Friday, August 07, 2020

toon crypto
From Ian:

Seth J. Frantzman: Help Lebanon: Remove Hezbollah’s Stranglehold — and Its Dangerous Missile Stockpiles
The results of Hezbollah’s machinations are clear: constant tensions with Israel, and the lurching of once lush and prosperous Beirut from one failure to the next, from brownouts to lack of basic services for citizens. Lebanon is in the midst of a financial crisis and requires some $93 billion for a bailout. Hezbollah has suggested Lebanon turn to China for help, as part of its goal to replace U.S. influence in Lebanon with China, Iran, and other U.S. adversaries. It may try to leverage the devastation to deepen its tentacles over the country using its network of social services and volunteers.

What can be done to address Lebanon’s mounting problems, now compounded by this tragic explosion, while reducing Hezbollah’s corrosive influence? First, Hezbollah needs to be isolated from the financial system and from the flow of weapons coming from Iran. In recent years, Hezbollah sought to acquire precision-guided munitions and to establish factories for them in Lebanon. It has also threatened Israeli infrastructure. In a 2016 speech, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah even threatened to target ammonium-nitrate storage in Israel to cause the kind of explosion that just levelled Beirut. This leaves no doubt that the terrorist group knows exactly the level of devastation it wanted to cause in Israel and the threat it still poses. The Alma Research Center in Israel recently revealed that Hezbollah has 28 rocket-launch sites around Beirut. The recent explosion makes it clear that Hezbollah’s use of civilian areas for weapons storage must be stopped in Lebanon.

Yet many countries looking to provide support for Lebanon will likely do so without seeking to disentangle Hezbollah. Russia, Iran, and China may be amenable to working with Nasrallah while Turkey, Qatar, and France could turn a blind eye to the group’s role. Saudi Arabia, once a major backer of Lebanon and broker of the 1989 accords that ended the country’s civil war, opposes Hezbollah’s role. As do other Gulf states, such as the United Arab Emirates. The U.S. can help Lebanon, monitor reconstruction, and advise on implementing financial and port-inspection standards, sidelining Hezbollah in the process.

In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, aid will be concentrated on finding missing people and avoiding an economic collapse or a health crisis amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Once this period has passed, it is essential that the dust not merely settle with Hezbollah more entrenched and powerful, its system of illicit weapons and warehouses full of munitions still dotting the civilian landscape. If Hezbollah does capitalize on this disaster, it will only accelerate Lebanon’s economic collapse, and hold the country hostage in a future war with Israel.
Seth J. Frantzman: How will Hezbollah react to this week’s massive blast in Beirut?
THIS WEEK, the massive explosion represents another possibility for Hezbollah. While it may initially get some criticism and heat for the explosion, because it also maintains dangerous stockpiles of weapons all over Lebanon, it will find a way to leverage this to its benefit. Hezbollah wants China, Russia and Iran to help rebuild Lebanon. Turkey and Qatar are also rebuilding the country, but Hezbollah has amicable relations with Doha.

Now Hezbollah may have to wait some time before making its moves clear. This is because it can’t raise its head too much and appear to gloat over the destruction. It will instead try to send volunteers to help and portray itself as the responsible party. It will try to shift blame to Israel and the US. While others are distracted with solidarity for Beirut, Hezbollah will increase its stranglehold elsewhere. This has always been the Hezbollah model. It may increase trafficking in weapons from Syria and construct new bases.

Israel would be reticent to carry out any actions in Lebanon amid tensions with Hezbollah, because Israel will not want to be seen as harming Lebanon more. This means the explosion becomes a perfect smokescreen and solidarity shield for Hezbollah. For average Lebanese, it is yet another disaster in a long series of disasters.

While Hezbollah will pretend to be patriotic, it will work behind the scenes to corrupt everything that comes into Lebanon in the next year.
Kohelet Forum: UNIFIL – A Last Chance to Reform Ineffective UN Missions While Protecting Israel
Overview: From the start of the Trump Administration, the U.S. has sought to reform the bloated United Nations. Peace-keeping missions were to be a central part of this reform, as they are the most expensive aspect of the UN’s operations, but commonly fail to deliver tangible results while being plagued with scandal, corruption, and criminality.

To date, the U.S. has not succeeded in reigning in any peacekeeping missions. Aug. 31st offers a final opportunity to do so, while strengthening Israel’s security at a time when it faces imminent threats on the northern border from the Iranian-backed Hezbollah.

UNIFIL, the temporary U.N. presence in Lebanon, is not fulfilling its mandate to disarm Hezbollah. Instead, it serves as Hezbollah’s de facto human shield, limiting the IDF’s freedom to maneuver in a potential conflict. The organization is expensive and bloated compared to other peacekeeping missions around the world, has had significant mission creep, and like other U.N. entities, it is biased against Israel. This month, there will be a golden opportunity to fix UNIFIL’s structural problems, from an Israeli standpoint. This special opportunity might not return for a long time.

For the sake of Israeli and American strategic interests, it would be best if the United States demanded that the Security Council let UNIFIL’s mandate expire, without a further extension, or alternatively scale it back significantly.

  • Friday, August 07, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
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The head of the Tehran City Council budget committee, Majeed Farhani, warned Thursday of the presence of an oil depot in the Shahran neighborhood of Tehran, sayin  on his Instagram page that the oil tanks are "a hydrogen bomb built inside the city and on the earthquake line."

He said, "Every day, about 300 tanks carrying 30,000 liters of fuel are loaded from giant oil tanks …if one of the tankers or cars would have an accident while refueling near the tanks, this would lead to a series of explosions of the fuel tanks, one after the other, making in Tehran a catastrophe greater than Beirut."

The head of the Crisis Management Organization in Tehran, Reza Karmi,  stated on Friday that other large chemical warehouses inside Tehran posed a great danger as well.

He warned that there are two large chemical warehouses in the Baath and Shamiran areas in particular that posed a great danger to residents.

 

In preparing for last week's post, Intersectionality Makes For Strange Bedfellows, one of the sources I came across while rummaging through the Internet was a 1999 article, Placing Jewish Women into the Intersectionality of Race, Class and Gender, by Jessica Greenebaum.

Greenebaum writes about the refusal by feminists to include Jewish women into their discussion of identity, oppression and intersectionality -- the linking of all forms of social oppression and victimization. The exclusion of Jews implies they are somehow different from other groups that are marginalized, and Greenebaum sets about examining why and how Jewish women are excluded from feminism.

The insights she offers apply to intersectionality in general and the way it is being applied today -- and shows how Jews today are a challenge to the easy stereotyping of privilege and oppression that proponents of intersectionality push.

As Greenebaum sees it, the challenge to both feminism and intersectionality is the apparently unique position of Jews:

American Jews of European descent straddle the fence of difference; they are neither the standard nor are they "totally" different. On one hand, being Jewish is often an identifiable characteristic; yet at the same time, many Jews are capable of "passing" into the dominant white, Christian culture...being different yet similar to both the dominant society and other marginalized groups.
Greenebaum illustrates her point with her personal experience in a feminist organization on campus that should have been open to problems of an oppressed group, yet could not bring itself to accept the request of its Jewish members to add antisemitic and anti-Jewish issues to the agenda.

Today, we see the same deliberate exclusion of Jews, with self-proclaimed feminist Linda Sarsour (who tweeted the names of women about whom she said she wished she "could take their vaginas away") and who has now decided
I want to make the distinction that while antisemitism is something that impacts Jewish Americans, it's different than anti-Black racism or Islamophobia because it's not systemic...


This coming from the person who organizes protests and then refuses entry to the 90% of American Jews who support the State of Israel.



Jews Are Not Oppressed Enough


Greenebaum notes that "the excuses for the exclusions are endless."

For one thing, there is the claim that because Jews are seen as successful and not suffering from the same material inequality as most oppressed groups -- Jewish oppression is "insignificant"
Since economically, Jews have enjoyed 'relative' success, more than other marginalized groups but less than the Christian elite, Jews have 'justifiably' been ignored from the discussions. Thus, the definition of oppression does not include Jews who simultaneously hold positions of privilege or power.
Jews are not alone in this. I've mentioned in a previous post an article Are Asian Americans White? Or People of Color?, which admits that "on average Asian Americans are among the most successful in the United States" yet insists on their 'oppression creds' due to the experience of "discrimination, hate crimes and racial violence, xenophobia, concerning levels of racial/ethnic bullying in schools, and other indicators of racial marginalization in the U.S."

White Is Not A Color...Nor A Race


Speaking of People of Color, Greenebaum quotes the experience of a Sephardic Jew, who describes how she was made to feel unwelcome among other people of color because she was Jewish:
Once I said I was Jewish, not Latina, I felt people's interest in me diminish. It was painful to realize that though my appearance remained the same, my value as a person within a self-consciously multi-cultural context lessened because I was a Jew.
And when it comes to being white, that itself is a fabricated concept -- it is neither a natural distinction nor is it scientific:
Since, the category whiteness is historically and culturally located, the "...cultural construction raceis unstable and has different meanings and different purposes in different times and places..." (Kaminsky 1994:7-8). People did not always consider Jews white - as they do today in America. [emphasis added]
And of course in America itself, Jews at the turn of the 20th century were defined as mongoloid, slavic or even Asiatic before eventually being "accepted" as white.

Purveyors of Intersectionality do not acknowledge the fluidity of "whiteness," a changing definition that is illustrated by the history of Jews in America -- and undercuts the self-righteousness of Intersectionality. Fixating on whiteness while twisting its definition to serve an agenda is itself a bias of oppression.

The fact that Jews can be categorized as white, despite their being oppressed -- both historically and currently -- should bring the concept of whiteness into question.

But it doesn't.

Labeling Jews in America as white does more than malign them as members of a privileged class, according to Greenebaum:
[W]hen we consider Jews 'just' white, we do not see them as having an ethnicity and culture. In fact, many Jews resist the cultural construction of themselves as 'only' white and Judaism as 'only' a religion. Jews interpret Judaism and 'being Jewish' very differently from non-Jews and each other. Many Jews consider Judaism to be an ethnicity and culture as well as a religion. Some Jews incorporate the ethics and morals of Judaism into their politics and lifestyles. Other Jews identify as Jews without practicing Judaism. Restricting the definition of'Jew' erases the multiple identities tied up in Jewish lives.
Labeling Jews as white denies them that choice of identity, which is ironic when those who proclaim the importance of identity are ones so ready to deny Jews their identity, just as those people deny Jews the right to define what is and is not antisemitism.

Saying Jews Are White Negates The Jewish Identity


Being a Jew is more than just being white, and the Jewish identity is formed by a multiplicity of components:
What is ethnicity and why are Jews an ethnic group? According to Nagel (1994:152-153), "ethnicity is constructed out of the material of language, religion, culture, appearance, ancestry, or regionality." Ethnicity is a dynamic form of identity since it is "continuously [being] negotiated, revised, and revitalized" (Nagel 1994:153). While people tend to embrace their ethnicity, outside forces often impose an unwanted identity upon them.
Even in daily life, forms that require a person to identify themselves, leave Jews with little choice -- "there are categories for Whites, African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans and Native Americans, but not for Jews...Jews must consider themselves either white or other."

An L. A. Times article last year notes that about 3 million people of Southwest Asian, Middle Eastern or North African descent currently live in the United States, and 80% of them feel forced when filling out the census to call themselves white.

A possible solution for them is to add a category for Middle Eastern or North African descent -- will an option be made available for Jews?
 

How Do Jews "Pass" As White?


An interesting point Greenebaum raises is the claim that Jews are not really oppressed because their white skin allows them to "pass" as white, granting them 'white privilege'.
Non-Jews profess the easy access Jews have to pass (as white, as Christian) and assimilate into American culture; which, interestingly, implies that Jews are not 'originally' a part of this culture. Often people use this to silence the claim of anti-Semitism in American culture. It is interesting that we use the term 'passing' in reference to gays, lesbians, and bisexuals who are falsely assumed heterosexual (intentionally or not). [emphasis added]
The term "passing" in this context, when applied generally, implies that one is mistaken for part of a group, but not really part of it. One's status as oppressed is not diminished because they can "pass" as a member of a more privileged group.

Unless we are talking about Jews.

Then, the implication is that Jews actually are part of that group, are privileged by it and therefore forfeit their status as oppressed. On the one hand, "even though gays, lesbians, and bisexuals can 'pass' as straight, homophobia and heterosexism are still unacceptable." But when it comes to Jews, we are expected to stop complaining.

Jews may be able to blend in, but historically there is a price Jews pay for assimilation as they are swallowed up into the dominant culture.

And assimilation itself is hardly a long-term solution either:
The relative success of Jews does not give non-Jews permission to ignore the existence of anti-Semitism. While economic success has protected Jews from the economic effects of racism in the United States, it has not shielded us from anti-Semitism. The system constructs boundaries of success; when threatened, the reigns tighten and a backlash occurs. Nazi Germany is the prime example in which the success of Jewish men led to the scapegoating of Jews for Germany's economic problems. Historically, Jewish men have always been the scapegoat for the failing economy and a source of fear for the civilized world. [emphasis added]

Antisemitism vs Racism


Contrary to what today's intersectionality leaders claim, this antisemitism is not quite so easy to evade.

Speaking from the standpoint of 1991, Greenebaum writes:
Jews have faced (and sometimes continue to face) discrimination in housing, employment, school, social organizations, and key political positions as a result of anti-Semitic beliefs. Vandalization and desecration of synagogues, graveyards, and other Jewish sites continue to occur sporadically.
Of course today, to the desecration of synagogues, we can add the massacres of Jews in their synagogues. This discrimination is rampant on campus and getting even worse as it spreads now into society in general, especially as Israel has become a proxy for Jews as a target.

In another insight, Greenebaum anticipates the argument today that seeks to belittle antisemitism by comparing it to anti-Black racism -- and finds antisemitism wanting.
But, while anti-Semitism and racism fall under the umbrella category of oppression, they are not identical. First of all, racism only focuses on people of color, and as stated earlier, Jews do not easily fit this category. Secondly, condensing these two forms of oppression into one category can be insulting to both experiences. African Americans did not lose one-third of their population to a Holocaust; and similarly, American Jews were never slaves in the land in which they currently reside and which continues to block their success.

...While racism and anti-Semitism diverge; they are not "equal" oppressions...to ignore anti-Semitism on the basis that Jews are "less oppressed" also ignores history. While Jews do not experience the same daily exploitation, we must remember that Jews consistently experienced persecution throughout history (the crusades, Spanish Inquisition, 19th century Pogroms, and the Holocaust are only a few examples).

The Bottom Line

Perhaps it should not be surprising that just as antisemitism is unique and defies a simple definition as it has metastasized over the centuries -- so too the Jewish identity is not easy to corner either.

Not that those pushing an intersectionality agenda haven't tried.

But the attempt to sweep antisemitism under the carpet demonstrates a fundamental failure to honestly address oppression.

And the exclusion of Jews on the basis of the color of their skin highlights the hypocrisy of those who proclaim their dedication to human rights.

This exclusion of Jews and antisemitism should serve as a warning of ulterior motives and a self-serving agenda by those who claim to act in the interests of "intersectionality."

  • Friday, August 07, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
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Bechadrei Hareidim reported this week that the Kuwaiti ambassador to Ukraine visited a Jewish shrine and a kosher restaurant.

Rashid Hamad al-Adwani visited the grave of Reb Nachman of Breslov  in Uman on Sunday along with Jewish activists Haim Hazin and Shlomi Elisha.

Adwani said that he had heard about the place a lot, and wanted to see what it was about. He also said that he wanted to eat at a kosher restaurant, since Muslims can eat kosher meat.

Kuwait has no relations with Israel and has traditionally been very anti-Israel in all international forums.

According to the hosts, nothing political was discussed.

Thursday, August 06, 2020

  • Thursday, August 06, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
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From JWeekly:

Last fall, Berkeley’s Graduate Theological Union made history by inaugurating its first non-Christian president — an Orthodox-trained rabbi — to lead the esteemed consortium for the advanced study of religion.

The ceremony took place on Oct. 24 at UC Berkeley’s International House, where Rabbi Daniel Lehmann delivered his inaugural address.

“I am here because nearly 30 years ago my passion was ignited for interreligious learning,” he said, describing efforts at Hebrew College to broaden the Boston Theological Institute into an interfaith body. “One of my top priorities as president is to continue to build a GTU culture in which every voice is valued and respected — an environment where trust and open inquiry allows us to introduce differing points of view.”

The city of Berkeley issued a proclamation celebrating the occasion. A school newsletter called it “a night to remember” and said that Lehmann’s address “captured the spirit of the evening.” It formally marked “a new era” for the GTU.

But only four months later, and just a year and a half after his hire, Lehmann would quietly resign amid sharp public attacks for his pro-Israel views.

The story is unbelievable – and all too believable. Alison Weir, who the ADL has associated with antisemitism, wrote an article attacking Rabbi Lehmann because he is a Zionist.

Though influential in anti-Israel circles, Weir has been accused of animosity toward the Jewish state and antisemitism, including by the Anti-Defamation League. In a 10-page report, the ADL describes Weir as someone who “employs anti-Semitic imagery” and portrays “Israel and its agents as ruthless forces that control American policy.” The report cites instances of failing to condemn acts of terrorism by Palestinians, comparing Israel to Nazi Germany, and trafficking in a blood-libel conspiracy related to Israeli organ harvesting.

Weir has had troubling associations. Her message has appeared in “The Final Call,” a publication of the Nation of Islam, according to the ADL; she was photographed with Ashahed Muhammad of the NOI at an American Muslims for Palestine event. Muhammed is the author of the book “The Synagogue of Satan.”

In 2010, Weir was a guest on the talk radio show of Clay Douglas, a conspiracy theorist from New Mexico associated with the antisemitic “Christian Identity Theology” movement, which considers Jews to be satanic, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Douglas has published antisemitic screeds, according to the SPLC, questioning, for example, whether Jews are “behind the destruction of America.”

Jewish Voice for Peace, an anti-Zionist organization accustomed to working with some of Israel’s sharpest critics, has disavowed Weir, calling her behavior on Douglas’ radio show “repugnant.”

This article written by the bigot Alison Weir was distributed at Rabbi Lehmann’s inauguration.

Soon afterwards, an open letter was written by many Christians associated with GTU slandering Rabbi Lehmann with bald-faced lies:

In 2019 we hosted two GTU-wide Kairos Palestine events. Attendees were invited to hear and understand Palestinian voices in the Kairos Palestine document. In planning the December event we learned of considerable concern over the appointment of Rabbi Daniel Lehmann as president, a self-described Zionist who openly expressed Islamophobic and racist anti-Palestinian views1

Here is the article they link to, from Middle East Forum, that supposedly proves Rabbi Lehmann’s supposedly toxic views. It has not one word that can remotely be considered anti-Palestinian, racist  or Islamophobic.

The entire anti-Lehmann campaign was based on lies – lies that were eagerly signed off by nearly 100 GTU affiliated members, almost all of whom are Christian clergy.

Not to mention that Kairos Palestine is an unquestionably antisemitic movement.

This is not just anti-Zionism. This is theological Jew-hatred that hearkens back to the long history of official Church antisemitism. These same people would have hated a Jew being president of GTU anyway, and his proud support of Israel gave them the excuse to slanderously paint him as an Islamophobe and a racist.

This is modern Christian antisemitism that lives comfortably within the “social justice” movement that pretends so much to be anti-racist and liberal. It is none of these.

GTU, for its part, is not defending Rabbi Lehmann, not speaking out against its members that seemingly forced him out, and it still pretends to be interested in unity and diversity of views. It had a chance to vocally speak out against modern antisemitism that masquerades as “wokeness” – and it consciously decided not to.

This is what modern antisemitism looks like. And it is just as ugly as all the previous versions.

From Ian:

Muslim antisemitism – It’s time to face reality
The think-tank the Henry Jackson Society has just published a report titled ‘Muslim Anti-Semitism In Contemporary Great Britain’. The author, Dr Rakib Ehsan a Muslim himself, describes this report and more importantly, the polling that makes up the body of the report as: “one of the most systematic and comprehensive surveys into the socio-political attitudes – both domestic and international – of British Muslims”. The findings of this report will add to the body of literature that thus far, appear to be scant and will therefore assist in understanding the manifestation of antisemitism in religious minority communities in Great Britain.

The executive summary of the report asserts a number of claims. First, when it comes to perception of other faith groups, British Muslims view Jews the least favourably. Only atheists, as a social group, are viewed less favourably. In addition to this, over a third (34%) of British Muslims polled for ComRes, thought that Jews had too much control over the global banking system. As far as antisemitic tropes go, this one appears to still maintain strength.

Looking at domestic politics, a third (33%) of British Muslims polled thought Jews again had too much control of political leadership, in comparison to 15% of the general population. This marks a significant increase that more than doubles that of the general population.

Furthermore, and in regards to dual loyalty, British Muslims came up at a staggering 44%, believing Jews were more loyal to Israel than they were to Britain. In comparison to the general population which polled at 24%, British Muslims are nearly twice the number. In addition to this, if you are a British Muslim and university educated, then you are more likely to believe in this and the broader belief in Jews having too much global control.

There also appears to be a link between attending mosque at least 3-4 times a week, which could impact on British Muslim attitudes on Jews. For example, the ComRes poll found that 55% of British Muslims that attended mosque frequently, compared to 34% that didn’t, were more likely to maintain this view.
Rogen and Maron: A Tale of Two Idiots
In their rambling mission to define the ubiquitous modern American-Jewish identity, comedians Seth Rogen and Marc Maron decided on a recent episode of the latter’s podcast, WTF, that Jews should not care about supporting Israel or its survival.

Israel sadly has become an inconvenient part of Rogen and Maron’s Jewish identities. The pair of comedians unleashed an error-ridden segment on Judaism, trashing American-Jewish education, making ignorant and intolerant comments about worshippers of other faiths, and joining in the all-too-fashionable Israel-bashing that one has come to expect from antisemitic, but not Jewishly educated, public figures.

Rogen claims that he was fed “a huge amount of lies about Israel my entire life” and declares that “every young Jewish person” is never informed that there “were people living there.” Rogen clearly ignores that the Hebrews, the Israelites, and the Jews lived in their ancient lands until they were expelled. The destruction of the Temples occurred ages ago. But comedians, more taken with themselves than with their heritage, find it easy to make fun of everyone, and even easier to say things that are designed to attract attention for their own purposes.

Rogen is starring in a Jewish film. Perhaps this was his bid for controversy to drum up interest in his art form. Shame on him.

No one denies that when the United Nations adopted the Partition Resolution in 1947 — setting the stage for the establishment of a Jewish state and an Arab state, with special status for Jerusalem — people of various religions, beliefs, and history lived in what were Ottoman Empire lands that then came under the British Mandate.

So, who are Rogen and Maron kidding, except themselves?
Medical experts give Ronni Gamzu’s coronavirus plan an A+
Despite public opposition to Prof. Ronni Gamzu’s strategic plan for stopping the spread of the novel coronavirus by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the head of the National Security Council, the country’s new coronavirus commissioner managed to get his plan passed by the coronavirus cabinet late Wednesday night.

This victory bought Israelis at least two weeks without a country-wide lockdown. It also formalized his role as the professional who will take Israel on a strategic path toward conquering corona.

But what do medical professionals think of the plan?

The Jerusalem Post asked three top health experts how they would grade Gamzu’s plan – and all of them gave it top scores.

Cyrille Cohen, head of the immunotherapy laboratory at Bar-Ilan University, told the Post that Gamzu avoided what would have been an unwarranted and ineffective lockdown.

Israel has tried lockdown and it did not work long term, he said.

“I hear a lot of people saying put lockdown in effect now and end” the spread of the virus, said Cohen. But he noted that if nothing else changes, then within two weeks of lifting the lockdown, Israel would be back where it started with regards to the infection rate – and even worse off from an economic standpoint.

Furthermore, he said that if one looks closely at the data, it is correct that “we are seeing a kind of flattening of the curve.” He said Gamzu is looking not only at the total number of new patients but the number of critical patients.

“Right now, the hospitals say they are able to maintain this – it’s not the best, but they can maintain it,” Cohen said.
Coronavirus vaccine race: Israel to begin human testing by October
Israel is about to take a giant leap in the development of a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, the Defense Ministry said Thursday, announcing that the Israel Institute for Biological Research will begin testing its vaccine for the novel coronavirus on humans by October, the Defense Ministry said.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz visited the IIBR on Thursday for an update on advances in its vaccine and antigen against the novel coronavirus.

“Experiments on humans should begin after the High Holidays,” Gantz said. “First of all, I would like to thank you – the people in the Defense Ministry and the people at the institute, who are doing a fantastic job.”

He said that the human trials would be conducted in collaboration with the Health Ministry and “according to all the processes required in terms of medical safety.”

Prof. Shmuel Shapira said that IIBR “set off six months ago” to develop the vaccine, adding that now it has developed “an excellent vaccine.”

“We will start safety and efficacy trials after the holidays,” Shapira continued, “but we have a product in hand.”
Determined to build COVID tests of future, Israel collects 20,000 swabs in India
In a nine-day swabbing marathon, an Israeli delegation in India has collected samples from 20,000 coronavirus patients, and says the data could facilitate new express testing methods to help societies return to their routines in the shadow of the pandemic.

Working with the Indian authorities, the Israeli team asked people who had tested positive to take another swab test, and also provide three other samples: breath, a recording of their voice, and saliva.

Attempts are underway in Israel to develop quick-turnaround coronavirus testing tech that eliminates the lengthy process of taking swabs from the nose or throat to labs for analysis, and scientists need large numbers of samples to accurately develop their tests.

As India has more than 585,000 active coronavirus cases, compared to Israel’s 25,800, it is a plentiful source of samples. The India mission is expected to push forward development of the new testing methods.
Members of Israel’s coronavirus mission to India, in Delhi. (Israel Ministry of Defense Spokesperson’s Office)

“The goal is to bring the world the technological capability to perform rapid coronavirus tests within tens of seconds, which will enable the opening of airports, office buildings, schools, train stations and more,” said Israel’s defense attaché to India, Col. Asaf Maller.

Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory.

Check out their Facebook page.


Credit: Hammami via Wikipedia

Tehran, August 6 - Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and several of his top officials voiced gratification today following a catastrophic explosion in Beirut yesterday that killed more than a hundred and injured thousands, in appreciation for the millions of Middle East lives they have at their disposal in an ongoing campaign to extend Shiite hegemony across the region and destroy Israel in the process.

Iranian political and religious figures at various levels of the mullahs' regime reacted to the detonation of hundreds of tons of ammonium nitrate in the Lebanese capital - leaving an immense crater and sowing destruction and death for miles around - by thanking Allah that those poor Lebanese victims serve as mere pawns in Tehran's schemes to dominate the Middle East, in addition to the pawns suffering for the same cause in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and the Palestinian Territories.

"Praise to Allah," intoned the ayatollah at a meeting of senior advisers Thursday, "that the people of Lebanon die for our noble goals. The millions of Lebanese who endure political instability, incompetent administration, economic collapse, and the constant threat of violence, do so in service of our divinely-sanctioned vision for the entire region. They should be thankful to participate in this grand project."

"With the way things have been going lately, it's a relief to also have the Lebanese as cannon fodder," explained Minister of Foreign Affairs Javad Zarif. "Our glorious supreme leader has previously expressed resolve to fight the Great Satan [the United States] and the Little Satan [Israel] to the last Palestinian, but that resolve extends to the tens of millions of other residents in neighboring countries, most notably the ones where the militias and other forces we support, supply, and coordinate fight to cement our control."

Iranian analysts praised the evident willingness of Lebanese, Yemenis, Palestinians, Syrians, and Iraqis of all stripes to die for Iran's ambitions. "It's encouraging," observed commentator Shivermit Imberz. "Our leadership must feel heartened by the vast number of bodies it can throw at various enemies, and use to cushion itself from various disasters, outside Iran's borders. Allah knows the people inside Iran itself, in contrast, have shown in protest movement after protest movement that they have far less tolerance for those ambitions, preferring for some bizarre reason that the leadership focus on the economy, coronavirus, infrastructure, and not provoking the US, the Saudis, Israel, and whomever else into sabotaging every goddamn installation. Ingrates."

(Photo credit: Hammami via Wikipedia)

  • Thursday, August 06, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

Shurat HaDin put together a list of facts that, while not accusing Hezbollah of being behind the Beirut blat, sure makes it sound like they were not uninvolved. (Received via email)

As the Lebanese people struggle to recover from the catastrophic deaths and destruction wrought by the Beirut explosion, more questions than answers continue to arise. The official story, that in 2013, Lebanese port officials impounded a Moldovan flagged ship bound for Mozambique, laden with explosive chemicals, does not address other facts which have emerged and must be investigated:

1.         Sections of the Beirut port are under the control of the Hezbollah terrorist organization. Israeli officials have long complained that the Beirut port, “the Hezbollah Port” was being utilized by the terrorists to smuggle contraband and weapons into Lebanon. As UN Ambassador Danny Danon recently stated: “Israel discovered that Iran and its Quds Force have been exploiting civilian maritime channels, and specifically the Port of Beirut.”
2.         Hezbollah has a long history of illegally acquiring and stockpiling ammonium nitrate in civilian areas. In 2015, Britain’s M15 and Metro Police carried out a raid on a secret Hezbollah warehouse in London that contained 3 tons of ammonium nitrate. The British government shamefully covered-up the raid in order not to damage relations with Iran shortly after signing the dangerous Nuclear Deal. It is believed Hezbollah was planning on using the chemicals for an attack in the UK. Click here

3.         The same year, police in Cyprus discovered a Hezbollah warehouse storing 8.3 tons of ammonium nitrate. A Hezbollah operative was arrested and charged with planning a terror attack. “A state prosecutor said Lebanese-Canadian Hussein Bassam Abdallah admitted that Hezbollah aimed to mount terrorist attacks against Israeli interests in Cyprus using the ammonium nitrate that he had been ordered to guard at the Larnaca home of another official of the Iranian-backed group.” Click here
4.         Israeli intelligence gave German police information, earlier this year, of the location of a Hezbollah stockpile of ammonium nitrate in southern Germany. The fact that the Iranian terror group was warehousing the explosives on German soil helped to push Berlin to outlaw all wings of the Hezbollah organization.  “Mossad reportedly gave Germany information about warehouses in the south of the country where Hezbollah stashed hundreds of kilograms of ammonium nitrate, a material used to make explosives.” Click here

5.         Hezbollah has a long history and deliberate strategy of stockpiling rockets, weapons and explosives in civilian areas. Hezbollah intentionally utilizes civilian neighborhoods including the basements of schools, mosques, residential buildings and hospitals as missile depots. The terrorists understand that the Israeli air force would be hindered in responding to rockets launched from civilian centers during the next war with Lebanon. And if Israel does attack the launchers and kills civilians, Hezbollah is counting on the UN, the Europeans and the ICC to immediately accuse Israel of war crimes. Hezbollah calls it this “Human Shield” program. Click here
6.         In 2016, Hezbollah’s chief terrorist Hassan Nasrallah had threatened to fire rockets at an ammonia storage facility in Haifa. He vowed that the explosion would be like a nuclear bomb striking Israel. He repeated this threat on several occasions causing Israeli officials to remove the storage tanks. “Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah threatened in the past to destroy Israel by causing a massive explosion in the port of Haifa using ammonia tanks that he said would be like a “nuclear” explosion. In addition Hezbollah allegedly sought to acquire ammonium nitrate via Syria since 2009 and tried to infiltrate the agriculture ministry in Lebanon to do so, according to leaked diplomatic cables.” Click here

7.         On Valentine’s Day in 2005, a team of Hezbollah terrorists murdered then Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri with a powerful bomb in Beirut. 21 people were killed in the massive explosion. Hariri was a strong opponent of the Hezbollah group and the regime of  Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad that was attempting to control Lebanon. Four Hezbollah assassins are being tried in absentia by a UN court for the murder. Ironically, after 15 years of stalling, the UN’s Special Tribunal for Lebanon, hearing the Hariri case will deliver its decision on Friday. Its believed the Special Tribunal will declare Hezbollah as responsible for the bombing attack. Click here

Hezbollah’s long involvement in attempting to procure and stockpile ammonium nitrate perpetuates the growing suspicions that the Iranian terrorist organization, which rules Lebanon, was directly involved in the warehousing of the chemicals at the Beirut port. When the Lebanese population will finish dealing with the devastation and mourning its dead and wounded the finger-pointing at Hezbollah’s role in the tragedy will begin in earnest. The Special Tribunal for Lebanon whose verdict in the Hariri assassination trial will further emphasize Hezbollah’s guilt. Hezbollah and its Iranian masters, the key source of Middle East instability, must be driven out of Lebanon.

From Ian:

Beirut blast came at worst possible time for Nasrallah
As opposed to other past incidents, Hezbollah was not quick in its broadcasts to blame Israel. It didn't hint at sabotage and didn't threaten to "get rid of those responsible" for what happened in the Port of Beirut. Even if someone succeeds in proving that it indeed was a weapons storage belonging to the organization, and there is still no certainty that it is, this could not have come at a worse time for Nasrallah to admit so.

The reason is simple. Deep from his bunker in the Dahiya neighborhood in south Beirut, not far from the port in flames, Nasrallah is busy trying to put out at least three other fires that he is seen as responsible for, and their potential for damage is just as huge as what happened in the port.

One fire is the internal crisis in Lebanon, stemming from the unprecedented financial crisis that has bankrupted the country and brought it to its knees, with sky-high unemployment, a shortage in food and gas, and daily protests. Many in Lebanon blame Hezbollah, a partner in the government, for the situation.

The second fire has to do with a much smaller blast, but many times more lethal, which 15 years ago took out the Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafiq Hariri, at Syria's request and was carried out directly by Hezbollah. In the years since, Nasrallah has managed to get rid of most of those involved in the hit, but the incriminating evidence has not disappeared, and the international tribunal is expected to publish its conclusions Thursday, after much delay. For Nasrallah, whose organization has already been called by many nations a terrorist group, a conviction by the Hague will be a serious matter.

And the third fire threatening Lebanon is linked to the equation Nasrallah has created and which forces him to respond to every Israeli hit on Hezbollah activists, even if it takes place outside of Lebanon. This is not the place to discuss if Israel is correct by not clarifying from the start that this equation is not acceptable, especially if it takes place in Syria, but Nasrallah sees the amassing of forces on the Israeli side of the border and understands that if he makes a mistake, the Israeli response could start another massive fire in Lebanon, that no one in this miserable country will be able to put out, and everyone there will blame him.
Iran sees disaster as opportunity to advance regional interests
There will be those who claim that now Hezbollah will be blamed and will have to loosen its grip on the country, especially if it becomes clear that its own weapon storage led to the disaster, as was hinted by Saudi media in the Gulf, or that the ammonium was kept there for a similar reason. But even if this is the case, the PR machine of the Shia organization is ready to go.

Lebanon's al-Akhbar newspaper has already claimed that the speed of Israel's denial in responsibility for the event hints that it is connected to the blast. Just like its denials after taking out senior Hezbollah leader Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus, and other attacks in Syria. On Wednesday, the editor of the newspaper, Ibrahim Al Amine, said that sabotage could be an option, even though none of it matters and it's all just a cover-up for the "great collapse" of Lebanon.

Even before the horrible disaster, the threat to respond to the killing of the Hezbollah operative in Syria, which came through that same Lebanese newspaper close to the terror group, made it clear that despite Hassan Nasrallah's promises to help with the national financial crisis, his priorities have remained the same: first Iran - then Lebanon. This, despite all the warnings from senior Israeli officials. This insistence to play with fire when Lebanon is suffering following an unprecedented economic crisis shows that for Nasrallah, it is more important to deter Israel from acting in Syria, where Iran wants to widen its presence and transfer advanced weapons to Hezbollah.

In other words, Iran's strategy to lay siege to Israel from as many fronts as possible continues as usual. In the long run, the Islamic republic still believes the West can not stop its spread in the Middle East and its threats on Israel, and that it will eventually loosen the sanctions. Tehran is currently hoping for the victory of the Democratic party's nominee in the US presidential elections, Joe Biden, who they believe will return to the more reconciliatory policy of former president Barack Obama.

As that is the case, one cannot ignore the horrible cynicism in the statement of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif Tuesday night. "Our hearts are with the Lebanese people during the great catastrophe," he said, "we are willing to help Lebanon in any way we can." If Tehran really wants to help Lebanon - it should cut all ties with it. The past has shown us, however, that its grip will only tighten.
Tel Aviv City Hall Illuminated With Lebanese Flag in Show of Solidarity After Deadly Beirut Blast
The facade of Tel Aviv’s city hall was illuminated with the Lebanese flag on Wednesday night — a show of solidarity with the Jewish state’s neighbor to the north following the deadly explosion in Beirut that killed at least 135 people and wounded thousands more.

“Our hearts and thoughts are with the Lebanese people and all those affected by the terrible disaster in Beirut,” the Tel Aviv Municipality tweeted.

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai tweeted, “Humanity comes before any conflict, and our hearts are with the Lebanese people following the terrible disaster they experienced.”

Israel quickly offered humanitarian relief to Lebanon after Tuesday’s blast.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry tweeted, “At the direction of FM @Gabi_Ashkenazi and Defense Min. Gantz, Israel via security and international channels has offered humanitarian medical assistance to the government of Lebanon.”

On Wednesday, it was reported that the possibility of Israeli hospitals taking in foreigners wounded in the Beirut explosion was being considered.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted on Wednesday, “On behalf of the government of Israel, I send my condolences to the people of Lebanon. Yesterday Lebanon suffered a major catastrophe. We are ready to offer humanitarian assistance, as human being to human beings.”

‘We’ll light up Tel Aviv…with our rockets’: Lebanese rebuff Israeli solidarity
If you thought the backlash to the Tel Aviv municipality projecting a Lebanese flag on the side of its building was strong inside Israel, try the backlash inside Lebanon.

Many Lebanese took to social media on Wednesday to express their ire over the attempted gesture of solidarity by the Tel Aviv municipality with the victims of the previous night’s Beirut port explosion. The blast, which was apparently caused by the ignition of 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate, has claimed at least 135 lives, and left over 5,000 injured and 300,000 homeless.

“Sure, they’re raising our flag now, but soon enough they’ll destroy our country and violate our country’s sovereignty,” wrote one Twitter user.

  • Thursday, August 06, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

Many have noted Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s 2016 speech where he threatened to shoot missiles at the “ammonia” tanks in Haifa which would be the equivalent, he said, of a nuclear bomb explosion.

 

Hezbollah’s Al Manar newspaper reiterated that threat only a week ago.

On July 30, it had an article about how Israel is really weak and vulnerable and people are leaving Israel by the tens of thousands – and one of the reasons, it said, was Israeli worries about a Hezbollah attack on these same chemical facilities, as well as the Dimona nuclear reactor.

A mixture of intelligence failure and military panic is behind the unilateral clashes in northern occupied Palestine on the border with Lebanon. There is no need to address the details, because going to the shelters is no longer confined to the residents of the northern settlements. The  population of central Israel is also panicked, as the time bombs lying in [nuclear] energy production plants and ammonia tanks are sufficient alone in the event of war to cause massive destruction over an area of ​​1200 square kilometers, and the central settlements have become more dangerous to their residents than those at the borders.

  • Thursday, August 06, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
iLgMY

 

Hamas and Islamic Jihad media in Gaza are talking about how “dozens” of Palestinians are donating blood for the victims of the horrendous explosion in Beirut.

4o7Mh

 

Only one problem: The donated blood will almost certainly never make it to Beirut. This is all for show.

In general, because of logistics, blood drives and banks are made at a national level. This is more efficient and different nations have different standards of testing donated blood for safety. As far as I can see, there are few or no formal mechanisms to export blood internationally.

But even if there were such means for major emergencies – how can blood get from Gaza to Lebanon? All Gaza exports go through Israel, and no Israeli planes or ships are allowed in Lebanon. It seems highly unlikely that the ICRC or WHO can quickly put together the logistics necessary to take a small amount of blood from Gaza and transport it to Beirut, when it is much easier to appeal to locals to donate more.

It seems far more likely that Palestinian groups want to appear to care about Lebanon They know the Lebanese generally hate Palestinians and they want to make themselves look altruistic. They know that Israel offered (and continues to offer) help for Lebanon, and they cannot look like they care less than the Jews.

This blood drive is as meaningless as Yasir Arafat’s fake blood donation to counter the US television footage showing Palestinians celebrating the 9/11 attacks.

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