Saturday, August 22, 2015

Analysis: A warning to Tehran - Yossi Melman

by Yossi Melman

The swift Israeli reaction on Thursday and Friday to the launching of four rockets from Syria at the Galilee and Golan shows how deep is the Israeli intelligence penetration of Iran’s military. It was not the first time that precise and updated intelligence data enabled Israel to prevent terrorist attacks from Syria sponsored by Iran, or to execute attacks against Bashar Assad’s regime, or whatever is left of it.

The rocket launchings – which caused no casualties or damage to property, except sparking fires in open fields – didn’t surprise IDF Intelligence.

They were expecting some sort of an attack against Israel from the Syrian Golan and prepared themselves for the eventuality.

Israel’s response was gradual but fierce. First, Syrian Army positions were attacked with artillery and missiles. Later, a senior Israeli officer revealed sensitive intelligence information by naming a senior Iranian officer and holding him responsible for ordering the rocket attacks. He is Saad Ezadi, in charge of the Israeli desk in the Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The military source also said that, although the rockets were fired by members of the pro-Iranian Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, those who ordered it were the commanders of the Quds Force.

Revealing the name of such an important operative is unusual and is aimed at signaling to the Iranians that we know a great deal about them, so they had better watch out.

It was also good intelligence work that enabled the Israel Air Force on Friday to strike the car carrying four or five Islamic Jihad operatives who took part in firing the rockets the night before, hitting them some 15 kilometers inside Syria.

The Quds Force, led by the charismatic Maj.-Gen. Qassen Sulimanie, one of the most influential officials in Iran, already has a forward command post on the Syria side of the Golan. Its goal is to recruit local agents and terrorists who in return for cash would be ready to carry out terrorist attacks against Israel.

They include local Druse loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad, Palestinians, Syrians and infiltrators sent by Hezbollah from Lebanon.

The Iranian decision of when and how to operate is motivated mainly by the availability and accessibility of terrorists. However, the most important consideration for the Iranians is not to leave their fingerprints behind.

It is not clear what motivates the Iranians to use their proxies to create tension along the already fragile and tense Israeli-Syrian border.

This question is crucial at this most sensitive time when Tehran waits for the US Congress to approve the nuclear deal and pave the way for lifting the sanctions, which is clearly Iran’s ultimate goal.

Tehran is also well aware of the arguments used by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in opposing to the deal.

Netanyahu claims that the flood of money from ending the sanction regime will be funneled to further finance terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad.

So why does Iran appear to be playing at this sensitive time into the hands of its arch enemy, Netanyahu? Senior Israeli military and security officials have no convincing answer. Some argue that Iran is using its proxies to avenge the killing of an Iranian general a few months ago by an alleged Israeli air strike on the Syrian side of the Golan border.

Others say Iran will never miss an opportunity to shed Israeli blood, as long as it doesn’t leave a trace behind.

In this cold but heated war, Israel’s latest response was aimed at warning Iran: You have enough troubles defending your crippled client in Damascus, so don’t mess with us.

Yossi Melman


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Iran's fingerprints are everywhere - Dan Margalit

by Dan Margalit

August may be the hottest month of the year, but hovering above Israel's violent borders and streets one can see the thick, dark clouds that are associated with winter. 

Israel's enemies, however sophisticated, lack a comprehensive mechanism to coordinate their attacks against us. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad has warned Israel it will fire from the Gaza Strip, and this has led the Israel Defense Forces to deploy Iron Dome batteries in the south. Was this threat related to the failing health of detainee Mohammad Allan on his hunger strike? Was Thursday's salvo on northern Israel by Islamic Jihad elements in Syria a consequence of that threat? I believe there is no direct link. 

That said, Iran's fingerprints are everywhere, including in the north. The rockets fired on Thursday were launched from an area ostensibly held by Syrian President Bashar Assad, not the anti-regime insurgents. But Iran has been operating freely in that area. 

Thursday's rocket attack was deliberate. Iran may have seized on Allan's health to time this attack, but it was motivated by other reasons. It wanted to retaliate for the recent killing of a Druze squad that had attempted to establish a terrorist foothold in the Golan Heights and to the repeated airstrikes on Hezbollah-bound shipments of advanced weaponry (widely attributed to Israel); the attack was also designed to bolster the Iranian regime's aggressive posture in the face of increased criticism at home by those who believe the nuclear agreement was a mistake. Iran may have also tried to deal a blow to Israel's tourism industry just before the summer's peak season draws to a close. 

The IDF was left with no choice but to hit back against Assad-affiliated targets, even though the regime was essentially manhandled into launching the attack. 

Assad, the puppet ruler, is not the main villain, but the attack on northern Israel on Thursday was his doing and he did so from an area that is, for all intents and purposes, under Iranian control. 

Thursday's events were just a taste of the new era heralded by the nuclear agreement, which will be defined by an increase in "Made in Iran" terrorism. Even if the deal prevents Iran's nuclearization, it will let the Islamic republic rake in hefty sums from its business partners, and the regime will have been bolstered to perpetrate more terrorism all over the world, including against Israel. 

That new fiscal reality will increase the terrorist threat against Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and the entire West, not just the Jewish state. Iran will open its checkbook and let the money flow freely to its terrorist proxies. Unlike the Israel Defense Forces, Iran's terrorist elements won't have to deal with proposed reforms to streamline their budget. There is no Persian equivalent to the cost-cutting measures mentioned in the Locker Commission's report on the IDF. 

The IDF has adopted a cautious posture along the Syrian border and off the Gaza Strip. This posture was clearly on display in the measured response to Thursday's attack, which involved airstrikes in Syria. But the latest IDF activity was just a small sample for what's to come. If things continue moving along the same trajectory, the IDF will have to expend far greater resources. 

In light of these ongoing developments, the proposal to cut mandatory military service for men to just 24 months sounds like a bad joke. That would prevent the IDF from utilizing the recruits after investing heavily in their training. Implementing other proposals -- such as reducing the IDF's fighting force (including in the Armored Corps and the Israeli Air Force) -- seems almost unthinkable in light of this reality. 

The proposed budget for 2016 should be revisited to accommodate these added costs. The changes must be introduced before the budget bill is passed, although they will take effect only later.

Dan Margalit


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

We 'reject the existence of any Israeli on this Earth': Iranian official - Rick Moran

by Rick Moran

Earlier this week, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said on his English-language Twitter account that Iran will “take all possible means to support anyone who fights Israel, is against the Zionist regime and supports resistance.”

Our new best buddies – the Iranians – are nothing if not crystal-clear on their intentions toward Israel.  We are reminded of this again as a top aide to the speaker of the Iranian parliament had some bloodcurdling words for Jews.
Hussein Sheikholeslam, a senior adviser to Iran’s Speaker of Parliament, told the Hamas-affiliated newspaper al-Resalah that Tehran “reject[s] the existence of any Israeli on this earth,” a position he says Iran relayed to the P5+1 powers during the nuclear negotiations, The Times of Israel reported Wednesday. According to Sheikholeslam, Iran “will do everything to renew” its support for Hamas, which Tehran lessened in retaliation to the Sunni group’s opposition to the regime of Bashar al-Assad after the outbreak of the Syrian civil war.
Sheikholeslam’s comments are the latest in a series of threats issued against Israel by Iran since the Islamic Republic signed a nuclear agreement with the P5+1 powers last month.
A video posted on a website linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), titled “Preparation of the complete destruction of Israel by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Islamic Revolution in Iran,” called for Israel’s “erasure from the annals of history,” according to another report in The Times of Israel on Wednesday. The clip depicts an invasion of Jerusalem by an Islamic army that includes Hamas and Hezbollah among its ranks.
Earlier this week, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said on his English-language Twitter account that Iran will “take all possible means to support anyone who fights Israel, is against the Zionist regime and supports resistance.”
It goes without saying that a nuclear weapon in the hands of these fanatical anti-Semites would be extraordinarily dangerous for Israel.  But the deal that's about to be approved by Congress – even with a best-case scenario – will only delay an Iranian bomb, not make it impossible.

And that's what's needed.  That we have recognized Iran's right to enrich uranium and possess a "peaceful" nuclear program may go down as one of the biggest blunders in history.  This irresponsible, hateful, backward regime is about to get its hands on the ultimate defense against insulting the prophet and a guarantee of a general Middle East war.

Rick Moran


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Hard to buy Barak's claim that IDF, ministers tied his hands on Iran strike - Yossi Melman

by Yossi Melman

When authorities were investigating the Boaz Harpaz affair, it became apparent that unlike the tapes recorded by then-IDF chief of staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, the audio recordings from the office of his superior – then-defense minister Ehud Barak – had been destroyed.

Experts, analysts, Barak adversaries and conspiracy theorists all claimed that the destruction of those tapes by a man like Barak – who is notoriously cautious – was no coincidence. The investigating authorities exonerated Barak, however, after coming to the conclusion that the destruction of the tapes was simply a mistake by mandarins at the Defense Ministry.

This time, however, it seems that Barak’s circumspection has failed him. On Friday, Channel 2 aired audio segments in which the former defense minister can be heard explaining why he and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not order the IDF to attack Iran.

Barak blames Ashkenazi, his successor, Benny Gantz, as well as ministers Moshe Ya’alon and Yuval Steinitz, all of whom opposed the attack. According to Barak associates, Ilan Kfir and Danny Dor – the authors of an upcoming Hebrew-language biography about the former defense minister – violated their subject’s trust. They claim that Barak had agreed to have his interviews recorded in order to expedite the writing process and make life easier for the authors.

The former defense minister, however, did not consent to having the tape’s content publicly disseminated. When contacted by The Jerusalem Post’s corporate sister Ma’ariv for comment, Dor did not respond.

Prior to the Channel 2 report, Barak tried to prevent the airing of the audio clips. He appealed to the Military Censor’s Office, which rejected his request to bar the broadcast. Once Barak revealed information about secret cabinet discussions to journalists, the question of whether he intended to have his position aired publicly is a secondary one – and certainly is not one that concerns the censor.

Even if he did not intend for the information to emerge in audio format, Barak intended to have his opinion known by the public. He is trying to shape the historical narrative by portraying himself as the figure who pushed hardest in favor of a strike on Iran – only to be overruled by the cabinet ministers and military commanders who opposed such a move.

According to Barak, Ashkenazi told him in 2010 that the IDF simply did not have the operational capacity to execute an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

In 2011, Ashkenazi was replaced by Gantz as chief of staff. Gantz told Barak that the military did indeed have the operational “maturity” for a strike.

While Gantz made it clear that the IDF would carry out any directive issued to it by the civilian leadership, he was convinced that an attack was unnecessary. Barak also said that he was surprised to see ministers Ya’alon and Steinitz “melt” at the last minute after he was led to believe by Netanyahu that the two men supported the plan.

Ya’alon and Steinitz instead chose to side with the opposing cabinet ministers – Dan Meridor and Bennie Begin. As a result, Netanyahu and Barak were left without the necessary majority to back an attack.

A year later, Barak and Netanyahu tried again to convince the cabinet to approve an attack plan. This time, however, it was weather considerations that presented an obstacle. Israel had only two “windows of opportunity” to attack, but neither was exploited due to external factors. These were a large-scale drill with the US military from May to July and the upcoming US presidential election in November 2012.

Barak’s comments should not be taken as absolute truth. They are just one version of events.

Other versions that have not been aired publicly include that of former Mossad director Meir Dagan, and those of Gantz and Ashkenazi themselves. Dagan and Ashkenazi have hinted that Netanyahu and Barak acted in a manipulative fashion on the Iran issue.

There was one claim, first reported by Ma’ariv, according to which Barak told the cabinet that he was personally informed by then-CIA chief Leon Panetta that the Obama administration had reversed its opposition to an Israeli strike on Iran.

When the Americans were informed of Barak’s claim, they were furious. They sent a special emissary to Israel with the exact transcript of the Panetta-Barak conversation in question. Barak and Netanyahu then allegedly tried to get the chief of staff to “get the system activated.” That would involve mobilization of the reserves and ordering the air force, intelligence services and home front authorities to take a number of preemptive measures.

“Activating the system” could take more than a month, and is liable to lead to a “miscalculation.”

The risk is that Iran would expose these preparations and launch preemptive actions that would threaten to drag the entire Middle East, as well as the United States, into a regional war. Was that Barak’s and Netanyahu’s intention? Such a possibility should not be ruled out.

These conflicting versions of events remind one of the Japanese film Rashomon, in which a number of characters recall events, each through his own lens. The narratives often contradict.

The truth may only be known 70 years from now, if at all, when official records of the meetings are made public. That is not a sure thing. In the most sensitive, secret discussions, there are those who compose the protocol of meetings simply with an eye to the history books.

Even if we were to believe Barak, it’s difficult to be swayed.

If the prime minister and the defense minister really wanted to win cabinet approval for a decision to attack Iran, they could have overcome ministerial opposition. Never in the history of the State of Israel has a determined, dominant prime minister been prevented from getting government approval for his decisions – especially those relating to existential issues – by opposition from other ministers.

One is left wondering whether Netanyahu and Barak really wanted to attack – or whether it was all bluff. If indeed it were a bluff, it was a successful one. They played a game of “Hold me back” with the Israeli public and – more important – with the Americans.

Yossi Melman


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Israel demands all details of nuclear deal be revealed - Mati Tuchfeld, Erez Linn and Yoni Hersch

by Mati Tuchfeld, Erez Linn and Yoni Hersch

"The more details revealed from the deal, the more we see that our concerns are justified," says Israeli official on report that Iran will inspect its own nuclear site • Poll finds 56% of Americans think Congress should reject Iran deal.

A satellite image of the Parchin military site in Iran
Photo credit: AP

Mati Tuchfeld, Erez Linn and Yoni Hersch


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Is Spain Fueling the BDS War Against Israel? - Soeren Kern

by Soeren Kern

  • Spain's center-right government under Mariano Rajoy continues to pursue policies that are antagonistic towards Israel — policies that are virtually unchanged from the government of former Socialist Prime Minister of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero — policies that largely coincide with the objectives of the BDS movement.
  • Although Spain's Foreign Minister has repeatedly said that the government does not support a boycott against Israel, under his watch the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), the Foreign Ministry's primary aid-giving agency, has continued to subsidize organizations that work to delegitimize Israel.
  • Between 2009 and 2011, the Zapatero government funneled more than €15 million of Spanish taxpayer funds to Palestinian and Spanish non-governmental organizations that are among the leaders in campaigns aimed at delegitimizing Israel via BDS, lawfare and other forms of demonization, according to a comprehensive analysis published by the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor.
  • The Rajoy government continues to fund NGOs that are involved in anti-Israel activities.
  • According to the Official Gazette of the Spanish State, for example, NOVA-Centre per la Innovació Social, a Barcelona-based NGO with a history of anti-Israel activism, is slated to receive more than €200,000 in 2015... AECID awarded €200,000 in 2014 to the Catalan Association for Peace, a group that has co-organized a three-year project to "raise awareness" for the BDS movement against Israel.
  • "The EU calls our ambassadors in because of the construction of a few houses? When did the EU call in the Palestinian ambassadors about incitement that calls for Israel's destruction?... They don't tell the Palestinians that they have to make their peace with a nation-state for the Jewish people. They just give the Palestinians a nation-state." — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
  • Meanwhile, Spanish BDS activists continue their efforts to prevent Israeli artists from performing at Spanish music festivals, and vice versa.

The Jewish American singer Matisyahu has been re-invited to perform at an international music festival in Spain, days after he was disinvited for refusing to make a public statement about his position on Israel's "apartheid policies" against the Palestinians.

The organizers of the Rototom Sunsplash festival, an annual reggae festival held in Benicasim, a resort town on the Mediterranean coast, said in a statement that they were sorry for cancelling Matisyahu's concert and that he was now welcome to perform at the festival on August 22, as originally scheduled.

The organizers said that the decision to disinvite Matisyahu — an American citizen who does not hold an Israeli passport — was due to a "campaign of pressure, coercion and threats employed" by BDS País Valencià, a local branch of the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

In a post on his Facebook page, Matisyahu wrote:
"The festival organizers contacted me because they were getting pressure from the BDS movement. They wanted me to write a letter, or make a video, stating my positions on Zionism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to pacify the BDS people. I support peace and compassion for all people. My music speaks for itself, and I do not insert politics into my music. Music has the power to transcend the intellect, ideas, and politics, and it can unite people in the process. The festival kept insisting that I clarify my personal views; which felt like clear pressure to agree with the BDS political agenda. Honestly it was appalling and offensive, that as the one publicly Jewish-American artist scheduled for the festival they were trying to coerce me into political statements. Were any of the other artists scheduled to perform asked to make political statements in order to perform? No artist deserves to be put in such a situation simply to perform his or her art. Regardless of race, creed, country, cultural background, etc, my goal is to play music for all people. As musicians that is what we seek. - Blessed Love, Matis"
The decision to ban Matisyahu was applauded by Compromís per Castellón, the provincial branch of the left-wing coalition that governs alongside the Socialist Party in the Province of Valencia. Compromís spokesman Ignasi García issued a statement calling on Matisyahu to "make clear his views on the 'apartheid the Palestinian people are subjected to every day.'" He said that although "we respect free speech and artistic expression," the festival "is about more than music, and we do not accept certain [pro-Israel] attitudes as normal."

Not surprisingly, the move to ban Matisyahu, whose given name is Matthew Paul Miller, ignited a firestorm of international criticism and, once again, cast a spotlight on the problem of anti-Semitism masquerading as criticism of Israel in Spain.

In a letter to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, the president of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald Lauder, wrote:
"The organizers have done the honorable thing and apologized. However, this affair leaves us with a sour taste in our mouths. It was yet another example of how anti-Jewish attitudes, dressed up as vicious and unfair criticism of Israel, are still widespread, and are especially prevalent in a number of far-left global political parties. This affair also showed that the BDS movement is rotten at its core: Although pretending to fight racism, it is fuelled by anti-Semitism. It's time people realize that and stop listening to this vicious form of propaganda."
The Spanish Foreign Ministry, which is spending tens of millions of euros to improve Spain's image abroad, distanced itself from the imbroglio. In a statement it said:
"The Government of Spain condemns the cancellation of Matisyahu's performance at the Rototom reggae music festival in Benicasim. The obligation for him to make a public statement, one that only he was required to provide, constitutes a violation of the freedom of conscience, and to the extent that this was determined by Matisyahu's Jewishness, calls into question the principle of non-discrimination, which is the basis of plural and diverse societies.
"The Government expresses its understanding for the unease expressed by Jewish communities and reiterates its rejection of all manifestations of anti-Semitism.
"Spain also reiterates its rejection of campaigns that call for boycotts of Israel, as well as its strong position in favor of a negotiated solution on the basis of an independent State of Palestine living in peace and prosperity with Israel."
At the same time, however, Mariano Rajoy's center-right government continues to pursue policies that are antagonistic towards Israel — policies that are virtually unchanged from the government of former Socialist Prime Minister of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero — policies that largely coincide with the objectives of the BDS movement in Spain and elsewhere.

In March 2013, for example, Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo announced a plan to open a Spanish consulate in Gaza, accredited to Hamas. He backtracked after learning that the EU classifies Hamas as a terrorist organization, and that his plan would have established Spain as the only EU country with a consulate in Gaza.

In January 2014, the Israeli Foreign Ministry summoned the Spanish ambassador to protest his "perpetual one-sided stance" vis-à-vis the Palestinians. At a press conference after the meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was "time to stop this hypocrisy" and "inject some balance and fairness to this discussion." He added: "The EU calls our ambassadors in because of the construction of a few houses? When did the EU call in the Palestinian ambassadors about incitement that calls for Israel's destruction?"

In August 2014, the Spanish government announced an arms embargo against Israel aimed at forcing the Jewish state to halt its military operations against Hamas. Israel launched Operation Protective Edge to stop incessant rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, which Hamas had restarted shortly after the terrorist group kidnapped and murdered of three Israeli teenagers.

In November 2014, García-Margallo praised the Spanish parliament for voting overwhelmingly to recognize "Palestine" as a state. He said: "I want to express my satisfaction that all political parties have decided to vote for this declaration."

Netanyahu said the resolution was counterproductive. "They don't tell the Palestinians that they have to make their peace with a nation-state for the Jewish people. They just give the Palestinians a nation-state."

In January 2015, García-Margallo called for an inquiry into the death of a Spanish peacekeeper in southern Lebanon. Corporal Francisco Javier Soria Toledo died after being wounded by Israeli artillery fired in retaliation for a Hezbollah attack that killed two Israeli soldiers. García-Margallo said he "would not hesitate to bring those responsible to justice," a no-so-veiled threat to prosecute Israel officials. The Israeli Ambassador to Spain, Alon Bar, said that the UN peacekeepers were partly to blame, because they had failed in their duty to prevent Hezbollah from firing into Israel.

Although García-Margallo has repeatedly said that Spain does not support a boycott against Israel, under his watch the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), the Foreign Ministry's primary aid-giving agency, has continued to subsidize organizations that work to delegitimize Israel.

Between 2009 and 2011, the Zapatero government funneled more than €15 million ($20 million) of Spanish taxpayer funds to Palestinian and Spanish non-governmental organizations that are among the leaders in ideological campaigns aimed at delegitimizing Israel via BDS, lawfare and other forms of demonization, according to a comprehensive analysis published by the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor.

Anti-Israel activists in Gijón, Spain are pictured above calling for a boycott and sanctions against the Jewish state, in 2012.

Although the Spanish financial crisis has led to a steep reduction in Spain's foreign aid budget — Spanish support for Palestinian causes has decreased from €71.3 million in 2009, €32.5 million in 2010 and €48.9 million in 2011, to €11 million annually from 2015 to 2017 — the Rajoy government continues to fund NGOs that are involved in anti-Israel activities.

According to the August 18 edition of Official Gazette of the Spanish State, for example, NOVA-Centre per la Innovació Social, a Barcelona-based NGO with a history of anti-Israel activism, is slated to receive more than €200,000 in 2015 for a project to "promote the political participation of women and the rule of law in Palestine."

NOVA also received €270,000 (2014) to "strengthen the mechanisms for the implementation of international humanitarian law" in Gaza.

NOVA was instrumental in launching the so-called Russell Tribunal on Palestine, an ongoing "people's tribunal" that puts Israel "on trial" for "crimes against humanity." The tribunal recently said that it "commends and restates its support for the BDS campaign, which needs to be stepped up within the European Union and expanded to other states, regional organizations and intergovernmental institutions."

NOVA, which supports a flotilla to break the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, has also co-organized "Free Palestine, Boycott Israel," a three-year effort to promote BDS activities against Israel.

AECID also awarded €76,000 (2015) to a group calling itself the State Coordinator for Fair Trade (Coordinadora Estatal de Comercio Justo, CECJ) for a project cryptically titled "Entangled for Fair Trade" (Enredados por un comercio justo.) The CECJ is a member of the Network of Alternative Economics and Solidarity (Red de Redes de Economía Alternativa y Solidaria, REAS), a group that is active in anti-Israel BDS activities.

AECID awarded more than €30,000 (2015) to an NGO called Soldepaz Pachakuti for a project titled "Cooperation for Peace, Defending What is Shared." Soldepaz Pachakuti is a member of Nodo50, a network of "anti-capitalist, anti-fascist" groups heavily involved in the BDS movement against Israel.

AECID awarded €300,000 (2015) to a Madrid-based NGO called Movimiento por la Paz, El Desarme y la Libertad (MPDL), a group that supports the Russell Tribunal as well as "Rumbo a Gaza" (On Course to Gaza) which aims to break Israel's blockade of Gaza.

In 2014, AECID awarded €468,000 to a group called "Alianza por la Solidaridad" to perform humanitarian work in the Gaza Strip. In April 2015, the group signed a briefing paper titled "Charting a New Course: Overcoming the Stalemate in Gaza" which calls on the international community to develop a "common response to the government of Israel if immediate progress is not made to lift the blockade." Implicit is the threat to implement boycotts and prosecute Israeli leaders.

AECID awarded €60,000 (2014) to a group called "Iniciativas de Economía Alternativa y Solidaria (IDEAS)," which supports a BDS initiative called "Spaces Free of Israeli Apartheid," (Espacios Libres de Apartheid Israelí, ELAI).

AECID awarded €200,000 (2014) to the Catalan Association for Peace (L'Associació Catalana per la Pau), a group that has co-organized a three-year project to "raise awareness" for the BDS movement against Israel.

AECID appropriated €200,000 (2014) to "support the institutional functioning" of the "Diplomatic Mission of Palestine in Spain."

In 2013, AECID awarded €270,000 to "Bimkom - Planners for Planning Rights," an Israeli NGO, to "improve access to Area C [an administrative division in the West Bank] for the Palestinian population." Bimkom's executive director, Hedva Radovanitz, once told US embassy officials "that she believed that in 100 years Israel would be majority Arab and that the disappearance of a Jewish state would not be the tragedy that Israelis fear since it would become more democratic."

Also in 2013, AECID awarded €150,000 to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, a well-known anti-Israel NGO, for a project titled: "Improve the collection of information, testimonies and documents about violations of human rights in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and the local and international broadcasting of abuses committed by Israel and the Palestinian Authority."

In January 2015, the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) presented García-Margallo with a report documenting how AECID was funding anti-Semitic exhibitions and forums in Spanish cities.

One such exhibition, organized by the Autonomous University of Madrid, displayed a map of Israel covered with a Nazi swastika, as well as a picture of the late Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who was falsely quoted as saying, "I don't recognize any international laws. I swear I will burn every Palestinian child that is born in this zone."

The exhibit also featured a photograph of Israel's security barrier, accompanied by the following caption: "The wall continues its route, enclosing more than 2 million persons in ghettos or concentration camps under Israeli control...."

Another event allegedly funded by AECID was the "International Conference of Local Government and Civil Society Organizations in Support of Palestine." Held in Seville in December 2014, the event was coordinated by the Andalusian Fund of Municipalities for International Solidarity (FAMSI), the UN Division for Palestinian Rights and the Al Quds Association.

According to the SWC, the forum "planned the international BDS campaign for 2015 against the State of Israel. There we learned of forthcoming BDS motions to be presented at the American Anthropological Association and the American Historical Association." The report continued:
"We were sickened to hear that boycott-compliant universities were to be honored as 'Israel Apartheid-Free Campuses' and municipalities would extol compliant shops and businesses as 'Israel Apartheid-Free Zones' — redolent of the Nazi designation 'Judenrein' (ethnically cleansed of Jews)."
One speaker at the event was quoted as saying: "We cannot accept the two-state solution as we are close to Hamas' 'one man, one vote' policy. Together with its exiled base of consensus, this means the return of all refugees, the restitution of all the land, resulting in one Palestinian state."

The conference was attended by Israeli Arab Knesset MP Mohammad Barakeh who claimed, "Israel has never been democratic... We are the only natives of this land."

According to the SWC, the general coordinator of the Palestinian BDS, Mahmoud Nawajaa, said: "Israel is committing crimes not only against the Palestinian people, but against the entire human species... All settlements are illegal, even from before 1967, so all Israeli products must be boycotted."

The event in Seville, and another one in Málaga, included a conference document, "Andalucía con Palestina" (Andalusia with Palestine), which stated: "For any Jihadist in the audience, this is the call for re-conquest of the lost territories of the Caliphate."

The SWC asked García-Margallo: "Is it Spanish policy to promote the deletion of the Jewish State of Israel to be replaced by a State of Palestine? If your reply is negative, why should Spanish tax-payers fund measures to that end?"

The Spanish government denied that it had subsidized the events.

Meanwhile, Spanish BDS activists continue their efforts to prevent Israeli artists from performing at Spanish music festivals, and vice versa.

In May 2015, BDS Catalonia sought to have three Israeli bands ejected from the Primavera Sound music festival in Barcelona. According to the group:
"Primavera Sound enjoys the backing of the Israeli Embassy in Spain, which makes the festival an accomplice of the policies contrary to International Law and Human Rights the Zionist State has been implementing in Palestine since 1948. The Israeli Embassy's support for the festival is a cultural smokescreen for colonization and apartheid in Palestine."
Also in May, BDS Catalonia succeeded in dissuading the Catalan singer Marinah from performing at music festivals in the Israeli cities of Ashdod and Tel Aviv.

In April, BDS activists called for the boycott a concert in Alicante featuring Spanish singer Joaquín Sabina, because Sabina rejected their previous demands that he cancel performances in Israel in 2012 and 2014.

In January 2015, BDS activists called on María Juncal, a Spanish flamenco dancer, to cancel her performance at the Eilat Chamber Music Festival.

In July 2014, anti-Israel activists called on the organizers of the Vitoria Jazz Festival, an annual jazz festival held in the Basque Country, to prevent the Israeli singer Noa from performing at the event. Her performance went ahead as planned, but was interrupted by shouts of "Israeli genocide" and "Free Palestine."
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.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

The Power of Jewish Indignation - Caroline Glick

by Caroline Glick

Standing up to anti-Semites works.

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

Perhaps we should thank Spain’s Rotodom Sunsplash reggae festival organizers. They just provided us with a textbook case both of the nature of today’s anti-Semitism and of how to defeat it.
Last weekend, the festival organizers canceled their invitation to Matisyahu, the American-Jewish reggae artist, because he refused to bow to the organizers’ demand that he publicly support “Palestine.”

Matisyahu was the only known Jew in the festival line-up and the only performer asked to produce such a statement.

Rather than take this lying down, on Monday Matisyahu recounted the episode on his Facebook page, writing, “It was appalling and offensive that as the one publicly Jewish-American artist scheduled for the festival they were trying to coerce me into political statements.”

Matisyahu’s disinvitation prompted a worldwide Jewish outcry. The Foreign Ministry registered a complaint with the Spanish government.

Every major American Jewish organization and several European Jewish organizations condemned the blatant discrimination against Matisyahu.

On Tuesday, Spain’s main newspaper, El Pais, condemned the festival’s anti-Semitism. The Spanish government followed hours later.

On Wednesday, the festival organizers issued a groveling apology to Matisyahu and officially reinstated his invitation to perform.

The organizers claim they were intimidated into discriminating against Matisyahu by a local anti-Israel BDS group. BDS País Valencià resorted to “pressures, threats and coercion” and warned the organizers that its members would “seriously disrupt the normal functioning of the festival.”

There are two main lessons here.

First, the BDS movement does not seek to end the so-called occupation of Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. It does not seek peace.

By demanding that an American Jew denounce Israel as a condition for performing, the BDS movement made clear that the only Jews it is willing to countenance are anti-Semitic Jews. The only Jews BDS activists will accept in the public square are those who join them in denouncing Israel and denouncing Jews who support Israel.

In other words, the goal of BDS is deny Jews civil rights. All participants in the movement – whether non-Jews or Jews – are anti-Semites, because they all seek to boot from public life Jews who disagree with them.

The second lesson of the Matisyahu affair is that it is possible to defeat these haters. The festival organizers discriminated against Matisyahu because they feared the Jew-hating mob more than they valued his artistry. They are now groveling at his feet because the pushback they received from world Jewry for their behavior knocked them to their knees.

When Jews stand up to anti-Semites, the anti-Semites back down.

In the West today, the hardest part about standing up to anti-Semites is that most anti-Semites and the most powerful anti-Semitic movements are on the Left, where most Western Jews have traditionally situated themselves.

Although the US is far less anti-Semitic than Europe, ironically, it is in the US where Jews have the hardest time defending themselves. The relative mildness of anti-Semitism in the US makes anti-Semitic Jews feel comfortable joining anti-Semitic non-Jews in weakening Israel and the Jewish community.

Their involvement in anti-Semitic organizations, in turn, together with the relative weakness of the threat in comparison to Europe, inhibits mainstream Jewish groups from discrediting hostile Jews and hostile groups.

J Street has played a major role in recent years in subverting attempts to achieve Jewish unity on issues related both to Israel and to fighting anti-Semitism on college campuses.

Case in point is the communal division over President Barack Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran.

This week, 340 rabbis signed a letter to Congress calling on lawmakers to support Obama’s nuclear deal with the world’s greatest state sponsor of terrorism. The letter received significant publicity in the US and contributed to a sense that the Jewish community stands with Obama against Israel in relation to the nuclear pact.

But whereas the organizers claimed that the signatories represented all streams of American Judaism, according to an analysis undertaken by the Zionist Organization of America, 187 of the signatories are members of J Street’s “Rabbinic Cabinet.”

The ZOA revealed as well that Ameinu, the Jewish group that organized the letter, is a J Street front group. Its National President Kenneth Bob also serves as J Street’s treasurer. Its Vice President and Executive Committee Chairwoman Judith Gelman is also a J Street official.

J Street is so radical that its student group J Street U just elected a Muslim to serve as its national president.

President Amna Farooqi announced that J Street U is not a pro-Israel group. In her words, “We are not here to talk about the pro-Israel conversation on campus. We are here to talk about the occupation.” She declared that J Street U will dedicated itself to “yearlong anti-occupation work.”

Part of the reason the community has avoided taking J Street on is because of its deep ties to the Obama White House. For six years the White House has used J Street as a strategic weapon of influence. J Street’s assigned role is to prevent the Jewish community from opposing the administration’s rank hostility toward Israel and block Jewish criticism of the administration’s willingness to countenance and legitimize anti-Semitic allegations. These include Secretary of State John Kerry’s libelous accusations that Israel is about to become an apartheid state and that Israelis are uninterested in peace as well as Obama’s recent insinuations that there is something basically treacherous about American Jewish support for Israel.

It is a sign of J Street’s power that although the 340 activists who signed the J Street-inspired, pro-Iran rabbis’ letter to Congress make up just 6 percent of the rabbis in America, and although American Jews oppose the deal 2 to 1, neither the Reform and Conservative movements nor the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations has agreed to openly oppose the deal.

Then again, for a group with a direct line to the White House and apparently unlimited amounts of money, convincing a community that voted for Obama 3 to 1 twice to side with the White House against Israel should have been a piece of cake. And yet, the fact is that despite all of its advantages, while the Conservative and Reform movements haven’t come out in opposition to the deal, they also haven’t come out in support of it.

On Wednesday, the Reform movement issued a statement announcing it would refuse to take a stand on the issue. Although purportedly neutral, the statement criticized the administration’s employment of anti-Semitism in its attacks against opponents of the deal, stating, “We are concerned... with the possibility that some will use the debate as fuel for anti-Semitic views.”

With even the Reform movement denying its support, it is hard to imagine the administration will be able to secure the support of any major Jewish groups outside of J Street and the NJDC – the official Jewish wing of the Democratic Party.

In part, J Street’s failure is a testament to the overwhelming support for Israel among American Jews. In part, it owes to communal anger at Obama’s anti-Semitic bating of his Jewish opponents.

But a large share of the credit for blocking Obama’s attempts to split the community goes to Israel’s skillful diplomacy, which has challenged and empowered normally diffident Jewish leaders to stand up to the White House and withstand its pressure.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s willingness to confront Obama directly and explain over and over why Obama’s deal endangers Israel makes it difficult for American Jewish leaders to support it. They cannot take Obama’s word for it when Netanyahu shows them how the deal guarantees Iran will acquire nuclear weapons, be well placed to achieve its goal of regional hegemony and develop the means to attack the US with nuclear warheads.

There is a lesson here about the role of Israeli diplomats in fighting anti-Semitism in the West and cultivating Jewish unity in defense of Jewish rights, even as leftist Jews seek to undermine that unity.

The lesson is that there is no point in trying to reach compromises with anti-Semites, or with those pushing agendas that endanger Israel and threaten the civil rights of Jewish communities in the West. Israel gains the most by demanding the most and patiently, clearly and convincingly justifying its demands.

Israel empowers Western Jews – including leftist American Jews – to stand with it, and to stand for their rights by unapologetically defending it and its rights.

This basic truth demonstrates why Israelis should be heartened rather than concerned about Netanyahu’s ambassadorial appointments.

His designated ambassador to Italy, Fiamma Nirenstein, has devoted her life to defending Israel and Jewish rights and fighting anti-Semitism in Europe. Netanyahu’s decision to appoint her to Rome is a clear sign that he is putting an end to the pathetic mollycoddling of anti-Israel forces in the hopes of appeasing them that has characterized Israel’s diplomacy for decades.

The concerns of some Italian Jews that Nirenstein’s appointment will raise allegations of dual loyalties against the community are proof not that Netanyahu made a mistake in appointing the famous Italian-Jewish journalist and former member of the Italian parliament to represent Israel, but that he was right to appoint her.

Only a fighter like Nirenstein who knows Italian culture inside and out can ensure that such allegations are discredited and that anti-Semites feel the same heat that the organizers of the reggae festival in Spain felt this week.

Netanyahu’s decision to appoint Danny Danon as ambassador to the UN springs from the same willingness to confront rather than appease anti-Semites. Danon’s unapologetic defense of Israel’s rights to Judea and Samaria has been attacked by the Left as proof that he will be unable to get along at the UN.

But Israel of course cannot get along at the UN. The only way for it to successfully defend itself in a body dedicated to delegitimizing it is by fighting for its rights every single day. That is why someone who makes no apologies and doesn’t worry about being loved is exactly the person Israel needs at the UN.

Matisyahu’s ejection and reinstatement at a reggae festival is a small story in the vast scope of events today. But it tells us that we can fight effectively for our rights against the anti-Semites on the Left. We can defend our rights and defeat our enemies on the Left if we stick to our guns and empower our fellow Jews – including leftist Jews – to do the same.

Caroline Glick is the Director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center's Israel Security Project and the Senior Contributing Editor of The Jerusalem Post. For more information on Ms. Glick's work, visit


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

No Asylum in America for Yazidis Fleeing ISIS - Clarion

by Clarion

Although thousands have fled ISIS persecution, only 10 families have been allowed into the US and none of those because of ISIS persecution.

Yazidi refugees in Turkey demonstrate for asylum ahead of a visit by UN Special Envoy Angelina Jolie. (Photo: © Reuters)
Yazidi refugees in Turkey demonstrate for asylum ahead of a visit by UN Special Envoy Angelina Jolie. (Photo: © Reuters)

Despite the thousands of Yazidis who have been displaced by the Islamic State, only 10 Yazidi families have received asylum in the United States.

Those in America have entered on visas connected to a program for translators who served with American forces during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, according to Yazda, a Yazidi rights organization based in America.  “None of these families [in U.S.] are related to the crisis” Abid Shamden, who works with Yazda, told Fox News. 

“But many are still there” he added. “They are not given any special status. They are all treated as the same. My family has been waiting since 2012 for visas.”

There are an estimated 700,000 Yazidis in the world. Yazidis follow of a unique and ancient faith indigenous to the Middle East. Their religion is a unique blend of Persian Zoroastrianism with influences from Christianity and Islam. They worship Melek Taus, the Peacock Angel, which has led to accusations of devil worship.

Last year, an estimated 40,000 Yazidis were trapped on Mount Sinjar in Iraq without food or water, encircled by Islamic State forces. Many were later rescued after a U.S. bombing campaign, but not before several thousand died.

Around 350,000 Yazidis fled to Iraqi Kurdistan and around 14,000 live in refugee camps in Turkey. Tracking the precise numbers and whereabouts of the refugees is very difficult because of both the scale of the problem and the chaos in the region.

Rev. Majed el-Shafie, the founder of One Free World International, recently returned from a trip to Iraq and spoke with the Clarion Project. El-Shafie interviewed many Yazidi girls who have escaped from sex-slavery in the Islamic State.

He demanded that the U.S. and other countries, including Canada, take in more Yazidi refugees. His organization was involved in the rescue of Yazidi girls through ransoming them from their captors. He stressed that these girls should be “top priority” for asylum.

Frank Wolf, a senior fellow at 21st Century Wilberforce, a non-profit that works to protect religious minorities in the Middle East told Fox, “What we are seeing, in real time, is genocide.”



Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Hillary and the vast right left wing conspiracy - Thomas Lifson

by Thomas Lifson

Metaphorically smiling as the stiletto goes deeper into her back.  Monica Crowley is the latest pundit to identify the subterranean earthquake quietly torpedoing Hillary’s chance at occupying the Oval Office and finally getting even with Bill

Hillary Clinton is twisting in the wind, a victim of a vast conspiracy to torpedo her candidacy.  But this time, it is a real conspiracy, and it comes from the left. The “vast right wing conspiracy” that she identified in 1998 as behind the surfacing of Monica Lewinski’s Oval Office fellatio of her husband was actually the product of activities of open opponents of her husband publishing their findings. It takes a paranoid village to see opposition as inherently conspiratorial.

But this time around, as she twists in the wind, the people enabling her political immolation are ostensibly on her side, and acting covertly. Metaphorically smiling as the stiletto goes deeper into her back.  Monica Crowley is the latest pundit to identify the subterranean earthquake quietly torpedoing Hillary’s chance at occupying the Oval Office and finally getting even with Bill:
There is only one person who controls Hillary Clinton’s fate, and it isn’t Hillary Clinton.
Mrs. Clinton is careening toward possible criminal charges involving her alleged mishandling of classified material on her personal email server while she was secretary of State. And President Obama is driving the bus. (snip)
She and Mr. Obama have a long history as frenemies. Recall Mr. Obama’s rejoinder at a 2008 debate, when Mrs. Clinton touted her likability: “You’re likable enough.” Or recall President Bill Clinton’s famous put-down of Mr. Obama: “A few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee.”
Beyond the bad blood, however, Mr. Obama has a more important reason for doing her in. As I have written previously, he needs a successor he can control. Over the years, including recently, he has waxed rhapsodic over a possible third term to continue his “fundamental transformation of the nation.” Mrs. Clinton will not provide it; therefore, she must be sidelined.
If Mr. Obama does not want an investigation to go forward, it does not go forward. Witness the scandals involving the Internal Revenue Service, Benghazi, Veterans Administration and Operation Fast and Furious gunrunning.
Crowley suggests that Hillary may have been set-up:
It may be that Mr. Obama set her up from the start, giving her the green light to use a private server. The White House refuses to say whether she got prior approval, suggesting that they probably granted it. After all, a number of top administration folks had private accounts: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, among others. But they didn’t use private email exclusively for government business the way Mrs. Clinton did, nor did they expose classified material. They also weren’t likely presidential candidates. It could be that Mr. Obama gave her the OK knowing that he could use it against her at the opportune moment. Which would be now.
She believes that Joe Biden is the obvious White House choice to operate as a cat’s paw in the presidency, and that Elizabeth Warren will be drafted as the veep nominee as a way of making up with the feminist vote that wants Hillary to be president. She may be right. But I have a different suspicion. Biden is too much of a joke to gain the trust of voters in a time of turmoil. His gaffe reel alone is devastating. The man already dropped out of a presidential race once (in 1998), having been caught plagiarizing. He is a wild card in a presidential debate, and in the presidency.

If we are going to talk conspiracy, I see another, much better option for a left wing cabal anxious to not only preserve the fundamental transformation of America, but to advance it. That option is Elizabeth Warren, who is much smarter, much more in control of her rhetoric, and who has two X-chromosomes.  She has one big downside, and that is that she does not bear close scrutiny. Her claiming of Native American heritage to advance her career is offensive to many people, not least many Native Americans.  And her hypocrisy on wealth – having accumulated a fortune in the millions by representing the interests she claims to fight – is monumental.

However, these themes take time to develop. The ideal candidacy of Elizabeth Warren would be a short one, as a fresh face on the national stage.

If (and that’s a big if) there is a conspiracy underway involving President Obama and his minions at the DOJ, the MSM, and the deep Left, the ideal scenario would be to let Hillary play out her hand and go into the convention, and get the nomination. That’s when the trap would swing shut: Indictment. The FBI and DOJ career staff don’t need to be involved in this.  They will toil away, gathering evidence, only to have AG Lynch decline to go to the grand jury until the case is more sold. Say, in late September. That would be the time to go public with the indictment.

At that point, Hillary would have no option but to withdraw and keep her growing derriere out of prison. The legal niceties over substituting one name for another already formally on the ballot  can readily be handled – the case of Robert Torricelli shows that courts will not allow voters to be denied a choice between two nominees when one becomes unavailable.

So, with 6 weeks of campaigning ahead of her, Elizabeth Warren swings into action with her left wing platitudes about fairness. No time for the GOP to do its oppo research destruction of her image. All those ads attacking Hillary have gone to waste, while the oppo research on the GOP nominee continues to work full-force.

If you’re run to run a vast left wing conspiracy, that would be the way to do it.

Thomas Lifson


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.