Friday, July 31, 2015

From Ian:

The Ayatollah's Plan for Israel and Palestine
"The flagbearer of Jihad to liberate Jerusalem."
This is how the blurb of "Palestine," a new book, published by Islamic Revolution Editions last week in Tehran, identifies the author.
The author is "Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Husseini Khamenei," the "Supreme Guide" of the Islamic Republic in Iran, a man whose fatwa has been recognized by U.S. President Barack Obama as having the force of law.
Edited by Saeed Solh-Mirzai, the 416-page book has received approval from Khamenei's office and is thus the most authoritative document regarding his position on the issue.
Khamenei makes his position clear from the start: Israel has no right to exist as a state.
He uses three words. One is "nabudi" which means "annihilation". The other is "imha" which means "fading out," and, finally, there is "zaval" meaning "effacement."
Khamenei claims that his strategy for the destruction of Israel is not based on anti-Semitism, which he describes as a European phenomenon.
His position is based on "well-established Islamic principles", he claims.
One such is that a land that falls under Muslim rule, even briefly, can never again be ceded to non-Muslims. What matters in Islam is control of a land's government, even if the majority of inhabitants are non-Muslims. Khomeinists are not alone in this belief.
Caroline Glick: Obama strikes again
Obama’s first hope was to reach a deal with his Iranian friends that would leave the Assad regime in place. But the Iranians blew him off.
They know they don’t need a deal with Obama to secure their interests. Obama will continue to help them to maintain their power base in Syria though Hezbollah and the remains of the Assad regime without a deal.
Iran’s cold shoulder didn’t stop Obama. He moved on to his Sunni friend Turkish President Recep Erdogan.
Like the Iranians, since the war broke out, Erdogan has played a central role in transforming what started out as a local uprising into a regional conflict between Sunni and Shiite jihadists.
With Obama’s full support, by late 2012 Erdogan had built an opposition dominated by his totalitarian allies in the Muslim Brotherhood.
By mid-2013, Erdogan’s Muslim Brotherhood- led coalition was eclipsed by al-Qaida spinoffs. They also enjoyed Turkish support.
And when last summer ISIS supplanted al-Qaida as the dominant Sunni jihadist force in Syria, it did so with Erdogan’s full backing. For the past 18 months, Turkey has been ISIS’s logistical, political and economic base.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Hamas's Child Abuse Camps
For the third running year, thousands of Palestinian children from the Gaza Strip are receiving military training as part of Hamas's summer camps.
The camps, which are being held under the banner "Vanguards of Liberation," are aimed at preparing children as young as 15 for fighting against Israel. More than 25,000 children have joined this year's Hamas camps, according to Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip.
What is most disturbing about this practice is that the families are not hesitant to send their children to be trained as future jihadis in the war against Israel. On the contrary, many of the families interviewed in the Palestinian media in the past few days said they were proud to see their children being taught how to use various types of weapons.
Only a few Palestinians have dared to speak out against Hamas's exploitation of children. Palestinian activist Eyad al-Atal criticized Hamas for "depriving an entire generation of Palestinians of their childhood." He said that apart from creating new supporters of the Islamic State, the military training of the children was in violation of human rights principles.
Addressing the Hamas leaders, the al-Atal said: "Teach your children how to play, how to smile, how to rejoice. Build for them an institution for education and entertainment that would raise them on the love of Palestine and not how to get themselves killed."
Dozens of West Bank settlers treated for smoke inhalation after suspected arson by Palestinians
Israeli settlers in Judea and Samaria are reporting a number of cases of violent disturbances and suspected arson on Friday as the region endures the tense aftermath of what authorities are calling a terrorist attack against a Palestinian family that left a toddler dead.
Dozens of settlers in the southern Hebron Hills community of Beit Hagai were evacuated from their homes after suffering from smoke inhalation sustained as a result of a brush fire that is believed to have been set by local Palestinians.
In total, 30 people were given treatment. Fire crews worked to bring the blaze, which crept up dangerously close to the settlers' homes, under control.
Three people were evacuated by an ambulance, while the other victims, including a Palestinian passerby who sought to help douse the blaze, suffered light injuries. (h/t NormanF)

  • Friday, July 31, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon

From The Forward:
Hoping to energize activists on the left to take on the battle for approval of the diplomatic deal with Iran, President Obama is invoking the memory of the Iraq war and reminding his allies of who led the nation into it.

But what many liberals hear as a powerful rallying call to avoid entering another military quagmire in the Middle East could seem tone deaf to some in the organized Jewish community.

Obama, in a conference call he convened Thursday with activists from progressive organizations, sounded alarm bells and warned against the growing power of opponents of the Iran deal who are pressuring members of Congress to vote to disapprove the agreements.

In his 20 minute appeal, Obama repeatedly weaved two themes known to strike a chord among progressives: the Iraq war, and the role of big money in Washington’s decision making process.

When put together it sounded something like this: Criticism of the deal, he said, comes “partly from the $20 million that’s being spent lobbying against the bill,” and “partly from the same columnists and former administration officials that were responsible for us getting into the Iraq war.“

The wording, though chosen carefully as not to conflate the two groups, treaded into a highly sensitive area for some in the Jewish community.

The mention of $20 million is a clear reference to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which is leading the lobbying efforts against the Iran deal and has raised, through a sister organization, this sum in order to fight for disapproving the agreement.

Tying AIPAC and those who pushed for military intervention in Iraq in the same argument, could be read as accepting the notion that the American Jewish community was behind the Iraq war. It is a notion the organized pro-Israel community has been trying to fight off for over a decade.

The idea that Jews laid the groundwork for the Iraq war stems, in part, from the fact that several national security and defense advisers in the Bush administration were Jewish neo-conservatives who supported the war. The organized Jewish community, however, did not call on the Bush administration to launch a military offensive against Iraq.

The reference was not lost on Jewish officials who are attuned to this sensitivity.

“Canard,” tweeted William Daroff of the Jewish Federations of North America as Obama spoke on the conference call.

And while Obama may have had no intention of giving credence to it, the pronounced equation he made between those supporting the Iraq war and those opposing the Iran deal, is likely to make many in the community feel uneasy.
As is the reference to “billionaires” bankrolling the political effort to defeat the agreement in Congress.

“You’ve got a whole bunch of folks who are big check writers to political campaigns, running TV ads, and billionaires who happily finance SuperPACs and they are putting the squeeze on members of Congress,” Obama said.

Again, Obama made no direct reference to any individual involved in funding the drive against the Iran deal, but it is clear that most of the money raised by pro-Israel groups for this campaign has come from Jewish donors.

And the Republican Jewish Coalition was quick to issue a statement condemning Obama for “demonizing” opponents of the deal and reminding Jewish leaders that when George H. W. Bush in 1991 about the power of lobbyists, he was criticized by Jewish groups for what was seen as a negative reference to the political power of Jewish Americans.
This is really contemptible. Instead of focusing on actual arguments, Obama is demonizing his opponents to his "progressive" base. And he is using the same types of lazy stereotyping evoking the Jewish lobby that one would normally see in the writings of Walt/Mearsheimer.

Characterizing those opposed to the deal as being supportive of war is slanderous as well, and many card-carrying liberals oppose the deal.

Finally, there is something both disgusting and pathetic about the supposed leader of the free world implying that his influence on Congress cannot approach that of a $20 million campaign. Obama has enormous influence and controls many levers of power, all of which he is using to push through this deal that gets worse the more you look at it. This presidential conference call is an example - no one opposing the deal can put together an initiative as effective as this, no matter how much money they have. Yet even with this incredible power, he is having problems convincing many legislators. So now he is whining that AIPAC is putting money into opposing the deal The alternative is to roll over and meekly trust that a single man knows what is best for the world. .

Is this Obama's idea of how democracy works?

The good news:
Obama’s call to arms directed at progressives could indicate that push back against the deal is greater than the White House had initially expected. The president told listeners he had spoken to members of Congress who are “getting squishy” in face of the pressure from opponents of the deal.

This conference call shows Obama's utter contempt for any other points of view, and it reveals far more about the pettiness and insecurities of Obama than about the power of the Jewish lobby that he is crying over.

(h/t EBoZ)

From Ian:

Don’t let the dark side win
Can it be that this is taking place in the same country?
On a balmy Thursday, a small group of Jerusalem-area Palestinians and Israelis sat around a large table at a café near the Almog Junction on the way to the Dead Sea. The topic of this installment in their congenial monthly interfaith encounter between Muslims and Jews was the concept of heaven and hell in each religion.
A couple hours later, around 1,000 mostly Anglo music lovers of all ages gathered at Jerusalem’s Kraft Stadium for the annual Jerusalem Woodstock Revival featuring the good vibes and sounds of the 1960s. Both events symbolized the country aiming for its ideals – tolerance, understanding and freedom.
However at the same time as kippa-clad, tie-dye t-shirt wearers were grooving to the music of Cream and The Grateful Dead, three kilometers away a crazed Jewish extremist was stabbing six people who had gathered to support or participate in the Jerusalem Pride parade.
A few hours after that, two masked men – believed to be Jewish settlers, reached the Dawabsha home in the Palestinian village of Duma, broke windows, and hurled Molotov cocktails inside. The fire that resulted killed the family’s toddler, Ali Saad Dawabsha and seriously injured three members of his family.
Those incidents capped a week of unrest that can only be considered insurgence against the state of Israel – from within. Settlers hurled rocks at security forces in Beit El, after the troops began demolishing two illegal buildings. Bayit Yehudi MK Moti Yogev called to “bulldoze the Supreme Court” in response to an earlier High Court of Justice rejection of an appeal seeking to prevent their demolition.
Thursday night’s anti-gay stabbing, the Duma terror atrocity, the attacks by right-wing extremists on security forces and threats made by legislators against Israeli institutions all point to the fact that there are Jews in Israel who aren’t prepared to accept its democratic nature.
Alleged Jewish terrorists help the Islamists achieve their goals
Earlier this week, Hamas called for a “Day of Rage” on Friday to protest against what it claimed were efforts “to harm al-Aqsa Mosque” in Jerusalem. It is unlikely anybody in Israel’s security establishment was unduly bothered. Hamas has been trying for some time to heat up the West Bank, without much success. But what happened overnight in Duma, south of Nablus, entirely changes the picture.
The despicable murder of 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsha, in an attack that also leaves his mother, father and brother fighting for their lives, is likely to shatter the Palestinians’ indifference. The Day of Rage that seemed unlikely to bring thousands into the streets may now become a day of violent confrontation and the start of the escalation Hamas has long been seeking.
Sickeningly, the Jewish terrorists allegedly responsible for the Duma attack are helping an Islamist terror group achieve its goals.
There is, it should be stressed, no guarantee that a widespread Palestinian protest will erupt and be sustained. For years, the Palestinian masses have refrained from joining the Islamists’ efforts at escalation against Israel, for several reasons: a lack of motivation given the scars of the Second Intifada; the desire to find employment and a better quality of life; and deep disappointment in both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
Israelly Cool: Thou Shall Not Murder
Less than 24 hours. 2 shocking acts of murder and attempted murder.
Seemingly perpetrated by fellow Jews.
The first: Stabbing of participants at yesterday’s Jerusalem gay pride parade, by a so-called “Orthodox” Jew.
The second: The murder of a toddler in an arson attack perpetrated against a palestinian family, in an apparent “price tag attack.”
I cannot not address these acts.
Both attacks had a religious element. As a religiously observant Jew, I feel compelled to speak out loudly and clearly against this desecration of G-d’s name and corruption of the ideals of the Torah from where we are taught “Thou shall not murder.”
There is no way it is G-d’s will to have His name desecrated in commission of crimes going against one of His Ten Commandments.
There are no ifs and buts about it. These are deplorable, evil acts and we need to speak out promptly and clearly against them, just like we do against palestinian terrorism.
And yes, I do consider them also to be terrorism, rather than simply “hate crimes.” True, these are not the acts of terror organizations, but rather individuals. However, this is not a prerequisite for terrorism, which can be defined as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.”

  • Friday, July 31, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon
Earlier this week Haaretz reported that an Ottoman-era land deed shows that the illegal Arab village of Sussiya was really on private land owned by Arabs (although it admitted that they had no permission to build on land slated for agriculture.)

Is the land privately owned by the Arab Jabor family?

If you are relying on an Ottoman land deed, then you must also rely on Ottoman law to determine the owner of the land. And, as an op-ed in the JPost shows, the Ottoman land law proves that the land has not been privately owned for well over a century.


According to the Ottoman Land Code (OLC) 1858 (Article 68), if a person to whom the land was given (tassaruf – the right to usufruct of land) was absent (mahlul) for three years and did not use or cultivate the land, or pay fees and taxes, the land reverts to the governing authority. Under the OLC, the land could be passed to legal heirs within five years after the grantee’s death, however only with the approval of the governing authority and only as long as taxes were paid. If not claimed or taxes not paid, the property reverts to the authority.

As such, according to the Ottoman Land Code, for the grantee to continue to hold some sort of property rights, the governing authority had to be paid taxes and tithes. In other words, a kushan (Ottoman land deed) is not enough; the land had to be used and taxes and fees had to be paid.

And there are many other restrictions that applied, depending on the type of land and its various categories, which are delineated in the Land Code (Article 3).

If a person cultivated an area for 10 consecutive years, he could apply for a title deed (OLC Article 78). But, if the land were abandoned (mahlul), at any time, even though he had cultivated it for a few years, he would lose his claim to ownership and the grant.

Again, even if he could apply and didn’t, or didn’t pay the taxes or the tithes, the land would revert to the governing authority.

It is clear from documents, historical and more recent observations, maps (1890-1945) and aerial photographs that the land claimed by these Arab squatters at Sussiya has not been continuously cultivated, taxes have not been paid and inheritance has not been applied for. Therefore their claims of ownership based on an Ottoman Empire land grant from 1881 are baseless.
According to this, even at the end of the Ottoman Empire the land was no longer owned by the Jobar family, but it had reverted to being state land - a status that remained under British, Jordanian and now Israeli rule.


This morning, Amnesty tweeted:




Looking at the episode in Amnesty's Gaza Platform, we see that Amnesty researched the incident itself, and while it reached a biased conclusion, the most relevant facts were purposely excluded from the tweet:


Alaa al-Assar told Amnesty International’s fieldworker that there was no fighting in the area on the day of the attack and that no one living in the al-Bayoumi building was involved in any military activities, nor affiliated politically with any faction.

However, two neighbours maintained that, following the attack, they found out that at least four members of the al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, including a battalion commander and a communications officer, were apparently using the empty apartment in the building for some time prior to the attack. One of them was said to have been killed in the attack on the al-Bayoumi home, but his name is not known to Amnesty International and does not appear in the list of named individuals killed below. It was said that another was injured in the attack, while two others escaped and were killed in an attack on a nearby mosque. Amnesty International has been unable to verify this information.

However, even if the empty flat in the al-Bayoumi building was used by the al-Qassam Brigades, the loss of civilian life in this attack was clearly disproportionate. The survivors of the attack said that they received no warning and the Israeli army has made no statement concerning either the intended target or any warning given. The Israeli forces were under an obligation to take all feasible precautions, including – given the large number of civilians present – calling off the attack or issuing a warning to the building’s residents and those of neighbouring buildings to evacuate, before carrying out the attack.
This terrorist, Shadi Muhammad Jumaa Abu Zaher, seems to be one of the Hamas members killed in the attack. His name was not released in any list of fatalities, making him one of many Hamas militants whom Hamas hid from researchers like Amnesty to make attacks like this one appear to be purely against civilians. 100 such Hamas members have been identified so far by the Meir Amit ITIC. This research is available to everyone, including Amnesty International.



Notice how Amnesty puts in caveats around two independent testimonies saying that this was a Hamas command and control center, while most of its reporting in the same document quotes Gazans who accuse Israel of crimes without any questioning of their facts.

Amnesty here is knowingly lying about the laws of armed conflict. By saying that  "the loss of civilian life in this attack was clearly disproportionate" in relation to the military value of the building, without knowing what the military value was, is simply libel.

As we have shown, under international law, an attack on a communications hub in Serbia that was only knocked out for a single day was not considered a violation of the laws of armed conflict even though the number of fatalities were higher than this instance. Amnesty's claim of "clearly disproportionate" is flatly wrong. The entire reason Israel did not give warning in this case - as opposed to hundreds of other cases - was obviously because this was a high-value military target.

There was a violation of international law here, though.

Hamas was using the Bayoumi family and others as human shields. Amnesty gathered the evidence proving that Hamas chose a residential building to build a command center and station at least four militants there. Yet instead of blaming Hamas for putting the families at risk- precisely because international law does not tie the hands of an army when the value of a valid military  target is high - Amnesty makes up its own international law and accuses Israel of violating it.

Amnesty could have at least mentioned that two witnesses said that this was a Hamas military center. Instead, its tweet was designed to castigate Israel even though Amnesty knows the facts are being badly misrepresented by this tweet. And they assume, correctly, that few will research the actual incident.

Which proves, yet again, how little Amnesty shows regard for the truth when it comes to Israel.


  • Friday, July 31, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon
El Bashayer Online says that Hassan Nasrallah, head of Hezbollah, claimed in a speech that "Jewish rabbis" declared Netanyahu to be the Messiah. Nasrallah notes that the Jewish Messiah will not come from heavens but be born as a normal human being! Therefore, he says that the Messiah's first job is to destroy the Al Aqsa Mosque and Netanyahu is the man who is most likely to do that according to these rabbis.

Meanwhile, a Tunisian newspaper has an article about Muslims visiting a Jewish cemetery and being upset at how it is not being taken care of. The piece is written poetically, sad at the decay in the cemetery and wistful about the people whose lives are described ion the headstones in French and Hebrew, along with symbols and pictures.


Articles that are so sympathetic to Jews are rare in Arab media.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

From Ian:

Congressional Testimony: Anti-Boycott Laws Needed to Protect US, Allies from Economic Attack
The ultimate goal of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and its leaders is to delegitimize the state of Israel, legislators, legal experts and business leaders agreed in a congressional hearing Tuesday. The hearing was held by the Subcommittee on National Security of the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform.
“[BDS] is a familiar playback for people who have worked in various sanctions,” Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation of Defense of Democracies, told the hearing. “It’s a very a familiar playback about delegitimization for political ends, about establishing a country as an international pariah, and about using a combination of state action and private action in an economic and financial warfare campaign against that country.”
Dubowitz suggested that boycotts of U.S. allies set a dangerous precedent for the future, saying, “America and its allies must prepare for an increasingly dangerous era of political, economic, and financial warfare targeting the United States. As always, Israel is a canary in the coal mine.”
Tuesday’s hearing came in the wake of increased calls in European capitals and on American college campuses for boycott and divestment campaigns targeting Israel, which have sparked a contentious debate within the US government over how to best deal with the issue. Dubowitz’s comments echoed the tenor of the hearing, as members of Congress and witnesses identified BDS as a tactic that seeks to demonize Israel and stunt the peace process, and which harms both Palestinians and Israeli Arabs.
Fighting The Coming EU Economic War Against Israel
In this post, we focus on the testimony of Northwestern Univ. Law Professor Eugene Kontorovich
Prof. Kontorovich’s full written presentation contains important background as to the role Congress can play in opposing BDS consistent with U.S. law, policy and history of involvement in the issue. The subjects covered include:
- Background on Economic Warfare Against Israel
- U.S. Policy on Boycotts of Israeli Entities
- The Scope of Anti-boycott laws
- The Argument that Boycotts of Israel are Justified or Required by International law
- Potential European Measures and their Implications for International Trade Law
Here is Prof. Kontorovich’s appearance before Congress:
Fighting The Economic War on Israel
Prof. Eugene Kontorovich, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Committee, July 28, 2015


Epic House Testimony – BDS in business of “Manipulation, Violence and Destruction”
Today we focus on the testimony of Daniel Birnbaum, CEO of SodaStream International.
We previously have featured the success story of SodaStream in hiring Palestinians and bringing Israeli Jews, Arabs and Palestinians together:
Because it represents peace and coexistence, SodaStream has been a prime target of BDS, including failed attempts to get SodaStream commercials banned at the SuperBowl:
There were attempts to force SodaStream to close its West Bank factory.
When it decided to move the production to an Israeli factory for business reasons unrelated to BDS, the BDS movement nonetheless continued to boycott SodaStream — proof positive that the complaints about a factory in the West Bank were just pretext.
In France the lies spread by BDS about SodaStream were so extreme that SodaStream won in French court case against a boycott group.
In his congressional testimony, Birnbaum revealed the full depth and breadth of the attacks on SodaStream — threats, sabotage, and disruption around the world.
Birnbaum’s written testimony is embedded below, and contains extensive documentation of the BDS war against SodaStream.
BDS = "Manipulation, Violence and Destruction"


Impact of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (The full hour)
U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, 28 July 2015,


  • Thursday, July 30, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon
This series of tweets from Ayatollah Khamenei shows how deranged he is:










There you have it.

By the way, eight of the top ten wars with the highest death tolls in history originated in Asia, not counting the millions killed by Japan in WWII itself.




Vic Rosenthal's weekly column:


So Jonathan Pollard will finally be getting out of prison in November, after exactly one day less than thirty years in federal custody.

I won’t discuss the details of the injustice done to Pollard –  his shockingly disproportionate sentence, the government’s failure to honor its plea agreement, the improper behavior of the judge, the exaggeration of the damage he did, the way he took the rap for far more damaging spies. I’ve written about these things before (see here and here for example).

Pollard is being released because according to the law in effect when his offense was committed, a prisoner serving a life sentence becomes eligible for mandatory parole after 30 years. The Parole Board is required to consider whether he is likely to re-offend or be dangerous in some other way, and if he has been well-behaved in custody.

This is an entirely routine procedure. No action by the government is necessary for it to happen, although a phone call from the Justice Department or the President would surely have been sufficient to stop it. A hearing was held, and the Parole Board decided to release him; it even advanced the date by one day so that he would not have to be released on Shabbat.

There have been suggestions that the release is intended to somehow induce Israel to behave differently toward the administration’s Iran deal. This makes no sense at all. Would US officials really believe that Israel’s opposition to the deal, which it sees as a threat to its existence, could be softened by the early release of one prisoner, no matter how strongly the public feels about him? Most likely the administration simply did not want to upset US Jews, who have strong feelings in both directions about the case, and whose support will be important in the coming congressional struggle over the deal. So it chose to avoid involvement in Pollard’s parole altogether.

Parole is not clemency. The government can place restrictions on a parolee for a period of time depending on the nature of his crime. If a parolee violates the terms of his parole he may be arrested and sent back to prison for the remainder of his sentence. These restrictions may include regular reporting to a parole officer, drug tests, prohibition against talking to the media, and limitations on travel; but the parole board can impose any conditions that it likes as long as they are ‘reasonable’. In Pollard’s case, his lawyers report that one condition is that he may not leave the US for a period of 5 years. Without seeing the Parole Board’s Notice of Action, I am willing to bet there are also restrictions on speaking to journalists.

His lawyers have asked President Obama to grant Pollard executive clemency, which would enable him to go to Israel where his wife, Esther, lives. Alternatively, and without any implication of forgiveness for his crime, Obama has the power to simply waive the travel restriction. But an official of the National Security Council has announced that the president “has no intention of altering the terms of Mr. Pollard’s parole.”

I am not surprised. Michael Oren noted Obama’s coldness, approvingly quoting a “European colleague” who said “Obama’s problem is not a tin ear. It’s a tin heart.” Unlike Bill Clinton, who apparently considered pardoning Pollard before his CIA head, George Tenet, got him to back down, Obama has never given the slightest indication that he would countenance mercy toward Pollard. But there’s more to it than that.

I am convinced that this administration knows (and so did previous ones) that Pollard has information that might become a political bombshell if revealed. And there was a lot going on from 1979, when Pollard took his naval intelligence job, through 1985, when he was arrested.

I am not going to speculate about what Pollard might know. But the hypothesis that he does know something explains a lot about the way his case proceeded, which was much different from a run-of-the-mill espionage case. For this reason, I fully expected that he would die in prison. I believe today that he will never be allowed to be in a position from which he can speak freely.

Only the fortuitous combination of the need for Obama to tread lightly at this critical point in the congressional debate over the Iran deal and the 30-year anniversary of Pollard’s arrest has made his release possible. But if I’m right, then the severe limitations on his ability to talk will never be removed.

I’ve had arguments with American Jews who like to emphasize their own patriotism by vehemently attacking Pollard, usually relying more on emotional heat than the light of facts and logic. I don’t think what he actually did, or the damage it actually caused even come close to justifying his punishment.

The truth is that Pollard was treated as harshly as he was for two reasons: most importantly, to keep him quiet; and secondarily, as a lesson for American Jews who might be tempted to place their concern for their Jewish homeland above their loyalty to their Diaspora residence. Apparently this lesson was taken to heart by many.

He’s paid his debt, suffered more than enough. I would like to believe that someday he will be able to come home to live a quiet life with his wife in Israel.

But I doubt it.

From Ian:

Israel’s Foreign Ministry chief: Sunni Arab nations are our ‘allies’
The director general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Dore Gold, called the Middle East’s Sunni Arab nations “Israel’s allies.”
Gold used the term twice in a presentation Wednesday in New York focused on the shortcomings of the Iran nuclear deal.
“What we have is a regime on a roll that is trying to conquer the Middle East,” Gold said of Iran, “and it’s not Israel talking, that is our Sunni Arab neighbors — and you know what? I’ll use another expression – that is our Sunni Arab allies talking.”
Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations and a longtime adviser to Israeli prime ministers from the right-wing Likud Party, is also the author of a 2003 book on Saudi Arabia called “Hatred’s Kingdom: How Saudi Arabia Supports the New Global Terrorism.” Saudi Arabia has been one of the most vocal Arab opponents of US-Iran rapprochement and the Iran nuclear agreement.
The presentation, which was organized by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, also featured Amos Yadlin, a former chief of Israeli military intelligence who now heads Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies. Yadlin ran unsuccessfully for the Knesset in March on the center-left Zionist Union list.
Infamous Terrorist Samir Kuntar Not Killed in Syria Airstrikes Attributed to Israel, Brother Claims
The brother of infamous Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar was quick to deny Samir’s death on Wednesday after air strikes attributed to Israel were reported in Lebanon and Syria, Israeli news site NRG reported.
According to the reports, two Hezbollah operatives and three loyalists to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were killed in the strikes.
On Twitter, Bassem Kuntar claimed, “Samir is fine” and added his condolences to the “martyrs of the Syrian Arab resistance to the Israeli occupation in the Golan who were killed during the Israeli strike in the afternoon.”
Syrian State TV Reports Second Israeli Airstrike on Terror Targets in a Day
An Israeli warplane on Wednesday attacked a terrorist base belonging to a pro-Syrian government Palestinian terror group, Syrian state television claimed.
The Israeli plane purportedly attacked a military base along the Lebanon-Syria border belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a group that supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Reuters reported, citing the television report.
An Israeli military spokesman declined to comment on the reported strike.
Earlier on Wednesday, Arab media outlets reported that the Israeli Air Force struck a vehicle in the Quneitra region of southern Syria, killing at least two people and as many as five, who were possibly members of the Hezbollah terror group and the People’s Committees, a pro-Assad militia led by the Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar.
Netanyahu: Under nuke deal, Iran has months to hide illicit activity
If Iran honors the agreement, it will be able to build numerous nuclear weapons with the blessing of the international community, he lamented during a briefing for Israeli diplomatic correspondents in his Jerusalem office.
“The inspections regime is full of holes,” Netanyahu said. “This deal is terrible. It’s preferable to have no deal than this deal.”
Under the Comprehensive Joint Plan of Action that the world powers signed with Iran earlier this month, Iran has 24 days before it needs to grant international inspectors access to hitherto undeclared sites they suspect host nuclear activity.
But, Netanyahu said, if no agreement has been reached after that time elapses, the deal says that the complaint is to go to another committee trying to bridge the dispute, which will deal with the issue for another 30 days. If Iran still refuses to let inspectors into the site and the United Nations Security Council is involved, it will take another 30 days before any action is taken, the prime minister said.
“It could take a total of three months,” Netanyahu said.

  • Thursday, July 30, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon
Ma'an mentions:
Israeli forces routinely detain Palestinians throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem, often on the pretext of perceived security threats, and Addameer estimates that 40 percent of the Palestinian male population has been arrested at some point.
This has been quoted in mainstream media as well.

I have already debunked the Addameer claim that 800,000 Palestinian Arabs have been arrested by Israel a number of times. But I was curious if I could find any numbers that indicated the percentage of males that had been arrested.

I got pretty close.

In a survey of Arab women in 2011, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics asked a large sample of women "Has [sic] any of your family members been arrested/detained by the Israeli occupation" - within the previous 12 months or any time before that.

3.6% answered yes for the previous 12 months, and 20.8% said it had happened in the years before that.

For our purposes we will ignore the 3.6% because it can be assumed that a very high percentage of those had also been arrested previously.

So about 21% of Arab families in the territories had at least one arrest. Arab families tend to be large, so this survey covered the women's husbands grown sons and brothers. The average Arab household in the territories has about 6 members, but the question was for "family" and not "household" so I think we can assume 2 brothers and a father and/or a grown son, or an average of 3 adult men per woman's family. That means that a minimum of 7% of adult males have been arrested, assuming one arrest per family. We'll take a generous guess that one third of the families had more than one arrest, so no more than 10% of adult males have been arrested.

Now compare with this:
A large number of American men have already been arrested by the time they're in their early 20s, according to a new report.

The study, published on Monday in the journal Crime & Delinquency, found that nearly half (49 percent) of African-American men and 40 percent of white men have been arrested by the age of 23, "which can hurt their ability to find work, go to school and participate fully in their communities," according to a press release.

The research was based on an analysis of national survey data from 1997 to 2008 of teenagers and young adults. The arrests included minor crimes like truancy as well as serious violent crimes. It excluded traffic offenses.
Things are far worse for American men than for Palestinian Arabs.
  • Thursday, July 30, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon
From National Review:

President Obama’s claim that Congress must either back his deal with Iran or plan for war does not square with the advice he has received from his top general, Senate lawmakers learned on Wednesday.

Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, never presented Obama with such a binary choice. “At no time did that come up in our conversation nor did I make that comment,” Dempsey told Senator Joni Ernst (R., Iowa) during a Senate hearing on the Iran deal. “I can tell you that we have a range of options and I always present them.”

Secretary of State John Kerry insisted that Obama was not misrepresenting the situation. “It’s not a choice the president wants to make, but it’s the inevitable consequence of them moving to assert what they believe is their right in the furtherance of their program,” he said.

Dempsey also acknowledged that he advised the president not to agree to the lifting of sanctions pertaining to Iran’s ballistic missile program and other arms. “Yes, and I used the phrase ‘as long as possible’ and then that was the point at which the negotiation continued — but yes, that was my military advice,” he told Senator Kelly Ayotte (R., N.H.). In the event the new deal goes into effect, the arms embargoes will expire over the next several years.

Citing chapter and verse of the deal, Ayotte pointed out that the “plain language” of the bargain requires the United States “to help strengthen Iran’s ability to protect against sabotage of its nuclear program” — even to the point of warning Iran if Israel tries to launch cyberattacks against the program.

Dempsey seemed caught off guard when asked about that provision. “I hadn’t thought about that, senator, and I would like to have the opportunity to do so,” he told Ayotte.


That false choice is also a key talking point from J-Street, who incidentally is hosting a conference call with President Obama this evening to help him sell his disastrous nuclear deal.

Meanwhile, the President's willingness to oppose Congress even if he couldn't override his veto unnerved at least one member.

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), who has been one of the more skeptical Democrats on the agreement, said that Obama appeared ready to ignore Congress, even if lawmakers vote to kill the deal and then marshal the two-thirds majorities to override a White House veto.

“The main meat of what he said is, ‘If Congress overrides my veto, you do not get a U.S. foreign policy that reflects that vote. What you get is you pass this law and I, as president, will do everything possible to go in the other direction,’” Sherman told reporters off the House floor after the meeting.

“He’s with the deal — he’s not with Congress,” Sherman added. “At least to the fullest extent allowed by law, and possibly beyond what’s allowed by law.”

Sherman suggested that Obama could refuse to enforce the law and could actively seek to undermine congressional action in other countries, if Capitol Hill insists on stymieing the plan.
(h/t Mike, Yenta)
  • Thursday, July 30, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon
If Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is in anyone's gunsights, right now might be a very good time to pull the trigger.

Hezbollah, of course, is Iran's client. Lately Iran has been outsourcing Hezbollah terror leaders not only to fight in Syria but also to train and lead Shiite forces in Iraq and Yemen. As Foreign Affairs noted recently,

Hezbollah’s involvement in the war in Syria may have originally focused on supporting the Assad regime, but it now considers that war an existential battle for the future of the region, and for Hezbollah’s place in it. As a result, the group’s regional focus will likely continue for the foreseeable future. Together with other Iranian-backed militias, Hezbollah will continue to head an emerging Shiite foreign legion working both to defend Shiite communities and to expand Iranian influence across the region.
However, Hezbollah's base in Lebanon is weakening as it is expanding its footprint across the Middle East. Hundreds of Hezbollah fighters are reportedly refusing to go to battle. Lebanese media are uniformly critical of Hezbollah's adventurism in Syria and holding the government hostage.

If Nasrallah was assassinated now, it could deal a major blow not only to Hezbollah but to Iran.

Such an event would embolden rival Lebanese parties to push Hezbollah out of the way. Iran would not dare to directly interfere militarily in Lebanon as countries debate the Iran nuclear deal. Iran is now dependent on Hezbollah for outsourcing its influence across the region (as well as terror) but without a leader Hezbollah's influence in Yemen, Iraq and Syria would be blunted and perhaps eliminated - dealing a great blow to Iran's regional aspirations. Without its Lebanese base, Hezbollah would have no anchor and would lose a great deal of influence.

On the other hand, if (and when) the world acquiesces to the Iranian nuclear deal, Iran would be emboldened to increase its aid to Hezbollah and increase its influence, an influence that within a short time will include nuclear bullying.

This is the perfect time for an espionage agency to pull out the stops and find the basement Nasrallah is hiding in.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

From Ian:

Honest Reporting: Dr. Jonathan Spyer Makes Sense of the Middle East
With the rise of the so-called Islamic State, multiple groups fighting each other in the disintegrating states of Syria and Iraq, the bitter Sunni-Shia conflict and the competing interests of state actors and their proxies, the Middle East has never been more confusing for the casual observer. Not to mention the recent Iranian nuclear deal that has the potential to alter the balance of power within the region.
To make sense of it all, over 90 people joined HonestReporting to hear Dr. Jonathan Spyer, the Director of the Rubin Center, IDC Herzliya and a fellow at the Middle East Forum on July 23 in Jerusalem.
Using his experiences traveling to some of the Mideast hot spots, including most recently Iraq, Dr. Spyer expertly wove together the various threads that link the multiple conflicts affecting the region as well as addressing the impact of the Iran’s nefarious influence and the effects on Israeli security and diplomacy. He addressed how those Arab states that lacked a unified national identity or national institutions have imploded over the course of the past five years, for example Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, while others that did have strong national identities and institutions such as Egypt or Tunisia, have avoided this scenario.
Dr. Spyer explained how with the collapse of states, older sub-state, primordial identities have resurfaced forming the basis of the various political and military groups battling over the remains of those collapsed states. He traced the beginning of the process to Syria in the summer of 2012 when the Assad regime took a strategic decision to pull back from a very large swathe of territory in the country’s north and east in the belief at that time that he could reconquer the area in the future. Instead, what is clear is that this ushered in the creation of separate entities – a Sunni rebel entity, a Kurdish entity. The Sunni rebel entity has further splintered into other entities including Islamic State and Al-Nusra. Dr. Spyer also outlined how Iraq had also split into separate entities.
Dr. Jonathan Spyer: HonestReporting Speaker Series


Elliott Abrams: Bensouda Saves the ICC
In a recent blog post, I noted the 2-to-1 decision by a “pre-trial chamber” to overturn the decision of International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda not to proceed against Israel in the Mavi Marmara case. This was the first time such a decision of the ICC Prosecutor had been overturned.
As several people who wrote in comments added, the chamber didn’t force Bensouda to prosecute–just to look at the case again. So she did. Last week she said she was “carefully studying the decision and will decide on the next steps in due course. The decision on whether to open an investigation depends on the facts and circumstances of each situation.”
Having looked again at the facts and circumstances, she has stuck with her decision. In a very quick reply to the judges, she told them that their decision failed to consider “the unique context of violent resistance aboard the Mavi Marmara.” She’s absolutely right.
And she has done the ICC a great favor. As my original blog post noted, there has always been political pressure on the ICC to become–like the U.N. Human Rights Council–an Israel-bashing enterprise. That would destroy whatever chance the tribunal has of gaining legitimacy. The first ICC Prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo of Argentina, avoided that trap, and now Bensouda is doing the same. She has saved the ICC from driving into a dead end where only politics and bias could be found.
Israel rejects ‘flawed’ war crime claim by rights group
Israel accused Amnesty of “a false narrative – claiming that four days of military operations by the IDF were in direct response to the killing and kidnapping of one IDF soldier,” the foreign ministry said, referring to the Israel Defense Forces.
“It seems that Amnesty forgot that there was an ongoing conflict – during which the IDF was operating to stop rocket fire and neutralize cross-border assault tunnels, and Palestinian terrorist organizations were actively engaging in intensive conflict against the IDF from within the civilian environment.”
Last summer’s 50-day war took a heavy toll on Gaza, killing 2,251 Palestinians, including more than 500 children according to Palestinian tallies. Israel claimed as many as 1,000 of the casualties were fighters.
Seventy-three people were killed on the Israeli side, including 67 soldiers.
Israel officially blames Hamas for Palestinian civilian casualties, noting that the group, which rules Gaza, often launched attacks from within residential areas.

  • Wednesday, July 29, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon
From Ma'an:

The body of an al-Qassam Brigades fighter killed during last summer's Israeli military offensive on Gaza was found beneath the rubble of a destroyed home in Gaza City on Wednesday.

Medical crews pulled the body of Mumen al-Batsh from under the rubble of a damaged home that workers were leveling in the al-Tuffah neighborhood.
That means that there were at least seven terrorists in the building when the IDF attacked it - a house that Amnesty International tells the world was not a military target.

Now, is it possible that Hamas is delaying the removal of rubble for so long because it would reveal the military targets inside the house?
  • Wednesday, July 29, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon
Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory

Check out their Facebook page.



Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, July 29 - Attempts to promote Saudi Arabia and its capital as a forward-looking, culture-rich destination have hit a snag as a flagship project, the Royal Saud Ballet Company, remains unable to recruit top-flight dancers because of a law mandating a shapeless, full-body dress for all females. Ballerinas fear the garment will interfere with the dancing.

King Salman has tried to continue the modernization of the kingdom begun by his predecessors while maintaining strict enforcement of traditional religious behavior. This has resulted in ultra-modern trappings jarringly juxtaposed with ancient mores, such as fleets of luxury cars that only men are allowed to drive, or the latest technology used to broadcast the beheadings of homosexuals. In the case of the would-be ballet, simply finding experienced instructors has proved next to impossible, threatening a pet modernization project with closure even before it gets off the ground.

Consultants helped place ads in European, American, and Asian publications, seeking both dancers and teachers to participate in, and train ballerinas for, the nascent company. The ads promised lucrative returns and the exciting opportunity to help birth what Salman hopes will become a leading cultural institution in the region and beyond. However, few, if any, interested applicants proceeded past the first set of inquiries, after discovering that all performances, or even rehearsals in the presence of men, would have to take place in full burkhas, which would impede the dancers' movements and possibly put them at risk of injury while performing certain textbook ballet moves.

Additionally, the candidates discovered, there would be no simultaneous dancing of men and women, a public modesty requirement that automatically rules out almost all classical ballets. Officials have repeatedly insisted they seek to make Riyadh a cultural powerhouse, not an experimental, avant-garde venue for productions of marginal impact, a desire that conflicts with the availability of popular ballets involving unisex ballet productions.

With no credible applicants for teaching positions, and barely a handful of potential dancers - mostly relatives of the royal family who already trained in Europe - the managing director of the ballet company announced a delay last month in the scheduled debut performance. Planners had hoped to make a splash on the regional cultural stage with a modified, a version of Balanchine's choreography for The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky, adapted for local tastes both to enhance modesty and to remove any possible references to non-Islamic cultural touchstones. Opening night was initially scheduled to grace a newly opened Royal Saud Ballet Hall, slated to begin operations next May. But now ballet officials are considering indefinite postponement, unless the lack of seasoned, willing talent can be addressed soon.

If in fact the ballet does not come to fruition, Minister of Culture Ahaf Bin Toqin has already developed preliminary plans to repurpose the ballet hall for a different, more popular spectacle: the beheading of homosexuals. "Our first crop of subjects will probably come from the cohort of applicants for the male roles," he predicted.
From Ian:


Child-Killer Samir Kuntar 'Killed in Syria Airstrike'
Reports are coming out that Israel targeted and killed the notorious child murderer Samir Kuntar today (Wednesday).
According to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the Israel Air Force struck a vehicle carrying five fighters loyal to dictator Bashar al-Assad. Three of the passengers were from the Syrian People's Committees, while Kuntar and the fifth person belonged to Lebanese terror group Hezbollah.
Kuntar was born in Lebanon to a Druze family. In 1978 he and three other terrorists from the now-defunct Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) snuck into Israel by boat and attempted to kidnap the Haran family from their home in Nahariya. The wife managed to hide in a crawlspace with the two-year-old daughter, but the husband and four-year-old were taken.
Kuntar and his associates took their hostages to the nearby beach, where Israeli soldiers and police officers encountered them. According to the official account, Kuntar shot the father in the back, then beat the daughter to death.
JPost Editorial: Pollard and Iran
Former US special envoy to the Middle East Dennis Ross admitted in his 2004 book, The Missing Peace, that he advised then-president Bill Clinton against releasing Pollard in the framework of the 1998 Wye Accords negotiated by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his first term (this despite Ross’s belief Pollard’s life sentence was disproportionate and that he deserved to go free unconditionally).
Ross argued that Pollard was simply far too valuable as a bargaining chip vis-à-vis Israel to be released cheaply. Ross thus furnished us with the definitive explanation for Pollard’s inexcusably drawn-out agony.
Pollard has long suspected as much and had urged that he not be used as a “sweetener” to persuade Israel to agree to dangerous unilateral concessions. Despite his prolonged plight, Pollard has repeatedly pleaded not to be traded in return for the release of Arab murderers and terrorists, whose crimes bear no relation to his case and are morally incomparable to it.
The very thought that Pollard would now be exploited to “sweeten” both Israeli opinion and that of American Jews on the Iran issue is morally repugnant in the extreme.
It is instructive to recall that Pollard’s sin was passing information to a friendly country on such matters as Iraqi and Syrian WMDs, Soviet arms shipments to Damascus and Libyan air defenses. Indeed, this was largely data withheld by the Pentagon in violation of the 1983 Memorandum of Understanding between the US and Israel.
The departure from all punitive precedents in Pollard’s case smells foul. Iran’s nukes constitute an existential danger to the Jewish state. Hence, it is unthinkable that anyone should consider Pollard’s release as rendering the Iran deal more palatable to Israelis.
This is an insult to our intelligence that condescendingly belittles the gravity of our predicament.
Jonathan Pollard on forthcoming release: 'I'm looking forward to being reunited with my wife'
Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard will be released from prison after serving 30 years of a life sentence on November 20, the US Parole Commission announced Tuesday.
The Parole Commission relayed the decision to Pollard's lawyers, Elliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman. Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked was also told and broke the news on Twitter.
"I am looking forward to being reunited with my beloved wife Esther," Pollard said through his attorneys. "I would like to thank the many thousands of well-wishers in the United States, in Israel, and throughout the world, who provided grass roots support by attending rallies, sending letters, making phone calls to elected officials, and saying prayers for my welfare. I am deeply appreciative of every gesture, large or small."
Pollard's lawyers said that they are grateful and delighted that their client will be released soon. "The decision to grant parole was made unanimously by the three members of the Parole Commission, who make their decisions independently of any other US government agency. The decision is not connected to recent developments in the Middle East."

  • Wednesday, July 29, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon
Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah whose loyalty to Iran is total, gave yet another speech about how "Palestine" is the most important issue in the Muslim world.

Parts of the speech reveals what bothers him:

Sayyed Nasrallah said that the resistance project was inflicted by major losses in the past year, due to the events taking place in the region.

“The most major loss is the fact that Palestine is now out of the international and popular concerns, something which gave the enemy a historical chance in order to implement its scheme,” his eminence said.
What is that scheme? Ethnic cleansing? Expansion from the Nile to the Euphrates?

Not quite:

Sayyed Nasrallah noted that the Zionist enemy has been seeking to normalize ties with several Arab states, adding that Tel Aviv is taking advantage of the losses inflicted upon the resistance project.

However, he stressed that despite “the regrettable events taking place in the region, there are strength elements within our Ummah that the enemy still fears.”
And one more thing he fears from Israel:
Meanwhile, Sayyed Nasrallah pointed out that the existential struggle which minorities have been engaged in has made from Israel a minor threat.
We warn against considering Israel as the “protector” of some minorities in the region, we may reach this situation someday.”
He seems to be referring to the Druze.

One other thing: While Iran tells people in English that it never starts wars with other countries, Nasrallah explains what they do engage in:

The resistance leader said that both Iran and Hezbollah stand with whoever raises the flag of the resistance, regardless his sectarian or political belongings.

He called on any Muslim or Arab country to bear its responsibilities towards Palestine.

“We guarantee that Iran will pave the way for any Muslim or Arab country to lead the resistance project if they bear the responsibility of defending Palestine,” Sayyed Nasrallah said.
Iran is willing to risk the lives of every Arab to fight Israel. Very big of them.


Right after I posted my last article on Amnesty's latest report based on its executive summary, the actual Amnesty report about the fighting in Rafah last year was released. It took me about two minutes to identify the first lie.

An engineer corps soldier who took part in the incursion told Breaking the Silence that his orders were “to make a big boom before the ceasefire”, without being given any specific targets
The Breaking the Silence quote shows that this soldier was not in Rafah to begin with! He was talking about a completely different battle in northern Gaza.

And even his testimony shows the exact opposite of Amnesty's thesis of a bloodthirsty, vengeful IDF:

Before the first ceasefire they told us we were going in [to the Gaza Strip] to take down a house. We went down quick and got the gear we needed ready and then we asked, “Which house are we taking down?” And they said, “We want to make a big boom before the ceasefire.” Like that, those were the words the officer used, and it made everyone mad. I mean, whose house? They hadn’t picked a specific one – just ‘a’ house. That’s when everyone got uneasy. At that moment we decided pretty unanimously that we would go speak with the team commander and tell him we simply aren’t going to do it, that we aren’t willing to put ourselves at risk for no reason. He chose the most inappropriate words to describe to us what we were being asked to do. I guess that’s how it was conveyed to him. “We’re not willing to do it,” we told him. It was a very difficult conversation. Him being an officer, he said, “First of all, so it’s clear to everyone, we will be carrying this thing out tonight, and second, I’m going to go find out more details about the mission for you.” He returned a few hours later and said, “It’s an ‘active house' (being used by combatants for military purposes) and it’s necessary you take it down, and not someone else, because we can’t do it with jets – that would endanger other houses in the area, and that’s why you’re needed.” In the end the mission was miraculously transferred to a battalion with which we were supposed to go in, and we were let off the hook. After the ceasefire a bulldozer and emulsion trucks (transporting the explosive liquid) and the driller (a drilling system for identifying tunnels) came to our area, and work started on the tunnels in our zone.
All Amnesty wants you to get out of this is that some IDF officer said he wanted to make a big boom on a random house, and it is clear that this was not the mission at all. And the very idea of such a mission is so anomalous and disgusting to IDF soldiers that even when they think their commander is ordering them to do so, they refuse!

Amnesty, of course, has no problem lying and claiming that this is proof of Israeli war crimes miles away.



Meanwhile, I am looking in the full report for quotes to support Amnesty's claim in their executive summary that
Public statements by Israeli army commanders and soldiers after the conflict provide compelling reasons to conclude that some attacks that killed civilians and destroyed homes and property were intentionally carried out and motivated by a desire for revenge – to teach a lesson to, or punish, the population of Rafah for the capture of Lieutenant Goldin.
What public statements support that conclusion? Amnesty's full report supplies exactly one that does no such thing:
Israeli army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner said Israel’s assaults were mostly aimed at convincing Hamas never to try it again: “When they come out of their bunkers and they look around, they are going to have to make a serious estimation of whether what they have done was worth it.” These statements indicate an intention to generate material damage as a deterrent.
Lerner's statement does not in any way indicate that the IDF intended to inflict damage as a deterrent. He was talking about damage that occurs during the course of a war where Hamas chooses to hide among civilians, necessitating the destruction of civilian buildings that Hamas turned into military targets.  Amnesty has no shred of evidence that the IDF chose a single target for non-military reasons.

And this is the quote that Amnesty is using as proof of Israeli war crimes. It betrays not only their willingness to twist the facts to reach their pre-conceived notions, but also a willful ignorance of how modern armies make their decisions.

Amnesty chooses to anthropomorphize the IDF as a vindictive person, not as an organization with multiple layers of checks and balances - and there is plenty of documentation that shows every step that goes into IDF decision making that contradicts Amnesty's blanket statements.

The organization is beneath contempt.

  • Wednesday, July 29, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon
Amnesty International today is releasing yet another report that tries to prove Israel committed war crimes in last year's Gaza war, this time regarding the events surrounding the kidnapping of Lt. Hadar Goldin in Rafah - who was abducted during a ceasefire.

Just like the Gaza Platform, the upcoming report uses the services of the anti-Zionist "Forensics Architecture" team to take one-sided evidence and twist it to make it look like an impartial investigation.

At the moment, only the executive summary is available. Yet even its use of sources proves its bias.

It quotes two IDF soldiers who were interviewed by "Breaking the Silence" to prove purposeful Israeli fire into civilian areas.

An Israeli infantry officer described to Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence the events that
ensued after the Hannibal Directive was announced on the radio:
“The minute ‘Hannibal Directive’ is declared on the radio, there are consequences. There’s a fire procedure called the ‘Hannibal fire procedure’ – you fire at every suspicious place that merges with a central route. You don’t spare any means.”
Here's the entire testimony:

So I heard that the reconnaissance platoon got into a confrontation, and that it looked like we were talking about two [IDF soldiers] dead and one captured. That’s when the mess got started. The minute ‘Hannibal Directive’ is declared on the radio, there are consequences. There’s a fire procedure called the ‘Hannibal fire procedure’ – you fire at every suspicious place that merges with a central route. You don’t spare any means. A thousand shells were fired that Friday morning, at all the central intersections. The entire Tancher [Route] (the continuation of Highway 4 in Gaza) was bombed. The air force attacked places inside Rafah City, places in which we knew there were Hamas militants. Was there collateral damage to houses? I’m sure there was. It was very intense, that incident. After the area was hit by 1,000 shells that Friday morning, I saw Tancher in ruins. Everything totally wrecked.
Even the BtS soldier says that there was no intent to hurt civilians and that no civilian structures were directly targeted..

Here's Amnesty's second quote:
An artillery soldier said his battery was “firing at a maximum fire rate” right into inhabited areas.

The full testimony:
During occasions when there was a significant amount of fire [directed at our forces], or during the ground incursion to Gaza – to Shuja’iyya – I know my unit fired a lot. One of the senior officers in my unit talked about how we had fired [at targets] that were in very close proximity to our forces, how we had really saved them. He said it was an important mission and that apparently during it we had also killed a number of civilians. They said that tragically, some uninvolved civilians were apparently hit, but that it was a situation where it would either be our troops or civilians [being harmed]. He said that it wasn’t even a question, that it was obvious that our troops [came first]. They emphasized the fact that that was obviously not done on purpose.

Did he say what the mission itself was, what the role of the [artillery] battery was?
To assist them with artillery fire. If they need flare shells, or if they need smoke to conceal themselves, or, of course, if they need explosive shells to evacuate [forces from the field]. The battery fired 900 shells [that night], and the battalion fired about 1,200 or 1,500, I think. There were certain stages during which we were firing at a maximum fire rate – after Goldin was kidnapped, (an IDF soldier captured near Rafah) and in Shuja’iyya.
Keep in mind that breaking the Silence itself cherry picks IDF soldiers' testimonies already to make the IDF look as bad as possible. Amnesty is further taking the BtS quotes out of context as evidence of war crimes.

It is not a war crime, or a violation of international law, to prioritize soldier's lives higher than unintended civilian casualties. On the contrary - it is what a normal military commander is supposed to do in every army on Earth. But Amnesty does not like to tel its readers what actual international law is.

Other quotes that Amnesty supposedly claims as evidence of "war crimes" are not directly quoted in the executive summary - we just have to trust Amnesty that these quotes exist and mean what they claim they mean:

Public statements by Israeli army commanders and soldiers after the conflict provide compelling reasons to conclude that some attacks that killed civilians and destroyed homes and property were intentionally carried out and motivated by a desire for revenge – to teach a lesson to, or punish, the population of Rafah for the capture of Lieutenant Goldin.

There is consequently strong evidence that many such attacks in Rafah between 1 and 4 August were serious violations of international humanitarian law and constituted grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention or other war crimes.
If they have quotes like that, why not use them in this summary? Because the quotes are not nearly as clear-cut as Amnesty wants the world to believe, and they know that reporters will trust their analysis of the quotes rather than evaluate them directly.

Interestingly, the executive summary doesn't mention the number of civilians killed in this operation. BtS said "between 41-150 Palestinians were killed, many of them civilians." That is a very imprecise number. It will be interesting to see if the Forensics Architecture team, supposedly committed to unbiased research, bothered during the past year to determine exactly how many civilians were actually killed during these three days of unbridled firepower in an urban battlefield where Hamas is purposefully hiding among civilians.

Civilians were killed in Rafah. It was tragic. Amnesty wants the world to believe that it was deliberate and they are willing to spend lots of money and effort to twist the truth to reach their pre-determined conclusions.

UPDATE: The final report does not contain a single quote that indicates that IDF soldiers intended to "take revenge." The only quote from a soldier that mentions "revenge" says the exact opposite: '“Anyone who abducts should know that he will pay a price. This was not revenge. "

Amnesty is lying.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

  • Tuesday, July 28, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon
I had tweeted this a couple of days ago but might as well post it here too:





And I tweeted this joke on Wednesday, thanks to Yerushalimey for coming up with it:

From Ian:

Pollard will be freed November 20, Israel's justice minister announces
Jonathan Pollard, the former civilian analyst for the US Navy convicted of spying for Israel, will be released from US jail on November 20 after serving 30 years of a life sentence.
“The decision to grant parole was made unanimously by the three members of the [US] Parole Commission, who make their decisions independently of any other US government agency,” Pollard’s lawyers said in a statement. “The decision is not connected to recent developments in the Middle East.”
In a statement Tuesday evening, Israel’s Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked also confirmed Pollard’s impending release.
Pollard was formally eligible for parole on November 21, but will be freed a day earlier — Friday the 20th — as the 21st is a Saturday, Channel 2 television said.
Under the terms of his parole, Pollard will not be able to leave the US for five years, Channel 2 said, although President Barack Obama can overrule this condition.
His lawyers, Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman, have asked Obama to intervene and allow Pollard to leave the country and relocate to Israel, the Wall Street Journal reported. (h/t Yenta Press)
How to Treat Jonathan Pollard in the Age of Edward Snowden
What Pollard did was bad enough; I have no desire to sugarcoat it. But the constitutional fact of the matter is that it stopped well short of treason. The government poisoned the very proceeding in which it had promised not to seek a life term. So Pollard went away for a longer stretch than America has ever given anyone for a similar crime. No one need feel shy about calling it an injustice.
Williams himself likened the government to the witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. He ended his opinion by quoting the famous curse against them — “And be these juggling fiends no more believ’d, / That palter with us in a double sense; / That keep the word of promise to our ear, / And break it to our hope.” In all my years covering the courts, I don’t think I’ve read an opinion quite like it.
How ironic it is that Pollard, who went away before the rise of the World Wide Web, will emerge from prison — if he does emerge — into the age of Wikileaks. Today our university campuses are lionizing those who have disclosed our secrets in a protest against what they see as abuses by the government. They fear the very government from which Pollard purloined his packets.
So what are all those who rode the high horse against Pollard going to do when Edward Snowden and Julian Assange are put in the dock? Pollard passed his secrets to an American friend. Assange ran a Web site that made our secrets available not only to friends but to enemies. Snowden did something similar, passing secrets to the press. They claim to be acting on high-minded principles. So did Jonathan Pollard.
NGO Monitor: Questions for Amnesty on the Rafah Report and Pseudo-Fact-Finding
At a press conference tomorrow (July 29) in Jerusalem, officials from Amnesty International will market a new report, building on its error-filled and blatantly biased “Gaza Platform,” and promote claims that it can “shed[]s new light on violations of international law committed” during the 2014 Gaza conflict. Amnesty is repackaging the pseudo-research of other non-credible political advocacy NGOs, and masking the absence of substance with the illusion of “forensic” work, according to Jerusalem-based research institute NGO Monitor.
Any journalists, diplomats, and others who might be in attendance, having cleared Amnesty’s selection process used to block potential critics, should avoid taking these “research” claims at face value. Amnesty has been shown to lack any credible research methodology, as well as military and legal expertise.
Here are 10 questions that Amnesty should answer about its Rafah report, “Gaza Platform” (which forms the basis for Amnesty’s Rafah publication), and partnership with other anti-Israel political advocacy NGOs:

  • Tuesday, July 28, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon
We've already seen how Dave Zirin, "sports writer" for The Nation  who has a special obsession with Israel, disregards facts that get in the way of his hate. And how The Nation has no interest in correcting his egregious and provable lies.

He's at it again. This time he is so incensed that some NBA players are visiting Israel that he is telling them that Israel is responsible for every time a black person is assaulted or killed by an American cop.

Yes, really.

On December 12, you were one of several Sacramento Kings players to wear an “I Can’t Breathe” shirt during warm-ups. The shirts were worn to commemorate the last words of Staten Island’s Eric Garner and protest his death at the hands of the New York Police Department. It was a brave act, a link in a chain, which aligned some of the NBA’s biggest stars with the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

Of course, lethal police brutality has been directed at black Americans for as long as there have been police. But the #BlackLivesMatter movement has emerged out of a dramatic spike in this violence. Roughly 400 people were shot and killed by police over the first five months of 2015, according to a Washington Post analysis. That is more than twice the average of the past decade. Those killed are primarily black and brown, as police departments have outfitted themselves in military fashion. Finding justice for those killed has proven to be a near impossible task.

This epidemic of killings has been aggravated by the influence of Israeli police practices on US policing. Since 9/11, police chiefs and high-ranking officers from across the United States—from Ferguson to New York City—have traveled to Israel for training in the arts of suppression. As Ali Winston reported, “[a]t least 300” chiefs from across the country have gone to Israel for these workshops. Former US Capitol Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer called Israel “the Harvard of antiterrorism” after one all-expenses-paid trip. The NYPD, which took the life of Eric Garner and broke the leg of NBA player Thabo Sefolosha, now has an office in Tel Aviv.

Since 9/11, Israel has turned its repressive capabilities into an exportable commodity. It instructs on surveillance, crowd control tactics, and psychological operations like keeping lights on police cars at all times.
Zirin is not the first idiot to make this argument. Rania Khalek did the same in May, and I demolished it then:

First of all, the programs that Khalek highlights are not for riot control. One of them mentions a demonstration of "crowd control" during a terror attack - not a training session - but most of the training was for counterterrorism techniques such as intelligence gathering and operations to capture terrorists before they begin their operations; border security, mechanisms to delay terrorists on their way to a target such as checkpoints; and site security - the protection of the restaurants, shopping malls and buses that are the preferred terrorist targets, preventing bombings, securing airports and border crossings and performing mass rescue operations.

Secondly, even if Israel did offer training in riot control, it is up to individual police departments to decide on their techniques. They wouldn't photocopy Israel's manual for riot control. They take the lessons that they like and incorporate them into their own programs. One has to be thoroughly consumed with hate in order to blame Japan if someone kills another with a karate kick. (In fact, I am very surprised that Khalek didn't notice that the Baltimore police offers krav maga seminars. )

(For those interested, here is a blog post from someone who took Baltimore cop riot training in 2000, with a comment from someone who took it in 2008. Nothing about Israel, of course. )

According to Khalek's moronic logic, there is another organization responsible for Baltimore police actions:

The United Nations.

Yes, the UN offers police commander training, and one of the sessions was attended by a major in the Baltimore Police Department.  Clearly the UN is culpable for the Baltimore riots.

Do you hear how stupid that sounds?

That is how stupid Rania Khalek's argument, the same argument used by other Israel haters, is.

But it isn't stupidity that animates Khalek's half-baked theories. It is pure hate.

The Electronic Intifada readers who buy this argument, however, are truly stupid.
The same goes for readers of The Nation who buy this garbage.

Zirin also mentions that Israeli police used tear gas against Ethiopian protesters, not mentioning that the response was only to those who were throwing bottles and bricks while trying to storm a police headquarters.  He of course didn't mention that subsequent rallies by Ethiopian Jews who were rightly protesting discrimination were successful and changes are being made including Israeli police promising to hire more Ethiopian Jews. But that doesn't fit Zirin's narrative of racist Israelis.

The only person filled with hate here is Zirin. But blind, irrational, hate against Israelis is perfectly OK for people who pretend they are against blind, irrational hate.

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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 12 years and over 25,000 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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