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US Declares Completion of Steps Under Jerusalem Embassy Act

May 9, 2019 News

PM Netanyahu addresses ceremony marking opening of US Embassy in Jerusalem. Illustrative.
Photo courtesy of Kobi Gideon / GPO

One year after the United States made history by opening their embassy to Israel in the capital city of Jerusalem, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Wednesday they had completed the other steps required under the Congressional act calling for the move. The original Jerusalem Embassy Act called for the US to open an embassy in the Israeli capital and also a chief of mission residence for the US ambassador to Israel, which the US did in March of this year.

While the Trump Administration has wrapped up the Congressional requirements relatively quickly from start to finish that stands in strong contrast to the decades it took the US to finally fulfill the wishes of Congress, as the Jerusalem Embassy Act was passed in 1995. The Act allowed for Presidential waivers to delay the move, which were repeatedly used since the Act went into law more than two decades ago.

“On May 14, 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem officially opened for business. Now, as we near the first anniversary of that momentous event, I am pleased to report that I have provided my determination to Congress that the relevant elements of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 have been addressed,” Pompeo said in a State Department press release. “Accordingly, no further Presidential waiver of the funding restriction under the Act is necessary.”

Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director-General Yuval Rotem thanked the US on Twitter and welcomed Ambassador David Friedman. … Continue Reading

ADL: 1,879 Antisemitic Attacks in US in 2019, Including Spike in Assaults

May 1, 2019 News

Even in the US, antisemitism has disturbing trends. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

The number of antisemitic assaults in the United States in 2019 more than doubled the number of incidents in the year before, part of 1,879 antisemitic attacks in the US last year according to data released by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). That total, while 5 percent less than 2017, still ranks as the third most attacks in one year since the ADL first began tracking the numbers in 1970.

While the overall numbers are deeply disturbing, the outright violence skyrocketed year-over-year—from 19 antisemitic assaults in 2017 to 39 in 2018, including the murder of 11 people at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life – Or L’Simcha Congregation in October. The violence impacted 59 victims, almost triple the 21 victims in 2017, noted an ADL press release posted to their website.

“We’ve worked hard to push back against antisemitism, and succeeded in improving hate crime laws, and yet we continue to experience an alarmingly high number of antisemitic acts,” Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO and National Director, was quoted in the press release as saying. … Continue Reading

US Removes All Sanctions Waivers on Iran Oil to Get Imports ‘to Zero’

April 24, 2019 News

PM Netanyahu & US Secy. of State Pompeo. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of: Haim Zach / Israeli GPO

The United States says they are exerting a “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran and this week took their oil sanctions to the maximum by eliminating all waivers on imports of Iranian oil. The oil sanctions that took place last November initially had a set of waivers for seven countries and Taiwan, but as of May 2 no such waivers will be granted, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Monday. Any country importing Iranian oil will be at risk of US sanctions.

“Almost one year ago, after withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, President Trump implemented the strongest pressure campaign in history against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Pompeo said in comments published by the State Department. “The goal remains simple: to deprive the outlaw regime of the funds it has used to destabilize the Middle East for four decades, and incentivize Iran to behave like a normal country.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the US for the significant step aiming to cut off Iran’s oil exports. “The decision of President Trump and the American administration to increase the sanctions against Iran is a decision of very great importance,” said Netanyahu on Monday in comments released by his office. “This is how to deal with Iran’s aggression and this is how to block it.” … Continue Reading

New Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Leader Said Wiping Israel Off the Political Map Is Their Strategy

April 21, 2019 News

Iran’s leadership remains anti-Israel.
Illustrative official meeting. Photo Courtesy of UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Wiping Israel off the map, forcing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to flee via the sea, threatening Europe with missile capabilities if efforts are made to disarm the Iranian missile program—these are just some of the sentiments expressed in the last year by the new leader of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami. And all of these sentiments were reported by Iranian media.

The IRGC is a powerful military body in Iran that also wields significant economic influence. The IRGC was recently designated by the United States as a terrorist organization due to their involvement in terrorism around the world.

The Mehr News Agency reported in January that Salami went beyond calling wiping the “Zionist regime”—Iran’s codename for the State of Israel—off the political map as just a dream, stating it was in fact a strategy for Iran. He further warned that if Israel went to war with Iran, Israelis wouldn’t even have a cemetery left to them in “Palestine” to bury their dead. … Continue Reading

Majority Recommends Netanyahu as Next Prime Minister of Israel

April 16, 2019 News

President Rivlin with United Right faction. Photo courtesy of Mark Neiman (Israeli GPO)

It’s official. Barring an unexpected breakdown in political negotiations to form a new governing coalition, Benjamin Netanyahu will once again be prime minister of Israel. Tuesday was day two of the Israeli political parties informing President Reuven Rivlin of their recommendations for the next prime minister of Israel, and a majority of legislators in the Israeli Knesset (parliament) nominated Netanyahu.

Appropriately, it was the politically right-leaning United Right party whose support pushed Netanyahu past the 60 legislator threshold to form a majority ruling group in the 120-member Knesset. Rivlin, in comments published in an Israeli press release, highlighted this honor when United Right recommended Netanyahu.

“With your recommendation, you have formed a majority of the people in favor of the candidate,” said Rivlin. “Your recommendation is of great significance to the discussions we are holding here.” … Continue Reading

Israel Calls International Criminal Court Dismissal of Trial of US Forces ‘Very Important’

April 14, 2019 News

Israel believes they benefit from the US court victory. PM Netanyahu meets with VPOTUS Pence. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (Israeli GPO)

The Israeli military won a victory on Friday, not on the battlefield but in the courtroom. The International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague rejected the request of the prosecutor to bring war crimes charges against US forces involved in the Afghanistan conflict. The decision, according to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is far-reaching and sets a precedent for dealing with soldiers from Israel—who like the US has a robust judicial system and is not party to the ICC treaty.

However, while Israel and the US responded to the decision as though it is broad in scope, the ICC decision itself did not appear to exclude the US or other parties from war crimes cases in the future and dismissed this prosecution mostly due to circumstantial reasons, according to the ICC website.

Nonetheless, Netanyahu called the ICC decision “very important” in comments released by his office on Sunday. “This blocked a move that would have upended the original goal of establishing the international court,” said Netanyahu, who said the court emerged after crimes such as genocide intending “to deal with countries and regions that have no true legal system.” Israel and the US, he noted, are not in that category. … Continue Reading

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