Wednesday, May 11, 2016

From Ian:

Isi Leibler: On celebrating Independence Day
Last week, we commemorated the genocidal murder of 6 million Jews -- the most barbaric episode in the Jewish people's 2,000 years of exile, which was interspersed with discrimination, persecution, expulsion and pogroms.
Today, the nation mourns those who sacrificed their lives in the course of the creation and ongoing defense of our Jewish state. Against this somber backdrop, tomorrow we will celebrate the 68th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel. This period naturally stirs mixed feelings.
Our prayers for peace with our neighbors and our desperate hope that our children and grandchildren will not have to fight wars, remain but a dream with no respite on the horizon.
Moreover, anyone who believed that after Auschwitz, anti-Semitism would become extinct has been dismayed to witness the upsurge in mankind’s most enduring hatred. Prior to the creation of the State of Israel, anti-Semites accused Jews of being the source of all the evils confronting mankind. Today, hatred for Jews as individuals has been replaced by global hatred toward the Jewish state, which is widely perceived as the prime source of global instability, the greatest threat to peace and one of the most oppressive countries in the world. This warped view is being promoted at a time when barbarism has returned to the region, with millions being killed, displaced and denied human rights.
Moreover, even Western countries -- especially Europe, whose soil was soaked with Jewish blood during the Holocaust -- are once again standing idly by, or even formally supporting efforts to demonize and delegitimize the Jewish state. In some ways it feels like deja vu of the world’s indifference to the Nazi extermination of the Jewish people.
JPost Editorial: Amazing era
As we prepare to make the abrupt annual shift from memorializing our fallen soldiers to celebrating the independence of the nation for which they gave their lives, it is worthwhile to take a deep breath and acknowledge what an amazing era we live in.
“As Israel turns 68, half of world Jewry calls it home,” was this paper’s lead headline Tuesday.
Consider how many truly miraculous facts are packed into that short statement: Not only does a Jewish state exist on the same sliver of land in the Middle East where the story of the Jewish people began four millennia ago, but this state at the age of 68 is thriving to such an extent that it has managed to attract the majority of Jews throughout the world.
Today, not just refugees seeking shelter from anti-Semitic regimes or crushing poverty make their homes in the Jewish state (although they do as well, as evidenced from the recent rise in immigration to Israel from Ukraine or the arrival of Falash Mura). Contemporary Israel competes with the most advanced Western states in quality of living and opportunities for professional growth, and it is a place for Jews of all types and affiliations to make a home for themselves without feeling self-conscious about their Jewishness.
Yom Ha’atzmaut 2016 – Sixty-eight years of being ‘a free people in our land’


Col. Richard Kemp: The meaning of true independence
"What kind of talk is this, 'punishing Israel?' Are we a vassal state of yours? Are we a banana republic? Are we 14-year-olds who, if we misbehave, get our wrists slapped? Let me tell you whom this Cabinet comprises. It is composed of people whose lives were marked by resistance, fighting and suffering."
These were the words of Prime Minister Menachem Begin delivered to the U.S. President Ronald Reagan in December 1981. Begin, one of the greatest leaders and fighters of our times, knew the meaning of true independence.
He knew that it was not about firecrackers, dancing in the streets or lighting flames. It was about standing up for yourself and submitting to no man. Declaring to the world, "this is where we stand."
Israel’s independence was bought at a high price in Jewish blood, fighting first against the might of the British Empire and then against five powerful Arab armies which sought its destruction.
For 68 years Israelis have fought again and again to defend their independence against enemies who would subjugate their country. No other nation has struggled so long and so hard, surrounded by such unyielding hostility.



Poll: Ahead of Independence Day, 84% are proud to be Israeli
Israelis are happy with life in Israel and most would not consider leaving, a poll conducted by Panels Politics for The Jerusalem Post found Tuesday.
Asked if they’re proud to be Israeli, 84 percent of the 501 adults polled responded “Yes” in varying degrees.
Over three-quarters (76%) of respondents said Israel is a good place to live. Asked how satisfied they were with life in Israel on a scale of one to 10, 10 being the most satisfied, the average response was seven.
The majority of Israelis – 69% – said they would not consider emigrating, while 28% would, and 3% did not know. Of those considering leaving, most (63%) said it was because of their economic status. The secondmost common reason was “the danger to democracy,” with 10%.
The things that keep Israelis in Israel are family (39%), followed by history (21%) and the Bible (21%). Among haredim, 74% cited the Bible as their reason, whereas most secular Israelis (58%) said family.
Fmr ambassador to US Oren: 'We will never be defeated'
In Israel, Memorial Day (Yom HaZikaron) precedes Independence Day (Yom Atzmaut), which Oren noted recognizes the tragedy of Jewish history, but ties it to the triumph of national liberation.
"It's a poignant and singularly sad day for the people of Israel,” said Oren. “Everybody in this country knows people who have fallen in battle, fallen in the course of their service, or been killed in terrorist attacks."
"My family is what you'd call a 'bereaved family'. We lost my sister-in-law, Joanie who was a Jewish day school teacher from the United States visiting Israel on a scholarship to Hebrew University and killed by a terrorist bomber on a bus in Jerusalem."
"We know so many other bereaved families of others who have fallen in battle. I was a paratrooper for a great many years and fought in wars and I have friends buried on this hill. It's intensely personal."
Unlike in the United States, Oren pointed out, Israeli Memorial Day is an intensely emotional time of remembrance – a time to express “profound sadness”, but also to remind Jews of the importance of Jewish statehood.
Murdered Yemenite Jew told his killer: 'I'll always be a Jew'
On Wednesday, a state ceremony was held in honor of Moshe Nahari, the Yemenite Jew killed in the town of Raida in 2008.
The event was held as part of Wednesday’s Memorial Day ceremonies for victims of anti-Semitism around the world.
Jewish Agency chief Natan Sharansky, who attended the ceremony, said that the event reflected Israel’s commitment to world Jewry and the future of the Jewish people.
“Israel is responsible for the future of all Jews in the world,” Sharansky told Arutz Sheva.
Nahari was shot to death by Abdul Aziz Yahia Al-Abdi, a Muslim fanatic when the former refused to convert to Islam.
When Al-Abdi demanded Nahari accept Islam, Nahari replied “You will continue to be a Muslim, but I will continue to be a Jew”. After his attempt to convert Nahari failed, Al-Abdi pulled out a submachine and opened fire, killing Nahari instantly.
Nahari’s daughter, who was just 9-years old at the time of his murder, spoke at the ceremony, recalling her father’s caring nature and connection to Jewish tradition.
Mother of fallen soldier gives birth on Memorial Day
In an inexplicable coincidence that illustrates how tragedy and joy dovetail in the Israeli existence, bereaved parents Sarit and Ilan Vanunu -- who lost their son, Sgt. Ben Vanunu in Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014 -- became the parents of a baby girl on Tuesday, the eve of Israel's Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism.
Vanunu's mother, Sarit, said, "This is an incredibly exciting day for us, for our family and friend, and our supporters. The unusual birth date [sends] a powerful message, a really moving one that raises questions about messages we might be getting from somewhere else."
"I want to thank with all my heart the wonderful staff at Kaplan [Medical Center in Rehovot], who welcomed us with love and appropriate sensitivity given the situation. I had my first four children here, and now my fifth baby," she added.
Sarit also said that "every year, for the rest of our lives, we'll celebrate a birthday and mark Memorial Day."
Teen US terror victim memorialized in musical tribute
Just as Rebecca Teplow sang the words “send your light and truth to its leaders and advisors,” the sun sliced through the gray sky. In that moment the composer and singer felt a sense of grace.
Teplow wrote “Avinu Shebashamayim,” a piece of sacred music which she released just ahead of Israel’s Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism, to honor Ezra Schwartz who was killed by a Palestinian terrorist on November 19, 2015 while spending a year studying in Israel at a yeshiva in Beit Shemesh.
Schwartz was gunned down after visiting a memorial for three Israeli boys murdered last summer and delivering food to lone soldiers near the West Bank settlement of Efrat, south of Jerusalem. Two additional men were killed and five other yeshiva students wounded.
Although Teplow didn’t know Schwartz, the news of his death struck a chord; she sank into a chair and sat there for several hours. Reflecting on her reaction some months later Teplow knew much of it was because her own daughter was in Israel studying at a yeshiva at that time. But there was something more.
IDF Blog: Yom Hazikaron 2016


Technion’s Zionist robot plays Hatikva
In honor of Israel’s Independence Day, researchers at the Technion have built the world’s first Zionist robot – actually, a robotic xylophone with autonomous arms that plays Hatikva, Israel’s national anthem.
“Based on an idea presented to us at the Faculty’s Control Robotics & Machine Learning Lab, we built a system of robotic arms that can play the xylophone independently,” said Eli Zalianski, who built the system with fellow Technion student Igor Kantor. “In honor of Israel’s 68th Independence Day, we decided to teach the robot the national anthem, and we have no doubt that it’s the first robot that has ever played Hatikva.”
It’s part of what has become a Technion tradition of celebrating Israeli and Jewish holidays using robots or other high-tech contraptions. On Passover, the Technion held its annual Rube Goldberg Passover machine contest, in which Jewish day schools from around the world submitted projects illustrating holiday concepts based on the “Rube Goldberg method” of coming up with the most complicated and convoluted engineering solution to solve a simple problem.
On Hanukkah, Technion students built robots that lit a menorah and served donuts to guests at a holiday party. Before Rosh Hashanah, Technion-built robots go out to the field and pick apples for use at the traditional holiday meals. Students even managed to put a Hanukkah menorah “on the moon” using laser technology.


Is Public Radio Right to Reject Donor's Request to Wish Israel Happy Birthday?
Lisa Lis of Oakland County was pleased when she got a message in April from Michigan Radio, a statewide public radio group operated by the University of Michigan. It said because she had donated at least $365, she could sponsor a day's broadcast and have a message read on air six times
Lis, a self-proclaimed progressive and strong supporter of Israel, whose husband is Israeli and whose son is in the Israeli Defense Forces, wanted her message to celebrate Israel. Eventually she settled on "Happy 68th Birthday Israel." Israel celebrates Independence Day this year on May 12.
Initially, "blessing" was in her message, but the station said that implied something religious, so she dropped that word. Then the station said it couldn't accommodate the wish because it needed two months' notice.
Dear Lisa,
We will not be able to air your day sponsorship message as written.
We have determined that this message would compromise the station's commitment to impartiality and that it crosses over into advocacy, or could imply advocacy.
If there is another message, perhaps celebrating a birthday or anniversary of an individual, please let me know and I'd be happy to assist you.
"I'm very upset," said Lis, a daughter of Florine Marks of Weight Watchers' fame. "It’s sad. There's plenty anti-Israel messages out there, and they won't allow something for Israel." Lis said she and her husband, Hannan Lis, donate $40 per month,
PMW: As Israel celebrates 68 years, the PA continues to deny Israel's right to exist
As Israel celebrates 68 years of independence, the Palestinian Authority still actively disseminates its ideology that denies Israel's fundamental right to exist in any borders. The PA regularly proclaims and actively teaches Palestinian children that all of Israel is an illegitimate “occupation,” and that Israeli cities such as Haifa, Jaffa - Tel Aviv, and Acre are all “occupied” cities. Palestinians are taught to anticipate a future without Israel when all of Israel will be part of the “State of Palestine.”
Palestinian Media Watch has reported that Mahmoud Abbas himself has stated that he views Israel since its creation as an “occupation.” He also challenged Israel’s right to continue to exist:
Mahmoud Abbas at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva:‎
"Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, don't you ask ‎yourselves: Until when will the Israeli occupation of our land continue? After 67 years ‎‎(i.e., since Israel's establishment in 1948), until when? Do you think it can continue, and that it benefits the ‎Palestinian people?‎" [Official PA TV, Oct. 28, 2015]
PA PM: We're following the path of the Nazi Mufti
Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Tuesday took part in the Seventh International Bayt al-Maqdis Islamic Conference in Ramallah, Samaria, in which he aired libel against Israel apparently on the background of its counter-terror actions.
In his speech, he called on the international community to get involved in order to "defend" the Arab residents of Jerusalem who are dealing with "illegal" activities from Israel "that oppose international law and human rights."
Hamdallah's call to take action against Israel urged international pressure so as to end the "occupation" and establish an independent Palestinian state along the 1949 Armistice lines, with Jerusalem as its "eternal capital."
He accused Israel of trying to wipe out the "Arab national identity" of Jerusalem, which is in fact the ancient 3,000-year-old capital of the Jewish people. As part of his accusations, he alleged that Israel is rewriting history and expelling Arabs from the capital.
The PA Prime Minister went on to say the Conference is inculcating the path of former Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini, who infamously sealed a pact with the genocidal Nazi regime to wipe out all Jews.
Hamdallah termed al-Husseini, who was a close confidante of Adolf Hitler, as "the pure-hearted son" of the "Palestinian nation." (h/t Elder of Lobby)
 Elderly terror victims: Arabs refused to help us as we bled
Marina Fuchs, 86, a friend of the two elderly women in their 80s who were stabbed by Arab terrorists in a knife attack in southeastern Jerusalem on Tuesday, spoke to Channel 10 about the harrowing experience.
Police continue to search for the two masked terrorists, who stabbed the two women as they walked on Armon Hanatziv's Haas Promenade overlooking the Old City together with Fuchs and two other elderly women. The victims were classified as being in moderate but stable condition.
Fuchs revealed that Arab laborers at the scene of the attack refused to help the Jewish victims, even as they bled from their stab wounds.
The five elderly women had set out from the senior residence where they all live for a walk on the promenade, as is their custom. Suddenly the two terrorists pounced on them, stabbing the two victims repeatedly before fleeing the scene.
Fuchs recalled how one of the five elderly women shouted to her friends: "girls, run, run!"
Letter: Prosecute Arab workers who ignored terror victims
The Lavi civil rights organization penned a strong letter to Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat Wednesday, demanding that he find and prosecute Arab workers who refused to help elderly terror victims who lay bleeding in the street in the capital on Tuesday.
"Today, a number of elderly women from a nursing home strolled along the Armon Hanetziv Promenade," the letter began. "During the walk, two women were attacked by terrorists who stabbed them in different parts of their bodies."
"These women were seriously injured, and fell in the street bleeding and crying out for help, while they and their friends asked bystanders to call an ambulance," it continued. "Unfortunately, the housekeeping staff who were present ignored the injured elderly and their friends."
"It stands to reason that these are workers employed by the Jerusalem Municipality, ergo we turn to you, Mayor, for help."
Amnesty Researcher Jacob Burns’ Reaction To Stabbing Of Two Elderly Israeli Women
This morning in Armon HaNatziv (an Israeli neighbourhood in southern East Jerusalem), two masked palestinian terrorists stalked and stabbed two elderly women in their backs. The victims were 86 and 82 years of age.
Here is how Jacob Burns, Research & Campaign Assistant at Amnesty International, decided to tweet about it.
Two elderly Israeli women stabbed in illegal East Jerusalem settlement, moderately wounded, 2 suspects arrested
Jacob Burns 7:52 PM - 10 May 2016
No Jacob, nothing was misinterpreted. You could not just condemn the callous attack on two elderly women unequivocally, but rather chose to use the attack to try and make a point about your opinion of the legal status of the attack location.
But this does not surprise me, given your history of anti-Israel bias.
Second Hamas tunnel digger arrested
Israeli security forces arrested another Hamas tunnel digger, who provided Shin Bet interrogators with a wealth of information on the terror organization's underground tunnel system, it was cleared for publication on Tuesday.
The 17-year-old Jabalia refugee camp resident served in Hamas's militant wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, and was arrested after he crossed the border fence from Gaza into Israel on April 6. He was indicted at the Be'er Sheva District Court on Tuesday.
"Following initial investigations, it was revealed that he is a member of the Hamas North Gaza Division, and joined a short time before Operation Protective Edge broke out," the Shin Bet said.
The suspect admitted that the tunnels were to be used by the Hamas Special Forces Nakhba unit to kidnap IDF soldiers, commit suicide attacks, and commit other large scale attacks on Israeli towns. He also admitted to taking part in planting IEDs along the border with Israel and inside the tunnels, and even had IEDs hidden in his home.
Four pipe bombs explode in West Bank severely injuring IDF officer
An IDF unit identified a suspicious device near Hizma, which blew up and injured an IDF officer, the army said.
A search of the area revealed that four pipe bombs had exploded causing the injury to the officer. An additional five pipe bombs we found in the sweep and were deactivated by security forces.
The officer was in serious condition with a head wound following the explosion.
According to information provided by the IDF, the blast occurred when a suspicious device blew up in the area of Hizma, near Jerusalem's Pisgat Ze'ev neighborhood.
Paramedics said the officer remained conscious during treatment after the blast and was evacuated to nearby Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem.
Dvir Adani, a volunteer medic with the ambulance unit of United Hatzalah, was among the first responders at the scene of the blast.
Arab Israelis accused of planning stabbing, shooting attacks
Three Arab men from a Western Galilee town were charged Wednesday with plotting shooting and stabbing attacks against Israelis on a number of occasions.
The three, residents of Jadeidi-Makr, were indicted on charges of attempted murder, conspiracy to commit a crime, accessory to attempted murder and a number of weapons offenses at the Haifa District Court.
The Shin Bet security service said the suspects were “inspired” by Nashat Milhelm, an Arab Israeli terrorist who killed three people in Tel Aviv in January.
In the weeks following Milhem’s attack, the three formulated a plan to kill Israeli civilians or soldiers at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City, according to the charge sheet.
Armed with knives, the three came to the capital intending to carry out the attack, but at the last minute decided against it. The court document noted they were “concerned” a knife attack wouldn’t inflict serious enough injuries.
Watchdog: ‘No Excuse for Placing Attacker and Victim on Same Level, Certainly Not on Memorial Day’
The head of a watchdog group that follows the financing and operations of non-governmental organizations blasted the holding of a Memorial Day gathering of Israelis and Palestinians “to remember the victims of violence on both sides.”
Responding to the event, held in Tel Aviv by the Combatants for Peace movement and the Parents Circle-Families Forum, Prof. Gerald M. Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor, told The Algemeiner: “Today, as Palestinian terror, incitement and hate continue to take the lives of soldiers and the civilians they are sworn to protect, there is no excuse for a false equality that places attacker and victim on the same level — certainly not on Memorial Day, our day as a nation and a people to collectively remember and mourn those who paid the highest price for our freedom and sovereignty among the nations of the world.”
The Facebook invitation to the event – whose accompanying slogan is “Sharing the pain, building hope” — explained the impetus for the annual “Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Ceremony” as follows: “Despite the statements that ‘forever we will live by the sword’ and the growing gap between our leaders, we believe that this period too is not an act of fate, but of an ongoing vicious cycle of violence for which human beings alone are responsible and are the victims of.”
Real People Real Stories: Part 1. Terror on a Bus.


Report: Israeli fighter jets strike weapons convoy headed towards Hezbollah
Israeli Air Force fighter jets struck a weapons convoy headed into the hands of Hezbollah fighters in Syria, Channel 2 citing Arab media sources reported Tuesday.
The attack allegedly occurred on the Syrian-Lebanese border earlier in the afternoon and struck a number of vital positions important to the terror organization.
Channel 2 added that the Israeli Air Force struck the weapons convoy near a Syrian "rebel safe-haven" where Hezbollah militants were allegedly stationed.
If the reports are confirmed, it would not be Israel's first military excursion into enemy territory to stop the transfer of weapons to its arch nemesis Hezbollah.
Report: IDF, Palestinians clash in east Jerusalem leaving two residents hospitalized
Two Palestinian youths were injured Wednesday morning after violently confronting IDF military forces on the outskirts of Jerusalem, according to Palestinian news agency Ma'an.
The incident occurred in the Arab village of Kfar Aqab, located near Kalandia refugee camp, where witnesses say IDF troops entered while conducting an investigation.
According to Ma'an, Palestinian youths confronted the soldiers upon their entrance.
Red Crescent Medical Emergency services said that a Palestinian youth was seriously injured after he was shot in the chest and was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment, Ma'an added.
Another youth allegedly shot in the leg was in moderate condition and was taken to a Ramallah medical facility.
In response, an IDF spokesperson said that the circumstances of the incident were currently under investigation and gave a brief description of the events that unfolded.
Hezbollah Wins Municipal Elections in Eastern Lebanon
The Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah and its allies swept to victory in municipal elections in the Bekaa valley region of eastern Lebanon on Sunday.
Hezbollah won a “complete victory” in the cities of Baalbek and the town of Brital, which borders Syria, according to its deputy chief, Sheikh Naim Kassem. Hezbollah competed in 80 of the 143 jurisdictions in the Bekaa valley and won nearly all the seats, while opposition parties secured seats in six of the towns in the area, Kassem added.
The long-delayed elections saw a 20 percent voter turnout in Beirut, only marginally higher than the 18 percent turnout in 2010. The Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections recorded over 647 violations, including gunfire against candidates’ homes, during Sunday’s vote. There were no reported injuries.
Lebanon has been without a president since the term of Hezbollah-backed Michel Sleiman ended two years ago. The terrorist group, seeking to restore Sleiman to the post, has consistently blocked efforts to elect anyone else.
IDF deputy chief of staff Maj. Gen. Yair Golan said last month that Hezbollah poses an “unprecedented” threat to Israel, and that any future war between the two will be “devastating” because the terrorist organization had embedded its military assets among civilians.
Australia holds five suspected of plotting sailing trip to join ISIS
Australian police have detained five men suspected of planning to sail a small boat from the far north to Indonesia and the Philippines en route to joining Islamic State in Syria, officials said on Wednesday.
The men were held on Tuesday after towing the seven-meter boat almost 3,000 km (1,865 miles) from Melbourne to Cairns in Queensland state, police said.
Australia has come under criticism for its tough immigration policies aimed at stopping asylum seekers taking boats from Indonesia to Australia, but few are believed to have attempted the journey in the opposite direction.
"We're investigating the allegation they were planning to make their way through Indonesia to the Philippines, with a view to ending up in Syria," Victoria state Deputy Police Commissioner Shane Patton told reporters in Melbourne.
"It's not a common occurrence, I would suggest, people trying to get to Syria via boat, but I don't have the exact figures for sure."
PreOccupiedTerritory: After Baghdad Bombing, Iraqi Officials Fear Islamophobic Backlash (satire)
Following the deaths of more than 60 people this morning in an Islamic State car bomb attack in the Iraqi capital, local leaders voiced concern that the populace might begin to view Muslims as a group in a negative light, one such official told reporters.
A powerful car bomb detonated in an outdoor market in Baghdad’s Sadr City neighborhood earlier today. Initial reports put the death toll at 63 and the number of injured at 85, but both figures are expected to rise over the course of the day. The Islamic State, which follows Sunni Islam, claimed responsibility for the attack, which targeted Shiite Muslims – prompting worry among Iraqi leaders the population of Baghdad and Iraq in general will now exhibit signs of Islamophobia.
“We have seen this pattern before, especially in Europe,” said Mustafa Massikr, an Imam at a Baghdad mosque. “The main concern when bombings and other attacks occur, perpetrated by Muslims, is how Muslims might be treated as automatically suspect in the eyes of the populace. I fear that pattern is likely here as well.”
“We are all Muslims in this city, or almost all,” concurred shopkeeper Shia Fabbraynz. “What happens now if we are viewed as potential terrorists every time we leave the house? If every person who walks into my shop looks at me askance?”
Former Senior Obama Official: U.S. Allowed Syria Carnage to Save Iran Deal
The recent New York Times Magazine profile of Ben Rhodes, President Barack Obama’s foreign policy messaging chief, provides proof that the Obama administration’s failure to protect Syrian civilians was because it was so intent on pursuing a nuclear agreement with Iran, Obama’s former top Syria adviser charged Monday in an withering essay for the Atlantic Council.
Frederic C. Hof, an Atlantic Council senior fellow who was formerly Obama’s special adviser for transition in Syria, focused on the argument Rhodes gave for not intervening in Syria. “I profoundly do not believe that the United States could make things better in Syria by being there,” Rhodes said. “And we have an evidentiary record of what happens when we’re there—nearly a decade in Iraq.”
Hof countered:
Yet the official alibi lacks one critical ingredient: the truth. A “decade in Iraq” did not dissuade the Obama administration from protecting Syrian Kurds from a massacre by the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) in Kobani. Disaster in Iraq did not deter American military forces from protecting Yazidis in Iraq itself. The Iraqi fiasco has not stopped the Obama administration from establishing an anti-ISIS American military presence in both Iraq and Syria: yes, boots on the ground. No: the Rhodes-Obama fear and dismissal of making things better in Syria “by being there” applies only to those parts of Syria experiencing mass murder and massive displacement at the hands of [Syrian president] Bashar al-Assad. Why? Iran.
Sen. Kirk Calls for Obama Aide to Resign Over Nuke Deal Deception
Congressional leaders lashed out at the White House this week for what they describe as a series of intentional lies about the nature and intent of last summer’s comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran, according to statements provided to the Washington Free Beacon calling on one senior Obama administration adviser to resign over the growing scandal.
The statements come following yet another Iranian ballistic missile test and a New York Times article quoting two senior Obama administration officials saying they misled the press and U.S. officials about the agreement.
The statements, made primarily by senior Obama administration adviser Ben Rhodes, have angered some on Capitol Hill who accuse the White House of using deceptive methods to garner support for the nuclear deal.
“Rhodes should resign for willfully and ‘actively misleading’ lawmakers and the American people,” Sen. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.), a critic of diplomacy with Iran, told the Free Beacon Tuesday in a statement.
State Dept.: Missing Video Potentially Showing Iran Deal Deception Was a ‘Glitch’
At Tuesday’s department press briefing, Associated Press reporter Matt Lee asked Trudeau to explain what happened.

“A glitch, that just seems awfully strange and coincidental,” Lee said.
Trudeau told Lee the State Department is looking into the matter, repeating that the genuine belief is that a glitch is what caused the deletion.
Lee then asked if there are other briefing videos that have undergone a similar experience.
“Not to our knowledge at all,” Trudeau said in response. “What we‘re taking a look at is process. We were unaware of it, and as soon as we found out about it, we made sure it was whole.”
Lee pushed the question, saying he is trying to figure out what could have possibly caused this one portion to be deleted.
“You know what, it’s something we’re looking into,” Trudeau said, adding that the department is changing its procedures and is prioritizing transparency to the media.
“I don’t want to call it an investigation because that makes it formal. What we’re looking at is what happened,” she continued. “I would characterize it as a glitch.”
Trudeau said she would let the press know more about the situation when the department learns more.
“And hopefully this will be, you know, not going to take a year,” Lee then said.
State Dept.: Missing Video Potentially Showing Iran Deal Deception Was a ‘Glitch’


Javad Zarif, Holocaust cartoons, and lies
Twenty years ago, a group of leading Iranian cartoonists lobbied the mayor’s office to get a small building as Iran’s first Cartoon House. I was one of them; a young and ambitious editorial cartoonist who wanted to push the red lines of the regime through cartooning. I was in charge of the classes and setting up a curriculum. I remained an active member until 2003, when I fled my country after receiving death threats for my work as a cartoonist.
A couple of weeks ago, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif told The New Yorker that the Iranian government had nothing to do with the Holocaust cartoon contest. “It’s not Iran,” Zarif told his interviewer, Robin Wright. “It’s an NGO that is not controlled by the Iranian government. Nor is it endorsed by the Iranian government.”
The claim that the Iranian government doesn’t control this platform for spewing hate and denying the Holocaust is a pure lie, coming from a pathological liar whose previous absurd claim, exactly a year before this one, was “we do not jail people for their opinions.”
The director of the Iranian Cartoon House, a former member of the Revolutionary Guards, runs the contest by the rules set by the Culture and Arts Center of Tehran’s Municipality. Cartoon House is not allowed to hold International competitions and contests without permission from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.
Dem: FBI strong-armed former senator on 9/11 pages
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) is criticizing the Obama administration as having tried to strong-arm a former senator who is pushing to declassify 28 pages of the 9/11 report dealing with Saudi Arabia.
He recounted how Rep. Gwen Graham (D-Fla.) and her father, former Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham (D-Fla.), were detained by the FBI in 2011 at Dulles International Airport outside Washington. The message from the agents, according to the Grahams, was to quit pushing for declassification of the 28 pages.
The FBI "took a former senator, a former governor, grabbed him in an airport, hustled him into a room with armed force to try to intimidate him into taking different positions on issues of public policy and important national policy, and the fact that he wasn’t intimidated because he was calm doesn’t show that they weren’t trying to intimidate him," Sherman said in an interview with The Hill's Molly K. Hooper.



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Aussie Dave: "King of the auto-translation."
The Israel Situation:The Elder manages to write so many great, investigative posts that I am often looking to him for important news on the PalArab (his term for Palestinian Arab) side of things."
Tikun Olam: "Either you are carelessly ignorant or a willful liar and distorter of the truth. Either way, it makes you one mean SOB."
Mondoweiss commenter: "For virulent pro-Zionism (and plain straightforward lies of course) there is nothing much to beat it."
Didi Remez: "Leading wingnut"

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