Noah Rothman: Regime Change Is the West’s Best Hope for Iran
If the regime in Iran collapsed, there’s every reason to believe that Tehran would reassess its options. If the demonstrators have their way and compel a provisional Iranian government to abandon its support for terrorist organizations like Hezbollah and rogue states like Syria, the threat posed by Israel’s nuclear arsenal (which it has possessed since at least 1968) diminishes significantly. Likewise, Iran’s regional non-nuclear competitors in the Arab World—chiefly Saudi Arabia and its allies—can be checked as effectively by conventional forces as they would be with a nuclear arsenal. Incentives provided to Tehran in the form of aid to induce verifiable nuclear disarmament and to transition toward a republican government would also facilitate this process.
To the self-described foreign-policy rationalists who engineered the Iran nuclear deal and now brood in exile, this all sounds like so much fancy. “Realistically, the best-case scenario is not that Iran becomes a Western-style liberal democracy, but rather that it follows the China model,” wrote current New York Times foreign affairs columnist Max Fisher, “of gradual economic and diplomatic opening, along with loosening some social freedoms.” Indeed, we have seen some social freedoms restored in the Islamic Republic—the abolition of the penalty of arrest for women who decline to wear the hijab, for example—but only as a result of protesters setting fire to government offices. Fisher’s isn’t just a failure of imagination disguised as sober calculation; it’s bet-hedging. No one will fault you if the government in Tehran collapses and you didn’t see it coming. Who could have? But if you were to advocate, much less hasten, the regime’s collapse and it survives anyway, your reputation as a policymaker or analyst might not.
Cracks are beginning to show as enraged demonstrators beat at the Islamic Republic’s foundations. Like the Soviet Union, Iran’s is a repressive regime that sacrificed its legitimacy long before its citizens took to the streets in revolt.The Iran deal has provided Iran with lucrative new trade arrangements and access to assets lost to it in 1979, but it has not induced a change in its confrontational posture toward the West. Nothing will. There will need to be new management in Tehran.
There is currently a Change.org petition urging Obama to speak out in favor of the demonstrations. That is a good start. But the former president should do more. He should devote his good offices to publicizing the cause of Iranian freedom. No American can lead Iran’s opposition, but Obama’s unique understanding of grassroots activism puts him in an ideal position to lead the Western cause of solidarity. He could organize lawyers, newspaper editors, teachers, librarians and human rights groups to partner Iranians under siege, following the Jewish-American movement to allow Soviet refuseniks to emigrate.
With all of this in mind, it’s also important to avoid past mistakes. Let’s start with hubris. Iranians will be the authors of their liberation. No State Department or CIA program will bring freedom to Iran. The expert class that has gotten so much of Iran wrong in recent years should step aside and listen to those Iranians driven out of their home country who live today in the West.
So far, the movement in Iran appears to have the advantage of being leaderless. Unlike the Greens of 2009, there are no Iranian leaders who have emerged as the personality or face of this new opposition. Let’s leave it that way. People’s Mujahedin leader Maryam Rajavi, or supporters of the Pahlavi dynasty that fell in 1979, should not be treated as leaders or spokesmen for this organic uprising. They seek to impose an agenda on a movement they did not create. Don’t let them do it.
The same goes for those who have emerged as a de facto lobby for President Rouhani and his faction within the Iranian regime. This network, based primarily in Washington, includes the National Iranian American Council, the Ploughshares Network and the many journalists and experts titillated by U.S.-Iranian diplomacy. For years they told us Rouhani was a reformer. Today they whisper that these demonstrators are really a ploy of Rouhani’s “hardline” opposition. They celebrate “elections” that have the legitimacy as those for student government. They want Trump to be silent today.
Finally, it’s important to not be discouraged. I hope the unrest in Iran spreads and the fanatics, thieves and terrorists who have infantilized Iranians for 38 years are toppled. But it’s likely the unrest today is the beginning of a longer process. This regime has survived mass demonstrations and riots before and restored the fear necessary to continue its misrule. It’s the West’s job in these coming weeks to support our real allies, the Iranian people demanding freedom.
As a long-time Iranian, I can tell you that the support of the US and President Trump is invaluable to the ordinary Iranians: they feel helpless and alone in the face of the monsters who have been oppressing them for so long.
On Persian social media outlets and apps such as Telegram, which is extremely popular among Iranians, people are cheering the US support. People are asking the US to support them in other ways as well, in addition to helping them bypass the internet-blocks and shut-downs that the Iranian regime recently implemented.
If the Iranians succeed in changing this Islamist regime, it will bring down the highest state sponsor of terrorism, the leading regime in human rights violations, the top state sponsor of anti-Americanism and anti-Semitic propaganda. Iran, with its current regime, is a danger not just to its long-suffering people, but to everyone. These protesters, who are flooding the streets and demanding that their voices be heard, are committing acts of heroism that will be felt throughout the world and throughout history.
Take note, those of you who want to see real women freedom-fighters. Look into the streets of Iran or listen to the chess champion Anna Muzychuk.
Iranian women, by risking their lives, have unmasked the faces of those trying to promote burqas and hijabs as supposed “symbols of liberation”.
The desperate attempt of Iranian people pouring out onto the streets against the Islamist regime exposes the bitter life that Iran’s citizens, especially women, have been forced to live for nearly forty years in the name of Islamic law, (sharia).
These demonstrations have also shown the ugly face of Islamists who take their own people hostage to quench their thirst for power — by repression, jail, torture, executions — any way they can.
Iranian women, like many others, are sick and tired of living in layers upon layers of imprisonment.
The regime in Iran clearly feels shaken by the resolve of these protestors: Iran’s leaders have promised to soften their misogynistic laws by not imprisoning women in Tehran who appear in public without their veils on.
The protesters, however, do not seem to be buying this offer: they are seeking the full elimination of extremism in the country. There is clearly no more trust in the promises of this regime.
Israelis Send Videos of Support for Iranian People
The Iranian people are in the midst of their largest protests since the 2009 Green movement, and many on the Left don’t seem especially thrilled about the prospects of a free Iran. The muted reaction is partly due to a troubling trend of justifying and excusing Islamic fascism in a broader and confused attempt at signaling tolerance. But almost surely an even more powerful factor is the need to protect Barack Obama’s legacy and criticize Donald Trump.
While we don’t know what will happen in Iran, or what we can do about it, it’s clearer than ever that our funding, legitimatizing, and propping up the Iranian regime — one that is now killing peaceful protesters who are demanding economic opportunity, freedom, and secular governance — was morally and politically tragic. (This includes imaginary “moderates” and mullahs alike.) Rather than further isolating and economically stunting the regime, Obama gave it cover.
It’s important to debate, not because we need to re-litigate the past (although why not?), but Democrats still believe the Iran deal was worth it. Rather than unequivocally supporting a movement that demands freedom, the Obama administration’s Echo Chamber, initially silent, has some talking points for you.
Nothing to See Here
The initial coverage of these historic protests—or in some cases, the lack of it—was scandalous. The New York Times’s Thomas Erdbrink, in particular, veered into revolting Walter Duranty territory. Looking back at the paper’s coverage of Iran, it’s unsurprising.
“For many years,” the reporter wrote only last month, “many Iranians were cynical about their leaders, but that is changing thanks to Trump and the Saudi crown prince.” Every unfiltered report from Iran told a different story.
Actually, thanks to Trump, the Times’ coverage swerved unconvincingly from “The protests are only small and and not worth your attention’” to “These protests are about economic woes and have nothing to do with political disputes and are not worth your attention” to the “Violence is the protesters’ fault because they won’t listen to the regime’s calls for calm.” All of this is particularly offputting when you consider how hard some in the media worked to make the Iran deal a reality.
Ronald Reagan, who outraged the Washington elite and frightened European leaders by flatly refusing coexistence with the Soviet Union, lived to see its sudden decline and fall. There is a fair chance that Donald Trump, who contradicts Barack Obama and Europe’s leaders by refusing coexistence with Iran’s ayatollah empire, will also have the satisfaction of seeing the dissolution of a regime that Obama among many others preferred to accommodate.
Whether or not this past weekend’s mass demonstrations in Iran will spread, whether a second revolution is imminent or not, the numbers for the ayatollah empire just don’t add up. A breakdown is materially inevitable.
With some 80 million people, and with oil accounting for 80 percent of its exports, Iran would need to export some 25 million barrels a day to make a go of it, but it can barely export 2.5 million. That would be luxuriously ample for the likes of Abu Dhabi with fewer than 800,000 citizens, but it is a miserable pittance for Iran, with a population more than 100 times as large.
Iran cannot even match the $6,000 income per capita of Botswana. That most fashionable of safari destinations is a fine and well-governed country to be sure, and far from poor by African standards—but then its citizens are not required to pay for extensive nuclear installations, which are very costly to maintain even in their current semi-frozen state, or for the manufacture of a very broad range of weapons—from small arms to ballistic missiles—for which much expensive tooling is imported daily from the likes of our own dear ally South Korea. Neither is Botswana mounting large-scale military expeditions in support of a foreign dictator at war with 80 percent of his own population or providing generous funding for the world’s largest terrorist organization, Hezbollah, whose cocaine-smuggling networks and local extortion rackets cannot possibly cover tens of thousands of salaries. The ayatollah empire is doing all those things, which means that average Iranians are actually much poorer than their Botswanian counterparts.
The US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley on Tuesday praised the courage of Iranian demonstrators and said protests across the Islamic Republic were spontaneous and not driven by outside forces.
After she read out social media posts written by Iranians in support of the demonstrations, many of which openly called for the overthrow of the Tehran regime, Haley dismissed Iranian leaders’ contention that the unrest was being orchestrated by their external enemies.
“We all know that’s complete nonsense,” she said. “The demonstrations are completely spontaneous. They are virtually in every city in Iran. This is the precise picture of a long oppressed people’s rising up against their dictators.”
Haley said the US was seeking emergency sessions on Iran at the United Nations Security Council in New York and at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
“We must not be silent,” she said. “The people of Iran are crying out for freedom.”
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Tuesday expressed support for the Iranian people protesting against their government, urging the international community to take action to back the nationwide demonstrations.
Speaking at the United Nations in New York, Haley followed up on President Donald Trump’s earlier statements backing the protesters and highlighted their messages against the Iranian regime. She directly addressed Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s contention that “enemies of Iran” had fomented the protests, arguing that his statement is “complete nonsense.”
“Now the Iranian dictatorship is trying to do what it always does, which is to say that the protests were designed by Iran’s enemies. We all know that’s complete nonsense,” Haley said. “The demonstrations are completely spontaneous. They are virtually in every city in Iran. This is the precise picture of a long-oppressed people rising up against their dictators.”
The protests are the biggest challenge to the Iranian government’s authority since mass demonstrations in 2009. They initially focused on rising costs and economic mismanagement by the regime, but quickly turned to political and social issues, including criticism of Iran’s theocratic system of rule.
Haley condemned Iranian authorities for suppressing the nationwide protests and called on the United Nations to take action before the regime tightens its grip.
“The international community has a role to play on this. The freedoms that are enshrined in the United Nations charter are under attack in Iran,” she said. “Dozens have already been killed. Hundreds have been arrested. If the Iranian dictatorship’s history is any guide, we can expect more outrageous abuses in the days to come.”
Republican Sen. Tom Cotton (Ark.) on Tuesday called on the U.S. government to “express our support” for the people of Iran who are protesting against the Iranian regime.
Cotton discussed the ongoing anti-government protests in Iran, which erupted last Thursday and have spread throughout the country, and how he believes the U.S. should respond during a radio interview with Hugh Hewitt.
When asked what he made of the protests, Cotton said the most fundamental action that President Donald Trump, other elected officials, and the U.S. government as a whole should take is to “express our support for the Iranian people and their desire not just to protest, but the cause for which they protest.”
Cotton said the Iranian people have a right to protest for the hope to live in a country that is stable, provides a decent standard of living, and does not take their money and children’s lives to pursue violent foreign policies in the Middle East.
Many have taken notice of the New York Times’ lack of moral consistency in its coverage of the countrywide protests in Iran against the theocratic regime that rules there. From declaring that the president of Iran is a “moderate” to underselling the freedom-seeking ambitions of the average Iranian citizen, much of the Times coverage lately has devolved into unjust equivocations between the theocratic regime and the average Iranian citizen who wishes not to be ruled by Islamic theocrats.
Over the years, the Times has developed a reputation as one of the friendliest U.S.-based publications to the Iranian regime. It is one of the few Western outlets that’s been able to embed a reporter in Tehran without incident (the Washington Post’s Jason Rezaian was imprisoned in Iran for 545 days). Today, the Times offers nonstop editorials depicting the regime as an honest broker, and the Manhattan publication was one of the most fervent supporters of the Iran nuclear deal.
The recent protests in Iran have raised many red flags and questions as to whether the Times is reporting the news objectively. As videos continue to surface on social media, showing masses of people calling for an end to the regime (and even “death to the Islamic Republic”), the New York Times has downplayed the protests as merely economic disputes. Moreover, the paper’s Tehran-based reporter was conveniently “on vacation” as the most consequential, anti-regime protests in years spread through Iran like wildfire.
It turns out that The New York Times has a special financial relationship with the Iranian regime, likely unknown to many of its readers. As one of the few U.S.-based Iran tour providers, The Grey Lady delivers unprecedented access to the theocratic nation for a price.
Tens of thousands of Iranians have been marching since Thursday demanding the overthrow of the entire Iranian regime. At least 21 people have so far been killed, including an 11-year-old boy who died on Tuesday.
The marches began as a protest against the regime specifically for spending money on military expansionism rather than the Iranian economy, and since then other grievances – political freedom, gender persecution, and so on – have been added. The protesters do not distinguish between the “moderate” and “hardline” camps that trade off control of the regime.
U.S. diplomats have worked to line up allies in support of the protesters, but European leaders – who have their eyes on lucrative business opportunities with Iran – have issued only lukewarm statements of support. Meanwhile the Iran nuclear deal has emerged as a central point of contention.
The regime’s financial hubs need to be cut off
• The nuclear deal was sold with the promise that the regime would use its windfall for domestic purposes. In an interview with Al Arabiya in July 2016, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said that “the vast majority of these resources are likely to go to the Iranian economy, which is in a terrible state, and address certain debts of the Iranian government.”
• But instead the money was spent on foreign military campaigns, including sponsoring the mass-murder of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, the Houthi insurgency in Yemen, and terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah. This is the root of the protests: marchers are chanting “Not Gaza, Not Lebanon, I give my life for Iran”
• The Trump administration and Congress must act now to cut off the financial hubs the regime uses to fund its human rights violations: the Central Bank of Iran, which ensures the regime has the resources to commit these atrocities, and the Supreme Leader’s own personal business empire EIKO.
The Iranian government’s decision to shut down social media apps in the wake of countrywide protests is only the latest chapter in the Islamic regime’s use of internet technologies to secretly monitor and repress dissidents.
Since 2009, Iran’s mullahs have mastered the surveillance capabilities of the internet and smart phones, in large part due to critical help they’ve received from western telecom companies, according to a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation.
Their technical help permits Iranian authorities to read emails and text messages, track online activity as well as tap phone calls and monitor the movement of activists with their smart phones, according to Reporters Without Borders.
The sale of Western telecom technology to the Islamic state, which could be used to spy on its citizens, is the “West’s dirty little secret,” according to an Iranian dissident who once was attached to the U.S. Government’s Middle East Broadcasting Networks. Although he lives in the U.S., he asked for anonymity for fear of retaliation by the Iranian regime.
MSNBC correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin referred to Iran’s malign actions in the Middle East as “endeavors” during a segment Tuesday about the mass protests against the Islamic Republic’s regime.
At least 21 people have been killed during wide-scale, anti-government protests by Iranians fed up with high prices and economic mismanagement by the ayatollahs. Some of that frustration has stemmed from using sanctions relief from the Iran nuclear deal on terror sponsorship rather than building up the country.
“There is truth that the Iranian people did not reap the benefits of what was supposed to be a windfall of money, and that has been a consistent argument made by American critics of the Iran nuclear deal, that the money that the Iran government was going to receive was probably going to be diverted and used in those endeavors in Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen,” Mohyeldin said.
Iran’s “endeavors” in those countries include bolstering dictator Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war, supporting the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah, and supplying missiles to Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Newsweek ran a story Tuesday suggesting that President Donald Trump’s habit of blocking people on Twitter is comparable to the blackout of entire sites instituted by Iran earlier this week.
The Associated Press reported Tuesday that the Trump administration has upped diplomatic pressure on Iran, demanding the regime stop blocking access to social media sites like Twitter and Instagram that were being used by protesters to organize demonstrations.
“They are legitimate avenues for communication,” Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein said. “People in Iran should be able to access those sites.”
But Newsweek cast the demand as hypocritical, complaining that “Trump, Who Blocks Americans on Twitter, Tells Iran to Unblock Social Media During Protests.”
It isn’t often you get to see the words “Satan” and “crusader” on the same magazine cover, but the latest issue of Zafar’s gangbang manages that feat with ease and derring-do:
I can’t tell you how much I will miss these delightful images once the Khomeinists’ “Islamic Movement” gets flushed down the bog (which, in light of current occurrences, may soon come to pass).
PreOccupiedTerritory: Non-Millennials Wishing Iran Would Take Down Instagram Everywhere Else Too (satire)
Swelling protests against the regime of the Ayatollahs continued today, several days after the government ordered social media apps such as Instagram disabled in a move to help prevent coordination of protests and suppress coverage of the unrest, but an unintended consequence of the shutdown has become manifest in the form of people born before 1980 who lament that the disabling of the messaging app has been restricted only to the Islamic Republic.
Adults outside the “millennial” demographic throughout the region and beyond could be heard voicing regret that Instagram and other popular apps among millennials continue to function, and, despite rampant violations of Iranian civil rights and freedoms, expressed some sympathy for the regime in curtailing the insufferable narcissism Instagram has come to represent.
“I stand with the people of Iran,” declared Gettoff Meilon, 40, of Azerbaijan. “I feel their pain and wish them success. I also wish the mullahs could take down Instagram around here, not just inside Iran. Would save us a heap of trouble with the youngsters. Bunch of entitled, self-absorbed jerks. Would serve them right.”
“Would it really be too much to ask to have the Instagram ban extend a few hundred miles west?” wondered Wibr Snabr, 39, of Ramallah. “I mean, Iran effectively controls Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon, and they’ve got serious sway over in the Gaza Strip, so it couldn’t be much of a stretch. While they’re at it, they can take down Facebook, Snapchat, and whatever else the millennials are using. Teach ’em to sit and read a book, maybe talk face to face for once. Bloody kids.”
Some non-millennials nevertheless harbor reservations about such an extension of the ban. “I don’t know if drastic measures are the answer here,” warned a man who declined to give his name. “I kind of enjoy the millennial girls who call themselves “Instagram models” and post soft-core stuff. Maybe we can just have Iran block the others? You know, for the sake of art and aesthetics more than anything else.”
JTA doesn’t give out Person of the Year honors, but if we did I’d be tempted to nominate Michael Kadar, the Israeli-American teenager accused of making hundreds of bomb threats against Jewish community centers in early 2017.
As I wrote soon after his arrest:
“[T]he JCC bomb threat hoax wasn’t just an isolated swastika daubing — it was an ongoing story affecting Jewish institutions in nearly every American Jewish community. It shaped a communal narrative that something ugly and insidious was happening out there. And it fueled a political crisis among most American Jewish organizations and the White House, with the former accusing the latter of taking too long to denounce anti-Semitism and to comfort Jews traumatized by the bomb threats and at least two major cemetery desecrations.”
Kadar, 18 at the time of his arrest in April, “deserves” the dubious distinction for another reason: He personifies a Jewish question, perhaps the Jewish question of 2017, which is, “How do you define anti-Semitism?” Kadar’s circumstances are of course peculiar to him, asking if a series of hoaxes that terrified Jewish institutions stop being anti-Semitism because the caller is Jewish. The question I am talking about is both semantic and political, pitting left against right on at least two battlegrounds.
JPost Editorial: Germany’s dangerous foreign minister
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel is the newly- crowned poster boy of Hamas. A picture of Gabriel was featured on Hamas’s Twitter page on December 31, accompanied by the following tweet: “German FM describes the Israeli occupation as an apartheid regime like the one was [sic] in South Africa.”
How did the foreign minister of one of Israel’s most important allies suddenly end up on the side of an Islamist terrorist organization that advocates targeting Israeli civilians and suicide bombings? Like many European progressives, Gabriel is capable of being hypercritical of his own Western culture – and of Israel – which is maliciously misrepresented in progressive circles as a colonialist power, while the many problematic aspects of non-white cultures, including radical Islam, are viewed as essentialist, racist or bigoted. For Gabriel, this might be due to feelings of guilt for his own country’s past crimes or might be an extension of his socialist ideology, which views Western, capitalist societies as inherently exploitative.
This worldview makes Gabriel and other like-minded progressives susceptible to anti-Israel propaganda. As reported by The Jerusalem Post European correspondent Benjamin Weinthal, Gabriel touted his hyper-critical attitude toward Israel during a panel discussion organized by – of all groups – the Kreuzberg Initiative Against Antisemitism.
The public event was held in Berlin in mid-December, as thousands of demonstrators – most of whom were migrants from Muslim countries – thronged the streets, burned Israeli flags and denounced US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
By the way, Gabriel is one of the architects – together with Chancellor Angela Merkel – of Germany’s self-destructive immigration policy that has resulted in the influx of more than a million immigrants from the Middle East and Africa since 2015. According to a recent survey by the American Jewish Committee in Berlin, many of these migrants bring with them anti-Jewish and anti-Israel prejudices.
When US President Donald Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announced that his administration would begin efforts to move the US embassy there, what followed was a hypocritical attack by many world leaders who seem to believe that unlike their own nations, Israel has no right to designate where to put its capital.
I’m not quite sure why this has caused such a controversy. It’s not an issue of Right or Left, it was just the right move to make. The current US administration has made clear it is not changing long-standing policy nor is it taking any position on final-status issues, including the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem. The president only stated the obvious, that Jerusalem is and has always been the capital of Israel. This proclamation wasn’t invented out of thin air, nor did a lack of precedent exist to make this official announcement.
Here are the facts: in 1995, a bipartisan US Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and required the US to move the embassy to Jerusalem by 1999. While it did give the president the opportunity to sign a waiver every six months delaying that move if it impacted the national security of the United States, the current administration deemed this not to be the case.
While President Trump did once again sign the waiver, there’s no doubt that in the US the winds have shifted in favor of this move, judging by the fact that the White House has finally and officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and formally stated that work would begin immediately to plan the embassy move.
Here’s the reality: In 2008, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama called Jerusalem the capital of Israel. In 2000, presidential candidate George W. Bush stated that as soon as he was elected, he would begin the process of moving the embassy to Jerusalem, and in 1993, former president Bill Clinton made clear that he supported, at least in principle, a move of the US embassy to Jerusalem. The current administration is finally succumbing to the will of Congress and implementing a law that was passed over 20 years ago. The US is standing strong in support of its friend and ally, Israel, by stating a fact: Jerusalem is and has always been the capital of the State of Israel.
Ahed Tamimi, the notorious Palestinian teen provocateur, was last week indicted by an Israeli court for throwing rocks and attacking Israeli soldiers during a violent protest in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh.
Many have since lauded Ms Tamimi, with some even absurdly referring to her as a modern-day Joan of Arc. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said she was merely “standing up for her rights”, while Al Jazeera asked “Why is the West praising Malala, but ignoring Ahed?”
Well, for starters, Malala, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, was shot in the head in a singular act of courage for defying the Taliban in Pakistan to demand that girls be allowed to receive education.
Ms Tamimi is no such saint.
In fact, Ms Tamimi and her entire family have a history as renowned provocateurs, including some with actual blood on their hands.
One of Ms Tamimi’s cousins, for example, received sixteen life sentences over her role in directing the deadly 2001 Sbarro Pizzeria massacre in Jerusalem.
Ms Tamimi’s father, Bassem, has himself been arrested for violence and remains a prominent activist on the BDS circuit, often using his daughter’s notoriety to further his own cause.
Violence and provocation seemingly runs in the Tamimi blood, as even Ahed Tamimi’s mother has been indicted for violence.
Hiba Khan’s column in The independent entitled “Everything wrong with the reaction to Ahed Tamimi’s prosecution for slapping an Israeli soldier, ” takes a defensive position toward Tamimi, which is permissible in a column: it is after all, an opinion piece.
However, even an opinion columnist may not cross the line into statements that are factually untrue, nor may a publisher allow it.
If you have to be dishonest to support your opinion, isn’t it possible that you’re just plain wrong?
For example, Khan claims:
…the sad reality for Palestinians is a life deprived of healthcare, an economy, a justice system, living in abject poverty with no food or water security and military violence against them and their children.
Just plain untrue.
West Bank has modern water infrastructure, and coordinates with Israel on regular improvements.
The West Bank produces and even exports olives, citrus fruit, vegetables, beef, and dairy products.
The travel web site Trip Advisor lists “The 10 Best West Bank Restaurants.” You can see the review, or even come see the restaurants, for yourself.
Two percent of West Bank residents are “food insecure,” an impressively low figure. For context, 7% of Americans are food insecure, over three times more than the West Bank, by percent.
The West Bank has healthcare: with among the highest birth rates, lowest death rates and longest life expectancy rates in the world.
There is indeed a Palestinian justice system. Depending on the matter, Palestinian courts or Israeli military courts may have jurisdiction, as required under the international Hague Convention.
Tamimi’s case is before the Israeli military juvenile court, where Tamimi is represented by a prominent, influential and highly experienced attorney, who is also the former director of Peace Now and sits on the Tel Aviv city council.
Membership in the country’s leading anti-Israel campus organization is down, but participants are increasingly radical, according to a new report by an anti-Semitism watchdog.
The National Students for Justice in Palestine conference in October 2017 had under 100 participants, claims Canary Mission in the report exclusively obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, as opposed to nearly 600 attendees only three years ago.
Those who traveled in the fall to the University of Houston to host and attend workshops and panels represented the extreme fringe of anti-Israel activism, wrote the watchdog.
According to Canary Mission, these included Saint Xavier University student Samer Alhato, who ran a workshop at this year’s conference and has claimed to be a regular financial supporter of Palestinian terror group Hamas.
Mohammed Nabulsi, a law student at the Texas School of Law who moderated a panel at the conference, has also repeatedly voiced his support for Palestinian terrorists and called on his peers in 2015 to look toward Hamas and Islamic Jihad as inspirations in “resistance.”
Brant Rogers, a UH student and co-organizer of this year’s conference, has also openly celebrated murderers of Jews, writing in 2014, “F**k that sh*t! I support what the PFLP [Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine] & PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization] have done in their cause to free the Palestinians.”
Like Alhato and Nabulsi, Rogers has also called for another intifada, Arabic for popular uprising and a reference to two extended periods of Palestinians violence against Jewish Israelis in the last 20 years, marked by suicide bombings, shootings, and stabbings.
Four former and current flight attendants filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Delta Air Lines, alleging that the US carrier’s management has an “anti-Jewish, Hebrew, and ethnic Israeli attitude.”
According the complaint filed at Brooklyn federal court, Delta discriminates against both its Jewish and its Israeli staff, as well as passengers.
The complaint alleged that senior Delta officials believe Jews and Israelis “cannot be trusted, are aggressive and inappropriate, and engage in what are deemed to be ‘strange’ behaviors by conducting prayers on the flight and requiring special dietary accommodations (kosher meals).”
One of the flight attendants signed as a plaintiff in the lawsuits alleged that she was fired by Delta in March 2017 because she is Jewish. The company said she was dismissed because she had missed a flight, but the woman claimed she had been granted maternity leave at the time.
A second flight attendant, who is not Jewish, said she was suspended without pay and had her travel privileges revoked after she shared her “Travel Companion” pass with a Jewish friend. She claims that Delta took action against her because the recipient of her pass was Jewish.
Responding to the lawsuit, Delta said it “strongly condemns the allegations of discrimination described in this suit and will defend itself vigorously against them.
The British Labour Party’s struggles to confront anti-Semitism within its ranks have been well-documented, but rarely have been they been this funny.
Labour Against the Witchhunt (LAW), a campaign group set up to protest the expulsion of Labour Party members for alleged anti-Semitism, recently pruned some of its own ranks, expelling several members for their anti-Semitism. Now, those twice-expelled members will be holding a protest at the same location as LAW’s public meeting this Saturday.
Gerry Downing, the twice-expelled Labour Party member responsible for planning the protest (“Reject Bogus Left antiSemitism“), is trying to fight his way back into LAW. Downing was first suspended from Labor in March 2016 for tweeting a link to an article that purported to “address the Jewish Question,” and claimed the “Jewish-Zionist bourgeoisie” had “played a vanguard role for the capitalist offensive against the workers.”
Following his expulsion from Labour, Downing helped set up LAW along with Jackie Walker, who was suspended from Labour for writing that Jews were primarily responsible for the British slave trade (Walker herself is Jewish).
However, Downing’s association with the group Socialist Fight led to his expulsion from LAW, who describe Socialist Fight’s positions as “a form of antisemitism.” In a motion passed at a recent meeting, LAW condemned Socialist Fight’s assertion that “Jewish campaigns in support of the Palestinians such as Jews Against Zionism, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods or Jewish Voice for Labour are racist because they operate on the basis of a supposedly ‘Jewish moral superiority.’”
Now, the splinter group and the splinter of the splinter group are set to square off at a London pub.
The article stated, as if it’s a fact, Gaza Health Ministry claims that Israel killed Abu Thuraya, and failed to provide the IDF response to the incident, leaving readers with a version based entirely on the unsubstantiated claims by Hamas officials.
This one-sided account was especially troubling considering that the IDF issued a report on the incident several days before the story was published which raised serious questions about the Hamas version. (Several days later, a top IDF general issued a stronger denial, stressing that “there was no basis” for reports that Israeli snipers targeted the wheelchair-bound Palestinian amputee.)
We contacted the office of the Daily Mail readers’ editor, who eventually upheld our complaint. They inserted the word “reportedly” before “shot” in the first sentence underlined in red above. They also added these new sentences reflecting the IDF statement:
On December 18, the Israeli army said it had conducted an investigation, according to which it was ‘impossible to determine whether Abu Thurayeh was injured as a result of riot dispersal means or what caused his death’.
‘No live fire was aimed at Abu Thurayeh,’ the army said in a statement
The military said its investigation was hindered because Palestinian authorities did not share the details of the man’s injuries.
‘Despite numerous IDF requests for information, no precise details or conclusions regarding Abu Toriya’s (sic) injuries were received. If additional details will be received, they will be examined and studied,’ the army spokesperson said.
On Dec. 20th, UK Media Watch prompted a similar correction to a story about Abu Thuraya published at the Independent.
CAMERA’s Israel office this week prompted corrections of numerous captions regarding Gaza double amputee Ibrahim Abu Thuraya, who was killed during a border clash earlier this month. Wire services Associated Press and Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA), as well as the English-language edition of Haaretz, all corrected.
All of the captions had originally reported as fact that Ibrahim Abu Thuraya was shot dead by Israeli troops despite the fact that the circumstances of his death are unconfirmed and unclear and the Israeli army denies shooting any live fire in his direction. In addition, the captions’ statement that he lost his legs and eye during a 2008 Israeli bombing is contradicted by a Dec. 28 Associated Press report which stated:
While relatives have claimed Abu Thraya lost his legs in an Israeli airstrike while trying to rescue people, AP records show that he was wounded on April 11, 2008, in a clash between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants in the Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza. AP television footage from that day shows Abu Thraya identifying himself as he is taken away on the back of a pickup truck. He is also seen being taken on a stretcher.
Examples of the numerous original erroneous AP and DPA photo captions follow:
During the years in which 102,000 Dutch Jews were murdered by the Nazis, a German-born Jewish artist helped rescue hundreds of children from the clutches of genocide.
As an expert forger of identity papers, Alice Cohn worked with a Utrecht-based resistance group while in hiding. Their production of so-called “wild papers,” including ID and ration cards, saved up to 350 Jewish children from the Nazis. During the war’s final year, Cohn’s handiwork helped prevent young Dutch men from being sent to Germany as forced laborers.
Cohn’s story and the saga of Dutch identity cards during World War II are currently on display at the National Holocaust Museum in Amsterdam. The temporary exhibit opened in October, and is based on items from the personal archive of Cohn, who died in 2000.
According to the museum, one motivation for highlighting Cohn’s efforts was to help correct the “prevailing, but incorrect, image that Dutch Jews had a passive role during the war.” During the Holocaust, 102,000 Dutch Jews — the majority of the community — were murdered at Nazi-built death camps and elsewhere in the Reich.
Born in Breslau in 1914, Cohn studied cabinet-making until the Nazis came to power in 1933. When Jewish students were banned from taking exams or submitting final projects, she moved to Berlin for a year of school in graphic arts. The situation for German Jews continued to deteriorate, so Cohn fled to the Netherlands in search of a secure future.
Israel’s annual exports of goods and services are expected to exceed $100 billion for the first time when the final figures for 2017 come in, according to a preliminary report by the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute and the Economy and Industry Ministry.
The export total for 2017 is expected to be 5% higher than in 2016.
According to the preliminary report, exports of goods and services, excluding startup technology and diamonds, increased to $92 billion in 2017, up 6% from 2016.
Excluding exports to the Palestinian Authority, exports are expected to total $53 billion in 2017, a 1% increase from 2016.
Industrial exports, which comprise 85% of goods exported by Israel, rose 3% in 2017, and to a total of $45 billion.
Diamond exports for 2017 are expected to total $7 billion, a decrease of 7% from 2016. Diamonds accounted for 13% of all exports of goods.
Agricultural exports are expected to reach $1.2 billion for 2017, a 2% increase from 2016. Agriculture accounts for about 2% of the nation’s total exports.
Once, many moons ago in these hallowed pages, I had a simple plea: For someone, anyone, to take the story of Operation Entebbe and make a half-decent movie out of it. Operation Entebbe, aka Operation Thunderbolt, aka Operation We Should Option This For The Screen As Soon As We Get Back, was the daring rescue mission to scoop up 106 Israeli hostages from a Ugandan airport in 1976. The cast of characters included Yoni Netanyahu, Idi Amin, and a PFLP splinter group called the PLFP-EO, all of whom have been used in some truly terrible movies on the subject, which ranged from bland to melodramatic to casually racist. If Chuck Norris couldn’t do it in his version, who could?
But 7 Days In Entebbe, a new movie coming from José Padilha (who directed the excellent Elite Squad) focuses on the oft-overlooked element of the affair, the German Revolutionäre Zellen. Two of their founding members, Brigitte Kuhlmann and Wilfried Böse, worked with the PLFP to hijack the Air France flight and fly it to Uganda. Kuhlmann and Böse will be played by Rosamund Pike and Daniel Bruhl who, between this and his turn as Friedrich Zoller in Inglorious Basterds, is building quite the resume of Jew-hating villains. He’ll be stepping into some big shoes here: Noted insane person Klaus Kinski played Böse in Operation Thunderbolt, the only watchable Entebbe movie to date (which happens to be on YouTube).
Besides the two leads, you can also catch Vincent Cassel, Jodorowksy’s son, and Lior Ashkenazi as Yitzhak Rabin, which rules. Hey, you might be saying, it seems like they got the creative part down, it should be a cinch from here. Au contraire! The 1976 attempt, Victory at Entebbe, had Anthony Hopkins, Kirk Douglass, Richard Dreyfuss, Burt Lancaster, Elizabeth Taylor, Helen Hayes, and Linda Blair, and was as forgettable as could be.
So what can save 7 Days In Entebbe from the same fate? Padilha certainly has the action chops (check out his RoboCop remake–not bad!), but can he balance that with an appreciation for the technical skill that went into the planning of the raid? The last couple of movies spent much of their time away from the hijackers, but that isn’t the case here. Will that add anything substantial to our understanding of what happened? Then there are the obvious political elements: Revolutionäre Zellen was a Marxist revolutionary collective designated as a terrorist group by the German government, and many of its members stood by the Entebbe hijacking as anti-Zionist (though some broke with the group over the raid, seeing it as explicitly anti-Semitic). How will Padilha handle that?
We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.