U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess said Iran could build nuclear weapon in a year

April 21, 2010

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are set to begin a three-day military drill in the Persian Gulf on April 22, during which Iranian-made missiles will be tested.

Meanwhile, at an hearing of the United States Senate Armed Services Committee on April 14, 2010, the director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Lieutenant General Ronald Burgess, was asked how long it would take Iran to produce a single nuclear weapon. Burgess told the committee,”We’re talking one year.”

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Europe’s Ash Cloud Response

April 19, 2010

European governments are facing criticism for their response to unprecedented air traffic disruptions caused by the ash of an erupting Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull.

In the Washington Post, columnist Anne Applebaum says the volcanic eruption could go on for months or years, changing the economics and politics of Europe.

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Climategate Scandal

April 15, 2010

An independent academic panel found that the climate researchers at University of East Anglia targeted in the “climategate” scandal did not commit deliberate scientific malpractice, The Wall Street Journal reports.

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Global Economic Prospects for 2010 and 2011

April 13, 2010

In a new Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics paper, Michael Mussa boosts his forecast of global real GDP growth in 2010 to 4.5 percent and projects roughly the same for 2011, indicating a V-shaped recovery is underway.

“Looking ahead, if the recovery proceeds at even a moderately vigorous pace, it will be necessary to reemploy many of those who lost their jobs during the recession. As this happens, the average level of productive efficiency of the workforce is likely to decline somewhat; relatively less productive workers will predominate among those who are reemployed. Accordingly, the outsized gains in labor productivity that we have seen in recent quarters are unlikely to persist, and unit labor costs are likely to rise.”


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Poland’s Tragedy is Our Tragedy

April 12, 2010

An op-ed by David Harris
Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee
Jewish Telegraphic Agency, April 12, 2010

When the plane carrying Polish President Lech Kaczynski, his wife, and dozens of other officials crashed in the Katyn Forest near Smolensk, Russia on Saturday, this immense disaster was also a personal tragedy.

I lost friends in the crash that killed key leaders from the Polish government, economy, and military.

These friends represented democratic Poland, the country that emerged after a decade of struggle led by Solidarity and KOR activists. And of all places for Polish leaders to meet their maker, why did it have to be Katyn, Poles ask, the site of the 1940 Soviet massacre of more than 20,000 Polish officers?

Let me share brief recollections of three of them.

I first met Lech Kaczynski when he was Warsaw’s mayor. He was eager for the renewal of Jewish life in Poland. He felt a kinship to Jews, whom he saw as an integral part of Poland’s fabric. He said it was impossible to understand Poland without comprehending the Jewish role in its life. That’s why he was supportive of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, and why he was instrumental in launching it.

I later met him many times as president, most recently in February. A man of passion and principle, he seldom minced words. He knew where he stood and he didn’t try to mask his views from others.

President Kaczynski was a friend of the United States. He wasn’t always so certain, however, that the friendship was reciprocated. Indeed, he feared that at times Poland’s loyalty was taken for granted. But he saw the United States as the only real guarantor of global security — if, he said, Washington wouldn’t succumb to Russia’s siren song or Europe’s equivocation.

The president was a friend of Israel. He liked and understood it. He instinctively grasped its security predicaments because he could personally relate to a vulnerable country in a tough neighborhood. And he chastised those quick to judge Israel in order to curry favor with others, again seeing a parallel with Poland, whose own interests were sacrificed more than once on the altar of global power politics.

Rejecting Iran’s nuclear ambitions was a no-brainer for President Kaczynski. Like many Poles, he and his family had witnessed man’s capacity for evil. In our meetings, he’d get right to the point: Isn’t it obvious what Iran is doing? Iran’s leaders can’t be trusted with a bomb. The world needs to get tougher with Tehran.

Mariusz Handzlik was another friend on the plane. A diplomat whom I first met in Washington years ago, he was serving as undersecretary of state in the office of Poland’s president.

Mariusz and I shared a deep admiration for Jan Karski, the Polish wartime hero who later joined the faculty of Georgetown University. While serving in the United States, Mariusz befriended Karski, becoming his regular chess partner. They were playing chess when Karski suddenly felt ill and died shortly afterward. Together, Mariusz and I cried for this man who, at repeated risk to his own life, had tried to alert a largely deaf world to the Nazi’s Final Solution.

And when Mariusz was assigned to the Polish Mission to the United Nations, he proudly told me that now he would be in a position, together with his colleagues, to help Israel in the world body. He wanted the Israelis to know they had friends at the United Nations, which largely was seen as hostile territory for Israel.

Andrzej Przewoźnik was secretary-general of the Council for the Protection of Struggle and Martyrdom Sites.

I first met him when the Polish government and the American Jewish Committee joined together to demarcate, protect, and memorialize the site of the Nazi death camp in Belzec, located in southeastern Poland. In less than a year, more than 500,000 Jews were killed in an area barely the size of a few football fields. Only two Jews survived.

In June 2004, after years of planning and construction, the site was inaugurated. As the late Miles Lerman said at that solemn ceremony, “No place of martyrdom anywhere is today as well protected and memorialized as Belzec.”

That could not have occurred without Andrzej’s pivotal role. He helped make it happen, overcoming the multiple hurdles along the way. By doing so, he ensured that what took place at Belzec, long neglected by the Communists, would never be forgotten.

May the memories of Lech Kaczynski, Mariusz Handzlik, Andrzej Przewoźnik — and their fellow passengers — forever be for a blessing, as those of us privileged to have known them were ourselves blessed.

Iran und die Grünen: “Joschkas Schatten”

April 12, 2010

Liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen,
mit folgenden Worten kündigte Spiegel Online Kultur meinen Aufsatz über die grüne Iranpolitik an, den das Kulturmagazin perlentaucher.de heute veröffentlichte:
“Vor zehn Jahren fand auf Initiative der Grünen und der Böll-Stiftung die zu trauriger Berühmtheit gelangte Iran-Konferenz statt, die der Stärkung von Reformkräften im Regime dienen sollte. Diese wurden  nach ihrer Heimkehr festgenommen und zum Teil für Jahre ins Gefängnis gesteckt  und gefoltert.
Daran erinnert im Perlentaucher Matthias Küntzel. Joschka Fischer änderte nach diesem Debakel seine konziliante Haltung gegenüber dem Regime nicht um ein Iota und ließ es bei einer Einbestellung des Botschafters bewenden: “Außenminister  Fischer hielt sich ‘mit öffentlicher Kritik an den Urteilen zurück, um  den seit dem vergangenen Jahr verbesserten Beziehungen zu Iran nicht zu  schaden.’…

Mehr noch:

Das rot-grüne Regierungsbündnis legte Bundestagspräsident Wolfgang Thierse nahe, auf seine für Februar 2001 angesetzte  Reise nach Iran nicht zu verzichten. In Teheran angekommen, äußerte sich Thierse  über die Terrorurteile ‘zurückhaltend’. Mit umso mehr Verve kündigte er die Intensivierung der ‘politischen und wirtschaftlichen Kontakte mit Iran’ an.  Er werde sich insbesondere ‘dafür einsetzen, dass noch in diesem Jahr ein neues deutsch-iranisches Kulturabkommen geschlossen werde.'”
Perlentaucher.de veröffentlichte den Beitrag unter dem Titel “Von  der grünen Spielwiese in die Hölle”. Sie finden ihn hier.
Er ist jetzt unter dem Titel “Joschkas Schatten: Die Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung übergeht den 10. Jahrestag ihrer Iran-Konferenz”  auch auf meiner Homepage zu finden.
Noch ein Hinweis in eigener Sache:
Am Mittwoch, den 14. April 2010 werde ich mein Buchs über “Die Deutschen und der Iran” erstmals in Berlin präsentieren. An dem Podiumsgespräch  werden sich Dr. Oliver Thränert von der Stiftung  Wissenschaft und Politik sowie Axel Feuerherdt von Iran Free  Now beteiligen. Lale Süsskind, die Vorsitzenden der  Jüdischen Gemeinde in Berlin und Fathiyeh  Naghibzadeh von Stop the Bomb haben Grußworte angekündigt.

Veranstalter sind die Jüdische Gemeinde Berlin sowie die Kampagne Stop the Bomb. Ort: Centrum Judaicum, Oranienburgerstr.  28-30, Beginn um 18 Uhr.
Dr.Matthias Küntzel

Matthias Küntzel, geboren 1955, ist Politikwissenschaftler und Publizist. Von 1984 bis 1988 war Matthias Küntzel Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter der Bundestagsfraktion “Die Grünen”. 1991 promovierte er im Fachbereich Internationale Beziehungen der Universität Hamburg über die Atomwaffenpolitik der BRD. Seine Themenschwerpunkte sind Antisemitismus, islamischer Antisemitismus, die Beziehung zwischen Islamismus und Nationalsozialismus, der Iran sowie die deutsche und europäische Nahostpolitik. 2002 veröffentlichte er das Werk ‚Djihad und Judenhass, Über den neuen antijüdischen Krieg‘. Die englische Ausgabe wurde 2007 mit dem Grand Prize des London Book Festivals sowie 2008 mit der Goldmedaille des amerikanischen Independent Publisher Book Award für den Bereich Religion ausgezeichnet. 2009 erschien sein Buch „Die Deutschen und der Iran. Geschichte und Gegenwart einer verhängnisvollen Freundschaft“. Neben seiner publizistischen Tätigkeit forscht Matthias Küntzel an der Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Report records shocking rise of violent anti-Semitism in western Europe in 2009

April 12, 2010

A new survey by the Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism in Tel Aviv has revealed a strong surge in violent anti-Semitism in 2009, which in western Europe has now reached the highest level in decades.

The number of recorded violent incidents against Jews, or Jewish sites, totaled 1,129 last year, compared to 559 in 2008 – a rise of 102 percent. In addition, there were “many more hundreds of threats, insults, graffiti signs and slogans and demonstrations featuring virulently anti-Semitic content… sometimes resulting in violence,” according to the report.

“The year … was the worst since monitoring of anti-Semitic manifestations began two decades ago, in terms of both major anti-Semitic violence and the hostile atmosphere generated worldwide by the mass demonstrations and verbal and visual expressions against Israel and the Jews,” the study states.

Dina Porat, the director of the Stephen Roth Institute, told journalists at a press conference that anti-Semitism was directly linked to anti-Zionism. “Political goals are imbued with anti-Jewish sentiment and equations of Jews to Nazis,” she said. Her study was published on the eve of Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day Yom HaShoah.

In Britain, 374 manifestations of violence against Jews were recorded in 2009, compared to 112 in 2008. France – which has the largest Jewish community in Europe – reported 195 violent attacks against Jews, compared to 50 in 2008. Canada saw 130 incidents in 2009, compared to 13 in 2008, and the United States 116 compared to 98. The study records 566 incidents of vandalism targeting Jewish property worldwide in 2009, constituting 49 percent of all incidents. Germany, Russia and Ukraine were not as badly affected by the rise, and may even have seen a decrease in incidents for 2009, the report found.

Forty-one incidents were armed assaults against Jews because of their religion. Thirty-four arson attacks were recorded. Threats of violence against Jews and Jewish institutions accounted for 29 percent of all incidents.

The report attributes the surge in anti-Semitic acts in large parts to the 2009 Gaza war. However, Professor Robert Wistrich of Hebrew University in Jerusalem was quoted as saying by ‘Voice of America’ that “All kinds of new pretexts can serve to ignite anti-Semitism, particularly through anti-Israel feeling, through anti-Zionism; and above all it is Israel that has become the obsession of the anti-Semites.”

Moshe Kantor, the president of the European Jewish Congress, which co-sponsored the report, criticized some Jewish communities for “remaining silent” on anti-Semitism, but praised French and British Jewish leaders for speaking out forcefully against anti-Semitism. Kantor also said that the rise in anti-Jewish sentiment in Western Europe was a “new phenomenon financed and organized by pro-Islamic, pro-terrorist organizations and states.”

Porat said: “We had the feeling, which was corroborated by the facts, that the radical left – sometimes together with Jews and former Israelis, this is very disturbing – worked together with the radical Muslim leadership, using anti-Semitism and the Holocaust as political tools, to make Israel as a Jewish state a political target.”

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