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April 24, 2014 1

Momentum For Divestment On California Campuses Falters

Despite the best efforts of anti-Israel stu­dent groups, divest­ment res­o­lu­tions debated on two Cal­i­for­nia cam­puses failed last night by wide mar­gins, while a third passed by just one vote.sdsu divest logo

Stu­dent Sen­a­tors at San Diego State Uni­ver­sity (3 Yes-16 No-3 Absten­tions) and the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Santa Bar­bara (8–16-0), rejected res­o­lu­tions that called on their respec­tive uni­ver­si­ties to with­draw invest­ments from multi­na­tional com­pa­nies that work with Israel. A sim­i­lar res­o­lu­tion did, how­ever, pass by a razor-thin mar­gin at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Riverside.

The results of the River­side res­o­lu­tion, though not favor­able, are telling in and of them­selves about the state of sup­port for BDS on Amer­i­can col­lege cam­puses. The final vote was 8–7 and that was only after the Sen­a­tors voted to con­duct a closed vote so that the rep­re­sen­ta­tives would not have to openly declare their anti-Israel views.

More­over, it appears that the pres­i­dent of the Sen­ate did not sup­port the res­o­lu­tion. Based on live-tweeting from the event, it seems that the pres­i­dent, Sai Pata­dia, asked those in favor of divest­ment to explain why it was legit­i­mate to sin­gle out Israel for pun­ish­ment, an issue often cited by the pro-Israel com­mu­nity. [Last Novem­ber, Pata­dia also tried to resolve an issue that had arisen when a divest­ment res­o­lu­tion on cam­pus was intro­duced in stealth, strip­ping pro-Israel stu­dents of the oppor­tu­nity to present an alter­na­tive view­point.  This time around, Pata­dia encour­aged Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine to reach out to the pro-Israel com­mu­nity and let them know when the res­o­lu­tion was drafted, accord­ing to an arti­cle in the cam­pus newspaper.]

UC River­side and UC Santa Bar­bara have both dealt with sim­i­lar res­o­lu­tions before. A res­o­lu­tion sev­eral months ago was voted down and last March, a res­o­lu­tion passed but was then rescinded a month later. At UC Santa Bar­bara, a vote last April failed 10–11-1 where­upon pro-Israel stu­dents took it upon them­selves to run for Stu­dent Sen­ate, pre­sum­ably in the hopes of avoid­ing a sim­i­larly close vote this year.

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March 19, 2014 1

Iran Weekly: Selected News & Developments

ayatollah-khamenei-iran

Aya­tol­lah Ali Khamenei

The fol­low­ing is a selec­tion of news reports and com­men­tary from Iran­ian media and main­stream pub­li­ca­tions on devel­op­ments per­tain­ing to Iran. This weekly update includes a sam­pling of pub­lished reports from Iran’s Farsi-language media* as well as rel­e­vant arti­cles from the inter­na­tional press.

Iran­ian Media

The prin­ci­ple events of the Islamic Rev­o­lu­tion and the Holy Defense are exposed to being harmed and dis­torted*
(Mashregh News Agency – March 17, 2014)

In a meet­ing with offi­cials from the Raahian-e Nour (Path of Light) tour guides that lead trips to dif­fer­ent bat­tle grounds from the Iran-Iraq war, Supreme Leader Aya­tol­lah Ali Khamenei warned, “Today the rul­ing pow­ers are try­ing the same lowly tricks to make [the world] grad­u­ally for­get how the native peo­ple of the cities and vil­lages of Pales­tine were pushed out. We must not allow the events of the Holy Defense to also be forgotten.”

Raf­san­jani crit­i­cizes world pow­ers for ignor­ing Mus­lims’ rights in Pales­tine, Myan­mar
(Fars News Agency – March 17, 2014)

For­mer Iran­ian Pres­i­dent and Chair­man of the Expe­di­ency Coun­cil Aya­tol­lah Raf­san­jani met with a del­e­ga­tion from the Inter­na­tional Cri­sis Group. Dur­ing his meet­ing, Raf­san­jani said, “The super pow­ers’ green light to Israel and some­times their weaponry and polit­i­cal assis­tance to the usurper regime has dou­bled the oppres­sion against the oppressed peo­ple of Palestine.”

Offi­cial reveals new details of sab­o­tage acts against Iran’s N. facil­i­ties
(Fars News Agency – March 17, 2014)

Asqar Zare’an, the deputy chief for nuclear pro­tec­tion and secu­rity for the Atomic Energy Orga­ni­za­tion of Iran, revealed that the Arak nuclear facil­ity had come under attack. “Intel­li­gence inspec­tions of the nuclear facil­i­ties indi­cated that some pumps of the sec­ond cir­cuitry of Arak’s IR40 project had under­gone mechan­i­cal oper­a­tions in a bid to dis­rupt the rou­tine work of the power plant,” Zare’an said last Saturday.

Khalid Mashaal is com­ing to Iran*
(Fars News Agency – March 16, 2014)

Accord­ing to reports by the Egypt­ian daily Al-Yom Al-Saba’a, Hamas Polit­buro Chief Khalid Mashaal is expected to visit to Tehran soon.

The nuclear team has no right to dis­cuss non-nuclear issues*
(Kay­han – March 16, 2014)

A state­ment signed by 222 mem­bers of the Iran­ian par­lia­ment this week stated, “The Islamic Repub­lic of Iran, in its capac­ity as a found­ing mem­ber of the NPT, which it has up until now adhered to and has not pro­duced nuclear weapons in accor­dance with the treaty, seeks to use its full legit­i­mate right of nuclear power for peace­ful pur­poses as stated in Arti­cle 4 of the treaty.

The Pales­tini­ans’ mis­sile capa­bil­i­ties have increased by 1,000 times*
(Fars News Agency – March 15, 2014)

Defense Min­is­ter Hos­sein Deghan boasted, “The Resistance’s [Hamas and Pales­tin­ian Islamic Jihad] oper­a­tional abil­i­ties against the Zion­ist regime have increased 1,000 fold and it is some­thing we have been doing until now. With these cal­cu­la­tions, the Resistance’s mis­sile response can be fully understood.”

Iran raps Al-Jazeera claim about involve­ment in 1988 Locker­bie bomb­ing
(Fars News Agency – March 13, 2014)

Iran’s Deputy For­eign Min­is­ter for Arab-African Affairs accused Al Jazeera, the pan-Arab Qatari news net­work, of embark­ing on a cam­paign on behalf of Israel. Hos­sein Amir Abdol­lahian called Al Jazeera’s report con­nect­ing Iran to the 1988 Locker­bie bomb­ing a fab­ri­ca­tion “in line with the Zion­ist regime’s lies.”

Hezbol­lah vows to give crush­ing response to Israeli aggres­sions
(Fars News Agency – March 12, 2014)

Hezbol­lah Deputy Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Sheikh Naim Qassem issued a series of threats against Israel after an aer­ial attack on Hezbol­lah sites by the Israeli Air Force. “We will pur­sue the issue of Israel’s con­tin­ued aggres­sions, includ­ing recon­nais­sance flights and land aggres­sion, through inter­na­tional law and the UN Secu­rity Coun­cil, laws of big coun­tries and all those who claim that Israel is nei­ther an occu­pier nor an aggress,” Qas­sam said dur­ing his inter­view with Fars News.

The next meet­ing of the Supreme Islamic Awak­en­ing Coun­cil will be in Baghdad/The West is in fear of Islamic think­ing and awe*
(Fars News Agency – March 12, 2014)

Ali Akbar Velay­ati, the spe­cial advi­sor to the Supreme Leader, said dur­ing his speech at the Supreme Islamic Awak­en­ing Coun­cil, “Our hope is for the lib­er­a­tion of Pales­tine and we are hope­ful that one day we will pray behind the Supreme Leader in the Al Aqsa mosque.”

Inter­na­tional Media

Netanyahu orders IDF to pre­pare for pos­si­ble strike on Iran dur­ing 2014
(Haaretz – March 19, 2014)

Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Netanyahu and Defense Min­is­ter Moshe Ya’alon con­tinue to pre­pare the Israel Defense Force for a pos­si­ble mil­i­tary attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

West sees unity on Iran despite cri­sis in Ukraine
(New York Times – March 18, 2014)

As rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the P5+1 and Iran gather in Vienna for nego­ti­a­tions, the specter of the cri­sis in Ukraine cause ten­sions between the West and Russia.

Iran doesn’t expect deal in com­ing nuclear talks
(Wash­ing­ton Post – March 16, 2014)

Prior to the lat­est round of nego­ti­a­tions with the P5+1, Iran­ian For­eign Min­is­ter Moham­mad Javad Zarif expressed doubt that a deal would be reached “in this round of talks,” and that the sides “have agreed to dis­cuss a num­ber of issues in this round.”

It’s a sab­o­tage: Iran’s hard-liners are using mass exe­cu­tions to under­mine the nuclear deal
(For­eign Pol­icy – March 14, 2014)

A spike in the num­ber of exe­cu­tions is seen as attempts by hard-liners to derail Pres­i­dent Rouhani’s diplo­matic efforts.

Iran’s oppressed Chris­tians
(New York Times – March 14, 2014)

A look into the hard­ships Iran’s Chris­t­ian minor­ity faces under the rule of the Islamic Republic.

Rouhani has not stopped Iran sup­press­ing human rights: U.N. envoy
(Reuters – March 14, 2014)

United Nations Spe­cial Rap­por­teur for Human Rights in Iran Ahmed Sha­heed, crit­i­cized Pres­i­dent Rouhani’s “baby steps” to improve human rights in Iran. Sha­heed also stated that the Islamic Repub­lic is hold­ing 900 polit­i­cal pris­on­ers, “includ­ing peo­ple per­se­cuted for reli­gious activ­i­ties, lawyers and journalists.”

In Iran, a bat­tle over con­trol of media and cul­ture is heat­ing up
(Wash­ing­ton Post – March 13, 2014)

Ten­sions rise within Iran’s estab­lish­ment as the Min­istry of Cul­ture and Islamic Guid­ance hint at the pos­si­bil­ity of relax­ing some of the “ridicu­lous” poli­cies Iran has adopted since the Islamic Revolution.

Iran hosts Syria con­fer­ence of Assad sym­pa­thiz­ers
(Chicago Tri­bune – March 12, 2014)

Iran hosted a con­fer­ence in sup­port of Syria’s Assad regime in which par­tic­i­pat­ing nations endorsed Tehran’s call for elec­tions to “deter­mine the des­tiny” of Syria.

Iran hard-liners protest at Aus­trian Embassy
(Wash­ing­ton Post – March 12, 2014)

Iran­ian author­i­ties staged a protest in front of the Aus­trian Embassy last week over a meet­ing EU For­eign Pol­icy Chief Cather­ine Ash­ton held with activists dur­ing her high-profile visit to Tehran.

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March 14, 2014 1

Hackers Target Israel On Holocaust Remembrance Day

A hacker group known as Anony­mous Arab has announced plans to ini­ti­ate a cyber-attack against Israel on Holo­caust Remem­brance Day (April 7). The cam­paign, called OpIs­rael, is being pro­moted on mul­ti­ple social media plat­forms in order to attract hack­ers from around the world.  opisrael-anonymous-arab-april-7-holocaust-remembrance-day

In a state­ment on the Anony­mous Arab Face­book page, the group threat­ened to launch “elec­tronic attacks against as many Israeli web­sites as pos­si­ble.” The group also threat­ens Israeli cit­i­zens: “Your credit cards, your bank accounts, your servers … are ALL in a danger!”

Last year, Anony­mous Arab issued a sim­i­lar warn­ing around the same time to “wipe Israel off the Inter­net.” The warn­ing was fol­lowed by a series of cyber-attacks against Israeli gov­ern­ment, mil­i­tary and pri­vate web­sites, although with lim­ited results.

The Face­book page includes tuto­r­ial videos on hack­ing web­sites. One post reads, “Guys who are expe­ri­enced in the DOS Attack [Denial of Ser­vice Attacks], prepa­ra­tions must be made to attack the web­site of the Zion­ist Min­istry of For­eign Affairs.” The post specif­i­cally men­tions the Farsi lan­guage web­site of the Israeli Min­istry of For­eign Affairs.

Another post reads, “Now, Attack. Stop the ser­vice on the Israeli weapons web­site.” The post also lists tac­ti­cal instruc­tions and asks par­tic­i­pants to hide their IP [Inter­net Pro­to­col] so they can­not be tracked.

The past few years wit­nessed an esca­la­tion in cyber-attacks against Israel by var­i­ous hacker groups from all across the Arab World. Hack­ers have also increased their attacks against the web­sites of Jew­ish insti­tu­tions in the United States.

Hack­ers who tar­get Israel often claim their attack is part of an elec­tronic Jihad against the State of Israel in defense of the Pales­tin­ian peo­ple, but the tim­ing of this cam­paign to coin­cide with Holo­caust Remem­brance Day demon­strates an anti-Semitic bent.

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