In the academic year that just ended, Sheldon Adelson’s Maccabee Task Force, set up to battle anti-Israel activism on US campuses, focused on 40 of what it assessed were the schools most hostile to Israel and most intimidating to pro-Israel students. At 15 of these campuses, it had been anticipated that student governments would seek to pass BDS resolutions — resolutions demanding that their schools divest from Israel.
According to David Brog, who runs the Maccabee Task Force, however, several of the expected resolutions were withdrawn. Of the 10 that were submitted, only three were passed. And of the three campuses where the anti-Israel resolutions were successful, two of them had not had student leaders participate in the Maccabee Task Force’s bus trips to Israel — a central component of its pro-Israel action plan.
The United States is withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council, US ambassador Nikki Haley said Tuesday, branding the global body a “cesspool of political bias.”
“We take this step because our commitment does not allow us to remain a part of a hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights,” she said at a press conference announcing the move.
The foreign-policy establishment and the mainstream media agree: David Friedman isn’t their kind of US ambassador to Israel.
He’s just too pro-Israel for their taste.
Friedman has been taking a pounding from the old hands who have represented Washington in the Middle East and their media echo chamber ever since President Trump named his former bankruptcy attorney to the post. While there’s nothing new or unusual about presidents naming their friends and donors to ambassadorial posts, Israel has always been an exception.
On May 16, 2018, during an “Ask the President” session at Egypt’s fifth national youth conference, held in Cairo, Egyptian President Abd Al-Fattah Al-Sisi replied to questions from citizens that had been sent in in advance. One of the questions concerned Egypt’s position vis-à-vis Israel in light of the escalation in the Gaza Strip and the Return March at the Gaza-Israel border. President Al-Sisi answered that Egypt was in contact with both the Israeli and Palestinian sides, and was sending them messages in an attempt to help calm the situation and prevent it from escalating further. However, he said, Egypt could do nothing beyond this.
Al-Sisi said: “Egypt is employing a clear and stable policy regarding the issues connected to the Palestinians. We have a vision, and we proceed in light of it; at every one of our meetings with international and regional forces, our statements remain in this framework. We have not changed [our positions], and also in the next four years our policy will not change…
“With regard to what has been happening in the recent period, [i.e. the Return March and the escalation at the Gaza-Israel border], our efforts [to calm the situation] are unceasing, and they did not begin with the outbreak of these events… We are keeping the Rafah crossing open in order to ease conditions for the people living in the Gaza Strip. [We are sending] ambulances and medicines and doing everything to ease the situation there. Additionally, we are in contact with the Israeli side and with the Palestinian side so that this bloodshed will stop. We want to send, from here, a message to our Palestinian brothers: [We hope that] their protest against the decision [to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem] will not lead them to do anything to cause additional victims. From the Israelis, we expect an understanding that the Palestinian reaction to this matter is legitimate, and that for this reason their handling of it must be in such a way as to safeguard even more the lives of the Palestinians. Can we do more than this? No. We cannot…
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is considering giving U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman more authority over the U.S. outpost that handles Palestinian affairs, five U.S. officials said, a shift that could further dampen Palestinian hopes for an independent state.
Any move to downgrade the autonomy of the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem — responsible for relations with the Palestinians — could have potent symbolic resonance, suggesting American recognition of Israeli control over east Jerusalem and the West Bank. And while the change might be technical and bureaucratic, it could have potentially significant policy implications.
As president, Trump has departed from traditional U.S. insistence on a “two-state solution” for the Mideast conflict by leaving open the possibility of just one state. As his administration prepares to unveil a long-awaited peace plan, the Palestinians have all but cut off contact, enraged by Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.
Earlier this month the long-running battle between Israel and Iran in Syria reached a dramatic crescendo. What is believed to have been Iranian rocket-fire against Israeli army positions on the occupied Golan Heights (itself a response to earlier Israeli air attacks against an Iranian base in the country) prompted a major Israeli offensive.
Israeli warplanes struck some 50 Iranian targets in Syria, virtually every known Iranian base or installation, according to analysts, setting back Iran’s military build-up for months if not years.
Now though it is becoming clearer that the attack could change the regional dynamics even further. And developments on the southern Golan Heights could provide additional impetus.
ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey’s ambassador to Washington is returning to the United States after being recalled for consultations two weeks ago over a U.S. decision to move its Israeli Embassy to contested Jerusalem, an official in the Turkish foreign ministry said on Thursday.
Serdar Kilic was recalled to Ankara amid a dispute with Israel and Washington over the killing of dozens of Palestinian protesters by Israeli forces on the Gaza border earlier this month.
Turkey has been one of the most vocal critics of Israel’s response to the Gaza protests and of the U.S. Embassy move, also recalling its ambassador from Tel Aviv and calling for an emergency meeting of Islamic nations.
A recent headline in the Arabic-language newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat asked readers, “Do you stand with Iran or Israel?”
The writer, Abd al-Rahman al-Rashid, is a seasoned editor of Saudi Arabia’s government-sponsored publications, and al-Sharq al-Awsat is among the Arab world’s most prestigious newspapers.
“It’s an embarrassing question, one which contradicts the most basic notions of our political culture,” al-Rashid wrote. Nevertheless, al-Rashid maintained that rethinking the Saudi relationship with the Jewish state was the only way forward.
As the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Israel emerges into the public eye, Saudi media are conducting an intense debate over normalization with the Jewish state, utilizing articles, tweets, and viral videos.
The U.S.’s withdrawal from the JCPOA is only one element in the Trump administration’s new comprehensive strategy against Iran’s Islamic Revolution, with all its elements – political, military, economic, and regional. The U.S.’s reinstatement of the economic sanctions on Iran following this withdrawal comprises the economic element in its fight against the regime of the Islamic revolution in Iran. This comes together with other elements of this new American strategy against Iran – the political, military, and regional elements. Iran is now facing a broad front, in which the U.S.is leading the political and economic struggle against the Iranian regime, and Israel, with U.S. support, is leading the military struggle against Iran’s regional expansion in Syria.
The discourse in political and academic circles in the West that has focused solely on the question of the JCPOA and its future reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the new development in the relationship between the U.S. and Iran. The issue is no longer just the nuclear agreement; it has to do with dealing comprehensively with revolutionary Iran, and with the joint effort of the U.S. and its allies in the region, and any other international element that they can recruit to it, against the Iranian revolutionary regime.
Indeed, the U.S. also claims that it is not seeking regime change in Iran, but only a change in Iran’s behavior. It also claims that it is ready for a new agreement with the Iranian regime – however, everyone understands that there is no possibility either of changing Iranian behavior or of any new agreement with Iran’s Islamic regime. Therefore, there is a need for a new comprehensive strategy for dealing with this regime, as laid out by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in his May 21, 2018 statements. A central tenet of this new American strategy is delegitimizing Iran’s behavior.
The New York Times issued four different corrections to an antagonistic, failed hit piece on Foundation for Defense of Democracies CEO Mark Dubowitz, who once opposed President Barack Obama’s Iran nuclear pact.
The embarrassing article falsely claimed that Dubowitz “paid himself” nearly twice as much as his think-tank peers; that the FDD is linked to Israel’s Likud Party; and that a Republican donor with financial ties to the Emirates provided $2.7 million to fund an anti-Qatar conference.