Sunday, February 09, 2020

From Ian:

Jonathan S. Tobin: Why the Left won't tolerate liberal Zionists
The Columbia Journalism Review touts itself as "the voice of journalism." While the magazine, which is published by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has faced accusations of liberal bias, it still retains a reputation as a prestigious source of commentary about the news media. So when CJR commissions a hit piece on a publication, it is an event of some significance and, at least in theory, ought to alert readers to serious misconduct.

The latest CJR exposé, however, is important not because it reveals biased or misleading reporting or unprofessional behavior. According to the magazine that still claims to be the "intellectual leader" of the press, the problem with The Forward is that it has taken a stand against left-wing anti-Semitism and appears open to publishing occasional dissent against its liberal editorial stands on American and Israeli politics.

The Forward's financial troubles made news last year when it ceased publishing in print, fired its editor and laid off much of its staff. I have strong disagreements with the left-leaning editorial philosophy that the English-language successor to the historic Yiddish newspaper has adopted since it ousted Seth Lipsky, its founding editor, in 2000. But I view The Forward's struggles as indicative of problems afflicting the media and Jewish publishing that transcend politics. We need publications that can reflect the legitimate debates on important issues that are being conducted in the United States and Israel.

But CJR's decision to publish a rant against The Forward's editorial decisions in the last year by far-left anti-Zionist writer Mairav Zonszein is important. That's because what CJR has done here is essentially to smear a liberal Jewish journal because it had the temerity to call out left-wing anti-Semites like Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Minn.), as well as anti-Semitic activity on campuses like Bard College. Zonszein claims that The Forward, which in recent years has disappointed many in the Jewish community by providing space to Palestinian opponents of Israel and Zionism, let the left down by calling out such hatred and claims that its occasional publishing of conservative opinion is "polarizing."

She also cheers CNN contributor/writer Peter Beinart's defection from The Forward to the smaller but openly anti-Zionist Jewish Currents, as a harbinger of a power shift on the Jewish left.

It is curious that CJR would consider Zonszein, whose work has regularly appeared in far-left anti-Israel publications like Jewish Currents, +972mag and The Nation, to be qualified to comment in their august pages on any subject, let alone a Jewish one. But as new Forward editor Jodi Rudoren pointed out, it was a gross breach of journalistic ethics on the part of CJR to commission her to write an evaluation in a forum supposedly dedicated to the study of journalism about a publication that she has bitterly criticized in rants on Twitter and elsewhere. The Forward was entirely correct to refuse to cooperate in the writing of an article that could not possibly have been fair in its treatment of its subject.
Jewish Harvard Club member assaulted during pro-Palestinian lecture, lawsuit says
A Jewish member of the Harvard Club claims she was assaulted by a professor during a pro-Palestinian lecture at the swanky venue — and then was booted by the Ivy League institution.

Vanesa Levine is suing to get reinstated to the prestigious Midtown club, whose notable present and past members include Michael Bloomberg, John F. Kennedy and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Levine, 28, a marketing manager in Brooklyn, said she was a newly minted member of the 154-year old club when she and her mom attended a February 2019 lecture called, “The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine” by Rashid Khalidi, a former press officer for the Palestinian Liberation Organization.

She said she “peacefully” asked during a question-and-answer session how Mideast peace could be achieved if Palestinians are taught “to support terrorism against Jews and Israelis.”

The audience erupted in “mob-like” fury at her query, according to the lawsuit.

Harvard finance professor Faris Mousa Saah, 53, called her a whore in Arabic and grabbed her by the arm, bruising it as he tried to take the microphone, according to court papers.

“I’ve been to hell and back ever since the Harvard Club incident,” Levine told The Post.

Though she was eventually able to ask her questions, Levine and her mom, who was born and raised in Israel, were asked by security to leave — with angry audience members following them into the hall, photographing her and chanting, “We’re going to get you expelled,” she charges.
Does the EU hear the Israeli public?
Last October, the EU Delegation to Israel published an unusual tender, worth €285,000, soliciting the assistance of local public relations companies in order to “change the negative image” of Europe in Israel.

The proposal cites an EU-commissioned survey which demonstrates the extent of Israeli public mistrust of Europe. According to the survey, 55% see the EU as Israel’s “enemy,” while only 18% identify it as a “friend.” According to the Israeli news outlet ICE, the results of the survey reaffirm negative perceptions toward EU member states on a number of fronts, including their funding to non-governmental organizations (NGOs), claims that the EU supports the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign directly or indirectly, and even accusations that it “supports terror entities indirectly.”

These attitudes, apparently held by many Israelis, did not emerge suddenly. The EU is completely out of sync with Israelis on the issues that strike the deepest emotional chords, and is seen as tone deaf, at best, in appreciating the Israeli perspective.

Even if the public learns about the EU’s investment in cutting-edge scientific research at Israeli universities, they will not soon forget about how Europe flirts with BDS with product labeling or treating the anti-Israel movement as merely free speech.

Israelis see that the EU engages selectively with a narrow ideological group of civil society, such as B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence. They hear the repeated condemnations of Israeli policy concerning Area C of the West Bank, as if this is the major issue on the EU’s agenda.

PMW: Fatah: "Trump... shove [the deal] up your [ass]" or "we'll declare a war only Allah can extinguish"
Abbas’ Fatah posted a video threatening US President Trump that Palestinians will launch a war that “only Allah will be able to extinguish” if Trump continues to promote his peace plan. Fatah’s video ended with the words: “Trump… roll up [the deal]… and shove it up your ‘ass’."

“We'll redeem Palestine with blood… Over our dead bodies, we won’t let it pass, and if you want to overstep my limit, Trump, we’ll blind you; and if you want war – we'll declare it and only Allah will be able to extinguish it. We'll drive your Israel crazy and turn it upside-down. Trump, gather up this deal quickly, fold it and roll it up, you idiot, put it in the center, and shove it up your ‘ass’ (lit. in Arabic “tinak” meaning “your mud”, a play on the word “tizak” meaning “your ass”).”
[Official Fatah Facebook page, Feb. 4, 2020]

Thursday and Friday’s four terror attacks against Israelis in which 14 were wounded didn’t appear out of nowhere. Palestinian Media Watch has documented that the PA and Fatah continuously encourage Palestinians to see the use of violence and terror as a legitimate and even the preferred way to “resist the occupation” and “the deal of the century.” Accordingly, they have urged Palestinians to fight and die as “Martyrs” in response to Trump’s peace plan.

Netanyahu says Israel has started mapping West Bank areas to annex
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday said Israel has begun mapping parts of the West Bank to annex, appearing to further step back from a pledge to swiftly apply Israeli sovereignty over these areas following the publication of US President Donald Trump’s peace plan.

“We’re already in the process of mapping the territory that according to the Trump plan will be part of the State of Israel,” he said at a Likud campaign event in the Ma’ale Adumim settlement town on Saturday night.

“This won’t take a lot of time and we’ll complete this,” Netanyahu added, without further specifying.

Immediately after Trump announced the release of his Israeli-Palestinian peace proposal during a January 28 White House ceremony attended by Netanyahu, the premier told reporters he planned to bring his plan to annex the Jordan Valley and West Bank settlements for cabinet approval within days.

Though US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman initially signaled American support for Israel moving ahead immediately with annexation, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner clarified the next day that the Trump administration expected Netanyahu to wait at least until a new Israeli government is formed sometime after the March 2 vote.

Kushner on Thursday said it will likely take “a couple of months” to complete work on detailed West Bank maps before Israel will be able to annex settlements and the Jordan Valley.

Speaking to reporters at the United Nations, Kushner said he and his team would follow up with the announcement shortly that a US-Israeli commission is being established to turn its “conceptual map” into a detailed map with the goal of making sure “you can have contiguous territory” for a Palestinian state.
Clarifying, US envoy Friedman cautions Israel against ‘unilateral’ annexation
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman on Sunday said that any “unilateral” Israeli decision to annex parts of the West Bank would endanger Washington’s Middle East peace plan, unveiled last month, reversing his previous stance on the matter.

Minutes after US President Donald Trump revealed details of the long-awaited plan on January 28, Friedman briefed reporters and told them “Israel does not have to wait at all” when asked whether there was a “waiting period” that would have to elapse before the country could extend sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and settlements.

“The waiting period would be the time it takes for them to obtain internal approvals and to obviously create the documentation, the calibration, the mapping, that would enable us to evaluate it, makes sure it’s consistent with the conceptual map,” he added at the time. “If they wish to apply Israeli law to those areas allocated to Israel, we will recognize it.”

However, Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner has since said the United States would not support an annexation before the March 2 Knesset elections, and that work on the move by a joint team would take at least two months. Netanyahu has subsequently nixed plans to immediately go ahead with the step.

On Sunday, Friedman aligned himself with the administration’s updated stance.

“President Trump’s Vision for Peace is the product of more than three years of close consultations among the President, PM Netanyahu and their respective senior staff,” he tweeted.

“As we have stated, the application of Israeli law to the territory which the Plan provides to be part of Israel is subject to the completion a mapping process by a joint Israeli-American committee,” he added. “Any unilateral action in advance of the completion of the committee process endangers the Plan & American recognition.”
Honest Reporting: Peace to Prosperity
Last week, the international media erupted with coverage of US President Donald Trump unveiling his peace plan. There have been mixed reactions from reporters and leading figures, but very little insight on the details of the plan.

What exactly does the new peace initiative say? And what do you think about the implications? Let us know in the comments.

TV: Starting at UN, Abbas plans ‘diplomatic intifada’ against US peace plan
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is planning a “diplomatic intifada” against the United States in response to the peace plan put forth last month by President Donald Trump, Israeli TV reported on Saturday, citing associates close to the Palestinian leader.

Abbas, currently in Jordan, will make his way to New York this week where on Tuesday he is set to speak at the United Nations and present his own version of a peace plan, said to be a Palestinian state on the basis of the pre-1967 lines, Israel’s Channel 13 reported on Saturday. Abbas is also expected to denounce the US plan, the so-called “deal of the century,” and charge that it violates international law.

Abbas has adamantly rejected the plan, calling it “the slap of the century” and vowing the Palestinian people “will send it to the dustbins of history.”

The Palestinian leader is expected to be joined at the UN this week by former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert and the two are said to be planning a joint press conference. According to a Channel 12 report this past week, Olmert is expected “to express his opposition” to the US administration’s plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and reiterate that he and Abbas nearly concluded a peace deal before Olmert left office in 2009 amid corruption allegations. Olmert served 16 months in prison for bribery convictions in 2016 and 2017.
African leaders reject Trump’s Mideast peace plan
African leaders on Sunday condemned US President Donald Trump’s Mideast peace plan as illegitimate, taking advantage of an African Union summit to voice solidarity with “the Palestinian cause.”

AU Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat told assembled heads of state that the plan unveiled in late January represented the “umpteenth violation of multiple United Nations and African Union resolutions.”

He said that it was prepared without international consultation and that it “trampled on the rights of the Palestinian people,” a line that drew applause in the main hall at AU headquarters.

Trump’s long-delayed peace proposal was immediately rejected by the Palestinians, who have largely boycotted his administration since it recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017.

The proposals include giving Israel the green light to annex settlements in the West Bank, the largest part of the territories the Palestinians see as their future state.

The outgoing AU chair, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, said in his remarks Sunday that “the Palestinian cause will always be in the hearts and minds of the people of Africa.”

His successor, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, compared Trump’s proposals to regulations in place during his country’s apartheid period.
Tunisia fires envoy to UN; he was apparently too critical of Trump peace plan
Tunisia fired its ambassador to the UN on Friday, accusing him of failing to consult the foreign ministry on key issues that diplomatic sources said included Washington’s controversial Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

“Tunisia’s ambassador to the United Nations has been dismissed for purely professional reasons concerning his weak performance and lack of coordination with the ministry on important matters under discussion at the UN,” a foreign ministry statement said.

Diplomatic sources said the ambassador, Moncef Baati, who has occupied a seat at the UN Security Council since the start of the year, had gone further than Tunisian President Kais Saied wanted in his criticism of US President Donald Trump’s long-delayed peace plan.

Saied, a political outsider who only took office in November after a surprise election victory, was concerned that Baati’s expressions of support for the Palestinians risked damaging Tunisia’s relations with the United States, the sources said.

“It was quite a shock to hear that. I don’t know all the details, the reason behind this,” Ambassador Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve of Belgium, which holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council, said of the sacking.

“He was a very good colleague and I really very much regret to see him leave,” he added.

Another diplomat and member of the Security Council, who did not wish to be identified, said that Baati was “the right person” to negotiate a resolution wanted by the Palestinians.

German Jews urge Green Party MP to resign from ‘antisemitic’ BDS group
German Jews and NGOs have come out swinging against an allegedly anti-Israel German Green Party MP who is on the advisory board of the pro-BDS German-Palestinian Society (GPS) and sympathizes with Iran’s regime.

The organization Munich Citizens against Antisemitism told The Jerusalem Post last week that the Green Party MP Omid Nouripour, “Of course should resign.”

According to the human rights group, the GPS and the role of Nouripour means “they support BDS smear campaigns against Israel and this is nothing more than left-wing antisemitism and this means a boycott of Israeli business, science, and art.”

The group said, “Who propagates not buying goods from Israel behaves no differently than the National Socialists at the time.” They also said, “Do not buy from Jews!”

“BDS has nothing to do with democracy, freedom of expression or dialogue,” said the Munich-based organization.

The distinguished German-Jewish attorney Nathan Gelbart, who has won legal cases against antisemites, told the Post that “Anyone who knows Nouripour will immediately recognize his wrong appointment in the horror cabinet of the advisory board of the GPS. The question is whether and when he recognizes it. BDS stands for hatred of Jews and democratic values.”
Settlement-boycotting parties win big in Irish election
Two parties that support criminalizing the purchase of goods or services from Israeli businesses in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Golan Heights were among the three nearly tied at the top as exit polls came in from Ireland’s parliamentary election overnight Saturday.
One of those three parties was Sinn Féin, the political arm of the former Irish Republican Army, which has long held anti-Israel positions.

Sinn Féin Reached 22.3% of the vote for the Daíl, Ireland’s lower house of parliament, the highest share of the national vote it has ever received, according to exit polls.

Fine Gael, the party of Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar received 22.4% and Fianna Fáil got 22.2%

Both Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil, a more centrist party, said ahead of the election that they support the bill to criminalize doing business with Israelis from the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Golan Heights.

Sinn Féin‘s election platform said it will “ban goods from Israel’s illegal colonial settlements in Palestine from entering the Irish market by implementing the Occupied Territories Bill.”

Fianna Fáil said it will “progress the Occupied Territories Bill.”

Fine Gael opposed the bill when it came to a vote in early 2019, and the government argued that the bill was in contravention of EU trade rules and that Ireland would incur major fines should it become law.
Netanyahu threatens ‘crushing action’ if Gaza attacks continue
Amid escalating rocket and incendiary balloon attacks from the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Gazan terror groups that Israel was prepared to take “crushing action” if the attacks continued.

“I want to make this clear: We won’t accept any aggression from Gaza. Just a few weeks ago, we took out the top commander of Islamic Jihad in Gaza, and I suggest that Islamic Jihad and Hamas refresh their memories,” Netanyahu said at the opening of the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem on Sunday.

“I won’t lay out in detail all our actions and plans in the media, but we’re prepared for crushing action against the terror groups in Gaza. Our actions are powerful, and they’re not finished yet, to put it mildly.”

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett similarly issued a warning to Hamas leaders in Gaza, warning that Israel would take “lethal action against them” if their “irresponsible behavior” didn’t cease.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (2nd-R) attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on February 9, 2020. (Ronen Zvulun/Pool/AFP)

“Israel does not want a war with Hamas in Gaza, but we are committed to the safety of the residents of the south. The irresponsible behavior of Hamas’s leadership is bringing us closer to taking lethal action against them,” Bennett warned in a Hebrew-language video released following his visit to the Israel Defense Forces headquarters in the Gaza region on Sunday.

He warned that Israeli military action would be “unbearable” for Hamas.

“We won’t announce when or where. This action will be very different from those taken in the past. No one will be immune. Hamas faces a choice: choose life and economic prosperity, or choose terror and pay an unbearable price. Their actions will determine [which it will be].”

Lebanon Poses Acute Threat to Israel With Hezbollah, Iran Controlling Its Government
The last several months have not been good one for Lebanon, as it’s been wracked by economic and political instability. Protesters upset over years of government mismanagement, sectarianism and deep-rooted corruption forced the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri in October, which led to more political paralysis and put the country on the verge of a financial collapse.

Seeking to address these imminent concerns, the country formed a new government in January under Prime Minister Hassan Diab, a 60-year-old technocrat and engineering professor at the American University of Beirut.

While under the country’s constitution the prime minister must be a Sunni Muslim, Diab received little support from his own Sunni community, who traditionally aligned with the West and Saudi Arabia, and instead his appointment was largely backed by the Hezbollah-allied March 8 parliamentary bloc, which comprised mostly of Shi’ite Muslims and pro-Syrians. This means, of course, that Iran—Hezbollah’s chief sponsor—now holds a tighter grip on Lebanon and its terror proxy has broader reign.

The question is: What does this portend for Israel?
According to Matthew Levitt, director of the Reinhard Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at the Washington Institute, and author of Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon’s Party of God, Hezbollah’s stronger position in Lebanon underscores “the extent to which the group’s actions prioritize its interests, and those of its chief sponsor, Iran, over the welfare of Lebanese citizens and Lebanon’s economy.”

Already the most powerful armed force in the nation that border Israel on the north, the last 15 years has seen Hezbollah increasing its role in mainstream politics, holding numerous seats in previous governments. But the new government under Diab does not include any Western-backed political parties in Lebanon, leading to concern that the government will be unable to secure international help to ease the financial crisis, while at the same time further entrenching the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah alliance in the country.
BBC News portrayal of Palestinian violence sticks to the narrative
In addition to failing to adequately clarify to audiences that the “flare-up” is the result of decisions made by Palestinians to engage in violence, the report uses frequently seen themes such as the negation of Palestinian agency and the portrayal of incidents using the superfluous “Israel says” formula.

The report portrays a number of incidents which took place on February 6th, the first of which was a vehicular attack on a group of Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem. Readers were told that:
“Twelve Israeli soldiers were meanwhile hurt in Jerusalem in what the army said was a Palestinian car-ramming attack.”

“The first [attack] took place shortly before 02:00 local time (00:00 GMT) near the First Station entertainment venue in central Jerusalem.

The Israeli military said a “Palestinian rammed his car” into a group of soldiers who were marching along a pavement towards the Western Wall, one of Judaism’s holiest sites, for an induction ceremony.

One of the soldiers was seriously hurt and required surgery at the Shaare Zedek Medical Centre, while the others were lightly injured.”

The word ‘marching’ was added to the second version of the report with the original using the word ‘walked’. According to Israeli media the IDF spokesperson did not use the word marching as claimed by the BBC.
AFP Fails to Substantiate Claim About Support for Jordan Valley Annexation
Agence France Presse has failed to substantiate the questionable claim that most Israelis support annexation of the Jordan Valley. The Feb. 3 AFP article (“Israeli settlers stage tractor protest to demand annexation“) alleged that “According to polls in the Israeli press, most Israelis are in favour of annexing the [Jordan Valley] territory.”

The Jordan Valley (Photo by Andrea Levin)CAMERA searched extensively to find polls demonstrating that most Israelis are in favor of annexing the Jordan Valley but did not turn up any results in support of this claim.

An INSS poll released in recent days addressed the question of unilateral annexation of settlement blocs, but did not address specifically the Jordan Valley.

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.

A Man of a Thousand Faces Wears a New Mask
In the meantime, conscious of the fact that Iranians are suckers for real or fake academic titles, to enhance his persona, Rouhani enrolled in a British college in Glasgow to obtain a PhD in Islamic law. Thus, in a few years' time, he was able to rebrand himself as Dr. Hassan Rouhani, the "moderate reformist with Western education."

By the 1990s, in Western policy circles, Rouhani had acquired the reputation of "a man with whom we can work".

Rouhani's message, peddled by cronies including Foreign Minister Muhammad-Javad Zarif, is that the internal opposition and foreign powers worried about Iran should be patient and help "moderates" re-orient the storm-stricken ship of the regime towards calmer waters.

Will Rouhani's scenario, for easing Khamenei off his pedestal, work? I doubt it. Rouhani may be a talented man of a thousand faces, but 40 years of experience has shown that every one of those faces turned out to be a mask.
Iran’s IRGC unveils 'new' rocket: The Thunder 500
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has unveiled what it says is a new rocket called the Thunder 500. It has a composite engine and new technologies that will make it lighter and give it a better range, it said.

It is one of many rockets and missiles in the Iranian arsenal that the IRGC likes to boast about to show off Iran’s abilities. Tehran has been trafficking precision-guided munitions to Hezbollah, exporting rocket technology to Houthis in Yemen, firing cruise missiles at Saudi Arabia and has used ballistic missiles against US forces in Iraq.

The IRGC’s rocketry arm is Iran’s main achievement, and the regime must show this off to illustrate that it can build new products while under US sanctions.

Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the IRGC’s Aerospace Force, has been under a cloud since air defense shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet in early January during Iran’s attack on US forces in Iraq. He recently claimed that Iran can jam US Global Hawk drones and showed off remnants of a US drone downed last June. The message is: The IRGC’s Aerospace Force commander is back, and he has new toys. One of the toys to threaten the region is the Thunder 500.

Video from the event shows two white rockets with fins near the front and at the back, similar to some other designs such as the Fateh series or Zolfaghar rockets. Two men standing in the room give some concept of the size of the rocket. It is about as long as eight people, which would make it around 13 meters long. The Fateh series has a length of around nine meters.
Ex-IRGC chief: 'No doubt' we would have flattened TLV if US bombed Iran
Iran would "no doubt" have flattened Tel Aviv after the assassination of former IRGC Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, if the US had attacked Iran, a former chief of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps who currently serves as Expediency Council Secretary said to the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen news network.

Mohsen Rezaei added that Israel had a role in the assassination of Soleimani and informed the United States about the commander's flight from Damascus to Baghdad.

The Expediency Council advises Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on policy matters and makes decisions on legislative issues between the Iranian Parliament and the Guardian Council.

Rezaei made almost identical comments in January, saying "If [US President Donald] Trump retaliates to Iran’s revenge, we will strike Haifa, Tel Aviv and wipe out Israel," adding that Iran is "very serious" about taking revenge and would target all US interests in the region.

On Saturday, Rezaei stressed to Al Mayadeen that Iran's goal is currently to "get the United States out of the region."
Iran fails to place satellite into orbit, fourth failure in a row
Iran succeeded in launching a new satellite into outer space, but failed to place the satellite into orbit on Sunday, according to Iranian reports. All stages of the launch took place correctly, but the satellite did not reach the speed needed to inject the satellite into the desired orbit, according to the Iranian Fars news.

A government minister announced earlier that Iran would be launching a new satellite on Sunday after the planned launch on Saturday was delayed for unknown reasons.

"The Zafar satellite will be placed in orbit today from Semnan at a speed of 7,400 kilometers," Iranian Minister of Information and Communications Technology Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi said, according to the official IRIB news agency.

The first mission of the Zafar satellite will be to transmit an image of former IRGC Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, who was assassinated by the US in January, according to the Iranian Mehrs news agency.

The spokesperson of the Iranian Defense Ministry's Space Department stated that the satellite will be launched "at the first opportunity when everything is prepared." The spokesperson added that the launch process is complicated because of the need to test new technologies, according to the Iranian Tasnim news agency.
After US envoy criticism, German president will not honor Iran’s regime
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will break with diplomatic tradition in the federal republic and not send a congratulatory telegram to the rulers of the Islamic Republic of Iran this month, it was announced on Saturday.

The Steinmeier announcement follows intense criticism from US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, who had said on Thursday: “Germany has a moral responsibility to say to Iran very firmly and clearly that it is unacceptable to deny basic human rights to your people, or kill protesters in the streets or push gay people off buildings. Celebrating the regime’s ongoing existence sends the opposite message.”

Fox News first reported Grenell’s criticism of German government policy toward Iran’s regime.

The newspaper Die Welt, quoting a spokeswoman for the Federal President’s Office, reported that “in light of the current developments in Iran in recent months, there will be no telegram from the federal president this year.”

Iran’s regime murdered as many as 1,500 protesters in November who demonstrated against the regime and its economic mismanagement. The clerical regime launched missile attacks against US military personnel in Iraq last month, causing traumatic brain injuries to 64 soldiers.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) also shot down a Ukrainian commercial plane last month, killing all 176 passengers.
Arab media accuse US, Israel of coronavirus conspiracy against China
Numerous reports in the Arab press have accused the US and Israel of being behind the creation and spread of the deadly coronavirus as part of an economic and psychological war against China, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reported.

One report in the Saudi daily newspaper Al-Watan claimed that it was no coincidence that the coronavirus was absent from the US and Israel, though this is despite America having 12 confirmed cases at the time of writing.

"A 'wonder' virus was discovered yesterday in China; tomorrow it will be discovered in Egypt, but it will not be discovered either today, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow in the US or Israel, nor in poor countries such as Burundi or the Comoro Islands," the report said.

It also went on to accuse the US and Israel of being behind other outbreaks over the past several years in China and in the Arab world.

"As soon as Egypt announced, a few years ago, that it would rely on poultry [raised in the country], and that it would even export [poultry] abroad – that is, that it no longer needed poultry from the US, France, and so on – [suddenly] there appeared, from underneath the ground, the avian flu virus… with the aim of nipping [Egypt's economic] awakening in the bud," the report said.

"Even before this, the same thing was done in China… when in 2003 [the country] announced that it had the [world's] largest dollar reserves
[and] they [the Americans] introduced coronavirus' cousin, SARS, into [the country]."

At the beginning of February, Syrian daily newspaper Al-Thawra also claimed the coronavirus and other outbreaks were part of a US-China war.
ADL 'Extremists using coronavirus to stoke hatred against Jews'
Neo-Nazi and white supremacists are using fears of the deadly coronavirus to stoke hated against Jews and spread conspiracy theories on social-media platforms, according to a new report released by the Anti-Defamation League.

"Following a well-worn pattern of capitalizing on major news stories to advance their bigotry and anti-Semitism, extremists have latched onto fears surrounding the coronavirus story to promote conspiracy theories and even 'boogaloo,'" referring to the extremists' code word for violence, the ADL report said.

According to the ADL, "extremist-friendly" platforms such as Telegram, 4chan and Gab have been filled with messages posted by racists.

"Extremists hope the virus kills Jews, but they are also using its emergence to advance their anti-Semitic theories that Jews are responsible for creating the virus, spreading it to increase their control over a decimated population, or they are profiting off it," the ADL said.

Additionally, more widely used and mainstream social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Reddit have also seen concerning messages being spread by extremists.

The report said that on these platforms, "posters are calling coverage of the coronavirus a hoax and a distraction designed to frighten the public, while others are arguing that the virus's impact is far worse than authorities want people to think."

As of Friday, the World Health Organization reported 31,211 confirmed cases globally, with the vast majority in China and at least 780 deaths.
Amazon Pulls Books by Author Who Accuses Jews of ‘Active Role in Promoting War’
Following outrage, Amazon has stopped selling two books by an author who praises Hitler and has accused Jews of “promoting and inciting war,” The Jewish Chronicle reported on Wednesday.

The online retailer has removed Thomas Dalton’s new book, Eternal Strangers: Critical Views of Jews and Judaism Through the Ages, which was released last week, and The Jewish Hand in the World Wars.

The synopsis of the latest book says “Jews are seen as pernicious, conniving, shifty liars; they harbor a deep-seated hatred of humanity; they are at once foolish and arrogant; they are socially disruptive and rebellious; they are ruthless exploiters and parasites; they are master criminals—the list goes on. The persistence of such comments is remarkable and strongly suggests that the cause for such animosity resides in the Jews themselves—in their attitudes, their values, their ethnic traits and their beliefs.”

The Jewish Hand in the World Wars accuses Jews of having “played an exceptionally active role in promoting and inciting war. With their long-notorious influence in government …actively inciting people to hatred.”

Dalton allegedly praises Hitler for developing “an unprecedented vision of national greatness.”
Israeli ambassador to Portugal condemns antisemitic cartoon publication
Israel's Ambassador to Portugal condemned the publication of antisemitic cartoons by Portuguese cartoon artist Vasco Gargalo in the weekly Portuguese news magazine Sábado, in a letter to the director of the magazine.

Raphael Gamzou, the ambassador, pointed out that he saw Gargalo's cartoon shortly after returning to Portugal with Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa after the 5th World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem.

The cartoons do "perversely, an excellent service in the fight against antisemitism, contrary, most likely, to the artist's intention," wrote Gamzou.

The cartoon in question, The Crematorium, depicts Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wearing an armband like that of the Nazis but with a Star of David rather than a swastika on it. In the image, Netanyahu is pushing a coffin draped in a Palestinian Authority flag into an oven. Above the oven is the infamous gate of Auschwitz with the German phrase “Arbeit macht frei,” meaning “work sets you free.”

The ambassador warned that while democratic societies like Portugal have the right to creative freedom and expression, he is "also fully aware of the impact and power of racist and antisemitic cartoons like those of Der Sturmer, who contributed so much to the promotion of the Final Solution."
Madrid to open Jewish museum in building reclaimed from far-left activists
Madrid will open a Jewish museum in a building that it reclaimed from far-left activists, the city’s mayor said Thursday.

The museum is set to open within two years in the building nicknamed “The Ungovernable.” It had been illegally occupied since 2017 by members of the anti-capitalist Occupy network, Libertad Digital reported.

“This is the only major capital in Western Europe without a museum, yet it has deep Jewish ties to countless Jews who continue to nurture the Sephardic culture since the expulsion of 1492 and their affection to Spain,” Mayor Jose Luis Martínez-Almeida of the right-wing Popular Party said in a speech announcing the decision.

Neither Madrid nor the Portuguese capital of Lisbon have Jewish museums despite how both countries once were major hubs of European Jewry until the church-led campaign of persecution known as the Inquisition virtually wiped out their Jewish communities from 1492 onward.

Lisbon’s Jewish museum was scheduled to open in 2017 but has been stalled amid opposition by residents and some local politicians.
Israeli researchers find method to convert carbon-containing waste to gas
Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) unveiled a new technology on Sunday to turn carbon-containing waste into gas for energy production, offering a promising alternative to sending waste to landfills.

The innovative gasification method, developed by researchers at BGU’s Laboratory for Clean Combustion, uses the “unique chemical properties” of supercritical water to actively decompose organic material into gases with a range of potential uses and lightly dissolve inorganic material.

Water is heated to over 374 degrees Celsius and pressurized to more than 219 atmospheres, reaching a state where distinct liquid and gas phases can no longer be identified.

Carbon-containing waste, including mixed plastics and used tires, has presented an increasingly problematic challenge for industrialized societies. Methods to turn waste into energy serve a dual purpose, researchers said, by both reducing landfills and producing energy from nonfossil fuels.

Organic components are dissolved by supercritical water into hydrogen, methane and carbon dioxide. Hydrogen and methane produced by dissolving organic materials can serve as fuel sources and feedstocks for the chemical industry. Hydrogen is particularly relevant to the automotive industry’s efforts to replace gasoline. Methods of gasification can also provide a potential solution to safely treat hazardous waste, researchers say.

While supercritical gasification methods have been studied for decades, the novel approach developed by researchers at BGU uses heat-transfer methods to return energy used for warming supercritical water and materials back into the process.
Jesse Eisenberg is Marcel Marceau in trailer for World War II drama Resistance
IFC Films has released a trailer for the upcoming drama Resistance. Written and directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz, the film tells the story of Marcel Marceau (Jesse Eisenberg) before he became a world-famous mime and explores his work with the French Resistance during World War II. Joining Eisenberg in the cast are Ed Harris, Clémence Poésy, Matthias Schweighöfer, Félix Moati, Géza Rohrig, Karl Markovics, Vica Kerekes, Bella Ramsey, and Edgar Ramírez.

Before he was the world-famous mime Marcel Marceau, he was Marcel Mangel, an aspiring Jewish actor who joined the French Resistance to save the lives of thousands of children orphaned at the hands of the Nazis. Jesse Eisenberg stars in this compelling drama about a group of unsung heroes who put themselves in harm’s way to rise above hatred and oppression during World War II. As a young man growing up in Nazi-occupied Europe, Marcel has no intention of getting involved in the war – his pursuits include impersonating Charlie Chaplin in burlesque clubs, painting backdrops for his plays, and antagonizing his obstinate father. His life is thrown into upheaval when he is recruited into the French Resistance, putting his acting skills to the ultimate test in teaching orphaned Jewish children how to survive in the horrifying reality of the Holocaust. Based on the inspiring true story, RESISTANCE follows the revolutionary tale of a selfless act that would forever change countless lives.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 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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