Archive for January 23, 2020

Christian. Israeli. IDF Officer. 

January 23, 2020



Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Speaks at Leningrad Memorial in Jerusalem 

January 23, 2020



A comment on one of my pro-Israel vids:

January 23, 2020

Source: Comments – YouTube

I’m an American Marine Recon Special Forces and I’d go fight with and for Israel any day my Brother ! Don’t cry we are Brothers and that’s what Brothers do for each other, I’m GySgt Bray of the 1st Marine Recon Amphibious Assault Unit 11 Bravo MARSOC MARINES 🇺🇸🇮🇱🇺🇸🇮🇱 I’ll die for the Holy Land just as I would for my country…SEMPER FI MEANS ALWAYS LOYAL, GOD BLESS YOU !





Vice President Pence Delivers Remarks at the Fifth World Holocaust Forum 

January 23, 2020




World Holocaust Forum: President Putin Inaugurates Leningrad Memorial in Jerusalem: 

January 23, 2020



Senior Saudi religious leader set for ‘groundbreaking’ visit to Auschwitz Thurs. 

January 23, 2020

Source: Senior Saudi religious leader set for ‘groundbreaking’ visit to Auschwitz Thurs. | The Times of Israel

Saudi prince’s ally Mohammed al-Issa, other Muslim religious leaders and AJC officials also slated to tour a Jewish museum and a mosque in Warsaw, share a Shabbat meal

Mohammed al-Issa, the secretary-general of the Muslim World League, speaking on April 25, 2018 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. (Screenshot: American Sephardi Federation)

Mohammed al-Issa, the secretary-general of the Muslim World League, speaking on April 25, 2018 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. (Screenshot: American Sephardi Federation)

A senior Saudi religious leader is slated to visit the Auschwitz death camp in Poland on Thursday ahead of the 75th anniversary of its liberation by the Soviet Red Army.

Mohammed al-Issa, the secretary-general of the Mecca-based Muslim World League (MWL) and a former Saudi justice minister, is scheduled to arrive at Auschwitz alongside Muslim religious leaders from more than 24 countries and a delegation of American Jewish Committee (AJC) officials.

AJC CEO David Harris said the trip represented “the most senior delegation of Muslim religious leaders to visit Auschwitz ever.”

Issa, the Muslim clerics and the AJC officials will tour the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw on Friday as well as visit the Nozyk Synagogue in the Polish capital and a local mosque, Kenneth Bandler, a spokesman for AJC said, adding that the group will share an interfaith Shabbat meal too.

They also plan to meet with Holocaust survivors on Friday at the synagogue, according to an individual familiar with the details of the trip who asked not to be name.

Issa’s expected visit to Auschwitz comes after he visited the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, in May 2018 and wrote an opinion article in the Washington Post in January 2019 condemning the Nazis’ “heinous crimes.” He also declared that “Muslims around the world have a responsibility to learn” about the lessons of the Holocaust.

The railway tracks from where hundreds of thousands of people were directed to the gas chambers to be murdered, inside the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz Birkenau or Auschwitz II, in Oswiecim, Poland, December 7, 2019. (Markus Schreiber/AP)

“I urge all Muslims to learn the history of the Holocaust, to visit memorials and museums of this horrific event and to teach its lesson to their children,” Issa, who is considered an ally of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, wrote in the article.

From 1940 to 1945, the Nazis killed some 1.1 million people, mainly European Jews, at Auschwitz. They murdered most of the victims in gas chambers.

The AJC’s Harris described Issa’s scheduled visit to Auschwitz as highly significant, emphasizing that he believes it will enhance Muslim understanding of the Holocaust.

“This trip will be groundbreaking. That is no exaggeration,” he said in a phone call.

Pawel Sawicki, an official in the Auschwitz Memorial’s press office, said in an email that while Arab and Muslim clerics, leaders and activists have previously toured the camp, it seemed that Issa is to be the most senior religious leader to visit it.

In May 2019, AJC and MWL signed a memorandum of understanding, in which they agreed to take part in a trip to Auschwitz together this week.

Since 2016, Issa has been the head of the Muslim World League, which carries out Islamic missionary work around the world.

Robert Satloff@robsatloff

Robert Satloff, the executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said the organization historically propagated “a virulent strain of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic writing, thinking and preaching,” but, under Issa, it has dramatically shifted its approach, pushing back against hardliners and stepping up outreach to other faiths.

MWL, which was founded in 1962, is subsidized by the Saudi government; it also supports mosques and Islamic centers globally.

Satloff, who accompanied US Holocaust Memorial Museum director Sara Bloomfield in walking Issa through the Washington museum, also said he thought the Saudi religious leader’s expected visit to Auschwitz carried “a special meaning.”

“The fact that the secretary-general of the Muslim World League, which once represented the worst face of Muslim leadership on issues related to the Jews and Jewish history, is going to Auschwitz — normalizing discussion of the Holocaust and marginalizing deniers — is something remarkable,” he said.

Abdel Wahab al-Shahari, the director of MWL’s communications, said he was checking whether Issa would be available for an interview, but ultimately did not say whether he would be able to do so or respond to follow-up messages.

Mohammed al-Issa, the secretary-general of the Muslim World League, beside senior Saudi officials, including Deputy Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman, at a meeting between a delegation of Evangelical Christians and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on September 10, 2019, in Jeddah. (Joel C. Rosenberg Delegation)

Joel Rosenberg, an Evangelical Christian and an American-Israeli author who has met with Issa twice in Saudi Arabia, said that he believed the Saudi religious leader has the backing of the Riyadh’s leadership to make the trip to Auschwitz.

“He definitely would not be making this visit if the crown prince did not want him to do so,” Rosenberg said in a phone call, referring to Issa as in the “close orbit” of Prince Mohammed.

Saudi Arabia has undertaken a number of social and economic reforms in recent years and has demonstrated greater openness to Israel, but has also come under heavy criticism following Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, which the CIA assessed was ordered by Prince Mohammed.

In the next week, Issa is also expected to visit Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where more than 8,000 Muslims were killed in July 1995 by Bosnian Serb forces.


Bloomberg: I opposed Iran deal, but the way Trump left it was wrong 

January 23, 2020

Source: Bloomberg: I opposed Iran deal, but the way Trump left it was wrong | The Times of Israel

Former New York mayor now running for US president says that although 2015 pact was ‘not perfect,’ the US was obligated to keep its word once it had signed

Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg speaks at a rally in New York City, January 15, 2020. (Scott Heins/Getty Images via JTA)

Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg speaks at a rally in New York City, January 15, 2020. (Scott Heins/Getty Images via JTA)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The position of the top seven Democrats running for president on Iran policy is, at least to some degree, public knowledge.

Yet pinning down a position for Mike Bloomberg, the former New York mayor who was not included in the last debate, where he might be forced to elaborate a position on one of the burning issues of the day, was more difficult. (He has high enough polling numbers to qualify for a debate, but has not crossed the outside contribution threshold set by the Democratic National Committee because he is bankrolling his own campaign.)

In 2015, Bloomberg was skeptical of the emerging nuclear deal that traded sanctions relief for Iran for a rollback in its nuclear program. And he was peeved by the way US president Barack Obama sold it to the public, which Bloomberg decried as divisive.

After the Jewish Telegraphic Agency last week published a story on where other Democrat presidential hopefuls stand on Iran, a spokesman for the candidate got in touch to clarify where Bloomberg stands today.

“Mike was initially against the Iran deal but thinks it was a mistake for President Trump to unilaterally walk away from it,” the spokesman said.

Trump abandoned the agreement in May 2018 over the objections of the other parties: Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.

“While the agreement was not perfect — it did not address Iran’s ballistic missile program, and it gave the regime political cover to step up its aggression in the region — the US had an obligation to keep its word once the agreement was in place,” the spokesman said. “The US withdrawal has allowed Iran to abandon its own obligations under the deal and has left the world with few tools to stop it.”

The spokesman also said what Bloomberg would do to redress Trump’s withdrawal from the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, going into more detail than most of the other candidates.

“The first thing to do is re-establish the coalition that realized the danger of Iran marching toward a nuclear weapon. Collective pressure will be needed to change Iran’s behavior,” the spokesman said. “This should be the starting point for the use of diplomacy. We should also be prepared to employ the leverage that sanctions have provided.

“Next, Iran must come back into compliance with the JCPOA requirements. That will require addressing the advances it is likely to make between now and next year — advances that could shrink its breakout time. After rejoining, in order for any new arrangement to be sustainable, we must also be ready to address other inadequacies in the deal, which include the need to extend fast-approaching sunset clauses, curtail Iran’s ballistic missiles, end its destabilizing regional activities and institute more intrusive monitoring.”


Off Topic:  Putin, Pence arrive as world leaders gather for major Holocaust commemoration 

January 23, 2020

Source: Putin, Pence arrive as world leaders gather for major Holocaust commemoration | The Times of Israel

Russian leader to meet with Netanyahu, backpacker’s mother Yaffa Issachar, who says she hopes to hear daughter is returning; PM will later visit Western Wall with US vice president

Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) arrives at Ben Gurion International Airport on January 23, 2020, to attend the World Holocaust memorial which marks the 75th anniversary of liberation of Auschwitz. (Oded Balilty / POOL / AFP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Israel on Thursday for a major Holocaust commemoration as speculation swirled that his trip could include an announcement on the fate of jailed Israeli-American Naama Issachar.

Putin was greeted on the tarmac by Foreign Minister Israel Katz, who earlier expressed optimism over the fate of the backpacker.

“A visit by a Russian president to Israel is always important,” Katz said. “I am optimistic [about the return of Issachar]. I met twice with the Russian foreign minister and spoke about the matter. The foreign ministries are discussing it. And Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will raise the matter with President Putin, giving us reason to be significantly optimistic that soon Naama will be here, home, with us.”

Also arriving Thursday morning was US Vice President Mike Pence, who is joining 40-plus other world leaders and senior dignitaries for the World Holocaust Forum event, seen as the largest diplomatic gathering in Israel’s history.

Putin and Pence are in Israel for a one-day visit for the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.

US Vice President Mike Pence waves as he disembarks from a plane with his wife Karen upon their arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport to attend the World Holocaust Forum at the Yad Vashem memorial center, Jan. 23, 2020. (Ammar Awad/Pool Photo via AP)

The Russian leader is slated to hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and unveil a memorial to those who died during the World War II siege of Leningrad, his hometown.

A senior Kremlin official told the Russian business daily Vedomosti on Wednesday that Putin’s meeting with Netanyahu will also include Issachar’s mother.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual press conference in Moscow on December 19, 2019. (Alexander Nemenov/AFP)

“I am excited and optimistic and hoping to hear from the president that my daughter is finally coming back,” Yaffa Issachar said as she left her home to travel to Jerusalem for the meeting.

Naama Issachar was sentenced by Russia to 7.5 years in prison after 10 grams of marijuana were found in her luggage during a layover in a Moscow airport in April. She has denied smuggling drugs, noting she had not sought to enter Russia during the layover on her way to Israel from India, and had no access to her luggage during her brief stay in the Russian airport.

Putin’s foreign affairs adviser Yuri Ushakov told Vedomosti that Putin will meet Issachar’s mother Yaffa during his meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Thursday.

Katz told Army Radio on Thursday that inviting Yaffa to a meeting with the Russian leader “raises the threshold of optimism.”

Israeli-American Naama Issachar, jailed for drug smuggling, attends her appeal hearing at the Moscow Regional Court on December 19, 2019. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP)

After meeting at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, Putin, Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin will dedicate a monument in Jerusalem’s Sacher Park in memory of the soldiers and residents of Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, before attending the central ceremony at Yad Vashem to mark the liberation of Auschwitz.

Hebrew media reports have swirled that a deal for Issachar’s release is nearing completion and may be announced during Putin’s visit.

According to Hebrew media reports, in exchange Russia has asked Israel to transfer a piece of Russian Orthodox Church property near the Old City of Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre to the Kremlin, as a goodwill gesture ahead of Issachar’s release.

Russia has been demanding Israel hand over rights to Alexander’s Courtyard for over a decade, Hebrew media reported, but Justice Ministry officials along with two senior Likud lawmakers and immigrants from the former Soviet Union, Yuli Edelstein and Ze’ev Elkin, have opposed the measure.

On Wednesday, Maariv published a document allegedly showing that Israel began the process of transferring the property over to Moscow three weeks ago.

Reports have also indicated that Russia may seek strong Israeli backing for its position in a spat with Poland over responsibility for World War II.

On Wednesday, during a state dinner arranged for the world leaders, President Reuven Rivlin appeared to counsel against politics and history mixing.

“Historical research should be left to historians,” Rivlin said. “The role of political leaders is to shape the future.

Yaffa Issachar speaks to the media at Ben Gurion Airport on January 19, 2020. (Flash90)

Earlier this month, Yaffa Issachar appealed to Rivlin in an open letter on Facebook, asking him not to host Putin and threatening to physically block the Russian leader’s path to stop him from entering the President’s Residence. The family has since said it was not planning any provocative activities during Putin’s visit to the country — apparently due to their understanding that Naama’s release may be at hand.

On Friday, Netanyahu said that there was a “real willingness” on Putin’s part to help resolve the situation.

Issachar has become a cause celebre in Israel, where many see her jailing as politically motivated. Talk of a possible pardon has overshadowed coverage of the Holocaust Forum, which comes days before International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Activists who have pushed for Issachar’s release have been asked in recent days to suspend their vocal campaign for fear of upending the delicate talks with Russia.

Netanyahu is also slated to hold a bilateral meeting with Pence and US Ambassador David Friedman Thursday evening.

The meeting comes amid reports that the White House is considering rolling out its peace plan in coming weeks without waiting for the results of Israel’s upcoming election. Also in the country is senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, who has been the administration’s point person on the peace proposal.

Ahead of the meeting, the prime minister is slated to accompany Pence to the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City.

On Thursday morning, Rivlin was slated to meet with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who arrived ahead of Pence.


Nasrallah as Khamenei’s secret troubleshooter in Iraq – DEBKAfile

January 23, 2020

Source: Nasrallah as Khamenei’s secret troubleshooter in Iraq – DEBKAfile

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei secretly asked Hizballah’s Hassan Nasrallah to act as his emissary for mending Shiite fences in Iraq. The community was stormily divided against Baghdad’s ties with Iran both before and since the US assassination of Qassam Soleimani on Jan. 3.

This step is disclosed exclusively by DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources.

Nasrallah promptly assigned a shadowy Hizballah figure to take a hand.

Hussein Kawtharani is the central liaison officer between the Lebanese Shiite chief and Iraq’s pro-Iran Shiite militia leaders. He also controls the Iranian-Hizballah financial fund in Iraq. In the days of Soleimani and Iraq’s PMU (Popular Mobilization Units) chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis – both of whom died in the US strike on Baghdad – it was Kawtharani who, in consultation with them both, doled out funds to the Iraqi militias. Soleimani used the size of their allowances to keep their leaders in line. The exceptional power the Hizballah chief wields as wire-puller in both Baghdad as well as Beirut has never before been revealed. Using him as a troubleshooter in Iraq was Iran’s comeback for the new sanctions the US imposed on Hizballah and Israel’s campaign for the world to designate the entire movement a terrorist organization.

Our sources reveal that Kawlharani set two processions in motion for putting the turbulent Iraqi Shiite house in order:

  1. Finding an Iraqi prime minister acceptable to Tehran and Beirut.
  2. A request to the supreme leader via Nasrallah to tone down the violent threats of revenge coming from Iranian Revolutionary Guards and other officials. He explained that the heated eve of war climate was not conducive to addressing the complicated problems of Iraq’s Shiites.

The outcome of his mission is as follows:

By Wednesday, Jan. 22, Iraq still had no prime minister, because the largest Shiite bloc in the Iraqi parliament headed by the unpredictable cleric Moqtada Sadr refuses to play ball with any of Tehran’s choices. While initially willing to call out an anti-US street demonstration in support of Tehran, the influential cleric has since reverted to his original demand for a nonpartisan government of experts to assume power in Baghdad.