Archive for May 26, 2018

Louisiana Becomes 25th State to Bar Business Ties with Companies Boycotting Israel

May 26, 2018

By Deborah Danan May 26, 2018 Breitbart

Source Link: Louisiana Becomes 25th State to Bar Business Ties with Companies Boycotting Israel

{Home sweet home. – LS}

TEL AVIV – Louisiana on Tuesday became the 25th U.S. state to bar state government agencies from doing business with companies that are involved in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

“The United States, and by affiliation Louisiana, have benefited in innumerable ways from our deep friendship with Israel. Any effort to boycott Israel is an affront to this longstanding relationship. I am pleased that Louisiana will join what is now a critical mass of states in supporting our closest ally,” Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, said in a statement.

The order directs the state commissioner of administration to terminate existing state contracts with companies that are either currently boycotting Israel or supporting those who do. It further stipulates that future state contracts will first require parties to sign an agreement stating their compliance with the new law.

The executive order specifies BDS and says it hopes to reverse the anti-Israel movement’s aim to isolate the Jewish state. “The state of Louisiana unequivocally rejects the BDS campaign and stands firmly with Israel,” the order reads.

Edwards issued the order on the same night the Governor’s Mansion celebrated the 70th anniversary of Israel’s creation. Earlier on Tuesday, the House passed a resolution praising the anniversary.

Pro-Israel groups lauded Edwards’ move.

The Israel Project said in a statement from its CEO Josh Block:

The Israel Project is grateful to the governor for his leadership in fighting back against BDS discrimination. Advocates of BDS discrimination remain committed to their anti-Semitic agenda of isolating and demonizing the world’s only Jewish State. Its founders have openly called for Israel’s destruction and made it clear that they target Israel’s very existence, not its policies. From the North to South, in blue and red states – and with strong bipartisan support – lawmakers in 25 states have now declared BDS a form of discrimination and sent a clear signal that their states will not tolerate or condone taxpayer dollars going to subsidize anti-Israel hate.

“We are heartened that Louisiana has taken a strong stand opposing discrimination against Israel,” Roz Rothstein, CEO of StandWithUs, said. “Earlier this year, the city of New Orleans rejected an anti-Semitic resolution, and now the state has made clear that taxpayer funds should not support businesses which discriminate.”

The Jewish Federations of North America said that the move marks “a critical moment in which fifty percent of U.S. states have received the message that boycotting Israel is bad for business,” according to a statement released by the group’s Senior Vice President of Public Policy William Daroff.

“These state actions address the discriminatory nature of BDS and the ability for states to control their own commerce. We thank the governor and the many community activists who made this possible in Louisiana,” Daroff added.

 

Russia said to test missile that can down F-35 fighter jet 

May 26, 2018

Source: Russia said to test missile that can down F-35 fighter jet | The Times of Israel

In world’s longest-range surface-to-air missile test, S-500 missile reportedly hits target 300 miles away

Russian S-500 missile being prepared for testing. (Screen capture: YouTube)

Russian S-500 missile being prepared for testing. (Screen capture: YouTube)

Russia has successfully conducted the world’s longest-range surface-to-air missile test, according to a report in US media on Thursday.

The S-500 missile, which Russia said will be able to down F-35 fighter jets — the most advanced in America’s (and Israel’s) fleets, as well as ballistic missiles — was able to hit a target 480 kilometers (299 miles) away CNBC reported, citing “sources with direct knowledge of US intelligence concerning the weapons program.”

Israel said this week its F-35 fighter jet conducted airstrikes on at least two occasions, reportedly in Syria, which Air Force commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin said made Israel the first country in the world to use the American-made stealth aircraft operationally.

The US military source, who spoke to CNBC anonymously, said that the Russian test was 80 kilometers (50 miles) further than any previous test.

A photograph of an Israeli F-35 stealth fighter jet flying over the Lebanese capital of Beirut, which was apparently leaked to Israel’s Hadashot news, May 2018. (Screen capture)

Russia has said that the S-500 will be operational by 2020 and will also have the capability to hit targets in near space, 100 kilometers (62 miles) above earth.

There was no confirmation of the test from the Kremlin.

The S-500 will operate alongside the S-400 missiles and are set to replace the aging S-300 systems.

Russia had reportedly contemplated supplying S-300 missiles to Syria, but earlier this month, after intensive lobbying by Israel, Moscow said it would not provide Damascus with the advanced air defense system.

In French poll, majority say Zionism is a Jewish conspiracy

May 26, 2018

Source: In French poll, majority say Zionism is a Jewish conspiracy – Diaspora – Jerusalem Post

The poll also revealed widespread hostility toward and ignorance about Israel.

BY JTA
 MAY 26, 2018 08:41
In French poll, majority say Zionism is a Jewish conspiracy

Zionism is a Jewish conspiracy meant to manipulate Western societies to benefit Jews.

That’s the belief of a majority of 1,007 French respondents to a poll about the Jewish nationalist movement.

Some 53 percent of the respondents to the survey conducted this year by the Ifop polling company agreed with the statement that “Zionism is an international organization that seeks to influence the world and societies to the Jews’ benefit,” the Union of Jewish Students in France, or UEJF, said in a report this week about the poll that it commissioned Ifop to perform.

Of those, 11 percent said they “strongly agree.” Half of the respondents said Zionism was a “racist ideology.”

At the same time, 54 percent of respondents agreed that anti-Zionism is a form of antisemitism and 59 percent agreed with the statement that Zionism is a “movement of liberation and emancipation for the Jewish people.”

Twenty-six percent of respondents said they thought a boycott Israel was justified. Israel’s existence “feeds antisemitism,” 38 percent of the respondents said.

The poll also revealed widespread hostility toward and ignorance about Israel.

Almost a quarter of the respondents said that Israel declared its independence after 1980. A third indicated correctly that the nation was established in 1948.

Israel was described as a “threat to regional stability” by 57 percent of respondents and as a “theocracy” by 51 percent. The assertions that Israel is a democracy and is a “normal country like all other” received approval ratings of 46 and 48 percent, respectively.

All-or-nothing approach: Washington’s maximalist doctrine 

May 26, 2018

Source: All-or-nothing approach: Washington’s maximalist doctrine – American Politics – Jerusalem Post

It’s an approach that Trump has applied to every major negotiation he says he is interested in pursuing thus far.

BY MICHAEL WILNER
 MAY 26, 2018 11:57
US President Donald Trump holds up a proclamation declaring his intention to withdraw from the JCPOA

WASHINGTON – When Donald Trump withdrew the US from an international arms control agreement with Iran earlier this month, Washington’s foreign policy establishment fought passionately over the path forward. Reasonable people disagreed. But nonproliferation experts united in their criticism of Trump, fearful that his actions risked undermining global efforts to limit the spread of nuclear weapons.

Former and current UN and US nuclear experts focused on the technical aspects of what was a remarkably granular document– to the chagrin of its detractors – insisting that the Iran deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), includes some of the strictest and most intrusive nuclear inspections ever designed.

Many in the field remain impressed that the 2015 agreement secured monitoring of the entire supply chain that once fueled Iran’s nuclear program, from the mines and mills that produce its raw materials to its storage facilities, to the research centers and the enrichment sites themselves.

But opponents of the JCPOA have long disagreed with this assessment, noting that the deal did not grant inspectors access to Iran’s military facilities. This created a blind spot for nuclear watchdogs precisely where Iran had previously experimented with nuclear weapons technology.

Inspections could theoretically take place directly parallel to active weapons research and development, unbeknownst to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the critics claimed, pointing to the existence of an archive of Iranian atomic files publicly revealed by Israel this month that were previously unknown to the IAEA.

This ongoing policy debate – over the most effective way to limit and control the physical levers of Iran’s nuclear weapons program – produced a nonpartisan divide over the merits of the 2015 accord. Much of the disagreement was not over the nefarious and destructive nature of the Iranian government, on which most parties agreed, but over more technical matters such as oversight and verification tactics.

And yet, technical debate seems to have had little impact on Trump’s political decision to pull out of the JCPOA – much less on his strategy after withdrawal.

Neither Trump nor Mike Pompeo, his new secretary of state, has laid out in detail a doctrine combating the spread of nuclear weapons. The Trump administration has not offered a comprehensive plan that will compel Iran to concede more than it did over nine years of sanctions and talks – initially held with Britain, France and Germany, before they expanded to the full UN Security Council – beyond demanding its leaders come to heel under a new round of crushing economic constraints.

And if the technical standards outlined in the JCPOA were insufficient to Trump, he is unlikely to be satisfied with the outcome of nuclear talks with North Korea – even if those go well. Pyongyang does not merely possess a uranium enrichment program, as Tehran does, but a declared military weapons program spread across countless sites throughout the country and stocked with up to 60 nuclear bombs.

In both cases, Trump has taken maximalist positions, demanding full disarmament, a complete dismantlement of nuclear infrastructure and absolutist access for inspectors to any site at any time, effectively requiring the governments to relinquish their sovereignty. Many argue this is justified in the cases particular to these rogue nations. That might be so, but getting their leaders to agree to such terms through diplomatic means would be an unprecedented, impractical feat.

So far, this is all we have to work on as we try to glean a Trump doctrine still early in this chaotic presidency. Trump is in the middle of several high-stakes games of chicken and we don’t know what it takes to make him blink – to offer concessions – or how the games might end if he never does.

In some ways, the Trump team is looking at the dilemma of a nuclear Iran through the same lens as the Iranians themselves, because the technical process of their nuclear work has been weaponized by their leaders for strategic means.

Iran has discovered a state of being in which it can achieve regime security and potential for power projection enjoyed by nuclear-weapons states, just without being burdened by all the costs of constructing the bomb itself – a “nuclear threshold” position achieved in a Goldilocks-period of uranium enrichment where it perfects the miniaturization of warheads and delivery systems, and stockpiles excessive amounts of fissile material enriched to the highest acceptable grade without putting all of the pieces together.

If this is the Iranian strategy, as the US intelligence community concluded in 2013, the nuclear deal cannot only be viewed as a strictly technical nonproliferation document.

Suddenly, the status of Iran’s nuclear program cannot only be gauged and measured by nuclear scientists assessing yellowcake sourcing and centrifuge efficiency. It must also be seen through a strategic lens, as the Iranians see it, if and when world leaders conclude that the aims toward which Iran has used its nuclear work run contrary to their national interests.

That seems to be the case today with Trump’s policy on Iran – and it might justify his decision to link the Iranian nuclear file with all of the other files of concern to the US with respect to the Islamic Republic, including its human rights abuses, its ballistic missile work, its support for terrorist organizations and the march of its Revolutionary Guard Corps across the Middle East.

But paradoxically, this linkage, while perhaps justified in a moral sense, complicates any realistic strategy going forward meant to thwart any one of these “malign” Iranian activities. In demanding that Tehran categorically end its nuclear work, abandon its support for Syria’s Bashar Assad, withdraw from Yemen, end its indefinite detentions of political prisoners without trial, cease all ballistic missile activity and end support for Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas in Gaza, the US risks accomplishing nothing – and perhaps exacerbating everything.

It is a doctrine, indeed, of all-or-nothing. It’s an American bullishness that, to a portion of the president’s domestic audience, presents the sort of tough leadership that helped get him elected. And it’s an approach that Trump has applied to every major negotiation he says he is interested in pursuing thus far, whether it be with Iran or North Korea, or even between Israelis and Palestinians.

His approach only tells us what we already knew: Trump wants big deals. It has not yet told us how he will get there.