Thursday, July 16, 2020

From Ian:

JCPA: Amb. Dore Gold: Setting the Stage for a Peace Process that Can Work
The current initiatives that are being tried by the Trump administration are important because they are trying to liberate us from all the failed peace plans of the past.

Most of the architects of peace in the past envisioned a mass removal of Israelis from Judea and Samaria - from the West Bank - and that is simply not going to happen. We pulled out 8,000-9,000 Israelis from the Gaza Strip and we created a scar in the memory of many Israelis from having done that, because we were willing to try to set the foundations of some kind of peace. And what we got was a dramatic escalation of rocket fire shot at Israel.

So having tried that in the past, it would have made no sense to develop a peace plan predicated upon the mass removal of Israelis. You shouldn't try and forcibly remove Palestinians either. A peace plan - to be just and to be fair - has to be based on these populations staying in their homes, which is what the Trump peace plan tries to do.

We have a horrible experience with how architects of peacemaking have worked. Therefore, in this case, what you have is an effort to create a territorial compromise where Israel remains in areas that are of strategic importance to its future defense.

Our position is one that has a firm basis legally, a firm basis morally, and a firm basis for setting the stage for a peace process that can work. We have to give this larger peace plan a chance, as we have in the past, and right now there's nothing else on the table that has any chance of working.
A Better Chance at Peace
The same U.S. plan that would give the green light for Israel to extend its sovereignty over some parts of the West Bank - an intangible change that would be hard to see on the ground - would simultaneously give the Palestinians unprecedented and very tangible concessions to bring the long-sought two-state outcome closer than ever.

The dividends of the U.S. plan for the Palestinians include the express intention of creating an opportunity for establishing an independent state, subject to sensible conditions. Moreover, the Palestinians would receive massive investment and economic opportunity to help ensure the success of that state.

Despite their concerns, most Israelis do support the U.S. plan as a basis for negotiations for a two-state outcome with their Palestinian neighbors. The plan's proponents have called it a way to "break the logjam" in the moribund peace process. The context for the initiative is the fact that the Palestinian leadership has refused to negotiate directly with Israel for more than a decade, after repeatedly rejecting reasonable statehood proposals from Israel in 2000, 2001, and 2008.

Given the longstanding impasse in the peace process - driven in no small part by the Palestinian refusal to accept the legitimacy and permanence of Israel's very existence - knowledgeable and realistic supporters of an eventual two-state outcome should be strongly urging the Palestinian leadership to use the opportunity presented by the U.S. peace plan to return to serious negotiations.
Why Palestinians can’t sign an end-of-conflict pact
If peacemakers truly want a sustainable peace, they have to acknowledge that Israel has legal rights over the 1949 armistice lines if an eventual deal includes land swaps. Just like with the refugee issue, if it is not completely spelled out, no matter what agreement is signed, Palestinians will always have a pretext to say Israel stole Palestinian land with land swaps, and once again, preach and prepare for a new war.

The pro-Palestinian Middle East Monitor said it the best. “ Palestinians will continue to seek a just peace that will provide future generations with their birthright; their land will be returned, one way or another.” Naïve Westerners hear the words “just peace” and assume it means two states for two peoples. What it actually means is the unlimited right of return for every Palestinian forever to Israel, as no Palestinian government can give up an individual Palestinian descendant’s claim to be a displaced owner of what is now Israel.

The annexation debate has obscured the true paradigm of the conflict. The question is not if Israel annexes 30% of the West Bank, would it end the dream of a Palestinian state. The question to ask is, would the Palestinians accept the West Bank with land swaps that ensure Israel’s security, sign an end-of-conflict resolution and accept a Jewish state? The answer for the foreseeable future is no. This is not a territorial conflict or else this would have ended long ago.

If this hill for a comprehensive agreement is too high to climb at this time, so be it. What is needed is honesty, so a putative peace agreement is not just a recipe for fruitless concessions by Israel.

If all the Palestinians are capable of doing is negotiating a better status quo with more economic development and investment in exchange for nonviolence, then that should be the path for this generation.

The Trump peace plan or any other agreement will never have any staying power if it doesn’t include an end-of-conflict agreement, a recognition of two states for two peoples that clearly states that one of those states is Jewish, and an absolute end of any right for descendants of original Palestinian refugees to return to the State of Israel.

DNC advances the 2020 platform, including a pro-Israel plank, by unanimous consent
The Democratic National Committee advanced the party’s 2020 platform following a vote by members of the drafting committee to approve the language during a virtual meeting on Wednesday.

Josh Orton, a senior advisor for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and one of 15 members of the panel, was hopeful that wording referencing ‘occupation’ and support for Palestinian rights would be added in the final draft ahead of the July 27 vote by the full 187-member platform committee.

The platform’s Israel plank — a draft of which was obtained by Jewish Insider on Wednesday — includes language that expresses support for the U.S.-Israel alliance, a commitment to security funding for Israel and support for the two-state solution “that ensures Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state with recognized borders and upholds the right of Palestinians to live in freedom and security in a viable state of their own.” The platform also notes opposition to “unilateral steps by either side — including annexation — that undermine prospects for two states” and opposition to “settlement expansion.”

An individual with knowledge of the internal process told JI that while the committee discussed including a reference to ‘occupation’ — a proposal backed by Sanders allies and J Street — the panel drafted language that more closely mirrors the views expressed by the Biden campaign in recent weeks.

“Ending the occupation is an issue of racial justice, and at a time when hundreds of thousands of Americans have been marching in our streets for equality and civil rights, it is absolutely necessary for the Democratic Party to speak truthfully to the policy efforts to secure those same rights [to the Palestinian people],” Orton, who noted his Jewish heritage and support for Israel’s security, told the committee. “Democrats supports a negotiated two-state solution, and I’m pleased that the platform supports Palestinian rights to a state of their own. I’m proud of the progress this committee has made and truly believe this platform lays out the most progressive vision of America in all of our lifetimes. I very much look forward to working with the platform committee at the next stage to continue this important conversation on foreign policy, and the discussion to recognize the rights of all people.”

On the issue of Jerusalem, the Israel plank states, “We believe that while Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations, it should remain the capital of Israel, an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.” The language expresses opposition to “any effort to unfairly single out and delegitimize Israel, including at the United Nations or through the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement, while protecting the constitutional right of our citizens to free speech.”
Pro-Israel Latino group urges Trump administration to back Israeli sovereignty
The Latino Coalition for Israel is calling on U.S. President Donald Trump to back Israel’s efforts to extend sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria.

“Our Judeo-Christian foundations will be further restored by recognizing Judea and Samaria as fundamentally part of the Jewish State of Israel. While Judeo-Christian values are under attack globally, President [Donald] Trump could make a once-in-a-millennia decision to put Judeo back in Judeo-Christian values by recognizing the full 30 percent of Judea & Samaria as a part of Israel,” said Pastor Mario Bramnick, president of the Latino Coalition for Israel.

Bramnick praised the Trump administration’s previous directives regarding Israel, including moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, recognizing the Golan Heights and withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. He also commended U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement last year that clarified the U.S. position that Israeli settlements are not a violation of international law.

“Recognizing Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, therefore, is the natural progression of the Trump administration’s Israeli policy and will allow the administration to be remembered for restoring God’s people to His promised land,” said Bramnick.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made it a priority to extend Israeli sovereignty to parts of Judea and Samaria, as well as the Jordan Valley, under Trump’s “Peace to Prosperity” peace plan that was unveiled at the White House in January. (h/t Zvi)

The ICC: A court that consults with terrorists
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has begun an investigation with only one goal in mind: to harm the State of Israel. The court has opened an investigation against Israel focusing on the Israeli "settlements" in Judea and Samaria and possible "war crimes" committed during the 2014 Gaza War.

The ICC was established in 2002, by the Rome Statute, and both the United States and Israel have refused to become members, fearing that the court will be used as a weapon to fulfill a political agenda.

The authority of the ICC as well as the legitimacy of this investigation has been questioned on the world stage. Eight members of the ICC, including Canada, Germany, and Australia, have formally objected to the investigation against Israel. The United States has even begun an investigation into alleged corruption by ICC officials, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has declared it to be a “kangaroo court.”

For the ICC to begin an investigation, at least one of the parties must be a member of the ICC, and only states are allowed to become members. It would seem that because Israel is not a member, and there is no sovereign state of Palestine, it would be impossible for an investigation to occur. Acting against all apparent logic, the ICC has now allowed the Palestinians to be considered a member, even though there is no state of Palestine.

As the ICC prepared to investigate Israel, it has been reported that they were working with a Palestinian Authority committee which included known terrorists. Palestinian leader Saeb Erekat has stated that members of Hamas, representatives from the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and countless other groups were included on this committee. In what world is it acceptable for the ICC, which is supposed to investigate criminals, to consult with terrorists prior to opening an investigation?

Ministers said to agree on nationwide lockdown over weekends to contain virus
During an emergency meeting Thursday, ministers agreed to impose a full national lockdown on the population during weekends, shutter kindergartens, close restaurants (except for takeout and deliveries), limit indoor gatherings to 10 people and take a number of additional steps in an effort to halt spiraling coronavirus infections, according to Hebrew media reports.

The meeting, called by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss paths to stop the continued spread of the virus as daily cases broke a new record Thursday morning of 1,901 new infections over a 24-hour period, included key cabinet members, health professionals and other experts.

The measures still require full cabinet approval, which was expected to come in a meeting scheduled for Thursday evening.

A report on Channel 12 news indicated the weekend lockdowns would not take effect this weekend. It cited opposition from Blue and White party ministers and a request by Netanyahu for the Knesset’s Constitution Law and Justice Committee to begin preparing legislation for the lockdowns.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit also noted in a statement that he had not issued a legal opinion on the new measures, saying he’d learned about the proposed restrictions from the media.

“The legal position on the matter will be formulated and presented before the cabinet,” he said.
Palestinian Tribes in Hebron Asked to Help Stem Spike in Covid-19 Cases
The Palestinian Ministry of Health announced on July 4 that 2,576 out of the 4,013 Palestinians who had tested positive for the coronavirus came from the Hebron district, as did 9 of the 16 deaths.

Nayef Hashlamoun, who founded the Watan Center for Culture in Hebron, told Al-Monitor that he contacted the Ayoubi tribe council to which his family belongs and received a green light to publish an announcement that the tribe "will not participate in any weddings or other public events" to "put a stop to the spread of this virus, which had reached a dangerous level."

On July 8, Haj Nafez Jaabari, head of the Tribal Commission in Hebron, told An-Najah University TV that all tribal leaders have signed a joint declaration to voluntarily stop all weddings and funerals and other large gatherings to avoid further spread of the coronavirus.

Palestinian columnist Hamadeh Faraneh wrote in Ad Dustour (Jordan) on July 13 that part of the problem in Hebron was the public declarations of the Hizb ut-Tahrir movement. "Because of the policies and statements of the Islamic Hizb ut-Tahrir, which said that the coronavirus was a conspiracy to hurt Islam and close mosques, they incited the public not to follow the Ministry of Health calls....As a result, their followers were among the hardest hit when the virus spread."
Sentencing delayed in Duma case amid alleged contradictions in victim’s account
The Lod District Court cleared for publication on Thursday the fact that new evidence had been submitted in the Duma terror trial by an attorney for an Israeli man convicted of carrying out a deadly 2015 firebombing that killed an 18-month-old boy and both his parents.

The evidence submitted last week were transcripts from a series of interviews given in recent months by the attack’s lone survivor, 10-year-old Ahmad Dawabsha, along with other members of his family. The defense claims they presented a different account of what transpired in the attack than what is described in the indictment against Amiram Ben Uliel, who was convicted in May of killing 18-month-old Ali and his parents, Riham and Saad, and seriously injuring Ahmad, who was five years old at the time.

The court agreed to clear for publication the fact that the evidence had been submitted, following a petition from the Haaretz daily. However, a gag order remains on the details of the evidence, so it was not immediately clear to which interviews the defense was referring.

Upon submitting the transcripts to the court last week, defense attorney Asher Ohayon requested that Ahmad be subpoenaed to testify to the apparent contradictions. The request was initially accepted by the court and the boy was scheduled to appear at a hearing this past Monday. Ohayon said he had requested a gag-order over the evidence to prevent the coaching of the 10-year-old ahead of his testimony.

On the day of the hearing, an attorney representing the Dawabsha family submitted a petition signed by dozens of psychologists which asserted that a child suffering from PTSD should not be forced to testify in court about an incident that happened five years ago when he was just five years old.

The judge then implored the sides to reach an agreement that would prevent forcing the young boy to appear in court. Ohayon told The Times of Israel that he had initially reached an agreement with the prosecution as a result of which Ahmad would not have to testify, but claimed that the prosecution was walking back on its end of the deal, and the boy may be forced to appear in court as a result.

PMW: PA rewrites history as it happens
PA sources have explained that Palestinians who are accused of working with Israelis, often attempt to erase the suspicion by committing terror attacks:
“In several cases [Palestinian children] carried out stabbing operations because of the way the public looks at them. They realized 'the best way to clear myself of this image [of helping Israel] is to participate in resistance (i.e., terror) operations.'"
[Official PA TV, Personal Encounter, Oct. 11, 2017]

Ignoring the video evidence of the attack as well as the terrorist’s statement that provides the motive for the attack, PA leader Saeb Erekat publicly accused Israeli soldiers of murdering his relative in cold blood:

Saeb Erekat, Fatah Central Committee member and PLO Chief Negotiator:
“Netanyahu bears personal responsibility for the execution in cold blood of young Ahmed, and the time has come that he be summoned to the International Criminal Court.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 24, 2020]

The PLO itself even tweeted the video of the attack, but chose to lie about it and stated that the terrorist was “extrajudicially executed at point-blank”:
Tweeted text in English: “(All errors in source –Ed.) Ahmad Erekat, clearly unarmed/ harmless, was extrajudicially executed at point-blank by the Israeli occupying forces. Terrorism is such savage/cold-blooded crimes that illustrate Israel's shoot-to-kill policy against Palestinians.
@IntlCrimCourt #PalestiniansLivesMatter”

[Official Twitter account of the PLO Negotiations Affairs Department, June 25, 2020]

Abbas’ Fatah also repeated the lie in a cartoon, showing the terrorist as a flower shot dead by an Israeli soldier:
Text on cartoon: “The murder of young Ahmed Erekat”
[Official Fatah Facebook page, June 25, 2020]

Demonizing Israel at every opportunity is a fundamental aspect of PA policy. Turning a terrorist into a victim, and turning Israel’s successful self-defense against terror into a “cold-blooded execution,” is another blatant example of such demonization.
How Hamas Diverts International Aid to Gaza
Since the military coup by Hamas in Gaza in 2007, the Gazan population has been suffering under a regime that mismanages their affairs, wasting billions on weapons and terrorist training and installations instead of spending it on civilian infrastructure and vital services.

Corruption, embezzlement and abuse of public funds is commonplace.

An industry has emerged in Gaza that exploits the misery of locals to raise funds that end up in the pockets of slippery operators or terrorists.

For example, Fathi Hamad, a member of Hamas' core leadership, is the patron of the Al-Falakh charity, managed by the Tanboora family.

The Tanboora family enjoys a lavish lifestyle, including holidays in luxurious hotels abroad and helicopter rides.

Supporters of Fatah charge that charity funds are being stolen by the directors of Al-Falakh and diverted to personal investments abroad using dummy companies, which then later distribute the revenues to top Hamas officials.

A detailed expose published in May in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reveals how Hamas created a "charity mafia."
Hamas' internal security forces record the amounts of money reaching Gaza from external sources and demand a share, an arrangement enforced on all aid associations, foundations and charities.

Jordan's top court dissolves local branch of Muslim Brotherhood
Jordan’s top court has dissolved the country’s branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, a transnational Islamist group, an official says, citing the group’s failure to “rectify its legal status.”

“The Court of Cassation yesterday issued a final verdict ruling that the Muslim Brotherhood group is dissolved and has lost its legal status, for failing to rectify its legal status under Jordanian law,” the official says, requesting anonymity.

The Muslim Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928, is a pan-Islamic movement with both charitable and political arms.

It has faced years of pressure, especially in the wake of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings, and has been outlawed as a terrorist group in Egypt and banned in several other countries.

Amman had tolerated the group’s political arm for decades, but since 2014 authorities have considered it illegal, arguing its license was not renewed under a 2014 law on political parties.

Sheikh Hamza Mansur, head of the organisation’s ruling council, says the group would appeal against the ruling.

Khaled Abu Toameh: Lebanon's New 'Great Satan'
Hezbollah's financial crisis is the result of US sanctions on its patrons in Iran, which had been supporting the terrorist group annually with about $700 million from oil revenues.... — Fahim al-Hamid, Saudi journalist,, March 22, 2020.

For several weeks now, a hashtag titled "Nasrallah has ruined the country" has been trending on Twitter, with many Lebanese and Iraqis accusing the Hezbollah leader of destroying their countries.

"Nasrallah has taken Lebanon hostage and accused the US of Lebanon's economic collapse. Hezbollah is a major partner of the network that looted the Lebanese treasury and banks. Hezbollah is a terrorist organization running an entire country." — Video clip posted on social media platforms.

"No one has the right to drag us into the place they want, and no one has the right to impose on us a lifestyle that we do not want.... We do not want to live in isolation and be cut off from the West, Arabs and the entire world." — Sami Gemayel, Lebanese Member of Parliament, Asharq Al-Awsat, June 18, 2020.

Hezbollah (Arabic for "Party of God") has long been functioning as a state-within-a-state in Lebanon and its leader, Nasrallah, is the de facto ruler of the country. Now that he is having trouble paying salaries to his terrorists, Nasrallah is hoping that the US will step in and rescue Lebanon (and Hezbollah) from collapse.
Rivlin: Iran, Hezbollah destabilizing security; UNIFIL must be empowered
Iran and Hezbollah are working to destabilize Israeli security, President Reuven Rivlin warned as he visited northern Israel on Thursday and called for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon to be fully empowered to monitor the situation.

“I know that the IDF is doing everything to prevent attempts to infiltrate, but the Lebanese government, and UNIFIL which assists it, must take responsibility for preventing attempts to cross the border and breaching the calm in this area,” Rivlin said.

“We know very well that Hezbollah and its proxies, and Iran and its proxies, will take every opportunity to destabilize our security. Protecting this incendiary border requires [the IDF] to mount overt and covert operations and, most importantly, responsibility, judgement, mission focus and the will to win,” he said.

Rivlin’s visit comes in advance of the UN Security Council’s anticipated renewal in August of UNIFIL’s mandate that governs the peace-keeping mission’s activities. Both Israel and the United States want to see UNIFIL’s mandate expanded so it can better monitor Hezbollah’s activities along the border.

At issue in particular, has been the cross border terror tunnels which Hezbollah has dug between Lebanon and Israel.

Trump Condemns Execution Order For Iranian Protesters
President Donald Trump condemned Iran's announced intent to execute three protesters on Wednesday.

"Three individuals were sentenced to death in Iran for participating in protests," Trump said in a tweet, which he repeated in Farsi. "Executing these three people sends a terrible signal to the world and should not be done!"

The three Iranians in question—Saeid Tamjidi, Mohammad Rajabi, and Amirhossein Maradi—were arrested in 2019 during a series of mass protests. After brutal torture, the detained citizens confessed to seditious activity.

Such behavior is not new for the Islamic Republic. Tehran is suspected to have executed some 1,500 Iranian citizens, including homosexuals and political dissidents, while touting a strategy of forced confessions broadcasted on state television. Iran’s decision to kill the three protesters follows the execution of a man the regime alleges was a CIA spy.

Iran's crackdown on dissent comes as the nation faces economic turmoil brought on by the strict "maximum pressure" sanctions program from Washington, as well as the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, Iran has seen at least four instances of suspected foreign sabotage in the past few weeks, as industrial and military bases have caught fire with no clear cause. The country is attempting to pivot toward China in the hopes of resuscitating its energy exports and military readiness.

Former Iranian Hostage Slams Biden for Abandoning Him in Tehran
A former Iranian hostage who was tortured by the oppressive regime slammed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for abandoning him and other detainees while the Obama administration pursued the landmark nuclear deal with Tehran.

Nizar Zakka, a Lebanese national who was detained in Iran from 2015 to 2019 on charges he spied for the United States, lashed out on Tuesday at Biden after the former vice president accused President Donald Trump of treating Egyptian president Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi as his "favorite dictator."

"With all due respect Mr. Biden, I don't think you are well-positioned to comment on this subject," Zakka tweeted. "I never comment on politics but this one was too much. You left us behind in Iran. Remember? Tehran?"

Zakka was referring to the Obama administration's decision to refrain from demanding that Iran release hostages during sensitive diplomatic talks that eventually led to the nuclear agreement. The former administration was criticized for avoiding thorny topics like hostages as part of its efforts to court the Islamic Republic.

Biden sought to criticize Trump this week for what he claimed is the administration's close relationship with Egyptian leader Al-Sisi. The comments came after Egypt freed Mohamed Amashah, a medical student who had been detained for more than a year.

The Tikvah Podcast: Amos Yadlin on the Explosions Rocking Iran
On June 25, 2020, an explosion rocked the Iranian military complex of Parchin. An hour later, the city of Shiraz—which houses major Iranian military facilities—was hit with a power outage. On June 30, there was an explosion at a clinic in Tehran; on July 2, the nuclear-enrichment facility in Natanz was hit; July 4 saw an explosion at a power plant in Ahvaz. In fact, every day or two since late June has brought news of a mysterious explosion somewhere in Iran.

What on earth is going on?

In this podcast, Jonathan Silver talks with Major Genearl (ret.) Amos Yadlin, Israel’s former chief of military intelligence and the executive director of Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), in order to understand these mysterious events. They examine the geopolitical backdrop of the current chaos, the strategic thinking of whoever is behind these bombings, and what this all could mean for the future of the region.

'Commander of Peace': Iran produces documentary on Qasem Soleimani
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) has produced a 40-episode documentary on former Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force chief Qasem Soleimani who was killed by a US drone in Baghdad on January 3, along with Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

The documentary, titled "Commander of Peace," will be aired next month by the State-run IRIB.

#Iran: A 40-episode documentary about slain #IRGC Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani has been produced.
The documentary named "Commander of Peace" is an IRIB production. Sate-run IRIB will broadcast it in a month.
— Khosro Kalbasi (@KhosroKalbasi) July 16, 2020

Following Soleimani's killing, IRGC spokesman Ramezan Sharif threatened that "The cowardly and craven assassination of commander Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis by the Americans will lead to the liberation of Jerusalem, by the grace of God."
Soleimani had been close to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and urged Iranians to support Khamenei, saying political factions should put aside their differences.
In February, Iranian state TV aired an interview with Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah in which he described a close relationship with Soleimani, highlighting the key role Soleimani played in helping build up Hezbollah's rocket arsenal as well as his role in military operations during Hezbollah's war with Israel in 2006.
PreOccupiedTerritory: In Latest Iran Defense Disaster, IRGC Radios Playing Only Accordion Music (satire)
The Islamic Republic’s ongoing security debacles continued Wednesday with reports that the regime’s main military and strategic arm finds itself in the midst of a communications breakdown as a result of all their devices transmitting polka music and other irritating accordion sounds instead of the content the senders intend.

Numerous Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps facilities and personnel attempted to report the phenomenon over the last three days, with only a handful succeeding in conveying a coherent picture of the situation, owing to the disruption the accordion music has wrought. Fragmentary reports indicate that whenever an IRGC radio is activated, it plays a random selection of non-stop accordion music, with the majority of cases involving ugly instrumental renditions of otherwise popular or great compositions.

“Everything is a goddamn polka,” lamented an IRGC major. “I’m supposed to be coordinating shipments of weaponry to Hezbollah in Syria and Lebanon, but everything is an intolerable accordion cover of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine,’ which is horrible to begin with. Or it’s Nickelback. Whoever did this is evil. EVIL. And believe you me, we IRGC folks know evil.” The major shuddered repeatedly as he recalled the details.

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