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June 27, 2016 / 21 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘United States’

Something Big Is Happening In Syria But Despite Warnings By 51 US Diplomats Obama Refuses To See It

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

[Initially published at Western Journalism]

On Thursday last week, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal revealed that 51 American diplomats had signed an internal State Department memo that harshly criticized President Obama’s Syria policies. The diplomats also called for airstrikes against President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syria, the papers reported.

Robert Ford, America’s former ambassador to Syria, said that there has never been a “dissenting message” that was signed by so many diplomats within the State Department.

“The normal number for a dissenting message is two, three, four, five people. So it’s really remarkable. It says that a large number of people who work on different parts [of Washington’s policy on the Syrian conflict] are all in agreement that it’s failing. I see American diplomats who are frustrated like I was when I resigned in 2014,” Ford told France 24.

Ford thinks the diplomats’ memo won’t cause Obama to change his ways or adjust his policies in Syria. He said he was sure the message was directed at Obama and not at Secretary of State John Kerry.

Kerry seemed to prove Ford right when he was questioned about the protest letter by reporters during a visit to Copenhagen in Denmark. The secretary of state even seemed to side with the diplomats when he said, “It’s an important statement, and I respect the process very, very much.”

The New York Times, citing unnamed diplomats, reported that Kerry “has told President Obama that he is operating without any leverage in Syria and that unless the United States increases the pressure on Mr. Assad, the embattled leader will simply wait out the end of Mr. Obama’s term.” Kerry wants the administration to “consider a wide range of military operations to alter the equation in Syria’s civil war,” the Times wrote.

The internal dissent within the Obama administration over the president’s policy toward al-Assad in Syria has been brewing since August 2013, when Obama stunned his staff, Kerry and then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel by suddenly reversing an earlier decision to order airstrikes on al-Assad’s forces after the Syrian dictator used chemical weapons against his citizens, killing 1,400 Syrians.

“That decision destroyed any credibility the administration had with Russia, Iran or Assad himself,” Reuters reported Friday, citing a former Defense Department official involved in Syria policy.

But Obama seems to be unfazed by the unprecedented criticism of his diplomatic corps.

Jennifer Friedman, his deputy press secretary, told reporters that the president is “always open to new and different ideas when it comes to the challenges in Syria” but that he does not see a “military solution to the Syrian crisis, and that remains the case.”

State Department spokesman John Kirby was even blunter on Obama’s refusal to listen to the recommendations of his diplomatic staff.

“There isn’t any U.S. efforts to target Bashar al-Assad. That’s not part of the calculus,” Kirby said during apress briefing Friday, while it had become clear that the U.S.-backed rebel groups in Syria are systematically being wiped out by al-Assad and his allies.

Russian President Vladimir Putin showed this weekend he understood the ramifications of Obama’s stubborn refusal to take action against al-Assad’s brutal regime.

Putin poked Obama in the eye by ordering his air force to bomb positions of U.S.-backed Syrian rebels near the al-Tanaf crossing on the Syrian-Iraqi border last Friday.

The attack on the New Syrian Army and the Ahmad al-Abdo Martyrs Brigades led to condemnation by Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who thought that perhaps the Russians had made a mistake and acted on poor intelligence.

If Carter would have been willing to open his eyes and to read the latest updates on what is happening in eastern Syria, he would have understood that the Russian action is part of a new plan that has been concocted by Iran, Russia, Hezbollah and the al-Assad regime.

The Russian-led coalition is gearing up for a major offensive that aims to retake eastern Syria from the Islamic State and other rebel groups. The Lebanese news site NOW reported this weekend that “Iran, Russia and Syria have agreed on a ‘large action plan’ for a ‘very big battle in the Deir Ezzor’ province in which Hezbollah will play a ‘central role.’”

On Monday NOW reported that Hezbollah had “established a new military faction called the Zayn al-Abidin Brigade, named after the fourth Shiite Imam, who survived the Battle of Karbala in 680.”

NOW thinks that the move is related to the Syrian war only. However, when one takes a good look what is happening in Iraq where Iranian-backed militias have just opened the gateway to the Anbar province by driving Islamic State out of Fallujah, a different picture emerges.

Iran has a vested interest to capture the eastern Syrian desert because that would open a pathway from the Iranian-Iraqi border via Fallujah and the Anbar Province all the way to southwest Syria, where it wants to establish a new beachhead close to the border with Israel on the Syrian Golan Heights.

As Western Journalism reported Monday, Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, has been spotted in the vicinity of Fallujah, where he oversaw the battle against ISIS.

Soleimani is now on his way to Syria, where he will oversee the imminent new offensive in eastern Syria that was first reported by the Hezbollah-linked website Akhbar.

As astute observer Jennifer Dyer pointed out on Liberty Unyielding, the Russians have no intention to head home after the Syrian war is over. They need control over Tartus and the coastal plain in northwest Syria. The Iranians, on the other hand, are very much interested in eastern Syria.

The Russian airstrikes therefore could very well be a payback for the Iranian assistance in consolidating al-Assad’s rule over western Syria, including the port city of Tartus that is home to a Russian naval base.

This brings us back to the leaked memo of the disgruntled State Department diplomats.

It could be that by leaking this document to the press, they issued a last-minute warning that without American intervention something bigger than the survival of al-Assad’s regime will be at stake.

If nothing is done, Iraq and Syria may cease to be independent states and instead could become satellite states controlled by the two new powers that seek to dominate the Middle East: Russia and Iran.

Yochanan Visser

Israel Exports 500 Million Predatory Insects, Bumblebees, to Russia

Sunday, June 19th, 2016

Israel has sent Russia 500 million predatory insects as part of its assistance in developing an independent Russian agriculture.

Following the European boycott on Russian produce as a result of the Russian invasion of Crimea, Russian agriculture was abruptly cut off from its traditional economic base, and so the state is investing great efforts in developing and sustaining the local agriculture — which is where Israel’s superior agricultural know-how comes into the picture. Israeli companies are now working to construct hothouses for Russian farmers, and consult them on utilizing innovative methods, including using natural, non-toxic methods to get rid of pests.

BioBee Biological Systems, in Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu, just south of Beit She’an in northern Israel, is a unique company which breeds and implements beneficial insects and mites (swirskii, phytoseiulus persimilis) for agricultural purposes. These have proven priceless in pest control in tomatoes, cucumbers and roses.

BioBee also sent Russian farmers its home-grown bumblebees for pollination, without which there is no horticulture.

Part of the collaboration involves experiments being carried out by BioBee in using bumblebees to pollinate cherry orchards in Crimea. The company expects that should the trials prove a success this would open new markets for Israel in pollinating cherry trees around the world.

Crop pollination by insects has been estimated at $14.6 billion to the US economy, for instance, but bee diversity has declined considerably in the US and Europe, with many species disappearing from much of their former range, and some species going extinct. The UK alone has lost three species of native bumblebee, and six more are listed as endangered. Four bumblebee species have gone extinct from Europe, and similar declines are seen in China.

Chinese agricultural publications have described falling and increasingly unpredictable yields of insect-pollinated crops, particularly in the areas with the most intensive farming. Where crops are grown in vast fields, there are not enough insects to go around. And where insecticides are sprayed frequently, those vital little pollinators cannot survive.

Israeli innovation offers a viable solution to a major problem plaguing world agriculture, combining non-toxic pest control in a growing number of crops, with a complementary plan to revitalize the bumblebee hives around the world.

JNi.Media

Obama’s Ridiculous Reaction

Monday, June 13th, 2016

I really wanted to take a break from politics and talk about something else besides radical Islamic terrorism and how liberals are giving in to them, but the recent attack in Orlando and the ridiculous reactions by POTUS and liberal minds across the globe leave me no choice. The entire situation reminds me of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”

For those who are unfamiliar with the story, An Emperor hires two weavers who promise him the finest, best suit of clothes from a fabric invisible to anyone who is unfit for his position or “hopelessly stupid”. Finally the weavers report that the suit is finished, they mime dressing him and the Emperor marches in procession before his nation. The townsfolk play along with the pretense, not wanting to appear unfit for their positions or stupid. Then a child in the crowd, too young to understand the desirability of keeping up the pretense, blurts out that the Emperor is wearing nothing at all and the cry is taken up by others. The Emperor suspects the assertion is true, but continues the procession.”

A radical Islamic terrorist walks into a restaurant in Tel Aviv or a bar in Orlando and murders innocent people. The reaction is anger and then there is a cry not to define this as a radical Islamic terrorist attack. The Mayor of Tel Aviv blames Israel and POTUS won’t even mention the words Islamic terror because telling the truth is not as important as faking like he sees the emperors clothes.

The terrorist was interviewed by the FBI TWICE(!!) for radical Islamic activity but allowed to legally acquire a gun because to refuse his constitutional right to bear arms based on his radical Islamic views alone would be considered racist in the liberal mind . Careful about pointing out that this was an Islamic terrorist attack, they will make fun of you for not seeing the Emperor’s invisible clothes. It doesn’t matter the terrorist swore allegiance to ISIS (that’s ISLAMIC State for those who were wondering), or that he screamed Allah Akhbar before shooting up 50 people, the liberals are still applauding the Emperor’s new clothes and call this a gun problem! The emperor is walking around as naked as he was on the day he was born, but if you dare say so, you are called a racist and deemed unfit for the enlightened “libertard” culture that is running around protecting those who want you dead!

THE EMPEROR IS %^& NAKED!

I will happily be that little kid to let the emperor know he is stark naked and his not so flattering figure is putting us all in danger!

Islamic terror is hitting all over the world! The left in Israel that are advocating making deals with terrorists as well as the liberals in the US or Europe that refuse to admit there is a problem called Islamic terror are part of the problem!

This is about gun control? REALLY!

Perhaps after 9/11 we should have outlawed planes!

Who finally killed the terrorist in Orlando?

Who killed the terrorist in TA? I believe it was someone with a gun!

If the bar would not have been run by liberals who decided to make it a gun free zone, perhaps there would be much less than 50 innocent people murdered and the terrorist would have been sent to his paradise much earlier.

The Muslims I know have publicly bashed those who carried out these attacks, but where is the vocal majority? Where are the mass Muslim demonstrations in Orlando against terrorists who are using their religion to murder people? Where were the mass Israeli Arab demonstrations in Israel against the terror attack in TA?

Ari Fuld

Orlando Terror Shooting Preceded by ISIS Call for Local Attacks During Ramadan

Monday, June 13th, 2016

The worst shooting attack in the history of the United States came after call to Muslims by ISIS official Abu Mohammed al Adnani, urging a “month of hurt” in America and in Europe.

In the wee hours of Sunday, a gunman armed with an assault weapon and a handgun walked into the Pulse Orlando nightclub in downtown Orlando, Florida and shot to death 50 people, wounding 53 more. He held 30 people hostage for at least three more hours until an Orlando police SWAT team finally stormed the building and freed the captives, killing the terrorist in the process.

But the scene for that Florida nightmare was set at least a month earlier, when the spokesperson for Islamic State told the terror group’s supporters in an internet audio recording: “The smallest action you do in the heart of their land is dearer to us than the largest action by us, and more effective and more damaging to them.” The message, released by ISIS on May 21, was translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.

Adnani continued in the statement: “And if one of you wishes and tries hard to reach the Islamic State, then one of us wishes to be in your place to hurt the Crusaders day and night without sleeping, and terrorize them so that the neighbor fears his neighbor.”

In this way, ISIS (also known as Da’esh) is nurturing and building homegrown terror networks around the world, thus encouraging those who live “abroad” to launch attacks locally ‘as their religious duty.’

According to CNN, Adnani is believed to have been the ISIS official tasked with command responsibilities over the attacks that were carried out in Brussels and Paris.

The raised level of intensity in the call for action, however, also signifies the desperation with which the group views its current status in Syria and Iraq. ISIS is beginning to lose ground in those areas due to the gradual gains made by the U.S.-led coalition forces and also by Russian air strikes on their positions in Syria.

New York Police Department officials have raised the alert level in the Big Apple in response to the events that took place over the weekend, as did Los Angeles police, who arrested and took into custody a heavily armed suspect when he appeared to be intent upon targeting a local “gay pride” parade.

Hana Levi Julian

UNSC Unanimously Condemn Tel Aviv Terror Shooting, State Dept. ‘Happy to Once Again Condemn’

Friday, June 10th, 2016

The credit for this one belongs entirely to Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon, who, in less than one year at a job to which he was appointed to get him out of PM Netanyahu’s and DM Ya’alon’s hair, appears to be making a difference in effectively representing Israel’s case in the most hostile international arena outside Khartum, Sudan. In a manner reminiscent of another UN envoy, Benjamin Netanyahu, Danon is not a complainer, he is an attacker, and he makes demands. Such as the demands he has made of the UN to at last treat the murder of innocent Jews by Arab terrorists in Tel Aviv as seriously as the did, say, the murdrer of innocent Frenchmen in Paris by Arab Terrorists. Well, last night they did.

For the first time since the wave of Arab terrorism began, on September 2015, on Thursday at 11:30 PM, the UN Security Council condemned the deadly shooting in the strongest terms, calling for the individuals behind “these reprehensible acts of terrorism” to be brought to justice. The council statement was approved by all 15 members. It expressed sympathy for the families of the four civilians killed and those who were injured, and “reiterated that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable.”

Also on Thursday, in the daily press briefing by Mark C. Toner, Deputy Spokesperson for the US State Dept., reporter Arshad Mohammed asked Toner if he had anything more to say about the terror attack. Toner answered: “I’m happy to once again condemn yesterday’s terrible terrorist attacks in Tel Aviv.” Oh, for sure, this is gotcha’ journalism on our part, because, of course, Toner didn’t mean to say he was happy there was a terror attack — but the officious, businesslike manner in which the spokesperson treated the story and the statement conveyed how much empathy he really felt, which was probably somewhere between zero and one on the eleven-notch Spinal Tap volume scale.

The original State Dept. response, on Wednesday, sounded real, though: “The United States condemns today’s horrific terrorist attack in Tel Aviv in the strongest possible terms. We extend our deepest condolences to the families of those killed and our hopes for a quick recovery for those wounded. These cowardly attacks against innocent civilians can never be justified. We are in touch with Israeli authorities to express our support and concern.”

So we probably shouldn’t begrudge Toner his unfortunate expression of happiness.

The same reporter on Thursday continued, saying “the defense minister over there, Avigdor Liberman, has said that in the future Palestinians that are killed while carrying out attacks– their bodies will not be returned to their families. They’re going to be interred somewhere. Israel has a cemetery for enemies, I think.”

The Internet is rife with Arab media stories about Israel’s “cemetery for enemies.” It’s a real place, in the Jordan valley. Back in 2011, Prime Minister Netanyahu approved the transfer of 84 bodies from the Jordan Valley cemetery of enemy combatants to the Palestinian Authority. The Liberman new decision to stop returning terrorists’ bodies is a blessed step in the right direction, and a clear change in the IDF soft arm policy of Liberman’s predecessor. Turns out Israel now has a rightwing defense minister. Liberman also revoked thousands of entry permits issued to Judea, Samaria and Gaza Arabs for the month of Ramadan, added two IDF battalions to Judea and Samaria, and sent security forces to Yatta Village, home of the cousin terrorists who murdered four Israelis in Tel Aviv. If Liberman also gets those two the death penalty he could probably be Israel’s next prime minister.

About which Toner had to say: “We understand the Israeli Government’s desire to protect its citizens, after this kind of terrorist attack, and we strongly support that right. But we would hope that any measures it takes would also take into consideration the impact on Palestinian civilians, who are just trying to go about their daily lives.”

We’ll see what we can do.

David Israel

Haredi Party Spearheading Effort to Protect Israeli Religious Charities from US Tax Authorities

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

The heads of charity organizations in the ultra-Orthodox society, commonly known as Gemachim, received at least a temporary measure of relief from the Knesset Finance Committee, chaired by MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ), ahead of a new amendment of the Income Tax Act that takes effect in September and compels Israeli financial institutions to report through the local tax authorities on the Israeli financial affairs of US citizens. The amendment is the result of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance (FATCA) agreement between Israel and the US, which was a prerequisite for continued cooperation between Israeli and American financial institutions.

It’s not much, but MK Gafni demanded that the Finance Ministry and the Bank of Israel order the banks to give the Gemachim time until the end of June to resolve their status as public institutions, which he hopes would allow them to exclude themselves from the FATCA rules. Gafni envisions a tweaking of the amendment to exclude groups with deposits of less than $50 thousand, or holdings worth less than $50 million.

According to Chairman Gafni, the new regulations could bring the collapse of the Gemachim. “The Israeli government signed an agreement with the US government without considering the disastrous consequences for one of the most important enterprises of the Jewish people that has existed for millennia — the charity and mutual aid societies,” Gafni said, explaining that the Gemachim are “the only means at the disposal of a person under financial duress to receive an interest-free loan to get back on his feet.”

MK Israel Eichler (UTJ), Chairman of the Public Petitions, summoned Dr. Ilan Steiner, Director of the Bank of Israel Currency Department, to his committee hearing, to warn him against another aspect of the US attack on these charity institutions. According to Eichler, banks are being forced under pressure from foreign governments to close the accounts of Gemachim accounts, “in the name of ‘fighting terrorism’ and stopping money laundering, the IRS and the American government have become supervisors of all bank accounts around the world including in Israel. Everyone has to go through their inspection, so the Gemachim have received a letter that they will not be able to keep their bank accounts anymore.”

MK Eichler told Dr. Steiner: “I hope that the Bank of Israel find a way to abide by the agreements with the US while not mixing up the Gemachim with the war on terror. The banks must not become a burden and a restriction on associations and charity organizations who want to help people and do not engage in terrorism. There are limits to the madness of the banking system. We must not allow the charity organizations and Gemachim to be paralyzed by American pressures.”

The issues of compliance regarding money laundering and the war on terror stem from the side benefits of an IRS act that was intended to make sure US citizens who make money abroad share some of it with Uncle Sam. According to the IRS, FATCA targets tax non-compliance by US taxpayers with foreign accounts, focusing on individuals’ reporting about foreign financial accounts and offshore assets, as well as by foreign financial institutions about financial accounts held by US taxpayers or foreign entities in which US taxpayers hold a substantial ownership interest.

Using the US’ enormous economic clout, FATCA bullies the world’s financial institutions into reporting on their American clients to Uncle Sam. Under FATCA, to avoid being withheld upon, foreign financial institutions must register with the IRS and agree to report to the IRS about their US accounts, including accounts of foreign entities with a substantial US ownership. Foreign institutions that enter into an agreement with the IRS to report on their account holders may be required to withhold 30% on certain payments to foreign payees if such payees do not comply with FATCA.

Talk about working for the Yankee dollar.

According to The Marker, Gemachim stand to suffer three different ways from the new law: instead of permitting a Gemach to transfer money into their accounts, they could now be questioned regarding the source of the funds and whether or not tax was paid on them in the US; each deposit could be subject to harassment by the bank, in order to verify that it is not part of a money laundering scheme; and the Gemach could be saddled with a new definition as a financial institution, and as such would be compelled to report on its fund sources to the IRS or face criminal sanctions.

JNi.Media

As US Anthropologists Reject BDS Resolution, Israeli Economy Thriving Despite Boycotts

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

On Tuesday, the 10,000-member American Anthropological Association announced the results of a vote on its proposed boycott of Israeli academic institutions: the call to boycott failed. After many who are close to the organization had predicted the measure would pass, it lost by 2,423 to 2,384 votes.

The failure of the boycott proposal came as unexpected relief to people like Ted Gup, a professor of journalism at Emerson College, who wrote on the eve of the vote in The Chronicle of Higher Education that it is “misguided, counterproductive, and sure to damage both the association and the Palestinian cause.” He added that “it also puts at risk any network of scholars by inviting similar future reprisals.” Also, he warned that “the boycott will harm the very people it is intended to help and embolden those whose hardline policies the AAA disdains.” But “beyond all this,” Gup, who is Jewish, noted that “the boycott itself is irreparably flawed and discredited by the historical and contemporary context that produced it.”

It also appears that the boycotts have had no influence at all on Israel’s economy, which today is the fastest growing in OEDC, according to a Bloomberg News report citing a steep increase in foreign investments in Israeli assets, which last year hit a record high of $285.12 billion, “a near-tripling from 2005 when the so-called Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement was started by a group of Palestinians.”

“We don’t have a problem with foreign investment in Israel — on the contrary,” Yoel Naveh, chief economist at Israel’s finance ministry, told Bloomberg.

According to people from the entire spectrum of the market: money managers, economists and government officials, “Israeli assets are an attractive alternative to weak performers elsewhere.” And even though Israel’s economy has slowed down in 2016, it is still growing faster than the economies of the US and Europe and its interest rate is higher.

Interestingly, Bloomberg also reported that the business community rejects the fabricated accusations against Israel perpetrated by the BDS activists, “that investing in Israeli innovation and natural gas violates Palestinian rights, and that Israel’s misdeeds are so exceptional that they justify singling it out for censure.”

Bloomberg quotes data collected by IVC Research Center which suggests that even with an appreciating shekel, Israeli startups have raised $3.76 billion in 2015 from foreign investors, their highest annual figure in ten years. In 2015 Israeli industrial high-tech exports rose 13% from 2014 to $23.7 billion, and in 2016 Israel’s economy is expected to grow 2.8%, compared with the US (1.8%) and the EU (1.8%).

Or, as the Torah put it, back in 1248 BCE: “But the more the Egyptians oppressed them, the more the Israelites multiplied and spread, and the more alarmed the Egyptians became.” (Exodus 1:12)

Back to the failed BDS vote at the AAA, there’s a point Ted Gup was making in his thoughtful article which suggests the more Israel makes itself known to the world, the less would anti-Semitic NGOs be able to feed off its flesh. “In the summer of 2015, with the support of a Fulbright, I taught at the University of Haifa, in Israel’s third-largest city and one of its most secular and progressive urban centers,” Gup related. “The university boasts a student population that is one-third Arab. It is common to see student-soldiers of the Israeli Defense Forces, rifles slung over their shoulders, checking alongside their Arab classmates the same class announcement boards or discussing homework. Nor is it unusual for heated debates about Israeli policy to arise between Jews and Arabs in the classroom — and even more commonly, between Jews and Jews.”

Then he made a most cogent point, coming as it does from a leftwing perspective: “So how does a learned society like the AAA justify punishing the likes of the University of Haifa or see doing so as an effective message to the Israeli government? Many of my colleagues on the Haifa faculty openly criticize that government, as do their students. A wholesale boycott of academic institutions applies the same indiscriminate standard of punishment that the association says it abhors. The AAA would argue that you don’t bulldoze a house or bomb a block in Gaza because of one attacker. How then do you justify cutting off relations with all Israeli academic institutions based not on actions but on geography?”

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/as-us-anthropologists-reject-bds-resolution-israeli-economy-thriving-despite-boycotts/2016/06/07/

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