Friday, June 10, 2022

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: The anti-Israel travesty of Pillay’s kangaroo court
If this is to have any meaning at all, the United States must ensure Pillay’s removal. After all, her appointment contradicted the U.N.’s own guidelines which, as UN Watch said in its request for Pillay to recuse herself, make clear that members of commissions of inquiry must have “a proven record of independence and impartiality.”

Even Pillay’s removal, however, wouldn’t address the core problem—the institutionalized bias of the United Nations itself. For it acts as the crucible of the campaign to delegitimize and destroy Israel.

Since 2015, the U.N. General Assembly has passed 125 resolutions condemning Israel, compared with six against Iran; seven against North Korea; nine against Syria; 18 against Russia; eight against the United States; and none against China, Cuba, Libya, Turkey, Pakistan or Venezuela.

Last September, the U.N. Economic and Social Council condemned Israel alone for allegedly violating women’s rights, even though Israel is the only upholder of women’s rights in the Middle East.

All this reflects the fundamental flaw at the heart of the United Nations itself. Committed to promoting freedom, justice and human rights for everyone, it is dominated by countries that stand for the negation of those things. So it betrays its core commitment virtually every day.

The fact that it singles out Israel for condemnation as a human-rights abuser when it is in fact the sole democracy in the Middle East and deeply committed to human rights is a travesty. The fact that it has now put in charge of this onslaught a woman who has endorsed the anti-Jewish lynch mob at the United Nations’ own disgusting Durban conference is obscene.

Yet America and the rest of the free world continue to treat it as the legitimate arbiter of global peace and justice.

The United Nations is the most conspicuous example of the fundamental mistake the free world makes over and over again. This is that, by refusing to acknowledge the true and unique characteristics of anti-Semitism, it fails to understand that the world’s oldest and most enduring hatred doesn’t just affect the Jewish people. It also signals the corrosion and eventual destruction of the culture that spawns it.

The continuing support by the free world of the fundamentally corrupted United Nations is a major factor behind the destruction of the west’s moral compass and its current spiral of decline.
Ruthie Blum: Navi Pillay’s revitalized anti-Israel career
A month before the end of her dubious tenure as human-rights high commissioner, for instance, she issued a particularly egregious parting hurrah. The timing was perfect for a tirade from the retiring radical, as Israel was in the throes of the 2014 Gaza war.

Referring to what she called the “same pattern of [Israeli] attacks on homes, schools, hospitals [and] UN premises” as in past military campaigns,” she said that “none of it appears to me to be accidental.”

She failed to mention the extensive Hamas tunnel network that Israel was in Gaza to destroy. That the underground passageways were equipped with weapons, handcuffs, IDF uniforms and anesthetic-filled syringes for the express purpose of kidnapping and killing Jews didn’t make it into her condemnation.

She ignored, as well, Hamas’s use of its population as human shields, and didn’t give the slightest nod to Israeli Air Force pilots, who not only dropped leaflets to warn Gazans of imminent shelling in specific areas, but aborted missions when they spotted women and children in their crosshairs. What she stressed, instead, was that the United States “provided almost $1 billion in providing the Iron Domes [sic] to protect the Israelis from rocket attacks; [yet] no such protection has been provided to Gazans against the shelling.”

This egregious inversion of defense and offense is quintessential Pillay, so the remark wasn’t surprising. Greater astonishment was due the self-proclaimed feminist a few months earlier, during an address to the UNHRC.

Dusting off an old libel lodged in 2005 by then-UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women Yakin Erturk, she blamed Israel for Palestinian men’s abuse of Palestinian women. The “occupation,” she suggested, robs Palestinians of their manhood. Feeling castrated by big bad Israel, these emasculated males take out their frustration on their wives, mothers, sisters and daughters.

George Orwell is chuckling in his grave. Still, the rest of us shouldn’t be laughing.

As Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust director Anne Bayefsky cautioned this week in JNS: “Although this charade [of a commission] is obviously tainted and flawed, indifference to it would be a grave mistake. The ‘inquiry’ has no end date and is being financed in perpetuity. Now on the UN schedule are two reports every year, a perpetual drumbeat of modern antisemitism — the delegitimization of the Jewish state. Report No. 1 is all the evidence that decent people and democratic states need to tear down this wall of hate and intolerance.”

UN Watch: The Pillay Report Under Scrutiny — UN Watch Side Event, June 13, 2022
On June 13, 2022, as the United Nations in Geneva debates the Pillay Report, the controversial new document will come under scrutiny by a panel of renowned experts at a UN Watch event to be held on the sidelines of the Human Rights Council, to be streamed live here on this page.

The Pillay Report, released this week, offers a blueprint of what is to come from the U.N. Commission of Inquiry, chaired by Navi Pillay, which was granted a perpetual mandate to report annually in Geneva and New York on alleged war crimes and discrimination in wake of last year’s Hamas-Israel war.

The report turns a blind eye to Palestinian terrorism and embraces the Hamas narrative that Israel is the root cause of all conflict.

Many expected a biased report given that commission chair Navi Pillay has a record of lobbying governments to ‘sanction apartheid Israel’. In addition, she declared Israel guilty in the very conflict of last year that she is meant to investigate. To read UN Watch’s request for Navi Pillay to recuse herself, click here (pdf).

Six Day War: Israel's victory marred by indecision over what comes next
From the very start, there was a conflict in the government between those excited by the return to the nation’s biblical heartland and those concerned about the long-term implications of absorbing so many more Arabs.

“The determined opposition of some of the ministers to returning any territory on the one hand and the desire among the others to avoid having to rule over one and half million Palestinians on the other hand, placed the government in a state of disagreement regarding the content of the territorial proposal to be submitted to Jordan,” Dekel wrote. In the end, it chose “not to make any decisions regarding its future policy” and decided, as an interim stage, to set up a military administration until a final decision was made regarding the future status of the West Bank.

Eshkol, in a moving speech to the cabinet on June 11, said, “Today it is possible to say, we won the war, and now start the concerns over peace, permanent peace. We should only have the resourcefulness, wisdom and understanding to know how to manage all this property, and I do not mean only the real estate. With all the success on the battlefield, there is a need for much wisdom and understanding, because problems of peace are also accompanied by many difficult questions.”

Dekel quoted Aharon Yariv, who was the head of Military Intelligence at the time, saying there was “essentially no strategic plan for the day after the war.” In other words, there were no answers to the difficult questions about peace.

“From that time until today, the name of the game has been to buy time,” Dekel said. “It is not clear for what purpose, but to buy time, so we don’t have to make the tough decisions, so we kick the issue down the road.”

In the meantime, however, things change: conditions change, the situation on the ground changes, the region changes. One might wait, but nothing stands still.

On the day after the Six Day War, Israel lacked a grand strategy for what to do with the lands that fell under its control. It lacked the determination to decide what it really wanted, and then pursue it. Not everything is in its hands, and there is another side that has a say, and much depends on it.

But “depends” is not a policy, and waiting is not a winning long-term strategy. Going back to those euphoric days immediately after the Six Day War, Israel has never clearly defined or articulated its ultimate vision for Judea and Samaria. It never set its goal line. And if a goal line is not set, it can never be crossed.
Six Day War: IDF troops became an unwitting symbol of unified Jerusalem
This article originally appeared in 1987, to mark the 20th anniversary of the Six Day War.

Yitzhak Yifat doesn’t remember taking off his helmet seconds after his Paratroopers Brigade captured the Western Wall in the 1967 Six Day War. He barely recalls a fellow soldier sharing the moment by clasping his shoulder. And he certainly doesn’t recollect a photographer snapping a picture of him as he stared up at the holy site.

That scene, however, made history. Yifat’s awestruck expression reflected the fledgling Israeli nation’s own euphoria over the reunification of Jerusalem under Jewish sovereignty for the first time in 2,000 years.

For more stories released for the 55th anniversary of the Six Day War, click here.

The photograph appeared throughout the country – in newspapers, on posters and later in books about the war. Yifat suddenly had become more than a soldier who participated in an extraordinary event. He became the symbol of hope for a nation and a people.

On the eve of the 20th anniversary of the war, Yifat, now a gynecologist, sat in his Rishon Lezion apartment studying furiously for an examination. He took a break from underlining his obstetrics textbook to speak at length about the war and the iconic photograph.

The Palestinian Authority: On a Journey to Nowhere
The recent moves of the PLO Chairman and PA President Abu Mazen, such as postponing the elections that were supposed to take place in May 2021, his decision to appoint the PLO Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh as the PLO head of negotiations with Israel, and his unwillingness to comply with the demands of the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) and the DFLP (Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine) regarding the conditions for convening the Palestinian National Council of the PLO further deepen the paralysis in the Palestinian system. The recent reconciliation moves in Algeria have also raised eyebrows, as the rift with Hamas has not been healed but rather has widened.

Abu Mazen’s willingness to hold meetings with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, as well as approve meetings of senior PA leaders with other Israeli ministers, does not basically change the PA’s gloomy outlook. In practice, these attempts are perceived as an attempt by Abu Mazen to cling to the horns of the altar and ensure his survival with Israeli assistance: in effect, opting—as does Israel—for conflict management. Not surprisingly, Abu Mazen’s moves are depicted by Hamas and his political rivals, as well as by many in the Palestinian public, as despicable cooperation with the occupier further feed Hamas’s efforts to leverage the Jerusalem question as a tool of delegitimizing such “collaboration.”

All this lends gravity to the fact that Abu Mazen has failed to establish agreed-upon mechanisms for the day after his departure. A bitter rivalry between Fatah officials who see themselves as worthy to step into his shoes therefore promises a difficult and probably violent struggle for succession, further exacerbating tensions with both Hamas and Israel. In fact, Abu Mazen’s departure from the Palestinian arena voluntarily or out of necessity, under natural circumstances, is no longer very far away, but there is no reason or hope for a real change of direction. The destination—nowhere, toward collapse or at best fragile conflict management—has long been marked, and the PA is walking toward it with its eyes closed. We will not be able to determine with certainty what the fate of the PA will be when it gets there: whether it collapses into the arms of Israel; whether it continues to exist and operate as it has since its inception, having a complex interaction with the Israeli military and intelligence services; or whether the West Bank will disintegrate into small and autonomous entities.

In any case, the historic failure of the PA and its leadership has become a painful paradox for the Palestinian people. In fact, the PA, which was established as a platform for the realization of independence and the establishment of a Palestinian state, has over the years become a platform that keeps the Palestinian people in limbo. The price is, of course, paid first and foremost by the Palestinian people. But the PA’s slide to nowhere can lead to sudden and disruptive “non-linear” developments—which may take a toll on Israel and its neighbors—and this will also affect regional security and stability.

Hence, Israel—which now counts, for the purposes of conflict management, mainly on the (somewhat improved) Palestinian security forces under Majed Faraj and on the existing pattern of security cooperation—must calculate its steps wisely and plan ahead for all eventualities. Israeli leaders must bear in mind that they may have very limited impact on the coming succession struggle, and if any player comes to being perceived as having been backed by Israel (say, if Marwan Barghouti would be released from jail so he can contend), that player would become all the more motivated to prove in action that he is no stooge. In terms of both intelligence collection and analysis, as well as operational capability, Israel needs to be ready to act in a timely manner in such a way as to minimize the potential for harm.
'UN must recognize Jews from Middle East countries as refugees'
The Abraham Accords, as well as being a cause for celebration, also raised the issue of Jews from Arab countries. Alongside the regional developments that followed the agreements, it seems that one of them is actually concealed in the past and could bolster efforts to repair an injustice in the narrative of Jews from Arab countries and Iran.

Thousands of years of history of the million Jews who lived in Arab countries and Iran prior to Israel's founding vanished in a flash. Some had lived in the Middle East more than 2,500 years ago, long before the arrival of Islam.

The magnificent existence of the Jewish communities has also been pushed from the national consciousness, and while the claims of Palestinian refugees are familiar to many, few are aware of the existence of the problem of the Jewish refugees forced to leave the lands of their birth and who significantly shaped the face of the State of Israel.

'A terrible Injustice'
Less than a year before the signing of the Abraham Accords, Israel Hayom revealed the huge scope of property left behind by Jews from Arab countries, especially Jews from Iran, after they were expelled from their countries and moved to Israel. According to an initial and conservative estimate, the value of this property is around $150 billion – an extraordinary amount that reflects an especially tragic chapter in the history of Jews from Arab countries, which until recently has not been widely discussed in Israel.

For the first time, Israel is in possession of comprehensive data on this important issue. It is important to emphasize that today, just as in the past, there is a moral obligation to raise these issues in the international arena.

"A year ago, I made it my goal to also leverage the Abraham Accords in order to fix this terrible injustice at the UN – to advance recognition of the 850,000 Jewish refugees who were expelled from the Arab countries and from Iran," said Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan. Iraqi Jews en route to Israel in the early days of the state

In an interview to Israel Hayom, Erdan said "the UN never did anything and didn't recognize the great injustice that was done to our brothers who were attacked, murdered, and whose property was plundered by the Arab countries who expelled them. I identified the signing of the Abraham Accords as a suitable occasion on which put the issue on the UN's daily agenda and to fix the situation in which the UN works only to assist the 'Palestinian refugees' and doesn't even recognize the pain and the suffering of the Jewish refugees."
US Restores Direct Communication With Palestinians in Jerusalem, Signaling an Upgrade in Ties
The decision signals that Washington is seeking to bolster Palestinian ties ahead of President Joe Biden’s expected visit to the region next month. Neither Israeli nor Palestinian leaders commented on the move.

The administration has pledged to reopen the consulate in Jerusalem – a move that Israel vehemently opposes but the Palestinians are pushing for. Israel argues that the operation of a Palestinian mission in Jerusalem challenges Israel’s sovereignty over the city.

“After a wave of Palestinian terror in Jerusalem, the last thing the Biden Administration ought to be doing is rewarding Palestinian leadership for this incitement and violence, while entertaining their fanciful intent to divide Jerusalem and deny Jewish connection to the city,” Human rights attorney Arsen Ostrovsky told CBN News.

Meanwhile, supporters argue that reopening the consulate is simply restoring decades-old US foreign policy and could help mend ties with the Palestinians that ruptured under Trump.

The US remains "committed to re-opening our consulate in Jerusalem. We continue to believe it is an important way for our country to engage with and provide support to the Palestinian people,” a State Department official said in a statement. "We are continuing to discuss this with our Israeli and Palestinian partners."

The Palestinian Authority has said it considers the reopening of the consulate as part of the international community’s commitment to eventually establishing an independent Palestinian state.

So far, the Biden administration has failed to reopen the consulate, apparently over concerns about upsetting Israel.

However, Dan Shapiro, a former US ambassador to Israel, told AP that Thursday’s move is an “interim step by the Biden administration toward reestablishing a consulate in Jerusalem.”

Thursday’s move could represent a new challenge for Israel’s fragile governing coalition, which is a diverse alliance of parties from the political left, right, center, and for the first time, an Islamist Arab party. The members of the coalition are ideologically divided on controversial issues related to Israel’s ties with the Palestinians, such as Palestinian statehood.

Washington has made other moves to improve ties with the Palestinians, including restoring funding to the UN agency that serves Palestinian refugees, and restoring American aid to the Palestinian Authority.

Bosnia and Herzegovina official: Western Wall is part of Israel
The Western Wall is part of Israel, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Parliamentary House of Peoples Speaker Dragan Covic said after his visit to Jerusalem’s Old City.

The tall diplomat stood before the ancient stones on Wednesday, wearing a white skullcap, and placed a prayer for peace between its ancient stones.

He was accompanied by an official from the Foreign Ministry, a nod in the direction of accepting Israeli sovereignty over Judaism’s significant holy site, second only to the adjacent Temple Mount.

When asked if he held that he was in Israel when he was at the Western Wall, Covic affirmed that he did.

“Today I am in Israel,” he said of his time in Jerusalem and the Old City. The bulk of the international community does not believe that Jerusalem, even the western part, is part of sovereign Israel. They all hold that east Jerusalem, including the Old City where the Western Wall is located, is part of the Palestinian territories, designed for inclusion within the final borders of a Palestinian state.

Covic is part of a small but growing number of officials who are pushing the envelope when it comes to the status of Jerusalem.

Covic said he had placed a note in the crevice of the wall with a prayer for peace. “I asked for peace for my people, peace for your people, for the world.”
Lebanese Journalist Nadim Koteich: Lebanon Must Join the Abraham Accords, Make Peace with Israel
Lebanese journalist Nadim Koteich said in a May 20, 2022 show on MBC TV (Lebanon) that Lebanon must join the Abraham Accords and make peace with Israel. In addition, he said that Hizbullah has hijacked Lebanon, and that this will only change when there is change in Iran, in the same way that Communist parties throughout the world disappeared when the Soviet Union collapsed.

California Republican Flops in Primary After Free Beacon Unearths Anti-Semitic Rant
California congressional hopeful Greg Raths (R.) is poised to lose his primary bid against Rep. Young Kim after the Washington Free Beacon unearthed an anti-Semitic rant that saw Raths accuse the "Jewish community" of using money to "control" politicians.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Raths trails Kim by 10 points with approximately 62 percent of the vote recorded. While the race hasn't been called, Raths acknowledged his loss on Facebook—when a follower asked him if he won the race, Raths replied, "no." Democrat Asif Mahmood, meanwhile, leads Kim by 5 points, meaning the pair is set to face off in November. In California's jungle primary system, the top two vote-getters advance to the general election regardless of party affiliation.

Raths's loss comes less than two weeks after the Free Beacon exposed anti-Semitic comments the Republican made at a May 20 Orange County Islamic Foundation candidate forum. During that event, Raths claimed U.S. support for Israel is bought and paid for by the "Jewish community" and called for the government to "rein in" U.S. foreign aid to the Jewish state, a position he said he can support because he hasn't taken "one dime" from the Jews.

"That's the problem. Israeli PAC in Washington, they got money and they control a lot of these politicians. And the other side, the Palestinians, they don't have the clout. So these politicians go where the money is, unfortunately," Raths said. "That's why the foreign aid is so large going to Israel. … The Jewish community has never given me one dime, so I'm not beholden to them at all."

Raths's comments—as well as his bungled response—almost certainly led to his campaign's demise. Raths quickly apologized following the Free Beacon‘s report, though that apology came as he simultaneously liked a number of tweets defending his remarks, including one that said the "Canaanites fear our uprising." When a prominent Jewish ally, Mission Viejo city councilman Ed Sachs (R.), later called Raths to pull his endorsement, the congressional hopeful "became totally defensive," according to Jewish Insider.

"He was like, ‘A rabbi endorsed me,' or ‘A rabbi and I serve hot meals together,' or, ‘I know a rabbi.' OK, well, mazel tov," Sachs told the outlet. "That doesn't move anything from your comments about ‘Jews give money to politicians, ergo they control politicians who give more money to Israel, and no money to the country of Palestine.' That is just abrasively ignorant."
"Hoof-in-Mouth: Buffalo GOP Congressional Candidate Calls Hitler ‘Inspirational’"
Meet Carl Pasquale Paladino, 76, an American businessman and political activist, chairman of Ellicott Development Co., a real estate development company he founded in 1973. He ran for governor in 2010 and was defeated 63%-33% by Andrew Cuomo, however, he had a very strong showing in western New York State, winning all eight counties in the Buffalo media market. So that when he decided to run for Congress to represent New York’s 27th congressional district, he was considered practically a shoo-in.

Indeed, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), the third-ranked Republican in the House and chair of the House Republican Conference, gave Paladino her hearty endorsement, saying he was “a friend” and a “conservative outsider who will be a tireless fighter.”


But then, on Thursday, Media Matters published a radio interview from a year ago, in which the candidate said, I kid you not, how impressed he was by how German Chancellor Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) “aroused the crowd” with his speeches and then added, again, I am not kidding you, that Republicans in New York and DC should learn from the late Fuhrer.

Appearing on the February 13, 2021, edition of the weekly r-House Radio Show on WBEN in Buffalo, hosted by real estate executive Peter Hunt, GOP candidate Paladino opined about you know who: “He would get up there screaming these epithets and these people were just, they were hypnotized by him. I guess, I guess that’s the kind of leader we need today. We need somebody inspirational. We need somebody that is a doer. … Our Republicans are sound asleep.”

Israel must update its policy on Hamas, Gaza - opinion
Hamas has not stopped, for even a minute, its maneuvering and preparations for the day Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas departs the scene.

In response to all of this, Israel has chosen a policy based on differentiating Hamas Gaza from the West Bank. In the latter, Israel launched a series of counter-terrorism operations. In Lebanon, Israel is working in a minor way against Hamas, and diplomatically, it is working individually with Turkey and Qatar to search for formulas to contain Hamas.

Yet, this does not deal with the dangerous connection Hamas has been able to create between religious war cries under the banner of al-Aqsa Mosque and the confrontational attitude it has instilled in Palestinians beyond Gaza.

Now that Jerusalem Day has passed without major escalation, Israel must recalculate its route and adopt a proactive stance against Hamas’s religious-nationalist incitement.

Israel’s toolkit must include a renewal of targeted assassinations of senior Hamas personnel, such as Salah Al-Arouri, who heads the West Bank terror file and is mostly based in Lebanon. Initiating moves against Hamas and taking it by surprise is crucial. The more this is done covertly, the better.

This change will not lead to instant solutions, but rather, to a process in which Israel will damage Hamas’s centers of gravity, including its leadership structure, and will go beyond just responding to Hamas as a Gazan territorial unit.

In any case, Hamas will end up escalating the situation, so Israel should choose to take the initiative and go beyond what Jerusalem has done in the past.

This also means maintaining total sovereignty over Jerusalem, while ensuring Muslim freedom of worship, and cooperating with moderate Arab elements that can help stabilize the Temple Mount, including Jordan, despite its weakening presence there.

The PA, too, is increasingly weak and losing power, and is already transitioning to the post-Abbas era. Israel has to strengthen the PA in various ways, as part of a bigger effort to prevent its collapse on the day after Abbas’s departure.
Footage emerges of Palestinians assaulting off-duty cops in Jerusalem
Video footage released Thursday evening showed a number of Palestinians from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya pursuing and attacking off-duty Israeli police officers.

The incident occurred on Wednesday night as the Border Police officers, who were in civilian clothes, drove through Issawiya. According to Channel 12 news, they apparently fired their guns in the air for unknown reasons.

A group of Palestinians then pursued them to the adjacent French Hill neighborhood, which is predominantly Jewish.

Footage released by Channel 13 news showed the assailants hurling bricks at the vehicle, smashing the windows, and pulling the driver out of the car. They can then be seen continuing to beat him, leaving him with light injuries for which he required hospitalization.

As one of the officers shot in the air, another had his firearm briefly snatched away, reports said.

“The assailants threw blocks, broke the car’s windshield and tried to tear apart the doors. At one point they managed to break in, grabbed the driver and started strangling him. It took a good few minutes until we managed to get hold of the police,” Bar, a resident of the French Hill neighborhood who witnessed the incident, told Channel 12.
One Person Lightly Injured in Israel by Gunfire From Gaza
Gunfire from the Gaza Strip on Thursday lightly injured a foreign worker in an agricultural area adjacent to the Israeli village of Netiv HaAsara, which is located close to the northern border with the Palestinian enclave.

The injury was sustained from a bullet ricochet, according to Israel’s Channel 12 and Kan television stations.

The Israel Defense Forces, however, said that nobody was wounded in the incident.

It comes after a senior Hamas figure recently threatened to launch rockets into Israel during the May 29 Jerusalem Day march, although this did not materialize.

MEMRI: Egyptian Liberal Thinkers: Expunging Islamic Terrorism Requires Eliminating Extremism From Curricula, Fostering Knowledge, Tolerance And Humanism
Amid the recent spate of ISIS attacks in Sinai,[1] the Egyptian press published several articles that called to eliminate terror by expunging fundamentalist Islam, which forms the basis of the religious ideology espoused by the terrorist organizations. The articles called to essentially reform the Egyptian school curricula, which they said teach children, staring in kindergarten, values of exclusion, hatred and violence. Instead, they called to develop new curricula focusing on science, humanism, religious tolerance and critical thinking that match the modern age, rather than the Dark Ages.

The following are translated excerpts from two of these articles: one by liberal Egyptian journalist Khaled Montasser in the daily Al-Ahram, and another by Egyptian intellectual Ahmed Sa'ad Al-Zayed in the daily Al-Dustour.

Khaled Montasser: "The Function Of School Is Not To Usher [Children] Into Paradise But To Usher Them Into The Halls Of Knowledge"

Liberal journalist Khaled Montasser argued that Egyptian children are brainwashed from an early age with violent stories about war and conquest that can sow the seeds of an ISIS-like ideology. He called to transform religion into nourishment for the spirit that builds character and fosters knowledge and humanism without excluding the other.

He wrote: "Teaching a child about the exclusion [of others] in kindergarten means planting the seeds of ISIS deep in his mind and his spirit, because the extremist terrorist ideology begins with excluding the ideas [of the other], then excluding him with weapons and finally exterminating him. Religious exclusion is the worst and cruelest kind of exclusion, and has the greatest impact. [Ideas of] exclusion begin in kindergarten… and grow in elementary and middle school.

"The main goal of teaching, beyond imparting knowledge, is creating a collective conscience, because good citizenship begins in kindergarten. Egypt aims to raise children with a humane Egyptian conscience. The function of school is not to usher [children] into Paradise but to usher them into the halls of knowledge, good citizenship, creativity, liberty and free imagination. The key to Paradise is personal, whereas the key to good citizenship is collective… When a child is removed from the room during [religion] class because he belongs to a different religion, children ask why, and the child who was removed asks the same question. Then the teacher, out of religious arrogance, unfortunately begins to discuss religious and ideological differences, [although the children] are too young for this kind of discussion.
The Iran Crisis Is Here
This is willful blindness. Iran made its choice. It rejected diplomacy and de-escalation. It opted for confrontation and resistance.

Yet America is too preoccupied, too distracted, too overwhelmed to act accordingly. Inflation, crime, the border, guns, abortion, and Ukraine command the public's attention. The growing danger from Iran does not. Meanwhile, the secretary of defense is a background player. The secretary of state and the national security adviser are staffers, not independent leaders. The president is 79 years old and not good at his job. This moment demands confidence, willfulness, boldness, imagination, and risk. What we get are odd ramblings from Biden on Kimmel.

Things must change. Iran policy is a good—and urgent—place to start. Step one is to face reality. Close the open hand that the ayatollah has spat upon. Demand enactment of snap-back sanctions. Adopt the bipartisan Senate bill that would integrate air and missile defenses in the Greater Middle East. Call for a massive defense buildup. Ease restrictions, limits, and delays on lend-lease to Ukraine, then take the same approach to arming Israel and our Gulf partners (as well as Taiwan). Recognize the importance of the Abraham Accords as the foundation for regional stability. And revive the military option to demonstrate our seriousness.

The drift toward global disorder began after former president Obama decided not to enforce his red line against chemical weapons in Syria. That was almost a decade ago. One way to repair the jagged breach in American credibility and American deterrence would be to make good on our longstanding promise that Iran won't obtain the world's most terrible weapon.

The current path leads to a world where America is ignored, where Israel's existence is threatened, and where the risk of nuclear war is greater than it is even today. We've been telling ourselves for a while that such a world would be unacceptable. Let's act like it.
JPost Editorial: The world must be serious about stopping Iran
The challenge ahead is to keep up the pressure on Iran. While putting the IAEA conclusions in writing is important in order to set a precedent, much more work must be done.

On the positive side, the overwhelming majority of the Board of Governors has called on Iran to urgently fulfill its legal obligations.

Could this restore Iran’s compliance, though? Iran has made many demands to get back to a deal. The 2015 deal itself offered Iran incentives, and it wasn’t going to last forever but merely postponed Iran’s road toward a nuclear weapon.

That is the main problem.
Iran uses its nuclear program to wring concessions and blackmail the world.

While other countries did develop nuclear weapons and then test them, such as India and Pakistan in the 1990s – and while North Korea continues to develop its dangerous nuclear program – only Iran appears to do so in part with an agenda of blackmail.

Unfortunately, because of Russia and China’s own concerns about the West, these two key states have not come together to encourage Iran to step away from its dangerous destabilizing path. Instead, Russia and China allow Iran to continue to threaten Israel and let loose a nuclear arms race in the region that can ensnare the Gulf, Turkey and others.

Israel believes the time has come for the international community to support the IAEA’s integrity and professionalism and to act against Iran with all the means at its disposal, as the Foreign Ministry has said.

This is indeed the best course of action. However, Iran has shown that it will break every international norm in its behavior. It fires missiles and drones at other countries and has recently illegally seized Greek ships.

All of this illustrates that it is a most dangerous and unreliable country and that it must never be equipped with nuclear weapons or its danger will increase exponentially.
Jonathan Tobin: Iran gave Biden a reason to stop appeasing, but he won't
At present, the administration is almost completely fixated on the war between Russia and Ukraine. Granted, the aggression committed by Russian President Vladimir Putin's regime was more than illegal. It undermined the stability of Europe and has resulted in the sort of mass casualties not seen on the continent since World War II. It is to be hoped that, combined with the stiffer than expected Ukrainian resistance, the massive aid given to Kyiv by the United States and its allies will both help them deplete the threat posed by the Russian military and send a powerful message to China that it should not believe it can get away with similar aggression against Taiwan.

But the administration's tunnel vision on Russia, a country that has been exposed as a second-rate power – albeit one with nuclear weapons that shouldn't be pressed too far – has allowed it to ignore the threat Iran is posing to American allies in the Middle East.

Unfortunately, Malley and many others serving under Biden seem to have bought into the delusion, first floated by Obama that Iran could be persuaded to "get right with the world." That mistaken idea would lead the United States to reconfigure its Middle Eastern policy to allow for a rapprochement with the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism while slighting or repudiating Israel and its Arab friends.

Biden is trying to distance himself from Saudi Arabia – a friendly despotic regime that many Democrats view with more distaste than Iran – and at the same time get them to pump more oil to reduce the rising price of gas that is killing the Democrats in the polls. But he also appears eager to find a way to get Iranian oil flowing to the world.

That may be why Iran is upping the ante in its long-running standoff with the administration in the nuclear talks in Vienna. Tehran figures that if it's patient enough, Biden will eventually cave on the last sticking points in the negotiations – like taking the IRGC off the list of terrorist organizations – and a new deal can be signed to make the Islamic regime richer and stronger (and eventually get a nuke anyway). Since they don't think Biden will ever take action against them even if they do break out to a weapon, every provocation and breach of international law comes with a get-out-of-jail-free card signed by the president.

The saddest aspect of this debacle is that there is still an opportunity for Biden to stiffen his spine and take the sort of actions that will make it clear to the ayatollahs that if they continue on this path, it will lead to the impoverishment of their country and potential military conflict that they cannot win. Even worse is the realization that Biden is not only unwilling to be honest about the situation, but that he may be incapable of mustering the courage to do what needs to be done to carry out his promise about stopping Iran from going nuclear.

Blinken Pushes Iran to Reverse Decision to Remove Cameras; Warns of ‘Political Isolation’
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday that Iran’s decision to remove nuclear monitoring equipment after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) passed a resolution critical of the country could lead to “deepening nuclear crisis and further economic and political isolation.”

Blinken’s comments come after Iran this week began removing cameras and other technical equipment at its enrichment facilities which were installed by the IAEA as part of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Blinken further warned Iran to table any “additional demands” which he said were not relevant to the Iran deal.

“Unfortunately, Iran’s initial response to the Board’s action has not been to address the lack of cooperation and transparency that prompted a negative report from the IAEA Director General and such strong concern in the Board, but instead to threaten further nuclear provocations and further reductions of transparency, “he said. “Such steps would be counterproductive and would further complicate our efforts to return to full implementation of the JCPOA.”

Iran’s move comes in response to the passage of a resolution drafted by the United States, France, Britain and Germany, and voted on by the IAEA’s 35-nation Board of Governors, criticizing Tehran for its continued failure to explain uranium traces found at undeclared sites.

Iran had informed the agency Wednesday that it planned to remove 27 IAEA cameras and other equipment, which was “basically all” the extra monitoring equipment installed under the 2015 deal, IAEA chief Rafael Grossi told reporters earlier this week.

Blinken, however, emphasized that the IAEA’s resolution was part of the organization’s mandate and reflected “Iran’s core obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.”
European Powers Say Iran Actions Cast Doubt on Its Commitment to Revive Nuclear Accord
France, Britain and Germany condemned on Thursday steps taken by Iran to essentially remove all the United Nations atomic watchdog’s monitoring equipment installed under a 2015 nuclear deal, saying the move cast a doubt on Tehran’s will to revive the accord.

“These actions only aggravate the situation and complicate our efforts to restore full implementation of the JCPOA (nuclear deal),” the three countries said in a statement. “They also cast further doubt on Iran’s commitment to a successful outcome.”

Unlike a joint statement made with the United States on Wednesday, Washington did not sign up to Thursday’s statement.

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