Saturday, January 30, 2021

From Ian:

Natan Sharansky: Remember the People, Not Just the Atrocities
On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, everyone around the world — individuals, leaders, communities — gather to reinforce their commitment to honor the memory of the victims of the darkest hour of human history.

But while the world bows its head to commemorate the Holocaust, it often remembers its victims as a unified collective. The very day we commemorate the victims, Jan. 27, marks the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, the ultimate symbol of the Nazi terror. But not all Holocaust victims were sent to concentration camps. Far from it. The time has come to tell the all-encompassing story of the Holocaust.

Behind the monstrous number of “six million victims” stand six million individual life stories. To commemorate the Holocaust means remembering each and every one of those individually. We are committed to telling as many stories as possible, but unfortunately, too many of them remain unknown.

How many life stories will never be known after the massacre in Ukraine’s Babi Yar ravine? Within two days, the Nazis brutally murdered 33,771 Jewish men, women and children. By the end of the war, they murdered 100,000 people, including Ukrainians and gypsies.

The Babi Yar massacre destroyed the Jewish community in Kyiv. The Jews of Riga, Minsk and Vilnius encountered the same tragic fate — murdered in ravines. Some 1.5 million Jews lost their lives that way.

The central chapter of the Nazi’s “final solution” is still largely unknown. As I know from bitter experience, the Soviet regime after World War II did everything possible to erase Jewish identity and the memory of the Holocaust from collective memory.
The Jews who fought back during the Holocaust
Much has been written about what needs to be done during the remaining days of the year to properly commemorate and educate the world about the horrors of the Holocaust, and what “never again” really means. A recent Pew Research poll proves that Americans’ Holocaust education is sorely lacking. For example, only 45 percent of Americans interviewed even knew that 6 million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust. Even fewer knew that Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany by a democratic political process.

Surely, what is far less known is how many Jews fought valiantly against the Nazis. But fight they did. Jews fought back alongside resistance groups around Europe, organized uprisings in the ghettos, created partisan units and even fought back in the concentration camps, attempting to bomb a crematorium in Auschwitz. To properly commemorate the Holocaust, these stories must be told as well.

To that end, I commemorate and honor the story of the following Jews who courageously fought back during World War II and the Holocaust. Their stories represent the thousands who fought to the end.
- Mordechai Anielewitz. The leader of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. In April 1943, he led 750 Jewish fighters armed with a handful of pistols, 17 rifles and Molotov cocktails—all smuggled into the ghetto—in a clash with more than 2,000 heavily armed and well-trained German troops. They held off the Germans for 27 days.
- Boris Lekach. This one is personal. My wife’s maternal grandfather. Lekach fought for the Russians against the Nazis. He enlisted at age 16 with doctored papers just so he could fight. He was also well-known to many in the Jewish community in Russia for helping Jews escape during and after the war.
- The Bielski Brothers. Made famous in a number of books and in the 2008 movie “Defiance,” the Bielski brothers—Tuvia, Asael and Zus—fled their city in Belarus after their parents and two other siblings were murdered. The brothers found shelter in the forest, where they created one of the largest and most effective partisan groups during the war, focusing on guerrilla attacks against the Nazis and their collaborators, as well as on preserving Jewish life even in their hideout. In a little more than two years, the Bielski group grew to about 1,200 people.
- Tosia Altman. A young woman who used fake papers to smuggle weapons and information in and out of Poland’s ghettos. She was an active member of the social Zionist youth movement Hashomer Hatzair, active in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising alongside Anielewitz and the other brave fighters.
- Eta Wrobel. A young woman in her 20s who helped form an all-Jewish partisan unit in the Polish woods. Her unit attacked German troops as they traveled through the area and is credited for saving hundreds of Jews.
- Rudolph Masaryk. On Aug. 2, 1943, at the Treblinka extermination camp, Masaryk and other Jewish prisoners stole 20 grenades, 20 rifles and a few handguns. Together, they attacked the SS guards, while another doused a large part of the camp with gasoline and lit it on fire. Approximately 300 prisoners escaped and 40 Nazi guards were killed during the Treblinka uprising.
Caroline Glick: Democrats, American Jews and Politically Correct Bigotry
In recent weeks, outspoken anti-Israel campaigners and BDS supporters like Representative Ilhan Omar, former CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill and New York Times columnist Peter Beinart have been pushing for the new administration to reject the IHRA definition and legitimize BDS. They have attacked Jewish Democratic groups like the Democratic Majority for Israel, as well as the vast majority of all American Jewish groups, led by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations—all of which are urging the Biden administration to maintain the previous administration's policies.

These efforts are being driven both by overtly anti-Israel, nominally Jewish groups like IfNotNow and Jewish Voice for Peace, and by ostensibly "pro-Israel" progressive Jewish groups, including Peace Now, J Street, T'ruah and the New Israel Fund. The AMCHA Initiative report found that since 2019, 44 percent of efforts to discredit the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism were carried out by these and other like-minded Jewish-run groups.

All of these groups are calling for the Biden administration to disavow the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism and its examples of contemporary anti-Semitism as a legal tool for combating anti-Semitism. IfNotNow is running a social media campaign, as well, to lobby the Biden administration to appoint an official special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism who will simply ignore leftist anti-Semitism. As the group put it in a recent Twitter post, "It is important for us to demand that [President Biden] appoint someone to the special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism who'll be committed to fighting neo-Nazis and white nationalists, not Palestinians and students."

It is a peculiar thing to see ostensibly Jewish groups dedicating their efforts to removing legal protections against anti-Jewish discrimination from their fellow Jews. It is a mark of the corruption of the American Jewish far Left that this is what they wish to fight for today. But even more disconcerting is the anti-Semitic disposition of large swaths of the Democratic Party. Democratic activist circles are now dominated by anti-Semitic voices from the Left who denounce Israel and its supporters. The effort by progressive Jewish groups to deny civil rights protection to pro-Israel Jews is indicative of the prevailing winds in the Democratic Party. Progressive Jews believe that to remain relevant in their party, they must fill the role of Jewish fig leaves for their party's anti-Semitic activist base.

This then brings us to the object of their lobbying efforts—President Joe Biden. Wednesday was International Holocaust Remembrance Day. To mark the occasion, Biden released a strong statement decrying anti-Semitism. Arguably more significant, however, is the fact that Trump's executive order on anti-Semitism has been scrubbed from the Biden White House's website.

Martin Luther King Adviser Writes to Gov. Gavin Newsom, Criticizes Ethnic Studies Curriculum
An adviser to Martin Luther King wrote a letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom criticizing the state's Ethnic Studies Curriculum.

Clarence Jones, who served as an adviser and speechwriter for King, addressed the October 14, 2020, letter to Newsom and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond; the president of the state's Board of Education, Linda-Darling Hammond; and members of the Instructional Quality Commission.

"I write this letter to you with great dismay, and great concern for the perversion of history that is being perpetrated by the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC). If this model curriculum is approved, it will inflict great harm on millions of students in our state," Jones wrote.

"It is a fact that the Black Freedom Movement of the 1950s and 1960s under Dr. King's leadership transformed our country, overthrowing a century of Jim Crow segregation and white supremacist terror throughout the former Confederate States," Jones continued. "This fact, which I had thought was well known to all educated persons, has been removed from the ESMC. This is morally unacceptable and renders the entire curriculum suspect."

Jones' letter comes amid disagreements over the state's ethnic studies curriculum, with several of the drafts being criticized and rejected.

According to the Independent Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization, the first draft released in 2019 was seen by many as promoting divisive politics, faced criticism from the Los Angles Times and Washington Post and was eventually rejected.
‘Truth Will Prevail:’ Calls for Justice From Family Continue as US Says Ready to Take Custody of Daniel Pearl Killer
The sister of Jewish journalist Daniel Pearl told a Pakistani newspaper Friday that the “truth will prevail” in the case of his killer Ahmad Omar Saeed Sheikh, as the United States said it was “ready to take custody” of the perpetrator after he was ordered released by Pakistan’s high court.

“While we remain grateful for the Pakistani government’s opposition to these acquittals on appeal, in light of the Supreme Court’s decision, the Department of Justice reiterates that the United States stands ready to take custody of Sheikh to stand trial here on the pending charges against him,” said Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson in a statement Thursday. “He must not be permitted to evade justice for his charged role in Daniel Pearl’s abduction and murder.”

On Friday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi about how to “ensure accountability” for Sheikh and “reinforcing” American concerns about the ruling, according to State Department spokesperson Ned Price.

Condemnations of the decision to acquit Sheikh and three others convicted in the brutal 2002 killing continued from the victims family, with sister Tamara Pearl telling Arab News Pakistan that no ruling could erase the facts of the case.

“We all know that Omar Saeed Sheikh was the mastermind of Danny’s kidnapping,” she told the newspaper on Friday. “His lies lured Danny into an interview in Karachi on January 23, 2002 and a month later Danny was dead. Three months later his body was found in an unmarked grave. This is the truth, no matter what any court says.”

“The defendants in this court case and the justices who acquitted them know that this is the truth, but the lies continue,” she added. “Neither verdict would have brought Danny back but lies are corrosive. We trust that somehow truth will prevail.”

Her words echoed Thursday comments on Twitter from Judea Pearl, the victim’s father, which followed an earlier official statement from the family.

“When a killer is behind bars, responsibility is absorbed by one deranged individual. When a killer is freed, society as a whole assumes responsibility for the crime,” he wrote.
Mossad said involved in probe of blast near Israeli embassy in New Delhi
Israeli spy agency Mossad has become involved in investigating the bomb blast in New Delhi, Kan News reported Saturday, without citing sources.

The report said the agency was checking the possibility of nationals from other countries.

India Today TV reported that police were questioning Iranian nationals in connection with the explosion.

Israeli missions have been on alert around the world in the wake of the assassination of Iran’s top nuclear scientist in November of last year. Tehran has blamed Israel and promised revenge.

Israel’s Ambassador to India Ron Malka said Saturday that the embassy in New Delhi had been on high alert because of “threats” it had been preparing for, even before the small bomb went off outside the mission.

Malka told AFP he was not surprised by Friday’s attack, which caused no injuries but blew the windows out of three cars.

The road outside the embassy remained sealed off Saturday as forensic experts sought clues as to who was responsible for what Israeli officials in Jerusalem have said they are treating as likely terrorism.

Indian police have so far only described it as “a mischievous attempt to create a sensation.”

“This could have ended differently in other circumstances, so we were fortunate,” Malka said in a telephone interview.

“We are always prepared. Especially these last days, we raised the level of alert due to some threats,” he added. “We are not surprised.”
Terror group claims responsibility for attack on Israeli embassy in India
A terror organization called Jaish-ul-Hind, believed to be affiliated with Iran, has taken responsibility for Friday’s attack the Israeli embassy in New Delhi, according to Indian media.

An explosion occurred near the embassy, Israel’s Foreign Ministry confirmed Friday. There were no casualties in the incident, and no damage was caused to the embassy building, the Foreign Ministry said.

The explosion damaged the window panes of three nearby parked cars, a Delhi police spokesman said in a statement. The site of the blast was quickly cordoned off by police.

Indian police said the explosion was caused by an improvised explosive device (IED) and the impact from the blast is said to have been felt within a 20-25 meter radius, Indian media reported.
The EastMed Pipeline is a win-win for Israel, Cyprus and Greece
In recent years, the Eastern Mediterranean has stood out as a distinct sub-region, receiving wide attention in the regional and international arena – politically, strategically and economically.

The discovery of natural gas in the Exclusive Economic Zones of Israel, Cyprus and Egypt, and the clear potential for the discovery of additional gas fields in the economic waters of other countries such as Lebanon, were a major catalyst for the development of new regional architecture on the one hand, and of rising tension between part of the countries involved on the other.

The bilateral relationship between Israel and Cyprus, which has become very close in the last decade, has in many ways been a cornerstone of the regional alliances that have been woven in recent years.

The Regional Gas Forum, established two years ago in Cairo and which consists of seven members, is a fascinating illustration of the common interests formed in the region. These are Egypt, Israel, Greece, Italy, Jordan, Cyprus and the Palestinian Authority. Israel is rightly entitled to observe these developments with great satisfaction.

In recent months, most of the members have ratified the forum’s constitution, as did Israel last week. Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz stressed, after approval by the government, that the gas discoveries encourage “historic cooperation” with Arab countries and Europe that will continue to expand. This forum is also supported by the US and the EU. France has requested to join as a member, and recently the UAE has joined as an observer.

Turkey is interpreting the regional organization as intended to constrict its steps and exclude it from the energy potential in the region. Therefore, Turkey is pursuing an assertive foreign policy whose purpose is to convey a clear message that it cannot be ignored. In the past months, tensions in the region have even increased, especially between Turkey and Greece. Following intensive mediation, the two countries initiated an “exploratory discussion” on the 25th in order to defuse the tension, though there are no high expectations for an immediate breakthrough.

Israeli officials have cleared UAE port operator DP World to move forward in the privatization of Israel’s largest port
Israeli officials have cleared United Arab Emirates port operator DP World to move forward in the privatization of Israel’s largest seaport but kept Turkey’s Yildirim Holding AS under further scrutiny.

DP World received security clearance to move forward in the bidding process for the port in the northern city of Haifa, according to two people familiar with the matter. Local representatives for Yildirim lodged a complaint about unfair treatment in the process, according to a letter it sent to Israeli officials that was seen by Bloomberg.

The Government Companies Authority, which is running the privatization, said Israel is making necessary regulatory checks as part of confirming investors’ participation in the Port of Haifa privatization and that it expects the sale to be completed in a few months. Representatives for Yildirim and DP World declined to comment.

DP World’s progress is an important indicator for Israel’s new normalization agreement with the UAE, which the countries announced last summer. It marks a key nod of approval from Israel when it comes to Emirati involvement in strategic assets. Israel hopes to sell the facility for as much as 2 billion shekels ($612 million).

“We look at Israel as a very important logistical place,” DP World’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said Thursday in a Bloomberg TV interview. “We have approval like everyone else. We are still bidding.” DP World, based in the UAE emirate of Dubai, is complying with local partnership requirements, he said.

But while Israel draws closer to some Gulf Arab nations, relations with former close ally Turkey have been sour for years over Israel’s policy toward the Palestinians. Turkey, which recalled its ambassador to Israel two years ago, is currently seeking to repair its ties but said barriers remain to improving relations.

Israeli Groundbreaking Technology by Saffron Tech Challenges Iranian 1,000-Year Monopoly on the Lucrative $1B Saffron Market
Saffron Tech, an Israeli wholly owned subsidiary of Seedo Corp. (OTCQB: SEDO), announced its technology for automated, year-round saffron growing, is challenging the global Iranian monopoly on saffron supply of 90-95% of world demand, which has been in place for the past 1,000 years!

The reason Iran was the dominant player in supplying 90-95% of world demand for Saffron lies in the fact it has natural conditions fit for the growing and production of saffron in traditional, labor intensive methods.

Saffron Tech, from Seedo Corp., is developing a technology that hopes to provide turnkey automated growing solutions for high-quality, high-yield saffron all year round. The company is in advanced stages of developing and testing its automated vertical farm for saffron growing, based on the company’s knowledge in plant biology and providing optimal conditions for each stage of the plant’s development to reach optimal product quality.

Saffron Tech solutions are a perfect fit for "Grow Next to Consumer" and is sustainable and fit for COVID-19 restrictions on transport. It is environmentally friendly, using economic levels of water, space, fertilizer, and energy. We believe that our controlled indoor growing technology could produce ten times more yield compared to the same land area using traditional methods. The sealed environment eliminates the need for harmful pesticides and herbicides, producing a clean and safe product. The solution is easily scalable and pre-designed to quickly grow operations.
Jonathan Spyer: Turkey seeks to cement Iran alliance
In a sign of its increasing desire to work closely with Tehran against US interests in the Middle East, Turkey hosted Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Ankara on Friday.

The meeting illustrated that Turkey’s recent push for Azerbaijan to fight Armenians in the Caucasus will likely end with Ankara, Moscow and Tehran cooperating in that region to carve it up into spheres of influence, like in Syria and Libya.

Fueled by the Trump administration’s having worked closely with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ankara has pivoted in the last several years to engage with Russia and Iran.

This appears counterintuitive, because Washington wanted to work with Turkey and even gave it a greater role in Syria. But Ankara’s goal was to use the blank check it had from the Trump administration to move away from NATO into the orbit of Moscow and Tehran, in order to partition areas of the Middle East and remove the US and the EU.

Turkey has a well-oiled pro-government media machine and lobby that works to tell one story to Iran hawks in Washington and another to regional media. For instance, Turkey has been pushing a media narrative that it wants reconciliation with Israel and could sideline Hamas, which has a red carpet in Ankara. In reality, however, Turkey and Iran both back Hamas, and Zarif’s visit to Ankara was symbolic of the Turkey-Iran alliance.
Seth Frantzman: Israel should stay wary of Turkey's gifts
MOST NOTABLY, an article in The Times of London this week claimed that evidence has emerged that Erdogan is now “reassessing” Turkey’s relations with Hamas. The article, citing reports in “Turkish media,” asserted that Turkey has ceased to give citizenship or long-term visas to Hamas members, and “in at least one case” has deported a Hamas member.

So how is Israel likely to react? First, while improved relations with Ankara would certainly be welcome, these are not currently an urgent necessity for Jerusalem.

Israel has forged ahead over the last half-decade in developing relations with Ankara’s rivals – in the UAE, Egypt, Greece and Cyprus. In these relationships may be discerned the outline of a strategic alliance in a Middle East from which the US has partially withdrawn. What might Turkey offer by way of a substitute for the advance of these relations, given that trade relations in any case remain brisk between Ankara and Jerusalem, and Ankara’s ability to pose a threat via its relations with Hamas is very limited?

Only the very optimistic could believe in real strategic cooperation between Erdogan’s Turkey and Israel. Far more likely, the Turkish president would be happy to gain from the increased legitimacy afforded him by an improved atmosphere with the Jewish state during the difficult period of Biden’s accession. The improved atmosphere could then be ditched at a later date, when the tactical reasons for it no longer pertain. By taking Erdogan’s bait, however, Israel will damage its emergent connections with the four other countries mentioned above, for no lasting gain.

The reason why such an outcome is likely if Israel moves to normalize relations with Turkey is because Turkey is very clearly embarked on its own project in the emergent post-American Middle East, and it doesn’t include friendship with Israel.

This project involves a close alliance with Qatar, development of Islamist proxy forces alongside conventional ones, and the projection of Turkish power via these means in Libya, Syria, the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Iraq, Somalia and Azerbaijan (so far). The Sunni Islamist component of this is as integral as is the Turkish nationalist one. Opposition to Israel and “Zionism” is hard-wired into it. For as long as Erdogan remains president, Turkish regional strategy will proceed along these tracks, perhaps pausing occasionally for tactical advantage. Israel should make its decisions regarding Turkey on the basis of this reality.
Jamaal Bowman removes tweet criticizing Israel’s vaccine policy
Freshman Democrat Jamaal Bowman removed a tweet that criticized Israel’s vaccine policy.

The removal, first noted Thursday by Jewish Insider, urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to ensure that Palestinians receive coronavirus vaccinations and added that “this cruelty is another reminder of why the occupation must end.”

Israel, which is operating one of the most impressive coronavirus vaccine distributions in the world, has said it is not under obligation under international law or prior agreements to supply Palestinians with a vaccine. Moreover, Israeli officials have noted, Palestinian Authority leaders have said they prefer to receive the vaccine from elsewhere.

A number of progressive Democrats have criticized Israel for not distributing the vaccine to Palestinians under P.A. control.

Israel committed on Friday to give the Palestinian Authority thousands of COVID-19 vaccines. Reports vary about the exact amount, with some claiming 5,000 doses will be passed on, while others claim as many as 20,000 doses.

The delivery is meant to be shipped out next week.

Health Ministry: Over 25% of Israel's COVID deaths occurred in January 2021
According to Health Ministry data released Friday, of the 78,266 people who tested for the virus, Thursday, 7,083 people were found to be carrying the coronavirus, for an infection rate of 9.3%.

As of Friday morning there were 73,543 active cases in Israel, with 1,199 patients listed in serious condition. Of those in serious condition, 328 were on ventilators. Since the outset of the pandemic, 4,696 Israelis have died of COVID-19.

A report by the IDF's Military Intelligence Directorate finds it is too early to say whether Israel is experiencing a downturn in morbidity. The reproduction rate has remained below 1, indicating what should be a decrease in morbidity, yet the trend has stopped in recent days.

The rate of infection continues to be high, and hospitals remain overwhelmed. The report further notes that over a quarter of those who died from COVID-19 passed away in January 2021, with 669 people dying of the virus between Jan. 17-28 alone. According to the directorate, the widespread distribution of the UK variant was likely responsible for morbidity rates remaining stable. Adherence to coronavirus guidelines of social distancing and mask wearing remain a priority, and special attention should be given to children, the report's authors said. Until the degree of risk posed by the various variants is known, drastic preventative measures must be taken to prevent their spread, including ramping up the vaccination campaign and ensuring a cautious exit from the lockdown. The introduction of additional variants must also be prevented by keeping Ben-Gurion Airport closed, according to the report. With 5.4 million doses administered, the report noted Israel continues to lead the world in the number of vaccines administered per capita. Yet the authors found fault with the campaign to inoculate individuals aged between 60 and 69, which has come to a standstill as 20% of the age group has not been vaccinated.
Why did Russia invite Abbas rivals to Moscow?
A meeting between Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and supporters of deposed Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan in Moscow last week has raised eyebrows in Ramallah, where some Palestinian officials said they were surprised by the encounter.

According to websites affiliated with Dahlan, the high-ranking delegation invited to Moscow was headed by Samir al-Mashharawi, one of the founders of Dahlan’s Fatah Democratic Reform group.

Mashharawi, a senior Fatah official from the Gaza Strip, was accompanied by three other Dahlan loyalists: Ja’far Hudaib, Majed Abu Shamala and Mahmoud Issa al-Linou, secretary-general of Fatah in Lebanon.

Sources close to Dahlan, who is based in the United Arab Emirates, said the delegation visited Moscow at the invitation of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

The sources said that the talks focused on “restoring Palestinian national unity in light of the preparations for the Palestinian general elections.”
MEMRI: Senior Saudi Journalist: Biden's Response To Iran's Provocations Will Determine Outcomes In Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon And Palestine
In a January 27, 2021 article titled "Iran Continues to Test Biden’s Limits," senior Saudi journalist 'Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rahsed notes that Iran welcomed the Biden administration with a series of provocations - namely the December 20, 2020 rocket attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and with the January 23, 2021 Houthi attack on Riyadh - so as to test the patience of the U.S. and its allies and their willingness to retaliate. Biden's response to such provocations is extremely crucial, he says, as is his overall policy on Iran and especially on its nuclear dossier. This is because the U.S. policy vis-ร -vis Iran will ultimately determine the outcome of the crises in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and Palestine - all of which have become bargaining chips that Iran can use by threatening to escalate tensions through its proxies. Al-Rashed warns that inaction by Biden, or a lifting of the sanctions on Iran, will only embolden the Iranian regime, and leave Biden without any way to push for the amendment of the nuclear deal, as he promised.

The article was published in the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat.[1] The following is an English translation of it provided by the English-language Al-Arabiya website.[2]

"With much on his plate, President Joe Biden’s first months in office will be dedicated to handling several critical matters. In addition to matters related to Cuba, Venezuela, NATO, Europe, Turkey, Russia, Taiwan, and, commercially, China and the China Sea, Biden intends to address re-entering the Paris Climate Agreement, reviving the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), returning to the World Health Organization, and confronting the threat of the coronavirus pandemic in the US, which resulted in more than 400,000 deaths.

"He is also expected to heal a nation sundered by unemployment and mend socio-political rifts resulting from the prolonged electoral disputes.

"Furthermore, the Biden administration is taking quick actions towards diffusing the ticking time bomb represented by the Iranian threat and renegotiating the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the “Iran nuclear deal.”

"The outcome of these negotiations will play a key role in determining how the situation is going to unfold in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and Palestine as all these countries have turned into bargaining chips for Iran to use by threatening to escalate tensions through its proxies of local armed groups and militias.

"The question we should be asking ourselves is, will President Biden take the same firm stance as his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, against the Iranian regime? It is clear that Tehran began challenging President Biden only two weeks into his presidency with its attacks on the US embassy in Baghdad and on Saudi Arabia as a way to test the waters.
MEMRI: Syrian TV Show Discusses Biden’s Upcoming Presidency: We Have Learned We Can Say No to the U.S., The U.S. Is Weak, Defeating It Is Possible, Simple, Easy
Lebanese political analyst Hassan Shuqair and Syrian TV host Yara Saleh spoke about America's role as a world power and Biden's upcoming presidency in a show aired on Al-Ikhbariya TV (Syria) on January 20, 2021. Hassan Shuqair said that during President Trump's administration the resistance axis, Syria, Iran, Lebanon, and Venezuela learned that they can say "no" to the U.S. He said that they should confront Biden, by creating a counter-strategy that would enable them to force the U.S. to "return to its senses" after "Trump led it to madness." Yara Saleh said: "We have learned that it is easy to say "no" to the U.S." She concluded the show by saying that the U.S. is now weaker than it has ever been. She said that defeating the U.S. and the "conspiracies of the imperialist countries against our people in this region and against our Arab people is possible, simple, and easy."

"All The Fury Of Trump And His Administration Was Because Syria Said 'No,' Despite All The Sanctions... Iran Also Said 'No'"

Hassan Shuqair: "We have learned [from Trump's presidency] that American [dominance] is not inevitable, and that we can say 'no!' All the fury of Trump and his administration was because Syria said 'no,' despite all the sanctions. Despite the Caesar Act and all that, Syria said 'no.'

"Iran also said 'no.' [Trump] failed to improve things with Iran. Iran has not been brought to the negotiating table on its knees. Venezuela also said 'no,' as did Lebanon of the resistance."

Yaran Saleh: "Maybe we have learned that it is easy to say 'no' to the U.S. and say it loud and clear."

"U.S. [Dominance] Is Not Inevitable[;] The U.S. Is Not The Only Superpower In The World... [It Is] Now Weaker Than It Has Ever Been"

Shuqair: "I would like to finish by saying that American [dominance] is not inevitable. This is what I have been talking about. I said that we can confront Biden with his new soft war or his new strategy, which is meant to serve the interests of the U.S. or Israeli entity by implementing a counter-strategy that will enable us to force the U.S. to return to its senses after Trump led it to madness."
Iran rejects talks after Macron says ‘very short time’ to stop it getting nukes
Iran on Saturday warned France to avoid “hasty and ill-considered positions,” after French President Emmanuel Macron was reported to say any new nuclear negotiations with Tehran would be “very strict,” and that only a very short time remains to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Macron told Saudi Arabia’s Al Arabiya TV in an interview that any talks should include the Saudis, a major regional foe of Iran. The French leader reportedly said it was important not to repeat the “mistake” of leaving other countries in the region out of the 2015 nuclear accord.

Macron’s comments were not aired but rather reported by Al Arabiya in Arabic.

“Negotiations with Iran will be very strict and it will be necessary to include our partners in the region in the nuclear agreement, including Saudi Arabia,” he was quoted saying.

He warned that “the time remaining to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon is very short.”

An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Saeed Khatibzadeh, said in response that “The nuclear accord is a multilateral international agreement ratified by UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which is non-negotiable and parties to it are clear and unchangeable.”

He cautioned Macron to “exercise restraint and refrain from hasty and ill-considered positions.”
Iran Regime's Agents and Illegal Activities in the US
What is alarming is that Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiabi, who has been in the US for almost 35 years, was working for the Iranian regime and getting paid [by Iran] for nearly 13 years without being detected.

Afrasiabi presented himself as an independent political scientist, academic and expert. He allegedly wrote articles, including instance for The New York Times, a book, and gave TV interviews while getting guidance and payments from the Iranian regime. When Iranian officials reportedly asked him to revise an article already submitted, he followed up on their instructions.

A year ago, three Republican Senators, Ted Cruz (TX), Tom Cotton (AK) and Mike Braun (IN), called on the U.S. Department of Justice to open an investigation into the National Iranian American Council (NIAC). "NIAC's innocuous public branding masks troubling behavior," the senators wrote. The congressmen noted that this entity was a lobby group acting as a "foreign agent of the Islamic Republic...."

For safeguarding America's national interests, it is urgent that the US follow up on the recommendation of these Senators, at least to investigate who might be operating for the Iranian regime and what they might be up to.
Russian university fires lecturer who denied Holocaust
A prestigious university in Moscow said it would fire a professor who denied the Holocaust on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Vladimir Matveyev, a lecturer on international relations, told teachers from the St. Petersburg region on Thursday that “no gas chambers were found to kill people in concentration camps,” “the gas was used by the Germans for disinfection” and “six million dead Jews are a fiction.”

In a statement that same day, the state-owned university, known as RANEPA, said it “cannot accept” the lies told by Matveyev.

Matveyev was not representing the university on the video call in which he made the remarks, RANEPA said, and was participating outside his professional duties.

RANEPA stands for Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day occurs on the date that Red Army troops liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp that the Nazis built in occupied Poland.

Menachem-Mendel Pevzner, a rabbi from St. Petersburg, said his office is pressing charges against Matveyev for hate speech and Holocaust denial, which are illegal in Russia, the news site reported.
CTV and CBC Criticize Israel For Not Vaccinating Palestinians
Of course, it’s in Israel’s interest that the Palestinians be vaccinated considering how inter-connected both populaces are and how Palestinians work in Israel proper, but like all countries in this world, Israel is prioritizing vaccinated its citizens first.

Makler quotes the King of Jordan who spoke at the World Economic Forum who called on Israel to do more to help vacinate Palestinians, but no response from an Israeli source was provided.

Not asked by the CBC, but what is Jordan doing to help vaccinate Palestinians? Jordan, who formerly occupied the west bank from 1948-67, bears responsibility. Also keep in mind that approximately 2 million Palestinians live in Jordan. Or for that matter, what is Lebanon doing to help vaccinate Palestinians? The answer, next to nothing. These Palestinians have for decades languished in refugee camps. No one is rebuking Lebanon or Jordan for not taking care of Palestinians who live in their respective countries.

It seems that when Israel can’t be blamed, no one seems too interested in Palestinian welfare.
After three months BBC Arabic corrects Sae’b Erekat reports
Last October CAMERA UK documented the amendment of a BBC News English language report which originally promoted inaccurate information put out by the PLO on Twitter. The PLO’s statement claimed that its then chief negotiator, the late Sae’b Erekat, had been taken to hospital in Tel Aviv – rather than to a hospital in Jerusalem as was actually the case. As noted at the time, the PLO-NAD subsequently put out another Tweet clarifying the matter.

However, it took the BBC Arabic website over three months to make the same amendment. Only after several communications from CAMERA Arabic did it correct the two reports – dating from October 18th and November 10th – in which the hospital’s location was inaccurately reported.

Notably, the second report replaced “Tel Aviv” with “Jerusalem” in its direct quote of the PLO’s original statement, thereby ‘correcting’ the inaccuracy in the one place it would have been legitimate to leave it standing. CAMERA Arabic takes the view that in this case it would have been best practice to report both the PLO’s inaccurate statement concerning the location of the hospital and its subsequent correction.
52 years ago, 9 Jews were hanged in Baghdad. Today, their descendants risk losing everything they left behind
On Jan. 27, 1969, nine Jews were hanged in Tahrir Square in the center of Baghdad as half a million people looked on.

It was the climax of a campaign of persecution that followed the establishment of Israel, which in turn hastened an exodus of what had been a strong and flourishing community. Of the 160,000 Jews who had lived in what is today Iraq since the destruction of the First Temple, only a handful of Jews remain.

When the Jews fled, they were not allowed to take anything more than three sets of clothing and 50 dinars — a pittance. Their communal and personal property was confiscated by the Iraqi regime.

For decades, the survivors and descendants of that community thought all records of their lives in that ancient land were lost.

For the Basri family, leaving Iraq meant leaving behind not only our own personal belongings but a vast collection of material belonging to the Frank Iny School, the last Jewish school to operate in Iraq. Frank Iny was my grandfather, and his school was an island of security for Jews as the fires of anti-Semitism raged around them. School records, photos and more were lost, we thought forever.

However, by a series of miraculous events, in 2003, the communal and personal property that had been stolen by the Baath regime was discovered in a flooded basement of the headquarters of Saddam Hussein’s secret police by US troops. The United States undertook to salvage and restore the collection. Presently, the collection is in the custody of the U.S. National Archives, where they were restored and displayed at various locations.

But now, this priceless collection is once more in danger of being lost forever.

The Iraqi Jewish Archives chronicles the 2,700-year history of the Jews of Iraq — a history that ended when the Iraqi Jewish community was forced to flee. The collection contains tens of thousands of items, including a 400-year-old Hebrew Bible, a 200-year-old Talmud, Torah scrolls, Torah cases and other sacred books including manuscripts by the Ben Ish Hai, the late 19th-century Baghdadi scholar, as well personal and communal records.
Australian Cops Investigating Neo-Nazis Who Burned White Cross in National Park During Holiday Weekend
Locals and tourists alike were terrified when a group of neo-Nazi hikers rampaged through a national park in southern Australia last weekend, chanting racist and antisemitic slogans and burning a white cross at one point.

A report in The Melbourne Age on Thursday revealed that local police and intelligence officers from the Police Counter-Terrorism Command in the state of Victoria were collecting information about the group, which hiked through the Grampians National Park at the weekend as the country celebrated Australia Day.

The group’s members also visited the tourist town of Halls Gap in the heart of the Grampians where they engaged in antisemitic and other racist behavior. At least half-a-dozen tourists and residents said they had reported the men to police.

Six uniformed officers from the nearby town of Stawell spoke to the group, including its leader, ex-Australian army soldier turned neo-Nazi Tom Sewell.

Sewell later posted online pictures of the police officers’ name badges as well as images of the neo-Nazi group posing in front of a Ku Klux Klan-stye burning cross and displaying Nazi salutes at various locations in the Grampians.

Dvir Abramovich — chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission, an Australian Jewish civil rights organization — said the group’s weekend activity should prompt state and federal governments and agencies to push for extreme right-wing groups to be proscribed as terrorist entities.

“We do not need to wait for a Christchurch [terror attack] in Melbourne to act,” Abramovich said. “Who would have thought in 2021 Australia, in a week in which we commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the modern face of Hitler would reveal itself in our state without consequence?”
Jewish man gives EUR 2m. to French village for hiding family during WWII
Eric Schwam of Austria, who died aged 90 on December 25, bequeathed a large part of his fortune to the French village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon whose residents hid much of his family during WWII, according to an AFP report.

The village, located on a remote mountain plateau in south-east France, is a Protestant community that was known for hiding others and giving shelters to those in need.

Schwam and his extended family arrived to the village in 1943, remaining there throughout the war until 1950.

Schwam later studied pharmacology and married a Catholic woman. He asked that the money provided be used for educational purposes and youth initiatives.

Some 2,500 Jews were taken in by the French village and protected during the course of the war, whose residents were later honored as “Righteous Among the Nations” by Yad Vashem in Israel.


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