Tag Archive for: Israel

The Counter-Terrorism Impasse in Afghanistan, Israel and the United States

by Jerry Gordon, Lisa Benson and Richard Cutting…

The New Year marks the 14th year in the conflict in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan with the Taliban. Following 9/11, a victory against the Salafist Taliban was achieved in less than six months with special operators of the US and cadres of Afghan war lords. Fast forward to the fall of 2015, the Taliban has undertaken stunning attacks against NATO-ISAF forces. There was the brief Taliban takeover of the northern regional capital of Kunduz in September 2015 culminating with the mistaken USAF bombing of a Medicins sans Frontiere hospital with 26 dead. There was the instability of local regional police and Afghan security failing to prevent the Taliban from regaining control over Helmand province. An explosives laden motorcycle attack on December 22, 2015 on a joint NATO-ISAF Afghan patrol took the lives of six Americans, including a 15–year veteran of the NYPD, John Lamm. Stratfor in an analysis of the situation in Afghanistan commented:

Without local support and adequate resources, the Afghan government will not be able to keep crucial areas from falling to the Taliban. Winning public support domestically and securing international aid, important in any counterinsurgency, will remain vital components of Kabul’s fight for survival in the Afghanistan conflict.

A serious emerging threat was the rise of ISIS in Afghanistan and the eruption of a barbaric internecine war between the two extremist Islamic groups. That was graphically portrayed in a PBS Frontline report in November 2015, ”ISIS in Afghanistan.” In neighboring Pakistan, the Taliban have spread havoc beyond their bastion in Northwest Waziristan conducting terror attacks in Islamabad and Lahore. Emblematic of that was an attack that killed 22 on January 20, 2016 by the Pakistani Taliban at Bacha Khan University in Charsadda, Pakistan.

The Obama Administration was poised at the start of its final year in office with less than 9,800 US forces in Afghanistan winding down to less than 5,500 engaged in primarily advisory and training roles. That was supplemented by a few thousand NATO forces under the ISAF Command.  During hearings in the fall of 2015 before the US Senate and House Armed Services, in testimony by US Amy General John Campbell, he called for the equivalent of a surge in Afghanistan. In a USA Today interview he said: “My intent would be to keep as much as I could for as long as I could. If that means more people, it’s more people.” In response to his and other military experts’ testimony, Senate Armed Services Chairman, Arizona Republican Senator John McCain commented:

We have made significant and steady progress in Afghanistan. But as U.S. military officials and diplomats have warned for years – I repeat, for years – these gains are still reversible, and a robust and adaptive U.S. troop presence based on conditions on the ground is essential to ensuring that these gains endure.

Failure to adopt such a conditions-based plan, these experts have warned, would invite the same tragedy that has unfolded in Iraq since 2011. If we have learned anything from that nightmare, it is that wars do not end just because politicians say so.

An additional burden has been placed on Gen. Campbell. On January 20, 2016, the White House announced that the U.S.-led ISAF could now undertake operations against the growing ISIS threat in eastern Afghanistan.

The Pakistani counterterrorism effort has been brought into question given the announced retirement on January 25, 2016 of Armed Forces strategic thinker, Gen. Raheel Sharif, who will leave in November 2016. The popular General Sharif had led the tough counterterrorism campaign against the Pakistani Taliban and other Islamist terror groups.

Embattled Israel was confronting a low-intensity wave of violence that the media has labeled, a “knife intifada.” It has been waged daily since September 2015 by Palestinians and some Israeli Arabs allegedly incited by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The Palestinian and Israeli Arab violence has claimed 29 Israeli, US and foreign migrants dead. Dozens were injured from knifings, car rammings and shootings. 149 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security. In one troubling case, in January 2016, an Israeli Arab using a semi-automatic weapon at a Tel Aviv café killed three persons. He fled the scene and was eventually tracked by Israeli security forces to his home area in Northern Israel and killed.

In June 2015, the Palestinian Authority in an apparent “diplomatic Intifada” brought charges before the International Criminal Court at The Hague in the Netherlands. The PA alleged that the IDF had committed “war crimes” during the 50 day summer rocket and tunnel war in 2014  waged cross border by the terrorist group Hamas. The ICC released preliminary findings which brought this reaction from Israel’s Justice and Foreign Ministries according to a Jerusalem Post report, “Israel has an engagement with the ICC over competence issues.”

 “Competence” is a code word for trying to convince the ICC that there is no state of “Palestine” and that the ICC cannot investigate IDF personnel, because the IDF’s own investigations of its personnel meet international law standards.

An International Military Tribunal presented testimony at the UN Human Rights Council probe chaired by former New York Supreme Court Justice Mary McGowan Davis in mid-June 2015. The Tribunal, composed of former generals and diplomats, concluded that ”the IDF acted within the bounds of international law during its war with Hamas in Gaza.” Further, the group’s report concluded:

During Operation Protective Edge last summer, in the air, on the ground and at sea, Israel not only met a reasonable international standard of observance of the laws of armed conflict, but in many cases significantly exceeded that standard.

We saw clear evidence of this from the upper to the lower levels of command. A measure of the seriousness with which Israel took its moral duties and its responsibilities under the laws of armed conflict is that, in some cases, Israel’s scrupulous adherence to the laws of war cost Israeli soldiers’ and civilians’ lives.

One of those who presented testimony was former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, Col. Richard E. Kemp (ret.), CBE.  In a New York Times op-ed, Kemp disputed the ruling by UNHRC Special Rapporteur Judge Davis, saying:

It pains me greatly to see words and actions from the United Nations that can only provoke further violence and loss of life. The United Nations Human Rights Council report on last summer’s conflict in Gaza … will do just that.

[…]

The former British commander wondered why the commission refused to incorporate a 242-page report commissioned by Israel after it declined to cooperate with the U.N. Commission, which included findings by 11 senior military officials from seven nations, including Kemp and Chairman of the Unites States Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey. That report said Israel’s actions were “lawful” and “legitimate” and rejected claims the IDF intentionally targeted civilians.

Kemp also noted several internal contradictions in the U.N. report, such as acknowledging that Israel Defense Forces tactics saved lives while indicting “decision makers at the highest levels of the government of Israel of a policy of deliberately killing civilians.”

He accused the U.N. commission of endorsing “Hamas’s anti-Israel narrative.”

Kemp said he was in Israel for much of the 50-day conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza last summer.

When the Paris and San Bernardino massacres occurred in November and December 2015, with large mass casualties, the worst since 9/11 in the California jihad attack, questions were raised about both fraudulent passport and questionable Visa screening procedures. This was especially the case as the US DHS was responsible for vetting Iraqi and Syrian refugees being admitted  under the authorized US Refugee Admissions Program.

Given the infiltration by ISIS operatives in the stream of Syrian asylees flooding into Europe, including jihadis killed in the Paris attack, Congress created legislation – the Security Against Foreign Enemies or SAFE Act, H.R. 4038. The SAFE Act required additional clearances by the FBI and unanimous consent by the DHS, FBI and Director of National Intelligence before Iraqi and Syrian refugees could be admitted. It was passed by the House on November 19, 2015 by a vote of 239 to 137, including 47 Minority Democrats. The SAFE legislation was rejected from consideration by the US Senate on January 20, 2016. The bill was “provisionally dead due to a failed vote for cloture required to move past a Senate filibuster or the threat of a filibuster that required a 3/5th vote.” The measure couldn’t be considered as Senate Republicans could only muster 55 votes. That still left the dual questions of how we could stem the flood of Iraqi and Syrian conflict refugees into the US.

Against this background, The Lisa Benson Show convened a discussion about these issues in a January 10, 2015 broadcast with guests Counterterrorism experts Col. Richard E. Kemp (ret.) CBE, and Dr. Sebastian Gorka.

Listen to the podcast of the Lisa Benson Show broadcast with Kemp and Gorka.

Lisa Benson

Lisa Benson: Welcome, America. Welcome, everyone. And good evening to our friends listening from around the world tonight. Shalom to our friends joining us from Israel, and we thank them for staying up. It’s 10:00 PM in Israel. This is your host, Lisa Benson. Our broadcast today has two distinguished guests, very highly qualified counterterrorism experts. They are Dr. Sebastian Gorka, often seen on FOX News, andColonel Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan.

There are several breaking stories we are watching today. As you heard this week, the insurgency of ISIS sympathizers in the United States is on the rise. This is evidenced by the attacks in San Bernardino and Philadelphia. ISIS sympathizers were arrested in Sacramento, Rochester, New York, and Houston, Texas. At the same time, we are learning that the New York Police Department is being curtailed on profiling Muslimsunder suspicion, and an award of $11 million has been made to Muslim advocates. That story was in the Wall Street Journal weekend edition. We are going to discuss that with Dr. Gorka today. Adding to the nexus of international geopolitics, the Saudi Arabians are cutting their ties with Iran. North Koreans are claiming detonation of an H-bomb. ISIS and Hezbollah are on the northern Israeli border. Sanctions are to be lifted on Iran this week or next. Transfer of $100 billion to Iran, and still we do not have a signed agreement on the Iran deal that our lawmakers handed them on a silver platter. All the while, Iran continues to violate the agreement, but we will lift our sanctions. You know full well what will happen to those released funds. The Taliban, ISIS and Al-Qaeda are on the rise in Afghanistan. Those are just a few of the stories we have been following this week.  Jerry Gordon, are you with me?

Jerry Gordon

Jerry Gordon:  I am with you.

Benson:  Thank you so much. Jerry Gordon, senior editor, New English Review, our honorary, board member, and co-producer of this show.

Gordon:  Thank you.

Benson:  It is quite an honor to have once again back with us, Col. Richard Kemp. Col. Kemp, are you there?

Colonel Richard Kemp

Col. Richard Kemp:  I’m here, and it’s a real pleasure to be with you.

Benson:  Richard Kemp is the best-selling author of Attack State Red and a regular columnist for the Times of London. He frequently writes for other national and international newspapers, and is a prolific contributor to television and radio news and current affairs programs. He is a Distinguished Fellow at the Gatestone Institute. Col. Kemp was a front-line observer in three IDF operations against Hamas in Gaza in 2009,2012, and 2014. He has presented expert testimony on IDF counterterrorism operations in Gaza before the tribunals of the United Nations. Richard, I was reading your Facebook page, and one thing that strikes me is you think the Royals should pay a visit to Israel.

Kemp:  Yes, I go there as often as I possibly can. It’s an absolutely brillian country. The only democracy in the Middle East. They have been at war constantly since, the modern State of Israel was founded in 1948. They have been attacked many times, both by conventional armies and by terrorists using rocket attacks from Gaza. Yet they manage to not only to maintain their country, to develop their country, which has produced major benefits, inventions and technical advancements for the world. I think it’s a fantastic country. I do think the British royal family should go there. They haven’t.

The Queen hasn’t visited Israel. She is the head of the Church of England. The Church of England, of course, owes its origins to Jerusalem. I think it is time that the royal family should visit in 2017 which is the anniversary of the re-conquest of Jerusalem by General Allenby, who headed British Empire forces, liberating Jerusalem from the Turks. Many British and Empire soldiers, particularly Australians and New Zealanders, died in that, in Palestine. I think that it is the time for the Queen to commemorate the deaths of those brave soldiers.

Benson:  I hope you can make that happen. Your Prime Minister Cameron should be whispering into our president’s ear on why exactly he deemed the MuslimBrotherhood a terrorist organization. We just can’t seem to make that kind of headway here. The president of the United States believes that the Muslim Brotherhood in America is a moderate entity. Would you like to tell the listeners why that was important for you in Great Britain to deem them a terrorist organization that follows suit with the United Arab Emirates?

Kemp:  Our prime minister has many failings and faults, as do every prime minister, every other human being. However, one thing that you can say for him is that he is a strong supporter and friend of Israel. He made a speech two years ago in the Knesset in which he spelled out very clearly the, the United Kingdom’s support for Israel. Not perfect by any means, but it is there. We enjoy very, very close relations, particularly on the intelligence front with the upper levels of Israeli military. Israeli battlefield and medical technology have saved the lives of British soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq, as it has American soldiers. The Muslim Brotherhood is an evil organization. It is an organization that wishes to spread the Islamic caliphate into Europe. That wishes to effectively take over all governments in the Middle East and in Europe as well. It would run them along Islamic lines. And, that also includes Israel. The terrorist organization Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. They are very closely linked.  They wish to destroy the state of Israel. They wish to drive Israel into the sea. They want to see all Jews out of not only Israel, but the world as well. That is in their charter. The Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas have very similar objectives. In some respects, similar also to the Islamic State, which of course, is involved in the worst depravity we are seeing in the world today.  Witness the torture, murder, massacre, abuse that takes place throughout the Middle East under their dispensation. So I think our prime minister, our government, is quite right to outlaw and brand the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. And I think that President Obama should take the same steps.

Benson:  We hope so.

Gordon:  Col. Kemp, it is a pleasure to have you back on the program. And I want to return to your days in Afghanistan as Commander of British Forces in HelmandProvince. Why was the Taliban, vanquished in the first months following 9/11, able to return as a significant threat in Afghanistan in what is now a 14-year war?

Kemp:  I think one of the problems that we experienced in Afghanistan was that we, we were fighting two campaigns at the same time. We were fighting Iraq and we were fighting in Afghanistan. I think we took our eye off the ball a little bit in Afghanistan after initially vanquishing the Taliban. We then ended up with a resurgentTaliban. That does not need to continue.  It has been curbed to an extent. However, we must actually maintain our military presence, and support for the government of Afghanistan, to try and stop the spread of the Taliban and the Islamic State which is gaining increasing traction there as well.

Benson:  I am now going to bring on Richard Cutting, actor, film and, TV writer, producer and counterterrorism commentator. Welcome back, Richard.

Richard Cutting

Richard Cutting:  Thanks for having me back. ISIS and the Taliban are now at each other’s throats in Afghanistan. ISIS is having a presence of some note along the Pakistani border. What is the relative probability of ISIS gaining significant traction in Afghanistan long-term? What is the Afghan government doing to fight any ISIS advance? How are they getting, involved with Pakistan? How, are they gaining access to the theater in Afghanistan?

Kemp:  I think one of the issues here is the support that Pakistan has given to the Taliban over many years. If it had it not been for the support of the Pakistani government, in particularly their intelligence services and their army for the Taliban, then their insurgency would not have been as powerful and successful as it has been. That is one area that remains a concern as the Taliban continues its encroachment. The Islamic State is, um, gaining strength in Afghanistan.  They are gaining recruits from the Taliban. There are some whole units of the Taliban moving across to the Islamic State. In some cases, individual recruits are crossing over. They are gaining power; they’re gaining strength.

They are still not as strong as the Taliban; they’re fighting the Taliban. That is a good thing, of course, because the Islamic State members are killing Taliban people and Taliban are killing Islamic State forces, which we should encourage. We should hope that will continue because they’re both evil groups. They’re both enemies ofthe West. They’re both enemies of the Democratic Republic in Afghanistan. We need to see that continue. One of the problems is, that Pakistan is a nuclear-armed state. The Islamic State wishes to gain control in Pakistan. There is a risk of them gaining more traction in Pakistan. And the Pakistani Taliban is trying to seize control in Pakistan. We have Al-Qaeda, both in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The two theaters in some ways, I think, need to be seen as one. The difficulty is that they are enemies of each other. Pakistan hates Afghanistan, and vice versa. So this rivalry and animosity feeds and enables the growth of the Taliban and the Islamic State in both of these countries. It is an area that we need to be very concerned about. We certainly need to keep military engagement in Afghanistan. And we certainly need strong political engagement and pressure put on the Pakistani government.

Benson:  Col. Kemp: Do you see Al Qaeda and ISIS threatening the United States and its European allies?

Kemp:  As we all know 9/11 was spawned in Afghanistan. There is a very strong risk that if significant areas of Afghanistan or even the whole country, is again taken over by Islamic jihadists, we could see a scenario where they’re able to plan, organize and launch attacks against the U.S. and the West. However, it is not simplyAfghanistan today. We have very strong issues in Syria and Iraq, where the Islamic State has gained power. Admittedly, some of the areas are being taken back. We also have problems in Libya, in many parts of the Middle East, and in North Africa. There is territory that is being gained by the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda and the jihadists. All of these areas are areas that we need to monitor closely. I know the CIA is doing that. The U.S. military is doing that as well. Wherever ISIS raises its head, it has to be hit. It has to be knocked off. The problem is not going away. It is a generation’s long problem that we are facing and fighting for a very long time. We need to be constantly vigilant. We need to be aggressive in the way that we deal with it. We cannot afford simply relax our guard and hope that it is going to die down; it is not. The US has to be very politically active in the Middle East. The U.S. actually is backing the wrong horse. They are supporting one of the world’s most dangerous powers – Iran. They are abandoning their allies in the region. Their allies include Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel. Unfortunately, under President Obama, the US is not providing backing for those powers which have been effective stalwarts and bulwarks against Islamic jihad throughout the region and the world.

Benson:  I hope we can last another year with less than 10,000 combat forces in Afghanistan and soon to be reduced. We cannot imagine what will happen.

Gordon:  By the end of the Obama presidency, which is now a year away, are the Afghan security forces under the status of forces agreement, capable of defendingthe country against both the Taliban and ISIS?

Kemp:  They are not, unfortunately no. That is not without strong U.S. and Allied assistance. Britain is providing some assistance, but not as much as it should be. The problem with the Afghan security force is that they are working for a corrupt government. Corruption is endemic in Afghanistan. It started, under President Karzai and is continuing. What armed forces can be expected to fight for a corrupt regime that doesn’t support them, that does not pay them properly, that does not put a priority on giving them the resources they need? That is why U.S. forces need to retain a presence there. If they don’t, then we risk the same situation occurring in Afghanistan, perhaps on an even worse scale as we saw when President Obama pulled virtually all U.S. forces out of Iraq in 2012 as part of his domestic political agenda, which helped him to be reelected for a second term.

Benson:  As we wrap up this segment with Col. Richard Kemp, I would like to have. Richard Cutting summarize.

Cutting:  What occurs to me in listening to the Colonel is, simply this: we are in a new world. We really have to integrate that in our daily thinking. Just as you go out to hear your candidates and in your local political arenas, talking about taxes and your local issues, we must now begin to listen to our friends in the military. Col. Kemp’s message couldn’t have been clearer today. As a citizen of this country, we are in a generational battle, and we need to start acting that way. We need to think about these theaters of war as part of our everyday lives, and support the people who are intelligently analyzing this, and leading this fight. We are not in episodic wars like World War II anymore. This is going to be, unfortunately, something we pass on to our children. There must be a continuum of intelligent political discussion, that is precise, and based on the good efforts and fine work of people like Col. Kemp. Thank you, Colonel, for putting in that generational aspect. It has to start becoming normalized.

Gordon:  Col. Kemp is a man who has also put his finger on what the problem is here in the West. He calls it the “amoral revolution.” He, however, has been an exemplar of defending those common Judeo-Christian values, coming to the assistance of the Israel Defense Force.  The IDF has been unfairly castigated in international forums. It has been unjustly accused of war crimes. Kemp also put his finger on whom in the Muslim world, are backing the Taliban and ISIS, particularly in the Middle East, North Africa, and even South Asia.

Kemp:  I think it’s very important that Americans realize the war that we’re in. The two commentators there made it absolutely clear, and rightly, that this is agenerational struggle. It’s a struggle between the West and radical Islam. This is not a war sought by the West. This is a war that has been sought by radical Islamists. They want to dominate the Middle East. They want to deny any access to the Middle East by the West. They also want to dominate areas of the West, perhaps the whole of the West. We have to fight them. We have to stand up and fight them. We are not going to fight them by pretending that the struggle doesn’t exist, by pretending that they are not our enemies, because they are our enemies.

I am not suggesting that all Muslims are our enemies. Those who wish to see us destroyed, those who wish to change the way of life in countries like Britain and the United States of America that have been responsible for the vast majority of good that’s been done in this world. We just cannot allow them to destroy us. We have to stand up against them and fight them. We should not deny that this problem exists. We need to find ways of dealing with it.  Our politicians are too enthusiastic about understanding and wanting to embrace cultures that simply don’t work in our countries. They cannot work in our countries unless we wish to see our countriesdescending into the kind of violence and amorality that exists in so many parts of the Middle East. Let us support Israel. Let us do everything we can to support the outpost of civilization, the outpost of Western values that exists in the Middle East. It is a very valuable country. It is a magnificent country from which we all benefit. We must support Israel as we support our own civilizations.

Benson:  I’d like to bring on my next guest, Dr. Sebastian Gorka. Welcome, Dr. Gorka.

Dr. Sebastian Gorka

Dr. Sebastian Gorka:  Thank you so much, Lisa.

Benson:  Dr. Gorka, You are advisor to the Department, the Department of Defense in its irregular warfare joint operation concept. You currently serve as the Major General Matthew C. Horner Distinguished Chair of Military Theory at Marine Corps University. Previously you were Associate Dean of Congressional Affairs and Relations to the special operations community at the National Defense University.

Gordon:  Dr. Gorka, in early December we had the San Bernardino, California terrorist massacre. This weekend we had a shooting of a police officer in Philadelphia by a former convicted felon. Were these crimes by Muslims inspired by loyalty to the pure Islam of ISIS?

Gorka:  The most important thing we have to do is jettison a phrase that is used so regularly in the media, of “lone-wolf terrorism.” This is a phrase that was invented to make the listener disconnect the dots. There is this idea that there has to be some kind of operational link between the perpetrators and Al-Qaeda central, or ISIS headquarters in Iraq or Syria. The fact is that, whether it’s the Boston Bombers whether it’s the Chattanooga shooter, whether it is the two in San Bernardino or this new, attempted murder of this police officer in Philadelphia, it’s very clear that the connective tissue for all of them is the ideology of global jihad. We have to understand that all of these actors from 9/11 down are connected, share the same concept that we are the infidel; America is antithetical to Islam, and as a result we must be destroyed. This is the big picture. This is the strategic understanding that the current administration doesn’t want your listeners to have.

Cutting:  Dr. Gorka, two Iraqi refugees, one in Sacramento and the other in Houston, were arrested this past week. One had joined ISIS in Syria and returned toCalifornia as a trained jihadi, influencing the other to join ISIS. How deficient is our system for vetting refugees, in light of the Administration’s resettlement of thousands of Syrian refugees in the United States?

Gorka:  It is not just deficient; it’s actually, impossible to do the vetting that would be required. So, if you want to vett somebody, from the national securityperspective, who’s coming into the country as a refugee, there are really only two ways to do it. This is very personal to me; my parents were refugees. They escaped the Communist country during the Cold War, and they were vetted. They escaped Hungary in the revolution of 1956. They arrived in a refugee camp in Austria. For the next few weeks, they were persistently and repeatedly interviewed by counterintelligence professional who would make the determination after dozens of interviews, whether or not the individual was truly a refugee and should be supported and given succor? Or whether they were an agent of a hostile power – in that case, a Communist regime? So that’s the first way you do it. Right now America does not have the manpower to do that. Remember, the president has just declared that his priority is to provide more agents to the FBI to do background checks for firearms purchases. I doubt this would be a priority.

The second way to vet is to compare that individual’s story and the data they are providing you, against an objective, confirmed database – a source that you know is true. You check that against their presentations to the individual who’s interviewing them. As Director Comey of the FBI, has testified on the Hill, we do not have that database to check refugee data against. It doesn’t even exist. Even if it existed in Syria, the Assad regime would not give us access to that information. So when it comes to the very basic 101 of national security, we don’t have the manpower, nor do we have the objective data – the verifiable data – available to do a proper refugee screening as the U.S. national security would require.

Gordon:  Dr. Gorka, you were in both Israel and Jordan during the Christmas/New Year’s holiday. You visited a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan. What did you take away from that experience about Administration policies regarding the conflict in Syria and the strategy combating ISIS?

Gorka:  There were two big takeaways after we visited the biggest refugee camp in Jordan. The first one is the fact that Jordan is doing an incredible job with minimal assistance from either the United States or the, very wealthy Gulf states. So think about this; Jordan has a population of 6 million Jordanians, and they’ve absorbed atleast one and a half million refugees from Syria. This is a nation that doesn’t have oil; that is not wealthy. They are doing an incredible job absorbing the aftermath of the murderous war that is occurring in Syria. So they need support, and fundamentally they need support from the Gulf States that are in a position to assist them. Secondly, I think the biggest take-home is what the Jordanian authorities shared with us after we had seen everything, and after we asked them, so what’s the long-term scenario here? And they were very candid with us. Remember, Jordan is a Muslim country. It is a Sunni Muslim country; it headed by King Abdullah II, who is descended from Mohammed. That is why it’s called the Hashemite Kingdom. They were very explicit; they said, look, these are Syrians from Syria. We don’t want them to stay in refugee camps. Nor does it make sense for them to move further north into Europe, nor does it make sense for them to travel across the Atlantic to be accepted into countries like the United States. The long-term answer is for the crisis in Syria to be resolved, and for these Syrians to go back to Syria. So when a, a Muslim nation right next to the Syrian conflict tells you that, I think we should listen.

Benson:  Dr. Gorka, New York City concluded a settlement ending the NYPD Muslim community profiling program imposing a civilian monitor on the policedepartment. Do you think this puts New York City at greater risk for Islamic terror?

Gorka:  Absolutely. I was actually briefing a House Committee about this Friday. One of the Congressmen asked me, “So what’s the good news?” Because I gave them a very depressing presentation on how we are losing the war with the jihadists. At the end of the briefing, one of them said, “So, Dr. Gorka, give us some good news about what works. What have we done right in the last 15 years?”  I said, “You know what? Our federal government really hasn’t done very much right in the last 15 years. But if you want a model of how to make America secure or part of America secure, it’s the NYPD.”

The NYPD after 9/11 made a very simple decision. They said, “The feds have let us down. The Big Apple was the key target. and, they didn’t do their jobs. So we’re not going to ask, we’re not going to expect Uncle Sam to protect the citizens of New York again, but we’re going to do it ourselves.” New York went from having six counterterrorism intelligence analysts, to building probably one of the world’s best counter-jihadi intelligence capabilities, with amazing human intelligence networks. People who were trained to go into the communities to monitor the radical Imam, the radical mosques. This is way to do it to protect Americans. But that only lasted until Mayor de Blasio. So now you have in New York, a, another version of what’s happening here in Washington with the White House. You have politics getting in the way of national security. And you’ve got ideology undermining American lives.

Cutting:  Dr. Gorka, you cover such a range. The one thing that didn’t get factored into this is the Persian Gulf, situation with Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Gorka:  I’m going to steal somebody else’s words here. There is no better summary than Netanyahu’s, description before Congress recently, when he said, “If you want to understand what’s going on in the Middle East now, you have to understand that it is a game of thrones for the crown of the caliphate.” We’re obsessed with Al-Qaeda, with ISIS; but we have to understand that it is actually a war between the Shiite version of the Caliphate, as, designed by the Mullahs in Tehran, and the Sunni version of the Caliphate, as exemplified by Al-Qaeda and, ISIS. So this, this is the war that we are caught up in. Two versions of the Caliphate and Iran is potentially even more dangerous than ISIS, because of their nuclear capabilities.

Gordon:  Dr. Gorka has basically told us that we can forget about the administration’s famous program combating violent extremism. If you don’t focus on theunderlying Islamic Koranic doctrine, you will not succeed in combating either domestic terrorism or ISIS and settling the problems in the Middle East. Furthermore, you’ve got a sectarian divide rising between Iran – which is potentially going to be nuclear-powered – and Saudi Arabia.

 Benson:  Thank you, Jerry Gordon. Thank you, Richard Cutting. Thank you Dr. Gorka.

Gorka:  You’re very welcome.

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

VIDEO: Dr. Mordecahi Kedar on Israel and the Middle East

Dr. Mordecahi Kedar is a Professor at Bar-Ilan University. He spent 25 years with IDF Military Intelligence (Unit 8200).

He is interviewed by the USA Transnational Report at The Villages in Florida.

VIDEO: Pastor Jack Martin Running for Congress in Florida’s 11th District

Florida’s 11th Congressional District includes Sumter, Citrus and Hernando counties and most of Marion county. The current representative of the 11th Congressional District is Richard B. Nugent (R). Nugent is retiring at the end of his current term.

Pastor John “Jack” Martin has decided for God and country to run for Nugent’s seat. Here is a video of Jack Martin speaking at a Second Amendment rally:

Guns Across America Florida Rally Pastor Jack Martin from Jack Martin on Vimeo.

Pastor Marin’s history is that of a 33 year pastor. He is a member of the Black Robe Regiment and Preacher from The Pulpit. He has been standing up, speaking out and attending various events throughout the State of Florida to Washington D.C. He has always felt that a position as a statesman, U.S. Congressional Rep. to represent The People was his next calling in life.

Martin on his website lists six major crises Americans face:

  1. The National Debt – Over 18 Trillion Dollars
  2. Our Borders – Unprotected and being flooded daily with those entering illegally from many nations.
  3. Our Military both Veterans and Active Duty treated poorly.
  4. Obamacare – Needing to be repealed and replaced.
  5. Israeli / American Relationships – Need to be restored.
  6. Our Judeo Christian Ethics – under heavy attack.

Jack Martin speaking on the Black Robe Regiment at a Deland, Florida Rally in December 2015:

Pastor Martin has been endorsed by William Finlay, Wild Bill for America, also a Black Robe Regiment member among others.

Supporter Deb Howard states, “Pastor Jack is well known for his candor of Gods word and the application in conjunction with today’s times that we face. His deliveries are captivating. I am attaching one in particular that I believe delivers Jacks beliefs as he does walk the walk. There is no denying that people are pleasantly surprised as the preacher from the small country church is ready willing and able to face the evil in D.C. unafraid to be heard and willing to fight the mass corruption within our Halls!”

“Pastor Jack is also acquainted with Geoff Ross, Senior Chief, U.S. Navy (Ret.), Michael McCallister, Colonel, U.S. Army (Ret.), Ann Murrin, PoliticoChicks, Rodney Conover (writer and radio host), Joe The Plumber and numerous others who are supporting, covering the campaign trail and publishing information about him, ” said Howard.

Howard notes, “Our attempt to make Pastor John Martin a household name not only in District FL-11 but nationwide as he is challenging pastors to step out and off of the pulpit and guide congregations to comprehend the true nature of their work. As Black Robe Regiment Pastors joined in leading with George Washington to fight for our independence in the Revolutionary War, so stands John Martin.”

EDITORS NOTE: Readers wanting more information may visit the Jack Martin for Congress website.

VIDEO: Iranian-Backed Harakat al-Sabireen Terror Group in West Bank and Gaza

 reports:

A new Iranian-backed terror group is making inroads in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, where it operates underground with the potential capacity to deliver devastating attacks to Israel, according to regional experts who have been investigating the organization’s rise.

The group, which goes by the name Harakat al-Sabireen, was established around May 2014 but has begun in recent months to boost its public profile on social media and brag about its plots to wage jihad against Israel, according to information gathered by regional analysts and provided to the Washington Free Beacon.

Al-Sabireen is believed to receive $10 million a year from Iran via funds that are smuggled through a large network of tunnels built by terrorists to facilitate illicit travel beneath the Gaza Strip, according to estimates disseminated in the Arab language press.

Read more.

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U.S. Campuses: Virulent Anti-Semitism Passed Off as Mild Dissent

Anti-Israel BDS resolutions have been seizing campuses in Canada. According to an article in the Jerusalem Post, it is Hamas — an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood — that has fueled and directed the BDS and Israel Apartheid Week campaigns on university campuses across North America, through chapters of the Muslim Student Association and the Palestine Solidarity Network. Yet these menacing campaign drives are being minimized, passed off at best as a difference of opinion, and at worst, as social justice campaigns to protect Palestinians from the so-called brutalities imposed by an apartheid state.

A recent Brandeis University study on anti-Semitism singled out Canadian and Californian universities as locales where hostility toward Jewish students was especially high.

In Spring 2014, several hundred Ryerson University students voted “overwhelmingly in favour” of supporting BDS. Then three months ago, what was described as “a hate-filled anti-semitic message full of vile language” was found scrawled in the men’s bathroom at Ryerson. It referenced the “stealing of Palestinian land” and called for Israel, Jews and supporters of the state of Israel to “burn in hell.” In April, the president of the organization called Ryerson’s Students Supporting Israel said she was spat upon while holding an Israeli flag as she filmed a school project on campus, prompting investigations by Toronto police and the university’s Investigations and Crime Prevention Office.

Referring to the graffiti, Ryerson President Sheldon Levy stated:

We are shocked and saddened….Graffiti of this nature is absolutely unacceptable at Ryerson and has no place on our campus or anywhere else. We are committed to providing a civil and safe environment which is free of discrimination, harassment, and hate, and is respectful of the rights, responsibilities, well-being and dignity of all its members.

Despite the rebuke to such blatant anti-Semitism, there still lurks a more subtle and dangerous new anti-semitism that is paraded as dissent in political opinion, but that aims to delegitimize the state of Israel.

I had the unfortunate firsthand experience of a display of this phenomenon — albeit a seemingly mild version — during a speech I gave before an adult part-time class at Ryerson University on November 9. Also speaking was the executive director of a Christian Zionist organization. The professor who invited us did a stellar job at keeping balance and poise in the midst of unreasonable “student” attacks against the state of Israel, and some aimed at me personally.

The experience I will recount is one that is far too often justified by reference to the Palestinian plight, and is also minimized by those who undermine the peril of this subtle form of new antisemitism.

My speech encompassed the justification of support for Israel beyond “the Bible said so,” with references to the two-state solution delineated long ago by the League of Nations, to which Arab states still took offense, as they rejected Israel’s very existence — despite the British partition plan favoring the Arabs – and thus attacked the Jewish State it upon its birth in 1948. My co-speaker was her usual charming self as she discussed the fine work of her Christian Zionist organization. Then came my segment, which was more about the blend and crossover between religion and politics with regards to Israel.

It was stunning to witness the spectacle of a significant number of audience members virulently against the state of Israel with no justification, rhyme or reason, and most critically, no apparent recognition of why Israel needs to defend itself from obliteration. When challenged to explain their positions, they could offer no explanation for their views beyond “you’re passionate, you’re religious….you’re one-sided,” or “I find it hard to listen to a one-sided approach.” The obsession with the “occupied territories,” “the fence,” “the expansion of settlements in East Jerusalem,” and the “poverty of Palestinians is because of Israel” was obscene in the face of Israel’s struggle to exist, not to mention the deadly Hamas, PA and Fatah Charters seeking Israel’s obliteration; the persecution of Christians in Bethlehem; the stabbings in Jerusalem; the rocket attacks; the Muslim women and children human shields used by Hamas; and so on. One woman talked with disdain about her “evangelical brother,” whom she found to be ignorant and bigoted, as she implicitly accused me of being an ignorant evangelical who blindly supported what she portrayed as the criminal state of Israel, but gave no evidence when asked to explain and elaborate upon her thoughts.

She and her fellow Israel-haters didn’t even care that Abbas announced that there would not be one Jew in a Palestinian state (a demonstration of pure hatred and apartheid), or that Abbas did his PhD in Holocaust denial. It was as though these folks were deaf, dumb and blind to history and the current realities of Israel’s existential threat as well as the grave sufferings being endured by the persecuted Church in Islamic states and in Bethlehem, from which Christians have been driven out.

Given plenty of opportunity and encouragement to address exactly what in the points I had made that the “students” thought was flawed, they had no answer or even any desire to examine the issues fairly in search of truth, but instead persisted with a brazen display of raw anti-Semitism disguised as caring about the Palestinians. Not even one question was posed during the speech (or Question and Answer period) about to where the 31 billion dollars of aid that the West gave to the Palestinian Authority vanished. I will answer now: much went to funding terrorism, for starters, which included reward blood money to terrorists who successfully murdered innocent Israelis.

When the bright Ryerson Professor posed a question to an attendee about whether it would really make any significant difference if Israel stopped its expansion of settlements in East Jerusalem, the answer was that at least people would not be as upset. The ludicrousness of this answer was perplexing.

I was surprised at the end of my presentation by a surprising nice round of applause, as well as by the sudden appearance of many in support of Israel that I wished had spoken up more.

What nation on the face of the earth faces obliteration by Islamic regimes, on top of unjustified and venomous attacks from Western critics who enjoy their safety at home — and in Israel, were it not for jihadists — and who would be murdered if they even so much as openly expressed their views about freedom of religion or rights for women and gays in the despotic territories surrounding Israel? A question to contemplate: Israel has habitually tried to make friends out of its foes; has it worked?

I posted this first-hand experience on Facebook, and one of the comments by an Israeli Defense and security specialist displayed some insights into raw truth:

Don’t we know this? We did warn the world about ISIS. We did warn the world about  aviation and airport security. We did warn the world about border security. Did anyone listen? Of course not!!!!

Four decades ago, the renowned professor Bernard Lewis wrote that an “ominous phrase” was heard immediately preceding the Six-Day War in 1967: “First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people.’” In an era of rising jihadist infiltration into Western civilization, let’s hope that leaders and campus authorities can begin deciphering the meaning and profundity of such a statement in the face of stark and mounting evidence.

Christine Williams is an award winning Canadian journalist and public relations consultant. She is also an appointee of the Canadian government.

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Can’t argue with that, Bibi.

“John Kerry Says the Middle East Is ‘Safer’ Thanks to Iran Deal Implementation — But That’s Not What Netanyahu Says,” by Sharona Schwartz, The Blaze, January 17, 2016:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions against Iran would free up more money for the Islamic Republic to pursue terrorism.

“What is clear is that Iran will now have more resources to divert to terrorism and its aggression in the region and around the world, and Israel is prepared to deal with any threat,” Netanyahu said at his weekly cabinet meeting, according to a transcript released by his office.

Netanyahu’s assessment stood in stark contrast with that of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who a day earlier said that both the world and the Middle East were now safer thanks to the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal.

“Today … the United States, our friends and allies in the Middle East, and the entire world are safer because the threat of a nuclear weapon has been reduced,” Kerry said Saturday in Vienna.

The Israeli leader vowed that his government would monitor “all of Iran’s international violations, including regarding the nuclear agreement, the ballistic missile agreement and terrorism.”

He also urged other countries to “enact severe and aggressive sanctions against each violation.”

“Were it not for our efforts to lead sanctions and thwart Iran’s nuclear program, Iran would have had nuclear weapons some time ago. Israel’s policy is exactly as it has been – not to allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapon,” Netanyahu added….

RELATED ARTICLE: Islamic jihadists kidnap three Americans in Baghdad

Sweden would defend any county ‘except Israel’

When the Social Democrats swept into power in Sweden in 2014 led by Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, a prominent member of his cabinet was a self-styled ‘feminist’ Foreign Minister, Margot Wallstrom. Both Lofven and King Carl Gustav XVI got more than they bargained for the new Foreign Minister.

Socialminister Margot Wallström (s)

Social minister Margot Wallström (s)

Wallstrom’s controversial comments about Saudi Arabia’s misogyny required a tet e tet between the Swedish and Saudi monarchs to preserve the country’s status as the 12th leading exporter of arms.  Sweden has more than 700,000 Muslims amongst the Nordic country’s population of 12 million. The Muslim presence in Sweden has given rise to reports of gang rape of Swedish women and a spike in anti-Semitism, especially given the Muslim majority in the country’s third largest city, Malmo. With Sweden admitting thousands more Muslim migrants and asylees from the conflicts in Syria, North and sub-Sahara Africa and South Asia, it has become even more problematic.

However, major contretemps were occasioned by the Lofven government’s recognition of the corrupt, undemocratic Palestinian Authority as a state, when it doesn’t meet the internationally recognized definition of the 1933 Montevideo Convention. That set Israel’s Foreign Ministry on edge, given that Sweden was buying into the victimhood mantra and hate- filled incitement  of PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

Wallstrom is currently the center of approbation given her controversial accusations that Israel has engaged in “extrajudicial killings” of Palestinians and Israel Arabs in response to the daily toll of knifings, car rammings and shootings.  According to a Reuters report on the Wallstrom Israel controversy, the toll since October “includes 24 Israelis and a U.S. citizen. Israeli forces or armed civilians have killed at least 143 Palestinians, 91 of whom authorities have described as assailants.” Wallstrom said in Swedish parliamentary debates on January 12th, “It is vital that there is a thorough, credible investigation into these deaths in order to clarify and bring about possible accountability.” Reuters noted that Wallstrom “earlier described the Palestinians’ plight as a factor leading to Islamist radicalization – comments seen in Israel as linking it to the November gun and bomb rampage in Paris.”

These latest comments by Wallstrom triggered actions by Israel’s Foreign Ministry capped by remarks, January 14th by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in an Arutz Sheva article calling her accusations, “scandalous”, “immoral” and “foolish ”.   Sweden Ambassador to Israel Carl Magnus Nesser was called in by Israeli Foreign Ministry Deputy Director General Aviva Shir-On for a reprimand.  According to a Jerusalem Post, report:

 Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon said Wallstrom would not be welcome to visit Israel. His comments served as a clarification to remarks made earlier in the day by Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely who said Israel was closing its door to visits from Swedish officials in the wake of Wallstrom’s words. Israel was sending in the clearest manner possible a very sharp message to Sweden saying that it is backing terrorism and giving a tail wind to the Islamic State to act throughout Europe.

Wallstrom’s comments were a “bad combination of folly and diplomatic stupidity, and Israel will close its door to official visits from Sweden.”

Wallstrom was essentially deemed persona non grata and Swedish officials would be barred from any future deliberations in Israel regarding the Palestinian conflict.

Jonathan Greenblatt, the new CEO  and national  executive director of the Anti-Defamation League in New York, was prompted to send a letter to Swedish Prime Minister Lofven. According to a report in The Algemeiner, Greenberg wrote:

We urge you to ensure that official Swedish statements demonstrate respect for, and knowledge of, Israel’s proven commitment to the rule of law, support for its security challenges, even as it faces armed threats on a scale which Sweden is fortunate not to know.

Sweden is joining the worst Palestinian incitement suggesting Israel is randomly shooting innocent Palestinians in the streets and planting knives in their hands to frame them.

Kent Ekeroth, Sweden Democrat Jewish deputy

Kent Ekeroth, Sweden Democrat Jewish deputy,

None of this controversy surprises the opposition in the Swedish parliament, especially, Kent Ekeroth, the Jewish deputy in the right wing, Sweden Democrat party. An Algemeiner report on  December 9, 2015 had these  comments by Ekeroth about Wallstrom made during an Israeli Channel 2 interview following a debate with her in Sweden’s Parliament:

Sweden has always had misconceptions about Israel, but it has become more extreme. Our government, and especially [Foreign] Minister [Margot] Wallstrom have different standards when it comes to anything related to Israel.

Sweden would defend any other country, but “because we’re talking about Israel,” Sweden “attacks.”

“Either [Wallstrom] doesn’t know that [the Palestinians] support terrorists or she’s just lying,” said Ekeroth. “The foreign minister is carrying out false propaganda and accuses Israel of everything. It’s amazing she doesn’t understand the logic that Israel is defending itself from terrorists. She’s anti-Israel and tries to defend terrorists.”

Ingrid Carlqvist in a Gatestone Institute article, “Sweden’s Walking Diplomatic Disaster”, published, January 14th  presented extensive background on the swirl of controversies surrounding Wallstrom.   She cited this assessment of the Social Democrat Lofven government  from former Israeli Ambassador to Sweden, Zvi Mazel:

Zvi Mazel, Israel’s ambassador to Sweden from 2002-2004, wrote for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs on December 14, that,

“The Swedish Social Democratic Party is not known for its sympathy toward Israel. Its current duo of leaders, however, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and Foreign Minister Margot Wallström, have gone overboard and are waging a systematic campaign against Israel. Although the recognition of a Palestinian state was a continuation of the Swedish left’s hostile policy toward Israel, it was also aimed at the country’s large Muslim minority — comprising about 700,000 people — with the aim of attracting Muslim voters to the party in the next elections. During my diplomatic tenure in Sweden in the early 2000s, all my efforts to conduct a dialogue with that party fell on deaf ears. … the two countries’ relations have turned into a cycle of altercations.”

In  Carlqvist’s  Gatestone Institute  article was this  excerpt from a parliamentary debate between her and Ekeroth:

In early December, two members of Parliament, Mathias Sundin of the Liberals and Kent Ekeroth of the Sweden Democrats, had demanded that Wallström explain why she had not condemned the rampant Palestinian knife attacks against civilian Israelis with so much as a syllable. The ensuing debate ended with Wallström saying that she trusts Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas implicitly, because he told her he wants peace, and she believes him. She also leveled new accusations against Israel, which, according to Wallström, is engaged in “extrajudicial executions.”

Kent Ekeroth wondered how Wallström views President Abbas and his Fatah party. The Foreign Minister replied:

“The government supports moderate forces in Palestine, the government supports the Palestinian Authority and others who recognize Israel’s right to exist and seek a diplomatic solution to the conflict, enabling Israel and Palestine to live side by side with peace and security. I find that President Abbas has made it his life’s goal to replace the way of violence with a diplomatic struggle to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine. I also note that President Abbas, apart from his denunciation of terrorism, has also spoken against cries for violent resistance against the Israeli occupying force.”

Ekeroth retorted:

“Wallström portrays Abbas as a pacifist who has denounced terrorism. He might condemn terrorism when it is French citizens who are killed, but when it is Israelis being killed there are no problems. He has not condemned a single one of the murders of 20 Israelis during the last few months. On the contrary, many of the Palestinian Authority and Fatah leaders have glorified the killers. A member of the Fatah Central Council told Palestinian TV in October that he congratulates all those who have carried out the attacks. He is proud of them, and thought that knife attacks should be taught in Palestinian schools. Your own ‘golden boy’ Mahmoud Abbas said in September, regarding the violence against Israelis, that ‘We bless every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem’, and we know that every Palestinian assassin apprehended by Israel is rewarded by the Palestinian Authority. So how can Wallström claim that he denounces terrorism, when he is actually rewarding it with money from the Swedish taxpayers?

“Wallström is either ignorant about Abbas’ celebrations of and rewards to murderers, or she is lying. Neither alternative is very flattering. I would therefore like to ask two questions: Is Wallström aware of the praising of terrorism? Is Wallström aware of the rewards paid to terrorists? Yes or no?”

Wallström replied that she certainly condemns “all acts of violence, regardless if they are carried out by Palestinians or Israelis, and I have emphasized the importance of bringing those responsible to justice and not engaging in extrajudicial executions.”

Wallström further thought that one should not attempt to interpret or translate what Abbas says, because there are so many different ways to do this. “I do not think we should do that, the important thing is that we condemn violence and I myself have heard Abbas do this, so I know he renounces violence.”

Ekeroth shot back: “One does not reward terrorists with recognition, and one does not pay them using Swedish taxpayers’ money.” He then proceeded to show a number of printouts of Fatah’s official Facebook page, where murdered Israelis are displayed and the killings celebrated. “You need to understand that Abbas speaks two languages — one to gullible [Western] politicians, where he says he wants peace, and another to Palestinians, where he promotes, glorifies and rewards terror. Wallström needs to stop listening to what Abbas tells her and instead start listening to what he tells his own people.”

WATCH  this sub-titled video of the Wallstrom Ekeroth debate on December 4, 2015:

RELATED ARTICLE: Swedish Woman Murdered by Muslim Refugees that she Supported!

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

PODCAST: The War against the Infidels

LISTEN to this podcast of the January 10, 2016 Lisa Benson Show on KKNT 960 The Patriot.  Lisa Benson and New English Review Senior Editor Jerry Gordon co-hosted this show with the assistance of Board of Advisors member, Richard Cutting.

Col. Richard Kemp, (ret.) CBE, former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan and noted commentator on counterinsurgency and counterterrorism, discussed why Israel is the outpost of civilization in the Middle east. He urged Queen Elizabeth to visit Israel in 2017, the 100th Anniversary of the liberation of Jerusalem from the Turks to honor ANZAC fallen.  He drew attention to British Prime Minister Cameron who has spoken before Israel’s Knesset and his designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group.  He suggested that perhaps the Administration might follow suit.

He considers the Muslim Brotherhood as an evil organization seeking to spread Islamist hatred of Israel Europe and the West. Hamas he pointed out had links to the Muslim Brotherhood with objectives similar to that of ISIS.   An ISIS he said was spreading its barbaric Islamic doctrine across the Muslim Ummah from Syria and Iraq to North and sub-Sahara Africa and South Asia.

With regard to the resurgence of the Taliban in a 14 year war in Afghanistan with NATO forces, he said that some of it was attributable to the role of Pakistan intelligence service.  The Pakistanis and Afghans he noted are enemies.  He called attention to the internecine war between the Taliban and ISIS endeavoring to gain power as enemies of the democratic government in Afghanistan. A government plagued with corruption hobbling the country’s security forces.  He called attention to a generational long struggle against Islamist Jihadism in which the West cannot relax. It must stand up and fight.   He noted in passing that the US Administration has taken its eye off the ball with outreach to an enemy, Iran. He attributed some of the present difficulties in the Middle east and South Asia to both the pullout of US forces in Iraq and pull down of ISAF troops in Afghanistan.

Dr. Sebastian Gorka addressed the number one issue in polls taken of Americans, national security and domestic Islamic terrorism.  He suggested that the Administration had to jettison the canard of lone wolf terror acts. The Boston Marathon Bombers, the shooting in Chattanooga, the massacre in San Bernardino and the recent attempted murder of a police officer by a convicted felon and convert to Islam in Philadelphia he said was reflective of the connective tissue of Global Jihad doctrine. That doctrine viewed America and the West as antithetical to Jihadist aims.

He viewed the ability of the US and the EU to vett the millions of migrants and refugees flooding the west as well nigh impossible.  While referencing the intense scrutiny of his parents, refugees from the 1956 Hungarian rebellion against Soviet Communism, he suggested that could only be done under intense and repeated questioning by counterterrorism security echelons using a data base to check documents and bona fides.  He suggested that the US is hobbled by the lack of manpower and a data base to vett, for example, the stream of Syrian Refugees.

Having visited a Syrian refugee camp during the recent Christmas New Year’s holiday, he was struck with two takeaways. He commended the Kingdom of Jordan, without the resources of oil revenues of an incredible job of s country of 6 million handling an influx of 1.5 million Syrian refugees. He tasked the oil rich Gulf States and Saudi Arabia to offer financial and resettlement assistance.  He said there was no sense to send Syrians to the EU or the US. Rather it was incumbent on the contending powers, especially the US, to resolve the conflict, hereby enabling the Syrians in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon to return home.

Regarding the recent settlement between New York City and Muslim and civil liberties advocacy groups ending  the NYPD Muslim community profiling program, Gorka  said in a recent House Armed  Services Committee testimony  that after 9/11, the NYPD had been let down by Federal law enforcement and counterterrorism agencies. The NYPD he noted undertook to build perhaps the best counterterrorism intelligence and surveillance program to monitor and protect the Muslim community in New York against Islamist inroads. Effectively he commented to the House Committee that politics continued to get in the way of national security.

When asked about the current rising Sunni Shiite divide between Saudi Arabia and Iran, he referred to a comment from Israeli PM Netanyahu, who said it was a Game of Thrones pitting the Saudi Wahabbist Sunni Caliphate against the Mullahs of the Shia Mahdist Caliphate in Nuclear Iran.

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

Israel is Safe, Smart and Fun!

Captain Dan Gordan (IDF Reserves) is an accomplished Hollywood writer and producer.

He is the “escort” for our upcoming mission to Israel, from March 12th  to the 22nd, 2016.

Please listen to Dan discuss the safety, security and importance of Israel in today’s destabilized world.

For more information on this exciting and educational trip contact: Damon@TheUnitedWest.org.

The West is so naive when it comes to the Islamic State

In our January 2016 New English Review discussion with Dr. Jill, Bellamy, “The ISIS Chemical Biological Threat to the West,” we wrote:

In conversations with Dr. Bellamy she had raised the threat that the Islamic State with more than $1 billion in funding from smuggled oil sales, extortion and looted bank hard currency and gold reserves could acquire the professional staff of scientists and technicians and equip laboratories for production of leading edge synthetic biological weapons. She had also drawn concern over foreign ISIS fighters in Libya gaining control of Gaddafi-era chemical weapons caches sealed by the UN.

Dr. Bellamy provided confirmation of this in a FoxNews report presenting graphic evidence of what she said should give the West cause for concern, “Footage of ISIS weapons lab shows construction of heat-seeking missiles, car bombs:”

New images of what is being called a “jihadi technical college” in the ISIS terror group’s de facto capital shows that the group is capable of producing key components for advanced weaponry, including surface-to-air missiles.

Footage of the weapons lab in Raqqa, Syria was obtained by Sky News and shows that ISIS scientists have managed to produce a homemade thermal battery for use in surface-to-air missile systems. That had previously been thought impossible for terror groups without any military infrastructure to accomplish.

The footage shows that ISIS can recommission thousands of missiles previously thought unusable and target passenger and military aircraft.

Sky News reports that terror groups had previously been able to build the weapons, but storing them and maintaining the thermal battery was difficult to do.

“What this video shows is that ISIS is leagues ahead of their terrorist predecessors,” Chris Hunter, a former bomb technician with the United Kingdom Special Forces, told Sky News. “Their advanced knowledge of weapons engineering, coupled with their seemingly limitless ability to reverse engineer and recondition weapons (which until now intelligence agencies had considered obsolete and beyond repair) kept me awake all night.”

Sky also reported that the ISIS “research and development” team has produced remote control cars to act as mobile bombs, complete with “drivers” — mannequins with self-regulating thermostats that produce the heat signature of humans, allowing the car bombs to evade sophisticated scanning machines that protect military and government buildings in the West.

The Sky report was based on eight hours of unedited training video that was seized by the Free Syria Army when it captured an ISIS trainer making his way toward Europe via Turkey.

An ISIS defector in Turkey told Sky News that a top secret training program was known about in Raqqa, his home town. He confirmed the program was designed to carry out attacks in Europe and further afield.

“If [attacks were] meant internally. they could send someone to set an explosive device or wire a car as they are able to do this [openly],” the defector said. “But doing such a program and documenting it was meant to target a large number of people and in more than one location.”

Bellamy’s comment on this FoxNews report is apt:

The West is so terribly and dangerously naive when it comes to IS. They cling to the notion that they are incompetent or don’t have WMD capabilities and continuously try to downplay the threat we face. Israel and possibly Russia are the only countries who really ‘get it’ when it comes to Da’esh scientific staff.

Our comment.  President Obama, this is graphic evidence that we are not dealing with a JV team of Islamic terrorists in occupied Raqqa, Syria, the capital of the self-declared Caliphate, the Islamic State.

RELATED VIDEO: Usama Dakdok’s analysis of the Islamic State (presentation begins at 13:00 minute mark):

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

2016 — A ‘Perilous Year’ for the U.S. and the World

2016 will be a perilous year for the U.S. and the World primarily because no leadership will be forthcoming from the U.S. during the remainder to the term of President Obama.

Iran is currently building and testing new ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads in violation of U.N. resolutions. The Obama administration promised to deliver to Congress a list of sanctions against Iran. Even though the sanctions were rather mild Iran objected and Obama postponed the sanctions indefinitely. These sanctions may be characterized as a new ‘Obama Red Line’ which he has breached. It is notice to Iran–Iran is no longer constrained by the nuclear agreement which in effect is only binding on Obama and has no legal force against Iran. Further it is notice to Iran that it can continue as the leading state sponsor of terrorism without fear of any action by the U.S.

It is no coincidence that Saudi Arabia, Bahrain (home to the U.S. fleet), Sudan The United Arab Eremites and Kuwait have broken relations with Iran following Obama’s feckless withdrawal of sanctions against Iran. Undoubtedly this was the last straw for Saudi Arabia and other Sunnis. They realize Obama has become the defender and supporter of Iran against U.S.’s former allies.

In effect Obama is trying to create Iran (a Shiite Persian country) as the strong horse in the region against the Arab Sunnis. Obama has picked the wrong horse as there are about one and a half billion Muslims 87% of which are Sunni and 13% Shiites. Added to this mix they see Obama favors Iran over Israel America’s only reliable ally in the region.

It is no wonder that Obama’s favored treatment of Iran over Saudi Arabia and the other Sunni nations has prevented Obama from creating an Arab Sunni coalition to fight ISIS. An effective coalition of Arabs to defeat ISIS must be postponed until Obama is no longer in office and a president that does not follow in Obama’s footsteps is elected.

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The Growing Islamic State threat to Israel: A Clear and Present Danger

Attention has been  brought to bear by recent activities on Israel’s northern and southern frontier by ISIS in Syria and the Salafist affiliate in the Sinai, Ansar Beit al-Makdas (ABAM).  That is independent of the alleged ABAM involvement in the downing of the Russian Metrojet Airbus 321 on October 31, 2015 with a bomb secreted aboard the aircraft that killed 224 passengers and crew in the Sinai.

While ISIS allegedly fears only the Israeli Defense Force, at issue is Israel prepared to deal with these threats on both its Northern and Southern Frontiers.

Moreover, what the U.S. can do given its virtual abandonment of an alliance with Egypt, Israel and neighboring Jordan that collectively face the emboldened  self-declared Islamic State (IS). An Islamic state that has demonstrated its long arm reach planning and fomenting barbarous  terrorism in the Middle East, Europe and even here in the U.S. In the final days of 2015.

Note this Fox/Nation/Townhall  report by a former German Parliament member, now intrepid journalist,  Jürgen Todenhöfer, who with his son spent 10 days in the occupied  Syrian and Iraqi  precincts of the self-declared Caliphate, the Islamic State (ISIS), “Israel Defense Force only Army ISIS Fears”:

German reporter Jurgen Todenhofer went behind enemy lines to spend ten days with the Islamic State. He went with his son, Frederic, but not after spending nearly half a year ensuring that his safety would be guaranteed before venturing into this perilous region of the world. He plans on never going back (good idea), but noted that the only army these Islamic fanatics truly fear is the Israel Defense Forces.

They are confident that they can defeat soldiers from the West, namely British and American troops, but noted that the Israelis might be too tough for them. An aspect of their strategy is to lure Western troops into their territory in order to capture them. Oh, and they plan on killing every Shiite Muslim they can find, and view Muslims living in Western countries who vote as “top-priority enemies…as they give people rather than God the right to make laws.”

The claim from German reporter Jürgen Todenhöfer, a former member of the German Parliament, came after he spent 10 extraordinary days behind enemy lines in Iraq and Syria, accompanied by his son Frederic. He returned saying the group behind the Paris attacks was “preparing the largest religious cleansing in history” and with a “pessimistic” view on what can be done to combat it.

But the author of My 10 Days in the Islamic State told Jewish News: “The only country ISIS fears is Israel. They told me they know the Israeli army is too strong for them.”

Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot

From left: Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, Galilee Division Commander Brig. Gen. Amir Baram, and GOC Northern Command Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi on the northern border, Wednesday  Source: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.

Today’s Israel Hayom edition had a follow up story about IDF preparing for possible ISUS attacks on the Golan Frontier, “IDF braces for Islamic State attack on northern border:”

Army on high alert for possible terrorist attacks by Shuhada al-Yarmouk Brigades, affiliated with Islamic State, or other jihadist groups such as Nusra Front, affiliated with al-Qaida.

[…]

Based on the modus operandi of the Nusra Front and Islamic State, the Israel Defense Forces examined several possible ways these groups could act against Israel. One scenario for an attack, according to the assessments, is smuggling explosives-laden vehicles into Israel. Additionally, officials were not negating the possibility of a terrorist ground force infiltrating Israel, firing anti-tank missiles at Israeli targets, planting explosive devices and launching rockets.

The Shuhada al-Yarmouk Brigades controls the border area shared by Jordan, Israel and Syria, extending over around 10 kilometers (6.2 miles). According to estimates, the organization comprises some 600 fighters who impose their will on some 40,000 locals. The organization itself is surrounded by numerous other rebel groups with which it is fighting, including the Nusra Front, and is “besieged” in a type of enclave in the southern Syrian Golan Heights.

ABAM  ISIS affiliates beheading “Israeli spies” in Sinai

ABAM  ISIS affiliates beheading “Israeli spies” in Sinai.

However, Israel’s  Northern Frontier is not the only threat from ISIS.  Dr. Ronen Bergman, intelligence columnist for Israeli daily Yediot Ahranoth  had an extensive investigative article on the ISIS  affiliate, threat on the Southern Sinai frontier with Egypt, Ansar Beit al-Makdas (ABAM), “The Battle Over Sinai: ISIS’s Next Strong Force:

As the world’s eyes are focused on the Islamic State in Syria and its activity in Europe, the organization’s branch in Sinai – Ansar Bait al-Maqdis – is gaining strength, and the Russian plane bombing may be just the beginning of its integration into ISIS’s international war. Bergman outlines the profile of one of the most threatening and intriguing challenges faced by the Israeli and international security community, only a few kilometers south of Eilat.

[…]

The Russian plane crash in Sinai on October 31st, which left 224 people dead, is still preoccupying intelligence organizations around the world. Updated intelligence received by Western intelligence agencies reveals that the few days before the attack saw a significant increase in the volume of written and spoken communication between senior members of the Ansar Bait al-Maqdis (ABAM – “Supporters of the Holy House”) terror organization, which has been calling itself Sinai Province in the past year after swearing allegiance to the Islamic State, who are active in the Sheikh Zuweid area in the northern part of the peninsula.

In addition, there has been a sharp increase in volume of communication between these activists and elements affiliated with ISIS’s Security and Intelligence Council in Iraq and Syria. This body is responsible for ISIS’s most important secret activities, including special operations and aiding organizations outside Syria and Iraq, where the organization’s power base is, including al-Maqdis.

Key Players in ABAM  Hamas origins and ISIS support:

The names of several key activists in this organization is repeatedly raised in the investigations into the matter: The widely mentioned name is Abdullah Mohammed Sayyid Kishta, a main force in improving ABAM’s abilities in the past two years, who served in the past as an operations officer in Hamas’ military wing. Kishta then left for Sinai, through one of the tunnels under the Philadelphi Route (which separates between Egypt and the Gaza Strip), and became head of instructions at ABAM in regards to the operation of antitank missiles and advanced explosive devices.

He is considered one of the senior antitank warfare experts in the region. Since he began his work in the organization, there appears to be an extremely significant increase in al-Maqdis’ use of antitank missiles and in their improvement. Up to two years ago, they mainly used RPGs, moving on to more advanced missiles like the Kornet.

Kishta is helping the organization improve its terror abilities in developing and assembling advanced bombs, including armor-piercing antitank explosives and explosive devices against roads and armored bunkers of the Egyptian army.

Intelligence groups in the West received information in March and April this year about ties between senior ISIS members in Iraq and members of al-Maqdis’ bomb units, including Kishta. A decoding of these messages revealed that ISIS’s R&D experts in Iraq are convinced that they have managed to develop a certain formula for putting together explosives with relatively low effectiveness, but which cannot be detected through regular means.

Israeli Intelligence on the origins of ABAM :

Israeli intelligence first heard the name Ansar Bair al-Maqdis in Gaza.

“In the early 2000s,” Haim Tomer recalls, “we heard there were radical Salafi cells in Gaza which go by that name. At the time, it was a local organization which attracted former activists from all kinds of other organizations who were discharged from them or found Hamas’ policy to be too moderate after different agreements signed with Israel.

ABAM was first comprised of a mixture of fragments of organizations and people and did not appear to be a big success. Israel’s security control and Hamas’ dominance made it impossible for the organization to really thrive and it didn’t leave a significant mark. But in 2002, its name emerged again in organizations of Bedouin in northern Sinai, and then in all of Sinai.

“We were confused for a moment,” says a senior source in the AMAN (Israeli Military Intelligence Directorate) research division. “We didn’t know if these were the same people we knew from Gaza or that they were just using the same name.”

But an examination conducted in Israel at the time revealed that global jihadist elements – mainly Egyptian, Libyan and Saudi – arrived in Sinai in order to take advantage of al-Qaeda’s international success at the time, after the September 11 attacks and the wave of attacks which washed through the world afterwards, and establish a terror organization there. These activists used a local infrastructure of Bedouins and Salafi Sunni activists who had escaped from Gaza.

The Sinai has seen significant attacks  by ISIS affiliate  – Ansar Bait al-Maqdis on Egyptian security forces, despite Egyptian forces  engaged in destruction and flooding smuggling tunnels along the frontier with Hamas-controlled Gaza. Israel has built a 200 mile security fence and positioned IDF combat battalions.  Along its southern frontier.  Notwithstanding, the Eilat port and resort complex is still vulnerable to possible ISIS attack.  The Multilateral Force and Observers, set up to monitor the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, have been hit with IED attacks, prompting the US Army to send additional troops. This begs the question of why the MFO is not engaged in coordinating ISIS counterterrorism threats in the Sinai with both Israel and Egypt.  Moreover, ISIS presents a possible threat along the Israeli Jordanian border above the neighboring port of Aqaba where sympathetic groups have arisen and are allegedly under surveillance of Jordanian security forces.

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

The Art of War

York University, a public research university located in Toronto, Ontario, is Canada’s third largest university, with 52,800 students, including 5,462 international students, and 7,000 faculty and staff. The Mission Statement is grandiose and appealing, claiming “excellence in research” with a goal of cultivating “the critical intellect.” There are assurances that the University is “open to the world: we explore global concerns,” accompanied by ensuring “social justice” and a commitment to teaching “social responsibility.”  The President’s Message further confirms that the University is “proud to be one of Canada’s most socially responsive and engaged Universities,” yet the president, Dr. Mamdouh Shoukri, is unwilling to test those very ethics.

If the University welcomes the diversity from 157 countries, it should be prepared to suppress conflict and injustice.  If it prides itself on social responsibility, it should discourage irresponsible behaviors and the incitement to isolate one people, one country. If excellence in research is encouraged, then it may be time to thoroughly research both the irrational Islamic hatred and culture of violence and the validity of the Jewish bond to the Land of Israel.

Affixed to a wall in the Student Center is a mural that features a Palestinian youth preparing to throw two rocks at an Israeli structure. More than 4,000 incidents of rock throwing against Jews are reported each year in the West Bank, causing serious injury and death. The “art” expresses the Arab demand for a Palestine that includes Israel along with Gaza, Judea and Samaria (Jordan’s West Bank), without border definitions, without compromise. The violent elimination of the State of Israel and the Jewish people define the words beneath, “Justice” and “Peace.”

Having initiated four military wars against Israel, suffering utter humiliation with each loss, the Muslim Brotherhood chose the course of psychological warfare, propagating lies on which to base another intifada (uprising), days of rage or boycott, and it is on Israel specifically that Muslim students maintain their focus – for the time being.  The mural is propaganda meant to provoke; to deny Israel her 3,000 year history of Jewish presence (Muslims appeared in the 7th century), and the legal deeds held by the Jewish state since 1948.  The mural supports the invented history of Jordanian, Lebanese, Syrian, Saudi and Egyptian Arabs who deceitfully took the Latin name of Palestinians to fabricate a bond between themselves and the area they invaded and lost in 1967. The concocted history and accusations of “occupation” are part of the Islamic aggression against the world, one of many battles in which Muslims are engaged – in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas – to establish a global Caliphate.

Yet despite voiced disapproval by students and citizens alike, University President, Dr. Mamdouh Shoukri assures us of their commitment to a safer environment, but that this instance is off campus and beyond his jurisdiction. Yet these are York students, and the building is York University Student Centre. Is there no responsibility to maintain an apolitical, non-threatening environment? The mural is encouraging violence, perhaps worthy of emulating, climate permitting. Dr. Shoukri knows such incidents in American universities have resulted in terror and bodily harm inflicted on Jewish students. Who is charged with overseeing student welfare or is this disengagement in collaboration of the narrative? Is this being considered “free speech” until legally challenged, or slander and incitement to violence? It is certainly advocating one political viewpoint while suppressing another.

Therefore, I would ask the president to consent to five more murals to enhance the Palestinians’ objects of glory or mission on one wall, and an equal number of similarly sized murals to express the objects of Israel’s glory or mission on the opposite wall. Thus both groups could legitimately present their ideas of justice and values to students, faculty and staff.

stoning of woman by palestinians

Palestinians stoning a woman.

A second Palestinian mural should show the stoning of Islamic women who are accused of adultery or something as simple as owning a cell phone. Siddqa, 19, was dressed in a full blue burqa, buried up to her waist in the ground, and pelted with stones. When she collapsed, covered in blood but still alive, a Taliban fighter shot her three times in the head with an AK-47. This photo is of her 19-year-old lover who was trying to flee, was captured and stoned to death. Justice was equally served.

buring of Islamic state prisoner

Muath Al-Kassasbeh being burned alive by the Islamic State.

The third is the Jordanian pilot from the US-led Coalition, Muath Al-Kassasbeh, who was deprived of food for five days, displayed in front of armed terrorists, caged, soaked with petrol and set afire as an offering to Allah. Watching and listening to the screaming and melting is considered justice to the “religion of peace.”

beheading by isis

Islamic State mass beheading.

The fourth, death by decapitation, is not as commonplace as stoning or being buried alive and left exposed to the elements. Beheading, mentioned twice in the Koran, instills fear into those who watch, and it attracts more publicity than car bombings and suicide bombings. The killers achieve a sense of justice. Children are taught to behead at an early age, using dolls and live animals.

woman raped by muslimsThis is a recognized Australian victim of rape. In Saudi Arabia, rape victims would receive 100 lashes for committing adultery, followed by incarceration for a year. Australia lacks such rules of “justice.”

woman shot for wearing red jacket by muslims

Muslim mother of three shot for wearing red jacket.

The sixth is justice for women. The Muslim woman, mother of three, was walking in the street, stopped, and pronounced guilty of wearing a red jacket over her black burqa. She was told to kneel and was summarily shot in the head.

This new discovery is worthy of inclusion because of the enormous pride and occasion for celebration. Samir Kuntar, Palestinian superhero, smashed the head of a four-year-old Israeli girl with the butt of his rifle.

The opposite wall should also display a like number of murals to acknowledge the interests and commitments of the Israelis.

haiti israel relief

Israeli soldiers helping Haitian earthquake victims.

Haiti’s devastating earthquake of 2010 attracted many rescue teams, including from Iceland, China, Qatar, South Africa, Columbia, Cuba, Japan, Florida, and New York City’s experienced 9/11 personnel. Israelis brought a rescue team of 200 and a field hospital. An Egyptian-Jewish Haitian supplied his factory’s grounds and trucks to bring in tents, medical equipment, communication hardware and all supplies. Within eight hours, the field hospital was set up and operational, and became the model for the future. Israelis performed surgeries and births, treated broken bones and traumas. The first baby born was named Israel Michel.

water purification israel company

Israeli company’s water purification system.

An Israeli company’s water purification systems deliver safe drinking water from almost any source, including contaminated water, seawater and urine. Following a major earthquake in Taiwan in 2009, Israeli humanitarian aid workers brought locally made WaterSheer products to ensure a steady stream of potable water for the survivors and wherever it was needed. Within 48 hours, Taiwan had 4,227 gallons of pure water per day.

israel exoskeliton system

ReWalk Robotics exoskeleton system.

Dr. Amit Goffer, an Israeli, developed ReWalk Robotics, an exoskeleton system that enables the paralyzed to walk. Facilitated by computers and motion sensors, it allows independent, controlled walking. It helped Clair Lomas to complete the marathon course at the London Paralympics in 2012, and recently assisted a groom to walk down the aisle. It also provides dignity, mental health, improved cardiovascular health and bowel function, loss of fat tissue, and building of lean muscle mass. Users have less pain, take fewer medications, and require less hospitalization.

Israel has become the fastest growing laboratory for innovative technology, following US and China in creativity and entrepreneurial leadership. Some innovations are responsible transportation using batteries, not oil; drip irrigation that allows farmers worldwide to grow 40% more crops using half the water. Tahal Group has technological solutions to make wastewater treatment processes more efficient and relevant. LifeStraw is the water filter chosen by leading NGOs for humanitarian relief worldwide since 2005, which meets or exceeds EPA standards for efficacy. It removes almost all the waterborne bacteria and parasites and it filters a maximum of 1000 litres of water, enough for one person for one year.

amazing israeli medical breakthroughs posterIsrael’s breakthroughs are too numerous to mention. Here are a few recent ones:

  • Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem developed a molecule (NT157) that targets metastatic human melanoma and colon cancer.
  • Israel’s Oramed gives China the right to its oral insulin capsule to treat the large, growing numbers of diabetics in China.
  • A new arthritis treatment reduces high blood pressure.
  • Japan turns to Israeli tech to treat radiation disease.
  • A new voice technology Voice ITT translates speech of people with communication disabilities.
  • Israel’s Enopace performed first implant operation to treat patients with congestive heart failure.
  • Israel developed a plastic material that repairs itself.

For weekly updates on Israel’s achievements, send your request to: michael.goodnewsisrael@gmail.com.

I welcome hearing from Dr. Mamdouh Shoukri, that he will take the high road in re-aligning himself and the University with the original mission to think of what is “true…noble…right…admirable…etc.” In so doing, they could then be instrumental in fulfilling the rest of the quotation, that “the God of peace shall be with us.”

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Muslims stone Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem in Bethlehem

Knowledgable Christians in the U.S. know that the sole person at fault here is Fouad Twal. Why was he poking Muslims in the eye and provoking them by daring to enter Bethlehem? Doesn’t he realize that to be a Christian, much less the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, in Bethlehem presents a continuing danger? He should apologize to Muslims for not showing sufficient “solidarity with Islam,” retreat to Jerusalem, and stay behind closed doors, lest he continue to offend Muslims.

“Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem greeted in Bethlehem by hail of stones PA reportedly arrests 16 ‘Salafi radicals’ who were planning to carry out terror attack against tourists celebrating Christmas,”Times of Israel, December 25, 2015:

The car taking Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal, head of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land, was struck Friday, Christmas Day, in Bethlehem by rocks thrown by Palestinian rioters.

None of the passengers in the patriarch’s vehicle was injured in the incident, but his car sustained damage, according to a Ynet news report.

Clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinian demonstrators erupted following his departure from the city, known as the birthplace of Jesus, the news site said….

He also said Palestinian security forces arrested Wednesday about a dozen suspected radical Islamists in Bethlehem.

A report in the Palestinian Ma’an news agency put the number of detainees at 16. According to the report, the group are Salafi radicals who were preparing to carry out a terror attack against Western tourists arriving in Bethlehem to celebrate Christmas there.

The report did not identify the detainees as being affiliated with any known jihadist groups.

A report in the Hebrew-language daily Ma’ariv said that senior PA officials met in Bethlehem earlier this week in order to formulate a strategy against the threat posed by extremists to the Christian celebrations in the city.

At least four people are being held in detention without trial in Bethlehem and four others, supporters of Islamic State, were arrested elsewhere in the West Bank. It was not clear where eight other people were being held.

On Thursday night, PA President Mahmoud Abbas and the authority’s prime minister, Rami Hamdallah, participated in a midnight mass at Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, Ma’an reported.

In a statement released by his office before the visit, Abbas praised Palestinian Christians for their role in creating a “rich and diverse society.”

“This year, we witnessed more churches around the world supporting the call for recognition of the State of Palestine, and an increasing number of Christian groups campaigning to divest from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation of our land,” Abbas said.

The Christian Palestinian population dwindled significantly over the past years. Christians today make only 2 percent of the Palestinian population in the West Bank.

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Preserving the Traditions of the Jewish Diaspora — A Lesson for All in 2016

This was derusha, a sermon or homily, delivered by Dr. Fred Leder at Congregation Beth El, Fairfield, Connecticut on Shabbat, December 26, 2015. Dr. Leder is a fellow Columbia University alumnus and former President of the synagogue.

Dr. Fred Leder

Dr. Fred Leder

At the beginning of this Sedra [Aramaic for “order” synonymous with Parasha or Torah portion in English] Vayehi [the final reading from the Book of Genesis . Genesis 47:28 – 50:26]  we find Jacob, an old man, on his death bed in Egypt. He asks Joseph, his rich influential son, to bury him with his ancestors in the cave at Machpelah. Jacob is thinking about his life and what will become of his descendants. When Joseph comes to visit his father, Jacob recalls what God  promised him:

“I will make you fertile and numerous, making of you a community of people; and I will assign this land (Canaan) to your offspring to come for an everlasting possession.”

Now Jacob is wondering how this might all come about.

Jacob tells Joseph that he will adopt Joseph’s sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, elevating them to the status of their uncles, each to have his own tribe and his own portion in the land, someday. He does this out of love and devotion to Rachel, his wife who died young and was buried on the road to Ephrata.

Then Jacob looks at the sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, whom he has just adopted and elevated to patriarchs, and he asks Joseph, “Who are these?”
Jacob is neither blind nor senile and surely, he knows who the two boys are. He is perhaps, inquiring about their character. Are these two boys going to carry the traditions of their ancestors back to Canaan?  It seems Jacob is wondering, and maybe not so sure.

Tradition has it that the boys answer the question by reciting the Shema for their grandfather.

The Shema or sh’ma  is one of only two fixed prayers in the torah  that Jews  are obligated to recite daily  morning and night:

Sh’ma Yisra’eil Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad. Hear, oh  Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One. Blessed be the Name of His glorious kingdom forever and ever.  And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be in your heart. And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall speak of them. when you sit at home, and when you walk along the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Then Jacob blessed them, saying:

The God in whose ways my Fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
The God who has been my shepherd from my birth to this day.
The Angel who has redeemed me from all harm.
Bless these lads.
In them may my name be recalled,
And the names of my Fathers Abraham and Isaac,
And may they be teeming multitudes upon the earth.
By you shall Israel invoke blessings, saying: God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh

It is our tradition to bless our sons on Friday nights with this very blessing… “God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.”

This begs the question why Manasseh and Ephraim?

Ephraim and Manasseh were children of the Diaspora. They were born in Egypt. They dressed like affluent Egyptians. They spoke Egyptian and they had no firsthand knowledge of Canaan. That is why Jacob asked who they are.

Jacob was pleased to find that the sons of Joseph understood the tradition of their father and grandfather and he could see that his dream of being blessed with a multitude of descendants who would one day return to Canaan, was going to happen.

Jacob asks Joseph to see that he is buried at Machpelah in Hebron with his ancestors, and upon his death, he is embalmed in the Egyptian tradition, and carried with a military escort provided by the Pharaoh, to Hebron, to be buried in the cave at Machpelah.

One day Moses and the entire people of Israel would take the bones of Joseph in an ark, to be buried in Canaan. After Sinai, the people of Israel would carry with them two arks. One containing the ten commandments and one containing the bones of Joseph.

So Joseph and Manasseh and Ephraim laid the groundwork for the continuity of the Jewish people. That is why we invoke the blessing asking that our sons be like Manasseh and Ephraim.

However, life is not so easy, and every grandparent worries about the continuity of his traditions. Especially in the Diaspora where our children function primarily in the gentile world.

In October 2013, The Jewish Telegraphic Agency published a study of American Jewry done by Pew Research, augmented by population data from the Steinhardt Social Research Institute and the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University. These studies put the number of American Jews at about 6.5 million people. About 35 % of respondents identified as Reform Jews, 30 % claim no denomination, 18 % Conservative and 10% Orthodox.

Overall, 22% of U.S. Jews claim no religion at all. Thirty-two percent of all Jews born after 1980 claim to have no religion, and as you might expect, these people have much less connection to Jewish organizations and are less likely to raise their children Jewish.

The most startling finding is that the intermarriage rate among young Jewish people is 58%, and the number rises to 71% when only the non-Orthodox are considered. This is compared to 17% in 1971, only 44 years ago. Among in-married Jews, however, 96% are raising their children as Jews by religion, compared to 45% among intermarried Jews.

In other words, when a gentile marries a Jew and converts to Judaism there is a very good chance the children will be raised in a Jewish home. Among the general Jewish population, this is a fifty-fifty proposition. What prejudice and anti-Semitism could not achieve, acceptance in America is achieving, and it is not clear that non-Orthodox Judaism has any future at all in this country.

What are Jewish parents to do, to preserve and protect our Jewish heritage? At the end of the day, I suppose one needs to be fortunate, but clearly, it starts with teaching.

The foundations of a Jewish home are kashruth, Shabbat and the festivals. Learning the history of our people, as well as a strong affinity to Israel also play very important roles.

Children learn by watching.

Does Mother light candles on Friday night and does Father bless his sons and daughters, in the tradition of Jacob?

Do Mother and Father attend Shabbat services on a regular basis?  If not, how could anyone expect his children to be synagogue people?

I am old enough to remember the founding of the State of Israel. For me the return of the Jews from the ruins of Europe and the Middle East to reclaim their ancestral land, speaking Hebrew and fighting to maintain their heritage was a very moving experience. It was a miracle in modern times.

I remember the days when it was common knowledge among the gentiles that Jews were cowards, dealmakers who would never fight in an organized military. In 1958, a very well meaning gentile professor at Columbia told me that the one thing Israel did was to prove to the world that Jews could fight.

I am also old enough to remember the Six Day War in detail. When the war broke out on June 5, 1967, Israel maintained radio silence regarding the battle taking place in Sinai. Egypt, on the other hand, trumpeted initial victories claiming to have repulsed the Israeli Air Force (IAF) and to have shot down their planes. Nobody knew these were false claims. That night and the following night, I attended a small minyan in New Jersey and we prayed for a miracle, fearing that the Jewish state was lost.

On the third day, Israel lifted the embargo on war news and reported that in the first hours of the war they had destroyed the Egyptian Air Force that Israeli armor had reached the Suez Canal, that the IAF was moving to destroy the Jordanian Air Force, and that commando units were moving north to defend Jerusalem. Spirits soared as the first Jewish army in over 1900 years was moving to liberate a divided Jerusalem, and the Temple Mount.  When Motti Gur broadcast, “Har ha bayit b’Yadeni” (the Temple Mount is in our hands) the entire world Jewish community was thrilled, even those who did not practice anything.

I mention this now to give some sense of the familial bond we had to our brothers and sisters in Israel at that time and how truly a miracle was performed for all of us in our own lifetime. I do not believe that sense of awe is transmitted to our younger people. Certainly not on our college campuses where BDS movements thrive, even among Jewish kids, and all the prejudices of the world are visited on the Jewish State.

To paraphrase Giulio Meotti, an Italian journalist who writes for Il Foglio, in Rome:

No other nation on earth, which since its founding, less than seventy years ago, had to sacrifice 23,000 soldiers.

No other nation on earth lives without recognized borders.
No other nation on earth has a population living under a perpetual emotional strain.
No other nation on earth is constantly threatened to be wiped off the map.
No other nation on earth is threatened by boycotts all over the world.
No other nation on earth wins its wars and then loses the peace.
In no other nation on earth do guests on official visits utter disrespectful and offensive comments.

No other nation on earth provides its own enemy with water, electricity, food, weapons, and medical treatment.

As Charles Krauthammer put it in 2011:

Israel is prepared to give up land, but never again without peace. A final peace. Which is exactly what every Palestinian leader from Haj Amin al-Husseini to Yasser Arafat to Mahmoud Abbas has refused to accept. Which is why, regardless of who is governing Israel, there has never been peace. Territorial disputes are solvable; existential conflicts are not. Land for peace, yes. Land without peace is nothing but an invitation to national suicide.

Beth El has always had a tradition of close support of Israel, not only financially but also with organized visits, especially tours for young people. Travel to Israel is the only real way of understanding the miracles that have been performed for us in modern times. This understanding is part of the foundation of our tradition and our attachments to Judaism.

In today’s world, more than ever before, we need to lead our children in our traditions by example, and we need to support our brothers and sisters in Israel with all the physical and emotional sustenance we can provide. We cannot accept the new anti-Semitism that has become rampant in Europe and parts of the United States. We have to raise our voices against boycotts, false accusations, and false comparisons.

When our national leaders are wrong in some respect regarding Israel we have to speak out, collectively and individually. We will not always have leaders who are sympathetic to our cause. Sometimes we have leaders, who are downright hostile, but this is a free country and we are free to support those who support us.  We are the strongest Jewish community on earth and it is vital that we use our resources in support of Jewish causes in America and throughout the world. It is also critical to our survival as Jews in America.

Shabbat shalom.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of a painting of Jacob Blessing Manasseh and Ephraim, Sons of Joseph by Benjamin West, American Painter, 1766-1768.