December 02, 2009
A Swiss newspaper said that a number of UN employees in Geneva have concluded that Israel is eavesdropping on UN court sessions. The Neue Zuericher Zeitung (NZZ) added that bugging devices have been found in the organization’s deliberations room in the Swiss capital.
The newspaper pointed out that during regular maintenance procedures on the electrical network, three years ago, two bugging devices were found in a room set for the UN Disarmament Committee meetings. It added that ‘secret’ meetings were also held in the room over the Second Gulf War and the assassination of former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri. NZZ revealed that other spying devices have also been found in other parts of the building, including courtrooms. The daily quoted UN employees as saying that Israel was behind planting the devices. UN security experts estimate that the planting process might have taken at least two days with the collaboration of UN employees. An expert in intelligence affairs told NZZ that the “technical level of the [spying] system and the great danger inherent in it, indicates that the planting decision was taken at the highest [Israeli] level.” The Neue Zuericher Zeitung said that only seven countries could have been behind the incident: The United States, Britain, France, Chinaa, Russia, North Korea, and Israel. “If I had to estimate which country was behind it, I would say Israel,” an intelligence officer told NZZ.
A European diplomat supported the conclusion saying: “I’ve always been amazed at the level of good information the Israeli mission posses.”
The Israeli newspaper, Yedioth Aharonoth, quoted Israeli diplomats as denying any connection to the issue.
Days after Iran announced that it would start building ten new industrial scale enrichment plants, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says Iran will start enriching uranium to a level of 20 percent.
Addressing a crowd in Iran's central province of Isfahan, President Ahmadinejad said the West has been making efforts to get in the way of Iran's nuclear progress.
"We asked for 20 percent enriched uranium fuel which according to the regulations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) they can provide us with. However, they refused to do so," President Ahmadinejad said.
"God willing, Iran will produce [nuclear] fuel enriched to a level of 20 percent," the Iranian president announced.
The remarks came as earlier Deputy Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Baqeri warned that should the IAEA fail to provide Iran's needed fuel, the country would move to enrich uranium to a level of 20 percent on its own.
The new nuclear development comes as Tehran's research reactor has run out of fuel after years of operation and therefore Iranian nuclear officials called on the IAEA to provide the required fuel for the medical reactor.
"Based on legal terms, we have no problem to obtain the fuel for the Tehran reactor as enrichment to a level of more than 5 percent or 20 percent is not prohibited to be carried out by different countries [that are signatories to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)]," Baqeri, who is a deputy to Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili said earlier.
November 29, 2009
The Iranian parliament
Iranian lawmakers have passed a motion calling on the government to downgrade its cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog in reaction to its recent resolution against the country.
In a Sunday statement read in the Iranian Parliament (Majlis), the lawmakers asked President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government to submit a bill that maps out a plan for reducing interaction with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The parliamentarians condemned the resolution, which calls on Iran to halt the construction of its second uranium enrichment plant in the central town of Fordo.
They described the resolution, passed on Friday, as a political move and another indication of the West's policy of double standards.
The statement said that Iran's nuclear file must be returned to the IAEA from the UN Security Council.
“Our experts are positive that Iran's nuclear program is legally flawless. They are certain that Iran's nuclear case must returned to the IAEA from the [UN] Security Council,” they said in the Sunday statement.
The Board of Governor's resolution follows a recent IAEA report, which for the twenty-first time confirmed the non-diversion of Iran's nuclear program.
The report also said that Iran had allowed the agency to fully inspect its Fordo uranium enrichment facility, still under construction.
In the report, IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei affirmed Iran's previous assertions by pointing out that the watchdog found "nothing to worry about" at the site.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Iranian lawmakers Kazem Jalali attacked the resolution over the lack of consensus among the member states and said that it was issued under the pressure of Britain and the US.
While the resolutions passed by the Board of Governors generally focus on technical issues — as opposed to political ones — and are usually either passed or rejected unanimously, the Friday resolution failed to win the support of 10 member states.
Commenting on the parliament's Sunday decision concerning cooperation with the IAEA, Jalali added that it was not acceptable for Iran to be reprimanded given its commitment to carrying out its responsibilities.
“According to international law, when a deal is reached, it has two parts: Rights and responsibilities. But when the rights of a country are ignored and only its responsibilities are emphasized on, then the very basis of the deal is subject to question,” said Jalali.
Prior to the lawmaker's comments, Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani had said that Tehran would consider a new plan in its ties with the UN nuclear watchdog, should the West continue its stick and carrot policies.
November 28, 2009
P5+1 Resolution Demands Iran Halt Construction of Qom Facility
In a 25-3 vote, the P5+1 (the permanent five members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) succeeded in getting their draft resolution condemning Iran’s civilian nuclear program passed through the IAEA. Every major nation supported the resolution, with Venezuela, Malaysia and Cuba voting against it.
The resolution is a blanket condemnation of the Iranian nuclear program and demands the immediate halt of construction at the Qom enrichment facility. The vote is seen as a first step toward more sanctions against Iran.
The legal basis for the demands are unclear, at best. Iran revealed the Qom facility in September, seemingly in keeping with its requirement to report such sites at least six months before completion. IAEA inspectors visited the site in October and officials say it is nothing to be worried about.
Iran has been enriching uranium for civilian use at its Natanz facility for quite some time, and the smaller, underground site at Qom is according to officials an attempt to safeguard some enrichment capability in the event of international attacks against Natanz, something long threatened by the US and Israel.
The IAEA has repeatedly certified that none of Iran’s uranium is being enriched above the low levels needed for energy production and none of it is being diverted to non-civilian purposes. In spite of this, Western nations have vowed to continue to press for more sanctions against Iran if it does not abandon its program.
US Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell was highly enthusiastic about Israel’s partial, temporary illegal settlement freeze stating "it is more than any Israeli government has done before and can help move toward agreement between the parties." In fact, Israel has done more. In 2005 Israel reversed settlement construction and its overt occupation of Gaza. Palestinians situation worsened under a strangulating economic blockade and total Israeli control of borders, airspace and maritime access. Ironically, those Americans seeking a permanent end to Israeli settlement activities face a predicament similar to the Palestinians. Peace in the Middle East depends on reversing a peculiar manifestation of illegal Israeli settlements right here at home. These US settlements were built not on stolen land, but the strategic territory of US governance through violations of the 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
Among Israel’s first international efforts as a state was establishing an "Israel Office of Information" (IOI) in the United States in the fall of 1948. The IOI registered as a foreign agent with the US Department of Justice which required it not only to file activity reports about its efforts on behalf of Israel every six months, but also place a stamp on pamphlets and other materials circulating in the US that their true origin was the Israeli government.
The IOI quickly ran into trouble. It was cited by the FARA section for failing to disclose the existence of a California office. The FBI noticed it wasn’t affixing disclosure stamps to the material it circulated. Isaiah Kenen, registered as a foreign agent of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, soon tired of such regulatory oversight and disclosures. He coordinated his IOI departure with the Israeli government from the IOI to lobby from a domestically chartered lobbying organization, the American Zionist Council (AZC). The DOJ ordered him to reregister, but he never did.
During a 1952 summit meeting, Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion proposed that leaders of major organizations centralize US lobbying and fundraising coordination under the American Zionist Council (AZC) rather than the quasi-governmental Jewish Agency. The AZC was a small umbrella organization that united the leadership of top organizations such as Hadassah and the Zionist Organization of America. But the AZC continued to rely heavily upon financial support from the quasi-governmental Jewish Agency in Jerusalem for public relations and lobbying until the 1960s. Between 1962-1963 a Senate and Justice Department investigation found the AZC and Kenen had received direction and the equivalent of $35 million from the Jewish Agency via its American Section in New York to lobby for US taxpayer-funded aid and arms. The Justice Department ordered the AZC to register as an Israeli foreign agent on November 21, 1962. This initiated a fierce DOJ/AZC battle that lasted until 1965, when the DOJ allowed the AZC to file a secret FARA declaration expecting it to shut down operations. The Jewish Agency was also forced shut down its American Section in New York after a rabbi and George Washington University legal scholar forced it to file its secret 1953 "covenant agreement" with the Israeli government which conferred governmental powers to the Jewish Agency.
The AZC quietly and quickly reorganized lobbying operations within its former division, internally referred to as the "Kenen Committee" (today called the American Israel Public Affairs Committee or AIPAC) which Isaiah Kenen led until 1975. The Jewish Agency also executed a shell company paper reshuffle, reemerging as the World Zionist Organization-American Section within the same building, with the same staff, management and publications.
Today, the most important nucleus of the Israeli government’s power in America lies far outside its Washington DC embassy, official consulates, or properly registered FARA entities. The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations consists of only two key paid employees according to its 2008 charitable tax return (PDF). Like the AZC under Ben-Gurion’s mandate, the Conference of Presidents has only one true role: corralling American organizations into a US power base for the Israeli government. The Conference of President’s roster now includes such curiously named organizations as the American Friends of Likud and Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs alongside old AZC mainstays such as the ZOA and Hadassah. As mandated by AIPAC’s bylaws (PDF), all Conference of Presidents member organizations are part of AIPAC’s executive committee, forming a combined grassroots lobbying might far more intimidating to the Justice Department than the old AZC.
Yet in reality, the Israeli government’s newest lobbying venture is nothing more than a rebranded AZC — the stealth foreign agency relationships remain, some hidden, others not. One visible geographic linkage to the Israeli government is the Conference of Presidents offices which are located at the same 633 Third Avenue New York address as the World Zionist Organization’s American Section.
The World Zionist Organization-American Section, as the paper reincarnation of the Jewish Agency, is still compelled to register (PDF) as an Israeli foreign agent. In 2008 it spent $8,102,752, by far the largest expenditure of any registered foreign agent for Israel. Like its predecessor foreign agent, the Jewish Agency, the WZO American Section claims these large disbursements across America are mainly for "education" rather than political activity. Such claims are easily debunked.
The WZO was more accurately revealed by Israeli prosecutor Thalia Sasson in 2005 as being at the very center of illegal Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank. Shimon Peres estimated that up to $50 billion was laundered into illegal settlement construction. Today WZO/Conference of Presidents "education" initiatives include organizing rabbis to effectively campaign for war on Iran, activities that are not accurately disclosed on the WZO’s disclosures to the Department of Justice.
The question of whether such Israeli-conceived plans are worth American blood and treasure are vitally important, as is rule of law. Under FARA, Americans have a clear right to full disclosure about AIPAC and the Conference of President’s political activities, public relations and transfer of things of value on behalf of their foreign principal(s). As foreign lobbying organizations emerging directly from the American Zionist Council, these leaders of the Israel lobby carry an expanding information debt to American taxpayers expected to fund their many initiatives. Yet in spite of the 1961 order by the attorney general, since March of 1965, neither has filed a single public declaration at the FARA office. This means that AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents now owe Americans 88 semiannual FARA declaration filings. For its part, the WZO must begin to accurately disclose its heavy involvement in illegal West Bank settlements, which are opposed by the Obama administration.
Given the Israel lobby’s past penchant for nondisclosure, such filings will no doubt garner a great deal of public scrutiny. Explanations for why so much classified US government information is passing between AIPAC it and its foreign principals in 1984 and 2005 have been a long time coming. These will be particularly timely and enlightening as Israel’s drumbeat for US attacks on Iran grows louder. Until they again begin to register under FARA, Israel’s principal colonization entities, the World Zionist Organization, political muscle (Conference of Presidents), and enforcer in Congress (AIPAC) are themselves illegal Israeli settlers in America.
Read more by Grant Smith
- Why Does AIPAC Spy on Americans? – November 4th, 2009
- Steve Rosen Accuses AIPAC of Espionage – September 1st, 2009
- Subsidies for Israel,
Sanctions for Iran – June 28th, 2009
- The Samson Gambit – April 7th, 2009
- Should AIPAC Decide What’s Classified? – February 23rd, 2009
November 27, 2009
The Jerusalem Post reported today that Sir Oliver Miles, a former British ambassador to Libya criticized the appointment of two leading Jewish academics to the UK's Iraq Inquiry panel, stating it may upset the balance of the inquiry.
Miles said the two academics were Jewish and that Gilbert was an active Zionist. He also said they were both strong supporters of former prime minister Tony Blair and the Iraq war.
"It is a pity that, if and when the inquiry is accused of a whitewash, such handy ammunition will be available," he added. "Membership should not only be balanced; it should be seen to be balanced."
The former ambassador also said that having two historians in a panel of five "seems a lot" and also questioned the Jewish academics' credentials.
"In December 2004 Sir Martin, while pointing out that the 'war on terror' was not a third world war, wrote that Bush and Blair 'may well, with the passage of time and the opening of the archives, join the ranks of Roosevelt and Churchill' - an eccentric opinion that would seem to rule him out as a member of the committee. Sir Lawrence is the reputed architect of the 'Blair doctrine' of humanitarian intervention, which was invoked in Kosovo and Afghanistan as well as Iraq,"
To read the full article:
By Franklin Lamb – Beirut
"It is the right of the Lebanese people, Army and the (Hezbollah led-) resistance to liberate the Shebaa Farms, the Kfar Shuba Hills and the northern part of the village of Ghajar as well as to defend Lebanon and its territorial waters in the face of any enemy by all available and legal means."
So reads the Policy Declaration of the new Government of the Republic of Lebanon, issued on 11/26/09, four days after the celebration of Lebanon’s 66 years of independence from the French colonial power, achieved in 1943.
Legally, constitutionally, and politically, Lebanon’s new National Unity Government policy legitimizes, embraces, and incorporates by reference, according to some Pentagon and State Department analysts, the National Lebanese Resistance.
For the US-Israel axis, the 52 words signal that Hezbollah- which since 2006 has enjoyed majority popular support- and the State of Lebanon are inseparable and indivisible with respect to defending this country from foreign interference and occupation. It affixes the Governmental imprimatur for liberating Lebanese lands still occupied by Israeli forces.
According to some international lawyers, it also fulfills UN Security Council Resolution 1559 regarding disarming militias because Lebanon has in effect declared that the arms of the Hezbollah led Resistance are part of the defense of Lebanon itself and not a particular movement or political party. This Policy statement satisfies UNSCR 1701 for the same reason.
Apart from the Phalange (Kataeb) Party and the Lebanese forces, and their spokesmen Samir Geagea and Amin Gemeyal, who will continue to condemn the policy declaration, the issue of Hezbollah’s arms has been essentially settled.
Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri stressed that “Hezbollah’s arms belong to all Lebanese and their existence is linked to Israel’s withdrawal from all Lebanese territory.”
Tawhid (Unifying) Party and Druze leader Wiam Wahhab went further and advised the media following the Policy Statement approval, the same wording as was reached at the 2008 Doha conference:
“Hezbollah’s arms will remain as long as there is conflict between the Arabs and Israel. When the world tells us how the naturalization of Palestinians issue will be resolved, then we will give details on how to deal with the arms of our national resistance. They now belong to all of Lebanon.”
The message from Lebanon’s new government to the US administration is clear according to Lebanese Human Rights Ambassador Ali Khalil:
“You can have very friendly relations with Lebanon but that means dealing with Lebanon and our new government as a whole, not cherry picking certain ministries or parties in Parliament. Aid, defensive arms and equipment, economy, trade, should be negotiated with equality- not the US Embassy’s color coded push pin political affiliation map used previously. Hezbollah is Lebanon and Lebanon is Hezbollah. Try to understand and get used to it. You might be pleased if both the US and Lebanon work for our own interests but dialogue with mutual respect.”
Many people in Lebanon and the region who support Hezbollah do so not because they know all about or even very much care about the pillars of Shia Islam or the role of the Wali al Faque but because they have experienced six decades of Israeli aggression and six wars funded and armed by a US Congress that puts Israel before its own country and way before any Arab country including Lebanon. They realize that 18 years of a fake ‘peace process’ has brought nothing but misery to the Palestinians and Lebanon whereas 18 years of Resistance has freed most of Israel occupied Lebanese territory. And they realize that there is more yet to be done.
UNIFIL sources reported this week that they expected Israel to withdraw from the Lebanese village of Ghajar before the 12 member Cabinet committee voted to legitimize Hezbollah’s arms, in order to upstage the Lebanese government decision. The Israeli government, under US and EU pressure agreed, knowing that its army could not hold the village during its next attack on Lebanon and realizing that holding Ghajar meanwhile is not worth the political and military price.
Actual Israeli troop withdrawal is expected at any moment against the backdrop of more “cry wolf” threats such as yesterday's from Israeli defense minister Ehud Barack that “all of Lebanon will pay the huge price for giving Hezbollah its Government.” More than ever Lebanon’s population believes that Israel will also pay a huge price if it launches a 7th war against Lebanon or attacks Iran or Syria.
A Conference Call
In Washington and Beirut the response to Lebanon's legitimization of Hezbollah's arms was publicly subdued. The US Embassy, for the second year in a row mistakenly sent Eid al Fitr greetings to Lebanon’s President Michel Suleiman, whereas this week’s holiday, which commemorates the annual Hajj Pilgrimage and the 1,400 year old Muslim tradition of giving of meat to the poor, is called Eid al Adha. Eid al Fitr actually follows Ramadan which ended this year on September 19th. Anyhow, for sure it’s the thought that counts and the White House did promptly correct the Beirut’s Embassy error and sent President Obama’s and the American peoples Eid al Adha greetings yesterday at 2:15 p.m. Beirut time.
Privately, the reaction to legitimizing Hezbollah’s deterrence to Israeli aggressions is causing a strong reaction on Capitol Hill. AIPAC has another Congressional Resolution ready to condemn Lebanon for capitulating to ‘terrorism’. Hard to believe as it is, some members of Congress are actually tiring of all the Israel Lobby’s resolutions and the pressure tactics AIPAC uses to get them passed irrespective of what they say or whether they are read.
Before the Thanksgiving break, AIPAC organized an urgent conference call among 11 Chairman, all Jewish or ardent Zionist, of key US Congressional committees, including Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, Appropriations, Banking, Homeland Security, Environment, and Aging, and Rules.
Together, the group forms what AIPAC calls “Israel’s Firewall” which it and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations conceived of and formalized in late September 2001 “to assure consultation and dialogue with respect to how best to launch Congressional initiatives that will preserve the special and unbreakable US-Israel relationship.”
In addition to the above members, others who have been approached to form the ‘firewall’ in the 111th Congress include all 13 Jewish members of the US Senate and the 28 Jewish House Members as well as a couple of dozen trusted evangelical Christian Zionist members.
According to a Zionist Organizations of America (ZOA) source, the group has not been very active until recently. Decisions, if any that were taken the past eight years by what is referred to by some on Capitol Hill as the “Israel Synod” is not currently known.
One recent decision that has been taken was revealed by ZOA. The ‘fire wall’ project is to ‘fast track’ a dramatic increase in US military aid to Israel to deal with perceived Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria, and Iranian threats to Israel. “These people see an urgent need to clean house and restore Israel’s military dominance and credibility”, claimed the ZOA source.
According to a staff member of the US Senate Armed Services Committee, the ‘ fire wall’ group plans to expedite US Congressional approval for more subsidies for all or part of the funds needed by Israel to purchase U.S. weapons. This will be in addition to Israel receiving over the past 24 months $ 2,070.1 billion from US taxpayers earmarked for this purpose.
AIPAC’s new ‘fire wall’ group will work for the 2010 deployment of the so called “Iron Dome” that can unleash a metallic cloud to bring down incoming rockets in the skies over Gaza or Lebanon as well as funding for a new generation of Israel’s Arrow defense system designed to shoot down Iran's long-range missiles at high altitudes.
In addition, Israel will receive US funding for more German-made Dolphin submarines that can be equipped with nuclear-tipped missiles for positioning off the coast of Iran.
AIPAC’s problem is to get Congress to overrule Pentagon skepticism of much of Israel’s ‘new weapons’ projects which some view as more psychological warfare than reliable or usable effectively in future conflicts. AIPAC appears confident and with good reason.
The Congressional Israel lobby has already achieved a commitment from the Obama administration to add Israeli systems and munitions to a new U.S.-built F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and deliver 25 to Israel by 2015 with another 50 delivered by 2018. The Obama administration will also integrate bombs that use an Israeli precision guidance kit called Spice along with Python 5 air-to-air missiles made by Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. The ‘fire wall’ group is to assure that Israel will also get a relatively inexpensive path for hardware and software upgrades to add future weapons.
'Mother of All Bombs'
Another major Congressional weapons project for Israel is the Boeing Corporations new 30,000 pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) bomb.
The MOP carries more than 5,300 pounds of explosives and delivers more than 10 times the explosive power of its predecessor, the 2,000-pound BLU-109, according to the Pentagon's Defense Threat Reduction Agency, which has funded and managed the seed program. It is also about one-third heavier than the 21,000-pound GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb – last season’s "mother of all bombs" -- that was dropped twice in tests at a Florida range in 2003.
The 20-foot-long (6-metre) MOP is built to be dropped from either the B-52 or the B-2 "stealth" bomber and is designed to penetrate up to 200 feet underground before exploding, according to the U.S. Air Force. The Pentagons Central Command, which is preparing for war with Iran- just in case- is backing a acceleration request according to Kenneth Katzman, an expert on Iran at the Congressional Research Service, the research arm of Congress. Israel wants them to attack Hezbollah’s deep bunkers in South Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley.
If AIPAC can get Congress to shift enough funds to the program, Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC.N)’s radar-evading B-2 bomber "would be capable of carrying the bomb by July 2010. This claim has been verified by Andy Bourland, an Air Force spokesman, who added, “There have been discussions with the four congressional committees with oversight responsibilities. Officially no final decision has been made."
In fact the decision has been made according to AIPAC and Congressional sources and its “all systems go”.
- Franklin Lamb is doing research in Lebanon. Contact him at: reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
November 21, 2009
(JTA) -- Canada's opposition Liberal Party is crying foul after the ruling Conservatives mailed out flyers extolling themselves as stronger supporters of Israel.
Barbs flew in the House of Commons Thursday after the taxpayer-funded leaflets were sent to electoral districts with high concentrations of Jewish voters in Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba. The mailings accuse the Liberals of participating in the 2001 UN anti-racism conference in Durban, South Africa, which the pamphlets described as "overtly anti-Semitic," and of supporting Hamas and Hezbollah.
The flyers also attacked Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff for accusing Israel of committing war crimes in its 2006 war with Hezbollah.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives, meantime, were lauded for refusing to take part in the Durban II conference, spurning terrorist groups, and osupporting Israel's right to self-defense in 2006. The pamphlets ask voters to choose which federal leader "is on the right track to represent and defend the values of Canada's Jewish community."
Liberal MPs denounced the mailings as propaganda filled with half-truths. They pointed out that many nations, including the United States and Israel, attended at least part of the Durban I conference, and that it was Canada that helped blunt the language in the final communiqué to Israel's satisfaction.
The Liberals also point out it was they who listed Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist organizations in 2002.
The mailings are "totally misleading [and] false," Montreal MP Irwin Cotler, a former federal minister of justice, told the Toronto Star. They "basically seek to associate the Liberal party with anti-Semitism. This is shocking ... this has no place in Canadian politics."
But Conservative cabinet minister Jason Kenney denied the government was suggesting the Liberals were anti-Semitic. "Anyone who's suggesting that is being completely over the top and mischievous," he told reporters. "These are facts. They are on the record. They [Liberals] are uncomfortable with that."
Karen Mock, a Liberal candidate in the heavily-Jewish neighborhood of Thornhill, north of Toronto, attended the Durban I meeting as part of the Canadian delegation and as chair of the International Jewish Caucus.
"That the Tories feel Jewish voters are so gullible as to accept second-hand information and divisive propaganda on these important issues is outrageous," she said.
Other opposition parties denounced the mailings as a new low in partisan politics in Canada.
by Jeffrey Blankfort on November 20, 2009
From the American Jewish Committee:
An AJC leadership delegation has concluded a four-day visit to Madrid , where it met with Spanish government officials, media and Jewish community leaders.
AJC´s interlocutors included Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos; Secretary General of the Presidency Bernardino Leon, the key foreign policy advisor to Prime Minister Zapatero; Javier Moreno, director of the leading Spanish newspaper El Pais; the leadership of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain (FCJE); and American and Israeli diplomats.
“As Spain assumes the EU presidency in January, consultation with key Spanish officials is particularly constructive,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris, who led the delegation. “Spain will be counted upon to lead Europe in standing firm against Iran´s nuclear ambitions.”
November 19, 2009
November 17, 2009
On Monday the British TV broadcaster, Channel 4 screened Inside Britain’s Israel Lobby, a devastating expose of the Jewish lobby in the UK*. ‘We couldn’t find a conspiracy’ affirmed Peter Oborne the Daily Mail’s political commentator behind the film. He was right. After running the show for so many years, the Jewish lobby’s purchasing of British politicians and media presence is in the open.
The Guardian reported today that two years ago a controversial study by American academics Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer explored the influence of the Israel lobby over US foreign policy “but Britain's pro-Israel organisations have been subjected to far too less scrutiny.” This is indeed the case, and as Oborne disclosed, both British politicians and Zionist pressure groups enjoy it to the max.
In the film Sir Richard Dalton, a former ambassador to Libya and Iran, said: "I don't believe, and I don't think anybody else believes these contributions come with no strings attached." I would suggest that ‘strings attached’ is a very gentle way of putting it. ‘Chained to submission’ would be far closer to the truth.
Seemingly a British, consensus case against Zionism and Zionist infiltration is piling up.
The Jewish community is not happy at all. After so many years of setting the tone, bribing UK politicians and controlling the BBC they are used to being untouchable.
Labor MP Denis MacShane, who operates as the House of Common’s UK equivalent of the ‘anti defamation league’ told the Jerusalem Post "if there is a Jewish /Israel lobby here, it is not very effective, as Israel is almost treated as a pariah state in the media and has few friends in politics."
MacShane may be right; one cannot buy friendship with money. But according to Monday’s broadcast one can certainly buy British politician’s subservience for just a few shekels. According to the Guardian 50% of the Shadow Cabinet are now ‘friends of Israel’. In that context one common saying comes to mind. “Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are”
I would assume that if there was any public respect left for the British Parliament, British political parties and the BBC, it should be gone by now. Just a few months ago Brits were devastated to find out about their MPs' personal expenses bills. Yesterday they learned about their leading politician’s affiliation with the darkest possible regime and ideology around. They also learned that their national broadcast corporation is influenced by Zionist pressure groups run from Jerusalem.
Mark Gardner from the Zionist ‘Community Security Trust’ is not happy either. He complained that Dispatches producers behaved as if they were investigating a “criminal gang rather than various Jewish community-linked organizations,"
Gardner is also correct. It is indeed tragic to admit that the Jewish lobby is far more worrying than a criminal gang. It is there to serve a murderous state with a devastating record of crimes against humanity. Thanks to the Jewish lobby, we are all complicit in the Zionist crime. Not only are those lobbyists heavily corrupted and removed from any ethical value system, they also corrupt everything they touch. They obviously contaminate every politician who is happy to take their shekels. Consequently they incriminate us all as a society.
Watching Cannel 4’s Dispatches yesterday I wondered to myself whether this is the ‘democracy’ some British politicians, such as David Miliband insist on spreading around. I also wonder whether this is the governing model that Jewish Chronicle writer Nick Cohen and the Israeli Hasbara committee author David Aaronovitch were trying to promote when they were supporting the invasion of Iraq back in 2003.
Political commentator Peter Oborne indeed fulfilled his promise. He told us almost everything we want to know about the lobby, “who they are, how they are funded, how they work and what influence they have, from the key groups to the wealthy individuals who help bankroll the lobbying.”
However, there is a single observation that must be added. People out there must never forget that Britain was taken into a war that cost more than a million Iraqi lives and at the time Lord Levy was the Number 1 Labour fund-raiser. Putting the two together: an illegal war that only serves Israeli interests and Sir Richard Dalton’s observation that Zionist ‘contribution’ comes with ‘strings attached’, leaves a very bitter taste. Due to its heavily corrupted politicians, Britain is now willingly serving the darkest possible racist national ideology and supporting a criminal terrorist state.
British politicians and media are caught in bed with too many Zionist wolfs. In order to reclaim sovereignty and dignity, Britain must de-Zionise itself immediately.
*In Britain at least the TV program can be seen here:
November 17, 2009
Here is Wolf Blitzer and Barbara Starr talking last night on CNN about the Iranians and what the U.S. might to do them; it's really pitch-perfect:
BLITZER: Regarding Iran, a new report raises some disturbing possibilities about its nuclear program, and that's prompting fears from the United States over how to respond.
Let's bring in our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr.
Barbara, what are you learning?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the latest report from the International Atomic Energy Agency suggests Iran could -- could be hiding more secret nuclear sites, and that is raising the stakes on all sides.
STARR (voice-over): Iran's once secret underground nuclear fuel enrichment plant. The Pentagon is worried Iran is now burying weapons factories so deep, that the current arsenal of bombs can't reach them, leaving the U.S. with no viable military option if a strike was ever ordered.
This new Air Force 15-ton bomb may change that calculation.
JOHN PIKE, GLOBALSECURITY.ORG: We'd certainly be able to take this out with a massive ordnance penetrator, the 30,000-pound boss.
STARR: This is the massive ordnance penetrator, or MOP, now being rushed into development to be carried on B-2 and B-52 bombers. The most likely targets? Iran and North Korea, which are believed to have buried weapons facilities hundreds of feet underground or into the sides of mountains.
PIKE: Some of those would probably require this massive ordnance penetrator simply because they are buried so deep and no other bomb would be able to certainly destroy them.
STARR: At 30,000 pounds, the MOP, some experts say, will be able to penetrate 650 feet of concrete, a significant boost over current bunker-busting bombs like the 2,000-pound BLU-109, which can penetrate just six feet of concrete, and the 5,000-pound GBU-28 which can go through about 20 feet of concrete.
GEOFF MORRELL, PENTAGON SPOKESMAN: This has been a capability that we have long believed was missing from our quiver, our arsenal, and we wanted to make sure we've filled in that gap.
STARR: No air strikes against North Korea or Iran appear to be in the works, but Iran says it could start enriching uranium here in the next two years, and both the U.S. and Israel want to ensure that Iran cannot manufacture and assemble a nuclear weapon.
All of this has now led to more funding for the MOP. The Pentagon plans to have the first bombs available by December 2010, two years earlier than planned.
STARR: Now, the Pentagon likes to say it's not helpful to speculate on future military targets, but certainly this weapon gives the Pentagon, Wolf, an option it hasn't had before -- Wolf.
BLITZER: It's a huge, huge bomb, Barbara. Thanks very much for that.
Wolf was practically breathless with excitement as he marveled there at the end about what a big, big, powerful bomb that is. He looked like he was in need of CPR or some other type of relief. "It's a huge, huge bomb, Barbara."
What possible reason could those crazy, irrational Iranians have for wanting to hide their nuclear facilities? It's not like anyone's threatening them or anything. And remember: the proof that Iran is a unique, Nazi-like threat is that they allegedly have people in their government that threaten other countries with military attacks. No responsible, civilized country would do that.
Iran's evil intent is also demonstrated by their recent decision to allow IAEA inspectors to examine their Qom facility, which proved that there were no active centrifuges there, just as Iran said. Truly peaceful countries would never allow such inspections. So thankfully, we're about to have "a huge, huge bomb" -- bigger and better than all the ones we had before -- that can take care of the Iranian menace once and for all.
November 16, 2009
By Jeffrey Blankfort
November 15, 2009
Although the Bush administration denied it, the conventional wisdom on the part of the anti-war movement was that the war on Iraq was launched in order for the US to take over Saddam’s oil supplies which would give Washington an even more dominant position in the region. That there was no concrete evidence that the war was supported by the oil companies was discounted and, as it had been in 1991 during the first Gulf War, "No blood for oil!" became the battle cry.
If the war was indeed about oil, then, as the NY Times reported on Friday, the US lost.
Those espousing that theory had company, however. It was the view held by most Iraqis.
"If true," writes the Times’ Rod Nordland. "then the war failed in more ways than some critics charge."
"It wasn’t until last week that the first major oil field exploitation contract was signed with a foreign company–BP in a joint deal with China’s state-run China National Petroleum Corporation.
"Exxon Mobil… has an oil field deal awaiting final approval from Iraq’s oil ministry. The Italian oil giant Eni, whose junior partner is the American-owned Occidental Petroleum is expected to sign a similar deal. These, however, are service contracts so the foreign oil companies don’t actually own the rights to any new oil they may find."
By Ian Black
November 16, 2009
Pro-Israeli organisations in Britain look set to see their influence increase if the Conservatives win the next election, a film scrutinising the activities of a powerful but little-known lobby warns today.
At least half of the shadow cabinet are members of the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI), according to a Dispatches programme being screened on Channel 4. The programme-makers describe the CFI as "beyond doubt the most well- connected and probably the best funded of all Westminster lobbying groups".
Inside Britain's Israel Lobby claims that donations to the Conservative party "from all CFI members and their businesses add up to well over £10m over the last eight years". CFI has disputed the figure and called the film "deeply flawed".
The programme also describes how David Cameron allegedly accepted a £15,000 donation from Poju Zabludowicz, a Finnish billionaire who chairs Bicom (the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre). Zabludowizc, the film reveals, has business interests in an illegal West Bank settlement. He also gave £50,000 to Conservative Central Office. Zabludowicz says his contributions "are a matter of public record".
William Hague allegedly accepted personal donations from CFI board members totalling tens of thousands of pounds after being appointed shadow foreign secretary. More than £30,000 from CFI supporters went to the campaign funds of members of Cameron's team who were first elected in 2005, the film claims, using publicly available information.
The programme-makers say that while this is legal, it is not well-known.
The CFI director, Stuart Polak, told the Guardian the figure of more than £10m is not supported by any facts. "It is fictitious, misleading and damaging to the reputation of CFI and its supporters," he said.
"CFI as an organisation has donated only £30,000 since 2005. Each of these donations has been made transparently and publicly registered. In addition to this £30,000, it is undoubtedly the case that some of our supporters have also chosen, separately, to donate to the party as individuals."
Two years ago a controversial study by American academics Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer explored the influence of the Israel lobby over US foreign policy. But Britain's pro-Israel organisations have been subjected to far less scrutiny.
"The pro-Israel lobby … is the most powerful political lobby," Michael Mates, a Conservative MP and privy councillor, told the film-makers. "There's nothing to touch them."Full article
November 14, 2009
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang
The Chinese government believes that negotiation sides should make efforts to settle issues regarding Iran's nuclear case through "political and diplomatic" talks, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told IRNA on Saturday.
He added that a diplomatic and permanent solution to Iran's nuclear issue will help bring about peace and stability to the Middle East.
As a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iran has the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, said the spokesman.
Qin's remarks came one day ahead of a scheduled visit by President Obama to China, a permanent member of the UN Security Council. Obama is expected to discuss Iran's nuclear case with his Chinese counterpart.
Major world powers, spearheaded by the US and Israel, accuse Iran of efforts to develop a nuclear bomb and based on such allegations have threatened to impose more sanctions against the country.
This is while Obama, in a Thursday letter to the Congress, renewed US sanctions against Iran for another year.
Tehran, however, has denied seeking nuclear weapons and called for the removal of all weapons of mass destruction (WMD) from across the globe, including those held in the US.
Although the accusations have never been proven by any of the powers or the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) — which has been monitoring the Iranian program extensively and inspecting its facilities since 2003 — the United Nations Security Council has imposed three rounds of sanctions resolutions against Tehran.
November 12, 2009
| By Maidhc Ó Cathail |
November 12, 2009
Appalled by the Bush administration’s foreign policy, and feeling let down by a compliant news media, many young Americans turned to Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show for some critical insight into what had gone so terribly wrong with their country, as well as some light relief from the horror of it all.
Ironically, it seemed to many that the comedian’s fake news show was the only place where one could learn the truth about the “war on terror” and other disastrous Bush-era policies. Summarizing the phenomenon, author Gene Healy wrote, “An enormous chunk of Generation Y, those born roughly after 1977, gets its political information from Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, a comedy news program devoted to the idea that we’re led by fools.”
With Obama failing to bring the “change” that many believed in, the perceived need to tune in to The Daily Show is unlikely to waver anytime soon. But is the faith many Americans have in Stewart to help them understand their country’s problems justified? The recent interview of a Palestinian politician and a Jewish American peace activist suggests that that faith is seriously misplaced.
In the extended interview (not broadcast on Comedy Central but available on The Daily Show website) with Dr. Mustafa Barghouti and Anna Baltzer, Stewart made up to 20 factual errors. These can be broadly grouped into about half a dozen myths: Jews “returned” to Palestine after 2,000 years in exile; Israel provided a haven for Jews suffering persecution in Muslim countries; Iran is developing nuclear weapons, with which it wants to “wipe Israel off the map”; Israel is unfairly singled out for criticism, mainly due to Arab anti-Semitism; both sides are equally to blame for the conflict; and Palestinians can’t agree among themselves, so you can hardly blame Israel for not making peace with them.
Many of these myths -- all of which serve Zionist interests well -- are so transparently false that it is hardly necessary to debunk them all here. Instead, this article will focus on the last one: the question of Palestinian disunity. This will, it is hoped, also throw some light on the common source of America’s problems in the Middle East.
“It seems like to me that the Palestinians and the Israelis both have to fight a civil war almost,” Stewart opined, “before they can get a chance to then, I guess, fight each other.” While it is of course true that no nation is “homogenous,” his characterization of Palestinians overlooks a significant factor: the role played by Israel and its American devotees in promoting division among them.
Israel began supporting Hamas in the late 1970s as “a competing religious alternative,” a former CIA official explained, “to divide and dilute support for a strong, secular PLO.” Almost three decades later, after Hamas won the 2006 elections, a faction within the Bush administration sought to divide Palestinians again.
The covert operation to arm Fatah so they could seize power from the democratically elected Hamas was considered foolhardy by many, however. An exasperated Pentagon official asked rhetorically, “Who the hell outside of Washington wants to see a civil war among Palestinians?” More to the point, he might have asked, Who the hell inside of Washington wants to see a civil war among Palestinians?
David Rose’s 2008 article, “The Gaza Bombshell,” in the Si Newhouse owned Vanity Fair, gives the impression that Condoleezza Rice and George W. Bush were the main movers behind the plot. To emphasize the point, the caption below a photo illustration of Rice and Bush with a blood red Gaza City skyscape in the background reads: “Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and President George W. Bush, whose secret Palestinian intervention backfired in a big way.”
But there are reasonable grounds to doubt Rose’s credibility. Before the invasion of Iraq, citing a slew of unnamed intelligence sources, he suggested in a number of articles that Saddam Hussein had connections to Al-Qaeda, 9/11, and the anthrax attacks. Despite Rose’s pre-Iraq war disinformation, antiwar writer and activist Amy Goodman wasn’t deterred from featuring his Gaza article on her popular alternative news show, Democracy Now.
Digging a little deeper than Rose and Goodman, Alastair Crooke and Mark Perry, co-directors of Conflicts Forum, a London-based group dedicated to providing an opening to political Islam, locate the origins of the failed plot. In “Elliott Abrams’ Uncivil War” they write, “The Abrams program was initially conceived in February of 2006 by a group of White House officials. . . . These officials, we are told, were led by Abrams, but included national security advisors working in the Office of the Vice President, including prominent neoconservatives David Wurmser and John Hannah.”
In the popular consciousness, Dick Cheney came to be seen, particularly in the antiwar Left, as the Svengali who induced Bush to wage war in the Middle East in the interests of Big Oil. While Cheney’s ties to Halliburton make that narrative appear plausible, a closer examination of the facts reveals that the vice president had more intimate ties with a far more powerful and belligerent lobby.
An advisory board member of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), Cheney has long-standing ties with the Israel Lobby. Indeed, his staff was “hand-picked” by Paul Wolfowitz protégé Lewis Libby. Described as “almost part of Cheney’s brain” by Bob Woodward, Libby selected Cheney’s staff from neoconservative think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute, the Hudson Institute and WINEP.
It was these pro-Israel “scholars” not oil industry lobbyists who wrote the war propaganda for the executive branch. As Robert Dreyfuss points out in his American Prospect article on Cheney’s office, “Vice Squad,” Libby and Hannah produced “the most inflammatory and inaccurate speeches delivered by Cheney and Bush.”
David Wurmser, one of the main sources for David Rose’s Gaza article, is no stranger to propaganda either. In 1999, he wrote Tyranny’s Ally: America’s Failure to Defeat Saddam Hussein, in which he warned Americans about the growing threat of Iraq’s WMD.
His wife, Meyrav Wurmser, an Israeli citizen, co-founded the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) with Yigal Carmon, a former colonel in Israeli military intelligence. Widely considered to be a propaganda front for Israeli intelligence, MEMRI translates and distributes, in the words of journalist Jim Lobe, “particularly virulent anti-U.S. and anti-Israel articles appearing in the Arab press to key U.S. media and policymakers.” What better way to get Americans to believe that they and Israel face a common enemy?
Both Wurmsers worked with Richard Perle and Douglas Feith on writing the 1996 “Clean Break” strategy for Benjamin Netanyahu. The plan for remaking the Middle East in Israel’s interest had to wait until after 9/11 to be implemented, however, when Bush became more susceptible to the very same advisers and their associates.
It was this neoconservative cabal that put Abrams into the position where he could instigate the Gaza coup. Writing in Salon magazine, an “anonymous” veteran foreign service officer explained how Abrams, who had been convicted for unlawfully withholding information about the Iran-Contra scandal from Congress, came to be hired by Rice. In “The State Department’s Extreme Makeover,” he wrote: “In December 2002, Wolfowitz, Feith, Wurmser and Vice President Cheney’s national security advisor, I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby, acting together, maneuvered Condoleezza Rice into appointing Elliott Abrams to the position of special assistant to the president and senior director for the Middle East at the National Security Council.”
Considering Abrams’ extreme Likudnik views, former CIA political analysts Kathleen and Bill Christison wryly commented on his appointment, “Putting him in a key policymaking position on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is like entrusting the henhouse to a fox.”
In a revealing comment on who exactly was directing national security during Bush’s first term, “Anonymous” predicted that Rice would be the neocons’ second choice to replace Colin Powell as secretary of state. Since the Iraq debacle was likely to militate against their first choice, Wolfowitz, they planned “to again play behind Condoleezza Rice.”
It is worth noting that Abrams is the son-in-law of Norman Podhoretz. From his bully pulpit at Commentary magazine, the neocon godfather harangues Americans into waging “a very long war” against what he calls “Islamofascism” -- a disparate group of enemies that looks suspiciously like an Israeli hit list.
As to where Abrams’ own loyalty lies, his 1997 book, Faith or Fear: How Jews Can Survive in a Christian America, is unequivocal. Jews “are in a permanent covenant with God and with the land of Israel and its people,” he claims. “Their commitment will not weaken if the Israeli government pursues unpopular policies.”
Shouldn’t Americans be more wary of national security advisers with an avowed uncritical allegiance to a foreign country, especially one which seeks to induce the United States to fight an endless war with one-fifth of the world’s population?
And instead of poking fun at convenient scapegoats like Bush, Cheney and Rice for America’s disastrous Middle East policy -- as The Daily Show did for eight years to great acclaim -- hasn’t Jon Stewart a responsibility to his many fans to sift the merely plausible from the hard facts? When those facts point to a handful of other Jewish Americans whose “covenant” with their tribal God endangers all Americans, to do otherwise is to make fools of his audience.
This was originally published in Intifada: Voice of Palestine.Maidhc Ó Cathail is a freelance writer who writes in Irish and English. He has written for Antiwar.com, Dissident Voice, The Palestine Chronicle, OpEd News, Media Monitors Network and many other publications.
November 10, 2009
Israeli Army Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi
An official who briefed reporters after the meeting said that Gabi Ashkenazi, the chief of staff of Israel's armed forces, expects world leaders to decide which course of action to take on Iran by the end of 2009.
“We are readying all the options and decision-makers will have to consider which paths to take” to stop Iran's nuclear development, Ashkenazi told the Israeli parliament's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
“If the Iranians understand they will have to pay a steep price, it wouldn't be illogical or unreasonable to say they may change their current direction,” the official quoted Ashkenazi as saying.
Israel, which hypocritically accuses Iran of trying to produce nuclear weapons, is the only player in the Middle East that possesses a nuclear arsenal.
Unlike Iran, Israel is not a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
November 09, 2009
Seymour Hersh’s latest article only portrays his well-known anti-Pakistan bias: Pakistani FO spokesman
ISLAMABAD, Nov 8, 2009 (APP): Commenting on Mr. Seymour Hersh’s latest article "Defending the Arsenal-In an unstable Pakistan, can nuclear warheads be kept safe?" posted on the website of "The New Yorker" magazine, the Foreign Office Spokesman termed the assertions made in the article as utterly misleading and totally baseless. "The author of the article yet again portrays his well-known anti-Pakistan bias by making several false and highly irresponsible claims by quoting anonymous and unverifiable sources".
"The article is thus nothing more than a concoction to tarnish the image of Pakistan and create misgivings among its people," the Spokesman said in statement here on Sunday.
The Spokesman underlined that Pakistan’s strategic assets are completely safe and secure. The multi-layered custodial controls, which have been developed indigenously, are as foolproof and effective as in any other nuclear weapons state, he added.
"Pakistan therefore does not require any foreign assistance in this regard. Nor will Pakistan, as a sovereign state, ever allow any country to have direct or indirect access to its nuclear and strategic facilities".
"Any suggestion to this effect is simply preposterous. Our second-to-none professional armed forces are fully capable to take care of our nuclear arsenal", he added.
The Spokesman further said, "to set the record straight, no talks have ever taken place on the issue of the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal with US officials".
He said it needs to be emphasized that contrary to what Mr. Hersh claims, the US has repeatedly expressed its full confidence in our custodial controls. Most recently, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton herself denied any US concerns in this regard, he added.
The Spokesman said that Mr. Hersh is known to write sensational stories premised in far-fetched and imaginary scenarios. "His latest article is no exception and is, therefore, strongly rejected", he added.
Admiral Open to US Attack, Concedes War Would Be Incredibly Destabilizing
Speaking today at the National Press Club, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen declared that “it’s very clear to me that a nuclear weapon in Iran is an existential threat to Israel.”
Adm. Mullen has repeatedly met with Israel’s military chief Gen. Ashkenazi, and says foiling Iran’s nuclear program is “the number one priority for Israel.” This has been underscored in recent days as Israel has repeatedly threatened to attack Iran.
But while Admiral Mullen said he still wanted President Obama to continue with diplomacy, he was fully prepared to see the US attack Iran to prevent a nuclear Iran from “undermining the stability” of the Middle East. At the same time, Mullen admitted that attacking Iran itself “would also be incredibly destabilizing.”
Though Western officials have repeatedly issued warnings about Iran’s nuclear program, the IAEA has repeatedly certified that none of Iran’s uranium has been enriched to anywhere near weapons-grade level and that none of it is being diverted to anything but civilian use.
|The Baghdad International Fair first opened its doors in 1964 [EPA]|
The ten-day Baghdad International Fair opened its doors for the 36th time on November 1.
Featuring exhibits from major international companies, the trade fair was held annually from 1964 until the 2003 US-led invasion. It resumed in 2007.
However, a change to the fair's charter this year has angered many Iraqis.
The Iraqi government has dropped an article from the charter which obliges participating companies to prove they do not have trade links with Israel.
A memo from the Iraqi ministry of foreign affairs on October 7, alerted foreign embassies to the decision to drop article 45.
Sources within the Iraqi ministry of foreign affairs who spoke on the condition of anonymity told Al Jazeera that the EU had warned Iraqi officials that if article 45 was not removed, European companies would not participate in this year's event.
An EU source, who cannot be named because she is not authorised to speak to the media, said the first invitations to the fair, which were received by the embassies of EU countries in April, included the clause. However, EU missions in Baghdad later received an amendment suggesting that participating companies would not be required to boycott Israel.
Officials from the Iraqi ministry of foreign affairs were unavailable for comment.
'Destroying national spirit'
Members of the Iraqi parliament told Al Jazeera that they were unaware of the decision to remove the clause.
Nasar al-Rubei, a spokesperson for the al-Sadr parliamentary bloc, vowed to launch a campaign to restore article 45.
"It is not up to the government to take any action when it comes to Israel," he said.
"We live in a society that looks at Israel as an entity built on stolen land. We know that Iraq's foreign policy has not been defined yet, we know Iraq's foreign policy is the government's responsibility, but the relation with Israel is a special case. They must not touch it without people's approval.
"From our side, we will fight to restore article 45, we will launch a campaign to collect signatures for a petition asking the government to review its decision and to promise not to change anything related to Israel without the parliament's approval."
Laila al-Khafaji, a member of parliament from the Unified Iraqi Coalition, said: "We were completely unaware of that issue. I hold the ministry of foreign affairs and [the] foreign relations committee in the parliament [responsible] for making the parliament the last to know."
Dhafir al-Ani, a member of parliament from al-Tawafuq bloc, sees the move as part of a long-term plan to condition Iraqis to accept Israel.
"When you see Iraqi political parties racing to win blessing from US officials, what do you expect? We said it from the beginning, we in Iraq can clearly see an organised plan to destroy Iraqis' national spirit," he said.
"Every Iraqi grew up on the idea that Israel is a criminal and illegitimate entity. Examples that Iraqis truly believed that are plenty in history. For instance, Iraq does not share borders with Israel, yet it participated in all Arab-Israeli wars.
"We think one of the main targets of the war on Iraq was to remove Iraq from Israel's security threat list."
'More royal than the king'
|In 2004, Mithal al-Alusi became the first Iraqi politician to visit Israel [EPA]|
Mithal al-Alusi, a former member of the Iraqi National Congress, has publicly called for an Iraq-Israel peace treaty.
In 2004 he became the first Iraqi politician to visit Israel.
Upon his return he was immediately fired from the Iraqi parliament and his party, the Democratic Party of the Iraqi Nation, was expelled from the Iraqi National Congress.
He also survived an attempt on his life in which two of his sons were killed.
He visited Israel again in 2008, saying: "I want to negotiate with Israel for the sake of Iraq. There are several Arab countries talking to Israel.
"The Palestinians themselves sit with the Israelis, should we be royalists more than the king himself?"
But al-Ani opposes this perspective, saying: "It is true some Palestinian politicians sat with the Israelis and started a political process with them, but why should we not look at the other part of the Palestinians, who still up to now oppose what their politicians have done. They are the majority.
"In the rest of the Arab world, the majority of the population is against establishing contacts with Israel."
A history of boycotts
In 1951 the Arab League established the Bureau for Boycotting Israel. Based in Damascus, Syria, the bureau has lost much of its authority since Egypt, Jordan and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) signed peace treaties with Israel.
It still holds bi-annual meetings with representatives from Arab countries which have not signed peace treaties with Israel.
Before the US-led invasion, Iraq adhered closely to the instructions of the bureau. Israeli companies, those with Israeli shareholders and companies with dealings with Israel were banned in Iraq.
Iraqi ties with the US were cut after the US supported Israel in the 1967 war, and although they were restored in 1984, commercial deals with the US were kept to a minimum.
Before the 2003 invasion, Iraq endured 13 years of UN sanctions. During this time speculation was rife that one of the aims of the sanctions was to force Iraq into a peace process with Israel.
Al Jazeera has obtained a document written by Saddam Hussein's secretary, which conveys Hussein's rejection of an offer to partake in a peace process with Israel in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.
In April 2002, Iraq stopped its oil exporting operations for a month in protest at Israeli aggression in the Palestinian territories.
'Fruit of US strategy'
|This document conveys Hussein's rejection of an offer to ease sanctions in exchange for peace talks with Israel|
For many Arab countries, the US-led invasion of Iraq signalled the loss of a strategic asset in their conflict with Israel.
Bahrain closed its offices of the Bureau for Boycotting Israel in 2006 after signing a free trade agreement with the US. Shortly thereafter, some Bahraini officials began urging the establishment of contacts with Israel.
However, Bahrain's parliament - ignoring government objections - has just passed a bill outlawing any contact with Israel and introducing prison sentences for anybody found to be breaking this law.
Badi Rafaia, a spokesman for the Federation of Anti-Normalisation with Israel Unions Committee in Jordan, said the US-led invasion of Iraq removed one of the last remaining obstacles to Israel's denial of Palestinian rights.
"[Before the war] Iraq was the main obstacle to Israel's plan to establish ties with Arab countries and subsequently swallow Palestinians' rights and demands," he said.
"We believe that Iraq's decision to allow companies with ties to Israel to work in the country is the fruit of American strategy in the region.
"Most Arab countries in the region, including my country Jordan, signed peace treaties with Israel. Jordan-Israeli peace stipulates that Jordan would no longer boycott Israeli goods; moreover it stipulates that Jordan should help to carry other Arab countries to end boycotting Israeli goods.
"I assure you, it is not something Arab public opinion is proud of."
Israel is well-known for its advanced technology and industry and some observers may find it hard to imagine an effective boycott by the Arabs, who are still far behind Israel and the West in these fields.
However, Rafaia argues that the boycott strategy has proved successful in many parts of the world and that there are plenty of examples of underdeveloped nations achieving their goals via these means.
"Economic boycott is a successful strategy if it was well planned. The Indian leader Gandhi used this strategy against Britain, when his country was occupied ... And it worked," he said.
"In [the case of] Arabs boycotting Israel, all I can tell you is if the boycott was not effective, Israel would not try to use every opportunity to break or at least ease the boycott by Arabs of its products and services."