Thursday, July 29, 2021

From Ian:

Richard Kemp: Fighting the Blight of Durban
Hamas started this war [in May] as part of its power struggle with Fatah... But its... acts of aggression — seen repeatedly since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 — were also intended to engender an Israeli reaction that would unavoidably lead to the deaths of Palestinian civilians, and in turn provoke vilification against the Jewish state and its isolation from the international community.

All of this takes place and is legitimised within a wider international political web with the United Nations, spider-like, at its centre. Under the instigation of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation... at the end of the Gaza conflict the obedient UN Human Rights Council resolved to create a permanent "Commission of Inquiry" into Israel's treatment of Palestinians, the only open-ended inquisition of its kind against any country in the world. Its findings are sickeningly certain even before they are written.

[The UN's upcoming Durban IV conference] marks the anniversary of the Durban Declaration made at the 2001 UN World Conference Against Racism, Discrimination, Xenophobia and Intolerance. Shocking even for this corrupt ... world body, the conference was itself characterised by racism, discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance — the direct opposite of its declared purpose. In one hate-filled speech after another, Israel was falsely accused of racism, ethnic cleansing, apartheid and genocide.

The conference and subsequent linked events in 2009 and 2011 have served to legitimise Jew-hate.

France, Italy, Bulgaria, New Zealand and Poland, each of which refused to attend in 2011, have yet to declare their intentions.

Amb. Ronald Lauder has called on President Biden to take the lead against this vitriol... by declaring such hatred beyond the pale... . Lauder says the US president is the one man in the country who can make a difference... He is right and the same applies to presidents and prime ministers everywhere.

Anything less than full support for Israel's vital and lawful defensive actions amounts to encouragement of violence by Hamas and tacit approval of its actions. Leaders who fail to support Israel and condemn these terrorists share culpability not just for antisemitic hate in their own countries but also for an increasingly violent cycle in the Middle East in which the greatest victims are Palestinian civilians, betrayed and endangered by the vicious actions of their own leadership.

Biden, Bring the Sbarro massacre mastermind to justice
Last year, 18 American Jewish organizations issued a strongly worded joint letter expressing “collective outrage over the Kingdom of Jordan’s refusal to extradite the murderer of American citizens.”

They further urged US officials to hold Jordan “accountable to its commitments under its extradition treaty with the United States and bring all pressure to bear” on the desert kingdom.

Nonetheless, earlier this year, Interpol inexplicably decided to drop its international arrest warrant against Tamimi.

And when Jordan’s King Abdullah visited Washington last week for a much-publicized visit to the White House, a US government spokesman refused to say whether the Tamimi case had been raised in discussions between the president and the monarch.

But Joe Biden did go to the trouble of lavishing praise on Abdullah in front of the cameras, calling him a “good, loyal and decent friend.” This is nothing less than scandalous.

After all, Washington sends $1.3 billion of US taxpayer money to Jordan each year in the form of foreign aid, even though the kingdom continues to harbor a terrorist wanted for the murder of Americans.

And, as Arnold Roth told the Daily Caller website on July 20, “There is an important issue of justice no one is addressing and to the extent that this woman is still free is a stain on the moral fabric of the US.”

It is time for this outrage to end and for America to demand that King Abdullah hand over Tamimi to stand trial for her crimes. The victims of Sbarro deserve no less.
3 Filmmakers Arrested in Nigeria Return to Israel
Three Israeli filmmakers landed back in Israel Thursday morning after spending 20 days in a Nigerian prison.

Pro-Israel activist Rudy Rochman, filmmaker Noam Leibman and French-Israeli journalist E. David Benaym were released from prison Tuesday night with the assistance of the Israeli Embassy in Abuja and handed over to US custody. They were then escorted to a Chabad center where they spent the night.

They departed Nigeria on Wednesday night for Istanbul and arrived to Ben Gurion Airport on Thursday morning.

Rochman, Liebman and Benaym were arrested while making a documentary on the Igbo Jewish community, who consider themselves a lost tribe of Israel but are not recognized as halachically Jewish by the State of Israel or the Chief Rabbinate.

Nigerian authorities on July 9 arrested and interrogated the men on suspicion of having coming into contact with Biafran separatists.

The group was detained at a synagogue during Friday night services in the Igbo village of Ogidi by Nigeria’s secret police and taken to Abuja.

They were in the West African country to shoot a documentary titled “We Were Never Lost,” which explores communities on the continent that claim Jewish or Israelite descent.

The Palestinian War on Israel Is a War on Truth
There’s no doubt that Arabs have lived in the Holy Land for many hundreds of years. You can’t blame them for making claims to some of the land.

Arabs today control about 97 percent of the Middle East, and Palestinian Arabs represent about 70 percent of the population of Israel’s neighbor, Jordan.

The problem is, Palestinian Arabs flatly deny that Jews have also lived in this land—especially that they have dwelled on their tiny sliver of territory continuously for over 3,000 years. This rejection of Jewish history leads Palestinians to nullify the right of Jews to settle there and create their own nation.

In other words, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is not about two states—not about sharing real estate in the Holy Land. Rather, Palestinian Arabs claim all of this land—from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea—including all of Israel. Subscribe to The JNS Daily Syndicate by email and never miss our top stories

What many see as a violent Israel-Palestinian struggle over land, is instead much more a conflict about narratives and legitimacy—about truth.

The Palestinian attempt to negate Jewish history has been going on since the beginning of the conflict. To this day Palestinian leaders still reject widely accepted historical research and archeological artifacts—coins, seals, inscriptions—that prove Jewish history, legitimacy and rights.

These leaders believe if they can disconnect Jewish history from the Land of Israel, they can justify their violent struggle. Their goal is to convince the world that the conflict is about colonialism, “apartheid” or “occupation.”
Jake Wallis Simons: Visions of Life for Israel's Arabs
Which Middle Eastern country offers the best life for Arabs? Take any measure - democratic representation, women's rights, lack of corruption, freedom of speech, the protection of sexual minorities - and Israel comes out on top. While Palestinians have been blocked again and again from casting a vote for over a decade, Israeli Arabs have made it to the ballot box four times in the last two years. In June, their efforts produced an Arab minister in the cabinet.

A portion of Israel's Arab population is indelibly hostile to the state, cleaving to Palestinian nationalism or religious fundamentalism. But the majority does not strongly share these feelings. Last week, I visited Acre, a scene of recent rioting, with an old city that is 95% Arab. Residents told me they attributed the unrest more to the disaffection of local youngsters than some bold, political statement.

Ze'ev Jabotinsky, Netanyahu's intellectual forebear and hardly a shrinking violet when it came to Jewish self-determination, wrote: "All of us, all Jews and Zionists of all schools of thought, want the best for the Arabs of Eretz Israel. We want them to prosper both economically and culturally. We envision the regime of Jewish Palestine as follows: most of the population will be Jewish, but equal rights for all Arab citizens will not only be guaranteed, they will also be fulfilled."
Im Tirtzu: The Zionist Salon – Lt. Col. Maurice Hirsch
Lt. Col. Maurice Hirsch, former Head of IDF Military Prosecution for Judea & Samaria and current Director of Legal Strategies for Palestinian Media Watch, sat down with Im Tirtzu's Tamir Baram to discuss a range of topics including the Palestinian Authority's "pay-for-slay" program, the legality of Judea & Samaria, steps to increase deterrence against terrorism, his fascinating personal story, and more.

The Joshua and Caleb Network: Is the Palestinian Authority Collapsing?
DON’T FORGET! This channel will be re-launching as “The Israel Guys” on August 11th. Same Youtube channel, different name! Make sure to subscribe now so that you don’t miss out on any new content or changes.

The world tries to pin human rights violations and international war crimes on Israel. Today we look at the corruption within the Palestinian Authority. Recently they beat and killed one of their own citizens simply because he was an open critic of the government.

Does the Palestinian Authority really care about their own people, economy or infrastructure? Find out on today’s mythbusting program on the Joshua & Caleb Report.

House passes the 2022 State and Foreign Operations funding bill
The House of Representatives barely passed on Wednesday night the 2022 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs funding bill. Some 217 members voted in favor, and 212 opposed the $62.2 billion bill.

The bill includes the $3.3 billion in US security assistance to Israel agreed to in the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding.

It also includes $50 million under the Economic Support Fund for the Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act, “to continue critically needed people-to-people programming and joint economic partnerships between Israelis and Palestinians.”

An additional amount of $2 million would assist USAID-Israel international development cooperation “to support local solutions to address sustainability challenges relating to water resources, agriculture and energy storage.”

An amount of $6 million for the Middle East Regional Cooperation program – to facilitate collaborative research between Israeli and Arab scientists – is also included in the bill.

Other measures include global humanitarian aid “to confront the current COVID-19 pandemic and prevent future pandemics.”
Erdan to UN Security Council: ‘Extremist Narratives’ Will ‘Keep Region Stuck in the Past’
Israeli Ambassador to United Nations Gilad Erdan warned against “adopting the narratives of the extremists in the Middle East” during a UN Security Council session on Wednesday, saying that doing so would “keep the region stuck in the past.”

Erdan, who also serves as ambassador to the US, contrasted recent milestones in Israel’s warming ties with the United Arab Emirates and Morocco with parties trying to “keep the Middle East stuck in a dark age of conflict.”

“Israel and more and more moderate Arab states are working to move beyond the past of hate, instability and fundamentalism, towards a future of dialogue, tolerance and peace,” he told the debate. “Unfortunately, terrorist groups like Hamas, and radical regimes like Iran, oppose this vision of a brighter future.”

He also highlighted recent steps taken by Iran to increase the production of enriched uranium, and its foiled plot to kidnap Iranian American journalist Masih Alinejad.

“When this Council fails to take strong action against the world’s worst human rights violators like Iran and Syria, and instead, singles out the world’s only Jewish state, it is no wonder that companies like Ben and Jerry’s and Unilever allow themselves to single out Israel for boycott,” Erdan remarked.

He also lambasted the Council’s focus on the issue of Jerusalem, calling it “dangerous.”
US Warns of ‘Irreparable Harm’ Caused by Polish Legislation Closing Off Holocaust Restitution Claims
Divisions between the US Administration and Poland widened this week, as a top State Department official condemned the passage of new legislation in the upper house of the Polish parliament that closes off the restitution claims of Holocaust survivors.

In a statement opposing the law — which amends Poland’s Code of Administrative Procedure — the State Department’s special envoy for Holocaust issues, Cherrie Daniels, warned that it would “cause irreparable harm to both Jews and non-Jews by effectively extinguishing claims for restitution and compensation of property taken during the Holocaust that was subsequently nationalized during the communist period.”

The law effectively voids legal disputes over property that go back more than 30 years, when the Communist Party regime that ruled Poland after 1945 was overthrown. After World War II, property belonging to Jews and others that was stolen by the Nazi occupation authorities was nationalized by the new, Soviet-backed government.

Daniels took specific aim at Warsaw’s claim that Poland is not obliged to compensate survivors and their descendants because Germany was the aggressor in World War II. Speaking last month, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Marowiecki stated that his country would pay “neither zloty, nor euro, nor dollar” for “German crimes.”

Noting that Poland is the only European country that has not offered any compensation for private property seized by the state in its recent history, Daniels said that the Biden Administration was “disappointed that the Polish government and the opposition seems too often to purposely conflate property restitution or compensation with (wartime-era) reparations.”

She continued: “We would like to see the Polish government, at a minimum, amend the legislation so that claimants with pending claims can continue to pursue them through the existing administrative process.”
PMW: Poland’s decision not to return stolen Holocaust property ends “Zionist extortion,” cheers column in PA daily
Poland’s recent passing of a law that ends restitution for Jewish Holocaust victims and prevents return of property stolen from them during WWII, signifies a refusal to be “milked” by Zionism and puts an end to “Zionist extortion,” according to a column in the official PA daily.

Cheering “rebelling” Poland’s decision as “brave” while the law was still waiting to pass the Polish Senate, the PA paper’s regular columnist Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul claimed it a step against an alleged American wish “to ensure the continuation of the Zionist project and its colonialist state.” Al-Ghoul further described the Polish decision as a “refusal to cooperate with the logic of the milking cow.” He further alleged that Zionism has no connection to Judaism but “hijacked” it for colonial purposes:
“What this means is… stopping the Zionist extortion of European states by the World Jewish Compensation Organization (sic., World Jewish Restitution Organization)… This means rebelling, coming out of the tunnel of European submission and stuttering, and rising up against the web of relations that the US established following World War II in order to ensure the continuation of the Zionist project and its colonialist state at the expense of the Palestinian Nakba (i.e., “the catastrophe,” Palestinian term for the establishment of the State of Israel)…

Through this brave step, Poland, its government, its parliament, and its elites are declaring their refusal to cooperate with the logic of the milking cow, which is meant to sustain a fascist state that has no connection to Judaism, that hijacked Judaism, and that pretends to represent the victims of the Nazi Holocaust…

The recent Polish step constitutes a great point of light, whose goal is to wake Europe from its slumber and its submission to the will of Zionism and its colonialist state.This is a great incentive for all the states to rise up against 73 years of subjugation to the will of rogue powers that are not interested in the welfare and future of the members of the Jewish religion.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 4, 2021]

Azerbaijan opens trade office in Tel Aviv 30 years after forming ties
Thirty years after establishing diplomatic relations with Israel, Azerbaijan inaugurated its Trade and Tourism office in Tel Aviv on Thursday, a preliminary step to the opening of the Azeri Embassy, the Tourism Ministry said.

Trade between the countries was about $200 million in 2020, excluding oil supplies. Israeli companies are represented in Azerbaijan in a variety of fields, from road construction to telecom and medicine.

“Relations between Israel and Azerbaijan are of a strategic nature and are based on trust and mutual respect,” said Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov. “Over the past three decades we have witnessed many breakthroughs in relations between the two countries, but the opening of the official Trade and Tourism Representation is another historic event.”

“I would like to congratulate President Ilham Aliyev on this important decision that will further strengthen the partnership between the two countries,” Razvozov continued. “It will definitely serve as an address for Israeli entrepreneurs in fields like energy, medicine, water treatment, agriculture and investments.”
Azerbaijan and Israel: Friendship of values
Azerbaijan and Israel enjoy strong relations underpinned by several factors, including security, trade, tourism and humanitarian cooperation. Israel is one of the main suppliers of the modern weapons that performed so well during the recent 44-days war when, in fall 2020, Azerbaijan managed to liberate its territories that were formerly occupied by Armenia. Azerbaijan, meanwhile, delivers significant amounts of oil to Israel. The wider context of these bilateral relations rests on the vital interest of Israel in the security situation in the South Caucasus – a region that borders Iran, Russia and Turkey.

In recent months, and especially during and after the 2020 Armenia–Azerbaijan war, some Israeli media outlets called for the reconsideration of relations with Azerbaijan. Put briefly, they argued that the basis of relations between the two countries is oil-for-weapons trade and such mercantile consideration should be replaced by humanitarian goals. Israel, the argument went, should empathize with Armenia as a nation that has suffered from "genocide" and is closer to its liberal values. Moreover, the "Turkey factor" was also invoked to demonstrate that Azerbaijan has close strategic ties with a country with which Israel currently has a highly complicated relationship.

None of these arguments, in my opinion, provides sufficient grounds for advocating for a cooler relationship between Azerbaijan and Israel, and some of them are faulty, especially from the very liberal viewpoints espoused by some experts and journalists.

First, while countries build their relations based on national interests, including financial benefits or security cooperation, the reductionism of Azerbaijani–Israeli relations to oil-for-weapons does not stand the judgment of history. Members of the Jewish diaspora settled in Azerbaijan centuries ago, and their cohabitation had no anti-Semitic traits; on the contrary, there was a synergy of cultures.

RAF in Drone Warfare Exercise in Israel: "A Sign of Change after Brexit"
The Royal Air Force has taken part in the first Western military exercise on drone warfare, held in Israel, where they trained on Hermes 450 drones, simulating joint operations with fighter jets and attack helicopters, together with teams from the U.S., France, Germany and Italy. For the Israelis, it was an opportunity to show their counterparts how they have been using unmanned aerial vehicles in combat for nearly 50 years.

Brig.-Gen. Amir Lazar, commander of the Israel Air Force Air Division, said: "All the countries participating in this exercise have had combat experience with drones over the last couple of decades, in Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries. But they usually use a drone operating at long range." Gaza and other battlefields over which Israel uses drones are much closer to its borders, sometimes only a few minutes' flight time away, and the Israeli doctrine is to use at least two drones in tandem to sweep potential targets and to ensure before an airstrike that the correct target has been identified.

Over recent years, close ties between the Israeli and British armed forces have come out in the open. Last month, a joint exercise involving the British, Israeli and U.S. air forces was held in Israel's Negev Desert, with each nation using its F-35 stealth fighters. A British officer involved in the latest exercise said: "It's also a sign of how Britain's attitude towards some of its strategic alliances is changing after Brexit."

INS Magen: Israel's newest ship changes how the IDF combats naval threats
The INS Magen, the Israeli Navy’s most advanced Sa’ar 6 corvette missile ship, docked in Haifa’s port in December but the ship still smells new and is still being fitted with all its weapons systems.

“It’s making history,” said Lt.-Col. Omer Carmi as he welcomed The Jerusalem Post onto the ship. “The whole ship is new, in every single way. Even some of its technology is completely new to the Navy.”

The 90-m. long 2,000-ton ship is one of four Sa’ar 6 corvettes that will form the backbone of the Israeli Navy for the decades to come. It is expected to be operational next year.

The new ships mark a transition in the Navy’s combat doctrine that is geared towards the ever-changing regional threats that face the Jewish State and will play a greater role in detecting and destroying enemy targets and threats.

Israel’s Navy was given the job to defend the country’s economic water – double the size of the country– in 2013 and work began on the new ships that would be needed to protect national infrastructure kilometers away from shore from enemies who fight in asymmetric ways. The Sa’ar 6, Carmi said as we walked the halls of the ship, “were built to protect strategic assets and protect the gas installations.”

Actually, It's the Palestinians Who Are Appropriating Jewish Culture
A recent article in Ha'aretz accused Zionists of "cultural and culinary appropriation" by presenting Palestinian foods as Israeli cuisine. Yet, as was proven by Prof. Menachem Felix and many others, there is almost no vegetable, fruit, spice or cooking method now ascribed to the Syrian-Palestinian kitchen that is not mentioned in the Bible or the Mishnah, and that didn't migrate with the Jews when they were exiled from their land.

For example, in southeastern Turkey, kubbeh, the glory of the Palestinian kitchen, is called "Jewish kofta" - that is, Jewish meatballs. Jews invented kubbeh because it was their custom to eat meat on Shabbat, but it is religiously prohibited for them to slaughter animals or cook on that day. Before the refrigerator was invented, the solution was to wrap ground meat in dough and fry or bake it on Friday, so it wouldn't spoil.

Similarly, eggplant and hummus, also ostensibly from the Palestinian kitchen, are mentioned in the records of the Spanish Inquisition as characteristic Jewish foods that could be used to identify people who formally converted to Christianity but secretly remained Jews. Moreover, olive oil, which has become a symbol of the Palestinian people, is one of the seven species the Bible cites as acceptable offerings in the Temple. It was used to anoint kings and priests and to light the menorah in the Temple.

It was the ancient Jewish cuisine of the Land of Israel that turned into one of the cuisines appropriated by Muslim nomads after they conquered the region in the seventh century. (h/t NormanF)
PMO: PA official ‘racist’ for encouraging Olympians to boycott Israel
Refusing to compete against Israelis due to their nationality, as Palestinian Olympic Committee chairman Jibril Rajoub encouraged Olympic athletes to do, is racist, Prime Minister’s Office spokesman for Arab Media Ofir Gendelman said on Wednesday.

“The Olympic Games celebrate friendship and respect,” Gendelman wrote on Twitter. “Not only [is] refusing to compete against someone because of his nationality un-Olympic, it’s also racist.”

Rajoub “glorified terrorism,” encouraging soccer tournaments and teams to be named after Palestinian terrorists, and compared Israelis to “Satan and Nazis,” FIFA’s chief of investigations said.

“The Olympic Games celebrate friendship and respect,” Gendelman wrote on Twitter. “Not only [is] refusing to compete against someone because of his nationality un-Olympic, it’s also racist.”

Hamas Threatens Renewed Violence If Qatari Money Not Immediately Transferred
Palestinian terrorist factions in Gaza threatened to escalate violence again, and could even fire rockets at the Jewish state, if Jerusalem continues to impose conditions on the transfer of Qatari redevelopment money and the full opening of border crossings, according to the Hamas-affiliated Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar.

The newspaper reported that “the factions have given the occupying power until the end of this week [July 31] to bring in Qatari subsidies, open passages, and bring in reconstruction materials,” otherwise, “tensions will intensify along the borders, and they will take other larger and broader forms.”

At the same time, Palestinian media have reported in recent days that negotiations regarding the transfer of Qatari money are progressing, but according to Ynet, no agreement has been reached between the various parties.

For three years, Qatar has regularly paid millions of dollars to Gaza, with Israel’s consent. These funds are used to pay the salaries of civil servants, but the money is also distributed in cash directly to Palestinians in need.

Israel is also delivering Qatari-funded fuel to the coastal enclave to provide for power generation, a move aimed at further loosening the grip imposed during the May conflict between the Jewish state and Hamas.

MEMRI: Arab Dailies Praise Tunisian President Kais Saied: A 'Second Revolution' Has 'Saved Tunisia' From The Muslim Brotherhood
Tunisian President Kais Saied's firing of Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and his suspension of the parliament and removal of lawmakers' immunity met with approval from many Arab states. These measures taken by Saied, aimed at removing from power the Ennahda party, headed by parliamentary speaker Rachid Ghannouchi, which is an affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), were perceived as a historic move marking the end of the MB era in the country that spearheaded the Arab Spring uprisings in the Arab world. Many Arab countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which regard the MB as a terror organization seeking to destabilize their own regimes, praised Saied for taking crucial measures to extricate Tunisia from the economic, political and healthcare crisis it is experiencing. An editorial in the UAE daily Al-Khaleej, for example, expressed complete support for Saied and his decisions, stating that his moves had saved Tunisia from final collapse and from the "nightmare" of MB rule. Moreover, Al-Khaleej's July 14 editorial, published 10 days prior to Saied's dramatic measures, stated that there was no escape from a "second revolution" in Tunisia that would "correct a historic mistake that allowed the MB to take hold of the state and to sow in it corruption and destruction."

Similar claims were made in the Egyptian press, which highlighted the similarity between the current events in Tunisia and President Al-Sisi's deposing of the MB rule in Egypt, headed by Muhammad Morsi, in 2013. Articles in the Saudi press commended Saied for "delivering a blow" to the "terrorist" MB, which, they said, is destined for perdition.

The following are examples of some of these reactions.

Al-Khaleej, July 27: The Tunisians Are Breathing Freely After President Saied Saved Them From The Muslim Brotherhood Nightmare
In its July 27 editorial, headlined "Saving Tunisia," Al-Khaleej wrote: "Tunisia was facing final collapse; the political, economic, and social crisis had become insoluble, and to them was added the coronavirus pandemic that became a catastrophe threatening the Tunisian people with the collapse of its health system.
Hezbollah’s Defiance and the United Nations’ Duty
Next month, the UN Security Council will convene, as it does every year, to renew the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). Unless the Council takes the necessary measures to ensure that its resolutions regarding Lebanon are upheld, UNIFIL’s mandate will remain unfulfilled.

On August 11, 2006, the Security Council adopted resolution 1701, which called for a “full cessation of hostilities” along the Israel-Lebanon border. The Council clearly acknowledged the hostilities were triggered by Hezbollah’s unprovoked attack on Israel. During the month-long crisis, hundreds of people died, thousands were injured, and hundreds of thousands were displaced, on both sides of the border.

While Israel has complied with resolution 1701, Hezbollah and its state sponsor Iran have persistently undermined it. The resolution called for full implementation of resolution 1559, adopted two years earlier, which called for disbanding and disarming all militias in Lebanon. But Hezbollah has not been disarmed, and in fact has significantly increased its military capabilities.

Resolution 1701 called for re-establishing the Lebanese government’s effective authority along the border with Israel and in all of Lebanon, but that’s impossible if Hezbollah remains an armed militia. It also called for an embargo on the sale or supply of arms and related material to Lebanon, except as authorized by its government. However, Iran, which played a key role in the creation of Hezbollah in 1983, and has invested heavily in its proxy, continues to provide Hezbollah with ever more deadly weapons.

Hezbollah is the quintessential terrorist organization. It perpetrated the 1983 bombing against the US embassy in Beirut, which killed 63 people, and, in the same year, carried out the gruesome bombing of the US and French barracks of the Multinational Force in Lebanon, killing 241 American and 58 French soldiers.
MEMRI: Lebanese Political Analyst Dr. Talal Atrissi: The Jews Control Hollywood, the Media, Cinema, Arts
Lebanese sociologist and political analyst Dr. Talal Atrissi said that the Jews control the media, cinema, and arts and accuse anyone who is critical of Israel with antisemitism. He made his remarks in an interview that aired on Mayadeen TV (Lebanon) on July 22, 2021. In reference to the Japanese director of the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony, who was fired after a video emerged of him telling jokes about the Holocaust, Dr. Atrissi said that even Japan, “an ally of the U.S. and a supporter of Israel, is afraid of mentioning the Holocaust.”

He then continued to say that Marlon Brando implied that Jews “dominate global cinema,” and as a result was threatened that he would never work in Hollywood if he does not apologize, because Jews do this “is true” and control Hollywood. He further said that The Protocols of the Elders of Zion are banned in French bookstores, yet the Charlie Hebdo cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad were published, and after the attack on the magazine’s offices, the magazine was praised and supported by all of France’s newspapers. Dr. Atrissi added: “There is a phobia of the Holocaust and a phobia of antisemitism.”

Israel Shifts to Standoff Weapons in Syria as Russia Restricts Its Freedom of Action - A
Defense sources say the Israeli military is planning to change its tactics in Syria to employ long-range standoff munitions as opposed to air strikes on Iran-linked military targets, following a new Russian policy to use its higher-end air defense systems capable of shooting down Israeli jets over Syrian airspace.

Last week, Rear Adm. Vadim Kulit said in a TV interview that Russian forces assisted the Syrians in intercepting four missiles launched by Israeli F-16s - the first time Russian assistance was given to counter Israeli military operations. Kulit said a Russian SA-17 was used, a medium-range advanced defense missile complex (ADMC) used by the Russian Army. The system is operated directly by the Russian military. Israeli sources confirmed that the SA-17 was used for the first time against Israeli missiles, raising fears that Israeli pilots could be targeted as well.

For the majority of the conflict in Syria, Israel and Russia have maintained a hotline that allowed the Israeli military to alert Russian forces of incoming strikes. Generally, sources say, Russia was given two to three minutes of warning in order to remove their personnel in the area, and in some cases missions were aborted over fears of striking Russian forces. However, Russian officials now say the deconfliction line no longer exists, while Israeli sources say communications through the line have effectively stopped.

"Russia has decided to end the Israeli freedom of action over Syria," said Dr. Mordechai Kedar, a senior Israeli expert. Moscow want to portray Syria as a functioning country. "The frequent Israeli air strikes on targets in Syria do not help to build the desired image."
Seth Frantzman: US targets Turkey-backed extremists in Syria with sanctions
The US Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned a variety of individuals and organizations in Syria on Wednesday, among them a group backed by Turkey which has carried out widespread human rights abuses.

The sanctions involve “eight Syrian prisons run by the Assad regime’s intelligence apparatus, which have been sites of human rights abuses against political prisoners and other detainees.”

Of interest is the decision by the Biden administration to finally speak up about the abuses of extremist groups backed by Ankara which have been targeting Kurds and other minorities. This is a major change from the Trump administration’s silence, in the main, on abuses of minorities in Syria, as it worked with Turkey to empower some extremist groups.

According to the statement “OFAC is also sanctioning the Syrian armed group Ahrar al-Sharqiya, which operates in northern Syria, for abuses against civilians, and two of the group’s leaders.” Ahrar al-Sharqiya has committed numerous crimes against civilians, particularly Syrian Kurds, including unlawful killings, abductions, torture, and seizures of private property, the statement said. “The group has also incorporated former Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) members into its ranks. These horrific acts compound the suffering of a population that has repeatedly endured mass displacement.”

This is a major decision and reflects a change in tone from the new administration, as well as a shift in policy.
Iraq's Growing Water Crisis – Iraqi Journalist: Iraq Must Act Against Iran And Turkey To Stop Them Stealing Its Water
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is one of the most water-scarce regions in the world. With approximately 6 percent of world population, the region has about 1.4 percent of the world renewable fresh water. As oil-producing countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as well as Israel, have resorted to water desalination to mitigate water shortage, most other countries have resorted to their ground water resources, which are getting systematically depleted. There is risk of saltwater intrusion in aquifers close to the sea. Most countries in the region are dependent on water from outside the region in the form of imported food, particularly grain and rice, to feed their populations.

A number of factors have exacerbated the water crisis in MENA: rapid population growth, climate change with frequent and extended periods of drought, pollution of rivers by uncontrolled dumping of human and industrial waste, inefficient irrigation methods that cause unnecessary water waste, and the construction of dams on rivers, drastically affecting the quantity of water downstream. The result of all these factors has been salination and desertification, dislodging farmers from their agricultural lands into urban centers of massive poverty. They are the first generation of water refugees, whose number are likely to grow.[1]

Water shortages could also generate domestic political violence or even the danger of regional wars. Recent violent demonstrators in the Arab-inhabited Ahwaz region of Iran due to the shortage of water is just one example. The construction of the Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile by Ethiopia has triggered military threats by Egypt, as the dam could reduce the quantity of water reaching Egypt by as much as 20 percent, or even more in the event of extended drought. A sharp reduction of water in the Nile could affect not only the livelihood but the very survival of millions of Egyptians.[2]

In Iraq, a severe water crisis caused by multiple factors is greatly compounded by the policy of Iraq's neighbors, which has considerably decreased the flow of water in many of the countries' rivers, especially in its two greatest rivers: the Tigris and the Euphrates. Iraq accuses Turkey, and to a lesser extent Syria, of sharply reducing the Euphrates' water flow by constructing hydroelectric dams on it, thus damaging Iraq's already struggling agricultural sector. It accuses Iran of diverting major Tigris tributaries that has cut the flow of water in this river as well. Indeed, a report issued recently by the European Water Association warned that Iraq could completely lose the waters of its two major rivers by 2040. Iraq, the report warns, is facing "a real disaster," which would mean that the country will become an extension of the Arabian Peninsula desert.[3]

Republican Senators Press Biden Admin To Bar Iranian President From US
Republican senators called on the White House to block senior Iranian officials, including incoming hardline president Ebrahim Raisi, from entering the United States to attend the United Nations’ annual general assembly later this year.

In a letter sent late Tuesday, the group of senators led by Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) petitioned the Biden administration to deny visas to Raisi and other Iranian government diplomats, citing Raisi’s leading role in a 1988 "death commission" that approved the mass murder of Iranian dissidents. While the United States typically permits Iranian officials limited access in New York City to attend the U.N. gathering, this would be the first time a known mass murderer is given a visa.

"Ebrahim Raisi should remain sanctioned under U.S. law," the senators wrote, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. "If the United Nations General Assembly maintains its current plans to allow some in-person attendance, the White House should deny Raisi and other Iranian leaders visas to attend. Allowing Raisi to travel to the United States—to the same city where the Iranian regime just tried to kidnap a U.S. citizen—would legitimize his repression, undermine America’s moral leadership, and potentially endanger our national security, given the likely presence of intelligence agents in the Iranian traveling party."

Raisi’s election, which was widely seen as rigged, poses a diplomatic problem for the Biden administration as it holds negotiations with Tehran aimed at inking a revamped nuclear deal. Iran recently put the talks on hold to give Raisi and his team time to assume a leadership role. Given Raisi’s close alliance with Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei, it is likely the regime will adopt an even harder line in talks in order to gain full-scale relief from harsh economic sanctions.

Cotton and his colleagues say the Biden administration must take a principled stand to show Raisi the United States will hold him accountable for the regime’s past and current human-rights abuses.
Iran Attempted To Abduct at Least 3 American Journalists in 2019 and 2020
At least three U.S. journalists working for Voice of America were the subjects of attempted Iranian abduction and surveillance efforts in 2019 and 2020, a former senior State Department official familiar with the security threats told the Washington Free Beacon.

In one botched plot in late 2019, Iranian operatives allegedly tried to use a female "honey trap" to lure a male VOA journalist to a hotel room in Irbil, Iraq, according to the former State Department official—a plan that failed when the reporter, who has since left VOA, declined to show up to the hotel. The plot closely mirrors the case of Ruhollah Zam, an Iranian dissident ex-pat who was lured from France to Iraq by a female Iranian operative and then taken to Iran where he was executed by the government last year.

The news indicates that the Iranian government's targeting of American journalists—including the brazen kidnapping plot against Masih Alinejad that was outlined in a Department of Justice indictment earlier this month—is more widespread than has been reported. It also raises questions for the Biden administration, which has downplayed recent news that Iranian intelligence agents surveilled and plotted to kidnap Alinejad on U.S. soil. Iranian pro-democracy advocates say the administration's tepid response to the attack is tied to President Biden's efforts to reenter the nuclear deal with the Iranian government.

The FBI warned the U.S. Agency for Global Media, the parent agency of VOA, in mid-2020 that two popular VOA reporters based in New York, including Alinejad, were the target of Iranian surveillance efforts, according to the source. VOA has a Persian-language service that provides global coverage of Iranian politics and employs some journalists who are vocal critics of the Iranian regime.

The former senior State Department official said the then-director of Voice of America, Setareh Derakhshesh, was informed about the threats by both the State Department and the U.S. Agency for Global Media but declined to take action and dismissed the warnings as interagency meddling. Derakhshesh, who is now working as VOA director of programming review, was fired for alleged misconduct last year but rehired by the Biden administration.
Former German Intelligence Chief: Return to Iran Deal a Mistake
Former German BND foreign intelligence service chief August Hanning told the Jerusalem Post he opposes a return to the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal with Iran, saying, "The present Iranian regime is not really in favor of carrying out the necessary steps" to limit itself from developing a nuclear weapon.

"Iran's role in the region is not very positive," he said. "So long as the Iranians are carrying out this very ambitious missile program, and there is a very suspicious Iranian background of trying to get access to a nuclear device and nonconventional warheads, I will be very skeptical of the present negotiations with Iran."

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