will, however, be forced to concede them if he wants to reach an agreement. Unfortunately, there are too many Israelis who announce the concessions they are willing to make for peace with the Palestinian Arabs, the Syrians and the rest of our sworn enemies – and they do this endlessly, night and day,  and from every possible podium including the media, this without even asking what the other side is willing to pay.

In this case, the Israeli delegation acted properly, did not publicly give up on anything before the negotiations, did not give the impression that Israel needs an agreement and did not try to reach one by a set date. The Turks realiezd that they were going to have to pay in hard currency for an agreement, and they did, most especially with regard to the blockade on Gaza.

In conclusion, one can say that the agreement is a good one, and that the way in which it was reached must be studied and applied to other negotiations with other adversaries. All that is left to ensure is that the Turkish side acts with integrity and keeps the agreement to which it is a signator exactly as written, elucidated and intended to be understood, and as my late father would have said: With decent people there is no need for a contract, but with those who lack integrity a contract will be of no use.."

Written for Arutz Sheva, translated from the Hebrew by Rochel Sylvetsky, Oped and Judaism editor.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar


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Hillary Must Come Clean about Huma Abedin - Joseph Klein

by Joseph Klein

The disturbing new revelations about the top Clinton aide's past ties to terrorist-supporting organizations.

Saudi Arabia’s Islamic Affairs Department website contained a passage extolling jihad:  "The Muslims are required to raise the banner of Jihad in order to make the Word of Allah supreme in this world…” (As published by The Middle East Media Research Institute)  The Saudi government and some of its influential radical Islamic citizens and groups are pursuing the export of jihad in two ways. The first is through what has been referred to as “civilization jihad.” Saudi Arabia has spent billions of dollars in funding Sunni mosques, madrasas, and Sunni cultural centers all over the world, which spread the Saudis’ radical Islamic Wahhabi ideology. However, Saudi Arabia’s jihad also includes the support of terrorism.  A cable released by WikiLeaks under then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s name stated: "Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide."

The Muslim World League is an organization with ties to jihadist terrorist groups, including Hamas and al Qaeda.  The Muslim World League was founded by members of the Saudi government. Abdullah Omar Naseef exemplifies the connection between the Saudi government and this terrorist-supporting organization. He served as Secretary-General of the Muslim World League from 1983 to 1993. He also served as Vice-President of the Kingdom’s Shura Council. In addition, he founded the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, which, according to former Assistant United States Attorney Andrew McCarthy, seeks to “grow an unassimilated, aggressive population of Islamic supremacists who will gradually but dramatically alter the character of the West,” and to “infiltrate Sharia principles in our law, our institutions, and our public policy.”

The Muslim World League escaped being placed on the list of terror groups sanctioned by the United States shortly after the 9/11 attack, reportedly due to concern by President George W. Bush’s administration about embarrassing the Saudi government. Nearly thirteen years later, the Saudi government is still getting a free pass. The American people have still been denied access to the portion of the 9/11 Commission report relating to any Saudi Arabian government ties to the 9/11 hijackers.

Into this morass steps Huma Abedin, the co-chair of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and a person likely to have significant influence in a Hillary Clinton White House. Huma Abedin has had murky associations in the past with the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, which not only is a radical Islamist group in its own right but, as Breitbart has reported, was “located in the offices of Saudi Arabia’s Muslim World League.” 

Huma grew up in Saudi Arabia, where she was exposed to the Wahhabi ideology during her formative years. The Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, founded by Abdullah Omar Naseef, has been an Abedin family affair. Huma herself served as the assistant editor of the institute’s journal for a dozen years until she joined Hillary’s State Department. Abdul lah Omar Naseef was on the board of advisers of the journal while Huma was its assistant editor. 

Hillary Clinton owes the American people an explanation of the role that she would foresee for her close confidante, Huma Abedin, in a Hillary Clinton administration. And Huma Abedin owes the American people a full accounting of the associations which she and her family have had with any radical Saudi-backed Islamic groups, such as the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs and its co-located Muslim World League, or radical Islamic Saudi individuals such as Abdullah Omar Naseef. 

It’s not as if Hillary is unaware of Saudi Arabia’s connection to terrorism. As mentioned earlier, a cable sent under Hillary’s name while she was Secretary of State warned that Saudi Arabian donors “constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide." Following the Orlando shooting, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president said: “It is long past time for the Saudis, Qataris and Kuwaitis and others to stop their citizens from funding extremist organizations. And they should stop supporting radical schools and mosques around the world that have set too many young people on a path towards extremism.”

It’s also obvious that Saudi Arabia and ISIS share the same basic underlying Islamic supremacist and jihadist ideologies, despite the Saudi government’s protestations that it is committed to fight terrorism. 

For example, ISIS beheads apostates. Saudi Arabia treats apostasy as a capital offense. They are both following literally the path of Prophet Muhammad’s sayings, collected in what is known as the Hadith: “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.” (Bukhari 9.84.57) 

ISIS kills and persecutes Christians. It destroys Christian holy sites. Saudi Arabia does not allow public worship of any religion other than Islam. It has even arrested Christians praying in a private home. Its religious leader, the Grand Mufti, has called for destruction of all Christian religious sites in the Arabian Peninsula. Smuggling Bibles into the country is a capital offense.  Persecution of Christians, Jews and other “non-believers” by ISIS and Saudi Arabia is also based on core Islamic teaching, rooted in the Koran itself. Infidels are regarded as Muslims’ “inveterate enemies.” (Sura 4:101) Muslims are directed to “seize them and put them to death wherever you find them, kill them wherever you find them, seek out the enemies of Islam relentlessly.” (Sura 4:90)

ISIS beheads suspected homosexuals or throws them off rooftops to die. The Saudi judiciary is calling for capital punishment against homosexuals who display their sexuality in public or on social media. Again, ISIS and Saudi Arabia are both following traditional Islamic teachings. Prophet Muhammad is quoted as saying, "Whoever is found conducting himself in the manner of the people of Lot, kill the doer and the receiver." (Hadith: al-Tirmidhi, Sunan 1:152)

Finally, Saudi Arabia, like ISIS, believes in exporting its Islamic ideology as widely as possible. ISIS has declared its goal to expand until its flag “covers all eastern and western extents of the Earth, filling the world with the truth and justice of Islam.”  Saudi Arabia’s Islamic Affairs Department website contained a passage, quoted at the beginning of this article, which talks about raising “the banner of Jihad in order to make the Word of Allah supreme in this world…”

Huma Abedin was brought up in Saudi Arabia and was subject to the influence of the very kind of Saudi individuals and groups supporting terrorism that Hillary Clinton has warned about. If Hillary is as concerned as she says about Saudi-funded terrorism and its export of radical Islamist ideology, she must fully address the real concern of many Americans that she may bring an individual susceptible to such ideology into the inner circle of the White House.

Joseph Klein


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Muslim Writer Calls Out Palestinian Terror Glorification - IPT News

by IPT News

"We will sob to the heavens if a Palestinian is killed, but when it comes to Palestinian terrorism against Jews, we either turn a blind eye to it, or we twist the story to make the terrorists into the victims. This is unacceptable."

Thursday's shocking Palestinian terrorist murder of a 13-year-old girl prompted the usual praise from Palestinian Authority (PA) outlets. Muhammad Taraireh was hailed as a martyr for stabbing and murdering 13-year-old Hallel Ariel, a U.S. citizen, as she slept in her bed.

"Martyr (Shahid) Muhammad Taraireh, who carried out today's operation in which one female settler was killed, and a male settler was injured," read the post on Fatah's Facebook page and translated by Palestinian Media Watch.

The terrorists' mother said her son made her "proud" and called him a hero and a martyr. "Allah willing, all of them will follow this path, all the youth of Palestine," Taraireh's mother told a local Hebron news outlet.

This brutal murder comes shortly after Abbas' senior advisor Sultan Abu Al-Einein called for Palestinians to decapitate innocent Israelis. "Every place you find an Israeli cut of his head," said Al-Einein.

The terrorists' family will now begin receiving monthly payments that the PA pays to all terrorist families.

Blatant praise for terrorists is expected from Palestinian officials and significant segments of the Palestinian population. Yet the silence emanating from the broader Muslim world following such brutal attacks is similarly disturbing.

In a blog posted by The Times of Israel, Muslim interfaith activist Nadiya Al-Noor blasts Muslim hypocrisy in the context of Palestinian terrorism.

"I have seen firsthand the casual, destructive anti-Semitism that plagues the Muslim community," she wrote. "I have heard it from the mouths of our religious leaders, from our politicians, and even from our otherwise peaceful, liberal Muslim activists. I have witnessed in horror the desperate attempts to justify Palestinian terrorism from people who I once respected. Why? Why do we decry all other types of terrorism, but bend over backwards to legitimize violence against Israeli Jews?"

Too many Muslims seek to justify such terrorism by citing the Israeli "occupation," relying on "anti-Semitic lies fed to us by Al-Jazeera" such the canard that Israelis seek to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Al-Noor wrote. Too many Muslims refuse to refer to Israel by name and proclaim that "Resistance is not a crime!"

Yet Al-Noor bravely opines "stabbing a little girl to death in the one place where she was supposed to be safe is certainly not "resistance."

"We'll stand up against the persecution of Christians, atheists, Hindus, Shias, Ahmadis, and anyone else who is persecuted," she wrote. "We will sob to the heavens if a Palestinian is killed, but when it comes to Palestinian terrorism against Jews, we either turn a blind eye to it, or we twist the story to make the terrorists into the victims. This is unacceptable."

"When you make excuses for terrorists, you support terrorism."

Al-Noor's observations directly relate to strategies adopted by U.S. Islamist organizations, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which routinely condemns acts of terrorism worldwide – but never when it comes to Israelis.

IPT News


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Why Is A San Francisco University Secretly Partnering With An Arab College That Promotes Jihad? - Cinnamon Stillwell

by Cinnamon Stillwell

President Wong’s silence following repeated inquiries is unacceptable. Californian taxpayers fund SFSU and they have a right to know the details of and the implications of its MOU with Najah.

San Francisco State University (SFSU), which has a well-deserved reputation as a breeding ground for anti-Israel radicalism, became national news in April. That’s when campus police stood by as an Israel hate group, the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) shouted down and disrupted a lecture by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, prompting the criticism of SFSU’s president, Leslie Wong.

But there’s worse. As revealed by an investigation into SFSU by Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum, SFSU has partnered with a Palestinian university that’s a hotbed for radicalization.

What our investigation turned up:

SFSU signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with An-Najah University of Hebron in 2014 at the behest of Rabab Abdulhadi, director of SFSU’s Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative (AMED) and founding member of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.

Najah states on its website that the MOU was signed on September 10, 2014 and Abdulhadi sang its praises at an April 2015 reception:
“The memorandum of understanding that President Wong signed with An-Najah National University in Palestine…is the first time that we have any agreement with any university in the Arab or Muslim world and we are very excited about that.”
Wong also trumpeted the MOU at the 2015 reception, boasting of his role in helping bring it to fruition:
“When I returned from Palestine two years ago, I said I want to be one of the first major universities to sign an agreement with An-Najah or any of the other Palestinian universities, or any of the universities in the Arab world.”
Given this public preening, it is disturbing to learn that SFSU’s administration officially only corroborates the MOU indirectly on its website. Worse, in an arrogant disregard for the public’s right to know, Wong has refused to respond to repeated inquiries from Campus Watch about the agreement’s specific contents. What are the terms? The duration? The financial arrangements? And so forth.

This reticence may be due to Najah U being lauded by Hamas itself as a “greenhouse for martyrs.” Matthew Levitt, director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, says it’s known for “terrorist recruitment, indoctrination and radicalization of students,” while the Anti-Defamation League reports that its student council “glorifies suicide bombings and propagandizes for jihad against Israel.”

For example, Najah student Maram Hassoneh was killed attempting her second knife attack on IDF soldiers in 2015. At the June 2014 graduation ceremony, students held up three fingers to represent Hamas’s kidnapping of three Israeli teens. On another occasion, Najah students constructed a gruesome replica of the 2001 suicide bombing in a Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem.

Despite Najah’s well-deserved reputation as a repository for terrorism, Abdulhadi singled it out as a desirable partner for SFSU. Little wonder that, after pledging to set up a student exchange program with Najah in November 2015, she added this disclaimer:
“We do not want to…teach students how to grow up and build bombs and destroy other people.”
President Wong’s silence following repeated inquiries is unacceptable. Californian taxpayers fund SFSU and they have a right to know the details of and the implications of its MOU with Najah. To that end, Campus Watch has prepared a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to SFSU to make public the MOU.

Campus Watch also calls on the chancellor of the California State University, Timothy P. White, to investigate SFSU’s memorandum of understanding with Najah; and on the education committees of the California state legislature and U.S. Congress to hold hearings into this matter.

In a time of global jihad, the public deserves to know the full truth about one of its universities aligning itself with the enemy.

Cinnamon Stillwell


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Stunning apparent conflict of interest as SecState Hillary Clinton sought information key to son-in-law’s hedge fund - Thomas Lifson

by Thomas Lifson

The fact that Mezvinski chose a field of investing directly affected by the diplomacy of the United States while his mother-in-law was in charge of that is damning.

The opportunities for corruption – insider trading of the worst kind – were obvious and deeply disturbing when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state and her son-in-law went into a very specific kind of investing. And the fact that ne’er-do-well husband of Chelsea and father of two grandkids Mark Mezvinsky ended up botching his hedge fund and losing his investors’ money does not prove innocence.

In a long article at, Peter Byrne lays out the tangled web of influence behind the big financial stakes swirling around Hillary’s actions as secretary of state in 2012.

Mezvinsky, who in earlier years had abandoned work and his wife to go be a ski bum for a number of months, returned to Wall Street and set up a hedge fund that was a kind of satellite operation for Goldman Sachs, the key player on Wall Street, supplier of many top executives to the Treasury Department, and, of course, mega-donor and speech honorarium payer to the Clintons.
In 2012, Mezvinski, the husband of Chelsea Clinton, created a $325 million basket of offshore funds under the Eaglevale Partners banner through a special arrangement with investment bank Goldman Sachs. The funds have lost tens of millions of dollars predicting that bailouts of the Greek banking system would pump up the value of the country’s distressed bonds. One fund, exclusively dedicated to Greek debt, suffered near-total losses.
Clinton stepped down as secretary of state in 2013 to run for president. But newly released emails from 2012 show that she and Clinton Foundation consultant, Sidney Blumenthal, shared classified information about how German leadership viewed the prospects for a Greek bailout. Clinton also shared “protected” State Department information about Greek bonds with her husband at the same time that her son-in-law aimed his hedge fund at Greece.
That America’s top diplomat kept a sharp eye on intelligence assessing the chances of a bailout of the Greek central bank is not a problem. However, sharing such sensitive information with friends and family would have been highly improper. Federal regulations prohibit the use of nonpublic information to further private interests or the interests of others. The mere perception of a conflict of interest is unacceptable.
Germany was the country that would pa[y] the greatest amount to bail out Greece, so insight into Germany’s plans could payoff big for holders of government bonds bought at fire sale prices. The inevitably leads to a “perception of a conflict of interest” for Hillary Clinton, even if she never breathed a word to her son-in-law. But she might even have had to:
The same month that Eaglevale incorporated its offshore arm, Gary Gensler, the head of the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which polices hedge funds, emailed Clinton that a bailout by the European Central Bank could “turn market sentiment” in favor of Greek bonds.
Gensler had previously worked as co-head of finance at Goldman Sachs; he is now the financial director of Clinton’s election campaign. Goldman Sachs has donated up to $5 million to the Clinton Foundation and $860,000 to Hillary Clinton’s political campaigns. Shortly after Clinton resigned, Goldman Sachs paid her $675,000 in speaking fees.
So the guy currently in charge of raising big bucks for Hillary also has his fingerprints all over this hedge fund and seeking information relevant to the bailout.

Can you say “culture of corruption”? Can you say “rigged system”?

The fact that Mezvinski chose a field of investing directly affected by the diplomacy of the United States while his mother-in-law was in charge of that is damning.  In a way it is to[o] bad Mezvinsky lost his investors’ money, because at least that way there is no smoking gun for Hillary’s corrupt influence.

Thomas Lifson


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