August 14, 2020

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01/12 Links: Trump Sends Message Of Support To The Iranian People Written In Persian; The perverse Western mourning for Soleimani; The new socialism, like the old, will not protect Jews

From Ian:

Trump Sends Message Of Support To The Iranian People Written In Persian
President Donald Trump sent a message written in Persian to Iranians who were openly protesting the country’s oppressive Islamic government on Saturday, which comes in response to Iran admitting this week that it shot down a passenger plane.

According to a Google translation, Trump tweeted, “To the brave and suffering Iranian people: I have stood with you since the beginning of my presidency and my government will continue to stand with you. We are following your protests closely. Your courage is inspiring.”

Trump tweeted out nearly the exact same statement in English, writing, “To the brave, long-suffering people of Iran: I’ve stood with you since the beginning of my Presidency, and my Administration will continue to stand with you. We are following your protests closely, and are inspired by your courage.”

Trump continued, “The government of Iran must allow human rights groups to monitor and report facts from the ground on the ongoing protests by the Iranian people. There can not be another massacre of peaceful protesters, nor an internet shutdown. The world is watching.”

Trump also reverberated the same message in Persian.

Trump’s comments come as Iranian protesters flooded to streets of Tehran by the thousands to demand that Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei resign after his government told the world that it did not shoot down the Ukrainian 737 last week and then reversed course on Friday, admitting that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which is a designated terrorist group, shot down the plane.

“Angry crowds gathered on Saturday night in at least four locations in Tehran, chanting ‘death to liars’ and calling for the country’s supreme leader to step down over the tragic military blunder, video from the scene shows,” The Daily Mail reported. “‘Death to the Islamic Republic’ protesters chanted, as the regime’s paramilitary security force allegedly used ambulances to sneak heavily armed paramilitary police into the middle of crowds to disperse the demonstration.”

Melanie Phillips: The perverse Western mourning for Soleimani

No one, however, should be under any illusions. The regime can be expected to resume its strategy of mounting deniable attacks against soft or second-tier military targets.

Trump has now laid down his red line: If you attack America, you will be destroyed. The same cannot be said for Britain and Europe. Their aversion to fighting back has turned their populations, with countless Iranian terrorist sleeper cells in their midst, into sitting ducks.

It’s good that Trump is now increasing sanctions against Iran. And good luck to him in piling pressure on Johnson to follow America’s lead and withdraw from the lethal nuclear pact for which the United Kingdom has been such a cheerleader.

But this mercurial and contradictory president now has to follow through. He himself cannot make another deal with a regime that believes its Divine destiny is to cause an apocalypse and bring the Shia messiah to earth. He must instead force its destruction.

“President Trump could not be more clear. On our watch, Iran will not get a nuclear weapon,” said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

All decent, rational people should be cheering those words. For the first time, this evil regime has been held to account. Yet Western liberals are spitting tacks. We can see what side they’re on here, and it’s not their own.

The murderous, fanatical Iranian regime poses one of the greatest dangers to the civilized world. How shameful that Western liberals – in their terrifying moral and intellectual blindness – seem to be falling over themselves to give it victory.

The new socialism, like the old, will not protect Jews

Beyond the ugly portrayal of Jews, this argument, too, beseeches us to remember the economic context at stake in the anti-Semitic attacks targeting Jews. And those of us who see anti-Semitism as a force beyond excuse, one that manifests wherever the human heart is distorted by hate, are chided as lacking the sophistication to see the “cruelly rational” relationship between capitalism and Anti-Semitism.

That’s not analysis. It’s delusion, and its dangerous.

The simplicity of blaming everything on “material conditions,” gentrification and the existing order, is indeed tempting. The Jews become the natural victims of the system that they benefit from, and those who attack them are structurally absolved; their acts of violence get added to the bill of particulars in support of the need for revolution. Context does all the work, and what’s left over is picked up by “solidarity,” which can mean anything at all except that Jews deserve protection from those who seek to harm us.

In fact, the relationship goes the other way. As with the far right, the socialist left is relentlessly bad news for the Jews. Its most successful contemporary avatar, Jeremy Corbyn, presided over the transformation of one of the great political parties in the West into a conspiracy of befouled anti-Semites. And its most successful tribune in the United States, while himself a proud Jew, seems unable to quit those like Linda Sarsour who speak for him and see behind him a movement more amenable to their hateful commitments.
The committed antisemite will not be dissuaded by a demonstration that they are subscribing to something irrational. by the Forward
The first step to fighting anti-Semitism is recognizing how irrational it is
Deborah E. LipstadtJanuary 9, 2020

Punching down on the Jews by arguing that the stock market is the modern-day Cossack does more than just badly misread a problem. Success for the socialist dream of universality will always end up liquidating Jewish particularity.

There are simple conditions under which Jews have thrived, most of all in this country: liberty of speech and thought and religion; tolerance and diversity; equality of opportunity; the rule of law. These classic liberal values are out of favor with the revolutionaries at Jacobin and the vanguard of progressive sensibility at Jewish Currents, but they add up to our best shot to survive and thrive in the second century of the American Diaspora.

Did Israel play a role in the Soleimani assassination? – analysis

An NBC report said Israel was involved in tracking Iran’s IRGC al Quds Force chief Qasem Soleimani leading to the US drone strike killing him on January 3.

But this is all only coming out from the US media, seemingly mostly from US sources, and Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman himself was only responding to these reports and slamming any Israelis involved in promoting these reports.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also gave explicit instructions to the security cabinet after the incident to keep their heads down.
If in fact Israel helped the US nail possibly the worst living terrorist on the planet, with the blood of countless Israelis on his hands over decades of terrorism, why isn’t Israel proudly taking credit?

The answer – Israel hopes to avoid direct Iranian against it – lies in the difference between Israel’s and the US’s geopolitical positions and, most importantly, the success Israel had in keeping a low profile when it destroyed Syria’s nuclear reactor in 2007.

Israel is invariably more careful than the US – especially in the Trump administration era – about taking credit for assassinations or military actions beyond its borders.

There were years of Israeli strikes to block Iran from transferring advanced weapons to militias in Syria or to Hezbollah in Lebanon before Netanyahu and Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gadi Eisenkot eventually admitted to some of the strikes.

Besides any legal concerns, Jerusalem probably didn’t want Iran, Syria or Hezbollah to lose face or feel the need to respond.

Trump administration ‘planned killing Soleimani for 18 MONTHS’ before the deadly strike and ‘devised a cyber attack to cripple Iran’s oil industry’ in case Tehran retaliated

Following an explosive week between the US and Iran, it has been revealed that the Pentagon secretly discussed targeting Iranian General Qassem Soleimani for 18 months before making the decision to strike.

As tensions escalated between the two nations, the US had a list of targets in mind in case Iran ever attacked the US. When American civilian contractor Nawres Waleed Hamid was killed when rockets hit the K1 military base in Kirkuk, Iraq on December 27, Washington was ready to act.

After months of tracking Soleimani, the second most powerful man in Iran, the plan to finally strike him was rolled out on January 3, 2020, a move that thrust the US to the brink of war, according to a New York Times report based on interviews with dozens of Trump administration and military officials.

Soleimani was known as a 62-year-old high-flying general and leader of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps who was behind proxy wars in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. He was one of the most ruthless commanders in the region who for years worked in the shadows but emerged in the spotlight following the Arab Spring and the war with the Islamic State. He’s seen as the mastermind behind Iran’s fight for regional dominance.

On December 31, when the US embassy in Baghdad was attacked by pro-Iran protesters, a top secret memo started to circulate among US defense officials signed by Robert C. O’Brien, Trump’s national security adviser, listing out potential targets.

That memo’s most provocative response option was to target specific Iranian officials for death by military strike. Named on that list was General Soleimani and Abdul Reza Shahlai, an Iranian commander in Yemen who helped finance armed groups in the region.

Less dramatic response options were to target an Iranian energy facility and a Revolutionary Guard command-and-control ship used to direct small boats that harass oil tankers in the waters around Iran.

While Soleimani had been on the US radar for some time, surveillance on the shadowy general intensified in May.

U.S. Forces Followed Soleimani On Road During Airstrike, Reveal What They Found On Him

U.S. Special Operations forces were only a few hundred yards behind Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force (IRGC-QF) commander Qasem Soleimani last week when an American Reaper drone shot a hellfire missile at his vehicle, killing him, as he and others left Baghdad International Airport.

The Army Special Operations soldiers arrived on scene moments after the drone strike eliminated one of the world’s most notorious terrorists to collect a “bomb damage assessment.”

Soleimani’s body was on fire, grossly disfigured, and missing limbs, according to Leland Vittert of Fox News.

“The source told Fox News that U.S. forces dragged Soleimani’s body away from the scene and extinguished the fire before formally identifying the Iranian general,” Fox News reported. “They took photos of his possessions, which included books of poetry and wads of cash. He was also carrying a pistol and an assault rifle.”

“Under normal circumstances, Soleimani’s phone and other electronics would be taken away for forensic analysis. However, the missile strike and ensuing fire made such an investigation impossible,” Fox News added.

A source who saw the photos and who served in Iraq told Fox News that Soleimani died the same way that many U.S. soldiers died in Iraq who were killed by IEDs that came from Soleimani.

‘DEATH TO LIARS!’: Iranians Turn On Ayatollah, Demand Resignation Over Shot Down Plane

Crowds that appeared to number well into the thousands took to the streets of Tehran on Saturday night to protest and demand that Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei resign after his Islamic government falsely told the citizens of Iran and the rest of the world that it was not responsible for shooting down a Ukrainian passenger plane this week that killed 176 people.

“Angry crowds gathered on Saturday night in at least four locations in Tehran, chanting ‘death to liars’ and calling for the country’s supreme leader to step down over the tragic military blunder, video from the scene shows,” The Daily Mail reported. “‘Death to the Islamic Republic’ protesters chanted, as the regime’s paramilitary security force allegedly used ambulances to sneak heavily armed paramilitary police into the middle of crowds to disperse the demonstration.”

Reuters reported that the protesters also chanted “Death to the dictator,” which was a direct reference to Khamenei.

“Why should I vote for this regime?” Hesham Ghanbari, 27, told Reuters. “I don’t trust them at all. They lied to us about the plane crash. Why should I trust them when they don’t trust people enough to tell the truth?”

During the most recent protests against Iranian government, Khamenei authorized the killings of 1,500 of his own citizens in an effort to stamp out dissent.

Trump warns Iran against ‘another massacre’ as protests flare over downed jet

US President Donald Trump told Iranian protesters that he supported them and warned the regime against cracking down on demonstrations that broke out after Tehran admitted shooting down an airliner by mistake, killing all 176 people aboard.

“The government of Iran must allow human rights groups to monitor and report facts from the ground on the ongoing protests by the Iranian people,” Trump tweeted Saturday in English and Farsi.

“There can not be another massacre of peaceful protesters, nor an internet shutdown. The world is watching,” Trump added, referring to an internet blackout that blanketed the country during widespread protests in November.

Iranians in Tehran took to the streets Saturday night to rally against regime, amid anger over the accidental downing of the Ukrainian jet on Wednesday. Protests were also reported in other areas.

“To the brave, long-suffering people of Iran: I’ve stood with you since the beginning of my Presidency, and my Administration will continue to stand with you,” Trump tweeted.

“We are following your protests closely, and are inspired by your courage,” he said.

Netanyahu backs Iranian protesters after Tehran admits downing plane

Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday praised Iranian protesters demonstrating against the regime after Tehran admitted shooting down an airliner by mistake, killing all 176 people aboard.

“I note the courage of the Iranian people who are again demonstrating in the streets against this regime. They deserve freedom, liberty and the ability to live in security and peace, all of which the regime denies them,” he said in Hebrew comments at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting.

In English, he added, “Iran lied. Just as they lied about their secret nuclear program, they are lying now about the downing of the Ukrainian aircraft. They knew from the start that they had downed it. They knew that it was an unintentional downing, but they lied intentionally. They deceived the entire world.

“This is completely contrary to how a civilized country should act and we send our condolences to the victims of Iran’s deception and negligence,” Netanyahu said.

As protests restart in Iran, demonstrators refuse to trample US, Israeli flags

Protesters gathered on the streets of Iran Sunday for a second day of demonstrations against the regime, prompted by the Iranian leadership’s belated admission that it accidentally downed a Ukrainian airliner last week, killing all 176 people on board.

Hundreds of protesters rallied at various locations around the country, including outside a university in Tehran, social media posts showed.

Video also showed a crowd of several hundred at the university refusing to trample on large US and Israeli flags that had been laid down in the path of the march. Those that did walk on the flags were chastised by other protesters, the Haaretz daily newspaper reported. The video did not identify which university was involved.

“They are lying that our enemy is America; our enemy is right here,” chanted some protesters in Tehran, according to a report from the Reuters new agency.

Iranian Olympic medalist confirms she has defected from ‘oppressive’ regime

Iran’s only female Olympic medallist Kimia Alizadeh announced Saturday she has permanently left her country, citing the “hypocrisy” of a system she claims humiliates athletes while using them for political ends.

“Should I start with hello, goodbye, or condolences?” she wrote on Instagram, as Iran reeled from Wednesday’s accidental shooting down of a Ukrainian airliner that killed all 176 people onboard.

Alizadeh, who won a bronze medal in taekwondo at the 2016 Rio Olympics, cited oppression by authorities in the Islamic republic.

Criticizing Iran’s political system for “hypocrisy,” “lying,” “injustice” and “flattery,” she said she wanted nothing more than “taekwondo, security and a happy and healthy life.”

“I am one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran with whom they have been playing for years,” the 21-year-old wrote.

“I wore whatever they told me to wear,” she said, referring to the Islamic veil, which is compulsory for all women in public in Iran.

“I repeated everything they told me to say,” she wrote.

She continued: “None of us matter to them.”

Britain’s Iran envoy denies demonstrating against regime before he was arrested

After he was briefly arrested, Britain’s ambassador to Tehran on Sunday denied an Iranian claim that he had taken part in a demonstration that broke out at a memorial for the 176 people killed when a plane was shot down.

Students held a gathering at Tehran’s Amir Kabir University on Saturday evening to honor those killed, hours after Iran admitted the Ukrainian airliner was downed by mistake.

Iran’s Mehr news agency said the ambassador, Rob Macaire, was arrested for his alleged “involvement in provoking suspicious acts” at the gathering in front of the university.

“Can confirm I wasn’t taking part in any demonstrations! Went to an event advertised as a vigil for victims of #PS752 tragedy,” Macaire said on Twitter, adding he had been detained half an hour after leaving.

“Normal to want to pay respects — some of victims were British. I left after 5 mins, when some started chanting,” he said.

“Arresting diplomats is of course illegal, in all countries,” he added.

Iranian Commander Bragged of Unilateral Authority to Shoot Down Planes

A senior Iranian commander who admitted to Iran’s role in the recent downing of a Ukrainian airplane bragged in 2016 that even the youngest Iranian officers have unilateral authority to conduct strikes like the one that downed the Ukrainian plane, killing every civilian aboard, according to video obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) aerospace division, said over the weekend that his country “accepts full responsibility” for the airstrike that brought down the Ukrainian commercial plane. Hajizadeh said his country’s forces were on high alert following a ramp up in military tensions with the United States.

U.S. officials familiar with the situation said it is likely Iran mistakenly shot down the Ukrainian jet, fearing a retaliatory strike by the United States for Iran’s missile attacks this week on several American outposts in the region.

Hajizadeh’s 2016 remarks bragging about Iran’s desire to launch attacks is likely to raise fresh concerns about the possibility of further strikes on commercial airlines flying in and around Iranian airspace.

Iranian Ambassador Admits Trump Is Crushing Them With Sanctions: ‘Knife On The Throat’

Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht-Ravanchi told CNN on Friday that the Trump administration’s economic sanctions on Iran have been devastating to country, saying that the sanctions were putting a “knife” on their “throat.”

“In a letter to the United Nations, a new letter to the United Nations, the U.S. says we stand ready to engage without preconditions in serious negotiations with Iran with the goal of preventing further endangerment of international peace and security or escalation by the Iranian regime,” CNN’s John Berman said to Takht-Ravanchi. “We stand ready to engage without preconditions.”

“So why they are putting the knife on the throat with these economic sanctions at the same time they are claiming to be ready for a dialogue?” Takht-Ravanchi responded. “Then that, you know, these are mutually exclusive. Either you want to have a dialogue or either you want to apply sanctions.”

“So the answer, as far as you’re concerned today is, no?” Berman asked.

“Definitely no,” Takht-Ravanchi responded. “Definitely – it’s a definitely ‘no’ answer.”

“No dialogue?” Berman asked.

“No dialogue as long as this policy of animosity towards the Iranian people continues,” Takht-Ravanchi responded.

Hezbollah’s Nasrallah threatens US troops, vows retaliation against Israel

Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Hezbollah terror organization, on Sunday threatened violence against the United States if it did not withdraw its troops from the Middle East, and said any future American attack on Iran would draw a retaliation against Israel.

“If in the coming days or weeks the US doesn’t withdraw its forces from the Middle East, the American soldiers will return to the US in coffins,” Nasrallah declared.

He said that Iran’s missile strike on bases housing US troops in Iraq showed Tehran’s military strength, since the missiles it used were produced in Iran, Channel 13 news reported.

Nasrallah made the remarks at a memorial ceremony for slain Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in Lebanon.

Hezbollah, which is designated a terror organization by the US and Israel, has vowed to avenge the killing earlier this month of Soleimani, who oversaw Iran’s regional security strategy.

Hezbollah is considered an Iranian proxy in Lebanon.

MEMRI: Iraqi Media Hints Pro-Iran Militias Intimidating Staff Of U.S.-Funded TV Following Soleimani Assassination; Misinformation Campaign Spreads False Statement Of Secretary Pompeo

In the aftermath of the U.S.-Iran escalation in Iraq, correspondents from the U.S.-funded Al-Hurra TV in Najaf and Baghdad announced on their social media accounts that they had submitted their resignations without providing reasons. Reports in Iraqi media have raised questions about the timing of these resignations, pointing out that the correspondents had been in their roles for over ten years and would therefore be unlikely to announce their resignations without giving an explanation.

Raji Naseer, the Al-Hurra correspondent in Najaf, and Mouafaq Majid, the Al-Hurra correspondent in Baghdad, publicized their resignations on their Facebook accounts, leading to reports that link the resignations to possible threats they may have received from Shi’ite militias that often accuse the network of bias and defamation.[1]

This would not be the first time that employees of Al-Hurra TV have been threatened or acted against. In January 2019, Samer Ali Shakara, an Iraqi cameraman working for Al-Hurra, was found dead in a Baghdad suburb, having been shot in the head by unknown gunmen.[2]

In September 2019, Iraq’s Communications and Media Commission (CMC) suspended the license of Al-Hurra TV and shut down its local offices for three months after it ran an investigative report highlighting corruption within the Sunni and Shi’ite Muslim endowments – state bodies that administer religious sites and real estate – including foundations linked to Iraq’s top Shi’ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani. It also said these religious bodies have ties to militias. Al-Hurra stood by their report in a statement, calling it “fair, balanced, and professional. And that individuals and institutions mentioned in the report were given the right of reply, which they declined.”

UN Watch: Iran Protests Ignored by Amnesty & Human Rights Watch

Over the past 24 hours, in wake of Iran’s admission that its forces shot down the Ukrainian passenger airliners over Tehran, courageous men and women in cities across Iran have been risking their lives to protest the murderous regime. Facing tear gas attacks, protesters tore down regime posters of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani; others chanted “Soleimani was a murderer, his Leader is also a murderer!”

Yet during this dramatic period, the world’s richest and most powerful international human rights organizations have been turning a blind eye to the Iranian protest movement in what may be its greatest time of need, with 0 tweets for them from Human Rights Watch, as well as 0 tweets from senior officials such as HRW chief Ken Roth, and EU Media Director Andrew Strohlein; and 0 tweets from Amnesty International, its Acting Secretary-General Julie Verhaar, or Amnesty UK director Kate Allen.

Instead, Amnesty is tweeting about America, Human Rights Watch is retweeting itself about America, and Ken Roth is tweeting about America and himself.

CNN’s Erin Burnett: Iranians Chanting ‘Death To America’ Are Very Friendly People

CNN’s Erin Burnett declared this week that anti-American protesters in Iran who chant “death to America” were very friendly people, which comes just days after Iran fired missiles at U.S. troops in Iraq.

Burnett made the remark on her show “Erin Burnett OutFront” during an interview with Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) about the recent provocations from Iran.

“Even on your network we’ve seen the video of the prior attack that’s happened on the Baghdad embassy,” Turner said. “We all watched the flames and smoke boiling out of the embassy in Baghdad as a result of the attack that occurred there.”

“So, I don’t think reporting or even speculating on what Iran has been threatened – I mean, you know, Iran itself continues to have even its entire parliament chant ‘death to America,’” Turner continued. “It’s not as if it’s a surprise that Iran has been coordinating and targeting American interests throughout the Middle East.”

“Well, I will say, I was in Tehran when they were chanting ‘death to America’ once,” Burnett continued. “I was at a rally, the people couldn’t have been more friendly to me personally as an American. It sort of felt like a thing and a trope as opposed to anything that was actually seriously meant and considered. I understand your point but my experience was different.”

Turner responded, “Erin, your entire life, Iran – pretty much your entire life, just by a few years, has chanted death to America and they have taken actions against Americans and American interests and in ways that are lethal killings of Americans, given weaponry to people who do kill Americans.”

Trudeau Apologizes for Airliner Full of Canadians That Hit Innocent Iranian Missile (satire)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has issued an apology after a plane full of Canadians struck an Iranian missile near Tehran last week. The collision resulted in the destruction of an extremely expensive Iranian anti-aircraft missile, and also the deaths of 57 Canadians.

Trudeau, the famously considerate leader of the most polite country on earth, said in a written statement that “it is completely unlike Canadians to run straight into someone that they see crossing airspace. In Canada, Mounties frequently have to intervene at intersections to help people who block traffic by letting everyone else drive ahead first. We Canadians let the entire world down when we didn’t move out of the way for the missile, which was innocently trying to protect Iran from American aggression. For this, we are sorry.”

Canadians on social media have emphasized that the aircraft, Ukraine International Airline flight 752, was not piloted by a Canadian, and suggested Canada should not be held responsible for the rude act. Others have emphasized that the missile was travelling in a well-known commercial air corridor and thus wasn’t being very nice. Trudeau’s office, when asked about these concerns, said that “showing unconditional positive regard for others requires that we not make any excuses for what happened” in an email to The Mideast Beast.

“Next time, we will do our best to get out of the way faster,” Trudeau’s office added.

The EU-PA/PLO strategy to destroy Israel

The European Union and the Palestinian Authority have developed a plan to destroy Israel; it’s called, “European Joint Strategy in support of Palestine (EJS),” and the “Palestinian Authority National Policy Agenda (PANPA).”

According to the PANPA, their mission is to “reassert full Palestinian sovereignty over the whole of its territory on the 1967 borders; to end Israel’s illegal, methodical and continuing expropriation of Palestinian land, resources and water; to lift the protracted siege of Gaza while ensuring a geographical link with the West Bank; to cease and reverse Israel’s calculated attempts to dismember east Jerusalem from the rest of Palestine; and to dismantle the illegal separation wall that entraps tens of thousands of Palestinians.

“Mobilizing national and international support… will be accomplished through the following measures: Reassert sovereignty over the whole territory of the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders including east Jerusalem; establish and develop east Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine; internationalize the conflict and mobilize international support for the Palestinian people’s inalienable rights, including the right to self-determination and right of return, and the release of prisoners; increase political, legal, economic and grassroots pressure to end the occupation; lift the siege of Gaza and establish a geographic link with the West Bank; prepare independence transition plans that chart the steps toward asserting full Palestinian authority over all of Palestine in all sectors of a sovereign state.”

By “east Jerusalem” they mean not only the Old City, but all areas which the Jordanian Legion captured in 1948, including the Temple Mount, Mount of Olives (the Jewish cemetery which was desecrated) and the City of David/Silwan. It includes all the Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem which were built after the 1967 Six Day War (Ramot, Gilo, Pisgat and Givat Ze’ev, Har Homa, and Ma’aleh Adumim), the Jewish communities that were wiped out by the Jordanian Legion in 1947-48 (Neve Yaakov and the Etzion bloc, which were rebuilt after 1967), and the strategic Jordan Valley, which terrorists from around the world would use to enter “the West Bank” and attack Israel.

INSS: Tip of the Iceberg: Report of the UN Secretary-General on Resolution 1701, November 2019

In the limited context of UNIFIL and Resolution 1701, Israel must utilize their full positive potential in a differential, graduated, and systematic fashion. Ongoing efforts should be directed at the date of the annual renewal of the mandate at the end of August, and until then Israel should act on a number of levels, both on the ground, at UN headquarters, and with friendly states. First, it should strengthen the liaison and coordination mechanisms, and above all the tripartite meetings between UNIFIL, the IDF, and the LAF, as a means to prevent escalation. Second, it should strive to improve the credible depiction of the actual situation in UN reports, by improving visual and geographical documentation of UN activity: equipping patrols with body cameras, detailing activity along actual patrol routes, guaranteeing full documentation of incidents with Hezbollah activists, including facial recognition and identification of license plates of vehicles involved, and stressing the part played by the Lebanese government in violations of 1701 and the UNIFIL mandate. Third, the Lebanese government must be demanded to stop its impediments of UNIFIL and its cover-up of Hezbollah violations. Fourth, UNIFIL must demand immediate access to all the tunnels and other relevant sites, a full and detailed response to all incidents against UNIFIL, the end of legal foot-dragging surrounding former attacks on UNIFIL, and the removal of the “private property” pretext as a thinly veiled cover for banned Hezbollah activity.

In addition, Israel should promote a distinction between the elements of the Lebanese military that cooperate with Hezbollah, which should be defined as supporting terror, and the parts that are an important component in promoting Lebanon’s stability. In view of its operational role in the service of Hezbollah, the Green without Borders group should be defined as a terrorist organization, subject to international sanctions. There should be an effort to promote a special security regime, with extended powers for UNIFIL, in the strip of land north of the Blue Line, with the emphasis on the central sector. Unless there is any progress along these lines, it is important to renew the demand to downsize the UNIFIL force and cut its budget in accordance with its actual authority and freedom of activity, which are currently severely limited by the host Lebanese government, whose strength is in its weakness.

Taking a broader view, the current reality entails threats and opportunities for Israel. In view of the explosive potential, is important to put the main emphasis on avoiding escalation to war. Because of the severity of the precision missile threat, Israel must continue to counter it throughout the region, including in Lebanon, in the framework of its “campaign between wars,” while making a supreme effort to keep it below the threshold of escalation. Israel should encourage its Western partners to review their policy toward Lebanon, based on developments over the past decade. The economic-political crisis in Lebanon reinforces the state’s dependence on external aid, which can be made conditional on significant progress not only in areas that top the international agenda (reforms, corruption, governance, and political-economic stability) but also in the field of security, which is essential for Israel. The economic crisis likewise reinforces the value to Lebanon of a possible agreement regarding Mediterranean gas, which could be the first step toward a gradual economic-security settlement. For some time Israel has been working for a limited arrangement with another terror organization and bitter enemy, Hamas in Gaza. It should bring this conceptual flexibility to bear with respect to Hezbollah as well, since the cost of war with it would be far higher.

Decade after 1st interception, new Iron Dome boasts 100% success rate in trials

Marking a decade since the first tests of the Iron Dome missile system, the Defense Ministry on Sunday said it had conducted a fresh series of successful interception trials with an upgraded version of the air defense battery.

“We have completed a series of tests with a success rate of 100 percent. The system intercepted all threats, which were simulated in an area secured for the purpose of the experiment,” said Pini Yungman, a vice president of the Rafael defense contractor, one of the manufacturers of the Iron Dome, which performed the tests alongside the Defense Ministry.

An advanced version of the Iron Dome was used in the tests, which “simulated the future threats that the system may confront,” the ministry said. The upgraded model will be delivered to the military shortly, according to Moshe Patael, the head of the ministry’s Israel Missile Defense Organization.

“When we deliver it to the Israel Defense Forces, the air force will be equipped to confront evolving threats in the region,” he said.

BDS supporter attempts to derail intl. Herbalist Conference in Israel

Following pressure from supporters of the BDS movement, several speakers have canceled their appearance at Israel’s first-ever herbal medicine conference, slated to take place in Poriya near Tiberias February 9-11.

The president of the American Herbalists Guild (AHG) also withdrew her support and asked that a video of her congratulating the Ancient Roots Israel conference team on organizing the event be pulled from the online platforms.

AHG employee Shabina Lafleur-Gangji took responsibility on both her Facebook and Instagram pages for spearheading the BDS campaign. She is also the AHG’s Journal editor.

It’s alleged that attendees and speakers were being bullied not to participate. However the official reasons for why they were pulling out remained vague.

According to the AHG’s own Code of Ethics, “AHG members, including council and committee members, will avoid activities that are in conflict or may appear to be in conflict with any of the provisions of this Code of Ethics or with one’s responsibilities and duties as a member of the Guild.”

Netflix’s ‘Messiah’ demonizes Muslims, critics allege

Netflix’s “Messiah” isn’t even two weeks old and it’s already generated plenty of controversy to carry the premium streaming service for the rest of the year.

The series, which is about how the world reacts to a mysterious all-powerful figure, has drawn ire among Arabs and Iranians for its portrayal of the series’ main character.

Muslims suspect the main character, Al-Masih (played by Mehdi Dehbi), is supposed to represent Dajjal or the anti-Christ, but the series suggests that this holy figure might actually be a state-sponsored antichrist. Al-Masih captures the attention of the CIA and the Mossad when he attempts to smuggle thousands of Palestinian refugees in Syria to Israel.

A scathing review from the Middle East Eye, for example, did not mince words: Messiah’s script is so badly disjointed, it’s enough to make you lose whatever faith you might have in religion.”

The review goes on to slam the series for relying on “tired tropes, boorish acting and a rudderless plot.” Ouch.

The author also accuses the show of attempting to depict Western characters in a nuanced way, while painting Palestinians and Syrian refugees as primitive terrorists.

“By linking Palestinian rights for freedom to an ambiguous and ambivalent character, who may or not be a messiah, the series attempts to fictionalize a people’s ambition,” he continues.

But what has critics outside the Middle East outraged, as well, is the show’s revelation that Al-Masih is – spoiler alert – an Iranian agent.

Four hospitalized after antisemitic mob rampages through Uman

An armed mob stormed through the city of Uman, Ukraine over Shabbat, attacking Jews outside the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslav, Yeshiva World News reported.

“I returned from the Kloiz [the Breslov synagogue] and I see that they’re beating every Jew who ‘dared’ to look at them or say a word to them,” one Jewish visitor to the town said.

“It started with an insignificant dispute between one of the local Ukrainians and a Jew. The Ukrainian involved in the dispute called his antisemitic friends to come and beat up Jews.

“The police did show up at the scene but didn’t lift a finger to help the Jews. They just stood by and watched what was happening, while the Jews were being beaten up. What they did do was prevent the dozens of thugs from entering the [grave].

“Four Jews were taken to the nearest hospital on Friday night as a result of being beaten by the Ukrainians. On Motzei Shabbat they returned and the fighting is now at its height.”

According to witnesses cited by Yeshiva World News, the Ukrainians were running throughout the city armed with knives and clubs and were looking for Jews.

US Army to purchase Israeli-made Spike missiles

The US Army has chosen the Israeli-made long-range Spike precision missile to use on attack helicopters as an interim solution for greater standoff capabilities.

According to Defense News, an Army Requirements Oversight Council authorized the decision “ahead of a bigger decision” regarding acquiring long-range precision munitions for its air fleets.

While Apache helicopters can currently take out targets like enemy tanks, light bunkers and personnel from 12 km. away with the Hellfire Anti-Tank Guided Missile, the US Army wants a missile capable of striking from a longer distance.

Developed and produced by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, the Spike is a fifth-generation precise electro-optical missile with a range of more than double the Hellfire’s.

Quoting Brig.-Gen. Wally Rugen, who is in charge of Army aviation modernization, Defense News stated that the Army carried out several successful tests of the Spike in 2019, firing Spike NLOS missiles from an AH-64 Apache attack helicopter both in IDF firing ranges and at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona.

During the tests, the Apache hid behind 480 m. of craggy mountain and took take aim at a target representing a Russian Pantsir medium-range, surface-to-air missile system on the opposite slope.

Nine missiles were successfully fired toward targets, including one toward a moving target in the dark.

Rugen would not state how many Spike missiles would be purchased nor where they would be deployed.

First Jewish circumcision ceremony held in the United Arab Emirates

The first Jewish circumcision ceremony, known as a brit mila in Hebrew, took place in the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) on Friday.

The Rabbi of the Berlin Jewish community, Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal, met with the UAE’s Assistant Minister for Culture and Public Diplomacy Omar Saif Ghobash, according to the website CoLlive.

Additionally, he met with the German ambassador to the UAE Peter Fischer. CoLlive noted that no details about their conversation were released.
The ceremony was for the child of a Jewish couple who moved to Abu Dahbi for work. The couple invited Teichtal to officiate.

Chabad Berlin told CoLlive it was “the first Jewish circumcision there” and that “it was a particularly impressive and moving experience!”

Revealed: An Arab prince’s secret proposal to sell the Western Wall to the Jews

On August 29, 1929, Prince Mohamed Ali Pasha, the uncle and future regent to King Farouk of Egypt, walked into the British Embassy in Istanbul and hand-delivered a letter to British Ambassador Sir George Clerk. The letter was addressed to the British High Commissioner for Palestine, Sir John Chancellor. The prince asked Ambassador Clerk to forward the letter to Chancellor in Jerusalem.

The prince had written and signed the letter less than one week after the shocking August 24, 1929, massacres in Hebron, following months of rising tensions at the Western (Wailing) Wall. The letter began by deploring the violence, with the prince expressing hope the Arabs and Jews could settle their differences peacefully. The prince then offered a stunning suggestion:

My proposal for a solution is that, instead of fighting or dealing unjustly by one party or the other, it would be infinitely better to come to an understanding. The Mohametans may be willing to accept a sum of money which would help them to do good for the community and as the Jews are rich, if this thing [the Wailing Wall] is so much desired by them, there seems no reason why they should not pay for it. If this could be done, it would avoid coercion and possibly injustice to one or other of the parties. Certainly I am sure the Mohametans and Arabs will not accept a small sum such as £10,000 or even £20,000 for a matter in which their honour is so far involved… Let them give £100,000 and I feel sure this would settle the difference.

This is the story of Prince Mohamed Ali Pasha’s surprise proposal to sell the Western Wall to the Jews, revealed here for the first time.

The Temple Mount and the Western Wall today represent the defining religious symbols of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The same was true during the 1920s, following the British conquest of Palestine. Muslims and Jews clashed repeatedly over the Wall throughout the 1920s.

The Jews claimed rights of prayer at the Wall, the only surviving remnant of the ancient Temples and the holiest and most sacred site for Jews to pray. Jews had been praying at or near the Wall nearly continuously since the Roman conquest.

The Muslims, for their part, also regarded the Wall (or the Buraq, named for Mohammed’s steed whom the Angel Gabriel, according to Muslim legend, tethered to the Wall at the end of Mohammed’s celestial journey from Mecca) as an Islamic Holy site that had been dedicated as Wakf property nearly a millennium ago. The Muslims asserted absolute ownership of both the Wall and the narrow strip of pavement facing the Wall. Prior to 1967, as shown in the following photograph, the pavement was sandwiched between the Wall on one side and an area of small dwellings, known as the “Moghrabi Quarter,” on the other side:

The Muslims refused to accord the Jews any rights to pray at the Wall, for fear the Jews would use that as a wedge to encroach further on Muslim property and eventually seize control of the entire Temple Mount area. During Ottoman times the Jews would pay small bribes to bring chairs and benches to the Wall, even as the Ottoman authorities issued formal rulings banning such practices as late as 1911.

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