Friday, November 17, 2017

US, Israeli Lawmakers Issue Joint Declaration ahead of Trump Mideast Initiative - MEF

by Middle East Forum

"Every attempt at negotiations with the Palestinians without demanding that they recognize Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people will fail" 

From left to right: Israeli MKs Oded Forer and Avraham Neguise with Reps. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and Bill Johnson (R-OH) on November 15.
Washington, DC – November 16, 2017 – An unprecedented joint declaration by members of Congress and Israel's Knesset has laid the core principles of a bold new approach to ending the Israel-Palestinian conflict ahead of an expected new push for Middle East peace by President Trump.
The declaration signed by members of the Congressional Israel Victory Caucus (CIVC) and the Knesset Israel Victory Caucus (KIVC) affirms that "the primary obstacle to ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the near-century of Palestinian rejectionism of the right of self-determination for the Jewish people," and that "only Palestinian acknowledgement of the Jewish people's historic connection to the Land of Israel, and acceptance of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, will end the conflict."
The declaration was signed on a visit by KIVC Co-Chairman Oded Forer (Yisrael Beytenu) and Chairman of the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption, and Diaspora Affairs Avraham Neguise (Likud) to Washington and New York, where they met their counterparts in the CIVC, dozens of congressmen from both sides of the aisle, senior government decision-makers, Jewish and Christian leaders, and other opinion-shapers.

Click here to view.
"Every attempt at negotiations with the Palestinians without demanding that they recognize Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people will fail," MK Forer said. "Together with members of Congress from both parties, we call on the American administration to demand that the Palestinians recognize the State of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people as a precondition to future talks. There can be no negotiations on our legitimate right to self-determination."
"The central message we have brought to the US is that the Palestinians need to move from rejectionism to recognition and we are delighted at the support we have received from our friends in Congress, both Republicans and Democrats," said MK Neguise. "We hope this is a message that will be taken on board by the Trump administration in any efforts or initiatives it pushes forward in the months ahead."
The CIVC, co-chaired by Reps. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Juan Vargas (D-CA), and Bill Johnson (R-OH), has 32 members of Congress from both the Republican and Democratic parties. The KIVC, co-chaired by Forer and MK Yaakov Perry (Yesh Atid), has 16 MKs representing every mainstream Zionist party in both the government and the opposition.
"It has been an honor to meet with the Israeli members of the (Knesset) Israel Victory Caucus this week and discuss the cherished friendship between our two nations," Rep. DeSantis said. "We agree that the greatest obstacle to peace is the refusal of Palestinians to acknowledge that Israel is the legitimate national home of the Jewish people."

KIVC Co-Chair Oded Forer and MK Avraham Neguise with (clockwise from top left) Rep. Juan Vargas (D-CA), Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), and Hillel President Eric Fingerhut.
"I'm looking forward to working with our allies in the Knesset to advance the idea of an Israeli victory as an alternative approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – one where Israel stops making unnecessary concessions and instead the Palestinians concede their goal of destroying the State of Israel and accept that it is here to stay," Rep Johnson said. "There can be no progress made towards peace until the Palestinians accept that significant, but simple concept."
The two caucuses were formed with the support of the Middle East Forum, led by Daniel Pipes, who launched the Israel Victory Project (IVP) earlier in the year.
"The Israel Victory Project is building political and intellectual support eventually to replace the current 'peace process' paradigm with one that will work better for both Israelis and Palestinians," Pipes said.

The Middle East Forum promotes American interests through activist, intellectual, and philanthropic efforts.
For immediate release
For more information, contact:
Gregg Roman, Director

Middle East Forum


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

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

When Hillary Met Sandy - Lloyd Billingsley

by Lloyd Billingsley

The Clintons’ political hacks and their destructive legacy.

CIA ex-boss John Brennan and former director of national intelligence James Clapper have been targeting Trump, implying that the president “can be played,” as Brennan put it, by Vladimir Putin. President Trump fired back that Brennan, Clapper and former FBI director James Comey were “political hacks” and that the investigation into Russian interference was a “Democratic hit job.”

Political hacks are powerful government officials who deploy their influence for partisan purposes. That practice reached new depths during the administrations of President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton.

Samuel “Sandy” Berger met the Clintons on the McGovern campaign in 1972 and during the Carter administration he served as deputy director of the State Department. The Clintons picked Berger as their top foreign policy adviser during the 1992 campaign and once in power named him deputy national security advisor.

In 1997, the Clintons promoted Berger to National Security Advisor and he was heavily involved in advising the president on the terrorist attacks on the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia and U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Berger was unable to prevent those attacks but he did gain fame on the home front.

Berger was a representative to the 9/11 Commission, which gave him special access to classified material about the Clintons’ record on terrorism. In 2004, several months before his testimony, Berger slipped into the National Archives and ripped off classified documents and notes. The former National Security Advisor stuffed documents into his pants and wrapped some around his socks. Berger stashed the stolen material on a construction site then returned to retrieve it.

This was a serious crime but political hack Sandy Berger cut a deal with the Justice Department to get out of jail, pay a $50,000 fine, and avoid a full explanation of what he had ripped off. Berger also lost his security clearance but the matter did not end there.

As Ronald A. Cass noted in “Sandy Berger and the Clinton Cover-Up - Why It Matters,” in 2007 the DC Bar began to probe what Berger had stolen and why he stole it. To keep from answering those questions, Berger duly surrendered his law license. For Cass, author of The Rule of Law in America, that confirmed Berger “must be hiding something important. And if it is that important to him, it is also important to us.” Most likely, the stolen material “points to a terrible mistake by Berger himself, by President Clinton, or by both” in failing to stop al-Qaeda.

What was at stake, Cass explained, was “more than the prospects for Hillary Clinton becoming the Democrats’ presidential nominee and ultimately the President,” because “our security and vitality of the rule of law in America are at stake as well.” Even so, the Justice Department failed to pursue the case, the media were not interested, and Congress opted for “more promising political fodder than one that might point back to the Clintons.”

Berger’s criminal hack work made him a star with prominent Democrats. In 2014, the 44th president invited Berger to a private dinner with a group of foreign policy experts. Berger was a big promoter of the Iran deal and when he passed away in December of 2015, the president praised him as one who “devoted himself to strengthening American leadership” and a man “remembered fondly within the ranks of the National Security Council, where those he mentored carry on his work.”

In a Clinton Foundation press release, Bill and Hillary Clinton hailed Berger as “a consummate National Security Advisor because he embraced our common humanity and advanced our national interests.” No word about the documents he stole but Hillary Clinton certainly adopted Berger’s style with her “extremely careless” handling of classified material, as FBI boss James Comey put it.

Comey had been batting cleanup for the Clintons since he was a U.S Attorney. The pathetic James Clapper believes the Muslim Brotherhood is a secular organization. Political hack John Brennan is of greater interest because he never should have got in the CIA door, for any reason.

In 1976, year of the American Bicentennial, Brennan voted for slobbering Stalinist Gus Hall for president on the ticket of the Communist Party, the political party of a hostile foreign power. Russia influenced American elections by running their own candidates, and the Communists played Brennan into voting for them.

Former Clinton National Security Adviser Anthony Lake failed to become CIA director because he thought Alger Hiss might be innocent. Brennan touted his vote for the CPUSA and got the top job at the CIA, a security lapse of epic proportions.

As President Trump says, Brennan is a political hack and the investigation of Russian influence is a Democratic hit job. For the Justice Department, the media and Congress, that should give way to investigations that point back to the Clintons. Attorney General Jeff Sessions now seems inclined in that direction and there’s plenty to consider.

Try the 30,000 emails, the Clinton Foundation, and the Uranium One business, just for starters. Given the time, resources, and dedication, the investigations might even discover what classified information Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger destroyed and why he destroyed it. As Ronald Cass said, “our security and vitality of the rule of law in America are at stake as well.”

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation, and Bill of Writes: Dispatches from the Political Correctness Battlefield.


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

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

Case closed: Breaking the Silence spokesman lied - Arutz Sheva Staff

by Arutz Sheva Staff

Anti-IDF spokesman's claim that he had beaten Arab suspect proven false during investigation into the alleged crime.

Breaking the Silence
Breaking the Silence
Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90
The Deputy State Prosecutor decided in coordination with the State Attorney to close the investigation against Breaking the Silence spokesman Dean Issacharof.

The investigation was opened after Issacharoff said in a video that he had beaten an Arab during his military service in Hevron. The comments had been made to highlight alleged human rights abused by the IDF Breaking the Silence claims take place in Judea and Samaria.

However, the investigation revealed that the events described by Issacharoff "did not happen at all."

The State Attorney's office said in its decision: "During the interrogation, the suspect was questioned, messages were taken from the suspect's company commander during the relevant period, and various investigation materials were collected. From all the evidence, it appears that the incident described by the suspect is suitable for only one incident, in which a Palestinian named Hassan Giulani was arrested in February 2014.

During his interrogation, Issacharoff did not deny the statements made by him, adding details about the date and circumstances of the incident in question. The suspect even noted that "I had to use force to stop him" and that it was not possible to handcuff the Arab without the use of force.

In his statement, Giulani confirmed that he was arrested after throwing stones at the soldiers, as the suspect described. However, Giulani denied that his arrest was accompanied by any kind of violence on the part of the soldiers, except for the use of force to handcuff him, which was required in view of his resistance to the handcuffing. Giulani claimed he was not beaten, not bruised, did not bleed, did not feel dizzy and did not pass out.

The investigation further revealed that Giulani had filed no complaint over excessive force during his arrest, and that there were no indications of any wounds or injuries to Giulani's body. In addition, Giulani's testimony matched that of Issachoroff's commanding officer, and not that of Issachoroff.

The prosecutor's office concluded, "From all of the above, it is clear that the suspect's version of his beating Giulani until he "bleded and fainted" was concealed even from Giulani himself, from the suspect's commander, and from other investigation materials found in the file . The investigation material and the testimonies indicate that the allegation is false, and therefore it was decided to close the file that was opened against him on suspicion of using harsh and unjustified violence on grounds of lack of guilt."

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) responded to the closing of the case against Issachoroff: "The spokesman for Breaking the Silence is apparently a liar who defames Israel's name in the world. Kudos to [Issacharof's] IDF mates who were not indifferent and did not remain silent about his lies. It's good that the truth came out about this organization which makes money disparaging IDF soldiers and citizens of Israel."

Im Tirtzu Chairman Matan Peleg said in response to closure of the case: "This merely confirms what we have known all along: Breaking the Silence's 'testimonies' are in fact fabricated propaganda with the sole purpose of slandering the IDF and delegitimizing Israel. There is no limit to the depths that Breaking the Silence and its foreign government and New Israel Fund financiers are willing to go in order to defame Israel."

Arutz Sheva Staff


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

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

France: Muslims In, Jews Out - Giulio Meotti

by Giulio Meotti

Anti-Semitism is devouring the French Republic.

  • Suburbs have become transformed into one of the most visible signs of the Islamization of France. Anti-Semitism is devouring the French Republic.
  • While Jewish symbols disappear from France, Islamic symbols proliferate, from burkinis on the beaches to veils in the workplace. Jews who have not fled France are trying to become "invisible".
  • France's suburbs are rapidly becoming apartheid societies. Hatred of Jews has become the gateway to "la France soumise" -- the submission of France.
Suburbs ("banlieues") -- distant from the affluent boulevards and bistros of Paris -- form the "other France". They are the "peripheral France", ("La France Périphérique") as the geographer Christophe Guilluy calls them in an important book. They are where "living together" between communities has really been tested.

In the last 20 years, these French suburbs have not only become "concentrations of poverty and social isolation", but have gone from being some of France's most densely-populated Jewish areas to "lost territories of the Republic", according to the great historian Georges Bensoussan, in his book, Les territoires perdus de la République.

These suburbs have become transformed into one of the most visible signs of the Islamization of France.

Anti-Semitism has returned as one of Europe's worst diseases. France hosts Europe's largest Jewish community, and Jews have been fleeing the suburbs to either emigrate or move to gentrified districts of the cities, where they feel more protected. What happens to the Jews will have a seismic impact on the entire continent.

In the Parisian suburb of Bagneux, someone recently vandalized the memorial plaque for Ilan Halimi, a young Jew who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered by a "barbarian gang" in 2006, just for being a Jew. At the time, it was France's first case of murderous anti-Semitism in many years. After it, Islamists murdered Jews at a school in Toulouse and a kosher supermarket in Paris.

As Le Monde reported in a chilling new inquiry, anti-Semitism now knocks daily at the doors of the French Jews. It has been creating a serious migratory trend: French Jews have become "internal refugees".

French Jews are now not only threatened in their synagogues and schools, but in their homes. A Jewish family was recently held hostage, beaten and robbed in their home in the suburb of Seine Saint-Denis. Before that, a retired Jewish doctor and schoolteacher, Sarah Halimi, was beaten and thrown to her death from her balcony, in the Belleville district of Paris. The man who murdered her, while yelling "Allahu Akbar" ("Allah is Greater"), was a Muslim neighbor. Two Jewish brothers were recently attacked on a Paris street by men wielding a hacksaw and shouting "You dirty Jews! You are going to die".

Recently, "Paul" received a letter containing death threats, in his mailbox at Noisy-le-Grand. The note said, "Allahu Akbar" and contained a 9mm bullet. The next day brought second letter. That one said, "you will all die". This time it contained the bullet of a Kalashnikov rifle. Many Jewish families, warns Le Monde, are under pressure. In Garges-lès-Gonesse (Val-d'Oise), young Jewish men who had built a temporary autumnal hut (a sukkah) in the yard of their synagogue were attacked in the neighborhood by people shouting, "Dirty Jews".

Historic Jewish quarters have been emptied. Jérôme Fourquet and Sylvain Manternach, in their book, "L'an prochain à Jérusalem?" ("Next Year in Jerusalem?") tell of Jewish children leaving public schools in favor of private ones. Organizations have been helping 400 Jewish families relocate their children into private schools, to be more secure.

Between 2005-2015, there were 4,092 anti-Semitic attacks in France. According to a September study by the Foundation for Political Innovation, 60% of Jews in France said they were "worried about being physically attacked in the street as Jews."

After the Paris terror attacks in 2015, a Jewish Agency-affiliated think tank prepared a plan to help 120,000 French Jews emigrate to Israel. There were 5,000 departures in 2016 and 7,900 in 2015. In addition to a total of 20,000 Jews emigrating from France to Israel in the past three years, there has also been an internal "high mobility" shift, from the eastern to the western part of Paris -- to the sixteenth and seventeenth arrondissements. In the last 10 years, "60,000 of the 350,000 Jews of the Île-de-France have moved", according to Sammy Ghozlan, President of the National Office of Vigilance against Anti-Semitism.

The French government has launched an operation to protect 800 synagogues, schools and community centers. But as Le Monde explains, there is little it can do to protect Jews on the streets and in their homes. Islamic anti-Semitism is devouring the French Republic.

Pictured: French soldiers guard a Jewish school in Paris. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
According to a study conducted by Ifop, "exposure to anti-Semitic violence is highly correlated with wearing a kippa". The Jewish skullcap has disappeared from public view in many areas of France. In Marseille, it was explicit -- a local Jewish leader called on Jews, for their safety, to avoid wearing the Jewish symbols in public. While Jewish symbols disappear, Islamic symbols proliferate, from burkinis on the beaches to the veils at the workplace. Jews who did not flee France are trying to become "invisible".

Until the year 2000, the Parisian suburb of Bondy "was nice and quiet, with 250 to 300 Jewish families, and synagogues full on the Sabbath. Now, only about a hundred Jewish families remain", said a local resident, Alain Benhamou, who left after he saw the words "dirty Jews" painted on the walls.

Jewish families have also been leaving Toulouse due to anti-Semitism. Former Prime Minister Manuel Valls talked about "a territorial, ethnic and social apartheid". France's suburbs are rapidly becoming apartheid societies.

A few days ago, French authorities sentenced Abdelkader Merah, the brother of the terrorist who murdered four Jews in Toulouse, to 20 years in prison for being part of a criminal terrorist conspiracy. The trial was called by a French scholar of Islam, Gilles Kepel, a "biopsy" of the "other France": the Islamized, de-Judaized, peripheral France. "It is striking that after decades spent in France, [Merah's] mother still speaks very poor French and that it was necessary to call a translator to the court", Kepel said.

In Seine-Saint-Denis, 40% of the inhabitants are now Muslim. The result? Historical Jewish communities in towns such as La Courneuve, Aubervilliers, Stains, Pierrefitte-sur-Seine, Trappes, Aulnay-sous-Bois, Le Blanc-Mesnil and Saint Denis are now vanishing. Because of the lack of security, in places such as Courneuve, where there were 600 to 700 Jewish families, there are now fewer than 100. For many of these Jews, it is a second escape.

70% of the half-million Jews in France are Sephardic -- those who were expelled from Spain in 1492 and who fled to the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, rather than to Europe. They came to France between 1956 and 1962, when Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia gained independence -- as did, for example, two French Nobel Prize laureates for physics, Claude Cohen-Tannoudji (1996), born in Algiers, and Serge Haroche (2014), born in Casablanca, Morocco.

In a suburb south of Paris, Kremlin-Bicêtre, with a population of 25,000 people, 25% now are Muslim. Until 1990, 10% of the population was Jewish; now it is 5%.

Anti-Semitism has revolutionized France -- both its geography and demography. Jew-hate has become the gateway to the "France soumise" -- the submission of France. 

Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

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

Despite EU caution, France pursues tough line on Iran missile program - Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff

by Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff 

Paris pushing partners to lean on Iran over missiles

French President Emmanuel Macron, second from left, meets Yukiya 
Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency 
(IAEA), at the Elysee Palace in Paris in October
Photo: Reuters

France said on Wednesday it wanted an "uncompromising" dialogue with Iran about its ballistic missile program and a possible negotiation over the issue separate from Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

Paris has already suggested that new European sanctions against Iran could be discussed over its missile tests, something EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini seemed to dismiss on Tuesday, keen not to raise risks to the hard-won deal that curbed Iran's disputed nuclear activity.

On Sunday, Iran rejected a call by French President Emmanuel Macron for talks on its missiles, saying they were defensive in nature and had nothing to do with its nuclear energy work.

"France is concerned about the continued pace of the Iranian missile program, which does not conform with [U.N.] Security Council Resolution 2231 and which is a source of destabilization and insecurity for the region," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Agnes Romatet-Espagne told reporters in a daily briefing.

Resolution 2231, which enshrined the nuclear deal, calls on Iran not to undertake activities related to missiles capable of delivering nuclear bombs, including launches using such technology. It stops short of explicitly barring such activity.

"France wishes to examine all the diplomatic options: a frank and uncompromising political dialogue with Iran; investigations by the U.N. General Secretariat; if necessary, new European sanctions against Iranian entities or individuals involved in the ballistic program; and finally opening a negotiation on the subject," she said.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who has resumed a confrontational U.S. approach to Iran in contrast with predecessor Barack Obama's policy of detente, has said Iranian missile activity should be curbed and wants to punish Tehran over its role in Yemen and Syria.

Trump has also dealt a blow to Iran's nuclear deal - agreed with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States under Obama - by decertifying Iranian compliance with its terms, contradicting the findings of U.N. nuclear inspectors.

The U.S. Congress now has until mid-December to decide whether to reimpose economic sanctions on Iran that had been lifted in exchange for limiting its nuclear program in ways meant to prevent it developing an atomic bomb.

But the EU, which normally coordinates closely with Washington on international sanctions, has been lobbying hard to keep the nuclear pact alive, saying it should be kept separate from missile and regional security matters.

France's tougher line on the missile issue appears to reflect a concern that Iran might eventually try to arm a missile cone with a nuclear bomb, should it ever build one. Tehran has repeatedly denied any intent to do so.

Romatet-Espagne reiterated the view that the nuclear deal should be kept separate, but said the ballistic missile issue was being discussed with fellow EU governments and Mogherini's foreign service.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had been due to visit Tehran before the end of the month, although that has now been pushed back to later in the year due to a busy schedule, a diplomatic source said.

Any EU-wide sanctions action requires the unanimity of all 28 member states but there is no consensus on new punitive steps against Iran, a fact made clear by Mogherini on Monday.
"We didn't discuss, not today, not last week [and] I don't foresee any discussion also in the future, further sanctions from the EU side on Iran," she said, alluding to Macron's remarks, after a meeting of EU foreign ministers.

Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

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

What Is Wrong with Europe’s "Iran Policy?” - Giulio Maria Terzi

by Giulio Maria Terzi

European companies remain interested in doing business with Iran without consideration for the risks inherent in the Iranian economy

Institute for Contemporary Affairs
Founded jointly with the Wechsler Family Foundation
Vol. 17, No. 32
Giulio Maria Terzi
Giulio Maria Terzi, former Italian Foreign Minister
  • The Trump Administration refusal to recertify the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and its condemnation of Iran for financing terrorism, imprisoning dual-nationals, and fomenting civil wars sent a clear signal to those in Europe considering doing business with the Iranian regime: the United States will no longer tolerate Tehran’s flagrant disregard for international law and norms.
  • Many European countries remain resistant to challenging the Iranian regime, and some launched a concerted effort to urge Congress to use its authority to maintain the status quo.
  • Iran’s activities include numerous human rights abuses and funding terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hizbullah.
  • European companies remain interested in doing business with Iran without consideration for the risks inherent in the Iranian economy, particularly the imposition by the United States of terrorism sanctions under Executive Order 13224 against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
  • European governments and institutions should take an in-depth review of their approach toward Iran. Full transparency and adequate information available to the public is an essential requirement.
On October 13, 2017, the Trump Administration declined to recertify the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and it denounced Iran for financing terrorism, imprisoning dual-nationals, and fomenting civil wars.  That decision sent a clear signal to those in Europe considering doing business with the Iranian regime:

the United States will no longer tolerate Tehran’s flagrant disregard for international law and norms.
Despite multiple indications that Iran has been violating the letter and the spirit of the JCPOA, many European countries remain resistant to challenging the Iranian regime.  In Washington, prior to the decertification deadline, the European Union, Germany, France, and Britain all launched a concerted effort to urge Congress to use its authority to maintain the status quo. Immediately following the decertification, European leaders, in a chorus, stood by the regime.  Their calls came under the pretense of security, yet failed to recognize Iran’s destabilizing aggression in the Middle East, the refugee crisis it enabled in Syria, and its continued threat to individual, regional, and global security.
At the October 3-4, 2017, “Europe-Iran Forum” held in Zurich, Switzerland, I witnessed first-hand European and Iranian representatives laud the possibility of increased business opportunities and investments in the Persian Gulf state.  The forum’s official website states that it is “a key venue for ‘business diplomacy’ between Iran and the international community” and that it offers a “conversation about the challenges, opportunities, and broader social responsibilities of commercial activity in Iran.”1

Europe-Iran Forum

What the Forum did not cover, however, was how business investments and the tens of billions of dollars freed from crippling sanctions had aided Iran’s numerous human rights abuses or funded terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hizbullah.  Further, several of the slated speakers at the Forum had been sanctioned themselves, or formerly sanctioned by U.S. and European governments, including the Iran Mines and Mining Industry Development and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO) and the Middle East Bank.

The abundance of mainly European companies in attendance laid bare the unfortunate, yet prevalent climate, in which companies remain interested in doing business with Iran without consideration for the risks inherent in the Iranian economy.  Moreover, the perils have only multiplied due to President Trump’s new Iran strategy—particularly the imposition of terrorism sanctions under Executive Order 13224 on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).  Just ask U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who made a public appeal to the private sector last week “to recognize that the IRGC permeates much of the Iranian economy and those who transact with IRGC-controlled companies do so at great risk.”

In fact, while the Europe- Iran Forum was attended by more than 400 officials and businessmen who were there to promote market opportunities in Iran, the conclusion went in the opposite direction.  Two-third of those interviewed underlined their increasing concerns and pessimism on the way ahead. The main reasons were U.S. sanctions regimes, huge problems in carrying out reliable “due diligence” in the Iranian market, and the lack of compliance with international norms and standards by Iranian banks. That was probably the main reason why major international banks deserted the Forum.

One company attending the forum was Air France, which last year resumed flights to Iran.  Since the JCPOA’s implementation, others in the airline and transportation industry have joined as well.  Airbus and Boeing have signed deals that could collectively bring “300 planes worth $40 billion” to Iran.  However, these large-scale business deals are instrumental in Iran’s efforts to fuel ongoing conflicts, including the war in Syria.  According to research published by the U.S. Department of the
Treasury, the regime in Iran has been using commercial flights to fund militant groups since at least 2000.  More recently, it has been ferrying troops and weapons to Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria and lending military support to Hizbullah.
Iranian fighters on board Iranian commercial flights heading to the Syrian front.
Iranian fighters on board Iranian commercial flights heading to the Syrian front.

Another participant, Germany’s Siemens, recently signed a $1.6 billion agreement to build trains and upgrade tracks in Iran.  The agreement was not its first; in 2008, the company partnered with an IRGC-controlled telecom monopoly to build technological capabilities for Iran to monitor and censor the Internet.  During the unrest following its 2009 election, Iran used the technology to thwart protests by blocking communications, collecting information on individual users, obstructing access to social media, and ultimately threatening bloggers and detaining journalists.

Not to be left off of Iran’s financial deals, oil and gas ventures are among Iran’s and the Western world’s biggest transactions.  Other major European attendees at the Forum, such as Royal Dutch Shell and Italy’s ENI, have each submitted applications for projects with the National Iranian Oil Company, a front group for the IRGC that has been linked to human rights violations, Iran’s nuclear program, and support of terrorism.  Undoubtedly, these oil and gas projects could add up to $200 billion in investments and would feed the IRGC’s coffers and facilitate the group’s continued abuses.

A Necessary American Action

The Trump Administration’s decision, though unpopular with those in Europe seeking to do business with Iran, was a necessary step toward curbing a regime that fails to comply with the letter and the spirit of the JCPOA.  Furthermore, it should serve as a reality check to businesses seeking to engage Iran, sending a clear message that doing so aids and abets the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and risks isolation from the American market.

Given those concerns, the United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) organization made demarches to Italian companies and administrations which have signed deals with Mahan Air to make them better acquainted with the risks of secondary U.S. sanctions and application of U.S. Presidential Executive Order 13224. Furthermore, UANI has drawn the attention of dozens of Italian companies reportedly active in critical sectors of the Iranian economy that expose them to investigations and sanctions. Major Italian banks were contacted by UANI; the same was done with the Bank of Italy. In most of these cases, lack of adequate information was evident at every level about legal and business risks of dealing with Iranian entities.

Similar considerations apply to the Budget Law just tabled by Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni. The new law includes a specific clause (article 32) aimed at promoting Italian export and investment in countries classified by the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF) with a high degree of risk. The proposal allocates to a National Agency – Invitalia – funding up to 1 billion Euros in export guarantees and insurance available for the Iranian market.

The Italian Government has emphasized that the new measures are intended to boost Italian companies’ presence in the Iranian market. The Italian taxpayers and individual investors will bear the burden of an ill-advised policy that encourages companies to take enormous risks in an “Iranian Eldorado” which doesn’t exist. To mention just some examples, in December 2016 – as reported by the Wall Street Journal– New York’s top banking regulator fined the largest Italian Bank, Intesa San Paolo  SpA and its New York branch, $235 million for violation of the state’s law prohibiting money laundering and bank secrecy, including the masking of  transactions involving Iran. According to the New York State Department of Financial Services, the bank “specifically trained certain employees” to obscure money-processing activities involving Iran.

Earlier, in 2014, another Italian company, Dettin S.p.A., active in the petrochemical business, was listed by the U.S. Treasury among the companies not in compliance with the sanctions regime.
It would be wise for European governments and institutions to undertake an in-depth review of their approach toward Iran. Full transparency and adequate information made available to the public is an essential requirement.

* * *


Giulio Maria Terzi is a senior adviser to United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI). He previously served as Foreign Minister of Italy, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, and Italian Ambassador to the United States and Israel.


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

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

'We have an opportunity to build a new coalition against Iran' - Arutz Sheva Staff

by Arutz Sheva Staff

IDF Chief of Staff speaks with Saudi newspaper, says Israel and Saudi Arabia see eye to eye on Iranian threat.

Gadi Eizenkot
Gadi Eizenkot
Flash 90
IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizonkot gave a rare interview Thursday to Elaph, a Saudi newspaper based in London, in which he called for a new regional coalition to counter Iran's growing influence and threats in the Middle East.

"The State of Israel is now in its best position militarily," Eizenkot said at the beginning of the interview. "We have developed a lot, we have the military force, the intelligence, the air force, the infantry that is in the best condition, We are therefore greatly appreciated by the moderate countries in the region."

"Regarding the challenges," the chief of staff noted, "in the past the threat was armies of countries such as the Syrian army, and so forth. Today, there are areas of explosive tensions such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Sinai, and Syria. Local events can cause a wide-ranging strategic confrontation."

However, Eizenkot stressed, "The real and greatest threat in the region is Iran, which there are three important factors that need to be acted upon. The first is the nuclear program, which has been temporarily frozen, but there is no doubt about Iran's intentions to achieve nuclear capabilities. Secondly, Iran's imposing its influence on various regions and supplying arms [to proxies] to carry out missions, such as to Hezbollah, the Houthis, and Islamic Jihad."

He continued: "At the same time, there is an American policy to establish alliances to fight Daesh (ISIS), and they succeeded in doing so. The US is also trying to strengthen and support the moderate Sunni axis in the region without putting its soldiers on the ground to fight. On the other hand, there is a Russian policy that looks only at the Russian interests in Syria. They have made a pact with Assad, Iran and Hezbollah on the one hand, and with the Americans to fight against Daesh, and with Turkey and ourselves (Israel) as part of a mechanism to prevent friction, which has been working very well."

Eizenkot said in response to the question of what Iran thinks of Israel: ""One can see the Iranian plan to control the Middle East through two Shi'ite crescents: The first from Iran through Iraq to Syria and Lebanon. The second, through the Gulf from Bahrain to Yemen to the Red Sea. This must be prevented from happening to this region. There is hope in the statements and speech of US President Trump in which he stated that there is a need to prevent the Iranian missile program and its establishment in Syria and Iraq. I see this as a hope for the region. There is complete agreement between us and Saudi Arabia, which has never been an enemy or fought against us, and we have never fought against it. I think there is full agreement between us and them regarding the Iranian axis."

"I participated in a meeting of chiefs of staff in Washington and when I heard what the Saudi representative said, I found that he fully matched what I think about Iran and the need to deal with it in the region and the need to stop its expansion program," Eizenkot said. "There is an opportunity with President Trump to form a new international coalition In the region, a large and comprehensive strategic plan must be implemented to stop the Iranian threat. We are ready to exchange information with the moderate Arab countries, including intelligence information and to deal with Iran."

Eizenkot was further asked, "Have you shared information with Saudi Arabia lately?"

"We are ready to share information if necessary, and there are many common interests between us and them," he said.

Arutz Sheva Staff


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

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

France: Escalating Muslim Anti-Semitism - Yves Mamou

by Yves Mamou

"I heard with my own ears, Mohamed Merah's mother saying: "in our religion it is permitted to kill Jewish children." — Mohamed Sifaoui, journalist and director of a documentary on the Merah family, on Canal+ TV.

  • "My mother said that Arabs are born to hate Jews." — Abdelghani Merah (brother of Mohamed Merah, a French Muslim terrorist who murdered seven people), speaking on French television.
  • "I heard with my own ears, Mohamed Merah's mother saying: "in our religion it is permitted to kill Jewish children." — Mohamed Sifaoui, journalist and director of a documentary on the Merah family, on Canal+ TV.
  • Incidentally, while Abdelkader Merah's trial was underway, the headstone of Ilan Halimi -- a Jew tortured to death in 2006 -- was desecrated and broken. By whom? Guess.
In France, any public mention of Muslim anti-Semitism can lead you to court. In February 2017, the scholar Georges Bensoussan was sued for "incitement to racial hatred" because he mentioned in a radio debate how vastly widespread anti-Semitism is among French Muslim families.

Now, however, two types of Muslim anti-Semitism are being highlighted by the media. These two types could be called "hard anti-Semitism" and "soft anti-Semitism".

Hard Muslim anti-Semitism is the anti-Semitism of murderers. Soft Muslim anti-Semitism is anti-Semitism of "anti-Zionists" and harrassers of various stripes.

The recently concluded trial of terrorist Abdelkader Merah is a clear and pathetic illustration of hard Muslim anti-Semitism. Abdelkader Merah is the brother of Mohamed Merah, a French Muslim extremist who murdered seven people, including three Jewish children and their teacher at a Jewish school, in Toulouse. Mohamed Merah was killed in a shoot-out with police on March 22, 2012. Abdelkader Merah, Mohamed's brother, was on trial during the past few weeks. He was accused of being a member of a terrorist organization and to have closely monitored his brother during his murder spree. Abdelkader's trial ended on November 2, 2017; he was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Abdelkader's Merah's trial illustrated the atmosphere in a Muslim family where hatred for Jews was like a bond in the family culture. L'Express writes:
"A sinister little music hovers above all this tragedy: visceral anti-Semitism. In their indictment, investigating judges noted that Abdelkader Merah approved the 'chosen targets' of his brother, including 'the Jews, against whom he seemed to be angry'. In the absence of love and attention, the Merah couple indeed fed their children with the hatred of Jews."
Abdelghani Merah, Abdelkader's brother, is the only member of the family who succeeded in climbing out of his family's culture of hate: hatred of France, hatred of Jews, hatred of everyone who is not Muslim. "My mother said that Arabs are born to hate Jews" Abdelghani said on television.

Mohamed Sifaoui, journalist and director of a documentary on the Merah family, testified on Canal+ television, "I heard with my own ears, Mohamed Merah's mother saying: 'in our religion it is permitted to kill Jewish children'". Sifaoui added:
"I have heard this mother saying 'Mohamed (Merah) killed children? Never mind, in our religion the prophet encouraged the killing of Jews. Jews are our enemies'. She said this clearly, I was there listening."

Mohamed Sifaoui, journalist and director of a documentary on the Merah family, testified on Canal+ television, "I heard with my own ears, Mohamed Merah's mother saying: 'in our religion it is permitted to kill Jewish children'". (Image source: Canal+ video screenshot)
Since 2006, 14 French Jews were murdered by hardline anti-Semitic Muslims.

Soft Muslim anti-Semitism is illustrated by Tariq Ramadan's rape cases. Ramadan is an Islamic scholar, the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Almost as if a continuation of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Ramadan was suddenly accused by two Muslim women of having raped them. Henda Ayari, the first woman who accused Ramadan, broke with Salafism after the January 2015 Islamist terror attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, in which most of its editors, writers and cartoonists were murdered. Ayari then published a book, I Chose to be Free, to tell her story and denounce Saudi Salafism as a totalitarian ideology.

In her book, Ayari wrote that she was raped, but did not name her rapist. Interviewed on Sud Radio, she said,
"I did not write this book to denounce Tariq Ramadan. This book is my story and a sharing of my journey. I wanted to give a message of hope, tell other women that you can have a false start in your life and live despite everything with will and determination..."
The Harvey Weinstein story had a considerable influence on her.
"One morning... I sat in front of my computer and told myself that I, too, wanted to 'expose my pig' -- on Twitter many women denounce sexual harassment under the hashtag #BalanceTonPorc ('ExposeYourPig'). Why do others do it and not me? I had to do it, it was stronger than me.... I wrote on Facebook the name of my attacker, and a few minutes later there were hundreds of shares and, unfortunately for me, hundreds of insults and threats. A few days later, I even regretted my gesture. I left home with the fear in my stomach telling me that I was going to be attacked in front of my house."
Immediately after Ayari filed a complaint against Ramadan, her Facebook page was harassed by thousands of Muslims who accused her to be part of a "Zionist plot" or to be a "Zionist whore".

Even Le Monde, which cannot even be suspected of being an "Islamophobic" newspaper, was in shock:
"Many commentators asked her 'how much' she was paid to attack Ramadan. Many contributors were saying that she was leading a plot to kill [Ramadan] and, through him, to murder the whole of Islam... Behind this supposed 'plot,' many commentators said they were able to see the hand of 'Zionists' or, more openly, 'Jews'. Anti-Semitism permeates some of these messages virulently..."
Naem Bestandji,a secular feminist, wrote on his blog:
"Henda Ayari is accused of financing Israeli politics by donating 5% of the sale price of her book to the association 'Europe Israel'. Fake news: Amazon is giving 5% to any website that is encouraging sales through Amazon, including on its Europe-Israel website. Fake news flourished in the Islamist sphere. Another fake news item was that Ayari was to be defended by a Jewish lawyer who was a supporter of Israel. She is accused of being a 'Zionist agent' and working with 'Mossad agents' to destroy Muslims."
Both hard and soft Muslim anti-Semitism corrode the life of thousands of Jew people in France. According to the Office of Protection of the Jewish Community, in France, 335 anti-Semitic attacks were committed in 2016. One out of every three racist crimes committed in France in 2016 was against Jews -- who make up less than 1% of the population -- according to data under the supervision of the Ministry of the Interior.

Some say that anti-Semitic crimes could be worse. But every Jewish school, synagogue, and Jewish institution in France is closely protected by the police and the army.

Of course, not all Muslims in France threaten or attack Jews. The overwhelming majority of the attackers, however, are Muslim. The consequence of this situation, every year, is that thousands of Jewish people are fleeing France, mainly to Israel, Canada, the UK and the US. According to Le Figaro:
"From 2012 to 2014, nearly 20,000 French Jews made their "aliyah", the Hebrew term for the "going up" to Israel. In 2015, 7,000 Jews left France for Israel, and only 5,000 in 2016, cooled by the difficulties of integrating inside the Jewish State. Figures remain high and reflect a climate of concern."
An even bigger "internal displacement" is discretely taking place inside France. French Jews are leaving their homes in the suburbs with large Muslim populations, for different homes in a safer areas -- in Paris for the wealthiest, or in a less-exposed suburb for the others.

Sammy Gozlan, president of the National Office of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, said:
"60,000 of the 350,000 Jews who live in Paris and its area have moved in the last decade. Some Jewish communities in the suburbs have been completely deserted. Synagogues in Saint-Denis, La Courneuve, Peyrefitte, Stains, Villepinte, Aulnay, Bagnolet, Blanc-Mesnil are about to close. A large number of Jews left because they felt insecure and after multiple incidents of harassment, pressure and physical assault".
Incidentally, while Abdelkader Merah's trial was underway, the memorial headstone of Ilan Halimi -- a Jew tortured to death in 2006 -- was desecrated and broken. By whom? Guess.

Yves Mamou, author and journalist, based in France, worked for two decades as a journalist for Le Monde. Yves Mamou is finishing a book about "Collaborators and Useful Idiots of Islamism in France," to be published in 2018.


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

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