Diplomacy

Week in Review: Modi Embraced in Israel; UNESCO Denies History—Again

Modi Embraced in Israel

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi completed a historic, three-day tour of Israel this week, a significant part of which he spent with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom he seems to have an excellent rapport. His trip included, among others, visits to Mt. HerzlYad Vashem, and the Danziger Flower Farm, as well as a meeting with 11-year-old Moshe Holtzberg, whose parents were killed in a 2008 terror attack in Mumbai.

The two leaders signed seven cooperation agreements encompassing areas such as space, agriculture, and water conservation. They also committed to set up a $40 million fund to finance technological innovation. When Modi and Netanyahu spoke, they talked about shared values and the similar threats their nations face.

Before Modi left on Thursday, he and Netanyahu visited a Haifa cemetery where Indian soldiers who were killed fighting to free the city during World War I are buried. The two leaders also stopped at the beach for a water desalination demonstration. India hopes that Israel, a world leader in water management technologies, can help improve access to water in India’s drier regions.

Modi’s visit to Israel represents “the successful expansion of Israeli diplomacy away from Europe,” historian Walter Russell Mead wrote at The American Interest. “From the Gulf to Africa to all across Asia, Israeli diplomacy is more active and diversified than ever before.”

The visit “marks a diplomatic coming of age for India and Israel: India because it has now shed the last of its dead skin of nonalignment,” Tunku Varadarajan, a fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, wrote in The Wall Street Journal. “Remarkably, India is the only major power that can claim to have excellent relations with every country in the Middle East.”

For Israel, Varadarajan wrote, it means that the “world’s biggest democracy is now unabashedly, unequivocally in Israel’s corner.”

India’s growing closeness to Israel came about in part because “the turmoil in the Arab world had already tarnished the perception of a cohesive bloc wielding political and economic power and influence; this helps explain the decoupling in India’s attitude to Israel and the Palestinians,” explained Oded Eran of Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies.

“PM Modi visited Israel but did not feel the need to balance it with a visit to Ramallah, even though Abu Mazen was warmly received in Delhi,” he added. “Thus developments in the Arab world indirectly facilitated the progress, which is based on three of India’s growing imperatives: expanding the economic base and engines of growth; improving the quality of life of the Indian population; and combating terror.”

Another Biased Attack on Israel

In a tweet this week, Jamil Dakwar, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Human Rights Program, charged that Israel’s leaders “exploit horrible acts of anti-Semitism to encourage Jews to move to Israel.” He punctuated his remark with two equations:

“Judaism ≠ Zionism

Anti-Zionism ≠ Anti-Semitism.”

While it is true that Judaism is not the same as Zionism, it is generally understood that anti-Zionism, usually expressed as a belief that Jews uniquely have no right to national self-determination, is anti-Semitic. This has been explained by individuals as diverse as former British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, former French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, and Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres.

Dakwar’s tweet came days after three Jewish women were expelled from the Chicago Dyke March for displaying LGBT flags with a Jewish star. In an attempt to justify its discriminatory action, the Chicago Dyke March Collective released a statement falsely calling Zionism “an inherently white-supremacist ideology.”

This prompted Greenblatt to warn in Time Magazine that the incident “does represent a wider school of thought that is fueling a trend of creeping anti-Semitism among some segments of the political left.”

He noted that the Movement for Black Lives released a platform last summer that wrongly and “bizarrely” accused Israel of committing “genocide” against the Palestinians, and that Linda Sarsour, who is active in the women’s rights movement, controversially claimed that being a feminist is incompatible with being a Zionist.

Greenblatt concluded that while the ADL sympathizes with the overall goals of the LGBT movement, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the women’s rights movement, “we need to draw lines in a clear manner — and demand that our allies observe those fundamental values that we also seek to live by: equality, fairness and respect for all.”

UNESCO Denies History—Again

UNESCO, the cultural organization of the UN, has once again been hijacked by the Palestinians to score political points, this time to pass a resolution declaring the Old City of Hebron—home to the Tomb of the Patriarchs—an endangered Palestinian heritage site.

Ahead of the vote, former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said that the proposed resolution “will not harm my people’s connection to [Jerusalem and Hebron], but they will hurt UNESCO and the ability to promote common interests.” She added that the organisation “must not be turned into a political arena” by “member states that exploit UNESCO for political purposes and to open conflicts.”

Washington’s ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, also blasted the proposed resolution, observing that the Cave of the Patriarchs, which is holy to all three major monotheistic religions, is “under no immediate threat.” “Such a designation risks undermining the seriousness such an assessment by UNESCO should have,” Haley warned, especially when there are cultural sites “under real and imminent threat of destruction today” in Congo, Libya, Iraq, and Syria.

Last October, UNESCO passed two resolutions denying Jewish historical ties to Jerusalem, even as archaeologists were bringing to light even more evidence of Jewish life in the city going back 2,700 years.

Ironically, an inscription on a 10th century mosque near Hebron that was overlooked until recently further attests to the Temple Mount’s Jewish history.

Feature: The Myth of the “Lone Wolf” Terrorist

The story of terrorists like Mehdi Nemmouche, a 29-year-old French national of Algerian origin who shot up a Jewish Museum in Brussels three years ago, reveals that “the nature of terrorism has changed significantly over the last decade,” Julie Lenarz observed in the latest issue of The Tower Magazine.

Though classified as a “lone wolf,” Nemmouche actually came into contact with other Islamist terrorists, including Mohammad Merah, who carried out three shooting attacks in the French cities of Montauban and Toulouse, as well as Abdelhamid Abbaaoud, who coordinated the simultaneous attacks in Paris in November 2015.

“Nemmouche’s case mirrors the journey of many jihadists that are often wrongly characterized by politicians, journalists, and the general public as ‘lone wolves,’” Lenarz wrote.

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, authorities largely focused their efforts on identifying and thwarting terrorist cells. However, ISIS decentralized the process of recruiting terrorists, allowing anyone to become a “soldier of the caliphate” as long as they pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his group.

Despite making it easier for individuals to act more or less independently of ISIS, most “lone wolves” leave plenty of clues about their intentions.

“Radical material is consumed by a vast number of people and research has revealed that often it is the environment that makes the difference between individuals that only consume such material and those that eventually act on it,” Lenarz noted.

“They often receive encouragement from their immediate surroundings, whether from family or friends, hate preachers or sermons in mosques, an online community of like-minded individuals or a network of terrorist recruiters.”

A University of Pennsylvania study of 119 so-called lone wolf terrorists found that, “In the time leading up to most lone-actor terrorist events, evidence suggests that other people generally knew about the offender’s grievance, extremist ideology, views and/or intent to engage in violence.”

So if there is a structure, even a less formal one than terror cells, that exists to support these terrorists, why do authorities persist in calling them “lone wolves”?

One of several possibilities offered by Lenarz is that this categorization “helps security services, which are overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of information, explain serious failures in intelligence that might have prevented an attack from taking place.”

This Week’s Top Posts

• New York Times Calls Palestinian Terrorist Convicted of Five Murders a “Freedom Fighter”

• IDF Chief of Staff: Israel Will Act Against Hezbollah’s Iran-Built Missile Factory

• WATCH: Former BBC Chairman Blasts Network for Anti-Israel Bias in Terror Attack Coverage

Three Big Questions

North Korea test-fired an inter-continental ballistic missile this week, which is believed to have had the range to reach Alaska. The North Koreans also claimed that they have the ability to hit the United States mainland with a nuclear missile. Given the evidence that Iran has been cooperating with North Korea on its ballistic missile and nuclear programs, does this mean that Iran now has either or both of these capabilities too?

Mayor Sadiq Khan of London recognized this week that Hezbollah doesn’t have separate military and political wings, and called for the Home Secretary to completely outlaw the Iran-backed terrorist group. Will the rest of Europe follow suit and ban all elements of Hezbollah?

IDF Chief of Staff Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said this week that Israel will not ignore the threat of Iranian-built Hezbollah weapons factories in Lebanon. Given that Iran is forbidden from arming Hezbollah by UN Security Council Resolution 1701, will the UN support any Israeli action to enforce its own resolution?

[Photo: GPO ]