Good News Friday

TGIF (thank goodness it’s Friday) and time for another Good News Friday post.

We’ll start with some Israeli techie news. There has recently been a dreadful spate of children left in the car by forgetful parents and carers, who have consequently died as a result of heat stroke. Israel’s tech industry has been working feverishly for a solution to this horrific phenomenon (besides providing the parents with a memory chip for their brains!). Now an Israeli father – who almost forgot his own child – has come up with a simple solution:

In the past two months, five children in Israel have died of heatstroke after they were forgotten in cars. It almost happened to businessman Moshe Yerushalmi. He left his two-year-old son in a car, several years ago, but remembered a few minutes later, and his son was unharmed.

Now he has developed a new product called 2Find, using technology similar to ankle cuffs used to monitor prisoners.“It’s a small chip you can put on a baby or a pet or even some luggage,” Yossi Shenhav, the CEO of 2Find told The Media Line. “When there is a certain distance between the child and the parent, it will send an alert to the mobile phone of the parent.”

On their website, 2Find shows a father leaving a baby inside a car while speaking on a cellphone. A minute later he gets an SMS that reminds him that he left the child in the car, and he rushes back. If there is no response within four minutes, the app will send an alert to anyone on a designated list.

Shenhav says the second alert is meant as a back-up feature if the parent or caretaker has a problem with his cellphone, or, for example, goes into a meeting and leave the phone in his office. He said the technology has been in development for four years, and private investors have put in one million dollars.

2Find will be in Israeli stores in the next few weeks, and they hope to market in the US, Europe and Australia soon. The launch comes as the news in Israel focused on a 16-month-old girl who was left in a closed car for two hours in the ultra-Orthodox community of Beitar Illit. Last week, a four year old boy died in Rahat, a Bedouin city under similar circumstances.

Kol hakavod to Moshe Yerushalmi on developing this ingenious and simple device. Now all we need to do is educate the parents to actually use the chip, and we can then pray that this dreadful and deadly amnesia will be brought to an end.

Moving now to something decidedly more cheerful, Israeli scientists, along with others, have succeeded in sequencing the genome of 6,000 year old barley native to the Judean desert:

A new study has allowed scientists to peer thousands of years back in time via a grain of barley found in the Judean Desert.

Wild barley in Israel (photo credit: Gili Soffer)

Barley seeds, dated to 6,000 years ago, have become the oldest plant genome to be sequenced, an international team of researchers announced in a journal article published Monday. Analysis of the 6,000-year-old cereals supports the hypothesis that the key crop was domesticated thousands of years ago in the Jordan Valley.

A team of scientists from Israel, Germany, the United Kingdom and the US employed a wide array of disciplines — archaeology, archaeobotany and genetics — to study the material found in the Yoram Cave. The findings were released in the academic journal Nature Genetics.

The Chalcolithic kernels were discovered in a cavern overlooking the Dead Sea on the southern end of Masada, a mountaintop better known for Jewish rebels’ last stand against the Roman Empire in the first century CE.

The arid climate and precipitous cliff left the grains preserved for millennia. Ehud Weiss of Bar-Ilan University, one of the heads of the study, told The Times of Israel that whereas most ancient kernels are found charred and useless for DNA study, those excavated from the cave on Masada by a Hebrew University team “looked almost alive, almost fresh.”

Their immaculate preservation allowed scientists to “read the DNA from these seeds” and determine that they were domesticated locally, he said.

Weiss said that the barley found at Masada could only have been grown at least 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the remote mesa. Hebrew University archaeologist Uri Davidovitch posited that the people who brought it to the cave may have fled some unknown catastrophe and sought refuge in the desert, just like the mountaintop’s Jewish inhabitants thousands of years later.

Radiocarbon dating determined the seeds were 6,000 years old, grown several millennia after humans residing in the Fertile Crescent first domesticated grains such as barley and wheat around 10,000 years ago.

Until now, corn was the only ancient grain whose genetic fingerprint was fully mapped out. Barley’s genome was only studied through modern samples.

The seeds found in at Masada are “much closer to the time and place of domestication,” Weiss said. They are a “time capsule” that gives scientists a shortcut around 6,000 years of genetic mutation and offers insight into what the ancients ate.

This is absolutely fascinating! It enables us to imagine what the barley that was brought as an offering to the Holy Temple might have looked like. I wonder if the scientists will be able to actually sprout this barley and regrow it.

And now, since we’re talking about indigenous species, let’s talk about the indigenous people of Israel, aka the Jews.  Once again, it is beyond gratifying to learn that there are many Muslims who are not only not hostile to Israel, but are proud to openly call themselves Zionists.

Nadiya al-Noor

First we have Nadiya al-Noor (whom I blogged about in a recent post) explaining how as a Muslim woman she ended up becoming a Zionist:

Like many Muslims, I started out being very anti-Israel. A few years ago, I would have fully supported BDS, Students for Justice in Palestine, and even the Intifada. I saw Israel as evil. All I heard about Israel was bad – Israel was an apartheid state, Israel was slaughtering children left and right, Israel had no right to exist. Zionism was racism. My undergraduate university taught us that Hamas was an “interest group,” not a terrorist group. Everyone that I knew hated Israel. That is, until last year, when I learned the truth.

It is by accident that I started to learn about Israel. It occurred in my senior year of university. I decided to gain access to the Kosher Kitchen at the university’s Hillel because most Kosher food is Halal. Instead, I accidentally signed up to join the Hillel Israel Committee. I did not have the heart to tell the Israel Fellow “no,” so I went to meetings, begrudgingly at first. As time went on, I realized that most of what I had learned about Israel was anti-Semitic propaganda. Israel was a country just struggling to keep her people safe. It was not an Evil Oppressor like I had been told all my life. The Hillel became a place where I could be happy and safe, and an environment in which I could grow in my understanding of Israel and Judaism. I attended Shabbat dinners each Friday before my evening mosque services. I started planning events and programming with the Israel Committee.

So I spoke out. I became a pro-Israel advocate. I signed up for the Makom program to learn about Israel. I learned that Israel had tried many times to make peace agreements. I learned how the Arab states banded together to try and destroy Israel in 1948. I learned how accommodating and welcoming Israel is to all peoples, including Muslims. I became friends with people who had served in the IDF, and they told me about what it was like and what they had seen. I learned about the 800,000 Jewish refugees that Israel took in from Arab states. I learned that Jews really do need the state of Israel, and that it has been their land for over 3000 years. It is the only place on Earth where Jews are completely free to be Jewish. Zionism affirms the right for Jews to live safely in their indigenous homeland. Even the Quran speaks about how the Children of Israel would return to their eternal homeland from all corners of the world. All this knowledge shaped my identity. Today, I am proud to be both a Muslim and a Zionist.

It is my goal in life to build bridges between Jewish and Muslim communities. I have met many other Muslim Zionists with the same goal, a lot of them former anti-Israel extremists. Anti-Semitism in the Muslim community comes from anti-Israel lies and false religious teachings against Jews. The Muslim community must be educated about the realities of Israel and Israel’s true history. Only then can there be peace.

Just go and read the whole thing. Nadiya is simply the most amazing and courageous woman! Long may she continue with her good work, and may she continue to stay safe.

Another Muslim who became a Zionist is the Pakistani-born, British Muslim Noor Dahri:

Noor Dahri at the UK Zionist Federation

Noor relates how he became active in the Zionist Federation of all things:

It was 30th of March, 2016, when I was invited by the Zionist Federation of UK and it was the day when I acquired honorary membership in the Zionist Federation. I received mixed responses from different social circles and schools of thought, especially from the South Asian community. My own Pakistani community was surprised and mortified when I proclaimed my adherence to Zionism. I received various texts and social media messages from Muslim communities across the globe. Most of them welcomed my brave and courageous step to grasp the truth and some people asked queer questions regarding any anti-religious elements in Zionism especially for the religion of Islam. In response to their contrasting questions, I adopted the following way of discourse:

Noor addresses the issue in a series of questions and answers and comments:

I was not the sole Muslim who joined this the Zionist Movement; there are numerous Muslims in history that also joined this movement in consensus with the Jewish community and in support of Israel. I joined the Zionist Federation in the UK because I believe that the Jewish community needs more support for their cause, they need someone, who campaigns for peace between the Muslim and the Jewish community, someone who can descant with the Pakistani community for them and someone who can educate their people about the reality of Israel and Jewish people. I then decided to become a part of the Zionist Federation, which is a great honour for me.

He then makes this astounding and vital assertion, which is so important for all of us to internalize, and broadcast loud and wide:

According to British-based Imam Muhammad Al-Hussaini, traditional commentators from the 8th and 9th century onwards have uniformly interpreted the Qur’an to say explicitly that the Land of Israel has been given by God to the Jewish people as a perpetual covenant. Hussaini bases his argument upon the Qur’an in which Moses declares: “O my people, enter the Holy Land which God has prescribed for you, and turn not back in your traces, to turn about losers.” Quran 5:21

This is a concrete proof that this land was never been a historical land for Muslims ONLY and the Jewish community has a divine right on this consecrated land according to the Holy Qur’an. I fully concede with the statement of Sheikh Abdul Hadi Palazzi, a pupil of the Grand Mufti of Cairo, in which he stated: “The Qur’an itself grants the whole Land of Israel to the Jews, so that any opposition to the Jewish state is an offense against Allah.”

Here too I recommend you read the whole article. A Jewish Agency spokesman couldn’t have put it better if he tried! Kol hakavod to Noor Dahri. I wish him and his fellow Zionist Muslims the greatest success. If anyone can bring about peace it is people like them. May Hashem look after them and keep them safe.

Update: Shirley Perry in the comments has brought this great item by Jeffrey Perry to my attention: Israel debuts in the World Women’s Softball Championships:

Surrey, British Columbia Canada – The Israel Softball Association women’s national softball team made its debut in the XV Women’s World Championships in Surrey, Canada last week. It was the first time in international softball history where thirty countries participated in The World Championships.

The first group stage draw placed Israel, USA, Brazil, and Austria in the same group. Israel’s first game was against the US team which was ranked second.

Alison Aronovic pitches


In the placement round, Israel broke out with a win against Switzerland in an exciting 11 – 8 game. Pitcher Allison Aronovic picked up the win in pitching a full game for Israel.

It’s a great feeling to know that Israel was warmly welcomed at the championship:

WBSC (World Baseball and Softball Confederation) president of the softball division, Dale McMann, is very pleased that Israel is participating in the world championships, a sentiment echoed by world championship organizing committee chairman, Greg Timm.

“We are pleased and excited that Israel is participating here in the world championships in Surrey”, Timm said.

Mariana Fox, an athlete on the Israel women’s team who moved from Canada to Raanana, was thrilled to be playing on Team Israel in the world championships. Fox, who plays both infield and outfield, said “I’m excited to be representing my country in a tournament such as The World Championships. Women from thirty different countries play every day representing their sport, country, and developing softball for the younger generation. No matter their religious background, political beliefs, ethnicity, age, or societal status, I want to see softball grow in both Israel and for young girls worldwide.”

It was very difficult for the Israeli women’s team to get to the world championships. There was no government funding to send the team to the tournament, so the team had to fundraise to purchase their own uniforms and equipment. With generous donations from the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver and major donors within the Vancouver Jewish community, including Anita and Arnold Silber, travel expenses were raised so that the women could travel to the world championships.

Kol hakavod to the Israeli Women’s team on their participation, and their win. Kol hakavod too and a huge thank you to the generous donors from Vancouver Jewish community. May the team go on to great success in the future!

And now with these heart-warming thoughts in mind, I wish you all Shabbat Shalom.

Posted in Culture, Arts & Sports, Slice of Israeli life, support Israel, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Guest Post: The view from the UK – it could be worse

This is another guest post by frequent contributor Brian Goldfarb.  After the Brexit vote, and against the background of continuing Labour antisemitism scandals, I asked him if he could bring us “the view from over there”, particularly from the viewpoint of a “sane” leftist (as opposed to the newer “rancid”, hard-leftist that is prevalent today). Here is his article.

So, after Anne kindly posted my last offering, I thought it might be useful to post some thoughts from my home front (the, for the moment, United Kingdom), rather than be forever commenting on the Middle East from here.

And, of course, being (unlike Anne) retired and thus with so much time on my hands, I thought that this was a splendid idea. At this point, the hollow laughter you hear in the background comes from my wife and most decidedly better half.

After all, I only volunteer two days a week, look after our grandsons (with her) one day a week, spend up to four evenings a week going to the theatre, concerts, films, making space for three sessions a week at the gym, and then there’s that huge pile of books I’ve been promising myself that I HAVE to read. And that says nothing of keeping up with the news and all sorts of other TV programmes.

Okay, time to stop digging and time to start putting the foundations in place (or at least climb out of the hole).

Hopefully, you equally busy people out there have had a quiet chuckle while agreeing that you don’t know where all the hours go and might just be in a receptive mood for some more serious musings.

Also hopefully, most of the readers of this of this website will agree that I am a member of the sane, as opposed to the rancid, Left. As such, my views on the present state of the UK Labour Party, and other elements of the UK scene, might be instructive, particularly from the perspective of a Jewish member of that sane Left.

Former Labour leader David Miliband (l) and current leader Jeremy Corbyn (r)

Everybody now knows that Ed Miliband expanded the Labour Party membership, which enabled a large number of those whom we might label as “entryists” to join for a mere £3.00 and vote in any future Leadership contest.

This, in itself, is potentially quite innocent. After all, political parties in parliamentary democracies need mass membership to actually fight elections: all sorts of activities are needed. Envelopes must be stuffed with leaflets; these envelopes need to be pushed through letterboxes; doors must be knocked on to find out who needs to be prised out of their homes to vote on election day, and so-on. However, when it turns out that, overwhelmingly, these new recruits were hard left, disaster resulted (at least, from where I stand).  When, after the failure of the Labour Party to make any significant advances after the 2015 General Election (and, indeed, like the two other main parties, was wiped out in Scotland), Miliband resigned, Corbyn was elected, thanks to these newcomers.

The political blog Guido Fawkes article elaborates on the problem of entryism”:

A leaked cache of Labour Compliance Unit data obtained by Guido sheds some light on how the party became susceptible to its recent anti-Semitism crisis. During last year’s leadership election Labour membership more or less doubled. Following reports of mass infiltration, Labour HQ set about rooting out entryists. Yet people were joining faster than they could be checked, meaning only a tiny sample – a few thousand – were looked at.

Only a fraction of the new sign-ups were checked, and from those it was absolutely clear that the party had been infiltrated on an industrial scale.

This helps to explain Labour’s recent anti-Semitism crisis – an untold number of members with extreme views have not been looked at by the Compliance Unit. It also calls into question Jeremy Corbyn’s much-cited “mandate“. This is the new Labour Party, overrun with extremists on an unprecedented scale…

It turned out that Corbyn was, and is, hard left – and we most definitely didn’t vote for him – and that has been a disaster for the Labour Party, although he won’t admit it. Any party headed by him is never going to get a majority in the House of Commons, and that, to Corbyn and his followers, is irrelevant. We went, just recently, to a talk given by Daniel Finkelstein. He is, variously, a grandson of Alfred Wiener, founder of the collection of Nazi documents that forms the basis of the Wiener Library (where I volunteer two days a week); a former advisor to various Conservative party politicians; a Deputy Editor of the Times of London; and a Conservative member of the House of Lords. He confirmed the analysis in the first sentence  of this paragraph, and he is a very acute political analyst. The last left leader of the Labour Party was Michael Foot, back in the 1970s. However, he was a democratic and a proper parliamentarian. Danny F. reminded us that the Labour Party was founded precisely to be a parliamentary party: to represent working people (men, back then: women didn’t get the vote until later) in Parliament, and to get legislation passed that supported their aspirations and needs. Which the likes of Michael Foot understood and supported, unlike Corbyn, to whom the purity of the ideology is all.

It might be useful at this point to hark back to the Jewish Book Week of 2012  and the article I wrote for this site then, and in particular to the book by Colin Shindler, entitled “Israel and the European Left: Between Solidarity and Delegitimisation”. Shindler was writing about what happened to Jewish revolutionaries after the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. They were presented, in essence, with a simple choice: become “proper” revolutionaries and, therefore, give up your non-revolutionary identity (that is, your Jewish identity) and join the totality of the Russian people. The majority of Russian Jews decided that this was a poisoned chalice: they preferred to retain their Jewish identity, even if Jewish institutions were slowly but surely closed down. They knew, for example, that it had been the Tsarist secret police, the Okhrana, that had created the fabrication that was The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (Umberto Eco covered this in his book “The Prague Cemetery”, to be found in the same article).

The point is that those who swallowed the Bolshevik pill are both the actual and the political ancestors of the “as-a-Jew” types that are continually being discussed here and on, inter alia, Engage: the sort of Jews who justify the far Left’s antisemitism.

Corbyn, although not Jewish. is cut from the same cloth. Anyone who claims that Hamas and Hezbollah are “friends” (although, faced with a recall to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee to face further quizzing on just this matter, among others, is desperately, at the time of writing, trying to row back from this position) has to, at the very least, encourage genuine antisemites (“if Corbyn says it, it must be alright” they surmise). And he continues to make such slips through, at the very least, a lack of thought about what his mouth is saying, or, at the worst, not caring what it sounds like because he cares less. Corbyn and those who think like him are prime examples of Auguste Bebel’s assertion that antisemitism is the “socialism of fools”.

Another recent example (although coming under the heading of the “as-s-Jew” rubric) was Gerald Kaufman’s assertion that Jews were funding the Conservative Party, thus managing to ignore all the Jews who prefer to fund the Labour Party (or, more likely, preferred – past tense deliberate to fund the said party).

Thus, Corbyn is either thoughtless or crass (or both). Or, of course, he might actually be antisemitic. He certainly doesn’t seem to care about the verbal, written and on-line attacks on Labour MPs who are Jewish.

The Far Right are easier to deal with: they don’t bother to cover their offence with a pretence that they are “really” talking about Israel or that they “care” about the poor benighted Palestinians. They just hate Jews and believe that Jews are the cause of all the problems in the world…along with ethnic minorities, Muslims, and, probably, namby-pamby pinkoes like me, to say nothing of liberated and annoying women. Further, many of those on the Far Right attempting to gain office via the ballot box have previous convictions for violence. If elected, they rarely get re-elected.

Even if they are not obviously seeking office via the ballot box (the putsch, coup or revolution might be their preferred means), they often cannot resist old-fashioned (as opposed to at least superficially disguised) methods to attack their favourite target. Thus the likes of Joshua Bonehill-Paine (what a wonderfully descriptive surname!) makes his views exceedingly well known. He was one of the prime movers behind efforts to “picket” Golders Green, London, home to many Jews, both secular and ultra-orthodox and everything in between. He not only failed, but he was banned from the area for his pains.

There are many other examples. Thus, the Jewish MP for Liverpool Wavertree, Luciana Berger, was targeted by an antisemite, who has just appeared in court. As the evidence is clear (he didn’t disguise himself with a fake email address), the likelihood of a guilty verdict is high. What the sentence will be is another matter.

All this is bad enough (and there are Conservative MPs who might find Bonehill-Paine’s views quite acceptable, although they would probably be much more discreet, even subtle, about it – and there aren’t too many of them these days), but, leaving the Conservatives aside, for the moment, it doesn’t end there. Even centrist parties can’t always avoid the trap of easy answers to difficult questions. Fortunately, some of the guilty ones in the Liberal Democratic Party lost their seats in the debacle (for them) of the 2015 General Election. Sadly, Peers (i.e. members of the House of Lords) don’t stand for election, at least not those who are Life Peers (Peerages which die with those who bear them). The most obvious offender among the Life Peers is the exceedingly unlovely Lady “Jihad” Jenny Tonge. She is a repeat offender and has, at least once, been suspended from the Party in the House of Lords as a direct result of her antisemitic comments.

She’s at it again. She is reported as follows:

A British lawmaker who said Israel would eventually disappear accused the Jewish state of being a major cause in the rise of jihadism worldwide.

Just consider that for a moment: Israel is responsible for ISIS, Al Qaeda, et al, just because Israel is. Is it possible to interpret this as anything other than antisemitism? If you think so, please argue the case below. She went on to say

The treatment of the Palestinians by Israel is a major cause of the rise of extreme Islamism and Daesh,” Tonge said, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State terrorist organization. She said Israel was provoking a generation of violent extremists who would have “a justified grudge” against Israel and Britain.

Quite how Britain gets involved in this is unclear. But since when did antisemites need to make sense?

At least the Board of Deputies hit back:

Board of Deputies Vice President Marie van der Zyl in a statement said it was “another outrageous speech” by Tonge on the Middle East.

“It is time for Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron to expel her once and for all from the party,” the statement said.

Further reports as to what Tonge said can be found at the Algemeiner here and a third can be found in The Jewish News (online edition) of 22/7/16.  [It was also mentioned in my previous post -Anne]

I also noticed that the Leader of the Lib Dems in the House of Commons (Tim Farron, MP) said that he would consider the situation when he received complaints. The Board of Deputies and the sources I’ve cited aren’t enough? What does he want? Tonge’s confession? Sounds like he would prefer not to act.

All this said, is the situation as bad as the stories I’ve told suggest? No!

How is it not that bad? Well, for a start, we secular Jews (those males who don’t wear yarmulkes; those women who don’t wear “sensible” clothes) tend not to suffer verbal and other abuse. And most antisemites have no idea what a Mezzuzah is or what it indicates. In most areas of London, at least, even ultra-orthodox Jews don’t suffer abuse, let alone attack, and can go about their daily lives unmolested. And here, in East Finchley and Muswell Hill (North London), our Rabbi can walk from the tube station back home to near the synagogue in shirtsleeves (it was a very hot day) and wearing a yarmulke with no fear of being attacked. I have never experienced personal antisemitism (as far as I know). Sure, the synagogue needs security, but the police have never had to be called (mind you, I wouldn’t like to tackle the large Polish gentleman who is the current caretaker and additional security man on Shabbat and Festivals!).

And Corbyn can be, and is, attacked in the press for his failure to address antisemitism in the Labour Party and for his refusal to disavow his “friends” in Hamas and Hezbollah. And should the Labour Party split because he gets re-elected in September, few people outside the far Left will shed any tears (I even saw a news article that only half-jokingly suggested that if that happened, the Corbynites would proclaim a victory for “real” socialism: how blinkered can you get?).

London Mayor Sadiq Khan with UK Chief Rabbi Efraim Mirvis

And then, here in London, we have a newly-elected Mayor: a Muslim member of the Labour Party, Sadiq Khan, who, as his first official duty after election (and on very little sleep) attended the official London Holocaust Memorial Day event, alongside the Chief Rabbi; who, before election, attacked Ken Livingstone (of whom no more needs to be said) for his overt antisemitism. He didn’t need to be so outspoken, but he was. He means it!

British PM Theresa May at a Jewish function

More recently, the second female leader of the Conservative Party (and also their second female Prime Minister – and the Labour Party can’t even manage one, temporary leaders not counting) is reported as having dinner with the Chief Rabbi the night before she was formally elected leader and PM.

The good news doesn’t end there. Labour politician Baroness Royall went ahead and published her report into student antisemitism at Oxford University despite Labour’s attempted censorship:

Baroness Royall will make her entire report into student anti-Semitism at Oxford University Labour Club [OULC] publicly available, despite her party censoring its publication.

The peer was tasked with investigating allegations at OULC after its vice-chairman Alex Chalmers resigned in disgust in February, claiming members “have some kind of problem with Jews”.

She presented the findings of her three-month investigation to the National Executive Committee in May.

You can read the full report at the link.

Who decided to censor it and present only a sanitised version? Sadly for them (and Corbyn), Baroness Royall refuses to be that loyal. The truth will out.

My conclusion? It’s not that good in the UK at the moment. However, the Weimar Republic in 1932 it isn’t. The Conservatives are going to be there until at least 2018 (if only to sort out Brexit), and will be led by Theresa May until (at least) then. And anyone who heard or saw her her statement on the steps of Downing Street will be aware that she offered pledges that any centrist Labour leader could sign up to (as pledges, remember, not actual policies). Of course, Margaret Thatcher did the same, but she had just won an election on a much more right-wing platform. May sounds MUCH more like a “One-Nation” Tory than Thatcher ever did.

As ever, with politics, however, it’s wait and see.

Anne adds:

Brian, thank you very much for your insider view of how things are in reality for the average British Jew.  Although things could certainly be better, especially for the more “visible” Orthodox Jews, I am very glad that despite the constant reports of antisemitic attacks and slurs, life in general carries on smoothly. Certainly the new Tory government led by Theresa May feels like a fresh breath of air, and more importantly, has caught Labour on the back foot. If her appointment can bring about reform in Labour, so much the better!

Posted in Antisemitism, International relations | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The world’s gone mad – attacks all over Europe and beyond

It has come to the situation where you wake up in the morning and are scared to turn on the news for fear of hearing about yet another ISIS-inspired atrocity, a mass shooting, hostage taking or worse. Europe is under attack by Islamic terrorists yet the authorities are having a hard time combatting the phenomenon, or even admitting that Islamic fundamentalism is a prime motivator behind these attacks.

Let’s start with Germany:

As illustrated above, in the past week there have been four attacks in Bavaria and elsewhere in the south of the country. From the BBC:

Ten people have been killed and dozens more injured in separate gun, bomb, axe and machete attacks. Three were in Bavaria and one in Baden-Wuerttemberg.

The authorities say they were not linked – but do they herald a new era of insecurity for the country?

On 18 July, a teenage Afghan refugee hacked at passengers on a train in Wuerzburg with an axe and knife, wounding five. He was shot dead by police.

On 22 July, a German teenager of Iranian heritage shot dead nine people in Munich before shooting himself dead.

On 24 July, a 21-year-old Syrian refugee killed a woman with a machete and wounded five other people as he fled before being arrested.

Later that day, a 27-year-old Syrian whose refugee application had been refused blew himself up outside a bar in Ansbach. Fifteen people were wounded.

How many attacks were terrorism and how many “ordinary” crime?

Were they terror attacks?

The attack in Wurzburg has been claimed by so-called Islamic State (IS) while the Ansbach bomber had videos on his phone showing him pledging allegiance to the group, Bavaria’s interior minister said.

The attacker’s bomb was packed with metal fragments and he had been attempting to gain entry to a music festival which more than 2,000 people were attending.

However, police have ruled out a political motive for the killings in Munich.

France meanwhile has suffered one attack after another: from the Bataclan attacks in Paris in November to the murder of a policeman and his wife in Magnanville by an ISIS-affiliated terrorist, to the massive Nice truck-ramming atrocity, and just today, yet another attack: a deadly knife-attack and hostage-taking in a church (a church!) in Normandy:

Two men armed with knives took hostages in a church in northern France before being killed by police, officials said Tuesday morning.

At least one hostage was killed, a police source told AFP.

Four to six people were held in the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, near the town of Rouen in the Normandy region, according to Reuters.

Church of the Gambetta in Saint Etienne du RouvrayGoogle

The agency reported the two men had been “neutralized,” and French media reported the assailants had been shot dead.

Scene of the attack on the Normandy Church

The Le Figaro newspaper reported five people were held, including a priest and nuns.

Proving my earlier point:

It’s not immediately clear who the knifemen are or if the incident was related to terror.

Belying this “mystery”, the Jerusalem Post clarifies (for those who couldn’t guess):

A police source said it appeared that the priest had had his throat slit.

That is classic ISIS methodology.

According to the French magazine Le Point, the attackers shouted “Daesh” (the Arabic acronym for Islamic State) when entering the church.

And before you start to believe that fundamentalist Islam is behind most of these attacks, here comes a former American Congresswoman to teach us who is REALLY behind this wave of terror:

So now you know…

This is all above and beyond the failed “coup” in Turkey – which is looking more and more like a false-flag operation orchestrated by Erdogan himself so as to enable himself to arrest or kill his opponents. Far from “restoring democracy”, Erdogan’s counter-coup operations are carrying out mass arrests, torture and even murder.

Meanwhile all the way over in Japan, a crazed former care-worker stabbed and killed 19 residents of a care home!

Have the fundamentalist Islamic terror attacks inspired and influenced the other crazies out there? Has the neglect or wilful blindness by governments and the UN caused the terrorists as well as criminals to think they can continue to get away with it?

Abu Yehuda has two excellent articles on this very subject. He identifies the problem in his article “Islam is not a religion” in that the West, particularly the US, cannot bring itself to call a spade a spade. He then issues a call to action in his post “who will cut off the head of the snake?”. Both are well worth the read.

But until any of these recommendations are carried out, my gut feeling is – stop the world! I want to get off!

Posted in Incitement, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Shiva Asar B’Tammuz 5776 – time for an antisemitism update

Artist’s impression of the Roman assault on Jerusalem on 17th Tammuz

Religious Jews the world over are marking the fast of 17th of Tammuz today (since the 17th fell on Shabbat, the fast has been deferred to today, the 18th). The fast day, from sunrise to sunset, marks the start of a three-week mourning period culminating in the fast of Tisha B’Av. These three weeks (Between the Straits – בין המיצרים in Hebrew) are a time during which we observe increasingly stringent mourning rituals until the 25-hour fast of Tisha B’Av itself, and are often noted for the tragedies that have befallen us in this period.

From the Chabad website:

The fast actually commemorates five tragic events that occurred on this date:

  1. Moses broke the tablets when he saw the Jewish people worshipping the Golden Calf.
  2. During the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem, the Jews were forced to cease offering the daily sacrifices due to the lack of sheep.
  3. Apostomos burned the holy Torah.1
  4. An idol was placed in the Holy Temple.2
  5. The walls of Jerusalem were breached by the Romans, in 69 CE, after a lengthy siege. (Three weeks later, after the Jews put up a valiant struggle, the Romans destroyed the second Holy Temple on the 9th of Av.)
    The Jerusalem Talmud maintains that this is also the date when the Babylonians breached the walls of Jerusalem on their way to destroying the first Temple.

Despite the fact that the Jewish people have re-established their own homeland in Israel, we are still not fully out of the Exile. The Temple is still not rebuilt, we barely retain any sovereignty in Judea and Samaria and the Old City of Jerusalem, particularly on the Temple Mount, threats against the State of Israel abound all around us on all our borders, and antisemitism has been rearing its ugly head around the world.

In suitably apt timing, the already discredited UK National Union of Students stripped Jewish students of their right, to choose their own representative on an anti-fascism council. This should come as no surprise as the NUS is headed by headed by the execrable Malia Bouattia:

The National Union of Students has voted to remove the right of Jewish students to choose their representative on the union’s Anti-Racism and Anti-Fascism Committee. In previous years, the Jewish student representative bodies (representing around 8,500 registered Jewish students) were consulted and had a say in choosing the Jewish representative on the committee. That is no longer the case, and now the decision will be solely that of NUS’s National Executive Committee and its President Malia Bouattia. Indeed it was Bouattia who approved the amendment, using her casting vote.

Malia Bouattia, antisemitic head of the NUS

Given Malia Bouattia’s track record on Jewish matters, it may not come as a surprise that it was her casting vote that condemned the Jewish student body to lose the right to choose its representative in the NUS campaign against racism and fascism.

The Union of Jewish Students has condemned the decision, saying that this just another example of “Jews being pushed out of university life”.

This is another instance of the welfare of Jewish students being deliberately ignored, and voices of Jewish students being shunned. Furthermore, by replacing the Jewish students’ representative with an unendorsed committee member, there is a clear risk that the perpetrators of antisemitism will feel protected.

And like peas in a pod, where one antisemite goes, the other is sure to follow. Thus we find the repulsive Jihad Jenny Tonge blaming Israel for the rise of Jihadist extremism and demanding (!) that the Jews condemn Israel:

Baroness Tonge, who was forced to resign from the Liberal Democrat Party in the House of Lords over antisemitic remarks in 2012, has once again tried to hold Jews to account for ‘crimes’ she perceives Israel to have committed.

Jihad Jenny Tonge

Speaking in the House of Lords today, Baroness Tonge blamed Israel for the rise of extreme Islamism and ISIS. She then went on to say that Israel did not deserve the support of British Jews, but that Jews nonetheless had a special responsibility to stop the Israeli government “destroying…the Middle East and the wider world”.

Tonge also claimed that Palestinian terrorist groups have a “justified grudge” against Israel, effectively defending the terrorism that is aimed at Jewish people in Israel and around the world by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist organisations.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism suggests you write to the leader of the Liberal Democrat Party, Tim Farron MP, at to register your complaint. Don’t hold your breath waiting for an apology from Jihad Jenny though.

Even sports are not immune to antisemitism as Muslim extremists are threatening to attack Israeli athletes, along with other Westerners, at the upcoming Rio Olympic Games:

The Foreign Desk reported that a list of directives published on social media advises jihadis to target American, British, French and Israeli athletes, saying “One small knife attack against Americans/Israelis in these places will have bigger media effect than any other attacks anywhere else insha Allah,” meaning “If Allah wills.”

Israeli athletes are further singled out.

“From among the worst enemies, the most famous enemies for general Muslims is to attack Israelis. As general Muslims all agree to it and it causes more popularity for the Mujahideen among the Muslims,” the jihadis said on social media.

These threats are eerily familiar, coming on the heels of a terror attack (whether by “just” a “regular” crazy or a terrorist remains to be clarified) in Munich in which nine Germans, including four children, were shot dead.  This attack took place very near the site of the murderous Palestinian terrorist attack on the Israeli Olympic athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972 in which 11 Israeli athletes were massacred.

It is strange how the wheel of history has turned. And as always, a warning to the world: what starts with the Jews never ends with the Jews.

And now, for a palate cleanser, and as a reminder of the Jewish connection to Israel and Jerusalem, so relevant to today’s date (via an facebook video), here is a wonderful video by Stanley Goldfoot, An Open Letter to the World from Jerusalem, setting out the facts and our history with no holds barred.

The website Israel Seen gives us a short bio of Stanley Goldfoot in its introduction:

In 2006, at the age of 92, Stanley Goldfoot passed away. Stanley Goldfoot was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. In 1932, at the age of 18, he headed for Palestine where he joined a HaShomer HaTzair kibbutz. After the rebirth of the Jewish State of Israel his main goal, which he eventually realized, was to establish a Zionist English newspaper, “The Times of Israel.” In the first issue of “The Times of Israel”, in 1969, Goldfoot wrote his famous “Letter to the World from Jerusalem.” The article is still remarkably relevant, so I thought I’d share it with you.  It’s the thoughts of only one man but, as I read it, it occurred to me that, in many ways, it represents  the pleas of an entire nation – a people with one small desire: “to be a free people in our land”.

You can read the full text at the link. Enjoy the video – and share it!

And on a similar note:

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Good News Friday

This week has passed so quickly and before I’ve looked round it’s time for another Good News Friday installment.

First, an astonishing story of self-sacrifice in more ways than one: a Haredi woman from New York lost 34 kg in order to be able to donate a kidney – to a stranger!

For most, the notion of serving as a living donor – that is offering one’s internal organs to those in need – is a daunting prospect; a sacrifice few would make unless absolutely required by a loved one.

Hindy Messinger, kidney donor

But one Brooklyn woman not only took the plunge, she literally reshaped her life to qualify as a donor – all to give up one of her kidneys to a total stranger.

Hindy Messinger, a 41-year old mother of three and grandmother of two from Borough Park spent five years preparing herself to meet the requirements to serve as a living donor, including losing 75 pounds (34 kilograms).

“The whole time I was losing weight, my thoughts were to give a kidney,” said Messinger.

“Six months after I lost my weight I called Cornell [Medical Center]. ‘So I’m gonna be able to donate a kidney now? Will I be able to donate a kidney?’ They said ‘no, not yet.’ I wanted to donate a kidney already. This is why I’m doing this.”

She had originally wanted to donate to her cousin, but after this became unnecessary she decided to go ahead and donate her kidney to a stranger.

Five years later, however, Messinger fulfilled the requirements to donate, even though her cousin no longer required the donation. Instead, she gave her kidney to Barry Bichler, a man she had never met before the operation.

I am in awe of Hindy’s motivation, her persistence, and her pure self-sacrifice in order to save a life. As our Rabbis have said, a person who saves one life is as if he saved a whole world. and indeed Hindy Messinger has saved both the life of the recipient as well as her own by regaining her own health. And she has made a huge Kiddush Hashem in the world as well. Kol hakavod is too weak a term to use here. I wish her and the recipient continued good health into the future, and may we all learn from her example.

Moving now into the diplomatic field, Israel and the African nation of Guinea renewed ties after a disconnect of 4 decades:

After almost five decades, Israel on Wednesday renewed diplomatic relations with the Republic of Guinea, a small, overwhelmingly Muslim country in West Africa that cut ties with the Jewish state in 1967.

Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold signs a deal to restore diplomatic ties with Guinea on July 20, 2016 (Foreign Ministry)

“This is an important closing of a circle,” Gold said, noting that it has been nearly 50 years since the government in Conakry cut ties with Israel.

“The number of countries on the African continent that still haven’t [re-established ties with Israel] is steadily decreasing, and we’re hopeful that soon this number will not exist anymore,” Gold said. “Israel is calling on the countries that still haven’t renewed diplomatic relations to follow in Guinea’s footsteps so that we can work together to the benefit of all peoples in the region.”

This is excellent news, hopefully to be followed by the renewal of ties with yet more African nations. Kol hakavod to all the diplomats and politicians involved in these renewed relations, including PM Netanyahu who has made relations with Africa one of his declared aims. May these revived connections lead to more peace and security for the entire region.

Another visiting diplomat this week was the Paraguayan President, who was praised for his steadfast support for Israel:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes to Jerusalem on Tuesday, calling him a close friend who defended Israel “in difficult circumstances.”

Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes meets PM Binyamin Netanyahu

Cartes, the first Paraguayan leader to visit Israel, regretted that the trip did not take place earlier as the two countries were “so close” and “friendly,” but indicated that it was an opportunity to catch up on lost time.

During Operation Protective Edge two years ago, Paraguay stood apart from other Latin American countries in its refusal to condemn Israel, The Jerusalem Post explained. Some other Latin American countries sharply criticized Israel in its war against Hamas, with Brazil, Peru, Chile, El Salvador, and Ecuador even withdrawing their ambassadors in protest.

However, Paraguay has consistently either abstained or voted in favor of Israel in international forums since Cartes was elected president in 2013.

Netanyahu said the relationship reflects both Cartes’ attitude towards Israel and the historical parallels between the two nations. Both Israel and Paraguay are “small countries surrounded by a lot of big countries, not always on the friendliest terms,” Netanyahu observed. Cartes noted that Paraguay voted for Israel to “become a state in May 14 of 1948.” He added that, coincidentally, “the independence of our country Paraguay .. is May 14 too, but in 1811.”

Following his recent historic trip to Africa, Netanyahu expressed an interest in working with Paraguay to expand Israel’s “relationship with the countries of Latin America.”

A huge kol hakavod to President Cartes on his unstinting support for Israel, no easy thing and not to be taken for granted in international forums today. May this visit be the harbinger of many more from South America.

And from diplomacy we move now to one of my favourite subjects: Aliya. This week saw the arrival of over 200 new immigrants from the United States and the largest French aliya flight of this summer, also with 200 immigrants.

The French olim were welcomed by Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky who said:

“Each aliya reminds me of my own aliya; each aliya is the closing of a huge circle,” said the Soviet-born former refusenik, who made his own aliya in 1986 after nine years of imprisonment.

“We all know there is a future for French Jews in Israel, while there is a discussion over whether they have a future in France,” he told the olim. “You all made a giant step today in building a more secure future for your children.”

Indeed, many of those fresh off the plane gave that as the reason for the move to Israel.

“We decided to come to Israel for the children,” Anthony Marek of Paris told the Post.

The American olim meanwhile expressed their huge emotions on their arrival in Israel:

Noah Lawrence, 29, originally from Massachusetts, said Israel had always had a hold on him.

“I always wanted to live in a Jewish national culture, and I just discovered it over the years,” he said. “One of the early stops on that journey was when I was an intern for The Jerusalem Post… and Baruch Hashem, God brought me back.”

When asked why he decided to move to Israel, Lawrence replied, saying “it’s like asking how you fell in love with someone. It’s hard to even say.”

It is words like these which make living in Israel, with all the difficulties and dangers involved, so worthwhile.

Bruchim haba’im – Welcome! – to all the new olim. May your absorption be easy, may your future life here be successful and I wish you every success and happiness in your new life in Israel.

batmitzvah2And finally, yesterday we celebrated the Batmitzvah of our granddaughter Hodaya. It was a lovely evening, with good food, speeches, video clips and dancing. It was a very exciting and moving occasion for all of us: for us as her grandparents, for my parents and in-laws who had the privilege of seeing their great-granddaughter celebrate, and of course for Hodaya’s parents, her other grandparents, her siblings, and the entire community.

We wish Hodaya all the blessings that can be bestowed on a Batmitzvah girl: that she should grow in her faith and mitzvot; that she should enjoy continued success in school, good health, happiness, and success in all that she does.

Mazal Tov! 

And with these happy thoughts I wish Shabbat Shalom to all my readers.

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The craven West empowers Iran in violating the nuclear deal

It’s been a while since I last wrote about Iran and its deceitful ways in violating the conditions of the notorious JCPOA, aka the Iran deal, while the West, particularly the Americans, has been looking the other way. In fact the West has deliberately been turning a blind eye to some of Iran’s violations, whether out of fear (of Iranian sponsored terrorism) or greed (Iran provides a huge market for exports and business) and this in the end led Iran to go one step too far, even for the craven western allies.

Last week Iran held its ninth ballistic missile test, causing NATO to “express concern” at their violation of a UN Security Council Resolution  (I’m sure that will have them quaking in their boots):

Iran test-fired a new kind of ballistic missile using North Korean technology on the night of July 11-12, Fox News reported on Friday, citing multiple intelligence officials. The latest test, the ninth Iran carried out since it reached a nuclear deal with global powers last year, was held two days before the one-year anniversary of the deal’s announcement.

Radius covered by Iran’s latest missiles

The missile was fired from the city of Saman in western Iran and was a modified version of North Korea’s Musudan ballistic missile, which has a range of 2,500 miles — putting nearly all of the Middle East (including Israel) and much of mainland Europe within reach.

Iran’s continued ballistic missile tests are being carried out in defiance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, which codified last year’s nuclear deal and calls on Iran “not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.” The resolution also says that Iran must abide by previous Security Council resolutions, which placed restrictions on ballistic missile work until 2023.

NATO leaders said in a joint communique last week that they were “seriously concerned by the development of Iran’s ballistic missile programme and continuing missile tests that are inconsistent with [Resolution] 2231.” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi replied on Monday that NATO’s statement was “a repetition of past baseless allegations.”

So how well have those sanctions actually been working? Not so brilliantly:

“Iran’s behavior hasn’t significantly changed as a result of the nuclear agreement,” Gen. Joseph Votel, the Baghdad-based chief of United States Central Command, told Fox News on Thursday. “They continue to pursue malign activities, and they continue to foment instability in areas where we need stability so I remain concerned about that continued behavior.”

In fact 15 Senators from the Democrat Party who supported the Iran deal are now criticising the Iranian inspection procedures:

Fifteen Democratic senators who originally supported the nuclear deal with Iran have written a letter to President Barack Obama criticizing the deal’s inspection procedures, Politico reported Friday.

The group, led by Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), called on Obama to pressure the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which performs inspections on suspected Iranian nuclear sites, to release more information from its inspections. Currently, the IAEA does not publicly disclose critical details like the size of Iran’s uranium stocks or how many centrifuges it is operating, instead simply announcing whether Iran is, overall, in compliance with its obligations.

“Providing additional situational awareness of Iran’s nuclear program is vital for the long-term health of this agreement,” the letter read. “We urge [the Obama] administration to ensure that the IAEA releases all relevant technical information so that we may continue to make our own judgments about the status of Iran’s nuclear program.”

The letter also criticized the inspections regime for not providing detailed updates on Iran’s Fordow facility, a key site for Iranian nuclear weapons research.

So where is that apology to Binyamin Netanyahu after he was excoriated for opposing the deal?  I am sure that will be conveniently forgotten by American politicians, particularly the Democrats, but we Israelis have a long memory.

A new scandal emerged this week as a secret document was exposed, revealing that key constraints on Iran will last no longer than 10 years, bringing them much nearer to building a nuclear bomb. Honest Reporting explains:

According to a document seen by the Associated Press, “key restrictions” imposed on Iran’s nuclear program by last year’s accord “will start to ease years before the 15-year accord expires, advancing Tehran’s ability to build a bomb even before the end of the pact.”

Israeli officials told the Times of Israel that this add-on document would allow Tehran to “produce fuel for many bombs in a very short time.”

It says that as of January 2027 — 11 years after the deal was implemented — Iran will start replacing its mainstay centrifuges with thousands of advanced machines.

Centrifuges churn out uranium to levels that can range from use as reactor fuel and for medical and research purposes to much higher levels for the core of a nuclear warhead. From year 11 to 13, says the document, Iran will install centrifuges up to five times as efficient as the 5,060 machines it is now restricted to using.

Those new models will number less than those being used now, ranging between 2,500 and 3,500, depending on their efficiency, according to the document. But because they are more effective, they will allow Iran to enrich at more than twice the rate it is doing now.

The US State Dept. denied the existence of any secret add-on documents while Tehran defended the provision as “a matter of pride.” Who to believe?

I know who I believe, and it’s not the Americans. Their record has been abysmal on anything connected with Iran and they have given us no reason to rethink our scepticism now.

Iran’s heavy water plant in Araq

For example US officials confirmed that $8.6 million of taxpayer money was used to buy Iranian heavy water, ostensibly to get it out of Iranian hands. But as we all know, money is fungible. Moreover, if Iran was not supposed to have nuclear materials, that heavy water ought to have been confiscated, not bought with US taxpayer dollars!

Heavy water can be used in certain reactors to breed plutonium from natural uranium. The nuclear deal limits Iran to 130 metric tons of heavy water, and allows Iran to sell it to other countries under certain conditions. But after Iran created more heavy water than it anticipated, it transferred 50 metric tons of the material to Oman in anticipation of selling some of it to the United States — a maneuver allowing Iran to maintain its compliance with the deal by limiting the heavy water in the country. But the transfer of heavy water to a third country without a sale is not specifically approved by the nuclear deal.

The newly revealed timeline for the deal is reportedly raising concerns in Capitol Hill. Lawmakers have already voiced opposition to doing nuclear-related business with Iran, and have criticized the Obama administration for failing to provide them with specific details on the sale.

“The confirmation of this late April date is likely to anger lawmakers who were denied details of the deal because the Energy Department told them several months ago that key details surrounding the deal had not yet been firmed up,” one legislative adviser told the Free Beacon.

“The Obama administration’s deal with the Mullahs in Tehran to purchase heavy water demonstrates a disturbing, potentially illegal, willingness of the administration to subsidize Iran’s nuclear program,” said Rep. Mike Pompeo (R – Kan.). “This purchase allows the Iranians to offload previously unsellable product and it destigmatizes the act of doing business in Iran.”

If the Obama Administration is lying to its own people, how much more so is it lying to the rest of the world!

We are now at the stage where a newly empowered Iran is celebrating and threatening in equal measure. In the wake of the secret letter mentioned above, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif triumphantly declared that Iran will be able to restore full enrichment after 10 years:

Iran’s foreign minister called his country’s ability to restore its uranium enrichment program after the tenth year of the nuclear deal it reached with world powers last year a “matter of pride,” the Associated Press reported Tuesday. Mohammad Javad Zarif’s comments came in response to a report published Monday by the AP about a secret add-on to the Iran deal, which reduces Iran’s breakout time to a nuclear device.

Zarif, who also served as Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, said the previously confidential document that his country filed with the International Atomic Energy Agency was crafted by “negotiators and industry experts.” The secret side-deal — revealed to the AP by a diplomat who worked on issues related to Iran’s nuclear program for over a decade, and confirmed by another diplomat possessing the same document — has raised further questions about the nuclear accord’s ability to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb over the next 15 years.

Meanwhile, as if it has not received enough concessions, Iran continues to threaten the West if it does not uphold the nuclear deal – the very deal that they themselves are violating!

Iranian officials issued new threats against the West on Wednesday, warning that failure to uphold the nuclear deal will result in harsh consequences, Iranian state media reported.

According to Larijani, “disruptive moves” by the UN and the US, coupled with what he claimed to be America’s disloyalty to the year-old Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), are sufficient cause for Tehran to take defiant measures.

Also on Wednesday, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, announced that Iran will hold various war games across the country, which will last through the end of the year, Fars reported. The war games are intended to flex Iran’s military muscles and test its advanced missile systems, the IRGC commander said.

“This year, we have so many exercises that I can’t remember their exact number,” Jafari said. “God willing, these drills will be staged to enhance readiness for burying the enemy in the Persian Gulf waters and annihilating them on the Iranian soil.”

“We will not cancel any drills and will improve them and make them more frequent,” he said.

In March, the IRGC carried out a ballistic-missile exercise, launching missiles capable of carrying a nuclear payload. The move was widely condemned and seen as a violation of Security Council Resolution 2231, which implements the JCPOA.

And here you see the craven West at work again:

Western officials claimed that the launch did not violate the core terms of the nuclear deal.


Iranian threats are not extended merely over nations, but towards individuals too. The family of a British-Iranian woman arrested on trumped-up charges is being blackmailed by Iran in order to secure her release:

The family of a British-Iranian woman who was arrested in Tehran earlier this year was told to pressure the British government “to reach an agreement” in order to close her case before trial, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

[Photo: Free Nazanin Campaign]

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was visiting family in Iran with her toddler, was detained at Tehran’s airport in April, separated from her child, and charged with the “design and implementation of cyber and media projects to cause the soft toppling of the Islamic Republic,” the state-run IRNA news agency reported. Her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, called the charges “preposterous.” Ratcliffe told Reuters that his wife was told by an interrogator in late June that her case would be closed if some sort of deal was made with the British government. Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s mother was reportedly told when visiting her daughter at the notorious Evin prison that the deal involved some sort of “exchange.”

Iran does not recognized dual citizenship, so dual nationals like Zaghar-Ratcliffe are denied access to the embassies of their second nationality. The British Foreign Office has raised Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s case with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif, but officials have not been allowed to visit her.

Iran has a long record with such hostage-taking, as the article reports:

In Why Does Iran Keep Taking American Hostages?, published in the September 2015 issue of The Tower Magazine, Iran expert Ali Alfoneh described the regime’s hostage-taking as “a perfectly normal procedure and political practice in the Islamic Republic. That has been the case since the first day of the revolution and continues until today.”

Pictures of the 85 victims of the AMIA bombing in Argentina 22 years ago

Iranian finger-prints have still not led to any serious convictions or even indictments in the bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires almost exactly 22 years ago, which caused the death of 85 people, and also the murder of Argentinian-Jewish investigator Alberto Nisman who was examining the case. Israel Hayom reports that Argentinian Jews are calling for justice 22 years later:

“We ask the head of the AMIA Bombing Investigation Unit Mario Cimadevilla and Justice Minister German Garavano that the case be a state priority. We know they have been in their posts for a short time, but we also know that we who are here have been calling for justice for 22 years, holding onto the sad reality that there is not even one detainee. But we will continue to ask for justice — do not forget that — we will continue to ask for justice,” Saieg said.

Prosecutors have accused Iranian officials of being behind the bombing, but no one has been convicted in the attack, which many Argentines believe has come to symbolize an inept and corrupt justice system.

A “truth commission” deal with Iran was denounced by Israel and world Jewish groups, who called it a diplomatic win for Tehran that offered no benefit to Argentina. The deal, which was struck down by a federal court, would have let Iran review Argentina’s investigation into the bombing.

During the ceremony, some also called for answers in the mysterious death of the leading prosecutor investigating the case. Alberto Nisman was found dead in his apartment on Jan. 18, 2015 with a .22-caliber pistol by his side, one day before he was due to present his case to Argentina’s Congress.

Nisman was scheduled to present allegations that then-President Cristina Fernandez orchestrated a secret deal to cover up Iranian officials’ alleged role in the attack. Fernandez denied the allegations, and judges later threw out the case.

In 2006, an official Argentine government report prepared by Nisman identified Iranian and Hezbollah figures as responsible for the attack. Interpol issued red notices for the capture of six suspects, including Ahmad Vahidi, a former Iranian Defense Minister.

Iran is literally getting away with murder, as well as hostage-taking, blackmail and terrorism. And the craven West together with corrupt politicians and officials, are enabling and empowering it all. For shame!

Posted in Defence and Military, International relations, Iran | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments