Tuesday, September 01, 2015

From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: Turning Refugee Camps into Weapons Warehouses
Most of the Palestinian camps in Lebanon and Syria have long served as large weapons warehouses controlled by various militias belonging to different groups. This has been happening while the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which is formally in charge of the refugee camps, continues to look the other way.
The 120,000 Palestinians living in Ain al-Hilweh are "unfortunate" because they are not being targeted by Israel. Otherwise, there would have been an international outcry and the UN Security Council would have held an emergency session to condemn Israel and call for an immediate cessation of hostilities. Instead, Ain al-Hilweh may soon fall into the hands of Al-Qaeda and Islamic State terrorists.
The Syrian Army has also been dropping barrel bombs on the camp almost on a weekly basis. But because Israel cannot be blamed, Palestinians killing Palestinians is not something that the international media and community are interested in.
Instead of admitting their responsibility for turning the camps into military bases, Palestinian leaders often prefer to blame others, preferably Israel, for the plight of their people.
Israeli Terror Expert: Training Camps for Girls in Gaza Another Form of Palestinian Child Abuse
Where women are concerned, it is even more complicated, she explained. “Palestinian society is patriarchal. As soon as women are separated from the clutches of their fathers and brothers, and sent to participate in resistance activities, the family unit gets undermined. This is destroying the entire fabric of Palestinian society – a price its leaders ought to be aware of.”
She continued: “Using girls in the fight against Israel is a tactic. Terror leaders accomplish several things by pushing women and children to the front lines of combat. First of all, the West will always view women and children as non-combatants. This is why they are often used as shields for the men. We have seen this in violent demonstrations in the West Bank and Gaza, where the men literally hide under the skirts of females. We saw it this week in the viral video of the IDF soldier being attacked by a group of females – even bitten by a girl – while he was trying to stop a Palestinian boy throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers.
“Any wounds sustained by women and children are automatically viewed in the West as war crimes committed by Israel, when in fact, the crime against these women and children is being committed by the leaders of their society – who raise them to know nothing but hate – and by the terror masters, who treat them like cannon fodder.
“In this ongoing war, what we call non-combatants are actually combatants, because terror tunnels extend from their homes, which also serve as weapons caches; and women and children are their ultimate weapons, because the West sees them as innocents.”
Referring to the summer army camp for girls, Berko said it is part of the wider campaign of Hamas and other groups to take advantage of and manipulate the population. “It is the socialization of kids through terror,” she said. “It is child abuse, plain and simple. But where is the international outrage about it?”
WATCH: Terrorists seek funds to bomb Golden Gate Bridge in anti-Iran bill campaign
In an imaginative effort to illustrate the potential dangers of the nuclear deal with Iran which is up for congressional approval in September, a viral video campaign has been launched depicting a mock crowdfunding video in which Iranian-backed terrorists ask for money to carry out terror attacks against the US.
In the YouTube clip released Monday by NGO Shurat Hadin, three suicide terrorists with "innovative" new ideas about attacks against America, including a plan to bomb the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, ask for funds from the American people to finance their attacks - "or you can just support the Iran nuclear deal," the lead terrorist says.
Shurat Hadin argues with the clip that by approving the Iran deal, the US Congress will allow 100 billion dollars to flow to Iran, which will then be used to fund their worldwide support for terror.
According to Shurat Hadin, the video garnered 90,000 views in the first 12 hours after its release. (h/t Yenta Press)
KillStarter – Crowdfunding Iranian Terror

Meet the Iran Lobby
Where NIAC differs from AIPAC is in its relation to American public opinion. AIPAC has never been about selling access to the Israeli economy: In fact, AIPAC piggy-backed on the huge well-spring of affection that the American public has for Israel in order to establish itself as a power in Washington. If Americans want to invest in an IT firm in Herzliya, or a gift shop in Tzfat, donating money to AIPAC is unlikely to be of much help: They’re free to take their chances and fight through the red tape. Nor is it clear that pursuing exciting economic opportunities in Israel has ever been a particular motivating force for pro-Israel activism. The pro-Israel lobby never sold anything except the opportunity for Americans—Jews, evangelical Christians, and mainstream Democrats and Republicans alike—to feel even better about supporting something they already felt good about, for personal, ethnic, ideological, religious, sentimental, and other such reasons.
The pro-Iran lobby on the other hand has no real base of popular support in America: Many Iranians in America are in fact deeply opposed to the regime in Tehran, and see NIAC as a regime tool. What NIAC has to offer instead, like the Saudi lobby before it, is access, which is a big reason why Parsi has been fighting sanctions for nearly two decades. For an Iran Lobby to have any heft, it needs to be able to deliver the goods to its supporters. With sanctions, the Iran Lobby has been largely crippled, because it has very little to offer: It was able to accumulate the power it has now only because the Administration clearly signaled its desire to do business with Iran, thereby offering NIAC supporters at least some mathematical expectation of a future payout. Now, if the JCPOA gets through Congress, that payout is likely to be tremendous, as the Iran Lobby will be able to help broker access to anything and everything in Iran—from industry, to schools, to opportunities for journalists and academics, etc.—which will in turn make NIAC and the Iran Lobby that much more powerful.
One of the chief ironies of the ongoing debate over the Iran deal is that both defenders and detractors of a supposedly all-powerful “Israel Lobby” have been wasting their breath over an entity that has notably failed to affect U.S. policy on a single issue of major concern over the entire course of Obama’s 6-year Presidency—a record of unmitigated failure that would clearly condemn it to the black hole of Beltway irrelevance if not for the bizarre imaginative hold, and political utility, of the myth of a powerful conspiracy of Jews who secretly rule the planet. Or perhaps it’s not an irony at all. Some of the loudest detractors of the “Israel Lobby” are in fact paid staffers and partisans of the Iran Lobby—an entity that, unlike the Israel Lobby, has succeeded in radically altering U.S. foreign policy, with the help of the President and his advisors. Seen from a certain angle, the Iran Lobby has pulled off the neat trick of using the specter of the Israel Lobby to shift U.S. policy away from Israel and toward Iran—while actually succeeding at the same dark arts that it blames the Jews for employing. The Iran lobby used a combination of lobbying, donations, propaganda, and back-door personal connections to top policy-makers to radically alter American foreign policy, and align the United States with an oppressive authoritarian regime that is destabilizing the Middle East.
Q Poll: Americans OPPOSE Iran nuke deal by more than 2-1
It appears likely that Democrats will have enough votes in the Senate to preserve an Obama veto of legislation disapproving of the Iran Nuclear Deal. Democrats may even have enough votes to filibuster to prevent a vote, though that is more uncertain.
What is crystal clear is that the Iran nuclear deal is wildly unpopular among the American public.
Quinnipiac just released its latest poll on the Iranian nuclear deal. I trust this poll more than others because it doesn’t try to describe the deal in terms that would influence the result. So if you ask a question such as “Do you support the Iranian nuclear deal that will prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons and avoid war” … you have gamed the question by presuming a positive result of the deal.
INSS: Israel and the United States: Time for a Parallel Agreement
Long before the signing of the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) between Iran and the P5+1, I called on the leaders of Israel and the United States to launch a constructive dialogue and work together to minimize the potential risks inherent in the JCPOA. The agreement signed between the P5+1 and Iran is very problematic for Israel, and is currently opposed by the majority of Americans and their representatives in Congress. Nonetheless, at this time it seems that Congress will not have the necessary majority to override a presidential veto, which means the JCPOA will be put into effect. Though convinced that the agreement entails potential dangers for Israel, I stand by my previous position, namely, that the Israeli government should avoid interfering in the United States internal debate about this very charged issue. I therefore call on Prime Minister Netanyahu to take measures now toward formulation of a “parallel agreement” between Israel and the United States that mitigates the JCPOA’s weak points.
Israel is a powerful nation, strong enough to confront the challenges that lie ahead, including those expected from implementation of the agreement. Nonetheless, the best way to do so runs through Washington and requires US-Israeli cooperation that manages the risks and maximizes the strategic possibilities expected after the agreement goes into effect. This cooperation should be formalized in an agreement rather than by exchanges of letters or the establishment of understandings at professional levels. Recent history shows that letters and understandings – such as the letter sent by President Bush to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2004 – were not recognized in practice by subsequent administrations. Thus, on so critical an issue, it is necessary to conclude a formal, signed agreement that delineates a strategy to face future threats from Iran.
Signing a parallel agreement with the United States does not mean acquiescing to or reconciling with the problematic JCPOA. Quite the contrary, it is precisely because the agreement with Iran is so troublesome that a parallel agreement between the United States and Israel – which is not a signatory to the agreement with Iran – is imperative.
Obama Admits Danger of Iran Sanctions Relief in First Interview With Jewish Paper
In the first one-on-one interview U.S. President Barack Obama has granted to a Jewish news outlet since he took office in 2008, the president acknowledged that some of the estimated financial relief Iran will gain from the removal of international sanctions as part of an implementation of the nuclear deal would likely “go into building up their military capability.”
“But as I pointed out repeatedly,” Obama told the Forward, which conducted the interview, “Iran’s annual defense budget is about $15 billion. The Gulf States, combined, spend about eight times that amount. Israel’s conventional military capacity far exceeds any Iranian capability, and you can’t compare the U.S. military to Iran. So the goal of this deal is to make sure that the one real game changer — nuclear weapons — is taken off the table.”
Obama also added that Iran “would be violating international law if they dash for a bomb 15 years from now,” and “whoever is occupying my chair here in the White House will have…greater international legitimacy in the event that the president needs to initiate a strike against Iran’s nuclear program, (and) will have the justification of them explicitly having violated international agreements that they entered into,” the president said, adding that in the meantime the U.S. and Israel should increase their security cooperation.
Obama says it hurts when he’s accused of anti-Semitism
Charges that he is anti-Semitic are baseless and a source of emotional hurt, US President Barack Obama said in his first interview to the American Jewish press since taking office in 2008.
The president spoke to the Jewish Daily Forward as part of his recent media campaign to garner American Jewish support for a controversial nuclear deal with Iran. In the interview, published on Monday, Obama also highlighted his Jewish bona fides.
“It’s not just that I’ve received votes from the Jewish community, it’s that I have received ideas, values, support that helped shape me into the person I am,” he said.
The Forward’s editor, Jane Eisner, asked the president whether charges of anti-Semitism hurt him personally. Recently, Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson charged that the president’s speech at American University defending the Iran deal against its opponents was “replete with coded innuendos employing standard anti-Semitic themes involving implied disloyalty and nefarious influences related to money and power.”
“Oh, of course,” Obama told the paper. “And there’s not a smidgen of evidence for it, other than the fact that there have been times when I’ve disagreed with a particular Israeli government’s position on a particular issue.”
Obama didn’t mention any specific critics or targets by name.
Merkel: Unacceptable how Iran continues to talk about Israel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a news conference in Berlin on Monday that she would welcome Iran's participation in the ongoing fight against ISIS in Syria, however Iran's attitude and slander towards Israel must change.
"I think Iran has a lot of influence over what happens in Syria. And everyone is welcome to participate constructively in the negotiations," she said.
She added, however, that Iran's opposition to Israel needed to change in order to facilitate a joint fight in the war against ISIS. "It is not acceptable how Iran continues to talk about Israel," Merkel said. "It is a disappointment that there has been no change as far as the recognition of Israel goes."
Ed Henry: Bill Clinton Aide Asked State Dept. For Permission To Accept Money From Company Doing Business With Iran
As the State Department is set to release thousands of pages of Hillary Clinton’s emails Monday night, Ed Henry reported within the emails not yet released is communication between Bill Clinton’s aide and Hillary’s Chief of Staff.
The email reveals the former President had his foreign policy director ask the State Department for permission for the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) to accept money from a company doing business with Iran.
Petronas, the government-owned Malaysian oil company, would like to send its CEO Shamsul Azhar bin Abbas to CGI as a paying member, Amitabh Desai wrote to Cheryl Mills. “For years they were shipping oil to Iran. Would the CEO attending CGI as a paying member be concern for USG?”
Mills did not respond yes or no and “there is no evidence Abbas ended up giving CGI money,” Henry said.
The revelations highlight Clinton’s struggle with the drip-drip-drip email scandal that is sinking her poll numbers and inviting Vice President Joe Biden to consider entering the race.
Rouhani Says Iran Will Not Abide by Security Council Resolution
Hence, Obama and Kerry sought to bypass Congressional debate and violate the spirit of the Corker-Cardin compromise by going directly to the United Nations before Congress could debate the JCPOA. The Security Council unanimously adopted the new resolution. According to the UN’s press release:
The Security Council today coalesced around a sweeping resolution that endorsed the 14 July agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme, setting out a rigorous monitoring mechanism and timetable for implementation, while paving the way for the lifting of United Nations sanctions against that country… The Council, through the 104-page text, including annexes that detailed the sanctions-related provisions and listings, requested the International Atomic Energy Agency to undertake verification and monitoring of Iran’s compliance. It reaffirmed that Iran should cooperate fully with the Agency to resolve all outstanding issues. Upon receipt of a positive report from the Agency, the Council would terminate sanctions set out in resolutions adopted between 2006 and 2015.
Now Rouhani — the supposed moderate in whom Obama has placed his trust—has says he looks at the commitments laid out in the Security Council resolution in an à la carte manner. It’s not just a matter of Iran deciding unilaterally that it will not abide by international commitments with regard to missiles. It is not too late for Congressmen affirming the deal to gaze into the crystal ball of what weak inspection and verification mechanisms as well as a lackluster Iranian commitment to abide mean. Tehran is gambling on American partisanship and Congressional venality. Alas, for Iran, it’s a winning bet.
US remains Iran’s ‘No. 1 enemy,’ says powerful cleric
Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, president of the Iranian Assembly of Experts, said the nuclear deal brokered with six world powers, led by the US, would not lead to a warming of ties with Washington.
“The Islamic Republic will always see the United States as its first enemy,” he told a ceremony ahead of the assembly’s annual conference, which will take place on Wednesday.
Comprising 86 elected religious leaders, the assembly is considered one of the most powerful bodies in the country, with the ability to appoint or a depose a supreme leader.
“The United States, and behind them Israel, are the source of all plots and they set the Middle East on fire to protect Israel,” Yazdi said, referring to the situation in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.
Iran hopes ‘propaganda from warmongers' won't sway US Congress on nuclear deal
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Tuesday he hoped the US Congress would not be swayed by “warmongers’ propaganda” over the nuclear deal struck between Tehran and world powers.
“What happens in the US Congress, that’s certainly a US issue,” he told a news conference in Tunisia.
“We believe it’s a mutually beneficial agreement,” Zarif said of the July 14 accord on scaling down Iran’s controversial nuclear program in exchange for a lifting of international sanctions.
“And if people are not too much concerned with the propaganda being raged by warmongers in our region and outside our region, there’s no reason for the deal to face any impediments in the United States,” said the minister who negotiated the deal.
Iran unveils 15-year nuclear enhancement program
Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akhbar Salehi announced Monday that the Islamic Republic is putting together a 15-year plan to enhance its nuclear capabilities following the signing of a landmark agreement with world powers last month.
“A 15-year-long plan is being compiled and the plan will be reviewed every 5 years,” Salehi said during a ceremony at the Fordo nuclear site near the Central city of Qom, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.
“One of our plans is to move on the path of commercialization and we hope to gain success in this arena,” he continued.
According to Fars, Salehi also discussed plans to construct a nuclear hospital as well as two small nuclear power plants in the Southern province of Bushehr.
Shmuley Boteach: Impose the same gun control on Iran that you would on the US
Even in the face of repeated mass killings.” He is joined by Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Joseph Biden, among many of their fellow Democrats, who have pushed for limitations on what guns can be bought and what can be done to limit gun ownership.
Americans seem passionately divided on whether new gun control measures are the solution to the carnage.
But one has to wonder, then, why in the world is it suddenly acceptable to make a deal with Iran that will be guaranteed to increase the guns, terrorism and death that the ayatollahs will export? By now everyone knows that as part of the Iran deal $150 billion dollars will be made available to Iran as part of sanctions relief. Few doubt, and even National Security Advisor Susan Rice admitted, that Iran will almost certainly use the money to murder innocents and disseminate weapons to Iranian terrorist proxies operating across the Middle East and the globe.
Rice expressed it as follows: “We should expect that some portion of that money would go to the Iranian military and could potentially be used for the kinds of bad behavior that we have seen in the region up until now.”
Now, “bad behavior” seems an awfully innocent euphemism for international terrorism. But the point is the same: Iran will use the money to kill people.
 "Rabbis" for Hamas, Obama and Iran
In 2008, Elliot Dorff joined Rabbis for Obama in their claim that Senator Obama would be a “leader in the fight against serious threats to Israel.” Dorff, a Beverly Hills based clergyman, showed a deep grasp of geopolitical issues when he claimed that because of President Bush, “now the Taliban inhabit Iraq, where they never used to be.” This would have come as news to both the Taliban and Iraq. But Rabbis for Obama kept Dorff’s testimonial up because no one there seemed to know any better or know anything except how awful Israel is.
Like many of the Rabbis for Obama, Dorff was a left-wing radical who could be counted on to sign any letter attacking Israel. In 2010, he joined the unofficially nicknamed ‘Rabbis for Hamas’ by signing a letter demanding that Israel end the blockade of the genocidal Islamic terrorist group. Elliot Dorff had also signed an earlier letter praising the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Gaza, which led the area to be taken over by Hamas. But this was only to be expected from a member of J Street, serving on the anti-Israel group’s Rabbinic Cabinet Executive Council.
Now Elliot Dorff, who has never tired of being destructive and wrong, has signed on to yet another bad letter. After Rabbis for Obama and ‘Rabbis for Hamas’, he has signed on to ‘Rabbis for Iran’. The letter in support of a deal that Obama admitted will give Iran zero breakout time to a nuclear bomb, is signed by many of the same Dorffs who had signed on to Rabbis for Obama and Rabbis for Hamas. John Friedman of the Rabbinic Cabinet of the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace, another left-wing anti-Israel group, signed all three letters.
The “Alliance”, also known as Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, called on Israel to recognize Hamas, condemned Israel for taking out the co-founder of Hamas and described Muslim terrorist massacres of Jews as “resistance”. Friedman had even participated in the “Fast for Gaza” in support of the Hamas-ruled territory.
Iran Deal: Seven Percent is not Exactly Overwhelming Benyamin Korn
The news that 340 rabbis endorsed President Obama's Iran deal made headlines around the world last week. Many people were surprised that so many rabbis would take such a stance.
In fact, they should have been surprised the number was so low. A closer look at this episode shows that the Declaration of the 340 was, actually, a dismal showing for Jewish supporters of the Iran agreement.
In Israel, there is an extraordinarily broad right-to-left consensus against the Iran deal. Both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and left-wing opposition leader Isaac Herzog have strongly denounced it. Polls show that approximately 75% of Israelis are against the agreement.
Joe Lieberman: Little Time Left to Speak Truth About ‘Terrible Agreement’ With Iran
“Tomorrow’s rally is important, because next week Congress returns to Washington and actual debate on the Iran nuclear agreement begins,” retired Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman told The Algemeiner on Monday.
He was referring to the “Stop Iran Rally,” organized by the same grassroots movement that brought 15,000 people to protest the nuclear deal in New York City’s Times Square last month, being held on Tuesday outside the office of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
“There is little time left for people who oppose this terrible agreement to speak the truth of why it threatens America’s security and the security of our allies in Israel and the Arab world to people in power in Washington,” Lieberman said. “Tomorrow we can directly thank Senator [Chuck] Schumer [D-NY] for his principle and courage in opposing this bad deal and express our disappointment to Senator Gillibrand that she is supporting it, and ask her to reconsider based on information about the secret side deals that has come out since she announced her support. ”
Coincidentally, Gillibrand’s office is located in the same Manhattan building (780 Third Avenue) as that of Schumer, among the few Democrats in Congress who have come out publicly against the deal.
Congressman Insulted by Pro-Iran Colleague’s Suggestion He Opposes Deal to Get Jewish Money
US Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) this past weekend has made two separate demands for an apology from former Congressman Jim Slattery (D-KS), because Slattery said opponents of the nuclear deal with Iran are trying to curry favor with Jewish voters, CJOnline.com reported.
On Saturday, Slattery told a Democratic audience in Lawrence, KS, the deal is better than the US setting off a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Slattery has spent the last ten years trying to forge and maintain an interfaith dialogue with Iran, and so, naturally, he suggested that those who were against the deal were waging a campaign to win over Jewish voters and Jewish campaign contributions.
Of course, accusing Jews as being warmongers is as old as the history of the Jewish nation—alongside accusations of Jews as treasonous pacifists. And Pompeo on Saturday night responded to this slight with a fiery email, stating that Slattery’s “suggestion is disgusting, borderline anti-Semitic and deeply repugnant.” He added: “Rep. Slattery should apologize immediately for even hinting that those of us against this are doing so on behalf of a ‘cadre of political operatives’ and for the purpose of currying favor with the so-called Israeli lobby.”
Madeleine Albright Supports Iran Deal as 'Opportunity'
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has deemed the Iranian nuclear deal a "bold stroke of diplomacy" on Monday, as a public relations war over the deal mounts ahead of an expected showdown in US Congress.
Albright penned an opinion piece in CNN drawing on her experiences under former US President Jimmy Carter.
"During my time in office, we offered to engage in dialogue, but the Iranians were not ready," she writes. "In the end, although we improved the relationship on the margins, we failed to make much of a dent in the thick wall of mistrust separating our two countries."
"These experiences lead me to be wary of the Iranian regime and realistic about the prospects for an overnight change in U.S.-Iranian relations," Albright continues. "But it is dangerous not to pursue dialogue, and experience convinces me that the nuclear agreement between world powers and Iran is a wise diplomatic initiative."
Report: Iran Amassing Missiles Capable of Hitting Targets Across Israel from Lebanon
Israel is keeping a “very sharp eye” on Iran’s expanding stock of highly accurate Fateh 313 ballistic missiles, which have twice the range of their predecessor, the Fateh 110, according to an Israeli defense official quoted Saturday in an article published in Defense News.
“We assess that Iran has begun to stockpile them,” the official said of the 500-kilometer-range, solid-fueled missile, unveiled in Aug. 22 ceremonies for National Defense Industry Day in the presence of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. “You can be sure we are monitoring any attempt to move these out of the country by air, land or sea.”
He added, in a not-so-cryptic reference to the multiple times weapon shipments have either been seized on the high seas or attacked by air, “Our red lines are very clear to all and we are obliged to act on them.”

Defense News quoted Tal Inbar, a missile expert who heads the Space Research Center at the Fisher Institute for Strategic Air & Space Studies, as saying that the Fateh 313 missile reflects a growing sophistication in Iran’s aerospace industry. Inbar speculated that the extended range may be the result of lightening the payload, but that the longer range “means that from the farthest point in Lebanon, this missile can accurately hit high-value targets throughout Israel.”
Former Pentagon Official: Iran Boosting Military Spending Ahead of Sanctions Relief
Iran has begun a weapons-buying spree shortly before it is due to receive over $100 billion in unfrozen funds as a result of the nuclear deal. Michael Rubin, a former Defense Department official who is now a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, noted these developments in an article published today in Newsweek.
With upwards of $100 billion in new investment now due in Tehran (even before Iran demonstrates its full compliance with the nuclear deal), Iranian authorities are starting their shopping spree, with a heavy emphasis on the military.
This shouldn’t surprise. While Obama argues that the Islamic Republic will use its financial windfall to benefit the Iranian people, recent history suggests otherwise: When the European Union flooded Iran with hard currency between 2000 and 2005 (during which time the price of oil also increased sharply), Iran invested the bulk of its windfall into military and covert nuclear programs.

On August 26 alone, Iran announced that it would buy planes, helicopters, and the controversial S-300 missile system from Russia. The expected military windfall will boost the fortunes of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who was extended a $1 billion line of credit by Iran shortly before the nuclear deal was signed last month.
BBC amplification of Iranian regime charm offensive misleads audiences
In addition to failing to challenge that whitewashing of the Syrian regime’s slaughter of its own people, Ghattas made no attempt to relieve viewers of the misleading and inaccurate impressions created by her interviewee in relation to ‘increasing’ settlements or ‘occupying’ lands. Later on when Ghattas asked if any of the funds freed up by sanctions relief will be funneled to the Assad regime, she allowed Ebtekar to fob viewers off with talk of “environmental challenges” and “green technologies”.
Kim Ghattas’ failure to cut through any of the slick replies to her questions means that this widely promoted interview obviously did nothing to advance the BBC’s purpose to “[b]uild a global understanding of international issues”. Rather, it actively misled BBC audiences by herding them towards ridiculous notions such as the idea that hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians have been killed by their own government and millions more forced to seek refuge in Europe and elsewhere because of Israel.
The idea that a regime which produces violent anti-Israel propaganda videos and includes officials who state openly that “[o]ur positions against the usurper Zionist regime have not changed at all; Israel should be annihilated and this is our ultimate slogan” is a force for regional stability and peace is plainly risible. Nevertheless, the BBC chose to amplify that absurdity, selling out Syrians, Israelis, Iranians and many more along the way.
Sadly, given the BBC’s record of reporting on Iran in recent months, there is nothing remotely surprising about that.
Iran's Chief Judge: Attempts to Free Captive Americans 'Useless'
Iran's judiciary chief has urged the United States not to interfere in cases of detained Americans, days after US Secretary of State John Kerry said a jailed Marine should be freed.
Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani's remarks followed the fourth anniversary of Amir Hekmati's imprisonment in Tehran on what Kerry called "false espionage charges."
Hekmati was visiting relatives in the Islamic republic when he was arrested.
Larijani, quoted in Iranian media on Tuesday, said Iran examined legal cases "including those accused of spying for America, with absolute composure and dignity, based on duty and procedure."
"The judiciary does not need American officials to write prescriptions for it," Larijani said. "Our advice to them is not to hype (such matters) up uselessly."
In his remarks on Friday, Kerry called Hekmati's detention "unjust" and also renewed his call for Iran to release two other Americans.
Iranian Speaker Leaves UN Plenum During Edelstein Speech
Knesset Speaker MK Yuli Edelstein on Monday paid a visit to the United Nations and made a speech at the UN plenum, but not everyone was interested in hearing what he had to say.
The speaker of the Iranian parliament, Ali Larijani, was caught on camera as he got up and left when Edelstein was speaking:
Edelstein, who is at the UN for a global conference of speakers of parliament, on Friday met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in the latter's office.
During their meeting, Edelstein told Ban about Israel's concern over the recent Iran nuclear agreement. "As a member of the Jewish people that experienced the Holocaust, I believe someone when he says he wants to destroy me," said Edelstein. "No one has to love Israel. It is fine and necessary to express criticism, but you cannot threaten to destroy us."
Iranian Parliament Speaker Leaves UN Plenum During Edelstein Speech

ISIS affiliate in Gaza claims failed rocket launch on first day of school year
Militants in Gaza attempted to fire a rocket at the Ashkelon region Tuesday morning, triggering Israel's rocket alarm system.
The rocket, which was launched from the Beit Lahiya neighborhood of the coastal Palestinian enclave, fell inside the confines of Gaza.
The attempted attack was claimed by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, also known as as the Sinai Province of the Islamic State, a group that opposes Hamas rule of the Gaza Strip and that is leading a bloody insurgency against the Egyptian army and security forces in Sinai.
The timing of the rocket fire from Gaza coincided with the start of the new school year in Israel with some 2.2 million students entering classrooms.
Yair Farjoun, the head of the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council where the rocket sirens sounded on Tuesday morning, said schools were opening as usual.
Gun battle erupts in Jenin, Israeli fighter wounded
A member of the Israel Police's elite counterterrorism unit was moderately wounded on Monday night when a gun battle erupted during an arrest operation in the Palestinian city of Jenin.
A Palestinian security official said Israeli forces surrounded a house in the Jenin refugee camp late Monday. Palestinian gunmen exchanged heavy fire with Israeli soldiers, and five Palestinians were wounded and taken to hospital, the official said.
A local Hamas leader identified as Majdi Abu Alhaija and his brother, Alaa Abu Alhaija, were arrested, the official noted. The house Alhaija was hiding in was demolished.
Israeli soldiers also tried to arrest an Islamic Jihad leader -- Bassem Saadi -- but could not find him, the official said.
Some reports said the wounded Israeli may have been hit by friendly fire.
The scope of the Israeli operation appeared unusually large compared to what has been the norm in the area in recent years. Israeli troops enter Palestinian Authority-controlled areas frequently to detain people suspected of terrorist activities. The Palestinians condemn this practice as an encroachment on the limited self-rule they hold in parts of Judea and Samaria.
Foreign Ministry: Jewish-Israeli man planned to join IS
Jewish-Israeli man who apparently planned to join the Islamic State terrorist group was apprehended by Turkish authorities after being located near the country’s border with Syria, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said.
The man, 21, was handed over to family members who arrived in Turkey and escorted him back to Israel on Tuesday.
The man, who despite his age is still under his parents’ legal guardianship, flew from Israel to the Greek island of Crete, and from there continued to the Turkish city of Iskenderun, near the Syrian border.
His relatives, who had remained in contact with him throughout the entire period of his absence from Israel, suspected the man was planning to join the Islamic State and immediately alerted the Foreign Ministry, the Haaretz daily reported.
Foreign Ministry deputy spokesman Alon Lavi said the ministry alerted Interpol representatives in Israel and then contacted the embassy in Ankara and the consulate in Istanbul in order to locate the man, according to the report.
Fatah leaders urge Abbas not to resign from PLO leadership
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has told Fatah leaders that he does not intend to present his candidacy once again for the position of chairman of the PLO Executive Committee, a senior Fatah official said on Tuesday.
Amin Maqboul, secretary-general of the Fatah Central Committee, said that the Fatah leaders unanimously rejected Abbas’s decision not to seek re-election.
The Fatah leaders urged Abbas to rescind his decision, Maqboul said.
Abbas’s announcement came two weeks ahead of a meeting of the PLO’s parliament-in-exile, the Palestinian National Council (PNC), to elect new members of the PLO Executive Committee.
Abbas and 10 other members of the Executive Committee are reported to have submitted their resignations in order to pave the way for the election of new members.
Clinton gefilte fish email is carrot atop trove
A newly declassified email from 2010 written by then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton boasts the curious subject line “Gefilte fish,” with the body of the message reading simply: “Where are we on this?”
An elaborate explanation for the strange email was offered by former Israeli ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, who explained that the backstory to the text concerns Clinton’s intervention in a flap over the US export to Israel of a key ingredient in the traditional Jewish dish.
“America signed its first-ever free-trade agreement with Israel back in 1985, but the treaty exempted certain Israeli products liable to be eradicated by their cheaper American counterparts,” Oren wrote in his recently published memoir.
The dispute was sparked when an Illinois fishery asked Clinton to get involved in allowing in carp, which was subject to a hefty tariff making exports to Israel almost impossible.
“Apples, avocados, and oranges fell into this category, and, so, too, did the carp cultivated by Galilean farmers. Which is why four hundred thousand pounds of the frozen fish were denied entry into the Promised Land…”
A compromise offered by Israel after politicians got involved — to let in two containers of fish tax free for each one that had full tax paid on it — was rejected by the American firm, according to a Haaretz report from the time.
Jerusalem if I forget you: Matisyahu set to perform at festival in Israel's capital
Matisyahu is scheduled to attend this month's Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival following the completion of his European tour, festival organizers announced on Tuesday.
"Matisyahu will join us to celebrate the closing of the festival, to sing together with us and with local musicians of all faiths from Jerusalem," the festival organizers announced.
Matisyahu said the Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival was proof that "music should and can always rise above conflicts and disputes."
"It is proof that, in practice, people everywhere are looking for similarities and commonalities. It is proof that music is free and has no limits," he said.
According to the conference organizers, Matisyahu will be joining a festival of "musicians that believe in music's ability to unite all people, who echo and support the right of all people and all religions to come to Jerusalem and celebrate themselves, and who will change Jerusalem, at least for one week, to a place where utopia has a chance to become reality."

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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