Thursday, February 07, 2019

From Ian:

Abe Greenwald: The State of the Union is Pro-Jewish
At Tuesday night’s address to the American people, writes Abe Greenwald, the president made multiple pronouncements of particular relevance to the Jewish people—all of them for the good:

President Trump used his State of the Union address in part to celebrate the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, call out Iran on its genocidal hatred of Jews, confront anti-Semitism generally, and tie his conception of American greatness to the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps. . . .

For Trump, recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was, as he put it, a matter of “principled realism.” Based on that realism, his administration “proudly opened the American embassy in Jerusalem.” Nothing here about both sides having to bend or about Israel now having to “do its part for peace.” The president of the United States simply noted that he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital because it is. And that’s the most powerful thing he could have said on the matter.

The president [also] called Iran “the world’s leading state sponsor of terror” and emphasized that “it is a radical regime.” He went on: “We will not avert our eyes from a regime that chants ‘death to America’ and threatens genocide against the Jewish people.” No garbage about make-believe moderate mullahs, no specious conflation of the Iranian people and the regime, no wishful fantasies about Iran’s tyrannical theocracy showing heartening signs, and, finally, no equivocating about the nature of its obsessive anti-Semitism. In all, a welcome return to moral sanity.

Trump talked about a great many other things [as well], but it’s remarkable the extent to which his speech acknowledged, celebrated, and urged on America’s doing right by the Jews. It would be welcome enough if he emphasized such things in an address to an exclusively Jewish audience, but this was a State of the Union speech, and so his words were meant to shape our very understanding of America.

Jewish takeaways from Donald Trump’s State of the Union address
President Donald Trump linked his actions on Iran to the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre, pivoting during his State of the Union address from his decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal to a declaration that anti-Semitism must be confronted “anywhere and everywhere it occurs.”

Trump also bookended his speech with references to D-Day, including salutes to troops, among them Jewish-American veterans, who helped liberate Europe, and Holocaust survivors who were liberated thanks to the American-led action. The salutes earned standing ovations.

Containing Iran is fighting antisemitism

“My administration has acted decisively to confront the world’s leading state sponsor of terror: the radical regime in Iran,” Trump said Tuesday evening, delivering his address in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“They do bad, bad things. To ensure this corrupt dictatorship never acquires nuclear weapons, I withdrew the United States from the disastrous Iran nuclear deal,” he said, referring to the 2015 sanctions-relief-for-nuclear-rollback agreement negotiated under President Barack Obama. “And last fall, we put in place the toughest sanctions ever imposed by us on a country.

“We will not avert our eyes from a regime that chants death to America and threatens genocide against the Jewish people,” he continued, to applause, mostly from the Republican side. “We must never ignore the vile poison of antisemitism, or those who spread its venomous creed. With one voice, we must confront this hatred anywhere and everywhere it occurs. Just months ago, 11 Jewish Americans were viciously murdered in an anti-Semitic attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.”

The October 2018 shooting, in which 11 people died, was the worst attack on Jews in American history. It was carried out by a man shouting anti-Semitic epithets, and appears to have been principally motivated by hatred of pro-immigration policies favored by HIAS, a Jewish immigration advocacy group. The alleged attacker bought into the notion that migrants from Mexico pose a national security threat, a theme also favored by Trump, who devoted much of his speech Tuesday night to securing the border. There’s no evidence that the attack was related in any way to the Middle East.
Jewish Model Harassed After Coming Out As Trump Supporter
Jewish model Elizabeth Pipko kept her work for President Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign a secret, fearing she would be ostracized by the liberal fashion world. Last month she came out as pro-Trump, and she's already being called a Nazi.

The 23 year old started off as a volunteer for the campaign, but was eventually hired full-time. Late last year she got married to a man she met on the campaign, and who is already working on Trump's reelection campaign.

The wedding was at Trump's Mar-a-Lago. She said the president didn't make it because he was dealing with negotiations over the government shutdown, but she wore a Make America Great Again hat on the dance floor anyway.

She came forward with her story to the New York Post in January, telling the paper she is "hoping to take part in the reelection in some capacity" and has no plans to hide her support for Trump this time around.

"Now that it’s been two years since the election, I don’t want to keep silent any longer," she said. "Even if that means saying goodbye to modeling forever."

Lt.-Col. (ret.) Peter Lerner: BDS Is Linked to Terrorists, Just as You Suspected
For years, we have heard claims from Israeli officials positing that the global BDS movement to boycott Israel is controlled by extreme individuals who are unconcerned with the human rights of Palestinians which they claim to champion. This week, Israel's Ministry of Strategic Affairs provided conclusive evidence that the energy of terrorists and their organizations has infiltrated, and is even driving, the BDS activities.

The report reveals direct ties between numerous boycott groups and designated terror organizations such as Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. "Convicted terrorist operatives who have served prison sentences currently hold senior positions in NGOs which delegitimize and promote the BDS campaign against Israel," reads the report.

Of all the details revealed in the report, one stands out as particularly disturbing: the driving force behind the international BDS efforts is the Ramallah-based BDS National Committee (BNC), which is composed of a coalition of Palestinian terror organizations called the Palestinian National and Islamic Forces (PNIF). In other words, the "executive board" of the BNC is a league of terrorist organizations. Boycott activities throughout the world are effectively being directed and implemented by terror organizations from Ramallah.
JCPA: Do JVP and the PLO Share the Same Goals?
Historically, the anti-Semitic dogma underlying Jewish anti-Zionist activity has roots in Soviet and PLO agitation in the United Nations. In 1965, the Soviet Union, the arch anti-Semitic power at the time in the UN General Assembly, refused to recognize anti-Semitism as a form of racism, such as Apartheid or Nazism. The Soviets “set a precedent for linking Zionism and Nazism” as a vengeful move against United States-led counter moves, as historian Joel Fishman points out in his path-breaking article, Disaster of Another Kind.2

The Soviets’ association of Zionism with Nazism as forms of racism, a mere two decades after the Holocaust exterminated six million Jews, paved the way for PLO leader and terrorist Yasser Arafat’s mendacious November, 1974 Zionism is Racism speech, delivered from the podium of the UN General Assembly. Arafat’s anti-Semitic crusade resulted in the Soviet-aligned and Arab and African state backing for UNGA Resolution 3379 approved in November 1975 (and annulled in 1991), affirming that “Zionism is a form of racism…”3

Chaim Herzog, Israeli Ambassador to the UN at the time, declared at the UN General Assembly, “(This resolution is) another manifestation of the bitter anti-Semitic, anti-Jewish hatred which animates Arab society. Who would have believed that in this year, 1975, the malicious falsehoods of the ‘Elders of Zion‘ would be distributed officially by Arab governments?”
Episode 12: Disrupting Terror Funding
This week, the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs published a report echoing NGO Monitor's concerns regarding the affiliations and close connections between prominent Palestinian NGOs and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). In recent years, based on NGO Monitor’s findings, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Switzerland developed clear guidelines preventing funding for these NGOs. These countries also dismantled a joint funding framework that was a key source of capital for the network of PFLP-linked groups.

Host: NGO Monitor Director of Research Yona Schiffmiller

Guest: NGO Monitor Senior Researcher Shaun Sacks
Caroline Glick: The Limits of Arab-Israeli Cooperation
Statements by U.S. officials, including by former U.S. UN ambassador Nikki Haley, regarding the details of the Trump administration’s peace plan have telegraphed the message that its contents are similar to those presented by past administrations. That is, the Trump plan presumes that Israel will give real – irreversible – concessions to the Palestinians in the form of land transfers that will enfeeble and divide it in exchange for a paper peace deal.

The difference, to the extent there is one, between the substance of the Trump plan and its predecessors is that the Trump administration plan envisions peace between Israel and the Palestinians to be forged in the context of a broader peace between Israel and regional Arab states.

And yet, when one considers the ubiquitous hatred for Israel and Jews in Jordan and Egypt, it is clear that formal peace deals do not improve ties between the nations of the Arab world and Israel. If anything, they harm them. So too, when one recognizes that since the basis of the current operational cooperation between Arab states and Israel is a shared interest in diminishing Iran, it becomes clear that once that threat is diminished or defeated, the basis for Israeli-Arab cooperation will disappear.

If that happens after a “peace” is forged, Israel will have endangered its future and weakened its society in an egregious way for nothing. Its formal ties with the likes of Saudi Arabia and the UAE will be reduced to nothing and it will face a renewed threat of pan-Arab aggression after surrendering its defensible borders for a paper peace.

There is a reason that despite the best efforts of every U.S. president since Harry Truman, peace between the Arab world and Israel remains elusive. There is no popular acceptance of Israel in the Arab world. And no Israeli concessions to the Palestinians or Israeli assistance in countering Iran’s aggression will change that.
Podcast: Ambassador Danny Danon on Life and Work at the UN
The first episode of our new podcast, produced in conjunction with the Tikvah Fund, is here. Listen now!

In the decades since Israel’s founding in 1948, the United Nations has been a hostile environment for the Jewish state. For a long time, it has seemed that the best an Israeli UN ambassador could do was to prevent further harm. And Israel has sent some of its ablest defenders—Abba Eban, Chaim Herzog, Benjamin Netanyahu—to do just that.

But Israel’s current UN ambassador has changed the rules of the diplomatic game.

Ambassador Danny Danon was appointed to his current post in 2015, after a career in Zionist activism, the Knesset, and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government. At the UN, he has spent the last three-and-a-half years building coalitions, calling Israel’s enemies to justice, and going on offense.

In this conversation—his first-ever podcast appearance—Ambassador Danon provides an overview of his work at the United Nations. He describes Israel’s relationships with America, Russia, China, and the Gulf States, discusses the strategic challenge of Iran, and reflects on how Israel’s ongoing conflict with the Palestinians affects his work. In this first-person briefing, Ambassador Danon gives us an inside look at Israel’s campaign to strengthen its global diplomatic position.
Dermer: Israel's Use of Power Is Not Inherently Wrong
Israel's Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer on Monday described what he called "a potential threat to Israel and to Jews everywhere" - not from an outside force but from a perilous way of perceiving right and wrong in today's world.

Throughout history, Dermer said, the Jewish people incorporated the internal lesson that "might does not make right." "The danger today is that many think might is inherently wrong, unjust," not consistent with Jewish values.

But in a world where the Jewish state faces enemies committed to its destruction, "it's dangerous for Israel and Jews everywhere to think power is wrong." It just needs to be applied wisely and sparingly.

Israel's need to be strong and defend itself is particularly significant at a time when most Americans want to see the U.S. less involved in military operations overseas, including the Mideast.

Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Dermer noted that the issue of Palestinian statehood is about power, so the questions to ask are: "Would the Palestinian state have an army? What about control of air space so close to Israel?"

Israelis would favor the Palestinians governing themselves but without presenting a threat to Israeli security. In the meantime, Dermer charged that the Palestinian leadership has been more focused on defeating Israel than their right to self-determination.
Diplomats: US Blocks UN Statement on Hebron Monitors
The United States blocked a draft United Nations Security Council statement on Wednesday that would have expressed regret at Israel’s decision to eject a foreign observer force from the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron, diplomats said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last week he would not renew the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), accusing the observers of unspecified anti-Israel activity.

Norway, which has headed the multi-country observer mission for the past 22 years, said: “The one-sided Israeli decision can mean that the implementation of an important part of the Oslo accords is discontinued.”

The 15-member UN Security Council discussed Israel’s decision behind closed doors on Wednesday at the request of Kuwait and Indonesia, which also drafted the statement. Such a statement has to be agreed by consensus.

UN diplomats said the United States did not believe a council statement on the issue was appropriate.

The draft statement, seen by Reuters, would have also recognized the importance of the TIPH and its “efforts to foster calm in a highly sensitive area and fragile situation on the ground, which risks further deteriorating.”
Poland concerned over how it is perceived in Israel
Just as Israel is sensitive to the image it conveys, so too Poland is sensitive to its perception outside of the country – especially the manner in which it is perceived in Israel.

Poland is rarely presented in a positive light by the Israeli media, a factor that prompted Polish ambassador Marek Magierowski, who is a journalist of long standing, to commission a survey measuring the attitudes of the Israeli public towards Poland.

The report, researched by Keevoon Research Strategy and Communications, was issued Wednesday at a media conference at the Polish Embassy, ahead of next week’s Warsaw summit being co-hosted by the United States. Aimed at promoting peace and security in the Middle East, the summit will also be a forum to consider an unofficial coalition against Iran. During the following week, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki will visit Israel for talks about new horizons in relations between the two countries.

What has irked Poland ever since the end of the Second World War is being charged with blame for the Holocaust, when it was in fact Nazi Germany that invaded Poland and committed many atrocities on Polish soil.

Magierowski does not deny that there were Polish nationals who collaborated with the Germans, but Poles were not Nazis.

There have been so many distortions, he says, that in the course of time, people will forget who started World War II and which country was invaded.
Liberman’s a spy, Yair Netanyahu’s a Christian, and fake news aims to play havoc
Avigdor Liberman, the Yisrael Beytenu party head and former defense minister, is a Russian spy. How do we know this? Because the former Mossad head Tamir Pardo said so, in an address to Harvard University’s Belfer Center in November, as reported on the center’s internet site. Except that Pardo, who did indeed speak to the Belfer Center, said nothing of the kind, and the center never claimed he did.

Yair Netanyahu, the prime minister’s older son, visited the UAE at the invitation of German manufacturing giant Siemens in October, met with the crown prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, and discussed the possibility of investing Netanyahu family assets in the Gulf states. How do we know this? Because the CFO of Siemens Middle East was quoted on the European Coatings website discussing Yair Netanyahu’s visit. Except that the prime minister’s son did not in fact discuss any such investment plans, did not visit Dubai, and was not the subject of any such statement by Siemens on any such website.

These are just two recent examples of fake news stories — things that didn’t happen and weren’t said — that were “reported” on cleverly faked websites.

They were then tweeted out from fake accounts to Israeli journalists in the hope that the reporters, duped, would launder the false stories by publishing them as genuine news items on genuine, widely read news sites.

Sounds worrying? Here are three more recent examples of false stories masquerading as genuine news being disseminated in this and similar ways:

A report that Hatnua leader Tzipi Livni complained in a recent speech at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center that the Mossad badly mishandled matters relating to the Khashoggi affair, with the consequence that a Saudi official who was at the heart of efforts to warm ties between Jerusalem and Riyadh was fired. (Livni issued no such criticism.)

A report that Israel’s ambassador in Sweden was engaging in mediation efforts with Yemen’s Houthis. (He was not.)

And, the Netanyahus again, reports claiming that Sara Netanyahu wears a hidden cross and that son Yair has converted to Christianity. (Needless to say: false information.)

All of these stories struck one or more of the people to whom they were sent as improbable, thus beginning the process by which they were exposed as fake and traced back to the accounts that first tweeted them. None of them seems to have made it into mainstream media. All of them had begun to gain traction, however, including being retweeted by some of their recipients to whole new audiences, before they were stopped in their tracks. (h/t L. King)
Gaza rocket hits Israel, IDF tank fires at Hamas position in response
Alert sirens sounded Wednesday evening in a number of Gaza border communities as a rocket launched from the Strip exploded in an open field in southern Israel.

The projectile reportedly fell in the area of the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council. There were no reports of damage or injuries in the attack.

In response, an Israeli tank opened fire on a Hamas position in the southern Gaza Strip, the IDF said in a statement.

Earlier in the evening, a rocket fired from northern Gaza toward Israel failed to clear the border and landed inside the coastal strip, according to reports in Hebrew-language media. There were no reports of damage or casualties in that incident.

On Wednesday morning, the Home Front Command tested emergency alert sirens in Jerusalem and some nearby communities.

Ahead of the test, the IDF said that its system tests and exercises are not connected to any particular incident and are often scheduled months in advance.

January saw two rockets launched from Gaza into Israel, neither of which caused damage or injuries. In both cases on January 7 and 12 the IDF responded with strikes in Gaza.
IDF cyber chief: Iran tried to hack missile-alert system
Iran tried to hack Israel's missile-alert system over a year ago, IDF Cyber Defense Division Commander Noam Sha'ar told Israel Hayom.

In an interview with Israel Hayom's weekend magazine, Sha'ar says the cyberattack was successfully repelled by his unit, avoiding potentially catastrophic results. The full interview will be published on Friday.

The Homefront Command's missile alert system is one of the most sensitive parts of Israel's civilian and military infrastructure.

Anyone who gains control over the system can set off sirens at will and can even disable the highly-important features that provide early warning on incoming rockets and missiles.

The attack was detected due to the constant monitoring of an Iranian cyber group, one of dozens run by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps with a budget of over 1 billion dollars. It turned out that the group tried to hack several systems in Israel apart from the missile-alert system.

According to Sha'ar, Iran is constantly trying to compromise Israel's sensitive infrastructure, both in and outside the military. He notes that his unit has managed to foil about 130 such attacks, most of which originated with Iranian entities.
Three Palestinians nabbed for stone-throwing that wounded baby
Three Palestinians suspected of involvement in a stone-throwing incident that led to the injury of a 9-month-old baby have been detained by Israeli security forces, the Shin Bet security service revealed Thursday.

The suspects, two of whom are minors around the age of 17, were nabbed last month in the village of Sa’ir near Hebron, in a joint operation of the Shin Bet and IDF.

“During their Shin Bet interrogation, it was discovered that the suspects had taken part in the stone-throwing that led to the infant being wounded,” the security service said in a statement.

The December 18 incident took place on the West Bank’s main north-south artery, Route 60, between the settlements of Kiryat Arba and Karmei Tzur. An Israeli mother and father were traveling with their young child, when rocks shattered their windshield glass. The infant was transferred to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center with light injuries.

The Shin Bet described the attack as “massive.”
Palestinian arrested after explosive, weapons found in east Jerusalem home
A 40-year-old Palestinian resident of east Jerusalem was arrested on Thursday after Israel Police, Border Police and the IDF raided his home finding weapons and an improvised explosive.

Police searched the house of the suspect as part of a targeted and planned operation.

"When we searched his room, the police dog found a box containing an improvised pipe bomb, ammunition, an air rifle, a handgun, and other items, including gunpowder and an iron pipe, which can be used to prepare additional pipe bombs," the Israel Police spokesperson said.

"The suspect was arrested and brought for questioning by the police, and tomorrow he will be brought before the court for a hearing," the police added.

The Israel Police said it continues its determined and uncompromising efforts to reach any person who allows himself to possess illegal weapons and, in this case, to produce them himself.

"These means are often used both in resolving internal conflicts and against civilians and security forces. We will act against them in full," the spokesperson said.
Palestinians abandon children at Erez crossing - COGAT warns
A four year old Palestinian child was abandoned by his father at Erez crossing on Tuesday, COGAT [Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories] said in a press release on Thursday, after leaving his child with a stranger the father chose to remain in Israel illegally.

The numbers of Palestinian parents entering Israel with children in need of medical care and abandoning them at Erez Crossing are on the rise, COGAT warns.

"As a father myself I can't understand how a parent leaves his child with stranger," said COGAT head Col. Iyad Sarhan.

"As a man and as a father I hope this terrible thing stops," he said, "and that the people of Gaza will put their children at the top of their priorities."

One of the users of the COGAT Facebook page wrote in Arabic in response to the post by Sarhan "we want to live, Jews, give us work permit."
PMW: PA Minister of Education honors murderer
The Palestinian Authority continues to honor murderer Karim Younes, who is one of the so-called Palestinian "veteran" prisoners and serving time for kidnapping and murdering Israeli soldier Avraham Bromberg in 1980.

This week, PA Minister of Education Sabri Saidam led the way at a ceremony at the PA Ministry of Education. Younes' mother was guest of honor and Minister Saidam stressed that the ceremony was "a gesture of loyalty to prisoner Younes and his family," and "conveyed the greetings of the Palestinian leadership and the [Fatah] Central Committee members to them." [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 4, 2019]

The minister emphasized the PA's support for murderer Younes and other imprisoned terrorists, calling them "symbols":

Minister Saidam: "The Ministry of Education will remain the most loyal to the national values and to the symbols who have defended the national enterprise."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 4, 2019]

The education minister is not alone with his admiration for this murderer. Palestinian Media Watch documented last week that a PA university awarded Younes an honorary certificate, and official PA TV glorified Younes with posters and by interviewing his relatives.

In addition, PA and Fatah chairman Abbas himself appointed Younes to Fatah's Central Committee and hosted Younes' mother and brother as his guests. The PA has also named a square after this murderer.
Constitutional proposals could allow Sisi to stay in power till 2034: document
Constitutional amendments proposed by Egyptian lawmakers would allow President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to stay in power for up to 12 years beyond his current term and boost his control of the judiciary, according to a draft seen by Reuters.

The proposed amendments were submitted to the speaker of parliament on Sunday. Any changes need approval by two-thirds of parliament members, followed by a referendum.

Sisi, a former general, ousted President Mohammed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013 after mass protests against his rule and was elected president the following year.

In recent months, speculation has been building that his supporters would seek to amend a constitutional clause according to which he should step down at the end of his second four-year term in 2022.

The amendments submitted on Sunday include an extension of the presidential term to six years from four in article 140 of the constitution, and a “transitional” clause that would reset the clock, potentially allowing Sisi to stay in power until 2034.

“After the expiry of his current term, the President of the Republic may run again in accordance to the amended article 140,” the draft clause says.

The proposed changes also give Sisi new powers over appointing judges and the public prosecutor. They add a second parliamentary chamber known as the Council of Senators, in which the president would appoint one-third of the 250 members.

Sisi’s supporters say extending his term is necessary to allow him more time to implement economic development plans and ensure Egypt’s stability.

“He is doing a lot of projects and people are fighting him from all sides,” said Ayman Abdel Hakim, a lawyer and former civil servant who filed a court case along with 300 Sisi supporters in December demanding that Egypt’s parliament debate the two-term limit and consider changing it.
Egypt's alleged plan to fund Jewish site restoration may be propaganda ploy
Reports that Egypt will allocate $71 million to restore Jewish sites are inaccurate and might be part of a wider propaganda campaign aimed at propping up President Abdel al-Fattah al-Sisi, experts familiar with the project argue.

Last month, Egyptian Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani announced that Sisi had earmarked the money to rehabilitate Jewish monuments and houses of worship in the country. He was quoted by local media as saying that this is a priority for Cairo "much like [upholding] Pharaonic, Roman, Islamic and Coptic heritage," and that the government "will not wait for any foreign party to grant finances" for the venture.

The Israeli embassy in Cairo issued a statement welcoming the decision which was reported by numerous Arab and Israeli media outlets. However, the actual allotment remains unclear and will, in fact, go towards restoring Islamic and Christian sites as well.

"[There] was exaggerated coverage to catch the eyes of western media and market Sisi as a tolerant leader,” Haisam Hassanein of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy told The Media Line.

To this end, he believes Cairo is seeking to shore up support from policymakers in the United States while encouraging Jews to travel to Egypt in order to boost tourism revenue. Notably, the effort comes ahead of possible constitutional amendments that would allow Sisi to remain in power beyond his two-term limit.
Iran Takes European Hostages, Plots Terrorist Attacks—and Stays in the EU’s Good Graces
Germany, Britain, and France—the three European parties to the 2015 nuclear agreement—have been working to create a “special-purpose vehicle” that would allow their countries, and the rest of the EU, to trade with the Islamic Republic while avoiding renewed U.S. sanctions. Meanwhile, Iranian diplomats in Europe have been busy plotting assassinations and terrorist attacks, leading to several arrests last year. Amir Taheri explains how Tehran has managed to maintain European solicitousness nonetheless:

The EU’s spokesperson for foreign policy, Federica Mogherini, has devoted most of her immense energies operating as a lobbyist for the Islamic Republic. . . . For almost two years the EU has fostered the illusion in Iran that it can continue doing as it pleases without risking any consequences. . . .

The EU’s special favorable treatment of the Islamic Republic includes keeping mum about over twenty EU citizens currently held as hostages in Tehran. It is also indicated by the mere rap-on-the wrist response of the Europeans to Iran’s latest terrorist operations in four European countries. . . . Europeans, including the British foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, delude themselves in believing that by “working with Iran” they [can] prevent the Islamic Republic from “crossing the red lines.”

The problem is that Iran does not cross those real or imaginary “red lines.” Like the now-defunct Soviet Union in its time, the Islamic Republic’s strategy is to cross only “pink lines,” which constitute 99 percent of the norms of international behavior, whenever possible. [For instance], Iran has no troops in Yemen but manages to keep that tragedy going by helping Houthi rebels hang on to the patch of territory they hold. . . . In Britain alone, the Islamic Republic controls at least a dozen tax-exempt “charities,” often used for financing violent groups around the globe or simply for money laundering.

Part of the EU’s soft spot for the Islamic Republic may be inspired by endemic anti-Americanism, which is present in most European political circles left and right. We saw one example of this latent anti-Americanism last week over the crisis in Venezuela. . . . On Venezuela as on the Islamic Republic in Iran, the European Union must remove its anti-U.S., nowadays presented as only anti-Trump, glasses to see reality.
Iran fails to launch second satellite - report
Iran has failed its second attempt in recent weeks to launch a satellite into space, according to images released by two separate specialized space imaging companies.

On Thursday morning, several images released to US media by DigitalGlobe and Planet, which showed blackened scorch marks consistent with a launch or failed launch of a craft, were seen on a launch pad at the Imam Khomeini Space Center in Iran’s Semnan province.

The pictures are said to have been taken by the specialized companies on Wednesday.

Iran said that it would launch its Doosti, or “Friendship,” satellite into space to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Iranian revolution, which took place in 1979.

Iranian state media and authorities have remained mum on the reports, suggesting that the launch was indeed a failure.
Iran arrested 860 journalists in post-revolution decades, watchdog says
The Iranian authorities arrested 860 journalists in the 30 years following the 1979 revolution, according to leaked files unveiled by a media watchdog Thursday.

Reporters Without Borders said the confidential records for the period from 1979-2009 were provided by whistle-blowers to coincide with Tehran’s marking the 40th anniversary of the Islamic republic’s founding this week.

The file contains some 1.7 million records of judicial procedures, and although people’s professions are not listed, RSF said researchers spent months to compile and verify the names of 860 journalists or citizen-journalists who were arrested or imprisoned.

At least four of them were executed, it said.

“The very existence of this file and its millions of entries show not only the scale of the Iranian regime’s mendacity for years when claiming that its jails were holding no political prisoners or journalists, but also the relentless machinations it used for 40 years to persecute men and women for their opinions or their reporting,” the rights group’s secretary general Christophe Deloire said in a statement.

He added that the findings would be submitted to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.
Hezbollah leader calls on Lebanon to accept arms from Iran to confront Israel
The leader of Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah said Wednesday that he is willing to ask Iran to supply the Lebanese military with weapons and aerial defense systems to confront Israeli warplanes and called on Beirut to accept the offer.

“Will the Lebanese government dare to accept the Iranian proposals? Why should Lebanon remain afraid to cooperate with Iran?” Nasrallah said in a televised address marking the 40th anniversary of the Iranian revolution and the overthrow of the Shah.

“I’m a friend of Iran and I’m willing to bring the Lebanese Army air defense systems from Iran to confront Israel,” Nasrallah said according to Lebanon’s Naharnet news site.

Nasrallah spent over an hour extolling Iran and the Islamic revolution’s political and economic accomplishments.
Hizbullah Leader Nasrallah: I Am Willing to Go to Iran and Bring the Lebanese Army Air Defenses
On February 6, 2019, Hassan Nasrallah, the Secretary-General of Hizbullah, delivered a speech at an event commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. He praised Iran for supporting Palestinian, Lebanese, and regional resistance movements, and said that Iran was willing to go as far as necessary to defeat ISIS in Iraq. Nasrallah said that despite some people's attempts to drag the U.S. into a war with Iran, Iran's domestic and regional strength has prevented such a war, and he said that Iran would not stand alone in a war because the fate of the people and the region is linked to the fate of its regime. He said that people would accuse Hizbullah of dragging Lebanon into a war if it shot down Israeli planes in Lebanese airspace and, saying that he has Lebanon's interests in mind, Nasrallah offered to go to Iran and bring the Lebanese army air defenses and whatever else it needs in order to become the strongest military in the region. The speech aired on Al-Manar TV (Lebanon).

Iraqi Hizbullah Brigades Spokesman Jaafar Al-Husseini: U.S. Forces in Iraq Are Legitimate Targets
In a February 3, 2019 interview on Mayadeen TV (Lebanon), Jaafar Al-Husseini, spokesman for the Iraqi Hizbullah Brigades, said that U.S. President Trump has "gotten the world used to his stupidity" and that the Iraqi Hizbullah Brigades will not allow any American presence in Iraq, especially if the Americans' goal is to prepare an attack against Syria or Iran. He said that they have taken an oath before the free people of the region to "chop off any hand" attempting to harm Syria or Iran. He added that they are watching American movement in Iraq very carefully and that the American forces constitute legitimate targets for the resistance and should be legitimate targets for the Iraqi security forces as well.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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


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