Saturday, September 05, 2015

From Ian:

43 years ago today - Israeli athletes murdered in Munich by Palestinian terrorists
It was 43 years ago to the day when a group of armed terrorists from the radical Palestinian faction Black September snuck into the section of the Olympic Village housing the Israeli athletes and took 11 of them hostage during the Munich summer games.
After the Israeli government refused the terrorists' demands to release jailed Palestinians, the athletes were then ushered to an airport, where German authorities staged a failed attempt to extricate the athletes.
All 11 Israeli hostages were killed, while a number of Black September gunmen died in gunfights with German police.
The Anti-Defamation League on Friday paid homage to the murdered athletes.
“We remember one of the darkest days in modern Olympic history and commemorate the 43rd anniversary of the tragic murder of the entire Israeli Olympic team at the hands of Palestinian terrorists,” ADL chief Jonathan Greenblatt said.
EU close to decision on labeling products from Israeli settlements
The European Union will soon decide on labeling rules to inform consumers if imported Israeli products come from Jewish settlements in occupied Palestinian territories, the EU's top diplomat said on Saturday.
Some EU countries, including Britain, already issue guidance to shops so consumers can see if goods are made in the settlements that most countries consider illegal, rather than within Israel's recognized borders.
The European Commission has to decide how to extend these guidelines to all the 28 countries of the bloc.
"The work is close to being finished but it is still ongoing," EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said after a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg.
The EU has been debating the labels for several years but has never put in place any measure, wary of upsetting attempts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. (h/t Yenta Press)
American Muslims For Palestine: Inventing a heritage
American Muslims for Palestine is looking for "Palestinian" artifacts to display at their November convention.
Their call for "coins and currency' is illustrated by the coins of the colonial power, the British Mandate.
No one doubts that the the British mandate for Palestine existed, and its unclear how exhibiting coinage that proclaims the "Land of Israel" supports the AMP claim of the historic existence of a Palestinian people.
A quick search of the New York Historical index shows that common use of the term "Palestinian" did not begin until 1970.
American Muslims for Palestine knows the true history of the coinage- in their promotional material advertising their conference they deliberately cut out the Hebrew writing.
After all, you cannot 'reclaim a narrative' with eliminating an existing one.

Canadian billionaire sues Haaretz for libel; wins first court battle
Mitchell Goldhar, owner and operator of the SmartCentres in Ontario which house the discount store chain Walmart, and who is ranked as number 847 on Forbes list of the world’s billionaires, is suing for libel.
Haaretz is an Israeli news publication which publishes a daily newspaper and has an online English and Hebrew version. It is known for its leftist liberal stance on issues, and is routinely criticized by many, including CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting) for ‘inaccurate reporting and for fueling anti-Israel bias’
In November 2011, Haaretz published an article written by David Marouni, and edited by Shlomi Barzel, entitled Soccer/Profile/Long-Distance Operator, in which Marouni insinuates that Goldhar, who also owns the Maccabi Tel Aviv Soccer Club, is a penny pincher with managerial deficiencies that could ‘doom his team’.
Goldhar claims the article is libelous of him personally and professionally, and that it has caused him to suffer damage and financial loss. He alleges that the article indicates he displays behavioral characteristics of megalomania – a form of personal disorder or mental illness, that he treats employees in an offensive manner, and that he is irrationally penny pinching with regards to employee benefits. He also states the article contains factual errors. (h/t Yenta Press)
If French Jews Trade Zionism For Safety, They Might As Well Give Up
Those who would deny the Jews the right to a country and self-defense — rights that are denied to no other people on the planet — are behaving in a prejudicial manner. That’s why those who assert that anti-Zionism is not inherently anti-Semitic are wrong.
Too often in the last generation, Jews have sought to apologize and temporize, worrying that they are offending those who seek their destruction. But the problem is not that Jews or Israelis have been too assertive but that they have failed to stand up for the justice of their cause and of Zionism. It is that ideological vacuum into which the virus of traditional anti-Semitism has merged with Muslim prejudices toward Jews and left-wing ideology that wrongly claims that Zionism is a form of imperialism rather than the national liberation movement of the Jewish people. Anti-Zionism thrives because it is branded, as a reasonable point of view rather than just a new variant of the old hate for Jews.
Rather than flee from Zionism, Jews must stand up for it. Only by defending their rights, even in the face of both verbal and physical attacks, can Jewish life be preserved in Europe. A Jewish community that hides its Zionism the same way it hides Star of David necklaces under their shirts is one that is ultimately doomed. Given the strength of the new anti-Semitism and the willingness of seemingly decent and often liberal Western Europeans to accept it, it may be too late to save European Jewry from marginalization or worse in the coming years. But if there is to be any hope European Jews — and the Americans who wish to help them — must find the courage to stand up to the enemies of Israel and the Jewish people and call anti-Semites by their right names. Anything else is merely acquiescence to hate. We’ve already seen where that can lead when European anti-Semites are appeased. Surely that’s a strategy that should never again be tried.
Iran Deal: Barbarity Wins
When Israeli Jews are murdered, often barbarically, nearly all European and American media blame Israel and find excuses for the killers.
Forgotten is that the "Palestinian people" and the "Palestinian cause" are a mythic narrative invented by the KGB and Nasser's secret service propaganda machine in the 1960s.
Hamas has an even more genocidal goal: the destruction of Israel and all Jews. For many journalists, that is also a detail not worth mentioning.
The Iranian regime claims non-stop that its main objective is the elimination of Israel and Israeli Jews. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has just published a book, Palestine, detailing his plans to destroy Israel. For most commentators, the book is of no relevance. It does not matter. Leaders of Western countries adopt the same view.
What is at stake in enriching Iran and arming it with nuclear capability is more than the fate of Israel and Israeli Jews: it is also the fate of America -- even if it does not wish to realize that goal yet --as well as values of Western civilization.
Jewish Democrat Cardin Opposes Iran Deal After Senate Approval in Hand
U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), who is Jewish and serves as the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, announced Friday that he would vote against the Iran nuclear deal.
“This is a close call, but after a lengthy review, I will vote to disapprove the deal,” Cardin wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post.
“We must stand firm in our determination to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” he wrote. “We must agree to counter Iranian support for terrorism and confront Iranian violations of ballistic missile protocols and international human rights obligations. Congress and the administration cannot dwell on past disagreements; together we must find a functional, bipartisan approach to Iran.”
Cardin’s decision, however, came after the Obama administration had already secured the 34 Senate votes necessary to prevent an override of a expected presidential veto of Congressional rejection of the deal. Nevertheless, Cardin’s “no” vote hurts the White House’s chances of gaining 41 votes in support of the agreement, which would enable Senate Democrats to filibuster and prevent President Barack Obama from needing to use his veto. Six Democratic senators remain undecided on the deal.
Cardin’s opposition to Iran deal sets back White House hopes
With all but a handful of Senate Democrats already stating their positions — and only two opposed to the deal — Cardin was the critical outstanding vote. In addition to serving as top Foreign Relations Democrat, he was an author of legislation providing for congressional review of the Iran deal. As a leading Jewish Democrat, he was also under strong pressure from segments of the Jewish community to turn down the deal, which is ardently opposed by Israel.
Cardin’s announcement came moments after Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado announced that he would back the deal. Bennet, who is up for re-election next year in a battleground state, said the agreement is flawed but represents an important step toward the objectives of preventing Iran from attaining a nuclear weapon, ensuring Israel’s security and avoiding war in the Middle East.
Bennet’s support put backers of the agreement just three votes shy of the 41 they would need to filibuster the resolution and block it from passing. But Cardin’s opposition could be enough to prevent those three additional votes from emerging. Only five senators have yet to announce where they stand: Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Maria Cantwell of Washington, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Ron Wyden of Oregon and Gary Peters of Michigan.
Several of those are seen as possible “no” votes. The other two senators opposing the deal are Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Chuck Schumer of New York.
In the House, some 110 Democrats were on record supporting the deal as of Friday, with around 15 opposed.
Booker’s Folly: Iran Deal Supporters’ Logical Conundrum
As Cardin explained in his statement the talk of no alternative is false. With resolute American leadership, the West could be rallied to reimpose sanctions that would force Iran to give up what it has obtained from a feckless Obama administration.
That will have to be the task of the next administration, but if the Democrats hold the White House, the assumption will be that there can be no going back on Iran. All the caveats and weasel words said now won’t prevent the Democrats from being held accountable for every act of Iranian terror and their progress toward a bomb.
The fact that the two parties have come to a parting of the ways on Iran is no cause for anyone on the right to celebrate even if it does expose the Democrats to future criticism. By breaking the heretofore-solid bipartisan consensus in favor of resolute action to stop Iran, the president has introduced a toxic element into the discussion of foreign policy that won’t soon be forgotten.
But those like Booker, who are voting for a deal that they publicly acknowledge to be terrible, bear the responsibility for what will follow. Booker’s right that a “point of no return” has been reached but, it is not the one he thinks. The Iran debate might have been a moment when Congress could have finally shed its well-earned reputation for dysfunction and lack of principle. But by choosing to go along with the president and his left-wing ideological cohort, senators like Booker have passed on an opportunity that may not come again. Though they made their decisions largely on the basis of short-term political considerations, the majority of Democrats who, like Booker, have twisted themselves into pretzels to vote for something they know is wrong may long be remembered for this after everything else they will be forgotten.
Israel lets Vanunu discuss its nuclear program on primetime TV
The timing of the interview Friday appeared particularly telling, as Israel internalizes that its lobbying efforts have likely failed to prevent Congress approving the world powers’ nuclear deal with Iran, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called “a historic mistake.” Netanyahu has repeatedly pledged to act alone if necessary to ensure Iran does not obtain nuclear weapons. Two weeks ago, the military censor allowed the broadcast on TV of tape-recorded conversations in which former defense minister Ehud Barak describes at least three occasions in 2010, 2011 and 2012 when Israel ostensibly came close to striking at Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Vanunu, now 60, was interviewed in a friend’s apartment in Tel Aviv. He described a gradual process by which he decided, over his years working at Dimona, that he had an obligation to reveal “to the citizens of Israel and the Middle East and the world” the nature of what he called “the powder keg” at Dimona — “the quantities, the numbers, the types.”
“I saw what they were producing and its significance,” he said, calling Israel’s nuclear program “a failure” that he had “exposed” — in an apparent critique of Israel’s entire nuclear strategy.
Saudi King Meets Obama, Reiterates Concern Over Iran Deal
King Salman of Saudi Arabia on Friday met President Barack Obama in Washington, on his first trip to the United States since assuming the throne in January, the BBC reported.
During the meeting, according to the network, the king reiterated the concern of Gulf states over the recent deal on Iran's nuclear program.
Gulf states had been repeatedly expressing their concern about the terms of the nuclear deal with Iran, warning that a final agreement could allow Iran to keep the technologies needed to produce nuclear weapons.
They did, however, say they support the deal during a recent visit to the region by Secretary of State John Kerry.
According to the BBC, Obama pressed King Salman to ensure humanitarian organizations are given unrestricted access to Yemen, where the Saudis are leading a coalition against the Houthi rebel movement.
Suspect’s Arrest Highlights Role of Iran, Hezbollah in 1996 Khobar Towers Bombing
The recently reported arrest of Ahmed al-Mughassil, the head of Saudi Hezbollah, for the 1996 bombing of the United States military barracks at the Khobar Towers complex in Saudi Arabia has once again emphasized the heavy involvement of both Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah in orchestrating the terror attack. In a recounting of the bombing published earlier this week in Foreign Affairs, Matthew Levitt, director of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, detailed the extensive Iranian support for the operation.
Mughassil, who was indicted in 2001 for his role in the attack, was forced to flee Saudi Arabia in the 1990’s for Lebanon. It was from Beirut that he began plotting the Khobar Towers bombing. The motive for the attack, according to the indictment (.pdf), was “to serve Iran by driving the Americans out of the Gulf region.”
The preparation for the bombing involved extended surveillance, in which Iran and Hezbollah both played a significant role.
Stand With Us: "Deal or No Deal?" – “Nukes or No Nukes?"

In Defense of Nuclear Deal, Obama Cites Iran’s “Pinky Swear” (satire)
Facing broad criticism for differences between US and Iranian interpretations of the recent framework agreement, President Obama cited Iran’s willingness to pinky swear as proof of their good intentions. “As every child knows,” Obama opined during a press conference, “the pinky swear represents an unbreakable commitment.”
Republicans were quick to doubt these assurances. Senator Bob Corker questioned whether there was adequate inspection to ensure Iran neither crossed their fingers nor called “backsies” before signing the framework. The Secretary of State sought to reassure the Senators. “As an experienced diplomat, John Kerry would never engage in negotiations without first declaring “no backsies.” Kerry went on to explain to the Senators the origin of the Pinky Swear in ancient China. Despite the clear lack of interest of all present, Kerry proceeded with his explanation for a solid hour and a half.
As for fingers crossing, Kerry explained that he was unwilling to risk offending Iran’s Muslim representatives by suggesting that they would engage in such a practice. As Kerry told the Committee, “John Kerry could not risk that such a request might offend the Iranians and cause them to walk away from the table.”
EU initiative: Arab countries to join Quartet in bid to restart Israel-Palestinian talks
Arab countries will join the Middle East Quartet in New York at the end of September to seek ways to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, the EU's top diplomat said on Friday, part of a new European diplomatic initiative.
Encouraged by Europe's role in securing a nuclear deal with Iran, the EU believes a broad range of countries could help, more than a year after the collapse of a US-brokered peace push envisaging a Palestinian state co-existing with Israel.
On the margins of the General Assembly of the United Nations, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia and the head of the Arab League will join the Middle East Quartet of the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia for talks.
Why the Myth of Yasser Arafat’s ‘Murder’ Will Live on
Neither did the French announcement cause Terawi to change his tune. “We’ll continue our investigation to reach the killer of Arafat until we know how Arafat was killed,” he told the French news agency AFP. For Terawi, there is no question that Arafat was killed, and that Israel, in his unforgettable phrase, is “the prime, fundamental, and only suspect” in that regard.
In common with many of the conspiracy theories that prevail in the Arab world, the appeal of the “Arafat-was-murdered” theme hasn’t been weakened by the availability of overwhelming evidence to the contrary—even though that evidence comes in the main from the French and the Russians, two countries that have always supported the PLO and the Palestinian cause. This is because evidence doesn’t come into it: What we are dealing with here, instead, is yet another manifestation of the Palestinian political strategy of demonizing Israel as a serial killer.
In this narrative, Israel’s “killing” of Arafat is another link in the long chain of murder and atrocity that was inaugurated during the Jewish state’s War of Independence in 1948-49. The PA stubbornly clings to the Arafat myth because it regards an acknowledgment of the truth as a dangerous political concession. Like the other well-known elements in the Palestinian propaganda arsenal—Israel’s very creation was an original sin, Jews have no basis to claim a connection to the land, and so forth—the Arafat myth is a convenient reminder of the racism and violence in Israel’s very DNA. And how can you make peace with an enemy like that?
One can make the case that the real losers in all this are the Palestinians themselves. At a time when Israelis on left and right are becoming more concerned by the “price tag” attacks carried out by radical Jews residing in the West Bank, the PA could demonstrate that it is a responsible peace partner by officially exonerating Israel of responsibility for a murder that wasn’t, in fact, a murder, and by calling for renewed peace talks at the same time. Needless to say, the PA doesn’t have the courage or the foresight for an initiative like that.
Arafat ‘poisoning’ case closed: an overview of 3 years of BBC News coverage
So has the self-styled “standard-setter for international journalism” covered this story with “due accuracy” and “impartiality over time”? Well, for a start, the fact that the BBC’s backgrounder on the topic has not been updated since December 2013 does not enhance the impression of commitment to accuracy.
The repeated – if not obsessive – amplification of a baseless conspiracy theory even after two teams of experts had ruled that Arafat died of natural causes certainly cannot be said to contribute to the impression of accuracy in BBC reporting and licence fee payers may well be asking themselves how the BBC can possibly justify the use of resources, air time and column space to repeatedly propagate fact-free myth-cum-folklore and why it has spent three years lending an air of plausibility to this particular conspiracy theory.
As for impartiality, the volume of coverage of the Swiss results which “moderately” supported the poisoning theory has clearly been much greater than the BBC’s reporting on the results produced by the other two teams and their continued amplification even in this latest report suggests that “impartiality over time” was not a priority in coverage of this story.
Netanyahu arrest up for debate as UK petition hits target
A petition on the British Parliament’s website urging the UK to arrest Netanyahu for “war crimes” has received more than 100,000 signatures, making the matter eligible for debate by lawmakers. The campaign reached its target on Saturday morning.
The petition demands that Netanyahu “be arrested for war crimes upon arrival in the UK for the massacre of over 2,000 civilians in 2014,” a reference to the 51-day war between Israel and Hamas that summer.
Netanyahu will visit London this coming week for talks with British counterpart David Cameron.
The petition has already been dismissed by the British government and described by a senior Tory MP as “completely absurd.”
“Under UK and international law, visiting heads of foreign governments, such as Prime Minister Netanyahu, have immunity from legal process, and cannot be arrested or detained,” the British government said in a formal response.
The House in Duma
Several Hebrew-language articles and English ones have addressed the common assumption of the police, the IDF and, most importantly, the media, that the torching of a house in Duma in which resulted in the deaths of two people, an infant and the father, was the work of Jews, most probably "hilltop youth" who were engaged in a "price tag" action. In the Los Angeles Times, all of Israel was blamed.
Sandy Tolan, associate professor at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at USC, whose book has been sharply criticized and who accuses Israel of apartheid wrote
The fire in Duma cannot be seen as a random event. Rather, it is the outcome of decades of Israel's expansionist policies in the West Bank.
Kahane's column includes a photo of the location of the house which is deep in the village:
The question raised is why would Jewish youth infiltrate a house not on the edge of the village but prefer to walk several hundred meters, past many houses with dogs and residents, to commit their heinous crime?
So, far, four fires have occurred at Duma all involving the Darawshe Dawabsheh family which raises a curious problem: who, or what, is responsible for all these flames?
Abbas calls to allow Palestinian refugees from Syria into West Bank
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called Saturday for the absorption of Palestinian refugees fleeing war in Syria into the West Bank.
According to the official Palestinian news agency Wafa, Abbas instructed the Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, to cooperate with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “in taking appropriate and necessary action to absorb displaced Palestinian refugees into the occupied Palestinian territories.”
EoZ: Abbas sentenced hundreds of Syrian Palestinians to death in 2013
From AP, January 10, 2013:
The Palestinian president said he has rejected a conditional Israeli offer to let Palestinian refugees in war-torn Syria resettle in the West Bank and Gaza, charging it would compromise their claims to return to lost homes in Israel.
Abbas said Ban was told Israel "agreed to the return of those refugees to Gaza and the West Bank, but on condition that each refugee ... sign a statement that he doesn't have the right of return (to Israel)."
"So we rejected that and said it's better they die in Syria than give up their right of return," Abbas told the group. Some of his comments were published Thursday by the Palestinian news website Sama.
Muslim Countries Refuse to Take A Single Syrian Refugee, Cite Risk of Exposure to Terrorism
Five of the wealthiest Muslim countries have taken no Syrian refugees in at all, arguing that doing so would open them up to the risk of terrorism. Although the oil rich countries have handed over aid money, Britain has donated more than Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar combined.
Between 10 and 12 million Syrians have been displaced by the bloody civil war raging in their country. Most still remain within Syria’s borders, but around four million have fled over the borders into neighbouring countries, mostly Turkey Jordan and Lebanon, and beyond.
Lebanon, which has 1.1 million Syrian refugees, shut her borders to the Syrians in June of last year. Jordan, host to another 630,000, followed suit in August last year, preventing more Syrians from abandoning their country.
Palestinians Arrested Smuggling M-16; Second Time in Two Days
Border Policemen arrested two Palestinian Arab residents of Jalazun at Tapuah on Friday afternoon, after finding an M-16 hidden in the back seat during a routine stop.
The M-16 was broken into two to hide it under the back seat of the vehicle, the Border Police said.
Both suspects were arrested immediately and taken into custody for investigation by the Israel Security Agency (ISA or Shin Bet).
Just 48 hours before, Border Police had caught a Shechem (Nablus) man in his twenties smuggling M-16 cartridges and other munitions through the same checkpoint, also hidden in the trunk of the vehicle.
Gaza Schools Expel Girls for Not Wearing Headscarves
Numerous high schools in Gaza have begun to expel female students because they did not wear headscarves on the first day of school. There is no law that states female students must wear a headscarf, but that did not stop school administrators from punishing those who do not wear one.
“I was happy to begin the new school year, and was preparing for the first day of school like any other student,” explained Marah Nashwan, an 11th grader. “When I entered the school, I was surprised to encounter three teachers asking about my veil. I told them that I do not wear one.”
The principal “threatened to ban her from school as long as she does not wear a veil.” She received a three-day suspension, but when she returned to school, officials informed her they moved her to a different school.
A report in Huffington Post Arabic claims that some principals and teachers at schools will inspect classrooms. If a female is not wearing a headscarf or has a tight uniform, they kick out the student.
BBC’s Bowen provides a stage for Syrian propaganda
The report as it stands on the BBC News website includes no qualification whatsoever to relieve audiences of the grossly inaccurate notion that the Assad regime has “never, ever” attacked Syrian civilians or of the idea that Western governments are “dispatching” people to join ISIS.
If this report was intended to contribute to meeting the BBC’s remit of building “a global understanding of international issues” by means of accurate and impartial reporting, then obviously the crude propaganda of an official of the regime which has killed tens of thousands of its own people should have been clearly signposted as such. After all, Jeremy Bowen’s position was created with the ostensible aim of providing “analysis that might make a complex story more comprehensive or comprehensible for the audience”.
In the absence of any such clarification or even the faintest of challenges to Mekdad’s bogus claims from Jeremy Bowen, the BBC News website gives audiences very little reason to prefer it over Russian or Syrian regime sponsored media sites such as RT or SANA.
Beyond the BBC narrative: Cardiff, coexistence and Israel
Cardiff council’s cancellation of a photography exhibition showing coexistence in Israel through football less than a day after it opened has recently been making news – although not, at the time of writing, on the BBC News website’s Wales or south-east Wales pages.
“The exhibition – called Jewish-Arab football: diversity and co-existence through lower-league football – was due to run for a week in Cardiff’s Central Library, but was shut down on council orders after complaints from undisclosed sources were received. […]
[Israeli] Embassy spokesman Yiftah Curiel said: “It is outrageous that the council has capitulated to people who hate Israel. The purpose of the exhibition is to celebrate racial and inter-faith harmony in Israel – something that is in stark contrast to what is happening elsewhere in the Middle East.
“Removing an exhibition showing how football promotes friendship between people of different backgrounds in Israel turns a celebration of coexistence into an ugly politics of division.”
Vice Journalists Freed, Will Be Deported from Turkey
Last Thursday, Turkish authorities arrested two British journalists working for VICE News, Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury, along with their assistant Mohammed Ismael Rasool, an Iraqi based in Turkey, and a driver who was working for them at the time of their arrest.
The journalists were working on a story about the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its ongoing clash with the Turkish government. Specifically, they were filming a battle between police and the exceptionally militant youth wing of the PKK. The local city court charged them with aiding a terrorist organization, as the PKK is officially designated—although it seems the court was more interested in accusing the reporters of working for ISIS… or maybe both ISIS and the PKK at the same time, according the network’s interpretation of the Turkish court’s accusations.
The UK Guardian reported that the allegations “centered on encryption software found on Rasool’s computer, which the Turkish authorities believe to be similar to that used by the Islamic State militants.”
Russia stalls on assigning blame for Syria chemical attacks
Russia is holding up Security Council approval to establish a new international body to assign blame for chemical attacks in Syria’s deadly conflict for the first time.
Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, who holds the council presidency in September, told reporters Wednesday that Russia had questions about the proposal by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
He also raised the possibility that the council might need a new resolution to deal with allegations that the Islamic State extremist group has used chemical weapons including mustard gas in neighboring Iraq.
The Syrian government denies using chemical weapons but the United States and other Western nations contend Syria’s government is to blame, especially for barrel bombs containing chlorine and other toxic agents dropped by helicopters, since the opposition doesn’t have aircraft.
Report: Russian Troops Fighting for Assad in Syria
Russian troops, weapons, and vehicles have been sighted in battles in Syria supporting the Assad regime, The Telegraph reported Wednesday.
The video footage claimed to show troops and a Russian armoured vehicle fighting Syrian rebels alongside President Bashar al-Assad’s troops in Latakia. …
In further indications of Russian “mission creep” in Syria, a Twitter account linked to Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch, published images of what appeared to be Russian planes and drones flying over Idlib.
And a Russian naval vessel was photographed heading south through the Bosphorus strait carrying large amounts of military equipment, according to social media and a shipping blog.

“Russia’s goal is said to be purely counterterrorist in nature and conforms to a new period of bilateral cooperation between Moscow and Tehran in salvaging a common ally—Assad—while also amplifying the fight against ISIS,” Michael Weiss wrote in The Daily Beast earlier this week. “That war, as prosecuted by a U.S.-fronted coalition for a year now, has not been going so swimmingly.”
Iran has also been actively backing Assad, extending him a $1 billion line of credit in July and recruiting foreigners, especially Afghans, to fight in support of the regime.
ISIS' New Gold Coins Aren't Even Real
Don’t invest all your money in Islamic State gold dinars just yet.
New reports suggest the jihadi group’s currency, which it calls a “blow to the capitalist financial system of enslavement,” is not pure gold as the group claims.
Niqash, a Germany-based journalism outfit covering Iraq, reported Thursday that goldsmiths and traders inside Islamic State-held territory claim the “dinar” actually consists of metal coins that are merely plated with 21-carat gold.

Islamic State had promoted its new currency in a 55-minute video released in late August. Condemning the U.S. Federal Reserve as a “Satanic financial system,” it took great pains to explain the evils of capitalism and monetary interest while advocating the restoration of gold-backed money.
Hezbollah official’s son reportedly arrested for selling arms to Islamic State
Syrian security forces have allegedly arrested the son of a high ranking Hezbollah military official on charges of buying weapons from Syrian army soldiers and selling them to ISIS members in Qalamoun.
Lebanese news site Janoubia reported that Syrian intelligence in mid-August rounded up a group of army recruits who were selling light to mid-level arms and ammunition to a Lebanese individual, who was also arrested.
The Syrian security service discovered that the detained Lebanese national—identified only as Ammar Y.Sh.—was a member of Hezbollah, a trusted source in the Bekaa told the outlet, which has an editorial line opposing the Shiite party.
Janoubia added that Ammar Y. Sh.—the eldest son of a high ranking Hezbollah military official in the Bekaa—was able to enter and exit Syria freely with the weapons due to his position in the party, which is fighting on behalf of the Bashar al-Assad regime.
The investigation by the Syrian security forces also revealed that the weapons had been smuggled through Lebanese territory to ISIS, which has a presence along certain Qalamoun fronts bordering Hezbollah controlled areas, as well as in the mountains around Lebanon’s Ras Baalbek.
Eminem’s Jewish Manager Joins Meeting With Antisemitic Nation of Islam Head Louis Farrakhan
The firebrand and often antisemitic head of Nation of Islam, Minister Louis Farrakhan, hosted a high-profile dinner with Marshall Mathers, the rapper commonly known as Eminem, and his Jewish manager, Paul Rosenberg, at a Detroit hotel during his visit to the cash-strapped Midwestern city.
While Farrakhan also held meetings with politicians, pastors and a police chief during his Detroit stopover last week, it was his meeting with the legendary hip-hop artist and his manager that drew the most attention.
Farrakhan has sparked controversy several times over incendiary and antisemitic remarks, including implying Jewish complicity in the 9/11 attacks and singling out Judaism as a “dirty religion.”
He was included in the Anti-Defamation League’s 2012 roundup of that years most antisemitic comments for statements alleging Jews control the media, banking and the legal profession, that Jews are the world’s “most violent people,” and that Zionist and Jewish forces manipulate the media for the benefit of Israel.
China's Deepening Interest in Israel
Looking to the future, extended exposure to Chinese society can help Israel understand some of the excesses it has absorbed from the West. China still revolves around the Confucian values of family, hierarchy, and respect for the past. Although these values also characterize Israeli communities from Asia and North Africa, they challenge the prevailing norms in certain elite circles of Israeli society. Can hyper-individualism, for example, be considered a Jewish value? Can freedom interpreted as emancipation from even minimal obligations to family, community, and one’s national past be considered Jewish values? Moreover, learning Chinese values can help Israelis moderate their chutzpah, something that, in day to day life, often becomes a vice.
This cultural exchange need not be a one-way street. As part of Beijing’s quest to become more innovative, the Chinese can learn that challenging one’s superiors can actually strengthen an existing system. After all, Israel’s ancient hero, Abraham, left an example for all time and all nations by arguing with God. Start-Up Nation, a bestseller in China, tells the story of how such chutzpah works in present-day circumstances.
What Ben-Gurion intuited in the 1950s, the great statesman and founder of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, saw clearly at the end of the 1990s. “The 21st century,” he said, “will see Asia recover its place in the world.” Israel, standing at the Western edge of Asia, should prepare to take its place in that world. But in order to do so, it should not concentrate exclusively on the economic aspect of the Sino-Israeli relationship. In relating to China, politics, economics, and culture need to be seen as parts of an interconnected whole. Such a holistic approach would, of course, reflect the ancient Chinese way, from traditional Chinese medicine to Sun Tzu’s Art of War to Confucius’ insistence that a true gentleman can never be a specialist. What’s more, its adoption would embody one of Ben-Gurion’s “treasures of the people of Asia.”
On stage in Jerusalem, Matisyahu is all about the music
In a brief but passionate performance on Friday night, closing the final night of the week-long Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival, Matisyahu thrilled in the city he’s sworn in song never to forget.
Taking the stage not long before the start of Shabbat, the Jewish-American reggae singer performed two songs at an event dedicated to bringing together local and international musicians to celebrate themes of faith and humanity. It was almost two weeks after he sang his hit song “Jerusalem” at a Spanish music festival, defying the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement’s push to scrub his performance.
Matisyahu touched upon the ethereal in Jerusalem as he sang “Watch the Walls Melt Down” and his famed “One Day,” which calls for an end to violence and a future of peace and understanding. He once termed it “an anthem of hope.”
Such a message certainly resonated with Israelis recovering from a tumultuous, bloodstained summer, and the politics that have recently engulfed Matisyahu’s public image were nowhere to be found inside the white stone walls of the ancient Tower of David citadel.

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