Saturday, October 30, 2021

Debating COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters


Eric Topol: 

There was denial. There was criticism of the Israeli Ministry of Health and the researchers there. There were statistical controversies like Simpson’s paradox, and basically it was rebuked.  

Well, two weeks later a more thorough report with more data came out and it was even more concerning. Because now the breakdown was that symptomatic infections, the protection, vaccine effectiveness had dropped down to 41 percent. 

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Yossi Cohen: "Iran not close to getting a nuclear bomb". But the mid-October date talked about by Gantz and Bennett is NOW!


Israel is coming up with contradictory messages on the date when Iran will be getting close to producing a bomb, acquiring enough enriched uranium on the one hand and the time to actually make the bomb once there is enough enriched uranium on the other.  Gantz and Bennett have said that the deadline for getting enough uranium is mid- October, which is today. Amb Dore Gold says it is now since work was not done sequentially but in parallel.   Yossi Cohen says they are not even close.

Whom to believe?

Perhaps this may be intentional to create confusion.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

The Pompeo Doctrine - The Lie of Occupation.

 Israel exists within its present territory with full legal title and sovereign legitimacy as a matter of international law.

From 3:26 to 4:47  ( my transcript until the official one becomes available )  

As we all know, a concerted campaign is being waged against the world's one and only Jewish country, attacking virtually every aspect of its historic, legal, political, cultural life with the singular aim of undermining the sovereignty, security and legitimacy of Israel’s existence.

The future of our nations demands a more forceful assertion of the truth. The truth at the level that we have not seen spoken about or witnessed, in Israel’s case it specifically involves confronting a false narrative that is the very beating heart of modern antisemitism. That beating heart is the lie, the lie that the State of Israel is an illegal occupier in the Land of Israel

The lie of occupation. The lie of occupation provides Israel’s enemies a means to explain away all types of aggression and violence as merely resistance to the occupation. Just listen to what they have to say at the public rhetoric, given the negative connotation of the term “occupier”, antisemitic groups around the world use the word as often as possible in their messaging, as they carry out acts of cultural, political and economic warfare upon Israel and its supporters.

Occupier! Occupier! This then leads to the term’s casual repetition by the media and its eventual use by policymakers as well. This presents real risk. It is clear. It is clear then that promoting the common misrepresentation of the Jewish State of Israel as an occupier in the Land of Israel has become the primary antisemitic canard of the present generation.

The bottom line. The bottom line is that occupation is a legal term, whose definition does not apply to the State of Israel under the law.

Nevertheless, the term is intentionally misused, and it’s important that we know this. It is intentionally misused in order to shape negative misperceptions of Israel’s history and its legitimacy while perpetuating a sense of Arab victimhood.  In this very same context, occupier is nothing more than a polite way of calling Israel a thief. It goes hand in hand, hand in hand with the denial and erasure of Jewish history to international institutions such as the United Nations.

To Christians, of course, this means as if the two Jewish Temples never stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, then Christ and his works are then equally invalidated.

One of the things I worked hardest as my time as America’s Secretary of State was to set that record straight. To clarify all the chaos that had been sown. You should know that the situation I inherited in the State Department was a policy mess that had been festering since the time of the Carter administration, based on ignoring inconvenient legal history.

You know, as Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, not from my party, put it: “a person is entitled to his own opinion but not to his own facts”. So I told my team at the State Department to conduct a strict factual and legal review, and policy analysis which then formed the basis for our policy stance. In practical terms this ultimately meant confronting the lie of occupation with the truth. The truth that Israel exists within its present territory with full legal title and sovereign legitimacy as a matter of international law.     

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Sally Rooney, Sartre and Camus


Letters to the Editor, Jerusalem Post, October 13, 2021

Loony Rooney boycott move

Regarding “Israel Boycott: Sally Rooney won’t let novel be published in Hebrew,” (October 12), let’s face it, some people are just dense when it comes to politics. Jean-Paul Sartre supported president of the People’s Republic of China Mao Zedong when during the years he was in power some 65 million people were killed.

But there were novelists who were not blind, like Albert Camus.

As for Sally Rooney, one must really be illiterate not to see from the very name of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad what this is all about. Not surprising, coming from Ireland, whose prime minister de Valera had visited the German Legation in order to sign the book of condolences on the death of Adolf Hitler.



In the letter I sent it just said Mao. The editor changed it to “president of the People’s Republic of China Mao Zedong”. Except that Mao was not the "president of the People’s Republic of China". He was the Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party.  I know that people living in Israel today probably would not even notice the difference, but anyone who has some idea how communist systems function would notice the inaccuracy. In communist countries the Party reigns supreme. 

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Amb. Dore Gold: The Iranian Nuclear Threat Is Not Years Away – It Is Now

Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (left) and President Ebrahim Raisi (right)

     By Amb. Dore Gold

     A version of this article appeared on the N12 website in Hebrew.

On August 4, both Minister of Defense Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid briefed ambassadors from the member states that sit on the UN Security Council. While the occasion for their joint appearance was the escalation of terror attacks using UAVs against international shipping, most of the international attention was drawn to the statement by Defense Minister Gantz that Iran had violated all the guidelines established by the JCPOA (the Iran deal) and, as a result, it was only “around 10 weeks away from acquiring weapons grade materials necessary for a nuclear weapon.” This was not speculation by yet another columnist, but rather a statement in the clearest terms by the defense minister of Israel.

In response to the interviews, Lapid added several weeks later that he wanted to save the public from a sense of panic from the news that Iran had become a nuclear threshold state. He based his argument by drawing a distinction between a state that had become a threshold state and a state that had become a threshold state only with respect to the amount of enriched uranium it had in its possession. While not defining how much time Iran needed to actually produce a nuclear bomb, he did say it was not just a matter of months. When asked how close Iran was to a nuclear weapon, he answered: “It was a lot more.”

Israel’s situation with Iran poses a real dilemma for diplomacy. On the one hand, diplomacy must always be accurate. The Iranians specialize in deception. Israel does not and should not play that game. On the other hand, Israel must build an international coalition against Iran’s determination to deploy nuclear forces and threaten the security of Israel, the Middle East, and the entire world. It must motivate potential members of that coalition to understand the urgency of the situation and why the time to act together has arrived. 

It is important to lay out what specialists mean by Iran having an operational nuclear weapons program. There are three elements involved. First, Iran needs delivery systems to carry its nuclear weapon to a target. In 1998, Iran first tested its Shahab-3 missile which was based on North Korean technology. In 2003, the Shahab-3 missile became operational in the Iranian armed forces. It had a range of 1,300 kilometers – the distance required to strike Israel from bases located on Iranian territory. 

Between 1998 and 2017, Iran conducted 21 flight tests using the Shahab-3. In 2015, the Iranians released video tapes for the first time showing that Iran had created a system of underground missile bases, from where it could launch its missiles from silos. In other words, the need for a delivery system to launch nuclear weapons should not hold up Iran’s quest for a fleet of nuclear weapons. Iran was already there. 

Second, commentators like to point out that the weaponization of uranium into an actual explosive device (in Hebrew “kvutzat haneshek”) takes time to develop. However, the quarterly reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency during 2011 already contained worrying information back then. The May 2011 report presented Iranian military research that had taken place including “the removal of the high conventional explosive payload from the warhead of the Shahab-3 missile and replacing it with a spherical nuclear payload.” 

Iranian documents that were in the hands of the IAEA acknowledged that detonation of its warhead was to take place at an altitude of 600 meters. That happened to be the height of the first atomic explosion in 1945 over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. 

Third, while uranium is normally found in two forms or isotopes – U-238 and U-235 – only U-235 can undergo nuclear fission and release the energy of an atomic bomb. Natural uranium is only 0.7% U-235. Enrichment seeks to increase that level to 3.5% for a civilian reactor and to 90% for an atomic weapon. While the Iran deal limited the level of permitted enrichment to 3.5%, by 2019, Tehran was enriching to 4.5%, and later to 20%, declaring that it was ready to go up to 60%.

 Because uranium enrichment is the most difficult step for states with nuclear ambitions to take, Tehran’s massive investment in enrichment is the most important indicator of Iranian determination to go the whole way to become a nuclear weapons state. Finally, when the enrichment process begins, the uranium that is injected into centrifuges is in a gaseous form. To build a nuclear warhead, the uranium has to be in the form of metal. In August 2021, the IAEA verified that Iran was producing uranium metal. It now seemed that Iran was preparing to make the final push to an atomic weapon, but that would not take years or months but rather, far less.

It would be a mistake to conclude that Israel has a great deal of time because the Iranians work sequentially, completing one component of their program before moving on to the next. The authoritative Institute for Science and International Security has made clear that the Iranians worked under the assumption that their work on the components would not be sequential and not be separated but rather had to be conducted “in unison.”

In Israel there has been a tendency for political leaders to blame each other for the situation that has emerged. There is only one party that is to blame and that is the Iranian leadership. Right after the first nuclear agreements were reached between Iran and the European Union’s EU-3 in 2005, Tehran was burying the evidence of its nuclear work at various facilities that were supposed to be inspected. This has been the pattern ever since. Unfortunately, the Western powers have been torn between their own naivete and their desire to protect their commerce with Iran. The inaction that resulted is what allowed the Iranian nuclear program to continue to expand. 


Amb. Dore Gold

Ambassador Dore Gold has served as President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs since 2000. From June 2015 until October 2016 he served as Director-General of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Previously he served as Foreign Policy Advisor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN (1997-1999), and as an advisor to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.