The fault line that caused the political earthquake that erupted in the Middle East last winter and changed the chemicals in the environment continues to spread wider and wider into the months, and perhaps a new year â€“ threatening to call the hopeful journalistic moniker, “the Arab Spring” a misnomer!
So what’s going down in the neighborhood?
Ali Abdullah Saleh, wicked ruler of Yemen says he won’t step down and submit to a Coup d’etat that would come in the form of a democratic restructuring of that country should his opponents be permitted to compete in the next election.
Saleh is specifically referring to the dissident General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, who defected earlier in the year to the favor of anti-government demonstrators, as well as the stalwart tribal chief Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar. Ali Abdullah Saleh recently returned to Yemen from Saudi Arabia on September 23, where he was receiving treatment for injuries he received in a June 3 rocket attack on the presidential palace.
The 69-year-old has consistently refused to sign a power transfer deal brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council; a deal that would see him hand over power to Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi in return for immunity from prosecution.
In another part of the world, Najib Mikati is the prime-minister of Lebanon, where the Iranian-proxy Hezbollah commands all military authority. Lebanon says that an Israeli reconnaissance plane penetrated Lebanese airspace and thereby violated UN Security Council Resolution 1701.
The Lebanese military reported last Saturday that the Israeli aircraft entered Lebanese airspace from the southern border at 10:05 a.m. (0705 GMT) on Friday and flew over several areas of the country. Afterwards, the plane left the country at 3:15 p.m. (1215 GMT). UNIFIL, the United Nations-appointed peacekeeper in the region condemn such flyovers.
Lebanon’s leader, Mikati, has supported the President Bashar al-Assad’s Baath regime in Syria from the get-go. In an interview with the Daily Beast he said:
Are you worried that the unrest in Syria will spill over into Lebanon?
No â€¦ What Iâ€™m trying to do is create a kind of wall between whatâ€™s happening in Syria and any implication here on the Lebanese side â€¦ Iâ€™m trying to say, â€œPlease, this is an internal Syrian issue. Let us take care of our own agenda; take care of our own problems.â€
Youâ€™ve had business ties with Assad in the past. Are you still in touch with him? Do you talk?
Yes, we were friends. Unfortunately, now heâ€™s so busy. [I havenâ€™t had] the chance to see him or even talk to him. Some Syrian opposition groups have criticized you for supporting Assad.
Thatâ€™s politics. Some analysts predict that Hizbullah will attempt a military takeover of Lebanon if the Assad regime falls. This is a very hypothetical issue.
Your critics have called you â€œHizbullahâ€™s candidate.â€ Your reaction?
In the beginning, they put this label of Hizbullah [on me]. But â€¦ weâ€™re taking our decisions independently.
You donâ€™t take Hizbullahâ€™s interests into account?
We listen to everybody.
When the Special Tribunal for Lebanon issued indictments in the assassination of Hariri, you said you would follow up. But in early August, the prosecutor general said no suspects have been found or arrested. What is the government doing?
The relevant authorities have been looking for the various people on a daily basis. And they already submitted a detailed report about their findings. I believe itâ€™s now up to the court to decide if what we did is right and what we have to do next.
Hezbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah recently said that even if it took 300 years, nobody from Hezbullah would be arrested. Did that undermine the work of your government?
Itâ€™s his point of view. We have complete freedom of speech â€¦ He has the right to say whatever he wants.
In other news, Libyan Jews are now returning home after a 44-year exile imposed by General Muammar al-Qadaffi. He had expelled the rest of Libya’s 38,000 Jews two years after the 1967 war broke out between Israel and a conglomerate of Arab nations. The Jews went to America, Italy, Israel; all over.
The United States is warning that should the Israel expand settlements in Judea and Samaria, the prospect of peace with the Palestinians will be put in peril. The truth is that should the Jewish County not expand settlements in Judea and Samaria, the Palestinians will still not recognize Israel; there will be no peace. So there is actually nothing that can be “placed in peril” in the first place.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined a wave of global condemnation of Israel’s decision to build 1,100 new homes in the town of Gilo which is situated between Jerusalem and Bethlehem and is home to some 500,000 Israelis. She said the move could be seen as “provocative” and “counter-productive”.
The European Union’s head of foreign policy, Lady Ashton, says that the settlement expansion “threatens the viability of the agreed two state solution” and calls for the decision to be reversed. However, a two-state solution has not necessarily been agreed to.
The negotiator for the Palestinian Saeb Erekat told the press that the move was “a slap in the face”.
The Middle East Quartet which is made up of the European Union, the United States, Russia, and the United Nations is now attempting to bring both the Palestinians and Israel to the negotiating table within the next month.
The Palestinians called for a freeze on settlement construction as a condition for joining renewed peace-talks. However the building in Gilo should not come as a surprise as Bibi, after his UN speech stressed to the press there would be no renewed settlement freeze. The expansion of Gilo has been planned for more than two years and will still be subject to a round of public consultation before it is finally approved. The Quartet is anxious to restart peace negotiations before the United Nations Security Council votes on the Palestinian bid for statehood.
It’s been 6 years since Gilad Shalit was kidnapped. This is the Shana Tova (New Year) greeting that was mailed out to politicians and government officials by the family as a reminder.
A few days ago the Palestinian Prime Minister made his bid for Statehood and now waiting for an answer from the UN Council. You would expect that kidnapping and holding a soldier prisoner without basic humanitarian conditions or official communication, would be considered sufficient grounds for immediate disqualification of the bid. But not at the UN.
Gilad’s family will be spending yet another holiday at their tent outside the government offices in Jerusalem. They count the days (now 1920) since they saw their son. May this be the year Gilad comes home.
The unique relationship between Israel and Toronto has taken another step forward on September 12, when Canadian Airline WestJet and Israelâ€™s airline El Al announced a joint move where tickets which are purchased on El Al for Toronto, may now be purchased combining connecting flights to one of WestJet’s 30 Canadian destinations, as well as the Caribbean and Florida.
The official signing of the new contract happened in Israel on September 12 before Elyezer Shkedy, President and CEO of El Al; Dinah Kutner, general manager El Al Canada; and one Gregg Saretsky, president and CEO of WestJet.
Gregg Saretsky travelled all the way to the Jewish Country just to sign this historic agreement. Also in attendance at the ceremony was Paul Hunt the Canadian Ambassador to Israel.
Thus far, El Al already has agreements under a similar structure with a number of US airlines including JetBlue, American Airlines and Virgin America.
Upon check-in, passengers receive their boarding cards to their final destination, whether WestJet or Tel Aviv destinations as a consequence of the Interline Through Check-In agreement that was established between the airlines. (Some passengers can save money when arranging travel plans online.)
Gregg Saretsky of WestJet was heard saying:
“We are delighted to partner with El Al Israel Airlines to make travel across our mutual networks easier for our guests as we continue to expand our partnershipsâ€¦WestJetters are looking forward to welcoming El Al guests aboard our flights.”
Elyezer Shkedy of El Al:
“We are proud to partner with WestJetâ€¦This agreement with WestJet provides various options to our Israeli and Canadian customers and is a continuation of the El Al strategy in expanding commercial agreements, both interline and codeshare, with leading carriers around the world.â€
Dinah Kutner of El Al Canada said:
â€œThe agreement expands and improves the network of destinations in North America and the Caribbean, especially to destinations in Canada like Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary, as well as for WestJetâ€™s routes including Mexico, Hawaii, Cuba and the Dominican Republic all via El Al’s gateway in Torontoâ€¦Toronto is a perfect gateway as Israelis do not require entry visas to Canada and that both airlines operate from the same terminal in Toronto (Terminal 3).â€
Starting next week, special introductory prices are available combining WestJet and EL AL. EL AL Matmid Frequent Flyers may now receive an additional 20% points for tickets that combine WestJet and EL AL flights from 1-30 November 2011.
Call it strategic Jew-baiting, call it what you will.
President Obama has finally swallowed that pill. He has fallen in line, put peace interests behindâ€¦ a two-state solution may now never happen.
Blame it on Hamas. Blame it on Abbas. Blame it on Arafat alone, or old Ariel Sharon.
Reactions among the Palestinians to U.S. President Barak Obamaâ€™s speech at the United Nations last week are beginning to accumulate; and the consensus features some very very ugly responses.
Here is part of a column byAdel Abd al-Rahman, a Palestinian journalist from al-Hayat al-Jadida, a Palestinian Authority daily:
“The black presidentâ€™s speech was blacker than the tar thrown at the Palestinians, because his main concern is to guarantee Jewish votes and AIPAC’s financial and propagandist support.
The idea that Jews control American politics is of course not new in Arab political discourse, nor is it uncommon for Arab media outlets to play up the race of senior U.S. officials. The Saudi press, for instance, made much of former Secretary of State
Condoleezza Riceâ€™s race in both its texts and cartoons. Nonetheless, itâ€™s still strange that people determined to be accepted as an equal among nations wouldnâ€™t be ashamed of projecting such a vicious worldview through an official media organ.”
MJ Rosenberg of al Jazeera wrote in his column:
“The Palestinian issue is the one issue on which all Muslims are united. Whether Saudi, Iranian, Indonesian, or Afghani, the one issue that brings Muslims together is the belief that the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza are terrible wrongs, supported by the US. Muslims aren’t the only ones who feel this way, as will be demonstrated by the overwhelming vote for the Palestinian statehood resolution that the US and Israel will stand virtually alone in opposing.
The Obama administration should keep that in mind when it decides how it will handle the vote. Promoting the two-state solution, starting with a vote FOR a Palestinian state at the UN, is not only the moral thing to do – just as it was when the US supported Israel’s statehood at the UN in 1947 – but it is also the right thing to do from the standpoint of America’s security. For Israel’s sake, for the Palestinians’, and for our own, the President should tell the US ambassador to the UN to vote ‘yes’.”
Rosenberg is wrong about the blockade on Gaza and the settlements in Judea and Samaria. With Hamas in the picture, the former is here to stay â€“ even if it was Kadema’s fault that Hamas is so powerful â€“ the latter is Abbas’ fault on account of his racism.
NyTimes video about Ariel…
A new cultural center was inaugurated in the town of Kiryat Arba, next to Hebron on Monday night. As predicted, several high-profile actors have refused to perform at the center. The center was built with public funds from three Israeli government ministries, and of course with moneys from private donators. Altogether, there were more than 500 artists signed a petition in recent days calling for a boycott of the center.
Earlier in the month, actor Rami Baruch said he would not perform in his play â€œPollardâ€ at the centerâ€™s opening.
â€œI made a decision, understanding that it could lead to financial ramifications and counter-boycottsâ€¦Kiryat Arba is where Baruch Goldstein and Kahane came from, and I asked myself what is my place in this whole story.â€ said Baruch, who plays the lead role in a drama based on the story of Jonathan Pollard, the civilian U.S. Navy analyst who was convicted of spying for Israel. â€œ
Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin said at the opening ceremony for the cultural center, referring to the Palestiniansâ€™ planned statehood bid this week at the United Nations.
â€œThe opening of a culture center in Kiryat Arba, which is Hebron, is our Zionist and political answer. We are hereâ€”we are not strangers in our own homeland,â€
Theater professionals signed a petition a year ago stating that they would not be performing in a new cultural center in the West Bank city of Ariel which was built with more than $10 million in public funds.
In 2010, an op-ed on Ynet read:
Weâ€™re back to the Middle Ages, to the darkness of boycotts and ostracism on behalf of those who know better than us whatâ€™s proper and what isnâ€™t. Their source of authority is their talent, fame, and the limelight. After all, they crowned themselves as â€œmen of lettersâ€ and as such they have plenty to say. You better listen to them, or else you would be banished from the space of sanity and from all the goodness offered by this Stateâ€™s theater district.
They already published a first letter, and now they are issuing another warning. What we have is a theatrical reality here: Artists who boycott those who disagree with them on the political front, and on the other hand a rightist camp that boycotts the artists. All we need now is enthused youngsters on both sides to throw the other sideâ€™s texts into the bonfire of enlightenment, and there you have the epitome of progress.
A top-secret US cable from the US embassy in Doha, Qatar where the Aljazeera headquarter is, was published recently on Wikileaks. The cable revealed that Al Jazeera’s Managing Director Wadah Khanfar agreed to a US government request to delete web content that â€œdisturbedâ€ the US government.
The cable describes the meeting between US government officials with Wadah Khanfar. US government officials raised the question of an Al Jazeera website piece published listed under the heading
â€œâ€Special Coverageâ€, and containing â€œLive Testimony Concerning Tal Afarâ€. â€œThe site opens to an image of bloody sheets of paper riddled with bullet holes. Viewers click on the bullet holes to access testimony from ten alleged â€œeye witnessesâ€ who described recent military operations in Tal Afar.
Khanfar said that in accordance with a promise he made to the US government, he had two images removed (two injured children in hospital beds, and a woman with a serious facial injury.)
US government indicated â€œthat the testimony of a â€œdoctorâ€ in the piece also implied that poison gas had been used on residents of Tal Afar and that the appearance of the piece, in particular the bloody bullet hole icons, came across as â€œinflammatory and journalistically questionable.â€
According to the cable Khanfar said he had told the website staff that in future, when they want to add an item to the â€œSpecial Coverageâ€ section of the website, they should send a draft of the idea to his office. The cable notes that The AJ website is located in another building across town. Khanfar added â€œI donâ€™t say that such things are not going to be repeated on the website, but it is a learning process”. The cable says the meeting with Khanfar took place on 10/19/2005. He asked for fixing â€œthe method of how we receive these reportsâ€ as he has had found one of them in the fax machine.
In the cable US officials told Khanfar that despite large decrease in â€œnegative coverageâ€ since February, the month of September showed an increase in such programming. Such problems according to the cables â€œstill remain with double-sourcing in Iraq; identifying sources; use of inflammatory language; a failure to balance of extremist views; and the use of â€œterroristâ€ tapes. â€œKhanfar said there are still some mistakes â€œwhich we accept and addressâ€ but he maintains that the points are taken out of context noting that during the â€œAJ broadcasting day, a comment made or position taken by one person may be balanced with a different comment or position later in the same show or later on during the same day.â€
As for using â€œterrorists tapesâ€ Khanfar said â€œWe have always said that we are going to use these tapes and we will continue to use them. The question is how. None of the tapes are used just like that,â€ the cable wrote: â€œmeaning that they are reviewed for newsworthiness and are edited.â€
After being evacuated amidst the recent violent protests, four Israeli diplomats and security personnel will be returning to Israel’s embassy in Cairo. The return comes amidst reports by the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram that the protesters were actually paid to attack the embassy.
The envoys will return to Cairo to a different building and work to retain the Jewish Country’s diplomatic presence in Egypt. The ambassadors left almost two weeks ago after Egyptian demonstrators stormed Israelâ€™s embassy in Cairo, necessitating the emergency rescue of its staff by Egyptian commandos.
Egyptian protesters who were recently questioned by Egyptian security reportedly said that they were offered money to cause the riots. The riot and protest participants were bused to the area, then given dinner and envelopes containing money, according to al-Ahram.
Just Journalism and JN1
In other news, Just Journalism, the organization set up three years ago to monitor media coverage of Israel, is closing its doors. A statement announcing the closure on its website this afternoon told supporters: “Despite our extremely modest budget it has become increasingly difficult to financially sustain the operation in the current economic environment”.
Along with daily online briefings, Just Journalism published more detailed reports to expose “skewed” reporting of the Jewish Country.
Its advisory board includes MP Denis MacShane, political commentator Robin Shepherd, think-tank head Douglas Murray and the editor of Standpoint magazine Daniel Johnson.
Meanwhile, Ynet reports that the first-ever Jewish news network will commence broadcasting this week:
Jewish News 1 (JN1) was born as an alternative to the world’s leading news networks â€“ CNN, Fox News and Sky News. But its main goal is to serve as the Jewish version of al-Jazeera, which has won the hearts of tens of millions of Arab viewers over the past 15 years.
According to the Makor Rishon newspaper, the channel will be broadcast via satellite to Europe, North America and the Middle East. In Israel it will be offered by the Yes satellite company.
“Jewish News 1” will broadcast news from Israel and the world 24/7. The network has already set up studios in Tel Aviv, Brussels and Kiev, and additional studios will be opened in Washington, Paris and London in the coming months.
The network has 12 correspondents, all foreigners, who are currently deployed in six countries. The casting of reporters to cover the news in Israel, Europe and Russia will be completed in the coming days.
The network will begin its broadcasts in English, but its managers seek to offer news in seven additional languages, including Hebrew, French, Italian, Russian and German.
“We’ll broadcast everything that is newsworthy,” says Alexander Zanzer, the channel’s editor-in-chief in Brussels, where the station is based. “Alongside general news, we’ll offer economic and cultural items, as well as a peek into educational projects. Everything you can see on other global news channels, you’ll be able to see on our channel as well.”
Palestinian Statehood on track…
In other news, Palestinian diplomats are planning to submit their application for statehood to the United Nations Security Council on Friday, even as world leaders are pressuring President Mahmoud Abbas to return to peace negotiations with Israel as an alternative. The quartet of powers involved in brokering peaceâ€”that is the U.N., the European Union, U.S., and Russiaâ€”hope to set up a feasible timeline for new negotiations, alongside a pledge supporting Palestinian statehood should the negotiations fail. Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki said on Sunday, however,â€œUnfortunately, we didnâ€™t get any solid or even medium-sized [offer] at all. As a result, yes, we are firm in our decision to go to the Security Council.â€
The former Foreign Secretary of Britain, Jack Straw has called on MPs to back the Palestinian bid for unilateral statehood at the United Nations.
The British government has not yet confirmed whether it will support the bid if a vote goes ahead. The U.S. will not back the move. Straw wrote to every member of British Parliament urging them to help the Palestinian cause for statehood.
“It is vital that the UK and other European countries have the courage to point the way forward.” He added that the UN, World Bank, the EU and the IMF have all deemed the Palestinians “ready for statehood” and said: “We all understand the fears that Israelis have for their security, but it will not enhance their security to deny the right of self-determination permanently to the Palestinians.”
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s ambassador to the U.S. would not admit that homosexuality would not be tolerated in a Palestinian state. Benjamin Weinthal of the Jerusalem Post, points out that the price for being gay in the Hamas-ruled
Gaza Strip is the death penalty:
The Hamas-controlled Gaza strip has declared homosexuality punishable by death. Hamas cofounder Mahmoud Zahar has said, â€œYou in the West do not live like human beings. You do not even live like animals. You accept homosexuality. And now you criticize us?â€
In an April broadcast on Hamasâ€™s Al-Aksa TV, which was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Syrian academic Muhammad Rateb al- Nabulsi said, â€œHomosexuality involves a filthy place, and does not generate offspring. Homosexuality leads to the destruction of the homosexual. That is why, brothers, homosexuality carries the death penalty.â€
But homosexuals aren’t all who are strongly unwelcome in the proposed Palestinian State. Ha’aretz reported:
The future independent Palestinian state will not include a Jewish minority, a top Palestinian official told USA Today on Wednesday, adding that it was in the best interest of both peoples to “be separated.”
Maen Areikat, PLO Ambassador to the United States, made the comment just as the Palestinian Authority, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, was preparing to offer up Palestinian statehood to a vote in the United Nations General Assembly later this month.
The left-wing Israeli daily also reported that Hamas is not backing Abbas’ statehood bid. Further evidence that the PA and Hamas are not altogether reconciled:
The Islamist Hamas movement said Wednesday that President Mahmoud Abbas’ plan to approach the United Nations for recognition of Palestinian statehood was a “tactical” move, part of a negotiations process, and therefore could not be backed. The move was not based on principles and “Hamas and other factions are not part of this step and do not support it,” Salah al-Bardaweel, a senior Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, told a workshop in Gaza City.
With the first round of GOP primary debates already underway, a lingering question is whether President Obama honored the Jewish vote he had so clearly secured when he won the 2009 presidential race.
Republican Bob Turner’s upset victory last Tuesday in the special election for the mostly Democratic congressional seat in New York’s ninth district is said to be a referendum on Obama’s failed economic policies and relations with Israel.
House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement Tuesday night that voters from New York “delivered a strong warning to the Democrats who control the levers of power in our federal government. It’s time to scrap the failed ‘stimulus’ agenda and the misguided policies on Israel and focus on getting America back to creating jobs again.”
Obama’s campaign is downplaying the suggestion that Jewish voters are turning against the president. Pete Sessions, the National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman however said in a statement that the race demonstrates “voters are losing confidence in a president whose policies assault job-creators and affront Israel.”
Other issues are lingering wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan and Libya where a NATO assisted coup on the Qadaffi regime will win control over the region for the al-Qaeda.
Democratic State Assemblyman who lost to Turner, David Weprin, is an Orthodox Jew while Turner is a Catholic who has managed to maintain a stronger pro-Zionist stance than his Jewish opponent.
Ed Koch, former New York Mayor and Jerusalem Post columnist said this summer he was endorsing Turner as a way to “send a message” to Obama on his policies toward Israel.
Executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Matt Brooks said in a statement “without question, Obama’s policies are causing significant numbers of Jewish voters to re-examine their loyalty to the Democratic Party.”
Abe Novick wrote on his blog over at Jerusalem Post:
“From Rick Perry to Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum et al., their backing is clear. During the last decade, especially since President George W. Bush had to confront the reality of terrorism head on, the GOP has worked to position itself as the more supportive party, favorable and in line with Israel and therefore to many Jewish voters. At the same time, for the past several elections, Democrats have taken the Jewish vote for granted. Behind the scenes, JStreet, the leftwing lobbying organization, has been overly influential on the Obama administration and has shaped and influenced its policy vis-Ã -vis Israel.”
Nonetheless, Abe Novick writes:
1. Prior to yesterdayâ€™s win in the Brooklyn-Queens district where Anthony Weiner had been the Democratic Representative to Congress, a Democratic polling firm (Public Policy Polling) found that 54% of all voters in the Weiner district and 68% of Jewish voters, disapproved of Mr. Obamaâ€™s position on Israel. Additionally, 37% of all voters and 58% of Jewish voters said Mr. Obamaâ€™s Israel position was â€œvery importantâ€ in deciding their vote. Yesterday, even in the heavily Democratic district where they have a 3-1 majority, Republican Bob Turner won. Moreover, in a district that is 40% Jewish, Turner is a 70-year-old Catholic who won against David Weprin, a Jewish Democrat. If thatâ€™s not a wake-up call, then the Whitehouse needs to install air raid sirens from Israel.
2. In the midst of the upcoming U.N. vote on Palestinian statehood, the Obama Administration has only recently publicly said they plan to veto it in the Security Council. Why the long wait in making a public statement and elongating the mystery? Meanwhile, he has sent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton off in a last minute attempt to beg and cajole the PA not to go through with it. By not understanding that the PA is now one-half Hamas, due to their alliance, heâ€™s dealing with a terrorist organization and one that does not and will not recognize Israel.”
Beyond the Pale
According to a survey taken last month by Ben Gurion University pollsters, 60 percent of Israelis say they would be in favor of seeing NATO troops deployed in both the West Bank and Gaza. According to the “Israeli Positions on the European Union” survey, 64 percent of Israeli Jews and 63 percent of Israeli Arabs citizens are in favor of seeing peacekeeping forces, (aside from the United Nations) in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Back in 2009, 54 percent of Israeli Jews and Arabs supported the idea.
In the poll that was compiled by Sharon Pardo of the Department of Politics and Government, 68 percent of Israelis are in favor of joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Roughly 81 percent of Israelis want the Jewish Country to join the European Union (EU). These figures are up from 69 percent in 2009, and 43 percent would like to see Israel have better relations with the EU, this is in comparison with 20 percent who would like to see the Jewish Country get along better with the United Nations and just seven percent with NATO.
“the message is quite clear, Israelis are not for isolationism, they want cooperationâ€¦Israelis are really into strengthening and deepening the cooperation between Israel and the EUâ€¦Israelis understand the importance of the EU for the future of Israel and they want to strengthen the relations.”
The poll surveyed 1,000 Israelis from all different walks of life in mid-June and had a 3.3 percent margin of errorâ€¦
Iran to build nuclear war head?
On Monday, the head of the United Nations Nuclear Agency announced their plans to publish new information serving as supporting evidence that Iran could be working on a nuclear warhead.
The comments by International Atomic Energy Agency Chief Yukiya Amano were the first time he revealed plans to release some of the recent knowledge available to the IAEA that is causing concerns.
A Syrias Situation on the Jewish Country’s Border?
Syria’s Bashar al-Assad has ordered his military chiefs to launch another operation on the Golan Heights.
Assad’s preparations entail three additional steps:
1. He has filled the vacant position of deputy chief of staff with Gen. Ali Ayub, commander of the 1st Formation made up of the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th Divisions, deployed until now on the Golan Heights and Mt. Hermon borders with Israel. Its personnel have been left out of Assad’s military campaign against the opposition until now.
2. Those divisions, made up mainly or Sunni conscripts, have begun pulling back from their positions on the Syrian-Israeli border and are heading north. For the first time, therefore, Assad feels he can safely send Sunni troops into battle against protesters and is not afraid to leave his borders undefended against an Israeli attack.
3. The Syrian president holds Erdogan responsible for authorizing the Turkish army and his National Intelligence Organization-MIT to set up a state-of-the-art command center for the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood at Jabal al-Zawiya in the Syrian province of Idlib near the Turkey border. He believes it is working with a parallel command center on the Turkish side which directs the steps of Syrian protest tacticians against the Assad regime.
Mel Gibson, who told a police officer once when he was drunk and Israel’s 2006 invasion of Lebanon had the front page of every media outlet: “Fucking Jews… the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the worldâ€¦” is set to direct a new film!
The Los Angeles Times reported:
“Mel Gibson, the Oscar winner who has defended himself against accusations of anti-Semitism, is developing a film for Warner Bros. about the life of Judah Maccabee, the warrior whose ancient victory is celebrated by Hanukkahâ€¦
â€¦Gibson’s Icon Productions has closed the producing deal with Warner Bros., and Joe Eszterhas will write the screenplay. Gibson’s camp said the filmmaker will decide if he’s directing after the script is done and that he has not ruled out the possibility that he could act in the filmâ€¦”
It is a good idea if you think about it.
A big budget motion picture based on Judah Maccabee. Often I’ve pondered doing a Masada remake, or better, Bar Kokhva the film, with Antonio Benderas as the megalomaniacal Shimon bar Kokhva, Kevin Spacey as the Roman emperor Hadrian and James Earl Jones as Rabbi Akiva.
So despite the fact that the guy’s an Anti-Semite, I’d pay to see the film. However, various Jewish groups are up in arms about it.
Abraham Foxman, Anti-Defamation League national director:
“Judah Maccabee is a hero of the Jewish people and a universal hero in the struggle for religious liberty, he deserves better. Itâ€™s facetious that his story is told by a person who has no respect for other peopleâ€™s religious viewpointsâ€¦”
Rabbi Marvin Hier from Los Angelesâ€™ Simon Wiesenthal Center:
â€œGibsonâ€™s plan is simply an insult to Jewish peopleâ€¦He has antagonistic viewpoint towards Jews. Casting him as a director or perhaps as the star of Judah Maccabee is like casting (Bernie) Madoff to be the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, or a white supremacist as trying to portray Martin Luther King Jr. Itâ€™s simply an insult to Jewsâ€¦”
In a recent interview in GQ, Wynona Ryder told Alex Pappademas:
“I remember, like, fifteen years ago, I was at one of those big Hollywood parties. And he was really drunk. I was with my friend, who’s gay. He made a really horrible gay joke. And somehow it came up that I was Jewish. He said something about ‘oven dodgers,’ but I didn’t get it. I’d never heard that before. It was just this weird, weird moment. I was like, ‘He’s anti-Semitic and he’s homophobic.’ No one believed me!”
So he canâ€™t deny his anti-Semitism.
Nevertheless, the church has often been interested in the various texts of the Aprocrypha, a collection of texts from Ancient Judea, largely written in Greek, which were not canonized, and in which the story is included.
Check out Jeffrey Goldberg chin-wagging Gibson over at the Atlantic.
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