Tag Archives: Israel

AIPAC Lobbies Against Probe Of US-Palestinian Journalist Likely Murdered By Israeli Sniper, by Tyler Durden

This is a story many members of the establishment would just like to shove under the rug, because it may involve some culpability on the part of Israel. That nation is of course the fair-haired child of U.S. foreign policy and can do no wrong. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Twenty-four U.S. senators sent a letter to President Biden on Thursday urging an FBI and State Department investigation of the May 11 killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the West Bank. They did so in defiance of the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which actively lobbied against the letter. 

Abu Akleh, a star reporter for al Jazeera, was shot in the head on May 11 in the West Bank town of Jenin, as she and her crew reported on an Israeli raid on a refugee camp. The Al Jazeera crew and other witnesses said Israeli forces were responsible, but the Israeli government raced to blame “Palestinian terrorists firing indiscriminately,” tweeting a video that purported to support the claim.

However, demonstrating a sharply heightened capacity for honest reporting about Israel when Israel’s victim happens to be a journalist, several major U.S. media outlets have investigated the incident and concluded Abu Akleh was most likely killed by Israeli security forces.

CNN was particularly forceful, saying its multifaceted forensic investigation concluded that Abu Akleh was “shot dead in a targeted attack by Israeli forces.” In addition to video and acoustic evidence, the tight shot group on the tree she was standing next to was indicative of careful and deliberate fire, an expert told CNN. Abu Akleh and her crew were all wearing helmets and vests marked “PRESS.”

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Biden Rocks the Middle East, by Philip Giraldi

You’ve got to keep an eye on these bastards. With everyone focused on the current disaster in Ukraine, the Biden administration is quietly creating more disasters in the Middle East and Africa. From Philip Giraldi at unz.com:

That dwindling band of observers that continues to express concern over the catastrophe that constitutes United States foreign policy under President Joe Biden have come to realize how the Ukraine situation is being used as cover for interventions and other similar mischief in other parts of the world. Recent reporting, for example, reveals that the Biden Administration has decided “to reestablish a persistent US military presence in Somalia to enable a more effective fight against al-Shabaab” in spite of the fact that “there is absolutely no constitutional authority for President Biden to send troops into Somalia or drop bombs on Somalia.” Nor does al-Shabaab represent a threat to Americans or American interests.

To be sure, the emphasis on Ukraine has a certain cogency as it is particularly dangerous and could lead to nuclear devastation in a situation where intervention by the United States was not only unwarranted but also unresponsive to any actual national interest of threat. And escalate it will if the White House continues on its current path. Ukrainian government sources are now stating that the United States is preparing to destroy the Russian Black Sea fleet to end the blockade of Ukraine’s ports. The commander of US forces in Europe General Christopher Cavoli seems to be confirming that report when he refers to the preparation of “military options” to help export Ukrainian grain.

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Why Zelensky’s dream of Ukraine becoming ‘big Israel’ makes Moscow nervous, by Jonathan Cook

Would Russians in Ukraine be treated like Palestinians in Israel? From Jonathan Cook at middleeasteye.net:

The Ukrainian president’s comparison bolsters Moscow’s claim that Kyiv is intent on a programme of violent ‘de-Russification’
Demonstrators gather at Habima Square in the centre of Tel Aviv on 20 March 2022 to watch a televised video address by Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky to the Israeli Knesset (AFP)
Demonstrators gather at Habima Square in the centre of Tel Aviv to watch a televised video address by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky to Israel’s Knesset, on 20 March 2022 (AFP)

The Israeli government has been trying to keep as low a profile as possible over the war in Ukraine, but Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, seems determined to drag Israel on to centre stage.

Zelensky made a direct appeal to the Israeli parliament last month, ostensibly asking for weapons, especially the Iron Dome interception system Israel uses to stop short-range rockets fired out of Gaza by Palestinians trying to draw attention to Israel’s 15-year siege of the enclave.

But rather than being flattered by the attention, many Israeli politicians objected to Zelensky’s speech. In it, he compared Russia’s treatment of Ukraine to the Nazis’ “Final Solution” for European Jews.

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Israel is overrun with Covid. The vaccines have failed. The experiment must stop. By Alex Berenson

It’s quite simple: the vaccines don’t work and they’re counterproductive and dangerous. From Alex Berenson at alexberenson.substack.com:

Israel has always been the most important country to judge the mRNA Covid vaccines.

Why?

It has nearly total adult vaccine coverage. Efforts to blame “the unvaccinated” for whatever is happening won’t hold. Israel has good data – far more complete and up-to-date than American figures. And it vaccinates quickly, so whatever impact the vaccines are having rolls through the population (and the data) quickly.

But most of all, Israel matters because Israel was first. It mass vaccinated with Pfizer’s mRNA first and it boosted first. And human biology is the same everywhere.

So what happens in Israel happens in all the other mRNA countries eventually. As the chief scientific officer of Pfizer said in September, Israel is a “sort of laboratory” for the vaccines.

Here’s how the Israeli experiment is going.

This chart tracks serious Covid cases (basically intensive care hospitalizations) in Israel from early 2020, the beginning of the epidemic:

(The United States has 36 times as many people as Israel, so 1,000 ICU patients translates into 36,000. Israel also has a relatively young population, meaning Covid will be less severe overall than in the US.)

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Biden’s efforts to appease Israel on Iran have failed on all fronts, by Trita Parsi

Israel wouldn’t be happy with U.S. policy towards Iran unless the U.S. ceased contact entirely. From Trita Parsi at responsiblestatecraft.org:

It’s not the nuclear deal that’s the problem for Tel Aviv, but the very idea that Washington and Tehran would reach any detente at all.

The New York Times Friday published an important analysis of ongoing U.S.-Israeli tensions over Washington’s efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which had succeeded in curbing Tehran’s nuclear program. As helpful as it is in understanding where things stand between Washington and Tel Aviv, however, the article misses a more fundamental takeaway from recent developments: Biden’s immense efforts to appease Israel in hopes of tempering the latter’s opposition to the JCPOA have not only failed but were likely based on faulty assumptions and were thus a mistake from the outset.

Diverging Israeli and American views on the JCPOA is nothing new. But senior officials on the Biden team thought President Obama could have handled the Israelis better by coordinating more closely with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and actually heeding some of his hawkish advice. This belief, however, is unfounded.

The fundamental question is this: Are Israel and America’s views on a negotiated settlement with Iran ultimately reconcilable or not? Was there— and is there now — a way to clinch a lasting deal with Iran on its nuclear program that also satisfies Israel?

The answer lies in understanding that the details of the deal are not the real problem. It’s rather the very idea of Washington and Tehran reaching any agreement that not only prevents Iran from developing a bomb, but also reduces U.S.-Iran tensions and lifts sanctions that have prevented Iran from enhancing its regional power.

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Israel’s Dominance of Washington, by Philip Giraldi

It’s been a long time since Israel has faced any meaningful challenge from anyone in Washington on anything, big or small. From Philip Giraldi at unz.com:

It’s worse than ever but the “apartheid state” is increasingly under pressure

At the end of every year, I like to comment on the progress – and the setbacks – in our struggle to make the United States government understand that it exists to improve lives for Americans rather than working full time to pander to the Israelis and their powerful domestic lobby. One would have thought that it could not get worse than the Donald Trump Administration’s crawling on its knees to satisfy every whim expressed or left unexpressed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, truly one of the most evil men ever to walk the face of the earth. Trump withdrew from the nuclear treaty with Iran, a move which was driven by Israel and its US lobby backed up by inducements from GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson. As Israel is a secret nuclear power, a program developed around technology and uranium stolen from the United States, the Trump move was the ultimate in hypocrisy, enabling what most nations would regard as a rogue state to have the nuclear option vis-à-vis its relatively defenseless neighbors.

Beyond that, and without any real urging by Israel, Trump showered gift after gift on the Jewish state, moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem in violation of the city’s “international” status, recognizing Israel’s annexation of the illegally occupied Syrian Golan Heights, and endorsing Israel’s “right” to deal with the Palestinians on the West Bank as it sees fit. None of those actions were in support of any actual American interests, nor was it even necessary to do them to placate the Israelis. Nor was it an American interest to release from parole convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, the most damaging spy in US history, so he could emigrate to Israel where he received a hero’s welcome. Since Trump’s departure from office, it has been learned that it was Trump’s Jewish and Zionist son-in-law Jared Kushner who was directing much of the policy on Israel-Palestine.

Recently, Trump, for whom the word “delusional” often seems to apply, stated emphatically that Israel has “rightfully” controlled the US Congress but does not do so any more. In an interview with someone named Ari Hoffman, Trump declared that “The biggest change I’ve seen in Congress, Israel literally owned Congress –you understand that?–ten years ago, fifteen years ago. And it was so powerful. It was so powerful. And today, it is almost the opposite. You have, between AOC and Omar and these people that hate Israel with a passion, they’re controlling Congress. Israel is not a force in Congress anymore! It’s amazing. I’ve never seen such a change. And we’re not talking about over a very long period of time, I think you know exactly what I’m saying. They had such power. Israel had such power, and rightfully, over Congress. And now it doesn’t! It’s incredible, actually.”

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It’s time for the U.S. to treat Israel like a normal country and tell it to screw off, by Philip Weiss

Israel has its interests and the U.S. has its interests. Despite unremitting propaganda to the contrary, the two countries’ interests are not identical, and they’re sometimes opposed to each other. From Philip Weiss at mondoweiss.net:

The Israel lobby works inside the U.S. to make sure there is no daylight between the White House and Israel and to immunize apartheid. But the American people want distance.

The news from the Middle East is that negotiators in Vienna are trying to restart the Iran deal, and Israel is doing all it can to throw a wrench into the works. Its officials are leading a “blitz” to end the talks: the Prime Minister has called on the U.S. for an “immediate cessation of talks,” while the Defense Minister will travel to Washington this week to appeal to the Biden administration that “there may be a point when we will have no choice but to act,’” Al-Monitor reports.

The Israelis and their many rightwing friends in the U.S. are saying the U.S. must maintain crippling sanctions on Iran and keep threatening war, and oh yes, Israel has “free rein” to attack Iran in Syria. And Israel will bomb Iran if it deems it has crossed a nuclear threshhold– which is always just six months from now, forever. While anonymous Israeli officials tell pliable Israeli reporters that Tony Blinken is the “biggest leftist” in the Biden administration and he is stoking “tensions” between the U.S. and Israel.

So much for the Biden-Bennett honeymoon. In August, Biden welcomed Bennett at the White House, and announced that they were “close friends,” and Israel’s friends in the U.S. rejoiced in the fact that Israel was a bipartisan cause again, because the divisive Netanyahu was gone, and Democrats and a rightwing Prime Minister were on the same page.

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Top Israeli military officials say Trump’s Iran deal exit was a ‘mistake,’ bad for Israel, by Mitchell Plitnik

The Iran nuclear deal was far from perfect, but Iran observed it and allowed the world to monitor what was going on inside the country. Trump thought by withdrawing he’d get an agreement that was less imperfect. That, he didn’t get. Now even some high Israeli officials are saying withdrawal was a bad idea, and at the time the deal was signed, official Israel was vehemently against it. From Mitchell Plitnik at responsiblestatecraft.org:

As talks resume to return to the JCPOA, unlikely voices are emerging to support its revival.

The United States, its allies, and Iran have returned to negotiations this week in Vienna aimed at restoring the JCPOA. All parties are expressing pessimism regarding the current round of talks. President Joe Biden is feeling pressure from Congress and from Israel to find ways to “improve” the deal, while the new, more hardline Iranian leadership is holding firm to its demands that Washington lift all sanctions imposed since 2018 immediately and offer a guarantee that it will not renege on its commitment to the deal, as President Donald Trump did.

Both sides are pointing fingers at the other and it may seem like there is no viable path forward. But one is suddenly presenting itself to the United States from a most unlikely source: Israel.

Earlier this week, an interview in the Israeli press appeared with Danny Cintrinowicz, who headed the Iran branch of the Israeli Military Intelligence’s Research and Analysis Division from 2013 to 2016. This was the period during which the moderate Hassan Rouhani took over the Iranian presidency from the conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and spearheaded Iran’s effort to engage the West.

Cintrinowicz called Israel’s policy on Iran a “failure,” explaining that “[Israel] pushed the US side to leave the agreement when there are no other options.”

Cintrinowicz speaks from years of studying Iranian politics and policymaking regarding its military and security affairs. His view of Iran is far more nuanced and informed than most of what we hear from Israeli officials — or American and European ones for that matter.

“Iran is not a monolith,” Cintrinowicz told The Times of Israel. “And I’m sorry, but they don’t wake up in the morning and think about how to destroy Israel. It doesn’t work like that in Iran… It’s a basic misunderstanding of the Iranian system.”

Cintrinowicz laid out the reason the current impasse is so tricky. “Everything started going haywire when Trump left the agreement. Initially, Rouhani tried not to violate the deal. He took only very limited steps. But when he became so weakened and understood that nothing would change, he decided to break every restriction that had been placed on the regime.”

Cintrinowicz was not alone in bemoaning Trump’s arbitrary and dangerous decision to abandon the JCPOA. Other Israeli leaders, and prominent pro-Israel Americans, also voiced their consternation.

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Israel to Attack Iran? Washington Gives the Green Light to the ‘Military Option’, by Philip Giraldi

An important objective of Israel’s foreign policy is to get the US to do what Israel wants it to do. They are very good at it. From Philip Giraldi at strategic-culture.org:

The U.S. will be seen as endorsing the crime, resulting in yet another foreign policy disaster in the Middle East, Philip Giraldi writes.

Some might recall candidate Joe Biden’s pledge to work to rejoin the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) which was a multilateral agreement intended to limit Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon. The JCPOA was signed by President Barack Obama in 2015, when Biden was Vice President, and was considered one of the only foreign policy successes of his eight years in office. Other signatories to it were Britain, China, Germany, France, and Russia and it was endorsed by the United Nations. The agreement included unannounced inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities by the IAEA and, by all accounts, it was working and was a non-proliferation success story. In return for its cooperation Iran was to receive its considerable assets frozen in banks in the United States and was also to be relieved of the sanctions that had been placed on it by Washington and other governments.

The JCPOA crashed and burned in 2018 when President Donald Trump ordered U.S. withdrawal from the agreement, claiming that Iran was cheating and would surely move to develop a nuclear weapon as soon as the first phase of the agreement was completed. Trump, whose ignorance on Iran and other international issues was profound, had surrounded himself with a totally Zionist foreign policy team, including members of his own family, and had bought fully into the arguments being made by Israel as well as by Israel Lobby predominantly Jewish groups to include the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Trump’s time in office was spent pandering to Israel in every conceivable way, to include recognizing Jerusalem as the country’s capital, granting Israel the green light for creating and expanding illegal settlements on the West Bank and recognizing the occupied Syrian Golan Heights as part of Israel.

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What happens if Israel fails the stress test? By Geert Vanden Bossche

The jury is still out on whether repeated booster shots will make the Covid outbreak better or worse. From Geert Vanden Bossche at geertvandenbossche.com:

Israel got an early start on vaccinating its population and began offering a third dose of mRNA vaccine in July to the older age group (≥ 60 years). The results from an observational study comparing the clinical outcome of participants who received a third shot to those in the same age group who had received only two shots over the same period clearly indicated that the risk of severe disease dropped by a factor of almost 20. Additionally, those who received the third dose were also enjoying some level of protection against infection as they were also less likely to test positive for SARS-CoV-2 (1).

These are strong results, and at first glance many of those within this age group and not yet boosted might feel ashamed for their indifference in protecting themselves and others! However, there is a catch, and it’s not about potential biases in the analysis of the study results, or criticism from a public health perspective of delivering additional shots to individuals while many others have not even had their first.

The caveat is much more fundamental and has to do with immunology: a discipline that seems to have been largely reduced since the crisis began to measuring antibodies (Abs) in the blood. The results above were obtained after a very short observation period (12 days), and there is no data yet on the long-term outcome of repeated booster immunizations. This prompts an interesting question: could the immune-protective effect observed within 2 weeks of a booster injection trigger a short-term replenishment of the ‘lost’ protection against infection while at the same time not translating into long-term protection against infection or disease? The answer is most definitely ‘yes’ and can only be understood if one brings into play the single most important confounder of all Covid-19 vaccine efficacy studies conducted thus far: innate immunity. It is well known that, regardless of any induced antigen (Ag)-specific adaptive immune response, all vaccines (including mRNA vaccines) have an adjuvant effect: they stimulate innate immune effectors, some of which have antiviral activity and/or facilitate adaptive immunity (2, 3, 4). Without going into mechanistic detail, there is no doubt that some of these innate, nonAg-specific immune responses have a short-lived antiviral effect. This could already explain why booster doses in the population described above can prevent viral infection while recalling anti-spike Abs. It may also be tempting to assume that these recalled Abs are now responsible for enhanced protection from both infection and disease. However, from an immunological viewpoint, it is difficult to understand how a rapid recall of the very same anti-S Abs in a previously vaccine-primed population would now all of a sudden enable better protection from infection and disease. If innate immunity is indeed the confounder, then the outcome of long-term surveillance studies would look very different. Given the more potent neutralizing Abs booster shots are generating against variants (5), the S(pike)-directed immune pressure in the population will only continue to rise while still failing to curtail the spread of the predominantly circulating highly infectious SARS-CoV-2 variant (e.g., Delta variant). On the contrary, it would be reasonable to assume that upon an additional booster shot the more potent Abs further contribute to selecting S-directed immune escape variants and, therefore, turn the previously primed population in an even more fertile breeding ground for the highly infectious Delta variant. As vaccine-elicited Ab responses have a much longer duration (and can be memorized) than that induced by short-term innate immune activation, and as vaccinal Abs suppress the functional capacity of pre-existing CoV-reactive innate Abs, short-term vaccine-mediated innate immune protection against viral infection or disease does not automatically imply a positive effect of the vaccine on viral infection or morbidity rates in the longer term. Interpretations from scientists who only conduct short-term surveillance studies in vaccinees, the majority of whom are adults or elderly, lead to erroneous, although peer-reviewed conclusions such as: ‘Although vaccines are less effective against asymptomatic disease (*) or against transmission than against severe disease, even in populations with fairly high vaccination rates the unvaccinated are still the major drivers of transmission and are themselves at the highest risk of serious disease’ (6). This clearly illustrates their lack of understanding of the contribution of innate immunity in providing short-term protection after vaccination, and in the more durable protection of young and healthy unvaccinated age groups.

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