Obama Joins Israel Boycott, Labels West Bank Goods

Associated Press

Associated Press

Breitbart, by Jordan Schachtel, Jan. 28, 2016:

In a step towards joining an Israel boycott, the U.S. is now requiring goods originating from the West Bank (also known as Judea and Samaria) to be labeled separately from products from the rest of Israel, following the European Union’s crackdown on products from the disputed territories.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection service, which falls under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has issued new mandates requiring that West Bank products not be marked “Israel,” citing a notice from the year 1997 that offers such instructions.

The memo from DHS, titled, “West Bank Country of Origin Marking Requirements,” reads:

“The purpose of this message is to provide guidance to the trade community regarding the country of origin marking requirements for goods that are manufactured in the West Bank.”

According to the instructions, “It is not acceptable to mark” goods from the West Bank as having been from “Israel,” “Made in Israel,” or from “Occupied Territories-Israel.”

In its statement, U.S. Customs threatens, “goods that are erroneously marked as products of Israel will be subject to an enforcement action carried out by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.”

“Goods entering the United States must conform to the U.S. marking statute and regulations promulgated thereunder,” the statement adds.

Groups advocating “boycott, divestment, and sanctions” (BDS) against Israel have demanded separate labeling of Israeli goods from the West Bank and the Golan Heights as a step toward a total boycott of Israeli products.

Israel maintains that under international law, the West Bank is “disputed,” and not “occupied,” since there was no legitimate sovereign in the territory when Israel took control of it in self-defense after Jordan attacked Israel in 1967.

Many of the products that will be affected are made within areas of the West Bank, such as the Etzion bloc, are likely to be part of Israel under any peace agreement.

The new instructions were published by DHS over the weekend, following complaints from Palestinian and fringe leftist outfits that the U.S. was not complying with a 1995 law that calls for the marking of goods from the West Bank, Israel National News reports.

In November, the European Union mandated the labeling of Israeli products from the West Bank and the Golan Heights. Critics, including presidential candidates, have argued the labeling of products only from “Israeli areas” of the West Bank, and not Palestinian-controlled territories, is a discriminatory and anti-Semitic act.

The EU now refuses to allow the label “Made in Israel” on products made anywhere outside of the pre-1967 lines.

Following the implementation of EU labeling mandates, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the actions an “exceptional and discriminatory step.”

“This will not advance peace; it will certainly not advance truth and justice,” he added.

Last week, the State Department effectively endorsed the anti-Israel labeling measures.

On Wednesday, to mark Holocaust Remembrance day, President Obama pledged to confront worldwide anti-Semitism:

“Here, tonight, we must confront the reality that around the world, anti-Semitism is on the rise. We cannot deny it,” he said from the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C.

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In Sinai, ISIS Grows with Iran’s Help

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The Tower, by Arik Agassi, January 2016:

Most people assume that the Sunni terrorist group ISIS is the natural and mortal enemy of Shia Iran, but this is not always the case. In fact, in at least one part of the Middle East, Iran has become a crucial, if indirect, sponsor of its supposed enemy.

As the world’s eyes are focused on ISIS terrorism in Europe, the Middle East, and even the U.S., the group’s branch in the Sinai has become one of the most powerful, dangerous, and effective in the region. Recent reports indicate that Iran, through the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, is primarily responsible for this.

The Iran-Hamas-ISIS axis is part of Iran’s strategy of using proxy forces against U.S. allies like Egypt and Israel as part of a larger strategy to achieve hegemony over the Middle East. This has resulted in one of the region’s best kept secrets: An intensive cooperation mechanism between Iran, Hamas, and ISIS, based on money, weapons, military equipment, and training.

Iran’s foreign policy goal of hegemony over the Middle East is based on its primary ideological pillar – exporting the Islamic Revolution to other countries using terrorism and political subversion. In pursuing its ambitions, Iran has often put aside its religious differences with radical Sunni groups like ISIS and Hamas. The Islamic Republic is more than willing to cooperate with these groups as long as doing so helps promote its larger interests.

“By directly supporting Hamas in Gaza and indirectly supporting ISIS in the Sinai, Iran is able to gain foothold against Israel and Egypt to destabilize them, undermine America’s regional influence, create another Iranian power base in a Sunni-dominated region, and project its power and influence in its pursuit of regional hegemony,” Major (res.) Dan Feferman, a former senior IDF intelligence officer and Iran specialist, told the Tower. When asked why Iran would indirectly fund a serious rival such as ISIS, Feferman said that Lebanon, Iraq, and especially Syria are more important to Iran than the Sinai, as Iran wants to preserve its influence in states affected by the Syrian civil war – so Iran fights ISIS in those counties. In places where Iran does not have a strong influence, such as Egypt, it feels comfortable supporting ISIS, albeit indirectly.

“Just like Iran needs ISIS in Syria and Iraq to maintain its relevance among world powers such as Russia and the United States, it has no problem with ISIS gaining strength in Sinai for the time being,” added Brigadier General (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, former Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs and former head of Israeli intelligence’s Research and Assessment Division added. “If ISIS gains more power in the Sinai and Iran is able to help demean that power in the future, it will once again position itself as an address to world powers and thus demand something in return. Moreover, as long as Iran is able to weaken the moderate Sunni Arab state alliance of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan by indirectly supporting ISIS Sinai through Hamas, it won’t stop doing so.”

But Iran’s support of ISIS via Hamas goes deeper than mere strategic considerations. Despite the deep ideological rifts between Iran, Hamas, and ISIS in Sinai, as well as the traditional animosity between Shias, Sunnis, and Salafists, all three groups see each other as temporary partners in

1. The destruction of the state of Israel.
2. Undermining the peace process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, as well as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ authority.
3. Opposing and destabilizing Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s Western-oriented regime, especially in regard to its peace treaty with Israel.
4. Harming U.S. interests in the region and undermining its presence in the Middle East as a whole.
5. Bridging the Sunni-Shia divide and reconstituting a Muslim caliphate.

For Iran, Hamas and ISIS serve different aspects of these ambitions. Iran uses Hamas to deepen the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians by supporting Palestinian terror and a rejectionist approach to the peace process. It uses ISIS in the Sinai against al-Sisi and to further its vision of a caliphate dominated by Iran.

Iran could not support ISIS in Sinai or pursue its ambitions against Israel and Egypt without Hamas. The relationship between the terrorist organization and Iran is deep and of long standing. Indeed, Iran has provided funding, weapons, training, technology, and political support to Hamas for decades.

This relationship began almost simultaneously with the founding of Hamas, and has intensified every time the peace process appeared to be gaining momentum. In October 1991, Iran convened a conference in Tehran whose purpose was to unite various radical organizations led by Hamas who were hostile to the PLO’s negotiations with Israel at the Madrid peace summit. The groups gathered in Tehran called for the destruction of Israel and pledged to make every possible effort to sabotage the newborn peace process, which was seen as a direct threat to their strategic goals.

Iran-Hamas relations were officially formalized in October 1992, when a Hamas delegation led by then-Secretary General Mousa Abu-Marzuq visited Tehran for talks. Iran permitted Hamas to open an office in Tehran, provided it with millions of dollars in cash, and agreed to have the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps train thousands of Hamas members in Hezbollah camps in Lebanon.

This initially lukewarm relationship became a full-blown alliance when the second intifada began in 2000. Iran began funding, recruiting, directing, training, and supporting Palestinian terrorists and building the infrastructure to support them. This included carrying out suicide bombings, paying the families of terrorists, and providing monthly salaries to terrorists in Israeli jails.

Hamas soldiers take part in a military parade marking the first anniversary of the killing of Hamas’s military commanders Mohammed Abu Shammala and Raed al-Attar, in Rafah, Gaza Strip, August 21, 2015. Abu Shammala and al-Attar were killed by an Israeli air strike during a 50-day war between the terror group and Israel the previous summer. Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash90

Hamas soldiers take part in a military parade marking the first anniversary of the killing of Hamas’s military commanders Mohammed Abu Shammala and Raed al-Attar, in Rafah, Gaza Strip, August 21, 2015. Abu Shammala and al-Attar were killed by an Israeli air strike during a 50-day war between the terror group and Israel the previous summer. Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash90

The Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip in August 2005 created a new reality. Hamas won the Palestinian Legislative Council elections in January 2006, which resulted in a significant increase in Iranian funding. Immediately following the elections, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal visited Iran and secured an estimated $20 million per month from the Islamic Republic – enough to cover Hamas’ entire budget. This was followed by a visit from Hamas’ former Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, in which Iran pledged $250 million in aid. The funds were earmarked to pay the wages of civil servants, bankroll Hamas security forces, and compensate Palestinian families that lost their homes during Israeli military operations.

In June 2007, Hamas carried out a putsch in the Gaza Strip, neutralized Fatah and the Palestinian Authority’s military and political power, and set up a radical Islamic government. Following the takeover, Iran became a patron of the new Gaza regime, providing Hamas with military, financial, political, and media support. Iran saw the establishment of Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip as a way to wage an armed campaign against Israel and advance its influence in the Palestinian arena. The exposure of the Israeli home front to rocket fire during three rounds of armed confrontation between Israel and Hamas showed the Iranians the great benefits they could reap by constructing a military infrastructure for Hamas.

As a result, Iranian money, equipment, and military expertise keep flowing to Hamas and then to ISIS.

Despite some rifts between Iran and Hamas’ political wing since 2012 (stemming from Hamas moving its headquarters from Syria and refusing to follow the Iranian line by supporting President Bashar al-Assad), the Times of Israel reported in September that, boosted by the nuclear deal, Iran has increased its funding to Hamas’ military wing with literally “suitcases of cash” sent directly to leaders in the Gaza Strip. Moreover, The Wall Street Journal and The Daily Telegraph quoted top senior Western intelligence officials in April saying that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have transferred tens of millions of dollars to Hamas.

Read more

Listen to Kyle Shideler, Director of the Center for Security Policy’s Threat Information Office, discuss the relationship between ISIS and Hamas in this Secure Freedom Podcast:

Podcast (podcast2): Play in new window | Download

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Did the White House Use the NSA to Spy on Congress about the Iran Deal?

1636300814Center for Security Policy, by Fred Fleitz, Dec. 30, 2015:

According to a bombshell Wall Street Journal article by Adam Entous and Danny Yadron, published online late Monday, the National Security Agency provided the White House with intercepted Israeli communications containing details of private discussions between Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. lawmakers and American Jewish groups on the Iran nuclear deal. If true, this could be the biggest scandal of the Obama presidency.

The Journal article explains that President Obama decided to stop NSA collection against certain foreign leaders after the backlash against Edward Snowden’s disclosure that the NSA had eavesdropped on German chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone and monitored communications of the heads of state of other close U.S. allies.

According to the Journal story, President Obama did not halt NSA spying against Netanyahu. This is not a surprise, given the president’s chilly relations with the Israeli leader and Israel’s aggressive spying against the United States. It’s also not a surprise that the Obama administration sought intelligence on Netanyahu’s efforts to undermine the nuclear deal. But it is stunning to learn that NSA sent the White House intelligence on private discussions with U.S. congressmen on a major policy dispute between the White House and Congress.

According to the Journal article, to avoid a paper trail that would show that they wanted the NSA to report on Netanyahu’s interactions with Congress, Obama officials decided to let the agency decide how much of this intelligence to provide and what to withhold. The article cited an unnamed U.S. official who explained, “We didn’t say, ‘Do it.’ We didn’t say, ‘Don’t do it.’”

This suggests major misconduct by the NSA and the White House of a sort not seen since Watergate. First, intercepts of congressmen’s communications regarding a dispute between Congress and the White House should have been destroyed and never left the NSA building. The Journal article said a 2011 NSA directive requires direct communications between foreign intelligence targets and members of Congress to be destroyed, but gives the NSA director the authority to waive this requirement if he determines the communications contain “significant foreign intelligence.”

Netanyahu’s discussions with members of Congress on a policy dispute between Congress and the president do not qualify as foreign intelligence. Destroying this kind of information should not have been a close call for NSA. Congress should immediately ask NSA director Michael Rogers and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to verify the Journal story and explain why intercepts of private discussions of members of Congress were provided to the White House. If this did happen, both officials should resign.

Second, the White House bears significant responsibility for this scandal. By encouraging and accepting this intelligence, the White House used the NSA as an illegitimate means to undermine its legislative opponents. This represented a major abuse of presidential power, since it employed the enormous capabilities of an American intelligence service against the U.S. Congress. It also probably violates the U.S. Constitution’s separation-of-powers principles and the Fourth Amendment, since surveillance may have been conducted against U.S. citizens without a warrant.

The claim that Obama officials did not directly instruct the NSA to collect this information but simply accepted what the NSA sent them is preposterous. If the Journal article is accurate, Obama officials knew they were receiving intelligence on the private conversations of U.S. congressmen on a major policy dispute. These officials knew they were not supposed to have this intelligence but did not cut it off, because they wanted to use it to defeat efforts by Netanyahu and Congress to derail the Iran nuclear deal. This story is another indication of how desperate the Obama administration was to get a nuclear deal with Iran.

It is truly bizarre that Obama officials would be parties to such a gross misuse of U.S. intelligence after the controversy caused by NSA collection of phone records under the metadata program and so-called warrantless wiretaps by the Bush administration. These initiatives might have pushed the envelope of the law and intelligence charters, but they were carried out to defend the nation against terrorism and targeted terrorist suspects. By contrast, the Journal article discusses domestic intelligence activities that clearly are prohibited: targeting U.S. citizens over a policy dispute, and targeting the legislative branch of government.

Congress should be outraged over this story, especially in light of how narrow the votes were in September to disapprove the Iran deal. The Obama administration won these votes because it did a better job than the congressmen and American Jewish groups who opposed the Iran deal of persuading Democratic members to support it. The Journal story suggests that NSA collection against American opponents of the deal may have helped the Obama administration win this battle for Democratic support.

Congressional anger over the Journal story might force intelligence officials to resign. However, I believe there is no chance anyone in the Obama White House will be held accountable, since the Obama Justice Department will refuse to investigate and Obama officials probably will feign ignorance. Still, I hope the congressional intelligence committees will conduct full investigations.

The story will damage relations between the Obama White House and Congress, but since these relations are already so poor, it is hard to see how much farther they can sink. The Journal story could inflict serious damage on the reputation of the U.S. intelligence community, which has been struggling to defend itself against unfair and misleading attacks by privacy advocates, liberals, and libertarians, sparked by the Snowden leaks.

I am one of many conservatives who have fought over the last few years to defend U.S. intelligence agencies against these attacks, which have weakened U.S. intelligence programs and undermined the morale of intelligence personnel. But the Journal article describes a bona fide abuse of intelligence for which I can offer no defense.

If it is true that the NSA provided intercepts of the private discussions of congressmen with Netanyahu on the Iran deal, this will be a huge gift to the U.S. intelligence community’s critics, who will say this story confirms their claims about how American intelligence agencies routinely violate the law and the privacy rights of Americans. It also could cause the U.S. intelligence community to lose congressional support, and Congress to pass more legislation restricting important counterterrorist intelligence programs.

National-security-minded Americans should call on Congress to fully investigate this matter and hold the Obama administration and intelligence officials accountable to the greatest extent possible. But the best response to this outrage will be to make it a top issue in the 2016 presidential campaign. This fiasco represents a serious lack of leadership and ethics by the Obama administration that will never be fixed by the ethically challenged Hillary Clinton. It may be the best reason yet why we need a new president who will implement comprehensive government reform and hold himself and his administration to a much higher ethical standard.

Stop the Jihad on Campus Campaign Combats Pro-Terror Groups

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Exposing the true motivations of terrorist proxies and challenging their genocidal propaganda.

Frontpage, by Mark Tapson, Nov. 27, 2015:

Two weeks ago, a series of posters was placed anonymously on the campuses of George Washington University and American University in Washington, D.C. and those of UCLA, UC-Irvine and UC-San Diego in Southern California. The images were hashtagged #StopTheJihadOnCampus and pulled no punches in denouncing a pair of campus organizations for what they are: supporters of violent, Jew-hating jihad.

One poster depicted a bloody knife and photos of children being trained to become terrorists. Referring to a group known as the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the caption read, “Students for ‘Justice’ in Palestine: Supporting a Culture that Teaches Children to Slaughter Jews.” A second poster linked the late terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki to the Muslim Students Association (MSA), a national campus organization. A third targeted the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement and the current “stabbing intifada” in Israel with the image of a bloody knife stabbing a Star of David. Its caption read, “The Real BDS: Boycott, Divest, Stab.”

Naturally, the posters sparked instant controversy and angry condemnations, because the campus supporters of jihad weren’t accustomed to having their agenda challenged or being caught in the harsh spotlight of truth. In response to the discovery of the posters, the Hillel organization at American University predictably issued a statement decrying them as threatening, “Islamophobic” hate speech and condemning “any efforts to demonize any racial or religious group.” Likewise, the statement from the Students for Justice in Palestine at American University labeled the posters as “the intimidation tactics of bigoted ideologues,” as “falsehoods” propagated about BDS (which the statement described as “the epitome of effective non-violent resistance”), and as “vitriolic, hateful rhetoric deliberately targeting Muslims, Arabs, those who may appear Muslim, and supporters of Palestinian rights.”

The following week, the David Horowitz Freedom Center took credit for distributing the posters as part of a major campus initiative called Stop the Jihad on Campus. The poster campaign targeted SJP and MSA, both of which were spawned by the Muslim Brotherhood, the same terrorist organization that launched al-Qaeda and Hamas. As a Freedom Center statement put it, both groups “are the chief campus sponsors” of the BDS movement “designed to destroy the Jewish state.”

UCLA’s Daily Bruin posted an article labeling the “offensive posters” as Islamophobic, to which David Horowitz himself responded with a letter in the Bruin correcting that and other “misleading impressions” in the initial article. “Shame on the students who spread the genocidal lies of Hamas on the UCLA campus,” he wrote. “Shame on them for supporting the 70-plus-year Arab aggression against the Jewish state and the 70-plus-year oppression of Palestinian Arabs by Fatah and Hamas.”

It is typical of these campus supporters of terrorism to attempt to suppress their critics by falsely accusing them of racism and Islamophobia, even though no racial or religious group was specified in the poster campaign. The posters were aimed at the two campus groups not because their membership is entirely Muslim (it’s not), but because they hold “Israeli Apartheid Weeks,” spread Jew-hating propaganda, support intifadas like the current one in Jerusalem and the West Bank, and support terrorist parties in Gaza and the West Bank that call for the destruction of the Jewish state and the extermination of the Jews of the Middle East.

The Stop the Jihad on Campus campaign seeks to raise awareness of how such anti-Israel terrorists have infiltrated American universities, spreading terrorist propaganda and messages, with university funding and support. Along those lines, it offers teach-ins to raise student awareness and combat pro-terrorist propaganda on American campuses. It has since gone on to post a list of the “Top 10 American universities most friendly to terrorists.”

The campaign’s demands are simple: no campus support for jihad terrorists, no campus privileges for anti-Israel hate groups, and no student funding for apartheid hate weeks. “Our goal in placing these posters on prominent campuses across America,” explains David Horowitz, “is to expose the true motivations of these terrorist proxy-groups and challenge their genocidal propaganda.” He continues:

These terrorist support groups are afforded campus privileges, including university offices and the right to hold events on campus grounds that would be denied to any other group that preached hatred of ethnic groups or supported barbaric terrorists who slaughter men, women and children as part of a demented mission to cleanse the earth of infidels.

Below are photos from the “Palestinian Wall of Lies” display recently set up at the University of South Dakota in conjunction with the Stop the Jihad on Campus campaign, as part of the Freedom Center’s efforts to counteract campus propaganda. The Wall lists and then debunks the major Palestinian lies about Israel and the Jews, which are often propagated unquestioned by the mainstream media and swallowed whole by impressionable college students. Needless to say, the Wall has proven to be quite a conversation piece whenever it has appeared on American campuses awash in leftist indoctrinationabout the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

To donate to Stop the Jihad on Campus, click here.

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Israel Bans the Muslim Brotherhood for Inciting Violence, Seeking to Replace Israel with Caliphate

mb-montage1PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, Nov. 17, 2015:

Just two weeks after Senator Ted Cruz and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart dropped bills in the U.S. Senate and House calling for the Obama administration to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, Israel announced today that it was banning the branch of the organization from operating in their country for inciting violence and trying to replace Israel with a caliphate.

This also follows recent action taken by other U.S. allies in the Middle East to designate the Muslim Brotherhood, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

A statement posted on the website of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs explains:

For years, the northern branch of the Islamic Movement has led a mendacious campaign of incitement under the heading ‘Al Aqsa is in danger’ that falsely accuses Israel of intending to harm the Al Aqsa Mosque and violate the status-quo. In this context, the northern branch has established a network of paid activists (Mourabitoun/Mourabitat) in order to initiate provocations on the Temple Mount. This activity has led to a significant increase in tension on the Temple Mount. A significant portion of recent terrorist attacks have been committed against the background of this incitement and propaganda.

Outlawing the organization is a vital step in maintaining public security and preventing harm to human life.

The northern branch, headed by Sheikh Raad Salah, is a sister movement of the Hamas terrorist organization. The two movements maintain a close and secretive cooperation. The northern branch of the Islamic Movement is a separatist-racist organization that does not recognize the institutions of the State of Israel, denies its right to exist and calls for the establishment of an Islamic caliphate in its place. The northern branch of the Islamic Movement belongs to radical Islam and is part of the global ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ movement. The two movements share an extremist ideology and a common goal – the destruction of the State of Israel.

According to Israeli press reports, the ban resulted in immediate action. Haaretz reports:

In light of the decision to outlaw the branch, the Israel Police and Shin Bet security service seized the group’s property and closed its offices. Court orders were issued to shut down 17 non-profit organizations and movements that operate on behalf of the group, including those in Rahat, Jaffa, Nazareth and Umm al-Fahm. The Shin Bet also said the bank accounts of these organizations that were used “for the movement’s activities against state security” had been frozen overnight, and that computers and documents found in the offices during an overnight raid had been seized.

The move by Netanyahu to ban the group began in June 2014, when protesters at Islamic Movement protests called for the kidnapping of IDF soldiers. That effort was resisted by elements within Shin Bet and the Ministry of Justice.

The two bills introduced earlier this month by Cruz and Diaz-Balart, S. 2230 and H.R. 3892, note in their findings that the U.S. government has already designated branches, leaders and charities of the Muslim Brotherhood internationally as terrorist organizations.

In submitting the bill, Cruz told the Washington Free Beacon that the Justice Department has argued in federal court that the Muslim Brotherhood is directly tied to terrorism:

“This bill puts the lie to the notion that the Muslim Brotherhood is a peaceful political organization that can be a legitimate partner for America,” the lawmaker said. “In 2008 the Justice Department successfully prosecuted the largest terrorism-financing trial in American history arguing that the Muslim Brotherhood directed U.S. affiliates such as the Holy Land Foundation to provide ‘media, money and men’ to Hamas. That support was used for terrorist attacks against Americans and our allies in the Middle East.  When they are capable they will try to do the same thing here.”

If passed, the bill requires the State Department to either designate the Muslim Brotherhood, or provide a set of detailed explanations to Congress of why the group doesn’t meet the terror designation criteria.

New Report Details Iranian Commander’s Involvement in Terrorist Activity and Regional Expansion

sulaymani-500x295by IPT News  •  Nov 4, 2015:

The commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) Quds Force– Qassem Soleimani – continues to remain actively involved in promoting the Islamic Republic’s regional expansion and terrorist networks, according to an extensive report compiled by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center.

Click here to see the full report.

As the head of the Quds Force – the most powerful security organization in Iran –Soleimani is directly tasked with maintaining the fundamentalist regime in power and is responsible for exploiting Arab World turmoil in recent years to advance Iran’s regional hegemonic objectives. From September 2015, Iran increased its number of troops – mainly IRGC soldiers – in Syria from hundreds to thousands, to support Hizballah terrorists acting at Iran’s behest in propping up the Bashaar Assad regime.

In October 2015, Soleimani reportedly landed in northwestern Syria to brief Hizballah operatives and command a Syrian military offensive, indicating that Iran is diverting more resources from its presence in Iraq to Syria.

Despite Iran’s commitment to Syria, the Islamic Republic is actively establishing terrorist networks in the Golan Heights – using Hizballah, Druze, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) operatives – to target Israel.

Emphasizing growing concern over Iranian terror bases on the Jewish state’s borders, Israel allegedly conducted an airstrike targeting a convoy of Hizballah and Iranian operatives in January 2015, killing Jihad Mughniyeh – son of slain Hizballah leader Imad Mughinyeh – and a senior IRGC general in the Golan Heights.

In August 2015, PIJ terrorists, reportedly under Iran’s direction, fired four rockets at Israeli territory, signalling the first missile attack striking the Upper Galilee from the Syrian Golan Heights since the 1973 Yom Kippur War. In fact, since the 1990s, the Quds Force has invested significant resources in supporting Palestinian terrorist organizations, smuggling weapons into the West Bank and Gaza, and ordering attacks against Israel.

Since the end of 2006 war in Lebanon, the Quds Force also played a vital role in rebuilding Hizballah’s terrorist infrastructure, helping the terrorist organization amass an arsenal of over 100,000 rockets, including precision guided missiles that can strike any target in Israel. Iran’s continued support to Hezbollah also includes sophisticated air defense systems and anti-ship missiles.

The Israeli report assumes that the Quds Force directly oversees the ongoing transfer of advanced weapons from Iran through Syria to Lebanon, despite the Islamic Republic’s overwhelming commitment to ensure Assad’s survival amid an intensifying civil war.

Iran has also attempted to infiltrate intelligence agents into Israel. In September 2013, Ali Mansouri – under direction from the Quds Force – was detained at Ben Gurion International Airport and found to be in possession of pictures of important sites in Israel, such as its international airport and the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv.

In the past, Soleimani’s Quds Force was responsible for financing most of the Iraqi Shi’ite militias and providing them with weapons to specifically target American soldiers. With Hizballah’s assistance, the Quds Force supplied terrorists with powerful explosive devices that killed numerous American and coalition troops in Iraq.

After Iran and the West signed the nuclear agreement, Soleimani and the Quds Force were featured on a list of Iranian personnel and institutions that may be relieved of previously imposed international sanctions. Despite initial denials, the U.S. administration confirmed that Soleimani’s name would be removed from the list of UN Security Council sanctioned individuals, eight years following the nuclear deal’s signing. Adding to the confusion, the U.S. Treasury Department insisted that Soleimani will remain sanctioned in light of his ongoing involvement in terrorist activity.

Nevertheless, the Iranian commander’s recent trip to Russia to coordinate both countries efforts in Syria emphasizes the difficulty in enforcing personal sanctions.

Critics of the nuclear deal argue that ensuing sanctions relief will encourage Iran to enhance its regional expansion and global state sponsorship of terrorism.

Blade of jihad: Extremists embrace the knife as tool of terror

Wielding a knife from his pulpit in a sermon streamed on the Iternet last month, Palestinian Sheikh Muhammad Salakh called for followers to take up butcher knives and attack Israelis.

Wielding a knife from his pulpit in a sermon streamed on the Iternet last month, Palestinian Sheikh Muhammad Salakh called for followers to take up butcher knives and attack Israelis.

Fox News, by Paul Alster, Nov. 6, 2015:

The knife has replaced suicide bombings, car attacks and random shootings as the new tool of choice for waging jihad on Israel, with leaders blatantly calling for Palestinians young and old to take up the kitchen implement and kill.

While cars careening into crowds was the trend in terror last year– with hit songs in Gaza and the West Bank praising “martyrs” behind the wheel– this year Hamas and Palestinian Authority leaders, clerics and newspaper editors are openly encouraging stabbings that have so far killed a dozen and wounded 167 since Oct. 1. Through sermons, social media, online blogs, editorial cartoons and TV and radio reports, the message seems to be that anyone can pick up a knife and advance the cause.

“Restrain the victim while others attack him with axes and butcher knives,” influential Sheikh Muhammad Salakh recently preached as he brandished a knife in a sermon that was widely viewed within the territories. “Do not fear what will be said about you. Oh men of the West Bank, next time, attack in a group of three, four, or five. Attack them in groups. Cut them into body parts.”

“Oh men of the West Bank, next time, attack in a group of three, four, or five. Attack them in groups. Cut them into body parts.”

– Sheikh Muhammad Salakh, Palestinian cleric

The attackers are hailed as brave heroes, with a youth soccer tournament named for Muhannad Halabi, who murdered two Israelis, wounding the wife and two-year-old son of one in a stabbing in Jerusalem in early October. Some terrorists, killed by Israeli security forces and police either during or in the immediate aftermath of their attacks, are revered as shahids (martyrs) and have had streets and squares named in their honor.

The bloody toll to date includes a dozen dead and at least 19 seriously wounded in 59 separate stabbing attacks, mainly in Jerusalem. Some 72 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces, including 45 who Israel said were involved in attacks and another 27 Palestinians killed in clashes between stone-throwers and security forces.

The latest attack came on Friday afternoon, when a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli outside a supermarket in Sha’ar Binyamin “injuring him severely,” according to local authorities.

Particularly chilling is the fact that the call to regular citizens to use readily available weapons appears to be creating a new wave of terrorists.

“Generally speaking, the terrorists have not been operatives of any established terrorist organization,” the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted in a statement Thursday. “The current wave of terrorism has not been directed by any organization, but rather is directly inspired by the intensive incitement accompanying it.”

Suspected weapons are removed from Arabs entering Jerusalem’s Old City, but once inside the ancient walls, anyone can walk into a hardware store and by a hammer, or a kitchenware shop and purchase butcher knives. They could even visit a private house and take a carving knife from a kitchen drawer. Israeli security forces have found it almost impossible to restrict the proliferating use of knives, but recent increases in security patrols in Jerusalem have seen a decrease in attacks in the capital, only for more attacks to be perpetrated in other Israeli towns and cities, including in the disputed West Bank, especially Hebron.

The troubling trend was underscored last week, when a baby born in Gaza wasgiven the name “Knife of Jerusalem” by his proud parents in honor of the wave of fatal stabbings carried out by Palestinians on Israeli Jews.

“Allah has given me a new baby and I’ve named him ‘Knife of Jerusalem,’ after the Intifada of the Knives,” the baby’s father proudly declared in a television interview translated by Middle East Media Research Institute. “We gave him the name… in solidarity with our people in the West Bank,” the baby’s mother added. A friend explained that he was watching a video called “Lovers of Stabbing” with the expectant father, and suggested the macabre name, an idea the father was delighted to adopt.

The recent wave of terror was sparked when violence broke out at the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, site of the Golden Dome and the Al Aqsa mosque, the third holiest place on earth for Muslims. It overlooks the Western Wall, the holiest place on earth for Jews. Arab media insisted that Israel was planning to take over the Al Aqsa compound and that all means should be employed to defend the site – and Islam itself.

On Oct. 19, ISIS began releasing a series of online video messages, the first of which was titled, “Project Behead the Jews.” The videos praised Palestinians for the wave of terror and reportedly feature footage of the Temple Mount, punctuated by calls for Muslims to “liberate Al Aqsa” and “wage jihad against the Jews.”

From the start, Israel stressed it has no designs on Al Aqsa – a compound overseen by the Islamic “waqf” trust as part of a long-standing status quo agreement – insisting that the violence followed attacks on Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall, stoned by Muslims using the compound as safe haven. Israeli security forces reportedly discovered pipe bombs inside the mosque when they intervened to stop the violence.

“This incitement comes from the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic Movement in Israel, Hamas, and – to our chagrin – also with the active participation of the Palestinian Authority,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last month. [emphasis added]

Now five weeks into the violence sparked by the Temple Mount crisis, Hamas continues to call for blood. While knifings constitute the lion’s share of attacks, the other techniques for spreading terror are not forgotten. On Wednesday, a terrorist identified as Ibrahim al-Acri, 38, was killed by Israeli security forces in Jerusalem after slamming his car into 15 pedestrians, killing one and injuring 14 more. An official Hamas statement praised al-Acri as a “heroic martyr”.

Some regional observers suggest the wave of attacks is a spontaneous reaction from Palestinians frustrated by lack of jobs, difficult housing conditions, travel restrictions, and the controlling hand of Israel, but also highlight disillusionment with the corruption of the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority controlled by Mahmoud Abbas. But experts who spoke to FoxNews.com said it would be naive to believe the wave of stabbings is organic.

“It’s too simplistic to say it just rose from the people,” a senior Israel Defense Forces officer told FoxNews.com. “Hamas is inciting what they now call the ‘Al Aqsa Intifada’ encouraging Palestinians in the territories to carry out terror acts… but the Palestinian Authority is not stopping it.”

Yesterday, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., the committee’s ranking member, along with 367 other House members sent a bipartisan letter to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, urging him to quell the incitement against Israelis.

“Now is the time for the Palestinian Authority to take concrete steps to avoid further violence,” read the letter. “This starts with a sustained effort to publicly and officially repudiate these attacks, ending the unacceptable incitement to violence emanating from Palestinian Authority officials and institutions, continuing important security cooperation with Israel and agreeing to unconditionally renew direct talks with the Israelis.”

“Mahmoud Abbas is trying to delegitimize Israel, but he does not want an intifada to happen. He thinks he can control the flames [of the uprising]. He’s playing a dangerous game,” the senior IDF officer warned. “An intifada is a bigger risk to his regime than it is to Israel.”

Paul Alster is an Israel-based journalist. Follow him on Twitter @paul_alster and visit his website: www.paulalster.com.

Reframing the Arab-Israeli Conflict

“The art of reframing is to maintain the conflict in all its richness but to help people look at it in a more open-minded and hopeful way.”  – From Bernard Mayer’s “The Dynamics of Conflict Resolution”

Can we look at what is going on in Israel today – and the Arab-Israeli conflict as a whole – “in a more open-minded and hopeful way”?

After all, the current trouble is nothing new. Arabs have been stabbing and murdering Jews for 100 years, long before the modern State of Israel came into being. The Hebron Massacre in 1929 is just one incident that springs to mind.

And with no substantial political or military solution on the horizon, how can we possibly reframe things?

Well, the popular way of looking at the conflict is to see it simply as a dispute over land. This narrative accuses Israel of occupying the West Bank and Gaza in 1967. And if Israel will just give these areas back to the Palestinians, they will instantly lay down their stones and knives and Jews and Arabs will live together happily ever after.

Of course though, every time Israel has “given back” land, the Arabs use it to launch further attacks on Israel, with Hamas tunnels and rockets from Gaza being the most obvious and recent example.

Yet, strangely enough, most of the world’s leaders and media still buy into this theory.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said at Harvard University said last week, “a massive increase in settlements” has led to the current “frustration and violence.”

But that concept is as flawed as the failed peace process itself.

The Arab-Jewish conflict was ablaze long before Israel came along. For example, Arab rioters with knives, pistols and rifles ran rampant through Jaffa on May 1, 1921, beating and murdering Jews and looting Jewish homes and stores. They killed 27 Jews and wounded another 150.

And because similar conflicts rage in more than 25 other countries today – Afghanistan, Angola, Nigeria, Syria, to name but a few – the symptoms indicate a more serious problem.

This is not a common cold to be cured by a Jewish country evacuating this piece of land or agreeing to that concession.

It’s a cancer of the most virulent strain…spreading rapidly throughout the entire free world.

Let’s face facts.

This conflict is not primarily about land at all.

Those malignant cells terrorizing Israel today are infected with the same disease as the forces destroying 2,000-year-old archaeological treasures in Syria, beheading, raping and massacring Muslims and non-Muslims across the Middle East and detonating suicide bombs in Turkey, Bali, Indonesia. And the list goes on.

The bad guys – whom the world refuses to acknowledge as such – are out to impose radical Islam on the world. They want to obliterate Israel, America, Christianity and even other anti-Islamist Muslims – “infidels” in their eyes. And that includes innocent Palestinians suffering at the hands of Hamas & Company.

In short, the entire civilized world is at risk.

I’m talking about ISIS, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, the PKK, Hezbollah and dozens of similar organizations.

An entire society – connected to a daily drip of vitriol and hate from birth, brainwashed by a well-oiled system of education, media and religious rhetoric – ready and willing to kill and die in the name of the anti-Semitic Jihad of Intolerance.

And that’s why the current situation in Israel is not a localized “few days of rage,” “a wave of terror” or even “a Third Intifada.”

What’s happening is yet another symptom of a global Third Jihad.

The first jihad lasted from 622 – 750 AD, after Mohammad’s armies conquered all of Arabia and most of the Middle East, North Africa and Spain.

The second jihad started in 1071, when Islamic armies conquered Constantinople and spread into Europe, India and further into Africa. It eventually began to peter out when the Muslim Ottoman army was vanquished at the Battle of Vienna in September 1683.

And radical Islam’s pursuit of world domination has never stopped.

Countries and cultures ignored the threat or reacted too slowly and were swallowed up by the relentless radical Islamic monster. So much so that there are now 57 countries in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, or OIC.

The Third Jihad is upon us.

This is the deeper, more sinister nature of the Arab-Israeli conflict. It is not simply a war over settlements, land or the Temple Mount.

It’s a religious battle. A clash of two diametrically opposed world views.

Between the sanctity of life and the culture of death.

And that definitely removes the conflict from the Middle East, away from the Israeli government, rolling responsibility to the feet of anyone who believes in a just and righteous world.

Is that “more open-minded and hopeful”?

Well, it could be. Continuing the cancer analogy, things will get worse until someone – preferably sane world leaders and a responsible media – makes the correct diagnosis.

Also see:

Netanyahu’s Mufti Firestorm

The Watchman Show: Terror Wave Against Israel

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CBN News, by Erick Stakelbeck, Oct. 27, 2015:

On this week’s edition of The Watchman, we examine the latest Palestinian terror wave against Israel and how ISIS and its supporters could use similar tactics here in the West.

We also break down why Russia is getting involved militarily in Syria and what it means for America and Israel.

Don’t Make the Muslims Angry

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Frontpage, by Daniel Greenfield, Oct. 27, 2015:

The Secretary of State of the United States traveled to the Muslim country of Jordan to assure its Foreign Minister that Jews would not be praying any more at the holiest site in Judaism.

As Kerry put it, “It is Muslims who pray on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif and non-Muslims who visit.”

Israel is often accused of apartheid and segregation, but here was the Secretary of State championing both, as long as it was Muslim segregation aimed at Jews. The Temple Mount “Status Quo” worriedly talked about by Kerry and the media as the answer to the recent Muslim stabbing spree is no different than the Muslim ban on Jews entering the Cave of the Patriarchs, where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are buried, past the seventh step. It rewards Muslim violence by upholding Muslim segregationist racism.

There’s no word on whether segregated drinking fountains will be put in for Muslims and non-Muslims. Jews visiting the former site of their Temple have been attacked for drinking from an “Islamic” water fountain.

Perhaps the status quo will also say that, “It is Muslims who drink from water fountains on the Temple Mount and non-Muslims who go thirsty.”

And don’t even ask about the bathrooms. PLO leader Abbas, whom Kerry also met with, shrieked that Jews “have no right to defile it with their filthy feet”.

The status quo on the Temple Mount and in the Middle East is the supremacism of Muslim bigotry. The Jews violated this status quo in a very big way by seeking independence. The indigenous Jewish people were no longer willing to be a conquered nation under the boot of Muslim invaders, forced to live in ghettos, wear yellow badges, walk barefoot or wait on the seventh step outside their holy places.

Every act of Muslim terrorism is blamed on this primal Jewish violation of the “Status Quo”. Israel violated the status quo by becoming the first non-Muslim country in the Middle East. If that wasn’t bad enough, Jews violated the status quo even further by becoming the first indigenous people to reclaim land lost in a war from its Muslim conquerors. Then the members of a religion that had been defeated by Islam, its holy places turned into mosques, had the temerity to go and pray at their own holy places.

What could Muslims do in the face of so many violations of the status quo by an inferior conquered race except resort to maddened orgies of violence, setting off bombs and chopping up Rabbis with cleavers?

It’s not only the Jews who get in trouble for violating the Muslim status quo. When Coptic Christians turned out to protest the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt, the supporters of the “moderate” terror group, which Kerry backs, responded by shouting “Death to the Christians” and burning churches.

Jordan’s Foreign Minister warned Kerry, “When you infuriate the emotions of one of our billion Muslims around the world, things become rather thorny and rather difficult to manage.”

The world’s one billion Muslims, whose delicate emotions are always infuriated by something, enforce an Islamic status quo in which no non-Muslim dares to violate the Muslim superiority complex.

A Danish newspaper can’t print cartoons that a few Imams don’t like or the billion Muslims will get angry. Burger King can’t have ice cream that Muslims think resembles the name of their god or a billion Muslims will get angry. America can’t defend itself against Islamic terrorism or a billion Muslims will get angry. Jews in Israel and Christians in Egypt can’t have their civil rights or a billion Muslims will get angry.

Some might say that the billion Muslims are just looking for things to get angry at… but that would just make a billion Muslims angry.

When buildings fall or buses blow up, when people are stabbed, shot or exploded by the unofficial representatives of the bilious billion, we go right past the crime to the anger that motivated it. “Why do they hate us?” becomes the question and Muslim anger becomes the pivot of national security policy.

Since Muslim anger causes violence, we stop terrorism by tiptoeing around anything that might make them angry. Minor things mostly like freedom of speech or freedom of religion. If you’re a Coptic Christian who makes a YouTube video about Mohammed, you can be sent to prison when some of the moderate Muslim Brotherhood/Al Qaeda locals murder four Americans while shouting, “Allahu Akbar.”

After weeks of brutal Muslim murders, Kerry has gotten Israel to reinforce a ban on Jews praying at the holiest site in Judaism because it offends Muslims. Next up, maybe Jews will be restricted to the seventh step of the Cave of the Patriarchs again. Because that was the “Status Quo” under the Muslim conquest.

But the status quo won’t be restored by merely banning Jews from praying at the Temple Mount. It won’t even be restored by giving in to demands from Obama, Kerry and the outraged stabber lobby to keep Jews out of those parts of Jerusalem that Muslims had ethnically cleansed them from in 1948.

A Jewish Israel is a violation of the Islamic status quo. But so are a Christian Spain and an independent Greece. The Ottoman Empire at its peak nearly reached Vienna and extended into the Ukraine. Muslims once held Sicily. The monstrous Mughals ruled over much of India. Creative Muslim geography and revisionist history now claim that Australia’s aborigines were originally Muslim and Turkey’s Islamist ruler, who hopes to revive the Ottoman Empire, insists that Muslims originally discovered America.

These violations of the status quo must all be eliminated or a billion Muslims will be very, very angry.

Pandering to Muslim bigotry only earns more of the same. The Muslims butchering Jews in Jerusalem are not going to be satisfied with any status quo short of the total Sharia subjugation of the Jews with all the attendant ritual humiliations of ghettos, bare feet and legal immunity for Muslim murderers of Jews.

Allowing Muslims to set the tone for every negotiation by invoking one billion fuming faithful who will go on a killing spree if a cartoon is published, a book is printed or a prayer is prayed is a submission to a racist theocracy. Worse still, it treats the anger of the bigoted murderers as if it had moral weight.

Our diplomatic Stockholm syndrome traces back the root cause of Muslim violence not to the Muslim killers, but to anyone who might be guilty of provoking them.

Obama’s people responded to the murder of Americans in Benghazi with a Pakistani video apology and by treating a YouTube video critical of Mohammed as the real crime. Hillary Clinton told the father of a murdered SEAL, “We’re going to have that person arrested and prosecuted that did the video.”

When Muslims butcher Jews in Jerusalem, the blame settles not on the killers, but on their victims.

Some Jews had to be stabbed because other Jews (and their filthy feet) had prayed at the holiest site in Judaism that the Muslim conquerors claimed for their own because Mohammed once flew there on a magic horse with a woman’s head. Or at least that was this week’s Muslim excuse for killing Jews.

Muslims had been killing Jews for over a thousand years. But there’s always some momentary excuse for how the Jewish victims provoked their Muslim killers this time that utterly fails to explain why this same cycle of Muslim anti-Semitic violence has been going on since the beginning of Islam.

We are often lectured on how oppressed Muslims are. One of the more popular Muslim victimization memes claims that Muslims are “the new Jews”. So far the only thing they have done to prove this claim is trying to kill all the Jews on the theory that when all the Jews are dead, they can be the new Jews.

By accepting Muslim anger as moral we have turned murderers into victims and victims into murderers. The extremes of Muslim outrage are not proof of their suffering, their frustration and desperation, as the media claims, but of their racism, their supremacism and their dehumanization of non-Muslims.

Muslim terrorism is not a cry for help. It’s a cry of hate.

Muslims are not entitled to a supremacist status quo that enshrines their conquests as sacred and forever represses the rights and identities of the peoples under their rule. It is this supremacist sense of entitlement that fuels Muslim terror from ISIS to Hamas.

Upholding such a status quo only breeds further conflicts as Islam seeks to restore its status quo conquests around the world. It’s their belief that they can restore a supremacist status quo that is the cause of Muslim terrorism. Take away this expectation of a status quo and Muslim terror goes away.

Obama has decided to uphold the Muslim status quo. Muslim terrorism is met with backdoor support for a Caliphate through political Islam. Muslim stabbings in Israel are met with calls for upholding a Muslim supremacist status quo that bans Jews from praying at the holiest site in their religion.

Our national security strategy, our diplomacy and the premise of societies that are being transformed by Muslim migration is don’t make the Muslims angry. This vision for the West is an abusive relationship in which the free world plays the beaten wife whose dreams and hopes have narrowed down to not “provoking” another violent tantrum from the psychotic monster who has taken over her life.

“Don’t Make the Muslims Angry” has become our highest law. The free world needs an intervention before we give up our rights, our identities and our future to live in this abusive relationship with Islam.

Obama Tells Falsehoods About Israel, Retracts, Then Repeats Falsehoods

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Frontpage, by Morton A. Klein, Oct. 26, 2015:

After weeks of murderous Palestinian stabbing attacks upon innocent Israelis, how has the Obama Administration responded?

Although Israel has been killing or apprehending knife-wielding terrorists, while Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority (PA) has been inciting and glorifying their acts of murder, the Administration presents both sides as morally equivalent, while insinuating or even asserting Israeli responsibility.

Obama officials have been doing this in five ways:

1. Condemning violence and incitement on both sides: Specifically condemning attacks on innocent Israelis, Secretary of State John Kerry nonetheless also called upon “all sides to take affirmative steps to restore calm” and called for “leadership that condemns the tit-for-tat.” And State Department spokesman John Kirby explicitly stated, “we recognize that incitement can go both ways here.”

2. Refusing to identify or condemn PA incitement to violence: Despite disseminating falsehoods  about Palestinian terrorists being innocents murdered in cold blood by Israel and Muslim supremacist calls by Abbas for Muslims to block imaginary Israeli take-over and “desecration” of Muslim shrines with “their filthy feet,” Administration officials don’t allude to this, much less condemn it. Quite the contrary: State Department spokesman Mark Toner implied Israel isn’t upholding the status quo on Temple Mount, while Mr. Kirby explicitly endorsed this false Palestinian claim, saying, “certainly, the status quo has not been observed, which has led to a lot of the violence.”

3. Refusing to identify which side is using terrorism: Secretary Kerry has spoken of “a revolving cycle,” while Mr. Toner has referred to the “recent wave of violence,” not Palestinian terrorism, and refused to “assign blame” for the attacks. So did Mr. Kirby (“this isn’t about affixing … blame on either side”).

4. Accusing Israel of using excessive force in dealing with the knife-wielding terrorists: Mr. Kirby baldy stated that “we’ve certainly seen some reports of what many would consider excessive use of force.”

5. Rationalizing the Arab violence as partly the product of Jews moving into or living in the West Bank: Secretary Kerry spoke of  a “massive increase in [Jewish] settlements over the course of the last years,” which is neither a warrant for murder nor even true: construction within Jewish communities in the West Bank has dropped during Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s six-year tenure to its lowest point since the Rabin government.

When the Obama Administration nullifies and voids the meaning and worth of its original condemnation of attacks on Israelis with defamatory charges and moral equivalence, it exposes its hostility and bias against Israel.

It is also inflammatory –– if Kerry can assign blame for Arab terrorism on Jews building houses in the West Bank, why can’t Arabs?

It is also untenable: one cannot credibly condemn terrorist acts and then include under the rubric of restoring calm forbearing from lawful actions of self-defense taken in response to them.

Under consequent pressure to to clarify the U.S. position, White House spokesman Josh Earnest denied that Secretary Kerry assigned any specific blame for the recent tensions –– which, of course, he had. Mr. Kirby avowed that “we have never accused Israeli security forces with excessive force with respect to these terrorist attacks” –– which, of course, he had –– and recanted his false statement, saying, “I did not intend to suggest that status quo at Temple Mount/Haram Al-Sharif has been broken” –– which, of course, he did.

These disavowals and retractions are correct and necessary –– but do not dispose of the root problem of hostility and bias.

Recall, for example, Secretary Kerry last year publicly bolstered the Palestinian delegitimization campaign by suggesting that Israel could become an apartheid state and would be understandably the target of boycotts if negotiations then on foot failed. Kerry later retracted his words –– but the damage was done.

The Administration seems to be seeking the damaging effects of these subsequently triangulated statements. The clarifications are just sufficiently retractive to mollify critics, while nonetheless preserving the original, damaging impact.

In this instance, President Obama seems to think they retracted too much.

Accordingly, on October 16, he himself doubled down on the original misrepresentations uttered by his officials on October 13 and 14, but retracted on October 14 and 15,  saying, “We must try to get all people in Israel, and the West Bank” to oppose “random violence.” President Obama also urged both Messrs. Netanyahu and Abbas to tamp down rhetoric, and again called into question Israel’s maintenance of Jerusalem’s status quo.

As for Abbas’ incitement –– still not a word from him, nor from UN Ambassador Samantha Power, who has also doubled down on some of the earlier false charges in the UN Security Council.

The Obama Administration is telling falsehoods about Israel, retracting them and then restating them. When someone persists with falsehoods, even after admitting them to be untrue, he intends them to stick.

Morton A. Klein is National President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA). Dr. Daniel Mandel is Director of the ZOA’ s Center for Middle East Policy and author of H.V. Evatt & the Creation of Israel (Routledge, London, 2004).

***

Also see:

The Palestinian Authority’s Sinister Sleight of Hand

palestinian protestNational Review, by Alex VanNess, Oct. 26, 2015:

A good magician hones his craft by spending countless hours mastering sleight-of-hand techniques. The audience is distracted by one hand while the other hand is executing the illusion.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) pulled off an amazing sleight-of-hand trick this month by erasing Jewish ties to the Land of Israel.

Last week, the PA, with the backing of six Arab countries, successfully shepherded a resolution through the U.N. Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) listing the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem as Muslim sites, and condemning Israel for archeological excavations near the Temple Mount.

The resolution followed weeks of violent encounters, which started as a series of riots at the al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount, where Palestinians had stockpiled rocks, firebombs, and other weaponry. After the riots, Palestinians alleged that the status quo over the Temple Mount, where Jews are allowed to visit but not pray, was being threatened by Israel. These allegations were repeated, and exacerbated, by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who accused Jews of contaminating Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem with their “filthy feet.”

By stoking riotous violence on the Temple Mount, the PA gave itself a pretext for demanding concessions from UNESCO, and it pounced, overreaching at first to establish a bargaining position. Its original proposal asked that the Western Wall, officially known by its Hebrew name, “Kotel,” be rechristened as the Arabic “Buraq,” and recognized as belonging to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Even UNESCO’s director-general Irina Bokova condemned this power grab, stating that it would “further incite tensions” and was inconsistent with the organization’s “mandate and efforts.”

Though Israel maintains control over Jerusalem, administration of the city’s holy sites is entrusted to their respective religious authorities. The PA failed to win the Kotel as part of al-Aqsa, but its leaders will no doubt try again, and use the concessions they did win to agitate for Islamic stewardship of any number of other contested sites. When they do not get what they want, a slew of U.N. Resolutions will rain down condemning Israel’s refusal to hand over control of “Muslim” property. The PA will then proceed to incite its people to violently demand what they couldn’t take through diplomacy, and the process will repeat itself, the Palestinians winning incremental concessions each time.

The PA has continuously denied Judaism’s historical and religious ties to the region. During the 2000 negotiations at Camp David, then PA President Yasser Arafat refused to acknowledge Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and claimed that a Jewish Temple never existed there.

Before Israel took control of the region, Jewish holy sites were vandalized and desecrated, and Jews were denied access to many of them, including the Kotel. Muslims have built mosques directly on top of some Jewish shrines in order to lay claim to them.

Even now, Jewish sites in PA-controlled areas are subject to violent assaults. Last week, a Palestinian mob set fire to Joseph’s Tomb, a Jewish holy site located in the West Bank. While the Muslim administrators of the Temple Mount have official visiting hours for non-Muslim visitors, such visitors are forbidden from praying there. Just visiting the Temple Mount is difficult for non-Muslims, who are subject to harassment as soon as they set foot on the site: Muslim youths are paid salaries to harass Jewish and Christian visitors. These professional bullies even accosted a U.S. Congressional delegation visiting the mosque.

With one hand, the Palestinians are claiming that Israel is performing a power grab in an attempt to change the status quo of the Temple Mount. With the other hand, the Palestinians are co-opting religious sites, changing the status quo of the Temple Mount in their favor, and attempting to erase Jewish connections to contested Holy lands. All of this is being done in plain sight, with the tacit acceptance of the international community. It’s some magic trick.

— Alex VanNess is the manager of public information at the Center for Security Policy.

Netanyahu Answers the Big Lies Against Israel

PM Netanyahu at the UN Photo Credit: vi Ohayon/GPO

PM Netanyahu at the UN
Photo Credit: vi Ohayon/GPO

Jewish Press, by Lori Lowenthal Marcus, October 21st, 2015:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took the opportunity during his speech to the 37th World Zionist Congress, to speak from his Zionist heart to the hearts of Zionists everywhere.

Netanyahu used the occasion to rally supporters of Israel and to call upon them to spread the truth about Zionism and Israel. He spoke during the midst of a wave of terror in Israel unlike any in recent time. The stabbing, shooting, car-ramming attacks on Israeli citizens just during the month of October alone has unnerved many. Once again the media and the outside world uses moral equivalency or worse to condemn Israel for the terror unleashed against its citizens.

Netanyahu’s rock steady speech enlisted all supporters of Israel in the battalion of truth tellers about Israel. The physical attacks are being endured solely by Israelis, but the fight against the vilification of the Jewish State is something in which everyone can and must participate.

The ammunition Netanyahu provided the troops he enlisted consists solely of truth. The truths that can and will deflate the myths perpetuated by so many against the Jewish State.

In all, Netanyahu summarized into Ten Big Lies being told about Israel, and he provided answers to all of them. The entire speech can be found here.

The First Big Lie: Israel is trying to change the Status Quo on Har Habayit (Temple Mount). No, Israel is not. But here are additional facts you need to back up this categorical statement. First, King Solomon built the Temple Mount 3,000 years ago. That’s 1,500 years before the birth of Islam. The current arrangement, despite Israel’s victory in a defensive war against Jordan in 1967 which previously controlled the site, is that Muslims may visit the Temple Mount and pray there, while non-Muslims are permitted to visit only between Sunday and Thursday and Jews are not permitted ever to pray there. Over the past year, three and a half million Muslims visited the Temple Mount, 80,000 Christians and a mere 12,000 Jews.

The Second Big Lie: Israel is trying to destroy Al-Aksa Mosque. Netanyahu told an anecdote about how, just after his grandfather arrived in Israel, there was a terrorist attack because Arabs claimed Jews were trying to destroy the Al-Aksa Mosque. That was in 1920. Jews were attacked based on this false claim again in 1921, and in 1929. And it’s still happening today. So, Netanyahu explained, “this lie is about a hundred years old. It fomented many, many attacks. The Temple Mount stands. The al-Aqsa Mosque stands. But the lie stands too, it persists.”

The Third Big Lie is that there has been a surge in settlement construction, Netanyahu explained. The truth, however, is that the number of units built in the “settlements” has gone down from 5,000 annually under Ehud Barak, to 1,900 under Sharon, down to 1,700 under Olmert. Under Netanyahu’s reign, the number is down to 1500. As Netanyahu said, “some surge.”

The Fourth Big Lie is that Israelis are executing Palestinians. Netanyahu used Abbas’s public charge that Israel executed a young teenager, Ahmen Mansara, to show the absurdity of this charge. In fact, Mansara had just viciously stabbed a 13 year old Israeli boy riding on his bicycle. Israelis stopped Mansara, but they certainly didn’t kill him. In fact, Mansara was treated in Hadassah Hospital and released. The Israeli victim, however, is still in that hospital, desperately trying to live.

The Fifth Big Lie is that Israel uses excessive force. To this claim, Netanyahu asks people to consider what the police forces in New York or Paris or Moscow would do if people ran through the streets of their cities trying to stab their citizens with knives or screwdrivers. Israel’s instructions are clear: if there’s a threat to life, take action to neutralize it. Period.

The Sixth Big Lie is that the increase in terrorism is due to the stagnation in the peace process. Netanyahu explained that terrorism in Israel rises and falls completely independently of the peace process or of the status of Israel. There was terrorism against the Jews before Israel was established, before the acquisition of the territories, while the peace process was ongoing and even when the peace process was at its peak. The peace process has no bearing on the increase in terrorism. What gives rise to the terrorism is the fact that the State of Israel exists.

The Seventh Big Lie is that Mahmoud Abbas is a moderate. Abbas just said “I welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem.” He glorifies the killers. He hasn’t condemned a single one of the 30 plus terrorist attacks on Israelis over the last month. Abbas is no moderate.

The Eighth Big Lie is that international observers will restore calm on the Temple Mount. Netanyahu categorically rejects that notion. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry did earlier this week, also.

The Ninth Big Lie is that the violence is erupting because there isno Palestinian State. The reality is, Netanyahu explained, the Palestinian Arabs have repeatedly rejected every single offer of a nation-state for their people. The only nation-state the Palestinian Arabs will accept is one with no Jewish State next to it.

The Tenth Big Lie supporters of Israel must denounce is the claim that “the core of the Middle East conflict is the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. For the past four years, Netanyahu reminded everyone, ever since the “Arab Spring,” Syria is disintegrating, Iraq is disintegrating, Libya is disintegrating, Yemen is unraveling, there is chaos in the Sinai and terror across North Africa. Millions are displaced, hundreds of thousands are being butchered. None of that has anything to do with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Nothing.

The core of the conflict in the Middle East, the Israeli Prime Minister said, is “the battle between early medievalism, very primitive, very violent, forms of militant Islam, and modernity. The core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the continued absolute refusal by the Palestinians to recognize a Jewish state within any boundaries”.

Netanyahu closed his speech with the following exhortation: “The biggest battle we have to fight is the battle for the facts. The facts win over the fiction if they’re repeated clearly, responsibly, firmly. This is what I ask all of you to do for the sake of the Jewish state and for the sake of the Jewish people.”

Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the U.S. correspondent for The Jewish Press. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com

Also see:

Moral Equivalence in the Middle East

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The West has developed a dangerous concern for ‘proportionality.’

National Review, by Victor Davis Hanson — October 20, 2015:

In the current epidemic of Palestinian violence, scores of Arab youths are attacking, supposedly spontaneously, Israeli citizens with knives. Apparently, edged weapons have more Koranic authority, and, in the sense of media spectacle, they provide greater splashes of blood. Thus the attacker is regularly described as “unarmed” and a victim when he is “disproportionately” stopped by bullets.

The Obama State Department has condemned the use of “excessive” Israeli force in response to Palestinian terrorism. John Kirby, the hapless State Department spokesman, blamed “both” sides for terrorism, and the president himself called on attackers and their victims to “tamp down the violence.”

In short, the present U.S. government — which is subsidizing the Palestinians to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars a year — is incapable of distinguishing those who employ terrorist violence from the victims against whom the terrorism is directed. But why is the Obama administration — which can apparently distinguish those who send out drones from those who are blown up by them on the suspicion of employing terrorist violence — morally incapable of calling out Palestinian violence? After all, in the American case, we blow away suspects whom we think are likely terrorists; in the Israeli instance, they shoot or arrest those who have clearly just committed a terrorist act.

RELATED: The One-State Solution, Ctd.

Two reasons stand out.

One, Obama’s Middle East policies are in shambles. Phony red lines, faux deadlines, reset with Putin, surrendering all the original bargaining chips in the Iranian deal, snubbing Israel, cozying up to the Muslim Brotherhood, dismissing the threat of ISIS, allowing Iraq to collapse by abruptly pulling out all American troops, giving way to serial indecision in Afghanistan, ostracizing the moderate Sunni regimes, wrecking Libya, and setting the stage for Benghazi — all of these were the result of administration choices, not fated events. One of the results of this collapse of American power and presence in the Middle East is an emboldened Palestinian movement that has recently renounced the Oslo Accords and encouraged the offensive of edged weapons.

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Mahmoud Abbas, the subsidized president of the self-proclaimed Palestinian State, and his subordinates have sanctioned the violence. Any time Palestinians sense distance between the U.S. and Israel, they seek to widen the breach. When the Obama team deliberately and often gratuitously signals its displeasure with Israel, then the Palestinians seek to harden that abstract pique into concrete estrangement.

Amid such a collapse of American power, Abbas has scanned the Middle East, surveyed the Obama pronouncements — from his initial Al Arabiya interview and Cairo speech to his current contextualizations and not-so private slapdowns of Netanyahu — and has wagered that Obama likes Israel even less than his public statements might suggest. Accordingly, Abbas assumes that there might be few consequences from America if he incites another “cycle of violence.”

RELATED: Palestinian Reasoning: Yield to Our Crazy Religious Intolerance or We’ll Kill You

The more chaos there is, the more CNN videos of Palestinian terrorists being killed by Israeli civilians or security forces, the more NBC clips of knife-wielding terrorists who are described as unarmed, and the more MSNBC faux maps of Israeli absorption of Palestine, so all the more the Abbas regime and Hamas expect the “international community” to force further Israeli concessions. The Palestinians hope that they are entering yet another stage in their endless war against Israel. But this time, given the American recessional, they have new hopes that the emerging Iran–Russia–Syria–Iraq–Hezbollah axis could offer ample power in support of the violence and could help to turn the current asymmetrical war more advantageously conventional. The Palestinians believe, whether accurately or not, that their renewed violence might be a more brutal method of aiding the administration’s own efforts to pressure the Israelis to become more socially just, without which there supposedly cannot be peace in the Middle East.

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But there is a second, more general explanation for the moral equivalence and anemic response from the White House. The Obama “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for” administration is the first postmodern government in American history, and it has adopted almost all the general culture’s flawed relativist assumptions about human nature.

Affluent and leisured Western culture in the 21st century assumes that it has reached a stage of psychological nirvana, in which the Westernized world is no longer threatened in any existential fashion as it often was in the past. That allows Westerners to believe that they no longer have limbic brains, and so are no longer bound by Neanderthal ideas like deterrence, balance of power, military alliances, and the use of force to settle disagreements. Their wealth and technology assure them that they are free, then, to enter a brave new world of zero culpability, zero competition, and zero hostility that will ensure perpetual tranquility and thus perpetual enjoyment of our present material bounty.

RELATED: There Is No God But Hephaestus — And Fire Is His Messenger

Our children today play tee-ball, where there are no winners and losers — and thus they are schooled that competition is not just detrimental but also can, by such training, be eliminated entirely. Our adolescents are treated according to the philosophy of “zero tolerance,” in which the hero who stops the punk from bullying a weaker victim is likewise suspended from school. Under the pretense of such smug moral superiority, our schools have abdicated the hard and ancient task of distinguishing bad behavior from good and then proceeding with the necessary rewards and punishments. Our universities have junked military history, which schooled generations on how wars start, proceed, and end. Instead, “conflict resolution and peace studies” programs proliferate, in which empathy and dialogue are supposed to contextualize the aggressor and thus persuade him to desist and seek help — as if aggression, greed, and the desire for intimidation were treatable syndromes rather than ancient evils that have remained dangerous throughout history.

Human nature is not so easily transcended, just because a new therapeutic generation has confused its iPhone apps and Priuses with commensurate moral and ethical advancement. Under the canons of the last 2,500 years of Western warfare, disproportionality was the method by which aggressors were either deterred or stopped. Deterrence — which alone prevented wars — was predicated on the shared assumption that starting a conflict would bring more violence down upon the aggressor than he could ever inflict on his victim. Once lost, deterrence was restored usually by disproportionate responses that led to victory over and humiliation of the aggressive party.

The wreckage of Berlin trumped anything inflicted by the Luftwaffe on London. The Japanese killed fewer than 3,000 Americans at Pearl Harbor; the Americans killed 30 times that number of Japanese in a single March 10, 1945, incendiary raid on Tokyo. “They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind” was the standard philosophy by which aggressive powers were taught never again to start hostilities. Defeat and humiliation led to peace and reconciliation.

The tragic but necessary resort to disproportionate force by the attacked not only taught an aggressor that he could not win the fight he had started, but also reminded him that his targeted enemy might not be completely sane, and thus could be capable of any and all retaliation.

Unpredictability and the fear sown by the unknown also help to restore deterrence, and with it calm and peace. In contrast, predictable, proportionate responses can reassure the aggressor that he is in control of the tempo of the war that he in fact started. And worse still, the doctrine of proportionality suggests that the victim does not seek victory and resolution, but will do almost anything to return to the status quo antebellum — which, of course, was disadvantageous and shaped by the constant threat of unexpected attack by its enemies.

Applying this to the Middle East, the Palestinians believe that the new American indifference to the region and Washington’s slapdowns of Netanyahu have reshuffled relative power. They now hope that there is no deterrent to violence and that, if it should break out, there will be only a proportionate and modest response from predictable Westerners.

Under the related doctrine of moral equivalence, Westerners are either unwilling or unable to distinguish the more culpable from the more innocent. Instead, because the world more often divides by 55 to 45 percent rather than 99 to 1 percent certainty, Westerners lack the confidence to make moral judgments — afraid that too many critics might question their liberal sensitivities, a charge that in the absence of dearth, hunger, and disease is considered the worst catastrophe facing an affluent Western elite.

The question is not only whether the Obama administration, in private, favors the cause of the radical Palestinians over a Western ally like Israel, but also whether it is even intellectually and morally capable of distinguishing a democratic state that protects human rights from a non-democratic, authoritarian, and terrorist regime that historically has hated the West, and the United States in particular — and is currently engaged in clear-cut aggression.

NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The Savior Generals.