Monday, March 4, 2024
Monday, March 4, 2024
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WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS IN REVIEW” ROUND-UP

Weekly Quotes

 

Canada does not stand behind Israel; Canada stands shoulder to shoulder with Israel.”—Canadian Foreign Minister, John Baird, at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem, emphasizing Canada’s staunch support of the Jewish state, and reiterating that “Israel has no greater friend in the world than Canada.” (JTA, January 31.)

 

The reason that there’s no peace between the Palestinians and Israel is because there is in the leadership of the Palestinian people Hamas and others who think like Hamas who have as their intent the elimination of Israel. And whether it’s in schoolbooks that teach how to kill Jews, or whether it’s in the political discourse that is spoken either from Fatah or from Hamas, there is a belief that the Jewish people do not have a right to have a Jewish state. There are some people who say should we have a two state solution, and the Israelis would be happy to have a two state solution. It’s the Palestinians who don’t want a two state solution.… I believe America must say the best way to have peace in the Middle East is not for us to vacillate and appease, but it is to say we stand with our friend Israel. We are committed to a Jewish state in Israel.”—Mitt Romney, at the recent Republican presidential debate in Florida, responding to Palestinian-American Abraham Hassan’s question: “How would a Republican administration help bring peace to ‘Palestine’ and Israel?…” Romney also blasted US President Barack Obama, saying “This president [Obama] went before the United Nations and castigated Israel for building settlements. He said nothing about thousands of rockets being rained in on Israel from the Gaza Strip. This president threw Israel under the bus with regards to defining the ‘67 borders as the starting point of negotiations.… [Obama] disrespected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu…[and] has time and time again shown distance from Israel and that has created in my view a greater sense of aggression on the part of the Palestinians. I will stand with our friend Israel.” (JTA, January 27.)

 

Upon signing the bill, you indicated that the sanctions program language was advisory only. It is not. As a co-equal branch of government, Congress has acted with overwhelming bipartisanship to put in place this tool to combat Iran’s continued march towards nuclear weapons capability. We respectfully urge you to clarify that your intent is to fully and forcefully implement these provisions.…”—Excerpt of a letter sent to Barack Obama by a bipartisan group of 89 House members, urging the US President to fully implement the Iran sanctions Congress passed in December. According to Rep. Leonard Lance (R, N.J.), who drafted the letter in conjunction with Rep. Dan Lipinski (D, Ill.), “There is a growing concern that the Administration does not fully support the tough new sanctions…to thwart Iran’s nuclear pursuits.” (Weekly Standard, January 26)

 

Iran is prepared to defy and deceive the whole world to turn themselves into a nuclear power. This will be the end of any conceivable anti-proliferation program. Major powers in the region will feel compelled to turn nuclear. It is the time for much tougher diplomacy and sanctions because there is a risk not just to Israel but to the whole world. It will be much more complicated, much more dangerous and much more costly if we allow it to happen.”—Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, speaking as part of a panel on Iran at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Speaking alongside Barak, Yukiya Amano, head of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency, reiterated that “Iran is engaged in activities relevant to the development of nuclear explosives.” (Jerusalem Post, January 27.)

 

The Iranian ships are being shuffled like a deck of cards in a Las Vegas casino. There is a constant game of cat and mouse being played and the renaming and reflagging of vessels…is a way of trying to avoid inspection because of sanctions.”—Hugh Griffiths, co-author of a report published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), confirming that the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines has renamed 90 of its 123 ships since 2008 in an effort to circumvent sanctions. (Jerusalem Post, January 30.)

 

Given the critical deterioration of the situation in Syria and the continued use of violence…it has been decided to immediately stop the work of the Arab League’s mission to Syria.…”—Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby, admitting the mission’s failure to curb President Bashar Assad’s violent crackdown on anti-regime protests. The League has since referred the matter to the UN Security Council. (Independent Media Review and Analysis, January 28.)

 

The [draft] is missing the most important thing: a clear clause ruling out the possibility that the resolution could be used to justify military intervention in Syrian affairs from outside. For this reason I see no chance this draft could be adopted.”—Russia’s envoy to the European Union, Vladimir Chizhov, suggesting that Russia would veto a Western-Arab draft UN Security Council resolution, based on a power-transfer agreement previously proposed by the Arab League, that would give President Assad 15 days to comply with the deal or face “further measures.” (Reuters & Wall Street Journal, February 1.)

 

As of January 7, 2012, 384 [Syrian] children have been killed.… Some 380 children have been detained, some less than 14 years old.”—UNICEF deputy executive director, Rima Salah. (National Post, January 27.)

 

The situation there does not allow the leadership to be present. There are no more Hamas leaders in Damascus.”—An official Hamas source, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirming the terrorist organization’s leadership, including politburo chief Khaled Mashaal, has abandoned its Damascus headquarters. (Ynet News, January 28.)

 

The [Brotherhood] group does not have any willingness to engage in dialogue with Israel. This decision has been taken and our position is consistent and clear, and is not currently open to discussion. It does not make sense to launch a dialogue, any form of dialogue, in light of Israel’s current practices against the Arab people.”— Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Mahmoud Ghazlan, in an interview with the London-based Asharq Alawsat newspaper, rejecting an Israeli Foreign Ministry invitation to dialogue. (JTA, January 26.)

 

During this period, we want to be as supportive as we can. This is an historic moment.”—US Undersecretary of State, Robert Hormats, part of an American delegation that held unprecedented talks last week with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, announcing the Obama administration’s plan to accelerate the pace of US aid to Egypt. (Reuters, January 25.)

 

‘It may or may not be good news,’ I wrote a year ago as the Arab Spring broke. ‘It depends on who replaces the strongmen. Stronger men? Weaker men? Better men? Democrats?’ Today, we have some of the answers. Whether the men who’ve replaced the strongmen are stronger or weaker men, they give no evidence of being better men, and they certainly aren’t democrats.… Some tyrants have been dethroned, but the Arab Spring’s main accomplishment has been to prove the validity of the observation that the more things change, the more they remain the same.”—George Jonas, in “Exchanging One Arab Strongman for Another,” describing the Arab Spring’s failure to bring about fundamental Arab political reform. (National Post, February 1.)

 

Israel and China are a successful combination because we are peoples rooted in glorious traditions that also embrace the future. The rise of modern China is one of the most important events of our time, as is the rise of modern Israel. We will never forget the goodwill of the Chinese people who provided shelter for persecuted Jews in the darkest hours [during the persecutions and pogroms in Russia at the end of the 19th century and throughout the Russian revolution, and during World War II, when 30,000 Jewish refugees from Europe found sanctuary in the city of Shanghai—Israeli Foreign Ministry Statement]..… Bilateral ties are important to us; therefore, we are committed to expanding them quickly in a variety of fields. To this end, I have issued a sweeping directive to approve any invitation to visit China. We are also launching a project that will bring to Israel 250 Chinese students a year. A large number of Israelis have already begun to study Chinese. A Happy Year of the Dragon!”—Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, at an event marking 20 years of diplomatic relations between Israel and China. (Independent Media Review and Analysis, January 25.)

 

This is a significant victory in the battle to hold funders accountable for their support of NGOs involved in demonization. Zochrot, a radical Israeli NGO, supports the Palestinian claim to a ‘Right of Return’—which has no legal basis and would end the existence of Israel as the Jewish nation-state—endorsed the violent ‘Free Gaza Flotilla,’ and falsely accused Israel of ‘ethnic cleansing’ and ‘forcible displacement and dispossession of the Palestinian people.’ EVZ’s decision is recognition that such immoral funding is entirely opposed to its declared mission of compensating slave laborers of the Nazi regime.”—Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor, praising the German government-funded Remembrance, Responsibility, Future (EVZ) Foundation’s decision to stop funding the Israeli NGO Zochrot. (Independent Media Review and Analysis, January 26.)

 

It is time for us to acknowledge that Norwegian policemen, civil servants and other Norwegians took part in the arrest and deportation of Jews. Today I feel it is fitting to express our deepest apologies that this could happen on Norwegian soil.”—Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, in a speech last week marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, apologizing for the first time for his country’s complicity in the deportation and deaths of Jews during World War Two. Vidkun Quisling, Norway’s leader during Nazi occupation, ordered Norway’s 2,100 Jews registered in 1942; more than a third were ultimately deported to death camps. (Reuters, January 27.)

 

It’s four months after 9/11 and Daniel Pearl, Wall Street Journal South Asia bureau chief, is on the trail of al-qaeda. A source in Karachi invites him to a restaurant rendezvous with Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani, a radical cleric linked to shoe bomber Richard Reid. But the invitation is a trap. En route, Pearl is kidnapped and held captive, chained to a car engine. Initially, a ransom is demanded: his freedom in exchange for captured al-qaeda operatives. The offer is a chimera. On Feb. 1, Pearl is executed—throat slit, then beheaded—all of it filmed and later broadcast to a horrified world. A decade later, only four of the 27 men allegedly involved in Pearl’s kidnapping and murder have been charged and convicted.”—Michael Posner, marking the tenth anniversary of Daniel Pearl’s murder. (Globe & Mail, January 23.)

 

We returned with a renewed commitment to work for Mr. Pollard’s release from incarceration.… He has served 27 years, seven of them in solitary confinement. Mr. Pollard has expressed remorse, which he persuasively reiterated in our two-hour discussion. He suffers from multiple serious medical challenges, which we believe adds urgency to the timeliness of his release.”—Excerpt from a statement co-authored by Richard Stone and Malcolm Hoenlein, Chairman and Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, respectively, calling for the immediate release of Jonathan Pollard following a rare visit with the former Israeli agent at the Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina. (Independent Media Review and Analysis, January 28.)

 

Short Takes

 

CANADA EXPANDS IRAN SANCTIONS—(Toronto) Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has announced plans to expand sanctions against Iran. Baird confirmed that Canada will impose additional sanctions on five Iranian companies and three individuals, adding to a list that now contains 49 individuals and 339 entities. “These sanctions cover the known leadership of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and block virtually all financial transactions with Iran, including those with the central bank,” Baird said in a statement. The move follows the EU’s recent approval of an Iranian oil embargo that is due to take effect on July 1, and U.S. plans to introduce a ban on business with Iran’s central bank later in the year. (Wall Street Journal, January 31.)

 

MOSSAD CHIEF HOLDS SECRET IRAN TALKS IN U.S.—(Washington) According to CIA director David Petraeus, the head of Israel’s Mossad, Tamir Pardo, paid a secret visit to Washington last week amid speculation over a possible Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. Patraeus confirmed the meeting with Pardo while testifying before the US Senate Intelligence Committee during a hearing on “World Wide Threats.” Patraeus said he frequently talks to Israel’s leaders, who view Iran’s nuclear program as an “existential threat,” as part “of an ongoing dialogue that has also included conversations with Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu and with [Defense] Minister [Ehud] Barak.” (National Post, February 1.)

 

EGYPT BARS AMERICANS FROM LEAVING—(Cairo) Six Americans working for publicly funded US organizations promoting democracy in Egypt have been barred from leaving the country. Among those hit by travel bans is a son of US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, as well as other foreign staffers of the International Republican Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI). According to State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, the US is “urging the government of Egypt to lift these restrictions immediately.” John McCain, chairman of the IRI, voiced “alarm and outrage” at Egypt’s “new and disturbing turn” and “call[ed] on the Egyptian government and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to cease the harassment and unwarranted investigations of American NGOs operating in Egypt.” Last month, Egyptian police raided the Cairo offices of the IRI, NDI and eight other non-governmental organizations. The US embassy in Cairo is currently providing shelter to three American citizens to protect them from potential arrest. (Reuters, January 27 & National Post, January 31.)

 

CANADA PUSHING TO HAVE SYRIA OFF UN BOARD—(Ottawa) Canada is one of 14 countries asking that Syria’s membership on UNESCO’s Committee on Conventions and Recommendations, a body charged with investigating human rights abuses, be reconsidered when the UN cultural agency’s executive board meets on Feb. 27. According to a letter signed by Yasemin Heinbecker, Canada’s deputy ambassador to UNESCO, and 13 counterparts from other countries, “The situation in Syria challenges UNESCO’s basic constitutional objectives, in particular to further respect for justice, for the law and for human rights and fundamental freedoms”. Accordingly, “[UNESCO’s] Executive Board must review the participation of Syria.” Members of the executive board, including the United States and France, unanimously named Syria to the committee in November, despite the ruling regime’s ongoing crackdown on demonstrators. Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, the Geneva-based NGO that obtained and made public the letter, said that “Canada has been on the forefront of most worthwhile initiatives to keep gross violators accountable.” (National Post, January 26.)

 

REPORT: ATTEMPT TO SMUGGLE ASSAD’S WIFE OUT OF SYRIA FOILED—(Jerusalem) According to Egypt’s al-Masri al-Youm newspaper, Syrian rebels have thwarted an attempt to smuggle Asma Assad, wife of Syrian President Bashar Assad, out of the country. Sources within the Syrian opposition told the paper that Free Syrian Army forces prevented the escape of the first lady, her children, Bashar Assad’s mother and other relatives by blocking their convoy, bound for Damascus airport. After heavy exchanges of fire, presidential security forces reportedly managed to get the convoy back to the presidential palace. (Ynet News, January 30.)

 

IDF ARRESTS PALESTINIAN PRISONER RELEASED IN SHALIT SWAP—(Jerusalem) The Israel Defense Forces has arrested Mamun Ismyail Salame Stut, a Palestinian man who was released from Israeli prison in October as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal. According to an IDF spokesperson, Stut was arrested by the Golani Brigade for being a security threat in the area of Dura near Hebron, making him the first released prisoner to be recaptured since the swap. Stut was originally arrested in 2002 and indicted on attempted murder, assembling bombs and providing asylum. An Israeli court sentenced him to 38 years in prison. (Haaretz, January 31.)

 

BARGHOUTI REFUSES TO TESTIFY IN US CIVIL SUIT—(Jerusalem) Former Fatah and al-Aqsa Brigades leader, Marwan Barghouti, has refused to testify in a US civil suit filed by the family of an American terror victim. Barghouti, who has been in prison since 2002 and is serving five life sentences for the murder of five people, was brought to the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court last week to give testimony via video link in a case filed by the family of Esther Klieman, a 23-year-old who was shot and killed by al-Aqsa Brigades terrorists in 2002. The lawsuit, brought under US anti-terror legislation, claims that Barghouti, the PLO and PA “solicited, encouraged, permitted and advised” the terrorists to commit the act that killed Klieman. Attorney Michael Dvorin, who represents the Klieman family in Israel, said that Barghouti’s deposition hearing was intended to obtain testimony regarding how the PLO, PA, the al-Aqsa Brigades and Tanzim coordinated and perpetrated terror attacks, and to show Barghouti’s key role. (Jerusalem Post, January 26.)

 

PALESTINIAN TV PRAISES FOGEL FAMILY MURDERERS—(Jerusalem) Palestinian state-run television has aired an interview with relatives of the Fogel family murderers, which praises the perpetrators of the deadly attack as “heroes”. The broadcast was part of a weekly show called “For You,” which focuses on Palestinian prisoners incarcerated in Israel. The program featured the aunt and mother of Hakim Awad, who along with his cousin Amjad was convicted of brutally stabbing to death five Fogel family members in their home in Itamar last March. During the interview, Hakim’s mother proudly sends regards to her son, whereas Awad’s aunt describes her nephew as a “hero and a legend.” Both Hakim and Amjad Awad have been sentenced to five consecutive life sentences. (Haaretz, January 29.)

 

IRAQ TO BAN TRAVEL TO ISRAEL—(Jerusalem) The Iraqi parliament is planning to pass a new bill banning Iraqis from traveling to Israel. The bill was proposed following incidents at the Bagdad airport, whereby a number Iraqi officials were found to be carrying passports with Israeli entry visas. According to an anonymous local security officer, the officials, who began making trips to Israel after Iraq’s January 2010 elections, were operating as envoys to Israel on behalf of Iraqi politicians. Israel classifies Iraq as an “enemy state”; however, senior Israeli diplomats have in the past hinted that despite having no official relations with Iraq, there may in fact exist limited economic and security ties. (Ynet News, January 30.)

 

STUDY REVEALS 20% OF GERMANS ARE ANTI-SEMITIC—(Berlin) The German government has released the findings of a two-year inquiry into modern anti-Semitism in the Federal Republic, demonstrating that latent anti-Semitism affects one in every five Germans. The 202-page study, titled “Anti-Semitism in Germany,” found that German antisemitism is widespread, ranging from the frequent chanting at soccer matches of “Jews belong in the gas chamber,” and “Bring back Auschwitz,” to the common usage of the word “Jew” as a pejorative term among German pupils to denigrate fellow students. According to commission member Dr. Juliane Wetzel, hyperbolic criticism of Israel—itself an expression of anti-Semitism—exists among 40 to 50 percent of the German population. (Jerusalem Post, January 25.)

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