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December 28, 2014 / 6 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘sanctions’

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.”

Statement by President Obama on First Step Agreement on Iran’s Nuclear Program

Sunday, November 24th, 2013

Statement By The President On First Step Agreement On Iran’s Nuclear Program

THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. Today, the United States — together with our close allies and partners — took an important first step toward a comprehensive solution that addresses our concerns with the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear program.

Since I took office, I’ve made clear my determination to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. As I’ve said many times, my strong preference is to resolve this issue peacefully, and we’ve extended the hand of diplomacy. Yet for many years, Iran has been unwilling to meet its obligations to the international community. So my administration worked with Congress, the United Nations Security Council and countries around the world to impose unprecedented sanctions on the Iranian government.

These sanctions have had a substantial impact on the Iranian economy, and with the election of a new Iranian President earlier this year, an opening for diplomacy emerged. I spoke personally with President Rouhani of Iran earlier this fall. Secretary Kerry has met multiple times with Iran’s Foreign Minister. And we have pursued intensive diplomacy — bilaterally with the Iranians, and together with our P5-plus-1 partners — the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China, as well as the European Union.

Today, that diplomacy opened up a new path toward a world that is more secure — a future in which we can verify that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful and that it cannot build a nuclear weapon.

While today’s announcement is just a first step, it achieves a great deal. For the first time in nearly a decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program, and key parts of the program will be rolled back. Iran has committed to halting certain levels of enrichment and neutralizing part of its stockpiles. Iran cannot use its next-generation centrifuges, which are used for enriching uranium. Iran cannot install or start up new centrifuges, and its production of centrifuges will be limited. Iran will halt work at its plutonium reactor. And new inspections will provide extensive access to Iran’s nuclear facilities and allow the international community to verify whether Iran is keeping its commitments.

These are substantial limitations which will help prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon. Simply put, they cut off Iran’s most likely paths to a bomb. Meanwhile, this first step will create time and space over the next six months for more negotiations to fully address our comprehensive concerns about the Iranian program. And because of this agreement, Iran cannot use negotiations as cover to advance its program.

On our side, the United States and our friends and allies have agreed to provide Iran with modest relief, while continuing to apply our toughest sanctions. We will refrain from imposing new sanctions, and we will allow the Iranian government access to a portion of the revenue that they have been denied through sanctions. But the broader architecture of sanctions will remain in place and we will continue to enforce them vigorously. And if Iran does not fully meet its commitments during this six-month phase, we will turn off the relief and ratchet up the pressure.

Over the next six months, we will work to negotiate a comprehensive solution. We approach these negotiations with a basic understanding: Iran, like any nation, should be able to access peaceful nuclear energy. But because of its record of violating its obligations, Iran must accept strict limitations on its nuclear program that make it impossible to develop a nuclear weapon.

In these negotiations, nothing will be agreed to unless everything is agreed to. The burden is on Iran to prove to the world that its nuclear program will be exclusively for peaceful purposes.

If Iran seizes this opportunity, the Iranian people will benefit from rejoining the international community, and we can begin to chip away at the mistrust between our two nations. This would provide Iran with a dignified path to forge a new beginning with the wider world based on mutual respect. If, on the other hand, Iran refuses, it will face growing pressure and isolation.

Over the last few years, Congress has been a key partner in imposing sanctions on the Iranian government, and that bipartisan effort made possible the progress that was achieved today. Going forward, we will continue to work closely with Congress. However, now is not the time to move forward on new sanctions -– because doing so would derail this promising first step, alienate us from our allies and risk unraveling the coalition that enabled our sanctions to be enforced in the first place.

Iran Owes Terror Victims Billions of Dollars, Says Activist Lawyer

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

An Israeli lawyer who has won billions of dollars for relatives of terror victims has asked Obama administration officials why they are discussing letting Iran off the hook on sanctions while it owes American relatives colossal sums of money.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, who heads the Israel Law Center, has won billions of dollars for relatives of terror victims in lawsuits against the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist organization as well as banks and other agencies that aid terrorists or act as a pipeline for funds for them.

She wrote Under Secretary Wendy Sherman last month, “Iran must not be allowed under any circumstances to avoid making payment of reparations and due compensations to the families of those whose lives they have destroyed through terrorism…and through the terror organizations it supports: Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah.”

In a blog posted this past week on The Hill website based in Washington, Darshan-Leitner noted that Sherman did not respond, and she added, “As a result of lawsuits taken by American victims of terror in U.S. courts, the Iranian regime currently owes billions of dollars from decades of terrorist activity resulting in dozens of victims and severed families. This debt has yet to be recognized or paid by the Iranian government with no sign of an intention to do so.”

She called on Congress to ensure that the U.S. government is working to keep the interests of the terror victims’ families on the table.

Darshan-Leitner pointed out that when George W. Bush was President, he conditioned repealing of any sanctions against Libya on payment of reparations to the victims of Libyan terror. “This move resulted in the payment of $1.5 billion dollars to the victims’ families,” she wrote.

On the other hand, Bush also removed North Korea from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism in 2008, without compensation being paid to American families, she added.

“We fear this lack of response not only portends a potential Iranian exemption from paying reparations and giving due compensation to families affected by terror in return for normalization of relations, but that it also signals a softening of Sherman’s position on the proliferation of terrorist activity and most significantly, creates difficult implications for the United States’ reputation as a pillar of justice in the war on terror,” according to Darshan-Leitner.

Her blog continued, “As lawyers for American, Canadian and Israeli victims of Iranian terror, we call on Congress to take action and place a check on Under Secretary Sherman in this current round of negotiations… We call on all members of Congress to ensure that victims of terror are not forgotten and to help make the Iranian regime provide the proper reparations and due compensation for the innocent lives taken at the hands of terrorist activities and not to gain a free pass in the name of diplomatic maneuverings.”

Iran Unveils Drone that Can Reach Israel – or Is It Photoshop?

Monday, November 18th, 2013

Iran announced on Monday it has manufactured a new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that can reach Israel and can carry two 330-pound bombs.

That really sounds scary. It conjures up a scene of a drone infiltrating Israel with two small nuclear bombs that can annihilate the country and bring an Islamic peace to the world. The threat, of course, is intended to strike fear into the hearts of Washington and Jerusalem, who now are expected to shiver in their boots and say “yes” to whatever Iran wants.

There is no proof that this new drone does not exist. Nor is there proof that is does exist.

Let’s assume for a minute the “Fotros” drone really does have a range of 620 miles.

Dr. Eldad Pardo, a Hebrew University expert on Iran, told The Jewish Press Monday, “It is one thing to make a drone that can reach Israel, but it is another thing to have the technological capability to do something with it.”

While not pooh-poohing Iran’s technological ability, Dr. Pardo said a drone needs highly sophisticated electronic systems to be able to do any damage.

He noted, “The drone looks very similar to others. We will have to wait for a few days and see if anyone notices something that would indicate it is a ruse.”

Iran bragged that the new drone “is equipped with state-of-the-art light cameras for reconnaissance.”

Its official media stated, “In recent years, Iran has made great achievements in its defense sector and has attained self-sufficiency in producing essential military equipment and systems.”

Dr. Pardo pointed out that Iran also is capable of using Photoshop.

Let’s take a look at some of Iran’s amazing achievements, some of which have been announced one after the other in the past three years.

Most of the regime’s announcements came at a convenient time when it was necessary to counter Israeli and Israeli threats.

Last month, Iran unveiled a supposed suicide combat drone. It did not take long for even amateurs to notice that the nose and tail appeared to be held together by duct tape.

Last January, Iran said it sent a monkey into space but provided no details of when and where the launch took place, if it ever did.

“Before” and “after” flight pictures clearly showed different monkeys. Iran’s Propaganda Ministry quickly came up with an explanation. Someone in its media department simply mixed up a picture of a monkey two years, ago.

How’s that for quick thinking?

Two years ago, Iran claimed it launched a rocket with a mouse, a turtle and worms. Nothing has been heard about that achievement since then, but it would be interesting to know how everyone got along during the ride.

Dr. Pardo said that last November, Iran boasted of a UAV that had the capacity to take off vertically, “but they took the picture from a journal,” he told The Jewish Press. The image of the supposed vertical take-off drone the image looks almost identical to a picture of a drone from a university in Japan.

This past February, Iran released photos of a brand-new stealth fighter, a remarkable feat – until it became clear that it  was only three-quarters of the size of a plane. Furthermore, a photo showed the “stealth fighter” flying over a mountain at the same angle of a stock photo.

In 2008, the media arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards released a photo of four missiles being launched. It was an amazing accomplishment. One of the rockets, including its exhaust trail, was exactly like another one of the rockets. If its rocket-producing capability is like its Photoshop capability, Iran really needs a new Propaganda Minister.

In November 2011, Iranian media announced is added two new submarines to its fleet. The following month, the official Fars (or is it Farce?) News Agency reported, “ The Iranian Navy plans to test-fire a mid-range surface-to-air missile,…  the first time that such a missile is launched from navy vessels.”

The same month – it seems the Propaganda Ministry was working overtime – Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi “announced Iran’s high capabilities in building UAVs, and said the country is mass-producing new types of combat drones.” Fars reported. He also said Iran has “already produced several types of combat drones, as well, and we are now mass-producing a number of them.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/iran-unveils-drone-that-can-reach-israel-or-is-it-photo-shop/2013/11/18/

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