This week we discuss UNRWA, Islamist bias on campus, and Russia's Islamist problem with E.J Kimball, Winfield Myers, and Ilan Berman.

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A New Paradigm for Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
An interview with E.J. Kimball - Reforming the United Nations Relief and Works Agency

kimball.jpgEJ Kimball is a foreign policy and national security consultant with over 10 years of experience in Washington DC. He is currently the director of the Israel Victory Project and most recently served as executive director of the Israel Allies Foundation. He previously served as foreign policy counsel to Rep. Sue Myrick (NC), staff director of the Congressional Anti-Terrorism Caucus, and director of government relations for Jorge Scientific Corporation. 
The Israel Victory Project (IVP) is the answer to the failed 1993 Oslo Accords, whose true goal was to continue Palestinian Arab rejectionism of the Jewish state of Israel.  The Palestinian continuation of a war they have already lost to Israel is a major impediment to negotiating an end to the conflict.  Until the Palestinian Arabs accept the reality of their defeat, there can be no such resolution. 

IVP’s new paradigm places the onus for the failure to resolve the conflict squarely on Palestinian rejectionism.  The lack of incentives for Palestinians to cease their belligerence is apparent from the persistence of this rejectionism over the past 70 years.  Palestinian bellicosity has taken their circumstances from bad to worse, while the Israelis are waiting to invest in communities that recognize the opportunities for a better future, one that peace would provide.

The IVP takes a broader approach to the conflict, focusing more on changing attitudes and less on negotiating specific terms of an agreement. Only when the war has ended in the Palestinian psyche can the conflict be solved. Such a change in attitude would meet America’s national security interests as well as those of our allies.

A significant impediment to peace has been the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which was created in 1949 after Israel’s founding as a state.  UNRWA has perpetuated the refugee status of the Palestinians for generations. In the years since it was founded, the agency’s initial responsibility for some 700,000 refugees has ballooned to an absurd number of 5.3 million and belies any solution. 

The U.S. approach to resolve the refugee issue led the Middle East Forum to partner with the office of then-Senator Mark Kirk in his 2012 initiative, the Kirk Amendment, which required the State Department to report the approximate number of actual living refugees to the U.S. Congress. Under the Obama administration, a pro-Palestinian State Department submitted the report to Congress in 2015 but classified the document, purportedly to protect UNRWA funding and thereby promote the policy of the so-called “Palestinian right of return,” which would demographically destroy Israel.  The State Department’s argument that releasing the numbers would prejudge a final status issue is a specious one, given that the terms of any agreement ending the conflict would be negotiated between the parties directly involved, namely the Israelis and Palestinians.

Given the billions of American aid dollars that have been wasted on UNRWA, it is time to find another mechanism to validate the actual number of living Palestinian refugees which Daniel Pipes, scholar and president of the Middle East Forum, has estimated to be 20,000-30,000. 

Students Beware of Middle East Studies on U.S. Campuses
An interview with Winfield Myers - The dangers of university professors’ anti-Israel agendas

myers.jpgWinfield Myers is director of the MEF's Campus Watch, which reviews and critiques Middle East studies in North American universities. He has taught at the University of Michigan and Georgia, and Tulane and Xavier Universities. He was previously the managing editor of American Enterprise magazine, CEO of Democracy Project, Inc., and senior editor and communications director at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.
Students entering campus and university programs are advised to do their due diligence when researching Middle East Studies professors online. They should read what the professors have written to discern any biases and should avail themselves of Campus Watch as a resource for identifying professors who indoctrinate or lie to their students.

The lack of integrity among today’s professors is attributable to the capitulation of university administrators to the protests and demonstrations of the sixties generation of baby boomers.  Many of those liberal activists are today in charge of university departments and enforce their views with a totalitarian zeal.

Examples of revisionist historian professors whose goal is the delegitimization of the State of Israel are Nadia abu el-Haj of Columbia University and Hatem Bazian of the University of California in Berkeley.  El-Haj is author of a book arguing that there is no convincing evidence of an ancient Hebrew presence in modern day Israel.  She then posits that there is no reason for present modern-day Jews to be there, despite the discovery of ancient Hebrew ruins and artifacts in Israel that refute her claim. She further argues that the Hebrew bible is filled with myths, despite evidence from ongoing archeological excavations that confirm the veracity of ancient Israelite history contained in the Hebrew bible.

Bazian is the founder of an anti-Semitic, anti-Israel student group -- UC Berkeley’s Students for Justice in Palestine -- which disrupts and shuts down speakers whose points of view they disagree with.  Bazian recently tweeted virulent anti-Semitic cartoons that appeared to be out of 1930s Nazi Germany.  When he was exposed for forwarding them, Bazian claimed ignorance as to their blatant anti-Semitic content.

These doctrinaire professors abuse their positions in order to exert undue influence on students eager to exercise independent thinking.  Enthralled with knowledgeable instructors who present themselves as moral paragons, many impressionable students are led into radical groups.

Activism is crucial to counter the disturbing trend of student indoctrination.  Universities should be contacted regarding these outrages, alumnae should withhold donations, and conservative leadership should be hired at these universities in order to drain the academic swamp.

Russia’s Islamist Problem
An interview with Ilan Berman - Balancing the internal Muslim threat amid population decline

berman.jpgIlan Berman is Senior Vice President of the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, DC. An expert on regional security in the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Russian Federation, he has consulted on foreign policy and national security issues for a range of governmental agencies and congressional offices including the CIA and DoD. He has been called one of America's "leading experts on the Middle East and Iran" by CNN. 
Russia’s 21 million Muslims represent its fastest growing minority, while the remaining population of 125 million is declining significantly because of low fertility rates. With the rise of the Islamic State in the last decade, many of Russia’s mobilized and radicalized Muslims joined the caliphate in the Middle East.  Although Russian authorities eagerly encouraged the departure of Muslim radicals from the country, Russia entered Syria in order to take the fight to the jihadists before they returned home to menace its own civilian centers.  Also driving Russian involvement in Syria is a desire to divert attention from the threats posed by radicalized Muslims within Russia itself.

In shoring up Assad’s regime in Syria, as well as making common cause with Iran, Russia now pursues an “accidentally Shiite strategy,” using Iran’s tension with the U.S. as a force multiplier to serve Moscow’s strategic interests.  In the process, Russia runs the risk of severe blowback from global Sunni jihadists.  The most significant of these groups in Russia, the Caucasus Emirate, has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. Although it poses a threat to the Russian Federation, the group has declined since 2015 because of the FSB, Russia’s main internal security service.  The service’s claims of having thwarted a disproportionately large number of attacks by militant cells is indicative of the Draconian methods the government employs in clamping down on civil liberties and freedoms, suggesting that it is using counterterrorism as a tool for political repression.

Repressing the Russian Muslim minority may work to a point, but ultimately the lack of an intellectually compelling countervailing narrative against a radicalizing Islamic ideology has contributed to the belief that the Russian Federation project is failing as a nation state. In support of this mindset is a recent poll revealing that a third of Russians below the age of forty want to emigrate. 

Summary accounts by Marilyn Stern, Communications Coordinator for the Middle East Forum