Thursday, June 16, 2022

From Ian:

Danny Danon: The UNHRC's diplomatic terrorism
The bias and absurdity of the report are made clear by a simple scan of the contents and the observation that throughout 18 pages of Israel-bashing only a handful of paragraphs are allocated to the atrocities committed by Arab terror organizations such as Hamas, which publicly declares that one of its goals is the complete destruction of the State of Israel. Given that the council has been outed time and again for its anti-Israel bias, it is unsurprising that the UNHRC report perpetuates and even intensifies this hostility towards the Jewish state.

For example, the report completely disregards the more than 4,000 rockets fired at Israel over the course of the 11-day conflict last May. Not only does it ignore this crucial issue, but it goes further. It undermines and criticizes a democratic country whose only "crime" is to defend itself against this barrage of rockets launched at an innocent civilian population.

Instead of rallying to Israel's defense against a brutal attack by bloodthirsty radicals, the UNHRC report sides with the aggressive Arab terrorists who injured not only Jewish citizens but Arabs in Israel and the Gaza Strip. Instead of aligning itself with a democracy that had no alternative but to defend itself and its citizens, the report collaborates with terrorists.

This does nothing to promote peace. In fact, it does precisely the opposite. It nurtures terror and simultaneously attempts to penalize a sovereign state for exercising its right to fight terror. No one gains from this. Not the innocent Israeli Jewish or Arab civilians who were killed, wounded or suffered stress and trauma as a result of rocket attacks. Certainly not the Palestinian Arabs whose lives were harmed during Hamas's senseless assault. The only victors are the terrorists and radicals whose goal is destruction and devastation no matter the human cost.

The UNHRC inquiry and its report are flagrant diplomatic terrorism against Israel. The investigators responsible for it should themselves be investigated for aiding and abetting acts of terrorism and violence against innocent civilians.
The UN vs. Israel, Yet Again
This year, the U.S. rejoined the UN Human Rights Council to try to advance fundamental values and address political corruption. Exhibit A of this corruption is the UN's unparalleled misuse as a propaganda tool against Israel, a country of fewer than 10 million people, barely the size of New Jersey, which is excoriated more than all other countries.

In the new UNHRC Commission of Inquiry report, relentless Palestinian violence - and rejection of sweeping overtures for two-state coexistence in 1947, 2000 and 2008 - does not register as a "root cause" of the conflict. The commission claims "Israel has no intention of ending the occupation," ignoring Israel's sacrifice of territory for peace with Egypt and Jordan, and its surrender of land to the Palestinians. It also ignores Israelis' dramatically worsened security following their total withdrawal from a security zone along the Lebanese border in 2000 and pullout from Gaza in 2005.

Nor does the commission even feign interest in Palestinians' endemic dehumanization of Jews, denial of their equal legitimacy and glorification of violence. There is talk of past "Gaza conflicts," as if the conflicts didn't involve indiscriminate bombardments upending the lives of millions within Israel.
Clifford May: Is international law dead?
According to the United Nations, Gaza remains "occupied territory" even though every Israeli soldier, farmer, synagogue and cemetery was withdrawn in 2005.

Hamas's subsequent takeover of Gaza in 2007 following a civil war against the Palestinian Authority, and the multiple wars that it's launched since, have led most Israelis to conclude that relinquishing more land without a peace agreement in place may not be a great idea.

Future COI reports will attempt to build the false and libelous case that Israel is an "apartheid state" committing "crimes against humanity" and that the "root cause" of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is – can you guess? – Israel's very existence.

It will follow that taking steps to terminate Israel's existence is justifiable. That message will resonate – not least in Tehran.

Could that lead to a repeat of what happened in Europe in the 1940s (genocide) or in the Middle East over the years that followed (expulsion of Jews from Iraq, Egypt and other Muslim lands)? Were that to happen, would the COI shed salty tears? Or would it say the Israelis had it coming? Would it matter?

Here in Jerusalem, I had a long conversation about these issues with a prominent international lawyer.

"What we're seeing in regard to Israel," she told me, "is not really the application of international law. It's 'lawfare' " – the use of tendentious and politicized interpretations of international law as weapons of war.

Combined with the inability or unwillingness of the "international community" to hold the world's most brutal tyrants accountable for their ongoing crimes, we may have the answer to Zelensky's question.

If we are returning to a world order in which, to paraphrase the Athenians to the Melians, despots do what they will and small nations suffer what they must, the consequences are enormous. Western leaders – if they are leaders – will give this possibility serious consideration.

From Peace Deal to Military Pact: Congress Wants Israel, Arab Allies To Unite Against Iran
Congress wants to transform the historic peace accords between Israel and its Arab neighbors into an unprecedented military alliance centered on combating Iran.

New legislation would require the Defense Department to develop plans for a joint air and missile defense project that would integrate Israel’s military forces with those of the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and other countries that are facing down threats from Iran. The bipartisan legislation builds on the Abraham Accords peace agreements that opened for the first time in history economic ties between the Jewish state and its neighbors in the UAE and Bahrain.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R., Iowa), chair of the Senate’s Abraham Accords Caucus and a driving force behind the legislation, told the Washington Free Beacon that the peace agreements fostered by the Trump administration cannot flourish until Israel and its neighbors unite to confront Iran’s regional terrorism enterprise, which has grown significantly since the 2015 nuclear deal came into effect and provided the hardline regime with billions of dollars in cash resources that it uses to fund terror groups across the Middle East.

Dubbed the DEFEND Act, the legislation would take unparalleled steps to integrate Israel’s defense architecture with those of its Arab neighbors, primarily through the supply of joint "air and missile defense" systems capable of destroying "cruise and ballistic missiles, manned and unmanned aerial systems, and rocket attacks from Iran," according to a copy of the full legislation. The bill was introduced a day after Iranian-backed militants in Iraq launched a strike on the U.S. consulate building there, highlighting the need for a more comprehensive military alliance, according to Ernst.

"If Iran and their malign proxies continue to target civilians, our Middle East allies and partners will not see the full potential of the Abraham Accords achieved," Ernst told the Free Beacon. "Collective security is essential to the success of the Abraham Accords, and this security cooperation starts with an integrated air and missile defense. This bipartisan, bicameral effort—coupled with broad support in the Jewish and Israel advocacy community—sends a powerful, unified message to the Biden administration and our partners in the Middle East and lays the important groundwork for future cooperation with the Department of Defense and CENTCOM," or U.S. Central Command, which oversees American operations in the region.

The legislation also would require the Defense Department to publish a threat assessment outlining Iran’s ballistic missile and drone capabilities, which would help all of the countries more accurately thwart attacks from Tehran-armed militants.
Israel Deploys Radar Systems in UAE and Bahrain
Israel has deployed radars to its ally countries in the Gulf region, Israel’s Channel 12 has reported.

“Israel has deployed radar systems in several countries in the Middle East, including the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain,” according to the Channel 12 report that no longer appears on its website, but has been cited by numerous news websites and media outlets. The radar systems were deployed to counter the threat of ballistic missiles from Iran, according to the report.

The commander of the Navy of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Rear Admiral Ali Reza Tangsiri, warned during a weekend visit to one of the islands under Iranian control located close to the Emirati coast that any country that brings “the Zionist regime,” meaning Israel, to the region “will destabilize, disturb and create insecurity for both himself and this region.”

“We advise our friendly and brotherly neighbors in the Persian Gulf not to establish contact with the Zionist regime, because this will harm the security of the region,” he said.

Also on Thursday, a bipartisan bill was introduced in the US Congress seeking to create a defense cooperation alliance with Israel, some Gulf countries and other US Middle Eastern allies such as Egypt and Jordan.

If it passes, the bill mandates the Pentagon to present a strategic plan for integrating the air defense capabilities of Israel and the Arab Gulf countries.
Podcast: How Sunni Arab States See Security Threats Today
Amb. Ron Dermer interviewed by Dr. Michael Makovsky (JINSA) In its first 72 years, until 2020, Israel had made two peace agreements with Arab countries - with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. There was nothing for over 25 years, and then in one year, 2020, there were four more - the Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco. What happened?

A huge shift occurred in the region even before the Trump administration took office. Netanyahu spoke publicly about an opening for peace between Israel and the Arab states for the first time in 2015 at the United Nations. He said, "I've never seen this situation between Israel and the Arab world in our lifetime." He was already talking then about getting peace from the outside, in.

A lot of people think the road to peace has to go through the Palestinians, but it's actually the other way around. We can actually make peace with the broader Arab world and then we'd have a greater chance of moving forward with the Palestinians.

The change really began in 2011-12 due to a combination of factors where Israel's interests began aligning with some of the Arab states. The first factor was the Arab Spring beginning in 2010 in Tunisia and then Egypt, which led to a tremendous sense of instability. Then there was the emergence of threats that were becoming more acute such as the growing empowerment of Iran. The silver lining in the dark cloud of the nuclear deal was that it brought Israel and the Arab states together against the common threat.

There was also the danger of Sunni radicals. Al-Qaeda was 1.0, ISIS is 2.0, and the Sunni regimes know there is going to be a 3.0. They're also worried about the Muslim Brotherhood.

There was also the U.S. issue. Not only did the Arabs see that the U.S. didn't back its putative ally, Mubarak, but they also saw the U.S. as reducing its military footprint in the region. The key question is: Is the U.S. seen as the force that is going to maintain order in the region? In the American political system, 90% agree that they need to reduce their military commitments in the region. This is something that unites Presidents Obama, Trump, and Biden.

So if you look at the region from the Arab states' point of view, you see this instability, you see this dangerous Iranian tiger, you see this ISIS-Muslim Brotherhood leopard that's coming at you, and then the 800-pound American gorilla just left the building.

So they look around and see a 200-pound gorilla with a kipa on and they say, "Maybe we'll work with you" because their security interests are aligned with Israel. They need Israel in a way they didn't before, and a lot of it is because America has reduced its military footprint in the region. American withdrawal brought space for Israel and the Arab states to move closer together.
Legislation seeking to shut down U.N.’s Commission of Inquiry on Israel gains momentum
Legislation seeking to disband the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry investigating Israel has gained support in recent weeks, amassing 34 cosponsors since its introduction this spring.

The COI Elimination Act was introduced by Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) in late March. It would designate that it is U.S. policy to “seek the abolition” of the COI and “combat systemic anti-Israel bias at the United Nations Human Rights Council and other international fora.”

The legislation would also trim the U.S.’s annual contributions to the U.N., following a model used in existing U.S. law primarily to oppose other U.N. bodies and projects accused of attacking Israel. The COI was established following the May 2021 conflict between Israel and terrorist groups in Gaza, and is an open-ended inquiry into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

When the bill was first introduced, it had only two co-sponsors — Reps. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX) and Joe Wilson (R-SC) — but has picked up support over the past month, with 27 Republican co-sponsors and seven Democrats now having signed on.

Current Democratic co-sponsors include pro-Israel stalwarts, Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Dean Phillips (D-MN), Elaine Luria (D-VA), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Ritchie Torres (D-NY).

“The ongoing anti-Israel commission formed by the U.N’s discredited Human Rights Council directly obstructs peace in the Middle East and intentionally targets the only democracy in the region,” Steube said in a statement when he first introduced the legislation. “Our U.S. tax dollars have no place funding an anti-Israel commission.”
Hillel Neuer on UN’s Pillay Report UN Watch panel of experts respond to the UN Commission of Inquiry, chaired by Navi Pillay, that was created in wake of the 2021 Hamas-Israel war. Side event of the 50th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Monday, 13 June 2022.

UNHRC under fire for anti-Israel slant in probe of 2021 Gaza escalation

UN commission will probe question of Israeli apartheid - Pillay tells 'Post'
The UN’s Commission of Inquiry (COI) plans to investigate whether Israel committed acts of apartheid against Palestinians, but has no immediate intentions to do so, nor has it reached any conclusions on the matter in advance of such a probe, COI chair Navi Pillay told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.

“Whether apartheid is a matter of concern to the people of Israel and Palestine is something that we will investigate,” Pillay said by phone from Geneva along with COI investigator Miloon Kothari of India.

The two international legal experts are part of a three-member COI on Israel, which presented its first report on alleged Israeli human rights abuses against Palestinians to the United Nations Human Rights Council this week as the body opened its 50th session in Geneva. Israeli officials have feared that the COI plans to find the country guilty of apartheid, thereby bolstering a drive to transform what they believe is a territorial conflict into a racial one by way of delegitimizing the Jewish state. Non-governmental groups such as Amnesty International have already submitted reports to the COI charging Israel with apartheid already from the state’s inception in 1948. Copies of Amnesty International's report named ''Israel's Apartheid Against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and Crime Against Humanity'' are seen at a press conference at the St George Hotel, in East Jerusalem, February 1, 2022. (credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)

JCPA: Preview of President Joe Biden’s Visit to Israel
The White House officially announced that President Biden would visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority on July 13 and 14, 2022.

On Tuesday, June 14, senior PLO official and Abbas confidant Hussein al-Sheikh met Barbara Leaf, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, who came to Israel to lay the groundwork for the president’s visit.

Biden will be hosted by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem, where Abbas hosted President Trump in the past.

Biden is expected to visit east Jerusalem for the first time. There, perhaps at the Makassed Hospital, he is expected to announce the renewal of U.S. financial aid to east Jerusalem’s hospital network, amounting to tens of millions of dollars.

The Biden administration is concerned about reports of 87-year-old PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ state of health and fears that his exit from the political stage will undermine the PA’s hold on the West Bank, spark a bloody succession battle, and boost the status of Hamas.

U.S. policy-makers also fear that even before Biden visits Israel next month, Abbas will take measures to further ensnare the political situation when the Bennett-Lapid government is on the verge of collapse.
"US Asks for Gesture ‘Canceling’ Israeli Sovereignty Ahead of Biden Visit"
The United States is asking for another Israeli goodwill gesture to the Palestinian Authority (PA) ahead of President Joe Biden’s planned visit next month.

The US asked Israel to allow the “symbolic presence” of Palestinian Authority officials at the Allenby land crossing between Israel and Jordan, according to Axios reporter Barak Ravid.

Such a move would “symbolically” also confer an implication of sovereignty for the Palestinian Authority, and ‘cancel’ Israeli sovereignty at the site.

Nevertheless, Israel is reportedly considering acquiescing to this request, according to Ravid.

In addition, the US has reportedly asked Israel to refrain from actions in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem that could create tensions ahead of the visit, four Israeli, US and PA officials told Ravid.

Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf and her deputy for Israeli-PA affairs, Hady Amr both shuttled three times this week between Jerusalem and Ramallah.

Leaf was told in Ramallah the Palestinian Authority expects Israel and the US to present “some kind of a political horizon” for its citizens.
Bennett unlikely to let Palestinians staff Allenby crossing after US request
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is reviewing a US request to allow Palestinian Authority officials to join the staff at the Israeli side of the Allenby crossing with Jordan but does not currently plan on making changes.

A government source said on Thursday that relevant ministries are set to discuss a number of options, with Palestinian staff added to the Allenby crossing being one of them. This particular option was proposed to the Defense Ministry.

But Bennett is unlikely to allow a change to the sovereignty status or the Palestinian presence in the Allenby crossing, The Jerusalem Post has learned. However, he is seeking to take positive steps to improve the Palestinians’ economic situation.

The US made the request in the framework of seeking a broader package for the Palestinians, and for Israel to try to reduce tensions in the West Bank and Jerusalem ahead of US President Joe Biden’s visit to the region next month.

US officials such as Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr, and US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides, have suggested gestures to Israeli officials in the Prime Minister’s Office – such as National Security Adviser Eyal Hulata and Diplomatic Adviser Keren Hajioff – as well as in the Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministry. Each ministry has been working on their assessments of the requests, to be discussed at a joint meeting ahead of Biden’s visit to Israel on July 13-14.

Israeli soldiers stand guard near the entrance to Allenby Bridge, a crossing point between Jordan and the West Bank (credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
Fmr. ambassador David Friedman on i24NEWS ahead of Biden visit

The Israel Guys : Why Biden Will Stir Things Up When He Visits Israel
The White House has finally confirmed that President Joe Biden will visit Israel in July. Biden has given millions of dollars to the PA and has not supported Israel’s operations to take out terrorist hubs in the past. So the question is whether President Biden’s upcoming visit is a good thing for Israel or not.

Norway has caved to international pressure and has joined the other nations in boycotting Judea and Samaria. Norway has mandated that all products from Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights be no longer labeled as Israeli products but as products from the occupied territories. Leftists around the world praised Norway’s move, calling it “Right and just.” PA president, Mohammad Shtayyeh, even called it “Historic and moral step.”

IDF girds for Hamas surprise attack with Gaza border calmest it has been in a decade
More than a year after the Israel Defense Forces fought an 11-day war against terrorists in the Gaza Strip, military officials on Thursday touted new defensive measures as key to maintaining one of the quietest periods in southern Israel in recent years, but warned that the Hamas terror group is working to circumvent them in a potential surprise attack.

Since the fighting last May, which saw over 4,360 rockets and mortar shells fired at southern and central Israel, just 11 projectiles have been fired from the coastal enclave, marking the calmest period since Israel withdrew troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005, according to officials.

“During the 11 days of Operation Guardian of the Walls, we were able to disrupt and suppress almost all of the terrorist organizations’ offensive attempts, because we changed the defensive equation,” said Brig. Gen. Nimrod Aloni, commander of the IDF’s Gaza Division, using the military’s name for the war that lasted between May 10 and 21.

“We did not wait for the terrorists to come to the border to fight them, rather we hunted them down every time they raised their heads and tried to harm our civilians and forces,” Aloni said.
Palestinian security seen ejecting IDF patrol from Hebron market
The IDF opened a probe Wednesday after a video was shared on social media showing Palestinian police ejecting an Israeli army patrol from a market in the West Bank city of Hebron.

The army said in a statement that the commanding officer of the force made a “misjudgment.”

In the video, a group of armed men from the Palestinian security forces is seen approaching an IDF patrol of several soldiers inside a market in the Old City area.

The leading Palestinian officer greets the soldier and then asks, in Hebrew, “What are you doing here?”

He then vigorously urges the soldiers to leave, speaking in Hebrew and Arabic. The soldiers briefly appeared to resist his demand but then the force commander, apparently a first lieutenant, indicated that they should leave.

The Palestinian security officers followed the soldiers to ensure they leave the area, while locals jeered at the Israeli force.

Israel Issues 20,000 Additional Work Permits to West Bank Palestinians
Israel on Wednesday increased by 20,000 the number of work permits issued to West Bank Palestinians wishing to work inside Israel - to 120,000. Security officials said the move would improve the financial situation of more residents of the Palestinian Authority.

The civil administration of the West Bank opted to change some of the criteria limiting potential workers. Permits offered only to married men over the age of 22 are now available for unmarried men aged 27 and older.

With the approval of the Israel Security Agency, Palestinians who were previously bared from entry because of minor security offences decades ago would now be allowed to apply for permits.
Israel to allow 2,000 more Palestinian workers to enter from Gaza
Israel raised the quota of work permits for Gaza Palestinians to 14,000 on Thursday, expanding a policy that defense officials view as a means of maintaining quiet on the country’s southern front.

An additional 2,000 permits were added to the quota, according to Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians, widely known by its acronym COGAT.

The Defense Ministry has signed off on a tentative plan to raise the number of Gaza permits to 20,000, a dramatic and unprecedented increase. As of mid-2021, just 7,000 Palestinians had permits to work or trade in Israel.

Defense officials say allowing more Gazans to work in Israel will pump much-needed income into the impoverished coastal enclave while encouraging stability.

“All the civilian steps toward Gaza are dependent on continued security stability over time. Whether to expand them or not will be determined accordingly,” COGAT said in a statement.
PA: World War III if Jews are allowed to pray on the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site
Israel's actions in Jerusalem will lead to a “religious war… [that] will reach the US, Europe, and the entire world,” and “will exterminate everything.” These are threats coming from PA Chairman Abbas’ official spokesmen and advisors. However, all these PA warnings and threats are based on libels and lies.

The libel that Israel is planning the destruction of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in order to build a Jewish Temple in its place is one of the most potent and long-standing PA libels. As a prelude to this alleged Israeli plan, the PA claims Israel is also preparing a “division according to areas and times” of the Temple Mount – what the PA refers to as the Al-Aqsa Mosque plaza and defines as “belonging only to Muslims.” The alleged division would allow Jews and Muslims to pray at the site in separate places and at separate times. This would constitute a change in what is perceived to be the so-called “status quo” at the site, which de facto is interpreted to mean Jews are only allowed to enter the Temple Mount, but not to conduct individual or communal prayers there.

 Answering the incessant PA claims that the “division according to areas and times” of the Temple Mount is an actual Israeli plan, former Israeli PM Netanyahu has stated numerous times that the Israeli government has no intention of ‎changing the status quo.

In July 2021, Israeli PM Naftali Bennett confirmed that “there is no change in the status quo.”

Regardless, the PA presents “the division according to times” to Palestinians as an actual Israeli plan and an imminent danger foreboding the establishment of “the alleged Temple” in place of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. As documented by Palestinian Media Watch, the libel has propelled many a terror attack, and has been justified by Palestinians as the “defense of Al-Aqsa.”.” Recently, the libel was repeated on official PA TV:

Khaled Abu Toameh: House Demolitions by Hamas in Gaza
The raid on the village came after the Hamas-controlled Land Authority in the Gaza Strip ruled that the residents must be evacuated because they had built their homes on "state-owned" lands.

Sources in the Gaza Strip said that there are 28 more villages slated for demolition by Hamas on the pretext that they were illegally built on public lands.

"The Hamas security forces prevented the ambulances from entering the village.... That's why we had to take the injured to hospital in our cars." — Yahya Abu Thariyeh, a resident of Umm al-Nasr,, June 11, 2022

While Hamas has been trying to present itself as the defender of the Bedouin citizens of Israel, it is targeting the Palestinian Bedouin living under its control in the Gaza Strip by demolishing their homes and confiscating their lands, according to Egyptian author Ali Rajab.

Hamas's ongoing efforts to raze entire villages in the Gaza Strip is seen by many Palestinians as.... part of widespread corruption in Hamas, whose leaders want to seize lands for their personal use.

By turning a blind eye to the atrocities of Hamas, the journalists and human rights organizations are once again engaging in a dangerous double standard. Their obsession with Israel allows Hamas to persist in committing violent crimes against the Palestinians without receiving negative media coverage -- much less being held accountable for pillaging and devastating Palestinian communities.

Iraqi Parliament Speaker Has Gone Out of His Way to Shun Israel
Mohamed al-Halbousi, the Speaker of Iraq's parliament, presents an appealing persona to outside powers, a man with whom the West feels it can do business. Back home in Iraq, his ascent to the speakership was due largely to an alliance with Moqtada al-Sadr, the former chief of Iran's largest militia in Iraq.

Halbousi's enthusiastic support for key elements of the Sadrist agenda include the recent "Law Criminalizing Normalization with the Zionist Entity." It prescribes the death penalty or life imprisonment for Iraqis who attempt to forge any contact at all with Israelis. Halbousi played a decisive role in whipping Sunni and tribal votes to ensure its swift passage.

On August 31, 2021, Halbousi asserted, "There will never be normalization with that usurping entity. Never! Whether I'm in or out of power. Iraqis will never extend their hands to the Israelis. Never!"

However, survey data indicates that close to 50% of the Iraqi public want relations with Israel and its people. More than 750,000 Iraqis follow Israel's official Arabic platforms on Facebook and Twitter. Thus, Halbousi has gone far out of his way to promote the anti-normalization agenda even where there is no domestic political imperative to do so.
Miss Iraq: Grotesque Antisemitic Iraqi Law Demands Strong Response
In pushing this ugly new law, Iraq is attempting to solidify its ugly heritage of ethnic cleansing, most notably of its Jewish citizens.

Before World War I, Jews were one-third of Baghdad’s population. In 1941, during a Nazi-inspired coup, a Baghdad mob was responsible for a pogrom — the Farhud — that killed, raped, and maimed hundreds of Jews.

In 1950, when 130,000 Jews remained in Iraq, the government passed the Nazi-modeled Denaturalization Act, providing for the confiscation of property and revocation of citizenship of any Jew who left the country. By 1951-2, nearly the entire Jewish community had left, with the assistance of an Israeli airlift, Operation Ezra and Nehemia. In 2006, after the American liberation, the new constitution excluded only Jews from the right to retrieve their Iraqi nationality, which Iraqi Jews have rightly called “a continuation of the policy of ethnic cleansing.”

Sadly, Iraq’s diversity is being destroyed. Iraq’s Yezidi population — massacred, tortured, raped, and displaced during the reign of the ISIS Caliphate – has plummeted from as many as 700,000 before 2014, to just 300,00 today. Over 90% of Iraq’s ancient Mandaean gnostic community has departed in the last two decades, from 100,000 strong in 2003 to fearing extinction today. Iraq’s Christian population has fallen by over 80%, from 1.4 million in 1987 to about 250,000 today. Iraq’s religious minorities are fleeing because they see no future in their ancient homeland.

It is important for Westerners to understand what kind of Iraq is being built on the rubble of years of oppression, hope, and then further war. The new Iraq is so tightly under Iran’s thumb that it will bend the truth and initiate a witch hunt against the long-expelled Jews — and any who dream of peace — even as the region as a whole bends decisively in favor of establishing ties with Israel.

If Iraq follows through on this antisemitic, racist, and warmongering law, its government should be held to account by the world. After expending so much blood and treasure in Iraq, the free world risks losing our country both culturally and politically to the Iranian-led “Axis of Resistance,” which is fiercely opposed to democracy and human rights. Put simply, hate crimes — like the extirpation of Iraq’s minority communities, and the new proposal to execute anyone who has contact with Israel — must not be allowed to stand. There must be consequences.

Russia Excoriates Israeli Ambassador to Moscow Over Air Strike on Damascus Airport
Attempting to reassert its weight on the international stage, the Russian government on Wednesday summoned Israel’s ambassador to express Moscow’s “serious concern” over last week’s air strikes that paralyzed Syria’s Damascus International Airport.

“Serious concern was again expressed over the June 10 Israeli air force attack on the civilian airport of Damascus, which damaged the runway, navigation equipment and buildings, and caused damage to international civilian air traffic,” Russia’s foreign ministry stated following a meeting between Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and Israeli Ambassador Alexander Ben Zvi in Moscow.

Bogdanov lamented that the closure of the airport halted the delivery of humanitarian supplies provided by the United Nations to millions of Syrians.

“The ambassador was told that the justification received from the Israeli side on the strike on Damascus International Airport seemed unconvincing and that Moscow was waiting for additional clarifications,” the statement read.

Furthermore, Bogdanov warned Ben Zvi that Moscow would not allow Syria to become a battlefield for other foreign countries. Russia has been the main backer of President Bashar al Assad’s regime since the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011.

Israel allegedly struck Damascus International Airport on June 10 in order to target “warehouses of Iranian militias,” according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor. Images published on Wednesday by Israeli satellite firm ImageSat International showed reconstruction work was conducted at the site following extensive damage to both military and civilian runways from the air strikes which halted flights to and from the airport.

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