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July 1, 2016 / 25 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Islamic Republic of Iran’

I Stand By My critique of ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt

Monday, May 30th, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s website, Candidly Speaking from Jerusalem}

Jonathan Greenblatt’s response to my criticism of his embrace of J Street, alleging that I distorted his message, is disingenuous and reaffirms my assessment.

Invoking clichés “that there are steps Israel can take to ensure the viability of a two-state solution” are ill-becoming the head of a major Jewish organization whose contact with Israel has been minimal. It only serves to encourage U.S. President Barack Obama and the heads of other governments to intensify pressure against us. Greenblatt is surely aware that there is a consensus in Israel supporting immediate separation from the Palestinians, but also a recognition that further unilateral concessions in the absence of a genuine peace partner would endanger our security.

Greenblatt explicitly condemned Jews who deny the rights of “marginalized Palestinians” and fail to recognize the legitimacy of “the Palestinian narrative.” When he condemned “those who place blame on one side instead of putting forward solutions that acknowledge the role and responsibility of both sides”, he provided grist for the propaganda mills of those applying moral equivalence to Israelis and the Palestinians sanctifying terrorism and bent on our destruction. Greenblatt now reiterates (as I initially stated) that in his address to J Street, he also made remarks supporting Israel and condemning anti-Semitism. So what?

Jewish communists, the antecedents of J Street, also described themselves as “pro-peace” and defended Soviet anti-Semitism while portraying themselves as “pro-Jewish.” Likewise, J Street claims to be “pro-Israel” despite raising funds to support anti-Israeli congressional candidates, lobbying the Obama administration to exert further pressure on Israel, accepting generous funding from George Soros to support the government’s appeasement of Iran, and constantly condemning the security policies of the Israeli government.

Greenblatt cannot refute this. Does he really believe that Jews whose principal objective is to undermine and demonize Israel and encourage foreign intervention should still be considered members of the mainstream of the Jewish community and included in the big tent? Would the ADL seek to address and engage in dialogue with Jews promoting racism or homophobia?

The ADL national director goes further. He endorses the Black Lives Matter movement despite its open hostility to Israel. He also laments that the viciously anti-Israeli fringe group If Not Now is denied “safe space” for discourse and has informed them that the ADL “shares your commitment to change.”

Likewise, Greenblatt claims that the J Street group he addressed comprised “deeply thoughtful college students whose commitment to Israel is genuine and whose passion on the issue is impressive.” His objective is to maintain “a true sense of community and inclusion” with them.

Setting aside the legitimacy provided to J Street when endorsed by the head of a major Jewish body, one would have expected Greenblatt to spell out realities to these youngsters rather than praising them and engaging in kumbaya. He should surely have admonished them and explained why it is utterly immoral for Diaspora Jews to publicly campaign against security-related policies with life-and-death implications endorsed by the vast majority of Israelis.

Furthermore, as head of the organization whose principal mandate is to combat anti-Semitism, Greenblatt should have focused his address on emphasizing how despicable it was for students to demonize Israel while their Jewish student peers at many campuses were subjected to unprecedented waves of anti-Israeli incitement and anti-Semitism.

Instead, Greenblatt nonsensically justifies his position, stating that “disagreement and dissent are not Jewish ideas — they are Jewish ideals.” In other words, Jews who defame Israel and canvas foreign governments to intensify pressure on the Jewish state should be welcomed.

He goes one step further and says, “Whether Leibler likes it or not, these are the future leaders in our community and country.” Well, like any committed Jew, I certainly would not “like it.” And if Greenblatt endorses people sharing the views of J Street heading our community, the ADL Board would be well advised to have a serious chat with him.

With the current surge of violent global anti-Semitism which has already impacted on Jewish students at many American campuses, there is an urgent need for a powerful Jewish body dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism.

The ADL’s task is not to provide advice to Israel on security issues. Nor should it purport to speak on behalf of the Jewish community on broad social issues concerning which Jews share different opinions. It should concentrate more on Islamic terrorism rather than highlighting so-called Islamophobia, which poses far less of a problem than anti-Semitism. While it should broadly condemn all forms of discrimination, its principal role today must be to concentrate on its primary mandate, which is to combat anti-Semitism.

 

Isi Leibler

Netanyahu Demands That Kerry Condemn Iranian Holocaust Cartoon Contest

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu personally asked US Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday night to condemn the Holocaust cartoon contest held over the weekend in Iran, Netanyahu said on Sunday, while accusing of Iran of “preparing another Holocaust.”

“I think that every country in the world must stand up and fully condemn this,” Netanyahu said. “This is what I told US Secretary of State John Kerry last night in my conversation with him.”

Netanyahu’s conversation with Kerry preceded the US secretary of state’s scheduled meeting on Sunday in Saudi Arabia with Saudi King Salman on the conflicts in Syria, Yemen, and Libya.

The Holocaust cartoon conference in Iran over the weekend was not directly sponsored by the Iranian government though it was organized by the Owj Media & Cultural Institute and the Sarcheshmeh Cultural Institute, two non-governmental organizations with reported ties to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif denied the existence of any support from the Iranian government to the cartoon contest in an interview with the The New Yorker last month.

Iranian leaders, however, have a long history of Holocaust denial. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei released a video on his official website in January doubting whether the Holocaust is “a reality or not.”

“While it is not clear whether the core of this matter is a reality or not. Even if it is a reality, it is not clear how it happened,” Khamenei said in the video.

Netanyahu stressed the the problematic phenomenon of Holocaust revisionism in Iran, which held an international conference in December of 2006 that challenged the objective account of the Holocaust.

“We raise this here because it must be understood what our problem with Iran is,” said Netanyahu.

“It is not just its policy of subversion and aggression in the region; it is the values on which it is based,” continued Netanyahu. “It denies and belittles the Holocaust and it is also preparing another Holocaust.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

150 Holocaust Cartoons from 50 Countries in Iran’s Latest Attempt at Humor

Saturday, May 14th, 2016

150 Artists from 50 countries are taking part in the Third International Holocaust Cartoons Competition that began on Saturday on the premises of Iran’s Arts Bureau in Tehran. The curator of the competition, one Masuod Shojai-Tabatabai, claimed it had nothing to do with denying the Holocaust, but that it was meant to highlight the plight of Muslims currently being “massacred by the Zionist regime in Gaza and Palestine.”

He had nothing to say about the hundreds of thousands of Muslims who actually have been massacred by Iran’s satellite tyrant Bashar al-Assad in Syria, in full collaboration with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. (Only yesterday, the Independent reported about thousands of children who were trapped in a Palestinian refugee camp that had been bombed by Syrian government, with full Iranian support).

“We do not mean to approve or deny the Holocaust; however, the main question is why is there no permission to talk about the Holocaust despite their (the West) belief in freedom of speech,” Shojaei-Tabatabai inquired. “Moreover, why should the oppressed people of Palestine pay the price for the Holocaust?”

The contest includes two sections of cartoon and caricature, Shojaei-Tabatabai said, adding that the portraits of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Adolf Hitler have been highlighted in the caricature section.

Good to know.

One of the exhibition's walls / Photo credit: Mehr

One of the exhibition’s walls / Photo credit: Mehr

The first place winner in the cartoon section will receive a cash prize of $12,000, with those in second and third place taking home $8,000 and $5,000 respectively.

In the caricature section, the first place winner will have a cash prize of $7,000, the second $5,000 and the third $3,000.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif insisted in a recent interview with the New Yorker that there are no ties between the Iranian government and the cartoon contest. “It’s not Iran,” he said. “It’s an NGO that is not controlled by the Iranian government. Nor is it endorsed by the Iranian government.”

But Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Conference, said everybody knows NGO running the vile competition is directly linked to and funded by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, the same Revolutionary Guards who are massacring Syrian civilians even as we speak.

“It has always been clear who runs Iran: the fundamentalist radicals seeking Israel’s destruction,” Lauder said in a statement. “The fact that Iran is once again providing a platform for this competition proves that it has still not changed its colors and if given the chance, could still be as dangerous as ever.”

JNi.Media

Military Official Says Iran Tested Precision-Guided Ballistic Missile

Monday, May 9th, 2016

Iran test-fired a precision-guided ballistic missile two weeks ago, the armed forces deputy chief of staff announced on Monday, according to the Fars news agency.

“Two weeks ago, we tested a missile with a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,243 miles) and an error margin of eight meters (24 ft),” Brigadier General Ali Abdollahi said, according to Fars.

Now, that’s accurate!

In case you wanted to know at this point, the distance from Tehran to Tel Aviv as the ballistic craw flies is 993 miles.

The military official chose to make the statement at Baghiatollah Hospital, which is run by the Islamic Revolution Guards.

Mixed messages? Anticipation of consequences? Time will tell.

Iran test-fires missiles of different ranges and capabilities all the time, as part of its regular military drills. And although Tehran insists the precision ballistic capability to take out a section of Tel Aviv is merely defensive, the US has stated that it constitutes in breach of the UN 2231 resolution that prohibits Iran from firing any missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

US Secretary of State John Kerry did say in the past that the US and its allies were “prepared to work on a new arrangement to find a peaceful solution to these issues.”

That must have stung the Iranians bad.

Iranian officials also insist the missiles that are being test-fired are not designed to carry nuclear warheads.

Feeling safe yet?

In the end it doesn’t really matter whether the new missiles are defensive or offensive and what part of what city they can destroy, because Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has already said for the record that Iran’s missile program is not part of the negotiation with the US.

David Israel

Iranian President Says Nuclear Deal a ‘Non-Committal Agreement’

Saturday, August 29th, 2015

Iran has given U.S. Congressmen the perfect reason to oppose the nuclear deal by saying that the Iranian parliament should not make it a legal obligation for the Islamic Republic.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told a news conference Saturday that the deal is only a political understanding, and he urged parliament not to vote on it so that it does not become a legal obligation.

Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported Saturday:

President Hassan Rouhani underlined that Joint Comprehensive of Action (JCPOA) does not need the Majlis (Iranian parliament) approval for its implementation.

‘Under the Iranian Constitution, a treaty has to be submitted for approval or disapproval to the Parliament if it has been signed by the president or a representative of his,’ President Rouhani said, addressing a press conference in Tehran on Saturday.

‘That is not the case about the Iran-Group 5+1 nuclear agreement or the JCPOA,’ the Iranian president added.

Rouhani emphasized that parliamentary approval of the JCPOA would mean that he has to sign it, “an extra legal commitment that the administration has already avoided,” according to IRNA.

The Associated Press added that Rouhani said:

Why should we place an unnecessary legal restriction on the Iranian people?

President Barack Obama needs only four more Democratic senators to back the bill in order to prevent a veto-proof majority if Congress rejects the agreement.

If the agreement is approved, the United States will be obligated to honor it unless it can catch Iran cheating, a process that could involved months or even a year.

On the other side of the ocean, Rouhani has made it clear that the deal has no legal standing in Iran.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Swiss Lifting Sanctions on Iran, Invite others to ‘Pass Through’?

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

Even before Iran has met conditions contained in the Nuclear Iran deal, the ever-eager Swiss have begun lifting sanctions on Iran in a show of support for the Nuclear Iran deal negotiated by the U.S. and its P5+1 partners with Iran. They are also darn happy with their good relations with Iran.

The Swiss Federal Council announced the decision it reached on Aug. 12 to officially list sanctions beginning on Thursday, Aug. 13. The Swiss government had been engaged in direct dialogue with Iran and had already suspended the sanctions in Jan. 2014.

In announcing that it was lifting certain sanctions, the Swiss government explained the path it had taken.

In recent decades, Switzerland has pursued a consistent, neutral and balanced policy with regard to Iran. In part due to its protecting power mandate for the USA, it has always been committed to dialogue and to keeping communication channels open. At the same time, Switzerland has always defended its own values and views. Today Switzerland is perceived in Iran as a reliable and credible discussion partner.

As of Thursday, the ban on precious metals transactions and requirements to report trade in Iranian petrochemical products, as well as the transport of Iranian crude oil will be lifted.

The value above which reporting and licensing obligations are triggered in relation to money transfers from and to Iranian nationals was increased tenfold.

Despite Switzerland’s eagerness to improve its bilateral relations with Iran, those sanctions adopted by the UN Security Council will remain in force for the time being, according to the Swiss government.

And if the JCPOA fails, the Swiss government “reserves the right to reintroduce the lifted measures.” In other words, it may “snap back” sanctions if Iran is caught cheating. Then again, it may not.

The Swiss government’s statement included other curious language. In addition to making clear its support for the global nuclear negotiations with Iran, it specifically stated it wished to “signal that Switzerland’s positioning with respect to Iran, which was developed and maintained over a number of years, should be used to promote a broad political and economic exchange with Iran.”

Whether that language invites other countries to deal with Iranian crude oil using the Swiss as a pass-through is unclear.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Iranian FM on Regional Tour to ‘Sell’ Nuclear Deal

Sunday, July 26th, 2015

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif set out on a three-stop tour of the region Sunday to begin an effort to “sell” the P5+1 nuclear deal to skeptical Arab nations in the Middle East.

A number of countries in addition to Israel harbor grave doubts about Iran’s motivations for making the deal, let alone its ability to stick to the terms of the agreement. Among those who view the deal with extreme caution are Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan.

Bahrain is also giving the accord a second look, but finds itself in a difficult position. Host to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, the country can hardly say it lacks for protection from Iranian aggression – even nuclear aggression.

That didn’t stop Iran from providing covert assistance and strong encouragement to a Shi’ite-led opposition movement within Bahrain during the Arab Spring. Nor has it apparently stopped Iran from sponsoring nascent terror operations in the country.

A smuggling ring was recently caught trying to bring weapons, ammunition and explosives into the kingdom; authorities told reporters that two of the suspects caught in the sting were Bahraini nationals who received military training in Iran, and who confessed to receiving the contraband from “Iranian handlers.”

Nevertheless, in a speech earlier this month, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei included Bahrain in the list of “regional friends” Iran would continue to support despite its nuclear deal, along with Yemen, Syria, Iraq and “the oppressed Palestinian nation.”

But Bahrain was not Zarif’s itinerary: on Saturday, Manama announced it was recalling its ambassador to Iran for consultations in the wake of “continued hostile statements made by Iranian officials toward Bahrain,” according to the official Bahrain News Agency.

Zarif began his tour with a visit to Kuwait, where he was greeted by Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al Hamad Al Sabah in a red-carpet welcome at the airport. Within hours Zarif was in talks with Kuwait’s head of state, emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah.

The Iranian diplomat is slated to travel to Qatar and then to Iraq, where he will brief the heads of state in both countries – as he has in Kuwait – on the details of the nuclear deal Iran signed with the U.S.-led delegation of world powers. According to Iranian state-run media, Zarif will also discuss ways to “improve cooperation and fight terrorism” as well.

In the case of Qatar, Iran shares with Doha control over a huge underwater natural gas field, the development of which may come up for discussion due to the imminent lifting of sanctions as part of the deal that was signed.

With regard to Baghdad, Iran months ago sent its elite Revolutionary Guard Corps and other troops to battle Da’esh (ISIS) terrorists which currently control one-third of that country. Most of the Iraqi territory that is not controlled by Da’esh at this point is controlled by Iran.

“Iran and the regional countries are facing common threats that should be confronted through mutual cooperation,” Zarif said, according to the Iranian FARS news agency.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/235562/2015/07/26/

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