Thursday, July 09, 2015

From Ian:

Why ‘Jews’ were lost in translation in BBC Children of the Gaza War documentary
Children of the Gaza War will air on BBC Two on Wednesday night
A BBC documentary has substituted the word “Israelis” for "Jews" in its translation of interviews with Palestinians, its maker has admitted.
Lyse Doucet has stood by the decision to translate “yahud” as “Israeli” in subtitles on her hour-long documentary Children of the Gaza War, which airs on BBC Two tonight.
The correct translation for “yahud” from Arabic to English is “Jew”.
The BBC’s chief international correspondent said that Gazan translators had advised her that Palestinian children interviewed on the programme who refer to “the Jews” actually meant Israelis.
In one instance, a Gazan child says the “yahud” are massacring Palestinians. However the subtitles read: “Israel is massacring us”.
Canada-born Ms Doucet said: “We talked to people in Gaza, we talked to translators. When [the children] say ‘Jews’, they mean ‘Israelis’.
“We felt it was a better translation of it.”
BBC: Being Anti-Semitic is Being Anti-Israel
The BBC will air a show tonight, a documentary chronicling the lives of children during the Gaza war a year ago. In it, both Israeli and Palestinian children are interviewed, with one key difference. When Palestinian children say things that are unpalatable to the Western ear, the translations have been doctored.
One word in particular stands at the centre of this particular phenomenon: يهود, or Yahud. There is not a dictionary in existence that would not translate this word as “Jews”. The BBC have therefore taken the logical step and helpfully rendered it as “Israel”.
The maker of the 1-hour programme, Lyse Doucet, has stated that this is acceptable. She says the children didn’t mean Jews, they meant Israel. Gazan translators have assured her on this point.
Ms Doucet deserves our sympathy. Evidently, it is still harder to arouse the sympathy of the West with an anti-Semitic diatribe than an anti-Israel one — a fact for which we should certainly be thankful. Nonetheless, simply editing the words of her subjects means that Ms Doucet has not produced a documentary, but a work of fiction. It is at most “based on a true story” or “inspired by actual events”.
Honest Reporting: Israel’s Existence Lost in BBC Translation
It wasn’t a better translation. In Arabic, Yahudi means a Jew (plural is Yahud). Yisraili means an Israeli (plural is Yisraileen). Full stop.
Several problems came into play here.
1. The Gaza children.
A Palestinian friend told me that Palestinians commonly refer to Israelis as Yahud. It may have begun out of hostility, but has become common usage. I’m also told that more educated Palestinians sometimes do make the distinction and use the word Yisraili. This provides a window into the Beeb’s thinking, but Doucet’s not off the hook.
The kids Doucet talked to were either born after Israel disengaged from Gaza, or too young to have any memories of “the occupation.” They grew up with a purely Palestinian education and media, both of which indoctrinate kids to deny the existence of Israel.
2. The translators.
The Gaza translators the Beeb relied on are part of a bigger issue.
The Western media depends on freelance Palestinian (and Israeli) writers, photographers, and cameramen (collectively known as stringers) as well as the assistance of “fixers,” who help reporters get access, navigate the foreign land, and avoid trouble, among other things.
Stringers know the area, and employing them is a less expensive option than flying in entire reporting teams. Also, it’s not a bad thing for Big Media to provide job opportunities for the locals.
The problem is when the Palestinian support team brings its own baggage to the coverage
Hamas holding two Israelis hostage in Gaza for months
Two Israeli men are being held hostage by Hamas in Gaza, including one who was captured in the Strip in September after he sneaked over the border fence for unknown reasons, it was cleared for publication Thursday.
The man who has been in Gaza since September was named as Avraham Mengistu, 28, of Ashkelon. The gag order on his case was lifted Thursday morning following a lawsuit from Haaretz and Yedioth Ahronoth. The name of the second man, a Bedouin who also apparently crossed the border of his own volition, was not released.
Ethiopian-born Israeli Mengistu is alive and being kept by Hamas in Gaza, an Israeli security source said Thursday in a briefing with reporters. The source said no negotiations were currently taking place for his release.
An official said Israel does not consider the Israeli to be a captive, and that Israel was treating the matter as a humanitarian issue. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.
Hamas denies holding Mengistu, but the Israeli sources said this was because the Islamist group is seeking to avoid responsibility for his fate.

David Horovitz: Israel cannot countenance another Shalit deal
In short, Hamas is engaged in its familiar foul strategy of seeking to utilize Israel’s concern for the safety of its citizens in order to advance its ideology — the central goal of which was and remains to weaken and ultimately destroy Israel. In that cause, it wages intermittent war with Israel, subverts all relevant materials imported into Gaza to build tunnels, rockets and other weapons of war; emplaces its war machine in Gaza’s teeming residential neighborhoods, including at schools and mosques, and generally sacrifices any hope of decent life for the citizens of Gaza.
It also seeks relentlessly to kidnap Israeli soldiers — a key but unsuccessful focus of its war effort last summer — to use as leverage to obtain the release of its own captured terrorists and gunmen. And when Israelis do have the deep misfortune to fall into its hands under any circumstances — Gilad Shalit was grabbed from an IDF post inside Israel and dragged off to Gaza, where he was held incommunicado for five years — it does its malicious best to toy with the Israeli national psyche in exploiting those Israeli assets.
None of this should come as any surprise to Israelis. Hamas is a terrorist organization which violently seized power in Gaza in open pursuit of an extremist agenda. With Mengistu and the as-yet unnamed second Israeli, it is doing precisely what bitter experience has long since prepared us that it will do.
That bitter experience, however, ought also long since to have prepared Israel for how it needs to respond.
Terrorist released in Schalit deal rearrested in West Bank
Security forces arrested a number of suspects in the West Bank village of Abu Dis on Wednesday night, after a police car was attacked with large stones.
Among those arrested was a terrorist who was released as part of the Schalit deal, who was throwing Molotov cocktails and other explosive devices at police forces.
Although there was damage to police vehicles, no Israeli citizens were injured.
The man was originally convicted on charges of terror related activities.
1,027 terrorists were released by Israel in 2011 in the exchange deal which freed Gilad Schalit. Last year, 50 of them were rearrested for terror related charges.
Hamas seeks high price for Israelis who fell into its lap
Hamas has been holding Avraham Mengistu captive in Gaza for 10 months and didn’t say a word about it. And neither did Israel.
There were numerous reports about him in the Arabic media, some of them claiming Mengistu was swept into Gaza by sea, including reports by the popular Palestinian Maan news agency and the pro-Hezbollah al-Mayadeen. Millions of Palestinians and Arabs across the Middle East knew that Mengistu was in Hamas hands, and yet Hamas — and the State of Israel — kept silent.
Razi Hamad, a senior Hamas official, was even in contact with Gershon Baskin, an American-born Israeli who was instrumental in the 2011 Gilad Shalit exchange, as part of an effort to launch negotiations on Mengistu’s release. And still the silence continued.
Baskin told The Times of Israel on Thursday morning that a senior Hamas official insisted to him that Mengistu is no longer in Gaza, having been released after questioning — when it became clear that he was not a soldier — and made his way into the Sinai via a tunnel. This claim seems highly implausible. It’s possible that it’s being made because Mengistu was injured during interrogation and Hamas wants to evade responsibility. It’s also likely that Hamas is deliberately spreading disinformation for its own tactical reasons.
It’s not hard to understand why Hamas would want to sow confusion regarding Mengistu’s fate and condition. It’s harder to fathom why official Israel insisted on keeping from the Israeli public all information, including widely circulated Arabic reports, on the case.
Netanyahu: Israel holds Hamas responsible for safety of Israelis missing in Gaza
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Thursday afternoon for the international community to deliver a clear call for the return of the two Israelis being held in Gaza.
Netanyahu, in his first public comment on the matter, said he expected the international community “which expresses its concern for the humanitarian situation in Gaza, to issue a clear call for the the release and return of the civilians.”
The prime minister issued his statement some six hours after the gag order was lifted on news that a 26-year old Ethiopian, Avera Mengistu, and a non-Jewish Israeli were missing in Gaza.
“We are working for the return of two Israelis who crossed the border into Gaza,” he said. “We see Hamas as responsible for their safety.”
Netanyahu said he appointed a representative to coordinate efforts on his behalf on this matter, and to be in contact with the families.
“Yesterday I spoke to the parents and the brother of Avraham Mengistu,” he said. “I told them that from the moment that the incident was known, we were not sparing any efforts to return him home.”
He said he will meet with the family “soon.”
Brother of missing Israeli to Hamas: 'Release him immediately, he is not healthy'
Ilan Mengistu, Avraham’s brother, said his family “has decided to behave with restraint and give the government time to get our brother back home and we also ask the people of Israel to show restraint.”
Standing with his father Ayele and mother Agernesh, Ilan said the family “considers this a humanitarian issue and we call on the international community to get involved and work to secure the release of my brother.”
He then turned to Hamas and said, “I ask that Hamas consider the condition of my brother and release him.”
The family exited through the press scrum back into their apartment after making no further comments. For the past 10 months they have kept quiet, helping to keep the story out of the press and unknown to most Israelis, a media blackout that has been assured by a strict gag order on the entirety of the story.
Desperately seeking diplomatic defeat
Imagine if, on Sept. 12, 2001, I had written a column predicting that within less than 15 years, the president of the United States would be offering the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism a path to nuclear weapons and tens of billions of dollars. You’d have thought me a lunatic. But that’s what President Obama means to do.
What’s gumming up the works? Every time Secretary of State John Kerry thinks he has found a creative way to cave in to some Iranian demand, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei comes up with a new “red line.”
Just to be clear: There can be no doubt that the Islamic Republic of Iran is the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism. No less an authority than the U.S. government has affirmed that many times over. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Americans have been killed and maimed by Iranian-backed militias and proxies in Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan — although a plan to blow up a posh restaurant in Georgetown did go astray.
Jennifer Rubin: Why Iran’s irrationality matters
In other words, assuming that Iran won’t violate an agreement or won’t use an industrial-sized nuclear weapons program when it gets one in 10 years, is wrong and dangerous. The president says he is not relying on “trust” but by definition every agreement — especially one that gives up leverage and frees billions of dollars — is based on the assumption the other party will live up to the deal. If the administration knew (and it should) that Iran would block inspectors when push comes to shove, would he be in favor of a deal? (He might for legacy purposes, but he could not honestly conclude it is in the United States’ interests.)
The idea that Iran won’t renege on its agreements for fear of sanctions is based on a misunderstanding of the regime. As Herf puts it:
When policymakers fail to consider the core beliefs of the Iranian leadership, they foster the impression that Iran is a smaller, Islamic version of the Soviet Union — that is, a state which would act in its own self-interest if it had nuclear weapons. Yet the Soviet Union was governed by atheists who disdained notions of a life after death and would have laughed at the idea of a “12th Imam” descending to earth after an apocalyptic disaster. If Iran acquires nuclear weapons, it would likely be the first such state not to be deterred by the prospect of nuclear retaliation. Yet the irrationality of Iran’s government has received scant attention in the United States government, which seems unable to believe that people could put their faith in a post-apocalyptic messiah. That is both a failure of imagination and a failure of policy.
Obama Says Odds of Reaching Iran Nuclear Deal ‘Less Than 50-50’
President Barack Obama has reportedly said that the odds of world powers reaching a nuclear deal with Iran are “less than 50-50.”
During a dinner with Senate Democrats on Tuesday evening, Obama said he thought the chances of arriving at a deal “were less than 50-50 at this point and that he wouldn’t agree to something he thought was weak or unenforceable,” U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said in an interview with Politico on Wednesday.
“But if [Obama] comes up with an agreement and it meets his standards, he wanted us to take an honest look at it and not prejudge,” added Durbin.
Obama’s Nuclear Deal With Iran Hits Snag Over Weapons Buildup
Iran’s military will gain powerful new conventional weapons in a nuclear deal if Russia has its way, making it tougher than ever for President Barack Obama to sell an accord to an already skeptical Congress.
Russia is pressing to end a United Nations arms embargo on Iran at a time when the Islamic Republic is already poised to add potent offensive weapons to its arsenal, with or without a deal. Analysts, citing satellite imagery, say the Iranian military is on the cusp of producing armor-busting bombs, a capability few nations can claim.
“Part of the reason the administration is going to care about this a great deal is that Congress will use it,” Gary Sick, a former National Security Council official under three U.S. presidents, said of the Russian bid. “Opponents of the deal will say Iran has a free hand to develop anything it wants.”
American Official Says Final Iran Nuclear Deal Will be Unsigned Agreement
Negotiators from Iran and Western powers in Vienna working to hammer out a comprehensive nuclear agreement will not put their signatures to the final document, a U.S. official with knowledge of the negotiations told Israeli NRG news on Wednesday.
“A final deal, if we get to it, will be a ‘comprehensive joint plan of action’,” the official said, “the document itself will not be signed.”
The agreement, the official added, “will include a comprehensive political text and a number of technical annexes.” One of them, he said, is slated to become a text that will be presented to the U.N. Security Council for approval.
The official said the agreement currently under discussion would mimic the document negotiators presented in 2013 called the Joint Plan of Action, which also was left unsigned.
The source pointed out that the 2013 agreement included two different texts: a U.S. version and an Iranian version, which had substantial differences.
Powers to up pressure for nuke deal as Congress deadline looms
If the US Congress does not receive the text by early Friday morning Vienna time — midnight in Washington — it makes the approval process longer and potentially more problematic.
But despite this pressure, and almost two weeks of talks in the Austrian capital, it is unclear whether an accord aimed at ending a 13-year standoff can be sewn up at all, let alone in time.
Building on a framework agreement from April, the deal would see Iran dismantle large parts of its nuclear infrastructure in order to put a nuclear bomb out of reach.
If Congress does not get the deal in time, the review period doubles to 60 days, giving opponents more time to reject it. During this time US President Barack Obama cannot waive Congressional sanctions, the most painful ones for Iran.
If they do reject it, then Obama has 12 days to accept or veto. Congress then has another 10 days to override the veto, meaning the entire process could take up to 82 days.
Keep It Quiet, Aide Tells Shouting Kerry and Iran Minister
As the negotiations grind on in the Austrian capital, frustrations have boiled over into decidedly undiplomatic confrontations. In one incident on Monday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif could be heard shouting in nearby rooms.
A Kerry aide tip-toed into the room during the evening meeting at the Palais Coburg, a former aristocratic residence converted into a luxury hotel, to warn them that everyone outside could hear their row, according to Iranian state-run news agency IRNA.
Diplomats are feeling the pressure to meet a July 9 deadline to get a finalized deal to the U.S. Congress. If they don’t, lawmakers there will extend their review of the plan, and Iran may have to wait longer for sanctions relief.
Word of the clash spread quickly amongst diplomats.
“Seems like you had a constructive meeting last night; the whole hotel could hear you,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier quipped when he met Zarif the next day, IRNA reported.

In another meeting on the weapons embargo, Zarif erupted again when Western powers talked of Iran’s role in roiling the Middle East.
“If we are talking about regional security, I should take every one of you to international courts for supporting Saddam,” Zarif said, referring to the U.S. backing for Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein after he invaded Iran in 1980.
Iran’s Hard-Liners Sharpen Attacks on U.S. as Nuclear Talks Continue
The chants of “Death to America” and the burning of American flags in the streets are as familiar a part of life here as air pollution and traffic jams. With the United States and Iran on the verge of a potentially historic nuclear accord, however, there has been a distinct change in tone: the anti-Americanism is getting even more strident.
The rising levels of vitriol have been on display this week in the buildup to the annual anti-Israel extravaganza coming this Friday.
“We march not only against Israel,” the influential Ayatollah Ali Jannati told the Fars news agency of the annual rally on the last Friday of Ramadan in Iran and other Muslim countries. “It goes far beyond that. We also march against the arrogant powers,” Europe and, particularly, the United States.
The underlying cause for the heightened display of anti-Americanism, analysts say, is the growing likelihood that Iran and its Western negotiating partners will sign a nuclear accord, opening the possibility of improving relations with the Great Satan, the United States.
U.S. Seeks Mideast Shift to Follow Iran Nuclear Deal
The White House is crafting a Middle East strategy for the remaining 18 months of President Barack Obama’s term that would more forcefully address conflicts in Iraq, Yemen and Syria amid tensions over the conclusion of talks with Iran.
U.S. and Iranian negotiators narrowed some key differences for completing a deal that would scale back Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting economic sanctions. The talks face a Tuesday diplomatic deadline, but the two sides remained at odds on Monday over several critical elements.
Any reorientation of Mr. Obama’s Middle East strategy would test the durability of his broader foreign-policy doctrine, and senior administration officials said the president is intent on cleaning up leftover messes in the region before leaving office in 2017, including relations with key allies that have been strained by the Iran talks.
White House officials see the conclusion of Iran talks as a gateway for Mr. Obama to press for a political resolution in Syria that would facilitate the exit of President Bashar al-Assad, a close Iranian ally.
“It’s something I’d expect to see more pickup on as the Iran talks conclude,” a senior administration official said. “There’s a growing sense that momentum has turned against Assad and that is feeding a belief that there could be more opening on the political track.”
The conclusion of talks would thrust the U.S. into unfamiliar territory in a volatile region where years of diplomacy with Tehran has left relations with America’s allies, including Israel and Saudi Arabia, deeply strained.
Convicted Felon Leads Obama-Backed Effort to Lobby for Iran Deal
A convicted felon who went to federal prison in 2006-7 is leading a White-House backed effort to lobby Congress to pass whatever nuclear deal emerges from ongoing talks with Iran in Vienna. Robert Creamer, who served time for fraud and tax charges, and who is married to Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) is coordinating pro-Iran efforts through the liberal Ploughshares group, which held a conference call with President Barack Obama’s aides earlier this week, as reported by Adam Kredo of the Washington Free Beacon.
Kredo obtained an audio recording of the call. “Progressive leaders on the call told participants to prepare for a ‘real war’ and repeatedly declared that “the other side will go crazy” in the coming days,” he reported.
White House officials stressed “the importance of this to the president,” and Creamer told activists they should be “blitzing the hell out of the Hill,” particularly Democrats. His wife, self-styled “pro-Israel” Rep. Schakowsky, reportedly shouted her encouragement during the call.
Creamer rose to public attention in 2009, when Breitbart News revealed that he had written the political blueprint for passing Obamacare while serving time in federal prison. Anticipating the election of a “progressive” president in 2008, Creamer had advised a campaign for “universal health care” that would serve as the first of several radical policy changes aimed at transforming America and the world. Creamer, a community organizing guru in Chicago, had advised the Obama campaign upon leaving prison.
Writing in Israel Hayom, Richard Baehr notes that Creamer and fellow activists aim to reduce the Iran deal to political terms: “This is to be all about party loyalty, ‎and supporting the president and his agenda, because this is very ‎important to him,” Baehr notes. “In time, after the critics make their case, the deal ‎will likely be sold as a choice between war and peace…”.
Iran and the Battle for the Soul of the Democratic Party
Though the agreement the president will present to Congress will almost certainly fall short of the same criteria that the administration presented before the negotiations began, the soft support for Israel among Democrats will be Obama’s trump card as he twists arms and hands out favors in search of Democratic votes to sustain a veto of the Iran deal. This means the debate on Iran will not be so much one about policy as a battle for the soul of a Democratic Party that has lost its way on Israel.
Some will blame this state of affairs on the Israeli government or even Republicans for “politicizing” support for the Jewish state. But such arguments are entirely disingenuous. The fault here lies entirely with Obama and the left-wing of the Democrats who have embraced positions attacking Israel and, in the case of Iran, prioritized détente with the Islamist regime over support for America’s only democratic ally in the Middle East.
It is true, as I wrote earlier this year, that both Republicans and Democrats failed when they passed the lamentable Corker-Cardin bill that created an approval procedure for the Iran deal that turned the treaty confirmation process on its head. The president should have been forced to present the agreement as a treaty that requires two thirds of the Senate to vote yes for it to be ratified. Instead, distracted by Obama’s disingenuous designation of the deal and bullied by the president’s rhetoric, they voted for a bill that allows it to become law with only the one-third plus one of one of the two Houses of Congress to sustain a veto.
But any chance to vote on the most important foreign treaty in a generation should have caused both the Republican and Democratic caucuses to stand firm on an issue on which there has always been a clear consensus. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened despite obvious evidence that the president has decided any Iran deal, even an indefensible one, is better than none at all. If Obama succeeds in getting his Iran deal, and the odds favor it, blame Democrats for abandoning their pro-Israel principles, not Republicans or the Israelis.
Mehdi Hasan's Iran Death to America whitewash
Mehdi Hasan is an articulate and an intelligent person, but you can be both of those things and still talk gibberish and use absurd arguments. One such attempt by Mehdi Hasan can be seen in his article, “Death to America?” published on the Aljazeera website.
In the article, Hasan tries to rationalise the chants of, “Death to America” by the ruling clerics of Iran.
Chants of, “Death to America” are repeated in every Friday Prayer and in all the official gatherings in Iran, even as the Islamic Republic's representatives try to negotiate with the Americans and the deadline for a nuclear deal, that should result in the removal of crippling sanctions, looms.
So, how does Mehdi Hasan try to justify, explain, or rationalise these chants of, "Death to America"? First, he tries to sound even handed and quickly skims through the repressive nature of the Islamic Republic, the treatment of its Bahaii citizens and the brutal crackdown on the Green Movement.
But then he goes into a long narrative of what the “good reasons” for Iran's rulers to hate America are, by presenting several media myths as historical facts. The subtitle of the article, “What you need to know about Iran and the US”, also gives the impression that this is some kind of a factual history lesson by a learned historian.
Inevitably, top of the list is the media mythology surrounding the 1953 Coup. Hasan cites as fact one narrative of the event, that the CIA toppled a popularly elected Iranian Prime Minister because he nationalised Iranian oil. It is one of those "facts" that very much appeals to the niche market that Hasan feeds from.
The fact is however that Mossadegh was appointed by the Shah (having been nominated by the parliament) and not directly elected by the people. The oil nationalisation bill was passed by the parliament before Mossadeqh became the Prime Minister and in reality the true nationalisation of Iran's oil, which made a tangible economic benefit to the people of Iran, took place in the 1970s.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards: Destroying Israel is “Muslims’ First Priority”
Ahead of Friday’s commemoration of Qods Day, an Iranian holiday calling for the destruction of Israel, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) issued a release stating that the annihilation of the Jewish state “is Muslims’ first priority,” Iran’s Tasnim New Agency reported today.
The statement, issued on Wednesday, has called on the people of Iran and other Muslim countries to attend the mass rallies on coming Friday in support of Palestine.
It also slammed the Zionist regime of Israel as the common enemy of the Islamic nations, saying the strategy to destroy that regime is Muslims’ first priority.
The Quds Day signifies the “strategic depth of the logic of resistance”
and the fight against tyranny in the world, the statement added.
On Iranian Symbolism and American Nuclear Naivete
Misreading or dismissing Khamenei’s carefully considered symbolism has become the only constant in Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry’s engagement with the Islamic Republic. Take the Supreme Leader’s call for “Heroic Flexibility,” a speech which American officials and too often fawning journalists interpreted as an endorsement by Khamenei for the nuclear talks. The actual Persian suggested otherwise. “Heroic flexibility means an artful maneuver and utilizing various methods to achieve the various goals and ideals of the Islamic system,” he declared. In otherwise, it was about a change in tactics rather than policy. Of course, the phrase itself was deeply symbolic. Native Persian speaker Amin Tarzi, a professor at the U.S. Marine Corps University, points out that when Khamenei spoke of “heroic flexibility,” he was “invoking a truce initiated by Hasan bin Ali, Shi’a Islam’s second imam, in 661 to avoid bloodshed within Muslim community. Likening his country’s ‘flexibility’ to a wrestling match, Khamenei cautioned Iran’s negotiators that ‘a good wrestler at times shows flexibility due to technical reasons but does not forget his opponent or his main goal.’” Again, what Obama interpreted as a sign of compromise, Iranians understood to be a reference to a centuries-old episode in the development of Shi‘ite Islam, which has much to do with strategic patience but little to do with true compromise.
Fast forward to the current talks, now more than a week past their deadline. Many journalists and observers believe either that a deal will be achieved over the next few days or, in order to save face, diplomats will announce a partial deal. Few have considered why Iran might want to delay any announcement for a few days, U.S. congressional deadline be damned. Ever since the victory of the Islamic Revolution, the Iranian government has commemorated the fourth Friday in Ramadan — this year on July 10 — as Qods Day, a commemoration that is usually marked with the most vile anti-Israel and anti-American rhetoric. It was on Qods Day back in 2001, for example, that former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani suggested Iran should use a nuclear weapon against Israel because it would wipe Israel out while Iran’s large size would allow it to absorb any retaliation. To announce a deal on Qods Day that effectively blesses a full-scale Iranian nuclear program and will allow Iran to break out and build not a bomb but an arsenal after as little as a decade will be the ultimate humiliation to the United States, and will be spun by the Iranian regime as the start of the countdown to the fulfillment of its promise to enable Israel’s ultimate destruction.
That Iran always manages to maximize such symbolism is no coincidence. It not only shows that reconciliation isn’t a goal for Tehran, but it also indicates the extent to which Iranian officials have been running circles around their American counterparts.
Who Benefits From Endless Iran Negotiations?
There are good reasons why everyone from Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Corker to many Israelis seem unperturbed by the latest extension of the talks. They are sure that if President Obama thought either the June 30 or the July 7 dates were his last chance for signing an agreement with Iran, Tehran’s intransigence on a number of key points would have been rewarded with American surrenders. They think that because the last two years of negotiations with Iran have been largely characterized by a series of U.S. retreats on uranium enrichment, the retention of the regime’s nuclear infrastructure in the form of thousands of centrifuges, and the drafting of a deal that expired after ten years rather than one that created permanent restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program were largely the result of the administration’s panic. Faced with the choice between no deal and one that favored Iran, the president has always chosen the latter.
So it’s no surprise that critics prefer that the Americans stay in Vienna and stick to their demands for an agreement that would provide a rigorous inspection process, full access to Iran’s past military nuclear research, as well as provisions for sanctions to be lifted gradually and to be able to be snapped back immediately in the event of a violation.
But as we learned from the New York Times today, a “senior administration official” that briefed reporters in Vienna on the talks made it clear that plenty of “progress” was being made to justify the continued discussions. But in this case, the meaning of “progress” ought not to encourage those hoping that the administration is actually digging in its heels and insisting that any deal live up to the promises the president made about the nuclear framework when it was first announced in April. According to the official, the U.S. is negotiating a system of “managed access” to Iranian nuclear sites that will allow Iran to “shield conventional, secret military facilities” from inspections. According to the Americans, that’s reasonable since the right of all nations to protect their military secrets must be respected.
Revolutionary, Anti-West Indoctrination Of Children By Municipality Of Mashhad, Iran
Between June 27 and July 6, 2015, the municipality of Mashhad, in northeastern Iran, conducted a special initiative for indoctrinating children with anti-West messages. The initiative, "The City Of Resistance Games," which was promoted by the regime, was held at the 10th International Koran and Family Expo. It included booths operated by clerics offering activities for children and teens on topics such as the resistance, knowing Iran's enemies (especially the U.S. and Britain), Iran's nuclear aspirations, dealing with the sanctions, support for Yemen and Palestine, Iran's war against the Islamic State (ISIS), and more.
During the activities, the young participants dressed in combat gear, crossed mock minefields and obstacle courses, and carried out other activities. They were asked to express their disgust with the American and British governments, and threw figures of President Obama into a pool of water to protest American crimes. It was explained to the children that the sanctions against Iran were a plot to vanquish it and deprive it of nuclear technology.
In addition to the activities for children and teens at the City of Resistance Games, Mashhad also held workshops for parents, under the direction of cleric Saeed Akhoundi. He said on July 8, 2015 that some 4,000 children and teens had visited the booths, and called for making the expo permanent.
Syria ratifies fresh $1 billion credit line from Iran
Syrian President Bashar Assad signed a law ratifying a $1 billion credit line from top regional ally Iran, state-run Syrian Arab News Agency said on Wednesday, funds which will help ease economic strains from the costly war.
The agreement was between two state-owned banks, the Syrian Commercial Bank and the Export Development Bank of Iran, it said. Syria signed a previous $3.6 billion credit line with Iran in July 2013 which has been used up mostly for oil imports, bankers have said.
The new deal was signed on May 19 and approved by the Syrian parliament on Tuesday, SANA said. The money would be used for funding imports of goods and commodities and implementing projects, it said, without giving details.
Tehran's financial aid has been seen as pivotal to the Syrian government and the economy, which has shrunk by more than a half in the four years since the conflict erupted, researchers say.
Syrian officials and businessmen said in May that Damascus was about to finalize details of a new credit facility.
Illegal for Jews to Yell ‘Allahu Akbar’ at the Temple Mount
Israel apparently has a double standard for law enforcement when it’s Jews who are yelling “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great) at the Temple Mount and Western Wall plazas.
Jewish activists returned Wednesday to both areas in the Old City of Jerusalem in order to test their theory that police would not treat Jews as they do Arabs when they behave the same.
The Jews in the video were protesting a decision by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court that Arab chants of “Allahu Akbar” on the site – the typical radical Islamist cry by jihadists waging holy war – present no legal problem.
Justice Joiya Saqifa Shapiro determined in the decision that verbal attacks by Muslims shouting “Allahu Akbar” against Jewish tour groups on the Temple Mount do not constitute a criminal offense. Nor is there any legal problem with closing the site to Jews for a 10-day period until the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan due to a fear of rioting.
Activists arrived at the Western Wall entrance to the Temple Mount in force on Wednesday to protest both decisions.
“Surprisingly, and in contrast to the court’s decision that shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ is no problem at the site, police were called to deal with the activists’ yelling,” said the Honenu civil rights organization in a statement. “Police actually decided to arrest six of the protesters on suspicion of disrupting the public order.”
MEMRI: Israeli Imam Supports ISIS, Calls Netanyahu "Jewish Dog"

Peace Now Demands Abbas Fire Anti-Semitic Envoy
Americans for Peace Now (APN) issued a stinging condemnation Wednesday of the "vile anti-Semitic statements" made by the Palestinian Liberation Organization's ambassador to Chile.
During the "Conference for Peace in Palestine and Israel" in Santiago in May, it was revealed Wednesday, Nabil Jada'a insisted "there is no Jewish people" and claimed the "Zionist movement" is trying to dominate the world.
APN called on Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas to both repudiate Jada's statements as well as dismiss the ambassador.
“These abhorrent statements, anti-Semitic canards of the crudest kind, are an outrage," APN CEO and President Debra DeLee stated.
"Such hateful statements foment hatred, they legitimize anti-Semitic lies, and they provoke hatred and anger among an Israeli public that is deeply skeptical about the viability of peace with the Palestinians and the credibility of the Palestinian leadership as a partner for peace."
“These statements were made almost two months ago, and have just now surfaced, but that doesn't make them any less outrageous," DeLee continued.
"Such statements are a terrible disservice to the cause of peace, to the Palestinian people and to its struggle for independence and freedom. Ambassador Jada’s comments must be immediately and publicly repudiated," she concluded.
Congress Approves Military Aid to Boost Jordan’s Fight Against ISIS
Congress passed legislation Tuesday that would increase military aid and facilitate arms sales to Jordan, bolstering the country’s fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The bill now heads to the Senate.
International Business Times reported:
The measure will put Jordan on the same level as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries for three years. This means that the country reportedly will benefit from “expeditious consideration” that will accelerate the review of arms exchanges. Apart from the NATO alliance, the privilege is extended to Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea. …
“Jordan sits on the front lines of the fight against ISIS and a refugee crisis in Syria where millions have been displaced,” Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said, according to Agence France-Presse. “As a longtime key partner for peace and security in the region, it is important the U.S. support Jordan as it confronts these security challenges.”
Report: Hezbollah Fighters Are Deserting Their Posts Amid Offensive in Syria
Hezbollah fighters in Syria and their allies on the ground have apparently been deserting their posts, Saudi news outlet Al Arabiya reported on Wednesday citing recordings from the field.
In one recording, a supposed Hezbollah commander is heard saying, “Four left in the beginning and didn’t return … and now two left to bring back more fighters but didn’t return either.”
The voice adds, “Let somebody come and stop my talking and let me lead the battle from here, not from behind some device in a far-off place.”
Another voice then asks, “These seven people, are they friends?”
The first speaker responds, “correct, seven [fighters] left and did not return.”
The second then asks, “Why did you let them leave the area?” to which the first responds, “they took a machine gun with them, what was I supposed to do? They won’t listen to anyone.”
Iranian artist jailed for 12 years for drawing satirical cartoons now faces 'indecency' charges... because she shook her male lawyer's hand
An Iranian woman sentenced to more than 12 years in prison for drawing satirical cartoons of politicians is now facing new charges - for shaking a man's hand.
Artist Atena Farghadani, 29, is currently serving a long stretch behind bars as punishment for depicting government officials, who decided to restrict women's access to birth control, as animals.
However, both Ms Farghadani and her lawyer Mohammad Moghimi have since been charged with having an 'illegitimate sexual relationship short of adultery' and 'indecent conduct' because they shook hands in prison following the trial, according to Amnesty International.
Tunisia to build border wall with Libya to halt jihadists
Tunisia Prime Minister Habib Essid announced plans Tuesday to build a wall along part of its eastern border with Libya in a bid to contain the inflow of jihadist militants.
The wall will stretch 160 kilometres from the coast inland, covering about a third of Tunisia’s 460-kilometre border with its eastern neighbour, Essid told state TV.
The security fence is expected to be completed by the end of 2015, he added.
The Tunisian army would build the wall, which would have surveillance centres at certain points along the fence, said Essid.
The announcement came weeks after a gunman, who is believed to have trained in Libya, opened fire on a Tunisian beach resort, killing 38 people.
Tunisia declared a state of emergency shortly after the June 26 attack in Sousse.
Four years after Tunisia led the way in ushering the 2011 uprisings, the tiny North African country has evaded some of the worst political instability that has gripped other Arab nations. But the collapse of security in neighbouring Libya has turned into the gravest threat confronting Tunisia today.
Islamists Plaster Turkish Capital with Posters for Gays to Be Killed 'on Sight'
An Islamist group identified as “Young Islamic Defense” has flooded Turkey’s capital Ankara with posters allegedly quoting a Muslim teaching that calls for Muslims to “kill the perpetrator and the receiver on sight” should they ever see an LGBT person.
The posters surface a week after the Turkish government attacked the now-traditional Istanbul Pride Parade with tear gas.
Multiple translations have surfaced of the posters, which generated significant conversation on social media in the past week. The Turkish newspaper Hurriyet translates the poster as stating: “Should those who engage in ugly behavior and adhere to the practice of the people of Lot be killed?” Deutsche Welle‘s translation reads: “kill whoever does the ugly business of the people of Lot, whether he may perpetuate it or lets it happen.” The website GayStarNews translates the poster as reading: “May you see the doers of the dirty works of Lot, kill the perpetrator and the receiver on sight.” The poster features a photo of revelers flying the rainbow flag and some social media information (the pages on the poster have since been taken down).

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