February 4, 2015
December 6, 2014
Israel’s Future: A Conversation With Naftali Bennett, Minister of Economy
Over the past 11 years, the Forum has served as a platform for unparalleled dialogue between American and Israeli officials, business executives, policymakers and thought leaders from across the political and social spectrum. As a result, the Saban Forum has become a seminal event, generating creative new ideas to address the issues confronting the United States and Israel in the Middle East.
This is CNN
CNN Apologizes for ‘Israel Shoots Palestinians’ Headline
CNN finally issues an apology after angry responses to bizarre coverage of Tuesday morning’s Jerusalem synagogue massacre.
This is The Jerusalem Post
JPost.com’s take on what CNN’s dishonest reporting could look like.
Help end media bias and lies against Israel!
September 26, 2014
Female Arab pilot sticks it to Jihadists
Mariam al-Mansouri, the UAE’s first female pilot, is leading strike missions against Islamic State targets
Times of Israel
Major Mariam al-Mansouri of the United Arab Emirates’ Armed Forces in her fighter cockpit (Photo credit: Youtube screen capture)
Meet Mariam al-Mansouri, the 35-year-old pilot from the United Arab Emirates who – the UAE revealed Thursday — is leading strike missions against IS targets in Syria.
By all accounts, the Islamic State group’s treatment of women in the territories it occupies has been abhorrent. Well, if the group wanted to make women the enemy, it may have gotten more than it bargained for
Mansouri is the UAE’s first female pilot, having graduated flight school in 2007. She is now a Major and an experienced F-16 pilot.
“I can officially confirm that the UAE strike mission on Monday night was led by female fighter pilot Mariam al-Mansouri,” UAE Ambassador to the US Yousef al-Otaiba told MSNBC’s Morning Joe Thursday. “She is a fully qualified, highly trained, combat-ready pilot, and she led the mission.”
UAE’s The National reported in June that al-Mansouri, originally of Abu Dhabi, had dreamed of becoming a pilot for her country’s military ever since her teenage years, at a time when women were not allowed to fly. She joined the military anyway, and became the first female recruit in the academy once the rules were changed.
“At that time, the doors were not open for females to be pilots. So I had to wait almost ten years for the decision to be taken,” al-Mansouri told CNN earlier this year.
She added that she had received a lot of support from her peers, trainers and commanders.
“We are in a hot area so that we have to prepare every citizen,” al-Mansouri said. “Of course, everybody is responsible for defending their country — male or female.”
Ambassador al-Otaiba sought to link al-Mansouri’s rise in the ranks and the UAE’s relatively liberal stance on women’s rights to the conflict against Islamic State.
“The whole campaign and coalition on (Islamic State) and extremists in general boils down to ultimately this: Do you want a model or a society that allows women to become ministers in government, female fighter pilots, business executives, artists…or do you want a society where if a woman doesn’t cover up in public she’s beaten or she’s lashed or she’s raped,” he told MSNBC.
“It’s important for us — moderate Arabs, moderate Muslims — to step up and say this is a threat against us,” he said. “This is more of a threat against us than it is against you (Western countries). This is not just a threat to our countries. This is a threat to our way of life.”
The reveal of al-Mansouri’s involvement in the aerial missions has brought the UAE a great deal of positive attention in the media, as well as social media, but the nation’s actual record on women’s rights remains patchy: Reuters reported in late 2013 that while women have access to education, they represent only 14 percent of the country’s work force; culturally, women continue to fill mostly traditional, conservative roles in society; sexual violence laws are heavily tilted in men’s favor; husbands are allowed to beat their wives and marital rape is unrecognized by law.
The Reuters survey placed the UAE at number 10 out of a list of 22 Arab nations in their attitudes towards women. Not great — but making progress.
And if women like al-Mansouri are leading the charge, this week seems to prove, the sky is the limit.
September 19, 2014
Iran’s ‘Happy’ video makers get suspended jail time, lashes
Defendants’ lawyer says punishments won’t be enforced if they don’t commit a similar crime in next 3 years
Times of Israel Staff
August 13, 2014
Dancing with the ‘enemy’
Pairing up Jewish and Arab children for ballroom dancing turns suspicions into friendships, and leads to an award-winning documentary.
Bringing together 11-year-olds from opposite poles. Photo by Nurit Mozes
Whether it’s the cha-cha, tango, or a simple twirl around the school gym, Arab and Jewish fifth-graders in Israel are connecting through dance.
The idea began when Miri Shahaf-Levi, a former dancer, saw the movie Mad Hot Ballroom about dance instructor and former ballroom dancing world champion Pierre Dulaine, 70, and his work with inner-city kids in New York.
Nine years ago, Shahaf-Levi traipsed to New York City with the mission of bringing Dulaine, now retired, to Israel. She knocked on his studio door and was met with an exclamatory “Alain, wa’asalam!” an Arabic expression equivalent to “shalom” that’s often heard in Tel Aviv-Jaffa.
It turns out that Dulaine was born in Jaffa in British Mandatory Palestine, before Israel became a state, to a Catholic Palestinian mother and a Protestant father from Ireland. When he was four, they moved to Jordan, and later to England.
Dulaine speaks Arabic, French and English, but knows only a few words in Hebrew.
He does know of the incongruities of living in Israel firsthand and told Shahaf Levi he’d go there under one condition: “If you will find me Jewish and Arab children who can dance together.”
Shahaf-Levi, who worked for the government’s Culture Ministry and also as an adviser for the Israel Prize committee, let the idea percolate over the next several years. About four years ago, she arranged Dulaine’s visit to Israel. “I called him and told him that I’ve opened the window. Now it’s your turn to come over and open the door,” Shahaf-Levi tells ISRAEL21c.
Miri Shahaf-Levi dancing with artistic director Dima.
Photo by Nurit Mozes
Facing each other
Thus, Dulaine was able to fulfill his lifelong dream of returning to the city of his birth and teaching Jewish and Palestinian Israeli children to dance together. Diane Nabatoff, who had produced the feature movie Take the Lead in which Antonio Banderas portrayed Dulaine, came along. She hired director Hilla Medalia and arranged for a documentary film crew to follow Dulaine. Dancing in Jaffa is now screening across the United States. Its Israel premiere happened in May when Dulaine came a second time.
The movie, which has won several international awards, shows kids once deeply suspicious of one another transforming into good friends and dance partners in hardscrabble Jaffa, where Jews, Muslims and Christians rarely interact beyond the grocery store.
The film documents Dulaine teaching rhumba, merengue and the tango to 11-year-olds, with a finale where Jews and Arab kids dance together in a competition. He uses techniques from his international program called Dancing Classrooms.
“Dancing in Jaffa came about when I mentioned the idea of fulfilling my lifelong dream of returning to Jaffa, where I was born, to teach my Dancing Classrooms program to Jewish and Palestinian Israeli children. To bring them together face-to-face to dance with each other,” says Dulaine.
Shahaf-Levi found five schools in Jaffa that were willing to work with Dulaine: the Arab schools Al Achouweh/Achva and Ajjayal; two Jewish schools, The Open Democratic School and Hashmonaeem; and one mixed school of Jews, Muslims and Christians called Weizmann.
In certain instances, a letter had to be signed by the Muslim kids’ parents that it would be okay, on religious grounds, for them to dance ballroom with the opposite sex. The letter was written in English by Dulaine and translated into Arabic and Hebrew.
“We have two sheiks who signed on their sons. Everybody was dancing.”
Dulaine admits he almost gave up part way through when the kids weren’t cooperating. But he trusts in the power of dance. “I believe just in believing and really see that when you touch someone with respect, something really does change.”
He has stayed in touch with some of the participants. “I saw four of the children — Noor, Alaa and Lois in Paris, and in New York (Lois’s brother David came as well) a few months ago for the premieres there. They were now grown up but all very, very friendly with each other,” he reports.
Making peace two by two. Photo by Nurit Mozes
The dance continues
Shahaf-Levi now is the executive director of Dancing Classrooms in Israel, actively building bridges by directing a countrywide program that has trained more than 2,000 kids in the art of ballroom dance in the past four years.
Three-month sessions twice a week take place in cities including Haifa, Tel Aviv, Holon, Carmiel and Herzliya. A new sponsor from the United States will make it easy to expand and develop the program, she notes.
There are four dance instructors who help run the sessions, which have been an overwhelming hit among kids deemed “special needs.” In some cases, lives have been transformed, says Shahaf Levi.
“It’s about confidence building,” she sums up. “And looking each other in the eye.”
August 29, 2014
Is Time Working For or Against Israel?
“Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger,
For the first time, Israel’s country default spread (2.48%) – which reflects the risk premium on government bonds – is similar to that of the US (2.38%).
The trend of Israel’s economy from 1948 until today has reaffirmed that time has been working for – and not against – Israel. Moreover, the ongoing war, terrorism, international pressure and boycotts, which have challenged Israel since its establishment in 1948, have been exposed – in retrospect – as bumps and hurdles on the road to unprecedented economic growth.
The sustained, impressive growth of Israel’s economy throughout the last thirty years – in defiance of endemic geopolitical and military adversity – is documented in an August, 2014 study by Dr. Adam Reuter, the CEO of Financial Immunities Consulting and the Chairman of Reuter-Maydan Investment House. For example, Israel’s GDP catapulted from $30bn in 1984 to $300bn in 2014; per capita GDP surged from $7,000 to $38,000; public debt to GDP ratio shrunk from 280% to 66%; the external public debt to GDP ratio contracted from 55% to 10%; the budget deficit to GDP ratio decreased from 17% to 3%; the defense budget reduced from 20% to 6%; annual inflation collapsed from 450% to 1%; the foreign exchange reserves swelled from $3bn to $89bn; export rose from $10bn to $90bn; high tech exports expanded from $1bn to $28bn; research and development expenditures to GDP ratio grew from 1.3% to 4.2%; the population of Israel grew from 4.1 million to 8.2 million; etc.. The growth from 1948 is even more impressive: a 2000% growth, from a $1.5bn, to a $300bn, GDP.
Assessing the impact of the Gaza War on Israel’s economy against the backdrop of the three previous wars – 2006 against Lebanon’s Hezbollah and 2009 and 2012 against Gaza’s Hamas – demonstrates an exceptional capability to bounce back rapidly, except for the gradual recovery of tourism, which accounts for 2% of Israel’s gross domestic product (GDP). The pattern of crisis-to-recovery has always featured an abrupt and short-lived crisis followed by a speedy – not a prolonged – recovery (a “V” and not a “U” shaped graph).
For example, according to the Bank of Israel, the 2006 war against Hezbollah triggered an immediate drop of GDP from more than 6% to a negative growth of 1.5%, followed by a swift recovery to almost 10% growth in the following quarter (prior to the global economic meltdown). The effects of the 2009 and 2012 wars were significantly more moderate, but recovery was as rapid.
The 2014 Gaza War is estimated to lower Israel’s 2014 GDP by 0.5%. Based on recent precedents, it will have insignificant influence on foreign investors, most of who seek the knowhow–intensive Israeli high tech companies, which are minimally vulnerable to rocket and missile fire. Moreover, the expanded global interest in Israeli-developed and manufactured, battle-tested defense systems (e.g., the “Iron Dome,” “Trophy,” “Aqua Shield,” “Point Shield,” etc.) – which demonstrated their unique capabilities during the Gaza War – is expected to bolster a quick recovery and the continued growth of Israel’s economy.
In 2014, Israel is the world’s top exporter of drones, the world’s co-leader (along with the US) in the development, manufacturing and launching of small and medium size satellites, the sixth largest exporter of military systems, the 2nd largest cyber exporter – $3bn in 2013, 5% of total exports and three times larger than Britain’s, as well as an emerging natural gas power.
The February, 2014 International Monetary Fund (IMF) Israel Country Report stated: “Israel has been exposed to a series of shocks, including the global crisis and heightened geopolitical tensions in the Middle East. Nevertheless, GDP growth has averaged 4% over the past 5 years, compared with 0.7% on average for OECD countries. Per capita GDP grows more rapidly than in other OECD countries.” The three leading credit rating companies, Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch reaffirmed Israel’s high credit rating, emphasizing its fiscal responsibility, economic dynamism and resilience, while lowering the credit rating of many developed economies. According to the OECD annual 2013 report, Israel is the 4th most attractive country for foreign direct investment (FDI) per GDP – 4%, compared to 1.6% in the top 16 economies. Warren Buffett attests to that distinction: “Israel is the leading, largest and most promising investment hub outside the United States.” In addition, leading US venture capital funds established Israel-dedicated funds, and over 250 leading US high tech companies established research and development centers in Israel, leveraging Israel’s brainpower, which has become a chief pipeline of cutting edge technologies; thus, expanding US employment, research and development and exports. Intel’s recent decision to invest $6bn in upgrading one of its six Israeli facilities represents the confidence of the global high tech community in Israel’s long term viability.
In contrast to those who wish to boycott Israel, 2013-14 have highlighted Israel’s expanding trade and investment global network, especially with the surging economies of China, India and South Korea.
Is time working for or against Israel? The economic indicators from 1948 until today confirm that Israel has experienced splendid economic integration, and unprecedented economic growth, in defiance of ongoing war, terrorism, boycotts and international pressure.
August 4, 2014
The Bolt Report – Gaza
Published June 24, 3014
Paul Weston : I am a racist
July 28, 2014
To the Students for Justice in Palestine, a Letter From an Angry Black Woman
‘You do not have the right to invoke my people’s struggle for your shoddy purposes’
Tablet: A new read on Jewish life
A protest led by Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of Maryland, College Park in 2009.
(Gerald Martineau/The Washington Post/Getty Images)
The student organization Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) is prominent on many college campuses, preaching a mantra of “Freeing Palestine.” It masquerades as though it were a civil rights group when it is not. Indeed, as an African-American, I am highly insulted that my people’s legacy is being pilfered for such a repugnant agenda. It is thus high time to expose its agenda and lay bare some of the fallacies they peddle.
- If you seek to promulgate the legacy of early Islamic colonialists who raped and pillaged the Middle East, subjugated the indigenous peoples living in the region, and foisted upon them a life of persecution and degradation—you do not get to claim the title of “Freedom Fighter.”
- If you support a racist doctrine of Arab supremacism and wish (as a corollary of that doctrine) to destroy the Jewish state, you do not get to claim that the prejudices you peddle are forms of legitimate “resistance.”
- If your heroes are clerics who sit in Gaza plotting the genocide of a people; who place their children on rooftops in the hopes they will get blown to bits; who heap praises upon their fellow gang members when they succeed in murdering Jewish school boys and bombing places of activity where Jews congregate—you do not get to claim that you are some Apollonian advocate of human virtue. You are not.
- If your activities include grieving over the woefully incompetent performance by Hamas rocketeers and the subsequent millions of Jewish souls who are still alive—whose children were not murdered by their rockets; whose limbs were not torn from them; and whose disembowelment did not come into fruition—you do not get to claim that you stand for justice. You profess to be irreproachable. You are categorically not.
- If your idea of a righteous cause entails targeting and intimidating Jewish students on campus, arrogating their history of exile-and-return and fashioning it in your own likeness you do not get to claim that you do so in the name of civil liberty and freedom of expression.
- You do not get to champion regimes that murder, torture, and persecute their own people, deliberately keep them impoverished, and embezzle billions of dollar from them—and claim you are “pro-Arab.” You are not.
- You do not get to champion a system wherein Jews are barred from purchasing land, traveling in certain areas, and living out such an existence merely because they are Jews—and claim that you are promoting equality for all. You do not get to enable that system by pushing a boycott of Jewish owned businesses, shops, and entities—and then claim that you are “against apartheid.” That is evil.
- You do not get to justify the calculated and deliberate bombings, beatings, and lynchings of Jewish men, women, and children by referring to such heinous occurrences as part of a noble “uprising” of the oppressed—that is racism. It is evil.
- You do not get to pretend as though you and Rosa Parks would have been great buddies in the 1960s. Rosa Parks was a real Freedom Fighter. Rosa Parks was a Zionist.
Coretta Scott King was a Zionist.
A. Phillip Randolph was a Zionist.
Bayard Rustin was a Zionist.
Count Basie was a Zionist.
Dr. Martin Luther King Sr. was a Zionist.
Indeed, they and many more men and women signed a letter in 1975 that stated: “We condemn the anti-Jewish blacklist. We have fought too long and too hard to root out discrimination from our land to sit idly while foreign interests import bigotry to America. Having suffered so greatly from such prejudice, we consider most repugnant the efforts by Arab states to use the economic power of their newly-acquired oil wealth to boycott business firms that deal with Israel or that have Jewish owners, directors, or executives, and to impose anti-Jewish preconditions for investments in this country.”
You see, my people have always been Zionists because my people have always stood for the freedom of the oppressed. So, you most certainly do not get to culturally appropriate my people’s history for your own. You do not have the right to invoke my people’s struggle for your shoddy purposes and you do not get to feign victimhood in our name. You do not have the right to slander my people’s good name and link your cause to that of Dr. King’s. Our two causes are diametrically opposed to each other.
Your cause is the antithesis of freedom. It has cost hundreds of thousands of lives of both Arabs and Jews. It has separated these peoples, and has fomented animosity between them. It has led to heartache, torment, death and destruction.
It is of course your prerogative to continue to utilize platitudes for your cause. You are entirely within your rights to chant words like “equality” “justice” and “freedom fighter.”
You can keep using those words for as long as you like. But I do not think you know what they mean.
July 16, 2014
Israel Electric Workers Brave Rockets to Restore Power to Gaza
Viva Sarah Press
A Hamas rocket took 70,000 Gazans off the grid when it downed a high-power line; Israeli technicians wore bulletproof vests to fix it.
IEC technicians restore power to Gazan
Wearing bulletproof vests and helmets, Israel Electric technicians repaired a high-power line that was damaged by a Hamas rocket and restored power to some 70,000 Gazans. The Israeli government gave the green light to the Israel Electric Corporation to make the repairs even though its technicians were still in the line of fire.
IDF soldiers accompanied the IEC technicians for safety.
On Sunday night of this week, Hamas sent a barrage of rockets toward Israel. One of them hit an electricity infrastructure in Israel that supplied electricity to the Gaza Strip.
June 14, 2014
Saudi TV: Sesame Street a Jewish plot
Nabil Hammad explains children’s TV shows are all part of a Jewish-Zionist conspiracy to destroy the moral values of humanity
Times of Israel
In an interview aired recently on Saudi television, a scholar claimed children’s TV shows and cartoons such as Tom and Jerry, Sesame Street and Mickey Mouse are all part of a Jewish-Zionist conspiracy to destroy the moral values of humanity.
“A normal child, who has been watching TV from the age of two, has been assaulted by all kinds of films,” Nabil Hammad said in excerpts of the May 15 interview on Iqraa TV, provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). “How did the ‘sagging’ pants fashion ever emerge? The men wear their pants so low that their private parts are exposed. This fashion originated on the Cartoon Network channel. The Cartoon Network aired a film showing the longest spit. What kind of education do we provide?”
“It is not only the future generations of the Islamic world that are destroyed — the moral values of humanity are destroyed,” Hammad claimed.
Hammad, a former director of the Saudi channel, then referred to Sesame Street character Oscar the Grouch, who he said was a loathsome character” who should not serve as a role model for children.
“Another example is the character of Cookie Monster. He eats like a slob,” he said.
Hammad then came to the meat of the matter: A Zionist “conspiracy to destroy humanity and its moral values.”
“All the global film companies — note that I say “all” not “most” — all the global film companies are owned by Jews,” he explained.
“Why did they produce Mickey Mouse?” Hammad reasoned. “Why did they focus on a mouse? There is a plan to destroy human thought and all of humanity…Mickey Mouse, the rodent, became a hero and a superstar. The destruction of human morality is an old Zionist-Jewish scheme.
Hammad also alleged that Jewish schemers posing as Christians and Muslims were behind attempts to corrupt and destroy those two religions from within.
The Saudi scholar went on to list a long line of prominent Western figures who he said were part of this conspiracy: Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud, Friedrich Nietzsche, Émile Durkheim and Jean-Paul Sartre.
“They were all Zionist Jews, Hammad said, then corrected himself. “Except for Nietzsche, who was a Christian Zionist.”
April 27, 2014
Abbas: Holocaust ‘most heinous crime’ in modern era
PA President Mahmoud Abbas extends first official condolences in special statement issued on Holocaust Remembrance Day. Mahmoud Abbas
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called the Holocaust “the most heinous crime to have occurred against humanity in the modern era” in an interview with Palestinian news agency WAFA published on Sunday morning.
He went on to describe the Holocaust as “a reflection of the concept of ethnic discrimination and racism, which the Palestinians strongly reject and act against.”
The statement was the Palestinian leader’s first official offering of condolences for the Holocaust, according to The New York Times.
Abbas has been accused of being a Holocaust denier by Israeli officials in the past, mainly due to claims made in his doctoral dissertation, published as a book in 1983, titled The Other Side: The Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism.
In it, he wrote “the Zionist fantasy, the fantastic lie that six million Jews were killed” and claimed that only some 890,000 Jews were killed by the Nazis and that these were chiefly the victims of a Zionist-Nazi plot.
Abbas backtracked from his statements in the the book in a 2011 interview where he said that he did “not deny the Holocaust” and that he had “heard from the Israelis that there were six million” victims, adding, “I can accept that,” reported the Times.
Last week in Ramallah during a meeting with Rabbi Marc Schneier, president of the New York-based Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, last week, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas referred to the Holocaust as “the single greatest tragedy in modern-day history.”
April 21, 2014
US Supreme Court to review Jerusalem birthplace law
Justices to weigh constitutionality of a US law that was designed to allow American citizens born in Jerusalem to have Israel listed as their birthplace on passports.
US Supreme Court
WASHINGTON – The US Supreme Court on Monday agreed to weigh the constitutionality of a law designed to allow American citizens born in Jerusalem to have “Israel” listed on their passports as their country of birth.
The case will examine a constitutional question of checks and balances – whether the president is the sole authority able to declare US foreign policy or whether Congress can pass laws overriding that policy.
In court papers, the Obama administration said taking sides on the issue could “critically compromise the ability of the United States to work with Israelis, Palestinians and others in the region to further the peace process.”
The government has noted that US citizens born in other places in the region where sovereignty has not been established, including the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, are similarly prevented from stating a country of birth on their passports.
Congress attempted to pass such a law as part of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act (2003), which declared that “the Secretary [of State] shall, upon the request of the citizen or the citizens legal guardian, record the place of birth as Israel” in that citizen’s US passport.
The legislation had wide support among major American Jewish organizations, such as the Jewish Federations of North America and the American Jewish Committee.
In 2003, Ari and Naomi Zivotofsky filed a lawsuit seeking to enforce the law. They are parents of US citizen Menachem Zivotosfsky, who was born in Jerusalem in 2002, and would like their son’s passport to say he was born in Israel.
The issue reached the Supreme Court in 2012 on the preliminary question of whether the issue was so political that it did not belong in the courts. The court ruled 8-1 that the case could proceed, setting up a July 2013 ruling by the US Court of Appeals, which struck down key provisions of the law, ruling that the president, above Congress, retained the constitutional ability to determine US policy regarding Jerusalem.
The AJC anticipated an appeal to the Supreme Court when that ruling was announced.
Congress has pushed against the White House on this matter through several administrations.
However, the State Department, through both Democratic and Republican administrations, has refused to directly declare Jerusalem the Israeli capital or indirectly declare the city to be Israeli territory through passport listings.
Asked to comment on Monday’s Supreme Court decision to hear the case, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the government’s position on Jerusalem’s status has not changed.
Oral agreements and a decision are due in the court’s next term, which begins in October and ends in June 2015. The case is Zivotofsky v. Kerry, US Supreme Court, 13-628.
Reuters contributed to this report.
Al Jazeera Arabic admits France, Israel better
Al Jazeera Arabic Admits Israel Tries To Prevent Civilian Casualties
The Woman Who Makes the Jihadis Squirm
The Tower Magazine
David Hazony: Editor of The Tower Magazine
By forcing global terrorists into courtrooms around the world,
Nitsana Darshan-Leitner has pulled the rug out from under their chaotic,
When I was a child, terrorism scared me more than the other kids.
Immigrants carry the fears they know to their new countries and pass them on to their children, often out of context. So having Israeli parents in New Jersey in the 1970s meant growing up worrying that Arab terrorists—rather than kidnappers, tornadoes, or ICBMs—were going to get me. Each night we waited for Walter Cronkite to tell us what evils had befallen our faraway people. A hijacked airplane. A seaside resort attacked by men with rifles and grenades. An elementary school, the murder of children. I was Israeli, and I believed these things could happen to me, too.
In that world, terrorists were crazy, demented, evil people who took guns into schoolhouses and shot up buses and reveled in the blood they had shed, all in order to make a political statement—a statement that my people, my family, my life had no legitimacy at all. It was both grotesque and chaotic. Outside of the realms of law and sense and humanity.
And then I grew up, and the same dark forces expanded and threatened to engulf the whole world: 9/11 and 7/7 and Madrid and Mumbai made terrorism everyone’s problem.
But then, after a few years of major global concern and greater and lesser wars, something else happened. At some point in the last decade, terrorism went from being something demonic and nightmarish to something more like a disease that we knew how to fight. Dangerous if left untreated, but beatable nonetheless. We had somehow put it into a box.
Part of what changed was the determination of Western governments, especially after 9/11, to militarily attack terror bases around the world. Al-Qaeda, in particular, had its whole command structure decimated. But alongside the military campaign was the recognition that terror networks needed money, legitimacy, and freedom to operate—all of which they got from the legitimate global political and commercial systems of the world. Terrorists, it turned out, lived, basically, in the same world we did. The U.S. Treasury, helped by new legislation and led by Under Secretary Stuart Levey under both the Bush and first Obama administrations, took the charge in enforcing strict anti-terror measures against corporations and governments that were on the wrong side of the battle. Intelligence agencies, too, started prioritizing tracking bank accounts and wire transfers. American diplomats lobbied foreign governments to join the effort.
But there was another component to this struggle, one that is a lot less well known because it emerged entirely from the civilian, nongovernmental world: Civil lawsuits that take advantage of laws in the U.S., Canada, Israel, and other countries, to seek damages not only from the terrorists themselves, but also from states that sponsor terror (and can be sued under U.S. law), banks that funnel terrorist money (and are therefore aiding and abetting terror), and corporations that do business with terrorist entities.
Civil lawsuits, it turns out, are not just a great way to help victims find justice and compensation for their misery. They are also an enormously powerful tool in fighting terror. Because they are not initiated by any government, they cannot be stopped through ordinary diplomacy or with back-channel deals. The can be initiated spontaneously, unpredictably—effectively turning the tables on the terrorists, who are used to being the unpredictable ones. Once filed, they are in the hands of an independent judge who follows the law, not the political needs of the moment.
And because civil lawsuits have lower thresholds of proof than do criminal proceedings, and it is therefore usually much easier to prove liability than criminality, civil attorneys can very often succeed where prosecutors fail. For this reason, Western intelligence agencies often happily cooperate with civil cases against terrorists, providing crucial evidence for the plaintiffs—for they are doing the work that government cannot.
Implausibly and incredibly, one woman has played the overwhelmingly decisive role in fighting terror through civil litigation. Nitsana Darshan-Leitner is younger than me, has long dark hair and an attractive smile, and six jumpy kids. She is outwardly shy—but perhaps in a Clark Kent sort of way, suddenly flashing a heroic, energetic presence when making her case. In an interview, she often seems like she’s suppressing a chuckle even when discussing the most serious topics, and one ever-so-slightly lazy eye makes her look curiously vulnerable.
Through her nonprofit legal center, Shurat HaDin (“letter of the law” in Hebrew), Nitsana has spent the last decade and a half battling terrorism through civil lawsuits. Representing terror victims from Israel, the United States, Canada, Iran, and elsewhere, she files motions and seizes assets and sends warnings. She has become a menace to terrorists, putting them on their heels, forcing them and their sponsors to spend vast sums on legal fees, to stop using the Western banking industry, to smuggle cash through tunnels instead of using the banks.
In the process she has revolutionized the way the civilized world deals with terrorism. Governments that clearly back terror organizations—like Iran, Syria, North Korea, and the Palestinian Authority—have found their assets frozen, even turned over to victims. Terrorist groups, states that sponsor terror, banks that facilitate terror financing, companies that do business with terrorists—all of these have found themselves diverting attention, resources, and immense energies to dealing with high-profile lawsuits. Major corporations have discovered that they cannot operate with impunity.
The numbers alone tell a big part of the story. In the last decade, Nitsana’s team has won over $1 billion in judgments. These have resulted in the freezing of over $600 million in assets around the world—money that otherwise would be funding terror operations. And over $120 million in actual awards have been transferred into the hands of the victims.
It is worth pausing over that last figure a bit. There are large charitable organizations dedicated to helping victims of terror attacks. They raise money from well-meaning philanthropists and do admirable work. But because they are based on donations, what they can actually give the victims is comparably small. Shurat HaDin, on the other hand, operates on a different order of magnitude, prying much larger amounts out of the hands of the actual perpetrators and their accomplices, and giving them to families who often face lifelong financial challenges as a result of their devastation. Families who have lost the breadwinner in their family can do a lot more with $10 million than with a few well-meant visits from volunteers with baskets, or summer camp for the victims’ children. And they even can regain a modicum of pride, knowing that their oppressors have paid a price.
And so it is not only in the interest of full disclosure that I mention I did some consulting work for Shurat HaDin a few years ago. Seeing the operation of Shurat Hadin up close was a powerful experience for me—one that spoke of the tremendous potential of a single individual to turn the course of an entire battle.
This past December, I caught up with Nitsana in Tel Aviv. Familiar with her successes, I was expecting a conversation that looked back at all the changes. Instead I heard a few things that surprised me—both a hint as to the next stage in the legal fight against terror, and a warning about how everything she has achieved might be slipping through our fingers at this moment.
“When we first started talking about suing terrorists, we had people in the legal community laughing at us. They said, ‘What are you gonna do, wreck their credit rating?’” Nitsana giggles; she has told the story a thousand times, but it still amuses her.
Terrorists always wanted us to think they were insane and otherworldly, vipers and vampires and blood-sniffing vultures, preying on innocent children and devouring their innards like Satan in a medieval painting. They thrive, we are told, in the dark places of the world, deployed by vicious enemies who have no fear of lawyers or judges, and who would eat you alive. You don’t sue them. You launch air strikes and covert ops against them and teach their grandchildren to utter your name in hushed tones.
But Nitsana was the beneficiary of a whole constellation of inspirations and predicates, of people and circumstances that came together in a perfect historical storm to enable her to create something entirely new and mind-bogglingly effective.
First, there was her personal background. Born in Israel to a family of formerly well-to-do Iranian Jews who were forced to leave everything behind as they fled to Israel in the early 1950s, she grew up knowing hardship and lacking any illusions about the Middle East. Her early memories included the horrific terror attacks that plagued the Jewish state in the mid-1970s. In 1974 terrorists stormed an elementary school in Maalot and killed 21 children; they bombed a busy Jerusalem street in 1975, killing 15; the same year, terrorists landed on the beach in Tel Aviv and took over the Savoy Hotel, holding its guests hostage, killing eight. In 1978, they hijacked a bus along the Coastal Road between Tel Aviv and Haifa, murdering 38 Israelis; there was the 1979 seaside attack in Nahariya, when they marched a family to the beach and murdered the children before their father’s eyes.
Terrorism threatened not only the daily serenity of each and every Israeli—in a small country, every attack touches you personally—but also the central premise of Jewish empowerment on which all of Zionism had been predicated: the belief that only through statehood could Jews finally live free from the whims of the wicked and powerful, secure in their own national home. Terror reinforced the Holocaust-era sense of collective victimhood, and centuries of pogroms and persecutions felt they had suddenly found their modern voice.
Then, in law school, in Ramat Gan, in the early 1990s, she met Avi Leitner, an American immigrant who had grown up with his parents’ 1960s civil rights activism and his own involvement in demonstrations on behalf of Soviet Jewry in the 1970s and 1980s. He embodied a spirit of Jewish empowerment, and the belief that victims can themselves turn on their oppressors and bring justice into the world. But he was also an exceptionally funny guy. His dry New York humor together with the pulsating beat of the Ramones would form the implausible soundtrack to their life. They married before she finished her degree.
Avi took Nitsana to visit the United States, where he introduced her to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a famous civil rights group organization that used lawsuits to fight against neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan throughout the 1980s. That trip that would transform her understanding of what lawyers can do in the world, and offer an intriguing possibility for fighting terror in a totally new way.
“Southern Poverty wasn’t just about winning cases,” she tells me in their Ramat Gan office. “It was about using legal action to change reality on the ground. The court rulings didn’t just punish the white supremacists; it drove them out of business,” Nitsana explains, now self-consciously professorial. “It turns out that terrorism and KKK-style racism were actually quite similar. They both operate outside the law, creating injustice in ways that ordinary law enforcement has difficulty addressing. But they also both have to organize, raise money, have offices, a place to meet, and so on. What we learned from Southern Poverty was that you can use lawsuits—or even just the threat of lawsuits—to cripple their activities where law enforcement is either unwilling or unable to do the job. They can make their lives an endless headache, and they stop doing the bad things.”
Southern Poverty drove the KKK bananas, forcing them to repeatedly shut down their branches, making fundraising a nightmare, and eventually driving organized racism in America entirely underground.
But adapting the model to terrorism wouldn’t be easy. Whole national governments across the Middle East were sponsoring groups far more clever, vicious, and well-funded than the KKK. Terrorists lived out there somewhere, in other countries. Could they be really be made to care about anything going on in a courtroom in New York or Tel Aviv?
There was only one way to find out.
Starting in the late 1990s, Nitsana began filing a series of motions on behalf of terror victims, first in Israel, and then with the help of local counsel, in federal courts in the United States. The U.S. offered a whole range of possibilities, in part because of the vast assets that foreign governments and individuals held there, and the size of the awards judges were willing to hand down, but also because of a range of laws that allowed for damages to be sought. The Anti-Terrorism Act of 1990 provided for U.S. citizens to sue terrorists and their abettors for damages. The Alien Torts Claims Act (1789) and the Torture Victim Protection Act (1991) allowed non-Americans to sue anyone in the United States who had victimized them. Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1978, any country that sponsored terrorism could be sued for attacks carried out by the groups it supported. And later on, after the terror attacks of September 2001, Congress passed a series of new laws, including the Financial Anti-Terrorism Act and the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, that would make it much easier both to sue those who funded terrorism and to collect the damages.
“We filed dozens of cases in 1999 and 2000. Every one tested a different legal theory, used a different never-been-tried argument. Every one meant depositions and research, going through the awful details. In some cases we had to invent the process too, not just the argument. How do you serve a lawsuit on Hamas? They don’t have an office you can just show up at with a process server. We had to ask an Israeli prison warden to serve papers on a Hamas leader sitting in jail. What about Iran? Do you FedEx a lawsuit to ‘the government’ in Tehran? International couriers didn’t go there. Send a fax to the embassy? Serve Hezbollah in South Lebanon? Nobody had ever tried these things before.
“Once we wanted to personally sue Mohammed Khatami, the former Iranian president, on behalf of Jewish families whose loved ones had been imprisoned and tortured for wanting to escape Iran while he was in office. Under the Torture Victims Protection Act, we could go after his personal assets, but only if we found a way to serve the papers on him while he visited on American soil. We found out he was coming to speak at the UN, but there was no way to get through his rings of security there. So we found out he was speaking at the CAIR [Council on American-Islamic Relations] dinner in Washington. For $800 you could not just go to the dinner but also get a handshake and photo op. So we hired a former detective in Arlington, Virginia and wired him the money. He showed up at the dinner, hands Khatami the papers, smiles, tells him he’s being sued, Khatami smiles, the photographer snaps the picture, then the picture goes up on their website, and voila. Served. It was crazy, but it worked.” Nitsana laughs like a girl at a sleepover.
These were not class-action suits either. Every case was filed individually, representing a separate victim, proving responsibility and damages and liability. Every case involved another tragedy, another horror relived, a wound reopened on the witness stand. But the cases were novel, terrorism still a very distant thing, and few American judges really knew what to do with them.
It took the catastrophe of the September 11, 2001 attacks to change that. Though Nitsana is reluctant to assess the role that 9/11 had on the outcome of her cases, it seems pretty hard to deny. Only then did Americans really recognize the magnitude of the threat of terrorism and the importance of the battle, and no judge could remain unmoved by the cases before them. Judges are human, and we want them that way.
It was in February 2002 that they got their first big breakthrough.
The ruling concerned the case of Ira Weinstein, a 53-year-old father of three from Brooklyn who had been riding the number 18 bus in Jerusalem in February 1996, when a suicide bomber blew himself up and murdered 25 others on the bus. Nitsana’s team had filed suit on his family’s behalf in 2000 in the District of Columbia against the government of Iran, a supporter of the Hamas terrorists that had carried out the attack. Iran had repeatedly refused to recognize the legitimacy of the American courts, failing to show up for hearing after hearing. But in February 2002, a federal judge awarded a default judgment of $183 million against the regime.
This ruling proved to be just the first in a whole string of successes, each one providing precedent and momentum for the next. Just a few months after the Weinstein decision, a judge in Rhode Island gave her and her co-counsel David Strachman, a preliminary ruling on the case of Yaron and Efrat Ungar, a young American couple who had been gunned down in their car when stopped at a traffic light just outside the city of Beit Shemesh in June 1996. The Palestinian Authority had argued that it could not be sued because it had sovereign immunity, as if it were a state. But now, for the first time, the judge rejected their argument, ordering the lawsuit to proceed. Two years later, the same judge would award the Ungar family over $100 million in damages.
Israeli judges began ruling in their favor, as well. In December 2000 they had filed a lawsuit on behalf of the widow of Vadim Nurzhitz, an unarmed Israeli reservist who was infamously dragged from his car and beaten to death in the police station in Ramallah at the beginning of the second Intifada, his body hurled from the building, torn apart by a waiting mob, and dragged through the streets. In 2002, an Israeli judge ruled that there was enough evidence to hold the Palestinian Authority responsible for the lynching, and slapped a pre-emptive lien on $16 million in Palestinian money being held by the Israeli government, an astronomical figure by Israeli legal standards.
Over time, as they catalogued victories and continued to refine their methods, a strategy began to emerge. It had three parts—each of which was grounded in different laws and precedents, and required a different set of tactics, witnesses, evidence, and arguments. The most obvious place to start was to sue the states that sponsored terror. Iran, Syrian, Libya, and North Korea were all placed on the State Department’s formal list of governments that sponsored terror, and therefore could be sued under U.S. law, as long as you could prove that those governments had deliberately supported the groups that carried out a given attack.
More challenging was trying to sue terror organizations themselves, or other non-state bodies with ties to terror, such as the Palestinian Authority. Terror groups do not recognize American courts, and it is extremely difficult to serve papers on a terror group. Even if you win a default judgment, collection is not simple either. But it isn’t impossible. With the help of intelligence agencies, assets can be identified, tracked down in European countries, an American ruling domesticated, and the assets flagged and attached.
Yet the biggest challenge has clearly been fighting against corporations and banks. Suddenly you find yourself facing massive teams of well-heeled lawyers who have long ago mastered the tactics of high-stakes litigation on behalf of wealthy clients who exist only to preserve and build their wealth. Yet here too, there is justice to be found. Just last year, American judges offered preliminary rulings in two crucial Shurat HaDin-related cases—one against the Lebanese-Canadian Bank, the other against the Bank of China—which meant that the cases would move forward, even at the risk of ruffling the feathers of the Chinese government, and against the political desires of the U.S. State Department, the Israeli government, and others.
“We were not the first people ever to bring a terror case to court. But previous cases all got resolved diplomatically, through international deal-making, like with the Pan Am Lockerbie case. We were the first people ever to fight the cases to the end, to force the judges to rule. We established a string of precedents that became the basis for all civil terror litigation today.”
Shurat HaDin sits in a small office in Ramat Gan, across from Tel Aviv and the Arlozoroff train station and next to the Diamond Exchange. Unlike most nonprofit leaders, who focus mainly on fundraising and awareness-raising, Nitsana actually spends the majority of her time on the litigation, strategizing the cases and running a small team of in-house and freelance lawyers, as well as co-counsels around the world who file on behalf of clients. It is tedious work, endless work, and includes research, briefings, court appearances, meeting terror victims interested in finding justice, financial relief, and the sense of empowerment that comes with confronting your attacker and winning.
But for the outside observer, it also seems like a work of constant creative motion, a breathtaking artistic enterprise. I remember the first time they explained to me the concept of domestication—that when a judge rules that somebody owes you money, you can take that ruling to courts in other countries around the world, anywhere that person has assets, and make them pay through the local courts. It’s another thing that’s much easier to do in civil suits than in criminal cases. Nitsana has used that principle, combined with intelligence about the location of Iranian bank accounts, to file cases based on U.S. rulings worth hundreds of millions of dollars in Italy, France, and other European countries. The result was to force Iran to move its assets out of Europe entirely. This is something the U.S. government can’t do, and European governments have shown little desire to do.
There is something ancient and uniquely Jewish about it, too. Using incessant intellectual innovation to improve the fate of humanity, to effect justice, to make the bad guys squirm, to help your people. Of course, the mission is not just to help Israelis and Jews. Shurat HaDin has already exported its model well outside the Middle East, helping victims of the Colombian terror group FARC, and those murdered by the Japanese Red Army. They’ve met and urged Protestant groups in Ireland to sue the IRA. They’ve been involved in lawsuits against Chiquita, against the government of North Korea, and elsewhere. Nitsana lectures for intelligence and law enforcement agencies around the world.
But her principal motivation has always been about helping her own people, her extended Israeli family. When Turkish organizers of the Free Gaza movement organized a flotilla meant to break the Gaza siege and provide material support to the Hamas government there, Shurat HaDin took up the lead in preventing the vessels from setting sail and the group from organizing. “Part of it was that they were aiding and abetting Hamas,” she recalls. “But we also tracked down an American law from the late eighteenth century that makes it a crime to break a lawful maritime siege being carried out by an American ally. We used everything we had and we sank the flotilla.” For Nitsana, a central part of her work is about proving that the Jews really do have a place in the world, and that when people attack them, there will be a price to pay.
The offices have an oddly layered atmosphere, as well. On the most obvious level, it’s intensely busy, as phone calls come in, researchers talk to lawyers, who talk to other lawyers, much busy intense conversation and brainstorming and movement. The décor is a little weird, however. A big wooden globe with a centuries-old map on it sits unattended, broken—the world is always a little off. A wooden statue of a Native American that looks like it was stolen from a Manhattan cigar shop by drunken frat boys peers at you from a dark corner of her office. An antique wind-up Victrola with a vinyl 78 by the Israeli band Mashina greets you in a conference room. It’s like the creative energy has a powerful undercurrent of humor to it. Because if you can’t laugh, will you cry?
Or maybe her ever-present sense of humor is the only way to handle the tragedy of the details of the terror attacks, the testimony of the victims, the enormity and gravity of it all, without losing one’s mind.
I once had a long conversation with Effi Eitam, the burly, bearded brigadier-general who would later lead Israel’s National Religious Party. In recounting his tour as commander of the Galilee Command during the 1990s, when Israel still occupied a strip of southern Lebanon, he told me how he had faced the challenge of Hezbollah fighters engaged in guerrilla operations against the IDF. I reconstruct his words from memory, though it was long ago.
“Terrorism,” he told me, “is built on chaos. Civilization is orderly, which means that for people to live in peace, there have to be systems of order in place. Law, the military, supply chains, elections, markets—all these are the order that civilization places on life, to make peaceful life possible. Terrorism is built on disrupting those systems. If you can’t trust your elections, your markets, your law enforcement, your daily life, then you lose all the confidence that makes it possible to walk down the street or go shopping without fear.”
As commander of the Galilee division, Eitam developed a string of innovative tactics that put a significant emphasis on building up physical defenses against Hezbollah fighters. “What we did in Lebanon, tactically, was to force the terrorists to raise their own level of orderliness. We found that if we tripled the thickness of a concrete defensive barrier, they would have to bring much more powerful rockets to penetrate it. But more powerful rockets required a much more orderly infrastructure: Training bases, supply, command and control. The bigger our defenses, the more they had to operate like a regular army to beat us. But then we could defeat them like a regular army: By attacking their bases and their supply routes with air strikes. If chaos was the key to their success, then we could defeat them by forcing them to be more orderly.”
This, in essence, is what Nitsana has accomplished, as well, together with the efforts of U.S. Treasury officials and Mossad agents and governments around the world over the last two decades. By forcing terrorists to hire lawyers, accountants, and public relations firms, you have squeezed them into the rubric of civilizational order. You put them on their heels. Instead of aggressively planning their next attack, they started worrying where the next lawsuit or court action would come from.
The moment you recognize that terrorism is not a pathology but a deliberate methodology that counts on chaos to undermine your life, you have already taken the first step to containing, controlling, and defeating it.
The fight has been much more successful than is often understood. While groups like Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda affiliates continue to operate, they have nothing like the freedom they had twenty years ago. Funding them, training them, command and control—all have become much harder than in the past. It’s true that these groups have become more sophisticated under the new conditions. But it’s also true that nothing close to 9/11 has struck American soil in the last decade.
To make it work has required the simultaneous commitment of legislatures, judges, and executive branch officials in different countries. That is why Nitsana is deeply troubled by the deal reached in November in Geneva between the “P5+1”—representatives of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany—and Iran regarding their nuclear weapons program. In her view, the entire battle against global terrorism might be on the brink of a terrible reversal.
“The deal in Geneva is really dangerous. All the signals point to a disaster.” The key problem is the core concept of the emerging deal, in which Western countries agree to relieve the harsh economic sanctions against Iran, in exchange for Iran slowing or suspending its nuclear weapons program. But as Nitsana points out, this leaves the whole question of terrorism off the table.
Everybody is so focused on Iran’s nuclear program that they’re giving them a pass on the fact that they’re the central supporters of global terrorism. The reason Iran was originally blacklisted in 1996 wasn’t because they had a nuclear program, it was because they were the bankers for international terrorism. Even if they stop enriching uranium, they will still be the main supporters of Hamas, Islamic jihad, and Hezbollah, as well as major players in the war crimes going on in Syria. All is forgotten. European companies now are lining up to open offices in Tehran. And all the while, not once have the Iranians said they would stop supporting terrorism.
Are you suggesting that the United States government no longer cares about fighting terrorism?
I’m saying that Geneva points in a very bad direction. We’ve already had reports that for a few months now the Department of Justice has stopped investigating cases where people in the U.S. are plainly violating Iran sanctions.
Americans want to forget about terror. I understand it’s hard to be worried about something for so long. People want to feel good and it’s human nature to try and ignore problems like terrorism. As soon as there’s a little quiet, America goes back into safe mode.
But terror groups are still active, still waiting for the money to come in. If anything, Hezbollah is much better geared up than in the past. They have sleepers everywhere. They’ve spread out. They’ve built up their infrastructure, their surveillance. They have the potential to do way more damage than they did on 9/11. They haven’t been sleeping all these years. They’ve been building and building and building. It doesn’t take very much at this point to set off a bomb. The U.S. and Europe have been lucky. How hard is it to get a dirty bomb into New York or Antwerp?
So what do you think will happen next?
Everybody’s rushing over to Tehran, banks and companies and the oil conglomerates. The stock market in Tehran is shooting up. People think they can’t be caught supporting terrorists. The Bank of China thought the laws didn’t apply to them, but they did. If companies fail to understand that they are aiding and abetting terrorism, legally speaking, then as soon as the terrorism starts again, there will be a whole new wave of lawsuits. Unfortunately, I see that as inevitable.
Finally I ask her about the new kind of terrorism, the “inspired terror” that we saw in the Boston attacks. This is crucial, because it seems that in the past few years groups like al-Qaeda have deliberately circumvented the traditional command-and-control structure by simply inspiring people, through videos distributed online, not just to want to commit attacks but also giving them instruction in bomb-building and fundraising. The Tsarnaev brothers weren’t wired large sums of money or given direct orders to act. They just downloaded it all from the Internet. But if they aren’t using the global financial networks, how can you stop them?
Nitsana smiled cryptically. “We’ve already sent warning letters.”
“To Facebook and Twitter. Twitter was giving services to Al-Manar TV, which in the U.S. is listed as an instrumentality of Hezbollah. Social media like Twitter and YouTube, they think they’re in a kind of vacuum because they’re new media. But when you’re providing services to terrorism, according to Holder vs. Humanitarian Law Project, a famous Supreme Court case, it doesn’t matter whether you provide legal advice or banking services, or you’re Facebook and Twitter and you’re providing social media services to these groups, you’re aiding and abetting international terror. You, your company, your shareholders are liable for any injury or damages perpetrated. It’s just a matter of time before a case becomes available, and the social media world will understand. We’re ready.”
If the past is any indicator, I have no doubt they are.
The Sick Middle East
The Middle East Forum
The Washington Times
January 24, 2014
W.T. title: “The Middle East mightily resists efforts to prod modernization”
The recent fall of Fallujah, Iraq, to an Al-Qaeda-linked group provides an unwelcome reminder of the American resources and lives devoted in 2004 to 2007 to control the city – all that effort expended and nothing to show for it. Similarly, outlays of hundreds of billions of dollars to modernize Afghanistan did not prevent the release of 72 prisoners who have attacked Americans.
Al-Qaeda takes over in Fallujah, Iraq.
These two examples point to a larger conclusion: maladies run so deep in the Middle East (minus remarkable Israel) that outside powers cannot remedy them. Here’s a fast summary:
Water is running out. A dam going up on the Blue Nile in Ethiopia threatens substantially to cut Egypt’s main water supply by devastating amounts for years. Syria and Iraq suffer from water crises because the Euphrates and Tigris rivers are drying up. Growing the narcotic qat plant absorbs so much of Yemen’s limited water supplies that Sana’a may be the first modern capital city to be abandoned because of drought. Ill considered wheat-growing schemes in Saudi Arabia depleted aquifers.
On the flip side, the poorly constructed Mosul Dam in Iraq could collapse, drowning half a million immediately and leave many more stranded without electricity or food. Sewage runs rampant in Gaza. Many countries suffer from electricity black-outs, and especially in the oppressive summer heat that routinely reaches 120 degrees.
An artist’s rendition of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam now under construction.
People are also running out. After experiencing a huge and disruptive youth bulge, the region’s birth rate is collapsing. Iran, for example, has undergone the steepest decline in birth rates of any country ever recorded, going from 6.6 births per woman in 1977 to 1.6 births in 2012. This has created what one analyst calls an “apocalyptic panic” that fuels Tehran’s aggression.
Poor schools, repressive governments, and archaic social mores assure abysmal rates of economic growth. Starvation haunts Egypt, Syria, Yemen, and Afghanistan.
Vast reserves of oil and gas have distorted nearly every aspect of life. Miniature medieval-like monarchies like Qatar become surreal world powers playing at war in Libya and Syria, indifferent to the lives they break, as a vast underclass of oppressed foreign workers toils away and a princess deploys the largest budget for art purchases in human history. The privileged can indulge their cruel impulses, protected by connections and money. Sex tourism to poor countries like India flourishes.
Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani (b. 1983), sister of the
emir of Qatar and chairperson of the Qatar Museums Authority,
reportedly has about US$1 billion a year to spend on art.
Efforts at democracy and political participation either wither, as in Egypt, or elevate fanatics who cleverly disguise their purposes, as in Turkey. Efforts to overthrow greedy tyrants lead to yet-worse ideological tyrants (as in Iran in 1979) or to anarchy (as in Libya and Yemen). One commonly roots for both sides to lose. Rule of law remains a fata morgana.
Islamism, currently the most dynamic and threatening political ideology, is summed up by a morbid Hamas declaration to Israelis: “We love death more than you love life.” Polygyny, burqas, genital mutilation, and honor killing make Middle Eastern women the world’s most oppressed.
Middle Eastern life suffers from acute biases – often official – based on religion, sect, ethnicity, tribe, skin color, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, age, citizenship, work, and disability. Slavery remains a scourge.
Conspiracy theories, political zealotry, resentment, repression, anarchy, and aggression rule the region’s politics. Modern notions of the individual remain weak in societies where primordial bonds of family, tribe, and clan remain dominant.
The Middle East suffers from an urge to snuff out whole countries. Israel is the best known potential victim but Kuwait actually disappeared for a half year while Lebanon, Jordan, and Bahrain could be swallowed up at any time.
Middle Eastern states spend outsized amounts of their wealth on intelligences services and the military, creating redundant forces to check each other. They venture abroad to buy tank, ship, and plane baubles. They devote inordinate resources to chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, and the platforms to deliver them. Even terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda plot to acquire WMD. Cutting-edge methods of terrorism develop in the Middle East.
Alaa Hussein Ali (r) ruled the Republic of Kuwait for 6 days in August 1990
before the country was annexed to Iraq by Saddam Hussein (l).
Economic and political failure creates large bodies of refugees; Afghans have made up the world’s largest refugee population since the 1980s; Syrians now threaten to overtake them, sowing poverty and chaos in their lands of refuge. Desperate souls attempt to leave the region altogether for Western countries, with more than a few dying along the way. Those who make it bring their region’s maladies to such tidy countries as Sweden and Australia.
Nineteenth-century diplomats dubbed the Ottoman Empire “the Sick Man of Europe.” Now, I nominate the whole Middle East the Sick Man of the World. The region’s hatreds, extremism, violence, and despotism require many decades to remedy.
While this process perhaps takes place, the outside world is best advised not to expend blood and treasure to redeem the Middle East – a hopeless task – but on protecting itself from the region’s manifold threats, from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and harems to mega-terrorism and electromagnetic pulse.
Mr. Pipes (DanielPipes.org) is president of the Middle East Forum. © 2014 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.
HERE IS ISRAEL – Boycott Israel by Ari Lesser
DNA tests reveal Hitler’s Jewish and African roots
The Fuhrer ‘would not have been happy’ to learn he was more Berber tribesman than Aryan superman.
Aug. 24, 2010
Adolf Hitler may have owed more to the ‘subhuman’ races he tried to exterminate than to his ‘Aryan’ compatriots, according to new finding published in Belgium this week.
In research for the Flemish-language magazine Knack, journalist Jean-Paul Mulders traced Hitler’s living relatives in the Fuhrer’s native Austria, as well as the United States.
“The results of this study are surprising,” said Ronny Decorte, a geneticist interviewed by Knack. “Hitler would not have been happy.”
Geneticists identify groups of chromosomes called haplogroups, ‘genetic fingerprints’ that define populations.
According to Mulders, Hitler’s dominant haplogroup, E1b1b, is relatively rare in Western Europe – but strongest in some 25 percent of Greeks and Sicilians, who apparently acquired the genes from Africa: Between 50 percent and 80 percent of North Africans share Hitler’s dominant group, which is especially prevalent among in the Berber tribes of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, and Somalis.
More surprising still, perhaps, is that Hitler’s second most dominant haplogroup is the most common in Ashkenazi Jews.
“The findings are fascinating if you look at them in terms of the Nazi worldview, which ascribed such an extreme priority to notions of blood and race,” Decorte said.
Knack said it would now petition Russian government archives to release a human jawbone wrapped in a blood-soaked cloth, retrieved from a Berlin bunker where Hitler is thought to have committed suicide and believed to have belonged to the Fuhrer, who dreamed of engineering a Nazi superman.
“For modern science, there are no more races, Decorte said. “This pure type of ‘superman’ and the [Nazi] breeding programs to perfect ‘purity’ were sheer fabrication.”
The other mother and the grandfather in Gaza
Times of Israel
November 19, 2013
So on a day when my daughter puddle-jumps in boots with pink polka dots, and my son looks for snails, while I yell against the wind to my kids “hold my hand when we cross the street, dammit,” another mother waits in Gaza for word on her baby daughter.
Earlier, as the other mother’s daughter grew sicker by the minute, the baby’s grandfather asked for help.
Not such a big deal, right? Your kid is sick, you call for help. Duh.
But this is different. The little baby is the granddaughter of the leader of Hamas.
Hamas, whose very charter calls the Jewish people a “Nazi-like enemy, who does not differentiate between man and woman, elder and young.”
Hamas, that has sworn to create an Islamic State across all of Israel.
Hamas, whose mission is to “fight the Jews and kill them.”
But on this day, Ismail Haniyeh acted as a grandfather, the same way my babies’ grandfathers would act if their grandchildren were in trouble: The leader of Hamas asked for help. And without hesitation, Israel agreed, and that baby was transfered across enemy lines to Israel where a team of doctors was waiting.
The lines between Us and Them, blurry through a veil of the other mother’s tears.
I close my eyes and think about my own kids’ pediatrician: The smiling man who looks like Santa Claus with a yarmulke, who hands out kosher lollypops, who can lower a temperature with his cool hand, and can ease this mother’s frayed nerves with his beamish smile.
And I close my eyes and think about all the doctors in Israel who hover over this little girl.
He who saves a life saves the universe.
And as they work tirelessly over Ismail Haniyeh’s baby granddaughter, these doctors don’t care whose child she is.
I close my eyes, and I see that other mother: Her knuckles clenched, bone white, dry lips sucking air, her heart stutters.
Maybe it hurts her just below the bellybutton, where that baby grew not long before – that’s where it hurts me when my babies are hurting.
The other mother waits.
While I yell at my daughter to get her feet off the couch. While I tell my son that if I see one more freaking snail crawling on our table, I will liberate them in the garden.
The other mother waits.
As the seconds drag by way too slowly, and the phone doesn’t ring, she waits. Maybe she’s praying. Or maybe she’s too scared to move her lips to shape the words she wants to say:
Truly distress has seized me, but You are Most Merciful of those that are merciful.
And as hours pass with the shadows, and as the sky darkens, so does that last glimmer of hope.
Maybe it’s cold in the room where she sits, while I turn off the light and snap “go to sleep, already” as my kids giggle in bed.
Now, I’ve lived enough to know that turning the other cheek will sometimes get your ass kicked.
But I also still hope.
And while this baby girl won’t be cured, maybe — just maybe — the lines between Us and Them can stay a little blurry for just a little while longer.
Hamas PM’s granddaughter admitted for treatment in Israel
One-year-old Aamal Haniyeh admitted to Petah Tikva hospital, returned to Gaza after condition deemed incurable
Times of Israel
November 18, 2013
Gaza’s Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh gives a speech during a Friday prayer in the Bureij refugee camp, central Gaza Strip, on Friday, July 5.
(photo credit: AP/Adel Hana)
The granddaughter of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh was evacuated to an Israeli hospital in critical condition Sunday afternoon, but was returned to her family in Gaza Monday after her condition was deemed incurable, an Israeli military spokesman said Monday.
On Sunday, the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, known as COGAT, received a phone call from the Palestinian Authority’s liaison office in Gaza requesting to admit the baby to an Israeli hospital, after her medical condition deteriorated. The baby was immediately transferred to Israel, accompanied by her maternal grandmother, and admitted to Schneider Children’s Hospital in Petah Tikva.
“She was brought into Israel, but returned to Gaza after her condition could not be stabilized. She is in critical condition,” Major Guy Inbar, a spokesman for COGAT, told The Times of Israel.
The story of Aamal Haniyeh’s hospitalization in Israel first broke in the Arab media after her father, Abdul Salam, wrote on his Facebook page Monday morning that “Aamal was transferred into the Green Line (Israel) now. I pray that God cures her.” The post has since been removed from Haniyeh’s page. However, another entry on Monday afternoon by the baby’s father reported that Aamal had returned to Gaza in a state of clinical death.
Last month, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called for a popular uprising in the West Bank and lauded recent terror attacks on the second anniversary of the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, kidnapped by Hamas in 2006.
No mention of the hospitalization was made on Hamas’s official media outlets.
The Spies Inside Damascus
The Mossad’s secret war on the Syrian WMD machine.
September 19, 2013
A Londoner clears up any confusion about the Middle East…
PBS Includes Vicious Anti-Semites in Show About Mohammad
Dexter Van Zile
August 23, 2013
Note: The following article was published in the Algemeiner on Aug. 22, 2013.
The mufti’s views about relations between Jews and Muslims can be understood by what he told Saudi Al-Majd TV on February 20, 2005: “Anyone who studies ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ and specifically the Talmud will discover that one of the goals of these protocols is to cause confusion in the world and to undermine security throughout the world.”
Sabri, who testifies to Mohammed’s cosmic flight to Jerusalem or “Night of Power,” in the PBS series spoke with Jeffrey Goldberg in 1999. Goldberg reported the following:
“If the Jews want peace, they will stay away from Al Aksa,” Sabri told me when I met with him in his office near the Temple Mount. “This is a decree from God. The Haram al-Sharif belongs to the Muslim. But we know the Jew is planning on destroying the Haram. The Jew will get the Christian to do his work for him. This is the way of the Jews. This is the way Satan manifests himself. The majority of the Jews want to destroy the mosque. They are preparing this as we speak.”
One year later, Sabri insisted in another interview that far fewer than 6 million Jews died during the Holocaust and stated that the Catholic Pope “will free us from the Jews.” The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) quotes him as follows:
“Six million Jews dead? No way, they were much fewer. Let’s stop with this fairytale exploited by Israel to capture international solidarity.It is not my fault if Hitler hated Jews, indeed they were hated a little everywhere. Instead, it is necessary to denounce the unjust occupation endured by my people. Tomorrow I will ask John Paul II… to support our cause.”
The man has also endorsed suicide bombings. Writing for Scholars for Peace in the Middle East in 2006, Yaniv Berman reports the following: “Asked to express his view with regard to suicide bombing, the mufti answered: “It is legitimate, of course, as long as it plays a role in the resistance.”
Another commentator for the PBS series about Muhammad is Abdur Raheem Green, a Catholic convert to Islam who lives in Great Britain. Stand for Peace, a British anti-hate group, reports that Green, the founder of Islamic Research and Education Academy, posits that there is a permanent state of war between Islam and the West (a message that clearly contradicts the message offered in the PBS series). Stand for Peace reports that Green “does not attempt to hide his hatred of Jews.”
In one video, Green has said, “Why don’t you take the Yahudi [Jew] over there, far away, so his stench doesn’t disturb us, okay?”
Green also claims that Turkish leader Ataturk was “an extremely, thoroughly unpleasant, nasty kaﬁr. He was a Jew, he was a Jew. And not only was he a Jew, he belonged to a sect of the Jews that even the Jews think are far astray.”
A compendium of his public statements can be seen here.
Viewers who watch the PBS series will recognize it as a clear attempt to indoctrinate people with the idea that the violence being done in the name of Islam is contrary to what Muhammad taught his followers.
It’s an arguable point, but one thing is for sure: The show’s producers might want to do a better job of picking out their sources when making their case.
August 18, 2013
Turkey Captures Bird, Accuses It of Spying for Israel — See Why They Finally Let It Go
The Blaze, Yahoo News
July 28, 20013
Turkish officials detained a bird after villagers accused it of spying for Israel’s intelligence agency, the Mossad, but then freed the winged creature after X-rays cleared it of suspicion.
The Milliyet newspaper reported that the kestrel – a type of falcon – was X-rayed at a university hospital to search for any microchips or bugging devices. Only when the scans came up clear was the bird allowed to go free. The newspaper carried a front-page image of the X-ray on Friday which revealed that scientists had dubbed the creature “Israeli agent” on the X-ray, Reuters reported.
Turkey X Rays Israeli Bird Accused of Being in Service of Mossad
An image of the X-ray as seen in the Turkish press. On the upper left, the Turkish words for “Israeli agent” are visible (Photo: Time Turk)
This comes on heels of other conspiracy theories about the Mossad in the Muslim world, including Egyptian accusations that Israel was behind a surge in shark attacks in the Red Sea, and concerns in Turkey that Israeli genetically-modified tomato seeds can be programmed to harm consumers.
Residents of Alt?navya, a Turkish village, became suspicious when they saw that the bird was wearing a metal ring on its foot showing the words “24311 Tel Avivunia Israel,” Hurriyet Daily News reported. The Times of Israel noted that the tag belonged to Tel Aviv University. After capturing the little bird, the villagers delivered it to the local governor’s office.
From there, the bird went for a medical examination to look for microchips or spying equipment. F?rat University technicians concluded that “the bird was just a simple specimen of Israeli wildlife,” reported Hurriyet.
Turkey X Rays Israeli Bird Accused of Being in Service of Mossad
The metal tag on the foot of the bird that raised suspicions. It was a Tel Aviv University tag (Photo: Time Turk)
Ornithologists often tag birds in order to track migration routes.
The Times of Israel reported on even more accusations of the Mossad: “In May of 2012, authorities in Ankara dissected a European bee-eater [a type of bird] after becoming concerned that it was carrying an Israeli listening device, and in December an eagle with an Israeli tag in Sudan was captured and touted as a Mossad spy,” the English-language Israeli site reported.
The Atlantic ran an article last year looking at some of the more “outlandish conspiracy theories” including:
Calling a heavy metal music festival in Istanbul a Mossad front.
A suggestion by the head of Turkey’s Higher Education Board (YOK) that genetically-modified tomato seeds bought from Israel could be ‘programmed’ to harm Turks, if not destroy the whole Turkish nation.
A suspicion by Turkish farmers that the above mentioned European Bee Eater was an Israeli intelligence device, because it “had what seemed to be a very enlarged nostril, leading one local official to suggest that perhaps the bird had been implanted with some kind of microchip or spying device.” That bird, too, was cleared by agriculture officials of any suspicion. (An official with Israel’s Society for the Protection of Nature told The Atlantic last year that that bird had been banded four years before in a routine effort to track migration patterns.)
An Iranian accusation that it had caught Mossad spy squirrels and spy pigeons.
Egytian Boy speaks more truth than the adults!
Superman’s Jewish roots inspire
Superman’s birth parallels that of Moses. AP
He didn’t look Jewish. Not with his perfect pug nose, electric blue eyes and a boyish spit curl that suggested Anglo as well as Saxon.
No hint in his sleek movie-star name, Clark Kent, which could belong only to a Gentile and probably one with a lifelong membership at the country club. The surest sign that Clark was no Semite came when the bespectacled everyman donned royal blue tights and a furling red cape to transform himself into a Superman with rippling muscles and expanding superpowers. Who ever heard of a Jewish strongman?
The evidence of his ethnic origin lay elsewhere, starting with Kal-El, his Kryptonian name. El is a suffix in Judaism’s most cherished birthrights, from Isra-el to the prophets Samu-el and Dani-el. It means God. Kal is similar to the Hebrew words for voice and vessel. Together they suggest that the alien superbaby was not just a Jew, but a very special one. Like Moses.
Much as the baby prophet was floated in a reed basket by a mother desperate to spare him from an Egyptian Pharaoh’s death warrant, so moments before Kal-El’s planet blew up, his doomed parents tucked him into a spaceship that rocketed him to the safety of Earth. Both babies were rescued by non-Jews and raised in foreign cultures — Kal-El by Kansas farmers named Kent — and all the adoptive parents quickly learned how exceptional their foundlings were. The narratives of Krypton’s birth and death borrowed the language of Genesis. Kal-El’s escape to Earth was the story of Exodus.
Clues mounted from there. The three legs of the Superman myth — truth, justice and the American way — are straight out of the Mishnah. “The world,” it reads, “endures on three things: justice, truth and peace.” The explosion of Krypton conjures up images from the mystical Kabbalah where the divine vessel was shattered, and Jews were called on to perform tikkun haolam by repairing the vessel and the world.
Superman’s lingering heartsickness was survivor’s guilt. A last rule of thumb: When a name ends in “man,” the bearer is Jewish, a superhero, or in this case both.
This search for Superman’s roots has a special resonance now, in what is likely to be the summer of Superman. The Man of Steel turns 75 this month, and Warner Bros. is about to release a Man of Steel movie it hopes will be its biggest ever starring a superhero.
If most of his admirers did not recognize Superman’s Jewish origins, the Third Reich did. A 1940 article in Das Schwarze Korps, the newspaper of the SS, called Superman writer Jerry Siegel “Siegellack,” the “intellectually and physically circumcised chap who has his headquarters in New York.” Superman was a “pleasant guy with an overdeveloped body and underdeveloped mind.” Creator and creation were stealthily working together, the Nazis concluded, to sow “hate, suspicion, evil, laziness and criminality” in the hearts of American youth.
Superman had even stronger cultural ties to the faith of his founders. He started life as the consummate liberal, championing causes from disarmament to the welfare state. Clark also had something in common with his boyish creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster: All were classic nebbishes.
Clark and Superman lived life the way most newly arrived Jews did, torn between their Old and New World identities and their mild exteriors and rock-solid cores. That split personality was the only way he could survive, yet it gave him perpetual angst. You can’t get more Jewish than that.
So compelling were those bonds that The Jewish 100, a book about the most influential Jews of all time, listed Jerry and Joe alongside Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein and Abraham. Jules Feiffer, an authority on cartoons and Jews, said the Last Son of Krypton was born not on Krypton but on “the planet Poland, from Lodz maybe, possibly Crakow.” The alien superhero was, more than anything, “the striving Jewish boy’s goyishe American dream.”
Larry Tye is an award-winning author who has written about Satchel Paige. His latest book is on Superman.
Over 35, 000 Participate in New York’s Celebrate Israel Parade
One million spectators look on at event that “reflects the spirit, unity, and diversity of the Jewish community.”
June 3rd, 2013
Participants at this year’s Celebrate Israel Parade
The annual Salute to Israel Parade, now known as the Celebrate Israel Parade, took place Sunday in Manhattan, drawing over a million spectators as over 35,000 participants, including New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, marched up Fifth Avenue, demonstrating their pride in Israel by dancing, singing and waving Israeli flags.
The parade was just one in a series of pro-Israel events taking place in New York this weekend, which started Saturday evening with the Empire State Building being lit in blue and white. Thousands of runners also took part in the Celebrate Israel 4-Mile in Manhattan’s Central Park, which is known as a “symbolic journey through Israel, from Eilat to Tel Aviv.”
“This reflects the spirit, the unity, and the diversity of the Jewish community,” said Michael Miller, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, which organized the event. There was an overwhelmingly diverse crowd in attendance, both orthodox and secular, Jewish and non-Jewish.
The parade, an annual New York event for almost 50 years now, featured school groups, 17 marching bands, 30 floats, and also offered entertainment by Israeli pop star and former Eurovision finalist, Harel Skaat.
Marchers made their way up Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, from 57th Street to 74th Street, and carried illustrations, collages, tapestries, paintings, and other art forms that reflect this year’s parade theme: “Picture Israel: The Art & the Craft.” According to the parade website, the art work was designed “to show the diversity of Israel and its people, the land/sea/cityscapes, accomplishments, etc.”
Security along the parade route was heightened, in response to the Boston Marathon Bombings, with helicopters hovering above the parade route.
Israeli participants at the parade included Home Front Defense Minister Gilad Erdan, Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon and MK Dov Lipman.
Lipman thanked the US and the city of New York for its friendship towards, and support of, the Jewish state.
The day’s festivities ended in a friendly soccer match between the Israeli and Honduran national teams, which Israel won 2-0.
The event was also marked by the upcoming election campaign for New York mayoral candidate, former U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner, who walked from start to finish holding a large Israeli flag and continuously shouted “Am Yisrael Chai” and “God Bless America.”
Iran to chair U.N. disarmament conference
May 13, 2013
GENEVA, May 13, 2013 – Iran will chair the United Nations’ most important disarmament negotiating forum during the panel’s May session, which opened today, sparking calls by an independent monitoring group for the U.S., the EU, and UN chief Ban Ki-moon to protest.
“This is like putting Jack the Ripper in charge of a women’s shelter,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, the Geneva based non-governmental organization, which announced it will hold protest events outside the UN hall featuring Iranian dissidents.
“Iran is an international outlaw state that illegally supplies rockets to Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas, aiding and abetting mass murder and terrorism. To make this rogue regime head of world arms control is simply an outrage. Abusers of international norms should not be the public face of the UN.”
U.N. officials say Iran’s post is merely the result of an automatic rotation.
But UN Watch rejected attempts to downplay what it described as “a fundamental conflict of interests” and “an act certain to be exploited by Iranian propaganda to legitimize the mullahs’ cruel regime.”
“UN Watch calls on U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, EU High Commissioner Catherine Ashton, and UN chief Ban Ki-moon to make clear that when the United Nations imposes four rounds of sanctions on Iran for illicit nuclear activities, condemns it for illegally arming the murderous Syrian regime, and denounces Tehran’s massive abuse of human rights, this kind of appointment just defies common sense and harms the UN’s credibility,” said Neuer.
“Any member state that is the subject of UN Security Council sanctions for proliferation—and found guilty of massive human rights violations—should be ineligible to hold a leadership position in a UN body. The U.S. and Canada have asserted this principle in the past, and should do so again,” said Neuer.
“We urge world leaders to declare that allowing Iran to chair a UN disarmament body is simply unacceptable, given the fundamentalist regime’s illicit activities in precisely the opposite direction,” said Neuer.
“The U.S., the EU, and other nations should call on Iran to pass the chair on to a credible country that will advance the disarmament agenda within the UN,” said Neuer.
The Conference of Disarmament reports to the UN General Assembly and is billed by the UN as “the single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum of the international community.”
Iran will assume the presidency of the Conference on Disarmament on May 27 and hold it over four weeks, until June 23.
The conference chair helps organize the work of the conference and assists in setting the agenda.
The May 13 – June 28 conference will be the 35th anniversary session since the conference was established in 1979 after a special U.N. General Assembly session.
The conference is made up of 65 countries who have been divided in recent years on key issues.
The conference and its predecessors have negotiated such major multilateral arms limitation and disarmament agreements as:
• Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
• Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques
• Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction
• Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction
Jewish Baseball Players
Picture of the Week:
Prime Minister Netanyahu and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel bonding.
The Jewish Struggle for Universal Human Rights
One of the conundrums associated with the enduring nature of global anti-Semitism
which has soared exponentially in recent years, is why, having made such
disproportionate contributions towards all levels of civilization and left major
imprints on science, ethics, medicine, culture and the arts, we Jews continue to act
as a magnet for such virulent hatred.
Hamas leader and x-president of the US, Jimmy Carter, ready for a big hug!!!!
Rolling Stones To Israel haters:’Up Yours’
In spite of a concerted campaign by ‘anti-Zionists’, the Rolling Stones have announced they have no intention of cancelling their planned concert in Jerusalem on Israel’s Independence Day, Monday, April 15.
“We’ve been slammed and smacked and twittered a lot by the anti-Israeli side,” said Mick Jagger, the band’s leader and most recognizable member since 1963. “All I can say is: anything worth doing is worth overdoing. So we decided to add a concert on Tuesday.”
Needless to say, tickets to both concerts, Monday night in Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem and Tuesday night in Bloomfield Stadium, Tel Aviv, have been sold out even as Jagger was speaking.
“This is a huge mistake for the Stones,” declared BDS proponent Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb. “They stand to lose a lot of money as a result of showing solidarity with Zionism, because their most devoted fans also support boycotting Israel.”
“I don’t really count myself as a very sophisticated businessperson,” Jagger responded when asked if the Israel concerts are a bad move business wise. “I’m a creative artist. All I know from business I’ve picked up along the way.”
Mick Jagger, as usual, is putting on whomever was interviewing him here. He came from a well educated middle class background and did quite well in school, enough to get a scholarship grant to attend the London School of Economics at a time when a very small percentage of Brits attended university.
It’s also worth mentioning that a number of the Stone’s musical contemporaries (Roger Waters, Brian Eno, Carlos Santana, Elvis Costello, Jon Bon Jovi, and Stevie Wonder, among others*) have cancelled concerts in Israel out of fear of counter boycotts or ideology.Some of them have been borderline anti-semitic, like Waters and Annie Lennox.
Unless you’re suffering from Israel Derangement Syndrome, it takes courage to face up to these people and tell them exactly where they can stick their Jew hatred. And having enough of a rep even after all these years doesn’t hurt.
Thankfully, the Stones have both. And they still rock!
Palestinians protest Obama Israel visit: activists destroy Obama billboard
Tunisia and Egypt do “the Harlem Shake”
Charles Clément Boniface Ozdemir, AKA Father Samuel ICLA speech July 9 2012
Director of the CIA, John Brennan, speaks about the beauty of Islam
Muslim Child, Future Leader of the Ummah
By Yashiko Sagamori
If you are so sure that ” Palestine , the country, goes back through most of recorded history,”
I expect you to be able to answer a few basic questions about that country of Palestine :
7. Can you name at least one Palestinian leader before Arafat?
8. Was Palestine ever recognized by a country whose existence, at that time or now, leaves no room for interpretation?
9. What was the language of the country of Palestine?
10. What was the prevalent religion of the country of Palestine? 11. What was the name of its currency? Choose any date in history and tell what was the approximate exchange rate of the Palestinian monetary unit against the US dollar, German mark, GB pound, Japanese yen, or Chinese yuan on that date.
12. And, finally, since there is no such country today, what caused its demise and when did it occur?
You are lamenting the “low sinking” of a “once proud” nation. Please tell me, when exactly was that “nation” proud and what was it so proud of?
And here is the least sarcastic question of all: If the people you mistakenly call “Palestinians” are anything but generic Arabs collected from all over — or thrown out of — the Arab world, if they really have a genuine ethnic identity that gives them right for self-determination, why did they never try to become independent until Arabs suffered their devastating defeat in the Six Day War?
The Nation of Islam Discovers Scientology
October 25, 2012
the story of how Farrakhan came to embrace it concerns a Nation minister in Los Angeles named Tony Muhammad. In 2005, Muhammad was beaten by the LAPD at a prayer vigil he’d helped organize for a young man killed in a drive-by shooting. The incident plunged him into an agitated, depressed state. A concerned friend introduced him to Scientology, which he credits with saving his life. When Farrakhan later met with Muhammad, he was amazed by the transformation and, as Muhammad tells it in an audio clip posted on YouTube, exclaimed: “Whatever you’re on—I want some of it.”
The first large-scale introduction of Scientology to Nation members took place in August 2010, when hundreds of believers from around the country traveled to Rosemont, Illinois, near the Nation’s headquarters, for a seminar in Dianetics, a foundational belief system of Scientology. There, they were guided through auditing sessions—a kind of hybrid between hypnosis and confession—in which a Scientologist purges painful experiences from his subconscious in the presence of an “auditor.” At the end of the seminar, Farrakhan told the group he wanted everyone in attendance to become a certified auditor.
The vote on Jerusalem at the Democratic Convention of 2012
Axl Rose, Guns ‘N’ Roses Rock Israel Tonight; Ignored Calls for Boycott
By Debbie Schlussel
Add Axl Rose and Guns ‘N’ Roses to the list of performers with a conscience, performers who just say no to anti-Semitic boycotts of Israel. Despite calls for the band to boycott Israel–and nasty anti-Israel comments on the Guns ‘N’ Roses site by Jew-haters (which were well responded to by GNR fans), the band traveled to Israel and will appear tonight at Tel Aviv’s Ganei Yehoshua Yarkon Park. Since Israel is seven hours ahead (of the Eastern Time Zone), they should be taking the stage in a few hours (they are notorious for going on really late). They last performed in Israel in 1993 but are now back in the Jewish State.
Nineteen years after his last performance in the Holy Land, Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose is now back in Israel. Following his arrival at Ben Gurion airport this morning, Rose and the rest of Guns N’s Roses will perform in Tel Aviv on Tuesday night as part of the city’s Summer Rock 2012 music festival.
“I’m glad to be here again,” the 50 year old Rose told Mako, an Israeli news website. Rose’s last appearance in Israel was with Guns N’ Roses on their “Use Your Illusion Tour”, in May 1993. This time around, Guns N’ Roses’ Jewish guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal will be performing in place of Slash, the band’s former guitarist who left the group in 1996.