Friday, November 18, 2016

From Ian:

Alan Dershowitz: How to Assess the Bannon Appointment
President Elect Trump's appointment of Steve Bannon as his chief strategist has been criticized on the ground that Bannon is an anti-Semite. There are many reasons for opposing the appointment of Bannon, but anti-Semitism is not one of them. I do not support the Bannon appointment. But neither do I support accusing Bannon of being an anti-Semite, based on the evidence I have seen.
With regard to anti-Semitism, there are three distinct but overlapping issues: (1) Is Bannon personally an anti-Semite? (2) Does his publication, Breitbart, promote anti-Semitic views? (3) Do Breitbart and Bannon have followers who are anti-Semitic?
From what I can tell, the evidence cited in support of the accusation that personally Bannon is an anti-Semite falls into two categories: first, that his wife testified at a hotly contested divorce proceeding that he did not want his children to go to school with "whiney Jews"; and second, that he ran an article describing Bill Kristol as a "renegade Jew."
Let us consider these items of evidence in order. Senator Harry Reid tried to strengthen the first accusation against Bannon by saying that it appeared in a court document, thus suggesting that it had the imprimatur of a judge. But that is not the case. The claim was simply made by his former wife in a judicial proceeding, thus giving it no special weight. Bannon has rigorously denied making the statement and said that he and his wife were fighting over whether his children should attend Catholic school, rather than a secular school.
On the other side of the ledger is the testimony of Jewish individuals who have worked closely with him for years. These include my former research assistant, Joel Pollak, an orthodox Jew who wears a kippah and takes off all the Jewish holidays. He is married to a black woman from South Africa who converted to Judaism. Joel assures me that he never heard a single anti-Semitic utterance or saw an anti-Semitic action in the four years they worked together. The same is true of numerous other Jewish individuals who work with him, some of whom thoroughly disapprove of Bannon's politics and the way he ran Breitbart, but none of whom have reported any events of anti-Semitism.
Evelyn Gordon: Peace Now! Israeli Rightist Style
Donald Trump’s election as president has already had one negative effect: It seems to have turned most Israeli cabinet ministers into radical leftists. By that I obviously don’t mean they have started adopting leftist policy prescriptions. But they do seem to have embraced radical leftists’ childish demand for immediate implementation of their own preferred solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, regardless of how much real-world damage it causes.
Most Israeli ministers–albeit not Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu–appear to support a one-state solution, and ever since Trump won, they have been demanding major steps toward its implementation: unrestricted building in the settlements, legalizing illegal settlement outposts and annexing roughly 60 percent of the West Bank (Area C). As a first step, the governing coalition decided earlier this week to support a controversial bill that would legalize many (though not all) outposts built on privately owned Palestinian land; the bill passed its preliminary Knesset reading on Wednesday. Netanyahu himself opposed it, but facing a revolt in both his cabinet and his party, he refrained from using his prerogatives to stall the bill
To be clear, nobody, even in the coalition, expects the bill to become law; its passage in preliminary reading was primarily a way of making a statement. But even if you genuinely support the bill, advancing it at this particular moment would be asinine. And that’s true even if you could somehow discount the two most obvious objections to the timing.
The first of those, of course, is that Barack Obama remains president for another two months and could use that time for various anti-Israel moves. Thus, the last thing Israel’s government needs is to give him additional impetus for such moves by appearing to abandon his cherished two-state solution.
Israel looks forward to working with Trump team, Dermer says– 'including Steve Bannon'
Israel's ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer said his government has "no doubt" that President-elect Donald Trump is a "true friend to Israel," visiting his team at Trump Tower in New York on Thursday afternoon.
"Israel has no doubt that President-elect Trump is a true friend of Israel. We have no doubt that Vice-President-elect Mike Pence is a true friend of Israel– he was one of Israel’s greatest friends in the Congress, one of the most pro-Israel governors in the country."
Briefly addressing press stationed at the bottom of the president-elect's namesake tower on Fifth Avenue, the Israeli envoy then touched on a controversy without prompting: Trump's appointment of Stephen Bannon, head of the right-wing website, as chief White House strategist.
"We look forward to working with the Trump administration, with all of the members of the Trump administration, including Steve Bannon, and making the US-Israel alliance stronger than ever."
Bannon has been the subject of criticism from Jewish groups for his ties to the alt-right movement, considered a modern-day home for white nationalist, ultra-nationalist and antisemitic individuals and organizations.
Caroline Glick: The Ellison Challenge
The Democratic Party stands at a crossroads today. And so do the Jewish Democrats.
Out of power in the White House and both houses of Congress, the Democrats must decide what sort of party they will be in the post-Obama world.
They have two basic options.
They can move to the Center and try to rebuild their blue collar voter base that President-elect Donald Trump captivated with his populist message. To do so they will need to loosen the reins of political correctness and weaken their racialism, their radical environmentalism and their support for open borders.
This is the sort of moderate posture that Bill Clinton led with. It is the sort of posture that Clinton tried but failed to convince his wife to adopt in this year’s campaign.
The second option is to go still further along the leftist trajectory that President Barack Obama set the party off on eight years ago. This is the favored option of the Bernie Sanders wing of the party. Sanders’s supporters refer to this option as the populist course.
It is being played out today on the ground by the anti- Trump protesters who refuse to come to terms with the Trump victory and insistently defame Trump as a Nazi or Hitler and his advisers as Goebbels.
For the Democrats, such a populist course will require them to become more racialist, more authoritarian in their political correctness, angrier and more doctrinaire.
It will also require them to become an antisemitic party.
Antisemitism, like hatred of police and Christians, is a necessary component of Democratic populism.

Brooke Goldstein on The Kelly File - Potential DNC Chair Keith Ellison's history of anti-Semitism
Lawfare Project Director and human rights attorney Brooke Goldstein discusses potential DNC Chair Keith Ellison's connections with anti-Semitism and radical Islamist groups.

Soros-funded groups fight scrutiny of Keith Ellison’s Nation of Islam past
Keith Ellison, Democratic Congressman from Minnesota, is the favorite to become Chair of the Democratic National Committee.
He has the support of big names like Chuck Schumer, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Harry Reid, among others.
Yet for years there have been questions about Ellison’s past association with Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam, as well as his association with anti-Israel groups.
Scott Johnson of Power Line, who is based in Minnesota, has been following the career of Ellison for a decade. Scott talked about some of what he has learned about Ellison in a recent radio interview, Ten Years On The Ellison Case:
I talked about Keith Ellison with Seth Leibsohn and Chris Buskirk on the aptly named Seth & Chris Show for two segments this afternoon. Seth has kindly forwarded the audio hot off the air (posted here and enbedded below). I’m celebrating ten years on Ellison’s case, trying to warn Democrats off the guy. It turns out I must be Ellison’s good luck charm. If past experience is a guide to future performance, the chairmanship of the Democratic Party has his name on it.
In the course of the interview I cite my Weekly Standard articles “Louis Farrakhan’s first congressman” (2006) and “The Ellison elision” (2014) as well as the Power Line post “Keith Ellison for dummies” (with documents embedded). These pieces have the details to which I only allude in the interview with Seth and Chris.
NGO Monitor: US Congressmen Met with Alleged Senior Terror Member During West Bank Junket
According to a newly published report in The Weekly Standard, five US Congressmen met last summer with Shawan Jabarin, who has alleged ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a recognized terrorist organization. Political non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are essential actors in this story, noted Jerusalem-based research institute NGO Monitor.
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI), and Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA)’s trip to Ramallah and Jerusalem included a meeting with Jabarin, currently the General Director of the Palestinian NGO Al-Haq.
In 2008, the Israeli Supreme Court noted that Jabarin is “among the senior activists of the Popular Front terrorist organization.” A June 2007 decision by the Israeli Supreme Court called Jabarin a “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” – a human rights campaigner by day and a PFLP activist by night. Jabarin and Al Haq are also leaders in legal warfare (“lawfare”) campaigns against Israel.
The congressmen’s all-expenses-paid, six-day tour was sponsored by the Palestinian group MIFTAH. NGO Monitor research shows that this NGO has published an article that repeated an antisemitic blood libel that accused Jews of using Christian blood to bake Passover matzah; described one of the first female Palestinian suicide bombers as “the beginning of a string of Palestinian women dedicated to sacrificing their lives for the cause”; and advocates for BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) against Israel.
According to Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor, “There is a fundamental problem when public officials can come to the Middle East and casually meet with some of the most vehemently radical NGOs without doing a basic background check into who they will be meeting with. Members of Congress have a responsibility to their constituents to explain why they went on a free trip funded by an extreme and hateful NGO and ended up meeting with an alleged senior member of an internationally recognized terrorist organization.”
ADL’s Greenblatt Steps Back on Bannon Accusations, Says Anti-Semitism Spiking in America
The ADL, which planted itself right in the middle of the battle against former Breitbart CEO Steve Bannon, has taken a first step back and clarified that they “are unaware of any anti-Semitic statements from Bannon.”
Nationally syndicated talk show host Dennis Prager called the initial accusations against Bannon “libel” and said that the ADL had damaged itself with the false claims.
The ADL’s remaining complaints against Bannon are primarily ideological and editorial, they are not happy with Breitbart giving a platform to right-wing authors such as Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, or that some of Breitbart’s headlines are sensationalist.
In opening remarks at the ‘Never Is Now’ Summit on Anti-Semitism held Thursday (Nov.17) in New York City, Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, who was formerly an aide to President Barak Obama, had a grim warning about a spike in anti-Semitism in America, and the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump.
Greenblatt commented that the organization had never before convened a summit “like this” on anti-Semitism, describing its presence under the surface of society “like a persistent and nagging ache,” chronic but still one that Americans knew about and simply tried to keep under control. This, he said, worked out.
Dennis Prager: Claims of Antisemitism Against Bannon are ‘Libel’
Nationally syndicated radio talk show host Dennis Prager called accusations of antisemitism against Stephen K. Bannon “libel” on Wednesday.
Prager, who is Jewish and wrote a highly respected book about antisemitism, was sharply critical of the campaign against Bannon, who is on leave as Executive Chairman of Breitbart News, and who was named Sunday by President-elect Donald J. Trump to be Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor in the White House.
“Calling Steve Bannon an antisemite is a witch-hunt … It’s just a libel, it’s fabricated, the whole thing is fabricated,” Prager said.
He reminded listeners that voters had been warned in 1980 that if Ronald Reagan were elected president, the KKK would be in the White House.
Prager’s guest Wednesday was conservative — and also Jewish — writer David Horowitz, author of The Black Book of the American Left.
“It’s the worst witch-hunt in American history, what’s going on now, and it’s going to continue,” Horowitz said.
“To take a pro-Jewish defender of Israel like Steve Bannon, and — with no evidence — call him an antisemite is hard even to comprehend.”
Russian spokeswoman says Jews behind Trump win
Maria Zakharova, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, has reportedly suggested that Donald Trump won the US election because of support from “the Jews.”
Zakharova made the comments over the weekend on a nationally televised talk show, saying that it was Jewish money that tipped the election for Trump, Radio Free Europe reported.
“If you want to know what will happen in America, who do you have to talk to? You have to talk to the Jews, naturally. But of course,” Zakharova said while on Sunday Evening, a show hosted by pro-Kremlin television personality Vladimir Solovyov, the report said.
Zakharova then reportedly adopted “a cartoonish Jewish accent” while impersonating her alleged interlocutor.
“They told me: ‘Marochka (a Russian diminutive for Maria), you understand, of course, we’ll donate to Clinton. But we’ll donate twice as much to the Republicans.’ That was it! The matter was settled, for me personally,” she said, according to Radio Free Europe.
Breitbart Jerusalem marks 1st anniversary
The Breitbart Jerusalem website marked its first anniversary on Thursday.
In launching the site in November 2015, the Jewish CEO of Breitbart News noted that the idea for the parent network was conceived in Israel.
Larry Solov wrote in a blog post that he and Breitbart founder Andrew Breitbart were on a media junket to Israel in 2007 when they decided to create a new media company to “change the world.”
“One thing we specifically discussed that night was our desire to start a site that would be unapologetically pro-freedom and pro-Israel. We were sick of the anti-Israel bias of the mainstream media and J Street,” Solov wrote.
“Perhaps it was because we were in such an historic place, or because I was energized by the courage of the Jewish people in the Holy Land, or maybe it was the alcohol at cocktail hour, but I said ‘yes.’ We were blown away by the spirit, tenacity, and resourcefulness of the Israeli people on that trip. Andrew could be quite convincing, not to mention inspiring.”
On Sunday, President-elect Donald Trump appointed Stephen Bannon, the former chairman of Breitbart News, as his chief strategist.
Breitbart’s Aaron Klein: Steve Bannon Recruited Me to Counter Media Smears Against Israel
Aaron Klein, chief editor of Breitbart Jerusalem, said in an interview Thursday that Steve Bannon recruited him to the news network with the goal of combatting distorted reporting against the Jewish state.
Klein spoke as the baseless charge of “anti-Semitism” collapsed with the Anti-Defamation League conceding on Thursday that it is “not aware of any anti-Semitic statements made by Bannon himself.”
Bannon, Breitbart’s former executive chairman, was named by President-elect Donald Trump earlier this week as the chief strategist of the new White House administration.
Trump era must not be wasted on ‘two-state’ solution
The surprising results in the US presidential election create both concerns and new opportunities for Israel. The most tangible opportunity has to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but not necessarily in the manner it was perceived and declared by the Israeli Right.
Since 1993, the American administration has supported the “two-state” solution. For those of us who have forgotten, it was supported both by Republican George W. Bush's administration and by the two Democratic administrations which preceded and succeeded it.
This solution is based on four assumptions. One, the solution to the conflict should be geographically restricted to the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Two, the solution requires the establishment of a Palestinian state with full sovereignty. Three, the border between Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines. Four, the West Bank and Gaza must constitute a single diplomatic entity.
These four assumptions create very limited room for negotiations. The Clinton Parameters (Bill’s, not Hillary’s), as they were presented in late 2000, are the practical translation of these assumptions. Anyone who tries in the future to return to negotiations based on these parameters will reach a similar to identical plan.
Israel and the United States: An Opportunity to Strengthen the Special Relationship
Tensions and contradictions marked some of the foreign policy positions articulated by Trump during the campaign, and his precise policy vis-à-vis Israel is likewise difficult to define. What is clear, however, is that Trump’s very election, as well as the administration he will form, reflects change more than it does continuity. Under these circumstances, Israel now has the opportunity to begin a new chapter in its relations with the US. Therefore, when Prime Minister Netanyahu is invited to the White House in the coming months, he would do well to attempt to reach understandings with the new president regarding six fundamental issues: the need to reestablish the mutual sense of trust between the US administration and the Israeli government; US leadership in the Middle East; Iran – the most important strategic issue on the agenda; the crisis in Syria; the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; and the security of Israel, which as a fundamental component of US-Israel relations, should therefore be affirmed and bolstered.
Although foreign policy in general and US-Israel relations in particular did not feature as a significant issue that tipped the scales in the 2016 US presidential election, there is much interest in Israel regarding Donald Trump’s impending entry into the White House and the future impact of his administration on Israel’s national security.
In contrast to previous US administrations, which promoted defined, clear agendas during their election campaigns, the elected leader lacks a formulated or unified policy regarding the Middle East. President-elect Trump has not announced his foreign policy team: his Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and National Security Advisor. Furthermore, like many before him, Trump stands to realize that sitting in the Oval Office is different from stumping on the campaign trail.
Obama mulling support of UN resolution against Israeli settlements
Two months before leaving office, US President Barack Obama is considering a last minute move vis-à-vis the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a White House official told American Jewish reporters in a briefing on Tuesday.
Obama is considering several options suggested by his advisors at the National Security Council. One option would be giving the US's support to a UN Security Council resolution against Israeli settlements or on the two-state solution. Alternatively, the outgoing president could settle for only a declarative act, like a speech presenting the main points of his administration's stance on the conflict. A third option would be to do nothing.
The White House official said Obama would inform President-elect Donald Trump before making any such move. "You don't want to present something and a month later see a different president doing the exact opposite," the official said.
According to the official, the Obama administration is concerned with the situation on the ground. "The two-state solution is dying, this trend is not good. There's a de facto annexation. We, the Americans, can only rebuke the sides. We've searched in the dictionary for a thousand different ways to condemn the settlement construction, and it's not helping. A condemnation has no bite, and the Israelis know this. It was actually the Palestinians who listened to us on incitement and hatred."
France presses ahead with peace conference
France intends to push ahead with an international Mideast peace conference despite Israel’s objections and the election of Donald Trump as US president, a French Foreign Ministry representative said on Thursday.
A report in Maariv on Thursday said that French President François Hollande, attending the Climate Change Conference in Marrakech, told its correspondent that “the chances of holding the peace conference in Paris are not good.”
According to the paper, Hollande attributed this to Trump’s election victory, saying that the outgoing US administration would not participate in the conference.
“But the problem is not only the canceling of the conference,” the paper quoted Hollande as saying. “If Trump keeps to his word, the international community cannot come together to support the peace process. The very commitment to peace and the future of the process will be in danger.”
The Elysee issued a statement denying that Hollande ever made the comments attributed to him.
Former Israeli General: PA Violating Oslo Accords By Continuing to Pay Terrorists’ Salaries
The Palestinian Authority’s payments of salaries to convicted terrorists or their surviving family members constitutes a violation of the Oslo Accords, a former Israeli general wrote this week in a research paper for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, the former Director General of the Israel Ministry of Strategic Affairs and head of the Research Division of IDF Military Intelligence, wrote that the payments are made as a result of the Palestinian determination to establish a “state over all of Palestine commits them to struggling against Zionism in a wide variety of ways, including terrorism.” The payments to terrorists, including to members of Hamas, are made legal due to legislation passed by the PA, which dubs the terrorists “fighters.” This shows, Kuperwasser argued, that the PA’s leadership doesn’t view the agreements it made at Oslo to be a “deviation from or an end to the battle against Zionism.”
Palestinian leaders have seen the timid international response to their payments as “as a green light to continue the solicitation of terror through the payments as well as other kinds of incitement, hate indoctrination, and delegitimization of Israel,” Kuperwasser wrote.
UNESCO Has Been Used as a Weapon to Wage a Cultural War Against Israel
Too many members of the international community have ignored this issue, with 26 nations abstaining from the vote. Among them were France, Italy, Spain and Sweden, European nations who are vocal in their support of tolerance. As the Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel said, the opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. This indifference allowed the vote to be adopted.
The resolution has much wider implications for the global community, not just prejudice towards Jews and minorities. Attacking and denying Jewish and Christian history in Jerusalem, and deliberately creating antagonism and division, provides a fertile ground for the seeds of intolerance that can be exploited by extremists and ISIS, in particular.
At the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation (ECTR) and also in my capacity as president of the European Jewish Congress, we work on bringing together parties and world leaders to foster dialogue and build bridges. Our projects also tackle conflicts from the bottom up—focusing on the root causes of intolerance, which is so often a lack of awareness and understanding of other faiths and cultures.
While it is right that UNESCO highlights the work of NGOs working to promote tolerance, it is more important that this organization serves as an example to the international community. If UNESCO does not demonstrate the highest level of tolerance for all peoples, religions, nations and cultures, it undermines its own legitimacy and will ultimately prevent it from achieving its goals.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Holy Land Completely Unaware It Supposed To Be Muslim (satire)
The strip of land nestled between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River apparently has no knowledge at all that it has the status of “Muslim,” local sources reported today.
Sources close to the Holy Land indicated this week that despite being conquered by Muslims in the seventh century CE and ruled, on and off, by various Muslim potentates until the twentieth century, the land shows no sign of awareness that it shifted from non-Muslim to Muslim at any point during the last 1,400 years.
The lack of awareness, say observers, remains all the more striking precisely because the Muslim status of the land has served as a central point of the conflicts taking place in and around it. “The notion that once land has been captured by Islamic armies, as the Holy Land was in the year 637, it forever retains the status of Muslim, appears to be alien to the Holy Land,” noted Ayama Nassol, a Turkish scholar. “So much blood has been spilled over this point, and not just in the Holy Land, that one might think the land would react somehow, and perhaps give some sign that might help resolve the issue.”
Others pointed out that if the behavior of the land were any indication of its awareness, one might come to the erroneous conclusion that it favors non-Muslim rule. “We don’t like to admit this, but that fact is the agricultural yields and quality have skyrocketed in the time that the Holy Land, or parts of it, have been under non-Islamic sovereignty,” explained a harried-looking professor of Palestinian history at Bir Zeit University who declined to give his name.
39 years since Anwar Sadat's historic visit to Jerusalem

Netanyahu to break record for single stint as Israeli PM
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will on Sunday break the record for serving the longest single stretch as Israel’s prime minister, eclipsing founding father David Ben-Gurion’s second term.
Netanyahu, who is also on his second stint at the helm, will have been in power for 2,790 consecutive days on Sunday, Yedioth Aharonoth newspaper reported.
Netanyahu started his current term on March 31, 2009, during which time he has won three elections, most recently in March 2015.
However, Netanyahu still has a way to go to become Israel’s longest-serving prime minister overall. Ben-Gurion served for more than five years in his first term as Israel’s founding prime minister, from May 1948 to January 1954, in addition to his 7.5 years as leader from November 1955 to June 1963.
Netanyahu, elected for the first time in 1996, managed just over three years of his first term before losing the 1999 elections to Ehud Barak
Israel does not have term limits for prime ministers.
Armed Arab infiltrators captured along Gaza border
IDF forces captured two Arab infiltrators from the Gaza Strip Thursday evening, after the pair penetrated the southern security fence.
The suspects have been detained by the army.
An army spokesperson reported that the two were carrying a knife and two grenades at the time of their capture.
The incident is currently under investigation.
Earlier this week, Hamas declared that was prepared for a large-scale conflict with Israel, and that its capabilities today had grown tremendously since the 2014 Gaza conflict.
Is the Palestinian Authority on its last legs?
With all the excitement over the recent elections in the US, relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority have been pushed aside, and for all intents and purposes, have been ignored these past few months. But one problem remains: Will the Palestinian Authority manage to survive for much longer? In recent years, and particularly in recent months, a number of power brokers have been actively operating below the surface in the Palestinian Authority in an effort to undermine the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas. Hamas, which has already taken over control of the Gaza Strip, has been energetically preparing so that it will be ready when the time comes to overthrow Abbas’s administration and establish Hamas control in Ramallah.
Abbas’s weak leadership abilities, combined with his failure to bring about any sort of economic success or political breakthrough for the Palestinian people, provide opposition forces plenty of opportunity to burst in on the scene.
Granted Hamas has tremendous support on the ground, but it is suffering from great financial difficulties now that its external funding sources have dried up. The Palestinian Authority is still very powerful in Gaza, but the Shin Bet has succeeded in thwarting many attempted attacks by Hamas cells in Judea and Samaria, some of which were intended to overthrow Abbas’s regime.
Hamas clamps down on Gaza's 'insecure' Israeli SIM cards
Hamas-run authorities in Gaza are trying to stop the sale and distribution of pre-paid SIM cards from Israeli cellular providers, arguing the cards pose economic and security risks and allow users to access "immoral" content.
Officials from the Palestinian telecommunications and interior ministries, which are overseen by Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza, said there have always been restrictions on the use of Israeli SIMs in the territory, but now they are determined to stamp them out entirely.
Cards from Israel's two biggest providers, Cellcom and Partner, can be found for sale under the counter in kiosks and shops in parts of Gaza, where they are brought in by businessman and traders returning from trips to Israel.
"These companies are not registered in Palestinian areas and therefore we can't allow them to operate," Zeyad Al-Sheikh Deeb, director of licensing at the Gaza telecommunications ministry, told Reuters. "They represent an unfair competition to national companies and cause damage to our economy."
Obama Tries to Pin His Syria Policy on Trump
Talking to reporters in Germany on Thursday, President Barack Obama expressed the hope that President-elect Donald Trump will be “willing to stand up to Russia where they are deviating from our values and international norms.” For anyone who has followed U.S. Syria policy closely for the past six years, the question of exactly what Obama believes those “values” and “norms” are—given his deliberate and determined facilitation of the slaughter of 500,000 Syrians, in concert with Assad, Iran, and Putin—is certainly an interesting one. The political meaning of Obama’s statement was clear, though: The president hopes to stick Trump with the gruesome results of his Syria policy while pretending that what might well turn out to be Trump’s own cooperation with Putin is somehow a startling departure from the course that he set and proudly and repeatedly refused to alter during six years of stomach-turning mass murder of innocent civilians by a genocidal regime.
Historians and scholars will no doubt spend years excavating the enormous mountain of bad faith and poor decision-making that led to the moral, political, and large-scale human disaster of America’s complicity in Assad’s genocide, which has been visible for the past few years to the entire world—and especially to the people of the Middle East, whose good opinion Obama once sought to court. The decision not to intervene in Syria’s civil war, and then to facilitate Assad’s murder of his own people through political and military coordination with Iran and Russia, was Obama’s, and Obama’s alone: Those who opposed that decision in any meaningful way are long gone from his administration. The list of the people who did the president’s dirty work, and gave him cover for this shameful policy, will be clear to anyone who looks at the historical record, which will provide a damning indictment of the characters and judgments of administration officials who abetted the bloodshed, like Robert Malley, the White House point man on Syria, and Samantha Power, the American ambassador to the U.N., who used her reputation as a humanitarian as a cloak for U.S. inaction—and worse—in the face of open genocide.
A footnote to this dishonorable history will be the conference hosted by Assad in Damascus last month for a group of American and European journalists and think tankers, with the goal of normalizing American complicity in Syria’s genocide, and preparing the ground for what all parties imagined would be a Hillary Clinton presidency.
UN reports show Islamic State using chemical weapons in Mosul
The U.N. human rights office is citing new details as proof that the Islamic State group is using chemical weapons as Iraqi government forces try to oust its fighters from the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.
Amid concerns about Islamic State's use of human shields in the city, High Commissioner for Human Rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said four people had died from inhaling fumes after Islamic State shelled and set fires to the al-Mishrag Sulfur Gas Factory in Mosul on Oct. 23.
Speaking to reporters in Geneva, Shamdasani said reports indicated Islamic State has stockpiled "large quantities" of ammonia and sulfur that have been placed in the same areas as civilians. She said international law requires protection of civilians near such chemicals.
U.N. officials say about 48,000 people have now fled Mosul since the government campaign began Oct. 17.
Regime change in Iran the only 'long-term solution,' says former US ambassador
Former US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said on Thursday that the only "long-term solution" to erasing the threat Iran poses to the Middle East is regime change, according to Politico citing an interview he gave to Breitbart News Daily.
Bolton, a veteran diplomat who served in former US president George W. Bush's administration, has been floated as a possible contender for US Secretary of State following the presidential election victory of Donald Trump on November 8.
“The ayatollahs are the principal threat to international peace and security in the Middle East,” Bolton told Breitbart.
“Now, their ouster won’t bring sweetness and light to the region, that’s for sure, but it will eliminate the principal threat.”
Bolton continued by arguing that the people of Iran would welcome a new government in the Islamic Republic, and the US should be a sponsor of opposition groups looking to topple the current regime.
Analysis of the IAEA’s Fourth Iran Deal Report: Time of Change
On November 9, 2016, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its fourth report on Iran’s compliance with United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution 2231 (2015). UNSCR 2231 codified into international law the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), an agreement reached between the P5+1 and Iran in July 2015 aimed at limiting Iran’s nuclear program. The JCPOA was implemented on January 16, 2016, a date known as Implementation Day. The latest IAEA report again states: “Since Implementation Day, the Agency has been verifying and monitoring the implementation by Iran of its nuclear-related commitments” under the Iran deal. Nowhere in the report does the IAEA state that Iran is fully compliant with the JCPOA. The report lists many areas where Iran has met the conditions of the JCPOA’s provisions. However, it states that Iran has exceeded its cap on heavy water, and the IAEA is still unable to determine or provides no information about its efforts to determine the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran. Moreover, the IAEA reporting is so sparse as to confirm suspicions that compliance controversies are being deliberately omitted from the report.
Key Findings
1) Iran for the second time is in violation of the cap on 130 metric tonnes1 of heavy water. In addition, Iran continued to produce heavy water during the two-week period after the IAEA learned and pointed out that it had reached the cap.
2) The quarterly IAEA report on Iran continues to lack critical information, but additional information we have learned implies that Iran continues to push the envelope of compliance, which can be interpreted as Iran not being fully compliant with the JCPOA.
Think Tank: Latest Atomic Energy Report on Iranian Compliance With Nuclear Deal ‘Borders on Deception by Omission’
The UN atomic energy agency’s latest report on Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal it reached with six world powers last year “borders on deception by omission,” a Washington, DC-based think tank said in an analysis published this week.
“The IAEA reporting continues to lack critical technical details about implementation of the agreement,” the Institute for Science and International Security said in a statement authored by David Albright — a former IAEA official — and Andrea Stricker.
Furthermore, the analysis said, the “IAEA’s sparse and overly generalized reporting” is “contradicted by independent reporting pointing to problems in the implementation of the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action]…This continued lack of information in the IAEA reports combined with the ongoing secrecy surrounding the decision-making of the Joint Commission (the body created to monitor implementation of the JCPOA) is a serious shortcoming in the implementation of the JCPOA and raises legitimate questions about the adequacy of Iran’s compliance.”
Albright and Stricker went on to say, “We continue to call for the IAEA to include much more information than it is currently providing and for the Joint Commission to make public its decisions, particularly those that change the nature of the agreement’s provisions. This information is needed to allow for independent assessment of Iran’s adherence to the JCPOA. We will continue seeking out and making available information on JCPOA implementation due to this ongoing lack of transparency.”
'Iran arrests 12 officials involved in nuclear talks over espionage'
Tehran has arrested a dozen officials who played key roles in negotiating its 2015 nuclear deal with the West on suspicion of espionage, Arab media reported Friday.
The Saudi-owned Al Arabiya network quoted Iranian opposition MP Hussein Ali Haji Degana as saying some of those arrested are dual nationals. He demanded that the Iranian judiciary make the suspects' names public.
Iran traditionally denies having any dual citizens among its decision-makers, the report said.
The London-base Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper quoted Degana as saying that the dual-national officials had "infiltrated into government and procured senior managerial and decision-making posts."
After signing the nuclear agreement with the West, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei made several accusations suggesting negotiations had been compromised by Western moles "in decision-making posts."
Iranian Reformist Intellectual Zibakalam Refuses to Step on American, Israeli Flags

Iranian Reformist Intellectual in Defiance of the Iranian "Mission" to Destroy Israel

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