Sunday, September 20, 2020

From Ian:

Ruthie Blum: Trumping Palestinian lies and Tehran’s agenda
Moreover, in stark contrast to his predecessor, Barack Obama, Trump welcomed – rather than warned against – Israeli strikes on Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Syria. Meanwhile, his message to the Palestinians was that they could choose to remain in the Dark Ages or opt to embrace peace and prosperity. It was up to them, and no figure in Washington was going to beg. They’d never been treated this way by a world leader.

From the get-go, then, Abbas and his henchmen rejected all US contact, other than when stomping on or burning the American flag. While the anti-Trump European Union continued to assure them that they were right to feel oppressed by “evil occupier” Israel, the Arab League grew even more disinterested in their self-imposed plight than it already was.

In fact, it could barely muster up the energy to pay lip service to their “cause” anymore. In fairness, its members had and still have their own interests to safeguard. Trump, it turns out, has been tapping into these interests skillfully.

Additional evidence of this lies in the talks that he brokered between Belgrade and Pristina earlier this month, resulting in Serbia’s announcement that it would move its embassy to Jerusalem and a recognition of Israel by Muslim-majority Kosovo.

His claim on Tuesday, thus, that “at least five or six” other countries are soon to follow the UAE’s and Bahrain’s lead is utterly plausible. The upbeat attitude of Mossad chief Yossi Cohen and the hysterical reaction on the part of the Palestinians indicates that it’s practically a done deal.

PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, for example, called the signing of the Abraham Accords a “black day in the history of the Arab nation... added to the Palestinian calendar of pain.”

He also said that such “normalization with Israel is harmful to Arab dignity.”

Neither this sentiment nor the rocket barrages that were launched into Israel during the Emirati foreign minister’s speech – in Arabic, with a token reference to the Palestinians – could camouflage the reality on the ground in a shifting Middle East: The Palestinian jig, like the lie that Trump exposed about al-Aqsa, is up.
Jon Gabriel: Trump takes a step toward peace in the Middle East, and somehow, that's horrible?
Everyone said a deal was impossible

The glum reception to Mideast peace comes from a place of shock. For decades, foreign policy panjandrums on the right and left insisted these agreements were utterly impossible. First, the U.S. needed to solve the impasse between the Israelis and Palestinians, then perhaps peace could follow.

The corrupt leaders of the Palestinian Authority rejected proposal after proposal, but the U.S. learned nothing. Obama’s Secretary of State John Kerry mocked anyone who thought otherwise.

“There will be no advanced and separate peace with the Arab world without the Palestinian process and Palestinian peace,” Kerry said at the Brookings Institute’s Saban Forum in 2016. “Everybody needs to understand that. That is a hard reality.”

Whether by wise counsel or gut instinct, Trump decided this was nonsense. He isolated Iran, strengthened ties with Saudi Arabia and the gulf states, and brought everyone to the negotiating table.

Within a few years, he proved Kerry, Rhodes and every other Foggy Bottom dilletante wrong. Somehow, Trump did the impossible

Moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem was supposed to light the Middle Eastern powder keg. As was pulling U.S. troops out of Kurdish-held regions of northeast Syria. As was the assassination of Qassim Suleimani, head of Iran’s murderous Quds Force.

Again and again, Trump keeps accomplishing things that foreign policy experts promised were impossible.

At the signing ceremony, Bahrani Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani said, “Today is a truly historic occasion. A moment for hope and opportunity.”

I don’t know if Abraham would be a Donald Trump fan. But he’s definitely smiling down on his sons today.

21see Presents: Israel, UAE and Bahrain sign historic Abraham Accords
On Tuesday, we took a camera out into the streets of Tel Aviv to find out what locals think about the historic Abraham Accords signed this week between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain.

The excitement was genuine. “There’s no why for peace,” said one Tel Avivian. “Peace in itself is the answer.”

“It’s a great start,” said another.

But a peace agreement… most agree that this is normalization of relations, rather than a peace deal. As one local asks: “How can you have peace, if you haven’t had war?”

Dominic Green: The thinking behind Pompeo’s Middle East mission
The Abraham Accords, Pompeo says, are the fruit of ‘years of hard work’ by the Trump administration, the Department of Defense, the State Department and teams from the White House. President Trump, he says, made it possible by flipping the received wisdom ‘on its head’.

‘That theory was, you had to solve the Palestinian problem before nations could recognize Israel. We’ve said, “No, we have to break the mould.” We need to move forward in a different direction.’ After the Obama administration’s tilt toward Iran, the Trump administration, Pompeo said, had assured Israel and the Gulf states that they have ‘a real partner in the United States’.

Reviving the Iran Deal, Pompeo warns, would be ‘the wrong policy’ and would endanger the US-brokered Israeli-Arab breakthrough: ‘I think all of that would be at risk.’

The UAE and Bahrain, he says, ‘realise it is in their shared interest to acknowledge Israel's right to exist and to have normal relationships, commercial relationships with them, security relationships with them... If the United States’ foreign policy were to return to where it was four years ago, I think there’s a real risk that this common threat from the Islamic Republic of Iran would undermine all the good work that has been done to date, that the normalisations won't continue.’

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, first Jewish woman on Supreme Court, dies at 87
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the first Jewish woman to serve on the Supreme Court, and a tireless advocate for gender equality, has died aged 87.

A fierce jurist known for her outsized presence and outspokenness, Ginsburg died from “complications of metastatic pancreas cancer,” the US Supreme Court announced on Friday.

She endured multiple bouts of different cancers over the course of two decades but always said that she was healthy enough to continue her work. At times, she returned to the bench shortly after hospital stays.

Ginsburg’s death was announced on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, six weeks before the presidential election and a time of intense political polarization in the US.

In 2018, Ginsburg was awarded the Genesis Prize Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award in Tel Aviv. It was presented to her by Israel’s former Supreme Court president, Aharon Barak.Ginsburg received the award for her legendary advocacy on behalf of gender equality and the advancement of women, and upon receiving the award, she gave a speech in which she said she was proud to be a Jew, repeated from another speech she made to the American Jewish Committee, more than 20 years before in 1996. The quote has been famous ever since.

“I am a judge, born, raised and proud of being a Jew,” said Ginsburg. “The demand for justice, for peace and for enlightenment runs through the entirety of Jewish history and Jewish tradition. I hope in all the years I have the good fortune to continue serving on the bench of the Supreme Court of the United States, I will have the strength and courage to remain steadfast in the service of that demand.”

Lebanon's Lady Cochrane and the Zionist connection
Eulogies for Lady Yvonne Cochrane Sursock, 98, killed in last month's Beirut port blast, did not mention her support for Zionism and the vast family estates sold to Jewish settlers.

Lady Yvonne Cochrane Sursock died last month 27 days after sustaining injuries in the massive blast at Beirut port. The life of this unique, aristocratic 98-year-old woman was intertwined with the history of the entire Middle East including Zionism.

Until the day she died, Lady Cochrane lived in the Sursock Palace, the glorious family palace in Achrafieh in Beirut's Christian quarter, which was badly damaged in the huge explosion. A few days after the explosion, on August 10, with Lady Cochrane still alive, her son, Roderick Sursock Cochrane, was pictured standing in the ancient and now ruined living room, the grand piano covered with a layer of ash. Behind it, beams lie broken on the floor, and Roderick, stands amidst overturned wooden chairs. Destruction is all around.

The photograph was featured in many of the news stories about the death and life of Lady Cochrane - philanthropist, art collector and one of Beirut's most famous women. She had triple citizenship - British, Italian and Lebanese - and divided her 98 years between Naples, Beirut, London, Ireland and other places. But towards the end of her life, Beirut became her central passion. She donated funds to philanthropic causes, protected natural sites, defended local communities and focused on architectural heritage and preservation.

Following her death, the international media paid tribute to her, sharing her impressive anecdotes about her life and work and about the unique family palace that was damaged. But a significant detail in her life history was missing: Lady Cochrane and her family played a central role in the history of pre-state Israel, and had close ties with the early Zionist movement leadership as well as former President Chaim Herzog.
Sophie Wilmes: Belgium’s first female and first Jewish prime minister
Sophie Wilmes is Belgium’s first female and first Jewish prime minister. She is also the only Jewish prime minister in Europe, at a time when antisemitism is rising both in her country and on the continent itself.

She has spoken out on antisemitism and, in particular, has issued the harshest rebuke by a high-level government official against the annual carnival of Aalst.

The controversial parade in that carnival often includes antisemitic caricatures, that has featured Jews with hooked noses or SS officers. “The federal government is sensitive to the reactions to some floats and costumes at the carnival.” Whereas the event is “much more than only that,” she wrote, ”these actions damage our values and the reputation of our country.” Israel and Jewish groups have called on Belgium to halt that parade.

As someone who lost family members in the Holocaust, she participated in the World Jewish Congress Twitter event to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“#WeRemember the 6 million victims of the most horrible and shameful event in history -Holocaust. This 27th of January should remind us to always be vigilant towards racism, antisemitism and all forms of hate of what is different #notonmywatch.” But her Judaism has not played a major role in her political career and is something she rarely references.
Trump and Nobel Prize: Make Deals Not War
At first glance, Donald Trump may actually have a claim to the Nobel Peace prize. He has brokered normalization between Israel and two of its erstwhile Arab enemies, with more expected to follow. He may have also cleared the last foyer of conflict in former Yugoslavia by mediating a settlement between Serbia and Kosovo.

Trump the peacemaker? The liberal elites on both sides of the Atlantic react to that phrase with a hearty "Ha! Ha! Ha!" or an angry cry of "scandal".

What matters, as far as the Nobel judges are concerned, is that he did it; he brought peace where there was conflict.

But if they do award Trump the Nobel Prize, he will be the fifth US president to gain the accolade. And if he does, he would be the most deserving of them all.
Martin Kramer: Israel’s vulnerable new friends
It’s here that normalization with Israel fits in. Yes, Israel has lots to offer the UAE and Bahrain, and they have much to offer in return. But the real attraction of normalization for the UAE and Bahrain is that good relations with Israel are the default of all enlightened Western countries. An Israeli embassy goes perfectly with a branch of the Guggenheim art museum.

Why now? The United States is pulling back from some of its Middle Eastern commitments. From some, but not all—and certainly not its commitment to Israel, which Americans of all stripes see as “one of us,” even if they disagree with some of its policies. Full and normal relations with Israel raise the UAE and Bahrain to a new category: from “friendly Arab countries that sell us oil” to “best Arab friends of our own best friend, Israel.”

Not only does that strengthen the US insurance policy, it also lines up the pro-Israel lobby in America on the side of the UAE and Bahrain. They’ve always had their own hired lobbyists in Washington, but they never had any grassroots support in America. Now they will.

It’s an upgrade, and it’s become a need-to-have in a time of American retrenchment. It’s also an open-sesame for bigger and better arms deals, and a deterrent against would-be aggressors, above all Iran.

Israel reached this landmark because it’s strong. The Gulf Arabs have reached it because they’re vulnerable. Israel seeks to translate its strength into recognition. The Gulf Arabs seek to translate their recognition into strength. Just how the two sides will negotiate this unequal partnership isn’t in their formal agreements. It’s in the politics ahead.
Rita Panahi: Donald Trump’s ‘genuine diplomatic triumph’ is not over yet
Sky News host Rita Panahi says what President Trump has achieved is a "genuine diplomatic triumph, and it's not over yet".

President Trump has been nominated for the peace prize after brokering historic peace deals between Israel, and both Bahrain and the UAE.

“The normalisation of relations between Muslim majority countries and Israel should be celebrated long and hard. It’s something that no one thought possible a few years ago,” Ms Panahi said.

“You’d be hearing a lot more about it if any leader other than Donald Trump had brokered these ground-breaking peace deals”.

Ms Panahi said people should not forget the “so-called experts” who predicted mayhem and bloodshed when the president fulfilled his election promise and moved the US embassy to Jerusalem.

“Far from causing an eruption in violence across the Arab world, Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel was the first critical move in achieving peace,” she said.

“It showed the Arab world that the US was not going to entertain notions that Israel didn't have sovereignty over Jerusalem.

“What Trump has achieved is a genuine diplomatic triumph and it's not over yet.”
Why the criticism of the Israel-UAE-Bahrain deal doesn’t hold up
Sometimes, the obvious also needs to be stated, as former prime minister Menachem Begin famously said. Which is why it should be noted that most Israelis support peace with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

Israelis know that our country has long been cut off from the rest of the region, and that two countries seeking ties with Israel because doing so will be beneficial to them is a big thing and a positive thing.

Polling bears this out, with Channel 12 finding that 76.7% of Israelis thought the UAE deal was the right thing to do, and this crossed societal lines between Jews and Arabs.

Why does this obvious statement need to be made again?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu noted in his meeting with US President Donald Trump in the Oval Office that the media were trying to “chip away” at their achievement.

After reporting from within a coronavirus capsule that included nearly every major news outlet in Israel, I can say that this was not so.

Everyone, including those who wear their antipathy for Netanyahu on their sleeve, was well aware that this was truly a moment that would go down in history, marking a sea change for Israel and its place in the world.

But there are naysayers out there, both in Israel and, even more so, in the US. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi called the signing ceremony on the White House’s South Lawn merely a “distraction.”

An organization led by former Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On released a position paper calling the whole thing “fake peace.”

And on the Right, ahead of the ceremony, were those warning that this is not “peace for peace,” as Netanyahu called it, but peace for selling out the settlement enterprise.
"The only question is, why didn't we do this earlier?"
UAE Minister of Economy Abdulla bin Touq al Marri waxes enthusiastic about the possibilities that the peace agreement with Israel opens up.

Considerable fog envelops the agreement signed on Tuesday between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE): as yet unclear economic issues; security agreements; and the future of relations with the Palestinians following the agreement.

In an interview by telephone with "Globes" from Washington, where he is part of the UAE delegation to the signing event, UAE Minister of Economy Abdulla bin Touq al Marri provides a wealth of interesting comments on the agreement and on how cooperation between Israel and the UAE will look.

Asked about the security context of the agreement and the possibility that Israel will set aside its objection to the sale of F-35 stealth combat aircraft to his country, bin Touq says, "I cannot of course comment specifically on the question of arms sales, but nevertheless it must be appreciated that this is an important matter. The security of the region is a common interest of the UAE and Israel, and of course of the US. The alliance created here is intended to maintain security, protecting joint interests, with a joint vision of progress and stability. This is a genuine strategic alliance that will preserve the security of the region."

In other words, not only will Israel's security not be harmed, but the UAE sees the agreement as a diplomatic-strategic political alliance bringing together partners with common interests, the unstated reference being of course the common enemy, Iran.

26 years after first Israeli-UAE meet, new ties bring a diplomat full circle
At Tuesday’s historic White House ceremony, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the first time publicly met with a senior official from the United Arab Emirates.

For Jeremy Issacharoff — who 26 years ago became the first Israeli diplomat to meet an Emirati official — watching the prime minister of his country sign a peace treaty with the UAE felt like coming full circle.

After the event, still standing at the White House lawn, Issacharoff took a selfie with Emirati Ambassador to the US Yousef al-Otaiba, and posted it on his Twitter account. “On this day after many years of friendship and discreet contacts, we can now be photographed together without masks,” he added.

Al-Otaiba has been instrumental in making the new UAE-Israel alliance possible; his unprecedented June Hebrew-language op-ed in Yedioth Aharonoth is widely thought to have kicked off the process that culminated in Tuesday’s peace treaty.

“I have known Yousef al-Otaiba for many years. During this time we developed a personal friendship based on trust, discretion and mutual credibility,” said Issacharoff, who today serves as Israel’s ambassador to Germany.

“It is very rare in diplomacy to have the opportunity to see a relationship expand from its initial contacts and be able to witness its formalization into full diplomatic relations as we did on the White House lawn,” the senior diplomat told The Times of Israel in an interview.

“It was also very symbolic to have met Yousef at the ceremony and be able to finally ‘take the mask off’ the relationship, if only for a brief instant. This is the completion of a personal circle that now opens a much greater one between our two countries.”
Israeli fintech company partners with UAE-based CEO of Barter and Booth
The CEO of Barker and Booth Commercial Agency LLC Mohammed Al Beloushi announced he will be investing in Israeli fintech startup Fintica AI LLC following the signing of the Abraham Accords.

With the investment, Beloushi intends to develop Fintica's capabilities and technology, and bring it to states within the Gulf Coorperation Council.

Fintica creates AI solutions for the financial sector, notably self-learning technology to gain more detailed market reports - allowing users to make well-informed decisions in real time.

The solution marketed by Fintica uses AI to organize and categorize the broad amounts of data available to asset managers, and organizes the information accordingly for the managers to support asset allocation and decision-making processes.

“It is our duty to support of the visionary leadership of the United Arab Emirates whose underlying desire is to advance global peace with sincerity and persistence. In the words of our respected Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan, 'peace requires courage and shaping the future requires knowledge,'" said Beloushi.
White House Says Five More Countries Seriously Considering Israel Deals
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said on Thursday that five more countries are seriously considering striking a normalization deal with Israel after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed accords this week.

Meadows, speaking to reporters on Air Force One on the flight that carried President Donald Trump to a campaign rally in Wisconsin, would not identify the five nations.

But he said three were in the region. He would not comment further.

Trump has spoken optimistically about more countries agreeing to a normalization of relations with Israel following the UAE and Bahrain deals.

One possibility is Oman, whose ambassador attended the White House ceremony on Tuesday. Trump predicted on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia would eventually agree to a deal.

Israel’s envoy to US: At least 2 more Arab states will normalize ties by January
Israel’s Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer predicted Friday that at least two more Arab states will follow the lead of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in normalizing ties with Israel in the coming months.

In an interview with the Jewish Insider news site, Dermer said Israel will sign “at least two more peace treaties” by the time he completes his seven-year tenure as ambassador on January 21.

US officials, including President Donald Trump and his senior adviser Jared Kushner, have also said they expect other Arab nations to normalize relations with Israel in the near future.

Dermer said this week’s peace signings had been the culmination of years of work by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The US envoy recalled how when he first started working as an adviser to the premier nearly 20 years ago, Netanyahu showed him footage of a speech in which he highlighted his vision of “peace through strength.”

“To see this trajectory happen over 20 years now — against a lot of critics, cynics and opposition — I think is very gratifying,” Dermer said.

He said that for years Netanyahu had been “the lone voice, kind of in the wilderness,” who openly entertained the agreements that came into fruition this week.
Trump says Kuwait may soon normalize ties with Israel
US President Donald Trump said Friday, after meeting with the son of Kuwait’s ruling emir, that the country will likely normalize relations with Israel in the near future, following the diplomatic move made by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain on Tuesday.

The Kuwaitis “are so excited that we signed the first two countries and I think they’ll end up fairly quickly being a part of it,” Trump said at a White House press briefing after he bestowed a top honor on Kuwait’s Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, which his eldest son accepted on his behalf.

Trump reiterated his claim that a number of Arab states were eager to ink deals with Israel following the historic accords with the UAE and Bahrain.

“I have, I would say, seven or eight countries that want to be a part of it,” Trump said. “Nobody thought this would happen and not only is it happening, it’s happening rather easily.”

“I had two calls this morning with countries that want to know, ‘When can we go into the deal?’ It’s not that we’re giving them anything. They want security, they want peace, and they’re really tired of fighting,” Trump said.
US, UAE said holding ‘decisive’ meeting with Sudan over Israel normalization
Sudanese officials are holding a “decisive” meeting with counterparts from the US and UAE over signing a normalization deal with Israel, the Walla news site reported Sunday.

Sudan has been among a number of countries touted as possibly inking a deal with Israel, following the diplomatic move made by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain on Tuesday.

According to the report, which was also published in English on the Axios website, Sudan is asking for a wide-reaching economic support package, and if an agreement is reached, could announce a deal with Israel in the coming days.

Sudan is reportedly asking for oil and wheat shipments worth $1.2 billion to cope with recent devastating floods, a $2 billion grant to deal with Sudan’s economic crisis and a commitment of economic support from the US and the UAE over the next three years.

According to the report, the US is being represented at the talks by White House National Security Council’s senior director for the Gulf and North Africa, Gen. Miguel Correa. The UAE is being represented by national security adviser Tahnoon Bin Zayed.
Palestinians: Qatar first Arab country to endorse Trump peace plan
Palestinian officials expressed concern that Qatar may be headed toward normalizing its relations with Israel and said such a move would facilitate the implementation of US President Donald Trump’s vision for Middle East peace, Peace to Prosperity, also known as the Deal of the Century.

Last week, the US and Qatar issued a joint statement after holding their third Strategic Dialogue on September 14-15. The two sides highlighted the strength of the bilateral relationship, opportunities to further deepen cooperation to benefit both countries.

The two governments expressed concern about the detrimental security, economic and social impacts of the Gulf crisis on the region and affirmed their continued support for a strong and united Gulf Cooperation Council. They focused on promoting peace and a prosperous future for all in the region, and on countering regional threats. In addition, the UA and Qatar discussed issues of regional security, including joint efforts to defeat ISIS; working toward peace and an end to the conflicts in Libya, Syria and Yemen; political developments in Iraq; and prospects for a negotiated resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as outlined in the US Vision for Peace.

A senior State Department official told reporters that Washington sees Qatar as another Gulf country potentially prepared to normalize relations with Israel after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

“Qatar has a track record of working with Israel that we think will eventually get them to a broader agreement with the Israelis,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Tim Lenderking was quoted by Bloomberg as saying. “We think there’s a lot to build on, every country will move at its own pace on normalization, according to its own criteria, but we’re eager for that to happen sooner rather than later.”
Russian media: Is Russia opposed to the Israel-Bahrain-UAE deal
After the UAE-Israel deal was announced in August the Russian perspective was largely ignored in most western media. However, Russia has expressed differing views on the deal as it matured and came to include Bahrain.

Russia appears to both embrace it and have skepticism about it. But the official views on the surface may be only part off the story. The deals are an American affair and could be s setback for Russia’s increasing role in the region.

An article at the Middle East Institute in August basically asserted that Moscow is of two minds on the issue. Now a new report at Tass news provides more insight into Russia’s views.

In late August, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by phone and discussed the UAE deal. At the time Bahrain was not yet in the news.

Netanyahu and Putin have had warm relations for many years and Israel and Russia frequently have discussed Syria over the years.

This has meant a reduction in tensions. However, Russia has expressed the traditional view in the last week that peace is not possible in the region without an Israeli-Palestinian deal.
Bahrain targeted by Iranian-backed 'terror attack'
Bahrain’s Interior Ministry said it was targeted by an Iranian-backed terror plot, according to local media reports. “The Ministry of Interior managed to thwart a huge terrorist plot in the Kingdom of Bahrain that received support and funding from Iran and members of the terrorist Revolutionary Guard Corps,” a statement at Akhbar Al-Khaleej media in Bahrain stated Sunday. Media reports indicated the plot was designed to avenge the killing of IRGC commander Qasem Soleimani. The US 5th Fleet has a base in Bahrain and Iran has vowed harsh revenge for the US killing of Soleimani in January. The plot comes less than a week after the ceremony in Washington marking the Abraham Accords in which Bahrain vowed to normalize ties with Israel. The plot was designed to target public and security facilities in the Kingdom. Bahrain is a relatively small country with a large Shi’ite population. It has faced unrest in the past and Iranian media has increased incitement against Bahrain since the country hosted part of the US “deal of the century” economic plan summit in 2019. Iranian media has been bashing Bahrain since the White House announced that Bahrain would normalize ties with Israel. Iran has accused the Gulf states of betrayal and media in Iran, such as Fars News and Tasnim News, had highlighted protests in Bahrain and the UAE against the agreements.
Moroccans protest ‘Arab normalization’ with Israel
Hundreds of Moroccans demonstrated Friday against the “Arab normalization” of ties with Israel, following US-backed agreements signed on Tuesday between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

Demonstrators in Morrocco’s capital Rabat waved Palestinian flags, criticizing Bahrain and the UAE as “treacherous countries.”

“We demand the criminalization of any normalization” with Israel, demonstrators shouted.

“We are here to remind people that the Palestinian cause is also ours,” said Taib Madmad, a member of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights.

Morocco does not have formal relations with Israel, but has unofficial links, including ties due to Jewish communities of Moroccan origin.

A Moroccan official told AFP reports that Morocco could normalize ties with Israel were “completely unfounded.”

ECOSOC Members Slammed for ‘Hijacking’ UN Body to Push Anti-Israel Agenda
A watchdog group has slammed members of the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for “hijacking” the body to push an anti-Israel agenda.

Commenting on an ECOSOC meeting that took place earlier this week, which included a 43-3 vote (with eight abstentions) castigating Israel for supposed violations of women’s rights, Hillel Neuer — executive director of the Geneva-based NGO UN Watch — said, “ECOSOC’s 2020 session completely ignored the world’s worst abusers of women’s rights, refusing to pass a single resolution on the situation of women in Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, DR Congo, Iran, Chad or Saudi Arabia, all of which ranked in the top ten worst countries in the 2020 Global Gender Gap Report, produced by the World Economic Forum.”

“At a time when Iran is imprisoning women’s rights activists like Nasrin Sotudeh and Narges Mohammedi, Saudi Arabia is imprisoning and torturing numerous women’s rights activists, Pakistan has the highest number of documented and estimated honor killings per capita of any country in the world, and Belarus is beating women protesters in the streets, it is the theater of the absurd for these misogynistic regimes to be singling out Israel — alone in the world — as an alleged violator of women’s rights,” Neuer continued.

“We are also disappointed in other countries which joined the jackals in scapegoating the Jewish state, including France, Spain, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Luxembourg, Mexico, Norway and Uruguay,” he added.

The resolution accused Israel of posing a “major obstacle” for Palestinian women “with regard to the fulfillment of their rights, and their advancement, self-reliance and integration in the development of their society.”
Merkel’s gov’t supports 'warmongers' in Middle East - EU's largest paper
The largest circulating newspaper on continental Europe—the German Bild—on Wednesday published two hard-hitting commentaries against German Chancellor Angela’s Merkel’s Middle East foreign policy, declaring her government aids the warmongering countries in the region against the Jewish state.

“Berlin stands on the side of the warmongers,” wrote Björn Stritzel, a Bild reporter who specializes in the Middle East. He added that “the federal government…is currently trying to soften an arms embargo against the mullahs' regime.”

The US and Israel advocate for an extension of the UN weapons embargo against Iran’s regime.

Stritzel wrote that “the federal government completely missed the decisive breakthrough at a Middle East conference in Warsaw.”

In 2019, the US held a conference in Warsaw, Poland that was designed to blunt Iran’s malign activities in the Middle East and helped lay the foundation for peace agreements between Israel and the two Gulf Arab states, Bahrain and the UAE.
Leaked docs: Arab Bank was involved in potential terrorist financing until 2016
A massive leak of financial intelligence reports reveals that Arab Bank facilitated payments to organizations and bodies suspected to be connected to terrorism, even after the Jordan-based bank had agreed to pay massive amounts in compensation to terror victims.

The information appears in a confidential financial intelligence report compiled by a British bank named Standard Chartered Bank (SCB), which served as a correspondent bank for Arab Bank. SCB suspected that Arab Bank continued to transfer money to “entities with suspected links to terrorist groups” until 2016, the year the report was filed.

The Arab Bank, which operates from Amman, is one of the largest banks in the Arab world.

In 2004, Arab Bank was sued in the United States by American victims of terror attacks carried out in Israel. The plaintiffs claimed that the bank had carried out wire transfers to various entities linked to Hamas and had thus been a party to terror financing.

The trial itself opened a decade later, in 2014. After six weeks the jury decided in favor of the plaintiffs.

The bank appealed the verdict but at the same time entered into settlement negotiations. The details of the settlement that was ultimately reached remain confidential, but according to Israeli media reports the bank agreed to compensate the plaintiffs for about $1 billion.
Abbas plays a misguided waiting game, as Hamas eyes his presidency
On September 13, 1993, US president Bill Clinton stood on the White House lawn together with PLO chairman Yasser Arafat and Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and signed the Declaration of Principles aka the Oslo Accords. (Then-foreign minister Shimon Peres was also there, of course, as his team had spearheaded the agreement.) Twenty-three years and two days later, another signing ceremony took place this past Tuesday. This time, however, the Palestinians were conspicuously absent — although not for long.

A few minutes after the festivities began, Islamic Jihad crashed the ceremony by firing rockets at Ashkelon and Ashdod. This attempt to ruin the peace celebrations was clearly inspired by Iran, whose aim was to send a painful reminder of two things: a) Iran will not allow any relations-establishing process between Israel and the Sunni states to continue peacefully; and b) normalization agreements are nice and all, but the Palestinian issue is alive and kicking.

The rockets notwithstanding, Tuesday’s Abraham Accords ceremony demonstrated the extent to which the Palestinian issue has been pushed off the Arab agenda. The Palestinian Authority and its political representatives – mainly the PLO and Fatah – have hit their lowest point ever. The PA/Fatah do not really have anything to offer the Palestinian public. There are no negotiations; the settlements are growing; there is no real political horizon; the economy is in a terrible state; COVID-19 is hitting the West Bank hard; and the chasm between Fatah and Hamas remains unchanged.

Worst of all, the Palestinians are being pushed into a Middle East corner and the last carrot/stick they had to offer Israel — relations with Arab states — no longer exists. The increasingly irrelevant PA President Mahmoud Abbas is not currently facing severe opposition from within, but the public, the politicians, and even the armed factions all understand that as long as he remains in power, nothing will change.
Top Fatah official talks of ‘Zionist territorial designs from Nile to Euphrates’
A senior Palestinian official has said the Palestinian people protect Arab nations from “the Zionist territorial designs from the Nile to the Euphrates.”

Speaking last week in criticism of the decision by the United Arab Emirates to normalize ties with Israel, Fatah Central Committee Member Azzam Al-Ahmad told Qatar’s Al-Araby TV: “We hope that the people [of the UAE and Bahrain] will restrain [their leaders] and make them reconsider what they have signed. Do not destroy yourselves and the future of the entire Arab nation.”

His comments were provided and translated over the weekend by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

He explained: “We the Palestinians are defending all of you — we are defending Mecca, Baghdad, Cairo, Amman and Damascus. This is our destiny as Palestinians.

“We are the sentinels in Jerusalem who defend it against the Zionist territorial designs from the Nile to the Euphrates.”

Al-Ahmad vowed to “continue to serve as the spearhead in the confrontation against the American administration and the Zionist movement. We… will continue to persevere and fight. We have been fighting for over 100 years in defense of the Arab nation and the Islamic and Christian holy sites.”
IDF detains 4 who crossed from Gaza Strip carrying knife
The Israel Defense Forces on Saturday arrested four suspects who crossed over the fence from the Gaza Strip into Israel, the army said.

A knife was found in the possession of the four. Troops questioned them at the scene.

The military did not say whether the four were then arrested or sent back into Gaza.

Tensions have been high along the Gaza border, with Tuesday seeing 15 rockets launched at Israeli communities on the day Israel signed US-brokered peace agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Two men were injured, one of them severely, when one of the rockets slammed into a street in Ashdod.

Israel carried out several airstrikes in Gaza in response to the rocket attacks.

The rocket fire represented the first attacks since an unofficial ceasefire agreement was reached between Israel and terror groups in the Strip late last month and the largest barrage since February.

All International Sanctions on Iran Reimplemented, Killing Nuclear Deal
All international sanctions on Iran that were lifted as part of the Obama administration’s landmark nuclear deal with the country have come back into effect as of Saturday evening, removing the last remaining vestiges of the agreement that were still in place.

The renewal of these sanctions comes after months of last-ditch diplomatic efforts by the Trump administration to ensure a United Nations ban on Iran’s purchase of advanced weapons was not lifted. This effort was unsuccessful after it failed to garner backing from traditional European allies on the U.N.’s Security Council. Following that bid, the United States exercised its right under the original 2015 accord to reimpose a litany of sanctions on Tehran that have been waived since the accord was signed and endorsed by the U.N. With the reimposition of these sanctions, the nuclear deal that President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018 is effectively voided.

Members of the U.N. Security Council were powerless to stop the United States from triggering what is known as "snapback"—a mechanism written into the original agreement that permits any member nation to reimpose international sanctions. The move is likely to further enflame ongoing tensions with Iran and also complicate America’s relationship with some its closest allies, including France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Each of these countries stood in the way of U.S. efforts to extend the Iran arms ban as they sought to keep the nuclear accord on life support.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed European powers on the Security Council for forcing the United States to invoke snapback.

"The United States took this decisive action because, in addition to Iran’s failure to perform its commitments [under the nuclear deal], the Security Council failed to extend the U.N. arms embargo on Iran, which had been in place for 13 years," Pompeo said on Saturday evening. "The Security Council’s inaction would have paved the way for Iran to buy all manner of conventional weapons," including from Russia and China.
Trump said preparing executive order to sanction any who break Iran arms embargo
US President Donald Trump is planning to sign an executive order authorizing him to enact sanctions against anyone who breaks an arms embargo on Iran which is set to expire in October, Reuters reported Friday, citing multiple sources with knowledge of the matter.

The measure will allow Washington to bar access to US markets to any violators of the embargo, the report said.

The White House has yet to comment on the report.

The US has sought the indefinite extension of an arms embargo that would otherwise expire on October 18 under the nuclear deal. The Security Council rejected a US effort to extend the embargo in a lopsided vote that got support from only one country, the Dominican Republic.

And in defiance of overwhelming opposition, the US is preparing to declare that all international sanctions against Iran have been restored. Few countries believe the move is legal, and such action could provoke a credibility crisis at the United Nations.
US to slap sanctions on over two dozen targets tied to Iran arms
The United States on Monday will sanction more than two dozen people and entities involved in Iran's nuclear, missile and conventional arms programs, a senior US official said, putting teeth behind UN sanctions on Tehran that Washington argues have resumed despite the opposition of allies and adversaries.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said Iran could have enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon by the end of the year and that Tehran has resumed long-range missile cooperation with nuclear-armed North Korea. He did not provide detailed evidence regarding either assertion.

The new sanctions fit into US President Donald Trump's effort to limit Iran's regional influence and come a week after US-brokered deals for the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to normalize ties with Israel, pacts that may coalesce a wider coalition against Iran while appealing to pro-Israel US voters ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

The new sanctions also put European allies, China and Russia on notice that while their inclination may be to ignore the US drive to maintain the UN sanctions on Iran, companies based in their nations would feel the bite for violating them.
Senate GOP Pushes for Fresh Sanctions on Iran’s Financial Sector
Senate Republicans petitioned the White House to press forward with a set of new sanctions on the entirety of Iran's financial sector, a move that would cut Tehran off from the global banking system.

In a letter sent to President Donald Trump Thursday, top GOP senators led by Tom Cotton (Ark.) urged the administration to "impose sanctions on the entirety of Iran's financial sector," which still remains connected to the primary global banking system known as the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT).

"At least 14 Iranian banks remain open and connected to the SWIFT financial messaging network for sanctions-free financial transactions, providing the regime a crucial economic lifeline," the letter stated. "This is despite the fact that most other Iranian financial institutions are under sanctions by the U.S. Treasury for their financial sponsorship of terrorism—including the Central Bank of Iran, which capitalizes these remaining banks and may be using them as fronts for its activities."

If the Trump administration moves forward with new sanctions, the country would be disconnected from the global financial system, "and the regime's ability to fund its malign regional influence would be even further diminished," according to the letter. The White House, in January, issued an executive order authorizing greater action on Iran. The senators are asking the White House to use the power granted in that executive order to sanction every Iranian bank still accessing SWIFT.

In addition to Cotton, the letter was endorsed by Sens. John Cornyn (R., Texas), Ted Cruz (R., Texas), Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), Rick Scott (R., Fla.), and Thom Tillis (R., N.C.).
Iran's Zarif says world should oppose US sanctions or expect same
The world community should oppose the United States' use of sanctions to impose its will as a "bully," or expect to face sanctions itself, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Saturday.

Separately the chief of the elite Revolutionary Guards rejected as a "bluff" any possibility of a military conflict with the United States.

US President Donald Trump plans to issue an executive order allowing him to impose US sanctions on anyone violating an arms embargo against Iran, which is set to expire in October, sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

The Trump administration says that on Saturday all United Nations sanctions on Iran have to be restored and the conventional arms embargo will no longer expire in mid-October.

"The Americans as a rule act as a bully and impose sanction... The world community should decide how to act towards bullying," Zarif told Iranian state television hours before the US move aiming to restore UN sanctions against Iran.

"As they (other countries) will face the same thing tomorrow when America takes the same action towards the Nord Stream project, as well as other projects because a bully will continue to act as a bully if he is allowed to do it once," Zarif said.

The United States and many European countries oppose the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which they say will increase Europe’s reliance on Russian gas.
Iran could have material for nuke by end of year
As Iran counts down the minutes to the end of an arms embargo so that it can begin importing much-needed technology and dual-use equipment for weapons, a senior US official alleged that it is resuming work with North Korea on long-range missiles. Iran also could have enough material for a nuclear weapon by the end of the year. The report was part of a larger Reuters report about new US sanctions against up to two dozen people and entities that will be slapped onto Iran. The US has urged the UN to snap back sanctions on Iran after Washington says Iran violated a 2015 deal.

Iran has circled the wagons and brought in the Russians, China, Turkey, the EU and many other countries to oppose the US attempts to put more sanctions on. The US allegation about the long-range missile work is linked to other US claims that Iran has violated agreements linked to ballistic missile development. Iran says it can build whatever it wants. It recently put a military satellite into space.

Iran has a massive indigenous missiles program consisting of advanced solid and liquid fueled rockets, missiles and precision guided missiles. Iran has also transferred this technology to the Houthis in Yemen, militias in Iraq, Syria, Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Iran’s missile program has advanced in recent years, even under sanctions. Iran claims it makes most of its parts locally. However in the past Iran has benefited from North Korean expertise. Like most countries whose missiles are based on Soviet designs Iran has used know-how that is part of reverse engineering or basing missiles on Chinese, Russian and North Korean designs. It has then gone on to try to improve the designs, increasing ranges and precision.
Iran’s Rouhani warns of ‘crushing response’ to US sanctions declaration at UN
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday warned the US it faces defeat after the Trump administration declared that UN sanctions are back in force against the Islamic Republic, a move rejected by other world powers.

“America is approaching a certain defeat in its sanctions move … It faced defeat and negative response from the international community. We will never yield to US pressure and Iran will give a crushing response to America’s bullying,” Rouhani said during a televised cabinet meeting, according to Reuters.

He added: “America’s maximum pressure against Iran, in its political and legal aspects, has turned into America’s maximum isolation.”

Rouhani’s remarks echoed those of Iran’s foreign ministry.

“The United States is very, very isolated in its claims,” ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said. “The whole world is saying nothing has changed.”

The comments came after the Trump administration announced the so-called “snapback” of the sanctions was in effect and threatened to “impose consequences” on any UN member state that fails to comply.

The sanctions in question were lifted in 2015 when Iran and six world powers — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the US — reached a landmark nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Iran's Missile Violations: Where is the International Community?
"The important point about these missiles is that they are fully equipped with homing. It means they are of the fire-and-forget type. We fire the missile and the data is on the missile itself, it has various navigation systems built in." — Iran's Navy chief, Adm. Hossein Khanzadi, Associated Press, June 8, 2020.

"We are open about the fact that Hezbollah's budget, its income, its expenses, everything it eats and drinks, its weapons and rockets, come from the Islamic Republic of Iran." — Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah, The New Yorker, December 13, 2016.

"Today, more than ever, there is fertile ground - with the grace of God - for the annihilation, the wiping out, and the collapse of the Zionist regime. In Lebanon alone, over 100,000 missiles are ready to be launched...." — Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Brigadier General Hossein Salami, to Iran's state-run IRIB TV, July 1, 2016.

Iran's foreign-based weapons factories give it an advantageous military capability for waging wars or striking other nations through third countries such as Syria, Lebanon, Yemen or Iraq.

Instead of appeasing the ruling mullahs of Iran, it is incumbent on the international community to act to stop this predatory regime -- now.
Iran’s IRGC commander vows revenge in message to Trump
Maj.-Gen. Hossein Salami, head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iran, vowed revenge in a message addressed to US President Donald Trump. He referred to the US killing of IRGC Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani and mocked American press reports that Iran had targeted a US ambassador to South Africa.

He indicated it would be unjust and dishonorable for Iran to target a “female ambassador.” It was unclear if that was meant to indicate Iran’s regime views women as inferior targets to a man like Soleimani or if Tehran would not target an ambassador because ambassadors are not the same rank as Soleimani.

The IRGC leader discussed at length the greatness of Soleimani in his address. He talked about the need for the “path of Jihad” and how the Iranian nation was “glorious” and had grown to a high level since the 1979 Islamic revolution, according to Tasnim News. Most of this was just boilerplate propaganda.

Salami had some pointed language in his discussion, however. He said that “today we have gone to the Mediterranean; we will continue to pursue our enemies.” This appeared to mean that Iran has bases in Lebanon and Syria and has a strong hand with its proxy Hezbollah. The US killed Soleimani in early January. Iran responded with ballistic missile fire on American bases in Iraq and has since then activated proxies there to carry out more attacks, killing several members of the US-led coalition in March.
'Miscarriage of justice': Australian leads call for Olympics to kick out Iran
The Australian lawyer leading the charge for Iran to be exiled from international competition over the execution of a champion wrestler has rejected the contention it was unrelated to sport, saying he “can’t think of a more grievous attack on the humanitarian values of the Olympic movement”.

From the European Union to US presidential candidate Joe Biden, the condemnation of the Islamic republic over the hanging of 27-year-old Navid Afkari last weekend has been far and wide.

For Brendan Schwab, it is vital that words are accompanied by action. The former head of Australian soccer’s players union now operates in Switzerland running the World Players Association, the peak body for player associations across all sports.

In an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, he turned up the heat on the International Olympic Committee after IOC vice-president and Australian Olympic Committee supremo John Coates indicated Iran was unlikely to be suspended or expelled from the Olympics over the death of Afkari, who claimed he was tortured into making a false confession aired on state television.

Coates told the Herald this week he had spoken to IOC president Thomas Bach about the Afkari case and the difficulty with sanctions was that many countries still had capital punishment and the wrestler’s execution, for the alleged murder of a security agent at an anti-government demonstration in 2018, was not related to a sporting event. Coates said Bach would take the issue of any IOC response to its executive meeting next month.
Iran’s regime 'so hated, another revolt' may come after wrestler execution
The Islamic Republic of Iran’s execution of a champion wrestler for his role in peaceful protests against regime corruption may trigger new nationwide demonstrations against the country’s rulers, according to a Thursday statement from 150 Iranian political and civil rights activists.

The US government news outlet Radio Farda first reported on Friday that the activists issued the statement to protest the regime’s execution of Navid Afkari, writing that they made "parallels between his hanging and the brutal massacre of protesters during the November 2019 uprising against Iran's clergy-dominated establishment.”

Radio Farda reported that the Iranian leaders responsible for Afkari's death are so hated that another revolt may be on the horizon.

Iranian authorities hastily executed Afkari on September 12 for allegedly killing a member of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps. Afkari said he was brutally tortured to confess to a crime he did not commit. "If I am executed, people should know that in the 21st century, Iran still executes innocent people," he said.

Human rights organizations – ranging from Amnesty International to Human Rights Watch – documented the judicial malfeasance and torture Afkari faced prior to his execution.

According to the statement from the activists, Afkari’s death originated “from the same headquarters that had ordered the killing of hundreds of protesters in November 2019," adding that "the order was carried out with the same purpose as the previous massacre: to intimidate the people and suppress the protesters."
Iran, Russia pan ‘illegitimate, reckless’ US claim UN sanctions back in force
Iran on Sunday called on the rest of the world to unite against US “reckless actions,” after Washington unilaterally declared UN sanctions against the Islamic republic were back in force.

Meanwhile the the local currency dropped down to its lowest level ever on Sunday, at 272,500 to the US dollar at money exchange shops across Tehran.

The rial has lost more than 30 percent of its value to the dollar since June as sweeping US sanctions on Iran continue to crush its ability to sell oil globally. Iran’s currency was at 32,000 rials to the dollar at the time of Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, which was signed by the Obama administration but which the Trump administration pulled the US from.

“We expect the international community and all the countries in the world to stand against these reckless actions by the regime in the White House and speak in one voice,” foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told a news conference in Tehran.

The Iranian government spokesman said the snapback sanctions have only happened in “the fantastical world” of the Trump administration. He said the US stands on the wrong side of history. “They are attempting to make everyone believe it, but nobody is buying it except for themselves.”

“It is a television show whose sole presenter, viewers and those cheering it on are Mr. Pompeo himself and a handful of others,” the spokesman said, referring to the US secretary of state.
German Green Party slammed for courting Iran after wrestler’s execution
The powerful German Green Party, whose Foreign Policy Spokesperson Omid Nouripour is on the board of a boycott Israel organization, faced withering criticism from a prominent human rights NGO on Sunday for its efforts to promote dialogue with the clerical regime in Tehran.

The NGO Stop the Bomb, which aims to both stop Iran’s ambition to secure a nuclear weapon and promote civil freedoms in the Islamic Republic, described on Twitter the new Iran policy of the Green Party as “Bankruptcy of the Greens” because it “warms up the dialogue idea” with the regime.

Stop the Bomb accused the Greens of apparently deceiving the public, writing as if the Greens did not know they are “dealing with a state terrorist and antisemitic regime.”

The Green Party initiative comes one week after Iran’s regime executed the Iranian champion wrestler Navid Afkari because he protested against regime corruption in 2018.

The United States under both the Obama and Trump administrations declared the Islamic Republic to be the world's largest state-sponsor of terrorism.

The Green Party published a list of 25 Iranian demands that the party urged Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration to adopt.
Investigation: Radical ‘American Muslims for Palestine’ Congressional Lobbying Week
American Muslims for Palestine (AMP)—one of the most radical and controversial anti-Israel groups in the United States —spent this past week training anti-Israel activists to send them into lobbying meetings with members of Congress. Among AMP’s partners in this effort were the anti-Zionist Jewish Voice for Peace, UNRWA-USA, and even the NAACP.

Contents 1 Introduction: What is AMP? 2 Virtual Palestine Advocacy Days 3 Monday, September 14: Virtual Activist Training 4 Tuesday, September 15: Congressional Plenary 5 Congressional Meetings 6 Event Expulsion 7 Conclusion

Introduction: What is AMP? An organization with a far reach into campuses and radical leftist organizations, AMP has been the subject of numerous LI posts dating back several years. We documented AMP’s involvement in organizing protests and disruption of the Christians United for Israel Annual Summit in July 2019 in Investigation: Anti-Israel groups plan disruption of Christians United for Israel Annual Summit. That post has a section devoted to AMP’s origins and leadership, including its role in Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). You can also read about AMP influence on SJP in Investigation: ‘Students for Justice in Palestine’ Locked Down Its Annual Conference, What Was It Hiding?

In addition, AMP co-organized the U.S. Tour for Janna Jihad, which we covered in Rewarding Palestinian child exploitation: Janna Jihad goes to Congress. And, when AMP threw me out of its Rashida-Tlaib-keynoted conference in November 2019, we covered the event in Fearing Negative Coverage, ‘American Muslims for Palestine’ Conference Ejects Legal Insurrection Reporter and Rep. Rashida Tlaib Keynotes ‘American Muslims for Palestine’ Conference Devoted to Destroying Israel.

Virtual Palestine Advocacy Days This past week has brought a new round of AMP antics in the form of Virtual Palestine Advocacy Days: a full week of anti-Israel congressional lobbying over Zoom, including a virtual “training session” for the assembled anti-Israel activists, and a live-streamed congressional plenary featuring remarks by Reps Betty McCollum, Debbie Dingell, Judy Chu, Rashida Tlaib, André Carson, and Donald Payne, Jr.

Normally, AMP conducts their annual lobbying week in person (usually in the spring, perhaps as a foil to AIPAC’s long-standing early March congressional visits). I wrote about the 2019 version of the event with my former Middle East Forum colleague Dr. Oren Litwin. In our piece, Dr. Litwin and I summarized AMP’s close links with the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), a now-defunct Hamas front in the United States. We also pointed out several notable participants in the 2019 proceedings, including Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) acolyte and Electronic Intifada blogger Joe Catron, and Reps Athena Salman and (to nobody’s surprise) Rashida Tlaib. (Incidentally, when AMP exiled me from their November 2019 conference, AMP staffer Munjed Ahmad justified the decision by referencing that very article, claiming it was full of “lies”, and arguing that its contents indicated I wouldn’t be writing “anything positive” about AMP’s 2019 convention, so I would not be permitted to participate. He neglected to mention anything specific the piece had mistaken.)
Legal Group: Zoom and California University in Violation of U.S. Law for Hosting Forum With Terrorist
Lawyers petitioned the Trump administration to penalize the Zoom meeting platform and a San Francisco university for hosting an upcoming event with a Palestinian terrorist, a forum that they say violates American laws.

San Francisco State University is scheduled to host next Wednesday an online event with Leila Khaled, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a U.S.-designated terrorist organization that has murdered Americans. Khaled is one of the PFLP's most notorious members, becoming the first woman to hijack an airplane in 1969 as part of a massive terror operation by the group. She attempted to hijack another plane the following year and has since become one of the Palestinian terror faction's most popular faces.

In a letter sent earlier this week to the Department of Justice, the legal advocacy group Lawfare Project requested that a formal investigation be launched into Zoom and SFSU for providing material support to a terrorist organization, according to a copy of that communication obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. The penalty for breaching sanctions law is a substantial fine and up to 20 years in prison.

Officials with the Lawfare Project maintain that Zoom and SFSU will violate portions of the U.S. penal code that deem it illegal to give "material support or resources" to designated terrorist organizations and their members if they host Khaled. This includes technological and computing services and the virtual platform being provided by the university and Zoom. The law makes clear that it is illegal for any party to knowingly provide a terror group with "tangible or intangible" services. The law is intentionally broad in order to discourage Americans from engaging in all manner with designated terror groups.

The event comes just days after legal experts raised similar questions about an upcoming Council on Foreign Relations online forum with Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif, who also is sanctioned.
On Fox’s Outnumbered, Marie Harf Errs on Settlements and Beyond
As most CAMERA readers surely will know by now, on September 15 the Abraham Accords were signed between the U.S., Israel, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. Several television news teams covered the historic event.

On Fox’s Outnumbered, Marie Harf, former Senior Advisor for Strategic Communications to Secretary of State John Kerry, was one of a number of commentators giving her views during the lead-up to the televised event. At about 12:18 PM, Harf said: The Palestinians, a people without a state, a people whose land in the West Bank and Gaza has been increasingly taken over by Israeli settlements, today we are at a place while they were negotiating with Israel, more and more of the land they have been living on has been taken

We are left today with a group of people, human beings, who have no rights, no representative government, who are still under occupation and no plan, no pressure from the Arab side to advance that peace process.

Host Harris Faulkner pushed back by repeating former Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Dan Gillerman’s statement just a few minutes earlier that there is still hope for Palestinians to come to the table, but not on Harf’s obviously erroneous claim about settlements. Of course, as anyone with a passing familiarity with the region knows, there have been no Israeli settlements in Gaza since 2005, when Israel removed, in some cases by force, every single one of its citizens that had been living there.
3 Holocaust monuments vandalized with swastikas in Ukraine and Russia
In three separate incidents this week, swastikas were painted on two monuments for Holocaust victims in Ukraine, and another one in Russia.

At the former concentration camp Bogdanovka, in southern Ukraine, a note with three swastikas was addressed to three prominent Jews: Ukrainian President Vlodymyr Zelensky, former politician Yevhen Chervonenko and Eduard Dolinsky, director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee.

“Come to your senses, please stop, because the sale of Ukrainian land will quickly lead you to the Holocaust,” the note said.

Additional swastikas were etched and painted on the marble monument commemorating the murder of 54,000 Jews there during the Holocaust, Dolinsky wrote Tuesday on Facebook.

The same day, another incident was documented near Kirovgrad, some 100 miles north of Bogdanovka, where swastikas were spray-painted on a slab of marble commemorating the mass shooting of thousands of Jews in 1942. They wrote “Death to the kikes” at the foot of the monument.

Police are looking for the perpetrators of both incidents, the Ukrainian National Police wrote in a statement.
Australian chain criticized for 'WWII evacuee' children's costume
Major Australian costume company Smiffys has received heavy criticism recently for its controversial WWII line of children's costumes, one of which bears a striking resemblance to the clothing worn by the famed Dutch Holocaust victim Anne Frank.

While the official Smiffys site markets the costume as "WWII evacuee girl," at least one major site which sold the costume overseas had marketed it as an "Anne Frank costume," quickly taking the costume down after receiving complaints.

Last month, the costume was pulled from US stores after it received heavy backlash over the its resemblance to the teenage Holocaust victim, who was killed by the Nazis in the Bergen Belsen death camp in 1945, along with her sister.

The Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC), Australia's leading civil rights organization, has called on Australian stores to remove the evacuee girl and evacuee boy costumes from their shelves.

In a statement on Saturday, ADC Chairman Dr. Dvir Abramovich said the costume was a "new low" for "poor taste, insensitivity and trivialisation of the Holocaust."

"This costume that seeks to make a profit out of suffering and tragedy crosses the line, big time.," Abramovich said. "Cheap exploitation is not the way to honor the memory of the millions of children who were not evacuated in time, and who suffered terrible deaths."
Antisemitic Polish priest banned by a well-known Canadian parish
In an unusual decision, the Catholic archdiocese of Edmonton in Canada has denounced a Polish priest who was blamed for airing antisemitic ideas on his Radio Maryja radio station in Poland, according to the Edmonton Journal, a Canadian local newspaper.

Father Tadeusz Rydzyk was barred from visiting or speaking at the Archdiocese of Edmonton, located in Canadian province Alberta, and any affiliated parishes.

The decision was made after B’nai Brith in Alberta approached the Edmonton archdiocese and explained the situation. Following a 45 minute-long conversation between B’nai Brith Alberta spokesperson Abe Silverman with Archbishop Richard Smith, the diocese announced that it would make sure Rydzyk would not speak in Alberta.

“We are grateful to the archbishop and his diocese for taking this principled and very important step to recognize that there are just some people in the world that you want to try and avoid because they’re divisive and racist,” said Silverman.

Rydzyk's Radio Maryja has made headlines before for airing antisemitic content. According to the Edmonton Journal, in 2016, the station claimed that US senators were critical of the Polish government because of the senators’ Jewish heritage.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has marked Rydzyk's radio station as antisemitic, stating on its website that it has a 25-year history of airing antisemitic content.
Nazi flag sprawled out in Miami disturbs Jews ahead of Rosh Hashanah
Residents of a high-rise apartment building in Miami, Florida reported seeing a Nazi flag laid out close to their building before the Rosh Hashanah weekend began, according to Fox News.

The flag was seen sprawled out across bushes by the condominium on two instances, one of which was documented by a resident of the building next door.

"Wednesday morning, I walked out on my balcony. I looked down. I see a Nazi flag displayed, and it kind of confounded me. I was like, ‘What is this?'" resident Frank Frione Jr. said in a video posted to social media, according to Fox News.

He said he found the flag again on Friday.

“Well, my friends, the Nazi flag is back up,” he said in a subsequent video, noting the beginning of Rosh Hashanah. "To have it on any holiday displayed like that, it makes a big impact."

According to the Fox report, a few had already complained to the police that the flag was being displayed publicly and prominently in front of the condominium.
Flowing water in Vanuatu village, thanks to Israeli aid
In the South Pacific country of Vanuatu, communities in Latano, South Tongoa and Central Pentecost now have access to water without having to walk more than a kilometer to reach the nearest source.

That’s because water-filtration systems, taps and pipes have been installed by Israeli humanitarian aid NGO IsraAID in partnership with the government of Vanuatu.

And to assure the water doesn’t stop flowing, hundreds of community members have been trained in hygiene and sanitation projects and operation and maintenance of the water systems.

“The whole population of the Latano community is really happy deep down in our hearts. We are overjoyed because of the water system here,” said John Mark Vuti, chairman of Latano.

“In Latano, it has been four decades since their previous water system broke,” Vuti said.

The project has prioritized women’s engagement and participation, ensuring that all members of the community can contribute and develop their own skills, according to IsraAID.
Shlomi Shabat Joined by Fellow Israeli Singers in New Rendition of ‘Ani V’Ata’
To mark Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, popular Israeli singer Shlomi Shabat, in collaboration with a number of other well-known performers, released on Thursday a music video featuring a new version of the famous song “Ani V’ata” (“You and I”).

The original track was first sung by the late Israeli artist Arik Einstein in 1971.

Shabat’s rendition includes vocals by Israeli singer and “Fauda” star Idan Amedi, Israel’s Eurovision Song Contest 2020 representative Eden Alene, Liran Danino, Yuval Dayan, Guy & Yahel, Sapir Saban and Odeya Azoulay.

They sing, “You and I will change the world / You and I by then all will follow / Others have said it before me/ But it doesn’t matter / You and I will change the world.”

Scenes of silence: Israel marks Rosh Hashanah with 2nd lockdown
Israel on Friday imposed a new national coronavirus lockdown, the country’s second this year.

The closure, marking the first time in the world an advanced country has imposed a repeat closure to curb the pandemic, went into effect hours before Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and will extend through other key religious holidays, including Yom Kippur and Sukkot.

As the closure came into effect at 2 p.m., Israel’s roads, markets and beaches slowly emptied. Some 7,000 policemen and soldiers, backed up by local municipality personnel, deployed throughout the country to enforce the closure using roadblocks and patrols.

Under the new lockdown, nearly all businesses open to the public will be closed. People must remain within 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) of home, but there are numerous exceptions, including shopping for food or medicine, going to work, attending protests and even seeking essential pet care. The public is also allowed to attend funerals or circumcision ceremonies, to exercise and more — all under strict limitations.

Israeli Scientists Have Revived Ancient Judean Dates From Extinction

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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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