ayatollah khamenei

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The following article appeared in the Jerusalem Post on the last day of August.

Things are certainly hotting up in the war of words between Israel and Iran.  According to the article, Netanyahu’s strong words are a response to the ‘anti-Semitic diatribe’ of Ayatollah Khamenei at the ‘Non-Aligned Meeting’ summit that just concluded in Tehran.

Personally, I’m not sure what the term ‘anti-Semitic’ here is intended to refer to. ‘Antisemitism’ would suggest that Khamenei is condemning the Israelis on the basis of their race or ethnicity, wouldn’t it? If the reference is to the quotes from the Ayatollah’s speech that appear in the article, I can’t see anything ‘anti-Semitic’ in them. Certainly the Ayatollah is condemning the crimes committed against the people of Palestine by the Israeli government (and rightly so) but there is surely nothing racist about that in itself? Perhaps there was other material in his speech that was overtly racist? I am open to be convinced.

Perhaps it’s the term ‘Zionist regime’ that is being taken as being anti-Semitic? I’m not sure. Certainly when media commentators speak of the ‘Assad regime’ in Syria they are not being accused of being racist or ‘anti-Syrian’ or wanting the country of Syria to disappear from the map. Feel free to educate me with your comments if you understand this better than I do.

Father Dave

PM to ‘speak the truth’ on Iran in UN speech

Netanyahu denounces Non-Aligned Movement’s silence on Iranian “blood libel”; Khamanei accuses “Zionist wolves” of “state terror.”

After two-thirds of the world’s countries listened silently Thursday to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei launch an anti-Semitic diatribe against Israel at the Non-Aligned Meeting summit in Tehran, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced he would respond at the UN General Assembly next month.

“In Tehran today, the representatives of 120 countries heard a blood libel against the State of Israel and were silent. This silence must stop,” Netanyahu said.

“Therefore, I will go to the UN General Assembly and, in a clear voice, tell the nations of the world the truth about Iran’s terrorist regime, which constitutes the greatest threat to world peace.”

Khamenei, speaking to the NAM gathering that included UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said “an independent country with a clear historical identity called ‘Palestine’ has been taken away from its people through the use of weapons, killings and deception, and has been given to a group of people the majority of whom are immigrants from European countries.

“This great usurpation – which at the outset was accompanied by massacres of defenseless people in towns and villages and their expulsion from their homes and homeland to bordering countries – has continued for more than six decades with similar crimes and continues to this very day.”

Khamenei said the political and military leaders of the “usurping Zionist regime” killed the people, destroyed their homes and farms, arrested and tortured men, women and children, humiliated and insulted the Palestinians and tried to digest it all into the “usury-eating stomach of the Zionist regime.”

“Even now after 65 years the same kind of crimes marks the treatment of Palestinians remaining in the occupied territories by the blood-thirsty Zionist wolves.

They commit new crimes one after the other and create new crises for the region,” he continued.

Khamenei said the Zionists controlled the world’s media and were responsible for America’s “hateful image” in the region.

“Our standpoint is that Palestine belongs to the Palestinians and that continuing its occupation is a great and intolerable injustice and a major threat to global peace and security,” he said. Khamenei called for a referendum among all the Palestinians – “both the current citizens of Palestine and those who have been forced to immigrate to other countries but have preserved their Palestinian identity, including Muslims, Christians and Jews” – to chose the country’s political system.

Ban, whose presence at the parley is widely seen in Jerusalem as giving legitimacy to the Iranian regime, addressed the gathering and said he “strongly” rejected threats by one UN member state to destroy another, and “outrageous attempts to deny historical facts, such as the Holocaust.

Claiming that another UN member state, Israel, does not have the right to exist, or describing it in racist terms, is not only utterly wrong but undermines the very principles we have all pledged to uphold.”

His words, however, did little to soothe Israeli anger at his very participation in the event.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, at a gathering in Jerusalem marking 60 years of Israeli-Japanese ties, characterized the event in Tehran as “a march of folly and hypocrisy not seen since the 1930s. Against the background of all the threats to destroy the State of Israel, erase the State of Israel, attack Jews wherever they are, we see the representatives of 120 counties, with the UN secretary- general, come to Iran and give legitimacy to the regime of the ayatollahs.”

Liberman asked what Israel was supposed to understand from the willingness of so many world leaders to take part in the conference, and how this would impact on the future.

“How can we rely on them,” he asked. “What is the meaning of international guarantees of our security?” Liberman slammed the Palestinian Authority presence at the conference.

He said that a speech delivered by PA Foreign Minister Riad Maliki – accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing, apartheid and crimes against humanity – could have been written by Joseph Goebbels.

Maliki said Israel had stepped up military attacks against Palestinians and the sources of their livelihood.

“To the military attacks have now been added violent, provoking and inciting attacks by settlers through organized and systematic terror, which recalls the bloody events taken by the settler and armed gangs – like the Hagana and others – during the Nakba in 1948.”

Netanyahu, meanwhile, is scheduled to leave for the UN on September 27, immediately after Yom Kippur, and return to Israel on September 30, just before the onset of Succot.

Although there has been talk of a meeting at the UN with US President Barack Obama, no meeting has yet been officially announced.

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey said Thursday that he did not want to be “complicit” if Israel chose to strike Iran’s nuclear program, saying a premature attack would dissolve the international pressure on the Islamic Republic, The Guardian reported.

Speaking to journalists in London, Dempsey said an attack would “clearly delay but probably not destroy Iran’s nuclear program,” but added that the “international coalition” pressuring Iran “could be undone if it was attacked prematurely.”

“I don’t want to be complicit if [Israel] chooses to do it,” he added.

The White House said on Thursday that it was closely studying a UN report that showed Iran has possibly expanded uranium enrichment machines and increased stockpiles of nuclear material.

“We are closely studying the details of the report, but broadly speaking it is not surprising that Iran is continuing to violate its obligations,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters when asked about the UN International Atomic Energy Agency’s quarterly report on Iran.

“As the report illustrates, we are in a position to closely observe Iran’s program,” he said.

The report showed Iran has doubled the number of uranium enrichment machines it has in an underground bunker. Carney said the US has made it clear to Iran that they have a limited window of time to stop its atomic work and diplomatic terms offered by the Western world will not remain open “indefinitely.”

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I find Larry Derfner’s argument in the following article unconvincing. Derfner says that only Gantz can stop Barak and Netanyahu, but are any of them really going to launch a war without the permission of the USA?

If Israel attacks Iran, Iran will close the Strait of Hormuz, and American can’t afford to have those shipping lanes closed. It would require the US committing to a full-scale ground assault in order to re-open the Strait, and the US cannot afford to do that! Therefore, for the very worst of reasons (ie. economic), America will not allow an attack, and Israel will do as its told!

Of course there are better reasons NOT to attack Iran (such as Iran having no intention of attacking Israel or anywhere else, and Ayatollah Khamenei’s fatwa forbidding the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons) but the economic argument is the only politically relevant one.

Peace. Dave

Original link: 972mag.com…

Not even the IDF chief can stop this war

By Larry Derfner

A leading Israeli defense reporter writes that Barak and Netanyahu have decided to attack Iran before November, and only IDF chief Benny Gantz can stop them. I say even he can’t.

Channel 10 defense reporter Alon Ben David, who’s been covering the Israeli security establishment for about 20 years and is as plugged in up there as anyone alive, writes in Haaretz today that the only person who can stop an Israeli attack on Iran before the November 6 presidential election is IDF chief Benny Gantz. This is an extremely newsworthy op-ed because Ben David is not a pundit, he’s a top-drawer reporter (also writing for the “Bible” of military affairs, Jane’s Defence Weekly) and he’s saying Netanyahu and Barak have made the decision to strike between August and October. He also says the cabinet – a majority of which supports an attack, and no surprise there – ”will only be convened right before the strike to prevent leaks.” Interestingly, the key leaker whom Netanyahu and Barak want to keep in the dark about the exact time of the attack is Shimon Peres, who, Ben David writes, might go so far as to alert the White House to try to stop it.

The chief of the Mossad, head of military intelligence and commander of the Air Force all oppose a war, according to Ben David – and so does Gantz, at least for now. ”The State of Israel cannot go to war without the support of the chief of staff,” Ben David notes, so it’s going to be up to Gantz to face down the entire political leadership. He would be speaking on behalf of the security establishment, which opposes an attack.

Much of what Ben David has to say about Gantz is encouraging. First of all, he’s not gung ho.

Gantz is familiar with the widespread assessment that an attack will not only not scuttle the Iranian bomb project, it is liable to intensify the pace of its development. Israel will be dragged into a painful war, which will not defeat it but will paralyze it and deliver a critical blow to the home front, after which Israeli society may be irrevocably changed. It will be a war that is liable to lead many Israelis to reconsider their future in this place.

Also, in line with Gantz’s hesitancy about a war with Iran, Ben David says he has an “accurate moral compass.” All very good to hear. On the worrisome side, though, he “so dislikes personal confrontations.” Barak, who is Gantz’s direct boss, lives for them. There’s another problem – Gantz was not Barak and Netanyahu’s first choice for IDF chief; their first choice, Yoav Galant, who lost the appointment over his tricky land dealings, was said to be in favor of a war.

Ben David writes that the military/intelligence brass are “walking around like they’re carrying a heavy burden” – they don’t want to do it. With few exceptions like Galant and Amos Yadlin, director of Israel’s leading security think tank, the retired military/intelligence types are against it, too. So is a majority of the Israeli public (though a majority of the public, like most of the military/intelligence establishment, would like the U.S., with it’s far superior capabily, to do the job instead).

It’s only the politicians who are eager to strike. A huge problem is that that the politicians include three former IDF chiefs (Barak, Mofaz and Ya’alon) as well as other stars of the military/intelligence establishment.

Ben David says it all comes down to Gantz. If he agrees with Netanyahu, Barak and the cabinet majority, Israel will attack; if he doesn’t, Israel won’t.

I happen to disagree with Ben David, and I’m speaking strictly out of my own reading of things. Finally, the army takes orders from the elected political leadership. If the IDF chief of staff tells the prime minister and defense minister he’s against a war, that Israel cannot do enough damage to Iran’s nuclear facilities to make the consequences worth suffering, I’m sure Netanyahu and Barak will listen to him politely – and then tell the cabinet it’s time to vote, the vote will be for war, and Gantz and the army brass will have no choice but to launch it. Unless, of course, they resign on the spot, which is not the sort of thing these career military men would ever dream of doing. They may voice their disagreements, but in the end they will follow orders – and as Ben David reports, the people who give the orders, the political leaders, are down for war. Sometime before November 6.

Unfortunately, Netanyahu, Barak and the people they frighten into obedience, which is a lot of people, hate to hear dissent, especially on Iran. Anybody who speaks out, like Dagan, like Diskin, like Netanyahu’s long-time chief aide Uzi Arad, is discredited and turned into an outsider. With the political leadership set on war, Gantz, as head of the military, will make it his business to remain an insider. He may stick to his current opinion and even say it out loud, but he will also make it absolutely clear that if those who give the orders want war, he will be a 100% loyal soldier and lead the IDF toward its objective with everything he’s got.

“All the weight of this decision has been placed on the narrow shoulders of a single army officer,” Ben David concludes. I’m afraid this is much, much too big for any one officer, even the IDF chief, to stop.