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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Video: How to be a good Muslim during Ramadan

Oh dear. Ramadan Kareem to all of you. In case you've been wondering, here's how you can be a good Muslim during Ramadamadan.

Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Jack W via Bare Naked Islam).

Just keep banging your head on the floor and anything goes. Heh.

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In case you were wondering...

So the real reason for the flotilla was to open up a weapons passage... just like we said all along.

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Ya' think?

It's come to this: Even the Left wing Politico is asking whether US Secretary of State John Kerry wants a deal with Iran too much.
Over his 30-year political career, Kerry has long been knocked for delivering more talk than results. Achieving a nuclear deal he first began pursuing even before he became secretary of state could redefine his place in history.
And that, Republican critics, foreign officials, and even some ex-administration officials say, is a big problem. Kerry’s eagerness for a deal, they argue, risks that the Iranians will seduce him into a bad one.
“I don’t know how anyone who has observed Kerry over the past two years would think differently,” says a former administration official who worked on Iran issues.
The concern is that, in search of a historic accomplishment with his name on it, Kerry might succumb to wishful thinking. As a senator, Kerry was dogged by the critique that he authored few major bills over his 30-year career. He won the Democratic nomination in 2004 but lost his bid for the presidency. And since arriving at Foggy Bottom he has been frustrated in his efforts to contain Vladimir Putin in Ukraine and, above all, in his so-far fruitless quest for Middle East peace.
Allies say the conventional wisdom sells short his Senate and Foggy Bottom record, including his recent role brokering a peaceful resolution to Afghanistan’s disputed presidential election amid fears of a civil war.
Of course, many critics of the talks fret that Obama faces much the same pressure as Kerry for a legacy-making achievement, especially in the realm of foreign policy, where Obama has faced an unrelenting string of crises in recent months. A new article in the conservative Weekly Standard attacking Obama’s “capitulation” to Iran notes that Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes has likened an Iran deal to Obamacare in its importance to the administration.
Obama challenged the idea that he is overeager for a nuclear deal in an interview last month with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg. “Twenty years from now … [if] Iran has a nuclear weapon, it’s my name on this,” Obama said, adding: “I have a personal interest in locking this down.”
But Kerry’s own investment is also huge. He has pursued a nuclear deal since he was a senator, well before the administration’s direct diplomacy got underway: As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry secretly flew to Muscat in November 2011, where he asked the Sultan of Oman to help broker talks between Washington and Tehran. That set the stage for the administration’s first direct contacts with Iranian officials on the nuclear question. 
Striking a deal in Vienna this summer will require persuading Iran’s supreme leader to backtrack on his own stated red lines, including on the pace of sanctions relief and access of inspectors to Iranian military sites and nuclear scientists.
It's unlikely that Iran will back down on any or all of those points - it's far more likely that the US will cave on them. And 20 years from now, Obama will be happily retired at US government expense and Kerry will likely have gone on to greener pastures (or to a much hotter place). They won't care about their 'legacy.'

Dennis Ross got it right:
Dennis Ross, another former senior Middle East aide under Obama with long experience in diplomatic negotiations said the key to effective deal making is “being able to show you have a genuine interest in a deal but can live without one.”
“We should show little interest in a deadline and focus exclusively on our essential needs,” Ross added. If Iran won’t meet those needs, Ross said, then Kerry should “suggest a pause — but with the proviso that we will also reassess where we are, with the understanding that our positions are likely to harden.”
This administration doesn't know how to ignore deadlines. It's just one of the many things they don't get about the Middle East bazaar. They have the same problems in 'negotiations' about a 'Palestinian state.'

What could go wrong?

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Monday, June 29, 2015

'Surely you got lost and meant to help the Syrians being butchered'

Prime Minister Netanyahu has penned a very tongue-in-cheek letter to be delivered to the fools who are on their way to Gaza as part of the 'flotilla.'
The Prime Minister’s Office penned a letter to be given to the some 50 people on the boats expected to be towed into Ashdod, sarcastically welcoming them to Israel and saying that they apparently got lost.
“Perhaps you meant to set sail for a place not far from here – Syria,” the letter reads.

“There the Assad regime is slaughtering its own people every day with the support of the murderous regime in Iran.”
By contrast, the letter reads, Israel is dealing with a reality whereby terrorist organizations like Hamas try to attack innocent civilians.

“Against these efforts we are defending Israeli citizens in accordance to international law,” according to the letter.

The letter spelled out the number of trucks, and tons of aid and material that go into Gaza each day, saying it adds up to about 500,000 times the number of boats in the flotilla. At the same time, he said, Israel is not willing to allow the smuggling of arms to the Gaza Strip via the sea, which has been done repeatedly in the past.
No, they're not lost. This is not about humanitarian aid. It's about Jew hatred, pure and simple. 

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American Orthodox Jews fearful of 'gay marriage' decision

Maybe this will be an impetus for American Orthodox Jews to make aliya. There's some real fear going around about the future implications of last week's US Supreme Court decision forcing the states to allow 'gay marriage' and how that might impact Orthodox Jewish institutions.
[T]he Orthodox Jewish community has a different view. This was voiced by, among others, the Orthodox Union and the Agudath Israel of America. The latter, in a statement Friday, warned that its members faced “moral opprobrium” and were in danger of “tangible negative consequences” if “they refuse to transgress their beliefs.”

To judge by recent events, they are understating the case. The whole campaign for same sex marriage, however high-minded its ideals and however real — and all too often violent — the injustices endured by same-sex couples, has been levied at the expense of religious Jews and Christians. The U.S. Supreme Court majority knows that full well. But it dodged the issue, with Justice Anthony Kennedy, author of the majority opinion, giving the fears of religious Americans less than a paragraph.
Kennedy emphasized that “religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned.” He noted that the First Amendment, part of the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, “ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered.”
That was a reference to the free speech part of the First Amendment. But it was startling — shocking even — that the majority gave no mention at all of the Constitution’s second principle of religious protection, the right to the “free exercise” of religion. That is where the battle lines are being drawn by liberal and left-wing factions in America seeking to force religious individuals to embrace same-sex marriage.
In recent months, Americans have been reading about a Christian baker who has been the subject of an enforcement action in Colorado for declining to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding, a husband-and-wife clerical team that reportedly may have to close their for-profit wedding chapel because they won’t hold same-sex nuptials in it, and a New York family that is tangled in a legal proceeding for refusing to rent out their home for a same-sex wedding reception. A Catholic adoption agency that would not work with same-sex couples has been forced out of its charitable work.
“In all likelihood, many of these rear-guard actions against marriage equality will soon fall of their own weight,” Jeffrey Toobin, who covers the Constitution for the New Yorker, wrote after the Supreme Court spoke. “Like so many of their fellow-Americans, wedding photographers and the like will make their peace with the new rules that guarantee their neighbors an equal chance at happiness. (Besides, they need the business.)” Maybe, but I’m not so sure things will go as smoothly as he imagines in the Orthodox Jewish world.
“The issue here is not whether all human beings are created in the Divine Image, or whether they have inherent human dignity. Of course they are, of course they do,” the Agudah said in a statement after Obergefell vs. Hodges was handed down. But it went on to assert that “the truths of Torah are eternal, and stand as our beacon even in the face of shifting social mores.” At some point this is going to come to a head in a way that will test George Washington’s promise to the Jews to a degree that we haven’t yet seen.
I'll shut the comments on this post if I have to, but I can tell you that I would not want my children taught by someone who is openly gay. No way. I want my children to be able to look up at their teachers as religious role models. Then again, since I live in Israel, it's unlikely that any of my children's schools (except for the children in university, which is a different category) could be forced to hire gay teachers. 

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Sunday, June 28, 2015

It's come to this: Belfast pastor faces prison for 'defaming Islam'

A 78-year old Belfast pastor is facing prison time for 'defaming Islam.'
James McConnell, 78, is facing up to six months in prison for delivering a sermon in which he described Islam as "heathen" and "satanic." The message was streamed live on the Internet, and a Muslim group called the police to complain.
According to Northern Ireland's Public Prosecution Service (PPS), McConnell violated the 2003 Communications Act by "sending, or causing to be sent, by means of a public electronic communications network, a message or other matter that was grossly offensive."
Observers say that McConnell's prosecution is one of a growing number of examples in which British authorities — who routinely ignore incendiary speech by Muslim extremists — are using hate speech laws to silence Christians.
McConnell, who turned down an offer to avoid a trial, says the issue of Christians being singled out for persecution in Britain must be confronted, and that he intends to turn his case into a milestone trial "in defense of freedom of speech and freedom of religion."
"The God who we worship and serve this evening is not Allah. The Muslim God, Allah, is a heathen deity. Allah is a cruel deity. Allah is a demon deity. A deity that this foolish government of ours ... pays homage to, and subscribes financial inducements to curry their favor to keep them happy....
"While in Muslim lands Christians are persecuted for their faith; their homes burned, their churches destroyed, and hundreds of them literally have given their lives for Christ in martyrdom. A lovely young [Sudanese] woman by the name of Miriam, 27 years-of-age, because she has accepted Christ as her Savior, will be flogged publicly and hanged publicly. These fanatical worshippers are worshippers of the god called Allah. Ladies and gentlemen, that is a fact and it cannot be denied and it cannot be refuted.
"I know the time will come in this land ... and in this nation to say such things will be an offense to the law. It would be reckoned erroneous, unpatriotic. But I am in good company, the company of [Protestant Reformers] Luther and Knox and Calvin and Tyndale and Latimer and Cranmer and Wesley and Spurgeon and such like him.
"The Muslim religion was created many hundreds of years after Christ. Mohammed, was born in 570. But Muslims believe that Islam is the true religion, dating back to Adam, and that the biblical Patriarchs were all Muslims, including Noah and Abraham and Moses, and even our Lord Jesus Christ.
"To judge by some of what I have heard in the past few months, you would think that Islam was little more than a variation of Christianity and Judaism. Not so. Islam's ideas about God, about humanity, about salvation are vastly different from the teachings of the Holy Scriptures. Islam is heathen. Islam is satanic. Islam is a doctrine spawned in Hell."
McConnell's comments about Islam comprised less than ten minutes of a 35-minute sermon that focused on Christian theology.
Some day, historians will marvel at the way Western society destroyed itself. Or maybe they won't. By then, the Caliphate may not look kindly on such 'nostalgia' and history will  have become too politically correct to discuss it.

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Great news: Hamas itching for war

What could go wrong?

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Even Ban calls flotilla 'not helpful'

Even UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has called the flotilla of fools currently heading for Gaza 'not helpful.'
“[Secretary General Ban Ki-moon] continues to believe that a flotilla will not help to address the dire situation in Gaza and reiterates his calls on the government of Israel to lift all closures, with due consideration of Israel’s legitimate security concerns,” Undersecretary General Jeffrey Feltman said at a Security Council briefing.
The statement comes days after Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor called on Ban to condemn the so-called “Freedom Flotilla,” amid preparations by the Israeli Navy to block its three boats from reaching Gaza.
“The international community must send an unambiguous message to the organizers and participants of these provocations that such initiatives only serve to raise tensions in our region,” Prosor wrote. “This attempt to challenge Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza holds the potential for dangerous consequences The flotilla’s sole purpose is to create provocations that pose security risks, and constitute a breach of international law.”
Feltman said Ban was “closely following media reports” about the flotilla.
Ban is also 'deeply concerned' with the health of terrorists.
Feltman also said Ban was “deeply concerned” about Palestinian prisoners being held by Israel, naming Islamic Jihad detainee Khader Adnan, who has been on hunger strike for nearly two months to protest his detainment under administrative detention, which allows Israel to hold prisoners without charging them.
The Red Cross on Tuesday said Adnan faced “immediate risk of death.”
He wouldn't be facing an immediate threat of death if he weren't starving himself. Maybe he should consider breaking his fast.... /Just sayin'....

In any event, it is truly amazing how much time Ban has to devote to Gaza given the true suffering going on in Syria, Iran, Iraq and many other countries that are living under truly repressive regimes. Oh wait... Gaza is also living under a truly repressive regime... Hamas... It would be nice to see Ban criticize them once in a while too.

By the way, if the name "Jeffrey Feltman" rings a bill, it's because it should. He's a former State Department diplomat....

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Just when you thought it couldn't get worse...

Prime Minister Netanyahu says that the concessions are flowing fast and furious in Vienna.
"We are now witnessing a clear withdrawal from the red lines set by the powers for themselves recently and publicly," Netanyahu told ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.
Netanyahu added that there was no reason to hurry to sign the deal with Iran, which he said was "getting worse by the day." He said that it was still not too late to insist on the demands that would prevent Iran from arming itself with a nuclear weapon and gain mass sums of money which he claimed would help it expand its regional aggressions. 
Netanyahu told ministers that in a U.S. State Department report released a few days ago, Iran was listed at the top of the world's human rights violators. "All claims made within the international community about how [Hassan] Rohani's election [as president] changed the character of the Iranian regime are firmly answered by this report," Netanyahu said.
He added that another State Department report, also released a few days ago, proved that Iran was escalating its involvement in terror activities. "Despite these reports, the talks are continuing as usual," Netanyahu said. "There are no demands being made by the powers to change Iran's behavior, and they are completely ignoring its violations."
Obama is determined to have a foreign policy legacy even if it is one that will - God Forbid - someday lead to disaster. Anything to hurt Israel.... Netanyahu must feel like Chicken Little - no one will listen to him.

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'Imagine' - The Israeli version

John Lennon could have never imagine this...

Dedicated to the U.N. 'human rights council' for accusing Israel once again of war crimes in Gaza.

Help spread this clip for the whole world to see.

Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Jack W).

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Boker Tov Eliyahu: US authorities wake up to terror threat

Shavua tov, a good week to everyone.

It's been nearly 14 years since the 9/11 attacks in the United States (where I am currently visiting), and it seems that people are finally realizing that it could happen again.
Federal authorities have warned local law enforcement officials across the country about a heightened concern involving possible terror attacks targeting the July 4th holiday, a U.S. law enforcement official said.
While there was no specific or credible threat of attack, the official said the intelligence bulletin prepared by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI alerted local colleagues to the ongoing threats posed by the Islamic State and other homegrown extremists. The official was not authorized to comment publicly.
The warning comes as federal investigators have worked to disrupt a number of Islamic State-inspired plots, including a planned assault earlier this month on police officers in Boston. In that case, authorities fatally shot Usaamah Rahim as he allegedly planned to attack police with military-style knives.
Also this month, a New York suspect in a Islamic State-related terror investigation was arrested after attacking an FBI agent with a kitchen knife during a search of his home.
Fareed Mumuni, 21, was charged with attempted murder, after he emerged as a suspect in alleged plots to use pressure-cooker explosives and knives to attack police.
In a statement Friday following attacks in Tunisia, France and Kuwait, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said local law enforcement was being encouraged to be "vigilant and prepared'' in preparation for July 4th celebrations.
I have been writing for years that what most concerns me about security in the United States is the delusion that it could never happen here. Unfortunately, it could.

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Vatican signs treaty with imaginary state of 'Palestine'

And you thought the German Pope was going to be a problem? Argentinean-born Pope Francis I's Vatican has signed a 'treaty' with the 'state' of 'Palestine.'

The Vatican signed its first treaty with the "State of Palestine" on Friday, calling for "courageous decisions" to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and backing a two-state solution.

The treaty, which made official the Vatican's de facto recognition of Palestine since 2012, angered Israel, which called it "a hasty step (that) damages the prospects for advancing a peace agreement".

Israel also said it could have implications on its future diplomatic relations with the Vatican.

The accord, which concerns the Catholic Church's activities in areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority, also confirmed the Vatican's increasingly proactive role in foreign policy under Pope Francis. Last year, it brokered the historic resumption of ties between the United States and Cuba.

Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican's foreign minister, said at the signing that he hoped it could be a "stimulus to bringing a definitive end to the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which continues to cause suffering for both parties".

He called for peace negotiations held directly between Israelis and Palestinians to resume and lead to a two-state solution. "This certainly requires courageous decisions, but it will also offer a major contribution to peace and stability in the region," he said.
To date, the 'Palestinians' have yet to make any 'courageous decisions' or to drop any of their demands. There is no compromising with them. They continue to seek the destruction of the world's only Jewish State, which happens to be the only state in the Middle East where Christians - including Catholics - are safe, and where their population has grown. Note this disingenuous statement from the article:
There are about 100,000 Catholics of the Roman and Greek Melkite rites in Israel and the Palestinian territories, most of them Palestinians.
Actually, most of them live in Israel, although they may consider themselves 'Palestinians.' 

I never bought into this 'infallibility' stuff. I buy it even less today.

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Terror attacks in France, Tunisia and Kuwait kill dozens, no attackers were Amish

Three terror attacks - on a chemical plant in Lyon, France (one dead), on a beachfront hotel in Sousse, Tunisia (at least 27 dead - later reports say 37 dead and 36 wounded) and on a mosque in Kuwait City, Kuwait (at least 24 dead) - have left dozens of people dead on Friday. In each case, the attackers were Muslims (Hat Tip: Memeorandum). None of the attacks seemed to have anything to do with the US Supreme Court rulings upholding gay marriage and Obamacare.
In France, attackers stormed an American-owned industrial chemical plant near Lyon, decapitated one person and tried unsuccessfully to blow up the factory.
In Tunisia, gunmen opened fire at a beach resort, killing at least 27 people, officials said. At least one of the attackers was killed by security forces.
And the Islamic State claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in one of the largest Shiite mosques in Kuwait City during Friday prayers. The bomb filled the hall with smoke and left dead and wounded scattered on the carpet, according to witnesses and videos posted online. Local news reports said at least 24 people had been killed and wounded in the assault, which was extraordinary for Kuwait and appeared to be a deliberate attempt to incite strife between Shiites and Sunnis.
In a message circulating on social media, the Islamic State called the suicide bomber “one of the knights of the Sunni people.”
There was no immediate indication that the attacks had been coordinated. But the three strikes came at roughly the same time, and just days after the Islamic State, the militant group also known as ISIS or ISIL, called for such operations during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The Kuwait terror attack is the first carried out by ISIS in a Gulf State and is sure to concern other Gulf States. 

The Tunisia attack seems like another attack on the 'infidels' with sources confirming that most of the guests at the Imperial Marhaba Hotel were from the UK or Central Europe (Hat Tip: Memeorandum). Many of those killed were lounging in beach chairs.

The attacker in France was apparently the employee of the person who was murdered.
The French prosecutor has given a press conference, providing details of the incident:
  • Four suspected accomplices are being held in the attack on the factory in France. They have been arrested and are in interrogation.
  • The suspect, his wife and sister are part of those arrested
  • The victim was the suspect’s employer
  • Part of the factory hangar was blown apart
  • 43 people were in the factory at the time of the attack. 13 employees are still in a state of shock
  • There were no more injuries so far
  • The body of the victim was found near the suspect’s vehicle, where a knife was also found
  • The severed head of the victim, was found hooked onto a railing with two flags with arabic inscription
More details provided on the victim:
  • The victim was a 54-year-old man
  • He was the head of a transport company, from the Lyon area and had been a salaried employee of the company since March 2015
More details on the suspect:
  • Yassin Salhi was named as the main suspect
  • He was born on 25 March 1980
  • He had been working at that same company as the victim
  • He’s the father of three children and has been married for about 10 years
  • He had not been found guilty of any previous crimes
  • He has been under surveillance for “radical islamic activities” since 2006.
  • Between 2011 and 2014, French security services had been investigating him for connections to salafist groups in the Lyon area
The inquiry has been given to the central direction of the judicial police and to the anti-terrorist unit, and the internal security services, the French prosecutor said.
But let's keep fooling ourselves that Islam is a 'religion of peace.' Let's keep kissing up to the Islamists, treating their cult as a quaint religion with exotic things like iftar dinners (oops - let's not mention that the President of the United States hosted anti-Israel 'activists' at his). And eventually, they'll stop trying to murder us, right?

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Netanyahu: 'A deal with Iran won't stop us from attacking'

Prime Minister Netanyahu told an Air Force graduation ceremony on Thursday that a deal between Iran and the P 5+1 will not stop an Israeli attack on Iran.
"Whatever happens, Israel will always defend itself, and the Air Force plays a major role in this," Haaretz daily quoted Netanyahu as saying at a pilots' course graduation ceremony.
Netanyahu again expressed concern over the agreement and the concessions the world is prepared to do in order for Iran to sign the deal.
"These concessions are increasing Iran's appetite and every day it raises the bar, with the intention of extorting more concessions," he said.
"In recent days Iran ruler Ali Khamenei rejected even the most basic conditions in the bad agreement drafted in Lausanne," Netanyahu added.
"He said no to the restrictions on the nuclear program in the coming decade, no to conditioning the sanctions' revocation on Iran's keeping the agreement, no to [supervisors'] access to military sites. Even if Iran waives some of these demands in a few days, the powers' basic concession will be huge and it will be a clear withdrawal from red lines the powers had publicly set earlier."
Netanyahu said the supervision method the powers are discussing with Iran is "full of holes" and will enable the Iranians to create a nuclear bomb less than 10 years after the agreement's signature.
The agreement will bring a flow of billions of dollars to the Iranian economy, enabling Iran to increase its subversion in the Middle East, Netanyahu said.
"It's still not too late [for the powers] to come to their senses, to insist on a good agreement and it's certainly not too late not to advance a bad agreement," he added.
"As world leaders always say, no agreement is better than a bad agreement."
Meanwhile, the P 5+1 admit that next week's June 30 deadline for an agreement 'might slip.' And Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khameni continues to list the many things Iran won't give up.
Amid unease in Iran's conservative-dominated parliament that Tehran is giving too much away, Khamenei, on Tuesday appeared to throw several spanners in the works.
Western powers have stressed sanctions will not be lifted until the IAEA has confirmed that Iran has carried out key steps under the accord.
But Khamenei, who will have the last word for Iran in the talks, said banking and economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations and the US must be lifted immediately after the agreement is signed.
"Other sanctions can be removed gradually by a reasonable timetable," Khamenei said.
He also reiterated that Iran would not permit the IAEA to visit military sites or conduct "unconventional inspections" at other facilities.
Khamenei also took issue with the length of time that some of the restrictions on Iran's nuclear activities would be in place.
In a further sign that Iran remains at odds with the West, Kerry unveiled a highly critical annual rights report slamming Iran for continuing to "severely restrict" civil liberties.
One cannot help but be suspicious that even if a deal is reached, Iran will violate and the West will do nothing in response.

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Seven Turks detained at Ben Gurion, deported to Turkey, barred for ten years

A reminder to all of you that I am currently in Boston where the Sabbath does not start for several more hours.

Nine Turkish citizens who arrived in Israel on Turkish Airlines on Thursday were interrogated for several hours at Ben Gurion Airport, and seven of them were sent back to Turkey and banned for ten years according to a report in Turkey's pro-government Today's Zaman (Hat Tip: Joshua I). According to the newspaper, the group was made up of 'journalists and activists' who were heading to Jerusalem for a 'charity event.'
Nine Turkish citizens, including pro-government Star daily columnist Halime Kökçe, Ülke TV Editor-in-Chief Hasan Öztürk, head of the Turkish charity Sadakataşı and several activists, were detained at the airport. Kökçe said seven people from the group were deported while a cameraman and a reporter from state-run Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) were allowed to enter the country.
On her personal Twitter account, Kökçe posted, “We were interrogated for six hours. We were searched for two hours.”
After coming back to İstanbul on Friday, Sadakataşı President Kemal Özdal, who was among those detained in Israel, said the group was on its way to Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem for iftar (the evening meal to break the Ramadan fast) when they were stopped by the Israelis.
He said as soon as they arrived in Ben Gurion Airport by a Turkish Airlines flight, Israeli security officials accompanied the Turkish group and at passport control the group was detained by Israeli intelligence officials. Özdal said their passports and phones were taken and the group went through a long interrogation by the Israelis. According to Özdal, after the questioning they were deported and banned from entering Israel for the next 10 years. He also said President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, interim Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Foreign Ministry officials tried to help the group.
Öztürk from Ülke TV also made a statement at Atatürk Airport in İstanbul, saying he was in Israel only two months ago and he doesn't understand why this time he was deported without a valid reason. “Israel acts arbitrarily and it is an anti-democratic state. Others criticize Turkey for press freedoms. Go and tell this to the Israelis,” he said.
Kökçe said she hoped to see Al-Aqsa Mosque, Ramallah and Gaza but instead she was met with “Israel's real face.”
Here's a hint that there might be more to it:
Civil Servants' Trade Union (Memur-Sen) Vice President Levent Uslu also said that the group had expected to be treated badly by Israel, but he didn't elaborate as to why. Uslu complained that they were asked odd questions such as the names of their grandfathers or which party they voted for in the last election.
Haaretz reports that they were banned because of Hamas ties.  The Hebrew version of the article, which can be accessed in full here, doesn't say any more except to add that the Israeli ambassador to Turkey was summoned on Friday morning to 'explain' why the group was barred from entering.

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Why are these men smiling?

Why are Hassan Rohani and Ayatollah Ali Khameni smiling? Because Barack Hussein Obama and his Euroweenie partners are willing to provide them with nuclear reactors and equipment.

Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei feels confident enough, only a few days before June 30 (the deadline for a final-status nuclear deal with world powers), to thumb his nose at the international community, including the American government, and declare Iran's three noes: no to freezing its nuclear program, no to international oversight at its nuclear facilities, no to a phased lifting of sanctions (as proposed by the French). In other words, Khamenei is telling the world: Dear superpowers -- bite me.
Meanwhile, almost simultaneously, we have received an Associated Press report from Vienna that the U.S. and its partners conducting the negotiations with Iran are prepared -- for the sake of reaching a deal -- to even provide the Iranians with advanced nuclear reactors and equipment. This isn't a joke.
It's possible, perhaps, to imagine Khamenei rejecting this generous offer outright because the Americans aren't also including ballistic missiles in the package. If you're going to be generous, then you might as well go all the way.
Truth be told, this entire business to this point seems quite like a joke. The problem is that it's coming at our expense. And it's also not that funny. 

In November 2013, as a reminder, we were just several days before the interim agreement. I remember how the Iranian and Western delegations leaked information about the many difficulties in the negotiations, but that in the end, in the middle of the night, the deal was born (how shocking). Eventually, we saw virtually the same scenario unfold in Lausanne this past March -- the numerous problems were made public, the deadline was extended by a few days, and finally on April 2 we received the framework deal.
We can assume that in the coming days we will get to see "the best show in town," at the end of which, in contrast to the previous rounds, we can expect a final status deal with an Iran that is not only slated to become a nuclear power but a stabilizing force in our crumbling Middle East.

 What could go wrong?

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The Hamas website is hosted in San Francisco

Please help to take it down.
Here's their website.

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How the American Studies Association shot itself and the BDS movement in the foot

Greetings from Boston, where I am working for the next week or so.

The US House and Senate passed and sent to President Obama on Wednesday Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) which constitute by far the most effective way of combating BDS: They bar trade agreements with countries that boycott Israel. That's you, Europe!
Congressman Peter Roskam (R-IL), who has been instrumental in anti-BDS legislation, issued the following statement today:
Today, Congressman Peter Roskam (IL-06), co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus, released the following statement after House and Senate passage of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation, which includes bipartisan language Roskam authored to combat the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. These provisions, which were originally introduced as Roskam’s H.R. 825, the U.S.-Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act, were unanimously adopted into the House and Senate versions of TPA in April.
“Today, for the first time in nearly four decades, Congress sent legislation to the President’s desk to combat efforts to isolate and delegitimize the State of Israel. The recent wave of boycotts originating in Europe, including French telecom company Orange’s decision this month to sever ties with Israel, demands a robust response from the United States. This is that response. The bipartisan TPA provisions I authored are simple: if you want free trade with the United States, you can’t boycott Israel. After today, discouraging economic warfare against Israel will be central to our free trade negotiations with the European Union. Congress will not be complicit in the marginalization of our ally Israel by watching these attacks from the sidelines. Instead, we have decided to fight back against the BDS movement and ensure the continued strength of the U.S.-Israel relationship.”
Those trade provisions, however, did not just happen.
The Jerusalem Post accurately traces the passage today of trade legislation with strong anti-boycott language directly to the ASA boycott (emphasis added):
“Four decades have passed since Congress last agreed on a law pushing back against boycotts of Israel worldwide. That streak was broken by the Senate Wednesday, at a moment perhaps prescient, as European capitals consider new measures to highlight and punish Israel’s continued “occupation” of the West Bank….
TPA, which passed through the Senate and landed on the president’s desk, includes roughly 150 trade negotiating objectives – requirements of the president, as mandated by Congress, to raise specific US priorities in its negotiations.
One of those objectives is to push back against efforts within the EU to sponsor the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel….
The process began with a December 2013 op-ed in Politico Magazine written by Michael Oren, then Israel’s ambassador to the United States, which challenged Congress to respond to the American Studies Association’s decision to boycott Israel – by no means the first protest of its kind, but an early sign of what was to come from similar organizations based in Europe.
A letter of support circulated around Capitol Hill, signatures were collected, and a bill was ultimately passed reinforcing Congress’s commitment to academic freedom. But the concern lay in the tactic.
What if measures taken by ASA were used by other organizations against Israel as a form of economic warfare? Several congressmen, including Roskam, made note that the first free trade agreement signed by the US was with Israel. They sought a legislative solution with teeth: a bill that would establish any future trade pact with foreign nations boycotting Israel as being in direct contravention of the existing US-Israel Free Trade Agreement.
That’s right folks, the ASA boycott may not have hurt Israel much, but it led directly to the trade legislation which has dealt a damaging blow to the BDS movement.
For more on the ASA's pivotal role in this legislation, read the whole thing

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