Sunday, September 23, 2018

From Ian:

IDF rejects Moscow claim of ‘criminal negligence,’ vows to keep targeting Iran
The Israeli military on Sunday rejected the Russian defense ministry’s claim that it was entirely to blame for the downing of a Russian spy plane by Syrian air defenses during an Israeli strike last week, reiterating that Syria was at fault.

In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces maintained its version of events — that the Russian reconnaissance plane was shot down as a result of indiscriminate Syrian anti-aircraft fire — and said it would continue to act to prevent terrorist groups from obtaining advanced weapons.

“The full, accurate and factual details are known to the Russian military professionals involved in the matter, and from them it is clear that the deconfliction mechanism worked and did so in a timely manner (as it has for the past two and a half years),” the IDF said Sunday evening, referring to a hotline between the two militaries meant to avoid such inadvertent clashes and casualties.

Israeli fighter jets conducted the airstrike last Monday night on a weapons facility in the coastal city of Latakia that the IDF said was going to provide weapons to the Hezbollah terror group and other Iranian proxies. During a Syrian air defenses counterattack, the Russian spy plane was shot down by a S-200 anti-aircraft missile, and its 15 crew members were killed.

Earlier on Sunday, the Russian defense ministry released the findings of its investigation into the downing of the plane and the deaths of the crew. Moscow said Israel alone was responsible for the incident, accusing the IDF of failing to give notice of its attack in a timely and accurate manner, and claiming the Israeli pilots used the Russian surveillance aircraft as cover during their strike.

The IDF rejected all the Russian findings.

“The Israeli Air Force does not hide behind any plane, and the Israeli jets were in Israel’s airspace when the Syrians struck the Russian plane,” the military said.

“The downing of the plane by the Syrians was tragic and difficult, and we take part in the sorrow of the families and the Russian people,” the IDF added.

MEMRI: Russia's Reactions To The Russian Plane Crash In The Mediterranean
What Happened

On September 17, a Russian Ilyushin-20 was shot down with 15 servicemen aboard over the Mediterranean. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, radio contact was lost with the Ilyushin-20 plane, 35 kilometers away from Syria’s shore, as the plane was returning to the Khmeimim air base.[1]

The Russian Defense Ministry's View Of What Happened: It Was An Intentional Provocation
The Russian Defense Ministry later said that the Ilyushin-20 (IL-20) was shot down by the Syrian air defense. The Russian Defense Ministry originally charged that Israeli F-16s, which were bombing targets in Latakia, had used the Ilyushin-20 as a cover, thus making it vulnerable to the Syrian S-200 air defense system.

Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov stated: "By using the Russian plane as cover the Israeli air pilots made it vulnerable to Syrian air defense fire. As a result, the Ilyushin-20, its reflective surface being far greater than that of the F-16, was downed by a missile launched with the S-200 system."

Konashenkov added that four Israeli Air Force's F-16s carried out a strike with guided air missiles against Syrian facilities in Latakia at about 22:00 on September 17. He stated that the Israeli pilots approached the target from the Mediterranean at a low altitude and intentionally created a threatening situation for ships and aircraft in the area.

Konashenkov added: "The bombing raid was near the French frigate Auvergne and in close proximity to the Ilyushin-20 plane from Russia’s aerospace force that was about to land… [The Israeli pilots] could not but see the Russian plane, which was approaching the runway from an altitude of five kilometers. Nevertheless they deliberately staged this provocation."

Konashenkov also stated: "A hotline warning was received less than one minute before the strike, which left no chance for getting the Russian plane to safety."[2] After the attack, the Syrian air defense troops responded and as a consequence the Ilyushin-20 was shot down.

Konashenkov also threatened that Russia reserve "the right to take adequate tit-for-tat steps."[3]
Don't be fooled, Moscow and Jerusalem still need each other in Syria
In an interview just two months ago following a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, US President Donald Trump said Putin has a soft spot in his heart for Israel.

Putin, Trump said, is “a believer in Israel; he is a fan of Bibi and really helping him a lot – and will help a lot, which is good for all of us.”

That was just two months ago.

Following the Russian Defense Ministry's announcement Sunday angrily pinning the blame on Israel for Syria's downing last week of a Russian spy plane, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu now has to be hoping that Trump was accurate in his read of the Russian president.

Netanyahu, and Israel, will need all the good will he has built up over the past nine years with the Russian president to ensure that the current crisis does not seriously harm Israel's ties with Moscow, something that would impair Israel's ability to deal with what it views as an enormous strategic threat: an entrenched Iranian military presence in Syria, and the unhindered transfer of precision-guided missiles from Iran through Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

In a turn of events that could only happen in the Middle East, the Syrian army shoots down a Russian spy plane following an Israeli attack on an Iranian facility meant to manufacture precision arms for Hezbollah in Lebanon – and Israel gets blamed.

That chain of events brings to mind Menachem Begin's famous line after the Sabra and Shatila massacres in 1982: “Non-jews kill non-Jews, and they immediately come to hang the Jews.”

If I Forget Thee…
Review of 'The Zionist Ideas' Edited by Gil Troy
The Zionist Idea, published in 1959, was a tour de force for the young rabbi Arthur Hertzberg. He assembled the core writings of more than three dozen Jewish thinkers who began making the key arguments for the necessity of a Jewish State. In his masterful 100-page introductory essay, Hertzberg explained how two cathartic realizations in the late 19th century led to a new Jewish longing to establish Jewish sovereignty in the land over which King David reigned. First, that the European Enlightenment could not deliver on its promise of genuine emancipation to the Jews, and second, that Jews could never feel safe in the Diaspora, as evidenced by the wave of pogroms that spread across Eastern Europe.

I first encountered the book as a high-school senior writing an essay about Zionism and later read it in full at Columbia University, where I was a student of Hertzberg’s before serving as his research and teaching assistant for several years. What I learned from him was that Zionism is a natural outgrowth of Judaism’s bifurcated quality as both a religion and a national identity. And there was no room for that national identity in post-Enlightenment Europe. As Comte de Clermont-Tonnere famously made clear in a speech to the French National Assembly in 1789, “the Jews should be denied everything as a nation, but granted everything as individuals.”

When Hertzberg published The Zionist Idea, Israel was barely a decade old. It was still a land of pioneers and socialist kibbutzim, and its newest immigrants were mostly survivors of the Holocaust and Jews fleeing North Africa. Israel had been tested in battle twice, first in its 1948 War of Independence and then in the Suez Crisis eight years later, and both times the nascent Israel Defense Forces had overcome U.S. arms embargoes to vanquish much larger foes. The American Jewish audience for whom Hertzberg was writing by and large romanticized the new Jewish state in terms that would become familiar to millions the following year with the successful screen adaptation of Leon Uris’s Exodus—with a blue-eyed 35-year-old Paul Newman the embodiment of every Israel-born sabra.

In the six decades since Hertzberg published his book, the State of Israel has grown into a mature nation, and both the meaning and nature of Zionism has changed. In 1959, only 15 percent of the world’s Jews lived in Israel. Today, Israel is home to 45 percent of the total Jewish population. And while Israel is still surrounded by the same Arab nations it was half-a-century ago, today it has peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, and even somewhat friendly relations with Saudi Arabia. The image of Israel in 1959, despite its early military successes, was still one of an underdog nation inhabited predominantly by refugees—and for many Americans, Jews and non-Jews alike, Israel’s legitimacy was based largely on the fact that it had been founded out of the ashes of the Holocaust. Today, Israel is a nuclear power with one of the most robust economies in the world.
Netanyahu expected to deliver 'new information' at UN confab
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will deliver “new information” in his speech this week to the United Nations General Assembly, according to a close associate of the Israeli leader.

Netanyahu will depart for New York on Tuesday to participate in the UN confab on the sidelines of which he is expected to meet with US President Donald Trump to discuss efforts to renew peace talks with the Palestinians.

The two leaders will also discuss Washington’s punitive measures taken against Iran for its terror activities and for seeking to entrench its military in Syria.

Netanyahu’s speech, which will be delivered on Thursday, will be “great, extremely interesting, with new information that will be revealed and leave a strong impression on the entire world,” said a close associate of the prime minister.

Officials familiar with the planned speech say that the new information will concern Israel’s arch-foe, Iran.

Ahead of the General Assembly meeting, the Prime Minister’s Office has received requests from 30 countries for their leaders to meet with Netanyahu in New York. However, the majority of the requests will be rejected due to limited time and a packed schedule.
In a rare moment Israel gains UN win
A peculiar thing happened on the way to the passage of a routine anti-Israel resolution in the UN in June condemning Israel for the violence along the border fence with Gaza: Israel actually won a vote in the General Assembly.

That’s right, in the General Assembly, that body of 193 nations that will formally open its 73rd session next week with its annual general debate and parade of world leaders taking the podium to address the globe’s pressing problems.

And with all of the world’s pressing problems, you can count on leaders of countries such as Algeria, Belize and South Africa to take at least some of their allotted 15 minutes to slam Israel. It’s as much a New York rite of autumn as leaves changing colors and the Yankees making the baseball playoffs.

The General Assembly is a forum where the Palestinians enjoy an automatic majority of Muslim and developing countries that reflexively votes with them and against Israel.

But in June, a plurality of countries in the General Assembly – 62 to 58 – voted for a US-sponsored amendment to a resolution on the Gaza border fence violence that actually condemned Hamas. Because of the procedural necessity for a two-thirds majority, this amendment to the resolution slamming Israel was not adopted, and the anti-Israel resolution passed by a huge margin. But still, that an amendment blaming Hamas mustered a plurality in this forum was an eye-rubbing moment that marked a change of sorts.

Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, who is entering his fourth year as Israel’s envoy to the world body, looks at that moment as one of Israel’s most significant victories last year in the UN.
Why is Mahmoud Abbas a free man?
Ari Fuld is a heart-breaking loss, but Mahmoud Abbas walks the earth untouched. This makes no sense. The time to arrest him was last week.

That’s when President Trump closed down the PLO’S office in Washington, D.C., a move that more than diminished the PLO, it delegalized that outfit.

What was Benjamin Netanyahu waiting for?

The timing would have been perfect to thank the U.S.A. for doing its part, and now, hello, it’s Israel’s turn to throw the bums out.

Arrest, or deport, we’ve been saying that for years, and I guess there’s always been this reason or that for failure to do so. Probably fear of offending the world.

Most likely, Israel had to consider Oslo, and “the peace process,” and the pretense of Abbas and his PA/PLO/Fatah Crime Syndicate as peace partners, and a White House that would scowl at tipping the status quo.

But all that’s changed. Trump is in the White House! If only Netanyahu would learn from him some good old-fashioned chutzpah.

Where to begin? Closure of PLO offices wherever they do business. Ramallah? Why not? Trump would understand. Let Abbas understand.

At the least, put him in handcuffs and lock him up. He incited. He made the call. He is a criminal and a murderer. He is Public Enemy Number 1.
PMW: PMW asks the US to deny Abbas entry for UN speech
Palestinian Media Watch sent a letter last week to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas be denied entry to the US for the UN session this week due to his direct responsibility for paying salaries to terrorists and rewarding families of terrorists who were killed during their attacks.

The United States in the Taylor Force Act stated that these two payments are "incentivizing terror."

Abbas, as head of the Palestinian Authority and head of the Palestine National Fund (PNF), is the one responsible for these payments, and is therefore the one incentivizing terror. US law prohibits entry to those promoting terror:
"Aliens who are... ineligible to be admitted to the United States... (VII)[one who] endorses or espouses terrorist activity or persuades others to endorse or espouse terrorist activity, or support a terrorist organization..."
[Code Chapter 8, § 1182 (3)(B)(7)]

Adam Kredo of The Washington Free Beacon reported the State Department's response to PMW:
"I can't speak to the specifics, but typically, as host nation for the United Nations, the United States is generally obligated to admit foreign nationals traveling to U.N. Headquarters in New York for official U.N. business."
[The Washington Free Beacon, Sept. 20, 2018]

In its response to the State Department, PMW has written that during the Obama Administration an Iranian UN Diplomat Hamid Abutalebi was denied entry to the United States because of his involvement in terror activity and the murder of an Iranian dissident.
Relatives of victims of Palestinian terror want Abbas barred from UN
Relatives of victims of Palestinian terror attacks called on US President Donald Trump on Sunday to bar Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas from attending the United Nations General Assembly to be held in New York later this week.

“Abbas is the one person who is personally responsible for the monthly reward payments by the Palestinian Authority to terrorists and the families of terrorists who murdered our loved ones,” the group, American Victims of Palestinian Terrorism, said in a letter. “As recently as last week Abbas reiterated and reaffirmed his commitment to making such payments, assuring that payments would be made to the Palestinian terrorist who brutally murdered Ari Fuld, a dual citizen of the United States and Israel.”

The victims’ relatives said the decision to allow Abbas entry into the US was not only a “slap in the face” to those who have suffered from Palestinian terror, but also “in clear violation of the spirit and the letter of American law.”

The letter cited legislation that prohibits entry to the US to anyone who “endorses or espouses terrorist activity or persuades others to endorse or espouse terrorist activity.”

The victims also stated that in the past the US had denied entry to diplomats who supported terror.
Honest Reporting: Palestinian ‘Ambassador’ Corrected on His Way Out
The Trump administration’s decision to shutter the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s office in Washington has brought attention to Palestinian envoy Husam Zomlot in the international press.

For a publication specializing in the political goings on around Washington DC, you’d think The Hill would get the diplomatic niceties correct.

Sadly not.

The US currently does not recognize a sovereign Palestinian state. Therefore, the now former Palestinian representation in Washington DC did not hold the diplomatic status of an embassy and Husam Zomlot was not accorded the official status of an ambassador.

Following complaints to both of the above media outlets, the texts were amended, with The Hill now referring to Zomlot as “envoy” while The Independent describing him as the PLO’s “top representative.”

We also contacted Reuters, the source of much of The Independent’s story. In an email exchange, a senior Reuters staffer agreed that the use of the word “ambassador” was problematic and resolved to use more accurate terminology in the future. While this doesn’t absolve Reuters from correcting the current error, it is something that we will hold them to.

Terminology matters. Accuracy matters. While the Palestinians may wish to create the impression of a state where one does not exist, it is not for the media to assist in the deception.
The rumored “ultimate deal”: Potential payoffs and possible pitfalls
The sovereignty imperative

This will be particularly acute at the interface between areas under full Jewish sovereignty and those under Arab autonomy and in contending with cross-border issues, such as pollution (particularly the carcinogenic emissions of the wide spread charcoal industry), sewage, pollution from industrial effluents, agricultural run-offs, treatment of transmissible diseases, compulsory inoculation of livestock and rabies and so on Who would be charged with setting standards for dealing with these matters and for enforcing those standards? Israel or the Arab entity? If the Arab entity, how would Israel protect its citizens from the resultant hazards if those standards were not enforced? If Israel, what would remain of the authority of the Arab entity, which would be virtually emptied of all substance?

Similar questions could be raised for almost every walk of life. Would Israel impose standards of road safety for vehicles on its roads? If not, what would the consequences be? Would Israel determine the content of education to prevent continued incitement? If so, how would this erode the authority of the Arab entity? If not, how would Israel contain the consequences of such incitement?

These questions are thrown into even sharper relief when it comes to matters of law and order and security. If, for example, Jordan were given authority to run civilian affairs in Arab populated areas, what would happen in case of insurrection and Israel were compelled to use force to quell the violence? Could Jordan accept the use of force against those in its charge? How would it justify inaction to the rest of Arab world?

Worse, what if an assumedly amicable regime were given administrative status west of the Jordan River and, for reasons beyond Israel’s control, it was replaced by a far less amicable one? Would Israel continue to grant powers of governance to an inimical entity?

These are merely a sampling of the myriad of unavoidable and intractable questions with which the architects of the “ultimate deal” will have to contend—and whose significance and severity the Israeli leadership will have to convey to its American counterparts—lest ill-considered and irreversible decisions are made.

In the final analysis
In the final analysis, there is only one “ultimate deal” that can ensure Israel’s long-term survival as the nation-state of the Jewish people. This requires Israel extending its sovereignty over the entire territory—from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.

The only way Israel can do this, without being compelled to rule over a recalcitrant non-Jewish population, which rejects the legitimacy of its sovereignty, is to remove that population from the territory over which it must exert sovereign rule.

The only way it can do this without engaging in forced expulsion, is by material inducements—a.k.a. incentivized emigration.

So simple. So logical. So incontrovertible ! The real conundrum is why others don’t embrace it as the “ultimate deal”.
Propping up a despot
The most exciting images to come out over the weekend were of the Paris meeting between former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

When a troublemaking dictator takes a blow, there will always be those who rush to comfort them in their time of distress. Case in point: former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's pathetic yet traitorous meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif. In their meeting, Kerry recommended the Iranians hold out until the Trump administration, which pulled out of the nuclear deal and has taken a number of measures against Iran, leaves the White House.

In the United States, as in Israel, there are laws against sabotaging official foreign policy. One should not, however, expect these laws to be enforced.

Olmert wants to make the viewers at home long for the peace he was about to achieve with Abbas. Never mind that nearly all of the transcripts of the talks held between then-Foreign Minister and fellow Kadima party member Tzipi Livni's meetings with former PA official Ahmed Qurei and chief negotiator Saeb Erakat indicate otherwise.

Despite all of the shocking concessions he proposed, Olmert never even came close to peace. Olmert's actions this time around have served to prop up a local despot who sends delegations to North Korea, does everything he can to ensure the situation in the Gaza Strip continues to deteriorate and whose interests align with those of Iran.
Irish FM: We’ll recognize Palestine if peace talks remain stalled
Ireland became the second European country in a week to say it will recognize Palestinian statehood if peace talks with Israel do not advance.

At a press conference in Dublin Saturday with Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said his country had planned to recognize a Palestinian state as part of a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians, but the lack of any advances in talks meant that “we may have to forget the second part of that,” according to the Irish Times.

Coveney suggested that Ireland, whose government is thought to be one of the most pro-Palestinian in Europe, would not be the only European nation to make the move.

“We have made a choice not to officially recognize the state of Palestine just yet,” he was quoted as saying. “But if this hopelessness continues in terms of the dialogue working we will be forced to review that for obvious reasons, as I think a lot of other countries in Europe will too.”

The comments came just three days after Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell confirmed that Spain was pushing the European Union to recognize a state of Palestine. Earlier reports had said Madrid would recognize a Palestinian state regardless of the bloc’s position.

A day later, on Friday, after a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said France, too, was increasingly studying the possibility of recognizing a Palestinian state.

“The French certainly care a lot about that issue,” Abbas told reporters. “They are studying it more and more. They believe it is one of the most important issues on which they should focus their attention.”

Coveney met with Malki while Abbas was visiting Dublin on his way to the UN General Assembly gathering in New York.

Coveney also said Ireland was considering convening a gathering of Arab and European leaders to jumpstart peace talks, the Irish Times reported.

Malki welcomed the idea as an opportunity for “the international community to take up its own responsibility to seek action when it comes to the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.”
South Africa quietly returns its ambassador to Israel
South Africa’s ambassador to Israel has quietly returned to Israel, four months after he was recalled in protest of actions Israel took to fend off violent Palestinian protests at the Gaza border.

Ambassador Sisa Ngombane returned to Israel “a few days ago,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon told The Times of Israel on Sunday.

Nahshon declined to comment further on Pretoria’s surprising move. Just two months ago, South Africa’s foreign minister had announced that the country’s ambassador would not return to Israel until some kind of progress had been achieved.

In a letter, South Africa’s embassy in Ramat Gan said it “presents its compliments” to the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem and to all diplomatic missions accredited to the Jewish state, and “has the honour to inform” that Ngombane “has returned to Tel Aviv.”

The embassy “avails itself of the opportunity to renew” to Israel “the assurances of its highest consideration.”

Such flowery language is standard for diplomats, but noteworthy in the case of South Africa, which is arguably Israel’s harshest critic outside the Islamic world.
Seven fires reported in Gaza border communities
Seven fires were reported on Sunday in Gaza border communities in Kissufim forest, kibbutz Be'eri, kibbutz Re'im and Nahal Gerar. All fires were reportedly caused by incendiary balloons.

Fire fighters aided by Jewish National Fund Keren Kayemet teams are attempting to control the fires.

So far no casualties were reported yet 300 dunams were reported as burnt in Nahal Gerar.

Gazans have been protesting along the border with Israel since March 30 as part of what organizers have called the “Great March of Return.”
Egypt presents new plan to return control of Gaza to PA
Egypt has reportedly proposed a new framework for Palestinian reconciliation and an Israel-Hamas truce that would include an Israeli message to Hamas calling on the terror group to end its weekly protests at the Israel-Gaza border fence and maintain a 500-meter no-go area near the border.

The plan, reported Sunday by the London-based Arabic daily al-Hayat, would see control of Gaza revert to the Palestinian Authority, which lost the enclave to Hamas in a violent coup in 2007.

It would also put in place limits on Hamas’s military wing, including the police, judiciary and internal security agencies in the Strip. It also reportedly calls on Hamas to accept the establishment of a Palestinian state within the 1967 lines in the West Bank and Gaza.

The report came a day after Hamas released a statement saying that the parties had held a “deep conversation about ways to end the siege on the Gaza Strip and alleviate the suffering of our people” in the coastal enclave.

According to the Egyptian plan, during the transition from Hamas rule to PA control, the Ramallah-based PA would pay half the salaries of tens of thousands of Hamas-appointed officials in Gaza’s government agencies, the report said. The PA paid those salaries for years but stopped earlier this year in a bid to pressure Hamas to relinquish control of Gaza, leading to a loss of one of the blockaded territory’s major sources of income.

Officials in both Hamas and the Fatah group, which controls the PA, have said the new framework is unlikely to return the warring Palestinian factions to the negotiating table. Fatah officials told al-Hayat that the Egyptian proposal suggests Cairo is closer to the PA’s position in the reconciliation efforts than to Hamas’s.
Haley: We’re Not Going to Pay for Reconstruction of Syria As Long As There Is Iranian Influence There
Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said on Sunday that the United States is not going to pay for the reconstruction of Syria as long as there is Iranian influence in the country.

CNN's "State of the Union" anchor Jake Tapper asked Haley about the Trump administration cutting funds to help rebuild Syria.

"In August, the trump administration cut more than $200 million it was providing for stabilization assistance to reconstruct and rebuild Syria. How does that help refugees return to their homes in Syria at the same time the United States is cutting the number of refugees we are hitting here at home?" Tapper asked.

"We have made it very clear, we are not going to pay for reconstruction of Syria as long as there is Iranian influence there," Haley said. "We're not going to pay as long as ISIS has not been defeated, which we're almost there. We're not going to pay for reconstruction to help Russia out when this is their problem."

Haley added how Russia took responsibility for what is happening in Syria and are now have their hands out asking for money.

"What we're saying is there are a lot of things that have to happen before reconstruction is even talked about. And it's not just going to be the U.S. other countries have to weigh in. Right now, you've got a very sensitive setup. They took responsibility for this," Haley said in regards to Russia. "They've got to manage it. They can't sit there and do whatever they want, allowing the Iranians it to continue to have influence when they're the biggest sponsor of terrorism and then turn around and have their hand out, asking us for money return."
A slice of Sunni revenge for Syria
The tendency to view Iran as a homogeneous national-religious-social entity is mistaken. Similar to other countries in the Middle East, Iran is a colorful tapestry of ethnic groups. Although the majority group within the population of around 82 million is Persian (61%), there are also Azerbaijanis in the northף Kurds in the West; Lurs, Turkmen and the Baloch tribe on the eastern border with Pakistan; and the Arabs – mostly Sunnis –situated in the Khuzestan Province in the southwest, adjacent to the border with Iraq, whose capital Ahvaz was the scene of Saturday's large-scale, deadly shooting attack at a military parade marking the 38th anniversary of the onset of the Iran-Iraq War.

In September 1980, while Iran was still coping with the fallout from its bloody Islamic revolution, then-Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein tried seizing oil-rich Khuzestan. He had hoped the local Arab population would stand with him and help him realize his expansionist aspirations, but the terrorist regime in Tehran – at an exceedingly high human cost – was able to repel Iraq's recurrent attacks. The Khuzestan Province was one of the worst-suffering areas throughout the eight-year war between the countries, and the Iranian regime, which viewed the Arab population there as a fifth column, has worked ever since to oppress and discriminate against this minority.

The Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz was established in 1999 with the aim of creating an independent Arab state in Khuzestan. In 2013 the group inaugurated an armed wing named the "Mohiuddin Al Nasser Martyrs Brigade." Over the past 20 years, the group has carried out numerous terrorist attacks against the regime and Revolutionary Guards and claims to have bombed oil pipelines.
Iran's Revolutionary Guards threaten to avenge military parade attack
Iran's Revolutionary Guards vowed on Sunday to exact "deadly and unforgettable" vengeance for a shooting attack on a military parade that killed 25 people, including 12 of their comrades, and Tehran accused Gulf Arab states of backing the gunmen.

Saturday's assault, one of the worst ever against the elite force of the Islamic Republic, struck a blow at its security establishment at a time when the United States and its Gulf allies are working to isolate Tehran.

"Considering (the Guards') full knowledge about the centers of deployment of the criminal terrorists' leaders..., they will face a deadly and unforgettable vengeance in the near future," the Guards said in a statement carried by state media.

Four assailants fired on a viewing stand in the southwestern city of Ahvaz where Iranian officials had gathered to watch an annual event marking the start of the Islamic Republic's 1980-88 war with Iraq. Soldiers crawled about as gunfire crackled. Women and children fled for their lives.

Ahvaz National Resistance, an Iranian ethnic Arab opposition movement which seeks a separate state in oil-rich Khuzestan province, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Islamic State militants also claimed responsibility. Neither claim provided evidence. All four attackers were killed.

There has been a blizzard of furious statements from top Iranian officials, including President Hassan Rouhani, accusing Iran's adversaries the United States and Gulf kingdoms of provoking the bloodshed and threatening a tough response.
U.S. envoy Haley rejects Iran blame over parade attack
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Sunday rejected Iranian fingerpointing at Washington over a deadly parade attack, saying Iranian leaders should look closer to home.

Before leaving for the United Nations on Sunday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani accused other countries including the United States of provoking the shooting attack on a military parade that killed 25 people on Saturday.

Haley dismissed his comments as rhetoric.

"He's got the Iranian people are protesting, every ounce of money that goes into Iran goes into his military, he has oppressed his people for a long time and he needs to look at his own base to figure out where that's coming from," she told CNN's "State of the Union."

"He can blame us all he wants. The thing he's got to do is look at the mirror."
Iran Celebrates Being Awarded ‘Biggest Terrorist Sponsor’ Two Years in a Row (satire)
Celebrations have broken out in Tehran following results labelling Iran the leading state sponsor of terrorism for the second year in a row by the US Defense Department’s annual survey.

One DoD official’s remarks that “Iran remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and is responsible for intensifying multiple conflicts and undermining US interests in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Bahrain, Afghanistan and Lebanon”, were described by Iran’s Supreme Leader as “music to our ears.”

In a televised red carpet awards ceremony in the capital, government officials and members of the Revolutionary Guard handed themselves golden rocket launchers to mark the momentous occasion. “We would like to thank the Great Satan that is the United States for bestowing upon us the highest honor imaginable by presenting us with the ‘Biggest and Best Ever Terrorist Awards’, one Iranian government official commented. “To win twice in a row is a real privilege to us and we don’t take it for granted. We would like to thank all of our jihadists far and wide for carrying out the work for us, including those having the biggest parties up there with their 72 virgins. We hereby promise that your work will not be in vein, and we shall continue to neglect the social welfare of our citizens for the sake of funding global terrorism so that we will win this prestigious award three times in a row!”
University of Michigan and BDS of Israel
First and foremost, it is important to note that Cheney-Lippold is unequivocally wrong as to the status of such an academic boycott. The University of Michigan and its leadership have made statements in 2013 and 2017 citing their unambiguous opposition to any boycott of Israeli institutions of higher education. “No academic department or any other unit at the University of Michigan has taken a position that departs from this long-held university position,” the university wrote in an additional clarifying statement released this week.

I am myself a recent alumnus of both the University of Michigan and Tel Aviv University’s overseas study program. If the student in question’s study abroad experience is anything like that of the majority of Michigan students I studied alongside in Israel, it will be decidedly apolitical. A lighter course load, a better climate, and some sweet nightclubs on the Tel Aviv port seemed to be the primary motivation for the majority of Wolverines who joined me in the Middle East – not politics.

That said, perhaps the student’s motivation for studying in Israel is exploring the diplomatic complexities of the region. Perhaps she is a fervent Zionist who is looking to strengthen her ties to the land of Israel by studying there. Or perhaps she is a vocal critic of the state, its policies, and its very existence. In either case, she will be welcomed openly in institutions of higher learning across Israel, where Arab enrollment in universities has grown by 78.5% over the past seven years and millions of taxpayer dollars are dedicated to raising that number even higher. Or perhaps she’s just going for the beaches and bars; I know I was.

The point is that it really doesn’t matter. The student clearly performed well enough in Cheney-Lippold’s American Culture course to secure a positive testament to her academic capabilities. He stated in his e-mail that he’d be happy to go through with his offer to write her a letter of recommendation for any other purpose. But because of Cheney-Lippold’s political qualms with the State of Israel, or perhaps those of his entire department, he reneged on his offer.
IsraellyCool: BDS-Holes Set Their Sights on Puma
Fresh from lying that Adidas had ended its sponsorship of Israel’s Football Association (IFA), the palestinians and BDS-holes have set their sights on another BDS fail: trying to convince Adidas’ successor Puma to ended its sponsorship of the IFA.

To: Bjørn Gulden, CEO of Puma
Cc: Management and Supervisory Board members: Michael Lämmermann, Lars Sørensen, Jean-François Palus, Jean-Marc Duplaix, Béatrice Lazat, Thore Ohlsson, Bernd Illig and Martin Köppel

We are writing to urge Puma to end its sponsorship of the Israel Football Association (IFA) due to its deep complicity in Israel’s violations of international law and Palestinian human rights.

The IFA sponsors football matches in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, as exposed by Human Rights Watch and other human rights organizations. There are six Israeli football clubs located in Israel’s settlements, on stolen Palestinian land, that Palestinians are not allowed to enter. Israel’s settlements contribute to serious human rights abuses and are a direct cause for restrictions on Palestinian freedom of movement, access to natural resources and ability to build homes and conduct business.

I suspect Puma will tell them to take a flying leap.
Swastikas target campaign of New Jersey Democrat representative Josh Gottheimer
A swastika was painted on the home of a supporter of Democratic New Jersey Rep. Josh Gottheimer.

The campaign sign standing in the front yard of Adam Stolarsky, 48, who lives in the house with his girlfriend, Colleen Murch, also was defaced with drawings of swastikas, penises and vulgar language. The graffiti also called on people to “vote MAGA,” a reference to President Donald Trump’s popular campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.”

The vandalism occurred early on Saturday morning, the New York Times reported. It was the second time in the week since the couple put up the sign that it was vandalized. In addition, there were signs that the vandals had tried to force open the garage door on which they painted the swastika. Stolarsky and Murch are not Jewish. They replaced the sign hours after the attack.

Gottheimer, who is Jewish and running for his second term in New Jersey’s 5th Congressional district, said in a statement issued on Saturday that: “There’s no place for white supremacists or anti-Semitism in our broader community, and this vile hate-motivated crime certainly does not reflect the values of the people of Sussex County.”
Taiwanese protest hair salon’s swastika logo by urinating in front of store
A hair salon in northern Taiwan covered the logos on its store signs, which resemble a swastika, after people angry about the image began urinating and defecating in front of the store in protest.

Hsu Chen-yang, owner of the Berlin Hair Salon in Hsinchu City, told the Taiwan News that he covered the symbols, which he said were supposed to look like four razor blades, with black marker after the protests against the logo grew more intense.

Though Chen-yang claims the logo is meant to look like a stylized four razors, a previous version of the hair salon’s logo from last year featured the Reichsadler Imperial Eagle at the top of the image.

The salon also changed the logo on its Facebook page, following hundreds of negative comments in both English and Chinese, according to Taiwan News.
Honoring Holocaust victims, Pope warns Lithuanians against anti-Semitism
Pope Francis warned Sunday against any rebirth of the “pernicious” anti-Semitic attitudes that fueled the Holocaust as he marked the annual remembrance for Lithuania’s centuries-old Jewish community that was nearly wiped out during World War II.

Francis began his second day in the Baltics in Lithuania’s second city, Kaunas, where an estimated 3,000 Jews survived out of a community of 37,000 during the 1941-1944 Nazi occupation.

During Mass in Santakos Park under a brilliant autumn sun, Francis honored both Jewish victims of the Nazis and the Lithuanians who were deported to Siberian gulags or were tortured, killed and oppressed at home during five decades of Soviet occupation.

“Earlier generations still bear the scars of the period of the occupation, anguish at those who were deported, uncertainty about those who never returned, shame for those who were informers and traitors,” Francis told the crowd, which was estimated by the local church to number 100,000. “Kaunas knows about this. Lithuania as a whole can testify to it, still shuddering at the mention of Siberia, or the ghettos of Vilnius and Kaunas, among others.”
Man arrested in Yom Kippur rock attack on Polish synagogue
A man accused of hurling a rock through the window of a synagogue in the Polish city of Gdansk on Yom Kippur has been arrested.

The man was detained on Friday in the nearby community of Trabki Wielkie, a day after security camera video footage of the alleged vandal attacking the synagogue was released. The video prompted several calls to police.

Gdansk police did not release the name of the suspect.

No one was hurt in the attack on the New Synagogue during one of Judaism’s holiest days.

The rock fell “in the atrium where women waiting for neilah — the final prayer of Yom Kippur,” the Jewish Religious Community in Gdansk wrote on its Facebook page. “There were children around. The rock flew several centimeters from where women were standing.”

Several days after the Yom Kippur incident, the gravesite of prominent 19th and 20th century Hassidic rabbi, Rebbe Yechiel Meir, who was appointed rabbi of the south-central Polish city of Ostrowiec, was found vandalized in the city’s Jewish cemetery.
Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) Guide for the Perplexed, 2018
1. US-Israel special ties are accentuated by Columbus Day (October 8, 2018), which is always celebrated around Sukkot (September 24-30, 2018). According to “Columbus Then and Now” (Miles Davidson, 1997, p. 268), Columbus landed in America on Friday afternoon, October 12, 1492, the 21st day of the Jewish month of Tishrei, in the Jewish year 5235, on the 7th day of Sukkot, Hosha’na’ Rabbah – a day of special universal deliverance and miracles. Hosha’ (הושע) is “deliverance” in Hebrew, Na’ (נא) is the Hebrew word for “please” and Rabbah (רבה) is “The Sublime.” The numerical value of Na’ in Hebrew is 51 (נ – 50, א – 1), which corresponds to the celebration of Hoshaa’na’ Rabbah on the 51st day following Moses’ ascension up to Mt. Sinai.

2. Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles named after the first stop during the Exodus from Egypt, the town of Sukkota (סכותה) – Exodus 13:20-22 and Numbers 33:3-5.
It commemorates the transition of the Jewish people from bondage in Egypt to sovereignty in the Land of Israel; from nomadic life in the desert to permanence in the Promised Land; from oblivion to deliverance; and from the spiritual state-of-mind during the High Holidays to the mundane of the rest of the year. Sukkot aims at universal – not only Jewish – deliverance.

3. However, Sukkot is celebrated six month after Passover. According to the Jewish mystical Zohar (“Radiance” in Hebrew) – which was written by Rabbi Shimon bar-Yochai in the 2nd century and published by Moses de Leon in the 13th century – Sukkot commemorates the divine clouds of glory, which expressed the presence of God, sheltering the Jewish people throughout the Exodus until the return to the Land of Israel. The first appearance of the divine clouds of glory occurred in the first stop of the Exodus, Sukkota.
Israeli building sukkah falls from 4th floor, is saved by sukkah on ground floor
A Jerusalem man building a sukkah fell off of his fourth floor balcony on Sunday, but he landed on the sukkah belonging to his ground floor neighbor, breaking his fall and probably saving his life.

Neighbors said 24-year-old man fell while assembling his own sukkah on his balcony on the fourth floor. A glass panel he was leaning on broke, and the railing gave way.

Plummeting downward, he smashed into his neighbor’s sukkah on the ground floor.

He was taken to Jerusalem’s Shaare Tzedek Hospital with moderate injuries to his lower body. Magen David Adom paramedic Netanel Lifshitz told Hadashot news that the sukkah on the ground floor broke his fall, and that the man was in stable condition.

The roof of the the ritual booths are usually made of palm fronds.

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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 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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