Archive | March 30th, 2015

What legitimacy does I$raHell have to be de-legitimised?

NOVANEWS

By Ibrahim Hewitt 

Southampton University is hosting a conference next month which has stirred a whole raft of  Zionist anger. “International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism” is, say its detractors, “anti-Semitic” and will, according to one British MP, “de-legitimise the existence of a democratic state”. Ah, is that the same “democratic state” wherein one-fifth of its citizens face official discrimination on a daily basis and the de-legitimisation of their culture, identity and existence in their own land?

Without wishing to pre-empt what the speakers at the conference are likely to say, this issue of “de-legitimisation” of Israel is fascinating, not least because it presupposes that the state has legitimacy in the first place. Accusations that Southampton’s examination of this topic will actually “legitimise anti-Semitism” are part of the usual smokescreen put up by the pro-Israel lobby in order to kill any discussion of Israel’s contempt for international laws and conventions.

During World War One, the British authorities, through the High Commissioner in Cairo, Sir Henry McMahon, conveyed a number of messages to Sherif Husain of Makkah promising “the Arabs” a Caliphate and the protection of the Holy Places in Makkah, Madinah and Jerusalem. Post-1917 Britain’s promises began to look even less likely to be fulfilled, with the issue of the infamous Balfour Declaration promising support for a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine, “it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine…” That clause has been ignored completely ever since, with everything possible being done to expel the “non-Jewish communities” from their land in Palestine; the process continues to this day.

When Zionist leader Chaim Wiezmann arrived in Palestine in 1918, “he warned the British against the application of the democratic system as it ‘does not take into account the superiority of the Jew to the Arab…’” Wiezmann’s racism underpins the institutional racism of the “democratic state” whose existence is so beloved of the British MP noted above (and, it must be said, the prime minister, most of the British cabinet and far too many other MPs).

In the “recommendations of the King-Crane Commission with regard to Syria-Palestine and Iraq” presented to US President Woodrow Wilson in August 1919, it is stated that “a national home for the Jewish people is not equivalent to making Palestine into a Jewish State; nor can the erection of such a Jewish State be accomplished without the gravest trespass upon the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.” As such, “the extreme Zionist programme for Palestine of unlimited immigration of Jews… must be greatly modified”. A subsequent resolution of the US Congress in 1922 again reaffirmed the commitment for a “Jewish national home” not to damage the rights of the existing population of Palestine. This recurring theme has been ignored ever since.

The following year, King George V sent a message “To the people of Palestine” and, again, they were promised that the “national home for the Jewish People… will not in any way affect the civil or religious rights or diminish the prosperity of the general population of Palestine.” The man charged with passing on that message was Britain’s first High Commissioner for Palestine, Sir Herbert Samuel, “a British Jew sympathetic to the Zionist cause”. Samuel distributed public lands to Jews and fixed a quota of 16,500 Jewish immigrants to Palestine in the first year of his administration, “in addition to the flourishing illegal Jewish immigrants who poured into the country with forged documents and disappeared in the Jewish settlements”. The die was cast.

The League of Nations Mandate given to Britain more or less affirmed the intention to create this by now capitalised “National Home” for Jews in Palestine. It has been said that the British government sought this “legal and ‘constitutional’ cover” in order to be able to “plant and alien entity in the heart of the Arab World for its own strategic colonial plans and needs.” When the League’s successor, the United Nations, put forward a resolution to partition Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab, it was overlooked that the UN Charter gives it no powers or right to create new countries.

“Israel is the only country in the world which was created by a ‘recommendation’ of the UN,” wrote Zafarul-Islam Khan in his book “Palestine Documents”. When, however, UN mediator Count Folke Bernadotte was sent to sort out the resultant “mess” he was assassinated by the Stern Gang, “a Jewish terrorist group whose leader went on to become prime minister of Israel.”

The UN Partition Plan was rejected by the Palestinians and Arab states, who argued that the League of Nations Mandate over Palestine came to an end when the organisation itself was dissolved in April 1946. On the basis of the UN Charter, the Palestinians, it was argued by Henry Cattan on their behalf, should have been granted independence; it was, he said, their “natural and alienable” right. This was rejected.

The partition plan gave most of historic Palestine to the Jewish state even though Jews owned just 6 per cent of the land; in the subsequent ethnic cleansing and so-called “war of independence”, the nascent state of Israel took even more land, having reneged on a deal that had been struck with Jordan’s King Abdullah, the present king’s grandfather.

Israel has never declared what its borders are, the only member state of the United Nations not to do so. Indeed, its membership of the UN was made conditional upon it allowing Palestinian refugees to return to their land. Not only has Israel ignored that condition (along with almost every other UN resolution ever since, despite being a creation of the international body) but it has also obliterated all trace of more than 530 towns and villages which once had a Palestinian population. A glance at the maps of “Palestine” from 1948 onwards show that it has virtually been subsumed by Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent disavowal of a two-state solution and the existence of a state of Palestine should not have been a surprise to anyone. Israel and its founding ideology of Zionism have a greed for more land in order to fulfil the aim of “Greater Israel”, from the Mediterranean to the River Jordan and even beyond. There never was any support for a state of Palestine and probably never will be, not in any meaningful sense, anyway. The people who said that the negotiations and “peace process” were a farce have been right all along.

The question remains therefore: what legitimacy does Israel have? It will be interesting to see what the conference in Southampton next month comes up with. That is, of course, if the Zionist lobby and its twisted views of free speech and democracy is unable to have it cancelled. Justice and freedom demand that they fail in their quest.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on What legitimacy does I$raHell have to be de-legitimised?

BANGLADESH: Second blogger hacked to death

NOVANEWS

By three Muslims because of his anti-Islam writings

keyboard-file

Blogger Washiqur Rahman Babu, 26, was hacked to death with meat cleavers by three attackers in Bangladesh’s capital because of his anti-Islamic writings. Babu was declared dead as he was taken to a government hospital shortly after being attacked in Dhaka.

NO, Muslims aren't good for freedom an democracy anywhere

The killing took place a month after a prominent Bangladeshi-American blogger known for speaking out against extremism was hacked to death in Dhaka. Two of the attackers were caught near the scene, police said.

Two suspects, both students at Islamic schools, were captured and three meat cleavers were recovered, Sarker said. The third suspect fled, he said. One of the suspects told reporters they attacked Babu because he had disrespected Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

“I stabbed him because he humiliated my prophet,” said Jikrullah, a 20-year-old student at Hathajari Madrassah in the southeastern district of Chittagong, without elaborating. Jikrullah said he travelled from Chittagong and stayed overnight at a mosque to attack Babu.

The other detained suspect, Ariful Islam, also 20, is a student at an Islamic school in Dhaka’s Mirpur area. They named a third suspect, but details about him were not available.

Jikrullah and Ariful Islam, two of the three attackers suspected of killing blogger Washiqur Rahman Babu

Jikrullah and Ariful Islam, two of the three attackers suspected of killing blogger Washiqur Rahman Babu

It was not immediately known what kind of blogging Babu did, but the suspects told police they targeted him for anti-Islamic writings, Sarker said.

Two of Babu’s cousins told reporters at Dhaka Medical College Hospital, where his body was being kept, that he recently joined a travel agency in Dhaka after finishing his studies, and they were not aware of any blogging he had done.

The body of Bangladeshi blogger Washiqur Rahman lies in a morgue at Dhaka Medical College in Dhaka after he was hacked to death
The body of Bangladeshi blogger Washiqur Rahman lies in a morgue at Dhaka Medical College in Dhaka after he was hacked to death

Local media reported that Babu had a Facebook page that contained the line “Iamavijit,” meaning he was a follower of Avijit Roy, the Bangladeshi-American blogger who was hacked to death late last month.

Roy, a Bangladesh-born U.S. citizen, died after being attacked at Dhaka University as he was leaving a book fair with his wife. A previously unknown militant group, Ansar Bangla 7, claimed responsibility for the attack. Detectives have arrested one suspect in the case, and the FBI is helping with the investigation.

bangladesh-american-blogger-hacked-to-death-with-machetes-by-muslims-for-his-anti-islam-writings

u-s-state-department-spokesbimbo-has-no-idea-why-an-anti-islamic-extremism-american-blogger-was-hacked-to-death-in-the-streets-of-bangladesh

 

Posted in South AsiaComments Off on BANGLADESH: Second blogger hacked to death

No decision on joining military campaign in Yemen before KSA visit

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An image taken on March 29, 2015 shows a burnt petrol station in Yemen's second city of Aden. — AFP
An image taken on March 29, 2015 shows a burnt petrol station in Yemen’s second city of Aden. — AFP
A Pakistani man hugs a family, evacuated from Yemen, on their arrival at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Islamabad on March 30, 2015. — AFP
A Pakistani man hugs a family, evacuated from Yemen, on their arrival at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Islamabad on March 30, 2015. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: As a high-level defence delegation is scheduled to leave for Saudi Arabia, a security official told Reuters that there would be no decision on joining the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen before the visit.

“There can be no decision (on joining the military campaign) before the delegation’s visit,” one official said.

The team, led by Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and Adviser to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on National Affairs and Foreign Security Sartaj Aziz, was due to leave either on Monday or in the next few days, security officials told Reuters.

Pakistan evacuated about 500 of its nationals by plane from Yemen on Sunday during a brief pause in air strikes by the Saudi-led military coalition against Shia Muslim Houthi forces, a Saudi military spokesman said.

Read more: Around 500 stranded Pakistanis return from Yemen

He said there were already around 750-800 Pakistani servicemen in Saudi Arabia but none were combat troops.

He declined to comment about their duties and it was not immediately clear what kind of military support Saudi Arabia was seeking.

Pakistan is a regional ally of Saudi Arabia, the main Sunni Muslim power in the Gulf, but has yet to commit itself publicly to military support to Riyadh’s campaign in Yemen.

“Saudi Arabia had always helped Pakistan like an elder brother,” Asif told a seminar in Lahore shown on television channels. “Pakistan will extend all support to Saudi Arabia if the country’s security is threatened.”

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in a telephone call with Saudi King Salman on Saturday, offered “all potentials of the Pakistan army”, media quoted the Saudi Press Agency as saying.

Take a look: Nawaz assures Saudi King Salman of Pakistan Army support

Posted in Pakistan & Kashmir, Saudi Arabia, YemenComments Off on No decision on joining military campaign in Yemen before KSA visit

Yemen crisis: Don’t bring the war to my home

NOVANEWS
SULEMAN AKHTAR 
It is probably the time to ponder why all the Muslim cities that have diverse populations are burning.—Photo by Online
It is probably the time to ponder why all the Muslim cities that have diverse populations are burning.—Photo by Online

Last time it happened, the Saudis sided with Zaidi Imam Muhammad al-Badr.

It was the year 1962, when revolutionaries inspired by ideas of Arab nationalism deposed the last king of Mutawakilite Kingdom of Yemen, Muhammad al-Badr, and put an end to the rule of Zaidi Imams who had been kings of Yemen for the most part of past one thousand years.

Inspired by socialist ideals, Arab nationalism had emerged as a potent ideology around the Arab world and Yemen was no exception. Jamal Abdel Nasser, the then socialist Egyptian president, backed the republicans in Yemen through military support while Saudis, along with Britain, supported the deposed Zaidi king who spearheaded insurgency against the new government.

Not many people outside Yemen know about the Zaidi sect of Islam that exists in the southern part of Arabian Peninsula.

The Zaidiyyah, who are also known as ‘Fivers’, are named after Zaid ibn Ali, the grandson of Hussain ibn Ali. Zaidis follow the jurisprudence that is more similar to Hanafi school as compared to the ‘Twelver’ Shia school of jurisprudence.

Houthis, mostly Zaidis, started as a theological movement in 1992 and spearheaded insurgency in 2004 against the then president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who himself belongs to the Zaidi sect. The Houthis, along with students and Joint Meeting Parties, participated in 2011 Yemeni revolution that followed the Tunisian revolution.

In 1962, Zaidi Shias were friends while nationalists, socialists, and communists were pronounced as foes by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In 2015, they have been declared as foes and an imminent danger to Saudi sovereignty and territorial integrity.

It is most convenient to paint the whole conflict with broad brushstrokes of Shia/Sunni and Arab/Ajam binaries while ignoring the role of imperial baggage, complex socio-political realities, and all-powerful ruling Arab dynasties.

Also see: Bad Saudi vibes

These simplistic binaries serve as a smokescreen to conceal the ulterior motives of ruling dynasties and autocratic regimes that have come down hard on voices of dissent in the wake of Arab Spring.

This is not a war waged by Sunnis against Shias nor is it the battle between Ajam and Arab – it is simply an act of dynastic self-preservation.

Not unlike the rest of the world, the Muslim world is not a monolith. Muslim societies are diverse on many different levels, with myriad divisions on national, ethnic, linguistic and sectarian lines. The majority of Muslims living in this world are neither Arab nor Persian. And if history has taught us anything, it is that identities cannot be stripped forcefully. It’s a bloody path to tread.

Pakistan is a country with a diverse population. People speak so many different languages, adhere to many different religious schools of thought, and come from different ethnic backgrounds. The state’s miscalculated adventures inside and outside the country have only exacerbated the sense of alienation in many of the communities here.

The state’s obsession with colouring the populace with the same ideological colour has gone terribly wrong.

Read: Foreign funding of militancy

Saudi Arabia and Iran are the only two Muslim majority states whose raison d’être is interlinked with particular Muslim sects. Former adheres to Wahabism, while latter adheres to Twelver Shi’ism.

Owing to the Pakistani state’s obsession with doing away with Indian identity and ideological tilting towards Arabs, Saudi Arabia wields a way more consequential influence over Pakistan.

According to one WikiLeaks cable, Saudi ambassador to the US once proudly asserted that, “we in Saudi Arabia are not observers in Pakistan, we are participants”.

After getting rid of British imperialism, there is a new kind of socio-cultural imperialism that has made inroads into Pakistani society: Arab imperialism

From the illegal funding of madrassahs and the TV evangelists to pop stars, to cricketers, to politicians, to language; the imprints are unmistakable. With each shrine that is blown up and every imambargah that is torched, there is a bit of indigenous Pakistan that dies silently.

Also read: My name is Pakistan and I’m not an Arab

Instead of becoming a part of another Saudi-led war, it is probably the time to ask all the right questions.

It is probably the time to ponder why all the Muslim cities that have diverse populations are burning.

It is probably time to reflect on why Beirut is in flames, and Cairo is bleeding, and Kabul is ravaged, and Aleppo is sacked, and Peshawar is crying, and Baghdad is bruised, and Sana’a is trembling. Why not Tehran, Riyadh, and Doha?

Instead of bringing another war home for the sake of a ruling dynasty, it is probably time to clean the blood and tears brought about by ‘strategic depth’.

Posted in Saudi Arabia, YemenComments Off on Yemen crisis: Don’t bring the war to my home

IDLIB:BRITISH LIARS CAUGHT AGAIN!

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IDLIB FIRMLY IN HANDS OF SYRIAN ARMY; BRITISH INEPT, AS USUAL

 

image: http://albaathmedia.sy/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/army3.jpg

army

IDLIB:  The lying has been followed to its source: Syrian Zionist Observatory for Human Blight.  That’s correct folks, the whole Zio-Wahhabi propaganda ploy was set up by MI6 in anticipation of a breakthrough at Idlib planned by incompetent English degenerates in Turkey.  The idea was to demoralize the SAA by floating this canard on the airwaves.  But, it didn’t work.

Once SOHR, run by convicted felon and professional liar, Zionist agent Rami ‘Abdul-Rahmaan, announced the lie that the Jihadist cannibals had overrun SAA positions in Idlib, other “news” sources like the patently Qatar-owned lie factory, Daily Star, announced the same with unbelievable misinformation such as Al-Raqqa being a provincial capital and the citizens escaping the city to avoid persecution by an angry Syrian government.   Other professional purveyors of baloney like Scott Lucas who runs a little-read site called eaworldview and teaches at some picayune college in England, and the hilariously awful Al-Bawaba, joined in the pro-terrorist chorus of nonsense to spread the falsehoods.

Here is what happened based on the best information we can gather:  Zio-Wahhabi terrorist assault on the northern edges of the city were all repelled by the SAA as we reported.  The purpose of the attacks to the northeast, northwest and east (at the Industrial Zone) were to cover up a large massing force of cannibals and savages to the south of the city.  That stratagem (no doubt concocted by the queer English) flopped when the MI people detected the movement of rodents to the south and alerted SAA Central Command.  The decision was then made to leave the defenses in the north and east to militia and reconfigure the army to the south in order to destroy the Nusra rodents concentrating there.  We do not deny that military outposts outside Idlib were abandoned by the SAA to the terrorist hyenas and plague-carrying rats.

The only area the RATS were able to penetrate was in Al-Husayniyya where the population was encouraged to evacuate lest they be subjected to the usual British-encouraged savagery such as decapitations and rape.  The people in that quarter were directed to the coast.  We can confirm their arrival in Latakia by our relatives who indicated some wariness about Idlibites and their history of support for fundamentalist Islam.

However, my impression was that they would be given shelter and treated well.  Almost all were women and children.   It is evident the men remained to help the SAA fight off the savages. I have received assurances that Al-Husayniyya will be reclaimed by the SAA.

Let me repeat, the BBC, for example, quoted only SOHR’s idiotic announcement.  The BBC has no independent source to confirm or disconfirm the western-concocted lie about Idlib.  Readers of SyrPer who swallowed the foolishness, hook-line-sinker, ought to reevaluate how they absorb information and regurgitate it – trolls included.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on IDLIB:BRITISH LIARS CAUGHT AGAIN!

2015 GENERAL ELECTION: A JEWISH MANIFESTO

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Image result for THE BOARD OF DEPUTIES OF BRITISH JEWS LOGO

The Board of Deputies of British Jews (historically London Board of Deputies and London Committee of Deputies of British Jews) is the main representative body of British Zionist. Established in London in 1760, when seven Deputies were appointed by the elders of the Sephardi congregation of Spanish and Portuguese Jews to form a standing committee and pay homage to George III on his accession to the throne; shortly thereafter the Ashkenazi Jewish congregation from Central and Eastern Europe similarly appointed their own “Secret Committee for Public Affairs” to deal with any urgent political matters that might arise, and safeguard the interests of British Zionist Jews as a religious community, both in the British Isles, and in the colonies. They soon began to meet together as occasions arose, and then on a more frequent basis; by the 1810s they appear to have united as one body.

The Board has since become a widely recognised forum for the views of the different sectors of the UK Zionist Jewish community.

Introduction__________________________________________3

The Ten Commitments  __________________________________4

Global jewish issues                                                                                                      6

Religious Freedom                                                                                                        7

Extremism, Antisemitism and Racism                                                                10

Community Relations ____________  ______________________13

Holocaust Issues          ___________________________________14

Israel and the Middle East _______________________________17

Jewish Life Cycle                                                                                                         22

Education                            _________________________________23 Youth______________________________________________26 Women_____________________________________________27 Welfare_____________________________________________27 Health and Social Care                         _________________________30

Jewish Cemeteries_____________________________________35

Jewish Values and Culture                                                                                       36

Social Action and Social Justice    __________________________ 37 Culture        __________________________________________40

Introduction

This Manifesto is aimed at informing both existing and prospective members of the UK Parliament about Jewish interests and concerns.

The Board of Deputies hopes that the Manifesto will empower our elected representatives to understand and champion these causes. In each section, the Manifesto outlines in bold the ‘Policy Asks’ on which the Board of Deputies would like support from MPs and their political parties. As a summary, we have also highlighted ‘Ten Commitments’ that capture the essence of the community’s needs.

This is comprised by large clusters of Jews in some of the UK’s major cities, as well as smaller communities right across the country. The UK Jewish community is very diverse in terms of religious and cultural affiliation, as well as in socioeconomic terms.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews prides itself on its representative and democratic structures, which have in turn contributed to the formulation of this Manifesto. Whilst there is no single ‘Jewish view’, through this document, the Board of Deputies has sought to represent as much of a consensus as possible.

Through a community-wide consultation, which involved the participation of over 300 stakeholder organisations and individuals, the Board of Deputies has been able to capture the diverse range of issues which affect the UK Jewish community across its religious, cultural and socioeconomic diversity. We hope that you find it useful and informative.

The Ten Commitments:

To summarise the Jewish community’s aspirations for our political representatives, we have produced the following guide.

Please share your support for these Ten Commitments on social media with the hashtag #TenCommitments @BoardofDeputies.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews acts as the secretariat for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Jews.

MPs seeking updates or information on the themes listed in the Manifesto should join the APPG on British Jews, the APPG against Antisemitism and the All-Party Britain-Israel Parliamentary Group.

We would ask our parliamentary friends to:

1 Defend the right to a Jewish way of life, including kosher meat; religious clothing; circumcision; and flexible working to accommodate Shabbat and festival observance.

2 Oppose all forms of hate crime, including Antisemitism, Islamophobia and other types of racism, promoting and enhancing community safety.

3 Promote good relations, understanding and cooperation between all of the UK’s communities.

4 Support efforts to remember and understand the Holocaust, and strive to prevent any future genocide.

5 Advocate for a permanent, comprehensive solution to the IsraeliPalestinian conflict, resulting in a secure Israel alongside a viable Palestinian state.

6 Promote peace projects that unite communities, and resist boycotts that divide communities.

7 Affirm the importance of faith schools within the overall provision.

8 Support the provision of religiously and culturally sensitive youth and social care services.

9 Promote a more just and sustainable future in the UK and abroad; supporting efforts to tackle poverty, climate change and human rights abuses.

10 Celebrate and support Jewish heritage and cultural institutions

 

Religious Freedom

Under both Article 18 of The Universal Declaration for the Protection of Human Rights and Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) every person has the right “to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.” A key aspect of the manifestation of a person’s religious observance may include ceremonial acts, specific customs, the displays of symbols, and the observance of religious festivals and the Jewish Sabbath.

Religious Clothing

The wearing of religious clothing and symbols, including in public, is an important expression of religious observance, commitment and identity. Examples in the Jewish community might include head-coverings (including the kippah (skull-cap), tzitzit (fringes on garments), or jewellery (such as necklaces) which manifest religio-cultural imagery like the Star of David. Many other faith communities have similar dress requirements. Wherever there is not some compelling reason – such as the infringement of the rights of others, or some demonstrable safety hazard – it is important that people of different faiths be allowed to manifest their beliefs. The accommodation of – and respect for – difference is a key British value. The right to freedom of religious expression was underscored by the January 2013 ruling of the European Court of Human Rights in the Eweida vs. the United Kingdom case. Ms Eweida was placed on unpaid leave by British Airways when she refused to remove or cover a crucifix-necklace marking her Christian faith. The Court ruled against the UK on the basis that its laws had not provided sufficient domestic law to protect the rights of Nadia Eweida.

Policy Ask:

To promote a culture of respect for diversity, including reasonable accommodation of individuals’ rights to wear religious symbols. The Board of Deputies of British Jews 8 | Global Jewish Issues

Flexible Working around the Jewish Sabbath and Festivals;

As in other religions, a key element of the Jewish faith is the observance of religious festivals and the Jewish Sabbath (Shabbat). Because the Jewish calendar runs according to the lunar cycle, Shabbat and festivals begin on the evening before the dates specified for them by most calendars. During Shabbat and the festivals, observant Jews will refrain from work, and will not use money, electricity or transport. Traditionally-observant Jews will often seek to take a number of festival days as leave and may ask to leave work early on Fridays, particularly in the winter months when Shabbat can begin as early as 3.30pm on a Friday afternoon. Employers should seek to be as flexible as possible, making reasonable accommodation for these religious requirements. The same principles should apply to those who are legitimately claiming state benefits when their signing on arrangements may coincide with festivals. The relevant agencies should understand that traditionally-observant Jews are not generally available to work, or sign on for benefits, on Shabbat or festivals. In many professions, observant Jewish employees will come to an arrangement with their employer to make up the time during the week that they wish to take off on a Friday afternoon, and will take the festivals off as part of their annual leave. However, this is sometimes harder in the education sector, where holiday dates are much more prescriptive for both teachers and students. Schools and higher education bodies should be alive to the needs of teachers and students who require time off for religious observance, and seek to be as flexible as possible. The Board of Deputies will sometimes intervene where it feels a school or university is not making reasonable accommodation of requests for leave. In a similar vein, the Board of Deputies, together with the Jewish Chaplaincy Board and the Union of Jewish Students, seeks to help students in both schools and higher education to navigate issues around the times Shabbat and Jewish festivals coincide with exams. This is often mitigated by the sensitivity of examination boards, schools and universities, which create procedures to accommodate various religious and cultural needs.

Policy Ask: To establish better understanding and accommodation for employees, benefits’ claimants, teachers and students of different faiths and beliefs who wish to take time off or make alternative arrangements to observe religious holy days, including the Jewish Sabbath and festivals.

Circumcision:

Brit Milah is the Hebrew term used to describe neonatal male circumcision in accordance with Jewish law. It is traditionally performed when a boy is eight days old, based upon the Biblical commandment (Gen. 17:10-14 and Lev. 12:3.). It is regarded as a physical sign of male Jewish identity and is probably the most widely observed of all Jewish practices. It is a minor procedure that has no negative impact on the child or on the rest of his life. It is against Jewish law to perform Brit Milah if the procedure could pose a danger to the child, so is always postponed if indicated on medical grounds. 2015 General Election Jewish Manifesto commitment 1: Defend the right to a Jewish way of life, including kosher meat; religious clothing; circumcision; and flexible working to accommodate Shabbat and festival observance. 9 | Global Jewish Issues By contrast, the Jewish faith strongly opposes Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), regarding it as humiliating and abusive to women, and an assault which is often performed under unsafe and unhygienic conditions, causing serious long-term damage. FGM and Brit Milah should not be conflated. In the UK, Brit Milah is performed by a highly-trained ‘Mohel’ (plural: Mohalim) who has undertaken both religious and practical instruction. The regulatory bodies for UK Mohalim are the Initiation Society (Orthodox communities) and the Association of Reform and Liberal Mohalim (Progressive communities). These organisations are responsible for training, audit and appraisal, and for ensuring that Brit Milah is carried out under the safest possible conditions. Milah UK provides information about the Jewish practice of circumcision. Brit Milah forms a central part of the identity of a Jewish male. Article 8 and Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights are of particular relevance. Article 8 focuses on the protection of private and family life, and for a Jewish male, circumcision is a key aspect of being part of the Jewish community. Article 9 provides a right to freedom of thought, conscience or religion: the right to perform Brit Milah according to Jewish tradition is a key part of this religious freedom that must be safeguarded.

Policy Ask:

To defend the right of Jews to practise circumcision according to their tradition.

Kosher Meat:

Shechita is the Jewish religious method of slaughtering animals for food. As traditionally-observant Jews can only eat meat slaughtered by the Shechita method, the practice is a key aspect to the daily life of Jews. Shechita is a process that is based on biblical commandments given to the Jewish people, which forbid cruelty to animals. For example, Jewish law prohibits the killing of animals for sport. Jewish law does permit the slaughter of animals for food, but makes this subject to stringent religious regulations. The premise of the religious laws is to ensure that the animal has a swift death with as little pain as possible. Any individual slaughter that does not meet the high standards demanded will render the animal non-Kosher, and prohibited to Jews. The Shechita method is conducted by a specifically trained professional known as a Shochet (plural: Shochetim) who is experienced and learned in laws of Shechita, pathology and animal anatomy. The trainee Shochet will serve an apprenticeship with an experienced Shochet before becoming fully qualified. In the UK, a Shochet must hold two licences, one issued by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the other by the Rabbinical Commission for the Licensing of Shochetim. This Rabbinical Commission is a statutory body established by Parliament and governed by Schedule 12 to The Welfare of Animals [Slaughter or Killing] Regulations 1995. To satisfy the Rabbinical Commission, Shochetim must reapply and undertake examinations on an annual basis. The Board of Deputies of British Jews 10 | Global Jewish Issues There are occasionally moves in some European countries to limit or ban religious slaughter. The Jewish community seeks to work with Government, MPs and other relevant authorities to foster understanding about this key facet of Jewish life in the UK and across Europe. Shechita UK leads the Jewish communal response on this issue, offering information on this central Jewish practice. The Jewish community has long labelled its food products to inform consumers that food is Kosher. But there has been alarm at recent moves by some groups to introduce pejorative labelling on Kosher and Halal meat. Rather than genuinely informing consumers, this campaign tends to stigmatise religious forms of slaughter over common practices in the wider meat industry that are prohibited to Jews. Equally, whilst the moment of slaughter is important, labelling could helpfully inform consumers about other aspects of animal welfare, including how it was fed, housed and transported. The Jewish community would support comprehensive labelling that would allow consumers to know more about the lives of animals from which their meat had been sourced, and labelling which would inform consumers as to whether their meat had been killed via the Shechita method, or methods prohibited to Jews like captive-bolt, shooting, gassing, electrocution, drowning, trapping or clubbing. Policy Ask: To defend the right of Jews to practice Shechita (religious slaughter of animals for food).

Policy Ask:

To oppose the stigmatisation of religious minorities through pejorative labelling, and to support instead non-pejorative labelling that lists all methods of stunning and slaughter, offering real consumer choice.

Extremism, Antisemitism and Racism:

in Europe The Jewish community is very concerned about the rise of extremist movements and political parties in Europe, particularly in Hungary, Greece, France and Sweden. The recent European Elections exemplified the growing issue with numerous far-right and racist parties making political gains. The motivations behind these groups vary, and include concerns about immigration, diversity and international conflicts – including the Israel-Palestine conflict – but manifest themselves in various ways including hate speech, racist abuse, vandalism and even violence. Jews are not the only targets of attacks and our concerns extend to some wider trends. Muslims have been the particular focus of some far-right groups in Western Europe and Scandinavia, whilst the Roma are a major target for the far-right in Eastern and Central Europe. Immigrants of all backgrounds are often singled out by such groups. 2015 General Election Jewish Manifesto 11 | Global Jewish Issues In November 2013, the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) published the results of its survey of Jewish experiences and perceptions of Antisemitism in the EU. The results were disturbing. Across Europe, 66% of Jews surveyed felt Antisemitism was a “very big” or “fairly big” problem in their respective countries. A total of 76% believed that the situation had worsened over the past five years; while 33% feared they may be physically assaulted over the next 12 months. The UK was lowest, at 48%, and France the highest, at 85%. The UK was also found to have the lowest levels of fear, with 28% in fear of verbal abuse and 17% in fear of physical attack. Respondents identified four main sources of hostility. The two largest identifiable groups were people with a ‘left-wing political view’ and people with a ‘Muslim extremist view.’ In Belgium, France, Sweden and the UK, these groups were almost twice as common as the next largest group, people with a ‘right-wing political view,’ although this was the source of most hostility in Hungary and Latvia. People with a ‘Christian extremist view’ accounted for a large proportion of incidents in Italy, Hungary and France. Similarly, Islamist extremism poses a threat to much of European society, with the threat of Al-Qaeda style terrorism of concern in many countries, especially in Western Europe. The fatal attacks on a Jewish day school in Toulouse in 2012 and on the Jewish Museum in Brussels in 2014, demonstrates that there are still individuals who are intent on and capable of murdering Jews. For this reason, synagogues and schools observe rigorous security, and require additional support and vigilance.

Policy Ask:

To be alert to and active around extremism, racism and Antisemitism in Europe.

Policy Ask:

To act on the concerning findings from the FRA report, including unreservedly condemning Antisemitism in all its forms.

Extremism, Antisemitism and Racism in the United Kingdom:

Antisemitism remains a key challenge facing the British Jewish community. Antisemitic incidents shoot up at times of heightened tensions in the Middle East. Meanwhile, recent fatal attacks in continental Europe underscore the need for continued vigilance. The Community Security Trust (CST) works closely with police to monitor Antisemitism and protect Jewish communities against it. The CST’s most recent Antisemitic Incidents Report, covering the first six months of 2014, recorded 304 antisemitic incidents, a figure consistent with data from most years since 2010. There is a noticeable spike in antisemitic incidents when tensions intensify in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, exemplified during outbreaks of commitment 2: Oppose all forms of hate crime, including Antisemitism, Islamophobia and other types of racism, promoting and enhancing community safety. The Board of Deputies of British Jews 12 | Global Jewish Issues violence in 2009, 2012 and 2014. July 2014, for example, was the worst month for Antisemitism on record, with 302 antisemitic incidents in the context of fighting between Hamas and Israel – almost the same as the previous six months combined. A robust political and policing response is required when criticism of the policies of a government spills over in to hatred, intimidation or violence against a religious or ethnic group. With the growth of social media, Antisemitism is finding new forms of expression which must be monitored and countered. We would therefore welcome additional political and material support to prevent and prosecute Antisemitism and other forms of racism in these new media.

Policy Ask: To publicly support all efforts to combat Antisemitism.

Policy Ask:

To support the continuation of the important work of the Cross-Government Working Group on Antisemitism.

Policy Ask:

To be particularly aware of the risk of increased Antisemitism at times of heightened conflict in the Middle East.

Policy Ask:

To take action on hate as expressed on social media. Policy Ask: To ensure that assistance is provided to third-party reporting bodies and security agencies such as the CST that monitor and protect vulnerable groups, including the Jewish community.

Security for Jewish Schools:

In 2010, it was announced that the Government would provide financial assistance for the payment of security guards at all Jewish, Voluntary Aided, faith schools in England. This helps guard against the threat of terrorism to Jewish schools. The announcement lifted a significant preexisting financial burden from Jewish parents, and demonstrated a strong practical commitment by Government for the well-being of British Jews. School security funding has been pledged for the duration of the current Parliament, with services administered by the CST. However, there have been no formal guarantees that security funding for schools will continue following the General Election. Senior politicians from different parties have stated verbally and publicly that they anticipate the funding to carry on if their Party is in Government – and it is imperative that it does – Jewish parents should not be financially disadvantaged due to threats of terror attacks on their children’s schools. Children and schools are the Jewish community’s security priority. This was brought into terrible focus in March 2012 when a Jihadist gunman attacked a primary school in France, killing a rabbi and three young children. In the aftermath of the Toulouse attack, British Jews were comforted by the knowledge that UK Jewish schools had security guards as part of long term security planning and infrastructure. This attack confirmed the need for stringent security measures, reminding the community that such attacks can occur at any time.

Policy Ask:

To ensure the continuation of Government funding for security guards at Jewish voluntary-aided faith schools iN England.

Hate Speakers:

The Jewish community is concerned about hate speakers being allowed into the UK to spread and incite various forms of hatred against Jews; other faiths and races; the LGBT community; and other minorities. Hate speakers should be blocked from importing their hatred into the UK, spreading animosity and division. The Jewish community recognises and appreciates the work of the Home Office in refusing entry to some known hate speakers in the past. From time to time, UK citizens are implicated in preaching hatred on university campuses and at community venues. The Community Security Trust, the Board of Deputies and the Union of Jewish Students have worked with groups including university authorities to balance the need for free speech with a clear opposition to hate speech.

Policy Ask:

To support cohesion by banning speakers considered to be ‘not conducive to the public good’ from entering the UK.

Policy Ask: To work with the Jewish community to prevent UK citizens preaching hate, including in universities and community centres.

Community Relations:

The Jewish Community is committed to positive and authentic engagement with people of all faiths and none. Promoting good relations between communities proactively prevents tensions, racism and violence. Steps should be taken to educate people of different faith and belief backgrounds about each other, and proactive efforts and investment should be put into developing good inter faith relations in order to prevent tensions and promote cooperation. Whilst much of this work is driven from faith groups themselves at a local and national level, only Government has the resources to facilitate the strategic growth and direction of this work. The Jewish community and the Board of Deputies, in particular, prides itself on working with Government to enhance the interfaith encounter, producing joint research, projects and events. Organisations and projects like the Inter Faith Network for the UK and its regional and local affiliates, as well as national bodies like the 3FF, Mitzvah Day, the Council of Christians and Jews, the Christian Muslim Forum, the Christian Hindu Forum and the Joseph Interfaith Foundation offer sustainable mechanisms and partners to deliver a more cohesive and integrated society. commitment 3: Promote good relations, understanding and cooperation between all of the UK’s communities. The Board of Deputies of British Jews 14 | Global Jewish Issues The Near Neighbours fund has been a welcome addition to these initiatives, creating positive encounters between faith communities at a local and national level.

Policy Ask:

To support initiatives which promote dialogue and understanding between different groups in society; to prevent tensions and promote cooperation.

Policy Ask: To outline a clear strategy to enhance community relations in the UK, supported by a clear, designated budget.

Holocaust Issues:

Holocaust Commemoration and Education:

Since 2005, the United Kingdom has officially marked Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January every year. The Day does not just commemorate the Nazi Holocaust of the Jews, but also the genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. Like other Holocaust-related activities, the aim is not just to remember the past, but to create a consciousness that will prevent any other genocides happening in the future. With each passing year there are fewer Holocaust survivors able to tell their stories. Therefore, it is important for schools across Europe to teach students about the Holocaust. Bodies like the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, the Holocaust Educational Trust, the Wiener Library, Yad Vashem, the Anne Frank Trust, Yom HaShoah UK, the Centre for Holocaust Education and the Beth Shalom Holocaust Centre all merit support. The Board of Deputies’ response to the 2014 Holocaust Commission made recommendations, including the following: • Strengthen and broaden existing Holocaust modules within the National Curriculum • Educate children to become activists for human rights and social justice, and against prejudice • Formally designate Holocaust Memorial Day as a recognised day in mainstream schools. • Increase the number of Holocaust Educational Trust trips to concentration camps • Support/fund a central Forum for Holocaust Education and Commemoration to offer a joined-up approach. • Provide all school children in the UK with a copy of Anne Frank’s Diary • Build a ‘Memorial to the Holocaust’ in Central London – ensuring that it has the power to educate as well as to commemorate • Promote initiatives to enable young people to shadow survivors of the Holocaust

Policy Ask: To implement the Board of Deputies’ recommendations to the 2014 Holocaust Commission.

Policy Ask:

To support Holocaust education, remembrance, commemoration, research and survivor testimony.

Policy Ask:

To show solidarity with all the victims of Nazi persecution, including Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, disabled people and political opponents of Nazism, as well as the victims of other genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

Policy Ask:

To include and expand holocaust education in schools to prevent ignorance which can in some cases lead to revisionism or denial.

Restitution:

During the Holocaust, the Nazis used state apparatus to confiscate Jewish property, including both private property, such as homes, businesses, art and jewellery; and communal infrastructure, like synagogue buildings, hospitals, schools and graveyards. To this day, much has not been returned and the property remains in the hands of modern states. Sadly, many Holocaust survivors now live in dire poverty, and the return of their property could give them a better quality of life in their final years, and provide a legacy for their descendants. In 2009, 47 countries (including all 28 EU-member states) came together to support the Terezin Declaration, to accelerate the restitution of private and communal property to Holocaust survivors and their heirs. The following year, 43 countries endorsed a set of guidelines and best practices for the return of, or compensation for, confiscated property. It has become clear, however, that many countries are not on track, and in some cases the situation has even decelerated. In Croatia and Latvia, the relevant legislation has been delayed. In Romania, the processing of claims and payments has been extremely slow. Recent legislation risks further delays and reductions in compensation payments. In Hungary, discussions continue about restitution for heirless and hitherto unclaimed property formerly owned by Jews. Poland has one of the worst records on restitution of private property. It back-tracked on some of the commitments it made at the 2009 Terezin Conference, and was the only one of the 47 countries not to send a delegate to the 2012 Prague Conference. The great injustice about the delays in restitution payments mean that some of the Holocaust’s victims will pass away without ever seeing their property returned.

Policy Ask: To call for a just and speedy conclusion to the issue of restitution across Europe. commitment 4: Support efforts to remember and understand the Holocaust, and strive to prevent any future genocide.

Holocaust Revisionism:

Holocaust denial and revisionism is widely abhorred, but it continues – particularly in the context of opposition to Israel. The current Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, previously sought to question the veracity or extent of the Holocaust. Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad even organised a two-day conference in 2006, attended by neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan, to question the reality of the Holocaust. In Europe, convicted French racist Dieudonné M’bala M’bala uses his public comedy shows to suggest that Jews created the idea of the Holocaust in order to reap financial gain. He was banned from the UK in 2014. In Europe, the 2008 Prague Declaration caused alarm among many Jewish communities by conflating crimes under Soviet Communism with Nazi crimes. The concern is that some countries have attempted to deflect attention from the complicity of their wartime governments in the Holocaust, cynically attempting to avoid liability for compensation to Jewish victims. The crimes that Communist governments committed against their people should be explored and the perpetrators prosecuted, but it is important that countries acknowledge their role in the Holocaust and do not attempt to gloss over a very troubled period in their history. At times, a related trope is that many leading Communists were Jews and so – it is claimed – the Jews as a whole are complicit in the crimes of Communism. The rationale continues that, as such, Jews in general do not deserve sympathy or compensation for their suffering in the Holocaust. This argument is unacceptable. The actions of some Jewish Communists do not make all Jews complicit. The ‘Jewish people’ does not hold property confiscated by the Communists, but various states do hold Jewish property confiscated by the Nazis and must fulfil their obligation to return it.

Policy Ask:

To refute and confront individuals and political movements who seek to minimise or downplay the Holocaust.

Unmarked Graves:

One of the most urgent initiatives underway at the moment is the search for the unmarked graves of Holocaust victims. Across Europe, the Nazis and their accomplices murdered more than 2.5million of their victims in mass executions, burying many of the victims in mass graves, many of them unmarked. Finding these graves to give the victims an appropriate memorial is a ‘race against time’ to get the testimony of local, older people, who might have information about the sites and the murders before the generation that knows first-hand what has happened passes away entirely. Organizations such as Yahad-In Unum do tremendous work in locating these grave-sites.

Policy Ask: To support initiatives to find unmarked graves, including providing funding and working with other national governments to overcome some of the bureaucratic and political obstacles to this work.

Israel and the Middle East:

The UK Jewish community is committed to peace, security, prosperity and equality for Israel, the Palestinians and the wider Middle East. The UK Jewish community has a very strong attachment to the State of Israel. A 2010 survey by the Institute of Jewish Policy Research (JPR) showed that 95% of UK Jews have visited Israel and that 90% view Israel as the “ancestral homeland of the Jewish people”. The Middle East is a region beset by conflict, characterised in recent years by uprisings against autocratic regimes, Islamist insurgencies, sectarian violence and the persecution of Muslim, Christian and other minorities. The ‘Arab Spring’ has not yet delivered its promise of a better future for the people of the region. In the short-term, it is incumbent on countries like the UK to seek to end the wanton slaughter of civilians, and deliver humanitarian relief for suffering populations. In the longer-term, the UK should be a leading player in helping to build a better future for all the countries in the Middle East.

Policy Ask:

To promote peace, security, prosperity and equality for Israel and its neighbours.

Peace:

According to the aforementioned JPR survey, the UK Jewish community overwhelmingly supports a two-state solution, with 78% favouring this as the just solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. The UK undoubtedly has a role in assisting the peace process. In addition to facilitating high level diplomatic meetings, the UK could offer a variety of incentives that encourage both sides to make strides towards peace, including financial investment packages in both Israel and the Palestinian Territories, and the promotion of trade between the two sides, building trust and links between them. In addition, the UK should promote dialogue and reconciliation at the grassroots through both political and financial support. Through its conflict resolution pool, the UK invests in a number of positive projects that seek to bring together Israelis and Palestinians. This should be continued and enhanced. 2015 General Election Jewish Manifesto 17 | Global Jewish Issues commitment 5: Advocate for a permanent, comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, resulting in a secure Israel alongside a viable Palestinian state. The Board of Deputies of British Jews 18 | Global Jewish Issues Furthermore, the UK could support exchanges of students between the UK, Israel and the Palestinian Territories, to build bridges and to offer the UK as a ‘safe space’ where future leaders can develop constructive relationships. Such projects support a political climate that assists the peace talks and enable a sustainable agreement where cross-border partnerships can flourish. In this spirit, we urge resistance of calls for boycotts of Israel. By their very nature, such measures attribute blame to only one side of the conflict, and through this stigmatisation they perpetuate a one-sided narrative. This in turn prompts intransigence from both sides. Moreover, the UK should be seen as a place to unite and not further divide. Alongside the other issues that need to be resolved as part of a comprehensive agreement, one issue that does not get enough attention is that of the Jewish refugees from Arab countries. In the decades following the establishment of the State of Israel – and as a direct result of the conflict – over 800,000 Jews were displaced or forced to flee from lands they had inhabited for thousands of years, many without their possessions. Recently, the Canadian Parliament followed the United States’ House of Representatives in recognising their rights as refugees under international law.

Policy Ask: To advocate for a permanent, comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, resulting in a secure Israel alongside a viable Palestinian state.

Policy Ask: To promote peace projects that unite communities, and resist boycotts that divide communities.

Security:

Israel is of great strategic importance to the UK. As an ally, Israel offers stability in a region characterised by growing political uncertainty. With mounting extremist insurgency and the emergence of ISIS and other Al-Qaeda-inspired groups, Israeli military and intelligence cooperation with western states and regional partners is of great mutual benefit.

Policy Ask: To promote awareness of the acute threats to Israeli and regional security, and encourage further security cooperation between the UK and Israel.

Iran:

Iran’s nuclear programme is edging ever closer to crossing the threshold necessary to make nuclear weapons: 20% enriched uranium is the critical point for any nuclear weapon. Once that is achieved it is relatively easy to reach the 90% level required for a nuclear weapon. The UK, EU and USA have led on promoting sanctions against Iran. We welcomed the progress in talks with Iran in late 2013; however, we have some ongoing concerns. The world must watch very carefully to ensure that there is no backsliding towards an Iranian military nuclear capability. Years of disingenuity and obfuscation from the Iranian authorities should not be naively forgotten. It is also vital that Iran knows that there is a credible military option to end its pursuit of nuclear weapons if diplomacy should fail. Secondly, it remains crucial that positive steps on the nuclear issue do not distract from other pressing topics. Iran continues to arm, fund and empower state and non-state actors, such as 2015 General Election Jewish Manifesto 19 | Global Jewish Issues Syria and Hezbullah, to commit acts of violence against civilians. The UK and other world powers should take decisive steps to prevent Iran’s financing of global terrorism and the brutal repression of the Syrian people. Finally, we note that there is evidence that the human rights situation in Iran itself has deteriorated significantly since Hassan Rouhani was elected President. The human rights situation in Iran continues to be a matter of serious concern. It has one of the most prolific rates of execution in the World. According to Amnesty International, Iran officially executed 369 people in 2013, with another 355 alleged by reliable sources. In addition, Bahá’ís have been reporting increasing levels of persecution over recent years, whilst Christian, LGBT people and other minorities continue to suffer repression.

Policy Ask:

To prevent the weaponisation of Iran’s nuclear programme; to counter Iran’s financing of international terror; and urge drastic improvement to its human rights record.

Hezbullah:

The UK led the proscription of Iranian-backed Hezbullah’s military wing as a terrorist organisation by all EU countries in July 2013. This was an important step in restricting the fundraising scope of the organisation. Hezbullah has launched attacks against European and Jewish civilians worldwide and is an organisation that is of deep concern to the Jewish community. In 1994, Hezbullah attacked a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires, killing 85 people. The organisation has launched multiple attacks against Israeli civilians and has expanded its activities to European soil, killing six civilians in a bus bombing in Bulgaria in 2012. There is a growing concern that Hezbullah is using European dual-nationals to plot attacks against Jews and Israelis in Europe. This was evident in 2013 where a dual SwedishLebanese national, Hossam Taleb Yaacoub, was convicted in a European Court for scoping Israelis and Jews to attack in Cyprus. During the court case he stated “I was only collecting information on the Jews. That’s what the organisation [Hezbollah] does everywhere.” It is our hope that the next step is for the EU to adopt a full proscription of the organisation, including its political wing. Senior figures within Hezbullah, including its Deputy Secretary General Naim Qassem, have openly admitted that there is no distinction between the military and political wing, stating “Hezbullah has a single leadership.” The political wing operates to assist the violent nature of Hezbullah, and further actions in disrupting this organisation’s ability to carry out terrorist activities are needed. Currently, allies such as the USA and Canada have fully proscribed Hezbullah, and we believe the EU, led by the UK, should take the same, necessary steps.

Policy Ask:

To designate the entirety of Hezbullah as a terrorist organisation, damaging its abilities to launch attacks in Europe, the Middle East and around the world.

Hamas and Palestinian Terrorism:

The European Union classifies Hamas as a terrorist organisation. Hamas is responsible for suicide bombings against civilian targets and the indiscriminate shelling of Israeli civilian populations, often whilst using Palestinian civilians as human shields. Hamas should not be given the legitimacy of engagement with Government or parliamentarians until it accepts the Quartet’s three conditions, namely recognising Israel; abiding by previous diplomatic agreements; and desisting from terrorist attacks.

Policy Ask: To refuse to engage with Hamas politicians, officials or supporters until the movement agrees to recognise Israel, abide by previous diplomatic agreements, and desists from terrorist attacks.

Prosperity:

Israel is a key trading partner for the UK. The total amount of bilateral trade between the UK and Israel was estimated at £5.1 billion in 2013, and it continues to grow. Israel has positioned itself as a leader in technological advancements, placing a particular emphasis on the hi-tech industry and medical research. The UK-Israel Tech Hub is a great example of cooperation helping to promote economic growth in both countries by partnering British companies with the best of Israeli innovation. Israel also has a vibrant cultural and creative sector, with theatre groups, artists and musicians regularly coming to the UK and vice versa. As with all cultural exchanges, both societies gain from the interaction. Further cooperation in these fields and a greater trade network between the UK and Israel will be of great benefit to both societies.

Policy Ask:

To support, nurture and promote the growing trade and cultural links between Israel and the UK.

Equality:

Israel is a diverse and pluralistic society that seeks to guarantee equality to all its citizens. Exceptionally for the Middle East, Israel is a democratic state where there is freedom of religious practice and where women’s rights, trades’ union rights and LGBT rights are respected. However, like many advanced countries, there are challenges about integration between different sectors of the population that need to be addressed. One particular example is Israel’s Arab minority, which makes up around 20% of the country’s population. According to a report published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in January 2010, 50% of the Arab population lives in poverty compared to 20% of Israelis overall, with widening socio-economic gaps. The complex issue of securing a successful resolution to the challenges facing the Bedouin requires particular and sensitive attention. 2015 General Election Jewish Manifesto 21 | Global Jewish Issues The 2003 Or Commission report into inter-ethnic tensions emphasised the urgent need to take both immediate and long-term corrective measures to tackle socio-economic gaps and improve the situation of Arab citizens of Israel. It described these as the “most sensitive and important domestic issue facing Israel today.” The report led to the establishment of a special authority for the economic development of the minority sectors in the Prime Minister’s Office in 2007; and an investment of over NIS 3 billion by the Israeli Government in various initiatives to advance equal opportunities for Arab citizens of Israel to date. The UK Jewish community is cognizant of these challenges, and in 2010 the Board of Deputies joined other leading Jewish organisations in founding the UK Task Force on Issues Facing Arab Citizens of Israel to inform the community about issues relating to Arab citizens of Israel and facilitate partnerships to advance the opportunities of Israel’s Arab minority. Over 30 organisations have since joined the coalition, which provides its members with valuable briefings, advice, support and contacts with Arab communities in Israel.

Policy Ask: To be constructive partners in the pursuit of greater integration and equality in Israel, including offering financial and political support to initiatives aimed at Arab-Jewish coexistence, and supporting projects that empower and advance the position of Arab citizens within Israeli society.

 

For Moore Info See: “2015 General Election Jewish Manifesto.

The Board’s EU Manifesto:

 

 

 

 

 

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Resisting ”Israeli” Politics

NOVANEWS

by Brenda Heard

Six months prior to the upcoming UK general election, the Board of Deputies of British Jews published its “2015 General Election Jewish Manifesto.” This forty-page document urges both existing and prospective members of the UK Parliament to support various “policy asks” and to “champion these causes.”  The Manifesto was styled after a very similar one created for the 2014 EU elections.  Indeed their goals appear the same: to ensure a pro-Israeli agenda in the House of Commons and beyond.

The 2015 Manifesto does include some discussion of faith-based issues, such as underscoring the need of the Jewish community in the UK to be able to provide Kosher meat and to observe the Sabbath.  This discussion is a just and valid participation of citizens in their government.  The problem arises, however, when the Manifesto equates Jewish and Israeli.  With 58 mentions of Israel, the Manifesto, cloaked in blue and white imagery throughout, even boasts a full-page illustration of the British and Israeli flags flying together.

This self-proclaimed “voice of British Jewry” avows a “very strong attachment to the State of Israel.”  Yet it is difficult to reconcile this support with such statements as “The UK Jewish community is committed to peace, security, prosperity and equality for Israel, the Palestinians and the wider Middle East” when this statement was penned less than two months after a vicious Israeli onslaught against Gaza, an indiscriminate rampage that in just fifty days killed at least 2,100 Palestinians, some 70% of whom were civilians, including 519 children.  A recent report by the American National Lawyers Guild concluded that “both facts and law refute the Israeli self-defense claims” and that Israel had “collectively punished the entire civilian population.”  Indeed, Israeli forces intentionally targeted Palestinian civilians, leaving them dead and wounded, homeless and devastated.  There has been no peace, no security, no prosperity and no equality for the Palestinians.  Not ever.

Yet the Board of Deputies of British Jews expresses unwavering support for Israel.  Any resistance to Israeli policy, the Manifesto maintains, should be denounced by the world.  The Manifesto offers scant attention to Palestinian resistance group Hamas, however, noting that the EU had already classified Hamas as a terrorist organisation, one with whom the UK should “refuse to engage.”  Two months after the publication of the Manifesto, the EU General Court removed Hamas from the list of terrorist organisations, stating:

“the General Court finds that the contested measures are based not on acts examined and confirmed in decisions of competent authorities but on factual imputations derived from the press and the internet.”

The Board of Deputies of British Jews promptly condemned this “unacceptable” ruling, and called it “an affront to the values of Europe.”  The Board statement also used the opportunity to reiterate various accusations against Hamas—characterisations that have for years engendered the very hearsay that was finally rejected by the EU General Court.  The Council of the EU soon appealed the court’s decision.  The Board cheered the appeal and the efforts taken to ensure the appeal, stating“we commend the European Jewish Congress on all its work in ensuring that this issue remains on top of the agenda in Brussels.”  The power of lobbying for Israel.

As for Lebanon, the Manifesto proudly points out that the UK led the EU designation of Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist organisation in 2013.  But that action was not enough to appease the Board, which urges the UK to lead the campaign to expand that designation to the “entirety” of Hezbollah.  The key here is that Israel and its allies have always wanted to destroy all semblance of Hezbollah, as every aspect of the group builds the pride and strength of a Lebanese populace.  It is the will to resist Israeli encroachment—the entire culture of resistance in both Palestine and Lebanon—that Israel wants to break.  And this is a sentiment of political Israel, not of “British Jewry.”  This has nothing to do with the Jewish faith.

Rather similar to the hearsay problem cited by the EU General Court, the accusations hurled at Hezbollah are based on decades of presumptions that Hezbollah is a ruthless entity to be feared and crushed.  The fervour to destroy Hezbollah has long been evident in the policies of Israel, the US and the UK.  Together, these three bodies have tremendous abilities to create and to seemingly substantiate and certainly to sell the narrative that suits their own agenda.  Perhaps it is time to question these fervent accusations.

The Manifesto asserts that Hezbollah has “launched attacks against European and Jewish civilians worldwide” and offers three examples to illustrate this sweeping and unsubstantiated accusation: Buenos Aires (1994), Bulgaria (2012), Cyprus (2013).  The responsibility in each of these incidents is far from conclusive.

The Buenos Aires investigation was at once tainted by the immediate involvement of US and Israeli intelligence services.  The case was indelibly ruined by layers of corruption within Argentinian services.  Even The Guardian acknowledged the investigation to be a “complex saga of mind-boggling intrigue.”  Surely the extensive research published in 2008 by historian Gareth Porter should at the very least create reasonable doubt about Hezbollah’s involvement.

Like Buenos Aires, the Bulgarian case investigation was aided by US and Israeli intelligence services.  Several reports raise doubts as to the legitimacy of the judgement process, examples of which: Gareth Porter, here and hereTimes of IsraelHaaretzBulgarian FM Vigenin.  Despite Israel’s initial finger-pointing at Hezbollah, the investigation revealed compelling forensic evidence of an Al Qaeda-linked suspect, which was mysteriously dropped only to reveal three Lebanese dual-nationals as suspects.  The investigation that struggled for answers somehow, with the help of the US and Israel, was able to link those suspects to Hezbollah.  How politically convenient.

In an attempt to offer conclusive evidence of an attack-plotting Hezbollah, the Manifesto offers a fear-inspiring quotation from an allegedly self-confessed Hezbollah member who had seemingly bungled surveillance work in Cyprus and was caught out by Mossad.  The man’s “handler,” who was “always wearing a mask,” wanted him to pinpoint Kosher restaurants and to track the arrival times of flights from Israel.  But why risk doing such surveillance in person?  This information is readily available online, even if it required some creative computing skills.  The culprit’s narrative reads more like the stuff of a cheap spy novel than it does the operational expertise of a group with more than thirty-years successful experience.  Even if the confessor thought he was, in his nervously ever-changing narrative, revealing some truth, who is to say that he was not led by an imposter to believe he was acting under the direction of Hezbollah, when in fact he was not? Mission not so very impossible.

Still, we are meant to believe that in planning such globally significant missions, Hezbollah was careless enough to leave a paper-trail and to choose men who were inept in their tasks and men who would break under police questioning and tell all.  And we are meant to believe that the consistent aid of US and Israeli intelligence has always been strictly objective.

This article is not intended to be a full rebuttal to these specific accusations.  The point remains that there is at least reasonable doubt.  These accusations are on many levels fuelled by a hatred that has burned for decades, a hatred that would stop at nothing to eradicate the Islamic Resistance of Lebanon.  But even if you remain unconvinced of their problematic nature, even if you cannot bring yourself to offer Hezbollah the benefit of the doubt, there remains a double standard in this “Policy Ask” from the Board of Deputies of British Jews.  How in the name of civilised democracy can the British Government continue to vehemently denounce Hezbollah, yet eagerly champion an Israeli government that routinely practices that which it condemns?

The Manifesto complains, for instance, that Hezbollah arranged surveillance of Jewish people.  Yet we find the following boast in the Board’s EU Manifesto:

“As part of the widespread intelligence cooperation between Israel and the EU, Israel is providing essential information to EU officials enabling them to enforce the proscription [against Hezbollah].”

So it is acceptable for Israel to spy on Lebanese, but not vice versa?  The Manifesto also complains Hezbollah allegedly exploited dual-nationals and used false identity papers.  Yet this technique is an integral component of Mossad, from false identities and false flags in the 1950s, to political military espionage in the 1960s, to international vigilante justice in the 1970s, to fake passportsand double agent killing squads in the 1980s, to assassination attempts in the 1990s, to falsifiedpassports and passport fraud, and assassination after assassination in the 2000s.

These activities tend to be forgotten in the wake of repeated wars on the Lebanese and Palestinians.  These activities are often subjectively shrugged off as necessary handling of “legitimate” targets, perhaps with a few unfortunate mistakes.  Nonetheless, they exhibit a perpetual defiance of the rule of law, a defiance that is made glaringly clear in Israel’s custom of not only indiscriminate, but also deliberate attacks on the civilian population of the Palestinian territories.

After Israel’s 2006 onslaught on Lebanon, the UN Commission of Inquiry emphasised that one third of the Lebanese casualties were children and stated:

“The Commission highlights a significant pattern of excessive, indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force by IDF against Lebanese civilians and civilian objects. . . The Commission has formed a clear view that, cumulatively, the deliberate and lethal attacks by the IDF on civilians and civilian objects amounted to collective punishment.”

Likewise, after Israel’s 2009 onslaught on Gaza, the UN Fact Finding Mission concluded that:

“what occurred in just over three weeks at the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009 was a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population, radically diminish its local economic capacity both to work and to provide for itself, and to force upon it an ever increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability.”

Following Israel’s 2014 onslaught on Gaza, an Independent Medical Fact-Finding Mission describedin detail the reckless, often deliberate targeting of civilians, including the use of the “double tap”: multiple consecutive strikes on a single location that would lead to additional casualties amongst civilian onlookers and rescuers.

Perhaps as much as casualty statistics, this calculated strategy reveals not merely what the Manifesto describes euphemistically as “challenges about integration between different sectors of the population that need to be addressed,” but what one IDF Staff Sergeant described as “contempt for human life.”  He was relating a similar tactic ordered by his battalion commander in the West Bank:

“You leave bodies in the field—they told me they did it a lot in Lebanon— you leave a body in the field, and you wait until they come to recover it so you can shoot at them.  It’s like you’re setting up an ambush around the body.  But those are things I heard about Lebanon.  So it happened here [in Nablus], too.”

Contempt for human life happened.  Contempt for rule of law happened.  Again and again, at the hands of the “democratic state” promoted by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, who in the same instance would like to coax British and Europeans to condemn the very victims of that state’s crimes.  While their Manifesto offers a few pages pushing Israeli politics, I offer my recently published book, Hezbollah: An Outsider’s Inside View.  Based on eight years of getting to know the people who are Hezbollah, this inside view of the Islamic Resistance of Lebanon offers the opportunity to explore for yourself the militants at the horizon.  May common sense, not lobbying efforts, shape the concerns of the British people.

 

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, LebanonComments Off on Resisting ”Israeli” Politics

New Chinese Bank Becomes Major Headache For U.S.

NOVANEWS

Image result for Chinese Bank PHOTO
by Mark Baker

Another day, it seems, brings another new member to China’s latest big international initiative: a new development bank for Asia.

Russia became the latest country to announce it would join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), to be based in Beijing.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov made the announcement on March 28 at an international forum in China, saying President Vladimir Putin himself had made the decision for Russia to participate, according to RIA Novosti.

Russia is the latest in a string of countries, including many of the United States’ closest allies in Europe and Asia, to announce plans to join the bank ahead of a March 31 deadline to become a charter member.

In recent days, Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and South Korea have all said they intend to join the $50 billion bank, which would be used to fund infrastructure improvements, like new roads and rail lines, in Asia.

Diplomatic Tug Of War

On its face, a country’s decision to join a global development bank wouldn’t normally make headlines, but this time around membership is seen as a clear rebuke to the wishes of Washington. The United States has reportedly spent weeks quietly trying to convince friends around the world to decline or at least delay joining the bank.

Publicly, the United States has offered lukewarm support for the AIIB, provided that the bank meets international norms for transparency and supports global standards when it comes to the environment and labor conditions.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the United States had been ‘very clear’ that if the AIIB takes steps to maintain these higher international standards, the bank ‘could add global value.’

Challenge To Bretton Woods?

But privately, analysts say Washington’s concern may be grounded in a deeper worry over the rise of China and the future of global economic leadership.

Rajiv Biswas, the chief Asia economist at international business consultancy IHS, says the United States could see the AIIB as a threat to the existing economic order formed at the end of World War II, which gave the United States a leading role in the global economy. The Bretton Woods system, based on organizations like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, has guided the world economy for the past 70 years.

The U.S. concern, Biswas says, ‘is that the new development institution could potentially compete with existing institutions, such as the World Bank.’ While China participates in those organizations, its limited influence there is no longer commensurate with its growing economic strength, and efforts to reform the IMF to give China a greater role have languished in the U.S. Congress.

News agencies, especially in China, have had a field day with the U.S. position, as countries seemingly fall over themselves to join the new bank. The official Chinese news agency Xinhua says the United States looks ‘petulant’ and ‘cynical’ and has called Washington’s apparent lack of support ‘sour grapes.’

Chinese officials, for their part, have been more diplomatic, appearing to take the U.S.’s stated concerns more seriously. Finance Minister Lou Jiwei has made clear the AIIB would complement — not compete with — existing institutions like the World Bank and IMF.

With momentum running strongly in favor of the China-led bank, the IMF has added its support. The fund’s managing director, Christine Lagarde, said on March 22 that her institution ‘would welcome’ the [AIIB] initiative. She pointed out the IMF is not in the business of financing infrastructure projects, meaning, she said, ‘there cannot be any competition between the AIIB and us.’

Benefits To Central Asia

While the United States may not be so enthusiastic, the new bank could spur badly needed investment in Central Asia. Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan have all signaled they will join the new institution when it starts operating by the end of this year.

Biswas says the purpose of the bank would be to channel investment funds from richer countries like China or Singapore, or some of the European countries that have offered to join, into developing countries with lower to middle incomes in Southeast and Central Asia.

Some estimates put the amount of infrastructure development needed in Asia to 2020 as high as $8 trillion. The AIIB could be a remedy for at least part of this shortfall.

Russia’s Role

Russia’s announcement on March 28 that it would join the AIIB comes late in the game, but appears to have been inevitable. While Russia and China are strategic partners, they also compete in key Central Asian countries for influence and access to natural resources.

Oleg Kuzmin, the chief economist for Russia and the CIS at Renaissance Capital Investment in Moscow, says it’s not clear yet what Russian membership in the bank would bring. ‘We have [little] clarity on the details of this particular institution,’ he says. ‘[It] is quite unclear now what could be the potential benefits for Russia, or what could be the potential costs if Russia takes part in this project.’

Russian leaders, no doubt, reckoned it would be better to be on the inside rather than the outside of an institution that could conceivably favor Chinese interests over their own in Central Asia.

It’s unclear, though, whether China would or could use the AIIB to strengthen its own geopolitical influence in Asia. Biswas says that’s certainly an issue, particularly for those countries, like the United States, that have not joined the bank.

But he points out that China is only one of 30 or more countries that will eventually decide on projects to be funded. Other charter members include the major European countries, as well as countries like Singapore, New Zealand, and India. Biswas says all of these have good track records of ensuring high standards as global lenders.

Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/china-development-bank-major-us-headache/26926375.html

Posted in USA, ChinaComments Off on New Chinese Bank Becomes Major Headache For U.S.

Syrian troops reposition in Idlib suburbs after city falls

NOVANEWS

Fighters loyal to Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate smash a statue of late Syrian president Hafez al-Assad in Idlib

Syrian military forces have regrouped in the suburbs of the northwestern city of Idlib a day after the city fell into the hands of Zio-Wahhabi al-Qaeda-linked terrorists.

‘Forces are repositioning on the outskirts of Idlib in order to face the terrorist battalions… and be in the best position to repel their attack,’ a security source in the Syrian capital city of Damascus told AFP on Sunday.

The troops carried out a ‘successful operation regrouping south of the city,” Syria’s al-Watan newspaper reported.

‘Army reinforcements were sent to start a military operation to regain control of the areas that were vacated after the evacuation of the local population to safe areas,’ the daily quoted a source on the ground as saying.

On Saturday, a coalition of Zio-Wahhabi terrorist groups, which calls itself the Army of Conquest and includes the al-Qaeda-linked  Zionist Mossad al-Nusra Front and militant group Ahrar al-Sham as well as other smaller groups, seized control of the city following days of heavy clashes with government forces.

Earlier this month, Damascus said thousands of terrorists streamed in from Turkey to attack Idlib. At least 170 people have been killed on both sides since Tuesday.

Idlib has been the epicenter of deadly fighting between government troops and Zio-Wahhabi RAT’s  for months. It is located near the strategically significant main highway that links Damascus to the key northern city of Aleppo.

Idlib is Syria’s second provincial capital to fall into the hands of Zio-Wahhabi RAT’s following the fall of the northern city of Raqqah in March 2013.

Syria has entered the fifth year of a Zio-Wahhabi foreign-sponsored conflict that has so far claimed the lives of more than 215,000 people.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Syrian troops reposition in Idlib suburbs after city falls

Who Has A Stake In Yemen Fight

NOVANEWS

by Michael Scollon

Yemen is at the center of a proxy war between regional heavyweights Iran and Saudi Arabia. It’s the source of fears of a broader Sunni-Shi’ite conflict. And it has implications far beyond its borders.

Here is a look at the stakeholders in the fight.​​

The Playing Field

The Yemen conflict is a tale of twos:

Two leaders: Former President Ali Abdullah Saleh (a Shi’a), who was replaced amid the Arab Spring uprising by his deputy, current President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi (a Sunni)

Two regions: North Yemen and South Yemen, which merged in 1990, with Saleh as president

Two capitals: Sanaa in the north, and Aden in the south

Two branches of Islam: Yemen is more than 99 percent Muslim, of which 65 percent are Sunnis of the Shafi’i school of thought, and 35 percent are Shi’as of the Zaydi school.

Two powerful extremist groups: The Huthis are Shi’ite rebels who first took control over north Yemen, forcing President Hadi to flee, expanded their control through most of the country, and are now moving on his refuge in Aden.

On March 27, the group put a bounty on Hadi’s head, and used the Yemeni Air Force it largely controls (with Saleh’s help) to strike Aden, forcing Hadi to go into hiding. The Sunni militant group Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is the most active Al-Qaeda franchise, controls large areas of north-central Yemen, and is pitted against the Yemeni government, Saudi Arabia, the Huthis, southern separatists and, ultimately, the United States.

Two regional backers: Iran supports the Huthis, materially and militarily; Saudi Arabia backs the Yemeni government headed by Hadi, and on March 25 led air strikes involving 10 Arab countries against Huthi rebels, leading Tehran to denounce the intervention.

Sunni Solidarity

The countries involved in the Saudi-led air strikes are Sunni, underscoring broader Sunni solidarity centered on Gulf Arab countries but which extends to Egypt, Sudan, Pakistan, and Turkey, among others.

Yemen will be the main topic of discussion at an Arab League summit in Sharm-el Sheikh, Egypt, this weekend, and Hadi will attend. Aside from participants’ role in the current Yemen intervention, the gathering of foreign ministers may move closer to establishing a joint Arab military force. The idea has been spearheaded by Egypt and the Gulf states as a way of combating terrorism and staving off Iranian influence.

Saudi Arabia has deployed about 100 aircraft in the Yemen intervention, dubbed Storm of Resolve, and planes from Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, and Bahrain are also contributing.

Saudi Arabia is also is contributing as many as 150,000 troops to the campaign, and Egypt, Jordan, and Pakistan have expressed their readiness to take part in a ground offensive as well.

Sudan, which has had traditionally good relations with Tehran, also said it was ready to send ground troops.

Oil Prices

Global oil prices immediately surged on news of Saudi Arabian-led strikes in Yemen.

Benchmark Brent crude prices rose nearly 6 percent on March 26 (to near $60 a barrel), before easing a little due to fears that the military intervention could spark a broader regional conflict and disrupt oil supplies. On March 27, prices fell more than $1 a barrel (midday low $57.76) after Goldman Sachs said the Yemen campaign would have little effect on global oil supplies.

In kind, global stock indexes dipped, including the U.S. Dow Jones (down 0.6 percent) and London’s FTSE (down 1.2 percent).

Saudi Arabia, the largest oil producer in the Middle East, has been a central figure in the global fall in oil prices that began in 2014. Oil accounted for some 90 percent of Saudi Arabia’s budget in 2013, according to Reuters, yet Riyadh has steadfastly refused to cut production to buoy prices.

Iran has characterized the fall in oil prices as the result of a Saudi and U.S. conspiracy against Tehran, whose oil income has been hurt by sanctions over its contentious nuclear program, and Russia, which relies heavily on oil income and is at odds with the West over its intervention in eastern Ukraine.

Russia

Moscow, which stands to gain from any rise in oil prices, has been working the phones and playing the peacemaker role since the Saudi-led air strikes began.

On March 27, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and ‘expressed concern over the escalation of tensions in Yemen,’ according to the Kremlin press service. He also stressed the importance of ‘intensifying international efforts to achieve a peaceful and lasting settlement of the situation in the country.’

In a telephone conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rohani on March 26, Putin called for the ‘immediate cessation of hostilities’ in Yemen — read by the Iranian press as a call for Saudi Arabia to halt its intervention — and also expressed satisfaction with progress made in the ongoing nuclear negotiations between Iran and the six world powers.

The negotiators are entering the end game of talks aimed at meeting a March 31 deadline to come up with a framework agreement over Iran’s nuclear program.

Iran

As Tehran tries to cut a nuclear deal in Switzerland that will result in sanctions relief and allow it to pursue a peaceful nuclear program, it must fend off criticism of a possible deal from regional players Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Netanyahu has been openly critical of the talks, which he argues are not going far enough to ensure that Iran cannot acquire nuclear weapons, and has raised the alarm about Iran’s growing influence in the region.

Riyadh has expressed its own concerns about Iran’s encroachment in the region and has sparked fears of a nuclear arms race by saying that any deal that allows Iran to enrich uranium will lead Saudi Arabia to seek the same.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who is also Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, on March 26 demanded an ‘immediate stop to the Saudi military operations in Yemen.’ He was also quoted by the Arabic-language al-Alam news network as saying Iran would ‘spare no effort to contain the crisis in Yemen.’

Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is scheduled to visit Iran in April, has been outspoken in his criticism of Tehran’s role in Yemen.

‘Iran and the terrorist groups must withdraw,’ he told France 24 on March 27, alluding to Huthi militants.

‘We support Saudi Arabia’s intervention,’ Erdogan said, adding that Turkey ‘may consider providing logistical support based on the evolution of the situation.’

On March 27, Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif responded to earlier remarks by Erdogan in which he accused Iran of trying to dominate the Middle East.

‘The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready for cooperation with its brothers in the region to facilitate dialogue between various groups in Yemen to maintain unity and return stability and security in that country,’ Fars quoted Zarif as saying.

Iraq

Iraq finds itself in a tricky balancing act. It is relying on Iranian-backed militias to help beat back an incursion by the hard-core Sunni Islamic State group on the ground, and U.S. air support to strike IS from above.

This week, the United States agreed to conduct air strikes in support of Baghdad’s effort to retake the Sunni-stronghold Tikrit. Once Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani and his Iran-loyal militias had left the scene, U.S.-led air strikes followed.

During the Arab League summit in Egypt this weekend, Iraq can also expect to hear calls for its participation in the establishment of a joint Arab military force, an idea it has been reluctant to endorse because of its ties to Iran.

United States

Yemen, once a poster child of success for Washington, now adds to the complex challenges facing the United States in the Middle East.

On the one hand, the United States is in the unlikely position of being on the same side as Iran in fighting IS in Iraq.

But in Syria — where it is also targeting IS — Washington is arming some of the groups fighting the Iran- and Russia-backed regime of Bashar al-Assad.

And now, the United States finds itself backing (not yet militarily, but with logistical and intelligence support) longtime ally Saudi Arabia against Iran-backed militants in Yemen.

All this at a time when Washington is trying to seal a nuclear deal with Iran.

 

Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/who-has-a-stake-in-yemen-fight/26925287.html

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, Saudi Arabia, YemenComments Off on Who Has A Stake In Yemen Fight

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