Plato's Guns

M i d e a s t Newsstand

Month: May, 2015

President Obama: No Cars in L.A. and the U.S., No Tanks in L.A. and the U.S. – Eric Mann/HuffPo

by NewsStand

On May 19 in front of Augustus Hawkins High School in South Los Angeles — on the 90th anniversary of Malcolm X’s birthday — 100 Black and Latino high school students, bus riders, security guards, hotel workers chanted, “President Obama: No Tanks in LA, No Cars in L.A.” Initiated by the Labor/Community Strategy Center and its Fight for the Soul of the Cities, we called on the president to end the Department of Defense’s 1033 Program that gives “surplus” military grade weapons to local police forces all over the United States — including the Los Angeles School Police Department and to go to the December 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris with an “frontloaded” “verifiable” “enforceable” plan” to cut U.S. emissions by 50 percent of 1990 levels by 2015 — starting today! But how can 100 people talking about No Tanks and No Cars in LA expect to get the president of the United States to make radical changes in national and international military and climate policies? Obviously there is no guarantee but the line between delusional and visionary can only be determined in retrospect and we have a real plan to win.
Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

A bitter battle for control of oldest synagogue in the US – AP

by NewsStand

NEWPORT, R.I.  — A bitter struggle for control over the nation’s oldest synagogue goes to trial this week, with lawyers saying they may use more than 1,000 exhibits dating as far back as 1733.

The congregation that worships at the 250-year-old Touro Synagogue in Newport says its very existence is at stake. The congregation that owns it accuses the Newport congregation of lawlessness for agreeing to sell a pair of ceremonial bells valued at more than $7 million.

Read the rest of this entry »

Israeli premier warns of Palestinian boycott campaign – AP

by NewsStand

JERUSALEM — Israel faces an “international campaign to blacken its name” aimed at delegitimizing its very existence regardless to its policies, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday. The international community disproportionally singles out the Jewish state for condemnation while remaining silent on major conflicts and human rights abuses in other countries, he said.

Netanyahu made the comments Sunday at a meeting of his new Cabinet just two days after a Palestinian proposal to suspend Israel from world football was dropped at the last moment. Netanyahu warned that such efforts to boycott Israel continue. Palestinians accelerated their campaign to boycott Israel and Israeli-made products after peace talks collapsed last year.
Read the rest of this entry »

From Belgium to ISIS – Ben Taub/The New Yorker

by NewsStand

Why are teen-agers joining ISIS?

In 2009, a fourteen-year-old Belgian named Jejoen Bontinck slipped a sparkly white glove onto his left hand, squeezed into a sequinned black cardigan, and appeared on the reality-television contest “Move Like Michael Jackson.” He had travelled to Ghent from his home, in Antwerp, with his father, Dimitri, who wore a pin-striped suit jacket and oversized sunglasses, and who told the audience that he was Jejoen’s manager, mental coach, and personal assistant. Standing before the judges, Jejoen (pronounced “yeh-yoon”) professed his faith in the American Dream. “Dance yourself dizzy,” a judge said, and Jejoen moonwalked through the preliminary round. “That is performance!” Dimitri told the show’s host, a former Miss Belgium named Véronique de Kock. “You’re gonna hear from him, sweetie.”
Read the rest of this entry »

Palestinian official slams Israel’s stone-throwing bill – Al Jazeera English

by NewsStand

Adoption of a bill by Israeli cabinet ministers aimed at imposing tougher penalties on stone-throwers is the latest discriminatory measure by Israel, singling out Palestinians, a Palestinian diplomat has told Al Jazeera.

The draft law stipulates 10 years in jail for stone-throwers without the need to prove the defendant’s intention to harm anyone.

“When it comes to the Palestinians and Israelis, Israel has two different judicial systems. One is applicable to Israeli citizens and the other for Palestinians,” Maen Rashid Areikat, the chief of Palestinian Liberation Organisation Delegation in Washington DC, told Al Jazeera.
Read the rest of this entry »

Iraq lost 2,300 Humvee armoured vehicles in Mosul – AFP

by NewsStand

Baghdad  – Iraqi security forces lost 2,300 Humvee armoured vehicles when the Islamic State jihadist group overran the northern city of Mosul, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Sunday.

“In the collapse of Mosul, we lost a lot of weapons,” Abadi said in an interview with Iraqiya state TV. “We lost 2,300 Humvees in Mosul alone.”
Read the rest of this entry »

Yemen’s Houthis in talks with U.S. officials in Oman: Yemen government – Reuters

by NewsStand

Senior figures from Yemen’s dominant Houthi group are holding talks with U.S. officials in Oman to advance efforts to resolve the conflict in Yemen, the Riyadh-based Yemeni government said on Sunday.

A Saudi-led coalition began air strikes in Yemen in March in a campaign to restore Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power. Hadi fled in March, after the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels seized the capital Sanaa in September and then thrust into central and south Yemen.
Read the rest of this entry »

‘No Diet Coke for you’: Islamophobia at 30,000 feet leads to viral United Airlines boycott – The Guardian

by NewsStand

What happens when you ask for an unopened can of Diet Coke on an airplane? If you’re a Muslim woman, according to one report, you don’t get served.

And the man sitting next to you gets an unopened can of beer just fine.

Tahera Ahmad, a Muslim chaplain at Chicago’s Northwestern University, documented these allegations from onboard a United Airlines flight this weekend in an episode that almost immediately went viral – and led to pledges to boycott the airline.
Read the rest of this entry »

Turkish protesters pray outside Israeli envoy’s house on ‘Mavi Marmara’ raid anniversary – Jerusalem Post

by NewsStand

Activists from Turkey’s Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) prayed in front of the Israeli ambassador to Ankara’s house on Sunday morning to mark five years since the IDF’s raid on the Mavi Marmara flotilla ship which was attempting to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Read the rest of this entry »

America Sells Israel 32,100 High-Tech Bombs and Missiles. 3 Guesses Why… — The Motley Fool

by NewsStand

What if they held a war and everybody (in the Middle East) came? Lately, that seems to be what we’re seeing happen in the Middle East.

They’ve got Houthis running amok in Yemen, with Saudi fighter jets screaming overhead, and Iranian warships trying desperately to get into the mix. Freedom fighters battling Bashar in Syria, and fighting ISIS, besides. More ISIS in Iraq. And even more ISIS in Libya. Al-Qaeda, meanwhile, is… everywhere.

And into this mess steps Israel.
Read the rest of this entry »

Netanyahu’s idea of peace talks – uttab/Daoud KAl Jazeera English

by NewsStand

International efforts to counter Israeli policies and practises in the occupied territories, including the labelling of products from the illegal settlements as being made in Israel, are facing yet another underhanded Israeli trick.

The latest twist in Tel Aviv’s efforts to legitimise the illegal settlement enterprise is an initiative proposed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which appears – on the surface – to favour the peace process. But as the EU and other Western countries increase pressure on Israel, its latest deception simply circumvents global demands for an end to its 48-year occupation of Palestinian territory.
Read the rest of this entry »

Pahlavi promotes ‘own vision’ for Iran – Miami Herald

by NewsStand

US police kill more than two people a day: report – AFP

by NewsStand

Washington  – US police have killed people at a rate of more than two a day this year, The Washington Post reported Sunday, using its own tally for lack of complete federal statistics.

The federal government must rely on partial data because the country’s 17,000 or so state and local police agencies are not required to report such killings.
Read the rest of this entry »

Debate Over the Rabbi and the Sauna – NYTimes.com

by NewsStand

For years, Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblatt, the leader of an affluent Modern Orthodox synagogue in the Bronx, did something unusual with the boys in his congregation.

He took them, some as young as 12, to the gym to play squash or racquetball, then showered beside them and took them into the sauna, where — often naked, and with them often naked — he engaged the boys in searching conversations about their lives, problems and faith.

Read the rest of this entry »

‘Israel expects Germany to lead fight against West Bank product labeling’ – Jerusalem Post

by NewsStand

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely told visiting German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Sunday that Israel expects Germany to lead the fight against the labeling of products manufactured in the West Bank.

“Boycotting goods harms the entire fabric of life in Judea and Samaria, both for the Israelis and the Palestinians,” Hotovely said.
Read the rest of this entry »

Israelis take part in nationwide security and emergency drill – Ynetnews

by NewsStand

Israel is in for days of mock explosions, sirens and missile and terror attacks as its security and rescue services on Sunday launched a five-day drill across the country.

The drill involves the Home Front Command, the Ministry of Defense’s National Emergency Authority (NEA), government ministries, local authorities, security organizations, the education system, and public and private entities. The exercises will end Thursday.
Read the rest of this entry »

Israel’s education minister: ‘I don’t believe in giving up our land’ – Lally Weymouth/The Washington Post

by NewsStand

Jerusalem – Naftali Bennett, a former tech guru who co-founded Cyota, a cybersecurity software company in the United States, is not just Israel’s new education minister. Because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new right-wing coalition government wields such a slim majority in parliament, Bennett is also a kind of kingmaker — able to influence Netanyahu’s policies in exchange for the majority his party helps furnish. He told The Washington Post’s Lally Weymouth this past week that Israel should annex large parts of the West Bank. Edited excerpts of their interview follow:

Read the rest of this entry »

War Clouds Over South China Sea As U.S. Declares Right To Waters And U.S. Warship Arrives At Subic – Donald Kirk/Forbes

by NewsStand

The drumbeat of war on distant horizons is reverberating through Southeast Asia with increasingly strong declarations of U.S. determination to stop the Chinese from expanding their writ over the South China Sea, notably islands claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

While Defense Secretary Ashton Carter was in Singapore vowing that U.S. planes and ships would go wherever they wanted in international waters WAT -0.71%, the U.S. navy missile cruiser Shiloh was hoving into view at the historic Subic Bay port northwest of Manila.
Read the rest of this entry »

The Algerian Exception – Kamel Daoud/NYTimes.com

by NewsStand

ORAN, Algeria — Algeria is indeed a country of the Arab world: a de facto dictatorship with Islamists, oil, a vast desert, a few camels and soldiers, and women who suffer. But it also stands apart: It is the only Arab republic untouched by the Arab Spring of 2010-2011. Amid the disasters routinely visited upon the region, Algeria is an exception. Immobile and invisible, it doesn’t change and keeps a low profile.

This is largely because Algeria already had its Arab Spring in 1988, and it has yet to recover. The experience left Algerians with a deep fear of instability, which the regime of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in power since 1999, has exploited, along with the country’s oil wealth, to control its people — all the while deploying impressive ruses to hide Algeria from the world’s view.

Read the rest of this entry »

Did Israel Buy Its Way Out of FIFA Suspension? Richard Silverstein/Tikun-Olam Tikun Olam-תיקון עולם

by NewsStand

You’d have to be comatose not to know of the startling revelations of massive corruption in FIFA that amounted to $150-million in the past few years alone.  Eight current or former senior officials were suddenly arrested at dawn at their posh Swiss hotel, where they were preparing for today’s international meeting.  They will be extradited to New York, where the Justice Department will try them for their alleged crimes.  It seems possible, if not likely that Sep Blatter, the FIFA president is in the cross hairs as well, though he isn’t incriminated in the indictments.

Today, he was re-elected to his fifth term in office.  Apparently, FIFA under Blatter has had too much of a good thing and didn’t want to turn off the tap.
Read the rest of this entry »

Palestinian soccer head under fire after withdrawing motion to suspend Israel from FIFA – Jerusalem Post

by NewsStand

Jibril Rajoub, Chairman of the Palestinian Football Association (PFA), is facing sharp criticism for dropping his demand to suspend Israel from the Federation International de Football Association (FIFA) on Friday.

Rajoub’s last-minute announcement came as a surprise to many Palestinians, especially in the wake of his repeated statements that nothing would stop him from pursuing his anti-Israel bid.
Read the rest of this entry »

Map: The U.S. is bound by treaties to defend a quarter of humanity – The Washington Post

by NewsStand

The United States is bound by a number of treaties that could, in theory, force it to get involved in a war if an ally is attacked. Consider, for example, the situation in Ukraine, a non-member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. If a NATO ally were to find itself under similar threat from Russia, the U.S. may find itself duty bound to war.

Or alternatively, cast your mind to the South China Sea and its territorial disputes. If China were to engage militarily with the Philippines at some point in the near future, the U.S. may well be expected to step in to protect its ally: Since 1951, the U.S. and the Philippines have had a bilateral agreement for mutual defense.
Read the rest of this entry »

Saudi Arabia is no friend to the United States – Colbert King/The Washington Post

by NewsStand

In my Post colleague Charles Krauthammer’s May 21 op-ed column, “You want hypotheticals? Here’s one,” former Saudi Arabian intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal was quoted approvingly as complaining: “We were America’s best friend in the Arab world for 50 years.” Note the past tense.

If my arithmetic is correct, that would date the beginning of Turki’s cherished Saudi-U.S. relationship to 1965. But “best friend”?

As Oscar Wilde is credited with saying, “True friends stab you in the front.”
Read the rest of this entry »

The Rabbi Selling Kosher Vibrators (*Yikes!) – JerusalemOnline

by NewsStand

Rabbi Natan Alexander carries a box containing kosher sex toys near his home in Elazar, a Jewish settlement in the West Bank. The rabbi is careful not to expose his small children to the products sold by his e-commerce business, Better2gether, which adheres to Orthodox religious rules by banning nudity, sexy clothing, or any other suggestive imagery.

Within ultra-Orthodox Jewish culture, physical contact between unmarried men and women is forbidden, as is viewing sexually suggestive imagery of any kind. A ban on pornography is a given, but even a Victoria’s Secret catalog is off limits for devout followers, who are typically seen wearing black coats and long dresses. Sex is one of the religion’s most taboo subjects, something couples might discuss quietly among themselves or with a rabbi—and no one else.
Read the rest of this entry »

From Hollywood to Syria’s Battledfield

by NewsStand

New Palestinian tactic? Serpent found tied to barricade used by riot police – i24news

by NewsStand

A snake was found tied to a cement barrier used by border police and IDF forces after they tried to take shelter during a riot in the West Bank village of Silwad on Friday, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Read the rest of this entry »

Peace talks not a western monopoly: China now an invested shareholder – Christina Lin/The Times of Israel

by NewsStand

With ISIS rapidly expanding in Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Libya, advancing towards Jordan and making inroads in Gaza, EU and France are suddenly pushing for an imposed “peace” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

This week EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini called for resumption of peace talks, while France’s chief diplomat Laurent Fabius announced Paris would push for a UN resolution setting an 18-month time frame for successful negotiations—the failure of which would result in France unilaterally recognizing a Palestinian state.
Read the rest of this entry »

Counterprotesters at armed biker rally at Phoenix mosque: ‘ISIS is not Islam’ – Mashable

by NewsStand

What began as an anti-Islam rally for gun-wielding bikers Friday evening quickly transformed into a shouting match as couterprotesters flocked to the targeted Phoenix mosque.

About 250 people toting pistols, American flags and cartoon drawings of the Prophet Mohammad, which are considered blasphemous by many Muslims, were met by an equally-sized group chanting peaceful songs and preaching love at the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix.

Between them stood a police line.

Read the rest of this entry »

Reuter Exclusive: U.S. tried Stuxnet-style campaign against North Korea but failed – Reuters

by NewsStand

SAN FRANCISCO  – The United States tried to deploy a version of the Stuxnet computer virus to attack North Korea’s nuclear weapons program five years ago but ultimately failed, according to people familiar with the covert campaign.

The operation began in tandem with the now-famous Stuxnet attack that sabotaged Iran’s nuclear program in 2009 and 2010 by destroying a thousand or more centrifuges that were enriching uranium. Reuters and others have reported that the Iran attack was a joint effort by U.S. and Israeli forces.
Read the rest of this entry »

Christian beheads jihadist in Syria revenge killing – AFP

by NewsStand

Beirut  – A Syrian Christian fighter has beheaded an Islamic State group (IS) militant to avenge people “executed” by the jihadists in northeastern Syria, a monitor said on Friday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the incident took place on Thursday in Hasakeh province, where IS holds large areas of the countryside.
Read the rest of this entry »