Saturday, February 08, 2020

From Ian:

The BDS Movement Is Racist and Violent
Furthermore, the movement may present itself as peaceful, but there have been countless cases of its activists creating hostile and potentially dangerous environments for Jewish people on university campuses. BDS supporters will counter these claims by pointing to the movement’s 2018 Nobel Peace Prize nomination. Yet this nomination means very little. The BDS movement was nominated by Norwegian parliamentarian BjΓΈrnar Moxnes — the chairman of the far-left Red Party, which holds a single seat of 169 in the Norwegian parliament. This nomination is a farce, and means nothing.

What’s more important is BDS’ constant link to known terrorist organizations. One such example of this is the global leadership of the BDS operation — the BDS National Committee’s — membership. which includes the Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine, which itself includes several groups designated as terrorist organizations, such as Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

In addition to this, tens of financial accounts linked to BDS have been shut down in the US and EU in the past few years, due to ties with terrorist groups. In an interview from late 2010, even Barghouti has spoken in support of violent attacks on “settlers” (i.e. civilians), calling them “legitimate targets.”

The BDS movement has consistently been linked with terrorist organizations, and its supporters have become aggressive and violent towards any and all who disagree with their view of Israel. The methods that the movement urges show little regard for hurting civilians, even Palestinian ones — all the while, creating a divide between Israeli people and Palestinians.

There is a good reason why so many world leaders, prominent politicians and government institutions view BDS as toxic, given the actions of its followers. BDS does not belong in any conversation about anti-racism.

The Campaign to Sever the Democratic Alliance With AIPAC
Warren's eagerness to back the AIPAC boycott movement did not come as a surprise to mainstream pro-Israel Democrats, who say they have long been battling efforts by the party's left wing to mainstream anti-Israel causes.

One Jewish Democratic operative with ties to AIPAC told the Washington Free Beacon that IfNotNow's influence on the party is becoming increasingly problematic.

"There are many reasons for [Warren] not to attend AIPAC's Policy Conference, but getting pressured by an extremist group is not one of them," said the source, who would only discuss the matter anonymously. "IfNotNow has no place in anything close to the mainstream political discourse, including within the Democratic primary."

The push to boycott AIPAC is by no means new. Liberal advocacy groups have long viewed AIPAC as overly hawkish on Israel and out of line with the Democratic Party's evolving stance on the Jewish state. Liberal mainstays like the anti-war MoveOn group have demanded Democratic leaders boycott Israel for some time. This has dovetailed with growing support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, or BDS, which seeks to wage economic warfare on Israel.

Support for these movements has been building in the Democratic Party for years, with one of the most notable examples playing out at the 2012 convention, when a majority of Democratic conference goers audibly booed the state of Israel.

An AIPAC spokesman would not comment on the issue when contacted by the Free Beacon.


AIPAC apologizes for ad slamming ‘radicals in the Democratic Party’
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) issued an apology on Saturday after sponsoring a Facebook ad that slammed “radicals in the Democratic Party” and blamed them for “pushing their antisemitic policies down the throats of the American people.” It also called supporters to sign a letter to Democrats in Congress “don’t abandon Israel.”

According to the Facebook ad details, between 25,000 and 30,000 people saw it and AIPAC paid between $1,000 to $1,500 to promote in on the social media platform, primarily for people ages 55 and above. The ad is no longer active.

“We offer our unequivocal apology to the overwhelming majority of Democrats in Congress who are rightfully offended by the inaccurate assertion that the poorly worded, inflammatory advertisement implied,” AIPAC said in a statement that was shared on Twitter on Saturday.

“We deeply appreciate the broad and reliable support that Democrats in Congress have consistently demonstrated for Israel. The bipartisan consensus that Democrats and Republicans have established on this issue forms the foundation of the US-Israel relationship,” the statement read.

“The ad, which is no longer running, alluded to a genuine concern of many pro-Israel Democrats about a small but growing group, in and out of Congress, that is deliberately working to erode the bipartisan consensus on this issue and undermine the US-Israel relationship,” the apology continued.



From Rabin to Trump: A Price for Saying No?
Whether you like President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” or not, there are two things most of us can agree on:

First, it’s hard to think of a bigger disaster in international diplomacy than the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process.” This is the Picasso of diplomatic failures. More energy has been expended on this conflict than any other — more declarations, meetings, media coverage, white papers, op-eds, United Nations sessions, books, presidential statements, five-star dinners, etc.

It doesn’t matter who you blame for the failure or whether you’re left or right. This is the reality: The peace process has gone from the meeting room to the emergency room to the funeral home. Even President Barack Obama’s herculean, eight-year effort to simply get the parties to the negotiating table went for naught.

Second, while Palestinian leaders kept saying no to peace offers, their price kept going up.

Consider the benchmark Israeli position, expressed by the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in his last speech at the Knesset on October 5, 1995, a month before he was assassinated. When Rabin spoke about a Palestinian entity, he didn’t go as far as an actual state: “We would like this to be an entity which is less than a state,” he said, “and which will independently run the lives of the Palestinians under its authority.”

Rabin also spoke in favor of retaining settlements and against returning to the 1967 lines, never mentioning “land swaps.” Regarding Israel’s security, he was equally firm: “The security border of the State of Israel will be located in the Jordan Valley, in the broadest meaning of that term.”

And on the ever-sensitive issue of Jerusalem, Rabin declared: “First and foremost a united Jerusalem … as the capital of Israel, under Israeli sovereignty.”

In fairness, Rabin was trying to put the best possible spin on the peace process to get Knesset ratification to one of its interim steps. He needed to show that moving forward was in Israel’s best interest and that he was committed to minimizing the security risks.

When I look back today at Rabin’s speech, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

I think of how far Israel moved from Rabin’s initial position and how, at every turn, Palestinian leaders kept saying no and Israel kept offering more. By the time Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made the last offer on record in 2008, Israel had pretty much given away the store.
Peace Plan Protesters in New York Echo Hamas Views of Israel
At Friday’s protest, former CAIR-New York board member Lamis Deek, who, like other CAIR officials, openly rejects Israel’s right to exist, said the latest US peace initiative “and Israel itself, is not just a threat to Palestinians, but it is a threat to all people.”

“We must be sure that we demand full liberation of all Palestinian land, the full return of every single Palestinian refugee, and full justice and accountability for every crime and every suffering of every Palestinian,” Deek said. “And we do not rest until we see a liberated Palestine. From the river to the sea, Palestine must be free!”

Nerdeen Kiswani, a co-founder of NYU’s SJP chapter now working with an offshoot called “Within Our Lifetime,” said Israel’s days are numbered.

“We know that the clock is ticking on Zionism,” she said. “We cannot know the exact timeline until liberation, but we must do all that is in our capability to defeat the deal of the century, to defeat Israel, to defeat Zionism, and to ensure that liberation will come within our lifetime!”

Raja Abdulhaq, executive director of Majlis Ash-Shura of New York, told protesters that Hamas-run Gaza “represents the resistance against colonialism and occupation of Palestine. Gaza represents the future aspiration for the newer generation that have not even left the first Intifada, or not even the second Intifada. Yet they know what Palestine means. They know that the spirit of resistance is the only way to end the Israeli occupation.”

By prioritizing its money and infrastructure resources on building tunnels to facilitate terror attacks inside Israel, and on rocket production, Hamas’ “resistance” has drastically lowered the quality of life for Palestinians in Gaza.

Yet no speaker at the protest uttered a critical word about Hamas.

Whether the protest sponsors or speakers are outright supporters of the designated terrorist group, Hamas, Friday’s protest, like many others before it, made it clear that they share the same goal.
Pete Buttigieg Refuses to Answer Half of NYT Foreign Policy Survey
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg refused to say whether he supports current levels of military aid to Israel or keeping troops in Afghanistan, two of the many important foreign policy questions he dodged in a New York Times survey.

Every major remaining Democratic presidential candidate responded to a Times survey featuring 36 questions on 11 foreign policy topics, but the former South Bend mayor was the only one who did not answer a majority of the questions.

Among the 19 questions Buttigieg left blank:
"Should respect for Hong Kong’s political independence, under the terms of the handover agreement with Britain, be a prerequisite for normal relations and trade with China?"
"Should normal relations and trade be contingent on China’s closing its internment camps for Uighurs and other Muslim minority groups?"
"Should the United States maintain its current level of military aid to Israel? If not, how should the level of aid change?"
"Would American troops be in Afghanistan at the end of your first term? If so, would you limit those troops' mission to counterterrorism and intelligence gathering?"

Buttigieg did not answer a single question on China, U.S. cyber policy, NATO, or Afghanistan.

Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar and former vice president Joe Biden each declined to answer three questions. Klobuchar did not answer questions about using military action to protect oil supplies, preempting North Korean and Iranian nuclear tests, or whether she would give nonmilitary aid to opposition efforts in Venezuela. Biden did not answer questions about the legality of Trump's military strike that killed Iranian terror leader Qassem Soleimani, whether he would rule out any type of attack on Iran, or whether he would gradually lift sanctions on North Korea.


Democratic presidential contenders criticize Soleimani killing at debate
Democratic presidential contenders on Friday questioned the US strike that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani last month, sending tensions between the nations skyrocketing, saying it was not clear the attack was necessary.

During a debate in New Hampshire, former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg said: “In the situation that we saw with President Trump’s decision, there is no evidence that [killing Soleimani] made our country safer.”

Asked if he would have ordered the strike, former vice president Joe Biden said: “No, and the reason… is there isn’t any evidence yet of an imminent strike that was going to come from him.”

Senator Bernie Sanders added that such actions opened the door “to international anarchy.” He called to “sit down and work out our differences through debate and discussion at the UN, not through war and more war and expenditures of trillions of dollars and the loss of god knows how many lives.”


Daphne Anson: Like Hain the Pain, Corbyn Wanted to Abolish the State of Israel
Poale Zion, since 2004 known as the Jewish Labour Movement, affiliated to the British Labour Party (founded 1900) in February 1920.

Until the Left's increasing anti-Israel stance following the June 1967 War, it represented the reflected the consensual pro-Zionist view within the British Labour Party.

In April 1983, amid a burgeoning sentiment on the party's Left that the party should sever its connection with Poale Zion, female members of Poale Zion were prevented from attending an International Women's Day seminar at the Greater London Council (GLC)'s County Hall. (Ken Livingstone was, of course, at that time leader of the GLC)

Then, in May 1985, a band of leftist Israel-haters in the party, who had been pressing for Poale Zion to be disaffiliated from the party, submitted a formal motion to that end.

Among the sponsors of that putrid proposal was Islington MP Jeremy Corbyn and several Islington (as well as Brent) councillors, the Bennite activist Tariq Ali and the gay activist Peter Tatchell as well as a number of rabid class warriors on the benches of the House of Commons, and MEP Richard Balfe, now retired and a life peer, who joined the Conservative Party in 2002.

The first name on the list of sponsors was Tony Banks, an MP who became a life peer twenty years later but did not long live to enjoy it.

Then came, in this order:
Ron Brown MP
Harry Cohen MP
Jeremy Corbyn MP
Stuart Holland MP
Joan Maynard MP
Bob Clay MP
Dafydd Elis Thomas MP (Plaid Cymru; now a life peer)
Trump has changed the landscape of the Middle East
The plan not only states the obvious – that Israel must control the Jordan River Valley, especially in light of Iranian expansionism – but furthermore that Israel must have military control of a Palestinian state, the lesson learned from the 2005 Israeli disengagement from Gaza, where the ceded territory became the terrorist enclave of Hamas. A Palestinian state in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) cannot be allowed to become a base for Iranian terrorism.

The pundits didn’t see the “Arab Winter” coming, and they didn’t foresee the possibility that Arab nations would not automatically take the Palestinian position on the Trump plan. Arab nations want to do business with Israel for their own self-interests, and need Israel as the most important regional ally against their most feared enemy, Iran. They are sick of Palestinian rejectionism, and know that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not what’s going to save them from Iran’s plans to overrun and control the region.

The onus to make peace is now on the Palestinians, whereas in the past peace deal attempts Israel was always the one pressured to concede more, in the vain hope the Palestinians would reciprocate.

Supporters of the Palestinians such as J Street, now appear much more pro-Palestinian than the Arab states, as they had nothing positive to say about the obvious essential Israeli security needs that were addressed by the Trump peace plan. While adhering to the Palestinian narrative, they continue to ignore decades of Palestinian rejectionism and statements of the illegitimacy of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, best expressed in their #PeaceSham campaign. They support and encourage the Palestinian counteroffer of “a thousand nos”.

If carefully handled, the administration’s out-of-the-box thinking may bear fruit in new opportunities that didn’t exist just a couple of years ago between Israel and Sunni Muslim States. Although the Middle East is still incredibly complex and problematic, and America cannot control the millennia-long tribal and religious hatreds, US and Israeli national security interests could be advanced in ways unimaginable until today. If this plan becomes a basis for negotiation, or more likely, the Palestinians reject the plan, they make themselves more irrelevant to their Sunni Arab brethren.

Too bad the Europeans with the exception of Boris Johnson of the UK are still delusional and allow the Palestinians Authority tail to wag the European Union dog, as they have now become the chief enabler of the corrupt Palestinian Authority to the enduring detriment of the Palestinian people.
Greenblatt: If support for Palestinian cause keeps dropping, it won't last
Former US President Donald Trump’s Special Envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt offered insights into the "Deal of the Century" in a special interview with Hamodia published on Friday, where he claimed that up until now, the Palestinians did a “remarkable job of allowing other countries to fund them.”

Greenblatt said that that until Trump presented his "Deal of the Century," “there has not yet been a reason for other countries to say: ‘Enough is enough.’"

He also said that while Arab countries are still supportive of the Palestinian cause, its support there and around the world is eroding – and without it, the Palestinian issue will become “unsustainable.”

While discussing the complete control Israeli security services will have over the Palestinian zone should they accept the peace plan, he explained that not only is the zone meant to be demilitarized, but that not having an army is not enough to ensure Israeli concerns.

The reason Israeli security forces will be allowed to operate in the Palestinian state, he said, is to ensure that Israel “can detect tunnels, malign rocket building, [and] any kind of terror activity,” should these things not exist, Israeli security services won’t need to be there.

“But if Palestinians don’t do their job right, because they’re incapable or unwilling," he warned, "that’s all the more reason for Israel’s security responsibility.”
Kushner: Abbas, Olmert jealous they couldn't bring about peace themselves
Kushner: Abbas, Olmert jealous they couldn’t bring about peace themselves Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, spoke out against former prime minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s planned joint press conference opposing the “Deal of the Century,” calling their actions “almost pathetic.”

“It is almost pathetic that they are criticizing other people’s efforts to try and reach an agreement,” Kushner said to reporters as he left the UN on Thursday night. “It comes from a lot of jealousy that they couldn’t do it themselves.”

He attacked Abbas and Olmert, explaining, “if you really want to make peace, then you need to encourage the efforts of other people to try and make peace instead of trying to make headlines when you are not relevant and [instead are] intervening in the situation to get attention.”

He claimed that the event is because they did not manage to bring about peace when they had the chance.

According to Channel 12, he additionally spoke with the press before a United Nations Security Council meeting on the peace plan, stating that “people are publicly opposing the plan when they had the chance and failed; I see that as disrespectful.”

Kushner added that both sides must cooperate, but they will not succeed if they continue going down the path they had previously gone down.
Jewish Democrats spearhead letter to Trump blasting peace plan
Two Jewish lawmakers spearheaded a letter to President Donald Trump signed by 107 Democratic members of the House expressing “strong disapproval” of his Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

“Our concern is both with the substance of your plan, which will exacerbate and entrench conflict rather than resolve it, and with the timing of its release,” said the letter, initiated by Andy Levin of Michigan and Alan Lowenthal of California. Another seven Jewish Democrats also signed.

Democrats at first were cautious to criticize the plan, crafted by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and released last week, in part because it restored the terminology of “two states.”

But a number of Democrats have now expressed concern at the fractured, multi-enclave Palestinian entity that is at the heart of the plan’s proposal, and at its green light to Israel to annex about 30 percent of the West Bank.

“While your proposal uses the language of statehood for Palestinians, it provides far less than an actual, viable state,” said the letter sent Thursday and first reported by Jewish Insider.

The letter also faults the peace team for not consulting with Palestinians, and for releasing the plan just ahead of Israeli elections next month, in what they suggested was a bid to boost the prospects of Trump ally Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Releasing the plan now appears to be an inappropriate intervention in a foreign election,” the letter says.
Tunisia fires envoy for being too pro-Palestinian
Tunisian diplomat Moncef Baati who represented his country at the UN Security Council was called back to Tunis after it was found he is working on a Palestinian Security Resolution draft blaming US President Donald Trump of breaching international law by his ‘Deal of the Century,’ Foreign Policy reported on Friday.

The Tunisian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed Baati was dismissed in a press release but claimed the reasons were his “weak performance and lack of coordination with the ministry.”

The report followed news that Jerusalem is furious at Belgium for inviting Brad Parker, Senior Adviser for Policy and Advocacy for Defense for Children – Palestine (DCI-P), an NGO with ties to the terrorist group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) to brief the UN Security Council’s members.

Ambassador Marc Pecsteen de Buystwerve of Belgium currently serves as the rotating president of the UN Security Council, he called Baati “a very good colleague” and expressed regret to see him depart, the Lebanon Daily Star reported.
The Gulf States & Israel: Advisor to the King of Bahrain Rabbi Marc Schneier - Interview


Gaza rocket strikes field in south; IDF tanks respond, striking 2 Hamas posts
Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip fired at least one rocket into southern Israel on Saturday night, striking an open field, the Israel Defense Forces said.

In response, IDF tanks shelled two Hamas positions in the northern Gaza Strip, the military said.

According to the Sha’ar Hanegev regional council, the projectile caused neither injury nor damage.

As the rocket was not heading toward a populated area it did not trigger sirens in Israeli communities. However, the Israel Defense Forces said, it set off alerts on cellphones in the area.

Earlier on Saturday, a suspected explosive device attached to a cluster of balloons that was apparently launched from Gaza was found in a field in the Merhavim Regional Council.

A group of foreign workers who were reportedly not aware the object could be a bomb picked up the balloons, but it did not explode.
IDF nabs Palestinian suspect for hurling firebomb at border cop in Hebron
Israeli forces have arrested a Palestinian suspect in Hebron for throwing a firebomb that exploded on a border policeman during clashes in the West Bank city, the military said Saturday.

“Yesterday IDF soldiers in the city of Hebron arrested the terrorist who threw a Molotov cocktail at a Border Police officer on Monday,” the Israel Defense Forces wrote on Twitter.

The IDF did not provide any details on the suspect’s identity. The military said he was taken for questioning after his arrest.

The border policeman was lightly hurt on Monday after being hit by the Molotov cocktail, which exploded into flames on him.

The incident was caught on video, which showed the officer attempting to douse the flames as he and his comrades retreated from the scene.
Top Israeli Security Expert Dismisses Russian Claim IAF Put Civilian Plane at Risk in Syria Strike
A top Israeli security expert dismissed on Friday Russia’s claim that the IAF had endangered a civilian plane during an air strike conducted in Syria the previous day.

The comments of Amos Yadlin — a former Israeli military intelligence chief who now heads the Tel Aviv University-affiliated Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) think tank — came in response to the Russian Defense Ministry’s assertion that a commercial jet flying from Tehran to Damascus on Thursday had been forced to make an emergency landing at the Hmeimim Air Base near Latakia to avoid being shot down by Syrian air defenses that were seeking to thwart the IAF strike.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov accused Israel of using the aircraft in question — which, according to some reports, was a Chams Wings Airbus A320 — as cover.

“Such operations by Israeli strategists gamble the lives of hundreds of innocent people,” Konashenkov charged.

“The movement of regular passenger flights both in Syrian airspace and around the world is carried out in known, high-altitude echelons, which Israeli radar can clearly see,” he added.

Yadlin was not buying Konashenkov’s story, saying in a Twitter thread, “The civilian airliner which was turned to land in Lattakiyya: neither ‘emergency landing’ nor ‘sharp maneuver’, rather a standard go-around in 6000 ft and diversion to an alternate airfield 300km away.”
Seth Frantzman: What’s behind Russia’s criticism of Israeli airstrikes in Syria
Is Russia’s latest claim about the civilian airliner another message to Israel regarding Syria or is it a way to show Moscow’s support for the Syrian regime or a way to get Israel to slightly modify its strategy? There is lack of clarity about Russia’s end goal.

Russia likes to show that it can reveal more details about Israel’s actions and that through this it could either influence Israeli policy or at least make Israel’s decisions more transparent. That could feed Israel-Iran tensions. But overall Russia has not sought to prevent Israel’s actions or supply Damascus with the air defenses that might deter.

Some have argued over the years that this is because Russia and Iran do not see eye-to-eye on Syria and that Russia doesn’t mind if Iran gets a black eye in Syria. The theory would be that weakening Iran in Syria strengthens Russia because it means the Syrian regime is totally dependent on Moscow. Also, Russia may view Iran as destabilizing Syria because Iran keeps its forces in Syria and threatens Israel, thus undermining Damascus.

Iran has sought to move air defense to the T-4 base in Syria and moved prevision guided missile technology through Syria to aid Hezbollah. This is a major threat. Russia’s strategy in Syria is to preserve the regime and focus on balancing relations with Turkey.

Iran can spoil this through its actions. Moscow’s comments show it pays close attention to what happens between Israel and Iran. Allegations regarding civilian planes seem to be a kind of warning. Taken in contact with increasing criticism, it may represent Moscow’s attempt to begin to dictate the next phase of the Syrian conflict and reduce the time when Syria’s airspace was a free-for-all for Turkey, the US and others.
Iraqi leader: CIA controls Iraqi gov't branch, Israel fans protesters
Qais Khazali, leader of a pro-Iranian militia in Iraq, accused the US of controlling one of the arms of Iraq’s government through the CIA and accused Israel of arming protesters. “The American-Israel project in Iraq aims to cause internal strife,” he said, according to Iranian media reports. Khazali is the head of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia which is part of Iraq’s official paramilitary Popular Mobilization Units.

The US has named Khazali as one of Iraq’s leading pro-Iranian voices and part of the conduit of IRGC influence in Iraq. He was part of the web of Iraqis supported by IRGC Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani. Soleimani was killed in a US airstrike on January 3 along with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, an Iraqi militia leader. Khazali is now the second most high profile member of the PMU after Hadi al-Amiri. He has been rumored to be in hiding since the US airstrikes, fearing that he is on an American target list. Rumors in Iraq even claimed he has been detained or assassinated three times since January 3.

Khazali told Iraq’s Al-Ahad TV that the US and Israel are conspiring in Iraq to support and kill protesters and blame the deaths on Iranian-backed groups like Khazali’s Asaib Ahl al-Haq. The US sanctioned Khazali and his brother in December for suppressing protests and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned Iraq’s crackdown on protests over the weekend. “The US-Israeli goal is to cause deaths from the Hashd factions,” Khazali said. The “Hashd” refers to the PMU. He claims the US and Israel are behind the large number of demonstrations in Iraq since October.

The Iraqi said that the US helped overthrow Iraq’s last Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi. He says he supports the new Prime Minister-designate Mohammed Allawi. He alleges the US is trying to remove the PMU from Iraq and the US wants to severe Iraq’s recent agreements with China. He says that his group lost 800 men fighting ISIS. He argues the US has a plan that consists of three parts for Iraq: Plan A was election fraud in 2018, plan B was the October protests and Plan C is assassinations.
Republican Senators urge Twitter to ban Khamenei, Zarif from the platform
A group of four Republican Senators sent a letter to the CEO and co-founder of Twitter, Jack Dorsey on Thursday, urging him to remove the twitter accounts of Iran supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. The letter was led by Senator Ted Cruz and co-signed by Tom Cotton, Marsha Blackburn, and Marco Rubio.

In a copy of the letter seen by The Jerusalem Post, the Senators were making the case that blocking Khamenei, Zarif, and other regime official accounts would be complying with Executive Order 13876 from June of 2019, which ordered blocking the property of Khamenei and the Iranian Supreme Leader's Office, as well as people who acted on Khamenei's behalf. Zarif was designated under the same executive order later in 2019.

"All Americans - including you and Twitter are prohibited from 'the making of any contribution or provision of ... goods or services' to them," the Senators noted.

"While the First Amendment protects the free speech rights of Americans - and Twitter should not be censoring the political speech of Americans - the Ayatollah enjoys zero protection from the United States Bill of Rights," the four wrote in their letter. "And, as the leader of the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism - directly responsible for the murder of hundreds of US citizens - the Ayatollah and any American companies providing him assistance are entirely subject to US sanctions laws."

The Senators also added that while the Obama administration published General License (GL D-1), "which created an exception for services and software incident to Internet-based communications," it does not apply "to any Iranian government official designated as a Specially Designated National (SDN) by the Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) for reasons other than being an Iranian government official."

"A Twitter account is a service," the Senators continued. "Neither GL D-1 nor any other authority exempts Twitter from American sanctions. We, therefore, call on you to comply with those sanctions by ceasing the provision of services to Khamenei, Zarif, and any other designated Iranian entity."
Khamenei says Iran ‘does not pose threat to any country,’ but must get stronger
While Iran “does not pose a threat to any country,” it must become so strong that its enemies cannot threaten it, the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Saturday.

He said the Islamic republic must become strong enough to ward off the “enemy’s threats” and prevent a war.

“We must become strong so that there will not be a war, become strong so that enemies’ threats will end,” Khamenei told a gathering of air force commanders and staff aired on state television.

“This is to prevent threats, to maintain the country’s security,” he added.

Iran funds the Gaza-based Palestinian Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups and Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror organization, all of which are sworn to Israel’s destruction.

Khamenei called US sanctions on the Islamic Republic “criminal” but said they were “an opportunity” to make Iran less dependent on oil exports and focused on local industry.

Khamenei also said Iran had a strong air force despite decades of US pressure and sanctions on the country since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. “Our Air Force, which had no right to and couldn’t even repair parts of aircraft [before the revolution] now builds planes,” Khamenei was quoted as saying.
After Trump plan, Khamenei to fund Palestinian terror groups ‘as much as we can’
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei vowed on Wednesday that Tehran would fund Palestinian terror groups to the best of its ability, asserting that it was the proper response to the unveiling of the Trump peace plan.

“We believe that Palestinian-armed organizations will stand and continue resistance and the Islamic Republic sees supporting Palestinian groups as its duty,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in address, which was published on his website.

“So it will support them however it can and as much as it can and this support is the desire of the Islamic system and the Iranian nation.”

Iran funds the Gaza-based Palestinian Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups and Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror organization, all of which are sworn to Israel’s destruction.

Khamenei said US President Donald Trump’s peace plan for solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will “die” before the American leader does.
MLB will not schedule any more promotions of Roger Waters
Major League Baseball will not schedule any more advertising on its platforms promoting music artist Roger Waters.

The leadership of the Jewish advocacy organization B’nai B’rith International sent a letter to baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred last month criticizing the sport’s involvement in ticket sales for Waters’ “This is Not a Drill” tour. MLB.com was among the organizations sponsoring ticket presales.

B’nai B’rith President Charles O. Kaufman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin said Waters’ views on Jews and Israel “far exceed the boundaries of civil discourse.”

Waters has supported the boycott, divestment, sanctions movement known as BDS that presents itself as a nonviolent campaign for Palestinian rights and does not endorse a specific solution to the conflict with Israel. Israeli authorities say the movement’s true aim is to delegitimize the nation and eventually wipe it off the map.

Waters also has been criticized for his use of the Star of David at some of his shows. He has said he never intended to offend the Jewish people and made changes after hearing complaints.

B’nai B’rith said in a statement Friday that MLB told it “there are no plans to schedule any more ads on the MLB platforms.” MLB later confirmed B’nai B’rith’s statement was accurate. (h/t jzaik)
Simon Wiesenthal Center urges boycott of Roger Waters concert in Mexico
A US-based Jewish advocacy group has launched a campaign to prevent Pink Floyd founding member Roger Waters from performing on tour in Mexico.

Waters, 76, is due on stage in Mexico City on October 7 as part of his “This Is Not A Drill” North American tour that begins in Pittsburgh in July.

But the Latin American branch of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which supports Holocaust survivors and confronts anti-Semitism, has written to businesses sponsoring and promoting Waters’s concert in Mexico, urging them to pull out.

“Your company’s prestige should not be stained by those that use music to camouflage discrimination and the diffusion of a violent and racist message,” said the letter, signed by the center’s international relations directors Shimon Samuels and Ariel Gelblung.

Waters is a well-known pro-Palestinian activist who supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel.

He has urged fellow artists not to perform concerts in Israel.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center however has accused Waters of anti-Semitism over his use of an inflatable pig bearing the Star of David during previous concerts.
Jewish, Muslim councils discuss religious freedom in America
Members of the Jewish and Muslim communities in Metro Detroit are uniting for a three-part series about religious freedom in the fifth annual “A Shared Future” lecture series this month.

Presented by the Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC and the Michigan Muslim Community Council, the program will feature Wayne State University professors Howard Lupovish and Saeed Khan.

The lectures will explore the theme, “Are we religiously free in America?” at three locations — Feb. 12 at the Muslim Unity Center in Bloomfield Hills, Feb. 19 at Congregation Beth Ahm in West Bloomfield and Feb. 26 at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Muzammil Ahmed founded A Shared Future during his time as chairman of the MMCC as a way for Jewish and Muslim communities to unite in an interfaith dialogue with the hope of learning together and building relationships. Ahmed sits on the board of directors for the MMCC.

“I wanted a way for the two communities to learn about each other and work with each other to have deeper conversations about our history, laws and common challenges,” he said.

The program initially started out with antisemitism themes and grew into bolder and deeper conversations such as both religions’ ties to the city of Jerusalem and shared history in the Middle East. (h/t Zvi)
The National Archives got Ford to sponsor an Auschwitz exhibit
The three-week exhibition at the National Archives showcased documents, video and a marquee sponsor, announced in large font on the banner at the National Archives: “This exhibit is paid for in part by the National Archives Foundation through the general support of the Ford Motor Company Fund.”

What the small exhibit marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz lacked was any mention of Ford’s role in building the Nazi machine.

American Ford retained majority control of its German subsidiary until May of 1942 — three years into the war, nine years after Nazis rose to power, and five months after the United States entered the war — by which time it had built a third of the German army’s trucks. The subsidiary used slave labor.

Reckoning with its role in the Holocaust, Ford in 2001 added $2 million to a $5 billion fund meant to compensate victims of slave labor. It also set aside $4 million for research on human rights and slave labor.

The National Archives exhibit contains documents outlining some of that history, but none was shown in the exhibit, which closed Wednesday. That omission raised eyebrows of the former U.S. Treasury official who negotiated the fund.

“It is a good thing [Ford is] contributing” to the exhibit, the former official, Stuart Eizenstat, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in an email. “But it should make full disclosure about their wartime role, not just Henry Ford’s well-known anti-Semitism.”


Arava region of Israel about to be 100% solar powered
Here’s some great climate crisis news just in time for Tu Bishvat, the Jewish people’s environmental holiday: The Arava region – from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea – is about to be powered 100% during the day by the sun. Yes, that includes Eilat, all the hotels, factories, homes, businesses, kibbutzim and air conditioning – 100%! And by 2025, the sun will power all nighttime electricity needs as well.

As climate crisis news becomes ever more ominous, the United Nations says that in order to prevent true global meltdown – pandemics, drowned cities, extreme wildfires, super-charged storms, killer droughts, food shortages, massive extinctions, half a billion refugees and more – each and every country must cut its greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030.

I was privileged to be part of the Israeli negotiation team at the historic Paris Climate Conference in 2015, in which nations put forward their voluntary proposed cuts in emissions. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew in for the photo-op with the world leaders and pledged an unremarkable target of 10% by 2020 and 17% renewable energy by 2030.

Recently, at the cabinet meeting before Israel’s energizing climate conference in December, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz pledged to up that to 25% to 30% renewables goal, and the electricity regulator just published an open call to the public for ideas on how to achieve the 30% goal in the next decade.

Don’t get too excited; even if Israel achieves that it will mean the country is a bad actor on climate, given the need of every country to go to 50% renewables. Even neighboring Jordan is on target to reach 20% renewables this year and 50% by 2030.

While sun-blessed Israel has been dragging its feet on rolling out solar, the Arava region has quietly pioneered a solar revolution that, if emulated, can save the planet. The country itself will be a little shy of hitting its modest 10% renewables goal by end of 2020, but the Arava Desert, including Eilat, will reach the pinnacle of what climate activists are dreaming of in a decade from now: 100% daytime, which is a feel-good way of saying 50% renewables for day and night use. This year!
Does the water level of the Kinneret reflect the country's morale?
They say that the level reached by Lake Kinneret in any year reflects the national mood. When the Kinneret is high, we’re told, the country feels good. The reverse also applies.

I am not so sure. Without wishing to appear apocalyptic, prophetic or otherwise otherworldly, a glance at Kinneret’s historic water levels could, it seems to me, lead to a rather different conclusion. A case could be made for asserting that when things are going well for Israel, the Lake fills, and when Israel is in the doldrums water levels plunge, sometimes to disastrously low levels.

This odd reflection, which admittedly requires an effort of will, is the result of taking an interest in just what has been happening to the Sea of Galilee recently. A word of warning. When discussing Kinneret water levels, we have to think backward, as it were. This is because the lake in its entirety lies below sea level – it is the lowest freshwater lake in the world – so what we’re considering is precisely how far below sea level the Lake is at any one time.

When the Kinneret is absolutely full, as it has been from time to time in its long history, it lies 208.8 meters below sea level. This top level is designated the upper red line. If it rises any further, the Degania Dam, located to the south of the lake, is opened to avoid the surrounding areas flooding. This last occurred in April 1992, when a quarter billion cubic meters of water was diverted from an overflowing Kinneret into the Jordan River.
Israeli Orthodox Runner Gears Up for First US Marathon
An Orthodox Jewish marathon runner from Israel will compete in her first race in the US on Sunday when she takes part in the Life Time Miami Marathon.

Beatie Deutsch, 30, is running to raise money for Beit Daniella, a charity for children with mental illnesses.

The mother-of-five, who was raised in New Jersey and moved to Israel in 2008, broke the course record for Israeli women at the 2018 Jerusalem Marathon, and has since won the Tiberias Marathon, the Israeli half marathon and marathon national championship, according to the Miami Herald.

She completed the 2017 Tel Aviv Marathon while seven months pregnant and her personal best marathon time is 2:32, which is just short of the Olympic qualifying standard.

She began racing only four years ago and has been nicknamed “Speedy Beatie.”

In May, she won a half marathon in Latvia and became the first known Orthodox Jewish woman to win an international race.

“Sports has such an important power to break down barriers,” she told the Miami Herald. “Through the running community in Israel, I have come in contact with so many people, not just Jewish but also non-Jewish. In Israel, there are a lot of stereotypes about religious Jews and people have misconceptions about what we are able to do and how oppressed we are. I have been able to break down some of those barriers.”

Deutsch told the publication “being different is not always accepted” in the community where she lives in Israel, but she was slowly changing people’s perceptions by showing that she could be a devoted wife, mother and professional athlete.

She also noted that running has transformed her physically and emotionally, and she encouraged other women to follow in her path.
Netta Barzilai's latest song takes on quick-fix culture - watch
Netta Barzilai has used her trademark bombast to take aim at American quick-fix culture, with the release of her new song “Ricki Lake.”

The 2018 Eurovision winner shot to fame with “Toy,” an anthem for independently minded women everywhere. Independence was a theme in her 2019 hits “Nana Banana” and “Bassa Sababa,” the latter of which draws on Netta's Israeli identity by incorporating Israeli slang into the lyrics.

The songs cemented her reputation for turning out turbo-charged bubble-gum pop with Andy Warhol-inspired visuals, a trend she has taken forward into her latest offering, “Ricki Lake.”

The song hits back at America’s instant gratification culture, and was inspired by Barlizai watching the Ricki Lake show as a child, as she recounted:
“In my youth, I used to obsessively watch The Ricki Lake talk show and was fascinated by all the colorful characters who appeared on it. For me it was the ultimate glimpse into American culture at its best and worst.

“We’re all looking for guidance, quick fixes and life breakthroughs that will make us happy, and to forget about sadness, whether that’s a new coat, new nose, a happy meal or cellulite reduction,” she said, according to music blog site Yuval Erel.




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