Clinton: Tighten US-Israel bonds, teach next generation about shared past

 

Democratic Party presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton emphasized the strong U.S.-Israel relationship in her speech at The Brookings Institution’s annual Saban Forum on Sunday, telling the audience that “we stand with our ally and true friend Israel now and forever.” She insisted to the audience that “[w]ith every passing year we must tie the bonds tighter, reach out to the next generation.” Highlighting the historic nature of the relationship, she said, “There is a generation in both countries today that does not remember that shared past.” Clinton also discussed “three trends” in the world that are “converging and making our alliance with Israel more indispensable than ever.” One of those, she said, was “Iran’s continued aggression.” She said that the U.S. and Israel should “address these threats together.” She continued, “We must take an already strong relationship to the next level. We have to develop a common, strategic vision and pursue a coordinated approach, deepen our cooperation and consultation across the board.”

Despite the strained relationship between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama over the Iran nuclear deal, Netanyahu, in his speech at the UN General Assembly in October, asserted, “President Obama and I have both said that our differences over the nuclear deal are a disagreement within the family. But we have no disagreement about the need to work together to secure our common future.” During the prime minister’s visit to the White House in November, President Obama opened the session by stating, “There’s no foreign leader who I’ve met with more frequently, and I think that’s a testimony to the extraordinary bond between the United States and Israel.”

Furthermore, as the wave of violence occurring in Israel continues into its third month, members of Congress have shown unwavering bipartisan support for the Jewish state. On October 22, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution drafted by Chair of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Ranking Member Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) that expressed “concern over anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement within the Palestinian Authority [PA].” Additionally, Reps. Kay Granger (R-Texas) and Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) wrote a letter to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, imploring him to “refrain from highly-inflammatory language and to redouble your efforts to uphold nonviolence.” As the top members of the Foreign Operations subcommittee, whose charge is to authorize foreign funding, Granger and Lowey wrote, “As you are well aware, any U.S. assistance generously provided by the American people to the Palestinian Authority is predicated on the P.A.’s adherence to the precepts of the Oslo Accords as well as countering terrorism and the incitement of violence.”

 

The recently released International Atomic Energy Agency report on Iran’s illicit nuclear activities raises concerns about the extent of the regime’s covert nuclear research, and suggests that future enforcement of the nuclear deal will be impossible.

The IAEA’s investigative report, which was published last week, determined that Iran was conducting work on nuclear detonators as late as 2009, and revealed that the extent of Iran’s research into nuclear bomb technology exceeded what was already publicly known. The IAEA’s findings, which were constrained by Iran’s failure to provide all of the information that the agency requested, raise questions about how much more research Iran completed without detection. Notably, the report also undercuts U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s assertion in June that the U.S. had “absolute knowledge” of Iran’s past nuclear work.

Understanding the full scope of Iran’s past nuclear research “is seen as not just another issue – say, one that Iran could refuse to trade away by making concessions in other areas – but as a prerequisite to verifying Iranian compliance across all issues,” Omri Ceren, The Israel Project’s managing director for press and strategy, wrote in The Tower last year. The Israel Project publishes The Tower.

Ceren’s concerns were echoed Friday in The New York Times by David Sanger, the paper’s chief Washington correspondent. After noting that the Obama administration was now allowing Iran to dismiss questions that “it once insisted could not remain unaddressed,” Sanger observed that the IAEA’s expected decision to close the file on Iran’s past nuclear research “raises questions over whether the world’s nuclear watchdog has lost its ability to strike fear into nations secretly pursuing the bomb.” If Iran could get away without coming clean about its past, “will it be emboldened to stiff-arm inspectors as they seek to enforce the nuclear deal?” Furthermore, Sanger asked, if Iran can get away with defying the IAEA, would other countries, such as Japan or Saudi Arabia, be able to do so as well?

An anonymous IAEA official told Sanger last week that, in the wake of the nuclear deal with Iran, he worries that the agency “created a poor precedent for the future.” The official added, “We have no way to force states to come clean, and never have.”

Aside from emphasizing the gaps in the international community’s understanding of Iran’s past nuclear activities, the IAEA report also suggests a problem with the ability of the P5+1 nations to enforce Iran’s compliance with the deal in the future.

In its analysis (.pdf) of the report, the Institute for Science and International Security observed that the IAEA had “found chemically man-made particles of natural uranium” at the Parchin military site. The institute noted that this finding suggested “that Iran conducted high explosive work on a uranium deuteride neutron initiator at Parchin.” However, the institute wrote that the IAEA could not reach a “definitive conclusion” about what produced the suspicious molecules because Iran sanitized the site over the past decade.

This shows that, in order to cheat without consequences, Iran simply needs to stall future inspections until it can clean a suspicious nuclear site. Under the nuclear deal, Iran has at least 24 days to make suspected nuclear sites available to international inspectors.

After the agreement was announced in July, Kerry and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz wrote that this lead time was not a concern because “environmental sampling can detect microscopic traces of nuclear activities even after attempts to remove evidence.” However, as the IAEA report underscores, even if Iran can’t remove all traces of illicit nuclear work, it can prevent inspectors from reaching a “definitive conclusion” about its activities.

The section of the nuclear deal (.pdf) that addresses future Iranian violations, and which authorizes inspectors to access a suspicious but previously undeclared nuclear site only after a delay, is called the “Dispute Resolution Mechanism.” In order for the P5+1 nations to impose any sort of sanctions on Iran for future violations, they would have to submit a complaint about Iran’s violations to a series of panels. Without “definitive” proof, it would be impossible to find Iran in violation of the deal and reimpose sanctions, gutting the administration’s primary means of enforcing the agreement.

Beyond allowing Iran to evade the consequences of its past nuclear cheating and undermining the authority of the IAEA, the nuclear deal thus also makes it difficult, if not impossible, to enforce Iranian compliance in the future. (via TheTower.org)

 

Antibiotics, disinfectants and detergents are proving no match for biofilm, the sticky cluster of microbes that can form on everything from household surfaces to medical implants and devices. A reported 75 percent of healthcare-associated infections – which cause 99,000 deaths every year in the United States alone — can be traced to biofilm on devices such as catheters, ventilators and endotracheal tubes. Within the next 24 months, the Israeli company NanoLock expects to win regulatory clearance for its first two products embedded with a novel antimicrobial nanomaterial developed in the lab of Prof. Ervin Weiss, former head of prosthodontics at the Hebrew University Hadassah School of Dental Medicine in Jerusalem and current dean of the Tel Aviv University dental school. Dental materials are NanoLock’s first priority and from there the sky’s the limit, depending on the needs of strategic partners for the Kfar Saba-based company. The Israeli company has a wide variety of potential partners, considering that the US National Institutes of Health estimates biofilm is responsible for more than 60% of all microbial infections. Dr. Julia Rothman, NanoLock’s cofounder and vice president for clinical and regulatory affairs, tells ISRAEL21c that NanoLock’s nanoparticle is unique on several counts: it kills both bacteria and fungi; it is not a coating but is built into the device; and it contains no metal or toxic ingredients, unlike most antimicrobial materials that rely on silver, an expensive and toxic component. The nano-polymer additive is activated only on contact, doesn’t leak or dissolve into the surrounding environment, and preserves the device’s anti-biofilm properties indefinitely without changing the device’s own proprieties. “The technology is very safe and effective and doesn’t alter the device or its functionality,” Rothman says. “The implications are vast. We’re more interested in the medical field but other potential fields such as air filters and water filters makers also are approaching us. There are diverse realms that deal with biofilm issues.” The material has been tested with plastic and glass, and could also be embedded in textiles. A formulation for metal is still in development. Rothman says the cost of the product is not yet determined but it is expected to be manufactured on a mass scale. “We’ve done first-in-man clinical trials in Israel involving 13 volunteers with wonderful results. We will do more trials depending on the regulatory path and indications needed by our partners,” she says. Meanwhile, NanoLock is completing a feasibility study for a company that requested to test its nanoparticles, and the self-funded company is looking to complete its first investment round by year’s end. (via Israel21c)

 

There are two common explanations for the horrific terrorist attacks which took place in Paris last month.

The first seeks to interpret the Paris shootings as a response to Western foreign policy—or more specifically, to Western imperialism. This can either refer to the supposed imperialism of recent years or go as far back as the Crusades.

The second dwells on the jihadists’ fundamental opposition to liberalism itself. Thus, the West is not on the receiving end of violence for what it does, rather it experiences these sporadic outbursts of brutality based on what it is.

Both arguments are deployed in opposition to one other, yet both contain an element of truth.

First of all, Paris may very well have been “blowback” for France’s role in bombing ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Hitler’s production of the V-3 cannon was “blowback” for the Allied assault on Nazi Germany. Blowback is invariably what happens when a country wages war—what it is not is a moral judgement on the decision to go to war itself (though the argument is often disingenuously deployed as if it were).

At the same time, it is also true that Le Bataclan concert hall in Paris was a place where, in the jihadist vernacular, “hundreds of apostates had gathered in a profligate prostitution party.” This sounds a lot like the misogynist statements put out in the past by jihadists, such as those who unsuccessfully placed a bomb outside London’s popular Ministry of Sound nightclub in 2004, the casus belli in that instance being “those slags dancing around.” It should be clear from reading them that it is the existence of liberal democracy, rather than any particular policy pursued by the liberal democracies, which these budding totalitarians find so repugnant.

Despite these two propositions being in seeming opposition to each other, how Europe’s democracies inoculate themselves against jihadist violence will depend to a certain extent on how successfully Western governments grapple with the central tenets of both arguments. What sort of foreign policy ought the West to pursue in order to minimize the threat from jihadist violence? And how will the West build a confident liberalism at a time of widespread suspicion and distrust?

To continue reading, click here for The Tower Magazine.


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