British guilty of disguised anti-Semitism, says Israeli minister
Robert Tait, Telegraph, May 22 2013
JERUSALEM – In frank comments on the eve of a visit to the Holy Land (sic – RB) by British Foreign Secretary William Hague, Israel’s intelligence and strategic affairs minister Yuval Steinitz suggested to the Daily Telegraph that there were growing British “animosities” towards his country, taking the form of hostile media coverage, “incitement” and boycott campaigns, and intimated that a less friendly attitude may be being reflected in official Britsh policy. He also issued a warning to Hague and other Western statesman against lecturing Israel about Jewish settlement building in the West Bank, which the Foreign Secretary has repeatedly condemned. Asked if Britain was still a “friend of Israel”, Steinitz replied:
It’s difficult to say. Traditionally we had good relations with Britain and currently we have good intelligence cooperation with Britain and it’s very successful. We are concerned about the relations, about what we see as some animosities, some incitement in Britain, in the media, made by NGOs against Israel. I hope we will be able to use the visit to improve relations. I didn’t hear that Professor Hawking, or other British academics who are so easily boycotting Israel, are boycotting other Middle East countries, or if they have reservations about the US invading Iraq, they so easily boycott US universities. So some Israelis feel that there is some kind of double standards. The fact that Israel is treated differently, the fact that some people can say so easily, let’s do something against Israel, let’s boycott Israel, let’s boycott Israeli products, this is some kind of disguised anti-Semitism. In past times people said that they are against the Jews. Now, especially after the Holocaust, nobody says that they are against the Jews, but people are against the Jewish state. There should not be much difference between people in the US, Canada, Britain and Australia: the same language, very similar cultures. And still in the US, Canada, in Australia, in opinion polls most citizens support Israel with a very warm feeling. In Britain it is much less. When you think that all four are Anglo-Saxon democracies, why should people in the US, Australia or Canada have different relations to or appreciations of the minuscule Jewish state than the people of Britain? Just recently there was a very general poll in the US. The support for Israel in the US was stronger than ever. I’m not confident that this is the case with Britain as well. Not every kind of criticism is anti-Semitism. I didn’t say that any criticism of Israel was anti-Semitic or unfair even. If somebody has some criticism of Israel, this is one thing. The same person can also have some criticism of his own country. But if somebody is following criticism of Israel and becoming anti-Israeli, saying, I’m ready to cooperate with Israel’s enemies, or boycott Israel or Israelis or Israeli academia or Israeli institutions, this is something different. I think those allegations about the settlements are fundamentally wrong. To come to Israel and say, why are you doing this and this, this is totally wrong.
IAF chief: S-300 en route to Assad
Yoav Zitun, Ynet, May 22 2013
IAF Commander Maj-Gen Amir Eshel told a Herzliya conference on Wednesday:
The S-300 advanced missile defense system will soon land in the hands of the Syrian army. There is a clear understanding that such capabilities will produce confidence and aggressive behavior. Aerial superiority is a condition to win and win quickly, and is of great strategic importance. The other side understands that well, which is why Assad, with his low budget, has invested billions into purchasing anti-aircraft missiles. It’s not just our problem. The challenge that is developing in the north did not start yesterday, and there isn’t a challenge that has no solution. Syria could collapse soon and different forces could get hold of Assad’s armory. This does not mean we will act, but it means we must be ready with our planes and missile defense systems. No one is going to tell us, ‘take two weeks to prepare for the war.’ We will have to be ready for confrontations in Gaza and Lebanon, including long-range ones. Failure to prepare for this would mean a failure to learn the lessons of the 1973 War. Today, a war can develop in many ways, including single incidents that will force us to activate the entire air force within hours. In 2013, a war can be won, but there aren’t any triumphant knockouts anymore. We must avoid over-reliance on technology. Those who think we’ll just press ‘Enter’ and win the war are wrong. There won’t be a recipe for the next war. We’ll have to learn to deal with failures and surprises.
Also Wednesday, IDF CoS Gantz vehemently denied that the IDF jeep hit Tuesday had in fact entered into the Syrian side of the Golan, as Syria had claimed, saying:
The patrol was most definitely traveling along the Syrian border fence, but it did not infiltrate into Syrian territory; that is nonsense. The patrol was fired at once, then a second time and a third time, all of which undoubtedly from the Syrian post.
Talking of IDF jeeps, one turned up in Qusayr:
WaPo Really Thinks US Should Be World’s Policeman
Jim Lobe, LobeLog, May 22 2013
If you want to get some insight into how the WaPo’s editorial board increasingly thinks of the world and the US role in it, editorial page editor Fred Hiatt’s column in Monday’s newspaper provides a good idea. While Hiatt is generally not as ideological as his deputy, Jackson Diehl (although he did hire Jennifer Rubin), his basic belief in US exceptionalism, his rejection of “retrenchment” and “limitations” (on US power), and, above all, his implicit equation of international “engagement” with military intervention demonstrates how his version of liberal internationalism is so easily co-opted by neo-conservatives:
But the dominant impression among foreign officials [read Hiatt himself] is of a policy of retrenchment. They see a steady reduction in the size of US armed forces that will mean less ability to intervene and influence. They watched Obama withdraw all troops from Iraq, failing to negotiate an agreement that would have preserved some US role in that now-unraveling country. They see him preparing to withdraw most troops from Afghanistan, or all, his spokesman has said. The size of any residual force has not been announced.
Consider the logic of this passage. He seems to be saying (through his unnamed “foreign officials”) that US influence in world affairs is directly correlated with the size of its military and the willingness of its commander-in-chief to use it to intervene in foreign countries. In this very Kaganesque view of the world, hard power is really the only power that really counts. The notion that military power must necessarily rest on a strong economic foundation, or even that “soft power” may also play an important role in gaining influence overseas, seems to him or his foreign officials to be secondary at best. He goes on to cite the US intervention in Libya as “a case study in the policy of limitations,” to which Hiatt now strongly objects.
Obama acted only when pressed by French and British allies, and then insisted on withdrawal instead of committing to help a new government establish itself. The predictable result is an unstable country, riven by militias and posing an increasing danger to its neighbors through the spread of arms.
And then, of course, he blames Obama’s failure to intervene decisively in Syria last year for the fact that Syria is “degenerating into something so savage that it’s no longer clear what, if anything, might help.” The question these observations raise, of course, is what would Hiatt have Obama do? Does he seriously believe that the US, at this juncture in its history, has the resources to “nation-build” in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria (presumably Mali now, too) all at the same time? And, given what the US has accomplished with the hundreds of billions of dollars it has devoted to “nation-building” in Afghanistan and Iraq, does he really think that Washington, and especially the Pentagon, which has disbursed the great majority of those funds, even knows how to go about “building nations?” Has he read the reports of the Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction and his counterpart in Afghanistan? His assumption, of course, is that US intervention, especially military intervention, must automatically make things better for the natives, even if the evidence consistently suggests that the natives may hold a different opinion. Admittedly, Hiatt does insert a qualification:
During the Cold War, too, USAians fought bitterly over the size of the defense budget, the wisdom of interventions and the morality of supporting unsavory but friendly dictators. Over the decades the country made terrible mistakes overseas. But US engagement and influence also helped to gradually open the world to more democracy and more prosperity.
Again, we see in this passage the assumption that big defense budgets, military or covert interventions, and US support for friendly dictators, as controversial and even mistaken as those policies might have been, have all somehow contributed to a better world, that all’s well that ends well. But I think many Vietnamese, Cambodians, Iranians, Central Americans (especially Guatemalans), Brazilians, Chileans, Congolese, Iraqis, Indonesians, and citizens of other countries who have been on the receiving end of the US defense budget, military or covert intervention, and those unsavory dictators may take exception to that conclusion. Certainly even a cursory reading of Shibley Telhami’s new book, The World Through Arab Eyes, which summarizes more than two decades of his work on public opinion in the Arab world, should disabuse him of how US interventions in that part of the world has been perceived by the people there.
Jackass: US, allies ready to step up aid to rebels
Bradley Klapper, Bassem Mroue, AP, May 22 2013
AMMAN – Jackass Kerry told a joint news conference with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh here that Obama won’t send US troops to Syria. But he made clear that more aid to the rebels would be coming if the regime
refuses can be painted as refusing to cooperate with an international effort to form a transitional government. Jackass waffled on, as is his wont:
In the event that we can’t find that way forward, in the event that the Assad regime is unwilling to negotiate Geneva in good faith, we will also talk about our continued support, growing support for opposition in order to permit them to continue to fight for the freedom of their country.
They later joined nine of their colleagues from Europe and the Arab world in the Jordanian capital of Amman, alongside Syrian opposition leaders George Sabra and Gen Salim Idris. There, the US and its partners sought to convince Syria’s rebels of the need to participate in any peace effort. Jackass subjected the larger meeting to more of his sententious waffle, saying:
Let’s assume there is no Geneva 2. Let’s assume we don’t come together as community of nations to try to find a peaceful process. What will happen? What will happen is an absolute guarantee that violence will continue and the world will be standing on the sidelines doing nothing constructive to try to end that violence. That’s unacceptable. The only alternative to a negotiated settlement is more killing, is more innocent civilian deaths, more chaos, more instability in part of the world that has already suffered too much. That path would lead to a lot more families being torn apart, to a lot more refugees crossing the borders. It is a path that would lead, potentially, to the splitting apart of Syria itself.
Jackass warned Iran and Hezbollah to stop providing assistance to Assad, saying such activity “perpetuates the regime’s campaign of terror against its own people.” After the foreign ministers broke from their meeting early Thursday, they issued a joint statement denouncing the “flagrant intervention” in Syria by Hezbollah and Iranian fighters, and called for their immediate withdrawal from the country. Jackass didn’t spell out any specific US threats of action if the Syrian government and its allies press on with the war. But he said Obama was keeping all options on the table. In other words, he waffled on his his usual worthless way. He said:
We have to hope that Bashar Assad and his regime will understand the meaning of that, and the Iranians and others will understand the meaning of that.
An anonymous administration official in Washington said the White House would soon notify Congress about an expanded package of non-lethal assistance to the Syrian rebels. Details of the aid package are still being finalized, according to the official. But the package is likely to include armored vehicles and communications gear, two other anonymous officials said. It is not expected to include night vision goggles or body armor, underscoring the cautious approach the US has taken regarding military-style assistance to the opposition. As Jackass and his counterparts arrived at the meeting venue in Amman, about 250 pro-Assad demonstrators blocked the main entrance. The protesters, a mix of Jordanians and Syrians, chanted “Death to USAia” and, “Go home Jackass, we don’t want you here.” Judeh, whose country is currently hosting some 540,000 Syrian refugees, said:
Innocent blood shed every day in Syria and the destruction of culture and heritage puts on us a moral responsibility to help the Syrians achieve a political solution.
The comments came a day after a US Senate panel voted to provide weapons to the rebels, the first time they have endorsed the aggressive US military step of arming the opposition. With a degree of trepidation (ha ha, lovely touch – RB), the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 15-3 for a bill that would provide lethal assistance and military training to vetted rebel groups, and would slap sanctions on anyone such as Iran or Russia who sells oil or transfers arms to the Assad regime. The measure would also establish a $250m fund to aid in the transition if and when Assad falls.
you can see how the FBI immediately build up a legend of hostility around someone they happen to illegally kill: “he lunged at me with a knife”, “his friends say he was aggressive”
The parking lot ‘stranger’ would probably have been the same or another FBI agent. They would have been goading him, hoping he would give them an opportunity to kill him, and telling him so. After a week or two of this, most people crack. The aim of this sort of exercise is to terrorise the target community by picking on a well-known tough guy and murdering him publicly to demonstrate the FBI’s immunity and ruthlessness. The FBI organised many schemes of this sort against Black Panthers in the past – RB
Central Floridan Chechen shot dead by FBI agent
Desiree Stennett, Jerriann Sullivan, Orlando Sentinel, May 22 2013
Ibragim Todashev was shot to death by a Boston FBI agent after lunging at an FBI agent with a knife in an Orlando condo early Wednesday while being questioned about his connections to the Boston Marathon bombing suspects and a triple-slaying in Waltham, Mass. in 2011, federal law enforcement authorities said. Little is known about Todashev aside from the few details that emerged Wednesday through law enforcement, public records searches and interviews with friends. Todashev, a mixed martial arts fighter, knocked a stranger unconscious in a bloody fight over a parking space at the Premium Outlet Mall earlier this month and was arrested on aggravated battery charges. A former training partner of Todashev’s from Boston described him as an incredibly gifted athlete with a temper. But his close friends say the 27-year-old was a good guy, and emphatically deny he had any involvement in extremist activity. Instead, they say, federal agents zeroed in on Todashev in the days following the Boston bombings and never relented. The FBI questioned Todashev at least five times in person plus numerous times by telephone since the bombings, according to interviews with three of his four former roommates in a duplex at Orlando Sun Village in Osceola County. They told the Orlando Sentinel the interviews and surveillance began two days after the Tsarnaev brothers were identified as the suspected bombers. “They pretty much kidnapped him in front of his place,” said 22-year-old Khusen Taramov. The three friends said all of them including Todashev shared the same sense of outrage over the bombing in Boston. And none had heard of a triple-murder there a couple of years ago in which their friend was allegedly a suspect, they said. None of the roommates considered Todashev a political or religious radical, saying simply that he was faithful to their shared religion. It’s not clear whether Todashev lived in the Orlando condo where he was shot early Wednesday. He has an address in Kissimmee, but friends there said Todashev’s girlfriend lives in the Orlando complex and he stayed there frequently. According to court documents in the battery case from earlier this month, deputies knew immediately that Todashev was some kind of mixed martial arts fighter and knew “how dangerous these men can be,” a report said. One deputy wrote in a report:
I told this subject if he tried to fight us I would shoot him.
Todashev’s Boston training partner, who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution, told the Sentinel Wednesday that he knew him as “Ibrahim Tody” because that was the name he used when fighting. It’s also the name listed on his official MMA record. The training partner said that the FBI contacted him after the bombings last month and asked about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Todashev, and any other Chechens that had trained at the gym. The man said Todashev frequently got into fights with people outside the gym and verbal disputes with other members. The training partner wrote in an email:
I never had any problems with him personally. But hearing that he was picked up for fighting over a parking space in Florida comes as NO surprise. He had been kicked out of several gyms for getting into altercations on the street, which is a major, MAJOR no-no for people involved in Martial Arts.
Now here is a massive escalation of the legend against the victim, all uncorroborated:
Official: Dead Boston bombings suspect involved in 2011 slayings
Susan Candiotti, Ashleigh Banfield, Deborah Feyerick, Carol Cratty, CNN, May 23 2013
Ibragim Todashev, the Chechen killed early Wednesday during a confrontation with the FBI and Massachusetts State Police in Orlando, Florida, participated with Tamerlan Tsarnaev in a gruesome 2011 triple homicide outside Boston, a federal law enforcement official told CNN. Todashev, who died during the interview with authorities, not only confessed to his direct role in slashing the throats of three people in Waltham, Massachusetts, but also fingered Tsarnaev in the deaths, the official said Wednesday. Todashev was being questioned about the slayings and his acquaintance with Tsarnaev. Todashev attacked an FBI agent, who shot him dead, a federal law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the case told CNN. A second law enforcement official confirmed Todashev made the confession. Todashev told investigators the men were killed during a drug ripoff because he and Tsarnaev were afraid they would be able to identify them and tell police what happened, according to a law enforcement source. A federal law enforcement official has told CNN they were initially led to Todashev because they learned he knew Tsarnaev and his younger brother, Dzhokhar. They also said cell phone records connected Tamerlan and Todashev. Todashev was being interviewed in the kitchen of his Florida home. He grabbed a knife, which is why fatal force was used, according to a source briefed on the ongoing investigation. Todashev had an impending flight from Orlando, via New York and Moscow, to Chechnya, when investigators sought to interview him, according to a source briefed on the ongoing investigation. He was told not to take the flight, the source said. Details emerged Wednesday about how Todashev had Tsarnaev’s phone number in his cell phone, said the source. A source said that the FBI had been investigating Todashev for about a month. His friend Khasuen Taramov told CNN affiliate Central Florida News 13:
The FBI had been following Ibragim for days. He wasn’t like real close friends with Tamerlan Tsarnaev, but he just happened to know him. But he had no idea that they were up to something like that, like bombings and everything, you know what I mean? It was a complete shock to him. They met a couple years ago in Boston. They spoke on the phone about a month before the bombings. Their phone conversation was just like, ‘How are you doing; how’s your family?’ That’s all. I was questioned by the FBI for three hours Tuesday night. Different kind of questions like ‘what do you think about bombings,’ ‘do you know these guys,’ blah blah blah, what is my views on certain stuff. Todashev was not a radical. He was just a Muslim. That was his mistake, I guess. He told he had a bad feeling about the way the FBI were proceeding. He felt like there’s going to be a setup, a bad setup, against him. Because he told me, ‘They are making up such crazy stuff, I don’t know why they doing it. OK, I’m answering the questions, but they are still making up some, like, connections, some crazy stuff. I don’t know why they are doing it.’ Before meeting with them on Tuesday evening, he asked me to take his parents’ phone numbers. He just told me, ‘Take the numbers, in case something happens, if I get locked up, or whatever, call them.’ You know what I mean? We were expecting to get him locked up, but not getting him killed. I can’t believe it.
Todashev was arrested this month on a charge of aggravated battery after getting into a fight over a parking spot with a man and his son outside an Orlando mall. The son was taken to a hospital with head injuries, a split upper lip and several teeth knocked out of place, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said in a report.
I have been trying to think about this, because I feel sure that when the US ruling class, at least the non-Jewish part of it, manipulate Salafism/Wahhabism as a revolutionary force, via the Sauds and the Qatari ruling family, the Thanis, they (the US rulers of Protestant background) are certainly thinking about it. In many respects, the processes involved are parallel ones. The Salafis and Wahhabis regard other forms of Islam as idolatrous, in the same way that the original Protestants regarded Catholicism as idolatrous. The cults they object to are actually very similar: the shrines and graves of Saints, for example. And sociologically there is also a parallel: the vernacular forms of Islam are characteristic of rural cultures, each of which prizes the memorials of its Saints, whereas the more austere and rigorous monotheism of the Salafis and Wahhabis is nowadays funded & programmed by an urban, capitalised culture, based on wage labour rather than peasant farming. However, in the European Reformation, the rise of capitalism and urban power, and the development of wage labour, took place in nationalist frameworks, in every European country. It coincided with the desire of the Kings and/or wealthy elites of the European states to break free from Papal control. What is happening in the Muslim world is actually the reverse of this. Though the Wahhabi/Salafi forces may represent a more advanced form of capitalism than the mixed Sunni/Sufi/Shi’a cultures they are attacking, these Wahhabi/Salafi forces are not the expression of rising nationalism; the mixed cultures they are attacking are the expressions of nationalism, and the Wahhabi/Salafi attack is a form of proxy colonialism, ultimately conducted on behalf of the imperial power, which for convenience I shall continue to call USrael. Therefore, the sociological model, which makes a certain amount of sense and is widely accepted as something approaching a global developmental law (Weber, Tawney, etc) is being stood on its head. It is not an indigenous sociological development we are seeing here, but an artificially contrived, imperially directed ‘religious movement’ which makes no sense in local terms. Its closest Reformation equivalent would be, for instance, the conquest and colonisation of Ireland (and some of the Caribbean) by Cromwell’s Protestant government in England.
ZOA Regains Tax-Exempt Status After Yearlong Hiatus
Josh Nathan-Kazis, Forward, May 20 2013
The right-wing Zionist Organisation of America has regained its tax exemption more than a year after its failure to file financial disclosures led the IRS to revoke its nonprofit status. The 116-year-old Jewish group’s tax exemption was reinstated on May 15, according to a statement from the ZOA. ZOA President Morton Klein told the Forward:
We’re delighted and gratified. Now we can be raising money directly for ZOA. There’s been zero impact, zero, on our work. Our campus work, our work on the Hill, our Title XI work, my speaking, my writing, my doing TV and radio. Nothing organizationally changed. We’re coming back with major people.
Donations intended for the ZOA given between Feb 2012 and May 2013 went to a donor advised fund maintained by an outside organization. ZOA faced deep internal strife following the loss of its tax exemption in Feb 2012. ZOA Vice Chairman Steven Goldberg emerged as a strident critic of the organization’s professional leadership, criticizing Klein for what Goldberg alleged was an effort to keep the loss of the tax exemption from the public. ZOA also fired Orit Arfa, the LA-based executive director of ZOA’s Western Region, who had complained internally that the group was not doing enough to inform donors that the group’s tax exemption had been revoked. A ZOA spokesman said at the time that Arfa’s firing was not retaliatory. Arfa has sued ZOA for wrongful termination in federal court in California. ZOA has filed a motion to dismiss the case. Klein declined to comment on Arfa’s suit, though he called it “without merit.” ZOA’s loss of its tax exemption was not revealed until the publication of a Forward exposé in Sep 2012. A Mar 2012 email from ZOA national executive director David Drimer, submitted as an exhibit in Arfa’s lawsuit, asked ZOA staffers to keep the revocation quiet. Drimer wrote:
In general, please do not broach this subject with donors unless it is absolutely necessary or they ask about it specifically. We firmly believe we can turn this around quickly through retroactive reinstatement so that assertively publicizing the current state of affairs will not be advantageous for the short and long-term interests of the ZOA.
An attached set of talking points prepared staffers to answer questions raised by donors. The revocation came after the ZOA failed to file three years’ worth of required annual financial disclosures with the IRS. Subsequent filings revealed that Klein received a 38% pay rise during the period in which ZOA failed to file its tax reports. Klein told the Forward that ZOA has now instituted organizational protections to prevent such filing errors from recurring, including the creation of a board committee to oversee the organization’s accounting operations. As of May 15, the ZOA is again able to accept donations itself. ZOA canceled its annual gala in 2012, citing the loss of the group’s tax-exempt status. The group says its 2013 gala will now go forward. The keynote speaker will be Mike Huckabee. Loews Corp CEO James Tisch will also be honored.