Sunday, September 21, 2014

Get Ready for the Real War

Get Ready for the Real War

Winning the war against Islamic State would only be the beginning.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar

In recent weeks, the media are filled with reports on the international preparations for a war against the "Islamic State" and an International Conference was even convened in Paris in an attempt to enlist the cooperation of as many nations as possible in waging it.

At the same time, US air force planes have intensified their attacks against "Islamic State" forces, especially in the vicinity of the dams in northern Iraq, this to prevent their being blown up and causing the deaths of many thousands of Iraqis.

This week we heard a short and decisive speech by US President Barack Obama, into which he inserted rhetoric elements that he has hardly used before, certainly in comparison to the speeches of his predecessor George W. Bush.

I have not heard all of Obama's speeches, but those I did rarely included the expression "our friends and allies". Bush used those words day and night when talking about the war against terror. Does this change in rhetoric express a change in Obama's approach? I am not sure if it does.

In his speech, Obama repeated several times that Iraq is an ally of the United States. And right at the start of his words, he said that the USA cannot do for the Iraqis what they must do for themselves. That sentence is a perfect example of Obama's erroneous strategic thinking – he continues to see the Iraqis as a single group. He has still not internalized the fact that the Iraqis have never succeeded in developing the sense of unity and solidarity that defines a nation. In Iraq the tribal divisions are alive and kicking and there are over 70 of them, as well as four ethnic groups and about ten religions, all divided among a not inconsiderable number of communal sectors. The possibility that the Iraqi government can function any better than those that preceded it is not great, and therefore the assumption that the Iraqi army can be more stalwart in its battle against the knife-wielding Islamic State fighters is yet to be proven correct.

It's tough trying to build an international coalition, because there are factors unconnected to the Islamic State that come into play. There is a war in eastern Ukraine playing out in the background and Russia is the main actor in that war. Russia does not support a war against the Islamic State, so not many European countries are lining up to join Obama's coalition against Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi and his jihadists.

Regional questions also play a part, including the role that will be allotted to countries in the area such as Iran and the Assad regime, both of whom have a clear interest in joining the coalition. Iran will expect to be rewarded with an easing of demands for nuclear controls and Assad will expect an insurance policy to prevent his being deposed, even though he has been defined as a "war criminal".  The West is not interested in giving Assad this insurance policy, since he has already announced that any military activity by another country on Syrian soil or over Syrian airspace will be considered an act of hostility against Syria to which that country will respond. The bigger problem is not Syria, but Russia, as any incursion on Syrian soil would be interpreted as a green light for Russia in Ukraine.

Another country in the area that poses a problem is Turkey, which has been aiding the Syrian rebel forces from the very first anti-Assad demonstrations in 2011, those very forces that spawned the "Islamic State" over a three year period. Thousands of jihadists from many different countries arrived at the bloody battlegrounds of Iraq and Syria by way of Turkey. Turkey purchases oil from the "Islamic State" at a remarkably reduced rate, and resells it in the international market, so that Turkey is basically funding the "Islamic State" while raking in huge sums for its own treasury. It has recently been claimed that Turkey even gives weaponry to the "Islamic State".

Qatar is not enthusiastic about a war against the "Islamic State" either, having given it generous amounts of financial aid over a long period, knowing that its jihadists were anti-Assad. The Emir of Qatar is not eager to eliminate the "Islamic State" because he is afraid that his own state will then become the next goal of the Islamic State jihadists. In fact, he pays them off so that they expend their aggressive energies on other countries. Saudi Arabia is also not happy about destroying the Sunni Islamic State as it might further empower the Shiite axis headed by Iran. Those who identify with the Muslim Brotherhood certainly feel comfortable with the "Islamic State", even if they do not support all the brutal methods it employs.

Another point to be taken into consideration is the possible extreme reactions of Muslims around the world against the war and those taking part in it. The black flag of ISIS has been waved in country after country and the jihadist successes against the heretics of Iraq and Syria have made many Muslims around the world ecstatic, also causing many of them to identify with the "Islamic State", its goals, and first and foremost, the idea of imposing the rule of Islam on the entire world. Radical Muslims who identify with jihad, and who can be found just about everywhere, may carry out attacks, kidnappings, murder and even behead infidels in order to take revenge on the coalition which acts against the "Islamic State".

The war against the Islamic State looks like a rerun of the war fought against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan starting in 2001. Many of the elements that characterized that war are still around today, leading to the general feeling that the war against "Islamic State" will fail just as the war against al Qaeda did. The reasons are obvious: this is not a war against a state or an organization that will be defeated once its military might is destroyed. Here, we are first and foremost battling an ideology, fighting a faith vested in the hearts of millions of people who live all over the world.

The belief that Islam is the true religion and that Judaism and Christianity are false religions is a basic tenet of Islamic faith worldwide. The belief that Islam can and must rule the world is shared by many millions of Muslims. The belief that militant jihad is a legitimate tool for achieving Islamic supremacy over the world is anchored in Islamic history and the biography of Mohammed.  The belief that a Muslim must  mete out the revenge of Allah against every infidel that dares to lift his hand against a Muslim is a natural part of Islam. The belief that "Islamic State", the goal of the entire mission, reflects the real, pure and original Islam is shared by millions of Muslim worldwide.

It is clear that once al-Qaeda was destroyed, the "Islamic State" came to be – so that if the Islamic state is destroyed, another Islamic entity will take its place.and attract thousands of Muslims from just as many countries. Add to that those converting to Islam from Europe, America, and the four corners of the globe, those blond and blue-eyed men and women who will rush to join the group in order to observe all the beliefs associated with Islam.

This can also happen in Africa, under the Boko Haram, in the Saharan plains under the Libyan Jihadists, sponsored by the butchers of Ansar Bait al-Maqdis.

The battle against the problematic tenets of the Islamic faith is not bound in place or time and like the genie that comes out of a bottle, cannot be put back in it. Muslim emigration to Western countries unsettles those governments internally due to the Islamic takeover of public space, politics, economics and its image in the politically correct media. In many parts of the world one can say that "Islamic State is here", in neighborhoods that the local police do not enter, in the cities where a Muslim majority forces Sharia on supermarkets, pharmacies, bars and churches – and in the parliaments where the presence of the Islamic State is becoming more and more influential and solidly based.

The really significant battle is not in Iraq or Syria, where what is happening is just the introduction that follows the preface acted out in Afghanistan 13 years ago. The real war, far-ranging and dangerous, will develop once "Islamic State" is eliminated and the vengeance resulting from that success begins to be exacted in America, Europe, Australia and every place where man-made laws are in force. Its goal will be to impose the law of Allah as it is spelled out in Islamic sources.

Anyone who thinks that destroying "Islamic State" in Iraq and Syria will solve the problem had better think again, because the problem is not this or that organization or country. The problem is the ideology that today motivates one and half billion people who believe that the "religion of Allah is Islam" (Qu'ran chap.53, v.19). This ideology will not be eliminated even if we get rid of the jihadists in Iraq and Syria down to the last man. Their followers are to be found in most parts of the world and that world must be prepared to change the rules of the game, otherwise it will find itself putting out fires instead of apprehending the pyromaniacs.

Written for Arutz Sheva, translated from the Hebrew by Rochel Sylvetsky

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Rotten State Of The Media

The Rotten State Of The Media

Remember the old adage: “nobody ever got fired for buying IBM”? That’s what it’s like in a news room choosing to use Associated Press (AP) news wire stories. It’s assumed to be safe: AP has checked their facts and their sources, they’ve balanced it correctly: it might not be exciting but it won’t get an editor fired if he runs it.
There’s something distinctly rotten with the media today. And it doesn’t matter which main stream media outlet you look to, the problem is deeper, structural and serious. This affects almost every sphere of journalism.
A couple of weeks ago Matti Friedman started to blow the lid on how the Associated Press operates in Israel. It’s not that what he wrote came as a surprise to some of us, it’s that a former, long time insider is cataloging exactly how that organisation works. I wrote about it as “A Media Earthquake Started” and it wasn’t long before the shaking woke Former AP Bureau Chief Steven Gutkin. He gave a rambling riposte which boiled down to the defence “as long as we angered each side equally, we surmised we were doing something right.” This has also been the BBC’s favourite “dog ate my homework” defence for many years too. And it’s nonsense.
To understand the import of Friedman’s exposé you have to understand how the news wires operate and how the news you see is made. The chain is like this: sources -> news wire -> news outlet. Sources are whomever or whatever the news wire trusts. From there the story goes into the news rooms of outlets (print, web, radio, TV etc.) around the world. Some are picked up, added to, edited and run and some stories are run completely unaltered. Google News will find hundreds or thousands of any AP wire piece unaltered spread across the web.
Photo credit: Brian of London
Photo credit: Brian of London
So what happens when the information is damaged at source as Friedman alleges with AP’s Israel and middle east coverage? Every one of the editors who uses their pieces will claim the safety of the trusted brand, AP. This is why corruption of news wires is the most dangerous part of the news system today.
I’ve written about a few recent cases, all in The Times of Israel. The Times of Israel is collateral damage: they’re not the bad actor in this story. In fact it’s true to say I’m using their reprinting of damaged AP goods because they are trying to be better than outlets like the New York Times or the BBC which proudly display their own biases.
The economics of attempting to profitably run an online news site today mean they are forced to pay for and use news wires like AP to write the stories they don’t have the resources to write themselves. The best they can do, sometimes, is edit the stories or the headlines a little, perhaps provide a small extra fact or change obviously slanted language.
Immediately following the release of the second journalist beheading video by ISIS I asked why the executioner in the video of Sotloff was referred to as a “militant”. Quickly this AP wording was changed by The Times of Israel to terrorist. When Human Rights Watch (HRW) produced a press release slamming Israel for its treatment of migrants the AP ran it almost unedited with only the barest Israeli government response. Again this piece, was run almost unedited by The Times of Israel.
HRW crops up in the next, more serious recent case. Again it concerns what the AP considers newsworthy, timely and how they present the work of agenda driven sources. On September 12th the AP released a piece under the headline “Evidence growing that Hamas used residential areas”. Founder and blogger at Israellycool, Aussie Dave, pulled this tendentious story apart with ease. AP’s story is little more than a public relations stunt by Hamas, helped along with copious reliance on the widely discredited Human Rights Watch, one of AP’s favourite sources. HRW is a source so tainted it’s own founder loudly denounced its biases in a New York Times article in 2009.
Israellycool, among many, covered all the material in the article and a whole lot more at the time of the war in Gaza: we didn’t wait for evidence to grow, it was there all along. All this growing evidence was known by the editors at The Times of Israel: they had covered much of the detail (such as foreign reporters filming Hamas launching near them) in their live-blogging of the war. Despite this, and because of the global emphasis AP had given the piece, it was run in full by The Times of Israel under the specific bylines of the two AP authors. A search of Google for the first 32 words of the article gives almost 4000 hits: this piece had enormous global impact.
Examples of the disproportionate impact AP’s biases have are legion. Reuters, AFP and the others, fed by negative agenda sources, all concentrated around the same bars and coffee houses in Jerusalem are often similar.
This is the polluted pool which bears the rotten fruit we see on our breakfast tables and computer screens. Until fair minded outlets realise the safe news wire choice is no longer safe and start sourcing their own news, the malicious presentation of Israel will continue.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The United Nations: World's Leading Purveyor of Antisemitism

The United Nations: World's Leading Purveyor of Antisemitism

by Anne Bayefsky

Why couldn't the UN... sponsor a conference on combating global antisemitism?

In theory the UN Charter demands equality of... nations large and small. In reality the UN mass-produces inequality for Jews and the Jewish nation.

The UN has launched a "legal" pogrom against the Jewish state. A "legal" pogrom is a license to kill.

Modern antisemitism targets Israel's exercise of the right of self-defense because self-defense is the essence of sovereignty.

My time is short, too short to try to emulate the diplomatic sophistry that passes for respect in the meeting rooms of the United Nations. So I will get right to the point.

The UN is not having a conference on the threat that global antisemitism poses to international peace and security. This is lunch-time. The courageous organizer, assisted by the principled representatives of the small state of Palau, is independent of the UN. The facilities are not free.

But why couldn't the UN, founded on the ashes of the Jewish people, and presently witnessing a widespread resurgence in antisemitism, sponsor a conference on combating global antisemitism?

The answer is clear. Because the United Nations itself is the leading global purveyor of antisemitism.

Photo-ops of the UN Secretary-General and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights at the gates of Auschwitz are not an alibi.

One does not honor the memory of Jews murdered by intolerance six decades ago by inciting murderous intolerance towards the remnant of the Jewish people in the here and now.

Incitement to hate, like declaring Israel to be racist – as does the UN Durban Declaration – is the flagship of the UN's racist anti-racism program of action. In theory, the UN Charter demands equality both of individual men and women and of nations large and small. In reality, the UN mass-produces inequality for Jews and the Jewish nation.

-35% of all resolutions and decisions ever adopted by the UN's top human rights body – the Human Rights Council – that are critical of the rights records of specific states condemn one state: Israel. That is antisemitism.

-50% of the emergency special sessions of the General Assembly over six decades were convened to denounce Israel; no emergency special session has been called on any other state in over thirty years. That is antisemitism.

-The Human Rights Council has a fixed agenda with one item to condemn Israel at every session, and one item to consider the other 192 UN member states if "required." That is antisemitism.

-70% of all the 2013 General Assembly resolutions criticizing specific countries for human rights abuses were about Israel. That is antisemitism.

-The UN Division for Palestinian Rights denies entry to public meetings at UN Headquarters for individuals and NGOs that it discovers are Jewish and Zionist, as it did to me and Birthright alumnae last November. That is antisemitism.

-This past May, the UN screened a film portraying Israel as a green monster that rises off the Gaza coast to attack Palestinian children. A UN-authorized film about the 2009 Gaza war, mirroring the vile Nazi imagery of the Jew as a serpent, is antisemitism.

Modern antisemitism targets Israel's exercise of the right of self-defense because self-defense is the essence of sovereignty. Demonize and delegitimize self-defense, the plan is, and the viability of the Jewish state will be degraded.

In 2009, Israel responded to 8,000 Hamas rockets and mortars launched over almost a decade. In 2014, Israel responded to 4,382 rockets and an underground labyrinth of 32 terror tunnels, 14 of which opened into Israel.

The current UN chant of 2,000 dead, by its own admission, includes hundreds and hundreds of genocidal Palestinian combatants (in addition to the civilians forced to become human shields).

In 2004, when Israel targeted Hamas terrorist leader Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, and there were no civilian casualties, the UN still called it a violation of international law.

So the truth is that at the UN, for Israel alone, none is too many. That is antisemitism.

Today, UN antisemitism has taken yet one more treacherous turn. The UN has launched a legal pogrom against the Jewish state.

Hired guns, posing as independent arbiters, such as William Schabas are appointed to discover what they've already found. Guilty!

Phony legal rules misinterpret proportionality to favor a "more even number" of dead Israelis. The Iron Dome worked too well!

And the International Criminal Court is poised to pounce.

Serious about never again? Then never forget that the perversion of the legal system is how genocide begins. A legal pogrom serves as a license to kill.

The UN is not having a conference about combating antisemitism. But we are.

So let us start by combating the legal henchmen and human rights impostors at the United Nations.

Anne Bayefsky is a lawyer specializing in International Law and Human Rights Law. She is President and Editor of and Director, Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust. This speech was delivered at a United Nations conference in New York, on September 8, 2014. The conference was convened by Ugoji Adanma Eze of the Eng. Aja Eze Foundation and the Government of Palau.

Monday, September 15, 2014

"Hamas" by Ari lesser

"Hamas" by Ari lesser

Hamas, a terrorist organization similar to Isis, rules over the Gaza strip. In the summer of 2014 Hamas provoked a war with Israel. Hamas is Palestinian, but it oppresses the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza and launches rockets into Israel to terrorize Israeli civilians. Hamas calls for the murder of Jews and the destruction of Israel. Read more about Hamas' intentions at: Sign the petition at and free Gaza and Israel from Hamas.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

‘Settlements’ are legal, legitimate and necessary for peace

‘Settlements’ are legal, legitimate and necessary for peace

 Dani Dayan

The last few weeks have seen a European-led political and economic assault on the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria (commonly referred to as “West Bank settlements”). The British government has advised her citizens not to do business in the ancient historical Jewish homeland, including parts of Jerusalem. Some European supermarkets have even begun labeling our produce to encourage boycotts. This well-orchestrated effort to demonize and delegitimize our communities is bearing its poisonous fruits. However, it will not bring peace any closer nor will it serve the cause of justice or advance the values in which Europe holds dear, as in reality, the “settlements” are legal, legitimate and necessary for peace.

Israel’s claim over Judea and Samaria is legally stronger than any other claim. It stems from the never-revoked 1922 League of Nations resolution, which allocated the entire area for the “establishment of a Jewish national home” and even encouraged “close settlement by Jews on the land.” Although, UN Resolution 181 called for the establishment of two separate states, one Jewish and one Arab, it was rejected by the Arabs, making it null and void.

The Kingdom of Jordan, which conquered the area in 1948 during the armed Arab attempt to prevent the creation of the State of Israel, illegally annexed it. The 1949 Armistice Demarcation Lines, popularly known as the “Green Line”, therefore have no legal or diplomatic significance. The Armistice Agreement explicitly states that the lines are purely military in nature and devoid of any political significance. Forty-six years ago, Israel did not capture Judea and Samaria from a Palestinian State that never existed, but rather from Jordan, which has since relinquished all its claims to the area.

Therefore, the claim that anything west of the 1949 armistice line is Israel and anything to the east is “Palestinian Occupied Territory” in which Israelis may not reside is baseless from a legal perspective.

The Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria are not only legal but are impeccably legitimate. Shiloh in Samaria and Hebron in Judea are the cradles of Jewish civilization, and as such the centers of the Jewish sovereignty, preceding even Jerusalem. These are the sites in which the ancient Jewish Tabernacle stood and where the founding fathers and mothers of the Jewish people were buried, where King David set up his first capital and where Jews have lived from time immemorial.

Nevertheless, Israel has agreed time and again – for the sake of peace– to relinquish these areas. When the UN decided in 1947 to partition the Land of Israel, establishing a diminutive Jewish state with implausible boundaries – that even excluded Jerusalem. The Jews went out to the squares of Tel Aviv to dance the hora in celebration. The Arabs attacked that very same night, attempting to take it all by force.

Between, the wars of 1948 and 1967, the Jordanian occupiers of Judea and Samaria, didn’t establish a Palestinian state or make peace with Israel – they founded the Palestine Liberation Organization, dedicated to the destruction of Israel. Then came the Arab aggression against Israel in 1967, defined by the leader of the PLO Ahmed Shukeiri as an attempt “to throw the Jews into the sea.” Israel prevailed.

After surviving two attempts of extermination, it would be immoral for Israel to wind back the clocks and go back to square one. It would mean giving the aggressor immunity, and a retroactive security net that assures him no harm if he does not succeed with his heinous goal of wiping Israel off the map.

 Israel did not capture Judea and Samaria as part of a grand expansionist design, but rather in a defensive war for survival. We returned to the heart of our ancestral homeland despite our readiness to give it up for the sake of peace and coexistence. Nothing could be more legitimate than to renew Jewish presence there.

Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria is also necessary for true peace. Twenty percent of Israel’s citizens are currently Palestinians. While this poses numerous challenges to Israeli society, it also enriches it. Jewish cities and villages in Judea and Samaria, alongside the Palestinian ones, are no different. Peace is not achieved through ethnic separation. Reconciliation is not achieved by the disappearance of your adversary but by your learning to coexist with him. The Palestinian President’s demands to establish a Jew-free Palestinian State are the true obstacle to peace.  Peace is not achieved through ethnic separation. Reconciliation is not achieved by the disappearance of your adversary but by your learning to coexist with him. That could well be Nelson Mandela’s most important teaching.

The possible paths toward a political resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are diverse. But none should include the exclusion of the right of Jews to reside, build and thrive in their ancestral homeland. Only when Jews and Arabs, Palestinians and Israelis can live side by side, will there be a true chance for peace.

It' s Time for Zionists to Become Offensive

It' s Time for Zionists to Become Offensive

Zionism is not offensive, but we should go on the offensive. For one thing, we should BDS right back at them.
Rabbi Prof. Dov Fischer
The great tragedy within contemporary Zionism is that Zionist leadership and articulators operate on a continuum of defensiveness, always reacting to the latest attack on Israel’s legitimacy.  This “reactive defensive Zionism” is the same whether we look at Jewish organizations, Jewish political figures, or even at college Jewish activists.  In striking contrast from Israel’s present Operation Protective Edge, Zionists perpetually “play defense.”

Defense certainly is an important part of a winning strategy.  The best hockey and football teams still need to field a goalie.  American Football teams need a defensive squad and a special unit for a “goal-line stand,” and baseball strategy includes defending against a bunt, pulling an infield-in, and over-shifting towards right field when a left-handed hitter comes to bat.  Even so, no team ever wins if it fails to score.  And teams well ahead of their opponents see their leads disappear when they excessively shift into a “prevent defense mode” that concedes offense exclusively to the opposition.

We who follow spectator or competitive sports understand this philosophy so clearly — the primacy of offense — yet abandon this simplest of survival principles when Israel’s survival is on the line.  Thus, we wait for others to call Israel “racist,” and then we respond that she is not.  They slanderously speak of an “Apartheid wall” being constructed along Judea and Samaria, and we reply that the wall is not separatist but protective.  They accuse Israel of starving out the citizens of Gaza, and we counter with photographs of shopping malls in Gaza and with statistics of food supplies that pass into Gaza through Israel. They protest the “slaughter of children in Palestine,” and we try explaining that Israel is faced with Hamas terrorists who mercilessly, corruptly, and cynically hide behind human shields.

They accuse Israel of human rights violations, and we respond that Israel is humane and protects gay rights.  They attack Israel for bombing medical facilities or schools, and we try showing videos of Hamas rocket launchings staged from hospital grounds and photographs of terror rockets stored at UNRWA schools.  They say that “the land belongs to Palestinians,” and we present compromise:  “Let us have a two-state solution if only the Palestinians will recognize our right to live.”  They propose boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS), and we produce reasons not to boycott Israel, not to divest from holdings in Israel, not to sanction Israel. Always on the defensive, never offensively taking the fight for truth to them.

Seventy years ago, Sid Luckman was the most prominent Jew in American football.  A star quarterback for the Chicago Bears, he once brought his immigrant parents to a game to watch him.  With Luckman masterfully at the helm, the Bears won handily.  After the game, he proudly asked his parents what they thought of his performance.  Even though he successfully had scrambled away from defensive front-linemen all afternoon, evading their desperate but hapless efforts to sack him, and had a wonderful passing game that day, American Jewish sports legend recounts that his parents responded: “Sidney, you know those gorillas trying to hurt you would you all day would leave you alone if you would just give them the ball.”  But Sid knew that victory comes to those who use the ball to score.

It is time for Zionists to stop “giving them the ball.”  Without necessarily pulling the goalie out of the net, it is time for us to start putting some points on the scoreboard.

We need to initiate the discussion, not to react.  We need to be creative in our presentation, not predictably defensive.  We need to capture the imagination by shifting dynamically, as Sid Luckman did on the field, into a T-formation with men in motion.

1.  BDS Right Back at Them. It is time for Israel’s supporters to start a nationwide campus and union movement to boycott, divest, and sanction Arab racist regimes like Qatar — the bankers of Islamist terror throughout the world — and Saudi Arabia, the country that gave America 15 of the 19 destroyers on September 11, 2001.  It is true that they manufacture virtually nothing useful to boycott, so we have to find that something besides oil — and also oil — and start a BDS campaign on campuses throughout America.  Demand, for example, that the next World Cup be moved from its planned venue in Qatar. We need to be the ones circulating our petitions on campuses, calling attention to racism — particularly against Black people who are enslaved and gay people who are tortured and murdered — in the Arab world. 

We need to petition and demand BDS against those Arab countries and societies that tolerate gender discrimination and that perpetrate religious intolerance.  We need to BDS Arab Moslem countries that will not allow women to work equal hours for equal pay . . . or to drive a car.  We need to BDS those societies that not only compel gay people to hide in the closet but that even raid the closets to discover them and then stone them to death. We need to promote boycotts of travel to any Arab country that mistreats Christians and that tolerates the kinds of church burnings that we would execrate if happening in Mississippi or Alabama.  We need to stage boycotts at the docks, organizing longshoremen to refuse unloading ships from Arab ports of call if they bear the flag of countries that bash Gays, crucify Christians or burn their churches, enslave Blacks, and treat women as second class.  We need to promote sanctions against the destruction of churches throughout the Arab world. 

In short, we need to go on the offensive and let people know how bad that world’s racism, misogyny, homophobia, religious hatred, and bigotry extends in the specific Moslem Arab countries who are human-rights perpetrators.

2.  Bring Ethiopian Jews to Speak to Americans. We need to start bringing Ethiopian Jews from Israel to American campuses and to African-American communities to tell them their stories.  Israel is perhaps the only country on the face of the earth – perhaps in all of recorded human history – that ever expended national resources including risked lives and material resources for the exclusive purpose of freeing Black people from slavery in Africa and further bringing them into their own country to join the landed classes in freedom.  Others — British, Americans — have taken Blacks out of Africa in order to make free men into slaves.  By contrast, no one but Israel has brought Black Africans out of slavery and into their country just to join them in freedom.  By now, those Ethiopians freed in the mid-1980s, families like those whom Israel hosted and financed in the thousands in the mid-1980s at absorption centers like Merkaz Klitah Beit Eliezer in Hadera, have seen their children grow into full sabras.  Sixty of their kessim (priests) are employed by Israel’s Ministry of Religious Services, and a new generation of ordained rabbis of Ethiopian ethnicity are emerging.  Miss Israel 2013, Yityish Aynaw, who contended as Israel’s representative at the Miss Universe pageant, is of Ethiopian descent.  Ask her to visit American campuses for a year. 

Stop sending us lifelong diplomats who barely can speak English and who feel precious television-interview time with space-filling sounds of “eh, eh” — and who have no sense of engaging dynamically in polemics.  Send the Miss Universe candidate instead.  She does not have to speak to win over supporters.  And if she has a story to tell, she can impact thousands.  Send us Americans who made aliyah twenty and thirty years ago, brilliant and charismatic people like the rare examples of a Michael Oren or the younger Bibi Netanyahu — people who know the American lingo, know the turf, and know how to “mix it” with Americans.  The survival of Israel and the standing of Zionism is too important to be traded as a payoff for a pakid (clerk) who has earned a two-year assignment in America by pushing papers loyally for thirty years in the Israeli foreign service (misrad ha-chutz).

3.  Stop Saying “West Bank” and Call “Judea and Samaria” by the Real Names. We need to fight “Jewish COPD” — a disease marked by those who simply cannot take deep breaths — and we need to expend extra breaths, using the full eight syllables to say “Judea and Samaria,” even though we prefer the two-syllabic “West Bank.” We have to stop saying “West Bank.”  There is no “West Bank” other than Jersey City, New Jersey, which lies on the west bank of the Hudson River.  No one can see any river from Hebron in Judea or from Karnei Shomron in Samaria.  We Americans know the rules of lingo, the power of “correct” speech.  We have been taught to say the seven-syllable “African American” instead of the two-syllable “Negro,” and we follow the rules.  We say “Native American” instead of “Indian,” and we say “Mizz” instead of “Missus.” We say “Gay” instead of “Homosexual,” and we say “Latino” instead of “Hispanic.”  Words have meaning and power.  It is time to bring out the offensive unit and to teach people to say “Judea and Samaria” by saying it ourselves.  It matters whether the Falkland Islands are called that or the “Malvinas.” As the Left so well demonstrates, language is powerful.  If we fear that the listener will not understand us when we say “Judea and Samaria,” then we must expend yet extra breaths each time we use the term, just as we do when we give an address to a telephone marketer when we order a product and need to repeat the spelling of our street.

4.  We Need Our Friends in Washington to Initiate Congressional Hearings on Reparations for Jewish Refugees from Arab Lands. On the “refugee question,” similarly, we have to go beyond playing defense.  If there are refugees, then there were 800,000 Jewish refugees from Arab lands who lost everything when the Arab world uprooted them in the 1940s and drove them out from lands where they had lived half a millennium, even as those Arab countries confiscated their landed property. 

Today they and their descendants number in the many millions.  So, if the 400,000 or 500,000 Arabs who departed from Israel during that parallel period, mostly voluntarily, now number in the millions of UNRWA “refugees,” it is time to demand justice for the even-more-millions of Jewish refugees who truly were forced into diaspora on pain of death.  Demand legislative hearings in Washington, lots of hearings by lots of different pertinent Senate and House committees, in America’s capital on restoration of property and reparations for Jewish refugees. 

That is how issues become issues in America.  One law student, Sandra Fluke, testified before a “mock legislative committee,” and the entire nation began debating whether the government should be required to pay for every American woman’s contraceptives.  So we need hearings on the restoration of losses sustained by the Jewish Refugees from Arab Lands.  Then, with the issue explained and the American public educated, we need to demand freezes on Arab governmental assets in America for court-ordered seizures and for transfer to American families among the Edot HaMizrach (North African Jewish) victims to compensate and restore refugee property – just as we have been doing for Holocaust victims who today are recovering damages for stolen Nazi-era property, for unpaid wages during their enslavement, and for insurance benefits they were owed but never paid after having paid their life-insurance and commercial-property premiums in Europe during the years of the Holocaust.

Now for the second period or the fourth inning, or for the next set of downs — pick your metaphor — because the game is just getting started:

5.  We Americans Must Stop Funding UNRWA.  Demand a complete end to all American funding for the UNRWA, the United Nations agency that promotes anti-Jewish hatred throughout Gaza and in Judea and Samaria, as they accede to the myth of “Palestinian refugees in Palestine.”  We are so accustomed to playing defense that we never even ask:  “How in the world can people who were not even alive in the 1940s be called ‘refugees’ from somewhere they never fled?  And even if they were ‘refugees,’ how can they still be deemed as ‘refugees’ now that they are living in their supposed homeland?”  When people “return home,” they no longer are “refugees.”  Period.  End of story. Under any conceivable definition or scenario, how can there be “Palestinian refugee camps” in Jenin or Gaza?  Are there “Katrina refugee camps” in Baton Rouge?  “Hurricane Sandy refugee camps” in the Bronx? 

The UNRWA needs to close down in Gaza, in Jenin, and elsewhere – and America needs to stop funding it.  Most American citizens have no idea that the United States funds more than one-fourth of the UNRWA’s annual $550 million core budget, while most Arab countries contribute a pittance.  Last year, the United States gave $130 million to the UNRWA core program, and the European Union gave $120 million, while Saudi Arabia gave $2 million, Kuwait gave $2 million, Qatar gave only one million, and Egypt gave fifteen thousand dollars, while Iraq and Libya gave nothing. In today’s economic environment, there will be many in Washington who will be delighted to see this aspect of an offensive approach to Zionism once they are educated to this incredible anomaly.  The money saved might even be redirected to bolster the economy of Ukrainian freedom advocates.  The European Union can redirect the money to its financially tottering constituents know as PIGS: Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain.

6.  Point to Every Logo and Trademark of Every “Palestinian” Group. We need to go on the offensive and start pointing at each and every logo — yes, a picture still is worth a thousand words — of each and every group that enthralls the anti-Israel Left:  the Hamas logo, the P.L.O.Fatah.  Each and every of their logo designs bears depictions of their aspired-to homeland.  Not one of those logos depicts Gaza or Judea and Samaria as the land they covet.  Rather, they all depict pre-1967 Israel as their “Palestine” — Haifa and Tel Aviv and West Jerusalem— and not including any of Gaza or of Judea and Samaria. 

Similarly, we need to start pointedly asking: What do the Arabs even mean by “Palestine”?  When they founded the Palestine Libration Organization in 1964, to “liberate Palestine,” what “Palestine” were they “liberating”?  Fifty years’ history demonstrates that Gaza, then in Egyptian hands in 1964, never was the target during Olympic Games attacks.  Judea and Samaria, then under Jordanian occupation, never was the target of bus bombings.  We need to point to the three logo depictions – those pictures worth three thousand words – and to 1964, and we need to start advertising those pictures and explaining what 1964 means. “Palestine” — for every “Palestinian” group, organization, and association, whether overtly terrorist or seemingly passive — means Tel Aviv and Haifa, not Jenin and Khan Younis.  It is time for us to ask – on T-shirts, at soirees, even at the beginning of every speech: “What ‘Palestine’ was the Palestine Liberation Organization planning to liberate when the P.L.O. was founded in 1964?”

It Is Time for Zionism to be Offensive. It is time to stop “giving them the ball” and playing sixty minutes in desperate pursuit of their fumble or interception.  For those who hate us and find Zionism offensive, maybe it is time that we Zionists finally became offensive and went on the offensive.

Rabbi Dov Fischer, former Chief Articles Editor of UCLA Law Review and an adjunct professor of Advanced Torts law and Legal Remedies law, is a congregational rabbi, a long-time member of the National Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America, and a widely published online magazine columnist. He formerly was National Vice President of the Zionist Organization of America and was National Director of Likud Zionists of America.  Prof. Fischer is author of General Sharon’s War Against Time Magazine (Steimatzky).  His writings appear at

Evidence growing that Hamas used residential areas

Evidence growing that Hamas used residential areas

Increasingly, the discussion is not about whether the rockets were fired from civilian areas, but exactly how close they were to the actual buildings.

GAZA CITY: Two weeks after the end of the Gaza war, there is growing evidence that Hamas militants used residential areas as cover for launching rockets at Israel, at least at times. Even Hamas now admits ''mistakes'' were made.

But Hamas says it had little choice in Gaza's crowded urban landscape, took safeguards to keep people away from the fighting, and that a heavy-handed Israeli response is to blame for the deaths of hundreds of Palestinian civilians.

''Gaza, from Beit Hanoun in the north to Rafah in the south, is one uninterrupted urban chain that Israel has turned into a war zone,'' said Ghazi Hamad, a senior Hamas official in Gaza.

Increasingly, the discussion is not about whether the rockets were fired from civilian areas, but exactly how close they were to the actual buildings.

''The Israelis kept saying rockets were fired from schools or hospitals when in fact they were fired 200 or 300 meters (yards) away. Still, there were some mistakes made and they were quickly dealt with,'' Hamad told The Associated Press, offering the first acknowledgment by a Hamas official that, in some cases, militants fired rockets from or near residential areas or civilian facilities.

The questions lie at the heart of a brewing international legal confrontation: Did Hamas deliberately and systematically fire rockets at Israel from homes, hospitals and schools in the hope that Israel would be deterred from retaliating, as Israel claims? Or did Israel use force excessively, resulting in deaths among people not involved in combat operations?

The answers could help determine whether Israel—or Hamas—or both are ultimately accused of violating the international laws of war in a conflict that caused tremendous damage.

According to Palestinian figures, nearly 2,200 Palestinians were killed—roughly three quarters of them civilians and including more than 500 children—and 11,000 were wounded. The war also left some 100,000 homeless. Seventy-two people were killed on the Israeli side, including six civilians.

Ahead of a UN investigation, the Israeli military has released reams of evidence, including satellite photos and aerial footage, to support its claims that it acted responsibly and attempted to minimize Palestinian casualties. It asserts that Hamas made no effort to disguise its attempt to maximize Israeli civilian casualties.

Throughout the war, the Israeli air force compiled dozens of video clips showing alleged wrongdoing by Hamas, an Islamic militant group sworn to Israel's destruction.

These videos, many of them posted on YouTube, appear to show rockets flying out of residential neighborhoods, cemeteries, schoolyards and mosque courtyards. There are also images of weapons caches purportedly uncovered inside mosques, and tunnels allegedly used by militants to scurry between homes, mosques and buildings.

''Hamas' excuses are outrageous, misleading and contrary to the evidence supplied by the IDF(Israeli Defense Forces) and the reality documented by international journalists on the ground in Gaza,'' said Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israeli military spokesman.

But a black-and-white satellite image released by the Israeli military illustrates the difficulties in proving the point. The army says the image, taken of the Gaza City neighborhood of Sheikh Radwan, shows four rocket launch sites sitting next to a cluster of schools and a nearby residential neighborhood.

Such images, it says, are evidence that Hamas used built-up areas for cover— and carelessly exposed civilians to danger in Israeli retaliatory strikes. However, the image itself is grainy and shows no clear signs of rocket activity, though rocket launchers are often hidden underground. The army refused to say how it had made its conclusions.

A visit to the area this week found three separate military sites—possibly training grounds—slightly larger than football fields located close to the state schools.

The sites are mostly concealed from street view by barriers made of corrugated iron, but one bore the sign of Hamas' military wing, al-Qassam Brigades, while another bore the sign of the Islamic Jihad, a militant group allied with Hamas. The bases were deserted. Visible from the outside were human cutout figures and what appeared to be exercise hurdles.

There were no overt signs of rocket launchers or craters in the ground outside, though dirt appeared to have been disturbed either by some sort of blast or the work of heavy military-type trucks. There were pieces of mangled concrete scattered on the ground. The school buildings appeared untouched.

Hamas tightly restricts access to such facilities, and it was impossible for photographers to enter the sites. Israel confirmed the area was targeted in airstrikes.

Another location identified by the Israeli military as a rocket-launching site is in northern Gaza around the newly built Indonesian hospital. Immediately to the north of the two-story hospital and across the road to the west are two Hamas military facilities. Both stand in close proximity to residential homes. The hospital stands intact, while nothing is visible from inside the bases.

Hamad, the Hamas official, argued that many of the buildings shown in Israeli videos were either a safe distance from the rocket launchers or that the buildings had been kept vacant during the fighting.

The ground in Sheikh Radwan, for instance, lies some 150 meters (yards) away from the neighborhood, and the schools were empty for summer vacation.

During 50 days of fighting, many observers witnessed rocket launches from what appeared to be urban areas. One piece of video footage distributed by the AP, for instance, captured a launch in downtown Gaza City that took place in a lot next to a mosque and an office of the Hamas prime minister. Both buildings were badly damaged in subsequent Israeli airstrikes.

There was other evidence of Hamas having used civilian facilities: Early in the conflict, the U.N. agency that cares for Palestinian refugees announced that it discovered weapons stored in its schools as they stood empty during the summer.

''I don't think there's any doubt urban areas were used to launch rockets from in the Gaza Strip,'' said Bill Van Esveld, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch. ''What needs to be determined is how close to a populated building or a civilian area were those rocket launches.''

The issue may never be conclusively settled as both sides voice competing narratives over their conduct in the deadliest and most ruinous of the three wars since Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007.

''Yes, Hamas and others may have used civilians as human shields, but was that consistent and widespread?'' said Sami Abdel-Shafi, a Palestinian-American who represents the Carter Center in Gaza. ''The question is whether Israel's response was proportionate.''

The war erupted on July 8 when Israel launched a massive aerial bombardment of Gaza in response to weeks of heavy rocket fire by Hamas and other Gaza-based militant groups—part of an escalation that began with the killing by a Hamas cell of three Israeli teens in the West Bank.

The Israeli army says Hamas fired almost 4,000 rockets at Israel, including 600 from close to schools, mosques and other civilian facilities, and scores of mortar shells. Israel carried out some 5,000 airstrikes, in addition to using powerful artillery and gunship fire.

Frequently, Israeli arms struck hospitals, schools, homes, mosques, factories and office towers. Israel said the buildings had been used for cover by militant fighters, and that whenever possible, it provided warning to civilians that strikes on their buildings were coming.

Israel disputes the makeup of the Palestinian casualty figures, saying that nearly half the dead were militants.

Nevertheless, the death toll and number of civilian deaths have led to harsh condemnations of Israel and raised questions on the proportionality of Israel's response. In an apparent attempt to head off international investigations, the Israeli military said Wednesday it has opened criminal investigations into two high-profile cases involving Palestinian civilian casualties.

Hamas also has been sharply criticized for launching rockets aimed at Israeli cities and towns. Israel says its own civilian death toll would have been much higher had it not been for its rocket defenses.

The UN Human Rights Council has appointed a commission to look into the latest fighting. Its report is expected no sooner than March.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Why a Palestinian state is not the answer

Why a Palestinian state is not the answer

by Vic Rosenthal

Every once in a while I feel the need to write some form of this post to explain to Americans yet again why a Palestinian state is a bad idea.

This is not a big issue in Israel, despite the impression you may get from reading Ha’aretz’s English website. Most Israelis understand that a peaceful Palestinian state is not on offer, and that withdrawal from Judea and Samaria would create a security nightmare. But a large number of Americans still think that the moderate answer to the Israel-Arab conflict is a “two-state solution.”

They think this because they hear it from liberal Jewish leaders, and because they hear it from the President, whom they by and large respect. And they hear it from the Israeli Left, which has a voice in the media that is far out of proportion to its numbers.

After all, Americans are not here in Israel to see for themselves, so they depend on ‘experts’. And who is a bigger expert than the head of the Union for Reform Judaism or the President of the US? Those who oppose the two-state idea are called ‘extremists’ or worse, and nobody wants to be an extremist.

So here are the reasons against creating a Palestinian state. See if you think I am an extremist.

1. Security, security, security.

Given the instability in the Middle East today, even if a peaceful Palestinian state were to be created there is a real chance that it would come to be dominated by those who want to see Israel destroyed. Gaza, which was turned over to the ‘moderate’ Palestinian Authority only to be taken over by Hamas and used as a base to launch rockets and terror attacks against Israel, is a case in point.

Judea and Samaria are far more strategic than Gaza. A topographical map shows that the part of Israel where most of its population is located lies on a flat plain next to the Mediterranean. The terrain rises abruptly to the east, which would make it possible for terrorists to fire rockets and mortars down into populated areas, as well as Israel’s international airport, its lifeline to the outside world. During the recent Gaza war, Israelis fled from the kibbutzim surrounding Gaza because there is no technical solution to mortars fired over such short distances – Iron Dome, effective against longer-range rockets, can’t stop them. We also saw the potential of serious damage to Israel’s economy when the FAA ordered US airlines not to fly into Ben-Gurion airport (and others followed their lead), even for a day.

Then there is the importance of the Jordan Valley, or more precisely, the slope from the central highlands down to the Jordan river. This is a natural barrier to invasion from the east. If it were not controlled and defended by the IDF, there would be nothing to prevent tanks from as far away as Iran from driving into Jerusalem or cutting the country in half. Can Israel afford to take the risk of laying itself open to invasion in these days of the Islamic State?

2. There’s no partner who can deliver peace.

Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), the most ‘moderate’ Palestinian leader around, has never agreed to end the conflict in return for land, or to recognize the remaining part of Israel as belonging to the Jewish people (he does not believe there is such a people). He insists on a right of return for Palestinians to Israel. When Ehud Olmert offered him almost all of Judea and Samaria plus eastern Jerusalem and control of the holy places, he didn’t respond.

But even if he did agree, he is 80 years old and the other members of the Fatah Central Committee (Fatah dominates the PLO which controls the Palestinian Authority) are more hawkish than he is. Anyway, the PA exists on funds that it receives from the US and the Europeans, and is protected from being taken over by Hamas by the IDF and Shabak (Israel’s internal security service) in the territories. The PA is highly unpopular among Arab residents of the territories, and would be trounced by Hamas in a free election. So what would a paper signed by Mahmoud Abbas be worth?

3. The Palestinians could not be allowed to have a sovereign state.

Even if there were an agreement, certain aspects of sovereignty would have to be denied to the Palestinians. Could Israel agree to a militarized state two miles from its population centers? Could Israel agree to a Palestinian air force, Palestinian tanks? Would ‘Palestine’ be permitted to make treaties, such as a mutual military assistance pact with Iran? Considering that they have been at war with Israel since 1948, could we afford to give them more than a limited state?

In fact, what we could and would give them is a form of autonomy. They would control their economy and the relations between their citizens; Israel would be responsible for security. I can’t imagine that they would be happy with such an arrangement.

4. The Palestinians could not be allowed to import millions of ‘refugees’.

Due to the remarkable rules established by the UN, Palestinian refugee status was made hereditary (unlike that of any other refugee population in history). There were also very loose criteria applied to determine who initially was a refugee. As a result, the 500,000-650,000 Arabs that fled in 1948 have ballooned into a refugee population of almost 5 million – and there is supposedly a “Palestinian Diaspora” of 11 million. All of these (or even a small part of this number) could not possibly be absorbed by a ‘Palestine’ that is dependent on international aid and has few natural resources, without creating instability that would endanger Israel and Jordan.

There is a solution.

But it does not lie in creating yet another Arab state, for a ‘people’ that is mostly descended from Arabs that migrated into the region starting in the 19th century, and who are similar in most ways to their relatives in Syria and Egypt. The first part of the solution is to abolish UNRWA, the UN agency that is responsible for promoting the growth of the refugee population and preventing their absorption in their host countries – which is the next step. Palestinian refugee camps exist in Lebanon, Jordan, Gaza and Judea/Samaria. There were a large number of refugees in Syria, but most have now fled to Jordan. The funds formerly provided to UNRWA should be used to facilitate their integration in the places that they are living (yes, even in Gaza). This will require that discriminatory laws that prevent Palestinians in Lebanon from working or studying must be revoked. And it will probably require the overthrow of Hamas in Gaza.

Next should be the understanding that Arabs in Judea and Samaria can be granted some form of autonomy, but that overall security control for the territories will rest with Israel. Israel’s eastern border will be the Jordan River. Palestinian Arabs that want Israeli citizenship and do not belong to terrorist groups should be able to acquire it.

Of course the Palestinian leadership, committed to its vision of replacing Israel with an Arab state, would never agree to this plan or anything like it. But neither is there a reason for Israel to agree to plans that are nothing more than recipes for its dismemberment.

One question Americans sometimes ask is “if the creation of a Palestinian state is incompatible with Israel’s security, why does our administration say it is committed to both?”

That is a good question, but it should be addressed to the administration, not to me!