Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Har Adar Attack: A Reminder of the Fragility of Israel’s Security Landscape - Yaakov Lappin

by Yaakov Lappin

Hidden from view is the titanic struggle raging 24 hours a day between Israel’s security forces and Palestinian terrorists.

Yaakov Lappin is a Research Associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. He specializes in Israel’s defense establishment, military affairs, and the Middle Eastern strategic environment.


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Why is Jeff Sessions hiding the Uranium One informant? - Daniel John Sobieski

by Daniel John Sobieski

Is Jeff Sessions part of the Uranium One cover-up? If not, then he needs to explain why he is thus far refusing

Perhaps as startling as the revelation that the FBI was investigating the Hillary Clinton/Russia/Uranium One collusion and that key figures like Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe knew about it and said nothing, is the refusal by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to remove the non-disclosure agreement gag order on the FBI informant who arguably could put Bill and Hillary Clinton and a few others in federal prison. 

It was said that Jeff Sessions recused himself from all things Russian because of election campaign conflicts but is it really because he thought it would insulate him from having to divulge what he knew about Uranium One and the people who at the very least knew about the deal, some who approved the deal, including past and present members of the FBI, the DOJ, and Special Counsel Robert Miller’s team? Is Jeff Sessions part of the Uranium One cover-up? If not, then he needs to explain why he is thus far refusing Sen. Chuck Grassley’s request to lift the gag order imposed by the Obama administration as part of the Uranium One cover-up:
A top Senate Republican is calling for the Justice Department to lift an apparent “gag order” on an FBI informant who reportedly helped the U.S. uncover a corruption and bribery scheme by Russian nuclear officials but allegedly was “threatened” by the Obama administration to stay quiet….
“Witnesses who want to talk to Congress should not be gagged and threatened with prosecution for talking. If that has happened, senior DOJ leadership needs to fix it and release the witness from the gag order,” Grassley said in a statement.
Victoria Toensing, a lawyer for the former FBI informant, told Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” that her client has “specific information about contributions and bribes to various entities and people in the United States."
She said she could not go further because her client has not been released from a nondisclosure agreement but suggested the gag order could be lifted soon. Toensing also claimed that her client was “threatened by the Loretta Lynch Justice Department” when he pursued a civil action in which he reportedly sought to disclose some information about the case.
In a letter sent Wednesday to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Grassley said such an NDA would “appear to improperly prevent the individual from making critical, good faith disclosures to Congress of potential wrongdoing.”…
The Hill reported earlier this week that the FBI had evidence as early as 2009 that Russian operatives used bribes, kickbacks and other dirty tactics to expand Moscow’s atomic energy footprint in the U.S. Grassley on Wednesday released a series of letters he fired off last week to 10 federal agencies, raising the question of whether the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) which approved the uranium transaction was aware of that FBI probe -- and pointing to potential “conflicts” involving the Clintons. The committee included then-Secretary of State Clinton.
So why not just lift the gag order, vacate the non-disclosure agreement, which Sessions has the power to do, and let the informant come forward with information on how and why the Clintons conspired to put 20 percent of our uranium assets under Russian control while lining the pockets of the Clintons and their pay-for-play foundation? As Toensing notes, Sessions could do it, and thereby bring to light the details of this criminal enterprise:

The lead investigators on the case included Rod Rosenstein, who is now the deputy attorney general, and Andrew McCabe, who is now the deputy FBI director. Rosenstein is the DOJ official who appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to investigate alleged collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the collusion/campaign investigation. He could waive the Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) signed by the informant, said Toensing. "Yes, Jeff could do it," she said. "He is not recused from this matter and should not be."
However, Rod Rosenstein "is conflicted," said Toensing, "because he was the U.S. attorney who oversaw the case involving my client." Toensing added that she has "asked an oversight committee to pursue the release" of the NDA so her client may testify before Congress about what he knows.
By lifting the gag order, Sessions might have to explain the real reasons behind his recusal and why people who knew of actual collusion between Russia and the Clintons were silent, only to reappear to investigate and pursue prosecution of nonexistent collusion between Russia and Team Trump. He might have to explain why Mueller, McCabe, Rosenstein and others were allowed to hide the truth from the American people and why they should not be summarily fired. As Grassley notes, neither Sessions or anyone in the Justice Department has the authority to block the informant from testifying before Congress or issue non-disclosure agreements to thwart Congressional oversight:
“The Executive Branch does not have the authority to use non-disclosure agreements to avoid Congressional scrutiny," Grassley wrote. "If the FBI is allowed to contract itself out of Congressional oversight, it would seriously undermine our Constitutional system of checks and balances. The Justice Department needs to work with the Committee to ensure that witnesses are free to speak without fear, intimidation or retaliation from law enforcement."
Again, perhaps the reluctance of Jeff Sessions stems from the web of deceit and complicity that ensnares many in the FBI and the Justice Department. As Fox News analyst Gregg Jarrett notes on the Uranium One scandal:
It seems it was all covered up for years by the same three people who are now involved in the investigation of President Donald Trump over so-called Russian “collusion.”…
But why has there been no prosecution of Clinton? Why did the FBI and the Department of Justice during the Obama administration keep the evidence secret? Was it concealed to prevent a scandal that would poison Barack Obama’s presidency? Was Hillary Clinton being protected in her quest to succeed him?
The answer may lie with the people who were in charge of the investigation and who knew of its explosive impact. Who are they?
Eric Holder was the Attorney General when the FBI began uncovering the Russian corruption scheme in 2009. Since the FBI reports to him, he surely knew what the bureau had uncovered.
What’s more, Holder was a member of the “Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States” which approved the uranium sale to the Russians in 2010. Since the vote was unanimous, it appears Holder knowingly and deliberately countenanced a deal that was based on illegal activities and which gave Moscow control of more than 20 percent of America’s uranium assets.
It gets worse. Robert Mueller was the FBI Director during the time of the Russian uranium probe, and so was his successor James Comey who took over in 2013 as the FBI was still developing the case. Rod Rosenstein, then-U.S. Attorney, was supervising the case. There is no indication that any of these men ever told Congress of all the incriminating evidence they had discovered and the connection to Clinton. The entire matter was kept secret from the American public.
It may be no coincidence that Mueller (now special counsel) and Rosenstein (now Deputy Attorney General) are the two top people currently investigating whether the Trump campaign conspired with the Russians to influence the 2016 presidential election. Mueller reports to Rosenstein, while Comey is a key witness in the case. It is not unreasonable to conclude that Mueller, Rosenstein and Comey may have covered up potential crimes involving Clinton and Russia, but are now determined to find some evidence that Trump “colluded” with Russia.
Boom. The question is now whether Jeff Sessions wants to help President Trump to drain the swamp be vacating the gag order and letting evidence come forth proving the Clintons orchestrated the greatest criminal conspiracy in U.S. history at the expense of American national security or whether he is just another swamp thing committed to clogging up the drainage pipes. Justice may be blind, but it should never be gagged.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared inInvestor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.


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Between the Iranian threat and the Palestinian State threat - Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen

by Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen

A linkage – tacitly if not explicitly expressed – has again been created between the White House’s support for Israel’s demands in the Iranian-Syrian arena and what is required of Israel in the Palestinian Arab arena. This is dangerous for Israel.

The greatest threat to Israel’s existence is neither Shiite militias on the Golan border nor the Iranian nuclear threat, which are of physical and military nature. It is instead the threat of a Palestinian state within the Clinton parameters, which would entail dividing Jerusalem and withdrawing to the 1967 lines. The Netanyahu government’s reluctance to build in key parts of Jerusalem such as Givat Hamatos, which is on the seam line between east Jerusalem and the Beit Safafa neighborhood, shows how much – despite the change in the White House – the division of Jerusalem is still seen as essential to reaching an Israeli-Palestinian settlement.

A dynamic of change

A critical look at recent developments in Syria reveals how unpredictably reality can change. Only two years ago, the Israeli defense establishment assessed that the collapse of the Syrian army, which eliminated the scenario of a Syrian attack on Israel’s northern border, meant the IDF could scale back its order of battle. Yet today, with new threats emerging, Defense Minister Liberman is asking for a budget supplement.

Taking the dynamic of change into account also means reconsidering the premises of Israel’s security concept regarding the threat of a Palestinian state. For years, security experts have claimed that in the new era, territorial strategic depth is no longer needed to defend the population centers in Israel’s coastal plain. But media reports about the IDF’s recent large-scale exercise in the north, which was aimed at the threat of Hezbollah forces invading Israeli communities, puts that premise in doubt.

The new challenge posed by Hezbollah and Hamas, together with the advent of Shiite militias in the Syrian arena with no promise of their removal through superpower intervention, requires a rethinking of the potential risk of a Palestinian state. If, in the reality that is developing, Israel should find itself no longer in control of the Jordan Valley, militia forces could slip under the radar of international monitors and reach as far as the urban seam lines of Jerusalem, Kfar Saba, and Netanya.

A conception for 2017

The Agranat Commission attributed the surprise of the Yom Kippur War to a faulty conception. But a conception is indispensable to grasping reality and functioning within it. The lesson, therefore, is not to eschew a conception entirely, but to be aware of the need to subject it to critical scrutiny.

The experts who support a withdrawal from the West Bank in the context of a two-state solution maintain an almost unshakable conception based on three assumptions:
  • If Israel withdraws from the territories and the international community agrees to recognize this move as the end of the 'occupation', Israel will be granted legitimacy to act in self-defense;
  • in the face of a serious threat, the Israeli leadership will be able to make the requisite decision at the right time – an IDF offensive in the 'West Bank'; and
  • given their operational and technological superiority, IDF forces will be able to achieve victory in a few days.
It is not only changes in the phenomenon of warfare that put this conception in doubt. Its validity must also be questioned in a reality that may well force Israel to fight on more than one front.

A change in the international arena

Since the Oslo process began in the fall of 1993, dramatic changes have occurred in the international arena as well. For Prime Minister Rabin, Oslo was based on the superpower status of the US. The Soviet Union, and with it the Warsaw Pact, had collapsed. The Cold War threat had ended in Europe. The world appeared to be moving towards stability and prosperity – a global order under American hegemony.

At the time, the Arabs were in a state of crisis and aware of their weakness – all the more so after the US vanquished Iraq in the First Gulf War in the winter of 1991. American superiority was evident in terms of technology and also in terms of its ability to lead the coalition army, which included Arab expeditionary forces from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. It was that awareness of weakness, along with the PLO leadership’s state of strategic inadequacy, that paved the way to the Oslo process.

Meanwhile, over the years, the US’s hegemonic power has declined while Russia has returned to play an active and very influential role. A phenomenon has emerged of small, protracted wars with a new logic. Western Europe is now threatened by the Russian intervention in Ukraine. From Afghanistan to Yemen, Syria, and Libya, radical Islamic forces have learned how, despite their inferiority and in fact by virtue of it, they can engage in warfare that constantly undermines the stability so needed by the West.

Something essential has changed, too, with regard to expectations in the Israeli-Palestinian sphere. At first, in the early days of Oslo, the expectations were of mutual goodwill and reconciliation. Over the years, however, as the cycle of blood has continued, the belief in Palestinian acceptance of Israel in return for Israeli concessions has been transformed in the Israeli discourse into nothing more than the need to separate from the Palestinian Arabs – “They’re there, we’re here” – only on our own behalf.

The more the proponents of separation have honed their efforts to explain to Israeli society that separation is mandated by reality, enabling Israel to preserve its identity as Jewish and democratic, the more the Palestinians’ bargaining power has grown. If a withdrawal from the 'West Bank' and the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state is a clear-cut Israeli interest, if the Israelis must retreat in any case for the sake of their own future, why should the Palestinians give something in return? From their standpoint, there is no need for reciprocity. They are only getting what is coming to them in terms of their national right to self-determination.

Hence the risk is increasing that a withdrawal from the 'West Bank' will not only fail to end the conflict but will in fact lead to its intensification. Here it is important to reconsider whether, if Israel goes back to the 1967 borders with minor adjustments for the settlement blocs (which constitute no more than 3% of the 'West Bank'), it will still retain the conditions necessary for self-defense. Beyond the physical aspects of security, it is worth heeding the words of senior Fatah official Abbas Zaki on why he supports the two-state solution:

"In my opinion, the two-state solution will bring about Israel’s collapse. If they leave Jerusalem, what will all the talk about the Promised Land and the Chosen People be worth? What will the sacrifices they have made be worth? They accord a spiritual status to Jerusalem. The Jews see Judea and Samaria as their historic dream. If the Jews leave those places, the Zionist idea will begin to collapse…to implode. Then we will be able to go forward…. "(ANB/TV, May 7, 2009)

Abbas Zaki well understands – better than many Israelis – the significance of the Jewish spiritual dimension as a condition for the state of Israel’s continued existence. The potential for implosion entailed by this threat is far more dangerous than the Iranian threat, even including its nuclear aspects. Given the changes in the region, the Israeli national order of priorities now mandates rethinking and revising the logic of the security discourse.

BESA Center Perspectives Paper, published through the generosity of the Greg Rosshandler Family

Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen is a senior research associate the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. He served in the IDF for 42 years, commanding troops in battle on the Egyptian and Syrian fronts. He was a Corps commander, and commander of the IDF Military Colleges.


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"Czech Donald Trump" Wins Landslide Victory - Soeren Kern

by Soeren Kern

"I am ready to fight for our national interests."

  • The election outcome, the result of popular discontent with established parties, is the latest in a recent wave of successes for European populists, including in Austria and Germany. The populist ascendancy highlights a shifting political landscape in Europe where runaway multiculturalism and political correctness, combined with a massive influx of unassimilable migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East, have given rise to a surge in support for anti-establishment protest parties.
  • "It is unthinkable that the indigenous European population should adapt themselves to the refugees. We must do away with such nonsensical political correctness. The refugees should behave like guests, that is, they should be polite, and they certainly do not have the right to choose what they want to eat.... There is a deep chasm between what people think and what the media tell them." — Andrej Babis, in the Czech daily Pravo, January 16, 2016.
  • As prime minister, Babis would share government with Czech President Milos Zeman, who has described political correctness as "a euphemism for political cowardice."
Populist tycoon Andrej Babis and his Eurosceptic political party have won the Czech Republic's parliamentary election — by a landslide — making the "politically incorrect" billionaire businessman the main contender to become prime minister after coalition negotiations.

With all of the votes counted, Babis's anti-establishment party ANO (which stands for "Action of Dissatisfied Citizens" and is also the Czech word for "yes") won nearly 30% — almost three times its closest rival — in elections held on October 20. The Eurosceptic Civic Democratic Party (ODS), the anti-establishment Czech Pirates Party and the anti-EU Freedom and Direct Democracy party (SPD) came second, third and fourth, with around 11% each.

The Communists came in fifth with 7.8%. The Social Democrats, the center-left establishment party that finished first in the previous election, came in sixth with just 7.2%. The Christian Democrats, the center-right establishment party, won 5.8%, just enough to qualify for seats in parliament. In all, nine parties competed in the election.

The election outcome, the result of popular discontent with established parties, is the latest in a recent wave of successes for European populists, including in Austria and Germany. The populist ascendancy highlights a shifting political landscape in Europe where runaway multiculturalism and political correctness, combined with a massive influx of unassimilable migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East, have given rise to a surge in support for anti-establishment protest parties.

Babis's victory will also strengthen the role of the Visegrad Group (V4), a political alliance of four Central European states — the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia — committed not only to resisting mass migration, but also to opposing the continued transference of national sovereignty to the European Union. A stronger V4 will accentuate the divisions between the pro-EU states of Western Europe and the increasingly Eurosceptic states of Central and Eastern Europe. The European Union consequently will struggle to maintain an outward semblance of unity.

In his victory speech at the ANO party headquarters, Babis, who campaigned as a centrist, refused to speculate on the composition of a coalition government, but said he wanted the cabinet to be set up as quickly as possible: "This is a huge opportunity to change our country. I would like to assemble a government that will be of the people and for the people and promotes policies that are in their favor."

Babis also tried to reassure the public that he would not put the Czech Republic on the path to authoritarianism, as some of his detractors have charged:
"We are a democratic movement. We are a solid part of the European Union and we are a solid part of NATO. I do not understand why some people say we are a threat to democracy. We certainly are not a threat to democracy. I am ready to fight for our national interests and to promote them."
Babis has been sharply critical of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's open-door migration policy and has repeatedly denounced EU-imposed migrant quotas and other "EU meddling" in Czech politics. Those positions resonate in the Czech Republic, where citizens have the second-lowest trust in the European Union of all 28 member states (only Greeks have less trust in the EU), according to the latest Eurobarometer poll, published in August.

During the campaign, the 63-year-old Babis, one of the country's wealthiest people, presented himself as a non-ideological results-oriented reformer. He pledged to run the Czech Republic like a business after years of what he called corrupt and inept management. He demanded a return of sovereignty from the European Union and rejected Czech adoption of the euro single currency. He has also promised to cut government spending, stop people from "being parasites" in the social welfare system, and fight for Czech interests abroad. Babis is often referred to as "the Czech Donald Trump."

Populist tycoon Andrej Babis (pictured) and his Eurosceptic political party have won the Czech Republic's parliamentary election, making Babis the main contender to become prime minister after coalition negotiations. (Image source: Jiří Vítek/Wikimedia Commons)

Babis does not want the Czech Republic to leave the EU; he has repeatedly stressed that unimpeded access to the European single market is essential to maintaining the health of the Czech economy, which has the lowest unemployment rate in the EU: "We have six thousand German companies here, investing with us and employing people."

At the same time, Babis is opposed to the country adopting the euro because doing so would, he believes, constrain national sovereignty and competitiveness:
"No euro. I don't want the euro. We don't want the euro here. Everybody knows it's bankrupt. It's about our sovereignty. I want the Czech koruna, and an independent central bank. I don't want another issue that Brussels would be meddling with."
Babis has pledged to reform the European Union from within, especially regarding migration policy: "I want to play a more important role in Europe. But we have to fight for our interests and make proposals. If I were a prime minister, I would say: 'Close this cursed external European border at last.'"

Babis has expressed his opposition to mass migration: "I have stopped believing in successful integration and multiculturalism." He has also insisted that the Czech Republic alone should decide who will work in the country and who will receive humanitarian aid: "I do not want to have a French or German migration policy; we want our migration policy to be completely different from other countries. Every state has some interests, we have to fight for Czech national interests, we do not want to have that multicultural model."

Babis has rejected pressure from the European Commission, which has launched infringement procedures against the Czechs, Hungarians and Poles for refusing to comply with an EU plan to redistribute migrants:
"I will not accept refugee quotas for the Czech Republic. The situation has changed. We see how migrants react in Europe. We must react to the needs and fears of the citizens of our country. We must guarantee the security of Czech citizens. Even if we are punished by sanctions."
In June 2017, Babis reiterated that the Czech Republic would not be taking orders from unelected bureaucrats in Brussels:
"We have to fight for what our ancestors built here. If there will be more Muslims than Belgians in Brussels, that's their problem. I don't want that here. They won't be telling us who should live here."
In an interview with the Czech daily Pravo, Babis said:
"It is unthinkable that the indigenous European population should adapt themselves to the refugees. We must do away with such nonsensical political correctness. The refugees should behave like guests, that is, they should be polite, and they certainly do not have the right to choose what they want to eat. Europe and Germany in particular are undergoing an identity crisis. There is a deep chasm between what people think and what the media tell them."
As prime minister, Babis would share government with Czech President Milos Zeman, who has described political correctness as "a euphemism for political cowardice." In an interview with the Guardian, the 71-year-old Zeman recounted a recent conversation with Angela Merkel: "My first sentence in the meeting with Madam Chancellor was: 'If you invite somebody to your homeland, you do not send them to have lunch at your neighbors.'"

In an interview with Czech Radio, Zeman, who has called mass migration to Europe an "organized invasion," said: "The Muslim Brotherhood cannot start a war against Europe, it doesn't have the power, but it can prepare a growing migrant wave and gradually control Europe."

Like Babis, Zeman has also expressed skepticism about Muslim integration: "The experience of Western European countries which have ghettos and excluded localities shows that the integration of the Muslim community is practically impossible."

Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute.


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The drumbeat of alarm grows louder for British Jews - Melanie Phillips

by Melanie Phillips

If history has taught us Jews anything, it’s knowing when it’s time to pack.”


Jeremy Corbyn’s refusal to attend next month’s dinner in London to celebrate the centenary of the Balfour Declaration confirms what many have long suspected.

His antipathy to Israel goes way beyond hostility to Israeli “settlements” or any romantic attachment to the Palestinian cause. He does not support the existence of Israel at all

How else to explain his refusal to attend a dinner to celebrate the event which kick-started the (agonising) process that eventually resulted in the establishment of the State of Israel?

And if he thus opposes the self-determination of the Jewish people in their own ancestral homeland, how can he be anything other than hostile to Judaism itself? For Judaism comprises three inseparable elements: the people, the religion and the land. Judaism is, simply and indivisibly, the mission of the Jewish people to form a nation of priests within the land of Israel.

Of course, neither Corbyn and his hard-left cabal, nor the so-called soft-left whose views about Israel may be less extreme but are no less problematic, have any insight into their own bigotry because they have virtually no understanding of what Judaism means (and that goes for many Jews on the left too, who equally deploy the spurious mantra that anti-Zionism is not antisemitism as their get-out-of-jail-free card). 

But hey, some folk are very happy with Corbyn’s Balfour dinner snub; there are reports that the JC story about it has been tweeted by Hamas.

Many British Jews are now shuddering at the possibility of a Corbyn-led Labour government. They are heartbroken and aghast at what has happened to the country that for the half-century following the liberation of Belsen they believed offered them not just physical but psychological safety. 

Some, like Angela Epstein in this article, are now talking of emigrating should Corbyn come to power. 

She describes how her children’s Jewish schools in Manchester were encircled by fences, CCTV cameras and security guards. 

“Elsewhere, every Jewish building now has a guard permanently stationed at the door. In 21st-century Britain — the place of our birth and our home.

“Most Jewish people I know have endured cat-calling as they leave synagogues, schools or other Jewish centres. There have been countless Saturday mornings when, as I walk to synagogue, a car screeches past with the occupants shouting something indeterminate from the window. Friends have had eggs thrown at them".

“My son was subjected to a blistering verbal attack when he recently wore his Jewish skullcap on the London Underground.Little wonder that in a YouGov poll earlier this year for the Campaign Against Antisemitism, almost a third of British Jews said they had considered leaving the country, while one in six said they feel unwelcome here.”

This cultural poison has been swelling for years. The Labour party hasn’t created it but is merely its most visible expression – and as a result is legitimising its further increase. Epstein observes:

“As the Labour Party continues to reveal its toxic underbelly, for many British Jews the question of uprooting our families and leaving Britain is a matter of when, not if… If history has taught us Jews anything, it’s knowing when it’s time to pack.”

Actually, it’s hard to know that. The difficulties and risks of remaining have to outweigh the difficulties and risks of uprooting; and people find themselves at very different points along that sliding scale. But for sure, the drumbeat of alarm among many committed British Jews is growing louder by the day.

Melanie Phillips


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Defying US, EU leaders commit to Iran nuclear deal - AP and Israel Hayom Staff

by AP and Israel Hayom Staff

EU leaders say 2015 agreement is a pillar of efforts to reduce global nuclear threat, warn that exiting deal could compromise efforts to get North Korea to negotiate on its nuclear program

France's Emmanuel Macron, Germany's Angela Merkel and 
U.S. President Donald Trump in the G-20 summit, July 8
Photo: AP

The leaders of the 28 members of the European Union are showing their support for the Iran nuclear agreement, despite U.S. President Donald Trump's opposition to it.
EU spokesman Preben Aaman tweeted that the EU leaders agreed at a summit Thursday to show their joint commitment to the international agreement curbing Iran's nuclear program.
The EU leaders called the 2015 deal a pillar of efforts to reduce the global nuclear threat. Some fear that walking away from the deal could compromise chances of encouraging North Korea to negotiate on its nuclear program.
Trump decertified the deal last Friday, angrily accusing Iran of violating it, and directed the U.S. Congress to make it more stringent.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has certified eight times that Iran was living up to its commitments.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian met Thursday in Paris with IAEA Director Yukiya Amano. Following the meeting, Le Drian said the deal "remains valid despite the decision of the president of the United States not to certify its implementation."
Amano also met with French President Emmanuel Macron, who encouraged the IAEA to ensure strict adherence to the deal "in all its aspects."

AP and Israel Hayom Staff


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The turn of Egypt: Cairo getting serious about Islamist insurgency - Rick Moran

by Rick Moran

The lawlessness in Egypt's Sinai Desert is breeding terrorists affiliated with ISIS.

A raid by Egyptian police on a suspected terrorist hideout in the Sinai Desert killed an unknown number of Islamists and resulted in the death of at least 50 police and conscripts.

The police apparently walked into an ambush.

One of the groups, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, is affilaited with ISIS.

Sources had said late on Friday at least 30 police were killed. Egypt is battling an Islamist insurgency concentrated in the Sinai peninsula from two main groups, including an Islamic State affiliate, that has killed hundreds of security forces since 2013.
The interior ministry released a statement on the operation on Friday but has so far not given any details on casualties. At least 23 police officers were killed and the other victims were conscripts, the sources said.
Security sources on Friday said authorities were following a lead to a militant camp in the desert where eight suspected members of Hasm Movement were believed to be hiding. The group has claimed attacks around Cairo targeting judges and police.
A convoy of four SUVs and one interior ministry vehicle was ambushed from higher ground by militants firing rocket-propelled grenades and detonating explosive devices, one senior security source said.
Militants are mostly fighting in remote northern Sinai where the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis group pledged allegiance to Islamic State in 2014. Attacks mostly hit police and armed forces, but militants have also targetted Egypt's Christians and tourists.
The Sinai Desert is a vast expanse in northwestern Egypt that is lightly populated. It is the perfect hideout and training area for terrorists, who have been growing in strength in the last two years despite a determined effort by Egyptian president el-Sisi to reclaim the lawless frontier. 
El-Sisi's predecessor, the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi, neglected security in the region, allowing terrorists to gain a foothold. Now small groups of terrorists swoop down on detachments of police and the army in hit-and-run attacks. They also carry out attacks that target the dwindling number of Christians in Egypt as well as foreign tourists. 
ISIS in Egypt may be gaining recruits who have left Syria in search of more fighting. That's the concern of Israel about terrorists in Sinai:
As the war against Islamic State in Syria appears to be drawing to a close, Israeli intelligence officials fear that many ISIS fighters might choose to go to the Sinai Peninsula and join the group's affiliate there, which – despite its small size – is considered by many to be one of the most effective ISIS branches carrying out numerous deadly attacks on Egyptian security forces.
Israel shares a 240-km. border with the Sinai, and Jerusalem and Cairo share an interest in the fight against the insurgents in the desert peninsula.
According to Islamic State, Israel has carried out strikes against its positions.
According to Oded Berkowitz, regional director of intelligence – Africa division at MAX-Security Solutions, foreign press have reported that Israel is helping the Egyptian military against terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula.
Earlier on Sunday, several Egyptian military checkpoints were attacked by Islamic State insurgents, killing six soldiers and wounding another 37. According to Egyptian authorities quoted by Reuters, the checkpoints in northern Sinai were attacked by some 100 ISIS terrorists using car bombs, rocket-propelled grenades and other light weapons.
According to Berkowitz, the rise in attacks against Egyptian military personnel is due to the increased pressure felt both by ISIS in Iraq and Syria as well as its Sinai affiliate.
"When cornered and desperate they turn to more extreme measures.
Egypt has a large, well trained army but apparently insists on treating its Sinai problem – at least in part – as a law enforcement matter. I suspect that this will change as Egypt's ISIS problem becomes a headache not only for them, but for Israel as well.

Rick Moran


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Report: More than 150 Afghan officers training in America have gone AWOL - Rick Moran

by Rick Moran

The fact that there is only a small risk that any of these AWOL soldiers will become terrorists, or were infiltrated into the U.S. by the Taliban, is beside the point.

According to a report from the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, 152 soldiers from the Afghan army who had been selected for special training in the United States have gone AWOL while on U.S. soil.

Fox News:
According to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, 13 of the 152 who had gone AWOL were still at large as of March 7 of this year. Seventy of the 152 had fled the United States; 39 gained legal status in the U.S.; and 27 were arrested, removed or in the process of being removed from the U.S. Three no longer were AWOL or returned to their training base in the U.S.
"There are so many problems here, it’s hard to know where to start," Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a statement. "This is bad for national security, bad for Afghan military readiness, and bad for U.S. taxpayers."
AWOL Afghans are considered a security risk in the U.S. because they have military training and are of fighting age, and relatively few are ever arrested or detained.
Nearly all the Afghans who fled since 2005 were officers. Most were what the military calls "company grade" officers, meaning they were at the rank of lieutenant or captain. The prevalence of this group to abandon training posts is "particularly alarming," the report said, given the officers' important role in maintaining the overall readiness of the Afghan military.
The Afghans have fled from posts across America, including Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, where they are required to take English-language training; Fort Rucker, Ala.; Fort Benning, Ga.; Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., and Fort Huachuca, Ariz.
The report cited numerous bureaucratic impediments to catching AWOL Afghans. They are required to provide limited biographical and background information while in the U.S., which can make it difficult to track them down, it said. Also, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents cannot take any action to locate a missing Afghan trainee until the departments of Defense and State take certain actions to revoke the individual's official status. This delays the start of an ICE investigation in which time is of the essence, the report said.
With so many "green on blue" attacks in Afghanistan carried out by rogue Afghan soldiers, you would think the U.S. would carefully vet any Afghan army personnel before they got to the United States. The fact that they are required to provide only "limited biographical and background information" is extremely troubling.

The fact that there is only a small risk that any of these AWOL soldiers will become terrorists, or were infiltrated into the U.S. by the Taliban, is beside the point. It's a risk we shouldn't have to run if officials had done their job correctly.

Rick Moran


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The Zionists are Coming! Panic at San Francisco State U. - Cinnamon Stillwell

by Cinnamon Stillwell

Bigotry on full display

If you haven't already, please click here to sign a petition calling for San Francisco State University (SFSU) to end its Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with An-Najah University in the West Bank. If you've already signed, please share the petition with others.

Rabab Abdulhadi
In the fevered imagination of the academic left, these are dark days at San Francisco State University (SFSU). Speakers at a two-day conference, "Rights and Wrongs: A Constitution and Citizenship Day Conference at San Francisco State University," described a campus where a "corporatist" administration is at war with its faculty; Arab-American professors are afraid to walk alone on campus; ethnic student organizations are consigned to the dank student center basement; "Zionists" lie in wait to pounce on innocent, beleaguered proponents of "Palestine"; and "white supremacy" rules. All at one of the most radical universities in the nation.
Leading these lamentations was the director of SFSU's Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative (AMED), Rabab Abdulhadi, whose anti-Israel activism is coming back to haunt her. In addition to being named in a Lawfare Project (LP) lawsuit against SFSU alleging "anti-Semitism and overt discrimination against Jewish students," she is at the heart of a Middle East Forum/Campus Watch campaign to end the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) she brokered between SFSU and An-Najah University, a hotbed of anti-Semitism and radicalism in the West Bank.

SFSU Student Center
The conference was held on the top floor of the bustling Cesar Chavez Student Center—adorned by murals of Malcolm X and Edward Said—in spacious, light-filled Jack Adams Hall. A bulletin board near the entrance displayed a flyer calling for the removal of San Francisco's Pioneer Monument, which it dubbed a "monument to white supremacy!" Conference programs featured a graphic of President Donald Trump's silhouette balanced with a white fist on a scale of justice.
The audience of mostly students and small clusters of faculty ranged from a sparse fifty to sixty for the panel "Academic Freedom for Whom? Islamophobia, Palestine, and Campus Politics," to around 250—many sitting on the floor after the seats quickly filled up—for "Muslims, Mexicans, and the Politics of Exclusion."
Abdulhadi chaired both panels, while Hatem Bazian, director of UC Berkeley's Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project, participated in the second. Both, she noted, hail from Nablus in the West Bank. The co-panelists were graduate student instructors (one nicknamed "Che"), local leftist activists, and "veterans" of SFSU's 1968 Third World Liberation Front strike.
Abdulhadi—who assured the audience she is a woman, lest anyone fear a man heads AMED—was persistently on the defensive. Harried and angry, her rapid-fire speech rendered many words unintelligible. She complained about Campus Watch tweets "attacking her" and marveled at the "four articles" (two pieces, in fact) about the MOU-facilitated "Prisoner, Labor, and Academic Delegation," which sent Americans who served prison time for Weather Underground-affiliated domestic terrorism to meet fellow self-described "political prisoners" at Najah.
She blamed these concerns—and the well-documented history of terrorism and anti-Semitism at Najah—on her opponents' "muddying the waters" with spurious claims of anti-Semitism and falsely conflating Arabs and Muslims with terrorism. In Abdulhadi's world, evidently, Palestinian terrorism and the cultural indoctrination underpinning it simply do not exist.

Leslie Wong
The bulk of her ire, however, was directed at SFSU's administration and her one-time ally, President Leslie Wong, with whom she had collaborated to create the MOU. She noted repeatedly that she had left a superior position as director of the Center for Arab American Studies at the University of Michigan, Dearborn at SFSU's invitation, only to find herself relegated to a "token," subjected to "New McCarthyism," and AMED starved of funds and slated for termination.
Abdulhadi blamed Wong's supposed abandonment of her on "Zionist pressure," while accusing the administration of "Islamophobia," "anti-Palestinian racism," and the bigotry du jour, "white supremacy." She and her supporters fault Wong for not reacting quickly or stridently enough to the ongoing David Horowitz Freedom Center poster campaign at SFSU, UC Berkeley, and elsewhere, despite evidence to the contrary. As with the grievances she reportedly filed earlier this year against the University "for the hostile and unsafe work and study environment for Palestinians, Muslims and Arabs on campus," there is little proof to back up her assertions.
Paranoia may better explain her worries, for she then declared, "I do not walk by myself on campus anymore. I am actually very afraid for my life." Because, you see, "the very people who are intimidating and harassing us, including people who have served in the Israeli military—and I grew up under Israeli occupation—are walking around on campus." Who knew that IDF soldiers are menacing SFSU's faculty?!
Abdulhadi's co-panelists, in turn, praised her not only as a "Palestinian scholar" and a founding member of the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, but as a pillar of the community. Diana Block, a participant in the Prisoner, Labor, and Academic Delegation, solicited funds on Abdulhadi's behalf and encouraged audience members to attend a hearing in San Francisco on November 8 for motions to dismiss and strike the LP lawsuit filed by both Abdulhadi and the California State University system (CSU), of which SFSU is a part. This proves the University is indeed defending her, including deploying her tactic (in CSU's motion to strike) of accusing her opponents of racism against "brown, black, and Muslim people."
Yet Abdulhadi is her own worst enemy. After spewing anti-Semitism in a rant written in response to the suit, she again exhibited the very bigotry she denies exists: she railed against the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) for condemning the General Union of Palestinian Students' (for which she serves as faculty advisor) disruption of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barakat's 2016 SFSU talk. Then, despite the University's conclusion that the Jewish student group Hillel was "improperly excluded" from a February campus civil rights information fair, she thundered "People who are . . . oppressors have no place in spaces where people need to be protected. So, the Know Your Rights Fair was right to not have a table for Hillel!"

Hatem Bazian
Bazian piled on by repeating his contention that, "Many of those who are engaged in the Islamophobia industry have been engaged in it to protect Israel's interests in the U.S." They believe, he maintained, that "stoking anti-Muslim sentiment and Islamophobia is the way to protect Israel."
Conspiracy-mongering co-panelist Sara Kershnar of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) claimed an IJAN report to which Abdulhadi and AMED contributed exposed several "Zionist backlash" organizations, including the Middle East Forum, whose president, Daniel Pipes, she dubbed "one of the fathers of the Islamophobia industry" and an "intermediary" for "millions and millions of dollars" that he doles out to his minions. Pipes, Horowitz, LP, the AMCHA Initiative, the Zionist Organization of America, and JCRC are, she warned, "at the center of the attack on SFSU."
Abdulhadi and her anti-Israel cohorts may feel besieged, but they're hardly victims. What they label a nefarious plot is simply a justified, lawful reaction to their dominance at SFSU and universities across the nation. The MOU with terror-promoting An-Najah is among the most blatant examples of this overreach and the Middle East Forum remains committed to its demise. No longer will activists posing as academics in order to push an illiberal agenda go unopposed.

Cinnamon Stillwell, a graduate of San Francisco State University, is the West Coast representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum. She can be reached at


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