Sunday, August 28, 2022

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: Israel’s rational and irrational Iran policies
For their part, Israel’s generals did their best to discredit and subvert Netanyahu. From 2010 through 2012, Dagan, Pardo, Ashkenazy and Gantz all rejected repeated orders from Netanyahu to prepare the security services to attack Iran’s nuclear installations. In 2010 Dagan flew to Washington without authorization to tell then CIA chief Leon Panetta that Netanyahu had ordered the Mossad and the IDF to attack Iran. Pardo and Gantz similarly refused Netanyahu’s order to prepare to attack Iran in 2011.

Israel’s military and intelligence leaders also worked to undermine Netanyahu’s credibility by refusing to stand with him when he waged his public campaign against the JCPOA in 2014 and 2015. While refusing to publicly criticize the deal which gave Iran a glide path to a nuclear arsenal, military and intelligence leaders gave off-camera interviews applauding the deal. Eisenkot openly embraced the JCPOA after he retired in 2019.

During Donald Trump’s presidency, Pardo condemned Netanyahu for revealing that the Mossad had seized Iran’s nuclear archive, despite the fact that the operation, and its publication, paved the way for Trump’s abandonment of the JCPOA and implementation of his “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran, which brought the regime to its knees and dried up its funding for its terror proxies. Gantz and Ashkenazy opposed the Abraham Accords and torpedoed Netanyahu’s sovereignty plan in Judea and Samaria. Gantz refused to fund a project Netanyahu advocated that would significantly improve Israel’s ability to attack Iran’s nuclear installations.

Last year, with the newly elected Biden having pledged to return the United States to the JCPOA, and with Netanyahu out of power, Israel’s dual rational-irrational response to the JCPOA came to an end. Irrationality won out.

Upon entering office, then prime minister Naftali Bennett, Lapid and Gantz made the security establishment’s defense of the JCPOA and its refusal to recognize its strategic implications the basis of their policymaking. They adopted a policy of silencing criticism of the administration’s Iran policy, and continuously blaming Netanyahu for Iran’s nuclear advances. They ignored the fact that all of Iran’s nuclear advances happened after Biden won the presidential elections in November 2020, and attributed them instead to Trump’s abandonment of the JCPOA. Indeed, they claimed Netanyahu’s public opposition to the JCPOA was the reason Obama signed onto it, and that Netanyahu’s success in persuading Trump to abandon the deal is the reason Iran is now a nuclear threshold state.

Bennett, Lapid and Gantz announced a policy of “no surprises” in relation to Israel’s operations in Iran, giving Biden an effective veto over all of Israel’s actions—which all but ended shortly thereafter. Lapid ended Israel’s independent foreign policy and opted to transform Israel into the State Department’s echo chamber. In so doing, he destroyed Israel’s relations with Russia, endangering Israel’s operations in Syria and paving the way for Russia’s decision to upgrade its ties with Iran.

Whereas Obama’s JCPOA was a looming strategic disaster for Israel, Biden’s nuclear deal is an imminent existential threat to Israel. Despite Lapid and Gantz’s calming messages, Barnea’s warnings are entirely accurate. Even if it is true that Sullivan whispered sweet nothings in Hulata’s and Gantz’s ears, the fact is that under Biden’s deal, the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear operations begin expiring next year, and effectively end in 2025. Biden’s deal leaves Iran’s illicitly enriched uranium in Iran. It hamstrings the IAEA. And it massively enriches Iran, transforming it into a regional power, boasting a nuclear weapons program legitimized by the UN Security Council and guaranteed by an administration that will remain in power until the nuclear restrictions end.

So too, as Barnea warned, Biden’s deal with Iran endangers the Abraham Accords, by compelling the Sunnis to reach accommodations with a hegemonic Iran, leaving Israel without regional partners.

The rational response to this catastrophic turn of events is to disengage from the Biden administration, work with the Republicans to wage a public relations war against the deal, ratchet up Israel’s ties with the Gulf states, mend fences with Russia and work intensively to develop and deploy military means to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations. The irrational response is to fly to America, pretend that everything is fine, and proclaim, based on a “feeling,” that the Americans will solve the Iran problem for us.
Ruthie Blum: Time is running out to act against Iran
With the United States and its P5+1 partners on the last stretch of their frenzied race to sign a new version of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran, a number of retired Israel Defense Forces generals and current think-tank experts have been taking the opportunity to insist that “a bad deal is better than no deal.”

Take Israel Ziv, for instance. A panelist on Saturday afternoon of Channel 12’s “Meet the Press,” the former head of the IDF Operations Directorate argued that the absence of a deal, or violation of it by any of the parties, will not prevent Iran from crossing the nuclear threshold in any case.

He then proceeded, peculiarly, to downplay the significance of the multi-billions of dollars that an agreement would grant Tehran for the development of its nuclear capabilities, while at the same time stressing that the money would be spent on terrorism. Indeed.

Nevertheless, he added, a deal would buy “crucial time” for Israel. Whatever that means.

Though all other participants in the discussion—with the exception of former Israeli Navy commander Vice Adm. (ret.) Eliezer Marom—conceded that a deal is just around the corner, and that a nuclear Iran would pose an existential threat to the Jewish state, they clung to two absurd claims.

One was that former U.S. President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPOA in 2018 was a mistake, because it enabled Tehran to hone its nukes unmonitored. You know, as though the mullahs were allowing International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors access to uranium-enrichment sites.

The other was that former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu’s staunch stance against the deal, and famous address to a joint session of Congress in 2015, did nothing but anger outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama and cause him to abstain from, rather than veto, a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israel.

The purpose of this distortion, other than to kill two birds (Trump and Netanyahu) with one stone, is to defend the interim “anybody but Bibi” government’s policy of kowtowing to the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden. Prime Minister Yair Lapid, like his immediate predecessor and “alternate,” Naftali Bennett, had set out to illustrate that once Netanyahu was no longer at the helm, Israel would enjoy full bipartisan support in America.

To this fruitless end, Bennett vowed last year to Biden that Jerusalem would make no military or other moves without first informing Washington. Lapid, of course, took up that torch and ran with it.

The trouble is that it’s not a reciprocal arrangement. Perhaps this explains why Lapid has had trouble reaching Biden by phone of late. The latter leader clearly isn’t interested in being coached, yet again, about the safeguards that have to be included in the deal to make it palatable to Israel.
Any power the JCPOA had to curb Iranian nukes is long gone
It is possible that the original JCPOA even with its shortcomings in 2015 could have been an imperfect partial solution to a major Iranian threat to regional and international security. Diplomacy very rarely produces perfect solutions. It may have delayed and limited the Iranian nuclear program for a certain amount of time perhaps several years, but the situation has now changed dramatically.

While the United States, Great Britain, Germany and France (the EU3) remain committed to a renewed JCPOA it still remains to be seen whether Iran will agree to its resumption and even comply with its limitations thereafter. Given Iran’s track record, no one should harbor any illusions about Iranian moderation regarding its nuclear aspirations, its regional destabilization and the nature of the present regime under Khamenei and Raisi.

A broader strategic vision
Israel must continue in its efforts to engage the US and the EU3 and outline the dangers and shortcomings inherent in a return to the JCPOA. Coordination with America should remain a high priority but Israel’s determination to define and defend its own national security must remain clear. While it is not up to Israel if this deal will be reached or not, it is also crucial to emphasize the need to back up any new deal with Iran by a robust American determination to deter Iran from approaching or crossing the nuclear threshold. There are tools in diplomacy and national security that can be effective and are not dependent on Iranian consent.

This should also be a time for intense behind the scenes consultations with our Arab peace treaty and Abraham Accord partners regarding the Iranian threat in order to harness and share our diplomatic efforts where they are best served. In that context, forging a broader regional understanding could also help in demonstrating how this new constellation in the Middle East could support other shared strategic interests not least of which should be a renewed search for an effective political horizon between Israel and the Palestinians.

In the final analysis a renewed JCPOA will be a limited agreement in time and substance regarding the nuclear threat. Ultimately, Israel and the other states in the region must contend with an Iran that has become more aggressive in recent years on many different levels and will not abandon its nuclear aspirations in the foreseeable future. This is the time for a broader strategic vision for the region to meet this central challenge.

Holocaust inversion: Abbas' longtime weapon of choice - opinion
Holocaust Inversion is not a side issue for Palestinian violent rejectionism, it is a central pillar.

Firstly, because if its supporters can lower the sympathy for the Jewish people which suffered during the Holocaust then it could remove a barrier to its own brand of extermination.

Secondly, the Nazis were the most brutal and efficient genocides in modern history. By applying the Nazi moniker to Israel, they try and tar Israel with the most extremist murderous tendencies. While few knowledgeable people could possibly believe that, at its worst, Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians is anything reminiscent of the Holocaust, the Palestinian rejectionist movement knows a whole generation is ignorant of the attempted extermination of the Jewish People during the middle of the last century, they just know it was evil.

Some supporters of Palestinian rejectionism in the west understand the stigma of applying the Holocaust or Nazi analogy to the Jewish State, so have moved over to the apartheid libel which has no historic Jewish connotations and whose meaning has been watered down by international organizations like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

However, those like Abbas will cling on to his Holocaust Inversion until the day he passes from this earth. It is ingrained in him and gave him his greatest academic achievement. It is his weapon of choice against Israel, and his obsession with it is why he could so brazenly utilize it in Berlin alongside a German chancellor.

Abbas’ subsequent clarification or apology was mere window dressing, and this was demonstrated by the fact that his original terminology was defended by his party, Fatah. Munther al-Hayek, a senior Fatah official, said Abbas’s remarks in Germany were designed to “remind the world of the suffering of the Palestinian people, who deserve an apology for the crimes committed against them.”

Palestinian Holocaust Inversion will unfortunately not die any time soon, despite the international condemnations. It will just return to the more mundane daily incitement in the Palestinian media, education system and by PA officials.

It is not a distraction from Palestinian violent rejectionism, but a central part, one whose propaganda was built by the best in the former Soviet Union and embraced by their useful idiots in the West until today.

Like all other forms of rejectionism, it needs to be fought and thoroughly defeated.
David Collier: Hey Scotland – Islamic Jihad and Hamas scammers want your cash
Edinburgh Council has just released the agenda for their upcoming meeting on the 30th August. Shamefully it confirms that they will be debating the twinning of their city with Gaza. In effect Edinburgh Council are going to do exactly what Islamic Jihad and Hamas want them to do.

If you have any doubts, just look at the person who proposed the motion – Pete Gregson, and I am not even referring to his vile antisemitism. I just scratched at the mask of the first ‘Gaza – Edinburgh’ twinning initiative – the ‘Take My Hand’ charity. What I uncovered tells you all that you need to know about how dangerous, foolish, and irresponsible the whole twinning motion is.

‘Take My Hand’ charity
The charity called ‘Take My Hand’ is Gaza based. It also has clear ties to both Islamic Jihad and Hamas. Gregson is currently running their campaign in the UK and people are donating money to them. Pete Gregson is the Scottish Based ‘Honorary Director’.

This is the whole ‘Take My Hand’ team, Pete Gregson, and two of the Almadhoun clan in Gaza, Mohammed and Sameh. The Almadhouns are cousins.

The charity without a history
Gregson claims that Mohammed Almadhoun started running the charity in 2017 but after extensive searching (in both English and Arabic) I found little physical evidence that it existed before their recent campaign started. The ‘office’ address links to an exclusive new office building in an affluent part of Gaza City – far away from any refugee camp. The website was created just a few days ago. The Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter accounts are all new and have no followers.

The images of distressed children that Gregson posted on the campaign website appear to have been swiped from Palestinian news broadcasts. This following image (left), which appears on the Take My Hand donation page, first appears (right) in a news item on the page of a Hamas mouthpiece, ‘Palestine Today’:

All the images of distressed children on the donation page seem to have been similarly ‘swiped’. The only original photos on the site are of children having fun. The children are happy, well-dressed, and looking healthy. There are pictures of them studying – each has a laptop. Other pictures have them in well-furnished offices, at the Zoo, or at the beach. It looks like a choreographed photoshoot that has nothing to do with those really in need in Gaza.

Another problem. Mohammed Almadhoun’s own Facebook page never seems to mention the charity or his work there. Nor are there any images on his page of his work at the ‘volunteer’ school. In other words, apart from images used by the three to ask for donations – nothing seems to exist.

Palestinian suspect arrested following attack on Israeli near Samuel’s Tomb
A Palestinian suspect was arrested on Friday in connection with a violent confrontation that broke out near the Tomb of Samuel north of Jerusalem, according to the Israel Police.

The incident began with a protest by tens of Palestinians from the village of Nebi Samuel against a decision by the Israeli authorities to seal one of the village gates, according to Ynet.

When a group of Israeli Jews arrived at the site during the demonstration, a violent conflict ensued, during which the demonstrators assaulted a member of the Israeli group, according to the report.

Border Police put an end to violence, arresting one suspect for assault, the Israel Police said in a statement.

The Tomb of Samuel is traditionally recognized as the gravesite of the biblical prophet Samuel, and overlooks the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramot.
Jordan says it will act against PA Arabs. BDS activists stay mum
There is a verbal/diplomatic war going on between Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.

The background was the decision of the Israeli government to allow Palestinian Arabs to fly out of Israel via the new Ramon Airport near Eilat.

This makes it cheaper and more convenient for Palestinian Arabs than having to drive across the Jordanian border to Amman Airport.

Instead, Palestinian Arabs are now sharing flights, mainly to Europe, with Israelis.

Normalization like this is a good thing, but you certainly didn't hear about it from your anti-Israel media or from your lying BDS activists.

There is, however, a country, one that supposedly has a peace agreement with Israel, that wants to put a stop to this air travel normalization.

As the first Palestinian Arabs were heading from Ramon to Cyprus alongside Israelis on an Arkia Airlines flight, Jordan accused the Palestinian Arabs of "stabbing Jordan in the back."

Jordan makes money from Palestinian Arabs entering into their country.

Jordanian activists posted a Twitter hashtag "Palestinian normalization with Israel is treason," to which Palestinian Arabs replied by reminding Jordanians that they had signed a peace treaty with Israel.

The Jordanian Tourism Minister is demanding that Jordan revoke Jordanian passports of Palestinian Arabs who travel through Ramon Airport.

Perhaps this issue should become a campaign for those who profess to protect victimized Palestinian rights and begin to boycott Jordan?

PMW: PA postal service is an integral part of the PA’s “Pay-for-Slay” terror reward policy
As a direct result of the action taken by Palestinian Media Watch, the banks in the Palestinian Authority closed the accounts of 35,000 terrorists. After an initial period of turmoil, the PA decided to squander millions of dollars to create a new terror payment system based on the PA postal service. The new system enables the PA to pay 52 million shekels (circa $16 million) every month to 11,000 terrorist prisoners and released prisoners and an unknown number of wounded terrorists and families of dead terrorists (so-called "Martyrs"). While the initial system only gave the terrorists access to the PA payments, Palestinian “researchers and experts in the fields of finance, business, and economy are calling to strengthen and expand the monetary services” provided to the terrorists by the postal service.

Speaking at a conference, Dr. Rabah Morrar explained that “one of the most important justifications for the postal bank’s existence is the provision of financial services to the prisoners”:
“The position paper submitted by Dr. Morrar explained that one of the most important justifications for the postal bank’s existence is the provision of financial services to the prisoners, the wounded, and the families of the Martyrs, as the [PA] government is paying salaries to more than 11,000 prisoners and released prisoners in accordance with the Law of Prisoners and Released Prisoners No. 19 of 2004 – a sum equal to 52 million [Israeli] shekels [a month].”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 11, 2022]

In April 2020, PMW wrote to the banks operating in the PA and informed them that provisions of Israel’s 2016 Anti-Terror Law had been incorporated into the law in Judea and Samaria. Since two of the provisions specifically outlawed the payment of any reward for the commission of a terror offense, PMW warned the banks that if they continued to hold the bank accounts of the terrorists who were receiving payments from the PA, they would potentially expose themselves to both civil and criminal liability.

The banks heeded PMW’s warning and closed 35,000 accounts of terrorists.
It’s better that I be slaughtered with knives than that the enemy will rule me”
Palestinian kids sing LINE BREAK in PLO summer camp
Choir: “It’s better that I be slaughtered with knives
than that the enemy will rule me”
“It’s better that I be slaughtered with knives
than that the enemy will rule me”
Text on screen: “The ‘Palestinian Intellectual’ [summer] camp choir – the town of Al-Dhahiriya
[Facebook page of the PLO Supreme Council for Youth and Sports, July 24, 2022]

Palestinian kids play Martyrs shot by Israeli soldiers in drama class in PLO summer camp Fatah FB 02
Logo: Al-Aqsa and the Prisoners: Summer camps for youth
[PLO] Supreme Council for Youth and Sports
“This is the drama corner. In the drama corner we will deal with bullying. Let’s go in.”
Girl in class: “My brother Ammar is dead!”
[Facebook page of the PLO Supreme Council for Youth and Sports, Aug. 2, 2022]

Israeli strike destroyed over 1,000 Iran-made missiles in Syria - SOHR
An airstrike Thursday on the Syrian city of Masyaf that was attributed to Israel struck a missile warehouse containing more than 1,000 Iranian-made missiles, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on Saturday.

The warehouse, in the city’s Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC) complex, stored thousands of medium-range, surface-to-surface missiles assembled under the supervision of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps “expert officers,” the report said.

Syrian air defense systems were activated in northwestern Syria on Thursday, with Syria’s state news agency SANA reporting that local forces were “confronting hostile targets” above Masyaf. Later, the agency said the airstrike was an Israeli attack.
Report: Syria Asked Iran Not to Attack Israel From Its Territory
Syrians reportedly asked Iran not to launch attacks against Israel from their territory to avoid an all-out war when the country is already weakened, The New York Times reported Friday, citing a source in Damascus.

An Iran-led alliance met virtually about one year ago, discussing how to respond to strikes attributed to the Jewish state carried out in Syria against Iranian interests, according to Gheis Ghoreishi, an analyst close to the Iranian government.

Military experts from Syria, Iraq, Yemen, the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah and the Al-Quds Force branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps participated in the meeting.

During the discussion, Syrian officials reportedly asked Iran and its proxies not to carry out attacks against Israel from its territory. This led to the Tehran-led axis retaliating against Israeli strikes by attacking United States bases, the report continued, reportedly in hopes that the US would pressure Israel into halting its strikes on Syria.

Senior US officials told the Times that the August 15 drone attacks on Syria’s al-Tanf base — which houses US troops — were more sophisticated than previous attacks and may have been an Iranian attempt to respond to an earlier airstrike attributed to Israel.
Weapons production facility in Syria heavily damaged by airstrike attributed to Israel
Satellite images by Planet Labs PBC and provided by Aurora Intel were obtained by Times of Israel, showing damage caused by airstrikes in Masyaf.

Col. (Res.) Olivier Rafowicz, a security & military consultant, says the strike in northwest Syria dealt a significant strategic blow to Iranian-linked forces.

Satellite images show extent of damage at weapons base in Syria allegedly hit by Israel
The airstrikes conducted in Masyaf in northwest Syria were targeting a weapons storage facility housed at a notorious scientific research center.

How will the Iran deal work? - explainer
The US would remove all secondary sanctions on Iran and agreed-upon terrorist designations – this does not include the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – and explain to businesses what the lifting of sanctions means.

“Completion day” would come on day 165, on which all nuclear restrictions and sanctions relief would go into effect. The US would lift the conventional arms embargo on Iran and allow further trade between the countries, and Iran would remove the remaining enrichment infrastructure.

In the coming years, the JCPOA’s original “sunset clauses” would go into effect in accordance with UNSC Resolution 2231, without any extensions.

In 2024, limitations on advanced centrifuges research and development would begin to expire and in 2025 the “SnapBack sanctions” mechanism, which brings back all sanctions on Iran if it violates the deal, would expire.

In 2026, the restrictions on using centrifuges, including advanced ones, begin to expire, gradually until 2028.

In 2030, the Iran deal expires entirely, without limits on uranium enrichment, on stockpiling, heavy water reactors, or plutonium. Israel and Iran's nuclear deal

With a deal seemingly inevitable, Jerusalem under Prime Minister Yair Lapid has decided to focus its efforts on several fronts.

First, to continue a dialogue with the US and to try to influence the stances of the other Western parties to the talks, with an emphasis on Britain and France.

In addition, Israel will try to convince the parties to reduce the economic benefits to Iran, by delaying or weakening sanctions relief.

Jerusalem plans to continue secret actions by intelligence agencies to thwart Iran’s nuclear program, as well as to follow closely to ensure Iran does not violate the agreement and block it from doing so, as well as from trying to destabilize the region. That will go together with building up the IDF’s capabilities to strike Iran.

Israel also plans to continue working on what the government has called its “regional security architecture” and work with Middle Eastern and other countries that border Iran.
Iran deal only good for Israel if it comes with credible US military threat - Lapid
The US will not reach a good deal with Iran without a credible military threat, Prime Minister Yair Lapid warned on Sunday.

World powers “have to get Iran to sign a much better agreement, what the Americans themselves called ‘longer and stronger,’” Lapid said. “Such an agreement can only be reached with a credible military threat, so the Iranians see they will have to pay a heavy price for their recalcitrance.”

Lapid argued that the US presentation of bunker-buster bombs able to attack Iran’s underground nuclear facilities was what led Tehran to sign the original nuclear agreement in 2015.

A good deal would be longer, in that “it would not have an end date,” Lapid said, and stronger in that “the oversight would be tighter and it would also deal with Iran’s ballistic missile program and its involvement in terror around the Middle East.”

The prime minister’s comments in a press briefing came after Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Friday. Gantz told Sullivan that the US needs to put a viable military option on the table even after a nuclear deal is reached, and that such a threat will be a strong deterrent against Iran violating the agreement or developing a nuclear weapon when it expires.

Lapid said he “instructed the IDF and the Mossad to be ready to protect Israel’s security in any scenario; the Americans understand this and the world understands this.”

He reiterated that Israel is not a party to the Iran deal nor is it dependent on world powers’ decisions, and that no agreement between them will limit Israel’s actions against the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.
Seth J. Frantzman: Israel must prepare for Iranian ‘thousand cuts’ war
Iran also knows that Israel has used a strategy of confronting smaller proxy groups, such as Islamic Jihad, to neutralise them and cut them off from unifying threats with Hezbollah, Hamas and others.

“The strategy was for the Zionists to act selectively against one group this time; it means, for example, to target one group alone and announce that [it has] nothing to do with the rest of the groups… that is, to divide Palestine into separate and unconnected jihadist units so that the resistance cannot act,” Iranian government media reports.

Tehran wants to overcome this by using groups such as Islamic Jihad as pawns, moving them forward one square at a time every year, creating conditions of endless conflict and pressure that Iran believes will eventually result in spillover into the West Bank, Jerusalem and other Israeli cities. In the May 2020 conflict, there were widespread clashes between Jews and Arabs in places like Lod in Israel and other mixed cities.

Iran wants to create this pressure-cooker effect again. It thinks that this is the way to defeat Iron Dome: through chaos inside Israel, not rockets from Gaza.

Israel and Iran confront each other, both sides knowing a lot about the other’s strengths and weaknesses. Iran is economically fragile and its strength is found in its proxy groups. Israel is economically and technologically strong, but it is a small country and doesn’t have pawns spread out across Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen the way Iran does.

Even with the recent Abraham Accords and closer partnerships in the Gulf, Israel is still vulnerable to the “paper cut” strategy that Iran wants to use, meaning Israel has to fend off lots of little threats across thousands of miles of potential frontline in the region.

In July 2020, Iran used a drone to strike at a commercial ship in the Gulf of Oman. This year, Hezbollah used drones to target the Karish gas field off the coast of Israel, where there is a disputed maritime border. Connect the dots between the ship attack and the Karish incident, along with the recent Gaza conflict, and the Iranian “paper cut” war becomes clear.

As Israel heads toward yet another round of elections, the Iran nuclear deal is only one part of a much larger looming problem: a conflict on which the theocracy can simply turn up the heat on Israel any time it feels like it.
Hezbollah chief meets Hamas officials days after sit-down with Islamic Jihad leader
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah met with a delegation of senior Hamas officials in Beirut Sunday, according to the Lebanese-based Akhbar Al Yawm news agency.

Nasrallah met with notable decision-makers from the Gaza-based terror organization, including Sheikh Saleh al-Arouri, deputy head of the group’s political bureau, and senior officials Khalil al-Hayya and Osama Hamdan, the report said.

Hamdan is based in Lebanon and serves as the senior Hamas representative in the country. He served as the group’s official representative in Iran between 1994 and 1998.

During their meeting, Nasrallah and the Hamas officials reviewed “the latest political and field developments in Palestine, Lebanon and the region, especially the recent confrontations in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Jerusalem,” according to a Hezbollah statement issued after the meeting.

The meeting also focused on “the possible outcome of the situation in the region, in light of [recent] developments.”

The meeting comes days after Nasrallah discussed regional developments with Palestinian Islamic Jihad chief Ziyad Nakhaleh.
Iran’s regime sought tech for nuclear weapons, says Swedish and German intel reports
The Islamic Republic of Iran’s efforts to secure illicit nuclear technology is detailed in an intelligence report recently released by Sweden’s Security Service.

According to the Swedish Security Service Yearbook report released in March, which covers the year 2021, “Iran also conducts industrial espionage such as primarily aimed at Swedish high-tech industry and Swedish products that can be used in a nuclear weapons program.”

It added, “Iranian intelligence officers act, among other things, under diplomatic cover in Sweden.”

The U.S. and other world powers are within striking distance of an agreement that would temporarily restrict Iran’s nuclear weapons project in exchange for sanctions relief worth over $100 billion.

Israel’s government vehemently opposes the prospective deal because it does not put a permanent halt to Iran’s nuclear program and the deal’s provisions cannot be easily enforced. Moreover, it would give the Iranian regime the financial means to fund expanded terrorism against the Jewish state and other Mideast and Western countries.

The Swedish report’s findings are similar to the assessment of Iran’s alleged illegal activity in Sweden in 2020. According to the 2020 report, Tehran was dedicated to its efforts to secure nuclear weapons material and technology. The report noted, “Iran is investing heavy resources in this area and some of the resources are used in Sweden.”
MEMRI: Hizbullah Official: In Next War With Israel, We Will Turn Israelis' Lives Into Hell, They Will Be Pulling Bodies From Under The Ruins
In an August 26, 2022 article in the pro-Hizbullah Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, the daily's editor, Ibrahim Al-Amin, presents statements by a "senior jihad commander" in Hizbullah. Al-Amin describes this commander as a member of the organization's founding generation who has worked with all of Hizbullah's leaders since its inception and is a key figure in carrying out assessments and preparing for the next war with Israel. In the article the commander makes many threats regarding Israel's fate in the next war with Hizbullah, stating that this war will be devastating for Israel, since Hizbullah will destroy its infrastructures and turn the Israelis' lives into an intolerable hell. In this war, he says, the Israelis "will be pulling bodies out from under the ruins." Moreover, they will not be able to defend their territorial waters, their land border, their vital facilities or even their home front, and for the first time in its history Israel will find itself on the defensive.

The commander adds that Israel knows Hizbullah now supersedes it in many areas, both miliary and intelligence-related. It realizes Hizbullah knows "what it is doing right now, what it did in the past and what it will do in the future," and is therefore making great efforts to avoid a war, he says. He advises Israel to assume that Hizbullah possesses every weapon Iran possesses, including drones, and claims that Hizbullah even possesses abilities that Iran does not. If a wide-scale war breaks out, he warns, the Palestinian factions and the Palestinian people, including Israel's Arab citizens, will take part in it, and Hizbullah will know what to do even if Israel is assisted by other countries, especially the U.S. The commander threatens that Israel will be dealt a "severe blow" for any mistake it makes, including in the area of delineating its maritime border with Lebanon.

The article is accompanied by a map showing that all of Israel's territory is now within range of Hizbullah's missiles. The map features potential targets for a Hizbullah attack, on land and in the sea, and a list of the organization's missiles and the range of each. The article is also accompanied by images of various Iran-manufactured drones.

The following are translated excerpts from the commander's statements presented in Al-Amin's article.[1]
"Over [the last] 16 years, the resistance [i.e., Hizbullah] has attained a new phase, significantly different from [its situation during the war between Israel and Hizbullah in] 2006. Many of its members and fighters took part in confronting the takfiris in Syria and Iraq, thereby gaining considerable experience… In that campaign they became acquainted with new technologies and kinds of weapons. [The resistance] has also acquired a lot of high-quality weapons that have been integrated into its plans. Another notable achievement is… a new level of security and intelligence activity, similar to that of a large state. We have actually reached the point where the resistance knows much more about the enemy than the enemy knows about the resistance. This is a milestone that will have an impact in any future war with Israel. Perhaps the day will come when we tell them in advance what we will find on Golda's Balcony in Dimona.[2]

"The resistance has been in a constant race with the enemy, from the August 14, 2006 ceasefire to this day. The new mission given us after the war focused on building qualitative capability that can destroy the Israeli army – not just prevent it from achieving its goals. From the end of the July [2006] war to this day, we have known with certainty that, according to all the assessments of the enemy, we supersede it in areas in which it never thought we would reach such advanced stages. From the publication of the Winograd report[3] through all [Israel's] large [military] exercises to the [May 2022] Chariots of Fire exercise, the enemy's conclusion was that we were overtaking it, despite its unceasing efforts to close the gaps.

"Every so often, the enemy acts as if it recognizes our advanced level of armament, but afterwards it discovers that our level is [actually] higher. We know that there are things that the enemy discovered via its intelligence efforts. But there are other things that were exposed on our initiative, and this happens in all kinds of ways…
Republicans Eye Pro-Iran Propaganda in US Colleges After Prof Claims Israel Behind Rushdie Attack
The controversy surrounding a University of Denver professor who claimed that Israel's secret security service, Mossad, could have been behind the attack on author Salman Rushdie is fueling a Republican investigation to root out pro-Iran regime propaganda in U.S. colleges.

Professor Nader Hashemi's comments—which claimed that Rushdie's alleged attacker, Hadi Matar, could have been lured into the attack by Mossad agents—are a sign of the increasing prevalence of pro-Iranian regime propaganda in U.S. academic institutions, according to Republican foreign policy leaders who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.

In the coming months, lawmakers associated with the Republican Study Committee (RSC), the largest Republican caucus in Congress, will launch oversight investigations into schools like the University of Denver as part of a bid to root out "anti-Semitic and anti-American conspiracy theories," the lawmakers and senior Republican congressional officials told the Free Beacon.

"Anti-Semitic and anti-American conspiracy theories are now widespread in universities and poisoning students' minds," Rep. Jim Banks (R. Ind.), the RSC's chairman and a member of the House Armed Services Committee, told the Free Beacon, pointing to Hashemi's comments as a prime example of the bias he intends to investigate. "Next Congress, House Republicans must exercise oversight on professors promoting the Iranian regime's anti-Semitic propaganda and reform higher ed."

Though University of Denver distanced itself from Hashemi's remarks, university professors have been fired or disciplined for seemingly more minor offenses. Georgetown Law professor Ilya Shapiro, for instance, was forced to resign his position after he criticized President Joe Biden's African-American Supreme Court nominee. Princeton University fired a distinguished professor, Joshua Katz, after he raised questions about the school's racial policies.
Iran champion wrestler praises Hitler
The Iranian Greco-Roman wrestling champion Mohammad Ali Geraei praised Adolf Hitler as an inspirational leader.

The Iranian-Norwegian journalist Mina Bai on Sunday tweeted that “Iran’s world champion in Greco Roman wrestling Mohammad Geraei in an interview with a sports outlet in Iran has named Zlatan, Mohammad Ali and Hitler as his inspirations! Iranian Gov. has made Jew hate so normal that there is no limit to how far one can go!”

The London-based Iran International news organization first reported on Al Geraei’s pro-Hitler comment and asked: “But the question is, what is the education system like in Iran, when Adolf Hitler, as one of the biggest criminals in history and the initiator of World War II, becomes a legend of a national hero?”

The Twitter feed for Iran International’s sports section showed a picture of Al Geraei next to Adolf Hitler.

Will BBC Take Action Against Journalists Who Posted Antisemitic, Anti-Israel Tweets?
When HonestReporting reached out to the BBC to ask what, if any, disciplinary measures would be taken against staff who have breached its social media policy, a spokesman said they could not comment on individual staff matters, but added that “where we see clear examples of staff breaching our social media guidelines then it is dealt with appropriately.”

We can therefore assume the corporation will now respond accordingly to the issues we have raised.

Earlier this month, the British broadcaster was forced to cut ties with Gaza-based freelance producer Fady Hanona, after HonestReporting revealed his history of violent and antisemitic social media posts, including one that stated: “I don’t accept a Jew, Israeli or Zionist, or anyone else who speaks Hebrew. I’m with killing them wherever they are: children, elderly people, and soldiers.”

Another HonestReporting exposé resulted in the BBC firing journalist Tala Halawa who had written numerous antisemitic tweets, including one post that stated, “Hitler was right.” Halawa had notably been part of the BBC team that covered the May 2021 Israel-Hamas conflict.

It would seem that BBC has a habit of failing to properly vet its staff to ensure adherence to guidelines that were designed to uphold its journalistic obligations — specifically with regard to the posting of offensive and derogatory comments online.

Will the BBC now take action against the latest raft of journalists whose commitment to impartiality is evidently belied by a documented animus toward Israel?
GB News deletes interview with Peter Sweden after controversy over his alleged past Holocaust denial and other inflammatory comments about Jews
These tweets were predominantly from 2016. Following the outcry in 2017 in relation to Ms Hopkins’ picture with him, Mr Imanuelsen apologised, saying: “My views now are very different and I strongly regret things I have said when I was young”. He added that he now believed that the Holocaust happened and that it was a “horrific crime”.

Years on, however, as the controversy erupted this weekend, he has doubled down, claiming: “It is fascinating to see the left hate the truth so much they come with FAKE, photoshopped, so called screenshots with outright LIES about me I have NEVER been a Holocaust denier and anyone claiming I am are LIARS.”

He has described claims that he denied the Holocaust as “categorically false and libel” and has reportedly deleted his previous apologies, possibly because of the paradox of at once apologising for tweets and at the same time claiming that they were never published in the first place.

GB News has now deleted the video of the interview that it posted to Twitter.

A spokesperson for GB News told Campaign Against Antisemitism: “We’ve been made aware that Peter Sweden, also known as Peter Imanuelsen, who appeared on GB News yesterday to talk about falling birth rates, has been accused of being a holocaust denier. As a result of this information, we have removed clips of Mr Sweden’s interview from our website and our social media channels while we investigate. GB News abhors antisemitism and all other forms of racism.”
Reuters Repurposes Bombed Iranian-Backed Weapons Site Into Syrian Towns
To read Reuters last week, otherwise uninformed news consumers could not be blamed for thinking that an Israeli bombing had civilians in the crosshairs with a raid targeting the Syrian towns of Hama and Tartus. The very brief, two sentence Aug. 25 article reported (“Two injured in ‘Israeli aerial aggression’ over Hama’s countryside – Syrian state media“):
Two civilians were injured after Syrian air defences intercepted what it said was an Israeli “aerial aggression” targeting the cities of Hama and Tartus, state media reported on Thursday.

The raid also led to material damage and fires breaking out in several areas, they added.

The article was published 9:57 pm GMT on Aug. 25 (and last updated on Aug. 25). More than three hours before that time, two other leading wire services — Associated Press and Agence France Presse — had already reported critical information that Reuters’ later story omitted: According to a Syrian opposition group, the targeted site was an Iranian-backed weapons cache and militia base.

AFP, for its part, refers to the Iranian-backed target already in the headline: “Israeli strikes hit Iranian positions in Syria: monitor” (Aug. 25, 6:43 pm GMT). Similarly, its opening paragraphs cite the monitoring group’s information about the Iranian-backed target:
Air strikes hit positions of Iranian-aligned militia in Syria‘s Hama region on Thursday causing “several casualties”, a war monitor said, blaming Israel for the attacks.

“Israeli strikes targeted positions and depots of arms and ammunition of Iran-affiliated militias,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Britain-based monitor, which has an extensive network of sources inside Syria, reported multiple heavy explosions that sparked fires and resulted in “several victims”.

Need a treat to beat heat? How about Manischewitz frozen gefilte dogs?
While Manischewitz is playing to the crowd with what is likely a joke product, CNN reported that Oscar Mayer seems to be genuinely selling the product for $2 at select Popbar gelato shops locations across America, after Instagram followers determined that the idea was "genius" in a poll a few months ago.

“After the overwhelming fan excitement for our beloved Cold Dog, it was a no-brainer to make this hot dog-inspired frozen pop a reality,” said Anne Field, Oscar Mayer North American brand communications head said in a Thursday press release. “For more than 130 years, Oscar Mayer has been sparking smiles and bringing levity into everyday moments, and we are thrilled to bring fans another wonderfully odd way to enjoy our iconic wiener while beating the summer heat.”

Manischewitz mischief
Manischewitz's plucky Twitter team has a history of promoting joke products such as "gefilte fish topped pizza," "borscht macaroons" and "hash brownie macaroons."

In late June, the Jewish food company first introduced the idea of gefilte dogs, a hot dog-style version of a traditional Ashkenazi ground fish dish.

"You asked, we listened," tweeted Manischewitz on Wednesday. "The R&D team hasn't slept all week and now the factory will be cranking out these babies 24/6. Just in time for July 4th! An American tradition your Bubbie will love.

"Vegetarian and health-conscious diets are exploding and Gefilte Dogs fit perfectly into that lifestyle. And who else but Manischewitz to feed families, wholesome and delicious foods for July Fourth?" said Manischewitz's Twitter account in a response to an inquiry by The Jerusalem Post on whether the product was real.

Israel's official Twitter account, asked at the time, "haven’t the Jewish people suffered enough?"
Israeli scientists say brain analysis tool can spot cognitive decline — using music
Israeli scientists say they have developed a warning system for cognitive decline, which works by tracking brain function as elderly people listen to music.

With a three-electrode pad attached to their heads, people undergoing the test are asked to complete tasks, such as pressing a button when a particular instrument plays.

The pad is attached to a machine, which monitors brain function. An algorithm analyses the data to determine whether or not the brain function suggests that cognitive decline is underway, and if so, to what extent.

A Tel Aviv University PhD student, Neta Maimon, came up with the new 15-minute test, which has been trialed on dozens of elderly people in newly peer-reviewed research. The same people also underwent testing using standard assessment for cognitive decline, and the results from both tests largely matched.

She believes that after further development, assessment and regulatory approval, the test could “improve the quality of life of millions around the world” by providing more accessible screening than today’s cognitive tests, which are labor-intensive for doctors and normally reserved for people who already have concerns. Largely automated, she said that hers could be used as a routine test.

Cognitive decline relates to difficulties, beyond what are typically expected in aging, in a person’s brain functions such as thinking, memory and concentration.
World Jewry leaders arrive in Basel to celebrate 125 years since First Zionist Congress
About 1,400 guests will gather in Basel, Switzerland, on Sunday to mark the 125th anniversary of the First Zionist Congress in a three-day event, corresponding with the same dates in 1897.

The conference is being organized by the World Zionist Organization in cooperation with the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities and the Government of the Basel Canton.

The event will begin in the Stadtcasino Hall, where the First Zionist Congress took place. This is where the first 208 delegates discussed their vision for the establishment of the Jewish state.

One of the main events at the gathering will be the restoration of the historical photo of Theodor Herzl, whose picture was taken on the railing of the balcony of the Three Kings Hotel in Basel. President Isaac Herzog is expected to not only have his picture taken on the famous balcony, but also sleep in the room where the father of modern political Zionism stayed.

The synagogue where Herzl prayed on the Shabbat before the first congress has hung the screen for the Torah ark it received from the Knesset 25 years ago as a gift.

Swiss government prepared large security budget due to warnings of pro-Palestinian demonstrations
Following warnings about huge pro-Palestinian demonstrations, the Swiss government passed and has set aside a €5.7 million security budget. The Rhine River will be closed to ship traffic and airspace will be closed for the duration of the congress, with the area of the hall to be secured by thousands of security personnel.

The conference itself will be divided into two parts. One is the Herzl Leadership Conference that will focus on modern Zionism. The other is the Impact Conference for social and economic entrepreneurship that will host 125 leading entrepreneurs from the hi-tech industry, who were carefully selected from thousands of nominations and requests.

A special gala evening will take place on Monday at the Stadtcasino in which Herzog will speak alongside Canton Basel Prime Minister Beat Jans, Minister of Economy Guy Parmelin (who is also a former president of Switzerland) and World Zionist Organization chairman Yaakov Hagoel. Jewish Agency chairman Doron Almog will also attend.

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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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