How Israel-Hatred Helped Ruin Syria
The Arab world’s anti-Israel pathology prompted the Sunni states to rescue Hezbollah from the consequences of its own folly 10 years ago, and ensured Hezbollah would be capable of throwing the Assad regime a lifeline. A swift Assad defeat might have reduced the Syrian conflict’s destabilizing effects on other Arab countries while also dealing a setback to Iran’s growing influence in the region. Yet all these countries prioritized proving their anti-Israel bona fides over weakening Iran’s strongest military ally. And now, they are paying the price.
The Arab states may have learned their lesson: They aren’t rushing to rescue another Iranian-backed militia, Hamas, from the consequences of its own folly. Granted, they pledged billions of dollars to repair the devastation wreaked on Gaza by Hamas’s 2014 war with Israel. But as the Elder of Ziyon blog reported this week, very little has actually been paid.
Altogether, Muslim countries have paid only 16.5 percent of what they promised, compared to 71 percent for non-Muslim countries. And for the Gulf States, the figures are even lower: 15 percent for Qatar, 10 percent for Saudi Arabia, and zero percent for Kuwait. This is presumably not unrelated to last weekend’s assertion by former Saudi intelligence chief Turki al-Faisal that Iran is “spreading chaos” and destabilizing the region through its support of numerous militias, including Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad: If Riyadh views Hamas as an agent of Iranian destabilization, it has good reason not to throw it a financial lifeline.
The realization that their hatred of Israel has ended up hurting Arab states more than it has their intended victim is undoubtedly one of the drivers behind these countries’ budding rapprochement with Israel, as reflected most recently in Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry’s visit to Jerusalem this week. Unfortunately, that epiphany has come too late for battered, bleeding Syria, and for all the other countries now suffering the fallout from its ongoing civil war.
StandWithUs+: Globalization of Palestinian Terror Tactics
The globalization of Palestinian terror tactics. In France or in Israel, it’s the same terror.
Our hearts go out to the victims, many of whom were children, and their families.
Douglas Murray: We need to tackle attacks like the one in Nice from the root
The BBC headline says it all:
‘The killing of 84 people celebrating Bastille Day is the worst attack on France since the 13 November attacks.’
These day in Europe you don’t have to reach back many months to find carnage even exceeding that in Nice last night.
We still don’t have many details about last night’s attacker. But we know that the man driving the truck was called Mohammed. Of course that doesn’t mean there is any connection to Mohammed Atta, Mohammed Merah, Mohammed Bouyeri, Mohammed Sadiq Khan, Mohammed Abrini or the most famous Mohammed of all – Mohammed. On the contrary, the striking prevalence of people called Mohammed going nuts and slaughtering everyone is just an unhappy coincidence. It could just have easily been people called Gary or Nigel.
At present all those people who like to extol the ‘You’re all guilty’ theory whenever a non-Muslim terrorist does something are busy talking up the ‘crazy, loner, no-mates’ theory about last night’s attacker. They may be right or they may be wrong. But is a certain degree of introspection too much to ask at a time like this?
While the chatterati play these games, publics around the world and especially in France are on a steep and unpleasant learning-curve. Although politicians and pundits of left and right don’t like mentioning the salient facts – let alone draw any policy conclusions from them – the public are coming to their own conclusions about the problem. In a poll carried out two years before the Charlie Hebdo attacks, 74% of French people said they had come to the conclusion that Islam is an intolerant religion which is incompatible with the French state. I wonder what that figure will be now?
Most Muslims are peaceful people who disapprove of terrorism, but many are not. Opinion polls show a large and consistent minority of 20% to 40% approves of at least some form of terrorism. Support for ISIS generally is low, but much higher for Hezbollah, Hamas and other terrorist groups. By any reasonable count there are a few hundred million Muslims who in some way approve of terror, although very few of them would take part in terror attacks. But they are the sea in which the sharks can swim unobserved. They may not build bombs, but they will turn a blind eye to terrorists in their midst, especially if those terrorists are relations. They also fear retaliation from the terrorists if they inform.
The way to win the war is to frighten the larger community of Muslims who passively support terror by action or inaction–frighten them so badly that they will inform on family members. Frightening the larger Muslim population in the West does not require a great deal of effort: a few thousand deportations would do. Western intelligence services do not even have to deport the right people; the wrong people know who they are, and so do many of their neighbors. The ensuing conversation is an easy one to have. “I understand that your nephew is due for deportation, Hussein, and I believe you when you tell me that he has done nothing wrong. I might be able to help you. But you have to help me. Give me something I can use–and don’t waste my time by making things up, or I swear that I’ll deport you, too. If you don’t have any information, then find out who does.”
This approach to quashing insurgency has worked numerous times in the past. It is not characteristic of peacetime life in western democracies, to be sure, but neither was Phil Sheridan’s ride through the Shenandoah. We prefer to think about winning hearts and minds. Winning the hearts and minds of a people, though, isn’t difficult once they fear you.
Daniel Pipes: Jihad Awakens Europe
At least 84 people were murdered yesterday in France’s third major Islamist terrorist attack in less than a year. Daniel Pipes talks about Europe’s crossroads: Will Europeans succumb to Islamization, or will they rise to fight radical Islam and hold onto Western values? How it looks so far…
As jihadists around the world expressed their joy over Thursday evening’s terror attack in southern France, one ISIS sympathizer hailed Palestinian terrorists for pioneering the use of vehicles to attack civilians, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reported on Friday.
“Killing by ramming using civilian cars and trucks is an idea born from the Maqdisi [Palestinian] mind, which has an innovative nature of thinking up jihad tactics,” read a posting on a pro-ISIS forum online. “Yesterday they taught us [about] the explosive vest, and many plans for street fighting, and today they taught us this tactic. May Allah bless Jerusalem and the environs of Jerusalem, and may Allah bless all of the Levant…Oh Aqsa, we are coming.”
Vehicular terrorism has become a common method employed by Palestinian Jihadists over the past year. According to Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, since September 2015, 46 car ramming attacks have been carried out against Israelis, both injuring and killing scores of civilians and security personnel.
Over the last several years, terror groups — especially ISIS and al-Qaeda — have called on followers to carry out vehicular attacks. In a September 2014 message, ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani said, “If you cannot [detonate] a bomb or [fire] a bullet, arrange to meet alone with a French or an American infidel and bash his skull in with a rock, slaughter him with a knife, run him over with your car, throw him off a cliff, strangle him, or inject him with poison.”
Dr. Tzur Gabi, a dentist from West Hollywood, California practicing in nearby Brentwood, was in Nice, France during the terror attack on Bastille Day — directly in the path of the truck that killed dozens of people.
He was saved by his Israeli girlfriend, Meital, who pulled him from the crowd when she sensed that something was about to happen.
Dr. Gabi spoke to Breitbart News on Friday afternoon:
It was the evening before my girlfriend and I were departing back to L.A., via Paris. We had just come back from a drive along the coast, and came back for dinner at a restauant called Di Piu. We had dinner, and around 10:00 p.m. the fireworks began. And then around 10:30 it ended, and we started walking towards our hotel.
Basically, the whole crowd went out onto the street, up onto the main road and onto the streets. And then, my girlfriend started feeling anxious about being around a very large crowd. She’s Israeli and doesn’t feel confident about being around a very large crowd and being vulnerable to terrorist acts. She lived in Tel Aviv for ten years…
Media watchdog organizations blasted CNN on Friday for failing to include terrorist attacks in Israel on a list of terror incidents that occurred around the world in the last 30 days.
“Not including terror attacks against Israelis effectively legitimizes Palestinian terror by differentiating it from all other similar atrocities around the world,” said Simon Plosker, managing editor for Honest Reporting. “CNN appears to have joined those who treat Palestinian terror as less significant or somehow understandable or perhaps even excusable.”
He added, “Do Israeli victims of terror not count and if CNN doesn’t consider attacks against Israelis to be terrorism then what exactly does CNN consider them to be?”
CNN published the list on Friday in response to the truck attack in Nice on Thursday night that left 84 people dead and hundreds injured. The article included mention of major terror incidents around the world that took place from June 14 through July 14. The list included incidents in Iraq, Bangladesh, Texas, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Somalia, Florida and France.
The list, however, fails to include mention of a single terror attack that took place in Israel during the same period. Amongst those attacks was the brutal slaying of 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel who was stabbed to death in her bed by a Palestinian terrorist on June 30, and the shooting attack in Hebron on July 1 that killed Rabbi Michael “Miki” Mark, and injured his wife and children.
After the deadly terror attack in Nice, France, CNN posted an online feature entitled “30 Days of Terror Around the World,” which offered readers “a look at the attacks that have happened from June 14 through July 14.”
Glaringly absent from CNN’s list, though, were any Israeli victims of Palestinian terror during that time period.
Readers were understandably outraged. Did CNN not consider Hallel Yaffa Ariel, a 13-year-old girl who was murdered in her bed, to be worthy of mention in this discussion of recent terror attacks? And what of Michael Mark, a rabbi killed in front of his wife and two children?
While these attacks were ignored, CNN did make sure to include even attacks that caused no fatalities, such as an attack on a police station in Indonesia …
MSNBC host Thomas Roberts wondered Friday whether the killer of more than 80 people in Nice, France, was just a mentally ill person who “took a moment to challenge society in a horrific way.”
“But what if this is a one-off, Malcolm?” Roberts asked terrorism analyst Malcolm Nance. “If we get out of the analytics of potential terrorism and think about this, what if this is just a person with mental illness that took a moment to challenge society in a horrific way, and we’re not talking about that?”
“We’ve seen that,” Nance said. “We call them EDPs. Extremely disturbed persons, or emotionally disturbed persons. We had a case in France last year where a man beheaded his supervisor, you know, put his head on a stake and claimed that he did it in some form of radical jihadism.”
“However, that is also a facet of the recruitment process that groups like ISIS and al Qaeda do,” Nance continued. “They don’t care if you’re emotionally disturbed. If you’re willing to carry out an act, they will even take claim for that act even if you had no political component as part of that, which is in fact terror, to terrorize the rest of the world on the basis of your attack.”
In commenting on the July 14 attack, Bergen told CNN’s Anderson Cooper:
The big drivers of this are a regional civil war between the Sunni and Shiite, the collapse of Arab governments around the Middle East, you know the vast waves of immigration — the result of these two phenomenons — and then the rise of European fascism to be frank.
I mean, in every single country, including France, where the nationalist front — the essentially ultra-nationalist, proto-fascist party — is doing pretty well and I think the combination of large scale immigration and the rise of European fascism is a very toxic mix and unfortunately it will continue to produce events like what we’ve seen tonight again, and again, and again, and there are no easy fixes for this.
Using a rented, refrigerated truck weighing about 20 tons, Tunisian-born Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, 31, mowed down crowds of people celebrating Bastille Day along more than a mile stretch of Nice’s Promenade des Anglais, killing 84 people, including 10 children and adolescents and injuring 202 others. Bastille Day is the equivalent to America’s Fourth of July.
No specific terrorist organization has claimed responsibility for the attack, but various experts say it bears the hallmarks of recent assaults carried out or inspired by the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL).
Moreover, supporters of ISIS and its rival al-Qaeda have cheered the Nice attack online. Both terrorist groups have urged jihadists to carry out vehicular assaults against Western countries in the event that more conventional weapons are not available.
Former Al Jazeera reporter and editor of the British “5Pillars” Muslim news outlet, Roshan M Salih, took to Twitter this morning to label France as “an Islamophobic nation” who deserved last night’s terrorist attack due to their “destructive foreign policy.”
“France is an Islamophobic nation with a hugely destructive foreign policy and these horrible attacks are a terrible blowback #NiceAttack,” wrote Salih in the post, which gained 75 retweets and 44 likes.
“The killer was Tunisian. So, again, what is French Foreign policy regrading Tunisia?” asked one user before Salih replied that Islam was not confined to one nation state.
Numerous other Islamists have also taken to Twitter since the terrorist attack in Nice, France last night to make excuses for the perpetrators and criticize France’s “Islamophobia” and “Imperialism”.
Surprising condemnations of the terrorist attack in Nice, France, in which 84 people were murdered, were heard Friday from both Hamas and Hezbollah.
Hamas issued a statement condemning the attack, calling it “a brutal act of terrorism.” The organization also sent condolences to the families of those killed, claiming it “rejects all forms of terrorism and extremism”.
Hamas also used the opportunity to take a shot at Israel, claiming that “the Palestinian people are suffering from Israeli terror.”
Meanwhile, the Lebanon-based Hezbollah also condemned the truck attack and said that a wave of terrorism hitting the world doesn’t differentiate between “old or young, white or black and is not targeting a specific religion but humanity.”
“What Western countries are witnessing is a reflection to terrorism that we are living in our region that has burnt our people,” added the group.
NGO Monitor: Terror, Security and Human Rights Fundamentalism
Like other universal moral values, human rights are not simply rules (real or imagined) and prohibitions, but encompass vital obligations. In the world of nation-states, the first job of the government is to protect its citizens, and when the officials fail at this task, as tragically seen in France and Belgium, they lose their legitimacy. In the real world, without security, there can be no other human rights.
In an age of radical ideology and religious hate, the aspirational principles that characterize ideal societies must be weighed against the primary requirement for security. Invasive intelligence-gathering to identify mass terrorists and administrative detention to hold them before they are allowed to strike become vital, despite intrusions on the civil liberties of a “normal” democratic framework. Governments and security forces faced with imminent threats that do not use check points, profiling, preventive arrests, raids on suspected safe houses, and similar tools will fail repeatedly and tragically, and thousands of innocent people will be blown to bits.
Indeed, these are the measures for which Israel has been condemned for decades, and which have saved countless lives. The human rights industry, including both the global powers and their Israeli and Palestinian allies, and largely funded by the European Union and by individual governments (including France and Belgium), has consistently condemned these actions, erasing the context of mass terrorism and incitement. With taxpayer-provided budgets amounting to tens of millions of Euros, these false prophets and their professional public relations agents invented a narrative using the language of international law in order to demonize Israeli leaders as “war criminals” for fulfilling their core obligation – providing security.
Although much damage has already been done, the process of reforming the institutions and processes must begin immediately, bringing them into balance with real-world requirements. New institutions are necessary, and the fundamentalist high priests should be replaced and held accountable, so that others will learn and avoid following this destructive path. The careful efforts made by the Israeli government and courts to prioritize and balance between contending rights – between security and rights– provide singular guidance. The alternative is many more years of mass terror, many more tragedies and the end of any ability to navigate between life and liberty.
Picture this: Israel donates millions of shekels every year on various NGOs in Europe, e.g., in Germany, France the U.K. and Scandinavia, on condition that they further Israeli foreign policy agendas on European soil. Now imagine the reaction if that picture were actually true: We would all go deaf from the hysterical squealing and breast-beating that would ensue about Israel being undemocratic, imperialistic and using dirty tricks and manipulation in basically buying — because that is what it is — local NGOs in order to use them to promote its own causes on the European continent. If the Europeans passed laws to stop this from happening, everyone in the world would support them in doing so.
Not so when the roles are reversed.
”The new NGO law in Israel goes beyond legitimate needs of transparency, risks undermining our shared values” wrote the EU embassy in Israel on Twitter on Monday, after Israel’s new law, requiring the disclosure of foreign government funding of Israeli nongovernmental organizations, also known as the NGO law, was passed by the Knesset. The embassy tweet linked to the official statement of the EU, which went on to say that the law may curtail freedom of expression and association and risks undermining the values of democracy, freedom of speech and a diverse civil society.
The EU statement is wrong on so many levels.
Firstly, the patronizing, arrogant-old-colonialist tone, implying that the EU gets to decide what does and does not go “beyond legitimate needs of transparency” in the sovereign State of Israel is unwarranted. Who died and made the EU the overseer of internal Israeli matters?
The spectacle of rogue military maneuvers in Istanbul’s streets, an air bombardment of Turkey’s parliament in Ankara and the surrender of soldiers on the Bosphorus Bridge took Washington by complete surprise on Friday night, as US officials scrambled to figure out who was behind a coup against Turkey’s sitting president.
It took a few hours, but US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry swiftly resolved to publicly support the “democratically elected government” of President Tayyip Erdogan, a juggernaut in Turkish politics for 14 consecutive years.
So too did Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, as well as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and virtually every foreign secretary in the Western world.
Shortly before the White House weighed in, Erdogan resorted to FaceTime to call on millions of his supporters to “take to the streets” in violation of a junta-declared curfew– in the name of democracy and the rule of law, the president proclaimed.
For Erdogan to emerge from this event as a democratic standard-bearer would be the greatest defeat of all for those behind it, since their justification for the coup d’etat was that Erdogan, in fact, is slowly eroding the country’s founding Kemalist principles.
Those principles include republicanism, populism and secularism– principles that Erdogan has been disregarding as he embraces Islamist political factions, suppresses free speech and calls for an executive presidency untethered by parliament.
The perpetrators of a failed coup attempt in Turkey are not soldiers but terrorists, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Saturday, hours after forces loyal to Turkey’s president quashed the rebellion that left around 250 people dead and 1,440 wounded.
Speaking to parliament in its first session since the revolt Friday, Yildirim said: “These are not soldiers, they are ravenous terrorist butchers in uniforms.” The prime minister warned Saturday that anyone who tried to harm the will of the people would be “reminded of those coup plotters, whose lives have been snuffed out.”
He said July 15 would be remembered as “a festival for democracy,” the day when those who carried out a coup against the people were hit by a coup themselves.
Meanwhile, the Turkish government began a purge of judicial officials, with 2,745 judges being dismissed across Turkey for alleged ties to a US-based moderate Islamic cleric that the leadership has blamed for the takeover attempt.
Turkish media on Saturday named former Turkish Air Force chief Akın Ozturk as one of the main instigators of the country’s attempted coup on Friday.
Ozturk, who led he air force between 2013 and 2015 before retiring from the army last year, was also the nation’s military attaché to Israel in the 1990s; he served in the Jewish state between 1996-1998.
Turkey’s president has also blamed a US-based cleric for being behind the failed takeover attempt. Washington has said it would entertain an extradition request for Fethullah Gulen.
But US Secretary of State John Kerry also said that Turkey’s government would have to prove Gulen’s wrongdoing.
Visiting Luxembourg, Kerry said Turkey hasn’t yet requested that the United States send home Gulen, who left Turkey in 1999.
Gulen has harshly condemned the attempted coup attempt by military officers that resulted in a night of explosions, air battles and gunfire that left dozens dead. But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government is blaming the chaos on the cleric, who lives in exile in Pennsylvania and promotes a philosophy that blends a mystical form of Islam with staunch advocacy of democracy, education, science and interfaith dialogue.
A European Union revision to a controversial resolution by the UN’s cultural body on the Old City of Jerusalem had Israel “concerned” on Thursday, with the Foreign Ministry saying the new text still downplays Jewish historical ties to its holiest site.
A statement from the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem expressed “concern’ over the EU revision to the UNESCO resolution, which it said “nullifies the bond and relationship of the Jewish people to the Temple Mount.”
“The EU proposal still denies the connection of the Jewish people to the Temple Mount,” the Foreign Ministry statement said.
The text of the proposal has not yet been released by the EU.
In its statement, the Foreign Ministry singled out EU member France, which expressed remorse over its “yes” vote on an April UNESCO resolution that ignored Jewish ties to Jerusalem.
It also emphasized Jerusalem was still applying diplomatic pressure to quash the current version.
“Nothing is finished yet,” the ministry added. (h/t Gastwirt)
OIC equates Israel with ISIS, June 12, 2016
On Wednesday, Theresa May, the former Home Secretary, became the new leader of the ruling British Conservative Party, and the UK’s prime minister. Naturally, her main task is to redefine the role of Britain in the world after the Brexit vote to leave the European Union. Yet, though she has been mainly preoccupied in her ministerial position in the Cabinet with British internal problems, she has made known her views on Middle Eastern issues, on Israel, and on antisemitism.
Those views emanate from a politician generally regarded as a non-ideological moderate conservative. They contrast sharply with what has increasingly become almost the mainstream view in the British Labour Party on those issues.
Theresa May has long been conscious of the threats to Israel and the pernicious existence of antisemitism. In September 2014, she spoke of Israel’s right to defend itself against threats, including those from Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran. Israel has to maintain a strong defense and security capability and to deploy it if necessary. May realizes that when Israel faces enemies intent on its very destruction, it is impossible to know how to move to a two-state solution with Palestinians.
At the Israeli Independence Day event in London in April 2016, May mentioned her strong support of Israel as “the fulfillment of many generations of struggle.” She also spoke of her pleasure in visiting Israel in 2015 and discussing with experts issues of cyber-security and combating modern slavery. She honored the Israeli soldiers who had paid the ultimate price to defend their fellow citizens from indiscriminate terrorist attacks and existential threats.
Similarly, enumerating the astonishing breadth of British assaults on the liberty, limbs, and lives of men and women from Rhodesia to Rishikesh would be too easy. But a glance at more recent violations committed under the banner of the Union Jack is more telling. Should Israel—or, for that matter, the United States—follow Scotland Yard’s lead and summon British officials for questioning concerning their role in, say, the execution of an unarmed and wounded Taliban fighter in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, by a Royal Marines sergeant in December of 2013? Should we seek to indict the Oxford-knotted dons of British diplomacy for that afternoon in September of 2003 in Basra, Iraq, when the men of the First Battalion of the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment arrested a 26-year-old hotel receptionist named Baha Mousa, detained him, and tortured and beat him so badly that he died several days later with fractured ribs, a broken nose, and 93 other injuries?
The answer, to all but a heated gaggle of self-righteous ninnies, should be obvious. As those of us who’ve fought them know all too well, wars are complex, and they generate conditions that cause even the best among us to do regrettable things. When these things cross the line of the permissible, when unnecessary violence flares out, thriving democracies have mechanisms in place to punish those responsible and address whatever root systemic issues. This is what Israel routinely does to discipline its small minority of wayward soldiers, and what Britain does as well: Almost three years to the day after Mousa’s death, his jailor, Corp. Donald Payne, pleaded guilty to treating his prisoner inhumanely. He was sentenced to a year in prison and immediate expulsion from the army. A further public investigation found no evidence of an “entrenched culture of violence” among the Lancashire Regiment. This is how mature and well-functioning justice systems operate. The recent display by Scotland Yard is something very different, a politically motivated bit of folly that further proves, if any further proof were needed, how dangerous, delusional, and deprived the regressive anti-Israel crowd has grown.
But let us not spend too much time lamenting this recent calamity. Like all teachable moments, this one, too, brings with it an uncommon clarity: The officials who sought to indict Livni cared little for any distinction between a dovish diplomat and a hawkish ex-general, for the intricacies and complexities of the conflict, for the gray zones in which adults live and practice politics. To the self-appointed, stiff-upper-lipped agents of the Enlightenment, all Israelis are alike, and all culpable in crimes. There’s a name for such an attitude, but there’s hardly use in crying anti-Semitism. In making a mockery of the very values they are supposed to represent, Livni’s prosecutors, like too many educated people from the West End to the Upper West Side, have sentenced themselves to irrelevance.
Iran test-fired a new kind of ballistic missile using North Korean technology on the night of July 11-12, Fox News reported on Friday, citing multiple intelligence officials. The latest test, the ninth Iran carried out since it signed a nuclear deal with global powers last year, was held two days before the one-year anniversary of the deal’s announcement.
The missile was fired from the city of Saman in western Iran and was a modified version of North Korea’s Musudan ballistic missile, which has a range of 2,500 miles — putting nearly all of the Middle East (including Israel) and much of mainland Europe within reach.
Iran’s previous launch, in May, featured a missile with an estimated range of around 1,250 miles. Another launch, in March, included a missile with a range of around 870 miles that had the phrase “Israel must be wiped from the face of the earth” inscribed on it in Hebrew.
Iran’s continued ballistic missile tests are being carried out in defiance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, which codified last year’s nuclear deal and calls on Iran “not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.” The resolution also says that Iran must abide by previous Security Council resolutions, which placed restrictions on ballistic missile work until 2023.
Fifteen Democratic senators who originally supported the nuclear deal with Iran have written a letter to President Barack Obama criticizing the deal’s inspection procedures, Politico reported Friday.
The group, led by Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), called on Obama to pressure the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which performs inspections on suspected Iranian nuclear sites, to release more information from its inspections. Currently, the IAEA does not publicly disclose critical details like the size of Iran’s uranium stocks or how many centrifuges it is operating, instead simply announcing whether Iran is, overall, in compliance with its obligations.
“Providing additional situational awareness of Iran’s nuclear program is vital for the long-term health of this agreement,” the letter read. “We urge [the Obama] administration to ensure that the IAEA releases all relevant technical information so that we may continue to make our own judgments about the status of Iran’s nuclear program.”
The letter also criticized the inspections regime for not providing detailed updates on Iran’s Fordow facility, a key site for Iranian nuclear weapons research.
The American government’s behavior has enhanced Iran’s inflammatory rhetoric and nefarious activity, former US senator Joseph Lieberman told The Algemeiner on Wednesday.
“If we are weak, Iran will take advantage of our weakness,” said Lieberman, chairman of advocacy group United Against a Nuclear Iran (UANI). “If we are strong, they will adjust their behavior as much as they feel they have to.”
His comments coincide with the one-year anniversary of the July 14, 2015 signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between Iran and world powers.
However, said Lieberman, a vocal critic of the JCPOA, “The single greatest failure of the nuclear agreement is that, rather than blocking Iran’s path to building nuclear weapons, it opens an internationally approved way for Iran to build nuclear weapons in no more than 15 years.”
A front-page New York Times news article assessing the Iran nuclear deal one year later includes this passage:
While congressional Republicans often refer to a “$150 billion giveaway” to the Iranians — an overly high estimate of what the Treasury says is $50 billion of Iranian-owned assets scheduled to be unfrozen in return for the nuclear concessions — the reality is quite different. Only a fraction of that $50 billion has actually been returned. (The State Department and the Treasury will not say how much, apparently to keep from further inflaming public opinion in Iran.)
That’s nonsense, on many levels.
First, as Omri Ceren of the Israel Project pointed out to me, it’s not just “congressional Republicans” who have used the $150 billion number. President Obama himself used it in a May 2015 interview with Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic: “The question is, if Iran has $150 billion parked outside the country, does the IRGC [Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.] automatically get $150 billion? Does that $150 billion then translate by orders of magnitude into their capacity to project power throughout the region?”
Mr. Obama also used that $150 billion figure in a July 2015 interview with Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, arguing that, without an Iran nuclear deal, “[F]rankly, those sanctions would start falling apart very rapidly. And so, maybe Iran wouldn’t get $150 billion, but they’d get a big chunk of that.”
Scaramouchee: Slimy Salutin Spits on Elie Wiesel’s Grave
Wiesel’s “crime,” as far as Toronto Star opiner Rick Salutin is concerned: he failed to manifest the same “hate-Israel” bona fides as Salutin and his fellow “progressive” poseurs.
Salutin’s column is so revolting that I refuse to quote from it. If you have the stomach for such things, you can read it here.
And here’s the letter I wrote in response:
It was particularly distressing to read Rick Salutin’s hit piece on the late author, Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel the day after the horrific massacre in Nice. That attack is a sad reminder, as if any were needed, that France’s enemies and Israel’s enemies are one and the same–Islamists who believe their religious doctrine directs them to murder those they hate. And there is nothing they hate more than Western civilization, which has the audacity to flourish while much of the Muslim world flounders.
That Elie Wiesel remained steadfast in his support for Israel, the Jewish state that opens its doors to Jews from every nation–and, increasingly these days, to French Jews fleeing hate crimes being perpetrated against them by Muslims in France–is to his credit. That “progressive” Jews such as Rick Salutin, Peter Beinart and Max Blumenthal, handicapped by their own ideological blindness and a withering disdain for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have used the occasion of Wiesel’s death to cast aspersions on him for failing to hew to their “progressive” worldview, is as shameful as it is disgusting.
Swedish state television blocked the airing of a documentary linking jihad to antisemitism, out of fear it would offend the country’s growing Muslim population, the Danish language news outlet Berlingske reported.
According to the report, Sveriges Television (SVT) is coming under fire for refusing to broadcast “Watching the Moon at Night,” due to “political correctness.”
SVT was a major funder of the documentary, which takes an in-depth look at the link between jihad and Jew-hatred, demonstrating the extent to which Jews have been affected by terrorism. Mahrianne Ahrne — a former film consultant at the Swedish Film Institute who initially approved public funding for the documentary — told Berlingske that once the money was approved, SVT kept thwarting the film’s production with “one formal obstacle after another.”
Bo Persson, the film’s director, revealed that SVT project manager Lars Säfström demanded the movie be more anti-Israel and anti-American. “He tried to influence the film’s content…For us it was totally unacceptable that he should interfere with the content,” Persson said.
The Swedish broadcaster has denied accusations that it is refusing to show the film for political reasons. SVT’s head of documentaries, Axel Arnö, said the documentary did not fit in with the channel’s journalistic standards, as it attempts to prove a single point, rather than chronicle reality.
Years after World War II, American officials here entrusted more than 10,000 confiscated artworks to Bavarian authorities to return to the rightful owners, many of them Jews whose property had been plundered.
But new research in the yellowing archives here makes clear how relentlessly Nazi families pursued the Bavarian officials, badgering them, often successfully, to return art they brazenly continued to view as their property.
Hitler’s private secretary, Henriette von Schirach, and her family pleaded with officials of the Bavarian State Painting Collections to turn over nearly 300 works, including a small landscape, “View of a Dutch Square” by the Dutch artist Jan van der Heyden.
Before the war, the painting had been owned by Gottlieb and Mathilde Kraus, Jews who fled their Vienna penthouse, leaving behind a carefully packed collection of art that was then confiscated by the Gestapo in 1941.
Mrs. von Schirach persuaded the Bavarians to give it back to her for a pittance — 300 Deutschmarks, which was roughly $75 then or nearly $600 now.
“The basic element of this story is this: They stole from my family,” said John Graykowski, 62, the Krauses’ great-grandson, “and then they gave it back to the guy who stole it from them. How does that work?” (h/t Think of England)
While today Israel enjoys wide support on both sides of the American political aisle, this was not always the case. Late in 1956 the eminent political theorist Leo Strauss took the unusual step of commenting on contemporary political affairs to come to Israel’s defense. Strauss was moved to write by attacks against the nascent Jewish state in the conservative National Review. In this letter to Willmoore Kendall, a professor of political philosophy, founding editor of National Review, and an admirer of Strauss, Strauss reflects on the Jewish state based on his observations as a visiting professor at Hebrew University. Israel is a modern Western country with a spirit nurtured by the Hebrew Bible, he explains. Claims that the state is racist are unfounded. Strauss reminds his readers that political Zionism aims to reconnect the Jewish people with their heritage and restore the inner freedom and dignity that was lost in the ambiguous results of European emancipation.
The original letter is reproduced in full below. It was later edited and republished as an official Letter to the Editor in the January 5, 1957 issue of National Review.
Dear Professor Kendall:
For some time I have been receiving The National Review. You will not be surprised to hear that I agree with many articles appearing in the journal, especially your own. There is, however, one feature of the journal which I completely fail to comprehend. It is incomprehensible to me that the authors who touch on that subject are so unqualifiedly opposed to the State of Israel. No reasons why that stand is taken are given; mere antipathies are voiced. For I cannot call reasons such arguments as are based on gross factual error, or on complete non-comprehension of the things which matter. I am, therefore, tempted to believe that the authors in question are driven by an anti-Jewish animus; but I have learned to resist temptations. I have been teaching at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem for the whole academic year of 1954-1955, and what I am going to say is based exclusively on what I have seen with my own eyes.
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