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Institute for Research:
Middle Eastern Policy

"Research - Awareness - Accountability"

 

 

 

Why Wasn’t Netanyahu Ever Indicted in the US?
Milchan-Netanyahu nuclear trigger smuggling caper impunity - 06/02/2020

Benjamin Netanyahu’s prosecution for corruption in an Israeli courtroom is now underway. The current Israeli Prime Minister is facing three counts of fraud and breach of trust and one count of bribery.

The first count listed in the charge sheet details Israeli movie producer Arnon Milchan’s long relationship with Netanyahu. Netanyahu received approximately $140,000 worth of cigars, champagne, and jewelry in exchange for favors to Milchan. Those favors included advancing Milchan’s Israeli news media business interests and promoting at Milchan’s suggestion a free-trade zone between Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority to manufacture low cost vehicles.

Netanyahu’s most important favor to Milchan, according to the charges, was using his influence as Prime Minister to respond in 2013 and 2014 to Milchan’s urgent pleas for help with a 10-year visa to continue residing in the United States...

milnet 

...The files reveal that Milchan, Netanyahu and American scientist Richard Kelly Smyth in the 1980s unlawfully smuggled 15 shipments containing 810 nuclear weapons triggers out of the United States to the Israeli Ministry of Defense through a network of Milchan companies. Only Smyth was ever indicted and prosecuted. But he mostly escaped punishment by fleeing the United States and then petitioning for leniency on his prison sentence after he was extradited from Malaga, Spain back to the US years later. Smyth reached out to Milchan in 2001 for financial support to help him mount his legal defense.

FBI documents reveal Netanyahu worked at one of the Milchan companies involved in the smuggling ring in Israel called Heli Trading. In his September 20, 2001 letter soliciting financial support from Milchan, Smyth cheerfully noted, "I was delighted to hear your former employee, Netanyahu, had become Prime Minister of Israel." More at Antiwar.com

To view FOIA files on the "Project Pinto" Netanyahu-Milchan-Smyth nuclear smuggling ring visit the Israel Lobby Archive.

Energix Renewable Energies
A U.N. designated human rights violator expands across Virginia - May 27, 2020 

  

 

Poll: Americans Reject Israeli Annexation - Antiwar.com
But their views remain unsolicited as players secretly craft policy - 5/18/2020

...what should be a vibrant and expansive polling ecosystem, is instead a void periodically filled with data and assertions that seem to paint a picture of broad, widespread support for institutionalized US policies favoring Israel. Some of the polls are so deeply flawed and misleading they must now carry warning labels. Gallup’s annual poll asking Americans whether they sympathize more with Israelis or more with Palestinians is one case in point.

In 2019 Gallup finally admitted that its sympathy question had deep systemic flaws that tended to trigger higher response rates for Israel over Palestine. But the poll question – and decades of data – have been used by the Israel lobby to assert that most Americans back Israel. The Congressional Research Service also used the poll as a proxy for claiming Americans support US aid to Israel. And, whenever it is released – usually right before AIPAC’s annual policy conference in Washington – Gallup’s poll is immediately regurgitated across the spectrum of pro-Israel scribes.... More

Poll: Americans Oppose U.S. Recognition of Israeli Annexation - 05/13/2020

 

05192020poll

A plurality of Americans oppose any formal U.S. recognition. When asked, 37.3 percent responded that the U.S. should not recognize Israeli annexation, while 34.2 percent said that it should. Other responses were offered by the remaining 28.5 percent, with many responding they had insufficient information to state an opinion.

Israel and many nodes of its enormous U.S. lobby refer to imminent annexation with the same euphemism: “application of sovereignty.” However, even longtime operatives at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s think tank appear to believe that unilateral annexation may finally kill the American goose that has laid golden eggs for Israel since its founding. David Makovsky and Dennis Ross cautioned that “we think that all unilateral annexation is a mistake and hope the prime minister refrains from doing so.”

Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee, Saeb Erakat, urged world leaders to take concrete action against Israel. “What we’re telling them is that Netanyahu can survive statements of condemnation, but he needs to hear that there will be backlash and consequences as well.” More

dsTalk Nation Radio: The Israel Lobby Enters State Government - 05/04/2020

David Swanson, host of Talk Nation Radio, interviews Grant F. Smith discusses his latest and ninth book about the Israel lobby called The Israel Lobby Enters State Government: Rise Of The Virginia Israel Advisory Board. Find the paperback at Middle East Books & More.

Internet Archive audio

 

pnsMajor Player in VA Solar Expansion Under United Nations' Scrutiny
04/29/2020

RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia's new Clean Economy Act is paving the way for a burst of solar installations in the Commonwealth. But the United Nations has designated one of the solar providers as a human-rights violator.

Caden-Energix plans to build eight solar installations in Virginia worth a half-billion dollars, according to Grant Smith, research director for the Institute for Research on Middle East Policy. He said the company recently appeared on a list from the U.N. high commissioner for human rights for using its solar resources in occupied Palestinian territory for foreign gain.

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"The surrounding community has been deprived of these resources," he said. "They're not allowed to even operate their own solar energy. They can't even buy solar energy from this Energix solar field, which was built on their land."

He said no city or town in Virginia where Energix is building had been made aware of the company's overseas background. Energix officials did not respond by deadline to a request for comment.

Energix projects have been advanced in the Commonwealth by the Virginia Israel Advisory Board. The group is a state-funded council with close ties to the General Assembly that exclusively promotes Israeli economic and education projects in Virginia, to advance the Israeli government's policy agenda. More

IRS Must Describe Its Search for Israeli Settlement Policies
US tax-exempt Israel charities have long relied on the IRS for impunity - 4/24/2020
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On April 22, 2020 Judge Rudolph Contreras ordered the IRS to provide details about the adequacy of its search for documents about policy on US nonprofit charitable funding flows into Israeli settlements. The order was only the latest round in a legal battle launched by the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep), which in August of 2019 sued the IRS under the Freedom of Information Act. IRmep seeks the release of documents "related to the ongoing, long term laundering of tax-exempt donations by American donors through charitable organizations to which the IRS has issued determination letters, into illegal Israeli settlements, thereby directly and indirectly engaging in ethnic cleansing, illegal land seizures, and other expeditions against a friendly nation in violation of 18 U.S. Code § 960 and other applicable statutes and treaties."

The IRS has long tried to avoid formal comment on the massive and ongoing transfer of US tax-exempt charitable funding into overseas activities that have no apparent legality, charitable purpose, or social welfare benefit. However, the persistence of the funding flows and exceptionally large amounts involved have generated mainstream news coverage, lawsuits, and numerous requests for clarity to the IRS. Most have failed to produce any answers or redress. More     Court docket   Podcast

dvHow Ya Gonna Pay For It? Stop Giving Money to Israel - 4/24/2020

Did you know that the U.S. government has done something odd with your tax dollars? The ones you get so furious and indignant about when they’re used to feed anybody who’s hungry? It has given over 280 billion of those dollars to the government of Israel (not counting classified hush-hush super-secret amounts).


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Inflation adujusted, unclassified U.S. foreign aid to Israel 1949-2019 (Billion)

Israel is not a poor country. It is certainly not the poorest in the world. Why is it the top recipient of “aid.”

It isn’t. Its military is. Most of those billions of dollars are for weapons, and most of those weapons have to be bought from U.S. weapons dealers — you know, the ones crammed into close quarters risking the spread of a deadly disease because their jobs have been deemed “essential.”

Economists tell us that military spending reduces jobs, that you get more jobs by never taxing the money, or by taxing it and spending it on anything else. That has to be even more strongly true when funneling the money through a foreign military. So, this scheme is the opposite of a domestic jobs program. It also has some surprising corrupting influences on U.S. state governments, which themselves pile more billions onto the mountain of free loot for the Israeli military.

A new book by Grant Smith called The Israel Lobby Enters State Government: Rise of The Virginia Israel Advisory Board, recounts how the state of Virginia has created a state agency called the Virginia Israel Advisory Board which uses state funds to launch Israeli companies in Virginia at the expense of Virginia companies in Virginia, while boosting Israeli imports to Virginia, and — last but not least — enriching its members with state funds. Oh, and also “attempting to insert Israeli government propaganda into the curriculum in the K-12 system” of Virginia schools at public expense.

It’s not all weapons. Have you ever bought Sabra hummus? You can’t answer no if you’ve paid taxes in Virginia. More.

Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Israeli U.N.-Designated Human Rights Violator Energix Pushes Workers to Finish First Solar Utility in Virginia - 04/03/2020

Hickory, Virginia – April 3, 2020. At high noon on a blustery day, morning shift construction workers driving cars, SUVs and pickup trucks gingerly navigated their way out of the pothole-lined Ballantine Road construction site and onto Battlefield Boulevard. The afternoon shift workers parked in front of the access gate and made their way into the enormous fenced off field full of roaring excavators and massive shipping containers. Other workers were packed into vehicles parked in the middle of the road waiting their turn.

 

The temporary stay-at-home orders issued by Virginia’s governor on March 12 and 23 shuttered most state industries except select “critical” retailers and construction works. Slated to produce up to 32 megawatts of power, the Caden Energix Hickory utility scale solar energy array now appears to be nearing completion. Metal supports stand at the ready for solar panel installation. The electricity that the $23 million site will produce is not desperately needed by Virginia. But as the first of at least seven planned utility-scale generators, its smooth launch is vital to parent company Energix Renewable Energies, Ltd., headquartered in Israel. (See a map of all announced Energix sites in Virginia).

In Virginia, counties mostly regulate utility scale solar energy facilities through permit processes. However, Caden Energix Hickory received both a special zoning exemption to build on 154 acres of farmland and its building permit from the nearby City of Chesapeake. The Virginia Israel Advisory Board, which operates as a taxpayer-funded Virginia state government export promotion council exclusively for Israeli companies, code-named the massive Energix infrastructure building effort “Project Turbine.” The name may be a reference to Energix’s 155-megawatt wind turbine facility it built in 2015 in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The American Friends Service Committee in 2019 claimed Energix was “reportedly using questionable methods in obtaining access to the land from its indigenous Syrian-Druze owners, and in violation of international law." More at the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

 
wider_viewThe Israel Lobby Enters State Government
Wider View Radio Podcast - 03/13/2020

Grant Smith, director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy, joins Wider View Radio host Charles Dunaway to discuss the Israel Lobby, the Israel Lobby Conference, and the new book The Israel Lobby Enters State Government: Rise of the Virginia Israel Advisory Board. Learn how taxpayers in Virginia are supporting Israel business interests. Audio Download

 

Poll: Is Anti-Zionism Anti-Semitism? Plurality of Americans disagree with Pence AIPAC proclamation - 03/09/2020

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IRmep Poll: “VP Mike Pence proclaimed, ‘anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.’ Zionism is a political movement supporting a Jewish state while anti-Semitism is a form of bigotry against Jews. Is anti-Zionism anti-Semitism, or not?”

Source: IRmep representative poll of 1,790 American adults through Google Surveys on March 5-7, 2020. Answer order randomly reversed. RMSE score sample bias 4.3 percent.

Story Highlights

  • About half of Americans believe anti-Zionism is not a form of bigotry.
  • Only 31 percent align with the Trump administration policy that “anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.”
  • Most Americans don’t self-identify as Zionist (70.3 percent).
  • Majorities of Americans consistently oppose U.S. aid to Israel, government crackdowns on student human rights protests (58.8 percent) and bans on boycotts of Israel (74.9 percent), while 68.8 percent would not personally accept the terms of the Trump Middle East “Deal of the Century.”

More at The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs   Poll

 

New Revelations: The Virginia Israel Advisory Board
February 29, 2020

 

Chesapeake should revoke Energix solar energy permits over UN designated human rights concerns
February 19, 2020

 
MeitarimCHESAPEAKE, VA, Feb. 19, 2020/PRNewswire/ IRmep recommends the City of Chesapeake revoke its conditional use permit issued to Caden-Energix Hickory to build a 32 megawatt solar energy facility.  Last week the Israeli company Energix Renewable Energy Ltd., which owns Caden Energix Hickory LLC, appeared on a UN High Commissioner for Human Rights list.

IRmep obtained, reviewed and publicly released the City of Chesapeake and Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality permit process docket. IRmep finds regulators have not properly weighed the moral hazard of licensing a project with problematic foreign ultimate beneficial/ owners alleged by UNHCR to routinely engage in overseas human rights violations.

1.    The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, on February 12, listed Energix as a “Category G” business enterprise because it does business and uses natural resources in occupied Palestinian territory. In their factual determination, the UNHCR said such activities “raised particular human rights concerns.”

 

2.    Energix Renewable Energy Ltd. owns Caden Energix Hickory LLC according to its City of Chesapeake conditional use permit application.

 

3.    According to Who Profits: The Israeli Occupation Industry Energix owns Meitarim Solar Field in the Israeli-occupied Jordan Valley on 98,749 square meters of Palestinian land. Surrounding Palestinian villages have reportedly been "suffering from forcible displacement, demolitions, lack of basic services and overall economic strangulation."

 

4.    According to AFS Energix is alleged to have used "questionable methods in obtaining access to the land from its indigenous Syrian-Druze owners in violation of international law" to build in 2015 a 155 megawatt field of wind turbines in the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights.

 

5.    In2019 Energix announced plans to build four additional utility-scale solar energy arrays in Virginia. These include Axton (66 megawatts), Gladys (60 megawatts), Jarratt (82.5 megawatts) and Wytheville (20 megawatts).

Virginia counties and cities determine through conditional use and construction permit licensing which solar energy producers operate within their jurisdictions. There is major competition for such opportunities between upstanding domestic corporate citizens based in Virginia and other states. Lack of due diligence into problematic foreign beneficial owners could produce negative outcomes for Chesapeake. Chesapeake is relying on Energix to respect its commitments to the local population, landowners, future site remediation, as well as other major project and legal obligations.

News release (PR Newswire)                Docket (Israel Lobby Archive)

balkanspost.comNone of Trump’s actions favoring Israel have any legitimacy: Jeffrey Blankfort
February 6, 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump differs from his predecessors only in that the mask of civility maintained by the others has been removed, says a radio host and journalist.

JBBP: Under the plan, the majority Arab population of historic Palestine is crammed into 15% of the land. How does this impact the lives of Palestinians?

Jeffrey Blankfort: From the time of Israel’s seizure of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967 to the present, Israel has been a de facto apartheid state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean. The Israelis have continued to expand Jewish “settlements,” some of which are small towns, at the expense of Palestinian villages and their supply of water, as well as increasing the number of Jews in those settlements, regardless of which party was in power and this has continued, virtually without interruption, post-Oslo.

That the international community considers them illegal has not stood in the way of the Treasury Dept. allowing tax exempt American Jewish organizations from continuing to pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into the settlements with no requirements that the money be accounted for. Under the circumstances, life for most Palestinians has steadily worsened over the years and this will, no doubt, continue whatever decision Netanyahu or his successors make. More

Former Air Force Secretary pitches $100k “shark tank” swipes to Israeli military contractors - Virginia Israel Advisory Board confab entwines Israeli military contractors and DoD - February 4, 2020

Tysons Corner, VA--The premise of ABC’s business reality television series “Shark Tank” is simple. Celebrity investor “sharks” hear proposals from contestants pitching new product ideas. Winning ideas receive funding. Pitches that fall short are ripped to bloody shreds to the delight of mass audiences.  How will the concept work for Israeli military contractors now that the U.S. Air Force has its own shark tank? According to Deborah Lee James, former Secretary of the U.S. Air Force, small military contractors can immediately get a $100,000 credit card swipe after successfully making a quick pitch.

Deborah Lee James, former Secretary of the U.S. Air Force on February 3, 2020

On February 3, Israeli military contractors hoping to win big U.S. government contracts gathered at an event organized in Northern Virginia by the Virginia Israel Advisory Board (VIAB) and Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA). VIAB is an office of Virginia’s General Assembly. Though self-designated as an advisory board, VIAB functions more as an Israel export promotion council with a strange twist—it is funded entirely by Virginia—rather than Israeli—taxpayers. VIAB’s portfolio of projects—which often compete against home-grown U.S. and Virginia companies—is powered by multitudes of grants and subsidized loans. Nevertheless VIAB has generated a string of failures due to its lack of market discipline, self-dealing and questionable activities conducted mostly in secret. More.

Five Things You Can’t Know About Israel and Its Lobby
DC FOIA court curtails releasable informatio
n
- 1/17/2020

Since 9/11 Israel and its lobby have been hard at work narrowing U.S. policy options toward Iran down to military confrontation. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia is also in the narrowing business. After initially complying with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and releasing information about Israel’s extensive nuclear weapons program in 2015, the court of Judge Tanya S. Chutkan slowly became yet another federal cog in vast secrecy machine that thwarts release of information about Israel. That withheld information includes CIA files on the theft and diversion of US government owned weapons grade uranium into Israel’s nuclear weapons program. Top-line budget numbers for billions in secret US intelligence support to Israel. Portions of a 2012 Obama administration gag order outlawing release of US government information about Israel’s nuclear weapons program. Presidential letters promising Israel that the White House will not uphold the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and Arms Export Control Act. Also retained are the identities of officials working at the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence at the US Department of Treasury.

It didn’t start out this way.

...The most recent in an unbroken succession of undeniably severely compromised, unfit, hard-core Israel partisans who occupied the position as OTFI chief, Sigal Mandelker (the daughter of Israeli immigrants to Pittsburgh who allegedly holds Israeli dual citizenship), is finally departing Treasury for the private sector. Such OTFI political appointees’ main qualifications seem only to be their intense devotion to advancing the interests of a foreign country from within the federal bureaucracy. The publicity and reporting surrounding the case and limited public exposure of OTFI’s curious blind spots perhaps had something to do with Mandelker’s departure. But how far down does the Israel lobby’s capture of OTFI through staffing extend? The FOIA lawsuit to find out remains in a curious state of limbo as Chutkan’s dismissal approaches its one year anniversary.

Many Americans still insist on transparency regarding the pay and position of all federal government employees. That transparency started long ago when James Madison listed his salary of $25,000 and position as "president" in the Official Register. They deserve to be given the names of OTFI employees in a timely manner. But the Chutkan court appears to be waiting for a legal designation of OTFI as intelligence or law enforcement officials (which they are not) or some other forthcoming artifice, even though such delays are not allowed after issuance of a ruling.

The Chutkan court officially ended the case by finding for the defendants’ motion for summary judgment on March 31, 2019. Chutkan’s order severely undermined the plaintiff’s right to timely appeal. That is because no memorandum of points of law substantiating the order was ever issued. Almost a year later, no explanation is forthcoming even as the OTFI personnel ratchet up economic warfare against Iran in the aftermath of the military exchange between Iran and the US the Israel lobby worked so diligently to enable. More at Antiwar.com

Israel and its U.S. lobby finally achieve a long-term objective: Direct US - Iranian military conflict - 1/8/2020

In 1953 the United States and United Kingdom overthrew the democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. The catalyst was the Iranian government's decision to exert more sovereign control over the extraction, export and revenues from its domestic energy industry, which British Petroleum and the UK opposed...

 

...After Israeli influence over Iran ended, Israel's U.S. lobby AIPAC began working to precipitate a U.S.-Iran military confrontation in order to improve Israel's strategic position. The most recent of these efforts included:

1. Lobbying to create the U.S. Treasury Department's "Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence" unit in the aftermath of 9/11 to wage U.S. economic warfare against Iran. The unit has until recently been led by a string of Zionist ideologues. See "Treasury Sanctions Foreigners for Israel" Antiwar.com, August 30, 2018.

2. Stealing Department of Defense secrets in concert with convicted spy for Israel Col. Lawrence Franklin. AIPAC intended to channel the secrets to the Washington Post in 2004 to convince Americans that it was time for troops fighting in Iraq to pivot to Iran. Though the Pentagon source was convicted, the two AIPAC officials involved in espionage escaped justice after a series of judicial contortions.  See Congressmen Pressed Obama to Pardon Spy Lawrence Franklin Antiwar.com, November 27, 2017.

3. Demanding cyber-attacks on Iranian nuclear facilities under threat of Israeli military action, costing the U.S. billions of dollars, unintentionally unleashing sophisticated cyber weapons across global computer networks. See "Israel and the Trillion-Dollar 2005-2018 US Intelligence Budget" Antiwar.com, November 7, 2018.

4. Coordinated opposition to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) designed to provide transparency into Iran's nuclear program and avert war. While Israel spied on negotiations, releasing them to U.S. operatives. AIPAC corralled mainstream Israel lobby opposition to the deal, and helped insert a "poison pill" requiring proactive action in the form of a presidential waiver to keep the deal from expiring. President Trump withdrew from the deal to thunderous Israel lobby applause in May of 2018.

5. Demanding the U.S. designation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization. AIPAC began demanding sanctions on the IRGC through the Treasury Department in 2007. The April 2019 Trump administration formal designation of IRGC cleared the way for the U.S. to assassinate Iranian leaders as part of the "War on Terror."

Israel and its lobby will likely labor mightily to keep U.S.-Iran hostilities going, while attempting to avoid blame for the conflict they labored so mightily to precipitate. This will have many ancillary benefits for Israel and its lobby. Armed conflict will empower additional Israeli demands for U.S. foreign aid. Israel has received more than $282.4 billion in unclassified aid since 1948. Conflict will boost the prospects of Israeli military contractors in Israel and those streaming into the U.S. under various state subsidy programs. Most of all, the conflict will allow Israel to divert world attention away from its brutal ongoing ethnic cleansing of the native populations in Palestine and ever more robust systematized apartheid. Report page

Partners in Corruption: The Virginia Israel Advisory Board and the Tobacco Commission - January February 2020

...It did not appear to bother Feinman that Lessin had no personal equity stake in any of the VIAB projects, most details about which the Tobacco Commission carefully redacted before releasing them under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act in September. The TROF performance agreement—like all such agreements—specifically forbade counting the job and tax metrics of other TROF grantees such as Oran Safety Glass, which appears on the list, against grantee Appalachian Biofuels LLC’s commitments. Other records also indicate neither Feinman nor staffers ever sought approval of or even disclosed the deal at five subsequent meetings of the Tobacco Commission Executive Committee. Also, of no concern to Feinman were growing doubts about the Virginia Israel Advisory Board’s jobs and economic development claims. Former Virginia Secretary of Commerce Todd Patterson Haymore in 2018 characterized them in an internal email as “inflated without merit.”

Instead, the Virginia Israel Advisory Board continues to funnel millions of TROF and other state economic development funds into dubious Israeli projects with heavy VIAB insider involvement, confident that accountability will never loom on the horizon... Read more at the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

 





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