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CIA Director worries about Iran/North Korea Nuclear Cooperation

There they  were at  a  University of Texas conference, the masters of intelligence disinformation, CIA Director John Brennan and DNI, James Clapper, poring over Kennedy Johnson era mythologies about body counts  as metrics of  success during  the Nam  era of the 1960’s and 1970’s seizing defeat from the jaws of victory. What a consummate waste of taxpayers’ dollars deflecting serious examination of national security failed strategies of an Administration intent on weakening America’s geo-political respect among doubting allies. All while hollowing out our military capabilities.

Brennan’s track record at the White House, before he was appointed as CIA head to  replace Gen. Petreaus,  was as counterterrorism czar overseeing a number of  Obama covert initiatives. There was the drone assassination program, sugar coating the radical Islam threat and running  covert ops under Presidential Findings collecting MANPADS  and shipping them  to Syrian rebels.  More may be revealed in upcoming hearings by the Special Benghazi Committee.

In this Washington Times (WT) report, Brennan raises the possibility that maybe, just maybe, Iran could have outsourced developments of nuclear weapons ad ICBMs to North Korea. Brennan was responded to media reports to that effect. He was cited by the WT saying:

Therefore, we have to make sure that we’re doing whatever we can to uncover anything,” Mr. Brennan said. “I’m not saying that something is afoot at all — what I’m saying is that we need to be attuned to all of the potential pathways to acquiring different types of [weapons of mass destruction] capabilities.

The WT further noted:

Mr. Brennan’s remarks on the Iran nuclear deal come just days after Mr. Clapper revealed that U.S. intelligence officials “are fielding some independent capabilities that will enable us … to have good insight into [Iran‘s] nuclear industrial enterprise” as the accord goes into effect over the coming months.

Mr. Clapper told the conference that he’s “pretty confident” U.S. intelligence officials will be able to verify “from our own sources” the accuracy of future IAEA assessments of whether or not Iran is complying with the terms of the accord.

Mr. Brennan on Tuesday also said that he stands behind the nuclear deal, and that he has “a lot of confidence” that the accord is structured in such a way that will make it extremely difficult for Iran to cheat.

What have my colleague Ilana Freedman, Stephen and Shoshana Bryen, Israeli  Missile defense expert Uzi Rubin, DIA and Office of Naval Intelligence reports been saying for nearly five years about cooperative nuclear weapons and  ICBM developments between these partners in the Axis of Evil?  That they may already  have developed a small number of nuclear weapons, tested warheads to be fitted on Shahab 3 missiles, and launched  missiles with  disposable boosters for satellite bombs and ICBMs.

House and Senate Iran deal hearings didn’t lay a glove on any of the Administration witnesses querying them about these possibilities , whether behind doors, or in front of the klieg lights of TV-cameras. Brennan either knew about those covert development possibilities, or  purposefully evaded responsibility for  informing  Congressional Select Permanent Intelligence Committees  about the status of those joint Iranian –North Korean development efforts.

We knew from what was leaked by the Pentagon regarding the September 2007 IAF Operation Orchard that destroyed the Syrian nuclear bomb factory on the Euphrates at al-Kibar there were intelligence file photos of North Korean and Iranian scientists at the site.  That was under Bush 43.

Would you place any trust in the representations of Messrs.  Brennan and Clapper?  Clapper is now embroiled in another intelligence disaster, the  allegations that as DNI he met frequently with CENTCOM intelligence chief, Gen. Grove to review  assessments of  the coalition aerial campaign against ISIS in Syria and Iraq.  Given reports of a veritable revolt by 50 CENTCOM analysts about overly optimistic assessments about progress in defeating or at least achieving a stalemate in the war against ISIS, Clapper may be the subject of a Pentagon Inspector General investigations leading to possible  House and Senate Select Permanent Intelligence Hearings.

A Daily Beast report  in late August 2015 quoted former DIA chief, retired US Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn saying, “The phrase I use is the politicization of the intelligence community. That’s here. And it’s dangerous.”

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Turkey Aiding the Islamic State by Establishing a Buffer Zone in Syria to Punish Kurds

The Daily Beast has a report today, that Erodgan is threatening to establish  a buffer zone in Northern Syria, the better to halt the successful Syria Kurdish advance against ISIS, “Turkey Plans to Invade Syria, But to Stop the Kurds, Not ISIS”. These developments followed Erdogan’s remarks last Friday night at a Ramadan break-fast Iftar dinner saying that he would never accept a Kurdistan state comprised of southeastern Turkey and adjacent Northern Syria. The Daily Beast article noted the unease of Turkish military about this latest diktat by the figurehead President whose Islamist AKP party was defeated by a minority of Kemalist, Nationalist and a Kurdish secular party:

In a speech last Friday, Erdogan vowed that Turkey would not accept a move by Syrian Kurds to set up their own state in Syria following gains by Kurdish fighters against the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, in recent weeks. “I am saying this to the whole world: We will never allow the establishment of a state on our southern border in the north of Syria,” Erdogan said. “We will continue our fight in that respect whatever the cost may be.” He accused Syrian Kurds of ethnic cleansing in Syrian areas under their control.

Following the speech, several news outlets reported that the president and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had decided to send the Turkish army into Syria, a hugely significant move by NATO’s second biggest fighting force after the U.S. military.  Both the daily Yeni Safak, a mouthpiece of the government, and the newspaper Sozcu, which is among Erdogan’s fiercest critics, ran stories saying the Turkish Army had received orders to send soldiers over the border. Several other media had similar stories, all quoting unnamed sources in Ankara. There has been no official confirmation or denial by the government.

The government refused to comment on the reports. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said “the necessary statement” would be issued after a regular meeting of the National Security Council, which comprises the president, the government and military leaders, this Tuesday.

The reports said up to 18,000 soldiers would be deployed to take over and hold a strip of territory up to 30 kilometers deep and 100 kilometers long that currently is held by ISIS. It stretches from close to the Kurdish-controlled city of Kobani in the east to an area further west held by the pro-Western Free Syrian Army (FSA) and other rebel groups, beginning around the town of Mare. This “Mare Line,” as the press calls it, is to be secured with ground troops, artillery and air cover, the reports said. Yeni Safak reported preparations were due to be finalized by next Friday.

There has been speculation about a Turkish military intervention ever since the Syrian conflict began in 2011. Ankara has asked the United Nations and its Western allies to give the green light to create a buffer zone and a no-fly area inside Syria in order to prevent chaos along the Turkish border and to help refugees on Syrian soil before they cross over into Turkey. But the Turkish request has fallen on deaf ears.

Remember Obama saying that he wished there were more Islamist leaders like AKP Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Arab ummah of the Middle East. Erodgan’s threatening to invade Syria to build a buffer zone to do what,protect shrines of ancient Ottoman Sultans. We bet he’s mad at the Kurdish HDP party, that together with the Kemalist CHP and Nationalist HNP, thwarted his dream of becoming the Sultan of a neo-Ottoman empire with the minority parties copping a plurality of votes in the June 7th parliamentary elections. He’s also mad at the plucky Syrian Kurds for beating back the ISIS in a string of victories this month. This despite bloody raids by ISIS on both Kobani and Hasakah that were beaten back.

Those Kurdish actions may have cut off the main route for those foreign fighters that Turkey gives a wink and a nod to backed by funds and assistance from the infamous Muslim Brotherhood global IHH charity, You remember IHH? They backed the infamous 2010 Free Gaza Flotilla Mavi Marmara incident infamy. We wrote about IHH caught sending cash and weapons from Turkey into Syria for brothers in AQ and, ahem, ISIS. We bet the Turkish military isn’t so keen to do Erdogan’s bidding given their NATO membership and because the 45 days aren’t up to see if a ruling minority government can be formed or a new election is called so that Erdogan might return his Premier, Ahmet Davutoglu to power with a super majority.

Since the Obama White House doesn’t want to give the Syrian Kurds perhaps U.S. Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Senate Armed Forces Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) can put the squeeze on Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to release those quality weapons from the U.S. War Reserve Stock already positioned in Israel. Perhaps this Daily Beast report may be a clarion call to action to deliver the quality weapons fro both Syrian Kurds and Iraqi Peshmerga to push back ISIS. They are the only boots on the ground doing this successfully. I’ve said my piece and more in a forthcoming July NER article with the apt title “Empowering Kurdistan”. watch for its release on Tuesday June 30th.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of female Kurdish fighters prepare to fight to the death to defend their homes against the Islamic State.

Watch “Night Will Fall” about Nazi Atrocities During the Holocaust

Children who Survived  Auschwitz  Source AP

Jewish Children liberated at Auschwitz, February 1945. Source : Archives of the US National Holocaust Memorial.

On January 27, 1945 forward units of the 100th Rifle Division of the 1st Ukrainian Front entered the Auschwitz Birkenau death camp precinct liberating several thousand remaining survivors. More than 1.1 million were murdered there by the Nazi SS, 1 million of them Jews. Among the first groups they encountered in the remaining barracks were children, twins, victims of the ‘angel of death, Dr. Josef Mengele’s sadistic medical experiments. The Russian troopers in their white camouflage coats hugged and gave them chocolate. These Jewish children hadn’t felt any humane treatment during their enforced incarceration in Auschwitz.

Earlier in January 1945 the SS blew up the remaining crematoria. An earlier one was destroyed in the lone heroic resistance effort by Jews inside the camp in October 1944 with dynamite secured by Jewish women inmates.  The SS guards assembled more than 60,000 camp inmates  in January 1945 who  sent on a forced death march from which only 12,000 survived.  One of the survivors of that death march was the Nobel Laureate Eli Wiesel who as a youth of 16 was eventually liberated by the US Army at Buchenwald in April 1945. Another Nobel Prize winner and Holocaust survivor was Italian Jewish resistance fighter, chemist and author Primo Levi who received his Nobel award for Literature, posthumously in 2002. Levi fell to his death in his family home in Turin in 1987, some say depressed by the atrocities  he had witnessed. Wiesel’s biographic works about his experience at Auschwitz the forced march and liberation were memorialized in his trilogy Night, Dawn and Day. Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz: if this is a Man was testimony to the Nazi dehumanization and perseverance to survive and return home.

Israelis at Auschwitz-Birkenau Source AP

Israelis at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Source:  AP.

Another 5 million Jews didn’t survive.  They were murdered in unspeakable ways in the einstazgruppen slaughter in Russia, death camps in Germany and occupied Europe.  Their fate in the Final Solution was ratified by the SS at the Wansee Conference in Berlin on January 20, 1942. The objective of the SS Conference was to make Europe judenrein. Among the Six Million European Jews murdered were 1.5 million children. The Jewish children those Russian troops encountered at Auschwitz on January 27, 1945 were among the lucky survivors.

Palestinian leads 2015 UN International Holocaust Memorial at Auschwitz Birkenau

Tuesday, January 27, 2015 is the 10th annual UN International Holocaust Memorial Day. Ynet.com  drew attention that this year’s  annual commemoration with be headed by a Palestinian UN official.  Maher Nasser will host the event,  Palestinian to host UN International Holocaust Remembrance Day to be held at the site of the death camps at Auschwitz- Birkenau in Poland.  Nasser was  born in Albrieh, a village near Ramallah. The 25 year UN bureaucrat   held posts in Gaza and  Jerusalem. eHeh HH He  now holds a management position in the UN Department of Public Information.  Ironic  in that the Haj Amin al Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, fled to Berlin from Baghdad  following the Farhud, the Nazi-Arab massacre of Jews  in 1941.  The  was welcomed as  Hitler’s house guest during WWII. He  promoted  the genocide of Six Million European Jewish men, women and Children and sponsoring the recruitment of Muslim Waffen SS units in the Balkans.

UN Secretary General Ban-ki Moon will attend.   Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin will lead an Israeli delegation.  Rivlin will speak about the rise of Global Anti-Semitism and the threat of Islamic Jihadism. More than 100 Holocaust and Russian veterans will also attend the ceremonies at Auschwitz. In the Israeli delegation will be former Israeli Foreign Minister Sylvan Shalom  in 2005 proposed the UN commemoration of the Holocaust  to “honor of the six million Jews, 1 million Gypsies, 250,000 disabled people, and 9,000 homosexual men murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators.”

The Auschwitz-Birkenau UN commemoration of the Holocaust may not be televised. However, on the eve of International Holocaust Memorial Day, January 26th,  at 9:00 PM EST, HBO  will show a documentary on  Nazi atrocities, Night Will Fall.   It is based  on archival footage taken by British military photographers and cinematographers following the liberation of Nazi concentration camp, Bergen –Belsen in April 1945.  Famed Hollywood film director Alfred Hitchcock was briefly involved with the original British documentary in 1945.

Marlow Stern in his Daily Beast review of Night Will FallInside Alfred Hitchcock’s Lost Holocaust Documentary,” noted how the original project and Hitchock’s involvement came about:

Back in 1945, Sidney Bernstein, the chief of the Psychological Warfare Film Section of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force, was commissioned to create the definitive documentary chronicling the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps. Bernstein’s aim was, in his words, to “prove one day that this had actually happened” and have it serve as “a lesson to all mankind as well as to the Germans.”

He eventually roped in his good pal, Alfred Hitchcock, to serve as the film’s supervising director. But the horrifying and heartbreaking footage of numerous concentration camps, shot by British, American, and Russian World War II soldiers as they were being liberated, became tangled up in a complicated web of politics and artistic rows. A magnificent new HBO documentary pulls back the veil on the making of German Concentration Camps: Factual Survey.

The eye-opening film-on-a-film, Night Will Fall, will premiere January 26 on HBO. It is narrated by Helena Bonham Carter, produced by Stephen Frears and Brett Ratner, and directed by Andre Singer, who serves as president of The Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain.  Singer executive producer  of  the documentaries The Act of Killing and Werner Herzog’s Into the Abyss. It was done in concert with London’s Imperial War Museum, and took 18 months of poring over thousands of feet of film to trace the making of the unmade epic.

[…]

The British soldiers found tens of thousands of emaciated prisoners inside the camp, many of whom were on the brink of death by starvation. The camera lingers on piles of naked, skeletal corpses stacked several bodies high, as well as line after line of dead children. A total of 30,000 corpses were witnessed by Allied troops, according to the film. Singer managed to track down several British soldiers who were there, and some break down in tears recalling the horrors.

“It’s very difficult to describe,” recalls survivor Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, who was 19 when Bergen-Belsen was liberated. “You’ve spent years preparing yourself to die, and you’re still here. Every British soldier looked like a God to us.”

night will fall poster 2Alissa Simon in her August 2014 Variety  review of Night Will fall, reported that,  “rather than wait, the impatient American government commissioned [Hollywood director]  Billy Wilder to use their footage [from German Concentration Camps Factual Survey] . Singer includes an excerpt of Wilder’s short film, Death Mills, intended for German and Austrian audiences, and clips from an interview with Wilder.”

Dorothy Rabinowitz in her Wall Street Journal review of Night Will Fall: Nazi Crimes on Film  explains why the original footage of the British film languished in the vaults of the Imperial War Museum (IWM) after excerpts were shown in the Nuremberg Trial of Nazi leaders:

Still, despite the stellar talents and authority of its creators, the film would be stored, rather than seen. Though its footage would provide some of the most damning testimony presented at the Nuremberg war crimes [trials].  It would be housed, from 1952 on, in the archives of the Imperial War Museum. Then four years ago the IWM undertook the enormous task of restoring and digitizing the documentary, along with the long-missing sixth reel. “Night Will Fall,” a new documentary about the historic film, leaves no question as to the reason it was withheld. Its commentators note that the British government then, whose policy was to bar any flow of European Jews to Palestine, was not eager to present a film that would create a great deal of sympathy for these survivors, as such a film surely would.

These graphic revelations of the Nazi final solution atrocities against millions of Jews and others should be a warning of the primary objective of the Global Jihad movement:  the annihilation of Jews, Christians and minority religions sought by Muslim extremists, following the way of Allah.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Was Argentine Prosecutor Alberto Nisman Assassinated?

A few hours before a scheduled Argentine Congressional hearing, the body of General Prosecutor Alberto Nisman was found locked inside his 13th floor apartment after his mother ordered the door broken in. Next to his body was a 22 caliber hand gun with a single spent shell.  Was this a self inflicted death  by the crusading 51 year old prosecutor who since 2005 was at the center of the 1994 AMIA Jewish Center bombing in Buenos Aires? Or was this as The Daily Beast suggested a possible hit by Iran:

In the world of intelligence, as distinct from the world of criminal justice, there has been little question that Iran was behind the AMIA bombing.

 Last week, Nisman had launched new allegations that both Argentinean President  Cristina de Fernandez Kirchner and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman had been involved in a cover up of a deal with Iran.  In exchange for shipments of oil charges of  Iranian involvement  in the 1994 AMIA bombing would be dropped.  See our Iconoclast post on Nisman’s  most recent allegations of corruption.  President Kirchner is barred from running for a third term in October 2015.  What is the lyric from the musical drama, Evita: “don’t cry for me Argentina”?

Arutz Sheva reported on Nisman’s allegations and Iranian officials allegedly  involved in the 1994 AMIA bombing:

Nisman accused Fernandez and other senior Argentine officials, including Foreign Minister Hector Timerman, of agreeing not to punish at least two former Iranian officials in the case.

“The president and her foreign minister took the criminal decision to fabricate Iran’s innocence to sate Argentina’s commercial, political and geopolitical interests,” Nisman said.

He added that “the impunity of the Iranians was ordered by the president and instrumented by Timerman” with the goal of scoring closer geopolitical ties with Iran, trading oil and even selling weapons.

Mohsen Rabbani, Iran’s former cultural attaché in Buenos Aires, and the Islamic Republic’s former intelligence minister, Ali Fallahian, are among the suspects in the July 18, 1994, attack.

Likewise, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was found to have been on the special Iranian government committee that plotted the 1994 bombing, according to an indictment by the Argentine government prosecutor investigating the case.

There are also allegations that Iran and Hezbollah’s master terrorist, the late Imad Mughniyah, may have been involved. The irony is yesterday, Mughniyah  son Jihad  and 10 others including  Iranian General Mohammad Ali Allahdadi were confirmed  killed in an Israeli helicopter attack  on a truck convoy  in Quneitra , Syria adjacent to the Golan.

The Daily Beast reported the strange circumstances behind Nisman’s death:

The circumstances revealed thus far by the police suggest a suicide. The history of Iran’s operations overseas inevitably suggest otherwise. And there are disturbing echoes of the world 20 or 30 years ago when Tehran, often in league with its clients in Hezbollah, waged a global war on the enemies of the Islamic Republic, deploying hit teams second only to the Israelis in their skill at assassination.

First, let’s look at the official communiqué about Nisman’s death issued by Argentina’s Ministry of National Security on Monday morning, with the facts of the case as the ministry says they are known:

Nisman’s lifeless body was discovered Sunday night in his apartment on the 13th floor of Le Parc Tower, which is part of a modern high-rise complex in the Puerto Madero neighborhood of Buenos Aires.

Ten members of the Argentine Federal Police force had been assigned to him as bodyguards, but it seems they were not deployed when he was at home. According to the communiqué, members of the team alerted Nisman’s secretary on Sunday afternoon that he was not responding to repeated phone calls. When they learned that he was not answering the doorbell of his house either and that the Sunday newspaper was still on the step, they decided to notify his relatives.

The bodyguards then collected Nisman’s mother at her home and took her to Le Parc. When they tried to enter, they found the door locked with the key on the inside. They called the building’s maintenance staff who then called a locksmith.  Nisman’s mother entered the apartment with one of the bodyguards, and they found Nisman in the bathroom, where his body was blocking the door when they tried to open it. They immediately called police crime scene investigators who entered the bathroom, apparently making as much effort as possible not to disturb the evidence.

            Nisman was on the floor with a .22 caliber pistol and one empty shell casing nearby.

The official communiqué does not say explicitly that he died from a bullet wound to the head, but that has been widely reported in Buenos Aires, as has the detail that the documents for his testimony before parliament were arrayed on his desk.

The Daily Beast report concluded:

How a murderer might have staged this apparent suicide will doubtless be the subject of speculation and conspiracy theories for years to come, as, indeed, is the case with the investigation into the AMIA bombing itself. That never resulted in a single conviction and was called a “national disgrace” by the late President Néstor Kirchner in 2005. The former Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, was among those who signed a petition ten years ago calling for justice, but to no avail.

[…]

Was Alberto Nisman somehow caught up in this long war of Iranian assassinations? Or did he decide for reasons we probably cannot know to end his own life?

The investigation will continue, unless somebody stops it.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of the Late Argentine Prosecutor Alberto Nisman. Source: Reuters.

Look out BDS crowd, Scarlett Johansson is on the case

“What a Gal” was the tagline in an email sent me earlier today by Dr. William Firshein, Emeritus Professor of Microbiology at Wesleyan University in Connecticut.  Brooklyn raised Bill “Velvi” Firshein is an unreconstructed Zionist whom I got to know in my activist days in the nutmeg state. We maintain a daily stream of conversation via emails after my retirement to Florida. Firshein is unafraid to write critical letters and emails to the editors of major media lambasting them for biased coverage of Israel and issues like the International Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign and the recent academic ones. See our Iconoclast blog post here.

The wonderful gal that Velvi was referring to is 29 year old New York City native, Scarlett Johannson  voted by Esquire as “the sexist woman alive,” not once but twice, in 2006 and 2013.

Watch Scarlett Johansson in the YouTube video of the uncensored version of the SodaStream Super Bowl ad that started the ruckus with the tagline “sorry Pepsi and Coke”.  Fox demanded deletion of that line so as not to offend  the major soda world competitors. Wonder why it has over 5.5 million hits, already?

[youtube]http://youtu.be/zxq4ziu-wrI[/youtube]

You might have seen her in Marvel’s the AvengersIron Man Two or heard her in Her. She is one hot film property as she is in four productions to be released in 2014 and another in 2015. Johannson is the daughter of a Danish father and American Jewish mother and TV producer.

The “what” that Firshein was referring to was the news today that Oxfam, the world hunger NGO based in the UK, was dropping her after eight years as its spokeswoman. They didn’t like her signing on to an endorsement deal to appear in the above Super Bowl ad this Sunday for SodaStream, an Israeli carbonation manufacturer that has a plant in the “disputed territories”.

The Daily Beast noted why Oxfam dropped her and what Johansson said:

As the international charity itself told Johansson, “Oxfam believes that businesses that operate in settlements further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support. Oxfam is opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law.”

But the Hollywood star brushed this off, repeating Soda Stream’s talking points that the factory represents an example of “economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine.”

That brought a smile to  Firshein. He wrote in this morning’s email:

Israel has a new heroine, Scarlett Johannson, in the tradition of Ruth and other great Hebrew woman (yes Scarlett Johannson is Jewish).  First, she has been a terrific spokesperson  for an Israeli company (SodaStream) based on the border between Israel and the so called “territories” which employs a majority of Palestinians who have nothing but praise for the owner Daniel Birnbaum who deliberately built his plant in a difficult place to promote peace and diversity. Second, she has stood up to the extreme bias of Oxfam for whom she was also a spokesperson for an organization that brings awareness to global poverty in third world countries. However their incredible animus against Israel was not well known. For years they have been anti Israel and pro Palestinian. Everything Israel did was bad and everything the Palestinians have done (including terrorism) was condoned. Yet Johannson remained as a spokesperson until Oxfam spewed out its support for the BDS movement against Israel.

That was too much for her and she resigned.

Scarlett Johansson should be the poster person to combat BDS worldwide. The media minders in the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem should get their collective heads around this golden opportunity to beat down the Israel haters. As Lisa Benson wrote me after reading Firshein and my comments, “This is a major PR moment.” That reflects our mutual view that Johansson’s push back at the International Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign makes her a formidable asset in potentially putting a stop to it. The move by Oxfam deprives them of a star fundraiser and public personality who travelled to all the hot spots across the globe for them during the past eight years. But they are part of the pro-Palestinian supporters in the NGO and media world trashing Israel for having the right to develop disputed territories while creating jobs at good wages for Palestinian employees of SodaStream at the Mishnor Adumim industrial park in Ma’ale Adumim.

The Christian Science Monitor published an article today illustrating how those Palestinian employees of SodaStream back Johansson, “Palestinian workers back Scarlett Johansson’s opposition to SodaStream boycott”.

Note this Oxfam, Electronic Intifada and other allies of the BDS cause:

The Jewish actress’s promotion of the company in a Super Bowl ad has propelled an international campaign to boycott the home soda maker and today forced the actress to step down as a global ambassador for the humanitarian agency Oxfam.

But those most familiar with the factory – Palestinians who work there – largely side with Ms. Johansson.

“Before boycotting, they should think of the workers who are going to suffer,” says a young man shivering in the pre-dawn darkness in Azzariah, a West Bank town cut off from work opportunities in Jerusalem by the concrete Israeli separation wall. Previously, he earned 20 shekels ($6) a day plucking and cleaning chickens; now he makes nearly 10 times that at SodaStream, which also provides transportation, breakfast, and lunch.

As a few dozen men in hoodies and work coats trickle out of the alleys to the makeshift bus stop where they wait for their ride to the factory, another adds, “If SodaStream closes, we would be sitting in the streets doing nothing.”

The SodaStream controversy is part of the International Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign, which Palestinians launched in July 2005 as an effort to force Israel to end the occupation of the Palestinian territories, recognize Israeli Arab’s full rights, and promote the Palestinian right of return.

Speaking anonymously on a largely deserted street, with no Israeli SodaStream employees present, all but one of those interviewed said they opposed the boycott, given the lack of alternative job opportunities in the West Bank. That underscores Israeli claims that a boycott would be counterproductive, undermining the cooperation and prosperity that could boost peace prospects in the region.

This controversy really shows off Israeli business savvy big time. SodaStream is positioning itself as the ecologically correct threat to Coke and Pepsi in the annual $280 Billion carbonated drinks market worldwide. CEO of SodaStream, Daniel  Birnbaum is a Harvard MBA, P&G Marketing trained and former CEO of Nike Israel who signed on after an Israel venture capitalist bought the assets of floundering SodaStream and asked him to come aboard and run it.  The buzz created over their Super Bowl ad censored for mentioning Pepsi and Coke was a slick move.

Watch this Bloomberg video with SodaStream CEO Birnbaum on the company, sales and its future.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.