May 29, 2020

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05/03 Links Pt1: Ben Shapiro: Lies and More Lies; Oren: ‘Conduct of the Obama administration borders on criminal’; NY Times calls for Abbas ouster over ‘vile’ claim on Jews and Holocaust

From Ian:

Ben Shapiro: Lies and More Lies
So, the Iranians lied.

So did the Obama administration.

On April 30, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed that in a stunning intelligence coup, the Israelis had somehow obtained 100,000 files from Iran’s secret atomic archive in Tehran. The files showed that Iran had ardently pursued nuclear weapons for years, lying about it all the while; that they had then failed to turn over the information showing the extent of their program during negotiations over the Barack Obama administration-pushed Iran deal; and that they had hidden those files in a secret warehouse with the obvious intent of reviving their nuclear program the minute they can get away with it.

According to Netanyahu, Iran “is brazenly lying when it says it never had a nuclear weapons program.” Furthermore, Netanyahu claimed that nuclear development “continued … in a series of organizations over the years, and today, in 2018, this work is carried out by SPND, that’s an organization inside Iran’s Defense Ministry.” The head of Iran’s earlier nuclear program currently heads the SPND.

Advocates for the Obama administration have come forward to contend that there’s nothing new here — that everyone knew Iran had been lying about its nuclear program. But when the deal was signed, Secretary of State John Kerry stated that Iran would have to disclose past military-related nuclear activities: “If there’s going to be a deal, it will be done. … It will be part of a final agreement.”

Other advocates say that Israel’s intelligence would be damaging to the Iran deal — but those nefarious Jews made it up. According to Tommy Vietor, former Obama National Security Council spokesman, “After years of bashing U.S. intelligence agencies for getting Iraq wrong, [Donald] Trump is now cooking up intel with the Israelis to push us closer to a conflict with Iran. A scandal hiding in plain sight.”

Caroline Glick: The Ayatollah’s Archive Violates the Iran Deal

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s revelation Monday evening that Israel’s Mossad spy agency had seized Iran’s nuclear archive means that the ayatollahs have violated the nuclear deal negotiated by then-President Barack Obama, his EU partners, the Russians, and the Chinese in 2015.

Despite misleading claims by former Obama administration officials and their supporters in the liberal media that the material provided “nothing new,” the existence of the archive itself is a bombshell.

The intelligence Israel captured from a secret warehouse in Teheran includes more than half a ton of documents and computer files that detail the regime’s past work in developing all aspects of a nuclear arsenal. The archive was painstakingly preserved and transferred to a new secret location after Iran concluded the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), otherwise known as the Iran nuclear deal.

According to Ehud Yaari, Arab Affairs commentator for Israel’s Reshet television station, by archiving the material and so preserving Iran’s progress towards constructing nuclear weapons, Iran committed a material breach of the JCPOA.

Paragraph T of Annex 1 of the JCPOA is titled “Activities which could contribute to the design and development of a nuclear explosive device.”

Prelude to a Showdown?

Again, though, to focus on the intelligence Netanyahu revealed is to lose the plot. The exposure of an exceedingly complex operation that revealed these documents to the world is by itself an alarming development. According to the Israeli officials with whom Axios reporter Barak Ravid spoke, the Iranian nuclear archive was transferred to its covert home in February of 2016 explicitly to hide the military dimensions of its nuclear program from inspectors. The Israeli operation that uncovered that warehouse, which was known only to a small circle of Iranian officials, took years to prepare and involved hundreds of agents and informants. Exposing this operation has compromised all of those irreplaceable human assets and sacrificed a lot of invaluable collection capability. No government does that without performing a cost/benefit analysis. Either Israel concluded that making this operation public was worth the concrete policy objective that would be achieved by the reveal, or Netanyahu’s government determined that the value of its assets in Tehran was going to depreciate soon anyway as a result of events. And events are becoming rather ominous.

In as many months, Israel has executed three airstrikes on Iranian targets inside Syria. In February, Israel claimed to have shot down an Iranian drone originating in Syria that penetrated its airspace. In response to that incursion, the Israeli military targeted and destroyed four Iranian positions and an Iranian-operated command-and-control center from which the drone originated. One Israeli aircraft was shot down by Syrian anti-aircraft fire during that operation. In early April, Israel executed an airstrike on an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps post in Syria in which Iranian soldiers and Hezbollah were killed. And just days ago, Israel attacked two Iranian-linked bases inside Syria killing dozens of Iranian and Syrian fighters and igniting ammunition that resulted in several massive explosions. The tempo of Israeli operations is increasing and Americans sources say observers have every reason to fear the accelerating trend.

U.S. officials reportedly told NBC News that, within the last two weeks, Iran has stepped up deliveries of small arms and surface-to-air missiles to Syria as part of Tehran’s effort to “shore up Iranian ground forces and to strike at Israel.” The conspicuous reinforcement of Iranian soldiers, support staff, and weapons stockpiles might have led Israel to draw the gravest of conclusions. “The three U.S. officials said Israel now seems to be preparing for military action and is seeking U.S. help and support,” NBC News revealed.

The arguments among political factions within the United States regarding the Iran nuclear deal and various presidential legacies are peripheral to what may be the more immediate issue: the prospect of imminent hostilities between Israel and Iran, to say nothing of Tehran’s proxy forces in Syria, Lebanon, and Gaza. Seen in that light, Netanyahu’s decision to reveal the most eye-opening feat of spycraft in a generation is anything but a “nothing-burger.”

Michael Oren: ‘Conduct of the Obama administration borders on criminal’

Deputy Minister Oren was also asked, as someone in constant contact with the US administration, how the people close to Obama and John Kerry relate to the exposure of the information that presents them as being deceived by the Iranians.

“They say that ‘we were not naive, we knew that the Iranians were lying, and that is why we need an agreement according to which inspectors can enter for the most intrusive visits,’ but there are some problems with their answer: Whoever looks at pictures from the agreement-signing ceremony in 2015 – everyone who signed there had a huge smile, and nobody smiled more than Mr. Kerry. It’s hard to imagine a situation in which they knew they were signing with a lying regime and were excited about the agreement, that they thought this agreement would change Iran’s behavior. They erred one hundred percent.”

Oren called to take a look at a map of the Middle East and see the territories occupied by the Iranians before and after the agreement, and identify “a difference of day and night.”

“They occupied parts of the Middle East because of the agreement, with the money the Iranians received after the agreement and the legitimacy they received in the agreement,” he said, adding: “This is huge damage that has cost hundreds of lives, and they are still smiling. Whoever signed this agreement, which expires in another seven years, acted with too much naivete. It borders on something criminal, not only regarding Israel and the Middle East, but regarding the entire world.”

Oren also commented on PA Chairman Abbas’ statement according to which the Holocaust was not a result of the Jewishness of the Jews, but rather of their conduct.

He said that, following the remarks, Israel must “Greatly doubt whether this is a partner in any future context. I expect European condemnation. This is the same Europe that does not miss an opportunity to denounce us. The UN envoy who condemned us harshly for what’s happening in Gaza did not condemn Abbas’ most anti-Semitic statements at all.”

“In the best case, Abbas said what he did as one who is old and not healthy, but in the worst case this is what he thought throughout the years, this is what he believes and this is his doctorate. His anti-Semitism is deeply entrenched in him, and the fact that the Palestinians didn’t stand up and condemn the statements also needs to concern us.”

Trump ‘all but decided’ to withdraw from Iran deal – report

US President Donald Trump has “all but decided” to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, but may not pull out completely, Reuters reported Thursday.

Two White House officials and a third source source told the news agency that the president would most likely end the waivers on the Iran sanctions on May 12 when they next come up for renewal. However, an official said it was possible that he would decide on a compromise that was “not a full pullout,” though it was unclear what form such a decision would take.

The source said Trump’s meeting last week with French President Emmanuel Macron may have pushed the president to remain in the deal somehow. Macron made a three-day state visit to Washington primarily to convince Trump to not leave the 2015 deal, negotiated between Tehran and six world powers.

Macron on Wednesday reiterated his commitment to the accord but admitted that it needed strengthening.

“I don’t know what the US president will decide on May 12,” Macron said during a visit to Sydney.

Britain, France and Germany — the three European countries that signed the deal — have repeatedly tried to persuade Trump not to abandon it.

A senior adviser to Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei announced Thursday that Iran will not remain in the deal if the US decides to pull out.

FM Zarif: Iran Will Not Renegotiate Nuclear Deal

Iran’s foreign minister said on Thursday that demands by US President Donald Trump to change Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers were unacceptable, as a deadline set by US for Europeans to “fix” the deal loomed.

Trump has said that unless European allies fix the “terrible flaws” in the Iran nuclear deal by May 12, he will refuse to extend US sanctions relief for oil-producing Iran.

“Iran will not renegotiate what was agreed years ago and has been implemented,” Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a video message posted on YouTube.

European signatories of the deal have been trying to persuade Trump to save the pact. They argue that Iran has been abiding by its terms, a position also taken by US intelligence assessments.

“Let me make it clear absolutely and once for all: we will neither outsource our security, nor will we renegotiate or add on to a deal we have already implemented in good faith,” Zarif said.

UN chief warns scrapping Iran nuclear deal could lead to war

nited Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned Thursday against scrapping the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, saying that doing so without presenting a good alternative could lead to war.

U.S. President Donald Trump has been threatening to pull out of the accord, leading to diplomatic tensions with Iran as well as with U.S. allies keen to preserve the agreement, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The other signatories to the deal – Britain, Germany, France, Russia and China – have expressed support for keeping it in place. The former three, which have been trying to negotiate revisions to the accord with Iran, said that while the deal was not perfect, it was the best option currently available to prevent the Islamic republic from developing nuclear weapons.

Speaking with BBC Radio 4, Guterres said of the deal, “If one day there is a better agreement to replace it – it’s fine, but we should not scrap it unless we have a good alternative.

“I believe JCPOA was an important diplomatic victory and I think it will be important to preserve it, but I also believe there are areas in which it will be very important to have a meaningful dialogue because I see the region in a very dangerous position,” he said.

MEMRI: Iranian Officials Respond To West’s Demands Regarding Its Missile Program: Our Missile Production ‘Has Increased Threefold’; ‘Our Defensive Capabilities Cannot Be Stopped Or Curbed’

According to reports in Western media, Britain, France, and Germany are agreeing with U.S. President Donald Trump that Iran’s ballistic missile program and Iran’s expansion in the region constitute a threat for the region and its security and stability.[1]

To date, Iran has firmly rejected the Western demands for discussion of its ballistic missile program, stating that it requires the program for self-defense – despite the fact that its missile’s 2,000-km range is accepted by the international community as designated for offensive purposes. With regard to shorter-range missiles, Iran is denying any involvement in the provision of such missiles to the Houthi rebels in Yemen; with regard to its expansion in the region, it is claiming that its presence in Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon is aimed at protecting its own borders from the Islamic State (ISIS) threat.

On April 30, 2018, Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) deputy commander Gen. Hossein Salami reiterated this position at a ceremony for Iran’s National Persian Gulf Day: “While the enemies threaten us and demand that we disarm, this demand is immoral, illogical, and ambitious. The missiles are [our] defensive capital, and [one of] the main foundations of our deterrent might. We will never agree to give up our defensive capability.”[2] He added: “The Europeans must know that although there are sanctions on us, we will never disarm and lose the foundations of our might. We are the ones who have secured energy for them, and they must not play with our might. Iran is capable of defending its interests at every point. We have not long to go until we reach great heights. We have made our might largely immune to harm.”[3]

In statements published several days after French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian’s visit to Iran in early March 2018, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and IRGC commanders rejected out of hand the French official’s demands for discussions on Iranian missiles and expansion.[4]

New York Times Offers a Theatrical Denunciation of Netanyahu’s Iran Speech

At least the White House corrected itself, which is more than can be said for the Times, which, at least as this article was filed, was still publishing uncorrected the news article and the editorial with the conflicting dates.

Not in the print newspaper, but only in Bret Stephens’ online column, does the Times get into the highly relevant matter of what happened in 2003. As Stephens put it: “They shelved much of their nuclear program in 2003 after the U.S. invaded Iraq.”

Aside from the date discrepancy, the editorial and the news article seem broadly on the same page, with the news article describing Prime Minister Netanyahu’s presentation as “dramatic” and “theatrical,” and the editorial also describing it as “theatrical.” What’s really theatrical is watching the Times editorial writers try to draw a moral equivalence between Iran’s behavior and that of Israel and the United States, with innuendos like “Iran isn’t the region’s only destabilizing force.” Come to think of it, the Times might try assigning its theater critics to cover the Iran issue. It’s hard to imagine they could do any worse than the current crew of editorial writers.

PreOccupiedTerritory: 100K Iran Nuke Files Said Not To Contain “No-Nukes” Fatwa Cited By Obama (satire)

Technical experts and translators processing the vast quantity of documents and other information on Iran’s nuclear program taken by Mossad agents from a Tehran warehouse in February have yet to come across a much-touted religious ruling that President Barack Obama and other American officials invoked in favor of the impending nuclear deal with the Ayatollahs’ regime, to the effect that pursuit or use of atomic weapons would violate Islamic tenets.

While Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu revealed the existence of the 100,000 files and the way in which they were obtained, experts have hesitated to comment on the significance of the information they contain, and even Israel’s internal manpower has yet to cover the entire trove, leaving open the possibility that the fatwa Obama and his secretary of state, John Kerry, cited does in fact exist outside the fantasies of Iran Deal advocates. Personnel involved in the processing of the files, however, deem it unlikely that the collection contains such a document.

“It’s really too early to tell,” admitted Hugh Briss, a defense consultant with ties to the Israeli team interpreting the files. “But let’s just say the focus of the documents lies more in the technical and military realm than in the religious. And by more, I mean no one I’ve spoken to involved in the work has encountered anything religious at all to this point. We’ll know for sure in a couple of months or so.”

David Horovitz: Who we are, why we’re here: Amid storm over Abbas’s comments, Israeli author explains Zionism to the Palestinians

For a slender volume, Yossi Klein Halevi’s “Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor” carries an extraordinary weight of responsibility.

The Jerusalem-based author and journalist spent 11 years writing his previous book, “Like Dreamers” — which told the story of Israel’s evolution after the Six Day War through the lives of seven paratroopers who fought to reunite Jerusalem. By contrast, Klein Halevi says, “Letters” spilled out of him in what felt like 11 weeks. It was a book waiting to be written, he believes, a book he had spent his 35 years in Israel — half the lifespan of the modern Jewish state — preparing to write.

Its goal is nothing less than to explain to our Palestinian neighbors — some of whom he can literally see out of the window of his home in northern Jerusalem’s French Hill neighborhood — who we Jews are and what we are doing here. With Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas working assiduously to delegitimize the Jews’ presence here, the imperative could hardly be more pressing.

In an earlier book, “At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden,” Klein Halevi spent time with Christians and, far more dramatically, with Muslims in the Holy Land, listening, learning and trying to understand them. With this new book, he hopes that they will listen to him.

Unprecedentedly, however, Klein Halevi, 64, does not envisage this volume as a one-way street. His declared goal is for the book, with its chapter-letters, to prompt a dialogue with these Palestinian neighbors of ours. Therefore, it is being translated into Arabic. It will be made available online — on The Times Of Israel’s Arabic website – for free downloading. The author hopes that Palestinians and others across the Arab and Muslim world will respond to it. If they write, he promises, he will respond in kind — initiating an ongoing conversation, enabling our conflicted sides to better understand each other, and, thus, one day, perhaps even to accept and live peaceably alongside each other.

When the NY Times says Abbas is no partner, something fundamental is shifting

When The New York Times editorializes that Abbas, by “feeding reprehensible anti-Semitic myths and conspiracy theories” has now “shed all credibility as a trustworthy partner,” something fundamental has patently begun to shift.

So why the caveat? Why does the fallout also have a partial downside for pro-Israel advocacy, known as hasbara?

Because defenders of Israel’s good name can no longer easily claim that the international community is hopelessly biased in favor of the Palestinians. The automatic Arab majority in UNESCO will still be there after this Abbas controversy fades from the headlines. The UN’s anti-Israel numerical bias won’t quickly be remade. But it will nevertheless be a little more difficult to argue that “everyone is instinctively against us” or that the Europeans have it in relentlessly for Jews and Israel.

In January, the EU refused to condemn Abbas for saying Israel was “a colonial project that has nothing to do with Judaism.”

“Our policy is not to comment on comments,” an EU spokesperson in Brussels told The Times of Israel at the time.

On Wednesday, by contrast, the EU denounced Abbas’s “unacceptable remarks concerning the origins of the Holocaust and Israel’s legitimacy.”

Apparently, Brussels’ policy is no longer not to comment on comments. Abbas’s rhetoric was too vicious to be left unremarked upon.

But that doesn’t mean Israel will be getting a free pass from now on. It means criticism of Israel from those many quarters that this week spoke out against Abbas might be a little harder to shrug off.

NY Times calls for Abbas ouster over ‘vile’ claim on Jews and Holocaust

The New York Times’ editorial board has called for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s ouster after he attributed the genocide of Jews during the Holocaust to their “social behavior” in what the US paper called a “vile speech” earlier this week.

In Wednesday’s editorial titled “Let Abbas’s vile words be his last as Palestinian leader,” the paper called his remarks “a new low,” even for a leader who has shown “anti-Semitic tendencies” in the past.

In an unusual rebuke of a foreign leader, the paper said Abbas’s remarks in front of hundreds at a rare session of the Palestinian National Council in Ramallah fueled anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and demonstrated that Israel does not have a trustworthy peace partner in the PA president. “Feeding reprehensible anti-Semitic myths and conspiracy theories,” it said, “Abbas shed all credibility as a trustworthy partner if the Palestinians and Israelis ever again have the nerve to try negotiations.”

NYT’s Editorial: Let Abbas’s Vile Words Be His Last as Palestinian Leader

Since the last serious peace talks collapsed in 2014, Israel’s hard-line government has expanded settlement building to cover more of the land envisioned for a Palestinian state. Although President Trump promised a peace plan, none has materialized, but reports suggest it would favor Israel.

Arab nations, once the Palestinians’ patrons, have lost interest and have turned their attention to fighting wars in Yemen and Syria and checking Iran’s regional influence. During a recent meeting with Jewish-American leaders, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia faulted Palestinian leaders for complaining and rejecting past Israeli peace offers.

Mr. Abbas opposed Mr. Arafat during the 2000-2005 second intifada, recognized Israel, and committed himself to a nonviolent approach to negotiations for peace and a two-state solution. He was valued by the West as Mr. Arafat’s successor, and for years he has deployed Palestinian forces to help Israelis maintain security in the West Bank.

But pressures, some of his own making and many others caused by Israel, which has ultimate control over the West Bank, are building. Mr. Abbas, who oversees a governing system plagued by corruption and dysfunction, has lost support among the Palestinian people.

He has weakened government institutions that are essential for a future state and refused to call new elections, thus overstaying his term by many years and preventing younger leaders from emerging.

He has also failed to unify the Palestinians in the West Bank, where his Fatah faction dominates, with those in the even more desperate circumstances of the Gaza Strip, where Hamas holds sway.

Even in this gloomy climate, however, Mr. Abbas’s vile speech was a new low. No doubt he feels embittered and besieged on all sides. But by succumbing to such dark, corrosive instincts he showed that it is time for him to leave office.

Palestinians need a leader with energy, integrity and vision, one who might have a better chance of achieving Palestinian independence and enabling both peoples to live in peace.

Adviser: Abbas ‘doesn’t personally’ believe remarks about European Jews

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas does not personally maintain that Jews were massacred in Europe for centuries because of their “social role related to usury and banks,” a senior Palestinian official said on Wednesday.

In a long speech on Monday in front of a top Palestine Liberation Organization body in Ramallah, Abbas said Jews were not killed in Europe over the years because of their religion, but rather “their social role related to usury and banks.” The PA president said he was referencing the writings of Karl Marx and two other Jewish authors.

“President Abbas does not personally hold that Jews were killed because of their social role related to banks. He was merely stating the opinion of Marx and other Jewish writers,” Mahmoud al-Habash, the PA president’s religious affairs adviser, told The Jerusalem Post.

When asked why Abbas made the statement, if he does not personally believe it, Habash said: “There are two narratives: One narrative is that Jews were killed because of their social role and another is they were killed because of their religion. We are not adopting either of these narratives, but rather leaving it to historians to determine the truth.”

When asked why Abbas only cited one of the “two narratives” for why Jews were killed in Europe, Habash repeated: “Abu Mazen is not stating his personal perspective, but rather a historical narrative that he has not adopted.”

Who do you think you are kidding, Mr Abbas?

Mahmoud Abbas has denied that pogroms occurred during the 14 centuries that Jewish communities existed in Arab countries. If he read Point of No Return he would be fully au fait with the true history.

Abbas’s outrageous statement is of a piece with Abbas’s Holocaut denial. His thesis as a PhD student in Moscow vastly minimised the numbers of Jews murdered by the Nazis. The Zionists’ Ha’avara agreeement to rescue Jews from Hitler’s Germany in the 1930s is maliciously construed as ‘collaboration’ with Nazism.

Haaretz reports: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday that Jews in Europe were exposed to pogroms not because of their religion, but because of their social role and financial matters.
Speaking during the National Palestinian Council in Ramallah, Abbas attributed the claim to Jewish scholars and said that factually, “such pogroms did not take place in Arab nations, which had Jewish communities.”
Abbas stirred controversy in his doctoral thesis in Moscow University when he examined connections between the Zionist leadership in Israel and the Nazi regime in the 1930s. In it he dealt with the claims of Holocaust deniers such as Roger Garaudy regarding the correct number of Jewish deaths in the Holocaust. Israeli officials have dubbed Abbas a Holocaust denier, but he has refuted the accusation.

France, Britain blast Abbas for anti-Semitic speech

The United Kingdom and France joined Israel and much of the international community in condemning a speech by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that claimed the Holocaust was the result of Jews’ own “social behavior” and financial conduct rather than anti-Semitism.

While stressing Abbas’s role in peace negotiations, UK’s Middle East Minister Alistair Burt said the speech did not help his own people.

“President Abbas has shown a commitment to non-violence and a two-state solution,” Burt said in a statement. “But his recent rhetoric does not serve the interests of the Palestinian people and is deeply unhelpful to the cause of peace.”

The minister said a hoped-for peace deal could not be based on denying history.

“At a highly sensitive time in the region, when we must all look forwards and work urgently towards a resolution of the longstanding issues between Israel and the Palestinian people, the fundamentals of peace cannot be built on views of the Holocaust which fly in the face of history,” he said.

During his long-winded speech Monday in front of hundreds at a rare session of the Palestinian National Council in Ramallah, the 82-year-old PA leader alleged that the Holocaust was not caused by anti-Semitism, but rather by Jews’ “social behavior, [charging] interest, and financial matters.”

Though he stopped short of calling the speech anti-Semitic, as some other leaders had done, Burt said that it was unacceptable to try and justify the Holocaust.

Yad Vashem blasts Abbas for anti-Semitic bid to blame Jews for their own murder

Israel’s Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem, Yad Vashem, on Wednesday lambasted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for the “distorted” history lesson in which he said the Holocaust was caused not by anti-Semitism, but by the behavior of Jews who worked in banking and money lending.

“Sadly, Abbas has chosen to assault Holocaust remembrance by attempting to convert the Shoah into a propaganda tool, blatantly falsifying history to the point of accusing the Jewish victims as being responsible for their own murder, and transforming Hitler into a Zionist,” Yad Vashem said in a statement.

“His own argument is itself fundamentally anti-Semitic, insofar as it incorporates a centuries-old anti-Semitic narrative that equates Jews with monetary greed,” the statement said, adding that Abbas should study history instead of trying to give history lessons.

“Even basic acquaintance with Jewish history would teach Abbas not only that the Jews pursued, then and now, a wide variety of professions and occupations, but that the majority of them at that time were impoverished. Even basic acquaintance with European history would inform Abbas about the escalation of anti-Semitism throughout Europe during the second half of the 19th century and the start of the 20th, and that this was in effect the prime context for the murder of Jews during the Holocaust,” it said.


Emily Thornberry attended the Mahmoud Abbas speech which made global headlines this week for its anti-Semitic content, Guido can reveal. Thornberry was representing Labour at the Palestinian National Council (PNC) meeting in Ramallah. The Shadow Foreign Secretary confirmed her attendance in a Facebook post published after Abbas’ speech. Her statement did not reference Abbas’ anti-Semitic comments…

Abbas delivered a rambling speech in which he claimed the Holocaust was not caused by anti-Semitism but by Jewish “social behaviour, [charging] interest, and financial matters.” In highly offensive comments, Abbas said:
“But why did this use to happen… They say, “It is because we are Jews”. I will bring you three Jews, with three books who say that enmity towards Jews was not because of their religious identity but because of their social function. This is a different issue. So the Jewish question that was widespread throughout Europe was not against their religion but against their social function which relates to usury [unscrupulous money-lending] and banking and such.”

Rather than reference the remarks or condemn Abbas in her initial statement, Thornberry instead said:
“While we of course want to see the resumption of meaningful peace talks, I said President Abbas had been quite right to argue that the Trump administration cannot act as a mediator for peace when they themselves are sowing the seeds of discord, and making a negotiated peace ever harder to achieve…”

UK Labour’s pick for top diplomat would consider arms embargo against Israel

The UK’s would-be next top diplomat this week called for a review of her country’s arms sales to Israel to ensure Jerusalem would not use British weapons “to attack innocent Palestinian civilians.”

Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry, who attended the Palestinian National Council summit in Ramallah this week, also reiterated her vow that the the next Labour government would “without delay” recognize a Palestinian state.

Writing on Facebook, Thornberry promised the Palestinian leadership the support of her party and made “three solemn guarantees” of steps a new Labour government would take “as soon” as it comes into office.

“First, as we rightly mark this month the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the State of Israel, I said it is also right — and long overdue — for the United Kingdom to formally recognise the State of Palestine, and urge other countries to do the same, not in due course, not when the time is right, but now and without delay,” she wrote.

Secondly, she vowed her party would host an “international funding conference to address the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people” and Palestinian refugees across the Middle East. This was necessary to make up for the funds the US administration has withheld from the United Nations agency responsible for Palestinian refugees.

NGO Monitor: NGO Proposals Would Endanger More Lives

On April 30, the Israeli Supreme Court held a hearing on two petitions from NGOs claiming that Israel’s responses to violence along the Gaza border are illegal and demanding that the Court prohibit the use of live ammunition by the IDF.

In a response filed with the Court, the Israeli government demonstrated that the six NGOs – Yesh Din, ACRI, Gisha, HaMoked, Adalah, and Al Mezan – are misrepresenting the situation along the border, misrepresenting the applicable international legal framework, and recommending steps that would actually result in more Palestinian casualties. In other words, the NGO network is once again inventing claims to bash Israel.

NGO Monitor: So you can’t go to jail for throwing stones in Canada, eh?

On April 26, 2018, Defense for Children International – Palestine’s (DCI-P) International Advocacy Officer Brad Parker spoke in Ottawa. Alongside UN Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk and leader of the Green Party of Canada Elizabeth May, the event “Rights under Endless Occupation: Israel/Palestine Discussion,” was hosted by the Mennonite Central Committee and the United Church of Canada.

Parker’s presentation repeated the false claims and methodological flaws that are typical of DCI-P’s advocacy and reports (see NGO Monitor’s “No Way to Represent a Child: Defense for Children International – Palestine’s Distortions of the Israeli Justice System”).

At one point, Parker outright lied to the audience. He described a theoretical scenario where he threw a rock at a car as it is driving, thereby breaking its window. Parker stated that he “might” get arrested, and proceeds to ask the audience if he would go to jail. The audience remained largely silent, so Parker answered for them, with “no.”

In contrast to Parker’s statements and his minimization of violence, according to Canada’s Criminal Code (430(2)), “Every one who commits mischief that causes actual danger to life is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life” (emphasis added). Indeed, there are numerous cases in Canada where both minors and adults have thrown stones and been charged with “mischief endangering life,” and therefore faced this maximum sentence.

Kite Carrying Incendiary Device From Gaza Sets Off Major Fire in Israel’s South

A major fire was set off in southern Israel on Wednesday, caused by an incendiary device attached to a kite flown across the border from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

This is the latest of several such attacks. They are part of the ongoing “March of Return,” a series of violent riots orchestrated by Hamas on the Israel-Gaza border.

There have been over a dozen previous attempts at using kites to deliver incendiary devices, causing millions of shekels worth of damage, but no major fires. On Wednesday, however, three such kites caused a serious blaze in the Beeri Forest in southern Israel.

Two heads of local councils, Shai Hagig and Tamir Eidan, reacted to the fire with outrage over the continuing violence on the border.

PMW: 14 Members of Congress call to stop aid to PA, citing PMW documentation

Last week, Palestinian Media Watch sent a report to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with copies to members of Congress documenting that the Palestinian Authority had failed to implement the four conditions demanded by the Taylor Force Act, and thus were ineligible for further American funding.

Following PMW’s report, 14 members of Congress sent a letter to the Secretary of State citing the documentation in PMW’s report, and concluding: “… we urge you to immediately suspend all aid payments to the Palestinian Authority.” [Washington Free Beacon, May 1, 2018]

PMW’s report exposed that the Palestinian Authority budget for 2018 includes payments to terrorists and the families of so-called “Martyrs.” PMW’s report also included the following statement by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas explicitly rejecting America’s demands to stop paying salaries to terrorist prisoners:

The end of the peace process

On the eve of the transfer of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, the Palestinian National Council, the legislative body of the Palestine Liberation Organization, in other words, the organization for the liberation of the Land of Israel, convened for its 23rd session in Ramallah. Grown men in suits listened to the don, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas spew anti-Semitic lies, fabricate history and deliver empty promises.

According to Abbas, the Palestinian coffin was nailed shut as a result of the split with and corruption of Hamas, the Arab states’ abandonment of the Palestinians, Israel’s strength and the U.S.’s traitorous rejection of the Palestinian demands for a “right of return” and Jerusalem. The only thing that remains for Abbas to do is claim a chapter in the Quran commands the Palestinians wait patiently alongside the borders of Palestine. Let them wait, because the same Quran promises this land to the Jewish people, and that is why we are therefore the actual owners.

According to Abbas, Ashkenazi Jews are descended from the Khazars, a people who existed hundreds of years ago somewhere between Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and therefore have no connection to Palestine. The Palestinians are the chosen Canaanite people who will remain parked outside Palestine until their victory is achieved. Israel was established on an imperial whim and as part of a conspiracy to thwart the Arab power that threatens Europe. The Jews collaborated with Nazi leader Adolf Hitler to arrive in Palestine, just as Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion brought Jews from Arab states to Palestine, even though they enjoyed pleasant and pogrom-free lives under the auspices of Islam.

As far as Abbas is concerned, the transfer of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, the draining of the abscess of the “eternal Palestinian refugees” and the closure of the U.N.’s agency for Palestinian refugees, which so maliciously perpetuates the problem, has turned the deal of the century into the slap of the century. Abbas’ response has been to engage in efforts to provide international legitimacy to the Palestinians and a legal campaign against Israel.

Israel to Russia: We Sat Out Western Sanctions, so Help Us in Middle East

Israel’s defense minister reminded Russia on Thursday of his government’s decision not to join Western sanctions against it, and asked that Moscow reciprocate with a more pro-Israel approach to Syria and Iran.

Avigdor Lieberman’s appeal followed Russia’s rare calling out of Israel over an April 9 air strike in Syria, and came as US President Donald Trump mulls scrapping the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal by May 12, a review opposed by Moscow.

“We value these relations with Russia,” Lieberman said in an interview with the Russian newspaper Kommersant.

“Even when our close partners pressured us, as in the case of sanctions against Russia, we did not join them,” he said, alluding to Western powers that clashed with Moscow over the Crimea crisis and the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy in Britain.

“A lot of countries have recently expelled Russian diplomats. Israel did not join in this action,” he added.

“We take Russia’s interests into account and we hope that Russia will take into account our interests, here in the Middle East. We expect Russia’s understanding and support when it comes to our vital interests.”

WATCH: Secretary Of State Mike Pompeo Talks About Moving U.S. Embassy To Jerusalem

On Wednesday, Mike Pompeo was sworn in as Secretary of State, replacing Rex Tillerson. During the ceremony, Pompeo reaffirmed the Trump administration’s plans to move the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem very soon:

We are but 15 months into this administration and we’ve already made outstanding progress by speaking the truth about the challenges we face, by confronting them head on, by partnering with strong, sovereign, independent nations to make America and the world more prosperous and secure.

We put hurt on the ISIS caliphate in Iraq and Syria. We’ve done so by great, diplomatic work. We’re confronting all types of Iranian hostility and are deciding on the next steps for the flawed JCPOA [Iran Nuclear Agreement]. We have imposed real consequences on Russia for its acts of aggression, and we will soon move our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem years ahead of schedule.

EXCLUSIVE – New York Democrat Assemblyman Gives Trump ‘A-Triple-Plus’ Rating on Israel

Longtime Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a Democrat, rated President Trump “a-triple-plus” for his administration’s policies toward Israel and relationship with the Jewish state.

“I rate him a-triple-plus,” said Hikind. “When it comes to Israel, this administration, the Trump administration has been remarkable. You know, Aaron, it doesn’t get any better.”

Hikind was speaking in an interview on this reporter’s talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” broadcast on New York’s AM 970 The Answer and NewsTalk 990 AM.

Hikind praised Trump’s historic decision to relocate the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and the administration’s steadfast support for the Jewish state amid Hamas-instigated border riots targeting Israel from the Gaza Strip.

Stated Hikind: “When it comes to moving the embassy every president has promised this and they knew when they were promising it that they were lying to everybody. So whatever you want to say about Trump, the fact is he made a commitment. He has kept that commitment and that is extraordinary.”

Shin Bet: Palestinian student leader received €150k for Hamas through Turkey

A Palestinian student leader arrested in March in a daylight raid by Israeli commando forces is suspected of illegally receiving hundreds of thousands of euros from Hamas operatives in Turkey to promote the terror group’s activities at a university near Ramallah, the Shin Bet security service said Thursday.

The student, 24-year-old Omar al-Kiswani from the West Bank village of Beit Iksa, is a member of Hamas’s student faction at Birzeit University and the head of the student council.

“It is another expression of the efforts by Hamas command centers in Turkey and the Gaza Strip to accelerate the activity” of the terrorist group in the West Bank, the Shin Bet said, adding that “the investigation’s findings tell us of the deep involvement” of the overseas Hamas members.

The Shin Bet said that Kiswani had contacted Yassin Rabia, a Hamas member who had formerly been jailed by Israel until he was freed and deported to the Gaza Strip in a 2011 prisoner swap deal. More than a thousand Palestinians convicted for terror offenses were released in the exchange for IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.

Arab-Israeli Poet Dareen Tatour convicted of incitement to violence

Arab-Israeli poet Dareen Tatour was found guilty of incitement to violence and support for a terror organization for poems and comments posted to social media in a decision handed down by the Nazareth Magistrate’s Court Thursday morning.

The two-year-seven-month legal and literary saga, which has garnered international attention, has become a battleground for debates over free speech, discrimination and relations between Israel’s Jewish majority and its Arab minority.

“I never expected justice from the Israeli courts,” Tatour said in response to the verdict. “I knew that I would be convicted of the accusations… I will write and write and keep writing.”

Tatour, 37, is an Israeli citizen from the village of Reineh in the north of Israel. She was indicted November 2, 2015 for pictures and poems posted to Facebook and YouTube, and has since been held in full detention and under house arrest. Tatour is one of the few Israelis who have been convicted for their social media activity.

In October 2015, she posted a Youtube video of her reading her poem “Resist my People, Resist Them,” accompanied by pictures of Palestinians clashing with Israeli security forces.

A Jewish member of the Palestinian Authority?

The Palestinian Authority (PA) is attempting to push back against criticism of President Mahmoud Abbas’ comments blaming the Jews for the Holocaust by showcasing Jewish members of Palestinian National Council.

According to the official Palestinian Authority news agency Wafa, “a member of the Palestinian National Council, Uri Davis, who is Jewish, sits with his council members, including Christians and Muslims, to discuss issues of interest to their Palestinian people.”

The article continued to say that Davis “is a Palestinian belonging to a Jewish religion and will continue to work for liberating Palestine and achieving its independence from the occupation embodied in Zionism, which has no connection to the Jewish religion because it is a religion that opposes the occupation. “

Uri Davis had converted to Islam back in 2008 and married a 50-year-old Fatah activist in Ramallah. His heavily publicized wedding was attended by Abbas and other PA officials.

Turks, Saudis, UAE said to pump quarter billion dollars into East Jerusalem

Less than two weeks away from the scheduled transfer of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are pumping a quarter of a billion dollars into the Islamic Waqf and a slew of Muslim organizations in East Jerusalem, Hadashot news reported Wednesday.

The Waqf (Muslim Trust) administers the Temple Mount, home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest shrine, as well as a slew of schools, orphanages, Islamic libraries, Islamic courts and other properties. The mount is the holiest place in Judaism as the site of the ancient temples. Israel maintains overall security control at the site.

The three countries are describing the move as an act of “rescue” to finance renovations at holy sites, but Israeli officials fear their involvement will go beyond money and could spark violence in the run-up to the ribbon-cutting on May 14, the TV report said.

On Sunday, Hadashot News reported that US President Donald Trump was looking increasingly likely to come to the ceremony and was mulling allowing convicted American spy Jonathan Pollard to come too by lifting restrictions that prevent him from travelling to Israel.

JCPA: A Rare Meeting of the Palestinian National Council

Sources among the participants of the gathering reported that Abbas’ speech was surprising because instead of mentioning Yasser Arafat as the source of inspiration and authority for the PLO, he emphasized the roles of Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, and Ahmad al-Shukeiri, founder of the PLO in the years when Fatah was not part of the organization.

When talking about the PLO’s past struggles, Abbas omitted to mention the part of Abu Jihad, the founder of the PLO’s fighting doctrine.

In the corridors, the discussions on the main issues bothering the representatives focused on the collapse of the PLO’s importance, the Palestinian problem in the face of events in the Arab world, and concern over the position of Saudi Arabia under Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

Some of the representatives reported that the opening of the meeting was delayed several hours because not all of the guests who were invited had arrived at the hall. However, the delay led to conjecture over the health of Mahmoud Abbas.

In the end, the PNC meeting opened at precisely the same time Prime Minister Netanyahu revealed the Iranian archives to the world. For this reason, the Arab TV stations, including Al-Jazeera, preferred to broadcast from Tel Aviv instead of Ramallah that evening. (h/t Elder of Lobby)

Anger as Palestinian Authority cuts Gaza salaries and pays late

The Palestinian Authority cut salaries for its staff in Gaza by 20 percent on Thursday and failed to make up for skipping the previous month’s pay, leaving civil servants in the impoverished territory fuming they were pawns in a factional power struggle.

Some 38,000 civil servants in the Gaza Strip learned of the new disruptions to their incomes upon arriving at their banks on payday, intent on withdrawing cash ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins on May 16.

Last month, they were not paid at all. Many were hoping for two months pay this month, but instead received a reduced rate of a single month’s pay, with no explanation.

PA salaries in the other Palestinian territory, the West Bank, were paid in full.

Islamist group Hamas seized control of Gaza from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007, prompting Israel and Egypt to clamp down on the territory, where two million people live with the world’s highest unemployment rate.

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