Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

Latest Article from Michael Freund

Aliya as an act of faith

November 16, 2017  •  Jerusalem Post

As they emerged from the plane at Ben-Gurion Airport this past Tuesday night, exhausted yet suffused with excitement, the latest batch of 82 Bnei Menashe immigrants from northeastern India to arrive in Israel marched toward passport control and suddenly burst into song.

Invoking the verse in the Book of Jeremiah (31:16), where the Creator consoles our biblical matriarch Rachel that her descendants, the people of Israel, will one day be restored to their land, the new arrivals mustered every ounce of their remaining energy and proceeded to chant the ancient Hebrew promise, "and the sons shall return to their borders."

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Latest Article from Judith Miller

Trump gets it half right, half wrong about his Asia trip

November 16, 2017  •  Fox News

Not since Marco Polo has a Westerner been received in Asia with such fanfare and respect as Donald J. Trump, according to President Donald J. Trump.

In an infomercial and trip report masquerading as a press conference Wednesday afternoon, President Trump continued his orgy of self-congratulation, pronouncing his 12-day trip to five Asian nations a diplomatic and economic triumph or – as he called it before leaving his last stop – "epic."

"America is back," the president said, drawing his own bottom line on the results of his tour of the newly coined Indo-Pacific, his longest foreign trip to date.

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Latest Article from Clifford May

Came the revolution

November 15, 2017  •  The Washington Times

My political orientation has evolved slowly over decades. With one exception: I became anti-Soviet and anti-Communist overnight. More quickly than that, actually.

The year was 1972. I was an undergraduate exchange student at the University of Leningrad. A Russian couple I'd come to know and trust invited me to meet a friend of theirs.

She was old and frail but her mind was sharp. Over strong coffee and countless cigarettes, we talked in muted tones, the radio playing in the background to (hopefully) diminish the effectiveness of any listening devices that might be in the room.

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Latest Article from Matthew RJ Brodsky

How the U.S.- Russia Agreement on Syria is Bad for Israel

November 14, 2017  •  The Rundown with Nurit Ben and Calev Ben-David / i24News

Matthew RJ Brodsky joins Nurit Ben and Calev Ben-David on i24News "The Rundown" to discuss the agreement reached between Russia and the U.S. over Syria and how it leaves Israel exposed. This comes in a context where U.S. officials have arrived in Israel to discuss the arrangement. Brodsky believes that the Trump administration has based its Syria plan on a number of fallacies, foremost is that Russia and the U.S. share the same objectives in Syria and that Russia seeks to curtail Iran's influence in the region. The strategic partnership between Russia and Iran has been a fixture for decades and has only strengthened with their participation in Syria, which has centered on preserving the Assad regime as a means to increase their influence. The U.S. position actually empowers a negotiating process led by Russia, that will not only lock in Moscow's position in the Middle East but will increase Iran's presence near the Golan Heights and Israel.

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Latest Article from Asaf Romirowsky

How the Quakers Became Champions of BDS

November 10, 2017  •  Tablet

In a not-so-earth-shattering move, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) has appointed a Palestinian-American, Joyce Ajlouny, as its new Secretary General. Ajlouny is a native of Ramallah and formerly the head of the Quaker school there, a "passionate" advocate for Palestinians and for "evenhandedness."

Ajlouny may be the perfect candidate to run the AFSC, the leading American Quaker organization, which over the years has cultivated its image as peaceful and supremely benign. Few suspect, much less know, that one of their central missions these days is promoting the BDS movement that opposes Israel's existence.

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Latest Article from Soeren Kern

A Month of Islam and Multiculturalism in Germany: October 2017

November 7, 2017  •  Gatestone Institute

October 1. The Network Enforcement Act (Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz, NetzDG) — also known as the Facebook law — entered into force. The measure requires social media platforms with more than two million users to remove "blatantly illegal" hate speech within 24 hours, and less obviously illegal content within seven days, or face fines of up to €50 million ($58 million). Critics argue that the definition of hate speech is ambiguous and subjective and that the new law is a threat to online free speech. The German government plans to apply the law more widely — including to content on social media networks of any size, according to Der Spiegel.

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Latest Article from Jonathan Schanzer

US Treasury takes on terrorism: Non-kinetic warfare that works

November 6, 2017  •  The Hill

America's foreign policy challenges are mounting. From North Korea and Iran to ISIS and Russia, the news cycle churns with reports of new threats and new concerns.

President Donald Trump has called for an increase in defense spending. Congress went even further than Trump expected, in recognition of the challenges that lie ahead. But somehow, Congress and the administration may be poised to cut funds from an office on the front line of America's most important battles: the U.S. Treasury.

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Latest from Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi's Blog

The Situation in the Mt. Hermon Area: Interview with the Hermon Regiment

November 7, 2017 at 10:38 pm

The vicinity of Jabal al-Sheikh (aka Mt. Hermon), which lies at the intersection of Lebanon, Syria and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, contains the last pockets of rebel-held territory in the southwestern Damascus countryside, centred around the localities of Beit Jann and Mazra'at Beit Jann. To clarify the difference, the former locality is the original one, whereas the origins of Mazra'at Beit Jann only date back to around the mid-20th century. Both Beit Jann and Mazra'at Beit Jann are Sunni localities. The main families in Beit Jann are:

- al-Safadi
- Hamada
- al-Badawi

As for Mazra'at Beit Jann:

- Othman
- Qablan
- Hamuda
- Abu Assaf
- Zaytun

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Latest Article from Ilan Berman

The Russian War On Terror

November 3, 2017  •  The National Interest

Which country ranks as the largest source of foreign fighters for the Islamic State's "caliphate" in Syria and Iraq? That dubious distinction doesn't belong to a Middle Eastern state, despite the fact that countries such as Saudi Arabia have historically been major contributors of radicals to the Islamic State's ranks. Nor is it a North African nation, even though Tunisia had previously served as the preeminent supplier of fighters for the Syrian front. Rather, the most active contributor to the current contingent of jihadis supporting the Islamic State is none other than the Russian Federation. That is the finding of a new report from the Soufan Group, a leading U.S. counterterrorism consultancy. The study, entitled "Beyond the Caliphate: Foreign Fighters and the Threat of Returnees," notes that - while the number of foreign fighters from places like Tunisia has declined appreciably over the past two years - those of Russian origin have not.

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Latest Article from Henry I. Miller

Gene Editing Is Here, and Desperate Patients Want It

October 12, 2017  •  The Wall Street Journal

Should Americans be allowed to edit their DNA to prevent genetic diseases in their children? That question, which once might have sounded like science fiction, is stirring debate as breakthroughs bring the idea closer to reality. Bioethicists and activists, worried about falling down the slippery slope to genetically modified Olympic athletes, are calling for more regulation.

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Latest Article from Tevi Troy

In Hurricane Relief, 2 out of 3 Ain't Good

October 2, 2017  •  The Wall Street Journal

The federal government deserved the rave reviews it earned for its responses to back-to-back hurricanes in Texas and Florida. The Federal Emergency Management Agency worked well with state and local officials and predeployed key resources and personnel. It seemed as though Washington had learned from its failed response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Yet as President Trump visits a Puerto Rico devastated by Hurricane Maria, cheers for FEMA have turned to boos. What went wrong?

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