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The International Media’s Amoral Campaign against Israel

On May 19, 2015, Col. Richard Kemp CBE gave a speech at the Begin Sadat Center of Bar-Ilan University in Tel Aviv. The prior day he was awarded an honorary degree by  Bar Ilan.  Col. Kemp was the former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan who subsequently worked with the UK Joint Intelligence Committee and later the British Cabinet national crisis group on counter terrorism.  He has testified as an expert witness  defending Israel before the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict and the UN Human Rights Council on the controversial Goldstone Report.  Col. Kemp has been a much sought after speaker on Israel and the IDF roles in the three Gaza wars with Hamas, the most recent being Operation Defensive Edge in 2014. Those talks have addressed IDF purity of arms military doctrine, false accusations of excessive civilian collateral casualties and Hamas’ use of human shields.  He has frequently appeared as an expert military analyst on media in the U.S. and UK regarding  Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq. However, with the exception of FoxNews, he has not been invited to discuss the case for Israel’s operations against terror proxies, most especially Hamas in Gaza.

His talk at the Begin Sadat Center was titled, The Amoral Revolution in Western Values, and its Impact on Israel.  The synopsis prepared by the BESA noted points Kemp made:

To fight for Israel on the international stage is also to fight for the values of democracy, freedom of speech and expression, and civilized social values everywhere. Unfortunately, the morality and values of the West have been transformed and undermined over the past thirty years almost beyond recognition. Judeo-Christian principles of honesty, honor, loyalty, family values, patriotism, religious faith and respect for the state have all been eroded; whereas negative values, such as the acceptance of betrayal, duplicity and deceit, have flourished. The Western media is chiefly culpable in advancing this deleterious values transformation. And this transformation is the basis for the growth of anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist perspectives, and anti-Israel narratives.

Watch Col. Kemp’s Begin Sadat Center speech:

Col. Kemp started by drawing attention to his days as an student cadet at Sandhurst , the UK equivalent of West Point . They studied  the Israeli victories in several  wars, notably the June 1967 Six Days of Wars and the Yom Kippur War of 1973. He also drew attention to his youth when the common perceptions in Britain were that the Israelis were David fighting the Arabs, depicted as Goliath. These were  traditional set piece battles and wars, albeit with unconventional, yet successful strategies by the IDF. Hence, the compelling reason why during his Sandhurst years, study of Israeli military campaigns was part of the mandatory curricula. As he noted in his speech that seemed like ages ago. Unfortunately that paradigm has flipped.  Currently, the media has reversed that stance and consider the IDF the new Goliath ‘occupying’ disputed territories fighting Iran-backed Hezbollah, Hamas and Salafist terrorist groups falsely depicted as the new David.  He chastises the media for creating this amoral inversion of roles compounded by deceit and deception.  Fighting this antagonistic view of Israel  perpetuated  by  victimhood portrayals of Islamist terrorists in the Western media  is the crux of the political warfare.   Kemp believes Israel must defeat this  in the court of world opinion to regain its previously well regarded  moral position.

Note these excerpts from Kemp’s address.

Why the perceptions of Israel versus Arab/Islamist enemies have reversed:

All that has changed about this has been that Israel has made repeated costly concessions, including giving up land, for peace. Concessions which have not been reciprocated by the Palestinians, but instead exploited at the grave expense of Israel. Concessions which have not been acknowledged or remembered by the international community, who, like the Palestinians, simply and uncompromisingly demand more and more and more and more.

Nor have the Arabs fundamentally changed. We have of course peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan. And the growing threats from Iran and from expanding Sunni jihadism may be leading to some temporary and below the radar mutual cooperation from parts of the Arab world.

But the underlying perspective and agenda, especially among the Palestinians, is the same as it was in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. Rejection of Jewish communities in the land of Israel. The destruction of the Jewish State.

In my view if such events as the Gaza conflict last summer were played out in the 1960s and 70s, the support for Israel in the West would have been greater than it was even then. The savage and murderous actions of the Palestinians are far more shocking today.

So I again ask the question, what has changed? And the answer is: The morality and values of the West. They have been transformed almost beyond recognition.

The underpinnings of the reversal are erosion of values:

The 80s ushered in the insidious campaign of political correctness and moral relativity that has over the last 30 years gripped and taken over so much of our society.

Balanced, level-headed, impartial reporting in our media has been replaced by sensationalism as the purpose of mass media has swung from informing, educating and edifying to making money – and only too often to making the news rather than just reporting it. These negative and destructive values are being promoted constantly in the media.

Why the media has painted Israel as the proxy for the U.S.:

Israel has increasingly become a proxy for the United States, for three reasons.

Firstly, the US President and the US Government is at present left wing and liberal and thus harder for left-wing liberals to attack. Second, Israel is smaller and more easily bullied and impacted by corrosive media sniping than is a superpower. Third, Israel can be portrayed as a Western colonial outpost in a rightfully Arab world.

These three things are underpinned by a pervasive and increasing anti-Semitism which intensifies the obsession with Israel and its portrayal as a true evil to be attacked at every possible opportunity.

This contrasts with the post-Colonial guilt …. combined also with a frequent desire to appease violent Islam and promote its cause and values as being superior to our own and certainly to Israel’s.

Any anti-Islam comment or perspective cannot be tolerated, while anti-Jewish, anti-Zionist and anti-Israel perspectives are all acceptable and encouraged.

How Hamas and the PA manipulate conflicts for maximum media impact:

Hamas and the other Palestinian terror groups don’t use human shields in the hope that Israel will refrain from attacking their rocket launchers, weapons dumps, command centers, terrorist bases or tunnel entrances. They use human shields in the hope that Israel will attack and kill their people

They do this for one purpose: to gain the global condemnation of the State of Israel.

Their particular target is the media, which they know will magnify and intensify their message to the world and force national governments, the UN, human rights groups and other international organizations to bring down unbearable pressure onto Israel.

[…]

Fatah and the Palestinian Authority have a similar strategy. Their violence is of a different nature. Incentivizing terror by paying terrorists and the families of terrorists killed or imprisoned for attacking Israelis. By inciting anti-Israel hatred through speeches, newspapers, broadcast media, school textbooks and school teachers.

[…]

The next stage for the Palestinian leadership of course is to exploit anti-Israel pressure through the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, the European Union, the universities, businesses, trade organizations and now even FIFA.

 […]

It is the media, the agents of moral relativism, the tools of the Palestinian leadership that are Israel’s enemies in this conflict today. They can win over not just Western leaders but the public who are imbued with the new morality.

What Kemp thinks should be the offense in the media political war:

The offense in this form of political warfare is in exposing the bias, distortions, and untruth of the media. This is much more difficult but it is vital. As in all forms of war, the best form of defense is attack. Without effective offensive action our defensive work will succeed much less and can never produce decisive results.

Some good and vital work is already being done by a range of groups. But their effects remain limited. This campaign has had much tactical success and needs to continue and if possible to intensify. But so far there has been no real strategic impact. Nothing that has forced major media networks to fundamentally re-think their anti-Israel agenda.

Of course strategic effect requires strategic assets. And by strategic assets I mean the combination of significant funds, concerted and sustained will and large-scale, thoroughly planned and carefully-focused effort. The challenge is of course immense, and as with any battle, there is no guarantee of success.

As for myself I have gone through the transmutation from Infantry officer to fighter in this new form of political warfare.

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

U.S. Congress Acts to Replenish Israel’s Iron Dome

Israel’s war on its 25th day saw a UN- brokered 72 hour humanitarian cease fire dissolve in less than 90 minutes after going into effect. An IDF team was ambushed  by Hamas commandos emerging  from a tunnel near the Rafah frontier.  Two IDF soldiers were killed in the suicide attack. The Hamas bomber killed himself and two other Hamas fighters were killed in the ensuing fire fight. Unfortunately, a young 23 year old IDF 2nd Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, was captured by the remaining Hamas fighters in the tunnel attack. His status and whereabouts are not known. The IDF retaliated with artillery and aerial bombardment on Rafah.  IDF forces in Rafah spread a search for the missing officer.  Hamas rockets returned with a vengeance to rain down on southern Israel.  An estimated 65 Palestinian civilians were killed in the Israeli retaliation.

The death toll to date in Operation Protective edge is 1,500 Palestinians,an estimated one third of whom are believed to be Hamas fighters, 63 IDF soldiers and three Israeli civilians.   At a White House Press conference President Obama condemned the kidnapping and Hamas’ violence requesting the immediate unconditional release of the kidnapped IDF officer.  Noting that this was the sixth breach of a truce by Hamas, Obama said that  made prospects “challenging”  for any possible cease fire and that both sides should restrain actions that might result in further civilian casualties.

Israel may have won a media battle for the moment because of Hamas’ duplicity.  Operation Protective Edge is turning out to be one of the toughest actions for Israel reminiscent of the October War of 1973.  During that War with Egypt, President Nixon ordered the replenishment of tank and aircraft parts flown directly from the US to Israel.  In Operation Protective Edge in 2014, Israel requested replenishment of the Tamir anti-rocket missiles and ammunition, the later from the US War Reserve Stock in Israel.  Secretary of Defense Hagel had requested $175 million for Iron Dome in an Emergency Supplemental Appropriation.  Subsequently, the request was increased to $225 million by US Senate Appropriations Committee led by Chairwoman Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland).

In an impassioned speech on the Senate floor on July 30, 2014, Mikulski told of receiving a letter from a friend who had made aliyah to Israel, She and her husband, a Professor at Hebrew University, live in Ashkelon near the border of Gaza in southern Israel. Her friend told of the daily rain of rockets that sent her and her husband scampering to find shelter in less than two minutes with the sounding of a wailing red alert siren.  Her friend said that Iron Dome was their only protection from death from the skies sent from Gaza.  Senator Mikulski then noted that Hamas has launched over 2,700 rockets.  The nine Iron Dome Batteries had intercepted 515 of them aimed at Israeli population centers for an effective shoot down rate of 90 percent. She further noted that each Tamir anti-rocket missile in the Iron Dome System costs $50,000 to produce. Do the math; the 515 interceptions cost $25,750,000. Mikulski noted that Israel had developed Iron Dome at a cost of $1 billion. The US has provided previous funding of $900 million for this defensive anti-short range rocket system. Earlier this year Congress had appropriated $235 million for further Iron Dome research.

Watch this Senate Appropriations video of Sen. Mikulski’s floor speech:

But there was a catch, the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill (S. 2648), besides funding replenishment of Iron Dome included other funds.  There were  funds for Emergency Humanitarian Crisis caused  deluge of unaccompanied minors flooding our Southern Borders and funding to combat wildfires out West.  That is known as “Christmas treeing” in the argot of Congressional legislative legerdemain.  That was objected to in a statement by the Zionist Organization of America, who urged Israel supporters to contact Senators and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to sever the legislation, in fear that the Republican minority would reject the packaged Supplemental Appropriations bill.

According to the Washington Jewish Week, that warning by the ZoA may have worked. On Thursday night, July 31st, the Republican minority  blocked the packaged legislation by a vote of 50 to 44.

On Friday morning, August 1st, the Supplemental Appropriations of $225 million for replenishment of the Iron Dome System was passed by unanimous consent by the Senate, virtually assuring passage by the House. The only addition was funding to combat wildfires in the US West.  The Times of Israel reported that Friday night, August 1st, the House passed the Iron Dome Emergency Supplemental by an overwhelming vote of 395 to eight, with four Republicans and Four democrats voting against it.  House Speaker John Boehner  was quoted saying:  “Israel is our friend and Israel’s enemies are our enemies.” The bill now goes to President Obama for his signature.

Perhaps, a motivation for Congress to act quickly before the August recess was the Hamas violent rejection of the 72 hour truce.

The Iron Dome system, development arrangements and funding between Israel and the US are tied into the overall missile defense umbrella that includes Iron Dome, David’s Sling and the Arrow II and III anti-ICBM systems. See our NER article, The Iranian Missile Threat (August 2011).

The Israel  developer Rafael designed and built its existing “Iron Dome” defense system with funding from the US.  However, the critical need now is to replace the Tamir missiles already fired.  That led Israel to approach Massachusetts company Raytheon to help expand its missile defenses. According to a report in The Boston Globe, the venture would be likely to succeed because:

Raytheon’s contracts with Israel would indirectly help the US economy recoup some of the nearly $1 billion in US aid that enabled Israeli designers to develop the Iron Dome system in recent years. The Obama administration requested $175 million for Israel’s Iron Dome in the 2015 budget, and that amount has been doubled by congressional defense committees. The House measure required that much of that money be spent on US components, which is likely to be beneficial to Raytheon.

This is all related to the structure of US aid to Israel, comprised largely of loans and buy backs. This would contribute to the buy-back program.

The Iron Dome is not the entire missile shield – it is one layer of it. It is only intended to tackle missiles with ranges between 2.5 to 43 miles. The second layer is David’s Sling, or “Magic Wand,” which targets ballistic missiles and medium-range rockets, unmanned and manned aircraft, cruise missiles and guided weapons in the 43 to 155 mile range. This layer has been under development with Raytheon and has, from all accounts, been very successful in tests. It is slated for operation later this year. The third layer is the Arrow missile system which will be used to bring down long-range ballistic missiles. The Arrow system uses the two-stage Arrow 2 interceptor with a fragmentation warhead to destroy an incoming target. This is unlike the Tamir, which only knocks the missile out of the sky, but doesn’t destroy the warhead, according to an MIT Professor Ted Postol in a recent MIT Technology Review report. Its successor, Arrow 3, is also a two-stage interceptor and destroys an incoming threat with an exoatmospheric kill vehicle. This generation uses a “hit-to-kill” approach instead of a fragmenting warhead. It will expand the engagement range up to potentially four times.

There was one note of lunacy courtesy of the United Nations, Human Rights Council related to Iron Dome. FoxNews reported:

The United Nations slammed Israel for possibly committing war crimes in its fight against Hamas — and then backed that accusation by suggesting the Jewish nation ought to be sharing its Iron Dome defensive technology with the very terror group it’s fighting.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, a Southern African Judge of Tamil Indian origin,  said to members of the media at an “emergency” meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council that Israel was falling short in its duty to protect citizens in the Gaza Strip from getting killed by its rockets.

Ms. Pillay also condemned the United States for helping to fund the Iron Dome for Israel, but not granting any such accommodations to those in Gaza.

Ms. Pillay is delusional that Israel would provide its protective missile shield to Hamas. That would completely seal the destruction of the Jewish state. Perhaps she ought to trying living in Ashkelon for a day to experience what Senator Mikulski’s friend has to live through, but for the protection of Iron Dome.  But this is the UN Human Rights Council presided dominated by Human Rights violators.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of Israeli children looking at the Israeli military′s Iron Dome defense missile system, designed to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells, deployed in Gush Dan, the Tel Aviv metropolitan area, on November 17, 2012 (AFP Photo / Roni Schutzer.

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