Iran ‘shooting itself in the foot’ with spying, diplomat warns

Wolfgang Ischinger attends the Munich Security Conference. (Reuters)
Updated 18 January 2019
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Iran ‘shooting itself in the foot’ with spying, diplomat warns

  • Ischinger, a former German ambassador in Washington, blasted Iran’s actions

BERLIN: Iran is harming Europe’s efforts to preserve the 2015 Iran nuclear accord with actions such as the case of suspected espionage involving a member of the German military, veteran German diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger said on Thursday.

Germany, which together with France has led efforts to keep the agreement in place, expressed grave concern this week to a senior Iranian diplomat about the case of an Afghan-German man who was arrested on Tuesday for suspected espionage.

“The Foreign Ministry addressed the case unmistakably with the manager of the Iranian Embassy on Jan. 15 and expressed our grave concern about the suspected intelligence activities,” a ministry source said.

Ischinger, a former German ambassador in Washington, blasted Iran’s actions, but said it was illusory to think that Iran or other governments would curb their espionage activities even if there was a formal agreement covering such actions.

“Iran should be smart enough to realize that it is shooting itself in the foot because it is harming the political mood surrounding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) ... but that is no reason to rip up the agreement,” he said.

Iran’s actions in Germany and elsewhere were raising concerns and overshadowing efforts to keep the Iran nuclear deal alive, he said. 

Iranian Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif will be one of more than 100 heads of state and other leaders at this year’s Munich Security Conference, to be held on Feb 15-17.


How Meir Kahane’s toxic legacy poisoned the Palestinian peace process

Updated 22 April 2019
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How Meir Kahane’s toxic legacy poisoned the Palestinian peace process

  • Brooklyn-born rabbi who demanded forced emigration of Arabs and inspired Israel’s far right is latest subject of Arab News ‘Preachers of Hate’ series
  • As a member of the Israeli parliament, Kahane proposed laws to strip Arabs of citizenship and force their emigration

JEDDAH: As Israel’s most right-wing government in living memory prepares to take office, the outlook for the Palestinian-Israeli peace process has rarely been more dismal.

After his narrow election victory this month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is clinging to office by assembling a coalition of Knesset members with no interest in peace. They range from far-right ultra Zionists to overt racists. Many, in particular the Otzma Yehudit, or “Jewish Power” party, are acolytes of Meir Kahane — a Brooklyn-born rabbi who co-founded the militant Jewish Defense League in 1968,  joined the West Bank settler movement and established an extremist Israeli political party.

It is because of this toxic legacy that Kahane is the subject today of Preachers of Hate — the Arab News series that exposes extremist clerics of all religions and nationalities, places their words and deeds in context, and explains their malign influence on those who follow them.

As a member of the Knesset, Kahane proposed laws to strip Arabs of citizenship and force their emigration. 

In the end he proved too extreme even for the Israeli far right; he was disqualified from running for office, and was eventually assassinated in New York in 1990.

Kahane’s hatred lives on, however, in Israel’s continuing rejection of the Palestinian people’s entitlement to basic human dignity, far less a meaningful peace process and an independent state.

As the leading academic and Arab News columnist Yossi Mekelberg writes today: “Few people have contaminated the discourse within Israel with sheer hatred and anti-Arab bigotry as much as Meir Kahane.”

 

Also Read: Meir Kahane: A torch to fuel anti-Arab hatred