Archive for November 14, 2017

Congressmen: U.S. Ceding Syria to Iran, Causing Rift With Israel

November 14, 2017

Lawmakers urge Trump admin for strategy to remove Iranian presence from Syria

BY:

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/congressmen-u-s-ceding-syria-iran-causing-rift-israel/

A large, bipartisan delegation of lawmakers warned the Trump administration on Tuesday that its regional policies are laying the groundwork for Iran to takeover Syria, according to a letter sent to the State Department that urged the administration to present Congress with a plan for combating the Islamic Republic’s foothold in the war torn country.

Nearly 50 members of Congress who recently returned from a trip to the Middle East warned Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that Syria is falling into Iran’s hands, a situation that has caused anxiety among Israeli leaders, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

The two-page letter includes intelligence that Iran is using Syria to establish weapons factories that arm the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah. If the United States does not take immediate action to combat Iran’s presence in Syria it is likely to establish a permanent military foothold in the country, which would endanger U.S. troops and allies such as Israel.

The letter comes as many in Congress on both sides of the aisle have begun to express concerns about what they say is the Trump administration’s failure to effectively combat Iran’s growing military foothold across the Middle East, including in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon, and elsewhere.

The situation has become so pressing that Congress is requesting the Trump administration present it with a concrete plan to combat Iran’s growing military foothold in Syria, according to the latest letter.

“Should Iran be allowed to maintain a permanent military presence in Syria, it would pose a significant threat to Israel, Jordan, and United States interests,” the delegation of more than 40 lawmakers wrote. “A permanent Iranian presence in Syria would connect Lebanon-based Hezbollah to Iran via Iraq and Syria. This would give Iran the ability to project power from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea.”

“Any agreement or policy that allows Iran to station forces on or near Israel and Jordan’s border does not serve U.S. interests,” the letter stated.

As a result of the situation, the lawmakers are requesting the Trump administration’s State Department offer a formal plan to combat Iran’s military presence in Syria.

“We urge you to come to Congress with a strategy for Syria that includes how the United States plans to prevent Iran from gaining a permanent foothold on Israel and Jordan’s doorstep and to block Iranian arms exports to Hezbollah,” they wrote.

Rep. Brian Mast (R., Fla.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and one of the letter’s authors, told the Washington Free Beacon that Israeli leaders expressed concerns about Iran’s operations in Syria during recent meetings.

“After my time in the Army, I volunteered to serve alongside the IDF because Israel and the United States stand for the same values: freedom, democracy and mutual respect for all people,” Mast said. “During my last trip to Israel, I heard directly from Israeli military leaders about Iranian operations in Syria.”

“The United States urgently needs a strategy for Syria that includes plans to prevent Iran from encroaching on Israel and Jordan, as well as blocking Iranian arms exports to Hezbollah,” Mast said.

Other congressional leaders who signed the letter include Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.), and a contingent of foreign policy leaders in the House.

The lawmakers say they are aware of evidence that Iran has deployed to Syria anywhere from 1,300 to 1,800 of its elite Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps fighters.

This marks “a significant departure from a historical policy of keeping regular army forces within Iran’s borders,” according to the lawmakers.

Iran also has directed Hezbollah forces and other militia fighters to battle on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al Assad, the lawmakers said.

The war in Syria has provided Iranian-backed forces with “extensive know-how in offensive operations” and boosted coordination between the Islamic Republic and Russian air force, the lawmakers warn.

“As the tactical experience of its fighters has grown, so has its weapons stockpile,” they wrote. “Hezbollah’s 150,000 rockets and missiles is larger than that of most states and could pose a grave military threat to Israel.”

There have been additional reports that Iran is building weapons factories in Syria to produce precision guided missiles for Hezbollah.

PM: If it weren’t for Israel, Iran would already have nuclear weapons

November 14, 2017
http://www.israelhayom.com/2017/11/14/pm-if-it-werent-for-israel-iran-would-already-have-nuclear-weapons/

Normalizing anti-Semitism on campus

November 14, 2017

Normalizing anti-Semitism on campus, Israel National News, Dr. Richard L. Cravatts, November 13, 2017

Progressive students have decided, from within their own moral self-righteousness, that the Palestinian campaign for self-determination is such a sacred cause that anyone who questions it or expresses the Israeli point of view is a moral retrograde. To support Israel is to risk being deemed a racist, an imperialist, a tacit supporter of apartheid. And more than that: if you are Jewish, or even a non-Jewish student with no connection to Palestinian Arabs or Israelis who has not publicly proclaimed his or her allegiance to the Palestinian cause and denounced the Israeli one, he or she can be deemed morally unworthy of serving as a student leader or even, in the South African instance, of attending a particular university.

The student leaders who, in the context of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, now try to suppress all thought of which they disapprove have sacrificed one of the core values for which the university exists. In their zeal to be inclusive, and to recognize the needs and aspirations of victim groups, they pretend to foster inquiry but have actually stifled it. The first victim in the dilution of academic free speech and debate has been the truth.

***************************

At McGill University recently, three board members of the University’s Students’ Society were removed from their appointments after a vote at the Fall General Assembly due to their alleged “Jewish conflict of interest.” The ouster was led by a pro-BDS student group, Democratize McGill, which was campaigning against pro-Israel students in the wake of a September ruling by the Judicial Board that had rejected the BDS movement on the McGill campus once and for all. This was done on the grounds that the movement failed to uphold the university’s constitution by “violat[ing] the rights of [Israeli] students to represent themselves” and discriminating on the basis of national origin.

In retaliation, and to eliminate pro-Israel views on the board, Democratize McGill launched an effort to purge the board of BDS opponents. This effort was based on the cynical notion that such opponents harbored a clear conflict of interest that arose from their purported biases. Because the students in question were Jewish or pro-Israel (or both), they were labeled by Democratize McGill as incapable of making informed or fair decisions as student leaders.

In stating this premise, the pro-BDS students ignored their own obvious biases as well as the lack of any balance in their own views on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. They nonetheless felt entirely comfortable suppressing pro-Israel voices and Jewish students on the board, asserting that they sought to remove these students because they “are all either fellows at the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee (CJPAC), an organization whose explicit mandate is to promote pro-Israel discourse in Canadian politics, or primary organizers for the anti-BDS initiative at McGill.”

Those students were to be disqualified, in other words, for having views that differed from those of the student leaders who sought to purge them. The Jewish board member and two other non-Jewish, pro-Israel board members were subsequently voted off the board.

McGill has a history of seeking to suppress pro-Israel expression, not only in the student government but also in its press. An example is a 2016 controversy involving The McGill Daily, which made the astonishing editorial admission that it was the paper’s policy not to publish “pieces which promote a Zionist worldview, or any other ideology which we consider oppressive.”

“While we recognize that, for some, Zionism represents an important freedom project,” the editors wrote, “we also recognize that it functions as a settler-colonial ideology that perpetuates the displacement and the oppression of the Palestinian people.”

Leading up to this revealing editorial, a McGill student, Molly Harris, had filed a complaint with the Students’ Society of McGill University’s (SSMU) equity committee. In that complaint, Harris contended that, based on the paper’s obvious anti-Israel bias, and “a set of virulently anti-Semitic tweets from a McGill Daily writer,” a “culture of anti-Semitism” defined the Daily – a contention apparently confirmed by the fact that several of the paper’s editors were BDS supporters and none of the staffers was Jewish.

An attempted purging of a pro-Israel student from student government, similar to the inquisition that occurred at McGill, took place in February 2015 at UCLA, when several council members on the USAC Judicial Board, UCLA student government’s highest judicial body, grilled Rachel Beyda, then a second-year economics student, when she sought a seat on the board.

The focus on her candidacy was not her qualifications for the position (which no one seemed to doubt), but the fact that she was Jewish. At issue was the way her “affiliation with Jewish organizations at UCLA . . . might affect her ability to rule fairly on cases in which the Jewish community has a vested interest in the outcome, such as cases related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” as the student newspaper described it.

“Ruling fairly,” of course, meant ruling in support of the increasingly virulent anti-Israel campaign on the UCLA campus. Solely on the grounds of her religion, she failed the political litmus test that so-called progressive students, enthralled with their pursuit of social justice, see as their default position – being pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel.

The same thinking inspired a similarly discriminatory proposal the previous May by two members of UCLA’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which attempted to bar Jewish candidates from filling council positions if they had taken trips to Israel subsidized by the Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee, or other organizations. According to the activists, those organizations “have openly campaigned against divestment from corporations that profit from Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights.”

Of course, there was no mention in this debate of sponsored trips to send pro-Palestinian students to Israel or the territories on propaganda excursions designed to malign Israel and teach visitors an alternate, anti-Israel narrative. Once again, in addition to trying to stack the deck against the pro-Israel argument, this proposal took it as a given that anyone not committed to the Palestinian cause was by default not to be trusted, incapable of making unbiased decisions, and morally compromised.

A particularly odious attempt to rid a campus of Jewish and pro-Israel voices took place in 2015 when student council leaders at Durban University of Technology (DUT) in South Africa floated a proposal suggesting that Jewish students be purged entirely from the institution. As the student body’s secretary, Mqondisi Duma, put it, “We took the decision that Jewish students, especially those who do not support the Palestinian struggle, should deregister.” This is, one would think, a rather shocking sentiment from students who themselves benefited from a worldwide campaign in the 1970s and 1980s to end South Africa’s racist apartheid system.

The moral arrogance of the South African students’ proposal was breathtaking, and not only because of its grotesque version of the anti-Semitic practice of making all Jews responsible for the political actions of Israel. It revealed that the pro-Palestinian movement is so enthralled with the righteousness of its cause that anyone who harbors or expresses other views is considered a pariah, unworthy to have his or her ideas heard in the marketplace of ideas on campus.

Progressive students have decided, from within their own moral self-righteousness, that the Palestinian campaign for self-determination is such a sacred cause that anyone who questions it or expresses the Israeli point of view is a moral retrograde. To support Israel is to risk being deemed a racist, an imperialist, a tacit supporter of apartheid. And more than that: if you are Jewish, or even a non-Jewish student with no connection to Palestinian Arabs or Israelis who has not publicly proclaimed his or her allegiance to the Palestinian cause and denounced the Israeli one, he or she can be deemed morally unworthy of serving as a student leader or even, in the South African instance, of attending a particular university.

The student leaders who, in the context of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, now try to suppress all thought of which they disapprove have sacrificed one of the core values for which the university exists. In their zeal to be inclusive, and to recognize the needs and aspirations of victim groups, they pretend to foster inquiry but have actually stifled it. The first victim in the dilution of academic free speech and debate has been the truth.

Dr. Richard L. Cravatts, President Emeritus of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, is the author of Dispatches from the Campus War Against Israel and Jews.

 

The UN – here we go again

November 14, 2017

The UN – here we go again | Anne’s Opinions, 13th November 2017

UN – Useless Nations

It was action replay time at the UN General Assembly last week, as the UN lived down to our expectations and voted to condemn Israel 9 times:

GENEVA, Nov. 10, 2017 – The U.N. General Assembly will condemn Israel nine times today, “part of its annual ritual of enacting 20 Arab-sponsored resolutions singling out the Jewish state, and making no mention of Hamas stabbings, shootings or vehicular attacks against Israelis,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based monitoring group UN Watch. Click here for list of 9 resolutions.

By contrast, in this year’s session there will be a total of 6 condemnatory resolutions for the rest of the world combined — with one each on Syria, North Korea, Iran, Crimea, Myanmar, as well as one on the U.S. for its Cuba embargo.

All 193 UN member states participate in the initial committee vote today, and then almost always vote the same way in a second and final vote at the GA plenary in December.

“The U.N.’s assault on Israel today with a torrent of one-sided resolutions is surreal,” said Neuer.

“Even after Syrian president Bashar Assad has used chemical weapons against his own people within the past year, the U.N. is about to adopt a resolution — drafted and co-sponsored by Syria — which falsely condemns Israel for ‘repressive measures’ against Syrian citizens on the Golan Heights. It’s obscene,” said Neuer.

“While there will be a total of 20 resolutions against Israel this session, not a single U.N. General Assembly resolution is planned today or this year for gross human rights abusers such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Venezuela, China, Cuba, Pakistan or Zimbabwe.”

“At a time when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his state-controlled media incite to the continued stabbing and shooting of Israeli Jews, the U.N.’s response is to reflexively condemn Israel in nine separate resolutions, each of them one-sided, each of them utterly silent on Palestinian abuses.”

The resolution drafted annually by Syria condemns Israel for holding on to the Golan Heights, and demands Israel hand the land and its people to Syria.

Israeli military medics assisting wounded Syrians in April. Credit Dusan Vranic/Associated Press

“It’s astonishing,” said Neuer. “After the Syrian regime has killed its own people by the hundreds of thousands over six years, how can the U.N. call for more people to be subject to Assad’s rule? The timing of today’s text is morally galling, and logically absurd.”

“Today’s resolutions claim to care about Palestinians, yet the U.N. is oblivious to the dozens of Palestinians who have been slaughtered, maimed and expelled by Assad’s forces, and more than 3,000 victims killed since 2011.”

“Today’s farce at the General Assembly underscores a simple fact: the U.N.’s automatic majority has no interest in truly helping Palestinians, nor in protecting anyone’s human rights; the goal of these ritual, one-sided condemnations remains the scapegoating of Israel,” said Neuer.

“The U.N.’s disproportionate assault against the Jewish state undermines the institutional credibility of what is supposed to be an impartial international body. Politicization and selectivity harm its founding mission, eroding the U.N. Charter promise of equal treatment to all nations large and small,” Neuer added.

As a further example of the UN’s extreme insanity, there is a possibility that Iran will chair the next UNESCO Executive Board!

A diplomatic battle is under way to prevent Iran’s election to the post of UNESCO Executive Board chairman to replace Michael Worbs of Germany.

The words of Jeremiah in Eicha (Lamentations) illustrated perfectly at UNESCO

Israel has had a contentious relationship with the 58-member board, which in the past has approved resolutions that some say have ignored Jewish ties to Judaim’s holiest site, the Temple Mount.

US and Israeli efforts to block Iran received a boost on Wednesday when the Philippines was one of 27 countries the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s General Assembly elected to a four-year term on the board, effective immediately. Some of those countries are serving their second four-year terms.

In advance of the November 16 election, the board has been split between choosing Iran or South Korea to head the board, but it is possible that the Asia Pacific group will push the Philippines ambassador as a compromise candidate, a diplomatic source speculated in a conversation with The Jerusalem Post.

But the overall make-up of the board with the new members is seen as more hostile to Israel than the previous one.

Germany and the Netherlands lost seats and Turkey gained one. Jordan joined Egypt on the board, thereby providing additional support to any anti-Israel resolutions regarding Jerusalem in the future.

Whether Iran is elected or not, the result is almost irrelevant given the inherent hostility to Israel built in to the organization. The more important issue is the fact that a terror-supporting and revolution-exporting country, which is destabilising the Middle East and holding the world hostage to its desire to build nuclear weapons, could even be considered for such a symbolic post. In fact Iran should not be allowed to be a member of the UN at all.

Then again if the UN expelled every terror-supporting member state, there would be almost no UN left at all. Quite a comforting thought, all in all.

Israel’s Ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama Hacohen, slammed the organization as “the Titanic of international organizations”:

UNESCO is “the Titanic of international organizations,” Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization said, accusing it of deliberately falsifying history to persecute the Jewish people.

Carmel Shama Hacohen argues with a Palestinian diplomat at UNESCO

In a scathing speech Friday to UNESCO’s 39th General Conference in Paris, Carmel Shama-Hacohen also slammed the United Arab Emirates for having given a gift to all member states but Israel, urging delegates to give it back in protest.

“UNESCO is the Titanic of international organizations, which was hijacked and led by the Arab Group into crashing the iceberg of politicization, and which has been sinking ever since,” Shama-Hacohen said.

He added: “Sadly, UNESCO has been hijacked and abused as a tool for the persecution of Israel and the Jewish people, while concocting fake facts and fake history, meant to erase our history in Jerusalem and rewrite global history.”

Shama-Hacohen dedicated a significant part of his speech to the UAE’s October 30 snub of Israel, though he did not name the Gulf state by name.

At the opening of the General Conference in Paris, the Emirati delegation had placed a box containing a silver medal on the desk of each foreign delegation in honor of the UAE having sponsored the renovation of the conference hall. No box, however, was placed on Shama-Hacohen’s desk.

“Even the inauguration of this very hall was contaminated with the poison of politicization, as the donor state handed out to all member missions a greeting letter and a medal memorabilia: all member missions, aside from one — Israel,” the Israeli envoy said Friday. “How petty, how primitive, how pathetic.”

The incident made clear once again “that petro-dollars can buy much, but there’s no price tag on wisdom, manners and etiquette. Your wealth might be in money, but in dignity you are poorer than poor,” he added.

“These wrongs are done in full daylight, and all keep quiet: silent accomplices to discrimination in sports: one of the foundations of education and culture, and silent accomplices to the attempts to isolate and ostracize Israel in the inauguration of this hall,” Shama-Hacohen said Friday.

“As for the silver medal, which was handed to you as a gift, I’d return it if I were you, so as not to partake in a despicable act which has no place in a free and enlightened world.”

Kol hakavod to those diplomats who took Hacohen at his word and handed him their medals:

Many foreign diplomats stationed at UNESCO gave him their medals — which bore a portrait of Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the deputy ruler of Dubai and the country’s finance minister of the UAE — in protest of the UAE’s move, the Israeli envoy said.

“My initial instinct was to put it to good use as a doorstop,” he said. “However, after giving it some more thought, I decided to donate them to the Syrian refugees who are wandering the cold streets of Paris. These refugees include infants and children, who escaped the atrocities of the Syrian regime and the chemical attacks of that member of the Arab Group against its own women, children and innocent civilians.”

He added: “If you only invested in them 1% of the efforts you put in here against Israel, their lives would have been better.”

Watch his speech below. If only his English was better pronunciated he would make a much bigger impact. Nevertheless, kol hakavod on an excellent speech:

As a palate cleanser listen to UN Ambassador the UN Nikki Haley’s fantastic speech to the Israel-American Council as she blasted the previous Obama administration for its betrayal of Israel at the UN, and pledged staunch American support for Israel:

Nikki Haley is a shining example of what a diplomat should look like. Sadly she is a rare diamond in a pig sty.