Thursday, March 24, 2016

From Ian:

Isi Leibler: The ‘Obama Doctrine’ Has Led to Global Chaos
President Barack Obama’s determination to downgrade US international power has generated massive global instability and chaos with especially ominous implications for Israel.
The Obama policies have undermined longstanding alliances within the Western bloc. By supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and allying with terrorist and rogue states like Iran, the US has alienated Arab states such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which consider themselves abandoned and betrayed.
The wooing and groveling toward Iran has empowered the world’s leading Islamic terrorist state, enabled it to become a threshold nuclear power and exacerbated the conflict between the Shiites and Sunnis, which has led to the emergence of new Islamic barbarian groups like ISIS. The Islamic fundamentalists have reintroduced the Dark Ages to the region in which mass murder, rape and beheadings of civilians have become rampant.
JCPA: Dying for Allah
The sensitivity to criticism of the Islamic fundamentalist attitude on the “death for Allah” concept, which has been fully adopted by the Palestinian cultural code, is a further instance of our difficulty in understanding a different culture, which leads us to project our own values onto the other in a mirror-perfect image.
President Barack Obama exemplified this mindset in his 2009 Cairo address and in his address in Jerusalem in 2013 when he said there was no real difference between his daughters and the Palestinian youths he had met in Ramallah or the Egyptian youngsters he had encountered in Cairo. Like his daughters, they wanted to get an education, worship God in their way, raise a family, and make a good living, even if there were political or religious differences between them.
Really, Mr. President? Do your daughters identify on Facebook with the worldview of radical Islam, which calls on one to seek “death for Allah”? Palestinian youth indeed wear jeans and do not look religious. Yet almost every Palestinian child you ask will tell you he wants to be a shahid [martyr], and many believe that by attempting to stab a Jew-Zionist to death they increase their chances to attain that honor. This is a direct result of the education they receive.

JPost Editorial: Defeating terrorism
The latest atrocity by the world’s leading Islamist terrorist group, Islamic State, is certainly not going to be among the last, unless an emergency international effort is mounted to meet its threat.
Among the condolences to the victims, a statement by the Wiesenthal Center put this into perspective: Such horrific, coordinated mass murders will only end when there is a sustained global strategy in place to destroy ISIS’s leadership and infrastructure in the Middle East and to root out their terrorist support systems and cells wherever they are found.” The center also urged social media companies to block terrorists from using their services.
There is no denying the constant increase in terrorist attacks throughout the world in the name of delusional religious fanatics out to establish a world caliphate. The entire world is being held hostage to violence by a lunatic organization intent upon world domination. Call it a religious war.
Its most recent battlefield was the Belgian capital’s Zaventem airport and Maelbeek metro station. Belgium is a natural choice for Islamist terrorism. For one thing, more Belgians have left Europe to enlist with Islamic State per capita than from any other country. Belgian law enforcement is overwhelmed by the volume of open terrorism investigations. The some 300 Belgians estimated to have fought in Islamist ranks in Syria have made Belgium a focus of concern in France and other neighbors over its security capabilities.
Col Kemp: Europe faces most dangerous terror threat in history
Jihadis operate from within growing Muslim communities that are often unwilling to turn them in and oppose measures to combat radicalisation.
With terrorists inspired and directed by an IS emboldened by the West's weak response, Europe now faces the most dangerous terrorist threat in its history.
Attacks are increasingly likely. The answer is not more and more security checks and disruption to travellers.
We must undermine IS by a serious campaign to crush it. We must change the law to deny freedom of return and travel to European citizens who have fought overseas.
We must curb the flow of immigrants to a level where proper checks can be carried out and suspects excluded.
And we must make Muslim communities in our countries less hospitable to terrorists.
- Colonel Richard Kemp is the former head of Cabinet Office International Terrorism Intelligence Team
Israel recently warned Belgium of lax airport security — report
Israel reportedly warned Belgian officials of the numerous security failings at the Brussels airport weeks before a series of deadly bomb blasts ripped through the site on Tuesday.
Israeli security officials tasked with assessing safety measures at various international airports that operate flights to Tel Aviv found “significant shortcomings” at Zaventem Airport, Channel 2 reported Wednesday.
The report came amid widespread criticism of Belgium’s approach to immigration and security and reports that Brussels officials had specific information about the planned attacks.
On Wednesday, Turkey revealed that Brussels attacker Ibrahim El Bakraoui was detained and deported back to Europe last year.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Belgian authorities failed to confirm the suspect’s jihadist links and released him despite Ankara’s warnings that he was “a foreign fighter.”
Brussels attack: Belgium must 'tighten security instead of eating chocolate and enjoying life,' says Israeli minister
Belgium must improve its security instead of just “eating chocolate and enjoying life,” an Israeli minister has reportedly said.
Yisrael Katz, currently serving as both minister for transport and intelligence, made the comments in an interview with Israel Radio shortly after a number of bombings in Brussels which are believed to have killed at least 31 people and injured more than 200 others.
On Tuesday, terror group Isis claimed responsibility for two explosions at Brussels Airport and one at Maalbeek Metro station.
The Jerusalem Post reports that Mr Katz said of the terror attacks: “If in Belgium they continue eating chocolate and enjoying life, and continue to appear as great democrats and liberals, and not decided that some Muslims in their country are [organising] terror, they won’t be able to fight them.”
Nava Boker, of the Likud party, said: “Belgium must close its borders immediately, eject from itself inciters and stop Muslim immigration into the country.”
Brussels bombers planned nuclear explosion
The two terrorist brothers who conducted joint suicide bombings on Brussels' Zaventem Airport this Tuesday apparently planned to bomb a Belgian nuclear plant and cause a nuclear explosion, according to reports Thursday.
The Belgian La Derniere Heure revealed that Ibrahim and Khalid El Bakraoui had filmed the chief of the Belgian nuclear program with cameras hidden in bushes outside of his house in Flanders. The nuclear chief had been tracked and followed by the terrorists for a long time.
Police back in December seized the footage during a raid shortly after the Islamic State (ISIS) Paris attacks in which 130 people were murdered. The ten hours or so of video was found in the apartment of Mohammed Bakkali, another suspect in the same ISIS terror cell.
Apparently the terrorists planned to kidnap the nuclear chief and use him to gain entrance to the country's nuclear power plants, where they likely intended to detonate the reactors and cause a nuclear explosion.
Brothers Involved In Brussels Attack Were Arrested Last Week
The two brothers involved in the Tuesday terror attack in Brussels, Belgium were both detained in a police raid last week on suspected ISIS members in the city.
Khalid El Bakraou detonated a suicide vest within the city’s metro transit system and his brother, Ibrahim, carried out the attack at the airport. The rush hour attacks left at least 31 dead and 270 injured.
Ibrahim was also arrested in June of 2015 and then deported a month later in July. Belgium was notified that Ibrahim was captured in a police operation to find terror suspects.
The Belgian media outlet reported they were arrested in relation to a shootout in the Forest neighborhood of Brussels. Mohamed Belkaid, an Algerian illegal immigrant residing in the city, was killed in that shooting last week. Next to his body was an ISIS flag and an AK-47.
Report: ISIS Trained At Least 400 Attackers to Terrorize Europe
Terror group ISIS has reportedly trained more than 400 fighters operating in cells to launch attacks targeting Europe.
The Associated Press, citing European and Iraqi intelligence officials and a French lawmaker, reported that the terror group behind the attacks in Paris and, most recently, Brussels has trained between 400 and 600 operatives to carry out external attacks. The officials indicated that the fighters were trained in camps located in Syria, Iraq, and possibly the former Soviet bloc.
The report comes one day after the coordinated attacks in Brussels, which killed at least 31 people and wounded some 250 others at the international airport in Zaventem and metro station in Maelbeek.
A European security official said that the attack units appear to be led by French speakers with connections to North Africa, France, and Belgium.
Art Fair to Be Held in the Fall at Brussels Jewish Museum, Site of 2014 Terrorist Attack, Will Proceed as Planned Despite Airport, Subway Bombings, Director Says
An art fair in Belgium that is scheduled to take place at the country’s Jewish Museum will proceed as planned despite Tuesday’s deadly bombings in Brussels, the event’s director said.
The 2016 Brussels’ Accessible Art Fair will be held Sept. 22-25 at the Jewish Museum of Belgium, the site of a terrorist shooting in 2014, which left four people dead. The fair will showcase work and performances by 60 artists, and will mark the museum’s reopening, according to The Art Newspaper.
Following the 2014 attack, the museum closed its doors for four months, and has not been fully open to the public since then.
Art Fair director Stephanie Manasseh said the triple bombing attacks in Belgium, which left at least 34 people dead and more than 200 wounded, will not discourage her from going ahead with event.
Belgians Used Israeli Facebook App to Notify Families of their Safety After Terror Attack
The Israel-developed Facebook app Safety Check helped users let friends and family know that they were safe following the deadly attacks in Belgium on Tuesday. At least 34 people were murdered and scores of others wounded in back-to-back bombings of the Brussels airport and subway.
The current version of the social network tool, which was also used during November’s terrorist attacks in Paris, was developed at the Tel Aviv headquarters of Facebook Israel.
Around 4.1 million people used the Safety Check app in Paris. The app was also used in Nepal after a deadly earthquake in April 2015.
In 2011, Facebook Japan introduced the prototype of Safety Check, called Disaster Message Board, after the earthquake and tsunami that year. The technology was then sent for full development to the Israeli R&D team.
“Facebook has become like a public square, used by over a billion people, so being able to leverage the platform to enable people to receive reassurance that their loved ones are safe is something we are very proud to be a part of,” Facebook Israel Director of Engineering Roi Tiger said at a press conference following the Paris attacks.
MEMRI: Arab Press Reactions To The Brussels Attacks: Blaming The West, Enemies In The Region For The Spread Of Global Terrorism
The March 22, 2016 terror attacks in Brussels triggered a wave of condemnation from all Arab and Islamic countries, which stressed their opposition to terrorism. However, the condemnations and articles in the Arab press also highlighted the attempts, on the part of every country and every regional bloc, to place the blame for the attacks on their respective opponents in the region, while accusing the West of supporting this particular opponent.
Thus, for example, the Syrian regime of President Bashar Al-Assad, and Hizbullah, both stated that the terrorism afflicting Europe was the same terrorism that is targeting Syria. They said that the responsibility for the spread of global terrorism lies with Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, as well as with the U.S. and the other Western countries that support them. On the other hand, the Saudi press and opponents of the Assad regime accused Iran and the Assad regime – in addition to the West, for turning a blind eye to their actions.
Meanwhile, articles in the official Egyptian press blamed the main opponent of the Al-Sisi regime there – the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) – as well as European countries that they say have supported the MB in recent years despite Egypt's warnings. The Palestinian press, for its part, blamed the West for encouraging global terrorism by supporting Israeli policy and by failing to implement international resolutions on the Palestinian issue.
'How do you teach?' Muslim children 'celebrate' after hearing of Brussels attacks in class
Ivar Mol said Muslim children clapped their hands in both the Belgium capital and in the city of Antwerp after learning of the Islamic State (ISIS) attack.
He tweeted: "How do you teach when there is applause from the Muslim children in your class?"
He also posted the hashtag #zaventem, a reference to the suicide bomb attack at Brussels airport.
The yoga teacher later received a visit from the police after making the claims.
During an interview, he said: “They told me they were ordered by the mayor, and there was a lot of pressure on the town.
“They asked why I had sent the tweet.
“It was kind of a warning, be careful about what you put on the internet.”
UK media bigotry of low expectations? Selective outrage over Brussels terror comments
The failure of journalists to report these outrageous comments is part of a larger pattern of double standards.
Though offensive comments by Israeli officials are often immediately seized upon by British media outlets, they almost universally fail to inform news consumers of the steady stream of antisemitic, pro-terror propaganda emanating from PA officials and the state-controlled media.
Additionally, if you follow the twitter feeds of many journalists working for UK news outlets, you similarly find a huge disparity in outrage over ‘ugly’ comments by Israel and Palestinian leaders.
This represents another example of the Western tendency not to hold Palestinians accountable to the same standard of morality as they do Israelis – what’s been termed the “bigotry of low expectations“, a dynamic which continues to profoundly distort British media coverage of the region.
BBC News website flip-flops on description of Brussels attacks as terrorism – part two
In other words, the BBC edited the word terror out of that reference to attacks it accurately described at the time and subsequently as terrorism.
On March 23rd the BBC News website published a report titled “Brussels attacks: Belgium mourns amid hunt for suspect” which was promoted on the BBC News (World) Twitter account.
However, minutes before that Tweet went out, the same article had been promoted in an earlier one which was apparently deleted.
The BBC of course knows full well that the premeditated and coordinated attacks in Brussels were acts of terrorism and that the people who executed them are terrorists. That fact is still reflected in some of its many reports on the events but the removal of the word terror from other reports indicates once again that the corporation has real difficulty distinguishing between the means and ends of violent attacks on civilians and that its inconsistent employment of the term terror hinges on political judgements.
The Atlantic brand denies Israel faces terror attacks
CityLab, which belongs to the popular magazine The Atlantic, published an article in response to Tuesday's Brussels attack entitled "Beyond Brussels: 8 Other Cities Were Attacked by Terrorists in March."
Despite the author's declared intention of showing concern for all terror victims around the world, she pointedly ignores all attacks that occurred in Israel and downplayed the choice of Israeli targets.
The list includes attacks in Mali, Istanbul, Nigeria, Ankara, Ivory Coast, and two in Pakistan.
During the same period of time Israel has suffered 13 separate attacks, while many more attempted attacks were foiled by security forces at the last minute. Even though tiny Israel witnessed more terror attacks than the rest of the list combined, CityLab chose not to acknowledge any of them.
Even within its selective list, the author turned a blind eye towards Israeli suffering. Turkish media reported that Saturday's bomber in Istanbul targeted Israelis, who made up three of the five dead. He followed them from their hotel, then approached them before setting off his bomb.
Soldier moderately hurt in Hebron stabbing; attackers killed
An Israeli soldier was stabbed and moderately injured in the West Bank city of Hebron on Thursday morning.
Two attackers were shot dead by security forces, according to the army.
The wounded soldier was taken to a Jerusalem hospital for treatment, where his condition improved from moderate to fair, a hospital official said.
The Magen David Adom emergency service said the soldier was stable and had not lost consciousness in the immediate aftermath of the attack. He sustained injuries to his upper body, a medic said.
Soldier arrested after shooting disarmed, prone assailant in head
An IDF soldier was arrested Thursday after a video appeared to show him shooting an incapacitated Palestinian assailant who had earlier stabbed an Israeli soldier in Hebron on Thursday morning.
In the video, which was first released on Palestinian social media, the disarmed Palestinian can be seen lying on the ground and barely moving.
The soldier then appears to speak with another soldier, before cocking his weapon and firing at the unarmed Palestinian assailant from a few meters away, hitting him in the head.
The Palestinian was one of two who attacked and moderately wounded an IDF soldier near the Tel Rumeida neighborhood, a tiny enclave of Jewish homes in the predominantly Palestinian city of Hebron.
An unnamed witness told the Palestinian Ma’an news he saw that the soldier walked up and “opened fire at him from zero range.” The witness also indicated the assailant may have still been alive before being shot.
IDF: Soldier shooting unarmed terrorist a ‘serious, atypical’ incident
IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Moti Almoz responds to the video of a soldier apparently shooting an incapacitated Palestinian attacker saying, “The soldier who shot the terrorist was arrested, we’ll need to check how this happened and investigate this in the IDF.”
“It’s a very serious and atypical incident,” he says, noting that not just the arrested soldier, but all other soldiers present, would be investigated.
Jordanian FM to Abbas: Cameras to be installed on Temple in coming days
Jordan on Thursday made it clear to the Palestinian Authority that it was determined to go ahead with its plan to install security cameras at the Temple Mount despite differences between the two sides.
The Jordanian message was relayed to the Palestinians by Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, who flew to Ramallah for a brief visit during which he met with PA President Mahmoud Abbas and several officials about the cameras.
Judeh's visit came days after the Jordanian government announced that the cameras would be installed "in the coming days." The visit also comes amid differences between Jordan and the Palestinians concerning the cameras.
Some Palestinians have expressed reservations about the installation of the cameras, claiming that they could be used by Israel to identify and arrest Palestinians who protest against visits by Jews to the Temple Mount.
In the past week, Palestinian activists in Jerusalem threatened to destroy the cameras under the pretext that they would serve Israel's security interests only.
Grand Mufti urges Muslims to defy 'Israel violations,' visit al-Aksa
Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, has called on Muslims all over the world, especially those living in Jerusalem and Arab Israelis, to make pilgrimage to al-Aksa in order to defend the mosque from Israel's attempts to Judaize it.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Hussein emphasized the importance of visiting al-Aksa these days, in light of "the Israeli measures against the pilgrims arriving to the mosque."
Last week, Israel imposed new restrictions on Palestinian access to al-Aksa, scotching permits for Gazans to visit the mosque. On Monday, Israeli authorities announced that all Palestinian men under the age of 50 are banned from entering the compound during the Purim holiday.
On Wednesday morning, Palestinian media reported on “dozens of settlers breaking into al-Aksa accompanied by massive police forces to celebrate the Purim holiday.”
Israel-Arab society undergoing Islamization, expert says
Radicalization is having an increasing impact on Israeli Arabs who more and more are identifying themselves as Palestinians, according to experts speaking at a conference organized by the Konrad Adenauer program for Jewish-Arab Cooperation in Israel.
“The phenomenon of Arabs joining Islamic State represents the outcome of several causes, with the first being the strengthening of the northern faction of the Islamic Movement,” Elie Rekhess, a top scholar of Arabs in Israel and the current crown visiting professor in Israel Studies at Northwestern University, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday evening.
“The northern faction of the movement is a dogmatic one and the distance to becoming militant is short,” he said.
“It also reflects the frustration and disenchantment of the younger generation with government policies toward the Arab sector, inequality and what they see as discrimination,” added Rekhess, who formerly was a research fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University and head of the Konrad Adenauer program.
"Killing civilians on a bus IS terror"
Micah Avni, son of Richard Lakin, who was murdered in a Palestinian terror attack in October 2015, speaking at UN Human Rights Council in Geneva: "Killing civilians on a bus IS terror. I challenge you [the high commissioner of the UN Human Rights Council] to specifically condemn the murder of my father, Richard Lakin. I challenge you to condemn President Abbas for calling the murderer of my father 'a martyr' and for his hateful incitement to violence."

New taskforce to tackle anti-Israel incitement on social media
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked on Monday announced the formation of a new, interministerial taskforce to fight Palestinian incitement against Israel on social media.
The taskforce will include representatives from the Justice Ministry, Israel Police, Shin Bet security agency, the military, and the State Attorney's Office, who will devise ways to fight online Palestinian incitement to violence and terrorism.
Security officials on the taskforce will monitor and document incitement on social media platforms and give relevant materials to the Justice Ministry, which will then pursue legal measures to have service providers remove them from their websites.
The Justice and Public Security ministries will also review existing international legislation on the matter, with the aim of formulating new legislation against online incitement in Israel. One of the options the legal team will review is whether social media platform operators could be held legally liable for such content.
Arab MK criticized after Palestinian Embassy arranges Romania trip
Officials in Jerusalem were displeased to find that Knesset member Ahmad Tibi organized an upcoming trip to Romania via the Palestinian Embassy in Bucharest, without contacting the Israeli Embassy.
The Foreign Ministry was recently informed of Tibi’s travel arrangements by Romanian authorities, Israel Radio reported on Thursday.
Tibi, of the Joint (Arab) List, defended the trip saying he was invited by representatives of the Palestinian Federation of Romania, and that he hadn’t contacted the local Israeli Embassy because the Knesset Ethics Committee had approved his travel arrangements.
Under parliamentary regulations Any trips abroad taken by MKs that are not organized by the Knesset must by approved by the Ethics Committee.
Diplomatic officials criticized Tibi, saying his trip was a further example of the defiant attitude taken by some Arab MKs regarding Israel.
Egypt Fears ‘Quiet Takeover’ by Iran-Backed Shi’a Islam
The Egyptian government has warned against an alleged Iranian plot to bolster Shi’a Islam in five regions, from which it plans to take over the entire country, Al Masr al Youm newspaper reported.
The investigative report suggested that “foreign efforts” are being made to expand and strengthen Egypt’s 15,000-strong Shi’a population. Most recently, Shi’a television stations have covered the conversion of two Sunni Egyptian women to Shi’a Islam.
Iranian-sponsored Shi’a organizations date back to the 1970s, when President Anwar Sadat maintained cordial relations with Iran’s Shah, the report said. Officials and academics were quoted saying that Iran has targeted five Egyptian regions, stretching from Aswan to the Sudanese border, in a bid to take over the south of the country.
“The Iranian-backed Shi’a ‘creeping takeover’ strategy may turn Egypt into the third Arab country where Shi’ites became a majority, alongside Kuwait and Bahrain,” said Waleed Ismail, a scholar of Shi’a Islam.
WSJ Editorial: Senate Sanctions Bills are “Good Start” to Countering Iranian Missile Program
Bills that aim to place sanctions on Iran due to the continued development of its ballistic missile program are a “good start,” a Wall Street Journal editorial argued on Tuesday.
Past UN Security Council resolutions demanded that Iran “shall not” develop ballistic missiles, but Resolution 2231, which is one of the main components of last year’s nuclear deal, only “calls upon” Iran not to develop them, a loophole allowing it to continue to test-launch missiles that can carry nuclear warheads and strike long-distance targets. With Russia threatening to veto any future UN sanctions to stop Iran’s continued missile development, the bills, sponsored by Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) are “designed to confront Iran on its belligerent behavior,” the Journal wrote. Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the top members of their parties on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, announced on Friday that they were working on a similar, bipartisan sanctions bill.
Citing recent research by Foundation for Defense of Democracies associate fellow Saeed Ghasseminejad, the editorial observed that the ballistic missile program “is deeply intertwined with Iran’s legitimate economy, including the automotive, energy, construction and mining industries.” Therefore, the strategy for countering the program must involve economic sanctions “against all sectors involved in their development.”
Obama Admin Delivered Property to Iran as Part of Secret Détente
The Obama administration has been shipping historical artifacts to Iran since last year as part of a secret détente that also included a taxpayer-funded payment of nearly $2 billion, according to a letter written by the State Department and exclusively obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
Obama administration officials engaged in secret talks with Iran between June 2014 through at least January 2015 over a series of legal claims leveled against the United States by the Islamic Republic, the State Department disclosed in its letter.
“These discussions led to the settlement of claims for architectural drawings, which are now in the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, and for fossils, which are now in the possession of Iran’s Ministry of the Environment, and the parties also discussed the possibility of broader settlements,” the State Department wrote, in response to an inquiry launched in January by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.).
The Obama administration is seeking further settlements with Tehran to transfer assets, according to the State Department.
The administration’s latest admission about the backroom dealings with Iran were offered in response to a broader inquiry launched by Pompeo, who is seeking further information about the Obama administration’s payment of $1.7 billion in taxpayer funds to Iran, which many viewed as a “ransom payment” for Iran’s release of several U.S. hostages in January.
IsraellyCool: “Moderate” Iranian Government Arrests Baha’i Students
Once again, let’s give a cheer for the new, improved, more moderate Iranian regime. It appears that four young Baha’i Iranians, Rouhie Safajoo, Sarmad Shadabi, Tara Houshmand, and Behzad Zabihi, have been arrested for the crime of seeking to attend university. IranWire reports:
After the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, authorities banned Baha’is from studying at universities. Nevertheless, many Baha’is participate in university entrance exams every year. Those who pass the exams are either prevented from registering at university, or are expelled afterwards.
The four Baha’is arrested on March 8 took part in the 2015 Iranian Universities’ Entrance Exams, but authorities refused to release their results. The four sought to redress the matter through official channels. They appealed to the National Testing Organization that runs the exams, and to the Ministry of Science. They filed complaints with the Supreme Administrative Court and the parliament’s Article 90 Committee, which pursues constitutional issues. They had no success. They then wrote their stories on social networks. Now they are under arrest, and their families have not been allowed to visit them.
“They demanded their rights and used peaceful methods to get them,” says Maryam Safajoo, Rouhie’s sister. “But [the authorities] have no tolerance for peaceful methods and letters of grievance.”
Nobel panel pans Rushdie death warrant, 27 years on
The Swedish Academy, which selects the winners of the Nobel Prize in literature, has condemned an Iranian death warrant against British writer Salman Rushdie, 27 years after it was pronounced.
Two members quit the academy in 1989 after it refused to condemn Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini’s fatwa against Rushdie for allegedly blaspheming Islam in his book “The Satanic Verses.” Citing its code against political involvement, the academy issued a statement defending free expression but without explicitly supporting Rushdie.
However, in a statement posted on its website Thursday, the academy for the first time denounced the fatwa and reward money for Rushdie’s death as “flagrant breaches of international law.”
It didn’t specify what prompted its change of heart, but cited state-run Iranian media outlets’ recent decision to raise the bounty by $600,000.
“The fact that the death sentence has been passed as punishment for a work of literature also implies a serious violation of free speech,” the academy said, adding that literature must be free from political control.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Haaretz Slams Netanyahu Over Haman’s Extermination Plot (satire)
The editorial board at Haaretz laced into Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu this morning, accusing him of irresponsible leadership and failure to prevent the ancient extermination plot against the Jews by the ancient Persian vizier Haman in the sixth century BCE.
In what has become almost a ritual, Haaretz found little to recommend Netanyahu’s stewardship of the country, specifically noting that his alienation of allies, hard-line stance on negotiations with the Palestinians, and dismantling of the welfare state over the course of his last seven years in office contributed to an environment in which a high official of the Persian Empire could plot with the king to kill all the Jews in the realm in a single day 2,500 years in the past, and no one would bat an eye.
“Bibi has failed once and for all, and must step down while there is still hope for rebuilding this society along more enlightened lines,” read the editorial, which appeared on the front page. “Not even our American allies, so steadfast for decades, have said a word about Haman and King Ahashverosh explicitly plotting the genocide of Jews across the region two-and-a-half millennia ago. This is the indisputable result of an immature, intrusive, and arrogant campaign by the prime minister to manipulate American politics, and it has backfired. No one in the administration, from President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry on down, has offered even mild criticism of the extermination initiative since Bibi’s controversial speech to Congress a year ago. It is past time for Netanyahu to step aside and hand the reins over to someone with a modicum of political and diplomatic acumen.”
The editors also cited Netanyahu’s tolerance, even sympathy, for the Haredi parties in his bare-majority coalition. “It is not only fitting, but entirely predictable, that such acceptance of bigoted, backward sensibilities all but gave the green light to other nations’ similarly bigoted and backward policies,” they wrote. “What he fails to grasp is that other people’s policies are exclusively in response to our own, and that if we were more accommodating to our neighbors’ preexisting genocidal impulses in the first place, we would not be having this discussion. the prime minister’s fallacious notion that other people, especially in the Middle East, have volition, or can be expected to behave morally, has led to nothing but isolation, economic disaster, and our impending doom.”

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