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Saturday, March 28, 2020

(Washington Times)—Thousands of foreign terrorists traveled to Syria over the past several months to wage jihad in what U.S. officials say is fast becoming a new international terror training ground. Most of the foreign terrorists are fighting for the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front and are coming mainly from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Libya, and Tunisia, by crossing the Syrian border with Turkey.

The large numbers have increased fears among security officials that the terrorists will use their experience to spread terror to their home countries. Of particular concern are reports that the Islamist rebels are receiving significant numbers of Russian-made SA-7 anti-aircraft missiles that could be used against commercial airliners.

Al-Qaeda’s Jihad on Anti-Morsi Egyptians

Gatestone Institute—Hours before Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was sidelined by the military council, Muhammad al-Zawahiri, Egypt’s al-Qaeda leader, declared that the terrorist organization would wage a jihad to save Morsi and his Islamist agenda for Egypt.According to a July 2 report, “al-Qaeda, under the leadership of Muhammad Zawahiri, is currently planning reprisal operations by which to attack the army and the Morsi-opposition all around the Republic [of Egypt].”The report adds that Zawahiri had been arrested and was being interrogated—only to be ordered released by a [Morsi] presidential order. He has since fled to the Sinai, where al-Qaeda is stationed. Many leading Islamists—including Morsi himself—have been arrested and held by the military, on the charge of inciting Muslims against anti-Morsi demonstrators, by portraying them as “apostates” who must be fought and killed for trying to resist the implementation of the Sharia of Allah.It may be that they are also being held as hostages to dissuade al-Qaeda from waging an all-out jihad..Now that the Islamists have tasted power, it is unlikely that they will quietly release the reins of power without a fight.

Mandela and the Jews

Jerusalem Post—With the life of South Africa’s former president Nelson Mandela drawing to a close, it should be recalled that many Jewish individuals played a valuable part in his life and career. After his arrival in Johannesburg in the early 1940s, it was Lazer Sidelsky who gave him a job as a clerk in his law firm when it was unheard of for young blacks to be hired for just positions. Mandela went on to study law at the University of the Witwatersrand, where he established enduring friendships with fellow students Jules Browde and Harry Schwarz. Thirteen of his fellow defendants in the 1956-1961 Treason Trial were Jews, among them Lionel Bernstein, Joe Slovo and Ruth First. Among the founders of the underground military wing of the African National Congress were Dennis Goldberg, Harold Wolpe and Arthur Goldreich. Jewish lawyers were prominently involved in defending Mandela in various political trials, among them Isie Maisels, Arthur Chaskalson, Joel Joffe and Sidney Kentridge.

The Truth, The Whole Truth…

(The Israel Project)—Iranian state media is blasting the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Asset Control (OFAC) for being run by “a bunch of hard-line neoconservative arch Zionist Likudnik radical Israeli partisans” in general, and by “an Ashkenazi Jew called Adam Szubin” in particular. At issue appears to be Iranian displeasure with measures taken by OFAC against Iranian regime media outlets, including specifically PressTV. The outlet has been criticized by watchdog groups for being “the Iranian government’s primary propaganda tool to promote a wide range of pernicious antisemitic conspiracy theories in English to a worldwide audience.” It has trafficked in Holocaust denial, has accused Jews of injecting viruses into Palestinians, has blamed Israelis for the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attack, and has insisted that Jews trade “body parts” and abduct Afghani children. Trying to explain why OFAC would target the station, a PressTV commentator suggested that U.S. Treasury officials dislike the degree to which PressTV “get[s] the truth out to the people of the West and the Zionists are mortally threatened by the truth.”

 

Christian Human Rights Group Alerts Congress on Plight of Syrian Refugees

(JNS.org) Dr. John Eibner, CEO of Christian Solidarity I that the Syrian civil war “could lead to the eradication of religious minorities,” including Christians, Alawites and other non-Sunni Muslim groups in Syria.

Eibner, who testified as part of a subcommittee hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee held by U.S. Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), recently returned from a fact-finding and humanitarian aid mission in Syria.

According to Eibner’s testimony, while in Syria he met with “many resilient and courageous Syrians, mainly displaced Christians and church workers.” Eibner told the subcommittee that victims “recounted to me the religious cleansing of Christian neighborhoods in Homs and Qusair by armed jihadis who threatened them with death if they did not leave their homes.”

“A Christian woman told me that before she fled Homs, she had seen the beheading in broad daylight of an Alawite girl who was pulled off a public minibus by armed jihadis,” Eibner said.

The Syrian civil war has become a deadly mix of sectarian violence between the Alawaite/Shi’a aligned government forces supported by Iran, Hezbollah and Russia and the mainly Sunni-led opposition supported by Turkey and Arab Gulf States. According to a report in the New York Timesciting the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, more than 100,000 people have died in the conflict.

Christians, who comprise around 10 percent of the Syrian population and have previously supported the relatively secular government of President Bashar al-Assad, have been caught up in the crossfire as sectarian battles increase.

Partners

(The Israel Project)—HAMAS officials have again lashed out against what the Iran-backed terror group describes as a smear campaign being conducted against it by Egyptian media outlets, after an Arabic-language story published in a pan-Arab newspaper blasted the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood for financially supporting the group despite the fragile Egyptian economy.Hamas has seen its popularity in Egypt plummet as an ongoing media-based cold war—with Hamas officials on one side and Egyptian security forces on the other—has taken its toll. The Egyptian army blames Hamas for fomenting violence and facilitating terrorism in the country’s Sinai Peninsula, including an August 2012 attack on an Egyptian convoy that saw 16 security officers killed and two vehicles stolen. More broadly, Egyptian intelligence and interior officials have linked Hamas to violence conducted on behalf of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, stretching back to the 2011 Egyptian revolution that would eventually see the Brotherhood take control of Egypt’s government. The links are doubly dangerous to Hamas and the Brotherhood’s standing: Hamas is endangered by being blamed for fomenting unrest inside Egypt, and the Brotherhood is damaged by being linked to the increasingly unpopular group. Meanwhile the Egyptian army this week escalated its campaign against the smuggling tunnels that link the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip to the Sinai.

Proxy War

(The Israel Project)—Iranian parliament member Ahmad Bakhshayesh declared this week that Iran would continue to support the embattled regime of Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad in the aftermath of the election of Hassan Rouhani as Iran’s next president.There had been suggestions made by some foreign policy analysts suggesting that Rouhani’s election could “provide an opportunity” to productively engage Iran regarding the critical role being played by Tehran and its Lebanese terror proxy Hezbollah in bolstering the regime. Bakhshayesh’s comments, which echo those made last year by Rouhani himself, are difficult to reconcile with such analysis. Meanwhile, reports are emerging that Hezbollah head Hassan Nasrallahrecently made a secret trip to Iran to request full financial and military backing from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Hezbollah forces played a key role in enabling the Syrian regime to wrest the strategic city of Qusayr from rebel control earlier this month, and Tehran has dispatched top military figures to Syria. Bakhshayesh›s comments included the MP describing the Syrian civil war as a “mini-world war, with Iran, Syria and Hezbollah on one side and Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, the U.S. and Israel on the other.” In what will likely be read as another indicator that engagement may not bear fruit, Bakhshayesh continued to say that “the Syrian civil war has become a proxy war between Iran and the U.S.”

Negotiating With Iran:

(The Israel Project)—The head of Iran’s atomic energy agency Tehran will push ahead with its atomic program and continue enriching uranium in the aftermath of the election of President  Hassan Rouhani, a revolutionary cleric linked to Iran’s conservative pragmatist camp. Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani told reporters in Russia that work at Iran’s underground nuclear bunker at Fordow—which the West has pressured Tehran to close without success—would continue. He also indicated today that Iran’s Russian-built Bushehr reactor has been brought back online after months of inactivity. Abbasi-Davani’s comments echo those made earlier this week by Iranian MP Mehdi Sanayee, a member of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission. They are also in line with a post-election speech by Iranian Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi rejecting compromise with the U.S. Iran’s diplomatic posture is in any case dictated by the country’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who during the election preemptively prohibited the eventual winner from making concessions to the West. The pace and consistency of post-election Iranian comments emphasizing Iran’s unwillingness to compromise on its nuclear program align poorly with some foreign policy analysis suggesting that Rouhani’s election has dramatically boosted the possibility of securing a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis.

Amy Winehouse Exhibit Opens in London Jewish Museum

(JNS.org)--The London Jewish Museum has opened a new exhibit on British-Jewish singer Amy Winehouse, who died in 2011 at the age of 27. “Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait” displays items from Winehouse’s childhood and drama school years, as well as her years in the music industry.

In the last years of her life, Winehouse may have been better known for battling drugs and alcohol than for her singing, but she was also “simply a little Jewish kid from North London with a big talent,” her older brother Alex describes. Visitors to the exhibit will see the singer’s school uniforms and Dr. Seuss books, and learn that her hobbies included reading Charles Bukowski and Fyodor Dostoyevsky, solving Sudoku puzzles, and more.

“It’s a story that people don’t know about Amy, her family story…You can forget there’s a person behind the hype,” London Jewish Museum Chief Executive Abigail Morris said, according to the Associated Press. The exhibition will run through Sept. 15 of this year.

Kuwait Politicians Support Greater Trade Ties with Israel

(JNS.org)--Kuwaiti MPs Nabil Al-Fadhl and Hammad Al-Dosari expressed support for greater trade ties with Israel and the importing of Israeli products in an interview on Kuwait TV in June.

If Kuwait needs equipment that Israel can provide, Kuwait should take steps to obtain such equipment from the Jewish state, Fadhl said last month. “I will love the Israelis for it,” he said, according to the Jerusalem Post.

“How exactly did the Muslims benefit us, when our Arab neighbor [Iraq] invaded our country? I am willing to buy equipment from Israel to protect my country from its Arab and Muslim neighbor,” Fahdl added. Dosari said that Shari’a law does allow Muslims to have dealings with Jews because the prophet Muhammad “died while his shield was mortgaged with a Jew.”

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Blames “Jewish Diaspora” For Recent Protests

(JNS.org)—Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay was accused of  blaming the “Jewish diaspora” and the foreign media for the recent protests against Turkey’s Islamist government in a recent video.

“There are some circles that are jealous of Turkey’s growth. They are all uniting, on one side the Jewish diaspora. You saw the foreign media’s attitude during the Gezi Park incidents; they bought it and started broadcasting immediately, without doing an evaluation of the [situation],” Atalay allegedly said in a video on July 1, Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News reported.

Atalay’s press office denied the minister had made such a statement.

Reacting to the reported remarks, Turkey’s Jewish community, which numbers around 23,000, expressed fear that it could be targeted as a result of Ataly’s comments.

“We would like to express our concern that all Jews around the world, including Turkish Jews, may become the target because of this sort of generalization in almost every situation,” the Turkish Jewish community statement read.

Morsi’s Downfall Is a Blessing for Egypt

,Jerusalem Post—For many in the Arab world, the emergence of the Muslim Brotherhood was an unmitigated disaster. For 85 years, the Brotherhood plotted and fought throughout the Arab countries, using every available means, terror included, to achieve their goal: the establishment of Islamic regimes based on Shari’a (Islamic law) in all Arab nations and, ultimately, the restoration of the caliphate. Their radical ideology, tainted with a hefty dose of antisemitism, gave rise to even more extremist movements such as al-Qaeda, al-Gama’a al- Islamiyya, Islamic Jihad and many others.

Muslim Brothers in Egypt and in Tunisia were elected through free elections and handed the opportunity to rule. But they failed to deliver. They forgot about the economy and focused on imposing their brand of radical Islam. While the economic situation went from bad to worse, they were drafting an Islamic constitution that severely curtailed civil rights and discriminated against women. In Egypt, President Mohamed Morsi even tried to grant himself powers far exceeding those of the overthrown Hosni Mubarak.

Morsi’s downfall is undoubtedly a blessing for Egypt. Though there was a military coup, it was in answer to the will of the people. Muslims make up 80 percent of the population, but most of them do not want to live under Shari’a and are not interested in a revival of the caliphate.