EMET

About the author  ⁄ Sarah Stern

Sarah Stern is founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET).

I cannot claim to be one of those who is not concerned about what this week’s sudden departure of John Bolton from the White House might be signaling. Taken together with last week’s resignation of US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, this might be signaling the end of the Trump-Israel honeymoon.

(September 12, 2019 / JNS Press)

John Bolton has served the United States with distinction, in a great many capacities, as National Security Advisor under President Trump, as UN Ambassador under President George W. Bush and as Assistant Attorney General under President Ronald Reagan. He possesses a sober and realistic assessment as to who America’s friends and adversaries truly are, and a sophisticated, no-nonsense view of the multiple threats facing the United States and her allies.

Ambassador Bolton has projected the doctrine of “peace through strength”, not through appeasement. He was a strong supporter of President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the JCPOA, or the Iranian nuclear deal of 2015, which as we now see, has only served to enrich, empower and embolden the Islamic Republic, as they continue to carve out a Shiite empire that extends through Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut, through  the Mediterranean Coast and into Sana’a.

We are seeing the products of the Shiite Crescent’s works as Hezbollah has encroached closer and closer to Israel’s borders, and has as recently as September 2nd, fired several missiles into Israel, which the  IDF had successfully intercepted. The Iranians have been giving Hezbollah the means to convert their dummy rockets into precision guided missiles, whichthey have been working on in conversion factories in Lebanon’s Baka Valley.

It is the Jewish state’s greatest nightmare that these missiles will become precise enough to hit Israel’s military or civilian infrastructure. Hezbollah has one goal and one goal alone: to eliminate the existence of Israel.

This news also comes on the heels of Saturday’s announcement by the Islamic Republic that they are stepping up the level of enrichment of uranium.  They are now using the sophisticated, advanced centrifuges which can quickly get to the 20 per cent level of purity, making it quite easy to get from that threshold to the lethal 90 per cent purity level necessary for a nuclear bomb.

This is not a mere technical violation of the JCPOA—It is the entire reason why there was a JCPOA. There have been violations all along, including the refusal of allowing the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors into their military sites. Remember how we had been promised by the Obama administration, “anytime, anywhere inspections?”

 This week, in an address before the Israeli people, Prime Minister Netanyahu revealed yet another nuclear site with vivid satellite images in the Iranian city of Abadan, which was operational as recently as three months ago, which they then totally destroyed and covered up. “It’s incredible”, said the Israeli Prime Minister, “as soon as we reveal they cover their tracks.”

Yet, President Trump has signaled a willingness to meet with the Iranian President Rouhani on the sidelines of the General Assembly when it convenes on September 23rd.  The fact that the President was willing to meet with the Taliban on American soil, and has been willing to negotiate with Kim Jung Un of North Korea does not auger well.

Is President Trump willing to follow French President Emmanuel Macron’s lead and cave to the $15 billion bribe to the Iranians just to have them come to the table?

The Iranian’s response of approval to Trump’s dismissal of Bolton should already warn us how dangerous this move is. On Wednesday, Iranian President Rouhani said, “Americans have to realize that warmongering and warmongers are not to their benefit. They should not only abandon warmongering but also their maximal pressure campaign.”

If we are to lay culpability anywhere, it should be at the Obama White House, who bequeathed us with the legacy of this horrible deal and an emboldened Iranian empire that future world leaders will have to deal with. President Obama promised us that Iran would not get a nuclear bomb, “on my watch”.

He never promised that Iran would not get a nuclear bomb, on another President’s watch.

Following a script that they had used in the beginning of the nuclear negotiations with Obama, the Iranians are now playing coy with Trump’s signals to negotiate.

The Iranians invented the Persian shouk. They know how to negotiate and to get most of the world to beg them for our money, just to have them come to the table.

One hopes that the author of “The Art of the Deal” understands the words commonly attributed to Carl von Clausewitz, “Diplomacy is warfare by other means”.

Originally published: https://www.jns.org/opinion/what-john-boltons-departure-might-signal/

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This past weekend was a particularly hot one for Israel.  On September 1st, the Iranian proxy, Hezbollah, launched anti-tank missiles across Israel’s northern border, directly aiming at an IDF base. Fortunately, there were no sustained injuries.  Israel responded by attacking Lebanese targets and the outlying borders of Lebanese communities along the Syrian-Lebanese border. Fortunately, there are no known casualties.

(September 5, 2019 / JNS Press)

This was the first time since the Lebanese War of 2006 that there has been a significant military exchange between Hezbollah and Israel. It is felt that this skirmish might have been contained for now. However, the situation is extremely tense.

And what makes it tenser still is that we all know that this is a shadow war, and the Islamic Regime is actually the puppet-master  pulling the strings of Hezbollah  and other Shiite proxy  groups, throughout Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.

According to Brigadier General Michael Herzog (retired) who spoke for EMET on a Conference Call on Tuesday, the recent eruption of violence is part of the showdown that has been going on for several years now. The main factors, he believes is the Iranian plans to make use of the turmoil by becoming the dominant force, and that Iran felt greatly emboldened after the 2015 nuclear deal.

He explained that all  of what we are now seeing  is part of the two pronged  plan outlined by Qassam Solomeini, the Head of the Quds force in 2016:  1.) Creating the direct corridor from Tehran through Bagdad, Damascus and Beirut to the Mediterranean, 2.) Building a formidable proxy front through Hezbollah and other Shiite militias.

This, as the Iranians simultaneously put on a benign mask regarding the intentions of their nuclear program. Right now, they are playing brinkmanship  with the international community, threatening to enrich uranium to 20% if they do not get immediate sanctions relief. (Once the 20% level is reached, it is very easy to get to the 90% level, the level of highly enriched uranium necessary for a nuclear bomb.)

Now, they are asking for up to 15 billion dollars from the international community in sanctions relief. There is no other word for this than blackmail.

And the Europeans are all too willing to be blackmailed, particularly the French.

It is incredibly upsetting that French President Emmanuel Macron is willing to give the Iranians that exorbitant sum of money without any preconditions, simply for coming to the table. It is obvious that they did not learn anything from the last round of Iranian negotiations, which also rewarded the money to the Iranians up front.

This works against any leverage that the United States has been using to pressure the Iranians to give up their two goals that have been outlined by Qassam Solomeini.
 Both Iran and Hezbollah are under increasing economic pressure as result of the sanctions.

If the international community persists in finding ways to give the Iranians “economic relief” and in finding ways of evading sanctions, we will never quell the massive Iranian appetite for expansion and control.

What is almost equally upsetting is the fact that the United States has been giving the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) upward of $100 million a year, to the tune of 1.7billion over the last ten years, as we see that the LAF has become increasingly under the grip of Hezbollah

We have watched as Hezbollah has increasingly taken over more and more power within Lebanon.  According to General Herzog, “there is a lot of concern in Israel today about Hezbollah and the Lebanese government. We have seen that Hezbollah is now the strongest political party. They have veto power within the Lebanese parliament and veto power within the defense establishment.”

Continues General Herzog, “Lebanese President Michel Aoun is an ally of Hezbollah.  Aoun has stated officially that Hezbollah’s military capabilities complement the military capabilities of the state of Lebanon, so the state embraces Hezbollah as a military actor. We have seen coordination of the state military, the LAF, and Hezbollah, We have seen that in a coordinated attack against Islamists a few years ago, and we have seen this recently  when Israel discovered cross-border tunnels from Lebanon into Israel and the LAF resisted attempts to prevent this.”

“And we have concerns about the lack of willingness of UNIFIL to go after Hezbollah, as well”

Adds General Herzog, “This calls for a re-thinking of the aid that the United States gives to the Lebanese Armed Forces. Israel has not been very vocal about this, but I know there are many concerns, here.”

And Sheik Nasrallah continues to refer to the LAF as a “partner” and a “pillar”.

The reason that America initial gave money to the Lebanese Armed Forces was as a result of the 2006 war, to help them to distance themselves from Hezbollah. According to UN Security Council Resolution 1701, all other armed groups, besides the LAF, must be out of Lebanon.
That includes Hezbollah.

Now that Hezbollah has been fully embraced by the LAF, one the first things that the United States can do to prevent Qassam Solomeini and the Iranian mullahs from fulfilling their expansionist objectives is to  immediately halt all money to the Lebanese Armed Forces. 

Originally published: https://www.jns.org/opinion/one-way-to-quell-iranian-appetite-for-expansion-stop-giving-money-to-the-lebanese-military/

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We, at EMET, have long been admirers of the excellent work of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and in particular that of its CEO, Mark Dubowitz. We find it utterly outrageous and beyond the pale that the Islamic Republic of Iran, which remains the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism, has issued threatening statements against our colleagues at FDD, and against Mark Dubowitz, personally.

FDD is an independent think tank with no US government ties. They offer thoughtful and insightful analysis on a variety of international issues.

This past weekend, Mehr, the official Iranian news agency issued a statement citing a law passed by the Iranian Parliament saying, “Accordingly taking any actions by the judicial and security apparatuses against the FDD and their Iranian and non-Iranian accomplices will be considered legitimate as their actions are against Iran’s national security and the interests of the Iranian people and government.”

It is an absolute shame that the people of Iran have been held hostage by the brutal and repressive Islamic regime for 40 years. A regime which allows no freedom or independent thought and analysis. It is therefore incomprehensible to them that there can be independent think tanks and organizations, free of government control.

We, at EMET, hope that one day the people of Iran can once again live in an open and free society, such as ours. In the meantime, we offer our strongest words of solidarity and support to our friends and colleagues at FDD.

Sincerely,

Sarah N. Stern
Founder & President
Endowment for Middle East Truth

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Title VI of the Higher Education Act jump-started a regional-studies industry that has become distorted and one-sided, presenting Israel in a pernicious light for students of all ages.

(August 21, 2019 / JNS) 

Many in the Jewish community have been basking over the recent success of having the California Department of Education cancel its proposed, highly biased Palestinian ethnic-studies curriculum. However, most are oblivious to the fact that there is an equally, if not more insidious program that has been going on for decades now on the federal level, affecting every single state throughout the United States. This program has been slowly and steadily eroding the hearts and minds of America’s most impressionable and vulnerable school-aged-children away from support of the State of Israel.

And it has been going on for years.

This program is a part of Title VI of the Higher Education Act (HEA), a law that was passed during the height of the Cold War in 1965. The initial motivation for the program was a good one. It came about when folks in Washington realized that American students lacked sufficient knowledge in foreign regions, languages and cultures, and were therefore woefully ill-equipped to deal with the Soviet threat. So they set aside a pot of money to give to various universities in order to establish various regional-studies programs, such as Soviet studies, Latin Studies, Asian Studies and Middle Eastern Studies.

Thus, a thriving regional-studies industry was born.

Then, in 1978, the entire field of Middle Eastern Studies was revolutionized by the late professor of English comparative literature at Columbia University, Edward Said, with the publication of his book, Orientalism. The treatise was that no one could speak with any degree of scholarship and authenticity about the Middle East unless he or she was a native of the region (i.e., an Arab or a Muslim). Therefore, wonderful scholars such as Efraim Karsh and Bernard Lewis were moved aside on the bookshelves, and the university library and classroom doors were opened to a new generation of highly politicized, rabidly anti-Israel scholars.

This rather facile treatise caught on like wildfire. Academic scholarship of the Middle East became profoundly altered, and polemics started taking the place of serious scholarship. It made a sensational splash, bringing with it waves of academics who parrot the prevailing “group think” that is overwhelmingly anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian, post-colonial and anti-American.

A cannon of almost biblical proportion developed. Edward Said was the grand master, and his disciples include (among many others) Rashid Khalidi, Hamid Dabashi and Joseph Massad at Columbia, and Hatem Bazian, the founder of Students for Justice in Palestine, which has known links to terrorist organizations.

And they begot hundreds of more disciples.

By now, thousands of doctoral dissertations have been written based on Said’s thesis, and the faculties departments of Middle Eastern Studies are overwhelmingly staffed by professors who buy in to their one-sided dogma. It is, by now, virtually impossible for students to survive in most of these classes unless they either a) affirm the prevailing anti-Israel and anti-American biases; or b) lie just to succeed in the class (and consequently feel demoralized).

In 2008, the organization I founded, EMET, was able to pass some amendments to Title VI of the HEA through Congress, which was signed into law by President George W. Bush. These amendments called for a “diversity of perspectives and wide range of viewpoints.” However, although I had thought then that we had reached a victory, it was actually a rather Pyrrhic one.

Despite the fact that we have met with the Department of Education several times under both President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump, the same one-sided politicization of the issues are still being taught in the Title VI-funded university classroom. And because of the cherished values of “academic freedom” and “free speech,” there is very little that can be done about this (although because this is a taxpayer-funded grant, we are currently working on some legislation to reinforce the diversity of perspective amendments).

What is even more pernicious, however, is that in order for the universities to get the federal funding, they have to hold teacher-training workshops in kindergarten through 12th grade.

Even more alarming is the curriculum guide being used in these teacher-training workshops. It is Audrey Shabbas’s The Arab World Studies Notebook, which has entire chapters devoted on how to teach Islam in the classroom, amounting to little more than proselytizing. All of this section presents a glossy whitewash and glorification of Islam, and never mentions anti-Semitic and anti-Christian teachings of the Koran, or Islam’s treatment of women, minorities and gays.

The Notebook is published by the Middle East Policy Council, which gets its funding from Saudi Arabia and AWAIR, which is funded by the Saudi oil conglomerate, Aramco.

Just as significant are the chapters regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict, where Israel alone is completely at fault for every war in the Mideast. Particularly upsetting is the chapter on Palestine, which simply engenders sympathy towards the Palestinian cause and hatred towards Israel. Among other things, the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish, including  “Identity Card” is taught, which speaks of olive groves planted by a Palestinian grandfather that are ripped away by the state before the Palestinian children can harvest them, and another compelling essay by Darwish speaking about the racism of an Israeli cab driver and his humiliation while in the cab.

The book was first introduced to teachers in 1990, and is the primary curriculum guide used by the Title VI, legally mandated teacher-training workshops. Ms. Shabbas has bragged that her book has been distributed to more than 10,000 teachers, and “if each notebook teaches 250 students a year, over 10 years, then you’ve reached 25 million students. Now, my teachings have reached the hearts and minds of millions of American school-aged students.”

By now, some of these students have graduated and occupy positions of power in Washington.

Is it any wonder, then, that there are strong voices within one of our major parties calling for a re-evaluation of America’s alliance with Israel?

Originally published: https://www.jns.org/opinion/even-more-dangerous-than-the-proposed-california-curriculum/

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After American largess and Israeli know-how, the Jordanians have been offering safe haven to a cold-blooded murderer of American citizens who has made a career out of her crime.

(August 7, 2019 / JNS)

Aug. 9 marks the 18th anniversary of a very dark day. That was the day that Ahlam Tamimi calmly picked up Izz-al-Din Shuheil al Masri from his home in al-Aqabah in Judea (the West Bank) and serenely delivered him to the Sbarro pizzeria shop in Jerusalem. That was the site Ms. Tamimi had intentionally scoped out because it was a popular eatery frequented by families, singles and Jews of all ages.

It had been a sultry day and many young students, who were off from school during the long summer recess, were looking for ways to spend their time. One of these students, Malki Roth, entered the restaurant with her best friend, Mihal Raziel. At the same time, Izz Al-Din entered the restaurant and—using a guitar case rigged with nuts, bolts and nails, together with a suicide vest rigged with 10 kilograms of explosives—detonated himself. The explosion rocked the nearby vicinity, murdering 15 people, eight of them children.

Two of the murdered were American citizens: 15-year-old Roth, and Judith Greenbaum, 31, who was five months pregnant at the time. A third American, Chana Nachenberg, lies in a permanent vegetative state.

Immediately after the bombing, Ahlam Tamimi was on a Palestinian bus back to Ramallah, and described what happened as news reached them about the mounting death toll. “As the number of dead kept increasing, the passengers were applauding. They didn’t even know that I was among them … ,” she said. “On the way back [to Ramallah], we passed a Palestinian police checkpoint, and the policemen were laughing. One of them stuck his head in and said: ‘Congratulations to us all.’ Everybody was happy.”

Herein lies the heart of the matter regarding the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which also pertains to our treatment of the Hashemite Kingdom.

Irrespective of the intentions of the Americans and the Israelis, or of what the final borders of a Palestinian state that they envision might look like, or of how many billions of dollars the United States wants to throw at the Palestinian Authority and any other entity that will help in the effort to bring the Palestinians to the negotiating table, there will never be peace as long as this culture of hatred and incitement towards the wanton death of innocents is cultivated.

What is even more disturbing is that our own government has long had a condescending and patronizing attitude towards the Muslim and Arab world, so much so that we have let them literally get away with the murder of our own citizens and allow them to seek refuge there.

Ahlam Tamimi was initially arrested in Israel, where she was serving 16 consecutive life sentences. In 2011, she was released, together with 1,026 other Hamas terrorists with blood on their hands, in exchange for kidnapped Israel Defense Forces’ soldier Gilad Shalit.

She went to Jordan, where she was treated like a conquering hero, and where she has made an illustrious career out of her heinous crime. At one point, she was given her own Hamas-sponsored television show and even appeared on the secular Jordanian show “Carnival,” where she was received like visiting royalty.

According to American law (18 USC, 2332 b), any time an American is murdered abroad, the United States has jurisdiction and is directed to prosecute the perpetrator to the full extent of the law. There is no statute of limitations.

In March of 2017, the FBI met with Malki’s parents, Arnold and Frimet Roth, and unsealed a warrant for Tamimi’s arrest, demanding her extradition from Jordan. (Jordan signed an extradition treaty with the United States back in 1995.) Tamimi has been put on the FBI’s “Most Wanted” terrorist lists, and there is now a $5 million award leading to her arrest.

Several terrorists have been extradited from Jordan at the request of the United States, all of whom are serving out lengthy sentences in American jails.

However, in the case of Tamimi, the government of Jordan has suddenly said that no such extradition treaty exists.

The U.S. government is the single largest provider of bilateral assistance to Jordan, currently at the tune of $1.7 billion a year. The Israeli government has been working with the Jordanian government since the 1994 peace treaty was signed, helping them with agriculture, irrigation and oil projects. But the biggest peace dividend for Jordan was the initiation of trilateral Jordanian-Israeli American Qualifying Industrial Zones, which opened the door for a Jordanian-American free trade agreement. This, in turn, opened the door to the World Trade Association and the Greater Arab Free Trade Area, widening the door for Jordan to trade with the wealthy Gulf Arab states.

Yet even all of these economic benefits since signing the peace agreement with Israel have not changed the hearts and minds of the Jordanian people or its leadership. A recently released study conducted by IMPACT SE indicates that although the Jordanians say that the new textbooks teach tolerance, they have done little to alter hatred of Israel and Jews, one textbook publishes a dialogue between a Palestinian grandmother and granddaughter in which she says, “I wish that I will see Palestine liberated from the Zionist occupation.”

When King Abdullah came to the United States recently, he was asked by several members of Congress about the request for Tamimi’s extradition. According to one staffer, he dismissively responded with, “It is not going to happen.”

End of story.

After all this American largess and Israeli know-how, the Jordanians have been offering safe haven to a cold-blooded murderer of American citizens who has made a career out of her crime.

Tamimi knows this. Recently, she said, “Being in Jordan gives me strength because no extradition treaty exists with the United States.”

After American largess and Israeli know-how, the Jordanians have been offering safe haven to a cold-blooded murderer of American citizens who has made a career out of her crime.

Originally published: https://www.jns.org/opinion/a-very-bitter-jerusalem-bombing-anniversary/

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Photo: loavesofbread.swiss-image.ch

When I was a little girl growing up in the shadow of the Holocaust, I often asked my parents a troubling question: Why did the international community do nothing to stop Hitler?

They would usually answer with a bewildered shrug.

I was named after my Aunt Sarah, who was murdered by the Nazis. Apparently, she never got the chance to march under the notorious gates of Auschwitz marked with the duplicitous message, Arbeit Macht Frei (“Work Makes You Free”). When the Einsatzgruppen, the group of Nazis specifically trained to hunt down Jews, first invaded Poland, they went to my aunt’s shtetl, the village of Borschchtav. There, together with her neighbors, she was asked to strip down naked and dig a hole. These Nazis were so lustful in their passion to exterminate every Jew from the face of the earth that they would line them up, summarily shoot them in the backs of their heads and watch as they fell into the ditch the Jews themselves had just been forced to dig.

According to Father Patrick Desbois, a French Catholic priest and professor at Georgetown University, who has made it his personal mission to uncover these unmarked graves that dot the European landscape, there are at least 1.5 million Jews lying in ditches under cornfields of houses in unmarked graves that have not been recorded. That makes 7.5 million Jewish souls snuffed out during the Holocaust.

Some 74 years after the Holocaust, the European landscape is once again dotted with unabashedly shameless and foul signs of anti-Semitism.

The newly elected chairman of the European Union, Josep Borrell Fontelles, recently said in an interview in Politico, “We are not children following what they [the Americans] say. We have our own prospects, interests and strategy, and we will continue working with Iran. It would be very bad for us if Iran wants to develop a nuclear weapon. … Iran wants to wipe Israel out, nothing new about that. You have to live with it.”

In other words: As long as Iran is not aiming their nuclear warheads directly at Madrid, it’s perfectly acceptable.

He seems to be saying that we can live with another 7.5 million dead Jews (which, chillingly, is roughly today’s Jewish population of Israel).

He, along with many other world leaders, appears exceedingly resentful about the role that America has longed played as a moral leader in foreign policy and believes strongly in multilateralism. On Nov. 6, shortly after America had imposed a new round of sanctions on Iran, the Spanish Foreign Minister said, “We reject any kind of position that resembles an ultimatum from anyone, and also from the United States.”

The Islamic Republic of Iran has found a particularly soft spot in his heart. On the recent advent of the 40th anniversary of the Iranian Islamic Revolution, Borrell tweeted, “Today marks 40 years of the Islamic revolution of #Iran. The regional power has changed a lot during this time. In 1976, the literacy rate was 35%, now it is 84%.”Iran is a key country in the Middle East region. He has had an essential role in the #Siria (sic) war, helping Assad while the Americans are pulling out.”

He then compared the relationship that America has had with Iran to that it has had with Vietnam. These are two regions of the world that the newly elected head of the European Union feels have had an indelible effect on America’s psyche, with the Vietnam War ending in 1975 and the Iranian revolution occurring in 1979. He seems to find it difficult to understand why three American Presidents have visited Vietnam, and none have visited Iran since the revolution.

This is a preposterous analogy. I may be missing something, but I haven’t heard any recent reports of the Vietnamese holding Americans hostage, working on a nuclear bomb, arming and equipping Hezbollah and Hamas, attacking shipping vessels in international waters or regularly leading their people ins chant of “Death to America.”

If this is what the European Union has elected for its leader, we are in for some very tough sailing ahead. The Iranians are blazingly defying the limits imposed upon them by the Joint Comprehension Plan of Action (JCPOA), as they are assiduously stepping up their time to have enough enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb. According to a July 10 report by the Institute for Science and International Security, the Iranian nuclear plant at Fordow, which was according to the JCPOA, supposed to have been converted into a “nuclear physics and technology center for international collaboration,” very little or nothing has been converted. It houses a tunnel complex with gas centrifuges, and it has been bolstering a support area to protect the facility from aerial bombardment.

The Iranians are masters of double speak and have brazenly manipulated most of the international community into blaming the United States for violating the terms of the deal. That is because the Trump administration had the courage to break away from a deal that was far too weak to begin with and about which we have ample evidence to believe that the Iranians were cheating.

In the words of Sir Winston Churchill, “He who appeases the crocodile is only eaten last.”

Originally published: https://www.jns.org/opinion/lessons-in-the-appeasement-of-iran/

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It is interesting to observe that the moment Iran decided to withdraw from the nuclear deal, on Monday, leaders of the European Union became the pro bono defense attorneys for the Islamic Republic.  The news that Iran has followed through on its threat to violate the limit imposed on its stockpile of enriched uranium was greeted by the European Union with the response of  “let’s do anything to keep this deal alive.”

When this deal was negotiated, we had been assured of immediate, “snap back sanctions”  by President Obama, if Iran violated the deal. Yet, instead of holding Iran accountable for its violations, the top European nations are seeking to give Iran a second chance.

The international community can use a refresher course about just what sort of a regime we are dealing with here.  Iran is governed by an apocalyptic, tyrannical, theocracy that believes that they will bring their Messiah,  the  12th Imam,  by converting the entire world to Shia Islam and obliterating the non-believers. In their religious zeal, they hang gays, publicly lash women who have been raped, and arbitrarily sentence political prisoners and religious minorities  to  exceedingly harsh  prison sentences.

The day that Iran decided to step up its production of highly enriched uranium to exceed the limits of the nuclear deal, a senior Iranian official, Mojtaba Zonour, said that “if the United States attacks Iran, only one half hour will remain in Israel’s lifespan”.

Yet, in some sort of Kafkaesque inversion, many of our European allies see the United States as the culprit, here, because the US kept careful tabs on Iranian violations of a deal, and Iran as the hapless  ictim.

The truth is that Iran has – despite what has been reported – not been complying with the deal. To be certain, it is correct that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has not found Iran to be in material breach of the JCPOA. But that’s more because the IAEA has not been looking too carefully at what Iran has done.

There is evidence that Iran has carried out military nuclear research at Parchin, but the IAEA, charged with assuring Iran’s compliance with the deal, refused to even ask for access. This is shocking given that it is precisely sites like Parchin where Iran has conducted illicit nuclear weapons research.

It would be more accurate to say that the IAEA has not found any Iranian violations because it hasn’t looked for them. For example, in 2017, an IAEA official said that his organization would not demand that Iran grant it access to military sites “We’re not going to visit a military site like Parchin just to send a political signal.”

In addition, as Michael Doran pointed out about the nuclear archive that Israel spirited out of Iran last year in an article published last month in Mosaic magazine:

The archive reveals, among other things, that Iran never abandoned its nuclear-weapons program but simply restructured it, emphasizing dual-use activities that have allowed Tehran to claim with a modicum of plausibility that its nuclear activities are “peaceful” and “civilian.” The JCPOA helped advance this deception by bestowing international legitimacy on facilities like the Fordow bunker.

While Zarif is very good in his role of spokesman for an aggrieved Iranian regime, reality is quite a bit different from the way he presented it.

But Zarif is not acting alone. He is helped by what Doran describes as a “coalition of open minds” dedicated to preserving the nuclear deal. Members of this coalition, he observes, “agree with the Europeans that Trump, not Iran, is to blame for the military escalation in the Gulf.”

This belief is false.

As noted previously, Iran was never in compliance with the nuclear deal. The U.S. withdrawal just ended the sham that the deal was actually preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons. For one thing,  the Iranians closed off military sites to the International Atomic Energy Administration inspectors

Furthermore, the JCPOA called on all parties “to refrain from any action inconsistent with the letter, spirit and intent of this JCPOA that would undermine its successful implementation.” Surely the ballistic missile tests violated the spirit of the agreement.

In violation of UN Resolution 2231, the United Nations has found evidence showing that Iran was the source of weapons shipped to the Houthi rebels. According to the resolution Iran is barred from exporting weapons for at least eight years after implementation of the deal.

Taken together, Iran has violated both the JCPOA itself and the UN resolution that implemented the deal. Its stockpiling of enriched uranium above the deal-imposed limit is Iran’s latest show of contempt for international law and norms.

It’s time for the world to stop making excuses for Iran and snapback all international nuclear sanctions on the Islamic Republic. It is only this kind of severe economic measure that can hope to force Iran to stop enriching uranium and open up all of its facilities to international inspectors.

The crisis can be defused. Iran can abide by the terms of the deal it agreed to and then there will be no need to reimpose sanctions. Or it can refuse and suffer the consequences.

Originally published: https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/why-is-the-e-u-behaving-as-the-defense-attorney-for-iran/

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Photo: BILAL HUSSEIN AP PHOTO

The late Israeli diplomat, Abba Eban, is famously quoted with saying, “The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” Of course, at the time he said this, after the 1967 War, there was no such entity as the Palestinian people, but this adage is particularly germane to the Palestinians today.

This week, the “Peace to Prosperity Workshop” convened in Bahrain. The Trump administration’s long-awaited peace plan for the Palestinians was rolled out this week. Ahead of the conference, the Trump administration released a 40-page document describing a 50 billion dollar investment plan in the region, more than half going directly to the Palestinians, and the other half going to Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan.

Senior White House advisor, Jared Kushner, opened up the conference by calling the plan “the deal of the century” that the Palestinians should take advantage of, “What we have developed” he said, “is the most comprehensive economic plan ever created specifically for the Palestinians and the broader Middle East. We can turn this region from a victim of past conflicts into a model for commerce and advancement throughout the world.”

Unfortunately, once again, the Palestinian leadership chose victimhood, rather than prosperity for their people. Rather than taking responsibility for their own fate, they continue to play the “victim card.”

This has been the response of the Palestinians ever since the Peel Commission Plan of 1937, then of the United Nations Partition Plan of 1947, the Rogers Plan of 1969, the exceedingly generous Clinton plan presented at Camp David in August of 2000, and the even more generous Ehud Olmert Peace offer of 2008.

The most recent plan put forward by Ehud Olmert offered the Palestinian leader Ehud Barak 98% of the land they wanted, (with land swaps around the Jerusalem corridor for the Negev), a division of Jerusalem and a “right of return” of approximately 150,000 refugees into Israel.

How did Mahmoud Abbas react to this? By initiating a renewed intifada.

The Trump administration had decided to “think outside the box” and rather than go back to that same, tired old refrain of “land or peace” they focused on trying a different route, the economic route, of “peace through prosperity”. However, I am sorry to say that their understanding of the Palestinian leadership is profoundly flawed. The premise underlying the Trump plan is that peace can be bought through economic prosperity.

However, as John F. Kennedy had said, “Peace does not depend on signed documents and charters alone, but in the hearts and minds of the People.” As long as the hearts and minds of the Palestinians have been so inebriated with a culture of hatred, they will prefer for their people to starve, rather than accepting living a peaceful life alongside Israel.

The response from the Palestinian leader has been an indignant one. “We Palestinians cannot be bought off.” The leadership of the Palestinian Authority refused to show up at the conference. And as I write this, there are hordes of Palestinians in the streets of Gaza and Judea and Samaria burning pictures of President Trump in effigy.

There comes a time when we in the West will have to realize that we have got to take “no” for an answer.

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Photo: Sean McCabe for POLITICO

On July 23, 2015, when the Obama administration was in the throes of trying to push, what they considered their signature, landmark, foreign policy achievement, the Iranian nuclear deal, through Congress, John Kerry testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and gave the members a stark choice: “It is either this deal or war”.

As it turns out, Congress never really had the opportunity to vote on the nuclear deal. The Obama administration in order to avoid the constitutionally -mandated Senate approval with a foreign power, simply used a linguistic trick, and avoided calling the agreement a “treaty”, but a “deal”.

Rather, the United States, leading the charge, injected itself as only one of six nations, so the international momentum for this deal would take on a life of its own. Then, before Congress even had the opportunity to vote on it, the Obama administration did an “end run” around Congress and took it to the United Nations for a vote.

In an incredibly revealing,  New York Times of May 5, 2015 article by David Samuels of Obama’s Deputy National Security Council Advisor, Ben Rhodes, Mr. Rhodes was very upfront about how the Obama White House orchestrating a campaign to manipulate the news media by generating  false stories to paint Iran as more benign, to a team of newly-minted, guileless reporters.

Rhodes admitted to Samuels that this campaign was manufactured by “legions of arms control experts (who) began popping up at think tanks and on social media”, and who became “sources for clueless reporters.” According to Rhodes, “We created an echo chamber. They were saying things and validated what we were giving them to say.”

Most people have ignored the profound and deeply consequential immorality of what the Obama administration had done here. Many historians have written critical analyses of  how  the Sulzberger family, the publishers of the New York Times, buried the stories f the holocaust on its back pages. However, they did not create false narratives about the Nazis regarding the holocaust.

Iran might shortly have the ability to create a nuclear holocaust, and the Obama administration is guilty of manufacturing stories to whitewash the Islamic Republic, and  kicked the can of what was  then an emerging  danger down  the road. It is quickly, however, becoming a clear and present danger.

We are now approaching 2020. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, (JCPOA) which was agreed upon in July of 2015 has 8 to 10 year sunset clause. Tha sunset is not in the too distant future.

So even if the Iranians were keeping to this extraordinarily generous deal, we would have a problem in a few years.

The truth, however, is that they are not keeping to the deal. When they were intent on selling the deal to a skeptical public, we were told by President Obama that there was going to be “anywhere, anytime inspections”.

Subsequently, we were told that the International Atomic Energy Administration (IAEA) would have 24 hours to get into a nuclear site. Then the Iranians succeeded in pushing the 24 hours to 24 days.

Ultimately, however, the Iranians were able to convince John Kerry and his team of negotiators that “military sites were off limits”.

If I were an Iranian nuclear scientist, and was working on something that I would like to hide from the IAEA, I would simply work on it on a “military site”.

Technically, according to the JCPOA, Iran is in violation of the deal if the IAEA formally requests access to a suspicious site. However, according to an August 31, 2017 Reuters report, the IAEA has not visited a military site since the deal was implemented “because it has no reason to ask”.

Said the official, “We are not going to visit a military site just to send a political signal.”

By not inspecting the military sites, however, they are sending a clear political signal. They are sending a signal that the agency that is set up for the sole purpose of monitoring illicit nuclear activity is asleep on the job because of their political cowardice.

They are sending a signal of vitiation and of appeasement

We all know that Iran has become vastly more enriched, emboldened and empowered in the region because of the nuclear deal, and that they have created a land bridge from Tehran, to Baghdad, to Damascus to Beirut and are involved in military adventurism throughout the region, in Yemen, Iraq, Syria  and  Lebanon.

On May 13th,  Iran  attacked four shipping vessels in the Persian Gulf, two carrying the flag of Saudi Arabia, one of Norway and one of the United Arab Emirates. They are obviously trying to flex their muscles by attacking our allies.

John Kerry, I am afraid you were wrong. Dead wrong. Because of your administration’s policy of Iranian appeasement, this might ultimately become an issue of this deal and war.

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Last week, Germany’s Bundestag – or legislature – passeda non-binding resolution condemning the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) campaign as anti-Semitic. While the resolution may not have the force of law, it is an important recognition that BDS has little to do with Palestinian rights, and everything to do with isolating Israel, and, more generally, Jews. 

Poignantly, the motion described the BDS campaign as “reminiscent of the most terrible chapter in Germany history” recalling the Nazi slogan, “Don’t buy from Jews.”

The singular focus of the BDS campaign on Israel betrays its intent. As legal scholar, Eugene Kontorovich hasobserved, of the numerous ongoing territorial disputes in the world, only the one between Israel and the Palestinians is deemed serious enough to spark calls for a boycott.

The BDS campaign is not only anti-Semitic in its intent, it is also anti-Semitic in its effect. For example a 2015 Amcha Initiative studyshowed that there exists a “strong correlation between anti-Zionist student groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and antisemitism.”

What Germany has learned through its painful history, and what America has yet to learn, is that words matter,

In recent years there have been numerous examples of how anti-Israel activism morphs into anti-Semitic actions. Many students across the country report feeling intimidated, bullied and threatened because of their Jewish identity or pro-Israel feelings.

A recently settledsuit against San Francisco State University (SFSU) was precipitatedby the exclusion of the school’s Hillel chapter from a “Know Your Rights” fair. According to one of the organizers, Professor Rahab Abdulhadi of the General Union of Palestine Studies of SFSU,  explained that Hillel -was disinvited from the event because Hillel was deemed to be “a privileged white group.” (This is exceedingly ironic, because in the 1930-s there were quotas against the admitting “ Jews and other inferior races” into the United States.)

In April, Rebecca Thau, a student at Harvard and president of the Hillel’s Undergraduate Steering Committee – releaseda statement saying that the campus’s Israel Apartheid Week was “vilifying students for their commitments and even their heritages, turning students away from — rather than toward — one another, and preventing meaningful conversation.”

Jewish students at Emory University in Atlanta were targetedwith “eviction notices,” posted on their dorm rooms as a means of protesting Israeli policy by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). SJP is one of the most prominent campus groups promoting BDS.

Golda Daphna, a student a Columbia University wrotethat the marginalization of Jews on campus through events like Israel Apartheid Week have the effect of making her and others conclude that they “do not feel at home in America because of our anti-Semitic college experience.”

Many university administrators claim that they do not know where free speech ends, and harassment, intimidations and threatening language begins. Our constitutionally inscribed first amendment rights are extremely precious to us all.  However, educational settings have a very fine line to walk.  While ensuring freedom of speech, they also have an obligation to protect students from psychological and emotional harassment so that the environment is conducive to learning.  

There are many protections for many minority groups within the educational setting. However, the one group that has been more singled out for abuse than any other, (according to national data), Jews, and most particularly Jewish students, have absolutely no legal protections.

Part of the problem lies in the fact that university administrators say they have no definition of anti-Semitism, so they cannot recognize it when they see it.  In order to answer this need  Sen. Tim Scott (R – S.C.) introduced the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2019in March. 

The goal of the bill is to extend  the same Title VI protections  to Jewish students as most other  minority groups have on college campuses.  The definition that the bill provides is the very same definition that our State Department uses when instruction our diplomats as to how to recognize and call out anti-Semitism.

The bill uses the  definitionpublished in 2016 by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) as the relevant one for the legislation. Imortant to note is that within this definition is “denying the Jewish people the right to self-determination, e.g. by claiming the the state of Israel is a racist endeavor. “

Given the growing problem of anti-Semitism on campus, it’s time for the House of Representatives to follow the Senate’s lead and introduce a companion measure to the Senate bill. Such legislation would protect Jewish students who are threatened by BDS-inspired intimidation and discrimination on U.S. college campuses.

If the House can follow the Senate’s lead and get this legislation passed, it would be because it took a lesson from Germany on how to define and fight anti-Semitism.

It is about time we follow Germany’s lead on this long overdue legislation, before we are forced to learn their lessons of history.

Photo: AFP

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