Category Archive: Iran

Obama names aide Ben Rhodes to Holocaust Memorial Council

White House messaging guru on Iran deal and abstention in UN anti-settlements resolution to help lead nation in Shoah remembrance

AP20499823408-e1484674576749WASHINGTON — With three days left in his presidency, Barack Obama made his final appointments to administration positions, including adding 10 members to the Holocaust Memorial Council.

Most notable on that list is Ben Rhodes, a long-time Obama aide and speechwriter who managed the White House messaging on selling the Iran deal and explaining the US decision to abstain on a United Nations Security Council resolution last month that condemned Israeli settlements as illegal.

Rhodes, whose official title is deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, was a source of controversy after a New York Times Magazine profile portrayed him as bragging about misrepresenting the nuclear accord to shape American public opinion.

In the article, Rhodes spoke of creating an “echo chamber” of nongovernmental organizations, nuclear proliferation experts and journalists to gain support for the deal, as well as portraying a false impression of Iran’s regime.

A former graduate student enrolled in New York University’s creative writing program, Rhodes decided to enter the realm of public policy after witnessing the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

After spending some time in the Washington think-tank world, he became a foreign policy speechwriter for candidate Obama in 2007 and remained a staffer in his White House for the entirety of his tenure.

Obama also deployed the 39-year-old spokesman as a media envoy to explain his administration’s decision to allow a resolution that called for an end to all settlement construction in areas Israel captured in the 1967 Six Day War.

Beyond a number of interviews with US broadcast media, Rhodes conducted a conference call with reporters moments after the motion passed, explaining that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ultimately created the outcome of the vote with the policies he instituted.

“Netanyahu had the opportunity to pursue policies that would have led to a different outcome today,” said Rhodes, who has a Jewish mother and Episcopalian father.

After the Israeli premier and other high-level officials said they had “ironclad” evidence the United States drafted and lobbied on behalf of the measure, Rhodes took to the interview circuit to deny the charges.

In a particularly personal dig, Israel’s ambassador to the United States and former GOP activist, Ron Dermer, told multiple news outlets that Rhodes was an “expert in fiction,” presumably alluding to his unsuccessful aspirations to be a novelist.

Congress created the Holocaust Memorial Council in 1980 in order to fundraise for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. The 68-member council meets twice a year and consists of 55 members appointed by the president. They serve five-year terms.

Obama also appointed First Lady Michelle Obama’s long-time speechwriter, Sarah Hurwitz, to the council.


Max Liebmann interviewed on WPIX-TV, New York

Max Liebmann, Senior Vice President of The American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and their descendants, Interviewed on WPIX-TV New York

Iranian ambassador attends Wallenberg tribute

BUDAPEST – Iran’s ambassador to Hungary took part in a ceremony here Tuesday launching events marking the 100th birthday of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved more than 20,000 Hungarian Jews in the waning days of World War II.

Albanian PM: Ahmadinejad is the new Nazi

He may be a Muslim country’s leader, but that doesn’t stop him from voicing pro-Israel opinions. Albania’s PM Sali Berisha views Iran as biggest threat to world peace, opposes Palestinian statehood bid. ‘The world must learn from the Holocaust,’ he says. When Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha talks about Israel, one might mistake him for a Zionist leader. But when these statements are made by a Muslim leading a moderate European Muslim country – they are definitely surprising.

Kristallnacht redux? Anti-Semitism in Middle East

Seventy-three years ago, on Nov. 9, 1938, the murderous Nazi onslaught against the German Jews began with a nationwide pogrom. Today, there is no immediate danger of a new Kristallnacht in the western world, but in the Middle East, Islamist anti-Semitism is soaked in some of the most inflammatory motifs that made Kristallnacht possible and only three years later provided the rationale for the mass murder of European Jewry.

‘Anne Frank’ in Arabic seeks publishers

A group which has translated nine books about the Holocaust both into Arabic and Farsi for the first time appealed Thursday for publishers, saying “young people are yearning for this”. Launched in 2009, the Aladdin Project has already translated “The Diary of Anne Frank” and Primo Levi’s “If This Is a Man”, among others, which can now be downloaded for free from their website.

Ahmadinejad: Holocaust ‘big lie’ used to justify establishment of Israel

Millions of people attend state-run anti-Israel rallies throughout Iran to voice support for Palestinians and its liberation from what they call Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Friday that the Holocaust was a “big lie” used to justify establishment of the state of Israel.

“The Zionist regime’s establishment was based on numerous deceptions and lies and one of the biggest lies was the Holocaust,” Ahmadinejad said in a speech after an anti-Israeli rally in Tehran and other Iranian cities.
The late supreme leader of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, declared the last Friday of the fasting month of Ramadan to be Qods, or Jerusalem, Day and called for annual mass rallies against Israel and in support of the Palestinians.

The president provoked international condemnation in 2005 when he said that Israel should be eliminated from the map of the Middle East and transferred to Europe or North America.
The international isolation of the Islamic republic escalated after Ahmadinejad held a Holocaust conference in 2006 in which he questioned whether the killing of 6 million Jews in Europe during World War II actually happened.
“On the one hand we have the Zionist regime as the global axis of thieves and murderers and on the other hand we have the Qods Day which is the axis of those seeking freedom, justice and end of suppression,” the president reiterated Friday at Tehran University.
The crowd at the university greeted the president’s remarks with cries of Allah Akbar, meaning God is great, and by chanting anti-Israel slogans.
According to state television, millions of people attended the state-run anti-Israel rallies throughout the country to voice their support for Palestinians and its liberation from what they called Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.
Ahmadinejad on Wednesday called for the eradication of Israel, saying that Iran would “never ever withdraw from this standpoint and policy.”

Holocaust survivors sue state over ‘unpaid reparations’

A group of Holocaust survivors has brought a lawsuit against the State of Israel for what they say is their rightful share of reparations monies paid to Israel by the former West Germany under the 1953 Reparations Agreement between the two countries.The 270 men and women, most of them in their 80s, are part of a group of Holocaust survivors known as the “Tehran children,” Jewish orphans who fled German-occupied Poland for the USSR in 1939. In 1941, after a period of incarceration in the Siberian Gulag, the children were allowed to travel with the newly formed Polish Anders Army to Tehran. The children’s parents had been murdered by the Nazis in Poland or had died in Siberia.