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November 5, 2015

Continued Publication of Anti-Semitic Themed Cartoons in the Arab and Muslim World

As Palestinian terrorism across Israel persists, Arab and Muslim newspapers and social media accounts continue to promote themes in support of the violence, which is often referred to as a “mass outburst” or the “Knives Intifada.”

In addition to the image of the knives, other themes are also being featured. Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent efforts to end the violence are depicted as Israel and Jews controlling the US and its leadership.  Examples of cartoons published include a figure representing the US trapped inside the Star of David, Uncle Sam being in the pocket of Israel and Secretary Kerry wiping the blood from the teeth of a wolf – which represents Israel.

Another ever-present allegation is the charge that Israel is attempting to alter the status-quo on the Temple Mount/Noble Sanctuary in Jerusalem.  These images show Israel as a sinister snake attacking the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Below are examples of the cartoons published:

 

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August 13, 2015

Where We Stand on the Iran Deal

By Jonathan Green­blatt
National Direc­tor of the Anti-Defamation League

This arti­cle orig­i­nally appeared on The Huff­in­g­ton Post Blog

The debate about the Iran nuclear deal has compelled us to consult with members of Congress and Administration officials as well as to engage numerous experts to elicit a deeper understanding of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and its implications for the United States.

From the beginning, we raised a series of questions to Congress. Based on what we know now, our deep reservations expressed on July 24 remain. Indeed, because our profound concerns with the agreement have not yet been satisfactorily addressed, ADL believes that Congress should vote no.

Nevertheless and regardless of the outcome of a vote in Congress, we see an opportunity for all sides to find new ground based on bipartisan collaboration to consider a new way to approach the Islamic Republic. This is crucial because, despite the nuclear accord that has been struck, Iran clearly continues its nefarious behavior in the region. It must be addressed head on.

Yes, the deal offers significant barriers in Iran’s nuclear path, for at least a decade that will keep Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, constraints not currently available through any other means. But, as noted by many experts, these limitations come to an end within 15 years in the best case. The potential loopholes in these constraints contribute to our unease. We admired the clarity of the reasoning offered by one of the Senate’s most respected, long-standing members, Sen. Chuck Schumer which crystalized those concerns.

To be clear, we respect and appreciate the commitment of the Administration and Members of Congress who have engaged in a serious and sustained effort over many years to neutralize the Iranian nuclear threat. We do not purport to possess expert knowledge of the complexities of nuclear physics or sanctions. However, ADL has had policy on this issue for over a decade because of our mission: to fight the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. And, for decades, Iran repeatedly has promoted anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism; killed American civilians; threatened to obliterate the Jewish State; and institutionalized illiberalism. So we are concerned not only that the agreement appears to offer Iran a legal and legitimate pathway to become a nuclear threshold state in just over a decade, but more immediately, standing as a normalized member of the international community.

In exchange for pausing rather than permanently terminating its nuclear program, Iran will receive billions of dollars that, contrary to the arguments offered by administration officials, will almost certainly allow it to advance its agenda of bigotry, expansionism and support for terrorism. Indeed in recent days, we have seen commercial delegations flood into Tehran even as its leaders flout international sanctions by visiting foreign capitals; its judiciary represses religious minorities at home; and its inciteful rhetoric becomes even more sophisticated and strident. These are ominous signs.

We want diplomacy to work, and we fully accept there are times when our leaders must forge agreements with countries whose ambitions we oppose. We are aware, however, that this deal walks past many of the red lines originally drawn by the United States and emboldens the Iranian regime even as it continually threatens the U.S. and our allies. That is why the United States must work to ensure that the ultimate red line, as stated by successive U.S. Presidents, that Iran will never acquire a nuclear weapon, is made crystal clear not only in words, but through concrete steps taken both unilaterally and in concert with our allies.

Indeed, there are policies and actions relating to Iran’s aggression that Republicans, Democrats and the White House might actually agree upon. As such, we urge all sides to move beyond a simple “yes” or “no” vote to affirm our shared values as the basis for new efforts to curtail the threatening activities of the Islamic Republic.

As Dr. Robert Satloff, Director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, noted in an online essay in The Atlantic, a vote to disapprove the deal can actually open up space for the Administration and Congress to address many, if not all, the serious concerns expressed about the shortcomings of the JCPOA and the challenges Iranian behavior pose to the region and the world. In Dr. Satloff’s words, “‘No’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘no, never.’ It also can also mean ‘not now, not this way.'”

This is important because Americans of all political persuasions agree on the intrinsic dignity of all people. As such, the United States should ratchet up the costs to Iran for its oppressive policies and regional meddling even as we offer an outstretched hand when it finally ceases such activities. There is a clear opportunity for a non-ideological consensus around three related points that can take us forward.

We believe a consensus can be created to address Iran’s brutal human rights record. No one in any political camp here in the U.S. would excuse the institutionalized discrimination facing ethnic and religious minorities in Iran, including Baha’is, Christians, Jews, and Sunni Arabs. Their treatment ranges from quiet intimidation to systematic imprisonment. LGBT citizens fare far worse. The U.S. should be vigilant in using existing sanctions targeting these practices and explore new tools that might be needed. Serious consideration also should be given to taking action against Iran in international fora, for its repressive policies toward its own people simply because of what they believe or who they love.

Another important point of consensus is the broad understanding that Israel has a lot to worry about concerning Iran. Support for ever-deepening military and strategic cooperation between the U.S. and Israel is broad, consistent, and bipartisan. We propose that the U.S. deepen its intelligence cooperation with Israel and work with the Jewish state to ensure it has sufficient defense arrangements, such that the President’s oft-stated recognition that “Israel has the right to defend itself by itself” can match Israeli capabilities. Some have suggested that the delivery to Israel of the Massive Ordinance Penetrator (M.O.P.), and the means to deploy it would demonstrate this regarding the Iranian nuclear infrastructure; however, this principle should be acted upon with regard to all aspects of the Iranian threat. And it would be constructive for the Israeli government to begin to engage with the Administration on these issues as soon as possible.

As a third consensus point, all parties know that Iran continues to destabilize the region and expand its sphere of influence using militias and terrorist proxies. Time and again, the words and actions of the Islamic Republic have reflected a tendency toward warmongering and worse. We would like to see the Administration and Congress articulate a regional strategy to counter destabilizing Iranian activities across the Middle East, including working with regional allies. This could involve interdicting the flow of Iranian weapons as well as engaging the Gulf Coordinating Council (GCC) directly in discussions around neutralizing the Assad regime in Syria and countering Iranian intervention in Yemen. It could encompass a new multilateral arrangement to address Iran’s increasing use of cyber-terrorism to threaten its neighbors and attack our own institutions.

Finally, we implore all sides to tone down the heated rhetoric. The debate about the JCPOA and additional discussions should be conducted by all parties in a civil manner. No one needs to resort to innuendo or coarse attacks.

We stress that ADL cannot support the JCPOA in its current form. Without offering a robust set of measures to account for its vulnerabilities, the JCPOA presents too great a risk to the U.S. and for our critical allies like Israel. Until the administration acts to address these concerns, and whether or not it is approved by Congress, we urge a new path forward that convinces Iran to eschew its agenda of bigotry and violence. We should come together around smart policy approaches to enable this outcome and rebuild the confidence of our allies and those around the world who rightly feel uneasy about living in a Middle East in which an emboldened Iran has new resources and new standing to empower it.

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July 10, 2014

Iran Weekly: Selected News & Developments

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

Difficult days ahead for the occupiers*
(Basij News Agency – July 9, 2014)

Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Massoud Jazayeri said in response to the escalating violence between Israel and Hamas militants, “Difficult days lie ahead for the occupiers [Israel] and the Palestinian resistance has once again cast the Zionist war machine into the mud.” Speaking about recent events that occurred leading up to the renewed fighting, Jazayeri added, “The martyrdom of the Palestinian teenager, after he was tortured and set on fire alive, [was done] with the excuse of the kidnapping of three Jewish settler youth, and this has inflamed the world’s opinion against the hangman executioner Zionists…”

Head of the judiciary criticizes incorrect statements made by some cultural officials*
(Rasa News Agency – July 9, 2014)

Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, the head of Iran’s judiciary, claimed that America and its allies are supporting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), claiming, “One the one hand, the Americans claim that they are against ISIS, and on the other, it’s observed that America’s lackeys are the primary supporters of the terrorists in the region and they give money, weapons and support to them.”

marziyeh-afkham-iran

Marziyeh Afkham

Iran strongly condemns intensified Israeli crimes against Palestinians in Gaza Strip
(Fars News Agency – July 8, 2014)

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham condemned Israeli “aggressions” against the Gaza Strip, claiming that Israel is using the recent tragic murders of three Israeli teenagers as cover for its airstrikes against Hamas targets: “Surely, the savage aggressions and killing of the defenseless people which started on the false pretext of abduction of three Israeli settlers and have continued for more than two weeks now and the murder of the martyred Palestinians teenager (Mohammad Abu Khdeir) which is a reminiscent of the crimes committed by the terrorists in Syria and Iraq show incapability and destitute of that regime vis-à-vis the resistance of the heroic people of Palestine [sic].”

FM: Iran not to strike final deal with world powers at all costs
(Fars News Agency – July 8, 2014)

Speaking on the sidelines of the latest round of nuclear negotiations taking place in Vienna, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said, “We do not accept to reach a solution at all costs as we insist on our rights while trying to find an acceptable, logical and long-term solution.” Zarif added, “I hope that the other side will be ready to see the realities, take our word seriously and accept that the Iranian nation has never withdrawn under pressure.”

America and ISIS are both lackeys of the Zionists*
(Rasa News Agency – July 8, 2014)

Speaking during a sermon after prayers, Ayatollah Hossein Mozaheri, a senior cleric from the Esfahan province, claimed, “ISIS and America are the lackeys of the Zionists. America and Zionism have combined forces to get rid of our precious Islam.”

Regional events have no other result than ‘the final conquest of Jerusalem’*
(Fars News Agency – July 6, 2014)

Head of the Basij Volunteers Organization Mohammad Reza Naqdi, stated during a speech that “The name of Hezbollah is one considered like a missile force in the world that shakes Israel’s iron limbs. In Palestine we also see that the calls of the Imam [Khomeini] are awakening them, and the people who stand against the occupiers of Jerusalem with sticks and stones can deal a response to Tel Aviv with rockets.”

Inter­na­tional Media

Open the files on the Iran coup
(The New York Times, Op-Ed – July 9, 2014)

Op-ed contributor Roham Alvandi writes that now is the time for the U.S. and Britain to disclose their roles in Iran’s 1953 coup, and that this admission will help mend the “open wound in Iran’s relations with the West.”

Iran’s supreme leader calls for more uranium enrichment capacity
(Newsweek – July 8, 2014)

In a statement published online, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated that Iran must have 190,000 centrifuges, calling this “the country’s absolute need.”

Iran’s hand in Gaza
(The Wall Street Journal – July 8, 2014)

A recent United Nations report indicating Iran’s role in providing weapons to Palestinian militants goes unnoticed.

Khamenei: Nuclear team ‘will defend Iran’s rights’
(Now Media – July 7, 2014)

Speaking after breaking the Ramadan fast, Supreme Leader Khamenei expressed his support for Iran’s nuclear negotiating team ahead of the latest round of talks in Vienna.

Iran weighs U.S.-trained economist as its new UN envoy
(Bloomberg News – July 6, 2014)

An American-educated economist may be selected by the Rouhani administration to serve as Iran’s next UN ambassador.

Iran’s message: We can make history
(YouTube – July 2, 2014)

Foreign Minister Zarif released a YouTube clip appealing to the West to forge a negotiated settlement to the Iranian nuclear issue.

As deadline nears for an Iran nuclear pact, the fingers are pointing
(The New York Times – July 2, 2014)

As negotiators for the P5+1 and Iran prepare to hammer out an agreement before the July 20 deadline, both sides are reiterating red lines they cannot cross.

Iranian nuclear deal still is possible, but time is running out
(The Washington Post, Op-Ed – June 30, 2014)

Secretary of State John Kerry writes that Iran has a chance to end its “economic and diplomatic isolation and improve the lives of their people” if the Iranians show flexibility and reach an agreement with the P5+1.

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