Tag Archives: Israel

As an #Iran vs #Israel arena, #Gaza is losing its importance

1 Sep

Numerous things were learned from the recent Israel – Hamas war in Gaza.

One of them was that when it comes to being an arena where Iran and Israel faced each other off, Gaza is losing its importance.

Hamas has got a new Qatari patron and its not clear whether Iran will be able to woo it back.

My latest article explains.


Saying HAMAS is not = ISIS does not mean I support Hamas

26 Aug

Two days ago I wrote a blog in which I said there are some similarities between Hamas and ISIS, but there are greater number of differences between them. I

Not my idea of Hamas!

then listed the major differences to back my argument which concluded by saying that saying Hamas = ISIS is inaccurate.

And then it started. I was accused of all sorts of things, such as suffering from “Stockholm Syndrome”, “looking at the nice part of the enemy (I.e Hamas), or that I want “Hamas to be treated differently”.


Have you guys read anything I have written in the past? To me Hamas has always been a terrorist organization. Saying it is not the same as ISIS does not mean that I have decided to think of Hamas as a bunch of tree hugging hippies.

Would you be happier if I just switched my brain off and agreed with everything that the government of Israel tells me?

Then whats the point of studying? Whats the point of thinking for yourself? Isn’t democracy meant to create a market place of ideas?

​I said it before and I will say it again: Netanyahu’s comparison is wrong.

Such inaccurate comparisons also hurt Israel.

When the leader of a country makes inaccurate comparisons, it hurts the credibility of the country and its legitimate concerns, in this case the fight against Hamas. Its important that our leaders don’t play fast and loose with the facts. Netanyahu has done this on other occasions as well, like when he said that in Iran they say “Death to Jews” and that Iran is the new Nazi regime.If we lose our credibility, our enemies win. And this is just one more reason why we have to be honest and exact in our comparisons.

So calm down, and please don’t accuse me of things I did not mean or say.

The mystery over the alleged downed UAV in #Iran deepens

25 Aug

The IRGC says the UAV which was shot down was HERMES UAV which Israel operates

Yesterday, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) of Iran announced that it had shot down an Israeli UAV.

Today it released photos of what it says are the remains of the alleged Israeli UAV. However it did not show any proof that the UAV belonged to Israel.

There was additional news today from Iran where the IRGC stated that the UAV was not launched directly from Israel.

What is interesting is that the government of Israel has refused to comment on this issue.


We can assume that this could be due to (at least) three reasons:

  1. The UAV was in fact Israeli, or
  2. The UAV had nothing to do with Israel. But by staying silent the government of Israel wants to create the perception in Iran that Israel is closely watching the Iranian nuclear program. As senior Haaretz correspondent Amir Oren stated on the i24 news channel last night, “as long as the Iranians believe they are being watched and whatever they do is transparent, this is good for Israel”. This theory is helped by the fact that the UAV news was headlines news in numerous Iranian news outlets today.
  3. The UAV belonged to another country and its not Israel’s place or business to comment on the military activities of other countries.

Lets see if any new evidence or news emerges over the next few days.

Just attended the rally against racism in Jerusalem

2 Jul

Head of Israel Labour party and opposition leader Isaac Herzog

Just returned from the rally against racism and violence in Jerusalem.

It was wonderful to be there. With so many people who in less than 24 hours after the news regarding a suspected racist attack against a young Palestinian broke out got together to say no to racism.

We are not even sure yet that this was a racist attack. Never mind, our message had to be heard. This is our country and we won’t let the racists win.

I was especially pleased to see the crowd at the anti racism rally after having passed a small gathering by racists chanting “Death to Arabs”.

In total they were about 15 people. Majority of them teenagers. I thought of getting into an argument with them, but please believe me when I tell you that it was not worth it. They looked like such a bunch of boneheads that it would have been a waste of time. Would you argue with someone who was shouting to another woman “do you know what they would do to you in Europe if they find out you are Jewish? They would kill you in Europe.”

The most moving moment at the rally for me was when the head of the Israeli opposition Isaac Herzog came and took pictures among the crowd. He also spoke.

Don’t ask me exactly what he said. By that time I was in a deep conversation in Persian with my Iranian friend Ashkan Safaei who had also attended the rally. He lives in Jerusalem. The conversation lasted 1.5 hours and extended over coffee.

Then I got on the Jerusalem light rail to go to the Central Bus station, and before the doors closed, in walked an elderly gentleman with his daughter.

He started speaking to her in a loud voice, not only in Persian, but in a thick Esfahani accent. He had left Iran only a couple of years ago. Suddenly I found myself listening to him talking about the beauties of Esfahan, and of course, how he knows my entire family, right up to my late grandfather Meir, and my relatives in Israel.

My past and present, in full circle, completed over a single trip to Jerusalem.

Front cover of Shahyad Magazine

2 Jun

I made it to the front cover of the Persian language Shahyad magazine which is based here in Israel. It’s a real honour.



شرکت در میزگرد برنامه افق: مصر , اوباما و سوریه

29 May

ببینم, چرا بعضی از هموطنان گرامی ایرانی من تا میشنون که ژنرال ال سی سی مصر کوده تا کرد کفرشون در میاد؟
پس این کوده تا نبود؟
ارتش دولت منتخب را بیرون کنه این کوده تا نیست؟ حالا بگیم چند صد هزار نفر هم تو خیابون ها باشند. دموکراسی بر اساس شمارش رای هستش یا براساس شماره تظاهر کنندگان؟ تازه شماره تظاهر کنندگان در اقلیت بود.
دوستان عزیز در فیسبوک که میگید از مرسی دفاع نکن: من از مرسی بدم میاد, ولی معنی دموکراسی این نیست که رهبر فقط بایستی کسی باشه که من یا شما ازش خوشمون میاد .
دوما چرا اوباما خط قرمز برای اسد کشید و وقتی اسد ان را با استفاده سلاح شیمیایی رد کرد اسد را تنبیه نکرد؟ به نظر من این اشتباه محض بود. در مورد این مسائل دیشب در برنامه افق با همکاران عزیز حسین علیزاده , امیر طاهری و سیامک دهقانپور گفتگویی داشتم.

Getting Israel’s threat perception regarding Iran right

13 May

As part of his 8th of May recent article for the National Interest, Trita Parsi , the head of the National Iranian – American Council describes what he believes Israel sees as “the real threat from Iran”: i.e a possible rapprochement between Tehran and Washington. Describing what this would entail, Parsi quotes Bar Ilan Professor Gerald Steinberg who states “The Great Satan will make up with Iran and forget about Israel,”.

Yes, there are some Israelis who are worried about the U.S reducing some of its support for Israel in order to “reach a deal with Iran over issues in the Middle East and the Caspian sea” as Parsi describes. But to say “Therein, of course, lay “the” real threat from Iran (with an emphasis on the) is an inaccurate assessment of facts on the ground in Israel.

The reason being that other important events have taken place in Israel which have had a far more profound impact on Israel’s threat perception regarding Iran. Events which Mr Parsi’s analysis does not take into consideration.

As Parsi correctly points out in the article, the Israeli government reached out to Iran in the late 90s and early 2000s, but it was turned down. Israel in fact did more than what he describes, as I described in my piece for Al Monitor entitled “Was Ariel Sharon Israel’s Secret Channel to Iran?”.

However the article in the National Interest stops there. It does not mention what happened after Iran’s rejection of Israel’s overtures.

Iran soon started supporting one of the biggest campaigns to kill Israeli civilians, carried out by Hamas in the second intifada. During that campaign 649 Israeli civilians were deliberately targeted in civilian buses and Cafes. The victims included pregnant mothers, and many children. Iran, as well as Saudi Arabia were the two biggest financial sponsors of Hamas. So much so that in his 2003 faxed “grand bargain” to the US, the Iranian supreme leader tried to use Iran’s influence over Hamas as leverage.

Meanwhile the Iranian regime was continuing to work on a nuclear weapon until 2003, as confirmed by the NIE in 2007.

To many Israelis, the Iranian regime not only called for the death of Israelis through “death to Israel” chants, it also paid Hamas to do it. Meanwhile as the killings were going on, it was working on a nuclear weapon. Iran had even tried to buy a nuclear weapon from Pakistan. Not to mention the Iranian regime (not the current government)’s denial of the holocaust which Ahmadinejad started and Khamenei is now continuing as well as calls for Israel to be wiped off.

To any politician, and not just Israeli politicians, such actions and threats from another country are far more real and important than what Parsi purports to be “the real threat” which Iran poses to Israel.

The argument could also be made as to whether there is any real chance that the U.S would reduce some of its support for Israel specifically for the purpose of reaching a deal with Iran in the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea. Would that be domestically feasible or realistic in the U.S? According to Gallup’s latest poll, 72 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Israel, while only 9% have a favorable view of Iran. This is in addition to the strong support for Israel in Capitol Hill whereas Iran has almost no support. These would make such a decision very costly for any U.S politician.


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