My Mideast Punchlines: memories….

Iran announced Saturday that its military “unintentionally” shot down the Ukrainian jetliner that crashed earlier this week outside Tehran, killing all 176 aboard, after the government had repeatedly denied Western accusations that it was responsible.

A military statement carried by Iranian state media said the plane was mistaken for a “hostile target” after it turned toward a “sensitive military centre” of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The military was at its “highest level of readiness,” it said, amid the heightened tensions with the United States.

biffThis incident inevitably brought back personal memories for me. As a freelance journalist way back in October, 1973, I was aboard the first El Al plane to fly to Israel following the outbreak of the Yom Kippur war. Accompanying me were Yael and our baby son, Max. Yael wanted to be with her parents. Five of her six brothers were fighting on various fronts. It was a night flight, and we were told to keep the cabin window shutters lowered. Of course, we were aware that we could be shot down. Egypt’s SAMs (surface-to-air missiles) were not as accurate as today’s, but they still managed to down 102 Israeli warplanes. However, we had inordinate faith in Israel to protect us. Once over the eastern Mediterranean, I peeked out of my window. Reassuringly, we were being shepherded by Israeli jet fighters into a blacked out Ben Gurion airport. The mood was sombre. Many passengers were ex-pat reservists voluntarily returning to their units. Some would not survive the war. They were the real heroes.

My Mideast Punchlines: the price of martyrdom…

Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah warned Sunday that the assassination of IRGC-Quds Force Commander Qassem Solemani marked a new era in the Middle East and that the response will be “just punishment” for the crime.

According to Nasrallah, “Soleimani got what he sought on that night: Martyrdom. This was his wish since he was a young man, when he first fought on the front lines in Iran.

“Desire for martyrdom flips the balance of power between us and the enemy. The enemy’s highest punishment against us is to kill us, but our highest desire is to be martyrs. So, we cannot be defeated. When we are victorious, we are victorious. When we are martyred, we also triumph.”

biff“Uncle” Hassan needs to be reminded that there is a major difference between a suicide bomber and someone who is blown to bits by surprise. In order to save his John Thomas for use with the promised 72 virgins, the suicide bomber bandages his penis. Preparation, you see, is everything. So, Uncle, being a eunuch in the afterlife is not much of an attraction to your average martyr, is it? In the West, we think differently. When we are victorious, we are victorious. When we are martyred, we are…..dead.

My Mideast Punchlines: point-scoring…

President Trump has warned the US is “targeting” 52 Iranian sites and will strike “very fast and very hard” if Tehran attacks Americans or US assets.

The president’s remarks followed the US assassination of Qasem Soleimani, a top Iranian general, in a drone strike.

Writing on Twitter, Mr Trump accused Iran of “talking very boldly about targeting certain USA assets”.

He said the US had identified 52 Iranian sites, some “at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture”, and warned they would be “HIT VERY FAST AND HARD” if Tehran struck at the US.

On Saturday the White House sent the US Congress formal notification of Friday’s drone strike – in line with a 1973 law that states the administration must alert Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to immediate or imminent military action.

It was expected to clarify the authority under which the strike was launched, and the expected type and duration of military involvement. The notification is classified.

Nancy Pelosi, the top Congressional Democrat and Speaker of the House of Representatives, said it “prompts serious and urgent questions about the timing, manner and justification of the administration’s decision to engage in hostilities against Iran”.

biffWell, Madam Speaker, you don’t have to wait for President Trump’s response. I can answer those question for you. Timing: perfect; manner: exemplary; justification? For God’s sake, woman, don’t you care about the deaths of hundreds of Americans over the years by the Tehran regime? Don’t you care that Soleimani was plotting “imminent and sinister attacks” on US diplomats and military personnel in Iraq and elsewhere in the region? Or is partisan point-scoring the only thing you truly care about? No need to reply. We already know the answer.

My Mideast Punchlines: donkeys…

The United States moved to the brink of war with Iran this morning, assassinating Qassem Soleimani, the Islamic Republic’s celebrated military leader, along with a key ally in an airstrike on Baghdad.

Nikki Haley, President Trump’s former UN ambassador and regarded as a Republican successor, said that General Soleimani was “an arch terrorist with American blood on his hands,” adding, “his demise should be be applauded by all who seek peace and justice,” she tweeted. “Proud of President Trump for doing the strong and right thing.”

biffPredictably, the oleaginous Mohammed Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, called the assassinations “rogue adventurism”. Of course, in his eyes, Iranian attacks on Americans are purely altruistic. Soleimani was an icon in Iran, so expect a raucous funeral with lots of beating of chests and wailing by the rent-a-crowd. Judging by the Corbynesque reactions of some Democrats in the United States, one felt they had more sympathy with the Iranians than with their country’s own actions. Indeed, one of them went so far as to say that the U.S. should be wary of taking out political leaders of other countries. Sorry, but the recently-expired general was a military man who followed  orders from his political leader, Ayatollah Khomenei. Soleiman’s uniform was a clue. Still, one can’t expect anything other than knee-jerk reactions by Democrats against Trump. Meanwhile, I leave you with an Iranian metaphor which aptly sums up those Democrats, as well as the ever-smiling Zarif. Kireh Khar has myriad meanings, from reaction to a prank, or to a noise or something else that’s troublesome. It can make people laugh or start a bloody fight. In this case, I want to start a bloody fight. What does it mean? Well, Kireh means penis and Khar means donkey. Zarif and all those in the West who are apologists for the Iranian regime, each and every one of you is a Kireh Khar.

My Mideast Punchlines: secrets and lies…

The founder of an Egyptian publishing house was sentenced to five years in prison for “divulging military secrets” in translating and distributing an Arabic version of an Israeli novel, his brother said Tuesday.

The novel, entitled “The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel,” by Israeli writer Uri Bar-Joseph, portrays Ashraf Marwan, the son-in-law of former Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, as a spy for the Jewish state.

Marwan has been credited in Israel with telling Mossad head Zvi Zamir about a coming surprise attack on Yom Kippur 1973, though the warning was ultimately ignored and Israel was caught off guard.

A 2018 film based on the book, titled “The Angel,” was met with outrage by Egyptian media, which slated it as a manipulation of history.

Marwan, who also worked as an adviser to president Anwar Sadat after the death of Nasser in 1970, died in 2007 in London in mysterious circumstances. Egyptian authorities arranged a grand funeral and Marwan was hailed as a hero.

biffFirstly, with both Israel and Egypt regarding Marwan (who “fell” from the balcony of his fifth floor apartment) as a hero, one of them has to be wrong. My bet’s on the camel jockeys. Secondly, it’s hard to see what secrets would be relevant after so many years. Thirdly, the secrets have already been exposed in the Israeli version, so it’s a case of closing the door after the horse, or in this case camel, has bolted. And while we’re involving animals, the Arabs have a saying:  a secret is like a dove: when it leaves my hand it takes wing. Finally, of course, a military dictator like al-Sisi hardly needs an excuse to lock up anyone. To him, lies and truth are one and the same. 


My Mideast Punchlines: hummus wars…

The Shin Bet announced on December 18 that it arrested approximately 50 members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), ending the investigation into the August 23 terror attack that killed 17-year-old Rina Shnerb and revealing the organisation’s ties to BDS, JNS reported. Shnerb’s brother and father, both of whom were with her during the explosion were injured, but survived.

One of those arrested was Khalida Jarrar, who is said to be the head of the terror group’s operations in the West Bank, served as the vice chairperson, director and board member of the BDS organisation Addameer, according to JNS. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement calls on the world to put pressure on Israel through economic, academic and cultural measures.

In a report entitled, “Terrorists in Suits,” Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs revealed that Hamas and PFLP members invaded organisations involved in BDS, according to JNS. The report stated that 30 terrorists, 20 of whom were imprisoned for their crimes, held senior positions in the 13 BDS organisations that were investigated. More than 100 connections between terror organisations and BDS were uncovered.

Meanwhile, a resolution banning the popular Sabra hummus brand from Dickinson College of Carlisle, Pennsylvania (pop. 19,196) has been passed by the Student Senate, as reported December 5 by news editor Lianna Brown (class of ‘22) in The Dickinsonian.

Sabra brand hummus has been targeted by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) list on many college campuses since 2010, including Swarthmore College, University of Manchester, and University of California Riverside.  Like at Dickinson, the claim for removing Sabra hummus originates from the BDS movement, which cites ownership of Sabra by two independent global food companies, US-based PepsiCo, and Strauss Group, based in Israel.

biffWell, waddya know, Hamas and hummus, two sides of the same plate. In light of US President Donald Trumps’s recent executive order calling on government departments enforcing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism, students on campus now have recourse and universities and colleges accepting federal support will need to examine their policies to consider whether campus activities potentially make them vulnerable to lawsuits. I can just picture it in court: exhibit A, your honour, a plate of hummus.

My Mideast Punchlines: a sicko for thickos…..

Irish Times journalist Kitty Holland reached a new nadir when she tweeted that the UK election result was a “great result for Zionism. Monsters are roaring their delight”.

Within minutes of the publication of this post, Holland deleted her tweet. Contrition is not normally one of her strong points.

Irish Times journalist Kitty Holland was the recipient of “Most Bigoted Journalist” in HonestReporting’s 2015 Dishonest Reporting Awards for a Twitter exchange where HonestReporting raised a genuine issue which ended with Holland declaring that she was “Not interacting with Zionists anymore.”

In 2018, she was caught tweeting an old and previously discredited fake news story from a fringe media outlet in order to stir up anti-Israel hate.

So, while it’s shocking, it’s not surprising that this is her response to the results of the UK General Election that saw an overwhelming defeat for the institutionally antisemitic Labour party of Jeremy Corbyn:

As HonestReporting says, if you are going to demonize Jews and Israelis, what better way of doing so than describing them as ‘monsters’?

biffThe Irish Times should be ashamed that one of its prominent journalists should be tweeting this atrocious filth. But, of course, it’s not. It’s just pandering to all those thick Irishmen and women who support the Palestinian cause just because their flag also has green in it. Now, did I ever tell you the one about the Irishman who….

My Mideast Punchlines: professors, curb your enthusiasm…

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz praised US President Donald Trump on Wednesday ahead of his expected issuance of an executive order (EO) on Wednesday invoking Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to fight antisemitic rhetoric on college campuses.

The new executive order would also label Judaism as a nationality in addition to a religion, so it would fall into the category of Title VI and, according to Katz, “enable a more effective fight against the anti-Israel boycott movement on campus.

“I congratulate US President Donald Trump on his intention to sign a presidential order to combat antisemitism on US university and college campuses and to prevent funding from going to those institutions that will not prevent antisemitism,” Katz continued.

The move will also direct federal-funded agencies to consider the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism in cases of discrimination.

“I urge more countries to adopt similar measures,” Katz said.
biffWell, folks, as I have often said, Jews judge people by their actions and not simply by their words. Trump has proven once again that he is no anti-Semite (a smear manufactured by the Democrats). Indeed, by taking this action, he is countering one of the most insidious aspects of left-wing progressive education — the attempt to brainwash a whole generation of students into regarding Israel as a pariah state. As they say, control the mind of the child and you control the mind of the adult. The message to recalcitrant professors is clear: curb your enthusiasm for anti-Semitic rhetoric, or you might end up in jail.

My Mideast Punchlines: O Canada….

Former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley condemned Canada for voting in favour of an anti-Israel General Assembly resolution claiming that in their actions the government made a “deal with the devil.”

Haley made the proclamation at the UN Watch Gala in New York City on Thursday, adding that Canada is “trading its integrity for a seat on the Security Council” by using the vote to damage the State of Israel, according to the Algemeiner.

“Two weeks ago, Canada surprised Israel’s friends by voting for a North Korean resolution that challenges the legitimacy of Israel,” Haley said. “This is a resolution that Canadian governments for years have voted against.”

She described the monthly UN Security Council meetings as a “monthly Israel bashing session” and explained that the group consists of a “culture of bullies” who fail to live up to its expected character.

“If we want to talk about security in the Middle East, we should talk about Iran or Syria or Hezbollah or Hamas or ISIS or the famine in Yemen,” Haley explained. “There are about ten major problems facing the Middle East, and Israel doesn’t have anything to do with any of them.”

“Many encouraged us to remain on the council because the United States, they said, provided the last shred of credibility the Human Rights Council had,” Haley concluded. “And that was precisely why we decided to leave. The United States should not lend any credibility to this cesspool of political hypocrisy and corruption.”

biffNikki Haley, bless her, has a wonderful way  with words. Just roll “cesspool” around your tongue a few times. What word could better describe the apology that is the UN? And now Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has turned himself into a Newfie (Canadians make fun of Newfoundlanders the way Brits make fun of the Irish). In the immortal words of John McEnroe: Monsieur, vous ne peux pas être sérieux.


My Mideast Punchlines: non-conventional…

Tehran on Friday accused Israel of testing a nuclear-capable missile “aimed at Iran,” after the Defence Ministry carried out a launch of what it described as a “test of a rocket propulsion system.”

“Israel today tested a nuke-missile, aimed at Iran,” tweeted Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

“E3 & US never complain about the only nuclear arsenal in West Asia — armed with missiles actually DESIGNED to be capable of carrying nukes — but has fits of apoplexy over our conventional & defensive ones,” he said.

biffEr, excuse me, conventional? The ever-smiling Zarif’s comments came a day after France, Germany and the United Kingdom said “Iran’s developments of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles” go against a UN Security Council resolution calling on Tehran not to undertake any activity related to such missiles. Shamefully, there are still many who are trying to give Tehran the benefit of any doubt. I remind them of the Iranian proverb, a blind man who sees is better than a sighted man who is blind. We, of course, say, there are none so blind….Same message. There are even those in the West who, instead of doubling down on sanctions against Tehran, want to release huge amounts of cash into the Iranian coffers in return for not very much. Suffice to remind them of another apposite Iranian proverb: a stone thrown at the right time is better than gold given at the wrong time.