Former Iranian President: Yes we want nukes (& In the wake of the J.K. Rowling letter)

October 29, 2015

Jewish and Arab students had created a “get better card” in Hebrew and Arabic for Richard Lakin, which they had brought to the hospital.


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1. Former Iranian President Rafsanjani admits Iran aimed (aims) for nukes
2. Ex-Paris police commissioner moves to Israel, citing bad situation for Jews in France
3. The Jews of France can go to Israel, but where can the French go?
4. In the wake of the J.K. Rowling letter…
5. Richard Lakin

[Notes below by Tom Gross]


Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has admitted what Israel has maintained all along (and critics of Israel in the western media have doubted): that Iran’s nuclear program was launched in order to build nuclear weapons. The BBC and other media have continually repeated the regime’s misinformation that its massive uranium enrichment program was for non-military purposes.

Rafsanjani made the remarks on Monday to the state-run IRNA news agency, reports Agence France Presse and other media.

This is the first time such a senior regime insider has admitted Iran wants a nuclear weapon. Rafsanjani did not say whether the regime would now like to acquire nuclear weapons.

Iran has been trying to build a nuclear weapon since the 1980s but has been thwarted in various ways by successive Israeli governments.

In the past, and in defiance of the United States, Israel has also prevented the regimes of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and of Bashar Assad in Syria, from developing a nuclear weapons program.

Not only has Israel prevented these genocidal tyrants from obtaining such deadly weapons, but the site of Syria’s nuclear program bombed by Israel in 2007 now lies in territory captured by ISIS, so presumably the outside world should also acknowledge that it was a good thing Israel acted in defiance of almost the whole world (including every senior member of the Bush administration apart from Dick Cheney) and ISIS doesn’t now have nuclear weapons.

In the interview published on Monday, Rafsanjani revealed that Iran’s nuclear program was also helped by controversial Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdel Qader Khan, who is reported to have sold nuclear weapons technology to North Korea.

Rafsanjani said he and the country’s now Supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei, who was at the time a mere politician and a close confidante of then supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, together went to Pakistan for talks with Khan in the 1980s.



Former Paris region police commissioner Sammy Ghozlan has moved to Israel after years of witnessing often murderous anti-Semitic attacks in Paris.

Ghozlan, who is Jewish, has retired to the Israeli seaside town of Netanya, saying he is fed-up with the anti-Semitism in France. (In the latest of a long line of attacks, a rabbi and two Jewish worshipers were stabbed and sustained serious injuries in an attack on the way to a synagogue in Marseilles last Saturday morning.)

Vanity Fair writer Marie Brenner (who is a founding subscriber to this Middle East email list) featured Ghozlan (who she dubbed “the Sephardic Columbo”) in her Vanity Fair article this past August: “The Troubling Question in the French Jewish Community: Is It Time to Leave?”

She wrote:

When I first met him, in the fall of 2002, Ghozlan carried a white plastic binder bulging with one-page reports written up from the calls he’d received from tipsters. All day and all night his phone would ring. It never left his hand. More than 300 reports were in that binder: Molotov cocktails thrown at Jewish schools, students called sale Juif (“dirty Jew”), arsons, desecrations, a Jewish woman beaten in a taxi. The attacks on the Jews of France had yet to catch the attention of the international press, and Ghozlan could get almost no one in Paris to take him seriously…

Brenner adds:

This past year, Ghozlan’s frequent bulletins – detailing attacks in parks, schools attacked, synagogues torched, assaults on the Métro – have clogged the in-boxes of reporters at Le Monde, Le Figaro, and Le Parisien, and of thousands of Jews throughout the banlieues…

(You can read her article here.)



I also mention the general situation in France in the article below.

The American magazine Commentary, to mark its 70th anniversary, asked 70 writers to write short pieces on The Jewish Future. The question we were asked to address is:

“What do you think will be the condition of the Jewish people 50 years from now?”

My generally optimistic assessment is below.

You can read the contributions of others here.

(Among the more illustrious contributors are Alan Dershowitz, Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, Garry Kasparov, Former Vice-Presidential candidate Senator Joseph Lieberman, Former British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, and Natan Sharansky.)


As part of the Commentary Symposium on the Jewish Future
By Tom Gross
Commentary magazine
November 2015 edition

In 1898, not many people would have predicted that by 1948, six million Jews would be intentionally wiped out in mass factories specially created for murdering them. Nor that a Jewish state with international recognition would exist in the Jews’ ancestral homeland.

But if 50 years was a long period in which to predict the future in the past, it is even more so today, because the world appears to be speeding up at an ever-increasing pace.

I suspect that many of the political and security problems now facing the Jewish people may become much worse over the next 50 years. The Iran deal, foolishly agreed to by world powers, might lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East that will make Israel’s position considerably more precarious. The Islamic State (or similar organizations that might come after it), which like other fascist regimes includes a core component of anti-Semitism in its ideology, will spread beyond its Middle Eastern and North African base. Anti-Semitism in Europe will continue and possibly grow worse as memories of the Holocaust fade. And extreme anti-Israelism – that vicious offshoot of traditional anti-Semitism – will spread further among Western liberal elites (and among radical Jews too).

Yet in spite of this, I remain an optimist. After all, for thousands of years Jews have survived sometimes-genocidal aggression directed against them, forces that some other nations may not have had the resilience to endure.

And Jews are so much better equipped to survive over the next 50 years than they were in the past. This is largely thanks to a strong and prosperous Israel, which knows how to defend itself and provides a haven for other Jews should they wish to live there. Indeed, in some ways, Jews are now in a better position to handle future dangers than many others are. It is a complete reversal of the previous situation. The Jews of France can go to Israel, but where can the French go?

Israel has a growing population and vibrant economy. One recent survey rated it the fourth-best country in which to raise a family. Another survey found it to be one of the world’s happiest countries. Most of all, it has a remarkably resilient democracy with a fiercely independent judiciary, media, and NGO sector. As for the military, there has never even been the hint of a coup – as there would have been in many other countries in Israel’s position. As the Middle East disintegrates, Israel will eventually be recognized internationally as a stable force. America and other Western countries may even draw closer to Israel and turn to it for advice and help as the problems of radical Islamism spread.

But if (heaven forbid) future American presidents continue the policies of Barack Obama and distance the United States from Israel, Israel will form closer ties to other world powers, notably China, India, South Korea, and Japan – a shift that is in fact already beginning.

As long as Israel remains strong, and I believe it will, the Jews of the world will be in a much better position in 50 years than they have been in for most of their history. Look at the plight today of the Kurds or Yazidis, and think of the Jewish past.



The letter to The Guardian by “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling and many others (including myself) that I mentioned in a dispatch last week has made quite a lot of impact, with various follow-up letters and also a call by over 300 British academics to boycott Israel.

I have given a number of interviews about it.

For those interested, there are two-minute clips of two of them here:

(Video clip 1) Tom Gross and UK ambassador to Israel David Quarrey discuss British calls to boycott Israel (Israel Channel 2 evening news, October 27, 2015).

The full TV report is here.


(Video clip 2) Lucy Aharish presents a debate between Tom Gross and the head of “Peace Now” Yariv Oppenheimer: “Are cultural boycotts of Israel counter-productive?” (i24 evening news, October 27, 2015).

The full 16 minute debate is here.



Richard Lakin, a close friend of subscribers to this email list, passed away on Monday from the severe injuries he sustained in a Palestinian stabbing and shooting attack on a Jerusalem bus two weeks earlier. He was the third victim of that attack to die of his wounds.

Lakin, 76, who was shot in the head and stabbed in the chest during the attack, underwent several surgical procedures but the doctors, who had sewn back together his heart and other organs which had been sliced in two by the terrorists in the ISIS-like attack, couldn’t save him.

Richard Lakin was a promoter of peace who taught the English language to Israeli and Palestinian children together, including to students at the Hand in Hand Center for Jewish-Arab Education. Some of the parents of these Israeli and Palestinian children visited him in the hospital these past two weeks, while he lay in a coma.

One of the books he wrote was called “Teaching as an Act of Love.”

He chose to put a large “Coexist” banner with a photo of Jewish and Muslim children arm in arm at the top of his Facebook page.

An additional 15 people were injured in the attack, some severely.

One of the terrorists died in the attack, and the European-funded Palestinian Authority media proclaimed Lakin’s murderer to be a “hero”.

The other Palestinian who murdered Lakin, Bilal Omar Ghanem, who was wounded by Israeli security personnel who responded to the attack, was treated in the same emergency room at the same time by the same medical staff as Richard Lakin.

Doctors say Ghanem will recover. No doubt he will later be released under pressure from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, just as previous Palestinian murderers were released under pressure on Israel by Kerry and Barack Obama, only to carry out further attacks against Jews.


In the latest attack yesterday afternoon, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli mother of eight in the back at the entrance to the parking lot of the Rami Levi supermarket. Israeli security guards arrested the terrorist. The store is considered an oasis of coexistence where both Palestinians and Israelis shop and work, reports the Jerusalem Post.

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.