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New York Times Discovers Yemen’s ‘Death to America’ Houthi Rebels are Moderates and Possible U.S. Partners

Monday, January 26th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

The New York Times launched some weapons-grade stupidity on Sunday with an article by Rod Nordland and Eric Schmitt citing “experts” claiming that the Iranian-backed Houthi militias in Yemen that have swept though critical parts of the country, including the capital Sanaa, are not just moderates, but possible U.S. counter-terrorism partners.

Because of the ongoing Houthi offensive, Yemen’s information minister admitted last week that the government had lost effective control of the country.

Thankfully, the Times is here to assure us that when the Houthis shout “Death to America” they really don’t mean it:

At first glance the official slogan and emblem of the Houthis, who are now the dominant force in Yemen, does not offer much hope to American policy makers.

It includes the words “Death to America, death to Israel, damnation to the Jews.” Houthis shout it when they march, wear it on arm patches, paint it on buildings and stick it onto their car windows. When pictured, those words are rendered in red, framed by “God is great” and “Victory to Islam” in green, on a white background.

Sometimes the red words are shown dripping blood.

But for all their harsh sloganeering, the Houthis may be a lot more moderate than it suggests, according to many diplomats and analysts who have followed them closely. They say it would be premature to dismiss them as Yemen’s Hezbollah, despite their alliance with Iran.

For reference purposes, here’s the slogan in question:

Ah, but we have nothing to fear, because they fight Al-Qaeda says the Pentagon:

On Wednesday, Michael G. Vickers, the Pentagon’s top intelligence policy official, noted that the Houthis’ dominance had been growing over the past several months as they expanded their control since last September, but he said that has not interfered with American missions. “The Houthis are anti-Al Qaeda, and we’ve been able to continue some of our counterterrorism operations against Al Qaeda in the past couple months,” Mr. Vickers said.

And they’re nothing like yet another Iranian proxy, Hezbollah, say the “experts”:

“The Houthis are not Hezbollah,” said Charles Schmitz, an expert on the group and a professor at Towson University, referring to the Iranian-supported group that dominates Lebanon and is actively fighting on behalf of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. “They are domestic, homegrown, and have very deep roots in Yemen, going back thousands of years.”

In fact, they could be U.S. counter-terrorism partners if they only dropped their “Death to America” sloganeering (!!) the “experts” continue:

April Alley, a senior analyst for the International Crisis Group in Sana, said: “Theoretically there is quite a bit of common ground in Yemen between the Houthis and the U.S., particularly when it comes to security issues and Al Qaeda. But so far it’s not been enough to overcome the obstacles. The Houthis have their own limits in which they can engage the Americans given the political narrative they have propagated.”

It should be noted that last week a U.S. Embassy vehicle carrying U.S. personnel was shot up at a Houthi checkpoint:

And a Houthi checkpoint featuring the “Death to America” signs has been operating right outside the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa since September:

And yet on Friday the White House said that the embassy will remain open:

One curious omission in the Times article, however, is that Obama hailed Yemen as one of his administration’s counter-terrorism successes back in September:

So with Iran or Iranian proxies in charge of another Arab capital (Baghdad, Beirut, Damascus, Sanaa) we have nothing to fear, the New York Times is here to tell us.

And the Houthis take their place as acclaimed moderates in the U.S. foreign policy narrative bubble, along with the “largely secular” Muslim Brotherhood, the “vetted moderate” Syrian rebels, the “moderate elements” of Hezbollah (as cited by CIA Director John Brennan), and even “moderate” Al-Qaeda.

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Obama Backs Campaign to Defeat Netanyahu in Israeli Elections

Monday, January 26th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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“No more campaigns to run” in America, at least.

Caroline Glick picked up on one article the Israeli left-wing paper Ha’aretz didn’t bother translating into English that details Obama’s involvement in the upcoming Israeli elections. A summary of the article is provided by IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis):

Haaretz reporter Roi Arad revealed in an article in the Hebrew edition today [January 26] that the foreign funded organization, “One Voice”, is bankrolling the V-2015 campaign to defeat Binyamin Netanyahu’s national camp in the March 2015 Knesset Elections.

One indication of the generous financing is that it has now flown in a team of five American campaign experts (including Jeremy Bird, the Obama campaign’s national field director) who will run the campaign out of offices taking up the ground floor of a Tel Aviv office building.

V-2015 is careful not to support a specific party – rather “just not Bibi”. As such, the foreign funds pouring into the campaign are not subject to Israel’s campaign finance laws.

Glick commented via Facebook:

Obama won’t meet Benjamin Netanyahu – בנימין נתניהו in Washington when he addresses the Joint Houses of Congress in March because of Netanyahu’s visit’s proximity to the Israeli elections. And Obama, of course believes in protocol and propriety which is why he won’t get involved. No, he’s not getting involved at all. He’s just sending his 2012 field campaign manager to Israel to run a campaign to defeat Netanyahu. That’s all. No interference whatsoever.

The Israeli Left adores touting Netanyahu’s “interference” in American elections, specifically his expression of support for Mitt Romney in the 2012 campaign. When it comes to Israeli left-wing politics, there are simply things you just don’t do when you represent the center-right. It should come as no surprise then that Haaretz, known on this side of the globe for its freakish ability to generate anonymous White House sources that love talking about how much Obama hates Bibi (a shared talent among the Left) would conveniently forget to translate this little news item for their English-reading audience.

 

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Obama’s Last-Minute Saudi Visit Totally Different from Paris No-Show, Says Administration

Monday, January 26th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama altered his schedule this week to stop in Saudi Arabia with first lady Michelle Obama on their way back from India.

National security spokesman Ben Rhodes told reporters today that “the United States delegation, led by the president, is going to pay respects to the memory of King Abdullah, a longstanding partner of the United States, and also to meet with the new king, King Salman.”

“And I think, principally, I think this is to mark this transition in leadership and to pay respects to the family and to the people of Saudi Arabia. But I’m sure that while we’re there they’ll touch on some of the leading issues where we cooperate very closely with Saudi Arabia,” Rhodes said.

“And clearly, that would include the continued counter-ISIL campaign where the Saudis have been a partner and have joined us in military operations in Syria; of course, also the situation in Yemen, where we have coordinated very closely with Saudi Arabia and the other GCC countries in trying to support stability inside of Yemen; and other regional issues in which the United States and Saudi Arabia often coordinate.”

Rhodes called the visit “a chance for us to make sure that we’re in good alignment going forward where we have overlapping interests.”

“I think you saw the king send a signal that he’s committed to continuity in terms of Saudi Arabia’s approach to those issues,” he said. “But again, I think we’re well placed to continue cooperation. And frankly, we also have very good relations with Prince Muqrin and Mohammed bin Nayef, two other members of the Royal Family who are a part of the succession plan.”

Politico reported over the weekend that White House aides said pulling together this last-minute trip was different from the Paris no-show because “they knew in advance that the condolence call for King Abdullah would draw global leaders” yet were taken by surprised when dozens of leaders showed up to march against terrorism with French President Francois Hollande.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said today that “there is a precedent of world leaders dying while they’re in office and the president at least making the effort to try to participate in their memorial service.”

Rhodes said it was Obama’s decision to add Saudi Arabia to his schedule.

“I understand the comparison people have drawn to this. But first of all, I think we’ve made clear that we regret that we were unable to send somebody of a more senior level than was represented in Paris,” Rhodes told reporters.

“And at the same time, here I think what you see is it’s a different type of circumstance and that you have a turnover of a government, and you have I think a period of time where different leaders are able to pass through Saudi Arabia to pay their respects and to meet the new King. So there is a difference, although it doesn’t change the fact that we made very clear that we believe it would have been good to send someone of a more senior rank.”

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Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress is ‘Moral Imperative’

Monday, January 26th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Hat tip: Grabien

In an address to the Israeli Bonds gala in Florida this past weekend, Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer explained the reasoning behind Netanyahu’s willingness to accept John Boehner’s invitation to speak to Congress about the Iranian nuclear threat:

The prime minister’s visit is also not intended to wade into your political debate… Rather, the prime minister’s visit to Washington is intended for one purpose — and one purpose only. To speak up while there is still time to speak up. To speak up when there is still time to make a difference.

…Now there may be some people who believe that the prime minister of Israel should have declined an invitation to speak before the most powerful parliament in the world on an issue that concerns the future and survival of Israel. But we have learned from history that the world becomes a more dangerous place for the Jewish people when the Jewish people are silent.

That is why the prime minister feels the deepest moral obligation to appear before Congress to speak about an existential issue facing the one and only Jewish state. This is not just the right of the prime minister of Israel. It is his most sacred duty — to do whatever he can to prevent Iran from ever developing nuclear weapons that can be aimed at Israel.

The question for both politicians and pundits to answer is, then, when do political relationships and foreign policy strategy take a back seat to moral imperative? Better yet, when do policy wonks and analysts begin to take moral imperative seriously? Or is “moral imperative” becoming yet another buzz word in the verbal parlay that belies a greater and deadlier battle?

In any case, history proves Dermer correct in his observation that the world is a better place when the Jewish people use their voice to speak out. And in an environment that is far too heavily governed by opinion and fear instead of fact and faith, the person – any person – who is willing to speak out against evil better be armed by a strong moral imperative and the confidence to go along with it.

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Anti-Israel Demonstrators Protest NYC Council’s Auschwitz Commemoration

Monday, January 26th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

The New York Daily News reported on a disturbing pro-Palestinian demonstration that took place in a City Council meeting last week. Just as the council was about to conclude a vote on a resolution commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, 

Pro-Palestinian activists disrupted a City Council meeting Thursday to protest Council members’ planned trip to Israel next month.

Protesters in the balcony of the Council chamber unfurled a Palestinian flag and began yelling “Palestinian lives matter,” “Don’t support genocide,” and “Melissa, you’re a hypocrite,” a slam on Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who will lead the Israel delegation.

…A few dozen protesters were booted from the chamber, with some physically removed, and were ordered off the City Hall property all together.

Council members were appalled at the timing and actions of the pro-Palestinian group. Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito denounced their actions while Councilman David Greenfield (D-Brooklyn) declared,

“What you saw here today was naked, blind anti-Semitism,” he thundered.

“That’s what you saw, and that’s what you watched, and that’s what you witnessed – people who were upset for one reason. Do you want to know why they’re upset, do you want to know why they’re angry, do you want to know why they unfurled that flag today? Because Hitler did not finish the job. He only wiped out half of my family.”

The real shocker? The demonstration was led, in part, by Pam Sporn of Jewish Voices for Peace. Sporn, a known BDS activist, continually broadcasts her Jewish identity to defend anti-Israel demonstrations around New York City. Sporn declared that the Council’s upcoming trip was designed to “legitimize the discriminatory practices of Israel.” Her’s were statements screamed out specifically during the recognition of the real genocide committed by “discriminatory” Nazis. The timing couldn’t have sent a clearer, more anti-Semitic message. How will Sporn’s Jewish identity dig her out of this one?

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Netanyahu: ‘I Will Go Anywhere I am Invited’ to Defend Israel’s ‘Existence’

Sunday, January 25th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referenced his upcoming address to a joint session of Congress in remarks at today’s cabinet meeting, stating that he has a duty without borders to keep Iran from going nuclear.

“In the coming weeks, the major powers are liable to reach a framework agreement with Iran, an agreement that is liable to leave Iran as a nuclear threshold state, which would endanger – first and foremost – the existence of the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said at the outset of the meeting. “This is the same Iran that has taken over Lebanon and Syria and is now taking over Yemen and Iraq. This is the same Iran that is preparing an active front against us both on the Golan Heights and in southern Lebanon. This same Iran cannot advance toward nuclear weapons.”

Iran’s Press TV reported Saturday that a Revolutionary Guard commander threatened to open a new front against Israel across the West Bank.

“We will certainly consider a special retaliation for this issue,” IRGC’s second-in-command, Brigadier General Hossein Salami, told al-Alam of the recent strike that killed six Hezbollah members and an Iranian general in the Golan Heights. “This is part of a new reality that will gradually unravel.”

“As Prime Minister of Israel, I am obligated to make every effort in order to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons that would be aimed at the State of Israel,” Netanyahu continued. “This effort is worldwide and I will go anywhere I am invited in order to enunciate the State of Israel’s position and in order to defend its future and its existence.”

White House chief of staff Denis McDonough insisted on CNN this morning that the administration wouldn’t get into the “blame game” over the Netanyahu invitation, extended by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

“This is the most important relationship we have in the world. This is something that ought to be and will continue to be, as far as we’re concerned, above partisan politics,” McDonough said. “This is a relationship, given its importance, that stretches across many different things, from values straight through intelligence cooperation to defense and security assistance.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told CBS the situation highlights “that relations have never been worse between ourselves and the only genuine democracy in the entire Middle East.”

“They believe, they are convinced that these negotiations with Iran will lead to Iranian acquisition of a nuclear weapon, which will then nuclearize the entire Middle East and that will be a direct threat to the existence of the state of Israel,” McCain said.

“I regret that the relations have deteriorated to this degree. But I do believe that it’s important that Prime Minister Netanyahu speak to the American people. And, by the way, we need congressional ratification of any agreement that is made. This is too big to be left — to not be treated as a treaty.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said at Friday’s briefing that the Iran pact is “an agreement” and “not a treaty,” thus doesn’t need congressional approval.

“We want to have a constructive working relationship with Congress, but you know, steps that undermine the talks or steps that put in place additional sanctions in this diplomatic negotiating period while talks are ongoing aren’t constructive and aren’t going to further our efforts to resolve what’s a pretty serious national security priority for the United States of America,” Earnest said.

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Top Lawmakers: Argentine Prosecutor’s Death Must Shine Light on Iran’s Deeds During Nuke Talks

Sunday, January 25th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Members of Congress are calling for a robust investigation into the death of Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman — and for the continuation of his work that had linked the 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish center to Iran, and the cover-up of Iran’s involvement to the Kirchner government.

Nisman, 51, was scheduled to testify the day after his death before a congressional inquiry into the alleged protection of suspects by the presidential palace. Nisman had long been the target of death threats, and said four days before his death that someone in the Argentine government was leaking information contained in his inquiry to the Iranians.

The bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires killed 87 people and injured more than 100, and Nisman lived and breathed his dogged pursuit of bringing the perpetrators to justice.

Nisman had a security detail of 10 federal officers who have now been suspended; Iranian media is highlighting the theory that “rogue agents” killed Nisman. President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner quickly said the prosecutor committed suicide, but now says he was murdered in an effort to frame her government as evidence mounts showing that Nisman did not shoot himself in the forehead at close range.

Initial reports from the crime scene said a key was wedged in the front door lock from the inside, but the locksmith called to the scene said the service door was open and a third secret door to the apartment was found as well.

Jewish journalist Damian Pachter, who first reported Nisman’s death, has fled Argentina because of threats over the past week. He detailed the tale in a column for Haaretz after arriving in Israel. “I then had to consider the best thing to do, because when an Argentine intelligence agent is on your tail, it’s never good news. He didn’t just want to have a coffee with me, that’s for sure,” Pachter wrote. “I have no idea when I’ll be back in Argentina; I don’t even know if I want to. What I do know is that the country where I was born is not the happy place my Jewish grandparents used to tell me stories about.”

“After I left Argentina I found out that the government was still publishing wrong information about me on social media,” the journalist continued. “The Twitter feed of Casa Rosada, the Argentine presidential palace, posted the details of the airline ticket I had bought, and claimed that I intended to return to Argentina by February 2 — in other words, I hadn’t really fled the country. In fact, my return date is in December.”

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said Kirchner’s announcement that Mr. Nisman’s death was not a suicide “raises troubling new questions.”

“His investigation – which promised to shed light on new evidence about Iran’s role in the bombing – must continue and his findings must be made public to ensure that those responsible are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Menendez said. “The increasingly suspicious conditions surrounding Mr. Nisman’s death, just hours before he was scheduled to testify before the Argentine Congress, demand a thorough and transparent investigation. I urge the State Department and the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires to take all possible steps to support an open and credible investigation.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) wrote a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry stressing that the administration “should press for a thorough and impartial international investigation into his death, and the serious allegations of Argentine collusion with Iran that Nisman was poised to unveil before the Argentine legislature just hours before his body was found.”

“Mr. Nisman’s investigations uncovered a web of corruption, impunity, and the irrefutable hand of the Iranian regime and its proxy Hezbollah in the 1994 bombing. However, neither Iran nor Hezbollah have been held accountable for this horrific act,” Royce wrote. “In fact, Nisman’s latest allegations point to a conspiracy at the highest levels of the Argentine government to cover up Iran’s involvement in the bombing as part of a deal to trade Argentine grain for Iranian oil.”

Royce tied Nisman’s death to the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran, telling Kerry “we must not forget Iran’s clear, long-standing commitment to obtaining a nuclear capability at all cost—an effort which once benefited from Argentinean cooperation.”

“We must also not ignore Iran’s continued use of proxies, such as Hezbollah, to perpetrate terror worldwide,” Royce said. “…Assigning an independent, international panel to examine Nisman’s evidence of Iranian involvement in the 1994 terrorist attack and Argentinian collusion in its cover-up would be a major step toward finding his killer and finally bringing the perpetrators of this deadly terrorist attack to justice.”

The administration has said little about Nisman’s death. State Department press secretary Jen Psaki said “we’re not going to speculate in any aspect of his death” when pressed Friday about potential Iran involvement.

Menendez said thoughts also need to be with Argentina’s Jewish community “as it once again suffers the frustrations of not seeing justice served for the victims of the brutal 1994 attack.”

“It has been said that Mr. Nisman is now the 86th victim of the AMIA terror attack and we must ensure that all questions surrounding their deaths are answered and that justice prevails.”

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Fox News Criticizes Netanyahu for Not Bowing to Obama

Sunday, January 25th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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The Jerusalem Post reports:

The Fox news segment, on the show “Shepard Smith Reporting,” began with a response to a quote from Martin Indyk from The New York Times on Thursday wherein the former US ambassador to Israel and the former US envoy to the peace process says: “Netanyahu is using the Republican Congress for a photo-op for his election campaign and the Republicans are using Bibi for their campaign against Obama…Unfortunately the US relationship will take the hit. It would be far wiser for us to stay out of their politics and for them to stay out of ours.”

Wallace said he agreed completely with Indyk and that he was “shocked” by the whole affair.

Smith queried whether Netanyahu would back out of  the speech because, “Members of his own Mossad have come out and said this is a horrible idea and so have members of his own political party. Of course his political opponents are  screaming up and down, the newspapers over there are going wild over this,” he added.

“It just seems that they think we don’t pay any attention and that we are just a bunch of complete morons, the US citizens, like we wouldn’t pick up on what is happening here,” Smith said.

…”For Netanyahu to do something that is going to be seen as a deliberate and a really egregious snub of President Obama, when Obama is going to be in power for the next year and three quarters, seems to me like a pretty risky political strategy for Prime Minister Netanyahu,” Wallace said.

“For Netanyahu to come here and side with Boehner against Obama on Iran seems to me like very dicey politics,” he said.

That’s right, Shep Smith and the Fox News crowd have officially joined the ranks of the anti-Israel mainstream media, purporting that the Mossad and Israeli media somehow think American citizens are “a bunch of complete morons.” Apparently Shep and Chris Wallace have remained blind to the fact that Bibi and Barry have hated each other since the beginning. They’ve also ignored the fact that Obama’s administration, through various unnamed sources, has worked hard to hack away at any relationship the two leaders may have ever claimed.

Looks like Kathy Shaidle is right, we’ve all got to be our own Churchills now.

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Obama’s Iran Negotiations

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Hat tip: Grabien

So much for Barry’s quip about winning elections. John Boehner finally grew a pair and outwitted the Smug-in-Chief this Wednesday by inviting the White House’s greatest enemy to address Congress. No, not Iranian President Ahmadinejad, but the enemy both he and Obama share: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

After a State of the Union that paid poorly-timed lip service to terrorism the speaker of the House took matters into Republican hands and made a big show of it. Like, Ed Sullivan big. Too big, in fact, for Barry and his cohorts according to the Israeli left-wing paper Ha’aretz:

“There are things you simply don’t do. He spat in our face publicly and that’s no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price,” he said.

Officials in Washington said that the “chickensh*t” epithet — with which an anonymous administration official branded Netanyahu several months ago — was mild compared to the language used in the White House when news of Netanyahu’s planned speech came in.

It’s the kind of delicious scandal you’d only expect from Downton’s Julian Fellowes. (There’s not enough sex in it for Shonda Rhimes, or is there?) After issuing a warning to his own fellow Democrats not to “bow” to (Jewish) donors, Obama supposedly calls Netanyahu and warns him to “tone down his pro-sanctions rhetoric.” His administration avoids Paris, deciding instead to throw an anti-terrorism conference that will talk about everything but radical Islamic terror, because that’s all been staged to create a “War on Muslims” of which Barry “Cairo” Obama wants no part. Then, the glorious king and savior of HopenChange descends on the Capitol to pay lip-service to the terror that has no name and makes sure to slap anti-Semitism in the face, noting:

“It’s why we speak out against the deplorable anti-Semitism that has resurfaced in certain parts of the world. It’s why we continue to reject offensive stereotypes of Muslims, the vast majority of whom share our commitment to peace.”

At least he waited until the Jewish victims of the radical Islamic terror attack on a kosher supermarket were buried before lumping the hatred that murdered them in with Muslim stereotypes. If George W. Bush’s term was known for the War on Terror, dear God, let Barry’s term be known as the one that created, advocated, and fought on defense for the “War on Muslims.”

Oddly enough, as the general of the battle, Obama’s doing a darn good job of defending those radical Islamists he claims to despise, the Iranian regime in particular to the tune of 11.9 billion of your tax dollars. He’s doing an even better job of alienating his troops on the front line and their leader, Bibi. How does one say “forked tongue” in Arabic, or better yet, Persian? I know how Boehner and the Republicans in Congress say it: With the best invitation America’s ever issued to a foreign leader. And about damned time.

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U.S. Pulls Some Embassy Staff in Yemen, But White House Says No Need to ‘Change Posture’

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

The State Department has pulled some of its staff from the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a, Yemen, as calls to evacuate the facility continued.

“While the Embassy remains open and is continuing to operate, we may continue to re-align resources based on the situation on the ground,” a senior State Department official told Reuters. “We will continue to operate as normal, albeit with reduced staff.”

Press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement late Thursday that the U.S. “is troubled by reports of President Hadi and his cabinet’s resignation. At this time, it is critical that all sides avoid violence.”

“The safety and security of U.S. personnel is our top priority in Yemen,” Psaki continued. “We are evaluating the security situation on the ground on an ongoing basis. We call on all parties to abide by their public commitments to ensure the security of the diplomatic community, including our personnel.”

She added that Yemenis “deserve a clear path back to a legitimate, federal, and unitary Yemeni government, consistent with the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative, the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference, UN Security Council resolutions and Yemeni law, with clearly defined timelines to finish writing a new Yemeni constitution, to hold a referendum on this constitution, and to launch national elections.”

“The future of Yemen should be determined by the Yemeni people in accordance with Yemen’s constitution and the National Dialogue Conference outcomes. All Yemenis have both a right and responsibility to peacefully participate in this process. The United States remains firmly committed to supporting all Yemenis in this endeavor.”

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) told CNN “prudence dictates perhaps moving these people out at least temporarily.”

“AQAP, the al-Qaeda affiliate, is in the neighborhood. They’re in Sana’a as well. We know what they would like to do if they had a chance. The other complication is although the Houthi leadership apparently is making some reassuring noises to our people about not targeting the embassy, we’re not so sure about the chain of command,” King said.

“You have got an 18-year-old with a heavy-duty machine gun, and it could easily get out of control. I think the prudent thing is to move out. I know I have had a bunch of briefings in the last 24 hours. I know that the administration is monitoring this. I said, is it hour to hour? They said, no, it’s minute to minute.”

The senator, a member of the Intelligence Committee, added that “one of the big considerations is, what are the people on the ground at the embassy compound telling them about whether or not they’re able to do their job?”

“…That’s not an easy decision, because if we move out, the compound could be taken over and we couldn’t get back in. But it’s a tough call. But my inclination is err on the side of safety of those Americans.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Thursday that “it’s been determined that there is not a need to change the posture at the U.S. embassy in Sana’a, but we’ll continue to monitor developments on the ground and if changes in that posture are necessary, we have all of the capabilities that are necessary to make those changes.”

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White House Official: Netanyahu ‘Spat in Our Face… There Will Be a Price’

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

From the administration that called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “chickens**t” comes more gems after he accepted House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) invitation to address a joint session of Congress:

“We thought we’ve seen everything,” [Haaretz] quoted an unnamed senior US official as saying. “But Bibi managed to surprise even us.

“There are things you simply don’t do. He spat in our face publicly and that’s no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price,” he said.

Officials in Washington said that the “chickenshit” epithet — with which an anonymous administration official branded Netanyahu several months ago — was mild compared to the language used in the White House when news of Netanyahu’s planned speech came in.

…Haaretz reported that Obama had personally demanded that Netanyahu tone down his pro-sanctions rhetoric in a phone call between the two last week. The president has said a sanctions bill would cripple negotiations with Iranian leaders at a critical stage, and has threatened to veto such a bill should it come through.

The Washington Post reported that Netanyahu’s apparent disrespect for US leadership was particularly offensive to Secretary of State John Kerry, who over the past month had made frenzied efforts on Israel’s behalf on the world stage — making dozens of calls to world leaders to convince them to oppose a UN Security Council resolution which would have set a timeframe for the establishment of a Palestinian state.

“The secretary’s patience is not infinite,” a source close to Kerry told the Post. “The bilateral relationship is unshakable. But playing politics with that relationship could blunt Secretary Kerry’s enthusiasm for being Israel’s primary defender.”

In other words, the principles of support for Israel that the administration has long contended it holds dear are merely conditional on the White House feeling that it has the position of power in this special relationship.

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Obama Lauds King’s ‘Courage of Convictions’; Biden to Lead U.S. Delegation to Saudi Arabia

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama hailed late Saudi King Abdullah, who died at age 90 after a battle with pneumonia, as leading the kingdom “through its emergence as a critical force within the global economy and a leader among Arab and Islamic nations.”

“He took bold steps in advancing the Arab Peace Initiative, an endeavor that will outlive him as an enduring contribution to the search for peace in the region,” Obama said of the Saudi plan that would recognize Israel in exchange for concessions including pulling back to pre-1967 borders. “At home, King Abdullah’s vision was dedicated to the education of his people and to greater engagement with the world.”

“As our countries worked together to confront many challenges, I always valued King Abdullah’s perspective and appreciated our genuine and warm friendship,” the president continued in a statement. “As a leader, he was always candid and had the courage of his convictions. One of those convictions was his steadfast and passionate belief in the importance of the U.S.-Saudi relationship as a force for stability and security in the Middle East and beyond. The closeness and strength of the partnership between our two countries is part of King Abdullah’s legacy.”

“May God grant him peace,” Obama added.

Abdullah was going to be buried after Friday afternoon prayers, according to the Arab News. Vice President Joe Biden will lead the U.S. delegation to Saudi Arabia, though it was unclear exactly when Biden would be in the country.

Biden said in a statement that the king’s death is a “great loss” as he “played an outsized role in building his country.”

Secretary of State John Kerry lamented that it was a “sad day.”

“The United States has lost a friend, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Middle East, and the world has lost a revered leader,” Kerry said. “King Abdullah was a man of wisdom and vision. I loved my visits with him as a senator and as secretary. Even as he battled age and illness, he held on to his sense of determination. His stories of his father and of his family were remarkable. He was so proud of the Kingdom’s journey, a brave partner in fighting violent extremism who proved just as important as a proponent of peace.”

“The courageous Arab Peace Initiative that he sponsored remains a critical document for the goal we shared of two states, Israel and Palestine, living in peace and security. He also made great strides to invest in the Saudi people, and the Kingdom’s infrastructure and economic development. The scholarship program that bears his name represents an enormous, far-sighted contribution to Saudi Arabia’s future prosperity. I know he was very proud of his role as Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and as leader of his people.”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel issued condolences “on behalf of all the men and women of the Department of Defense.”

“Like his father, who founded modern Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah was a man of tremendous character and courage – a historic figure dedicated to advancing the lives of his people at home as well as his country’s leadership abroad. He was a committed friend and partner of the United States. And he was a powerful voice for tolerance, moderation, and peace – in the Islamic world and across the globe,” Hagel said.

“I extend my condolences, thoughts, and prayers to King Abdullah’s family, and to all the people of Saudi Arabia. May he rest in peace as we celebrate his rich legacy for many years to come.”

Amnesty International reported that Friday’s scheduled flogging of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi was postponed because a doctor determined he “would not be able to withstand” his next round of lashes yet.

Badawi, a 31-year-old married father of three, was sentenced to 10 years behind bars and 1,000 lashes spread out over a 20-week period for “insulting Islam” through articles posted on his website.

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Bibi Accepts Boehner Invitation, But He Won’t Be Welcomed by White House

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accepted House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) invitation to address a joint session of Congress on terrorism and terror-sponsor Iran.

Boehner originally proposed Feb 11, but the date will be bumped to March 3 to coincide with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in D.C.

AIPAC confirmed that Netanyahu will be speaking at the March 1-3 megaconference.

“I am honored by this invitation, which reflects the special friendship shared by Israel and the United States as well as the strong bipartisan support for Israel across America,” Netanyahu said in a statement today.

“Just last week I discussed with President Obama the common challenges we face from Islamist extremism, including resurgent terrorism and Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons,” he continued.

“I look forward to being able to share with the joint session Israel’s vision for working together to address these threats and to reiterate Israel’s commitment to the bond that unites our two democracies.”

But President Obama will not be meeting with Netanyahu when he visits.

“As a matter of long-standing practice and principle, we do not see heads of state or candidates in close proximity to their elections, so as to avoid the appearance of influencing a democratic election in a foreign country,” White House National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said in a statement today. “Accordingly, the president will not be meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu because of the proximity to the Israeli election, which is just two weeks after his planned address to the U.S. Congress.”

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Pelosi Peeved That Boehner Had ‘Hubris’ to Say ‘I Rule’ and Invite Bibi

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

The White House has complained that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) broke with executive protocol in his invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint sessions of Congress — and now Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is saying Boehner had the “hubris” to break an unwritten congressional protocol as well.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday that “the typical protocol would suggest that the leader of a country would contact the leader of another country when he’s traveling there.”

“That certainly is how President Obama’s trips are planned when we travel overseas,” Earnest said. “So this particular event seems to be a departure from that protocol.”

The Netanyahu address is scheduled for Feb. 11.

“When I was — also when I was minority leader and became one of the four leaders, it was clear always that if we wanted — if we had a suggestion about a head of state to come, that it was something that had to — you passed around the four top leaders,” Pelosi told reporters at a press conference today.

“For example, one of my, as minority leader before being speaker, one of the people that I was excited to invite or hoped to invite was the president of Liberia, woman president of Liberia, [Ellen] Sirleaf Johnson. And I knew that she would be a spectacular guest for the House, but — or for the Congress, a joint session, but I talked to Senator Frist, I talked to — I talked to the leadership about would that be OK. And they agreed that it would,” she continued.

“A concern that people had, going back then, was will members show up, because members are not always enthusiastic about attending these joint sessions.”

Netanyahu’s 2011 address to a joint session of Congress was packed.

“So that was — that was my introduction to it, you talked to all four, the other three leaders. There’s some consensus among four. And I’m not saying that it’s a big challenge. People usually would cooperate. But they’d raise their concerns about attendance, this or that. I know Sirleaf Johnson we would be bursting at the seams, and we were, with member attendance,” Pelosi said, adding more examples: “So, when I was speaker, we had King Abdullah of Jordan, President Sarkozy of France, the taoiseach of Ireland, Taoiseach Ahern, Prime Minister Brown of England, Chancellor Merkel of Germany, and President Calderon of Mexico, some kind of a combination of initiated by the White House or initiated by Congress, but agreed to by all four leaders.”

“So, it’s out of the ordinary that the speaker would decide that he would be inviting people to a joint session without any bipartisan consultation.”

Pelosi added, “Of course, we always — our friendship with Israel is a very strong one. Prime Minister Netanyahu has spoken to the joint session two times already.”

“And there are concerns about the fact that this, as I understand it from this morning, that this presentation will take place within two weeks of the election in Israel. I don’t think that’s appropriate for any country, that the head of state would come here within two weeks of his own election in his own country,” she said. “The more serious part of your question is about the sanctions. Yes, the president was correct in his presentation and the strength with which he presented his appeal to Congress that we not have sanctions at this time.”

Pelosi chided pro-sanctions lawmakers, including many Dems. “Everybody knows that Congress can pass sanctions anytime. So, what is the point? What is the point? What is the — the problem is that it could seriously undermine the delicate diplomacy that is at work… And so, what is the point of — of sanctions? And if that’s the purpose of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit two weeks before his own election, right in the midst of our negotiations, I just don’t think it’s appropriate and helpful.”

She wasn’t done.

Pelosi said Boehner has “awesome power” in his position as speaker, but “that power is not to be squandered.”

“It’s hubris to say, you know, ‘I rule; I’ll decide.’ And without any sensitivity to the fact that an election is taking two weeks — and within two weeks, the invitation I get is for the 3rd of March and the election is the — what? — the 17th, something like that. And also the fact that what is the purpose of it. Is the purpose to come and talk about sanctions? To talk about a policy in opposition to the policy that our president has just put forth in his State of the Union address and that has been in operation for many months?”

Boehner said in a statement Wednesday that Netanyahu “is a great friend of our country, and this invitation carries with it our unwavering commitment to the security and well-being of his people.”

“In this time of challenge, I am asking the Prime Minister to address Congress on the grave threats radical Islam and Iran pose to our security and way of life,” Boehner continued. “Americans and Israelis have always stood together in shared cause and common ideals, and now we must rise to the moment again.”

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Psaki Calls Boehner Invitation to Netanyahu an ‘Episode of the Bizarre’

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said this morning that by the time Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks before a joint session of Congress, lawmakers should have their Iran sanctions game plan in place.

Corker went to Israel a few days ago “to sit down with him and also sit down with Mossad, who’s their intelligence agency, in closely monitoring these negotiations,” he told CNN.

“And my guess is by the time that he comes Congress may be in sync as to what it wants to do. So I don’t know that he’ll be necessarily going against the president. There’s a lot that’s occurring,” Corker said.

“But I do know this, he’s incredibly concerned about a bad deal with Iran, very concerned about where these negotiations are going. And what appears to be happening is Iran has sort of been here, we started here, the P-5, and every day that goes by it seems that we move closer and closer to the Iran place. And that’s why Congress, again, wants to be that firm backstop. And I think he supports this, to keep the P-5 from going to a place that’s really bad for our nation.”

The chairman said he was “made aware” of the invitation, though it’s House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) call.

“I think what you’ve seen happening is the president’s been irresponsible in the way that he has dealt with Congress and continued to basically act as if it’s his way or the highway,” Corker said. “I don’t know if that’s what’s driving the leadership in this particular direction.”

Boehner said in a statement Wednesday that Netanyahu “is a great friend of our country, and this invitation carries with it our unwavering commitment to the security and well-being of his people.”

“In this time of challenge, I am asking the Prime Minister to address Congress on the grave threats radical Islam and Iran pose to our security and way of life,” Boehner continued. “Americans and Israelis have always stood together in shared cause and common ideals, and now we must rise to the moment again.”

Netanyahu’s address is scheduled for Feb. 11. He previously addressed Congress in 1996 and 2011.

“With respect to the prime minister and his visit here, look, we welcome the prime minister of Israel to come and speak in America anytime,” Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday. “And obviously, it’s a little unusual to learn of an invitation from the speaker’s office. That said, everybody knows that the subject of Iran is much on people’s minds. We have no difference in our goal with respect to our position.”

“We may have – we do have some difference in tactics of how you achieve that goal,” Kerry added. “But we are determined that Iran will not get a nuclear weapon, and the key to our negotiations is to make certain that whatever is agreed upon will show people with clarity that that is, in fact, the case that the path to a nuclear weapon is not achievable and/or has been given up or both together, and that it can be verified. And that is obviously critical.”

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told CNN that she “will let others be the judge of what’s appropriate or not” in the Netanyahu invitation. “It’s certainly unusual.”

“Obviously, we have a close relationship with Israel. We heard, as you know and have reported on from Speaker Boehner, not from Israel, about plans for the prime minister to come here. He has come before, many times before. Many prime ministers have come before,” Psaki said. “So it was a little — it was a bit of an episode of the bizarre today seeing all of this unfold.”

Psaki was asked if Kerry was “irritated” by Boehner’s move.

“Well, he doesn’t get irritated that easily, as you know. You know him pretty well,” Psaki replied. “I think he’s focused on lots of issues we work with Israel on, whether it’s security or the tensions on the ground. He is keeping his eyes on those balls. He is not particularly worried about the protocol of when someone is told they are coming to speak here. He thought it was a little unusual, too.”

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Boehner Not ‘Poking Anyone in the Eye’ with Netanyahu Invitation

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) insisted he’s not “poking” the White House in the eye by inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress, while the administration complained it was a deviation of protocol.

Netanyahu is expected to address the joint session on Feb. 11 — the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution — about the danger posed by Iran and terrorism.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters onboard Air Force One today that they hadn’t heard about the invitation from the Israelis at all, and “this particular event seems to be a departure from that protocol.”

“The protocol would suggest that the leader of one country would contact the leader of another country when he’s traveling there,” Earnest said.

He added that the administration would “reserve judgment” on the visit until they’ve had a chance to confer with the Israelis.

Boehner confirmed outside of a caucus meeting on the Hill today that he “did not consult with the White House.”

“The Congress can make this decision on its own,” Boehner stressed. “I don’t believe I’m poking anyone in the eye. There is a serious threat that exists in the world and the president, last night, kind of papered over it. And the fact is, is that there needs to be a more serious conversation in America about how serious the threat is from radical Islamic jihadists and the threat posed by Iran.”

Over at the State Department, press secretary Jen Psaki said they have no opposition to Netanyahu’s visit.

“He’s spoken to a joint session many times in the past. That’s certainly not something we have opposed, nor do we oppose it, in general, in this case,” Psaki told reporters. “We don’t have information at this point on what he’ll be speaking about. Obviously, we have ongoing discussions — the secretary does — with Prime Minister Netanyahu about a range of issues, security, the ongoing tensions. Those will certainly continue.”

“…We have a different point of view, as it relates to the benefit of ongoing negotiations with Iran in our efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. And Prime Minister Netanyahu has spoken to that extensively. So that’s — but there are many leaders who have spoken to joint sessions in the past and there will be many in the future.”

Netanyahu met with a group of senators who visited Jerusalem over the weekend, including Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Angus King (I-Maine), and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.).

 

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Black Activists Make Solidarity Trip from Ferguson to Palestine

Monday, January 19th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Counter Current News reports:

Recently, a number of representatives from the Dream Defenders, Black Lives Matter and various Ferguson anti-police brutality protesters made history through a solidarity trip to Palestine. The purpose of last week’s trip was to connect with activists living under Israeli occupation. The 10-day trip to the occupied Palestinian Territories, specifically in the West Bank, was organized to show a link between oppression emanating from the Israeli State as well as that which victims of police brutality are experiencing in America.

The trip was organized by the legal and policy director of the Dream Defenders, Ahmad Abuznaid, Florida attorney and Palestinian native.

Ebony adds:

Over the past week, the delegation has met with refugees, Afro-Palestinians, a family that was kicked out of their house by settlers in East Jerusalem, and organizations representing Palestinian political prisoners, Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS). …[tour member] Carruthers recalled their delegation crossing paths with a tour group led by Israeli authorities. “They were clearly receiving a completely different story about the occupation. It’s deeper than just spreading lies, the false narrative is violent.”

Tour participants did not bother noting that a politically motivated trip covering only Palestinian territories obviously carries the implication of a “false narrative.” They did, however, identify with the Palestinians, commenting that blacks are “displaced refugees” in the United States. This trip followed a visit to Ferguson paid by a Palestinian delegation this past November who sought to forge relationships with black activist groups.

Financial backing for Dream Defenders, Black Lives Matter, and a cohort of sister organizations has all been directly traced to George Soros’s Open Society Foundations, which reportedly spent $5.4 million last year funding the Ferguson protest movement. 

The plethora of organizations involved not only shared Mr. Soros‘ funding, but they also fed off each other, using content and buzzwords developed by one organization on another’s website, referencing each other’s news columns and by creating a social media echo chamber of Facebook “likes” and Twitter hashtags that dominated the mainstream media and personal online newsfeeds.

At least 8 out of the 14 trip participants were members of organizations funded by Soros.

Support for these radical groups goes deeper into D.C. than Soros’s pockets. In 2012, Breitbart reported that Eric Holder’s

Department of Justice was facilitating the agenda of a group [the Dream Defenders] that appears to have been led by an employee of the law firm representing the Martin family, a stunning amount of bias for the federal goverment to show in a local crime case.

Most recently, Eric Holder joined President Obama and Vice President Biden in meeting with representatives of the Dream Defenders and other race-based organizations to sooth tensions in the wake of Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson’s non-indictment in the shooting of Michael Brown. Phillip Agnew, co-founder of Dream Defenders, attended both this meeting and the subsequent trip to the Palestinian territories.

With a White House bent on depicting radical Islamic terrorist acts as a “War on Muslims” and a president encouraging his fellow Democrats not to “bow” to pressure from pro-Israel donors, one can only wonder where such high level political support for groups such as the Dream Defenders will lead.

 

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Obama Warns Dems Not to Bow to (Jewish) Donors

Sunday, January 18th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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The New York Times reported on the latest Senate Democrat strategy meeting that took place in Baltimore this past week. Among the issues on the table was the Iran issue, namely potential sanctions to be voted on in the form of the beleaguered Kirk-Menendez bill.

According to one of the senators and another person who was present, the president urged lawmakers to stop pursuing sanctions, saying such a move would undermine his authority and could derail the talks. Mr. Obama also said that such a provocative action could lead international observers to blame the Americans, rather than the Iranians, if the talks collapsed before the June 30 deadline.

The president said he understood the pressures that senators face from donors and others, but he urged the lawmakers to take the long view rather than make a move for short-term political gain, according to the senator. Mr. Menendez, who was seated at a table in front of the podium, stood up and said he took “personal offense.”

The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) was quick to assert that the Jewishness of “donors and others” was inferred in Obama’s statement. While Religion Dispatches disagreed, they also pointed out, “…it does look as though Menendez received more ‘pro-Israel’ money than all but 2 Senators between 2006 and 2014. Number one on that list, incidentally, is his co-sponsor on the current Iran sanctions bill, Mark Kirk.”

The Kirk-Menendez bill has been battered around Capitol Hill for nearly a year. In a recent CNN report, Kirk went on record citing their need for American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the largest pro-Israel lobbying group in D.C., to support their efforts to get the bill passed and an inevitable Presidential veto overridden. In light of the strong relationship between AIPAC, Kirk and Menendez, perhaps the Jewish Press was right in their observation: “‘Neocon’ used to be the code word for Jews, now it appears to be ‘donors,’ at least when used by certain politicians, including U.S. President Barack Obama.”

 

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Anti-Israel CNN Reporter Jim Clancy Resigns

Friday, January 16th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Hasbara

Last week we covered the story of CNN’s Jim Clancy, who embarrassed himself with a feeble Twitter attempt to tie the radical Islamists behind the Charlie Hebdo massacre to Hasbara (Israeli PR). Today, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports:

Veteran CNN anchor Jim Clancy stepped down on Friday, one week after a series of Twitter posts in which he mocked pro-Israel tweeters on a thread discussing the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

Neither CNN nor Jim Clancy gave a reason for his departure, which was reported by AdWeek. Clancy had worked at CNN for 34 years.

Although Clancy’s Twitter account no longer existed as of Thursday, the tweets have been preserved on a number of websites, including Twitchy and Mediaite, and by Tablet journalist Yair Rosenberg.

Apparently, at one point the Twitter backlash got so bad that Clancy took mouthing off to a whole new disgusting level:

Clancy later told the Twitter account for Human Rights News, “You and the Hasbara team need to pick on some cripple at the edge of the herd.”

Jay Ruderman, head of the Ruderman Family Foundation, which is dedicated to advocacy and inclusion for the disabled, demanded an apology from Clancy and CNN. Ruderman said the use of the term “cripple” was insensitive.

Whether it was a long-overdue retirement or a simple parting of the ways, Clancy’s exit from CNN is one thing for which we can fully thank some serious Twitter hasbara.

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Exodus Chart: Shocking Graph Shows French Jews Fleeing to Israel in Historic Numbers

Friday, January 16th, 2015 - by Scott Ott

Jewish Emigration from France to Israel 1994-Present

Emigration from France to Israel 1994-2015

Data from JewishVirtualLibrary.org via Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics. 2013 & 2014 figures are rounded numbers (3,300 & 7,000), and 2015 is the estimate (10,000) from Natan Sharansky, CEO of the Jewish Agency. [Graph created by Scott Ott for PJMedia.com]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some say the bad European economy, high French taxes and the inviting business atmosphere of Israel are behind the veritable exodus of French Jews from their country to Abraham’s promised land.

But it’s hard to discount Jew-hatred and the threat of violence reminiscent of 1930s Germany, as radical Islam burns with rage and is not quenched.

The surge of French Jews emigrating to Israel is unprecedented in the post-World War II era. Last year, for the first time, France exceeded the United States for Jews making aliyah — the Hebrew term for “going up” to Israel, a core element of the Zionist movement.

Pretending economic factors have driven this pattern denies decades of history, when European economic downturns did not produce such an outflow. Last year, Jews from France emigrated to Israel in numbers that exceeded the peak of 5,292 set in 1969, in the wake of Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War.

The Jews have seen this story before, and they will never forget. They know that “noble” world leaders will quibble and equivocate as Jews are surrounded “for their own protection,” and then slaughtered to satisfy the bloodlust of evil men.

But there’s open debate about whether Jews should stay or flee. Watch the Trifecta episode below to learn more about that, and hear the story of the ship St. Louis, which left Hamburg loaded with Jews on May 13, 1939.

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Report: Menendez has ‘Forceful Exchange’ with Obama Over Iran Sanctions

Thursday, January 15th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama reportedly told senators at a closed-door retreat Thursday that they shouldn’t push Iran sanctions legislation because it would “undermine his authority.”

The key Democratic proponent of the sanctions, Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), reportedly got into a heated exchange with the president after taking offense to the president’s suggestion that lawmakers wanted to get tough on Iran just for political gain or at the direction of well-heeled donors.

From the New York Times:

In the course of the argument, which was described as tense but generally respectful, Mr. Obama vowed to veto legislation being drafted by Mr. Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, and Senator Mark Kirk, Republican of Illinois, that would impose the sanctions before the multiparty talks are set to end this summer.

…His exchange with Mr. Menendez occurred near the end of a question-and-answer session after Senator Angus King of Maine — an independent who caucuses with the Democrats — asked for an update to the nuclear talks.

According to one of the senators and another person who was present, the president urged lawmakers to stop pursuing sanctions, saying such a move would undermine his authority and could derail the talks. Mr. Obama also said that such a provocative action could lead international observers to blame the Americans, rather than the Iranians, if the talks collapsed before the June 30 deadline.

The president said he understood the pressures that senators face from donors and others, but he urged the lawmakers to take the long view rather than make a move for short-term political gain, according to the senator. Mr. Menendez, who was seated at a table in front of the podium, stood up and said he took “personal offense.”

Mr. Menendez told the president that he had worked for more than 20 years to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions and had always been focused on the long-term implications. Mr. Menendez also warned the president that sanctions could not be imposed quickly if Congress waited to act and the talks failed, according to two people who were present.

“It was a forceful exchange between two strong personalities,” the senator, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations, said. “It was not an angry exchange. It was clear, forceful, vigorous.”

As a journalist who’s covered Iran and Congress for many years, I’ve seen the frustration in those lawmakers who are trying to effect real action against the Islamic Republic, who know the roster of human rights abuses committed by the regime, who comprehended the gravity of the mullahs acquiring nuclear capability. I can only imagine the feeling of offense at the president suggesting that you’re not doing it for moral conviction but for some sort of monetary or political gain.

As for Obama’s veto threat, the likelihood of a veto-proof majority in the 113th is why the White House heaped pressure on then-Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to not bring it to the floor. Now Republicans have the majority in both chambers of Congress and even larger numbers. Democrats who rarely side with the GOP, such as Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) in the House and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) in the Senate, will be rallying their colleagues to the sanctions cause. Repeated extensions of the negotiations deadlines and scant progress updates to Congress as Tehran benefits from sanctions relief have wiped away much of any optimism lawmakers may have felt about the administration’s strategy.

Obama will probably drop a few lines in his State of the Union address next Tuesday about how Iran is cooperating and lawmakers shouldn’t screw up his strategy. But his two arguments in the leak to the NYT — that sanctions legislation would “undermine his authority” and make other countries blame the U.S. for collapsed talks — won’t win him any friends in Congress as these reasons glaringly bypass what should be the No. 1 goal of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear capability.

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Congress Gearing Up for ‘Strong Response’ Against Palestinian ICC Bid

Thursday, January 15th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

A House Democrat is leading a charge to immediately terminate aid to the Palestinian Authority unless it withdraws its request to join the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas signed the ICC treaty, the Rome Statute, after the PA’s resolution at the UN Security Council to make Israel withdraw from territory it claims failed.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon confirmed that the Palestinians will be part of the ICC on April 1.

“Palestinian President Mahmooud Abbas’ application to join the International Criminal Court (ICC) is an affront to all of those who have engaged for years in efforts to accomplish a peaceful resolution to the decades long Israeli–Palestinian conflict,” said Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.). “The Palestinian Authority’s anticipated war crimes complaint against Israel will, in no uncertain terms, severely hinder future comprehensive peace talks in a time when the advancement of a two-state solution that ensures enduring peace has never been more important.”

“For more than half a century, Israel has been America’s most reliable strategic partner in the Middle East,” Hastings continued. “It is essential that we remain supportive of Israel’s absolute right to defend itself and protect its citizens. We cannot stand by while the Palestinian Authority, engaged in a unity government with Hamas, makes frivolous and damaging claims against Israel Defense Forces soldiers and Israeli citizens residing in settlements in the disputed West Bank.”

“Congress must halt the $400 million American dollars sent annually to the Palestinian Authority until it withdraws its counterproductive request to join the International Criminal Court and returns to the negotiating table with Israel.”

It’s a companion bill to Senate legislation introduced by Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

Last week, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) issued a joint statement calling the Palestinians’ ICC bid “deplorable,” vowing a “strong response” from Congress.

“If the ICC makes the egregious mistake of accepting the Palestinian Authority as a member, given that it is not a state, Congress will seek ways to protect Israeli citizens from politically abusive ICC actions,” the senators said.

“Palestinian leaders will no doubt try to do to the ICC what they have done to international organizations like the UN Human Rights Council — take an organization with laudable goals and undermine its credibility by turning it into a political battering ram against Israel.”

The White House said that President Obama discussed the issue with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by phone Monday.

“On the Palestinian ICC bid, President Obama reiterated the United States’ position that the Palestinian Authority does not yet constitute a state and is therefore not eligible to accede to the Rome Statute,” the White House said in a readout of the call. “President Obama underscored that the United States does not believe Palestinian accession to the ICC is a constructive way forward. The United States continues to strongly oppose actions by both parties that undermine trust and encourages both sides to seek ways to deescalate tensions.”

Pressed this week on the U.S. stance that the Palestinians don’t meet the qualifications to join the ICC, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters, “Our position is what it is.”

“Neither the steps they have taken, nor the actions the U.N. Secretary has taken that we talked about a lot in this room warrant the conclusion the Palestinians established a state or have the legal competencies necessary to fulfill the requirements of their own statute,” Harf said. “That is our legal position here.”

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Duke University Chapel to Broadcast Muslim Call to Prayer

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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HuffPo reports:

The chant, known as “adhan,” will resound from the Duke Chapel bell tower every Friday beginning Jan. 16, echoed by members of the Muslim Students Association, the university announced via Duke Today. The chant will sound for three minutes at a “moderately amplified” level to announce the Jummah prayer service, held Friday afternoons in the chapel basement.

The Adhan will be sung in Arabic, then followed by an English translation, according to a Facebook event announcing the call.

“This opportunity represents a larger commitment to religious pluralism that is at the heart of Duke’s mission,” Christy Lohr Sapp, the chapel’s associate dean for religious life, told Duke Today. “It connects the university to national trends in religious accommodation.”

The announcement comes one day after the White House clarified that their anti-terror summit would not cover acts of radical Islamic terror, having determined that those acts are only part of a greater War on Muslims.

The chapel that will broadcast the Islamic call to prayer also hosts events for Christian and Catholic groups on campus. Duke’s Muslim students pray at the chapel despite having their own Muslim Life at Duke center on campus. Jewish students, who comprise more than ten percent of the undergraduate and graduate student populations, hold events at the privately funded Freeman Center for Jewish Life located on campus.

For the private university’s 700+ Muslims, the decision is being praised as a sign of their acceptance into the Duke community.

Roughly 6,500 undergraduates and 8,300 graduate and professional students are enrolled in the prestigious private university that maintains “a historic affiliation with the Methodist Church.” The Methodist Church has publicly supported divestment, pulling pension investments from companies tied to Israel as a method to pressure Israel to cease settlement expansion.

In 2004, Duke University granted $50,000 in funding to the Palestine Solidarity Movement (PSM) to demonstrate on campus. The conference was so volatile that Commentary magazine announced in 2005 “The Intifada Comes to Duke.” Motivated by the PSM, award-winning student journalist Philip Kurian published an anti-Semitic op-ed in the student newspaper titled “The Jews.” Loaded with conspiracy theories, Kurian argued against what he termed Jewish “privilege,” writing,

What’s worst is that the ‘Holocaust Industry’ uses its influence to stifle, not enhance, the Israeli-Palestinian debate, simultaneously belittling the real struggles for socioeconomic and political equality faced, most notably, by black Americans.

Richard Brodhead, whose decision it was to fund the PSM on campus, is the current president of the University.

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Sky News Censors Charlie Hebdo Cover Live

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Want to know what cowardice looks like on live television? The Washington Post notes:

On Sky News, former Charlie Hebdo journalist Caroline Fourest was trying to explain how “crazy” it is that certain journalism mills in the United Kingdom won’t show the cover of the latest edition of the magazine. Well, Sky News provided a stronger explanation than Fourest ever could have. Watch some memorable seat-of-the-pants censorship, live.

Which is better, cutting away from the image or apologizing to viewers who may have been offended by seeing a partial caricature of Mohammed? The British accent on the newscaster made it all so prim and frothy, too. This was apparently for all those viewers who’ve ever wondered what it’d feel like to be dismissed by the Dowager at Downton over a political statement. Then again, I highly doubt even socialist Tom would invite one of the Sky News chickens to dinner.

At least we know what editorial board discussions look like at CNN and a series of U.S. news outlets that refused, er, made the “editorial decision” not to show the cover generated by the remnants of a massacred magazine staff. What, exactly, are they so afraid of?

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BREAKING VIDEO: New ISIS Video Calls for Attacks on France and U.S.

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

The ISIS “Raqaa Media Office” has just published a new video in which one fighter promises to bring attacks to France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, and the United States (begins at approximately  0:56).

The first fighter concludes with:

Whoever was shocked and amazed must comprehend, the Muslims today have a loud and thundering voice, and possess heavy boots. They will have a statement that will cause the world to hear and understand the meaning of terrorism, and boots that will trample the idol of nationalism, destroy the idol of democracy and its falseness.

The second fighter calls for Muslims to rise up:

For the time has come to free yourself from the shackles of weakness and stand in the face of tyranny.

The third fighter rails against “the agents of the crusaders and the atheists, and the guardians of the Jews,” and talks about “the joys of the mujahidin on the occasion of the Islamic Khalifah announcement and their renewed pledge to the Imam.” He concludes by asking Muslims to pledge allegiance along with him by reciting the bayat.

Here’s the graphic that accompanied the announcement.

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Israeli Embassy Puts Mona Lisa in Hijab, Warns: Paris, We Told You So

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

The Israeli Embassy in Ireland published a far more provocative piece of art than did Charlie Hebdo this week. Far too angry to even broach forgiveness, the JPost reports that the Embassy

…posted a photograph on its Twitter account on Wednesday featuring Mona Lisa decked out in Islamic garb while holding what appears to be a rocket.

The post seems to be a common sentiment among Israelis who are angry over what they perceive as the international community’s inability to empathize with its precarious security situation.

Sensitive to criticism over its response to Hamas rocket fire, Israel has often sought to conflate its struggle against Palestinian terrorism with the jihadist violence that reared its ugly head in France last week, claiming the lives of 20 people.

The artwork was released amid news that French President Hollande did not want Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to attend Sunday’s unity march in Paris. Hollande felt the Israeli prime minister’s presence would “…divert attention from the theme of national unity the million-person event was intended to symbolize,” according to Israeli media reports.

…The French official who conveyed Hollande’s wish to Jerusalem said that Netanyahu’s presence and that of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, would “cause difficulties.” The French believed that Netanyahu’s presence among the foreign notables leading the march would inevitably introduce dissonant echoes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Jewish-Muslim relations that would jar the somber atmosphere.”

As France works to distance itself and its Jews politically from Israel, the Obama administration is hard at work crafting acts of radical Islamic terror into a War on Muslims. The White House refuses to employ France’s term “war against radical Islam,” instead choosing to refer “…to terrorists as ‘violent extremists who have sought to incite a religious war against Islam.’” The Orwellian doublespeak does not bode well for Jews abroad or in America. Despite the fact that anti-Semitism motivated many of the non-Muslim related terror attacks that will be discussed in February’s “summit on violent extremism,” Obama’s ultimate goal regarding radical Islamic terror is and always will be to defend Muslims. Even if it is at the risk of the Jewish population.

Perhaps the Israeli Embassy in Ireland is correct in saying that “Israel is the last frontier of the free world.” And perhaps that is the real reason their artwork is so disturbing.

 

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Ataturk-Era Newspaper in Turkey to Publish Charlie Hebdo Edition

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

A newspaper in Turkey whose roots stretch to the founding of the modern republic will truly live the words “je suis Charlie” on Wednesday when it publishes the new Charlie Hebdo issue in Turkish despite threats.

Cumhuriyet (The Republic), founded in 1924 at the encouragement of Mustafa Kemal, tweeted that it will continue to “defend the freedom of expression” and will dedicate four of its pages to the French satirical paper’s content. They’ll also reportedly double their normal press run to 100,000 copies.

Besides French, the only other language of Charlie Hebdo in print will be Italian. English, Spanish, and Arabic versions will be available in online formats.

Threats have reportedly been pouring into the newspaper in the 99 percent Muslim country, and some overtly posted on Twitter. Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek, a member of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP), stoked the flames by tweeting in all caps that the paper was about to commit a “serious provocation” and asking followers to spread the word. He also accused the newspaper of working with some foreign power and declared it a “game of the enemies of Islam.”

According to Agence France-Presse, Charlie Hebdo’s chief editor wanted a Turkish version because “Turkey is in a difficult period and secularity there is under attack.”

Gerard Biard stressed that the Turkish version is “the most important” of the five foreign-language versions.

France’s Libération newspaper reported that a team of about 10 translators volunteered from sundown Monday to sun-up Tuesday to craft Turkish-language puns.

They noted that it’s “a gamble in Erdogan’s Turkey,” but the AKP boxed itself into a corner by sending Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to march in Sunday’s “je suis Charlie” rally in Paris.

Still, if Erdogan’s government, which recently hauled a teenager out of school and into jail for allegedly calling the president a thief, doesn’t do the crackdown on Cumhuriyet itself, the tweet from Ankara’s mayor showed they’re ready to whip their Islamist allies into a frenzy over the issue.

According to Libération, Cumhuriyet editor Ayse Yildirim Başlangıç said the idea has been in the works since Wednesday, the day of the Charlie Hebdo massacre. “The idea was launched on the day of the attack to concretely demonstrate to our readers our professional solidarity with Charlie.”

The newspaper will have political allies in opponents of Erdogan and his Islamist party. Today the head of the main opposition Republican People’s Party, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, stressed to his parliamentarians that “secularism is the antidote to terror.”

“We are calling on the entire Islamic world: Please adopt secularism. It was described as sacrilege until yesterday, but secularism is the assurance of all faiths; it means no political interventions on people’s religions,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

“We warned the government not once, not twice, not three times: If you follow such policies, terrorist organizations will become your neighbors. If you follow such policies, Turkey will pay the price.”

Hurriyet Daily News reported that the opposition leader directly addressed Davutoğlu. “He should ask himself: ‘Why am I being criticized?’ This terrorist organization called ISIL is designated as a terrorist organization everywhere in the world, except by one person, one government and one party: The AKP. Why don’t you designate it as one too?”

Erdogan said Monday that the terrorist attacks were France’s fault.

“The West’s hypocrisy is obvious. As Muslims, we’ve never taken part in terrorist massacres. Behind these lie racism, hate speech and Islamophobia,” Erdogan said. “…Games are being played with the Islamic world, we need to be aware of this.”

“French citizens carry out such a massacre, and Muslims pay the price. That’s very meaningful … Doesn’t their intelligence organization track those who leave prison?”

As this story was published, reports began spreading that the Turkish government may employ the police to stop distribution of the paper.

UPDATE 9:30 p.m. EST: Reports on Twitter indicate that the paper’s press site was raided by police without a court order, blocking distribution for about an hour.

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‘Magical Jews’ Responsible for Paris Terror Attacks

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

I love a good Jewish conspiracy. I’ve even been known to dabble in creating a few myself. If you’ve heard that the “We’ve Taken Over the World” after-party will be hosted by the Free Masons and we (the Jews) have already signed up to bring the cake, that’s one of mine. The one about the “magical Jews” behind last week’s Paris attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket Hyper Cacher being “a hybrid race of shape-shifters” who “know how to get everywhere” because “they are master manipulators” belongs to the Muslims in the “Park Slope” of Paris ghettos.

That’s right. In case you weren’t already aware, Jews are X-Men in disguise, Clark Kent-ish disguises, because somehow despite their shape-shifty ways they manage to look just like average human beings. This conspiracy theory is the kind best attributed to immigrant populations that embrace the hatred and radicalization common among the ignorant, willfully unemployed and unassimilated of western civilization. We, the assimilated, acculturated, intellectualized of the bunch like Jose Diaz-Balart have educated ourselves into romanticizing such situations with wacky theories of our own, like:

You can be surrounded by a very comfortable-looking situation but feel despair because you feel that you are so isolated within a society that has nice restaurants but ignores you and ignores your dreams and aspirations.

But how quickly Diaz-Balart and his intellectual compatriots forget that Western Europe, too, was a cultural victim of conspiracy theory-level ignorance, not that long ago. Dreams and aspirations grounded in that anti-Semitic ignorance led to world wars and the murders of millions of Jews. So, should we really be encouraging France to feed into the “dreams and aspirations” of today’s madmen?

Apparently Dana Kennedy thinks so. Or, at least, she’s resigned to it. After detailing the conspiracy theories in her article for The Daily Beast, she back-tracked on Telemundo when Diaz-Balart whipped out the “not all Muslims are like this” clause, turning an important piece on the roots of radical Islamic anti-Semitism into a tepid commentary on Paris housing projects.

Want the real scoop? Read the story. You know, before those shape-shifty Jews sneak on the Internet and remove it.

 

 

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Saudi Cleric Ruins Winter by Declaring Snowmen Anti-Islamic

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

There have been some very creative snowmen (and snow camels) photos coming out of Saudi Arabia as the region deals with a recent snow dump. So count on a cleric to come ruin their fun. From Al-Arabiya:

A prominent Saudi Arabian cleric has whipped up controversy by issuing a religious ruling forbidding the building of snowmen, described them as anti-Islamic.

Asked on a religious website if it was permissible for fathers to build snowmen for their children after a snowstorm in the country’s north, Sheikh Mohammed Saleh al-Munajjid replied: “It is not permitted to make a statue out of snow, even by way of play and fun.”

Quoting from Muslim scholars, Sheikh Munajjid argued that to build a snowman was to create an image of a human being, an action considered sinful under the kingdom’s strict interpretation of Sunni Islam.

“God has given people space to make whatever they want which does not have a soul, including trees, ships, fruits, buildings and so on,” he wrote in his ruling.

That provoked swift responses from Twitter users writing in Arabic and identifying themselves with Arab names.

“They are afraid for their faith of everything … sick minds,” one Twitter user wrote.

Another posted a photo of a man in formal Arab garb holding the arm of a “snow bride” wearing a bra and lipstick. “The reason for the ban is fear of sedition,” he wrote.

A third said the country was plagued by two types of people: “A people looking for a fatwa (religious ruling) for everything in their lives, and a cleric who wants to interfere in everything in the lives of others through a fatwa,” the user wrote.

A few of the soulful snowmen and snowcamels being crafted by rebellious and creative Saudis:

 

 

 

 

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Largest Islamic Body in the World Calls for More Anti-Free Speech Laws in Wake of Charlie Hebdo Attack

Monday, January 12th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

Last week’s terror attack targeting French magazine Charlie Hebdo‘s office in Paris has sparked a global conversation about the nature of free speech, with the “Je Suis Charlie” hashtag in support of the murdered Charlie Hebdo staff going viral and becoming the most used hashtag in the history of Twitter.

But this afternoon, the UN representative for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Ufuk Gokcen, was expressing another view with respect to free speech.

The OIC is comprised of the 57 Muslim-majority nations and the Palestinian Authority. They are the largest bloc at the UN, and when they meet on the head-of-state level, they literally speak for the Muslim world.

So it is noteworthy that after the Charlie Hebdo attack, Gokcen is now calling for more implementation of the OIC-sponsored UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18 and the follow-up Rabat Plan of Action that would criminalize the very type of speech that Charlie Hebdo engaged in:

The timing of Gokcen’s call couldn’t be more perfect.

Today, University of Tennessee law professor Robert Blitt (a colleague of our own Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds) had an oped published in USA Today calling out the OIC for its retrograde views on free speech and how they fuel Islamic extremism:

The OIC, whose member states range from moderate U.S. allies such as Jordan to adversaries such as Iran, describes itself as the world’s largest international body after the United Nations. For more than a decade, “the collective voice of the Muslim world” has spread the belief that any insult directed against the Muslim faith or its prophet demands absolute suppression. Quashing “defamation of Islam” is enshrined as a chief objective in the organization’s charter.

With countless internal resolutions, relentless lobbying of the international community and block voting on resolutions advocating a prohibition on defamation of religion at the U.N., the OIC continuously pushes to silence criticism of Islam.

Translated into practice inside Islamic nations and increasingly elsewhere, this toxic vision breeds contempt for freedom of religion and expression, justifies the killing of Muslims and non-Muslims alike, and casts a pall of self-censorship over academia and the arts.

By building the expectation that dissent or insult merits suppression, groups such as the OIC and the Arab League have emboldened extremists to take protection of Islam to the next level. With the most authoritative Muslim voices prepared to denounce violence but not to combat the idea that Islam should be immune from criticism, a meaningful response to counteract the resulting violence continues to be glaringly absent.

An OIC statement released after a 2011 Charlie Hebdo issue “guest-edited” by the prophet Mohammed typifies this troubling position: “Publication of the insulting cartoon … was an outrageous act of incitement and hatred and abuse of freedom of expression. … The publishers and editors of the Charlie Hebdo magazine must assume full responsibility for their … incitement of religious intolerance.”

As Professor Blitt notes in his oped, the OIC has been the international driving force behind the passage of Resolution 16/18, which was co-sponsored by Pakistan and the United States and passed in December 2011.

When passed, Resolution 16/18 was billed by the Obama administration as an improvement over previous “defamation of religion” resolutions. But the effort immediately came under fire from religious liberties and free speech experts:

In the view of veteran international religious liberty analyst and advocate Elizabeth Kendal resolution 16/18, “far from being a breakthrough for free speech … is actually more dangerous than” the religious defamation resolutions.

“Indeed, the strategic shift from defamation to incitement actually advances the OIC’s primary goal: the criminalization of criticism of Islam,” she wrote.

The OIC’s push to criminalize “defamation of Islam” goes back to the OIC’s 10 Year Plan of Action adopted in 2005. Under the section “Countering Islamophobia” (VII), the plan says:

3. Endeavor to have the United Nations adopt an international resolution to counter Islamophobia, and call upon all States to enact laws to counter it, including deterrent punishments.

In their published implementation plan for their 10 Year Plan of Action, they are more clear that combating “defamation of religion” is not what they were after, but rather criminalizing “Islamophobia”:

OIC implemenation Islamophobia2Which is effectively what they’ve accomplished with the generous assistance of the Obama administration. Just two months before the passage of Resolution 16/18, senior Justice Department officials were meeting with U.S. Islamic groups discussing that very thing.

In fact, in my annual “National Security ‘Not Top 10′ of 2011″ (no. 7) here at PJ Media, I noted the active cooperation of Hillary Clinton and the State Department in working with the OIC as part of their “Istanbul Process” to that end.

And in November 2012, when I reported here that U.S. Embassy in Jeddah Consul General Anne Casper was going to be addressing the OIC’s symposium on “defamation of Islam,” the OIC quickly scrubbed any reference to her appearance.

My colleague Stephen Coughlin has posted a video lecture outlining how the OIC’s efforts with respect to Resolution 16/18 are really rooted in Islamic law’s codes prohibiting blasphemy:

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It’s hardly surprising that even after the Charlie Hebdo attack the OIC is not content to abandon their decade-long effort to criminalize “Islamophobia.” But, much as Professor Blitt has warned in his oped today, by doing so they are pushing the global Islamic community further away from the rest of the world.

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One of the Best Charlie Hebdo Tweets You’ll See, from Iranian Cartoonist in Exile

Monday, January 12th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Iranian cartoonist Kianoush Ramezani was forced to flee his home country during the Green Revolution protests of 2009, and was granted political asylum in France. He told CNN’s Jake Tapper today that the murder of his friends and colleagues at Charlie Hebdo will not stop his own provocation of Islamists in his own cartoons. And he tweeted:

 

Ramezani had told his Charlie Hebdo friends to be careful, because he of all people knows Islamic fundamentalists “never forget.”

“In my opinion, freedom of expression is our heritage, we need to protect it. Do we need to protect the offices of Charlie Hebdo for example, or all newspapers in the same way as the (French) National Assembly? I think yes, as of today yes we do. It’s expensive, but it’s the price we have to pay,” he told Euronews.

Ramezani elaborated on the dangers of being a cartoonist in Iran to online magazine Sampsonia Way last year. “The most dangerous theme is Islam, its symbols, and the prophet. It’s also dangerous to cover the leaders of the Islamic regime of Iran, especially the mullahs. If, by accident, a cartoonist offends any of these, he or she could easily be executed for insulting Islam or the revolution,” he said.

“I think for neutral cartoonists it’s becoming less dangerous. For governmental cartoonists it’s becoming perfect as they are getting bigger budgets and more power from the authority. And finally for the exiled cartoonists it’s becoming more dangerous because of the harassment, cyber-attacks, and even some physical risks, even if they’re living outside of the country.”

 

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Muslim Saves 15 Jewish Lives in Kosher Supermarket Terrorist Attack

Sunday, January 11th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Lassana Bathily, a Muslim immigrant from Mali in West Africa, obviously has no problem with Jews. As an employee of the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in Paris, he not only worked for Jews on a daily basis, he also took the opportunity to save 15 Jewish lives when the store was attacked by radical Islamists this past Friday.

The Jewish Press reports:

Lassana Bathily, a Muslim employee at the HyperChacher supermarket in Paris, saved the lives of 15 Jewish shoppers, when he hid them in the supermarket’s basement freezer after the terrorist, Amedy Coulibaly, entered the store and opened fire.

Bathily also had the presence of mind to also turn the freezer off.

BuzzFeed carried a translation of the French television news interview with Bathily:

“When they ran down, I opened the door [to the freezer],” he told France’s BFMTV.

He quickly shut off the freezer and switched off its light. As he closed the door to shelter the customers inside, he told them, “Stay calm here. I’m going out.”

Eventually police raided the market, killing Coulibaly. As the hostages were freed from the freezer, they had a few words of thanks for Bathily. “They congratulated me,” he told BFMTV.

Describing the 24-year-old man as “shy,” the UK Daily Mail explains, “Using a goods lift he escaped and was able to give the police valuable information about what was happening inside and where the hostages were hiding.” Those huddled in the freezer were able to use cell phones to contact relatives and make them aware of the situation and that they were safe.

Multiculturalists may attempt to use Bathily as an example against stereotyping Muslims and avoiding the identification of radical Islamic terrorism. However, the exact opposite is the case. Bathily is yet another example of why saying “Je Suis” is the ultimate statement after a tumultuous week of terror in France. Whether we are Charlie Hebdo or Juif, the reality is that our existence as a free people who  believe in the Divine, inalienable rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of justice” alone is enough to offend radical Islamic terrorists.

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Liberal Schools MSNBC News Host on Radical Islamism

Sunday, January 11th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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When Melissa Harris-Perry’s producers invited J.J. Goldberg on to speak about the Jewish community in France, they were probably expecting  textbook politically correct responses from the editor at large of America’s largest left-wing Jewish newspaper, the ForwardWhich is why it’s so funny to watch Harris-Perry attempt not to balk at Goldberg’s frank candor on the radical Islamist roots of anti-Semitism in France. “The anti-Semitism problem in France is not primarily a problem of anti-Semitism from French Muslims,” she rushes to clarify at 2:32. “There is a problem of anti-Semitism there, but it is not primarily a problem of Muslim versus Jewish populations there, but rather a question of  – sort of — French citizens in the broadest sense.”

“Um, I don’t think so,” Goldberg begins before detailing in brief France’s dance with anti-Semitism over the past century, noting that the incidents happening now are “happening from the Muslim community.” He then rattles off a series of French leaders who are Jewish and have established bonds with the Israeli Jewish community. “The integration of Jews into France and the acceptance of Jews in France is very, very thorough,” he explains. He ends his segment by noting that 70% of Jews in France today have come from Sephardic countries of origin where they have experienced “tension with their Arab neighbors”.

Harris-Perry attempts to interrupt his scholarly explanation twice before giving in and going to the commercial break.

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Netanyahu, Abbas to Join Anti-Terrorism March; Only U.S. Representative in Paris is Holder

Saturday, January 10th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is joining the world leaders scheduled to gather in Paris on Sunday in a show of public defiance against terrorists.

Netanyahu also issued a special statement to Jews in Europe, stressing that he’ll be convening a special team of ministers right away “to advance steps to increase immigration from France and other countries in Europe that are suffering from terrible anti-Semitism.”

He spoke with French President Francois Hollande after the siege on the kosher supermarket in which four people were murdered and 15 hostages rescued. He also spoke with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls about increased security at Jewish institutions and a broader strategy to strike back at Islamic extremism.

More than a million people are expected to pour into the streets of Paris tomorrow starting at 3 p.m. local time at the Place de la Republique. Victims’ relatives are expected to lead the march with government leaders behind them.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Mario Renzi, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Jordan’s King Abdullah and Queen Rania, EU President Donald Tusk, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are among those expected to attend.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will be there, too.

“‘At this solemn moment of tragedy our hearts and minds are with you in the face of terrorism that has no religion,” Abbas said, according to the official Palestinian WAFA news agency. “The entire Palestinian people are pained by what has taken place.”

President Obama has nothing on his weekend schedule, and Vice President Joe Biden is in Wilmington, Del., with no events scheduled. Obama welcomes the San Antonio Spurs to the White House on Monday.

The administration sent Attorney General Eric Holder to Paris for anti-terror talks scheduled before the march. The Justice Department has not issued any statement about whether he’ll participate in the march as well. Holder is scheduled to appear on Sunday morning news shows, segments that he’d have to tape in advance if he wants to attend the rally.

Secretary of State John Kerry was meeting in Germany today with the sultan of Oman. “Certainly, he feels a special connection with the people of France,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters Friday. “As we’ve noted in the schedule, we’ve announced he’ll be in India on Sunday, and that those travel plans have not changed.”

Netanyahu said he spoke by phone today with Celine Shreki, who was one of the hostages in the market.

“She told me about the terrorist’s inconceivable cruelty and of the heroism of the young Jewish man who attempted to seize his weapon and shoot him; he was shot by the terrorist and died about 45 minutes later,” he said.

The market victims were Yoav Hattab, Philippe Barham, Johan Cohen, and Francois-Michel Saada. Hattab was son of the Chief Rabbi of Tunis.

“The terrorist organizations of extremist Islam have many and varied names – Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic State, Al Qaida, Nusra, Islamic Jihad and Boko Haram. They are all motivated by the same bloody hatred and the same fanaticism that knows no borders. They want to take humanity 1,000 years backward to a dark tyranny that we freed ourselves from after many generations. They simply want to take humanity backward,” Netanyahu said in a statement tonight.

“Further proof that these organizations are branches of the same poisonous tree may be seen in the fact that one of Hamas’s official organs praised the reprehensible murderers in Paris. It must be understood that this is a war against us all.”

The prime minister warned that “if we ignore the true root of the problem, if we ignore the fact that extremist Islamic terrorism seeks to exterminate Western civilization as a whole, including the Jewish People, if we ignore this – what we are now seeing in Paris will be only the beginning.”

“These are not frightening words or prophecies of rage, this is the simple reality and the time has come to recognize it.”

Netanyahu stressed the necessity to strike at the sources of terrorist financing and at “the centers of incitement that encourage these murderous acts throughout Europe.”

He also sent a special message to French Jews and all European Jews: “The State of Israel is not just the place to which you turn in prayer. The State of Israel is also your home… All Jews who want to immigrate to Israel will be welcomed here warmly and with open arms. We will help you in your absorption here in our state that is also your state.”

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All You Need to Know About Venezuela’s Regime in a Few Tweets

Saturday, January 10th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Tweets from the Ayatollah today:

 

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