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Obama-Netanyahu meeting papers over their differences

July 7, 2010 Leave a comment

By Shoshana Bryen

Shoshana Bryen

WASHINGTON, D.C. — There is a crucial divide between PR and straight talk, between red lines, bottom lines and spin. Last week we cautioned against mistaking Israel’s bad PR for bad policy, and faulted people who respond to Israel based on how things look in the media rather than for what they are. We were irritated with those who demand better polish. This week, we are worried about people who mistake good PR – smiles, handshakes, mild jokes and a kosher lunch – for good substance. 
 
President Obama looked fairly relaxed during the short press meeting and told reporters, “Our commitment to Israel’s security has been unwavering. And, in fact, there aren’t any concrete policies that you could point to that would contradict that.”   
 
That was a good PR move, sliding over the fact you don’t need “concrete policies” to embolden Israel’s enemies and objectively weaken its security. U.S. support of the biased Goldstone process and providing only very weak support for Israel when it was attacked by blockade-busters trying to sail to Gaza, and hinting that there is a mixed opinion in the U.S. government about the role of Hamas and Hezbollah in future negotiations all embolden Israel’s enemies. The President’s comment that the Israel-Palestinian conflict costs the United States in “blood and treasure” may not have been a policy, but it was close to a blood-libel on top of being untrue.
 
Over Israel’s objection, the U.S. allowed the UN Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty Review to single out Israel’s presumed nuclear capability for concern while it took a pass on Iran, North Korea and what U.S. intelligence believes is a secret Syrian program. This is the first administration to put Israel on that international “hot seat” paving the way for future meetings, including the IAEA meeting in September, to pressure Israel. 
 
But the President put a good PR gloss on that one, saying, “We discussed issues that arose out of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Conference. And I reiterated to the Prime Minister that there is no change in U.S. policy when it comes to these issues… the United States will never ask Israel to take any steps that would undermine their security interests.”  
 
The difference between the President “asking” Israel to take steps that would undermine its security and the President throwing Israel under the bus of Arab demands himself is too thin to measure and a craven abdication to those who would destroy America’s only democratic ally in the Middle East.
 
One such Arab demand delivered to Israel by the President of the United States was the call for a “total settlement freeze,” giving the Palestinians an excuse to cut off direct talks, substituting “proximity” talks and an announcement that the Palestinian Authority would negotiate only with the United States. That reversed 17 years of American policy for which Israel will now have to “pay” to get the Palestinians back to the table.
 
By calling the third of seven administrative levels of permission to build apartments in North Jerusalem (in the former “no man’s land” of the illegal Jordanian occupation of half of Jerusalem in defiance of the UN) a “humiliation” of the United States, Secretary of State Clinton and President Obama set the stage for ongoing Palestinian violence on the West Bank. Israel will now have to “pay” for a re-stabilized relationship.
 
But the President put a little PR gloss on that as well, figuratively patting the Prime Minister on the head and saying peace, “requires work and that requires some difficult choices – both at the strategic level and the tactical level. And this is something that the Prime Minister understands.” It requires considerably more work when one of your “partners” keeps moving the bar away from you and toward your adversaries. “Difficult choices” is a euphemism for continuing not to build houses for Jews in places the President – on behalf of his Arab and Palestinian friends – doesn’t want them built.

Oddly, Prime Minister Netanyahu allowed President Obama to characterize Israel’s commitment to its own security – and the President did it badly, saying, “During our conversation, [the Prime Minister] once again reaffirmed his willingness to engage in serious negotiations with the Palestinians around what I think should be the goal not just of the two principals involved, but the entire world, and that is two states living side by side in peace and security. Israel’s security needs met, the Palestinians having a sovereign state that they call their own.”

Almost realistically, the President pointed out that, “Those are goals that have obviously escaped our grasp for decades now.” But PR trumped realism as the President concluded, “But now more than ever I think is the time for us to seize on that vision.”

Real progress toward a secure Israel requires an American president who understands that “what I think should be the goal” is relatively unimportant and it isn’t what “the entire world” thinks. It requires a president who understands that there are those – mainly housed in the Middle East – implacably committed to the destruction of the State of Israel and providing money, training, arms and political support for the most irredentist Palestinian vision.

A previous American president also foundered on “the vision thing,” perhaps forgetting that how it sounds isn’t what it is.

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Bryen is senior director of security policy of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.  Her column is sponsored by Waxie Sanitary Supply in memory of Morris Wax, longtime JINSA supporter and national board member.

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Berlusconi fuels speculation about Israeli military strike against Iran

June 28, 2010 Leave a comment

(WJC)–Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi reportedly said that he and fellow world leaders “believe absolutely” that Israel may decide to take military action against Iran to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons. “Iran is not guaranteeing a peaceful production of nuclear power [so] the members of the G-8 are worried and believe absolutely that Israel will probably react preemptively,” Berlusconi was quoted by ‘Haaretz’ as telling reporters following talks with other G-8 leaders near Toronto, Canada, on Saturday.

The leaders of Britain, Canada France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States devoted much of their two-day session to discuss the contentious nuclear programs of North Korea and Iran. They afterwards issued a joint communiqué calling on the regime in Iran to “respect the rule of law” and to “hold a “transparent dialogue” over its nuclear ambitions. “We are profoundly concerned by Iran’s continued lack of transparency regarding its nuclear activities and its stated intention to continue and expand enriching uranium, including to nearly 20 percent,” the statement said.

“Our goal is to persuade Iran’s leaders to engage in a transparent dialogue about its nuclear activities and to meet Iran’s international obligations,” the leaders declared, urging the Islamic Republic “to implement relevant resolutions to restore international confidence in the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.”

Meanwhile, CIA Director Leon Panetta has said that Tehran now probably had enough low-enriched uranium to build two nuclear weapons, although it would likely take two years to build them. Panetta also expressed doubts that recent UN sanctions against Iran will put an end to Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Panetta told the ABC show ‘This Week’ that there was “some debate” as to whether Iran would proceed with building a bomb. Asked about a possible Israeli military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, Panetta said Israel was giving the United States enough room on the diplomatic and political fronts.

Russian President Dmitry called the CIA report “worrying”. He said: “This information has to be checked, but such information is always worrying – and all the more so because the international community does not recognize the Iranian nuclear program as transparent.”

Iran rejected Panetta’s comments, saying they amounted to “psychological war.” A Foreign Ministry spokesman in Tehran declared: “What Iran is pursuing is only in the framework of the rights that its membership of the International Atomic Energy Agency entitles it to. The real concern is disarmament and non-proliferation.”

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Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress.

U.S. Treasury announces new sanctions against Iran

June 17, 2010 Leave a comment
U.S. Treasury Department Targets Iran’s Nuclear and Missile Programs

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release) – The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced on Thursday a set of designations targeting Iran’s nuclear and missile programs – the first set of measures from the United States implementing UNSCR 1929 and building upon the actions mandated by the Security Council.  In a statement, the Treasury Department said:

Today’s actions also highlight for the international community Iran’s use of its financial sector, shipping industry and Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps to carry out and mask its proliferation activities, and respond to the Council’s call for all states to take action to prevent their own financial systems from being abused by Iran.

Pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13382 – which is aimed at freezing the assets of proliferators of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their supporters thereby isolating them from the U.S. financial and commercial systems – Treasury today designated:

  • Post Bank of Iran for providing financial services to, and acting on behalf of, Bank Sepah
  • Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) entities and individuals
    • The IRGC Air Force and IRGC Missile Command, both of which have ties to Iran’s ballistic missile program
    • Rah Sahel and Sepanir Oil and Gas Engineering Co. for their ties to previously designated Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters
    • Two individuals for their roles in the IRGC
  • Two individuals and two entities for their ties to Iran’s WMD programs, including Javedan Mehr Toos, a procurement broker for Kalaye Electric Company
  • Five Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) front companies

Treasury also today identified 27 vessels as property blocked because of their connection to IRISL and updated the entries for 71 already-blocked IRISL vessels to identify new names given to these vessels as part of IRISL’s efforts to evade sanctions.

As a result of today’s designations, all transactions involving any of the designees and any U.S. person are prohibited, and any assets the designees may have under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen.

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Treasury also today identified 22 entities in the insurance, petroleum and petrochemicals industries determined to be owned or controlled by the Government of Iran by adding them to Appendix A to the Iranian Transactions Regulations (ITR). The ITR prohibit transactions between U.S. persons and the Government of Iran. These identifications allow U.S. persons and others to identify Iranian Government entities and protect themselves against the risks posed by such entities.

Post Bank of Iran

Treasury is today designating Post Bank of Iran for providing financial services to, and acting on behalf of, Bank Sepah. Bank Sepah was designated in January 2007 pursuant to E.O. 13382 for providing financial services to Iran’s missile industry, including two entities linked to Iran’s ballistic missile program, Shahid Bakeri Industries Group and Shahid Hemmat Industries Group. Bank Sepah was subsequently designated by the United Nations in March 2007 under UNSCR 1747.

Since 2007, Bank Sepah has faced severe difficulties in processing international transactions. Prior to the designation of Bank Sepah, Post Bank’s business was nearly entirely conducted within Iran. With Iran’s state-owned banks, facing increasing sanctions, Iran began using Post Bank to facilitate international trade. In fact, Post Bank stepped into the shoes of Bank Sepah, after it was designated by the UN, to carry out Bank Sepah’s transactions and hide its identity. In 2009, Post Bank facilitated business on behalf of Bank Sepah between Iran’s defense industries and overseas beneficiaries.

Post Bank, on behalf of Bank Sepah, has also facilitated millions of dollars worth of business between Hong Kong Electronics and other overseas beneficiaries. Hong Kong Electronics was designated by Treasury in June 2009 under E.O. 13382 for providing support to North Korea’s Tanchon Commercial Bank and its primary weapons dealer, Korea Mining Development Corporation (KOMID). Tanchon, named in the Annex to E.O. 13382 and designated under UNSCR 1718, is a commercial bank based in Pyongyang North Korea, and is the financial arm of KOMID, which is also named in the Annex to E.O. 13382.

Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)

Treasury today is targeting the IRGC Air Force and IRGC Missile Command, key elements in the operational deployment of Iran’s ballistic missile capability, and Rah Sahel as well as Sepanir Oil and Gas Engineering Co., two subsidiaries of Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters (KAA), the engineering arm of the IRGC that serves to help the IRGC generate income and fund its operations. KAA owned or controlled by the IRGC and is involved in the construction of streets, highways, tunnels, water conveyance projects, agricultural restoration, and pipelines. KAA was designated by Treasury under E.O. 13382 in October 2007 and most recently under UNSCR 1929. Rah Sahel and Sepanir Oil and Gas Engineering Co. were also sanctioned on June 9, 2010 by the United Nations with the adoption of UNSCR 1929.

The IRGC maintains significant political and economic power in Iran. It has ties to companies controlling billions of dollars in business and construction projects and it is a growing presence in Iran’s financial and commercial sectors. The IRGC has numerous economic interests related to defense production, construction, and the oil industry.

The IRGC was designated by the State Departmentunder E.O. 13382 in October 2007 for having engaged, or attempted to engage, in proliferation-related activities. The IRGC has been outspoken in its willingness to facilitate the proliferation of ballistic missiles capable of carrying WMD. The IRGC has broad links to Iran’s ballistic missile programs and is one of the primary regime organizations tied to developing and testing the Shahab-3 missile.

Treasury is also designating today the following individuals for their roles in the IRGC:

  • Mohammad Ali Jafari has been the Commander-in-Chief of the IRGC since September 2007.
  • Mohammad Reza Naqdi has served as head of the IRGC’s Basij Resistance Force since October 2009. Naqdi was sanctioned by the United Nations in March 2008 under UNSCR 1803 for being the former Deputy Chief of the Armed Forces General Staff for Logistics and Industrial Research/Head of the State Anti-Smuggling Headquarters. The U.N. described him as being involved in efforts to evade the sanctions previously imposed under UNSCRs 1737 and 1747.

Entities and Individuals with Ties to Iran’s Nuclear and Missile Programs

Javedan Mehr Toos, an entity that serves as a procurement broker for Kalaye Electric Company, is being designated today for providing services to, and acting on behalf of, Kalaye Electric Company.

Kalaye Electric Company was designated by Treasury in February 2007, also pursuant to E.O. 13382, for being owned or controlled by, or acting for or on behalf of, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), the main organization in Iran for research and development activities in the field of nuclear technology, including Iran’s centrifuge enrichment program and experimental laser enrichment of uranium program. AEOI, which reports directly to Iran’s president and manages Iran’s overall nuclear program, was identified in the Annex to E.O. 13382 and sanctioned by the United Nations under UNSCR 1737. Kalaye Electric Company is linked to Iran’s centrifuge research and development efforts. Both organizations are listed in the Annex to UN Security Council Resolution 1737 because of their involvement in Iran’s nuclear program.

Since 2009, Javedan Mehr Toos, located in Tehran, has been sought out by Kalaye Electric Company to obtain a variety of nuclear-related equipment on the international market, including magnets which can be used in centrifuges. In early 2010, Javedan Mehr Toos procured specialized valves and vacuum gauges that could ultimately be used for Iran’s uranium enrichment program.

Treasury also designated today the following individuals and entity for their ties to Iran’s nuclear and WMD programs:

  • Javad Karimi Sabet has been linked to AEOI since at least 2006, serving as the head of Novin Energy Company (Novin). Novin was designated by Treasury in January 2006 under E.O. 13382 for being owned or controlled by the AEOI, and was sanctioned by the United Nations in March 2007 under UNSCR 1747.
  • Ahmad Vahidi serves as Iran’s Minister of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL), a position he has held since September 2009. Prior to that, he served as Iran’s Deputy Defense Minister and held positions with the IRGC-Qods Force. MODAFL has ultimate authority over Iran’s Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO) and Iran’s Defense Industries Organization (DIO), both of which have been designated under E.O. 13382.
  • The Naval Defense Missile Industry Group (aka Cruise Missile Industry Group or CMIG) is owned or controlled by the AIO. The AIO is the overall manager and coordinator of Iran’s missile program and oversees all of Iran’s missile industries. CMIG was sanctioned by the United Nations in March 2007 under UNSCR 1747 for being involved in the development and production of cruise missiles, as well as being responsible for naval missiles.

Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL)

Treasury took further action today against the network of Iran’s national maritime carrier, IRISL, by designating five front companies aiding IRISL in evading sanctions, identified 27 new vessels as blocked property due to their connection to IRISL, and updating the entries for 71 already-blocked IRISL vessels to identify new names given to them in order to evade sanctions.

Treasury designated IRISL in September 2008 pursuant to Executive Order 13382 for providing logistical services to Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL). MODAFL has authority over the AIO, the arm of the Iranian military that oversees Iran’s ballistic missile program, and has used IRISL to conceal the true destination of shipments of military-related goods destined for MODAFL.

Since being designated, IRISL has increasingly relied upon a series of front companies and has engaged in deceptive behavior – such as falsifying shipping documents and renaming ships – to assist it in overcoming the impact of sanctions and increased scrutiny of its behavior. IRISL has also been involved in Iranian attempts to transfer arms-related material. Iran is prohibited from exporting arms and related material by UNSCR 1747.

IRISL established the front company, Hafiz Darya Shipping Company (HDS Lines), in 2009, to conduct its containerized shipping operations under the HDS Lines brand name. HDS has retained some IRISL officers as corporate members. In late 2009, HDS Lines assumed IRISL’s containerized shipping operations and established shipping routes nearly identical to those formerly operated by IRISL.

Similarly, IRISL created Soroush Sarzamin Asatir Ship Management Company, also designated today, which has assumed IRISL’s ship management functions in the wake of sanctions against IRISL. Like HDS Lines, it also shares corporate officers with IRISL.

Safiran Payam Darya (SAPID) Shipping Co., also designated today, was created by IRISL in April 2009 to take control of several ships previously directly owned by IRISL and to handle IRISL’s former bulk and general cargo operations. SAPID’s directors and/or shareholders are five members of IRISL’s Board of Directors: Mohammad Hossein Dajmar, IRISL’s Managing Director; Gholamhossein Golpavar, IRISL’s Commercial Director; Mohammad Mehdi Rasekh; Masoud Nik Nafs; and Mohammad Sadegh Mofateh. Dajmar serves as SAPID’s Chairman, and Nik Nafs serves as its Vice-Chairman. Golparvar serves as SAPID’s Managing Director, while Rasekh and Mofateh serve as SAPID directors.

Two Hong Kong-based companies affiliated with IRISL, Seibow Limited and Seibow Logistics are also being designated today.

Today’s designations of IRISL front companies and identification of new and renamed IRISL-affiliated vessels also reinforce UNSCR 1803, which among other things, calls upon all States to inspect, in accordance with their national legal authorities and consistent with international law, cargoes to and from Iran, aircraft and vessels, at their seaports and airports, including their ports, owned or operated by IRISL, “provided there is reasonable grounds to believe that the vessel is transporting goods prohibited” under UNSCRs 1737, 1747, and 1803.

Identifying Information

HAFIZ DARYA SHIPPING CO. A.K.A. HDS LINES; HAFIZ DARYA SHIPPING LINES COMPANY
Location: No 60. Ehteshamiyeh Square
7th Neyestan Street
Pasdaran Avenue
Tehran, Iran
IMO Number: 5878431

SOROUSH SARZAMIN ASATIR SHIP MANAGEMENT COMPANY
Location: No. 5 Shabnam Alley
Golzar Street
Fajr Street
Shahid Motahari Avenue Tehran
193651, Iran
Location: P.O. Box 19365-1114 Tehran, Iran
IMO Number: 5466371

SAFIRAN PAYAM DARYA SHIPPING COMPANY
AKA SAPID SHIPPING CO
Official Address: No. 3, 8th Narenjestan Street, Artesh Boulevard,
Farmaniyah Avenue, Tehran, Iran
Alt. Address: No. 33, 8th Narenjestan Street
Artesh Boulevard, Aghdasieh,
Tehran, Iran
Office Address: P.O. Box 1963116 Tehran, Iran
Web Page: www.sapidshpg.com
E-mail: info@sapidshpg.com

SEIBOW LIMITED
Location: Room 803
8/F
Futura Plaza
111 How Kimg St
Kwun Tong, Kowloon
Hong Kong
Incorporation No.: 926320

SEIBOW LOGISTICS LIMITED
Location: Room 803
8/F
Futura Plaza
111 How Kimg St
Kwun Tong, Kowloon
Hong Kong
Incorporation No.: 1218675

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Preceding provided by the U.S. Treasury Department

Reason behind world’s Gaza flotilla uproar: plain, simple, old-fashioned anti-Semitism

June 15, 2010 Leave a comment

By Morton A. Klein and Dr. Daniel Mandel

NEW YORK–Disturbing, shocking and eye-opening. Israel attempts to legally prevent Iranian missiles and rockets from being delivered to Gaza, controlled by the internationally recognized terrorist group, Hamas; yet the world and media condemns the Jewish state of Israel and mourns the nine Hamas supporters who were killed by Israel in self-defense. And remember – Israel stops weapons, but daily allows delivery of humanitarian aid into Gaza. So why this upside-down world? There is no reasonable explanation but one – anti-Semitism against the Jewish state.

By striking contrast, North Korea’s unprovoked torpedoing and sinking a South Korean ship, killing 45 on board, evokes little response. Russia bulldozing and carpet-bombing of Chechnya, killing thousands of civilians, again evokes little response. The Sudanese regime’s endless massacre of hundreds of thousands of Sudanese Christians and animists is greeted with a deafening silence. Yet, it is Israeli officials who do not travel to certain Western countries for fear of arrest on war crimes charges. North Korean leaders, Russian officers, Sudanese officials and Hamas terrorists travel freely without fear of arrest and prosecution.

Colonel Richard Kemp, former British commander in Afghanistan said, “I don’t think there has ever been a time in the history of warfare when any army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and deaths of innocent people than the IDF in Gaza.” Yet we live in a world in which people increasingly ignore real war crimes while obsessing on fabricated Israeli ones.

The Gaza flotilla consisted of six ships, five of which peacefully complied with the Israeli blockade, were searched and proceeded without bloodshed. Only the sixth ship, the Mavi Mamara, refused to comply. Naturally, the Israelis boarded the ship. Expecting only some noisy pro-Palestinian activists, the Israelis carried merely paintball guns, often used in riot control, and side arms, which were not even drawn.

This was hardly an overreaction. However, the jihadists and their sympathizers on board, who were armed with weapons, night vision goggles and bullet-proof vests, assaulted, seized and overpowered the Israelis with metal rods, bats, knives and even shot and wounded some of the Israelis with the Israelis’ own side arms.

The evidence of the unprovoked assault on the Israelis was clear and quickly available: video footage showing the Israelis being assaulted upon setting foot on board; video clips of the Hamas supporters on board the ship singing songs celebrating the murder of Jews and happily anticipating violence and their own ‘martyrdom.’ Weapons and contraband were subsequently found on the ship. The Turkish IHH, who are known to be Al-Qaeda supporters and aligned with Iran, were the violent Hamas supporters’ enablers. The Turkish government, which permitted the flotilla to sail, claimed falsely that no weapons were on board. But there is no outrage at the violent pro-Hamas activists, the IHH or the Turkish government, who caused or made possible the bloodshed – only the Israelis who defended their lives.

In short, this is not merely a case of biased reporting, confusion or lack of relevant data – it is a case of anti-Semitic agitation. What is occurring is not just the attempted delegitimizing of Israel: this is also the re-legitimizing of anti-Semitism, the idea that Jews are a uniquely sinister force for evil in the world. Anti-Semitism produces the distorted vision which sees Jews as inflicting evil, regardless of the facts.

This resurgent disease is also evident in the generalized criticism of Israel grounded in the false notion that Israel is to blame for the absence of peace. Israeli concessions of territory, money, arms and assets to the Palestinians over 17 years since the 1993 Oslo accords are simply airbrushed from history. Palestinian terrorism is ignored or rationalized, as is the incitement to hatred and murder within the Palestinian Authority and Gaza which feeds it.

By these means Israel is held out as the aggressor, the inflexible power unwilling to make the concessions to the Palestinians that would bring peace. Israel obtains little support for taking justifiable action anyone else wouldn’t hesitate to take – like boarding a ship defying a blockade.

Anti-Semitism demands that Jews do nothing: not fight wars, not kill terrorists, not even block funds and arms reaching their would-be genocidal enemies. Anti-Semitism regards anything short of Jews being defenseless as a violation of the natural order. That is why the Jewish state of Israel is being widely condemned when it is simply trying to protect its own citizens.

Spanish leftist politician Pilar Rahola has asked of much of today’s European left, “Why, of all the world’s conflicts, only this one interests them? Why a tiny country which struggles to survive is criminalized? … why when it is the only country in the world which is threatened with destruction, it is the only one that nobody considers a victim?” The tragic answer, as Rahola rightly concludes, is that this is how “anti-Semites” behave.

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Morton A. Klein is National President of the Zionist Organization of America. Dr. Daniel Mandel is Director of the ZOA’s Center for Middle East Policy and a Fellow in History at Melbourne University.

Mass murder at sea, or in a mosque, and the world is silent. But when Israel defends itself, the world goes crazy

June 5, 2010 1 comment

 By Alex Liff

Alex Liff

SAN DIEGO–In early twentieth century the American journalist John Reed wrote a book called, Ten Days That Shook The World  in which he described the events of the Russian revolution.  Perhaps one day someone will publish something along the lines of “10 days that characterized the world” to describe the sinister 21’st century.   Over 10 days recently we witnessed a series of seemingly unrelated but very interesting events that clearly illustrated the degeneracy of the current 21’st century generation. 

First, came the irrefutable proof, established by an international commission, after a careful, multi month study, that a North Korean torpedo sunk the South Korean ship killing 46 innocent sailors.  It was a clear act of war but you wouldn’t know that by the reaction of the world’s powers.  China refused to condemn the act while Russia insisted on seeing the evidence itself and has still not made any comments.  In general the reaction was rather muted, one that can best be characterized “yep that’s kind of bad, what’s for breakfast Joe?”

Second, came the news out of Pakistan that around 100 innocent worshippers were butchered, slaughtered in cold blood in their houses of worship.  Their crime?  They were Muslim, but apparently the wrong kind of Muslim for their ruthless killers who also were Muslims. The world’s reaction?  Hardly a murmur, not a single Muslim of note in Pakistan or anywhere else for that matter hit the streets with any kind of protest for what has become a nearly daily occurrence in the Muslim world.  And just to prove that this was no fluke, the very next day a group of Muslim gunmen burst into a hospital and butchered six more people, attacking the emergency room of all places.   The world stood by silently once again, no protests, no UN condemnation, complete and utter silence which has become so typical in these occurrences.

And then came Monday, the day the so called “Free Gaza Flotilla” met the Israeli Navy and unleashed a worldwide storm of protest and condemnation.  So what was all that about and what triggered the world’s violent reaction to an event that paled in comparison to the ones above?  Let’s take a look at some interesting facts here.  The Gaza flotilla was essentially sponsored and organized by a Turkish Muslim group with known ties to al Qaeda and Hamas, which were well documented by CIA and other U.S government agencies.   Furthermore, it was put together with the tacit approval if not outright support from the Turkish Islamist government headed by Tayyip Erdogan.   You may remember Erdogan as the one storming off the stage at Davos, in a fit of anger after accusing Israel’s President Shimon Peres of genocide in Gaza after the Israeli actions there to stop the missile firings.  In fact Erdogan has been a relentless critic of Israel, while at the same time warmly embracing  Iran’s  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  He went so far as to declare that Iran had no intentions to build a nuclear bomb, was a peaceful symbol of democracy and was in no way threatening the world peace, unlike the aggressive and human-rights denying Israel. 

Now a naïve observer, may ask, who is this humanitarian dignitary, Tayyip Erdogan, who is so keenly concerned about the supposed humanitarian crisis in Gaza and what makes the Turks so uniquely qualified to champion such noble a cause?  Let history serve us as a quick guide here.  In the early 20th century, right around World War I, the Turks masterminded and executed one of the grisliest genocides in history where in the course of several weeks they raped, pillaged and brutally murdered up to 1.5 million Armenians. 

Furthermore, to make matters worse, despite the overwhelming evidence and worldwide consensus on the historical facts, to this day they have continued to deny that fact and have refused to pay any restitution to the victims.  As a personal aside, my close Armenian friend’s great grandfather was nailed to the door by the Turks in a manner that was very characteristic of the bestial murders of the Armenians. 

A little bit later in the century, as the founder of the current Turkish republic Kamal Ataturk,  launched his war of liberation, the Turks drove out and murdered hundreds of thousands of Greeks and a few remaining Armenians.  I visited the city of Izmir in Turkey, a city which used to be a major Greek center, and there is virtually nothing left to remind one of the Greeks’ existence.  In fact eyewitness accounts from Izmir tell a gruesome story of mass murder of the civilian population, a true ethnic cleansing if you will.  

Continuing our historical journey, deeper into the 20th century, one finds the atrocious treatment of the Turkish Kurds by Ataturk and his successors where an estimated 30,000 of them were murdered, countless others imprisoned, their language and way of life outlawed.  Those were Turkish citizens mind you, their only crime was the desire to maintain their self identity.  In fact, while hitchhiking in Turkey in the 90’s I happened to ride in a car with a Kurdish Turk who after hearing that I am familiar with their plight, opened up, and in broken English told me how the Turkish army murdered half his family and how he could not openly practice his way of life.  So a slight diversion if you will, just to help one understand Turkey’s humanitarian credentials and background.  In fact, as a representative of the Turkish nation, Erdogan would be well served to remember a simple saying along the lines of “He who lives in the glass house, should not toss the first stone”.  

So it is clear that a Muslim, terror-linked charity organized the flotilla, staffed it mostly with Turks and it was sponsored by the Israel-hating, Israel-bashing government of Erdogan to further his own political agenda.   Now, an innocent observer may ask, what about all those supposed Europeans, an Israeli (living in Sweden), a Nobel peace laureate and a Holocaust survivor who were on board?  Well, most of the Europeans, and Australians and other nationalities on board had last names like Talib and Mukhbar and so one.  They are Muslims who happen to have European passports.  The Holocaust survivor in her 80’s can be forgiven for getting matters confused and as for the Israeli, well each nation has its share of Benedict Arnolds and Israel is no different. 

The Israeli government went to great lengths to warn the flotilla to stay away and was clear that they would not be let through.  Israelis offered to transport all of the legal goods to Gaza by land but that did not suit the organizers.  For Erdogan this was simply a way to try to further isolate and embarrass Israel while scoring some cheap points on the home political front.  It’s much better to have the masses focused on the “evil Zionist entity” than on the everyday bleak reality that his party has created at home.  For the willing participants, although they came from different countries and different walks of life, there was one common element that bonded and united them and that was their deep hatred of the state of Israel and all things Jewish.  In other words, a pogrom in the making, Muslim style. 

The Israelis made every effort to avoid a confrontation, warning the ships to turn back on numerous occasions but that is not why these rabble rousers came.  They wanted their day in the sun in the anti-Semitic pantheon and they got it.  Even when faced with such provocation, Israelis made every effort to avoid casualties, foolishly dropping off virtually unarmed commandos into the arms of blood thirsty thugs waiting on board with knives, metal poles and chairs.    Seven brave commandos were savagely beaten and almost lynched, essentially leaving the Israelis no choice but to escalate their use of force to protect these valiant young men.  The fact that only nine rabble rousers were killed is a testament to the Israeli self restraint and courage under fire. 

The world’s reaction to this propaganda trick was swift and predictable.  “State sponsored terrorism” declared Edrogan whose nation should know a thing or two about that.  “A bloody massacre” whined the west’s favorite “moderate,” PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas.  Even the old favorite, “disproportionate use of force” returned, from the mouth of the French.  The Australians, the British and everyone in between piled on and jumped on the merry Israel-bashing bandwagon.  And all those Muslims who were completely silent, virtually non-existent on Saturday when 100 people were butchered in the mosques of Pakistan or Sunday when six more were gunned down in the hospital suddenly found the inspiration to rush to the streets to condemn this “bestial” Israeli aggression that killed nine provocateurs. 

Even the U.S, I guess by now not surprisingly, expressed “concern” and demanded immediate accounting and the facts.  In fact, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sternly warned that the situation in Gaza is not sustainable and cannot continue, in other words, get rid of the blockage and let the Iranian weapons flow in.  Yes, a great friend of Israel indeed.  What made the international reaction even more amazing is the fact that there was clear and undeniable evidence that Israel provided, on tape, showing how the savage crowd set upon the descending commandos, but I guess when it comes to Israel and  the world’s band of anti-Semites, facts are not really relevant.

Predictable? Yes.  Expected?  You bet.  Understandable?  Never.  It is a wicked, crazy world we live in and it’s drifting further into the abyss.  The moral compass is so off kilter that it would almost take a divine intervention to set it straight.  God called on Israel to be a light onto the nations  but the evil darkness that is enveloping us is clearly trying to block out that light.  Let’s say a prayer for the speedy recovery of the valiant Israeli commandos who almost gave their lives protecting us. They are the best, the brightest, they are our pride and strength. Let’s hope that the Israeli generals who sent them into battle with paint guns have learned their lessons.   Israel we stand with thee, the light shall not be overcome with evil darkness. Erdogan and his ilk better take heed. 

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Liff is a freelance journalist based in San Diego

ZOA calls for investigation of Turkey’s role in Gaza flotilla violence

June 1, 2010 Leave a comment

NEW YORK (Press Release)–The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has condemned the media and foreign government attacks, including from China, France, Germany, Italy and Turkey, on Israeli defensive actions against the Gaza terror ship. This ship, part of the ‘Gaza flotilla’ which was organized by a Turkish Islamist group, the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (Islan Haklary Ve Hurriyetleri Vakfi – IHH),  deliberately attempted to breach the lawful Israeli blockade of Gaza, a territory at war with Israel, run by Hamas, an internationally recognized terrorist regime whose Charter calls for the destruction of Israel (Article 15) and the world-wide murder of Jews (Article 7) and which has fired thousands of missiles into Israel in recent years.

The violence of the Hamas supporters on one of the six ships in the Gaza flotilla, including the use of knives, axes, bats, firebombs and metal rods, as well as seizing and using of Israeli personnel’s side-arms, led to clashes and exchanges of fire that has resulted in the reported deaths of 15 people onboard the flotilla. Seven members of the Israeli boarding party, whose non-aggressive intent was evident from being armed principally with paint-ball guns (usually used in crowd control situations, not armed confrontations) were also wounded and injured, some seriously.

The ZOA calls for an investigation of Turkey, the country in which the organization assisting Islamist terrorists and responsible for the flotilla is based; from which the flotilla set sail; and whose government wrongly assured that the flotilla cargo had been duly inspected and found to consist purely of humanitarian supplies and had found no weapons. Yet Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan acknowledged no Turkish responsibility, condemned Israel and demanded punishing Israel for the calling it a “bloody massacre.”

To call the deaths of the 15 on board, as Erdogan did, a “massacre” when shooting did not occur until half an hour after Israeli personnel boarded the vessel and were assaulted by Hamas supporters in the manner already described is an obscene and absurd charge. It was only when the lives of Israeli personnel were in serious jeopardy that the Israelis begin to defend themselves. If those on board had not brutally assaulted the Israeli soldiers, not one Israeli shot would have been fired and no one would have been harmed.

The ZOA also rejects international criticism of the lawful Israeli action to board and inspect the vessels of the Hamas-supporting Gaza flotilla and contrasts this criticism with the relative silence and lack of interest in North Korea’s recent, unprovoked torpedoing of a South Korean vessel, resulting in the deaths of 45 South Korean servicemen. That the United Nations and the world said virtually nothing over North Korea’s unjustified and unprovoked action exposes the hypocrisy of the hue and cry against Israel for a lawful boarding of the Gaza flotilla that encountered unnecessary, unjustifiable and deliberate assault from the Hamas supporters ion the flotilla.

The bad faith and violence of the flotilla has passed without serious condemnation from the United Nations and the world, thereby assisting the cause of the terrorists who organized this propaganda event.

The IHH is not a peaceable, charitable institution – it is a Muslim Brotherhood-connected, Islamist organization, outlawed by Israel in 2008 for involvement in Hamas’ global fund-raising machinery. It has been similarly involved in assisting violent Islamist groups in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Chechnya. In 2006, the Danish Institute for International Studies demonstrated the IHH’s connections to al-Qaeda. The IHH belongs to a Saudi-based umbrella organization known to finance terrorism called the Union of Good (Ittilaf al-Kheir in Arabic), chaired by Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, who is known best for his religious ruling that encourages suicide attacks against Israeli civilians. In November 2008, the U.S. Treasury designated the Union’s leaders as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT) “created by Hamas leadership to transfer funds to the terrorist organization.”’

According to the French magistrate Jean-Louis Bruguiere, testifying at the Seattle trial of would-be al Qaeda Millenium bomber Ahmed Ressamin, the IHH had played “[a]n important role” in the al Qaeda Millenium bomb plot targeting Los Angeles airport.  The IHH has also been involved in weapons trafficking, and played in addition a key role in galvanizing anti-Western sentiment among Turkish Muslims in the lead-up to the 2003 war in Iraq.

The Gaza flotilla is also the brainchild of prominent members of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), including ISM co-founder Huwaida Arraf, who has described suicide bombings as “noble” and argued that Palestinian so-called resistance “must”’ include violence.

The ZOA condemns those journalists and media outlets that grossly mislead the public by falsely identifying the Hamas-supporting Gaza flotilla members as “peace activists” (for example, Charles Levinson in the Wall Street Journal) and the armed clashes aboard the ship initiated by the Hamas supporters as a “massacre” (The Scotsman). It also condemns Associated Press (AP) reporters Selcan Hacaoglu and Lee Keath, who virtually eliminated from their account any reference to the violence initiated against the Israeli boarding party and who were silent about the video evidence showing the initiation of violence by the flotilla members against the Israeli boarding party.

These inexcusable omissions and distortions enabled them to mislead the public by writing of “Israel’s deadly commando raid on ships taking humanitarian aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip.” Such reports have given aid and comfort to the terrorists by helping produce condemnation and anti-Israeli demonstrations in Europe and the Arab and Muslim worlds.

Prior to sailing, the flotilla members were filmed chanting songs glorifying violence and killing, including one about ‘Khaybar’ – the iconic slaughter of Jews by Muslims in the 7th century which is used as a rallying cry to kill the Jews today by Islamist terrorists. Some of these supporters spoke keenly of ‘martyrdom’ – achieving their own death through launching violence against others.

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “The ZOA is appalled at the hypocrisy and dishonesty of the international criticism of Israel to the deaths on board the Gaza flotilla and the corresponding relative absence of international condemnation of the deliberate and violent assault of the Hamas-supporting Gaza flotilla members to a lawful Israeli boarding party….”

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Preceding provided by Zionist Organization of America

Gaza flotilla controversy once again shows world’s double standard toward Israel

June 1, 2010 Leave a comment

By Rabbi Ben Kamin

Rabbi Ben Kamin

SAN DIEGO–Like sizzling meat thrown to rabid dogs, the sad business on the sea  on Monday  off the shores of Israel and Gaza has given vociferous energy to the knee-jerk anti-Semites and their leftist acolytes who find fault with everything about Israel except its mortality.

Granted, it is difficult to applaud an operation that in and by itself was bungled enough that civilians were killed—even though the inevitable American investigation will reveal that the civilians from several nations were set up to be endangered.  After all, no one, not even the Arab/Islamic tilted and heavily-winded “United Nations” has ever disproved the fact that Hamas—the wholesale terrorist syndicate that owns and operates Gaza—has used children as human shields in its nonstop rocket and infiltration war against Israeli towns and villages.

Israel, like any sovereign nation, has every right to blockade in international waters while defending itself against an entity (Hamas/Gaza) publicly sworn to its elimination.  Many nations, including the United States, have done so in certain situations.  The sudden activity and righteousness at the UN is funny.  When Egypt blockaded the Red Sea in 1967 at the Straits of Tiran and publicly declared a war of extermination against Israel’s population (with Syria as its immediate ally) the UN did not call a meeting.  But it did immediately withdraw its peacekeeping force—perhaps the worst betrayal of any people since the Holocaust only two decades prior.

Let’s get real and let’s get the facts: Israel has no quarrel with humanitarian aid to the stricken people who barely subsist in Gaza (does Hamas want to actually get involved with this problem rather than continue killing Israeli kids?) and Israel has offered to deliver such aid after an inspection of such convoys.  Many Israeli citizens are sickened by the conditions in Gaza and a majority of the electorate favors a two-state solution but do have this strange insistence on safety and security for themselves and their children.

As the veteran journalist and editor Leslie Gelb has just written: +

Where was the international outrage and demand for explanations and retribution when the North Koreans sunk a South Korean ship?   Where was it when the Gazans attacked Israel?  Where, when Afghan men flogged their women for not wearing veils?  Where, when Saudi Arabia funds terrorists around the world?  This international outrage is highly selective, isn’t it?

There is a reasonable solution to this terrible dilemma: The Gazan people are in need of food and medicine, and Israel must protect itself against Gazan terrorists.  President Obama should propose this simple arrangement: First, those wishing to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza agree to land aircraft, dock ships, and use land checkpoints all reasonably designated by Israel for inspection of contents. Second, Israel agrees to inspect cargoes within two to three days, and allow all humanitarian goods to proceed to Gaza immediately.

From my point of view, the paradigm of what happened on Monday is this: One young Jewish boy, an Israeli naval soldier, was stupidly lowered by helicopter into a sea of hostile “humanitarians” on a ship who promptly stabbed, clubbed, and threw him overboard—thus prompting a blast of weapons and fatalities.  Meanwhile, another day went by in Gaza for a sea of faceless Palestinian kids who are hungry, sick, and without a future.

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Rabbi Kamin is a San Diego based freelance writer.  His articles also appear on examiner.com