Saturday, September 23, 2017

From Ian:

Valerie Plame Wilson Tweets ‘America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars’
Former CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson tweeted out an anti-Semitic article that claimed Jews were the cause of America's wars.
"America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars," she tweeted.
America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars
— Valerie Plame Wilson (@ValeriePlame) September 21, 2017
The linked story from the media site, Unz Review, asked, "Shouldn't [American Jews] recuse themselves when dealing with the Middle East?"
The author argued Jews will soon cause a war with Iran as well. "What makes the war engine run is provided by American Jews who have taken upon themselves the onerous task of starting a war with a country that does not conceivably threaten the United States," he wrote.

"The issue that nearly all the Iran haters are Jewish has somehow fallen out of sight, as if it does not matter," he continued. "But it should matter."

"For those American Jews who lack any shred of integrity, the media should be required to label them at the bottom of the television screen whenever they pop up, e.g. Bill Kristol is ‘Jewish and an outspoken supporter of the state of Israel.'"
Alan Dershowitz: Plame Knew What She Was Tweeting
I actually read the Philip Giraldi article before I was aware of the Plame tweet. I read it on a neo-Nazi website, where Giraldi's articles are frequently featured. That's where Giraldi's articles belong – on overtly anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi websites. For Plame, a former CIA operative, to claim that she was unaware of the anti-Semitic content of Giraldi's article is to blink reality. Plame had to know what she was doing, since she was aware of Giraldi's bigotry. Her apologies ring hollow. Her true feelings were revealed in what she said before she realized that she would be widely condemned for her original re- Tweet. She must now do more than apologize. She must explain how she came upon the article? Who sent it to her? Does she regularly read bigoted website? Why is she reading and re-Tweeting a known anti-Semite? What are her own personal views regarding the content of the Giraldi's article.

The Plame incident reflects a broader problem about which I have written [A new tolerance for anti-Semitism, by Alan M. Dershowitz, published by Gatestone Institute, 2017].There is a growing tolerance for anti-Semitism. Even when some people themselves do not harbor these feelings, they are willing to support those who do, as long as the anti-Semites are on their side of the political spectrum. This is an unacceptable approach, especially in the post-Holocaust era. Unfortunately, Valerie Plame is the poster child for this growing tolerance. She must be called out on it, as must others who follow the same path of bigotry.

The problem exists both on the hard right and the hard left. Both extremist groups see the world in racial, ethnic and religious terms. Both engage in identity politics: the hard left gives more weight to the views of certain minorities; while the hard right gives less weight to the views of these same minorities. Both are equally guilty of reductionism and stereotyping. Neither group is prepared to judge individuals on their individual merits and demerits. Both insist on judging entire groups and of stereotyping.

American Jews—like other Americans -- are deeply divided on important issues, such as the Iran deal, the current prospects for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, and the Trump administration's foreign policies. To generalize about "Jews" is both factually and morally wrong.

What the hard right and hard left share in common is special bigotry toward Jews: the neo-Nazi right hates the Jewish people; and the hard left hates the nation state of the Jewish people and those Jews who support it. Both views are bigoted and must not become acceptable among centrist liberals and conservatives.
Israeli Warplanes Strike Hezbollah Weapons Depot outside Damascus
Israeli warplanes attacked a Hezbollah weapons depot outside of Damascus in the early hours of Friday morning, The Times of Israel reported.

According to reports in Arabic media outlets, the three separate strikes were carried out near Damascus International Airport, an area which is a stronghold of the Iranian-backed terrorist organization.

“Israeli warplanes targeted with rocket fire a weapons depot belonging to Hezbollah near the airport,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Images of the alleged Israeli strikes surfaced on social media, which show fire and smoke rising from the area around Damascus airport.

There have been no confirmations or denials from Israel, Syria or Hezbollah on any of the reports.

Israel has for years carried out airstrikes in Syrian territory to contain and destroy the military infrastructure of its enemies, including Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles and Iranian-made missiles, as well as Hezbollah outposts.

Defying US warnings, Iran tests new missile capable of reaching Israel
Iran said on Saturday that it had successfully tested a new medium-range missile, in defiance of warnings from Washington that it is ready to ditch a landmark nuclear deal over the issue.

State television carried footage of the launch of the Khoramshahr missile, which was first displayed at a high-profile military parade in Tehran on Friday. It also carried in-flight video from the nose cone.

The broadcaster gave no date for the test, although officials had said on Friday that it would be tested “soon.”

“As long as some speak in the language of threats, the strengthening of the country’s defense capabilities will continue and Iran will not seek permission from any country for producing various kinds of missile,” Defence Minister Amir Hatami said in a statement Saturday.

Revolutionary Guards aerospace chief General Amir Ali Hajizadeh was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying on Friday, when the missile was unveiled, that “the Khoramshahr missile has a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) and can carry multiple warheads.”

Iran says all of its missiles are designed to carry conventional warheads only and has limited their range to a maximum of 2,000 kilometers, although commanders say they have the technology to go further.

That makes them only medium-range but still sufficient to reach Israel or US bases in the Gulf.
Israel says Iran missile test a provocation to US and threat to whole free world
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Saturday called an Iranian test of a missile that could reach Israel, test a provocation to the United States and a threat to the whole world.

Earlier in the day Iran said it had successfully tested a new medium-range missile, in defiance of warnings from Washington that it is ready to ditch a landmark nuclear deal over the issue.

“The ballistic missile that was fired by Iran is not only a a provocation and a slap in the face for the United States and its allies — and an attempt to test them — but also further proof of the Iranian ambitions to become a world power and threaten countries in the Middle East all the the countries of the free world,” Liberman said in a statement.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman leads a faction meeting of his Yisrael Beytenu party at the Knesset on July 10, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“Imagine what would happen if Iran would acquire nuclear weapons. That is what it is striving for. We cannot allow it to happen.,” Liberman said.

Iranian State television carried footage of the launch of the Khoramshahr missile, which was first displayed at a high-profile military parade in Tehran on Friday. It also carried in-flight video from the nose cone.
Nikki Haley Challenges Iran Deal Supporters: ‘Do You Think It’s Still Working?’
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley defended the Trump administration’s opposition to the Iran nuclear deal Thursday and asked those keen to have it remain untouched: “Do you think that deal is working?”

Haley made the remarks during a press conference in New York City, in which she was asked about the deal and President Trump’s aggressive language on it. Trump used his address to the General Assembly to slam the Iran deal, calling it an “embarrassment.”

Haley was asked how the U.S. could keep its international credibility on dealing with increasing aggression from North Korea when it is looking to rip up the Obama-era deal.

It does not undermine U.S. credibility, what it shows is that the U.S. is always going to watch out for its people and that just because there was some agreement that was agreed to, the smartest thing any country can do is go back and look at it and say “is it working?” and not have too much pride to say “oh I signed it I have to continue to be a cheerleader.”

She then turned the question on the reporter asking the question and, in turn, those who support the deal: “I’ll ask you, do you think that deal is working when Iran continues to test ballistic missiles? Do you think that deal is working when they are supporting terrorists everywhere from Lebanon to Yemen to Syria to Iran, do you think it’s still working?”

Finally, Haley took an “America First” approach and criticized the idea that the deal was in the best interests of the U.S.

“I would question that because what you’re looking at is a country that says ‘death to America’ working with other countries that may also want the same thing, and the president has the responsibility to make sure nothing happens to Americans and that’s what he’s trying to do,” she said.
Tillerson, Haley Clash Over Iran Nuclear Deal
UN ambassador views Tillerson effort to preserve nuke deal as undermining Trump

In a sign of the ongoing internal dissent over ending the landmark nuclear agreement with Iran, multiple sources told the Washington Free Beacon that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley have been at odds over the deal, with Trump's U.N. ambassador privately expressing dismay with Tillerson over his continued efforts to preserve the nuclear agreement.

Tillerson and Haley held a private powwow Wednesday with international leaders regarding the future of the nuclear deal, a sign of Haley's vital role in the Trump administration's key foreign policy issue.

The meeting is likely to underscore mounting tensions between Haley and Tillerson on the issue, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation, who told the Free Beacon that Haley views Tillerson's efforts to preserve the deal as anathema to Trump's own policy agenda.

The division is one of several that Tillerson has sparked within the administration, particularly in the West Wing, where the secretary of state has been described as in "open war" with Trump on a series of major foreign policy issues, including Iran and the Israel-Palestinian impasse.
Rouhani: 'Rogue Zionist regime' shouldn't preach
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday blasted the United States and Israel in his speech to the UN General Assembly, warning that his country will respond “decisively” to any violation of the nuclear deal it signed with the West in 2015.

“Centuries ago, Iran gave shelter to the Jews suffering the crack-downs of Babylonians, and the same nation is today supporting the oppressed people of Palestine,” Rouhani charged.

He attacked Israel for criticizing the nuclear deal, saying “It is reprehensible that the rogue Zionist regime, that threatens regional and global security with its nuclear arsenal and is not committed to any international instrument or safeguard, has the audacity to preach peaceful nations.”

“The Islamic Republic of Iran will not be the first country to violate the agreement, but it will respond decisively and resolutely to its violation by any party,” warned Rouhani.

“It will be a great pity if this agreement were to be destroyed by ‘rogue’ newcomers to the world of politics: the world will have lost a great opportunity,” he continued, in a reference to President Donald Trump’s comments against the deal.

“By violating its international commitments, the new U.S. administration only destroys its own credibility and undermines international confidence in negotiating with it, or accepting its word or promise,” said Rouhani.
Terrorist Rasmea Odeh lies one last time as she is deported
In reality, Trump policies had nothing to do with Rasmea’s deportation. Rasmea was arrested in 2013, convicted the first time in 2014, and the retrial was pursued through the end of and beyond the Obama administration by career prosecutors. Rasmea was prosecuted because she committed immigration fraud, not because of some change resulting from Trump.

But it gets worse. The Sun-Times also allowed Rasmea one last lie by repeating her claim that she was being sent to a place (Jordan) where she knew no one and had no family. This is classic Rasmea victimhood spin:

One of Rasmea’s main support groups, the U.S. Palestinian Community Network, knew better. It tweeted out images of Rasmea’s family and friends waiting for her at the airport in Amman, Jordan:

USPCN even ran live video of her family and friends greeting her. At 2:35 of the live feed she’s told, “Greetings from the families.”

Fortunately, it’s Rasmea’s last lie on U.S. soil.
Women's March Group Praises Terrorist Rasmea Odeh, Calls Deportation A Symptom Of 'Broken System'
A group affiliated with the "Women's March" decided, Thursday, to honor now-deported Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh on Twitter, claiming Odeh's recent immigration troubles were the result of a "broken system," and not because Odeh murdered two people and lied about it to American immigration.

The Tweet links back to an equally abysmal opinion piece in the Chicago Sun-Times, which calls Odeh an "activist" and praises her for her work "resisting" Donald Trump as part of the Women's March team of organizers (Odeh, it seems, was part of the group responsible for the failed "Day Without a Woman" campaign). That piece, also, glosses over Odeh's past, claiming that she was "extorted" into confessing that she'd taken part in a bombing campaign that left two young men dead.

The now-70 year old Odeh was convicted, in 1969, of being part of a plot to bomb an Israeli supermarket. Her group hid small bombs in boxes of candy, hoping to maximize their impact, specifically by targeting children. The group's bombs killed two Hebrew University students.

Odeh served ten years in prison before she was released in a prisoner exchange. She emigrated to the US but "forgot" to tell immigration officials that she'd served time for terrorism. In April, an immigration court marked Odeh for punishment: she could serve time in jail for lying to officials, or be deported. She chose deportation to Jordan.

The system isn't "broken;" it worked exactly as it's supposed to.
Shapiro Fires Back At Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison, Who Compared DACA Recipients To Jews Fleeing The Holocaust
On Monday, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), compared DACA recipients to Jews escaping the Holocaust, and appeared to compare American law enforcement to Nazis.

Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro appeared on Fox News on Wednesday to respond to Ellison's insane ideas. Speaking with Martha MacCallum, Shapiro said:

Well, I mean there are about one bajillion things wrong with everything that he just said. First of all, Keith Ellison is the last person who should be making Holocaust references considering that he spent the last thirty years of his life opposing Jews. I mean, he was very close with the Nation of Islam founder Louis Farrakhan in the 1990's; he gave a lead-off speech for a guy named Khalid Muhammad, who is so radical that he was thrown out of the Nation of Islam for anti-Semitism.

He's tried to back off of that in recent years, but Alan Dershowitz said that if Keith Ellison had been appointed head of the DNC, he would have left the Democratic Party wholesale.

Keith Ellison is not the guy to be making this particular reference. To begin, if Keith Ellison had been around in 1941, I have my doubts about what he would have done with Jews trying to hide from Nazis. But beyond that, the reference with regard to ICE, that ICE is somehow a Nazi force – enforcing the immigration laws – is just absurd. And the idea that people who are here illegally, who have been living in the country, largely in freedom – many of their kids are going to public schools, they're taking advantage of public benefits, of jobs here – the idea that this is the same thing as making legal citizens of your country illegal and then throwing them into concentration camps or gassing them is just beyond the pale. It's insane language from Ellison, but nothing shocking considering who Ellison is.
Ben Shapiro: Keith Ellison Is The Last Person Who Should Be Making Holocaust References

Israel, Bahrain could announce normalized ties by next year — report
Israel will reportedly normalize diplomatic ties with the Gulf kingdom of Bahrain as the two countries draw closer over their shared hostility to Iran, with an announcement even possible in the coming months.

While there have been a number of recent signs that Bahrain is dropping its traditional hostility to the Jewish state, such as the visit in May of officials from the Israeli Football Association to a FIFA congress there, Western and Bahraini officials told the Middle East Eye that an official announcement of the establishment of relations could happen as soon as next year.

While the normalization of ties would likely not include the opening of diplomatic missions, officials said the two countries are working to setup exchange visits of businessman and religious figures, and even of government ministers.

“I do not think we will witness the opening of an Israeli embassy here, but probably we will have official visits from ministers of trade and economic affairs,” an unnamed Western official told Middle East Eye.
President of the Israeli Football Association Ofer Eini and ISA CEO Rotem Kamer (L) attend the 67th FIFA Congress in the Bahraini capital Manama on May 11, 2017. (AFP Photo/Jack Guez)

The official said that while there was likely to be grumbling from Bahrainis over the move, with previous steps such as the visit by Israeli soccer officials leading to criticism on social media, the country’s leaders would say it is necessary to counter Iran.
Please join me in this clip below as I discuss with Avi Abelow of Israel Video Network the remarkable comments about Israel made by the King of Bahrain.

Abbas: UN must try to end Israeli occupation 'within set timeframe'
Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas called on the United Nations on Wednesday to pursue efforts to "bring an end to Israeli occupation of the state of Palestine within a set time frame."

Abbas, addressing the United Nations General Assembly, warned that if the two-state solution were to be destroyed, Palestinians would have no choice but to "continue the struggle and demand full rights for all inhabitants of historic Palestine."

Abbas emphasized during his speech that the PA is committed to the two state solution and all of the efforts it will undertake will be peaceful. He repeated that several times during his speech.

"We are standing against International terrorism, and we are fighting it," said Abbas before arguing that it is Israel, and not the Palestinian Authority, that is not interested in peace.

"Israel builds so many settlements," Abbas said, "there is no space for Palestine."

Naming the French peace initiative and the Arab peace initiative, among others, as peace efforts that Israel, in his view, rejected, Abbas was consistent in his message. The Palestinian Authority bears no responsibility for the conflict as "commitment from one side is not enough for peace". If Israel doesn't want peace or a two state solution "let them [the Israelis] bear the responsibility for it," Abbas said, "we will not."
Palestinian Terror Factions Praise Abbas's U.N. Speech
Palestinian terrorist organizations have been praising Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for his speech at the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday, calling it a recognition by the Palestinian president of the failure of the approach of political negotiations.

Hamas released a special statement saying that it, “followed the speech of the Palestinian Authority president with great interest. This speech contained within it a recognition of the failure of the plan for a political solution with the occupation and contained a new approach regarding the paths before the Palestinian people to procure their rights by all means against the occupation.”

Hamas, like other Palestinian factions, refer to Israel as the “occupation.”

Hamas criticized Abbas’ reference to the issue of resistance and his stance that he opposes all forms of terror, but praised Abbas’ efforts to send a delegation of the national unity government to the Gaza Strip, “and we will do everything possible so it will succeed in its mission.”

The National Front for the Liberation of Palestine, whose members murdered the former Israeli tourism minister Rehavam Ze’evi, also praised the Palestinian president for his speech. In a statement, the organization said that Abbas’ speech, “Clearly presented the steps of the Zionist entity against the Palestinian people and against their national rights and presented the position from the settlement enterprise and the imperialist occupation.”
Bernie Sanders calls for rethink on US aid to Israel, Iran policy
US senator and former presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders called for Washington to adopt a friendlier approach to Iran, and said he would consider supporting slashing US aid to Israel over the Jewish state’s policies towards the Palestinians.

In an interview Thursday with The Intercept, the Jewish senator said the US was “complicit” in what he termed Israel’s occupation of the Palestinians, but was not the only guilty party, and urged Washington to play a more fair role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Certainly the United States is complicit, but it’s not to say… that Israel is the only party at fault,” he said.

“In terms of Israeli-Palestinian relations, the United States has got to play a much more even-handed role. Clearly that is not the case right now,” he added.

US funding, said Sanders, “plays a very important role, and I would love to see people in the Middle East sit down with the United States government and figure out how US aid can bring people together, not just result in an arms war in that area.”

The senator said that there was “extraordinary potential for the United States to help the Palestinian people rebuild Gaza and other areas. At the same time, demand that Israel, in their own interests in a way, work with other countries on environmental issues.”

When asked if he would “consider voting to reduce US aid to Israel or US arms sales to the Israeli military, Sanders said “the answer is yes.”
Mike Pence To The UN: 'The Human Rights Council Doesn’t Deserve Its Name.'
On Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence addressed the United Nations Security Council, and called for a complete reformation, including changes to the Human Rights Council's membership recruitment policies, and and end to the anti-Semitism that infects their resolutions.

Pence began, “The United Nations is bound by its charter to foster ‘International cooperation in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all.’ That was the purpose under which the U.N. Human Rights Council was formed. But the truth is, the Human Rights Council doesn't deserve its name.”

The Vice President then called out the HRC for recruiting brutal regimes. “Today, the United Nations Human Rights Council actually attracts and welcomes many of the worst human rights violators in the world. A clear majority of the Human Rights Council’s members fail to meet even the most basic human rights standards.”

Pence continued, “Cuba sits on the Human Rights Council, an oppressive regime that has repressed its people and jailed political opponents for more than half a century. Venezuela sits on the Human Rights Council, a dictatorship that undermines democracy at every turn, imprisons political opponents, and as we speak is advancing policies that worsen deprivation and poverty that’s costing the lives of innocent men, women, and children.”

Pence said, “This body must reform the Human Rights Council’s membership and its operation. As to its operation, I think of what President John F. Kennedy warned more than 50 years ago, that the United Nations must not become in his words a ‘forum for invective.’”
At UN, Syrian FM accuses Israel of backing ‘terror gangs’
Syria’s foreign minister accused Israel of supporting “terror gangs” fighting against the Syrian regime in a speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday, while also saying that the ongoing civil war has not diminished Damascus’ desire to retake the Golan Heights.

In his speech, Walid Muallem called Israel a “usurper entity” and said Israel intervened in Syria as an extension of its “horrific crimes against innocent civilians.”

“It has publicly interfered in the Syrian crisis since its early days. Israel has provided all forms of support to Takfirist terrorist gangs, including funds, weapons, material, and communication equipment,” said Muallem, according to the official SANA news agency.

“Israel has also bombed Syrian Army positions to serve terrorist agendas. Coordination between the two was at its best when terrorist groups decided to target Syrian air defense assets used to defend Syria against Israeli aggression,” he added. “The unlimited Israeli support to terrorists in Syria did not come as a surprise. After all, the two share the same interests and goals.”

Muallem did not provide any specifics to back his allegations of Israeli support for terror groups, a term often used by the Syrian to describe all of its opponents.
Dèjá Vu: Erdogan Bodyguards Pummel Protesters on American Soil…AGAIN
Gee, this looks familiar. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s bodyguards beat up protesters in New York City right before Erdogan said a speech. From The New York Post:

As soon as Erdogan enters the stage a protester can be heard on a Periscope video shouting “You’re a terrorist! Get out of my country!”

The assembly soon turned into a battle royale, with protesters causing mayhem as security guards hurried them out of the room. The demonstrators can be seen being pummeled by punches as they attempt to leave.

From Midtown Manhattan Patch:

Marriott Hotels spokeswoman Kathleen Duffy said the “men in dark suits who were security officers in the ballroom” Thursday afternoon were Erdogan’s guys. They were “hired by the client, not the hotel,” she wrote in an email.

Duffy said she could not personally confirm, however, that the guards punched anyone.

“As President Erdogan was leaving the hotel” around 3 p.m., the police spokeswoman said, “an unknown number of anti-government protesters did clash with pro-government demonstrators in front of the location. As a result of this incident, approximately five demonstrators were briefly detained and released by security assigned to protect President Erdogan.” Everyone then “departed the location,” she said, and the NYPD made no arrests.
Bernard-Henri Lévy: American Jews Should Care About and Support the Independence of Kurdistan
Why should American Jews care about and support the independence of Kurdistan?

Because Iraqi Kurdistan is one of the very rare areas of the Middle East where Jews and Judaism are viewed positively.

Because on the day that Kurdistan will be independent, the country will foster cordial relations with Israel, or in any case, normal ones.

Because, as shown in a scene of my film Peshmerga, I do not know another Muslim country where the memory and birthplace of a future Israeli Defense Minister are held in such high regard and with pride.

Because there we find a Ministry of Religious Affairs where there is a department especially dedicated to religious freedom for Jews – And when we ask, with wonder and amazement, “why a department just for the Jews when there are no Jews left in Kurdistan?”, the response is “because we await them, we await and will welcome all those Jewish compatriots who wish to return.”

Because I do not know another country with a Muslim majority where Yom HaShoah is celebrated with devotion and respect each year.

And finally, because the Kurdish fighters, at the price of many lives, have been our only real shield against ISIS.
UN Security Council announces opposition to Kurdish independence vote
The United Nations Security Council has announced its opposition to the upcoming Kurdish independence referendum, set to take place tomorrow.

During the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week, the Security Council said that such a vote would be ''destabilizing'' to Iraq, which has disintegrated since the war against the Islamic State began there three years ago. While the Iraqi military has been successful in recent weeks in retaking cities captured by ISIS, the war is far from over, and the country will have to rebuild many of its cities and re-establish infrastructure in order to fully recover.

The vote by the Security Council was unanimous in ''expressing concern'' although they did not outright condemn the referendum or call for its cancellation or postponement. A press release on the subject indicated that the Security Council was concerned that the referendum would "detract from efforts to ensure the safe, voluntary return of over 3 million refugees and internationally displaced persons."

Another concern expressed was over Iraqi sovereignty, which has been threatened by the expansion of the Islamic State throughout the country over the last three years. The Iraqi cities of Mosul and Fallujah, among others, were completely taken over by ISIS and only liberated recently. The government of Iraq declared victory over ISIS in July of this year, although its army continues with offensives to push out ISIS militants.

In June, the UN announced that it would not "be engaged in any way or form'' with the referendum, although they stopped short of condemning the vote.
Iraqi Kurdish leader says referendum to go ahead despite opposition
Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani again stressed on Friday that next week’s referendum on independence for the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq will proceed as planned.

“The referendum is no longer in my hands, nor is it in those of the (political) parties — it is in your hands,” he told a large crowd at a football stadium in the regional capital of Arbil.

“We say that we are ready for serious open-minded dialogue with Baghdad, but after September 25, because now it is too late,” Barzani said of Monday’s plebiscite.

On Saturday, Barzani is to hold a news conference at which he is expected to announce definitively whether the controversial vote will go ahead.

He has held a series of meetings over the past few days in Kirkuk, Sulaimaniyah, Zakho and Dohuk at which he has expressed the view that the vote will take place.

However, negotiations are still going on aimed at persuading Barzani to change his mind, according to officials close to the discussions.
Killing of Paris Jewish woman was anti-Semitic crime, prosecutors finally say
Prosecutors investigating the April slaying of a Jewish woman by her neighbor said for the first time that her killing was an anti-Semitic hate crime.

The characterization by prosecutors Wednesday in the death of Sarah Halimi followed months of lobbying and protest by French Jews, who were outraged by the absence of aggravated circumstances in the indictment against Kobili Traore. The 27-year-old Muslim man confessed to the killing and was heard shouting about Allah and calling Halimi “Satan” shortly before throwing her out the window of her three-story apartment.

Francis Kalifat, the president of the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities, said in a statement to the media that he and other French Jews were “satisfied and relieved by the inclusion finally of an admission of the anti-Semitic character of the murder.”

Traore in his defense has claimed temporary insanity. Earlier this week, Le Figaro daily reported that Traore was found to have been under the influence of strong cannaboid drugs at the time of the incident, according to a psychiatric evaluation by an independent mental health professional. The evaluation nonetheless showed that Traore may have been partially aware of his actions and therefore was legally accountable for them, Le Figaro reported.

For long weeks after the slaying of Halimi, a 66-year-old physician and kindergarten teacher, the mainstream media in France ignored claims by senior members of the French Jewish community that she was a victim of an anti-Semitic murder.
Neo-Nazi turned 'Islamic State' supporter goes on trial in Germany for bomb plans
A neo-Nazi who then became a radical Islamist faces trial in Germany over alleged plans to bomb police and soldiers. Three other defendants stand accused of aiding and abetting the plans.

The trial of an alleged neo-Nazi turned so-called "Islamic State” (IS) supporter begins on Wednesday in the German state of Lower Saxony.

Prosecutors accuse Sasha L. of planning to bomb police and soldiers by luring them into a trap. Three other defendants – Afghan, Turkish and German nationals – also stand accused of aiding and abetting the 26-year-old German.

Sasha L. was arrested in February after police raided his apartment in Northeim, Lower Saxony, where they found materials for a self-made explosive device. Some of the materials to be used in the bomb were bought over the internet and intercepted by police.

Before swearing allegiance to the IS terror group in videos, Sasha L. had been active in the neo-Nazi scene in Berlin, according to the indictment. On a YouTube channel authorities attribute to him, Sasha L. posted videos against Muslims, migrants and anti-fascist groups, Der Spiegel reported in February.
Belgian lawyer says Jewish Museum terror suspect may have brain tumor
The lawyer of a Frenchman accused of shooting dead four people at a Jewish Museum in Belgium says his client may have a brain tumor and is being denied medical treatment.

Mehdi Nemmouche is suspected of gunning down the four with an assault weapon in the Brussels museum in May 2014. He has been in solitary confinement without trial for three years.

Lawyer Sebastien Courtoy said Thursday that a medical expert believes Nemmouche should have medical tests and scans. Courtoy said his client is going blind and deaf but that the prison is refusing treatment.

Courtoy said Nemmouche is incapable of attending or following a trial. No trial is likely before September 2018.

He said: “There won’t be a Nemmouche trial. There’ll be a sham Nemmouche trial.”

On May 24, 2014, Nemmouche is believed to have opened fire in the entrance hall of the museum in the center of the Belgian capital, killing two Israeli tourists, a French volunteer and a Belgian museum receptionist.

The museum reopened four months later under heavy security.
SAUDI CLERIC: Women Can’t Drive Because Their Brain Shrinks When They Go Shopping
Officials in Saudi Arabia suspended an Islamic cleric from preaching after he allegedly claimed that women’s brains shrink to “quarter the size” of a man’s brain when they go shopping.

Saad al-Hijri was suspended after he said women shouldn’t be allowed to drive because they only have “half” a brain and that when they go shopping, they lose the other half of their brain.

“Ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that bans women from driving, despite ambitious government targets to increase their public role, especially in the workforce,” the Daily Mail added.

Hijri, who identifies himself as the head of “the religious edicts department” in the southern province, asks the traffic department what it would do if it discovered a man with only half a brain:

Would it give him a license or not? It would not. So how can it give it to a woman when she has only half?
If she goes to the market she loses another half. What is left? A quarter... We demand the traffic department check because she is not suitable to drive and she has only a quarter.
Saudi Arabia recalls textbook with image of Yoda sitting next to king
Saudi Arabia scrambled Friday to withdraw a school textbook that accidentally included a doctored photograph of a former ruler sitting next to a “Star Wars” character, prompting ridicule on social media.

The black-and-white image shows King Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s third monarch, signing the United Nations Charter in 1945, with the diminutive Jedi master Yoda perched next to him.

The image was created by 26-year-old Saudi artist Abdullah al-Shehri, renown for mixing pop culture icons into historic photographs.

“The Ministry of Education regrets the inadvertent error,” Saudi Education Minister Ahmed al-Eissa said on Twitter.

He said the ministry had begun recalling the textbook and printing a corrected version, adding that a legal committee would be formed to determine the source of the error.

Al-Sheri told The New York Times that he was surprised to see the photograph end up in the school textbook.
New BDS fail at Trader Joes
Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay wines from the Givon Winery in Israel are now available at everyone's favorite grocery store, Trader Joes's.

Can you say "BDS fail."? I know you can.

Not only has Trader Joe's added 2 new Israel products to their line, check out how they are promoted.

Yes, thats a tiny Israeli flag!

Animal Rights Activists Suit Threatens to ‘Arrest’ Orthodox Jews
In honor of the high holy day of Rosh Hashanah animal rights activists say they will not attempt to detain Orthodox Jews for the ritual killings of animals.

The Animal Protection and Rescue League (APRL) is attempting to end the ancient Jewish practice of kaporos, in which Orthodox believers sacrifice chickens in preparation for Yom Kippur, the holy day of atonement.

The group filed suit in Los Angeles attempting to gain an injunction on behalf of the animals. In the brief, it appeared to threaten "private persons arrests" in the event that the city does not step in to prevent the slaughter, which they describe as "criminal acts."

"Plaintiffs desire to exercise their rights under Penal Code §837 to effectuate a private person arrest of agents of the entities killing and discarding animals illegally in their presence. However, every year, Defendants send large forces out to actively protect these criminal acts," the complaint in APRL v. City of Los Angeles says.

The First Liberty Institute, a nonprofit law firm that defends religious freedom, is prepared to intervene in the case to protect its clients' First Amendment rights, arguing that such an action would restrain the performance of religious ceremonies. The institute said the kaporos is done in a humane fashion and has been practiced for centuries. First Liberty deputy general counsel Jeremy Dys called the threat of citizen's arrest "anarchy, not liberty," which would "demolish America's religious liberty and diversity.
Conan O'Brien edits Israel travel special after controversy over contents
The Israeli travel special Conan O'Brien aired for audiences around America Tuesday night showcased the fun, frivolous and routine side of life in Israel.

What most viewers were unaware of, however, was that after a preview screening on Monday night, the team behind the TBS show edited out portions filmed in Bethlehem and added a disclaimer to another segment.

The original version of the show - screened for 200 people in Los Angeles on Monday - included a scene filmed in a home in Bethlehem where a father discussed his son, who he said was killed by IDF soldiers during a riot. There was even footage of the funeral procession included.

But in the post-screening Q&A, some audience members expressed their discomfort with the footage. What was the context of the killing and who was at fault? And if you're going to show Palestinian sorrow and suffering - what of Israeli suffering? What of Israeli victims of terror, who have watched their families be slaughtered? Or those who live in range of rockets from Gaza?

Following the screening, those in attendance received an email from the show thanking them for their feedback, "and especially for your post-screening questions and comments, which were greatly appreciated and will be immensely helpful as we continue to edit this show into its final version for eventual broadcast."

And when it came to the show aired Tuesday night, the footage of the grieving father was nowhere to be found - not even in the online exclusives.
Brent Councillors disgracefully distort the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism
On Monday night Brent Council debated whether to adopt the IHRA Definition of antisemitism. It was a farcical debate which saw three Jewish residents articulate the ‘Livingstone Formulation’, claiming that the Definition would be used to stifle criticism of Israel (the truth is that it says that ‘criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic’ – besides which, I have never heard an Israel advocate describe genuine criticism as ‘antisemitic’.)

The Brent Councillors accepted an amendment to the part of the Definition that the hard Left loves to hate. They deleted ‘Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, eg by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour’, replacing it with ‘Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, eg by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour, alongside Palestinian right of self-determination.’ (This is taken from the video of the meeting. It can be seen from time stamp 1 hour 1 minute 24 seconds to 1.02.06). (I am assuming that there is a comma after the word ‘endeavour’ – rather than a fullstop – but it was not made clear; the minutes (not yet published) will clarify).

The amended sentence is a nonsense. One’s view on Palestinian statehood is a political matter. It has nothing to do with what is antisemitic. Or is the Council suggesting (pace CAA) that it’s antisemitic to deny Palestinian statehood, in the mistaken view that ‘Arabs are Semites too’ (a well-worn antisemitic trope implying that Arabs cannot be antisemitic)? Worse: It is spitting in the face of Jews, to introduce an irrelevance into the definition of antisemitism. It’s antisemitic to state that Israel is a racist State. Period. One’s view on the desirability or feasibility of a Palestinian State is as irrelevant to that as one’s view on the desirability of assisted suicide (for example).
Anti-Semitic graffiti found at Oakland's Temple Sinai
Anti-Semitic graffiti, reading "F**k you Jewish Nazis" was found scrawled across Oakland's Temple Sinai on Rosh Hashonah.

Members of the Congregation covered up the message with white butcher paper, and encouraged the community to write messages of support and solidarity

Established in 1875, Temple Sinai is one of the oldest Jewish congregations in the Bay Area. This is the third Bay area synagogue vandalized in recent months.

The police are treating this as a hate crime, and are reviewing video surveillance footage from the neighborhood. If you have information on those responsible for this incident, contact the Oakland Police Department at (510) 238-3278.
No wonder – Gal is one of most influential
Gal Gadot was named as one of the top 100 people influencing Jewish life, at Algemeiner’s J100 gala in Manhattan.

The Israeli actress and model was named alongside Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a human rights NGO in Geneva, Switzerland.

Celebrating his award, Mr Neuer tweeted he was surprised to be named in the same list as a model.

The event, which was held at Cipriani 25 Broadway, is the fourth of its kind and was hosted by television personality Sarah Elizabeth Cupp.

Elie Wiesel, Harvey Weinstein, Donald and Ivanka Trump, along with Rupert Murdoch, are some of the previous influencers and attendees of the event.

Czech President Milos Zeman and renowned Israeli artist Yaacov Agam were given Algemeiner’s prestigious “Warrior for Truth” award at this year’s celebration.
Gal Gadot to host Saturday Night Live episode next month
Gal Gadot will host an episode of Saturday Night Live during the show’s upcoming season, marking the first time the Israeli actress will host the long-running late night program.

The episode, which will air October 7, will feature English singer Sam Smith as the musical guest, according to Variety.

The episode will be the second of the show’s 43rd season, which starts on September 30.

The choice of Gadot to host an episode comes after “Wonder Woman,” in which the Israeli actress played the lead role, was a box office smash this summer, grossing over $800 million worldwide.

In light of the movie’s success, Gadot has signed up to star in a sequel.

She will also play the character of Wonder Woman in “Justice League,” which is slated to hit theaters in November.
IDF On the Ground in Mexico

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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 18 years and 38,000 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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