Oh Those Sands! Those Shifting Sands! : Mordechai Kedar

A little over two years ago, I wrote:

“The Middle Eastern see-saw is leaning heavily towards the Saudi-Egyptian axis, but it is not at all clear whether that coalition will continue to direct the Middle East in another year or two. Israel must not be tempted to align its security and future with a temporary constellation, no matter how good it appears to be. Israel must always base its policy on long term planning that gives priority to Israel and its territorial possessions and not to agreements resting on the shifting sands of the Middle East.”

Unfortunately, for the last two years Israelis and many others have been talking about the importance of a treaty between Israel and the so-called “coalition of moderate Sunni nations” – to wit, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, The United Arab Emirates, and the Palestinian Authority — all of them united against the Iranian threat and ISIS.

The foundation of the “moderate Sunni coalition” was the close cooperation between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, that began when King Abdullah, all heart and outspread hands, supported General Sisi, who in July 2013 ousted elected president Mohammed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood–this in opposition to the will of the US government and Europe. The Saudi billions saved Egypt from bankruptcy, and the cooperation between the two countries reached the point where Egyptian soldiers came to the aid of the Saudis in their struggle against the Iranian and Houthi forces in Yemen.

Except that since then, the sand dunes have shifted. Egypt is now in close cahoots with Saudi Arabia’s enemies, headed by Iran.

How did the turnabout happen?

The answer is to be found in the situation in Syria over the past two years. The Assad issue polarizes all the countries involved in Syria: Russia, Iran, Iraq and Hezbollah support Assad actively, not only politically, and are taking part in the fighting. Assad would be long gone without this involvement. On the other side of the court, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and some of the Emirates are undermining Assad politically and financially, arming and training those rebelling against his regime.

The scales of war tipped towards Assad during the past year once Russian military involvement began to increase in strength. One can say with certainty that Russia has become the Syrian Army’s main source of power, mainly from the air, and that a good part of the Russian navy is concentrated opposite Syria’s shores. The air defense systems that Russia has spread along the Syrian coast threaten the activities of the US, Israeli and Turkish warplanes in the area.

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Leave the United Nations : Ruth King

The story of Taiwan’s expulsion from the UN is a cautionary tale for Israel. In 1971, after Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger implemented a rapprochement with the despots of Communist China, pro-American Taiwan was expelled by the United Nations to accommodate Peking (now Beijing).

In 1979 the American embassy in Taipei was downgraded to a consulate, the embassy to China relocated to Beijing.

Although Taiwan gave up all claims to the mainland, it didn’t help at the UN which systematically reduced Taiwan’s role, banning it not only from the Security Council but from the General Assembly. It has hung on to a peripheral place on a few subcommittees, where it is routinely harassed by other members. Taiwan continues to apply for UN membership but its applications have been denied, shamefully with American support for the continuing ban. Nonetheless Taiwan remains a thriving democracy now governed by a woman, Tsai Ing-wen.

The American embassy today is in Tel-Aviv not in Jerusalem, Israel’s capital. The United Nations edges closer and closer to recognition of a “Palestinian” state. Israel can meet the fate of Taiwan should a “Greater Arab Palestine” be formally endorsed by the representatives of the “HateIsraelstans”– those post-colonial nations that won independence in the 1950s, increasing the number of UN member states to 193, most of them oppressive tyrannies.

The United Nations and its sub agencies bash, libel and condemn Israel in an unending barrage of hostile resolutions, while ignoring the depredations of the most oppressive regimes in the world.

In response Israel has adopted two opposing policies.

One–the less appealing–is making concessions, even though all previous concessions have had disastrous results. Israel then airbrushes the inevitable violent Arab/Moslem response.

The second–and more appealing—policy is one through which Israel garners respect for strength, determination and indifference to the howling of antagonists.

The incredible lightning victory of 1967 brought an outpouring of Western support. So did the epic rescue of hostages at Entebbe in 1976. So did the raid of 1981, launched from an air base in the Sinai, which destroyed Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor at Osirak.

Initially the last produced howls from the left. To its discredit, the United States abstained on a vote for UN resolution 487 which condemned Israel’s attack on an IAEA-approved nuclear site, entitled Iraq to sue for compensation, and urged Israel to place its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards.

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Editor: Rael Jean Isaac

Editorial Board: Ruth King, Rita Kramer

Outpost is distributed free to Members of Americans for a Safe Israel Annual membership: $100.

Americans for a Safe Israel 1751 Second Ave. (at 91st Street) New York, NY 10128

Tel (212) 828-2424 / fax (212) 828-1717 Email: judy@afsi.org

Online now: Jabotinsky Part 2: The Jewish Legion

“Jabotinsky Part 2: The Jewish Legion” depicts Jabotinsky’s efforts to create a Jewish military unit to help conquer Palestine in World War I. Jabotinsky then struggles with a hostile British military administration in Palestine and founds the Haganah, which defends Jerusalem against Arab rioters in 1919 — and for which its members, Jabotinsky included, are imprisoned by the British.

There are already 42 free videos on the site, covering everything from Zionism’s early years to Christian Zionism to Israel’s War of Independence.

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Game Changer : William Mehlman

Minister of Culture and Sports Miri (Miriam) Regev is redefining the boundaries of artistic license in Israel and the licensees are in full cry.

It is a reckoning that has been in the making for the more than 68 years of the Jewish State’s existence, pitting an Ashkenazi (European descendant), left-wing elite’s iron grip on the arts against an Israeli population that has grown progressively more politically conservative and religious. Whether it’s the “paradigm shift in Israeli society” cited by Bar Ilan law professor Yedidya Stern, the “core of the struggle over who are the legitimate heirs to the Zionist movement, “ declared by veteran columnist Nahum Barnea or the “revolution”– cultural, political and demographic– prophesied by others, it has found its “Danton” (its ”Robespierre,” some would insist) in the raven-haired 51 year- old daughter of Moroccan Jewish immigrants. The mother of three and possessor of an MBA degree rose from the mean streets of Kiryat Gat to the rank of Brigadier General and IDF spokesperson and from there to a coveted No. 5 on the Likud list in the 2009 Knesset election.

Regev’s take on her job is encapsulated in the still to be passed “Loyalty in Culture” amendment to Israel’s 2017 budget which would “for the first time, make government financial support for any cultural institution conditioned on its loyalty to the state of Israel.” Flag desecrators, “Nakba” sympathizers and those of similar mind can save their breath. “I have a responsibility for the public’s money,” she asserts. Regev invoked the power of her $120 million purse immediately on assuming her ministerial duties last year, freezing funding of a Haifa-based Midan Theatre production of Parallel Time, portraying in a rather understanding context the real life story of a Palestinian security prisoner who kidnapped, tortured and murdered an Israeli soldier in 1984.

At about the same time, she red-lined government financial support for a proposed “documentary “ on the wife of Yigal Amir, Yitzhak Rabin’s assassin, and reduced funding for the Jewish-Arab Almina Children’s Theatre in Jaffa port because its director, Christian actor Norman Issa, refused for “reasons of conscience” to participate with other theatre groups in a performance in the “occupied” Jordan Valley. In a swipe at the Israeli allies of Nakba, the annual day of Arab mourning over the “catastrophic” creation of a Jewish state in their midst, she hit out at the Tel-Aviv Cinemateque for its promotion of the “48mm Festival,” a.k.a. the International Film Festival on Nakba.

Though she wasn’t in charge of the ministry in time to prevent its footing the bill for transporting the cast of radical leftist Motti Lerner’s “Return to Haifa” to the U.S., beginning with a performance in Washington, D.C., the lady from Kiryat Gat wouldn’t be above suing the producers for soliciting public money under false pretenses. Art it surely is not. The “play,” as reported on by Carol Greenwald of COPMA (Citizens Opposed to Propaganda Masquerading as Art), charges Israel with forcefully evacuating thousands of Arabs from Haifa in 1948 and ghoulishly “equates the murder of 1.5 million Jewish children in the Holocaust with the fictional abduction of an Arab child.” What Congressional supporters of Israel in the audience might have thought of all that is too painful to contemplate.

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From the Editor : Rael Jean Isaac

Orwell at DePaul

DePaul is a Catholic university in Chicago. If there is anywhere that a student poster protesting abortion should be acceptable, this is the place. Think again. When the college Republican group sought to display a poster with the phrase “Unborn Lives Matter” DePaul’s President Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider said no. He issued an open letter to the “DePaul community” declaring the poster constituted “bigotry under the cover of free speech” that “provokes the Black Lives Matter movement.” Holtschneider concedes that “some people will say that DePaul’s stance unfairly silences speech to appease a crowd. Nothing can be further from the truth.” In fact, nothing could be more spot on. As Charles Lipson says in “DePaul, Where Free Speech Comes to Die” “the DePaul President’s letter could have been drafted by Orwell’s Ministry of Truth.”

Just a few months ago, in July, the administration banned conservative (and strongly pro-Israel) writer Ben Shapiro from speaking on campus. John Minster, a sophomore at the school and vice president of the College Republicans, says witheringly: “There is seemingly no step this cowardly administration won’t take to suppress free speech.”

B’tselem: A Lethal NGO

On Oct. 11, the director of B’tselem, a supposed civil rights group that is in fact an attack dog against Israel, spoke at a UN Security Council special session (convened by Egypt, Malaysia, Venezuela, Angola and Senegal). He implored the UN to take “decisive international action” against Israel. He made no mention of Palestinian Arab terror attacks or incitement. NGO Monitor notes that this event “highlights the ways in which influential NGOs distort reality for ideological objectives and contribute to international political campaigns against Israel.”

Efforts in Israel five years ago to limit by legislation the amount of money an NGO can accept from a foreign government were unsuccessful. A more recent Israeli effort to force NGOS to acknowledge foreign government funding in their literature was also met by a torrent of protests. (In the case of B’tselem over 64% of its funds come from governments, including the EU, and separately, France, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland etc.) NGO Monitor has fastened on another approach, saying “Instead of symbolic and punitive gestures that further polarize the discourse about political NGOs, the Israeli government and Members of Knesset should work with their counterparts in Europe to formulate clear guidelines that establish transparency in funding processes, and define the agendas and groups that are ineligible for government funding.” It’s worth a try.

A Mosque in Romania

Writing for the Gatestone Institute, Soeren Kern points out that a lawsuit has been brought in Bucharest to annul the government’s grant of free city land for a mosque to be built by Turkey. It is to be the largest mosque in Eastern Europe, second only to the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. The original deal called for a “mutual exchange” in which Romania would build an Orthodox church in Istanbul while Turkey built the mosque in Bucharest. However in July 2015 then Prime Minister Victor Ponta explained that the Romanian government had abandoned the church project because it is “not allowed under Turkish law.” (No infidel worship wanted here.) Ponta decided to go ahead anyway, on the ground that the mosque was a multicultural symbol of Romania’s acceptance of the Muslim community.

The mosque’s critics, 500 years of Ottoman domination of Rumania still in mind, counter the mosque is out of proportion to the size of Bucharest’s currently small Muslim population (and will encourage more Muslims to come), is a portent of Turkey’s efforts to expand its influence in the Balkans, and has less to do with worship than “marking the territory of their authority through a monument.” (This last is the charge of activist Ozgur Kazim Kivanc and reflects Turkish pursuit of the Islamic principle that once a land is Islamic, always Islamic.) The suit points out that adding insult to injury, “We consider the disposal of free land which, ironically, belonged to the family of Prince Constantin Brancoveanu, who was beheaded by the Turks on August 15, 1714, to be a betrayal of the Romanian people.”

Kern reports that an online survey by the mainstream newspaper Gandul found over 90% of the public opposed to the mosque project. Yet another sign of the gulf in Europe between rulers and ruled when it comes to Islam.

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Amona: Between Heaven, Earth and the White House. Daniel Greenfield

Halfway to the sky sits a tiny village of little white houses that has attracted the ire of the White House.

The village of Amona with its small white houses and red roofs could easily be mistaken for some lost Italian village or a dusty California town. But the White House would not have “boiled in anger”, as one anonymous official claimed, over the doings of some Italian village.

There’s only one place on earth that makes Obama’s blood boil. It isn’t Iran or North Korea. It’s Israel.

Amona’s small scattering of houses have a fraction of the square footage of the White House. The 40 families living there in defiance of Islamic terrorists and left-wing lawfarers would hardly be noticeable if they all crowded into the White House foyer. And yet they’ve been condemned by the State Department in more virulent tones than most Muslim dictators.

What is it about this handful of Jews caught between heaven and earth that outrages so many?

That may be the great question of history. It will not be solved among the sheep pens and orchards, the little white houses of Amona and their inhabitants, who despite the rage of the big White House, continue to go to work each day, to raise their children and to worship in the way of their ancestors.

In the official parlance of the media, Amona is a “settlement”. That is to say it dates back a mere 3,300 years to the time when Joshua, born a slave in Egypt, commanded the Jews, “’Go and walk through the land, and describe it, and come back to me, and I will cast lots for you here before the Lord in Shilo.”

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Shimon Peres, 1923-2016 With Peres’ death, two very different men died. By David Isaac

Editor’s note: The pamphlet comprising statements by Peres referred to in the article below is What Shimon Says compiled (with an introduction and comments) by Roger A. Gerber and Rael Jean Isaac. The entire pamphlet can be read on the AFSI site (under publications). Yitzhak Ben Gad, then deputy mayor of Netanya, credited an earlier version of the pamphlet (entitled Shimon Says) with defeating Peres’s first candidacy for the Presidency in 2000. Ben Gad noted that initially polls showed Peres leading two to one among the 120 Knesset members. But then, he writes, “some of the material from the pamphlet [Shimon Says] was translated into Hebrew and distributed among the MKs. The numerous quotations of Peres’ ridiculous expressions and views as they appeared in the pamphlet most definitely led to the rethinking of many MKs. Many changed their vote and [Moshe] Katsav ultimately won the election 63-57. In personal talks I had with numerous MKs. many told me that ‘Shimon Says’ had a direct influence on their vote.” In 2007, when Katzav’s term was over–he left in disgrace over rape charges–Peres tried for the post again and this time—memories are short– he won.

With the passing of Shimon Peres at the age of 93, two very different men died. The first was young, pragmatic and tough-minded, skilled in negotiation and focused on building Israel’s military strength. The second was older, a dreamer, resolutely focused on a vision of peace that proved stubbornly impervious to reality.

The first Peres was tapped by Ben-Gurion to head Israel’s navy at the tender age of 24, and then became director general of the defense ministry at 29. He helped establish Israel’s arms industry and led the negotiations with France that made it Israel’s chief weapons supplier. He was deeply involved in the planning, with England and France, of the 1956 Sinai campaign and is credited with the construction of Israel’s nuclear deterrent at Dimona.

This Peres reacted to events like a security hawk. When in 1976 then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin wavered between sending a rescue mission to Entebbe or giving in to terrorist demands, it was Peres, as defense minister, who pushed hard for the risky and unprecedented rescue effort. And it was Peres, within a divided government, who supported the settlement movement in Judea and Samaria.

But around 25 years ago, Peres was reborn. In 1993, as foreign minister he became the architect of the Oslo Accords. Until then, it had been illegal for an Israeli to speak to PLO representatives. In the blink of an eye, Yasser Arafat went from terror chieftain to world statesman. The new policy led to a Nobel Peace Prize for both Arafat and Peres, along with Prime Minister Rabin, whom Peres carried along with his vision. This is the Peres who promoted the idea of a New Middle East, in which cooperation would replace conflict.

The new Peres would become the most un-Jewish of Israel’s prime ministers. This is not in the sense of religious observance: Peres may have been less alienated from tradition than some of Israel’s other secular leaders. It is in the sense of departing from fundamental Jewish historical values and insights. One of the most central of these is the importance of remembrance. Zakhor—remember, according to former Columbia Professor of Jewish History Yosef Haim Yerushalmi, is invoked 169 times in the Bible. Indeed, Yerushalmi wrote a book entitled Zakhor in which he notes that only in Israel “is the injunction to remember felt as a religious imperative to an entire people.” Yet Peres repeatedly insisted that he had no interest in the past. Noting the contrast between Yerushalmi’s emphasis on memory in Judaism and Peres’s cavalier dismissal of history, the pro-Israel group Americans for a Safe Israel compiled a pamphlet of statements from Peres on subjects like history, Zionism, and Judaism over nearly a decade following the Oslo Accords. Below is a sampling:

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Neighborhood Bully by Bob Dylan

A reader of Outpost forwarded this, saying that Dylan deserved the Nobel for it alone. The song came out on Dylan’s “Infidels” album, written after Israel bombed Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor –that’s the “bomb factory” alluded to in the song. It was Dylan’s first album after his “Christian” period which produced three albums.

Well, the neighborhood bully, he’s just one man

His enemies say he’s on their land

They got him outnumbered about a million to one

He got no place to escape to, no place to run

He’s the neighborhood bully.

The neighborhood bully he just lives to survive

He’s criticized and condemned for being alive

He’s not supposed to fight back, he’s supposed to have thick skin

He’s supposed to lay down and die when his door is kicked in

He’s the neighborhood bully.

The neighborhood bully been driven out of every land

He’s wandered the earth an exiled man

Seen his family scattered, his people hounded and torn

He’s always on trial for just being born

He’s the neighborhood bully.

Well, he knocked out a lynch mob, he was criticized

Old women condemned him, said he should apologize

Then he destroyed a bomb factory, nobody was glad

The bombs were meant for him. He was supposed to feel bad

He’s the neighborhood bully.

Well, the chances are against it, and the odds are slim

That he’ll live by the rules that the world makes for him

‘Cause there’s a noose at his neck and a gun at his back

And a license to kill him is given out to every maniac

He’s the neighborhood bully.

Well, he got no allies to really speak of

What he gets he must pay for, he don’t get it out of love

He buys obsolete weapons and he won’t be denied

But no one sends flesh and blood to fight by his side

He’s the neighborhood bully.

Well, he’s surrounded by pacifists who all want peace

They pray for it nightly that the bloodshed must cease

Now, they wouldn’t hurt a fly. To hurt one they would weep

They lay and they wait for this bully to fall asleep

He’s the neighborhood bully.

Every empire that’s enslaved him is gone

Egypt and Rome, even the great Babylon

He’s made a garden of paradise in the desert sand

In bed with nobody, under no one’s command

He’s the neighborhood bully.

Now his holiest books have been trampled upon

No contract that he signed was worth that what it was written on

He took the crumbs of the world and he turned it into wealth

Took sickness and disease and he turned it into health

He’s the neighborhood bully.

What’s anybody indebted to him for?

Nothing, they say. He just likes to cause war

Pride and prejudice and superstition indeed

They wait for this bully like a dog waits for feed

He’s the neighborhood bully.

What has he done to wear so many scars?

Does he change the course of rivers? Does he pollute the moon and stars?

Neighborhood bully, standing on the hill

Running out the clock, time standing still

Neighborhood bully.

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The UN’s Shameful Purge of Historical Jewish Ties to Jerusalem by Joseph Klein

(Editor’s note: The UNESCO vote was so egregious that it may have had fortunate consequences. The vote was 24-6 with 26 abstentions. In other words, it was the abstentions, largely by European countries, that allowed the lopsided vote to pass. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi called the vote “mistaken, “inconceivable’ and “shocking” and promised that Italy would vote against such resolutions in the future. “It is not possible to continue with these resolutions at the UN and UNESCO that aim to attack Israel,” he said on an Italian radio station. “It is shocking and I have ordered that we stop taking this position [abstaining] even if it means diverging from the position taken by the rest of Europe.” Israel has congratulated Renzi and hopes that other countries in the EU may be shamed into following his example.)

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) executive board passed a resolution, entitled “Occupied Palestine,” which refers to Jerusalem’s holy sites only by their Islamic names. The resolution effectively denies the historical ties of the Jewish people to the Temple Mount, proving that this dysfunctional UN body is not grounded in any educational, scientific or cultural reality at all. UNESCO is being used by Islamists, who rammed through the admission of Palestine to UNESCO with full membership privileges in 2011, to wipe away Jewish history in Jerusalem with a stroke of the pen. The purpose is to delegitimize the Jewish state. This is no surprise, considering that Islamic states such as the holocaust-denying Islamic Republic of Iran, the ISIS-funding state of Qatar and the genocide committing state of Sudan sit on UNESCO’s Executive Board.

Even UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who has had his own issues with Israel, could not abide by UNESCO’s re-writing of history. “The Secretary-General reaffirms the importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls for the three monotheistic religions and stresses the importance of the religious and historical link of the Jewish, Muslim and Christian peoples to the holy site,” said a statement read by the UN Spokesperson on behalf of the Secretary General. “The Al Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram al-Sharif, the sacred shrine of Muslims, is also the Har HaBayit—or Temple Mount—whose Western Wall is the holiest place in Judaism, a few steps away from the Saint Sepulcher church [Church of the Holy Sepulchre] and the Mount of Olives, which is revered by Christians.”

A senior Obama administration official told the Jerusalem Post that the UNESCO resolution was “one-sided,” “unhelpful” and “highly politicized.” The U.S. did vote against the resolution, but President Obama still wants to restore American taxpayers’ funding of UNESCO, which had been cut off after UNESCO granted full membership to the so-called Palestinian “state.”

Palestinian leaders have been cynically attempting to re-write history to suit their false narrative for years. And UNESCO has aided and abetted the lies, even referring to the holiest site in Judaism, the Western Wall, as Al-Buraq Plaza “Western Wall Plaza.” UNESCO used the Arabic name rather than the Hebrew name, Hakotel Hama’arvi, “Kotel.”

Mahmoud Abbas’ advisor on Religious and Islamic Affairs, Mahmoud Al-Habbash, recently praised the UNESCO action on official Palestinian Authority TV:

“UNESCO’s resolution confirms what we think and believe in, that Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque in particular, and the Al-Buraq Wall (i.e., Western Wall) and the Al-Buraq [Wall] plaza are all purely Islamic and Palestinian assets and no one has the right to be our partner in that. No one has the right. We are the owners and we have the right to it. Only the Muslims have the right to the Al-Aqsa [Mosque] and the Al-Buraq [Wall] and the Al-Buraq [Wall] plaza which is purely Islamic waqf property… This is a message to Israel from us (i.e., the Palestinians) that we have the right and from all of the international community.”

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My Letter to the Prime Minister by Melanie Phillips

Dear Mrs. May,

I am pleased and relieved to find that you appear to be free of animosity towards Israel and to hold the Jewish people in high regard.

This is no small thing. With the demonisation of Israel the default position in political and cultural circles and with open anti-Jewish hatred now a common occurrence, your decency and straightforwardness have unfortunately become the exception in public life rather than the rule.

I wonder, though, if you fully realise the sources, extent and consequences of these poisonous attitudes towards Israel and the Jewish people?

They are by no means confined to the Corbynistas. They have characterised progressive circles for decades and have spread within the Tory party too.

The animus against Israel cannot be separated from hostility to Jews.

Antisemitism singles out Jews for treatment applied to no other people: double standards, imputation of conspiratorial powers and false claims they are committing crimes of which they are in fact the victims. This is precisely the treatment applied to Israel.

Although anti-Israelism is anti-Jew, many who oppose Israel are not anti-Semitic. There are people of goodwill but no knowledge about the Middle East who believe the Big Lies about Israel with which they are bombarded.

The problem is that no-one is telling them the truth. This is where you come in. For you can use your high office to help change this false and hateful narrative.

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Editor: Rael Jean Isaac
Editorial Board: Herbert Zweibon, Ruth King

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March 2017
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