... The South Dakota Board of Education approved new guidelines that do not require high schools to teach U.S. history beginning next year. Some college history professors are against the [new] social studies requirement, saying history has the chance to repeat itself if students are not taught early American history. "I don't like it. My name is actually on the college professor's list that opposed them," said Michael Mullin, Augustana history professor ... Mullin says early U.S. history is needed as a base to be a good citizen and to understand how we got to where we are today. "History really isn't about yesterday. History is really about understanding today. And I think that what they forget that. They just want to think about today but without a context," said Professor Mullin.
New evidence has now surfaced from former Israeli defence minister Ehud Barak that Israel came close to attacking Iran three times over the past few years - if you believe what major news media reported about the story. But you shouldn’t believe it. The latest story is only a continuation of the clever ploy that has been carried out by Israeli administrations from Ehud Olmert to Benjamin Netanyahu to convince the world that it was seriously contemplating war against Iran in order to pressure them toward crippling sanctions against Iran, if not military confrontation with it. And there is even very strong circumstantial evidence that the Obama administration was consciously playing its part in a “good cop/ bad cop routine” with the Israelis over the ostensible Israeli war threat ...
... The Geheime Staatspolizei, the secret police, or Gestapo ... lives on in our collective imagination as the acme of Nazi terror ... Or was it? Frank McDonough's myth-busting biography of Hitler's secret police [shows] ... the Gestapo never numbered more than 16,000 officers, not nearly enough to patrol tens of millions of people. Cologne, with a population of 750,000, had 69 Gestapo officers, less than one per 10,000 inhabitants ... Still more surprising is how gingerly the Gestapo dealt with undoubted malcontents ... Another remarkable point that McDonough makes is that judges often threw out cases brought by the Gestapo. Many were old-fashioned conservatives, he explains, trained under the Prussian monarchy, with a prickly sense of their own independence.
Facebook will have to abide by German laws banning racist sentiment even if it might be allowed in the United States under freedom of speech, Justice Minister Heiko Maas said in an interview with Reuters. Maas, who has accused Facebook of doing too little to thwart racist, and hate posts on its social media platform, said that Germany has zero tolerance for such expression and expects the US-based company to be more vigilant .... “Holocaust denial and inciting racial hatred are crimes in Germany and it doesn't matter if they're posted on Facebook or uttered out in the public on the market square," he added.
As everyone knows, Germany is the most evil place in the history of the universe. Therefore, it follows that anyone who attempts to preserve Germany as the home of the Germans is a filthy smelly Nazi who deserves to be shoved in an oven as if he were a frozen store-bought pizza. Sure, if you want to split hairs and be technical, the German city of Dresden was bombed so aggressively in World War II that the sidewalks were glowing in what was a literal holocaust ... The only moral and sensible way for Germans to survive is to bend over, grab their ankles, and willingly accept their own demise.
The European Union could better protect itself from migrants if it had a common army, Czech president Milos Zeman said Tuesday (Aug. 25), while the Czech finance minister, Andrej Babis, called for the closure of the Schengen area's external borders and for Nato help. Speaking to Czech ambassadors at Prague castle, Zeman regretted that Frontex, the EU border-control agency, has only three unarmed ships and a few armed ships to patrol the Mediterranean. “The EU's fundamental lack is a lack of will for a common border protection”, Zeman said. "Today, a common European army would come in handy" to address the issue, he added. Czech authorities recently floated the idea of using the army to secure the country's borders.
The appointment by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu of one of his most hawkish and outspoken rivals as Israel’s new ambassador to the United Nations has prompted widespread consternation. As one analyst noted, Danny Danon’s appointment is a “cruel joke” on the international community. The new envoy “lacks even the slightest level of finesse and subtlety required of a senior diplomat”, the analyst said ... Mr Danon is a UN official’s worst nightmare. He is a vocal opponent of a two-state solution and has repeatedly called for the annexation of the West Bank.
Glamour model Tila Tequila has been removed from the Celebrity Big Brother house [game show] after it emerged that she had previously expressed her admiration of Adolf Hitler in a Facebook post. Channel 5 [television] said that the Playboy model and singer, 33, would no longer appear on the 2015 series because of her “totally unacceptable” behaviour on social media ... The mother-of-one, whose real name is Thien Thanh Thi Nguyen, expressed controversial views about the Nazi leader in a series of online posts, including a blog called “Why I sympathise with Hitler Part 1: True History Unveiled”.
Tila Tequila has said she is "truly sorry" for "irresponsible" and "reckless" comments she made about Adolf Hitler and Nazism on social media in 2013. It follows the glamour model's eviction from the Celebrity Big Brother after just one day over the alleged 'anti-Semitic remarks' on social media. In a statement, she said: "Back in 2013 I made a statement about Hitler not being a bad person, and immediately realised soon after that I had made a terrible mistake that would ultimately come back to haunt me."
Seventy-five years on from the Battle of Britain, the question remains: was Churchill right to reject peace overtures from Germany in 1940? Did the moral grounds for a continuation of the war – a just cause, a proportionate cost and a realistic likelihood of victory – exist? Was more war morally justifiable? … In 1940, Hitler had neither the means nor the intention of invading Britain … The British “Victory” of 1945 is largely mythic. The cost of not ending the war in 1940 included the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Britons, the ruination of most British cities, and a debt burden to the US that lasted three generations.
... Everyone knows, first, that the major push for the war against Iraq came from Israel and the Lobby, supported by the neocon devotees of Israel's agenda, and, second, that the multimillion-dollar ad campaign against the Iran deal is run by an AIPAC-related group, Citizens for Nuclear Free Iran, and United Against Nuclear Iran, led by former Sen. Joe Lieberman and financed by wealthy casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who makes no secret of his Israel-first sentiment ... What motivates many Israelis and Israel's Jewish American partisans has little if anything to do with Judaism. Rather, they are motivated by an essentially secular ideology and parochial identity politics – Gilad Atzmon calls it "Jewishness" to distinguish it from Judaism -- that prioritizes the interests of the tribe.
The debate over the nuclear deal with Iran is dividing American Jews, who have traditionally aligned with the Democratic Party and supported Barack Obama in two elections — but not always when it comes down to Iran. Four notable polls conducted since the deal was announced demonstrate that the American Jewish community is divided. Figures also show a significant number of Jewish Americans are still undecided, along with the general U.S. population ... “One factor in the polarization among American Jews is how Prime Minister Netanyahu and his ambassador, Ron Dermer, have inserted themselves directly in the debate,” said Ron Kampeas, chief for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in Washington, D.C.
Polls of American public opinion on the agreement to restrict Iran's nuclear program have produced widely varying results. One can find polls to support whatever position one would like to portray as the prevailing public view on this issue. Poll results on this subject are especially sensitive to the wording of the question that is asked ... It is easy to see how deficient public knowledge on such a subject undermines support for an agreement such as the one before Congress ... This pattern has been reflected in polling results that have shown greater public support for the agreement when some explanation of what the agreement is about is offered than when no such explanation is given.
After the final nuclear deal was announced on July 14, European officials began reaching out to Iran with several high-profile phone calls and visits. The following is a rundown of European outreach since the deal ... On August 23, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond traveled to Tehran to reopen the British Embassy, which had been closed since 2011 ... Hammond was accompanied by a group of British business leaders hoping to reestablish ties in Iran ... On July 20, German vice chancellor and economics minister Sigmar Gabriel arrived in Iran for a three-day visit, hoping to resume “economic contacts with Iran, which were traditionally good.” ... On August 12, Switzerland became the first nation to lift sanctions on Iran after the nuclear deal was announced.
As the United States deliberated the nuclear deal, senior officials in the Islamic Republic insisted that the agreement would not increase Washington’s influence in Iran. On August 20, Revolutionary Guards commander Ali Jafari asserted that “we will not allow the hegemonic powers to exercise influence on our country in any area.” The following are excerpted remarks from Iranian officials and clerics.
Yemen has been the target of a brutal U.S.-backed war led by Saudi Arabia. While ordinary civilians are suffering horrific violence and starvation, there is deafening silence from the U.S. and others who claim to be defenders of human rights. The situation is so bad now that nearly every major global human rights organization has issued dire warnings of the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in the Persian Gulf’s poorest nation. Since the Saudi regime began a bombing campaign in March, the situation has deteriorated rapidly as access to food and other aid has been stymied.
With President Obama afraid of upsetting the Saudis anymore after the Iran-nuclear deal, he has given them pretty much a free hand to bomb and blockade Yemen ... / Saudi Arabia’s relations with the United Nations have hit rock bottom after a series of incidents that has left a humbled Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon furious with Riyadh, two U.N. officials close to the U.N. chief have told me. The relationship matters because only the United Nations has the reputation of neutrality necessary to forge a power-sharing deal that can finally end the conflict in Yemen. Ban was cool to the Saudi-led operation from the start. On the first day of bombing on March 26 he called on countries to “refrain from external interference” which seeks to “foment conflict and instability.”
College-educated blacks and Hispanics have seen their wealth and income shrivel over the past 20 years. What's more, these folks have not only fared worse than white and Asian graduates, but also black and Hispanics without four-year college degrees, according to a new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. The median income of blacks and Hispanics who finished college declined between 1992 and 2013, while for whites and Asians, median income grew by double-digit percentages, respectively ... Surprisingly, blacks and Hispanics without degrees saw their incomes climb 17.3% and 15.6%, respectively, while degree holders suffered. As to why blacks and Hispanics who lack college degrees saw their incomes grow? Emmons doesn't know.
A new NORC/ AP poll, done before the Iran deal was announced by President Obama, shows how out of touch most of the presidential candidates are on foreign policy public opinion. The American public just doesn’t want more involvement overseas. To be exact, a third of Americans want less involvement overseas and a third is satisfied with the amount we have. Only about a fourth wants a more pro-active foreign policy ... Americans are enthusiastic about using diplomacy and economic tools to promote US interests abroad. The only times they really want to see military action is in defense of the US and its allies from a terrorist attack, or to stop a country blowing up an atomic bomb.
German chancellor Angela Merkel was heckled by xenophobic demonstrators who described her a "traitor" as she visited a refugee centre targeted by violent far-right protests this past weekend. About 200 protesters angered at the number of asylum seekers arriving in Germany booed the 61-year-old leader in the eastern town of Heidenau, near Dresden. The demonstrators addressed the chancellor with slogans such as "traitor, traitor" and honking car horns, AFP reported. Merkel was in Heidenau to meet with aid workers and refugees as a show of solidarity after violent anti-immigration riots took place there at the weekend. Dozens of police officers were injured in clashes with bottle-throwing far-right militants who wanted to prevent refugees from moving into the shelter.
The German government will sharply raise its forecast for the number of asylum-seekers expected to arrive this year to a record-breaking 750,000, coalition sources said on Tuesday. The increase, from a previous estimate of 450,000, is the latest sign of how a huge influx of migrants and refugees, many fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East, is straining the European Union's ability to cope ... Migrant numbers across the EU have shot up during the summer months, overwhelming authorities from the Greek islands to the French port of Calais. Many undertake dangerous sea voyages to reach southern Europe, then make their way across the continent in the hope of reaching wealthier nations like Germany.
Thousands of migrants rode trains and buses and walked through Macedonia and Serbia on Sunday in an effort to get to European Union member Hungary, where authorities are building a razor-wire fence to keep them from entering. The migrants, mostly Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans fleeing bloody conflicts in their homelands, could travel freely throughout Europe in search of jobs and a better life if they can cross into Hungary. The migrants had landed in debt-wracked Greece, an EU country facing its own financial turmoil.
Some 53 percent of people who responded to an unscientific online poll by Czech magazine Týden would currently vote for a resurrected Adolf Hitler if he promised to rid Europe of refugees. According to the original article, the result had been as high as 60 percent in favor of the Nazi leader. ... The exact question was: "In recent weeks, many Czechs have exhibited xenophobia in connection with the refugee crisis. If Hitler rose from the dead and promised to rid Europe of refugees, would you vote for him?"
The European Jewish Parliament has expressed its appreciation for the adoption by Romania of a law that makes it illegal to deny the Holocaust and to revive the memory of national extremist groups that collaborated with the Nazi regime during WWII. Romanian President Klaus Iohannis recently signed into law legislation passed by the country’s parliament. The law, which is now part of Romania’s penal code, punishes Holocaust denial and the promotion of the fascist Legionnaires’ Movement with prison sentences of up to three years.
A litigation battle is raging between the states and President Barack Obama over his attempt to impose a nationwide “sanctuary” policy for illegal aliens. Yet, there is no question that existing sanctuary policies implemented by numerous towns and cities have victimized innocent Americans. Those sanctuary policies have enabled illegal aliens to commit thousands of crimes – crimes that would not have occurred had their perpetrators been deported in keeping with existing law ... During just one eight-month period in 2014, sanctuary jurisdictions released more than 8,100 deportable aliens. Of those, 62 percent had a prior criminal record; 3,000 were convicted felons. Of those released, 1,900 were later rearrested a total of 4,300 times on 7,500 different offenses.
The number of signatures on an online petition calling for the arrest of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during his visit to the UK in September has nearly doubled to reach almost 80,000, Haaretz reported Sunday [Aug. 23]. The e-petition, uploaded to the UK Government’s official website earlier this month, calls for Netanyahu to be arrested under international law for "war crimes" during last summer's Israel-Gaza war. It has gained 36,000 signatures in the last ten days, reaching about 77,350 signatures as of Sunday evening, according to Haaretz.
British police have received a criminal complaint for incitement against a musician who performed the quasi-Nazi quenelle salute to spite “Zionists,” and suggested that the Nazi gas chambers during the Holocaust did not really exist. The Campaign Against Antisemitism group reported Wednesday that an unnamed party filed a complaint this week against Alison Chabloz, a performer at the Edinburgh Festival — one of the Scottish capital’s main cultural events — after she posted to Twitter a photo of herself performing the quenelle. She also published on her blog an essay by Robert Faurisson disputing the use of gas chambers by the Nazis and another paper entitled “Did six million really die?”
After months of being hounded online by a small group of hard-line Zionists, I decided yesterday to dedicate a Quenelle gesture to my abusers ... My Quenelle is a massive “Up yours!” aimed at these living examples of double standards and outright idiocy ... ‘Holocaust denial’ is another term which is being bandied about a lot these days. Those who point the finger are basically screeching “Witch!”. Nobody denies that the Jews and other groups suffered horrendous atrocities at the hands of the Nazis nor that millions died in camps ... It’s time more people started standing up to Zionist bullies.
Holocaust survivor advocates harshly criticized Natalie Portman on Sunday, after the Israeli-born actress/ director stated that the Shoah is no more tragic than other genocides and questioned its prominence in Jewish education. In an interview with The Independent published on Friday, the American movie star questioned prominence given to Holocaust education at the expense of other mass murders. “I think a really big question the Jewish community needs to ask itself, is how much at the forefront we put Holocaust education. Which is, of course, an important question to remember and to respect, but not over other things,” she was quoted as saying. She recalled learning about the Rwandan Genocide during a visit to a museum and being shocked that while the Holocaust figured prominently into her education, a contemporary genocide did not.
... The aim of Holocaust education tends to be an insider Jewish debate. ... The great-granddaughter of Holocaust victims, and a product of Jewish day schools in the United States, the Jerusalem-born [Natalie] Portman ventured that Jewish schools teach a version of the Holocaust that distorts the reality of Jewish life today. “Sometimes [Holocaust education] can be subverted to fear-mongering and like ‘Another Holocaust is going to happen,’” said Portman. And she worries that teaching the Holocaust as a unique event leaves Jewish students unprepared to acknowledge other atrocities ...
Feathers flew in Manhattan court Tuesday as a group of residents demanded that a judge stop the “unsanitary’’ Jewish religious ritual of slaughtering chickens on the sidewalk during Yom Kippur ... Some Jewish people believe that the September ritual Kaporos absolves one’s sins with the sacrifice of a chicken. Rabbi Shea Hecht, a human rights commissioner under former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, was in court to call the lawsuit “an attack on our religious freedom.” But Marino’s 19 clients — from the Borough Park and Crown Heights neighborhoods in Brooklyn where the ritual takes place — say the resulting “stench, litter, blood, feces and feathers” pollute city streets.
Israeli leaders planned to attack military targets in Iran in recent years, but they were held back due to the opinions of other government and military leaders, according to an audio recording leaked to an Israeli television broadcaster. One planned strike was canned after scheduling conflicts with a joint military exercise with the United States got in the way, according to the audio. The recording with former Defense Minister Ehud Barak was leaked to Israel's Channel 2. It detailed three strikes Barak had allegedly planned with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively.
An interesting question to consider: would the outcome of World War II have been different if Nazi Germany had been able to carry out plans for all of their top-tiered weapons? ... As World War II drew to an end, Adolf Hitler’s best designers and scientists were employed in a frantic race to develop some of the most sophisticated and advanced military weapons during the time.
Twenty-two Democratic and 36 Republican members of Congress spent a full week of the August recess in Israel rather than among the constituents they were elected to serve. Their junkets are sponsored by neo-cons and other hawks, Israeli and American, who are intent on killing a hard-won deal to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons ... Why aren't these Representatives at home listening to the real needs of Americans, needs which will not be served by American involvement in another disastrous Middle East war? They appear not to care that they were elected to serve America's best interests, which are not those of Israel's unfailingly belligerent Netanyahu nor of America's homegrown war profiteers and chicken hawks.
... After playing a little hard-to-get, Iran accepted an agreement. The World got, more or less, everything it wanted. No bomb for a long time. Very intrusive inspection procedures. (They were not really needed. Up-to-date espionage techniques can quickly detect any movements toward a bomb.) Everybody happy. Everybody, that is, except Netanyahu. He was furious ... Actually, the play is over. An agreement signed by the entire world cannot be made to disappear with a puff from Bibi. It will be there, even if the US Congress does vote against it and overrides the presidential veto. The world is tired of Netanyahu’s whims ... In the middle of this raging storm, Netanyahu is a man of the past, a person whose perceptions were formed decades ago, in another world.
... This whole debate is a charade ... From where Republicans sit, any deal negotiated with Iran is a bad one by definition. That’s partly because it was negotiated by the Obama administration, of course, and the GOP has gotten itself to a position where opposition to pretty much anything Barack Obama does is not just reflexive but mandatory for any elected Republican who wants to keep his job ... So there was literally no deal this administration could have negotiated with Iran that Republicans would have agreed to. None. From their perspective, the substance of the deal never mattered. No one who has been remotely attentive to our politics in recent years could honestly deny that.
The British embassy in Iran has reopened, nearly four years after it was closed. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond attended a ceremony in Tehran with Iranian diplomats to mark the reopening while Iran has also reopened its embassy in London. The UK embassy was closed in 2011 after it was stormed by protesters during a demonstration against sanctions. Mr Hammond is the first UK foreign secretary to visit Iran since 2003. The reopening comes weeks after Iran reached a deal with six world powers aimed at curbing its nuclear programme.
France's far-right National Front expelled founder Jean-Marie Le Pen on Thursday in a bid to shed the party's anti-Semitic reputation and bolster his daughter Marine's prospects in a presidential election bid. The decision to sideline the 87-year-old Le Pen was taken by the Front's executive committee after several hours of discussions with him ... The expulsion followed several earlier attempts to remove him. Marine Le Pen, who took over the party leadership from her father in 2011, has been trying to rid the party of its anti-Semitic image and position it as an anti-immigrant, Eurosceptic force offering protectionist economic policies. Jean-Marie Le Pen triggered the feud in April by renewing past declarations of his view that the Nazi gas chambers were a mere "detail" of World War Two.
Among the expansive field of Republican presidential candidates on display in the party’s first debates Thursday night, Donald Trump may be the most closely connected to the Jewish people. Trump is from New York, works in professions saturated with Jews and long has been a vocal supporter of Israel. His daughter and two grandchildren are Jewish, the executive vice president of his organization is Jewish — and Trump certainly has chutzpah ... “I have a Jewish daughter. This wasn’t in the plan, but I’m very glad it happened,” Trump said at the event, held in Manhattan. On Israel, he said, “We love Israel. We will fight for Israel 100 percent, 1,000 percent. It will be there forever.”
Hillary Clinton is privately signaling to wealthy Jewish donors that — no matter the result of the Iranian nuclear negotiations -- she will be a better friend to Israel than President Barack Obama. But, even as donors increasingly push Clinton on the subject in private, they have emerged with sometimes widely varying interpretations about whether she would support a prospective deal, according to interviews with more than ten influential donors and fundraising operatives ... Clinton’s allies are carefully monitoring the sensitivities of a handful of hawkish Democratic mega-donors for signs that the Iran talks may be influencing their willingness to write million-dollar super PAC checks. Chief among that group is billionaire Hollywood entrepreneur Haim Saban ...
Hillary Clinton’s campaign website is progressive on a lot of things. But no change on Israel/Palestine. “If you challenge Israel’s security, you challenge America’s security. Plain and simple.” Israel gets three mentions, Palestine zero. Of course, earlier this week she pledged to fight boycott movement in a letter to a big donor. And she “is moving left on every issue except Israel,” says [Israeli daily paper] Haaretz.
From immigration to campaign finance reform to criminal justice, Hillary Clinton’s campaign strategy is clear: Move to Barack Obama’s left, to energize liberal voters. Except on Israel, where she’s moving to Barack Obama’s right, to energize hawkish donors ... “As senator and secretary of state” [she writes], “I saw how crucial it is for America to defend Israel at every turn. I have opposed dozens of anti-Israel resolutions at the UN ... And I made sure the United States blocked Palestinian attempts at the UN to unilaterally declare statehood.”
From the man who married her grandmother to the man who married her daughter, from working a room full of bar mitzvah guests on behalf of her husband’s political career to headlining major pro-Israel events during her own, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s journey has never wandered far from Jews ... For her 2016 bid, Clinton has lined up pro-Israel funding powerhouses who helped fuel her ’08 bid, like entertainment mogul Haim Saban, and has added some of Obama’s most prominent Jewish bundlers, notably movie executive Jeffrey Katzenberg. Lewis, the former White House communications chief, leads her Jewish outreach.
Democratic crown-princess Hillary Clinton is no stranger to the unholy altar of Israeli worship. She has often expressed her deep, almost romantic love for that country. Now, concerned about the growing international boycott of Israel, she has written to one of her major donors, one Haim Saban, proclaiming again her dedication to Israel ... Mrs. Clinton apparently disdains international law, which has long ago declared the occupation of Palestine by Israel to be illegal, and that recognizes the pre-1967-war borders. Negotiations are not required; adherence to international law is. Such dismissal of international law does not bode well for a Clinton presidency.
... If the current debate were being conducted solely on the merits of the agreement, the outcome would be almost a no-brainer; the agreement is obviously much better than the alternative of killing the agreement, even on a litany of issues that the opponents themselves have been raising. And yet the agreement's political fate on Capitol Hill does not reflect that ... Considering the chief reasons for opposition to the agreement brings into focus additional stakes. Killing the agreement would entail a subjugation of U.S. foreign policy to the baleful influences behind the opposition. It would mean a failure to break free of the influence of a foreign government that opposes the agreement for reasons that are not shared interests with the United States, and in some respects are directly contrary to those interests ...
The United States Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad is a little known, yet important, federal agency for family historians. Its goal is to encourage the preservation of documents, memorials, and cemeteries in Central Europe, Eastern Europe, and the former Soviet Union. The Commission was created by an act of Congress in 1979. It's chief founder, Rabbi Zvi Kestenbaum of Brooklyn, New York, a holocaust survivor, developed the concept of a commission to preserve Jewish cemeteries, monuments and other holy sites throughout the world. He was instrumental in getting federal legislation introduced into Congress to establish the Commission.
A Holocaust memorial was erected in the Jewish cemetery in Serock, Poland ... The Jewish cemetery in Serock, which served as a burial place from the 18th century, was destroyed during World War II. The Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland and the United States Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad helped to build the memorial and rededicate the cemetery ... “One of our most sacred duties is to keep the memory of the crimes committed by the Nazis during World War II. So it could never happen again,” Stephen Mull, US ambassador to Poland, said during the ceremony.
There’s one major issue that President Barack Obama, his supporters and his critics assiduously have avoided as they battle over the deal designed to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons: Israel’s own nuclear arsenal. An open secret for decades, the Israeli stockpile is estimated at some 80-100 warheads, though Israel refuses to confirm or deny its existence under a policy of deliberate ambiguity ... Yet as the sides joust over the Iran deal’s impact on Israel’s security, Obama has been silent on the Israeli arsenal as a potential deterrent against Iranian cheating on the accord ... To some experts, the fierce debate over whether the Iran deal endangers Israel or makes it safer will be incomplete and misleading as long as it skirts the Middle East’s only nuclear arms stockpile.
Three dozen retired generals and admirals released an open letter Tuesday supporting the Iran nuclear deal and urging Congress to do the same. Calling the agreement “the most effective means currently available to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons,” the letter said that gaining international support for military action against Iran, should that ever become necessary, “would only be possible if we have first given the diplomatic path a chance.” ... The letter from the retired military officers followed the release this past weekend of a letter to Obama by 29 of the nation’s leading scientists, who called the Iran deal “technically sound, stringent and innovative,” and said it would “provide the necessary assurance in the coming decade and more that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons.”
... People don’t seem to be thinking about the larger consequences of what’s at stake. That’s because American don’t worry about our reputation, we think it’s inviolable and unassailable. In fact it’s pretty shitty just now. Arguably, we have the world’s first genuinely autistic government: we seem uninterested in — perhaps incapable of — seeing ourselves as others see us ... Everyone knows that the U.S. is the enabler of Israeli misbehavior and creates moral hazard for it: Israel can do anything it frikkin wants and be confident that the US will pick up the pieces — save it from the consequences of its own mistakes. People around the world have come to see the U.S. as a shill for Israel ... Our politics are now so venal that our democracy excites no admiration anywhere.
Jewish supporters of the Iran nuclear deal have published a full-page New York Times ad backing the agreement signed by 26 current and former prominent communal leaders. The signers include heads of national Jewish organizations, leaders from major federations and former lawmakers, all calling on Congress to approve the deal. “While not perfect, this deal is the best available option to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons program,” they state. Among the Jewish leaders joining the call are three former chairs of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which is a national umbrella group representing the community on foreign policy issues.
More than 300 American rabbis wrote members of Congress Monday urging them to support the international nuclear deal with Iran, signalling the US Jewish community is split over the historic but controversial accord. The religious leaders come from across the spectrum, but hail overwhelmingly from Judaism's Conservative and Reform streams as well as other progressive Jewish movements, a spokesperson said. “We encourage the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives to endorse this agreement," the 340 rabbis wrote in a letter to Congress ...
... A group of about 50 children is raising and saluting the American flag. It is not the customary military salute — arm bent at a roughly 45 degree angle and hand at the forehead. Instead, the children’s arms are fully extended in an uncanny imitation of the Nazi salute ... Why would Jewish American schoolchildren be imitating the Nazi salute? The Post-Gazette received this photo from a confused reader ... “This was the way Americans saluted the flag at the time ... In 1934, this would have been perfectly normal, strange though it looks to us now,” said Timothy Snyder, a Yale history professor who specializes in the Holocaust. The stiff-arm salute in America preceded both the Nazi salute and Mussolini’s salute, from which the “Heil Hitler” salute came ...
... Edward VIII’s sympathies were not unusual for someone of his class and status at the time. Much of Europe, and particularly Germany, had descended into chaos in the aftermath of the First World War. The first years of the Nazi regime however, saw relative stability return to Germany. For aristocrats and royalty living in England the Nazis, at least from the outside, represented stability and a buffer from Communism ... Some historians have gone even further in their depictions of Edward VIII’s sympathies for the Nazis. In a book published earlier this year, the German historian Karina Urbach claims that Edward VIII was a severe anti-Semite who blamed the Jews for the outbreak of the war and hoped that Germany would ultimately beat Britain into submission ... Support for fascism was far from exceptional in 1930s Britain.
... Everyone who doesn’t relish the prospect of World War III or the expansion of the U.S empire should support the [Iran] agreement ... The U.S. intelligence community has determined that Iran does not even currently have an active nuclear weapons program, and has not had one for at least a dozen years (if it ever did) ... Israel (which unlike Iran is not a signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and has secretly produced and possesses its own nuclear weapons) and its lobby in the U.S. lead the opposition to the deal. The Israelis do so for reasons that have less to do with a supposed nuclear threat than Iran’s support for Hizbollah, the Syrian regime and support for the Palestinian resistance ... Netanyahu -- like Chicken Little warning that the sky is falling — has warned that Iran is months away from nuclear weapons since the early 1990s.
Groups of scientists, former generals and former ambassadors have authored open letters in support of the nuclear deal between Iran and the world’s six major powers. On August 8, 29 top U.S. scientists wrote to President Barack Obama in support of the Iran nuclear deal. The “innovative agreement” has “much more stringent constraints than any previously negotiated non-proliferation framework,” according to the co-signers, who include six Nobel laureates, nuclear experts and former White House advisers.
The political season in Iowa is heating up with two controversial billboards in Des Moines displaying a message critical of the relationship between Israel and the United States. Passersby can see the image of $100 dollar bills swirling down a drain accompanied by the following bulletin: “$10 Million A Day To Israel? Our Money is Needed in America!” on digital billboards on Fleur Drive and Ingersoll Avenue. The billboards are sponsored by If Americans Knew, a non-profit group that describes itself as “an organization dedicated to educating Americans about the Israel-Palestine conflict.”
The Israel Defense Forces routinely gathers information on foreign, left-wing organizations that it believes are working to delegitimize the State of Israel, Haaretz has learned. The military Intelligence Research Division’s Deligitimization Department was established as part of the lessons learned after the Mavi Marmara affair in 2010. As Haaretz revealed in 2011, the department focuses on studying the activities of anti- Israel groups operating overseas, including some that promote sanctions of Israel ... Among the overseas organizations monitored by Military Intelligence are dozens affiliated with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement ... The BDS movement conducts campaigns aimed at promoting boycotts of Israel and persuading companies to withdraw their investments from the country.
Many brain disorders vary between the sexes, but how biology and culture contribute to these differences has been unclear. Now neuroscientists have found an intrinsic biological difference between males and females in the molecular regulation of synapses in the hippocampus, a brain region involved in learning and memory, responses to stress and epilepsy. This finding provides a scientific reason to believe that female and male brains may respond differently to drugs targeting certain synaptic pathways.
The [British] foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, has weighed in to the debate over migration with some of the government’s strongest language yet, claiming millions of marauding African migrants pose a threat to the EU’s standard of living and social structure. Senior Labour figures responded by accusing Hammond of scaremongering after he claimed Europe “can’t protect itself” if it has to take in millions of migrants from Africa. Speaking to the BBC while visiting Singapore on Sunday, Hammond said: “The gap in standards of living between Europe and Africa means there will always be millions of Africans with the economic motivation to try to get to Europe.”
... The basic issues — how to secure our borders, whether to repatriate the millions here illegally, whether to declare a moratorium on immigration into the USA — are part of a greater question. Will the West endure, or disappear by the century's end as another lost civilization? Mass immigration, if it continues, will be more decisive in deciding the fate of the West than Islamist terrorism. For the world is invading the West. ... Either Western nations take tough measures to secure their borders, or the Western nations will be swamped. The character of their countries will be altered forever, and smaller countries will become unrecognizable. And as this is happening, ethnic and racial clashes will become more common, as they are now becoming across Europe.
The number of people seeking asylum in Germany is predicted to soar to 750,000 this year according to reports, amid warnings by the United Nations that it and Sweden are unfairly bearing the brunt of Europe’s refugee burden. Government sources told the business daily Handelsblatt the figures, which are due to be released by the interior minister, Thomas de Maizière, on Wednesday, are far higher than previously expected. The leak came as the EU’s border agency, Frontex, said 107,500 migrants were detected at its frontiers last month, three times as many as in July 2014.
Slovakia says it will only accept Christians when it takes in Syrian refugees under a EU relocation scheme. The country is due to receive 200 people from camps in Turkey, Italy and Greece under the EU plan to resettle 40,000 new arrivals. Interior ministry spokesman Ivan Netik said Muslims would not be accepted because they would not feel at home. The UN's refugee agency (UNHCR) called on countries to take an "inclusive approach" to relocation. But Mr Netik denied the move was discriminatory and said it was intended to ensure community cohesion.
The U.S. government’s announcement that Jonathan Pollard will soon gain his release from prison is cause for celebration in Israel, and understandably so ... Americans have equal reason to classify Pollard as a despicable traitor, who in spending all those years behind bars got precisely what he deserved ... Israelis have no problem grasping why their take on Pollard and ours should differ. They fully understand that on many occasions U.S. and Israeli security interests are at odds. And when that occurs they do not doubt what comes first. It’s Americans, insisting that “no daylight” exists between the United States and Israel, who perpetuate a false understanding of this relationship — a pretense that may benefit Israel, but certainly does not benefit the United States ...
... Ten years ago, on July 9, 2005, as the final preparations were underway for the disengagement of Israeli settlements from Gaza, a collection of 170 Palestinian activists and organizations launched the first call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions [BDS] from Israel ... Across the globe, from college campuses to supermarkets, communities are increasingly polarized into pro- or anti-BDS camps ... In an effort to partially waylay this worst case scenario, at the end of June US President Barack Obama signed the Trade Promotion Authority legislation, which contained provisions that make BDS rejection a priority for US negotiators on a free trade agreement with the European Union ... The movement’s membership has blossomed significantly since 2005.
... Institutions of the contemporary Lithuanian government now portray Nazi-aligned nationalists as anti-Soviet heroes and anti-Nazi partisans — in particular the Jewish ones — as traitors. Arad lives under the cloud of an open-ended investigation by Lithuanian prosecutors for crimes against humanity committed in the final days of World War II, when he allegedly executed Lithuanian anti-Communists, including civilians, for Stalin’s secret police ... As documented by eyewitness testimony, photographs, and Nazi records, the Christian majority welcomed the Germans as liberators, and right-wing paramilitary groups began massacring their Jewish neighbors before German rule had even been firmly established.
The hallmark of public libraries -- the printed book, bound by covers and centuries of page-turning -- is being shoved aside by digital doppelgangers. Around the country, libraries are slashing their print collections in favor of e-books, prompting battles between library systems and print purists, including not only the pre-pixel generation but digital natives who represent a sizable portion of the 1.5 billion library visits a year and prefer print for serious reading. Some of the clashes have been heated ... Meanwhile, print book budgets are slipping fast -- from 67 percent of acquisitions in 2008 to 59 percent in 2015 -- with reference titles bearing the biggest cuts so far ... In the process, centuries-old library traditions have been abandoned.
... According to the documents at the Reagan library, [Robert] McFarlane and [Paul] Wolfowitz were collaborating with Israel through a clandestine channel of communication ... Though this secret conduit between the neocons and Israel about Iran may have originated before Election 1980, it continued, with some fits and starts, for years finally merging with what became known as the Iran-Contra Affair of 1985-86. In that scandal, Reagan secretly authorized the sale of U.S. anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles to Iran through Israel ... After Reagan was inaugurated in 1981, McFarlane popped up at the State Department working hand-in-glove with the Israelis on Iranian arms shipments.
By any sensible measure, our country's highest foreign policy priority is halting the spread of nuclear weapons ... Unfortunately, non-proliferation has long taken a back seat to less important drivers of our geopolitics. Thus, for example, in order to keep good relations with Israel and Pakistan, successive US governments provided both countries with billions in military aid while they built nuclear weapons and refused to sign the international non-proliferation agreement ... On the question of trust, the Iranians have had to take their own leap of faith. We are, after all, the nation that in 1953 engineered the overthrow of their democratically elected leader and imposed a despotic king ... 1980, we supported Saddam Hussein's attack on Iran, igniting an eight-year war that killed over a million Iranians.
... The choice before members of Congress is thus a clear and simple one: Do they owe their primary allegiance and loyalty to the United States of America or to Israel? The great majority of members of Congress have traditionally seen less personal career risk in favoring Israeli desires over American interests than in favoring American interests over Israel desires. There has been good empirical evidence to support this self-serving calculation. Several prominent and patriotic American politicians have lost their reelection bids as a result of the perception that they put American interests ahead of Israeli desires, and it has become a truism in American politics that “no one has ever lost an election for being too pro-Israel.”
A new poll by the Anti-Defamation League found that the majority of Greeks continue to hold anti-Semitic views about Jewish control over finance and the global economy, despite a recent drop in anti-Jewish attitudes in other parts of Europe ... According to the ADL poll, 90 percent of Greeks agreed with the statement that “Jews have too much power in the business world,” and 85 percent agreed “Jews have too much power in international finance markets.” In addition, 70 percent said that “Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust,” and 51 percent said “Jews don’t care about what happens to anyone but their own kind.”
... China’s growing weight in global economic affairs is undeniable ... The United States is now afflicted with unprecedented partisan gridlock and political paralysis. America’s domestic dysfunction has infected the international institutions it created and for long led. Like the government in Washington, these institutions are now unable to set priorities, make strategic choices, or manage change. Europe is almost as stagnant, stodgy, and self-absorbed ... China is the world’s greatest trading power. It is not only the world’s greatest exporter of manufactured goods but its largest importer of commodities. It has a big stake in the soundness and efficiency of global transportation infrastructure ... Many are in denial about the shifting balances of economic power, military prowess, and political influence ...
... Nearly all the streets in East Talpiot are named after Jews convicted and hanged as terrorists by the British before 1948. That’s right: Israeli streets named after Jewish terrorists. Don’t let anyone tell you different. There were twelve of them: nine members of the Irgun and three from the Stern Group, or Lehi. Two were hanged for assassinating the British minister Lord Moyne in Cairo in 1945 ... Two other streets in East Talpiot are named for Shmuel Azar and Moshe Marzouk, Egyptian Jews hanged in Cairo in 1955 for bombing the American and British libraries. ... Elsewhere in Israel are streets named for ... Herschel Grynszpan, who assassinated a Nazi diplomat in Paris in November 1938, touching off Kristallnacht.
On a hillside in the settlement of Kiryat Arba, overlooking the large West Bank Palestinian city of al-Khalil ... is the grave monument of Dr. Baruch Goldstein. On the Jewish holiday of Purim, February 25, 1994, Goldstein, then a reserve officer in the Israeli army, walked into the Mosque of Ibrahim (the traditional burial place of the Patriarch Abraham) in uniform and with his army-issued weapon, opening fire on the Muslim worshippers. Goldstein murdered 29 people outright, and wounded 125 before the survivors managed to disarm and kill him on the spot. For many far-right Israeli Jews and especially the settler movement Goldstein was a martyr to the cause of religious Zionism. His grave in a ceremonial plaza overlooking the Palestinian town became a place of pilgrimage and celebration ...
... Because the myth of Israel's birth was so closely linked to the horrors of the Holocaust, to question its truth was for years as unthinkable as doubting the truth of the Holocaust itself. But today a new breed of historians is challenging much of that myth. Palestinian and other Arab scholars, Western Middle East specialists, and non-Zionist Jews such as Elmer Berger, Alfred Lilienthal, and Norman Finkelstein have already published well-documented refutations of the official version of Israel's history. The current debunking process, however, is being carried out for the first time by Israeli Jews a younger generation of historians with impeccable credentials as Zionists, patriotic Israelis and scholars.
... France is arguably the world’s most self-consciously intellectual country. Public thinkers are cherished like national treasures, given airtime on television and column inches in Le Monde. Their counsel is even heeded ... French thought is not only about dry stuff to be found in philosophy textbooks; it is a central part of their national identity. ... Mr Hazareesingh is less convincing at the end of the book when examining the declining influence of French thinking today. He rightly notes a “loss of confidence by the French in the creativity of their thinkers” since the era of Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus. And he is scathing about today’s cultural conservative thinkers, with their links to resurgent ethnic nationalism. He also documents the fading influence of French thought on the rest of the world ...
... The nuclear deal reached in Vienna this month is not a ceiling but a solid foundation on which we must build. The joint comprehensive plan of action, as the accord is officially known, cements Iran’s status as a zone free of nuclear weapons. Now it is high time that we expand that zone to encompass the entire Middle East ... Today, in light of the Vienna deal, it is high time that the nuclear “haves” remedied the gap by adopting serious disarmament measures and reinforcing the non-proliferation regime ... One step in the right direction would be to start negotiations for a weapons elimination treaty, backed by a robust monitoring and compliance-verification mechanism ... It is certainly a feasible goal to start this global project with a robust, universal and really genuine push to establish a WMD-free zone in the Middle East ...
... In an extraordinary feat of subterfuge, Israel managed to assemble an entire underground nuclear arsenal – now estimated at 80 warheads, on a par with India and Pakistan – and even tested a bomb nearly half a century ago, with a minimum of international outcry or even much public awareness of what it was doing. Despite the fact that the Israel's nuclear programme has been an open secret since a disgruntled technician, Mordechai Vanunu, blew the whistle on it in 1986, the official Israeli position is still never to confirm or deny its existence.
In light of the fact that Israel is in possession of at least 200 (surreptitiously-built) nuclear warheads, and considering the reality that, according to both US and Israeli intelligence sources, Iran neither possesses nor pursues nuclear weapons, the relentless hysterical campaign by Israel and its lobby against the Iran nuclear deal can safely be characterized as the mother of all ironies — a clear case of chutzpah ... There is well-documented, undeniable evidence that the lobby, as a major pillar of the neoconservative forces in the US and elsewhere, set out as early as the late 1980s and early as 1990s to “deconstruct” and reshape the Middle East in the image of radical Zionist champions of building “greater Israel” in the region, extending from Jordan River to Mediterranean coasts.
... The Nordic state finds itself in the grip of a terrifying crime wave instead, which even ‘new Swedes’ describe as like “being back in Syria”. Grenade attacks in multicultural paradise Malmö are now so commonplace the English-speaking media has all but stopped bothering to report them. Compounding the apparent disinterest in the descent of beautiful, historic Malmö into a third-world ghetto where native Swedes are very nearly in the minority, is a striking dearth of facts about what is actually going on there ... They come in addition to the regular shootings, stabbings, and arson attacks that are apparently so commonplace they don’t make the English papers at all.
More than 4,500 vehicles are stuck along one of Britain's main highways, caught in the chaos over efforts by desperate migrants to make their way through the Channel Tunnel from the French port city of Calais, 31 miles away. Another 4,500 cars and trucks are stuck on the other side of the English Channel ... The British news media is on a rampage, with The Daily Mail wondering how migrants could invade Britain when Hitler could not, and calling for the army to be deployed ... The migrant crisis in Calais is hardly new, going back more than 15 years, but numbers are increasing, tactics are shifting and the political heat is rising. The migrants, most of them from Libya, Syria, Eritrea and Afghanistan ...
The number of immigrants living in Germany rose by 3.7 percent last year to a record high of eleven million, and a fifth of the population is of a migrant background, the Federal Statistics Office said on Monday. The figures highlight Germany's growing reliance on foreign-born workers to drive its powerhouse economy, Europe's largest, as well as its acceptance of hundreds of thousands of refugees. Many of the immigrants came from other European Union countries, such as Poland, Romania, Italy, Bulgaria and Hungary. Last year, the number of people living in Germany of a migrant background had risen by around 1.5 million, or ten percent, from 2011. The native population -- excluding people of a migrant background -- fell by 1.4 percent.
A poster campaign by the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats at a subway station in central Stockholm has stirred outrage in the Nordic country. The posters plastered above the escalators at Ostermalmstorg subway station are directed to tourists visiting the Swedish capital and apologize for "the mess" in Sweden, saying the country has a problem with "forced begging" organized by "international gangs." Critics say the message spreads racist misconceptions about eastern European Roma, also known as Gypsies, who are begging in Sweden. Anger has also been directed at Stockholm's public transport provider SL, which is owned by the city council and is profiting from the ads.
Around 250 Latvian nationalists on Tuesday picketed the capital's main government building to protest against European Union plans to resettle refugees from Africa and the Middle East. The Baltic state has agreed to take in 250 refugees over two years under the EU's controversial plan to distribute 40,000 migrants across the 28-country bloc. Protesters held up signs with slogans such as "Genocide against white people" and "Stop Islam" at the event organised by extreme right-wing groups, where police arrested one person for causing a public disturbance.
There is a madness in how the mainstream U.S. media presents the world to the American people, a delusional perspective that arguably creates an existential threat to humanity’s survival ... The larger issue for the American people is what to do with this insane political-media system that dominates Official Washington. Either these powers-that-be are detached from reality or they are deceitful propagandists who think they can manipulate us with lies and distortions. Yet, by creating a false reality, whether from madness or cynicism, this system guides the nation into terrible decision-making. And, given the immense military power of the United States, this long national detour into a dark psychosis of delusion must be addressed or the future of humankind will be put into serious jeopardy.
The four-and-a-half minute speech that has reverberated throughout Japan's modern history since it was delivered by at the end of World War II has come back to life in digital form. Hirohito's "jewel voice" — muffled and nearly inaudible due to poor sound quality — was broadcast on Aug. 15, 1945, announcing Japan's surrender. On Saturday, the Imperial Household Agency released the digital version of the original sound ahead of the 70th anniversary of the speech and the war's end. In it, the emperor's voice appears clearer, slightly higher and more intense, but, Japanese today would still have trouble understanding the arcane language used by Hirohito.
... No heroes make their mark in these academic study manga, but a few villains make unceremonious appearances. None of these villains are American, Chinese, Russian, or anyone else in the enemy camp; they are all Japanese. The designated “bad” characters are Japanese men who advocated, instigated, promoted, and then bungled the war. Such “war mongers” are usually officers of the Japanese Army, especially those in the Kwantung garrison in Manchuria and the high military and state leadership who backed and covered for the rogue Army ... What is inculcated here is a simple pacifist sentiment that precludes any possibility of a just war: war is bad and unjust, because war kills and people suffer; it is an evil that hurts people like you, your family and friends; the government that wages war is bad ...
... The most educated generation in history is on track to becoming less prosperous, at least financially, than its predecessors. They are faced with a slow economy, high unemployment, stagnant wages and student loans that constrict their ability both to maintain a reasonable lifestyle and to save for the future. Longer term, rising federal debt payments and increased spending on Social Security and Medicare will inflict a tremendous financial burden on them, threatening their own prospect of receiving promised retirement benefits ... Americans between 18 and 34 are earning less today (after adjustment for inflation) than the same age group did in the past.
In his new biography “Being Nixon: A Man Divided,” Evan Thomas concedes a point. Richard Nixon, he writes, "was not paranoid; the press and the 'Georgetown set' really were out to get him." ... Recent revelations suggest that "endemic criminality" is a phrase that might well be applied to the newsroom of The Washington Post when Bob Woodward and Bernstein worked there ... Thus, Woodward and Bernstein, with the collusion of Post editors and lawyers, got a grand juror to violate her oath and spill secrets. Then [Post editor Ben] Bradlee got E.B. Williams, godfather to Sirica's daughter, to put the fix in with that compliant judge, and all of them covered up the conspiracy. While pursuing Nixon, the "Georgetown set" was hiding the same sort of mendacities and obstruction of justice that got Nixon's men prison time.
After years of work and some setbacks, a memorial to the millions who perished in the Ukraine famine of the 1930s, or Holodomor, has been erected in the U.S. capital. The monument -- a bronze slab resting on a stone plinth and showing a field of wheat stalks -- was winched off the trailer of a truck and bolted into place in downtown Washington on August 4. On hand were Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States Valeriy Chaly and the sculpture's Ukrainian-American designer, Larysa Kurylas. Tamara Olexy, the president of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, which helped spearhead efforts to bring the project to fruition, described the moment as “very significant” for the Ukrainian community in the United States and elsewhere, capping years of hard work.
When Ukraine resisted Soviet attempts at collectivization in the 1920s and '30s, the Soviet Union under Stalin used labor camps, executions, and starvation (Holodomor) to kill millions of Ukrainians ... While there is disagreement over how many lives the genocide claimed, Gradenigo's figures have turned out to be rather accurate. In Harvest of Sorrow, historian Robert Conquest, considered by many the leading authority on the famine, put the toll at 14.5 million. About half of these deaths represent the liquidation of the kulaks, via execution and slow death in gulags, while the famine itself claimed the lives of approximately seven million, including three million children.
Benjamin Netanyahu is laying siege to the Congress of the United States, not for the first time. He has thrown his voice and channeled his influence into the arena of American legislative politics, to abort the P5+1 nuclear settlement with Iran, which was signed on July 14 by the US, Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia ... For Netanyahu and Schumer what offends is the prospect of Iran's re-entry into the global community as a trading partner and a non-nuclear regional power of some resourcefulness. This emergence can only curb Israel's wish to dominate for another half century as it has done for the past half century. That, and not anything resembling an "existential threat," is the real transition at issue.
... Israel has never been seriously bothered by the potential of an Iranian nuke, which has been little more than a pretext. It has been concerned over Iran becoming an unfriendly regional superpower, similar to Turkey ... Now consider for a moment what is happening here: the de facto and de jure agents of a foreign government are actively and openly lobbying and propagandizing to overturn an agreement entered into by the President of the United States. The Israeli government is over here working the U.S. Congress and media directly on the issue, an unparalleled and almost unimaginable violation of diplomatic norms and a sign, if one was needed, that Netanyahu has no respect whatsoever for the White House.
... The UN Security Council has already approved the [Iran] deal, and by a 15-0 unanimous vote — hardly its norm on controversial issues ... The Russians and Chinese are moving ahead as if the deal is done, because from the world’s perspective it is. The remaining forceful public opposition is from the unified GOP plus some Democrats, and the Netanyahu administration plus other Israeli figures. Even if they prevail, they cannot stop the deal and make five other countries reinstitute sanctions. Although you’d hardly know it from the U.S. debate, the opponents’ writ does not run to China, Russia, Europe, or Iran. All that a congressional “rejection” can do is ensure that the safeguards negotiated in the bill never take effect ... This deal is going to take effect. Then a whole new set of challenges unfolds.
An overwhelming majority of Americans oppose providing any special compensation to the state of Israel in order to assuage its concerns about the Iran nuclear deal. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposes the Iran deal as an "existential threat" and retains Israel's right to attack Iran. Asked to indicate their level of support for various compensation options proposed during and after negotiations: 7.9 percent support increasing annual US aid to Israel from $3.5 billion to $5 billion ... The Obama administration is offering increased aid to reduce Israeli opposition to the deal. No specific package has been announced ... While 12.8 percent favor "all of the above" compensation options be given to Israel, an overwhelming 67.8 percent of Americans chose "none of the above.”
Leaders of the Catholic Church in Israel filed an incitement complaint against the head of an extreme right-wing group opposed to Jewish-Arab integration, who on Tuesday advocated the burning of mosques and churches in Israel at a public forum. The complaint against Lehava chairman Bentzi Gopshtain was filed in coordination with the Vatican, according to a Haaretz report Friday, and was formulated by a committee which included over 20 bishops and archbishops across Israel.
... As the debate progresses, it will become increasingly clear that the consequences of killing this deal or reneging on it are ominous, that America and the world retain plenty of options if Iran proves treacherous, and that the stakes include not only America’s relationship with Iran but also America’s standing in the world. Not to mention the prospects for war if the deal goes down. If it survives over nearly unanimous GOP objections, as appears likely, it will be a net negative for Republicans, perhaps even a big one. But, if the party manages to kill the deal for America, thus isolating the country and putting it upon a path to war, then the party’s political viability could be placed on ice for a considerable period.
Israel's president suggested on Thursday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been overzealous in opposing the Iran nuclear deal, opening a "battlefront" with Washington and isolating his country. Reuven Rivlin, who holds the largely ceremonial head of state post, argued in three separate newspaper interviews that Netanyahu's vigorous campaign against last month's nuclear deal between world powers and Iran could ultimately hurt Israel ... "The prime minister has waged a campaign against the United States as if the two sides were equal, and this is liable to hurt Israel. I must say that he understands the United States better than I do, but, nonetheless, we are largely isolated in the world," Rivlin said in some of his most critical comments about Netanyahu's strategy on the Iranian issue since becoming president a year ago.
... Congress members’ loyalties are, first and foremost, to whomever writes checks to their re-election campaigns, and the Israeli lobbies have deep pockets. So their goal now is to purchase sufficient votes to override a presidential veto, should the agreement be voted down in Congress. But it is an uphill battle ... Israel and its various international lackeys are making a concerted effort to counter the increasing boycott, and resulting isolation, of that country. The Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement is ever growing, and taking both a financial and emotional toll on Israel; more and more people around the world are recognizing it as an apartheid regime, committing abominable human rights abuses and spitting in the face of international law. And they are asking why it is that this is allowed, a question not spoken for decades.
Robert Conquest, an Anglo-American historian whose works on the terror and privation under Joseph Stalin made him the pre-eminent Western chronicler of the horrors of Soviet rule, died Monday in Palo Alto, Calif. He was 98 years old. Mr. Conquest’s master work, “The Great Terror,” was the first detailed account of the Stalinist purges from 1937 to 1939. He estimated that under Stalin, 20 million people perished from famines, Soviet labor camps and executions — a toll that eclipsed that of the Holocaust. Writing at the height of the Cold War in 1968, when sources about the Soviet Union were scarce, Mr. Conquest was vilified by leftists who said he exaggerated the number of victims. When the Cold War ended and archives in Moscow were thrown open, his estimates proved high but more accurate than those of his critics.
If you were brought up in a communist home, Robert Conquest's books really were a revelation. In my case, two of my grandparents were members of the Party (as it was invariably called without ever needing to say which party). ... Even into the 1960s, it had seemed to many like there was a battle of equal ideas. But then came Robert Conquest's descriptions of Soviet reality ... And then Conquest did it again, with The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine about the famine in Ukraine in 1932-33, caused by a foolish and vindictive agricultural policy driven beyond destruction by Stalin ... Nostalgia for the monster remains, perhaps even in Russia today. But Conquest's books did open the eyes of those with minds to open. I know. I remember.
Vera Shalamberidze leaned against a statue of Joseph Stalin and smiled for the photo. “Let me take another,” urged her husband, Zurab. Behind them, other Russian tourists were snapping pictures next to the cramped brick hovel in this small central Georgian town where the Soviet dictator was born in 1878. The house is now one of the main attractions of Gori’s Stalin Museum – a place where visitors can still experience the Soviet version of his life story, without any mention of the millions of people that he killed ... For some people the story of a poor boy from tiny Georgia who took over mighty Russia still has an intoxicating pull ... Curator Keti Akhobadze admits that for many visitors this is a place of pilgrimage.
... Israel depends upon the United States for $3 billion a year in military aid and diplomatic cover in forums where she is often treated like a pariah state. Israel has also been the beneficiary of almost all the U.S. vetoes in the Security Council. America is indispensable to Israel. The reverse is not true ... With the Gulf nations having joined Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia in backing the [Iran] deal, Israel is isolated in its opposition ... But this is not Israel’s deal. It is our deal, and our decision. And Israel is massively interfering in our internal affairs to scuttle a deal the president believes is in the vital interests of the United States. When the U.S. and Israel disagree over U.S. policy in the Mideast, who decides for America? Them or us?
Many Israeli ex-generals and former security chiefs have signed a petition urging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accept the nuclear deal between world powers and Iran, which he strongly opposes. A petition signed by the former officials and made public Monday calls the July 14 accord a "fait accompli". It urges the government to pursue a policy that would "restore trust and reinforce security and diplomatic cooperation with the American administration". Doing so would "allow us to prepare to face the numerous challenges that will result from the agreement", the petition says. The signatories include two former heads of the Shin Bet internal security agency ...; a former deputy director of the Mossad intelligence agency ... ; and dozens of former generals and senior officers.
In the waning months of negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran, nearly a two-thirds majority of the American public were supporting the idea of a nuclear pact. When the deal was signed a still-strong majority of 56% were supportive of the pact, despite politicians already preparing to make it a major political issue. Then the ad campaign started. Various Israel Lobby groups, notably AIPAC, started bankrolling a lobbying and media campaign that cost tens of millions of dollars, putting advertisements demanding opposing to the deal across television and newspapers, making misleading statements and at times flat out lying about Iran’s intentions. It has worked too, with the latest poll showing only 28% of Americans still comfortable backing the exact same deal, while 57% are opposed to the idea.
Eleven years after Massachusetts became the first state to allow same-sex couples to marry, the Supreme Court has now extended that right nationwide ... Such widespread acceptance in a short amount of time isn't a phenomenon unique to gay marriage. Social change in the U.S. appears to follow a pattern: A few pioneer states get out front before the others, and then a key event — often a court decision or a grassroots campaign reaching maturity — triggers a rush of state activity that ultimately leads to a change in federal law. We looked at six big issues — interracial marriage, prohibition, women’s suffrage, abortion, same-sex marriage, and recreational marijuana — to show how this has happened in the past, and may again in the very near future.
A renovated Richard Wagner Museum opening in Bayreuth this weekend to coincide with the Bavarian city’s annual Wagner opera festival puts the composer’s anti-Semitism and his family’s later ties to Adolf Hitler center stage for the first time. Revamped and doubled in size at a cost of 20 million euros ($21.92 million), the museum for the first time displays Wagner’s anti-Semitic screeds, which he published in his youth anonymously, then under his own name before he died in 1883. It also depicts the close ties his widow Cosima, who died in 1930, and his descendants forged with Hitler, who loved Wagner’s music and regularly visited Bayreuth to hear operas in the “Festspielhaus” that Wagner designed and built in the 1870s.
… The National Socialists regarded art, and especially music, as an expression of a society's soul, character and ideals. A widespread appreciation of Germany's cultural achievements, they believed, encouraged a joyful national pride and fostered a healthy sense of national unity and mission. Because they regarded themselves as guardians of their nation's cultural heritage, they opposed liberal, modernistic trends in music and the other arts as degenerate assaults against the cultural-spiritual traditions of Germany and the West.
Russian officials have ordered libraries to remove books by well-known British historians John Keegan and Antony Beevor, saying they promote Nazi-era stereotypes, a spokeswoman said Wednesday. The move is part of a broader official push in Russia that is seeing school curricula and textbooks reshaped to cut out alleged foreign influences and provide a Kremlin-backed narrative of history ... Both Keegan, who died in 2012, and Beevor are reputed military historians with a focus on World War II ... Beevor's award-winning bestsellers, particularly "Berlin: The Downfall 1945", have been criticised in Russia for focusing on atrocities committed by the advancing Red Army. Sverdlovsk officials claimed that unspecified books by the authors "propagate stereotypes formed during the Third Reich" ...
Over the past 24 hours I have been receiving slightly ironic congratulations by email from fellow historians. They were prompted by the order from the Ministry of Education in the Yekaterinburg region of Russia to withdraw all my books from schools and colleges. They are to be removed “from the access of students and teaching staff”. (It is interesting that teaching staff are not to be allowed to make up their own minds.) I am accused of “promoting stereotypes formed during the Third Reich” and developing the “propaganda myth” of Joseph Goebbels that Red Army soldiers committed mass rapes of German women. In some ways I am amazed that it has taken them so long.
Last week, Romania made Holocaust denial illegal. President Klaus Iohannis signed the legislation into law on Wednesday, meaning that public denial of the systematic slaughter of Jews by Nazi Germany, along with a number of other offenses, would now be punishable by up to three years in prison. The move earned praise from the World Jewish Congress, an international federation of Jewish communities and organizations ... A large number of European nations, including Germany and France, have laws that prohibit Holocaust denial, as does Israel ... Yet there's also considerable disagreement over the logic behind bans on Holocaust denial. Such bans are incompatible with the concept of freedom of speech, for example ...
... Journalist Alison Weir has tirelessly investigated and reported on the history and realities of Israel’s dispossession and occupation of Palestine through her organization and website, If Americans Knew. Now, she has come under guilt-by-association attack by two umbrella organizations of the Palestinian Solidarity movement, Jewish Voice for Peace and US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, for granting interviews to “white supremacist, anti-Semitic” and “vile” radio shows ... Alison’s politically incorrect policy has been to disseminate salient facts to anyone, anywhere to achieve the broadest possible reach among American citizens, without political discrimination. The expelling organizations undoubtedly fear that the knowledge will feed anti-Semitism.
The world changed forever when a US bomber dropped the first atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima 70 years ago. The Americans said they took the drastic step to put an early end to World War II and save the lives of hundreds of thousands of US soldiers, but this official narrative is now being overturned ... Many historians say the bombings did not lead to the Japanese surrender, and the Soviet declaration of war on Japan two days later was a bigger shock .... America believed the shock and awe of the devastating power of the new bombs would force Japan into surrender, but experts say inside Japan it was viewed differently. The Americans had already destroyed 66 Japanese cities with a massive fire bombing campaign. In just one night, 100,000 civilians were killed in Tokyo.
The U.S. use of nuclear weapons against Japan during World War II has long been a subject of emotional debate ... The fact that Japan had 68 cities destroyed in the summer of 1945 poses a serious challenge for people who want to make the bombing of Hiroshima the cause of Japan’s surrender. The question is: If they surrendered because a city was destroyed, why didn’t they surrender when those other 66 cities were destroyed? ... The Soviet invasion invalidated the military’s decisive battle strategy, just as it invalidated the diplomatic strategy. At a single stroke, all of Japan’s options evaporated. The Soviet invasion was strategically decisive – it foreclosed both of Japan’s options – while the bombing of Hiroshima (which foreclosed neither) was not.
... The notion that the atomic bombs caused the Japanese surrender on Aug. 15, 1945, has been, for many Americans and virtually all U.S. history textbooks, the default understanding of how and why the war ended. But minutes of the meetings of the Japanese government reveal a more complex story. The latest and best scholarship on the surrender, based on Japanese records, concludes that the Soviet Union's unexpected entry into the war against Japan on Aug. 8 was probably an even greater shock to Tokyo than the atomic bombing of Hiroshima two days earlier ... As historian Tsuyoshi Hasegawa writes in his book "Racing the Enemy," "Indeed, Soviet attack, not the Hiroshima bomb, convinced political leaders to end the war."
The US has always insisted that the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were necessary to end World War Two ... The first President George Bush famously said that issuing an apology for Hiroshima would be "rank revisionism" and he would never do it ... Hiroshima was not a military target. The crew of the Enola Gay did not aim at the docks, or large industrial facilities. Their target was the geographical centre of the city ... Americans were told a sanitised narrative of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: that a great scientific endeavour had brought quick victory, and saved hundreds of thousands of lives on both sides.
... This first use of a nuclear weapon by any nation has long divided Americans and Japanese. Americans have consistently approved of this attack and have said it was justified. The Japanese have not. But opinions are changing: Americans are less and less supportive of their use of atomic weapons ... In 1945, a Gallup poll immediately after the bombing found that 85% of Americans approved of using the new atomic weapon on Japanese cities ... But a 2015 Pew Research Center survey finds that the share of Americans who believe the use of nuclear weapons was justified is now 56%, with 34% saying it was not.
There’s been so much dramatic news these days – from Greece’s miseries to Iran, China from blowhard Donald Trump – that the shocking story of how America’s National Security Agency has been spying on German and French leadership has gone almost unnoticed ... Humiliating Europe’s leaders in this fashion is a gift to the growing numbers of Europeans who believe their nations are being treated by the US as vassal states ... Many Germans and French, both right and left, would like their leaders to react more forcefully to NSA’s ham-handed spying. However, Mrs Merkel and President Holland are both political jellyfish eager to evade any confrontation with Big Brother in Washington. Maybe he has too much dirt on them. But a confrontation is inevitable one day if Europe is to regain its true independence that was lost after World War II.
Barack Obama and John Kerry are playing with fire. They presumably want Congress and the American public to accept the nuclear agreement they and five other governments struck with Iran, but they work against their own objective by accepting the false premise of their opponents: namely, that Iran's regime is untrustworthy, dangerous, bent on becoming a nuclear power -- and containable only by a U.S. readiness to wage war. Who knows if the president and secretary of state really believe this? But they ought to know that this premise is wrong ... It would be better for Obama and Kerry to tell the truth for once: Iran has not been seeking a nuclear bomb. This has long been well-understood by American and Israeli intelligence and military agencies.
... A big part of the problem is that the Obama administration is not going to do anything to refute the extremist view of Iran as determined to get nuclear weapons. Instead the administration is integrating the idea of Iran as rogue nuclear state into its messaging on the agreement ... The common assumption about Iran’s nuclear policy is never debated or even discussed because it is so firmly entrenched in the political discourse by now that there is no need to discuss it ... The Obama administration accepted from day one the narrative about the Iranian nuclear programme that the Israelis and their American allies had crafted during the Bush administration ... The entire Bush-Israeli narrative was false, however. It ignored or suppressed fundamental historical facts that contradicted it, as this writer found from deeper research on the issue ...
... India was governed for the benefit of Britain. Britain's rise for 200 years was financed by its depredations in India. By the end of the 19th Century, India was Britain's biggest cash-cow, the world's biggest purchaser of British exports and the source of highly paid employment for British civil servants - all at India's own expense. We literally paid for our own oppression ... As Britain ruthlessly exploited India, between 15 and 29 million Indians died tragically unnecessary deaths from starvation. The last large-scale famine to take place in India was under British rule; none has taken place since ... Some four million Bengalis died in the Great Famine of 1943 after Winston Churchill deliberately ordered the diversion of food from starving Indian civilians to well-supplied British soldiers and European stockpiles.
... Bose was favorably impressed with the discipline and organizational strength of fascism as early as 1930, when he first expressed support for a synthesis of fascism and socialism. During his stays in Europe during the 1930s, he was deeply moved by the dynamism of the two major "fascist" powers, Italy and Germany. After observing these regimes first-hand, he developed a political ideology of his own that, he was convinced, could bring about the liberation of India and the total reconstruction of Indian society along vaguely authoritarian-socialist lines.
... Germany persuaded European leaders to rally more firmly around what might be called the Berlin consensus by a combination of patient diplomacy and clever brinkmanship and by exploiting alarm over the antics of Greece's leaders, numerous participants in the crisis talks recounted in interviews. It was a victory, many of those participants acknowledge, that reflected the politics of today's Europe rather than a viable plan to help Greece's economy in the short run ... Germany has long been known as Europe's "reluctant hegemon," for its reluctance to be too assertive in diplomacy given its history of militarism. But the unique circumstances of the Greek crisis, especially since the start of this year, have helped make it a country that is both a little less reluctant and a little more of a hegemon.
... The way the Israeli leadership and the public have reacted to Mr. Pollard’s 30-year imprisonment is an excellent example of their profound misunderstanding of American values and thinking ... The Israelis who employed Mr. Pollard also failed to take into account the risk he posed to the American Jewish community, which was subsequently suspected of disloyalty ... When the case blew up, the Israelis did the opposite of what was needed to placate the furious American administration — they continued lying and concealing essential facts from the F.B.I. investigators who came to Tel Aviv ... Israelis must realize, even if 30 years too late, that Americans see Mr. Pollard as a traitor of the worst kind and that celebrating his release will only further harm Israel’s already strained relations with America.
Dr. Ron Paul has written many books but I would highly recommend his latest, Swords into Plowshares: A Lifetime in Wartime and a Future of Peace and Prosperity, for those who are particularly interested in how his political views developed and what his assessment of today’s political landscape might be. As the title suggests, the focus of the book is on turning America’s apparent love affair with foreign wars into something much more responsible, notably a nation self-confident and secure enough to desist from intervening in other peoples’ quarrels and turning instead to the development of the type of liberty rich republic envisioned by our country’s founders.
Associated Press, in company with British Movietone, has released a million minutes of historic world news on to two YouTube channels. The collection of more than 550,000 digitised video stories dates from 1895 to the present day and it is claimed to be the largest upload of historical news content on the video-sharing platform. AP says in a press release that the two channels will act as a view-on-demand visual encyclopedia to offer “a unique perspective on the most significant moments of modern history.” The collection records the moments, people and events that have shaped the world.
... The Eagle is the flagship of the Coast Guard, and the only tall ship on active service in the US military. Since 1946 every single new cadet undergoing officer training has begun his or her career by learning to sail on her - the old way ... The Eagle has hosted Presidents Kennedy, Nixon and Truman, and circumnavigated the globe as a kind of floating ambassador for US diplomatic relations ... Hitler was present at her launch and Rudolf Hess gave a speech. She was christened "Horst Wessel" after the storm trooper "hero" whose song Horst-Wessel-Lied became an anthem of the Third Reich. The eagle on her prow was the Nazi Party's eagle, the Parteiadler ... It transpires that when the Allied commanders sat round the table in 1946 to divide up the spoils from the German fleet they did so by drawing names from a hat.
Without any formal announcement from Washington, the United States became further militarily committed to the civil war in Syria last week. It was reported that the first wave of a few dozen U.S.-trained Syrian rebels had crossed the Jordanian border into Syria on July 12. They were reportedly instructed to integrate themselves into other rebel units in order to increase the opposition forces’ overall combat effectiveness ... This consequential development is one of the many barely noticed examples of missioncreep that have unfolded since the fight against the self-declared Islamic State began last summer. However, this latest step is unique in that it has occurred without the Obama administration offering any clarification of important questions posed by Congressional overseers over the past ten months.
... The evidence seems to show that US military interventions create more jihadists (for example, as documented by journalists in Yemen) or new and worse groups (the US invasion created al Qaeda in Iraq, which morphed into ISIS). ... Since World War II, US interventions have made often things worse through unintended consequences and have put a bull’s eye on American targets for retaliatory attacks. If the United States would tone down its policy in the Middle East and the broader Islamic world, radical Islamists would not go away – they have always been there – but they would be far less likely to attack US targets – as the example of Lebanon indicates.
Israel has opened its borders with Syria in order to provide medical treatment to Nusra Front and al-Qaida fighters wounded in the ongoing civil war, according to The Wall Street Journal. The prominent American newspaper reported that Nusra Front, the Sunni Muslim al-Qaida offshoot which is currently fighting the Iranian-backed axis of Bashar Assad and Hezbollah, "hasn't bothered Israel since seizing the border area last summer" along the Golan Heights. While Israel views al-Qaida and its allies as enemies, it is far more disturbed by what it views as an even bigger menace – Iran and its proxies.
... The fundamentals of American foreign policy approach have not changed. In the Middle East, it is governed by two overriding variables: one, economic – oil, gas, and strategic control, and influence over countries that produce such essentials to the US and global economy – and Israel. Unlike other US allies in the region, Israel has managed to break away from the role of client regime into a party that has tremendous influence over US policies ... US foreign policy in the Middle East has lost every sense of direction for years. It seemed to have no clear purpose, aside from fighting for political relevance and it was marred with contradictions. With time, it became indefinable, a fact that historians will find difficult to expound or explain.
The polls are in: a majority of Americans supports President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. But, in what is emerging as a significant new element of the political landscape, the millennial generation (those born between 1980 and 1997 [ages 18-35]) is by far the most supportive, with 65 percent for the deal compared with 55 percent of older Americans in a recent Cato/YouGov poll. The millennials’ attitudes toward the deal bolster the findings from our recent study of millennials’ foreign policy attitudes, published by the Cato Institute. Compared with their elders, millennials view the world as less threatening, are more supportive of international cooperation and diplomacy, and are far more averse to the use of military force.
The majority of American Jews maintain strong support of the Iran nuclear agreement, a poll released Tuesday by the American lobbying group J Street indicates. The poll, which was conducted among 1,000 adults who identify as Jewish, found that 60 percent of those questioned said they supported the agreement that aims to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions in exchange for the lifting of US and international sanctions ... The latest results indicate that American Jewish support of the agreement exceeds that of the general US population.
Illinois on Thursday became the first U.S. state to divest its public pension funds from companies that boycott Israel. Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the historic legislation into law as Jewish community leaders and the consul general of Israel to the Midwest, Roey Gilad, looked on. “We need to stand up to anti-Semitism whenever and wherever we see it,” Rauner said in a statement ... Rauner thanked state Sen. Ira Silverstein and state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, both Chicago Democrats, for sponsoring the legislation, which the Illinois legislature passed unanimously this spring.