Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Antisemitic Statements, Publications by Iranian Regime.(Memri).Alongside the Holocaust denial policy promoted by the Iranian regime, its leaders also make statements and publish writings expressing hatred toward the Jews, especially those in Israel, while denying Israel's right to exist. Regime officials, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, claim that the Jews spread corruption in the world and that they are "evil, greedy, thieves, and murderers," and "filthy criminals who [only] appear to be human."
The title "Jew" is used as a slur in Iranian political struggles. Thus, for example, Mansour Arzi, a critic of Ahmadinejad, called Rahim Mashaei, the head of the president's office, a Jew in order to offend him.Ahmadinejad's opponents acted similarly in October 2009, when they claimed he was of Jewish origin, and that his father had changed his surname to mask the fact.
Formally, the Iranian regime distinguishes between Judaism as a religion, which is legitimate (Jews, being monotheists, are entitled to practice their religion under Muslim rule), and Judaism as a nationality – which Iran totally rejects as non-existent. President Ahmadinejad even claimed that the Zionists are not Jews, but rather infidels or atheists: "They [the Zionists] lie when they say they are Jewish. Judaism has not known a bigger injustice than the Zionists claiming they are Jews."
However, regime officials frequently blur the lines between the Jewish religion and nationality. Sometimes they refer to Jews by their religious affiliation, and sometimes by their national affiliation, recruiting the Koran to justify their claims anachronistically. For example, in August 2011 in Tabas (eastern Iran), preacher Ebrahim Mohajerian claimed that, "according to the Koran, the sons of Israel, the Jews, and the Zionists are the worst enemy of mankind, and especially of Muslims, aside from Satan."
Following are more examples of antisemitic statements and publications by regime officials, and movies screened with its blessing.
Khamenei: "Wherever Evil Jews Existed, They Were Gathered Together [and sent to Palestine]"
Ahmadinejad: The Jews Who Went to Israel "[Only] Appear to Be Human"
Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi: The Jews – "Enemies of Islam"
Iranian Book: "How to Eliminate Israel?"
New Antisemitic Film in Iran – "Saturday Hunter"
Iran Sponsors Antisemitic French Film "The Antisemite"
Read the full story here.
Noted Lincoln Scholar Says Obama Misquotes Lincoln.(BG).“[Barack Obama] didn’t get it right,” says Harry V. Jaffa, professor emeritus of Claremont McKenna College, senior fellow at the Claremont Institute, and author of two influential books on Lincoln.Jaffa was referring to this quotation from President Obama.
“I’m a Democrat. But I believe what Republican Abraham Lincoln believed: That Government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more.”
Professor Jaffa noted that this quotation leaves a lot out. The 93-year-old Jaffa, by memory, recited the full statement from Lincoln’s speech, “The Nature and Objects of Government, with Special Reference to Slavery” (July 1, 1854):
“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do at all, or cannot so well do, for themselves in their separate and individual capacities.”
Notice the difference? The emphasis is on need to have done, not on government doing the action. “That distinction was missing form his quotation,” Jaffa explains. But Obama has repeatedly invoked this misleading Lincoln quotation on both the campaign trail and during his presidency.
Yet despite getting this quote wrong repeatedly, expect Obama to continue to use it for his political ends. In trying to paint the Republicans as more extreme than the visionary who led their party, he hopes to run against the Congress and win the election. But it is he, not they, that misunderstands Lincoln as he tries to enslave us all to bigger and bigger government.Read and see the full story here.
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation New Zealand 5.7 - 5.1 ; Papua New guinea 5.2 ; Italy 5.1 !More info here.
- Halt in Iran oil could push crude up by 30 percent.(JPost).WASHINGTON - The International Monetary Fund warned on Wednesday that global crude prices could rise as much as 30 percent if Iran halts oil exports as a result of US and European Union sanctions.If Iran halts exports to countries without offsets from other sources it would likely trigger an "initial" oil price jump of 20 to 30 percent, or about $20 to $30 a barrel, the IMF said in its first public comment on a possible Iranian oil supply disruption.The IMF highlighted the risks of rising tensions over Iran sanctions in a note on Wednesday sent to deputies from G20 countries who met in Mexico City last week.The price impact caused by a cut in Iranian exports could be exacerbated by below average oil stocks in many countries, the result of tight oil market conditions through much of last year, the IMF said.The fund's comments add pressure to the Obama administration as it struggles to find a way to get countries to reduce shipments of Iranian oil without pushing prices higher ahead of the November US presidential election.Financial sanctions against Tehran may be "tantamount to an oil embargo" and would imply supply declines of about 1.5 million barrels per day from the world's fifth-largest oil producer, the IMF said.Hmmmm......Let the Speculators of the world rejoice!Read the full story here.
- Is The NYPD Experimenting With Drones Over The City? Evidence Points To Yes.(CBSNY).They’re used in war zones for surveillance and military strikes.But are there plans to deploy drones in the Big Apple to keep an eye on New Yorkers?More and more people believe it’s inevitable, reports CBS 2’s Don Dahler.Drones are unmanned aircraft that can fly at low altitudes and shoot live video — or shoot live missiles.Surveillance cameras already dot the city’s streets, but is the NYPD exploring the use of even more eyes in the skies, in the form of drones? Some evidence points to yes.A website named Gay City News posted an e-mail it says it acquired through the Freedom of Information Act. It’s purportedly from a detective in the NYPD counterterrorism division, asking the Federal Aviation Administration about the use of unmanned aerial vehicles as a law enforcement tool.And the following is part of a recent interview with Commission Ray Kelly that raised more questions than it answered.“In an extreme situation, you would have some means to take down a plane,” Kelly told “60 Minutes.”Drones are already being used by law enforcement in other cities. CBS 2 has obtained footage of a huge protest in Poland a few months ago, shot by a small drone that could fly a few dozen feet right over the heads of the crowd and the police. High-resolution cameras can capture every detail, including faces and license plate numbers. In this country, Miami and several cities in Texas are experimenting with such aircraft.Read the full story here.
- Foreign woman stripped of clothes, assaulted, in Egypt’s Tahrir Square.(BikyaMasr).CAIRO: A foreign woman was stripped and sexually assaulted on Wednesday evening in Egypt’s iconic Tahrir Square, one eyewitness said on Twitter and another confirmed in an email to Bikyamasr.com.The woman, who’s identity has not been revealed, was taken away in an ambulance after being assaulted for 10 minutes. Her husband reportedly was unable to intervene and witnessed the incident.“I saw the woman and then dozens of men surrounded her and started grabbing her, when she screamed for help some people came, but they were hit in the face,” wrote one witness.What happened next was “appalling,” said the trusted witness, who asked for anonymity. “The men just started tearing at her clothes and grabbing her body all over. When she fought back, they pushed her. It was chaos.”There were unconfirmed reports that the men “violated” her with their hands.The nationality of the woman is unknown at the current time.Throughout the day, sexual harassment towards women has been increasing and more and more reports of women being grabbed and groped began being reported.Activists called the attacks on women completely “unacceptable” and must be exposed no matter what. They demanded an end to all violence toward women.“What happened in Tahrir today has no justification and must be fully exposed even if it taints Tahrir!” wrote EgyptSecularist on Twitter.The incident brings memories of reporter Lara Logan, who was sexually assaulted the night former President Hosni Mubarak gave up power.According to studies conducted by the Egyptian Center for Women’s Right (ECWR) in 2008, 98 percent of foreign women and 83 percent of Egyptian women surveyed had experienced sexual harassment in Egypt.Meanwhile, 62 percent of Egyptian men confessed to harassing women and 53 percent of Egyptian men faulted women for “bringing it on.”Hmmmm......This will do wonders for tourism ,'Come Visit Egypt get groped in sight of the Pyramides'.Read the full story here.
- Haniyeh's Deputy Confirms Ahmadinejad's Invitation to Palestinian PM.(Fars). Speaking to FNA, Awad said that Haniyeh received Ahmadinejad's invitation letter on Tuesday. He stressed the significance of Haniyeh's upcoming visit to Iran, and said Haniyeh will review many issues during the trip. As regards the details of Ahmadinejad's letter, Awad said that the Iranian president has also stressed the necessity for efforts to break the Gaza blockage and support the Palestinian nation. President Ahmadinejad also reiterated Iran's continued support for the oppressed Palestinian nation and confrontation with the Zionist regime's bullying behavior. Hamas Prime Minister, for the first time since 2007, left the Gaza Strip late in December on a tour that took him to several Arab and Islamic countries. Ahmadinejad had earlier in a telephone conversation with Haniyeh congratulated Palestinians on their victory in the prisoners swap deal with Israel which, he described as, a fruit of strong and continued resistance against the Zionist regime.Hmmmm.......Palestinian PM?Read the full story here.
- US Special forces raid frees US, Danish aid workers.(HD).US special forces launched a pre-dawn raid to rescue two aid workers, an American woman and a Danish man, kidnapped three months ago in Somalia by gunmen, local security officials said Wednesday."The two DDG (Danish Demining Group) workers were released forcefully... we are getting information that at least six military helicopters attacked early this morning," said Mohamed Nur, a local security official."It was carried out by the US military," he added. Ecoterra, an independent piracy monitoring group, said its sources had also confirmed US involvement."There was a heavy shooting that left several of the pirates dead," Nur said."The reports we have is that the freed hostages were flown to Djibouti by their rescuers," he said.US officials were not immediately available for comment, but US news channel NBC reported that US Navy SEALs had been involved."We have collected dead bodies of eight pirates from the scene of the attack, and we understand that five others were arrested were taken by the rescuers," said Abduali Moalim, an official in the Adado administration."The raid took place before dawn, and it looks that very professional soldiers were involved in the attack as it lasted for less than an hour," he added.Read the full story here.
- State of the Union 2012: Heritage Reaction Roundup.(Heritage).
- Somali pirates chop off hostage captain’s arm to elicit $3m ransom.(DailyMail).Somali pirates have started to cut off their hostages' limbs in a bid to extract even greater ransoms from the owners of the ships they capture.The horrific new tactic was used last Friday on the Vietnamese captain of a ship being held in the Somali pirate lair of Haradhere.Chao-I Wu's right arm was cut off after negotiations to pay a $3million ransom for his fishing ship, the FV Shiuh Fu-1, broke down.Afterwards, the pirates allowed Mr Wu's fellow crew members to call their families and describe what had happened.'This group of pirates were allowed the crew to call their relatives for only a few minutes - just long enough to tell their families about the amputation.'They begged their relatives to pay and some of them were crying. 'It was a message to the owner and their families that if the owners don't pay this amount of ransom they will hurt another crew member', a pirate source told the Somalia Report news service.Vietnamese newspaper Tuoi Tre News reported that crew member Tran Van Hung called his father to say that he had seen the pirates chop off the captain's arm.The pirates had also repeatedly beat him and the deputy captain, Mr Hung added.Read the full story here.
- Ignoring Ahmadinejad’s Calls for Jewish Genocide is a Grave Mistake.(Commentary).The run-up to International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Friday has produced some excellent articles drawing parallels between the Holocaust and the threat posed by an Iranian nuclear bomb. But there’s another parallel that’s equally disturbing: the world’s indifference to the relentless incitement to genocide of both Hitler and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.The Holocaust-denying Ahmadinejad never misses an opportunity to call for “wiping Israel off the map.” Since there’s no way to eradicate Israel without also slaughtering a large number of its 7.8 million inhabitants, that is a blatant call for mass murder. Yet he has never, for instance, been declared persona non grata by the EU or investigated for incitement to genocide by the International Criminal Court; indeed, he has been feted in many parts of the “enlightened” West, from lecture invitations at Columbia University to joint press conferences with a fawning Swiss foreign minister, Micheline Calmy-Rey.But as Prof. Shlomo Avineri pointed out this month, even more troubling is the silence of world Jewry on this issue – a stark contrast to its activism over, say, Soviet Jews.Last week, Adam Kirsch wrote a chilling analysis for Tablet of how “Jews control America” rhetoric has moved from the fringes to the respectable mainstream of American discourse in just a few short years. It takes longer to mainstream calls for mass murder. But if left unchallenged, Ahmadinejad’s calls for genocide will eventually become mainstream as well.Judging by the degree to which he has not become a pariah, his rhetoric is already acceptable to far too many “enlightened” Westerners.Hmmmmmm........"Never again" seems to be forgotten.Read the full story here.
- Exxon moves on Kurdistan despite Baghdad threat.(AlArabiya).Exxon Mobil, the first oil major to move into Iraqi Kurdistan, is quietly mobilizing in Arbil despite strenuous objections from the central government.Since the bold play came to light in November, the company has kept silent - fueling speculation that it froze the deal and bowed to Baghdad, which has long held that all foreign oil deals signed with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) are illegal.But Kurdish officials insist that investment is going ahead and movement on the ground supports their claims.“They (Exxon) are definitely here and they are definitely assessing living and working accommodation,” said a Western industry source in Arbil, at the heart of Iraq’s northern Kurdish region.“There are around 10 individuals here at any one time looking at what it takes to fully mobilize here - office space, housing space, these types of things. No oil company comes in in a day.”Exxon executives met the region’s Natural Resources Minister Ashti Hawrami last week, sources in Arbil said, and are preparing to issue a tender for seismic work for some, if not all, of the six exploration blocks acquired in October.The move north sparked fury in Baghdad, which is threatening to take action against Exxon - in charge of developing the supergiant West Qurna-1 oil field in southern Iraq. Exxon has been summoned to the oil ministry for final talks.Before signing the deal with Kurdistan, Exxon was sure to have weighed any possible legal challenges.“I’m sure Exxon has more lawyers than probably there are Ministry of Oil officials in Baghdad,” said the industry source.Read the full story here.
- Ron Paul Is Taking Donations To End The TSA.(BI).A day after his Senator son refused to submit to a TSA pat-down, Ron Paul is raising money to end the TSA on his campaign website. As of writing of this post, the cause has raised over $125,000 and counting.A statement released by Paul yesterday, claimed that the police state is out of control and called attention to Paul's 'Plan to Restore America,' which through cuts in federal spending eliminates the TSA. Read the full story here.
- LAPD: Joint Military Drills In Downtown LA.(PR).Maybe the Military Equipment Movement 1\19\12 near Santa Cruz, Southbound is headed toward Los Angeles, CA for the joint military| LAPD exercise. If you are a 11Bravo veteran [US ARMY], you know the branches of the military have Urban Warfare training centers. Fort Bragg, Twenty nine Palms, etc… Military exercises designed to familiarize/operate in an urban environment is suspicious.Source: CBS Los Angeles. Joint military training exercises will be held evenings through Thursday, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.The LAPD will be providing support for the exercises, which will also be held in other portions of the greater Los Angeles area, police said.Training sites “have been carefully selected to ensure the event does not negatively impact the citizens of Los Angeles and their daily routine,” a department official said.The training, which a department official said would involve helicopters, has been coordinated with local authorities and owners of the training sites, police said.Police said safety precautions have been taken to prevent risk to the general public and military personnel involved.The exercises are closed to the public, police said.The exercises are designed to ensure the military’s ability to operate in urban environments, prepare forces for upcoming overseas deployments, and meet mandatory training certification requirements, police said.Hmmmmm.........Anyone preparing for riots and Martial law?Glenn Beck:The Pentagon is deploying 20,000 troops inside the U.S. for domestic security.Read the full story here.
- TRANSCRIPT: GOP Rebuttal to State of the Union.(FOX).The following is the full text of Gov. Mitch Daniels' Republican Address to the Nation, as prepared for delivery:"The status of 'loyal opposition' imposes on those out of power some serious responsibilities: to show respect for the Presidency and its occupant, to express agreement where it exists. Republicans tonight salute our President, for instance, for his aggressive pursuit of the murderers of 9/11, and for bravely backing long overdue changes in public education. I personally would add to that list admiration for the strong family commitment that he and the First Lady have displayed to a nation sorely needing such examples."On these evenings, Presidents naturally seek to find the sunny side of our national condition. But when President Obama claims that the state of our union is anything but grave, he must know in his heart that this is not true."The President did not cause the economic and fiscal crises that continue in America tonight. But he was elected on a promise to fix them, and he cannot claim that the last three years have made things anything but worse: the percentage of Americans with a job is at the lowest in decades. One in five men of prime working age, and nearly half of all persons under 30, did not go to work today."In three short years, an unprecedented explosion of spending, with borrowed money, has added trillions to an already unaffordable national debt. And yet, the President has put us on a course to make it radically worse in the years ahead. The federal government now spends one of every four dollars in the entire economy; it borrows one of every three dollars it spends. No nation, no entity, large or small, public or private, can thrive, or survive intact, with debts as huge as ours.Read the full story here.
- CAIR’s false attacks on ALAC legislation.(AFA).Dear Harold, CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations) is at it again.This past Sunday, CAIR put out the release below, claiming that American Laws for American Courts (ALAC) legislation, recently introduced in Virginia, is “unconstitutional.”Let’s examine their release closely.First, CAIR claims ALAC is “anti-Muslim.” If so, why is it that ALAC legislation has won the endorsement of the American Islamic Leadership Coalition (AILC), a coalition of reformist Muslim leaders?In a release put out August 31, 2011, the AILC stated, referring to HB 4769, the ALAC bill introduced in Michigan: “We see no evidence that statutes like HB 4769 will adversely impact the free exercise of our personal pietistic observance of Islam…”The AILC knows that Muslims who reject sharia law will be protected under this legislation. For CAIR to argue ALAC is anti-Muslim is disingenuous and lacking any factual support.Second, CAIR claims ALAC is “racist.” Again, consider the words of the AILC in its support of ALAC: “To equate Bill 4769 to racism is not only dishonest, but is a poor and clumsy attempt at making ordinary Muslim Americans feel alien in their own homeland, while creating a rift between Muslims and the rest of our country.”Third, CAIR repeats the canard that ALAC will prevent Muslims from executing wills. Nonsense. If this were true we’re sure the AILC would not have endorsed it. What ALAC does is prevent state courts from applying foreign law if doing so infringes on the constitutional rights of a party in the case. A good example would be a Muslim woman denied equal protection under the law, as is commonly the case under sharia law.Fourth, CAIR uses the scare tactic that Catholics and people of other faiths would be banned from applying religious traditions. Again, utter nonsense. The linchpin of ALAC is its protection of those whose constitutional rights would be violated if foreign law were applied. And for CAIR to say with a straight face that the Catholic canon is the “equivalent” of sharia law is ludicrous.Lastly, CAIR calls ALAC “suddenly controversial.” Hardly. Nearly two years ago ACT! for America helped get ALAC passed in Tennessee with strong bipartisan support, and nearly a year ago we helped it get passed in Arizona—again with bipartisan support.We all need to remember that CAIR has been affirmed by our Justice Department as the American front organization for the terrorist group Hamas and that it was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism financing trial in American history.We also need to remember that its communications director, Ibrahim Hooper, stated in 1993 that he would like to see the government of the U.S. be Islamic sometime in the future. And in 1998 CAIR’s co-founder proclaimed that the Qur’an should be the highest authority in America.So while CAIR peddles falsehoods, canards and scare tactics about ALAC, we should all understand its REAL agenda—the imposition of sharia law in America.Read the full story here.
- Mr. President: “We Can’t Wait” for the FY 2013 Budget.(Heritage).President Obama will release his annual budget proposal late yet again. Choosing the date is not merely a convention. By law, the President must release the budget by the first Monday in February, which falls on February 6 this year. Yet yesterday the Administration announced it will release its fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget a week late, marking the third such delay in four years. Right now, when the economy is struggling, annual deficits consistently exceed $1 trillion, and Americans are demanding that Washington govern responsibly, this delay is beyond frustrating. Especially after last year’s protracted budget battle, a prompt submission would have signaled that the President is ready to get down to business. Unfortunately, the opposite now seems imminent.For example, Obama’s 2012 budget would have put debt held by the public on track to rise from its current level of about 70 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) to more than 87 percent of GDP by 2021. As this Budget Chart Book chart by The Heritage Foundation shows, that amounts to double the post–WWII average.That same budget failed to include the kinds of rational, market-based solutions necessary to fix the three major entitlement programs—Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security—which are currently set on spending autopilot. This chart shows that more than half of the President’s 2012 budget would have been spent on entitlement programs.The picture only gets worse from here. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that annual spending on all entitlement programs will increase from $2 trillion in 2011 to nearly $3.3 trillion in 2021. That’s almost the size of all federal spending today.Read and see the full story here.
- Is Obama Trying To Replace The Pope?(Investors).Constitution: The First Amendment forbids "prohibiting the free exercise" of religion. But a pontificating President Obama would do just that in forcing Catholics to provide contraception and sterilization.When it comes to the unnecessary and un-American controversy Obama has caused by having his Health and Human Services Department mandate Catholic contraception and sterilization coverage, the Constitution and Catholic teaching are in accord — and united in opposing the president.The First Amendment explicitly protects the practice of religion. The Catholic Church has consistently taught that contraception and sterilization are to be avoided as grave evils."Any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin," Pope Pius XI wrote in the encyclical "Casti Conubii."Correspondingly, the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" published under Pope John Paul II affirmed that "every action which ... proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible is intrinsically evil."Obama's intolerance here goes against both religious and secular legal protections within U.S. law. For 50 years, for instance, the federal government has respected the religious objections of Amish Americans, exempting them from having Social Security numbers.ObamaCare was already on shaky constitutional ground in forcing the purchase of health insurance. Now it is striking at the heart of the First Amendment.Read the full story here.
- Russia’s Dreams Coming True in Administration’s Nuclear Policies.(Heritage).President Obama is working hard to make a Russian dream of a superior nuclear weapons arsenal come true, writes Heritage’s James Carafano in his most recent op-ed. “The White House has made clear that its signature tool for combating nuclear proliferation is leading by example, and that example is disarmament,” he writes. The Administration, however, runs a risk of ending its path to disarmament in nuclear fallout.America’s arsenal of strong and reliable nuclear weapons has prevented countries around the world from developing or significantly expanding their own nuclear capabilities. It has been a more successful tool for nonproliferation than the Administration’s New Strategic Arms Control Treaty with the Russian Federation. Indeed, this treaty reduces the U.S. strategic arsenal while allowing Russia to build up and deploy more multiple independent reentry vehicles on fewer delivery systems—the most destabilizing option for the deployment of nuclear weapons. The treaty also fails to address nuclear warhead production disparity between the two countries. While Russia can produce as many as 600 nuclear pits per year, the United States can produce only about 60.North Korea, China, Russia, India, and Pakistan keep expanding and modernizing their nuclear weapons arsenals. Iran is ever closer to obtaining nuclear weapons capability, while the United States continues to deemphasize the role of nuclear weapons in its strategic posture. Under current policy, replacement systems will not enter the U.S. arsenal until 2030. By then, the U.S. will have 60-year-old intercontinental-range ballistic missiles (ICBMs), 40-year-old submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and 35- to 70-year-old bombers. There is currently no plan to develop a new nuclear warhead. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said that, under sequestration, the U.S. would be forced to abandon ICBMs and delay other modernization plans.The Pentagon’s new strategic guidance says, “It is possible that our deterrence goals can be achieved with a smaller nuclear force, which would reduce the number of nuclear weapons in our inventory, as well as their role in U.S. national security strategy.” The document does not offer any analysis explaining which U.S. deterrence goals changed to justify this shift. It does not appear to take into account shifts in other countries’ nuclear doctrines. As Carafano concludes, “The president is commander in chief. He can press for a smaller, less-capable military if he thinks that best. But he certainly can’t make the case with a straight face that he is giving us more defense. His policy is giving us far less.”Hmmmmm......If he really wanted to destroy America as a superpower would he do anything different?Read the full story here.
- US leads Security Council charge against Israel.(Ynet)HT:IsraelMatzav.WASHINGTON – The US, Britain and Germany leveled harsh criticism at Israel's settlement construction policy on Tuesday.During a Security Council session, US Ambassador Susan Rice urged Israel to halt all settlement construction in the West Bank and work to quell settler violence against Palestinians. She also expressed concern over the humanitarian situation in Gaza.Washington's representative in the UN also criticized Palestinian incitement to violence and terrorist activity, including the launching of rockets towards Israeli territory. Rice also said the recent talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Jordan were encouraging. British Ambassador to the UN Mark Grant accused Israel of employing violence in the territories and called on the Jewish state to halt all settlement construction, including in east Jerusalem. Germany's UN ambassador, Peter Wittig, said Israel was attempting to detach east Jerusalem from the West Bank, a move he claimed would make the establishment of a Palestinian state impossible. In his response to the criticism, Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor told the Security Council, "The primary obstacle to peace is not settlements. The primary obstacle to peace is the so-called 'claim (right) of return.' Let me repeat that: the major hurdle to peace is the Palestinian’s insistence on the so-called 'claim of return.'" "You will never hear Palestinian leaders say 'two states for two peoples'. If you ever hear them say 'two states for two peoples', please phone my office immediately. Call me 'collect' in the event of such an unprecedented occurrence," he said."You won’t hear them say 'two states for two peoples' because today the Palestinian leadership is calling for an independent Palestinian state, but insists that its people return to the Jewish state. This would mean the destruction of Israel. Prosor continued to say that "the idea that Israel will be flooded with millions of Palestinians will never be accepted. The international community knows it. The Palestinian leadership knows it. But the Palestinian people aren’t hearing it. In a poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion last November, 90% of Palestinians said that they would not give up the 'claim of return.' This gap between their perception and reality is – and will remain – the major obstacle to peace. "Since the Palestinian leadership refuses to tell the Palestinian people the truth, the international community has the responsibility to tell them the truth. You have a responsibility to stand up and say that the so-called 'claim of return' is a non-starter. Yet, many around this table who never miss an opportunity to tell Israel what it has to do for peace – mumble, stutter and conveniently lose their voices when it comes time to tell the Palestinian people about the basic compromises they will have to make for peace," the Israeli envoy said. He added: "The Palestinians' refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state goes hand-in-hand with a culture of incitement in mosques, schools and media. Day after day, children are taught to pursue violence – and to hate, vilify, and dehumanize Israelis and Jews. "Let me be clear. I am not only talking about Hamas in Gaza— but also about the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, where you can’t turn a corner without seeing terrorists and terrorism glorified," said Prosor.Hmmmm......Obama the 'closest ally' of Israel.Read the full story here.
- Strait of Hormuz at center of int'l chess game.(JPost).A mere 54 kilometers wide at its narrowest point and dotted with tiny islands, the Strait of Hormuz has turned into something of a powder keg, just waiting to explode. The only question is who will light it on fire.Linking the Persian Gulf with the Indian Ocean, the strait is used to transport about a fifth of the world’s oil on a daily basis, and the popular assessment within the IDF is that Iran – which borders the channel to the north and east – has the ability to shut it down if it so chooses.The question then would be: What next? The US has taken a clear approach – some Israelis wished this week that such American resolve would carry over to Iran’s nuclear program – claiming that it will use military force, if needed, to reopen the sea line.Defense officials said Tuesday that while Iran will continue to threaten to close the strait, it most likely will not do so, in order to avoid providing US President Barack Obama with the justification to launch a strike against Iran and its nuclear facilities.Already under attack by political opponents for his economic policies, Obama is unlikely to initiate a war with Iran that would lead to a spike in worldwide oil prices. While the price of gas in the US would significantly increase, his popularity would crash.If, however, Iran closes the strait or attacks the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier that sailed through the channel and into the Persian Gulf on Sunday, Obama would receive the justification he needs to attack Iran, even in this election year.While Iran has threatened to close the strait a number of times in recent years, the last time it actually tried to disrupt shipping was during its eight-year war with Iraq.In 1988, toward the end of the war, an Iranian mine exploded under the USS Samuel B. Roberts, nearly sinking the frigate. This prompted the Reagan administration to launch Operation Praying Mantis, in which the US Navy carried out a series of retaliatory strikes against Iranian oil platforms and naval vessels.In recent years, Iran has increased its arsenal of naval mines and is believed to be capable of lining the strait with them, a move that would prevent the flow of oil from the Gulf to the West.In addition, Iran has a number of naval bases along its southern coast where it stations its submarines – including a number of Russian-made Kilo-class vessels – which it could use to attack oil tankers. With insurance premiums already at relatively high levels, the sinking of an oil tanker would be akin to closing the strait, since the price of oil would almost immediately skyrocket.Read the full story here.
- Why won’t Saudi Arabia write down its laws?(MEfp).Nathan J. BrownIn 2007 and 2009 Saudi King Abdullah capped a decade of legal and judicial reforms in his country by reorganizing the judiciary and ordering that Saudi Arabia follow the step that virtually all other states in the region did long ago by codifying its laws — committing to paper a comprehensive compendium of the operative laws in the kingdom. Since that date, however, his order has been neither challenged nor implemented. Why is codification of law seen as such a dramatic step in Saudi Arabia? And why does the king seem incapable of making it happen?Saudi kings devoted considerable attention in the first decade of the 21st century to remaking the judicial order. Initial steps taken were new procedure laws with new decrees insisting (with uncertain effectiveness) that courts follow prescribed rules in their operation — and making the courts, always ambivalent about the role of lawyers, friendlier to the legal profession. In the most recent moves, besides ordering codification, the king consolidated all sorts of quasi-judicial bodies that littered the legal framework of the kingdom, wrenched adjudication functions away from the Supreme Judicial Council (handing them to a newly created Supreme Court), and relieved the country’s highest-ranking judge, a pillar of the old order, from his office at the head of the system. The king’s steps were sufficiently dramatic — and the identity of the Saudi state so deeply enmeshed in claims to be fully Islamic, especially in its legal structure — that longtime Saudi legal scholar Frank E. Vogel, in “Saudi Arabia: Public, Civil, and Individual Shari`a in Law and Politics,” termed them “not a shot but a barrage across the bow of his partners in rule, the conservative religious establishment” and “clearly seismic events within the world of Saudi shari`a politics.”So why is codification of laws -- merely writing down what the laws are -- seen as a repugnant steps by many (though not all) of the kingdom's most powerful religious scholars? The opposition shows some signs of waning, but it has still been sufficient to prevent any practical steps toward codification.First, there is a basic problem with the term "codification" of the shari`a itself -- the term used (taqnin al-shari`a) might quite literally be translated as "rendering God's law into man-made legislation," an almost sacrilegious concept. Some codification advocates have therefore preferred the term tadwin, which has the same denotation without the etymological baggage.The sweeping processes of political change unleashed elsewhere in the region may actually have taken the wind out of the sails of current Saudi Arabian judicial reform efforts. Like many promises made in the past -- for a consultative assembly, for instance -- codification will probably happen, but it may take decades more.Read the full story here.
- Netanyahu tells special Knesset session: World silent while Iran, Hezbollah threaten to destroy Israel.(Ynet)."Seventy years have passed since the Holocaust, and many around the world still remain silent in the face of Iran's threats to wipe Israel off the map, and many stay silent despite Hezbollah's call for the destruction of Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday during a special Knesset session ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which will be marked this week. "International Holocaust Remembrance Day is the day on which the world needs to stand behind the words 'no more.' It's not a slogan, but has a deep meaning," he said. "It is the day on which the world must unite to make certain weapons of mass destruction do not fall into the hands of dark regimes, headed by the ayatollahs' regime in Iran." Netanyahu added: "Have we learned the lessons of the Holocaust? Are we treating these threats of destruction seriously? Or perhaps, like many generations before us we do not want to see the scope of the danger that is facing us. The Iranian regime is openly calling for the destruction of Israel, but many around the world remain silent. We mustn't bury our head in the sand. The Iranian regime is planning the annihilation of Israel and is working towards Israel's destruction – its agents (Hezbollah) fired over 12,000 missiles towards Israel's cities. They are not concealing their intent to kill as many (Israelis) as possible. "The UN was founded to prevent genocides and massacres. These were its basic goals. Have these goals been attained? Unfortunately, the answer is no," said the PM.Netanyahu also addressed a recent speech delivered by the Palestinians' top Muslim cleric, Mufti Mohammed Hussein, in which he encouraged the killing of Jews. "Instead of calling for peace and reconciliation, the mufti is calling to kill Jews wherever they may be. I don’t hear any condemnations from the world's countries. I hear them condemning the construction of a home in Gilo or a balcony in Ramot (neighborhoods in Jerusalem) – that is what I hear," he said. Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin told the plenum, "We don’t have the privilege to deny the tragedies of other nations, be it the Armenians, Syrians or others." "Even when denial is convenient, history has destined us to fight against such atrocities. We cannot stand aside and let the world remain indifferent," he added. Only three ministers and 22 Knesset members attended the special session.Hmmmmm.........The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.Read the full story here.
- EU Reaches Agreement on Permanent Bailout Fund.(Spiegel).The 17 euro-zone countries have reached agreement on the contract for the permanent euro bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), clearing the way for the aid fund to be launched one year earlier than planned. Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, chairman of the group of euro-zone finance ministers, announced the agreement following a Monday night meeting in Brussels. The ESM is now set to replace the temporary European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) on July 1, a year earlier than originally planned."I believe this is an important achievement," said German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble after the meeting. "It demonstrates that the euro group and the European Union as a whole is capable of taking the necessary steps."Schäuble also said that agreement had been reached on the euro-zone fiscal pact, which would submit members of the common currency zone to stricter budgetary rules. "We aren't yet over the mountain," Schäuble said in reference to the ongoing euro-zone debt crisis. But he said there is "cause for optimism."The ESM will be funded with €500 billion to help struggling euro-zone countries, with Germany providing the largest share -- although Angela Merkel's recent refusal to consider upping that figure seems to be wavering under heavy pressure.Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti believes the ESM should be doubled to €1 trillion, while there have also been calls from French President Nicolas Sarkozy for Germany to put in more money. European Central Bank head Mario Draghi shares that view as does International Monetary Fund boss Christine Lagarde. "We need a larger firewall," Lagarde said at a Monday appearance in Berlin. "Without it, countries like Italy and Spain, that are fundamentally able to repay their debts, could potentially be forced into a solvency crisis by abnormal financing costs."The German chancellor has been adamantly opposed to such an increase, although that might be changing. Speaking at a press conference in Berlin on Monday with Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo, who had signalled his desire to see the fund increased, Merkel said: "Germany has always done what is necessary to defend the euro."Read the full story here.
- OIC: Adoption of genocide law sign of Islamophobia in France.(Trend).The adoption of the law criminalizing the denial of the so-called "Armenian Genocide" is a sign of Islamophobia in France, Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu told Trend on Tuesday."This law contradicts three fundamental principles of democracy -- equality, freedom and brotherhood. It is a sign of growing Islamophobia," Ihsanoglu said.He called the law unacceptable, non-complying with historical facts and demonstrating double standards.After a nearly eight-hour debate, the French Senate adopted the bill. Some 127 senators voted in favor, while 86 senators voted against on Jan.23.The lower house of the French parliament adopted a bill criminalising the denial of the so-called "genocide" on Dec.22. Some 45 out of 577 French MPs voted with 38 voting for and seven against the adoption of the bill.The bill demands a year's imprisonment and a fine of 45,000 euro for denying the so-called "genocide." In response to the decision, Turkey announced that it has frozen all diplomatic relations with France.MPs from the French president's Union for Popular Movement (UMP) party, which has the parliamentary majority, proposed the bill aimed at criminalising the denial of the so-called "genocide" to the legislative committee of the National Assembly in early December.Armenia and the Armenian lobby claim that the predecessor of the Turkey - Ottoman Empire had committed the 1915 genocide against the Armenians living in Anadolu, and achieved recognition of the "Armenian Genocide" by the parliaments of several countries.Read the full story here.
- Just what you always suspected: FDR opposed bombing Auschwitz.(IsraelMatzav).A new study by the US Holocaust Museum has concluded that Franklin Roosevelt himself opposed bombing the Auschwitz death camp (Hat Tip: Dan F). A new two year study by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Washington, DC reveals the opposition by WWII American President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) to bombing the Auschwitz Birkenau death complex in Southern Poland in the summer of 1944. The findings of the latest USHMM study on wartime allied and Jewish Zionist leaders over the decision not to bomb Auschwitz were the subject of an EnerPub article, “Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Sin of Omission: Auschwitz” by former US diplomat, Martin Barillas. Barillas noted the contrast with Britain’s wartime leader, Sir Winston Churchill: Churchill appeared interested in a military strike against the camps. He told Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden that Hitler's war against the Jews was "probably the greatest and most horrible crime ever committed in the whole history of the world," adding, "Get everything out of the Air Force you can, and invoke me, if necessary." In July 1944 Churchill was told that U.S. bomber pilots could do the job best, but that it would be "costly and hazardous."70 years from now, will future generations be discussing whether and why Barack Hussein Obama opposed bombing Iran?Read the full story here.
- Hundreds of Kyrgyz prisoners sew lips shut in hunger strike.(HD).Three thousand prisoners were on a hunger strike Wednesday in Kyrgyzstan with several hundred sewing shut their lips with staples and thread to protest jail conditions, officials said."Over three thousand convicts are refusing food in Kyrgyzstan, about 640 have sewn their lips shut," the Central Asian country's ombudsman Tursunbek Akun told journalists.Prisoners in the country's largest prison in Bishkek are in a serious condition, he said, with some having to be hospitalised due to not taking food.Kyrgyzstan's prison service however claimed that criminal bosses were forcing convicts to mutilate themselves in protest after their privileges were taken away."The people initiating this 'sewing' are leaders of the criminal world," the prison service said in a statement.The standoff between prison authorities and convicts began in the Bishkek prison after one crime boss murdered another.Prison staff transferred the murderer to a different jail with less comfortable conditions, and raided the premises, confiscating mobile phones, drugs and money."That angered the criminal world, which told the regular convicts to riot," the prison service said. The hunger strikes have now spread to other prisons in Kyrgyzstan, which has a prison population of 15,000 people.Rights campaigner Tolekan Ismailova denied that the strikes were sparked by criminal bosses, however."Those on hunger strike are against inhumane conditions," she said. "They don't have medicine, normal food, linen or soap. Their illnesses are not treated because there are not enough doctors," she said.Read the full story here.
- Arab Sheikhs fall in love with Renminbi, the "people's currency" also known as the yuan.(Stratrisks).By M K Bhadrakumar.China and Qatar have been taking virtually opposite positions apropos events in Libya and Syria. Yet, they do not seem to be deterred by this little difference and are bonding in a big way in economic cooperation to mutual benefit.Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, who visited Doha last week, disclosed at a press conference on Friday: a) China proposes to invest in the manufacturing of ”downstream oil products, which are most urgently needed by Qatar”; b) China and Qatar signed an agreement to jointly build a refinery in Taizhou, Zheijiang, in China; c) Chinese companies propose to participate in infrastructure projects in Qatar; and d) China and Qatar arediscussing a “long-term, stable and comprehensive cooperative partnership” in natural gas.Then, Wen quietly dropped a bombshell. He revealed “one more important point” as if it were an afterthought. He said: In order to address investment issues, we [China and Qatar] need financial support. Therefore, we reached another agreement, a cooperation agreement linking finance with investment. Qatar also proposed the use of local currency in trade settlement and even a specific ratio. I think this proposal can be studied.The short point is, the renminbi, the “people’s currency” also known as the yuan, is appearing in Doha. The China-United Arab Emirates (UAE) currency swap deal which was signed during Wen’s visit to Abu Dhabi last week already brings the yuan to the Emirates. The deal with the UAE is worth US$5.5 billion and the Chinese central bank statement said that it aims at “strengthening bilateral financial cooperation, promoting trade and investments and jointly safeguarding regional financial stability”.Indeed, China is playing for the long term. Addressing an energy summit in the UAE, Wen made the startling proposal to create an international body that is mandated to determine the price of oil and which would regulate the policies of the entire supply chain involving the supplier countries, the consumers and even the transit countries.Iran and Russia have already switched to their national currencies for conducting bilateral trade. Tehran’s ambassador to Moscow Seyed Reza Sajjadi said on Friday, “[Trade] with Russia is based on our national currencies. We started this work long ago. Iranian businessmen are buying products in Russia and are using the rouble as [payment] currency] … The US dollar has no [economic] support base … There is a similar interest on the Russian side.”Last week, it also came to be known that India proposes to allow Iran’s central bank to open rupee accounts with two Indian banks as a long-term solution to the countries’ payment problems instigated by the US (which pressured New Delhi to terminate the traditional payment mechanism for Iran within the Asian Clearing Union.) An Indian delegation visited Tehran last week to finalize details.The new arrangement envisages that while the payments for India’s oil imports from Iran (roughly $12-14 billion annually) would be initially in Indian rupees, they would subsequently be converted into a separate designated currency. This is a pointed snub to Washington, which forbids friendly countries from dealings with Iran’s central bank.Hmmmmmm........Read the full story here.
- Russian Peacekeepers to Pull Out of South Sudan.(RN).Russia is to withdraw its peacekeeping troops from South Sudan, the Kremlin website reported on Tuesday.All Russian soldiers and helicopters should leave the African country by April 1, 2012, a presidential decree published on the website said, adding that the decision was due to the official end of the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) on July 11, 2011.Russia currently has eight helicopters and 120 personnel servicing the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), which was established on July 9, 2011, when South Sudan was officially declared an independent state.Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said last week that Russia might withdraw its helicopters from South Sudan amid concerns over the safety of its personnel.Gatilov was speaking after an upsurge in inter-ethnic violence in the impoverished oil-producing state, which caused 60,000 people to flee their homes.A series of recent tribal clashes in the country is believed to have left some 3,000 people dead, according to local officials. The United Nations has yet to confirm the figure.“We have not been happy about security in the region recently,” Gatilov told reporters in Moscow.Gatilov said Russia doubted the authorities’ ability to contain violence, as both they and the UN had failed to give assurances about the safety of the Russian task force.Since a number of Russian personnel deployed in South Sudan were attacked in November last year, the Russian helicopters have been grounded, he said.Hmmmm........Read the full story here.
- Egyptian minister: "Israel is the #1 enemy of Egypt and Arabs".(DocsTalk).Dr. Gouda Abdel-Khalek, Egyptian Minister of Supply and Internal Trade, has said that the calls by some Egyptians to dismantle the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) is "absurd."He said that the Egyptian military is "the only coherent military institution in the Arab world, capable of facing any external force."Abdel-Khalek told Al Masry al Youm, "I ask the revolutionaries to cease the demand for dropping SCAF, if they consider that Israel remains the number one enemy of Egypt and the Arabs."Abdel-Khalek was, unsurprisingly, appointed by the military council. And the Egyptian military owns a lot of Egypt's internal trade, even of non-military items. In the cabinet reshuffling currently taking place under Egypt's militarily-appointed premier Kamal El-Ganzouri, he places the responsiblity for regulating food prices back on the lap of the Minister of Social Solidarity - now renamed the Ministry of Supply and Domestic Trade.This revives a ministry that had recently been eliminated, simply transferring the post under the new name to Gouda Abdel Khaleq, who served as minister of social solidarity in the last administration.Abdel Khaleq is a veteran leftist associated with Al-Tagammu party.Prime Minister El-Ganzouri, who was chosen by Egypt’s ruling military junta to replace Essam Sharaf last week, has previously stated that the ministry of Supply and Domestic Trade will be mandated to face the rising prices of basic goods and food stuffs. It will also be responsible for supplying goods to limited-income citizens through its outlets.Food prices, which account for 44 per cent of Egypt's consumer price index (CPI), dropped 0.5 per cent in October below September’s level.Read the full story here.
- EU Prepares Fresh Sanctions for Belarus.(RN).The European Union is preparing to impose new sanctions against Belarusian companies and individuals that are deemed responsible for human rights violations, a European Council spokesperson told RIA Novosti.“The Council ruled on a decision that expands the criteria for restrictive measures (sanctions) against individuals and companies. It lays a further foundation for determining people and companies, responsible for repressions against civil society and democratic opposition,” the spokesperson said.According to EU diplomatic sources, the new sanctions increased the list of Belarusian officials banned from traveling within the EU member states by another 135 people.Over 200 Belarusian officials are currently under EU and the U.S. sanctions that were first introduced in January 2011 in response to December 2010's flawed elections and brutal clampdown on opposition leaders and protesters.Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, dubbed "Europe's last dictator," said last week that he would “think seriously” about reforming the ex-Soviet state’s “political system” after a parliamentary vote in September.Read the full story here.
The author of this piece is a 18 year old Torontonian who is enrolled in Stern College (Yeshiva U) and is currently on a study year in Israel. Her proud parents sent it to me. Her depth of knowledge is remarkable, even more so for such a young person. She is looking for an internship this summer. Any suggestions? Ted Belman.
Hey Obama, Iran is your enemy, not Israel.(IsraPundit).By Eli Glogauer.In October 2011, I did not find out that captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was going to be released by reading newspaper articles or watching television reports, but because an entire street was closed off to allow for the singing and dancing brought on by the announcement. Many Israeli teenagers are in the army, making a noticeable difference in the lives of their neighbors. While American college freshmen learn how to read and analyze articles about weapons and warfare, 18-year-old Israeli soldiers are trained in how to protect their families and friends. It is not fair for the rest of the world to judge Israel for doing what it takes to survive. How can we understand the mentality of a country that survives despite a day-to-day struggle? How many other countries have to fight for recognition from their neighbors? How many had to fend off war on three different borders mere hours being declared a country? Would any other country be raked over the coals for standing up to the threat of nuclear war?
U.S. President Barack Obama and his administration have made it their mission to condemn any move that Israel makes to build settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Apparently, the Obama presidency considers Israel’s attempts to provide shelter for its citizens a more serious threat than the killing of political protesters in Syria or, say, the looming threat posed by Iran’s quest to acquire nuclear capabilities.
On Nov. 18, 2011, the International Atomic Energy Agency published a report that calculated that Iran currently has sufficient fuel to produce four nuclear weapons. Instead of concentrating on the threats posed by countries that are actually endangering the lives of civilians, Obama has chosen to keep the focus on the actions of a country that is only interested in doing what it considers best for its citizens and whose actions are not currently endangering lives. While on his crusade to turn the public against the only real democracy in the Middle East, Obama has failed to address the damage that he had a hand in causing: three years ago, Obama extended a hand of friendship to Tehran, stating that Iran should “have some right to nuclear energy, provided… that its aspirations are peaceful.”
Mr. President, do the Iranians possess so little oil that they need to revert to nuclear power? Saying that Iran should have the right to nuclear power “provided that its aspirations are peaceful” is like saying that Bill Clinton’s wife should support his hiring of more young, pretty female staffers, as long as his ‘intentions’ are only for them to complete his paperwork. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been very vocal in his opinion that the world would be better off should Israel decide to relocate to the bottom of the Mediterranean. Not only does Iran continue to fund Hezbollah, an organization widely acknowledged as a terrorist group, but it has also been using Hezbollah’s militant faction as a proxy through which to attack the State of Israel for decades. The bottom line here is that it is ridiculous to not oppose Iran, a rogue state that is a known terrorist collaborator, in its attempts to acquire the plans to a weapon of mass destruction and then expect the Iranians to use these plans “only in the pursuit of peace.”
Obama has attempted to assuage the damage that has been done by assuring the public that Tehran has been the target of an “enormous bite [of sanctions]”. In contrast to Obama’s allegations, a Reuters report found that, somehow, despite the sanctions, Iranian gasoline imports rose 21 percent in October alone. Somehow, I am not comforted by Obama’s assurances.Living in Israel has taken my interest in the international political situation to a completely different level; here, even small events have the potential to impact day-to-day life. As cliché as it sounds, right now I really do feel like Israel is my home. The fact that many other countries do not consider Israel a legitimate country, or consider it to be an “apartheid” state, bothers me on a very fundamental level.
As previously stated, the Obama presidency, in addition to many other governing bodies, believes that the land in East Jerusalem and the West Bank does not belong to the state of Israel and therefore, any settlements built on said land, by Israel, are illegal. Just to clarify, it is not in any way illegal for Israel to build in these territories – Israel’s constructing of settlements does not violate any international laws or treaties. The land may be in dispute, but Israel still retains a significant amount of political and military control over the land and it is in no way illegal for Israel to attempt to provide for the people that live in territory under its control.
Israel has more right to sovereignty over these territories than any other nation. Then there are the legal rights; the territory of Judea and Samaria was part of Cisjordan, which was designated, as per many internationally recognized documents (like the original Mandate for Palestine), as land on which the Jewish people were to build a homeland for themselves. It is also interesting that the former President of the International Court of Justice noted, “a country acting in self-defense may seize and occupy territory when necessary to protect itself…a state may [also] require…security measures… to ensure its citizens are not menaced again from that territory.” This refutes many of the claims that settlements in these territories are “illegal, under current international laws.”
This situation has never been remotely fair. The world needs something to blame for the current situation of unrest in the Middle East and Israel is an easy target; it is at the center of many of the Middle East’s current issues. This situation is in no way right, but I, for one, am glad that there is one country in our world that is willing to do what needs to be done, in order to ensure the long-term safety of the international public. It’s just too bad that I am the only one who feels that way.
Eliana Glogauer is currently studying on one of Masa Israel’s 200 programs.
Read the full story here.
33 Minutes - Protecting America in the New Missile Age.(33 Minutes).33 minutes: Protecting America in the New Missile Age is a one-hour documentary produced by The Heritage Foundation that tells the story of the very real threat foreign enemies pose to every one of us. The truth is brutal - no matter where on Earth a missile is launched from it would take 33 Minutes or less to hit the U.S. target it was programmed to destroy.
Nuclear proliferation around the world, and the threat of a ballistic missile attack of some kind is mounting as more and more countries obtain nuclear technology. The ongoing threat toward America is also accelerating due to the fact that there are many rogue nations and terrorist organizations who either have or are seeking ballistic missiles and nuclear technology.
The challenges of protecting America and its citizens for President Obama's administration are great. Featuring rare footage and in-depth interviews with leading experts in the field, 33 Minutes is the definitive documentary exposing the untold vulnerability we all face and the action plan necessary to revive a strategic missile defense system that America uniquely can develop, maintain, and employ for its own defense and the peace-loving world's security.Source .
Misleading Claims in Obama’s First 2012 Spot.Dissembling on ethics, jobs and oil imports.(Factcheck).
President Obama’s first 2012 campaign ad misleads on ethics, “clean-energy” jobs and U.S. dependence on oil imports.
■The spot uses outdated quotes from groups that said his record on ethics is “unprecedented” and that he “kept a promise to toughen ethics rules.” One of those same groups said later that he “has let down millions of Americans who accepted his word,” and another rated his promise as “broken.”
■The 30-second TV spot also trumpets a claim of “2.7 million jobs” in “America’s clean-energy industry.” That mostly counts jobs put in place long before Obama took office.
■Finally, it boasts that U.S. dependence on foreign oil has declined to below 50 percent, as a net share of total demand, for the first time in more than a decade. That’s true, and increasing U.S. oil production is a factor (despite Republican criticisms that Obama is anti-drilling). But economists say the chief factor is reduced oil consumption, brought on by the recent economic recession.Read the full story here.
Rafiq Nasrallah, Director of the Lebanese International Center for Media and Research: I Support the Option of the Resistance Initiating War against Israel
Rafiq Nasrallah: It has become evident that any conflict will not be waged only on Lebanese soil. In other words, the war will not take place only in South Lebanon or Beirut, and will not be limited to us being bombed from the air. If you bombard me – I will bombard you, deep in your land, and I might even advance into your [territory]. Some may think I am exaggerating, but some of the things I have said in the past have come true… I believe that from March, and into the summer, we will be using new language.
Interviewer: Such as?
Rafiq Nasrallah: We will be talking about liberating the Golan Heights under fire. In South Lebanon, we will be talking about the future of the seven villages, not only about the Shab'a Farms. For some reason. I can see [Lebanese] fighters inside the Israeli settlements.
Reporter: It sounds as if you are suggesting that the war will be initiated by the resistance.
Rafiq Nasrallah: At some point, the resistance may choose [to initiate] a conflict. At a certain point, this may be the option, and I am for it. Source: Memri.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Classified CIA Docs Found In Gitmo Prison Cells.(JW).By Irene.Classified U.S. government information was found in the cells of high-value detainees at the Guantanamo Bay military prison that houses the world’s most dangerous terrorists, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The alarming revelation comes just days after lawyers for an al-Qaeda operative—USS Cole bomber Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri—jailed at the facility tried convincing a military judge that monitoring detainees’ mail violates attorney-client privilege. Judicial Watch covered the pretrial hearing at the U.S. Naval station in Cuba last week.
Ironically, a large portion of the two-day proceedings involved security measures put in place to ensure that contraband does not make it into the facility that houses 171 prisoners. Attorneys for al-Nashiri argued at length to convince the military tribunal judge hearing the case, Army Colonel James Pohl, that al-Nashiri’s mail not be monitored. The admiral (David Woods) who runs the prison took the stand to explain that detainees’ legal mail is promptly marked after being identified and not read to preserve attorney-client privilege.
Supporting the argument is this week’s DOJ announcement that an agent with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been criminally charged for repeatedly leaking classified information, including the identities of covert agency operatives involved in the capture and interrogation of terrorists. Some of the materials were actually seized from the cells of Guantanamo detainees, according to the DOJ.
The disgraced CIA officer (John Kiriakou) divulged the classified information to journalists who, in turn, disclosed it to an investigator working for the taxpayer-funded defense team of an incarcerated terrorist. Authorities subsequently found some of the files, including photographs of certain government employees and contractors, in the cells of high-value detainees at the military prison.Hmmmm.....Probably receiving the latest 'info' before being released by Obama?Read the full story here.
Why The President Should Speak Out Against Religious Persecution.(MEForum).By Raymond Ibrahim.Christian Solidarity International
January 23, 2012
On January 24, during his State of the Union Address, the president of the United States has a chance to expose the plight of religious minorities living in Muslim majority nations. Doing so would not merely shed light on one of the most ignored humanitarian crises of the 21st century; it would help alleviate it.
Why should the president speak up on the oppression of religious minorities? For starters, because it is the right thing to do, and reflects American values and principles.
He should speak up because religious cleansing is currently underway in nations like Nigeria, where Boko Haram—"Western Education is Forbidden"—and other Islamic groups have declared jihad on the Christian minorities of the north, killing and displacing thousands, burning and bombing hundreds of churches, most notoriously this last Christmas, where over forty people were killed while celebrating Christmas mass. Likewise, since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, about half of Iraq's one million Christians have been forced by targeted violence to flee their homeland, the most notorious incident, again, being a church attack, where some 60 worshippers were killed.
He should speak up because churches are constantly being attacked, burned, or forced into closure, not just in Nigeria and Iraq, but in Afghanistan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Iran, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia (click on country-links for the most recent examples). In Egypt alone, after several churches were burned, thousands of Christian Copts gathered to demonstrate—only to be slaughtered by the military, including by being run-over by armored vehicles.
He should speak up because Muslim converts to Christianity are regularly ostracized, beat, killed, or imprisoned—recent examples coming from Algeria, Eritrea, Kashmir, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, and even Western nations. Iran's Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, whose plight actually made it to the mainstream media, is but one of many people imprisoned and tortured for simply following their conscience and converting to Christianity. Uganda offers a typical example: there, a Muslim father locked his 14-year-old daughter for several months without food or water, simply because she embraced Christianity. She weighed 44 pounds when rescued.
He should speak up because Christian girls are being abducted, raped, and forced to convert to Islam—recent examples coming from Egypt, India, Pakistan, and Sudan. In Pakistan alone, "a 12 year-old Christian [was] gang raped for eight months, forcibly converted and then 'married' to her Muslim attacker." Now that she has escaped, instead of seeing justice done, "the Christian family is in hiding from the rapists and the police." Earlier in Pakistan, a 2-year-old Christian girl was savagely raped and damaged for life because her father refused to convert to Islam.
The U.S. president should speak up because such persecution is not merely performed at the hands of "outraged Muslim mobs," but is institutionalized in many Muslim governments, including those deemed "U.S. friends and allies"—such as Afghanistan, where the last church was recently razed; Egypt, where Islamists, supported by the U.S., openly speak of returning Copts into second-class dhimmis; and Saudi Arabia, where churches are not permitted, and Bibles and crucifies are confiscated and destroyed.
He should speak up because there is a pattern, one that is becoming increasingly harder to ignore—one that demonstrates great continuity over the centuries. Past and present, from Morocco in the west, to India in the east—in countries that do not share race, culture, or language, only a culture permeated with the spirit of Islamic supremacism—non-Muslims suffer.
He should speak out because calling out bullies and cutting out their financial aid is the most effective way to curb their bullying, even as giving in to bullies—or worse, pretending they are not bullies and forcing others to go along—is a sure way to guarantee they continue bullying their minorities.
Perhaps most importantly, the president of the United States should speak up because we live in a day and age where the reality of religious persecution under Islam is so well documented—unlike in the days of former U.S. presidents who may be excused—that to continue ignoring it is tantamount to abetting it. Just as history has recorded the great sufferings of non-Muslims under Islam, so too will it record the complacency or complicity of those who are in a great position to end the persecution, but refuse to do so.
Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.Source : MEForum.