Sunday, September 17, 2023

From Ian:

Palestinian professor who took students to Auschwitz: Holocaust denial imperils peace
Palestinian peace activist Mohammed Dajani saw his academic career brought to a halt after he taught Palestinian students about the Holocaust from a Jewish perspective.

In March 2014, he led a delegation of 30 students to the Nazi concentration and extermination camp in Auschwitz, guided by two Jewish Holocaust survivors, on a trip he said was aimed at teaching “empathy and tolerance.”

Recalling the impact of his educational trip to the Nazi death camp, Dajani tells The Times of Israel: “The views of Palestinian students changed after they visited Auschwitz. They realized they had nothing to fear from opening their eyes to these chapters of tragic human history.

“At school, Palestinians learn, ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend’; at Auschwitz, they learned, ‘The enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend.’ They learned that psychopaths and criminal minds did not commit the Nazi cruelties and atrocities. The perpetrators were just ordinary people who celebrated Christmas and Easter with their families and loved their dogs.”

But following the trip, the professor of political science was forced to resign from his teaching position at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, where he was the founding director of the American Studies Institute and one of the very few Palestinian educators to teach about the Shoah. He did so after pressure and threats from his university.

“There was strong opposition to taking students to Auschwitz since the knowledge they may acquire would contradict the collective narrative. Some thought the Holocaust was a Zionist narrative to gain international support for Israel,” Dajani recollects.

“Breaking taboos and walking away from the crowd is usually vehemently opposed by the community. In hoping to break this taboo, I wanted to leave the door open for social change, reconciliation and peace.”
Abbas has lost his mind, the world must see him as irrelevant - Erdan
Next week, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu steps off his special flight to New York – his first time in the US since he was elected nine months ago – he will be greeted by his ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, a veteran senior politician and Likud member appointed by the prime minister in 2020. The backdrop of this visit is the fact that US President Joe Biden hasn’t yet agreed to meet with Netanyahu because of what he sees as a problematic extreme right-wing government – promoting judicial reforms and building in Judea and Samaria.

Erdan has been serving as Israel’s ambassador to the UN since August 2020, a role he briefly held concurrently with that of ambassador to the US in 2021. This dual responsibility is a rare occurrence; Abba Eban was the last person to hold both positions simultaneously in the 1950s. Prior to his diplomatic career, Erdan had a distinguished run in Israeli politics, serving as an MK from 2003-2020 and occupying various ministerial positions.

His time at the UN has been marked by notable achievements, such as the initiation and passage of a critical resolution in the UN General Assembly aimed at combating Holocaust denial, a feat for an Israeli-led resolution at the UN. He was also elected vice president of the General Assembly in 2022.

During his five-year stint as Israel’s strategic affairs minister, Erdan played a central role in countering efforts to delegitimize and boycott Israel, exposing the antisemitic nature and terrorist connections of the BDS campaign.

As national security minister, he prioritized the safety of Israeli citizens during lone-wolf terrorist attacks through innovative strategies, including combating online radicalization and utilizing advanced technologies for threat identification. He is a married father of four, originally hailing from Ashkelon.

Erdan agreed to provide a behind-the-scenes glance at the important work of the Israeli mission to the UN; commented on the toxicity in Israeli society; and shared his personal aspirations.
Another Official Disillusioned
A former State Department official who was deeply involved in U.S. Mideast policy for decades is feeling a little unsettled over a recent speech in which Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas justified the Holocaust.

“I have been despairing about how to respond to [Abbas’s] profoundly antisemitic diatribe,” Martin Indyk, a former assistant secretary of state and ex-ambassador to Israel, wrote on X. “How could someone who has treated me as a personal friend for three decades at the same time harbor such hateful views of my people?”

Jewish disillusionment over the behavior of Palestinian Arab leaders is not a new phenomenon. A notable example was the wave of mea culpas in the American Jewish community in late 2000 and early 2001 after Yasser Arafat launched the terror campaign known as the Second Intifada.

On the op-ed page of The Washington Post, Labor Zionist Alliance president Menachem Z. Rosensaft confessed: “I was wrong, so many of us were wrong … for allowing ourselves to be convinced that Yasser Arafat ever actually wanted peace with Israel.”

Likewise, Leonard Fein, founder of Americans for Peace Now, wrote in The Forward: “Our mistake was to allow ourselves to be so carried away by the prospect of peace that we chose to close our eyes to the persistent Palestinian violations of the Oslo Accords—and to what those violations implied about Palestinian intentions.”

The American Jewish Congress, for its part, placed a full-page ad in The New York Times under the headline: “It Takes a Big Organization to Admit it Was Wrong. We Think We Were Wrong About You, Chairman Arafat.”

Going further back in history, Martin Indyk’s tweet brings to mind the disillusionment that a few American Jewish leaders expressed after World War II regarding President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s abandonment of European Jewry.

"Israel Slams UNESCO Decision to Label Tel Jericho as ‘Palestinian Heritage Site’"
Israel’s Foreign Ministry has issued a scathing response to the decision by the UNESCO Heritage Committee to classify the ancient city of Jericho as a “World Heritage Site in Palestine” during its meeting on Sunday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Israel slammed the decision, which it said was made “despite the many and sincere efforts of the Secretary-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, to balance the decision.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs considers the decision made today as another sign of the Palestinians’ cynical use of UNESCO and the politicization of the organization,” the ministry said.

“Israel will act in accordance with its many friends in the organization in order to change all the distorted decisions that were made.”

The decision refers to the archaeological site of Tel es-Sultan – also known as Tel Jericho — a prehistoric ruin dated to 9500 BCE that is located within the city of Jericho. With its decision, UNESCO has unilaterally declared the Biblical city of Jericho to be located in the non-existent “State of Palestine.”

More Insanity, UNESCO Prepares to Label Biblical Jericho Sites as ‘Palestinian’

UNESCO assistant director general Ernesto Ottone made an effort to differentiate between Tel Jerico (Tel es-Sultan) and the historic city of Jericho described in the Bible during the meeting discussing the classification of the site.

“The property proposed for nomination is the prehistoric archaeological site of Tel es-Sultan located outside the antique site of Jericho,” Ottone explained.

“Later historical developments, which span over millennia and are demonstrated by material remains beyond the boundaries of Tel as-Sultan, constitute a rich cultural context worthy of historical interest and preservation, covering among others Jewish and Christian heritage. However, this is not the focus of the proposed nomination.”

UNESCO accepted the Palestinian Authority as a sovereign member state in 2011, thereby conferring de facto statehood to the entity, which has studiously avoided fulfilling its obligations under the internationally recognized Olso Accords to negotiate a final status agreement with Israel.

UNESCO names Erfurt’s medieval Jewish buildings in Germany as World Heritage Site
A UN committee on Sunday named a group of medieval Jewish sites in the eastern German city of Erfurt as a World Heritage Site, the second time Jewish heritage in Germany has been added to the list in recent years.

Among the buildings included in the new designation are Erfurt’s Old Synagogue, a 13th-century stone building that illustrates Jewish family life in the medieval era, and a traditional ritual bath, or mikveh.

The decision was made at a meeting of the UN World Heritage Committee in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, under the auspices of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO.

Erfurt’s Jewish heritage sites have a long history, but had been largely forgotten until relatively recently. After pogroms in the 14th century drove much of Erfurt’s Jewish population out of the city, the Old Synagogue was used as a storehouse and then a restaurant and dance hall. Its historical importance was only rediscovered and established in 1988.

The ritual bath was filled in and used as a cellar for centuries and was only recognized for its historical and cultural background in 2007.

“The Jewish monuments of Erfurt were nearly forgotten for centuries,” said Maria Boehmer, president of the German UNESCO commission. “Their rediscovery is a great gift.”

Paris-based UNESCO began the World Heritage List in 1978. It includes a broad array of over 1,000 sites — from the Acropolis in Athens to the Great Wall of China — nominated by their respective nations.
Israel denies report Saudis suspending normalization talks over Palestinian issue
A Saudi-owned newspaper reported Sunday that the nation has told the Biden administration it is freezing US-brokered efforts to normalize relations with Israel because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hardline government is unwilling to make any concessions to the Palestinians.

An Israeli and an American official both said the report was false.

According to the report in the Elaph newspaper, supposedly citing officials in Netanyahu’s office, the US has informed Israel of the Saudi stance. It said that Israel was “confused” by the move, believing that the Saudis were prepared to move ahead with normalizing ties without linking it to the progress on the Palestinian issue.

The report by the London-based paper’s Israel correspondent singled out the insistence by far-right ministers Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir that Israel not make any concessions to the Palestinians, adding that without progress with Ramallah, there could be no progress with Riyadh.

Last month, Netanyahu indicated that he was open to gestures to Palestinians if a normalization deal with Saudi Arabia depended on it, and hinted that he would not let coalition members block an agreement.

“Do I think it’s feasible to have that, and do I think that political questions will block it? I doubt it,” Netanyahu told Bloomberg News. “If there’s political will, there will be a political way to achieve normalization and a formal peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

“I think there’s enough room to discuss possibilities,” he added.

Netanyahu’s comments were in line with what Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said the day before in an interview with Elaph, which is often seen as a conduit for public messaging between Jerusalem and Riyadh.

“The Palestinian issue will not be an obstacle to peace,” Cohen said.

“We also proved this in the Abraham Accords. We all have an interest in improving life in the areas of the Palestinian Authority.”
Saudis pauses Israel normalization talks over Palestinians - report
Danny Ayalon breaks down the reported pause in Saudi-Israeli normalization talks due to Jerusalem's reticence in negotiating with Ramallah.

One side of Saudi normalization to watch for: The Riyadh World Expo 2030 campaign
The campaign to host the 2030 World Expo — the contemporary version of the World’s Fair — is heating up, with the vote set for November.

Israel’s vote remains an open question. An Italian delegation came to Jerusalem in late August to make the case for Rome to Foreign Ministry officials, and South Korea has put out feelers in Israel for a vote for Busan to be the host city.

The Expo vote decision, which would typically stay within the Foreign Ministry’s purview, climbed further up the ladder to the Prime Minister’s Office, due to the third city campaigning to host Expo 2030 being Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and the timing as Israel-Saudi normalization talk heats up.

When Saudi Arabia submitted its bid to host the 2030 expo, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told the Bureau International des Expositions that it would “coincide with the culmination of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030,” in which the prince aims to diversify its economy and open it up to tourists from around the world.

Former Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat, today head of the Misgav Institute for National Security and Zionist Strategy, said that, in line with Vision 2030, the Expo would be a platform for Saudi Arabia to “present its rich historic and cultural heritage, together with the great social and economic changes it has achieved thus far in pursuit of its strategy of dramatic modernization.”

When the United Arab Emirates announced in 2019 that it would allow Israelis into Expo 2020, it was a major public step toward diplomatic relations between Abu Dhabi and Jerusalem, who would go on to normalize ties the following year. Yet it remains unclear whether Riyadh would allow active Israeli participation if it hosts the Expo in 2030.

Israeli representatives received an invitation to the Riyadh 2030 launch event in Paris in June, leading to media speculation that Israel planned to support the Saudi bid. However, just days later, the Israelis were turned away at the door from the Paris event hosted by the crown prince and were told they had been removed from the guest list. The event took place on the same day as an IDF anti-terrorism raid in Jenin, which the Saudi Foreign Ministry condemned as “aggression…which led to killing innocent victims.”

On Sunday, two high-ranking Israeli Foreign Ministry officials attended a UNESCO conference in Riyadh, making them the first Israeli diplomats to make a public visit to Saudi Arabia — potentially a sign of warming relations. At the same time, Saudi Arabia was required to sign an agreement to allow all U.N. member states to attend the education, science, and culture organization’s event. But not every Israeli diplomat was welcome: the Saudis reportedly blocked Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and Education Minister Yoav Kisch from attending.
Biden Seeks Expanding UN Security Council Permanent Members to Offset Russia: Report
US President Joe Biden is expected to call for a restructuring of the UN Security Council to offset Russian and Chinese power on the body by adding more members, according to a report in the Telegraph on Sunday.

Citing a diplomatic source, the UK news outlet said that the American president is seeking to add “five or six” new members, including India, Brazil, Germany, South Africa and Japan.

According to US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, Biden “will take a look at the architecture of the Security Council” as the UN General Assembly convenes this week.

The body comprises 15 member states: five permanent member states with veto powers and 10 member states elected by the UN General Assembly for two-year terms. It is unclear whether new permanent members under Biden’s proposal will enjoy the same veto powers as the current permanent members.
Israel Must Adopt a Zero-Tolerance Policy Toward Illegal Palestinian Settlements
This is Part 8 of a 10-part series exposing the underreported joint European and Palestinian program to bypass international law and establish a de facto Palestinian state on Israeli land.

Those in Israel who are part of the movement dedicated to the protection of Israel’s national lands and resources have called to disband Israel’s Civil Administration entirely.

They demand a zero-tolerance policy toward illegal Palestinian construction, regardless of European Union funding and lawsuits, and have called on the Israeli government to initiate a long-overdue diplomatic effort to make it clear to the EU that it has established red lines that will be enforced.

“Israeli leadership as a whole is failing to behave like a sovereign government with a backbone that enforces the law and protects the security and national interests of the people,” argues Naomi Kahn, international director of the Israeli NGO Regavim.

Former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s right-wing Yamina party had initially expressed interest in solving the issue, and during Bennett’s tenure as defense minister, he began referring to Area C in the West Bank as a battleground and Palestinian Authority mass illegal land use as a strategic military threat. With an uptick in enforcement, mild progress was made.

Still, it was always a matter of scale. A shed would be knocked down, while the illicit electricity and water systems would be ignored because of humanitarian issues the EU would draw attention to.

Avigdor Lieberman similarly spoke out, but encountered disinterested bureaucrats and pushback from the Europeans, who have a direct line to their political counterparts in the Israeli government.

Though the Ministry of Intelligence published a full report in June 2021 that presented a comprehensive analysis of the illegal Palestinian land grabs and demographic saturation of Area C, since the publication’s report, little has changed.
‘Israelis Without Borders’
In the wake of the devastating floods earlier this week in Libya, the Palestinian Civil Defense Service, which operates under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority, announced that it was sending a 37-member team to assist with the humanitarian effort.

The team, which includes search-and-rescue experts and two neurosurgeons, set off on Wednesday, joining similar efforts that have been mobilized by other Arab countries and the international community more broadly. A cynic would be right to say that the Palestinian contribution is strongly motivated by political and image considerations, especially given Israel’s long-established reputation for offering safe, confident pairs of hands in responding to humanitarian disasters. But one can also acknowledge that since disasters do not recognize countries, borders and national identities, anyone in a position to provide assistance is obligated to do so, not least out of self-interest—the parties offering the aid could easily face a future crisis where they are the ones in need of it.

Nonetheless, Libya eschews Israeli assistance, unlike its neighbor, Morocco, where teams from the Israel Defense Forces, Magen David Adom, United Hatzalah, IsraAID and several smaller humanitarian agencies rushed to pitch in following the horrific earthquake that struck on Sept. 8, just days before Libya was flooded. Nearly 10,000 people have died so far in the combined toll from both North African countries, with thousands more missing or destitute—not because of war or terrorism, but because of structural and environmentally influenced catastrophes. A person facing such a dreadful situation is unlikely to turn down assistance, no matter where it comes from, but such an obvious realization has yet to dawn on much of the Middle East, where the notion of cooperation with Israel remains a taboo.

Ironically, Israel will have an indirect presence in Libya through the Palestinian emergency team, as the P.A.’s Civil Defense Service has benefited in the past from Israeli training, joint exercises and expertise, originally provided through the now moribund Oslo Accords. Back in October 2017, Nael al-Izza, spokesperson for the Civil Defense Service, efficiently summarized the reasons for such cooperation in an interview with Al Monitor. “As Palestinians, we have an interest in participating in such exercises because we have geographic links with Israel. If disasters occur or fires break out in Israel, we would be harmed,” he said. “The P.A., Israel and Jordan cannot face crises single-handedly.”

Farrakhan follower on Florida city council leaves meeting rather than vote on antisemitism resolution
Days after a synagogue in St. Petersburg, Florida, was forced to evacuate services following a bomb threat, the local city council met to discuss a resolution about antisemitism.

The resolution was about whether to endorse a definition of antisemitism that its authors and local advocates both say can be a useful first step in fighting hatred of Jews.

Notably refusing to cast a vote: A controversial council member and member of the Nation of Islam who voiced multiple objections to the definition, questioned Jewish community leaders about who constitutes a Jew and left the chambers so that he would be marked absent during the vote.

“I do have concerns. And my concerns are rooted in my personal experience of being falsely accused of being an antisemite,” Brother John Muhammad said at the council meeting, explaining his objections to the proposal. He continued, “It was stated that I was not qualified to do the job that I’ve been doing for the last 11 months because somebody who I’m affiliated with is called an antisemite.”

Muhammad did not specify to whom he was referring, but local Jewish groups have opposed his seat on the city council since he was appointed last year. Their objections were rooted in his refusal to disavow the Nation of Islam’s current leader, the Black nationalist Louis Farrakhan, who has a long history of making antisemitic statements.

Still, Jewish leaders had hope that they could work with Muhammad and educate him on the topic of antisemitism. “When I see a situation like this, it screams ‘opportunity’ to me,” Michael Igel, chair of the Florida Holocaust Museum, located in St. Petersburg, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency earlier this year. The local federation said it would push the council to make a statement about the dangers of antisemitism.

Thursday’s resolution, one day before Rosh Hashanah, seems to have been the result of that effort. It called on the council to adapt the International Holocaust Remembrance Association’s working definition of antisemitism, which dozens of countries, states and municipalities have done to date.

Israeli arrested for torching statue of David Ben-Gurion in Tel Aviv
A suspect in his 30s was arrested for setting fire to the statue of former prime minister David Ben-Gurion near Frishman Beach in Tel Aviv overnight on Friday during the first night of Rosh Hashanah, according to Hebrew media reports.

Passers-by who arrived at the scene noticed the change in the well-known statue and reported it to the police.

The circumstances of the case have not yet been clarified but police have arrested a 34-year-old homeless man on suspicion of being connected to the incident.

Comments from the Mayor
Tel Aviv-Yafo Mayor Ron Huldai responded this morning to the damage to the statue on the promenade in the city.

"It is very sad that at the beginning of the new year, someone decided to damage one of the most beloved statues in the city," Huldai wrote on his X, formerly Twitter, account. "We will renew [the statue] soon".

"It is troubling to start the year with the violent destruction of one of the country's symbols," Deputy Mayor of Tel Aviv, Chen Arieli said. "We are on a slippery slope [which] comes directly from the attempt to erase the Declaration of Independence and our democracy. No one will burn our history. We will make sure that the statue is restored soon."

Jordan Calls on Israel to Respect Status Quo after Jews Visit Temple Mount
Jordan’s foreign ministry called on Israel to respect the status quo on the Al-Aqsa Mosque/Temple Mount on Sunday, following a visit of Jews to the complex earlier that day.

Sinan al-Majali, a spokesman for the ministry, condemned the “extremists’ storming of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque and their provocative practices, under the protection of Israeli police.”

Worship on the holy site is reserved “solely for Muslims,” the ministry said in a statement.

Police said that three Israelis were detained for breaking the peace in the site, including one who blew a shofar. The shofar, or horn, is traditionally blown before and during the Jewish high holidays, which began Friday night with Rosh Hashanah.

While Jews are allowed to visit, praying or performing rituals is strictly prohibited. Additionally, these visitations are usually under a strict schedule, and are even suspended due to fears of a security-related incident.

Under Israeli-Jordanian agreements, security is controlled by Israel, but the Jordanian religious endowments authority continues to administer the site.

The site, considered to be the third-holiest in Islam and the most holiest for Jews, is one of the major flashpoint areas in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and one of the more sensitive issues between the Jewish state and its Muslim-majority neighbors.
Palestinian Terrorist Groups Hamas, PFLP Call for a New Intifada
Deputy head of the Hamas political wing Saleh al-Arouri and deputy secretary general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Jamil Mazhar called on Palestinians to resume the intifada against Israel. “The Palestinian Authority must return to the intifada to achieve national unity and resolve the Palestinian question on national and democratic grounds,” they said at a meeting in Beirut on Saturday.

The statement comes amid heightened security tensions in the Palestinian territories and a steady stream of intelligence reports regarding planned terrorist attacks against Israelis.

The two terror operatives also discussed the situation in a restive Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. At least 17 people have been killed and around 100 wounded in the fighting in Ain al-Helweh refugee camp, on the outskirts of the port city of Sidon. Both Hamas and PFLP said they supported all the measures that would stabilize the situation.

They further stressed that weapons should not be used to resolve internal conflicts in the refugee camps and expressed their desire to maintain peace with Lebanese citizens and authorities, particularly in the Sidon region and southern Lebanon. Lebanon.

Both Palestinian officials also called to ramp up the armed struggle against Israel. The statement comes several weeks after al-Arouri threatened Israel with regional war, vowing that any military action undertaken by Israel could result in “a resounding defeat and complete withdrawal from the West Bank.”

Of the two, al-Arouri in particular is a well-known terrorist linked to several high-profile attacks against Israeli targets.

Palestinians riot on Gaza border for second time in days; 5 said wounded
Hundreds of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip rioted on the border with Israel on Sunday afternoon, for the second time in days.

The Israel Defense Forces said the rioters set fire to tires and detonated explosive devices on the security barrier.

Troops responded with crowd dispersal means and live fire in some cases.

The Hamas-run health ministry in the Gaza Strip said five Palestinians were wounded by Israeli fire.

The Hamas terror group, which rules the territory, appears to have resumed regular violent protests along the frontier, with an increasing number of riots in recent weeks.

On Friday, the IDF carried out a drone strike against a Hamas observation post in the Gaza Strip in response to renewed rioting along the border.

The rioting on Friday and Sunday comes as Israeli security forces are on high alert during the Rosh Hashanah holiday, amid a rise in warnings and intelligence tips about possible terror attacks.

US Treasury sanctions Hezbollah supporters in South America
A charcoal export business has now been exposed as one cog in a terrorism funding machine crossing continents to support Iran’s efforts to expunge the Jewish state.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the Drug Enforcement Administration named numerous individuals and businesses it designated as supporters of Hezbollah.

“I applaud the decision of U.S. Treasury to sanction Amer Mohamed Akil Rada, one of the operational members of Hezbollah who carried out the terrorist attack against the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) in Argentina in 1994 that killed 85 people,” said Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, U.S. special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism

Brian E. Nelson, the under secretary of the treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, said that “today’s action underscores the U.S. government’s commitment to pursuing Hezbollah operatives and financiers, no matter their location.”

He added that “we will continue to root out those who seek to abuse the U.S. and international financial system to fund and engage in terrorism.”
Biden Administration's Dangerous, Failed, Disastrous Iran Policy
[T]he US, instead of stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, is bribing the mullahs not to go to 90% enrichment [the level needed for a nuclear bomb], at least on the Biden administration's watch, especially ahead of the November 2024 US presidential election.

Meanwhile, Iran laughably keeps claiming that it is not even seeking a nuclear bomb.

After that, the Biden administration looked the other way during the Islamic Republic's malign actions in the region, such as smuggling weapons, and shipping oil to Syria and Hezbollah in direct violation of US sanctions, at the same time that Iran was busy increasing its influence in America's backyard.

Thanks to the Biden administration, Iran's oil exports have also started booming and have now surged more than two million barrels a day, the most since 2018 , and they are selling it at levels close to the pre-sanctions era, to countries such as China, which desperately needs it – while the Biden administration suspended new oil and gas leases on US public lands and waters.

The Biden administration also looked away when the Iranian regime killed more than 300 people, including 40 children, in the recent protests.

As if these appeasements were not enough, the Biden Administration recently reached a deal with the Iranian regime behind closed doors on August 10, in which the United States agreed to pay $6 billion dollars and release a handful of Iranian nationals who are serving prison sentences in the US, in exchange for the release of five Iranian-Americans imprisoned in Iran -- more than a billion dollars per person -- with still more payments apparently on the way.
Netanyahu says Iran 'violating all its commitments' after it kicks out inspectors
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday said Iran's actions proved it was "violating all its commitments" to the international community, after Tehran moved to ban multiple inspectors assigned to the country, hindering oversight over its atomic activities.

The prime minister also said Iran "intends to arm itself with nuclear weapons," in a statement released by his office.

"Israel will do whatever is necessary to protect itself from this threat," Netanyahu added.

Iran's move is a response to a call led by the United States, Britain, France, and Germany at the International Atomic Energy Agency's board of governors this week for Tehran to cooperate immediately with the IAEA on issues including explaining uranium traces found at undeclared sites.

The international nuclear watchdog harshly criticized Iran on Saturday for effectively barring several of its most experienced inspectors from monitoring the country's disputed program.

The strongly worded statement came amid longstanding tensions between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is tasked with monitoring a nuclear program that Western nations have long suspected is aimed at eventually developing a nuclear weapon. Iran insists the program is peaceful.

Rafael Mariano Grossi, the head of the IAEA, said Iran had withdrawn the designation of "several experienced Agency inspectors," barring them from taking part in the monitoring of its program.

"Iran has effectively removed about one third of the core group of the Agency's most experienced inspectors designated for Iran," he said.

Grossi went on to "strongly condemn this disproportionate and unprecedented unilateral measure," saying it "constitutes an unnecessary blow to an already strained relationship between the IAEA and Iran."
EU Urges Iran to Reconsider Barring of IAEA Inspectors
The European Union urged Iran on Sunday to reconsider its decision to bar multiple International Atomic Energy Agency’s inspectors assigned to oversee Tehran’s atomic activities, noting such oversight was part of the Iran nuclear deal.

Iran’s move was a response to a call led by the United States, Britain, France and Germany at the IAEA last week for Tehran to cooperate immediately with the IAEA on issues including explaining uranium traces found at undeclared sites.

“The European Union is highly concerned by the … decision by Iran to withdraw the official designation of several experienced IAEA inspectors to monitor and verify its nuclear program,” the spokesman for EU foreign affairs Peter Stano said in a statement.

“Particularly worrying is the direct and severe impact of this decision on the Agency’s ability to conduct its verification activities, which includes the monitoring of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The EU urges Iran to reconsider its decision without delay,” the statement said.

Iran cracks down on Kurdish dissidents amid Mahsa Amini protests
Iran’s regime has accused Kurdish dissident and protest groups of being terrorists as it seeks to crackdown on Kurdish areas amid protests that coincide with the year anniversary of the killing of Mahsa Amini.

Now the regime is also turning its attention to Kurdish groups. It has sent text messages warning people not to protest, according to posts online, and is flooding Kurdish areas with regime forces. It is concentrating and Saqqez, Sanandaj and other areas. These are Kurdish areas in western Iran near the border with Iraq.

Mahsa Amini, who was Kurdish, and also went by the name Jina, was killed by Iran’s morality police on September 16 last year. Iran has sought to detain her relatives and has been pressuring Iranian dissidents abroad.

For months, Iran has been warning Kurdish groups in Iraq that they must disarm and has demanded the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq move Kurdish dissident groups away from areas around Sulimaniyeh, Koya and other areas where they are present.

There are thousands of Kurds from Iran who live in the Kurdish regions of Iraq. Some are members of various groups that oppose Iran’s regime. These include PDKI, PAK, PJAK, Komala and other groups. Each group has its own political background but all of them oppose the oppressive Iranian regime.

US sanctions Iranian media for links to terrorist IRGC
Iranian pro-regime media bemoaned US sanctions that were announced on September 15.

The media, such as Tasnim, found themselves in the unenviable position of reporting on their own sanctioning. Tasnim ran an article in which they listed all of the people sanctioned by the US.

The US Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated 29 individuals and entities “in connection with the Iranian regime’s violent suppression of nationwide protests following the death of Mahsa ‘Zhina’ Amini in custody of its ‘Morality Police,’ and the regime’s continued efforts to detain dissenting voices and restrict access to a free and open internet,” the US said.

The US named “three IRGC and regime-controlled media outlets––Fars News, Tasnim News, and Press TV––and three senior officials.” This clearly singles out Fars and Tasnim as being linked to the IRGC.

Tasnim News then had an interview with Iran’s ISNA news agency. The CEO of ISNA slammed the sanctions. He claimed it “shows the hypocrisy of Western policies towards freedom of expression…It has been clear to the nations for years that the West only hypocritically and falsely makes beautiful slogans, but it acts autocratically and does not value the independence and rights of other nations.” The report then slammed the US for “sabotage” against other countries and bashed “the Zionist regime.”

The report also claimed the US sees the struggle for messaging and media as a “combined war against nations…According to their colonial order, countries should always be defenseless and intimidated in the field of public opinion.”

US "threatened" by Iranian media
The report then asserted that Iranian media are a threat to the US because they help create a multi-polar world. In essence, the report admits that Iran’s media is part of the regime’s messaging machine, the regime just doesn’t want them muzzled by the US.

Iranian media has connected this to Western support for protests in Iran. The one-year anniversary of the killing of Amini is of concern to Iran. The regime has sought to detain dissidents ahead of the anniversary. Press TV, which was also sanctioned, reported on its own sanctions. It also sought to shift the discussion to critiquing the West.

“Iran’s intelligence community said several countries, including the United States and Britain, had used their spy and propaganda apparatuses to provoke violent riots in the country,” the report said at Press TV.

“London, in particular, is home to several anti-Iran TV networks, including Iran International, Manoto, and BBC Persian, which broadcast a steady stream of misinformation encouraging the Iranian youth to join the rioters during the wave of unrest.”

Yoseph Haddad’s: “How Iran destroyed the Middle East”
This month Iranian protesters are taking to the streets to speak out against the Islamic Republic of Iran amidst increasing crackdowns. @YosephHaddad and @Emily Schrader take a closer look at 5 places in the Middle East that the Iranian regime has harmed.

New letter reveals Pope Pius XII had detailed information on Nazi killing of Jews
Newly discovered correspondence suggests that World War II-era Pope Pius XII had detailed information from a trusted German Jesuit that up to 6,000 Jews and Poles were being gassed each day in German-occupied Poland, undercutting the Holy See’s argument that it couldn’t verify diplomatic reports of Nazi atrocities to denounce them.

The documentation from the Vatican archives, published this weekend in Italian daily Corriere della Sera, is likely to further fuel the debate about Pius’ legacy and his now-stalled beatification campaign.

Historians have long been divided about Pius’ record, with supporters insisting he used quiet diplomacy to save Jewish lives while critics say he remained silent amid the Holocaust.

Corriere is reproducing a letter dated Dec. 14, 1942 from the German Jesuit priest to Pius’ secretary which is contained in an upcoming book about the newly opened files of Pius’ pontificate by Giovanni Coco, a researcher and archivist in the Vatican’s Apostolic Archives.

Coco told Corriere that the letter was significant because it represented detailed correspondence about the Nazi extermination of Jews from an informed church source in Germany who was part of the Catholic anti-Hitler resistance that was able to get otherwise secret information to the Vatican.

The letter from the priest, the Rev. Lothar Koenig, to Pius’ secretary, a fellow German Jesuit named the Rev. Robert Leiber, is dated Dec. 14, 1942. Written in German, the letter addresses Leiber as “Dear friend,” and goes on to report that the Nazis were killing up to 6,000 Jews and Poles daily from Rava Ruska, a town in pre-war Poland that is today located in Ukraine, and transporting them to the Belzec death camp.

According to the Belzec memorial which opened in 2004, a total of 500,000 Jews perished at the camp. The memorial’s website reports that as many as 3,500 Jews from Rava Ruska had already been sent to Belzec earlier in 1942 and that from Dec. 7-11, the city’s Jewish ghetto was liquidated. “About 3,000-5,000 people were shot on the spot and 2,000- 5,000 people were taken to Bełżec,” the website says.

The date of Koenig’s letter is significant because it suggests the correspondence from a trusted fellow Jesuit arrived in Pius’ office in the same three weeks before Christmas 1942 that Pius was receiving multiple diplomatic notes from the British and Polish envoys to the Vatican with reports that up to 1 million Jews had been killed so far in Poland.

Israel’s tennis team in surprise win over Japan in Davis Cup, moves to finals playoff
Israel’s national tennis team scored a surprise win against Japan in the prestigious Davis Cup Sunday, advancing to playoffs that could see it reach the tournament’s final 16.

Israel finished the day with a 3:2 win against Japan in Tel Aviv, coming back from behind to snatch victory at the end of the five singles matches.

Saturday had seen the two teams draw at 1:1, but Israel fell behind on Sunday 2:1, before players Daniel Zukerman and Yishai Oliel both won their respective matches to secure a win for the national team.

Japan’s chances of reaching the finals have been reduced dramatically, though it will still have a chance to save itself, facing other teams.

Meanwhile, Israel’s next rival will be determined later this week.
Rosh Hashana marked in Iran and Egypt
Some two hundred worshipers attended a Selichot service this week, led by chief rabbi Yehuda Gerami, in the Iranian capital Tehran, according to the Israel broadcaster Kan. But Jews were encouraged to stay off the streets after the Rosh Hashana services, which this year coincide with the first anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini, the poster girl for anti-regime protest. Meanwhile, in Egypt, a Rosh Hashana ‘celebration’ was held at the renovated Vitali Madjar synagogue in Cairo, according to Al-Ahram.

The one-year anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s murder coincides with the Jewish New Year on September 16, prompting community leaders to warn Jews to stay off the streets.

In a Telegram posting from Iran’s Jewish community on Sunday, the leadership wrote “All worshipers are strongly requested to refrain from stopping and gathering in the streets for any reason during Rosh Hashanah and after performing religious duties in synagogues.”

Alireza Nader, an Iran scholar based in Washington, DC, told Iran International, “The remaining few members of the Jewish community in Iran live in constant fear. Any sort of public pronouncement or guidance from their leadership should be seen in light of the community’s extreme vulnerability.” Nader has written about the persecution of Iranian Jews.

Beni Sabti, an expert on Iran from the Israeli National Security and Strategy Institute, who first located the Telegram post, told Iran International that the Jewish leadership is “worried that Jews can be in trouble if they stay in the streets” and urged them “to rapidly go from the synagogues to their houses.” Read article in full

The Egyptian press rejoiced at the ‘celebration’ of Rosh Hashana, described as a ‘service’ led by the five-member community leader, Magda Haroun, according to Al-Ahram. It seemed to involve a musical performance and will anger those who who not want to see their houses of worship used for ‘cultural events’.

The celebration, organized by the Drop of Milk Egypt NGO, was attended by members of the small Jewish community in Cairo as well as foreign diplomats and Egyptians of other faiths.

Since its inauguration in 1928, the synagogue has been renovated several times, including most recently in 2017.

Recently, the Vitali Madjar synagogue hosted a number of events including Hanukkah in December 2022. Read article in full

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