Saturday, July 25, 2009

Obama backs off Mid East peace plan and confrontation with Israel

DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis

July 25, 2009, 1:23 PM (GMT+02:00)

Binyamin Netanyahu - slow to respond

Binyamin Netanyahu - slow to respond

A flock of US presidential emissaries descends on Israel this week. DEBKAfile's Washington sources report that their briefs reflect US president Barack Obama's new caution on his next Middle East steps. He has backed away from formulating a new Middle East plan which he was widely reported as preparing to unveil at the end of July and shied away from a showdown with Israel on such touchy issues as settlement expansion.

The coming week's arrivals, for which prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu prepared by convening his kitchen cabinet of six ministers Friday, will be led by defense secretary Robert Gates followed by national security adviser James Jones and presidential adviser Dennis Ross. Special Middle East envoy George Mitchell is first stopping off in Damascus Saturday, July 25, for talks set up by his Syrian deskman Fred Hof.

The visitors to Israel will be accompanied by a large party of CIA and military high-ups.

Our sources report that Obama began reassessing his Middle East initiatives last month. To complete this turnabout, he is awaiting a response from prime minister Netanyahu, who is drawing much criticism in Washington for being slow to respond. The Israeli government has allowed the public and local media columnists to believe that a crisis in US-Israel relations is ongoing and that the Obama's US administration would be the first to try and impose a peace settlement on Israel.

His envoys have tried to dispel this impression by informing Israeli leaders that the US president was not about to launch any new Middle East peace initiatives. Obama has furthermore watered down his demand for a total freeze on settlement construction and is willing to countenance expansion for accommodating natural growth. However, here too, the Israeli government is accused of holding back the figures and refusing to specify whether it covers 400 or 4,000 building starts.

Some White House sources complain that only after Netanyahu met Obama in the White House on May 18 did he affirm his acceptance of Palestinian statehood in four public statements. Had he said "two-state solution" out loud at that meeting, the relationship would have got off on a friendly footing from the start instead of appearing to go downhill.

DEBKAfile's Washington sources add that Mitchell is visiting Damascus for the second time in a month to explore the resumption of Syrian-Israel talks. The White House now appreciates that the peace process with the Palestinians is going nowhere any time soon. A high-ranking US official told our sources that this track will remain in deadlock for as long as Arab rulers like Saudi King Abdullah reject any gestures towards Israel in return for concessions and the Fatah-Hamas feud continues to keep the West Bank Gaza Strip apart under separate administrations.

President Obama has accordingly decided "to avoid a situation where he gets nothing from Arab leaders and is at odds with the Jews." This will more easily permit common ground to be broached on the Iranian nuclear issue.

Justice for Middle East Refugees Now!

These five YouTube clips tell the story of the Ethnic Cleansing of nearly a million refugees in the Middle East because of racism. A solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict must include justice for the refugees. A shocking story that should stir the conscience of every progressive.
The story is in five parts:
Here is the first part:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Incitement and Holocaust denial: Palestinian Authority TV: "In all of Europe There Weren't 6 Million Jews"

Material such as this is a persistent and blatant violation of the Roadmap for peace, which was supposed to have eliminated incitement, at least from official Palestinian authority productions.

Since "it is known that in all of Europe there weren't 6 million Jews," the Holocaust should be seen as one more example of Jews' exaggeration of their sufferings, according to a senior Palestinian religious official. This latest Palestinian Holocaust denial was expressed by Abd Al-Rahman Abbad, Secretary General of the [Palestinian] Organization of Clerics and Disseminators of Islam. This organization is headed by Ikrima Sabri, former Palestinian Authority Mufti under Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas.

In another repugnant distortion of history, Abbad explained on official Palestinian Authority TV that Jews possess "an attitude of superiority towards others" and therefore Jewish "culture and religion obligate them to have contacts only among themselves." This, he explained, is the source of the historical Jewish isolation in ghettos: Jews were not placed in ghettos by others, but chose to build walls around themselves and live in ghettos to avoid associating with non-Jews.
This attitude, which he called the Jewish "ghetto mentality," is not just one Jewish trait among many, but dominates: "The Jewish mindset [is] a mindset controlled by the [idea of the] ghetto."
President Barak Obama sees a direct connection between Holocaust denial and Israel's security:
"I will never compromise when it comes to Israel's security. Not when there are still voices that deny the Holocaust. Not when there are terrorist groups and political leaders committed to Israel's destruction." [AIPAC Conference, June 4, 2008]
The following is the transcript of the interview on PA TV:

"[The Israeli separation fence is a symptom of] the Jewish mindset, a mindset controlled by the [idea of the] ghetto. The ghetto means living in an isolated neighborhood only for Jews. That's why they cannot live with other groups because they believe that their culture and religion obligate them to have contacts only among themselves, based on an attitude of superiority towards others. That's why they did not live, for example, in the West, in separate neighborhoods, but lived in what is called "a ghetto." The ghetto was not forced upon them, as is thought, rather, they were the ones who forced it upon themselves. This [separation] fence is not just one fence, there are many fences. Look at the [Israeli] city Lod, for example, or Ramle. There is no mixing between different population groups who are all Israeli citizens. There is separation. The reason for this is the Israeli mentality, the ghetto mentality, the mentality of rejection of 'the other', and refusal to coexist with him...
[Jews] exaggerate every action that other [nations] do against any Jew in the world. In this context is the Holocaust issue, which the whole world still [deals with]. There is a place [in Israel] called "Memorial for Holocaust and Heroism," which tells of the killing of 6 million Jews, but it is known that in all of Europe there weren't 6 million Jews."
[PATV (Fatah) July 17, 2009]

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Inspiration and ray of hope - Summer Camp for Palestinian and Israeli Youth

Danny Shapiro, a friend who has started working at the Peres Peace Center wrote the following account.

July 19 was the first day of a six day camp joining 32 Israeli kids, aged 12 – 14, from the poor southern towns of Yeruham and Sderot, and 28 Palestinian kids living in poverty and despair in the occupied terrorities.

The camp, held at Kibbutz Galon, is organized by the Peres Center's Sports Department. And as much as I read about this kind of program, no article I could read, or video I could watch, could in any possible way match the almost incredulous sense of wonder and inspiration aroused by seeing these sixty kids playing in Galon's pool together, and enjoying a multi-lingual "Darbuka" session with a Palestinian madrich (leader).

It was also fascinating and deeply impressive to speak at length with Issam, who works on a number of projects with the Peres Center. Issam grew up in Gaza and moved to Ramallah after Hamas came to power and he felt his life was in danger for his many years of reconciliation work. No doubt some of you know him.
His story is amazing. He sat in Israeli prison and had a life-changing experience with an Israeli officer that put him on the path of working towards conciliation and peace. If I have the time I will write the story down and pass it along.

Issam reminded me again and again that not only was this the first time most of the Palestinian children had met an Israeli who not either a soldier or a settler – but for the great majority of them, this was the first time in their lives outside of their town or certainly the territories; the first time they had eaten in a restaurant; the first time they experience what even the lowest social and economic classes in Israel take for granted.

I have no illusions that  the experience of these 60 kids, and that of the additional several hundred who will be treated to similar camps this summer, will make any serious dent in overall public opinion or attitudes, and certainly will not make the leaders on both sides more peace loving and conciliatory. But then, that (the latter, at least) is not the goal of the Peres Peace Center.

But this type of program most certainly changes attitudes (this is based on professional evaluation following multiple years of experience), and, if nothing else, humanizes the conflict for those who are involved in it; and injects a few rays of hope into our battered and shattered hearts and minds.
That is what Peres Peace Center does. That is what the "peace" group Alternative Information Center finds objectiionable. They published an article insisting that Palestinians must boycott Peres Peace Center. The article states:
Shimon Peres is definitely an enemy of the Palestinian people, of human rights and of peace, and any kind of collaboration by a Palestinian organization with the Peres Center is scandalous.
Is the summer camp "scandalous?" You decide. The directors of the Peres Peace Center, in any case, are Uri Savir and Ron Pundak, though Peres founded the Peres Peace Center.
Ami Isseroff

Hezbollah defies UN Resolution 1701

Hezbollah defies UN Resolution 1701
By: Elias Bejjani*
July 20/09

The weird status of the Terrorist Iranian Hezbollah Militia in Lebanon has no precedent in the entire world, not in the contemporary era, nor at any time in the past. Presumably Lebanon is an independent democratic and multi-cultural country and an active founding member of both the United Nations and Arab league, while in reality and practicality it is not so due to the sad fact that its governing mechanism on all levels is mostly dictated and controlled by the Hezbollah leadership who run and dominate a mini Khomeini state inside the state of Lebanon with an army, financing capabilities, social services, educational body, organizational structure and weaponry arsenal that are all far stronger and far larger than those of the Lebanese state itself.  

Hezbollah, the armed Iranian militia stationed in Lebanon, is totally affiliated to the Iranian notorious Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Its leadership holds on solely to Lebanon's war-peace decision making process and imposes on the Lebanese and the country's institutions and officials by force and terrorism their Khomeini's denominational Islamic criteria with regard as to who is an enemy, who is an ally or friend, and who should be from the Lebanese tagged as a nationalist or a traitor.  

On July 2006, Hezbollah instigated a deadly war with Israel that lasted for 34 days. The Lebanese legitimate authorities nor the people had any saying in the matter.  Because of this insane war, the whole country has suffered huge financial loses that has exceeded 50 billion dollars with more than 1500 citizens and army men dead and with thousands injured.  Hezbollah leadership came out of their underground dens and bunkers when the war stopped to declare a divine victory. A victory that in reality is a mere self deception and a sickening delusion according to all world-wide recognized scientific standards of military, loses, gains, reality and logic.  

The war was ended in accordance to the UNSC Resolution 1701 that calls in its 8th clause for:Israel and Lebanon to support a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution based on the following principles and elements:
Full respect for the Blue Line by both parties;
Security arrangements to prevent the resumption of hostilities, including the establishment between the Blue Line and the Litani river of an area free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the government of Lebanon and of UNIFIL as authorized in paragraph 11, deployed in this area;
Full implementation of the relevant provisions of the Taif Accords, and of resolutions 1559 (2004) and 1680 (2006), that require the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon, so that, pursuant to the Lebanese cabinet decision of July 27, 2006, there will be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of the Lebanese state; No foreign forces in Lebanon without the consent of its government;
No sales or supply of arms and related materiel to Lebanon except as authorized by its government;
Provision to the United Nations of all remaining maps of land mines in Lebanon in Israel's possession.

Hezbollah did not abide by the UNSC 1701. Its Leadership did not put an end to its presence in the area that falls between the Blue Line and the Litani River. The Resolution stipulated that this area must be free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the Lebanese Army and United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, the UNIFIL.  

UNIFIL does not have the mandate to disarm Hezbollah nor to confiscate its weapons, while the field engagement rules that govern its military activities are limited to self defense only and when facing danger.  

Meanwhile the Lebanese Army that was deployed in the South and whose higher command according to the Lebanese Constitution is the Lebanese government, was left in the cold with no orders to either disarm Hezbollah, engage with its men, limit their activities or to confiscate any weaponry of its depots located in the UNFIL working area.  

Sadly the UNIFIL, Israel, Lebanese officials and politicians, United Nation, and all the countries whose troops are serving with the UNIFIL, have always been aware of this fact but hesitated, and failed, from taking any action to straighten out the matter and put the UNFIL troops under the UN Chapter Seven that gives the troops the power to carry enforcing and deterrent assignments that the Lebanese army is not allowed by the Lebanese government to implement.   

UNIFIL troops have always been under the mercy of Hezbollah and were never able to carry out their assignments freely. In this context a series of  underground explosions took place on Tuesday July 14/09 in an abandoned building near Lebanon's tense border with Israel. They were the result of a huge fire in a Hezbollah underground weapons depot. There were no casualties in the blasts, though widespread panic was caused among residents, some of whom mistook it for an Israeli air raid. The depot in the village of Khirbet Silim, about 10 miles north of the border, was housed in an abandoned building and guarded by Hezbollah militia men around the clock.  

Following this incident, the Lebanese Army and the UNIFIL stated in their official statements that they have closed off the area and launched a joint investigation into the cause of the explosions. But according to media reports and local residents, Hezbollah deployed heavily in the area following the blast, preventing not only civilians, but also the UNIFIL and Lebanese Army from entering, the area. 

Hezbollah in its camouflaging and distraction maneuvering tactics in regards to the Khirbet Silim incident has carried two more violations to the 1701 and tried to fabricate justifications for its so called resistance against Israel:

On July 17/09 a group of 15 Lebanese civilians, including children, crossed the border from Lebanon into Israel. The people were carrying Hezbollah and Lebanon flags. The group crossed the border at a spot where no fence exists, and walked to the Israeli side. IDF soldiers spotted them, but seeing they were unarmed, and had children with them, decided not to respond. Several minutes after crossing the border, the group turned back and returned to Lebanese territory.

Earlier on the same day Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah alleged that Israel is still holding a Lebanese prisoner and the remains of others despite a prison exchange a year ago in which all were to be returned and claimed that the family of the Lebanese soldier Yehia Skaff, say their son is still being held in an Israeli prison. He also alleged that Israel is also holding the "remains of martyrs." There was no immediate comment from Israel, but the government has said in the past that they believe Skaff was killed during the Palestinian terror attack he carried out in 1978 that killed 35 Israelis.

On July 18/09 fourteen UN peacekeepers were injured when Hezbollah civilians stopped by force a UNIFIL patrol
that was trying to investigate into the Khirbet Silim arms cache explosion. During the confrontation around 100 Hezbollah civilians threw stones at the troops and damaged their vehicles. 

The UNIFIL considered the Khirbet Silim incident a serious violation of Security Council Resolution 1701, notably the provision that there should be no presence of unauthorized assets or weapons in the area of operation between the Litani River and the Blue Line," UNIFIL spokesperson Yasmina Bouziane said in a press statement issued on 15/07/09. The statement noted that UNIFIL's Force Commander Claudio Graziano had met with Lebanon's Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri and LAF Commander Jean Kahwaji to brief them on the situation, adding that a "deposit of ammunition" had been discovered. 

Observers believe that the warehouse that blew up was filled with rockets, artillery shells, and machine guns and that it is one of dozens of ammunition depots in southern Lebanon that Hezbollah still fully controls. Obscuring the situation further, a security source told the English language Daily Star that the site was an "arms assembly plant." Local residents are fully aware that Hezbollah had turned hundreds of homes in the area into warehouses to store short- and medium-range Katyusha rockets, but are afraid to officially complain.

Since the 2006 war ended and since the issuance of the 1701 Resolution, there has been no visible Hezbollah weapons in the UNFIL area, but at the same time there has been no confiscating of Hezbollah Arm depots, which clearly means that all its depots have remained intact where they were before the war. This fact becomes 
credible when we Nasrallah, bragging publicly that his arsenal has doubled 10 times after July 2006.  The only thing that has changed is that Hezbollah fighters "Al Mujahedin" are not wearing any more their military attires, but instead civilian cloth. Otherwise they are still there, moving freely in all the South under the eyes of both the UNIFIL and Lebanese army  forces.

The UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon, through a series of reports on the implementation of the Resolution 1701, had expressed his dire concern about the indications of both the continued presence of arms and armed men in the south and the smugglings of weapons through the Syrian-Lebanese borders.  In his latest report issued last month he sated that the "Lebanese authorities have the primary responsibility to make sure there are no unauthorized armed elements and weapons in the region between the Litani River and the Blue Line, which serves as the border between Lebanon and Israel.

In conclusion, Hezbollah is still in control of South Lebanon, and still maintains there all
its weaponry depots and armed men in spite of the presence of the UNIFI and Lebanese army troops, and accordingly remains capable at any time to instigate a war with Israel on the instructions of its masters, the Iranian Mullahs. At the same still manipulating the Lebanese government and obstructing its control and authority. 

There will be no end to the bizarre, volatile and fragile situation in South Lebanon unless Hezbollah militia is dismantled and disarmed, not only in South Lebanon, but in the whole country. To achieve this goal the UNIFIL force in South Lebanon must have a new engagement mandate under chapter seven of the United Nations' charter in a bid to be authorized jointly with the Lebanese Army force to implement the 1701 and 1559 UNSC Resolutions 

By the end of the day, for Lebanon to enjoy a long-lasting stability and peace, its government must engage immediately with Israel into serious negotiations in a bid to end the war status between the two countries and sign a peace treaty as was the situation with both Jordan and Egypt, or otherwise, Hezbollah and other terrorist and Jihadist groups will continue to use South Lebanon as a battlefield for their Jihad wars (Holy Wars) against Israel.

Elias Bejjani
Canadian-Lebanese Human Rights activist, journalist and political commentator

Web sites &

Monday, July 20, 2009

Jerusalem and the settlement freeze

It was really a no-brainer to predict that the settlement freeze dispute with the United States would lead to a dispute over the status of Jerusalem (see Will Jerusalem be a frozen settlement?). It was a no-brainer, but it seems, predictably, that almost nobody saw it coming.

Now the problem is upon us. The United States has tried to stop a planby Irving Moskowitz to renovate a hotel in East Jerusalem that had been property of the Israel government for many years and create a relatively small number of housing units. US protests were reportedly deliberately leaked by Israeli officials to the media, in order to announce limits to the settlement freeze and to reassert the Israeli position regarding Jerusalem. Israel has rejected the calls. Continued here: O! No! Jerusalem and the Settlement Freeze!

How many civilians were killed in Gaza?

How many civilians were killed in Gaza?

Ben-Dror Yemini

Maariv 20.07.09 [translated]

Every week new reports are published on the number of civilians killed in the Gaza Strip during Operation Cast Lead. Again and again, Israel is blamed for "disproportionate casualties among civilians." Here and there, claims of "war crimes" are raised. It must be said that, first, any civilian death is deplorable and everything possible must be done to prevent such deaths. Second, any reasonable allegation must be investigated. There is not an army in the world that has not made mistakes, and the IDF is no exception. But apparently there are many entities that are enamored of lies. Hamas claimed from the start that only a small number of those killed in Gaza were fighters. Many human rights organizations adopted the claims made by Hamas and other Palestinian organizations. So the time has come, if truth has any meaning whatsoever, to present the real story.

Abdullah Abdel Hamid Muammar, a 22-year-old student from the village of el-Nassar north of Rafah, was killed in Operation Cast Lead. So we are told by the official report of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR). This report contains details about the war casualties that purport to be accurate. The purpose is obvious: to prove to the whole world that most of the casualties were innocent civilians who were hurt by the bombing of the civilian population.

Many human rights organizations, including Amnesty, B'Tselem and Human Rights Watch (HRW), relied, in whole or in part, on the PCHR data, which turned Muammar into an innocent victim. But there's a problem with that. According to a publication issued by the Press Department of the Al Qassam Brigades, Muamar was a member of Hamas, and he appears in a picture on an Arabic website in which he is carrying a Qassam missile. This is also the case with many other "innocent civilians." They were terrorists. It turns out that, to discover that lie - which was just one of many - meticulous investigations were required. Dr. Tal Pavel of the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, and Jonathan Dahoah-Halevy, a researcher at the Jerusalem Center, investigated each name on the list of casualties.

The various organizations announced that between 1,200 and 1,400 were killed in Gaza. The number may have been inflated, as claimed, for example, by journalist Lorenzo Cremonesi, reporting from the Gaza Strip for the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera about inflation of the numbers and the manipulations by Hamas. We should also mention the investigation conducted by the IDF which appears to be a bit more reliable and puts the number of killed at 1164, as well as the fact that Hamas issued explicit instructions to conceal and deceive.

According to Pavel's research, 564 of the dead were members of Hamas. All of them were honored, as fallen fighters, on Hamas websites. In addition to them, according to IDF investigations, about 100 Islamic Jihad members were killed. Assuming that other terrorists were killed, for example those belonging to Fatah, then most of the dead were not innocent civilians. And that's just the beginning.

The bombing of the Hamas Police Academy earned wall-to-wall condemnation because, according to international law, police are considered civilians. Here we will go into the results of the research conducted by Dahoah-Halevy. According to a name-based investigation of each of the "policemen", it turns out that 88.4% of them belong to the security - i.e., terrorism - mechanisms of Hamas. One of them, Muhammad el-Dasuqi, a member of the Resistance Committee, is suspected of being one of the perpetrators of the terrorist attack on the American convoy in 2003.

One of the most prominent events in the Gaza operation was the bombing of the UN school in the Jabalya refugee camp on January 6. All the media around the world publicized horrific pictures of "over 41 killed in the Al Fakhura school." The condemnation was worldwide, from the UN Secretary General, through the President of the United States, to the Prime Minister of Great Britain.

Many long weeks passed before it was shown to be a libel. First, the three artillery shells did not hit the school at all. Second, Hamas people were firing from the area and the IDF aimed its fire at them. Third, the number of killed was far smaller than originally reported. Most of the media and human rights organizations that publicized the original news did not bother to publicize the information that was disclosed. Those who are infatuated with libel are not prepared to be confused by the facts.

There were still many killed who are not identified as fighters. That is also worth investigating. If the IDF strike lacked discernment, the demographic breakdown of the casualties (erroneously called "uninvolved civilians") should have been identical to the demographic breakdown of the general population. However, a different picture emerges. A quarter of the population are adolescent girls. Actually, 8% of those killed were adolescent girls. A quarter of the population are adult women. Only 14% of those killed were women. The higher percentage of male casualties – much higher than their proportion of the population – proves that among them were a higher percentage of men involved in the fighting. In other words, the percentage of civilian casualties was dramatically smaller than the claims made against Israel. According to a more in-depth investigation by a team of researchers from the Interdisciplinary Center, between 900 and 1,070 of the casualties (63% - 75%) were killed because they were involved. If we add to that the fact that Hamas used civilians as human shields, or adolescent boys who were forced to participate in the fighting, the percentage of the casualties who were involved in the fighting only increases.

It is interesting to note the behavior of the armies of western countries when they had to conduct a similar war. Let's assume that there is no comparison with the World War II Allied bombing of Tokyo and Dresden. We'll deal with something more similar and closer in time. In 1999, NATO forces conducted a similar war, mainly by aerial bombing, against Yugoslavia (Operation Allied Force). 462 soldiers, 114 policemen and 489-512 civilians were killed.

Because there, the policemen were actually policemen, and in Gaza they are terrorists, the general balance shows that Israel hurt far fewer civilians than NATO did. And with regard to the demographic breakdown and the forced use of adolescent boys and civilians, the number of innocent casualties is apparently far lower.

The Israeli media, which publicized the stories of soldiers from the pre-military preparatory course - which turned out to be rumors and outright fabrications - did not publish the results of the serious investigations below. On the contrary. An editorial by Ha'aretz stated that it involved the "criminal killing of dozens of policemen…knowing that these policemen were nothing but enforcers of civilian order." Hamas is snickering. They publicize pictures of the "policemen" armed with Qassams, and Ha'aretz calls them "enforcers of civil order." The West reads Ha'aretz in English, not Hamas in Arabic. So sometimes, when Ha'aretz is around, Hamas does not need a propaganda department.

Even when this research was available, no one bothered to make corrections. On the contrary. The hara-kiri continues. The media, in Israel and around the world, are tainted with a peculiar selectivity. Any serious research that proves that there were no war crimes is rejected. Any fabrication that doesn't have a shred of basis in fact rates enormous headlines. That is what happened with the bombing of the Al Fakhura school in Jabalya, and in other cases as well.

Prof. Arnold Toynbee, who was no friend of Israel, wrote in one of his books, "In the history of man's endeavors to develop culture, there has never been a society whose progress and cultural level were so advanced that in time of revolution or war, its members could be depended upon not to commit evil acts." That is true of Israel and it is true of every country that finds itself in a state of war. So I will reiterate that every deviation should be investigated. But by the same token, there is no need to hide the true picture: with regard to the fact that Gaza is controlled by an entity whose way is terrorism, whose platform is anti-Semitic, and whose official objective is the destruction of the State of Israel, the number of innocent casualties in the course of the operation was far smaller than the stories fabricated by Palestinian organizations, human rights organizations and newspapers in Israel and around the world, such as Ha'aretz, which feeds many news agencies worldwide. We can, and should, publicize serious claims of deviations. But we also can, and should, at least to the same extent, present the serious research.

Ben-Dror Yemini is a researcher and a columnist in Maariv, daily newspaper


The Jews of Turkey, Israel, the "Jewish Lobby" and the Armenian Genocide

The book and the article reveal an unmentioned factor in Israel's reluctance to condemn the Armenian Genocide - the hostage Turkish Jews and the cynical pressure that is put on them. But the article uses, perhaps unwittingly, the anti-Semitic "Jewish Lobby" phrase:
Yet, it is important to note that Bali is by no means interested in justifying the Jewish lobby's vigorous efforts to please the Turkish authorities. While he puts forth a wealth of evidence of the huge pressure the Jewish community in Turkey is subjected to, that evidence does not prevent him from giving a critical account of how the Jewish leadership in Turkey has displayed an eagerness to advocate Turkish views and to support official Turkish policies. There are numerous accounts in the book of how the Turkish chief rabbinate confirmed the Jewish community's happiness and well-being in Turkey, opposing the promotion of the Armenian Genocide thesis, and how the Quincentennial Foundation, established by Turkish Jewish leaders in 1992 to celebrate the 500th year anniversary of the arrival of the Jews to Ottoman lands, actively championed Turkish official theses.
The "Jewish Lobby" generally refers to pro-Israel political activists in the United States, even though there are a lot of Jewish anti-Israel political activists there as well as non-Jewish Israel supporters. Jewish lobby is certainly not an appropriate term for the leaders of the Jewish community in Turkey.   
The Jews of Turkey and the Armenian Genocide
By Ayse Gunaysu on July 20, 2009

A groundbreaking book by independent scholar and historian Rifat Bali was published recently in Turkey, unearthing facts and first-hand accounts that unmistakably illustrate how the Turkish establishment blackmailed the leaders of the Jewish community—and through them Jewish organizations in the United States—to secure their support of the Turkish position against the Armenians' campaign for genocide recognition. The title of the book, Devlet'in Ornek Yurttaslari –Cumhuriyet Yıllarında Türkiye Yahudileri 1950-2003, can be roughly translated into English as "The Model Citizens of the State–Jews of Turkey in the Republican Period 1950-2003." (I will refer to the book as "The Model Citizens" in this article.)

The book is a product of the meticulous work Bali carried out for many years at around 15 archives worldwide, including the American Jewish Archives (Cincinatti, Ohio), B'nai B'rith International Archives (Washington, D.C.), National Archives and Records Administration (Maryland), Israeli National Archives (Jerusalem), Central Zionist Archives (Jerusalem), Turkish State Archives (Ankara), public archives in Tel Aviv, private archives (like that of Manajans Thomspson A.S., an advertising agency based in Istanbul), and his personal archives. He also researched hundreds of books, dissertations, and articles in Turkish and other languages, and interviewed numerous individuals.

"The Model Citizens" is in fact the complementary volume of Bir Turklestirme Seruveni–Cumhuriyet Yıllarında Türkiye Yahudileri, 1923-1945 (A Story of Turkification–Jews of Turkey in the Republican Period 1923-1945), a reference book Bali published in 1999 that reveals the true picture of the relations of domination between the ruling elite and non-Muslims in general (and Jews, in particular) after the founding of the Turkish Republic.

Rifat Bali's books are the richest sources of information for anyone looking to study the history of the non-Muslims in Turkey during the republican period. These books differ from others by their sheer wealth of archival references, details from daily life, and insights into the political, social, and cultural background. They are the result of arduous and untiring work carried out in both the public and private archives, in addition to a very detailed scanning of the daily press—which, apparent in both volumes of the history of the Jews of Turkey, significantly sheds light on how the "establishment" in Turkey, an organic system covering not only the state apparatus but also the representatives of the "civil society" from business organizations to the press, operated as a whole to treat the non-Muslims in Turkey as hostages and not as equal citizens. Although the history of the minorities in Turkey has become a topic of interest among the dissenting academia and a limited circle of intellectuals (especially after the turn of the millennium simultaneously with Turkey's prospective membership to the European Union), as far as I can see, none of the works in this field is supported by such a comprehensive press scan, which includes cartoons in addition to news items and articles.

Turkish Jews lobbying against the Armenian Genocide

In his 670-page book, Rifat Bali gives a detailed account of the Turkish government's efforts to mobilize its Jewish subjects to win the support of the Jewish lobby in the United States against the Armenian campaigners. At the same time, Bali shows, how the Turkish authorities played the Israeli government against U.S. policymakers for the same purpose, by making use of its strategic position in the Middle East, at times promising rewards (i.e., raising the level of diplomatic relations with Israel), at times overtly or covertly making threats (i.e., cutting off Israel's vital military logistical resources by hindering the use of U.S. bases in Turkey).

The book also offers rich material about how Turkish diplomats and semi-official spokesmen of Turkish policies, while carrying out their lobbying activities, threatened both Israel and the U.S. by indicating that if the Jewish lobby failed to prevent Armenian initiatives abroad—Turkey might not be able to guarantee the security of Turkish Jews. Such Armenian initiatives included the screening of an Armenian Genocide documentary by an Israeli TV channel in 1978 and 1990; Armenian participation in an international conference in Israel in 1982; Armenian genocide bills up for discussion in the U.S. House of Representatives, and so on. It has been a routine practice for Turkish authorities to invariably deny such threats. However, Bali's industrious work in the archives reveals first-hand accounts that confirm these allegations.

But this is not all. Rifat Bali throughout his book unfolds the entire socio-political setting  of the process of making the Jewish community leaders active supporters of Turkish governments' struggle against the "Armenian claims" in the international arena.

Now let us look at this background. From what Bali brings to our attention, we can see that there has always been a frantic, extremely vulgar anti-Semitism freely expressed by Islamic fundamentalists and racists, and openly tolerated by the government and judiciary. Such anti-Semitism—escalating at times with the rising tension between Israel and the Muslim countries of the Middle East—often went as far as warmly praising Hitler for doing the right thing and exterminating the Jews; declaring Jews the enemies of the entire human race; listing characteristics attributed to Jews as the worst that can be found in human beings; in one instance, putting up advertisements on walls in Jewish-populated neighborhoods in Istanbul; and in another case, sending letters to prominent members of the Jewish community threatening that if they didn't "get the hell out of Turkey" within one month, no one would be responsible for what happened to them.

Whenever Jewish community leaders have approached the authorities for a determined stance against such open anti-Semitism, the answer has been the same: These are marginal voices that have no significant effect on the general public; and there is freedom of expression in Turkey.

The eternal indebtedness of Jews to Turks

An important fact about such violent anti-Semitism is that it goes hand in hand with the widespread official and public conception of the Jews as guests who are indebted to their hosts; it is a debt that cannot be paid no matter how hard the debtors tried. This view isn't only shared by extremist elements in Turkey, but by the entire society—from the elites to the average person. It is a conviction purposefully designed and maintained by the establishment. And it enables the perpetual, unending, and unrestricted generation and regeneration of the relations of domination in Turkey between the establishment and non-Muslims in general, and Jews in particular, manifested in the treatment of the latter as hostages.

There are regular manifestations of this relationship. The most unbearable is the shameless, extremely offensive repetition by both top-ranking government officials and the mainstream media of how Turkey generously offered shelter to the Jews in 1492, when they were expelled from Spain, and how the Turkish people have always been so "kind" to treat the Jews with "tolerance" throughout history. This theme is repeated on every occasion but is voiced more loudly and more authoritatively whenever pressure on Turkey regarding the Armenian Genocide increases abroad. Another theme has been the obligation of the Jews to show material evidence of their gratitude to Turkey on account of the latter's welcoming of German Jewish scientists right after the Nazis' ascension to power. (Readers of Bali's first volume instantly will remember how Turkey declined thousands of asylum requests by German Jews; how 600 Czeckoslavakian Jews on board the vessel "Parita" were turned down; and how 768 passengers on the Romanian vessel "Struma," after being kept waiting off Istanbul for weeks in poverty and hunger, were sent to death in the Black Sea by Turkish authorities, with only one survivor in the winter of 1942.)

An illustrative example is the story of the fury that broke out in Turkey in 1987 when the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Council in Washington, D.C. decided to include the Armenian Genocide—as the first genocide of the 20th century— in the Memorial Museum that was going to be built.

The mainstream media, and not only the ultra-nationalist extremists, started a campaign that would last for years. Melih Asik from Milliyet (which has always positioned itself as a liberal and democratic newspaper), in his article on Dec. 20, 1987, accused "Jews" for being "ungrateful." After observing the regular ritual of reminding the Jews of the Turks' generosity in 1492 and during World War II, he wrote: "We treated them with utmost kindness for many years and now these same Jews are preparing to present us to the world in the Holocaust museum as genociders. Before everything else this behavior should be exhibited in the museum of 'historical displays of ingratitude and disgrace.'"

Melih Asik, as can be seen, is so confident that his readers would not question the use of the words "these same Jews," nor ridicule the identification of those Jews who sought shelter in the Ottoman Empire in 1492 with those sitting in the Holocaust Memorial Museum Council in 1987. He is that confident because he knows that such identification and essentialization is a regular, daily pattern internalized by the readers of the Turkish press.

Another very liberal and democrat anchorman of Turkey, Mehmet Ali Birand, known as a taboo breaker in recent years, joined—and even surpassed—Asik in his Dec. 29, 1987 article that appeared in Milliyet. In it, he publicly called on the Jews of Turkey to fulfill their "duty of gratitude" and do their best to prevent the Armenians from including the Armenian Genocide in the museum. He added: "Isn't it our right to expect [such a display of gratitude] from every Turkish citizen?" There's hardly any need to mention that just before this call to duty, Birand paid tribute to the routine of mentioning the Turks' generosity towards the Jews back in 1492.

Not an apologist at all

Yet, it is important to note that Bali is by no means interested in justifying the Jewish lobby's vigorous efforts to please the Turkish authorities. While he puts forth a wealth of evidence of the huge pressure the Jewish community in Turkey is subjected to, that evidence does not prevent him from giving a critical account of how the Jewish leadership in Turkey has displayed an eagerness to advocate Turkish views and to support official Turkish policies. There are numerous accounts in the book of how the Turkish chief rabbinate confirmed the Jewish community's happiness and well-being in Turkey, opposing the promotion of the Armenian Genocide thesis, and how the Quincentennial Foundation, established by Turkish Jewish leaders in 1992 to celebrate the 500th year anniversary of the arrival of the Jews to Ottoman lands, actively championed Turkish official theses.

It is clear from the book that Bali does not like to make comments on the meaning of his findings; rather, he puts the facts together like a scientist, avoiding to make personal comments, draw conclusions, or speculate about the reasons or outcomes of certain facts and events. What he exposes is clear enough to make the picture complete in the eyes of the reader. It's up to the reader to acknowledge, for example, the fact that those who criticized Turkish Jews for their submissiveness had no right to expect bravery -- when none of them raised their voice against the rabid anti-Semitism freely displayed by fundamentalists, or against the innuendos from government officials, or against the quite obvious threats from opinion leaders who kept asking the Jews to prove their loyalty to the Turkish state or relinquish their right to be treated as equal citizens.

A last word about Rifat Bali's book "Model Citizens." It should definitely be translated into English for those who are interested in the Jewish factor in Turkey's struggle against Armenian initiatives to recognize the genocide. It would be impossible for anyone either in Turkey or elsewhere to make a realistic, objective, and complete evaluation of Turkey's success in securing the support of Jewish leaders both in Turkey and abroad without reading this book. Not only that, but the "Model Citizens" is a guide to understanding how deeply rooted anti-Semitism still is in Turkey that claims to be a European country knocking on the door of the EU. It also shows how powerful it can be when mobilizing a country's human resources against its Jewish citizens—to make the leaders of the Jewish community act as they are told. Turning the pages of Bali's book, the reader is made to see that anti-Semitism has a historical context so horrifying and so vivid in the collective memory that it can be very instrumental in manipulating victims, and very successful in carving out "model citizens" as the voluntary executioners of government policies.


Christians For Fair Witness Praises Episcopal Church for Refusing to Take Unbalanced Stand on Israel/Palestine

Activism of moderate Christians on behalf of fair play for Israel has had at least some impact on the flood of divestment, boycott and other anti-Israel initiatives that are the fruit of pro-Palestinian and anti-Semitic activism in mainline Protestant churches.

July 20, 2009
Contact: Christians for Fair Witness on the Middle East
(212) 870-2320
Christians For Fair Witness Praises Episcopal Church for Refusing to Take Unbalanced Stand on Israel/Palestine
The 2009 Episcopal General Convention ("GC") made a strong statement on July 17th when the House of Bishops refused to pass the Israel/Palestine resolution which called for dismantling Israel's security barrier and ending the blockade of the Gaza Strip without demanding an end to Palestinian terrorism.  Several bishops who opposed the defeated resolution said they favored a more balanced approach.
"Fair Witness was initially concerned because we were the only ones at the GC testifying at Legislative Committee hearings in opposition to the resolution," said Sr. Ruth Lautt, O.P.  "But we were heartened by calls for balance coming from the House of Bishops."
 "Some statements coming from supporters of the resolution were reflective of  appropriate concern for Palestinian suffering, but also reflective of both a lack of similar concern for Israeli suffering and a serious misunderstanding of the factual realities in the region," said Fr. James Loughran, Director of the Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute.  "One Bishop actually said that the 'wall' did not contribute to the lessening of suicide bombings.  The security barrier, problematic as it is for Palestinians, not only lessened suicide bombings coming from the West Bank – which had taken the lives of over one thousand Israelis --  it virtually eliminated them."
Even more disturbing was the fact that some of the Bishops who spoke in support of the resolution said that balanced language was taken out specifically to get the attention of the Israeli community.
"Integrity in the churches' approach to this conflict demands fairness and an understanding of all the facts on the ground," said Rev. Dr. Peter Pettit of Muhlenberg College.  "It requires the church to be an honest witness.  The House of Bishops made this choice for integrity when it refused to use misrepresentation to provoke a response from a nation state."
 "This is an historic moment," said Rev. Dr. Bruce Chilton, Bernard Iddings Bell Professor of Religion at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.  "Prayerful discernment, a gift of the Holy Spirit, prevented the Episcopal Church from passing unbalanced legislation on the Arab/Israeli conflict at this GC.  I am deeply gratified by the stand taken by the House of Bishops and proud of my church."

Roots of Secular-Religious divide in Iran

A fascinating insight into what is animating the struggle in Iran, though it is not necessarily identifying an actual historical cause, rather than just a recurring theme.

Iran's Current Turmoil Has Deep Roots

New America Media, News Analysis, William O. Beeman, Posted: Jul 17, 2009  

The turbulent internal politics of Iran following the June 12 election have been most often portrayed as a clash between secularizing reform forces and entrenched religious forces. However, this is a mischaracterization. The controversy is fundamentally between two very old, very entrenched religious philosophies that have been debated for more than 300 years. It's a debate at the heart of every major political uprising in the nation's history from that time forward. Even if the present controversy is quelled, this debate will continue for the immediate future, likely resulting in a major governmental shift.

The fundamental debate is over the role of religion in the governance of the state. The Safavid Dynasty, founded in the 17th Century, marks the beginning of modern Iran. The Safavids were an Azerbaijani Turkish Shi'a Muslim religious order with strong ties to Sufi mysticism. They eventually conquered the Caucasus, Central Asia and Northern India.

From the very beginning the question of the role of religion in the state was a great issue. The Safavids established "Twelver" Shi'a Islam as the state religion, and from that time forward most of the institutions of modern Shi'ism were established. This included the doctrine that all Shi'a believers should choose a "person worthy of emulation" to serve as their spiritual guide. Eventually, these "Marjeh-ye Taqlid" were recognized as Grand Ayatollahs, renowned for their scholarship, which was established in a "thesis" that included their views of Islamic laws. They also believed that the Twelfth Imam after the Prophet Mohammad, called the "Mahdi," had vanished in the Golden Mosque in Samarra and would eventually return at the end of time, with Jesus, to render the final judgment of humankind. The Mahdi remains for modern Shi'a believers the ultimate true authority.

The wisest religious scholars warned the Safavids that Islamic clerics should not get involved with government, lest they become corrupt. They pointed out that Islam says very little about statecraft or the formation of governmental institutions and that the compromises of politics are often incompatible with religious piety.

The Safavids didn't listen. They became powerful and eventually did become corrupt, until they were weakened and conquered by forces from Afghanistan. Another Turkish Dynasty, the Qajars, arose in the 19th Century, with the same fundamental problems of reconciling religious institutions with the State. The Qajar shahs were often at odds with the clergy—particularly when they began to meet the economic and military challenges of Europe by selling "concessions" to Europeans for the exploitation of Iran's natural resources and economic institutions. The result was an Islamic backlash with open rebellion against the state that launched the modern Islamic movement and led to Iran's first constitution in 1905.

Toward the end of the Qajar period, prominent Islamic scholars Shaykh Fazollah Nuri and Ayatollah Mohammad Hossein Na'ini maintained opposite viewpoints about the role of clerics in government. As Iran scholar Abbas Milani pointed out in a July 15 article in The New Republic, Sheikh Nuri believed that, in the absence of the hidden Mahdi, religious clerics had ultimate authority in the modern state, and could veto legislation if it was not sufficiently Islamic.

Ayatollah Na'ini asserted that no human government could substitute for the true "Islamic government" to be established by the Mahdi at his return. In the interim, humans had to do the best they could. For Na'ini, this was a constitutional democracy in which, according to Milani, "The role of ayatollahs . . . would be to "advise" the rulers and ensure that laws inimical to sharia were not implemented. But it would not be to rule the country themselves." Na'ini approved the establishment of the Pahlavi dynasty, which ruled Iran until the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who lead the Islamic Revolution which deposed the shah, at first seemed to embrace Na'ini's philosophy of clerical non-involvement. After the revolution succeeded, however, he reversed course, and embraced Nuri's philosophy, to the consternation of the majority of the Grand Ayatollahs. The Iranian constitution, consequently, rests on the principle of the "Velayat-e Faqih," or the "Regency of the Chief Jurisprudent," in which a senior scholar is chosen as Regent for the absent Mahdi. This is Iran's "Supreme Leader" today.

Clerics who opposed this doctrine at the time were stripped of their credentials, and some were placed under house arrest.

When Ayatollah Khomeini died, it was difficult to find a successor who would take on the role of Supreme Leader. Ali Khamene'i was finally chosen. He was not a cleric of the first rank, but he was quickly elevated to the rank of Ayatollah. His legitimacy was questioned from the moment he took office.

The controversy still rages. Ayatollah Mohammad-Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi, one of the most conservative clerics in the holy shrine city of Qom, and spiritual advisor to President Ahmadinejad, is a supporter of the Nuri position. He has declared that elections are unnecessary now that proper Islamic rule is in place. He reportedly told election workers before the June 12 election that it would be permissible for them to fix the election to make sure that Ahmadinejad could continue in office to support religious rule.

Ahmadinejad's chief rival, Mir Hossein Mousavi, is no less pious, but he espouses the religious philosophy embodied in the writings of Ayatollah Na'ini—that a secular democracy should be the basic form of government for Iran, with religious scholars serving merely as advisors.

This is also the position favored by the most influential Grand Ayatollah in Iraq, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani of Najaf. Some of the most revered clerics in Iran have likewise denounced the election, thus tacitly revealing their opposition to the principle of the Supreme Leader.

The current attacks questioning the election are thus seen by both Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Khamene'i as attacks against the most fundamental principle of the current constitution of the Islamic Republic. If the reformers prevail, the constitution would likely be rewritten, and the office of Supreme Leader would be eliminated or greatly reduced in influence. This was threatening not only to the two top office holders, but to everyone else whose power depended on them, including the Revolutionary Guard, and the Basij militia forces, both of which were established to "guard the principles of the Revolution."

Even if the current controversy dies down, and Ahmadinejad assumes a second presidential term, the crisis will continue. Supreme Leader Khamene'i has no obvious successor, and with the majority of Grand Ayatollahs opposing the very existence of the office, it is unclear who will be found to fill it.

William O. Beeman is professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota. He has conducted research on Iran for more than 30 years and lived through the Revolution of 1978-79. He is the author of The "Great Satan" vs. the "Mad Mullahs": How the United States and Iran Demonize Each Other.

France Surrenders to Iran's Ahmadinejad

Imani condemns French recognition of Mahmoud Amadinejad as reelected President of Iran. In reality, France can hardly be condemned for doing what the entire world will do, and the Iranian regime was just as evil and undemocratic before the elections as it is afterwards. The only difference is that now it is impossible to deny it. Why was it justified to recognize a regime that took American diplomats hostage through "students" - that blew up American and other troops and personnel in Lebanon in the 80s through the Hezbollah in Lebanon? Why? Because that's the way the international system works.
Ami Isseroff

France Surrenders to Ahmadinejad   
Friday, 17 July 2009

Amil Imani
When one mentions the country France, what instantly pops into the mind are its fabulous wine and cheese and a taste for romance. But that's not all she is known for. France is also known for capitulating to the enemy in times of crises. France has never been a reliable partner, the sort of Western country you can count on in time of need. Even though France has been part of NATO, she has deviated from the pact on numerous occasions. France habitually has been unpredictable, unreliable and at times, very unethical.
In WWI 1914-1918, the German army pounded the French - without the rescue mission of Uncle Sam, French people would be speaking German now. The sore-winner imposed a very harsh "Treaty of Versailles" to 'punish' the Germans, only resulting in the rise of an unknown Austrian "thug" by the name of Hitler.
Many French, for one, never seem to miss an opportunity to berate and betray us. In WWII, Germany bullied France into letting them take more territory – France did not even fight - they adopted a policy of 'appeasement'. In 1940, France surrenders before Germany.  No sooner were the Nazis defeated, than the Soviets Communists annexed some of the continent and prepared to swallow the rest. Again, it was this "military-lovin'" American nation that paid the lion's share of the bill to defend you against the Soviets' menace while you greedily made money and provided a comfortable life for yourselves under the shield of the American forces. The Americans and the allies liberated France from the hands of the Nazis in what is known as "D-Day."
Former president of France, Jacques Chirac, was a close friend of Saddam Hussein for thirty years or so. Chirac allowed the sale of nuclear facilities to Iraq that were destroyed just in time by Israel before Saddam could use it against the Iranians or the Israelis. He sold Iraq the planes that been used to gas thousands of Kurds as well as Iranian soldiers.
France's sense of anti-Semitism is not a secret. Even during Sarkozi's government, French Jews have no sense of physical safety. Jews still get mugged, simply for being Jews. Almost nobody pays attention to it. The Jews are not the only victims of France's identification with radical Islam. In many French cities with a growing radical Islamist population, no teenage girl can go out in the evening, at least not without an Islamic hejab. If she does, it translates to: "she is for everybody." 
There are about six to seven million Muslims living in France, at least ten per cent of them are radical Islamists poised on the edge of violence. And these radical Muslims have allies on both ends of the Left and the Right. France should not be considered a Western country any longer; it is now the leader of the Arab-Muslim world. France is an Islamicized country and whether one agrees or not, her actions speak louder than any words.
France stood up against the United States and other allies, protesting liberating Iraq from the hands of one of the twentieth century's bloodthirsty dictators, Saddam Hussein. It is especially ironic for a country that was liberated twice by the Americans; one would think they would understand the value of freedom and liberty. Siding with Saddam was unconscionable. Well, that's why France is France.
"France is sometime called America's oldest friend because of the role it played in the American Revolution. But the history of that period is not a simple story about Lafayette's heroics and French aid at Yorktown. Here's an exclusive excerpt from the new book by NR's John J. Miller and his co-author Mark Molesky."
Hilmi Dawood, a Kurdish journalist, both a French-speaker and a Francophile, is also harshly critical. "I was utterly shocked by France's opposition to the war because, even if nobody likes Bush, either in Europe or Iraq, the essential thing was to liberate us from Saddam," she said. "I could not understand France's position. Not to mention the aftermath of the war when Iraqis need help in the face of security concerns and misery, and France is nowhere to be seen."
By now, everyone in the world knows that Iran's last month presidential election was rigged. (Let's keep in mind Iran does not have a free election). However, after a fiery month-long campaign and unprecedented passions and tensions, the mass rallies, polished campaign slogans, savvy Internet outreach and worldwide televised debates, which revealed rampant corruption, ineptitude, and illegal and criminal activities of all four candidates, on June 12, 2009, 45 million Iranians went to the polls, challenging not only the incumbent president, Ahmadinejad, but the entire establishment of the Islamic regime. Mr. Mousavi overwhelmingly won the election, but the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, declared his boy, Ahmadinejad, the winner.
Millions of Iranians, (both by their votes and in the streets) loud and clear have declared the Islamic Republic is illegitimate. In return, Ali Khamenei, the self-styled, supreme leader and representative of "Allah" on earth, said that he would crush anyone who dares to rise against his chosen candidate, the psychopathic killer, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, also known as "the Monkey" by the Iranians.
The life that God gives, no man should extinguish. The illegitimate government of "Allah," presently ruling Iran, blatantly violates this sacred covenant and has been shooting at a large number of peaceful demonstrators who are demanding nothing more than their God-given right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 
People who went to get their sons' and daughters' bodies observed hundreds of dead bodies of the demonstrators in a morgue, (who were missing for 30 days) in the southern part of Tehran.  At least 6000 protesters have been wounded.  The mullahs and their mercenaries are wasting precious human life to maintain themselves in power through terrorizing the population.
Millions of Iranians have warned the world not to recognize the illegitimate handpicked puppet, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as Iran's president. They have called upon the free governments of the world, as well as all other businesses, organizations and individuals to enlist in a non-violent campaign of ending the reign of terror of the belligerent clerical regime in Iran. They want the world to declare and treat the clerical regime as illegitimate. Keep in mind that revolution has not stopped in Iran. It has persisted for the past 35 days, and it will not be stopped until there is a free election.
In 1978, the French government betrayed the Iranian people by allowing the Ayatollah Khomeini to relocate to France. As protests against the Shah of Iran swept across Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini was living in a cozy house in the Parisian suburb of Neauphle-le-Chateau, engineering an Islamic revolution that would soon shake the world. Under the watchful eye of the French government, Khomeini met regularly with journalists and actively campaigned for the shah's overthrow. He distributed cassettes to Iran inciting against democracy, peace in the Middle East, the Jews and Israelis. In fact, when Pahlavi finally fled his country in 1979, Khomeini was provided with a chartered Air France flight to Tehran, where he presided over one of the world's most repressive regimes until his death in 1989.
Once again, the ever-conniving French government today announced that it recognizes Ahmadinejad's re-election. France's FM, Kouchner said, "Since Ahmadinejad has been proclaimed president, it would be 'useless and counterproductive' for France alone to reject this," reports AFP.
The Iranian people strongly condemn France's position on surrendering to Islamofascists in Iran who are holding peaceful Iranians as hostage. This is clearly against all norms of human dignity. With this recognition, there comes a price. They will be facing a severe boycott (unless France changes its statement) on all French goods and products by the Iranians, inside and outside the country, and hopefully by all decent human beings whose hearts were broken by the assassination of Neda, by the instruments of the supreme Islamic leader, Ali Khamenei.

Iran: Neda Soltan’s Fourth of July Message

What is Neda's Fourth of July Message?     
Saturday, 04 July 2009
Amil Imani
Neda, the young and beautiful freedom-loving Iranian student was slain in cold-blood by the current Islamic regime in Iran. Almost instantly, Neda became, not only the divine call of the Iranian uprising, but, she symbolized the call for liberty around the globe. Here's the video of Richard Roth's report which contained the image of Neda. It has been said that she was a christian.
If either President Ronald Reagan or President John F. Kennedy were alive today, they would stand in solidarity with the Iranian people. In fact, they would declare "Today we are all Iranians."   It appears the Iranian people are showing the world what a revolution looks like and some Americans have started paying close attention and taking notes.
Neda knew the value of freedom. She died for it. Her blood was not wasted and she did not die in vain. Headlines have heralded the young woman as a martyr and some even dubbed her Iran's Joan of Arc. Not only has she become a "symbol of goodness" battling against her brutal oppressor, her story has laid open a much larger issue, freedom and liberty. There is a site dedicated to Neda proclaiming, "We are all Neda."
Each year, on the fourth of July, we celebrate America's birth and independence. This is a day that the heart of every American must glow with pride and appreciation. On this special occasion, the Iranian martyr, Neda, has a special message for all freedom-loving Americans: Do not take your liberty for granted. "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure," said Thomas Jefferson. I think Neda would have said, "I have given my blood for the cause of liberty for my country and I hope you don't have to spill yours once again."
We are going through some troubled times in America. We Americans need to wake up and realize that our liberties and freedoms that we take for granted are slowly and inexorably being taken from us. Once we lose them, it will be very hard to get them back. Let the blood of the Persian freedom-fighter, Neda, inspire all of us to cherish our liberty. "We are fighting and dying on the streets of Tehran to have what you have had for more than two centuries. You, America, have been an inspiration to millions of us in Iran to become free, free to roam, free to grow, and free to bloom," Neda would have said.
As we celebrate the 4th of July, it is my hope that all freedom-loving Americans remain mindful of how precious that day is to our country's storied history. On July 4, 1776, America declared its independence from England, the old white grandfather across the sea.  The miracle of America happened and its dynamic birth rapidly changed the entire world. Neda would have wished her blood would cause the Iranians to gain their freedom and our two countries once again become the staunchest friends.
America is a nation and an ideal, birthed by a group of visionaries that gave the Constitution to nurture it and protect it. What makes America, "America the Beautiful," more than just a blessed land is our legacy, the Constitution. Sadly, the Constitution also makes for "America the vulnerable" by enshrining freedom that enables the malevolent to subvert and destroy America from within. You are the guardian of the Constitution. You and only you determine the health and survival of America.
Democracy, by its accommodating and benign nature, is susceptible to corruption and even destruction by forces from within and from without. With this realization in mind, the founding fathers of our country enshrined the constitution to safeguard and protect the rule of the people.
America is defined by the last phrase of our national anthem: The land of the free and the home of the brave. Freedom, in all its forms, is our greatest legacy, for which our nation has bravely fought many wars on many fronts against the unceasing assaults of totalitarianism of all stripes. Time and again, the flowers of our nation bravely sacrificed their lives to protect freedom and liberty.
I am reminded of the words of our great President Abraham Lincoln when he, in 1863, described our nation as "a government of the people, by the people, and for the people." Is this still the case, or how much is government stealing from us?  In 1776, our Founders stood up, put their lives and fortunes on the line and declared their freedom and independence from the chains and shackles of the King of United Kingdom. I hope all Americans, once again, unite for the love of freedom and are willing to stand up and declare their Freedom and Independence, not from the United Kingdom, but from the chains and shackles of our own government and its lackeys.
First things first. Our highest priority is the preservation of this nation of the free. We have done what it took in the past and we must do what it takes now and in the future to safeguard our precious liberty. America is not perfect. Yet, it is the very best hope for a humanity struggling to find its humanness. America is worth defending.
For the past 30 years, the illegitimate government of the Islamic Republic has been waging a brutal war against the entire population of Iran. For 30 years Iranians have been fighting for individual and religious freedom. Iranians have suffered so much, and they are risking their lives and ready to die so that the next Iranian generation does not have to live in the nightmare of a backward Islamic barbarity.
As Iranians have started the fight for their freedom and liberty, we must strive to keep ours. We must put aside our minor differences that have divided us in the past and unite as one strong political force to restore our fading Freedom and Liberty. "The history of liberty is a history of resistance."
In conclusion, I would like to thank all those Americans who wrote songs and poems in remembrance of a freedom-loving Iranian patriot, Neda. My special thanks goes out to United States Senator McCain who spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate (and his 4th of July message), remembering the champion of freedom, Neda, and to the honorable Congressman McCotter's beautiful eulogy about Neda's assassination by the direct order of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. I am eternally grateful for millions of people who have kept Neda's memory alive. Regrettably, President Obama has stated he wants to make a deal with Neda's murderers. America, now it is up to you to object to any negotiations with those who murdered our freedom-loving and innocent human being, Neda.
Happy Independence Day, America! 

Iran's friend of Israel VP denies resignation

When you read in the government press, that you resigned, you had better take it seriously. In the next stage, Mashaie will read in PressTV that he has had an unfortunate accident.

TEHRAN — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's controversial choice for vice president, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, has denied media reports he has quit, according to his website.

"Certain Internet sites published a report about Mr Mashaie's resignation as first vice president in a coordinated action aimed at tarnishing the government," said a statement on his personal website

"This is a lie, and these rumours have been spread by the enemies... of the government," it said.

On Sunday, state-owned English-language channel Press TV reported that Mashaie, a close aide to Ahmadinejad, had resigned three days after his appointment, which was strongly opposed by hardliners among the newly-re-elected president's own support base.

Mashaie, whose daughter is married to Ahmadinejad's son, is an outspoken figure who last year earned the wrath of hardliners, including supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, for saying Iran is a "friend of the Israeli people."

His nomination as first vice president had ruffled feathers among hardliners deeply sensitive to any breach of the longstanding taboo on relations of any kind with archfoe Israel.

The resistance to Mashaie's appointment is a sign of the difficulties Ahmadinejad is likely to face in forming a new cabinet after his hotly contested re-election in a June 12 vote that his main challenger denounced as a "shameful fraud".

During his first four-year term, Ahmadinejad unleashed numerous anti-Israel tirades, calling for the Jewish state to be wiped off the map and describing the Holocaust as a myth.

Salahuddin Shoaib Choudhury: Bangladesh Appeases Islamists

Salahuddin Shoaib Choudhury has been fighting Islamism in Bangladesh for many years. For his pains, he is accused of sedition and has been subjected to a nightmare kafkaesque "legal" proceeding.

'The Bangladeshi gov't continues to appease Islamists'

Jul. 19, 2009

The following is adapted from a public letter received from Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury over the weekend, which included a lengthy legal brief by Canadian MP Irwin Cotler. This shorter version was approved by both men.

I was arrested on November 29, 2003 by Bangladeshi intelligence agents at Zia International Airport in Dhaka on my way to Tel Aviv to attend a peace conference organized by the Hebrew Writers Association.

The then-Islamist coalition government initially brought a minor Passport Act violation charge against me. But on January 24, 2004, under pressure from local Islamists, the government added charges of sedition, treason and blasphemy. The case was handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

On January 1, 2005, the charge sheet was submitted by CID. In it, the investigating officer wrote that I was arrested for possession of a "banned Israeli visa and passport, and while he was attempting to visit Tel Aviv." The sheet says officers "recovered materials from his possession which hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims."

In the comment section of the charge sheet, the investigating officer said, "Past record of the accused person: Nothing bad was found about his character after investigation. But, in the primary stage [of the investigation], it is learned that he is a spy for Israeli intelligence."

On November 13, 2006, the trial court in Dhaka framed charges against me.

Judge Momin Ullah said, "I, Md. Momin Ullah, Metropolitan Session Judge, do hereby accuse you, Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, of the following: 'The State Prosecution has brought allegations against you stating that [you are] the editor and owner of Blitz newspaper, that you sent an article titled "Hello Tel Aviv" to the USA Today newspaper published from Washington. Furthermore, in 2003, while attempting to travel to Israel to attend a conference titled "Education Towards a Culture of Peace," you appeared at the Zia International Airport on the 29th [of] November, 2003, and the Immigration Police arrested you and found the copy of the speech you prepared to deliver in the conference. In that speech, you have made offensive comments about the Muslim world, Islam and Muslims in Bangladesh and commented about the existence of al-Qaida and other Islamist militant groups, by which you have tarnished the image of Bangladesh in the outside world.

"Furthermore, you have conspired to spread anti-state news through that speech, and by sending that speech to the outside world, you have harmed Bangladesh's security, public discipline and played an adverse role in Bangladesh's relations with the outside world. In your report, you have mentioned guerrilla training in the Bangladeshi madrassas… and made up imaginary stories about jihadist training in favor of [Osama Bin] Laden, [Yasser] Arafat and Saddam [Hussein], by which you have threatened Bangladesh's foreign relations. You have caused offense under Penal Code Sections 505 (A), 295 (A) and 120 (B).

"The allegations were read before the accused and he claimed to be innocent (not guilty) and prayed for justice."

My international counsel Professor Irwin Cotler already submitted his legal opinion on this case to the court in Bangladesh.

Prof. Cotler [argued]: "The charges against Mr. Choudhury are utterly without foundation in fact and law, and constitute a violation of Bangladeshi constitutional and domestic laws, basic principles of criminal law, and international human rights law.

"In particular, many of Mr. Choudhury's fundamental human rights, both
procedural and substantive, have been violated… Mr. Choudhury was arbitrarily arrested and detained; Mr. Choudhury was not informed promptly and in detail of the nature of the charges against him; Mr. Choudhury was exposed to coercive interrogation; Mr. Choudhury did not have access to adequate legal representation until he was released from prison after 17 months in solitary confinement; Mr. Choudhury has not been given a fair hearing by a competent, independent, and unbiased tribunal; and Mr. Choudhury has not been considered innocent until proven guilty."

Prof. Cotler also contended that "no evidence was ever adduced" for the investigator's claim that I am an Israeli spy, nor did I confess to this even under violent interrogation.

He stated that "there is no legal basis for the charges levied against Mr. Choudhury. Sedition, blasphemy, and treason have no relation to the factual reality of Mr. Choudhury's case. Mr. Choudhury has argued for greater freedom, peace and cooperation for the world, but he did not commit treason or incite, nor did he illegally blaspheme the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh or any other party. Indeed, the government took Mr. Choudhury's conduct, which is protected under Bangladesh law, such as promoting interfaith dialogue, and sought to transform it into a criminal act."

Prof. Cotler noted that "the voice of dissent plays an integral role in all free and democratic societies. Mr. Choudhury is not a criminal, but a voice calling for new ideas and opinions, and his positive impact on the People's Republic of Bangladesh cannot be over-emphasized.

"The Constitution of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, itself, guarantees the freedoms of… 'thought and conscience, and of speech.' As stated by the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, freedom of the press must include 'the ability of the press to scrutinize and report on government activity… National security is public security, not government security from informed citizens.'"

Despite this legal opinion from an internationally renowned lawyer, the Bangladeshi court and government are adamantly taking the charges forward with the one and only goal of appeasing Islamists.

After the general elections of December 2008, the present Grand Alliance [of Left-leaning parties led by the Awami League] came to power with a huge mandate from the people of Bangladesh because of its secular ideology and commitments to combating radical Islam.

But since coming to power, there has been no sign of any actions toward combating religious extremism. Rather, like all previous governments and regimes, the present government is continuing to appease the Islamists.

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