Monday, January 18, 2016

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: Exposing the enemy within
I 've been reading with particular interest about the row over Tuvia Tenenbom's exclusion from a Limmud panel. I myself have spoken at Limmud, although I haven't attended for several years. I have met Tenenbom and admire his work. By reporting what people say in unguarded moments (an activity once known as journalism) he has been steadily exposing the appalling Israel-bashing and Jew-hatred among Germans, Palestinian Arabs and, increasingly, Jews themselves.
Jews tend to be neuralgically averse to acknowledging this treachery among their own. This occurs particularly on the left, which in its mind-bending way screams "racism" at anyone who condemns those promoting murderous bigotry against Israel or the west. So I wasn't surprised to read that the largely right-on Limmud audience reacted with hostility to Tenenbom's observations about Jew-hatred in Germany. Whether or not these findings were true was, of course, irrelevant. Tenenbom, whose instincts for fighting bigotry seem bred in the bone, did not take the abuse lying down. The reaction he provoked, however, caused his abrupt removal from a Limmud discussion in which he was booked to participate.
The person who dropped him was Keith Kahn-Harris. Some years ago, Kahn-Harris approached me to take part in a series of dinners he was organising. He was concerned that the UK Jewish community was becoming divided over Israel. Jews were demonising fellow-Jews. The increasing bitterness, he said, was destructive of debate. Would I therefore take part in a "safe space" dinner discussion to open up a dialogue? The safe space turned out to be a group of folk on the left who wanted to have a go (in the most delicate and exquisitely pained way, of course) at the one presumed right-winger present (me). That experience illustrated two things. First, that those not of the left are regarded axiomatically as the people making dialogue impossible through their outlandish views. Second, there was no way those round that table could acknowledge closed minds were on their own side.
The left cannot ever admit that it demonises opponents and shuts down debate because it stands for tolerance, rationality and conscience. Doesn't it? (h/t Jewess)
David Collier: A silence worth breaking, the reservists fight back
For anyone living outside of Israel and opposed to the delegitimization of Zionism, it is difficult not to be aware of the movement called Breaking the Silence (BTS). The boycott movement against Israel frequently use their material, the anti-Zionist groups on campus show their video clips on a loop and left wing political Zionist groups cling on to their skirt tails and refer to them as heroes.
For some time, most Zionists have considered Breaking the Silence to have crossed too many lines to be deemed legitimate. They have been accused of distortion, of deliberately exaggerating events, and of removing the all-important context from their statements. It is claimed that they receive much of their funding from groups hostile to Israel. Much of their effort seems to be directed towards an international audience. The suggestion that they were simply lying for political gain was never far from the surface. Yet as BTS accusations are invariably anonymous, how do you attack a claim that removes all identifying features from public view?
Recently a group of reservists from the Israeli army, decided to do exactly that. With vast experience of IDF procedure and ethics, these officers were convinced that Breaking the Silence were spinning lies, and by searching out those that served with publicly known members of the group, they began to piece together a real picture of the events that occurred.
With BTS implying that the actions of some of these Israeli soldiers made them war criminals, this movement, ‘Reservists at the Front’, announced they had started proceedings to sue the movement Breaking the Silence for libel in the Israeli courts. Just recently, they met the Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu to seek support for their action.
On Sunday, 17/01/15, I caught up with Amit Deri, founder of Reservists at the Front and managed to ask him a few questions. Below is an English transcript of the interview.
Legal Insurrection: Fighting The Hate: When Does Anti-Israel Become Anti-Semitic?
Last week I drove out to Rochester, NY to give a talk titled ‘Fighting the Hate: When Does Anti-Israel Become Anti-Semitic?’.
Sponsored by ROC4Israel, a new pro-Israel organization that we featured in a post back in October, my lecture centered on how legitimate criticism of Israel can be distinguished from criticism that crosses the line into anti-Semitic hate speech.
A video of my 60 minute lecture, which also captures its accompanying PowerPoint slide show, is now available on YouTube (full embed lower in post).
Below I highlight the main themes. I break the hour-long lecture into segments so that readers can click on to those parts of the talk that are of most interest.
I then summarize a series of post-lecture discussion exercises that I led with the nearly 100 audience members who attended my January 7, 2016 event.

Fierce tugs in the war over Martin Luther King’s legacy on Israel
In US academic quarters, more and more voices are calling for the long-term dismantlement of Israel via boycotts and sanctions. Black scholars are well represented in the movement, including the leadership of Students for Justice in Palestine and tenured professors from California to Columbia.
“Activists in the streets of Ferguson, in New York City, in LA… [have drawn] connections between Israeli radicalized violence in the name of security,” said Robin D.G. Kelley, an American history professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.
“It wasn’t simply Ferguson to Gaza,” said Kelley during an anti-Israel panel at Columbia University last month. “It was also drawing connections to drone strikes abroad, and the killing of black men and women and transgendered people at the hands of police,” said the scholar of African-American history.
In his op-ed on “the big black lie,” Troy implored faith leaders of all backgrounds to “refute the growing libels spreading among many black Americans against Israel and the Jewish people.” He accused some black leaders of “playing the role too many play in universities today, joining the anti-Zionist pile-on against Israel and Jews on campuses.”
According to Troy and some mainstream US Jewish leaders, the “intersectionality” of oppression strategy must be refuted at the grassroots. Troy urged Israel supporters to reach out to black communities “about their potential role in the Middle East conflict,” using MLK Day as a starting point.
Report: Kerry May Have Exposed Israeli Collaborator on Erekat’s Team
Following reports that an employee of the PLO negotiation affairs department who worked for 20 years as an aide to Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat in Ramallah was arrested for “collaborating with Israel,” on Monday the London-based Arabic daily Rai Al-Youm revealed that the order to search for an Israeli spy on the negotiations team came two weeks ago from PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who realized private conversations of PA seniors regarding their political position were known to the US based on Israeli information.
According to Rai Al-Youm, the protocols from secret high level meetings in Ramallah had been leaked to Israel for many years, and the Israelis regularly passed them on to Washington. As State Department officials were turning on the pressure on Abbas to reach a political compromise in the peace negotiations, they revealed their knowledge of intricate details of the Palestinian position, which raised Abbas’s suspicions about a leak. The chairman began questioning European officials, who confirmed to him that the US was receiving a regular flow of information about PA internal meetings from Israel.
Apparently, part of the reason why the arrest of the PLO Israeli collaborator has only taken place this week had to do with the attempt to keep the internal investigation away from Saeb Erekat himself, who only learned about the arrest a week ago. Erekat has been the PLO chief negotiator for years and was renowned for his uncompromising position.
IDF Chief: Hezbollah is Israel's 'most serious threat'
IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot said Monday at the Institute for National Security Studies conference in Tel Aviv that the Iran nuclear deal posed "many dangers" but also opportunities.
"Since the end of 2005, Israel's central threat was Iran," he stated. "The deal is a significant change in the vector Iran is going toward."
Eizenkot said the IDF was forming new assessments as a result of the deal, noting that in his estimation, "in the next five years, Iran will work to maintain the nuclear agreement, but in 15 years it will continue its vision to achieve a nuclear weapon."
The IDF Chief argued Iran's efforts to achieve nuclear weapons stemmed from its ambitions to become an even greater regional power.
"Iran is waging a war against Israel via proxies like Hezbollah in Lebanon, who today poses the most serious threat to Israel."
"We also see an attempt attempt to influence Arabs in Israel and Gaza," Eizenkot continued. "The estimation is that as the economic situation in Iran continues to improve, within a year or two, it will direct greater resources to this campaign."
Nothing the EU does will remove us from our land, says minister
"Don't preach to us and don't threaten us," Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud) said on Sunday, directing his remarks at the foreign ministers of European Union nations who were set to gather in Brussels on Monday to discuss a proposed resolution that would limit EU-Israel agreements to inside the 1967 borders.
Israeli officials in Jerusalem are furious about the EU Foreign Affairs Council's expected approval of the resolution. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by telephone on Sunday with a number of European leaders in a bid to persuade them to oppose the resolution. Foreign Ministry diplomats are also heavily involved in the effort to thwart the approval of the resolution.
At Sunday's cabinet meeting, Netanyahu ordered that European foreign ministers be provided with materials on Palestinian incitement, which the prime minister views as the real obstacle to peace.
In remarks made at the meeting, Netanyahu slammed European double standards on Israel.
EU divided on planned anti-Israel resolution
EU foreign ministers were trying to resolve last-minute differences Monday before voting on a resolution that distinguishes between Israel-proper and the territories it captured during the 1967 Six Day War.
According to officials and diplomatic sources, some countries consider the language of the resolution too critical of the Jewish state.
The resolution, being promoted by Sweden and Ireland, would stipulate that all agreements between Israel and the EU would not apply to any areas over the 1949 Armistice Lines.
"Some countries have said they would like to see some changes. We will listen to them but it is obviously desirable that the council be able to approve the conclusions," French state secretary for European Affairs Harlem Desir said as he went into the meeting of ministers.
Desir, representing French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, said Greece and several other countries want changes to the well-established EU positions.
The EU has held for many years that a final agreement on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must be based on a two-state solution, and considers Israeli communities over the 1949 Armistice Lines illegal and a threat to peace.
Jerusalem Archbishop: Palestinians will 'return'
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) quoted several parts of the Archbishop’s speech that claimed the Palestinian issue should offend people of all religions. “The Palestinian issue is everyone’s issue. It is an issue for Palestinians, Muslims, Christians and Arabs.It does not matter how long it continues for nor how many schemers are involved. The Palestinians will continue to hold onto Palestine with Jerusalem as its spiritual and national capital.
"With the right of return, the right of all Palestinians who suffered the Nakba in 1948, and the Naksa in 1967 to return to their homeland, we will not give up even a single returnee who has the right to come back to Jerusalem and Palestine.”
Archbishop Hanna, who was formerly the spokesperson for the Greek Orthodox Church, has been spouting anti-Israel rhetoric for many years. This issue prevented him for continuing further in the hierarchy of the church many years ago. However the new Patriarch of the Church has recently advanced Hanna to the rank of Archbishop.
Israel has not chosen to respond yet to Hanna’s statements, nor has Hanna’s anti-Israel rhetoric had an effect on the relationship between the church and Israel.
Israel and India: A partnership of equals
Since the advent of the Information Age, Indian and Israeli professionals have been at the cutting edge of innovation and business in Silicon Valley, San Francisco. What initially started as the brain drain soon created IT hubs back home. Clusters of high-tech industries sprang up around major population centers. The trend witnessed in Silicon Wadi has lot in common with technology-driven success stories unfolding in Bangalore, Delhi or Hyderabad.
This bilateral cooperation does not restrain itself to university campuses or corporate board rooms.
Israel’s agriculture project in India is the Jewish state’s largest engagement anywhere in the world.
In the framework of Indo-Israel Agricultural Project, MASHAV (Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation) operates 26 Centers of Excellence in nine different states across India. These agriculture centers act as platforms for transfer of technology to Indian farmers.
If implemented, Israeli expertise in water resource management and cultivation of arid land could be valuable in ensuring India’s future food and water security.
The present diplomatic push can help academic, industrial and start-up ecosystems of both countries to work closer together, and help create technology solutions capable of addressing the emerging challenges of urban development, energy generation, water conservation and food security.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Abbas calls for international parley in meeting with visiting Indian FM
Abbas said that the international conference was needed in light of the stalemate in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
“The Palestinian issue is the core of the conflict in the region and the world,” Abbas said. “Achieving peace in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative and the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital on 1967 borders will ensure peace and stability in both the region and the world.”
Abbas said that the PA leadership was making an effort to find a solution to the crisis in Syria, but did not elaborate.
The Palestinians are keen on developing their relations with India, Abbas said. He praised Indian aid to the Palestinians.
The Indian minister reiterated her country’s support for the two-state solution. India would continue to provide the Palestinians assistance politically and economically, she said.
A statement put out by the Indian External Affairs Ministry last week said that Swaraj was starting her visit in “Palestine” because it “reflects the importance India holds for Palestine it its engagement with the countries of the region.”
Allies? Indian FM starts Israel visit at Arafat's grave
Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj began her visit to Israel on Sunday by first stopping in "Palestine," and placing a wreath at the mausoleum of arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat in Ramallah before meeting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Monday morning.
Arafat, who was born in Egypt, founded the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) terrorist group and led Fatah, and is held responsible for many murderous attacks over the decades that killed countless Israelis.
Swaraj's visit follows the historic first visit to Israel by an Indian President last October when President Pranab Mukherjee stopped by, and her choice to honor Arafat may raise concerns given the ever growing alliance between Israel and India.
The Indian Foreign Minister went directly to Ramallah in Samaria on Sunday, meeting with Palestinian Authority (PA) foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki and telling him that regarding India's support for the Palestinian cause there has been "absolutely no change in its policy in this regard."
"We are working for closer political interaction and deeper economic and academic engagement with Palestine," said Swaraj, to which al-Maliki replied: "India’s wisdom and political insight can be very useful in defusing tensions in the region."
Al-Maliki also called India a "good friend on whom the Palestinians can rely for support in many areas."
Israel Navy closely watching Hamas force build up, preparing for underwater threats from Gaza
Hamas in Gaza is busy rebuilding its offensive capabilities against Israel, but it is being closely watched by the Israel Navy.
If a future clash between Israel and Hamas break out, Hamas's goal, it is safe to assume, will be to try and surprise Israel from multiple directions, including from the sea. To that end, the IDF must prepare for a range of surprise attacks, including the possibility of sea-based threats, such as bomb-laden boat attacks.
Hamas has also added a new combat sector to the surface and air battle domains: The underwater arena.
Hamas divers, such as members of its sea commando unit that went into action during the summer 2014 conflict, could be used again, and the Israel Navy has been busy building underwater detection and alert systems. Their goal is to enable Israel to quickly discover and destroy incoming underwater threats from Gaza.
Placing underwater threats at the center of the navy's awareness, and creating operational responses to them, has been keeping navy commanders busy in recent months. This is a remarkable development, in light of the fact that the underwater combat sector was almost unheard of along the southern coastline prior to 2014.
The navy has also been loading new weapons onto its vessels, designed to destroy a submerged enemy.
New surface to surface rockets going operational in the IDF
New surface-to-surface GPS-guided rockets are becoming operational in the IDF.
The Romach rockets, which can hit targets up to 35 km. away, will give the IDF’s Artillery Corps faster ways to respond to sudden security incidents on Israel’s borders, according to their manufacturer Israel Military Industries.
Within seconds of an ‘open fire’ order, the Artillery Corps’ MLRS Battalion can use them to hit enemy targets, including those whose coordinates have been preprogrammed into a target database, Eli Reiter, who heads IMI’s rocket systems division, said recently.
Reiter, a former senior IDF Armored Corps officer and ex-commander of Division 36, said these types of accurate surface to surface rockets can change the way the IDF deploys its firepower, creating new and faster alternatives to air strikes.
Romach rockets can strike targets within an accuracy range of under 10 meters, and carry a 20-kilogram warhead.
Israel nixes East Jerusalem event after PA link uncovered
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan canceled a cultural event in East Jerusalem on Sunday, when he discovered the Palestinian Authority was behind it, his office announced.
The event, “CPR for Palestinian Cultural Institutions in Jerusalem,” was scheduled to take place in the El-Hakawati Theater, also known as the Palestinian National Theater, located in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi al-Joz.
Erdan, however, discovered that a Palestinian Authority representative was supposed to preside over the event, which required Israel’s pre-approval, according to the 1994 Oslo Accords.
The PA did not contact the Israeli government for permission to hold an event in Israeli territory, Erdan’s office said in a statement.
Islamic vigilantes to hit the streets of Tel Aviv?
Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the outlawed Islamic Movement in Israel, last Friday gave a sermon in the Al-Gazazwa Garden of Yafo, located just south of Tel Aviv, in which he incited the Arab populace against the authorities.
Salah's pro-terrorist organization is funded by Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, and has been strongly supported by Arab citizens in the coastal city of Yafo (Jaffa) next to Tel Aviv.
In his speech, the radical activist condemned the Tel Aviv municipality for sending out bulldozers to enforce the law in Tel Giborim, where the Arab leadership says the Tasu cemetery is being harmed in an offense to Muslim sentiments.
"The Palestinian public 'inside' (i.e. Arab citizens of Israel - ed.) is under Israeli terror and it is a victim of racism," claimed Salah in his fiery speech. "The blood spilled in the land is a result of the incitement against the Arab public."
Analysis: As Gazans suffer through winter, Hamas' face is to war
One and a half years after Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, the Israeli farmers’ fields around the coastal enclave are green and growing with peanuts and wheat. But across the security fence, Hamas is emerging from the ruins and preparing itself for the next round of violence.
The group’s future military moves are being overseen by Muhammad Deif and Yihye Sanwar, who are repairing Hamas’s military terrorist infrastructure; restocking its rocket arsenal; and supervising the digging of attack tunnels, including some that reach inside Israeli territory.
Deif is Hamas’s military commander, who the IDF tried, unsuccessfully, to assassinate during Operation Protective Edge, and Sanwar is a convicted terrorist who was among the most senior Palestinians freed in 2011 in the prisoner exchange for Gilad Schalit.
The common Israeli security assessment is that Hamas is not interested in a military confrontation in the near future, but if it has an opening to carry out a large terrorist attack that will lead to a diplomatic achievement, such as the release of prisoners, it will not miss the opportunity.
JPost Editorial: Sanctions blues
To prevent or mitigate some of the bad consequences of the deal mentioned above, the JCPOA should be seen as part of a robust policy of regional containment combined with other pressures on Iran.
The Americans and the Europeans who signed off the JCPOA seem to believe that the price of permitting a reemerging, hegemonic Iran is worth paying to stop – at least for the time being – the Islamic Republic’s nuclear weapons program. Many of those supporting the JCPOA argue that the alternative is war with Iran. If, however, the bad side effects of the JCPOA are not curtailed, we may soon witness a sharp escalation in clashes between Iran and its neighbors that could easily lead to a regional war.
It is of utmost importance that the US and the other signatories to the JCPOA take steps to curb Iran’s influence in the region. To prevent the US’s historical allies - the Gulf states, Egypt, Israel - from getting the impression that the US is effectively promoting a Shi’ite hegemony in the region, a clear message needs to be sent that the US will not tolerate an expansion of Iranian influence. In Syria, the US should openly support more moderate Sunni forces; in Iraq it must avoid supporting Shi’ite forces aligned with Iran.
To prevent the Gulf states, Egypt, Israel and other American allies from taking matters into their own hands, the US must provide assurances – including more robust military cooperation – that communicate US commitment to countering Iranian aggression.
The US, and its allies including Israel, cannot afford to let the JCPOA be interpreted as American détente with Iran.
The Sanctions Bait and Switch
Likely Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton says she wants to hold Iran accountable and, to her credit, even mentioned Levinson’s fate today. But as a key member of Obama’s foreign policy team, she has zero credibility on the issue. Once in office, she will be wedded to the nuclear deal and isn’t likely to do anything to disrupt it or start rolling back Iran’s gains around the region.
As for the Republicans, all denounce the deal, but the idea that it can be renegotiated (as Donald Trump imagines) or be effectively rolled back without a major commitment to defeating terrorist forces on the ground in the region (as some like Ted Cruz seem to think) or without the help of U.S. allies that have been allowed to check out on the struggle with Tehran, is short-sighted.
This is a gloomy prospect that U.S. allies, like Israel and the Arab governments that are equally afraid of Tehran, can only view with dismay. Though Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said today his country will “monitor Iran,” that is more of a wish than a plan. Without a U.S. government completely committed to combating Iran’s push for hegemony and post-deal nuclear plans, there is little that Israel will be able to do on its own.
In other words, today’s minimal sanctions may be just the start of a new era of pretend accountability for Iran that will end only when the world is no longer able to ignore the reality of Tehran’s power. The announcement was a classic bait and switch intended to deceive Americans but which Iran understood all too well. All of which means that rather than looking back on the enactment of these measures as the moment when the U.S. began to reassert itself, it will, instead, be thought of as the commencement of the “good day” when yet another chance to halt the Iranian juggernaut was lost.
Kerry Incentivizes Hostage-Taking
The fact that the logic underpinning Obama and Kerry’s outreach is akin to the Reagan-era “Arms for Hostages” deal, which was pilloried by Democrats (not without good reason), is also ironic. That episode began with the desire to engage Iranian moderates in order to privilege them vis-à-vis more hardline factions. And while Iran did release hostages in exchange for military spare parts, as soon as Iranian authorities received the last planeload of equipment, their proxies promptly seized three more hostages in the space of two weeks. As for the notion that there was significant division between the hardline and more pragmatic factions? That quickly evaporated when Tehran received what it wanted. Years later, Iranian ‘pragmatist’ Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani ridiculed National Security Advisor Robert “Bud” McFarlane’s naiveté. Speaking in a 2008 interview to the Iranian website Agahsazi, Rafsanjani quipped, “Have you forgotten that Irishman McFarlane came here and our authorities were not willing to talk to him; he was stuck with our second and third rate authorities?”
If the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps released the American sailors and other hostages it captured because it did not want them to be an impediment in their receipt of sanctions relief, then it is worth considering what the United States will have to pay when Iranian authorities seize additional Americans. Given the history of Iranian behavior, that is likely now only a matter of time.
Iran says new US sanctions illegitimate, citing 'war crimes' against Palestinians
Iran on Monday said new US curbs on the Islamic Republic's ballistic missile program were illegitimate, vowing to continue developing its conventional military deterrent.
The United States imposed sanctions on 11 companies and individuals on Sunday for supplying Iran's ballistic missile program in a move delayed by over two weeks so as not to endanger this weekend's release of US prisoners.
The new measures also came after the lifting of far more comprehensive nuclear sanctions.
"The Islamic Republic will respond to these aggravating and propagandistic measures by pursuing its legal missile program stronger than before and developing its defensive capabilities," a foreign ministry statement said.
Iran conducted a ballistic missile test in October, which the United Nations called a breach of a resolution prohibiting the Islamic Republic from developing missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads. Iran insists the missile was designed to carry a conventional payload.
Washington Post: Iran’s Attacks on Americans and Vital U.S. Interests Will Continue
The editors of The Washington Post celebrated Iran’s release of their reporter Jason Rezaian along with three other Americans in exchange for Iranian prisoners, but nonetheless warned in an editorial published Sunday that absent stronger action from the administration, “Iran’s attacks on Americans and vital U.S. interests will surely continue.”
The editorial noted that the four American-Iranian dual citizens that were held by Iran were exchanged for seven Iranians serving time in American jails, as well as an American promise to drop pursuit of fourteen other individuals. Most of those held by the United States, The Wall Street Journal noted, “were tied to violations of U.S. export laws and the sales of dual-use equipment that could be used in Iran’s military or nuclear program.”
The Post pointed out, in contrast, that Rezaian, “who was held for 544 days, committed no crime and should have never been arrested. He was not a convict but a political hostage. His freeing and that of the other Americans ends a gross injustice.”
State Department Agrees To Pay $1.7 Billion In US Taxpayer Dollars To Iran
“The United States and Iran today have settled a long outstanding claim at the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal in the Hague,” the statement from Secretary of State John Kerry reads. “This specific claim was in the amount of a $400 million Trust Fund used by Iran to purchase military equipment from the United States prior to the break in diplomatic ties.”
The claim was first filed in 1981 when Iran had an outstanding order for military equipment under the regime, which the U.S. refused to fill after the Iranian revolution. The payment is in addition to the $100 to $150 billion of Iranian assets the United States agreed to unfreeze as part of the Iranian nuclear agreement.
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“In 1981, with the reaching of the Algiers Accords and the creation of the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal, Iran filed a claim for these funds, tying them up in litigation at the Tribunal,” the statement continues.
The $1.7 billion payment stems from the original $400 million plus $1.3 billion in interest the State Department agreed to pay on that money.
MEMRI: Editorial In Saudi 'Al-Riyadh' Daily Advocates Setting Timetable For Peaceful Saudi Nuclear Program
Following the implementation of JCPOA and the lifting of sanctions from Iran, the Saudi government daily Al-Riyadh published an editorial titled "What Will Happen in 15 Years?", which expresses fear about the future development of Iran's nuclear program. The editorial notes that, by 2031, most of the restrictions that the JCPOA places on Iran will be lifted, leaving this country free to advance its nuclear program as it pleases. It therefore advocates joining the nuclear club and laying down a "road map" for building Saudi nuclear reactors for peaceful purposes that will be ready before 2031.
It should be mentioned that, since the July 15, 2015 announcement of the JCPOA, many articles in the Saudi press have called upon Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries to take advantage of the next decade to develop military nuclear programs of their own as a countermeasure to the Iranian nuclear threat that will reemerge after the expiring of the agreement.
The following are excerpts:
"Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said yesterday [January 16, 2016] that the sanctions on his country would be lifted immediately upon the issuing of the IAEA report [announcing] that Iran has met its obligations under the nuclear agreement that was signed with the superpowers in July of last year [2015]. [Even] if we ignore the political and economic implications of this agreement for the region in the near and distant future, there is [nevertheless] one aspect of this agreement that must be taken into account. In 2031, [this] nuclear agreement will be consigned to the U.N. archives, and Iran will be free to do whatever it pleases regarding its nuclear program. This, because most of the restrictions imposed [on Iran] by the articles of this agreement expire in 15 years. In the interim, Iran will enrich uranium to a level of no more than 3.67 percent, which is the safe level. But what happens after 15 years...?

Israeli team withdraws from table tennis meet
Israel has pulled its team from the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Kuala Lumpur following a row with the Malaysian government over entry visas.
International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) chief executive officer Judit Farago had insisted Israel must be allowed to compete or Malaysia could be banned from hosting future tournaments.
Farago had also threatened that the World Championships would be scrapped, and Malaysia would have to pay for the cancellation costs if the visas were not issued.
However, with Israel withdrawing from the tournament, chances of Malaysia hosting future world tournaments were not jeopardized.
Israel’s Table Tennis Association (ITTA) announced their decision on their website claiming the board decided not to send a delegation due to security concerns.
Im Tirzu protests Nakba Film Festival in capital
The Zionist organization Im Tirzu applied to the Minister of Sports and Culture Miri Regev (Likud) and Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Dov Kalmanovich, and requested that the “Nakba” film festival sponsored by Zochrot be cancelled.
The film festival is set to take place on Tuesday at Jerusalem’s Cinematheque theater, and commemorates the "Catastrophe" - namely the establishment of the modern state of Israel in 1948 and the failure of Arab armies to destroy the nascent state.
Im Tirzu argued that “since the Cinematheque is funded by both the municipality and the Ministry of Sports and Culture, we find it a very serious grievance that the establishment will screen films whose sole purpose is to wipe out and nullify the right of the Jewish nation to live in the land of Israel, and the right of the state of Israel to exist as a democratic and Jewish state.”
“There is no argument that filling Israel with millions of Palestinian refugees will not only turn it into a Palestinian country, but will also turn it into a killing field between different groups of people as is commonplace in the rest of the Middle East. It is therefore clear that the vision of the anti-Israeli organization Zochrot is not realistic and does not deserve to be addressed.”
Oberlin College Alums: Anti-Israel fanaticism creating hostile environment for Jews
Oberlin College is an institution in turmoil over the past several years, and anti-Israel activism is part of the problem. Now, over 200 alumni are claiming the anti-Israel activism has created a hostile environment for Jews, and the alumni are demanding the college take action to address the problem.
The issue of when anti-Israelism crosses into anti-Semitism is a hot topic on campuses recently because of the very aggressive tactics of anti-Israel campus groups, and the intense demonization of Israel. “Intersectionality” analysis is used by anti-Israel activists to try to co-opt the Black Lives Matter movement and other similar movements:
Every real or perceived problem is either blamed on or connected to Israel.
The concerted effort to turn the Black Lives Matter movement into an anti-Israel movement has at its core the claim that Israel is the root of problems of non-whites in the United States. Thus, if a police chief somewhere attended a one-week anti-terrorism seminar in Israel years ago, every act of brutality by a cop on the beat is blamed on Israel.

When City University of New York Students for Justice in Palestine, for example, tried to turn the Million Student March into an anti-Israel event and blamed high tuition on Zionists, the CUNY Vice Chancellor called it “thinly-veiled bigotry, prejudice, anti-Semitism.” At Vassar College, SJP circulated a Nazi cartoon after weeks of anti-Israel activism that included picketing a course which involved travel to Israel.
California Assemblyman Travis Allen: California rejects taxpayer-funded discrimination
The BDS movement clearly demonstrates that boycotts of entities and individuals affiliated with specific countries can amount to ethnic, religious, racial and/or national origin discrimination. In May, the “red” state of South Carolina became the first in the country to pass legislation defending against such commercial discrimination and boycotts, which includes Israel. In June, the “blue” state of Illinois followed suit. These two states – and many others that will soon pass similar legislation – acted both to defend their economic interests and to reinforce their public policy protections against discrimination and intolerance.
Recently, I announced that California’s legislature would take similar action to protect our citizens and economy in the coming session. I have sponsored legislation (AB 1552) that prohibits state entities from contracting with parties that engage in commercial discrimination and boycotts on the basis of national origin. This bill does not penalize or in any way infringe on private rights to free expression, and therefore steers clear of any First Amendment concerns. Rather, the legislation exercises the state’s right to choose with whom it will contract, recognizing that such prudence when spending taxpayer funds is an important part of upholding California’s economic interests and values. The legislation being considered respects the First Amendment rights of the BDS proponents to sell prejudice and even spread malicious falsehoods if they choose. However, it makes clear that California taxpayers won’t be forced to buy it.
My hope is that all who oppose discrimination will join in supporting the passage of this important bill and other states will follow our lead. Though we cannot put an end to hate and bigotry, together we can make sure it is defeated.
AAU Affirms Opposition to Israel Boycott
The Association of American Universities on Thursday issued a statement affirming its opposition to the movement to boycott Israeli universities. The AAU formally opposed the boycott movement in 2013, but opted to affirm its position in light of the recent overwhelming vote at the American Anthropological Association's annual meeting to back the boycott. (That vote is awaiting approval of the association's membership.)
The statement from AAU affirming its position says, in part: "Efforts to address political issues, or to address restrictions on academic freedom, should not themselves infringe upon academic freedom. Restrictions imposed on the ability of scholars of any particular country to work with their fellow academics in other countries, participate in meetings and organizations, or otherwise carry out their scholarly activities violate academic freedom. The boycott of Israeli academic institutions therefore clearly violates the academic freedom not only of Israeli scholars but also of American scholars who might be pressured to comply with it. We urge American scholars and scholars around the world who believe in academic freedom to oppose this and other such academic boycotts."
PreOccupiedTerritory: Man Torn Between Far-Right Jew-Hatred, Far-Left Jew-Hatred (satire)
A local man attracted to antisemitic and anti-Israel rhetoric is unable to decide whether the radical right antisemites or the radical left antisemites put forth a more convincing case, local sources reported today.
Holden Forth, 22, a graduate student at the University of California at Berkeley, has spent the last two years wrestling with competing visions for his hatred of Jews, alternating between those who see Jews as oppressive fascist Westerners subjugating the nonwhite indigenous inhabitants of Palestine and those who see Jews as sinister anti-white, Communist anti-Americans.
“I used to sit pretty squarely in the Jews-are-white-European-colonialist-oppressors school,” recalls Forth, who is pursuing a Master’s in sociology. “That’s more or less how I saw things when I first got here as an undergraduate. But since then I’ve encountered a good but of compelling propaganda from the opposite end of the political spectrum, to the effect that Jews are anything but representatives of Europe, which, after all, gave us the values of the Enlightenment – instead, Jews are a cancer on the values that have made Western civilization the powerhouse of intellectual achievement that it became, attempting to undermine that achievement at every turn so as to take over the world.”
“Basically I’ve been going back and forth between the two, and it’s a real challenge,” he confessed. “My work is suffering, because I need to be consistent in my intellectual approach if ‘m going to get anything out of this education and activism.”
Anti-Israel reporter loses case at German Press Council
The Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) newspaper falsely claimed that tens of thousands of Israelis fled to Germany because of the policies of the Netanyahu administration, the German Press Council confirmed.
The council’s 5-to-1 vote to uphold its initial ruling against the largest broadsheet newspaper in Germany is the latest act in a long-running media dispute playing out with high-powered lawyers and press experts.
The case began in 2014, and the decision was published in the first week of January. It was obtained by The Jerusalem Post late last week.
Honestly Concerned, a Frankfurt-based pro-Israel media watchdog, had filed a complaint alleging that Thorsten Schmitz, an SZ journalist, falsely stated in his article that “tens of thousands of Israelis fled” their country and sought refuge in Germany.
Honestly Concerned prevailed in the initial complaint. The SZ won a reversal last year. Now, Honestly Concerned appears to have sealed a final victory.
The Press Council in its new decision wrote that Schmitz “violated the journalistic accuracy requirement” of the German press code “by not proving the number and noting that the figure is a disputed estimate.”
Lone soldiers send message to the world: we won't be defeated
At a recent event held in honor of Lone Soldiers from North America all of whom are alumni from the youth group known as NCSY which is run by the Orthodox Union (OU), OU Israel Director Avi Berman spoke to Arutz Sheva about the important contribution that youngsters who choose to come and serve in the IDF from abroad make for their country, and the example it sets for people back home.
“These youngsters come to me and say 'Avi, why are you thanking us, we are doing what we have to do.' I tell them that you are volunteering three years of your life to come and do the IDF or one year to do national service to a country that you have no legal obligation to, what you are saying is that morally you want to give back. That is an unbelieveable message. We are seeing the Jewish people understanding that we are one. It doesn’t matter where you were born, but if you are Jewish then you are connected to the entire 13 million Jewish people that are unified and standing together.”
More than just the message within the Jewish people, Berman feels that the message of the lone soldiers is an international one. “The message that is being sent here, that we are sending to the world, is that no matter how many stabbing attacks, or other attacks we face, people have tried to kill us for 3,000 years and no one will succeed.”
Berman talked about the discussion lead by Miriam Peretz a widow who lost both of her sons while they were serving in the IDF. “To hear Miriam, who has inspired so many and who has had her own loss, to hear her thank the American and Canadian soldiers, to thank these NCSY alumni who have come here to serve, that is an unbelieveable recognition of thanks that we can show these kids.”
Pope visits Rome synagogue, calls on Christians to reject anti-Semitism
Pope Francis made his first visit as pontiff to a synagogue on Sunday, where, in a reference to Islamist attacks, he condemned violence in the name of religion, before Rome Jewish community leaders and Israeli representatives Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and Religious Services Minister David Azoulay.
Amid chanting of psalms in Hebrew and speeches underscoring the remarkable advances in Catholic-Jewish relations in the past 50 years, Francis became the third pontiff to visit Rome's main synagogue, after popes John Paul and Benedict.
The temple is just across the Tiber River from the Vatican, and is rich with symbolism of the past persecution of Jews, who for nearly 300 years until the mid-19th century were forced to live in the adjoining quarter still known as The Ghetto and make compulsory payments to the popes.
Security was exceptionally tight in the area, with even journalists going through three separate checks in the space of less than 100 metres. Anti-terror police patrolled both sides of the riverbank, which was closed to the public.
"The violence of man against man is in contradiction with any religion worthy of this name, in particular the three great monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam)," he said in what appeared to be a reference to attacks by Islamist militants.
Israel, superpower for women
At the end of 2015, two Israeli politicians made headlines when they were compelled to resign their positions.
One was a veteran senior minister faced with testimony claiming that he had behaved in a way tainted with sexual harassment. The second – a media figure who became a young and promising Knesset member – was found to have harassed two women sexually and verbally. If we add the former president who is sitting in jail for rape, and the rest of the politicians, officers and celebrities who were forced to pay a heavy public price for sexual harassment, we are liable to get the impression that this is a “state of sinners.”
Actually, the opposite is the case: all these incidents reflect the measure of sensitivity that we have succeeded in establishing here regarding unseemly conduct.
More than being ashamed at individuals involved in sexual harassment, we are proud of a society that adopted the norm that sexual harassment is not something to boast about, but rather a disgrace that prevents a person from holding public office, and makes him liable to face criminal charges.
It is hard to believe that this attitude is present precisely in the intransigent Middle East; hard to believe that a militaristic, chauvinistic state whose army and generals, up to the chief of staff, saw female soldiers as sex objects 50 years ago – precisely this state has become a state that does not back down regarding anyone, no matter how highly placed, regarding harassment of women, and which has become a “light unto the nations” in everything connected to the status of women. The Clinton- Lewinsky incident would not have gone by the board here in Israel, because here someone who uses the power of his office to abuse someone sexually spends years behind bars, and certainly does not continue their political career. Even our big friend can learn something from little Israel. Suddenly, without even noticing it, we have become a ground-breaking superpower.

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