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October 25, 2016 / 23 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘news’

Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

J Street ‘Proud’ Of Its Role In Pushing Iran Deal

The pro-Palestinian lobby group J Street stated that it was “proud” of its role in pushing the controversial Iran nuclear agreement amid reports that it received $576,500 to promote the deal from a group tied to White House efforts to sell the agreement to the public.

J Street’s financing to push for the deal came from the Ploughshares Fund, a group that advocates a nuclear-free world and was identified earlier this month by the White House as central in helping to market the Iran nuclear deal to the news media.

On Friday, the Associated Press reported that Ploughshares has also funded National Public Radio since 2005, and has provided financing to U.S.-based foreign policy think tanks.

Unmentioned by the AP is that the Ploughshares Fund is financed by billionaire George Soros’s Open Society Institute. Soros is also a top donor to J Street.

The involvement of Ploughshares in selling the Iran agreement to the public was revealed in an extensive New York Times Magazine profile of Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes titled, “The Aspiring Novelist Who Became Obama’s Foreign-Policy Guru.”

Robert Malley, senior director at the National Security Council, explained the genesis and execution of the marketing plan to sell the Iran deal. Malley said “experts” were utilized to create an “echo chamber” that disseminated administration claims about Iran to “hundreds of often-clueless reporters” in the news media.

Rhodes told writer David Samuels that the marketing strategy took advantage of the “absence of rational discourse” and utilized outside groups, including Ploughshares.

A previous investigation by this reporter showed Ploughshares has partnered with a who’s who of the radical left, including Code Pink, the pro-Palestinian J Street, United for Peace & Justice, the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, and Demo, a progressive economic advisory group where President Obama’s controversial former green jobs czar, Van Jones, served on the board.

The group says its mission is to support the “smartest minds and most effective organizations to reduce nuclear stockpiles, prevent new nuclear states, and increase global security.”

Ploughshares is in turn financed by Soros’s Open Society Institute, the Buffett Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Another Ploughshares donor is the Tides Foundation, which is one of the largest funders of the radical left. Tides is funded by Soros.

Ploughshares has donated to the Institute for Policy Studies, which calls for massive slashes in the U.S. defense budget. It has also financed the International Crisis Group, a small organization that boasts Soros on its board.


EgyptAir Airbus A320’s Prior Stops

The missing the EgyptAir Airbus A320 that disappeared from radar after leaving Greek airspace had made prior stops in the hotspots of Tunisia and Eritrea. Both countries have documented airport security issues.

In an advisory last May, the State Department warned security at the Asmara International Airport in Eritrea can be “unpredictable” and that “airport security lacks technology to detect fraudulent documents.”

Last November, after the midair destruction of a Russian Metrojet over Egypt, the Daily Mail reported British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond expressed concern about security at airports in the Middle East and North Africa.

Among them are the airports in the North African cities of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia. “All these countries contain an ISIS presence, though Tunisia – the site of two massacres this year in which 31 Britons were killed – remains the most risky.

“Tunisian authorities have warned further attacks in tourist resorts are highly likely – and by unknown individuals ‘inspired by terrorist groups via social media.’”

Tunisia is a known Islamic State stronghold.  Last November, IS militants took responsibility for the suicide bombing of a presidential guard bus, killing at least 12 troops.  As Reuters reported, more than 3,000 Tunisians are said to be fighting for the Islamic State or other jihadist groups in Iraq, Syria and Libya.

Aaron Klein

Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Pollard’s Parole Conditions

It will be difficult for the U.S. government to justify the draconian, nonsensical parole conditions under which Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard is currently living in New York City. The conditions force Pollard to violate Shabbat and impede his ability to be gainfully employed, while doing nothing to advance national security, the supposed goal of the unusual measures.

Last month, the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York granted Pollard’s lawyers a request to reopen his appeal against the illogical – and I think spiteful – parole conditions.

He was paroled on November 20, 2015, after serving 30 years of an unprecedented life sentence in a U.S. prison for espionage on behalf of an ally, Israel. In December, U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest stated the U.S. Parole Commission has yet to justify why Pollard must wear a GPS monitoring device, which forces him to violate Shabbat and other Jewish holidays, and also submit to have his work computer monitored.

If Pollard violates any of these conditions, as the Jerusalem Post noted, he has “the balance of his life sentence – 15 years – hanging like a sword of Damocles over his head.”

Any violation of his parole conditions – which are unusually harsh and restrictive – could send him back to prison for what could well be the rest of his life.

Pollard’s attorneys argue the electronic GPS bracelet is not justified, and that the computer monitoring is preventing him from accepting an investment job opportunity.

The government’s explanation for these measures – that they are meant to ensure he doesn’t disseminate classified materials – makes absolutely no sense.

The Forward reported: “The U.S. Justice Department argued the strict conditions were ‘reasonably related’ to the circumstances underlying Pollard’s crime to ensure among other things that he does not disseminate classified information.

“Rebecca Tinio, a Justice Department lawyer, said the ‘’majority of the information Mr. Pollard had 30 years ago remains classified.’”

A little logic here. If Pollard really knows any classified secrets, how exactly does a GPS bracelet prevent him from spilling such information? The bracelet only tracks his movements; it does not stop Pollard from meeting with whomever he wants within the geographical radius to which he is restricted. The monitoring of his work computer is also preposterous. If Pollard so desired, and if he really retained classified information, he could easily go to an Internet café and send emails to anyone or simply use someone else’s computer or smartphone.

Pollard’s attorney explained in a letter the ridiculousness of the notion that Pollard could even remember classified information.

“Even assuming some information is still ‘classified’ as a practical matter, it is extremely unlikely that Mr. Pollard remembers, or could possibly remember, the details of 30-year-old information to an extent that it could be of any value to anyone,” his lawyers wrote.


False Netanyahu Story Gains Traction

Despite being debunked by Breitbart Jerusalem and others, Iran’s state-affiliated Press TV has not corrected a false report claiming that Saudi King Salman financed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election campaign in 2015 to the tune of $80 million.

The report, titled, “Leaked: Saudi King financed Netanyahu’s 2015 election bid,” cites fabricated quotes purportedly from Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog alleging that the Saudi financing was documented in the “Panama Papers.”

Contacted by Breitbart Jerusalem, Herzog’s office denied the report, saying the quotes were entirely fabricated.

The false report has since been parroted by several obscure English language Middle East sites whose incorrect articles have been getting some social media traction. Craig Silverman reported Wednesday at BuzzFeed Canada, “As of today the original fake story has generated over 25,000 Facebook interactions. There have only been a few efforts to debunk the hoax.”

Aaron Klein

Patchy and Selective BBC News Reporting of Gaza Border Incidents

Monday, May 9th, 2016
{Originally posted to BBC Watch website}

On May 3rd terrorists in the Gaza Strip fired shots across the border at an Israeli military vehicle. The next day cross-border incidents continued with five separate mortar attacks on Israeli troops which were claimed by both Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. In the evening the Israeli airforce responded with strikes on Hamas installations in the Gaza Strip.  On May 5th an additional mortar attack raised the number of cross border incidents to seven in less than 48 hours and further incidents which took place later in the day brought the number of attacks into double figures. On the same day the IDF announced that it had discovered a cross border attack tunnel – the second to be detected in less than a month.

None of the above was reported at the time on the BBC News website.

As the mortar attacks against IDF soldiers dealing with the newly discovered tunnel continued, the IDF retaliated with artillery fire and according to Palestinian media reports, a woman was killed near Khan Yunis.

In the early hours of May 6th the BBC News website published a report with the context-free headline “Israel tank fire kills Gaza woman, medics say.

Readers of the report found the background story presented in qualified terms, using the BBC’s standard ‘Israel says’ formula.

“Israel said it was responding to mortar rounds fired by Hamas fighters.”

“The army said attacks by the militants were targeting Israeli forces searching for tunnels in the border area.”

Only in the tenth paragraph did the BBC get round to describing the context to the headlined incident in its own words – but its portrayal inaccurately described the cross-border attacks as having begun a day later than is actually the case and failed to adequately clarify to readers that the violence was initiated by Palestinian terrorists.

“Since Wednesday, Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups have fired guns and mortar rounds across the border, and the Israeli air force has carried out bombing raids.

The exchange of attacks continued on Friday.”

BBC reporting of the discovery of the latest cross-border attack tunnel is limited to 35 words in two paragraphs:

“The clashes came after Israel said it had discovered a new tunnel reaching into Israel from Gaza.

Israeli army spokesman Lt Col Peter Lerner said the tunnel was about 30 metres (100ft) below the surface.”

On the evening of May 6th the attacks from the Gaza Strip escalated when terrorists fired missiles at Israeli civilian communities in the Eshkol region near the border. The BBC’s article was not updated to include that information and no additional report on that incident was published.

Since the beginning of the year the BBC News website has failed to report on any of the missile attacks on Israeli civilian communities by terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

Hadar Sela

Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

Labour Party Leader Finds A Friend In Hamas

In comments to this reporter, Hamas said on Monday that it “welcomed” Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn’s reported refusal to condemn the Islamist organization.

Taher A-Nunu, a spokesman and senior Hamas official, further said Hamas views Corbyn’s willingness to engage with his Gaza-based group as a “painful hit that the Zionist enemy received.”

Al-Nunu said Corbyn’s refusal to disavow talks with Hamas serves as proof that the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sactions (BDS) campaign is succeeding.

Al-Nunu, who heads Hamas’s media section, stated: “We welcome the declaration of the Labour Chairman and see his engagement as a very important statement that is also a painful hit that the Zionist enemy received. It comes as part of the international boycott campaign that the enemy [Israel] is suffering from. This campaign is succeeding on both the economic and political levels and it comes at a moment that the enemy is facing difficulties in justifying its crimes against the Palestinian people.”

Al-Nunu divulged that Hamas met recently with unnamed Western leaders “who expressed their understanding about Hamas’s positions and Hamas’s resistance to the occupation, especially in the 1967 borders.” The 1967 borders refer to the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and eastern sections of Jerusalem.

Al-Nunu added that Corbyn’s stance on his group shows “that freedom movements are still appreciated and respected.”

The Hamas spokesman continued: “We consider the statements of the Labour leader to be an important message to people in Western countries that Hamas is not and will not be considered a terrorist group and our struggle is reduced to the borders of occupied Palestine.”


Are British Muslims Truly ‘British’?

Muslims living in the UK increasingly want self-determination and the implementation of Sharia law nationwide, according to radical Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary.

Choudary, speaking in an exclusive interview with this reporter, was responding to polling data last month that suggests a fundamental gap between the values of British Muslims and the rest of society.

Trevor Phillips, the former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the activist who popularized the term Islamophobia, commented that the statistics show “the unacknowledged creation of a nation within the nation, with its own geography, its own values, and its own very separate future.”

Asked to respond to Phillips’ statement about a “nation within a nation,” Choudary replied: “I think that we are increasingly heading toward that direction, definitely. The more the population grows, the more they find their roots, the more they want to implement Islam in their lives, and the more they see around the world the failure of so-called democracies and socialist governments, the more they want self-determination.

“And we can see that that is not just the case in the Middle East and Africa, but also in the West. People want to call for the Sharia. And we shouldn’t be surprised. Europe had the Sharia for about 800 years in Spain, so why not in Britain? You know, we don’t call for the killing or the oppression of anyone. We want to live peacefully together. So why not try divine law? We tried secularism for long enough.”

The ICM poll found an astonishing two-thirds of British Muslims would not inform law enforcement if they thought someone close to them became involved in a terrorist plot.

Choudary said he was not surprised by that finding. “We live at a time now, Aaron, of third- or fourth-generation Muslim communities. Where they have no trust of the government. Many people have grown up and all they have known are wars against Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan and now in Syria.

Aaron Klein

Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Temple? What Temple?

Ignoring the historical record and mainstream archeological evidence, an Islamic scholar tied to Hamas completely recently denied Jewish ties to the Temple Mount, considered the holiest site in Judaism.

“The issue of Solomon’s Temple, or what the Jews call the Temple Mount, is nothing but a bundle of historically unfounded claims,” Khaled Elkhaldi, a professor at Gaza’s Islamic University, told this reporter in an interview.

“It’s a dream, a legend that the Jews made up to claim exclusive ownership of the land, which religion and history refute time after time,” added Elkhaldi, who serves on Hamas’s Shura Council (Majlis al-Shura), the terrorist group’s central consultative body.

“The historical and religious truth is that the Jews conquered Palestine as part of their religious perspective and so-called prophecy in the Torah around which the theory of the ‘Promised Land’ was built,” Elkhaldi claimed.

“The fabricated temple was invented to serve this narrative,” he stated, without a trace of irony.

Elkhaldi claimed, wrongly, that mainstream Jewish opinion is divided on the historic whereabouts of the Temple.

“What’s more, until now, not a single piece of archaeological evidence to its existence has been found,” he claimed.

Not only is Elkhaldi’s claim about lack of archeological evidence false, the Islamic scholar glossed over the Palestinians’ own complacency in disposing Jewish temple artifacts.

As I previously reported, in 1997, the Waqf conducted a large dig on the Temple Mount while constructing a massive mosque at an area referred to as Solomon’s Stables. The Wafq at the time disposed truckloads of dirt containing Jewish artifacts from the First and Second Temple periods.

After media reported the disposals, Israeli authorities froze the construction permit given to the Waqf, and the dirt was transferred to Israeli archaeologists for analysis. The Israeli authorities found scores of Jewish Temple relics in the nearly disposed dirt, including coins with Hebrew writing referencing the Temple, part of a Hasmonean lamp, several other Second Temple lamps, Temple-period pottery with Jewish markings, a marble pillar shaft and other Temple-period artifacts.

The Waqf was widely accused of attempting to hide evidence of the existence of the Jewish Temples.

In 2007, I personally reported from the site of an unusual dig on the Temple Mount in which the Waqf utilized heavy machinery to dig on one of the most sensitive archaeological compounds in the world. At that time, they were caught red-handed once again destroying Temple-era antiquities.

Palestinian leaders routinely deny Jewish ties to the Temple Mount. In 2007, I conducted an exclusive video interview with Waqf official and chief Palestinian Justice Taysir Tamimi, who used the occasion to claim the Jewish Temples “never existed” and that the Western Wall really was a tying post for Muhammad’s horse.



Is Israel Just Jealous?

Former U.S. official Lawrence Wilkerson, who has reportedly advised Sen. Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign, once claimed Israel “bombs” Lebanon to keep the country from competing with the Jewish state economically.

Wilkerson made the point in an interview with The Real News Network, after the site’s senior editor, Paul Jay, stated that “Israel keeps invading Lebanon.”

That claim led to the following exchange:

WILKERSON: You know why I think that is? My community thinks I’m crazy. I think that’s economic. I think every time Israel sees that the only country with the real capability in the Eastern Mediterranean to compete with them and surpass them is Lebanon. And so every time it looks like Lebanon is building the infrastructure, hotels for tourists, and industry and so forth, and is going to arrive at that point within a decade or two, Israel bombs them. Look it, why else would you bomb the things that Israel bombs?

JAY: Yeah, ’cause they’re not just bombing Hizbullah rockets.

WILKERSON: Yeah. They’re bombing the infrastructure of Lebanon.

In the December 2014 interview, Wilkerson was largely referring to the Second Lebanon War of 2006, which started after Hizbullah committed an unprovoked attack on Israel’s northern border. On July 12, 2006, Hizbullah fired rockets into Israel as a diversion while the group’s fighters stormed the Israeli side of the border and ambushed two Israel Defense Force vehicles, killing three soldiers and kidnapping two more.

The war broke out amid the wider context of Hizbullah building a massive military and terror rocket infrastructure along Israel’s border with southern Lebanon, creating a de facto terror state there in the years following Israel’s withdrawal from the Israel-Lebanon border buffer zone in May 2000. Hizbullah used its southern Lebanon fiefdom to commit numerous attacks against Israel, including rocket attacks that killed Israeli civilians.



Group Working For Saudi Arabia Is Tied To Clinton

The Saudi government has contracted the communications and strategy firm of Tony Podesta, the brother of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign chairman, John Podesta, paying the group $140,000 per month to work for Saudi interests in the U.S.

On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported:

“The Saudi government and its affiliates have spent millions of dollars on U.S. law, lobby and public relations firms to raise the country’s visibility in the United States and before the United Nations at a crucial time.

“And some of Washington’s premier law and lobby firms – including Podesta Group, BGR Government Affairs, DLA Piper and Pillsbury Winthrop – have been tasked with the job, according to a review of Justice Department filings.”

The Post added some specifics about the Saudi contract with the Podesta Group but failed to report the significant detail that the firm’s owner, who is personally working on the Saudi account, is John Podesta’s brother. The Post only identified Tony Podesta as “a top Democratic lobbyist and major contributor to Hillary Clinton.”

Tony Podesta is a financial bundler for the Democratic Party, including Clinton’s campaigns.

The newspaper reported:

“The lobby firm Podesta Group has an ongoing contract with the Center for Studies and Media Affairs at the Saudi Royal Court, a government entity, for $140,000 monthly. Barring any changes to the fee schedule, the year-long work would earn the firm $1.68 million by the end of 2016. The firm’s founder Tony Podesta, a top Democratic lobbyist and major contributor to Hillary Clinton, is working personally on the matter, according to a March filing.  Podesta president Kim Fritts, a longtime Republican consultant and adviser to Jeb Bush, is listed on the contract, which the firm would not elaborate on.”

Aaron Klein

Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

Hamas Preparing For War With Israel

The fact that Hamas risked digging a terror tunnel into Israel – as the IDF announced on Monday – shows that Gaza’s Islamist leaders are preparing for the possibility of war with the Jewish state.

Hamas has recently been weakened by successful Egyptian military actions to take out smuggling tunnels along the Egypt-Gaza border. It has not yet fully recovered from the massive damage inflicted by the IDF on the Islamic group’s militant infrastructure during the 2014 Israel-Gaza War. Hamas most likely does not want a war with Israel in the near future, fearing an Israeli military campaign can threaten its rule in Gaza.

However, there is a paranoid wing within the Hamas leadership that believes Israel will launch a confrontation in Gaza at some point to further minimize Hamas’s political and militant positions. And so Hamas seems to be prepping all fronts for a war that could break out tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year.

As part of this readiness campaign, Hamas apparently took the daring move to dig a tunnel into Israel.

The IDF did not discover weapons inside the tunnel and Hamas reportedly realized its tunnel was discovered at about the same time that the IDF found the tunnel opening in Israeli territory. Yet Hamas did not immediately use the tunnel to carry out an attack before the IDF could quickly react, further indicating that the tunnel is part Hamas’s preparations for a future battle and was not meant for an imminent terrorist attack.

Breitbart Jerusalem first reported last November that Hamas is in the process of building a sophisticated network of tunnels beneath​ the Gaza Strip, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the ​issue.

The underground tunnel infrastructure mirrors ​the network built by Hizbullah in Lebanon. The Iran-sponsored militia is known to have ​dug a vast underground tunnel ​complex replete with war rooms, internal communication lines, ventilation systems, and even missile silos.


Terrorists Likely In Possession Of MANPADs

The CIA believes that Mideast rebels have already obtained man-portable air-defense systems, or MANPADs, and the agency fears the weaponry could be acquired by terrorist groups and utilized against civilian aircraft.

This significant detail was contained in the 13th paragraph of a Wall Street Journal article reporting on CIA plans to possibly arm moderate Syrian rebels with more advanced weaponry if the truce in Syria continues to deteriorate and full-scale fighting resumes.

The Journal reported: “The CIA believes that rebels have obtained a small number of Manpads through illicit channels. Fearing these systems could fall into terrorists’ hands for use against civilian aircraft, the spy agency’s goal now is to prevent more of them from slipping uncontrollably into the war zone, according to U.S. and intelligence officials in the region.”

It is widely known that some Syrian rebel elements have already obtained and deployed MANPADs.

Earlier this month, a Syrian jet was reportedly shot down by rebels utilizing an antiaircraft missile. The event marks the second time the Syrian government said it was attacked in recent weeks by rebels deploying antiaircraft missiles. The Syrian military last month said one of its warplanes was shot down in western Syria in March.

This reporter has raised questions in the past about how the Mideast rebels may have obtained MANPADs. Did NATO-member Turkey, already in hot water for brazenly shooting down a Russian warplane, pass antiaircraft missiles to rebels as part of Ankara’s obsessive bid to counter the Syria-Russia axis? Turkey, concerned by Syria’s recent gains against the Islamic State and other rebel forces, is known to be one of the main suppliers of more extremist elements among the anti-Assad rebels.

There is also the possibility that antiaircraft weapons were obtained by Syrian rebels from elements that looted Moammar Khadafi’s reserves of of MANPADS. The largest terrorist looting of MANPADS took place immediately after the 2001 U.S.-NATO military campaign, strongly pushed by Hillary Clinton, that toppled Khaddafi’s regime in Libya.

Aaron Klein

Al Jazeera Shuts Down American Cable Network

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

The Qatar-based Al Jazeera Media Network announced Wednesday it will shut down its Al Jazeera America cable network effective April 30.

The decision comes after a run of two and a half years on the air. But at the bottom line, the network was not a big sell to Americans.

“While Al Jazeera America built a loyal audience across the US and increasingly was recognized as an important new voice in television news, the economic landscape of the media environment has driven its strategic decision to wind down its operations and conclude its service,” the company said in a statement.

Al Jazeera America CEO Al Anstey further explained, “Our business model is simply not sustainable in light of the economic challenges in the U.S. media marketplace.”

The government of Qatar had originally purchased the Current TV cable news channel co-founded by former U.S. vice-president Al Gore for some $500 million in 2013, and it was from that base the network was launched.

As many as 700 staff members may lose their jobs, according to an unnamed source quoted by CNN. The NewsGuild of New York is the union representing 46 of the digital journalists at Al Jazeera America; NGNY was told by the network that it employs 291 staff members, according to a report by USA Today. The newspaper cited low ratings, operational problems and a lack of advertisers as the main reasons for the network’s failure to thrive.

Network executives said in a statement on the website from Doha that the company plans to “expand its existing international digital services to broaden its multi-platform presence” in the U.S.

Al Jazeera is hoping for better success on the Internet, where “U.S. and non U.S. consumers alike” can access its programming via “mobile devices for news and information…. journalism and content, wherever and whenever they want.”

Al Jazeera already has a considerable presence on the Internet, together with its Middle Eastern satellite television network. It is not clear whether the network would send its current Doha programming to the U.S., or continue the American cable network programming, via the Internet.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/257351/2016/01/14/

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