The Saudis are in play, casting about for partners.
In a clear vote of no-confidence in US President Barack Obama’s leadership, Saudi King Salman led several Arab leaders in blowing off Obama’s Camp David summit this week. The summit was meant to compensate the Sunni Arabs for Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.
Salman’s decision is further proof that US-Saudi relations have jumped the tracks. For 70 years the Saudis subcontracted their national security to the US military. Deals were closed with a wink and a nod. That’s all over now.
Obama has destroyed Washington’s credibility. Salman views its gentleman’s agreements as worthless. All he wants now is military hardware. And for that, he can send a stand-in.
The Saudis never put all their eggs in America’s basket. For 70 years the Saudis played a double game, maintaining strategic alliances both with the liberal West and the most reactionary forces in the Islamic world. The Saudis pocketed petrodollars from America and Europe and transferred them to terrorists and jihadist preachers in mosques in the US, Europe and worldwide.
Iran isn’t the Saudis’ only concern. Although for outsiders the worldview of the theocracy governing Saudi Arabia seems all but identical to the worldview of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Saudis consider the Brotherhood a mortal foe. The Saudis claim that their tribal, top-down regime is the genuine expression of Islam. The Brotherhood’s populist, grassroots organization rejects their legitimacy.
And so, since the Arab revolutionary wave began in late 2010, the Saudis opposed the empowerment of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Saudis are the primary bankrollers of Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s regime.
During Operation Protective Edge last summer, the Saudis sided with Sisi and Israel against Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, and its Turkish and Qatari state sponsors. Although Saudi Arabia had previously been a major funder of Hamas, that backing ended in 2005 when, following Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, Hamas forged strategic ties with Iran.
For the past five years, the Saudis worked against both the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran. But in recent months they began reconsidering their two-war approach.
With the Iranian-backed Houthis’ takeover of Yemen and the US’s conclusion of its framework nuclear deal with Iran, the Saudis apparently determined that weakening Iran takes precedence over fighting the Brotherhood. With its Houthi proxies in Yemen deployed along the Saudi border abutting Shi’ite-majority border provinces, and fighting for control over the Bab el Mandab, Iran now poses an immediate and existential threat to Saudi Arabia.
Moreover, as the Saudis see it, the threat posed by the Brotherhood has severely diminished since Sisi began his campaign to destroy its infrastructure in Egypt. So long as Sisi continues weakening the Brotherhood in Egypt and Libya, the Saudis feel safe working with the Brotherhood and its state sponsors Turkey and Qatar in Syria and Yemen. To this end, much to Washington’s dismay, the Saudis are willing to back a consortium of rebel groups in Syria that include the al-Qaida-linked Jabhat al-Nusra.
The Muslim Brotherhood and its terrorist offshoots are not the only strange bedfellows the Saudis are willing to work with in their bid to neutralize Iran.
They have also signaled a willingness to work with Israel.
TEL AVIV – Internet forums and group chatter among ISIS supporters indicate the brutal jihadist organization is debating when to declare the Gaza Strip part of its expansive caliphate, WND has learned.
Informed Middle Eastern security officials said Hamas has been preparing a major crackdown on Salafist cells supportive of ISIS ideology, fearing the group could indeed make such a declaration of control over Gaza.
The officials further said Hamas has been trying to bribe Salafist ideologues away from ISIS by providing them with salaries while integrating them among the ranks of Hamas’ salaried security forces.
Asked by WND for comment on the report, Mushir al Masri, a member of Hamas’ parliament and a media spokesman for the group, denied ISIS was even present in the Gaza Strip.
“This is not the first time Israeli and Western media tried to pit us against ISIS. There is no truth to these claims, and ISIS is not in the Gaza Strip,” he said.
Masri further clarified that “anyone caught breaking the law will be dealt with just like all lawbreakers according to the criminal justice system in Gaza.”
However, just last week Hamas reportedly arrested a prominent ISIS-aligned preacher from Gaza after the terrorist group went on a rampage earlier in a Palestinian camp in Syria.
ISIS last month took control for a time of the Yarmouk camp in Syria, home to one of the largest Palestinian camps outside of Gaza. The group took responsibility for beheading several Palestinian men in the camp and reportedly raped some of the women there.
This week, in an apparent attempt to gain sympathy with the Gazan population, ISIS supporters reportedly gave away Israeli-made space heaters adorned with ISIS logos. ISIS supporters also have been giving other so-called charity to Gaza’s Palestinian population.
According to informed Middle Eastern security officials, Israel is so concerned about the prospect of ISIS rising in Gaza that the Jewish state has helped to step up the transport of civilian goods into the territory. Israel fears a shortage could provoke a discontented population to turn closer to ISIS, which has been trying to endear itself to Gazans with numerous Islamic charity initiatives.
Last July, WND reported an attempt by jihadist organizations in the Gaza Strip to unite under the common ISIS banner. Contacted by WND at the time, Abu Saqer, one of the leaders of Jihadiya Salafiya, which represents al-Qaida ideology in the Gaza Strip, confirmed the attempt to organize various jihad groups to fight Israel under the ISIS umbrella.
Sinai to Gaza
Any ISIS gains in Gaza would pose a major threat to both Israel and neighboring Egypt.
The moderate regime of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has been fighting an ISIS and Salafist insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula and beyond. The jihadists seek to connect the Sinai with the Gaza Strip to form one big territory.
ISIS allies took responsibility for a roadside bomb attack on an armored vehicle in Egypt’s northern Sinai that killed six Egyptian soldiers last Sunday.
Also over the weekend, a group formerly known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, now fighting under the ISIS banner, released a video that featured the graphic killing of an Egyptian soldier captured April 2 in the northern Sinai.
In December, WND reported Egypt arrested dozens of foreign jihadists in the Sinai Peninsula, stoking fears ISIS militants were seeking to open a new front.
In February, WND was first to report that thousands of foreign jihadists were attempting to infiltrate Egypt, with plans of a coming destabilization campaign akin to the insurgency in Syria, according to informed Middle Eastern security officials.
The officials warned at the time of a troubling development taking place among the al-Qaida-linked organizations already inside Egypt. They said there is information the militant groups are forming a de facto chain of command, with alarming coordination between the various jihadist factions embedded around the country.
The terrorist infrastructure is being set up beyond the Islamist stronghold of the Sinai Peninsula. The officials said al-Qaida-linked groups in Egypt have been forming divisions replete with leadership and assignments to specific territories, including in the Sinai, Suez regions, outside Cairo and along the delta.
Sisi has appealed to the Obama administration and international community for help in battling the insurgency.
In a Fox News interview last month, Sisi appealed for an increase in U.S. military aid.
“It is very important for the United States to understand that our need for the weapons and for the equipment is dire, especially at the time when the Egyptians feel they are fighting terrorism and they would like to feel the United States is standing by them in that fight against terrorism,” he said.
Iran has violated the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty time after time, often undetected; it also continues to violate Article 2, clause 4, of the United Nations Charter: “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state…”
During the British Mandate, the entire area was known as Palestine. The official listing for “Place of Birth” on all passports at the time — for everyone, including Jews — was Palestine.
One can only hope that what clearly seems such a fatally dangerous deal — that threatens the existence of not only Israel, the Middle East and Europe, but, with Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile program, also the United States — will not be allowed to happen.
The notion of Israel’s “right to exist” has been in the news twice in recent days.
First, the University of Southampton, in Britain, announced that due to “safety fears,” it was cancelling a conference, scheduled for later this month, to question Israel’s right to exist.
Were the “security concerns” related to the fact that the conference would promote the rising infestation of Jew-hatred in Britain? A recent U.K. parliamentary report shows that hate crimes against British Jews have doubled in the past decade, and has called upon the British government to take urgent action.
The second time was when Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, addressing the Obama Administration’s nuclear “framework” with Iran, said that in any deal, Iran should recognize Israel’s right to exist.
Despite being a member of the United Nations along with Israel, Iran nevertheless does not recognize Israel’s right to exist.
Iran has not only been a long-time sponsor of terrorist groups that for years have targeted and killed Israeli civilians (as well as American servicemen in Africa and Lebanon); it has also repeatedly threatened Israel with genocide. The latest announcement came in late March, when Mohammad Reza Naqdi, commander of the Basij militia of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, said that “erasing Israel off the map” was “non-negotiable.”
As Netanyahu has continually stated, a nuclear Iran is a threat to Israel’s existence and America’s existence.
Under such circumstances, that a British university was even thinking of holding such a conference is perplexing, at best.
The Jewish people have historical ties to the land of Israel that reach back nearly 4,000 years, a longstanding nationalist movement, a government in the post-colonial era and recognition by the United Nations — a similar path to existence as most other countries. Does anyone question, say, Zimbabwe’s right to exist?
Responses to statements that might have been raised, if this conference had gone ahead, include:
False Claim #1: Jews were out of Israel for almost 2,000 years.
The Romans crushed a Jewish revolt in 70 AD, and dispersed Jews throughout the Roman Empire. However, a continuous Jewish presence in the region never ceased. Key events recorded in history include: Jews governing Jerusalem when the Persian Sasanian Empire took over in 614; Jewish scribes working on the final text of the Hebrew Bible in the region between the 7th and 11th centuries; Jews enduring the Crusades; and Napoleon’s plans to invite Jews to form a state in 1799.
In 1799, as Napoleon Bonaparte’s army was besieging the city of Acre, Napoleon issued a letter, offering the Palestine as a homeland to the Jews, referring to them as “Rightful heirs of Palestine.” Above, a painting depicting the siege of Acre.
False Claim #2: Israel came about only because of the Zionist movement in the late 19th century.
The 19th century fostered the rise of nationalist movements throughout much of Europe. They led to the creation of modern Greece, Italy, and Germany, and also rose throughout the 20th century, often to end European colonization. In 1914, there were only 62 countries in the world; today there are 196, most of which were formed through nationalist movements, including, recently, Serbia, Croatia and Moldova, among others.
False Claim #3: Jews used violence to gain control of Israel.
Although some Jewish resistance groups occasionally used violence against Britain in an effort to gain independence, many other people, in a press for independence, have taken up arms, too. These include American colonials, Latin American independence movements, and the Algerians, Irish, and Bangladeshis, as well as countless others in the 20th century.
False Claim #4: The Palestinians controlled the land for centuries.
When the Ottoman Empire lost control of Palestine after World War I, there were no people known as “Palestinians” — only Muslims, Christians, Jews and assorted others living in the area. During the British Mandate, which followed World War I, the entire area was known as Palestine. The official listing for “Place of Birth” on all passports at the time — for everyone, including Jews — was Palestine. The word was coined by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in 132 AD, as part of an effort to obliterate the Jewish presence in the province. He changed the telling name of Judaea, and the land around it, to “Syria Palaestina”, and renamed Jerusalem as “Aelia Capitolina.”
The modern concept of Palestinian nationhood came into fruition only after Israel’s War of Independence in 1948, when five Arab armies attacked Israel literally the day of its birth, hoping to kill it in its crib. Many Arabs left; and many Arabs urged their fellow Arabs to leave, assuring them that in a few weeks, after the Jews were routed, they would be able to return. The problem was that the Arabs were the ones who were routed; the Jews won. When the Arabs who had fled wanted to come back, the Israelis said they were not welcome — they had chosen the hostile side. Instead of settling these Arabs in the countries to which they had fled, as the Jews had settled their countrymen fleeing Arab lands, the Arabs preferred to leave them as stateless people — now known as Palestinians. They were then promised, and still are promised, that they will return one day to the homes that they (or, by now, their great-great-grandparents) had voluntarily abandoned to be out of the way of the shooting.
The Arabs who stayed are still where they were, still in their homes, and are full citizens of Israel. They make up 20% of Israel’s population and have equal rights with Israel’s Jewish citizens. They enjoy full representation in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, and hold senior positions in all professions.
False Claim #5: The UN Resolution legitimizing the State of Israel did not actually pass.
UN Resolution 181, known as the Partition Plan, was a recommendation that in November of 1947 called for the creation in Palestine of an Arab State and Jewish State. It was rejected by the Arabs, who threatened to use force to prevent it — and did.
Israel declared Independence on May 14, 1948, as the British Mandate on Palestine was set to expire. On May 11, 1949, UN Resolution 273, which admitted Israel to the United Nations, was adopted by the required two-thirds majority.
Currently 83% of the UN member states recognize Israel. Countries that refuse to recognize Israel include some Muslim nations, Cuba and North Korea.
False Claim #6: Israel came about only due to sympathies surrounding the Holocaust.
In 1917, well before the Holocaust, the British put forth the Balfour Declaration, which favored a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine. Confirmed by the League of Nations in 1922, it put the process to statehood in motion. In 1936, in the midst of Arab violence, the British Peel Commission called for a plan to create a Jewish State, but the plan was not enacted. Had Israel been formed at that point, many more Jews could have fled there to avoid the Holocaust.
False Claim #7: The Palestinians have a right to part of the territory based on the original UN plan.
Palestinians have been offered part of the territory for a Palestinian state again and again. The Palestinians, however, rejected a state of their own offered by the Peel Commission in 1937, and they rejected a state of their own in the UN Resolution 181 Partition Plan, because they would not accept a Jewish state. They came back from the Khartoum Conference in 1967 with three “Nos”: no peace, no recognition, no negotiations; and they twice rejected offers for a Palestinian state from Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and later from Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, both of whom offered 97% of everything the Palestinians demanded. The Palestinians did not even submit a counter-offer.
One can only conclude that the Palestinians do not actually want state; what they want is to displace the Israeli state. They themselves have confirmed this suspicion at least twice — first in the PLO “Phased Plan” of 1974, never rescinded, which calls for eliminating Israel in stages. The second time was in the Charter of Hamas — now half of a “Palestinian Unity Government” with Fatah. The Hamas Charter calls not just for the destruction of Israel but also for a genocide of all the Jews everywhere. This Charter, too, has never been rescinded.
Israel has granted self-governance to the Palestinians; however, considering the non-stop Arab and Muslim attacks on Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu and others have said that full autonomy cannot be given to the Palestinians until their terrorist groups are completely demilitarized.
* * *
The “existence” of Israel — the only country in the region with human rights, freedom of expression, and equal justice under law — is not, and should not, even be in question. The more appropriate question is if organizations that ask questions such as that should exist.
Iran has violated the Non-Proliferation Treaty time after time, often undetected; it also continues to violate Article 2, clause 4, of the United Nations Charter: “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”
In March 2015, apparently not content with wiping just “Israel off the map,” Iran, in the person of its Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, also called for “Death to America.”
One can only hope that what clearly seems such a fatally dangerous deal as the Obama Administration’s nuclear “framework” with Iran — that threatens not only the existence of Israel, the Middle East and Europe, but, with Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile program, also the United States — will not be allowed to happen.
George Phillips served as an aide to Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey, working on human rights issues.
The Obama White House mocked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Thursday on Twitter over his Iranian nuclear concerns. Notice the picture of the bomb in the White House tweet.
The Obama administration used the same bomb picture that Benjamin Netanyahu used in his speech at the United Nations in September 2012.
Today former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Dan Gillerman responded to this latest insult to Israel.
Gillerman told FOX:
I think this is a very ominous message. The president has been all over the place trying to explain the deal with Iran, trying to sell the deal with Iran. I think he’s being a terrible salesman. I think by the White House doing this they are deteriorating the relationship between the United States and its only ally in the region to a very, very low point… This is not about your watch this is about the life of our children and grandchildren as well as your grandchildren. So if you don’t care what happens in 20 months after you leave the White House, we do.
And those words, “This will never happen under my watch,” echo very ominously the words of Neville Chamberlain the Prime Minister of England who came back from Munich and said there would be peace in our time and ended up bringing this world its worst war, World War II. And I think the way that the president is trying to appease Iran is very similar to the appeasement of Hitler.
The world powers assembled at Lausanne, Switzerland, with the representatives of the Islamic Republic may or may not reach a framework deal regarding Iran’s nuclear program. But succeed or fail, the disaster that their negotiations have unleashed is already unfolding. The damage they have caused is irreversible.
US President Barack Obama, his advisers and media cheerleaders have long presented his nuclear diplomacy with the Iran as the only way to avoid war. Obama and his supporters have castigated as warmongers those who oppose his policy of nuclear appeasement with the world’s most prolific state sponsor of terrorism.
But the opposite is the case. Had their view carried the day, war could have been averted.
Through their nuclear diplomacy, Obama and his comrades started the countdown to war.
In recent weeks we have watched the collapse of the allied powers’ negotiating positions.
They have conceded every position that might have placed a significant obstacle in Iran’s path to developing a nuclear arsenal.
They accepted Iran’s refusal to come clean on the military dimensions of its past nuclear work and so ensured that to the extent UN nuclear inspectors are able to access Iran’s nuclear installations, those inspections will not provide anything approaching a full picture of its nuclear status. By the same token, they bowed before Iran’s demand that inspectors be barred from all installations Iran defines as “military” and so enabled the ayatollahs to prevent the world from knowing anything worth knowing about its nuclear activities.
On the basis of Iran’s agreement to ship its stockpile of enriched uranium to Russia, the US accepted Iran’s demand that it be allowed to maintain and operate more than 6,000 centrifuges.
But when on Monday Iran went back on its word and refused to ship its uranium to Russia, the US didn’t respond by saying Iran couldn’t keep spinning 6,000 centrifuges. The US made excuses for Iran.
The US delegation willingly acceded to Iran’s demand that it be allowed to continue operating its fortified, underground enrichment facility at Fordow. In so doing, the US minimized the effectiveness of a future limited air campaign aimed at significantly reducing Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
With this broad range of great power concessions already in its pocket, the question of whether or not a deal is reached has become a secondary concern. The US and its negotiating partners have agreed to a set of understanding with the Iranians. Whether these understandings become a formal agreement or not is irrelevant because the understandings are already being implemented.
True, the US has not yet agreed to Iran’s demand for an immediate revocation of the economic sanctions now standing against it. But the notion that sanctions alone can pressure Iran into making nuclear concessions has been destroyed by Obama’s nuclear diplomacy in which the major concessions have all been made by the US.
No sanctions legislation that Congress may pass in the coming months will be able to force a change in Iran’s behavior if they are not accompanied by other coercive measures undertaken by the executive branch.
There is nothing new in this reality. For a regime with no qualms about repressing its society, economic sanctions are not an insurmountable challenge. But it is possible that if sanctions were implemented as part of a comprehensive plan to use limited coercive means to block Iran’s nuclear advance, they could have effectively blocked Iran’s progress to nuclear capabilities while preventing war. Such a comprehensive strategy could have included a proxy campaign to destabilize the regime by supporting regime opponents in their quest to overthrow the mullahs. It could have involved air strikes or sabotage of nuclear installations and strategic regime facilities like Revolutionary Guards command and control bases and ballistic missile storage facilities. It could have involved diplomatic isolation of Iran.
Moreover, if sanctions were combined with a stringent policy of blocking Iran’s regional expansion by supporting Iraqi sovereignty, supporting the now deposed government of Yemen and making a concerted effort to weaken Hezbollah and overthrow the Iranian-backed regime in Syria, then the US would have developed a strong deterrent position that would likely have convinced Iran that its interest was best served by curbing its imperialist enthusiasm and setting aside its nuclear ambitions.
In other words, a combination of these steps could have prevented war and prevented a nuclear Iran. But today, the US-led capitulation to Iran has pulled the rug out from any such comprehensive strategy. The administration has no credibility. No one trusts Obama to follow through on his declared commitment to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power.
No one trusts Washington when Obama claims that he is committed to the security of Israel and the US’s Sunni allies in the region.
And so we are now facing the unfolding disaster that Obama has wrought. The disaster is that deal or no deal, the US has just given the Iranians a green light to behave as if they have already built their nuclear umbrella. And they are in fact behaving in this manner.
They may not have a functional arsenal, but they act as though they do, and rightly so, because the US and its partners have just removed all significant obstacles from their path to nuclear capabilities. The Iranians know it. Their proxies know it. Their enemies know it.
As a consequence, all the regional implications of a nuclear armed Iran are already being played out. The surrounding Arab states led by Saudi Arabia are pursuing nuclear weapons. The path to a Middle East where every major and some minor actors have nuclear arsenals is before us.
Iran is working to expand its regional presence as if it were a nuclear state already. It is brazenly using its Yemeni Houthi proxy to gain maritime control over the Bab al-Mandab, which together with Iran’s control over the Straits of Hormuz completes its maritime control over shipping throughout the Middle East.
Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Eritrea, and their global trading partners will be faced with the fact that their primary maritime shipping route to Asia is controlled by Iran.
With its regional aggression now enjoying the indirect support of its nuclear negotiating partners led by the US, Iran has little to fear from the pan-Arab attempt to dislodge the Houthis from Aden and the Bab al-Mandab. If the Arabs succeed, Iran can regroup and launch a new offensive knowing it will face no repercussions for its aggression and imperialist endeavors.
Then of course there are Iran’s terror proxies.
Hezbollah, whose forces now operate openly in Syria and Lebanon, is reportedly active as well in Iraq and Yemen. These forces behave with a brazenness the likes of which we have never seen.
Hamas too believes that its nuclear-capable Iranian state sponsor ensures that regardless of its combat losses, it will be able to maintain its regime in Gaza and continue using its territory as a launching ground for assaults against Israel and Egypt.
Iran’s Shiite militias in Iraq have reportedly carried out heinous massacres of Sunnis who have fallen under their control and faced no international condemnation for their war crimes, operating as they are under Iran’s protection and sponsorship. And the Houthis, of course, just overthrew a Western-backed government that actively assisted the US and its allies in their campaign against al-Qaida.
For their proxies’ aggression, Iran has been rewarded with effective Western acceptance of its steps toward regional domination and nuclear armament.
Hezbollah’s activities represent an acute and strategic danger to Israel. Not only does Hezbollah now possess precision guided missiles that are capable of taking out strategic installations throughout the country, its arsenal of 100,000 missiles can cause a civilian disaster.
Hezbollah forces have been fighting in varied combat situations continuously for the past three years. Their combat capabilities are incomparably greater than those they fielded in the 2006 Second Lebanon War. There is every reason to believe that these Hezbollah fighters, now perched along Israel’s borders with Lebanon and Syria, can make good their threat to attack and hold fixed targets including border communities.
While Israel faces threats unlike any we have faced in recent decades that all emanate from Western-backed Iranian aggression and expansionism carried out under a Western-sanctioned Iranian nuclear umbrella, Israel is not alone in this reality. The unrolling disaster also threatens the moderate Sunni states including Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. The now regional war in Yemen is but the first act of the regional war at our doorstep.
There are many reasons this war is now inevitable.
Every state threatened by Iran has been watching the Western collapse in Switzerland.
They have been watching the Iranian advance on the ground. And today all of them are wondering the same thing: When and what should we strike to minimize the threats we are facing.
Everyone recognizes that the situation is only going to get worse. With each passing week, Iran’s power and brazenness will only increase.
Everyone understands this. And this week they learned that with Washington heading the committee welcoming Iran’s regional hegemony and nuclear capabilities, no outside power will stand up to Iran’s rise. The future of every state in the region hangs in the balance. And so, it can be expected that everyone is now working out a means to preempt and prevent a greater disaster.
These preemptive actions will no doubt include three categories of operations: striking Hezbollah’s missile arsenal; striking the Iranian Navy to limit its ability to project its force in the Bab al-Mandab; and conducting limited military operations to destroy a significant portion of Iran’s nuclear installations.
Friday is the eve of Passover. Thirteen years ago, Palestinian terrorists brought home the message of the Exodus when they blew up the Seder at Netanya’s Park Hotel, killing 30, wounding 140, and forcing Israel into war. The message of the Passover Haggada is that there are no shortcuts to freedom. To gain and keep it, you have to be willing to fight for it.
That war was caused by Israel’s embrace of the notion that you can bring peace through concessions that empower an enemy sworn to your destruction. The price of that delusion was thousands of lives lost and families destroyed.
Iran is far more powerful than the PLO. But the Americans apparently believe they are immune from the consequences of their leaders’ policies. This is not the case for Israel or for our neighbors. We lack the luxury of ignoring the fact that Obama’s disastrous diplomacy has brought war upon us. Deal or no deal, we are again about to be forced to pay a price to maintain our freedom.
On a day Iran and western powers reportedly agreed to move talks on Iran’s nuclear weapons program to “a new phase,” a commander of the Islamic Republic’s volunteer paramilitary force issued new threats of “wiping Israel off the map.”
The goal of Israel’s destruction is non-negotiable, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi, head of Iran’s volunteer Basij Force said during a recent conference, according to a Kol Yisrael radio report. The Basij Force is a part of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Such talk might be dismissed as idle rhetoric.
But Iran continues to beef up Hizballah’s rocket arsenal, smuggling guided warheads into Lebanon, the Jerusalem Post‘s Yaakov Lappin reports.
Iran “is manufacturing new and advanced ballistic missiles, and cruise missiles,” Col. Aviram Hasson, an Israeli missile defense expert, told Israel Air and Missile Defense Conference in Herzliya this week. “It is turning unguided rockets that had an accuracy range of kilometers into weapons that are accurate to within meters.”
The advancements put Hizballah, Iran’s Lebanese terrorist proxy, “in a very different place compared to the Second Lebanon War in 2006,” Hasson said.
In that war, Hizballah fired 4,000 rockets at Israeli cities. The range of its current arsenal of more than 100,000 rockets include some capable of traveling several hundred kilometers, placing Israel’s civilian population centers at risk.
Israel’s Home Front Command has warned cities that they may need to evacuate civilians in the face of an onslaught of dozens to hundreds of missiles in a single day, Lappin reports.
Hizballah fighters are busy in Syria, fighting alongside dictator Bashar al-Assad’s forces in fighting that has claimed more than 210,000 lives. But the group continues to plan for the next war with Israel, too, perhaps because Iran’s rhetoric about seeking Israel’s annihilation is consistent and specific.
“The biggest threat to our security and our future was and remains Iran’s attempts to arm with nuclear weapons,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday.
Immediately after Israel’s March 17 election, Obama administration officials threatened to allow (or even encourage) the U.N. Security Council to recognize a Palestinian state and confine Israel to its pre-1967 borders. Within days, the president himself joined in, publicly criticizing not just Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom Obama has had notoriously bad relations, but sectors of Israeli opinion and even Israel itself.
The administration leaks suggesting that Israel be cut adrift in the Security Council in effect threatened “collective punishment” as a weapon in U.S.-Israel relations. This is especially ironic coming from “progressives” who have repeatedly accused Israel of “collective punishment” by forcefully retaliating against terrorist attacks. But more important, exposing Israel to the tender mercies of its Security Council opponents harms not only Israel’s interests, but America’s in equal measure. Roughly half of Washington’s Security Council vetoes have been cast against draft resolutions contrary to our Middle East interests.
America’s consistent view since Council Resolution 242 concluded the 1967 Arab-Israeli war is that only the parties themselves can structure a lasting peace. Deviating from that formula would be a radical departure by Obama from a bipartisan Middle East policy nearly half a century old.
In fact, Israel’s “1967 borders” are basically only the 1949 cease-fire lines, but its critics shrink from admitting this tedious reality. The indeterminate status of Israel’s borders from its 1948 creation is in fact a powerful argument why only negotiation with relevant Arab parties can ultimately fix the lines with certainty.
That is why Resolution 242’s “land for peace” formula, vague and elastic though it is, was acceptable to everyone in 1967: There were no hard and fast boundaries to fall back on, no longstanding historical precedents. Prior U.N. resolutions from the 1940s, for example, had all been overtaken by events. Only negotiation, if anything, could leave the parties content; externally imposed terms could only sow future conflicts. Hence, Resolution 242 does not call for a return to the prewar boundaries, but instead affirms the right of “every State in the area” to “secure and recognized boundaries.” Ignoring this fundamental reality is fantasy.
So what drives Obama to conjure his Security Council threat? Obviously, deep antipathy for Netanyahu is one reason. Obama didn’t like Netanyahu before Israel’s recent election, and liked him even less after Bibi’s speech to a joint session of Congress. Hoping to motivate lukewarm or indifferent Likud voters to pump up his election-day support, Netanyahu emphasized his opponents’ efforts to turn out anti-Likud Arab voters, and Obama flayed him for it. Obama also opposed Netanyahu’s preelection criticism of the “two-state solution” and disdained Netanyahu’s efforts to clarify his comments after he won.
So Obama’s list of complaints about Netanyahu is long and getting longer. But if the criticisms were really about Netanyahu’s campaign tactics, threatening to let slip the dogs of political war in the Security Council would hardly be an appropriate response. Obama’s punishment would simply not fit Netanyahu’s crime.
Far more disturbing, Obama’s postelection statements demonstrate something much deeper than just animosity toward Netanyahu. Obama said that “Israeli democracy has been premised on everybody in the country being treated equally and fairly. If that is lost, then I think that not only does it give ammunition to folks who don’t believe in a Jewish state, but it also, I think, starts to erode the meaning of democracy in the country.”
With these comments, Obama is criticizing not just Netanyahu, but the very legitimacy of Israel’s democracy, giving an implicit green light to those prepared to act violently against it. Obama’s remarks are substantially more egregious than Secretary of State John Kerry’s 2014 criticism that Israel’s unwillingness to follow the White House lead in the Palestinian negotiations made it understandable if there were another Palestinian intifada or further efforts by the international “boycotts, sanctions, and divestiture” movement against Israel.
Obama is thus going well beyond acting unpresidential or even immature. Whether one takes his or Netanyahu’s side, the administration’s approach is now squarely contrary to America’s larger strategic interests. And the global harm that will be done to common U.S. and Israeli interests through Security Council resolutions if Washington stands aside (or worse, joins in) will extend far beyond the terms of one prime minister and one president.
Consider the inevitable damage merely from the sort of council resolution threatened by Obama’s leakers. Declaring that a Palestinian state exists outside of Israel’s 1967 boundaries would instantly terminate all bilateral Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy on these central issues. What else would there be to talk about? Resolution 242’s basic premise would be upended; rather than enhancing the role of diplomacy between Israel and the relevant Arab parties, a Palestinian statehood resolution would eliminate it.
The reverberations would echo even wider. Already, Obama’s representatives on the U.N. Human Rights Council declined to defend Israel during the HRC’s annual festival of Israel-bashing, another first from our transformative president.
More seriously, Israel’s “occupation” of West Bank lands would immediately render it in violation of the statehood resolution, thus exposing it to international sanctions, including from the Security Council if Obama continued to stand aside. Prosecutions of Israeli officials in the International Criminal Court would instantly have a jurisdictional basis, and those officials would also be exposed to “universal jurisdiction” statutes that have become all the rage with the international left in recent decades. And won’t the White House be surprised when “Palestine” gains admission to the entire U.N. system, triggering a statutorily required cut-off of U.S. contributions to each agency that admits the new state!
No end of mischief will flow from even one undisciplined Security Council resolution, let alone whatever else Obama is prepared to allow. Obama’s criticisms, with the implied charge of racism not far beneath their surface, have once again brought Israel’s very legitimacy into question. We are all too close to resurrecting the U.N.’s 1975 “Zionism is racism” resolution. Daniel Patrick Moynihan would not recognize Obama as a president from the Democratic party.
Obama needs reminding that petulance is for teenagers, not presidents. U.S. interests extend beyond personalities and temporary frustrations. As in many other policy areas, Obama’s “l’état, c’est moi” approach is laying foundations for enormous problems both today and long after he leaves office. If anyone wants a convincing argument why national security must be at the very center of America’s 2016 presidential contest, Obama has surely supplied it.
John R. Bolton, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 2005-06.
To support Israel is racist; to support ISIS is a demonstration of diversity. This is the atmosphere at American college campuses today. “Higher learning” has become synonymous with “liberal brainwashing.”
It is important to remember that Israel is America’s ally- not just any ally, but America’s closest ally in the Middle East. Despite President Obama’s blatant hatred for Israeli PM Netanyahu and his Administration’s obvious moves against our only truly democratic friend in the region, at the end of the day, Israel is still a close ally of the United States.
Yet at America’s colleges and universities, which celebrate diversity, the extremely diverse, humanitarian and peaceful Israel (whose population is made up of multiple races and religions), is the enemy.
After his Facebook post described Gazans as a wild pit bull in a cage, which attacks violently whenever let out of that cage, all hell broke loose from the anti-Israel camp. The Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity at Connecticut College and the history department condemned the “hate speech,” “dehumanizing language,” “bigotry,” and the celebration or incitement of “violence and brutality.”
The professor is actually against violence and brutality according to what he’s written. Those who disagree with his post are the ones who are supporting violence.
As a matter of fact, Pessin spoke the truth. Gaza is ruled by Hamas. Hamas is a wild pit bull, and no matter how much anyone tries to pretend that Gazans do not support Hamas, the terrorism and support for terror against innocent Israeli civilians and even Jews in Diaspora speaks for itself. Over the summer of 2014, during Operation Protective Edge, anti-Israel rallies around the world turned into anti-Jew violent riots. The pro-Palestinians showed their overwhelming support for Hamas and their hatred for Jews.
Yet this professor is the one accused of hate speech and celebrating violence.
You can start an ISIS “humanitarian” club and training camp at Cornell.
Joseph Scaffido, the Assistant Dean of Students for Student Activities at Cornell University, one of the most prestigious universities in America, spoke on hidden camera to an undercover journalist posing as a student from Morocco who hopes to attend the Ivy League school next year. The “student” asked about starting an ISIS humanitarian group, raising awareness for the “freedom fighters,” obtaining funding to bring over a terrorist to give a speech, and even starting a training camp. The Dean’s responses were all “yes, yes, yes,” explaining that Ithaca, where Cornell is located, is a very liberal community.
Apparently “liberal” now means “terror supporting.” Incidentally, as liberal as President Obama is, and although he is unwilling to admit that ISIS is Islamic, he at least recognizes that it is a terror group.
ISIS is an enemy of the United States. Israel is a friend.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who speaks out against the abuse of women in Islam, was offered an honorary degree from Brandeis University, but after Muslim cries of Islamophobia, the university took back its offer.
Any advocacy of women’s rights is deemed “Islamophobic.”
Ali was raised Muslim and herself is the victim of atrocities like female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage. She was once a pious Muslim, but after the Somali native was granted political asylum to the Netherlands and received an education, she began to reflect on Islam and its teachings. After the 9/11 attacks, she picked up the Qur’an and hadith, and it wasn’t long before she renounced her faith.
Ali’s AHA Foundation “works to protect and defend the rights of women and girls in the West from oppression justified by religion and culture”: http://theahafoundation.org/
Apparently defending the rights of women and girls is “Islamophobic.”
The decision of Brandeis University to revoke its offer to Ali is pure hypocrisy. Why? Because the school has given such honors to anti-Semites in the past. Jay Bergman, Professor of History
Central Connecticut State University, writes for FrontPage Magazinein an open letter to the university:
“You say that you are withdrawing the award because Ms. Hirsi Ali’s views violate what you call ‘the core values’ of the university. But Brandeis saw nothing wrong in awarding an honorary degree to Tony Kushner, who has called the creation of the state of Israel a mistake and falsely accused it of ethnic cleansing; and to Desmond Tutu, an anti-semitic bigot who has compared Israel to Nazi Germany. From this one could reasonably conclude — since Tutu’s anti-semitism did not cause Brandeis to refrain from awarding him a degree — that anti-semitism is either one of the core values of your university or is not inconsistent with these values.
“It is clear that at Brandeis University Israel can be smeared and those who do so are rewarded, but someone who properly criticizes Islam is unfairly attacked and dishonored.”
Anti-Semitism is allowed at a school founded by the Jewish community, but legitimate concerns regarding the mistreatment of women in Islam go against what the university stands for?
The result of a growing Muslim population in America is a growing anti-Semitic population. But it is worse than that. Now our young adults, who attend colleges and universities in the hopes of getting a good education, a higher degree and eventually beginning a successful career, some becoming our future politicians and practically all of voting age already, are being taught that our ally is our enemy, and our enemy is our friend. They are in effect, being taught that it is racist to say anything which might be considered “negative” against terrorists.
So bring on the ISIS terrorist speakers but condemn the Israel-supporting professors. Welcome to university life in America today.
Anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism — two sides of the same coin — are raging yet again. They are brutally alive in the Middle East, Europe and even here in America.
Yet now, at long last, there is some pushback, at least on the “battlefield of ideas.”
It comes in the form of a new academic institute championed by a hardened veteran of this war, and its presence at universities throughout the world is blossoming.
In this country, we hear shouts of Jew-hatred at every pro-Palestinian demonstration.
We read all about it in the biased left-liberal, anti-Israel media and see it in President Obama’s overt hostility to Israel and its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
Perhaps most troubling, though, is its presence on the American campus, where it is at full boil.
There, Israel-bashing is embraced as an expression of politically correct, divine truth — rather than called out for what it often really is: unadulterated racism.
Professors disguise their hatred of Jews by presenting it as a “politically righteous” stand against Israel, since the Jewish state is, in their portrayal, a colonialist, apartheid nation.
A 2015 report by the National Demographic Survey of American Jewish College Students found 54 percent of 1,157 college students polled at 55 American campuses have experienced and/or witnessed anti-Semitic incidents.
Enter Prof. Charles Small — to the rescue. Small founded the Institute for the Study of Global Anti-Semitism and Policy after running a successful similar program at Yale from 2005 to 2011.
The Yale program was superb; experts there examined contemporary Islamic Jew- and infidel-hatred and terrorism in new academic ways — that is, openly and honestly.
That doomed it. The program was squashed and he was forced out by leftist pressure and a campaign by Arab and pro-Palestinian students, faculty and advocates.
Now, he’s back, and his new effort is also seeing success. The institute is proving a powerful force, one the Western academic world (not surprisingly) abhors.
He’s offering a rigorous scholarly program dedicated to the study of contemporary global anti-Semitism.
Anti-Semitism may be the “oldest hatred,” but no such program focusing on its current-day manifestation has ever before existed.
Instead, America today is awash with well-funded anti-Israel, anti-American and anti-Western Middle Eastern studies departments. Small says he is “fighting anti-Semitism on the battlefield of ideas, not in university corridors, not at campus demonstrations.”
By 2012, ISGAP had a foothold at Fordham and Harvard law schools, Stanford and McGill. It’s now at Columbia Law, Sapienza University in Rome and the University of Paris-Sorbonne. In two weeks, it will debut at the University of Chile.
In the 2014-2015 academic year, ISGAP presented more than 100 seminars in English, French and Italian.
Through the guidance of executive-committee Chairman Lawrence Benenson, funding is diverse, coming from “both right of center and left of center.”
The effort has not always been easy. The powers that be at the Sorbonne said “anti-Semitism is not important, not relevant” — their exact words.
Grudgingly, they let Small stage an event “just once,” thinking nothing would come of it; instead, 80 people showed up.
At another seminar after the Charlie Hebdo and kosher supermarket attacks, 150 people turned out. ISGAP was later given military protection and invited to formally join the Sorbonne as a “recognized research center.”
This is an extraordinary victory. “The French now understand that those who are profoundly anti-Semitic are threatening the foundations of their society,” says Small.
This coming summer, ISGAP will be training professors at Oxford. Applications have poured in from Canada, the United States, the UK, Russia, China, Brazil and Argentina.
Yet already, it boasts a prestigious staff, including experts like Robert Wistrich, Martin Kramer, Bassam Tibi, Shimon Samuels, Valentina Colombo, Irwin Mansdorf, Meir Litvak, Richard Landes and others.
Despite the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (a campaign by “Israel-deniers”), the campus Israeli “apartheid” hate-fests and the indoctrination taking place in social sciences and departments of Middle East studies, we now have the beginning of a successful “fight back” strategy. Let’s hope it continues to rise to the enormous challenge it faces.
Soviet GRU officer and Acting UN Secretary General Alger Hiss of the US State Department presiding over the opening of the United Nations in San Francisco, 1945. Next to him sits is his real boss, Soviet foreign minister Molotov.
There are crises, and there are what I am going to call “root crises.”
Crises are what we read about in the headlines: Obama’s latest post-Constitutional/dictatorial act; the most recent episode in population replacement; the next terrifying Supreme Court decision; the predictable disaster of Iranian nuclear negotiations, or continued American military presence in Afghanistan; the looming threat of the United Nations empowered by an “internationalist” US president.
“Root crises,” however, don’t make headlines, are never addressed, and are rarely articulated, especially by elected officials and others with lawful authority or even media platforms. For this reason, the crises that grow from root crises only multiply, and are never dispatched.
A recent, incipient exception — and ray of light — was Sen. Cotton’s website letteraddressed to the theocratic rulers of Iran. Cotton exposed the root crisis from which the crisis of Iranian nuclear negotiations arises — the Constitutional crisis at home in which an administration (not the first) runs amok, unbounded by checks and balances.
Behold the flak Sen. Cotton drew. The wild hysterics on the Left and the Establishment Right (same difference) tells me that there is much righteous power to be drawn from bringing such root crises to light. But Cotton and his 46 GOP colleagues have to keep the light shining and more.
They need to realize that the unaddressed “root crisis” of broken checks and balances has a root crisis, too — many of them. If they dig deeper, it will become clear that Congress, a co-equal branch of government, itselt is in crisis. It has not just permitted, it has enabled the executive branch to engage in the Constitutionally illegal behaviors that the Senator’s letter warns of. Obama could not do this without help. Congress has flouted its Constutitional responsibility just as much as President Obama has by failing to to impeach him — a big root crisis, heretofore unaddressed. Continuing to ignore this, continuing to flinch at “political considerations,” will leave this systemic crisis to metasticize further.
Digging deeper still, we arrive at the time before this president — not the first — overturned, with Congress’ collusion, the system of checks and balances. Here, we find still another root crisis that has never been addressed: President Obama does not have clean identify documents. As I have written in many syndicated columns and posts before — to no particular avail, I suppose, but for the pride of the record — the “birth certificate” the White House website hosts and passes off as a copy of an official paper document has been demonstrated to be a fraud. That no public official in the entire country (and forget 99.9 percent of the media) — with the magnificent exception of Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio — has made this case to the conned, victimized American People is a root crisis, indeed.
It shows the cowardly soul — the most serious root crisis there is.
As a result of this and more, then, the unbounded and fraudulent Obama administration is, of course, reaching for more powers through the use of the “internationalist” United Nations, whether in dealings with Iran or, it seems, Israel. “Internationalist,” of course, is a euphemistic adjective that describes the movement toward what is euphemistically known as “world government.” This latter term is not used too much, possibly because it frightens people who grasp that denizens of such a “world government” are “subjects,” not “citizens,” ruled by the fiat of “transnational” elites.
This should not be a mystery. It is a fact and a root crisis that the euphemistically named “United Nations,” seat of the euphemistically named “Security Council,” was fostered into being in the final years of World War II and originally presided over by a decorated Soviet GRU officer/US State Department official named Alger Hiss.
These roots run deep.
After Ralph Peters expounds on Obama’s behavior towards Israel, which he explains is to be expected based on Obama’s roots, Claudia Rosett lays bare the fraud of the United Nations and echoes Diana West in her warning of the dangers of internationalism – “A path to global governance is very dangerous to all of us”
During Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to a Joint Session of Congress, he stated that he would always be grateful for President Obama’s support for Israel. Additionally, President Obama continues todescribe the bond between Israel and the U.S. as unbreakable. Despite both leaders attempts to reassure people of the close relationship between the U.S. and Israel, the Obama administrations animus towards Netanyahu is unprecedented in the history of the U.S./Israel relationship.
Obama badmouths him to other world leaders. During the 2011 G20 summit in Cannes, it was reported that former French President Nicolas Sarkozy described Netanyahu as a “liar” that he cannot stand. The Presidents response was less than presidential, responding to Sarkozy by saying: “You’re fed up with him? I have to deal with him every day.”
Obama’s staff feels comfortable berating him. It has been reported that officials in the Obama administration use a lot of terms to described Netanyahu. This list includes recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and “Aspergery.” Last year, a senior Obama official even went so far as to describe Netanyahu a “chickens**t.”
Obama threw a hissy fit when Netanyahu spoke in front of Congress. After House Speaker John Boehner decided to move around the White House to invite Netanyahu to speak to Congress, the President declined to meet with Netanyahu during his visit. The President also chose to skip Netanyahu’s speech altogether. This led to a double-digit number of Democrats boycotting the speech.
Obama officials chose not to meet with Netanyahu, but did meet with his opposition. The President’s excuse for not meeting with Netanyahu was that he did not want to be seen as interfering in the Israeli election process. However, this didn’t stop Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry from meetinginformally with Netanyahu’s opposition, Isaac Herzog in Munich a few weeks prior to his speech.
Obama campaigners are actively working to manipulate Israeli elections. Following Netanyahu’s address to Congress, a group of Obama campaign veterans arrived in Israel to lead the campaign against Netanyahu. Obama’s 2012 field director Jeremy Bird is now leading a group, called OneVoice, a U.S. taxpayer funded 501(c)(3), engaging in political activity in Israel. OneVoice is funding V-2015’s “Just Not Bibi” campaign.
These are only a few of the many assaults on Netanyahu by the Obama machine and the contempt goes beyond the Prime Minister. The Obama administrations current Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power has shown herself to be hostile to Israel in the past. She has regarded Israel as a human rights abuser and called for the US to shift Israeli military aid to Ramallah and to deploy forces to protect Palestinian. Secretary Kerry has described Israel as a country on the road to becoming an “Apartheid state.” There have even been reports that the Obama administration threatened to shoot down Israeli planes.
Additionally, there is a growing hostility towards Israel in the Democratic Party. During the 2012 Democratic National Convention, party officials had difficulty hearing each other through all of the Boo’s as they voted to reinsert “Jerusalem” as Israel’s capital into the Party platform.
Following a dramatic come from behind turn in the morning hours on Wednesday, the Likud party emerged as the clear winner with 30 seats in the Knesset. This will mean Netanyahu will return to the post of Prime Minister.
Netanyahu coming back in power will be a blow to the Obama team, especially because the administration has no interest in dealing with any type of opposition to their negotiations with Iran. Even though the President talks about the unbreakable bond between the U.S. and Israel, we are likely to see more confrontations, nasty remarks, and blatant anti-Israel sentiments coming out of this administration and the Democratic Party.
The post-election hostility has already started. Following Netanyahu declaring victory, Obama’s former strategist and political adviser David Axelrod decided to tweet his contempt for the election results and Netanyahu.
Axelrod’s distasteful tweet towards the Prime Minister is just a glimmer of the things to come in the U.S./Israel relationship, as the Obama administration and Democratic Party as a whole starts to divorce themselves from support for Israel.
Truth Revolt, By Hank Sheinkopf, Ronn Torossian and George Birnbaum, March 16, 2015:
As President Harry Truman said, “I never did give anybody hell. I just told the truth and they thought it was hell.”
Recently, many have stood up and told the truth about New Israel Fund’s support for the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, their actions to harm Israel Defense Forces personnel, and cooperation with the United Nation’s Anti-Israel activities. In response, NIF supporters and friends of NIF donors have unleashed hell upon those of us who have told the truth about the dangers of this organization.
What they have not done is address the issues which are serious and real. We applaud Birthright Israel who has banned The New Israel Fund from partnering with them, and urge others to follow suit.
The masses of Jews – on the left and right – shun those extremist Jews who sympathize with Israel’s enemies, whom represent a tiny portion of world Jewry – but are given an oversized prominence in the media – and unfortunately amongst Jewish leadership. We are outraged about the cancer called the New Israel Fund, as they must be rooted out of the realm of acceptability.
While we welcome political debate, there are limits. Shouting “fire in a crowded theatre” is not acceptable, so too must boycotts of Israel be deemed unacceptable for any friends of Israel.
Kenneth Levin, a Harvard psychiatrist has noted that Jewish self-hatred is in part a result of Stockholm syndrome, where “population segments under chronic siege commonly embrace the indictments of their besiegers however bigoted and outrageous.” The Deputy Speaker of the Knesset Yoni Chetboun said, “The main goal of the NIF is to undermine the Israeli Army, by knowingly financing left-wing Israeli groups that try to get young Israeli soldiers prosecuted for war crimes.”
While Jane Eisner and Deborah Lipstadt of The Forward defend their friends, they cannot ignore the fact that these viewpoints are as mainstream in Israel as Lyndon Larouche is in the United States. Your defense of your friends does not address those who have no decency, encourage boycotts against the Jewish state, and harm the Jewish Army.
As Naftali Bennett said, “Yes, New Israel Fund, I will boycott whoever persecutes Israeli soldiers. I will not apologize for it. Members of the New Israel Fund, listen carefully: Whoever harms, slanders and persecutes Israeli soldiers are not my brothers. The NIF works methodically and consistently to attack our Israeli soldiers, accuse them of war crimes of torturing Palestinians and intentionally attacking women and children. They turn to the UN and to the committees that are most hostile to Israel and try their best to convince them that Israel is a war criminal. I repeat: They say that our soldiers- you, I, your friends and your families, your children and their friends – that we are all war criminals. The New Israel Fund invests large amounts of money through its organizations with one purpose- to harm IDF soldiers who are physically protecting us with their bodies.”
As PM Benjamin Netanyahu said: “Everyone should know what the letters B-D-S really stand for: bigotry, dishonesty, and shame. And those who oppose BDS, like Scarlett Johansson, they should be applauded.”
Harvard Professor Ruth Wisse has said “the rapid demoralization of Jews in the face of anti-Zionism… shows the depth of the influence of the past, for many have yet to achieve the simple self-respect that has been eluding the Jews collectively since the dawn of modernity.”
While each of us earns our livings in the field of communications, we welcome debate and discussion – but we do not welcome hatred of the Jewish State. No matter how difficult it is, all self-respecting Jews must renounce the New Israel Fund.
They may be nice people, they may do good things on other fronts – but those who support the New Israel Fund stand against the Jewish people.
Hank Sheinkopf is CEO of Sheinkopf Communications and a leading Democratic strategist. His clients have included former President Bill Clinton, former NY Mayor Bloomberg and others.
Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, one of the 20 largest independent American PR firms.
George Birnbaum is an international political consultant, who is partners with Arthur Finkelstein. Birnbaum formerly served as chief of staff for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Somali-born free speech and women’s rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali gave the keynote address at a sold-out event in Boston Wednesday that centered on rising anti-Semitism on college campuses in North America.
Hirsi Ali’s address, and a panel featuring a rabbi and three student activists, followed the premiere of a new Jerusalem U film titled Crossing the Line 2: The New Face of Anti-Semitism on Campus, which can be viewed in its entirety online. The film demonstrates how anti-Israel activities on college and university campuses are being organized to alienate and intimidate those who support Israel, and how reasonable criticism of Israel “crosses the line” into anti-Semitism.
As a press release about the Boston event notes, Hirsi Ali said the film demonstrates how students are being “misled.” Denouncing “virulent anti-Semitism” on college campuses, she asserted, “The least we can do is boycott, divest, and sanction campuses that compromise academic freedom.”
Excerpts of Hirsi Ali’s address are as follows:
It is appalling that only seventy years from the Holocaust, crowds in Europe chant, “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas.” It is even more appalling that 10,000 soldiers in Paris are needed to protect Jewish sites. That is the continent that promised never again. The men and women who were in the concentration camps, who are tattooed, some are still here. And it is happening again.
Watching Crossing the Line 2: the New Face of Anti-Semitism on Campus was like having a bucket of ice water being poured over my head. I saw the film last week. And I watched it again last night. And I couldn’t sleep. The more we pretend that this is happening somewhere far away, the more hopeless and helpless we feel. But this is not happening far away. This is happening on American campuses, British campuses, Canadian campuses. The filmmakers who made this film made it because it is important that we listen to this message while it is at a smaller stage.
I have a different acronym for BDS. They call themselves Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions. I call them Bully, Deceive, and Sabotage. Bully, Deceive, and Sabotage the only society that is free in the Middle East. BDS. On campus, if you care about issues like justice and injustice, we really need to show it. You need to do it. Where is the BDS movement against the Islamic State? Where on campuses is the BDS movement against Saudi Arabia? The Iranian regime, who for decades have promised to wipe Israel off the map, who are developing a bomb. And there’s no BDS movement against them on campus. Why? Last year in Nigeria, 200 girls were kidnapped. They were sold into slavery. There was no BDS movement against Boko Haram.
“Anti-Israel activities on campus cause students today to feel embarrassed to be pro-Israel, or could even lead them to hold negative opinions about Israel” said Amy Holtz, president of Jerusalem U, in a statement in the press release. “Raising awareness of this growing problem is crucial. We made this film in order to give students the knowledge to differentiate between education and intimidation, debate and hate. They must be able to identify when it is ‘Crossing the Line.’”
Jerusalem was hit by a suspected vehicular terror attack Friday morning, police and paramedics said. A Palestinian man from East Jerusalem rammed his car into a light rail train station after plowing into a group of female officers in northern Jerusalem, wounding five officers and an Israeli.
MDA paramedics administered first aid to six people, five female officers, three of which were in light to moderate condition while two were lightly hurt; and an Israeli man in his 50s who was hurt at the rail station. MDA spokesman Zaki Heller said that paramedics immediately arrived on scene and treated the five who were injured. All five were in their 20s and another female officer suffered anxiety.
The attack took place outside a Border Police base in northern Jerusalem on Shimon HaTzadik street, which was also the site of a November 5 hit and run terror attack that killed one border police offer and injured 13 people. The area has seen no less than 5 terror attacks in the past year.
After hitting the group of officers, who were outside the base, the Palestinian continued 200-300 meters to the light rail station, where he hit a bicyclist – a 51-year-old Israeli man.
The terrorist, Udaayi Salayma from Ras al-Amud in East Jerusalem, was shot by a Border Guard who was present at the scene as part of a training exercise going on at in the base – ending the incident by seriously wounding him. A large cleaver was found on the Palestinian’s body after the attack, which he reportedly attempted to use on the forces after crashing his car.
Terrorist wounded after being shot (Photo: Jessica Muscio, Benna Mental)
Police identified the attacker as a Palestinian man in his twenties from east Jerusalem. Police say it is difficult to prevent such attacks, which appear to be carried out by “lone wolf” assailants who are not thought to be dispatched by a militant organization.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat responded to the attack, saying: “We will not let terror disrupt our daily lives and we will continue to fight it without compromise. I would like to commend the security personnel, the municipal guards, the police and alert citizens who quickly brought the event to an end and prevented further injuries.
“Our response to terror is to continue on with our routine, and as such all Purim events in the capital will continue as planned and the security throughout the entire city will be increased, including the main event to be held at Safra Square in a closed and secure location. I invite all the residents of the country to celebrate Purim in Jerusalem and strengthen us.”
Kids dressed for Purim celebrations look at area after terror attack. Heightened security continues in Jerusalem pic.twitter.com/yDaive5vU1
“The swift and determined response stopped the attack as it was beginning and prevented more innocents from being injured,” said Moshe Edri, Jerusalem Police Commander.
The latest attack comes just a few weeks after an ultra-Orthodox man was stabbed by an Arab teen in Jerusalem on February 22. The attack, which took place in Safra Square in Jerusalem, was stopped by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat who was present at the scene with his security guard.
The two spotted the attacker while in a nearby car, jumped out of the vehicle and subdued the terrorist.
Friday was the seven year anniversary of the deadly Mercaz HaRav terror attack in which eight seminary students were brutally murdered in one Israel’s most prestigious religious institutions.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the State of Israel reset the agenda for the Western world in a speech before a joint session of Congress.
For weeks, the Obama administration has attempted to direct attention away from Netanyahu’s actual agenda – stopping the Iranian nuclear deal – and toward petty political maneuvering over permissions to speak and Democratic boycotts. All of that fell away in the wake of a clear, powerful, and emotional call by Netanyahu for the United States and Israel to stand united against the evil terror of Iran.
Netanyahu opened by expressing his humility for the invite, calling Congress the “most important legislative body in the world.” He then apologized for the speech itself becoming controversial. “That was never my intention,” he stated. “I want to thank you, Democrats and Republicans, for your common support for Israel, year after year, decade after decade. I know that on whichever side of the aisle you sit, you stand with Israel.”
That clever gambit – an attempt to kill the Obama administration and the boycotting Democrats with kindness – placed President Obama’s puerile spitefulness on Israel in stark contrast. That, of course, was the point. Every time Netanyahu spelled out the ways in which the Obama administration had helped Israel – instances that were, by and large, pro forma commitments every American president makes to Israel – he forced Obama into a corner. Turning the other political cheek turned out to be a powerful weapon.
Netanyahu got to the heart of his message: absolutely devastating Obama’s reported Iranian peace deal. In the shadow of the Jewish holiday of Purim, when a Jewish woman pled for the survival of her people from the genocidal intentions of a Persian anti-Semite, Netanyahu echoed Queen Esther’s language:
I feel profound obligation to speak to you about a threat to the survival of my country and the survival of my people, Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons. In nearly 4,000 years of history, many have tried repeatedly to destroy the Jewish people.
Netanyahu expressed that the threat was not only to Israel, but to the West, explaining, “Iran’s regime is not merely a Jewish problem any more than the Nazi regime was merely a Jewish problem…Iran’s regime poses a grave threat not only to Israel but to the peace of the entire world.”
And, he said, to understand the nature of the deal being cut, the key lay in understanding “the nature of that regime.” Netanyahu described Israel’s enemies, funded by Iran, as “clutching Israel with three tentacles of terror.” He described Iran stretching from Syria to Iraq to Yemen. “At a time when many hope that Iran will join the community of nations,” he stated, “Iran is busy gobbling up the nations. We must all stand together to stop Iran’s march of conquest, subjugation, and terror.”
But that was his point: Obama is forwarding Iran’s march, despite Iran’s obvious intention to destroy the West. Many commentators have described Netanyahu as the true leader of the free world, given President Obama’s unwillingness to speak on behalf of a free world. He made that case today before Congress:
Iran’s regime is as radical as ever. Its cries of Death to America, the same nation it calls the Great Satan, are as loud as ever. This shouldn’t be surprising…[Iran’s] ideology is rooted in militant Islam. That’s why this regime will always be an enemy of America.
“Militant Islam.” The two words Obama refuses to say in that order.
Netanyahu continued by leveling the Obama argument that America must cut a deal with Iran in order to stop ISIS:
Iran and ISIS are competing for the crown of militant Islam…Both want to impose a militant Islamic empire, first on the region, then on the entire world. They just disagree who will be the ruler of this empire. In this deadly game of thrones, there is no place for America or Israel…When it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.
And, Netanyahu pointed out, Obama’s negotiation would end with Iran gaining a nuclear weapon.
That is exactly what could happen if the deal now being negotiated is accepted by Iran. That deal won’t prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. It would all but guarantee Iran gets those weapons. Lots of them.
Netanyahu laid out his two major critiques of the proposed deal. First, he explained, the deal would protect Iran’s “vast nuclear infrastructure,” placing them within a short period of developing nuclear weapons. Iran could cheat, Netanyahu pointed out – after all, “Inspectors document violations. They don’t stop them. Inspectors knew when North Korea broke to the bomb. But that didn’t stop anything.”
Second, and more importantly, he said, even if Iran complies with the deal, after the ten year period, they would be free to develop nuclear weapons without restriction. A decade, Netanyau pointed out, is a “blink of an eye in the life of our children.” And when that decade ends, “The foremost sponsor of global terrorism could be weeks away from having enough enriched uranium for an entire nuclear arsenal, and this with full international legitimacy.” Furthermore, no deal will include a stop on Iranian intercontinental ballistic missiles, leaving Europe and the United States vulnerable.
Netanyahu summed up, “It doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb. It paves Iran’s path to the bomb.” He also explained that such concessions would only embolden Iran to pursue more terror with more money and more legitimacy. “Why should Iran’s radical regime change for the better when it can enjoy the best of both worlds, aggression abroad, prosperity at home?” Netanyahu asked, pointing out that in response, other Middle Eastern countries would go nuclear.
Then Netanyahu truly turned brutal, eviscerating the Obama administration’s strawman-laden defense of the deal. “We’re being told that the only alternative to this bad deal is war. That’s not true. The alternative to this bad deal is a much better deal,” Netanyahu averred.
Iran, Netanyahu said, could be held to account. They could earn their way to legitimacy, rather than being given legitimacy without making any concessions. They could be forced to stop regional aggression, stop supporting terrorism, stop threatening to “annihilate my country, Israel, the one and only Jewish state.” And, he continued:
If the world powers aren’t willing to insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal is signed, at the very least, insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal expires. If Iran changes its behavior, the restrictions would be lifted. If Iran doesn’t change its behavior, the restrictions should not be lifted. If Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, let it act like a normal country.
What could the West do? Netanyahu suggested, “call their bluff”:
They need the deal a lot more than you do. And by maintaining the pressure on Iran, and those who do business with Iran, you have the power to make them need it even more. My friends, for over a year, we’ve been told that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well this is a bad deal. It’s a very bad deal. We’re better off without it.
Finally, Netanyahu invoked the Holocaust. He gave a tribute to Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, stating, “Standing up to Iran is not easy. Standing up to dark and murderous regimes never is.” Then he warned the world:
I wish I could promise you, Elie, that the lessons of history have been learned. I can only urge the leaders of the world not to repeat the mistakes of the past. Not to sacrificed the future for the present, not to ignore aggression in the hopes of gaining an illusory peace. But I can guarantee you this: the days when the Jewish people remain passive in the face of genocidal enemies, those days are over!
Netanyahu vowed, “as PM of Israel, I can promise you one more thing. Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand. But I know that Israel does not stand alone, I know that America stands with Israel, I know that you stand with Israel.”
Netanyahu concluded by citing the Bible, in Hebrew. He quoted the parting words of Moses as the Jews were about to enter the land of Israel, from Deuteronomy 31:6:
Moses gave us a message that has steeled our resolve for thousands of years…Be strong and resolute, neither fear nor dread them. My friends, may Israel and America always stand together, strong and resolute, may we neither fear nor dread the challenges ahead, may we face the future with confidence, strength and hope. May God bless the state of Israel, and may God bless the United States of America.
The controversy over the politics of the speech is over. Now the world must answer Netanyahu’s question: will Israel have to stand alone?
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanayhu rocked the house at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee mega-conference in Washington this morning, teasing his speech to a joint session of Congress tomorrow to focus on his rift with the administration over “the best way to prevent Iran from developing those weapons.”
Netanyahu received a standing ovation from the crowd at the mere mention of his name by AIPAC CEO Howard Kohr, who introduced the prime minister.
And he received thunderous applause, cheers, and an extended standing ovation befitting a rock star when he finally took the stage before the packed crowd of 16,000.
“As prime minister of Israel I have a moral obligation to speak out about these dangers while there’s still time to avert them,” he said of Iran, which “envelops the entire world with its tentacles of terror.”
“The days when the Jewish people are passive in the face of threats to annihilate us, those days are over,” Netanyahu said, garnering a massive ovation. “Tomorrow as prime minister of the one and only Jewish state I plan to use that voice.”
“Never has so much been written about a speech that hasn’t been given,” he quipped.
He thanked the Israeli ambassador in Washington, Ron Dermer, as “a man who knows how to take the heat.”
Still, he said, “reports of the demise of the U.S.-Israeli relations are not only premature, they’re just wrong.”
“My address is not to show disrespect to President Obama or the office that he holds — I have great respect for both,” Netanyahu said, adding he’s been “deeply grateful” for Obama’s support for Israel.
The address also is “not intended to inject Israel into the partisan debate,” he added, noting the military assistance from Congress including the Iron Dome missile defense system. “Working together has made Israel stronger; working together has made our alliance stronger.”
“I regret that some people have misperceived my visit here,” he said. “Israel has always been a bipartisan issue. Israel should always remain a bipartisan issue.”
The purpose of his visit, Netanyahu said, is “to speak up about a potential deal with Iran that could threaten the survival of Israel.”
He framed the disagreement as matter of differing perspectives in the U.S. and Israel, where leaders in Washington worry about the security of its citizens while Israel worries about the survival of its citizens.
“America lives in one of the world’s safest neighborhoods; Israel lives in the world’s most dangerous neighborhood,” he said.
In his nine years as prime minister, Netanyahu stressed, “not a single day, not one day I didn’t think about the survival of my country and the actions that I take to ensure that, not one day.”
“And because of these differences, America and Israel have had some serious disagreements over the course of our nearly 70-year-old friendship,” he said, citing historical instances where Washington called out Israel beginning with David Ben-Gurion’s declaration of statehood.
“Despite occasional disagreements, the friendship between America and Israel grew stronger and stronger, decade after decade. And our friendship will weather the current disagreement, as well, to grow even stronger in the future.”
As the region “descends into medieval barbarism,” he said, Israel is “the one that upholds these values common to us and to you.”
“As Christians in the Middle East are beheaded and their ancient communities are decimated, Israel’s Christian community is growing and thriving, the only one such community in the Middle East,” Netanyahu said, drawing a loud standing ovation.
Of U.S.-Israel rifts: “Disagreements in the family are always uncomfortable, but we must always remember that we are family.”