Tuesday, August 04, 2015

From Ian:

Netanyahu: I'm waiting for world to condemn terror against Jews
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who visited a Jewish woman who was injured by a firebomb attack in Jerusalem on Monday said he was waiting for the international community to condemn the attack as it had previously condemned the arson attack in the West Bank that claimed the life of a Palestinian toddler, Ali Dawabsha.
"A few days ago I visited the injured brother of the baby Ali who died in a terror attack that targeted Arabs. Today I visited Inbar [Inbar Azrak], a young woman who was injured from a firebomb by terrorists targeting Jews. Ali's brother is four-years-old, Inbar is a young mother of three, ages, two, three and four," Netanyahu said.
"Terrorism is terrorism is terrorism. Our policy is zero-tolerance for terrorism regardless of background. We condemn it and fight it in equal measure," he added.
Netanyahu said he was waiting for the international community to join him in condemning the attack against the Jewish woman.
"Days ago the international community joined me in condemning the terrorist attack that targeted Arabs and I expect it now to join me in condemning terror targeting Jews."
"I'm still waiting," Netanyahu said.
Palestinians: The Difference between Us and Them
The strong response of the Israeli public and leaders to the arson attack is, truthfully, somewhat comforting. The wall-to-wall Israeli condemnation of this crime has left me and other Palestinians not only ashamed, but also embarrassed — because this is not how we Palestinians have been reacting to terror attacks against Jews — even the despicable murder of Jewish children.
Our response has, in fact, brought feelings of disgrace and dishonor. While the Israeli prime minister, president and other officials were quick strongly to condemn the murder of Dawabsha, our leaders rarely denounce terror attacks against Jews. And when a Palestinian leader such as Mahmoud Abbas does issue a condemnation, it is often vague and equivocal . . .
We have failed to educate our people on the principles of tolerance and peace. Instead, we continue to condone and applaud terrorism, especially when it is directed against Jews. We want the whole world to condemn terrorism only when it claims the lives of Palestinians. We have reached a point where many of us are either afraid to speak out against terrorism or simply accept it when it claims the lives of Jews.
The Israeli president has good reason to be ashamed for the murder of the baby. But when will we Palestinians ever have a sense of shame over the way we are reacting to the murder of Jews?
Honest Reporting: Stop the Hate
Please join our effort to show the world that we stand together, united against hate.
The horrendous murders of one year old Ali Dawabsha and 16 year old Shira Banki were committed by individuals who do not represent Israel in any way. They are terrorist crimes, no less than others that Israel has unfortunately experienced throughout its history.
From across the Israeli political spectrum, these cowardly acts have been condemned and rejected. The media should not suggest that these two horrendous crimes are reflective of Israeli society. We want the world to know that these acts do not represent us.
Click here to add your name.

Police plead for public’s help in finding killers of Palestinian baby
Police on Tuesday issued a highly unusual appeal to the public to come forward with any information that could help identify the perpetrators of Friday’s fatal firebombing in the West Bank in which a Palestinian baby was burned to death.
“Anyone with any information, any detail, that could help solve the murder is asked to call the hotline,” the Israel Police said in a statement, giving the phone number as 050-838-6626. Bizarrely, the public was invited to call only between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m.
A gag order has been imposed on the investigation, and there have been no reports of arrests in connection with the attack.
The two perpetrators of the firebombing, in which 18-month-old Ali Dawabsha was burned to death in his home early on Friday morning, were reported over the weekend to be right-wing Jewish extremists, possibly from an illegal outpost in the east Shilo area of the West Bank, not far from the Palestinian village of Duma where the attack took place.
Security sources told Israel’s Channel 10 on Saturday that residents of illegal outposts in that area had “a history” of hostile relations with local Palestinian villages.
The two assailants were understood to have fled the scene of the crime on foot.
Ya’alon vows ‘uncompromising’ fight against Jewish terror
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon vowed on Monday to lead a determined, uncompromising fight against Jewish terrorism, a day after the Israeli government approved the use of administrative detention and other appropriate means to track down and hold suspects in Friday’s Molotov cocktail attack in the West Bank which killed Palestinian toddler Ali Dawabsha.
The suspected perpetrators in Friday’s attack are Jewish extremists. Two homes in the Palestinian village of Duma, south of Nablus, were set alight, including the Dawabsha home, and the Hebrew words “Revenge” and “Long live the king messiah” were spray-painted on their walls, alongside a Star of David.
“This is a battle for the image of Israel, and we have no intention of relenting in this battle,” Ya’alon said.
“We intend to fight Jewish terror with determination and without compromises,” said the defense minister.
The purpose of the cabinet decision was to “limit the actions of terrorists and those involved in terror, in cases where they are clearly involved but in which we have difficulties arresting them because of a lack of evidence,” he said.
Three hurt in Jerusalem firebombing attack
Three people were injured in a Jerusalem firebombing attack on a car Monday night.
A 27-year-old Israeli woman was moderately hurt by the Molotov cocktail, suffering burns on her body. The woman and her husband abandoned their burning car, which proceeded to roll down and hit a 20-year-old pedestrian, who was lightly hurt.
A third man was lightly injured after he tried to extinguish the car.
Police were searching for the assailants.
The woman was evacuated to the Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem, and the injured men were transferred to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center for treatment.
The attack took place near the Beit Hanina neighborhood in East Jerusalem.
Heroic IDF Soldier Rescues Woman; 'Anyone Would Have Done It'
IDF soldier David Domanski was one of two people wounded by a Molotov cocktail thrown Monday by Arab terrorists at vehicles near Beit Hanina in Jerusalem - and says he had no qualms about running to rescue injured travelers.
"I saw a car hit by a Molotov cocktail," he said, noting that he and his unit were standing nearby at the time. Domanski, 20, serves in Division 636 of the Zikit Brigade - part of the Combat Intelligence Corps.
"We came to help," he recounted to Walla! News Tuesday morning. "We did not think for a moment. We brought a fire extinguisher, tried to put out the fire."
"I saw a woman on the ground and that the vehicle is on fire; I grabbed the fire extinguisher and extinguished it," he continued.
"There is no fear in these moments."
Arab Media Reports IDF Confiscated Duma Arson Footage
Palestinian Arab media reported on Monday night that IDF forces have confiscated surveillance cameras from the Arab village of Duma in Samaria, as part of the investigation into last Friday's lethal arson that left an infant dead and four family members wounded.
The pro-Hamas Al-Aqsa TV claimed that the forces seized a large number of cameras in the village, located near Shechem (Nablus).
If accurate, the report would raise questions as to why the Arab village is apparently not cooperating with the investigation into the lethal arson, and also why the vital video evidence was not obtained by investigators days ago in a case that has caused a massive stir in Israel.
Israeli politicians from all ends of the spectrum rushed to condemn the arson attack as "Jewish terror," given that the IDF estimated Jewish extremists may have conducted it based on the presence of Hebrew graffiti at the site.
Fatah official: Israelis' condemnation of arson attack didn't fall on deaf ears
Jibril Rajoub tells Ynet that he views Netanyahu as responsible for every act of terror in the West Bank, but adds that outcry in Israel over killing of baby convinced PLO leadership that there is a rational voice in Israel.
"I very much appreciate all the condemnations that were expressed by Israeli society," senior Fatah official Jibril Rajoub told Ynet in an interview following the hate crime that killed Palestinian infant Ali Dawabshe in Duma last week. "It makes me hopeful that the Israeli people have rejected this heinous crime that was committed in Duma."
With that said, Rajoub clarified that he was not convinced by the condemnations that were uttered by the government in after the attack, specifically the condemnation aired by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "Netanyahu and his right wing government are responsible, and stand behind every act of terror in the West Bank," said Rajoub. "They incite and provide funding, security, and support to the 'price tag' bullies. The murder of a child is a dark stain. I hope that after the shock and the upheaval, Israeli society will wake up and understand that the true existential threat to Israel's future is the occupation, and the settlements."
Jibril Rajoub's usual talking points: ‘Moderate’ Palestinian Leader Swears: ‘If We Had a Nuke, We’d Have Used It This Very Morning’
Jibril Rajoub, a senior Palestinian Authority official who is frequently characterized as a "moderate" in both the Western and Israeli media, said on Lebanese television that if the Palestinians had a nuclear weapon they would have nuked Israel "this morning."
Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) discovered and translated to English the interview Rajoub gave to Lebanon's Al Mayadeen TV on April 30. Rajoub also posted the video clip to his own Facebook page, according to PMW.
When the interviewer referred to peace talks with Israel as "the negotiations game," Rajoub suggested that the Palestinian Authority [PA] engages in negotiations because it does not have the military strength to defeat Israel by force.
"I swear that if we had a nuke, we'd have used it this very morning," he said.
Mainstream Israel Promotes Integration Despite the Lunatic Fringe
According to a front-page story in today’s Haaretz, everything you thought you knew about the Jewish terrorists suspected of perpetrating last week’s horrific murder of a Palestinian baby is wrong. The accepted wisdom, propagated by everyone from Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to Haaretz’s own editorial pages, is that the terrorists are motivated by a “climate of incitement,” in which extremist statements by right-wing rabbis and politicians lead them to believe that anything, even murder, is permissible to achieve their goals. But Israel’s premier counterterrorism agency – which, unlike espousers of the accepted wisdom, has spent years studying the terrorists up close – doesn’t buy it.
These few dozen hardcore terrorists, the Shin Bet security service told Haaretz, heed neither rabbis nor politicians; they are “anarchist anti-Zionists” who consider even “extremist” rabbis too moderate. Moreover, their goal isn’t to promote Jewish settlement or stop territorial withdrawals or any other goal shared by the “extremist” rabbis and politicians; rather, it’s to overthrow the State of Israel itself and replace it with a religious “kingdom.” In this, they differ fundamentally even from the “price-tag” vandals, whose goal was limited to deterring house demolitions in the settlements and whose tactics – albeit completely unacceptable – were generally confined to vandalism, “with no clear intention to cause bodily harm.”
In other words, these terrorists don’t reflect a widespread “sickness” in Israeli society, as Rivlin likes to say; they are no more representative of mainstream Israel than neo-Nazi fringe groups are of mainstream modern Germany – and perhaps even less.
So how racist and extremist is mainstream Israeli society?
Jerusalem Arabs Arrested for Brutally Beating Religious Jewish Couple
The Hareidi Kikar Shabbat website published the report, but Israel’s left-leaning media, which like to wear their bleeding hearts on the public’s shoulders, were silent.
They continue to berate the entire religious community and the “settler movement” for last week’s arson-murder that everyone assumes was carried out by “hilltop youth” because the word “revenge” was scribbled in Hebrew on the wall of one of two houses in the heart of the Samarian village of Duma, that were attacked with Molotov cocktails and set on fire.
The same media were not interested in reporting that six Arabs, including three minors, used brass knuckles, a knife and a club to assault religious Jews. The language of the Hareidi website that reported the attack used a Hebrew expression that might have been “clean language” for sexual molestation of the young woman, but this has not been confirmed.
Three Jerusalem Arabs with the same last name and ages 19, 20 and 22, along with three minors aged 16 and 17, were indicted for two separate attacks.
They appeared at the Armon NaNatziv walkway in Talpiot and spotted a man, who appeared to be Hareidi, looking towards the Temple Mount.
In AFP Captions, Only Palestinians Are Peace Activists
On Sunday, an Israeli peace group organized an event drawing together Israelis and Palestinians who stood together against violence and for peace. Why did Agence France-Presse call only the Palestinians "peace activists" while referring to the Israeli participants as "Jewish settlers"?
The Aug. 2 event, organized by the Israeli peace group Tag Meir, took place along a major West Bank between Jerusalem and Hebron. In captions accompanying a series of photographs, the AFP wire service drew a remarkable distinction between Israeli and Palestinian participants.
Out of all seven of the captions, AFP consistently identified Palestinian participants as "Palestinian peace activists." At the same time, in all seven captions, the news agency called Israeli participants "Jewish settlers," or, in one instance, "Jewish man." A sampling of the images and captions follows.
Honest Reporting: Israelis Stand against Hatred. Just not on the Pages of the NYT
An Op-Ed in the New York Times claims that Israelis don't care about the brutal murders of an eighteen month old Palestinian baby and a 16 year old Israeli girl.

If I were Israeli, I’d support nuclear deal, says top US official
US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz would support the nuclear deal with Iran even if he were Israeli, he said Monday.
Asked by Israeli reporters whether he would still back the agreement if he analyzed it from an Israeli perspective, Moniz, who helped negotiate the controversial pact, answered in the affirmative, adding that “a fair amount” of the Israeli public may share this assessment.
“But clearly, [the nuclear deal] is part of a bigger issue in terms of how we are going to address our collective security requirements in the region,” he said. “This is an important tool for us to do that, by taking the existential threat off the table.”
Speaking to the Israel Diplomatic Correspondents Association in his office at the Department of Energy, Moniz defended the nuclear accord, and asserted that it does not herald an American pivot toward Iran or a weakening of Washington’s bond with Jerusalem.
Steinitz hits back at Moniz: If I were American, I’d oppose nuke deal
Israel’s Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz hit back Monday at US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, declaring that if he were American, he would oppose the Iranian nuclear deal.
Steinitz was responding to a comment Moniz made to Israeli reporters earlier in the day, in which he indicated that he would support the nuclear deal with Iran even if he were Israeli.
“If I were American, I would oppose the agreement,” Stenitiz said in a statement released to the press.
He then went on to list the reasons he would oppose the controversial accord signed between Iran and the P5+1 world powers in Vienna on July 14.
“I would oppose the agreement because it ensures from the outset Iran’s becoming a nuclear power capable of producing dozens of atomic bombs per month, ten years from today. I would oppose the agreement because it is likely to lead to a nuclear arms race between Iran and the Sunni Arab states – in complete contravention of the avowed policy of the US,” he said.
“I would oppose the agreement because even in the short term, the inspections are not immediate and invasive, as was promised at the start. I would oppose the agreement because it harms the national security of the United States, Israel and every Western country,” he went on.
The Silver Linings in Iran's Nuclear Cloud
However, there seem to be two 'silver linings' in Iran's de facto nuclear cloud. First, Israel's previous Sunni enemies now find themselves with Israel on the same side of the battlefield opposite Iran's raging Shiite tide. Thus, we see the gradual development of military and security coordination between Israel, Egypt and Jordan in order to better cope with the Islamic terror threat. Hopefully, America will understand and diplomatically and financially support these efforts.
Second, an additional 'silver lining' regards the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. By emphasizing the preeminence of the Iranian-Hezbollah terror threat, Bibi is implicitly explaining to the world that in a post nuclear agreement Mideast, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a secondary sideshow with regard to its its global danger. In the short term, Bibi's efforts will not succeed on the European diplomatic front, partially because of homegrown Muslim electoral pressure. However, if there is a war between Israel and Hezbollah-Iran, one which may very well cost Israel several thousand civilian casualties, and cost Lebanon many more deaths, all but the most anti-Semitic European diplomats might finally understand who truly constitutes a threat to Israel's existence, and Mideast stability. i.e. Iran-Hezbollah and not the Palestinian Arab question.
After a possible Israel-Iranian-Hezbollah war, all but the most anti-Semitic European diplomats will understand that while it may be realistic to demand Israel to curb most settlement activity, and grant the Palestinian Authority increased diplomatic sovereignty in non-military areas, it can in no way be asked to cede military control over Judea and Samaria, and thus spread out a red carpet for ISIS and Iranian-Islamic terror proxies to literally arrive at the doorsteps of 60-70% of Israel's population.
And if that is enough to convince European diplomats of Israel's all too real need to retain full military control over Judea and Samaria, Bibi's geopolitical analysis will certainly convince the Israeli public. The coming war will consolidate an already existing consensus of 80% of the Israeli public that the last thing Israel needs is to militarily withdraw from Judea and Samaria and thus literally commit suicide. Based on Europe's and Obama's diplomatic priorities and behavior (as explained above) no sane Israel would grant NATO, America, or the Palestinian Authority military responsibility for fighting Islamic terror on the 'West Bank', Israel's back yard. The P.A is too weak. Europe is subject to growing Muslim-anti Israel electoral pressure at home. And Obama does not want to again put American troops back on Mideastern ground.
US official: Israel's Dermer not only ambassador in DC pushing policy against administration
US ambassador to Israel Ron Dermer has been “unusually vigorous” in outreach to the Hill, a senior US official said Monday, adding -- however -- that he is not the only ambassador working in Congress to advocate the policy of a foreign government that works against the US administration's positions.
The official said the administration was not surprised by Dermer’s activity on the Hill, and that it is consistent with the approach Israel has taken on the deal.
“Every government has the right to advocate for its interests as it sees them,” he said. “Israel is not the only government to lobby Congress even against the administration.” He said that it is not as if no other ambassadors in Washington do not work on Congress against various administration policies.
The official said Dermer has not yet met with National Security Advisor Susan Rice, but has a channel to the White House through Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. He also meets regularly with other staffers on the National Security Council , the official said, and Rice has regular dialogue with her Israeli colleague, Yossi Cohen.
The official said that the the disagreement over the Iran issue will not impact on the broader US-Israel relationship, and that there will not be any cost to Israel for its objection to that deal.
WSJ Op-Ed: Iran Nuke Deal Reveals Obama’s “Blind Spot” Towards Anti-Semitism
President Barack Obama has a “blind spot” towards anti-Semitism that is evident in his administration’s outreach to Iran, Ruth Wisse, a scholar of Yiddish and comparative literature, wrote in an op-ed published Friday in The Wall Street Journal.
Yet when it comes to the world’s most widespread and ideologically driven racism, President Obama seems to have a blind spot, initiating a nuclear deal with the fanatical anti-Jewish regime in Tehran, despite what he calls Iran’s “bad behavior.” The euphemism this time is his, not that of the perpetrators, and it camouflages their intentions even if they won’t.
Perhaps Mr. Obama is oblivious to what the scholar Robert Wistrich (who died in May) called “the longest hatred” because it has been so much a part of his world as he moved through life. Muslim Indonesia, where he lived from age 6 to 10, trails only Pakistan and Iran in its hostility to Jews. An animus against Jews and Israel was a hallmark of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s church in Chicago that Mr. Obama attended for two decades. And before he ran for office, Mr. Obama carried the standard of the international left that invented the stigma of Zionism-as-imperialism. As a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama felt obliged to repudiate his pastor (who had famously cursed America from the pulpit), and muted his far-left credentials. Mr. Obama was voted into office by an electorate enamored of the idea that he would oppose all forms of racism. He has not met that expectation.
Ben Stein: Iran Deal So Bad, It Can't Be an Accident
Writer, lawyer, actor, comedian and commentator Ben Stein wrote Monday that the deal the Obama administration has reached with Iran is “so bad that it could not be an accident, even for a President as inexperienced and foolish as Mr. Obama or a Secretary of State so filled with anger as Mr. Kerry.”
“There is no meaningful verification,” Stein elaborated, in an opinion piece in The American Spectator. “The sanctions are already basically gone. The President is paying Iran over $100 billion to go forward with making a nuclear bomb and having the rockets to deliver it.
"We have basically been swindled into allowing the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism to have nuclear weapons without any penalty – indeed, with cash and prizes. Iran has sworn to use these weapons to obliterate not only Israel but every Jew on earth.
“Again, this could not have been an accident. It has to have been the working out of some deep unconscious rage at Israel, Jews, and at America by the top players in this administration… many of them Jewish or, like Kerry, partly Jewish. Mr. Obama has – as I have said before – now signed Israel’s death warrant. Only Israel can figure out some way out of it. Perhaps a miraculous anti-missile defense. Perhaps a genuine Doomsday Device which will end all life on earth if Israel is nuked.
"We shall see,” Stein wound up. “In the meantime, Mr. Obama is in tears that he has been criticized so harshly for an agreement that basically cries out for 'a Holocaust in an afternoon,' as Iranians smilingly call it.”
Obama to speak to Jewish leaders in first post-Iran deal meeting
President Barack Obama will meet with Jewish leaders for the first time since world powers reached a deal with Iran on its nuclear program.
Leaders from an array of Jewish groups will visit the White House on Tuesday afternoon, according to representatives for some of the groups. The meeting will include groups that support and reject the deal, as well as some that have yet to decide.
“On Tuesday the President will meet with organization and community leaders from the American Jewish community to discuss the Iran nuclear deal,” the White House said in a statement. “This meeting follows similar meetings the President held with Jewish community leaders in April as well as numerous engagements that senior administration officials have held with Jewish community organizations and other community stakeholders.”
Jewish Insider first reported the meeting.
Washington Post Editor: Obama’s Peace Plan for Syria Hindered by Iran’s Support of Hezbollah
President Barack Obama’s plan to bring about a peaceful solution to the Syrian Civil War essentially hinders his ability to protect Israel from Iran and its terrorist proxies, Jackson Diehl, the deputy editorial page editor of The Washington Post, argued in an op-ed Monday.
Both of his goals are valid, Diehl writes, but the problem is that these “two … goals are, as the president conceives them, directly in conflict with each other.”
At his post-deal news conference last month, Obama conceded that Iran might use some of the billions it will soon receive to supply the Lebanese Hezbollah militia with fresh weapons, and he vowed to do his best to stop it. “It is in the national security interest of the United States to prevent Iran from sending weapons to Hezbollah,” he said.
At the same time, Obama described the solution to the Syrian war as requiring an “agreement among the major powers that are interested in Syria.” He added, “Iran is one of those players, and I think that it’s important for them to be part of that conversation.”
Former Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau: Iran Nuke Deal Allows Murderers To Go Free
The nuclear deal with Iran must not allow Iranian perpetrators of terror to escape justice, former Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau wrote in a commentary for Reuters today.
Put simply: Iran sponsors terrorism. I am convinced I could prove that proposition in a court of law, and indeed some Americans have done so. Survivors of terrorist attacks have sued the Iranian government in American courts, and won significant judgments.
But the Iranian government has refused to pay those judgments, and the proposed agreement does nothing to challenge that intransigence.
In fact, the agreement would release up to 150 billion dollars of frozen assets to Iran, without requiring that a dime go to paying off the survivors of Iran-sponsored terror. …
But the world has within its grasp those peaceful means, in international sanctions, and those sanctions should be strengthened, not abandoned, so long as Iran sponsors terror against civilian populations and foments unrest among its neighbors. Some of those individuals and entities who will be removed from the sanctions list are associated with terrorism in addition to nuclear proliferation.
Former U.S. General: Ending Sanctions on Suleimani is a “Shameful Betrayal” Of American Troops
The nuclear deal with Iran will lift international sanctions on Gen. Qassen Suleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force, Iran’s elite foreign special forces division. This decision is a “shameful betrayal” of the “the American families of Suleimani’s casualties, and … those of us who lost friends and comrades” to Suleimani, Lt. Gen. (ret.) Michael Barbero wrote Sunday for The Weekly Standard.
Within the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Quds Force is responsible for special operations, including training, arming, and giving instructions to the terrorists, insurgents, and proxies that Iran uses to spread chaos across the Middle East. The head of the Quds Force is Major General Qassem Suleimani.
Shortly after the fall of Saddam Hussein, the Quds Force mobilized and trained Shiite militias within Iraq for the purpose of killing Americans. This proxy campaign against United States forces was abetted by a particularly lethal weapon: explosively formed projectiles (EFPs). A form of roadside bomb with a sophisticated triggering mechanism and the ability to penetrate American armor, EFPs were estimated to account for 20 percent of U.S. deaths. And they came from only one place. “We knew where all the factories were in Iran.” General Stanley McChrystal, then head of the Joint Special Operations Command, told the New Yorker. “The E.F.P.s killed hundreds of Americans.”
Report: Schumer Leaning Toward Opposing Iran Deal
Schumer, who is an influential figure in the Senate and is in line to be the first Jewish Senate leader next Congress, told the website he’s still undecided.
“I haven’t made up my mind,” he said. “There are expectations all over the lot. I’m doing what I’m always doing when I have a very difficult decision: Learning it carefully and giving it my best shot, doing what I think is right. I’m not going to let pressure or politics or party get in the way of that.”
He wouldn’t say if he would forcefully advocate his position once he makes his stance clear.
“I’ve got to first decide how I’m voting,” Schumer said.
The report indicates that opponents of the deal are much louder and more emotional than its supporters. Sen. Chris Coons said that telephone calls against the deal outnumber those in favor by 10-to-1 in his state. “I am a Democrat, and I would like to be able to support this agreement,” Coons said. “But I have serious reservations about it.”
Congress has until September 17th to vote on the deal and lift legislative sanctions on Iran, providing major economic relief to the country that has repeatedly vowed to annihilate Israel and defeat the United States.
Fourth Democratic Member of Congress Opposes Iran Deal, Calls It “A Risk I Can’t Support”
Rep. Kathleen Rice (D – N.Y.) announced today that she will vote against the nuclear deal with Iran. She is the fourth Democratic representative to announce her opposition to the deal. She explained her reasoning in an op-ed in the 5 Towns Jewish Times.
It’s inarguable that Iran’s top policy priority is to obtain a nuclear weapon. Our top policy priority in this region is to prevent them from achieving that goal. If we are to believe this is a good deal for our interests, then we must believe that Iran has either entered into a deal against its interests, or that Iranian priorities have changed. The former would be illogical and we’ve seen no evidence of the latter. The only alternative conclusion is that Iran believes this deal does not compromise their agenda – and that’s deeply problematic.
This deal represents a pause, not an end, to Iran’s quest for a nuclear weapon. While no deal or action – whether economic, diplomatic, or military – can ensure a disarmed Iran in perpetuity, this deal’s search for peace seems too willing to gamble on social progress in Iran, especially when Iranian leaders show little interest in helping to foster it – and even less in becoming anything near a responsible ally in the region. Here, the President is displaying an admirable political vision and optimism, but I just don’t trust the progress of that social experiment enough to pay the cost of this gamble’s security risk.
US pledges to defend Israel if Iran attacks
The United States will defend Israel in the case of an Iranian attack against it, a senior American defense official said Monday, asserting Israel’s right to self-defense and the administration’s commitment to the Jewish state’s military superiority in the Middle East.
The administration respects Israel’s right to self-defense and will continue to ensure the Jewish state’s qualitative military edge, the official told Israeli reporters, arguing that the nuclear deal that the US and five world powers signed with the Islamic Republic last month will make an Israeli military attack less probable.
“We have an ally relationship. The word ‘ally’ means something to us. It means that if you are attacked, we will defend you. That is what an ally relationship means… We use that term sparingly,” the senior defense official said.
“We think that this deal decreases the need and likelihood of an attack. That’s why we signed it. We understand that military action is always an option. It’s an option for the United States,” the official said. “It’s an option for Israel. But the goal is to have an agreement that makes a military attack less needed. But Israel has the right to self-defense. We understand that.”
Iran Making its Move on Bahrain
Since President Obama has begun his outreach to the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iranian attempts to destabilize Bahrain have accelerated. There have now been four weapons caches seized in country, and two interceptions of smuggling attempts by boat, and two by bus. Forensic analysis pointed directly to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Kata’ib Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy operating in Iraq. Tehran no longer tries to hide or deny its role. On July 18, for example, just days after President Obama triumphantly announced the deal, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said, “[Regardless of] the Iran deal text, approved or not, we won’t stop supporting the oppressed nation in Palestine, Yemen, Syria, Bahrain, and Lebanon.” Ten days later, the Bahraini opposition apparently used C4 for the first time, killing two policemen.
The Iranian escalation does no one any good. If the United States and other states are forced to decide between reform and security in the face of Iranian provocation, reform is going to be cast by the wayside. Ordinary Bahrainis regardless of religion or religious sect will be caught in the crossfire if Iran transforms Bahrain into a proxy battleground.
At the same time, the increasing Iranian aggression toward Bahrain simply foreshadows the immediate future with Iran’s hardliners empowered by a deal which does little to constrain Iran’s nuclear program but much to empower the Iranian hardliners bent on regional transformation. Increasingly it seems that Obama’s “Pivot to Asia” speech really was little more than Prime Minister Harold Macmillan’s “East of Suez” speech all over again.
New Poll Shows Voters Oppose Iran Nuke Deal By 2 to 1 Margin
A new poll released today shows that Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to the pending nuclear deal with Iran.
57 percent of Americans surveyed in a Qunnipiac University poll said that they disapprove of the deal, more than twice as many as the 28 percent in favor. The vast majority of respondents said that they believe the deal will make America less safe.
The poll also showed that support for President Barack Obama’s handling of the negotiations with Iran has dropped from 48 percent in late 2013 to 35 percent today.
In a press release about the polling, Quinnipiac noted that only 52 percent of Democrats support the deal, underlining the weak support nationwide for the deal.
Kerry Receives Backing from Gulf States on Iran Deal
The United States on Monday received a vote of confidence on the deal with Iran, as Gulf Arab states welcomed the deal negotiated with world powers, The Associated Press (AP) reported.
At the same time, they said they would like further assurances that the U.S. would help them counter increasing Iranian assertiveness in the region.
Speaking for the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Qatar's Foreign Minister said that the bloc had been impressed by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's presentation of the agreement and explanations of how it will be verified and enforced.
"Consequently, the GCC countries have welcomed on this basis what has been displayed and what has been talked about by His Excellency Mr. Kerry," said Foreign Minister Khalid al-Attiyah, whose nation currently chairs the group, according to AP.
"He let us know that there is a going to be live oversight over Iran," al Attiyah said of Kerry's presentation. "This is reassuring to the region."
Iran Suspends Newspaper that Criticized Nuclear Deal
Iran's Press Supervisory Board has suspended a hardline newspaper and cautioned two other outlets for criticizing last month's nuclear deal with world powers, Reuters reported Monday.
According to the news agency, the board suspended 9 Dey, a weekly newspaper that accused Tehran's negotiators of overstepping Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's red lines in the negotiations, and referred its case to a court.
Censors also cautioned Kayhan, an influential conservative daily, and the Raja News website, in a setback for critics who assert that Iranian negotiators made too many concessions to reach the historic deal on July 14.
Conservative newspapers have been targeted in the past: in February 2014 the Supreme National Security Council sued a conservative journalist working for Vatan-e Emrooz (Today's Nation) for criticizing President Hassan Rouhani's foreign policy.
United States Widens Sanctions on Syria
The United States widened sanctions on Syria on Monday, targeting individuals and entities it says are providing energy products used by the Assad regime in fighting its own people, AFP reported.
The Treasury Department imposed sanctions on seven entities and four individuals, and named seven vessels as blocked property.
"Many of these entities are front companies that the Government of Syria and its supporters have used in an attempt to evade U.S. and EU sanctions," the department's Office of Foreign Assets Control said in a statement quoted by AFP.
In addition, the Treasury identified six Syrian government entities and three vessels in which the government has an interest.
The sanctions freeze any American assets of the individuals and entities and bars Americans from any transactions with them.
He's Back: Ahmadinejad Launches Political Campaign
Iran's former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has launched a political campaign in hopes of returning to power in February's parliamentary elections, The Associated Press (AP) reported on Monday.
The report noted that while many former allies have turned on Ahmadinejad, and two of his former vice presidents have been jailed for corruption, he is believed to command strong support in the countryside, and could be seen by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as a counterbalance to reformers who have tried to reverse Ahmadinejad's confrontational legacy since the election of President Hassan Rouhani.
At a gathering of his supporters Thursday, Ahmadinejad broke two years of silence, vowing to "redefine revolutionary ideals" laid out by the leader of Iran's 1979 revolution, the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, according to AP.
"God willing, victory and a very bright future awaits us. However, there will be bumps and satanic obstacles in our path," he was quoted as having told some 400 supporters in Tehran. "One should not forget that the U.S. is our enemy."
Iran to let in the BBC for a week
An Iranian government official says the Islamic Republic will allow some BBC journalists to report there for a week’s time. The BBC had no immediate comment in London.
Culture Ministry spokesman Hossein Nooshabadi told The Associated Press on Tuesday that a team of journalists will be allowed to report.
The spokesman said the BBC’s Persian-language service was still banned from operating in the country.
Iran stopped the BBC Persian service from operating in the country in 2009, then later expelled a World Service journalist from the country during turmoil surrounding its disputed 2009 presidential election. In the time since, Tehran repeatedly has accused the network of security-related offenses.
The decision is likely part of attempts to normalize ties with Britain after hard-liners stormed its Tehran embassy in 2011.
'Beat up an Arab' game appears on Iranian website
An Iranian website has released a game titled "Beat Up and Insult the Arab," which allows players to feed and abuse animated Arab characters, Al-Arabiya reported on Tuesday.
The game, which is available for download, was released on a site which is allegedly registered at the country's Center for Regulation of Iranian Websites, which is connected to the Ministry of Culture and Guidance.
Although the game does not specify which Arab nationality it intended to represent, many Arab-Iranians were upset by the violent depiction of Arabs.
Ahwazi Arabs, who are legally considered citizens of Iran, commented on the game via social media calling it racist.
US Urges Turkey to Tone Down War Against Kurds
Europe and the United States on Tuesday urged Turkey to show a "proportionate response" in the face of daily attacks by Kurdish militants amid growing concern over the scale of Ankara's air campaign against the rebels.
Two more Turkish soldiers were killed in the latest assault blamed on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants, as Ankara pressed on with a relentless air campaign against hideouts in northern Iraq.
Ankara is waging a two-pronged cross-border "anti-terror" bombing campaign against Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists in Syria and PKK rebels in northern Iraq.
But so far the raids have overwhelmingly targeted the Kurdish rebels, in what critics say is a pretext for Turkey to crack down on the Kurds - a move that comes after Ankara was shown to be cooperating with ISIS.
Official media in Turkey have said at least 260 PKK members have been killed so far, in hundreds of sorties targeted against the group's shelters, weapons stores and caves.
MEMRI: Articles In Egypt: Turkey, Qatar Fund Terror, Are Responsible For Bloodshed In Arab World
Following the assassination of Egypt's prosecutor-general, Hisham Barakat, on July 29, 2015, and ISIS's terror attack in Sinai two days later, in which some 70 Egyptian soldiers were killed, the Egyptian press directed harsh criticism at Qatar and Turkey, accusing them of financing terror in Egypt and other Middle East countries. Articles stated that Turkey under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Qatar under Sheikh Tamim Aal Thani, support the extremist terrorist organizations in the region and fund them, and thus "sow destruction in the Middle East" and "turn Arab countries into hell for their citizens." They called to expand the war on terror to include drying up its sources of funding, and to take legal measures against the leaders of Qatar and Turkey, who were described as responsible for the bloodshed in the Arab world and as dancing over the bodies of innocent victims.
It should be noted that claims of this kind against Qatar and Turkey have been heard in Egypt since the ouster of president Muhammad Mursi in July 2013. These countries, which support the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), hold that Mursi's rule was toppled in a military coup, and therefore regard President Al-Sisi's rule as illegitimate. Egypt, for its part, accuses the two countries of supporting the MB, which is outlawed in the country, as well as jihad organizations like ISIS. These mutual accusations caused Egypt's relations with Turkey and Qatar to deteriorate, to the extent that in November 2013 Egypt expelled the Turkish ambassador and recalled its own ambassador from Ankara. In January 2014 it also recalled its ambassador from Doha, and the latter, in turn, recalled its ambassador from Cairo in February 2015. Saudi Arabia's efforts to broker a reconciliation between Egypt and Qatar, which began in late 2014 as part of its attempts to form a broad Sunni coalition against Iran, did not bear fruit.
The following are excerpts from Egyptian articles accusing Qatar and Turkey of sponsoring terror and calling for a diplomatic campaign against them.

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