Saturday, May 21, 2016

From Ian:

J-Street was paid by Obama administration to promote Iran deal
J-Street received more than half a million dollars to advocate for the Obama administration's controversial nuclear deal with Iran, it has been revealed.
The liberal Jewish group, which bills itself as "pro-Israel and pro-peace" but which critics say takes solely anti-Israel stances, was paid the money by the White House's main surrogate organization for selling the deal.
The Ploughshares Fund was named in an explosive New York Times profile of Obama aid Ben Rhodes, in which the President's chief spin doctor listed the central groups responsible for creating an "echo chamber" in order to promote the deal, even when the White House's official line didn't jibe with the facts.
According to Associated Press, the group's 2015 annual report details several organizations which received substantial funds to peddle the official White House line on the nuclear deal. Among them was National Public Radio (NPR), which received a $100,000 grant to promote "national security reporting that emphasizes the themes of U.S. nuclear weapons policy and budgets, Iran's nuclear program, international nuclear security topics and U.S. policy toward nuclear security."
Other grantees included: The Arms Control Association ($282,500); the Brookings Institution ($225,000); and the Atlantic Council ($182,500), who "received money for Iran-related analysis, briefings and media outreach, and non-Iran nuclear work," according to AP. (h/t Yenta Press)
Rhodes' Echo Chamber' Group Paid NPR To Cover Iran Deal
In a disturbing revelation of how much the Obama Administration’s plans to sell the Iran nuclear deal involved the corruption of the media, AP reports that The Ploughshares Fund [funded by Soros], a group identified by Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes as one of the groups that helped build an “echo chamber” to promulgate the administration’s narrative, gave National Public Radio $100,000 last year to report on the deal and ancillary issues.
The Ploughshares Fund's mission is to ostensibly "build a safe, secure world by developing and investing in initiatives to reduce and ultimately eliminate the world's nuclear stockpiles," but as Rhodes revealed in an article in The New York Times Magazine, the fund was one of a group of nongovernmental organizations that worked to engender support for the deal. Rhodes said brazenly, "We created an echo chamber.”
The GOP had slammed the deal as being a product of White House spin.
Ploughshares’ 2015 annual report stated that the grant to NPR supported "national security reporting that emphasizes the themes of U.S. nuclear weapons policy and budgets, Iran's nuclear program, international nuclear security topics and U.S. policy toward nuclear security.” Board chairwoman Mary Lloyd Estrin bragged in the report that the success of the Iran deal was "driven by the fearless leadership of the Obama administration and supporters in Congress, less known is the absolutely critical role that civil society played in tipping the scales towards this extraordinary policy victory."
Ploughshares spokeswoman Jennifer Abrahamson protested to AP, "It is common practice for foundations to fund media coverage of underreported stories,” adding that funding "does not influence the editorial content of their coverage in any way, nor would we want it to." NPR admitted that Ploughshares has funded NPR's coverage of national security since 2005; every grant descriptions since 2010 mentions Iran. (h/t Yenta Press)
Media-Darling Muslim Selfie Girl: ‘Hitler Left Some Jews So We’d Know Why He Killed Them’
A Muslim girl who took a “defiant” selfie at an anti-Islam protest in Belgium allegedly posted anti-Semitic comments on her Twitter, Facebook, and Ask.fm accounts, according to a Belgian former soldier and a leading Dutch website.
Zakia Belkhiri, 22, was lauded as an “inspiration” by the media as her picture next to Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest) protesters went viral.
But web sleuths have now claimed that Ms. Belkhiri’s “peace sign” in the picture is perhaps out of character for her. They claim she tweeted in 2012: “Hitler didnt kill all the jews, he left some. So we [would] know why he was killing them”.
The tweet, seen in these screengrabs, appears to have been sent on the 29th December 2012, is now circulating social media as people attempt to draw attention to Ms. Belkhiri’s alleged racist views. As Ms. Belkhiri has now deleted her account it is not possible to verify these tweets.
Shortly before she deleted her accounts, Ms. Belkhiri tweeted: “I DON’T HAVE ANYTHING AGAINST JEWS THOSE TWEETS ARE FAKE THEY ARE PHOTOSHOPPED BUT if you don’t believe me that’s your choice people”.
But social media users are also claiming her Ask.fm account allegedly read: “f#ck that Jewish language” when she was asked if she wanted to learn Hebrew while critics claim her Facebook account expressed her hatred for Jews.



The Mirage of BDS Momentum
Jonathan Tobin has written about the latest defeat for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement. At the General Conference of the United Methodist Church, meeting from May 10-20, several divestment resolutions failed to make it out of committee, and by wide margins. Although they could still be taken up by the full conference, it hardly seems likely any one of them has enough support to pass.
Now, even more strikingly, the General Conference has voted 478-318 to “encourage the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) to withdraw its current membership in the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation… and to end any financial contributions, including staff participation.” The U.S. Campaign, as the resolution says, is a “one-sided” coalition whose agenda “includes seeking ‘to isolate Israel economically, socially, and culturally,’ and promoting ‘comprehensive divestment’ against Israel, while overlooking anti-Israel aggression.” “Blaming only one side while ignoring the wrongdoing of Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran,” the successful resolution continues, “will not advance the cause of peace.”
To be sure, two even more anti-BDS resolutions, both of which mandated, rather than merely encouraging, a break with the U.S. Campaign failed in close votes in committee. Nonetheless, those boycott activists who were hoping for momentum at this year’s General Conference will now have to digest the fact that the Methodist Church not only rejected divestment but, while they were at it, slapped BDS in the face
Yet the Church’s pension board of the Church had as recently as January placed five Israeli banks on a list of companies “that it will not invest in for human rights reasons.” This move was widely hailed by pro-BDS groups as a sign of their momentum. So what accounts for the repudiation of BDS by the General Conference?
Hillary Clinton’s letter opposing BDS has received a lot of attention, as she is herself a Methodist. But I doubt the letter was decisive. Instead, the BDS momentum was a mirage.
To begin with, although BDS activism has been intense for years, and the Methodist Church has denounced Israel’s presence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as its settlement policies, the Church rejected divestment decisively, by a 2 to 1 margin at its 2012 conference. The Church also rejected divestment in 2008.
Divest This: Methodists Acting Sanely
Some good news out of Portland, Oregon as the Methodist Church voted (yet again) to reject divestment, despite years-long campaigning spearheaded by those to try to get the church to reverse an anti-BDS position they have confirmed in vote after vote after vote in the past.
To make matters even worse (for the boycotters, anyway), the Methodists did vote to divest: from BDS.
In a surprise move, a measure that recommends the church disassociate itself from the US Campaign to End the Occupation passed 60:40, establishing that the organization not only prefers alternatives to BDS but is ready to send the boycotters a message that the Methodist Church means it when they keep saying “No.”
Once the #BDSFail hashtag moves onto other stories, the BDSers will – as usual – pretend this year’s votes never happened and begin to prepare for the next Methodist conclave in a few years when the same people will make the same appeals after doing all they can to stack the deck internally in their favor. And here’s hoping that all that effort gets wasted yet again.
It’s really been more than a decade since church votes on Middle East matters meant anything to the public at large. When the Presbyterians voted for divestment in 2004, that made news and anchored an early version of the BDS “movement” for years until that same church rejected divestment overwhelmingly in 2006.
The “movement” spent the next decade frantically trying to get back to where they once were, and in 2014 they finally managed to turn the clock back a decade. But by then the wider public had gotten a glimpse of how sausage is made within the decision-making bodies of PCUSA with corrupt leaders working in collusion with BDS activists to ensure all decision-making bodies were purged of fair-minded independent thinkers and that voting delegates (and the church body at large) were denied any information that strayed from the BDS party line.
David Horovitz: Why Netanyahu’s dumping of his defense minister is no ordinary political maneuver
Skilled, cynical or both, Netanyahu has nonetheless become Israel’s longest-serving prime minister after David Ben-Gurion because, in a system that does not impose term limits, and in a region and an era fraught with fast-changing threats, it will take a particularly compelling and credible politician to persuade Israelis to forsake him. They know that even seemingly sensible decisions taken by Israeli prime ministers can have catastrophic, even existential consequences. Israelis may not much like Netanyahu, but he is the devil they know.
On election day, Israelis ultimately ask themselves who is most capable of keeping them, their children and their country safe. Last March 17, with the memories of the bitter 2014 war with Hamas still fresh, Israelis placed their confidence in the pairing of Netanyahu and Ya’alon. Many voters doubtless concluded that those two leaders — neither of them military adventurers — were best equipped to keep alive the young combat soldiers. Our children.
One wonders now whether the casual jettisoning by Netanyahu of his right-hand man Ya’alon will crack that public perception of peerless competence.
For Roni Daniel, in all his anguish on TV Friday night, Netanyahu’s short-term political gambit of bringing in Liberman apparently marks the beginning of the end for Israel. The less emotional question would appear to be whether it marks the beginning of the end for Netanyahu.
Honeymoon over for Netanyahu? Report on Gaza tunnels to rock coalition
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new coalition honeymoon will likely be short as the expected publication of the much-anticipated comptroller report on the Gaza tunnels is expected to be highly critical of the government’s handling of the 2014 Gaza war.
Although parts of the report were leaked to the press earlier this month, sources who have seen the draft said this week that its criticism would focus on outgoing-Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, former IDF Chief of Staff Lt.- Gen. (res.) Benny Gantz and former military intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi.
The findings, reportedly, focus on the lack of information provided to the security cabinet regarding the severity of the threat posed to southern Israel by Hamas’s cross-border attack tunnels.
“The conclusions are that the cabinet ministers were sidelined and were not told the information, and thus did not have the tools to go ahead and make an informative decision,” the sources said.
During the two years prior to the war, “the security cabinet was informed only once about the tunnel threat and even then it was more of a side note,” said sources who have seen the report.
Israel’s UN Ambassador Flatly Rejects Demand to Remove Jerusalem Panel From Exhibit: We Will Not Allow Our History to Be Censored
The Jewish state will not be prevented from proudly proclaiming its biblical and historic connections to Jerusalem, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations told The Algemeiner on Friday.
“We will not allow key elements of the history and heritage of the Jewish people to be censored,” said Israeli UN envoy Danny Danon, in response to recent demands by Arab and Islamic delegations at the international body for Israel to remove a panel from an exhibition it is hosting at the UN which calls Jerusalem “the spiritual and physical capital of the Jewish people.”
According to a Thursday report in the New York Times, the Palestinian delegation to the UN sent a letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and General Assembly President Mogen Lykketoft expressing their “vehement rejection” of Israel’s description of Jerusalem. The letter — which followed protests by other Arab nations and the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation — said all references “which purport to assert Israeli sovereignty on this land…are legally, politically and morally incorrect and unacceptable.”
The Jerusalem panel shows pictures of holy sites across the Israeli capital and states “the Jewish people are indigenous to Israel and have maintained a continuous presence in the land since 1000 BC. Jerusalem has been the center and focus of Jewish life and religion for more than three millennia and is holy to Christians and Muslims as well.”
Initially, when the exhibit first opened two months ago, three out of its 13 displays — featuring information on Jerusalem, Israeli Arabs and Zionism — were excluded after having been rejected by the UN. In response, the Israeli Mission included in the display a panel with the word “censored” on it to protest the UN decision. Shortly afterwards, the panel on Zionism was approved for display, but the panels on Jerusalem and Israeli Arabs were still excluded.
Moderate Arab States Indicate Flexibility Towards Peace Initiative With Israel
In the wake of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s positive response to Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi’s call for peace talks, moderate Arab states have been reaching out diplomatically to Israel and showing some flexibility regarding the Arab Peace Initiative, Israel’s channel 10 reported on Friday.
Arab governments, including those of Egypt and the Gulf states, have indicated their interest in publicly changing their posture towards Israel, according to the report. Their officials are now waiting for Netanyahu’s response to their offer for further discussions on the initiative.
Dore Gold, the director general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, said three years ago that the Arab Peace Initiative was “something positive,” as it showed that the Arab world was interested in reaching out to Israel. However, he cautioned that “it would be great if this was the basis for sitting down and [bringing] our positions to the table,” rather than a non-negotiable proposal.
Echoing the idea that the initiative could be a useful bridge for peace if it is a starting point, Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror said in a forum earlier this month with Prince Turki al-Faisal, the former Saudi intelligence chief and ambassador to the United States, that the proposal could bring “both sides under an umbrella to negotiate.”
Amendment introduced to tackle anti-Israel bias in US Navy security clearances
Following cases of a security clearance being denied by the US Navy to American Jews having family in Israel, the US representative for New York’s third congressional district, Steve Israel, secured a provision in the Fiscal Year 2017 Defense Appropriations bill that would help stop the bias.
Several Jewish organizations had spoken out against the practice back in December after it came to light through the case of a retired dentist, Dr. Gershon Pincus, who had been accepted to work at a naval clinic in Saratoga Springs, but was denied his security clearance because his mother and siblings live in Israel.
According to the statement of reasoning provided to him by the Navy, having family in Israel represented a security concern due to “divided loyalties.”
Dr. Pincus’s lawyer, Avi Schick, told The Jerusalem Post that dozens of similar cases exist and that the number of clearance denials connected to Israel exceed the number of those related to people with family members in other countries.
Israel returns to PA bodies of Jaffa, Petah Tikva terrorists
Israel on Friday night returned to the Palestinian Authority the bodies of two terrorists, one belonging to a West Bank man who killed an American tourist during a stabbing spree in Jaffa two months ago.
Bashar Massalha, 22, from Qalqilya, murdered US citizen Taylor Force and injured 10 others in a rampage along the Jaffa boardwalk on March 8. He was killed by security forces at the scene of the attack, which coincided with a visit by US Vice President Joe Biden, who was meeting with Shimon Peres minutes away from the scene.
Force was a US Army veteran who had done tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. He graduated from West Point Military Academy in 2009 and served as a field artillery officer from 2009 to 2014 at Fort Hood.
The Vanderbilt graduate student was repatriated three days after the attack, following a service at Ben Gurion Airport attended by American-born former MK Dov Lipman, Force’s friend and former West Point Military Academy classmate David Simpkins, and members of the US diplomatic corps and military in Israel.
Australia security experts visit Israel
A group of business people, intelligence experts and academics have participated in the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce Security Delegation to Israel co-organised with Perth’s Edith Cowan University.
The Arab world is a mess for at least the next 20-25 years,” predicted Prof. Efraim Inbar, Director of Bar-Ilan University’s Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies, in concluding his analysis of the current situation in the Middle East before the delegation of Australians who started their weeklong with a visit to Bar-Ilan University.
Inbar was one of four speakers from the University to address the delegation.
Speaking of its rising power in the region, Inbar pointed out that Iran today maintains leadership in four main capitals aside from Tehran: Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sana. And now that it has received “carte blanche” to build a nuclear bomb in 15 years, there is a trend towards nuclear proliferation. Egypt and Turkey, who are competing for regional hegemony, will not remain behind, and neither, he guessed, will Saudi Arabia, which is directly threated by Iran. “In order to counter the Iranians’ attempt at hegemony, they will do their best to acquire nuclear weapons,” he said. The United States, he added, has no credibility in the region and its offer of a nuclear umbrella to these countries was turned down. Regarding Syria, Inbar said that it will never return to what it once was. “You can turn an egg into an omelet, but you can never turn an omelet back into an egg,” said Inbar, who will be leading a delegation of BESA Center analysts to Australia later this year. He added that he considers Turkey an Islamic State with a clear Islamist agenda being imposed, and he is not optimistic about the future there.
Foreign press group blasts Hamas’s ‘thuggish behavior’
Israel’s Foreign Press Association has condemned the Gaza Strip’s Hamas rulers for “thuggish behavior,” after the terror group detained a photographer for several hours and banned her from returning to the coastal enclave.
“On Thursday, FPA member Heidi Levine, a photographer for SIPA Press, was detained by Hamas security men for more than three hours before she was allowed to leave Gaza,” the umbrella group representing foreign journalists working in Israel and the Palestinian territories said in a statement Thursday night. As she exited, Hamas security told Levine she was banned from the territory, claiming her work “reflects badly on Gaza.” It provided no examples of the work that allegedly upset it.
“The FPA strongly condemns the thuggish behavior of the Hamas security and the implication that Hamas should judge what is or isn’t acceptable coverage of Gaza,” the group said.
“Unfortunately, this incident is not isolated. A number of FPA members have reported being forced to undergo uncomfortable questioning by Hamas security forces while entering or exiting Gaza in recent months. We call on Hamas to end these practices immediately and urge the group to give journalists unfettered access in and out of Gaza.”
The FPA has tussled with Hamas in recent months, in March castigating the terror group for increasing registration fees for armored cars used by journalists covering Gaza. (h/t Gastwirt)
Russia says it cracked group preparing Paris-style attacks
Russia’s security chief says his agency has tracked down a group working to prepare “Paris-style” attacks in major Russian cities.
Alexander Bortnikov, the head of the Federal Security Service, the top KGB successor agency, said it cracked the group in February in cooperation with Kazakhstan’s security service.
He said Thursday that the group’s members were planning to go to Syria to join the Islamic State group after conducting the terror attacks “under the Paris scenario.” Bortnikov didn’t say how many suspects have been arrested or give any further details.
The Nov. 13 attacks in Paris left 130 people dead and hundreds wounded. Most of those killed were hostages in the Bataclan concert hall.
Bataclan band’s concerts nixed after singer says he saw Muslims celebrating
Two French festivals on Friday cancelled shows by Eagles of Death Metal, the band whose November 13 show in Paris turned into a bloodbath, after the frontman made remarks critical of Muslims.
The Rock en Seine and Cabaret Vert festivals took issue with an interview by singer and guitarist Jesse Hughes, who renewed allegations that Muslim staff at the Bataclan club was involved in the attack.
“Being in total disagreement with Jesse Hughes’ recent allegations given in an interview with an American media (outlet), both Cabaret Vert and Rock en Seine festivals have decided to cancel the band’s performance,” said a statement by the two festivals, which take place in late August.
Eagles of Death Metal had briefly become heroes in France after Islamic extremists assaulted their concert, killing 90 people in the deadliest of a series of coordinated attacks that claimed 130 lives across the metropolis.
But Hughes has since proved controversial in his remarks. Unlike many rockers, he is known for his right-wing politics and champions gun ownership as well as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Student Group Calls for End to Intimidation, Harassment of Jewish, Zionist Students Following Violent Anti-Israel Protest at UC Irvine (VIDEO)
Following the protest, UCI’s SJP issued their own statement on Facebook, accusing Israel and the IDF of a host of crimes and gloating over their activities to block free speech on campus.
“Today we successfully demonstrated against the presence of IDF soldiers on campus,” the group said. “We condemn the Israeli ‘Defense’ Forces, better defined as Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF), because they enforce Zionist settler colonialism and military occupation of Palestinian land by the Israeli nation-state. Not only does the IOF commit murders and several violences against the Palestinian people, including its use of Gaza as a laboratory for weapons testing, but it enforces militarization and policing all over the world. The United States send delegations of police forces to train in Israel by the IOF, such as the LAPD and NYPD for example.”
The group continued, “The presence of IDF and police threatened our coalition of Arab, black, undocumented, trans, and the greater activist community. Thank you to all that came out and bravely spoke out against injustice. ‪#‎UCIntifada‬.”
SSI [Students Supporting Israel] said they are “currently in talks with the university and our own legal counsels as to the consequences that these aggressors will face.”
Anti-Israel activism is not new to UCI. According to campus watchdog group the AMCHA Initiative, previous anti-Israel protests and events centered on supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement; condoning terrorism; denying Jewish self determination; delegitimizing the right of the state of Israel to exist; and the suppression of free speech and right to assemble.
In 2011, a group of Muslim students at UCI were sentenced to three years informal probation by a judge after being found guilty of conspiracy to disrupt and disrupting a 2010 campus speech by then Israeli ambassador to the US, Michael Oren. The students, who have become infamously known as the “Irvine 11,” generated a national debate over free speech.
Students Supporting Israel: SSI’s 2nd National Conference!
The Students Supporting Israel National team is excited to announce the making of the second SSI National Conference this August 13-15! We are back this summer, bigger, better, and stronger as our movement has grown to 48 chapters around the world.
Last year, over 45 members attended the conference. Students were engaged in activities about how to answer and raise tough questions about Israel and BDS, how to execute an effective tabling event, heard from Israel’s Midwest Consulate General office, networked with each other, among many other activities. In addition, 13 awards were given out to students to recognize the hard work that they have done to make the SSI movement strong and united.
Since the last conference, the SSI movement has made great accomplishments over the academic year. Among them are many new and creative events such as six graffiti events with Artists 4 Israel, a speaking tour with the Portuguese human rights activist Romeu Monteiro and NYU Professor Abe Haak and many more. SSIers in the different chapters led and passed three pro-Israel resolutions, led coalitions that successfully combated BDS resolutions, engaged over 5,000 new students on campus with grassroots events, and established themselves across the campus communities as the one united pro-Israel student movement with boots on the ground.
In SSI, the students are leading the movement, and the national team is guiding and assisting every chapter with small and large issues alike in order to make sure the pro-Israel is voice strong and confident on campus. We are excited for the second National Conference, as unlike any other pro-Israel conference ever attended before this will be hosted on the actual place where campus activities take action: On Campus! Even more exciting, is that the location is the birth place of Students Supporting Israel - the University of Minnesota.
Ontario anti-BDS bill defeated
Ontario’s parliament rejected a bill that would have prevented the Canadian province from conducting business with companies that support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.
Provincial lawmakers on Thursday voted against the bill, dubbed the “Standing Up Against Anti-Semitism in Ontario Act,” by a vote of 39 to 18. Liberal and left-leaning New Democratic Party members largely voted against the measure.
The bill was introduced by former Conservative party leader Tim Hudak and a Liberal member of the legislature, Mike Colle.
Colle asked his colleagues to support the bill, saying proponents of the BDS movement “try to clothe themselves in an aura of fighting for a just cause, [but] their core belief is a hate for Israel and a hate for everything Jewish.”
Speaking for the Liberal government, Culture Minister Michael Coteau argued the legislation would not improve security in the troubled region, reported the Toronto Star. New Democrat Peggy Sattler called it “an attack on freedom of speech and association.”
Arguing for the bill, Hudak called BDS an “insidious new face of anti-Semitism,” and lashed out at Liberals.
Israelis Discover Cure for Leukemia - Does the Media Care?
With the millions of words the New York Times, New Yorker, BBC, et al. have splashed on their pages decrying every new foundation poured in some obscure Israeli settlement or bemoaning the hardship imposed on Palestinians forced to endure delays at security checkpoints, will the legions of journalists and pontificators find space to report on the most extraordinary, life-changing developments coming out of Israel?
Millions have suffered the devastating consequences of Leukemia, a blood marrow cancer that strikes both the young and the old. The disease knows no ethnic or religious boundaries. Until recently, Acute Myeloblastic Leukemia, the most common form, was a death sentence. Despite extensive chemotherapy regimens that left patients tortured by pain and nausea, most of the stricken eventually succumbed to the disease.
But over the past few years, a number of small Israeli medical research firms have devised new compounds and technologies that hold the promise of targeting Leukemic cells with the same incredible accuracy that Iron dome targets incoming Hamas missiles, leaving the rest of the patient's body intact and producing a permanent cure. These developments should they pan out, represent a revolution in medicine and in the battle against cancer.
ICNA’s Selective Outrage on Bangladesh Violence
IPT noted that “ICNA’s strong condemnation of Nizami’s execution and those of other JI-tied Bangladeshi Islamists in the past stands in sharp contrast to the Islamist group’s notable silence following recent horrific terror attacks in Bangladesh that have included the hacking to death of a Bangladeshi academic, gay rights activist, Hindu tailor, and Sufi leader. Some of these attacks have been linked to the Islamic State and al-Qaida, raising the total number of terrorist slayings of secular bloggers and critics of radical Islam in Bangladesh to 20 since 2013.”
ICNA has shown a willingness to speak with many in the U.S. news media—who often treat the group as a credible source, failing to fully identify the Circle’s radical roots, associations and activities (see, for example “Baltimore Sun Gives Islamic Circle a Free Pass,” CAMERA, June 3, 2015).
As CAMERA has noted, the Islamic Circle is a subsidiary of the Islamic Society of North America, a Muslim Brotherhood spin-off. The Egyptian-based, Sunni Brotherhood seeks to spread sharia (Islamic law) globally. ICNA is part of a network of groups, including the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) that stemmed from the Brotherhood’s North American initiatives.
In 2010, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) noted that a December 2009 ICNA conference featured calls to destroy Israel and distributed the writings of Anwar al-Awlaki—an American-born leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula who was later killed by a U.S. drone strike.
If Only Rhodes Had Waited, Like Phil Caputo
Caputo’s first thought was to think that his foreign editor was crazy. “Of all the dangerous places you could go in Beirut, Lebanon, the most dangerous you could go were the neighborhoods and the refugee camps that were controlled by the Palestinian Liberation Organization,” Caputo said. “To go into one of those places was a suicide mission. I couldn’t figure out how 'Scoop Magazine' had done it.”
Fortunately, Caputo was friends with the correspondents at the magazine so he goes over to their office and asks them if they could help set up an interview with this Abu Rashid. In response the two correspondents laughed at Caputo’s request. And then one of the reporters leans back in his chair and says, “Go ahead,” prompting a look of bafflement from Caputo. Then the other reporter for "Scoop" tells him that the reporter sitting in the chair is Abu Rashid.
Upon hearing this part of the story, the audience at Cooper Union laughed uproariously. When the laughter died down, Caputo continued his story. It turned out that the two journalists writing for “Scoop” had been getting messages from their bosses asking for interview with a PLO commander. Eventually, after continued pressure from their editor, they invented Abu Rashid.
As I said before, there were a lot of things you were supposed to do to go get a story, anything to get a story, but there was one thing you were never supposed to do and I did it. I interviewed Rick, AKA, Abu Rashid. [Rick was the pseudonym Caputo gave to the journalist.]
Again, there’s more laughter from the audience when they hear this story, but here is where Caputo’s story gets even more disturbing.
I’ll say in my own defense, a lot of other correspondents did the same thing. [More laughter.] In the ensuing days, the fabulous Abu Rashid became the most quoted PLO commander in the entire Middle East.
Actually, I’m kind of glad you’re laughing as far as journalistic ethics go it was pretty shocking. You weren’t supposed to do a thing like that and I have to say that I felt pretty ashamed of myself.
Iranian poster art goes on display at Jerusalem museum
In marked contrast to Iran’s anti-Semitic Holocaust cartoon contest, Israel’s Islamic art institute pays tribute to Persian history
It took a curator from a gallery in Brno in the Czech Republic working with an Israeli graphic artist to bring 60 original Iranian art posters for exhibition in Jerusalem’s Museum for Islamic Art.
The exhibit, “Sign from Iran,” displays the remarkable works of 27 Iranian artists and graphic designers. The works — consisting of posters — were used over the last 40 years to advertise various events in Iran, from theater performances and political statements to public service announcements and art exhibits.
It’s the first time, however, that they’re being displayed together in an exhibit, said Marta Sylvestrová, curator of the Moravian Gallery in Brno, a “small, boutique museum” in the Czech Republic’s second-largest city. Sylvestrová curated the Iranian poster exhibit together with Yossi Lemel, an Israeli poster artist, and also worked with the Trnava Poster Triennial from Slovakia.
It was Lemel who first came up with the idea of the exhibit, after he visited the Brno museum. He then suggested a retrospective of Iranian poster art to Nadim Sheiban, director of the Museum for Islamic Art.
Islamic Republic of Iran Declares War on Kardashian Empire (satire)
The Iranian Parliament has demanded an unspecified sum from the United States for allegedly inflicting “spiritual and material damage” on Iranian culture and values. The main accusation: the egregious victimization of the Iranian people by the unchecked rise of the Kardashian Empire.
Yesterday, an Iranian cyber-crime unit accused Kim Kardashian of using Instagram in a covert propaganda campaign to corrupt the youth of Iran. Government representative Akbar Noazz explained that Kardashian and her “spy handlers” (known in America as ‘stylists’) are “targeting young people and women,” promoting a hedonistic lifestyle of duck-face selfies, ass implants, and Kanye music. “We are taking this very seriously. There is no doubt financial support is involved. Our guess? Zionists.” The allegations follow a crackdown by The Islamic Fun Police Authority (known colloquially as FUPA) on young people posting “un-Islamic” selfies on Instagram. Tehran arrested several models for following Kardashian Instagram trends, like displaying their beautiful, flowing weaves without a head scarf in selfies. “No eyebrows should be “on fleek.” You shall not have body waxing, and by Allah you shall never use the corrupt idolatry of emoji’s in your tweets! That is, if we allowed you access to Twitter. Which we do not.”
The arrests are widely seen as the latest Iranian attempt to control online expression throughout the country, particularly those of artists, bloggers, activists, and people who make the mistake of getting lip injections to look like Kylie Jenner.
“We’ve banned journalists before, which was fun, but that high wore off rather quickly. We felt the need to pursue a much bigger target. One with a badonkadonk Allah can see from heaven,” Noazz explained to The Mideast Beast. “And, just so you know, we aren’t doing this just because ‘ban’ rhymes with ‘Iran’, that’s just icing on the proverbial cake. The cake has to be proverbial, by the way, because we’re about to ban it.”
Prosecutors seek 6-year sentence for ex-Auschwitz guard
Prosecutors are seeking a six-year prison sentence for a former Auschwitz death camp guard being tried in Germany as an accessory to murder.
Prosecutor Andreas Brendel told the Detmold state court in closing arguments Friday that 94-year-old Reinhold Hanning was guilty of being an accessory to murder in at least 100,000 cases, news agency dpa reported. He said: “The defendant played a part in the camp’s purpose of annihilation.”
The former SS sergeant last month admitted serving as an Auschwitz guard. He said he was ashamed that although he was aware Jews were being gassed and their corpses burned, he did nothing to try to stop it.
“I have been silent all my life,” Reinhold Hanning told a court in the western town of Detmold, more than 70 years after the end of World War II.
“I want to tell you that I deeply regret having listened to a criminal organization that is responsible for the deaths of many innocent people, for the destruction of countless families, for the misery, distress and suffering on the part of victims and their relatives,” according to remarks carried by national news agency DPA.
Israel’s Elbit brings drone tech to North Dakota farmers
A high-flying drone that will be used to test precision agriculture methods made its inaugural flight Friday in North Dakota amid handshakes and smiles from aircraft operators and farm officials.
The Israeli-manufactured Elbit Systems Hermes 450 aircraft took off from the Hillsboro airport to start a summer-long project that will take pictures of farmland in the fertile Red River Valley. The test is meant to show whether the larger drone is more efficient to capture imagery of agricultural land than satellites or smaller unmanned aircraft.
“Absolutely, this is really exciting,” said drone pilot Matthew Mason, a New Hampshire resident who is spending the summer in a Fargo hotel. “With this camera we can count seeds and all sorts of stuff. The capabilities are like, wow, this is crazy.”
North Dakota is believed to be the only state qualified to fly the aircraft because it has clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly drones at higher altitudes. The FAA in 2013 selected North Dakota as one of six drone test sites in the US and has since approved the site to fly above the current 200-foot blanket for most of the country.
The Hermes 450, which is 20 feet long with a 35-foot wing span, is expected to take pictures as high as 8,000 feet. It will cover an area about 4 miles wide by 40 miles long.
Seeding space with nanosatellites for affordable Internet
An Israeli startup, SkyFi, has developed new satellite seeds, which could bring high-bandwidth Internet connectivity to the entire globe at less expense than the current cost of putting one satellite into space.
SkyFi’s space seeds are small, affordable seeds of satellites which are launched in dense clusters and then unfold in space to become a large communications system.
According to Raz Itzhaki-Tami, cofounder and CEO of SkyFi, launching just 60 SkyFi Systems into space could bring connectivity to the entire planet.
“There are three billion people on the planet who are not connected online today because it’s not affordable,” Itzhaki-Tamir tells ISRAEL21c. “We want to connect everyone on land, sea and air, and the only affordable way is through outer space.”
Israel currently is No. 4 in the world in terms of its number of satellites, says Itzhaki-Tamir. It’s a remarkable position considering Israel’s small size and investment budget, and he attributes it to the mass immigration of Jews from the former USSR in the 1980s, which included prominent engineers in this sector.
Israeli mom’s pita portraits are too good to eat
Israeli chocolatier Gilat Orkin of Tel Mond has earned another title: pita artist.
Trying to tempt her first-grader to actually eat the sandwiches Orkin packed for school lunch each day, she began fashioning the pita bread – along with bits of cheese, halva, chickpeas, chocolate and vegetables — into edible portraits of politicians and pop stars.
The photos of her creations proved so popular that Orkin established a brand, Year of the Sandwich. She and her daughter have been appearing in Israeli newspapers and TV talk shows.
A collection of Year of the Sandwich photos, curated by Karen Shpilsher and Guy Morag Tzepelewitz, is displayed along Dov Hoz Street in Holon until August 31.
“I realize that when an object looks interesting to children, they will be curious about it,” Orkin said. “I had the idea to combine the desire to eat with the desire to learn something about the world at large.”

Hundreds Gather at Memorial Service For Holocaust Hero Sir Nicholas Winton
Sir Nicholas Winton rescued 669 mostly Jewish children from Czechoslovakia in 1939. Not a soldier, not a government official, Winton petitioned the British government for permission to organize “Kindertransport.”
For fifty years, Winton kept his Kindertransport activities to himself. It wasn’t until his wife discovered a scrapbook that his story was made public in 1988. It wasn’t until the details of his rescue missions were unearthed that the children he saved learned who saved them and how. More than 7,000 people credit their lives to Winton’s efforts.
Winton passed away last year at the age of 106. Thursday, hundreds attended a memorial service to commemorate Winton’s incredible bravery and selflessness.
The BBC covered Winton’s memorial service:
Some 28 of those he saved as children were among 400 people who attended the event at London’s Guildhall, along with Czech, Slovak and UK government representatives.
Sir Nicholas organised the “Kindertransport” in which 669 mostly Jewish children came to Britain by train from Czechoslovakia in 1939.

He died on 1 July last year, aged 106.
The Kindertransport became public knowledge on BBC TV show That’s Life in 1988 when presenter Esther Rantzen reunited some of those saved with the person who helped them escape the Nazis.
Sir Nicholas Winton memorial service (1909 - 2015) (UK) - BBC News - 19th May 2016




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