Monday, March 02, 2020

03/02 Links Pt1: Let’s Stop Lying About the Two-State ‘Solution’; Sanders on Battling AIPAC: They Have a Lot of Money and Power; Shi'ite Azerbaijan's Historic Speech at AIPAC

From Ian:

Let’s Stop Lying About the Two-State ‘Solution’
Sometimes people believe something so much that even once the belief is no longer viable, they can’t quite let go of it, because it is now indistinguishable from their own sense of self. Case in point: I once asked a leader in the American Jewish community, a liberal Zionist, what he would think if the two-state solution were no longer possible. After a long pause, he responded, “That would be the end of my Zionism.” And so, he continued, he could not give up on the two-state solution.

This may be where liberal Zionists are today. As a University of Pennsylvania political scientist and longtime scholar of the Arab-Israeli conflict, Ian Lustick writes in his excellent and provocative new book, Paradigm Lost: From Two-State Solution to One-State Reality: “Two states for two peoples was a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but it is not a solution today.” For many liberal Zionists, this is a hard pill to swallow. But it also might be true.

In many Jewish circles, when talk of two states commences, it often very quickly devolves into: “If only we had a partner for peace!” It is imagined that Israelis are generally willing, but the other side is not. Lustick wants us to shelve that reflexive, and convenient, abdication of responsibility, and look at the situation from a different direction. Whatever the foibles of the Palestinian side, he wants to explore this notion of two states solely from within the structures of Israeli governments and society from the 1970s until today. What he concludes is that the possibility of two states was never really viable on the Israeli side, not because Israelis weren’t willing to try it—many were—but because the very structures of government and societal reactions to changes on the ground made sure it would not happen. In short, once the two-state solution emerged as a possibility in the early 1970s, it very quickly became obsolete.

Lustick begins his argument by suggesting that “two-state solution” or “one-state solution” are mistaken and obfuscating terms. Instead of “two-state solution,” he wants us to understand the “two-state paradigm.” And instead of “one-state solution,” he suggests the “one-state reality.” There is no one-state solution; but there is, from the river to the sea, one state. And that state is called Israel.

Attacks Prompt Swift UK Legislation Blocking Terrorists From Early Prison Release
The United Kingdom has just passed emergency legislation that will stop the early release of convicted terrorists from prison. This decisive action comes on the heels of two recent terror attacks in London by jihadists who were released from prison earlier than the end of their sentences for terror-related crimes.

In November, Usman Khan, who had served eight years in prison before being granted an early release, killed two people and wounded three others in an attack near London Bridge. Khan was wearing a fake suicide vest when he committed the attack. Khan participated in a de-radicalization program. Clearly, the program did not guarantee that Khan was genuinely rehabilitated or would not re-offend.

The second attack came in February, when Sudesh Amman, 20, stabbed two people in the Streatham section of South London. Amman had been released from prison just a week earlier, after he had served about half of his 40-month prison sentence for a 2018 terror conviction.

Undercover police were watching Amman, but they were not able to stop his stabbing spree. He was shot and killed by police within a minute.

The legislation enacted Wednesday blocks early release for about 50 imprisoned extremists, a statement from the UK Ministry of Justice said. It requires that any inmate convicted of a terror-related crime, such as training for terrorism, membership in a terror organization, or disseminating terrorist literature, must complete at least two-thirds of his or her sentence before being considered for release. Even then, the release is not guaranteed.

“No terrorist should be released early only to kill and maim on our streets,” said Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland. “Protecting the public is Government’s first duty and our message is clear — enough is enough.”

Pence speaks at AIPAC 2020 Policy Conference

Biden: Palestinians should stop incitement, Israel should stop annexation
Former Vice President and presidential candidate Joe Biden said on Sunday that a two-state solution "is the best way to ensure a secure and peaceful Israeli future for the Jewish and democratic state of Israel."

In a recorded video speech to the audience at the AIPAC policy conference, Biden apologized that he could not attend the conference in person due to his preparations for Super Tuesday, in which residents from 14 states will cast their ballots. "Israelis wake up every morning facing an existential threat from their neighbors' rockets from Gaza, just like this past week," Biden said, "that's why I've always been adamant that Israel must be able to defend itself. It's not just critical for Israeli security. I believe it's critical for America's security. That's why I'm so proud of the Obama administration, unprecedented support for security, including the life-saving Iron Dome system."

He also emphasized the need to advance peace Israel and the Palestinians and criticized a possible Israeli move to annex settlements in the West Bank. "You don't have to be anti-Palestinian to be pro-Israeli," said the former vice president. "Israel and Palestinian children are equally deserving of safety, security, and an opportunity to pursue their dreams. We all need to work together to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza because there is a crisis and we're not going to achieve that future if we don't condemn steps on both sides that take us further from peace," he continued.

"Palestinians need to eradicate incitement on the West Bank. They need to end the rocket attacks from Gaza. They need to accept once and for all the reality and the right of a secure democratic and Jewish State of Israel in the Middle East," said Biden.

"And Israel has to stop the threats of annexation and settlement activity like the recent announcement of building thousands of settlements, in E-1," he added. "That's going to choke off any hope for peace. And to be frank, those moves are taking Israel further from its democratic values, undermining support for Israel in the United States, especially among young people of both political parties. That's dangerous. We can't let that happen. We can't let Israel become another issue that," he concluded.
Bloomberg to AIPAC: I’ll never condition aid to Israel, no matter who’s PM
Democratic US presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg attacked his rival Bernie Sanders on Monday for calling the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s conference a platform for bigots and for proposing the US condition aid to Israel on the nation’s policies.

Addressing 18,000 pro-Israel advocates at the AIPAC confab, the former New York City mayor drew a sharp contrast between his approach to US-Israel policy and that of the current Democratic frontrunner, who has said he would “absolutely” consider slashing aid to the Jewish state.

“If I am elected president I can promise you I will always have Israel’s back,” Bloomberg told the crowd at the Walter Washington Convention Center in the nation’s capital, “because Israel has a right to defend itself, by itself. And that means I will never impose conditions on military aid, no matter what government is in power.”

“Israel is on the front lines of encountering American enemies in the region and sharing valuable intelligence and experience with us,” he added. “So conditioning foreign aid would not only impair Israel’s ability to keep itself safe, but our ability to keep ourselves safe as well. As president, I give you my word that I will never ever compromise on the safety and security of Israel.”

He also called out Sanders for skipping this year’s AIPAC conference. The self-declared democratic socialist had castigated the forum, saying it provided a platform to “express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights.”

“Unfortunately, not all of my fellow Democrats in this race have attended an AIPAC conference,” Bloomberg said. “One of them, Senator Sanders, has spent 30 years boycotting this event and as you heard by now he called AIPAC a racist platform. Well, let me tell you, he is dead wrong.”
Netanyahu slams Bernie Sanders’ AIPAC ‘bigots’ jab as ‘libelous’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu castigated Democratic presidential frontrunner Bernie Sanders on Sunday for saying the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) offered a platform for bigotry, calling the charge “libelous” and “outrageous.”

Addressing the pro-Israel lobby’s annual conference via satellite, the Israeli premier urged the 18,000 to in attendance to push back against what he characterized as an attempt to diminish US-Israel ties.

“This year AIPAC was accused of providing a platform for bigotry. These libelous charges are outrageous,” Netanyahu said. “The best way to respond to that outrage is to do what you have done — by gathering in Washington today, in full force, as Democrats and Republicans … You send a great message to all those who seek to weaken our alliance, that they will fail.”

Sanders made the remarks when explaining why he would again skip AIPAC. Sanders, who is Jewish, has also been a sharp critic of Netanyahu for his policies toward Palestinians.

At the Democratic debate on Tuesday in South Carolina, Sanders labeled the Israeli leader a “reactionary racist” and said he’d consider reversing US President Donald Trump’s move of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Without naming the Vermont senator, Netanyahu cast him and other progressive Democrats pushing for an American foreign policy more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause as extremists.
At AIPAC Policy Conference, High Profile Speakers Reject Bernie Sanders: ‘We Don’t Want Him in Israel’
Speakers at the annual gathering of pro-Israel lobby AIPAC on Sunday offered veiled and open condemnation of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, an outspoken and frequent critic of the Jewish state.

The group’s CEO Howard Kohr told attendees at the high-profile annual Policy Conference that he “must sound an alarm” about “an emerging threat” to the US-Israel relationship, appearing to point a finger at Sanders, who has publicly denounced the conference. “The work we have done and continue to do is at risk,” Kohr said.

Noting that support for Israel has always been bipartisan, Kohr warned, “A growing, highly vocal, and energized part of the electorate fundamentally rejects the value of the US-Israel alliance. It is no longer on the margins — but instead has taken the spotlight of our political life. Its most radical views are bending the political conversation and commanding attention.”

“And this movement has national ambitions,” he warned.

“The leaders of this movement occasionally seek to mollify us with empty reassurances and hollow affirmations of Israel’s right to live in peace,” he went on. “The leaders of this movement say they support Israel’s right to exist, but that’s not up for debate. Israel exists, and it doesn’t take a true friend to support that.”

“These are not the things a friend would say or do,” he said.

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon was more forthright in his comments on Sanders. Referring to one of the senator’s recent remarks about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he said, “We don’t want Sanders at AIPAC. We don’t want him in Israel. Anyone who calls our prime minister a ‘racist’ is either a liar, an ignorant fool, or both.”
For Bernie Sanders, AIPAC Is Worse Than North Korea or Cuba
According to AIPAC, more than two-thirds of Congress were in attendance at its annual policy conference this week. Senator Bernie Sanders was not among them.

Sanders’ decision to skip AIPAC may not come as a surprise, but it smacks of the kind of cowardice and cynical opportunism that he has reliably used during his congressional career and presidential campaigns.

Much has been made — and much more will certainly be made if he wins the nomination — of Sanders and his wife Jane’s 1988 visit to the Soviet Union. The images of a middle-aged Bernie “bro-ing out” with his apparatchik minders and coming home to sing the praises of a totalitarian regime then in its death throes are certainly cringe-worthy, and make him look ridiculously naïve.

But buried in those images are some laudable ideas, namely that the world is not entirely black and white, people are not all good or evil, and that by engaging with our enemies, we can learn something from each other and bridge divides.

Indeed, that was the whole purpose of the visit: to build a connection between two obscure cities separated by thousands of miles and plenty of political rhetoric. Ideally, Sanders would have returned with a more nuanced view, but one can’t ask for everything.
Israeli UN Ambassador Danny Danon slams Bernie Sanders (Again) for calling Netanyahu a 'racist'

Sanders on Battling AIPAC: They Have a Lot of Money and Power
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) said Sunday he recognized the political risk of his battles with the pro-Israel lobby, saying it has a "lot of money" and "a lot of power."

Sanders and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee exchanged blows last month, with Sanders saying the group provided a platform for "bigotry," and AIPAC firing back that his attack was "shameful" and "odious."

Sanders, the current frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic nomination, acknowledged on Face the Nation that his criticism could have a political cost.

"They have a lot of money," Sanders said. "They have a lot of power. Look, I'm Jewish, and I'm very proud of my Jewish heritage…. I am not into [being] anti-Israel. I will do everything I can to protect the independence and the security and the freedom of the Israeli people. But what we need in this country is a foreign policy that not only protects Israel but deals with the suffering of the Palestinian people as well."

Sanders has repeatedly called Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu a "racist" and assailed Israel's treatment of the Palestinians. He often invokes the poor living conditions in the Gaza Strip, which is blockaded by Israel and Egypt due to its governance by the Palestinian terror group Hamas.

Rabbi Shmuley: AIPAC Rewards Cory Booker for Abandoning Israel
In the fall of 2008, I traveled with Senator Cory Booker to Chicago and presented him to the prestigious AIPAC summit. He then delivered a speech on the Torah portion of the week, Genesis. This speech, and many others that he delivered before AIPAC and pro-Israel audiences throughout the United States, would lead to Cory becoming one of the foremost recipients of pro-Israel donations in America.

But then came the Iran nuclear deal and Cory’s utter betrayal of his convictions for political gain. Cory voted to give the murderous mullahs of Iran $150 billion, facilitating their murder of innocent people worldwide and their wholesale slaughter of political dissidents at home. Even as Iran threatened to annihilate Israel’s six million Jews and bring about a second Holocaust, Cory refused to condemn their genocidal promises.

From there, he also voted against the Taylor Force Act that sought to forbid American funds from being used in pay-for-slay salaries to Palestinian terrorists; condemned the moving of the American embassy to Jerusalem; deleted any mention of Jewish influences or mentorship in his autobiography; voted against the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act, which provided legal cover to state governments that seek to stymie the BDS movement; and infamously took a smiling photograph with Israel-hating BDS leaders, where a text read, “From Palestine to Mexico, all the walls must go.” Of course, the wall in Israel has saved thousands of lives from terrorist attacks.

I was shocked to read that at AIPAC’s most prestigious plenary session, taking place Monday morning, Cory Booker will follow Vice President Mike Pence as a keynote speaker.

But what has Cory done to deserve such a high honor, unless abandoning Israel’s security, funding its genocidal enemies, condemning the United States for recognizing Jerusalem as its capital, and taking selfies with BDS haters counts?
Shi'ite Azerbaijan's Historic Speech at AIPAC
The country of Azerbaijan carved out a historic role for itself by being the first majority Shi’ite country to have a cabinet level minister on Sunday deliver a speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual policy conference to advance the troika of relations among the Caucasus nation, Israel and the US.

Samir Sharifov, the Azerbaijani finance minister, told a packed AIPAC crowd that "Cooperation with Israel is not limited to oil supply, we are interested in widening cooperation in defense and transfer of technology. “

He noted that Israel’s one of the few "states that supported in Azerbaijan in need, with armaments.”

In a second act of cutting edge history, Sharifov read remarks from Mehriban Aliyeva, the first vice president of Azerbaijan. “It is gratifying that our former compatriots of Jewish origin, living nowadays in the United States and Israel have maintained close ties with Azerbaijan and contribute to the strengthening of our relations with these countries, we are much grateful to them.”

She delved into the history of Jews in Azerbaijan, noting “Azerbaijan had also embraced thousands of Jews who tried to escape Nazi oppression during World War II and became a second home for them.”

New Google doodle in honor of Israel's third election
Israel's Google homepage has put up a Google doodle in honor of Israel's third elections in a year.
The doodle has a box with an Israeli flag in place of the second "o" in Google, with a blank voting slip sticking out of the top of the box.

Clicking on the doodle causes Google to automatically search for "Israel Elections 2020," which also highlights the date of the elections.
This is not the first time Google has put out a doodle for Israel's elections, with the search engine having put up a similar but visually different doodle for the September 17 and April 9 elections.

Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians don't expect 'real changes' after Israel's elections
Palestinians said on Sunday they were not expecting real changes in Israeli policies after Monday’s general election, regardless of who wins the vote.

While some Palestinians said they would be happy to see Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lose the election, others warned that his rival, Blue and White head Benny Gantz would endorse similar policies towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict if he forms the next government.

Palestinian political analysts and officials stressed the need for the Palestinians to take matters into their own hands by ending the ongoing power struggle between the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

“Palestinians must take their destiny into their own hands and not wait for any changes in Israeli policies after the election, regardless of the nature of the government that will be formed,” said Sufian Abu Zaida, a senior Fatah official and former PA minister. “The best way to strengthen the Palestinian stance and preserve our interests and dignity is by making order in our house and ending the division [between the West Bank and Gaza Strip].”
Democratic Republic of Congo to send 1st ambassador to Israel in 20 years
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President Félix Tshisekedi announced on Sunday that he will appoint an ambassador to Israel for the first time in 20 years, AFP reported.

Speaking at the annual AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, Tshisekedi said that "After more than 20 years of inadequate representation, I will name an ambassador in the coming days."

Tshisekedi, who became president last year, credited his Christian faith for the decision, and thanked American Evangelicals for their support for the Jewish state.

Israel "is a source of inspiration," he said. "It teaches us what man can do in such a short span of time when he has drive, resilience and, especially, divine grace and favor."

The ambassador will be stationed in Tel Aviv, but a commercial section of the Congolese embassy will be based in Jerusalem.
Currently, only the US and Guatemala have embassies in Jerusalem, recognizing the city as Israel's undivided capital.
IDF Hits Vehicle in Syria Following Attempted Cross-Border Sniper Attack
The Israeli military struck a vehicle in the Syrian Golan Heights in response to an attempted cross-border sniper attack, the Israel Defense Forces said on Monday.

“A short while ago, IDF troops identified an attempted sniper attack in the northern Golan Heights area. In response, IDF troops targeted the vehicle involved in the attempted attack,” the IDF spokesman said.

Syria’s state news agency SANA reported that the IDF had fired a missile at a civilian vehicle “in the suburbs of Quneitra.”

In response to the incident, Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennet said, “Even on election day, our enemies keep trying to hurt Israeli citizens and disrupt our lives, but we are going to stop them from doing that, like we do every day,” according to Israel Hayom.
Seven Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in Israel; Thousands Under Quarantine
Israel’s Health Ministry confirmed on Saturday that seven Israelis have so far tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), aka “coronavirus.” Thousands of Israelis are currently under quarantine following potential exposure to the virus.

Three of the Israelis with COVID-19 returned from Italy last week. One of the returnees’ spouses also has the disease. An additional two are under close supervision after being evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship off the coast of Japan. The seventh Israeli, who was believed to have been cured after being taken from the Diamond Princess to a Japanese hospital, was released to Israel on Friday and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19.

According to Israel’s Channel 12 news, Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa and Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon were also preparing isolation wards to accept coronavirus patients.

According to a report by The Marker over the weekend, as of Sunday 4,582 Israelis were under quarantine for possible exposure to the virus, including 294 students and 28 preschool children. However, the report indicates that flight records suggest the number should be at least 10,000, including all returnees from Italy in the past two weeks.
El Al cancels European flights as coronavirus hits airline hard
El Al canceled a series of flights to European destinations on Monday, citing the need for “commercial adjustments” due to declining demand caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak.

“As a result of special circumstances due to the coronavirus incident, including instructions and recommendations made by the Health Ministry to the public, we have been forced to make commercial adjustments on certain flights,” the airline said. “In this context, we are offering alternatives for travel on other flights. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience.”

Passengers scheduled to fly on several flights to destinations including Vienna, Budapest, Brussels and Frankfurt were among those affected by the cancellations.

Bearing the brunt of the outbreak, El Al is preparing a plan to layoff up to a thousand of the company’s 6,300 permanent and temporary staff. Last week, the airline said it expects revenues to drop by $50 million to $70m. between January and April as a result of the outbreak.

The carrier has already canceled all flights to China, Hong Kong and Italy, and is facing falling demand across its network. The scheduled launch of a nonstop route to Tokyo on March 11 has also been postponed. In an initial move to cut costs on Sunday, El Al fired 50 trainee pilots and an additional 14 pilots waiting to begin their training at the company.

According to Health Ministry instructions, a two-week home quarantine period is required from all Israeli nationals who visited Mainland China, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Macau, South Korea, Japan or Italy in the last 14 days. Last week, the Health Ministry called on Israelis to reconsider all foreign travel.
Gaza Rocket Fired toward Israel, Falls Short of Border
Terrorists in the Gaza Strip fired a rocket toward Israel on Sunday night, which fell short of the border and landed inside the Palestinian enclave, the Israel Defense Forces said.

The military said the launch triggered alerts in open fields near the security fence.

The attack came less than a week after Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad fought a two-day battle in and around the Strip, in which over 100 rockets and mortar shells were fired at southern Israel and the IDF retaliated with airstrikes against the organization’s facilities in Gaza and — in a highly irregular move — in Syria.

The launch also came less than 12 hours before polls opened in Israel for the country’s 23rd Knesset elections.

Palestinian media reported that the rocket was fired from the Khan Younis area in the southern Gaza Strip.

Last Wednesday, Israel announced it would reopen its border crossings with the Gaza Strip, as well as the coastal enclave’s fishing zone, marking a clear end to the fighting, as a ceasefire with Palestinian terror groups held after the violent exchange.
Why Are Palestinians Dying in Hamas Prisons?
The families' calls for launching investigations into the death of their sons while in Hamas detention have been ignored not only by Hamas, but also by the international community, human rights organizations and media.

Al-Sa'afeen's mother emphasized that the Israelis treat Palestinians much better than Hamas does. "When the Jews arrest someone, they contact his family to say they are holding him... But Hamas refused to provide us with any information about the detention of my son or his health condition.... We told [Hamas] that he's sick and needs medicine, but they refused to give him any treatment. Until today, we don't know why my son was arrested."

When Palestinians die in Palestinian prisons, the murders are presumably regarded as the handiwork of supposedly savage Arabs, who are -- with racist contempt -- held to a lower standard of conduct than Westerners, and therefore regarded as unworthy of human rights, accountable governance, due process or equal justice under the law.

They are evidently considered "just" Palestinian families complaining about brutal torture in Palestinian prisons -- so international human rights organizations do not even notice them.

Jordan's Health Ministry confirms country's first coronavirus case
The Jordanian Health Ministry confirmed the country's first coronavirus case on Monday, Al-Arabiya reported.

The infected person had returned from Italy two weeks ago, and was tested Sunday night for the virus along with another person who showed symptoms.

The first person tested positive for the virus; the second one tested negative, but will remain quarantined for 14 days as a precaution.

The infected patient's family members did not test positive for the virus. However, Jordanian Health Minister Saad Jaber added that those who were in contact with the patient will be quarantined for 14 days, according to Al-Arabiya.

He added that Jordan is fully prepared for the coronavirus outbreak and has the confirmed case fully quarantined and isolated.
According to Jaber, the patient is stable.

The coronavirus outbreak, which started in Wuhan, China, has since spread worldwide and has infected nearly 90,000 people at the time of writing. Multiple countries in the Middle East, starting with the UAE, have reported multiple cases, with the vast majority of them linked to an outbreak in Iran. As such, many countries in the region have imposed travel restrictions with the Islamic Republic, as well as with China and Italy, where another major outbreak has sprung up and has resulted in thousands being infected.
Report finds evidence of war crimes by nearly all sides in Syria conflict
Investigators for the UN-backed Human Rights Council said on Monday that they had found evidence of war crimes in Syria committed by nearly all sides in the conflict during the second half of last year and into January.

The investigators turned up war crimes by Russian forces, Syrian government troops, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria and Turkey-backed Syrian fighters.

The Commission of Inquiry for Syria has been tracking and chronicling human rights abuses and violations since shortly after Syria’s war began in 2011. It revealed the findings in their 19th regular report on Monday, this time covering July 11 last year until January 10.

That period was marked by several key developments in the war.

Starting in early December, a Russia-backed Syrian government offensive began pushing into Syria’s last rebel stronghold in the northwestern Idlib province, which is dominated by al-Qaeda-linked militants.

The offensive led to a surge of nearly a million Syrian civilians fleeing the fighting amid harsh winter weather. It’s the single largest wave of displacement in Syria’s nine-year civil war.

The commission’s members, headed by Brazilian lawyer Paulo Pinheiro, said Syrian women, children and other civilians face “unprecedented level of suffering and pain.”

Pinheiro also said the commission found “reasonable grounds to believe” that Russian aircraft were involved in at least two strikes on a crowded market in July and on a center for displaced persons in August.

“In both incidents, the Russian Air Force did not direct the attacks at a specific military objective, amounting to the war crime of launching indiscriminate attacks in civilian areas,” the commission said, citing witness testimonies, video footage, data imagery, reports by flight spotters, flight communication intercepts and early warning observation reports.
B’nai Brith Canada Takes Government to Court Over Not Listing IRGC as Terror Group
B’nai Brith Canada is taking legal action against the Canadian government over not designating Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group following a parliamentary motion, unanimously approved in the House of Commons in June 2018, that called on the government to do so.

The notice was served in federal court last week after a Jan. 13 news conference where leaders of B’nai Brith, the Council of Iranian Canadians and the Justice 88 Campaign called upon the government to implement the motion within 30 days.

After the deadline passed, B’nai Brith took the legal action.

“We made it clear last month that no further delays by the government would be accepted by Canadians,” said B’nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn in a statement. “Unfortunately, there is no alternative at this point to legal recourse. It is intolerable that 20 months have elapsed since this important motion passed, and no action has been taken by our government to implement it.”

Mostyn said “poses a very serious security threat to Canadians,” and that “listing it as a terrorist entity in this country is necessary to deter this threat and reduce its ability to do harm … our safety concerns are pragmatic, moral and urgent.”
Adviser to Iran's Khamenei succumbs to coronavirus
A member of a council that advises Iran's supreme leader died Monday after falling sick from the new coronavirus, state radio reported, becoming the first top official to succumb to the illness that is affecting members of the Islamic Republic's leadership.

The death of Expediency Council member Mohammad Mirmohammadi came as Iran announced the virus had killed 66 people among 1,501 confirmed cases in the country.

Iran has the highest death toll in the world after China, the epicenter of the outbreak.

Mirmohammadi died at a north Tehran hospital of the virus, state radio said. He was 71.

The council advises Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as well as settles disputes between the top cleric and parliament.

His death comes as other top officials have contracted the virus in Iran.

Those sick include Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar, better known as "Sister Mary," the English-speaking spokeswoman for the students who seized the US Embassy in Tehran in 1979 and sparked the 444-day hostage crisis, state media reported. Also sick is Iraj Harirchi, the head of an Iranian government task force on the coronavirus who tried to downplay the virus before falling ill.
Will Sen. Chris Murphy infect the entire US Senate with COVID-19?
This year’s Munich Security Conference may go down in history as the COVID-19 viral super-spreader “event of the century," if not in all of recorded history. That’s because the Munich 2020 event took place from February Friday 14-Sunday 16, and Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif attended.

Unknown to apparently all the high security-minded attendees, FM Zarif was likely carrying much more than the dark secret that the COVID-19 virus had already begun rampaging through the highest echelons of the Iranian government and society. FM Zarif , or one of his minions, was likely carrying the actual COVID-19, and infected who knows how many of the world’s highest and most influential politicians at the Munich event.

In fact, US Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat from Connecticut, not only met FM Zarif, but met him in Zarif’s hotel suite where there was likely a rat’s nest of COVID-19. Unless drastic steps are taken, Sen. Murphy may become the Typhoid Mary of COVID-19, and infect the entire US Senate and House of Representatives.

As of February 28, 2020 there were officially 210 actual deaths in Iran. Unofficially, there have been over 500 reliably reported Iranian deaths. But, what is very unusual about the Iranian deaths is that a large number of extremely high ranking government officials in Tehran, the capital, have actually caught the disease and have died. The officially “First reported” Iranian case was on February 19. Working backward from the 19th, that means COVID-19 was likely already circulating in Iran from middle-to-late January when FM Zarif, or one of his staff, could have caught the disease.

The key part is the number of deaths. To go form “zero” to officially 210 deaths in four weeks likely means that there are a lot of undiagnosed carriers. Also, Iran is probably underreporting the death toll. Assuming the 500 COVID-19 deaths, and 1% death rate that means that there are about 50,000 Iranians who already have the disease, with a huge number in Tehran and the Iranian government itself.

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