Saturday, July 18, 2020

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: Israel and the Sino-Iranian alliance
Globally, the Sino-Iran pact will compel new strategic alignments. Europe is likely to split around the choice between the US and China. Some European governments will choose to align themselves with Iran and China. Others will prefer to remain allies of the US.

With its weak and sputtering economy now largely integrated into the Chinese market, at least in the short-term, Russia will continue to stand on China's side while winking at the US. Things could change though, as time passes.

China's decision to initiate a direct confrontation with the US over Iran was a gamble. It wasn't a crazy move, given China's growing economic and technological power. But betting against America is far from a safe bet. The ultimate outcome of China's Iran gambit Iran will be determined in large part by the shape of the American and Chinese economies in the coming months and years as they emerge from the coronavirus pandemic. And as things now stand, the US is well-positioned to emerge from the pandemic in a sounder economic position than China.

Corporations large and small from countries across the globe are either considering or actively working to relocate their production lines out of China. One of the Trump administration's key efforts today is securing US and allied supply chains from China by moving as many factories as possible either to the US itself or to allied states. Japan's Sony and South Korea's Samsung are both reportedly planning to move their manufacturing bases from China to Vietnam.

The impact of these moves on China's economic growth prospects and global influence are likely to be profound. As things stand, China's only ally in its neighborhood is its client state North Korea.

India, which is now in a border conflict with China, has already taken steps to limit China's technological penetration of its territory. Indian strategists both inside and outside government are taking a hard look at their military dependence on Russian platforms in light of Russia's growing economic dependence on China. The US has not hidden its interest in developing a strategic alliance with India and replacing Russia as India's main supplier of air defense and other platforms. Israel, which is already a major arms supplier and ally to India, could play a positive role in advancing that goal.

How the Arab states respond to China's decision to stand with Iran will be determined both by the economic power balance between China and America and by the status of Iran's nuclear program. If Iran achieves nuclear capability, the Arabs will feel compelled to view China as their shield against Iran. If Iran's nuclear program is dramatically diminished, the Arabs are likely to feel more secure turning their backs on Beijing, siding with the US and strengthening their ties with Israel.

For decades, US warnings notwithstanding, Israel perceived China as a neutral power and a highly attractive market. Unlike the Europeans, the Chinese never tried to use their economic ties with Israel to coerce Israel into making concessions to the Palestinians. The Chinese didn't work with radical Israel fringe groups to subvert government and military decisions. They just seemed interested in economic ties for their own sake.

Now that China has chosen to stand with Iran, Israel must recognize the implications and act accordingly.
'You will blame Israel but...': Nikki Haley questions UN silence over Uighur genocide by Communist China
Nikki Haley questioned the silence of the United Nations over Uighur genocide by China saying the world would be up in arms if this were any other country but China.

Adding that while Israel is blamed frequently over Palestine, the former United States Ambassador to the UN said when its China then silence is maintained over its actions questioning “Where is the UN now?”

Haley gave this statement while responding to a tweet by international human rights lawyer Arsen Ostrovsky who shared a video in which Uighurs are blindfolded, shackled and herded on trains for concentration camps dubbed as “re-education camps”.

Where is the outrage?
This is just jarring! Where is the outrage? WHERE?, tweeted Arsen.

Meanwhile, the Uighurs and other Muslim communities in China have asked the UN and other international organisations to apply pressure on China and investigate the acts of genocide perpetrated against the minority community.

A report titled “Genocide in East Turkistan” holds China responsible and says that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese government continues its oppression and persecution of Uighur Turks and other Muslim communities for its own political and economic interests.

The report has said that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) systematically continues to pressure and torture Uighurs forcing them to assimilate by destroying their culture
From 2008

Clifford D. MayPeter Beinart's one-state solution
Gordis concludes that "many of us are horrified by what is still not right here, but we have no interest in Beinart's suggestion that we therefore commit national suicide. Peter Beinart believes that because we cannot get the Palestinians to recognize our right to a state, we should knock over our proverbial king and give up the project."

So far, Palestinian rulers in Gaza and the West Bank have not weighed in. On one hand, it must give them comfort to see an American on the left declare himself a post-Zionist in the pages of an influential newspaper. On the other hand, were Palestinian leaders interested in developing support for a bi-national state of "Israel-Palestine," there are steps they could take to demonstrate its feasibility.

For example, they could support "normalization," meaning increasing Palestinian-Israeli dialogue and cooperation. But the Palestinian Authority (not to mention Hamas) vehemently opposes normalization – "tatbia," in Arabic. Ordinary Palestinians have lost their jobs for inviting Israelis to join them for holidays, celebrations, or even a cup of coffee. Palestinians engaging in commercial relations with Israelis risk arrest.

The PA also could also adopt a more benign view of Jewish "settlements" in the West Bank. They could say: "Just as there are two million Arab Israelis, so we expect there to be Jews living in the West Bank. We can negotiate their status." Instead, of course, the PA insists that any and all lands claimed by Palestinians must be "cleansed" of Jews.

A final point: There's no need to theorize about whether it's possible, at this stage in history, for a Jewish minority to enjoy fundamental rights in a Muslim-majority country. Jews once lived in Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Lebanon – throughout the broader Middle East. In some lands, they suffered terrible persecution. In others, they were merely treated as second-class citizens. In the aftermath of World War II, almost all were forced to flee. Many went to Israel where they and their descendants now constitute a majority of Israeli Jews.

Today, 57 states belong to the Organizations of Islamic Cooperation. Jews no longer live in most of them, but it's relevant to ask: In how many of those countries are other ethnic and religious minorities guaranteed human and civil rights?

Beinart knows the answer. He knows how much blood has been shed in Syria and Yemen's civil wars. But as Ferguson recognized a decade ago, nothing, not even the prospect of his one-state solution turning into a final solution could inhibit his insouciant self-promotion.
Yishai Fleisher: A Jewish State Beats Peter Beinart's Bi-Nationalism
First, it might be useful to separate the concept of "liberty" from "democracy." Liberty refers to substantive civil rights and freedoms, while democracy is a form of electing political leadership. In the West, the two usually go together, which is why they are often conflated. But in America, for example, liberty and civil rights can exist even for those without voting rights. American "Green Card" holders, about 13 million people, have civil rights but not voting rights—yet no one claims they live under "apartheid." Two million Puerto Ricans are American citizens, but since they live in a U.S. territory and not a state, they are ineligible to vote for the president of the United States and have only one non-voting member in the House of Representatives—but again, no one calls this "apartheid."

That's because apartheid is not the absence of "one man, one vote"; rather, it is a system of oppression, racism and segregation. While Israel is indeed the ethnic-national state of the Jews, it has no system of apartheid—as has been testified to by prominent black South Africans who have visited, such as Kenneth Meshoe, a member of the South African parliament, who was born under apartheid.

Second, as described above, Israel is the ethnic-national state of the Jews, a haven for the Jewish minority in the region. While Israel affords liberties to ethnic minorities living within its borders, that is ancillary to its core mission.

Third, it must be noted that the conversation about the Palestinians largely revolves around their rights, but very little around their obligations. For Israel to absorb the Palestinians, who have been part of an anti-Israel geopolitical axis for the last century, they must solemnly renounce jihadism and accept the laws and obligations of the Jewish state.

Finally, it is important to note that not one of the Arab countries that surround Israel runs a real democracy. Western-style voting is just not in the region's DNA.

John Lewis, US civil rights and Congress icon who built Jewish ties, dies at 80
John Lewis, a lion of the civil rights movement whose bloody beating by Alabama state troopers in 1965 helped galvanize opposition to racial segregation, and who went on to a long and celebrated career in Congress, died. He was 80.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi confirmed Lewis’ passing late Friday night, calling him “one of the greatest heroes of American history.”

“All of us were humbled to call Congressman Lewis a colleague, and are heartbroken by his passing,” Pelosi said. “May his memory be an inspiration that moves us all to, in the face of injustice, make ‘good trouble, necessary trouble.’”

Former US president Bill Clinton said that Lewis “gave all he had to redeem America’s unmet promise of equality and justice for all, and to create a place for us to build a more perfect union together. In so doing he became the conscience of the nation.”

Lewis’s announcement in late December 2019 that he had been diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer — “I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now,” he said — inspired tributes from both sides of the aisle, and an unstated accord that the likely passing of this Atlanta Democrat would represent the end of an era.

Lewis was the youngest and last survivor of the Big Six civil rights activists, a group led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. that had the greatest impact on the movement. He was best known for leading some 600 protesters in the Bloody Sunday march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma.
Jewish organizations mourn passing of Representative John Lewis
Jewish organizations and activists mourned the passing of Rep. John Lewis.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, tweeted that Lewis was a pillar of conscience and courage. “This past October I had a chance to tell him how much our Reform Jewish Movement loved him,” he added. “We will carry forward his holy work. His memory will never stop inspiring us.”

“We’ve lost an American hero,” The Democratic Majority for Israel PAC tweeted. “We are forever grateful to John Lewis for his profound moral leadership and his tireless fight for a more just society. DMFI extends our deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues. May his memory be a blessing.”

“No one in American public life was as admired as a prophetic voice calling on us to live up to our highest values and greatest aspirations, to strive to make this nation a more perfect union, as John Lewis,” said AJC CEO David Harris. “Even as he battled cancer, Rep. Lewis continued to be a powerful voice of conscience for our nation, at a time when it is once again sorely needed.”

UN Official Slammed for ‘Ignoring’ Human Rights Abuses by Palestinians
The Geneva-based monitoring group UN Watch issued a stinging rebuttal on Thursday to an anti-Israel report submitted to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) by Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk.

UN Watch accused Lynk of “ignoring Hamas and Palestinian Authority human rights abuses,” while obsessing over Israel.

“The criticism of the PA and Hamas, who commit multiple serious violations including arbitrary detention, torture, killings, and violations against LGBTI person and women was mild, and took up only two short paragraphs in a 24-page report,” UN Watch noted. “The other 99% of the report focused exclusively on alleged Israeli violations and called for harsh measures against Israel including economic and other sanctions, international prosecutions of Israeli military and government officials, and an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on Israel’s legal obligations to end the ‘occupation.’”

“The report also continued to completely ignore PA and Hamas incitement and terrorism against Israelis,” UN Watch continued.

UN Watch reminded Lynk that “if universal human rights standards are applied selectively — and systematically denied to any class of people — they cease to be universal standards at all.”
Israel braces for imminent ICC decision on war crimes investigations
Israeli diplomats and legal experts on Thursday were bracing for the International Criminal Court at The Hague to make its final decision on whether or not to investigate the Jewish state on charges of war crimes. Officials expect the ICC to announce its decision over the next 24 hours.

Officials in Israel believe the panel of judges will accept the position of chief ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, whereby the court has the authority to investigate Israelis and indict them. This, despite the fact that Israel, and the United States, incidentally, are not signatories to the Rome Statute, the treaty upon which the International Criminal Court is predicated, and has openly declared its view that the ICC is not within its jurisdiction to investigate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel additionally claims that the ICC only has jurisdiction over petitions submitted by sovereign states, but that the Palestinian Authority is not a state.

In their decision, the ICC judges are also expected to take into account requests from numerous Western countries and jurists that have called on the ICC not to interfere in a political conflict.

With that, the assumption in Israel is that the ICC will accept Bensouda's position and authorize investigations, in which case the court will pursue two types of charges: against Israeli soldiers and officers for alleged war crimes in Gaza and Judea and Samaria; and against allegedly illegal construction in Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem.

In Israel, officials are preparing to counter the ICC's ruling with both overt and covert tools. Upon the establishment of the national unity government, Minister Zeev Elkin was put in charge of the ICC issue. Elkin is spearheading an inter-ministerial task force that for years now has been orchestrating Israeli activity to counter the ICC. The task force consists of representatives from the Foreign Ministry and Justice Ministry, the National Security Council, the Strategic Affairs Ministry, the defense establishment and others. In recent months, in light of the expectation that the ICC will seek to investigate Israel, the task force has been laying the groundwork for the new situation. Israeli officials describe these actions as both defensive and offensive in nature, and will be set in motion if and when the ICC decides to launch investigations.

US President Donald Trump's administration has backed Israel in its battle against the ICC.
What is not ‘private Palestinian land?’
In striking down the “Regulation Law,” which legalized buildings which had been built on “disputed land,” Israel’s High Court of Justice accepted the view that the land in question was “privately” owned. The critical question is, however, what constitutes privately owned land? Are the claims valid, who makes this decision, and on what basis? The High Court did not explain.

If it is true that Jews are stealing land, this violates Jewish and Israeli laws and values and justifies calls for boycotts, sanctions and even the elimination of the state, since it applies to areas acquired after 1948 as well as in 1967. A devastating moral and legal indictment, it undermines Israel’s moral foundation, its raison d’être.

Since most of the land in Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”) has not been registered, proving ownership is often difficult. Based on titles and deeds, land that is registered becomes private property, but what if there are no documents to prove ownership?

In many cases, land that Arabs claim as their private property was not purchased; it was State-owned land that was either given away during the Ottoman, British and Jordanian occupations, or was encroached upon and developed. Arab claims based on gifts and alleged agricultural uses are not property deeds. And what about claims of absentee owners living in enemy states whose land is under the control of the Custodian of Enemy Property? How then did this confusion about “private Palestinian land” come about?

Using ownerless, uninhabited land is a universally recognized method for claiming it, unless contested. Until the modern period, land registration especially in sparsely populated areas, like the Middle East, Africa and North Africa was not widely practiced. With the rise of nation-states and the development of bureaucracies this changed.

According to international agreements such as the San Remo Accord (1920), League of Nations (1922), the Mandate for Palestine was intended as a “Jewish National Home.” This anchors the rights of the Jewish people and Israeli sovereignty in law. It has never been superseded and remains in force, despite Arab objections.
Israel’s virus deaths reach 400 with 8 more fatalities
Israel’s COVID-19 death toll rose to 401 Saturday night, with nine more deaths reported since Friday evening, the Health Ministry said. Meanwhile the ministry said 1,324 new coronavirus cases were confirmed Saturday, bringing the national case total to 49,365 since the start of the pandemic, of which 27,616 were active cases.

Of the patients, 217 were in serious condition, with 56 of them on ventilators, while 131 were in moderate condition and the rest suffered only mild or no symptoms.

The ministry said 25,058 tests were conducted Friday and some 18,099 had been conducted thus far Saturday. Recent days have seen tests stand at around 30,000 a day, though weekends tends to see somewhat lower numbers.

Infections have gone up steadily since early June, and in recent days began to pass 1,800-1,900 cases a day, far surpassing the initial wave of the outbreak in March-April.

New public restrictions authorized by the government to combat the spread of coronavirus entered into effect Friday at 5 p.m., limiting public gatherings until further notice and shuttering various leisure and fitness activities for the duration of the weekend.

Gatherings of over 10 people indoors, and 20 outdoors, will also be forbidden until further notice, but work groups and nuclear families will be exempt.
Netanyahu’s COVID Crisis
Throughout June, there was much merriment, with life appearing to be back in full swing. A new minister of health, Yuli Edelstein, took charge and key senior public officials who had guided the country through the first phase stepped aside.

The new guard, however, seems to have been snoozing, because when they finally raised the alarm in early July, we had a raging forest fire in a drought. Between early June and July, daily totals of the newly infected surged from 100 or so to Wednesday’s high of more than 1,900.

And, so, late Wednesday evening, Bibi and his finance minister, Yisrael Katz, commandeered the airwaves to tell the nation that they were paying attention. Paychecks for all! Every Israeli would receive a few hundred, maybe thousand, shekels, depending on family size, and Bibi encouraged all to get out and spend, spend, spend. Buy, buy, buy. Stimulate the economy.

Thursday morning, Bank of Israel governor Amir Yaron slammed the payouts, which will cost the treasury approximately $6 billion NIS, as, effectively, being a waste of resources that would be more wisely used relieving the financial stress felt by needy citizens.

And then, late Thursday night, after days of yelling at committee hearings, the government arrived at a bizarre compromise that the Israel Medical Association has since derided as being “devoid of epidemiological logic.”

The government’s response to runaway COVID transmission seems to be to impose full lockdown, but only on weekends, allowing “normal” life to resume.

Friday morning, the government was being lashed from all quarters: professional, business, and even a few Likud MKs, most vocal among them two female parliamentarians who have been branded “leftists” by their critics for daring to question the plan.

An overwhelming majority of Israelis disapprove of the government’s inept handling of the Coronavirus outbreak. And as the country winds down for Shabbat, there is still little clarity as to what is allowed, what is not, and why. The likelihood of widespread civil disobedience if lockdown is imposed again is high, because the respect for government handling of the corona issue is so low.
Using water cannons, police begin clearing area around PM’s residence of protesters
Police have begun clearing protesters from the area surrounding the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem. Some of the officers are using water cannons to clear the area.

Hundreds of them have already left the area to march toward the entrance to the city, blocking roads in the process.
Palestinian journalist: Car arson won’t stop me from criticizing PA
Palestinian journalist and author Nadia Harhash said on Saturday that she has no doubt that her car was recently torched because of her recurring criticism of the Palestinian Authority.

Harhash, a mother of four from east Jerusalem, told The Jerusalem Post that she intends to continue writing about corruption in the PA despite attempts to silence her and other critics.

On June 30, Harhash’s daughter, Sirina, spotted a masked man walking toward her mother’s car in the neighborhood of Bet Hanina in northern Jerusalem. Bet Hanina is located within the boundaries of the Jerusalem Municipality. Like all residents of east Jerusalem, Harhash holds an Israeli-issued ID card, which gives her permanent resident status in Jerusalem.

“My daughter was awake when, around 2:45 am, she saw from the window a masked man approaching my car,” Harhash recounted.

“When I woke up to the barking of the dog, the car was already on fire. I immediately phoned the police, who arrived at the scene within minutes. The man who set the car on fire used petrol bombs. He managed to escape before the police arrived.”

Harhash said it was obvious from security camera footage that the unidentified arsonist was a “professional.” She is convinced that the man had been hired to torch her car in order to warn her against writing about corruption in the PA or criticizing senior Palestinian officials.

PA searching for alternative to Google after Palestine 'removed' from map
The Palestinian Authority communications minister has reportedly announced that the government is searching for an alternative to Google after reports claimed that the famous tech giant removed Palestine from its map application.

However, these posts were found to be misleading and the original Instagram post, which led to the international outrage, has since made an addition at the bottom of the post stating that it contains "false information."


However, since the post went viral, the aforementioned communications minister has said that it was reason enough to find an alternate search engine for the PA.
Qatar finances Hezbollah terrorism, declares ‘Jews are enemies’ - report
A German private security contractor, who has worked for the federal republic’s intelligence and security services, leveled bombshell allegations against Qatar’s regime, stating Doha finances the US and EU-designated terrorist movement Hezbollah and has declared Jews to be the enemies of the tiny Gulf state.

The German weekly news outlet Die Zeit first reported on Friday about the security contractor Jason G. who obtained explosive details about Qatari terror finance.

“In Doha, G. came across some unsavory information. There was an alleged arms deal with war munitions from Eastern Europe that was supposed to be handled by a company in Qatar. And there were alleged money flows from several rich Qataris and exiled Lebanese people from Doha to Hezbollah – the organization that is part of the government in Lebanon but is internationally outlawed as a terrorist organization and has been completely banned in Germany since April. The donations are said to have been processed with the knowledge of influential government officials through a charity organization in Doha,” wrote the veteran Die Zeit journalists Yassin Musharbash and Holger Stark.

The paper added that “a thick dossier with compromising material emerged, which Zeit was able to see in parts and which is somewhat explosive: Israel and the USA have long been trying to dry out [the finances of] Hezbollah. Concrete evidence that money is flowing from the Gulf to terrorist groups would increase pressure on Qatar and may lead to sanctions.”

G. met with Michael Inacker, who works for the German public relations company WMP, and is well connected to a top Qatari diplomat who was not named in the article. WMP also did work for Qatar's regime.

Die Zeit reported that G. presented the incriminating material from Doha to both a well-connected Berlin lawyer and Inacker. The paper said the question was raised about how much cash could be earned with the dossier.

“The estimates ranged up to ten million euros,” wrote Die Zeit.
Will Egypt fight Turkey in Libya?
The Libyan House of Representatives in Tobruk this week passed a motion approving Egyptian military intervention, should this prove necessary in the fight against the rival Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli. This latest move is set to sharply escalate tensions in the divided and strife-torn country.

The decision raises the still remote but no longer unthinkable possibility of a conventional clash between Egyptian and Turkish forces on the soil of Libya. What began as a proxy war now threatens to escalate into a direct conflict. For now, the fighting fronts remain static around the town of Sirte. The focus looks set to return to crisis diplomacy intended to avert a direct clash over the next period. But the escalation is very real, and reflects a dangerous combination of geostrategic rivalries and long-standing ideological differences between Ankara and Cairo.

Libya is currently racked by a civil war, with Egypt and Turkey backing the opposing sides. Ankara is the main supporter of the Government of National Accord in Tripoli, led by Fayez al-Sarraj. Egypt, meanwhile, supports the rival Libyan National Army (LNA) of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, based in the oil-rich east of the country.

A cluster of additional international players are gathered around the two warring sides. The GNA has the additional support of Qatar and Italy. Haftar, meanwhile, enjoys the backing of the United Arab Emirates, Russia, France, Saudi Arabia and Bashar Assad’s Syria.
Five Reasons Why the West Will Lose Turkey
The Turkey we once knew no longer exists. Despite NATO objections and US warnings, Ankara acquired the advanced S-400 anti-aircraft system from Russia. In response, Washington canceled Turkish participation in the F-35 program. In the latest episode of this saga, a Turkish court sentenced a US Consulate employee to almost nine years in prison for aiding the Gülen movement. President Erdoğan has behaved like a bully toward the EU, weaponizing Muslim refugees and migrants. He has also issued direct threats to Greece and regularly antagonizes Israel.

The US political elite has long suffered from “Who lost that country?” syndrome. It started with the Truman administration, which failed to prevent the communist takeover of China in 1949. Then President Kennedy was blamed for the victory of Fidel Castro in Cuba in 1959. The Nixon administration saw the collapse of South Vietnam in 1975, and President Carter could not save the Shah from the Iranian revolution. Despite this historical background, many American policymakers—Republicans and Democrats alike—refuse to accept the obvious: Turkey is swinging away from the West. Here are five reasons why.

First, Turkey is changing fast. The Islamization of the country is a bottom-up rather than a top-down process. Anatolian Turks, who tend to be more conservative and religious, have higher birth rates than the westernized Turks of Istanbul and the Aegean coast. Many now view Kemalist secularism as an imposed political and cultural order that ignores the country’s rich Islamic heritage.

Like other populist leaders, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is keenly attuned to public sentiment. His anti-American, anti-European, and sometimes antisemitic rhetoric has made him popular among many religious Turks. After all, the country views itself as the successor of the Ottoman Empire. For five centuries, Istanbul was the seat of the Caliphate and the Ottoman Sultan was viewed as the leader of the Muslim world. Erdoğan’s Turkey wants to play the same role, as can be seen in its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and other Islamist groups.
JPost Editorial: Iran is a threat to Israel: Time to speak up
When it comes to the Iranian threat to Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not known for being shy about his views – and that’s putting it lightly.

Netanyahu famously addressed both houses of the US Congress in 2015, despite knowing it would anger then-president Barack Obama, because he felt it was so urgent and essential for the US not to enter an agreement that would only postpone – not stymie – Iran’s moves towards a nuclear weapon.

So it’s hard to understand how quiet Israel is being when the UN Security Council arms embargo on Iran delineated in that agreement is coming to an end in October.

Yes, Netanyahu and departing Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon have spoken out in support of US efforts to “snap-back” sanctions on Iran.

But with other major powers already making it clear that they oppose renewing the sanctions and plan to take advantage of the new business and diplomatic opportunities after the expiration, the few public statements from Israel seem lackluster.

A recent Pentagon report said China and Russia seek to sell Iran attack helicopters, fighter jets, tanks and more once the UN arms embargo expires in October.
Iran's Mullahs Celebrate More Rewards from the 'Nuclear Deal'
On June 30, 2020, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo urged the United Nations Security Council to extend the arms embargo on Iran. The Security Council was reluctant to do so. The UN Security Council's unwillingness seems yet another indication of why the United States, having pulled out of the Human Rights Council and threatening to pull out of the World Health Organization in 2021, should finally go all the way and pull out of the whole "Club of Thugs" that the United Nations has become... At the very least, as has been suggested, "We pay for what we want. We insist [on] what we get, what we pay for. We abolish the system of mandatory contribution...."

The United Nations seems to have turned into a place that, instead of preventing war, preserves war.

"Iran is already violating the arms embargo, even before its expiration date. Imagine if Iranian activity were sanctioned, authorized by this group, if the restrictions are lifted. Iran will be free to become a rogue weapons dealer, supplying arms to fuel conflicts from Venezuela, to Syria, to the far reaches of Afghanistan." — Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, UN Security Council, June 30, 2020.

In short, thanks to the previous administration, the Iranian regime, the top state sponsor of terrorism, is about to be legally free to buy and sell, and import and export advanced weapons across the world.
Oil pipeline explodes in west Iran - report
An oil pipeline exploded as a resounding boom was heard in Ahwaz in the western Khuzestan Province in Iran, according to Iranian media. No official report has confirmed that the oil pipeline was the source of the explosion as of yet.

Numerous explosions have been heard throughout Iran in the past few weeks.

On Wednesday, two fires broke out in Iran, one of which took place in the Delvar Shipyard of the port city of Bushehr. A few days before that, a fire broke out at the South Aluminum Corporation in Lamerd due to an "oil leak," according to the Iranian Mehr News Agency.

Meanwhile, Iran's air defense systems are on high alert in recent days, according to a CNN report on Friday, citing a "US official closely tracking developments."

The official confirmed that the Islamic Republic has changed the alert status on its surface-to-air missile batteries.
Charles Barkley on Anti-Semitism in Sports, Hollywood: ‘I Don’t Understand How You Beat Hatred With More Hatred’
NBA on TNT analyst Charles Barkley called out recent instances of anti-Semitism from figures like Nick Cannon and Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson, arguing that it’s wrong to fight “hatred with more hatred.”

On a July 17 edition of his podcast “The Steam Room” that he co-hosts with his fellow NBA on TNT analyst Ernie Johnson, Barkley specifically called out former NBA player and ESPN analyst Stephen Jackson (no relation to DeSean Jackson) and rapper Ice Cube in addition to DeSean Jackson and Cannon.

“What the hell are y’all doing?” Barkley said. “Y’all want racial equality … we all do. I don’t understanding how insulting another group helps our cause.”

He lamented that former Los Angeles Lakers star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been the only notable figure to call them out, arguing there shouldn’t be prejudice in the Black community.

“We can’t allow Black people to be prejudiced also, especially if we’re asking for white folks to respect us,” Barkley argued.

The former NBA player added: “I’m so disappointed in these men, but I don’t understand how you beat hatred with more hatred. That stuff should never come up in your vocabulary, and that stuff should never come up in your heart. I don’t understand it and I’m never going to accept it.”

Barkley concluded his video calling on Cannon, Ice Cube, DeSean Jackson and Stephen Jackson to all “be better” since they’re famous and have large platforms. (h/t jzaik)

Rabbi: Nick Cannon ‘genuinely concerned’ after apology for anti-Semitic remarks
A prominent rabbi who met with Nick Cannon says the television host and producer is “genuinely concerned about the hurt” he caused by making anti-Semitic remarks, and they intend to work together to reject hate.

Cannon apologized to the Jewish community this week for his “hurtful and divisive” words, a day after ViacomCBS cut ties with him for the comments made on a podcast where he discussed racial bias, and following a phone conversation with Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s associate dean.

Cooper asked him to post the apology on social media, and then met with him Thursday for a three-hour conversation at Cannon’s business headquarters in Burbank, California.

“He appears to be someone who’s genuine in his desire to make sure people understand his apology,” Cooper told The Associated Press.

“But also … not to move forward saying, ‘OK, I have to go back to my regular things, thank you for helping to give me a lifeline after this terrible error.’ That wasn’t it. The thrust was: ’OK. Now, what do we do? How do we roll up our sleeves? What can we do together?'”

Cooper said that he’s confident that Cannon will use his wide-ranging social media presence to talk openly about mistakes, fight for social justice and reject messages of hate.

“It could have a very, very positive impact on young people” Cooper said.

Cooper said he will meet with Cannon again next week and show him historic documents preserved at the Wiesenthal museum including a 1919 letter by Adolf Hitler painting Jews as Germany’s post-World War I enemies.
Nick Cannon talk show pushed to 2021 over host's antisemitic comments
Nick Cannon's daytime talk show, which was scheduled to premiere later this year, has been pushed to 2021 in the aftermath of antisemitic comments he made on a podcast.

The show's producer, Lionsgate-owned Debmar-Mercury, confirmed the news in a statement obtained by Variety, saying that it is "standing by" Cannon given that his "public comments don't reflect his true feelings." The decision mirrors that taken by Fox, which also backed the beleaguered host by keeping him on as the MC of "The Masked Singer."

"The 'Nick Cannon' talk show will not debut this year," the Debmar-Mercury statement read. "After conversations with Nick, we do believe that his public comments don't reflect his true feelings and his apology is heartfelt and sincere. We want to continue the healing process as he meets with leaders of the Jewish community and engages in a dialog with our distribution partners to hear their views. We are standing by Nick in our hope that by fall 2021 he will be able to use his extraordinary talent and platform to entertain, enlighten and unite his audience on the 'Nick Cannon' talk show."

"Lionsgate and Debmar-Mercury condemn antisemitism, racism and hate speech," the statement continued. "It runs counter to everything we stand for."

Cannon's talk show was picked up in crucial markets by Fox Television Stations late last year and was cleared in over 90% of the country, which virtually guaranteed it to launch this fall. However, that is no longer the case as as a result of comments Cannon made during a June 30 episode of his podcast "Cannon's Class," which featured former Public Enemy member Professor Griff. At one point in the episode, Cannon said Black people are the "true Hebrews" and talked about antisemitic conspiracy theories involving the Rothschild family.

Cannon issued a series of apologies following the incident, the latest of which coincided with his decision to "take time away" from Los Angeles-based radio show.
US Jewish Actor Josh Gad Calls Out ‘Disgraceful’ and ‘Frightening’ Antisemitism by Celebrities
US Jewish actor Josh Gad addressed the recent spike in antisemitic behavior by public figures in a video uploaded onto Instagram on Thursday.

Gad, the co-creator and star of Apple TV’s “Central Park,” titled his video “Enough,” and began by telling his over 1 million followers that he wanted to have an honest conversation about something “startling, scary, disheartening, insidious” and “ugly.”

“I’ve seen a rise in antisemitism…specifically over the last week that has been frightening and really disgraceful,” the 39-year-old said. “And I’ve seen it from people in a position who should know better and who have the ability to really send messages to a large swath of people who I would imagine can benefit from such greater messaging than intolerance, at a time when there is so much intolerance.”

“We all have to do better,” he added. “I think it is so disgusting that after all the lessons that have been learned from those who have message such hate in the past, that we would continue to make these mistakes. Yet here we are. So I hope that people can educate themselves, I hope that people can use their platforms in a way that isn’t filed with old and tired cliches, and I hope that people can simply find better things to do than discriminate, cuz it’s kind of bulls–t y’all.”

The “Frozen” star, who lost relatives the Holocaust, also discussed his spirituality and Jewish heritage, saying he was “honored to carry on the legacy of a family who literally watched their loved ones murdered for believing in what they were taught to believe in: a heritage of faith equal to any other.”

BDS can be defeated on the political battleground - opinion
AS REVEALED in the recently-published Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs’ study, “The Battle over BDS: Trends, Lessons, and Future Trajectories” (written by the author of this op-ed), the BDS movement has been expanding its focus on the political and governmental arenas across the globe.

On the national level, this has found expression in the activity of BDS-supporting groups in the UK Labour Party, Spain’s Podemos, and South Africa’s African National Congress.

On the municipal level, BDS groups are expanding their efforts to promote anti-Israel measures in local councils. This trend, which had previously appeared in cities throughout Western and Central Europe, is now appearing to a greater degree in North and South America.

Meeting these challenges in the US and globally will require investment in research capabilities, relationship-building, and smart communications strategies. It will also require improved cooperation between pro-Israel actors within and across countries and continents.
The extremist goals, terrorist links and antisemitism of the BDS groups leading such initiatives must be exposed. Extensive efforts must be made by Jewish groups to strengthen relationships with other communities and constituencies.

Legal tools and legislation have also been shown to be important elements in such counter-BDS strategies.

The last several years have shown that when the pro-Israel community invests the requisite resources, learns the lessons of past efforts, and acts in a coordinated manner, BDS initiatives can be defeated and rolled back. Countered correctly, the BDS movement, can, over the long-term, be successfully contained.

Belgian Pensioner Receives Prison Sentence for Swastika-Adorned ‘Nazi House’
A Belgian man was sentenced to one year in prison on Tuesday for his refusal to remove the Nazi flags and slogans that adorn his house in the town of Keerbergen.

Georges Boeckstaens — a former corporal in the Belgian army — was defiant after his sentencing, saying that he was “not hurting anyone” with the display at his private residence.

The 77-year-old’s home was the subject of numerous complaints from locals, who referred to it as the “Nazi house.” On view are Third Reich insignias, a giant red Nazi banner hanging from a tree in the garden, the words “Mein Kampf” written in Dutch and a scarecrow resembling Adolf Hitler giving a Nazi salute.

While a previous complaint had been dismissed in 2014, as no criminal offense had been proven, the Leuven Criminal Court this time sentenced Boeckstaens to one year in prison, for incitement to hatred and violence against the Jewish community.

“The investigation has shown that the accused glorified the Nazi regime and approved of the genocide,” said the judge. “In his eyes, the Jews are the shame of the world. From a social point of view, therefore, we have an obligation to incarcerate him.”

Keshet drama ‘When Heroes Fly’ to be remade for Apple TV
Keshet’s action thriller TV show “When Heroes Fly,” about four Israeli military veterans who reunite for a rescue mission, is being remade for Apple TV, where it is being renamed “Echo 3.”

The 2018 show, which was screened on Netflix, was created by Omri Givon. It was inspired by a novel of the same name from author Amir Gutfreund, and will be remade as a 10-episode drama written by screenwriter Mark Boal.

In the new version, a brilliant young American scientist goes missing along the Colombia-Venezuela border, and her brother and husband — both military men with complicated histories — set out too to find her.

Former journalist Boal earned Oscars for best picture and screenplay for “The Hurt Locker,” and nominations for “Zero Dark Thirty.”

Apple and Keshet Studios will co-produce the series. The two companies are also teaming on “Suspicion,” a drama starring Uma Thurman, based on the award-winning Israeli series “False Flag” (in Hebrew “Kfulim”).

Government to approve EastMed gas pipeline project on Sunday
The government is set Sunday to approve the agreement Israel signed in January with Cyprus and Greece to advance the EastMed gas pipeline project.

Once completed, the 1,900 km. pipeline will be the longest in the world. The bulk of it will be under the sea, but some portions will be on land.

The pipeline will allow for natural gas from Israeli and Cypriot fields to flow to western and eastern Europe. The pipeline will start in Israel and then go via Cyprus and Greece and through Italy.

The project is expected to transform Israel into an energy powerhouse that will place it at the center of a new geopolitical alignment with respect to energy in the Middle East.
Start-Up Nation Central to help Latin American firms tap into Israeli tech
Start-Up Nation Central (SNC) has set up a partnership with ConnectAmericas, an online business platform that helps small and medium-sized enterprises from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) internationalize their business.

The two will work together to connect Israeli startups to LAC firms. As a first step, some 5,000 Israeli companies have set up profiles on the ConnectAmerica’s platform.

ConnectAmericas, set up by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), is a social network backed by Google, DHL, Sealand, Facebook and Mastercard to help small and medium-sized enterprises from Latin America and the Caribbean internationalize their business by connecting them to more than 360,000 users from 110 countries to explore business opportunities, and by offering training tools that enhance their ability to secure this new business.

Start-Up Nation Central is a nonprofit organization that aims to connect Israeli startup firms to corporations, governments and organizations around the world.

SNC and IDB have also identified areas of particular interest for the LAC firms, addressing the challenges they face especially in light of the coronavirus pandemic including health, cybersecurity, food security, critical infrastructure and social services.

SNC is working with experts in each of these fields to understand the main challenges of the region and match them with the most relevant innovative Israeli solution, the statement said.
In the footsteps of a spy: Exploring the Golan’s Eli Cohen Trail
In order to capture the Golan Heights during the 1967 Six-Day War, Israeli soldiers had to knock out a number of well-fortified Syrian outposts. Fortunately, several were easy to spot, for they were surrounded by tall eucalyptus trees.

Many people believe that the idea for planting the trees was the work of Eli Cohen, an Israeli spy who was caught in 1965 and hanged in Damascus. Over the years Cohen had become very friendly with Syrian higher-ups. It is thought that he suggested the Syrians plant trees to create shade for soldiers manning the outposts. The Israeli army is said to have guessed at the size of the Syrian posts by the number of trees which, foreign to the landscape, stuck out like sore thumbs.

One day last week we invited friends to join us on the Eli Cohen Trail, completed in 2013. The 70-kilometer long route, dedicated to the heroic spy whose body was never returned to Israel for burial, was the brainchild of tour guide Gil Brenner. Brenner himself prepared the trail (although nowhere do you see his name), which consists of sites where Cohen either spent time or through which he passed during his years in Syria. The Golan Heights was captured by Israel from Syria in 1967.

Evocative sculptures at some of the sites were donated by Yuval Lupan from Kibbutz Ginossar while information provided by audio guides, called masbiranim, add an extra dimension to this unique and wonderful trail. At least one features an actual recording made by Cohen in his capacity as a spy.

Cohen was the quintessential patriot, the essence of loyalty and dedication. He loved his wife and children dearly, and was aware that he could be exposed at any minute. But his desire to serve Israel to the best of his ability was all consuming – and he paid for it with his life.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.


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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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