We are now in 2016 and just like past new year transition points, I like to reflect on personal happenings, world events and innovations. This last year though had quite a few world events that in my opinion will pose repercussions this year and in future years. These key events were:
- Charlie Hebdo Attack in Paris
- Iran Nuclear Deal
- ISIS Attacks in Beirut, Paris and San Bernardino/ Chattanooga
- Palestinian Knifing and Car Ramming Terrorism
- European influx of Muslim migrants and refugees
Many of these have links to each other, but it is the possibilities of what will or is happening after them that I am interested in considering. The Charlie Hebdo and other ISIS attacks have illustrated a few things:
- Islamists are actively recruiting people within the West and are ratcheting up terrorism, both as coordinated and in a lone wolf capacity. More importantly, this terrorism is targeted at all westerners, no longer just Jews and offensive journalists.
- With the increase of migrants and refugees from North Africa and the Middle East, anti-semitism and sexual assault crimes have grown exponentially. This culminated with the New Years Eve celebrations that resulted in over 100 women being sexually assaulted across Germany (Cologne, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Dusseldorf…).
- The result is more than double the Jews from 2014 have left European countries, in which Europe is supposedly a bastion for equality and multicultural tolerance. The fact that most of these Jews are going to Israel with its headaches and nearby instability, illustrates how low conditions in Europe have degraded.
- More importantly western bureaucrats, specifically Angela Merkel and President Obama, still preach these events have nothing to do with Islam. We have seen far right parties and candidates grow in popularity, mostly because the left leaning parties who have been in office seem blind to the obvious. The feeling is the left is giving foreigners (who oppose Western integration) priority over its own citizens, and that these policies are making the conditions in the street worse/ unlivable.
We can expect more of the above in 2016 in both Europe and the US. It is unlikely that any of the leaders in the respective regions will make dramatic policy changes to corral Muslim Extremism. The big question for 2016 is will the presidential race be decided based on the rising tide of Muslim Extremism or will there be another theme that rises up after the party nominations are determined.
For many Jews, there is debate regarding who to vote for. In the past, the vast majority of Jews have voted for Democrats. With the Iran Deal, the discord between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu, the supporting of Palestinian violence and the linking of popular movements like #BlackLivesMatter to BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel), there is a lot of questioning as to whether the left/ Democrats really share liberal views and if so are they conditional on being a particular race, religion or ethnicity. Also the atmosphere on college campuses regarding Israel and Jews has become toxic and is well beyond unacceptable.
I believe many centrists and independents are starting to see global terrorism as our number one problem, and will favor a candidate who understands this problem and will actively fight against Muslim Extremism. So far Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have not been strong in this area. They have mostly echoed President Obama’s hopes and aspirations. After this week’s State of the Union address, I was very impressed with Nikki Haley’s thoughtful and leveled response (see below), and I feel she would be a great running mate for Marco Rubio (if he earns the Republican nomination).
As to Iran, I feel it will continue to be a thorn in the side of the Middle East and the West. Whether Iran will fulfill its obligations as defined in the Iran Deal (also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) is questionable. If it does, then the deal in my opinion kicks the can down another four or five years to an Iran that will be more capable and recalcitrant. Nevertheless, I think our current administration will continue to placate Iran so this hallmark agreement does not collapse in 2016. A good video to see is a Washington Institute Candid Talk with Ehud Barak (former Prime Minister of Israel) at: