Saturday, January 25, 2014

UN human rights “experts” shocked that Rouhani’s “moderate” tone hasn’t led to moderation in execution rate

Members of the National Council of Resistance for Iran depict a public hanging
These “experts” either don’t know or don’t care that Iran’s Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Khamenei, said in November that it was a “misunderstanding” to think that Iran was “stepping back from goals and values of the Islamic regime.” In reality, he said, Iran was simply engaged in “an artistic maneuver and the use of different tactics to reach different goals and ideals of the Islamic regime.” And so now these vaunted “experts” are shocked that Iran is turning out to be insincere. But not to have taken Rouhani at his word would have been “Islamophobic.”

Canada's Prime Minister: A Display of Rare Courage

 Salim Mansur
"It [the new face of anti-Semitism] targets the Jewish people by targeting Israel.... What else can we call criticism that selectively concerns only the Jewish state and effectively denies its right to exist, to defend itself, while systematically ignoring or excusing the violence and oppression all around it?" — Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada
Invited to address the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada, did not hold back in expressing his government's support for the Jewish state as the lonely and beleaguered democracy in the region. As Harper told members of the Knesset, "Israel is the only country in the Middle East which has long anchored itself in the ideals of freedom, democracy and the rule of law. And these are not mere notions. They are the things that, over time and against all odds, have proven to be, over and over again, the only ground in which human rights, political stability and economic prosperity may flourish.... through fire and water, Canada will stand with you."
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (left) introduces Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (center) at the Knesset podium, on Jan. 20, 2014. (Image source: Canada PM's Office)
Harper's address was a window into his heart and mind, and the clearest expression without any equivocation of how Canada, under his leadership, sees the bleak situation in the Middle East. It was also a message from leader of one of the G8 countries to member states of the UN, and especially to other Western democracies, that Canada's embrace of Israel transcends politics and is ethically grounded on moral principles. As Harper stated, "Canada supports Israel fundamentally because it is right to do so," because "the special relationship between Canada and Israel is rooted in shared values."

Friday, January 24, 2014

Iran vs. Israel at Davos

net-i.jpg?w=620It was all about Iran at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The Iranian regime sought to entice the West into accepting its nuclear program with promises of profit, while Israel showcased itself as the “innovation nation” that can lead the region to peace.

There are seismic strategic shifts already happening in the Middle East, in large part due to the nuclear deal with Iran and the business opportunities it presents to Europe, Turkey and Russia. The Europeans are undoubtedly tempted by the prospect of Iranian natural gas deliveries via Turkey, and Russia hopes to import more Iranian oil, increasing the regime’s exports by a whopping 50%.

A microcosm of this shift was on display at Davos when President Rouhani addressed major energy executives, dangling the prospect of lucrative business in Iran if sanctions are lifted. He also lobbied U.S., European and Arab companies for investments in energy, infrastructure, mining, automobile industries and other sectors.

“I view Iran’s economy as the most congruent, capable and closest to that of successful emerging economies,” Rouhani said. 

“A ‘Train Wreck’”

I’m been so focused on Israeli issues that I haven’t written about Iran and its nuclear aspirations for a while.  But now it seems very necessary. 
It has been crystal clear to me that Obama – I won’t say was “had” by Iran – but rather that he was willingly permitting himself to be had.  That he went along with a deal that on the face of it was not good and didn’t bargain tough.
But there’s more.  An interim deal of some sort was struck with Iran and now a final deal is supposed to be negotiated.  The first problem here is that the Obama administration refuses to publicly release the details of how that interim agreement – the Joint Plan of Action - is to be implemented.  What is evolving is a picture in which the president has misrepresented to his own public what that Plan of Action includes.  The implications here are huge.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s “Islamophobia” Campaign against Freedom

ANDREW E. HARROD January 24, 2014
The "quite formidable" Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) "has really escaped the notice of a lot of foreign policy observers," religious freedom scholar Nina Shea noted at a January 17, 2014, Hudson Institute panel.  To correct this deficiency, Shea moderated an important presentation on the OIC's stealth jihad against freedom by her "old friend" Mark Durie, an Anglican theologian and human rights activist.
Dr. Mark Durie
Dr. Mark Durie
As Durie's PowerPoint presentation available online noted, the 1969-founded OIC headquartered in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, contains 57 mostly Muslim-majority states (including "Palestine").  The second largest international organization after the United Nations (UN), the OIC is a "major global voting block" at the UN and unique in being the "only such organization devoted to advancing a religion."  The OIC is "largely funded by Saudi Arabia," Shea noted, having contributed $30 million to the 2008 budget, far greater than the next largest contribution of $3 million from Kuwait.

Ominously, the OIC has been "lobbying assiduously" since about 2000 against "Islamophobia," Shea observed.  "Islamophobia" was analogous to "homophobia," Durie's PowerPoint elaborated, an analogy previously noted by Islamic sharia law expert Stephen Coughlin and analyzed by this author.  A "[n]arrow reading" of this "deep-seated and irrational fear about Islam or Muslims" would encompass only prejudices such as the "xenophobic aversion to Muslims" of some.

An old joke

Elder of Ziyon

For some reason this joke, that I originally read in The Joys of Yiddish when I was a kid. popped into my head this morning.  Here's a variation I found on the web:

A Texan was touring Israel, complete with his cowboy hat and cowboy boots. We all know about the tendency of Texans to brag. While driving down a great, flat desert, he spied a tiny house in the distance, with a neat picket fence. Coming closer, he saw an elderly man leaning against the fence.

"Shalom, you all," said the Texan.

"Shalom," replied the Israeli.

"Do you speak English?

"Sure I do."

"Do you own this little house?


"What on Earth do you do out here in this isolated area?

"I raise chickens."

"How large is your property?"

"Well, " answered the Israeli, "In the front, it's a good eighty feet. And in the back, it must be 100, 110 feet at least."

The Texan grinned. "I don't mean to brag, but back in Texas where I come from, I eat breakfast, get into my car around 9 am and drive and drive and drive and drive, and I don't reach the end of my property until about 6 o'clock at night."

And the Israeli sighed and said, "I once owned a car like that."

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Recognizing Israel as the Jewish State - Source Materials

 January 23, 2014

Philadelphia — We bring to your attention "Recognizing Israel as the Jewish State: Statements," a continuously updated, 14,000-word weblog by Middle East Forum president Daniel Pipes that provides the fullest source of information in English on the issue of Palestinians recognizing Israel as the Jewish state.
The Jewish state argument stood at the margins of diplomacy as recently as 2007. But it has quickly become central to Israel-Palestinian negotiations – and a possible deal-breaker in the current round of negotiations. Both sides insist on their way, and their positions could hardly be farther apart:
"Palestine can never recognize Israel as a Jewish state." Palestinian Authority boss Mahmoud Abbas, January 20, 2014.
"If the Palestinians expect me and my people to recognize a nation state for the Palestinian people, surely we can expect them to recognize a nation state for the Jewish people. After all, we've only been here four millennia." Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, January 21, 2014.

The U.S. and Christian Persecution

Raymond Ibrahim
National Review Online
January 18, 2014
Prominent indicators confirm that the U.S. is the chief facilitator of the persecution of Christians around the world today.
According to the recently released 2014 World Watch List, which ranks the 50 nations where Christians are most persecuted, Syria is the third worst nation in the world in which to be Christian, Iraq is fourth, Afghanistan fifth, and Libya 13th. All four countries receive the strongest designation, "extreme persecution" (other designations are "severe," "moderate," and "sparse" persecution).
Aside from being so closely and harshly ranked, these four nations have something else in common: heavy U.S. involvement. Three—Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya—were "liberated" thanks to U.S. forces, while in the fourth, Syria, the U.S. is actively sponsoring "freedom fighters" against the regime, many of whom would be better labeled "terrorists."
The Syrian situation alone indicts U.S. foreign policy. According to Reuters:

The “Price Tag” Crimes Must be Dealt With Now

Isi Leibler
As an Israeli citizen, I am profoundly ashamed of the “price tag” crimes committed by Jewish hooligans and bigots primarily against Arabs over the green line.
I am also shocked by our collective failure to bring an end to these ongoing outrages. Despite our sophisticated anti-terror and intelligence capabilities, there have been virtually no arrests or convictions.
These acts can be sourced to 2005 when settlers resorted to violence in response to their pain and desperation when forcibly displaced from their homes in the course of the unilateral disengagement from Gaza.

Israeli Prof. Denied Honorary Degree for Being too ‘Right-Wing’

robDimitry Shumsky is a young anti-Israel far Leftist whose diatribes litter the far Leftist fringe media in Israel, especially the leftist daily Haaretz.  Since 2009, according to his own published resume, he has held a tenure-track appointment at the Department of the History of the Jewish People at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.  Shumsky in Haaretz on January 20, 2014 joins the cat fight of the far Left in Israel over the decision by the University of Haifa to veto an honorary PhD to Prof. Robert Aumann.

The Nobel-Prize winning economist Aumann was denied an honorary PhD by the University of Haifa on grounds that he holds conservative political opinions.  It was a great victory for the campaign of the Far Left in Israel against freedom of thought and freedom of speech.  Prof. Ariel Rubinstein, a distinguished economist in Israel, denounced the decision and denounced speakers at a conference at Tel Aviv University who defended the operation of a thought police in the Aumann affair.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Will Israel Risk Sharon's Counter-terrorism Achievements for Peace Deal?

YAAKOV LAPPIN January 22, 2014
Days after burying former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Israel now must return its attention to the dilemma of whether to relinquish control of strategic West Bank territories that Sharon himself ordered the IDF to seize over a decade ago.
In March 2002, a Palestinian suicide bomber walked into a hotel in Netanya and blew up a dining hall hosting a Passover holiday celebration, in an attack that murdered 30 civilians. It became known as the Passover Massacre.
The horrific bombing represented the peak of a Palestinian campaign of indiscriminate violence that ultimately claimed the lives of more than 1,000 Israelis, most of them civilians. It was Sharon, prime minister of Israel at the time, who successfully quashed the Palestinian killing spree.
Two days after the Passover Massacre, Sharon consulted army brass, called up 30,000 reserves, and ordered the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to enter deep into West Bank cities (vacated by Israel in the 1990s as part of the Oslo peace process).

Great news: The Iranians are coming

They’ve been saying they were going to do it, and now they’re on the way.  A pair of Iranian navy ships, the frigate Sabalan and supply ship Kharg, left Bandar Abbas this morning headed for the Atlantic Ocean.
It has been inevitable that the Iranian navy would make good on its promise to deploy to the Atlantic.  Its ships made a voyage to China in 2013, and have been conducting extended patrols in the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea since late 2008.  An Atlantic expedition has been by no means beyond Iran’s capabilities for some time now.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Friendship is Two-way Street!

 Steven Shamrak
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, said in private that "The American security plan presented to us is not worth the paper it's written on. It contains no peace and no security. Only our continued presence in Judea and Samaria and the River Jordan will endure that Ben-Gurion Airport and Netanya don't become targets for rockets from every direction." "The moment we leave Judea and Samaria he (PA President Mahmoud Abbas) is finished. In reality, there have been no negotiations between us and the Palestinians for all these months - but rather between us and the Americans. The only thing that can 'save us' is for John Kerry to win a Nobel Prize and leave us in peace." (Ya'alon should not apologize for speaking the truth! Have you ever heard of a US apology to Israel for unfair political pressure, betrayal or blunt disrespect? Ironically and quite predictably apology, not the substance and merit of his statement, has become the major international news.  There is no reason to worry that Ya'alon caused harm to US-Israel ties - the relationship can't get worse.)

'Through fire and water, Canada will stand with Israel'

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivers stirring pro-Israel speech at the Knesset • Harper: I believe the story of Israel is a great example to the world • Two Arab MKs disrupt Harper's speech • Netanyahu: Harper stands up for the truth.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper addresses the Knesset on Monday
Photo credit: Dudi Vaaknin

Monday, January 20, 2014

UNRWA's Role in Middle East Peace

Michael Curtis

UNRWA has not led to the economic development that was supposed to occur, but conversely, has implanted a culture of permanent dependency.
Even though UNRWA is supposed to be an objective organization, because of the anti-Israel bias evident since its creation, through anti-Israeli textbooks, for example, or naming facilities after terrorists, it appears unwilling to encourage Palestinians to find any peaceful solution of the conflict -- not to mention what a peaceful solution would mean to its own "job security."
It would be more productive for genuine peace in the region if the office of the High Commissioner for Refugees took over the function of assisting the Palestinians as it has so ably done for all other refugees.
It must be most disconcerting for those promoting the Palestinian narrative of victimhood to observe the events in refugee camps -- violent protests and demonstrations, manifested by burning tires, blocked roads, and a general strike -- in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in January 2014.

J'lem Gas Explosion: 'Everything Will Be Investigated'

Ari Yashar

Public Security Minster Yitzhak Aharonovich on Monday visited the site of the gas balloon explosion that left three dead in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo the night before. The three were a couple in their 30s and their two-year-old baby.

"It's a difficult incident, tragic, which cut short the lives of three members of one family," commented Aharonovich. "I saw the measure of destruction, it's massive destruction. Unfortunately it isn't the first incident" of this type, he remarked, noting a similar explosion in Netanya three years ago that killed 4.

"Everything will be investigated and I am certain the police will make the necessary findings. I'm not looking to name the guilty, let's wait a few days," added the minister, saying after the investigation "we'll know what we can do to deal with these incidents."

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Abbas' terror glorification continues as he calls murderers "heroes" four times in same speech

Last September Abbas called murderer of 15 civilians

 "a legend... a hero... a beacon"
by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
In December 2013, Israel released 26 Palestinian terrorist murderers from prison. In his speech at the PA event celebrating their release, Mahmoud Abbas welcomed the terrorists and called them "heroes" four times during his speech:

"[The release of our prisoners] is a day of joy for our nation, for our people, for our heroic prisoners... There will be more groups of heroes who will come to us... They [the Israelis] postponed these heroes' release by 24 hours... we congratulate you and ourselves for the [release] of these heroes."
[Official PA TV, Dec. 31, 2013]
Click to view

Israel released these terrorists because the PA demanded Israel release 104 prisoners from jail, all of them murderers, in order for the PA to resume peace negotiations with Israel.

Wounded Syrian couple treated in Israel

Wounded Syrian woman: "We hesitated coming to Israel, because we were taught to hate it. We were taught this is a brutal enemy state, but we learned that reality is different. People here have a conscience. Our enemy is in Syria, not in Israel."

"If only we could stay here." The Syrian couple at Poriah Hospital, Friday
Photo credit: JINI

Pollard's Continued Incarceration: A Message to American Jews

Tablet magazine argues Pollard's inordinate sentence shows US distrusts of Jewish loyalty, a discrimination which endangers US Jews.

Jonathan Pollard
Jonathan Pollard
Yehuda Glick
The Jewish magazine Tablet on Thursday sharply criticized the ongoing US refusal to free Jonathan Pollard, now in his 29th year behind American bars for passing secret documents to Israel. The article argues that Pollard's incarceration reveals anti-Semitism in the American government.
It is noted that Pollard's crime carries a maximum sentence of 10 years, and that he is the only person in US history to be given a life sentence over spying for an allied country.
M.E. Bowman, former deputy general counsel for national security law at the FBI and coordinator of the investigation that sentenced Pollard, published an op-ed in the New York Times this week defending the inordinate sentence.

Is UNESCO the New Address of the Arab Narrative?

UNESCO shuttered an exhibition it agreed two years ago to co-sponsor with the Simon Wiesenthal Center just days before the grand opening in the UNESCO building in Paris because the Arab League directed UNESCO to do that. 
By: Lori Lowenthal Marcus 

Rabbi Marvin Hier, Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, stand before a poster for the exhibition that was unceremoniously yanked just before its grand opening. 
photo credit: Simon Wiesenthal Center
The opening of an exhibition, "People, Book, Land -- The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People to the Holy Land," which has been two years in the planning, and for which the Simon Wiesenthal Center gave UNESCO unprecedented control over editing and vetting as the price of co-sponsorship, was scheduled for Monday evening, Jan. 20.
Thousands of invitations were sent, dignitaries had begun to arrive in Paris, the pictures and descriptions for the exhibit were in the process of being hung on the walls, all in anticipation of the grand opening in Paris at UNESCO headquarters.
But at 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 14, the SWC received a letter from the office of Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). That letter contained shocking news.
The exhibition, two years in the planning, was cancelled.