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In First, Iranian Opposition Leader Addresses Israel’s Parliament, Urging Jewish State to ‘Attack Iran’s Leaders in Tehran’

Vahid Beheshti with MKs Sova and Tal, at the Knesset Israel Victory Caucus. Photo: Michael Katz

At a meeting of Israel’s parliament, known as the Knesset, discussing the plans for a post-Hamas Gaza on Tuesday, an Iranian opposition leader told Israeli lawmakers that Israel should not hesitate to “attack the heads of the Iranian leadership” in Tehran itself.

The meeting of the Knesset Israel Victory Caucus — which was attended by Vahid Beheshti and Israeli ministers, Knesset members, security officials, and diplomatic leaders — marked the first time an Iranian opposition figure has addressed Israel’s parliament.

Beheshti, who grew up in Iran but now resides in London, is known for his 72-day hunger strike calling for the UK government to categorize Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terror organization. At Tuesday’s meeting, which was jointly hosted with the Israeli Victory Project, Beheshti urged Israel to confront the Iranian government directly.

“Soon you will have to deal with the elephant in the room, which is the Iranian government, and you should not be afraid of attacking Iranian bases in Iran. Do not be afraid to attack the heads of the Iranian leadership in Iran. This is the only language they understand,” he said.

Beheshti highlighted the support of “80 million Iranians who are thirsty for freedom and democracy” who have failed to overthrow the Islamist regime and its “barbaric violence.”

“If you support the Iranian people, you will see how they will lower the head of the octopus and we will all experience peace,” he said.

Beheshti claimed that the Iranian regime, which was the “weakest it’s been in 44 years,” miscalculated Israel’s response to Hamas’ attack on Oct. 7 — of which he said it was “aware in advance” — expecting to achieve a “total” ceasefire within two months. Nearly three months have passed since the war broke out with the Hamas atrocities in southern Israel.

Iran is the main international sponsor of Hamas, providing the Palestinian terrorist group with funds, arms, and training.

Beheshti’s comments came a day before a huge explosion killed more than 100 people at a ceremony in the southeastern Iranian city of Kerman commemorating top IRGC commander Qassem Soleimani, who was killed by a US drone in 2020.

Beheshti denied claims by Iran’s state-run media that Israel was behind the attack.

“Those who are aware of the nature of the Iranian regime, know full well that today’s attack was an inside job, as Israel’s operations are always targeted,” he said on X/Twitter, citing various other attacks, including the downing of the Ukrainian plane, that he said proved Iran was willing to “sacrifice civilian lives for its own sinister goals.”

The people of Iran will not be fooled by the orchestrated attacks of the regime aimed at influencing public opinion.

Videos are being shared by Iran’s state media showing the victims of a “terrorist attack” at the burial site of Qassem Soleimani.

This is yet another attempt…

— Vahid Beheshti (@Vahid_Beheshti) January 3, 2024


Co-Chairman of Tuesday’s caucus meeting MK Ohad Tal, a member of the Religious Zionist Party, emphasized the need for a strategic victory over Hamas, and proposed permanent Israeli control over the Gaza Strip.

“Hamas taught us that the time has come for a real and strategic victory,” he told The Algemeiner. “The goal of the war should be that the State of Israel controls the entire Gaza Strip, not temporarily, but permanently. Gaza is part of the State of Israel and should once again be in Israel’s hands.”

“This way our enemies will be fully aware that it is not worth their while to enter into a war with Israel, and it will restore deterrence and [Israel’s] political, military, and economic power,” he added.

Israel withdrew all Israeli soldiers and civilians from Gaza in 2005. Hamas has fully ruled the Palestinian enclave, from which it launched its Oct. 7 massacre, since 2007.

Zvika Hauser, former head of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, presented a three-pronged plan for victory, including the expulsion of remaining Hamas members from Gaza, demilitarization of the area, and the creation of a buffer zone.

Yisrael Weiser — the father of Staff Sergeant Roey Weiser, who was killed on Oct. 7 — attended the meeting with his wife, Naomi. “This war must continue until the IDF’s complete victory over all the enemies that surround us. Anything less than that will not achieve the goal for which my son was killed. This must also be the last war. We must learn from our failures to be a deterrent for the future,” the grieving father said.

Israeli Minister of Intelligence Gila Gamliel outlined her plan for the voluntary resettlement of Gaza Strip residents, emphasizing the need for international support and an aid package for refugees. “The mobilization of the international community is required to create a pool of countries that will take in refugees while receiving an aid package for them,” Minister Gamliel stated.

Israeli media on Wednesday reported that officials are conducting clandestine talks with several countries to absorb Palestinians from Gaza on a humanitarian basis. Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich also advocated the resettlement of Palestinians outside of Gaza, and called on the international community to find solutions.

“Seventy percent of the Israeli public today supports a humanitarian solution of encouraging the voluntary immigration of Gazan Arabs and their absorption in other countries,” he said.

“They understand that a small country like ours cannot afford a reality where four minutes away from our towns and cities there is a hotbed of hatred and terrorism where two million people wake up every morning with an aspiration for the destruction of the State of Israel and with a desire to slaughter and rape and murder Jews wherever they are,” he added.

The US State Department on Tuesday slammed Smotrich over the plan, calling his rhetoric “inflammatory and irresponsible.”

UN special rapporteur Balakrishnan Rajagopal on Wednesday said that the “forcible transfer” constituted an “act of genocide.”

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Newly released documents from the Deschênes Commission show Canada’s reluctance to prosecute Nazi war criminals

The release of formerly classified documents from the 1986 Deschênes Commission—which investigated how Nazi war criminals entered Canada after the Second World War—reveals greater details about why the government was reluctant to prosecute them once they were in the country, says David Matas, the lawyer who represented B’nai Brith Canada at the inquiry. Canada released […]

The post Newly released documents from the Deschênes Commission show Canada’s reluctance to prosecute Nazi war criminals appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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South African Immigrants to Israel Protest Against Former Country Government

The International Court of Justice in The Hague in session in January 2020. Photo: Reuters/Eva Plevier.

Dozens of South African immigrants to Israel protested against their former country’s government on Friday, standing with their new home against political and legal attacks from South Africa’s ruling ANC party, highlighted by accusing Israel of “genocide,” last Thursday in the International Court of Justice (ICJ)

“The demonstration is not against South Africa or its people, but against its disgraceful government. I am proud to stand here as an Israeli, but I am ashamed of the government of my homeland, for stooping so low. It is a danger to Judaism,” said David Kaplan, an attendant of the event.

Former Knesset member Ruth Wasserman Lande, who was raised in Cape Town, South Africa before moving to Israel for military service, living in Israel since, added “Justice is with us, the ruling party of South Africa has sold its soul to Iran.”

The protest in Ra’anana in central Israel comes a few weeks after Israel was forced to stand trial at the International Court of Justice in The Hague against charges of “genocide” in its current defensive war against Hamas in Gaza. The charges were filed by South Africa’s government, a noted friend of Hamas leadership and outspoken critic of Israel and the Israeli government.

In South Africa’s case against Israel, the country alleges that the IDF is acting “genocidal in character because they are intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group.”

The suit came as both countries are signatories to the 1948 Genocide Convention, passed after the Holocaust and with the goal of creating proceedings to ensure no genocide like what happened to the Jews of Europe occurs in the future.

Israel said South Africa was acting as “the legal arm of Hamas,” and called the charges “baseless,” especially as the country has been noted to take unprecedented steps to protect civilians in the war. Furthermore, the war began after Israel was attacked by Hamas terrorists on October 7, when they invaded southern Israel, murdering more than 1,200 and taking hostage over 240.

The ICJ refused to grant South Africa’s wish of calling for an immediate ceasefire, but nevertheless ruled to investigate the genocide charges and called on Israel to “take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of all acts within the scope of [genocide].”

Even this past week South Africa continued its attacks, calling for the defunding of Israel, with Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor saying “This necessarily imposes an obligation on all states to cease funding and facilitating Israel’s military actions.”

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Robert Kraft Antisemitism Nonprofit to Air Super Bowl Ad Featuring Associate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and team owner Robert Kraft celebrate winning Super Bowl LIII, Feb. 3, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Kevin Lamarque.

Foundation to Combat Antisemitism (FCAS), a group created by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, will air its first Super Bowl commercial when the San Francisco 49ers take on the Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 11.

An estimated 100 million television viewers will see the commercial, which features Dr. Clarence B. Jones, a former legal adviser of civil rights hero Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Jones, according to FCAS, helped King draft the famous “I Have a Dream” speech, which was delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC on Aug. 28, 1963.

“I know I can speak for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when I say without a doubt that the Civil Rights movement (including the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Acts) would not have occurred without the unwavering and largely unsung efforts of the Jewish people,” Jones said in a press release issued by FCAS. “With hate on the rise, it is as important as ever that all of us stand together and speak out. Silence is not an option. I’m glad that I’ve lived long enough to partner with Robert Kraft and FCAS to continue to spread the message to the widest possible audience — the Super Bowl.”

This year’s Super Bowl commercial mark’s FCAS’ biggest push to promote awareness of antisemitism since its founding in 2019. Last year, the nonprofit launched a $25 million multimedia campaign, which asked supporters to use the “Blue Square” emoji available on iOS devices in their social media posts.

FCAS has undertaken numerous other initiatives to address rising antisemitism.

In March 2023, it announced a partnership with Brandeis University, which will include a student fellowship program for undergraduates, conferences featuring leading experts on antisemitism, and collaborations with K-12 administrators. Additionally, Brandeis University’s Hornstein Jewish Professional Jewish Leadership Program will expand to include “Kraft Scholars,” who will participate in new online degree and certificate programs that will train them to respond to crises caused by antisemitic incidents.

Kraft, who led the remarkable transformation of the New England Patriots from a second tier club to an annual Super Bowl contender and winner of six such titles in under twenty years, founded FCAS after being awarded $1 million through Genesis Prize, an honor given to successful members of the Jewish community. FCAS focuses most of its resources on social media, aiming, it says, “to stand up against racist and violent rhetoric aimed at the Jewish people through the most accessible and most powerful avenue of information in the world.”

In a statement, Kraft, expressed hope for this latest campaign and praised Dr. Clarence Jones as an emblem of his FCAS’ highest aspirations.

“The work Dr. Jones has done over the course of his entire life and career is the embodiment of FCAS’ mission to build bridges and stand up to Jewish hate and all forms of hate. In the time we have spent together and through his work, I have become a huge fan of Dr. Jones, and I am proud to spotlight all that he has done for our nation,” he said. “With this ad, we hope to continue to spread Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s message of unity and equality at a time in which the country needs it mist most, and our goal is to reach a wide audience of people and inspire all Americans to stand up together, arm in arm, and fight this horrific rising hate.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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