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July 22, 2014 / 24 Tammuz, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘sanctions’

Canadian Politician Irwin Cotler ‘Honored’ to be Banned by Russia

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Irwin Cotler, a veteran human rights activist and member of Canada’s parliament,  says being banned from Russia is an “honor.”

When Russia issued its blacklist of 13 Canadians on Monday, Cotler was quick to express his pleasure at being included. ”I wear my exclusion from Russia as a badge of honor and am proud to be in such distinguished company,” he said in a statement. “I have no intention of visiting Siberia. I have no investments in Sochi. I have no desire to visit Moscow.”

This is not the first time Cotler, renowned for representing Jewish refuseniks from the Soviet era, has been banned from Russian soil.

He was expelled from the Soviet Union and then banned in 1979 while advocating on behalf of political prisoners, including Natan Sharansky. “I was arrested and accused of consorting with ‘criminals,’ among them the great Soviet human rights dissident, Andrei Sakharov,” Cotler wrote on his website. “These acts did not stop my human rights advocacy. Indeed, [Monday's] announcement only inspires me to redouble my efforts to advance the cause of human rights for all.

“I stand in solidarity with the Russian people and those fighting for human rights and democracy. Their day will come and [President Vladimir] Putin will be no more.”

This time, Cotler suspects his banishment is because he introduced a bill regarding Sergei Magnitsky. The Huffington Post reported that Magnitsky was an accountant and auditor in Moscow who uncovered a corruption scheme and testified against several senior Russian officials. He was subsequently imprisoned and died in jail in 2009 at the age of 37. Cotler chairs an intra-parliamentary group on Magnitsky, and he said that is like a “red flag” to Russia.

“My sense is that’s probably the retaliatory reason in my case,” according to Cotler.

He said some of the Americans banned by Russia were people who had worked on the Magnitsky file. Cotler added he does not need to go to Russia to advocate for Magnitsky.

“Our intra-parliamentary group for Sergei Magnitsky is international. It contains parliamentarians from over 20 countries.”

U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Putin’s Advisers

Monday, March 17th, 2014

The Obama administration imposed sanctions on seven Russians and four Ukrainians in retaliation on Monday in response to the apparently imminent annexation by Russia of the Crimean peninsula of the Ukraine.

Among those sanctioned were advisers to Russian President Vladimir Putin and parliament members in and former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

The European Union has frozen assers of 13 Russian leaders and eight others in Crimea and has alaso placed a travel ban on them.

Erdogan Says Iran is ‘Turkey’s ‘Second Home’

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is visiting Ayatollah Khamenei of Iran, which he called “our second home.

The ayatollah in return “described the current brotherly and friendly relations between the two countries as unparalleled in recent centuries,” Iran’s official Press TV reported.

Erdogan apparently has made another about face in his roller coaster policies of foreign relations. He once shunned Iran like the plague and then embraced the Ahmadinejad regime as well as Syrian President Bassar al-Assad after ditching Israel, its longtime friend.

When the Obama administration clamped tight sanctions on Ira, Erdogan kept his distance from Tehran. Now that Washington has gone back to “engagement” despite Iran’s stated aim of enriching enough high-grade uranium that could be used to make a nuclear weapon, Erdogan hastily beat the pat back to Iran with his eye on energy.

“It is obvious that we import crude oil and gas from Iran, which are strategic energy sources, and we [will be] able to increase the volume of these imports,” Erdogan said in Tehran. “Today we had a good chance to review bilateral ties.”

Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News reported, Despite claiming Turkey is not seeking any new deal with Iran ahead of his departure to Iran, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız, who accompanies the prime minister during his visit, admitted the intention for such a new agreement.”

Iran was Turkey’s third largest export market in 2012, and Ankara used gold and silver exports to buy Iranian natural gas and oil.

Fighting for Israel from Seattle

Monday, January 13th, 2014

It’s no longer the hardship it once was to make Aliyah. This being the case, it takes a lot for Jews in America to convince me of their sincerity and love for Israel. Mike Behar is one of the few who managed to win me over.

He did so during quick Facebook chats about his latest work on behalf of Israel during breaks from my own work at Kars4Kids and later on during longer conversations by phone. His quiet work on behalf of Israel shines in a region of the U.S. shrouded in darkness by its overt hate for the Jewish State. It takes fortitude to hold an unpopular view in the face of the overwhelming anti-Israel sentiment of the Pacific Northwest. Mike has fortitude in spades.

He works behind the scenes, going to meetings where Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) activists hold forth. He talks to activists that might be amenable to hearing a different, more truthful pro-Israel view. He writes letters to the editor of the local Jewish newspaper to protest the slanted coverage against Israel. As such, I see Mike as every bit a warrior for the state of Israel as those of us who live inside the Jewish State.

Michael Behar, age 51, has lived in Seattle all his life. His grandfather was the cantor and spiritual leader of Congregation Ezra Bessaroth, a synagogue founded by observant Jewish immigrants from Rhodes, Greece. “EB” is still at the center of Michael’s family life.

A product of the Orthodox day school and Yeshiva system, Michael studied in Israel at Yeshivat Beit El post high school in 1981-1982, during the evacuation of Yamit in the Sinai and the beginning of the first Lebanon War. These seminal experiences strengthened his love for Israel and the Jewish people. Michael married Carole in 1990 and the couple has four children.

Varda: Mike, in Israel we are hearing a lot about anti-Israel sentiment in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. There are the reports from Hen Mazzig, and your blog, The Mike Report. We have heard about the Jewish Voice for Peace JVP (an anti-Israel protest group), Linda Frank, BDS 101, and more. Why is it like this in Seattle?

Mike: There are two factors that make the Pacific Northwest a hotbed of Israel hatred: the universities, and the progressive culture of this area.

Seattle is a college town. College environments tend to be incubators of radicalism. Still, the University of Washington campus has historically been a “serious” college with a relatively subdued extremist contingent compared to other West coast campuses.

60 miles South of Seattle in Olympia, on the other hand, is Evergreen State College. Evergreen has been a center of radicalism for years. During the Iraq war, local activists shut down the port of Olympia to prevent supplies from reaching the US military. In March of 2003, Evergreen State College student Rachel Corrie was killed after standing in front of a moving army bulldozer during a military action in Gaza. Her death provided anti-Israel activists with the local connection they needed to connect a faraway conflict to the “Israel is evil narrative” they had attempted to peddle for years.

In the Puget Sound area, Corrie is considered a martyr, a glowing angel sacrificed in the cause of peace. Once Corrie’s name is pulled into the debate, open discussion is quashed. Corrie’s parents, Craig and Cindy Corrie stoke the coals of hate with ceaseless efforts to demonize the Jewish state. Corrie did not create the anti-Israel movement in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) but her death supercharged the anti-Israel movement here, especially on college campuses. Radical groups active on college campuses include International Solidarity Movement (ISM), Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights (SUPER-UW), Students for Justice in Palestine, and Jewish Voice for Peace.

Senators Introduce Sanctions Bill to Break Iran Deal

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Senators from both the Democratic and Republican parties introduced a bill on Thursday that would toughen sanctions on Iran and effectively squash the interim deal between the major Western powers and Iran. The deal has been ridiculed by many as appeasement in return for a nuclear bomb.

Republican Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois said the bill’s proposals for a worldwide boycott on Iranian oil exports and blacklisting the country’s mining industries are “an insurance policy to defend against Iranian deception.”

Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey said, “Current sanctions brought Iran to the negotiating table and a credible threat of future sanctions will require Iran to cooperate and act in good faith at the negotiating table.”

In the unlikely event that the Senate defies President Barack Obama and passes the bill, and the House of Representatives goes along for the ride, it would render the deal null and void because of the negotiators’ promise that no new sanctions would be introduced before the end of talks for a final deal in six months.

The bill also states, “If the government of Israel is compelled to take military action in legitimate self-defense against Iran’s nuclear weapon program, the United States government should stand with Israel” with diplomatic, military and economic support.”

The 26 senators who introduced the deal basically made a stand against President Obama, and when the time comes that it is clear that the President and the leaders of the major powers were duped, the bill’s sponsors can say, “We told you so.”

But that won’t be of much help to Israel.

Jack Lew Tells Joint ‘US Will Move Against Iran Sanctions Busters’

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

The United States is prepared to move against violators of its sanctions against Iran, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.

“Our enforcement of the sanctions regime will be as unflinching as ever, so any CEO, general counsel or businessperson who thinks now might be a time to test our resolve better think again,” said Lew, who received the JDC’s Morgenthau Award from the JDC on Wednesday to commemorate the group’s 100 years of partnership with the U.S. government at its Centennial Dinner.

“We are watching closely, and we are prepared to move against anyone, anywhere who violates, or attempts to violate, our sanctions,” he said.

Lew voiced his support for sanctions against Iran and maintained, “This agreement does not prevent us from implementing our existing sanctions or imposing new sanctions targeting Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism or its abuse of basic human rights.”

Kerry Plays ‘Blame Game’ to Urge Congress to Go Soft on Sanctions

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned Congress on Tuesday that new sanctions against Iran would be “gratuitous” and could harm any agreement with Iran as well as relations with world powers in the P5+1 group.

Speaking to the House Foreign Affairs Committee before leaving for another trip to Israel and the Palestinian Authority and then to the Far East, Kerry was not able to promise Congressmen that a final agreement with Iran would prohibit it form enriching uranium,

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif warned earlier this week that if Congress legislates new sanctions the it would render null and void the recent interim deal with the P5+1, made up of permanent U.N. Security Council members  United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, and France, plus Germany.

Kerry argued that the lifting of some sanctions is only a drop in the bucket compared to sanctions that remain, but California Republican Rep. Ed Royce said, “We have bargained away our fundamental position.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/kerry-plays-blame-game-to-urge-congress-to-go-soft-on-sanctions/2013/12/10/

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