Syria claimed to capture a key position overlooking the Golan Heights – an area in the northeastern part of Israel that was taken by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) during the 1967 Six-Day War. In May, Iranian forces fired rockets from Syria targeting the Golan Heights, and Iran and its proxy Shi’ite militia groups are expanding their presence in southwestern Syria, attempting to establish military bases on the border.
The Iranian expansion-backed by the Assad Regime- could be catastrophic; the Golan Heights provides Israel with a strategic advantage, and if Israel was attacked from Syria, the Golan Heights would give the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) the ability to withstand ground offensives.
Israel annexed the territory in 1981, and the US has previously assured Israel that it supports the annexation, but has not fully recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan. But members of Congress are now encouraging the Trump Administration to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, in order to counter the presence of terrorist groups in the region, and prevent Iran from taking over the territory.
What are the strategic interests of the U.S. in recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights? How would recognition of Israeli sovereignty potentially help stabilize the region? Our expert panel of Sarah Stern, Zvi Hauser, and Michael Doran explores these questions and more.
EMET on Capitol Hill hosted Congressman Gus Bilirakis, FDD scholar and former Turkish parliament member Dr. Aykan Erdemir, the pro-Kurdish opposition US representative of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), Giran Ozcan, and EMET’s Director of the Kurdistan Project, Diliman Abdulkader. The panel was moderated by EMET founder and president Sarah Stern. Our panel analyzed the implications of the June 24th Turkish elections called by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Leading Turkey since 2002 with the Justice and Development Party (AKP), internally Erdogan has tilted state institutions to further solidify his position, he has targeted political opposition groups, academics, journalists, and the Kurdish minority all while labeling those speaking against his rule as “terrorists.” Erdogan has distanced himself from his short-lived “zero problem with neighbors” policy as he has made more foes than friends in the region. He has threatened Greece with military action while continuing to have a foothold in Northern Cyprus. His incursions into Syria targeting US-backed Kurdish forces has created a diminishing of relations with the United States. Under Erdogan, Turkey has pivoted towards Russia by purchasing Russian missiles incompatible with NATO defense systems. The panel examined the outcome of the elections, what Turkey’s future holds under Erdogan and how this will affect US-Turkish relations.
Dr. Mordechai Kedar discusses recent developments in the Middle East since the horrific use of chemical weapons by the brutal dictator, Bashar al Assad of Syria, which killed at least 48 innocent people and injured some 500 more. The United States responded with its allies the United Kingdom and France, with precision targets aimed at destroying the nuclear weapons facilities and research labs. Syria’s seven-year long civil war has diminished smaller non-state actors and has cleared the way for larger states and their proxies to grab a piece of the shattered state. Turkey with its FSA and Al Qaeda supporters attacked our allies the Kurds in Afrin Canton, and Iran and its Hezbollah proxies have set up bases across Syria and are well under way in completing a land bridge towards Israel’s northern border. Meanwhile, Russia has continued to undermine US strategy, protect Assad’s horrific crimes and is now intending on selling the dictator S-300 missiles which will ultimately threaten Israel’s sovereignty and security. Dr. Kedar analyzes and assesses the potential for a direct conflict between Russia and the United States in Syria.
Following President Trump’s historic announcement recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and PA President Mahmoud Abbas waged a political and ideological war against the State of Israel. During a speech in Egypt, Abbas claimed that the Palestinians were the “original Canaanites” and lived in Jerusalem before the Jews. Abbas also called Trump’s statement “sinful” and “ill-fated,” and Fatah called for a “day of rage,” with approximately 800 Palestinians rioting as a result.
Abbas’ vilifying words and the Palestinians violent riots are only some of the political tactics the PA uses to undermine the State of Israel; another main tactic is the advancement of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS). The BDS movement seeks to delegitimize, demonize, and ultimately destroy the State of Israel by using political and economic warfare, and false accusations. The BDS movement uses gross lies to demonize the Jewish State of Israel – such as by falsely comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa – to win activists on its side. Yet the movement is inherently anti-peace, while opposed to any type of negotiations with Israel or Israelis, even if it is for the benefit of the Palestinians, and often uses-anti-Semitic tactics to delegitimize and undermine Israel’s existence as a sovereign state. The global BDS movement also gains support from various parts of the international community, including some European countries and the United Nations. To what extent is the PA’s use of political warfare a threat to the State of Israel? Who are the main drivers and supporters of the BDS movement? And what steps should Israel take to combat these threats? Please join us as we hear from Dan Diker as he explores these questions and more.
About Dan Diker
Dan Diker is a Fellow and Senior Project Director at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs where he heads the Program to Counter Political Warfare and BDS. In 2011, Dan co-founded the Global Coalition for Israel (GC4I) together with Brig Gen (res) Yossi Kuperwasser, former Director General, and Ministry of Strategic Affairs. Has authored several books on BDS and the anti-normalization movements including: BDS Unmasked, (2016), Defeating Denormalization, (2017), and Students for Justice in Palestine, Unmasked, (2017) Dan is also a Research Fellow at the International Institute for Counter Terrorism, IDC Herzliya, where he hosts Counter Terrorism Today on IDC International Radio. Dan appears as a Middle East and BDS commentator on news networks such as Al Jazeera, BBC, Fox, China CCTV, CBN , ILTV, and Russia Today. Dan Diker previously served as Secretary General of the World Jewish Congress, the global diplomatic organization representing Jewish communities in 100 countries. Dan received a BA Cum Laude from Harvard University and studied toward his MBA at the Harvard Graduate School of Business before earning an MA in Government and Counter Terrorism Policy, Summa Cum Laude, from the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya. He is married with 5 children and immigrated to Israel in 1990. He can be followed on Twitter @dandiker84.
The creation of the Internet and the advent of the handheld Information Age have revolutionized every aspect of modern life. A dark side haunts these new technologies, however. The Internet and the social media platforms have been insidiously used by hate groups, criminal enterprises, and terrorist factions to promote their perilous agenda. Social media has allowed terrorist groups including Hezbollah, ISIS and Hamas to become public entities with tens of thousands of followers, fan pages, news sites, and media production companies. The use of social media to promote extremist ideologies and incite individuals to engage in terrorist violence is dangerously effective and has established a new front in the war on terror.
While US law, including the Anti Terrorism Act, plainly prohibits American companies from having any contact or providing any support or services to the terrorists groups, the social media giants in Paolo Alto continue to provide their platforms to these designated organizations with impunity. The companies claim a legal defense under the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which they contend provides them with blanket immunity for the extremist posts and terrorist incitement on their platforms. There is a need to aggressively challenge the social media companies for their role in aiding and abetting terrorist organizations and hold them accountable for their documented provision of material support to the designated groups.
These details have recently come to light with the release of the book Harpoon: Inside the Covert War Against Terrorism’s Money Masters, co-authored by Nitsana Darshan Leitner of the Shurat HaDin Law Center. The book addresses how the terror groups are utilizing American social media.
1/30/18 – On Saturday, Islamist Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched an aggressive attack called ‘Operation Olive Branch’ on the American-backed Kurds in the territory in the northwest city of Afrin, Syria. Erdogan threatened US troops stationed with the Kurds, stating, “This is what we have to say to all our allies: don’t get in between us and terrorist organizations, or we will not be responsible for the unwanted consequences.” Erdogan added, “Either you [the United States] take off your flags on those terrorist organizations [the Kurds], or we will have to hand those flags over to you, don’t force us to bury in the ground those who are with terrorists.”
Before the invasion by the Turks, Afrin was relatively stable, home to hundreds of thousands of internally displaced Syrians- regardless of ethnicity or religion. Afrin is 90 percent Kurdish mixed with Arabs, and the people have put forth a democratic system that accounts for equal representation for both men and women. Erdogan has labeled the Kurds as “terrorists” and aims to end their presence in Afrin. Surrounding Afrin are the so-called Syrian opposition, the Free Syrian Amy (FSA) rebels, and a mix of al Qaeda affiliated groups who have aligned with Turkey to remove the Kurds from their historical land.
By now, there have been at least 141 civilian deaths that we know of. The attacks have been concentrated on civilian areas and border villages. It is critical for the international community to immediately respond to Turkish aggression on the Kurds in what the Kurdish people call ethnic cleansing. Furthermore, Turkish advance into Syrian territory derails the Kurdish fight against the Islamic State and prolongs the 7-year Syrian civil war, likely leading to another humanitarian crisis.
Discussing the crisis is our Kurdish Project Director, Diliman Abdulkader.
Nick Burns, Harvard Kennedy School professor & former under secretary of State for political affairs, and Sarah Stern, Endowment for Middle East Truth president, discuss President Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital.
“The Balfour Declaration: 100 Years Later”
October 24, 2017
Featuring Members of Congress:
Rep. Trent Franks, Rep. Ilean Ros-Lehtinen, Rep. Doug Lamborn, Rep. Brian Mast, Rep. Ron DeSantis, Rep. Steve Russell, Rep. Don Bacon, Rep. Louie Gohmert, Rep. Joe Wilson, & Senator James Inhofe