Thursday, March 01, 2018

From Ian:

Prince William to visit Israel this summer, in first official trip by UK royal
Prince William will travel to Israel this summer, in the first-ever official visit by the British royal family to the Jewish state, his residence declared Thursday.

While royals have traveled to Israel in the past, no member of the British monarchy has ever come to country on an official tour.

The official visit will be the first in Israel’s almost 70-year existence, during which time nearly every other country in the world has been visited by a representative of the Crown.

“The Duke of Cambridge will visit Israel, Jordan and the Occupied Palestinian Territories in the Summer,” Kensington Palace‏ announced on Twitter.

“The visit is at the request of Her Majesty’s Government and has been welcomed by the Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian authorities,” the statement added.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the announcement of the upcoming trip by the second-in-line to the throne.

“This is a historic visit, the first of its kind, and he will be welcomed here with great affection,” Netanyahu added. “I have ordered the Foreign Ministry director-general to coordinate preparations for the visit to ensure its success.”

100 years after Balfour, Britain still shaping the region, say pair of authors
Since the release of the Balfour Declaration 100 years ago, Britain has repeatedly found itself in the middle of a Middle East tug-of-war between Arab and Israeli interests.

How this pull has shaped the relationship between Britain and Israel was the topic of discussion at a Times of Israel event with authors Azriel Bermant and Elliot Jager on Tuesday evening at Mishkenot Sha’ananim in Jerusalem.

The event was produced by the Sir Naim Dangoor Center for UK/Israel Relations and moderated by journalist Matthew Kalman.

The experts discussed the historical significance of British-Zionist relations based on research each conducted while writing their recently published books.

Author Elliot Jager’s book, “The Balfour Declaration: Sixty-Seven Words – 100 Years of Conflict,” is a look into the personalities and interests of the characters who brought about the short statement that legitimized the idea of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine.

Tel Aviv University lecturer Bermant’s book, “Margaret Thatcher and the Middle East,” reveals new findings on Margaret Thatcher’s relationship with Israel based on recently released British and Israeli documents.

Thatcher is often remembered for being the first British premier to visit Israel in 1986 and for her warm relations with the Jewish community. Bermant shared why a deeper look into Thatcher’s Middle East policy exposes a more complicated legacy.



Palestinians: The "Ugly Crime" of a School Curriculum
A recent study of Palestinian textbooks found that Palestinian children are being taught to glorify and value terrorism and violence. The Palestinian Authority and its Minister of Education, Sabri Saidam, want Arab schools in Jerusalem to teach the students why Muslims should be killing Jews.

"Within the pages of the textbooks, children are being taught to be expendable. Messages such as: 'The Volcano of My Revenge'; 'The Longing of my Blood for my Land'; and 'I Shall Sacrifice My Blood to Saturate the Land' suffuse the [Palestinian] curriculum. Math books use numbers of dead martyrs to teach arithmetic. The vision of an Arab Palestine includes the entirety of what is now Israel, defined as the '1948 Occupied Territories.'" — IMPACT-se.

How come the Arab citizens of Israel have never complained about the Israeli educational system? The answer is because they evidently like the education that Israel has been offering them. It teaches them to value life, freedom of speech and democracy, and Arab Israelis admire it. They love the education Israel offers them because it does not demonize any race or group of people. They love it because it does not teach them to kill Jews, but to live with them in peace and security. This is the truth that the Palestinian Authority does not want to hear. This is the truth that it does not want the rest of the world to hear.
Sohrab Amari: A New Low for the U.N. Dictator Club
The U.N. Human Rights Council is where some of the world’s most brutal regimes go to praise each other, whitewash their rights records, and take potshots at democracies—Israel, especially. On Tuesday, the council outdid itself by giving a platform to one of Iran’s leading torturers.

The speech from Justice Minister Alireza Avaei triggered a mass walkout of European diplomats, including Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley issued a strongly worded condemnation. Alas, the U.N. human-rights system and this council, in particular, are beyond shame.

Avaei used his speech to rail against the alleged Western domination of the U.N. Yet the fact that Avaei was permitted to address the Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room in Geneva is proof that the world’s jackals and despots lord over the council.

The best guide to Avaei’s curriculum vitae comes via the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, a New Haven-based outfit that uses victim interviews and other documentary evidence to meticulously investigate rights abuses in the Islamic Republic.

An IHRDC report on the 1988 massacre of thousands of Iranian dissidents identifies Avaei as an “interrogator and torturer at a prison” in Dezful, in southern Iran. There, Avaei sat on the “death commissions” that carried out Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa ordering the regime to liquidate imprisoned leftists and members of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK).
‘Nobody knows what peace plan is,’ White House says after report on framework
The White House on Wednesday dismissed a report claiming its Middle East peace plan might recognize a Palestinian State with its capital in East Jerusalem, saying the proposal had yet to take shape.

“As we have not finished our plan, nobody knows what it is,” a senior administration official told The Times of Israel. “There is constant speculation and guessing about what we are working on and this report is more of the same.”

London-based Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported Wednesday that US President Donald Trump’s diplomatic team tasked with brokering an accord was formulating a plan that might include US and international recognition of a Palestinian state.

It quoted “knowledgeable Arab diplomatic sources” in Paris who said the US was planning to present its plan through an international conference in one of the Arab capitals, most likely in Cairo.

The plan, the report said, calls for placing the Old City of Jerusalem under “international protection.”

It also said that the US would require the Palestinians to give up their “right of return” demand for Palestinian refugees and their descendants, who seek to return to their former homes inside Israel proper. Moreover, it said large settlements would remain in place, while small ones would be “relocated.”

White House spokesman Josh Raffel accused those behind the report of trying to sway critics against the administration.
Palestinians call for closure of US mission in Palestine
Scores of Palestinians demonstrated yesterday calling the US’ security, political, cultural and economic offices in Palestine to be closed down in protest against President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The protest was held outside America House in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, where demonstrators waved flags that condemned that US policy towards the Palestinian issue.

They called for the expulsion of American diplomats as well as the closure of the US mission.

Slamming Trump’s decision on Jerusalem, the protesters chanted “Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Palestine” and “the US is the occupation’s [Israel] partner in the aggression.”

On the sidelines of the demonstration, the Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative, Mustafa Barghouthi, told the Anadolu Agency that the continued operation of the mission is “unacceptable after its stance towards Jerusalem”.

We reject any American peace solution or proposal. The US is a partner in the occupation of our country

Barghouthi stressed.

“We call for the expulsion of all the American government workers from our homeland,” Barghouthi said.
Palestinians to U.N. states: ‘Don’t let settlers enter your country’
United Nations member states should deny Israeli settlers entry to their countries, Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki told the UN Human Rights Council at the opening of its 37th session in Geneva this week.

The international community must do more to “confront the Israeli colonial settlement system” in the Palestinian territories, including east Jerusalem and the West Bank, Maliki said.

He called on the council to fully publish its so-called “blacklist” of companies doing business with the settlements.

The UNHRC announced last month that publication of the corporate database, originally scheduled for December 2017, had been delayed. No new date for publication has been set.

Maliki told the council that trade prohibitions with Israeli-controlled areas over pre-1967 border lines was not enough.

“Practical measures are needed against the settlers, including preventing them from entering your country,” Maliki said.
PA Foreign Minister urges Brazil to play key role in peace process
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki has called on Brazil to play a key role in a multilaterally mediated peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, the official PA news site Wafa reported.

Maliki made the statement during a meeting in Ramallah on Thursday with Brazilian Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes.

Since President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December and initiated the relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to the city, Abbas has said the Palestinians will no longer work with an American-dominated peace process and has called for the establishment of a multilaterally mediated peace process to replace it.

In a speech at the United Nations Security Council last week, PA President Mahmoud Abbas called for an international peace conference in mid-2018, which he said should conclude with the creation of a mechanism for a multilaterally mediated peace process.

Israel has said it will only work with a US-led peace process.
European countries said to demand changes to US peace plan
European countries are reportedly attempting to persuade Washington to make changes to US President Donald Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

The countries are acting at the request of the Palestinian Authority, which is demanding that the plan include a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders and a recognition of East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state, the London-based Saudi newspaper Al-Hayat reported Thursday.

Western diplomatic sources are said to have confirmed the correspondence, while expressing doubt that the Trump administration would consider all the European demands, according to the Israeli news site Ynet.

On Wednesday, another London-based Saudi newspaper, Asharq al-Awsat, reported that the Trump administration plan may include US and international recognition of a Palestinian state.

The plan, the report said, calls for placing the Old City of Jerusalem under “international protection.”
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaking at the UN Security Council on February 20, 2018. (Screen capture/YouTube)

The report quoted “knowledgeable Arab diplomatic sources” in Paris as saying that the US was planning to present its plan in the framework of an international conference that would be held in one of the Arab capitals, most likely Cairo, with Israelis in attendance.

However, the sources did not say when the US administration would come out with its plan, the details of which remain under wraps.
U.S. slams UNHRC on Israel, Iran
The United States on Wednesday slammed the United Nations Human Rights Council for its biased treatment of Israel and for providing a platform to human rights abusers such as Iran.

“It is unacceptable that the HRC treats Israel differently from every other UN member,” US Ambassador Mary Catherine Phee said.

“The institutional integrity of the Council demands that the efforts to delegitimize and isolate Israel through such blatant bias must end,” Phee told the council as it met this week in Geneva for the start of its 37th session that ends on March 23rd.

Phee took issue with the UNHRC mandates that Israeli human rights abuses against Palestinians in the West Bank must be debated at each session under Agenda 7 and that there must be a permanent investigator assigned to investigate such abuses.

No other country has such a permanent mandate. All global human rights abuses are debated under Agenda Item 4, including those in Syria and Iran. None of the countries who are considered to be serial human rights abusers have a permanent investigator assigned to them.

Such investigators have only temporary mandates that must be renewed.

“When it comes to human rights, no country should be free from scrutiny, including Israel,” said Phee who is the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of International Organizations. Israel, Phee told the council, must be held to an equitable standard that would apply to any other country.
The United Nations Human Rights Council Needs a Major Overhaul!
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) consists of 47 member states elected by the majority of members of the U.N. General Assembly and is the highest international body dealing with human right issues around the world.

The UNHRC’s mandate is to “promote and protect the enjoyment and full realization, by all people of all rights established in the Charter of the United Nations and international laws and treaties.” These rights include but are not limited to:

- The right to life, liberty and security of person.
- The right to be free from torture or any other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
- The right to be free from arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
- The right to freedom of opinion and expression.

Ironically many of the members of UNHRC are states that deliberately and systematically violate those very rights that the Council is supposed to uphold and protect.

The Current members of UNHRC include Saudi Arabia, a state where expression of opinions are punished by arrest, long-term imprisonment and flogging, as is the case of well-known writer and activist Raif Badawi who has been sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment and 1000 lashes for creating the website “Free Saudi Liberals.”

China is another member state that is well known for its systematic human rights violations against its citizens. China has the highest rate of execution per capita in the world, systematically imprisons peaceful Falun Gong practitioners and is involved in the horrific practice of organ harvesting.

The list goes on and on, Afghanistan, “Democratic” Republic of Congo, Cuba, Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria are all current members of UNHRC and well known human right violators.
Dore Gold: A Negotiated Route to Kurdish Independence
Dore Gold told the Valdai conference in Moscow on February 19, 2018: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that the Kurds are deserving of self-government. The Kurdish quest for political independence began at the same time as the Jewish national movement. We both appear in the treaties after World War I, where the international community made commitments to Jewish self-government and to Kurdish self-government.

If I can give the Kurds some friendly advice, it is always tempting when you're frustrated to go the route of unilateralism. But a negotiated route to independence, as difficult as it is, is a far better course of action than doing it yourself.


Israeli group mints Trump coin to honor Jerusalem recognition
An Israeli organization has minted a commemorative coin bearing U.S. President Donald Trump's image to honor his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the organization announced Wednesday. The coin cannot be used as currency.

The Mikdash Educational Center said its "Temple Coin" features an image of Trump alongside King Cyrus, who 2,500 years ago allowed Jews to return to Jerusalem from their exile in Babylon. The coin also mentions the name Balfour, referring to the 1917 Balfour Declaration announcing the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people.

Rabbi Mordechai Persoff of the center said that Trump, like Cyrus, had made a "big declaration that Jerusalem is the capital of the holy people."

The organization says it has minted 1,000 half-shekel coins that can be purchased for a minimum donation of $50 each.

Mikdash bills itself as a nonprofit educational and religious organization. The donations will "help spread the light of Jerusalem and the spirit of the Holy Temple throughout the world," it said.

Israel has warmly welcomed Trump's Dec. 6 announcement, which angered Palestinians.

The Trump coin is likely to rile Iranians, who uniformly respect King Cyrus as an ancient Persian hero.
El Al seeking to fly over Saudi Arabia to India — report
Israel’s largest airline has reportedly appealed to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), requesting the body’s help in obtaining permission to access Saudi Arabia’s airspace for a direct flight to India This would mark a significant change of policy for the Arab state, which has never recognized Israel.

El Al newly appointed CEO Gonen Usishkin wrote a letter to Alexandre de Juniac, head of the trade association consisting of 278 airlines from 117 countries, asking to not be “discriminated” against compared with Indian airline Air India, Reuters reported Thursday.

It came in response to reports last month that Saudi Arabia had okayed the use of its airspace for Air India flights between Israel and India, reports that were quickly denied by Saudi officials. However, the El Al chief said slot information from the Israel Airports Authority indicated those flight are slated to begin on March 6.

The approval of the use of Saudi airspace for either Air India or El Al, which would cut hours off the flight route between the two countries, would be a first and mark a major milestone in Israel’s attempts to deepen ties with Gulf Sunni states.
Israeli-American teen indicted for bomb threats, hate crimes
The 19-year-old Israeli teen who has been accused of making threats against Jewish community centers in the United States in 2016 and 2017 was indicted by the U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday.

The teen, who holds dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship and whose identity is sealed by an Israeli court, was arrested in Israel last year after authorities discovered that he allegedly made thousands of threats from his apartment in Ashkelon, a coastal city in Israel.

The threats had affected airports, schools and Jewish centers in the United States in 2016 and early 2017. One threat against a Delta Airlines flight in February 2015 resulted in an emergency landing.

The teen was indicted by grand juries in Florida, Georgia and the District of Columbia, the Justice Department said. The statement did not say whether he would be extradited to the United States.

He allegedly telephoned the Anti-Defamation League with a bomb threat and emailed another such threat to the Israeli embassy in Washington, both in March 2017, the Justice Department said. The indictment also claims that he called police in January 2017 about a hoax hostage situation at a home in Athens, Georgia, which included a threat to kill responding officers.

The indictment also includes charges of "attempting to obstruct the free exercise of religion at the Jewish Community Centers when he made the bomb threats and active shooter threats," the Justice Department said Wednesday. "Although no actual explosives were found, many of the calls resulted in the temporary closure and evacuation or lockdown of the targeted facilities, and required law enforcement and emergency personnel to respond to and clear the area," the statement read.
Ground Forces to play a bigger role in next war
The IDF's Ground Forces Command has been developing new weapons systems that will reshape the battlefield for the infantry, armored corps, combat engineering units and artillery forces, as troops are expected to face a whole new series of threats on land, in the air and below ground.

The Command revealed this week a number of new weapons that are already being integrated into the IDF’s forward units, and others that will are still in development and will be integrated gradually in the coming years.

For example, maneuvering forces will be outfitted with an "Iron Dome" of sorts that can identify, warn, and even deflect threats directed by Hamas or Hezbollah at concentrated groups of IDF forces.

Threats include booby-trapped multicopter drones, "kamikaze drones," and short-range rockets that can hold half a ton of explosives. Intercepting such threats will be carried out in a number of ways, including interceptive rockets, laser beams and radio scrambling using electronic warfare.

It has not yet been decided whether the modern anti-aircraft units will be part of the reconnaissance infantry battalions, which are generally at the frontline of the battle, or as part of a new brigade based on conventional artillery units.

In addition, integrated fighting forces will receive lethal tactical firepower: company, battalion and brigade commanders will receive loitering munitions in the form of small UAVs carrying explosives that are able to attack a nearby target with an accuracy of up to one meter.
Hezbollah video claims to show bomb that killed Israeli general in 1999
The Hezbollah-affiliated television network station Al-Manar on Wednesday broadcast footage of what it claimed was a roadside bomb attack in which an Israeli brigadier general, two Arab-Israeli soldiers and a radio reporter were killed 19 years ago.

There was no independent confirmation that the video, with its blurred images of the aftermath of an explosion, was authentic.

Brig. Gen. Erez Gerstein — then head of the IDF’s Lebanon liaison unit, effectively the top Israeli military official in Lebanon — Imad Abu-Rish, Omar El-Kabetz and Kol Israel radio reporter Ilan Roeh died on February 28, 1999 when the armored vehicle in which they were traveling in an Israeli-controlled area of south Lebanon was blown up.

The four had left the northern Israeli town of Metullah that morning for a South Lebanon village where an IDF unit of Druze soldiers was stationed. After stopping off at the home of a South Lebanon Army fighter who had been killed in fighting against Hezbollah, they set off back towards the Israeli border at the head of a convoy.

The massive roadside bomb, disguised as a rock, exploded just 300 meters (roughly 1,000 feet) from a United Nations position.

Evacuation of the dead was complicated by the presence of additional, un-exploded bombs and gunfire from Hezbollah positions.

Israel and the SLA — a Lebanese Christian militia supported by Israel — fought Lebanese Muslim fighters led by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terror organization for 15 years in a band of southern Lebanon along the border with Israel that Israel characterized as its “security zone” during those years.

Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000.

The broadcast comes amid heightened tensions between Israel and Hezbollah in recent months.
Soldiers defuse explosives planted on Gaza fence by Palestinian rioters
The Israeli army on Thursday “neutralized” an improvised explosive device that had been set up on the security fence around the southern Gaza Strip, similar to one that injured four soldiers nearly two weeks ago, the army said.

“Earlier this morning, IDF soldiers neutralized an IED on the security fence in southern Gaza. It was set up to harm IDF soldiers stationed near the fence,” an army spokesperson said.

The Israel Defense Forces would not specify how the bomb was disarmed, but Gaza residents told Palestinian media that it had been blown up in a controlled explosion by military sappers.

An army spokesperson said the IED was apparently installed during a violent demonstration along the border two weeks ago, as it was the same type as the one that wounded the four soldiers on February 17.

In that Saturday incident, four IDF soldiers were injured when they attempted to remove the IED, disguised as a flag, from the Gaza security fence near the city of Khan Younis.

As they pulled the device off the fence, it was apparently detonated remotely.
Clifford D. May: Violence in Gaza justifies Israeli presence in the West Bank


Hamas and Abbas rival discuss forming joint Gaza government
Hamas was not ruling out the possibility of forming a “national salvation” government with deposed Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan, who is an archenemy of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, a Hamas official was quoted on Thursday as saying.

A senior Hamas delegation headed by Ismail Haniyeh met in Cairo recently with representatives of Dahlan and discussed possible collaboration efforts.

It was unclear whether the Hamas officials had also met with the Egyptian-backed Dahlan personally.

The delegation, which also held intensive discussions with Egyptian government officials in the past three weeks, returned to the Gaza Strip on Wednesday.

The discussions focused on ways to end the ongoing dispute between Hamas and Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction, as well as what many are calling a humanitarian crisis inside the Gaza Strip and security issues related to Egypt’s war against jihadists in Sinai.
Palestinian migrant gets life sentence for supermarket stabbing in Germany
A Palestinian asylum seeker and radicalized Islamist who killed one person and injured six others in a knife attack in a Hamburg supermarket in July has been sentenced to life in prison, a spokesman for a city court said on Thursday.

Hamburg residents threw chairs and other objects at the attacker - who had been known to authorities - helping police to detain him, but a 50-year-old man died of his injuries.

The asylum seeker could not be deported as he lacked identification documents and was psychologically unstable, Hamburg's Interior Minister Andy Grote said after the attack.

Grote also said he had been registered in intelligence systems as an Islamist but not a violent one as there was no evidence to link him to an imminent attack.

Germany has been on high alert ever since December 2016, when a Tunisian failed asylum seeker killed 12 people by driving a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin.
Sweden, Jordan and Egypt planning conference to boost support for UNRWA
Sweden, Jordan and Egypt are slated to co-host a conference later this month to assist the UN Relief and Works Agency in overcoming a major funding gap, Chris Gunness, a spokesman for the organization, said.

The conference will take place on March 15 in Rome, according to Gunness.

UNRWA provides health, education, social welfare and other services to millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, east Jerusalem, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.

“The purpose of the conference is to actively support a collective response by the international community to protect the rights and dignity of Palestine refugees,” Gunness said in a statement.

The announcement of the conference’s date comes some six weeks after US President Donald Trump’s administration said it would withhold $65 million of a planned contribution of $125m. to the agency.

US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert has said the Trump administration wants UNRWA to enact reforms and other countries to increase their funding to the organization.
Inside The 7-Year-Old Iranian Propaganda Machine Producing Fake BBC News
Russia isn't alone in its campaign to spread fake news. Iran was one of the early adopters in the world of made-up current affairs designed to spread disinformation and discredit legitimate media. One of its main targets in recent years has been the BBC. The news organization's journalists have faced harassment to the point the BBC filed a complaint with the United Nations last year. On Tuesday, an Israeli cybersecurity company claimed to have found a handful of websites that have been impersonating BBC Persian for seven years.

One is bbcpersian.net, which remains online today. The site's design is very close to that of the BCC, and some stories could, on the face of it, pass as real. Most stories, however, are anti-BBC articles or posts from other outlets that the BBC is accused of ignoring. It also includes original videos, alleging faults in news coverage by the Persian BBC. One example headline, translated into English from the original, reads, "The BBC 'weaving lies' in order to destroy Islam and the Islamic republic." Another read,"The BBC's important news: the divorce of two Hollywood actors."

The lead story on Wednesday is entitled, "The Persian BBC attack on the Hijab: beating a hollow drum." Accompanied by a cartoon of a devil-tailed television attacking a woman's hijab, the teaser reads, "As the Persian BBC is a British royal news agency and seeks to spread Western and colonial culture, it opposes and conflicts with any sort of original Iranian and Islamic culture."

According to Israel-based cybersecurity firm ClearSky, which detailed the fakes in a 52-page report Wednesday, the sites have been running since 2011. To spread the fake news further, Facebook and Telegram pages to support the counterfeit sites were set up, though they've been inactive in recent months.

So successful have the perpetrators been at promoting the fake sites, they appear high in search engine rankings. On the Persian versions of Google and Yahoo, for instance, the site is third highest in each. On the Iranian government-sponsored search engine Yooz, it's top of the pile.
Syria is now ‘a Shi’a colony of Iran,’ Damascus-born professor tells Israeli conference
Syria has become a "Shi'a colony of Iran," Bassam Tibi, Syrian-born professor emeritus of international relations at Georg-August University of Gottingen, told a recent conference at the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University. "The Alawites of the Assad regime have killed our Sunni identity."

Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, Iran has been filling the vacuum "created by the removal of Saddam Hussein. Ever since, Iran has been expanding its power....The Saudis are unable to meet the Iranian challenge. Iran now controls Iraq, Lebanon and Syria."

Daniel S. Mariaschin, executive vice president and CEO of B'nai B'rith, who recently met with Persian Gulf leaders in the UAE, said, "Sunni eyes are opening to the fact that Israel poses no threat, but that Shi'a Iran...aspires to dominate far beyond its borders."

Professor Hillel Frisch, a member of BESA, said the term "Arab-Israeli conflict" is no longer relevant to describe the region. "It's basically an Israeli-Iranian conflict or an Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The only Arabs that are confronting Israel today are proxies of Iran."

Frisch described Iran as "truly a radical imperial state. The best proof of that is that it's the only state in the Middle East...that projects power over 1,000 kilometers from its border," using it to attack Israel, which harbors no ill will towards Iran.
Iran wrestling head ousted after panning policy of lying to avoid Israelis
The head of Iran’s wrestling federation resigned on Wednesday after criticizing authorities for letting athletes pay the price for the ban on facing Israeli opponents.

Wrestling is a hugely popular sport in Iran where Rasoul Khadem, an Olympic gold medalist, was re-elected as president of the Wrestling Federation just two months ago.

But in a somewhat cryptic letter published on the federation’s website he suggested he had been forced from his post, saying “apparently it is not going to work out” because of “my awkward mentality.”

“I cannot lie. Sometimes the best way to take a stand is not to stand,” he wrote.

The councils for freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling announced they were resigning en masse along with Khadem, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported.

Khadem had recently criticized Iranian authorities for their approach to competing against Israeli opponents.
Islam Respects Right of Jews to ‘Live in Dignity,’ Muslim World League Chief Muhammad al-Issa Declares
As the keener readers of Jewish media outlets and social media feeds will doubtless be aware, there is an active bidding war going on right now between the rival Gulf Arab states of Qatar and Saudi Arabia for the hearts and minds of American Jews.

Over the last few months, several American Jewish figures of varying degrees of influence have flown to Doha to hear directly from the ruling al-Thani family about why they have been profoundly misunderstood regarding their embrace of the Palestinian terrorists of Hamas and the ruling regime in Iran. Meanwhile, the Saudis have seemingly upended decades of Salafi Islamist propaganda against the Jews by discreetly warming relations with Israel, explicitly identifying Iran’s rulers as the single greatest threat to the Middle East, and stoking political opposition to the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran.

In this maelstrom of political consultants, PR flaks and advocacy leaders armed with talking points, the figure of Muhammad al-Issa is something of an incongruity. A former Saudi minister of justice, and presently the secretary-general of the influential, Mecca-based Muslim World League, al-Issa has, in recent weeks, been addressing the twin issues of antisemitism and anti-Judaism among the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims with an unprecedented candor.

Spending two hours with the methodical, scholarly al-Issa — as The Algemeiner did in Washington, DC, earlier this month — it is plain to see why, at this particular juncture, he is an asset to a Saudi government eager to convince the West that, finally, it stands resolute against both Sunni and Shi’a variants of Islamism, and is determined to establish Islam as a religion of peace and coexistence. Still, to reduce Al-Issa’s own message to a strictly political calculation would be a grave mistake, if only because its theological content needs to be heard irrespective of the political machinations in Gulf capitals.



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

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