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Iran says Greater Risk of War with Israel, Launches New Cruise Missile Submarine

By the Jerusalem Post & Reuters
Israeli and US actions have increased the risk of a regional war involving Tehran, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in Germany on Sunday as his country inaugurated a new domestically-built submarine armed with cruise missiles. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani presided over the launch, which was broadcast live on state television, in the port city of Bandar Abbas, the port city of Bandar Abbas, the capital of Iran's southern Hormozgan province. The Fateh "Conqueror" submarine weighs 600 tons, Iranian TV said, adding that it "enjoys state-of-the-art weaponry, including torpedoes, naval mines and cruise missiles that could be launched from a submerged position." The launch comes at a time of increased rhetoric between Iran and its two foes, Israel and the United States. It also follows the US lead Warsaw, in which representatives of 60 nations, gathered to talk about regional issues, including ways to combat Iranian aggression. "Certainly some people are looking for war," Zarif told the Munich Security Conference, clarifying that he was referencing Israel, specifically its aerial activities in Syria against Iranian military targets. Such activity, he said, is a violation of international law. "We are in Syria on the invitation of the Syrian government for the sole purpose of fighting terrorism, no other reason for our being there," Zarif said. He delivered a speech to the conference and responded to a question-and-answer session. "Violating Lebanon's airspace and shooting into Syria is a violation of international law," Zarif said. "So let us wake up. The risk is great, but the risk will be even greater if you continue to turn a blind eye to sever violations of international law," Zarif said. Adding "Israeli behavior is putting international law on the shelf, US behavior is putting international law on the shelf." Zarif took issue with Israeli and US charges that Iran was a treat to Middle East stability. "Is It Iran that threatens the annihilation of others? Or is it [Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu, the wolf-crier-in-chief, who openly threatened my country with obliteration, while standing next to his nuclear weapons package," Zarif said. But the bulk of Zarif speech was an attack against the United States, which he said, has a "maligned obsession" with destroying the Iranian regime. He took pains to make describe his country as a force of stabilization in the Middle East, particularly in the fight against ISIS and to portray the United States as a destabilizing foreign agent. Zarif attacked US Vice President Mike Pence's speech Saturday in Munich, in which he stated that "the Iranian regime openly advocates another Holocaust and it seeks the means to achieve it." Pence also stated, "The Islamic Republic of Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world. Iran has supported terrorist proxies and militias, Hizbullah and Hamas; exported missiles; fueled conflicts in Syria and Yemen; plotted terrorist attacks on European soil; and openly advocated the destruction of the State of Israel." He added, "Anti-Semitism is not just wrong; it's evil."

Zarif on Sunday shot back that Pence's "allegation of anti-Semitism was "ridiculous" and "very dangerous. More and more nations [are] explicit about the fact that the US is the single biggest source of destabilization in our neighborhood," Zarif said. Last year, Iran's navy launched a domestically-built destroyer, which state media said has radar-evading stealth properties. Iran says it has missiles with the range of up to 2,000 km (1,250 miles), which puts Israel and U.S. military bases in the region within reach. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday inaugurated a new domestically-built submarine armed with cruise missiles at a time of rising tensions with its arch-enemy the United States. The unveiling came on the heels of the country's foreign minister saying the chances of war with Israel are "great."

Poland's Prime Minister Cancels Israel Trip Following Holocaust Law Spat

Poland's Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, has canceled a planned appearance at the upcoming Visegrad Group (V4) summit to be held later this week in Jerusalem. Polish media outlets reported that Morawiecki spoke with Israeli Premier Binyamin Netanyahu over the phone Sunday, informing the Israeli leader that he would not be visiting Israel for the summit Tuesday and Wednesday. Earlier on Sunday, Israel's Kan network reported that Morawiecki had dropped out of the event and that Poland's delegation would instead be led by the country's foreign minister, Jacek Czaputowicz. The Polish government confirmed to AFP that Morawiecki would not attend the V4 summit in Israel, and would instead send Czaputowicz. The cancellation comes following a diplomatic dustup between the two nations after Netanyahu publicly defied Poland's much-criticized Holocaust Law, which criminalizes the phrase "Polish death camps" and outlaws discussion of collaboration by Poles with the German occupation during World War II. During his state visit to Poland last Thursday, Netanyahu said that some Poles had collaborated with the Nazis – publicly defying the law and drawing criticism from the Polish government. "Poles collaborated with the Nazis," said Netanyahu in Warsaw Thursday. "See, I'm saying it. It is a fact. And I don't know a single person who was ever sued because of it." Last year, Poland passed the controversial law which took effect in March 2018. Violators of the law could face up to three years in prison. The law drew heavy criticism from the Israeli government, with the US State Department also expressing opposition to the bill. Polish opposition parties also criticized the law, and proposed to amend the bill. Some Israeli media outlets initially quoted Netanyahu as saying not "Poles" but "The Poles" cooperated, phrasing which could be taken as blaming the entire Polish nation. Netanyahu's office said he was misquoted. The Polish government summoned the Israeli ambassador on Friday and later said it was not satisfied with the explanation of the Israeli leader being quoted incorrectly.

Netanyahu was supposed to meet with the leaders of the four central European countries known as the Visegrad Group — Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia — during the two-day meeting in Israel. Now, with general and European elections later this year, Morawiecki bowed out of the Jerusalem trip because he "has to think about the far-right and anti-Semitic electorate," said Tomasz Lis, the editor of the Polish edition of Newsweek and a critic of the government. Germany occupied Poland in 1939, annexing part of it to Germany and directly governing the rest. Unlike other countries occupied by Germany, Poland did not have a collaborationist government. The prewar Polish government and military fled into exile, and an underground resistance army fought the Nazis inside the country and tried to warn a deaf world about the Holocaust. Thousands of Poles also risked their own lives to help Jews. Because of that history, Poles find references to Polish "collaboration" to be unfair and hurtful. However, individual Poles did take part in killing Jews during and after the war. Many Holocaust survivors and their relatives carry painful memories of persecution at Polish hands. In Israel, there has been anger at what many there perceive to be Polish attempts today to whitewash that history. The dispute last sparked an explosion of anti-Semitic hate speech in Poland, and there were signs of another spike in recent days.

Arab Hebrew University Professor Spouts Blood Libel at Columbia University

In a recording released Sunday morning on the Army Radio, Good Morning Israel program, Prof. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian can be heard at a lecture at Columbia University criticizing Israel for carrying out weapons tests on Palestinians. In the recording presented by Tzahi Dabush, the Army Radio Spokesman for Security Affairs, the professor's statements are presented under the heading "Disturbing Spaces – Violent Technologies in Palestinian Jerusalem." In the lecture, the professor claimed that Israel uses "Palestinian neighborhoods" as laboratories for sales of Israeli weapons. "Palestinian spaces are laboratories. The invention of products and services of State-sponsored security corporations are fueled by long-term curfews and Palestinian oppression by the Israeli army." She also claimed that Palestinian children are used as test tools by the IDF. "They check for which bombs to use, gas bombs or stink bombs. Whether to put plastic sacks or cloth sacks. To beat us with their rifles or to kick us with boots." The professor also referred to the visit of the president of Chad to Israel, claiming that the president's visit was to see how people were really controlled. "He was brought to Bab al-Amud (Damascus Gate) to see how they really control people in the area, with which closed-circuit cameras." Her claims were presented to dozens of students and lecturers from Columbia University as a study conducted by the professor under the auspices of the Hebrew University. The Hebrew University responded, "The views expressed by Prof. Nadera Shalhoub Kevorkian do not represent or express in any way the Hebrew University or the administration of the University, these are her personal opinions which express only herself."

Two Tales of a City: Jerusalem Tour Guided by a Palestinian and an Israeli

By Reuters & YnetNews
MEJDI Tours operates a Dual Narrative tour of the Holy City where tourists can hear both the Jewish-Zionist version and the Palestinian narrative of the conflicted city side by side. On a Jerusalem plaza looking up at the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock, a crowd gathers in front of two guides, listening attentively, a common sight in a city packed with pilgrims and tourists visiting its religious landmarks. What is unusual is that one of the guides is Palestinian, one is Israeli, and they are taking turns to give their perspectives on the city known to Jews as Yerushalayim and to Arabs as al-Quds. "We are in Jerusalem, which is the capital of the Jewish state. We are in one of the holiest places in the world for Christianity. And the keys are held by Muslim families," said Israeli guide Lana Zilberman Soloway, who spoke first as the group reached the Church of the Holy Sepulcher where Jesus is believed to be buried. "And all three coexist at the same time." Her counterpart, Noor Awad, from Bethlehem in the West Bank just a few km (miles) away, took a different view of the status quo, noting that Muslims and Christians from the West Bank or Gaza need Israeli travel permits to worship here. "For Palestinians, this is the capital of Palestine and the capital of their country," said Awad, 28. "If you don't get that permission, you can't come actually here to pray. So the place is being used, and plays a lot into the two narratives and the conflict we have today." The two guides heard each other out politely, with the occasional quip or raised eyebrow. Two dozen tourists, mainly foreigners living in the city, peppered them with questions. The company, MEJDI Tours, says its "Dual Narrative" tour was "created in partnership by Israelis, Palestinians, Arabs, and Jews". The weekly tours have been underway since last October. Israel considers all of Jerusalem its capital. The Old City and holy sites lie in the mainly Arab eastern half, re-captured by Israel in a 1967 war and annexed in a move not recognized internationally. Palestinians say the eastern half is occupied land and must become the capital of a future Palestinian state. At the heart of Old City, the tour came to the hill known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. "Where the Dome of the Rock today is standing, the Prophet Muhammad ascended to Heaven to talk to God," Awad told the tour party, describing what Muslims consider the holiest spot on earth outside of the two Arabian cities Muhammad called home. "That's a very central event, somehow similar to the story of Moses talking to God from Mount Sinai."

For Jews, it is the site of the biblical Temple, destroyed by Babylonian conquerors, rebuilt and razed again under the Romans. The Western Wall, a restraint for the foundations built by Herod the Great 2000 years ago, is a sacred place of prayer. "All the way down deep underground, underneath the golden dome, 5779 years ago, God created the world. 4,000 years ago we believe Abraham came to bind Isaac on that exact spot," Zilberman Soloway said.

CNN and NBC Agree to Air Ad for Oscar-Nominated Documentary about NY Nazi Rally

CNN and MSNBC have each agreed to broadcast an ad that Fox News rejected for a documentary about a Nazi rally held in New York in 1939. The rally's 80th anniversary is on February 20. The filmmakers of "A Night at the Garden," which has been nominated for an Oscar in the category of documentary short, confirmed to The Washington Post on Friday that the 30-second ad spot would air during "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer" on CNN and "The Rachel Maddow Show" on MSNBC on Monday. The documentary contains footage of the Nazi rally. "We decided to dig deep and pay for television ads we weren't planning to buy because we wanted to make the point that Fox News is out of the mainstream," the movie's director, Marshall Curry, told The Post, adding that he believed the network's rejection of the ad was politically motivated. NBCUniversal said the company had initially rejected the ad for MSNBC because an NBCUniversal standards group deemed the content too provocative, so the filmmakers added context with a title card that explains the footage is part of an Oscar-nominated film, the Post reported. Fox declined to run the ad because it was "full of disgraceful Nazi imagery regardless of the film's message and did not meet our guidelines," ad sales president Marianne Gambelli said in a statement.

BDS Advocate Rashida Tlaib Uses Israeli Technology!

By United with Israel
US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib is an outspoken advocate for BDS, but guess what? She uses Israeli technology! Tlaib wasn't the only BDS promoter caught using Wix, a Tel Aviv-based web-development platform. Other anti-Israel activists and BDS endorsers as well, despite their hypocritical call to boycott the Jewish state, use Israeli-built websites powered by Wix, an Israeli company that provides a world-class website-building platform to millions of users around the world.

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