Friday, July 31, 2015

From Ian:

The Ayatollah's Plan for Israel and Palestine
"The flagbearer of Jihad to liberate Jerusalem."
This is how the blurb of "Palestine," a new book, published by Islamic Revolution Editions last week in Tehran, identifies the author.
The author is "Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Husseini Khamenei," the "Supreme Guide" of the Islamic Republic in Iran, a man whose fatwa has been recognized by U.S. President Barack Obama as having the force of law.
Edited by Saeed Solh-Mirzai, the 416-page book has received approval from Khamenei's office and is thus the most authoritative document regarding his position on the issue.
Khamenei makes his position clear from the start: Israel has no right to exist as a state.
He uses three words. One is "nabudi" which means "annihilation". The other is "imha" which means "fading out," and, finally, there is "zaval" meaning "effacement."
Khamenei claims that his strategy for the destruction of Israel is not based on anti-Semitism, which he describes as a European phenomenon.
His position is based on "well-established Islamic principles", he claims.
One such is that a land that falls under Muslim rule, even briefly, can never again be ceded to non-Muslims. What matters in Islam is control of a land's government, even if the majority of inhabitants are non-Muslims. Khomeinists are not alone in this belief.
Caroline Glick: Obama strikes again
Obama’s first hope was to reach a deal with his Iranian friends that would leave the Assad regime in place. But the Iranians blew him off.
They know they don’t need a deal with Obama to secure their interests. Obama will continue to help them to maintain their power base in Syria though Hezbollah and the remains of the Assad regime without a deal.
Iran’s cold shoulder didn’t stop Obama. He moved on to his Sunni friend Turkish President Recep Erdogan.
Like the Iranians, since the war broke out, Erdogan has played a central role in transforming what started out as a local uprising into a regional conflict between Sunni and Shiite jihadists.
With Obama’s full support, by late 2012 Erdogan had built an opposition dominated by his totalitarian allies in the Muslim Brotherhood.
By mid-2013, Erdogan’s Muslim Brotherhood- led coalition was eclipsed by al-Qaida spinoffs. They also enjoyed Turkish support.
And when last summer ISIS supplanted al-Qaida as the dominant Sunni jihadist force in Syria, it did so with Erdogan’s full backing. For the past 18 months, Turkey has been ISIS’s logistical, political and economic base.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Hamas's Child Abuse Camps
For the third running year, thousands of Palestinian children from the Gaza Strip are receiving military training as part of Hamas's summer camps.
The camps, which are being held under the banner "Vanguards of Liberation," are aimed at preparing children as young as 15 for fighting against Israel. More than 25,000 children have joined this year's Hamas camps, according to Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip.
What is most disturbing about this practice is that the families are not hesitant to send their children to be trained as future jihadis in the war against Israel. On the contrary, many of the families interviewed in the Palestinian media in the past few days said they were proud to see their children being taught how to use various types of weapons.
Only a few Palestinians have dared to speak out against Hamas's exploitation of children. Palestinian activist Eyad al-Atal criticized Hamas for "depriving an entire generation of Palestinians of their childhood." He said that apart from creating new supporters of the Islamic State, the military training of the children was in violation of human rights principles.
Addressing the Hamas leaders, the al-Atal said: "Teach your children how to play, how to smile, how to rejoice. Build for them an institution for education and entertainment that would raise them on the love of Palestine and not how to get themselves killed."
Dozens of West Bank settlers treated for smoke inhalation after suspected arson by Palestinians
Israeli settlers in Judea and Samaria are reporting a number of cases of violent disturbances and suspected arson on Friday as the region endures the tense aftermath of what authorities are calling a terrorist attack against a Palestinian family that left a toddler dead.
Dozens of settlers in the southern Hebron Hills community of Beit Hagai were evacuated from their homes after suffering from smoke inhalation sustained as a result of a brush fire that is believed to have been set by local Palestinians.
In total, 30 people were given treatment. Fire crews worked to bring the blaze, which crept up dangerously close to the settlers' homes, under control.
Three people were evacuated by an ambulance, while the other victims, including a Palestinian passerby who sought to help douse the blaze, suffered light injuries. (h/t NormanF)

Who Bamboozled Whom?
In Obama’s eyes, containment is a fool’s errand, and continuing to treat Iran as a pariah will simply ensure that it will never help us damp down Middle Eastern turmoil. To him, therefore, the nuclear deal is not an end in itself; it is a means to the larger end of a strategic partnership that will conduce to his sought-for “equilibrium” in the Middle East. It is only because of the president’s awareness that the very idea of such a strategic partnership is anathema to a majority of the members of Congress, as it is to America’s allies in the Middle East, that he has pretended otherwise, framing the deal as a narrowly conceived and heavily qualified arms-control agreement that will in any case not affect America’s interest in countering Iranian mischief.
Of course, the agreement is no such thing, and Congress is right to be treating it with the utmost gravity. Much of the debate centers on technical questions—on whether the inspection regime is tight enough, the snap-back mechanism reliable enough, and the enrichment quotas restrictive enough. In addition to these far-from-trivial issues, critics also point to the havoc in increased Iranian aggressiveness that the deal promises to bring to the Middle East and elsewhere. By immediately channeling upward of $150 billion to Iranian coffers, it will inevitably contribute to funding the regime’s terror network. (Significantly, a cessation of Iran’s support for terror was not a condition of sanctions relief.) And as economic ties with Europe and Asia expand, and new avenues of diplomatic and military cooperation open up with Russia and China, Iran will become ever more confident and bellicose.
The White House has replied to the latter concerns by claiming that the regime will spend its windfall on butter, not guns. “They’re not going to be able to suddenly access all the funding that has been frozen all these years,” President Obama asserted in April—and besides, he added, “a lot of that [money] would have to be devoted to improving the lives of the people inside of Iran.”
The problem: Iran’s underlying motives
Here is why you should be worried about the Iran nuclear deal: The agreement does not prevent Iran over time from threatening America and her allies with nuclear war. It does not permanently prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.
But there’s more.
The most significant problem with this agreement, which is discussed far too little, is that it does nothing to address, much less curb, Iran’s expansionist, anti-Israel, anti-American motivations.
Every security expert will tell you that in order for your enemy to succeed, three preconditions have to exist: First, the enemy has to have the desire to attack; second, the enemy must have the capabilities to carry out the attack; finally, the enemy has to have the opportunity to attack.
While the Iran deal might temporarily delay the capabilities and opportunity parts of the equation, it does nothing about the most important element of the three: the very nature of its regime. An agreement that does not effectively address the root of the problem is incomplete at best, dangerous at worst.
Israel’s minister of defense, Moshe Yaalon, put it simply: “The international community looks at Iran as the solution; we see Iran as the problem.”
Ambassador R. James Woolsey: ‘Peace for our time’
North Korea and Iran have both orbited satellites on trajectories that appear to practice evading U.S. national missile defenses and early warning radars by flying on south polar trajectories at altitudes consistent with making a surprise EMP attack on the 48 contiguous United States. The Congressional EMP Commission warned that a nuclear EMP attack could blackout the national electric grid and other life sustaining critical infrastructures for months or years, starving America to death. "Death to America" would become reality, not merely an Iranian chant — achievable by the high-altitude detonation of a single nuclear weapon.
Because a single nuclear weapon could achieve "Death to America" by EMP attack, the Iran nuclear deal must be airtight and absolutely sure the mullahs cannot acquire — and do not now have — even one nuclear weapon. Congress should challenge the Obama Administration's claim that they have, essentially, "slam dunk" intelligence that meets this impossible standard.
Given the plethora of concessions over the last two years, Congress should now require President Obama to trash this badly flawed nuclear deal, increase sanctions, shoot down any Iranian satellites and long-range missile tests, and materially support dissidents and the majority of Iran's people who want regime change.
Congress should pass the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act to protect the national electric grid and the American people from an EMP apocalypse — immediately.
By the way, on June 13 an Iranian article — with artwork depicting a satellite making an EMP attack from above the globe — announced that Iran circumvented the international sanctions regime to acquire EMP filters, and is now making its own filters, to harden Iran's critical assets against nuclear EMP.
Dennis Ross: How to Make Iran Keep its Word
Proponents of the agreement over Iran’s nuclear program leave the impression it has no vulnerabilities and the alternative is war; opponents argue it has no virtues and there is an easy alternative—simply go back to the negotiating table and get a better deal by forcing our allies to choose between doing business with us or Iran. At this point, neither side persuades me.
The alternative to the agreement is not war but a mess with our allies. If the Iranians say they will not renegotiate the deal and will not implement the agreement unless the United States does as well, whose side will the other members of the 5+1 be on? Will the sanctions regime be sustainable under these circumstances? Alternatively, what happens if the Iranians declare they will implement the deal provided the EU and others do so? Under these circumstances, the Europeans, having committed in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to lifting their sanctions if Iran fulfills its major obligations, will proceed to carry out their side of the bargain. In either case, our allies will resist any effort on our part on our part to force them to preserve sanctions—and the historical record is not great about our imposing sanctions on European companies if their governments are resisting.
By the same token, the argument that the deal has no weaknesses and does not require any correctives is just as wrong. No agreement that permits the Iranians after fifteen years to produce highly enriched uranium (HEU) and build as large a nuclear infrastructure as they want should leave us feeling comfortable. Yes, the agreement buys us fifteen years but, should Iran begin to produce HEU, the time needed to produce weapons grade fissile material would be reduced to nearly zero.
That vulnerability is undeniable. It could be addressed if our focus became one of deterring the Iranians from cheating. President Obama emphasizes that the agreement is based on verification not trust. But our catching Iran cheating is less important than the price they know they will pay if we catch them. Deterrence needs to apply not just for the life of the deal. It becomes even more important afterwards, because Iran will be a threshold nuclear state and potentially capable of confronting the world with a nuclear weapons fait accompli.
Aaron David Miller: The ‘Truth’ About The Iran Deal
One thing that critics and defenders of the Iran nuclear agreement seem to have in common is the certainty, conviction and authority with which they present their views. It’s an historic breakthrough; no, it’s an historic catastrophe; it’s this agreement or war; and my favorite — this deal sucks; negotiations, more sanctions or threat of military force could have produced an infinitely superior one. The latter is simply unknowable. Indeed, it’s at times like these that I’m reminded of Tennyson’s wonderful quip that “there lives more faith in honest doubt, believe me, than in half the creeds.”
Here are five supposed verities that, well, may or not be true.
The deal will stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
No it won’t. At best it’s an arms control agreement not a disarmament accord. And over time, some of its most important restrictions on core issues, such as advanced research on centrifuges and enrichment capacity, will end. The fact is Iran is already a nuclear weapons threshold state. And this accord will leave Tehran with an industrial-size nuclear infrastructure and the option to break out or even weaponize should it choose to do so. Will its leaders go that route? The decision that both U.S. and Israeli intelligence say they haven’t yet made is anyone’s guess.
U.S.-Israel contingency plans needed for Iranian nuclear accord aftermath
Looking ahead, it is incumbent upon the United States and Israel to prepare for the scenarios that may emerge as a result of the highly problematic nuclear accord with Iran that was just reached. The agreement poses clear risks to Israel’s national security, and at this time Israel possesses minimal opportunity to influence its impending implementation.
There are three potential scenarios that are likely to unfold in the foreseeable future for which the United States and Israel can jointly prepare with regard to Iran. Given the volatility of the Middle East’s regional turmoil, this strategic preparation would unquestionably factor in a level of unpredictability.
The first possibility, the “transformation scenario,” is the most optimistic of the three. In this case, Iran would undergo an internal transformation and emerge less radical and less threatening to Israel, and the West, by the end of the agreement. However, since the agreement will empower Iran’s core group of ideologically extreme leaders, it is unlikely that Ayatollah Khamenei’s inner circle will be replaced by a more reformed and younger generation of leaders.
The second possibility is the “North Korea scenario,” whereby Iran follows North Korea’s example and violates the agreement after a few years, breaking out toward a nuclear bomb. Albeit unlikely, it is possible that Iran several years down the line will decide that the benefits of breaking out toward a nuclear bomb outweigh the risk of the West’s response.
The third, most probable and most dangerous possibility is the “strategic patience scenario.” If this occurs, Iran will wait the agreement out for 10-15 years with the goal of emerging as a legitimate nuclear threshold state equipped with unlimited nuclear infrastructure. Once the agreement’s restrictions expire, Iran will possess near zero breakout time and emerge stronger than ever with expanded hegemonic conquests and improved nuclear expertise supported by funds received from the lifting of sanctions.
To best prepare for each of these three scenarios, I offer three policy recommendations to the United States and Israel.
Top General Gives ‘Pragmatic’ View of Iran Nuclear Deal
In his trademark to-the-point style, General Dempsey answered a barrage of questions from Republican senators that appeared intended to make him criticize the pact. The general — appearing alongside Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter, Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz, Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew — neither praised nor condemned the nuclear agreement.
Instead, he gave an assessment of both the potential and the limitations of the pact. “If followed, the deal addresses one critical and the most dangerous point of friction with the Iranian regime,” General Dempsey said. “But as I’ve stated repeatedly, there are at least five other malign activities which give us and our regional partners concern,” including the pursuit of ballistic missile technology, weapons trafficking, the use of surrogates and proxies, the use of naval mines, and undersea activity.
When Senator Roger Wicker, Republican of Mississippi, accused General Dempsey of “damning” the pact “with faint praise,” the general was again brief.
“First, Senator, I would ask you not to characterize my statement as tepid, nor enthusiastic, but rather pragmatic,” he said. “Relieving the risk of a nuclear conflict with Iran diplomatically is superior than trying to do that militarily.”
Ret. Admiral Stavridis: ‘You Can Drive a Truck Through’ Holes in Iran Deal
Retired Admiral James Stavridis rejected key talking points used by the Obama administration to sell the Iran nuclear deal in an interview Wednesday.
Admiral Stavridis, who served as NATO Supreme Allied Commander and is now Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, told MSNBC’s Morning Joe the deal may not catch Iranian nuclear cheating if it occurs.
“I think the top [issue] is the verification regime, which is starting to roughly resemble Swiss cheese,” Stavridis said. “You can drive a truck through some of the holes. I am very concerned about that.”
Defenders of the deal, such as Secretary of State John Kerry, have insisted the deal’s verification measures are airtight.
Stavridis expressed concern over Iran’s side deal about inspections with the IAEA, which may allow Iran to take its own environmental samples from suspicious sites.
“We need to have access to it and understand it,” Stavridis said about the side deal. “Reportedly, it puts Iran in the position of actually procuring samples as opposed to having them taken by the IAEA.” (h/t
Ret. Admiral Stavridis: 'You Can Drive a Truck Through' Holes in Iran Deal

ObamaDeal Exposed: It’s not ‘Secret’ from Congress but not in Writing
Fine and dandy, but the reasonable assumption is that someone knows about the arrangements.
Lee told the spokesman: But the notion – you said the notion that Congress hasn’t been looped in, but you haven’t been looped in because you guys haven’t read it.
Toner admitted: We haven’t received a written copy of it, but we have been briefed on the contents.
And Lee retorted: So someone with a photographic memory has looked at it and copied everything down in their brain and then repeated it up on the Hill?
Toner fidgeted and explained that “nuclear experts with much bigger degrees than I can ever attain have looked at this and their comfort level with it is good.”
But that does not answer the question, “If there is no secret deal, why isn’t a written version available?
AP Reporter Ribs State Dept Spox Over Iran Secret Deal

White House Says IAEA Will Release Report on ‘Past Military Dimensions’ of Iran Nuclear Program
The International Atomic Energy Agency will release a report on the “past military dimensions” of Iran’s nuclear program prior to the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on Thursday.
Earnest was referring to “side agreements” that have been made between the IAEA and Iran to clarify “past and present outstanding issues regarding Iran’s nuclear program,” such as PMDs or the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program.
Earnest said the deal struck in Vienna between Iran and world powers in which Iran received “some sanctions relief” in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear program could not be implemented until the IAEA report was submitted.

Iran to IAEA: U.S. in Material Breach of Nuclear Agreement
Iran has taken action under the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) last week, sending a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) accusing the United States of being in “material breach” of the understandings. The letter, which was posted on the IAEA’s website yesterday, cites July 17 statements from White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest as the source of the complaint.
“The military option would remain on the table, but the fact is, that military option would be enhanced because we’d been spending the intervening number of years gathering significantly more detail about Iran’s nuclear program. So when it comes to the targeting decisions that would be made by military officials either in Israel or the United States, those targeting decisions would be significantly informed, and our capabilities improved, based on the knowledge that has been gained in the intervening years through this inspections regime.”
After quoting Earnest’s statement, the complaint continued:
The threat or use of force under any circumstances except in self-defense is a violation of the fundamental principles of international law and the Charter of the United Nations, and such statements constitute a breach of erga omnes obligations under Article 2(4) of the Charter. Moreover, at a time when the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is successfully concluded between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the P5+1, such a statement is totally unwarranted and seriously undermines the very basic principles required for its implementation that is expected to begin soon. These statements amount to a material breach of the commitments just undertaken by all JCPOA participants …
However, a complete reading of Earnest’s remark show that it was not a threat but a hypothetical.
Iran says it will ban US experts from UN nuclear inspections
Iran will not allow American or Canadian inspectors working for the U.N. nuclear watchdog to visit its nuclear facilities, an official said in remarks broadcast by state TV on Thursday.
Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said Iran will only allow inspectors from countries that have diplomatic relations with it. The previously undisclosed remarks were made during a Sunday meeting with parliamentarians.
“American and Canadian inspectors cannot be sent to Iran,” said Araghchi. “It is mentioned in the deal that inspectors should be from countries that have diplomatic relations with Islamic republic of Iran.”
He also said inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency will not have access to “sensitive and military documents.”
Senior Khamenei Adviser Rejects UNSC Decision on Iranian Ballistic Missiles
Ali Akbar Velayati, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s advisor on International Affairs and a member of the Expediency Council, said that Iran rejected the UN Security Council’s decision regarding Tehran’s ballistic missiles testing, Tasnim News Agency reported on Wednesday.
He said the Council’s restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missiles testing, which he placed under the country’s defense capabilities, were unacceptable from Iran’s viewpoint.
“The recent UNSC Resolution on Iran’s defensive capabilities, specially (sic) its missiles, is unacceptable to Iran,” Fars News quoted Velayati as telling reporters on the sidelines of a meeting with a science delegation from the Non-Aligned Movement.
Velayati was referring to a recent U.N. Security Council Resolution that calls on Iran to refrain from working on its ballistic missiles program for eight years following Implementation Day of the nuclear deal.
He said the U.N. sought ton undermine Iranian sovereignty and the “Iranian-Islamic” character of the state through such resolutions.
In Wake of Iran Nuke Deal, Egypt and Saudi Arabia Sign Mutual Defense Pact
In the wake of the Iran nuclear deal, Egypt and Saudi Arabia signed a pact boosting military and economic cooperation between the two leading Arab states.
On Thursday, a Saudi delegation led by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited Cairo and met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, where they attended a military parade together.
“The two sides stressed the need to exert all efforts to boost security and stability in the region, and to work together to protect Arab national security,” Sisi’s office said, AFP reported.
According to the “Cairo Declaration,” both sides will work towards developing military cooperation, including establishing a Joint Arab Force, as well as enhancing joint cooperation and investment in the fields of energy, electricity and transportation, Al-Ahram reported.
Israeli diplomat: Don’t count on US Jews to unify against Iran deal
A top Israeli diplomat in the United States wrote his superiors to warn that they cannot count on the US Jewish community to oppose the Iran nuclear deal.
“At this crucial point of the Iranian issue — which for years has been at the core of Israeli foreign policy and was described countless times by the Israeli leadership as an existential threat — the Jewish community in the United States is not standing as a united front behind Israel and important parts of it are on the fence,” Yaron Sideman, the consul general in Philadelphia, wrote in a memo to Israel’s Foreign Ministry obtained by Haaretz on Thursday.
Sideman quoted a Jewish regional federation CEO as saying that campaigning against the deal could alienate the White House and Democrats, which could inhibit Jewish organizational influence.
Top French Official Contradicts Kerry on Iran Deal
The French official, Jacques Audibert, is now the senior diplomatic adviser to President Francois Hollande. Before that, as the director general for political affairs in the Foreign Ministry from 2009 to 2014, he led the French diplomatic team in the discussions with Iran and the P5+1 group. Earlier this month, he met with Democrat Loretta Sanchez and Republican Mike Turner, both top members of the House Armed Services Committee, to discuss the Iran deal. The U.S. ambassador to France, Jane Hartley, was also in the room.
According to both lawmakers, Audibert expressed support for the deal overall, but also directly disputed Kerry’s claim that a Congressional rejection of the Iran deal would result in the worst of all worlds, the collapse of sanctions and Iran racing to the bomb without restrictions.
“He basically said, if Congress votes this down, there will be some saber-rattling and some chaos for a year or two, but in the end nothing will change and Iran will come back to the table to negotiate again and that would be to our advantage,” Sanchez told me in an interview. “He thought if the Congress voted it down, that we could get a better deal.”
Putin's Aide: Upgrading S-300 Missile System for Iran Delivery
The West has long pressured Russia not to deliver its advanced S-300 missile defense system to Iran, but a senior Russian official on Thursday said the system is being upgraded ahead of delivery to the Islamic republic.
Iran's state-run media PressTV quoted Vladimir Kozhin, Russian President Vladimir Putin's aide on military and technical cooperation, saying that the system is to be modernized before being delivered to Iran. He gave no date for the delivery.
The comment refers to the fact that the original 2007 sales contract for the system was to have it delivered in 2010, but Russia withdrew its intention to sell due to pressure from the European Union (EU), which noted that UN nuclear sanctions banned the delivery.
But now with the Iran nuclear deal it would appear Russia may go ahead on the transaction, after chief executive Yan Novikov of the Russian state arms producer Almaz-Antey hinted as much in comments last month cited by PressTV.
"All restrictions have been lifted by the political authorities. When there is a contract, we will supply the system, including to Iran," Novikov said.

What If Malia Gave Obama the Ayatollah Treatment? (satire)
Obama awoke abruptly. He had been snoring in his chair in the Oval Office. He scraped his heels across the top of the Resolute desk and sprang to his feet. “Let me be clear,” he thought to himself. “I smell smoke!”
The commander-in-chief fled the West Wing and dashed upstairs to the White House residence. As he approached his eldest daughter’s bedroom door, his suspicions were confirmed.
“Open up, Malia,” Obama hollered. He knew that menacing odor personally: cigarettes.
“You’re smoking in there, aren’t you?”
“I will admit to no such activity, currently or as a matter of historical record,” the 17-year-old replied. “But I have every right to smoke tobacco — just as you used to do.”
“I have every right to see if you have cigarettes in there!” Obama insisted, pounding on Malia’s locked door. RELATED: With the Iran Deal, Obama’s Contempt for Congress Is on Full Display
“Okay,” she conceded. “You are welcome to ‘request access.’ Please write down your specific concerns and remember to ‘make available relevant information.’”
“What on Earth are you talking about?” Obama wondered, bewildered.
“I am quoting from your nuclear deal with Iran,” Malia explained. “I read the entire text to prepare for my Conflict in the Modern World class. After you take those steps, I’ll think it over for 24 to 78 days. If such stalling tactics are good enough for the ayatollahs, they are good enough for me.”
Richard Landes: Salem on the Thames
Academics like to think of themselves as autonomous thinkers, and academia—meaning literally the protected realm of free speech—gives professors not only the right to speak their minds but also, via the institution of tenure, protection against losing their livelihoods by displeasing those more powerful than themselves. The fact that civil polities treasure safe spaces for free speech attests to their progressive bona fides. Especially in our times, when new social networks can turn ominously feral, one would hope that academics and their institutions, especially small, face-to-face college communities, could return that investment and resist anonymous, predatory, crowd behavior.
Yet mob rule is precisely what happened this past semester at Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut, along the Thames River. Over the course of the past spring semester, philosophy professor Andrew Pessin was driven from campus based on a malevolent reading of a Facebook post in which he depicted “the situation” in Gaza as one in which the Israelis had confined a “rabid pit bull” to a cage, while animal rights activists protested for the poor beast’s release. Although Pessin didn’t specify in the text, he and a commenter did make clear that this metaphor referred to Hamas terrorists, not to the population generally.
But in an attack spearheaded by a Muslim student who in high school had begun a chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, and a Muslim professor, recently appointed head of the new Global Islamic Studies Program, a small group of activists, given the run of the school paper by its editors, accused Pessin of comparing all Palestinians to rabid dogs and calling for them to be “put down.” Pessin, they claimed, “directly condoned the extermination of a people. A member of our community has called for the systematic abuse, killing, and hate of another people.” The editor who arranged for the publication of all three letters did not ask Pessin for a response in the same issue.
Times of London corrects: deletes claim that Bibi opposed Iran talks
On July 28th we asked a simple question: Can Times of London provide a source proving their claim that Israel has opposed negotiations between the world powers and Iran?
Here’s the relevant passage in the article (Huckabee likens Iran deal to Holocaust) by Times of London Middle East reporter Hugh Tomlinson.
Congress has two months in which to review the Vienna accord before voting to accept or reject it. Israel, which bitterly opposed negotiations with Iran from the outset, has been lobbying Congress for months in an attempt to block the deal.
We complained to Times of London editors, challenging the claim and noting that while Netanyahu has opposed the specific deal recently agreed upon, there is no evidence that he actually opposed talks altogether.
Times of London agreed, and deleted the passage in question. We commend their editors on responding positively to our complaint.
The significance of the BBC’s promotion of Peter Oborne’s Brotherhood washing
That 2014 BBC article made no effort whatsoever to provide audiences with information concerning the links of the organisations and individuals concerned to the Muslim Brotherhood and their common denominator of support for Hamas. A year of potential research time has now passed but whilst Oborne does mention his subjects’ links to the Muslim Brotherhood, he provides nothing in the way of concrete information about that organisation’s links to terrorism or their records of support for Hamas, its terrorism and its mission of eradicating Israel.
Oborne’s all too apparent adoption of the role of advocate for individuals and organisations supportive of the terrorist organization Hamas is not unexpected and neither, sadly, is the BBC’s decision to provide a platform – and presumably payment – for his agitprop.
But there is a deeply unsettling aspect to the BBC’s decision to promote Oborne’s whitewashing of the links of known extremists by means of the canard suggesting that all mainstream British Muslims may be subjected to exclusion and discrimination just at the time when the British government is taking on the battle of combating extremist ideology and narratives.
Simon Wiesenthal Center Calls on Frankfurt Book Fair to Ban 56 ‘Hatemongering Publishers’
Jewish human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center criticized the Frankfurt Book Fair on Thursday, urging organizers of the 2015 event to blacklist publishers inciting hatred and violence against Israel.
“These stands become focal points for imams visiting with their Koranic school classes,” the organization said in a released statement. “These hateful titles can serve as a low-tech instrument for recruitment of youth to jihad.”
The Center gave authorities behind the Frankfurt Fair a list of 56 “merchants of hate” and which countries they are from. Twenty hailed from Egypt, 19 from Syria/Lebanon, nine from Jordan/Palestinian, five from Saudi Arabia, two from Kuwait, one from Morocco, and one Arab publisher was from the United Kingdom.
The numbers were based on 251 antisemitic titles that the SWC monitored at book fairs around the world – 80 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; 67 in Abu Dhabi; 53 in Muscat, Oman; 35 in Doha, Qatar; and 16 in Casablanca, Morocco.
The Center said the “Worst Offender” award goes to a publisher Dar-al-Kitab al-Arabi of Egypt, which published 78 of the 251 books identified as antisemitic.
Ohio State to stop marching band’s Holocaust spoof
Ohio State University condemned the behavior of students who wrote and distributed a song parody that ridiculed the Holocaust.
The song, titled “Goodbye Kramer,” appeared in a book of parodies updated in 2012 and circulated privately by members of the Ohio State University marching band, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
The lyrics, to be sung to the tune of the 1981 Journey hit “Don’t Stop Believin,’” include references to Nazi soldiers “searching for people livin’ in their neighbor’s attic” and a “small town Jew … who took the cattle train to you know where.
In a statement, Ohio State said the songbook reflected “shocking behavior” that the school is “committed to eradicating from its marching band program.”
B’nai B’rith International, the Jewish human rights and advocacy group, condemned the song’s authors and praised the university’s response.
“It is never acceptable to trivialize Holocaust imagery,” it said in a statement Thursday. “To do so in a jovial tone and completely for the sake of offending is even more abhorrent.”
124 headstones toppled at Philadelphia cemetery
A historic Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia was vandalized, with 124 of its headstones knocked over.
The caretaker of Adath Jeshurun Cemetery discovered the toppled tombstones Thursday morning, NBC Philadelphia reported.
Johnny Gibson, who has worked at the 160-year-old cemetery for 44 years, said the vandals did not leave any markings or graffiti.
There are only a few new burials annually at the cemetery, which is in the northeastern neighborhood of Frankford and has not been vandalized in decades, according to Gibson.
“I don’t know who would do it,” he told NBC Philadelphia. “Were the people on drugs? Were they drunk? I don’t know. But you wouldn’t be in your right mind, I don’t think, to do something like this.”
IsraellyCool: Gloria Gaynor Serenades Shimon In Hebrew (Twice)
Last night, American queen of disco Gloria Gaynor, performed in Israel, but not before she dropped in on the Peres Center for Peace and displayed her Hebrew singing skills.
I am guessing it was highly appreciated, because it looks like Shimon (or someone else) asked her to repeat the performance!
She also told Shimmy “I love Israel and I am happy to be here.”
Happy to have you, Gloria.
Druze town tops Israel's high school matriculation rates
Beit Jann is number one for first time, with nearly 95 percent of students being eligible for matriculation certificate; haredi and Arab towns continue to populate bottom rungs.
The Druze village of Beit Jann Israel's highest rate of matriculation certificate eligibility among high school students in the 2013-14 school year, according to rankings released on Wednesday by the Education Ministry. The town previously came in at third and second places in the last two years, and by achieving the top spot, it has made good on a promise by its regional council chief.
In general, the rankings show towns with strong investment at the top, with haredi and Arab communities coming in lower.
According to the figures, 94.38 percent of Beit Jann students qualified for a matriculation certificate in the last school year, marking a 2.5 percent increase over the previous year. (h/t Phil)
2,000-Year-Old Coin Sheds Light on Roman Conquest of Jerusalem
A rare coin minted almost 2,000 years ago during the conquest of Jerusalem was recently found at an auction in Zurich, NRG reported. The find has helped shed light upon the Roman attitude at the time over the conquest, resulting in a large commemoration of the Roman victory over the Judean rebels.
The coin depicts a Jewess standing and peering across a palm tree and bears the inscription “IUDAEA RECEPTA,” or “Judea is re-captured.” Coins bearing this inscription were used to publicize the news of a captured territory that had been part of the Roman Empire once before.
The newly discovered coin is unlike other numerous coins minted by the Romans after the conquest of Jerusalem and the Judean province between 67-73 CE. Those coins bear the inscription “IUDAEA CAPTA” and portray a woman sitting on the floor under a palm tree or a legionnaire resting on a spear while a Jewish slave is captive at his feet.
The slight changes make all the difference. Unlike the “CAPTA” coins, which were minted to proclaim Roman victory over a new province that was being absorbed into the empire, the “RECAPTA” coin, marks a Roman conquest over a rebellion, rather than a war.

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