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Australian Jews Are Forbidden to Build a Synagogue—Because It Might Be Targeted by Terrorists

The government of the Sydney suburb of Waverly has refused to grant permission for the local Jewish community to begin construction of a new place of worship due to “concerns as to the safety and security of future users of the synagogue, nearby residents, motorists, and pedestrians.” Joe Hildebrand reports:

Jewish leaders are shocked that the decision appears to suggest they cannot freely practice their religion because they are the target of hate by Islamist extremists. . . . The head of the local Jewish community said the council and the court [that upheld its decision] had effectively stifled freedom of religion and rewarded terrorism.

“The decision is unprecedented,” Rabbi Yehoram Ulman [said]. “Its implications are enormous. It basically implies that no Jewish organization should be allowed to exist in residential areas. It stands to stifle Jewish existence and activity in Sydney and indeed, by creating a precedent, the whole of Australia, . . . by extension rewarding terrorism.” . . .

Ironically, the council and the Land and Environment Court appeared to use the proposal’s own risk assessment and security measures in the proposed design—including setback buildings and blast walls—as evidence the site was too much of a security risk. Yet, in a classic catch-22, the council also said that if the design was changed to boost security, this would [also] be unacceptable because it would be too unsightly.

Read more at News.com.au

More about: Anti-Semitism, Australia, Freedom of Religion, Jewish World, Synagogues, Terrorism

The Trump Administration Has Said the Right Things about Syria, but Words Are Not Enough

Jan. 30 2018

While praising the White House for recognizing that Iran poses a major threat to American interests in Syria, Jennifer Cafarella argues that Washington still needs a strategy for countering the Islamic Republic and its allies:

The Trump White House identifies Iran as a primary threat. It has verbally committed to the departure from power of Bashar al-Assad. It claims to prioritize repairing relations with Turkey, seeks to destroy al-Qaeda, and wants to refocus the U.S. on Syria’s humanitarian catastrophe. These are the correct goals toward which American policy should strive. . . . The problem is that the strategy Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has outlined [in a January 17 speech] will not accomplish these goals. . . .

American policy in Syria, regardless of any tough administration statements, is to accept Assad and his regime de-facto. . . . The “de-escalation” agreement that President Trump signed in November 2017 with Russia is a surrender not only to Russia, but also to Iran. It heavily favors Assad. In that deal, Russia promised to compel Iran to withdraw its forces from southern Syria. It never happened. Pro-regime forces violate the de-escalation zone with impunity. . . .

Tillerson uses vague terms like “deny their dreams” to describe our strategy against Iran in Syria. He identifies no clear goal against which the U.S. can measure success. He states that the U.S. must deliver an “enduring defeat” to al-Qaeda—and we certainly must. Yet the U.S. Defense Department has offered no vision of how to do that. The strategy Tillerson outlines—and that the U.S. is pursuing—amounts to outsourcing the problem to Turkey, which is actually working with al-Qaeda in Syria. . . .

Two administrations have sought to substitute rhetoric for action and to outsource American interests to local partners. The U.S. must abandon this approach and recognize Syria’s importance to American security.

Read more at Fox News

More about: Al Qaeda, Donald Trump, Iran, Politics & Current Affairs, Rex Tillerson, Syrian civil war, U.S. Foreign policy