Prof. Eugene Kontorovich: Refuting Btselem’s Israel-Apartheid Accusation
The Apartheid accusation in Btselem’s recent report is not just totally false, it is anti-Semitic. Apartheid is not just a term for policies one dislikes – it is an international crime defined as “inhumane acts committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups, and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.” These “acts” include such things as “widespread” murder and enslavement. The legal standard for labeling a government an “apartheid regime” is set quite high—indeed, so high that no country since the end of South African apartheid has ever received the distinction. Despite massive systematic oppression of racial and ethnic minorities in countries from China to Sri Lanka to Sudan, the apartheid label has never been applied to those countries or any other country by the U.S. or anyone else.
Invoking the heinous crime of Apartheid to criticize Israeli policy is a classic anti-Semitic rhetoric: it accuses Jews, uniquely among the peoples of the world, of one of the most heinous crimes, while also judging the Jewish state by a metric not applied to any other country. And the clear agenda is to entirely delegitimize Israel: the remedy for apartheid is not reform, it is the abolition of the regime itself and a total reshaping of the government.
The very essence of apartheid was the physical separation – apartness – of people based on a legislated racial hierarchy. There is no racial or ethnic distinctions in Israeli law. Under the Reservation of Separate Amenities Act of 1953, municipal grounds could be reserved for a particular race, creating, among other things, separate beaches, buses, hospitals, schools and universities. Inside of Israel there are no separation of this sort. In Judea and Samaria Israelis and Palestinians buy at the same stores, work together and etc.In South-Africa Public beaches, swimming pools, some pedestrian bridges, drive-in cinema parking spaces, parks, and public toilets were segregated. Restaurants and hotels were required to bar blacks. In Israel and all territories under its jurisdiction, Palestinians patronize the same shops and restaurants as Jews do. It is true that Jews are de facto excluded from Palestinian-controlled territory, but that is not the Apartheid Btselem has in mind.
Though funded by EU countries, @btselem's is working to convince Israelis NOT to make territorial concessions to Palestinians. By claiming Israel commits "Apartheid" in Gaza, it says to Israelis: Instead of "land for peace," you get "land for accusations of Apartheid."— Eugene Kontorovich (@EVKontorovich) January 15, 2021
US House reintroduces bill to sanction fiscal supporters of Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad
A bill that would impose American sanctions on supporters of Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) or their affiliates has been reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.After Watchdog Report, UNRWA Admits Educational Materials Rife With Anti-Israel Racism and Incitement
Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) and Brian Mast (R-Fla.) reintroduced the Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act on Thursday. Hamas and PIJ are U.S.-designated terrorist groups.
The bill passed the House in 2019 but died in the U.S. Senate.
If enacted, the bill would require the president to submit to Congress an annual report for the next three years identifying foreign persons, agencies or instrumentalities of a foreign state who knowingly and materially assist Hamas, the PIJ or an affiliate or successor of one of those organizations.
It would also require the president to report to Congress on each government that provides support for acts of terrorism and provides material support to Hamas, PIJ or any affiliate or successor organization.
Additionally, the president would need to prohibit that government’s transactions in foreign exchanges that are subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and prevent that government’s transfers of credits or payments between financial institutions subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which serves Palestinian refugees, admitted on Thursday that its educational materials contain exhortations to violence, hate speech, and terrorism that violate UN regulations.
In a statement by UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini one day after the release of a report by the group IMPACT-se examining the materials, UNRWA asserted that its educational curriculum — which is used to teach over 500,000 children — “emphasizes the UN values of neutrality, human rights, tolerance, equality, and non-discrimination with regard to race, gender, language and religion.”
The agency claimed that the inclusion of the offensive material was due to bureaucratic problems prompted by the shift to remote learning during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Unfortunately, in the rush to continue students’ education uninterrupted, some material the Agency had previously identified as not in line with UN values was mistakenly included,” the statement said. “As soon as the issue was identified, the Agency conducted a thorough review of the entirety of the self-learning material that UNRWA developed and took steps to address it.”
“UNRWA has a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination and for incitement to hatred and violence in its schools and in all of its operations,” it claimed. “Any breach reported is dealt with firmly. The Agency adheres, in its education program, to the highest standards of neutrality, humanity, and tolerance.”
Marcus Sheff, the CEO of IMPACT-se, commented, “After years of hearing UNRWA’s claims that it does not teach hate and has safeguards in place, we have for the first time taken a [peek] behind the curtain and what we see is shocking.”
We suspended funding to UNRWA, which is riddled with waste, fraud & concerns of support to terrorism. UNRWA is not a refugee agency; it’s estimated <200,000 Arabs displaced in 1948 are still alive and most others are not refugees by any rational criteria. https://t.co/SdyigJPHiH— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 14, 2021
A tribute to Trump’s winning Middle East policies - opinion
It is easy and almost natural to throw out the baby with soiled bathwater. But it is a mistake to do so.Dr. Michael Oren on David M. Friedman's Impact as US Envoy to Israel Jerusalem gives preliminary approval for location of new US Embassy
What I mean is that it would be a colossal mistake for the incoming American administration to throw out the Trump administration’s Middle East policies – successful policies that made the US and Israel safer and stronger! – because of outgoing-US President Donald Trump’s vulgarity and improbity.
Indeed, distinguishing between a politician and his policies is hard. It takes political maturity and self-restraint to do so. Most presidents fail at this. But US President-elect Joe Biden must make every effort to avoid falling into this trap – despite the poisonous partisan climate in Washington created first by president Barack Obama and his adversaries, and appreciably amplified by Trump and his adversaries.
For the benefit of Biden, and for the benefit of Israelis too (who owe a debt of gratitude to Trump), here is a summary of the Trump administration’s Mideast policy innovations and accomplishments. Biden should be building upon these valuable advances, not bulldozing them. Insisting on historical truths: The Trump team did a great service to the cause of long-term Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab peace by insisting and acting on basic historical truths that long have been distorted by “peace-process professionals” and the so-called “international consensus.”
Jerusalem municipal authorities said Wednesday they have given preliminary approval to a location for a new US Embassy in the city.
In a statement on Twitter, Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum said the city’s building and planning committee approved the plans.
She said another committee must still grant approval, which she expects to happen in the coming weeks.
The location is on the city’s Hebron Road, a central thoroughfare, and not far from the current temporary embassy.
The site is near an invisible line that divides West and East Jerusalem, the part of the city captured by Israel from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War and claimed by the Palestinians for a future capital. It was not immediately clear if it crosses the boundary.
In a controversial move, the outgoing Trump administration recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city in 2018. It was one of a string of diplomatic gifts delivered by US President Donald Trump to Israel.
"From #Trump to #Biden: The Way Forward for US National Security" is a clear-eyed assessment that reviews Trump’s policies, details which achievements Pres. Biden should preserve, & provides recommendations on critical issues confronting US foreign policy: https://t.co/SAzlqmFrKf— FDD (@FDD) January 14, 2021
MEMRI: Saudi Writer: Enjoying Good Living Conditions, Democracy And Rights, Israeli Arabs Are Unlikely To Renounce Their Israeli Citizenship
In a December 22, 2020 article in the London-based daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Saudi journalist Mishaal al-Sudairy wrote that Israeli Arabs are not likely to renounce their Israeli citizenship, since their situation in the country is good: they are part of the Israeli economy, working as doctors, lawyers and artists, among other professions. Israeli Arabs hold political positions, represent Israel abroad, and even serve in its security apparatuses. There are also Arab athletes on Israeli sports teams, he noted, such as footballer Dia Saba, who was formerly acquired by an Israeli team for a record transfer fee of over €2m, and has now joined the UAE Pro League club Al-Nasr and will represent it in the Gulf League.
The following is an English translation of the article published on the Saudi Al-Arabiya website.
"A Palestinian woman named Huda Naccache was recently selected to be Israel’s representative to the Miss Earth beauty pageant in the Philippines. Huda stated that she participated in the pageant to cast light upon her Arab-Israeli community.
"I looked at Huda’s photos and read her words, and I must admit that she has both the looks and the brains.
"Some people attacked Huda for representing Israel, but this is such a frivolous attack for two reasons. First, Palestinians represent at least 22 percent of Israel’s citizens, and this share is expected to increase to 50 percent within the next five decades due to their high [birth] rate.
"Second, before Huda, when poet Mahmoud Darwish was living in Israel and holding an Israeli passport in the sixties, he was part of the Israeli delegation to the Youth Festival of Socialist Countries (World Festival of Youth and Students) in Moscow in the Soviet Union, as a member of the Israeli Communist Party.
"A young Palestinian girl blows soap bubbles near the Dome of the Rock at al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's old city on the first day of Eid al-Adha on August 21, 2018. (AFP)
"It is out of the question for Palestinians who live in Israel to renounce their Israeli citizenship, just like Indian Muslims categorically refuse to renounce their Indian citizenship to hold that of the Muslim country of Pakistan, for reasons pertaining to living conditions, practicality, rights, democracy, and even the future.
"Many Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship engage in professional life there, and there is no shame in that. They are employees, doctors, engineers, lawyers, and artists. Many Palestinian men and women are even unabashedly and winningly involved in public security and the army in the Israeli territories or on the borders. They even take an oath upon graduation from security and army colleges and salute the Israeli flag.
"Furthermore, many Palestinians hold key positions in Israel as ministers, ambassadors, and deputies. Palestinian youth of both genders play in different sports clubs and represent Israel in international competitions. For instance, the Israeli football team includes a large number of Palestinian players.
Israel and four Arab states discuss energy sector
Israel’s energy minister held a video conference call with his counterparts in the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Sudan and Bahrain for the first time on Thursday, according to a statement from his office.
The Israeli minister, Yuval Steinitz, said the conference call discussed recently normalised ties and what impact there could be on sectors including oil and gas, renewable energy and research and development, the statement said.
The four Arab states, in deals brokered by the United States, have agreed to set aside hostilities with Israel.
Also on the call were energy ministers from the United States and Egypt. Cairo made peace with Israel in 1979.
“The ministers discussed how diplomatic relations between the countries could revolutionize national security, economic prosperity and adding content to the peace agreements, including investments in energy research and development, deploying infrastructure and technology,” the statement said.
Miracle: Nations that met in 1967 at Khartoum's Arab Summit to declare the three no's—“no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations“—are now uniting in peace with Israel.— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) January 14, 2021
🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates https://t.co/oZEhY0j6qd
Biden taps Power, who allowed anti-settlement UN resolution, as USAID chief
US President-elect Joe Biden named Samantha Power, a former US ambassador to the United Nations, to a top foreign aid post on Wednesday.
Power — notable during her UN tenure in part because of her role in allowing through an anti-settlements resolution at the tail end of the Obama administration — was tapped as the administrator of the US Agency for International Development. Biden elevated her position to include a seat on the National Security Council, a reflection of his determination to roll back President Donald Trump’s diminishment of US assistance overseas, including to Palestinians.
Power, an expert on genocide, had a good relationship with the pro-Israel community during President Barack Obama’s first term, when as a member of the National Security Council she forcefully advocated for a robust U.S. presence in the international community.
That soured to a degree during Obama’s second term when she was U.N. ambassador and took a more central role in the increasing tensions between the administration and the Israeli government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Power became a locus for pro-Israel anger when she would not veto a resolution condemning Israel’s settlements policy, although she would not vote for it either.
Biden has said he wants to restore the assistance to the Palestinians, part of it administered through USAID, that Trump all but eliminated.
Jewish groups praised Power during her U.N. stint for raising the Israeli delegation’s profile, convening a conference on anti-Semitism and pushing through the recognition of Yom Kippur as an official holiday.
Some groups applauded Biden’s choice of Power to lead USAID.
Kuwaiti newspaper apologizes for using 'Israel' instead of 'The Zionist Entity.' https://t.co/bDR0cTWg7X— Khaled Abu Toameh (@KhaledAbuToameh) January 15, 2021
Divided and dismissed, Arab parties now bleeding support
The March 2020 elections gave Arab Israelis an unprecedented 15 Knesset seats, the highest showing for their community in Israeli political history.Disgruntled Arab candidates search for new ‘political homes’
“From the first elections in 1949 until today, we have not received this degree of support and this number of seats,” Joint List chair Ayman Odeh said in a statement hailing the victory at the time.
With hopes running high, the Joint List recommended Benny Gantz for prime minister. It was a nearly unprecedented historic moment, the first time in nearly three decades that an Arab party had recommended a mainstream Zionist politician for the premiership. (After every election, the president of Israel solicits recommendations from each Knesset party head as to whom he should task with forming and leading a government.)
The move could have given Gantz the opportunity to form a government without Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, if he were able to corral the anti-Netanyahu parties into line behind the move. Instead, Gantz wound up joining forces with the right-wing premier, beginning the unhappy life of one of Israel’s most divided governments. The Joint List was again left out in the cold.
Internally divided and the target of ire within the Arab community, with little to show for the past year’s work, the Joint List now appears on the verge of disintegration.
Recent polls show the Joint List shedding as many as one-third of its seats, and internal rifts may weaken it even further, potentially sending some of its constituent factions tumbling below the election threshold.
Recent public opinion polls show that the Joint List is set to lose four to five seats in the upcoming general election.PMW: “Israeli rabbis indoctrinate the Jewish kids: Kill the Palestinian children” - Palestinian “expert” libels Israel
The Joint List’s plummeting numbers is the result of growing dissatisfaction with its members, as well as internal differences and an aspiration for change in the Arab citizen’s relationship with the Israeli establishment.
Some Arab political activists are now searching for alternatives to the Joint List. Some have formed their own parties, while others are seeking to join other parties.
In the 2020 election, the Joint List, headed by MK Ayman Odeh, increased the number of its seats from 13 to 15, remaining as the third-largest party in the Knesset until Yesh Atid slit off from Blue and White to lead the opposition.
At this stage, it’s not clear whether the four parties comprising the Joint List – Hadash, United Arab List, Ta’al and Balad – would again run together in the next election.
Some Arab Israelis believe that the recent rapprochement between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Mansour Abbas, head of the United Arab List, will drive away many former voters of the Join List.
A Palestinian alleged “military expert” disseminates the lie that Israeli rabbis are teaching Jewish kids to “kill everyone who is not Jewish,” as reported by Palestinian Media Watch. Now Wasef Erekat has taken his libel a step further, claiming that the rabbis specify that Jewish kids should “kill the Palestinian children”:
Official PA TV “military expert” Wasef Erekat: “The Jews, the Israeli rabbis, are indoctrinating the Jewish kids: “Kill whoever is not Jewish.” They are indoctrinating the Jewish children: “Kill the Palestinian children.”'
[Official PA TV, Passport, Jan. 6, 2021]
Ironically – and sadly - it is the PA that teaches Palestinian children to attack Israelis.
Earlier this month, senior Fatah official Abbas Zaki took pride in Palestinian children attacking and terrifying Jews, demonstrating the PA’s fundamental approval of Palestinian kids who seek to murder Jews. Zaki enthusiastically and approvingly told a story of a Palestinian boy who was waiting with a rock in his hand to “slaughter Jews”:
Senior Fatah Official Jibril: The "Criminal Jackass" Trump Was Thrown into the Garbage Bin of History; Arab Leaders who Succumbed to Trump’s Pressure Will Be Thrown There As Well pic.twitter.com/NWTzj8BKVM— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) January 15, 2021
Nasrallah stated in his recent speech that Hezbollah was attempting to bring reproachment between Hamas and Syria after the breakdown in ties during the Syrian war. I won't be surprised if Hamas members will be visiting Assad this year. https://t.co/BmtQ5Bl4mD— Joe Truzman (@Jtruzmah) January 14, 2021
Lebanon Wants an End to Iranian Occupation
The Lebanese are worried that their country will meet the fate endured by Iraq, Syria and Yemen, where the Iranians and their militia proxies are playing a major role in the civil wars currently plaguing these countries.Ruthie Blum: Will Israel lose its freedom to operate against Iran? - opinion
The Lebanese are demanding an end to Iranian occupation of their country; they are clearly hoping that the international community will intervene to assist them in freeing Lebanon from Iran's control.
A policy of appeasement or engagement with the mullahs will yield only one thing: blood running even more freely in the streets of Lebanon, Yemen, Syria and Iraq -- as well as nuclear weapons.
AS IF THIS weren’t an illustration of the degree to which Democrats misunderstand – or are willfully blind to – the mindset of the Iranian mullahs, Blinken goes on to make a ridiculous assertion. The cancellation of the JCPOA, he tweeted, “makes getting to yes with North Korea that much more challenging. Why would Kim Jong Un believe any commitments... Trump makes when he arbitrarily tears up an agreement with which the other party is complying? And... Trump’s attacks on the substance of the Iran deal constitute self-imposed pressure to get a stronger outcome with North Korea. Will... Trump get Pyongyang to dismantle the vast bulk of its nuclear enterprise up front, as Obama did with Iran? Will he be able to impose the most intrusive inspections regime ever, again as Obama did with Iran? Not likely.”Restart, Reset or Renew? The Strategy against Iranian Nuclear Ambition
In the first place, Trump didn’t “arbitrarily” rip up the deal; he did so as a result of Iranian violations, aggression and a refusal to allow inspections of the nuclear sites. The idea that the “other party” was complying with the JCPOA is laughable, as the more than 110,000 documents retrieved by the Mossad from a warehouse in Tehran revealed. It is likely – as Blinken should know – that Trump made the final decision to exit the deal after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu showed him the contents of the trove.
Furthermore, North Korea did not “dismantle the bulk of its nuclear enterprise” when Obama was in the Oval Office. And Kim Jong Un is buoyed by Biden’s election, since it was Trump with whom negotiations for “denuclearization” broke down. With all his protestations of friendship with the dictator in Pyongyang, Trump didn’t concede. Kim expects a different attitude from the next administration.
In preparation for what is a happy turn of events for him, Kim has been rattling his nuclear sabers while calling America a “war monster” and his country’s “worst enemy.” He, like Iran’s leaders, knows that this is the way to get Biden’s team on bended knee – a pose that they’ve been practicing and perfecting for the past four years.
Israel needs to prepare for this new reality in which its ability to combat Iranian forces and proxy groups is concerned. The Democrats in the White House, State Department and Capitol building are lying in wait to lead the world, as Obama proudly did, “from behind.”
Even if the deal negotiated in 2015 by the Obama administration were worth the effort, it is impossible to imagine the Iranians willingly recommitting to enrichment levels they have long since blown past. No one believes in their professed "peaceful use" of nuclear energy. So why does a return to the deal make any sense?Israel, Arab allies ‘on same page’ against Iran ahead of Biden transition
The killing of top terror-funding IRGC official Qasem Soleimani by the US military and Iran's relatively toothless retaliatory attack against two US bases in Iraq suggest that the regime fears what an escalation of tensions would mean to its own future more than it desires to stab at the "Great Satan." The regime may finally be on the verge of collapse.
Those sanctions are the only leverage the U.S. really has against Iran, and they may finally succeed, much as the Reagan administration was able to do to the USSR in the 1980s. Now is not the time to reduce or remove them in exchange for paper promises born of a campaign slogan, from a regime whose movements suggest it fears its days are numbered.
Through covert operations, hidden diplomacy, an intense military buildup, and a series of actions designed to throw sand in the gears of the Soviet economy, American policy destroyed the USSR from its fingertips to its heart. Former Soviet leaders including Mikhail Gorbachev have admitted it with grudging admiration. The only ones who were wrong were those in the liberal foreign policy establishment who pretended it was all just a coincidence.
Israel and like-minded Arab states have a shared message ahead of US President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next week: Don’t reduce the pressure on Iran.Jonathan Spyer: Iran’s brutal militias are standing by for US sanctions to be eased
The countries aligned with Israel on this matter are not just its new allies in the Gulf, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, but also include Egypt and Jordan, an official involved in the matter said on Thursday.
“Our message to Biden is that we would hope he would take into account the attitudes of Middle East allies before he went ahead and did anything with Iran,” the official said. “Many Arab states are on the same page on this issue.”
Biden has said he intends to have the US return to the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers, if the Islamic Republic returns to compliance with it. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the Iran deal is officially known, was meant to limit uranium enrichment such that it would extend the time it would take for Tehran to develop a nuclear weapon. At the same time, it gradually lifted international sanctions against Iran, so that by 2030 there would no longer be any.
The official denied reports that Israel is seeking to have changes made to the JCPOA so that it would address the Islamic Republic’s ballistic missile program and its malign actions in the region and beyond.
The deaths of Soleimani and Muhandis left the militia structure decapitated. Assassination is an uncertain weapon, sometimes resulting in the emergence of a leader more formidable than the one removed. This has not been the case. Esmail Ghaani, who replaced Soleimani at the head of the Qods Force, and Abu Fadak al-Mohammadawi, now heading the pro-Iran militia structure in Iraq, are proving far less capable than the men who preceded them. The militia structure worked primarily on informal relationships, created by Soleimani over a period of years. These cannot simply be handed over to a replacement.Iran Tests Ballistic Missiles, Drones in Military Exercise, State TV Says
Alongside the drone strike that killed Soleimani and Muhandis came the US policy of “maximum pressure”. The sanctions imposed on the Iranian oil, financial and banking sectors in 2018 starved the economy of funds. This meant the closing of the tap for the militias. Hezbollah in Lebanon, for example, suffered a 40 per cent reduction funding in 2020. Similarly, the four top pro-Iran militias in Iraq saw their income fall from £3-4m per month to £1-2m.
The absent leadership and lack of money is having a dramatic affect. In Syria, where there is no large Shia population, Iran has had to use cash to entice recruits. This is no longer available. In Iraq, discipline and unity have begun to break down. In their own right, the powerful militias control oil fields, checkpoints, property and land. They are not prepared to mutely follow orders from fresh commanders for whom they have little respect.
There is now a real possibility that the winds are about to change once again in Iran’s favour. President-elect Joe Biden has made clear his desire to re-negotiate the 2015 nuclear accords with Iran. As a prerequisite, the theocracy is insisting on the lifting of all sanctions. In an attempt to focus American minds, it has threatened to expel international nuclear inspectors from the country on 21 February unless the money starts to flow again.
An early capitulation by the Biden administration would give away any leverage that the US currently holds, reducing any chances of achieving the improved deal the president-elect has said that he wants. Lifting sanctions would revitalise the cashflow to the militias, threatening to revive their forward motion. Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis and Major General Qasem Soleimani are gone. Muhandis will stay in Najaf, where they buried him, until further notice and Soleimani will not be leaving the Kerman Martyrs Cemetery in southeast Iran any time soon. The structures these men created, however have not been wrecked but are only low on fuel.
It is up to Mr Biden whether they stay that way.
Iran‘s Revolutionary Guards fired “abundant” surface-to-surface ballistic missiles and tested locally manufactured new drones in a military exercise on Friday, state television reported.Fake journalists spread anti-Israel disinformation, part of Iranian plot
The drill, which it said was overseen by Guards commander Major General Hossein Salami in the central desert region, came in the waning days of high tensions with US President Donald Trump’s administration.
It followed short-range naval missile tests on Wednesday, as well as exercises earlier this month that featured a wide array of domestically produced drones.
“The bomber drones struck the hypothetical enemy missile shield from all directions, completely destroying the targets,” the state TV broadcast said of Friday’s drill.
“Also, an abundant number of a new generation of ballistic missiles were fired at selected targets, inflicting deadly blows to the hypothetical enemy bases.”
Iran, which routinely boasts of technological advances in its armed forces, has one of the biggest missile programs in the Middle East, regarding them as a deterrent and retaliatory force against US and other adversaries in the event of war.
There have been periodic confrontations between Iran‘s military and US forces in the Gulf since 2018, when Trump abandoned Iran‘s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and reinstated harsh sanctions against Tehran.
Three fake journalists who seeded dozens of anti-Israel and anti-American stories on social media may have been part of an Iranian disinformation plot, a report said.Leading Israeli Journalist Warns Against ‘False and Distorted’ Persian Edition of Book on Targeted Assassinations
A Daily Beast investigation published Tuesday identified three purported journalists as posting stories on social media that seemingly came from reputable news outlets but were fake. Other fake stories were posted by accounts impersonating real people. Some fake stories eventually made it to legitimate news sites.
Characteristics of the fake news blitz were consistent with a known Iranian-aligned disinformation campaign, according to the Daily Beast, which reported that Facebook and Twitter were removing the fake postings.
Among the fake stories were an account of the head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency visiting with US troops in Iraq; a phony threat of a Yemen-based terrorist group attacking an Israeli peace initiative launched in Bahrain; and a conspiracy by Israel and the United Arab Emirates to win President Donald Trump a second term.
Some stories were bizarre: One impersonated a French politician and claimed he got the coronavirus infection from Chicken McNuggets.
Israeli journalist and author Ronen Bergman advised readers to avoid a new Persian edition of Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations, which he said was an apparently false and distorted version of his 2018 book.
“I strongly recommend NOT TO READ this edition: I have never received a request from this publishing house, never gave [license] to publish Rise And Kill First in Persian, and never received, certainly not approved, a text of it in Persian,” the author tweeted Wednesday. “[F]rom what I read- it’s false and distorted!”
Bergman, who writes on Israeli military affairs at Yedioth Aharonot and The New York Times Magazine, authored a comprehensive account of the country’s use of targeted killings, based on what he says were 1,000 interviews over eight years. According to the Tehran Times, the book was translated into Persian and brought to Iran by the Martyr Kazemi Publishing House.
The book presents assassinations as a key element of Israel’s strategy against its enemy Iran. In Nov. 2020, Bergman and Times colleagues reported that Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the country’s top nuclear scientist, was killed in a roadside ambush, in what sources said was an Israeli attack.
Former Iraqi PM Ayad Allawi: Former U.S. President Barack Obama Surrendered Iraq to Iranian Influence pic.twitter.com/xZ20oCeCxt— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) January 15, 2021
Iranian Researcher Fadi Al-Sayyed: Iran Is Ready to Protect Arab Regimes If Only They Remove Themselves from Under the American and Zionist Cloak pic.twitter.com/VJEFQjAqzt— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) January 15, 2021
Unfortunately, there's no shortage of anti-Semites online. Most are anonymous cowards. Iran's Supreme Bigot Khamenei is out in the open. I could not be prouder that @StateDept convened the first-ever U.S. conference to fight these online haters in October 2019. pic.twitter.com/9QTT2GQKR7— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 14, 2021