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  • The false story Israel tells itself about the Middle East

    According to Israel's leaders, the Middle East is made up of primitive tribespeople and Islamic radicals who cannot be negotiated with. They're wrong. By Idan Barir and Ori Goldberg Nearly a month ago, a hearing at the Knesset's State Control Committee that looked into the State Comptroller's report on Israel's handling of Operation Protective Edge, brought together Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Meretz chairwoman Zehava Galon. During the hearing, Galon asked the prime minister what kind of future he proposes for Israeli citizens. His response had quite an impact on his supporters, who shared the video on social media under the…

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  • Who speaks for Syria?

    We who are Syria’s neighbors, among whom so many of Syria’s victims have sought shelter, owe it to them — and to ourselves — to speak honestly and without shame about this singularly Arab tragedy. In so doing, we must create space for our Syrian sisters and brothers to lift their voices above those of others. Khalil, the produce vendor, is producing a map, on a cardboard scrap, that tells of cherries. Sourced from points north, they are sweeter, he tells me, because they are darker. But I want to know how: how did Syrian cherries end up, fresh and firm,…

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  • PHOTOS: A modern genocide — Yazidi survivors in Shingal

    Text and photos by Seth J. Frantzman In August 2014 the extremist group calling itself Islamic State (ISIS) swept through a part of northern Iraq inhabited by the Yazidi religious minority. ISIS had already broadcast to the world their intention to exterminate “un-believers” and those they opposed. They had massacred 1,600 Shia army cadets at Camp Speicher on June 12, 2014 and ordered all Christians to convert or leave their homes through the areas they controlled. In August the crimes became even more brutal as they massacred men and elderly Yazidi women and sold an estimated 5,000 women into slavery. Many Yazidis describe the…

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  • France must not push Muslims into the arms of extremists

    The terrorists who attacked Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket were well-trained, spoke French and knew their actions would play into the hands of France's Islamophobic right. Let's not give them what they're after. By Yossi Dahan As Israel's news outlets covered the terrorist attacks in Paris, we watched how our analysts and correspondence suddenly became experts on the Republic of France and Islam. We watch as they compete over who does a better job mocking French naiveté - over the "political correctness" by which the French treat the Muslims as equal citizens. The French have likely not seen Tzvi…

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  • The Kurds must not be abandoned again, this time to ISIS

    If there are any people on earth who deserve the world’s protection from slaughter, it is the Kurds. Despite the stereotype of Mizrahi Jews in Israel resenting Arabs because of the way they were treated in the old country, there are plenty of Mizrahim who have good memories of their relations with their former Muslim neighbors. However, there is no Mizrahi community in Israel that feels a kinship with their Muslim former countrymen like the Kurdish Jews do. Today ISIS appears to be on the verge of slaughtering the people in the town of Kobani, the heart of a Syrian…

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  • Trapped between Assad and 'IS': Inside the capital of the 'Islamic State'

    Following a long period of quiet, the Syrian city of Raqqa is once again being shelled — this time by Assad’s forces. Residents have been forced to flee the shelling, along with IS’s extremist agenda. An interview with a resident of the 'Islamic State.' By Elizabeth Tsurkov Raqqa, the capital of the “Islamic State” in northern Syria, for the past two months has been forced once again to deal with a devastating phenomenon — indiscriminate bombing by the Syrian Air Force. According to reports from the local coordinating committee, a Syrian air force bombing of a bakery on Saturday took the…

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  • As violence rises, Muslim moderates must do more

    My colleagues at 'Let Us Build Pakistan' and I have discovered various overlapping interests on certain issues and we occasionally cross-post material that we think our audiences would find relevant. Here is one such article I found interesting. Against the background of a fresh wave of violence in the Middle East, a Muslim writer calls for introspection. By Asif Zaidi The following book review in The Telegraph addresses two recently published books mainly defending British Muslims. A friend sent me the article, hoping that it will help me “see the light.” But I believe the review downplays some significant problems.…

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  • Why Israel's response to the kidnappings feels awfully familiar

    If the past is any gauge of what's to come, things are not looking good in the West Bank - neither for the Palestinians who remain under occupation there, nor for the three missing teenagers. From a Haaretz report: The Israel Defense Forces plans to arrest additional senior Hamas officials. Yesterday security forces arrested 65 key members of Hamas' political wing in an early-morning operation in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Among those arrested were eight ministers of the Hamas government who reside in the West Bank, and 20 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. The mayor of the town…

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  • Farhud, 1941: Iraqi Jews remember a massacre

    On the holiday of Shavuot in 1941, Iraq's Jews experienced a pogrom that claimed over 180 lives and ended in mass looting. But there’s another story from the Farhud that often goes undiscussed: the bravery of Muslims during the crisis. "The Farhud" / Foreword By Orit Bashkin (translated by Asaf Shalev) Silently but not without some noise, a blessed thing is happening in Israel right now. The general category of “Mizrahiness” is falling apart into the stories of specific communities, cities, places, languages and memories: Iraq and Morocco, Aleppo and Oran, Ladino and Aramaic. All of them are asking to tell…

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  • The dark heart of Israel's regional military policy

    When you believe your enemies hate you more than they love their children, as Golda Meir put it, there's no real deterrence against them; you have to keep bombing. Most people in the West, I’d say, think that if Israel gives up the occupation, it will be healed. It will no longer be a danger to others and itself. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and additional proof of this came Monday night when Israeli jet bombers again struck Hezbollah in Lebanon. The attack was another reminder that even if Israel were to get out of the West Bank and adopt…

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  • On Iran, Netanyahu chooses politics over strategy

    Netanyahu did not take Israel's strategic interests into account in his latest confrontation with the United States. Will his decision cost him when it comes to the ballot box? Only time will tell.  By Ilan Baruch Over the last several days, Prime Minister Netanyahu's sour face has peered over at us through the screen. While his mouth was busy berating the six powers and President Obama, his eyes betrayed exhaustion. Ever since Iranian President Rouhani appeared before the UN General Assembly on his "charm offensive" directed toward the West, Netanyahu has been leading a losing battle. Netanyahu's paradigm, which was based…

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  • Longing for Zion, dreaming of Kurdistan

    More than 80 years after first immigrating to Israel, Kurdish Jews still maintain ties to their traditions and culture, as well as to their non-Jewish ethnic kin. The Israeli government has ignored efforts to preserve their language and music; but now, the younger generation is taking matters into its own hands.  By Hagar Shezaf All liberty-deprived nations share one common feeling: a longing for home. The Kurdish nation, which lives primarily in the region situated between northwest Iran, northern Iraq, southeast Turkey and the northern corner of eastern Syria, is one of those same nations striving for independence and waging…

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  • Spineless bookkeeping: The use of Mizrahi Jews as pawns against Palestinian refugees

    Calls to define Jews from Arab countries as refugees were silenced in the past by Israeli governments. The change of policy has to do with the relatively new recognition that Israel will not be able to escape its responsibility for the Nakba. But leaders of the new campaign should first learn the history of their unfounded idea. By Yehouda Shenhav In the last three years, we have witnessed an intensive campaign aimed at winning political and legal recognition of Arab Jews as "refugees." The aim of this campaign is to create symmetry in public opinion between the Palestinian refugees and…

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