Joke of the Day

Ma’an News reports that a former Iranian deputy defense minister has been detained in Israel since being abducted in 2006.

But that’s not the funny part.

Former Iranian deputy defense minister Ali Riza Asghari has been detained in Israel since his abduction by the Mossad in 2006, sources told Ma’an.

The sources said Israeli authorities had imposed a gag order on the country’s media forbidding them from reporting details of the case.

Iranian officials and Asghari’s family have accused Israel’s Mossad of abducting the former cabinet minister, who disappeared during a visit to Turkey in December 2006.

Shortly after Asghari’s disappearance, a senior US official told The Washington Post that the Iranian had defected and was providing Western intelligence services with information on links between Hezbollah and Iran.

In March 2009, a former German Defense Ministry official also said Asghari had defected, and that he was providing information on Iran’s nuclear program.

Iranian news sites reported in November 2009 that Asghari was being held in an Israeli prison. At the time, Israel’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment.

I am a journalist

Journalist Richard Silverstein reported in December 2010 that Asghari was found dead in his cell in Israel’s Ayalon prison.

Silverstein cited reports by the Israeli news site Ynet and the Israeli daily Haaretz that a security prisoner had committed suicide while in solitary confinement in Ayalon prison. Ynet cited a gag order in its report, and the news was later removed from the site.

A source close to Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak revealed that the deceased prisoner was Asghari, Silverstein said.

Now he’s a journalist? Because his LinkedIn profile would suggest he is now a blogger, and his only “real job” was as a “major gifts officer.”

And still on the subject of Silverstein, he’s still schilling for Hamas.

http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2011/05/07/hamas-meshal-offers-new-pragmatism/

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Hamas’ Khaled Meshal offered a newly pragmatic, consensus-driven Hamas approach to its Fatah collaborators and to Israel.  Of course, the proof is in the pudding in these situations and we’ve seen Hamas’ pragmatism wax and wane with the political winds.  But given the overall mood-music in the Arab world and the upcoming campaign for Palestinian statehood at the General Assembly in September, Hamas’ initiative appears promising to say the least.  As others have noted, I’m guessing that Hamas’ increasingly unstable home in Damascus is also forcing it to look outward for friends and allies in places (Ramallah, Washington, Cairo, Brussels) it hadn’t considered.

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It’s important to point out that for Hamas (and unlike Fatah), violent resistance and non-violent resistance are strategies and not ends in themselves.  Meshal is clearly saying that for now, it’s most promising for us to turn away from violence, since that is most likely to secure our goals for Palestinian statehood.  But he’s also clearly saying that if non-violence and this current round of peacemaking and nation-building fails, that the movement could very well turn back to violence.

Of course, this will make Bibi and the pro-Israelists howl.  They’ll wag their fingers saying: “You see.  We told you you can’t trust them.  They’re only turning to non-violence out of cynical motives and they’ll return to violence the first chance they get.”  This of course gets things all wrong.  The point is that if non violence gets them where they want to be, then there will be no need for violence.

What Meshal is really saying is that if Fatah honors its commitments, there are free and fair elections, and the General Assembly approves a Palestinian state, then Hamas will have no reason to turn to violence.  To me, this is a patently self-evident pragmatic approach.  Even former Mossad directors like Ephraim Halevy understand it too.  But not the Bibistas.

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Hamas is currently showing pragmatic realism.  Bibi is showing the same old losing cards. And Obama’s showing nothing.  Where are you, Mr. President?  Stop basking in the glow of being Osama-killer and get down to brass tacks.  Show some leadership.  If he allows the mid-term elections to dictate the same-old, same-old approach to Hamas for fear of appearing soft on terror and hostile to a Likudist Israeli government, he’ll have lost yet another opportunity to play a leadership role in making peace.

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David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media