Friday, July 24, 2015

From Ian:

Mordechai Kedar: How come America is Still "The Great Satan" in Iran?
Since the Iran Agreement does not provide a foolproof way to check that the Ayatollahs are definitely not developing nuclear arms, we can conclude that sooner or later Iran will develop nuclear weapons in secret, if it has not done so already. Nuclear weapons in the hands of the Ayatollahs pose a danger to the entire world because of the apocalyptic views of Shiite Islam and because of the Islamist ambition for global hegemony. Islamic religious tradition allows for the use of force and threats. Nuclear weapons will be a tool that allows the Ayatollahs to carry out their Shiite Islamist agenda and move on to control the world.
The only way to completely remove the danger of Iran's nuclear weapons is to abolish the rule of the Ayatollahs. Now that the world has done away with the economic sanctions weapon, there are only two ways left to achieve that goal: one, to encourage the young, secular adult majority to fight the regime and two, aid the minority groups in destabilizing the regime and undercutting its unity.
Iran's rulers are weak, afraid of the people, looking for outside enemies, lost in their own extremist rantings that are an attempt to hide their weaknesses. It would not be very difficult to overthrow the present regime. The moral justification for this is solid: the Ayatollah's have been undermining Lebanon's government since 1980 and recently, doing the same in Yemen. They supply arms, weapons and money to Assad, the mass murderer, and are largely responsible for the blood spilled in Iraq. They are behind terror worldwide, and have justly earned the world's desire to be rid of them and send them to a place where they cannot inflict any more damage on the human race. That, of course, would be the end of the Iranian nuclear weapons issue.
The questions that remain are straighforward. Does the world sees the dangers facing the world from the Iranian regime? Does it realize the real situation in Iran, the reality described in this article? And does the world have the courage to do what is needed to solve, in passing, the Iranian nuclear problem?
Martin Sherman: The Iran deal – moronic, myopic, malevolent, mendacious
Of course if one wishes to see a durable, non-militarized solution to the Iranian crisis, perhaps the only conceivable avenue is regime change and installation of a more moderate, Western-oriented government.
But by greatly empowering and enriching the incumbent theocracy, the deal cut last week makes such a prospect incalculably more remote.
In the words of Saba Farzan, a German-Iranian journalist and director of a Berlin think tank, published in The Jerusalem Post: “The Vienna deal bears a very grave danger for Iran’s civil society. Not only won’t we see their economic situation improve, but the regime will also have an incentive to abuse human rights more severely. A flood of cash is going into the pockets of this leadership.
It will be used to tighten their grip [on power] and to further imprison, torture and kill innocent Iranians.”
She is, of course, right – and that is one of the greatest tragedies of the travesty concocted in Vienna last week.
Jew vs. Jew (vs. Jew) on the Iran deal
The Jews of Israel oppose the agreement with Iran. The Jews of America support it. The just-released LA Jewish Journal survey turns an assumption into a fact: The two largest Jewish communities cannot agree on a major world development that could significantly change the state of the Jewish state.
Israel will discover today — much to many Israelis’ surprise (because they don’t much understand American Jews) — that it cannot count on the majority of American Jewry to fight the battle against the agreement alongside it. A majority of American Jews will discover today that amid all the noise made by opponents of the deal, not much has changed for them as a group: They support President Barack Obama; they vote Democratic; they approve of the agreement. American Jews are just like Americans, as sociologist Steven Cohen, who oversaw the survey, writes: They are all skeptical about the deal, but their politics dictate the way they ultimately see it.
There is one question that stands out in this poll as deserving the title “the most troubling.” That is, troubling for those who highly value the bond between Jewish communities. “Does the agreement make Israel safer or more endangered?” Cohen asked his Jewish-American respondents. And they have an answer for him: It endangers Israel.
So here, presumably, you have it all, encapsulated in one question: American Jews support the deal, even though they are skeptical about its outcome, and even though they understand that by supporting the deal, they contribute to making Israel less safe. (h/t Yenta Press)

Poll: Plurality of American Jews Support Iran Deal, 49%-31%
A new poll sponsored by the Los Angeles Jewish Journal reveals that a strong plurality of American Jews support the Iran nuclear deal, 49% to 31%. That compares to much smaller support among Americans in general, who split 28% to 24% for the deal. When asked if Congress should vote for the deal, most American Jews say yes, 53% to 35% (as compared to a 41% to 38% among Americans in general). The poll included 1,000 adults, split between Jews and non-Jews, and was conducted via telephone (and cell phone) from July 16 through July 20.
The results among American Jews contrast with polls among Israeli Jews, who are strongly against the Iran deal. A recent poll of Israeli Jews indicated that 78% believe the Iran deal endangers the country. A strong plurality of Israeli Jews favored a military strike against Iran, 47% to 35%. The rift, says Jewish Journal columnist Shmuel Rosner, is the “first damaging impact of a troubling agreement with Iran.”
One obvious reason for the split is that Israeli Jews are directly exposed to the threat of a nuclear Iran. American Jews, for whom Israel is an issue of diminishing importance, view the Iran deal primarily through the prism of domestic politics. Aside from blacks, American Jews are the most loyal supporters of President Barack Obama.
Rosner notes: “…Jews — like most other humans — tend to understand the world in a way that is compatible with their beliefs. If they support Obama, they believe Obama. If they believe Obama, they also believe him when he says that the deal is good for Israel’s security.”
Israel United Against Iran Deal, So Should Those Who Claim to Be Its Friends
This morning during a Senate hearing on the Iran nuclear deal, Secretary of State John Kerry tried to pour cold water on the notion that friends of Israel are obligated to oppose the pact. Citing a Washington Post op-ed titled “How the Iran deal is good for Israel, according to Israelis who know what they’re talking about,” Kerry treated the piece that cites the opinions of a few retired officials that agree with him as proof that his claim that the result of his two years of negotiating with Iran would benefit the Jewish state as well as the United States. A similar piece in the Forward by J.J. Goldberg quotes some of the same figures. Taken together, they seem to make a strong case that the pro-Israel community ought to either sit out the Iran deal fight in Congress or even support the agreement. But the two articles leave out a couple of important facts about Israeli opinion about the Iran deal. One is that most of those quoted are either disgruntled former officials who hold a grudge against Prime Minister Netanyahu for not keeping them in office, or ideological opponents of the man who has won three consecutive elections. The other is that while Netanyahu’s political foes in the Knesset are as sharply critical of the prime minister as the Obama administration, they have joined him in forming a united front against the Iran deal as a deadly threat to the country’s future. That’s a point that any American that claims to be a friend of Israel needs to consider before they consider backing the administration’s push for détente with the Islamist regime.
As Jeffrey Goldberg, who has been the administration’s unofficial mouthpiece on Israel issues and their dutiful amanuensis when it comes to smears of Netanyahu, noted in The Atlantic last week, the man that Washington desperately wanted to win the Knesset election in March has turned on Obama. Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog was the darling of the White House earlier this year as the administration moved heaven and Earth in a failed attempt to influence the Israeli electorate to reject Netanyahu’s bid for a third straight term as prime minister. As Goldberg wrote, Herzog’s line on the Iran negotiations last winter was that he trusted Obama to get a “good deal” with Tehran. But rather than continuing his effort to cozy up to the administration, Herzog now completely agrees with Netanyahu’s evaluation of the deal. As Goldberg wrote:
In a telephone call with me late last night, Herzog’s message was very different. The deal just finalized in Vienna, he said, “will unleash a lion from the cage, it will have a direct influence over the balance of power in our region, it’s going to affect our borders, and it will affect the safety of my children.”
Iran, he said, is an “empire of evil and hate that spreads terror across the region,” adding that, under the terms of the deal, Iran “will become a nuclear-threshold state in a decade or so.” Iran will take its post-sanctions windfall, he said, and use the funds to supply more rockets to Hezbollah in Lebanon, more ammunition to Hamas in Gaza, and “generally increase the worst type of activities that they’ve been doing.”

The other major figure in the Israeli opposition, Yair Lapid, the leader of the Yesh Atid Party has also chimed in with harsh criticism of the agreement with Iran. In fact, the administration has achieved something that is generally considered impossible: uniting the Zionist parties of the Knesset from right to left. Netanyahu, Lapid, and Herzog and the leaders of the other parties normally can’t agree on anything. But Obama and Kerry have brought them together to denounce a deal that all know makes their region more dangerous while also presenting an existential threat to Israel’s future.
 No Checks, No Balances
As congressional hearings on the nuclear agreement with Iran opened this week, the Obama administration was constructing an intricate “bodyguard of lies” that will guarantee the Islamic Republic’s eventual pathway to a bomb. The administration also appears prepared to circumvent the mandated congressional review process that it agreed to honor just months earlier. In the coming months, we’re likely to see a further attempt to eviscerate the constitutional principle of checks and balances—all in service of sustaining what President Obama believes will be his enduring foreign policy legacy.
When asked on a Sunday show whether the administration had caved on its previous public demand that Iran must accept “anywhere/anytime” inspections of all its suspected nuclear sites, Secretary of State John Kerry conjured up a new doctrine of international diplomacy: “In arms control, there is no country anywhere on this planet that has anywhere/anytime. There is no such standard within arms control inspections.” On another program, Kerry ratcheted up the chutzpah: “This is a term [anywhere/anytime] that honestly I never heard in the four years that we were negotiating. It was not on the table.”
Kerry also bizarrely insisted that it wasn’t the Obama administration that conceded Iran’s right to enrich uranium and to keep its centrifuges spinning. Rather, it was all the fault of—who else?—George W. Bush. “Guess what, my friend,” Kerry scolded a reporter. “Iran had 12,000 kilograms of highly enriched uranium, and that’s enough if they enriched it further for 10 to 12 bombs. They had it. That’s what Barack Obama was dealt as a hand when he came in: 19,000 centrifuges already spinning; a country that had already mastered the fuel cycle; a country that already was threshold in the sense that they are only two months away from breakout.” So much for President Obama’s 2013 assurances to Israel that Iran was more than a year away from building a bomb.
Kerry’s claims were risible. Administration officials such as National Security Council honcho Ben Rhodes and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz repeatedly promised that anytime/anywhere inspections would be part of the agreement. Moreover, current and former International Atomic Energy Agency officials such as Yukiya Amano, David Albright, and Olli Heinonen have repeatedly affirmed the necessity of anytime/anywhere inspections to make sure Iran wouldn’t cheat.
White House Confirms Existence of Nuclear “Side Agreements,” Increasing Tensions with Congress
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal‘s Mary Kissel, Omri Ceren, The Israel Project’s managing director for press and strategy, talked about the administration’s efforts to avoid sharing these documents with Congress. The Israel Project publishes The Tower. The full interview is embedded below.
This is a very strange development, Mary, because as you know the Corker legislation mandates that the administration provides all relevant documents to Congress. Now the United States sits on the executive board of the IAEA. We have access to those things. The State Department is telling journalists this morning in Washington D.C. that they can’t be expected to turn over the documents to Congress because they don’t have the documents. That is not going to be sustainable. Lawmakers know better.
Last week, historian Walter Russell Mead observed that the administration’s effort to define the nuclear deal with Iran as an executive agreement and have it endorsed by the United Nations Security Council in order to force congressional approval was “essentially abrogating the treaty power of Congress.” Mead added:
That the President is blowing off this concession by Congress is a serious matter—more serious perhaps than the White House realizes. He is really requiring Congress to accept a permanent and significant diminution in its power for the sake of an Iran deal that few members view with enthusiasm. The precedent he is setting changes the Constitution, essentially abrogating the treaty power of Congress any time a President[ can get a Security Council resolution to incorporate the terms of an executive agreement.
Anne Bayefsky: Obama's huge Iran hostage sellout: The administration gives a pathetic performance at the UN
Oops, we forgot the American hostages in Iran. After we handed Iran $150 billion dollars in sanctions relief. That’s the impression the Obama administration is now trying desperately to shake off while selling an Iran nuclear deal that left our fellow citizens behind.
On Monday, the administration pushed the Iran deal through the UN at warp speed in order to blackmail Congress with America’s newly-created international legal obligations. Speaking at the Security Council, Ambassador Samantha Power threw the following into the middle of her self-congratulatory remarks:
“Let me use this occasion to call once again on Iran to immediately release all unjustly detained Americans . . . I also call on Iran to help locate Robert Levinson, who has been missing from Iran since 2007.”
Saeed Abedini is imprisoned for his religious beliefs. Amir Hekmati is a former sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps falsely accused of espionage. Jason Rezaian is a Washington Post correspondent who once covered the nuclear negotiations. And Robert Levinson is a retired FBI agent.
So on the one hand, Power was leading the charge to revoke a decade of Security Council resolutions — harsher than the new deal — that imposed duties on Iran to “suspend all enrichment-related activities” until “Iran has fully complied with its obligations...” And on the other hand, she was begging Iran to release Americans from Iranian hell holes. It was an embarrassing spectacle.
Michael Lumish: Donald Trump: Israel, Iran and the Jihad Bomb?
Donald Trump is not a big fan of the “P5+1″ deal with Iran. Never one to mince words, Trump said of Obama’s deal with Iran that it is “just insulting, it’s such a bad deal… One of the really dumb deals I’ve ever seen.” He commented:
“They did not read, ‘The Art of The Deal,’ that I can tell you,” he said, referring to his how-to-do-business book. “Even a thing like the four prisoners that we don’t get them out of it, and they say, ‘We did want to complicate the negotiations.’
“How do you complicate the negotiations by asking for four people that should not be in jail? It is so disgraceful the way this was handled, and it shouldn’t have taken this time. They should have doubled up the sanctions. And I mean double and triple up the sanctions, and had them come home.”
Thus we can be reasonably certain that a Trump presidency would be considerably tougher on Iran than the current administration and, presumably, more willing to use military force in order to prevent Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weaponry.
Trump, who once said of Obama that “there has never been a greater enemy to Israel,” would probably get along with the Israelis for a number of reasons, not the least of which would be his stance toward Iran. He would also be considerably less likely then President Barack Obama to turn the building of Jewish housing in what is commonly called the “West Bank” into an impediment for negotiations.
Trump was the grand marshal of New York City’s annual Salute to Israel Parade in 2004. His daughter, Ivanka, converted to Judaism in 2009 upon marriage to her husband, businessman Jared Kushner. And there is a good chance that he would endeavor to cut funding to the Palestinian Authority.
If there is a current rift between the United States and the Israelis, a Trump presidency might go a long way toward healing that rift, but what would this mean to the Europeans?
David Singer: Iran Deal Presages UN Military Action Against Islamic State
China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, America and the European Union (E3/EU+3) – the Septet – have shown a rare degree of international cooperation in signing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran aimed at limiting Iran’s nuclear horizons.
Such unanimity presages the possibility of a United Nations Security Council Resolution under Chapter VII of the UN Charter authorizing military action against Islamic State – already declared a threat to international peace and security in Security Council Resolutions 2170 and 2199.
Iran – diplomatically unscathed, emboldened and financially enriched once the current international sanctions omelette has been unscrambled – will not change its behaviour – nor will the Septet members have to abandon their perceived national interests.
Iran’s macabre dance with death will assuredly continue in the Middle East.
Obama could be betting this latest show of Septet-Iranian co-operation will finally procure Security Council approval to destroy their common enemy - Islamic State – which Obama’s American-led coalition of 62 States has spectacularly failed to accomplish.
Hopefully Obama’s giant gamble pays this huge dividend.
Kerry: Israeli strike on Iran would be ‘huge mistake’
US Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday that any future Israeli military action against Iran over its nuclear program would be a “huge mistake.”
Asked on NBC’s TODAY show if the nuclear deal signed between the world powers and Iran last week in Vienna would make it more likely that Israel would attempt an attack, Kerry said: “That’d be an enormous mistake, a huge mistake with grave consequences for Israel and for the region, and I don’t think it’s necessary.”
Kerry is on a fervent campaign to promote the nuclear accord, which has been met with opposition, mainly from Israel and Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.
He was speaking about the deal on Friday at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City and was then set to meet with leaders from the American Jewish Committee and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Some Jewish groups, including the Conference of Presidents and the Anti-Defamation League, have vehemently opposed the deal with Iran, which has pledged to destroy Israel.
In his NBC interview Friday, Kerry said the agreement was the best the White House could get with a country it doesn’t trust.
“There is no trust — no no no. This is not based on trust,” he said on the TODAY show. “That’s what’s important to understand. Everything in this agreement is verifiable. It is a process by which we will know what they’re doing.”
Watch: Kerry Indicates US Will Defend Iran from Israel
US Secretary of State John Kerry indirectly conceded that the US would defend Iran's nuclear program from Israeli sabotage on Thursday, in a hearing at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in which he was grilled over the deal reached last Tuesday.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) put Kerry on the spot when he asked him and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz whether the controversial articles in Annex III on page 142 of the 159-page deal would stipulate that the US block Israeli attempts to scupper the Iranian nuclear threat.
The articles in question state that the US, world powers and the EU obligate to "co-operation through training and workshops to strengthen Iran’s ability to protect against, and respond to nuclear security threats, including sabotage."
Moniz did not reject the possibility but tried to deflect the implication of betrayal of Israeli security interests, saying, “I believe that refers to things like physical security and safeguards. All of our options and those of our allies and friends will remain in place.”
Undeterred, Rubio responded, "I guess that's my point. If Israel conducts an airstrike on a physical facility, does this deal...require us to help Iran protect and respond to that threat?"
The secretary of energy hesitatingly replied by claiming that the clause would not obligate the US to respond to an Israeli airstrike.
From ‘No Deal is Better Than A Bad Deal’ to ‘This Deal or War’
When members of Congress visited Gen. Ray Odierno’s office in Baghdad, they found his coffee table laden with the deadly weapons called explosively formed penetrators — “every single one of ’em made by Iran,” Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn, recounted Thursday.
“This is the country we’re dealing with,” Corker reminded colleagues on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a Thursday hearing on the Iran deal, the first of several scheduled during Congress’s 60-day review. But Corker also meant to one-up the administration’s latest argument for the Iran deal: that the only alternative is war.
The committee’s chairman said he was “fairly depressed” after attending an administration briefing on the deal Wednesday night. “Every detail of the deal that was laid out, our witnesses successfully batted them away with the hyperbole, ‘It’s either this deal, or war,’” he said.
Corker is not the only senator put off by the administration’s aggressive lobbying on the deal. Others say administration officials are using the spectre of war with Iran to bully lawmakers into accepting the agreement. And so when Secretary of State John Kerry, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, testified before the committee on Thursday, lawmakers let them hear it.
“I believe you’ve been fleeced,” Corker told them. “And in the process of being fleeced what you’ve really done here is turn Iran from being a pariah to now Congress being a pariah.”
5 Crazy Facts from Senate Hearing on Iran Deal
Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, and Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew are making the rounds on Capitol Hill in an effort to sell the Iran deal. Their appearance at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday did not go well, as the three men struggled to answer basic questions and objections to the substance of the deal, as well as the process through which it had been rushed to the UN Security Council before coming to Congress. There were several new revelations at the hearing. Here are the 5 most important.
1. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will likely rely on Iran to test its own military sites.
2. The Iran deal does not retain ballistic missile sanctions for eight years–it relieves them immediately.
3. The Obama administration contrived the deal’s 90-day delay as a propaganda trick. Kerry claimed that the Iran deal, as codified by the UN Security Council, would only be implemented after a 90-day delay so that Congress would be able to complete its 60-day review under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (the “Corker bill”).
4. The administration does not plan to re-authorize existing U.S. sanctions on Iran when they expire in 2016.
5. John Kerry does not think Israel’s government (or opposition) knows what it is talking about.
MoveOn plans ‘mass mobilization’ to save Iran deal
If 13 Senate Democrats and 44 House Democrats choose to oppose the nuclear agreement with Iran, it's as good as dead. The grassroots progressive group MoveOn is hammering that message home with its 8 million members, asking them to turn up at town halls or any other public events with their representatives.
"Like everything else that matters, that we work for, for change, for goodness, they've got money but we've got people," said Anna Galland, the executive director of MoveOn Civic Action, at a weekend panel at the progressive Netroots Nation conference. "We all need to make phone calls and write emails. We need to tweet. The alternative is war."
As the Post's Catherine Ho reported this week, progressive groups are raising money and trying out new tools for a campaign to save the Iran deal. In fundraising pitches -- J Street's has netted $2 million -- they portray themselves as Davids, taking on the Goliath of the Israel lobby. MoveOn is looking to spend "six figures" on a multi-platform ad campaign, and on hiring field organizers.
But MoveOn's most ambitious goal is to turn the long August recess of 2015 into the summer of peace. The inspiration comes -- just a little -- from the other side. In 2009, the last Democratic Congress was almost brought to heel at town halls, a combination of grassroots activism and top-level strategizing by groups like Americans for Prosperity. Tea Party activists packed the once-sleepy meetings of their local representatives. Some viral videos made some voters into celebrities; others made congressmen into former congressmen. (The 60-day countdown for congressional action on the deal takes the recess into consideration; had the deal been finished earlier, the countdown would have lasted 30 days.)
Obama downplays nuke-deal benefits for Iran’s proxies
US President Barack Obama on Friday conceded that the Iranian nuclear deal would grant the Islamic Republic greater military funding, but said Tehran — even in its most dire financial state — had never ceased to fund terror groups such as Hezbollah.
“Does the IRGC [Revolutionary Guards] or the Quds Force have more resources [as a result of the deal]? Probably, as the economy in Iran improves. But the challenge that we’ve had, when it comes to Hezbollah, for example, aiming rockets into Israel is not a shortage of resources,” Obama said in an interview with BBC.
“Iran has shown itself to be willing, even in the midst of real hardship, to fund what they consider to be strategy priorities.”
The president maintained that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei will face significant public pressure to sink much of the funds it receives as a result of the international sanctions relief into Iran’s economy.
“A large portion of those funds are going to have to be used for them to rebuild their economy,” Obama added. “That was the mandate that elected Rouhani. And the supreme leader is feeling pressure there.”
Assad did not give up entire chemical weapons arsenal — report
US intelligence agencies have concluded that Syria’s Bashar Assad did not give up all of the chemical weapons in his possession in 2013, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
According to the report, Assad tucked away “caches of even deadlier nerve agents” than the ones relinquished. The weapons currently run the risk of falling into the hands of the Islamic State or, alternatively, Israel’s arch-foe Hezbollah, according to US intelligence sources.
The detailed report also revealed the reticence of international inspectors and world powers in pressing the regime for further information, amid fears Assad would reconsider the international bid to rid Syria of its chemical weapons arsenal.
Assad’s regime agreed to an international plan, following a 2013 sarin attack on a Damascus suburb that sparked a global outcry. The United States threatened military action against Damascus over the attack, but held off following the disarmament agreement.
Israel’s Prosor: Iran Now Has 2 Nuke 'Pathways'
In what was a stunning rebuke to US President Barack Obama’s claim that “Every pathway to a [Iranian] nuclear weapon is cut off,” Israel UN Ambassador, Ron Prosor, flatly contradicted Obama Thursday and stated, “This agreement grants Iran not one, but two paths to the bomb. Iran can get the bomb by cheating, or it can get the bomb by keeping the deal for ten years, and then assembling it immediately. And ten years go by in the blink of an eye.”
Amb. Prosor employed what has become his signature tactic of mounting a masterful attack on the way the UN mollycoddles the war-criminals of Hamas, even as it applies impossible and hypocritical double standards to Israel's attempts to defend itself. Amb. Prosor saved his methodical dissection of Obama’s Iran nuke deal for the last part of his UN speech.
Prosor explained that there are four major flaws in the Iran nuke deal:
 Amb. Prosor's UNSC speech on the Situation in the Middle East
"Ten years after withdrawing from Gaza, the territory we left behind has become a safe haven for terrorists.
Ten years later, in light of regional developments, the international community must take steps of its own. It must disengage from illusions, disengage from its constant bias against Israel, and disengage from murderous terror groups. It is time to disengage from old habits, and engage with the values we all cherish."
Speech by Israel's Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Ron Prosor, on the Situation in the Middle East

Israel’s Couns. on Political Affairs statement at UNSC's Middle East Debate
Our Counsellor on Political Affiars, Israel Nitzan, made a further statement during today's UN Security Council Session on the Situation in the Middle East

The Milt Rosenberg Show [podcast]: Ep. 121: Former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren: Ally
Former Israeli Ambassador the the U.S., Michael Oren, has written a truly brilliant memoir of his time in that post at exactly the right time. While the streets of Tehran teem with those calling for Death to America and Death to the Jews, Oren’s insider’s account of the pressures faced by the Middle East’s lone democracy serves as a counterbalance to those that are championing the Iranian nuclear deal.
Joining in on this conversation with Milt and Oren is our friend Dr. Charles Lipson of the University of Chicago.
An interesting anecdote from this interview: Oren conducted it entirely while on the floor of the Knesset, as they’d been called to vote beginning after midnight in Jerusalem.
Canada’s support for Israel leading to its isolation, Iran warns
Canada’s support for Israel was leading it to “self-imposed isolation,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday.
“The continued radical stances by the Canadian officials against Iran, specially under the present conditions, show that the Canadian government’s approach towards Iran lacks a logical rationale,” the semi-official Fars News Agency quoted Foreign Ministry spokesperson Marziyeh Afkham as saying on Thursday.
She added: “By following the Zionist regime’s stances Canada’s conservative government is quickly moving towards a self-imposed isolation in the international community and even among its old allies.”
Canada severed diplomatic relations with Iran in 2012, with its then-foreign minister John Baird citing the Tehran regime as “among the world’s worst violators of human rights” and charging that it “shelters and materially supports terrorist groups.”
Earlier this month, Canada’s Foreign Minister Rob Nicholson was decidedly reserved in his reaction to the nuclear accord reached between Tehran and six world powers, saying his country would maintain its economic sanctions against Iran for the time being, even if other Western powers drop them.
Hollande asks Rouhani to help resolve Mideast crises
French President Francois Hollande conferred with Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani Thursday on “conditions for implementing” the Iran nuclear accord, Hollande’s office said.
The two leaders also agreed to “step up bilateral cooperation in this new context,” the presidency said in a statement.
Hollande “expressed the wish for Iran to contribute positively to the resolution of crises in the Middle East,” it added.
Rouhani meanwhile tweeted that “President Francois Hollande welcomes #IranDeal and Iran’s constructive role in the negotiations, which is fostering peace in the region.”
Watch: NY Assemblyman Hikind Arrested Protesting Iran Nuke Deal
Arutz Sheva was on the scene Thursday as New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) was arrested in Manhattan during a protest against the Iran nuclear deal signed last Tuesday.
Hikind was arrested together with eight other Jewish protesters who lay on the pavement in front of the office of Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), in an attempt to press the senator through civil disobedience not to support the Iran deal; reportedly Schumer is considering to support the deal.
Hikind and others chanted "Schumer be a shomer," using the Hebrew term for a guard or protector. They also called for Chuck (Schumer) to "chuck the deal."
"We have been called on to act and now is not the time to remain silent," said Hikind. "We’re pleading with Senator Schumer to step up and lead this fight. Schumer’s voice is critical, with other senators looking towards him to take a stance. I see millions of people in Iran chanting ‘Death to America, Death to Israel’ and we’re negotiating with this regime? It’s insane."
“We’ve listened to Senator Schumer for years and how he takes every opportunity to explain the origin of his name Schumer and what it means for him to be a proud shomer - which in Hebrew means protector. From your time as Congressman to one of the most powerful members of the Senate, Senator Schumer, you have repeatedly called yourself our shomer. Now is the time to live up to your claim and put your words into action. We need you to demonstrate leadership on one of the most critical foreign policy issues of our time. Be our protector and stop this terrible deal." (h/t Bob Knot)
Assemblyman Hikind Before the Arrest: This is About Survival
Arutz Sheva got the chance to interview New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) on Thursday, just before he and eight other Jewish protesters were arrested for their act of civil disobedience in lying on the sidewalk in front of the office of Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
The assemblyman's protest aimed to pressure Schumer - who reportedly is wavering on whether or not to support the deal reached with Iran last Tuesday on its nuclear program - to use his senior position to oppose the deal and defeat it in Congress.
Hikind told Arutz Sheva that he and those with him will sit on the sidewalk and be arrested "to make the statement of how critical and how important this is for everybody. This is about nuclear weapons...this is a fundamental issue of survival."
The civil disobedience targeting Schumer was meant "to help convince him to do the right oppose this disastrous deal that guarantees that Iran will have nuclear weapons."
"There is no question that Iran will have nuclear weapons, and the implications for that are disastrous, not just for Israel, for the Middle East - for America. Ballistic missiles with nuclear weapons can be aimed at the United States of America," warned Hikind.
Iran's Basij Commander Claims US Commands ISIS
Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naqdi, Commander of Iran’s Basij (volunteer) Force, on Thursday aired a whopper of a conspiracy theory, claiming that Israel and the US - which Iran just signed a nuclear deal with - are behind Islamic State (ISIS).
Naqdi, who just this Tuesday said the nuclear deal makes Iranians hate America "100 times more" and in March said "wiping Israel off the map is not up for negotiation," was quoted by the semi-official Fars News Agency in a message to the Iraqi public.
"The ISIL's theorization and ideology production center is in Haifa and its field operations room in the region is the US embassy in Baghdad," Naqdi claimed, using an alternate acronym for the Sunni ISIS that Shi'ite Iran has been fighting - as has the US.
But that's not all; he claimed the US and Israel had created ISIS as a "successor to their former agent in the region Saddam Hussein," indicating the Iraqi dictator who was toppled by none other than the US.
This isn't the first time Naqdi has accused the US and Israel of creating ISIS.
Zarif to Iranian Parliament: Nuke Deal Will Block Access to Military Sites
Iran’s foreign minister and lead nuclear negotiator Mohammad Javad Zarif told Iran’s Majlis, or parliament, that according the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) Iran is permitted to deny international nuclear inspectors access to military sites, “raising new questions about Tehran’s commitment to the terms of the agreement,” The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday.
Appearing before the conservative-dominated parliament to sell the nuclear deal, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran’s negotiating team had held fast in the bargaining to the leadership’s pledge not to allow such inspections.
Iran had made access to military sites a “red line,” he said, and had “fully achieved” those terms in the bargaining.
He also told lawmakers that Iran had not committed to allowing inspection of military sites in the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The Times suggested that Zarif’s comments contradicted “statements made by President Obama and his top aides about the nuclear agreement” and that they could “signal that the Iranians are trying to reopen a part of the deal.”
Amnesty protests ‘staggering execution spree’ in Iran
Amnesty International on Thursday protested at what it called a “staggering execution spree” in Iran so far this year that has seen almost 700 people put to death.
“Iranian authorities are believed to have executed an astonishing 694 people between 1 January and 15 July, 2015,” said the London-based rights group, in what it termed an unprecedented spike.
“At this shocking pace, Iran is set to surpass the total number of executions in the country” recorded by Amnesty for the whole of 2014.
Said Boumedouha, deputy head of Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa Program, said the spike “paints a sinister picture of the machinery of the state carrying out premeditated, judicially-sanctioned killings on a mass scale.”
Amnesty said the surge “reveals just how out of step Iran is with the rest of the world when it comes to the use of the death penalty.”
Forget the Nuclear Deal: US Beats Iran in Robot Competition (VIDEO)
While the Obama administration faces the criticism that it was out-negotiated by Iran in reaching a nuclear deal, the U.S. is beating the Islamic Republic on at least one front: robotics.
On Wednesday, a humanoid robot named THORwIn that was designed by a University of Pennsylvania team defeated its Iranian counterpart at the annual Robocup soccer tournament in Hefei, China.
The American robot scored five goals, narrowly topping the four goals by Iran’s robot. The U.S.-Iran match marked the final round of the “adult-size humanoid” category.
Overall, 175 robot teams from 47 different countries and regions competed in the Robocup this year. The competition is held to raise awareness for the development and research of small humanoid robots. According to the Mashable website, one such robot costs between $50,000 and $100,000 to develop. Since most teams can only afford to bring one robot, the “adult” size competition works as a penalty kick competition rather than a full game of soccer.
Arafat Really Hoping Khamenei Wins Nobel Peace Prize (satire)
After more than 20 years of being ridiculed as the worst Nobel Peace Prize recipient in memory, former Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat admitted he was really hoping Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei would win the award this year and take over that distinction.
“Do you know how tiring it gets being the stereotype of a bad Nobel Peace Prize selection?” Arafat asked in an interview with The Mideast Beast. “It’s like I’m the Ryan Leaf of international peacemaking.”
Arafat, who died in 2004, had been resigned to spending eternity as the preeminent cautionary tale for the Nobel selection committee until he learned about the nuclear deal reached between Iran and the Western powers.
“Compared to the Iranians, I’m Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Theresa’s love child,” Arafat noted. “Once a Nobel laureate nukes Tel Aviv, Riyadh, Washington D.C. and Cairo, nobody is going to give a shit about the failure of the Oslo Accords or the Second Intifada.”
Israel Arrests PLO Terrorist Who Was Supposed to be in a Palestinian Authority Jail
In a joint operation between the Shabak (Shin Bet – Israel’s security service) and the IDF, a member of the Tanzim-PLO terrorist organization was arrested on Thursday, according to the Shabak.
Mustafa Husam Aladin Mustafa Abu Riala, from Shechem, was involved in a number of terror attacks, including a shooting attack on IDF troops in May 2014. He had been previously been in jail in 2008-2009.
For the past few months, Abu Riala has been under protective arrest by the Palestinian Authority, to prevent the IDF from capturing and arresting him. Despite supposedly being under arrest and in a jail, Abu Riala would frequently leave the Palestinian Authority prison where he was supposedly being detained.
Israel repeatedly informed the PA security apparatus to properly detain Abu Riala.
Israeli security forces noticed Abu Riala in his home on Thursday afternoon, and arrested him before he could escape.
Israel Donates Helicopters to Jordan for Protection Against Islamic State
Israel has donated retired American-made Cobra attack helicopters to Jordan’s air force in order to help the country defend itself against the Islamic State terror group.
“These choppers are for border security,” a U.S. official told Reuters.
The Israeli Air Force once had two Cobra squadrons (it renamed those helicopters Tzefa), with one being decommissioned in the mid-2000s and the other in 2013. Those squadrons were retired in favor of the more advanced U.S.-made Apache helicopters.
Manufactured by Bell Helicopter, the Cobras are single-engine attack helicopters that made up the backbone of the U.S. Army’s helicopter fleet during the Vietnam War and through the 1990s.
Hamas Orders More Terror Murders in Judea-Samaria
The Hamas leadership continues to directly call for terror attacks against Jews in Judea and Samaria.
Mousa Abu Marzouk, a senior Hamas politburo member, wrote on Facebook that "expressions of the struggle in the West Bank are the natural fulfillment of the right of our people to struggle against the occupation in all its forms, and it is a struggle that won't stop until the removal of the occupation and the return of rights to their owners."
"The activities (attacks) in Jerusalem and the (West) Bank are an obligation on them (the Palestinian Arabs living there - ed.) by the religion (of Islam) and the homeland," said Marzouk.
"These are activities that every self-respecting person takes pride in, and they are the source of pride and honor to all groups of our people."
Those sources of "pride" include the brutal murder of 26-year-old Malachi Rosenfeld near Alon Shvut in northern Samaria late last month by a cell of Hamas terrorists. Residents of nearby Silwad celebrated the murder and the fact that the terrorists hailed from their village.
PreOccupied Territory: Meretz To Oppose Any Bill Implying Arabs Have Volition (satire)
Representatives of the dovish Meretz Party informed their colleagues in the Opposition today that they would not endorse any legislation that in any way supports the notion that Arabs are capable of their own decisions, as such an idea would undermine the axiom that Israel alone must take steps to achieve peace.
Meretz Chairwoman Zehava Gal-On and MK Ilan Gilon told lawmakers from the Zionist Union that they remain ideologically opposed to laws or policies that place any onus upon a party other than Israel, since it is unreasonable to expect Palestinians or other Arabs to independently choose a peaceful path toward resolution of the conflict, as they are incapable of acting independently of Israeli stimuli. Even if Palestinians frequently resort to violence, they explained, it is only as an automatic reaction to Israeli behavior, and denying that Israeli policies are the root cause of Arab violence wrongly implies that Palestinians are capable of more than Pavlovian responses.
“We wish to emphasize that we will be forced to vote against any measure that treats Arabs, especially Palestinians, as fully developed human beings with the capacity to modify their behavior of their own free will,” Gilon told Opposition leader Isaac Herzog of Labor. “The central tenet of the Oslo process is that only Israeli concessions and incentives can motivate Palestinians not to kill Israelis, and, as a corollary, that it is wrong to expect Palestinians to stop that killing, and the incitement to kill, simply because killing is wrong. Asserting such things, or even implying them, has no basis in reality.”
IsraellyCool: WATCH: The Truth Behind the IDF
With so many lies and propaganda being disseminated against Israel and the IDF, soldier Hananya has felt the need to create the following video.
I hate the fact we live in a topsy-turvy world where there is a need for videos like this.
As for the haters, I don’t expect this video – or any argument really – to make an impact. I fully expect them to bring up isolated incidences of soldiers doing the wrong thing (yes, it happens in every army). The things is, such behavior is the exception, not the rule, and is swiftly condemned and is certainly not institutionalized (like, say, the practice of human shields and terrorism in Gazan society)
And by the way, Hananyah is a Christian Israeli. So you can’t blame this video on the Jooooooooos.

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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 18 years and 38,000 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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