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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

From Ian:

Pro-Palestinian activists storm former IDF officer's speech at DC museum
Former IDF lieutenant-colonel and current director of the American Jewish Committee Jerusalem office, Avital Leibovich, was bombarded by some dozen pro-Palestinian activists while giving a speech about social media on Tuesday afternoon in Washington, DC.
Leibovich, who formerly served as head of the Interactive Media Branch of the IDF’s Spokesperson’s Unit, was five minutes into her talk at the 'Newseum' when the activists stormed the stage bearing signs with anti-Israel phrases and shouting pro-Palestinian slogans, such as "free, free Palestine!"
Leibovich calmly responded saying anyone who wanted to hear what she had to say were welcome to stay, and welcome those who didn't to use the "big red exit sign."
Two of the most prominent activist were Max Blumenthal and Rania Khalek. Security officials later ushered Blumenthal away from the address.
BDS: No Freedom of Speech
Freedom of speech? They wouldn't even let Avital Leibovich of the AJC and former IDF spokesperson speak. Code Pink and other BDS activists disrupted her speech on "New media During War" in the Newseum in DC

Janna Jihad Unmasked: 10-Year-Old Media Darling Is a False Heroine
A 10-year-old Palestinian firebrand “journalist” who sent social media into a frenzy recently over her bravery for documenting Israeli “injustice” in Palestine can be unmasked as an anti-Israel propaganda tool – a child being used by a family of terrorists.
This murderous clan, responsible for a restaurant bombing that killed eight children, used a then seven year old Janna to demand for the murder of Israeli police officers in Jerusalem.
They have been exploiting the child for terror propaganda since she was just five.
Janna “Jihad” became a digital sensation after Vice Magazine and the Al Jazeera TV network dubbed her “the youngest journalist in Palestine”.
Living in the village of Nabi Saleh, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, she apparently personally produces video reports from the centre of protests against the Israeli government – despite being a child.
But Heat Street can reveal that behind the supposed bravery and passion of “her” films, Janna is just another exploited child, used by an anti-Israel propaganda machine responsible for spreading fear and loathing.
How Isolated is Netanyahu?
After the much-anticipated French-sponsored Middle East peace conference ended last Friday with a whimper rather than a bang, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s critics were quick to point out that he shouldn’t be celebrating. They were right in that the event may be just the prelude to more such initiatives whose sole intent was to isolate the Israelis and perhaps set up one more climactic confrontation with the Obama administration this fall after the presidential election. It’s possible that at that point the United States might not oppose a new push for recognition of a Palestinian state without requiring it to first requiring it to make peace with Israel. If so, any satisfaction of the clear failure of the Paris conference would be premature. But as Netanyahu soon proved with a visit to Russia that highlighted Israel’s increasingly warm ties with the Putin regime, his nation is not as isolated as the prime minister’s domestic critics and foreign foes think.
Despite the French boasts about their plans to convene a conference that would establish a framework for Middle East peace without the presence of Israel or the Palestinians, nothing was accomplished in Paris. Nothing, that is, other than the usual bloviating by the French hosts and various Third World foreign ministers that were allowed to make speeches. If critics of the Obama administration can glean any satisfaction from this farce, it is that Secretary of State John Kerry was forced to sit through all of it for the sake of amity with Paris even though he was clearly put out by the futility of the effort and the indignity of having to attend. The platitudes issued at the end of the gathering could have just as easily been put out without the expense and inconvenience of the summit which left the world farther from a resolution of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians than it had been before it started. The only thing it accomplished was to encourage the Palestinians to continue to refuse to negotiate directly with the Israelis because such conferences make them think the international community will bludgeon and isolate the Jewish state into concessions at no cost to themselves.
Moreover, those counseling that danger lies ahead, specifically from an Obama administration that, despite only having seven months left in office, still feels it has a score to settle with Netanyahu. The Palestinians torpedoed every administration Middle East initiative over the past seven and a half years even though each one sought to tilt the diplomatic playing field in their direction. But the White House continues to rail at the Israelis while largely giving the Palestinians a pass for their ongoing refusal to make peace.

There Was a Jewish Nakba, and It Was Even Bigger than the Palestinian One
Palestinians and the various activists and organizations that identify with them marked “Nakba Day” on May 15.
This day commemorates what the Palestinians consider a national “catastrophe”—the establishment of the State of Israel. Among the most prominent issues addressed were the fates of Palestinian refugees. It is almost universally believed that there can be no solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict without a solution to the Palestinian refugee problem.
But there is another side to this problem, one that is rarely discussed and all but completely unrecognized by the international community: The Jewish refugees from the Arab nations.
No one can deny the Palestinian refugee problem, but it is equally blind to deny the plight of the Jewish refugees. With the creation of the State of Israel and in the decades afterwards, hundreds of thousands of Jews who had lived peacefully in the Arab nations for centuries were expelled from their home countries. Having failed in 1948 to destroy the new State of Israel, Arab rulers took revenge on the Jews who lived in the nations they controlled. These Jews, faced with official persecution, mob violence, pogroms, and the confiscation of their property, fled these countries, most of them to Israel. To this day, they remain mostly unrecognized and have never been compensated for their suffering or their stolen property.
It is time that this changed, because without recognition of the Jewish refugees from Arab nations, there can be no mutual recognition of shared suffering and thus no peace between Arabs and Jews. The Jewish refugees will not forgo their rights and their grievances while the Palestinians demand the same.
I know this better than most, because I am one of them.
NY Times Blows Winds of Putsch for Israel & How President Truman Got Rid of an Insubordinate War Hero General
The New York Times has long been the mouthpiece of the US foreign policy Establishment. That the NYT is so hostile to Israel up to the point of crude lies demonstrates the deep rancor towards Israel of that Establishment.
We all know that the US and the other major WW2 allies were of little help to the victimized Jews during the Shoah, that is, during WW2. Whereas US warplanes bombed military targets near Auschwitz (Oswiecim) by 1944 –but not the gas chambers at Auschwitz nor the railroad tracks leading there– the United Kingdom prevented Jews from finding refuge in the internationally designated Jewish National Home, the Land of Israel.
During the 1967 Six Day War, the intelligence ship, USS Liberty, spied electronically on Israeli military moves and sent the information to Jordan and Egypt. A US army signal corps truck-mounted electronic intelligence station did the same on a smaller scale from the Jordanian-controlled “West Bank.” The truck had to pull back across the Jordan River with Jordan’s Arab Legion when Israel took the “West Bank.”
Now, the Establishment mouthpiece, the NYT, fans the flames of putsch, of a possible coup d’etat in Israel, publishing an article praising insubordinate Israeli senior army and intelligence officers for being “pro-peace” and “pro-human rights.” The author, Ronen Bergman, has excellent sources in Israeli intel, according to his own writings, and the NYT describes him as “a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine.” He is not a free-lancer but “a contributing writer.”
Ex-Canadian minister in Israel: Stand up against injustice everywhere
Canadian legal expert Prof. Irwin Cotler sounded a passionate plea in Beersheba Tuesday night on behalf of activists around the world “putting their lives on the line in the struggle for democracy and human rights and freedom.”
Cotler, who has been nominated by Prof. Alan Dershowitz for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, was one of six recipients of honorary doctoral degrees conferred by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev at a ceremony during the university’s 46th Board of Governors meeting.
“A small group can change the world,” Cotler said in Hebrew, adding in English: “I think if I had a message, it’s not to remain indifferent. Stand up against injustice! Make sure that every day you do something to advance the cause of justice. I have hope that at the end of the day, the struggle for justice and human rights will be won.”
Cotler, 76, a law professor at McGill University who served as justice minister and attorney general in Canada, was honored by BGU as “an illustrious legal scholar who has dedicated himself to upholding justice and protecting the rights of all people.”
PM denies calling Arab peace plan ‘universally acceptable’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office on Wednesday denied telling Russian President Vladimir Putin that he found the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “universally acceptable,” rejecting a claim made a short time earlier by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
“The Arab initiative was not discussed at all in the conversation with President Putin,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement, referring to Netanyahu’s Tuesday meeting with Putin at the Kremlin.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu has already previously stated that the initiative needs to be amended, particularly in light of the dramatic changes that have occurred in the region since 2002,” the statement continued. “In any event, no Arab initiative can be used to dictate [terms] to Israel, but rather it is a subject for discussion between Israel and the countries of the region with the aim of promoting regional peace with the Arab states.”
Speaking at a joint press conference in Moscow ahead of talks with his Palestinian counterpart Riyad al-Maliki, Lavrov said Netanyahu had dubbed the initiative “universally acceptable” during his talks with Putin, the Russian state-run news agency Interfax reported.
Israel doesn’t intervene in Syria war, Netanyahu says in Russia
Israel does not intervene in the Syrian civil war but will not allow attacks from the country to be launched at Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday, a day after he met Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss Syria and other regional issues.
“You ask about the future of [Israel’s] relations with President [Bashar] Assad? I would ask what is the future of President Assad in general?” Netanyahu told Russian Jewish leaders. “We do not interfere in this issue. We’re making sure that Syria won’t become a launchpad for attacks against Israel.”
Israel would act against Syrian and Iranian forces, and against Hezbollah and other Islamist groups in the region, if it perceived any threat emanating from them, he said. “There are enough enemies. My policy is to take all necessary steps to prevent attacks, and we act from time to time when the need arises.”
Report: IDF strikes Syria for first time under new defense minister
The Israeli Air Force carried out an airstrike over the weekend against a military installation south of Homs, according to a report Tuesday by the Syrian website Zaman Al Wasl, which identifies with the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. The report said the installation is a base for the Syrian army's air defense division and is also the location of its air-defense training school.
The Israeli planes bombed storage warehouses for Syrian surface-to-air defense missiles, destroying a considerable number and causing a great deal of damage, the report said. It also said the Israeli planes avoided targeting other air-defense systems located on the base.
The planes reportedly flew at a low altitude, likely to avoid being detected by radar, and were exposed to being hit by Syrian air-defense systems. According to the report, the Syrian defense establishment chose not to respond to the attack and did not try to shoot the Israeli jets down.
Aside from the report by Zaman Al Wasl, no other sources in Syria or Arab media outlets reported the event.
Putin backs ‘just’ solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Kremlin, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday expressed support for a “comprehensive and just” solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Netanyahu, Putin backed the two-state solution and Israel’s counter-terrorism efforts.
“We will be partners in the struggle against terrorism,” he said.
Before the press conference, Putin surprised Netanyahu with a private tour of the Kremlin and explained the history of the halls, pointing out some biblical imagery displayed on its walls, a statement from Netanyahu’s office said.
The two leaders later marked 25 years of diplomatic ties at the Bolshoi Theater, where Netanyahu said: “In another 25 years, when they look back, they will remember this evening as a turning point in our ties.”
Danon to 'Post': Obama aides know UNSC Mideast resolution won’t work
Most of those around US President Barack Obama understand that a US initiated resolution at the UN Security Council to lock in parameters of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement will not contribute to the diplomatic process, Danny Danon, Israel's ambassador to the UN, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
Danon, in an interview on the sidelines of the AJC Global Forum, said that despite media reports about a presidential policy speech on the Mideast or a US-backed or initiated Security Council resolution, “we are not seeing any signs of this in New York.”
Although Danon said that Israel's position was that such moves would not promote negotiations, Jerusalem had to take into account that the Palestinians and other states will push an effort to “promote something by the end of the year” because both Obama and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's tenures will be ending.
“The pressure exists, but we don't know how it will express itself,” he said.
Susan Rice Says 'Foolish' To Rule Out Backing UN Resolution on Israel
"President Obama's national security adviser, Susan Rice,... warned that conditions in Israel and the West Bank were deteriorating, which she blamed on actions by both sides... As Obama's second term winds down, there's been renewed speculation that he will launch his own initiative or support a U.N. Security Council resolution to establish hoped-for parameters around any future agreement. Several hundred members of Congress, Democrat and Republican, recently signed a letter urging the White House to veto such a move if it supported a "one-sided" resolution.
When asked if she could guarantee that the United States would not support such a resolution, or allow its passage, Rice hedged.
'I think our record speaks for itself,' she answered... 'I would be foolish and no one would ever rule out action [on a] hypothetical, and that's what we are talking about. But our view remains as I just said, that the only way to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is through a negotiated solution; that means the two parties sitting down, face to face.'..."
Abbas to meet Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal in Doha next week
Accepting Qatar's invitation, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will arrive next week in Doha, where he will meet with the emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani and Hamas' political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal.
In a conversation with the Palestinian news site al-Risalah on Tuesday, an official in Fatah said that Abbas accepted the invitation and ordered the relevant people to start preparing the visit in Doha, which will be announced in the upcoming days.
According to the official, the meeting between Abbas and al Thani will focus on several Palestinian issues, mainly the reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, the measures the Palestinian Authority intends to take against Israel in the international arena and the French peace initiative.
The official added that a meeting between Abbas and Mashaal is expected to take place as well, to discuss the ways to reach national unity.
Arab B'Tselem activist testifies against Elor Azariya
Activist denies doctoring footage of soldier shooting wounded terrorist - lawyer reveals Azariya arrested his son a month earlier.
An Arab activist of the radical leftist NGO B'Tselem who filmed Elor Azariya shooting a wounded terrorist in Hevron in March testified against the soldier at the Jaffa military court on Wednesday morning.
The activist, Imad Abu Shamsiyeh, appeared in addition to other Arabs who filmed the event. In the incident Azariya shot the 21-year-old terrorist Abdul Fatah al-Sharif who, together with an accomplice, minutes earlier stabbed and moderately wounded another soldier.
Azariya, who is on trial for manslaughter, has repeatedly argued he shot over concerns the terrorist was moving to detonate a bomb belt. It has been confirmed by numerous sources that concerns the terrorist had explosives hidden under his unseasonably warm coat had not been ruled out.
Abu Shamsiyeh, a Hevron shoemaker who volunteers for B'Tselem, took the stand to testify against Azariya, and in the process an important detail regarding a past connection with the soldier was raised.
Watch: Parents of murdered Israeli teens hosted at the UN
Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon last week hosted the parents of three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped and brutally murdered by Hamas in 2014.
The parents of Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Sha'er and Naftali Frenkel were at the UN headquarters in New York as part of the Jerusalem Unity Prize, which they have been promoting globally.
Addressing the families, Danon said their strength "gives hope to the entire nation of Israel."
Speaking to Arutz Sheva, the Israeli envoy said the visit "symbolizes the story of the people of Israel."
"They suffered a lot, but they are willing to continue, and they are promoting unity," he said of the families.
"With the unity of the people of Israel we will overcome all the obstacles, we will overcome all our enemies, and we will win," he continued.
"We will win against the BDS, and we will win against all the enemies of Israel at the UN."
No more terrorists to be buried in eastern Jerusalem
Police have announced that they will not allow terrorists' funerals to take place in eastern Jerusalem. Instead, the terrorists will be buried in other Muslim cemeteries, as chosen by the police.
Ynet reports that the decision came after a number of recent cases of incitement at terrorists' funerals. In particular, about 200 attendees at the Ala'a Abu Jamal's funeral expressed praise for his attack and incited against Israel, in violation of the family's prior pledges. When videos of the event arose, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) ordered the return of terrorists' bodies to be suspended until new arrangements could be arranged.
Muhammad Muhammad, the lawyer who represents the families of two terrorists, has already filed an appeal against the ruling with the Supreme Court.
The traditional agreement between the families and the police calls for terrorists' bodies to be laid to rest around 1:00 in the morning, with no more than 30 family members attending and no expressions of incitement.
Arab contractor builds illegal smuggler path near Gush Etzion
The contractor responsible for repaving access roads in Gush Etzion has reportedly taken the excess asphalt and used it to pave a connection between Wadi Sair and the Beit Fajjar quarries.
The quarries are primarily located on land run by the Civil Administration, and their operation has severely damaged the surroundings. The new road serves as a route to smuggle materials from the mines south towards Arab villages, which would greatly assist smugglers trying to evade law enforcement authorities.
Regavim, an NGO which focuses on the "responsible, legal, accountable and environmentally friendly use of Israel’s national lands," is trying to raise awareness of the crimes surrounding Beit Fajjar. Last week, the organization sent an urgent letter to Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) and the director of the National Roads Company.
"Paving the aforementioned path, aside from being a blatant violation of the law that was effectively carried out by a branch of the government, also impedes law enforcement efforts against the quarry, both by allowing the smuggling of materials from the quarry unseen and by creating a quick escape route for criminals," it read.
IDF working 24/7 to shore up ‘insufficient’ defenses on Lebanese border
Within the next two years, Israel’s border with Lebanon will be near unrecognizable from how it appears today, with reinforced security measures around the country’s northern-most communities including changes to the topography itself, a senior military official said.
“What we’ve had until today has been a barrier that is insufficient,” the officer told The Times of Israel on Tuesday. “We need a serious barrier that will prevent someone from infiltrating and breaking into our communities and our territory.”
The project to bolster the existing border fence will continue for several years to come in order to secure the area effectively, though most of the work will be completed within the next two years, according to the officer from the Israel Defense Forces’ Northern Command.
The new border protection is designed to prevent Hezbollah or another terror group from infiltrating Israel to carry out attacks on civilians and soldiers.
Israel to Supply Electricity to New Gaza Sewage Treatment Plant
Israel will increase its supply of electricity to Gaza to enable the Palestinians to operate the Strip’s new sewage treatment facility. Its operations are expected to lower the level of sea water pollution, which could also benefit a desalination plant in the nearby Israeli city of Ashkelon. Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Yuval Steinitz recently officially approved the new initiaitive.
The Ashkelon desalination plant’s operations have been disrupted several time in the past few months due to heavy water pollution, which is believed to have resulted from the massive sewage dumps from the Gaza Strip area.
The Palestinians have constructed a large sewage treatment plant in northern Gaza with the aid of the World Bank, but the consistency of its operations have been hampered by shortages in the supply of electricity. Thus, sewage has been flowing into the sea, occasionally reaching Israeli shores.
UN Funds Hamas Regime in Gaza, Likud Lawmaker Says
The Hamas terrorist regime in the Gaza Strip receives United Nations funding, new Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Avi Dichter (Likud) said on Tuesday at an Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Israel conference in Eilat.
Speaking of the funding sources for UN activities in Gaza, Dichter said, “Every year, the US gives $350 million and the EU (European Union) gives $450 million. A clear majority of this money ends up in the pockets of Hamas.”
He added, “In our area, there are Israel, the Palestinian Authority (PA) of Mahmoud Abbas, and the Hamas regime. Abbas has not visited Gaza in nine years. And unfortunately, PA leaders do not have the courage to take steps toward peace.”
On the Palestinian refugee issue, Dichter said, “It is no less the PA’s problem than it is ours. Half of the residents of the PA are refugees.”
Palestinian terrorist seeks release pending deportation from US
The U.S. has a "concrete plan" to deport a Jordanian-born Palestinian who put a bomb on a passenger flight in 1982, a government lawyer said Tuesday, arguing that the man should stay in custody until his deportation because he remains a terrorist threat.
However, an attorney for Mohammed Rashed called the claim "another in a long line of delay tactics" by the government and argued for Rashed's immediate release from immigration custody, where he has been held finishing a prison sentence in early 2013.
Both sides want Rashed removed from the United States, the lawyers told U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara, who did not immediately rule on whether Rashed should remain locked up in the meantime. Rashed is being held at a federal detention facility outside Buffalo.
U.S. Justice Department lawyer Christopher Dempsey said in court the Rashed case is "absolutely a front-burner case."
MEMRI: Syrian Oppositionists: Participation Of Assad's Advisor Buthaina Sha'ban In D.C. Counterterrorism Conference – A Moral Failure Reflecting A Withdrawal From Previous U.S. Positions On Syria
On June 2, 2016, Buthaina Sha'ban, political and media advisor to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, participated via Skype in a conference held at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. The conference, titled "United We stand to Terminate ISIS," was sponsored by the Global Alliance for Terminating ISIS/Al-Qaeda (GAFTA), an organization founded in 2014 by Ahmad Maki Kubba, an oppositionist to Saddam Hussein who fled from Iraq to the U.S. 30 years ago. Sha'ban, who was presented at the conference as "a model for women everywhere" and a Nobel Prize nominee, was invited to address the conference even though she has been under U.S. sanctions since August 2011.
In the conference, Sha'ban attacked the Syrian opposition, which she described as composed entirely of Islamists, and accused the Western media of failing to report the truth about the events in Syria. She denied the reports about the difficult humanitarian situation in several parts of the country, especially in the city of Darayya near Damascus, which has been under siege for several years, and which, according to the U.N., is being denied humanitarian aid by the regime forces. Addressing this issue, she said: "There’s nobody starving in Darayya… The Syrian people are able to feed themselves... The Syrian people are not very happy with the humanitarian assistance. They have never been used to eat[ing] tinned food and macaroni, brought from somewhere. Syrian people are used to sweet fruits, and fresh vegetables, and fresh crops that they themselves grow in Syria… Air drops or no air drops, or trucks on the road, this is something that is being discussed between the U.N. and the Syrian government, and this is not very important to us. The most important thing is to uproot terrorism…"
Syria denounces distribution of Israeli relief packages in opposition-held areas
Amid recurrent claims by the Syrian regime accusing Israel of supporting rebel factions fighting to topple President Bashar Assad, the local council of Quenitra claimed that Israel was supplying food aid to opposition-held areas in the southern governorate.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Quneitra's local administration council said that it "strongly denounces the distribution of aid packages with Hebrew captions which were supplied by the Israeli enemy.
"We will not keep silent about this act which was carried out by coward traitors, and we will put on trial all those involved in this traitorous act," the statement read.
According to Ahmad Abdel Rahman, a local activist, "This is not the first time that Israeli relief packages have been distributed in opposition-held areas in the governorate of Quneitra.
Michael Lumish: ISIS and Acid Baths
We have to start by acknowledging the fact that opposing political Islam is not the same thing as generalized bigotry toward Muslims - unless you think that all Muslims are terrorists - in which case will the real racists please stand up and raise their hands?
To call anti-Jihadists "racist" against Muslims would be like suggesting that opposition to Nazism was nothing more than anti-German bigotry.
Our opposition to Political Islam, like our opposition to German National Socialism or the movement for International Communism, is not about skin color or "race" or ethnic bigotry of any sort.
It is about opposing an exceedingly aggressive and fascistic ideology which is head-chopping its way throughout the Middle East, as they destroy priceless antiquities as a sort-of side hobby.
As the AP article notes, this ISIS trend of going after "moles" is a sign that the organization may be imploding, as they knock one another off.
If they do not implode, however, they will need significant assistance from the West in doing so and, given the nature of this organization, we should not be the least little bit shy in offering that assistance.
Iran Experts: Nuclear Deal Has Emboldened Regime, Not Altered Its Hegemonic Ambitions, Human-Rights Abuses
The Iranian regime, Dayanim said, “has now made it clear that it is continuing its expansionist policies, growing its military and perfecting its ballistic-missile capabilities — whether anyone in the West likes it or not, or whether its actions are in contravention of the nuclear deal or not.” Ansari’s statement, he added, “is in line with the harsh comments that Supreme Leader Khamenei has been making over the past two weeks about the West, the United States and Israel.”
Ansari, said Dayanim, “made it crystal clear that the leadership is cherry-picking the Iran deal and implementing what it wants — and not implementing what it doesn’t want — and that its dangerous de-stabilizing policies will continue unabated.”
Furthermore, added Dayanim, “Such statements should be particularly embarrassing for US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, as Kerry’s own State Department again reported that Iran is still the top state sponsor of terrorism; and Amnesty International issued a release that repression in Iran has not been this bad in the past 20 years.”
Indeed, Dayanim concluded, “Iran has not changed and will not change. This is something the regime keeps telling us, yet we keep ignoring the harsh truth. The policy of detente with Iran has not caused regime change or behavioral change — or any change, for that matter. Instead, it has emboldened the regime, which has found that all it needs is a charming, smiling and lying foreign minister to appease the West and give it cover for its continued bad behavior.”
NPR Ignores Biased Coverage of Nuclear Deal, Truth About Pro-Iran Mouthpiece
The fallout from Ben Rhodes’ admission that he and his colleagues at the White House created an “echo chamber” to promote negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program continues. On May 27, Elizabeth Jensen, the ombudsman for National Public Radio (NPR), issued her assessment of NPR’s coverage of the Iran deal.
Her commentary was issued in response to an AP report stating that Ploughshares, a non-profit group that served as a lynchpin for Rhodes’ echo chamber, donated $700,000 to NPR over the course of a decade in order to receive favorable coverage. Ploughshares touted NPR coverage as a factor in its effort to obtain public and Congressional support for Iran deal.
In her essay, Jensen reports that while NPR’s “money came from one side of a very partisan debate on a specific issue to fund reporting on a specific topic,” she does not think that the firewall between NPR’s donors and editorial decision making was breached. Nevertheless, she does admit “there is certainly an appearance that NPR opened itself up to be used as a propaganda organ of the administration via its reporting grant from Ploughshares.”
Despite Jensen’s assurance that NPR’s coverage of the Iran deal was above board, listeners can be forgiven if they remain a bit suspicious. Of the 254 stories about the Iran deal that Jensen’s office examined, 118 were categorized as “neutral.” In the remaining 136 stories, Jensen reports, “160 people were quoted speaking in favor of the deal and 102 were against it.” That’s a strong preponderance of sources in favor of the deal.
Jensen wrote that she was surprised as to the number of positive voices she found in NPR’s coverage, and that she was concerned about “the large number of Ploughshares-funded analysts who made it on the air to talk up the deal, without any acknowledgement of that by NPR.”
Iran refuses to grant visas to congressmen amid nuclear deal row
Iran said Tuesday it would not grant visas to three U.S. congressmen opposed to the nuclear deal, calling their request to monitor the accord a "publicity stunt."
The three Republican lawmakers — Reps. Frank LoBiondo of New Jersey, Mike Pompeo of Kansas and Lee Zeldin of New York — all voted against the deal and are part of a GOP backlash against the pact negotiated by Democratic President Barack Obama's administration. The accord limited Iran's ability to enrich uranium in exchange for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions.
Iran's Foreign Ministry said in a letter it refused the request over "the completely inappropriate way you have demanded to visit Iran and interfere in what is of no relevance to (your) official functions.'"
"Despite what you seem to presume, (members) of the U.S. Congress do not get to dictate the policies of other countries," the letter read.
The congressmen asked in February to observe Iran's parliamentary elections, see "American hostages" and visit three nuclear facilities. Iran's semi-official ISNA news agency also said they wanted to discuss Iran's brief detention of 10 U.S. Navy sailors in January.
Iranian Qods Force Commander an Official Advisor to Iraqi Government
Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Qods Force, serves as an official advisor to the Iraqi government, the foreign minister confirmed yesterday. Soleimani and Qods Force have provided advice and support for the Popular Mobilization Forces and its component militias.
While hosting reporters in the Iraqi Embassy in Amman, Foreign Minister Ibrahim Jafari defended Soleimani’s role in bolstering sectarian militias that have often acted outside of the law in Iraq as they battle the Islamic State.
“Qassem Soleimani provides military advice on Iraqi soil, and this is with the complete awareness of our government.” Jafari said. He also noted that “terrorists from 100 countries are in the ranks of DAISH,” the pejorative term for the Islamic State.
“Baghdad is fighting DAISH on behalf of all the countries in the world,” Jafari continued, implying that Soleimani’s role in Iraq should be welcomed by all.
The Iraqi foreign minister had also defended Soleimani and Iran’s role in Iraq earlier in an interview with Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram on June 6. But he insisted that Iran’s role in Iraq was merely advisory and that no Iranian troops were on the ground.

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