Why Palestinians Should Take to the Streets and Start Toppling Statues

June 19 2020

The recent passion in the West for tearing down statues, taking television shows off air, and “canceling” people seems for the most part driven by nihilism and ignorance. But Ruthie Blum insists that, nonetheless, there is a “need for serious intellectual debate over the type of material that a society wishes to promote or discourage.” And while some within the Black Lives Matter movement wish to coopt the Palestinian cause for their own purposes, and vice versa, there seems to be no room for debate over which figures Palestinian society should memorialize. Blum writes:

One monument of note is a structure in Ramallah honoring Dalal Mughrabi, a female Palestinian terrorist from Lebanon who led the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre, considered the deadliest terrorist attack in Israel’s history. The attack began with the hijacking of a bus and ended with the slaughter of 38 innocent passengers—among them thirteen children—and the wounding of more than 70 others.

As for sports, Palestinian karate, chess, soccer, table-tennis, and other youth tournaments bear the names of “martyred” mass murderers. Ditto for murals, music videos, and cartoons depicting Jews as hook-nosed aggressors in IDF uniforms, and urging Palestinians to commit stabbing, car-ramming, Molotov-cocktail, and missile attacks on Israelis. Oh, and hopefully to lose life and limb during the endeavor.

If Palestinians were to take to the streets . . . to shout about their lives mattering, it would make perfect sense. Not only are they persecuted, kept impoverished, and programmed to exist in a state of fear, they are egged on to sacrifice themselves and their children for a goal that their leaders perpetually block.

If the residents of Ramallah and Gaza were to topple portraits of terrorists, overturn police cars and demand a new order of democracy and civil rights, they would be justified. Unfortunately, they’d also be subjected to torture on a par with, or worse than, that suffered by George Floyd.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Black Lives Matter, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror


Leaked Emails Point to an Iranian Influence Operation That Reaches into the U.S. Government

Sept. 27 2023

As the negotiations leading up to the 2015 nuclear deal began in earnest, Tehran launched a major effort to cultivate support abroad for its positions, according to a report by Jay Solomon:

In the spring of 2014, senior Iranian Foreign Ministry officials initiated a quiet effort to bolster Tehran’s image and positions on global security issues—particularly its nuclear program—by building ties with a network of influential overseas academics and researchers. They called it the Iran Experts Initiative. The scope and scale of the IEI project has emerged in a large cache of Iranian government correspondence and emails.

The officials, working under the moderate President Hassan Rouhani, congratulated themselves on the impact of the initiative: at least three of the people on the Foreign Ministry’s list were, or became, top aides to Robert Malley, the Biden administration’s special envoy on Iran, who was placed on leave this June following the suspension of his security clearance.

In March of that year, writes Solomon, one of these officials reported that “he had gained support for the IEI from two young academics—Ariane Tabatabai and Dina Esfandiary—following a meeting with them in Prague.” And here the story becomes particularly worrisome:

Tabatabai currently serves in the Pentagon as the chief of staff for the assistant secretary of defense for special operations, a position that requires a U.S. government security clearance. She previously served as a diplomat on Malley’s Iran nuclear negotiating team after the Biden administration took office in 2021. Esfandiary is a senior advisor on the Middle East and North Africa at the International Crisis Group, a think tank that Malley headed from 2018 to 2021.

Tabatabai . . . on at least two occasions checked in with Iran’s Foreign Ministry before attending policy events, according to the emails. She wrote to Mostafa Zahrani, [an Iranian scholar in close contact with the Foreign Ministry and involved in the IEI], in Farsi on June 27, 2014, to say she’d met Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal—a former ambassador to the U.S.—who expressed interest in working together and invited her to Saudi Arabia. She also said she’d been invited to attend a workshop on Iran’s nuclear program at Ben-Gurion University in Israel. . . .

Elissa Jobson, Crisis Group’s chief of advocacy, said the IEI was an “informal platform” that gave researchers from different organizations an opportunity to meet with IPIS and Iranian officials, and that it was supported financially by European institutions and one European government. She declined to name them.

Read more at Semafor

More about: Iran nuclear deal, U.S. Foreign policy