Friday, October 15, 2021

From Ian:

US Rejoins UN Rights Council Days After Council Endorsed Anti-Semitic Hate Fest
The Biden administration on Thursday rejoined the U.N. Human Rights Council, just days after the council overwhelmingly voted to endorse an anti-Israel resolution that several Western nations boycotted due to its anti-Semitic nature.

The United States was elected to the body just three days after the Human Rights Council by a 32-10 vote endorsed the "Durban Declaration," a resolution that affirms support for the notoriously anti-Israel 2001 Durban Conference and its conclusion that, of all nations, only Israel is guilty of racism.

The Durban Conference, which the United Nations has endorsed repeatedly during the past 20 years, was called the "most potent symbol of organized hate against Israel" by the founder of NGO Monitor, an institute that analyzes non-governmental organizations. U.K. diplomats, in a statement on the council's latest Durban vote, said the United Nations "has downplayed the scourge of anti-Semitism" and that "this must end" immediately.

Whereas the Trump administration withdrew from the council in 2018, citing the body's anti-Israel bias and anti-Semitic agenda, the Biden administration says a seat at the table will help the United States reform the body. Former senior Trump administration officials and Republicans in Congress criticized the Biden administration's move, saying the United States should play no role in an organization that routinely targets Jews and includes among its members some of the globe's foremost human rights abusers, such as China, Cuba, Russia, and Venezuela.

"If President Biden truly cared about human rights, he would keep us far away from the cesspool that is the U.N. Human Rights Council," former Trump administration ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the Washington Free Beacon. "America left it under President Trump because we refused to lend our credibility, as the most generous country in the world, to cover for the world's worst tyrants and dictators. [Biden's] actions today aren't just embarrassing; they're dangerous."

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in a statement thanking member nations for allowing the United States to rejoin the council, said the body "suffers from serious flaws, including disproportionate attention on Israel and the membership of several states with egregious human rights records." The Biden administration will use its voice to "push back against attempts to subvert the ideals upon which the Human Rights Council was founded," he said. Blinken did not mention the council's latest endorsement of Durban in his statement.
Haley: Decision to rejoin U.N. Human Rights Council is ‘embarrassing’ and ‘dangerous’
Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley called the Biden administration’s decision to rejoin the United Nations Human Rights Council on Thursday “dangerous” hours after the U.S. was elected to join the body.

“If President Biden truly cared about human rights, he would keep us far away from the cesspool that is the U.N. Human Rights Council,” Haley told Jewish Insider on Thursday afternoon. “America left it under President Trump because we refused to lend our credibility, as the most generous country in the world, to cover for the world’s worst tyrants and dictators. [Biden’s] actions today aren’t just embarrassing; they’re dangerous.”

Former President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the council in 2018, citing hypocrisy among members of the body, whom the administration accused of committing human rights violations and bias against Israel.

“For too long,” Haley said at the time, “the Human Rights Council has been a protector of human rights abusers, and a cesspool of political bias.”

Current U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the U.S. “will oppose the Council’s disproportionate attention on Israel, which includes the Council’s only standing agenda item targeting a single country.”

“The Council provides a forum where we can have open discussions about ways we and our partners can improve,” Secretary of State Tony Blinken said in a statement on Thursday. “At the same time, it also suffers from serious flaws, including disproportionate attention on Israel and the membership of several states with egregious human rights records. Together, we must push back against attempts to subvert the ideals upon which the Human Rights Council was founded.”


Caroline Glick: Lapid and Bennett's old-new diplomacy
This brings us to Lapid and his weird visit to Washington.

While Iran was ostensibly the focus of Lapid's visit, the Biden administration made clear that it has no intention of reconsidering its commitment to maintaining its nuclear appeasement policy towards Tehran. Then there are the Palestinians. Ahead of Lapid's arrival, the administration used the anniversary of the Abraham Accords, (which it refuses to call by their name), to underline that they are with Merkel in their hatred of the peace deals and their determination to reinstate the Palestinian veto over Arab-Israeli peace.

"The Biden administration has started out with a clear commitment to the two-state solution…. We continue to welcome the economic cooperation between Israel and all countries in the region. We hope that normalization can be leverage to advance progress on the Israel-Palestinian tracks," an anonymous State Department spokesman said.

Lapid papered over Israel's concern over the administration's pro-Iranian stance and its diminution of the historic peace. And this makes sense. Just as Bennett ignores Abdullah's hostility and blames Netanyahu for bad relations with Jordan, so Lapid scapegoats Netanyahu as the cause of Democrat antagonism towards Israel.

In the interest of castigating Netanyahu, Lapid has long ignored both the radicalization of the Democrat Party and the rapid spread of antisemitism through the American Left over the past decade.

Tuesday Lapid met with Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday. Lapid heaped praise on Harris just two weeks after she praised a student who accused Israel of committing genocide. Harris, he said, is "one of Israel's best friends in Washington. A leader who always stands with us in all the important struggles and who we can always count on in difficult moments."

In Lapid's follow-on he didn't simply ignore what Harris had just done. He indirectly justified her behavior. In his write-up of the meeting on his Twitter feed, Lapid said that in addition to discussing Iran's nuclear program, he and Harris spoke about how to "strengthen the bipartisan connection with the next generation of Americans."

Lapid didn't express concern over galloping antisemitism on campuses. He heaped praise on younger Americans. "They aren't just busy with wars and confrontations but also with the climate crisis, the global immigration crisis and with questions of identity," he cooed.

Last year Israel had a reality-based foreign policy. It was predicated on the basic truth that the justice of Israel's existence and power is immutable. That foreign policy ended the Palestinian veto and brought four robust peace agreements with Arab states. Now Israel has a reality- denying foreign policy which is reinstating the Palestinian veto and glorifying Israel's enemies.
The Caroline Glick Show: Ep22: Lapid’s PR Diplomacy and Gadi’s War Against Israeli RINOs
In Episode 22 of the Caroline Glick Mideast News Hour, Caroline and co-host Gadi Taub talked about Israel’s diplomatic week. In a week marking the first anniversary of the Abraham Accords, the Lapid-Bennett government worked with Angela Merkel, King Abdullah of Jordan and the Biden administration to push a completely different diplomatic approach. The last part of the show focused on the battle Gadi is leading against right wing media organs in Israel that are legitimizing the government.


A US consulate in Jerusalem extends the Palestinian conflict - opinion
It may not have been planned or coordinated, but efforts by Middle Eastern states to dial down tensions in the region serve as an example of what happens when big power interests coincide.

It also provides evidence of the potentially positive fallout of a lower US profile in the area. Afghanistan, the United States’ chaotic withdrawal notwithstanding, could emerge as another example of the positive impact when global interests coincide. That is if the Taliban prove willing and capable of policing militant groups.

Analysts credit President Joe Biden’s focus on Asia, and growing uncertainty about his commitment to the security of the Gulf for efforts to reduce tensions between Gulf states and others. Doubts about the United States’ commitment also played an important role in efforts to shore up or formalize alliances like the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and Arab countries via the Abraham Accords.

For its part, Saudi Arabia has de facto acknowledged its ties with the Jewish state, even if Riyadh is not about to formally establish relations. In a sign of the times, that did not stop then Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from visiting the kingdom.

Yet, what rings alarm bells in Gulf capitals also sparks concerns in Beijing, which depends to a significant degree on the flow of its trade and energy from and through Middle Eastern waters, and Moscow with its own security concerns and geopolitical aspirations.

Little surprise then that Russia and China, each in their own way and independent of the United States, over the last year echoed the United States’ message that the Middle East needs to get its act together.
JPost Editorial: Ireland's got an Israel problem
Catherine Connolly, deputy chairperson of the lower house of Ireland’s parliament, asked a parliamentary question of the country’s foreign minister that dripped of antisemitic tropes.

Connolly asked if the ministry’s “indicating support for the Jewish character of the Israeli state agrees with the treatment by Israel of Palestine communities in its attempts to accomplish Jewish supremacy.”

Her question – and use of the term “Jewish supremacy” – could have featured as an example in a report the investigative journalist David Collier recently published in Ireland’s social media on antisemitism: how Irish politicians and activists promote antisemitism under the cloak of articulating “legitimate” criticism of Israel.

“The spread of antisemitism throughout the Irish mainstream is clearly worse than in almost any other Western nation,” he wrote. “It requires a massive educational drive to even begin to unravel some of the damage.”

The report noted that in Ireland, “anti-Jewish racism spreads within the corridors of power and unlike in the United Kingdom or the United States, appears to be as much driven from the top-down as the reverse. Some Irish politicians are obsessed about attacking Israel and Zionism, treating it in a manner different from the way they treat all other international issues.”

And that is something that seems to have filtered down. Need proof? Just look at Sally Rooney.
Israel must stand up to Ireland's antisemitism
Irish politicians share the content of extreme antisemitic social media accounts that are clearly untrue, the report said. For instance, one Irish parliament member liked a post that stated Hitler "'may have not been too far wrong."

The following question was recently posed to Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney by left-wing PM Catherine Connolly: Is your ministry's support of Israel's Jewish character not tantamount to taking part in the discrimination against Palestinians?

The foreign minister provided Connolly with an answer but failed to call her out on her antisemitism.

Coveney is scheduled to visit Israel on an official visit in November. The relations between Israel and Ireland are strained, so much so that the Israeli Foreign Ministry talked of closing down its embassy in Dublin.

It is highly unlikely that Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will confront Coveney on the issue of state antisemitism in Ireland during their upcoming meeting. However, the Irish official is also slated to meet with President Isaac Herzog, whose paternal grandfather was the chief rabbi of Ireland. He must take advantage of this connection to get the Irish foreign minister to face, at last, the problem of state antisemitism in his country.

After all, Ireland is a member of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, and should therefore be committed to the IHRA definition of antisemitism, which states that calling Israel's existence racist and applying double standards to Israel are examples of antisemitism.

And if the president's efforts are unsuccessful, Israel should seriously consider severing ties with Ireland, where antisemitism and hatred of Israel have become institutionalized.


The Israel Guys: Mike Pompeo Shattered the Lie of Israeli Occupation | Israel News
Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Judea and Samaria this week. Not being content by just crossing Jerusalem’s border to visit the Psagot Winery, he ventured deep into Israel’s heartland and visited ancient Shiloh. He also made several bold declarations during his time in Samaria.

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Waqf and a multi-billionaire Palestinian businessman have all gotten together to build a luxury complex in East Jerusalem. Their stated intention is to provide housing for Palestinians. The real reason they want to build a 300 million dollar complex in Jerusalem, is much deeper.


British Lawmaker Murdered in Knife Attack at Meeting in Church
A British lawmaker was stabbed to death on Friday in a church by a man who lunged at him at a meeting with voters from his electoral district, knifing him repeatedly.

David Amess, a 69-year-old lawmaker from Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party, was attacked at around midday at a meeting at the Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, east of London.

“He was treated by emergency services but, sadly, died at the scene,” police said. “A 25-year-old man was quickly arrested after officers arrived at the scene on suspicion of murder and a knife was recovered.”

Armed police swooped on the church and detectives said they were not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident. There was no detail about the motivation for the attack.

Emergency services had fought to save his life inside the church – where a sign says “All are welcome here” – but in vain.

Colleagues from across parliament expressed their shock and paid tribute to Amess, who held regular meetings with voters on the first and third Friday of the month, saying he was diligent in his duties to his local area.

Flags in Downing Street were lowered in tribute.

Amess, married with five children, was first elected to parliament to represent Basildon in 1983, and then stood for Southend West in 1997. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth for his public service in 2015.
Jewish community leaders react with horror after MP Amess stabbed to death
Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies, said: “We are devastated to hear the news of the murder of Sir David Amess MP, killed while serving the public in his constituency surgery.

“Such violence is an intolerable affront to our democracy and must be met with the full force of the law. We will never forget Sir David’s long and deep friendship to our community. Our hearts go out in profound sorrow to his wife Julia and five children”.

The Jewish Leadership Council tweeted: “We are shocked by the news that Sir David Amess MP has passed away. He always had a very strong and warm relationship with his local Jewish community. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.”

The Community Security Trust tweeted: “We are deeply shocked and saddened at the awful news that David Amess MP has passed away. Our thoughts and condolences are with his family at such a terrible time.”

Chief Rabbi Mirvis said: “As we usher in Shabbat this afternoon, we will have the family of Sir David Amess MP in our prayers. Such an attack on an elected parliamentarian is an attack on the whole country. May he his memory be for a blessing.”

The United Synagogue’s CEO Steven Wilson said: “The news of the murder of Sir David Amess is horrific and chilling. Democracy is a cherished right and one we can never take for granted. I know all US members and colleagues will join me in sending condolences to Sir David’s family who are in our prayers.”

The All Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism said it was “devastated to learn of the death of our friend and colleague Sir David Amess MP. A long-standing and active member of the APPG Against Antisemitism, he was an excellent public servant. He will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with his friends and family.”
Is the US Withdrawal From the Middle East a Good Thing?
It may not have been planned or coordinated, but efforts by Middle Eastern states to dial down tensions in the region serve as an example of what happens when big power interests coincide.

It also provides evidence of the potentially positive fallout of a lower US profile in the area. Afghanistan, the United States’ chaotic withdrawal notwithstanding, could emerge as another example of the positive impact when global interests coincide. That is if the Taliban prove willing and capable of policing militant groups.

Analysts credit President Joe Biden’s focus on Asia, and growing uncertainty about his commitment to the security of the Gulf for efforts to reduce tensions between Gulf states and others. Doubts about the United States’ commitment also played an important role in efforts to shore up or formalize alliances like the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and Arab countries via the Abraham Accords.

For its part, Saudi Arabia has de facto acknowledged its ties with the Jewish state, even if Riyadh is not about to formally establish relations. In a sign of the times, that did not stop then Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from visiting the kingdom.

Yet, what rings alarm bells in Gulf capitals also sparks concerns in Beijing, which depends to a significant degree on the flow of its trade and energy from and through Middle Eastern waters, and Moscow with its own security concerns and geopolitical aspirations.

Little surprise then that Russia and China, each in their own way and independent of the United States, over the last year echoed the United States’ message that the Middle East needs to get its act together.
Israel is able to fund Iron Dome from its own reserves
Although the Bank of Israel does not print dollars, earlier this year it foreign exchange reserves broke above the $200 billion barrier for the first time ever - an enormous amount of money for such a small country.

The shekel is exhibiting a strong and impressive performance, with the difference between the national debt and Israel's GDP is low, and the international balance of payments seeing an additional influx of $15-20 billion into the economy, annually.

It is evident, therefore, that there is no real need to request special U.S. funding of over one billion dollars in order to replenish the Iron Dome missile defense system following the May war against Hamas.

In fact, Israel would be wise to inform the White House that the funding is not necessary and the Jewish state could reach into its considerable reserves without it impacting the budget or adversely affecting the Israeli standard of living.
Guatemala Names Street After Jerusalem, ‘Capital of Israel’
The Israeli ambassador to Guatemala officially inaugurated a road this week named “Jerusalem Street, the capital of Israel,” becoming the 27th street in the country named after Israel’s capital within the past two years.

Ambassador Matanya Cohen, who came up with the idea, attended the event in the city of La Gomera and was joined by the mayor and other local figures, reported Ynet. “The intention was for the cities of Guatemala to display their friendship with Jerusalem,” he said.

Under former President Jimmy Morales, the Central American nation recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2018 and relocated its embassy there. The country then began to name streets and parks domestically after the city.

“On June 2018, a month after the embassy was relocated to Jerusalem, the first city joined the initiative. Since then, other cities, including Guatemala City—the only capital in the world with a street name ‘Jerusalem, capital of Israel’—joined in,” said Cohen, according to the report.

Next year, he hopes that 34 cities will join the initiative.

The ambassador said that more than 50 percent of Guatemalans are evangelical Christians and very pro-Israel.
Israel to Kick Off Largest-Ever International Air Drill With Forces From Seven Nations
The largest and most advanced multi-national air combat exercise yet to be hosted by the Israeli Air Force will take off on Sunday.

Taking part in the Blue Flag 2021 exercise are seven air forces, from Germany, Italy, Britain, France, India, Greece and the United States.

“We are living in a very complicated region, and the threats to the State of Israel from the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria, and Iran are only increasing,” commented Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, Commander of the Israeli Air Force, on Thursday. “Holding an international exercise in this current reality, while continuing our overt and covert operational activities on all fronts, is of utmost strategic importance and has extensive impact over the Israeli Air Force, the IDF, and the State of Israel.”

The exercise aims to cement strategic international cooperation through shared learning about the integration of fourth and fifth-generation aircraft in complex operational scenarios, and to conduct joint tactical flights against a variety of threats using advanced technology, the Israeli army said.

Norkin described the exercise as “groundbreaking” in terms of technology, quality of training, and the number of participating nations.

“It illustrates the partnership and strong bond between the nations’ air forces and acts as a stepping-stone toward regional and international cooperation,” he added.

The international aerial exercise will kick off on Sunday and last through October 28th. It will mark the first deployment of a British fighter squadron in Israel since the establishment of the country, the first-ever deployment of an Indian Mirage fighter squadron, and the first deployment of a French Rafale fighter squadron.
Palestinian Authority Murders Critic, Scuttles Killers’ Trial
Don’t expect a fair trial, though. On September 27 – a day after trial opened – PA forces arrested key witness Hussein Banat, Nizar’s cousin, beat him unconscious, and warned him about his testimony. A week later, on October 5, PA security forces again raided Banat’s home to arrest another twelve family members.

Banat’s death and its aftermath have received only modest attention from Western media and politicians. Compare it, for example, to the big dust-up when Israel bombed a Gaza building housing Hamas and Associated Press offices, after warning AP to evacuate. AP decried Israel’s supposed targeting of journalists’ offices. (AP quieted down a bit after evidence emerged that it knew Hamas was its neighbor and had failed to report on its activities.)

The White House lectured Israelis that “ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a paramount responsibility.” President Biden discussed the matter with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. But, the Palestinian Authority throws journalists into jail, murders a critic, and arrests and intimidates key witnesses after trial starts? That’s only a small story.

Some time ago, while in Israel, this author spoke with a couple of young men from the United Kingdom. They weren’t malicious, but they incessantly criticized Israel’s supposed ill-treatment of Arabs. Asked why they seemed so obsessed with Israel’s purported misdeeds, but never said a word about the actual misdeeds of its neighbors, one of them responded: “Deep down, no one really expects the Arabs to behave any better.”

Though shocking, his bluntness illuminates an outlook that’s far more widespread now than it was then and is currently rampant among politicians and media: what former President George W. Bush called the soft bigotry of low expectations. The problem isn’t just discrimination against Jews by imposing an absurdly high standard on them, but discrimination against Arabs by failing to impose any standard on them.

It certainly explains why the PA’s abuse and oppression of its own people, arrests and murder of its critics, and attempts to derail the trial of its henchmen, have received only perfunctory attention. Westerners don’t really expect Palestinians to behave any better.
MEMRI: Antisemitic Chants At Hizb Ut-Tahrir Australia Protest In Support Of Palestinians: Oh Allah, Give Us The Necks Of The Jews, The Evildoers! Seize Them With The Grip Of The Almighty!
In a Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia rally, held in Sydney in support of Palestinians during the May 2021 conflict in Gaza and Jerusalem, a speaker said: "Oh Allah give us the necks of the Jews [...] of those evildoers!" A recap of the rally was posted on the Hizb Media YouTube channel on May 11, 2021. Ismail Al-Wahwah, the leader of Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia, said that his audience will soon see the end of the "evil, illegal occupier in Palestine." The MC of the event chanted: "We will liberate Palestine!"; "Khaybar, Khaybar, oh Jews! The army of Muhammad will return!" and "Destroy the Jews!" For more information about Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia and Ismail Al-Wahwah, see MEMRI TV clips nos. 8270, 8241, 8229, 7788, 7572, 5440, 5112, 4826, 4672, 4403, 3695, 7212, and 7211.

"We Will Liberate Palestine!"; "Oh Jews... The Army Of Muhammad Will Return!"

Protestor 1: "Saladin said:"
Crowd: "Saladin said:"

Protestor 1: "We will liberate Palestine!"
Crowd: "We will liberate Palestine!"

Protestor 1: "Khaybar, Khaybar, oh Jews!"
Crowd: "Khaybar, Khaybar, oh Jews!"

Protestor 1: "The army of Muhammad will return!"
Crowd: "The army of Muhammad will return!"

Protestor 1: "Khaybar, Khaybar, oh Jews!"
Crowd: "Khaybar, Khaybar, oh Jews!"




MEMRI: Masters With Feet Of Clay: Iranian Proxies' Latest Handling Of Their Hegemony In Lebanon And Iraq
If Iran's proxies were concerned about 10 parliamentarians, in Lebanon Iran's proxies seems to be concerned about one judge. Judge Tarek Bitar only took over the investigation of the Beirut Port explosion earlier this year, after the previous judge was removed at the request of two former government ministers connected to the Amal party of Nabih Berri, a close ally of Hizbullah.[5] Even though many Lebanese already believe that there was a Hizbullah connection to the blast (one explanation was that this was a shipment of nitrates used in barrel bombs against Syrian cities during that country's civil war), the idea of a judge actually clarifying the case and fingering some corrupt officials – a category of which Lebanon has a surplus – seems to have become a Hizbullah redline. This led to a violent provocation in Beirut on October 14, as Hizbullah and Amal opened fire on unnamed assailants, even firing rocket propelled grenades at office buildings. Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea sarcastically noted on Twitter that he thought that Hizbullah had nothing to do with the explosion, but that after the day's events, he was not so sure.

The fact that Hizbullah and Amal thugs attempted to aggressively show force in Christian parts of Beirut, blame a Christian party for escalating tension, and appeared to have been repulsed (the facts are unclear) has heightened sectarian feeling, although the whole event has a sense of fabricated theater about it.[6] But the "clashes" certainly escalated Christian-Shia tension, a reality which places tremendous pressure on Lebanon's seemingly senile president Michel Aoun and his ambitious son-in-law Gibran Bassil, who aspires to become president in 2022 with the help of Hizbullah. Their Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) is closely allied with Hizbullah and poses as the great protector of Lebanon's remaining Christians. The clashes and rhetoric make maintaining both of those poses difficult.[7] Expectations are that somehow the government will shut down Judge Bitar's investigation, a victory for Hizbullah, perhaps by transferring it to the military justice system.

Why have Hizbullah in Lebanon and its counterparts in Iraq, near hegemons in both countries, reacted with such vehemence to what may seem to the outsider to be relatively small reverses? It is because Iran's proxies in both countries are indeed almost all-powerful but they are very strong in only relative terms. Anti-Iranian-regime feeling is strong in Lebanon, in Iraq, and in Syria (and is strong inside Iran too). Aside from a fanatical and heavily armed hard core – essential henchmen for Iran's hegemony – nobody much likes Iran, even if they also don't like the U.S. or Israel. It is that small and fanatical hardcore that projects its power, through the triple venues of politics, propaganda, and violence, over much larger populations who serve under Iranian hegemony, at varying levels of willingness, because of fear, weakness or greed.

The key elements of such an approach are the perception of inevitability and an aura of impunity. It is those elements, coupled with actual violence, that generally keep the masses in line. That is why a single judge in Lebanon, a mere handful of deputies in Iraq, or one lone heroic voice like Lokman Slim constitute a threat.[8] They shatter the narrative of inevitability.

Iran is simultaneously both dominant and fragile in its exercise of that near total dominance over most of its subject Arabic-speaking populations. Iranian-orchestrated repression and the pandemic eventually silenced anti-Tehran, anti-system protests in both countries in 2020, but nothing has really changed negative popular views. There is little evidence that support for Iran exists in these countries beyond that small but fanatical hardcore and enabling corrupt politicians. But that may be enough. Iran and its proxies hope that a combination of repression, distraction, and emigration will help them maintain the status quo. And that is probably right. It will work until it doesn't, until some spark makes the whole shaky edifice come down.
Iran Blames Israel for Deadly Violence at Beirut Protest
Iran condemned the killing of protesters in Lebanon, describing Thursday’s shootings as seditions backed by Israel, state-run Press TV said on Twitter on Friday.

“Iran believes that the people, the government, the army and the resistance in Lebanon will successfully overcome seditions backed by the Zionist entity,” IRNA news agency quoted the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh.

The clashes in Beirut began in the largely Christian neighborhood of Ain el-Remmaneh, the same location where the 1975-1990 civil war broke out.

The violence centered around Tayouneh, an area of the Lebanese capital where battle lines were drawn between Muslim and Christian militias during the civil conflict that ended three decades ago.

Thursday’s shootings occurred during a demonstration by supporters of the Shi’ite Hezbollah and Amal movements who are demanding that the judge investigating last year’s deadly Beirut port blast be removed.

A Lebanese court on Thursday ruled against the removal of Judge Tarek Bitar.

Six people were killed and 32 were wounded when snipers opened fire on the demonstrators, with the Shi’ite movements that organized the protests saying that people were shooting from rooftops.

Bursts of gunfire could be heard for hours.


Are Saudi Arabia and Iran on the road to reconciliation?
Saudi Arabia, like the United Arab Emirates, Israel and others, had harshly criticized the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the nuclear agreement between Iran and global powers, and Riyadh applauded US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the accord, while welcoming the former president’s "maximum pressure" campaign. Saudi Arabia also opposes Iran's ballistic missile program as it sees in it a threat to its existence.

"For the sake of regional stability, Iran is more than willing to reestablish ties with the Saudis," Marandi said, adding that this comes with a caveat: "The Saudis have to accept the fact they have lost the war in Yemen."

Brodsky says the two neighbors have the same goal, but they differ on how to get there.

"The Saudis want progress in Yemen as the prelude to the reestablishment of diplomatic ties, but Iran wants the reestablishment of relations to come first. In essence, Iran wants a gesture in exchange for no concessions, and that is probably a non-starter," he said.

Iranian-backed Houthi militia have been intensifying their drone attacks deep into Saudi territory causing a major headache for Riyadh, including worries that a continuation of the war will exhaust the country’s treasury and tarnish its image internationally.

"The Saudis have to accept the reality on the ground in that country and that is the government, the real government in Yemen, has won the war against Saudi Arabia,” Marandi said. “They have to accept that fact to end the war and that they are not in a position to gain concessions," he added.
NY Post Editorial: Team Biden finally acknowledges it needs a Plan B for Iran
So desperate has Biden been to restore the deal, he lifted some sanctions on the oil-rich country’s energy industry and other sectors before Iran even agreed to direct talks. In return, the Islamic Republic upped its uranium-enrichment levels from 3.67 percent to more than 60 percent, built more advanced centrifuges and started work to produce uranium metal — which has no peaceful use — even as it blocked the International Atomic Energy Agency from agreed-upon monitoring. It likely has enough weapons-grade uranium for a bomb.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz urged Western countries counting on diplomacy to develop a Plan B two months ago. Team Biden is only now taking his advice, after first trying to talk China into cutting purchases of Iranian oil to give America more leverage; China, of course, said shove it.

After meeting Wednesday with Israeli and Emerati diplomats, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said his team will finally examine “other options if Iran doesn’t change course.”

If. Blinken remains loath to admit failure, even as he confessed, “Time is running short.”

Wake up: Iran isn’t going to change course. Trump’s maximum-pressure campaign brought the regime to its weakest point since its start in the 1979 revolution. Reviving that is a minimum, and harsher action should follow unless and until Tehran truly bends.

At Blinken’s side, Yair Lapid, Israel’s top diplomat, put it right: “There are moments when nations must use force to protect the world from evil.”
The butcher of Oberlin
In October 2020, a group of former political prisoners in Iran, families of executed political prisoners, human rights activists who work for justice and accountability, and international jurists who have examined Iran’s gross human rights abuses began calling for the removal of Mohammad Jafar Mahallati from his post at Oberlin College.

Mahallati, who has been accused of crimes against humanity by Amnesty International , is serving as the Nancy Schrom Dye Chair in Middle East and North African Studies at Oberlin College.

Based on the information outlined in a letter dated Oct. 8, 2020 , Oberlin employs a human rights abuser in a tenured position. This is an insult to his victims and a grave injustice that contradicts Oberlin College’s "enduring commitment to a sustainable and just society."

In the summer of 1988, thousands of political prisoners were sentenced to death by Iran’s notorious "Death Commission," co-chaired by the Iranian regime’s current president, Ebrahim Raisi, nicknamed “The Butcher of Tehran.” The prisoners, who had already served several years after being sentenced in sham trials, were asked a series of arbitrary questions about their religious or political beliefs and then unilaterally sent to the gallows. Many of them endured gruesome torture before being murdered. Their bodies were dumped in unmarked mass graves.

One of the organizers of this atrocious scheme was Mohammad Jafar Mahallati. As the Islamic Republic of Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, he was a crucial player in the regime’s efforts to minimize, obscure, and erase this mass slaughter.
Iran criticizes UN nuclear agency for ‘negligence’ on monitoring Israel
Iran on Friday sharply criticized the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency for keeping its eyes trained on the Islamic Republic while ignoring its arch-enemy Israel’s suspected nuclear program.

Israel is widely believed to be the Middle East’s sole nuclear arms possessor, but it has long refused to confirm or deny it has such weapons and — unlike Iran — is not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

“Silence and negligence about Israel’s nuclear program sends a negative message to the NPT members,” tweeted Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran’s ambassador to the UN agency.

Being an NPT signatory meant “accepting the robust verifications,” while being outside it meant being “free from any obligation and criticism, and even [getting] rewarded,” he wrote. “What is the advantage of being both an NPT member and fully implementing the agency’s safeguards?”

Gharibabadi was reacting to an interview given by IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi to Energy Intelligence earlier this month.

Asked why the IAEA is so focused on Iran’s nuclear program but not Israel’s, Grossi responded: “Our relation with Israel is based on the one that you have with a country which is not a party to the NPT.”











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