* Senior Israeli security officials furious as they are duped into pro-Obama ad
* Hamas: Jews to blame for global financial crisis
* NBC removes “anti-Semitic” “Saturday Night Live” clip
* Iranian schoolchildren: no more photos of Shrek and Snow White
* Iranian manufacturer launches women-only car
1. Senior Israeli security officials claim they were duped into pro-Obama ad
2. Video of Obama aide calling for mammoth military incursion into Israel
3. Biden’s foreign policy mistakes largely ignored by media
4. Hamas: Jews to blame for global financial crisis
5. Iran: ban pictures of Shrek and Snow White
6. First international conference of ex-Muslims to be held on Friday
7. Yediot Ahronot: once a terrorist, always a terrorist
8. Israel says North Korea has helped arm six Mideast nations
9. “Palestinian forces foil suicide bombing attack in Israel”
10. “Major Fatah assault on Hamas close”
11. Saudi paper: Hamas will attempt to assassinate PA leaders in the West Bank
12. Hamas funds being transferred to Israeli Arab “non-profit groups”
13. Anti-government Malaysian blogger goes on trial
14. Museum to commemorate lost Jewish communities of Gaza opens
[All notes below by Tom Gross]
SENIOR ISRAELI SECURITY OFFICIALS CLAIM THEY WERE DUPED INTO PRO-OBAMA AD
Several retired Israeli security officials who are shown in a pro-Obama ad giving the impression they endorse the U.S. Democratic presidential candidate, say they were “duped” and are furious with the left-wing American Jewish organization which aired the film.
One participant, former IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Uzi Dayan, told the Associated Press that the behavior of the Obama support group was “pure and simple deceit” and he was considering legal action if they didn’t stop showing the film.
Another participant, former Mossad spy agency head Ephraim Halevy, noted that he had also made favorable comments about McCain in the interview but these were edited out. Halevy, who is a subscriber to this email list, said that the ad marked “a complete misrepresentation of what I said. I said nothing that could be interpreted as support for Obama in the U.S. presidential elections.”
Others who expressed outrage include former Mossad agent Yossi Alpher. He said the filmmakers told him he was being interviewed on the regional strategic affairs that will face the next U.S. president. Alpher was angered by what he called “an act of deception.”
“I made it very clear that I did not wish to take sides in the American elections,” he told AP. “I would never have given the interview had I known that they would edit my words into a film that endorsed either candidate. They really misrepresented the purpose of the film.”
DECEPTION AND MISREPRESENTATION
Even the press release promoting the film is incorrect, identifying Dayan as being the son of famed general Moshe Dayan.
The advert was made by a pro-Obama “not for profit” group which goes by the decidedly non-political name of “Jewish Council for Education and Research.”
The group is also behind “The Great Schlep” – a website featuring Jewish comedian Sarah Silverman encouraging young Jews to go to Florida to persuade their grandparents to vote for Obama. Silverman’s video has also been criticized as being “littered with misleading information.”
Officially neutral, many in the Israeli political and security establishment are privately very nervous about an Obama presidency given the large number of anti-Israeli foreign policy advisers he has chosen to surrounded himself with, and his stated willingness to deal with Iran’s anti-Semitic president.
VIDEO OF OBAMA AIDE CALLING FOR “MAMMOTH” MILITARY INCURSION INTO ISRAEL
According to the opinion polls, Barack Obama seems to be pulling well ahead of John McCain now in the run up the American presidential election, which is less than four weeks away. McCain’s campaign seems to be as much a victim of the financial crisis as Lehman Brothers or Merrill Lynch.
But for those of us interested in foreign policy, Obama’s choice of advisors remains of deep concern.
Here, for example, is Samantha Power, who is tipped to be one of Obama’s closest foreign policy aides if he is elected, in interview at Berkeley University in 2002 basically calling for Israel’s invasion to stop a genocide. (The video is also here.)
She speaks of Israel’s “major human rights abuses” and the need to land a “mammoth force” of U.S. troops in Israel to protect Palestinians from genocide, even though it may “alienate a constituency of major political and financial import” (i.e. American Jews).
This is Israel, which for all its terrorist prisoners, has not had anything close to an Abu Ghraib scandal in 60 years.
Obama hired Power after she gave this interview at Berkeley, not before. He was forced to suspend Power from his campaign earlier this year after a British journalist overheard her call Hillary Clinton “a monster,” but Power is expected to resume her key role with Obama after the election.
BIDEN’S FOREIGN POLICY MISTAKES LARGELY IGNORED BY MEDIA
Much of the media seem to be rooting for one candidate in this election to a greater extent than we have seen before. Some news reporters and editors at publications like The New York Times, Washington Post, Time and Newsweek seem to be so openly hoping for an Obama victory that they just won’t print news that reflects badly on the Democratic ticket.
I am particularly concerned that Joe Biden’s many foreign policy mistakes are not being covered.
For example, many newspapers wrote that Biden made no gaffes in the vice-presidential debate last week. In fact he made several misstatements about foreign policy, far more than Sarah Palin did.
For instance, he said: “When we kicked – along with France, we kicked Hizbullah out of Lebanon, I said and Barack said, ‘Move NATO forces in there. Fill the vacuum, because if you don’t know – if you don’t, Hizbullah will control it’. Now what’s happened? Hizbullah is a legitimate part of the government in the country immediately to the north of Israel.”
Of course, the United States and France have never kicked Hizbullah out of Lebanon and Joe Biden has no idea what he’s talking about, but neither the debate moderator Gwen Ifill, nor the mainstream media have followed Biden up on this, and his other foreign policy misstatements. Instead they keep on referring to Biden as a foreign policy expert.
(For background on Biden, please see: Soft on Iran: Serious concerns in Israel about Joe Biden (Aug. 28, 2008).)
HAMAS: JEWS TO BLAME FOR GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS
Hamas yesterday accused what it called a “Jewish lobby” of fermenting the global financial crisis. The “bad banking system was deliberately put into place and controlled by the Jewish lobby,” Hamas’s official spokesman Fawzi Barhum said in a statement.
Hamas’s statement mirror those made by the Iranian regime last month, as reported on this website. (See the first note in this dispatch.)
The Nazis too blamed “the Jews” for the financial crises of the 1920s and 1930s, and their scapegoating of Jews helped pave the way for genocide.
UPSURGE IN ANTI-SEMITIC INTERNET POSTS
Separately, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in the United States has reported that there has been a major upsurge in the number of anti-Semitic postings on the Internet relating to the current global financial crisis. The messages attacked Jews in general, with some charging that Jews control the U.S. government and finance as part of a “Jew world order.”
The ADL said the Internet chatter had moved from fringe sites to mainstream ones such as Yahoo! and AOL, where hundreds of anti-Semitic messages have flooded financial discussion boards.
NBC REMOVES “ANTI-SEMITIC” “SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE” CLIP
Writers of the comedy show “Saturday Night Live” have also been criticized for suggesting Jews were to blame for the financial crisis in a skit broadcast Saturday night, barely a day after Congress authorized a massive bailout of the ailing financial industry, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA).
NBC, which produces the program, has now removed the clip from the show’s website.
IRAN: BAN PICTURES OF SHREK AND SNOW WHITE
The Director General of the Iranian Supreme Council of Education has told Iranian schoolchildren that they must stop having school bags and notebooks that carry pictures of “decadent Hollywood personalities such as Shrek and Snow White.” In Persian, with pictures, here.
IRANIAN MANUFACTURER LAUNCHES WOMEN-ONLY CAR
Meanwhile, Iran announced yesterday that it intends to manufacture a car designed especially for women. The car will be available only in soft and “feminine” colors and will be equipped with accessories that male-dominated Iran considers feminine, like an automatic gearbox, parking aid devices, and an easy-to-use jack. The manufacturer said the first model would be released next June, ahead of the Iranian women’s day.
Last year, Iran’s Islamic authorities passed a bill promoting the production of a bicycle especially designed for women, that will conceal the rider’s legs and upper body. Iranian women are banned from riding motorcycles, except as passengers.
Male and female passengers are segregated on buses and the Tehran underground (subway) system.
FIRST INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF EX-MUSLIMS TO BE HELD ON FRIDAY
Usually I have a strict policy against promoting events or organizations on this website but am going to make an exception in this case because the organization involved – “The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain” – is being ignored by the mainstream media who seem too fearful to mention their work.
This Friday (October 10) the first ever international conference of ex-Muslims in Europe will be held in London. The conference’s title is “Political Islam, Sharia Law, and Civil Society.” (October 10 was chosen since this also marks the “International day against the Death Penalty.”)
“The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain” boasts thousands of members, and similar organizations in Germany, Belgium, Scandinavia and elsewhere will participate.
Members of “The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain” subscribe to this email list. The subscribers to this list are members of the exiled Iranian Communist party and are atheists, but the Council has members from all backgrounds and viewpoints.
Besides ex-Muslims the conference will be addressed by such writers as Richard Dawkins and philosopher A.C. Grayling.
YEDIOT AHRONOT: ONCE A TERRORIST, ALWAYS A TERRORIST
The headline of yesterday’s edition of Yediot Ahronot was “Once a terrorist, always a terrorist: pictures from Lebanon – Samir Kuntar training with firearms.”
The accompanying photos showed Kuntar, who was released by Israel in July in a highly controversial swap for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers, training with guns and rocket launchers.
The family of one of Kuntar victims (Eliyahu Shahar) expressed outraged. “We feel sorry for the family of his next victim,” they said.
Kuntar brutally murdered Israelis, including a four-year-old girl whose head he bashed in, during a terror attack in northern Israel. He was repatriated to Lebanon along with several other terrorists in return for the remains of kidnapped Israeli soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.
For background on Kuntar, please see: A long way from Entebbe: Hizbullah’s triumph, as Israel lets murderers go free (July 16, 2008).
ISRAEL SAYS NORTH KOREA HAS HELPED ARM 6 MIDEAST NATIONS
Israel accused North Korea on Saturday of providing weapons of mass destruction to six countries in the Middle East. Israeli envoy David Danieli told the global meeting in Vienna of the 145-nation International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna that “North Korea has become a source of proliferation of dangerous weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles in the Middle East.”
Israel said there were six Middle Eastern countries which had obtained the means to produce doomsday weapons and ballistic missiles covertly from North Korea.
The IAEA adopted a resolution unanimously urging North Korea to reverse steps it has taken to revive its shutdown atom bomb program.
Western intelligence officials say that Iran, Syria, Libya and Iraq under Saddam Hussein were believed to have received North Korean military aid, some applicable to mass-destruction weaponry, in the past.
Danieli said there was growing evidence that such states were “emulating the dangerous unlawful practices” of North Korea, which left the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 2003 and developed atom bombs.
“PALESTINIAN FORCES FOIL SUICIDE BOMBING ATTACK IN ISRAEL”
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has thwarted an attempted suicide bombing inside Israel, Palestinian sources told Ha’aretz.
If true, this would mark a rare case of the PA’s security forces actually doing something to prevent an act of terror against Israel.
The PA security service arrested two senior members of Hamas’ military wing in the West Bank city of Hebron, who were found in possession of weapons and an explosives belt, the sources said. The suspects were also in possession of a large quantity of cash, which they were thought to be planning to use in carrying out the attack.
One of the suspects is Wail al-Bitar, one of the heads of Izz al-Din al-Qassam in the area. Both are said to be part of a Hamas network that planned and carried out a suicide bombing in Dimona in February that killed an elderly Israeli professor and seriously wounded her husband as they were shopping in the market.
Israeli security sources had expressed concern over the high level of sophistication evident in the planning of the Dimona attack.
ISRAELI SECURITY FORCES ON HIGH ALERT
The holiest day of the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur (or the Day of Atonement), begins this evening. In Israel it is marked not only by a day of fasting and prayer but also by intense security. It was on this day 35 years ago that the 1973 Yom Kippur War erupted, when Israel was invaded from north and south in an attack deliberately timed to catch Israelis off guard. That war also led to a massive rise in international oil prices.
“MAJOR FATAH ASSAULT ON HAMAS CLOSE”
There are signs that Fatah is preparing to launch a major operation against Hamas in the West Bank in the coming weeks ahead of expected turmoil when Mahmoud Abbas’s term as PA president ends in January, Israeli security sources have told The Jerusalem Post.
Abbas’s presidential term is scheduled to end on January 9, and the IDF Central Command is preparing for the possibility that Hamas will try to take advantage of political instability at Fatah headquarters in Ramallah to take over West Bank towns and cities.
In the absence of elections, according to the Palestinian Authority constitution, Abbas will be replaced by the speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Abdel Aziz Dweik, a member of Hamas who has been held in an Israeli prison since August 2006.
A senior IDF officer said there was evidence that Fatah forces were planning a widespread West Bank operation against Hamas infrastructure and terrorist cells to weaken the Islamist group ahead of potential clashes in January.
Some Fatah troops are currently receiving U.S.-directed training in Jordan, and are expected to return to the West Bank in late December.
SAUDI PAPER: HAMAS WILL ATTEMPT TO ASSASSINATE PA LEADERS IN THE WEST BANK
Meanwhile the London-based Saudi newspaper Asharq Al Awsat reported over the weekend that PA forces were preparing for the possibility that Hamas would attempt to assassinate PA leaders in the West Bank, in the prelude to a “hostile takeover” of the West Bank to bring down the Fatah-led government there.
“The experience in Gaza taught us not to trust them,” one security source was quoted as saying by the paper.
HAMAS FUNDS BEING TRANSFERRED TO ISRAELI ARAB “NON-PROFIT GROUPS”
Ha’aretz reports that Arab-Israeli non-profit groups are receiving funds from Hamas-linked “charity” organizations. Previously, according to Israeli intelligence officials, some Israeli Arabs helped send funds to Hamas. Now the reverse is true, marking a worrying trend as the Islamist terror group tries to gain influence inside Israel itself.
Despite efforts to stop it, much money is pouring into Hamas from sources abroad, especially from Persian Gulf states, as well as from Muslim communities in Belgium and Britain. Israel says some of this money is used to buy arms and for other militant purposes.
Senior IDF officers told Ha’aretz that contributions are flowing to Hamas in the West Bank in the amount of tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars, thereby helping Hamas prepare for an eventual takeover of the West Bank.
ANTI-GOVERNMENT MALAYSIAN BLOGGER GOES ON TRIAL
The trial of one of the most prominent anti-government bloggers in Malaysia, who faces charges of sedition, began on Monday.
British-born Raja Petra Kamarudin, who runs the popular Malaysia Today news website, is accused of implying that a government minister was involved in the murder of his interpreter last year.
The 58-year-old faces up to three years in prison if found guilty. He is being held at the Kamunting prison, in central Malaysia. His supporters have accused the Malaysian government of misusing the judiciary to suppress freedom of speech.
MUSEUM TO COMMEMORATE LOST JEWISH COMMUNITIES OF GAZA OPENS
Jews have lived on and off in Gaza for millennia, long before Islam or Christianity were founded. In the past, others have driven Jews out of Gaza. But in August 2005, in a period of just seven days, 21 Jewish communities were forcibly removed by their own government, as Israel became the first country in modern history to relinquish land acquired in a defensive war to an enemy that had not yet made peace with it.
After the Jewish residents had gone, the Israeli army, at the behest of the Palestinian Authority, destroyed the settlements, leaving only the synagogues, which it was hoped the Palestinians would respect. On September 12, 2005, the last Israeli soldier left Gaza, and it took just 15 minutes for the first abandoned synagogue to be set alight.
Now a museum (called the Gush Katif museum) has opened in Jerusalem to commemorate Jewish life in Gaza that dates back to 145 years before Christ.