Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Jack Black should just ask Neda for a game of Frisbee with his sons....

The Hollywood Douche Bags are at it -  again. This time they are trotted out to tell us what passes as 'good' for the rest of us.  Truly I am tired of hearing what is 'good' or 'right' by people who are punching way, way, above their intellectual pay grade.

This time Jack Black et al  want us to know Iranians love their children as much as Americans love theirs, ergo the P5+1 nuclear agreement is a good deal for all of us, well everybody, except those most at risk – like  Israelis, the Arabs, Persians, and pretty much the entire Middle East.

Let's roll to the video.

I have no doubt Persians love their children very much, I just don’t believe the Mullahs and their henchman do.  Jack Black should just ask Neda for a game of Frisbee with his sons..., oh but wait, he can’t. She was toasted, by agents of the regime who decided they did not love other people's children very much. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.

Of all the Israeli journalists currently working and writing; it’s Sarah Honig, who is the one I most admire – her grasp on history and current events is really quite unparalleled for modern journalists – even Israeli ones. Forget Avi Shavit, any book Honig writes will be worth your time, besides any publisher will be able to publish her work in Hebrew without worrying about gettingtheir ass sued from here to the world to come.   If I have one criticism of her, it is this; she needs to write more books! She does have a collection of her published columns out found in one book, but I would love to see her to tackle an in-depth biography on any of Israel’s Prime Ministers.

I always learn something new from any column Honig writes and Shamelessly raring to go is no exception:

Siemens claimed to have been obliged by old contracts which only involved sectors not covered by the sanctions. Still, the Stuxnet virus – which damaged Iranian centrifuges for enriching uranium and which was widely attributed to Israel – ended up attacking Siemens components. This fact alone should constitute ample food for thought.

 Iranian financial gains amount to over a billion US dollars, I suspect this largess will be filling the coffers of Russian, French and Chinese military manufacturers, with enough to spread around to arm Iranian proxies in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.  If were a betting woman, I would place a bet that  there will be a major Iranian airplane deal with any of the P5+1 nations to bring Iran’s badly degraded air force up to first world standards sometime in the next year.  Woe is Yisrael, if America wins that contract.

This AP report in theKomon News suggests Boeing and Airbus are already bidding at the trough.

 TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran's president has pointed to another possible windfall from the nuclear deal with world powers - his country may soon be able to buy badly needed new planes for its aging fleet, the official IRNA news agency reported. Iran's Transportation Minister Abbas Akhoundi has said there have been talks with Boeing and Airbus and that initial agreements will likely come in a few months' time.

"We will provide new aircraft for Iran," Akhoundi said.

Last month at the Paris Air Show, Akhoundi said Iran was prepared to spend about $20 billion to purchase about 400 new planes over the next decade. Iran President Hassan Rouhani said Iranian negotiators came away from the talks in Vienna with "achievements beyond the nuclear" agreement and succeeded in having "aviation sanctions removed." His remarks were carried by the official IRNA news agency late Wednesday.

So I won that bet with myself sooner than I expected. It’s probably the one bet I would have gladly eaten crow over.  More importantly, it is time for the Israelis to start the long arduous shiva process and bring about an end to all military cooperation with the United States. 

Forget Congress, the bagmen of the US economy will win, even if one scores a Pyrrhic victory in the US Congress.  It is time to face facts; the so-called special relationship has ended, even if most ordinary Americans remain senseless of the tectonic shift which has occurred beneath their feet, whereby their government is lining up to support the reign of the Mad Mullahs.  And Woe is, all the American Jews who placed their faith and trust in Obama, rather than Klal Yisrael.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Iranian Nuclear Pact or how the Scarface Rules of Drug Dealing apply to real world politics

What’s most telling to me about the P5 +1 negotiated agreement with the Iranians was the deliberate omission of those countries from a seat at the negotiation table who have the most at stake on the outcome of this agreement.

Israel, the Gulf States, Egypt, not one had a seat at the table with the Iranians, and yet, a nuclear armed Iran poses an immediate and deadly threat to all these states, and only an indirect threat, and at that, only via ‘foreign’ business interests to the P5+1 states who sat around the table with the Iranians.

P5 refers to the 5 permanent members of the UN Security council; USA, China, Russia, France, and the United Kingdom.The plus 1 is Germany.  So why Germany, and not, say Italy or Switzerland? Well, Germany is a ‘key’ trading partner with Iran, and the Iranian nuclear program relies heavily on German engineering and manufacturing. Think Siemens, Linde, BASF, Lurgi, Mercedes, Volkswagen, and MAN to name a few.

 I would suggest that all P5 nations are poised to reap a major financial windfall with an Iran no longer under sanctions.  So it is in the financial best interest of the P5+1  for a deal, any deal, to be negotiated with the Iranians.  And to hell with American hostages, the Israelis or the Sunni States of the Middle East.  By the way, the German Economic Minister et al will be shortly landing today in Tehran to discuss, well, business opportunities.

To coin a cliché, this deal is all about the benjamins and has very little to do blocking Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon.  In order to safeguard the P5+1 vested financial interests, there is a little remarked upon clause in the deal. Arutz Sheva: 

One particularly interesting detail: Tucked away near the very end of the deal's massive text is a section entitled "Nuclear Safety, Safeguards and Security," which stipulates that the West will train Iran to thwart sabotage against its nuclear facilities. According to text, Iran will learn how to secure its controversial and covert nuclear program from all threats thanks to training by the "E3/EU+3," another designation for the P5+1 countries consisting of the US, UK, France, Germany, Russia and China, as well as the EU.
The section seemingly begins benignly enough, with a clause saying that "E3/EU+3 parties, and possibly other states, as appropriate, are prepared to cooperate with Iran to establish a Nuclear Safety Centre in Iran, engage in workshops and training events in Iran." But then things take a turn, with the same world powers obligating to "co-operation in the form of training courses and workshops to strengthen Iran's ability to prevent, protect and respond to nuclear security threats to nuclear facilities and systems as well as to enable effective and sustainable nuclear security and physical protection systems."  Leaving no doubts about the intentions, the text then promises "co-operation through training and workshops to strengthen Iran’s ability to protect against, and respond to nuclear security threats, including sabotage."
The implications of this clause are huge. Let’s be real, the Saudis and other Gulf states do not the capacities to attack any part of the Iranian nuclear program but there is one state who does, and that state has been repeatedly threatened by the Iranians.  Conceivably, there could come a day, when United States will be actively using its nuclear and military intelligence to undermine any Israeli attempts to safeguard our people from Iranian threats.

The United States, despite the belief of a hard core group of anti-Semites, is not a proxy for Israel.  America is not Israel, and has never and will never, act in Israel’s best interest unless Israeli interests dovetails with American interests.

America has never fought in any of Israel’s wars, and will never.  In fact, the PLO owes its existenceto a beloved American President who chose to save Yasser Arafat and his menfrom the imminent Israeli death blow. America will sell Israel weapons, and will actively seek to contain Israel when Israeli interests clash with American policy.   I would suggest there is no special relationship between America and Israel except in the minds of American Jews and a cynical political class who regularly seek to exploit this myth for their own purposes and interests.  

Americans have been very cynically offering the Sunni statesand Israel the promise of increase military hardware but I would hazard a guess that any military largess offered is for ‘defensive’ rather than any offensive capacities, at best, there might be some meager offerings of ‘dual’ use military hardware – hardware which is primarily defensive but could be modified for and used in an offensive capacity in a best case scenario.

Iranian financial gains amount to over a billion US dollars, I suspect this largess will be filling the coffers of Russian, French and Chinese military manufacturers, with enough to spread around to arm Iranian proxies in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.  If were a betting woman, I would place a bet that  there will be a major Iranian airplane deal with any of the P5+1 nations to bring Iran’s badly degraded air force up to first world standards sometime in the next year.  Woe is Yisrael, if America wins that contract.

Much has been made about the snap back provisions, I won’t even go there, but I will stay I find it rather telling that only inspectors will be made up from countries who have diplomatically relations with Iran. If that isn’t stacking the deck, I don’t what is.  And bonus points are awarded if you know which of  the Scarface Rules of Drug Dealing apply here.

It's rule #3. Never underestimate the other guy's greed.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Canada stands apart from US and Iran

Canadians are often characterized as the flunkies of Americans so it is a nice change to have a Prime Minister who does not blindly follow the US into the Dark Abyss and remains standing with his feet firmly on the moral high ground.

Canada will keep its sanctions in place – at least for now – despite the nuclear agreement Iran has reached with major world powers.
Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson issued a statement saying that Canada “will continue to judge Iran by its actions not its words,” and that the government in Ottawa will examine the agreement carefully before making any policy changes.
“We will examine this deal further before taking any specific Canadian action,” Mr. Nicholson said in the statement.
That means Canada is refusing to follow the course set by its major allies, including not only the Obama Administration in the U.S., but Britain, France, and the European Union. They negotiated the deal with Iran as part of the “P5+1” group that also included China and Russia, and have agreed to lift economic sanctions in return for Tehran’s nuclear concessions.(The Globe and Mail)

And for those who insist Canada is standing on the wrong side of history I have two words for you: North Korea. Furthermore, I predicate Obama's real legacy will be spurning nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Costs of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict or how Sara Netanyahu household recycling fund can bring improve the Israeli GNPout

The Rand Corporation recently released a report called The Costs of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

It has been making the rounds from Forward to the Jewish Press. I decided to take a quick read, and got half way through it and was struck by air of ‘lost in wonderland’ which haunts the writers of this report for most of its 273 pages. The question of ‘how much, who pays, and for how long’; is never fully addressed in the study.  It touts ‘end financial benefits’ to both the Israeli and Palestinian communities if a two-state solution is established while ignoring the one timeless fact of state sovereignty; nothing is free.

In 2005, the Rand Group released a study on the viability of a Palestinian State and estimated that the International community would need to invest over $33 billion USD over 10 years before a Palestinian State could potentially be a viable, rather than, just another failed mid-east state.  Who knows, what the price tag would bottom-line costs would be ten years later? 
When the 2005 study was released, the Gaza Strip was not Hamastan  nor had infrastructure had  been ravaged by three military engagements with the IDf.  Relations with the Egyptians had not  deteriorated to their current state with no signs of rapprochement in sight. Who pays, and how much is never fully explored. Maybe we can make the Greeks pay!

The recent Rand study makes a number or erroneous assumptions which bear little resemblance to the current facts on the ground. Such as, the Rand Report presumes there will be a full reconciliation between West Bank and Hamas leadership.  Currently, there has been a seven year separation with no true reconciliation for the foreseeable future. Just as recently as last summer, West Bank Palestinian dictator, Mahmoud Abbas, had to circumvent an attempt against his rule by Hamas members.  Nor is there any accounting for the greater infrastructure spending needed to rehabilitate the Gaza Strip from its current dilapidated state. 

This airy-fairy magical reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah is vital for the Rand report’s most positive scenarios; two-statement peace agreement solution, a coordinated or unilateral withdrawal by the Israelis. In all Rand’s ‘best-case’ scenarios the report assumes that there will be magical territory congruity between the West Bank and Hamastan with no thought given to the practicalities of ‘how this is to be achieved’. I am sure, Fatah would really like to know.

The search and development for natural gas outside of the Gaza Strip, and the development of a deep sea port is absolutely vital and necessary to making Palestinian state viable, without this, the Palestinian state will be just another failed mid-East state in the community of nations. 

The Rand report does not, for even a moment, entertain the possibility, in the event of a unilateral uncoordinated withdrawal from the West Bank that the Israelis may chose not to carry on economic trade with their Palestinian neighbors. It would not be the first experience Israelis have had with undesirable neighbors... Even with a ‘peace’ agreement duly signed by all parties does not mean Israelis would chose to participate with closer ties, either economic or social with their neighbors. The Israelis will continue to thrive in the event of a divorce, but the Palestinian economy would collapse. And the Rand rolls the dice heavily on a complete reconciliation rather a divorce absolute.  

Another presumption of the Rand report is that the Allenby- King Hussein  border bridge between Jordan and the West Bank will be under full Palestinian control, which given the history of PLO in Jordan, I would suggest runs completely contrary to Jordanian security needs – or even taking into account the recent ‘coldness’ that has entered into Jordanian-Palestinian relationship. 

 And let’s talk about the settlements. The Rand report suggests anywhere from 60,000 to 100,000 Israeli-Jews would have to be evicted from their homes and relocated. It suggests the International community, in the interests of peace, should pick up at least 75% of the tab for evicting Israeli Jews from their homes.

The report never mentions the ‘actual’ cost or what that figure would look like but there is baseline to start.  The estimates for the disengagement from the Gaza Strip were around US$2 Billion for just under 9,000 Jews. So if we do the math, and take the lowest baseline figures for eviction that makes around 60,000 Jews, and it will cost approximately US$34 Billion. According to the Rand formula, the international community should be on the hook for approximately 75% to the tune of around US$25.5 Billion. Where the Israelis are going to up with an extra US$8.5 Billion is beyond my ability to project. Who knows, maybe Rand is counting on hitting up Sara Netanyahu's household fund for recycling of plastics and bottles for the Israeli contribution. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

A Jew and a Democrat

 At the Jerusalem Post Annual conference in New York City, US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew got heckled, boo’d, and in a less civilized era and place, he might have run the risk of being tarred, feathered and  run-off the stage.  

The Jerusalem Post carried an editorial moaning the less than positive reception Lew met in the audience and attempted to build a case for by listing Lew’s record as a tireless advocate for Israelis in his long public service career, but seriously, when you come before Kol Yisrael, as the Court Jew for one of the mostly openly anti-Israeli American Administrations; what do you expect would happen? 

 Unfortunately some are unable to distinguish between a close friend of Israel and the temporary impasse over the Iran issue. The animosity and anger directed toward Lew by a minority of the conference audience reflected not only the passion raised by the issue, but the blindness and misguided hatred that rigid ideology can bring to the table.

To trivialize and characterize the division between Kol Yisrael and the Obama White house as just a difference of opinion regarding the handling of the Iranian Nuclear program is to deny reality. The last six years of Obama Administration has been one of the most openly hostile US Administrations in the history of American relations to Israel.  

The real issue facing the American Diaspora, is that there will soon come a time, when they will forced to choose between being a Jew or a Democrat. And when that day comes, it will have nothing to do with the Republicans or the Palestinians. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

About that bump in the road on the way to Damacus

The Times of Israel carried an article written by a Christian Gay Palestinian who claims to come from one of the more prominent Hamas families in the West Bank. He calls himself John Calvin now and has been studying at a bible college in Alberta. He wants to stay in Canada, but the government has ruled he is inadmissible.

What I think is rather fascinating about John Calvin's is not his 'personal narrative. After all Son of Hamas has been rather well publicized and Calvin's narrative mirrors Mosab Yousef's remarkably so. What fascinates me is his conversion to Christianity. In his own words.
From as early as I can remember, I was taught that Islam was the one true faith, that violence was the only answer, and that the Jews were our enemies. These were facts, as real and obvious as the fact that the sky is blue. These were “facts” and deep down I wasn’t sure if I believed them.

I know that lots of people lose their faith and change their minds when and where they least expect it. In Christianity, we talk about “the road to Damascus,” referencing Saul’s conversion in a part of the world that for much of my life was almost on my doorstep. My moment arrived in an Israeli jail, after I was arrested for illegally crossing the border, escaping from yet another argument with my family and the violence of my father. I was looking for answers to questions when and where I least expected them.

It was in an Israeli jail where the doubts I had about everything I had ever been taught were finally silenced. Another man, a Palestinian man, hurt me in a way I could never have imagined, in a way that just isn’t talked about in our society. If that was unexpected, that was nothing compared to what came next. The Israelis who worked in the prison – “the Jews” – looked after me and took care of me, making sure the story never got out to those who would use it against me. The Palestinians I had been taught to die for had hurt and abandoned me while the Israelis I had been taught to kill acted with compassion and helped me heal.

Shortly after this I began my journey of conversion, opening my eyes and heart to a religion that denounced violence and hatred.
This is the first time I read this, I showed it to a number of my work collegues and asked if they didn't notice something extraordinary about his conversion. They did not get what I thought was obviously outrageous and bizarre but their were Christians, and its a 'feel good' story about 'Christians'. None of the commenters at The Times of Israel have brought it up in the comments either, but then again, more than half were written by Christians who were having issues with the 'gay' part of his Christian narrative and could see little beyond that. 

Why I find his 'conversion' so bizarre is that it came about because Israelis - Jews treated him with compassion and empathy, so consequently, he decided to become a Christian. What's next? If a Muslim treats a Jew kindly, the Jew becomes a Hindu? This doesn't make any psychological sense, and it has to be the first public conversion to Christianity, which on the surface, came about because of acts of chesed performed by Jews.  And to honour the Christians, he takes the name of a man who was no friend to the Jews of his time.

I suspect, if this Son of Hamas (2) narrative wins a reprieve from deportation from Canada, it will become an increasingly common narrative heard in immigration hearings throughout the West.