UPDATED WITH STATEMENT FROM A TWITTER SPOKESPERSON
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Monday alleged in a tweet that his country is not interested in producing a nuclear weapon, but said that if it were, no one could stop it, including Israel. In the post, he used the antisemitic phrase “international Zionist clown,” which, according to The Times of Israel, was an apparent reference to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“That international Zionist clown has said they won’t allow Iran to produce nuclear weapons. First of all, if we had any such intention, even those more powerful than him wouldn’t be able to stop us,” Khamenei tweeted Monday.
Many conservatives, after former President Donald Trump was banned last month from Twitter and other social media platforms regarding his posts alleging election fraud and those viewed as playing a role in stirring up the deadly January 6 Capitol riot, have argued that it was unfair that Trump was banned while Khamenei and the Chinese Communist Party have tweeted far worse things and faced no repercussions.
A Twitter spokesperson told this reporter that Khamenei’s tweet is “not in violation of the Twitter Rules.”
Specifically, the spokesperson pointed to Twitter’s world leader policy, in which it is stated that the company assesses “reported Tweets from world leaders against the Twitter Rules, which are designed to ensure people can participate in the public conversation freely and safely.” The policy also says that “[p]resently, direct interactions with fellow public figures, comments on political issues of the day, or foreign policy saber-rattling on economic or military issues are generally not in violation of the Twitter Rules.”
It is not clear whether Twitter will take action against Khamenei for the tweet, though the company has not done so in the past—even when he has used the platform throughout the years to call for the “elimination” of Israel, among other statements.
Prior to Twitter permanently banning Trump, he was shielded by the platform’s world leader policy, which exempts currently serving global leaders from penalties for posting certain policy-violating content. The former U.S. president, the company argued, needed to be held accountable for violating its policies, despite still being a world leader at the time.
Former Deputy Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Ellie Cohanim, a Jewish Iranian whose family fled Iran due to the 1979 Islamic Revolution, told this reporter that the “Iranian regime engages in what I have termed an ‘obsessive anti-Semitism,'” adding that “Ayatollah Khamenei’s tweet is just more evidence of the hatred and vitriol which the Supreme Leader himself directs at the Jewish state of Israel.”
“Despite his protestations, Khamenei is clearly frustrated with the knowledge that Israel has consistently blocked repeated Iranian attempts at achieving nuclear capability, and undoubtedly the Israelis will continue to thwart the greatest state sponsor of anti-Semitism from developing a nuclear arsenal,” Cohanim added.
Below Khamenei’s aforementioned tweet, the Iranian leader doubled down on his claim that Iran isn’t seeking nuclear weapons, saying, “This is based on Islamic fundamentals and commands that prohibit weapons that are used for killing ordinary people.”
He, however, went after the United States for dropping atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of 1945, the only nuclear weapons ever used in warfare.
“The one that massacres 220,000 people with nuclear weapons is the US.”
In a separate post on Monday, Khamenei reasserted his claim that his country has no interest in such weapons but said that Iran’s “nuclear enrichment will not be limited to 20% either.” Moreover, he added that it “will enrich uranium to any extent that is necessary for the country” and that its “enrichment level may reach 60% to meet the country’s needs.”
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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Unearthing the Unthinkable Atrocities Israel endured from Hamas
SHURA ARMY BASE, Israel – It has been three harrowing weeks since a devastating and unexpected massacre unfolded across multiple Israeli army bases, civilian communities, and even a music festival by the Iranian backed terrorist organization, Hamas. The scars of this multi-pronged terrorist attack are deep, and Israel is grappling with the daunting task of identifying the fallen. The enormity of the challenge is not just in the scale of the attack but also in the sheer brutality unleashed by thousands of Palestinian terrorists.
The Shura Army Base, situated on the outskirts of the central Israeli city of Ramle, remains a grim testament to the horrors inflicted during this assault. According to reports from Fox News this week, the base has seen a continuous influx of deceased bodies and dismembered remains, arriving from the country’s southern regions in refrigerated trucks. Here, amidst the agonizing task of identification, army personnel, volunteers, and religious authorities have been confronted with atrocities that evoke chilling images reminiscent of the Holocaust.
In a somber interview, Col. Rabbi Haim Weisberg, head of the army’s rabbinic division, remarked on the stark brutality witnessed, drawing parallels to the darkest days of history: “During a war, each side tries to make a convincing argument that they are right, but these kinds of atrocities we have not seen since the days of the Nazis.”
The horrors perpetrated by the attackers are difficult to comprehend. Terrorists systematically went from house to house, leaving behind a trail of burnt families. Body bags filled with entire families, including grandparents, mothers, fathers, and innocent children, continue to arrive.
The task of identifying the fallen is overwhelming, even for the seasoned rabbis at the base, who typically deal with fallen soldiers during peacetime. “Here we have identified hundreds of bodies, and there are still many more waiting to be examined,” Weisberg lamented.
Moreover, reports stated that some of the bodies are so severely burned that conventional DNA testing is futile. In such cases, dental forensic teams are mobilized to painstakingly match victims with their dental records. Yet, even these methods are not always effective.
The toll of this horrific attack is staggering, with over 1,400 people confirmed dead and an additional 239 held captive in the Palestinian enclave. Furthermore, a hundred individuals remain missing. In the aftermath of the October 7 attack, IDF’s special forces have undertaken perilous missions within the Gaza Strip to recover the remains and body parts of the fallen.
Forensic archaeologists have been called in to devastated communities along the Gaza border to search for human remains. In one heart-wrenching discovery, a human jaw was found in a burnt-out safe room.
The families of the victims, clinging to hope that their loved ones might still be alive, are being confronted with the agonizing truth that their relatives are among the deceased. Rabbi Weisberg shared a particularly disturbing account of one badly charred body that turned out to be two victims – a mother and a baby bound together in a final, desperate embrace. Fox News reported that another victim was a pregnant woman, her stomach cruelly cut open, her unborn child torn out and beheaded. The umbilical cord remained attached, serving as a grim testament to the unparalleled cruelty.
In Rabbi Weisberg’s words, “When you think about evil, you realize it is beyond comprehension when you see what this terror organization did.” The grim task of identification unfolds within a large white tent at the Shura base, surrounded by rows of refrigerated containers. The air is heavy with the overwhelming stench of death.
Amidst this macabre environment, a team of female volunteers has been assigned the challenging role of cleaning the bodies of murdered women. This group is part of a unique military reserve, established over a decade ago, to handle the sensitive task of dealing with female combat soldiers who may fall in action.
Shari, one of the volunteers who remains anonymous due to military guidelines, revealed the somber details of their mission. Specially trained for a mass casualty event, they were called into action on October 7 and have since been working tirelessly. Shari conveyed the harrowing scenes they have borne witness to – women arriving still in their pajamas, their heads brutally disfigured, some booby-trapped with grenades.
“We saw evidence of rape,” Shari stated with a heavy heart. “Pelvises were broken, and it probably takes a lot to break a pelvis… and this was also among grandmothers down to small children. These are things we saw with our own eyes.”
As Israel grapples with the aftermath of this unprecedented and cruel attack, the nation is united in its resolve to honor and remember the victims while condemning the barbarity that has scarred their history.
Follow Alexander Carter on Twitter @AlexCarterDC for more!
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