Saturday, June 27, 2009

Timeline of Statements by Ahmadinejad and other Iranian leaders (2000-2008)

The UN's silence and inaction regarding these blatant genocidal threats is deplorable. 
Timeline of Statements by Ahmadinejad and other Iranian leaders (2000-2008)
Date Person Statement and Actions
Dec. 15, 2000 Khamane'i Iran's position, first expressed by the imam, and stated several times by those responsible, is that the cancerous tumor called Israel must be uprooted from the region
Jan. 15, 2001 Khamane'i "the perpetual subject of Iran is the elimination of Israel from the region" translated by journalist Kasra Naji: "mission of IRI is to erase Israel from the map of the region."
Dec. 14, 2001 Rafsanjani "If one day … the Islamic world will be equipped with weapons available to Israel now … the employment of even one atomic bomb inside Israel will wipe it off the face of the earth but would only do damage to the Islamic world."
Sept. 22, 2003 Banner on Shihab 3 missile (photo) "Israel must be uprooted and wiped from history."
Oct. 2005 Iranian regime Iranian publishers display English edition of Protocols of Zion at a Frankfurt book fair
Apr. 2005 Ayatollah Nouri-Hamedani "One should fight the Jews and vanquish them so that the conditions for the advent of the Hidden Imam will be met."
Oct. 26, 2005 Ahmadinejad "Our dear Imam [Khomeini] ordered that this Jerusalem occupying regime must be erased from the page of time. This was a very wise statement." "Soon this stain of disgrace will be cleaned from the garment of the world of Islam, and this is attainable."
Oct. 27, 2005 Ahmadinejad "Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation's fury." Any Islamic leader "who recognizes the Zionist regime means he is acknowledging the surrender and defeat of the Islamic world."
Oct. 30, 2005 Hossein Shariatmadari "We will be satisfied with nothing less than the complete obliteration of the Zionist regime from the political map of the world."
Apr. 14, 2006 Ahmadinejad "Israel heading towards annihilation." "a dried, rotten tree that will collapse with a single storm."
June 9, 2006 Mohammad Ali Ramin "Among the Jews, there have always been those who killed God's prophets. ... it was said that they were the source for such deadly diseases as the plague and typhus. This is because the Jews are very filthy people. For a time, people also said that they poisoned water wells belonging to the Christians and thus killed them."
Oct. 22, 2006 Resalat (Tehran) "Great war is ahead of us, perhaps tomorrow, or in a few months, or even a few years. The nation of Muslims must prepare for the great war, so as to completely wipe out the Zionist dream, and remove this cancerous growth."
Nov. 2006 Banner on bus at military rally "Israel should be wiped off the face of the world!"
Dec. 2006 Ahmadinejad "the Zionist regime will be wiped out, and humanity will be liberated" — freed, that is, from the "acquisitive and invasive" minority.
Sept. 2007 Ahmadinejad "brutal Zionists" "Zionist regime" "Palestine and Iraq will be liberated from the domination of the occupiers, and the people of America and Europe will be free of the pressure exerted by the Zionists."
Oct. 4, 2007 Shariatmadari "Death to America and death to Israel are not only words written on paper, but … a symbolic approach that reflects the desire of all the Muslim nations."
Feb. 5, 2008 Ahmadinejad "A people falsified, invented. [Israel] will not last, they must leave the territory."
Feb. 12, 2008 Ahmad Jannati "[We have] bigger crowds, slogans more enthusiastic, 'Islamic Republic of Iran' regime getting better and better." "The blind enemies should see that the wish of these people is the death and destruction of America and Israel."
Feb. 18, 2008 Mohammad Ali Jaafari "In the near future, we will witness the destruction of the cancerous microbe Israel by the strong and capable hands of … Hezbollah."
Feb. 18, 2008 Manoucher Mottaki "even after 60 years, the Zionist regime has neither gained any legitimacy nor played any role in this region."
Feb. 23, 2008 Yahya Rahim Safavi "with God's help, the time has come for the Zionist's regime death sentence. … the death of this unclean regime will arrive soon following the revolt of the Muslims."
Feb. 23, 2008 Haddad Adel "The countdown has begun for the destruction of the Zionist regime."
Feb. 20, 2008 Ahmadinejad "they [the global powers] have created a black and filthy microbe called the Zionist regime."
Mar. 14, 2008 Ahmadinejad "the Zionist regime is on its way out [destructible]."
Apr. 17, 2008 Ahmadinejad "The region and the world are prepared for great changes and for being cleansed of Satanic enemies" [referring to the Great Satan (USA) and Little Satan (Israel)]
May 13, 2008 Ahmadinejad "global arrogance established the Zionist regime." "[which is] a stinking corpse"
May 13, 2008 Mohammad-Reza Khabbaz, member of the central committee of National Trust reformist party "Creation of Israel only served the purpose of creating a cancerous tumor in the body of Islamic society."
June 13, 2008 Ahmadinejad "terrorist and criminal state … backed by foreign powers … regime to be swept away by Palestinians."
June 14, 2008 Ahmadinejad "Israel's days are numbered … peoples of region know there is the narrowest opportunity to annihilate this false regime."
July 2, 2008 Ahmadinejad "Thanks to God, your wish will soon be realized, and this germ of corruption will be wiped off the face of the world."
July 24, 2008 Esfandiar Rahim Masha'i "Israel is a cancerous tumor." "Israel will soon disappear."
Sept. 23, 2008 Ahmadinejad "The Zionists are the eternal enemy of 'the dignity, integrity, and rights of the American and European people." "Although they are few in number, the Zionists have been dominating an important portion of the financial and monetary centers as well as the political decision-making centers of some European countries and the United States in a deceitful, complex and furtive manner." "Even some presidential or premier nominees in some big countries have to visit these people, take part in their gatherings, swear allegiance and commitment to their interests in order to attain financial or media support." Even "the great people of America and various nations of Europe" are caught in the clutches of Jewish power. They "need to obey the demands and wishes of a small number of acquisitive and invasive people. These nations are spending their dignity and resources on the crimes and occupations and the threats of the Zionist network against their will." "Today … the Zionist regime is on a definite slope to collapse. There is no way for it to get out of the cesspool created by itself and its supporters."
Sept. 25, 2008 Ahmadinejad "Zionism … is the root cause of insecurity and wars. … What commitment forces the U.S. government to victimize itself in support of a regime that is basically a criminal one?"
Nov. 26, 2008 Ahmadinejad "Iran will support Hamas until the destruction of Israel."
Dec. 25, 2008 Ahmadinejad "If Christ was on Earth today, undoubtedly he would hoist the banner of justice and love for humanity to oppose warmongers, occupiers, terrorists, and bullies the world over." [Iran hangs nine individuals before 12/24/08 bringing the yearly total to 244.]
Dec. 30, 2008 Ahmadinejad "the real Holocaust is now taking place in Gaza Strip and Palestine."

Source: Genocide Prevention Now World Situation Room of the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide, Jerusalem, and Genocide Prevention Program of the Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Public Health and Community Medicine. Published with the permission of Genocide Prevention Now website. An expanded version of this paper and timeline will be posted on the Genocide Prevention Now website.

Interesting Times: The Great Arab Refusal

There is something bizarre about the Arab-Israeli conflict. Everyone assumes, naturally, that it is about Israel giving something that Palestinians want - a state. But what it really is about is the Arab world giving the Jewish people what it wants - a state.

That makes no sense, you might say. After all, Israel exists, Palestine doesn't. How could the conflict be about people who don't have something giving it to people who do? The answer lies in a simple fact of history: The Arab war against a Jewish state not only predates Israeli control over the territories ostensibly in dispute but began before the founding of Israel itself.

"The attacks against us began in the 1920s, escalated into a comprehensive attack in 1948 with the declaration of Israel's independence... and climaxed in 1967, on the eve of the Six Day War," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Sunday. "All this occurred during the 50 years before a single Israeli soldier ever set foot in Judea and Samaria."

That must have changed, you chime in. At some point Israel must have flipped from being the state deny-ee to being the state denier. Doesn't most of Netanyahu's own party still claim that a Palestinian state would be existential threat? If Israel is not the obstacle, why did Netanyahu have to be dragged into grudgingly supporting a two-state solution? Let's step back a bit and ask another question: What is meant by a "two-state solution"? In Western eyes, the idea is a simple one. The conflict comes from the lack of a Palestinian state. Create a state; end the conflict.

This would be a slam dunk except for one thing. What if the Palestinians see a state of their own not as the beginning of peace but the continuation of war? Quit being paranoid, the world responds. Israel is a regional superpower, and Netanyahu just said that a Palestinian state would have to be demilitarized.

The rub, however, lies not in demilitarization. Savvy Palestinian spokesmen say that's not a problem. The rub is Netanyahu's second "tough" (as media reports call them) condition: "a public, binding and unequivocal Palestinian recognition of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people."

Now we have finally drilled down to the essence of the conflict, and it's not Israel but the Arab world that is out of step. Look at the official White House reaction to the Netanyahu speech: "The president is committed to two states, a Jewish state of Israel and an independent Palestine, in the historic homeland of both peoples." This is what Palestinians are for, right? Actually, no, this is what even Abbas and other "pro-peace" Arab leaders vehemently reject.

"A Jewish state, what is that supposed to mean?" Mahmoud Abbas asked in an April 27 speech in Ramallah. "You can call yourselves as you like, but I don't accept it and I say so publicly." Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said that calls for recognition of a Jewish state are attempts to "abort" the peace process. "Netanyahu Threatens Peace" was the headline in the Saudi-owned Al Hayat, while Lebanon's Assafir claimed that the speech was "like a declaration of war."

The Arab world has never accepted either part of President Barack Obama's straightforward statement: that Israel is a Jewish state and that it is there not by chance or even because of the Holocaust but because it is the Jewish people's "historic homeland."

WE SEE that the great Arab refusal that began almost a century ago continues today. While the West takes it for granted that "mutual recognition," as the road map and Oslo agreements put it, is the bedrock of peace, the Arab side seeks a Palestinian state without accepting the existence of a Jewish people, let alone a Jewish connection to its historic homeland.

If further evidence of this refusal were needed, the claim of a "right of return" embodies the Arab attempt at obtaining a 22nd state without accepting the single Jewish one. If Palestinians have a permanent "right" to move to Israel, in what sense have they accepted Israeli sovereignty? How can they claim a right to move to Israel while not only denying the right of Jews to move to Palestine, but assuming that it must be ethnically cleansed of all Jews?

Obama is right that the Arab-Israeli conflict is in dire need of truth telling. And every time he uses the words "Jewish state" and "Jewish homeland" he is chipping away at the essence of the conflict. But there is an even more basic, underlying truth to be told: that the Arab world can end the conflict any time it wants.

This is what Obama should have said to the Arab world in Cairo: "End the conflict. Who is stopping you? If you truly accept Israelis, talk to their leaders, stop denying their history and connection to the land, you will have a Palestinian state faster than you can shake a stick." I understand that Obama thinks that the harder he pressures Israel on settlements the more likely the Arabs are to cooperate. But this is exactly backward. Direct pressure on Israel is always taken by the Arabs as an excuse to do nothing.

The smart way to pressure Israel is to put the onus on the Arab side. Why? Because the slightest Arab movement toward peace turns any Israeli government into putty. "Looking back, I confess that well-formulated peace plans are not enough," President Shimon Peres admitted in a recent op-ed. "What brought about the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, signed in 1979, was a journey of less than an hour - the time it took Anwar Sadat to fly from Cairo to Jerusalem. This hour changed... creat[ing] a turning point far more powerful than outside pressure."

The Arab-Israeli conflict is just not symmetrical, no matter how often assorted peacemakers adopt an "evenhanded" approach. After 1967, the Arab states realized they could no longer openly call for Israel's destruction, so they hit on the idea of demanding a Palestinian state - without mentioning that they weren't willing to accept a Jewish state in return.

Now Netanyahu, grudgingly, and Obama, dilutedly, have called the Arab bluff. This has been obscured by Netanyahu's foot-dragging and Obama's fight-picking (with Israel), but the fact remains that it is now the Arab world that has been cast in the role of odd man out.

Preventing Iran - the enemy-di-tutti-enemy of peace - from going nuclear remains the single greatest prerequisite for peace. The much easier yet no less important step is to systematically expose the great Arab refusal, thereby placing asymmetrical responsibility for the conflict on the Arab side. Pressure on the Arab side is a two-fer, because Arab gestures "deliver" Israel; pressure on Israel is a no-fer, because it reduces pressure on the Arab side.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Iranian dissidents ask for Israeli help

A heartfelt cry from the Iranian dissident movement, asking for help. Sure  no Israeli forgets the friendly people of Iran from the old days, though that is hard to reconcile with the crowds screaming death to Israel. If there was a way to help, surely Israel would do so. But if the jamming is being done by Nokia and Siemens, then the remedy is to address Nokia and Siemens and to start pressure for an international boycott of firms that interfere with communications in service of tyrannical regimes, whether it is Internet or Radio, whether it is Iran or China.
Good communications would not, of course, be enough to topple the government. Still, the courage of Iranian dissidents has amazed the world. Arabs ask why there are no such revolutions in their countries. The answer is simple: It takes a lot of guts for masses of people to stand up to armed thugs.  

Iranian Dissident: Dear Israeli Brothers and Sisters - Help Us!

"Dear Israeli Brothers and Sisters," writes Iranian dissident Arash Irandoost, "Iran needs your help more than ever now. And we will be eternally grateful. Please help opposition television and radio stations which are blocked and being jammed by the Islamic Republic (Nokia and Siemens) resume broadcast to Iran. There is a total media blackout and Iranians inside Iran for the most part are not aware of their brave brothers and sisters fighting and losing their lives daily. And the unjust treatment and brutal massacre of the brave Iranians in the hands of the mullah's paid terrorist Hamas and Hizbullah gangs are not seen by the majority of the Iranians. Please help in any way you can to allow these stations resume broadcasting to Iran.

"And, please remember that we will remember, as you have remembered Cyrus the Great's treatment of you in your time of need," Irandoost concludes, signing his blogged call for help "Your Iranian Brothers and Sisters!"

In an interview with Israel National News, Iranian expatriate pro-democracy activist Amil Imani said that Irandoost's message represents the sentiments of much of the youth in the streets in Iran. They have a strong belief in the technological know-how of the Israelis to overcome the Iranian regime's attempts to block communications.

"This is going to be the most massive, impressive revolution of the 21st century," Imani said, "and we're seeing it live." However, he added, it is now too dependent on Internet communications, so the protesters are very much in need of outside assistance to fight the technological and information war.

More generally, Imani said, the Iranian people are lionizing any leader of any nation who comes out strongly against the Islamic Republic at this time.

According to Imani, at least 500 people have been killed by Iranian government forces, with another 5,000 injured. But the hospitals are no longer safe, he added, as the gunmen from the basiji militia enter the emergency wards looking for
We will remember, as you have remembered Cyrus the Great's treatment of you in your time of need.
wounded protesters. Therefore, Imani said, sympathetic doctors have taken to treating the wounded wherever they can, including in private homes.

Even outside Iran, tens of thousands of protesters are out in the streets every day, especially in the United States and Europe. Imani said he thinks the phenomenon represents unprecedented unity in the Iranian expatriate community.

As for the basijis themselves, Imani reported, many of them are Lebanese and Palestinian Authority Arabs hired by the regime to do its bidding. Iranians reportedly captured seven basijis who spoke no Persian, only Arabic. According to Imani, 10,000 more Arab hired guns arrived in Tehran to serve the mullah-led regime.

But they are not the only ones thinking about guns at this point. Some Iranian protesters, Imani reported, have taken to threatening their oppressors, "God have mercy on you if we decide to [take up] arms!" 

"There is no turning back," Imani concluded.

Mousavi, Celebrated in Iranian Protests, Was the Butcher of Beirut

"The world should sympathize with the Iranian protestors, the protests have brought out the real Fascist nature of the Iranian regime, but for all the sympathy for the Iranians, how to work up any enthusiasm for the opposition candidate they are taking to the streets for Mousavi, the "butcher of Beirut". (edt) "

By Jeff Stein | June 22, 2009
He may yet turn out to be the avatar of Iranian democracy, but three decades ago Mir-Hossein Mousavi was waging a terrorist war on the United States that included bloody attacks on the U.S. embassy and Marine Corps barracks in Beirut. 
Mousavi, prime minister for most of the 1980s, personally selected his point man for the Beirut terror campaign, Ali Akbar Mohtashemi-pur, and dispatched him to Damascus as Iran's ambassador, according to former CIA and military officials.   The ambassador in turn hosted several meetings of the cell that would carry out the Beirut attacks, which were overheard by the National Security Agency.  "We had a tap on the Iranian ambassador to Lebanon," retired Navy Admiral James "Ace" Lyons related by telephone Monday. In 1983 Lyons was deputy chief of Naval Operations, and deeply involved in the events in Lebanon.  "The Iranian ambassador received instructions from the foreign minister to have various groups target U.S. personnel in Lebanon, but in particular to carry out a 'spectacular action' against the Marines," said Lyons.  "He was prime minister," Lyons said of Mousavi, "so he didn't get down to the details at the lowest levels. "But he was in a principal position and had to be aware of what was going on."
Lyons, sometimes called "the father" of the Navy SEALs' Red Cell counter-terror unit, also fingered Mousavi for the 1988 truck bombing of the U.S. Navy's Fleet Center in Naples, Italy, that killed five persons, including the first Navy woman to die in a terrorist attack.  Bob Baer agrees that Mousawi, who has been celebrated in the West for sparking street demonstrations against the Teheran regime since he lost the elections, was directing the overall 1980s terror campaign...
My thanks to Steve Emerson's list: The Investigative Project on Terrorism
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Top US General warns of Iranian influence in Latin America

Considering that hundreds of thousands of Indians were converted to Shi'ite Islam and that Ciudad Del Este in Paraguay is a known Hezbollah base, this article is a bit late in coming. Iran is not a potential threat, but an actual one. From Janes in 2001(!):
THERE has been a long-standing belief that the southern Lebanese Islamic militant group, Hezbollah, has established training camps located in or around the Isla de Margarita island off the northern coast of Venezuela, northwest Brazil, and in the Paraguayan-Brazilian-Argentine tri-border region in South America. While it has never been firmly established that these training camps exist, Hezbollah cell activity in Isla de Margarita and the town of Ciudad del Este in the tri-border region in Paraguay has been documented. More recently, the focus has been on Ciudad del Este, as Venezuela has been able to significantly reduce the activities of Hezbollah cells within its borders
Of course, since then, things have happened in Venezuela too. It is not really likely that President Chavez reduced the influence of Hezbollah there. That is not why he was elected.
It is late in coming, but better late than never - if only someone is listening.
Ami Isseroff

MIAMI (AFP) — Iran's growing influence in Latin America is a "potential risk" to the region, the newly-appointed head of the US Southern Command, General Douglas Fraser has warned.

Fraser, who on Thursday takes charge of US military operations in 31 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean, expressed "real concern" about the Islamic Republic's links with "extremist organizations" in the region.

"The real concern is not a nation-to-nation interaction, it is the connection that Iran has with extremist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah and the potential risk that that could bring to this region," Fraser told journalists ahead of taking up the post.

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has forged close ties with several leftist Latin American leaders in recent years, most notably Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Cuban leader Raul Castro.

Commenting on Iran's ties to extremist groups in the region, Fraser said: "it is a concern, and it is an issue we will continue to monitor for any increasing activity."

He cited Lebanon-based Hezbollah, which has links to Iran and is accused of being behind a suicide bombing that killed 200 US marines in Beirut in 1983 and the 1996 bombing of the Khobar towers in Saudi Arabia, which killed more than 20 people.

The group has denied playing a role in those attacks and the bombing of Israeli and Jewish targets in Buenos Aires.

Fraser, who was Deputy Commander at US Pacific Command, said the illicit trade in arms drugs and people was worrying, and indicated it would be the focus of his work.

"The major concern is the illicit trafficking and the impact that that is having in the security and the stability especially through the northern part of South America through Central America and the Caribbean and through Mexico and the United States."

He added the US needed to ensure links between narco-terrorism and illicit trafficking do not become more pronounced.

Fraser played down talk of a conventional threat in the hemisphere, but said Venezuela's military stance was concerning.

"I'm concern with the military build-up in Venezuela because I don't understand the threat that they see," he said.

"I don't see a conventional military threat in the region. So I don't see why they see a need to build their military to the point that they are pursuing."

Fraser, who lived in Colombia for three years as a teenager, said Southern Command would continue to help that country combat leftist guerillas like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia -- the FARC -- and nacro-terrorist groups.

"The FARC is not defeated and we need to continue that effort. That's been a focus for a very specific reason," he said.

"But Southern Command has been engaged with all the militaries within the region, with the exception of Cuba," he said.

"My intent is not to focus on one nation or the other because it is together that we build that capacity."

Fraser is the first US Air Force officer to take the helm of the Southern Command.

He replaces Admiral James Stavridis, who has been tapped to become the NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe.

Iran's healthy election

Warning - The Surgeon General of Iran has determined that opposing the healthy election is dangerous to your health. From ABC:
A senior Iranian cleric called Friday for harsh punishment for leaders of the country's post-election protests, even as a G8 foreign ministers meeting in Italy urged Iran's rulers to seek a peaceful resolution to the tense two-week confrontation over the disputed presidential vote.

Iran's ruling clergy has widened its clampdown on the opposition, led by presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, who says he is the rightful election winner. Hundreds have been detained since the June 12 vote, in which President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was proclaimed the winner.

Of course, proper progressives will insist that martyr Nada Soltan was really a Zionist Mossad agent named Fiegeh Katenellenbogen.

June 27, 2009
Authorities Rule Iran Election 'Healthy'

TEHRAN — As Iran's leaders push back threats to their authority after the disputed presidential election, crushing street protests and pressing challengers to withdraw or to limit their objections, the country's main electoral oversight group ruled Friday that the ballot had been the "healthiest" since the Islamic revolution in 1979.
The statement by the 12-member Guardian Council, which is charged with overseeing and vetting elections, fell short of formal certification of the ballot. But it offered further evidence that, despite mass demonstrations and violent confrontation with those who call the election a fraud, the authorities are intent on enforcing their writ and denying their adversaries a voice.
Two weeks after the election on June 12, Mir Hussein Moussavi, the top challenger, issued an angry statement Thursday that underscored his commitment to press ahead — but also his impotence in the face of an increasingly emboldened and repressive government that restricted his ability to do much more than express outrage.
In remarks quoted on the official IRNA news agency, Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei, a spokesman for the Guardian Council, said the panel had "almost finished reviewing defeated candidates election complaints" which the council said earlier numbered in excess of 600.
"The reviews showed that the election was the healthiest since the revolution," Mr. Kadkhodaei said. "There were no major violations in the election."
According to the official results, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won an 11 million-vote margin of victory, securing almost two thirds of a record turn-out of 40 million voters. Initially, three losing candidates registered complaints of electoral irregularities, but one of them, Mohsen Rezai, a former commander of the Revolutionary Guards, withdrew his objections. Mr. Moussavi said Thursday he, too, had come under pressure to drop his complaint.
Mr. Moussavi does not have a political organization to rally, and during the height of the unrest he attracted a large following more because of whom he opposed — President Ahmadinejad — than because of what he stood for, political analysts said.
"I am willing to show how election criminals have stood by those behind the recent riots and shed people's blood," Mr. Moussavi said in a statement posted on his Web site on Thursday. "I will not back down even for a second because of personal threats and interests from defending the rights of the people."
With most protests suppressed or canceled, a few dozen people arrived Friday at the Behest-e Zahra cemetery to mourn Neda Agha-Soltan, a 26-year-old woman shot dead last Saturday whose image went round the world as an instant emblem of the protest.
According to Tehran, members of the government's Basij militia, ordered to prevent any gatherings, have beaten even small groups of passers-by so the mourners arrived in groups of two or three, muttered brief prayers and left, The Associated Press said, quoting unidentified witnesses.
International condemnation of the authorities' response to the post-election protests could also be muted since a meeting of the Group of Eight countries in Trieste, Italy, on Friday seemed divided on how strongly Tehran should be criticized. While many European countries have forcefully condemned Tehran's crackdown and President Obama has voiced increasingly stern criticism, Russia, which hosted Mr. Ahmadinejad immediately after the disputed election, has said isolating Iran would be a mistake, according to Italy's ANSA news agency.
The United States delegation at the meeting is headed by William Burns, the undersecretary of state for political affairs. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has a fractured elbow and did not attend.
Perhaps the most important question now is whether the leadership can paper over the deep divisions that the election has widened within Iran's political elite, which present the most serious threat to the system in its 30-year history.
There were still signs of widespread public anger and resentment toward the leadership, but no organization to channel it, political analysts said.
The hard-line leadership appears to have intimidated some opposition figures into stepping back from the defiance and confrontation that have upended Iran over the past two weeks.
On Thursday, Mehdi Karroubi, another defeated presidential candidate, who had been more visible in recent days than Mr. Moussavi, said he did not consider Mr. Ahmadinejad's victory legitimate, but would pursue his complaints through the legal system.
But there were also signs of continued resistance. A few conservatives have expressed revulsion at the sight of unarmed protesters being beaten, even shot, by government forces. Only 105 out of the 290 members of Parliament took part in a victory celebration for Mr. Ahmadinejad on Tuesday, newspapers reported Thursday. The absence of so many lawmakers, including the speaker, Ali Larijani, a powerful conservative, was striking.
There was still no word from a former president, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a Moussavi supporter who is considered one of the nation's most effective political operatives and coalition builders. That held out the prospect of behind-the-scenes maneuvering that might challenge the status quo, political analysts said.
To avoid violent suppression of street protests, people are turning to other ways of expressing dissent. Echoing a symbol of defiance to the shah, the ritual of 10 p.m. rooftop shouts of "God is great" and new chants of "Death to the dictator" has been growing stronger by the day.
Some people have begun to identify and embarrass plainclothes agents by circulating photographs of those who infiltrated protests and beat demonstrators. And protesters pledged to release thousands of green and black balloons on Friday in memory of those killed in the clashes.
An expatriate Iranian political analyst, who asked not to be identified because he often visited Iran and feared retribution, said Mr. Moussavi's "only option will be to court behind the scenes and try to muster support in powerful circles, and use them as his proxies to fight for him, and of course they will fight, but not for Moussavi, but because of their disagreement or because they despise Ahmadinejad" and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader.
Another analyst, also speaking on the condition of anonymity, said it was still possible for the fractious elite to try to unite to avoid being pushed out of power altogether.
In another indication of the depth of divisions that remain, a senior cleric, Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem-Shirazi, called for "national conciliation."
"Definitively, something must be done to ensure that there are no embers burning under the ashes, and that hostilities, antagonism and rivalries are transformed into amity and cooperation among all parties," he said in comments posted on the state-run Press TV Web site.
The government appeared to fall back on a familiar playbook: trying to rouse Iranians through populist appeals against outside interference and dark accusations of foreign conspiracy. Mr. Rezai's aides said the authorities did not even bother to conduct the limited recount they had agreed to. Mr. Ahmadinejad stepped out of the shadows to lash out at President Obama, who said Tuesday that he was "appalled and outraged" by the crackdown on protesters.
On Thursday, Mr. Ahmadinejad said: "We expected the British and European countries to make those kinds of comments. But we were not expecting Mr. Obama, who has talked about change, to fall in the same trap and follow the same path that Bush did."
He did not stop there. "I hope you avoid interfering in Iran's affairs and express your regret in a way that the Iranian people find out about it," he said.
Nazila Fathi reported from Tehran, and Alan Cowell from Paris. Michael Slackman and Mona el-Naggar contributed reporting from Cairo, and Sharon Otterman from New York.

Friday's Baghdad Bombing

Day after day, bombs bursting in markets and police stations and whatnot give proof of the impending disaster in Iraq.
New bomb blast at Baghdad market 

The bombing at the motorbike market was the latest in a string of attacks 
At least 11 people have been killed and more than 40 wounded in a bomb attack in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.
The blast, at a motorcycle market in the centre of the city, was the latest in a recent series of major bomb attacks on civilian targets.
On Wednesday some 70 people were killed in the Sadr City area of Baghdad.
American troops are scheduled to pull out of all Iraqi cities by next Tuesday. Officials say the attacks will not affect their plans.
The motorbike market, which only takes place on Fridays, has been targeted by bombers in the past.
Correspondents say the latest bombings have raised questions about the ability of Iraqi security forces to combat a determined insurgency.
The withdrawal of US troops from urban areas is a significant element of an agreement between Washington and the Iraqi government, under which all US soldiers are due to leave Iraq by 2012.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Obama and Israel

This column was originally published in the Jerusalem Post

by Isi Leibler
June 24, 2009

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was in an unenviable position when he delivered his first major foreign policy address. He was facing tough demands from a highly popular new American president who gives the impression that he seeks to draw the United States closer to the Arab world by distancing it from Israel. Obama reversed the policy of his predecessor, which he described as "simply dictating solutions," and expressed his intention of "engaging" with adversaries. Yet ironically Israel, until now regarded as an American ally, has been confronted with diktats from Obama, culminating with the tough demands contained in the otherwise affable address delivered in Cairo to a global Muslim audience.
At the same time, Netanyahu was confronted by hard-line nationalists in his own government, seemingly unable to appreciate that Israel does not have the capacity to stand alone against the entire world, who urged him to summarily dismiss the US demands.
Without groveling or conceding on issues related to Israel's security, Netanyahu skillfully adopted a conciliatory position and averted a major breach in US- Israel relations. He demonstrated that the new Netanyahu has matured and acquired qualities of statesmanship and courage that are crucial for an Israeli leader in these difficult times. The enthusiastic public support he received after the speech demonstrated that his policies also reflected the Israeli consensus.
Some (myself included) maintained that Netanyahu should have endorsed a conditional Palestinian state from day one and avoided the considerable damage inflicted on Israel's public image. Yet in retrospect, the delay in articulating Israel's position until after the US President delivered his Cairo speech enabled Netanyahu to provide a number of concessions to Obama without compromising central issues.
It is to be regretted that in his brilliantly sculptured address to the Muslim world, Obama applied moral equivalency when referring to the Holocaust and Arab refugees. He also effectively endorsed the Arab narrative when implying that the creation of a Jewish state represented a restitution for the Holocaust which inflicted suffering on innocent Palestinians.
Netanyahu forcefully but diplomatically repudiated this false narrative, underlining the 3,500 years of profound Jewish connection to the Holy Land which preceded the Holocaust and politely highlighting facts which demonstrate that the suffering of the Palestinians all along has been largely self-inflicted.
The most sensitive component of Netanyahu's address was the formal endorsement of a Palestinian state subject to acceptance of the following four caveats: (i) recognition of Israel as a Jewish state; (ii) demilitarization, endorsed by international guarantees to prevent the formation of another Hamastan or an Iranian enclave; (iii) an end to the obscene anti-Semitic incitement, which to this day permeates every sector of Palestinian society; and (iv) recognition that descendants of Palestinian refugees would not be repatriated to Israel.
GIVEN THE HISTORY of the Arab-Israel conflict, if the White House is unable to concede that Israel's demands are eminently reasonable, then alas there may be substance in the fears previously expressed, suggesting that Obama may be willing to sacrifice Israel in a vain effort to appease the Islamic world. It would also revive dark memories of Chamberlain's betrayal of Czechoslovakia in the course of his futile effort to appease the Nazis.
In an effort to demonstrate goodwill and avoid frontal confrontation, Netanyahu undertook to impose a freeze in relation to creating new settlements. However he insisted that settlers be enabled to lead "normal lives," signaling approval of natural growth in the major settlement blocs. He also expressed the commitment of his government to an undivided Jerusalem, guaranteeing freedom of worship to all religions.
The initial response from the Palestinians was hardly encouraging. The PA renewed threats to revert to armed conflict and terror, and Saeb Erekat declared that "Netanyahu will have to wait 1,000 years to find a single Palestinian who will co-operate with him on the basis of this speech."
If the Palestinians refuse to consider Netanyahu's proposals, they will be replicating the intransigent behavior of Arafat and Abbas, both of whom rejected offers from Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert for 97% of territory over the Green Line. This would reaffirm that ironically it is the Palestinians not Israelis who are the barrier to a Palestinian state, because their overriding motivation remains to obliterate Jewish sovereignty in the area.
Obama's initial response to Netanyahu's speech was that "what we are seeing is at least the possibility that we can restart serious talks." The White House also stated that Netanyahu's address was "an important step forward."
But we must not delude ourselves. To date the Obama administration's actions display a consistent determination to distance the United States from Israel in order to curry favor with the Arabs. We are already being pressured for additional concessions without reciprocity. The suggestion that Israel return to the indefensible 1948 "Auschwitz borders" shocked the nation, as did heartless demand that Israel make unilateral concessions to Hamas without regard to the release of Gilad Schalit.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and White House spokesmen have reiterated that the Administration rejects and denies undertakings that the Bush Administration supported: the Israeli retention of regions such as Gush Etzion, Ma'ale Adumim and settlements adjacent to Jerusalem. The Obama administration also demands that Jews be denied the right to establish homes in these areas. No Israeli government could agree to impose limitations on the right of Jews to reside in Jerusalem - the city from which their religious and national civilization originated.
UNDER THESE circumstances we desperately need a unity government. The Prime Minister has expressed a policy which enjoys the support of an overwhelming majority of the nation. Today, there is nothing of substance differentiating the policies of Kadima from those of Likud. For Tzipi Livni to continue subordinating the national interest at such a critical time merely to promote her personal ambition is simply unconscionable.
It is also now critical that we encourage American Jews to actively support us. With 80% of them having voted for Obama after his guarantee that he would never forsake Israel, their moral support would have a major impact. Besides, they should also stress that pressuring Israel and appeasing the Arabs will not only undermine Israel but will ultimately rebound against the United States.
Should Obama, despite protestations to the contrary, continue applying pressure on Israel while appeasing the Arabs, there would be serious grounds for questioning the commitment of the president to the security of the Jewish state. Hopefully the need to pose such a painful question will never arise.
Netanyahu has displayed courage in presenting a principled position which is supported by the vast majority of Israelis. He has reiterated that Israelis are willing to make real sacrifices to achieve a genuine peace. But until such time as our neighbors demonstrate reciprocity and genuine commitment to peaceful relations, we can no longer be expected to make further unilateral concessions but must unite and stand firm against pressures to force us to do otherwise. 

From Mecca To Jerusalem: Muslims And Their Feelings


2009 June 23
by Jew With A View

 Next time someone tries to hoodwink you into believing that Islam 'respects all faiths', ask them about Mecca and Medina. Specifically, ask them why the two holiest Muslim cities are off limits to all non Muslims.

Yep, that's right. Mecca and Medina are no go areas unless you're a Quran-brandishing member of the 'religion of peace'. And there are no exceptions, no apologies and certainly no concern over whether this might be a tad hypocritical.

In fact, just to make it clear to any naughty infidels who may try and sneak into Mecca, the Saudi authorities have put up these helpful signs:





Now let's compare what happens in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. This is the holiest Jewish city. And where the second temple once stood, there now remains a solitary wall; the Kotel, or 'Wailing Wall', where Jews come to pray. Non Jews are also welcome there, and perfectly at liberty to visit the Kotel and pray there, should they desire.

And then there is the Al Aqsa Mosque - slapbang where the Jewish temple used to stand.

From what you read in the international media, you'd never know that Israel - being democratic to a fault - has given control of this vital area to the Muslims. So even as Muslims across the globe support, sponsor and carry out terrorism against  the Jewish state, it is the Muslim Waqf, part of the Palestinian Authority, which has jurisdiction over the Temple Mount area.

And what happens when any non Muslim dares to go there…?

Ask Israeli cabinet Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch. Today he paid a visit to the Temple Mount.  Result? Total hysteria and threats of violence from Palestinian Muslims. Aharonovitch spent a mere ninety minutes in the area, and was there purely to check police deployments in this volatile area of Jerusalem.

 "The intention of the visit was to see how the police would deploy in case of an emergency," Aharonovitch's spokesman Tal Harel said. And he added: "We went everywhere. We were accompanied by the Waqf, who were fully aware of our presence, and this was planned in coordination with them well ahead of the visit."

Nine years ago, of course, a similar visit by Ariel Sharon triggered a bloody and protracted 'intifada' by the Palestinians. I mean, just think about it: a  Jewish Israeli has the sheer chutzpah to visit a holy Jewish area in Israel, the Jewish homeland! Whatever next?!

And these are far from being isolated events. Back in 2005, on Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day), a small Jewish group ascended the Temple Mount only to be attacked by a mob of Palestinian Muslims, who emerged from  the Al Aqsa Mosque. The police had to be called, so intense was the violence directed at the Jews.

But Jerusalem was a holy place for Jews before Islam even existed, I hear the historians among you cry indignantly!

Yet here is the Palestinian-appointed Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Mohammed Hussein, insisting that today's visit by Israeli Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch was not coordinated in advance and, wait for it:

"He does not have the right to visit al-Aqsa because it is an Islamic site and not a Jewish site, and it could ignite violence because the visit provokes the feelings of Muslims. It is an assault on an Islamic place," Hussein said.

And there, in that one line, you have it. The sheer hypocrisy of the demands made by Muslims in non Muslim nations. Let's read it again, just to marvel at the utter arrogance involved:

'…it could ignite violence because the visit provokes the feelings of Muslims…'

Ah yes,  Muslim feelings…

The same Muslim feelings that are 'provoked' by cartoons and teddy bears and piggy banks and democracy and Geert Wilders and books about Mohammed and freedom for women and alcohol and Jews and Christians and Hindus and Buddhists and Sikhs and Atheists and Gays and every single thing on the planet that does not comply with Islam!

It is these Muslim feelings that Barack Obama, the great Dhimmi in the White House, is busy bending over backwards to appease.

It is these Muslim feelings that got Dutch Politician Geert Wilders banned from Britain and also have him living in fear, under 24/7 police guard.

It is these Muslim feelings that ensure women throughout the Islamic world have about the same rights as a house plant; none, in other words.

It is these Muslim feelings that enable Muslim men in Saudi Arabia to rape women with impunity; women who are then publicly flogged and imprisoned as 'punishment'.

It is these Muslim feelings that ensured the novel 'The Jewel Of Medina' was dropped by two publishers,  after angry Muslims threatened the first one, and then firebombed the London home of the second who took it on.

It is Muslim feelings that result in Muslim terrorists stealing the lives of innocent civilians in Israel on a regular basis.

It is Muslim feelings that in 2005 brought horror to the heart of London and left corpses buried underground on burning tube trains.

It is Muslim feelings that brought down the Twin Towers in New York and that have caused another 13,459 deaths since.


Frankly, I don't give a damn about Muslim sensibilities any more,  given that in order to keep Muslims happy, the rest of us have to sacrifice every  value we hold dear.

I recommend that next time the followers of Islam start burning flags, rioting, issuing fatwas, and banging on about their feelings, we tell them where to shove'em!

Saudis hold 'cross-dressing men'

It would be funny if it were not sad...
Saudis hold 'cross-dressing men'

Human rights activists are calling on Saudi Arabia to drop charges against 67 men arrested at a party for reportedly wearing women's clothes.
The arrests violate the basic rights of privacy and freedom of expression, according to the New York-based organisation Human Rights Watch.
Most of the men detained were Filipinos and the Philippine embassy says they have since been released.
But they face charges of imitating women, and possession of alcohol.
The affair came to light in a Saudi newspaper, al-Riyadh, which said those arrested were celebrating the Independence Day of the Philippines at a private party in the Saudi capital on 13 June.
Police are reported to have made the arrests after spotting "suspicious behaviour".
Further investigation is said to have revealed more women's clothing, cosmetics, and alcohol.
"If the police in Saudi Arabia can arrest people simply because they don't like their clothes, no-one is safe," Human Rights Watch said in a statement.
An official at the Philippine embassy said the men were set free after their respective work sponsors put up bail for them, but that charges remain.
Human Rights Watch says the Saudi authorities periodically raid gatherings at which men have allegedly worn female clothing.
It cites an example from 2005, when more than 100 men were arrested for "imitating women" and sentenced to jail terms and flogging.
On that occasion, those convicted were pardoned and released several months after their arrest.

Palestinians prefer Israeli to Palestinian security

Quote from Bassam Eid, founder and director or the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group based in east Jerusalem:

When Israel removed the checkpoint at the southern entrance to Jericho, the Palestinian Security Agency started to work harder and began to despise the local people even more. It claims that Israel has given them too much work by removing the checkpoint. I, as a Palestinian, in consideration of the Palestinian Security Agency's need to take some tasks off its shoulders, request that Israelis put back the checkpoint. But of course that is left to the judgment of Ehud Barak and not me.

After saying good-bye to one friend I met in the streets of Jericho, another would arrive and warn me that the first was under "a question mark," meaning he was apparently a security agent. Events of this sort bring me back to the 1970s, several years after the beginning of the occupation, when people in the streets of Palestine feared each other.

I would like to suggest that Gen. Dayton not just train agents in the use of weapons, beating and torture (eight prisoners have been tortured to death in Palestinian prisons so far this year: five in Gaza, three in the West Bank), but also train them how to behave among their own people. However, I don't believe that ranks high on Dayton's list of priorities.

Whenever someone is beaten or tortured, the justification given is that the person either "opposed the peace process" or "belonged to Hamas."
At the end of the day, people return to their routines and shut their eyes to the reality around them.


Americans seem to have a knack for that sort of thing.

Bombs away in Iraq once again

This is getting to be a habit, isn't it? US government doesn't seem to have noticed.

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Bombs killed five Iraqi policemen and at least two civilians Thursday, police said, and the vice president blamed insurgents trying to delay this month's withdrawal of U.S. troops from towns and cities.
A string of attacks has cast doubt on the ability of Iraqi forces to keep the lid on a stubborn insurgency after U.S. combat troops pull back from towns and cities by June 30.
Thursday's blasts came just a day after at least 72 people died in a market bombing in Baghdad.
"The political nature of these attacks is becoming clear. They are an attempt to delay or suspend the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraqi urban centres according to the timetable," Vice President Tareq al-Hashimi said in a statement.
Police in the once turbulent but recently secure western city of Falluja said a roadside bomb there destroyed a police vehicle and killed all five policemen inside.
Falluja in Anbar province was once the heartland of the rebellion against the U.S. military and government forces.
Hours later, at least two people died and 30 others were wounded when another bomb struck a crowded bus terminal in the south of the capital, a hospital source said.
In eastern Baghdad, the U.S. military said nine U.S. soldiers were wounded when two roadside bombs hit their patrol.
Violence has dropped sharply across Iraq in the past year, but militants including Sunni Islamist al Qaeda continue to launch car and suicide bombings aimed at undermining the Shi'ite Muslim-led government and reigniting sectarian conflict.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a member of Iraq's Shi'ite majority, urged the world Thursday to denounce the bloodshed.
"We call on the international community, especially Arabic and Islamic states, to make a clear and decisive stance against these hateful crimes," he said in a statement.
"Keeping silent is no longer an acceptable stance."
Late Wednesday, an explosion tore through a busy second-hand market in eastern Baghdad's Sadr City slum, killing 72 people just four days after U.S. forces handed control of the Shi'ite area to Iraqi troops and police.
Saturday, a massive truck bomb killed 73 people near the northern city of Kirkuk. That and the Sadr City market bombing were the bloodiest attacks in the country for more than a year.
Maliki has urged Iraqis not to lose heart if insurgents take advantage of the U.S. military drawdown to step up attacks.
Analysts say attacks are also likely to intensify ahead of a parliamentary election in January that will be a test of whether the country's feuding factions can live together after years of sectarian slaughter unleashed by the 2003 U.S. invasion.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Iran protests continue, but the news gets in late

The news always gets in late each day, giving the impression that Iran is quiet and the demonstrations are subsiding. It is not so. Items posted at YouTube show there were clashes today and yesterday. (see June 23- Iran protestors fight Basiji June 24 - Protests continue despite suppression)

Iran protesters in 'bloody clashes' with riot police

Witnesses report fresh battles in Tehran as country's supreme leader vows to implement election result


Mark Tran and agencies
    Wednesday 24 June 2009 17.50 BST
    Zahra Rahnavard

    Zahra Rahnavard, Mir Hossein Mousavi's wife, has called for the immediate release of detained opposition politicians. Photograph: Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters

    Bloody clashes broke out in Tehran today as Iran's supreme leader said he would not yield to pressure over the disputed election.

    The renewed confrontation took place in Baharestan Square, near parliament, where hundreds of protestors faced off against several thousand riot police and other security personnel.

    Witnesses likened the scene to a ­war zone, with helicopters hovering overhead, many arrests and police beating demonstrators.

    One woman told CNN that hundreds of unidentified men armed with clubs had emerged from a mosque to confront the protestors. "They beat a woman so savagely that she was drenched in blood and her husband, he fainted. They were beating people like hell. It was a massacre," she said.

    With the independent media banned from covering street protests, the reports could not be verified. A witness told Reuters that there had been no violence.

    The latest confrontations came as the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, whose authority has been challenged by massive grassroots protests, said on state television: "I had insisted and will insist on implementing the law on the election issue. Neither the establishment nor the nation will yield to pressure at any cost."

    But the opposition was just as unyielding. One of the defeated presidential candidates, Mehdi Karroubi, stepped up his challenge to the regime, describing the government as illegitimate. Rejecting the outcome of the 12 June vote, the reformist cleric and most liberal of the presidential candidates said on his website: "I do not accept the result and therefore consider as illegitimate the new government. Because of the irregularities, the vote should be annulled."

    In another act of blatant defiance, the wife of defeated opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi called on the authorities to immediately release Iranians who had been detained, .

    In remarks posted on her husband's website, Zahra Rahnavard said: "I regret the arrest of many politicians and people and want their immediate release. It is my duty to continue legal protests to preserve Iranian rights."

    Rahnavard, who galvanised women voters by campaigning at Mousavi's side before the election, said that the government should not treat his supporters "as if martial law has been imposed in the streets."

    Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, one of Iran's most senior clerics, who has been under house arrest for 10 years, called for three days of national mourning from today for those killed.

    "Resisting the people's demand is religiously prohibited," he said on his website. Once the heir apparent to ­Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Montazeri fell out with the founder of the Islamic republic shortly before his death in 1989.

    Karroubi, who came last in the election, also signalled that opposition would continue, also called on Iranians to hold ceremonies tomorrow to mourn the dead. But Mohsen Rezaei, who came third, has withdrawn his complaints to the guardian council about the 12 June vote, which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed to win by a landslide.

    The guardian council has ruled out an annulment of the election, saying there were no major irregularities, although it admitted that more people had voted than were registered in 50 areas. It was announced yesterday that Ahmadinejad would be sworn in by mid-August.

    In a sign that the crisis was having a knock-on effect on its foreign policy, the foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, said he had "no plans" to attend a G8 summit meeting on Afghanistan in Italy tomorrow. His decision – which followed Barack Obama saying he was "appalled and outraged" by the violence meted out to protesters in Iran – pointed to rising tensions with the west. Western diplomats had seen the three-day event as a rare chance for the G8 countries and regional powers such as Iran to try to find common ground on Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    Iran has accused the US and Britain of stirring up trouble in the post-election violence that has seen at least 17 people killed, although the toll is suspected to be higher. Britain yesterday expelled two Iranian diplomats in a tit-for-tat response to the expulsion of two British diplomats accused by Tehran of being spies.

    In a further development, Iran's intelligence minister said some people with British passports were involved in violence, the semi-official Fars news agency reported. Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei said one of those arrested in the protests was "disguised as a journalist and he was collecting information needed by the enemies," Fars reported.

    Obama yesterday condemned for the first time the violence in Iran. After a week of reticence, the US president went far beyond his previous expressions of sympathy with the demonstrators.

    "The United States and the international community have been appalled and outraged by the threats, beatings, and imprisonments of the last few days," he said. "I strongly condemn these unjust actions, and I join with the American people in mourning each and every innocent life that is lost."

    Obama spoke of the "searing image" of the dying moments of Neda Soltan, a young female protester shot by a sniper and now an icon of the revolt. He said the demonstrators would ultimately be seen to have been "on the right side of history". The regime's accusations against foreigners, he said, were "an obvious attempt to distract people from what is truly taking place within Iran's borders."


    Mennonite "Peace" group hypocrisy on Iran

    A letter from Dexter Van Zile. He has asked us to blog about it - everyone, so we have. It is truly pitiful that Mennonites are carrying on a shameful relation with the worst Ayatollahs in Iran while they are murdering their own people.
    Hello Everyone:
    As you know, the Mennonite Central Committee has been one of the more vociferous and unfair critics of Israel.
    This pacifist group has allowed its prophetic voice to be used as a weapon of war against Israel.
    Its activists have also worked to legitimize Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the eyes of the American people.
    When I've spoken with the people from the MCC about their dialogue with Ahmadinejad, they respond by saying that it is a good thing to keep the lines of communications open even with people we regard as "enemies." They also state that they have expressed their concern to Ahmadinejad about his comments regarding Israel.
    Now that the Iranian regime has revealed itself to be quite willing to use violence to suppress its opposition, the MCC, whose activists have met with Ahmadinejad, have fallen silent.
    They are not using the lines of communication that they said were so necessary to maintain.
    On June 15, I wrote a post on CAMERA's website about this silence.
    I have recently updated this post with some new information that frankly caused my jaw to drop. In short, the MCC has engaged in dialogue with with scholars from the Imam Khomeini Education and Research Institute (IKERI) located on Qom, Iran. This institute is directed by Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi, described by The Star (Toronto) as "spiritual adviser to Iran's hard-line president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."
    One dissident described Mesbah-Yazdi as "the most dangerous Mullah in Iran." The Toronto Star reported that Mesbah-Yazdi is "is a strong advocate of the death penalty, public flogging and the use of suicide bombers against "enemies of Islam."
    It's obvious enough to state that if Israel were behaving the way the regime in Iran is behaving, the MCC would not hesitate to issue a ringing condemnation.
    I don't know how any of you want to use this information, but please, read the post  [article is below ]. If you've got a blog, please blog on itFeel free to quote my message in its entirety.  [That's what we did!] 
    Dexter Van Zile
    Christian Media Analyst
    PO Box 35040
    Boston, MA  02135-0001
    617-789-3672 Voice
    UPDATED: Mennonite Central Committee Silent on Iran

    When it comes to rehabilitating his image in the United States, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad can count on the Mennonite Central Committee for assistance.

    The organization has sponsored two dinners and an interfaith pilgrimage to Tehran during which Christian leaders have met with the Iranian President and offered kind words about the man afterwards.

    Now that events demonstrate that Ahmadinejad is the public face of a brutal regime willing to suppress the people it governs, the organization has fallen silent.
    After more than two days of protests and violence in Iran, the MCC has not published any statement about the regime on its website, nor does it have any plans to.
    On the morning of June 15, 2009, CAMERA sent an email to Ed Nyce, the MCC's Media and Education Coordinator asking whether or not the organization was going to issue any statement about Iran.
    Nyce's response, which came on the afternoon of June 15, was succinct and direct:

    "We have no plans to issue a statement."

    When asked in subsequent communications (email and a voice message) why the MCC had nothing to say, Nyce reiterated in an email that the MCC has "no plans to issue a statement."

    The MCC's silence about the events in Iran is remarkable given its highly visible campaign to legitimize Ahmadinejad in the U.S. This campaign began in February 2007 when the MCC organized a meeting of Christian leaders with the Iranian President in Teheran. The delegation held a press conference in Washington, D.C. upon its return to the U.S. Christian leaders reportedly challenged Ahmadinejad about his anti-Semitic statements, but their complaints had little apparent effect. Four days after the delegation's meeting Ahmadinejad appeared in Sudan, where according to Islamic Republic News Agency (Iran's official news service), he said "Zionists are the true manifestation of Satan."

    In September 2007, the MCC organized an ecumenical dinner attended by Ahmadinejad and numerous Christian leaders in New York City.

    The leaders met with the Iranian president after he addressed the United Nations on September 26, 2007. According to The New York Times, Albert Lobe, executive director of the Mennonite Central committee told Ahmadinejad "We meant to extend to you the hospitality which a head of state deserves."

    Lobe's obsequiousness was apparently a response to the treatment Ahmadinejad received at Columbia University on Sept. 24, when the school's president Lee Bollinger called him "a petty and cruel dictator."

    The MCC organized a similar dinner with Ahmadinejad in September 2008. After this meeting, MCC officials reassured the American people that the Iranian President had no desire to destroy Israel militarily, but merely supported a "one-state solution" to the conflict in which "Israelis and Palestinians elect a single government to represent both peoples."
    When it comes to portraying Ahmadinejad in a sympathetic light, or condemning Israeli policies, such as the construction of the security barrier, the Mennonite Central Committee has been quite vocal. But when it comes time to assess the behavior of the Iranian regime in light of the Christian gospel (which it uses so often to judge Israel), the group falls silent.
    UPDATE - June 24, 2009

    In addition to sponsoring the two dinners and interfaith pilgrimage mentioned above, the Mennonite Central Committee has had multiple face-to-face contacts with scholars from the Imam Khomeini Education and Research Institute (IKERI) located on Qom, Iran. This institute is directed by Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi, described by The Star (Toronto) as "spiritual adviser to Iran's hard-line president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."


    According to a report in the The Star, a May 2007 meeting between scholars from the institute and Mennonite scholars at the University of Waterloo sponsored by the MCC provoked a protest from Iranians in Canada. The Star reported:

    "We're not against dialogue but the Mennonites are naïve if they think they can open one with these people," said Haideh Moghissi, a York University sociologists who with 17 others signed a protest letter sent to the university.
    She says Mesbah-Yazdi and his followers are "at the forefront of oppression in Iran," responsible for silencing all intellectuals who disagree with the regime.
    "It hurts to know that while people are losing their lives over there, some people are opening the door to 'dialogue' over here. Why doesn't the institute open it back there?"


    The Star also reports that Mesbah-Yazdi "is a strong advocate of the death penalty, public flogging and the use of suicide bombers against "enemies of Islam."

    "He is the most dangerous mullah in Iran," says Saeed Rahnema, director of York University School of Public Policy and Administration, who spearheaded the protest.


    Despite complaints from Iranian dissidents about the meeting in 2007, the MCC sponsored another dialogue with scholars from IKERI in Qom on May 24-27, 2009.


    According to an article about the most recent meeting published on the website of Conrad Grebel University College (which sent scholars to the dialogue), the participants witnessed "active campaigning on behalf of presidential candidates."


    The article also states that at the conference's end, "the Mennonite delegation expressed its gratitude to IKERI for unsurpassed hospitality, delicious meals, comfortable accommodations, and excellent conference meeting space."


    IKERI apparently treated its Mennonite guests with more respect and deference than the Iranian government has shown to its own citizens. According to CNN, witnesses report that government security forces are beating people like "animals."

    Violent confrontations in Iran - Why is everyone silent?

    Where, oh where, are the crowds of rights demonstrators, where is Oxfam? Amnesty? Human Rights Watch? They issued minor press releases, but nobody gave them much coverage. If Israel or the US were murdering people in this way, there would be an outcry all over the world. Streets would be flooded with protestors. Where is Tikkun? Doesn't Michael Lerner's sense of justice extend to Iranians? Don't they have rights?
    Violent confrontations in Iran - Why is everyone silent?

    Ma'ariv (Monday, June 22, 09)

    by Ben Caspit and Ben-Dror Yemini (opinion) ?

    (Hebrew original)

    Tell us, where is everyone? Where did all the people who demonstrated against Israel's brutality in Operation Cast Lead, in the Second Lebanon War, in Operation Defensive Shield, or even in The Hague, when we were dragged there unwillingly after daring to build a separation barrier between us and the suicide bombers, disappear to? We see demonstrations here and there, but these are mainly Iranian exiles. Europe, in principle, is peaceful and calm. So is the United States. Here and there a few dozens, here and there a few hundreds. Have they evaporated because it is Tehran and not here?

    All the peace-loving and justice-loving Europeans, British professors in search of freedom and equality, the friends filling the newspapers, magazines and various academic journals with various demands for boycotting Israel, defaming Zionism and blaming us and it for all the ills and woes of the world?could it be that they have taken a long summer=2 0vacation? Now of all times, when the Basij hooligans have begun to slaughter innocent civilians in the city squares of Tehran? Aren't they connected to the Internet? Don't they have YouTube? Has a terrible virus struck down their computer? Have their justice glands been removed in a complicated surgical procedure (to be re-implanted successfully for the next confrontation in Gaza)? How can it be that when a Jew kills a Muslim, the entire world boils, and when extremist Islam slaughters its citizens, whose sole sin is the aspiration to freedom, the world is silent?

                 Imagine that this were not happening now in Tehran, but rather here. Let's say in Nablus. Spontaneous demonstrations of Palestinians turning into an ongoing bloodbath. Border Policemen armed with knives, on motorcycles, butchering demonstrators. A young woman downed by a sniper in midday, dying before the cameras. Actually, why imagine? We can just recall what happened with the child Mohammed a-Dura. How the affair (which was very harsh, admittedly) swept the world from one end to another. The fact that a later independent investigative report raised tough questions as to the identity of the weapon from which a-Dura was shot, did not make a difference to anyone. The Zionists were to blame, and that was that.

                 And where are the world's leaders? Where is the wondrous rhetorical ability of Barack Obama? Where has his sublime vocabulary gone? Where is the desire, that is supposed to be built into all American presidents, to defend and act on behalf of freedom seekers around the globe? What is this stammering?

                 A source who is connected to the Iranian and security situation, said yesterday that if Obama had shown on the Iranian matter a quarter of the determination with which he assaulted the settlements in the territories, everything would have looked different. "The demonstrators in Iran are desperate for help," said the man, who served in very senior positions for many years, "they need to know that they have backing, that there is an entire world that supports them, but instead they see indifference. And this is happening at such a critical stage of this battle for the soul of Iran and the freedom of the Iranian people. It's sad."

                 Or the European Union, for example. The organization that speaks of justice and peace all year round. Why should its leaders not declare clearly that the world wants to see a democratic and free Iran, and support it unreservedly? Could it be20that the tongue of too many Europeans is still connected to dark places? The pathetic excuse that such support would give Khamenei and Ahmadinejad an excuse to call the demonstrators "Western agents," does not hold water. They call them "Western agents" in any case, so what difference does it make?

                 To think that just six months ago, when Europe was flooded with demonstrations against Israel, leftists and Islamists raised pictures of Nasrallah, the prot?g? of the ayatollah regime. The fact that this was a benighted regime did not trouble them. This is madness, but it is sinking in and influencing the weary West. If there is a truly free world here, let it appear immediately! And impose sanctions, for example, on those who slaughter the members of their own people. Just as it imposed them on North Korea, or on the military regime in Burma. It is only a question of will, not of ability.

                 Apparently, something happens to the global adherence to justice and equality, when it comes to Iran. The oppression is overt and known. The Internet era broadcasts everything live, and it is all for the better. Hooligans acting on behalf of the regime shoot and stab masses of demonstrators, who cry out for freedom.

                 Is anything more needed? Apparently it is. Because it is to no avail. The West remains indifferent. Obama is polite. Why shouldn't he be, after all, he aspires to a dialogue with the ayatollahs. And that is very fine and good, the problem is that at this stage there is no dialogue, but there is death and murder on the streets. At this stage, one must forget the rules of etiquette for a moment. The voices being heard from Obama elicit concern that we are actually dealing with a new version of Chamberlain. Being conciliatory is a positive trait, particularly when it follows the clumsy bellicosity of George Bush, but when conciliation becomes blindness, we have a problem.

                 The courageous voice of Angela Merkel, who issued yesterday a firm statement of support for the Iranian people and its right to freedom, is in the meantime a lone voice in the Western wilderness. It is only a shame that she has not announced an economic boycott, in light of the fact that this is the European country that is most invested in building infrastructure in Iran. She was joined by British Foreign Secretary Miliband. It is little, it is late, it is not enough. Millions of freedom seekers have taken to the streets in Iran, and the West is straddling the f ence, one leg here, the other leg there.

                 There is a different Islam. This is already clear today. Even in Iran. There are millions of Muslims who support freedom, human rights, equality for women. These millions loathe Khamenei, Chavez and Nasrallah too. But part of the global left wing prefers the ayatollah regime over them. The main thing is for them to raise flags against Israel and America. The question is why the democrats, the liberals, and Obama, Blair and Sarkozy, are continuing to sit on the fence. This is not a fence of separation, it is a fence of shame.