Tuesday, May 10, 2016

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: Time for a new Israeli diplomatic initiative
To this end, Israel should announce that given the Palestinians’ rejection of the rationale of land-for-peace which stands at the root of the long-defunct peace process, and given the absence of any Palestinian constituency that supports the two-state formula under which a Palestinian state will live at peace with the Jewish state, Israel no longer believes it is possible to effectively govern Judea and Samaria through a military government.
As a result, it is enacting a process of gradually applying Israeli law to these areas, to ensure their proper governance under Israel’s liberal legal code. The process will begin in areas not under the direct jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority.
That is, the new initiative will first be implemented in what is commonly known as Area C.
We can take for granted that such an act by Israel will be universally rejected and condemned by the international community. But at least it will change the narrative.
If Israel takes this initiative, for the first time since 1993 we will be able to stop granting legitimacy to Fatah, the terrorist group that runs the PA.
Last week, even Canada’s Federal Court recognized that Fatah is a terrorist group. And yet, so long as Israel continues to bow and scrape and justify its existence to the French, to the Obama administration, to the UN and the EU, the obvious fact that the Palestinians writ large are the obstacle to peace will remain largely hidden from view.
An Israeli initiative to assert its legal rights to Judea and Samaria is the only way to break the juggernaut of the international lynch mob. The time to act is now.
The Nakba: Who wanted to destroy whom?
On the eve of the 68th anniversary of Israel's independence, the Nakba is again knocking at the gate, a mark of Cain on behalf of itself. Its role is to embody eternal anguish, its singular purpose is to point an accusatory finger at the burgeoning state of Israel, as if to say: You have committed a crime, you have distorted, robbed, oppressed. The land, which you have dressed in concrete and cement, gardens and forests, does not belong to you, it is ours; your existence is a catastrophe, and we will keep the key to the home from which we fled/were expelled, a testimony of our intention to return to that home and remove you from it.
This is the Nakba, an objection to the State of Israel, an eternal rejection of its right to exist as the national home of the Jewish people.
In Arabic literature the word "Nakba" -- which was chosen to grant the "disaster that befell the Palestinian people" equal weight to the Jewish Holocaust -- means a natural disaster, something akin to a strong earthquake or violent volcano outburst.
Until, that is, Constantin Zureiq, a professor of Middle Eastern studies at the American University of Beirut, linked the Nakba to the existence of the State of Israel in his 1948 book, "The Meaning of Disaster." The military defeat suffered by Arab states, Zureiq wrote, is nothing short of "a disaster in all that it entails. ... Seven Arab states declare war on Zionism in the land of Israel ... seek to negate the partition and defeat Zionism, but abandon the battle after losing a considerable portion of the land, even the portion that was 'given' to the Arabs."
Kay Wilson: Building Up The Nakba Myth Condemns Arabs To Perpetual Victimhood
The Palestinian Authority has adopted an identity of suffering to alert the world to their plight. Behind this ostensibly harmless narrative of misfortune is a subtle and underrated form of political terrorism that is fortified with a mendacious propaganda campaign that is so effective that lies are now truth, fact is now fiction, and the Palestinians have lost sight of who they are. By rewriting history, they attempt to invoke not just self-defeating perpetual sympathy, but inflame the fury of those who harbor the world’s oldest hatred.
Into their tapestry of victimhood they have woven centuries of ignorance and hate. They have brilliantly unstitched the historical, Jewish, Jesus of Nazareth—crucified by Rome for insurrection—and darned him afresh onto their own ersatz chronicles as a “poor Palestinian,” who suffered at the hands of “the Jews.” Jesus’ poverty, hardship, and rewritten cultural identity is now one with theirs. Similarly, the Holocaust, that mass industrial murder of six million Jewish people and the ultimate human atrocity, has been nefariously captured by the talons of the Palestinian Authority. The spurious and lethal certitude that every single Palestinian amounts to nothing but an emaciated, caged refugee in a Zionist imposed ghetto, surrounded by a 28-foot wall that conceals genocide, is a chilling, wicked and audacious blood libel.
The formation of this “suffering Palestinian” is a sinister narrative that perversely seeks to claim victimhood by exacerbating hatred toward the Jewish people and the State of Israel. It absconds with the sufferings of Jewish history to gain political clout, and carves victimhood out of a stealthy narrative that mirrors, undermines, and purposefully inflames an unreformed Islamist East and hoodwinks a largely anti-Israel West. Behind the phenomenal “suffering success” is the slick, well-oiled, and brilliantly executed directional narrative of the Palestinian Authority.
At the very least, to encourage the Palestinians to embrace an identity of unabated misery and cling to the notion of victimhood robs them of their quest for a genuine identity and cements them in generic and disingenuous misery. As a person who has suffered greatly, I cannot accept the endorsement of the perpetual psychological victim of any individual as either true, moral, or helpful.

Masked Palestinian terrorists at large after stabbing 2 elderly women in Jerusalem
A peaceful morning stroll by a group of elderly Jewish women on a promenade overlooking sweeping vistas of Jerusalem quickly devolved into a bloody nightmare, when two young masked Palestinian terrorists stalked and stabbed two of the octogenarians in their backs.
The craven attack, which ironically took place adjacent to the “Peace Forest,” occurred at approximately 8:30 a.m., when police said that five women, all in their 80s, were walking together on Armon HaNatziv’s popular Haas promenade.
“The two terrorists stabbed them in the back multiple times, both in the upper body, and fled the scene toward the adjacent neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber,” said Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld shortly after the stabbings.
“Police and emergency units rushed to the scene and gave immediate medical assistance before transferring both women to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in moderate condition. While a forensics team searched the area, police set up roadblocks to find the terrorists.”
Roughly one hour later, Rosenfeld said Border Police arrested two suspects matching the description of the assailants. However, after extensive questioning, both young men were released without charges.
Hunt still on for Arab terrorists who stabbed elderly women
Police have released from custody two Arab youths detained this morning in connection to a terrorist stabbing attack, after ascertaining that the pair were not in fact involved in the attack.
A citywide manhunt is still on in Jerusalem for the terrorists who carried out the attack earlier Tuesday morning, which left two elderly Jewish women moderately wounded.
The latest stabbing attack to hit the Israeli capital - which comes amid an apparently lull in Arab terrorism - was particularly shocking in that the two young Arab terrorists specifically targeted a group of elderly women in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood, stabbing them multiple times before fleeing the scene.
The two victims are currently hospitalized in stable condition.
Teen Palestinian Pisgat Ze'ev attacker convicted; Attorney: He just wanted to scare Jews
The 14-year-old Palestinian who tried to stab two Israelis in Pisgat Ze'ev in October along with his only slightly older cousin was convicted of two counts of attempted murder by the Jerusalem District Court on Tuesday.
According to the indictment, the minor, who was only 13 at the time of the attack, and his cousin, who was only 15 at the time, were drawn to act violently in an act of martyrdom with the intent of killing Jews.
The indictment said the then 13-year-old identified with Hamas and the plight of the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank.
His lawyer, Lea Tsemel, vowed an appeal, saying that the minor, himself, had not actually stabbed anyone and just wanted to scare the Jews. She accused the court of convicting him of attempted murder instead of a lesser charge because of the current charged atmosphere in which any Palestinian teen who walks around with a knife could be shot or convicted of attempted murder.
"I was with my cousin, but I didn't stab anyone," the minor eventually told authorities. "I even pleaded with him not to stab anyone. I didn't want to go through with it even though at first we left the house with the intention of stabbing Jews. This was after my cousin persuaded me to come with him. I was just afraid."
PA media presents 'proof' of 'Israeli incitement'
Official Palestinian Authority (PA) media incites to terrorism against Israelis on a regular basis, but that didn’t stop the PA-based Wafa news agency from publishing a report about alleged “Israeli incitement” against Palestinians in the Israeli media.
The report, which covers the period from April 15 to 28, noted expressions of "incitement" in the NRG news website, the Israel Hayom newspaper, the Ma'ariv newspaper and Kikar HaShabbat news website.
As proof of this alleged “incitement” and “racism” in the Israeli media, the report quoted excerpts from an article written by Rabbi Nir Ben Artzi which appeared in Kikar HaShabbat on April 22 and in which he wrote, "The Palestinians and Hamas pretend they are miserable so that others take pity on them.”
“The Creator is fighting for the people of Israel,” wrote Ben Artzi in the article, claiming that the developments in the Middle East are “signs of the coming of the Messiah.”
Further proof of the alleged “Israeli incitement” was presented in a quote of an article by Gonen Ginat which appeared in Israel Hayom on April 22, and in which Ginat described the Palestinian culture of expressing joy over the burning of Jews following the suicide terrorist attack on a bus in Jerusalem.
IsraellyCool: Palestinian And Israeli Children Dress-Up – Not The Same Thing
The implication is clear: there is a moral equivalence between the palestinian children dressed as terrorists, and Israeli children dressed as IDF soldiers.
My response to this is just as clear: there isn’t.
Leaving aside the fact Baker’s source Lisa Goldman had to go back almost two years to find that photo of the Israeli kids, when palestinian children dress up as terrorists, they do so to mimic their role models who deliberately murder Jews (not to mention others who get in their way), and take great pleasure in doing so. Killing is glorified. For instance, in a recent palestinian children’s play, a girl pretended to stab Jews, while a boy dressed as a masked terrorist massacred the soldiers with a replica semi-automatic weapon.
In contrast, when the Israeli children dressed up as IDF soldiers, they did so to mimic those defending them and their fellow Israeli civilians. As you can see from the photo above, they are running around against the invisible enemy. There is no portrayal of this enemy or pretending to kill them in grisly detail. The emphasis is on defense, and there is no joy to be had from killing them.
Obama Admin Under Pressure for Lax Approach to Terror Financers
The Obama administration is facing criticism over what some lawmakers say is an overly permissive attitude toward terrorism financing by foreign nations, according to new congressional communication obtained by the Washington Free Beacon that presses U.S. officials to hold these nations accountable for enabling terror.
Congressional sources and experts accused the administration of going soft on Middle Eastern allies such as Qatar that are known to be chief financiers of global terrorism movements like al Qaeda and Hamas, according to conversations with sources.
The permissive environment has allowed these countries to continue receiving vast amounts of U.S. taxpayer aid while facilitating the transfer of money to rogue terror entities, some of which are currently designated by the United States as global terrorists, according to these sources.
Some Obama administration officials welcome Qatar’s role as an emissary to these terrorist groups, according to conversations described by sources to the Free Beacon.
In the latest bid to force the administration to crack down on this behavior, Sen. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) petitioned the Treasury Department on Tuesday to adopt a more aggressive stance against Qatar’s terror financing, according to a letter sent to the administration and obtained by the Free Beacon.
Kerry won't say if US to attend Paris peace talks conference
US Secretary of State John Kerry waffled over whether the US would attend a conference May 30 in Paris to force talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) Monday, shortly before a meeting with French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.
"Well, it depends on timing and when we do it," he began. "We’re going to talk about that. It’s one of the things we’ll chat about."
Kerry added that the US remains "supportive of efforts to try to kick start the process"
"We all understand the gravity of the situation in the region, and we’re very much cooperative in all of our efforts to try to make positive things happen," he added.
Washington has yet to make a clear commitment about the conference, which would see Paris direct talks after years of US failures to mediate a peace deal.
Clinton calls BDS movement 'harmful'
On the eve of a bid to have her church divest from companies allegedly profiting from Israel’s control of the West Bank, Hillary Clinton reasserted that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement was counterproductive to peace.
Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, responded on Sunday to an appeal from the Israel Action Network, an affiliate of the Jewish Federations of North America, ahead of the quadrennial United Methodist Church General Conference starting Tuesday in Portland, Oregon.
In a two-page reply Clinton, who was raised and remains a practicing Methodist, does not directly mention the church, although it is the focal point of the letter to her from the Israel Action Network.
But she says: “I believe that BDS seeks to punish Israel and dictate how the Israelis and Palestinians should resolve the core issues of their conflict.”
The position is not new for Clinton; she rejected BDS most recently in a March speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Clinton says her support for Israel dates back to the early 1980s, when she first visited the country as first lady with President Bill Clinton, and continued through her term as U.S. senator from New York from 2001 to 2009 and then as secretary of state in President Barack Obama’s first term.
Israel boycott campaigner ‘prevented from travel’
Israeli authorities have refused to renew the travel documents of a leader of a campaign to boycott the Jewish state, officials said Tuesday.
Omar Barghouti is one of the most prominent campaigners in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which campaigns for a global boycott of Israel until, among other demands, the country withdraws from all territories claimed by the Palestinians, as well as the Golan Heights.
Israel charges that the boycott campaign is prejudiced — a claim BDS leaders have denied.
Barghouti was informed last month that the Interior Ministry would not renew his travel documents, which are usually granted to permanent residents of Israel who do not have full citizenship.
PM reveals: Israel threatened to send forces to free security officials from besieged Cairo embassy
The threat to send Israeli commandos to extract Israeli embassy officials from the besieged embassy in Cairo in September 2011 is what eventually compelled then Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi to send in crack Egyptian forces to rescue the men, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday.
Netanyahu, speaking at a ceremony at the Foreign Ministry commemorating Israeli diplomats killed abroad, recalled the siege of the embassy when six security officials were holed up behind a metal door in a safe room in the building, while an angry mob rampaged through the premises.
“A mob came to slaughter our people, and we used all the tools at our disposal that night, including the threat of rescue operation by the IDF, which finally tipped the balance and led the Egyptian forces -- then under the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood, together with careful coordination from here -- that ultimately led to the successful conclusion of this event,” he said.
This is believed to be the first time Israel acknowledged that it threatened to send in Israeli forces to extract the men. Up until now the narrative was that the Egyptians acted thanks to the direct intervention of US President Barack Obama.
Serious Damage to Solomon’s Pools Still Neglected by Palestinian Authority
One of the largest and most impressive architectural projects ever built by King Herod in the Second Temple era — the reservoir that fed water to the Second Jewish Holy Temple of Jerusalem — is falling apart.
But because it is under the control of the Palestinian Authority, making repairs to the archaeological wonder called “Solomon’s Pools” is not as simple as it seems.
The site comprises a three-part water reservoir located in the southern section of what is known today as the Arab village of Al Khader, just south of Bethlehem.
The site is therefore located in “Area A” of the Palestinian Authority and completely under its control; as a result, one must coordinate a visit there with the Israeli army.
The main pool is 16 meters deep and 170 meters long, and it was barely half a century ago when local residents stopped using the pool for agricultural irrigation. Before the 1967 Six Day War, residents of eastern Jerusalem were drawing water from the pools as well.
With Israel’s okay, Palestinian cops step up operations near Jerusalem
The Palestinian Authority’s police force, in cooperation with Israel, has significantly increased its operations in villages and towns around Jerusalem, Palestinian sources said this week.
The increased activity is taking place in West Bank areas, designated as Area B, that are formally under Palestinian civil control and Israeli security authority, the sources told The Times of Israel. PA police are cracking down in these areas on domestic crime, such as drug dealing and car theft, and have also carried out raids on terror groups and confiscations of illegal arms.
The areas where the PA police have increased their activities include Anata, Eizariya, Abu Dis and especially al-Ram, on Jerusalem’s northern outskirts, close to the Jewish neighborhood of Neve Yaakov.
All of these areas are supposed to be under full Israeli security control, but Israel is allowing Palestinian police to operate there as well, the sources said.
Not at All Subtle: The US Attitude Towards Judea and Samaria
According to an AP report, the United States will “endorse a tougher tone with Israel” and will publish a report that “takes the Jewish state to task over settlements, demolitions and property seizures on land the Palestinians claim for a future state.” The Palestinian Authority also will be “chastise[d],” although “its primary focus will be a surge of construction in Jewish housing in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.”
This move, as AP has it, “marks a subtle shift.”
Anyone who follows the postings of the US Consulate General in Jerusalem knows well that the American attitude towards Jews living in the areas of the former Mandate for Palestine not currently under full Israel sovereignty is basically one of near total disregard and oblivion.
For example, its Facebook page is in two languages only: English and Arabic. Considering that the Israeli population under the consulate’s jurisdiction, Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria is over a million (Jerusalem 800,000+ and Judea and Samaria almost 500,000), that’s a significant overlook.
Besides consular services for US citizens, which number over 80,000 who are registered and who reside in the territory presided over, non-Americans also benefit from a variety of outreach programs the consulate provides. These include: exchange programs, Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), American Corners, speakers & specialists, Arabic book program, grant opportunities, cultural programs (music, art, sports, performances, exhibits, etc.), learning English and two America Houses in Jerusalem and Ramallah.
US announces $50 million aid program for Gaza Strip
The United States has announced a $50 million aid program for the Gaza Strip.
US officials said Monday that the money will be used over five years to provide basic humanitarian assistance and create jobs. The money will be distributed by the US Agency for International Development in partnership with Catholic Relief Services.
The US Consul General in Jerusalem, Donald A. Blume, said the effort is meant to address “the dire needs that are obvious in Gaza.”
Gaza’s economy has sharply declined since the Islamist Hamas organization took over the coastal territory nearly a decade ago. Unemployment there is estimated to be over 40 percent.
Sweden forks over $8 million for 'Palestinian refugees'
The Swedish government on Monday announced a grant of $8 million to UNRWA, the UN body established only to deal with the roughly 800,000 Arabs who left Israel during the 1948 War of Independence and their now roughly 5 million descendants.
Back in 2015 Sweden donated $45 million for UNRWA, which claims that it still needs $817 million in order to provide the minimum services for "Palestinian refugees" in the Middle East.
UNRWA sources have said that over 60% of the "refugees" in Syria have been uprooted from their homes and rely on UNRWA aid in order to survive. The number of Palestinian Arabs in Syria was measured at 450,000 before the bloody civil war broke out there in 2011.
UNRWA likewise claims that around a quarter of the 775,000 "refugees" in Judea and Samaria - a number representing roughly 200,000 people - suffer from food shortages and malnutrition.
Palestinians: Israeli 'Holocaust' against us is worse than Nazis
The reverberations from Deputy IDF Chief of Staff Yair Golan's comments on Holocaust Remembrance Day refuse to disappear.
Disturbingly, Palestinians are now jumping on the remarks in order to claim that Israel is carrying out "an even more barbaric and discriminatory Holocaust" than that which the Nazis perpetrated against the Jews.
Palestinian Media Watch quoted an opinion peace from the official Palestinian Authority paper al-Hayat al-Jadida, in which the author, Omar Hilmi al-Ghul, twists General Golan's words into "proof" that Israel is unjustly executing Palestinians.
Al-Ghul wrote: "Israeli Deputy Chief of Staff Yair Golan said... 'If there's something that frightens me about Holocaust remembrance it's the recognition of the revolting processes that occurred in Europe in general, and particularly in Germany... and finding signs of them here among us today in 2016.' Here he is referring to the field executions of Palestinian girls and children within the 48 territories (i.e. inside of the Green Line) and at Israeli checkpoints in Hevron, Jerusalem, Shechem, Bethlehem and Jenin."
Hamas still tunneling, Israel charges, despite IDF efforts
A teen Hamas operative revealed “extensive information” about the terror organization’s tunnels and plans for infiltrating Israel in order to carry out attacks, after he was arrested by security forces last month, the Shin Bet said Tuesday.
As of last month — before Israel announced it had discovered a tunnel in Israeli territory — the terror group was continuing to dig into Israel to carry out attacks despite Israeli efforts to detect and destroy the subterranean passageways, the Shin Bet security service said Tuesday, citing information gleaned from a captured Gazan teen involved in the tunneling project.
In his interrogation, the minor revealed “extensive information on Hamas activities to dig tunnels that are to be used for Hamas fighters to infiltrate Israeli areas,” the Shin Bet said.
The security service stressed that the minor is just one of a “succession of [Hamas] operatives” who have provided information to Israel about the terror group’s “intensive tunneling activities.”
Islamic Movement leader Raed Salah slams Iran for 'misusing Jerusalem's name'
Sheikh Raed Salah, the jailed leader of the extremist Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, has lashed out at Iran's Quds Force for corrupting Jerusalem's name by slaughtering Syrians in the name of the holy city.
“Al-Quds,” or the sacred, is the name used by Muslims for Jerusalem. The Quds Force is a special unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards which is tasked with carrying out Iran’s military actions abroad, including in the Syrian civil war.
The radical preacher wrote a post on Facebook Monday announcing that he renounces Jerusalem's affiliation with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force.
"From my cell at the Ramon Prison in the Negev, I announce the disassociation of Jerusalem from the Iranian military Quds Force which has been slaughtering our people in Syria, and especially in Aleppo," Salah stated.
"In the name of Jerusalem, I emphasize that its transcendent name cannot be used by criminals who wish to legalize their crimes, such as the Quds Force's criminals," Salah added.
At least 1 dead in Munich area stabbing attack
A man attacked passengers with a knife at a train station in the Munich area in southern Germany early Tuesday morning, leaving four people with life-threatening injuries, Bavarian radio reported. German broadcaster ARD later reported one of the victims had died.
Police were checking witness statements that the man shouted in Arabic "Allahu akbar" (God is great) during the attack, radio station Bayerischer Rundfunk reported.
German media said police had arrested the perpetrator and that the victims were men.
The attack happened at the Grafing train station, some 30 kilometers (20 miles) east of Munich and near the end of one of the city's commuter railway lines.
Police spokesman Karl-Heinz Segerer said on n-tv television that the suspected assailant is a 27-year-old German national who doesn't live in Bavaria. He said the man "expressed political motivations" during the attack but didn't give details, saying that is a matter for the investigation.
Bin Laden’s son urges jihadis in Syria to unite to free Palestine
The son of Al-Qaeda’s late founder Osama bin Laden has urged jihadists in Syria to unite, claiming that the fight in the war-torn country paves the way to “liberating Palestine.”
“The Islamic umma (nation) should focus on jihad in Al-Sham (Syria) … and unite the ranks of mujahedeen there,” said 23-year-old Hamza in an audio message posted online.
“There is no longer an excuse for those who insist on division and disputes now that the whole world has mobilized against Muslims,” he said.
His undated message comes after Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri also urged jihadists in Syria to unite, despite his continued rejection of the rival Islamic State (IS) group and its proclaimed caliphate.
“The matter of unity today is one of life and death,” Zawahiri said in an audio message posted online on Saturday.
“Either you unite to live as Muslims with dignity, or you bicker and separate and so are eaten one by one,” he added, according to SITE Intelligence monitoring group.
Report: Centcom Employee Removed After Speaking Up About Misleading ISIS Intel
An employee at U.S. Central Command was removed from her post for cursing after she allegedly spoke up about the distortion of intelligence reports on ISIS.
The Daily Beast, citing allegations made during a public hearing last week, reported that Carolyn Stewart, an Army veteran, was removed from her position at Centcom’s targeting office for allegedly cursing twice on the job. Stewart, who helped identify ISIS targets, is appealing her removal to the U.S. Merit System Protection Board.
Stewart is a subordinate of the highest-ranking civilian at Centcom’s Joint Intelligence office, Gregory Ryckman, one of the senior intelligence officials who have been accused of covering up an effort to doctor ISIS intelligence reports to offer a more favorable outlook of the campaign against the terror group.
WaPo Editorial: Iran’s ‘moderates’ and the Holocaust
AT THE heart of the Obama administration’s diplomatic engagement with Iran is the notion that the regime is divided among hard-liners who foment its terrorism and regional aggression and more moderate forces who are open to cooperation with the West. The embodiment of the latter is said to be Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, an English-speaking favorite of many Western journalists and, even more so, Secretary of State John F. Kerry.
However, if there really is a gulf between Mr. Zarif and the supposed hard-liners, he often does a good job of disguising it. During the 18-month imprisonment of The Post’s Jason Rezaian, for example, Mr. Zarif offered public support for the absurd and mendacious claim that Mr. Rezaian was guilty of espionage. The foreign minister suggested Mr. Rezaian had been taken “advantage” of by an “overzealous low-level operative” of the U.S. government.
More recently, Mr. Zarif was asked to explain why Iran is sponsoring a cartoon festival beginning this Saturday on the theme of the Holocaust. It’s the second time the regime has staged such a event; the first, a poisonous orgy of anti-Semitism, was held in 2006 under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — one of the “hard-liners,” according to Obama administration theory.
Mr. Zarif’s response to interviewer Robin Wright of the New Yorker was a form of denialism: He claimed the Rouhani administration had nothing to do with the exhibition. The sponsor is a nongovernmental organization “that is not controlled by the Iranian government,” he said. Moreover, he said, the organization had not needed government permission to stage the event. It was, he said, comparable to the activity in the United States of the Ku Klux Klan. “Is the government of the United States responsible for the fact the there are racially hateful organizations in the United States?” he demanded.
Naturally, it didn’t take long for this dissembling to be challenged. What was interesting is that some of the pushback came from Mr. Zarif’s own government. A spokesman for the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance confirmed that the ministry supports the exhibition, along with other programs that “enlighten people about the Holocaust.” A festival official also reported that it was cooperating with the ministry.
Iran Deal Lies Have Consequences
The lie at the heart of Rhodes’ sales job for the negotiations and then the deal was that the Iranian presidential election in 2013 put in place a set of new leaders that were amenable to cutting a deal with the West that would, in President Obama’s phrase, allow Iran to “get right with the world.” But as even some administration figures have admitted in the last several months after deal began to be implemented, there are no “moderates” in Tehran. The disputes within the regime are between different sets of hard-liners whose differences have nothing to do with their support for the acquisition of a nuclear weapon or an aggressive foreign policy.
The lies about the regime may or may not have affected public opinion about the Iran deal, which remained strongly opposed to the pact throughout the debate. But the support of the liberal mainstream media did help keep wavering Democrats in line behind the president. It was that factor that, combined with the stupidity of Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, enabled the deal to squeak through Congress via a Senate filibuster.
But the lie is of lasting importance because, if there are no real Iranian moderates and no sign whatsoever that the regime wants to change, then what Rhodes sold to the press was a fatal mistake that strengthens and empowers a dangerous regime. As the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Mark Dubowitz noted in reaction to the piece about Rhodes:
As a result of sunset clauses in the deal that see most of the key restrictions disappearing over an eight to 15 year period, Iran will be left with an industrial-size nuclear program with near-zero nuclear breakout, easier advance centrifuge-powered clandestine sneak out, an ICBM program and a more powerful economy increasingly immunized against sanctions. If the Iranian regime has not moderated by then, the United States will be facing a much more formidable and dangerous enemy and may have little choice but to use military force (as sanctions power will be severely degraded) to stop Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon. At that point, Iran will be stronger and the consequences of military action more devastating. In selling the Iran deal on a lie, Rhodes may have made war with Iran more not less likely.
Dubowitz is right. The bottom line here is a nuclear Iran with the financial might to stand up to any belated Western attempt to undo Obama’s mistake. Stacked up against that, Rhodes’ ego trip or the reputations of Washington journalists are meaningless. Obama and his mind-meld partner Rhodes endangered the security of the United States, Israel, and the West. That it was done on the strength of a falsehood and with the help of credulous, feckless Washington press corps is less important than the catastrophic nature of the mistake they have made.
Former Defense Secretary’s Newfound Lack of Trust in Iran Deal Shows ‘How Good Obama Has Become at Art of Deception’
Former US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s public reversal of confidence in President Barack Obama’s commitment to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons “reveals how good Obama has become at the art of deception, even to members of his own cabinet,” the president of a pro-Israel think tank told The Algemeiner on Monday.
Sarah N. Stern, founder of the Washington, DC-based Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), made her comment in reference to remarks made by Panetta in a recent controversial New York Times Magazine article profiling Obama foreign policy adviser Ben Rhodes.
When asked whether, during his time as defense secretary, he believed Obama was serious about blocking Iran’s path to becoming a nuclear power, Panetta recalled, “And you know my view, talking with the president, was: If brought to the point where we had evidence that they’re [Iran] developing an atomic weapon, I think the president is serious that he is not going to allow that to happen.”
Asked by journalist David Samuels if that was still his view, Panetta responded, “Would I make that same assessment now? Probably not.”
White House Can’t Say If Any Senior Official Has Publicly Lied About Iran Nuclear Deal
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday that he could not say for sure that no senior Obama administration official had publicly lied about the Iran nuclear deal.
“Can you state categorically that no senior official in this administration has ever lied publicly about any aspect of the Iran nuclear deal?” Fox News reporter Kevin Corke asked.
“No, Kevin,” Earnest said.
After an intense staring match, Earnest said that the facts of the nuclear deal speak for themselves. Earnest had been answering questions surrounding The New York Times Magazine profile on national security advisor Ben Rhodes throughout the briefing. The piece described the selling of the deal to the public as “misleading.”
State Dept. faces questions over missing tape, amid scramble over WH aide's Iran boast
Now, the administration is facing further questions over a block of missing tape from a 2013 State Department briefing where top spokeswoman Jen Psaki was asked by Fox News about an earlier claim that no direct, secret talks were underway between the U.S. and Iran – when, in fact, they were.
In that exchange, Psaki seemed to acknowledge misleading the press, saying: “There are times where diplomacy needs privacy in order to progress. This is a good example of that.”
The Psaki comments, and prior department remarks, would appear to conflict with a fresh claim by Rhodes that they “confirmed publicly” there were “discreet channels of communication established with Iran in 2012.”
That Psaki exchange, however, was missing from the department’s official website and its YouTube channel. The department now says it cannot explain the deletion and is working to restore the material.
Iran has deployed S-300 system, minister says
Iran’s army is now fully equipped with a Russian air defense system after a long and controversial delivery process, Defense Minister General Hossein Dehghan was quoted as saying Tuesday.
“I inform our people that… we are in possession of the strategic S-300 system” and that it “serves our air force’s counterattack command,” Dehghan said, according to the ISNA news agency.
Parts of the system, including missile tubes and radar equipment, were displayed on April 17 during a military parade in southern Tehran.
The United States and Israel have criticized Russia for the sale of the S-300 system to the Islamic republic.
Iran Media Reports Missile Test, Govt Quickly Denies
Iran’s Tasnim agency reported the regime tested a ballistic missile, but the defense minister denied the claims.
“Two weeks ago, we test-fired a missile with a range of 2000 kilometers and a margin of error of eight meters,” declared Brigadier General Ali Abdollahi. “We can guide this ballistic missile.”
Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan insisted the government did not shoot the missile.
“We haven’t recently tested any missile with the range of 2,000km and with an 8-meter-margin of error,” he announced to reporters in Tehran.
If Iran did fire the ballistic missiles then they have violated United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, which tells the regime “not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.” Previous resolutions say that Iran cannot work on ballistic missiles until 2023.
“We’re still trying to get to the bottom of what exactly transpired,” said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest when asked about the reports.
Ask Halawa: About Israel & the Jews (h/t Daphne Anson)
Ask Halawa is a new YouTube project aimed at answering questions by Arabs, in the Middle East & around the world, about Israel & the Jewish people.

Ask Halawa: Did an Arab Palestine Exist? (h/t Daphne Anson)

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