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The Daily TIP: Fmr. Israeli National Security Adviser: Attack on Syrian Weapons Facility Bolsters Red Lines

Posted by Tip Staff - September 07, 2017

Fmr. Israeli National Security Adviser: Attack on Syrian Weapons Facility Bolsters Red Lines
Media Watchdog: Iranian Intelligence Services Intimidate International Journalists
Illinois Gubernatorial Candidate Drops Running Mate over Support for Anti-Israel Boycotts
Thousands From Around the World Attend Israel's Biggest Tech Conference

Fmr. Israeli National Security Adviser: Attack on Syrian Weapons Facility Bolsters Red Lines

In a press briefing hosted by The Israel Project, Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaacov Amidror noted that a few weeks ago Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah visited the military installation that housed the Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC) where Syria reportedly develops non-conventional weapons, including chemical weapons and their delivery systems.

"Weapon systems had been transferred for from this organization into the hands of Hezbollah," Amidror said. He speculated that a recent visit of Hezbollah chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah to Damascus resulted in the "transfer [of] this facility to the hands of Hezbollah or at least produce weapons systems for Hezbollah."

Amidror added that the attack that Israel carried out was consistent with Israel's defensive posture regarding Syria and that the overnight attack marked "another level" of response. Instead of attacking a warehouse, the Israeli attack targeted a well-known R&D facility known for producing chemical weapons, as well as rockets and missiles.

When asked if the attack was in any way related to the United Nations report earlier this week that confirmed that Syrian government has perpetrated over two dozen chemical attacks since the beginning of the civil war in 2011, Amidror responded that Israel would not be able to "produce such an attack a few moments after" the UN issued such report.

Media Watchdog: Iranian Intelligence Services Intimidate International Journalists

Iran’s intelligence services have been threatening and blackmailing numerous journalists to ensure positive coverage for the regime in global media outlets, according to a report released by Reporters Without Borders (or RSF).

The watchdog group, which advocates for freedom of the press, estimates that at least 50 international journalists have been subjected to threats by Iranian authorities over the past year. The intelligence services go as far as arresting family members of reporters to influence their coverage and cover up the regime’s human rights abuses and other illicit activities.

Arman Mostofi, the director of Radio Farda, told RSF that four of his reporters have received death threats. "These threats are obviously not signed," Mostofi said, adding that "they sometimes take the form of a comment beneath an article…Sometimes the message includes information that only members of the intelligence services could know.”

The RSF report also detailed how leading international media outlets such as the BBC and Voice of America had their computers hijacked by Iranian authorities. "All international media outlets with Persian-language services are concerned" about the Islamic Republic's blackmailing tactics.

"In the past year, RSF has learned of ten families of journalists who have been summoned to such interviews, usually with intelligence ministry agents," according to the report.

Iran also deploys scare techniques outside of its borders to pressure reporters. During international nuclear negotiations in Vienna, Iran’s intelligence services monitored and tracked journalists who were covering events in the country.

Illinois Gubernatorial Candidate Drops Running Mate over Support for Anti-Israel Boycotts

A candidate vying for the Democratic nomination for governor in Illinois dropped his running mate on Wendesday, after it was reported that the latter supported the anti-Israel boycott campaign.

State Sen. Daniel Biss said that he will replace Chicago alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa with a new running mate, Chicago's NBC 5 reported, less than a week after selecting the alderman. Following the revelation, influential Rep. Brad Schneider (D - Ill.) withdrew his endorsement of Biss.

"Growing up with an Israeli mother, grandparents who survived the Holocaust, and great-grandparents who did not survive, issues related to the safety and security of the Jewish people are deeply personal to me," Biss said in a statement explaining his decision. "I strongly support a two-state solution. I support Israel’s right to exist, and I support Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people. I also care deeply about justice for Palestinians, and believe that a vision for the Middle East must include political and economic freedom for Palestinians."

"That’s why I oppose the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, or BDS," Biss continued, "as I believe it moves us further away from a peaceful solution."

Biss said that when he originally interviewed Ramirez-Rosa to be his running mate, the alderman indicated that he too opposed BDS, however, "it’s become clear that Carlos’ position has changed," and that "it simply wasn’t the understanding we shared when I asked him to join the ticket."

Thousands From Around the World Attend Israel's Biggest Tech Conference

Thousands of high-tech professionals from just-getting-started entrepreneurs to seasoned investors have descended upon Tel Aviv for the city’s annual DLD (Digital Life Design) Conference.

Now in its fifth year, DLD expects some 10,000 guests from around the world and has 100 events planned, from talks on the main stage (at Tel Aviv’s historic old train station) to an urban street happening with interactive exhibits lining Rothschild Boulevard.

Delegations from Google, Samsung, Amazon, and Facebook are all visiting Tel Aviv. The event will end with a closing party on the beach. Tech luminary and investor Yossi Vardi co-chairs the conference with Hubert Burda, chairman of Hubert Burda Media Holding in Germany.

This year, DLD organizers have added a new focus on food-tech and agtech(agriculture technology). Israel has more than 500 locally founded startups in food-tech alone, according to a DLD news release.

A panel discussion on these sectors scheduled for Thursday will discuss the role health and wellness plays in the food and snacks category, and the impact technology can have in supporting people to make healthier choices.

Among the tech and foodie delegates coming to Tel Aviv: Gil Horsky, the global innovation lead at snacking conglomerate Mondelēz International (the company that owns Oreo and Toblerone), and Yaron Amar, head of food e-commerce at mega retailer Carrefour.

Other panelists will include Yossi Dan, chief innovation officer of Israeli-French consulting firm Challengy and Adi Vagman, venture partner from AgriNation, which invests in agtech and food-tech. (via Israel21c)

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