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MEDIA-OCRITIES OF THE WEEK: “What better assures Israel’s security, a decade of strict limitation and inspection of Iran’s nuclear program that prevents it making a bomb, or a war that delays the program a couple of years, locks in the most radical factions in Tehran, and intensifies Middle Eastern violence? It’s a no-brainer. No wonder Representative Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Party’s House Leader, saw Netanyahu’s speech to Congress as an “insult to the intelligence of the United States.” Netanyahu’s “profound obligation” to speak of the Iranian threat to the Jewish people proved to be a glib opportunity for fear-mongering and evasion above all… Of course Netanyahu mentioned the Persian viceroy Haman, who plotted to destroy the Jews, but not Cyrus of Persia, who ended the Babylonian exile of the Jews. The prime minister’s obsessive Iran demonization runs on selective history…One word did not appear in Netanyahu’s speech: Palestine. The statelessness of the Palestinians is the real long-term threat to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. Iran has often been a cleverly manipulated distraction from this fact,” — Roger Cohen (New York Times, Mar. 6, 2015)
“Benjamin Netanyahu, the current Prime Minister, made headlines this week by attempting to disrupt U.S. politics and international nuclear-weapons negotiations with Iran in an apparent effort to engineer a stronger standing in that election. Above all this, because it is 20 years since prime minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a member of his country’s religious right. This is not just the distant anniversary of one country’s political tragedy; it remains a current event. Mr. Rabin’s death is very much still taking place in Israel. The country’s current politics was forged in its aftermath, in large part by Mr. Netanyahu himself…What’s needed is for the post-Rabin era to end and be replaced by a new leadership based not on fear and provocation but on painful compromise and the creation of tough, distant pathways to normalcy. It’s worth keeping an eye on what was taking place 20 years ago to remember what might be regained,” —Doug Saunders (Globe & Mail, Mar. 7, 2015)
When it Comes to a Nuclear-Armed Iran, Who Do You Trust?: Terry Glavin, National Post, Mar. 4, 2015
What Iran Won’t Say About the Bomb: William J. Broad & David E. Sanger, New York Times, Mar. 7, 2015
Rubio To Colleagues: Don't Boycott Netanyahu Speech, Israel Deserves Our Support (Video): Youtube, Feb. 12, 2015
Ex-US Ambassador to Israel: Netanyahu Speech an ‘Affront' to Obama: BBC, Mar. 3, 2015
Malley’s Rise and Obama’s Blame-Israel Policy: Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary, Mar. 10, 2015
‘‘We continue to be focused on reaching a good deal, the right deal, that closes off any paths that Iran could have toward fissile material for a weapon and that protects the world from the enormous threat that we all know a nuclear-armed Iran would pose,’’ —U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, at the end of meetings with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of Iran. (Boston Globe, Mar. 5, 2015)
“(U.S. President Obama) throws a fuss and tosses insults, and his loyal lapdogs in Congress pretend to be “insulted,” but right about now in Jerusalem, Cairo, Amman and Riyadh our allies are shaking their heads in disbelief. The president is as feckless and confused as they feared. They stand unprotected by the United States as they stare into the jaws of a regime bent on destroying them. Well, perhaps they, too, will come and speak to Congress. Or Congress can invite Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper or Czech President Milos Zeman. It would be interesting to see whether they share Netanyahu’s views or Obama’s. And the invited guests don’t even need to say anything new or offer us an alternative. Just tell America what they think. They can’t all be “electioneering” or out to create trouble for Democrats, can they? Maybe it is Obama who is isolated, not Iran,” — Jennifer Rubin (Washington Post, Mar. 4, 2015)
“He even distorts his own scripture…If you read the Book of Esther, you will see that it was the Iranian king who saved the Jews. If you read the Old Testament, you will see that it was an Iranian king who saved the Jews from Babylon. Esther has a town in Iran where our Jewish population, which is the largest in the Middle East, visits on a regular basis,” — Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. In an interview with NBC News, Zarif rejected characterizations put forth by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week in an address to a joint meeting of the US Congress. Zarif rejected the accusation that Iran’s opposition to the existence of the Israeli government, which it calls the Zionist regime, is equivalent to antisemitism. According to Iranian government figures, roughly 8,800 Jews live in the country, out of a total 26,000 Jews in the entire Middle East outside Israel. Zarif said that Netanyahu’s position reflected “bigotry” over facts, and asserted that Iran “has saved Jews three times in its history: Once during that time of a prime minister who was trying to kill the Jews, and the king saved the Jews; again during the time of Cyrus the Great, where he saved the Jews from Babylon, and during the Second World War, where Iran saved the Jews.” Zarif’s allusion to the Holocaust is notable: The morning after Netanyahu’s speech, conservative newspapers in Iran ran cartoons denying that Hitler’s genocide against Jews ever happened. (Jerusalem Post, Mar. 5, 2015)
“It’s somewhat ironic to see some members of Congress wanting to make common cause with the hardliners in Iran. It’s an unusual coalition,” — U.S. President Barack Obama. Obama responded Monday to an open letter sent to Iran by 47 Republican Senators to Iran, about the limitations of any agreement signed by his administration with Tehran acquiescing to a nuclear development program the Congress may not like. Obama accused the senators — who included three presidential candidates — of aligning with Iranian hardliners. The letter said that any such agreement signed by the president or Secretary of State John Kerry might only last as long as Obama remains in office because it is formatted as an “executive agreement.” (Jewish Press, Mar. 9, 2015)
“Unfortunately, at a time when Israel’s national interest required opposition leaders to demonstrate unity in the face of a nuclear threat from a terrorist regime committed to wiping the Jewish state off the map, our wretched politicians sank to their lowest level. They not only belittled Netanyahu’s efforts but even accused him of betraying Israel in order to gain votes and ingratiate himself with the Republicans. The reality is that the American people and Congress have never been more supportive of Israel than they are today. In fact, despite pressure from the administration, only a small minority of Democrats absented themselves from Netanyahu’s address. That is not to deny that there are growing elements on the Left of the Democratic Party that have adopted the European left-wing bias against Israel. The way to limit their influence is not to paper over the differences and chant mantras about bipartisanship but to strengthen our ties with the vast majority of congressional Democrats who support Israel,” —Isi Leibler (Candidly Speaking, Mar. 9, 2015)
"I think it was an affront to the president of the United States and designed to undermine the negotiations using Congress," —Former US ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk. In a speech to US Congress, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu depicted Iran as a "threat to the entire world." Indyk, says Netanyahu has a legitimate case to make but should not have done so in front of Congress and not two weeks before his own election. (BBC, Mar. 3, 2015)
“…For the prime minister of Israel to be welcomed enthusiastically by legislators of the world’s most powerful nation—this was a moment to savor for anyone, Jew or Gentile, who has been moved by the creation, survival, and flourishing of the state of Israel. The Zionist song “Hatikvah,” now the Israeli national anthem, closes by expressing The hope of two thousand years, / To be a free nation in our land, / The land of Zion and Jerusalem. And here was the prime minister of that free nation, in its historic land, being warmly greeted by the elected representatives of a great and free nation both a century and a half older than, and millennia younger than, Israel,” —William Kristol (Weekly Standard, Mar. 11, 2015)
“We need to sign a 'side agreement' with the Americans. This agreement must make it clear to the Americans that if the Iranians break the deal, Israel will be allowed to do things that the US did not support in the past, like a military strike, and perhaps the agreement should also include an American military strike, and certainly the return of sanctions, and much heavier ones,” —Israeli Major General (ret.) Amos Yadlin, the head of the Institute for National Security Studies. Yadlin was chief of Defense Intelligence in the IDF. As an IAF pilot, he was one of eight men whose jets bombed the Iraqi nuclear reactor Osirak in 1981. (Arutz Sheva, Mar. 10, 2015)
“Tikrit is a prime example of what we are worried about…Iran is taking over the country,” — Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister. At a meeting in Riyadh, Prince Saud told John Kerry he risked allowing Iran to “take over Iraq,” echoing Israel’s recent concerns over the White House’s policy toward Tehran. The U.S. and its coalition allies are attacking ISIS positions from the air in both Syria and Iraq, but refusing to send troops. As a result, outside Kurdish areas, the offensive in both countries is heavily influenced by Iran and its proxy Shiite militias, such as Hezbollah. This has raised serious concerns in Saudi Arabia, Iran’s Sunni rival for Middle East dominance. “We see Iran involved in Syria and Lebanon and Yemen and Iraq, and God knows where,” Prince Saud said. “This must stop if Iran is to be part of the resolution for the region and not part of the problem.” He urged the U.S.-led coalition, of which Saudi Arabia is a member, to put “boots on the ground” against ISIS. “The kingdom stresses the need to provide the military means needed to face this challenge on the ground,” he said. (National Post, Mar. 5, 2015)
“I take briefings every week from my commanding officers across the country. In Alberta, we’re seeing a steady increase, in Ontario: increasing, in Montreal: increasing, so it’s a steady rise,” —RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson. Police suspect more Canadians than ever are planning to travel to overseas battlefields as Islamic fighters or have returned from those combat zones as trained and hardened extremists, Paulson said Sunday. On Oct. 8, Paulson told the Commons’ public safety and national security committee that police were aware of 90 individuals who, “intend to go or people who have returned — so the pace and tempo of operations is quite brisk.” Asked Sunday to update the situation, Paulson declined to offer specific numbers, but said, “it’s steadily increasing,” since his previous report. (Ottawa Citizen, Mar. 8, 2015)
“For me, defining his actions is not as important as understanding them,” — Susan Bibeau, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau’s mother. Susan Bibeau’s comments come after the public release of a cell-phone video her son made on Oct. 22 shortly before he shot and killed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial and then stormed Parliament Hill, where he was killed in a gun battle in Centre Block. In the 55-second video released by the RCMP, Zehaf-Bibeau said Canada had become an enemy and his actions were “in retaliation” for the country’s military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq. RCMP Commissioner Paulson said the RCMP believes evidence shows Zehaf-Bibeau was a terrorist. “What leads an individual to go down the path of hate, to become close-minded and intolerant? For me it is in understanding this path that lies most of the solution. We all try to fit things in tidy little boxes, but nothing is ever that simple. I am afraid of those who see the world in black and white, for it is more complex, a combination of many things…So my son was a terrorist, but he was not just that, he still found beauty in birds and nature,” Ms. Bibeau added. (National Post, Mar. 9, 2015)
“War made us feel we will die anyway, so why not die with dignity…I want to be a fighter,” — Ahmed Jundiya, a 14-year-old Palestinian boy from Gaza. Ahmed keeps a poster of a family friend who was killed while firing rockets at Israel, and he says he yearns to do the same. When asked how he could possibly favor more warfare after all the bloodshed Gaza had endured, and he shrugged. “Maybe we can kill all of them, and then it will get better,” he said, adding “I will give my soul to kill all Israelis,” (New York Times, Mar. 7, 2015)
“Mr. Trudeau is the latest in a long of politicians who fall into the trap of drawing highly-inappropriately and offensive Nazi-era comparisons by using the term ‘none is too many’ haphazardly,” —Michael Mostyn, CEO, B’nai Brith Canada. On Monday, Liberal Leader Trudeau delivered a lengthy speech about the importance of liberty and he warned that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is deliberately spreading fears and prejudice about Muslims. He said that “fear is a dangerous thing” and that “once it is sanctioned by the state, there is no telling where it might lead.” As examples, Trudeau provided several “dark episodes” from Canada’s past, including how the country turned away Jewish refugees. “So we should all shudder to hear the same rhetoric that led to a ‘none is too many’ immigration policy toward Jews in the 30s and 40s being used to raise fears against Muslims today.” Trudeau was referencing the title of a book that documented how Canada had a restrictive immigration policy for Jewish refugees before and during World War II. (B’nai Brith Canada, Mar. 10, & Ottawa Citizen, Mar. 10, 2015)
PALESTINIAN DRIVER RAMS CROWD DURING PURIM (Jerusalem) — A Palestinian driver, accused of purposely ramming three Israeli policewomen and several pedestrians in Jerusalem on Friday, was shot when he jumped from the car with a knife in what authorities believe was a terrorist attack during Purim. Mahmoud Salaymeh was shot and critically wounded after driving his vehicle onto a sidewalk outside a border police station and ramming the three policewomen, a cyclist and several pedestrians. "We won't let terrorism interrupt our routine," Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat said, noting that security could remain tight during the holiday. "I invite all residents of the country to celebrate Purim in Jerusalem and to support it," Barkat said. (Newsmax, Mar. 6, 2015)
ISRAELI ELECTION POLL: LIKUD OPENS FIVE-POINT LEAD OVER RIVAL ZIONIST UNION (Jerusalem) — An i24news poll reveals the ruling Likud has opened five-point lead over rival Zionist Union during the past week. The survey was conducted by telephone among the representative sample of 500 Jewish and 200 Arab respondents. The past three weeks have seen significant fluctuations in the popularity of the two main rivals. The Likud, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s party, which rested at 27 seats earlier in the campaign, then went down to 24, is now projected to garner 26 seats. Whereas the Zionist Union was projected to win 24 seats three weeks ago, then saw its support plummet to 22, before today's projection of 21. Naphtali Bennett's rightist Habayit Hayehudi party has gone up from 11 seats to around 13-14. Israelis will cast their votes on March 17. (I24 News, Mar. 8, 2015)
ISRAEL TO DOUBLE WATER SUPPLY FOR GAZA DESPITE THREATS FROM HAMAS (Jerusalem) — Israeli officials say they are doubling the amount of water they provide to Gaza, despite ongoing threats from the Gaza-based Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. Israel will increase water supplies from 1.3 to 2.6 billion gallons to help ease the ongoing water crisis in Gaza. The news concerning Gaza’s water supply comes after a recent false report repeated by several news outlets that Israel purposely opened dams in southern Israel and flooded parts of Gaza. Hamas and other Gaza-based terror groups such as Islamic Jihad regularly use building materials sent from Israel, such as concrete, for the construction of tunnels used to launch attacks inside of Israel. (JNS, mar. 4, 2015)
JEWISH GROUP ‘CONCERNED’ BY WHITE HOUSE APPOINTMENT OF MALLEY (Washington) —The Simon Wiesenthal Center has called into question the appointment of Robert Malley to a key position in the White House. On March 6, the Obama Administration named Malley as Special Assistant to the President and White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf Region. Malley made headlines back in 2008 for meetings he held with the terrorist organization Hamas while working in the private sector. Malley is also known for a 2001 article in The New York Review of Books which critics consider a defense of Yasser Arafat following the breakdown of the Camp David peace negotiations. (Algemeiner, Mar. 9, 2015)
BOKO HARAM PLEDGES ALLEGIANCE TO I.S. (Maiduguri) — Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram has pledged allegiance to Islamic State (IS), according to an audio statement. The message was posted on Boko Haram's Twitter account and is believed to be by the group's leader, Abubakar Shekau. Boko Haram began a military campaign to impose Islamic rule in northern Nigeria in 2009. The conflict has since spread to neighbouring states. In the past Boko Haram is thought to have had links with al-Qaeda. Boko Haram has carried out frequent bombings that have left thousands dead in Nigeria's north-east and has also attacked targets in the capital, Abuja. On Saturday, at least five blasts including several suicide bombings in Maiduguri left at least fifty people dead. (BBC, Mar. 7, 2015)
PRO-PALESTINIAN PROTESTERS SENTENCED TO HOMEWORK (Calgary) —Pro-Palestinian protesters who attacked an Israeli supporter at a Calgary rally were handed fines and probation Tuesday. All three were also ordered to pen essays and write letters of apology to their victim, Judge Marlene Graham ordered. Graham fined Arslan Razzaq Khan, Asiz Mohamed Madi and Kamaal Maxamud Jaamac for their roles in a melee last July 18 which saw each of them assault Calgarian Jacob Birrell. All three were placed on probation for one year. Crown prosecutor Matt Block said the trio were part of a group of about 300 people who gathered at city hall to protest Israeli military action in Gaza confronted by 15 people holding the opposing view. (Calgary Sun, Mar. 10, 2015)
SOUTHAMPTON U. DEFENDS ANTI-ISRAEL CONFERENCE (London) —The University of Southampton, which has organized a three-day conference in mid-April expected to be vehemently critical of Israel, has been accused of hiding behind the cloak of academic freedom to justify ignoring all concerns about the contents of the event. The conference, “International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism,” is, according to the university’s law school, “the first of its kind and constitutes a ground-breaking historical event on the road towards justice and enduring peace in historic Palestine.” Its organizers stated that the conference will focus on exploring themes of “Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism;” all of which – they maintain – “are posed by Israel’s very nature.” (Jerusalem Post, Mar. 11, 2015)
CONCORDIA TO HELP MUSLIM STUDENTS CULL 'INAPPROPRIATE' BOOKS (Montreal) — Members of Concordia University’s library staff will review books in the student-run Islamic library on campus to ensure that the contents “reflect the law and reflect the values of the institution and our society,” a university spokesperson said . A televised report on TVA claimed that the Reflections Islamic Library, a small, student-run library at Concordia, contains books by certain authors who have condoned wife beating, made statements in favour of female genital mutilation, or who have advocated for the death penalty for certain homosexual acts or for renouncing Islam. The president of the Muslim Council of Montreal said he is concerned that the TVA report is just the latest example of the Québecor media group pushing what he sees as an anti-Muslim agenda. (Montreal Gazette, Mar. 5, 2015)
CARNEGIE HALL CANCELS PERFORMANCE OF PIECE CONTAINING 'HORST-WESSEL-LIED' (New York) — A debut at Carnegie Hall meant to showcase a young composer was abruptly canceled after management realized it featured a snippet of a Nazi German anthem. The New York Youth Symphony was set to premiere the work at the prestigious concert hall but the orchestra's management removed it, saying that such an explosive musical reference required a longer conversation. No one has suggested any Nazi sympathy by composer Jonas Tarm, a 21-year-old Estonian-American. But the Symphony said Tarm had only informed management last week that his piece included 45 seconds of "Horst-Wessel-Lied," one of the Nazis' main anthems. (Arutz Sheva, Mar. 10, 2015)
AUSTRIA SAYS IT WILL KEEP KLIMT WORK SOUGHT BY FORMER OWNER’S HEIRS (Vienna) — Austria rejected a restitution claim for a Gustav Klimt fresco from the heirs of its prewar owner. Austria’s expert committee on restitution ruled there weren’t sufficient grounds to return the “Beethoven Frieze” to the heirs of Erich Lederer, an Austrian Jew whose family’s art collection was appropriated by the Nazi regime during World War II. The claim hinged on a 2009 amendment to Austria’s restitution law, which allows claimants to challenge sales that took place because of a long-standing ban on exporting major artworks. The Klimt fresco was among the artworks returned to Lederer after World War II. His heirs contended that Lederer’s subsequent decision to sell the piece to the state in the early 1970s was made only because of the export ban, despite repeated requests for a waiver. (Wall Street Journal, Mar. 6, 2015)
When it Comes to a Nuclear-Armed Iran, Who Do You Trust?: Terry Glavin, National Post, Mar. 4, 2015 —They pulled out all the stops, pushed every heartwarming button, filled the Washington Convention Center with soaring, uplifting intermission music and harnessed all the king’s horses to the cause of showcasing the enduring bonds of affection between the United States and Israel.
What Iran Won’t Say About the Bomb: William J. Broad & David E. Sanger, New York Times, Mar. 7, 2015—OVER the course of a dozen years, ever since atomic sleuths from the United Nations began scrutinizing Iran’s nuclear program, hundreds of inspections have uncovered a hidden world of labs and sprawling factories, some ringed by barbed wire and antiaircraft guns, others camouflaged or buried deep underground.
Rubio To Colleagues: Don't Boycott Netanyahu Speech, Israel Deserves Our Support (Video): Youtube, Feb. 12, 2015
Ex-US Ambassador to Israel: Netanyahu Speech an ‘Affront' to Obama: BBC, Mar. 3, 2015 —In a speech to US Congress punctuated by standing ovations, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu depicted Iran as a "threat to the entire world".
Malley’s Rise and Obama’s Blame-Israel Policy: Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary, Mar. 10, 2015—Back in 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama was being careful about quashing any notion that he was hostile to Israel or friendly to its foes.
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