Friday, August 14, 2015

The Iran Nuclear Deal's Fallout on the United Nations - Salomon Benzimra

by Salomon Benzimra

On July 20, the UN Security Council rushed to pass UNSC Resolution 2231 “under silence,” thereby unanimously endorsing the nuclear treaty, as called for in Article 18 of the agreement. By doing so, the Security Council committed itself to rescind six (6) binding resolutions --- passed from 2006 to 2010 under Chapter VII of the UN Charter

The U.S. Congress is presently reviewing the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action, a deal concluded on July 14, 2015, by Iran and the main world powers. It is likely Congress will reject the deal next month and it may or may not be able to later override the inevitable presidential veto.

The central issue is whether Iran will or will not be allowed to become a nuclear power.  But other matters of considerable importance seem to have been kept away from the limelight: the impact of the JCPOA on the role and credibility of the United Nations.

1. Security Council Resolutions:  On July 20, the UN Security Council rushed to pass UNSC Resolution 2231 “under silence,” thereby unanimously endorsing the nuclear treaty, as called for in Article 18 of the agreement. By doing so, the Security Council committed itself to rescind six (6) binding resolutions --- passed from 2006 to 2010 under Chapter VII of the UN Charter -- originally intended to prevent Iran from enriching uranium and developing ballistic missiles, and to apply and strengthen sanctions against the Iranian state and designated individuals. Iran had systematically scoffed at these resolutions. The JCPOA vindicated Iran’s policy.

However, UNSC Resolution 2231 is silent on other equally binding Chapter VII resolutions of the Security Council, especially UNSC Resolution 1566, passed on October 8, 2004, and which stresses the global obligations of all nations against states or organizations involved in terrorism: “[The Security Council] recalls that criminal acts... with the purpose to provoke a state of terror in the general public ... as defined in the international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism, are under no circumstances justifiable... and calls upon all States to prevent such acts and, if not prevented, to ensure that such acts are punished by penalties consistent with their grave nature” (Article 3, emphasis added).

Considering that Iran has been the world’s number one state sponsor and promoter of terrorist activities for a number of years – supporting Bashar al-Assad’s brutal civil war in Syria; fomenting the Houthi rebellion in Yemen; financially and militarily assisting Hizb’allah and Hamas, etc. -- it is inconceivable that world powers, led by the United States, could turn a blind eye to their international obligations and, by their silence, acquiesce to the ongoing atrocities instigated by Iran.

Worse still, the imminent lifting of sanctions and the release of billions of dollars to Iran under the provisions of the treaty, fly in the face of the equally binding UNSC Resolution 1373 of September 28, 2001, which calls for “all States ... to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorist acts.” (Art. 1).  No one but the most naive optimist doubts that part of this huge cash flow will be diverted by Iran to promote its terrorist activities.  Again, the JCPOA is instrumental in scuttling essential anti-terror resolutions.

2. The UN Charter: For the past fifteen years, top Iranian leaders have repeatedly called for the destruction of Israel, the only nation...
  • characterized by the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei as “a cancerous tumor which must be uprooted from the region” (2001) and as “a hideous entity in the Middle East which will be undoubtedly annihilated” (2010);
  • threatened by former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani with “one nuclear bomb that will destroy everything” (2001);
  • blasted by former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in his “World without Zionism” conference of 2005 where he vowed that Israel “will be wiped off the map” (or “will vanish from the page of time” depending on translation) and urged “all Zionists to move to Europe,” claiming that “Israel has no place in the region” (2013);
  • convicted by Yahia Rahim Safavi, military commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, to “a death sentence, with God’s help” (2008), a verdict deemed “non-negotiable” by Mohammad Reza Naqdi, the Basij militia commander, in March 2015.  The latter statement proves that the election of so-called “moderate” president Hassan Rouhani in 2013 did not moderate in any way Iran’s aggressive attitude toward Israel.
And yet, not only do these Iranian leaders indulge in the worst form of incitement to genocide (a behavior that sentenced the Hutu inciters in Rwanda to long jail terms in 2003), but the Islamic Republic of Iran remains a member of the United Nations in flagrant violation of the UN Charter, which states: “All Members shall refrain...from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state...” (Art. 2[4]). Incidentally, a U.S. Congress Resolution (H.CON.RES.21) was introduced to that effect in June 2007 by Rep. Steven R. Rothman [NJ-9], and referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Moreover, the UN Charter envisages the possibility of “expelling” from the UN “a Member of the United Nations which has persistently violated the Principles contained in the present Charter...” (Art. 6). But nothing of the sort was even remotely hinted at by the five permanent members of the Security Council while they were hatching the JCPOA agreement which granted Iran total impunity.

It is ironic that the State of Israel, which has the strongest backup in history and international law for its reconstitution in its ancestral land (the former Palestine Mandate), is the only state subjected to such a vociferous opposition to its existence. And it is worrisome that the major world powers, led by the U.S. administration, have concocted the lame JCPOA agreement which, beyond all its flaws, casts a serious doubt -- by commission and omission -- on whatever credibility the United Nations still has as an international institution designed to preserve world peace and fair relations between its member states.

Salomon Benzimra


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Europeans Rush to Profit from Iran Deal - Soeren Kern

by Soeren Kern

  • Middle East expert Ilan Berman points out that for Iran, trading with Europe is actually the perfect self-defense, a virtual guarantee that it will not face military attack if it cheats on its obligations under the nuclear deal.
  • Sanctions will also be lifted on Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's $95 billion business empire, as well as on Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which operates a vast network of companies and industries. No wonder European media outlets are referring to Iran as the "new El Dorado," the "chance of a century," and the "last untapped market."
  • "Conducting business with the Iranian regime means to finance the nuclear program, the annihilation threats against Israel, Holocaust denial, the export of Islamist terror and the oppression of the Iranian population." — Stop the Bomb, Austria.
  • "Everyone is looking at Iran with greed." — Senior French official.

European politicians and business leaders, resembling the running of the bulls in Spain, are falling over themselves in a rush to secure the "first-mover" advantage in Iran's $400 billion economy.

Under the nuclear deal reached in Vienna on July 14, international sanctions will be removed on Iran's banking, energy and trade sectors if Tehran agrees to certain curbs on its nuclear program.

The lifting of sanctions on Iran, a market of 80 million consumers (the second-largest market in the Middle East after Turkey in terms of GDP) creates the potential for staggering business opportunities.

Iranian officials say that investments of $185 billion are required in the oil and gas sector alone during the next five years. The mining sector requires $29 billion between now and 2025. Iran hopes to triple the number of cars manufactured in the country to three million a year by 2025.

Sanctions will also be lifted on Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's $95 billion business empire, as well as on Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which operates a vast network of companies and industries.

No wonder that European media outlets are referring to Iran as the "new El Dorado," the "chance of a century," and the "last untapped market."

Although the United States Congress will not vote on the accord until September, Europeans appear to be operating on the premise that Iran is now open for business.

Within days of the agreement's signing, the European Union approved the deal, and senior officials from Germany, France, Italy and the European Union rushed to Tehran to pursue business deals; leaders from Austria, Spain and Sweden are planning to lead trade missions to Iran in September and October.

On August 12, Switzerland — a neutral country that is not a member of the European Union — announced it would unilaterally lift sanctions on Iran effective immediately, presumably providing Tehran with access to technology and the Swiss banking system.

Analysts say the flurry of European activity implies that international sanctions on Iran are crumbling, and if Tehran violates its commitments under the nuclear deal, efforts to re-impose them are unlikely to succeed.

Saeed Ghasseminejad, an Iran analyst with the Washington-based Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, said:
"President Obama's promise about the snapback sanction has no truth in it. When international companies go to Iran and commit themselves and their shareholders to long-term multi-billion dollar investments, there will be no snapback sanction mechanism.
"It took the U.S. almost a decade to convince Europeans to leave Iran's market, as the European companies were deeply invested in the country. Those who promise an immediate return of sanctions in future are either naïve or they are not telling the truth."
In an interview with the New York Times, Philip Gordon, the Obama Administration's former coordinator for the Middle East who is now with the Council on Foreign Relations, admitted that American negotiators had deliberately left vague the procedures over sanctions snap-back, which means that if Iran fails to comply with the agreement, not all sanctions will necessarily be reapplied.

According to the Times, "The accord stipulates, for instance, that renewed sanctions 'would not apply with retroactive effect' to contracts signed before a potential violation is flagged. European companies and governments could argue that contracts signed now would be excluded from any future sanctions."

Addressing a meeting at Iran's Strategic Council on Foreign Relations on August 3, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif bragged that the international sanctions regime against the country has collapsed and will never again be re-imposed. He said:
"The structure of the sanctions that the US had built based on the UN Security Council's resolutions was destroyed and like the 1990s when no other country complied with the US sanctions against Iran, no one will accept the return of the sanctions in the future."
In an essay for Politico Europe, Middle East expert Ilan Berman pointed out that for Tehran, trading with Europe is actually the perfect self-defense, a virtual guarantee that it will not face military attack if it cheats on its obligations under the nuclear deal.

"The end result is a situation in which Europe's growing political and economic stake in the Islamic Republic virtually guarantees that Iran won't return to its old status as an international pariah, whether or not it ends up abiding by the terms of the JCPOA," Berman wrote. "The lesson, it seems, is that trading with Europe means never having to say you're sorry."

Following is a brief country-by-country round-up of key European trade delegations seeking to open business opportunities with Iran.

Germany. German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel was the first senior European official to visit Iran after the signing of the Vienna agreement. On July 19, Gabriel, who also serves as Economy Minister, led a delegation of high-ranking German business leaders to Iran to build bilateral trade relations. He said there was "great interest on the part of German industry in normalizing and strengthening economic relations with Iran."

The German Federation of Industries (Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie, BDI) believes exports to Iran could rise to more than 10 billion euros ($10.9 billion) within three to four years, up from 2.4 billion euros in 2014.

Gabriel insisted that Iran must improve relations with Israel if it wants closer economic ties with Germany. "For Germany this much is clear: Anyone who wants sustainable relations with us cannot question Israel's right to exist," Gabriel said.

But Iranian officials flatly rejected Gabriel's plea. "We have totally different views from Germany on certain regional issues in the Middle East, and we have explicitly expressed our viewpoints in different negotiations," a foreign ministry spokesperson said.

France. Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius was the second senior European official to visit Iran after the nuclear deal was signed. Arriving in Tehran on July 29, Fabius proclaimed: "We are two great independent countries, two great civilizations. It is true that in recent years, for reasons that everyone knows, links have loosened, but now thanks to the nuclear deal, things are going to change."

Imports from Iran to France fell to just 62 million euros in 2013 from 1.77 billion in 2011. French exports to Iran in 2013 fell to 494 million euros from 1.66 billion euros in 2011, according to French foreign ministry estimates.

Fabius, who denied accusations that France's primary motivation in signing the Iran deal was to create business opportunities for French companies, also conveyed an invitation from French President François Hollande to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to visit France in November.

Fabius' visit was marred by Iranian hardliners, who blame him for the spread of AIDS in the country. Some 300 Iranians were infected with tainted blood supplies that were exported to Iran in the mid-1980s, when Fabius was the Socialist prime minister, and when France's national blood transfusion center knowingly distributed HIV-contaminated blood products. Fabius was charged with manslaughter in 1999 but was later acquitted. Iranian protesters greeted Fabius with flyers depicting him with blood on his hands and the pledge: "We will not forgive or forget."

Representatives from France's largest employer federation, MEDEF, are due to visit Iran on September 27-29 to explore investment opportunities and re-establish commercial ties.

In February 2014, more than 100 French business leaders — with representatives from companies including Airbus, Alstom, Citroën, GDF Suez, Lafarge, Peugeot, Renault and Total — visited Iran "in an exploratory capacity." It was the largest of trade delegation of its kind from Europe since Iran signed an interim agreement in November 2013 promising to limit its nuclear program.

At the time, French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said the visit was intended to "convey the message that, if the situation improves, there will be significant commercial opportunities for France in Iran."

Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius says: "Trade is very important. It fosters growth. It's important for the Iranians, it's important for us," adding that regarding the current nuclear deal with Iran, "we did not take it for commercial reasons, but for strategic reasons..." Above, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif hugs Fabius at the close of nuclear talks in Geneva, Nov. 23, 2014. (Image source: ISNA)

Italy. Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni and Economic Development Minister Federica Guidi led a high-level trade mission to Iran on August 4-6, aimed at opening export opportunities for Italian companies. According to forecasts by SACE, the Italian export credit company, Italian exports to Iran are expected to grow to €3.8 billion ($4.1 billion) in 2018, up from €1.2 billion currently.

Companies in the oil and gas industry and the machine tool industry, the two sectors most adversely affected by sanctions, are hoping to recapture market share lost due to the trade embargo. Companies active in the machine tools sector (which accounts for nearly 60% of current Italian exports to Iran) have seen their exports drop to €700 million from €1.3 billion during the past five years, according to SACE.

Gentiloni and Guidi met with Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh on August 6. After the meeting, Zanganeh said that Iran had invited the Italian oil and gas giant Eni, as well as other Italian companies, to participate in projects in the Iranian oil industry.

On August 4, SACE, together with the Italian Ministry of Economic Development and Mediobanca, the leading investment bank in Italy, announced the finalization of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Iranian Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Central Bank of Iran, aimed at facilitating the development of future economic and trade relations between the two countries.

Under the agreement, "the parties will collaborate to evaluate short and medium-long term projects of mutual interest implying Italian export and investments and to identify local financial institutions that could benefit from credit lines provided by Mediobanca, and guaranteed by SACE and the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Iran, to support the financing and payment of such transactions."

Also on August 4, Finmeccanica, Italy's main industrial group, announced that it had signed a €500 million ($543 million) contract with Iran's Ghadir Investment Company to build a power plant in the country. Ghadir is 80% owned by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards' Corps (IGRC). The IRGC, through its elite Quds Force, is responsible for the deaths of at least 1,000 American troops in Iraq.

Austria. Austrian President Heinz Fischer is set to become the first European head of state to visit Iran since 2004 when he travels to Tehran on September 7-9. Fischer will be accompanied by Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Reinhold Mitterlehner, Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, as well as a delegation of high-ranking Austrian business leaders. Mitterlehner said he hopes that Austrian exports to Iran will reach one billion euros per year by 2020, up from 232 million euros today.

On July 23-24, the Austrian Economic Chamber (Wirtschaftskammer Österreich, WKÖ) organized a major EU-Iran trade conference that was attended by nearly 400 Austrian and Iranian business leaders, including Iranian Industry Minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh.

According to Nematzadeh: "We are no longer interested in unidirectional importation of goods and machinery from Europe. We are looking for two-way trade, as well as cooperation in development, design, engineering and joint investment for production and export."

Not all Austrians are happy about the government's rush to embrace Iran. The Austrian branch of the activist group "Stop the Bomb" organized a protest outside the WKÖ's headquarters on July 23. In a statement, the group said:
"While the implementation of the nuclear deal with the Iranian has not even started and the sanctions on Iran are still in place, Iran trade lobbyists are set to host the 'EU-Iran-Conference' at the Austrian Economic Chamber WKO in Vienna. Among the participants are WKO-President Christoph Leitl and the Iranian Industry & Trade Minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh. 70 years after the Shoah, Austrian and German companies are in the first row to boost business ties with the anti-Semitic Iranian regime.
"This conference shows that billions of Euros are going to flow to the Iranian mullahs as a result of the Vienna agreement. This will enable the regime to sponsor its terror proxies like Hamas and Hezbollah and to enforce its aggressive expansion in the region in unprecedented ways. The terror against the Iranian population will not decrease, but increase. Already now more people have been executed under supposedly 'moderate' President Rouhani than under his predecessor Ahmadinejad.
"Conducting business with the Iranian regime means to finance the nuclear program, the annihilation threats against Israel, Holocaust denial, the export of Islamist terror and the oppression of the Iranian population."
Spain. Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo, Industry, Energy and Tourism Minister José Manuel Soria and Development Minister Ana Pastor will lead a high-level trade delegation to Iran in early September. The objective is to open doors for Spanish companies in the energy, telecommunications and infrastructure sectors.

After the sanctions are lifted, Spain hopes to double its exports to Iran to 600 million euros, up from 300 million euros today, according to the Chamber of Commerce. The key sectors of interest for Spanish companies are petroleum, petro-chemical, mining, automobile, infrastructure and rail transport.

Despite the embargo, more than 350 mostly small- and medium-sized Spanish companies are currently active in Iran. On July 19, the newspaper El Mundo reported that more than a dozen Spanish companies sold so-called dual-use materials that could have been used to help Iran build weapons of mass destruction.

Since 2011, Spanish authorities have carried out nearly a dozen police operations aimed at disrupting illegal weapons sales to Iran. One such operation blew the lid off a scheme to sell nine helicopters to Iran. Another operation discovered that a company ostensibly dedicated to importing Persian rugs was trying to sell missile casings to the Iranian military.

A report published by Gatestone Institute in April 2014 found that in addition to Spain, companies or individuals in more than a dozen European countries — including Belgium, Britain, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland — have been involved in illegal dual-use exports to Iran.

A senior French official interviewed by the Reuters news agency summed it up this way: "Everyone is looking at Iran with greed."
Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter.

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Dangerous rhetoric - Dr. Limor Samimian-Darash

by Dr. Limor Samimian-Darash

The Obama administration knowingly exploits the Jewish discourse and it deliberately places Jewish members of the Senate and House of Representatives under scrutiny, to undermine their public legitimacy if they oppose the deal, and bolster their position if they support the administration's policy.

Something dangerous is lacing political discourse in the U.S.

It began with U.S. President Barack Obama's recent address, in which he commented on the American Jewish lobby's financial clout, and continued with the lambasting of Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), whose opposition to the nuclear deal reached with Iran prompted some 170,000 Americans to sign a petition condemning Schumer's views. 

More explicitly, the Daily Kos website posted a caricature showing Schumer as a bear holding the Israeli flag and explaining why he opposes the deal, alluding to Schumer's dual loyalty to both Israel and the U.S. 

The delegitimization and demonization of those opposing the Iran deal are not new, but recently they have taken a dangerous turn to include highly problematic rhetoric. It began with Obama practically labeling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu an enemy of the state for daring to oppose the emerging deal, and once it became clear that, like Netanyahu, most Knesset members oppose the deal, the rhetoric expanded to include Israel and the Israeli public.

Next, it was the Jewish lawmakers' turn. Once Obama began his attempts to convince hesitant lawmakers to support the deal, their heritage suddenly became relevant, and the "Jewish" label found its way into the conversation. It is as if someone has opened the can containing the "Jewish discourse," which immediately spilled over, obscuring the real danger the deal poses. 

U.S. senators are no longer identified by the party they serve or the state they represent, but by the adjectives preceding their name: "Jewish senator." First it was the three Jewish representatives who publicly announced their opposition to the Iran deal: Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) and Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), who were "outed" by the American media as the "first Jewish Democrats" in Congress to oppose the deal.

Then came the criticism of "Jewish" senators Chuck Schumer and Eliot Engel, both from New York, while the support voiced for the deal by another "Jewish" senator, Brian Schatz of Hawaii, was used to counterbalance Schumer's opposition. 

The Los Angeles Times listed the names of 12 senators who may tip the scale of the congressional vote, identifying three of them as "Jewish," while sufficing with generic details about the others and making no mention of their religious affiliation. 

CNN's supposedly general coverage of the deal parroted the rhetoric, with a headline reading, "American Jews support deal," and highlighting polls suggesting the ratio of American Jews who support the deal is higher than that of the general public.

The opposition to the Iran deal voiced by non-Jewish senators such as Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) was not linked to their religious roots. 

Schumer's and Schatz's positions on issues that do not pertain to Israel have nothing to do with their Jewish identity as far as the media coverage goes. Still, they are Jewish and someone wants the public to know that about them, especially over their support, or lack thereof, for the nuclear deal. In other words, the use of their Jewish identity is deliberate, and this affiliation is used to label and at times tarnish them.

This trend is evident in mainstream American media, and not by chance. The Obama administration knowingly exploits the Jewish discourse and it deliberately places Jewish members of the Senate and House of Representatives under scrutiny, to undermine their public legitimacy if they oppose the deal, and bolster their position if they support the administration's policy. On both cases, this discourse is wrong.

Schumer has said that, prior to making the decision to vote against the deal, he discussed the issue with Obama and senior officials such as Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, who led the talks with Iran, and Henry Kissinger, the former secretary of state and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. 

Kissinger and former Secretary of State George Shultz expressed their concerns in April, in a joint editorial published by The Wall Street Journal in which they listed the accord's shortcomings and claimed it would make Iran a nuclear threshold state. 

Clearly, the opposition to the Iran deal has nothing to do with the Jewish blood running through its opponents' veins, but rather with the dangerous reality Iran is forcing on the world, and the anxiety stemming from the global support its dangerous ambitions are receiving.

Dr. Limor Samimian-Darash


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Netanyahu Emulates Churchill in Trying to Influence US Policy to Protect His People - Alan M. Dershowitz

by Alan M. Dershowitz

President Obama is as wrong about American history as he is about policy. Many foreign leaders have tried to influence US foreign policy when their national interests are involved.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is acting properly in lobbying against the Iran deal. And President Obama is acting improperly in accusing him of interfering in American foreign policy and suggesting that no other foreign leader has ever tried to do so: "I do not recall a similar example."

President Obama is as wrong about American history as he is about policy. Many foreign leaders have tried to influence US foreign policy when their national interests are involved. Lafayette tried to get the United States involved in the French Revolution, as the early colonists sought support from France in their own revolution. Winston Churchill appeared in front of Congress and lobbied heavily to have America change its isolationist policy during the run up to the Second World War. Nor can President Obama claim ignorance about recent events, when he himself sent David Cameron, the prime minister of the United Kingdom, to lobby Congress in favor of the Iran deal. Recently, Shinzo Abe, the prime minister of Japan, lobbied us with regard to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Prime Minister Netanyahu's nation has a far greater stake in the Iran deal than most of the countries that negotiated it. But Israel was excluded from the negotiations. Any leader of Israel would and should try to exercise whatever influence he might have in the ongoing debate over the deal.

There can be no question that Israel is the primary intended target of Iran's quest for a nuclear arsenal. Recall that Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former president of Iran, has described Israel as a one-bomb state that could be destroyed instantaneously, and that even if Israel retaliated, it would not destroy Iran or Islam. No similar threats have been made against Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia or China. Although the United States is still regarded by Iran as the "Great Satan", the U.S. has less to fear from an Iranian nuclear arsenal than does Israel.

Does President Obama really believe that Israeli leaders are required to remain silent and simply accept the consequences of a deal that puts its population at risk? As Prime Minister Netanyahu has repeatedly said, Israel is not Czechoslovakia. In 1938, Czechoslovakia too was excluded from the negotiations that led to its dismemberment, but it had no ability to influence the policies of the negotiating nations. Nor did it have the ability to defend itself militarily, as Israel does.

The United States would surely not accept a deal negotiated by other nations that put its citizens at risk. No American leader would remain silent in the face of such a deal. Israel has every right to express its concern about a deal that has crossed not only its own red lines, but the red lines originally proposed by President Obama.

President Obama's attack on Prime Minister Netanyahu, for doing exactly what he would be doing if the shoe were on the other foot, has encouraged Israel-bashers to accuse opponents of the deal of dual loyalty. Nothing could be further from the truth. I and the deal's other opponents are as loyal to our country as is President Obama and the supporters of the deal. I am a liberal Democrat who opposed the invasion of Iraq and who twice supported President Obama when he ran for president. Many of the deal's strongest opponents also cannot be accused of being warmongers, because we believe that the deal actually increases the likelihood of war.

The President should stop attacking both the domestic and international critics of the deal and engage us on the merits. That is why I have issued a challenge to the Obama Administration to debate its critics on national television. This is a wonderful occasion for Lincoln-Douglas type debates over this important foreign policy issue. At this point in time, the majority of Americans are against the deal, as are the majority of both Houses of Congress. The President has the burden of changing the public's mind. This is, after all, a democracy. And the President should not be empowered to impose his will on the American public based on one-third plus one of one house of Congress, when a majority of Americans have expressed opposition. So let the name-calling stop and let the debates begin.

  • Follow Alan M. Dershowitz on Twitter

Alan M. Dershowitz is a lawyer, constitutional scholar, commentator and author. His new book is The Case Against the Iran Deal: How Can We Now Stop Iran From Getting Nukes? (Rosetta Books, August 11, 2015).


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Iran to Flout UN Resolution, Hold Ballistic Missile Drills - Ari Yashar

by Ari Yashar

Iranian commander announces specialized missile drills after parliament demands ballistic tests - despite UN annex on nuclear deal.

Iranian ballistic missile (file)
Iranian ballistic missile (file)

Despite an annex in the UN adoption of the Iran nuclear deal calling on the Islamic regime to desist from nuclear-capable ballistic missile activity, Iran is planning to resume long-range ballistic missile drills in the coming months according to a key army commander.

Iranian Ground Force Commander Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan announced on Thursday that six specialized military drills testing domestic rocketry are to be held by next March, reports the semi-official Fars News Agency.

"The Ground Force will stage six war games," Pourdastan said, noting the first drill will take part in the western part of the country in the fall, followed by a second war game in the eastern part of Iran.

Significantly, he said that specialized missile drills will also be included in the war games.

There has been a push in the Iranian parliament to resume ballistic missile drills following the nuclear deal as a show of force and a military deterrent against the US and Israel. That push comes despite the fact that the ban on Iranian ballistic missile trade is only to be lifted after eight years according to the nuclear deal.

The discussion on ballistic testing follows a disagreement between the US and Iran regarding a statement in Annex B of UN Resolution 2231, which adopted the Iran nuclear deal last month.

That statement reads: "Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology, until the date eight years after the JCPOA Adoption Day or until the date on which the IAEA submits a report confirming the Broader Conclusion, whichever is earlier."

America has stressed ballistic missile activity is forbidden by the clause, while Iran says it has not accepted the annex, and claims its missiles are not designed for nuclear payloads meaning the paragraph is irrelevant in any case.

However, Iran's domestic long-range ballistic missiles are in fact nuclear capable according to international reports, particularly the Shahab 3 and Sejjil 2.

According to Fars, both the US and Iran have accepted that the paragraph is non-binding in that it merely "calls" on Iran to desist from the missile activity.

Iran's Foreign Ministry reacted to the annex in a statement, saying that its ballistic missile program will not be harmed by the resolution.

Former Pentagon adviser and rogue regime expert Michael Rubin told the Washington Free Beacon that the lifting of restrictions on Iran's ballistic missile program will encourage the leading state sponsor of terror to ramp up its hostility.

"How quaint. We stop sanctions on ballistic missiles to get a deal, basically finance the revolutionary guard and Iran’s shopping spree, and they turn around and use it to bolster their deterrence against us,” Rubin said. “Of course, if they weren’t planning to cheat, they wouldn’t need to worry about last resort military action.”

Iran has been stepping up its military stance; just this Tuesday it held joint naval war games with Russian warships in Iranian waters.

Ari Yashar


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Challenges await Israeli diplomacy - Zalman Shoval

by Zalman Shoval

"Gone are the hopes of an actual agreement on final status. But that doesn't mean Obama or his secretary of state have abandoned the idea altogether … even if progress means more tension with Israel's prime minister."

Israel will have to pass two crucial tests in the coming weeks, both of which are expected to impact its relations with the United States. The first test involves the Iranian nuclear deal. Its make or break point is several weeks away. The other test, involving the Palestinians, will immediately follow. 

Is U.S. President Barack Obama willing to let another failure on the Palestinian front eclipse what he considers his signature foreign policy accomplishment -- the Iran nuclear deal? Opinions vary. Aaron David Miller, an adviser on the Middle East in multiple administrations, recently penned an article in the Washington Post in which he elaborated on Obama's state of mind. 

"The president has certainly sobered [on the peace process] ... and lowered his expectations," he wrote. 

"Gone are the hopes of an actual agreement on final status. But that doesn't mean Obama or his secretary of state have abandoned the idea altogether … even if progress means more tension with Israel's prime minister." 

Miller's article dovetails with the rhetoric of American and European officials. Another related development involves the French government's efforts to jump-start the peace talks, led by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. The French initiative came about in phases. Initially, Fabius declared that France would draft a new U.N. Security Council resolution to replace Resolution 242 from 1967. That resolution, which was adopted in the wake of the Six-Day War, stopped short of calling for a full Israeli withdrawal from the land it had captured and made any such withdrawal contingent on establishing secure borders. 

It is safe to assume that France has coordinated its moves with the United States, at least when it comes the key provisions of the plan. France knows full well that without Washington's blessing, the draft resolution will be derailed by a American veto (or a veto threat) like the ones that came before it. The next phase was Fabius' visit to Jerusalem and Ramallah. During that visit, Israel said it was against plans that dictate the terms of a deal. The French plan, Israel said, was contrary to the principle of holding direct talks with no preconditions because it considered the creation of a Palestinian state within 18 months a done deal. 

The Palestinians were more elaborate in their reaction to the plan -- officials in Ramallah were rather satisfied with the general spirit of the plan, interpreting it as a victory for their strategy of gaining independence through the U.N. while consistently refusing to engage in meaningful talks with Israel. The Palestinians, true to their negotiating tactics, said they wanted make Israel pay a heavier price and introduced the following demands: a complete withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders with no land swaps; all of east Jerusalem to be part of the future Palestinian state; the upgrade of U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194 on refugees into a binding Security Council resolution; a construction moratorium in every Israeli community in Judea and Samaria; and the release all Palestinians held in Israeli jails. They also said they were categorically opposed to recognizing Israel as a Jewish state and would not demilitarize the future Palestinian state. 

A scenario in which France would accept the Palestinians' demands is far-fetched. That said, it might agree to ambiguous language that would serve their cause. 

Washington, it seems, has yet to make its mind up on the French initiative, nor has it insisted on following the traditional U.S. template for the peace process: direct talks, with no preconditions. 

Israeli diplomacy will have to grapple with these issues in the coming weeks.

Zalman Shoval


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Obama administration sides with Palestinians and against terror victims in court case - Rick Moran

by Rick Moran

“The United States respectfully urges the Court to carefully consider the impact of its decision on the continued viability of the PA in light of the evidence about its financial situation,”

The Obama administration has filed a brief in a New York court in support of the Palestinian Authority in their efforts to limit damages requested by Americans as a result of Palestinian terror attacks.

Washington Free Beacon:
The Obama administration has intervened in a landmark legal case brought by the American victims of Palestinian terrorists, urging the court to limit restitution for the victims out of fear that a sizable payout could collapse the Palestinian government, according to a copy of the court filing.
Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken argued in a filing to a New York City court that a hefty payout to the victims of Palestinian terror crimes could burden the Palestinian Authority (PA) and interfere in Obama administration efforts to foster peace in the region.
The victims are entitled to as much as $655 million from the PA following the conclusion of a decade-long lawsuit that exposed the Palestinian government’s role in supporting and paying for terror attacks in Israel.
The administration’s intervention in the case has drawn criticism from U.S. lawmakers and some of those affected by the decision.
While the administration supports the right of terror victims to sue in U.S. courts, it remains particularly concerned about the PA’s solvency.
“The United States respectfully urges the Court to carefully consider the impact of its decision on the continued viability of the PA in light of the evidence about its financial situation,” Blinken writes in his “statement of interest.” “An event that deprives the PA of a significant portion of its revenues would likely severely compromise the PA’s ability to operate as a governmental authority.”
Blinken goes on to warn that the case could impact U.S. security interests and its role in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
“A PA insolvency and collapse would harm current and future U.S.-led efforts to achieve a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Blinken writes.
Representatives to the PA had been lobbying the Justice and State Departments to get involved in the case for some time. The PA maintains that it does not have enough funds to pay a bond requirement and has petitioned the judge in the case to drop it.
However, a lawyer representing the victims argues that if the Palestinian government can continue paying terrorists currently imprisoned in Israeli jails, it can pay the victims of these terror acts.
The PA gets very little of its cash in the form of taxes or tarrifs. Most of its money comes from donations by individuals and governments - including the American taxpayer. 

But to describe the PA as a "government" is something of a joke. They are a criminal gang masquerading as a government, extorting money, punishing apostates, and getting kickbacks from international aid projects. There is little oversight and zero transparency. There may be more corrupt "governments" on earth but I can't think of one at the moment.

Shouldn't the goal of US policy be to eliminate terrorist states? The administration is presented with the perfect opportunity to bury a state that gleefully and continuously sponsors terrorism against Israel and has a stated goal of eliminating the Jewish state. And we want to save this gang of cutthroats? Why?

The administration argues that this is realpolitik diplomacy, that there's no viable alternative to the PA. And Israel would probably not like the idea of chaos on its border. Plus, there's a good chance that whatever government emerged from the chaos would be worse than the PA - if that's possible (with the Palestinians, anything is possible.).
As a practical matter, then, there is a rationale for siding with the PA on this issue. It's distasteful, to be sure. But the gruesome reality is as evil and corrupt as the PA certainly is, it's better to deal with the devil you know.

Rick Moran


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Why Are American Jews Supporting a Boycott of Israel? - Ronn Torossian, George Birnbaum and Hank Sheinkopf

by Ronn Torossian, George Birnbaum and Hank Sheinkopf

In no uncertain language, the New Israel Fund (NIF) openly advocates a boycott of Israel and, to the tune of $30 million annually, harms Israel immensely.  Those who fund the NIF must be ostracized and shamed, and we will continue in this vital endeavor.

Two Jews, three opinions.  There are so many points of legitimate differences within the Jewish community, and so many important issues to be debated.  Reform vs. Orthodox, a two-state solution, the Iran deal, and so many other issues to be discussed, which are legitimate. And while we accept the concept of two Jews and three opinions, an unacceptable opinion must be financing boycotts against Israel.  In no uncertain language, the New Israel Fund (NIF) openly advocates a boycott of Israel and, to the tune of $30 million annually, harms Israel immensely.  Those who fund the NIF must be ostracized and shamed, and we will continue in this vital endeavor.

As communications professionals, we cannot help but notice the active public relations endeavors of the Jewish Communal Fund, which defines itself in a recent press release as “the largest and most active Jewish donor advised fund in the country.”  They recently issued a release noting that they “approved grants totaling $816,904 to local Jewish charities in the New York area through its endowment, the JCF Special Gifts Fund.”

And while the JCF gives to many important issues, the question remains why the organization also gives millions to an organization that boycotts Israel.  A review of the organization’s tax-return filings reveals that JCF funneled many millions of dollars to the New Israel Fund (NIF) in the last few years. The NIF funds organizations like the Human Rights Defenders Fund (HRDF), whose Executive Director has called Israel “racist,” and “murderous,” and described the country as a “temporary Jewish apartheid state.”

B’Tselem received $10,036 in 2014 from the Jewish Communal Fund, and was the source for the recent UN Human Rights Council report against Israel.  The JCF gave $10,500 to A Jewish Voice for Peace, which openly supports a boycott and was on the Anti-Defamation League’s list of most Anti-Israel groups in America in 2012 and 2013. As the ADL said, “Like other Jewish anti-Zionist groups, JVP uses its Jewish identity to shield the anti-Israel movement from allegations of anti-Semitism and provide a greater degree of credibility to the anti-Israel movement.”

No matter how much lipstick is put on a pig, it is still a pig.  No amount of money that the Jewish Communal Fund gives to good Jewish issues makes their financing of a boycott acceptable.  And while we note that the JCF issues press releases announcing their donations, we ask why they will not – and have not – publicly addressed the issue of why they support a boycott of Israel financially.

We ask another 6-figure NIF donor, the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund, why their website notes that they are proud donors to the Friends of Israel Defense Forces, a great organization that provides supplies to IDF soldiers, yet they also support NIF, which boycotts Israel. Lela Goren, a developer whose brothers founded Israeli tech company Radiant System; the Stella and Charles Guttman Foundation; the Lopatin Family Foundation and others fund important issues – how can they also support a boycott?

We welcome freedom of discussion – we reject boycotts of Israel, and so must all who care about the State of Israel.

George Birnbaum is an international political consultant, who formerly served as chief of staff for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Hank Sheinkopf, CEO of Sheinkopf Communications, is a leading political strategist who has worked on campaigns in four continents.  His clients have included former President Bill Clinton. Ronn Torossian is CEO of a top 20 US PR Agency, and author of “For Immediate Release.”


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Kuwaiti Columnist: The Gulf States' Real Enemy Is Iran; Israel Is A Friendly Country - MEMRI


In an article titled "A Prudent Enemy Is Better than An Imprudent One" in the Kuwaiti government daily Al-Watan, columnist 'Abdallah Al-Hadlaq wrote that the real enemy of the Gulf states is not Israel, whom he called "a friendly country," but rather Iran. He argued that Iran's Rule of the Jurisprudent regime is fascist, and that if it attains nuclear weapons it will not hesitate to use it against the Gulf states, whereas Israel, which has possessed such weapons for years, has never used them in its wars against the Arabs. Al-Hadlaq even called upon the Gulf states to sever their ties with Iran and form an alliance with Israel by strengthening their ties with it on the political, commercial and even military levels.

This is not the first time Al-Hadlaq has expressed concern regarding Iran and, conversely, support for Israel. In fact, his position led him to be included on a blacklist of Arab writers who espouse such views, published in 2009 by papers and websites that support the resistance axis.[1]
The following are excerpts from Al-Hadlaq's recent article:[2]

Abdallah Al-Hadlaq

"To all those who think the Persian state (Iran), and the regime of the Rule of the Imprudent,[3] [namely] the dictatorial fascist Persian regime which controls it, is a friendly country, whereas Israel is an enemy country, I say that a prudent enemy is better than an imprudent one. The state of Israel and its various governments have waged more than five wars with the Arabs, yet never in the course of these wars did Israel think to use its nuclear weapons against its Arab enemies. Conversely, if the Persian state, with its stupid, rash and fascist regime that hides behind a religious guise, ever develops nuclear weapons, it will not hesitate to use nuclear bombs against the Arab Gulf states in the first conflict that arises. 

"Israel is a friendly state that does not endanger us in the Arab Gulf region and we have nothing to fear from it. The one who threatens us, carries out acts of terror and destruction against us, and aspires to occupy us is the arrogant Persian enemy, represented by the regime of the Persian state (Iran), which is the incubator and supportive environment for global terror.

"Hence, I repeat my call to form a Israel-Gulf friendship society, as a first step towards developing and strengthening [our] ties with the friendly state of Israel in the domains of politics, diplomacy, trade, education and military and civilian cooperation. The rapprochement between Israel and the Gulf should be accompanied by a gradual distancing and severance of all ties with the Persian state (Iran) and its fascist Persian regime, now that it has been proven beyond all doubt that the Persian Iranians are involved in acts of terror, destruction and bombing in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, Kuwait and the UAE, and after it has been proven that they incite and support the Shi'ite Houthi rebels in Yemen, and that the Shi'ite Persian Iranian militias are involved in all the hotspots of terror and conflict in the Arab Gulf and the Middle East, such as in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon and throughout the world.

"I do not rule out – in fact I anticipate – that the servants and agents of Iran in the region, who have Persian blood running in their veins,... will accuse me of 'Zionism, collaborating with Israel, harboring hatred for Islam and Arabism, betraying the Palestinian cause and being hostile towards the Arab ummah.' [But now that] the world has become a village thanks to communications [technology], the scales have dropped from the eyes of the Arab and Muslims peoples, and they have realized... that their only bitter enemies are the Persian Iranians, not the friendly state of Israel..."


[1] See MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 635, "Concerns in Kuwait, Gulf over Iranian Threat to Gulf States," September 8, 2010;
[2] Al-Watan (Kuwait), August 1, 2015.
[3] A play on the term "Rule of the Jurisprudent."



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Leftist Language-Control on Campus - Jack Kerwick

by Jack Kerwick

How the "progressive" Gestapo rules the American campus.

Recently, the University of New Hampshire’s “Bias-Free Language Guide” (BFLG) was revealed to the public. There was a backlash and the President of UNH flew into damage-control mode.

Soon thereafter, administrators decided to pull the guide from its website.

While writing about the BFLG, I assured those readers who may not be in the know that UNH is all too typical of academia today.  About as outrageous as the BFLG was President Mark W. Huddleston’s assertion that speech “is free and unfettered” on UNH’s campus.

The contemporary campus is many things, but a bastion of free and unfettered speech is not one of them.

Take the University of California’s program on “Diversity and Faculty development.” The program identifies a host of “micro-aggressions.”  The latter are “the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.”

A chart is listed with three columns. In the far left column are “themes.”  In the middle column are “micro-aggression examples.”  In the far right column are the “messages” that these instances of micro-aggressions convey.

Below is a select list of illustrations :

Because of physical appearances or name, you assume a person to be “foreign-born.” By complimenting that person on his or her fluency in English—“You speak English very well”—you communicate this message:

“You are not a true American.”

If, upon encountering a “person of color” who happens to be good at math, you exclaim, “Wow! How did you become so good in math?” you imply that “people of color are generally not as intelligent as Whites.”

It may surprise some people to discover that appeals to “color blindness,” at least when they’re made by a white person—or a “White person”—indicates that the person in question “does not want to or need to acknowledge race.” 

Statements like, “When I look at you, I don’t see color;” “There is only one race, the human race;” “America is a melting pot;” and, “I don’t believe in race” are offensive.  Such statements amount to whites telling non-whites: “Assimilate to the dominant culture.”

Those who make these appeals to a color-blind ideal are in effect guilty of “denying the significance of a person of color’s racial/ethnic experience and history,” of “denying the individual as a racial/cultural being.”

Denials of one’s “racism,” “sexism,” and “heterosexism” suffice to convict one of such transgressions.

“I’m not a racist. I have several Black friends” implies that one could “never be racist” because of one’s circumstances.

“As a woman, I know what you go through as a racial minority” entails that “gender oppression” and “racial oppression” are comparable, or even identical, which in turn erroneously suggests that the woman under discussion could never be “racist.”

If one asks a racial minority, “Are you sure you were being followed in the store?” one is guilty of “denying the personal experience of individuals who experience bias.”

One of my personal favorites on UCLA’s list of black balled expressions is what this program refers to as “the myth of Meritocracy.”         

If you say, “I believe the most qualified person should get the job;” “America is the land of opportunity;” “Everyone can succeed in this society if they work hard enough;” or “Men and women have equal opportunities for achievement,” then you are culpable of some pretty bad stuff.

If you believe that individuals should be treated according to their merits—not their skin color or gender—then you stand condemned for saying things like: “The playing field is even so if women cannot make it, the problem is with them,” and “People of color are lazy and/or incompetent and need to work harder.”

According to Walter E. Williams, who also wrote a bit about UCLA’s “diversity” instruction, Thomas Sowell referred to these “micro-aggressions” as “micro-totalitarianisms.”

Indeed. But lest we get too depressed by the sheer joylessness, the life-draining, the deadly seriousness of these academic totalitarians, we should try having a good laugh at their expense.

I suggest some new items for the folks at UCLA or UNH or any of the Politically Correct storm troopers who are interested.

For starters, these regressive speech codes repeatedly use the language of “women” and “history” (as in “historically marginalized, oppressed,” etc.”).  But doesn’t this language reinforce and perpetuate Western male “patriarchy” and “misogyny?”  After all, etymologically, “woman” literally means “woman-man.”  That is, the very label of “woman” defines women in terms of their relation to and dependence upon men.

Why not replace “woman” with “estrogen-endowed bipeds” or “homo sapiens?” (“Human being” and, even worse, “person,” are normative or moral concepts.  As such, they are “exclusionary,” for they exclude non-human animals, fish, insects, and plants. In doing so, the use of “human beings” and “persons” facilitates speciesism.)

“History”—I mean “HIS-story”—genderizes (academic leftists love making up words) time. It also underscores the traditional Western prejudice that there is a single objective reality to which we have access.  

There isn’t “HIS-story.” There are just “stories”—and everybody has one.

Since “America” was named after Amerigo Vespucci, a white—or White—explorer, aren’t references to “America” and “American” an offense against indigenous peoples and people of color?  This being so, “Native American” and “African-American” must go: The former suggests that there was an America before the Europeans crossed the Atlantic to the Western hemisphere, and the latter is doubly offensive:

Not only is “America” a Eurocentric invention devised to honor a European, so too is “Africa” a name invented by white Europeans—the Romans!

But the greatest chuckle we can get from this self-parody from UCLA is the self-contradiction to be found at the very core of the PC ideology that it embodies.

Assuming for the moment, as this guide assumes, that “racism” is a meaningful notion. If “racism” is immoral, as this guide assumes, then it can only be so if something like a “color-blind” ideal is accepted.  If it is wrong to treat people differently or badly because of the color of their skin or their cultural background, then this means that we should treat people decently regardless of what they look like or where they’re from. 

But UCLA regards color-blindness as a function or disguise for “racism.”

So it both is and isn’t “racist” to treat race as a morally irrelevant characteristic in one’s dealings with others.

If we don’t laugh, we will cry.  

Jack Kerwick


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