Jewish American Heritage Month, 2017

   Author(s): President Trump   Source: il.usembassy.gov

A Proclamation: By the President of the United States of AmericaA Proclamation: By the President of the United States of America:

During Jewish American Heritage Month, we celebrate our Nation’s strong American Jewish heritage, rooted in the ancient faith and traditions of the Jewish people. The small band of Dutch Jews who first immigrated in 1654, seeking refuge and religious liberty, brought with them their families, their religion, and their cherished customs, which they have passed on from generation to generation.

The moral and ethical code of the Jewish people is inspired by their spiritual vocation of “tikkun olam” ‑‑ the charge to repair the world. Through that vocation, the Jewish people have left an indelible mark on American culture. Today, it is manifested in the towering success Jewish people have achieved in America through a unique synthesis of respect for heritage and love of country.

Escaping religious persecution and ethnic violence and seeking political freedom and economic opportunity, American Jews, over centuries, have held firm in the belief that the United States was “Di Goldene Medina” ‑‑ the Golden Country. Those who moved here built houses and gardens, raised families, and launched businesses. They have pursued education to advance their mission to make the world a better place. In every aspect of the country’s cultural, spiritual, economic, and civic life, American Jews have stood at the forefront of the struggles for human freedom, equality, and dignity, helping to shine a light of hope to people around the globe.

The achievements of American Jews are felt throughout American society and culture, in every field and in every profession. American Jews have built institutions of higher learning, hospitals, and manifold cultural and philanthropic organizations. American Jews have even brought us our greatest superheroes ‑‑ Captain America, Superman, and Batman. American Jews have composed some of our defining national hymns like God Bless America, timeless musicals like The Sound of Music, and even famous Christmas songs. From Admiral Hyman G. Rickover to Albert Einstein, Richard Rodgers to Irving Berlin, Jerry Siegel to Bill Finger, Mel Brooks to Don Rickles, and Levi Strauss to Elie Wiesel, American Jews have transformed all aspects of American life and continue to enrich the American spirit.

This month, I celebrate with my family ‑‑ including my daughter, Ivanka, my son-in-law, Jared, my grandchildren, and our extended family ‑‑ the deep spiritual connection that binds, and will always bind, the Jewish people to the United States and its founding principles. We recognize the faith and optimism exemplified by American Jews is what truly makes America “The Golden Country,” and we express our Nation’s gratitude for this great, strong, prosperous, and loving people.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 2017 as Jewish American Heritage Month. I call upon all Americans to celebrate the heritage and contributions of American Jews and to observe this month with appropriate programs, activities, and ceremonies.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of April, in the year two thousand seventeen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-first.

DONALD J. TRUMP

Israel, The West Bank and Gaza Travel Warning

   Author(s): State.Gov Staff   Source: travel.state.gov

Travel WarningThe Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all travel to the Gaza Strip and urges those present to depart. The security situation remains complex in Israel and the West Bank and can change quickly depending on the political environment, recent events, and particular geographic location. U.S. citizens should exercise caution and remain aware of their surroundings when traveling to areas where there are heightened tensions and security risks. The Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority both make considerable efforts to ensure security, particularly in areas where foreigners frequently travel. This replaces the Travel Warning issued August 23, 2016.

Gaza is under the control of Hamas, a U.S. government-designated foreign terrorist organization. The security environment within Gaza and on its borders is dangerous and volatile. Violent demonstrations and shootings occur on a frequent basis and the collateral risks are high. While Israel and Hamas continue to observe the temporary cease-fire that ended the latest Gaza conflict in 2014, sporadic mortar or rocket fire and corresponding Israeli military responses continue to occur.

Within Israel and the West Bank, the possibility of random violence continues to exist and can happen without warning. The frequency of attacks has declined significantly since a rise in political and religious tensions led to a spike in violence in October 2015. U.S. citizens have been killed and wounded in recent attacks, though there is no indication they were specifically targeted based on nationality. Perceived religious affiliation was a factor in some of the attacks, and the majority of recent attacks have targeted uniformed Israeli security forces often in proximity to checkpoints throughout Jerusalem and the West Bank or near religious sites significant to multiple faiths. Attacks were carried out using knives, vehicles, and guns. Israeli security forces reacted with deadly force, which has resulted in some bystanders being injured or killed in the crossfire. U.S. citizens should stay abreast of current events in order to know what areas to avoid when traveling throughout the region.

For your safety, the Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens:

  • Avoid all travel to the Gaza Strip, and if you are there, leave as soon as you are able;
  • Maintain a high degree of situational awareness and exercise caution at all times, especially at checkpoints and other areas with a significant presence of security forces;
  • Avoid demonstrations and large gatherings – which can turn violent – and steer clear of neighborhoods where police have restricted access;
  • Beware of and report unattended items or packages;
  • Follow the instructions of security and emergency officials;
  • Report suspicious activities or items to security officials; and
  • Learn the location of the nearest bomb shelter or other hardened shelter.

When planning their own travel, U.S. citizens should consider the following rules that apply to U.S. government employee travel:

….

Move The Embassy

   Author(s): Jpost Editorial   Source: Jerusalem Post

By taking a stand on an issue that clearly holds great emotional and symbolic significance for a great many Israelis, Trump would be implementing a huge confidence-boosting measure. As he arrives next week for his first visit as president to Israel, just a day before the country marks 50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem, Trump has a rare opportunity to change the course of the future for the people of the region.

Election promises have been broken probably dating back to ancient Greece when candidates pledged to eager voters to build more bathhouses, only to later discover that other priorities or political considerations rendered the plans unfeasible or imprudent.

During his campaign last year, US President Donald Trump endeared himself to many Israelis by vowing to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, something that none of his predecessors had any interest or willingness to do. That stance, combined with Trump’s unparalleled alignment during the campaign with the views of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government regarding the peace process with the Palestinians, imbued a sense of euphoria among the most right-leaning MKs and ministers that the Trump era would feature unprecedented coordination between the US and Israel regarding the future direction of negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.

However, since his January inauguration, Trump has proven to be a more savvy politician in his foreign policy than in his shambolic domestic agenda. Through his willingness to act against Syria’s regime, Afghanistan and North Korea, the new president has thrust the US back into the forefront of the international scene, following eight years of president Barack Obama’s leading from behind policy.

He has also demonstrated that, despite his over-thetop campaign rhetoric, he’s not going to roll over and be Netanyahu’s poodle by offering a blank check to Israel for settlement expansion. Regarding the embassy move, Trump invoked his Greek moment by repeatedly hedging on his enthusiastic pre-election pledge.

His secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, was the latest administration official that doused the flames of the eventuality of the embassy being moved to Jerusalem, telling a US interviewer that the decision “will be informed by the parties involved in those talks – and most certainly Israel’s view – and whether Israel views it as helpful to a peace initiative or perhaps a distraction.”

“[Trump] wants to put a lot of effort into seeing if we cannot advance a peace initiative between Israel and Palestine,” Tillerson continued. “And so, I think in large measure, the president is being very careful to understand how such a decision would impact a peace process.”

According to reports in the Israeli media, American magnate Sheldon Adelson, a big supporter of Trump during the campaign, was incensed by Tillerson’s comments. And it’s likely that his good friend Netanyahu was not too happy either. The prime minister quickly issued a statement explaining why moving the embassy to Jerusalem wouldn’t harm the peace process.

“It will correct a historic injustice by advancing the [peace process] and shattering a Palestinian fantasy that Jerusalem isn’t Israel’s capital,” Netanyahu said.

Moving the US Embassy would certainly have the effect, but it would influence the Israeli people in a much more profound manner. By taking a stand on an issue that clearly holds great emotional and symbolic significance for a great many Israelis, Trump would be implementing a huge confidence-boosting measure – one that would possibly enable the Israeli people to

So You Want to Move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem? Here's How …

   Author(s): FORMER AMB. Daniel Shapiro   Source: Foreignpolicy.com

Jerusalem-embassy-act-of-1995Daniel Shapiro Former Ambassador of the United States of America to the State of Israel:

It never failed. In five years serving as U.S. ambassador to Israel, whenever I spoke before an Israeli audience, the first or second question was always: “When will the United States move its embassy to Jerusalem?”

My answer invariably wove through Jerusalem’s unique history and American interests in the two-state solution. It culminated in Congress’s 1995 passage of legislation requiring the transfer of the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — but only after the inclusion of a waiver authority permitting the president to delay the move for six months at a time, if he determined it was in the U.S. national security interest. Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama exercised the waiver like clockwork, citing the need to prevent damage to ongoing efforts to negotiate a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

I supported all three presidents’ use of their national security waiver authority to delay the move in the interest of pursuing Middle East peace. But I have never believed that arguments for moving the embassy were groundless, or that it must await a final Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. I’m influenced by my love of Jerusalem — an emotional attachment born of decades studying its history — and sense of justice for Jewish claims to the city that are far too often called into question. The presence of a U.S. Embassy in parts of Jerusalem no one disputes are Israeli territory is one way of acknowledging the centuries of history that link the Jewish people to the city, the questioning of which is closely linked to the denial of Israel’s very legitimacy.

There are also practical diplomatic reasons for such a move. As ambassador, I was obliged to travel to Jerusalem several times a week to engage with Israeli officials in their offices.

But if President Donald Trump’s administration is determined to go forward with this move, the question of how it is executed will be critical. Done carefully, it could advance American national goals and interests. Done carelessly, it could cause them grave harm and lead to preventable tragedy.

The fact that the Trump administration has not immediately announced its intention to move the embassy, defying some predictions, suggests it is approaching the question carefully. This is a welcome contrast to

Move the Embassy for America's Sake

   Author(s): Aaron Menenberg   Source: thetower.org

” … In using the Jerusalem Embassy Act to move the American embassy to Jerusalem and recognize Israeli sovereignty over the city, America would be making a profound statement that it recognizes the Jewish connection to Jerusalem and believes, based on all the evidence of history …  Such a move would restore America’s credibility as a moral leader and signal that it is not interested in cowing to illiberal falsehoods. … Put another way, the decision to move America’s embassy to Jerusalem and recognize Israeli sovereignty would be the decision of a great and reasonable country seeking a better world for all … “

us-embassy-israel

Moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is mandated by law. Finally doing so would be a reflection of America’s core values. The new White House administration has promised to move the United States’ embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

This idea is controversial, not least because it is supported by Donald Trump. But the U.S. has had a law on its books for the last two decades that requires the government to do exactly what Trump is proposing. The reasons every president since Bill Clinton has waived the law are based on outdated and irrational arguments, which hold that, somehow, moving the embassy will cause a major international crisis.

While Trump may be a controversial leader, the motivation behind two-plus decades of overwhelming bipartisan support for moving the embassy are far from controversial. Indeed, they are based on what it means to be American: the classic liberal values of individual rights and freedoms that are enshrined in our way of life. The only un-American policy on Jerusalem is the one the United States has pursued for the last 69 years; a policy of consciously refusing to recognize that the only capital city in the Middle East and North Africa where classic liberalism thrives is Jerusalem.

The view that Jerusalem is Israel’s legitimate capital has been endorsed by overwhelming bipartisan majorities in Congress since the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, which Clinton signed into law. The House approved it by a vote of 374-37, and the Senate by 93-5. Fulfilling the requirements of the law should be undertaken for a simple yet powerful reason: it is a classic liberal act. Classic liberalism—liberalism with a lower case “l,” the kind practiced in America—is the belief that humans are individuals and as such have individual rights like self-determination and religious choice; in Thomas Jefferson’s words, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

This belief is at America’s core, and for centuries Americans have recognized that it needs to be actively and vigilantly protected. It has not only become American law, but also Israeli law. Just as in the U.S., the Israeli government protects the individual’s rights and freedoms through representative government with limited powers. Recognizing the self-selected capital of a fellow liberal state would send a powerful message, especially as the

THE SEVEN SIGNS OF TERRORISM

   Author(s): MTA STAFF   Source: METROPOLITAN.TRANSPORTATION.AUTHORITY.NEWYORK

7 SignsFearing future terrorist attacks does not mean that people have to live in fear every day. There are several steps people may take to help prepare and protect their families.

One such action is to become familiar with the Seven Signs of Terrorism, developed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York, that has been adopted by State Police across the country as an educational tool. The 7 signs are recommended by the Department of Homeland Security.


  1. Surveillance: Be on the lookout for someone recording or monitoring activities. The type of recording does not has to be as obvious as a camera or a video camera; the person may be taking notes, drawing diagrams, annotating maps, or using binoculars, etc.
  2. Elicitation: Be wary of people or groups who attempt to learn information about military operations, capabilities, or people. The attempts do not have to be face-to-face. They may be made by mail, telephone, etc.
  3. Tests of Security: If someone is attempting to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of security measures, or if he is attempting to record and analyze reaction times to security breaches, contact your local authorities.
  4. Acquiring Supplies: Be vigilant about people who purchase or steal explosives, weapons, ammunition, etc. Other supplies that may be needed for a terrorist attack are military uniforms, flight manuals, badges or the equipment to make them, and any other controlled items. And, as we learned in the Boston bombing, materials such as pressure cookers and fireworks also may be supplies that terrorists purchase in large quantities.
  5. Suspicious persons out of place: Of course, we are wary of people who don’t seem to belong in our neighborhoods. But, people also may arouse suspicion at work, businesses, or anywhere, for that matter. Also be alert for people who suspiciously cross the border, stow away on board a ship, or jump ship in port if you are traveling.
  6. Dry run/Trial run: Terrorists may practice their attack prior to carrying it out, so watch for people who move around but don’t seem to have a true purpose. A terrorist also may map out routes or time traffic lights, so be on the lookout for these types of activities.
  7. Deploying Assets: Terrorists have to get people and supplies positioned prior to committing the terrorist act. If you suspect these activities are occurring, immediately contact the authorities because this may be the last chance you have to do so before the terrorist act takes place.

TOOLS TO HELP YOU PREPARE AGAINST TERROR ATTACKS

   Author(s): DHS STAFF   Source: U.S DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

PlacemarkerThe U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) closely monitors attacks on public gatherings and public places to constantly enhance the Nation’s security. During both steady state and times of heightened awareness, DHS engages closely with our private sector and community partners to provide expert counsel and recommendations about protective measures they can implement to protect facilities and venues. DHS provides free tools and resources to communities because the Department recognizes that communities are the first line of defense in keeping the public safe and secure.

city skyline

The Department encourages businesses to Connect, Plan, Train, and Report. Applying these four steps in advance of an incident or attack can help better prepare businesses and their employees to proactively think about the role they play in the safety and security of their businesses and communities.

    • CONNECT: Reach out and develop relationships in your community, including local law enforcement. Having these relationships established before an incident occurs can help speed up the response when something happens.
    • PLAN: Take the time now to plan on how you will handle a security event should one occur. Learn from other events to inform your plans.
    • TRAIN: Provide your employees with training resources and exercise your plans often. The best laid plans must be exercised in order to be effective.
    • REPORT: “If You See Something, Say Something™” is more than just a slogan. Call local law enforcement.

 

    Read the rest of this Informational Report .

 

Violent Extremism: Why Do Some With Radical Views Become Terrorists – But Others Do Not?

   Author(s): Ben Frankel   Source: apa.org

Violent ExtremismNote: Ben Frankel, editor-in-chief, has years of experience as a writer and editor in the fields of international security, defense, and foreign policy. Ben did his undergraduate studies at the University of Tel Aviv, and his graduate work at the University of Chicago.

Since most people who hold radical views do not become terrorists, what are the factors that drive some to violent extremism? Is there a connection between mental illness and terrorist involvement? And why do some interrogators resort to torture when the body of evidence shows building rapport with suspects is more effective?

These questions and others are addressed in a special issue of American Psychologist, the flagship journal of the American Psychological Association. The APA says that the articles look at such topics as how individuals become radicalized; how to predict who will become a terrorist; the progression from nonviolence to radicalization to terrorism; and the role of community resilience in preventing youth from embracing violent extremism.

“Terrorism is one of the most complex social problems of our time,” said John G. Horgan, guest editor of the issue and a psychology professor at Georgia State University. “Efforts to understand terrorism abound in every academic discipline but many questions regarding how to predict and prevent it remain unanswered. There has never been a more pressing need for greater engagement from psychology.”

Among the articles in the special issue:

Lone Wolf Terrorism and Open Source Jihad: An Explanation and Assessment

   Author(s): Claire Wiskind   Source: ict.org.il

LonewolfLone wolf terrorism is exceedingly difficult to detect and therefore prevent.  The attackers are usually citizens of the country that they are attacking, so they cannot easily be traced or stopped at borders.  They are able to carry out their attacks with readily available materials, from purchasing a gun to creating a rather simple bomb out of materials that can be bought at a hardware store with little suspicion. 

If a country wanted to eradicate lone wolf terrorism, it would need to completely eliminate the sale of goods such as guns, fireworks, nails, pressure cookers, lead pipes, Christmas lights, and matches.  And even then, those committed to carrying out a lone attack would just have to get a little bit more creative or acquire the necessary materials on the black market.

This paper focuses on radical Islamist lone wolf terror attacks, particularly those inspired by Al Qaeda and Daesh[1], which follow the pattern of attacks outlined in Al Qaeda’s “Open Source Jihad” in their magazine, Inspire.  One of the greatest challenges when combatting and preventing radical Islamist lone wolf attacks is that it is a challenge of combatting ideology rather than a force of ground troops.  

Western powers fighting against radical Islamist terror organizations, can beat them back from territory, block their funding, and imprison all of their leaders, cutting them off from all outside communication, and still lone wolf terror attacks would occur.  This is in part due to the lack of outside demand and hierarchy characteristic of lone wolf attacks.  There is no chain of command through which to track these soldiers of leaderless jihad.  There is no cable to be intercepted telling them where, when, and how to attack.  This is self-directed terror in the name of a global ideological movement that is nearly impossible to track or identify until they strike.

Lone wolf terrorists operate individually, without belonging to an organized terror group or network.  Their attacks are “conceived and directed by the individual without any direct command or hierarchy.”[2]  While lone wolf attackers can, and often do, identify with the ideology of a particular terror organization, they do not collaborate on their attacks with these organizations.  Similarly, a lone wolf terrorist may have contact with members of an established terror organization but those members do not

Trump Focuses on Islamist Extremism – Guts Programs Countering White Supremacy

   Author(s): Nathan Guttman   Source: Forward.com

SkinheadNote: Nathan Guttman staff writer, is the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Ha’aretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news.

In the past six months, Life After Hate, an organization devoted to reforming violent extremists, mainly members of white supremacy groups, has seen a spike in calls.

The number of inquires from people reaching out to seek help for their loved ones reached an all time high. “Given the last election cycle, people have much greater awareness and a lot more concern to violent extremism,” said Tony McAleer, the group’s co-founder and board chair. The display of white nationalism hate groups supporting the Trump campaign, he explained, brought attention to the issue and led some to seek help for friends involved in these organization.

Life After Hate was about to expand its operation by launching a program that would proactively seek out violent extremists through the Internet and reach out to them to offer help. But the $400,000 government grant for the program, awarded in the final weeks of the Obama administration, never arrived and no explanation was provided. “Nothing but crickets,” said McAleer, who, like other grantees waiting for their funds, had heard that the Trump administration decided to put a hold on the funds.

It is more than a mere bureaucratic mishap. Experts in the field believe that withholding the funds is part of a broader policy of the Trump administration to redefine violent extremism and reshape government policy for dealing with the problem,

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