Saturday, May 14, 2016

From Ian:

Bill Clinton: 'I killed myself trying to give Palestinians a state'
Former US President Bill Clinton came to his wife's defense on Friday when the focus of a campaign event for the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton shifted to Israel, Politico reported.
Amid a speech discussing his wife's positions on the major issues at an event in New Jersey, a member of the audience interjected "What about Gaza?" and criticized her statement that neutrality is not an option when it comes to Israel.
"I killed myself to give the Palestinians a state," the former President responded. "I had a deal they turned down that would have given them all of Gaza."
When the audience member continued to press the issue, Clinton elaborated on the complicated nature of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. "Hamas is really smart. When they decide to rocket Israel, they insinuate themselves in the hospitals, in the schools, in the highly populous areas."
"[Hamas] said they try to put the Israelis in a position of either not defending themselves or killing innocents. They're good at it," Clinton elaborated.
Clinton lauded his wife's part in arranging meetings between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in efforts to facilitate peace in the region.
He concluded his statements by acknowledging that nobody is without blame in the Middle East, but said that Israelis must be reassured that America "cares whether they live or die." (h/t walt kovacs)
The French Will Make Things Worse
With the Middle East peace process lying dead in the water for two years, what harm could come from an effort led by France to revive talks between Israel and the Palestinians? The answer is that, whenever one thinks things can’t get worse, the reality of this conflict is always there to remind us that yes, things can always get worse. Moreover, they almost always do when even the best-intended people try to pretend that another conference or paper or the right negotiator can solve a problem that has nothing to do with forums, resolutions or even skillful diplomacy.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault will arrive in Israel this weekend to try to lay the groundwork for a new peace initiative. But Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu deserves no blame for rejecting the French formula. It’s not just that Paris’s plan smacks of international coercion that is both deeply unfair to Israel. Nor is the biggest problem here the fact that similar schemes with analogous formulas have already been tried and failed.
The real problem is that the French, like the Americans, the United Nations and the “Diplomatic Quartet” that have trod this path before, are focusing on form rather than confronting substance. Peace between Israelis and Palestinians will come the day the latter gives up their century-old war on Zionism and put to rest their opposition to a Jewish state.
If the goal is to get closer to that moment, the French plan is an absurd waste of time. Indeed, the fact that the Palestinians have welcomed the scheme illustrates what’s wrong with it. Having torpedoed the talks sponsored by Secretary of State John Kerry two years ago and refusing every entreaty to return to the table since then, it’s hardly surprising that the Palestinians would like a plan that starts with an international conclave convened by the French to where neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians will be present.
Netanyahu slams Hollande for backing ‘shameful’ UNESCO resolution on Jerusalem
The UNESCO document spoke of “Occupied Palestine” and made no mention of historic Jewish ties to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It condemned “Israeli aggressions and illegal measures against the freedom of worship and Muslims’ access to their Holy Site Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al Sharif.”
France was among the 33 countries that backed the resolution in the 58-member body.
In his letter to Hollande, Netanyahu said he was “astounded” by France’s support for what he called “a historic distortion of truth” and “an extremely biased and offensive” resolution.
“The organization trusted with the safekeeping of world history has degraded itself to rewriting a basic and indisputable part of human history,” Netanyahu wrote.
“While we have no illusions as to the the UN’s commitment to truth or decency, we were honestly astounded to see our French friends raise their hands in favor of this shameful resolution,” he stated.



Fred Maroun: The macabre commemoration of the Nakba
Analogies are sometimes made between the Nakba, the Arabs’ loss of the war of 1947/1948 against Israel, and the Holocaust. It is an atrocious analogy for several reasons, and I would like to suggest a more appropriate one.
While in the Holocaust the Jews were innocent victims of a supremacist regime’s attempt at genocide, the Nakba was the result of an Arab-initiated war. Arabs suffered losses in the Nakba, including the displacement of about 700,000 Arabs and the death of about 7,000, but there was no attempt at extermination of the Arabs who were in any case far more numerous than the Jews. Unlike in the Holocaust where six million Jews were killed while very few Germans died at the hands of their Jewish victims, in the Nakba the losses and displacements were about equal between the two sides.
A much more apt analogy for the commemoration of the Nakba is the commemoration of the Nazis’ loss of WWII. The Nazi enterprise was an attempt to impose a supremacist ideology over Europe while eliminating millions of “undesirables”, among them Jews. Similarly, the Nakba was an attempt to impose Arab supremacy over the Middle East and to eliminate the Jews who had dared to create a tiny state of their own.
The Germans suffered heavy losses as a result of the war that they initiated, and so did the Arabs. In both cases there is much to regret and much to mourn, but there is also in both cases the need to realize who the aggressor was and therefore who must be blamed for the losses.
A reply to those recasting Holocaust victims posthumously as enemies of Zionism
Here’s the relevant passage in a May 10th Guardian letter signed by dozens of anti-Zionist Jews.
Mirvis attacks as “antisemitic” those who separate Judaism from Zionism. Yet most Jews who perished in the Holocaust were indifferent to Zionism and many opposed it. In the last municipal elections in Europe’s largest Jewish community, in Poland, just before the second world war, Poland’s Jews voted overwhelmingly for the secular, anti-Zionist, socialists of the Bund, while Zionist parties got derisory votes. Is Rabbi Mirvis recasting those victims of the Holocaust posthumously as enemies of Judaism and therefore as antisemites?
On May 12th, the Guardian published a masterful reply by the CST’s Dave Rich.
Your correspondents seeking to defend the Labour party from allegations of antisemitism disgrace themselves and their argument when they claim that “most Jews who perished in the Holocaust were indifferent to Zionism and many opposed it” (Letters, 11 May).
They simply do not know what the 6 million victims of Nazi antisemitism thought of Zionism. They do not know how many Polish Jews who voted for non-Zionist parties before the war changed their views as they were forced into ghettos and camps, starved and worked to death, shot into pits and herded into gas chambers. They do not know how many Jews might have been saved had Israel existed in the 1930s, nor how many survivors were grateful for Zionism after the war when Israel was the only country that would take them in.
They claim to speak for those who cannot, in order to fight their petty political battles. They may speak as Jews, but they show a stunning disregard for the sensibilities and sensitivities of their fellow Jews. They would be well advised not to repeat this claim.
100 Years Later: The Sykes-Picot Agreement
One hundred years ago, after WWI in May 1916, Britain and France completed a secret agreement referred to as Sykes-Picot, which arbitrarily “carved up” the lands of the Ottoman Empire. The agreement—deemed “imperialist skullduggery” here, and “imperial treachery” here—demarcated spheres of influences in the Middle East for Britain, France, Russia, and Italy. From The Economist:
Allies agreed that Russia would get Istanbul, the sea passages from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean and Armenia; the British would get Basra and southern Mesopotamia; and the French a slice in the middle, including Lebanon, Syria and Cilicia (in modern-day Turkey). Palestine would be an international territory. In between the French- and British-ruled blocs, large swathes of territory, mostly desert, would be allocated to the two powers’ respective spheres of influence. Italian claims were added in 1917.
In 2006, Tablet contributor Eyal Zisser wrote: “The regional system based upon the Sykes-Picot agreements—which gave life, authority, and legitimacy to a number of Arab territorial states, most of which lacked historical roots and even legitimacy in the eyes of their inhabitants—has collapsed in the face of the disintegration of many of the states created, such as Libya, Iraq, and Syria.”
Here then, on the 100th anniversary of the agreement, are some recent articles about the legacy of Sykes-Picot, which, given a Middle East that’s in seemingly continuous turmoil—Syria is mired in an ongoing civil war; the Israeli-Palestinian rages on—continues to be debated.
How the Israelis Captured Nazi Mastermind Adolf Eichmann
The tortuous route to apprehending the Holocaust’s chief henchman was full of surprises. No one could believe what squalor Eichmann lived in, or how ordinary he seemed.
“It was well known that there was at least one strong Jewish underground unit that had been working ceaselessly since the end of the war in all parts of the world, tracking down Nazi war criminals who had evaded the Allied net in 1945. He had heard that its members were fanatically devoted to their task, brave people who had dedicated their lives to bringing some of inhuman monsters responsible for Belsen, Auschwitz, and other hellholes to justice.”
Jack Higgins, The Bormann Testament, a novel that was originally published in 1962 with a different title: The Testament of Caspar Schultz.
Sitting in his comfortable living room in his strikingly modern house in the Afeka neighborhood of Tel Aviv in March 2014, Rafi Eitan was in a relaxed mood as he looked back on his long service in the Mossad—and the highlight of his career, leading the commando unit that seized Adolf Eichmann near his home in Buenos Aires on May 11, 1960. He talked about his good fortune to purchase the land for his house in 1950, when he was just starting in the Mossad at age 24. The property was cheap then because there were no bridges across a nearby river that separated the area from the city just south of it, and there was no electricity or running water. “I said I’ll buy the land and one day I will be in a private house in the middle of Tel Aviv,” he said, flashing a contented smile.
As he began to recount the story of the most famous kidnapping of the modern era, Eitan—who is a Sabra, as Jews who were born in Palestine or later Israel are called—let slip that he visited Germany for the first time in 1953. As he stepped out of the train in Frankfurt, he recalled thinking to himself: “Just a few years ago, eight years ago, if I would be here, probably I would be executed. But now I am a representative of the Israeli government.” He hastened to add that his visit had nothing to do with Nazi hunting.
Indyk confronted on America's role in Israel-Palestinian peace talks
The interview furthermore explored the ostensibly tense relationship between US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Indyk, who has been at the heart of US-Israel relations for "over 40 years," was also confronted with the argument that the US acted as "Israel's lawyer at the expense" of Palestinian statehood.
"That is not a role we should play," Indyk said in response to the accusation. 'It was a promise I made to the Palestinians, that we would not coordinate with the Israelis and agree with the Israelis in advance," Indyk's said of his tenure at the State Department under former US president Bill Clinton's administration.
"But in earlier negotiations you except the Americans did that... Camp David for example, in 2000," the segments moderator, Mehdi Hasan, quickly shot back.
"US officials acted as Israel's attorney's, catering and coordinating with the Israelis at the expense of successful peace negotiations," Hasan continued, quoting Indyk's former State Department colleague and fellow peace negotiator Aaron David Miller.
"Yes, I am pro-Israel and proud of it... but I am also pro-peace," Indyk said in response.
Indyk also "charged" during the interview that it was "the continued expansion of the settlements" in the West Bank that "screwed up the [peace] negotiations" in 2014.
UN panel against torture flags ‘excessive force’ by Israel
The panel, which generally conducts reviews of assenting countries every four or five years, does not have investigative or fact-finding powers of its own and relies mostly on information from the media, advocacy groups, UN and other sources in drawing up its findings.
In a 12-page segment on Israel, the committee pointed to “allegations of excessive use of force, including lethal force, by security forces” at demonstrations, in response to attacks or alleged attacks against Israelis and took aim at Israel’s controversial policy of administrative detention, under which it can arrest suspects and hold them without charge for months at a time.
Israel said it “categorically rejects” the report, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon insisting “Israel does not make use of unnecessary force.”
“We face an unprecedented wave of terrorism and we act within the boundaries of Israeli and international law,” Nahshon said.
The committee said 700 people — including 12 minors — were reportedly in administrative detention even as its members were discussing the issue with Israeli officials. Panel co-chair Jens Modvig of Denmark said administrative detentions can last “for months or even years,” with almost no access to those detained.
Israel has defended the system of administrative detention as a necessary tool in preventing Palestinian attacks. Over the past eight months, Israel has faced stepped-up Palestinian assaults — mostly stabbings, shootings or attacks using vehicles to ram into people — on Israeli civilians and security forces.
Report: During Obama Administration, U.S. Stopped Going After Terror-Supporting Charities
Under the administration of President Barack Obama, the Treasury Department stopped blacklisting domestic charities that collect funds for terrorist organizations, Eli Lake of Bloomberg View reported on Thursday.
Lake explained that targeting charities that front for terrorist organizations was a “key tool” of the Bush administration’s war on terrorism after 9/11. During the Bush presidency, the Treasury targeted eight such charities located in the United States, including “al-Qaeda fronts such as the U.S. branch of the al-Haramain Foundation and the Benevolence International Foundation. In this period, the U.S. government also blacklisted groups that raised money for the Palestinian terror group Hamas, including the Holy Land Foundation, and for the Lebanese militia and political party Hezbollah, like the Good Will Charitable Organization.”
In contrast, the only charity to be designated under the Obama administration was the Tamil Foundation, which funded the Sri Lankan terrorist organization the Tamil Tigers. The group was blacklisted in February 2009, a month after Obama’s inauguration.
Lake presented some possible reasons for the drop in such designations, including that “terrorist groups have determined it’s too risky to set up a philanthropic front in the U.S. these days.” Juan Zarate, a deputy national security adviser for counter-terrorism during the Bush administration, told Lake that “enforcement efforts did have an effect on the ability of groups to openly organize and use non-governmental organizations as fundraising mechanisms for designated terrorist organizations.”
Argentina’s Kirchner charged with fraud, assets frozen
Assets belonging to former Argentine president Cristina Kirchner were frozen Friday after she was charged with damaging national finances by manipulating the Central Bank’s exchange operations during her last months in office.
Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio said it was “evident that the then president gave instructions — which without a doubt were developed jointly — to her economy minister to carry out the financial operation,” according to a statement released on the Supreme Court’s website.
Bonadio ordered assets worth 15 million pesos’ ($1 million) held by Kirchner to be frozen.
He delivered the same charge and asset freeze against Axel Kicillof, Kirchner’s minister of the economy from 2013 to 2015, and against former Central Bank president Alejandro Vanoli and 12 other former members of its board.
Kirchner, who held office from 2007 to 2015, is accused of having caused a loss in monetary authority through speculative dollar sales by the Central Bank at the end of 2015, just before the election of center-right President Mauricio Macri.
After Meeting, Jewish Group Says New Argentinian Government Committed to Holding Iranians Accountable for AMIA Bombing
Senior officials from a leading international Jewish human rights NGO said on Thursday that the new Argentinian government is committed to acheiving justice for the victims of the 1994 bombing of a Jewish institution in the country’s capital, believed to have been perpetrated by Iran.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), and Dr. Shimon Samuels, SWC’s director of international relations, along with a delegation of Latin American SWC officials, met with the newly-elected Argentine president, Mauricio Macri, at the country’s Presidential Palace on Wednesday. Argentina’s minister of security, secretary for human rights, cabinet chief and secretary general were also present at the meeting.
According to the SWC, one of the first issues raised at the meeting concerned new developments regarding the unresolved AMIA Jewish Center bombing that left 85 dead and over 300 injured. The bombing has been called the worst terror attack in Argentina’s history.
“We left the president and his team convinced there is a need for a renewed commitment to justice in this case by the Macri administration,” Cooper and Samuels said in a joint statement. “President Macri is fully committed to hold accountable for this terrorist outrage the six Iranian officials named by Interpol. Argentina is urging Colombia to deny entry to one of the six, Mohsen Rabbani, who is reportedly heading an Iranian delegation to Colombia.”
Samuels added, “Yesterday we had a fruitful exchange with the Argentine Justice Ministry’s newly-formed AMIA Investigation Unit. We assured them that the SWC will seek global support for their renewed efforts.”
Security forces nab Palestinian suspect carrying Israeli police uniform
Israeli security forces on Saturday afternoon thwarted a terror attack when they arrested a Palestinian suspect in possession of an Israel Police uniform, police said in a statement.
The 36-year-old suspect from the West Bank city of Bethlehem was arrested by Border Police officers as he attempted to cross the Jerusalem-area Mishor Adumin checkpoint in a taxi. He was taken into custody for questioning.
Police said the suspect was on his way to carry out a terror attack against Israelis when he was arrested. An intelligence tip-off led authorities to his whereabouts, the statement said.
The would-be attacker was identified as the suspect by the forces patrolling the checkpoint, and was found to be concealing an Israel Police uniform that police said he planned to use in his attack.
“Thanks to precise intelligence, determination and the vigilance of our security forces, we were able to make the arrest before the suspect was able to carry out his plans,” said the commander of the Border Police unit who made the arrest.
Out! Copenhagen Evicts Notorious Islamist Organization
Copenhagen Municipality informed the Islamic organization Hizb ut-Tahrir that it is no longer welcome to use state-funded rooms and locations for its meetings and dealings, thus marking the end of Denmark's long-drawn-out legal battle with the notorious Islamists.
The decision to bar Hizb ut-Tahrir from undermining democracy in state-owned premises came just days after the Danish government tightened the screws in its public information law in a bid to cripple extremist associations and groups promoting violent radicalism.
The doors to taxpayer-funded facilities have finally been shut for the notorious Islamist organization after years of failed attempts by the state of Denmark in an uphill battle against the Islamists' tirades against Jews, homosexuals and Western democracy.
DC Synagogue Hosting Speakers Who Call For Abolition of Israel
On May 21st, the Tifereth Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C. is planning an event featuring Sikkuy, an extremist Arab-Israeli organization that is signatory to documents calling for the abolition of the State of Israel.
According to Tifereth Israel’s announcement, Ron Gerlitz and Rawnak Natour, Directors of Sikkuy, the Association for the Advancement of Civic Equality, will discuss how to advance a “Shared Society in Israel” and create a country where “all citizens—Jewish and Arab alike—have an equal voice and an equal stake in the country’s future.”
Sikkuy is funded by the European Union, and is a signatory to the Haifa Declaration, which calls for the abolishing of the State of Israel, praises “resistance,” and accuses Israel of manipulating the memory of the Holocaust for political purposes.
According to NGO Monitor, an Israeli watchdog organization,
Sikkuy regularly accuses Israel of “racism” and presents views based on the Palestinian narrative of victimization, often completely omitting Israeli perspectives and legitimate national security concerns;
Gerlitz wrote an article entitled “Why Palestinian citizens of Israel are no longer safe,” which falsely accuses Israel of “systematic discrimination,” “profound racism”- which he claims is “of course nothing new”- and alleging that “[r]ight-wing leaders have sent a clear and unmistakable message to Palestinian citizens of Israel: If you don’t shut up you’ll come to a bitter end”;
Sikkuy published an “Equality Index” which makes unfounded allegations about “fears for the democratic regime” in Israel, and suggests that “morality,” “values,” and “democracy” are not part of Israeli “politics and the political discourse.” This rhetoric is a central component of contemporary delegitimization campaigns and attempts to manipulate the Israeli democratic process.
First Shot of a New Hezbollah War?
In short, Badreddine was one of the worst mass murderers in the world, and he got what was coming to him. But to say that justice was done is not the same thing as suggesting that it will make much of a difference. It won’t. Hezbollah has a deep bench with no doubt lots of other terrorists ready to step up and fill Badreddine’s spot as he himself stepped in for Mughniyeh.
Indeed, Hezbollah long ago completed the process of transforming itself from a ragtag terrorist organization into a quasi-state with a quasi-conventional army and, even more importantly, a vast missile and rocket force. Hezbollah has been flexing its muscles in Syria, where it has dispatched its fighters to keep Assad in power. Meanwhile in Lebanon, it forms a shadow government that is far more powerful than the nominal state and its army. Hezbollah has grown far more threatening than it was in 2006, when it fought its last war against Israel. Ceren reported that Hezbollah now has “roughly 150,000 rockets, allowing the group to saturation bomb Israeli population centers with 1,500 rockets and missiles per day for over three months.”
By killing Badreddine and occasionally bombing Hezbollah weapons convoys, Israel is doing no more than chipping around the edges of the Hezbollah empire — which is certain to grow even more powerful now that Iran, its sponsor, will have access to the world oil markets.
No one has any easy or obvious solution for defeating Hezbollah, but if the U.S. were serious about accomplishing that goal — and it clearly is not, at least not under the Obama administration — it would train and arm a capable Syrian military force that could defeat Hezbollah’s power grab in Syria. That would of course also mean defeating its ally, Bashar Assad. Syrian Sunnis are more than happy to fight against Hezbollah and Assad, but the U.S. has not provided the necessary support, thus allowing the rebel movement to be hijacked by Islamist extremist organizations such as the al-Nusra Front and ISIS.
If Hezbollah were to suffer defeat in Syria, where it has made such a big commitment, its aura of power would be damaged at home in Lebanon as well. The U.S. could then further reduce Hezbollah’s influence by aiding its numerous Lebanese foes, including many Shiites who are by no means happy to have their interests subordinated to those of Iran.
Iranian FM Mourns Death of Hezbollah Terrorist Who Bombed U.S. Marine Barracks
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sent a message of condolence on Friday to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah after the death of the terror group’s commander in Syria.
Mustafa Badreddine, an explosives expert who was killed in an explosion near the Damascus airport, was one of the terrorists responsible for the 1983 attack on the United States Marines barracks, which killed 305 people.
Zarif praised Badreddine in his message, expressing his hope that the “martyrdom of this great commander Mustafa will further strengthen resistance forces against the Zionist and terrorism,” the Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
Two years ago, in the middle of nuclear negotiations with the United States and other global powers, Zarif laid a wreath at the grave of Imad Mughniyeh, one of Badreddine’s co-conspirators in the barracks bombing. The White House condemned Zarif’s actions, saying that it sent the “wrong message” for him to honor a man whose “heinous acts of terrorism that killed hundreds of innocent people, including Americans.”
Car bomb spectaculars, mistresses and 13 mobile phones - who was the Hizbollah boss killed in Syria?
One of the Middle East's most charismatic and mysterious guerrilla leaders has been killed in a explosion of unknown origin on an air base in Syria, the militant group Hizbollah has confirmed.
Mustafa Badreddine, 55, who was directing the group's operations in support of the Assad regime, was the highest ranking leader of the group to have died since his cousin and brother-in-law, its military commander, was assassinated in Damascus by Mossad in 2008.
Initial claims that Israel had killed Badreddine too were withdrawn, and the Hizbollah statement, which did not give a date or time of his death, said it was investigating whether it was the result of an air raid, missile attack or artillery shelling.
Whoever killed him - and his enemies now would include Gulf states and rebel groups in Syria as well as Israel - brought to an end the career of a man once seen as a ghostly presence in Hizbollah's command, who was reported to have no passport, driving licence or property in Lebanon, yet who had a string of mistresses and drove around the Christian seaside resort of Jounieh in a large Mercedes.
He is thought to have joined his first militant group in the 1970s as a teenager, before going on to help found Hizbollah, a militant, Iranian-backed Shia Islamist group that emerged from the Lebanese civil war.
He may have honed his skills as a bomb-maker in the attacks on the US and French military barracks in Beirut in 1983, which killed 305 people. That was masterminded by Imad Mugniyeh, his cousin and brother-in-law, Hizbollah's military chief and his mentor in the organisation, with whom he has said to have watched the explosions from a nearby rooftop.
A year later, Badreddine personally supervised the bombing of the US embassy in Kuwait, which killed six people. He was caught, jailed and sentenced to death. Luckily for him, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990 and he was freed, escaping to the Iranian embassy which arranged his evacuation to Tehran and then back to Beirut.
Hezbollah blames rebels for death of senior commander
Lebanese-based terror organization Hezbollah reported on Saturday that its top commander Mustafa Amine Badreddine, was killed by artillery shelling by a rebel group.
Mustafa Amine Badreddine was reportedly killed near the Damascus airport. Badreddine is said to be the highest ranking official in the Shi'ite paramilitary group behind the organization's leader, Hassan Nasrallah.
"Investigations have showed that the explosion, which targeted one of our bases near Damascus International Airport, and which led to the martyrdom of commander Mustafa Badreddine, was the result of artillery bombardment carried out by takfiri [rebel] groups in the area," Hezbollah's statement said.
Earlier on Saturday, Hezbollah-affiliated Lebanese daily Al Akhbar had reported that an initial investigation into the incident had found that Badreddine was killed by an advanced guided missile.
According to the report such weaponry suggests the involvement of a developed country in the assassination.
Hezbollah expansion threatens all of Lebanon, UN envoy warns
Hezbollah’s involvement in the conflicts in Syria and more recently Iraq risks a spillover of sectarian tensions into Lebanon where the Islamic State extremist group and the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front are reported to be expanding, a UN envoy warned Friday.
Terje Roed-Larsen expressed serious concern that not only have Hezbollah and other militias continued their activities since the Security Council ordered them to disband in 2004 “but if anything they have expanded.” He also expressed concern at the reported expansion of extremist groups, mostly in Palestinian refugee camps.
He called for the urgent disbanding of all militias in his final briefing to the council before stepping down on May 31 after 12 years, saying “their growing capabilities … represent a major and dangerous threat to Lebanon’s sovereignty, stability and political independence.”
The Associated Press obtained the text of his closed briefing to the Security Council.
Obama sending mixed messages on Iran, charges ex-sanctions officer
A banker who once enforced US sanctions on entities dealing with Iran said the Obama administration is sending mixed messages on whether it will penalize those who do business with the Islamic Republic.
“Washington is pushing non-US banks to do what it is still illegal for American banks to do,” Stuart Levey, who was the undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at the US Treasury from 2004-2011, wrote in Friday’s Wall Street Journal.
Levey, who is now chief legal officer for HSBC Holdings, a British bank, referred to a meeting this week in London in which US Secretary of State John Kerry sought to persuade European financial institutions to do business with Iran.
Sanctions on direct US business with Iran remain in place, inhibiting renewed commerce with the country, and Obama officials fear that if Iran does not feel some relief, extremists in the country could precipitate the collapse of the deal.
The calling out from Levey could prove embarrassing for the Obama administration. Levey was a George W. Bush administration appointee whom Obama purposefully kept in place to underscore consistency when it came to confronting Iran.
Meeting With Bill Clinton, Donation To Foundation Preceded Businessman’s Release From Iran Jail
Just before an Iranian-American businessman was freed from jail in Iran in Oct. 2010, his son met with Bill Clinton and also made the first of what would become more than $1 million in donations to the Clinton Foundation.
Sources tell The Daily Caller that Nima Taghavi, who owns businesses in California, grew impatient in 2010 with negotiations to secure his father Reza’s release from an Iranian prison, and so he turned to the former president for help.
To arrange the meeting with Clinton, Taghavi first contacted Doug Band, who worked as Clinton’s “body man,” has counseled the Clinton Foundation, and co-founded Teneo Holdings, a consulting group that Clinton advised.
The elder Taghavi was detained in May 2008 during a trip to the Islamic regime and accused of financing terrorist activity after he gave $200 to an Iranian man who turned out to have ties to a terrorist group suspected in a mosque bombing in Shiraz. Taghavi, who was 69 years old when arrested, said he was only doing a favor for his friend in the U.S. and had no idea that the man who would receive the money was involved in terrorism.
Head of Iran’s hate cartoon fest equates Holocaust with Israeli actions in ‘Palestine’
The secretary of Iran’s latest international cartoon contest on the Holocaust said it was not a denial of the Nazi crimes, but then equated the Nazi genocide with Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.
Masuod Shojai-Tabatabai said Saturday that organizers have no interest in denying the Holocaust or “ridiculing its victims.”
He claimed, however, that the world was witnessing a similar massacre “by the Zionist regime in Gaza and Palestine.”
Some 150 works from 50 countries are on display at the contest, which began Saturday and is running for the next two weeks.
Cartoonists from various countries, including France, are competing in the contest which is organized by non-governmental bodies with strong support from Iran’s regime. Some $50,000 in prize money will go to 16 finalists, with the top winner receiving $12,000.
Jewish school bus blaze evokes tension of 1991 Brooklyn riots
Twenty five years ago this August, the neighborhood’s black residents exploded into days of rioting after a 7-year-old boy, the son of Guyanese immigrants, was accidentally struck and killed by a car in the motorcade of the leader of the Lubavitcher sect. A rabbinical student was stabbed and died. Many people were beaten. Vehicles were flipped and burned.
Those tensions were supposed to have melted away a long time ago, but last Sunday afternoon a group of boys, all black, stole aboard an unlocked bus parked in front of the Bnos Chomesh Academy, set fire to the seats and ran. Flames consumed the bus in minutes.
Five children, including 11-year-olds, a 12-year-old and two 14-year-olds, have been arrested and accused of arson and criminal mischief.
The episode prompted at least one leader in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community to formally complain to police about what he saw as a trend in anti-Semitic incidents. He says another bus was attacked and a student was beaten by a group of black teens in the days before the bus burning.
“These are not isolated events,” Barry Sugar of the Jewish Leadership Council wrote. “Attacks of this nature can either be decisively curtailed by law enforcement or defiantly intensified by delinquents.”
British boxing champ warns of ‘Zionist, Jewish’ brainwashing
Tyson Fury, a British boxer who is one of the world’s top athletes in his category, was filmed warning viewers not to be brainwashed by Zionist Jews, who he said own all banks and media.
The Campaign Against Antisemitism, a British watchdog group, said it is submitting a complaint to the British Boxing Board of Control against Fury over the video, which surfaced on YouTube Friday.
“Everyone just do what you can, listen to the government follow everybody like sheep, be brainwashed by all the Zionist, Jewish people who own all the banks, all the papers all the TV stations. Be brainwashed by them all,” said Fury, a practicing Catholic who is scheduled in July to try and win back his International Boxing Federation title of world champion in his category of heavyweight. He lost the title last year due to a technicality after holding it for only 10 days.
“Tyson Fury’s statements about Jewish people are offensive and racist,” Jonathan Sacerdoti, director of communications at the Campaign Against Antisemitism said in a statement.
Israel is at the forefront of education technology
Israel is arguably a place of converging innovative ideas. It seems there is a new culture of education technology startups springing up throughout the country. Because technology is increasingly becoming a part of peoples’ daily lives, countries in North America and Europe should take note of what these Israeli ed-tech startups are doing.
These 100+ startups are producing education technologies designed to improve learning styles of all types of learners. Israel is leading the way in technologies designed to improve learning of students affected by mental illness.
I recently read an article written by Israel21c that showcased an Israeli-innovation. This innovation is a high school with a classroom designed for students who’ve been diagnosed with ADHD. Distraction-free learning is made possible by assembling a classroom that distraction-free décor, bouncy chairs made from yoga balls, walled-off study/tutoring cubicles and desks on wheels. The classroom is at Darca High School in Kiryat Malachi.
As a person who has grown up with ADHD and struggle with it in the classroom, this wood have been a close to a dream for my high school years. If this invention proves to be successful in the long-term, it might not be a bad idea for primary and secondary schools in North America and Europe to adopt the invention to many of their schools. Just imagining what could be accomplished from students with ADHD is an intriguing thought. Especially now that they would be better able to learn because of their minimized distractions in the classroom.
113-year-old Jewish woman now oldest person in the US
The oldest American is now a 113-year-old Jewish woman named Goldie.
After the death of 116-year-old Susannah Mushatt-Jones Friday, the New York Daily News reported that Goldie Michelson of Worcester, Massachusetts, became the oldest living American.
Since the death of another Goldie, 114-year-old Goldie Steinberg last year, Michelson has likely been the oldest Jew in the world too.
Michelson (neé Corash) was born in Russia in 1902 and emigrated with her family to Worcester at the age of 2. Her father, Max, was a medical student in Russia who opened up a dry goods store in the Water Street area of Worcester.
She attended the Women’s College of Brown University, which later became Pembroke University, and received a master’s degree in sociology from Clark University in Worcester. Her thesis at Clark was titled “A Citizenship Survey of Worcester Jewry” and examined why many of the city’s older Jewish-immigrant residents did not pursue American citizenship or learn English.
She told the Worcester Telegram in 2012 that her thesis was inspired by her time working with Jewish women’s organizations, like Hadassah and the National Council of Jewish Women. Michelson was also active in other community groups, including one that supported the founding of Brandeis University.
From Hezbollah to Israeli army: The extraordinary journey of a father and son
When 120 young Israeli soldiers lined up outside the President’s Residence in Jerusalem on Thursday to receive citations for their distinguished service, leaders lauded and paid tribute to their exceptional personal tales.
But few of those stories could compare with that of Amos Sinai, a young soldier in the Golani Brigade who was one of the recipients of the commendation.
For Amos wasn’t born Israeli. He wasn’t even born Jewish, but a Shiite Muslim in Lebanon, Israel’s Channel 2 news reported on Friday. And his father, Rabbi Avraham Sinai, was once Ibrahim Yassin — a mole for Israel planted deep inside the Hezbollah terror organization.
And Amos insists that it is his father, not he, who deserves the true honors, for “going through hell to protect us from the horrors of Hezbollah and to bring us to Israel, so that we could grow up and live here as a normal family, free and without persecution.”
The story of the elder Sinai’s disillusionment with Lebanon began during the Lebanese civil war, which began in 1975 and involved numerous belligerents, including Syria and Israel. Sinai said he was horrified by the actions of the Syrian army and Palestinian militant groups during the conflict.



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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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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