Splenetic small-minded antisemite bigots of this world. We have your number!

“Let’s stop pussyfooting with terminology and call a spade a spade. The vile photo above published by a BDS group shows a hatred of all Jews and everything that is decent. It is time for ordinary Jews everywhere to raise their voices and cease being on the sidelines expecting others to do the work for them. 14 million Jews can and must make a difference. The clock is ticking”

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   by Alan Simons

For the past twelve years, jewishinfoNews has done its best to live up to its mission statement which consists simply of two sentences. “To foster democratic participation for the achievement of peace and security between Jews and non-Jews by the free flow of information and knowledge, and to advance understanding, acceptance and solidarity between all people.” And secondly, “To reject intolerance, antisemitism/virulent Judeophobia, hate, Islamophobia, ethnocentric violence and conflict through dialogue and negotiation among individuals.” 

Nelson Mandela in his book  Long Walk to Freedom, said: “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” 

Unfortunately, over the past twelve years of publishing jewishinfoNews, and especially over the past two years, I have seen a diminishing amount of love and in its place more diatribe than I ever imagined possible. Sadly, we no longer live in Nelson Mandela’s world, a world where hate and love can be used with such simplicity in the same sentence. And sadly, I’ve started to question the validity of our mission statement.

Over the years I have seen groups of splenetic small-minded antisemite bigots of this world become more adventurous in their misguided fantasy that we Jews are weak, pathetic individuals, without any backbone.

Over the years I have seen once respected newspapers, such as Britain’s The Guardian, turn its back on striving to present a balanced view of Middle East issues, to be now in the forefront of stoking the fires of antisemitism and hate.  And it is of no surprise, we find that one of their former journalists, a rabid Israel hater, is currently the British Labour Party’s Executive Director of Strategy and Communications under Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition.

Over the years I have seen NGOs and international rights groups fervently compete for funding by branding themselves as leading authorities on Middle East issues – translate this as Israel apartheid- yet refuse to focus their resources on victims of democide in the region. 

Which brings me to today. When the former UK and Commonwealth chief rabbi, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks warns of ‘existential threat’ to British Jews by the likes of Corbyn and his followers, we must not only listen but act.

To quote: “Britain’s former chief rabbi has doubled down on his scathing criticism of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, warning that Jewish people are thinking about leaving the United Kingdom because of the ‘existential threat’ of anti-Semitism. Jonathan Sacks told the BBC in an interview broadcast Sunday that for the first time in the 362 years Jews have lived in Britain, many question whether it is safe to raise children there.”

When Stephen Harper the former Prime Minister of Canada and Nobel Laureate Lord Trimble jointly publish in Britain’s The Telegraph this past week a blistering attack on the rise of antisemitism across Europe and with particular reference to Jeremy Corbyn, we must not only listen but act.

It was only a few years ago that the American Jewish newspaper, the Algemeiner, published an article about the lead photo featured above. The paper pointed out:

A Facebook page supporting the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement on Wednesday uploaded a Photoshop image of Nazi concentration camp prisoners holding anti-Israel signs. The picture, posted by a page named “I Acknowledge Apartheid Exists”, shows skeletal survivors holding up signs that read “Israel Assassins,” “Break the Silence on Gaza,” “Stop the Holocaust in Gaza” and “Stop US Aid to Israel.” A sign in the far back of the image says Gaza is “the world’s biggest concentration camp,” while another poster shows a Palestinian flag along with the words “Free Palestine.” A slogan at the bottom of the offensive image reads, “Whatever happened to ‘Never again?’”

“Non-Jews do not want to hear our complaints. They want to know our solutions.”

 Perhaps we should turn to Frank Luntz. For many years now, this US-based political and business pollster has been telling us that, “the Jewish community is often torn between those urging private pressure and those preferring to express public outrage. Matters are complicated by traditional territoriality among Jewish community groups and occasional splits between the local Jewish community and Israel.” He adds, “It does not matter what you say. What matters is what people hear.

“The hardest lesson for the Jewish community to grasp is that the best communication is education – and you have to listen before you can teach.”

The hardest lesson for the Jewish community to grasp is that the best communication is education – and you have to listen before you can teach. The reflexive, accusational approach, accusing opponents of antisemitism, may make us feel better, but it does not capture hearts or change minds. A more positive, aspirational approach, “build bridges, not boycotts”, is almost always more effective. Non-Jews do not want to hear our complaints. They want to know our solutions.”

Yet for the vast majority of Jews, we must understand right now that we need to urgently invest in leaders who are young enough to lead the next generation into battle. Young and articulate leaders, who speak, not the language of Mandela, not my language, and not, with no disrespect intended, the language of our dear Holocaust survivors, but the language of today. And in this respect, there are far too few young Jewish leaders able to rise up to the challenge.

As Luntz has said, “Greenpeace does not wait for the next oil spill or seal hunt. The Jewish community should not and cannot wait for the next bombing or boycott.” The time to organise is now! The clock is ticking.

“Never again!” for many Jews today seems to be just a dream fading into obscurity.

Shanah Tovah Umetukah. May you have a good and sweet year.

Alan Simons is the publisher and editor of jewishinfoNews.

 

 

 

 

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We must all fight antisemitism to its fullest extent. Now!

What Others Are Saying

Enough alreadyOn September 3, 2018, Stephen Harper the former Prime Minister of Canada and Nobel Laureate Lord Trimble jointly published in Britain’s The Telegraph a blistering attack on the rise of antisemitism across Europe and with particular reference to Jeremy Corbyn the British politician who is the Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition since 2015. Their article, “Corbyn’s Anti-semitism is a threat to all of us,” is reproduced in full below. No copyright infringement is intended.

Here is what they said:

The rise in anti-Semitism across Europe should be alarming to all of us, and not just for moral reasons. History shows that the mindset which embraces anti-Semitism rarely restricts its hatred to the Jewish minority.

Today’s threats against Europe’s Jewish populations are both different and more diverse than those in the past. Far-right extremism is still with us, but now represents only one slice of the problem. Radical, jihadist Islam is now the much larger threat. However, the far-left has also become a substantial source of anti-Semitism.

Today’s hard-left exhibits a particularly pernicious form of anti-Semitism– one couched in anti-racism rhetoric to make it socially acceptable in polite company. It is not the Jews, they claim, who are uniquely evil among the nations. It just happens to be Israel, the Jewish state, that is the source of such malevolence.

And so we arrive at the sorry phenomenon that is Jeremy Corbyn – a man who lays wreaths at the graves of anti-Semitic terrorists, and then thinly papers over his actions with nonsensical hair-splitting. Mr Corbyn’s comfort in the company of anti-Semites and other extremists whom he calls “friends” speaks for itself. While he claims to embrace such individuals in the name of “peace,” it is a peace that only ever involves the enemies of the West generally and of the Jewish people specifically.

From the highest levels to the foot soldiers of Corbyn’s Momentum, not a day goes by without another vile display of anti-Semitism, darkly hinting about an omnipresent Jewish cabal, controlling the media and conspiring for their comrade-leader’s downfall. In the meantime, Mr Corbyn cannot even pretend to take the issue of anti-Semitism seriously, all the while claiming to be “a life-long anti-racist.”

The naked reality underlying Labour’s refusal to accept the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism is that Mr Corbyn and his allies have no intention of stopping their overt attacks on the Jewish state. Perhaps the growing political pressure will force them to do so, but either way their views are now plainly evident.

His ‘peace’ only ever involves the enemies of the West generally and of the Jewish people specifically.

It is the far-left’s obsession with Israel that concerns us most specifically. Our organization is premised on a simple demand: a fair debate about that country, on the same terms which we extend to debates on all other countries. Today’s anti-Semitism all too often manifests itself in the singling out of Israel, depicted as a uniquely horrific place, responsible for all the ills of the Middle East, if not the world.

A fair examination would show that nothing could be further from the truth. Israel grapples with some of the most acute challenges the West faces in defending ourselves against jihadist aggression while maintaining modern, open societies. Israel carries this burden admirably, sustained by a democratic polity and a civil judiciary that, in some instances, surpass our own practices. It does this despite having been repeatedly tested under fire in ways our own citizens would simply not tolerate.

It is time to strip away all the rhetoric and rationalizations. Mr Corbyn and his allies hate Israel uniquely and obsessively. Under his leadership, Israel – and thus any Jew daring to identify with it – will face relentless slander. He, and those who share such malignant views, must be exposed and opposed at every opportunity.

Iran’s military and political leaders: How high will they jump?

Iranian’s head honchos should remember Shakespeare’s words: “A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.” What are you?

 by Alan Simons

If there’s been one American individual over the years that has clearly taken to task the United States’ foreign policy, credit must be given to Richard Nathan Haas, president of the Council on Foreign Relations since July 2003, prior to which he was Director of Policy Planning for the United States Department of State and a close advisor to Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Haas most clearly outlined his foreign policy views in his book The Reluctant Sheriff (1997), in which he argued that the United States should play the role of international sheriff.  He said, “maintaining international order often means ‘assuming the role of international sheriff, one who forges coalitions or posses of states and others for specific tasks,’ Haas writes (Haas 1997). While Haas argued that the approach would largely benefit the international system, he also made it clear that he intended for the United States to play the role of international sheriff to pursue its own preferences for the world. In the years ahead, “what will prove crucial is the ability of the United States to persuade others to adopt and abide by its preferences – and the will and the ability of the United States to act as a sheriff, to mobilize itself and others to insist on them when resistance emerges,” Haas notes (Haas 1997). ‘”

Iran, the real choices. Losing face is not particularly one of Iran’s more favourable characteristics.

Eight years ago, on April 19, 2010, Haas, in a statement as the President, Council on Foreign Relations, made it adamantly clear to the Obama administration their initial approach toward Iran was wrong. This is what he had to say on the matter:

Gates’s Welcome Take on Iran Realities

      Richard N. Haas

The “Gates memo”–a classified memorandum written by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in January [2010], arguing to his senior colleagues that the administration needs to develop a more effective  policy for dealing with Iran’s nuclear progress–marks a significant signpost in the evolution of President Barack Obama’s national security policy and presidency.

The Obama administration’s initial approach toward Iran emphasized negotiations, but there is no evidence Iran is prepared to accept meaningful limits on its nuclear activities. The United States is working to gain UN Security Council approval of new sanctions, but while the symbolism of a common international front is welcome, the substance will not have much effect. The price of gaining Chinese and Russian support is delay and dilution. A second set of sanctions, more biting and more focused on the Revolutionary Guard, should be cobbled together quickly by those countries willing to sign on. And the United States should keep exploring what can be done to bolster Iran’s internal opposition.

But the reality is that these measures are unlikely to accomplish the goal of halting (much less reversing) Iran’s nuclear program. Three sets of actions are needed. First, the United States should take the steps that would allow it to enforce tough sanctions, such as a ban on Iranian oil exports and refined oil imports. Second, the United States should develop plans for the use of military force in an effort to set back Iran’s nuclear program and weaken the government. Third, the United States should assess the pros and cons of an alternative or a fallback: a “North Korean” strategy, in which there would be an implicit acceptance of an Iranian nuclear weapon (or something close to it) that would involve deterrence of Iran and defence for its neighbours. All planning should anticipate Iranian retaliation and what would be needed from Saudis and others to stabilize energy markets.

The Gates memo is right to focus attention on the real choices. In the end, it is Iran, far more than Afghanistan or Iraq or even Pakistan, that is likely to prove the most significant strategic decision and challenge for the forty-fourth president.

“Iran is able to build a plant for every field of nuclear program . . . this issue is not reversible.”

                Heshmatollah Falahatpishe

In September 2009, Heshmatollah Falahatpishe, (seen here on the right) member of Majlis the national security and foreign policy commission, said that construction of a new uranium enrichment plant indicated that Iran’s nuclear program is in progress on schedule,  in spite of political pressures.  He added, Iran is able to build a plant for every field of nuclear program, because, “we have gained access to the nuclear technology and this issue is not reversible, a fact that has already been acknowledged by IAEA analysts.” The MP added unlike Libya and Iraq, who bought nuclear technology in the markets, Iran, upon its own ability, has turned threats to an opportunity. (IRNA).

How much of what Falahatpishe had to say at the time would have been poo-pooed by the Obama administration as pure grandstanding is open to further debate. But, it is interesting to note that in 2016 Falahatpishe survived an assassination attempt in Kermanshah Province in the west of the country, Iranian news agencies reported. Falahatpishe sustained minor injuries but a local official and their driver were killed when gunmen opened fire on their vehicle, the reports said. Falahatpishe survived and today he is the Head of Iran’s all-powerful Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission.

Which brings me to Iran in 2018. Today, it’s military and senior political head honchos continue to put on a brave appearance to outsiders. After all, losing face is not particularly one of Iran’s more favourable characteristics.

First, let’s look at their military.

As I reported in jewishinfoNews in May 2018, “Iran’s military has major problems. The Iranian regime revealed last month that 2,100 Iranians have been killed fighting in Syria the past few years, more than double the previous death toll announced 16 months ago… “As a proportion of the population, that is a greater loss than the United States has suffered in all its wars in the Middle East since the start of the century… “Iran has said it does not send combat troops to Syria, only military advisers, most of whom are Pasdar officers… “Given that the United States has four times the population of Iran, the Iranian losses in Syria are proportionately about a quarter greater than the US losses throughout the region this century.”

Secondly, the economic turmoil and protests taking place throughout all sectors of society in Iran are now increasing on a day-to-day basis. This week alone, reports include the following:

Labor Minister impeached

The Iranian parliament has given a no-confidence vote to Labor Minister Ali Rabeei on Tuesday. Rabeei was impeached by 129 to 111 votes. This gives Rouhani three months to find a replacement. As Iran’s economy has worsened in recent months, the Iranian regime and particularly hardliners have tried to portray Hassan Rouhani’s economic team as being mainly responsible for the increasing hardships that Iranians face. In an interview before his impeachment, Rabeei had said the U.S. sanctions would increase economic pressures and until March 2019 one million jobs would be lost. (International Institute for Iranian Studies).

People’s rage building up

This editorial deals with Iran’s dire economy and people’s rage against reformists in this regard. The editorialist begins by saying that Iranian people have had it up to here with skyrocketing prices, corruption, and the government’s inefficiencies. People have repeatedly voiced their hope in reformists, voting for them in elections. However, reformists have not been able to find a solution to their problems, and people can no longer wait for a change in relation to this particular point. The editorial then zeroes in on President Hassan Rouhani and the role he and his administration play in creating unrest in society. Rouhani has become involved with those in his milieu who have no reasonable, organized relations with society and their political base. Neither can they pave the way for Rouhani to get connected with people. All things considered, people expect reformists to speak their mind candidly and with clarity under current conditions. In the end, the editorialist claims that the only way out is reform, but it is really getting late. An editorial in Mostaghal on August 7, 2018

Protests continue

Popular protests hit several cities in Iran on Saturday night. [August 4, 2018]. Along with confirming the death of a protestor in the city of Karaj, the city’s officials declared the implicit martial law in the city. Film footages sent to VOA show that at least in the cities of Tehran, Karaj, Shiraz, Qom, and Eshtehard, people held demonstrations on Saturday night. Fars news agency, affiliated with IRGC, announced that an individual was shot dead in Friday night protests in Karaj. This is the first death in the new round of demonstrations in cities of Iran. In December protests, at least 23 people were killed in more than 80 cities of Iran. In Tehran, protesters chanted: “Iranians will die, but will not accept humiliation” and “Death to Dictator!” VOA

Released footages in social networks indicate that gatherings and protests have continued in Tehran, Karaj, Shiraz, Qom, and Eshtehard. In footages related to demonstrations in Tehran, the protesters chanted: “Iranians will die, but will not accept humiliation,” “Iranians must show their courage,” “Death to Dictator,” and “Courageous Iranians, Support us.” In another footage, the narrator says: “Here everybody is exhausted. They all have wives and children and are under injustice. Here everybody has a lot of debts. Look, we are all together. We are exhausted. We all want freedom.” In Karaj, the protesters chanted: “Shame on you, Khamenei; let go of the country” and “Law enforcement, support us!” The new round of street protests in Iran started following the plunge in the value of the national currency, critical economic conditions, high prices, and daily increase in the price of foreign currency and gold coin. But in recent days, the protesters’ main slogans have been against the supreme leader, the regime, and the clerics. Radio Farda

Currency deputy of Central Bank arrested

Judiciary system spokesperson Gholamhossein Ejei said the currency deputy of the Central Bank, who was recently removed from his position, was arrested. He added that in dealing with cases of disruptors in the country’s financial system and currency, three individuals would be soon going to courts after issuing their indictments. Meanwhile, 20 lawmakers wrote a letter to the head of the judiciary, asking him to ban former governor of the Central Bank, Valiollah Seif, from leaving the country. Fars news agency

How much of what Richard Haas had to say in 2010 reflects on the Trump administration’s decision in 2018 to pulverize Iran by means of military pressure and especially by economic sanctions, is admittedly, on the onset, having a dent in Iran.

However, Holly Dagres, an Iran analyst and curator of The Iranist newsletter in a recent interview with Deutsche Welle said she, “believes that the Iranians will continue to pursue their political agenda in the region, in spite of renewed American pressure. After decades of international isolation, Iran has managed to circumvent sanctions in numerous ways, whether by working the middleman, the black market, or trading with countries that the American sanctions enforcement agency OFAC cannot reach. If Iran wants something to be done, it will find a way, Dagres concluded.”

Which in conclusion brings me to a quote I’ve used previously. There’s a well-known wise Persian proverb: “Risk – If one has to jump a stream and knows how wide it is, he will not jump. If he doesn’t know how wide it is, he’ll jump and six times out of ten he’ll make it.”

Iranians are an educated and proud people and in that, I would ask their leaders to remember Shakespeare’s words: “A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.” What are you?

Alan Simons is the publisher and editor of jewishinfoNews. Comments to this article are accepted.

Partial content in this article is credited to Wikipedia. Photo credit: Flickr.