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Posts Tagged ‘ship’

Did Iran’s Warships Actually Visit Syria This Week?

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Claudia Rosett writes about the Pentagon statement yesterday that the US doesn’t think the Iranian warships were ever in Syria these past few days. You can read that full analysis on Pajamas Media.

Here is the key excerpt:

Pentagon spokesman, George Little, told the press, “We have absolutely no indication whatsoever the Iranian ships ever docked in Syrian ports.”

What’s going on here? One day there are two Iranian ships docking in Syria. Three days later, it seems that, like the Flying Dutchman, they never made port. Whatever they did during their swing through the eastern Mediterranean, they are now reported as having left the area, heading back through the Suez Canal.
These are not phantoms, or flyspecks invisible to the hi-tech eye. These are ships, substantial objects, which the U.S. certainly has the ability to track. I can’t claim to know what actually happened, and, alas, I have no inside sources here. So this is pure speculation. But it sounds as if the Iranian ships were indeed heading for Tartus, and then ran into some reason to back off — leaving the Iranian government to bluster that the ships had docked, rather than admit they’d chickened out.

I’m not going to write a formal post on the subject, as it’s all just too dicey, including the cryptic Pentagon assertion, which comes off to my ear as rather carefully worded. (And I don’t want to make too much of that. It could mean nothing.) The Israeli Defense Ministry isn’t commenting publicly on the Pentagon’s assertion either.

At any rate, I want to point out a comment from another naval professional at Claudia’s PJ Mediapost:

Michael Hoskins, USN Ret

FYI, A destroyer needs to visit a gas station every 5 to 7 days. Fuel supply can be pushed out further but at risk of getting too low to respond to anything. Supply ship is not an oiler and Iran does not know how to refuel at sea (A US tour de force and a NATO skill set).

Agreed.

Something is very odd about this whole thing. By operating conservatively, the destroyer could have made it from Port Said and back between 17 Feb, when it reportedly entered the Med, and its return for a southbound transit through the Canal on the 21st (again, according to reports). That would imply refueling in Egypt.

But there are discrepancies in this whole incident. Originally, the Mehr News Agency reported that the ships arrived in Syria on the 17th. (Maybe; although a tad doubtful if the ships were northbound in the Canal on the 17th.)

Press TV then said they arrived in Syria on the 18th. That was the story picked up by all the world’s news agencies. Israeli military spokesmen were interviewed that day on the Iranian warship issue, as were Suez Canal officials, who said the ships were declared for Tartus, Syria.

The next wave hit on the 20th, Monday, when foreign news agencies started reporting that the ships had arrived in Tartus on the 20th.

On the 21st, the reports came out that the ships were headed back for the Canal, presumably having left Tartus that morning.

Syrian News (a heavily propagandistic website aligned with the Assad regime) reported on the 20th that the city of Tartus welcomed the Iranian flotilla over the weekend, seeming to confirm the reports of arrival on the 18th.

Al Jazeera did a phone interview with the captain of the Iranian destroyer during the period when the ships were reportedly in Tartus. In the interview, the captain referred to the ships being in Tartus.

In the past day, Lebanese and Israeli reporting quotes Syrian opposition sources as saying that the Iranian supply ship offloaded weapons and electronic warfare equipment for the Assad regime.

There are no photos of the ships in port at all, which would seem to be telling, although the Syrian regime is so hunkered down that it might not be able to (or want to) bring off photo or video documentation. The Russians run the naval base at Tartus, but it is not clear which area of the port complex the Iranian ships supposedly stopped in.

A number of reports circulating in Europe and the Middle East referred to the ships “dropping anchor” in Tartus. That may have simply been ignorance and the inaccurate use of nautical expressions, but there is also the possibility that one or both of the ships spent most of their time anchored offshore, rather than moored to a pier in the port complex itself. The offshore depth is shallow, a good way out from the Syrian coast, and commercial imagery from recent years shows lots of tankers and cargo ships still anchoring out, a long-time practice in the area. To offload cargo, the Syrian supply ship would have gone to a pier, but perhaps not for more than 8-10 hours, and perhaps during a period when there was no US surveillance.

One would want a little more detail about this incident to accept that it just didn’t happen. But it would be good to think that, even if we don’t stop Russian ships from bringing arms to Syria, or Venezuelan ships from bringing diesel fuel for tanks and APCs, we are stopping the Iranians.

J. E. Dyer

English National Opera in Hot Water over “Death of Klinghoffer”

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

The Telegraph reports that Jewish groups have accused the English National Opera of “giving a voice to terrorism” and have threatened to mount protests after the company’s decision to stage the rarely-performed “The Death of Klinghoffer”. Based on the murder of a disabled Jewish tourist during the hijacking of a cruise ship by Palestinian militants, the opera company itself says the production will “shock” audiences.

Leon Klinghoffer, a 69-year-old American, was celebrating his wedding anniversary in October 1985 aboard the Achille Lauro, when he was shot twice and thrown overboard in his wheelchair during the ship’s hijacking off the Egyptian coast by members of the Palestinian Liberation Front.

But according to John Berry, ENO’s artistic director, “one cannot shy away from the fact that this was the most brutal of terrorist attacks, and nor does the production, but the purpose of art is often to shock and challenge audiences. The story is handled with sensitivity and gives an even-handed portrayal of those on both sides of the conflict.”

Back in 1991, when the Brooklyn Academy of Music first staged “Klinghoffer,” Leon Klinghoffer’s daughters Lisa and Ilsa attended anonymously and were “disgusted at the idealistic portrayal of their father’s killers,” according to Reuters. They issued a statement that read: “We are outraged at the exploitation of our parents and the cold-blooded murder of our father as the centerpiece of a production that appears to us to be anti-Semitic.”

Yori Yanover

It’s My Opinion The Unexpected

Friday, January 27th, 2012

The world watched in horror as the surreal photos of the Costa Concordia hit news outlets last week. The immense cruise ship hit rocks off the coast of Italy, ran aground, and wound up on its side, sinking in the Mediterranean. The scene was one of wild mayhem. The captain is alleged to have abandoned the ship and left the distraught passengers to fend for themselves. Some died in the accident. Others are still missing.

Certainly, everyone who boarded the ill-fated Costa Concordia had anticipated a beautiful trip amid opulent accommodations. No one thought they were in danger. They only thing they were expecting was a wonderful time at sea.

Several South Florida residents were on the ship and survived the disaster. They were interviewed at Miami International Airport upon their return. They told reporters the same story – they never saw this coming.

It’s comforting to think we can plan. It’s comforting to think that if we spend enough money or prepare with enough care, our lives will proceed in an orderly manner. Unfortunately, its not the way life works.

Despite the best of intentions, life can be precarious and unpredictable. We like to think we have control. In reality, the only control we have is not what challenges we will face, but how we will handle the challenges that face us. Soldiers live through perilous battles. Vacationers die on a luxury cruise.

Those who survived the Costa Concordia disaster can bemoan their bad luck to have been aboard the ill-fated ship. On the other hand, they can celebrate the fact that they persevered and appreciate every single day as a special gift to be savored. The choice is up to them.

Those who learn and grow from good and bad experiences understand a basic tenet of life. They expect the unexpected and use it well.

Shelley Benveniste

Reaping The Fruits Of His Labor

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Reb Pinchos, born in Romania, moved shortly after birth with his parents to Vienna. As a teenager, he learned in another city and took his Gemara with him. Pinchos remembered how his rebbe always liked to teach from his Gemara. He remembered Kristallnacht vividly, as he and his parents left Vienna fearing for their lives. Upon returning to their house, the family found all the books and furniture smashed, but miraculously, of all the sefarim that had been destroyed, the Gemara that he took with him to yeshiva was untouched. In addition, the sefer Torah they had hidden on top of a bookcase in their home had fallen behind the bookcase – but was untouched.

Shortly after, Reb Pinchos and his parents left Vienna for England. Little did he know what the future had in store for him. Hundreds of people had escaped from Europe to England and the British were afraid that Nazi spies might have been among the escapees. His parents, being in their 70s, were allowed to remain in England, but Reb Pinchos and 2,000 other Jews were told that they were going to be deported from England. With a heavy heart he bade farewell to his parents, knowing that this would be the last time he would see them.

He and his fellow Jews were taken to a large ship, the infamous Dunera, which had a transport capacity of 800 – but was now packed with 2,000 people. They had no idea where they were going, and most only had their personal belongings in a small bag. The ship’s British soldiers went through all those belongings and stole anything of value – while personal papers were thrown into the sea. Conditions on board were terrible, with little food available, and the deportees were allowed on deck for fresh air for only an hour a day.

One day while at sea everyone was told, without explanation, to go below deck. Suddenly, the whole ship shook as if something had hit it. Little did they know that a torpedo had hit the ship, but miraculously didn’t explode. Not long after the war, the captain of the U-boat that had fired the torpedo wrote that he had noticed papers in the water and sent divers in to retrieve them. It turned out that about 200 German prisoners of war were on the Dunera, and when the German submarine’s commander found papers belonging to these prisoners, he commanded all the U-boats in the area not to fire at the ship. He accompanied the boat into safe waters.

After about 7-8 weeks, the ship arrived in Australia. The headline in the paper there read, “Enemy Aliens Arrive In Australia.” Reb Pinchos and the other Jews were taken to Tatura in New South Wales, where they were interned and kept behind barbed wires.

With World War II in progress, all able-bodied men had gone off to war and people were needed to pick fruit. Reb Pinchos and others were taken to the orchards to pick the fruit. As the first Shabbos was approaching, Reb Pinchos was concerned about having to work on Shabbos, but as he was officially a prisoner of war he questioned as to what to do. He decided to speak to the farmer, explaining to him the prohibition of working on Shabbos and offering to work on Sunday instead. To his surprise the farmer said that he would honor the request to not work on Shabbos, and he added that he did not want Reb Pinchos to work on Sunday either, since that was his “Shabbos.”

While working there, Reb Pinchos discovered that there was a shul in the area belonging to the Feiglin family. After his first visit to the shul, one of the Feiglin sons picked him up every Friday in order to spend Shabbos with the Feiglins. Reb Pinchos was returned to the farm on Sunday. When Reb Pinchos completed his job of picking the fruit at this farm, the farmer told him that he found a job for him picking fruit at a neighboring farm. And the farmer mentioned to Reb Pinchos’s new boss that Reb Pinchos did not work on Shabbos, a condition she accepted.

Eventually Reb Pinchos joined the Australian army. He married and raised a heimishe Jewish family – instilled with the values of Torah and Yiddishkeit.

menachembraun

Torah Is The Greatest Treasure

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Beware Of Pride The inhabitants of Simonia once came to Rav Yehuda HaNasi (also known as Rebbe) and asked him to recommend a scholar to serve as their rav, dayan, teacher and sofer.  Rebbe sent them Levi ben Sisi.  When Ben Sisi came to the city, its inhabitants greeted him with great joy and paid him much honor.  They erected a large platform and enthroned him there.

Then they approached him and asked a variety of questions.  Eagerly they waited for the great scholar to demonstrate to them his great knowledge.  However, to their great surprise, Levi ben Sisi did not open his mouth.

The people of the city were shocked, but said:

“He may not be a great scholar in the law, but he might be a great preacher, well versed in parables and morality stories.”

SoO they asked him about some fables and parables and stories of the rabbanim.  Again, Levi ben Sisi did not answer them.

Angrily, the people came to Rebbe complaining.  “What kind of man did you send us,” they asked?  Did we not ask you to recommend a great scholar?  The man you sent to us does not know anything.”

Rebbe was surprised to hear this.  He said to the people:  “Believe me, the man I sent to you knows as much as I do.  I am going to find out what has happened to him.”

Rebbe called Levi ben Sisi before him and asked him the same legal problems which the people had asked and lo and behold, ben Sisi gave him an immediate reply.  Rebbe then asked him to narrate some fables and parables and again he received an immediate reply.

Rebbe was quite puzzled and asked:  “If you know all the answers, why didn’t you tell them to the people of Simonia?”

Levi ben Sisi answered:  “When I came into the town the people received me with great honor.  They erected a large platform and enthroned me there.  I felt greatly honored and pride swelled up in my breast.  I became exceedingly proud of my learning and then as a consequence and punishment for my pride I had forgot all that I had learned.  When the people came to me with their questions, I could not answer them.”

 

Rav’s Gifts Arteban, king of the Persians, sent a precious pearl to Rav.  He wrote to him: “I am sending you a precious gift.  Give me a gift of equal value.”

Thereupon Rav sent him a mezuzah.

Arteban sent back to Rav saying; “I have sent you something of great value, and you send me something which can be acquired for little money.”

Rav replied: “The two objects we have exchanged cannot be compared in value.  You sent me something which I must guard, and I sent you something which, even while you sleep, keeps watch over you.  As it is written: ‘when you walk it shall lead you; when you rest it shall keep you’” (Tehillim 6:22).

The Priceless Merchandise Chazal compare the knowledge of Torah to priceless merchandise that we need never fear will be stolen or lost. They narrate the following story:

Once a rav boarded a ship to travel to a distant land. Aboard the ship were many merchants who proudly displayed their wares. One merchant had the finest silks, another the widest varieties of spices, and another diamonds and jewelry.

Seeing the rav standing empty-handed they asked him, “What are your wares, O fellow traveler?”

“I have the finest of all merchandise,” he replied. “Mine is far more superior to any of your goods. I deal in knowledge and wisdom.”

Rabbi Sholom Klass

Eyes To See

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Some years ago, I came across a Polish-Jewish newspaper published in the early thirties. It was a time when the winds of anti-Semitism were blowing throughout Europe, with particular force in Poland. I searched through every page of the paper and was appalled to find not even a hint of the tragedy that was looming for the Jewish people.

The columns focused on the Yiddish theater, advice for personal problems, and generally meaningless news.

Here we are decades later, what do the media focus on now? Politicians enmeshed in salacious scandals, the trial of the barbaric killing of a little girl, allegedly by her own mother, etc. Take an objective look at American society and you will behold a vapid, decadent culture, disintegrating family life, failing government, a broken economy.

It is against this background that we see the greatest threat facing the Jewish people, with the clock quickly ticking away. The life of our Jewish state is hanging by a thread. That which Hitler did in the space of years can now, G-d forbid, come to pass in just minutes with the push of a button.

There are, to be sure, those who share my fears, but the great majority of people refuse to hear, to see, to understand. Even as in pre-Holocaust Europe it was more convenient to ignore reality, so today people choose to look away from that which is unfolding before their very eyes. People assure one another that when push comes to shove, Americans will never abandon Israel, that America will not lose its sense of direction and will continue to champion the cause of freedom. They point to the killing of bin Laden and convince themselves that all is well.

I urge such people to remove, if even for a moment, their rose-colored glasses. Try to absorb that which is playing out before our eyes. Yes, bin Laden was taken out, but there are real questions as to how major a player he still was. Today there are new gangsters on the block but, tragically, we refuse to recognize them. The U.S. and NATO may be pounding away at Libya, but Khaddafi has become a minor player. The real killers are being ignored or given a pass.

Consider what is happening in Syria, where the authorities are torturing and killing their own people. Imagine what they would do to Jews if given the opportunity. This holds true not only for Syria, but for other Arab countries as well. And yet the world welcomes the new killers and refers to the revolutionary mobs of the so-called Arab Spring as liberators.

And look at the revolution in Egypt. As I noted in a previous column, the protestors in Egypt were regarded by many as the very symbol of the Arab Spring. But those same Egyptian mobs barbarically attacked a female CBS correspondent – to shouts of “Jew! Jew!” – and savagely attacked their fellow citizens of Christian faith along with their churches.

Then there’s Iran. Just a short while ago, brave Iranians took their lives in their hands and rebelled against Ahmadinejad and his totalitarian government, only to be quickly beaten into silence. Here again, the silence of the world was deafening.

Not to worry, we are told. Bin Laden has been killed and we are pounding away at Libya. There is no reason not to be confident about the future.

But if you truly love your people and are willing to behold the real world, you must shudder. While America is busy with its scandals and the West is increasingly coming under the sway of its growing Muslim populations, Ahmadinejad is brewing enriched uranium, the potion designed for the annihilation of Israel.

Those in the know are aware that this is not blind speculation but tragic, stark reality. And even more tragic is that there is no one to stop Ahmadinejad. The U.S. will not attack Iran, and Israel cannot go it alone.

What, then, are we to do?

We Jews know that everything comes from Hashem- that it is G-d who directs and controls the hearts of kings and leaders. We Jews know that “all suffering that is visited upon mankind is sent to awaken our people.” Yes, this is a wake up call for us to return to our covenant – to G-d Himself.

There are those who, upon reading this, will smile indulgently or even sarcastically and say, “There they go again, those religious Jews!” But I am smiling back at them. Here is my response:

“Tell me, if you can, how else if not for G-d’s intervention did we, a tiny, insignificant people scattered throughout the world, tortured and oppressed, survive the savage onslaughts of the nations? How is it that we have witnessed the rise and fall of great empires who had sworn to obliterate us while we are still here, more vibrant than ever?”

So why am I worried?

Because as much as I believe with all my heart and soul that G-d’s covenant with our people is eternal and will never be severed, I also know there is a terrible price to be paid if that covenant is not guarded and kept.

In Bergen-Belsen, as I stood for role call every morning, I didn’t know if I myself would live, but my saintly father, HaRav HaGaon HaTzaddik Avraham HaLevi Jungreis, zt”l, imbued me with faith and I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that Am Yisrael Chai – the Jewish people would live and thrive.

At the same time, however, I knew our suffering was more than any other nation ever experienced. (Though I never dreamed the end result of that suffering would be six million dead Jews.) It is because of this that I picked up my pen. It is because of this that I cry out in the hope people will hear and once again embrace the Divine Covenant.

To those who ask, “What about all the religious Jews who perished in the Holocaust?” I would simply respond that it is written, “And each man shall fall because of his brother .”

We are a nation on one ship; if a man drills a hole under his seat, the entire ship will sink.

If you are a Jew, take a good look at yourself and ask, in this time of crisis as we come to the final chapter in Jewish history that will bring the Messiah, “Am I among those guarding the ship, or am I drilling a hole?”

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Just The Facts, Ma’am

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010
The trusty folks at CAMERA have assembled a handy guide to the falsehoods and facts surrounding the Gaza flotilla. Some salient excerpts:
Falsehood: The purpose of the anti-Israel activists’ trip to Gaza was to deliver essential humanitarian aid to Palestinians.
Fact: Organizers of the trip have themselves made clear this isn’t true. “This mission is not about delivering humanitarian supplies,” saidorganizer and anti-Israel activist Greta Berlin. Instead, she explained, it is about ending Israel’s blockade in order to allow unfettered shipments to the Hamas-ruled territory.
At any rate, Israel delivers more goods to Gaza in one week (roughly 15,000 tons) than the flotilla organizers claimed to be bringing (10,000 tons). And according to the Financial Times, “shops all over Gaza are bursting with goods” thanks to the active smuggling tunnels leading into the territory from Egypt.
Falsehood: This was a flotilla of “peace activists.”
Fact: The most prominent organizers of the flotilla have strongly backed violence. And even if some passengers thought they were involved in a peace mission, video evidence clearly shows passengers on the Mavi Marmara planning, and engaging in, brutal violence.
The two main organizers of the voyage were the Turkish Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), which has worked closely with terrorist organizations, and the Free Gaza Movement, which is strongly linked to the extremist International Solidarity Movement (ISM).
Falsehood: Naval blockades are not permitted under international law.
Fact: Naval blockades are legal. They have long been part of customary and even conventional international law, and the relevant legal doctrines were reviewed and codified in the 1994 San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea.
Falsehood: It is not permissible to stop a merchant ship, as opposed to an army ship.
Fact: According to the San Remo Manual, merchant ships violating a blockade may be stopped, or even attacked. Article 98 states: “Merchant vessels believed on reasonable grounds to be breaching a blockade may be captured. Merchant vessels which, after prior warning, clearly resist capture may be attacked.”
Falsehood: Israel violated international law when it stopped the ships in international waters.
Fact: Legal experts cited by Reuters notethat “Under the law of a blockade, intercepting a vessel could apply globally so long as a ship is bound for a ‘belligerent’ territory.”
Falsehood: Israel prevents essential humanitarian items such as baby formula from entering the Gaza Strip.
Fact: Israel facilitates the transfer of thousandsof tonsof humanitarian items per week into Gaza, including baby formula.
Falsehood: Israeli soldiers descended on the ship from helicopters and immediately attacked with machine guns innocent passengers sleeping on the deck.
Fact: Video footageclearly demonstrates that this is a lie. The footage, shot from different angles, shows Israeli soldiers landing on the ship being immediately and violently assaulted by gangs of passengers awaiting them on deck. The attack on the Israeli soldiers began, as retired British Marine Officer Peter Cook acknowledgedon British television, while the first Israeli soldier still had both of his hands on the rope being used to lower him onto the ship.
            Cook also said the large Israeli weapon seen in video footage appeared to be a paintball gun, which corresponds with Israel’s assertion that these were the primary weapons soldiers brought onto the ship.
Falsehood: Passengers on the Mavi Marmara were engaged in “peaceful resistance,” had no weapons, and did not violently attack Israeli soldiers.
Fact: Video footage shows, among other acts of violence, a passenger stabbingan Israeli soldier, gangs of passengers pummeling soldiers with metal rods and other objects, and a soldier being thrown off a high deck.

Testimony from both Israelisoldiersand activist passengersdescribes pistols being taken from injured soldiers. The ship’s captain reportedly told Israeli soldiers that the violent passengers threw their guns overboard before the ship was completely taken over.

 

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

Jason Maoz

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/just-the-facts-maam/2010/06/16/

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