Friday, September 24, 2021

From Ian:

Josh Hammer: The Moral Perverseness of Democrats' Foreign Policy Priorities
In the aftermath of President Joe Biden's disastrously executed withdrawal from the Afghan backwater, that would have translated to $400 million directly subsidizing the Taliban. That's the same Taliban-run Afghan government that, as FBI Director Christopher Wray admitted to Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) during a Senate hearing earlier this week, counts eponymous Haqqani network member Siraj Haqqani as its interior minister. Haqqani remains wanted by the FBI, and there is a $10 million bounty for his capture. Some Democrats would apparently rather fund Haqqani's government than protect innocent Jewish, Arab and Christian lives in the Holy Land using state-of-the-art missile defense technology. Indeed, many Democrats would presumably still rather send amorphous "humanitarian aid" to Afghanistan which, due to ubiquitous venality, would of course just subsidize the Taliban, than fund the inherently defensive Iron Dome system.

That is, quite simply, perverse.

But at this point, it also should not be surprising. For years during the Obama administration, Democrats embarked on a broader Middle East-centric foreign policy realignment crusade by which the U.S. would create distance between itself and its formerly staunch Israeli and Sunni Arab allies, and cozy up to Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood. Years later, the purported rationale for such a realignment remains unclear. The Iranian regime is the world's leading state sponsor of jihad, and regime propagandists quite literally chant "Death to America" in the streets of Tehran. The Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, for whom the Biden administration nixed in February the Trump administration's previously affixed "terrorist" label, have as their official slogan: "Allah is Greater, Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse on the Jews, Victory to Islam." They sound like nice people.

Democratic Party foreign policy is in complete shambles right now. Much of that intellectual descent goes back to the Obama, and even the Clinton, administrations. But it has rapidly accelerated in recent years, as the tail that is Ocasio-Cortez's Jew-hating "Squad" has come to lead the dog that is the broader Democratic Party apparatus. Unapologetic anti-Semites and anti-American zealots, sadly, are now steering one of America's two leading political parties. That is now an inescapable truth.
Melanie Phillips: The Democrats' Iron Dome fiasco, and what it means
Those baying for Israel's blood deny that this singling out of Israel for demonization is essentially the same kind of deranged treatment meted out to the Jews through the ages.

Instead, more and more on the left – tragically, including many Jews – now nod along to the evil and patently ludicrous charges against Israel of apartheid, ethnic cleansing and war crimes.

When Israelis are murdered in the disputed territories of the "West Bank," the silence from the human-rights-obsessed, "anti-racist" left is deafening. These murders are simply ignored because, to supporters of "Palestinian rights," these Jewish victims are simply to be written out of the script of humanity.

Even to "moderate" Israel supporters on the left, there are good Israelis and bad Israelis; good Jews and bad Jews. The bad ones are deemed bad because they fight their enemies; the good ones are deemed good because they cave in to them.

The result is a vast increase in attacks on Jews, with students on campus increasingly hiding their Jewish identity.

So what should Israel and its supporters do in response?

Israel's new ambassador to the United States, Brig. Gen. Michael Herzog, has rightly said: "We are in the midst of a war of consciousness, and the State of Israel has to develop new, strong and profound tools to deal with this challenge."

In fact, Israel has never responded adequately to this great crisis of Western thought. This is partly the result of Israel's epic and endemic governmental incompetence.

But it's also because of Israel's deeply felt belief that trying to make Israel's case to Britain and Europe, where Jew-hatred has been ingrained for centuries, is a hopeless task – while (with the exception of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who understood that Israel had to appeal directly to the American public) it could take American support for granted.

Now it needs to revisit that last assumption as a matter of urgency. Yet at this most critical juncture, Israel has saddled itself with a feeble governing coalition that appears to believe that a plastic spoon should be brought to a gunfight.
Israel has an obligation to defend itself
The most common refrain from strong Israel supporters was: “Israel has a right to defend itself.” The people making those statements thought they were helping Israel, but they were not.

Of course Israel has a right to defend itself. Why wouldn’t it? By even mentioning the “right,” you are welcoming a debate whether Israel does or does not have a “right” to defend itself.

It is time for the pro-Israel and I daresay pro-America crowd to permanently change the lexicon. “Israel has an obligation to defend itself and its citizens.”

The most basic expectation that a citizen of any country has is the expectation to safety and security. This is an obligation of the state to its citizens, not a right, not an option. It is a non-negotiable obligation.

When a nation does not fulfill its obligation, it questions its ability to succeed as a state. To win a war, you must choose the correct battlefield.

This week it became clear that the Democratic Party is currently negotiating Israel’s surrender as their very right to exist has been called into question, and those willing to fight to extinguish it cared more than those who purport to defend it.

The cause is not lost, and strong bipartisan support for Israel is important to Israel, but it is even more important to America.

Combine this week’s capitulation with America’s disastrous retreat from Afghanistan – with Americans and allies left behind with zero repercussions for anyone in the administration or Congress – and we have a glaring lack of understanding of a country’s obligations to its citizens.

Danny Danon: Israel must expose the Iranian charade
The challenge from the perspective of Israel and other countries in the region is to ensure the Iranian nuclear issue receives the appropriate amount of attention. Foreseeing this in advance, the Iranians announced their intention to renew nuclear talks in the coming weeks. The Iranians mustn't be allowed to continue deceiving the nations of the world. In the five years I served in the UN, I witnessed the Iranian deception apparatus in action. In one instance, when former Iranian president Hassan Rouhani visited, it so happened I was seated next to his table at one of the UN's various events. I saw up close the Iranian leader sweet talk and convince world leaders of his "pure" intentions. Since that event, the Iranian nuclear program has taken massive strides while the Iranian charade continues unabated.

For the first time in his life, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will speak on one of the world's biggest stages, the UN General Assembly. It is his responsibility to maintain former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's approach and shine the spotlight on the Iranian nuclear threat, which threatens regional and global stability. Israel's primary message must be strong and clear. Handling the coronavirus pandemic is important, but an equally significant threat exists that could undermine the fragile stability of the Middle East, and that is the Iranian nuclear program.

The delicate balance in the Middle East will be disrupted, and not just Israel, but other countries in the region as well will find themselves in danger if Iran acquires the nuclear capabilities to which it aspires. The nuclear deal Iran seeks will not stop its nuclear project; rather only grant international legitimacy to its pursuits.

In diplomacy, it is customary to be polite, but that doesn't mean conceding your positions. Israel must expose the truth, and say in a clear voice that signing a flawed nuclear deal with Iran while simultaneously vowing to never allow it to acquire a nuclear weapon are two irreconcilable things. From my experience in the diplomatic arena, I learned that many leaders talk about the importance of Israel's security while making decisions that in actuality weaken our security. Therefore, we must take our enemies' threats more seriously than the promises of our allies.
Caroline Glick: Israel's 'Blame my predecessor' Iran strategy revealed
Since taking office, the Biden administration has made clear repeatedly that its only policy towards Iran is appeasement. Consequently, there is no way the administration will either work with Israel to sabotage Iran's nuclear installations, or approve any Israeli plan to sabotage Iran's nuclear installations on its own. So by giving the administration veto power over Israel's actions on that front, Lapid – followed by Gantz and Naftali Bennett – effectively ended Israel's own operations. It comes as no surprise then that there have been no reports of damage to Iran's nuclear installations in recent months.

Russia took an axe to Israel's military operations against Syria when it announced that Putin has cancelled his agreement not to interfere with Israel's operations against Iranian targets in Syria. But Syria isn't the only battlefield the government has abandoned. In late July, Iran attacked an Israeli managed cargo ship docked off the Omani coast. Two crew members were killed. Aside from a bit of huffing and puffing, Israel failed to retaliate. Likewise, Israel failed to retaliated when Iran's Lebanese proxy Hezbollah launched a missile strike against northern Israel. And last week, Israel did nothing to block Iran from supplying fuel to Hezbollah in Lebanon, despite the fact that the Iranian operation constituted a major breach of US sanctions on Iran.

Israel's diplomatic campaign against Iran had two audiences – the Arab regimes threatened by Iran, and the western powers – including the Democrat Party – that embraced nuclear appeasement. The Arabs responded to Israel's staunch diplomacy by embracing the Jewish state as an ally.

As for the western powers, by rejecting nuclear appeasement, Israel rejected the legitimacy that the western powers were providing Iran's nuclear weapons program through the JCPOA. The JCPOA didn't merely preserve Iran's nuclear capabilities and enable it to expand them while producing a missile arsenal capable of launching nuclear warheads. The 2015 nuclear deal also gave international legitimacy to an illicit nuclear program advanced in material breach of Iran's signature on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. On a practical level, Gantz's announcement that Israel no longer opposes the Biden administration's plan to restore the US to the JCPOA means that Israel has dropped its objection to the West's decision to legalize Iran's nuclear weapons program.

So what is the Lapid-Gantz-Bennett government's strategy on Iran? By cancelling all four components of Israel's longstanding successful strategy for containing and undermining Iran, the government has made clear that its strategy for dealing with Iran's nuclear program is to raise the white flag of surrender. Rather than present a new strategy for preventing Iran from crossing the nuclear threshold, the government has focused its efforts on selling its strategy of lying down and doing nothing. The government justifies its decision to let the clock run down by casting the blame for its failure to act on the person who conceived and implemented the Israeli strategy that blocked Iran from crossing the nuclear threshold until now. Although everyone knows who is it is they are scapegoating, Bennett has opted to refer to him only as "my predecessor."
Iran foreign minister vows to eliminate Zionism at UN anti-racism conference
Iran’s foreign minister said his nation’s "willpower is dedicated" to the elimination of Zionism at this week’s United Nations anti-racism conference.

With the United States and 33 [now 38] other nations boycotting a UN anti-racism conference due to its history of anti-Semitism, Iran’s new foreign minister invoked the destruction of the Jewish state, perhaps giving the countries who boycotted the conference more reason to have stayed away, observers say.

The event, known as Durban IV, had the theme of "Reparations, racial justice and equality for people of African descent." Wednesday’s event was to commemorate and adopt a statement 20 years after the first meeting in Durban, South Africa. While the original purpose of the event was combating racism, critics say it has been hijacked by an anti-Israel agenda that turned it into an anti-Semitic hate fest leading the U.S. and Israel to walk out of the first conference.

In this photo provided by the United Nations, United Nations General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid of Maldives, right, meets with Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian during the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021, at UN headquarters.

Iran’s new foreign minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, who is in New York this week for the UN General Assembly, said his country opposed all forms of racism while threatening the existence of Zionism.

"As the new foreign minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran, I’m honored to announce that my nation’s willpower is dedicated to the total elimination of all forms of racial discrimination, including apartheid and Zionism," he said. "These are crimes that constitute horrible atrocities such as child killing and the creeping occupation through settlements, which extends to the proximity of Al-Aqsa mosque."

Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies who focuses on Iran, told Fox News, "Abdollahian didn't mince words: the Islamic Republic will use every opportunity afforded to it to seek ‘the total elimination’ of Zionism. That is code for working towards the destruction of the Jewish state."
JPost Editorial: Durban IV: A diplomatic win for Israel that cannot be wasted - editorial
As Rowan Polovin, the national chairman of the South African Zionist Federation, wrote in an op-ed in The Jerusalem Post, “The outcome of Durban was the launch of a global, organized and well-funded antisemitic machine, masked in the language of human rights and cloaked in the guise of anti-apartheid activism” known as BDS.

The BDS movement, which has chalked up several victories in recent years, has also suffered several setbacks, such as the decision by several US states from Arizona to Florida to divest from Ben & Jerry’s over its decision to cease sales in Israeli settlements.

Twenty years after Durban I, Polovin pointed out, “Israel is stronger, secure, richer, more loved and more respected than ever before.”

Rather than allowing itself to be portrayed in some parts of the world as “a racist, apartheid state,” Israel and its allies should seize the historical moment and stand together – including the Gulf states with which it recently celebrated the anniversary of the Abraham Accords – to lead the international struggle against racism and religious persecution.

Rather than needing to lead a boycott of world conferences on racism, the Jewish state should have a special place at the table.
Bennett's UN strategy: Engaging the world without the Palestinians
Another source close to Bennett explained: “There is no possibility of negotiations, not because of Bennett, but because of reality. There are two Palestinian authorities.... That happened before Bennett arrived, and that needs to be communicated.”

Bennett was encouraged by Biden’s speech to the UN.

Biden said: “I continue to believe that the two-state solution is the best way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish democratic state, living in peace, alongside a viable, sovereign and democratic Palestinian state.”

However, he added: “We’re a long way from that goal at this moment.” Biden and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken have made similar remarks in the past.

The senior diplomatic source described Biden’s caveat as “convergence into the world of possibility,” and called it one of the most important things he said on the topic.

When Bennett addresses the General Assembly on Monday, talks with the Palestinians will not be part of his speech.

As he’s been saying for almost a decade in politics, Bennett “doesn’t think his engagement with the world has to go through the Palestinians,” the senior diplomatic source said.

Instead, the core of his speech will be telling Israel’s story and pushing back against hypocrisy and the “vicious, idiotic and unjust” standards by which Israel is judged at the UN and other international forums.

The goal is – to adopt a former Bennett campaign slogan – to present an Israel with “no apologies.” Bennett wants to be a confident and optimistic Israeli voice at the UN.
Sweden, Latvia, Denmark bring final Durban IV boycotter count to 37
Thirty-seven countries in total boycotted the Durban IV conference at the United Nations on Wednesday, over the event’s history of antisemitism and anti-Israel bias.

Sweden, Latvia and Denmark announced their boycott on Thursday, the day after the event took place.

The other countries boycotting Durban IV were: Albania, Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Montenegro, Moldova, Netherlands, North Macedonia, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine, the UK, the US and Uruguay.

Swedish Ambassador to Israel Erik Ullenhag said his country “didn’t participate in the high-level meeting marking the 20th anniversary of the Durban Declaration. We stand firm in the fight against racism and antisemitism in all its forms.”

The decision came days after Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid spoke with his Swedish counterpart Ann Linde, the highest-level contacts between the countries in seven years, since Sweden recognized a Palestinian state.

Lapid said on Thursday that the fact that more countries boycotted the Durban Review Conference than ever before comes from “intensive diplomatic work for the good of the State of Israel.”

Senate Republicans Block Biden Small Business Administration Nom Over Ties to Anti-Israel Group
Senate Republicans are blocking Joe Biden's nominee for deputy administrator of the Small Business Administration, Dilawar Syed, over his affiliation with a group that advocates for the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Republicans and conservative groups are raising concerns about Syed's board position with Emgage Action, a Muslim-American advocacy group that has described Israel as an "apartheid" state and lobbied against legislation that would penalize U.S. companies for boycotting Israel.

"As a board member of Emgage Action, Dilawar Syed has embraced the hateful [Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions] movement and anti-Semitic rhetoric calling Israel an ‘apartheid’ state," said Tom Jones, the founder of the American Accountability Foundation, a nonprofit group that conducts oversight on the federal government.

Republicans on the Senate Small Business Committee were no-shows at a Thursday hearing for the nominee, preventing the committee from reaching a quorum necessary to move forward with a vote. GOP senators said that they will stall Syed's confirmation not only because of his anti-Israel activism but also because he has not committed to recovering around $100 million in taxpayer-funded loans they say were illegally issued to Planned Parenthood. The Biden administration is under fire for awarding Planned Parenthood this cash via the COVID relief program, even though the organization was ineligible to receive these funds.
Michael Oren: Is U.S. Aid a Threat to Israel?
Behind closed doors, Israelis are questioning why a country as militarily and economically robust as theirs should continue to appear dependent on any foreign power. Why, they wonder, should Israel bear the opportunity costs of many billions of dollars by not selling its defense technologies to certain countries? And why should Israel, still a vulnerable country in the world’s toughest region, allow itself to be seen as open to progressive arm-twisting? Isn’t it time—with the Obama MOU set to expire in 2027—to begin asking whether Israel can continue to depend on U.S. military aid, whether its downsides outweigh its benefits, and whether or not more secure and mutually advantageous alternatives exist?

The answers to these questions may well lie in moving from the current donor-to-recipient model to a collaborative relationship based on both countries’ interests and strengths. Such an arrangement would provide for investment in joint research in artificial intelligence, directed energy (lasers), and cyber—all fields in which Israel excels. Such cooperation would bring immediate benefits to American and Israeli security and strengthen their abilities to counter common threats. “The U.S. and like-minded allies must lead in the development of emerging critical technologies,” I was told by Enia Krivine, senior director of the Israel Program and the National Security Network at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “The U.S. must invest in Israel and other techno democracies who share our values to secure the future.”

And nothing, it might be added, would be a better response to those legislators who are willing to cause harm to the Palestinians—and perhaps even to America—in order to attack Israel. Nothing could more effectively stimulate economic growth while contributing to Middle East security, and nothing could be more befitting for two sovereign, democratic states. In this way, perhaps, the blocking of aid for Iron Dome would not only be a wakeup call but also an opportunity for Israel and the United States to place their relationship on a more equitable and durable foundation.
How Many Dead Jews Will Satisfy the Squad?
There’s an old Jewish joke that describes an antisemite as someone who hates Jews more than what is strictly necessary. And boy, did Democratic members of the progressive ‘Squad’ reveal their enthusiastic Jew-hatred this week, pressuring their party to drop $1 billion in funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.

The Squad’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Cori Bush (D-MO), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) sided with a handful of other progressive Democrats, threatening to vote against an appropriations bill that included funding for the Iron Dome. They claimed that it allowed Israel to continue its abuse and persecution of the Palestinians.

American support for Iron Dome — which has zero offensive capabilities, and only protects Israeli civilians from terrorist rockets and other threats — is nothing new. The missile defense system has received American funding since 2011, with the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding, negotiated under President Barack Obama, securing another decade of military funding.

This is by no means the Squad’s first attempt to cut US funding for Israel. The Squad’s members openly support the movement to boycott the Jewish state, and, in both May and September of this year, led pushes to suspend the transfer of $735 million worth of weaponry to Israel.

But there is something particularly sickening about this latest move to prevent funding for the Iron Dome. As a solely defensive tool, Israel’s famed missile defense system has only ever played the role of saving Israeli lives — Jewish and Arab. By pressuring their party to nix this funding, this increasingly loud and attention-grabbing group of progressive lawmakers sent a clear message to their constituency: they want Israelis dead.
Shooting down Iron Dome funding is part of 'enduring' Durban
Israel makes every effort to prevent civilian casualties – even when Hamas is using them as human shields; that’s why the precision-guided missiles could help save lives. The “proportionate response” motto has been blown out of proportion. As I have found myself telling interviewers in war after war: I don’t have to apologize that, thanks to the Iron Dome, not enough of my friends, family and neighbors are being killed to satisfy an overseas audience. I don’t want to imagine what the death toll would be if the Iron Dome didn’t safely intercept the vast majority of the thousands of rockets launched on Israel.

And what would be an acceptable response, then? Would the death of more Israelis end the “cycle of violence” or encourage Hamas to sacrifice a few more “martyrs” for the cause? And it’s not relevant just for the well-published rounds of hostilities. There are intermittent rocket attacks on Israel that are under the international media radar, including some this month.

Shooting down the Iron Dome funding is part of “enduring” Durban in both senses of the word, ongoing and having to suffer.

Although this week’s 20th anniversary conference at the UN was boycotted by 34 countries, the spirit of the original Durban Conference is alive and being taught to the next generation in campuses across the world. A survey commissioned by the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law to specifically examine rates of antisemitism among US college students who claim a strong sense of Jewish identity and connection to Israel was published this week. It found that large numbers of students are feeling unsafe and nearly 70% had either personally experienced antisemitism on campus or was aware of an antisemitic incident within 120 days of being interviewed for the survey.

The Iron Dome anti-rocket system needs a civilian equivalent to intercept anti-Israel lies and libel, distortion and demonization. It should be fueled by buy-cotts instead of boycotts of the Start-Up Nation. Above all, it must normalize normalization. The Abraham Accords, now celebrating their first anniversary, are doing more to bring about peace and fight terrorism than anything that came out of the Durban Conference 20 years ago. Giving Israel the cold shoulder does nothing to create a warm peace.
Anti-Israel Progressives Jumped the Shark on Iron Dome Funding But Will They Pay a Price?
One of the most telling details about the complete defeat of the small but dedicated Israel haters in Congress was the fact that in the end, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who is the leader of the 10-member “Squad,” voted “present” on the bill that corrected her own vicious attack on Israeli security.

As you probably recall, earlier this week, a few hours before a scheduled vote on the US Budget, the Squad members forced the House of Representatives to remove a clause from the budget dedicated to replenishing Israel’s stock of Iron Dome rockets, which has been used heavily during the May clashes with Hamas (US Broken Promise: Congress Shoot Down $1B Emergency Aid to Replenish Israel’s Iron Dome). The move made the Democrats in the House look bad for a day, and then resulted in a whopping success for the vast majority in Congress who are true friends and allies of the Jewish State: the House of Representatives passed a stand-alone bill (H.R. 5323) to cover Israel’s costs in replenishing Iron Dome by a vote of 420 to 9.

How did AOC vote on the bill she personally caused? She voted “present.” Not because she suddenly had a change of heart and stopped aiding and abating the enemies of Israel, but because AOC is planning to challenge Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in 2022. You can’t be on the record as voting against replenishing Israel’s main defense against terrorist attacks on her civilians and win a Senate seat in NY State.

Still, the cameras caught a tearful AOC as she watched the complete collapse of her plot. Indeed, Israel owes the anti-Semitic former barista from the Bronx for helping galvanize astonishing bipartisan support for the US’ only true ally in the Middle East.
NY Times stealth-edits report saying AOC faced 'powerful' pro-Israel 'lobbyists and rabbis' on Iron Dome vote
The New York Times was caught stealth-editing a report that suggested progressive lawmakers struggled to vote against funding Israel's Iron Dome amid pressure from "powerful" rabbis and lobbyists after the paper was criticized on social media for the story's original framing.

On Thursday, the House overwhelmingly voted in favor of providing $1 billion toward Israel's defense system after the Democratic "Squad" had initially stripped the funding from the larger spending bill, sparking backlash from the more moderate wing of the party.

The bill, which received strong bipartisan support in a 420-9 vote, was dramatic until the very end as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., changed her vote from "no" to "present," a decision that apparently caused her to shed tears on the House floor. Her "Squad" colleagues, like Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., voted against the financial aid toward Israel.

However, a report published by the Times documenting the turmoil among the Democrats offered a peculiar description of how conflicted the progressives felt when casting their votes.

"Minutes before the vote closed, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez tearfully huddled with her allies before switching her vote to 'present.' The tableau underscored how wrenching the vote was for even outspoken progressives, who have been caught between their principles and the still powerful pro-Israel voices in their party, such as influential lobbyists and rabbis," Times congressional correspondent Catie Edmondson initially wrote.

That paragraph raised eyebrows among critics on social media.

".@nytimes frames the #IronDome vote as pitting ‘principles’----the honorable goal of Israeli civilians getting murdered by Hamas---and the raw naked power of the evil Jew Lobby. Including rabbis! It's that bad!" journalist Gary Weiss reacted.

"97% of the members of Congress supported a resolution to fund the #IronDome because it saves lives. But the @nytimes wants people to believe it was a tough call, between *principles* & *powerful lobbyists* What a sick way to frame the issue of protecting civilians from missiles," Joel M. Petlin, a contributor to the Jewish newspaper The Forward, reacted. AOC 'cries' as the House passes $1B in funding for Israel's Iron Dome Video

"I do think most #Jews find it offensive - if not outright #antisemtic - to frame #rabbis as coercive conspiring emotional blackmailers into true belief - @AOC can make up her own mind - do better @nytimes," Sara Yael Hirschhorn, a visiting assistant Israeli studies professor at Northwestern University, scolded the Times.

The Israel Guys: AOC & The Squad Demonstrate Just How Much They Hate Israel
AOC and her pals refused to support the government spending bill since it contained aid to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome Missile Defense System. As a result, the rest of the Democrats simply bowed to the pressure and removed the aid to Israel from the bill. The spending bill then promptly passed the House.

Unfortunately, “the squad” and others like them are gaining power, and may find themselves at the helm of the democratic party in the not-so-distant future. In the meantime, we should call it for what it is. Anti-Semitism equals Jew-hatred.

Mark Regev: What the Gilboa Prison escape says about the Israeli paradox
I experienced First World Israel first-hand last year when I upgraded my old national ID card for the new biometric one. I filled out the form on the Ministry of Interior website, scheduled my appointment online and was received at the Ministry at the allotted time, following which my new biometric identification was sent to me via registered mail; a prime example of First World E-government.

I have also experienced direct interaction with Third World Israel O-government (“O” is for Ottoman). Twice I was volunteered by my family to vouch for the Jewishness of a sister-in-law before she could be married by the Rabbinate. Twice I showed up at the Municipal Religious Council and on both occasions I was astounded (although not surprised) by the seemingly 19th-century work processes. The time of my scheduled appointment had only a casual relationship with the time of my actual appointment; in one case the relevant official apparently was not even in the building.

All this demonstrates the larger Israeli paradox. On the one hand, there is an Israel that is efficient, industrious, problem solving, results oriented and hi-tech; an Israel where outstanding intelligence work and effective interagency coordination within a fortnight successfully recaptures all of the six terrorists who escaped Gilboa prison. On the other hand, there is an Israel that seems to amalgamate the vociferous mayhem of the Polish shtetl with a Mediterranean carefree casualness and Middle Eastern dysfunction. This breeds an Israel that muddles along with an yihye beseder (it will be OK) mentality that made possible the escape of the six inmates in the first place.

These two Israels function in parallel, struggling for hegemony with each competing for dominance over different aspects of our national life. In many areas, First World Israel reigns supreme, in others it remains Third World Israel.

Maybe Third World Israel has some quaint appeal. Like the slightly mad uncle we meet on Jewish holidays, it can add some color and cheer to our lives. But if the State of Israel is going to succeed in facing the array of very real challenges it confronts, First World Israel must be triumphant. Wardens “asleep on the job” at Israel’s maximum security prisons are hardly a prescription for a more promising and secure future.

Watch: Palestinian crowd sings and dances to Hebrew music near Hebron
Social media users expressed outrage after the video was shared of a Palestinian crowd singing and dancing to Hebrew music at a wedding in Yatta near Hebron on Thursday.

Israeli Druze singer Mike Sharif performed at the wedding, with a video on his Facebook page showing him singing the song "Why Not?" with the crowd singing and dancing along.

The video showed Sharif being accompanied to the stage by a large number of security guards.

Some Palestinian social media users and news sites expressed outrage at the video, with commenters on social media writing "shame" and speaking out against the Palestinian Authority and its supporters. Some commenters claimed the concert was an attempt at normalization and linked the event to Fatah supporters.

Sharif is a Druze singer who began performing as a child in the 1980's, with his first album released in 1992.

In 2011, the Palestinian Authority banned Sharif from performing at a New Year's Eve party in Ramallah. The decision to ban Sharif, known as “The Druse Boy,” was taken following strong protests and threats by many Palestinians who oppose “normalization” with Israelis.
PMW: Muslims will “purify” the Temple Mount and “liberate the land and the people ?from the defilement of the criminal infidels” says PA preacher
When a PA-appointed Shari’ah judge in his sermon recently called to “liberate the land and the people from the defilement of the criminal infidels” – i.e., Israelis/Jews – and prophesied that soon “the nation of Islam will be crowned with the purification of the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” it was not an isolated or unusual antisemitic statement. On the contrary, the PA, its officials, and its media regularly state that “Palestine,” “Jerusalem,” and “the Muslim (and Christian) holy sites” must be “cleansed,” “purified,” and “liberated” from the “defilement” and “desecration” of Jews.

Shari’ah Judge Hatem Al-Bakri: “Mere days stand between us and a new year… in which it is hoped that the nation of truth and justice, the nation of Islam, will have a decisive victory, and that the nation of Islam will be crowned with the purification of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the liberation of the land of [Prophet Muhammad’s] Night Journey… Allah… prepare a man for us who will follow the path of the Rightly Guided Caliphs, who will liberate the land and the people from the defilement of the criminal infidels.”

[Official PA TV, Aug. 6, 2021]

The same message has been voiced by other preachers and PA-nominated Shari’ah judges in sermons during the year, like PA Chairman Abbas’ personal advisor Al-Habbash:
“Supreme Shari’ah Judge of Palestine and [PA] President [Abbas’] Advisor on Religious Affairs and Islamic Relations Dr. Mahmoud Al-Habbash… emphasized… the series of daily crimes that the occupation state is committing against the Jerusalem Noble Sanctuary (i.e., the Temple Mount), … the escalation in the pace of the settlers’ daily invasions [of the mosque], and the desecration of it on baseless pretexts of ‘Jewish religious holidays and festivals.’”

[Donia Al-Watan, independent Palestinian news agency, April 14, 2021]

PA Shari’ah Judge Abdallah Harb in sermon: “The occupation is still making all efforts day and night to Judaize the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in order to defile the Al-Aqsa Mosque. It has harmed the structures, harmed the people, and spread drugs and other things.”

Official PA TV, April 9, 2021]

What Afghanistan Means for Israel and the Palestinians
The Palestinian cheers over the “Afghan mujahedeen victory over the American Crusaders” create the impression that in their view, the Taliban are a worthy model to follow to eliminate the “Zionist occupation.” However, a crumbling Lebanon, a Gaza Strip plagued by poverty and unemployment, and Afghanistan itself, now under Taliban rule, do not indicate the success of the Islamic model.

What the Palestinians need is not a new model of “armed struggle,” but a reconciliation with the existence of Israel, while striving for a sustainable peace settlement that will ensure security, prosperity, and respect for mutual rights.

In May 2000, following massive pressure from left-wing organizations and after failing to reach an agreement with Syria and Hezbollah, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak ordered the hasty withdrawal of the IDF from south Lebanon. Israel’s local ally — the South Lebanese Army, the establishment and maintenance of which had cost millions of dollars — collapsed and was unable to hold out against Hezbollah. Eighteen years of Israeli military presence ended in a frightened and confused retreat.

These events greatly influenced the head of the PLO and the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat (as well as the other Palestinian terrorist organizations), who saw it as confirmation of the mukwama (resistance) view that only a determined “armed struggle” (i.e., terrorism) could lead to achievements against Israel.
Bipartisan bill urges EU to designate Hezbollah fully as terrorist organization
A bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill on Thursday that calls on the European Union to fully designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

The legislation, introduced by Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), seeks to encourage the 27-nation block to designate both its military and political wings as terrorist entities. Currently, the E.U. only includes Hezbollah’s military wing on its list of sanctioned terrorist organizations.

The United States makes no distinction between its branches and includes Hezbollah in its entirety on the U.S. Foreign Terrorist Organization List. Several individual E.U. member states also recognize this, including Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Slovenia.

“Hezbollah is a brutal terrorist organization notorious for operating throughout the Middle East,” said Blackburn. “However, it derives both financial support and political legitimacy from every region of the world. The European Union cannot enable terrorists by allowing them to participate in diplomacy.”

The American Jewish Committee, which has long advocated for governments to label Hezbollah as a terrorist group, praised the bill.
Hezbollah announces arrival of second fuel shipment from Iran
Lebanon's Hezbollah terrorist organization announced the arrival of a second ship loaded with diesel from Iran to Syria's Baniyas port Thursday evening, the group's al-Manar TV said on its Telegram channel early on Friday.

The Iran-aligned group said the fuel shipments should ease a crippling energy crisis in Lebanon, while Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati said the Iranian shipments constitute a breach of Lebanon's sovereignty.

Both Syria and Iran are under US sanctions.

Hezbollah first began bringing Iranian fuel into Lebanon via Syria last week, when dozens of trucks carrying the fuel oil entered northeastern Lebanon near the village of al-Ain. The terorrist organization has said third and fourth shipments from Iran were also due.

Washington has reiterated that its sanctions on Iranian oil sales remain in place. But it has not said whether it is considering taking any action over the move by Hezbollah, which it designates as a terrorist group.

The Lebanese government has said its permission was not sought to import the fuel.

The moves mark an expansion of Hezbollah's role in Lebanon, where critics have long accused the heavily armed group of acting as a state within the state.
Report: Israel and US Held Secret Talks on ‘Plan B’ to Deal With Iran’s Nuclear Program
Israel and the US held secret talks last week to discuss a possible “Plan B” to deal with the issue of Iran’s nuclear program if negotiations between the US and Iran fail, Axios reported Wednesday, citing Israeli officials.

The US withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran in 2018, but President Joe Biden has pledged to rejoin it. Indirect talks between the US and Iran in Vienna have been underway for some time, but are currently stalled. An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman recently said that the talks may resume within the month.

According to Axios, the secret US-Israel meeting was held by the two countries’ “Opal” strategic working group on Iran, and were the first engaged in by Israel’s new government under Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

The talks were held by video conference and headed up by White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and his counterpart Eyal Hulata.

The Israeli participants urged the US to formulate a “Plan B” on the issue due to Iran’s recent acceleration of its nuclear program and the current impasse in the Vienna talks.

The US responded positively, but not decisively, expressing concern about the state of the talks and saying it would impose further sanctions on Iran if they do not resume.

On Thursday, a senior US official told reporters that the window to revive the deal was still open for Iran, but not indefinitely so.
GOP Moves To Block Cash to Iran Through Defense Authorization Bill
The sprawling annual defense bill includes several provisions that would block the Biden administration from providing Iran with cash and would require the administration to come clean about any economic sanctions relief it provides to the Islamic Republic.

The Republican Study Committee (RSC), the largest GOP caucus in Congress, is codifying its anti-Iran platform in the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, which funds U.S. defense efforts and is expected to pass through the House this week.

Republicans are using the NDAA to crack down on Iran and expose concessions the Biden administration is making to Tehran as part of negotiations aimed at securing a revamped version of the 2015 nuclear deal. Several measures included in the House version of the NDAA—which will also have to be ratified by the Senate—would give lawmakers an unprecedented window into Iran’s malign activities, as well as efforts by the Biden administration to unwind sanctions on the hardline regime.

Republicans have been planning their NDAA approach for months, according to congressional sources working on the matter. The RSC and its members are spearheading several investigations into the Biden administration’s diplomacy with Iran and its efforts to provide Iran with a financial lifeline. The RSC worked with Democratic colleagues to sculpt several NDAA measures that would mandate transparency from the Biden administration as it negotiates with Iran, these sources told the Washington Free Beacon. These measures are included in the bipartisan legislation and expected to easily pass when the House votes Thursday evening.
MEMRI: Iranian Cartoonist Masoud Shojaei Tabtabaei On The Holocaust Cartoon Contests He Organized: Our Contests Were Counterattacks For The Prophet Muhammad Cartoons; There Were 4.5 Million Jews In Europe, So How Could 6 Million Be Killed?
Iranian cartoonist Masoud Shojaei Tabtabaei, who has organized two Holocaust cartoon festivals, spoke about the reasons behind the exhibits in an interview that aired on Channel 4 (Iran) on September 9, 2021. He said that the festivals were held in reactions to events such as the bombing of Gaza and the cartoons of Muhammad, adding: "Whenever they attacked, we immediately launched a counter-attack." Tabtabaei said that the Holocaust is the "Achilles' heel" of the Zionists, and that the Israelis have benefited from the Holocaust. He continued to say that it is the Zionists who benefited from the Holocaust and that the figure of six million Jewish victims is "very exaggerated." He then added that anyone who casts doubts on the Holocaust is persecuted and gave the examples of Holocaust deniers David Irving and Roger Garoudy.

Tabtabaei further explained that the goal of the Holocaust cartoon contest was to ask how come Western freedom of expression does not allow for even the "smallest of doubts" about the Holocaust, how come the Palestinians have to "pay the price of the Holocaust," and to raise concerns about "contemporary holocausts," such as those taking places in Syria, Iraq, or Yemen. Tabtabaei was asked by the interviewer how he defends himself against possible Israeli accusations that he is an antisemite or a supporter of Nazism. To this, he responded that the Zionists have been engaged in propaganda against the organizers of the contest, calling them neo-Nazis and antisemites, but because they have portrayed Netanyahu as Hitler, they cannot be accused of being neo-Nazis.

In June 2020, Tabtabaei organized an exhibition of anti-U.S. cartoons in Tehran titled "I Can't Breathe," following the killing of George Floyd in May of that year (see MEMRI Special Dispatch no. 8800 for more information). In May 2016, Masoud Shojaei Tabtabaei organized a Holocaust cartoon contest in Tehran following the Charlie Hebdo cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, (see MEMRITV clip no. 5472 for more information). In September and August 2006, Iranian TV aired reports about Tabtabaei's Holocaust cartoon contest. In the report from September Tabtabaei said the contest was in response to the Danish cartoon of the Prophet, printed in the Jyllands-Posten in 2005, (for more information, see MEMRITV clip no. 1280), and in the report from August, he said that he had organized the contest in response to the war in Lebanon (for more information, see MEMRITV clip no. 1240).

After Khamenei's anti-Israel tirade, athletes want IOC to suspend Iran
The executive manager of United for Navid, an Iranian-run sports organization advancing the human rights of Iranian athletes, filed on Tuesday a formal letter of protest with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), arguing that the Islamic Republic should be suspended from the IOC because Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei urged discrimination against Israeli athletes.

Sardar Pashaei, a former head coach of Iran’s Greco-Roman wrestling team, the executive manager of United for Navid, wrote to the IOC’s president Thomas Bach that a video of Khamenei’s anti-Israel speech is “ further proof [of] Iran’s grievous violations of the Olympic and Paralympic Charters.”

Attached to the letter was a video of Khamenei from September 17, in which he meets with Iranian Olympic and Paralympic athletes who won medals at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Pashaei wrote: “As you can see, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic once again firmly instructs Iranian athletes as well as Iranian sports officials that they are forbidden from competing or interacting in any way with athletes from the so-called ‘Israeli criminal regime.’ The Supreme Leader also instructs senior Iranian sports officials to support non-Iranian athletes from other countries who refuse to compete with Israeli athletes, including an Algerian athlete who refused to compete with an Israeli athlete at the Tokyo Olympics. “
Equality! Taliban Bans Biological Males and Biological Females from Participating in Women’s Sports (satire)
Much like a six-foot tall Army Special Forces soldier wrestling a lady, sports organizations around the world have been wrestling with the contentious issue of transgender athletes in women’s sports. Those opposed to the idea argue that differences in size, hormones, and bone density make it unsafe for transgender athletes and cisgender athletes to compete against one another. While other people argue that it’s okay for a woman to have her skull fractured by some dude who’s only been a chick for a few months.

Now, in a move that is sure to please everyone, Taliban leaders in Kabul have unveiled the world’s first truly fair and egalitarian policy on the issue. Deputy head of the Taliban’s cultural commission, Ahmadullah Wasiq, announced on Wednesday that both biological males and biological females will be banned from participating in women’s sports. This means individuals born with a penis and XY chromosomes, whose higher levels of testosterone give them a natural advantage in feats of athleticism, will not be allowed to compete on female sports teams. And neither will individuals born with a vagina and XX chromosomes, whose higher levels of estrogen give them a natural advantage in feats of cooking, texting, and shopping.

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