August 1, 2022

In-Depth Issues:

Iran Ready to Build Nukes If Attacked - Maryam Sinaee (Iran International)
    The IRGC-linked Bisimchi Media Telegram channel on Saturday published a video entitled "When Will Iran's Sleeping Nuclear Warheads Awaken," in which it said the Islamic Republic will build nuclear warheads "in the shortest possible time" if attacked by the U.S. or Israel.
    The video says that uranium enrichment in secret underground facilities of Fordow has brought Iran to the threshold of nuclear breakout and joining the nuclear powers' club.
    The video also suggests that Iran's ballistic missiles have the capability of "turning New York into hellish ruins," citing Iran's space program.

Anti-Iran Protesters Storm Iraqi Parliament - David S. Cloud (Wall Street Journal)
    Thousands of demonstrators chanting anti-Iran slogans occupied the Iraqi parliament on Wednesday, denouncing the leading candidate to be the country's next prime minister, Mohammed Sudani, the nominee of a coalition led by Iran-backed Shiite parties.

Israel to Withhold $176 Million from PA over Its Payments to Terrorists - Lahav Harkov (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel's Security Cabinet voted Sunday to deduct $176 million from taxes and tariffs collected for the Palestinians Authority, as long as the PA pays terrorists who attacked Israelis.
    The deduction will be made over the coming 12 months.

Neo-Nazi Former Marine Plotted U.S. Synagogue Massacre - Josh Campbell (CNN)
    Matthew Belanger, a former Marine discharged in May 2021 due to "dissident-extremist activity," was arrested last month by FBI agents for planning to attack a New York synagogue and engage in "widespread homicide and sexual assault" targeting minorities, federal prosecutors said.

Palestinian Culture Minister: Britain Stole Our Country; It Must Be Brought to Trial for Its Crimes (MEMRI)
    On July 24, 2022, the 100th anniversary of the League of Nations' issuance of the British Mandate for Palestine, Palestinian Culture Minister 'Atef Abu Saif wrote in Al-Ayyam that, other than the Zionist movement, Britain had committed the gravest crimes against the Palestinian people.
    He called for a formal and public apology from Britain for its crimes against the Palestinians, and to sue it for these crimes in an international court.

Russian Jews Sidestep Jewish Agency to Immigrate to Israel - Maya Margit (Media Line-Ynet News)
    Many Jews in Russia - spurred by political pressure and fears of a new Iron Curtain - have decided to forgo the long wait times for appointments at the Israeli embassy in Moscow and at the Jewish Agency for Israel and are making their own way to Israel.
    Ivan Kvasov, a biology teacher, left St. Petersburg for Israel with his wife and son in March, applying for Israeli citizenship once they landed in the country.
    "Everything went very quickly," Kvasov said. "There were some lines and so on but in general everyone supported us."
    Former Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky said, "I do recommend to all those who more or less decided already that their future is not in Russia to make this decision [on immigration] as quickly as possible."

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Conference of Presidents Calls to Disband UN's Biased Commission of Inquiry on Israel
    The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations has condemned "the despicable, anti-Semitic remarks made by UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) member Miloon Kothari and demand[ed] the immediate dissolution of the open-ended COI. Kothari invoked dangerous anti-Semitic tropes during a media interview, where he singled-out Israel and questioned its legitimacy - while also spreading the age-old hateful canard that Jews conspire to control the media."  (Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations)
        See also U.S. Officials "Outraged" over Comments by Member of UN Inquiry into Israel-Gaza Conflict - Andrew Lapin (JTA)
        See also Israel Demands UN Disband Gaza War Panel over Anti-Semitism (Reuters)
        See also below Observations: The UN Human Rights Council "Commission of Inquiry" Goes Openly Antisemitic - Anne Bayefsky (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • PA Security Forces Make 94 Political Arrests in Two Months - Zena Al Tahhan
    The Palestinian Authority is carrying out one of the largest political arrest campaigns in years against Palestinians in the West Bank, with at least 94 people arrested over the past two months. Those arrested include university students and journalists, with at least 20 still in detention, according to the Ramallah-based Lawyers for Justice. None were charged with any offenses.
        Muhannad Karajeh, the head of Lawyers for Justice, reported that a "sizeable number of detainees reported maltreatment and torture in detention." The PA and its security forces are frequently criticized by rights groups over the "systematic arrest and torture" of dissidents. (Al Jazeera)
        See also Palestinians Protest Arrests, Torture by PA Security Forces - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
  • Gazans Revive Popular Online Campaign Against Hamas - Sally Ibrahim
    Under the hashtag "We Want To Live," thousands of Gazans have revived a three-year-old digital campaign to hold Hamas mainly responsible for the economic, political and social problems in Gaza. Activists shared dozens of short videos of complaints about poverty, and other videos depicted brawls between drivers and vendors and Hamas security forces on various occasions. "Everyone in Gaza is suffering from the situation. The only ones who enjoy their life are officials and their children," said Amal al-Shamaly, 35, a resident of Gaza. (Al-Araby al-Jadeed-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel to Advance Joint Industrial Zone with Jordan - Lahav Harkov
    Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Jordanian King Abdullah II finalized plans last week in Amman to establish the Jordan Gate, a shared industrial zone with Jordan, which was approved by the Israeli Cabinet on Sunday. The plan includes an already-constructed bridge between the Jordanian and Israeli sides of the industrial zone, near Kibbutz Tirat Tzvi.
        "28 years after making peace with Jordan, we are taking our good neighborly relations another step forward," Lapid said. "This is an initiative that will bring employment to both countries, will advance our diplomatic and economic relations, and will deepen the peace and friendship between the two countries."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israeli Hospital Opens New Emergency Room - Nathan Jeffay
    An 8,000-square-meter emergency room opened in Israel on Thursday at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center (Ichilov), named after Canadian-Israeli philanthropist Sylvan Adams, who said the ER was the largest in world. The facility has 100 inpatient emergency beds, which can be doubled in an emergency scenario.
        At the high-tech facility, patients who are well enough will check themselves in and then move to "self-triage," where automated systems will check their temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and blood oxygen saturation. If patients are at high risk, staff will be alerted immediately. Mobile robots will help patients find the department they need, and an app will tell them exactly what is happening with their tests, results, and treatment. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Why Economic Carrots Won't Appease Iran - Amir Taheri
    There is no way that anyone can help the Iranian people return to normalcy as long as the present regime is in place in Tehran. A people that finds itself in the hands of a brutal authoritarian regime that claims a divine mandate and is ready to do whatever it takes to remain in power is beyond help by any outsider with the best of intentions.
        If you help the Islamic Republic improve its economy, the bulk of the proceeds will go to strengthening the apparatus of repression, with the people receiving mere crumbs to keep their mouths shut. At the same time, regime propaganda will spread the tale that it was thanks to its "revolutionary ardor" that the evil foreigners had to offer concessions, as they retreated under the blows of the new rising power of Islam destined to conquer the whole world.
        Over the past four decades, more than two dozen countries have tried to sweeten the Tehran mullahs with all manner of carrots. Germany gave the Islamic Republic a most-favored-nation status. France offered exceptional trade guarantees. The U.S. apologized for unknown and non-existent "wrongs" it was supposed to have done. It is interesting that President Joe Biden still thinks he can normalize the quintessentially abnormal.
        The writer was the executive editor-in-chief of the daily Kayhan in Iran from 1972 to 1979. (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
  • How Norway and the EU Are Undermining the Oslo Accords - Amb. Alan Baker
    Norway and EU member states have restored funding to six Palestinian civil society organizations designated by Israel as terror-supporting organizations, thereby rejecting evidence submitted by Israel that such organizations are linked to the universally outlawed terror organization, "Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine."
        Funding terror contravenes international counter-terrorism conventions and resolutions to which Norway and the EU are party that criminalize funding terror. It also undermines distinct counter-terror provisions in the 1993-1995 Oslo Accords between the Palestinians and Israel. Facilitating international funding for supporting and encouraging Palestinian terror is the antithesis of any genuine international action to promote human rights, peace, and stability in the Middle East.
        The writer, who heads the international law program at the Jerusalem Center, is former legal counsel to Israel's Foreign Ministry and participated in the negotiation and drafting of the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • In Israel, the Idea of Apartheid Is Laughable - Avi Benlolo
    Although signs on city buses in St. John's, Newfoundland, calling Israel an "apartheid" state were shocking to many Canadians, in Israel, the ad drew only laughs. In the Israeli city of Karmiel on July 27, an Arab-Israeli leader laughed in hysterics when I asked him about apartheid. He outlined his own success in Israel, having completed a graduate degree at an Israeli university, then having the freedom to travel to Jordan to earn a doctorate and to pursue a successful career as an educator and media personality.
        Many of his friends are professionals like him and enjoy the benefits of being Israeli citizens. In fact, he ran in the last national election. Indeed, hardly anyone in Israel actually believes it is an apartheid state. Co-existence and peace is the language of most political and community leaders in Israel today.
        The wasted energy and resources on negative ad campaigns that achieve nothing except hate and discord sadly misrepresents the seismic shift that's now underway in the entire region. A lie told enough times can become a truth if unopposed. We have a responsibility to stand up for Israel, because the right thing to do is to support the development of peace and friendship in the region.
        The writer is the founder and chairman of the Abraham Global Peace Initiative. (National Post-Canada)

The UN Human Rights Council's "Commission of Inquiry" Goes Openly Antisemitic - Anne Bayefsky (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • In May 2021, after an 11-day conflict between Palestinian terrorists in Gaza and Israelis, the UN established a "Commission of Inquiry" on Israel with a permanent "ongoing" mandate to ferret out "systematic discrimination and repression."
  • Three well-known biased actors were appointed as members of the inquiry who could be counted on to manufacture a guilty verdict: Navi Pillay as chair (former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights), Miloon Kothari (a former UN "expert"), and Chris Sidoti (a close associate of a top Palestinian organization and of Israel-bashing NGOs).
  • While UN rules specifically require that UN human rights "experts" are independent, impartial, and objective, each one was on record promoting the libel of apartheid and crimes against humanity regarding Israel and a proven anti-Israel zealot. In June 2022, the inquiry members presented their first report, which concluded that the actions of "Jewish Israelis" were the "root cause" of the conflict.
  • On July 25, 2022, an interview with commission member Miloon Kothari appeared on the anti-Israel website Mondoweiss where, referring to Israel, he said: "I would go so far as to raise the question as why are they even a member of the United Nations." He referred to social media reaction to the inquiry controlled by "the Jewish lobby."
  • Human Rights Council President Federico Villegas of Argentina called Kothari's remarks "unfortunate" and said they "could reasonably be interpreted as the stigmatization of the Jewish people." He suggested Kothari "consider the possibility" of "publicly clarifying" his comments.
  • In a letter to Villegas, Israel's Prime Minister Yair Lapid wrote, "The fight against antisemitism cannot be waged with words alone. It requires action. This is the time for action; it is time to disband the Commission. This Commission does not just endorse antisemitism - it fuels it."
  • The Biden administration has officially and repeatedly objected to the UN "inquiry." On June 29, the House Appropriations Committee adopted an amendment prohibiting the use of any American funds for the inquiry. Defunding would be entirely consistent with current American legislation prohibiting the use of taxpayer dollars for other anti-Israel UN bodies.

    The writer is director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust and president of Human Rights Voices.

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