PRESS REVIEW N°494
By Gilberte JACARET
This week we enter the centenary year of the Balfour Declaration. This document, signed on November 2, 1917 by the British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour, was the first recognition by one of the world's great powers -- in fact at the time the greatest power in the world -- of the right of the Jewish people to their national homeland in Palestine.
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::::::::::::::::Kotel Tensions Demonstrate Need to Ensure Right of Every Jew to Pray in His Or Her Own Way, ADL Says
New York, NY, November 2, 2016
Reacting to tensions today at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called for the implementation of the January 2016 agreement by the Israeli cabinet to establish a permanent and official space for mixed gender prayer at Judaism's holiest site.
"The tension demonstrates yet again the urgent need to establish the egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel, to which the Israeli government is committed," said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO, and Carole Nuriel, Director of ADL's Israel Office. "The cabinet's decision earlier this year was an important milestone in ensuring that every Jews has a place to pray in his or her own way."
The leaders of the Reform and Conservative movements from around the world and Israel, along with the Women of the Wall and others, marched on the first day (Rosh Chodesh) of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan, to the Kotel carrying Torah scrolls, in protest against the failure to implement the government decision to allocate a special space for egalitarian prayer.
For the first time, the groups entered the area with the Torah scrolls without being arrested by the police. During the march and prayer, clashes took place between this group and members of the ultra-orthodox Jewish community.French Protestants slam UNESCO decision on Jerusalem
The National Council of Evangelicals in France (CNEF) has strongly condemned the recent UNESCO decisions denying the Jewish history of Jerusalem.
"What could be regarded as a regrettable error appears in fact to be a repeated wish of UNESCO to rewrite history," the group said in a statement last week.
The CNEF cited the words of the Chief Rabbi of Brussels, Albert Guigui, who wrote: "This vote denies and wipes out the ethnic, religious, historic and geographic character of the Jewish people and of Judaism towards the city of Jerusalem. If the world accepts that there is no link between the Jews and the Temple Mount, then Jesus is nothing but an invented legend."
Concluding its statement, the CNEF reaffirmed its "support and affection for the Jewish people, once again attacked at the heart of its faith and its history."EU declares Israel boycott protected as free speech
Palestinians hail Federica Mogherini's statement, but she stresses that the union 'rejects the BDS campaign's attempts to isolate Israel'BY RAPHAEL AHREN October 31, 2016
The European Union's foreign policy chief recently affirmed the right of EU citizens to boycott Israel, citing freedom of expression and rebuffing claims by Jerusalem that such measures amount to banned anti-Semitic activity.
While upholding the right of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement to blacklist the Jewish state, Federica Mogherini also noted that the EU itself opposes efforts to boycott Israel.
"The EU stands firm in protecting freedom of expression and freedom of association in line with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which is applicable on EU Member States' territory, including with regard to BDS actions carried out on this territory," Mogherini said in a written reply to a query by an Irish member of the European Parliament last month.European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and President of the Palestinian National Authority Mahmud Abbas (L) address the media after a meeting at the European Union Commission headquarters in Brussels on June 22, 2016
.(AFP PHOTO / THIERRY CHARLIER)
"Freedom of expression, as underlined by the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, is also applicable to information or ideas 'that offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population,'" Mogherini said.
She continued: "The EU rejects the BDS campaign's attempts to isolate Israel and is opposed to any boycott of Israel."
Despite the EU's outspoken rejection of BDS, the Palestinians celebrated Mogherini's statement.
"We welcome the EU's belated defense of the right of European and other citizens to stand in solidarity with Palestinian rights, including through BDS tactics," said Riya Hassan, a senior member of the Palestinian BDS National Committee, which bills itself as the the "largest coalition in Palestinian civil society" promoting the anti-Israel boycott movement.
Hassan went on to state that the Palestinians expect the EU to take steps against Israel, including, "at the very least, imposing a military embargo on Israel, banning products of companies that do business in Israel's illegal colonies."
The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem declined to comment on Mogherini's statement, which came on September 15 but was only published recently.
The statement came in response to a parliamentary question posed on June 24 by Sinn Fein politician Martina Anderson.
Anderson, a longtime supporter of the Palestinian cause and strident critic of Israel, had asked the European Commission whether it would "commit to defending BDS activists' right to exercise their democratic freedom of expression."
In her query, Anderson — who heads the European Parliament's "Delegation for relations with Palestine" — also asked the EU Commission to comment on a speech made in March by Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, in which he called for "pinpoint civil eliminations" against the heads of the BDS movement. (The phrase he used, sikul ezrahi memukad, has also been translated as "targeted civic prevention effort," though sikul usually means assassination.)
Mogherini replied by saying that the EU "firmly condemns threats and violence against human rights defenders under all circumstances." The union regularly discusses with Jerusalem questions regarding the the "protection of human rights and human rights defenders," she added. The EU "calls on both Israel and the Palestinians to refrain from provocation and to resolutely fight incitement and hate speech."
Israel's relationship with the EU has been fraught over the last few years, due to what Jerusalem perceives as a persistent pro-Palestinian bias in the union's statements and policies.
Last week, for instance, Jerusalem was displeased over a group of senior EU diplomats visiting Palestinian villages in the West Bank that face demolition at the hands of Israeli authorities.
The EU delegation to the Palestinian Authority said the trip's objective was to learn about "the coercive environment these communities find themselves in, to be informed of recent developments, to demonstrate concern at the humanitarian impact of any demolitions and forced transfer of population, and to express the EU's commitment to a sustainable future for the Palestinian communities in Area C."
Area C is the part of the West Bank in which Israel exercises administrative and military control, and in which the Israeli settlements are located.
Israel, which argues that the structures slated for demolition were built illegally, reacted "with irritation to the initiative and the statement," a senior official in Jerusalem told The Times of Israel.
"We can only wish that the EU would show the same amount of empathy and interest toward the Israeli victims of Palestinian violence and incitement. The root cause of the conflict is the persistent refusal of the Palestinian leadership to recognize the legitimacy of our existence as the state of the Jewish people."
Despite ongoing tension over Israel's repeated destruction of illegal structures, many of which were funded by the union, a senior EU official dealing with the Middle East last week hailed overall stable bilateral ties.
"Yes, there is a difference of views on issues concerning the Palestinians but at the same time there is no other country in the region the EU has a stronger relationship with than Israel," said Christian Berger, the outgoing director of the EU foreign ministry's Middle East and Northern Africa department.
Berger, who over the years has been blamed by Israeli officials for many of the EU's perceived pro-Palestinian policies, made the comment in a statement he provided to Israel's diplomatic mission in Brussels on the occasion of his leaving the post.
"I wish the country well," said Berger. "Israel will continue to prosper but I also hope she will find peace in a troubled region during troubled times. And, I hope Israel will remain a strong friend and partner of Europe."Red tape, blunders keep Balfour Declaration away from the homeland it promised
Years after prime minister announced seminal Zionist document, issued 99 years ago today, would be displayed in Tel Aviv, dream of bringing it to Israel mired in renovations and bureaucratic snafus
By RAPHAEL AHREN
Netanyahu: Abbas won't recognize Jewish state 'in any borders'
PM tells Italian president Israel was 'gravely disappointed' by Rome's abstention in UNESCO vote on Jerusalem, pleased by pledge it won't happen again.USA
Names Campaigning for Hillary Clinton Underscore Donald Trump's Isolation
New York Times. By ALEXANDER BURNS and GARDINER HARRISNOV. 4, 2016
Hillary Clinton campaigned Friday in the company of friends and celebrities, first flanked by the billionaire businessman Mark Cuban in Pittsburgh and Detroit, and then at a concert in Cleveland with Jay Z and Beyoncé. High-wattage political leaders fanned out for her around the country: Her husband, Bill, stumped in Colorado, as President Obama rallied voters in North Carolina.
By comparison, Donald J. Trump was a lonely figure.
In the final days of the presidential race, Mr. Trump's political isolation has made for an unusual spectacle on the campaign trail — and perhaps a limiting factor in his dogged comeback bid.
When it comes to bolstering Mr. Trump, the Republican Party is not sending its best: As party leaders have disavowed him or declined to back his candidacy, Mr. Trump has been left instead with an eclectic group of backup players to aid him in his last dash for votes. Though polls show Mr. Trump drawing closer to Mrs. Clinton, the most prominent Republicans in key swing states still fear that his unpopularity may taint them by association.
Mr. Trump acknowledged the relative bareness of his events at a rally on Friday night: In defiant language, Mr. Trump hailed the size of the crowd packed into an arena in Hershey, Pa.
Hillary Clinton at a campaign rally at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh on Friday. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times
:::::::::::The Mundane Origins of Germany's Huge Turkish Population
by Daniel Pipes
Oct 30, 2016
Cross-posted from National Review Online
In 1961, the German post-war "economic miracle" (Wirtschaftswunder) was in full bloom, with a seemingly insatiable thirst for unskilled workers. After signing government-to-government bilateral agreements with Italy (in 1955), Greece (1960), and Spain (1960), Bonn turned to Ankara and on this day, Oct. 30, in 1961 signed a "Recruitment Agreement between the Federal Republic of Germany and Turkey" (Anwerbeabkommen zwischen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland und der Türkei). Little did either side realize the implications of this seemingly minor accord.Turkish Labor Minister Ali Naili Erdem visited Turkish "guest workers" (Gastarbeitern) in Germany in 1966.
The German government set up a liaison office in Istanbul to urge unmarried male candidates to apply, which they enthusiastically did in large numbers. The agreement permitted Turks to go to work in Germany for two years, then return home. But German industry lobbied for longer residencies – the constant training to replace workers every two years took its toll – so this limitation was lifted already in 1964. Still, no one expected the Turks to stay long and their jobs did not require them to learn German, so the overwhelmingly male population lived in its own dormitories, quite isolated from the larger society. Of the 750,000 Turks who arrived under this program, about half did return to Turkey, half did not.
The boom years ended with the oil crisis of 1973-74, which closed down guest worker recruitment. Ironically, this change led to an increase in the Turkish population as workers imported wives, moved to apartments, families burgeoned, and today's heavily Turkish districts throughout (former West) Germany came into being.
A blend of the German and Turkish flags that symbolizes what has too rarely occurred.
Fifty-five years later, with unskilled laborers hardly needed and the cultural isolation proving a deep problem, the Turkish population numbers an estimated 4-5 million, making up more than 5 percent of the country's total population and by far the largest immigrant group. The 1961 agreement seems from another age entirely, yet its legacy lives on and grows unceasingly. (October 30, 2016)
The Attack on MosulThe Spiegel ,Nov.4th 2016-11-04
On the Ground in Mosul A Precarious Alliance Takes on Islamic State
The battle for Mosul, a key city for Islamic State, has begun. On one side, a fragile alliance with conflicting political goals, and on the other, a ruthless enemy who might go to extreme lengths to defend the Iraqi metropolis -- incluing chemical weapons.