Monday, May 16, 2016

From Ian:

PMW: Palestinian girl’s hate speech at Red Crescent event: The Jews kill worshippers
In its report on an event for children arranged by the Palestine Red Crescent, Palestinian Authority TV News chose to include a young Palestinian girl’s hate speech demonizing Jews:
Palestinian girl: "Like all the children of Palestine, I do not like the occupation. I am scared of the Jews when they come to our village. They kill worshippers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. They kill our people and imprison small children. It is my right to live in peace, like all children in the world." [Official PA TV, April 18, 2016]
The girl’s libelous statement that Jews “kill” Muslim worshippers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque plaza is an extension of the PA libel that Israel seeks to harm and destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque - a libel the PA has been repeating for years. These two libels, presenting Israelis/Jews as murderers who threaten Al-Aqsa have been used by PA and Fatah leaders as the prime motivating forces behind the recent wave of terror attacks against Israelis, which lasted more than 6 months and in which 34 Israelis were murdered and 452 wounded.
Note that the girl spoke of “Jews,” and not “Israelis.” Her statement echoes many other demonizing statements about Jews as "enemies" and posing a danger to Muslims and the world, as exposed by Palestinian Media Watch. She echoed the PA teaching that the conflict is religious and not territorial. Similar teachings are coming from the top of the PA leadership. Abbas’ advisor, Mahmoud Al-Habbash, has described Jews historically as representing “evil” and “Satan’s project” versus Muslims who represent “good” and “Allah’s project.”

Edgar Davidson: The day the Jews of London and their friends fought back
Today, like so many days in London over the last 10 years, a group of antisemites who go under the laughable guise of 'Palestine supporters' planned to:
- March through the streets of London shouting despicable lies against Israel without being challenged
- Hand out leaflets spewing more lies, hatred and antisemitic blood libels to unwitting Londoners trying to enjoy a day out in the sunshine; and finally
- Lay siege to a modest Jewish Israeli-owned shop with the explicit intention of forcing it out of business, without a murmur of protest against them.
But NOT today. They met their match because, thanks to outstanding work by Yochy Davis, Joseph Cohen and others, Israel supporters had found out their plans and, at short notice, got together an impressive counter demo. And for over 3 hours Israel supporters were right in the faces of the antisemites ensuring that not a single Londoner or tourist heard their lies unchallenged.
It all started when the antisemites gathered in Soho Square and were about to serenade the visitors there trying to have a peaceful lunch with their classic tune "From the river to the sea Palestine will be free". They were greeted first by Ishmael Sali, who they assumed would be joining their hatefest.
The look on their faces was quite something to see when Ishmael pulled out a large Israeli flag, followed by others doing the same. Within seconds the terrorist supporting goons were surrounded by more people with Israel flags (more people in fact than the antisemites) and for the 20 minutes they stayed there singing the Israel supporters drowned out their noise with their own, including with some impressive shofar blowing.
UK: Zionists disrupt and harass peaceful Nakba Day event in London

Edgar Davidson: Read the antisemitic abuse following today's counter demo
I reported earlier on today's counter-demo against an antisemitic 'pro-Palestinian' attempt to spew lies and hatred in London and close down a Jewish-Israeli store. As this video from the anti-Israel agency Russia Today shows, the counter demo was clearly both a surprise and shock to the antisemites who normally have free rein over London's streets.
But just check our the continual stream of antisemitic abuse in the comments on the video. I have captured a few screen shots below:

Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: The "Battle for Succession"
Hamas is convinced that the Palestinian Authority (PA) will never allow elections to take place in the West Bank because of the likelihood that Hamas would win. The PA argues that Hamas will never allow a free election in the Gaza Strip because it does not tolerate any competition.
After Arafat died, Arafatism lived on. The same applies to Mahmoud Abbas. No real changes, if ever, should be expected in the Palestinian attitude towards the conflict with Israel after his departure.
In the Gaza Strip, the Palestinians will continue to be ruled by Hamas, an Islamist movement that has brought nothing but destruction and disaster to Palestinians.
The question of Abbas's successor is thus rather unimportant. The Palestinians will continue to be ruled by dictatorships that do not give a damn about their people.
Ben-Dror Yemini: The Double Nakba
Sunday was the day the Arab world commemorated the Nakba. One can and should participate in the sorrow of those who became refugees and remained so to this very day. They lost their homes and property. They were denied basic human rights. And many of them, because of what is happening in Syria, have become victims once again. Moreover, one must look bravely at history.
In the first half of the 20th century, with the fall of the empires, nation states began to take shape. The Ottoman Empire, which became Turkey, began the process of expelling minorities. It started with the expulsion of the Armenians that turned into a genocide. It continued with a huge wave of population exchanges in Europe and Asia. At least 52 million people went through that experience. That was the norm. Even the Permanent Court of International Justice, the highest international jurisdiction in those years, ruled that it was a proper arrangement. Until the adoption of the Geneva Convention. What was until then considered the norm had suddenly become a war crime.
Calls supporting transfer were also heard from the Zionist movement, but they were fewer compared to those coming from Europe. In any case, Arab opposition to the UN partition plan of November 1947, declarations of destruction and the invasion of Israel immediately after its independence was declared, led to 711,000 Arabs – at the time they were not called Palestinians - becoming refugees. Most of them fled. Some were deported.
Jews also became refugees. Many leaders in the Arab world spoke menacingly of the imminent destruction awaiting the Jews of Palestine and Arab countries if the partition plan was approved. The Arab League passed a resolution that, in practice, turned the Jews into hostages. A series of pogroms against Jews in Arab countries have made it clear that a chapter in history had come to an end. The Jewish minority in the Arab countries, which numbered one million people, was mostly forced to flee. It was the Jewish Nakba.
The Mottle Wolfe Show (PodCast): Nobody Cares About Your Nakba
Nakba, the day that Palestinians want us to feel their pain of not winning the genocidal war the waged in 1948 against the fledgling Jewish State. Also Trump dodges charges of womanizing and impersonating a public relations spokesman.
Apathy, resignation mark Nakba Day in Bethlehem
Manger Square in Bethlehem was crowded with Russian tourists Sunday. A young boy begged for money and tour guides begged to be hired. A Palestinian policeman with an AK-47 slung round his side was directing traffic. “Nakba Day isn’t today,” said a Palestinian man working as a waiter. He was confused, his friend said.
“It’s today I think, but all the events are finished.”
The argument between the two men was symbolic of an apathy across the West Bank on Nakba Day, a day that is central to the Palestinian national movement’s desire for a “right of return” for millions of refugees. The commemoration is traditionally held on May 15th, the date of Israel’s founding, which Palestinians view as a national catastrophe. “I forgot all about it,” a French photojournalist told me from Ramallah.
In years past she had been near the IDF’s Ofer Prison and other locations, but she said the day had almost come and gone without incident.
Arab lawmakers join Nakba Day ceremony at Tel Aviv University
An international peace process is necessary to stop the deteriorating Israeli-Palestinian conflict, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told reporters on Sunday after separately briefing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Arab MKs participated in a “Nakba Day” ceremony at Entin Square in front of the main entrance to Tel Aviv University on Sunday.
The Im Tirtzu NGO held a very loud Zionist counter-demonstration, chanting “Nakba Nonsense,” waving Israeli flags, passing out flyers, and drowning out the “Nakba” ceremony speakers.
They also brought a 4.5-meter inflatable Pinocchio doll.
“You are on the side of the terrorists that kill children!” Im Tirtzu’s CEO, Matan Peleg shouted into the speaker.
A couple of hundred Nakba protesters and a few dozen Zionist counter-protesters were on opposite sides of the square, with security barriers and a strong police presence separating them.
Paul Larudee: The $10,000 Nakba Road Trip Fail
Paul Larudee has been on the outs of the social justice warrior club for quite a while. Even the regressive left knows to keep their distance from the piano tuner from El Cerrito. His ties to the Iranian mullahs, his support of the Syrian butcher Assad, and his endorsements of notorious anti-Semites have contributed to his persona non grata status in the local activist community.
The failure of his Nakba tour surprises nobody. Paul took his show on the road, and it was not a success.
A plea for money from terror apologist Paul Larudee :
Sorry, Paul. Failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on anyones part.
Incidentally, Paul's "nonprofit "Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees EIN 20-5516191 reported over $166,000 in contribution last year. Where could all that money be vanishing to? (h/t Bob Knot)
Bill Clinton’s Palestinian State
While campaigning in New Jersey on Friday for his wife, Bill Clinton was interrupted by a pro-Palestinian heckler. “What about Gaza?” the person yelled. What followed was an interesting exchange with the clearly exasperated former president that says more to inform the current attempts by both the Obama administration and the French to revive Middle East peace talks than it does about Hillary Clinton and what she might do if elected in November.
That Clinton would be heckled about the Palestinians is not a surprise. The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is one of the few issues on which Sanders has not pulled Hillary Clinton to the left. She has tried, often without success, to match Sanders’ enthusiasm for massive expansions of government power and expenditures and new entitlements. But on foreign policy, she has attempted to walk a fine line between the Democratic base’s basic isolationism and her own internationalist/interventionist instincts while noting differences with her rival on temperament and experience rather than on substance. But she has not been shy about drawing strong differences with Sanders on Israel and the Palestinians.
Though she was the “designated yeller” at Prime Minister Netanyahu during President Obama’s first term, Clinton has also tried to position herself as a mainstream supporter of Israel and sharply disagreed with Sanders’ belief in U.S. neutrality and his willingness to spread canards about Israel’s attempts to defend itself against Hamas that have at times exceeded even those of the terrorists when it comes to inaccuracy.
So if Sanders’ fans are going to hound Hillary or her chief surrogate on any clear difference between them, it’s as likely to be about her not being as willing to attack the Jewish state as the Vermont socialist. That’s what happened on Friday but what Bill Clinton said in reply to the heckler’s cracks about Clinton’s unwillingness to join Sanders in condemning Israel was significant because it brought up something that is rarely discussed in the mainstream media coverage of the Middle East: Palestinian rejectionism.
Israel thanks Norway for saying aid won’t go to imprisoned terrorists
Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold thanked Norway on Sunday for stating that it will not transfer money to the Palestinian Authority that will be used to support convicted terrorists or their families.
Gold expressed “Israel’s appreciation” to Norwegian Ambassador Jon Hanssen-Bauer over the decision made by Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende, according to a statement by Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon.
“It is outrageous that killing Israelis has become a source of income for many in the PA. This completely contradicts what peace is all about. These payments incentivize terrorism and must be stopped,” Gold said, according to the statement.
Earlier this month, Brende met with PA President Mahmoud Abbas and brought up the issue. Abbas told Brende that none of Norway’s aid contribution was going to terrorists or their families.
The UN's deafening silence after hateful statements against Israel
As Jews around the world and in Israel prepared to commemorate the Holocaust this month, a disturbing narrative was being broadcast at the United Nations.
Speaking to the press, Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour invoked the resistance fighters of the Warsaw Uprising, equating the Israeli government to the genocidal Nazi regime.
The deafening silence of the UN Secretary General, the European Union, and US Ambassador Samantha Power, among others, evidently served to encourage the proliferation of more hateful statements, when, days later, Venezuela’s U.N.'s Ambassador Rafael Ramirez suggested that Security Council members ask themselves whether Israel was planning a "Final Solution" against the Palestinian people.
After criticism by a few U.N. member states, Ambassador Ramirez released an apology for his libelous statements on May 11th that further inflamed tensions by invoking the ages-old meme of a "lobby" (code for Jewish lobby) that was "manipulating" his remarks.
Cruz: Congress Should Boost Funding for Israel’s Ballistic Missile Defense
Congress must do more to fund Israel’s missile defense systems due to Iran’s continued development of ballistic missiles and its commitment to destroy Israel, Sen. Ted Cruz (R – Texas) wrote in The New York Times on Friday.
Cruz, who recently suspended his campaign for the Republican nomination for president, criticized the Obama administration for failing to fund the David Sling and Arrow-3 anti-ballistic missile systems, which are being jointly developed with the United States.
Noting that Iran has continued to provoke and threaten the United States and Israel, Cruz observed:
The mullahs’ policy is, by their own admission, unchanged. It is the same one that inspired the so-called revolutionaries of 1979 to take 52 Americans as hostages for 444 days, and motivated murderous attacks on Israelis and Americans from Buenos Aires to Beirut to Baghdad over the subsequent decades. The only thing that is changing now is the potential scale of this violence, as they seek to replace truck bombs and roadside explosive devices with the most destructive weapons on the planet and the means to deliver them.
American Islamic Reformer: Crucial to Provide Third Path for Palestinians Faced With ‘Fascist’ Fatah and Hamas
“We have to tap into Muslims’ consciences and to tell them that they have an Islamic responsibility to protect the land that they live in, by countering the ideas that radicalize and hate the West. Among the Palestinians in Israel, It’s that much more important to empower reformists, because they have two extremes – Fatah and Hamas – each fascist in many ways, and there is no third pathway for rejecting both,” a prominent American Muslim said on Thursday.
Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and author of A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot’s Fight to Save His Faith, made these comments while addressing a gathering of the Gatestone Institute, a New York-based think tank specializing in strategy and defense issues.
To hit his point home, Jasser said, “Contrast the Palestinians with the Kurds,” he said. “Why have the Kurds not been radicalized? Because the Kurdish identity has provided a secular fuel for comfort, which has never given space to the Islamist identity. The Palestinian identity has been hijacked by the Islamist radicals, which is why Palestinians living in Israel I’ve spoken to say they much prefer to live in Israel than in Hamas-controlled Gaza and the areas of the West Bank controlled by the Palestinian Authority. And why is that? Because there has been no effective Muslim counter-information offensive in those areas to tell Palestinians: ‘It is your fault, not the Israelis’, that you are in your current situation.’”
In his talk — titled “Who Are the Real Blasphemers?” — Jasser said, “We have to find Muslims willing to fight to the death for ideas they don’t agree with,” referring to the famous quote by Voltaire’s biographer.
Illegal, EU-funded Arab buildings dismantled in E1
The IDF Civil Administration on Monday morning dismantled and seized seven portable structures and other building parts that had not yet been assembled in E1, a strategic corridor connecting Jerusalem with Ma'ale Adumim to the east.
The structures were set up illegally without permits apparently in the last several days, in the latest Arab land grab attempt in the key region.
Jerusalem Belt Forum praised the law enforcement, saying, "we welcome the (Civil) Administration for its enforcement activity this morning."
"At the same time, we are witnesses in recent days to a phenomenon in which the Palestinians and the European Union show contempt for the law and rush to build anew at the site of evacuated structures," said the Forum.
"We call on the Civil Administration not to make do with cosmetic activities, but rather to speed up law enforcement in a massive way against the hundreds of houses built illegally throughout the area."
ADL to recognize Ottoman Empire’s massacre of Armenians as ‘genocide’
The massacre of 1.5 million Armenians in the early years of the 20th century was “unequivocally genocide,” the head of the Anti-Defamation League said.
His added that his organization will support US recognition of the Armenian Genocide, a move the civil rights group resisted for many years.
ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt on Friday staked out the ADL’s strongest position on the subject in his blog post for Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel, ahead of the organization’s national convention that began Sunday in Washington, D.C. Greenblatt tied the events to the Holocaust.
“Let me be crystal clear: …What happened in the Ottoman Empire to the Armenians beginning in 1915 was genocide,” he wrote.
“We believe that remembering and educating people about any genocide – Armenian, the Holocaust, Bosnia, Rwanda and others is a necessary tool to prevent future tragedies,” he also wrote.
Stabbing attack in Jerusalem: One Israeli wounded, suspect apprehended
A Palestinian terrorist stabbed and lightly wounded an Israeli man on Ha'nevi'im Street in Jerusalem on Monday.
The terrorist, a resident of the West Bank, was apprehended by police.
The victim, described as a haredi youth, was treated by paramedics on the scene, before being transported to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in the capital for further treatment.
National Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld stated that police who were stationed in the area heard yelling on Ha'Nevi'im Street in the direction of Damascus Gate.
Upon approaching they saw the suspect stabbing a Jewish man before fleeing the scene. The suspect tossed away his knife while running from police.
Police apprehended the man after a short chase and took him into custody.
Jesus’s baptismal site, long sealed off, to be cleared of landmines
Qasr al-Yehud, the site where many Christian traditions believe Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, will soon be cleared of some 4,000 landmines and other ordnance left over from the 1967 war and its aftermath.
The move, announced Monday, aims to allow pilgrims to visit areas inaccessible for nearly 50 years, blocked off by barbed wire fences intended to keep visitors from walking too close to the minefields.
Part of the site, located southeast of Jericho in the West Bank north of the Dead Sea, was cleared in 2011, allowing limited access for pilgrims and tourists, thousands of whom now visit the location each year, especially during the Epiphany holiday in January.
The mine-clearing project will be carried out by HALO Trust, a UK-based demining group that operates in 19 places around the world and has worked in the past to clear mines elsewhere in the West Bank.
The initiative has won the approval of both Israeli and Palestinian officials — a rare instance of agreement in the usually fractious relationship between Israel and the Palestinian Authority over Israeli-administered tourist and holy sites in the West Bank — and is eagerly backed by Christian denominations who see the location, an Israel-designated national park, as a holy site.
Shin Bet: Hamas bringing weapons, rocket-making material into Gaza
Salim Jamal Hassan Naman, a resident of the al-Shati refugee camp, admitted to interrogators that he’d been involved in a naval smuggling operation for some time and had helped bring in weaponry and “materials used in the production of rockets, like fiberglass resin,” the security service said.
The Shin Bet accused Hamas of “taking advantage” of a recent change in policy concerning the blockade on the coastal Strip. In April, the Defense Ministry extended the permitted distance from the coast for Gazan boats to nine nautical miles, up from the previous six miles.
Naman, 39, was picked up by IDF sailors in April after his boat “deviated from the approved sailing area,” the Shin Bet wrote in a statement.
After his arrest, Naman was handed over to the Shin Bet for further questioning, where he provided his interrogators with information regarding Hamas’s smuggling operations and attack strategies.
Though Naman was most closely affiliated with the Hamas terror organization, he told investigators the smuggling ring brought weapons to a variety of terror groups in the beleaguered Gaza Strip, the Shin Bet said.
He also gave additional information on the terror group’s methods of using dedicated smugglers as well as Gaza fishermen to bring contraband to and from Egypt.
Palestinian Authority claims Arab majority by 2020
A report published by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics on Sunday in honor of “Nakba Day” – a day of mourning marking the establishment of the Jewish state – offers the Palestinian Authority’s reckoning of the Palestinian Arab population both in Israel, and worldwide.
According to the report, there were 12.4 million Palestinian Arabs worldwide, a nearly nine-fold increase since 1948. Of the more than 12 million claimed by the Palestinian Authority, more than 6.1 million live abroad, mostly in the Middle East.
In what the report refers to as “historic Palestine” – Israel, Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip – the Palestinian CBS claims that there are some 6.3 million Palestinian Arabs, nearly equal to the total number of Jews living in the same area.
Of those 6.3 million, more than 2.9 million living in Judea and Samaria, along with nearly 1.9 million in Gaza, and more than 1.5 million inside the State of Israel.
The report also claims that by the year 2020 there will be more than 7.1 million Palestinian Arabs living between the Jordan River and Mediterranean, surpassing the number Jews in the region.
But some demographers have called the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics methodology, suggesting that the center inflates figures to perpetuate claims of a demographic threat against Israel.
Palestinians forced to pay $3,000 bribes to cross into Egypt: report
Egypt last week opened its border with Gaza for a brief 48-hour window after an 85-day closure.
Palestinians seeking to pass through the Rafah border crossing from the Gaza Strip into Egypt last week were forced to pay up to $3,000 bribes to make it onto the priority list to cross during the 48 hour window that the border was open.
Mustafa al-Sawaf, a Gaza based journalist close to Hamas, said that some Palestinians who wished to cross had to pay up to $3,000 in bribes to be allowed to cross, and those who couldn't pay were turned back, journalist Khaled Abu Tomeh reported.
Last Wednesday, Egypt opened its border with Gaza for 48 hours after 85 days of closure meant to prevent smuggling and the movement of Islamists in the Sinai Peninsula.
More than 25,000 Palestinians with "urgent needs" registered and waited to cross, the Palestinian Ma'an news agency said, quoting authorities in Gaza. Some 3,500 of these people were said to be seeking medical treatment.
The huge volume of people who wanted to cross into Egypt could not be processed accordingly and Gaza’s Ministry of Interior then had to evaluate which people had the most urgent need to cross, said Ma'an.
Egypt disconnects last power line, southern Gaza blacked out
Southern Gaza is in a total electricity blackout, and even the Palestinian Authority news outlet Maan admits it's not Israel's fault.
Though reports of electricity shortages in Gaza are generally accompanied by unjustified finger-pointing at Israel for the situation, today's report by Maan barely mentioned Israel at all. Instead, it implied – though did not say it straight out – that the responsibility for the new situation lies squarely on the shoulders of Egypt.
The last power line from Egypt to Gaza was disconnected on Saturday, Maan reported, without specifying clearly who did the disconnecting. A full electric blackout is now in effect in the areas of Rafah, on the Gaza-Egypt border, and the city of Khan Yunis - adjacent to the former site of N'vei Dekalim, the largest town in what was the Jewish block of Gush Katif.
The smaller towns of Gadid and Gan-Or were also located within firing distance of Khan Yunis, and in fact often suffered rocket attacks from that city.
Gaza’s electricity company announced that the two lines that fed electricity from Egypt to southern Gaza, at a capacity of 20-24 megawatts, have now been completely disconnected by Egypt. The first one was disabled two weeks ago, leading to rationing of "six hours on, 12 hours off" for all districts in Gaza.
Can Assad keep crossing the ‘red line’?
The Obama administration has another chance to enforce its botched “red line” against the use of chemical weapons in Syria, given new reports that President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has used nerve gas against extremist fighters and may be planning more such attacks.
President Obama’s decision not to retaliate against Assad’s use of chemical weapons in 2013 has become an emblem of his larger foreign policy, which critics say hasn’t been forceful enough in Syria and other places. Obama justified his restraint by citing the diplomatic agreement that was brokered by the United States and Russia to destroy Syria’s chemical arsenal. But new Israeli reports question whether Assad has complied.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz, apparently relying on a government source, reported May 2 that Assad’s forces used sarin gas last month against Islamic State fighters after they attacked two Syrian air force bases east of Damascus. Stockpiles of this deadly gas were supposed to have been removed from Syria in 2014.
Given the international silence, Israeli officials are said to fear that Assad will keep striking with the banned weapons. “With the continuation of fighting in Syria, it is reasonable to assume that the regime won’t hesitate to use these weapons again, especially after already having done so . . . without any reaction,” an Israeli source told me.
The alleged use of sarin is another sign that Assad appears ready to breach any diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the war. In recent weeks, his forces, backed by Russia, have struck a pediatric hospital in Aleppo run by Doctors Without Borders and a U.S.-backed humanitarian group in Idlib called Syria Civil Defense.
Chemical weapons have become part of “the new normal” in Syria, according to a report in February by the Syrian American Medical Society. The group said that in 2015, there were 69 chemical weapons attacks in Syria, mostly chlorine bombs dropped by Assad’s air force.
Wave of Iranian Volunteer Soldiers in Syria Causing Further Destabilization
Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad has increasingly relied on Iranian volunteers to maintain his rule, which is only exacerbating sectarian strife in the Middle East, a report in Foreign Policy on Thursday documented.
The report centered on Asghar and Abbas Abyari, a father and son who were both members of Iran’s Basij militia. Both Abyari men wanted to volunteer to fight in Syria, having been told that they would be protecting Shiite religious sites. “We knew then that [Sunni rebels] would attack other shrines and holy sites that are respected by Muslims and Christians,” Asghar said. “We felt that if we didn’t defend these places, nobody would be safe, and they would make a government that would spread this cancer to the entire world.”
The call to protect Shiite shrines is a strong one, prompting “devout Shiites lured by the promise of martyrdom…to fight a war that they regard as their religious duty,” the article explained. Many enlistees believe that non-Sunni communities in Syria are at risk.
While Iran’s military involvement was originally only in an advisory role, the need for volunteers has increased as the civil war has devolved. An Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps general who spoke to Foreign Policy said that Iranian troops used to only go Syria as “strategic advisors,” but as the war progressed, Iran started sending “tactical” advisors. As many as 700 Iranians have died fighting in Syria, according to some sources. Afghans and Pakistanis have also been pressured by Iran to fight on behalf of Assad.
Inside the Pro-Iran ‘Echo Chamber’
A White House-allied group funded a private email listserv that pushed out pro-Iran talking points and anti-Israel conspiracy theories to hundreds of influential policy experts, government officials, and journalists during the Iran nuclear debate.
The contents of the invite-only listserv, obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, could give a glimpse inside the “echo chamber” used by White House aide Ben Rhodes and allied lobbying groups to promote the administration’s nuclear deal with Iran.
Members of the list included an Obama White House adviser, senior officials at the State Department, journalists for the New York Times and the Washington Post, and fellows at prominent think tanks.
The email forum, known as “Gulf/2000,” was originally created by Columbia University professor and former Jimmy Carter aide Gary Sick in 1993.
Since 2010, Gulf/2000’s operations have been funded by the Ploughshares Fund, a group that worked closely with the White House to promote the Iran nuclear deal.
In a New York Times article earlier this month, President Obama’s foreign policy advisor Ben Rhodes said the Ploughshares Fund was part of the administration’s spin operation to sell the public on the agreement.

The forum is also littered with conspiracy theories about the Israeli government and foreign affairs. In one post, retired journalist Richard Sale claimed the CIA told him that pro-Israel Christian groups were “secretly funded by Mossad.” In another, Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich speculated that the Iranian-backed bombing of the 1994 AMIA Jewish community center was actually a false flag operation by the Argentine government to cover up its complicity with the Nazis.
On March 5, 2014, the day the Israeli military announced it had intercepted an Iranian shipment of advanced rockets to Gaza, the news was greeted with typical suspicion in the forum.
“Call me a cynic, but it does seem like amazingly fortuitous timing: just when the IAEA have resisted Israel’s call to publish the claims (probably) Israel leaked, and while Bibi is tub-thumping to AIPAC in Washington ,”
wrote James Spencer, a blogger for LobeLog.
UNESCO condemns Iran's Holocaust cartoon contest
UNESCO, the UN’s cultural body, on Sunday strongly condemned the “Second International Holocaust Cartoon Contest”, which opened in Tehran over the weekend.
The contest features, among others, entries deriding Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his government's Middle East policies.
But the organizers of the exhibition have denied that it is meant to deny the Holocaust, and Iran’s government has distanced itself from the contest, which Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said was organized by a non-governmental organization without any support from the authorities.
Nevertheless, UNESCO chief Irina Bokova condemned the contest and said in a statement, "Such an initiative which aims at a mockery of the genocide of the Jewish people, a tragic page of humanity's history, can only foster hatred and incite to violence, racism and anger."
"This contest goes against the universal values of tolerance and respect, and runs counter to the action led by UNESCO to promote Holocaust education, to fight anti-Semitism and denial,” she continued.
Israeli Satire of ISIS Performing at Eurovision Song Contest Explodes on Social Media (VIDEO)
Though Israel did not emerge victorious in Saturday night’s Eurovision song contest in Stockholm, the country’s most famous TV satirists came up with a winning skit, ostensibly performed by Islamic State terrorists.
Eretz Nehederet (a wonderful country), a weekly political satire program on Israel’s Channel 2, created the mock ISIS entry, which is garnering viral attention — hundreds of thousands of views — and lots of laughs on social media.
In English, with Hebrew subtitles, the clip opens with a French-accented “host” introducing the ISIS medley. “Good evening,” she says. “In the Eurovision, we always want more of everything – more songs, more unnecessary stages, more countries. And this year, we are welcoming another new member to the competition: the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, known as ISIS, who sent us their band, ABBU, with the song, “Boomzi Boom, Boomzi Bam.” (h/t Elder of Lobby)
ISIS at the Eurovision

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