Saturday, February 18, 2017

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: First strike to the black state
So in the light of all this evidence that Flynn may have been the victim of not just Washington in-fighting but an illegal and malevolent campaign, why did Trump throw him under the bus? If Flynn did mislead Pence, that is clearly important. Trust, as the White House said, is crucial. The president cannot afford to have a scintilla of doubt that his national security adviser is transparent to him at all times.
But that raises the further question of why Trump sat on the information that Flynn had misled Pence until the Flynn balloon went up.
Trump has met his first big test and he hasn’t come out of it well. He appears to have allowed a key appointee, someone whose reputation he made use of to bolster his own presidential credentials, to be brought down by smear and character assassination.
Both Israel and the moderate Arab states will doubtless have registered this with concern.
Having dared to believe that finally America had a president who would face down Iran and assert American strength, they may now be wondering whether he might just crumble.
Much depends on how Trump now behaves, and whether he takes action against the apparent illegality and even treason taking place within the intelligence world and political establishment. The fight will be ferocious, not least within the Republican Party.
Whatever the truth of this episode, a war to the death is now on for the soul of America. Is Trump up to it? We’re about to find out.
Alan M. Dershowitz: Trump: Palestinians Must Earn a Two State Solution
President Trump raised eyebrows when he mentioned the possibility of a one state solution. The context was ambiguous and no one can know for sure what message he was intending to convey. One possibility is that he was telling the Palestinian leadership that if they want a two state solution, they have to do something. They have to come to the negotiating table with the Israelis and make the kinds of painful sacrifices that will be required from both sides for a peaceful resolution to be achieved. Put most directly, the Palestinians must earn the right to a state. They are not simply entitled to statehood, especially since their leaders missed so many opportunities over the years to secure a state. As Abba Eben once put it: "The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity."
It began back in the 1930s, when Great Britain established the Peale Commission which was tasked to recommend a solution to the conflict between Arabs and Jews in mandatory Palestine. It recommended a two state solution with a tiny noncontiguous Jewish state alongside a large Arab state. The Jewish leadership reluctantly accepted this sliver of a state; the Palestinian leadership rejected the deal, saying they wanted there to be no Jewish state more than they wanted a state of their own.
In 1947, the United Nations partitioned mandatory Palestine into two areas: one for a Jewish state; the other for an Arab state. The Jews declared statehood on 1948; all the surrounding Arab countries joined the local Arab population in attacking the new state of Israel and killing one percent of its citizens, but Israel survived.
In 1967, Egypt and Syria were planning to attack and destroy Israel, but Israel preempted and won a decisive victory, capturing the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Sinai. Israel offered to return captured areas in exchange for peace, but the Arabs met with Palestinian leaders in Khartoum and issued their three infamous "no's": no peace, no recognition, and no negotiation.
In 2000-2001 and again in 2008, Israel made generous peace offers that would have established a demilitarized Palestinian state, but these offers were not accepted. And for the past several years, the current Israeli government has offered to sit down and negotiate a two state solution with no pre-conditions-- not even advanced recognition of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. The Palestinian leadership has refused to negotiate.
‘Eyeless in Gaza’ director reveals the headlines Hamas don’t let you see
Seasoned journalist Matti Friedman had noticed all was not as it should be at the Associated Press (AP) bureau in Gaza.
Hamas fighters had burst into the office and threatened staff over photographs they had published. Then they witnessed a rocket launch right beside their office, endangering the lives of staff and nearby residents – and yet AP did not report it.
Likewise, the news coverage failed to show how cameramen waiting outside Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City would film the arrival of civilian casualties, but at the behest of officials, would turn off the cameras when wounded and dead fighters turned up – an attempt to preserve the illusion that only Palestinian civilians were being targeted by Israel.
Of course the truth was far from that, but while Hamas took pains to control how journalists portrayed conflicts in the region, the world’s media instead turned its attention on Israel.
It was a situation that Martin Himel, a Middle East correspondent for 25 years, had also observed before coming to the troubling conclusion that Israel was always portrayed as the aggressor and the Palestinians as victims – or, as Friedman says: “A morality play starring a familiar villain.”
Curious to discover how this came to be the media’s viewpoint, Himel has interviewed combatants, civilians and politicians from both sides of the conflict for his provocative documentary, Eyeless In Gaza, which premieres in London later this month.

After banning my Book, UCLA explains itself
Two weeks ago, some students and the admin at UCLA Law School tried to ban my book, Failing to Confront Islamic Totalitarianism, from being displayed at a free-speech panel. (The event was co-sponsored by the Ayn Rand Institute and The Federalist Society; you can read a detailed account in my editorial at The Hill.) Appalled by that incident, I wondered whether this was typical of UCLA, whether the university would explain its actions, whether it cared at all about intellectual freedom.
This week, I found out.
In a letter to ARI, the UCLA Law School issued a formal apology for the incident, and it explained that the decision to ban the book was inconsistent with its vigorous commitment to freedom of speech and respectful debate. Moreover, the school admitted that it had fallen short of its own commitment to apply policies in a content-neutral manner. The administration detailed steps it is taking to prevent such incidents in the future.
I appreciate the university’s frank recognition of its error. I applaud the UCLA Law School’s administration for taking the matter so seriously and for reaffirming its commitment to uphold the freedom of speech. When so many universities today are betraying that ideal, UCLA’s letter is a heartening contrast.
Today, in innumerable ways the freedom of speech is under assault. At ARI we believe that championing that ideal is mission-critical, because many people in our culture, especially intellectuals and politicians, are indifferent, and even hostile, to intellectual freedom. For decades, we have defended freedom of speech as a matter of principle, and we will continue to do so.
Barry Shaw: The Terror Filled Face of Palestine
When Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, spoke with President Trump at the White House press conference on February 15 he spoke about the inadmissibility of forcing Israel to live alongside a terrorist state of Palestine as the result of a global effort to establish a Palestinian state.
Ignored by people advocating a two-state solution is the clear and present danger of Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank and the terror face of the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority.When Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, spoke with President Trump at the White House press conference on February 15 he spoke about the inadmissibility of forcing Israel to live alongside a terrorist state of Palestine as the result of a global effort to establish a Palestinian state.
It is an inconvenient truth for international diplomats pressuring Israel to withdraw from the West Bank that Hamas has a growing presence there.
Evidence of that has been seen at Bir Zeit University where Hamas-affiliated students overwhelmingly won the student body election in February 2017.
Marco Rubio DESTROYS J Street
Yesterday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held confirmation hearings for David Friedman, President Trump's nominee for Ambassador to Israel. Friedman received considerable opposition from liberal Jewish organizations for his comments on the "two-state solution" and organizations like J Street. These organizations started a vicious campaign calling on US Senators to reject his confirmation, claiming that he is unfit for the role.
Enter Senator Marco Rubio.
Rubio opened his first round of questions to Friedman by referring to the confirmation process as "unreal" due to the amount of scrutiny Friedman is facing for prior statements. He then directed his attention to J Street.
Let me begin by saying I find this whole process to be unreal. This sort of ordeal you're being put through to account for all the words, in particular given some of the groups that have been ratcheting all this up. This group J Street, that, for example, a few years ago invited the chief Palestinian negotiator Erekat to address their conference, a person who has justified the murder of Jews as self-defense, as a person as they invited to speak at the conference.
Rubio is absolutely correct. J Street, a Soros-funded anti-Israel group masquerading as the home for "pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans," invited Erekat to their 2015 conference. Not long after attending their conference, Erekat called on the Palestinian Authority to support lone-wolf Palestinian-Arab terrorist attacks against Jews, called for rejecting a future Jewish state, and called for cooperating with genocidal terrorist organizations like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Rubio continued to target J Street:
This is a group who has routinely attacked people who hold my views, with content that I find to be a smear and a mischaracterization of our views.
The Man Holding The PLO Flag Behind David Friedman
The Associated Press wrote a story about David Friedman, President Trump's nominee for Ambassador to Israel, featuring an image of a man holding a Palestinian flag behind him. AP labeled him as a simple "protestor." What it did not know was that the individual behind it is one of the most sinister individuals in the United States of America.
His name is Taher Herzallah. He has a long record of anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, and pro-Hamas activity. He first earned recognition for being a part of the infamous "Irvine 11," a moniker describing the 11 students at University of California, Irvine who got arrested for disrupting a speech by then Israeli ambassador and now Member of the Knesset Michael Oren. He was charged with disrupting a peaceful assembly.
After graduating from UC Irvine, Herzallah started working for an organization called American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) at first as a National Campus Coordinator. Today, he is the Associate Director of Outreach & Grassroots Organizing. AMP describes itself as "a national education and grassroots-based organization, dedicated to educating the American public about Palestine and its rich cultural, historical and religious heritage." In his capacity, Herzallah works alongside student-run chapters of the Muslim Students Association (MSA) and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) to organize viciously anti-Israel activities across the United States, including mock checkpoints, apartheid walls, and anti-Semitic speakers.
AMP's board of directors consists of a handful of members who were part of the now-defunct "Palestine Committee," a group that the Investigative Project on Terrorism said was "created by the Muslim Brotherhood to advance Hamas' agenda politically and financially in the United States." The Palestine Committee was connected to the Holy Land Foundation, a charity that the Justice Department dismantled and exposed as a financier to Hamas. The committee also contained representatives from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a group that represents itself as a civil rights group for the American Muslim community.
Sheikh behind '93 World Trade Center attack dies in prison
Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, the blind firebrand Islamist cleric behind the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, has died in federal prison, Fox News has learned. He was 78.
Abdel-Rahman, an Egyptian radical who maintained a global following even while imprisoned for more than two decades, died Saturday morning at Butner Federal Medical Center in North Carolina, where he was serving a life sentence.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons confirmed that Abdel-Rahman died at approximately 5:40 a.m. Saturday of natural causes after a long health battle with diabetes and coronary artery disease.
His son Ammar told Reuters that his family had received a phone call from a U.S. representative saying his father had died.
Abdel-Rahman was convicted in 1995 of plotting terror attacks throughout New York City, targeting the United Nations and other New York City landmarks. He was also linked to the 1993 World Trade Center attack in which six people died and more than 1,000 others were injured.
In Weekly Address, Trump Reaffirms Bond With 'Cherished Ally Israel'
US President Donald Trump referred to his meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his weekly address on Friday.
"The United States also reaffirmed our unbreakable bond this week, with our cherished ally Israel. It was an honor to welcome my friend, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House. I affirmed to the prime minister America's commitment to working with Israel and our allies and partners toward greater security and stability," said Trump to the American people during the address.
"The threat of terrorism—and believe me, it is a threat—must be confronted and defeated, and we will defeat it. We share with Israel a deep conviction that we must protect all innocent human life."
During their joint press conference on Wednesday, Trump mentioned Israel's building in the West bank. "I'd like to see you pull back on settlements for a little bit," Trump told Netanyahu. The Israeli leader later insisted that Jewish settlements were "not the core of the conflict" and made no commitment to reduce settlement building.
Report: Trump transition team attempted to block UN settlement resolution
As the US prepared to abstain from UN security council resolution 2334 in December 2016, the transition team of US President Donald Trump, who was just over a month from taking office, including then planned national security advisor Micheal Flynn, worked to block the vote, Foreign Policy reported Friday.
Foreign Policy stated that on the day of the UNSC vote the Trump's transition team requested the contact info of ambassadors and foreign ministers of countries that are members of the Security Council.
A former State Department official said that the request was ultimately denied, citing a fear that the transition team would harm diplomatic aspirations.
One US official spoke to Foreign Policy stating that Nikki Haley, who Trump had already chosen to serve as the US ambassador to the UN, even attempted to reach Samantha Power. Power, who was at the time US ambassador to the UN, did note take Haley's call.
Micheal Flynn also called multiple country's ambassadors to the UNSC, in an attempt to persuade them.
The resolution passed on December 23, 2016, when 14 out of the 15 voting members of the Council voted in favor of the resolution, none voted against it, and the United States chose to abstain instead of casting its veto on the initiative.
At the time of the vote Trump came out squarely against it, saying the resolution “should be vetoed.”
“As the United States has long maintained, peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations. This puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position, and is extremely unfair to all Israelis,” Trump said in a statement.
Ex-Top US National Security Official: Trump-Netanyahu White House Meeting Marked ‘Symbolic Reset’ of Relations Between American and Israeli Governments After Tense Obama Era
The White House meeting this week between President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu marked a “symbolic reset of relations” between the governments of their two countries, a prominent American foreign policy expert said on Friday.
Elliott Abrams — a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former deputy national security adviser to President George W. Bush — explained during a Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA) conference call, “We have come through a period of eight years of tension at various levels, but particularly the top level. It’s clear that [ex-President Barack] Obama and Netanyahu didn’t get along, didn’t like each other. And that attitude was then communicated to the White House staff. You had a lot of backbiting, criticism of Netanyahu — all of that is over. We’ve returned now to the idea that there should be no daylight in public between the two governments. There will be plenty of disagreements, but those will be discussed in closed rooms and the relations at the top are obviously, genuinely, good. There is no artifice here about getting along.”
“That’s a critically important thing,” Abrams continued. “The whole US government takes its cue from the relationship at the top.”
Furthermore, Abrams noted, “Other governments also pay attention. I’ve always believed that most governments, particularly in Europe, base their relationship [with Israel] on ours. They don’t want to be quite as close to Israel. So if we’re distant, they’re more distant. If we’re close, then they get closer.”
Trump’s non-committal stance on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Abrams stated, was a positive development.
Standing With Israel on the Golan Heights
Recognition of Israel’s Golan claims would acknowledge that it needs these highlands to hold off a multitude of asymmetric and conventional military threats from Syria—and whatever comes after the war there. Israel continues to target Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah to prevent them from establishing a base of operations on the Syrian Golan.
Recognizing Israel’s sovereignty in the Golan would also soften the Palestinians’ core demand for a state within the 1967 borders. If an international border can be revised along the Syrian border, the Palestinians will have a harder time presenting the 1949 armistice line along the West Bank as inviolable. This might pave the way for compromise when Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, begins to make his push for Palestinian-Israeli peace.
The move will anger the Europeans and the United Nations, but that storm will pass. Syrian opposition groups will also protest. While some might be tempted to break their tenuous ties with Israel, they understand that the real enemy is Mr. Assad.
Similarly, Arab states will express their outrage, but they will likely see the big picture. Mr. Assad has fallen out of favor with the Arab League, and a blow to the Assad regime and its patrons in Tehran will be seen as a win by these regional Arab players, especially if the Trump administration makes it clear that this is the goal.
For the Israelis, the risk of internal instability resulting from the move is low. The Druze Arabs of the Golan, who number about 20,000, are unlikely to respond with unrest. While they profess loyalty to Mr. Assad, the carnage inside Syria has made the stability and prosperity of Israel increasingly attractive.
Mr. Netanyahu’s request will come as a surprise to some observers. But the Israeli prime minister clearly studied “The Art of the Deal.” He knows that his counterpart likes to think big and respects those who do the same.
Merkel to security summit: Islam is not the source of terror
The Islamic faith is not the cause of terrorism, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Saturday, and urged members of the Muslim clergy to fight back against a “false” interpretation of the religion that permits acts of violence to be carried out in its name.
Arguing for Muslim states to cooperate with the rest of the world to stamp out terror, the chancellor told an international security conference in Munich that this is the only way to persuade non-Muslims that the religion is one of peace.
“I think, those countries, first and foremost have to give a contribution. Because only in this way we would be able to convince people that it is not Islam that is the source of terrorism. But a falsely understood Islam,” Merkel said, according to Al Jazeera.
“I expect from religious authorities of Islam to find strong language in order to delimitate peaceful Islam from terrorism committed in the name of Islam. We as non-Muslims cannot do this, it should be done by Islamic clergy and authorities,” she said.
Merkel previously denounced “Islamist terrorism” as the greatest challenge facing Germany, and called on her fellow citizens to hold firm to democratic values in the face of jihadist terror.
Munich conference cancels joint session with Liberman, Zarif
Organizers of the Munich Security Conference on Friday hurriedly rearranged the agenda for their Sunday morning sessions, after Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said he was relishing the original itinerary, on which he was scheduled to share a platform, unprecedentedly, with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
The organizers cancelled the 9:45-11:05 a.m. session, and replaced it with a series of separate statements, with Zarif now set to speak an hour before Liberman, and another panel discussion in between them, leaving no likelihood of the two men encountering each other.
Liberman and Zarif were set to be two of four participants in a session entitled “Old Crises, New Middle East?,” which was to have been moderated by the BBC’s chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu were the other two participants.
In an interview from Munich on Friday evening, Liberman indicated he was looking forward to the meeting, saying he hoped Zarif would stay in the room to hear “exactly what I think about the ayatollahs’ regime in Tehran.”
PreOccupiedTerritory: Palestinian Claims Victory In Twitter Exchange, Bringing Statehood Ever Closer (satire)
Twitter executives reported today that in a series of messages between a Palestinian tweeter and two advocates for Israel, the Palestinian twice announced he had bested his opponents, thereby contributing to the establishment of a hoped-for Palestinian State.
The user, with 31 followers as of this writing, took on three tweeters with an interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by replying to a satirical link posted by one of them regarding Israeli settlements. During the ensuing exchange, the Palestinian user repeatedly invoked what he called a legal argument regarding Palestinian statehood and the illegality of Israeli control over areas it captured in 1967, and derided his opponents for their seeming inability to muster a counterargument on a legal basis. For so doing, the Palestinian tweeter declared he had won the argument; he had thus brought his people that much closer to sovereignty.
One of his interlocutors observed that his arguments in fact featured no legal content, as they were the product of declarative, political decisions with no legal standing. This observation prompted the user to double down on his assertion, then declare again that he had bested his opponents.
Palestinians reacted with excitement to this development. “We’ve been waiting for so long to have someone declare victory on Twitter,” gushed Saeb Erekat, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s chief negotiator with Israel. “This is of potentially greater weight than UN Security Resolution 2334, which we hailed as a victory – but this Twitter victory renders that diplomatic coup inconsequential by comparison. Today is a blessed day in the annals of the Palestinian struggle.”
Lebanese Media: Hezbollah Given “Game-Changing” Iranian Arms, Has Tunnels on Israeli Border
Iran has sent “game-changing” weapons to its proxy group Hezbollah, which has been actively building tunnels and fortifications along Lebanon’s border with Israel, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reported Wednesday, citing Lebanese media.
Ibrahim al-Amin, chairman of the pro-Hezbollah newspaper Al-Akhbar, wrote in an editorial on January 24 that “a vast supply of advanced, state-of-the art weapons of various kinds, including weapons provided by Iran” have flown into Hezbollah’s depots since the beginning of the Syrian civil war. He also asserted that while Israel targeted convoys transporting sophisticated weapons to Hezbollah, “dozens if not hundreds of convoys managed to [get through and] bring the necessary [weapons] to the resistance bases in Lebanon.”
“Israel reads the map and realizes that Hizbullah’s weapons arsenal has steadily grown, and is now several times larger than it was in 2006, and that the kind of weapons that the enemy tried and is still trying to prevent the resistance from acquiring – namely, what Israel calls ‘game-changing’ weapons – is available to it in great amounts,” al-Amin claimed.
Al-Amin observed that Hezbollah fired 4,300 rockets into Israel during the 2006 war between the two. Now, Israel estimates that Hezbollah would be able to fire 1,500 rockets at it each day, but “these are the enemy’s estimates, and they are surely wrong,” he wrote.
Pence: US will ‘never’ allow Iran to threaten Israel with nukes
US Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday that Washington was committed to ensuring Iran could never threaten Israel with nuclear weapons.
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, Pence called Tehran “the leading state sponsor of terrorism” and said it continued to destabilize the Middle East.
“Thanks to the end of nuclear-related sanctions under the [nuclear deal] Iran now has additional resources to devote to these efforts,” he said.
“Let me be clear again: Under President Trump the United States will remain fully committed to ensuring that Iran never obtains a nuclear weapon capable of threatening our countries, our allies in the region, especially Israel.”
Iran accuses Israel of being 'a danger' to regional, global peace
Iran on Thursday responded to the tough rhetoric from the U.S. administration over its ballistic missile tests, and President Donald Trump's pledge to stop its nuclear ambitions, by accusing Israel of being the "real" threat in the Middle East.
"The Zionist regime is a danger to the peace and security in the region and the world, because it has hundreds of nuclear warheads in its arsenal," an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
During a press conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the White House Wednesday, Trump reiterated that the 2015 nuclear deal was "the worst agreement ever," and said his administration will never allow Tehran to build a nuclear weapon.
"My administration has already imposed new sanctions on Iran, and I will do more to prevent Iran from ever developing -- I mean ever -- a nuclear weapon," Trump said.
Contain Iran by Sanctioning Its Misbehavior
Despite the nuclear deal, both U.S. and international non-nuclear sanctions against the Islamic Republic are still in place, as are mechanisms for introducing new sanctions without violating the terms of the agreement. Katherine Bauer, Patrick Clawson, and Matthew Levitt urge the Trump administration to make use of these to check Tehran’s support for terror, human-rights offenses, and ballistic-missile testing. They write:
Sanctions . . . will work best if they are accompanied by diplomatic, military, and intelligence measures in a coordinated campaign against Iran’s destabilizing activities. Likewise, sanctions are most effective when they are adopted by an international coalition. . . . Focusing on Iranian conduct that violates international norms will thus be most likely to draw multilateral support. Relatedly, demonstrating international resolve on non-nuclear issues is more apt to garner Iranian respect for the constraints of the deal itself. . . .
[First], the U.S. government should resume engagements with private- and public-sector actors around the world to highlight evidence that Iran continues to pose a threat to the global financial system. Rather than reassuring banks that doing business with Iran can help enshrine the nuclear deal, U.S. government officials at every level should emphasize that Iran bears the onus of demonstrating its adherence to the same requirements imposed on every other country by reining in illicit financial activity and conforming with international norms for its financial system. U.S. officials should also highlight the UN Security Council restrictions that Iran continues to violate, including the embargo on Iranian arms exports . . . and the UN embargo on arming Hizballah in Syria and the Houthis in Yemen. . . .
The second element of the multipronged strategy is to intensify implementation of existing sanctions, since, on a number of fronts, the Obama administration had been soft-pedaling [this]. . . .
Report: Iran's approach to Israel unchanged since nuclear deal
While the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers was meant to be a first step toward improving the Islamic republic's relationships with the international community, the Iranian leadership has not changed its attitude toward Israel, a new report from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, headed by former Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold, has found.
The report said that Iran's long-range missile program demonstrates the state's anti-Israel fervor. The missiles are frequently inscribed with slogans such as "Israel should be wiped off the face of the earth." The report said that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei "paves the way" for the fierce anti-Israel rhetoric in the military and the nation.
On Oct. 26, 2015, referring to Khamenei's promise that Israel would not exist in 25 years, Iranian Ground Force Commander Brig. Gen. Ahmad Reza Purdastan said the country's missile program could guarantee this.
"We are eager to see Israel make a move to put the supreme leader's remarks into action as soon as possible," he said.
Several other Iranian leaders have also referred to Khamenei's remarks and have similarly promised Israel's demise.
Iran Is Terrified Trump Will Release Secret Nuclear Side Deals
A senior Iranian lawmaker is worried that President Donald Trump may leak secret documents related to Iran’s nuclear program.
Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the head of Iran’s parliamentary Commission on Foreign Policy and National Security, claimed that any attempt by Trump to publish documents relating to Iran’s nuclear program from the International Atomic Energy Agency would represent a violation.
“If Trump wants to publish confidential documents exchanged between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency, it will in fact constitute a violation of the agency’s obligations, because the agency has been committed not to make Iran’s confidential nuclear information and documents available to any country, including the US,” said Boroujerdi, as reported by Iran’s Fars News Monday.
The lawmaker claimed that the IAEA, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog agency, promised not to allow any information about the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to be leaked. The Trump transition team was considering publishing some of the secret side deals associated as part of the original agreement after Trump’s inauguration, The Daily Beast reported in December.
Former DoS Spox Who Lied About Secret Iran Talks Advises Trump Admin to Stop Lying
Move over lyin’ Brian Williams, lyin’ Jen Psaki is back with to lecture the Trump administration on the dangers of deceiving the American public.
Remember Jen Psaki, the former spokesperson for the State Department who helped the federal government cover up eight minutes of missing official video which proved the Obama administration held under-the-table talks over the Iran deal? Yeah, well, she’s back and has a message for White House spokesman Sean Spicer and Trump aide Kellyanne Conway: stop lying.
Just like Brian “I was at the crucifixion” Williams audaciously lectured President Trump that lying is bad, Psaki wrote a piece for CNN complaining about the same. She called it her “unsolicited advice:”
Here’s some unsolicited advice for you, Ms. Psaki: If the fact that you are speaking on behalf of the United States government and the American people rely on the information you share, why did you help cover the State Department’s willful deletion of crucial evidence of secret Iran talks and tell the public that “there are times where diplomacy needs privacy in order to progress?”
We’ll wait while you conjure an answer.
Revolutionary Guards Defeat US Navy in New Animated Film Soon to Open in Iran
A full-length animated film depicting an armed confrontation between Iran's Revolutionary Guards and the U.S. Navy is soon to open in Iranian cinemas, amid rising tensions over President Donald Trump's hardening rhetoric against Tehran.
The director of the "Battle of Persian Gulf II", Farhad Azima, said that it was a remarkable coincidence that the release of the film - four years in the making - coincided with a "warmongering" president sitting in the White House.
"I hope that the film shows Trump how American soldiers will face a humiliating defeat if they attack Iran," Azima told Reuters in a telephone interview from the city of Mashhad in eastern Iran.
The 88-minute animation opens with the U.S. Army attacking an Iranian nuclear reactor, and the U.S. Navy in the Gulf hitting strategic locations across the county.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a powerful branch of the Iranian military, retaliates with full force, raining ballistic missiles on the U.S. warships.
Iranian General Visits Russia Again, in Violation of UN Travel Ban
A top Iranian general violated a United Nations travel ban by flying to Moscow on Tuesday, Fox News reported, citing Western intelligence officials.
Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force, is banned from traveling outside of Iran by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1747 (which Russia voted for). Nonetheless, he arrived in Russia on Tuesday and is scheduled to stay there for a few days to meet with government officials, Fox reported. He is expected to discuss his concerns over Russia’s increasingly-close ties with Saudi Arabia, a regional rival of Iran.
In his capacity as the head of the Qods Force, which is responsible for the IRGC’s external operations, Soleimani oversees the funding, training, and equipping of the terrorist groups Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Syrian army forces and Shiite militias fighting in Syria, and the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified to Congress in 2015 that around 500 Americans were killed by Soleimani-commanded forces who fought against U.S. troops in Iraq.
In 2011, Soleimani and other members of the Qods Force were implicated in the failed Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S. at a popular restaurant in Washington, D.C. As part of the nuclear deal reached with Iran, the UN travel ban on Soleimani will be lifted either in October 2020 or when the International Atomic Energy Agency determines that all nuclear material in Iran is for peaceful purposes.
Open hatred of Jews ignored while media, politicians obsess over “Islamophobia”
Student leaders call for punching zionists, claims it was the zionists that carried out the Quebec City mosque attack and even prayers for the killing of the Jews - these are just some of the examples of open hatred towards Jews that we have learned of in the past week or so.
Does this make national news? Sometimes stories like this do but other times they’re pushed down the media food chain - covered mostly locally, or in community papers like CIJ News.
We definitely don’t hear anchors across the country reading about these stories in the same concerned tone as if other groups had faced a threat.
Watch as I share some of those stories with you, beginning with the “punch a Zionist” student leader at McGill, anti-semitic flyers on the campus of Western University, the Quebec Imam calling for Allah to “destroy the accursed Jews” or “kill them one by one” to “make their children orphans and their women widows”.
Have these stories been in your newsfeed non-stop, or on every newscast?
Jews facing double standard from media, politicians

Igor “Punch A Zionist” Sadikov’s New-and-Improved Apology To Save His Skin
This is definitely a better attempt at an apology than his first one BUT I call BS.
For a start, in apology version 1.0, he never mentioned anything about it being a political joke referencing a popular meme or his parents and friends being Zionists. He merely expressed regret people felt threatened by it, and said it was not an attack on Jewish students (just on Zionist ones!). Plus there’s the matter of his liking this comment.
Which leads me to the conclusion that Sadikov is just trying to save his position in the SSMU.
BDS Turned to Israel’s Advantage
Sandy Springs resident Dovid Antopolsky had agreed to rent out his house exterior and driveway for a movie shoot Monday, Feb. 13, but had second thoughts when he learned that the film features Danny Glover, a political activist who has been among the leading celebrities backing the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.
[NEWS-BDS Movie tweet]
Danny Glover makes no secret of his opposition to Israel.
Glover — who is shooting “Come Sunday,” an independent feature about an evangelical preacher who is ostracized for saying there’s no hell — signed an open letter Feb. 10 urging NFL players to cancel a seven-day visit to Israel, and he celebrated the decision of Seattle Seahawk Michael Bennett and others to skip the trip.
Jewish Atlanta experienced controversy over actors and BDS in January because Emma Thompson, the star of Atlanta Jewish Film Festival opening-night movie “Alone in Berlin,” had joined a call to boycott an Israeli theater group in 2012. Last year she said that decision was a mistake.
“I feel I have a chance to also make a statement,” Dovid Antopolsky says.
Glover’s position is clear, however, so Antopolsky, an electrical engineer/consultant, sought the advice of Rabbi Yossi New, the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Tefillah.
Rabbi New advised Antopolsky to proceed with the movie contract, but with the stipulation that the rental fee be paid to a pro-Israel charity.
AJ+ Latest Libel Against Israel
Al Jizz’s trendy offshoot AJ+ have a new video out on flooding in Gaza. And guess who they blame the damage on?
Note their argument. The situation “is worsened by weakened infrastructure often targeted by Israeli violence.” Because I guess it is a known thing we love to fire at drains. Just for the fun of it.
Nope. Had Hamas not siphoned off funds for infrastructure to do things like manufacture rockets, build terror tunnels, and pay off martyrs, then I am guessing they would not be flooded.
Israel Criticizes Russia for Blocking International Definition of Anti-Semitism
Israel’s ambassador in Moscow criticized Russia for blocking the international adoption of a definition of anti-Semitism, which he linked to a recent string of allegedly racist statements about Jews by Russian politicians.
Gary Koren made his unusual statement on anti-Semitism in Russia in an interview with Interfax, the news agency reported Wednesday. Koren singled out Russia for blocking the definition’s adoption by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, an intergovernmental group of 57 member states.
“The OSCE has attempted to determine a text, which ought to define what can be classified as anti-Semitism and what its working definition is,” the envoy said. “We are discussing this issue with the Russian Foreign Ministry and hope that Russia will adopt this definition in the future.”
Israeli ambassadors to Russia rarely comment on issues that do not involve Israel and bilateral relations directly.
Koren’s statement came as confirmation to reports, including by the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Jonathan Arkush, that Russia was the only country blocking the adoption of the definition, which is controversial because it lists some forms of hate speech on Israel as an example of anti-Semitism.
‘Holocaust tourism’ laid bare in eye-opening documentary
How do people behave when they visit a concentration camp or a Holocaust memorial? Do they act as if there are in place of reverence or mourning? Or do they behave as crowds do at any tourist attraction — taking selfies, goofing around, snacking and drinking as they amble along?
Just what constitutes appropriate behavior at a Holocaust memorial site has been a hot topic recently. Last month, the Israeli-German writer and satirist Shahak Shapira reignited the public debate about “Holocaust tourism” with a website “shaming” tourists who appear in flippant selfies taken at the Holocaust memorial in Berlin. Shapira’s site, titled Yolocaust, superimposed smiling tourists with gruesome images from the Holocaust, such as piles of corpses.
“I find it dangerous that this is becoming normal,” Shapira told a German news program shortly before shutting down the project, saying it had served its purpose. “It kind of suggests that people are not dealing with the real purpose of this memorial.”
Last summer, the smartphone game Pokemon Go raised eyebrows for guiding some of its users into the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum as well as the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. This followed a few years after an American tourist took a smiling selfie at Auschwitz, drawing outrage on Twitter and calling attention to other online chronicles of inappropriate selfie-taking, such as the Facebook group “With My Besties in Auschwitz.”
And now the behavior of tourists at Holocaust memorial sites — and the tough questions surrounding it — is explored in a probing documentary film, “Austerlitz,” by Ukrainian director Sergei Loznitsa. The film will have its US premiere at the Museum of Modern Art’s Doc Fortnight festival on Sunday and Monday in New York City, but it has already garnered praise after showings last year at major international film festivals in Toronto and Venice.
‘Frozen zoo’ preserves DNA of animals at risk of extinction
Noah’s Ark is said to have saved many animals from extinction. Now, veterinarians at the Zoological Center Tel Aviv-Ramat Gan Safari, together with experts from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) in Germany, are using innovative techniques to create a DNA tissue bank for animals – especially those expected to become extinct in the next few years.
The Israel-German Ark of Life is a frozen zoo comprising animal DNA samples kept in special tubes at a constant -196 degrees Celsius. The forward-thinking conservation project uses modern means to prepare for future advances in saving animals.
“Today we can take the genes to conserve. The tissues can be used in the future for several reasons, whether to reproduce species of animals that become extinct or maybe reproduce organs for transplants,” Dr. Yigal Horowitz, chief veterinarian at the Safari and head of the project, tells ISRAEL21c.
“I believe in the future there will be many possibilities of what can be done with these genes. Some of them we can imagine today and most of them we cannot even imagine. What matters is that people will use the technology in the future to do those things they can’t do today,” he says.
Take it slow in Israel’s Valley of Springs
The Valley of Springs Regional Council of Israel has announced its second annual Slow Tourism initiative, calling on travelers to leisurely enjoy the hiking trails and natural springs in the area.
Slow tourism, like slow food, is a new and more unhurried way to travel, enabling visitors the opportunity to enjoy in-depth experiences and to interact with a location and its residents.
“This is the time to take it slow and really enjoy the Valley of Springs at its best. The valley is green, the rivers and springs are in full flow, and the wildflowers are beginning to bloom – making for gorgeous scenery,” Osnat Betzer, tourism manager of the Valley of Springs Regional Council, tells ISRAEL21c.
The Valley of Springs — bordered by the Jezreel Valley to the west, the Lower Galilee to the north, the Jordan River to the east, and the Jordan Valley to the south — holds many of Israel’s gems including more than 40 natural springs, birdwatching spots, historical sites, fabulous bridges, and beautiful flora and fauna.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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