Saturday, October 24, 2015

From Ian:

11 months on, rabbi dies of wounds from Jerusalem synagogue massacre
Almost a year after Palestinian terrorists killed four worshipers and a policeman at a synagogue in Jerusalem, Rabbi Haim Yehiel Rotman, who was critically injured in the attack, died from his injuries Saturday evening.
Rotman had been in a coma ever since two East Jerusalem terrorists armed with a gun, axes and meat cleavers stormed the Bnei Torah Synagogue in Har Nof last November and began attacking worshipers.
Rotman, 55, suffered a number of blows to his head from an axe.
Rotman is survived by his wife and their 11 children. He was being laid to rest at 10 p.m. Saturday night at Jerusalem’s Givat Shaul cemetery.
“He was one of the most special people in our community who always had a smile on his face,” a member of the Bnei Torah Synagogue told Israeli daily Yisrael Hayom.
“He was so loved by everyone in the community, and his death represents another blow to the community that was broken almost a year ago.”
Bassem Eid: Barbaric violence and the Palestinian failure of leadership
I am disheartened and worried about the violence being perpetrated in Israel by some of my fellow Palestinians. This latest wave of violence started at the Al Aqsa mosque in East Jerusalem. It has extended to the rest of East Jerusalem, then to the West Bank, and then to all of Israel. My biggest worry is that we Palestinians appear to have no responsible leaders, neither in the Palestinian territories nor at the Knesset. These leaders, instead of calming the violence, are fanning its flames.
This wave of violence will not help the Palestinians’ economic situation. It will not help our ability to convince anyone, let alone Israelis, that we deserve a state. And it will not help grow our civil society which we badly need to do if we are to ever be taken seriously as a peace partner. All that this achieves is to push us further back. Yet our leaders are content to preach hate then sit back and enjoy their financial perks while Palestinian society is crashing and burning.
Not surprisingly, Hamas is engaged in inciting violence. The IDF reported that Hassan Yousef, a co-founder of Hamas, is “actively instigating and inciting terrorism and publicly encouraging and praising the execution of attacks against Israelis.” This is expected from Hamas unfortunately, but the problem does not stop at Hamas.
At the start of this wave of violence, Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas said “The Al-Aqsa [Mosque] is ours… and they have no right to defile it with their filthy feet. […] We bless every drop of blood that has been spilled for Jerusalem, which is clean and pure blood, blood spilled for Allah, Allah willing”. What kind of responsible leader would make such anti-Semitic and violent statements? The only conclusion one can draw from this is that Abbas is out of control and undeserving of the title he holds. Americans have denounced his rhetoric and so has the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon who is not exactly known for his pro-Israel bias.
Bassam Tawil: The Palestinian Jihad: Lies, Lies and More Lies
First, we are not seeing anything "popular." We are not seeing, as before, thousands of Palestinians participating in the violence or protests.
It is just another wave of terrorism: targeting Jews for being Jews. The terrorists and their apologists do not distinguish between a Jew living in the city of Beersheba, and a Jew from a West Bank settlement. For the Palestinian leaders and media, these Jews are all "settlers" living in "occupied territories."
The appropriate term for the current wave of terrorism is "jihad". The attacks on Jews in Israel and the West Bank are part of the global jihad that has been waged for many years against Jews in particular, non-Muslims in general, and even against other Muslims who might not agree with a differing version of Islam.
This jihad is not aimed at "ending occupation" or protesting against misery and checkpoints. The terrorists do not see a difference between a "left wing Jew" and a "right wing Jew." They do not ask their victims about their political affiliation before knifing them.
In a grotesque rewrite of history, UNESCO declared that two Jewish holy sites, Rachel's Tomb and the Cave of the Patriarchs, were Muslim holy sites.
This is a wave of terrorism based on lies. Palestinian leaders, including Abbas his officials in the Palestinian Authority and his Fatah faction, have been lying to us for months. They told Palestinians that the Jews are "invading" and "desecrating" Islamic holy sites with the purpose of destroying them. Abbas and his officials are urging Muslims to join the jihad against the Jews.
The leaders are now telling us that most of the terrorists were, in fact, innocent civilians who were shot dead by Israelis while on their way to buy food or going to work. Lying has become an integral part of the jihad against Jews. The campaign of lies, distortion and fabrications is not less serious than the terror attacks.
This is yet another phase of the worldwide jihad against all the "infidels" and "enemies of Islam." Those who are murdering Jews today do not hesitate to murder other non-Muslims tomorrow, especially those who are seen as Israel's friends, such as the U.S.
'The mufti planned to build crematorium in Dotan Valley'
The controversy over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's remarks on Jerusalem Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini's role in the extermination of European Jewry has promoted veteran journalist Haviv Kanaan to recall the malicious plan the mufti devised.
Kanaan published an article in Haaretz in 1970 in which he reviewed the senior Muslim clergyman's actions in 1942, when the Jewish community in then-British Mandate Palestine was preparing for the possibility of a Nazi invasion. Kanaan said that in 1968, while researching his article, he met with Faiz Bay Idrisi, a senior Arab officer in the Mandate Police, who spoke of al-Husseini's intention to build a crematorium in the northwest Samarian hills.
"Even today, as I recall what I heard from police officials and mufti supporters, chills go through my body," Idrisi told Kanaan at the time, recalling how in case of a German invasion "Haj Amin Husseini was gearing to enter Jerusalem at the head of the Muslim Arab Legion squadron he'd created for the Third Reich. The mufti's plan was to build a huge Auschwitz-like crematorium in the Dotan Valley, near Nablus, to which Jews from Palestine, Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, and North Africa would be imprisoned and exterminated, just like the Jews in the death camps in Europe."
This should come as no surprise in light of al-Husseini's known views and actions during the Holocaust, and prior to it. (h/t blue sky)

Nuance and Nazis: The New York Times Pulls its Punches
Words matter. Yes, Husseini was an anti-Zionist. But he was also a virulent anti-Semite, a fact that the Washington Post and Associated Press had no problem including in their detailed articles on the controversy. While “opposition to Zionism” is often criticized as a mask for antisemitism, in Husseini’s case both words are applicable.
Rudoren also skimps on Husseini’s record of pro-Axis activities. “Collaboration” is a tepid word to describe Husseini’s active participation in persecution of Jews and promotion of the Nazi cause, which preceded and continued long after his famous 1941 meeting with Hitler (and a subsequent, less publicized meeting with Mussolini, reported in the Times on December 7, 1941).
Apart from broadcasting on behalf of the Nazis and recruiting Bosnian Muslims for the German armed forces, he met with Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, chief of the extermination apparatus, in 1943. Though Netanyahu’s claim that he instigated the Holocaust has been justifiably criticized as inaccurate, it is a matter of historical record that he played a key role in an attempted pro-Axis coup in Iraq in April 1941, a move that threatened to give Germany a victory at a time when Nazi forces were engaged in bitter combat with the Allies in North Africa. Indeed, Netanyahu’s remarks were something of a red herring, diverting attention from Husseini’s undisputed actions on behalf of the Nazis during World War II.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and historian Harold Brackman, a Wiesenthal Center consultant, said as follows in a recent article:
In 1942, [German diplomat] Fred Grobba wrote approvingly of [Husseini’s] visit with members of the Nazi elite to “the concentration camp Oranienburg . . . . The visit lasted about two hours with very satisfying results . . . . the Jews aroused particular interest among the Arabs. . . . It [the visit] . . . made a very favorable impression on the Arabs.”
Grobba, better known as Fritz Grobba, was a leading German envoy to the Arab world and was involved the attempted 1941 Iraq coup.
 Israel: Suicide Is Painless, It Brings On Many Changes
"This latest terror campaign against Israelis is fundamentally a side effect of the struggle between Hamas and Fatah for control over all Palestinians. These two groups keep score by how many Israelis they can kill as does mass media in Moslem nations. While there were fewer than ten terror related deaths a year in Israel in 2012 and 2013 (and only 21 in 2011) the war with Hamas raised this to 41 in 2014 and this made Fatah, which runs the West Bank, look bad in comparison. Thus the importance of the new campaign. The current effort will be a success if it can kill enough Israelis to justify Palestinians continuing to support Fatah rule in the West Bank. This is bad news for the Palestinians because both Hamas and Fatah are corrupt and incompetent administrators who are more concerned with their own power than with the welfare of the Palestinian people."
"Despite the success of the current Fatah terror campaign the Palestinian leaders acknowledge that most Palestinians want no part of it. Israeli police note this in that it is usually the same people involved in violent demonstrations and that the 30,000 armed Palestinian security personnel in the West Bank have stayed out of the violence. In past terrorism campaigns Palestinian leaders tolerated or encouraged their security personnel to get involved (while in civilian clothes). Not this time. That may change if there is more popular support for the attacks, but so far that is not happening. It is all mainly an effort to supply the media with an excuse to give the Palestinians some positive publicity (as victims of Israeli aggression). While the Palestinian leaders have a hard time controlling their own people they have managed to do better with a lot of foreign media organizations."
"Russia does not want to get dragged into a fight with Israel because of Iranian misbehavior but the Iranians are apparently pressuring the Russians to help “defend” Iranian UAVs operating along the Israeli border. Despite this issue Israel has basically agreed to tolerate Russia (and their Iranian ally) defeating the Syrian rebels and keeping the Assads in power. Israel never liked the Assads but they were able to work with them. At the moment ISIL appears to be the likely winner of a civil war if there is no outside interference. Everyone agrees ISIL control of Syria is the worst outcome and behaves accordingly." (h/t MtTB)
Kerry: Israel okays 24-hour video cameras on Temple Mount
US Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday that Israel and Jordan have agreed on steps aimed at reducing tensions at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem that have fanned Israeli-Palestinian violence.
The steps include round-the-clock video monitoring and Israel reaffirming Jordan’s special and historic role as custodian of the site, known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif or the Noble Sanctuary, Kerry said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was to announce details of the measures later Saturday, Kerry said after meeting Jordan’s King Abdullah.
The secretary said that the prime minister had agreed to “an excellent suggestion by King Abdullah to provide 24-hour video coverage of all sites” in the compound. “This will provide comprehensive visibility and transparency and that could really be a game changer in discouraging anybody from disturbing the sanctity of the holy site.”
He said Israel is pledging to maintain the rules of worship at the site, the site holy to Jews and Muslims that is a key factor in the current tensions, and that Israeli and Jordanian authorities will meet about bolstering security.
Kerry made the announcement after meeting in Amman with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah II.
An Israeli political source said following the announcement that the security cameras would prove Israel was not behind the escalation in tensions on the mount, the Ynet news website reported.
Poll: US Voters Mostly Think Washington Should Stay Out of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Most U.S. voters believe Washington should not get more involved in the Israeli-Palestinian crisis if the violence continues to escalate, a Rasmussen poll revealed on Thursday.
Despite Secretary of State John Kerry’s previous efforts to relaunch the peace process, 55% of Americans now disagreed that the U.S. should get more involved. Instead, they said the U.S. should leave the situation alone.
Just 34% of likely voters said the U.S. should get more involved and 11% were undecided.
The figures, Rassmusen reported, were similar to another poll taken during the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, which broke out shortly after the collapse of the U.S.-led peace talks.
This time, 60% of voters thought Americans supported Israelis more in the latest round of violence, while only 10% of voters said they thought Americans supported the Palestinians more.
State Dept. Refers to Mahmoud Abbas as the ‘President of Palestine’
At the U.S. State Department daily press briefing held on Thursday, Oct. 22, Deputy State Department Spokesperson referred to Mahmoud Abbas, the man elected 11 years ago to fill a four year term as head of the Palestinian Authority, as “Mahmoud Abbas, president of Palestine.”
Has the State Department just pulled a fast one and proclaimed “Palestine” a state?
Or, as happens so often in these State Department press briefings, did the spokesperson merely repeat a phrase asked by a reporter, not realizing the ground-shaking implications of the statement?
Toner was responding to a female reporter who said, “As I understand it, Secretary Kerry will be meeting with King Abdullah [of Jordan] and with Palestinian President Abbas.”
Israel denies Palestinian claim that PM agreed to settlement freeze
Israel on Saturday evening denied Palestinian claims that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed not to issue “new building plans” at West Bank settlements, as part of efforts to calm tensions and end a wave of Palestinian terror attacks.
According to Palestinian sources quoted by the Ynet news site, US Secretary of State John Kerry relayed this pledge from Netanyahu to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas when they met in Amman on Saturday. In a similar report, the Al-Araby al-Jadeed website said Netanyahu had agreed to “a silent freeze” in settlement building, but would continue to issue new building tenders in order not to destroy his coalition.
An Israeli official quickly denied any government commitment to freezing settlements, according to the Israeli Walla news site. A similar denial was reported by Israeli newspaper Maariv, which quoted a senior Israeli official as saying that, “there is no commitment of this nature.”
Responding to various steps reportedly promised by Netanyahu to help calm tensions, Al-Araby al-Jadeed quoted Abbas saying that “if the Israeli moves are serious, it will be possible to make progress.”
100 housing units approved in Jerusalem - for Arabs
The local committee for planning and construction in the Jerusalem municipality approved 100 housing units Wednesday, in an unusual and rare step to allow large-scale construction for the Arab sector in the capital, Army Radio reports.
The move, slated for Beit Tzafafa, has been made just as Arab terror against Jews and Israelis proliferates nationwide - and a disproportionate number of attackers have hailed from Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem.
"This is either insensitive or from a general lack of understanding," Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, Dov Kalmanovitz, fumed Wednesday night to the radio station. "I think this is in error and therefore we will gather some committee members and demand an appeal."
"This is a bitter pill for us - they gave [approval to build to] the Arabs and for the Jews, it's forbidden," he added.
Abbas urges end to clashes with IDF at flashpoint sites
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called for Palestinian protesters to stop clashing with Israeli security forces at flashpoint sites across the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
At a Fatah Central Committee meeting this week in Ramallah, Abbas, who is also the head of Fatah, said that innocent people are being harmed and that he has no interest in seeing more Palestinians killed, according to a Saturday report in Dunya al-Watan, a Palestinian newspaper.
Abbas also said during the meeting that the events in recent weeks — namely the wave of violence marked by Palestinian stabbing attacks against Israelis, and clashes across the West Bank — has put the Palestinian issue back on the international agenda.
At least 10 Israelis have been killed since October 1 in over 45 separate stabbing or shooting attacks in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Over 50 Palestinians also died in the past three weeks of violence, at least 28 of them attackers. The others were killed in clashes with Israeli forces.
Abbas has called for “peaceful resistance” to Israel and has — publicly, at least — supported the idea of a return to the negotiating table, even as he’s been accused by Israel of inciting violence and fanning the flames of the recent escalation.
Others within his Fatah movement have been more openly supportive of the emerging “intifada.”
WATCH: Jenin teen posing as Krembo seller attacks Israeli guard
A security camera caught the dramatic moments Saturday morning when a teenaged Palestinian posing as a candy seller attempted to stab an Israeli security guard at a checkpoint near the northern West Bank city of Jenin.
The video footage uploaded online shows the 16-year-old assailant brandishing a knife as he runs through the lines of cars towards the security forces, before he is shot and killed by security forces on duty at the crossing.
The Defense Ministry said the teen, identified as Muhammad Zakarna from the nearby village of Kabatiyeh, was posing as a vendor of Krembo, a popular chocolate-and-marshmallow Israeli snack at the crossing before tossing the box aside and charging towards soldiers and security guards.
No one on the Israeli side was hurt in the attack. (h/t Yenta Press)

Security forces arrest Hamas terrorist freed by PA
Security forces arrested a Hamas operative early on Saturday near Jenin who had been released by the Palestinian Authority despite taking part in a 2010 shooting attack on Israeli civilians, the Shin Bet intelligence agency has announced.
Asalam Khamed was a member of the Hamas terrorist cell that opened fire in September 2010 on an Israeli couple at Rimonim Junction in eastern Samaria, between Ramallah and Jericho.
Husband and wife Moshe and Shira Moreno were injured in the attack.
Moshe sustained a bullet wound to his knee, and his wife was lightly injured while escaping the attack.
Khmaed, 20, a resident of the village of Silwad, northeast of Ramallah, had been jailed on several past occasions due to his terrorist activities.
Latest Blood Libel: The Death of Hashem al-Azzeh
A palestinian with a a long-term cardiac condition has died from what seems to be a heart attack.
But heart attacks alone are hard to blame on Israel.
Not to worry. The heart attack was made worse by the “conditions in Hebron.”
Long term supporter and friend of ISM, Hashem Azzeh, has tragically passed away today aged 54, following health complications exacerbated by the conditions in Al-Khalil (Hebron). Hashem, who had a long-term cardiac condition, called for an ambulance on feeling discomfort in his chest earlier this afternoon. As Palestinian vehicles are banned within his H2 neighborhood of Tel Rumeida, Hashem had to be assisted to walk the 700 meters from his house to the Shuhada street checkpoint in increasing pain. He passed the soldiers who harass him and his family on a daily basis and was accompanied into an awaiting ambulance. He passed away not long afterwards.
Yet note the bottom of this very article: the ISM admits they really do not know for sure why he died.
An autopsy will occur overnight to determine the exact cause of Hashem’s death and the degree to which the Israeli-delayed medical assistance contributed to his untimely passing.
This version explicitly mentions him suffering a heart attack in his home and not just “discomfort in his chest.”
Amid the violence, Arab-Israeli newscaster keeps on smiling
Last week, as Israel was just starting to reel from the still-cresting wave of stabbings that has pushed the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to a gruesomely intimate new level, Aharish went on her now-famous tirade. Defenders of Israel quickly shared the video all over social media; it was viewed more than a million times.
“Even if the status quo on the Temple Mount has been broken, does that allow someone to go and murder someone else because of a sacred place?” she said. “What God are they speaking of? That allows for children to go out and murder innocent people? What woman puts on a hijab and prays to God, takes a knife out and tries to stab innocent people? I don’t understand it and I don’t justify it in any way.”
Huge numbers of Jewish-Israelis hailed Aharish as a clear voice of reason amid a din of blindness and bigotry. But others, on the Jewish and Arab left, called her a traitor to her people, accused her of a Stockholm syndrome-like relationship with her oppressors and mocked the mainstream Israeli response.
Haaretz’s Jack Khoury called hers “the smiling face of the Israeli mainstream’s pet broadcaster.”
The story leaped beyond Israel, too: Dozens of news outlets reported on Aharish’s remarks, and within hours she had been booked for a one-on-one interview on air with CNN about her views.
Israeli Arabs Demonstrate for Israel at Tel Aviv U: ‘I’m a Muslim and I Have No Other Country’
Several Muslim students gathered for a demonstration at the University of Tel Aviv, waving Israeli flags and holding banners with slogans against terrorism, Israeli news website 0404 reported on Friday.
One of the signs read, in Hebrew, “You are Palestinians — so you’re my enemy.” Another read: “I’m a Muslim and I have no other country.”
Another held a sign that read: “We are against violence and whoever supports violence doesn’t represent me, even if they’re a Knesset member,” referring to Israel’s parliament.
One of the demonstrators told 0404: “This is where we live and it’s good for us. We live together with our brothers the Jews.”
“There are those who seek to destroy and we won’t give them a hand,” he continued, “also not to the members of Knesset who incite. No Arab in the world has got a place better to live than Israel.”
Polish security firm offers to send 100 guards to help protect Israel
The owner of a large Polish security firm offered to send 100 guards to Israel to help protect civilians against terrorist attacks.
Benjamin Krasicki, president of the board of the Warsaw-based City Security, made the offer in a letter he sent Wednesday to Israel’s minister of interior security, Gilad Erdan.
“We would be honored to send, paid for by our company, 100 of our best-trained and experienced security personnel to Israel to be at your disposal,” Krasicki wrote in the letter, which followed weeks of attacks by Palestinians on Israelis. Ten Israelis have been killed in terror attacks in the past month, and least 42 Palestinians have died — almost half of them assailants, and most of the rest in riots and clashes.
“As Polish citizens, we have unfortunately seen too many attacks against Jews in our history and know that it starts with you and ends with us, as we have seen in the Holocaust,” Krasicki added, noting that in addition to killing three million Jewish Poles, the Nazis killed another three million non-Jewish ones.
The men Krasicki offered to send to Israel have military background and have all volunteered to serve in Israel, he told JTA Thursday.
IsraellyCool: Anti-Israel? Who, Me?
Not that long ago, New York Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief Jodi Rudoren stepped up to corroborate Editorial Page Editor Andrew Rosenthal’s denial of claims that he is anti-Israel:
Yesterday, an unsigned New York Times editorial titled “Mr. Netanyahu’s Holocaust Blunder” began,
The claim by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel that a Palestinian persuaded Adolf Hitler to exterminate the Jews of Europe is outrageous.
Outrageous. Funny, I don’t recall a similar Editorial Board condemnation of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s statement, five weeks ago, that
Every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem is pure, every shahid will reach paradise, and every injured person will be rewarded by God.
In fact, the first reference that I found to those comments in the Times was almost a month after they were made, in the 19th paragraph of an AP article reprinted in the “news” section.
BBC's response to a complaint: TerroristLivesMatter
From their response (which is by no means the worse I've had over the years) it is clear that the BBC seems to feel that the families of Arab terrorists killed in attacks require as much sympathy as the families of Jews killed by those terrorists. Also note that they actually focus on a single report that described one terrorist attack from an Israeli victim's perspective. I believe that this may have been the only one in the several weeks of coverage (which is one more than Sky News I guess, so that's something positive). In contrast, there have been many dozens of special reports that have focused on Palestinian 'grievances' (the 'occupation', the 'Al Aqsa mosque' ad nauseum) which the BBC implies is justification for the massacre of Jewish civilians. The BBC clearly feels that as long as they present one item from the Israeli perspective for every 100 from the Arab perspective that confirms they are showing 'both sides of the story'.
More conspiracy theory amplification from BBC’s Yolande Knell – and why it matters
Obviously, the fact that the BBC gives unchallenged amplification to conspiracy theories concerning Temple Mount is a problem. The fact that it also refrains from clarifying to its audiences in its own words that Israel has no intention of changing the status quo at that site is another, as is the fact that the BBC has consistently concealed from its audiences the religiously themed rhetoric and incitement fueling the conspiracy theories surrounding Temple Mount.Al Aqsa UK FOAA
Those problems do not just raise questions about the BBC’s ability to report on this Israel-related topic accurately, impartially and responsibly. They also have the potential to affect British domestic issues because conspiracy theories about Temple Mount and al Aqsa Mosque are by no means confined to the Middle East – as this page from the website of the Leicester-based group ‘Friends of Al Aqsa’ and scenes from the anti-Israel rally held in London just last weekend demonstrate.
Prime Minister David Cameron clearly understands that a vital part of combating extremism in the UK is confronting and exposing conspiracy theories. With its unrivalled outreach, the BBC is of course well placed to play a part in contributing to that aim – should it so choose.
Leaked Docs Show CIA Chief Urged Obama To Engage Iran’s Leaders, Downplay Terror Ties
Among the hacked emails of CIA director John Brennan to be posted this week by WikiLeaks was a memo written after the 2008 election urging President-elect Barack Obama to “come to terms with” whoever was ruling Iran, Business Insider reported Wednesday.
In a post-election memo, purportedly written to Obama, Brennan laid out a pragmatic roadmap on dealings with Iran. His suggestions are similar to the carrot-and-stick approach the administration would eventually use in nudging Tehran toward joining negotiations over slowing the momentum of its growing nuclear reactor program.
“The United States has no choice but to find ways to coexist – and to come to terms – with whatever government holds power in Tehran,”
Brennan said in the three-page memo. He added that Iran would have to “come to terms” with the U.S. and that “Tehran’s ability to advance its political and economic interests rests on a non-hostile relationship with the United States and the West.”
In the memo, Brennan advised Obama to “tone down” rhetoric with Iran, and swiped at former President George W. Bush for his “gratuitous” labeling of Iran as part of a worldwide “axis of evil.” Brennan also said the U.S. should establish a direct dialogue with Tehran and “seek realistic, measurable steps.”
Congress Can Still Make a Difference on Iran
Congress failed to stop the Iran nuclear agreement, but it shouldn’t give up now on taking a tougher line with Tehran. On the contrary, it is time for Congress to intervene seriously in an area where the Obama administration has feared to go and where Capitol Hill has carried major weight in the past: human rights.
One of the curious aspects of the Obama presidency is its marked reluctance to criticize the Islamic Republic for its domestic abuses. In pursuit of its arms control agreement, the administration convinced itself that it had to be deferential to the sensibilities of Iran’s paranoid rulers. As the White House exempted itself from judgment, the Islamist regime jailed dissidents, rigged elections, censored the media and set records for executions. Most recently it “convicted” Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian on trumped-up charges. No one has a greater ability to inspire dissidents than an American president embracing their cause. Ronald Reagan’s speeches highlighting the Soviet Union’s mistreatment of its citizens did much to galvanize the forces of change behind the iron curtain. A determined human rights strategy must involve presidential commitment to similar type of rhetoric.
But absent any such effort from President Barack Obama, Congress should step in. Congressmen and senators should use their own podiums to denounce Iran’s human rights violations and highlight the cases of dissidents. Congress should spearhead its own set of sanctions such as designating the Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization. The Democrats who voted for the Iran deal and the White House that pressed them to do so have all insisted that a nuclear deal does not mean ignoring Iran’s domestic repression. It is time to call both the White House and the Democratic Caucus to account.
Iranian Lawmaker: Jason Rezaian Conspired With U.S. Government To Topple Regime
An influential Iranian politician has claimed that Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, who was recently convicted of espionage in an Iranian court, conspired with the United States to topple the Iranian government.
The New York Times reported more on Tuesday:
The thrust of the accusations made by [Javad] Karimi-Qoddusi, a member of Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, was that Mr. Rezaian had frequently shared information with the State Department and other official arms of the United States, and believed that under an American rapprochement with Iran, the Iranian government would be “toppled within 48 months.”
The lawmaker asserted that Mr. Rezaian had also cultivated contacts with Iran’s enemies, including representatives of Israel and members of the National Front — apparently a reference to a liberal, secular party that was suppressed in 1981 and that Mr. Karimi-Qoddusi described as an apostate group.
Mr. Rezaian grew so close with officials of President Hassan Rouhani’s inner circle, the lawmaker said, that he even knew the type of chewing gum Mr. Rouhani preferred.
'US responsible for crimes being committed in Palestine,' Hezbollah chief says
During a rare public appearance in Beirut to mark the Shi'ite Ashura holy day, Hezbollah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah castigated Israel and the United States on Friday.
Nasrallah said that Israel was "a tool of the West" that was acting as a "subcontractor for US hegemony in the Middle East."
"Israel is a tool that is being used by the West to take control of the Middle East region," the Hezbollah leader said during an event that was guarded by heavy security. "That's why the West defends it."
"The Palestinian people, and all the other nations in the region, chief among them the Lebanese, who have suffered from the Israeli occupation and massacres - they are the ones that bear the burden of the American project of domination [of the Middle East]," the Hezbollah chief said. "The US is responsible for the crimes being committed in Palestine."
Analysis: Nearly 80 Percent of Russian Airstrikes In Syria Don’t Target ISIS
Almost four out of every five declared targets of Russian airstrikes in Syria are located in areas not held by the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), according to an analysis of Russian Defense Ministry data by Reuters.
That means that the majority (almost 80 percent) of Russian strikes in Syria do not target ISIS, undermining Moscow’s assertions that its aim is to defeat the jihadist group, notes Reuters. The number is higher, however, than the estimate provided by the Turkish government in early October claiming that as few as 0.03 percent of Russian airstrikes were targeting the Islamic State.
“The majority of strikes, according to the analysis, have instead been in areas held by other groups opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which include al Qaeda offshoots but also fighters backed by Washington and its allies,” mentions the article.
Defense ministry statements of targets struck by the Russian military and an online archive of Russian military maps show Moscow has hit 64 named locations since President Vladimir Putin ordered the first round of strikes late last month.
French high court: BDS activists guilty of discrimination
France’s highest court of appeals confirmed earlier rulings that found promoters of a boycott against Israel guilty of inciting hate or discrimination.
The rulings passed on Tuesday by the Paris-based Court of Cassation confirmed the convictions of 12 individuals by the Colmar Court of Appeals in connection with their 2009 and 2010 actions in supermarkets near the eastern city of Mulhouse.
The individuals arrived at the supermarket wearing shirts emblazoned with the words: “Long live Palestine, boycott Israel.” They also handed out flyers that said that “buying Israeli products means legitimizing crimes in Gaza.”
The court in Colmar imposed fines to the collective tune of $14,500 and court expenses on Laila Assakali, Yahya Assakali, Assya Ben Lakbir, Habiba Assakali, Sylviane Mure, Farida Sarr, Aline Parmentier, Mohammad Akbar, Jean-Michel Baldassi, Maxime Roll, Jacques Ballouey and Henry Eichholtzer.
They appealed the ruling citing their freedom to express their opinion.
Pink Floyd's Roger Waters rips Howard Stern after Israel comments
In an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, Waters was asked about the comments made by "The King of all Media," who said earlier this month: "Israel has this tiny little country and it bugs the sh*t out of Roger Waters." Stern added "Where do you want the Jews to go, Roger? You want them to just go back to the concentration camp?"
Stern was commenting on a open letter Waters wrote to rock band Bon Jovi, castigating the group for playing a show in Tel Aviv less than three-weeks-ago, writing "Bon Jovi stands with Israeli settlers who burn Palestinian babies."
According to Rolling Stone, Waters responded with a brief reply: "I wouldn't waste a single one of my precious breaths on that a**hole, and I just did. That was a waste of breath. Let's move on."
Earlier in the interview, Waters insisted that his criticism was solely focused on Israeli government policy, and not aimed at citizens of the state.
"It's not the Israeli people, not Jews and not Judaism," Water said, adding "I would never dream of attacking them," according to Rolling Stone.
Eichmann ‘wasn’t a bad person,’ says his daughter-in-law, dooming her political career
A daughter-in-law of Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi war criminal hung by Israel as one of the architects of the Final Solution, withdrew her mayoral candidacy in Argentina after defending his actions on television.
Carmen Bretin Lindemann announced Thursday that she was bowing out of the mayoral race of the northeastern village of Garupa after receiving intense criticism for what she said about Eichmann during a television interview that was aired on Wednesday.
“The history that you know is not the real one, the version that you know from movies and books is written by the Jews, and all the world accepts that history,” she said in the interview for the TN news channel.
“He wasn’t a bad person, he obeyed orders and did not personally kill anyone,” she added, calling Eichmann “grandpa.”
Spanish town celebrates changing ‘Kill Jews’ name
Israel’s ambassador joined Spanish officials Friday in celebrating the name change of the ancient Spanish town of Castrillo Matajudios (“Camp Kill Jews”) to Castrillo Mota de Judios (“Jews’ Hill Camp”).
The event came a year after the north-central village of some 50 inhabitants voted to change the name after the mayor argued it was offensive and the village should honor its Jewish origins.
Documents show the village’s original name was “Jews’ Hill Camp” and that the “Kill Jews” name dates from 1627, after a 1492 Spanish edict ordering Jews to convert to Catholicism or flee the country. Those who remained faced the Spanish Inquisition, with many burned at the stake.
Ambassador Daniel Kutner said the town’s decision to celebrate its Jewish past was to be praised. “It must be remembered that the expulsion from Spain was for Jews a traumatic event of historical dimensions and set out the trajectory for the Jewish people from there on,” he said at a brief ceremony before a road sign bearing the new name was placed at the town’s entrance.
US-Israeli Defense Vehicle to Premiere at Major Conference
A joint US-Israel team will debut a revolutionary new tank design at the 2015 AUSA event in Washington next week: an all-terrain vehicle which utilizes special anti-tank missile defenses.
Rafael Defense Systems Ltd. will present the Trophy-LV design, which is the most advanced vehicle of its kind in the US Army and IDF.
The vehicle is based on an Oshkosh, which is a 4-wheel drive, mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle, and features the Mini Samson, a remote weapons station that allows tank crews to launch long-range anti-tank missiles without exposing themselves to enemy fire.
“Every year, we get numerous reminders that it's almost impossible to maneuver on the battlefield without an active protection system,” Giora Katz, Rafael executive vice president, stated to Defense News.
“When militaries and peacekeeping forces are facing millions of relatively cheap weapons in the hands of terrorists and other organizations, you better have some kind of protection like Trophy if you want to survive,” he said.
Trophy LV tanks operated during Operation Protective Edge, Katz noted, and were highly successful in defending against enemy targets.
New Israeli tech could make implant infections old news
Modern medicine has made it easy for doctors to replace almost any body part – from a tooth to limb – with implants that enable people to carry on with their lives. But implants carry a risk of infection, and if a dental implant or a screw or plate used in back surgery gets infected, patients can experience major pain, plus expense and hassle as doctors undo what they did and start all over again.
To prevent that from happening, an Israeli biotech start-up called NanoLock has developed technology that kills bacteria inside an implant before they can invade the body and cause infections.
“Our system allows for the manufacture of polymer plastics that have anti-microbial properties,” said Dr. Ervin Weiss, CEO of the company. “We can nearly eliminate bacteria that get into an implant, so that if any do get through, the body’s immune system can easily defeat it.”
Weiss, currently dean of the Tel Aviv University School of Dentistry, worked as head of prosthodontics in Hadassah Dental School for 14 years. “I developed this technology at Hadassah, and now we are licensing it from Hadasit, the tech transfer company of Hadassah.”
Israel exports agricultural know-how to Africa
Israel is in a desert but manages its water to ensure adequate supplies for agriculture and home use, while many African countries that have enough water lack the ability to get it where it is needed. So residents of African nations have converged on Tel Aviv to learn Israeli techniques of water management.
In Israel's southern desert village of Netiv HaAsara, Ovadia Keidar told African farmers and students about how he has been able to raise flowers and vegetables.
"We use a system which we call drip irrigation system, [in] which we flow water in a pipe underneath the plant," said Keidar, 74. Black pipes with special walls "supply the plant with the water and the nutrients. And the nutrients come by pump through the system, and it comes proportional to the quantity of water that we supply."
Yakov Poleg, director of Israel's Center for International Agricultural Development Cooperation, said his country, though small, narrow and semiarid with most of its land either desert or mountain, has been able to make its small quantity of surface and underground water sufficient for farming.
He said growers were also showing the African visitors how 90 percent of the water used in towns is recycled for irrigation schemes.
New Organization Helps Ukrainian Jews Make Smooth Aliyah to Israel
Since last year, there has been a 35% increase in the number of immigrants who have made aliyah to Israel — and one of the largest groups of immigrants has come from war-torn Ukraine.
In light of the mass Ukranian migration to Israel, a new project called “Maslul” was launched last weekend at Kiev’s Galitsky Synagogue to help olim (immigrants) begin their conversion process before they actually make aliyah to Israel.
“Our goal is to solve the problem of integration of immigrants from the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States] before their aliyah, in order to avoid [any problems] before [their] formation,” said Shalom Norman.
Norman is the director of the Triguboff Institute, and the man who initiated “Maslul,” which was established in cooperation with the Jewish Agency, the Midrasha Tzionit in Kiev, and the local Jewish community in the Ukrainian capital.

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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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