Raed Salah celebrates
It’s not often that when a defendant is sentenced to do time behind bars he exclaims jubilantly. But that’s precisely what happened last week when Islamic Movement Northern Branch leader Sheikh Raed Salah – an Israeli-Arab, former mayor of Umm el-Fahm and a convicted Hamas collaborator – was handed down an eight-month term for inciting to violence in 2007.
Salah had then orchestrated riots against archeological rescue-digs and a new pedestrian bridge near the Temple Mount. He accused Jews of “eating bread dipped in children’s blood.” He praised and eulogized terrorist murderers. He threatened anyone who claims any Jewish connection to the Western Wall, “even to just one stone.” Thereafter, Salah has been regularly holding “Save al-Aksa” rallies dedicated to the incendiary calumny that Israel is out to demolish the Muslim compound atop Temple Mount.
His ultra-light sentence inspired him to shout insolently in open court: “Blessed is God – I got off cheap!” Continue reading
Ultra-popular in cyberspace these days is a cartoon showing Vladimir Putin as a shrewd strategist executing moves on a chessboard, while a laid-back Barack Obama incongruously plays a single checkers piece and yells “Bingo!”
We may agree or disagree with this depiction but such is the widespread perception of the Ukrainian crisis and the invasion of Crimea. The Russian leader is regarded as having handily outmaneuvered the American president and with him the entire West. Continue reading
Jonathan Pollard red, white and blue
Odds are that convicted spy Jonathan Pollard is now in his 29th year in prison only because of thinly camouflaged anti-Semitism. That is the learned opinion of James Woolsey, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Woolsey has said so in interviews to Channel 10, as well as to The Jerusalem Post. He went on the record and without beating around the bush. He thus gave an authoritative voice to what many suspected and hinted at for years. Continue reading
On the face of it, Oxfam is as irreproachable as motherhood and apple-pie. Who can be against its declared goals of combating hunger and promoting justice?
Oxfam’s confederation and its familiar charity shops are fixed features in some 90 countries worldwide. Founded in the city of Oxford in 1942, it crusaded for allowing food relief into occupied Greece. Ever since, Oxfam has embedded itself in the public perception as the harbinger of goodness and goodwill.
As such, it became de rigueur to champion its causes and indeed numerous celebrities score popularity points by starring as Oxfam campaigners. Actress Scarlett Johansson was one of many who flocked to the Oxfam banner until she dared defy the outfit’s dogma.
In business, the early bird really does catch the worm and, mindful of that, European firms are rushing with headlong alacrity to do deals with Iran – even though pro forma only some sanctions against the ayatollah regime had been lifted.
Europe’s eagerness for commercial transactions with Iran might well lend the impression to the uninitiated that all sanctions were dropped.
It’s as if reentering Iran is a chance not to be missed for a whole gamut of concerns – from banks and financial conglomerates to the oil and gas sector and even carmakers and assorted manufacturers. Continue reading
Baroness Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Vice President of the European Commission, issued a statement on January 27 marking international Holocaust Remembrance Day.
It was commendable that the EU at all chose to note the day, but what Ashton said on its behalf was surreal. She managed to use 121 words without ever mentioning Jews. Her glaring omission in the context of the Holocaust is quite remarkable.
Ashton even lauded “all those who acted with courage and sacrifice to protect their fellow citizens against persecution.” But who were these nameless “fellow citizens?”
It’s highly doubtful that Ashton’s lapse is inadvertent. Continue reading
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon was forced to apologize for having seemingly slighted US Secretary of State John Kerry when he referred to his continual shuttles to Israel and the Palestinian Authority as “messianic” and “obsessive.” State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki described Ya’alon’s words as “offensive and inappropriate.”
That wasn’t all. Ya’alon’s criticism was blown up into a major diplomatic confrontation when an unnamed ”senior US official” demanded that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu “put this right by publicly expressing his disagreement with the statements against Secretary Kerry, the negotiations with the Palestinians and Kerry’s commitment to Israel’s security.”
This virtual ultimatum turned the entire incident quite overtly into a round of arm-wrestling in which Washington appeared determined to push Jerusalem’s arm down decisively. Continue reading
Just as the red carpet was being rolled out in Cairo in honor of the visiting Russian foreign and defense ministers, Egypt’s headliners were busy declaring that nothing had altered in their country’s geopolitical orientation. According to them, all is as it was – they still are officially allies of the US, still cooperate with its intelligence agencies and would still welcome American economic largesse.
But the very fact that the Egyptian leadership felt bound to articulate and accentuate a business-as-usual message indicates that its business agenda is anything but usual. The very fact that high-level and high-profile Russian visits are taking place for the first time in a very long time, replete with pomp and circumstance, attests quite loudly that things are hardly quite what they were. Continue reading
US Secretary of State John Kerry, obviously quite edgy and piqued, took several swipes in swift succession at Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in recent days. Among others, he carped that Netanyahu has no right to criticize the negotiations with Iran, as he doesn’t know enough about the details of the proposals discussed.
“I am not sure that the Prime Minister, whom I have a lot of respect for, knows what the conditions were, because we had not yet agreed on them” Kerry asserted in an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press last Sunday. “That is what we are discussing.”
Netanyahu’s rebuttal was prompt: “I am up to date on the details of the proposal for the Iranians, and what is proposed at the moment is a deal in which Iran does not regress in its nuclear capabilities, and as opposed to that – the sanctions are taken back. It is a bad and dangerous deal and it will not happen on my watch. You know what happened when the Jews were silent.”
But how much Netanyahu actually knows or doesn’t, is only one aspect of the matter – and not necessarily the central one. Continue reading
“If Damascus is attacked, Tel Aviv will burn,” a Syrian higher-up bristled this week. Israel, therefore, cannot watch the escalating cliffhanger with detached equanimity from the sidelines.
There can be no passivity when potent threats are hurled at Israel from a coterie of evil powers in the context of a struggle in which Israel is uninvolved. In a fairer existence, this very fact alone ought to have acutely unsettled the international community. But it’s almost futile to expect a modicum of fair-mindedness where Israel is concerned.
So far the anti-Israel bluster from Damascus, Tehran and Hizbullah strongholds in Lebanon appear to have disturbed none of the foreign statesmen or opinion-molders, whose alacrity to condemn Israel for any perceived transgression is nothing short of remarkable. Moreover, the veiled hints from Moscow about dire repercussions for the entire region in the event of an American attack, might also imply warnings about impending punishment for Israel. Continue reading