We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East. (From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

Thursday, 30 July 2015

The ABC's Sophie Softly Shilling Anti-Israel Propaganda

McNeill & Knell: birds of a feather?
As I've noted several times for the benefit of overseas readers, the publicly-funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), like the BBC, is obligated to be impartial in its presentation of news and current affairs:  Section 4 of "Auntie's" Code of Practice runs:
"The ABC has a statutory duty to ensure that the gathering and presentation of news and information is impartial according to the recognised standards of objective journalism.
Aiming to equip audiences to make up their own minds is consistent with the public service character of the ABC. A democratic society depends on diverse sources of reliable information and contending opinions. A broadcaster operating under statute with public funds is legitimately expected to contribute in ways that may differ from commercial media, which are free to be partial to private interests."
Some readers might recall the very real concern in pro-Israel circles that greeted the appointment in March this year of Sophie McNeill as the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC's) Jerusalem correspondent?

Ahron Shapiro of  the Australia Israel Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) expressed the misgivings very well.  Inter alia, he wrote:
'Interviewed by her former professor Victoria Mason in 2011, McNeill said that the journalism she wanted to do was to frame stories from the point of view of the people who are "really suffering" in a situation. Both the examples she offered referred to Palestinians.
McNeill has acted on her self-proclaimed sympathy for the Palestinians by appearing on a panel at two pro-Palestinian events, including one sponsored by Palestinian groups and speaking alongside two other speakers who called for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), the movement to sever all economic, educational and cultural ties with Israel. She has also written for Electronic Intifada, an extremist website that routinely publishes screeds calling for the destruction of Israel and justifying Palestinian terrorism against Israeli civilians.
How could the ABC give such a candidly agenda-motivated journalist the exclusive job of Jerusalem-based Middle East correspondent, with extensive autonomy?
It's a serious question that should be answered by the national broadcaster, which, according to its statutory mandate, must be free of even the appearance of bias in its news reporting, and must present all major perspectives on controversial issues fairly.
In late 2012, ABC Radio National Breakfast host Fran Kelly took back a statement she had made earlier that year to the Sydney Morning Herald defining herself first and foremost as an "activist", stressing later that "once you become a journalist you can't be an activist; you can't join protest movements".
Of course, Kelly was right. Activists who become journalists but remain loyal to a personal agenda don't earn the right to be seen as objective journalists. Instead, they are known as advocacy journalists who serve a non-objective viewpoint, usually for some social or political purpose.
Is Sophie McNeill an objective journalist, or an advocacy journalist? In a profile on McNeill in 2003, the ABC itself described McNeill as "a political activist and social campaigner" as well as a television documentary filmmaker. She told then-ABC employee George Negus, that part of wanting to be a journalist, "I wanted to try and make that connection that had happened with me wanting to do something and what was going on." [emphasis added]
McNeill credits John Pilger as her inspiration when she was 15 for becoming a journalist and has praised Victoria Mason, who is one of Australia's leading pro-Palestinian academics, for "opening the world to [her]" when McNeill took her class on the Middle East at Western Australia's Curtin University in 2003 ("what a difference it can make, the effect it can have on your learning and your vision of the world", McNeill said in 2009 about studying under Mason).
Similarly, she sings the praises of Robert Fisk for showing her the ropes during her time reporting from Beirut.
Her reporting does not show a clear record of separating her media career from her activism. And there is little doubt that her activism continues and influences her reporting in terms of how she frames stories, particularly about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.'
The misgivings seem justified.  AIJAC has referred several times to the less than objective reportage in which Ms McNeill has indulge since taking up her post: see, for example, here (two items, same page) and here

This evening, the ABC's 7.30 Report carried this item about Susiya (or Susya) by Ms McNeill.  Its only attempt at balance, and that a begrudging one, was an interview with Ari Briggs of Regavim ("He was born in Sydney" said our intrepid reporter archly).  Much of the item was taken up with an interviews with Moira O'Leary of Action Aid Australia, and with a chap named Abu Mohamad Nawaja:
'Village elder Abu Mohamad Nawaja was born and raised in Susiya village.
"Allow me to say thank you to the Australian Government, thanks to the Australian Action Aid," he told the ABC's 7.30 program.
But it may all be for nothing after Israeli authorities determined that planning permission was never given for the village to be built, and have granted a demolition order for the whole of Susiya.
"They will confiscate this land for the settlers, so they can expand their settlements and live comfortably," Abu Mohamad said.
"They want to destroy us, our lives and our kids' lives."'
Could he, by any chance, be related to the Nasser Nawaja who features in recent reports about the identical topic by the BBC Jerusalem Bureau's Yolande Knell, but as BBC Watch notes without any hint of his connections with B'tselem?

As for Action Aid, it has no apparent love for Israel.  In her latest report Ms McNeill was effectively giving publicity to an organisation whose Australian wing's Sydney-based Campaigns Mirector, a leftist "human rights" activist called Rachel Colbourne-Hoffman, authored this squalid piece of anti-Israel propaganda about one of Judaism's holiest cities (does she even know its status?), complete with some very unfortunate phraseology and canards apparently blithely accepted at face value:
'I was shocked stepping into Hebron Old City – wire was everywhere. As I passed by boarded-up shop fronts, wire was overhead; as I walked through industrial turn styles, there was spiralled barbed wire atop chain-link fences followed by large cement walls cutting off streets, decorated in more barbed wire than there is tinsel on a Christmas tree.
Just like a parasitic vine that strangles its host, the state of Israel is using these wire tendrils to try and suffocate the life out of this city.
Looking up you can see there are more residences built literally on top of the Palestinian shops and houses, covered with the flag of Israel – these are Israeli settlements. According to International Humanitarian Law they are illegal but it doesn’t take international law to tell you their presence is unjust and wrong.
As I walked through the market place of Old Hebron City, horrified by the prison of wire, I asked my colleague what was the point of the cage overhead. He said very matter of fact, that the Palestinians had actually installed it to catch any rubbish that the Israelis threw on their heads. So not only were these people living in this city illegally they were physically abusing its inhabitants purely because of their race.
There is nothing subtle about the way Palestinians are being pushed out of their own city.
Before this trip to the West Bank, my view of the conflict between Israel and Palestine was one where it was unclear which group was being oppressed and I wanted to have an open mind about the conflict. However, what I saw was a story of David and Goliath being played out in real life, but roles were reversed. This time Israel is Goliath, and they are winning by breaking International Humanitarian Laws being backed by powerful international actors, while Palestine as David is being tied up with barbed wire, enclosed by 8 meter walls, while watching their houses being demolished and on top of it all, being given the bill for the demolition.   I left with thoughts of inequality andcity.'
But back to Ms McNeill.  As Ahron Shapiro pointed out, in the article referred to above: 
"Any reporting by an ABC employee, including McNeill, is required to follow the following standards:
4.1 Gather and present news and information with due impartiality.
4.2 Present a diversity of perspectives so that, over time, no significant strand of thought or belief within the community is knowingly excluded or disproportionately represented.
And also
4.4 Do not misrepresent any perspective.
4.5 Do not unduly favour one perspective over another."
It is an ongoing disgrace that Sophie McNeill flouts these rules and gets away with doing so time and time and time again.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Still Crazy Despite All These Fears: "No Deal Should Leave The Ayatollahs Grinning" (video)

It goes without saying that the first part of the header applies to these guys, caught on camera by Richard Millett in London a few days ago protesting protests against the Iran "Deal" (there's lots more to see and read on his post here).

But I have in mind more specifically these guys:
"A new national survey of 1,000 American Jews, conducted by GBA Strategies for J Street, finds that a large majority of Jews support the agreement recently reached between the United States, world powers, and Iran. The 20-point margin (60 percent to 40 percent) in favor of the agreement is consistent with the 18-point margin found in the LA Jewish Journal’s survey released last week, as well as the 18-point margin in J Street’s survey conducted prior to the agreement. Multiple surveys have shown with resounding clarity that American Jews firmly back the agreement, and now want Congress to approve it."
However, we have to remember that there are "American Jews" and "American Jews".  As a well-known international Jewish speaker reminded an audience here in Australia this evening, a  staggering percentage of the American Jews who support Obama are not professing Jews in the religious sense nor are they necessarily married to Jews, still less do they raise their children as Jews.  Jewishness to them means identification not so much with Judaism or with Israel as with political left liberalism.

The Jews who do identify with Judaism are much less likely to support Obama and much more likely to recognise the Nuclear "Deal" with Iran for the terrible menace that it is.

Let us hope, pray, and lobby for Congress to reject this dangerous, deluded "Deal" which imperils not just Israel but the United States itself and potentially all of the present Free World. 

Meanwhile, check out the pro-Iran Deal propaganda mouthed by these cringeworthy celebrities including, for gravitas, Morgan Freeman.

'Look,' says one of the "celebrities" on the video at that site blithely.  "We all love our children and the Iranians love their children."

But what about the Iranians who are millenarians, who believe that armageddon, and therefore nuclear conflict, would usher in the long-awaited "Twelfth Imam"?

The balance of terror that ensured mutually assured destruction in the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the West has no fears for millenarians, whether they love their children or not!

On a positive note, a must-see Hudson Institute panel discussion here.  Note the very fine keynote speech of Senator Tom Cotton ("No Deal should leave the ayatollahs grinning").

As the senator has written to constituents worried about the "Deal":
'A terrorist-sponsoring regime in Iran that possesses nuclear weapons is among the greatest dangers facing the world today, and the supposed "deal"  recently announced after two years of negotiations is a grievous, dangerous mistake that only perpetuates that threat. The Obama Administration’s nuclear negotiations with Iran were supposed to eliminate Iran’s progress toward a nuclear bomb, but instead this deal will pave the way for Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.
Regrettably, the Obama Administration allowed the negotiations to descend into a dangerous succession of unending concessions, and furthermore, tragically failed to secure the release of four Americans unjustly imprisoned in Iran.  This should have been a pre-condition for negotiations to begin, but two years later our fellow citizens tragically continue to languish in an Iranian jail.  Plus which, this deal will give Iran up to $150 billion in sanctions relief and lift the embargoes on conventional weapons and ballistic missile sales to Iran.
Our negotiating "partner," Iran, is not a peaceful actor; Iran is responsible for killing Americans over a span of more than three decades, to include hundreds of U.S. troops killed in our most recent wars.  When I served in Iraq and Afghanistan, my platoon and I knew firsthand that Iranian-supplied bombs were the one thing our armored vehicles couldn’t withstand. I was fortunate that I avoided these bombs and came home, but too many others were not.
In addition, the ayatollah’s regime viciously represses the Iranian people and actively supports Bashar al-Assad’s brutal civil war against the Syrian people, which has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Syrians since 2011. Iran is also a lead financier and supplier of terrorist organizations dedicated to destroying coalition forces and our ally Israel. That Iran does all this without a nuclear deterrent lends concern to the thought of what the ayatollahs would do if they obtained nuclear weapons capability. Thus, I believe Congress must act to protect American interests and end the appeasement of the ayatollahs in Tehran.
To that end, the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (S. 615) was passed by Congress earlier this year. This bill requires the President to submit the agreement with Iran for review by Congress, but it effectively requires two thirds of the Senate to vote against an agreement in order to prevent it from taking effect. Under this legislation, Congress has 60 days to consider the deal. In the coming weeks and months, I will work tirelessly to protect America from this deal and to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capability.
A well-functioning republic depends on active citizens to inform their elected representatives of issues of concern and to hold elected officials accountable. I’m always grateful to hear from my fellow citizens on matters of public policy. These communications can be both insightful and useful as I work to represent you, and I hope that you will keep me informed of your opinions.'

"The Caliphate Will Come To Be & The Nuclear Bomb Will Be Produced" (video)

More soothing words from the Al-Aqsa Mosque, this time on 24 July when Sheik Ahmad Al-Dweik declared that Allah had promised to restore the Islamic Caliphate and that it would "fight the U.S. and bring it down" and would "eliminate the West in its entirety".

(Memri.org video)

Monday, 27 July 2015

The Iran Menace: An Israeli's Open Letter to Congress

Jean Vercors, an oleh from France who's no stranger to this blog, kindly sent this to me a few days ago.  My sincere apologies to him for my tardiness in posting it.

Open letter to members of congress – Jean Vercors

Iran and six world powers including your country have concluded an agreement that will lift sanctions on Iran, in a historic mistake designed to encourage more terror in the Middle East and in the world.

The West has become willfully blind to Iran’s terror machine and signed a nuclear accord that will endanger world peace while the Iranian president marched with huge crowds behind him holding signs reading “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.” Hezbollah Lauds Nuclear Deal as US surrender.

For two decades and for the duration of the negotiations, Iran has cheated and swindled the international system, spreading uninhibited terror, directly and indirectly (Hamas, Hezbollah) and is now rewarded.

Iran that commits gross and systematic violations of Human Rights is not only given immunity, but is actually rewarded with the lifting of sanctions.

A senior Iranian military official has threatened to unleash a firestorm of 80,000 missiles on Israel and warned that “Iran will flatten Tel Aviv and Haifa. »

Iran has raised the specter of “wiping Israel out of existence,” since Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini seized power in the country in 1979.

Former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad repeatedly called for Israel to be “wiped off the map” in a 2005 speech. More recently, in late March 2015, General Mohammad Reza Naqdi, the commander of Iran’s Basij militia – a volunteer paramilitary organization under the command of the IRGC – said that, “wiping Israel off the map is not up for negotiation.”

Iran also actively finances and militarily backs proxy terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah that are ideologically opposed to Israel’s existence.  A Hezbollah suicide bombing killed 241 Marines in October 1983.

The JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) allows Iran to retain much of its nuclear infrastructure, and grants it the right to enrich uranium on its own soil. But the deal also requires Iran to cap and partially roll back that infrastructure for ten to fifteen years, and grants the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, managed access to monitor that program with intrusive inspections.

In exchange, the governments of Britain, France, Russia, China, the US and Germany have agreed to lift all UN sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran— once Iran abides by a set of nuclear-related commitments.

Your Excellency, my country Israel was not bound by the nuclear deal between world powers and Iran, it is a « historic mistake », and Israel is ready to defend itself.

The deal negotiated would not prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons that could be used to target country.

Your country among the six powers that negotiated the deal — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States have chosen to collaborate with a tyranic regime.

This fraudulent, tyrannical dynasty has now agreed to dispatch some of its subordinates to negotiate with world powers with the aim of reaching a settlement over its disastrous nuclear program that has brought nothing but misery and calamity to the Iranian people.

This nuclear agreement is ‘a massive betrayal’ of Israel and the Sunni Arab states. Iran, who arrived at the negotiating table in a weak position, has emerged victorious. Instead of fighting terror with all its might, the free world has granted legitimacy to Iran’s hateful, murderous ways. This agreement is a tragedy for all who aspire for peace, regional stability and fear a nuclear Iran.

Lifting sanctions would allow Iran to further support proxy militants and add to the instability rocking parts of the Middle East. While analysts say unilateral military action by Israel seems unlikely for now, Our Prime Minister Netanyahu and other officials have kept the option on the table.
Israel is not bound by this deal with Iran because Iran continues to seek our destruction.

Only 77 years ago, History reminds us that The Munich Agreement was a settlement permitting Nazi Germany’s annexation of Czechoslovakia.

The agreement was negotiated at a conference held in Munich, Germany among the major powers of Europe, excluding the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia. Today, it is widely regarded as a failed act of appeasement toward Germany.

The agreement was signed in the early hours of 30 September 1938. The purpose of the conference was to discuss the future of the Sudetenland in the face of ethnic demands made by Adolf Hitler. The agreement was signed by Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Italy.

Because the state of Czechoslovakia was not invited to the conference, it considered itself to have been betrayed by the United Kingdom and France, so Czechs and Slovaks call the Munich Agreement the Munich Diktat.

On 30 September 1938, Adolf Hitler, Neville Chamberlain, Benito Mussolini and Édouard Daladier signed the Munich Agreement. The German army was to complete the invasion of by 10 October.
Your Excellency, The deal signed by your country is a capitulation of historic proportions to the Iran-led axis of evil.

As you know, Regimes such as Iran that rape and torture political prisoners, subjugate women, and commit crimes against humanity from slavery to genocide — sends a message that crass politics trumps basic Human Rights.

UN watch reports: As of January 2014, Iran was holding at least 895 “prisoners of conscience” and “political prisoners.” This includes 379 political activists, 292 religious practitioners, 92 human rights defenders, 71 civic activists, 37 journalists and netizens, and 24 student activists.

Iran continues to use cruel, inhumane or degrading punishment, including flogging, hanging, stoning and amputation. It executes juveniles, and uses capital punishment for crimes that do not meet the standards of international law.

As of January 2014, more than 300 members of religious minorities were in detention: 136 Baha’is, 90 Sunni Muslims, 50 Christians, 19 Dervish Muslims; four Yarasan, two Zoroastrians, and six from other groups.

History has shown that regimes which zealously persecute their own people also have a tendency, when given the chance, to try and do the same if not worse toward other countries.

The total removal of sanctions against Iran will benefit the six powers interests and economy but not at the cost of my existence.

What we are living through now is worse than Munich because we are ignoring the lesson learned from that event at the cost of millions of deaths.

Dishonor is a lack or loss of honor or reputation, a cause of disgrace for your country who has lost honor and prestige.

I join with millions of deeply worried Americans and people around the world in relying on you, our Congressional leaders, to thwart this one-sided, dangerous agreement.

I am urging you to stop Iran, the leading terrorist state, from becoming a nuclear power in the world’s most dangerous region.

With or without you, we will always defend ourselves.

Sincerely yours,
Jean Vercors

Saturday, 25 July 2015

In Britain, "People Are Scared To Talk About Palestine"

Ever wondered what rain in London looks like?  Well, here's your chance to find out.  Courtesy of virulent anti-Israel stalwart Alex Seymour aka Seymour Alexander, footage of umbrellas, wet "Boycott Israel" banners, and pedestrians in raincoats and plastic macs scurrying by.

The most interesting part of this footage? Right at the end, when a rather handsome older gentleman hoves into view.  If only we could hear what he's saying to the assembled little group of (very familiar) Israel-haters.

According to Mr Seymour's intemperate introduction on YouTube:
"The shadowy guy at the end of the video was insistent that we were in league with terrorists but from his Israeli accent I would guess that he was probably in much closer contact with terror gangs ( of the IDF death squad variety ) than we were ever likely to be."
(Some people tell me Seymour's Jewish, btw.)

I intend no ingratitude to Seymour, whose videos I confess I'm drawn to like a moth to a flame, when I say that antipodean readers may find the most interesting bit of this video to be the very very end, when we meet two Australian BDSers from Adelaide who've come along to show solidarity with the ubiquitous Sandra, her equally ubiquitous grey-haired offsider (did you spot her helping to support a banner at the "Al Quds Day" footage I posted recently?), and the rest of the gang:

Meanwhile, from nuts to NUT.

At its annual conference in April last year, Britain's Left-dominated National Union of Teachers, the aptly abbreviated NUT, passed the following motion:
“Conference instructs the Executive to:
support TUC policy, to “boycott the goods of, companies who profit from illegal settlements, the Occupation and the construction of the Wall”; pressure the UK Government to call on the Israeli Government to comply with international law and human rights treaties; work to win the backing of Education International and the ETUC(E) for these policies and to seek to collaborate with like-minded unions internationally; convey these views to the Israeli Teachers Union; express our solidarity with the GUPT for its objectives for education and discuss with them ways to develop this solidarity; all for an end to the discrimination against Palestinian students and teachers within Israel; encourage divisions to make links with Palestinian teachers and schools including organising delegation exchanges; encourage Associations, Schools and Divisions to publicise the report of the delegation to members; invite speakers to their meetings and encourage active membership participation in work on this issue; organise a special meeting for Division representatives and International Solidarity Officers to present the report, explain Union policy, outlining ways to develop the work and incorporate regular updates in Divisional Secretaries briefings and school representatives training; and continue to campaign for the rights of Palestinian children including child prisoners and work to engage all members in this campaign encouraging individual membership of and affiliation to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and support for Action for Palestinian Children Prisoners; educate the membership through publications, divisions and international solidarity officers of the ‘Pinkwashing’ propaganda used by Israel to make their citizens and the wider world believe that they are progressive in respect of LGBT rights, while distracting attention away from the human rights abuses they have instigated by their occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.”
How outrageous that British children's education is in such hands!

What is especially rich is the fact that at this year's NUT conference, which took place in April:
Fringe event at conference
'.... Delegates ...  raised concerns about the move to require schools to promote fundamental British values as well as the Government's Prevent strategy, which is aimed at tackling extremism.
The strategy suggests school staff can help to identify and refer youngsters whose behaviour suggests that they are being drawn into extremism or terrorism.
Alex Kenny, of the union's executive, described Prevent as a 'blunt instrument that will do damage and inhibit debate in schools', adding that Ofsted should be allowed 'nowhere near these issues'.
Ofsted now checks that schools are actively promoting British values like tolerance and democracy as part of regular inspections.
Mr Kenny said: 'We live in a damaged and volatile world, and like us, young people are trying to make sense of it, like us, they're trying to come to conclusions about cause, effect and solutions, and like us they want a space to discuss it.
"Schools are places where that discussion, on ethical and political issues should take place, in an environment of enquiry, and it may be an environment where young people say things we don't like, or say things that concern us that we want to address with them, that we want to discuss with them.
But Prevent conflates a notion of British values and an elastic notion of non-violent extremism that is shutting down that debate." ...'
 (More on the NUT's 2015 conference and anti-Israel activity here)

 Hah!  I'd have thought that the NUT's adoption of BDS against the world's only Jewish State is also shutting down debate.

"Zionism's Got To Go!": Al Quds Day, London, 2015
But that's Leftist double standards and hypocrisy for you, to put it no stronger

This week, the NUT and its attitude towards Israel and Prevent has been in the news again, with Al Jazeera alleging:
'School children in the UK who express support for Palestine face being questioned by police and referred to a counter-radicalisation programme for youngsters deemed at risk of being drawn into terrorism under new laws requiring teachers to monitor students for extremism.
One schoolboy told Al Jazeera he was accused of holding "terrorist-like" views by a police officer who questioned him for taking leaflets [produced by Friends of al-Aqsa] into school promoting a boycott of Israel.
The case reflects concerns raised about the expansion of the government's Preventcounter-extremism strategy into schools, with critics complaining that teachers are being expected to act as the "eyes and ears of the state".
Since the beginning of July, teachers have had a statutory duty to monitor and report children who they believe may be susceptible to radicalisation, although Prevent engagement officers, who are usually also police officers, have long been active in schools in areas with significant Muslim populations.
The boy, who was then 15 and attending school in a southern English town, said he was also told that "Free Palestine" badges that he wore were "extremist". Al Jazeera is not naming the student or the school to protect his identity.
"He asked me what I thought of the leaflet," the boy said, describing how a police officer told him he had been brought into the school to "deal with this sort of extremism".
"I explained to him my views about freedom and justice and that I supported Palestine. I said I thought Israel should have tough sanctions put upon it and he said these could be radical beliefs," the boy said.
"He said these are terrorist-like beliefs that you have. He explicitly said you cannot speak about this conflict at school with your friends," the boy said....
The boy said he had subsequently had numerous run-ins with teachers and with the officer, who had an office in the school.
"I asked my form tutor about Prevent and whether he would act as an informant if I said anything, and he said, 'I am uncomfortable with that but that is what I have to do,'" the boy said.
On other occasions, a dinner lady reported him to teachers for inquiring whether any food in the canteen was produced in Israel. A teacher also spoke to his 14-year-old brother, who attended the same school and was told, "Your brother has radical ideas. You advise your brother to stop or we will report him to the intelligence agencies."
Al Quds Day, London, 2015
Al Jazeera has identified other examples suggesting that Palestine-related activism is something that teachers and public officials are being encouraged to look out for as part of their Prevent duties....
 "We've heard of the police going into schools to talk about Prevent to teachers and saying things like, 'If a kid thinks the West is at war with Islam it might be a cause for concern.' Or if a child goes on a demonstration against the bombing of Gaza, 'Keep an eye on him,'" Alex Kenny of the National Union of Teachers told Al Jazeera .....
Ismail Patel, chairman of Friends of al-Aqsa, dismissed allegations that the organisation's leaflets were extremist and accused the government of "veering towards totalitarianism".
"People are scared to talk about Palestine. A lot of mosques now will not put posters up. There is fear in the community so there is self-censorship and self-policing," said Patel. "That really feeds the process of radicalisation because they are not allowing individuals to express their grievances."...' [Emphasis added]
Read more here

"People are scared to talk about Palestine."


I must say, to judge from the truly horrible chanting in London on Al Quds Day, that hardly seems to be the case.

I posted footage here of Al Quds Day marches this year, but, in summary, to quote well-known London-based blogger Richard Millett:
'[P]lacards that have appeared at Al Quds Day demonstrations include: “Israel is a disease, We are the cure“, “Listen Israel, Leave!!!”, “For world peace Israel must be destroyed“, “Israel your days are numbered”, “Death to Israel”, “The world stopped Nazism…the world must stop Zionism”.'

Friday, 24 July 2015

Iran Deal Presages UN Military Action Against Islamic State: David Singer

Here's the latest article by Sydney lawyer and international affairs expert David Singer.

He writes:

China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, America and the European Union (E3/EU+3) – the Septet – have shown a rare degree of international cooperation in signing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran aimed at limiting Iran’s nuclear horizons.

Such unanimity presages the possibility of a United Nations Security Council Resolution under Chapter VII of the UN Charter authorizing military action against Islamic State – already declared a threat to international peace and security in Security Council Resolutions 2170 and 2199.

The Security Council’s inability to commence military action to free vast tracts of Syria and Iraq and its captive civilian populations from Islamic State rule – has been frustrated by the following conflicting national interests of Septet members and Iran:
1. Russia and Iran backing the Assad regime in Syria 
2. America, France, Germany and the United Kingdom forming part of the London 11 supporting rebels attempting to overthrow the Assad regime 
3. China and Russia vetoing Security Council resolutions aimed at resolving the Syrian conflict. 
4. Shiite Iran – backed by Russia - focusing on preserving its interests in Iraq - the first Arab country to be ruled by a Shia government since Saladin overthrew the Fatimids in Egypt in 1171.
Preserving these competing interests could explain the deliberate and extraordinary decision by the Septet to not demand changes in Iraq’s current aggressive and hostile behaviour – as President Obama’s remarks at a news conference hailing the JPCOA make clear:
“And my hope is that building on this deal, we can continue to have conversations with Iran that incentivize them to behave differently in the region, to be less aggressive, less hostile, more cooperative, to operate the way we expect nations in the international community to behave. But we're not counting on it.
So this deal is not contingent on Iran changing its behavior. It's not contingent on Iran suddenly operating like a liberal democracy. It solves one particular problem, which is making sure they don't have a bomb. And the point I've repeatedly made and I believe is hard to dispute is that it'll be a lot easier for us to check Iran's nefarious activities, to push back against the other areas where they operate contrary to our interests or our allies' interests if they don't have the bomb.
And – and so will they change their behavior? Will we seek to gain more cooperation from them in resolving issues like Syria or what's happening in Iraq, to stop encouraging Houthis in Yemen, we'll continue to engage with them.
Although keep in mind that unlike the Cuba situation, we're not normalizing diplomatic relations here. So the contacts will continue to be limited, but will we try to encourage them to take a more constructive path? Of course. But we're not betting on it.
And in fact, having resolved the nuclear issue, we will be in a stronger position to work with Israel, work with the Gulf countries, work with our other partners, work with the Europeans to bring additional pressure to bear on Iran around those issues that remain of concern.”
Iran – diplomatically unscathed, emboldened and financially enriched once the current international sanctions omelette has been unscrambled – will not change its behaviour – nor will the Septet members have to abandon their perceived national interests.

Iran’s macabre dance with death will assuredly continue in the Middle East.

Obama could be betting this latest show of Septet-Iranian co-operation will finally procure Security Council approval to destroy their common enemy - Islamic State – which Obama’s American-led coalition of 62 States has spectacularly failed to accomplish.

Hopefully Obama’s giant gamble pays this huge dividend.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

"This [Iran] Deal Must Be Killed" & "God Bless America! God Bless Israel!" (videos)

Isi Leibler, who's due to visit Australia soon, has justifiably said of the Iran nuclear "deal" in an interview with the current Australian Jewish News:
"I regard this as the worst diplomatic deal that's been done in our time, and in many ways it's worse than Munich because we're creating a nuclear threshold state out of the most evil terrorist regime.  It has certainly put a lot of pressure on Israel to strengthen itself.  
The region which is already turbulent will become far more turbulent because the Iranians will be using the vast amounts of cash that [the west] are giving them as a bonus to strengthen terrorist bodies at all levels."
His thoughts on the deal are amplified here

On the same theme, here's another widely read and respected Jerusalem Post columnist, the wonderful Caroline Glick, sounding somewhat distraught (as well she might) when addressing the huge #Stop Iran Rally in New York City, and urging that "this deal must be killed":

And here's the equally wonderful Florida ex-Congressman, military hero Lieutenant-Colonel Allen West, an inveterate critic of "the weakling in the White House" flaying Obama and Kerry: