Saturday, August 01, 2015

From Ian:

PodCast: Focusing on Israel, the U.S.-Iranian detente, and the conflicted Middle East: with Caroline Glick and Richard Baehr
We make no secret of our respect, admiration and, yes, love of Israel. And though turmoil in the region is nothing new, we thought that we should continue to examine the percolating situation in the Middle East after we’ve been able to analyze the Iranian nuclear deal.
Two of our favorite people with whom to discuss the topic are Richard Baehr, the Chief Political Correspondent for American Thinker (simply one of the best), and Caroline Glick, Deputy Managing Editor for the Jerusalem Post, and former assistant Foreign Policy Advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
A distorted evening with Max Blumenthal
And it was at this point I realised that shock is a major part of Blumenthal’s selling process. He deliberately seems to go out of his way to anger the part of the audience he knows is both present and critical of him. The BDS boys are already sold; they don’t need feed such as this, Blumenthal desires to be disliked. He wants to agitate because it gets him noticed. Once the Q&A highlighted the presence of pro-Israelis, Blumenthal visibly became more outrageous; it was as if the two sides feed off each other. His message of hate towards Israel sells his books and the more we shout his name in anger from the rooftops, the more books he will sell. So he turns the level of venom up another notch.
Israelis don’t shoot Hebrew speakers. It’s a fantasy world created by a conspiracy nut who suggested that ‘my government’ ‘his government’ and ‘Israel’ are all engaged in some deep dark scheme that keeps the innocent Palestinians locked away in their refugee camps because it pleases some cabal of capitalists. All we need is for all those capitalists to be Jewish and we have a new edition of Protocols.
Blumenthal works on the premise that you cannot attack his position without appearing to attack victims, cynically using dead Gazan children as human shields. As Blumenthal mentions the amount of explosives the Israelis used as being more than ‘Hiroshima’, describes military strategies where Hebrew speakers are targeted for killing and uses comparisons with Darfur to infer genocide, the clear message is one of total force by a brutal army against an innocent population. Massive force being used without care against one of the highest populated areas on earth. And yet more innocent people died in Syria last week than in Gaza in a 50 day conflict ( Didn’t you see the massive protests in London?) Given Israel’s supremacy, the numbers simply do not tell the same tale. Israel clearly is not behaving the way that is being attributed to it.
And it was over. Having seen a slight altercation outside the building caused by two seemingly harmless women, I approached them at the station on the way home. They did not know who I was, and my possession of a bag with Blumenthal’s book suggested I was ‘a friend’. I am not going to recount the exchange here, but as usual a simple conversation about the conflict highlights a thorough lack of knowledge or information and a deep hostility to ‘Zionists’. They have formed solid opinions without even a grasp of the basics. When eventually they realised I was a Jew who wouldn’t spit on the Israeli flag, they walked away.
I haven’t read the whole book yet, but having seen Blumenthal talk, the over-riding sensation I am left with is one of sadness. The only challenging questions that came out in the Q&A were from pro-Israelis, the remainder of the audience had nothing to say and gushed over every word. It was an empty room with a few empty people looking for their bias to be fed. And fed they were.
Sarah Honig: The humanistic ardor of interwar Poland
Poland made history on Monday morning, April 19, 1937. It taught the world how to implement a boycott without actually admitting that it’s doing anything of the sort.
Headliners of today’s European Union have learned the lesson well, even if few of the EU’s sanctimonious sermonizers can likely cite the source and inspiration for their very unoriginal charade.
The Polish non-boycott was no mean feat on the eve of WWII, when dark clouds of impending doom already gathered over the heads of European Jewry.
Given the bestial goings-on and the brutish anti-Jewish boycotts next-door in the Third Reich, Poland appeared positively refined by comparison – the soul of sophistication.
The Poles never sank as low as the crude and vulgar Germans. They didn’t adopt the practice of daubing storefronts with giant Jude inscriptions, smashing windows or sending out storm troopers to form scary picket lines, carry offensive signs in the formidable Teutonic tradition and warn off the super-race away from subhuman Jewish shopkeepers.
Instead, Poland’s Minister of Industry and Commence Antoni Roman issued an edict that looked impeccably non-discriminatory.
It ordered that all business signs boldly display the proprietor’s name, directly above any other incidental scrap information such as what was sold at the premises. Precise rules were stipulated regarding the size of the letters required.
What could possibly be wrong with that? The measure applied to everyone throughout the republic. Surely nothing could be more equitable. No single community or grouping was targeted.
JPost Editorial: Don’t parole Pollard
Last week, screaming headlines were generated worldwide by breaking news in The Wall Street Journal that the US was preparing to release Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard after 30 years in prison. This announcement, predictably, unleashed a tidal wave of media coverage.
A subsequent announcement a few days later officially confirming imminent parole for Pollard added to the deluge of reports, which continue unabated.
There is something suspect in the timing of these news stories.
Jerusalem’s rejection of Pollard’s release as intended to mitigate Israel’s displeasure with the disastrous Iranian nuclear pact was predictable.
However, denials by US officials, claiming that Pollard’s release is unrelated to the Iranian deal were less predictable.
There were simply too many denials, at too high a level and employing too strident a tone to be credible.
Clearly, the media frenzy about Pollard occurs precisely when the Obama administration needs headlines diverted away from the Iranian deal. The public’s attention instead has become focused on a subject that many love to hate: Israel.

Thousands attend anti-violence protests across Israel
Thousands of people attended a number of anti-violence, anti-homophobia rallies across Israel Saturday evening.
The protests came in the wake of the stabbing attack Thursday at the Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade in which six people were injured, one of them seriously, by an ultra-Orthodox man — who had just finished serving a 10-year sentence for stabbing three people at a similar parade 10 years prior — followed by the firebomb attack Friday morning in the West Bank village of Duma which left a Palestinian toddler dead and his family fighting for their lives. The suspected perpetrators are Jewish extremists.
A Peace Now rally in Tel Aviv against incitement and violence began at 7:30 p.m. local time at Rabin Square. Demonstrators then headed toward Gan Meir to join up with those marching for LGBT rights — a separate event organized by LGBT and youth groups.
The LGBT rally also marked the six-year anniversary of a shooting at a Tel Aviv gay youth center in 2009 in which two people were killed. The perpetrator has yet to be caught.
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog and Meretz head Zahava Gal-on spoke at the anti-violence rally, reiterating comments they made earlier in the day on their Facebook pages.
Slain Palestinian toddler’s parents, brother still fighting for lives
The parents and brother of a Palestinian toddler burned to death by suspected Jewish terrorists were still fighting for their lives Saturday, as protests over the firebomb attack on their home entered a second day.
The attack in the West Bank village of Duma, which killed 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsha, sparked an international outcry over Israel‘s failure to get to grips with violence by hardline Jewish settlers.
His father, Saad, was being treated for third-degree burns at the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba, where a spokeswoman described his condition as “critical”.
Mother Riham and four-year-old brother Ahmed were being treated at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer near Tel Aviv, where a spokeswoman described their condition as life-threatening.
Saad has burns on 80 percent of his body, Riham is suffering from burns over 90% of her body, and four-year-old Ahmad has 60% burns, Army Radio reported
PM Visits Injured Relatives of Child Killed in Terror Attack
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu paid a visit to the family of the Palestinian child Ali Dawabsha, who was murdered in an attack on his home in the Arab village of Duma early this morning.
The PM spent time with relatives injured in the firebomb attack, believed to be the work of Jewish extremists, at the Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer.
Speaking following the visit, Netanyahu strongly denounced the "brutal" attack and said he had called Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas to vow Israel would track down the killers.
"I just came from the bedside of four-year old Ahmed Sa'ed. Sixty percent of his body is burned. We're doing everything we can to save this young boy, give him a life," Netanyahu said. "His two parents are in other parts of the Israeli health system. We're trying to give them the best treatment to save their lives."
"When you stand next to the bed of this small child, and his infant brother had been so brutally murdered, we're shocked, we're outraged. We condemn this. There is zero tolerance for terrorism wherever it comes from, whatever side of the fence it comes from, we have to fight it and fight it together."
"I spoke to President Abu Mazen right before I entered the hospital. I told him of this visit and of Israel's absolute commitment to find the perpetrators, bring them to justice," Netanyahu continued, while calling for calm.
Zero Tolerance for Jewish and Arab Terror in the Middle East
The attack on Duma does also raise troubling questions about how peace might ever be attained. For some critics of Israel and many Jewish left-wingers, the answer is easy: get rid of the settlements and separate the two peoples. But even if Israel were to do so, the history of the past 20 years of attempts to make peace shows that this wouldn’t solve the problem.
Ten years ago Israel removed every single soldier, settler, and settlement from Gaza in the hope that that the separation would end the violence if not foster peace. But instead Israelis watched Gaza become a launching pad for terror attacks via rockets and tunnels. Far from fostering peace, the withdrawal seemed to encourage Palestinians to continue their war on Israel’s existence. If the overwhelming majority of Israelis consider such a withdrawal from the far more strategic West Bank to be unimaginable it is because they know that it would likely lead to the creation of another and even more dangerous terror base on their doorstep, not mutual coexistence. Even the so-called “moderates” among the Palestinians reject the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter its borders are drawn. So long as Palestinians view their national identity as inextricably linked to a violent war on Zionism, terror will continue and peace will be impossible.
But the events of the last week show that it isn’t good enough for Jews to merely condemn an Arab and Muslim political culture that will not allow peace to happen. It is also incumbent on Israelis and their friends to acknowledge that horrors such as those that occurred at Duma only serve to justify Arab hatred and serve the cause of the Islamist haters that are gaining ground throughout the Middle East. Just as we are right to ask Muslims to police their extremists, so, too, must Jews also act against their haters.
There should be zero tolerance for hate and terror among both Arabs and Jews. Unfortunately, there seems little chance that Palestinians will isolate and reject Fatah-linked terrorists, Hamas and Islamic Jihad the way Israelis are condemning the Duma killers. Indeed, the calls for more terror attacks on Jews in response to Duma from the government of the independent Palestinian state in all but name in Gaza have already begun. But the answer begins with appropriate action against the terrorists and those who support them by the Israeli government.
Recent Jewish Fatalities from Arab Terror: Hello, Mainstream Media?
Jewish terrorism is practically nonexistent. It is so rare, that if it happens it’s difficult to believe. Supposedly Jewish “extremists” have attacked an Arab house, resulting in the death of a toddler, and it’s made headline news all over the mainstream media. Naturally, Jews everywhere are condemning the attack because unlike Palestinian Authority and Hamas leaders who applaud the murder of Jews, handing out candy, naming schools, streets and plazas after terrorists, justifying the savagery, actually paying terrorists and inciting more violence, Jews do not condone terrorism.
This attack is horrific. There is no denying it.
The issue here is the double standard. Why so much news on this attack and nothing on Arab attacks against Jews?
So far, four Israelis have died this year due to Arab terrorism. These are four deaths in addition to the countless wounded in various attacks. Does the world know this? It is information you have to search for. Sure, Israeli newspapers and Jewish sites reported on their deaths, but where was the mainstream media? I saw no coverage of any of these attacks in the regular American news sites I visit. If they won’t report on them, I will.
Barack Obama’s Antisemitic Rant on the Iran Deal
On Thursday, Obama led a conference call with left-wing activists in which he repeatedly railed against his political opponents by using the old canard of rich Jews using their money to exert control.
Accusing critics of the deal of being “opposed to any deal with Iran”–i.e. of advocating war–Obama railed against “well-financed” lobbyists, as well as the “big check writers to political campaigns,” and “billionaires who happily finance super-PACs.” He complained about “$20 million” being spent on ads against the deal—a subtle reference to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC–whose support he had repeatedly courted when running for office).
Some of Obama’s references were thinly-veiled attacks on specific (Jewish) individuals—columnist Bill Kristol, for example, the Weekly Standard publisher and former New York Times resident conservative who served in the George H.W. Bush administration, and also helps run the Emergency Committee for Israel, which opposes the Iran deal; or billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who is a prodigious Republican benefactor, super PAC donor, and well-known hawk on Israel issues.
On the call, Obama twice accused his opponents of being the same people “responsible for us getting into the Iraq war.“ That sweeping, and largely false, characterization of the opponents of the Iran deal repeats the sensational accusations of The Israel Lobby, a widely discredited 2007 book that accused a group of pro-Israel, and largely Jewish, individuals and organizations of pushing the U.S. into war with Iraq, and seeking to drag America into a new war with Iran.
Obama’s deliberate, and jarring, choice of words clearly worried even some sympathetic Jews.
Huckabee Responds to Obama’s Anti-Semitic Language
GOP presidential candidate Gov. Mike Huckabee is responding to Breitbart News’ Joel Pollak’s recent report about President Obama using anti-Jewish language in order to boast his Iran deal.
The former Arkansas governor says:
Instead of basting his critics with personal attacks, President Obama needs to open up his eyes. The last time the world ignored these types of threats against Jews, millions died, and it shouldn’t take a mushroom cloud over Israel for Obama to realize that ‘taking Iran’s word for it,’ is idiotic and absolutely insane. Iran has the blood of American soldiers and civilians on its hands, and for decades, they’ve been murdering Jews, Christians, and Muslims across the world.
Huckabee continued, “If Congress approves this agreement, President Obama will go down in history as the architect of a dangerous deal that triggered senseless death and a nuclear arms race across the Middle East.”
Anne Bayefsky: Huckabee is Right: Iran Nuclear Deal Brings us Closer to Catastrophe of Holocaust Proportions
In other words, the Prime Minister of a democratic state, a close ally, and three-quarters of Jewish Israelis from all political stripes who are opposed to the deal were dismissed, along with the insufficiently specific “rhetoric.”
The militarization of Iran’s nuclear program, Kerry suggested in the same hearing, was all in the past. “We know what they were doing, we’ve already drawn our conclusion about 2003. We know they were engaged in trying to make a weapon.” So this deal literally gives Iran a do-over.
Downplaying the evil intent of Iran isn’t just fuzzy thinking. This posture has formed the essence of the President’s foreign policy from the moment he took office and is critical to appreciating the catastrophic nature of the deal.
As early as March 2009, President Obama produced a video in which he directly addressed the “leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran” seeking “engagement grounded in mutual respect.” When his vision finally culminated last week in the overthrow of the entire hard-won UN sanctions regime, Ambassador Samantha Power boasted that negotiators “demonstrated” “mutual respect.”
Governor Huckabee is telling us: stop whatever you’re doing, and let that sink in. Mutual respect for a regime overtly committed to genocide against the Jewish state.
Obama's Iran Deal: Two False Choices
Critics of the Iran deal have pointed out that President Barack Obama has imposed a false choice on Congress: accept a bad deal, or go to war–as if those are the only two alternatives. In fact, Obama has imposed a second false choice: either cooperate with the international community, or go it alone.
Actually, the truth is that the U.S. would not be alone if it rejected the deal—and the international community was never united behind sanctions in the first place.
If Congress rejects the deal, and overrides the president’s veto, it would be applauded by Israel and by many of the Sunni Arab states of the Middle East. More than that, the U.S. would likely be supported by France, which held a tougher line than the Obama administration throughout the negotiations. Eventually, if the deal fell apart, the U.S. could lead its European partners back to negotiations–in a weaker position than the P5+1 had in 2013, but stronger than today.
The way Obama tells the story, the world was divided over how to deal with Iran until he came to office and reached out to the international community and united everyone behind sanctions. That is false–George W. Bush built the international consensus on Iran, and Obama resisted sanctions at first–but it also omits the fact that the new UN sanctions enacted on Obama’s watch gave generous waivers to Russia and China, which is why they agreed not to veto them.
With the lifting of international sanctions by the UN Security Council—before Congress has had a chance to review the deal—not much changes for Russia and China. The real change is in Europe, to which Iran will soon be open for business.
But Europe is also within Iran’s missile range, making this a different case from Iraq, where Europe’s commercial interests prevented western unity, leading to war. This time, Europe is willing to be tough–but only if the U.S. leads.
MEMRI: Critical Points To Consider In Understanding The Iranian Nuclear Deal: Part II
The following analysis is the second in a series which discusses the Iranian nuclear deal and examines the JCPOA as a legal document from an American perspective. This analysis will identify and explain various loopholes and their consequences in the JCPOA. Loopholes are common in the JCPOA and occur most often in the form of a prohibition or provision set forth in clear terms, followed by a statement or paragraph either negating or providing a possible alternative to the stated prohibition or provision. The decision to negate or to provide a possible alternative is dependent on the Joint Commission. In making so much dependent on the Joint Commission, the JCPOA has been turned into a provisional document which stands to be altered by the Joint Commission at its discretion. This analysis will also draw on United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2231 which endorsed the JCPOA for reference. It does not intend to be an overall assessment of the deal.
Nuclear Activity "Suitable For The Development Of A Nuclear Explosive Device" Could Be Allowed
If there is any area in the JCPOA where prohibitions should be absolute, it should be the section regarding the development of nuclear weapons since the reason for the whole agreement is – as per statements by President Obama and Secretary Kerry – to prevent nuclear weapons development. However, the JCPOA provides alternatives even to this provision.
Sen. Tom Cotton and Rep. Ron DeSantis: Congress Must Reject the Iran Deal
During his reelection campaign, President Obama also promised that any deal with Iran would require Iran to “give up its nuclear program and abide by the U.N. resolutions that have been in place,” which do not permit Iran to enrich uranium. The president said flatly that “the deal we’ll accept is [the ayatollahs] end their nuclear program. It’s very straightforward.” In fact, it didn’t end up being so straightforward. The deal goes beyond the mere acceptance of an Iranian nuclear program; it requires the international community to facilitate Iran’s program, even to assist Iran in protecting its program from sabotage. Just a few years ago, a deal that permitted Iran to develop advanced centrifuges would have been unthinkable. The deal makes the international community, including the United States, active sponsors of Iran’s development of a nuclear weapons capability fortified against outside efforts to sabotage it.
When explaining the deal to the American people, President Obama said it was based on verification, not trust. Yet this deal forces us to rely on a convoluted bureaucratic process to even initiate the inspections of undeclared nuclear sites that are critical to ensure that Iran is not assembling a nuclear weapon. Iran can drag that process out for 24 days, concealing any offending conduct in the meantime. This is a far cry from “anytime, anywhere” inspections his administration lauded earlier in the negotiating process.
And if violations are identified the deal includes an explicit provision relieving Iran of its obligations under the deal in the event that the sanctions are reinstated. This represents a “nuclear snapback” that will likely negate the prospect of imposing sanctions in response to Iranian violations. Worse, the deal even lifts sanctions on Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, including Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani, whose activities killed so many American servicemen in Iraq.
Supporters of the deal maintain that the only alternative to this deal is war. It’s something President Obama has hinted at often. But it should come as little surprise that once again, his rhetoric isn’t reality. President Obama was right when he previously said that the alternative to a bad deal is no deal. No deal would have provided us with the opportunity to reset the negotiations and achieve a better deal, one that actually requires Iran to completely disarm its nuclear program.
Top General: U.S. Agreed to Lift Iran’s Arms, Ballistic Missile Embargoes Against My Advice
Gen. Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in congressional testimony Wednesday that he advised the White House against lifting restrictions on Iran buying arms and ballistic missiles as part of the nuclear deal, but was overruled, Foreign Policy reported.
Asked directly by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) if he voiced opposition on that part of the pact, Dempsey said: “Yes … and I used the phrase ‘as long as possible,’ and then that was the point at which the negotiation continued.”
“But, yes, that was my military advice,” Dempsey, who is retiring in September, told the Senate Armed Services Committee. The hearing was the administration’s latest attempt to sell Congress on the historic deal, which limits Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for easing harsh economic sanctions against the country.

In the exchange, embedded below, Ayotte referred to an exchange she had with Dempsey while the negotiations were ongoing and in which he had expressed his opposition to those concessions.
Netanyahu to bring case against Iran deal to N. American Jews in live webcast event
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has repeatedly spoken out against the Iran nuclear deal, will state his case once again next week in a live webcast targeting Jewish institutions across North America.
Netanyahu will deliver remarks and answer questions from participants in an event described by organizers as a live virtual experience that will bring together thousands.
The event is co-sponsored by the member organizations of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and Jewish Federations from across North America.
The webcast will be transmitted to computers, cell phones and flat screens set up in synagogues, organizations and Jewish community centers large and small throughout the continent, organizers said.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) the largest pro-Israel lobby in Washington has been lobbying intensively on Capitol Hill in order to kill the deal.
Another Democrat on House Foreign Affairs Committee Announces Opposition to Iran Deal
Rep. Albio Sires (D – N.J.) announced today that he is opposed to the nuclear deal with Iran. Sires, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee whose district includes Hoboken and parts of Newark, stated that he was concerned with the short time frame of the deal, as well as Iran’s history of sponsoring terrorism worldwide. His full press release is below:
I am opposed to the current proposed nuclear agreement with Iran, I do not feel the agreement will prevent them from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
The Secretaries of State, Treasury, and Energy testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee earlier this week, but I am still very doubtful. Iran has spent decades evading international sanctions, promoting terror in the region, and violently oppressing its own people. I am concerned that if the proposed agreement is made official, hardliners within the Iranian regime may hinder its implementation. Most importantly, the time frame of the deal is too short and it is unclear what will happen to Iran’s nuclear program after the initial pressure to comply dissipates and Iran is allowed to enhance its nuclear and weapons capabilities.
In the coming months, I will continue to meet with constituents, experts, and our allies in the region, but I am not convinced that this is in the best interest of our national security.
Report: Administration Hindering Review of Iran Nuke Deal Documents
There are 18 documents relating to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the recently concluded nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 nations, which the administration is keeping from public view by treating them as classified, even though 17 of them are unclassified, The Daily Beast reported yesterday.
The Obama administration delivered 18 documents to Congress on July 19, in accordance with legislation requiring a Congressional review of the nuclear deal. Only one of these documents is classified, while the remaining 17 are unclassified.
Yet many of these unclassified documents cannot be shared with the public or discussed openly with the press.
The protocol for handling these documents, set by the State Department and carried out by Congress, is that these unreleased documents can only be reviewed ‘in camera’—a Latin term that means only those with special clearance can read them—and must be held in various Congressional [Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facilities] SCIFs. …
“The unclassified items… should be public. This is going to be the most important foreign policy decision that this Congress will make,” a Republican Senate aide told The Daily Beast. “This is the administration that once said it would be the most transparent administration in history. They’re not acting like it.”
IAEA Refuses to Brief Senators on Iran Deal, Even in Classified Setting
Leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said at a hearing on the Iran nuclear deal today that they requested a meeting with International Atomic Energy Agency on its agreements with Tehran.
These deals are not in the possession of the Obama administration and have never been seen by Secretary of State John Kerry, much less provided to Congress.
“I believe one person may have read it at the — at the facility, but doesn’t have it, they don’t possess it,” Kerry told the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday.
Today, Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano had been invited to come address lawmakers next week, but refused.
He turned down a meeting with senators in any setting: public, private or classified.
Corker is now gathering signatures from senators for another letter to Amano in hope that the IAEA chief will reconsider.
Poll: 76 Percent of Israelis Think Israel Needs to Continue Fighting Iran Nuclear Deal
More than three-quarters of the Israeli public believes that Israel needs to press on with efforts to torpedo the Iran nuclear deal, a new Israel Hayom survey conducted by New Wave Research revealed.
According to the poll, 76 percent of Hebrew-speaking Jewish Israelis believe Israel should continue fighting the deal, while only 15 percent think that Israel should not fight it.
In the survey—a random selection of 500 individuals over the age of 18—the Israeli public’s decisiveness on the nuclear issue was also reflected in the general opinion regarding President Barack Obama, who is seen as having led world powers toward the agreement with Iran. Asked whether they thought Obama was looking out for Israel’s interests, 73 percent said no, and only 20 percent believe Obama had Israel’s best interest at heart.
Iran FM urges ‘nuclear’ Israel, other states to disarm
In an op-ed in The Guardian, Zarif said: “The joint comprehensive plan of action, as the accord is officially known, cements Iran’s status as a zone free of nuclear weapons. Now it is high time that we expand that zone to encompass the entire Middle East.”
Zarif charged that Iran and other signatories of the Non-Proliferation Treaty have “actually done far more for the cause of non-proliferation in practice than nuclear-weapon states have done on paper.”
The Iranian FM also took a jab at the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — the US, UK, France, Russia and China — all of whom have nuclear weapons and are signatories to the NPT, as well as nuclear-armed, non-NPT states India, Pakistan and North Korea.
These states, he said, “completely brush[…] off their disarmament obligations under the non-proliferation treaty (NPT) and customary international law.”
“In light of the Vienna deal, it is high time that the nuclear ‘haves’ remedied the gap by adopting serious disarmament measures and reinforcing the non-proliferation regime,” he wrote.
Iran's parliament has no authority over nuclear deal, Iran's top negotiator says
Iran's parliament does not have authority over the nuclear agreement signed with world powers last month, the Islamic Republic's top nuclear negotiator was quoted as saying on Saturday.
The comments from Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran's atomic energy agency, are the latest volley in a lengthy battle between Iranian officials supportive of the deal, and hardliners who are skeptical of it.
The conservative-dominated parliament in June passed a bill imposing strict conditions on any nuclear deal, such as barring international inspectors from Iran's military sites.
Under the terms of the final deal, however, Iran must provide access to suspect sites including at its military facilities within 24 days, or risk sanctions being reimposed.
"It is absolutely not the case that the government must bring before parliament any agreement it wants to sign with a foreign country," Salehi was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.
"The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is not a treaty or a convention, and I don't know under what definition it would go to parliament."
Russia, US and Saudi plan trilateral meet in Qatar
The Russian Foreign Ministry said Saturday that Sergey Lavrov will confer with US Secretary of State John Kerry and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir during his two-day trip to Doha starting Sunday. Kerry earlier has said he plans to meet separately in Doha with Lavrov to discuss Syria, Iran and the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said that during his visit to Qatar, Lavrov will discuss the crises in Syria, Libya and Yemen, international efforts to combat the Islamic State group and Iran’s role in regional affairs after last month’s signing of Iran’s nuclear deal.
Despite Russia-US tensions over Ukraine, President Barack Obama has thanked Moscow for helping reach the agreement.
Kerry departed for the Middle East on Friday for security talks in Egypt and discussions in Qatar with Arab foreign ministers whose countries are wary of the nuclear deal struck with Iran. He will not visit Israel, America’s foremost ally in the region, and the primary foreign opponent of the Iran agreement.
Dispatch from Iraq: the Stealth Iranian Takeover Becomes Clear
The genius of the Iranian method is that it is not possible to locate a precise point where the Iranian influence ends and the "government" begins. Everything is entwined. This pro-Iranian military and political activity depends at ground level on the successful employment and manipulation of religious fervor. This is what makes the Hashed fighters able to stand against the rival jihadis of ISIS. Says Major General Juma'a Enad, operational commander in Salah al-Din Province: "The Hashed strong point is the spiritual side, the jihad fatwa. Like ISIS."
So this is Tehran's formula. The possession of a powerful state body (the IRGC's Quds Force) whose sole raison d'etre is the creation and sponsorship of local political-military organizations to serve the Iranian interest. The existence of a population in a given country available for indoctrination and mobilization. The creation of proxy bodies and the subsequent shepherding of them to both political and military influence, with each element complementing the other. And finally, the reaping of the benefit of all this in terms of power and influence.
This formula has at the present time brought Iran domination of Lebanon and large parts of Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. Current events in Iraq form a perfect study of the application of this method, and the results it can bring. Is Iran likely to change this winning formula as a result of the sudden provision of increased monies resulting from the nuclear deal? This is certainly the hope of the authors of the agreement. It is hard to see on what it is based.
The deal itself proves that Iran can continue to push down this road while paying only a minor price, so why change? Expect further manifestations of the Tehran formula in the Middle East in the period ahead.
‘Make him uneasy’ — Clinton emails reveal debate on handling Netanyahu
In an email dated September 22, 2009 and entitled “Bibi/Abu Mazen” — Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ respective commonly used monikers — Berger advised Clinton that the public debate should shift “from settlement freeze to final status.”
“Going forward, if Bibi continues to be the obstacle, you will need to find the ground from which you can make his politics uneasy,” Berger wrote. “I think you can do that even with current concerns in Israel about US posture.”
Berger also recommended that Clinton should “be mindful of Abu Mazen’s politics,” saying that he was “[t]aking a lot of criticism for meeting with Bibi without settlement freeze.”
In another email three days earlier, Berger wrote: “The objective is to try shift the fulcrum of our current relations with Bibi from settlements — where he thinks he has the upper hand — to ground where there is greater understanding in Israel of the American position and where we can make him uneasy about incurring our displeasure… Ironically, his intransigence over 67 borders(sic) may offer us that possibility to turn his position against him.”
Berger also suggested sending then-Middle East envoy Gorge Mitchell back to the region in an effort to find “a common basis to relaunch negotiations.”
The Canceling of Palestinian Elections
The Occupation Regime cancels elections scheduled for Palestinian Arab universities!
Why haven’t the international news media reported this outrage? Where are the usual protests of the United Nations and the State Department? What is the reason for their silence?
Because the occupier is not Israel. It’s the Palestinian Authority.
PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas recently canceled the scheduled elections for the student councils after the first such election, at Bir Zeit Uniersity, resulted in the Islamist Bloc winning 26 out of the 51 seats, while Abbas’s Fatah movement won only 19.
The online Hamas newspaper Alresalah charged that Abbas canceled the remaining elections out of fear the Islamists would defeat Fatah on other campuses, as well.
Elections are a bit of a sore point for Abbas’s regime. He was first elected as chairman of the PA on January 15, 2005, for what was supposed to be a single four-year term. That term ended in January 2009, yet, more than six years later, Abbas is still in power and no further elections have been held.
The PA elections issue is rarely discussed in the U.S. media, however, because it contradicts the pro-Palestinian narrative favored by so many American journalists. Not long ago, both Peter Beinart of CNN and Dana Milbank of the Washington Post again trotted out the old allegation that Israel “occupies millions of Palestinians.”
Hamas leader's car fire-bombed in West Bank
Amid rising tensions between the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority and Hamas, overnight on Friday unidentified attackers fire-bombed the private vehicle of a senior Hamas official in the Palestinian city of Jenin.
According to Maan news, Wasfi Qabaha, a former Palestinian prisoner's affairs minister, said that the suspects threw petrol-bombs from a moving vehicle, setting his car ablaze in front of his home in the al-Basatin neighborhood of Jenin.
Qabaha took to Facebook, claiming that the attack was the 38th time such attacks targeted him.
“Collaborators with the [Israeli] occupation hurled a Molotov bomb at my Hundai Accent 2007 which was parked in front of my house in Baghdad Street in al-Basatin neighborhood," Qabaha said in his social media statement.
Hamas was quick to point the finger at rival faction Fatah, led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, whose crackdown on Hamas in July resulted in the arrest of some 245 of the group's members and sympathizers.
Tech investments in Israel hit new high
A new report by the the Israel Venture Capital (IVC) Research Center shows that Israel’s tech economy is attracting more investment money than ever – as well as a better “class” of investor.
The report issued Tuesday found that Israeli high-tech firms set a new record for financing in the second quarter of 2015 – breaking the record set in the last quarter of 2014. The report said that 179 Israeli high-tech firms raised a total of $1.12 billion during Q2/2015 – beating the $1.11 billion raised in Q4 2014.
The IVC report also shows that Israel is attracting more attention from private equity investors, a development that portends well for the tech economy, according to Koby Simana, CEO of IVC Research Center. “If we want the local high-tech industry to continue growing and see more large-scale, mature companies emerge, there is room for technology investments from more than just venture capital funds, local or foreign,” said Simana. “The industry needs a variety of investors and investment models to support companies throughout various stages.”
Much of the Q2 investment money came from foreign private equity (PE) investors, the IVC data show – with venture capital-backed (VC) investments hitting a six-year low. That change, said Simana, is a sign of maturity for the Israeli tech economy; while VCs generally invest in earlier growth-stage companies and start-ups, PE investors seek out companies that are more mature, with bigger sales and larger markets, further along on the road to “making it big.”
Visiting Israel’s hot start-up scene
I recently had the privilege to fly from Silicon Valley to what many call Silicon Wadi (also known as Tel Aviv, Israel). Israel has more than 6,000 startups and attracts more venture capital per person than any other country in the world.
While I was in Israel, I was able to sit down with some of the people behind the hottest startups on the planet and find out everything there is to know about the tech scene in Israel, Jerusalem, and the surrounding areas. It was amazing to meet some brilliant entrepreneurs who are shaping how we do things online.
Here are some of the hot startups that I see as having a bright future as well as a potential billion-dollar valuation (if they don't already) in the near future.
Yad Vashem marks diversity, bravery of Red Army Jews
A new, online exhibit at Yad Vashem recounts the powerful and personal stories of 100 soldiers in the Soviet Union’s Red Army, a lesser-known side of the Holocaust story.
There were between 350,000 to 500,000 Jews in the Red Army during the war, and about 140,000 were killed, said Dr. Arkadi Zeltser, who directed the Yad Vashem project, supported by the Blavatnik Family Foundation.
The goal of the project, titled “Jews in the Red Army,” Zeltser said, was to tell the individual histories of some of the soldiers.
“It’s difficult to find what people felt during the war,” Zeltser said. “For us, it was important to give them an opportunity to speak.”
The Yad Vashem research team spent a year combing through both official documents, such as Russian military records and personal accounts of the war, like diaries and letters. They also used coverage of the war by the Yiddish language press and published materials from Jewish anti-fascist groups.
The researchers found official documents for those featured in the exhibit, confirming their Jewish identities, which was not always an easy task. Some were not identified as Jewish in documents, such as one soldier who had a father who was a rabbi and a brother in a yeshiva, but was listed as a Lithuanian national. There were men and women represented, serving in a wide range of military units, such as the air force, armored corps, submarines and intelligence agencies. The women were medical staff, as well as fighters, translators and propagandists against the Nazis.
Qanta Ahmed Unveiled - Dialogue with Technion President Peretz Lavie 2015 Board of Governors
Dr. Qanta Ahmed and Technion president Prof. Peretz Lavie in a dialogue at Technion's 2015 Board of Governors meeting. Dr. Ahmed is a 2015 recipient of an Honorary Fellowship from Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.
Dr. Ahmed, is a physician, author and journalist and a frequent television commentator on Islam and Islamic extremism .
Her first book, In the Land of Invisible Women (Sourcebooks 2008) details her experience of living and working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and has been published internationally in 13 countries including in translation and is now in its 12th edition.
A graduate of the University of Nottingham, England, she has been a physician for 20 years.
Dr. Qanta Ahmed is a subspecialist board certified sleep disorders specialist and faculty attending physician in the Department of Medicine as part of the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care Medicine at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, New York. Dr. Ahmed is appointed Associate Professor of Medicine at the State University of New York (Stony Brook). She practices sleep disorders medicine in Garden City at the Winthrop University Sleep Disorders Center where she treats adolescents and adults of all ages.

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