Saturday, October 01, 2016

From Ian:

Security guard shot by gunman in attack on Moscow synagogue
A security guard at a Moscow synagogue was wounded Saturday evening when a man armed with a gun and a gasoline canister attempted to break into the Jewish institution and set it alight, Russian media reported.
Initial reports said the guard was in critical condition after being shot in the head and chest while trying to stop the assailant from entering the Choral Synagogue.
The attacker was arrested by police, according to media reports.
A rabbi at the synagogue said the assailant arrived during a Sabbath prayer service, when about 150 worshipers were inside, and asked to meet Moscow Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, Ynet news reported. Several security guards then took him across the street, at which point he shot one of them.
Double Standards for Aleppo and Gaza
Israeli efforts to minimize civilian casualties go unreported or even ignored by the press, and Israel instead finds itself regularly judged in the court of public opinion, which is led by a lazy or hostile media.
So Israel is subjected not only to a different standard than the deplorable militaries of Syria and Russia, but even to a different standard than other Western militaries.
If and when the Syrian conflict comes to an end, will anyone be held to account for what certainly appear, at face value, to be genuine war crimes? Will there be a UN investigation and a Goldstone-style report? Will the International Criminal Court issue indictments? Given Russian involvement and the lack of American global power projection, it is unlikely that anyone will be held to account.
The next time open conflict between Israel and Hamas breaks out, will the parameters of judgment have changed as a result of the carnage in Aleppo and other parts of Syria? Or will Israel continue to be held to a standard of behavior unlike any other military in the world?
The likelihood is that nothing will have changed when it comes to how Israel is treated, and we will be left to conclude that, ultimately, the world will be outraged by Israel defending itself and its citizens irrespective of how ethically it behaves.
Bystanders to Genocide
The essay was titled “Bystanders to Genocide.” Ms. Power later expanded the article into a book, “A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide,” for which she was widely praised. Barack Obama read the book and promoted her rise in government.
Fast forward to the present, and Ms. Power can sound like those officials she once scolded for thinking they were doing everything they could given the complexities of the situation.
“Well, Syria is a very complex picture,” Ms. Power told CBS earlier this month. “There are thousands of armed groups. The question again of what military intervention would achieve, where you would do it, how you would do it in a way where the terrorists wouldn’t be the ones to take advantage of it—this has been extremely challenging. But the idea that we have not been doing quote anything in Syria seems absurd. We’ve done everything short of waging war against the Assad regime and we are, I should note, having significant success against ISIL on the ground.”
Ms. Power’s list of achievements in Syria might seem grimly funny to the more than 10 million Syrians driven from their homes in the civil war and the families of its 400,000 dead, most killed by the Assad regime. The starving residents of Aleppo and other besieged Syrian cities also know that until last week the Obama Administration was eager to team up with the Russians—going so far as to share critical battlefield intelligence—so they could jointly attack Islamic State targets, thereby further freeing the Assad regime to do its dirty work. Another stab at U.S.-Russian cooperation hasn’t been ruled out.
President Obama bears ultimate responsibility for doing so little to stop the five-year Guernica that is Syria, and we don’t know what Ms. Power’s private policy advice has been. But in public she has become an echo of the officials she once denounced for justifying American inaction in the face of mass slaughter. The honorable decision would be to resign.

Europe's New Media Darlings: Terrorists
The Western press loves Barghouti and even tries to compare him to Nelson Mandela, in articles such as "The Question of Barghouti: Is He a Mandela or an Arafat?" (Time); "A Mideast Mandela" (Newsweek) and "A Nelson Mandela for the Palestinians" (New York Times).
Twenty French cities, such as Vitry-sur-Seine, La Verrière and Montataire, have granted honorary citizenship to this terrorist and plastered their streets with his disgraceful name. The Jeu de Paume National Gallery in Paris hosted an exhibition calling Palestinian suicide bombers "martyrs." The exhibit "Death", by photographer Ahlam Shibli, featured Palestinian suicide bombers with captions that promote the jihadist agenda of glorifying their deaths.
Bezons, an urban conglomerate just 10 kilometers from Paris, was also the first French town officially to include among its honorary citizenship the Palestinian terrorist, Majdi Rimawi, who planned and carried out the assassination of Israel's Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi in 2001. Rimawi, who sits in an Israeli prison, was immortalized in a plaque prepared by the city of Bezons in 2013, which labels the terrorist as a "political prisoner."
The mayor of Bezons, Dominique Lesparre, held a public speech in which he called Rimawi a "victim." In the official document issued by Bezons City Hall, entitled "Prisonnier et citoyen d'honneur," the fact that Rimawi is a murderer was not even mentioned.
It is such a shame and an irony that terrorists who have killed and ordered the killing of unarmed and innocent Jews, are now being celebrated as Europe's apostles of peace. They are now even the new media darlings.
Can you imagine Italian or French mayors and members of Parliament naming a street after Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, who murdered at least 84 people in Nice on July 14? Or honoring the brothers Salah and Brahim Abdesalem for their attack at the Bataclan Theater in Paris on November 13, 2015, in which 89 people were murdered? Or Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, was linked to nearly every al-Qaeda attack between 1993 and 2003?
Meet the Western Charlatans Justifying Jihad
Why has the philosopher, Michel Onfray, become so popular among the French jihadists fighting in Syria and Iraq? Journalist David Thomson, a specialist in jihadi movements, explained that "Onfray is translated into Arabic and shared on all pro-ISIS sites."
Onfray recognizes that we are at war. But this war, to him, was started by George W. Bush. He "forgets" that 3,000 Americans were killed on September 11, 2001. If you remind him that "ISIS kills innocent people", Onfray will reply: "We have also killed innocent people." It is the perfect moral equivalence between ISIS and the West. Barbarians against barbarians! With his moral relativism, Onfray opens the door to Islamist cutthroats.
The French intellectual Thomas Piketty, after the massacres in Paris, pointed at "inequality" as the root of ISIS's success. Another well-known German philosopher, Peter Sloterdijk, claimed that the September 11 attacks were attacks were just "small incidents".
Famous representatives of European culture also embraced Adolf Hitler's dream. Their heirs now justify jihad as the ultimate punishment for Western freedoms and democracy.
Alan Dershowitz: Shimon Peres, a Leader for All Seasons
Shimon Peres understood the Biblical verse “to everything there is a season.”
When he was a young man working for David Ben-Gurion, he saw that Israel’s very existence was endangered by the surrounding armies of Egypt, Syria, Jordan and other Arabs countries committed to the physical annihilation of the nation-state of the Jewish people. He did more than any other Israeli to prevent that from happening: he developed Israel’s nuclear arsenal, its navy and its military-industrial capacity. In his first book, “David’s Sling,” he described how he went about obtaining the assistance of other countries in allowing Israel to defend itself, using only its own soldiers. Peres would never compromise Israel’s security, even when that meant confronting American leaders who sought such compromise.
But Shimon Peres was also uncompromising in his quest for peace. When Israel became strong enough to defend itself, Peres saw a change in the seasons. He was the first to recognize the reality that a demilitarized Palestinian state would not only be just for the Palestinians, but would be good for the Israelis. He favored peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, and, at the time of his death, he was reaching out to Sunni Muslim states to create a coalition against the common enemy Iran.
Shimon Peres was both a man of principle and of pragmatism. He understood that morality, without the strength to defend it, might cause a repetition of the disaster the Jewish people faced during the 1930s and 1940s, when they lacked the strength to defeat the most immoral force in the history of the world.
Using Peres to Attack Netanyahu
The tone of many of the tributes being heard or published outside of Israel about the passing of Shimon Peres have focused almost entirely on his advocacy for peace. As a column by the New York Times’ Roger Cohen demonstrates, a lot of the honor being heaped on his reputation is intended as a criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—and, implicitly, on the majority of Israeli voters who continue to reject idealistic if naïve belief that optimism about Palestinian intentions or even that of Iran should dictate the Jewish state’s policy choices. Many of those lauding Peres are telling us that, in burying Peres, Israelis are not just saying goodbye to the last of their founding fathers but to the very idea of peace.
This is wrong, not because Peres’s ideals are unworthy of praise, but because it is possible to think well of a man even if the actions for which he is most remembered were a disaster. While both Israelis and Americans are united in mourning Peres, most of the former are paying homage to him in spite of his role as the principal architect of the Oslo Peace Accords; not because of them.
As I noted yesterday, popularity came late to Peres. Recognition of his sincerity and the scope of a lifetime of service to the Jewish state eventually overcame much of the resentment he earned for advocacy of a policy that was a costly failure.
But for many Americans, not least President Obama, Peres became something of a vehicle for their critique of Israel in which its leaders and its people were compared unfavorably to the supposedly more admirable predecessors. This is a theme Obama seemed to be sounding last year in his speech at a Washington synagogue, in which he chided Israelis for not living up to their ideals. From that point of view, the Israel of the present is both too materialistic and too insensitive to the plight of its Arab neighbors to make peace. This is a notion for which Peres, who became a strong advocate of Israel’s efforts to modernize its economy, himself didn’t have much patience. But it also shows how out of touch those who continue to blame Israel for the ongoing conflict are with the reality of the Middle East and, specifically, that of a Palestinian political culture of hate that remains the obstacle to peace.
Shimon Peres’ Funeral, Mahmoud Abbas’ Hypocrisy
Therefore, as far as Abbas is concerned, Peres’ funeral is not a place for grieving, but fertile ground for a show of propaganda. Yes, the head of the PA — who has encouraged his young people to commit “lone-wolf” stabbing, car-ramming and other attacks against Jews for the past year – wants to show his face at a venue where he believes his presence will be noted internationally.
But that’s all for foreign consumption. Back at home in Ramallah, Abbas is busy reassuring his people that he will never make a deal with Israel that doesn’t involve the total capitulation of the Jews. To convey this message, he simply gives his stamp of approval to every expression of Israel-hatred and anti-Semitism in the media outlets over which he has total control.
As the Jerusalem-based research institute Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reported, his official TV station aired an interview on Wednesday with Israeli affairs “expert” Fayez Abbas, who called Peres “the greatest fraud in the history of the Zionist movement… a man that the world undoubtedly loves…the Arab states [also] believed [he] was a man of peace, even though he was the greatest man of war in Israel…”
The next day, according to PMW, Abbas’ Fatah faction posted a cartoon on its Facebook page, depicting a trembling Peres being read a rap sheet of his many “crimes” against humanity by the Grim Reaper, before being sentenced to Hell.
Yes, as the Peres family announced the passing of their loved one, and Abbas was granted permission by Israel to bring four Palestinian officials with him to join world leaders at the funeral, his Fatah underlings were spewing libelous condemnations of the man who championed their cause repeatedly, up until the very last second of his life.
This sums up the “peace process” on which Peres pinned eternal hope.
Abbas Draws Fire From Palestinians for Appearing to Cry at Peres Funeral
An image that appeared to show Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas crying at the funeral of the late Israeli President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem on Friday drew angry responses on Palestinian media outlets and online social networks, the Hebrew news site Walla reported.
“Abbas, what is making you cry?” one Arabic-language tweet read. “Is Peres’ passing so painful?”
“Mahmoud Abbas crying at the funeral of war criminal Simone [sic] Peres who massacred thousands of innocent Lebanese and Palestinian civilians,” an English-language tweet said.
Tel Aviv-based American journalist Gregg Carlstrom took a more humoristic approach, tweeting, “Abbas is either crying, or just remembered he left the stove on.”
According to the Walla report, Abbas’ office later denied the 81-year-old leader had been crying, saying he had been focusing on listening to the translation of a eulogy.
The Palestinian news agency Maan reported that Abbas’ Fatah Party issued a statement saying the PA leader’s attendance at the Peres funeral was part of his duties as president.
Munir al-Jaghoub, the head of Fatah’s media committee, was quoted as saying that Abbas’ participation in the funeral sent a “strong message of Palestinian peace to the world.”
PA security forces officer who criticized Abbas for attending Peres funeral arrested
Palestinian Authority security forces arrested Osama Mansour, an officer in the Palestinian Military Liaison, on Saturday morning, according to Mansour’s family.
Mansour criticized PA President Mahmoud Abbas for attending the funeral of former president Shimon Peres in a Facebook post on Friday.
In his post, Mansour wrote that Peres was the “founder of the settlements,” and was responsible for “the continuation of Palestinian suffering.
“In any case, whether he was or was not a terrorist, or was or was not responsible for the idea of ‘breaking the bones’ of the first intifada, or had or didn’t have a role in the Jenin refugee camp massacre or the Yasmin neighborhood massacre in Nablus, or whether he was or was not connected to the Kana massacre... Who is he [Peres] that you are going to participate in his funeral, while most of your people, who you represent, reject him?” Mansour said.
“If you decide to participate in the funeral of the killer of our people on your own, you will have made a mistake. If you have decided based on the advice of others, then they have misled you.”
Mansour concluded that there should be “no personal or friendly connection with the occupier, as long as its policies against our people continue.”
Report: Shots fired at Abbas's home day after PA president attended Peres funeral
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's Ramallah home was reportedly struck by gunfire Saturday morning, a day after attending former president Shimon Peres's memorial service at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, according to Channel 2 citing Palestinian media reports.
Israeli senior officials and a PA spokesperson, however, denied that such an incident took place.
"It never happened," Israeli authorities told Channel 2 Saturday.
They added that it was most likely due to a Palestinian civilian causing a disruption in the area.
It remains unclear what the exact nature of the incident entailed.
PA official: Abbas has no regrets over attending Peres funeral
A senior Palestinian Authority official said Saturday that PA President Mahmoud Abbas has “no regrets” over his decision to attend the funeral of Shimon Peres on Jerusalem on Friday, despite coming under some criticism for the move.
The unnamed official told Israel Radio that Abbas himself took the decision to attend due to his esteem for the ninth Israeli president, and not because of any external pressure to do so.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shook hands and talked briefly with Abbas before the ceremony, thanking him for coming. Netanyahu didn’t mention Abbas during his eulogy for the former president, who died earlier this week at the age of 93, two weeks after suffering a massive stroke. US President Barack Obama, however, did, saying Abbas’s presence was a reminder of the “unfinished business of peace.”
The Palestinian official said the Palestinians had expected Netanyahu to appreciate the gesture and not ignore it in his eulogy, given its exceptional nature. But, he added, this issue aside the Palestinian delegation had been given a respectful welcome at the service.
Hamas official: Abbas tantamount to a Jew
A top Hamas official said Saturday that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was tantamount to “a Jew” for his participation in the funeral of former president Shimon Peres, Channel 2 News reported.
Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior leader in the Gaza Strip, told Iranian TV: “This man who claims to represent Palestinian public opinion is by religious standards a Jew. For the millionth time: He doesn’t represent us, he is a creation of Israel and I hope he joins Peres in hell.”
There were unconfirmed claims earlier in the day that shots had been fired at Abbas’s Ramallah home in protest of his actions. But Palestinian and Israeli security sources have since said the reports were false and the result of rumors.
At WSJ, After Peres's Death, Truth Remains Elusive
Former Israeli President Shimon Peres’s death on Wednesday caused some predictably bad press coverage. At the Wall Street Journal, in an article separate from its obituary, reporter Rory Jones chose to use the occasion for a gratuitous attack on Israel’s current government (“Decades After Oslo Accords, Peace Remains Elusive”). Jones’s reporting recycles old, debunked tropes about Palestinian frustration leading to violence, and omits important historical context.
He writes, for example,
The last round of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in 2014 and today, the two sides remain at odds over the construction of Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, the release of Palestinians held in Israeli jails and the schism between Fatah and Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.
Of course, this is hardly the full list of issues over which the two sides are at odds. Jones fails to include in this list the incitement to violence that is rife within Palestinian society, a causal factor in the now year-long spate of stabbings, shootings and car rammings. As Prime Minister Netanyahu pointed out only last week, speaking in front of the UN General Assembly, Palestinian schools, television and radio incite Palestinian youth daily.
It is this incitement that, as we also saw just last week, leads to violence, and not, as Jones would have us believe, “frustration” over a failed peace process, or “dismal economic conditions [that] have eroded [the Palestinians’] confidence in their leaders….” The wave of terror began around the time that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told the Palestinian people that “every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem is pure, every shahid [martyr] will reach paradise, and every injured person will be rewarded by God.”
For Peres’s Death, The Washington Post Provides a Platform for Hate
Shimon Peres, one of Israel's founding fathers who served in numerous government roles in his seven decades of service, including prime minister and president, died on Sept. 27, 2016 at the age of 93. Peres's death was met with condolences and expressions of grief from many world leaders. The Washington Post, however, decided to uncritically highlight—in an omission-laden article—expressions of hatred towards the Nobel peace prize laureate who U.S President Barack Obama called the “essence of Israel itself.”
The Post's “To many, a different view of Peres's legacy” (Sept. 29, 2016) by Cairo bureau chief Sudarsan Raghavan, reported that, “While Western leaders mourned the death of Israeli statesman and Nobel laureate Shimon Peres, many in the Arab world reacted with scorn, viewing him as a key architect of destructive Israeli policies toward Palestinians.”
Who are the “many in the Arab world”?

The Post said that the “Palestinian militant group Hamas described Peres as one of ‘the Israeli occupation state's founder that was established on Palestinian land, which caused the displacement of millions of Palestinians worldwide until now.'” Further, it quoted Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasem who opined, “Hamas feels sorry that Peres died before he is held accountable according to international justice for conducting crimes against humanity like the Qana massacre.”
Yet, Hamas is not a “militant group.” More precisely, it is a U.S.-designated terrorist group whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel and the genocide of Jews. The article failed to inform readers of this important fact, just as it failed to note that neither Peres nor Israel is responsible for the “displacement of millions of Palestinians worldwide.”
UN Watch: Swiss nominate rapist’s apologist as UN human rights expert
Switzerland has just nominated a notorious apologist for dictators and rapists including Muammar Qaddafi as the Western Group’s sole candidate to be a UN human rights expert, reported UN Watch today. The Geneva-based watchdog group sent a letter to Western countries urging them to oppose Jean Ziegler in the Sept. 30th election at the UN Human Rights Council.
We urge you to oppose Switzerland’s absurd nomination of Jean Ziegler, as the sole candidate of your Western Group, to the UN Human Rights Council Advisory Committee, the election for which is scheduled for September 30, 2016.
Mr. Ziegler, who has written books advocating “reasonable hatred of the West,” would absurdly occupy one of only three seats allotted to Western countries. The official UN criteria for the position are expertise in human rights, high moral standing, independence and impartiality. An analysis of Mr. Ziegler’s record raises serious questions as to his satisfaction of these requirements. Concerns include:
• Mr. Ziegler’s abuse of his former UN Mandate: When he served as UN special rapporteur on the right to food, Mr. Ziegler ignored many of the world’s most starving populations, instead focusing attention on his personal political agenda. As documented in the UN Watch report “Blind to Burundi,” during 2000 to 2004, Mr. Ziegler systematically failed to speak out for numerous food emergencies, in Burundi, the Central African Republic, Sierra Leone and elsewhere.
Swiss nominate Qaddafi agent Jean Ziegler to UN rights council

IDF soldier moderately wounded in stabbing attack; assailant killed
An Israeli soldier was moderately wounded in a stabbing attack in the West Bank’s Qalandiya area north of Jerusalem on Friday, a police spokeswoman said. She said the Palestinian attacker was shot dead by surrounding forces.
The 24-year-old IDF soldier was stabbed by a 28-year-old assailant who approached the Israeli checkpoint at Qalandiya on foot, officials said. The attacker was shot by both a soldier from the Military Police and a civilian security guard, and was killed.
The soldier suffered stab wounds to his upper body. He was treated at the scene by paramedics who then took him to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem
The attacker was a Jerusalem native, according to AFP.
Some 200 Palestinians were rioting at the Qalandia checkpoint an hour after the stabbing. Police said security forces at the checkpoint were using riot-dispersal means.
Jordanians protest multi-billion dollar gas deal with Israel
Thousands of protesters staged a protest in Amman on Friday to demonstrate against a $10 billion gas deal between Jordan and Israel.
The deal will supply 1.6 trillion feet (tcf) of gas to Jordan's National Electric Power Company and marks a significant step forward in Israel's efforts to exploit its offshore gas reserves.
But protesters said they didn't want a deal with Israel, saying the government had other energy alternatives.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has often played up Israel's potential as an economic partner with Sunni Arab countries in the region.
In that respect, the deal with Jordan represents a breakthrough. While Israel and Jordan signed a peace deal in 1994, relations are not always good, but as economic ties deepen, Israel hopes they will become firmer.
Nine Egyptian policemen hurt by Sinai roadside bomb
Police in the turbulent north of Egypt’s Sinai peninsula said nine policemen were wounded Saturday when their armored personnel carrier was hit by a roadside bomb planted by suspected Islamic State militants.
A statement by local police said the attack took place outside the Gaza Strip border town of Rafah.
The attack was the latest in a war of attrition waged by terrorists led by the Islamic State’s affiliate in Sinai, where security forces have battled insurgents for years. The insurgency by the terrorists in Sinai grew more intense after the 2013 ouster of elected president, Mohammed Morsi, who is an Islamist.
Also Saturday, police said the severed head of a man who had been abducted by suspected militants for his alleged cooperation with authorities turned up in Rafah.
WSJ: Sunnis Fear Emergence of Iranian “Shiite Crescent” Across Middle East
Sunni Arab powers in the Middle East fear that Iran is establishing a “Shiite Crescent” in order to advance its regional ambitions, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
As the Islamic State continues losing territory to Iran-backed militias, Sunni countries are concerned that they may “face a potentially more dangerous challenge: a land corridor from Tehran to Beirut that would reinforce a more capable and no less implacable enemy,” the Journal wrote.
While many in the West regard Iran-backed forces as a preferable alternative to ISIS, “that isn’t how those militias are viewed in Riyadh and other Gulf capitals,” the Journal pointed out.
Prince Turki al-Faisal, the former head of Saudi intelligence and a nephew of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, told the Journal that Iran-backed militias and ISIS “are equally vicious, equally treacherous, and equally destructive.” He added that the West misunderstood Iranian intentions in the region, saying, “It’s wishful thinking that, if we try to embrace them, they may tango with us. That’s an illusion.”
The Journal explained that the threat of a “Shiite crescent,” first expressed by Jordan’s King Abdullah following the ousting of Saddam Hussein in 2003, has intensified in recent years.
5,000 Shiite Fighters, Commanded by Iranians, Are Massing for Eastern Aleppo Attack
Thousands of Iran-backed Shiite troops are massing in northern Syria for a battle to take the rebel-held eastern part of Aleppo, The Guardian reported Thursday.
Around 5,000 of the estimated 6,000 fighters come from countries outside Syria, such as Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Most of the troops’ commanders are Shiites devoted to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
One commander who recently arrived in Syria is Akram al-Kaabi of the Iraqi militia Keta’ib Hezbollah, one of the Iranian-backed Iraqi militias also known as popular mobilization forces (PMFs). “Why are you going to Syria? Because we are in the axis of resistance, and the axis of resistance has many battles all over the world,” he said to his troops last week in a speech that was posted to social media.
He also praised the fighters who traveled to Syria for being an “army of resistance” protecting the Shiite faith. “Youth like you are conducting jihad inside Iraq and outside Iraq, your path of jihad is blessed,” he said. al-Kaabi compared the opponents of the Bashar al-Assad regime to those who killed the Prophet Mohammed’s son-in-law in the battle of Karbala in the seventh century, one of the inciting factors of the Sunni-Shi’a split.
The presence of Shiite troops is often marked by the yellow and green flags, as well as posters commemorating fallen fighters from Iraqi militias and the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah.
Reporter Calls Out State Dept for Not Following Through on Syria Policy Threat to Russia
The Obama administration and State Department have received criticism this week for not following through on Wednesday’s threat from Secretary of State John Kerry to his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to end bilateral engagement in Syria if Russia does not stop working with the Syrian regime to bomb civilians in Aleppo.
“You say that your position is clear, but I thought your position was clear two days ago, that you were going to suspend this dialogue unless immediate action was taken,” Lee said. “And it’s now been 48 hours, and there hasn’t been any action.”
“So I guess I don’t know how you can say your position is clear, because it seems to be unclear, not just to me but presumably also to the Russians who you made this threat,” Lee continued. “They didn’t do what you wanted them to do, and now you’re not following through on it.”
Toner responded that he would not go into detail about the diplomatic discussions that have occurred with the Russians so far.
Lee also blasted the State Department and Obama administration for this not being the first time the United States has failed to follow through on threats in Syria, referring to the Obama administration’s failed “red line” that if the Assad regime in Syria used chemical weapons on civilians, the U.S. would take military action. Assad did use chemical weapons on his own people, and the U.S. did not follow through on its threat to respond.
“When has the administration actually carried out a threat to walk away?” Lee asked. “The U.S. didn’t walk out of the Iran nuclear talks.”
“We didn’t, but we came close at several occasions,” Toner said.
Reporter Calls Out State Dept. For Not Following Through on Syria Policy

John Kerry negotiates 7,000 Shekel cab ride to Ben Gurion Airport (satire)
Ben Gurion International Airport: As World Leaders depart Israel after paying their respects to the late Statesman Shimon Peres, United States Secretary of State has added another diplomatic feather to his cap, having successfully negotiated a 7,000 Shekel ($1,800) taxi cab ride from Jerusalem to Ben Gurion International Airport. The Daily Freier spoke with Mr. Kerry at Terminal One about how he successfully negotiated the price for his 34 mile journey with Shlomo, a Jerusalem cab driver.
“Having been in the diplomatic game for some time, I have an appreciation for the subtleties and nuance of Middle Eastern discourse and bargaining that may escape others.” explained the Secretary of State before launching into a small anecdote about how Akko reminds him of Martha’s Vineyard.
Later, Mr. Kerry continued to explain his journey. “While I am not an expert on Israeli traffic, I was pretty sure that the fastest way to the airport from Jerusalem did not pass Dizengoff Center, a place I am somewhat familiar with. But Shlomo assured me that he knew ‘all the shortcuts’. I mean, he was using Waze.”
The Daily Freier was also able to speak with Shlomo the Cab Driver about his brush with Greatness. “When I found out that I was transporting John Kerry, I said to him, ‘Listen my Freier Friend, for you I offer best price, a special price, a price reserved only for the most important of people.’ He really liked that.”
University of Waterloo Students Vote to Defund Anti-Israel ‘Public Interest’ Group
Students at Canada’s University of Waterloo voted on Thursday to defund an anti-Israel group responsible for promoting last year’s failed motion that called for the school to cut ties with Israeli academic institutions.
In a special referendum held by Waterloo’s Federation of Students (FEDS), 7,156 students voted for defunding the Waterloo Public Interest Research Group (WPIRG), while 1,579 students voted against.
Waterloo undergraduate students will no longer pay WPIRG an automatic $9.50 fee, which totaled some $290,000 annually — a sum which the group relied on to cover a majority of its operating budget. WPIRG has used such funding to promote anti-Israel campaigns on college campuses across Canada — including at McGill University and Carleton University.
“Students at the University of Waterloo should be congratulated for rejecting a discriminatory anti-Israel initiative, and then punishing those who proposed it,” Michael Mostyn, the chief executive officer of the Jewish advocacy group B’nai Brith Canada, said in a statement.
Englewood votes against BDS
Last week Englewood’s city council voted to reject the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement.
BDS is an ideology that tries to turn its proponents’ loathing of Israel into a potent threat against the state by harming it economically, and through that economic weapon to delegitimize it, banning not only Israeli-made goods but even Israeli academics and scientists. All are tarred as somehow morally compromised, simply for being connected, even by birth, with the Jewish state.
New Jersey passed legislation condemning BDS this summer. Englewood was the first New Jersey municipality to pass the legislation, and it did so unanimously; New Jersey was the 11th state.
Michael Cohen, the eastern regional director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, represents Englewood’s second ward on its five-member city council.
“Englewood is a very diverse city, and the council is diverse,” Mr. Cohen said. “I was very impressed by the fact that the legislation passed unanimously. That’s a strong statement.
CTV National News Reporter Falsely Claims Israel Isn’t Interested in Peace Talks with Palestinians
In covering the death and funeral of Shimon Peres, yesterday evening on CTV National News, newly minted Ottawa Bureau Chief Joyce Napier inserted her personal opinion into what should have been a straight-forward objective news report about the life and legacy of Peres, by starting: “He (Shimon Peres) believed to the end in a two-state solution, but peace talks have collapsed and Israel’s hard-line government gives no signs of wanting to return to the negotiating table. Peres was the strongest voice for peace, with him gone, the question is who will hold the torch?”
Contrary to Ms. Napier’s claims, Prime Minister Netanyahu has been pleading for the return to direct face-to-face negotiations without preconditions with the Palestinians for many years, but has been continually rebuffed by his Palestinian counterparts, specifically, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. This is a matter of historical record. In fact, it’s the Palestinians who under Abbas’ reign, have shown no interest in wanting to return to the negotiating table. Abbas has instead pursued a policy of unilateralism, both at the UN and elsewhere in an effort to demonize Israel and protract the conflict.
Ms. Napier’s disguising her personal opinion as news is completely offsides, and was also factually incorrect. There’s no foundation to Ms. Napier’s claim and it was highly objectionable for her to make this unfounded allegation against Israel which was compounded by the fact that it occurred in her coverage of the funeral of one of Israel’s greatest leaders. For Ms. Napier, it’s quite clear that she doesn’t believe that current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can carry the torch in being a Mideast peacemaker.
Man Changes Position on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict after Reading Facebook Comments (satire)
Former Zionist, Josh Liebowitzstein shocked family and friends this week when he announced that he’s changing his position on Israel. The decision came after reading several Facebook comments on an otherwise innocuous post about startups in Tel Aviv.
The Mideast Beast caught up with Mr Liebowitzstein to elaborate on the decision. “Social media is a great place to start a conversation and exchange ideas,” he commented. “Due to Facebook’s high level of dialogue, thoughtful user community, and of course mutual respect people show each other, I enjoy reading comments about today’s meaningful and politically-charged issues.”
After an Israeli group posted an article on startups in Tel Aviv, user I.M. Palestine responded with the comment: “r u f#%king stupid? how can u support the zionist genocidal murderers? clearly u dont no nothing. israel and its pal obama r state terrorists”
Mr Liebowitzstein had been diligently following Middle Eastern politics for years, but the comment led him to reevaluate his pro-Israel stance. “I read the comment, and after reflecting, I said to myself, ‘ya know, I never thought of it that way before. There was something so eloquent about how I.M. Palestine phrased his argument. And of course, the logic was unbreakable.”
He’s not the first person to change his position on the conflict after reading comments. This summer, Gazan resident Ahmed Assaf started supporting Israel after user Zionista 4Eva posted “’palestinians’ are a made up a people. god gave Israel to Jews. n e one that don’t know this is idiots.”
French Jews feel they can give their children a better future in Israel
French Jews “love France, they love French culture, they want to stay,” Sabbag said just before leading Friday night services at the synagogue. “But Jews were targeted during huge demonstrations against the 2014 Gaza war. They were killed in Toulouse and Hypercacher,” he said, referring to the 2012 attack on a Jewish school that killed four people and the 2015 attack on a kosher Paris supermarket that left four dead. Muslim extremists carried out both attacks.
Although 2015 was a record year for French immigration to Israel, the numbers this year are lower. As of August 2016, 40% fewer Jews had arrived, compared to the same period last year, according to the Jewish Agency for Israel.
Dov Maimon, a senior fellow at the Jewish People Policy Institute, a think tank, said there are a number of reasons for the decline.
“First, Jews in France are feeling more secure because the (French) prime minister has beefed up security around Jewish institutions, while the increase in terror attacks this winter in Israel may have scared off some people. It may also be that the most ideologically driven Jews have already immigrated,” Maimon said.
The biggest factor, Maimon said, “is that the Israeli prime minister promised French Jews he would take care of them if they came to Israel. They believed Israel would provide them with jobs and housing, but France is a welfare state. Israel is not.”

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