Tuesday, December 15, 2015

From Ian:

Michael Lumish: Enemies
There are at least two important reasons why the progressive-left finds it difficult to acknowledge groups like ISIS as an enemy. The first is because the United States is a powerful, largely white country, and people "of color" in the Middle East are considered underdogs and the natural instinct is to protect the underdog even, apparently, if the underdog is burning people alive in cages.
The second reason is because most progressives blame the West for the rise of political Islam due to unjust material factors imposed by Europe for centuries and by the United States since early in the twentieth. That is, they believe that western and American imperialism destabilized traditional societies, subjecting them to war, poverty, and thereby encouraged a rational hatred of the West.
There is only one major problem with this analysis. It infantilizes Arabs in an exceedingly bigoted and prejudicial manner and it fails to acknowledge the linkage between strongly held religious beliefs and behavior. ISIS, whatever else it may be, is a religious-political movement drenched in the Salafist form of Islam. When they say that they wish to carry out the violent Jihad for the purpose of establishing the Caliphate, they mean it. When they say that head-chopping is the pleasure of Allah and that if they die in Jihad they will go to paradise, they mean that, as well.
They act on their beliefs and those belief are not due to the fact that sometimes Jewish people build housing for themselves beyond the Green Line. Their beliefs are grounded in their religious faith and the primary sources of that faith are the Qur'an and the hadiths.
Elliott Abrams: A panel of military experts clears Israel of trumped-up war-crimes charges.
The latter point should be a warning for Americans, whose forces are spread across the globe and do engage in combat. If an Israeli officer can be detained today on some trumped-up charge laid by a far-left political group, an American officer can face that risk tomorrow. And the completely unprofessional and unrealistic standards of conduct being imposed on Israel today can be imposed on our forces tomorrow as well. In fact, the HLMG worries that Israeli standards of conduct are too high:
Following our professional assessment of IDF conduct, several members of the HLMG expressed strong concerns that the actions and practices of the IDF to prevent collateral damage were so extensive, over and above the requirements of the Law of Armed Conflict, that they would curtail the effectiveness of our own militaries, were they to become constraining norms of warfare enacted in customary law.
So the work of the HLMG is welcome, and not just by Israel. “Israel’s experience carries important strategic, tactical and operational lessons for other democratic nations’ armies battling some of the most brutal and dangerous adversaries since the Second World War,” the HLMG notes. This won’t stop Palestinian extremists from calling every Israeli action against terror a war crime, but it should remind us that every ally in the war against jihadi terror should defend the Israeli record — or fall prey to media and NGO critiques and assaults that will make defense against terror nearly impossible.
Video reveals 'foreign agents' subverting Israeli democracy
Zionist group Im Tirtzu has released a powerful short video to accompany the shocking report it compiled, which examines 20 Israeli NGOs that receive foreign funding and are actively involved in anti-Israel activity.
The report illustrates how much money was received by each extreme leftist organization, all of which participate in or actively create programs and media that harm Israel. Such activity includes disseminating anti-Israel propaganda across the globe, working towards preventing the punishment of terrorists, and defending murders of Israeli citizens.
The foreign funding includes the New Israel Fund (NIF), foreign governments, the EU - and over 13 million shekels from a Palestinian foundation based in Ramallah.
Matan Peleg, the CEO of Im Tirtzu, told Arutz Sheva, “We knew that these organizations were sponsored by foreign governments, but we were very surprised at the sheer amount of foreign help that is going towards these organizations. I have no words to describe how bad the situation is.”

Meretz trying to block video exposing European '
MK Zehava Galon (Meretz) is trying to get Facebook to block a video produced by grassroots Zionist movement Im Tirtzu, which singles out four leftist activists as examples of "foreign agents" who are assisting the terrorist enemy.
Galon called Im Tirtzu's video "warped and dangerous," and claims it encourages viewers to physically harm the four "human rights activists," and amounts to "a call to action." The video "accuses them of assisting terrorists and publishes their names and pictures," she claimed, "under slogans like 'they live here and they have been planted,' and 'while we fight terror, they fight us.' "
"It is getting hundreds of 'shares' at this very moment," she said.

The West’s wrongheaded analysis perpetuates the conflict
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has little to do with the 1,400-year-old Sunni- Shi’ite war, the Yemeni civil war, Iranian hegemony, the rise of Islamic State, Syrian Alawite genocide, Lebanese denominational dysfunction, Egyptian and Turkish fundamentalism, Libyan chaos, Iraqi alignment with Iran, Saudi Wahhabism, the abandonment of the Kurds, or the Islamization of Europe.
Since its creation Israel has been the convenient scapegoat to blame for all the problems of the Middle East. Generations of American foreign policy experts have misunderstood that Israel is an excuse, not a root cause of Muslim factions’ hostility toward one another and the West.
Yet as astute as Ross is in his assessment that Israel is not the primary cause of Middle East instability, he and many foreign experts are still locked into an outdated “territorial toolbox” to resolve the Middle East dysfunctionality. This wrongheaded policy prescription perpetuates conflicts throughout the region, including the Israeli-Palestinian one.
This is in part because most foreign policy experts still recommend recreating the artificially created nation-states of the Sykes-Picot lines of 1916. Just as those borders may be more of an impediment than a guideline for creating a more manageable region, the 1949 armistice lines between Israel and the Arab armies, ending Israel’s War of Independence, need to be seen for what they originally were, cease-fire lines between exhausted armies. American foreign policy experts need to stop viewing the artificially created borders as the exact foundation of regional stability.
In his book Doomed to Succeed: The US-Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama, Ross says he convinced President Barack Obama that only borders and security should be discussed between the Israelis and Palestinians. He reasoned that the issue of the right of return for Palestinian refugees is an “animating myth of the Palestinian national movement” and will never be conceded by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will never accept dividing Jerusalem, considering Israeli political realities.
Anti-Netanyahu group aligns itself with left-wing parties
Victory 2015 ("V15"), the left-wing organization that orchestrated a public campaign aimed at unseating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the March 17 election, attended a parliamentary caucus meeting led by the Zionist Union in what could be a sign of a political partnership.
Members of the group, which now operates as part of a larger movement called Darkenu ("Our Way"), were invited to take part in a special meeting of the Parliamentary Caucus for Settling the Arab-Israeli Conflict, which has members from a variety of parties. Labor Party Secretary-General Hilik Bar formed the caucus several years ago and serves as its chairman. Labor Chairman MK Isaac Herzog was also in attendance on Monday, as well as Meretz leader MK Zehava Galon, Kulanu MK Roy Folkman, and MK Yitzhak Cohen from the haredi party Shas.
Despite their overt efforts to topple the Likud-led government, V15 insisted throughout the general election campaign that they were simply operating an advocacy group whose goal was to bring about change and advance the two-state solution, and as such, they were not bound by election laws. It further said that it was in compliance with Israel's election propaganda and campaign finance laws since it did not endorse any specific candidate or party and was funded independently. But its appears that the overt cooperation between the party and the Knesset's left-wing parties could redefine its activities.
US officials: Netanyahu ‘myopic, untrustworthy, disrespectful of Obama’
A new profile of US Secretary of State John Kerry in The New Yorker casts light on the stormy relationship between the US and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who have often clashed publicly over the Iran nuclear deal and the Palestinian conflict but who also routinely refer to each other as friends.
The piece, written by the magazine’s editor in chief, David Remnick, quotes “American officials” who describe Netanyahu as “myopic, entitled, untrustworthy, routinely disrespectful toward the president, and focused solely on short-term political tactics to keep his right-wing constituency in line.”
The piece goes on to describe the “sources of Kerry’s exasperation with Netanyahu.” Quoting State Department aides, it says these “range from the injustice of settlement building in the West Bank to the way he employs Yitzhak Molcho, his lawyer and confidant, to stifle even the most inconsequential negotiation.”
Kerry Claims Assad Was Ready to Make Peace With Israel Before Arab Spring
Syrian President Bashar Assad was ready to make peace with Israel in exchange for the Golan Heights before Arab Spring protests began to spread in 2011, Secretary of State John Kerry revealed in this month’s New Yorker.
Speaking to the New Yorker along with his wife Teresa Heinz, Kerry said Assad had declared his willingness to sign a peace deal with Israel in a letter he sent to the secretary of state in 2010. Assad was ready to recognize the Jewish state and open an embassy there, he said.
“And the proof of that is a letter I still have that he wrote and signed,” said Kerry.
In exchange, Syria expected financial, medical and technological assistance from the US. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was reluctant, however, said the secretary of state, who recalled the prime minister as adamantly insisting, “‘I just cant.'”
This account of Netanyahu’s response to an overture from Assad, through the Americans, contradicts a 2012 report by Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronot, which first broke news of the 2010 Syrian-Israeli peace talks.
Ya'alon: If we'd listened to US, we'd get rockets on Tel Aviv
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Likud) reacted Tuesday to an interview with US Secretary of State John Kerry in the New Yorker, in which Kerry said he believes Israel is headed toward becoming a “unitary state that is an impossible entity to manage."
Kerry likewise warned that Israel could turn into a “big fortress."
"It's not a secret that we do not agree on everything," Ya'alon said, "including the offer that Secretary of State Kerry brought, over a year ago, to hold negotiations."
He reminded the interviewer that the US had proposed Israeli concessions when it pushed Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to hold talks last year - talks that were torpedoed in April 2014 when the PA signed a unity deal with Hamas.
"If we had implemented the American's offers," he argued, "in the area of security, for example, then today there would already be mortar shells striking Ben Gurion Airport, and rockets on Tel Aviv."
UN Amb: PA’s Erekat Paid Condolence Call to Terrorist
In the wake of the unremitting waves of Palestinian terror attacks, Israel UN Amb. Danny Danon sent a letter to UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, pointing out that, “On December 5, Saeb Erekat, a senior PA official and an Abbas top aide, paid a condolence call to the family of Palestinian terrorist,” who had been shot dead after he fired at an Israel soldier and an Israeli civilian bystander, wounding them both.
The Palestinian terrorist was also serving as a “Palestinian security” officer.
Amb. Danon stated that Erekat’s visit was proof that “such horrendous acts of terror are a direct result of the malicious incitement and violent rhetoric coming from the highest levels of leadership of the Palestinian Authority.”
Danon common-sensically observed that “When the Palestinian Authority’s chief negotiator in the peace process visits the home of a known terrorist and advocates violence, it is no wonder that Israel’s repeated calls to the Palestinians for a resumption of the peace talks fall on deaf ears.”
In his letter to the UN Secretary General and to the Security council, Ambassador Danon wrote: “I call on you to condemn the constant incitement by the Palestinian Authority and the ongoing wave of terror attacks, and to call on the Palestinian Authority to put an end to this culture of hate once and for all.”
Elliott Abrams: Don't Fold on UNESCO
When UNESCO voted in 2011 to admit the "State of Palestine" as a member despite the fact that there is no "State of Palestine," the United States suspended paying dues to the organization. This was done in accordance with U.S. law, because Congress had forbidden paying dues to any UN organization that admitted the PLO to full membership as a state.
The goal was to deter UN organizations from giving the Palestinians the diplomatic victory they wanted—being treated as a state—unless and until they negotiated a peace agreement with Israel. And it worked: since the U.S. move in 2011, other key UN organizations have not followed UNESCO down the PLO's preferred path. The United States pays about 22 percent of the budget of UNESCO and most other UN organs, so the threat of a loss of U.S. dues gets serious attention.
The old adage "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" would seem to apply here: the legislation is working. Were it to be repealed or waived, it's logical to expect other UN bodies to see that the Americans are bluffing—and to give the Palestinians full membership. Yet that is clearly where the Obama administration is heading, unless Congress blocks them.
Sweden and Israel: A History of Tense Relations
Sweden Has a Long History of anti-Israel Policies
In a retrospective view it is clear that the Löfvén-Wallström duo’s behavior comes out of a long tradition. The party they currently represent has a rich history of hectoring Israel. The change for the worse in Sweden’s policy toward Israel began when with Olof Palme became the party’s leader at the end of the 1960s. Ideologically speaking, he transferred Sweden from the Western, pro-American camp to what was then called the “peace camp” and the Non-Aligned Movement, which worked to undercut U.S. policy toward the Soviet Union. He openly supported North Vietnam and worsened his country’s relations with the United States. He also drew away from Israel and consolidated a pro-Arab policy. That policy was evidenced in anti-Israeli stances at the United Nations and in European Union institutions, and in denunciations of Israel without taking Arab aggression and unceasing terror attacks into account. Sweden was, indeed, the first European country to invite Arafat for an official visit. I well recall the harsh rebukes that were directed at Israel during the second Intifada. As the Palestinians blew up buses and restaurants, killing hundreds of Israelis, the Swedish government chose to castigate Israel and even gave a human rights prize to Hanan Ashrawi who is known for her uncompromising hostility toward Israel.
There is, then, nothing new in the stance of Löfvén-Wallström. Today, however, Sweden is more and more under Muslim influence. It appears to have reached a breaking point where it can no longer absorb the hundreds of thousands of Muslim migrants who, in light of the generous welcome Sweden has accorded such migrants over the past 40 years, are knocking on its door. Prime Minister Löfvén recently asserted that Sweden was being naïve about the risk of an attack on its soil, and that there are Swedish citizens who sympathize with the Islamic State murderers. Therefore, he said, security mechanisms would be strengthened and laws would be changed to enable monitoring and surveillance of citizens; border inspections would be tightened as well. Moreover, if necessary the bridge over the Öresund Strait, which connects Copenhagen, Denmark and Malmö, Sweden and is seen as a symbol of freedom of movement in Europe, would be closed. In addition, it appears that the budgets for immigrant absorption have run out, and the government may raise taxes in the coming year.
Did Inequality Cause ISIS?
In his focus on inequality, Piketty fails to consider a factor more potent than economics. Though many Muslims in the Middle East express dissatisfaction with their economic prospects and disdain for their political leaders, Sharia remains popular. Sharia principles are anathema to those of liberal Western regimes based on individual liberty, property rights, and limited government. Might Sharia compliance explain at least part of the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few in the Middle East? Totalitarian regimes of all political and religious stripes tend to be marked by wealth concentration and economic immobility.
More fundamentally, Piketty succumbs to the widely held belief that the global jihad can be understood through a Western prism rather than on the jihadists’ own terms. This Western prism is obscured by a materialist screen, which assumes that all peoples are ultimately driven by the same motives, desires, and ambitions—namely economic ones. We in the West believe that a love of freedom is sown into the hearts of all men, and that we all seek a good job, a nice house, and a fine education. But liberty is not a universal ideal; upper-middle-class values aren’t shared by everyone. For the pious Muslim, according to the jihadists, the great overarching goal is to bring the whole world into Dar al-Islam, the House of Islam, ruled by Sharia under Allah. Subscribers to theopolitical Islamic-supremacist ideology are expansionistic because it is their religious duty to be so.
To understand the jihadis’ goals better, Piketty and his ilk might put down their economics texts and consult a core Islamic-supremacist text such as Sayyid Qutb’s Milestones or an essential work on Sharia law like Reliance of the Traveller. They could pick up a briefing or book on jihadis’ beliefs from Stephen Coughlin, a military intelligence officer with expertise in Sharia and the global jihad. They could watch any ISIS propaganda video. Or they could simply note that in practically every jihadist attack, the perpetrators are reported to yell Allahu Akbar, not “workers of the world unite!"
Academia Abandons Paris Yet Again
The contemptible reaction of Middle East studies professors to the Charlie Hebdo and kosher market massacres in Paris earlier this year was repeated with the brutal ISIS attacks on Paris in November. The deaths of 130 people resulted not in unequivocal condemnation, but in apologias for Islam, dire warnings of “Islamophobia,” and anti-Western equivocation.
Omid Safi, director of Duke University’s Islamic Studies Center, complained about Western media coverage, given numerous ISIS attacks throughout the Middle East and North Africa, and asked inanely, “What about my pain?” While it’s hardly unusual for the Western media to focus on the West, it is Safi and his academic cohorts who routinely omit or downplay ISIS’s misdeeds so as to avoid addressing its theological underpinnings. Indeed, his hackneyed comments on that front were true to form:
Yes, the members of ISIS come from Muslim backgrounds. No, their actions cannot be justified on the basis of the 1400 years of Islamic tradition. Every serious scholar of Islam has confirmed this clearly, and unambiguously. ISIS is about as Muslim as the KKK is Christian.
University of Michigan history professor Juan Cole engaged in similar equivocation:
No religion, including Islam, preaches indiscriminate violence against innocents. . . . People resort to violence out of ambition or grievance, and the more powerful they are, the more violence they seem to commit.
Paris attacks suspect held, men grilled over Kosher market shooting
A 29-year-old man was arrested in the Paris region on Tuesday as part of the vast investigation into last month’s attacks on the city that left 130 dead, a judicial source said.
The probe has seen 2,700 police raids and 360 people placed under house arrest since the attacks by the Islamic State group, which triggered a nationwide state of emergency.
Two men are already in custody, accused of providing accommodation to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected ringleader who was killed in a major police raid in northern Paris five days after the attacks.
Eight men have been arrested in Belgium, where the attacks are thought to have been organised, and one man has been detained in Turkey on suspicion of scouting the concert hall, bars and restaurants where the attacks took place.
Syrian migrant: 'Allah is great, ISIS is greater'
Italian police have arrested a Syrian "refugee" for being a member of the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist organization, clapping him in cuffs shortly after he arrived by boat along with hundreds of migrants, media reports said Monday.
The man, reportedly in his 20s, was arrested by officers in Sicily after Italy's special operations division discovered incriminating material on his cell phone.
The suspect had videos and photographs which appeared to be of ISIS attacks along with a text message which read "Allah is great, but ISIS is even better," according to the reports.
The local Corriere di Ragusa daily said the images contained "corpses, wounds and lots of blood."
The Syrian arrived on December 4 on a wooden fishing boat carrying 500 people, and had been staying at the reception center in the southeastern Sicilian port before his arrest.
Syrian Refugees Threaten Americans — and Jews
Top Obama Administration officials have testified that Syrian refugees cannot be properly vetted. As FBI Director James Comey stated, “We can query our databases until the cows come home, but nothing will show up because we have no record of them.”
Homeland Security Counterterrorism and Intelligence Subcommittee Chairman, Congressman Peter King (R, NY), added: “There is absolutely no real way of vetting these refugees coming in. . . . there is no intelligence on the ground. . . . There’s obviously no government records we can go to. Syria is a totally chaotic country, and it’s a hotbed of al Qaeda and ISIS. And we have no idea who’s coming out of Syria. . . . it definitely puts the United States at risk.”
US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified that US intelligence officials have a “huge concern” about ISIS’ ability to infiltrate the country via Syrian refugees. A top Lebanese minister warned that two in every 100 Syrian migrants are ISIS fighters. An ISIS operative admitted that 4,000 ISIS fighters have been smuggled into Western nations, hidden among refugees. Congressman Peter King wrote “we know that ISIL will attempt to infiltrate its members into the United States with these refugees. . . . ISIS perpetrators of the Paris massacre traveled hidden among refugees.”
FBI Director Comey also testified that the intelligence community is concerned that ISIS has the capability to manufacture fraudulent passports. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) intelligence sources report that ISIS has passport printing machines, blank passport books, and Syrian citizen’s biographical data for stealing identities.
Moreover, many Syrians support ISIS and hate Jews. An Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies poll of 900 Syrian refugees in November showed that a third of Syrian refugees are ISIS sympathizers, and 13% support ISIS.
ISIS murdering kids with Down syndrome - just like the Nazis: Report
In a chilling parallel with Nazi Germany, ISIS militants have reportedly ordered the extermination of children with Down syndrome within their caliphate.
The fatwa was ordered by a judge in ISIS’ Shariah court, reports Mosul Eye, an Iraqi activist group that reports on atrocities from within the ISIS stronghold.
“We recorded more than 38 confirmed cases of killing babies with congenital deformities and Down syndrome, aged between one week to three months. They were killed by either lethal injection or suffocation,” the group reported on its Facebook page.
The group posted the news with the hashtag: #IAmDisabledTheCaliphWillKillMe.
Most of the children were reportedly those of foreign fighters who married Iraqi, Syrian and Asian women.
Under the Nazi’s “racial hygiene” program Aktion T4, more than 300,000 people with physical and mental disabilities were killed at extermination centres in psychiatric hospitals across Germany and Austria.
UN watchdog closes probe into Iran nukes, drawing Israeli ire
The UN atomic watchdog’s board Tuesday closed a long-running probe into Iran’s past efforts to develop nuclear weapons, removing an important obstacle to implementing July’s landmark deal with big powers, diplomats said.
A resolution approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency’s 35-nation board of governors said the investigation was “implemented in accordance with the agreed schedule” and that this “closes the board’s consideration of the matter.”
Iran had warned that unless this happened, it would not implement key parts of July’s accord with six major powers to scale down its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Tuesday welcomed the decision by the UN atomic watchdog’s board to end a long-running probe into Tehran’s past efforts to develop nuclear weapons.
What About Iran's "JCPOA"?
Iran's recent missile tests have, been undermining the rationale of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which the P5+1 signed with itself. If Iran is concerned that its missile tests might have violated multiple UN Resolutions, a paltry detail such as that clearly has not bothered anyone before, so why should it bother anyone now?
The media's emphasis on the JCPOA has sadly neglected any in-depth coverage of Iran's own comprehensive plan of action, which seems to consist of developing nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles and related systems to deliver them.
While Western diplomats were congratulating themselves on their JCPOA arrangement, Iran sent a "slap-in-the-face" signal to the Free World by launching an Emad ["Pillar"] ballistic missile on October 10. On December 8, State Department spokesperson John Kirby indirectly acknowledged the launch of a second ballistic missile, fired on November 21. Kirby was quick to point out that test was not a violation of the JCPOA.
The launches are violations, however, of UN Security Council Resolution #2231, which bans ballistic missile tests by Iran. Although these tests do not defy the letter of the JCPOA, they do defy the spirit of it. Even though the initial missile test was denounced by the U.S. and allied UN representatives, no action has so far been taken against Iran. The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, did condemn the October test and probably will also condemn the second test. But if this is outrage, that may be the extent of it.
What seems clear is that Iran's Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC), which controls the ballistic missile program, is attempting to goad the West into additional punitive action against the Islamic Republic. Such response would serve to strengthen the hardline opposition to the JCPOA in Iran. Further, if the United States does nothing but issue condemnatory rhetoric, it will be interpreted by the regime as additional confirmation that the U.S. desires a nuclear agreement at virtually any cost.
The First Strict Implementation Test of the Iran Nuclear Deal
The nuclear deal provides tools for the IAEA to carry out such an investigation above and beyond those provided by the Non-Proliferation Treaty and its additional protocol. These tools are not as strong as they could be, but they nonetheless should be utilized to their fullest. The IAEA needs financial and human capital resources for this work, especially from the United States, Britain, and France, which have expertise on nuclear weapons. Those countries can also work together to provide intelligence and expertise to assist the IAEA.
If the IAEA board does not close the investigation Iran may threaten to delay implementation of its obligations under the nuclear agreement. Should that happen, the U.S. and its allies should make clear their readiness to withhold sanctions relief until Iran proceeds with implementation–stressing that continuing the investigation is not inconsistent with the nuclear agreement but in line with Iran having forsworn such activities as part of the deal. If Russia, China, or other members of the IAEA’s board of governors object, the U.S., France, Britain and like-minded allies should not hesitate to use their majority on the board to force the matter.
Iran has refused to take either of the two steps that could provide real assurance that it has forsaken its desire for nuclear weapons: abandoning uranium enrichment altogether and cooperating with the IAEA’s investigation by providing a full disclosure of past nuclear activities and the access required to verify its completeness. Continuing to insist on a complete investigation into Iran’s nuclear weapons activities is the first test of international determination to strictly implement the nuclear deal. Failing this test would signal to Tehran that the West will allow it to dictate the terms under which the agreement is implemented in the coming years. It would also undermine the credibility of international non-proliferation mechanisms, encouraging other would-be nuclear powers that they can escape scrutiny. If these mechanisms are to succeed in deterring Iran and others in the future, their integrity must be zealously guarded.
Iran Bans Import of Over 200 American Goods
The Iranian regime directed regional authorities across the country to implement a ban on the import of over 200 American products, Iran’s semi-official PressTV news service reported on Monday.
The Trade Promotion Organization of Iran has published the names of 227 goods subject to an import ban and sent the list to authorities in all the 31 provinces across the country in a directive to implement the boycott.
The list includes an assortment of goods, including chewing gums, cigarettes and appliances in addition to defense equipment such as tanks and armored vehicles, the Tasnim news agency reported on Monday.
The labeling comes in the wake of an order last month by Minister of Mine, Industry and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh for a ban on entry of US consumer goods.

The list was drawn up in response to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s directive to block American imports.
‘Iran Not a Threat to Israel’: BBC Upholds Complaint
In July, HonestReporting asked readers to take action following an interview on BBC World Service with then Israeli Minister of Science, Technology and Space, Danny Danon.
Referring to the announcement of an Iranian nuclear deal, Danon stated that Israel was “keeping all options on the table.” The presenter, Razia Iqbal, asked Danon to explain. Her reaction was both shocking and disturbing:
But you’re not under threat by Iran. Nobody in Iran has threatened you for a very long time. You’re harking back to a time when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threatened Israel directly.
We provided plenty of evidence of Iranian threats against Israel to demonstrate just how ignorant the interview was and encouraged readers to sign our petition on this issue.
Finally, the BBC Editorial Complaints Unit has ruled on the issue and the outcome is favorable:
Court orders audit of parole conditions for freed spy Pollard
A judge said Monday the US Parole Commission will have to explain the reasons it wants to monitor computer use and trace the whereabouts of convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard.
Judge Katherine Forrest said at a hearing in Manhattan federal court that a one-page explanation issued so far is insufficient.
She said she wants to know whether Pollard, released from prison last month, still possesses top-secret information that could endanger national security.
Defense lawyers for the former US civilian Navy analyst say information he possessed before he served 30 years in prison for spying on behalf of Israel is of no value. They say strict monitoring and a curfew are unreasonable.
Moving: 1,200 schoolgirls sing for Pollard to come to Israel
At the religious middle school Ulpanit Yeshurun in Petah Tikva, 1,200 young female students sang in honor of Jonathan Pollard, calling for him to be allowed to make aliyah and immigrate to Israel after being freed from 30 years behind bars in the US last month.
The school said that the moving rendition of the song for Pollard is only the start of a campaign by the students calling for Pollard to be allowed to come to Israel, in a call they hope will catch on and be vocally picked up by Israelis nationwide.
The schoolgirls are preparing to send letters asking that the prime minister and governmental ministers demand Pollard's full release. They also plan to write to US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, asking that he too work to let Pollard go.
EU Doubles Down on Labeling of Israeli Products
Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, said the EU is standing firm behind its recently implemented initiative to remove “Made in Israel” labels from Israeli products originating beyond the 1967 lines.
The EU is “united on these technical guidelines on the indication of origin, which is in no way a boycott,” Mogherini said during talks with EU foreign ministers on Monday.
Mogherini added that the EU will remain engaged in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and in “broader bilateral relations with Israel,” despite the Israeli government’s own decision to halt the EU’s peace process involvement.
“There is full unity and solidarity among member states and among European institutions on that,” said Mogherini.
Yesh Atid releases anti-BDS booklet
Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid distributed information pamphlets to Israelis traveling abroad from Ben-Gurion Airport on Tuesday morning, presenting arguments to use against the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
"Against the lies circulating [about Israel], this is to tell the truth," Lapid told travelers.
"Israel is under constant attack by lies and slander, all over the world," he added. "Today we are launching a campaign to protect our country and recruit the best citizens of the country who fly abroad."
"We have prepared a small booklet which fits in your pocket with a number of points that can win any argument," he continued. "In fact, every citizen can become an ambassador and protect Israel at home and abroad."
"You cannot leave the arena where they defame us without giving them a response."
The booklet not only gives points against common BDS arguments, Maariv reports, but also tools and tips to use social networking and the internet to combat lies about Israel.
Daphne Anson: In London, Israel-Haters Shout A Sour Slogan (video)
Here's a bunch of Israel-haters again, this time wearing festive gear, chanting a sour slogan against the Israeli Sabon shop in Covent Garden; at least on this occasion we are spared those alternative carols they were screeching unmelodiously last time we saw them.
Worry not; most of the Santas in the video were not part of the silly stunt.
IsraellyCool: A Lesson In Colloquial British
Here’s a new colloquial British expression for you to learn: “to trouser”
Sir Gerald slipped in, trousered a couple of doughnuts and slipped out again very quickly.
This refers to the “Right Honourable” Sir Gerald Kaufman who briefly attended the Board of Deputies of British Jews’ Chanukah party in the UK. The “speech” referred to in the video is his most recent anti-Israel calumny in which he clearly invoked the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
“To trouser” is a transitive verb meaning to accept or take a payment and put it, usually quickly, in ones trouser pocket and leave. It’s often associated with a bribe though clearly Chanukah doughnuts don’t quite fit that category.
IDF Blog: 4 Uplifting Moments from IDF History
Individual moments can have an extraordinary impact. Certain moments in our history have turned into symbols of hope, courage and perseverance. Here, we have gathered four incredible moments that have made a lasting mark on our history.
Reaching the Red Sea – War of Independence
On March 10, 1949, the IDF reached the southernmost city of Eilat during the last operation of the War of Independence. The city fell into Israeli hands without a fight. When the soldiers realized they didn’t have an Israeli flag, General Avraham Adan, pictured above, made one from a white sheet with two ink stripes and a Star of David taken from a first aid kit. This moment symbolized the end of the War of Independence and lives on as a symbol of Israel’s victory.
Returning to the Western Wall – Six Day War
In June 1967, Yitzhak Yifat (center), an IDF paratrooper, was one of the first soldiers to reach the Western Wall after battling the Jordanian forces in the Old City of Jerusalem. “I was very moved by what we accomplished that day,” he said. “I realized how important it was.” 48 years later, the moment lives on in this iconic photograph.
Crossing the Suez Canal on a Floating Bridge – Yom Kippur War
After a brutal Egyptian attack, the IDF knew it had to respond. One problem stood in the way. The IDF had to find a creative solution to move soldiers, tanks and equipment across the Suez canal. Brig. Gen. David Laskov created a brilliant solution – a floating bridge made from foam rollers that would support the weight of tanks and heavy weaponry. This single, improvised, technological creation changed the course of the war and put the IDF back on the offensive.
Rescuing Israeli Hostages Held 2,500 Miles Away – Operation Entebbe
On the 4th of July, 1976, Israeli commandos launched a daring raid into Uganda to rescue 104 Jews that were taken hostage on an Air France flight en route to Paris from Tel Aviv. After a week of planning, 100 soldiers stormed the airport where the hostages were being held and airlifted 102 hostages to safety. This mission evidenced IDF’s commitment to being the defender of the Israeli people. The success of Operation Entebbe has inspired and intrigued the world ever since.
Retired IDF dog now cheers up senior citizens
Kila is a special dog. During her years of service in the IDF's special forces canine unit Oketz, she participated in many daring rescue missions. But even after being released from the military, she still does good work. These days, Kila and her owner volunteer at an assisted living facility, putting smiles on the faces of senior citizens.
Kila, a Belgian Shepherd, was brought to Israel and to Oketz at the age of three months. As a rescue dog, she helped extract people in complex operations in the West Bank, as well as disaster areas around the world. She aided in rescuing people after natural disasters in Haiti and Turkey, and was flown to Romania after an IDF helicopter went down there. In 2008, she was retired from service.
Kila found a home with Tova Roisman, the mother of the commander with whom she served in Oketz. Today, at the age of 13.5, she takes part in a program called Petting Dogs, which is part of a project called Friends in Old Age, sponsored by the Joint and Matav organizations.
Elton John to perform in Tel Aviv on May 26
The legendary British singer-songwriter Sir Elton John will return to Israel for the fourth time to perform on May 26 at Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park, it was confirmed on Monday.
The more than two-and-a-half-hour performance will form part of John’s Wonderful Crazy Night Tour 2016 — the name of his forthcoming new album, according to promoter Shuki Weiss.
Prior to John’s most recent performance at the Ramat Gan Stadium in 2010, pro-Palestinian activists had tried to stop him coming to Israel. He told 45,000 fans, “Shalom, we are so happy to be back here! Ain’t nothing gonna stop us from coming, baby!
“Musicians spread love and peace, and bring people together. That’s what we do. We don’t cherry-pick our conscience,” he added.
Itzhak Perlman Awarded $1 Million Genesis Prize
It’s been quite a year for Itzhak Perlman, and deservedly so.
In August, the Israeli-born “patron saint of concert violinists,” turned 70 years old, just a few months after a 25-CD box set was released consisting of his most prominent decades (the 1960’s through the 1990’s). In November, Perlman was among the many awarded with the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House, where he took selfies with Barbra Streisand and Steven Spielberg.
Perlman’s winning streak continued on Monday when he learned he would be awarded the Genesis Prize, which is being branded as “The Jewish Nobel Prize.” The prize, which was established by Russian philanthropists, “honors individuals who have attained excellence and international renown in their chosen professional fields, and who inspire others through their engagement and dedication to the Jewish community and/or the State of Israel.” Word.
Last year’s winner was Michael Douglas, who spoke of his Jewish pride when he received the award. The inaugural award went to former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.
IsraelDailyPicture: Jerusalem Was Captured by the British 98 Years Ago. New Photos from the Ottoman Archives
The latest batch of photographs released this week by the Ottoman Imperial Archives includes several treasures showing historical sites and events in Palestine. The picture above shows two cavalrymen from the British forces hoisting a Turkish flag on their bayonets.
In the past, we featured several pictures found in the Library of Congress (LOC) and Monash University (Australia) archives showing the surrender of Jerusalem to the British forces in December 1917. The LOC picture of two British sergeants accepting the surrender flag from Jerusalem officials (not Turkish officers) is one of the most iconic photographs of World War I in Palestine. The picture was taken by a photographer from the American Colony Photo Department; the flag was a sheet take from an American Colony bed.
The Monash archives provided a picture of Turkish soldiers hurrying into the Jaffa Gate of Jerusalem's Old City on December 9, 1917, "driven from the outlying hills by our men," the caption reads. From the Old City they continued their retreat toward the Dead Sea.

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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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