Tag Archive for: Israel

Are Israeli Standards Too High?

This week the UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon mooted the idea of bombing Islamic State (IS) targets inside Syria as well as Iraq. The suggestion came after the massacre of 30 British tourists on a beach in Tunisia. The British government is said to be waiting for final confirmation that there was a link between the terrorist in Tunisia and IS. Should that be proved, they appear willing to take action.

But modern warfare is increasingly a matter not just of those who take part but of the widest possible constituency. Military experts often talk of the worrying ‘long screwdriver’ approach to military force today, where a General, a minister or sometimes even a Prime Minister is required to approve and sign off every conceivable target. Anyone who can stand back from the detail can consider how much operational effectiveness suffers from this kind of passing of the buck upwards.

It also means that any mistakes are able to go right to the top of government. This – and many related subjects – were centres of the discussion which HJS initiated in Westminster several times this week. In separate events with journalists, Parliamentarians and the British public this week we played host to two of America’s top military experts. Major General Michael Jones and Professor Geoffrey Corn recently took part in a survey of Israeli responses during last year’s Gaza war. The in-depth study brought out many fascinating and important details about a widely misunderstood conflict.

But among the most important aspects of their presentation was confirmation of what we have often said in this place – that the high standard which the Israeli military and the air force in particular exercise has begun to concern Israel’s allies.

As the General and Professor showed, it seems highly unlikely that Britain, the USA or any other ally is going to take the time to text people to warn them of a strike nearby, or send leaflets to warn of a strike in advance or to use a non-lethal munition on the roof of a house as a final warning to exit the building. All of these Israeli tactics significantly minimize civilian suffering during conflict. But they also considerably, necessarily hamper operational effectiveness. Will any other country, in any other conflict, take this sort of care? It seems unlikely.

As Britain considers airstrikes inside Syria, we will have an advantage that the Israelis do not enjoy. Whenever Israel carries out an operation in the Gaza, the entirety of the world’s media not only focuses on the action but focuses on it from inside the war-zone, often deliberately or accidentally working as the propaganda tools of the Hamas government. Because of the way in which IS operates it is highly unlikely that any remotely impartial outside force will be present to observe where the British missiles hit or what collateral damage they cause. Decent people may rue this fact or they may quietly be thankful for it. But it is a curious fact that the one thing none of them will be able to publicly admit is that their aim will be to behave as well as the Israelis.


 

mendozahjsFROM THE DIRECTOR’S DESK 

You wouldn’t know it given the glorious sunshine that most of the continent is basking in, but Europe faces an epic crisis this weekend in the form of the Greek referendum on economic reform. With the polls too close to call, it is anyone’s guess which way the Greek people will choose to jump. Their choice has not been made any easier by the way this crucial debate has fallen foul of both local and pan-EU politics.

Firstly to the Greeks themselves. For all the well-documented disasters of their economy and taxation system, there would have been a perfectly obvious way for the Greeks to have had both a lifting of the extremities of austerity as well as an EU bailout. Fellow Euro members are desperate to keep Greece inside the Euro for political purposes – the Euro being a political rather than economic construct as on the latter terms several members would have now been ejected. Greece, in its turn, has made huge strides in achieving a primary surplus on its balance of payments. It should not have been beyond the wit of wisdom of man to have come up with a face saving proposal that would allow for some symbolic measures to please the Greek electorate while also continuing the work of paring back the deficit.

But while the Eurocrats seemed keen to tango, Alexis Tsipras of Greece’s extreme left-wing Syriza government did not. Tsipras not only made a mockery of the negotiation process with his hasty referendum gambit, but also doomed the possibility of that compromise emerging by taking the decision out of the arena in which it could have been constructed.

Moreover, the indecipherable way in which the referendum question has been structured and the controversial way ‘No’ has been placed above ‘Yes’ in the ballot has been designed to lead the Greeks into a cul de sac from which there is no escape. For Tsipras’ claim that Greece can reject what is now on offer and still stay in the Euro is an extraordinary one to make. And should it prove that voting ‘No’ leads to Greece’s exit, then all of the attendant economic misfortunes that will follow – and which will make Greece’s current crisis seem tame in comparison – will be on his head.

Of course, Eurozone countries deserve their share of the blame too. If Greece was an irresponsible borrower originally, then they were irresponsible lenders. The high-handed way Eurocrats conduct negotiations seems calculated to enrage rather than calm spirits. And the recriminations that have followed the referendum announcement may well lead to a nationalist backlash from Greeks should the worst happen and Greece leave the Euro in disgrace. Let us not forget that the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party is a major force already in Greek politics.

Of course, sanity may yet prevail and the Greeks could vote ‘Yes’. It won’t be the best deal Greece could have got, but through the actions of their Prime Minister, it is the only sensible one they are left with. If so, then the resignation he has promised as a consequence of such a vote would be a fitting political epitaph for someone who has gambled so recklessly with his country’s future.

Dr Alan Mendoza is Executive Director of The Henry Jackson Society

Follow Alan on Twitter: @AlanMendoza

It’s Ramadan 2015 — Time to Kill Some Jews! [VIDEO]

If you want to break the Fitna code regarding how Muslims can increase the killing of Jews during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan tune in to our daily radio show – Monday thru Friday.

We start out with a little history lesson where we try to convince us Americans to change Independence Day to July 3rd! Huh?

Then we move into a report from Jerusalem Jane, in Jerusalem, about the many attacks this week, against Jews, by Fitnaphobic Muslims celebrating their Holy Month! Yep, there are dead Jews in Israel because of devote Muslims believing they are doing Allah’s will.

Folks, this is evil personified.

RELATED ARTICLE: Islamic State Boy Soldier Reportedly Kills At Least 50 Kurds In Suicide Attack

Israel’s Contribution towards Defeating the Islamic State

Manfred Gerstenfeld, author of The War of a Million Cuts reviewed in the June 2015 New English Review, published a prescient essay mid-June in the Jerusalem Post. Gerstenfeld is the former Chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs that sponsored a symposium on his new book on June 22, 2015. It was on the difficulty of “defeating”, let alone “degrading” the resilient Islamic State-the self declared Caliphate, “Will defeating Islamic State take more than a generation? “ While addressing the myriad of threats in the Middle East and potentially in the West from Islamic State Jihadis, Gerstenfeld draws attention to the contributions from Israel’s experience fighting asymmetrical wars against Islamic extremists seeking its destruction.

Tunisian Jihadi gunman Seifddine Rezgui

Tunisian Jihadi gunman Seifddine Rezgui. Photo by Rami Al Lolah

There was a trio of bloody spectacles inspired by the Islamic State on the first Friday in Ramadan. In France there was the beheading of an American owned chemical company executive by a Muslim employee. In Tunisia there was a massacre at a beach resort killing and injuring among others dozens of British, Belgian, Irish and German tourists by a Kalishnikov-toting attacker. In Kuwait there was  the bombing of a Shia Mosque where several dozen  at prayers were killed or injured .

In January there were the Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Casher Market attacks by Al Qaeda and ISIS inspired émigré Muslims that killed seventeen, including four French  Jews and a Tunisian Jew.  Last fall, we saw attacks in Sydney, Ottawa and Quebec. There were an ax attack injuring  New York police officers and a beheading of food service employee at a company in Oklahoma City both perpetrated by converts to Islam. Last month we had the attack by two Jihadis from Phoenix  who were killed  in an attempted attack a Mohammed Cartoon event in Garland, Texas. One of the speakers at the event  was Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) who is under 24/7 protection of the Royal Dutch Protective service because of threats against his life for his anti-Islam  views in the Netherlands and the EU.

Reuters reported Islamic State spokesman Muhammad al-Adnani urging brothers in the Muslim ummah in honor of the observances of Ramadan to undertake attacks on kaffirs, unbelievers,   whether Christians, Shiites or Sunnis opposing the self-declared Islamic State. He declared in an audio message, Jihadists should turn the holy month of Ramadan, which began last week, into a time of “calamity for the infidels … Shi’ites and apostate Muslims.”  Not lost on many is that June 29th marks the first anniversary  of the Islamic State  self declaration of a Caliphate by  Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Gerstenfield’s op-ed was triggered by comments from US General James Allen, commander of the US-led coalition combating the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, suggesting that it might take a generation to defeat IS.  Gerstenfeld wrote:

General Allen’s remarks, whether realistic or not, can serve for more detailed reflection on what it would mean if IS -controlled territory of a substantial size in say 20 years from now. This would indeed have a major impact on the world order, or better said world disorder. It would also have particular consequences for the Muslim world, the West, Russia and many other countries. Israel and the Jews, though minor players, would be affected by the global impact and by possible targeted attacks by IS.

As far as the Muslim world is concerned, the Arab Spring has already added Libya, Yemen and Syria to the roster of failed countries. The continued existence of IS may cause Iraq and possibly other countries to be added to that list. As the Islamic State is an extremist Sunni movement, it is directly opposed to Shi’ite Muslims, with no inclination to compromise. The longer the Islamic State lasts, the greater the threat to the Shi’ites.

That would mean that eventually the Islamic State would likely confront Iran, the leading Shi’ite country. Iran has been an international troublemaker and hardly any external forces have reacted to it militarily in the current century. The more powerful the Islamic State becomes, the more it will have to challenge Iran.  As the Islamic State also opposes the Sunni countries presently ruled by various royal families, the instability in these countries would increase substantially as well. The same is true concerning Egypt.

[…]

The Islamic State calls for murder may bring with it a shift back toward terrorist attacks perpetrated by foreign jihadists. There have been threats and rumors of having them brought into Europe amongst the boat refugees arriving from Libya, or smuggled through the Balkans. … Yet if we speak about decades of sizable continued Islamic State activity, it is likely that there will be attacks from terrorists disguised as refugees.

[…]

Substantial Jihadi-caused terrorism in the West will lead to further stereotyping of all Muslims.

The previous massive influx of Muslims and its ensuing social problems, including the lack of successful integration, has already led to the rise and/or growth of anti-Islam nationalistic parties in various countries.

These include Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party (PVV) in the Netherlands, the Swedish Democrats, and above all, France’s Front National. Substantial Muslim terrorism is not only likely to increase the popularity of these parties but will influence the positions of other parties, who will have to compete for the votes of those with harder positions regarding Islam.

What would all this mean for Jews living abroad? Not much good. Attacks on others are often followed by attacks on Jews.

Gerstenfeld notes the ability of Israel to contend with extremist Salafist jihadi Islamic groups. Groups equipped with advanced weaponry supplied by Iran or Russian and U.S. weapons stocks abandoned by Assad forces in Syria or Iraqi National Forces:

No other country has accumulated as much experience in effectively fighting Muslim terrorists of various kinds as Israel. Israeli know-how in this field is already in demand and that is only likely to increase.

This fact is not well-publicized, but in future it should be, to improve Israel’s image with the Western mainstream populations.

A second opportunity may lie in Israel using the anti- Islamic State (IS)  sentiment in the West to highlight that the majority Palestinian faction, Hamas, is not very different from IS. Israel hasn’t done much about this until now, but at the same time, the grounds for response from the West have been far less fertile than they may become in the future.

A third opportunity for Israel could be the possible change in political alliances in the Middle East. Some Arab states might consider that whatever hatred they promote of Israel to be less beneficial than allying them with Israel against IS, which has become a real threat to many Arab states. A recent poll showed that Saudis consider Iran to be their largest threat, followed by IS, and that Israel ranks third.

There has already been alleged secret meeting between Saudi military and Israeli security counterparts. Doubtless drawn together by the threat of a Shiite Mahdist Iran on the verge of becoming a nuclear threshold state destabilizing the Middle East. That is reflected in the Saudi undeclared war against the Houthi insurgency in the failed State of Yemen. An insurgency equipped and backed by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image of Islamic State fighters is courtesy of PamelaGeller.com.

U.S. Congress Passes “Landmark” Anti-BDS Amendment

What some consider as a “landmark” anti-BDS Amendment to the Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority legislation passed the Senate on Wednesday afternoon, June 24, 2015. Having passed both the House and Senate the legislation now goes to President Obama for his signature. That’s good news for Israel, bad news for J Street and Peace Now who opposed the anti-BDS Amendment. Clearly, the President’s overriding objective was completion of negotiations of a Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement which gives the U.S. leverage in competition with China and encourages job creation and business in the U.S. J Street and Peace Now have been allies of the Administration promoting a Palestinian State that would divide Israel’s capital of Jerusalem. Those groups also support the looming P5+1 Iran nuclear agreement with a current deadline of next Tuesday, June 30th.

Among the principal sponsors of the anti-BDS Amendment were:  Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and members of the House  bi-partisan Congressional Israel Allies Caucus, Representative Peter Roskam (R-IL) and Representative Juan Vargas (D-CA).  The anti-BDS measure passed by Congress has garnered praise from mainstream American and international Jewish Groups:  AIPAC, American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Congress.

As noted in a Times of Israel report:

The anti-BDS provisions in the trade authorization were directed toward free trade talks between the US and the European Union. The provisions require US negotiators to make rejection of BDS a principal trade objective in Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations with the European Union. These guidelines, sponsors hope, will discourage European governments from participating in BDS activities by leveraging the incentive of free trade with the US.

Rep. Roskam issued a statement saying:

Today, for the first time in nearly four decades, Congress sent legislation to the President’s desk to combat efforts to isolate and delegitimize the State of Israel. The recent wave of boycotts originating in Europe, including French telecom company Orange’s decision last week to sever ties with Israel, demands a robust response from the United States. This is that response. The bipartisan TPA provisions I authored are simple: if you want free trade with the United States, you can’t boycott Israel.

After today, discouraging economic warfare against Israel will be central to our free trade negotiations with the European Union. Congress will not be complicit in the marginalization of our ally Israel by watching these attacks from the sidelines. Instead, we have decided to fight back against the BDS movement and ensure the continued strength of the US-Israel relationship.

President Ronald Lauder of the WJC added:

The Senate today took a strong stand against the growing vilification of Israel. American values such as freedom and openness have triumphed over the blatant hypocrisy and bias of the anti-Israel campaigners. This vote marks a major defeat for BDS.

J Street and Peace Now opposed the anti-BDS legislation on the grounds that “the amendment plays into the hands of BDS activists’ claims by conflating boycott of Israel and boycott of products of settlements.”

The author of the Algemeiner article  on why  J Street and other groups opposed the anti-BDS amendment commented:

The impression one gets is that J-Street wants to maintain its ties to radical anti-Israel BDS groups like Jewish Voice for Peace but still wants to pretend to be pro-Israel.

Pro-Israel? Yeah, right.

The passage of the anti-BDS amendment should encourage the Israel Allies Foundation Jerusalem Call that worked with South Carolina State Rep. Alan Clemmons developing a state level model anti-BDS statue signed into law on June 4, 2015 by Governor Nikki Haley. In our 1330am WEBY interview with Dr. Daniel Williams, National Director of the IAF Jerusalem Call  he noted that the South Carolina model is being filed in 17 states, among them Ohio and potentially here in Florida.   J Street is the subject of a viewing of the Americans for Peace and Tolerance documentary, J Street Challenge, Saturday evening, June 27, 2015 at Brit Ahm Synagogue in Pensacola. A panel discussion will follow that includes Florida State Rep. Mike Hill, Mike Bates of WEBY’s “Your Turn”, Rabbi Eric Tokajer of Brit Ahm and this writer.  On Tuesday evening June 30, 2015, Rep. Hill and Guy Rodgers, Director of Operations for the IAF Jerusalem Call will be the principal speakers about support for Israel and the work of the group at Pensacola First Assembly of God Church.

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

Vatican Validates Jihad Terror: Signs Treaty Recognizing State of Palestine

There is no “State of Palestine” at this time. This is part of the ongoing pressure upon Israel to create one. Creating one will be a great victory for the global jihad force, as a “State of Palestine” will inevitably be a new jihad base for renewed attacks against what remains of Israel. Events will unfold just as they did when the Israelis withdrew from Gaza: while the international media hailed a new era of peace, the “Palestinians” gutted installations and prepared for jihad.

This recognition could end up being as large a blot on the Catholic Church’s record as the Inquisition and the many Catholic clerics all over Europe who went along with the Nazi program against Jews during World War II. The “Palestinians” make no secret on official PA TV of the fact that they share that same genocidal antisemitic bloodlust. This recognition only validates that bloodlust, and enables it.

As this recognition is given, Christians are being persecuted by Islamic jihadists all over the Middle East — Islamic jihadists with the same supremacist ideology as that which motivates the “Palestinians.” In response to this persecution, the bishops of the Catholic Church pursue a “dialogue” with Muslim leaders that makes everyone involved feel good about themselves, but doesn’t do a single thing to alleviate that persecution. And the bishops in the U.S. actively move to silence those who dare speak out about the true nature and magnitude of that persecution, and to prevent them from being heard in Catholic settings. Now, with this recognition, the Church is actively aligning itself with the jihad force, and demonstrating the great lesson of our age, that terrorism works: murder enough people and issue enough genocidal threats, and the whole world will cower at your feet.

The Vatican, by recognizing the genocidal jihad entity that is or will be the “State of Palestine,” is creating a huge moral dilemma for those Catholics who believe that Israel, as being on the front lines of the global jihad, ought to be supported, and that jihad terror, as represented by the “Palestinians” as well as by the persecutors of Christians, ought to be opposed. This is a political decision that has nothing to do with the substance of the faith, but these Church policies are heading the faithful toward a disaster of which they are largely ignorant and for which, thanks to their bishops, they are completely unprepared. Do those who see this disaster coming still have a place in Francis’ progressive, ever-so-modern Catholic Church?

“Vatican signs treaty recognizing State of Palestine,” Times of Israel, June 26, 2015:

The Vatican on Friday signed a historic accord with Palestine, two years after officially recognizing it as a state, in a move criticized by the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

The accord, a treaty covering the life and activity of the Church in Palestine, was the first since the Vatican recognized the Palestinian state in February 2013. The step was agreed in principle last month and condemned by Israel as a setback for the peace process.

The Foreign Ministry said Friday in response that it “regrets” the Vatican’s decision to sign the “one-sided” text.

“This hasty step damages the prospects for advancing a peace agreement, and harms the international effort to convince the PA to return to direct negotiations with Israel,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“We also regret the one-sided texts in the agreement which ignore the historic rights of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel and to the places holy to Judaism in Jerusalem. Israel cannot accept the unilateral determinations in the agreement which do not take into account Israel’s essential interests and the special historic status of the Jewish people in Jerusalem,” the statement added.

“The Palestinians continue to act unilaterally which distances us from any chance of holding direct dialogue,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely.

“I regret that the Vatican decided to participate in a step that blatantly ignores the history of the Jewish people in Israel and Jerusalem. Any attempt by the Palestinians, or any other actor to undermine our historic right to Jerusalem and our country will met by staunch opposition by us,” she said.

The treaty makes clear that the Holy See has switched its diplomatic relations from the Palestinian Liberation Organization to the State of Palestine.

The Vatican had welcomed the decision by the UN General Assembly in 2012 to recognize a Palestinian state. But the treaty is the first legal document negotiated between the Holy See and the Palestinian state and constitutes an official recognition.

“Yes, it’s a recognition that the state exists,” said Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi last month.

Israeli officials criticized the Vatican announcement in May.

“We’re disappointed by the decision taken by the Holy See. We believe that such a decision is not conducive to bringing the Palestinians back to the negotiating table,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon told The Times of Israel at the time.

“Israel will study the agreement and consider its next steps accordingly,” a brief statement from the ministry said.

The text of the treaty deals with essential aspects of the life and activity of the Catholic Church in Palestine, a Vatican statement said in May.

“Both parties agreed that the work of the Commission on the text of the Agreement has been concluded, and that the agreement will be submitted to the respective authorities for approval ahead of setting a date in the near future for the signing,” it noted.

The Vatican has been referring unofficially to the state of Palestine for at least a year.

During Pope Francis’ 2014 visit to the Holy Land, the Vatican’s official program referred to Abbas as the president of the “state of Palestine.” In the Vatican’s latest yearbook, the Palestinian ambassador to the Holy See is listed as representing “Palestine (state of).”

The Vatican’s foreign minister, Monsignor Antoine Camilleri, acknowledged the change in status, given that the treaty was initially inked with the PLO and is now being finalized with the “state of Palestine.” But he said the shift was simply in line with the Holy See’s position.

The Holy See clearly tried to underplay the development, suggesting that its 2012 press statement welcoming the UN vote constituted its first official recognition. Nowhere in that statement does the Vatican say it recognizes the state of Palestine, and the Holy See couldn’t vote for the UN resolution because it doesn’t have voting rights at the General Assembly.

The 2012 UN vote recognized Palestine as a non-member observer state, made up of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, lands Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war.

The Palestinians celebrated the vote as a milestone in their quest for international recognition. Most countries in Africa, Asia and South America have individually recognized Palestine. In Western Europe, Sweden took the step last year, while several parliaments have approved non-binding motions urging recognition….

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France: Loud explosion as Muslims with Islamic State flags storm factory, behead man

France: President of gas factory targeted in Islamic State attack is Shi’ite Iranian

Why Iran May Not Nuke Israel When They Get the Bomb

The 2015 Ramadon Bombathon if off to a record breaking start with over 1,000 killed and wounded by the followers of the Religion of Peace.

Dr. Timothy Furnish, an Iran CIA expert, MahdiWatch.org discusses why Iran may not Nuke Israel when they get the bomb.

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Is Kurdistan Rising?

In the Wall Street Journal Weekend edition, June 20-21, 2015, Yaroslav Trofimov writes of the possible rise of an independent Kurdistan, “The State of The Kurds”. An independent Kurdistan was promised by the WWI Allies in the Treaty of Sevres that ended the Ottoman Empire in 1920. That commitment was dashed by the rise of Turkish Republic under the secularist Kemal Atatürk confirmed in the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne denying an independent Kurdistan in what is now Eastern Turkey. Combined a future Kurdistan encompassing eastern Turkey, Northern Syria, northwest Iran and northern Iraq might comprise a landlocked republic of 30 million with significant energy and agricultural resources. The rise of Kurdistan is reflected in these comments in the Trofimov WSJ review article:

Selahattin Demirtas, Chairman of the HDP party in Turkey:

The Kurds’ existence was not recognized; they were hidden behind a veil. But now, after being invisible for a century, they are taking their place on the international stage. Today, international powers can no longer resolve any issue in the Middle East without taking into account the interests of the Kurds.

Tahir Elçi, a prominent Kurdish lawyer and chairman of the bar in Diyarbakir, Turkey:

In the past, when the Kurds sought self-rule, the Turks, the Persians and the Arabs were all united against it. Today that’s not true anymore—it’s not possible for the Shiite government in Iraq and Shiite Iran to work together against the Kurds with the Sunni Turkey and the Sunni ISIS. In this environment, the Kurds have become a political and a military power in the Middle East.

Elçi, amplifies a concern that Sherkoh Abbas, leader of the Kurdish National Syria Assembly (KURDNAS) has expressed in several NER interviews an articles with him:

The PKK has made important steps to adopt more democratic ways. But you cannot find the same climate of political diversity in [Kurdish] Syria as you find in [northern Iraq], and this is because of PKK’s authoritarian and Marxist background. This is a big problem.

As effective as the KRG government and peshmerga have been in pushing back at ISIS forces threatening the capital of Erbil, the real problem is the divisiveness in the political leadership. That is reflected in the comment of  Erbil province’s governor, Nawaf Hadi cited by Trofimov:

For 80 years, the Arab Sunni people led Iraq—and they destroyed Kurdistan. Now we’ve been for 10 years with the Shiite people [dominant in Baghdad], and they’ve cut the funding and the salaries—how can we count on them as our partner in Iraq?” All the facts on the ground encourage the Kurds to be independent.

That renewed prospect reflects the constellation of  events in Turkey, Syria and Iraq.

The fall of the AKP government in the Turkish Election of June 7, 2015

There was  the  stunning  defeat of the 13 year reign of  the Islamist AKP headed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by the trio of secular, nationalist and upstart Kurdish parties, the CHP, HNP and HDP that might form a minority ruling coalition 45 days from the June 7, 2014 parliamentary elections. These minority parties garnered a plurality of 299 seats in the Ankara Parliament.  That is if these parties can coalesce. If not Islamist figurehead President Erdogan seek new elections if they can’t put together a new ruling government.  A Washington, D.C. forum on what the results of the Turkish  election convened by the Foundation for Defense  of Democracies (FDD) forum presented nuanced views. Watch this C-Span video of the FDD forum.

FDD Senior Counselor John Hannah moderated the discussion with former U.S. ambassador to Turkey and FDD Senior Advisor  former US Ambassador to Turkey Eric Edelman and FDD Non-Resident Fellow and former member of Turkish parliament Ayman Erdemir.

John Hannah

June 7 in my opinion was an inspiring performance, a much needed triumph of the spirit of liberal democracy in a Middle East landscape currently inundated with way too much bad news.

For those of us who have watched over the past decade with great dismay the slow drip of Turkey’s democracy being drained away by Erdogan’s creeping Islamism and authoritarianism, we frankly weren’t sure anymore if the Turkish people had this kind of an election in them.

Aykan Erdemir

My take-home message would be that we should not read these elections too much with a progressive, liberal-democratic interpretation. But we should not underemphasize the importance of it either, because ultimately June 7 proved to us that there could be a return from competitive authoritarianism, where an incumbent with huge advantages nevertheless can suffer a relative defeat in the ballot box.

I have always argued that Erdogan’s policies and politics cannot be interpreted within the nation-state borders. Erdogan’s policies right from the start have been transnational; it has always been a Muslim Brotherhood-oriented policy, whether in Syria, Jordan, or Egypt. He is a visionary transnationalist politician.”

Ambassador Edelman

Turkey is a deeply polarized society, and the bad news there is that the AKP is the only party that is competitive across the nation.

Erdogan will not see this vote in any way as inhibiting him in creating an executive presidency. …My suspicion is that Erdogan does not want to see a government formed within the 45-day period set by the constitution and would like to see the country go back to elections. He thinks that if he could apply the ‘keep voting until I get the right answer’ standard, there is a chance he will do better in a second election, get at least a governing majority if not the super-majority.

Dr. Harold Rhode, former Turkish and Islamic Affairs expert in the Office of the Secretary of Defense held a more optimistic view cited in a JNS.org article on the Turkish Elections, “noting that he personally knows pro-American and pro-Israel officials “within the senior leadership of all three of the [non-AKP] parties.”

Syrian YPG Fighters capture Tal Abyad  Reuters

Syrian YPG fighters capture Tal-Abyad from ISIS, June 2015. Source: Reuters.

Syrian Kurdish YPG victory at strategic border town of  Tal-Abyad

The second development was the victory by Syrian Kurdish PYG fighters , Christian Assyrian and secular  FSA militias  wresting the strategic border gateway of Tal-Abyad  from  ISIS with support from  US coalition air strikes. This followed the  January 2015 victory in  the siege at the border  city of Kobani. The Syrian PYG, affiliated with the Turkish PKK, a  terrorist group designated by  Turkey, EU and the US, whose leader Abdullah Ocalan is under house arrest in Turkey,  has been assisted  by fighting units of the Iraqi Peshmerga from the adjacent Kurdish Regional Government  (KRG)in northern Iraq.  The third development was the KRG Peshmerga wresting   control  of Kirkuk and its vast  oil field. Kirkuk, as Trofimov noted  is considered  the “Kurdish Jerusalem” .  Not to be outdone by Kurdish compatriots in Syria and Iraq, in mid-May 2015, Iranian Kurdish  Party of Free Life in Kurdistan ( PJAK)  forces in northwestern Iran’s Zagros mountain  fought  Iranian security forces in Mahabad.  Mahabad  was the capital of the short-lived State of Republic  Kurdistan established with Soviet Russian support in  Iran in 1945- 1946.

KRG Delegation meets with resident Obama VO Biden and National Security Council May 2015

Kurdish President Barzani and KRG delegation meet President Obama and VP Biden May 2015.

KRG Meets with President to Free up Arms Deliveries

The KRG quest for independence has been stymied by the Baghdad government of PM Haidar al-Abadi.  The Baghdad  government has not lived up to its agreement reached in December 2014 to provide regular payments to the KRG amounting  to nearly $5.7 billion in exchange for selling 550,000 barrels of oil. The result has been that KRG government  and the 160,000 Peshmerga force have not been paid in months.  More troubling has been the current agreements between the Obama Administration  and  the al-Abadi government for allocation and deliveries of heavy weapons that have not found their way to the highly effective Peshmerga fighting force. This is especially galling given the thousands of Humvees, mobile artillery, anti-tank, main battle tanks and MRAP vehicles abandoned by fleeing Iraqi national security forces in the conquest of Mosul in June 2014 and Ramadi in late May.

A  meeting occurred in Washington in early May 2015 with  KRG President Barzani and senior officials with President Obama, Vice President Biden and members of the National  Security Staff seeking resolution of this impasse.   Michael Knights of the Washington Institute for Near Policy wrote about this in a May 15, 2015 Al Jazeera, article, “A big win for Kurds at the White House”:

From May 3-8, 2015, Washington D.C. hosted a high-powered delegation from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). KRG President Massoud Barzani was flanked by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, National Security Chancellor Masrour Barzani and Minister of Peshmerga Affairs Mustapha Sayyid Qadr, among other KRG ministers and officials.  [The delegation was originally scheduled for a five minute meeting with President Obama, instead the session lasted an hour].

In particular, the Kurds complained that Washington has allocated too small a proportion of its $1.6bn Iraq Train and Equip Fund (ITEF) assistance to Kurdistan.

Slow and indirect delivery of US weapons systems is a connected concern. Washington has chosen to funnel most weapons shipments via the federal Iraqi Ministry of Defense, the only entity entitled by US law to sign end-user certificates (EUCs) for the weapons.

[…]In reaction to these views, the House Armed Services Committee of the US Congress introduced clauses into the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the Pentagon’s budget, in an attempt to protect the Kurds’ fair share of US weapons.

The draft NDAA for Fiscal Year 2016 was amended by congress to include a clause (Section 1223) that named the Peshmerga as one of a number of security forces collectively entitled to “not less than 25 percent” of the annual $715m of US support.

Most controversially the amendment would allow the KRG “as a country” to “directly receive assistance from the United States” if Baghdad failed to meet the aforementioned condition, a clause that sparked security threats from Shia militia leaders against US trainers in Iraq.

Baghdad protested the language, and US Vice President Joe Biden signaled one day before the Kurdish delegation landed that “all US military assistance in the fight against [ISIL] comes at the request of the Government of Iraq and must be coordinated through the Government of Iraq”.

[…]

Instead of trying to force the White House to do Kurdistan’s bidding through pressure politics, Barzani seems to have adopted a longer-term view in his dealings with the US on defense.

Section 1223 did not give the Kurds a great deal – sharing a quarter of US material collectively with Sunni Arab paramilitary recipients – but it would have soured relations with the Obama administration at a critical time.

Israeli Support for an Independent Kurdistan

One  Middle East nation that  supports an independent Kurdistan  is Israel . As exemplified by comments from  Israeli Prime Minister  Netanyahu, Israel supports the creation of an independent Kurdistan in  Iraq.  There is a long connection between the Kurds and the Jewish nation. There is  an estimated 150,000 Kurdish Jewish  population in Israel that has fostered  cultural –linguistic exchanges with Iraqi Kurdistan.  Iraqi and Iranian kurds smuggled Iraqi Jews to freedom via Iran, during the days of the late Shah, to Israel and the West.  Iranian Kurds continued that effort despite  the Islamic republic facilitating the departure of Iranian Jews  via Turkey to reach  Israel.  From the 1950’s to the mid-70’s Israel provided covert military training and  equipment  to Iraqi Kurds  against the Ba’athist regime of the late Saddam Hussein.  That ended with a treaty between the late Shah of Iran and Hussein orchestrated by Henry Kissinger in 1975.  During the 1980’s Hussein took his revenge on Iraqi kurds during the  Iran-Iraq War  in a series of genocidal revenge campaigns including a massive gas attack that killed thousands decimating Kurdish villages.   Israel currently hosts the huge U.S. War Reserve Stock for use in Middle East conflicts. Perhaps, the Obama Administration might relent on the current agreements with the Baghdad government and permit transfers from the US War Reserve Stock   in Israel of much needed weapons, equipment and munitions to the Peshmerga in Iraq and the Syrian Kurdish militias fighting ISIS.  Israel is less than several hundred miles from Erbil.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of supporters cheering Selahattin Demirtas, co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, HDP, in Istanbul, Turkey, in May, 2015. Source: Emrah Gurel/AP.

Ramadan Bomb-A-Thon versus Israeli Life-A-Thon

Today we take a look at the religion of Piece(s) and how the empirical data verifies that during the Islamic Holy month of Ramadan where peace is supposed to be the norm, in actuality, the jihadis attack more aggressively than ever!

We deconstruct this apparent contradiction and expose the Islamic rationale which allows, indeed demands, this increased bellicosity, even during a month of “peace.”

From there we discuss the Temple Mount with Jerusalem Jane as she explains the latest decision of the Israeli government – to allow jihadis from Gaza and the West Bank to travel to the Temple Mount during Ramadan!! And, what could possibly go wrong with that!

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VIDEO: Annex the West Bank and Solve the Arab/Israeli Conflict

Join The United West team as they take you on location inside the West Bank of Israel (a.k.a. Judea and Samaria) at the community of Karnei Shomron.

Crisis in Israel: The Islamic State Attacks Druze Village

As we have been preaching for quite a while, any number of situations in Israel can ignite a regional war, with Israel in the center.

Possibly, we may be facing just such a situation in that the Islamic State (formerly ISIS) is now making deadly advances against the Syrian Druze community and threatening their existence. In that there is a significant Israeli Druze community in the Golan right next to the Syrian Druze community this geopolitical development has only bad consequences for both Israel and America.

Tune in as we speak to Israelis on the ground and get an up-to-the-minute status report on what could erupt into war at any moment.

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New Zealand: “Allahu akbar, I’m going to kill you, motherf***er”

The War of a Million Cuts

war by a million cutsIn early June 2015 the new government of Israeli PM Netanyahu took on the international Boycott, Divestment Sanctions (BDS) action by French cell phone giant Orange. Orange was seeking to withdraw its name from an Israeli company, Partner Communications, Ltd. The Los Angeles Times reported  this latest BDS kerfuffle involving Israel:

Orange said Thursday that it “ultimately” planned to pull its brand name from Israel, giving a boost to an international boycott movement while enraging the Israeli government and the local franchisee.

In a news release from Paris, the company said it wished to “ultimately end this brand license agreement.” It insisted it was making a business decision, saying it did not want to maintain the brand’s presence in countries where the French company does not actually operate, as is the case in Israel.

The statement capped a tense 24 hours after Orange Chief Executive Stephane Richard at a Cairo news conference Wednesday said that the company would love to terminate “tomorrow” the contract granting the Israeli cellular company Partner Communications Ltd. use of the Orange brand. He added, however, that the legalities would have to be sorted out or the French company would incur staggering expenses.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius responded swiftly saying:

Although it is for the president of the Orange group to determine the commercial strategy of the company, France is firmly opposed to a boycott of Israel.

Also, France and the European Union have a consistent policy on settlement-building that is known to all.

This occurred in less than 48 hours after Orange CEO Stephane Richard’s meeting in Egypt with BDS campaign representatives. He said he “would to ultimately cut ties with Israeli Partner Communications, Ltd. (Partner) because of cell phone use in the disputed territories where Palestinians allege human rights abuses occur. Richard admitted he couldn’t do that as the French government owns 25% of the cell phone company which has a 10 year contract with Partner, allowing it to use the name “Orange.” Richard was pummeled for his statement in comments by Prime Minister Netanyahu and from Israeli American Hollywood mogul, Haim Saban, who holds a significant stake in Partner. Netanyahu called on France to repudiate BDS and what he deemed the “miserable actions” of Orange. Saban said on Israel’s Channel 2 that Richard “succumbs” to antisemitic pressure groups and ought to be fired.

L’affaire Orange ended just as abruptly as it began with a phone conversation between Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom and cell phone CEO Richard. The Jerusalem Post reported this exchange posted by Shalom on his Facebook page:

I spoke with the CEO of Orange, Stephane Richard, and I told him that the people of Israel are angered and hurt by his statements. I told him how it saddened me that he had turned into a tool in the struggle against Israel and that he had lent a hand to the assault by Israel-haters who are trying to harm Israel not just militarily but economically. Richard apologized for his remarks that he made during a conference in Egypt and told me that he is a friend of Israel. He claimed that his comments were not properly understood and that he spoke only about the economic aspect [of his decision]. He apologized on behalf of himself and the company for the remarks, and he said that they condemn all forms of boycotts.

As the L.A. Times reported the original statement by Orange CEO Richard caught Israeli officials flat footed. That prompted Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely to hold an emergency meeting which resulted in a letter sent to Richard saying: “I appeal to you to refrain from being a party to the industry of lies which unfairly targets Israel.”

Still concerning the Israeli Foreign Ministry was the recent adoption of a BDS resolution voted by the UK Student Union and the recognition of a Hamas–related ‘Palestinian Return’ NGO in a vote by Turkey and Iran at the UN. There was also the spike reported by the ADL in BDS resolution votes at US universities seeking divestment of endowment holdings of securities of Israeli companies and securities of US companies doing business with Israel. The UK Student Union vote prompted Israeli PM Netanyahu during welcoming remarks for visiting Canadian Foreign Minister Robert Nicholson to say:

They boycott Israel but they refuse to boycott ISIS. [ISIS] burns people alive in cages and the national student groups in Britain refuse to boycott ISIS and have boycotted Israel. That tells you everything you want to know about the BDS movement. They condemn Israel and do not condemn ISIS; they condemn themselves.

The Anti-Israel BDS campaign formally began in 2005 with formation of the Palestinian BDS National Committee. The international Palestinian BDS project is modeled on the South African Anti-Apartheid sanctions campaign of the 1980’s and early 1990’s. It was an outgrowth of the UN Human Rights Commission Durban I Conference against racism in 2000 prompted by Palestinian and so-called ant-racist anti-Israel NGOs. The International Palestinian BDS initiative endeavored to depict Israel as allegedly violating Palestinian human rights as an occupying power in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Israel’s kerfuffle with French cell phone giant Orange is an example of a long overdue strategy articulated in a new book by Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, The War of a Million Cuts: The Struggle  against the Deligitimization of Israel and the Jews, and the Growth of New Anti-SemitismDr. Gerstenfeld is the former chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, a recognized expert on European and Global Antisemitism. His latest work on the rise of the “new Antisemitism” is a masterful compendium of the origins and contemporary sources of Jew hatred, delegitimizing and demonizing Israel and world Jewry, as well as a strategy for Israel to combat this political war against the Jewish State. In our 2013 interview with Dr. Gerstenfeld, “Anti-Israelism is Anti-Semitism,” in response to a question on what Israel and world Jewry could do to combat this, he replied:

In post-modern times, there is no single remedy against widespread hate-mongering. The government of Israel has to set up a much more comprehensive infrastructure to fight this war and it must properly fund it. One must develop a detailed concept of how this is going to be done.

In The War of a Million Cuts, Gerstenfeld proposes, the equivalent of the US WWII Office of War Information, funded at upwards of $250 million by Israel. He notes the compelling rationale:

There is no Israeli organizational structure that is capable of overseeing the battlefield, let alone one that combats incitement abroad as well as anti-Semitism in a systematic way. This is despite the fact that the war of a million cuts has been raging for so long.

Such an overview of the battlefield would involve understanding who Israel’s most dangerous hate-mongering enemies are, what their various modes of activity are, how their operations interrelate, what impact they have, and so on. Such an agency would also assess and develop the best ways of combating the aggressors and guiding Israel’s allies on how they can help fight the enemy. No other country is confronted with a propaganda onslaught of such magnitude.

With Israel’s premier expertise in cybersecurity, that might entail development of a’ big data’ approach to target and fine tune messaging to combat Anti-Israel propaganda. Illustrative of that was the development by both the IDF and ad hoc social media groups at Israeli universities to rebut pro-Hamas and Palestinian disinformation through adroit use of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube videos in the midst of Operation Defensive Edge. In the US colleagues involved with the National Security Task Force of the Lisa Benson show held a combined Facebook Twitter Rally in the midst of last summer’s Hamas rocket and tunnel war that at its peak was sending more than 600 messages per hour. That effort caught the attention of several US Congressional Representatives and even a reporter from Al Jazeera America using the hashtag “#defundsHamas.”

Carolyn Glick in a Jerusalem Post op-ed on the Orange and more recent BDS attacks against Israel noted the daunting task ahead in the expanding war against BDS:

Israel’s ability to defend itself and its citizens is constrained first and foremost by its shrinking capacity to defend itself diplomatically. Its enemies in the diplomatic arena have met with great success in their use of diplomatic condemnation and intimidation to force Israel to limit its military operations to the point where it is incapable of defeating its enemies outright.

The flagship of the diplomatic war against Israel is the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Participants in the movement propagate and disseminate the libelous claim that Israel’s use of force in self-defense is inherently immoral and illegal. Over the years BDS activists’ assaults on Israel’s right to exist have become ever more shrill and radical. So, too, whereas just a few years ago their operations tended to be concentrated around military confrontations, today they are everyday occurrences. And their demands become greater and more openly anti-Semitic from week to week and day to day.

These latest BDS attacks against Israel aroused casino mogul and GOP campaign financier Sheldon Adelson. Following this episode, he called for an emergency meeting of likeminded anti-BDS colleagues at his flagship Casino in Las Vegas

On June 4, 2015, Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina signed into law a model anti-BDS law for adoption by other states and possibly at the federal level through amendment of the existing 1977 Anti-Boycott legislation that bars participation of U.S. persons in boycotts, not sanctioned by the government. The blog Legal Insurrection reported:

[The new law prohibits[s] the state from doing business with firms or individuals who engage in a “boycott of a person or an entity based in or doing business with a jurisdiction with whom South Carolina can enjoy open trade.”

The South Carolina bill was signed into law a few weeks after Illinois passed legislation prohibiting the state from investing its pension funds in businesses that boycott Israel. Shortly afterwards Prof. Jacobson [of Cornell Law School] reported that New York had started working on a bill similar to the Illinois bill.

According to a spokesman for the Israel Allies Foundation, “a bloc of sponsors across 18 states has already committed to introducing similar legislation in their next legislative cycle.” The Israel Allies Foundation is working on fighting BDS at the state level.

If adopted in other jurisdictions in the U.S. the South Carolina model might bring a halt to state university student associations passing anti-Israel divestment resolutions. It also might bring up short groups like J Street, the New Israel Fund and some Federations that have supported BDS proponents.

It may augur well that a colleague of Dr. Gerstenfield’s at the JCPA, former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Dr. Dore Gold, was appointed Director General at the Israeli Foreign Ministry along with Deputy Foreign Minister Ms. Hotovely. What could emerge from these events and Netanyahu government appointments just might be the political warfare agency suggested by Gerstenfeld to ultimately rein in the rampant Jew hatred in the world directed in an unceasing BDS campaign demonizing Israel.

In The War of a Million Cuts, Gerstenfeld examines in definitive detail the classical forms of Antisemitism from early Church, nativist European blood libel accusations to the sanguinary racist forms that originated in the Spanish inquisition. These later emerged in 19th Century France and Austria with Antisemitic motifs of dual loyalty accusations and motifs of global media and financial controls depicted in editorial cartoons by the figurative Jewish octopus often conveyed in Arab and Iranian propaganda in the 20th and 21st Centuries. Those motifs include those drawn from Czarist forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and pictorial dehumanization of Jews which ultimately led to Hitler’s final solution – murdering six million European Jewish men, women and children. As a child, Gerstenfeld was hidden with a Dutch Christian family during the Nazi occupation of The Netherlands during WWII.

His latest book covers the re-emergence of Antisemitism in post-war Europe against the background of the creation of the third Jewish commonwealth, Israel and the Palestinian conflicts that triggered a new international Anti-Israel campaign. A campaign fostered in part by the growth of non-selective mass Muslim immigration into Europe and the West which brought with it Islamic Jew hatred drawn from foundational Qur’anic documents. Gerstenfeld portrays these common motifs and themes drawn from these ancient and contemporary sources and the means by which they are disseminated in print and electronic social media. Against this background, he highlights evidence from contemporary surveys exposing the depths of virulent Antisemitism in France, Holland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Norway, Sweden and the UK which threaten both domestic Jewish populations and Israelis. In addition to Palestinian and Islamic organizations and media, the new Antisemitism derives from anti-Israel positions of international mainstream Christian NGOs and churches, European extremist left and neo-fascist political parties, nominally friendly state leaders, biased Western media, academia and even self-hating Jews. Then there is Lawfare by the Palestinian Authority in international and even US courts directed at criminalizing Israel’s self defense and civil actions against accusations from corrupt Palestinian leaders. Despite the absence of an official Israeli political warfare agency Gerstenfeld commends NGOs, social media and academic groups in the US, EU and Israel that combat Anti-Israelism. Groups like Palestine Media Watch, NGO Monitor, CAMERA, StandWithUs and Scholars for Peace in the Middle East that monitor, disclose abuses and drawn attention to these developments arousing activism.

In his 2013 bookDemonizing Israel and the Jews Gerstenfeld developed the stunning estimate of 150 million Europeans who dislike Israel and Jews. This figure is based on survey responses to questions about Israel’s alleged “genocidal” behavior towards Palestinian Arabs conducted in major EU member countries.

How bad the level of global Antisemitism is reflected in a statistic that Dr. Gerstenfeld drew from the 2014 ADL Global 100 survey results. For every Jewish person in the world there are 700 Antisemites. That would make Antisemites the equivalent of the third largest country in the world with an estimated 1 billion people.

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

The World According to UK’s National Union of Students

Some scripts are so perfect and so perfectly predictable that they write themselves. One such example cropped up this week.

Of course the National Union of Students (NUS) in the UK can be relied upon to be predictable, if nothing else. Far from representing students, the organisation some time ago fell back onto only representing students of the hardest of hard left views. They have spent recent years attempting to subvert the counter-extremism efforts of consecutive governments, whether Labour, coalition or Conservative. And only recently did they decide to do a number of events in conjunction with CAGE, the radical Islamist organisation with which ‘Jihad John’ (Mohammed Emwazi) was associated.

That said, the NUS does sometimes do things that even its supporters are embarrassed by. For instance last year the NUS refused to issue a motion condemning Islamic State (IS). To do so, the delegates argued, would be ‘Islamophobic’. Our Associate Director, Douglas Murray, among others, made hay with this in the national media at the time. After all, if condemning IS is ‘Islamophobic’ what is one to do? Roll over and let them chop everyone’s heads off? Or issue a call for mutual understanding to the head-choppers (perhaps with a dose of apology for colonialism by way of appeal to the slave-keeping colonialists of IS).

So far, so ridiculous. But this week the NUS showed that there is always further to go. For this week the group that would not condemn IS chose to pass a motion condemning and calling for a boycott of the world’s only Jewish state. It didn’t occur to them – or didn’t bother them – that this might be Judaeophobic. Such concerns are apparently only in one direction. But it did provide a moment of clarity.

The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was among those who pointed out the extraordinary double standards of the NUS. There are those who think he should not have spoken about this – that it is somehow beneath a Prime Minister. But it is not. Today BDS activity is a strategic threat to the State of Israel. The NUS may only be one group of far-left anti-Israel agitators, but they are having success with that campaign. Such success that in 2015 it almost seems normal – indeed predictable.

Of course the representative body for students in Britain wouldn’t even use words against IS. Of course they are willing to use not just words but actions such as boycotts against Israel. This is a sickness, a perversion of our time. But it should have a light shone on it, from the highest possible positions of power. Because it is only by shining a light on this modern mode of acceptable bigotry that the world has any chance at all of seeing the real darkness it contains.


mendozahjs

FROM THE DIRECTOR’S DESK 

Having just returned from a trip to the USA this week, I have been struck by the much greater attention being paid to foreign and international security policy by our American cousins at present than we see on the UK political scene.

Our General Election last month was a case in point. Foreign policy did not emerge in any of the televised debates and discussions, nor intrude upon the concerns of the public in the endless polls run during the campaign. It was as if threats such as Islamic State (IS), Russian expansionism and Iran’s nuclear programme were of interest neither to those who govern, nor the governed themselves. Perhaps this can be explained by the old adage that there a no votes to be won in foreign policy. Or just reflective of the inward looking nature of our political dialogue today when compared to Britain’s glorious and internationalist history.

The same – fortunately given the importance of these issues to our security and wellbeing – cannot be said about the forthcoming US presidential election. Putative candidates have been falling over themselves to declare that they are the candidate best placed to protect the US in an uncertain world. We even had a Republican contender, Senator Lindsey Graham, declare his bid this week by putting foreign policy at the front and centre of his campaign, saying “I have more experience with our national security than any other candidate in this race. That includes you, Hillary.” Whether true or not, that makes for an increasing contrast with our own politicians.

However, as I pointed out to the many American interlocutors I engaged with during my visit, it is one thing to speak about foreign policy, and quite another to actually practice it. We have heard lots from the Obama administration for years about its vision of the world. Yet it has done exceedingly little to create alliances or push policies that will actually turn visions into reality.

It is tempting to muse that given some of the views emanating from the White House, that may not have been a bad thing. But the fact remains that the world is an indisputably better place when it has strong and clear leadership from the USA. We should therefore hope not only for a profound debate on foreign policy during the presidential campaign, but also for a candidate – from whichever party – willing to once again occupy the ‘bully pulpit’ of the presidency.

Dr Alan Mendoza is Executive Director of The Henry Jackson Society

Follow Alan on Twitter: @AlanMendoza

VIDEO: Analysis of the Hamas Mortar Attack on Kibbutz Nirim

In June of 2014 Kibbutz Nirim was hit by a multiple Hamas Mortar attack that killed 2 and seriously injured 4 others. Join Tom Trento and Roni Wexler as we tour Kibbutz Nirim. Adele Raemer a resident of Kibbutz Nirim will deconstruct what happened before, during, and after this deadly mortar attack by Hamas terrorists.

You will get a sense of what life is like living on an Israeli Kibbutz (community) less than 2 miles from the Hamas controlled Gaza Strip. You will also learn about the Hamas tunnels dug less than 1000 meters from the Kibbutz Nirim fence line.

One person was in serious condition, and three others suffered minor injuries, in the strike on the Eshkol region community. Fifty-five year-old Ze’ev Etzion, the security chief for the kibbutz, was killed on the spot as he worked to fix electricity lines damaged in an earlier mortar attack. Israel Radio reported that he was also a volunteer ambulance driver for Magen David Adom. Nirim resident Shahar Melamed, a 43-year-old father of 3, died on his way to the hospital. Medical care was given to the wounded as rockets and mortars fell around the kibbutz and Code Red sirens wailed.

The two Israelis killed Tuesday raised the civilian death toll in Israel in Operation Protective Edge, which entered its fiftieth day Tuesday, to six. Last week a four-year-old child was killed in an attack in the nearby Kibbutz Nahal Oz. In March of next year you will have the opportunity to join Tom Trento, Roni Wexler, and other notable counter terrorism subject matter experts exploring many places in Israel few tourists ever see.

For more information on this Israeli National Security Tour contact Tom Trento by email Tom@TheUnitedWest.org

Obama’s Unrealistic View of Israelis

General Kuperwasser

Israel Gen Kuperwasser (Ret.) Former Director General, Ministry of Strategic Affairs. Source: Honest Reporting

Gen. (Ret.) Yossi Kuperwasser is an  Israeli Intelligence expert and former Director General of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs. He wrote Jeffrey Goldberg, these remarks following the latest Atlantic interview and Obama’s appearance at Goldberg’s synagogue in Washington, Adas Israel on Friday morning, May 22nd. The President  received applause from the 1,200 who attended  his address, a day prior to the Shavuot Jewish holiday. Shavuot  celebrates  the  reading of the law by “Moshe rabbenu’ (Moses the teacher) before the assembled Exodus multitude  gathered under the Mountain. Perhaps the President had that it mind on the occasion of his address to the assembly of Washington Jewish notables at Adas Israel who like Goldberg profess to be “progressives” like the President. After all, Obama said that many in the audience considered him  the equivalent of “the First Jewish President.”

Others distant from Washington, like our colleague  Dr. Richard l. Rubenstein; noted theologian, former university president ,author of seminal works on post holocaust period,including  Jihad and Genocide  consider Obama “the most radical President ever.”  To Goldberg’s credit, he published  in the latest edition of The Atlantic  Kuperwasser’s ‘realistic” views, as an Israeli expert of record, contrasting them with the President’s “optimistic” views . I have to thank my friend Pat Rooney here in Pensacola for sending me them.  Coming as they do before tonight’s airing of an interview with the President of Israel Channel 2 extolling  his view why the P5+1 deal with Iran is in Panglossian terms – the best of all possible options. A deal considered a bad one by a bi-partisan panel of former Senators, ex-CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden and experts from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in an update from the Iran Task Force on Capitol Hill, yesterday.  French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius ‘considers  the current P5+1 deal  “useless” as both he and Gen. Hayden know that nothing will be verifiable as the fissile material will be hidden at military sites that Iran’s Supreme Ruler has denied access to UN IAEA inspectors.

I posted on my Facebook page yesterday this comment that may reflect  what many Israelis and Gen. Kuperwasser may believe about the President:

Obama says there is no military option, but a tough verifiable deal for Iran’s nukes. When asked if PM Netanyahu would exercise a military option, he said “I wouldn’t speculate.” He also suggested he “understood the fears and concerns” of Israelis. When this airs on Channel 2 in Israel Tuesday night the silence will be deafening. This President does not have either Israel’s or this country’s back in dealing with an untrustworthy Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Goldberg prefaced Kuperwasser’s response by offering that he agreed with less than half of them.  Here are excerpts from The Atlantic article, A Critique of Obama’s Understanding of Israel.

President Obama’s anger toward Netanyahu is misplaced, especially given his extraordinary lack of criticism of Palestinians for far more egregious behavior. The Palestinians, after all, are the ones who refused to accept the president’s formula for extending the peace negotiations. It is Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) who have called for “popular resistance,” which has led in recent years to stabbings, stonings, and attacks with cars and Molotov cocktails against Israelis. Since the PA ended the peace negotiations, there has been a sharp increase in attacks and casualties in Israel. Hamas, for its part, openly calls for the extermination of Israelis and sacrifices a generation of children towards that goal.

In response to these threats, all the president had to say at Adas Israel was that “the Palestinians are not the easiest of partners.” Rather than recognizing how fundamentally different Palestinian political culture is, the president offered slogans about how Palestinian youth are just like any other in the world. This is a classic example of the mirror-imaging—the projection of his own values onto another culture—that has plagued most of his foreign policy.

This excerpt from the president’s speech in Jerusalem in 2013 is emblematic of his mirror-imaging, and the problems with that perspective:

“… I met with a group of young Palestinians from the age of 15 to 22. And talking to them, they weren’t that different from my daughters. They weren’t that different from your daughters or sons. I honestly believe that if any Israeli parent sat down with those kids, they’d say, I want these kids to succeed; I want them to prosper. I want them to have opportunities just like my kids do. … Four years ago, I stood in Cairo in front of an audience of young people—politically, religiously, I believe that they must seem a world away. But the things they want, they’re not so different from what the young people here want. They want the ability to make their own decisions and to get an education, get a good job; to worship God in their own way; to get married; to raise a family. The same is true of those young Palestinians that I met with this morning. The same is true for young Palestinians who yearn for a better life in Gaza.”

Yes, we want a prosperous life for our neighbors, but unlike the president’s daughters, there are some Palestinian children who are educated to have a completely different set of priorities. Our core values are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in this world, but Hamas proclaims “We love death more than you love life.” Happiness will be reached in the next world, according to the Hamas ideology.

So why does Obama pick on Netanyahu and not on Abbas? The most likely reason is directly related to a conflict in the West between two schools of thought, both dedicated to defending democratic and Judeo-Christian values: Optimism and realism. Obama is a remarkable proponent for the optimist approach—he fundamentally believes in human decency, and therefore in dialogue and engagement as the best way to overcome conflict. He is also motivated by guilt over the West’s collective sins, which led, he believes, to the current impoverishment of Muslims in general and Palestinians in particular. He believes that humility and concessions can salve the wound, and Islamists can be convinced to accept a global civil society. “If we’re nice to them, they’ll be nice to us,” Obama thinks.

Netanyahu, on the other hand, is a realist. Due in part to Israel’s tumultuous neighborhood, he has a much more skeptical attitude of Islamists, such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Iranian President Rouhani’s government. Netanyahu does not see these groups as potential moderates, willing to play by the international community’s rules; instead, he acknowledges their radicalism, and their intent to undermine a world order they consider a humiliating insult to Islam. The major difference between the Islamists and the extremists, according to Netanyahu, is one of timing. The Islamists are willing to wait until the time is ripe to overthrow the existing world order.

Western realists worry that optimists are actively aiding Islamists in the naïve hope that they will block out the extremists. The realists believe that a resolute stance, with the use of military force as an option, is the best way to achieve agreed-upon Western goals. Obama both prefers the optimist approach and believes that his hopeful dialogues will achieve the best possible outcome. Netanyahu, on the other hand, whose nation would feel the most immediate consequences from Western concessions, does not have the luxury of optimism.

This helps explain why Obama targets Netanyahu for criticism. The prime minister’s insistence on the dangers of the optimist approach threatens to expose the inherent weakness of Obama’s worldview and challenge the president’s assumption that his policy necessarily leads to the best possible solutions. For Netanyahu and almost everybody in Israel, as well as pragmatic Arabs, the president’s readiness to assume responsibility for Iran’s future nuclear weapons, as he told Jeffrey Goldberg, is no comfort. The realists are not playing a blame game; they are trying to save their lives and their civilization. To those who face an existential threat, Obama’s argument sounds appalling.

          […]

Does it make sense for Israel—in the face of an aggressive Iran, the rise of Islamic terror organizations across the Middle East, and the fragmentation of Arab states—to deliver strategic areas to the fragile and corrupt PA, just to see them fall to extremists?

Should Israel at this moment aid in the creation of a Palestinian state, half of which is already controlled by extremists who last summer rained down thousands of rockets on Israel, while its leaders urge their people to reject Israel as the sovereign nation-state of the Jewish people? Should it aid a movement that follows these five pillars: 1) There is no such thing as the Jewish people; 2) The Jews have no history of sovereignty in the land of Israel, so the Jewish state’s demise is inevitable and justified; 3) The struggle against Israel by all means is legitimate, and the means should be based simply on cost-benefit analysis; 4) The Jews in general, and Zionists in particular, are the worst creatures ever created; And 5) because the Palestinians are victims, they should not be held responsible or accountable for any obstacles they may throw up to peace?

In short, even though Israel, under Prime Minister Netanyahu, remains committed to the formula of “two states for two peoples, with mutual recognition,” the implementation of this idea at this point is irrelevant. The PA’s poor governance and the general turmoil in the Middle East render any establishment of a Palestinian state right now unviable. President Obama admitted as much, reluctantly, but continued to criticize Netanyahu instead of betraying his optimist paradigm. Netanyahu’s realism would stray too far from the path Obama, and other Western leaders, have set in front of them. But while Obama and the optimists offer their critiques, Netanyahu and the realists will be on the ground, living with the consequences the optimists have wrought.

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

Does Israel have a Non Nuclear EMP Missile?

We noticed that the Boeing CHAMP non-nuclear EMP missile is back in the news after first surfacing  following U.S. Air Force (USAF) Research tests in Wendover, Utah in October, 2012.  CHAMP stands for Counter-electronics High Power Microwave Advanced Missile.  Yesterday, Digital Journal reported CHAMP’s official announcement by the USAF, “Boeing debuts powerful electromagnetic pulse weapon”:

The main development of CHAMP comes from Boeing, and it appears the project has been underway for several years. The system draws power from a microwave-emitting generator capable of killing electronics with a much higher accuracy rate. Rather than targeting entire blocks or even cities, the CHAMP targets only specific buildings.

In addition to its accuracy, it’s also got another advantage; it can fire multiple times, unlike previous EMP devices that can only be used once at a time. In theory, the CHAMP could quickly take out several targeted buildings in rapid succession.

CHAMP is actually the result of three companies’ work. Besides Boeing, Raytheon helped build the system’s inner electronic workings, and Lockheed Martin built a special surface-to-air missile that delivers CHAMP to its targets. Called the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile — Extended Range (JASSM-ER), it has a range of at least 600 miles and can be used by B-1 and B-52 bombers, F-15 and F-16 and the F-35 stealth fighter.

In a single test mission in Utah, CHAMP successfully blacked out all seven of its targets in a single flight. It clearly impressed the U.S. Air Force, as it’s apparently already in use in tactical forces.

Watch this YouTube video of the Air Force Research Lab test of the Boeing CHAMP missile from October 2012:

An Iconoclast post on October 28, 2012 showed Boeing video of a successful test of a CHAMP missile knocking out a bank of computers.  We wrote:

Israel could have a new unconventional capability given Boeing’s development of a new cruise missile the CHAMP that could produce high energy non-nuclear EMP effects to take out electronics.  Note this recent Digital Journal report, “New cruise missile will fry electronic targets, change warfare”.

The successful test of a U.S.-directed energy weapon hints at a change in the frequency and impact of future warfare. The new missile proved it can fry an enemy’s electronics using radio waves.

On October 16, 2012 a team comprised of members of Boeing’s Phantom Works, Raytheon’s Ktech and the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Directed Energy Directorate successful conducted a missile test for a weapons system capable of decimating a country’s defenses and critically altering the military balance.

The team, led by Boeing and officially known as the Counter-electronics High Powered Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP), held the test at the Utah Test and Training Range. During the hour-long demonstration a cruise missile flew over a target compound and completely disabled the electronic systems of seven targets including a two-storey building by emitting a burst of high powered radio waves.

“This technology marks a new era in modern-day warfare,” CHAMP program manager for Phantom Works, Keith Coleman said.

“In the near future, this technology may be used to render an enemy’s electronic and data systems useless even before the first troops or aircraft arrive.”

Though the test simulated how a CHAMP missile could be used to shut down enemy radar in advance of a US air attack, hitting targets with non-kinetic energy, the new weapon is officially categorized as a non-lethal weapons system developed under the Future Combat Systems (FCS), which also includes advance robotic systems like autonomous unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs).

CHAMP is a directed energy weapon (DEW) that uses high powered microwaves (HPW) in the megawatt range to overwhelm any electronics systems similar to an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) emitted from the detonation of an atomic bomb but without the kinetic force of a bomb.

American Israeli correspondent Jack DeLowe mirrored our own comments in an email exchange:

Imagine Israel using this weapon from their Popeye missile that could be fired from a standoff distance from a submerged Dolphin submarine or in the air from their Hermes Drone.  This could be used to not only paralyze the Iranian underground centrifuge facilities, but also to cut off Iran’s radar, missile systems and to cut off their entire communication system.

Given Israel’s high tech development, it would not surprise many of us that it probably its own version of CHAMP in late stages of development.

Israel hardly ever talks about what it has either under development or in its inventory of advanced weapons.  There is the SPICE 250 glide bomb developed by Israeli company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Ltd. and used against targets in Syria.  SPICE stands for Smart, Precise Impact Cost-effective with a range of 100 kilometers.

Watch this YouTube video of Rafael’s SPICE250 glide bomb:

Then there is another Rafael development, the air and submarine launched Popeye Turbo missile. The Popeye Turbo tube launched cruise missiles carried by Dolphin Class submarines which has a range of 1500 kilometers and can be equipped with both conventional and nuclear warheads. Israel just added a fifth Dolphin submarine to its fleet with a Sixth due from German shipyards in 2017. Thus, theoretically, Israel could likely retrofit both air and submarine launched variants of the Popeye Turbots with CHAMP-like warheads.  But, as we said earlier, Israel unlike the U.S. doesn’t talk about such developments.

Watch this YouTube video of the air-launched version of the Popeye Turbo missile used by the Indian Air Force:

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of a Boeing CHAMP non nuclear EMP cruise missile.