Two girls arrested last week were part of network of young Islamists monitored by authorities
Two teenage French girls, arrested last week in a crackdown on citizens who consider traveling to other countries to join “jihad,” were planning to attack a synagogue in Lyon with a suicide bomb, French media revealed Friday.
“These girls were part of a network of young Islamists who were being monitored by security services.”
The two, 15 and 17 years old, were detained and interrogated last week in Venissieux, a suburb of Lyon in southeastern France, and Tarbes, a town in the south, after French authorities uncovered a plan to bomb the Great Synagogue of Lyon. They were charged for conspiracy to commit terrorism.
Two had never met but communicated via social media, the investigation revealed. Read the rest of this entry »
Synagogues are targets during increasingly violent protests against Operation Protective Edge
For The Times of Israel, Cnaan Lipshiz reports: For the past 14 years, French Jews have grown accustomed to coming under attack during periods of conflict in the Middle East from hostile elements within their country’s large Arab and Muslim communities.
One recent incident, however, stood out: the July 13 riot by Palestinian sympathizers outside the Synagogue de la Roquette in central Paris that trapped some 200 terrified people inside the building. A street brawl ensued between the rioters and dozens of Jewish men who arrived to defend the synagogue.
“In people’s minds, there will be a before and after the Synagogue de la Roquette,” Joel Mergui, president of the Consistoire, French Jewry’s central religious services organization, told the French newsweekly Le Nouvel Observateur.
The incident involved pro-Palestinian protesters who reportedly had just come from a large demonstration against Israel’s airstrikes in Gaza.
The violence drew a stern rebuke from French President Francois Hollande. Read the rest of this entry »
Jon Stewart Wrong on Israel-Gaza ‘I think they take the very funny Mr. Stewart very seriously. Which, in this case, is a bit of a problem.’Posted: July 17, 2014
It’s an asymmetrical war, all right. But America’s satirical news host has got it the wrong way around
Yeah, it misrepresents what’s going on here. But hey, it is funny, and all those millions of Americans who watched it on Monday know that it’s just satire, don’t they?
Except I fear that they do not. I think they take the very funny Mr. Stewart very seriously. Which, in this case, is a bit of a problem.
Why? Let’s take it joke by joke.
Our super-smart, engagingly frustrated host starts up despairing over a news report of the intensifying conflict which says Israeli troops are poised to invade Gaza, and which ends with the words “as the aerial bombardment from both sides continues.”
Stewart: “Tastes great. More killing.”
See, right off the bat, I’m unhappy. Because, first up, he’s begun with talk of Israel being set to invade Gaza, but without any cited reason — such as, say, Hamas being a terrorist organization with a notorious track record of suicide bombings, individual killings, kidnappings, and incessant rocket fire. And, second, because the implication here is that the combatants — Israel and Hamas — are both happy to be back killing again, and that’s just plain false. Hamas is avowedly committed to the destruction of Israel and holds to a perverted interpretation of Islam that claims killing Jews, Christians and non-believing Muslims is your guaranteed path to paradise if you also die in the process. Israelis, by contrast, would much rather live and let live. (We left Gaza unilaterally in 2005, under international pressure, hoping that the security risk would be worth it, and that we’d be rewarded with tranquility rather than rocket fire, but I wouldn’t expect Stewart to go back that far.)
Stewart: “Both sides are engaging in aerial bombardment, but one side appears to be bomb-better-at it. (Studio laughter at the wordplay.) Most Hamas rockets are neutralized by Israel’s Iron Dome technology, and Israeli citizens can even now download a warning app. (Cut to clip of Israel’s US ambassador Ron Dermer explaining how Israelis can know where and when they’re being attacked.) So Israelis seem to have a high-tech, smart-phone alert system.”
Let me see if I understand the point he’s making here: Having falsely implied that Israel is as keen on killing as Hamas is, Stewart now seems to be criticizing Israel for not being as vulnerable as Hamas would like it to be to those Hamas rockets that are sent to kill us. Read the rest of this entry »
No end to Gaza rocket fire, Israeli air strikes, as conflict with Hamas enters Day 5 http://t.co/puCqiYSFCQ
— The Times of Israel (@TimesofIsrael) July 11, 2014
Air force targets locations in Khan Younis, Rafah; rocket fired at Eshkol region; no injuries or damage reported
ABC NEWS reports: Following the discovery of the bodies of three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped in the West Bank earlier this month, reporters said they could hear the sound of airstrikes tonight in Gaza.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether the strikes were in retaliation for the kidnappings and murders, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had vowed to avenge. The Israel Defense Forces also tweeted early Tuesday morning that a rocket was fired from Gaza into Israel, but no damage was reported….(read more)
Earlier, a rocket was fired in the direction of the Eshkol Regional Council, landing in open terrain. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.
The strikes came hours after the bodies of kidnapped Israeli teenagers — Eyal Yifrach, 19, Gil-ad Shaar, 16 and Naftali Fraenkel, 16 — were found partially buried in a field near the West Bank village of Halhul, north of Hebron.
The teenagers were kidnapped on the night of June 12 at a hitchhiking post outside the settlement of Alon Shvut in the Etzion Bloc south of Jerusalem.
The bodies were found at about 5:30 p.m. Monday, bound and partially buried, in an open field in a hard-to-access area. The site is less than 20 kilometers (12 miles) from where the teens had been abducted. Read the rest of this entry »
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant fighters smash 3,000-year-old Assyrian statue in latest act of cultural genocide
For The Times of Israel, Ilan Ben Zion reports: Fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a radical militia that controls a large swath of eastern Syria, confiscated and destroyed illegally excavated antiquities from an ancient Mesopotamian site.
In an act of cultural genocide strikingly similar to the Taliban’s demolition of the Buddhas of Bamiyan in 2001, the ISIL fighters appear – in pictures recently uploaded by a group working to protect Syria’s rich historical heritage — to smash a 3,000-year-old Neo-Assyrian statue illegally removed from a nearby archaeological site. Another image shows a man placing his foot — an act of disrespect in Arab culture — on the face of the Assyrian statue before its destruction.
Last month, the Syrian antiquities authority said in a statement that it had received notice that artifacts that “appear to be the result of an unauthorized digging” had been plundered from Tell Ajaja, the ruins of the Assyrian provincial capital Shadikanni on the Khabur River, a tributary of the Euphrates.
At least one of the items photographed and published by the Association for the Preservation of Syrian Archaeology appeared among those recently confiscated by ISIL.
The pictures, taken in Syria’s far eastern Hasakeh Province, were also said to be of artifacts removed from Tell Ajaja. The site lies approximately 30 kilometers (18 miles) south of the modern provincial capital of Hasakeh and 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the Iraqi border.
Diplomatic Trash Talkin’ Quote of the Week
Since we’re often reminded by his admirers in academia, the media, and entertainment industry that President Obama is the most brilliant, analytical, nuanced, intellectually-gifted American President in history, we can only conclude that Masoud Jazayeri is a racist.
For The Times of Israel, Marissa Newman writes: President Barack Obama is a “low-IQ US president,” whose threat to launch a military offensive should nuclear talks fail is an oft-cited punchline in the Islamic Republic, particularly among children, an Iranian general said on Tuesday.
“The low-IQ US president and his country’s Secretary of State John Kerry speak of the effectiveness of ‘the US options on the table’ on Iran while this phrase is mocked at and has become a joke among the Iranian nation, especially the children…”
— General Masoud Jazayeri
Jazayeri was responding to the US president’s interview in Bloomberg on Sunday, in which Obama maintained that the Iranian leadership should take his “all options on the table” stance — including the warning of a potential military strike — seriously.
“…completely inexpert remarks far from the reality, and these statements can be used as the joke of the year.”
“We have a high degree of confidence that when they look at 35,000 US military personnel in the region that are engaged in constant training exercises under the direction of a president who already has shown himself willing to take military action in the past, that they should take my statements seriously,” the president told Bloomberg.
Jazayeri called Obama’s statements regarding the deployment of US troops “completely inexpert remarks far from the reality, and these statements can be used as the joke of the year.”
The Iranian news agency Tuesday published a political cartoon mocking the US president, calling it: “All Options on Table.” This Time for Russia.” In a jab at US non-intervention in Ukraine, the cartoon portrays Obama peering forlornly into an empty paint can with the label “Red Line” while Russian President Vladimir Putin walks away saying, “I think you used it all on Syria.” Read the rest of this entry »
Joel B. Pollak writes: Last week, the Times of Israel reported that senior presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett had been leading talks with Iran in secret for a year before the formal negotiations in Geneva this month. While the White House denied the report “100 percent,” the existence of back-channel talks has been confirmed by other reporting. The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that President Barack Obama had “personally overseen” the talks.
Almost anything “personally overseen” by the President Obama is likely to bear the heavy stamp of Ms. Jarrett, who is the president’s closest adviser, despite a shocking track record of failure. In foreign policy, her most important mistake was her effort to dissuade the president from proceeding with the raid on Osama bin Laden. It was one of the few times that President Obama overruled her counsel–and one of his few successes.
The Times Of Israel is reporting that a team of negotiators led by White House adviser Valerie Jarrett has been conducting secret talks with Iran about it’s nuclear weapons program for the past year.
The report states the deal submitted in Geneva earlier this month was a direct result of these secret year-long negotiations between teams headed by Jarrett and Iran’s Ali Akbar Salehi. That deal was ultimately rejected when France and Israel raised strong objections, and talks are expected to resume this Wednesday.
The White House was very quick to issue a categorical denial of the report. According to White House spokesperson Bernadette Meehan, “Those rumors are absolutely, 100 percent false.”
If this report is found to be accurate despite the administration’s fast denial, the fact that Jarrett is leading the U.S. negotiating team on Iran’s nuclear weapons program is very troubling. She does not appear to have any foreign policy experience or history of being involved in such high level negotiations of this nature.