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YEAR-END REVIEW- PLUS TURKEY’S CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS (December 31,2020)

Katan Aleinu (קטן עלינו, “We Got This”) with English Subtitles The iCenter for Israel Education, YouTube, Dec. 4, 2020 — In late 2020, Israel’s top artists came together to boost Israel’s morale with “Katan Aleinu” (“We Got This”). We hope the song (with added translation) brings you hope as well.
 
Top 10 Anti-Semitism/2020: Pandemic Weaponized for Hate; German Elite Push BDS:  Abraham Cooper, Times of Israel, Dec. 31, 2020 — Not everything in 2020 was a disaster during the raging and unending pandemic, it just feels that way. Truth be told, we could have presented a top 50 or even a top 100 as we have experienced daily reminders that no vaccine exists to eradicate history’s oldest virus: anti-Semitism.
2020 Hindsight and a Look Ahead:  Karl Rove, WSJ, Dec. 30, 2020 — Let’s bid farewell to a horrible year by reviewing my 2020 predictions and offering prophecies for the coming year.
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Table of Contents


End New Year Calendar Celebrate (Pixabay)

Turkey: From Europe With Love:  Burak Bekdil, The Gatestone Institute, Dec. 26, 2020


Understanding the Lobby Against Israel’s New Relations in the Gulf:  Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 28, 2020

Al-Arian Renews Calls for Israel’s Destruction at Turkish Conference: Abha Shankar, IPT News, Dec. 28, 2020
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Turkey: From Europe With Love
Burak Bekdil
The Gatestone Institute, Dec. 26, 2020If Turkey’s Islamist strongman, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, spent more sleepless nights the first week of December than he had over his concerns for U.S. sanctions, it was because of the more imminent and potentially punishing European Union sanctions that would take shape at a summit on December 10-11. He must have had a relatively peaceful sleep when the summit was over. He might have thought that he had managed to get away from a huge European sanctions bomb, at least until March. It may, however, be a bit premature for him to sigh with relief.
 
After the EU leaders gave Turkey an unambiguous warning in October, Erdoğan chose to escalate tensions, bringing what otherwise would have been mere diplomatic issues to the level of a mini-clash of civilizations. Erdoğan calculated that he could play the tough Ottoman sultan until the last moment and that the EU would never dare burn their bridges with Turkey. He was right and wrong. He bought time, the EU did not burn their bridges, the sanctions at the December summit were not powerful enough to change Turkey’s course.Nevertheless, Erdoğan now has another deadline by which he must choose between a further clash of civilizations and sustainable de-escalation.
 
Shortly before the December summit, Turkey pulled a hydrocarbon exploration ship from disputed waters of the Mediterranean Sea. After months of challenging EU-backed exploration efforts, the survey ship Oruç Reis was brought home.
 
Additionally, in a bogus charm offensive, Ankara embraced a pluralist rhetoric toward the country’s non-Muslim minorities. “Religious minorities are the wealth of our country, based on the principle of equal citizenship and common history,” presidential spokesman, Ibrahim Kalın said in a Twitter post. “Discriminating against them would weaken Turkey.”
 
Erdoğan also said that he sees Turkey’s future in Europe — the same Europe he had just accused of being “Nazi remnants and fascists.”
 
On the summit table were also an EU-wide arms embargo on Turkey, as pushed persistently by Greece and Cyprus. Instead of opting for an immediate embargo, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced, the EU leaders would discuss issues with NATO and U.S. officials. “We also spoke about how questions about arms exports must be discussed within NATO. We said that we want to coordinate with the new US administration about Turkey,” Merkel told a press conference. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
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Understanding the Lobby Against Israel’s New Relations in the Gulf
Seth J. Frantzman
Jerusalem Post, Dec. 28, 2020Ever since the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain announced they would normalize relations with Israel, there has been a quiet – and sometimes open – campaign against the new relations. This is both rooted in histories of hatred of Israel and also caused by more modern agendas that are complex and important to understand.
 
Historically in the Middle East, an attempt was made to deny Israel’s existence and to act as if Israel was a temporary phenomenon. This drove excuses for the Palestinian use of “armed struggle” to terrorize Israel. The rejection of Israel, including the infamous Arab League “three nos” of 1967 and the “Zionism is racism” resolution of 1975 at the United Nations, was quietly accepted by many European countries and also the nonaligned movement during the Cold War.
 
The argument was that pushing back against the nonrecognition would inflame the “Arab” or “Muslim” world, even though Israel had relations with Muslim countries such as Turkey and Iran at the time and there were limited connections with some Arab states.
 
The rejection of Israel fueled a perception that a lack of normal diplomatic relations would be normal. Israel was prevented from being under US Central Command for this reason and often affiliated with regional and international bodies as part of Europe, from sports to health organizations, rather than in the Middle East because countries in the region refused to meet publicly with Israelis. Most countries in the world established relations, with a few exceptions, while Israel remained an exception in the region.
 
This began to change in the 1990s and 2000s with proposals in the wake of the Oslo Accords and the Egyptian peace deal. Saudi Arabia and the Arab League indicated that peace could come in exchange for Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza. Nevertheless, the rejection of Israel, such as public meetings between Israeli leaders and counterparts in Egypt and Jordan, continues.In addition, this rejection informed and made acceptable critiques in Western media that are focused obsessively on Israel. In many ways, Western and other countries replaced ingrained antisemitism with bureaucratic anti-Israel resolutions at forums such as the UN. This made it acceptable to insinuate that Israel – alone among the world’s countries – should have no diplomatic relations in the region.
 
The Abraham Accords appear to mark a turning point. However, the accords came at a complex time in the region. Israel is opposed today by Iranian-backed groups and also by powerful interests that are linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
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Ankara’s Media Spin On ‘Reconciliation’ With Israel Continues – Analysis
Seth J. Frantzman
Jerusalem Post, Dec. 28, 2020Turkey continues to feed stories to media outlets about wanting reconciliation with Israel. It is a reconciliation built on three pillars. First, appointing an anti-Israel envoy to Israel who has accused Zionism of being racist and accused Israel of massacres. Second, Turkey demands that Israel ruin relations with Greece, Cyprus and the UAE, isolate itself and become dependent on Ankara for energy trade, betraying Israel’s new Gulf and Mediterranean friends. Third, Turkey wants to see Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lose the next election.This is the “reconciliation” that reads more like a wolf in sheep’s clothing than normal state-to-state relations. Even though Turkey has a regime that jails opposition politicians for decades and has made almost all media in Turkey toe the government line, foreign media are still willing to take Ankara’s spin at face value. Instead of questioning regime stories about “reconciliation” with Israel, one after another media outlet has printed this story without even looking at the text of the “reconciliation” that Ankara has proposed to Israel.
 
The spin continued this week, for the third week in a row, as Ankara keeps talking about better relations with Israel. But Ankara’s government, led by the ruling AKP Party, hosts Hamas terrorists, and it destroyed relations with Israel. This began around a decade ago when Turkey slammed Israel for the 2009 war in Gaza. Instead of condemning Hamas terrorist rockets, Ankara blamed Israel. Turkey also then mobilized Muslim Brotherhood-connected activists to sail to Gaza, creating another crisis. Since then, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has frequently compared Israel to Nazi Germany and hosted Hamas as if it is a legitimate government; the same Turkish regime that complains about “terrorism” among Kurdish dissidents hosts terrorists. Ankara has become one of the most anti-Israel countries in the world in recent years, vowing to “liberate” al-Aqsa Mosque and retake Jerusalem, terminology that Ankara’s leadership shares with Iran. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK– Ed.]
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Al-Arian Renews Calls for Israel’s Destruction at Turkish Conference
Abha Shankar
IPT News, Dec. 28, 2020Nearly 30 years ago, Sami Al-Arian stood before an audience in Chicago and made his radical ideology as clear as possible. “The Quran is our constitution,” he bellowed. “Jihad is our path … Victory to Islam… Death to Israel… Revolution… revolution till the victory.”
 
Two weeks ago, Al-Arian appeared from Istanbul before a virtual audience and made his radical ideology clear, albeit in softer, more academic language. The global Muslim community, or ummah, cannot realize its full potential without “defeating and dismantling the Zionist project,” he said during a Dec. 18 panel discussion in Turkey.
 
“We cannot pursue an ummah project without actually attaining our real independence. We cannot attain our real independence without dealing with the problem of Israel,” Al-Arian said, adding that “as long as Israel exists, the ummah will stay weak and fragmented, and disunited and divided and dependent and under control.”
 
His comments were part of the Fourth International Conference on the Muslim Ummah, co-sponsored by Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University’s Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA), where he now works.
 
Al-Arian has never publicly acknowledged serving on the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) Shura Council, a leadership board, during the 1990s and early 2000s. It is unclear whether he continues to have a relationship with the PIJ, a U.S.-designated terrorist group that is committed to destroying Israel and creating an Islamic state in its place.
 
At the conference, Al-Arian emphasized the “centrality of the Palestinian cause” to the Muslim ummah “because of what Israel represents in this international system, in the regional system, and in the different relationships that take place in this region.” He added that “confronting that menace, confronting that threat must become a priority” and “unite all efforts” within the ummah.
 
In the United States, Al-Arian founded the Islamic Committee for Palestine (ICP), which served as “the active arm of the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine” and raised money for the terrorist group. The PIJ rejects any peaceful settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Only “the jihad solution and the martyrdom style” can liberate Palestine, the group’s bylaws say.
 
Called “a master manipulator” by the federal judge presiding over his case, Al-Arian pled guilty in 2006 to conspiring to make or receive contributions of funds, goods or services to or for the benefit of PIJ. He was deported to Turkey in 2015 as part of that plea agreement and he now heads CIGA at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK– Ed.]
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For Further Reference:
Jonathan Spyer on Turkey’s Attempt to Silence Him:  Marilyn Stern, Middle East Forum Webinar, Dec. 7, 2020 — Jonathan Spyer, a writing fellow at the Middle East Forum and veteran journalist covering Middle East conflicts, spoke to participants in a November 9 Middle East Forum webinar (video) about the cancellation of his U.S. visa apparently at the behest of Turkey’s Erdoğan regime.
 
Israel Suspicious of Erdogan’s Overtures:  Lahav Harkov, Jerusalem Post,  Dec. 27, 2020 — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan cannot harbor Hamas terrorists and try to forge closer ties with Israel, a senior diplomatic source said Sunday. “I don’t really believe he’s being honest,” the source said. “We need to see actions.”
 
Turkey and Russia Confirm Arms Deal, in Nato Headache: Andrew Rettman, EU Observer, Dec. 30, 2020 –– Turkey and Russia have pledged to go further on military cooperation despite US sanctions, in a move that risks destabilising Nato.
 
Pompeo Says Turkey’s Purchase of Russian S-400 Violates NATO AgreementsAl-Monitor, Dec. 18, 2020 — The top US diplomat told his Turkish counterpart that Turkey’s purchase of a Russian air defense system “endangers” US security forces on a recent call.
The CIJR wishes our friends, readers, and supporters a Happy New Year.  The Briefing will not be distributed on Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, but will return on Mon. Jan. 4, 2021

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