PJ MEDIA EXCLUSIVE: Gen. McMaster Sparked a Row With the Israeli Delegation at a White House Meeting on Hezbollah

H.R. McMaster (Rex Features via AP Images)

PJ MEDIA, BY DAVID STEINBERG, SEPTEMBER 12, 2017:

During the week of August 27, an Israeli delegation met with members of the National Security Council (NSC) at the White House to discuss the current threat to Israel by the terror group Hezbollah.

Israel believes this threat is currently dire. This meeting preceded a two-week long Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) exercise to rehearse for possible war with Hezbollah. The Jerusalem Post described this exercise, which commenced on September 4 and is ongoing, as the IDF’s largest in 20 years.

Hezbollah has been a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization since 1997. However, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster reportedly brought NSC Senior Director on Counter-Terrorism Mustafa Javed Ali to the White House meeting with Israel. Ali, a McMaster appointee, is described by a senior administration source as being “opposed to Hezbollah’s designation as a terrorist organization.”

What then transpired at the meeting has been confirmed to PJ Media by several administration sources, by members of non-governmental organizations involved in national security, and by a source within the Israeli government.

The Israeli delegation demanded that Mustafa Javed Ali leave the room.

This demand was made despite the clear likelihood that Ali would later be privy to the meeting’s materials and discussion. As such, sources speculated that Israel intended the demand to serve as a message to President Trump that McMaster’s behavior has constituted a subversion of Trump’s stated Middle East policy.

Mustafa Javed Ali, second from right, attending West Point’s 2015 Senior Conference. The conference was described as having focused on “unconventional approaches to counterterrorism.”

None of the several sources were aware if Trump had been made aware of the incident.

As has been widely reported, Trump’s Chief of Staff General Kelly has instituted tight restrictions on information and contacts reaching the president. Additionally, Kelly has been said to be working closely with General McMaster on issues related to the flow of information within the administration.

Friction between General McMaster and the Israeli delegation did not end with Israel’s demand that Ali leave the room.

Sources reported that McMaster went on to explicitly dismiss the Israelis’ specific concerns about Hezbollah.

In particular, the Israelis expressed concern that the “safe zone” currently being established within Syria — an idea that had been vociferously supported by Hezbollah’s sponsor, Iran — would immediately become a safe zone for Hezbollah to operate.

McMaster was said to “blow off” this major Israeli concern, and to be “yelling at the Israelis” during the meeting.

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For months, General McMaster has been under fire regarding his personnel decisions from Trump voters and the large majority of Americans who support Israel. McMaster has fired or otherwise removed all NSC appointees who strongly supported President Trump’s Middle East campaign platform.

Trump had repeatedly promised that his administration would reject the Bush/Obama policy of denying the doctrinal Islamic roots of terror, most notably expressed by Trump’s willingness to declare jihadist attacks to be “radical Islamic terrorism.” Indeed, Trump honored this pledge early in his term via the many appointees to the NSC brought on by former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and others.

Under McMaster, however, all of these voices have been removed from the NSC in what has been described as a “purge.”

In their stead, McMaster has astonishingly welcomed figures such as Kris Baumanand Robert Malley to his NSC. Bauman’s and Malley’s careers have been so objectively subversive to the Trump agenda on Israel that McMaster might as well have appointed Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter.

Mustafa Javed Ali in attendance at former President Obama’s 2010 White House Iftar Dinner. Ali worked within the FBI at the time. Per a source: “No Muslim reformers or liberals were welcome at those events.” (List of expected attendees available at link.)

Little information has previously been public about McMaster appointee Mustafa Javed Ali. Regarding Israel’s demand that he leave the meeting, a source claimed:

Israel possibly knows more about Javed Ali than [the Trump administration] does.

Earlier this year, Ali was rumored to have caused the cancellation of a scheduled talk to the NSC by Ayaan Hirsi Ali on account of her “Islamophobia.” Mrs. Ali, who escaped to the Netherlands from Kenya after fleeing a forced marriage, violence, and being a victim of female genital mutilation, is now an activist exposing Islamic doctrine. She has lived under 24/7 protection since 2004, when a Muslim murdered Dutch film director Theo van Gogh for making a film with Mrs. Ali that criticized Islam. A five-page note threatening the same fate for Ali was left pinned to van Gogh’s chest with a knife.

Sources within the Trump administration have confirmed to PJMedia that this rumor about Mustafa Javed Ali was correct: Mrs. Ali had been invited to speak to the NSC. She was later disinvited due to Javed Ali’s interference.

On August 11, Mrs. Ali published a Wall Street Journal op-ed criticizing Trump for “losing focus” on his terrorism campaign pledges. Within the op-ed, she chose to mention only the “most charitable” criticism being floated about General McMaster:

Some administration critics have blamed the loss of focus on Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who became White House national security adviser in February. The most charitable formulation of this criticism is that military men who slogged their way through wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have an aversion to the argument that we face an ideological opponent, as opposed to a series of military problems.

But I put the responsibility on Mr. Trump. With regard to radical Islam, he simply seems to have lost interest.

Yet senior administration sources are far less charitable about McMaster and his appointee Mustafa Javed Ali. As mentioned above, they described Ali as taking the breathtaking position that Hezbollah should not be a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization. They described Ali as holding the same view regarding the Muslim Brotherhood.

They claimed Ali’s work within the NSC essentially amounts to him attempting to prevent the Trump administration from using any of the means at its disposal to target Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood as organizations. They claimed Ali advocates only targeting such groups’ identifiably “violent” members, and ignoring all other elements of their activities that may be subversive of U.S. interests.

These are recognizable as Obama-era policies — the “smart set” foreign policy strategies behind the Obama administration’s disastrous “Countering Violent Extremism” programs. This is the thinking that marched the Middle East to bloody catastrophe: a half-million dead in Syria.

Yet General McMaster appointed Ali as NSC Senior Director on Counter-Terrorism, and purged the NSC of voices supporting President Trump’s Mideast agenda. Then McMaster reportedly sat Ali in front of an Israeli delegation visiting the White House to share its concerns about Hezbollah.

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I have previously reported here at PJMedia of an extensive public relations push — coordinated by administration supporters of General McMaster — to encourage conservative outlets and think-tanks to reject claims that McMaster is antagonistic to Trump’s foreign policy and to the State of Israel in general. That push was remarkably successful: an online search for critical McMaster stories from the right will reveal such articles virtually halted in mid-August.

The broader questions of President Trump’s continued silence are more difficult to read. None of the sources contacted for this article believe the president has fundamentally shifted his thinking.

Trump likely understands he would not have defeated Hillary Clinton without stating “radical Islamic terrorism.” Yet sources could offer only speculation as to how Trump intends to win his Middle East agenda while saddled with a National Security Council subversive to those goals.

John Bolton: EMP Threat Is One Reason ‘We’ve Got to Consider the Military Option Against North Korea First’

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Breitbart, by John Hayward, Sept. 7, 2017:

Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton joined SiriusXM host Alex Marlow on Thursday’s Breitbart News Daily to talk about the North Korean nuclear missile crisis, the threat of electromagnetic pulse attack, China’s relationship with the United States, and the latest news from the United Nations.

Bolton described North Korea as “a 25 million-person prison camp.”

“While I think the leadership might be willing to ‘eat grass’ before giving up their way of life, if anybody bothered to ask the people, I think you’d get a very different answer,” he said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s comment that North Koreans would rather eat grass than give up their nuclear weapons.

“They are cut off from the rest of the world by the design of their government. Back in the day, when radios were the only way people could learn about the outside world, you could buy a radio in North Korea. It only had one channel on it,” he recalled.

“I think, increasingly, the people of North Korea – we know this from defectors who come out, make their way through China down to Southeast Asia, and then back to South Korea – that they’re increasingly aware that they could have a different kind of life and that the dictatorship of the Kim family really has deprived them of anything like a normal life,” he said.

“This is kind of a laboratory study. You don’t get this around the world. It’s very rare to have a North Korea and a South Korea. I think word has gotten into North Korea that life in South Korea is very different,” he said.

Bolton said China particularly fears the consequences of the Kim regime collapsing.

“Although the dictatorship in North Korea looks very strong, like many authoritarian governments, it’s really kind of like a rotten door frame. If you kick it hard enough, it would come down,” he judged.

“I don’t want to see the United States have to use military force against the North Korean nuclear weapons program any more than anybody else, but I also don’t intend to allow America to be vulnerable to it as far as the eye can see, once they are able to hit any target in the continental United States,” Bolton said of his policy recommendations to resolve the crisis.

“I think we’ve got to go to China,” he advised. “I think you can see, increasingly, the Chinese recognizing North Korea is an ugly piece of baggage. China has got to apply the pressure that they uniquely have.”

“My view is the best thing to do is reunite the peninsula, effectively under South Korea, but I would take as a second-best solution China knocking off the Kim family in and putting in someone else,” he said.

“I think North Korea is much like East Germany: when the Communist rule goes, its life expectancy goes with it. It would be better just to eliminate North Korea entirely by merging it with South Korea. That’s the natural course of history. Failing that, getting rid of the current dictatorship would at least be a step forward,” said Bolton.

Bolton predicted the U.S. was “unlikely to get a meaningful oil sanction against North Korea” from the U.N. Security Council.

“Let’s say they do, just hypothetically. Do you think Iran is going to let North Korea fall?” he asked. “I don’t think that’s going to happen. Iran couldn’t care less about U.N. sanctions. That’s why this fascination with sanctions really is not just ineffective; it’s misleading and dangerous because it gives a lot of people – especially in Congress – the kind of warm and fuzzy feeling that they’re dealing with the North Korean threat, when, in fact, they’re not.”

As for China, widely seen as the key to solving the North Korean problem, Bolton said they are “pursuing a mercantilist trade policy in a free trade organization like the WTO.” He added, “And I think for years we haven’t called them out on it.”

“There’s no doubt they’re in massive violation. We could spend hours talking about it. But the notion that the United States can exert economic pressure on China, to, in turn exert economic pressure on North Korea, I think is doomed to failure,” he anticipated.

“Not that it’s not a worthwhile idea, but imagine this: Let’s say you impose really powerful sanctions on China – not pinprick sanctions, sanctioning Bank X or Bank Y. Let’s just say we’re going to exclude the Chinese banking system from the United States to get their attention. Within minutes of that being announced, the chairman of Goldman Sachs, the chairman of JP Morgan, the chairman of Morgan Stanley, the chairman of Citibank are going to be on the phone to Steve Mnuchin, and probably the president himself,” said Bolton.

“Amazon, Facebook, Google – all these people are saying, ‘You’re taking that market away from us!’ That’s what people have to understand about sanctions. To impose pain – and that’s what we’re talking about, pain – on a big economy like China, you’ve got to be willing to bear some corresponding amount of pain in our economy. America’s business leadership, I am sorry to say, isn’t into pain,” he said.

Bolton viewed China’s latest crackdown on dissent, rife with human rights violations, as evidence that President Xi Jinping “for years, has been planning, with many allies in the Chinese Communist Party, a re-authoritarianization of the government there.”

“Increased political control, increased economic control – it may not be in strict compliance with Marxist ideology, but it’s classic authoritarianism,” he noted. “Westerners have just been goo-goo over Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption efforts, thinking, ‘Oh, how wonderful this is’ – not realizing that since the entire governmental system in China is fundamentally corrupt, this was a way for Xi Jinping to go after his political enemies because you can pick and choose who you’re going to prosecute for corruption.”

“We’ve been pursuing, I think, a very misguided policy on China, strategically and economically, for decades. The human rights piece, honestly, it’s been there that entire time. Look at what China’s doing to Tibet. I’m not overstating this: it’s a kind of cultural genocide. What has the United States said about it in the last 20 or 25 years? Almost nothing,” he observed.

Marlow asked for Bolton’s opinion of the electromagnetic pulse attack threat from North Korea, a permutation of nuclear terrorism about which analysts such as Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy, another frequent Breitbart News Radio guest, long warned.

“It absolutely is a threat,” Bolton replied. “A high-altitude nuclear detonation that could bring down a substantial part of the electrical grid of the United States, at least in particular geographic regions, would have a huge impact on us.”

“It’s one of the things people have said, ‘Well, North Korea doesn’t have the range in its missiles, it doesn’t have the thermonuclear capacity, it doesn’t have the reentry vehicle, and it doesn’t have the guidance systems. EMP, you don’t need really precise guidance systems. If you just detonate something, let’s say, over the West Coast of the United States, the EMP effects could be significant,” he explained.

“It ties into the strategic question of what happens if North Korea fires a nuclear weapon at the United States. People have said, ‘Look, North Korea is never going to commit suicide. They would never do that.’ Well, what if the attack is not obliterating Los Angeles? What if it’s an EMP attack, where actual destruction on the ground from the blast itself is minimal, maybe no casualties at all, but the knock-on effects of impairing the electrical grid could be very substantial? What do you do then?” he asked.

Bolton said there was no good answer to that question, which is “why we’ve got to consider the military option against North Korea first.”

“It’s why I wrote about Franklin Roosevelt’s famous statement made in a fireside chat on September the 11th, 1941 – 60 years to the day before our 9/11 – when he said, ‘When you see a rattlesnake poised to strike, you do not wait until it has struck before you crush it,’” Bolton recalled.

“People say, ‘But my goodness, if you use a military option, terrible things will happen on the Korean Peninsula,’” he continued. “And I agree that this is an enormous concern, and we would have to do everything possible to mitigate that. But these same people also say, ‘Well, of course, if North Korea attacked the United States, then we should respond with devastating force,’ which would likely have the same consequences in South Korea.”

“So if you’re with me this far, what is the difference between their position and mine? It’s their insistence that before we strike, there have to be dead Americans. I reject that,” he declared.

Marlow asked Bolton about Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro’s sudden refusal to attend a meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council, contrary to previous commitments.

“One of the proudest moments in my government career was in 2006, voting against the creation of the new U.N. Human Rights Council,” Bolton replied. “It was a mistake, and it was a wise decision by President Bush to vote against it. It was a wise decision to stay off the Human Rights Council.”

“We should withdraw from it now,” he advised. “I’m very surprised the Trump administration hasn’t withdrawn. It’s an outfit with no legitimacy. It’s our presence that gives it what little legitimacy it has. We should get off of it.”

“Let me make one other point if I could, coming back to the nuclear stuff: Yesterday was the tenth anniversary of Israel destroying a nuclear reactor being built in Syria,” Bolton observed. “Being built by whom? Being built by North Koreans. Why did the North Koreans build a nuclear reactor in Syria? Was it because of their close cultural and historical relationship? Of course not. It was because somebody, quite likely Iran, was trying to hide their illicit activities where they thought nobody was looking.”

“This is the sort of thing that people don’t like to talk about, the connection between Iran and North Korea, but I believe it’s real, and I believe that Israel – which has twice in its history destroyed nuclear projects in hostile states, that one in Syria and in Iraq in 1981 – has shown that if everything else fails, preemptive military force is required to defend your people from nuclear extortion,” he contended.

“It’s terrible that we may be at the last ditch here and that our options are limited, but if you believe that the fundamental duty of the President of the United States is to protect Americans, that option has to be on the table,” said Bolton.

John Bolton is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and head of his own political action committee, BoltonPAC.

Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Eastern.

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Israeli airstrikes target suspected chemical weapons facility in Syria

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Long War Journal, by Thomas Joscelyn, Sept. 7, 2017:

Israel struck a suspected chemical weapons facility maintained by Bashar al Assad’s regime near Masyaf, Syria earlier today. The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), a propaganda arm for Assad’s regime, quickly confirmed the strikes, claiming that “Israeli warplanes fired several rockets from the Lebanese airspace.” SANA did not mention that Masyaf reportedly houses a chemical weapons facility, but claimed that “two army personnel” were killed and “material damage” was done “to the site.”

The airstrikes were launched less than a day after the United Nations released a report saying it has documented “25 incidents of chemical weapons use in the Syrian Arab Republic” between Mar. 2013 and Mar. 2017. Twenty of these “were perpetrated by government forces and used primarily against civilians.” The UN also held the Assad regime responsible for Apr. 4 sarin attack on civilians in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria. At least 83 people were killed and hundreds more injured in the bombing. Both the Syrian and Russian governments have denied the regime’s culpability, but the UN found that their explanation was not credible.

The facility near Masyaf, which is located in the Hama province, is one of several suspected chemical weapons sites maintained by the Syrian regime. Both the UN and the US say that despite agreeing to give up its chemical weapons, the regime continues to operate a weapons of mass destruction program.

In January, the US Treasury Department sanctioned “18 senior regime officials connected to Syria’s weapons of mass destruction program.” The sanctions were announced after a UN body “found that the Syrian government, specifically the Syrian Arab Air Force, was responsible for three chlorine gas attacks” on Apr. 21, 2014 and Mar. 16, 2015.

Among those sanctioned were several officials who work for the regime’s Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC), which reportedly manages the sites in Masyaf and elsewhere.

In late April, just weeks after the Sarin attack in Khan Sheikhoun, Treasury announced “one of the largest sanctions actions in” history. 271 SSRC employees were sanctioned. Treasury explained that they “have expertise in chemistry and related disciplines and/or have worked in support of SSRC’s chemical weapons program since at least 2012.”

Treasury’s designations did not specifically mention Masyaf as one of the SSRC’s chemical weapons facilities, but other reporting has pointed to the location.

In May, BBC News cited a document prepared by a “western intelligence agency” as indicating that Assad’s men were producing chemical weapons at three primary locations. In addition to Masyaf, two other facilities, Dummar and Barzeh, are reportedly located outside of Damascus. The same document “alleges that both Iran and Russia, the [Syrian] government’s allies, are aware” of the ongoing chemical weapons production, according to the BBC.

Israel has closely tracked the facilities in Masyaf and elsewhere for years, fearing that the Syrian military may transfer some of the know-how to Hezbollah or other Iranian-backed terrorists. This concern has only grown as Hezbollah has increased its footprint inside the country. In 2012, Spiegel Online reported that Masyaf was one of the locations being closely monitored by Israeli intelligence and Israel was “weighing whether to strike.”

Israel has repeatedly bombed other locations inside Syria since the beginning of the war.

In May, for example, the Israeli Air Force struck an apparent weapons shipment to Hezbollah at the T-4 military base near Palmyra. In Dec. 2015, the Israelis reportedly bombed a Hezbollah position, killing a long-wanted terrorist. These are just two of Israel’s suspected bombings in Syria. [See FDD’s Long War Journal reports: Israel’s airstrikes in Palmyra likely targeted Hezbollah weapons shipments
 and Israeli Air Force kills notorious Hezbollah commander in Syria.]

The facilities at Masyaf reportedly store not only chemical weapons, but also the means for delivering them. Jane’s Defence Weekly reported in 2014 that various Syrian regime development projects, including those related to “missile and rocket production,” were relocated to Masyaf as a result of the ongoing war. Projects related to manufacturing Scud missiles, armor, and surface-to-air missiles were already based in Masyaf, according to Jane’s.

In April, the US launched its own airstrikes on a Syrian airbase. The bombings were carried out after the sarin attack in Khan Sheikhoun.

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD’s Long War Journal.

Also see:

Don’t Be Pro-Israel, Be Pro-Sarah

Are you for doing whatever it takes to stop Sarah from being murdered tomorrow?

Front Page Magazine, by Daniel Greenfield, July 24, 2017:

Chaya Salomon was murdered at a Sabbath dinner with her family. The 46-year-old Jewish woman was stabbed to death alongside her 70-year-old father Yosef and her 36-year-old brother Elad.

Photos show the kitchen of the Salomon house in the Israeli village of Neve Tsuf covered in blood. The youngest Salomon daughter had given birth to a new member of the family. The bottle of Glenfiddich on the table was never opened. Instead an Islamic terrorist burst in and stabbed the new grandfather. Tova, the new grandmother was badly wounded. Elad’s wife rushed the children to a safe room.

The smiling terrorist was taken away. He had come armed with a Koran and a knife. “I know that with Allah my dreams will come true,” he had posted on Facebook. “I will go to heaven.”

His dreams coming true have more to do with the Palestinian Authority and American taxpayers. Like all terrorists who kill Israelis, he will be receiving a salary from the PA. And the PA is funded by you and me.

Abbas, the terrorist leader who is Israel’s “peace partner” in the “two-state solution”, touched off this atrocity. Fatah, the organization behind the Palestinian Authority, has repeatedly called for violence. The terrorist’s Facebook message included this plea, “Put in my grave Arafat’s Keffiyah and the ribbon of the Al-Aqsa Brigades”.  The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade is the “military wing” of Abbas’ Fatah movement.

Another terrorist attack. More funerals. More calls for restraint by both sides.

There are the formal condemnations before everyone moves on to the business of being pro-Israel. The term “pro-Israel” doesn’t mean much. Anyone and everyone can be pro-Israel.

AIPAC isn’t backing the Taylor Force Act which would cut off taxpayer money to the Palestinian Authority until it stops funding these attacks. J Street, the anti-Israel group which claims to be pro-Israel and also claimed to be “appalled” by the Salomon murders, is lobbying against the Taylor Force Act.

What did this fake pro-Israel posturing amount to when Chaya was being murdered in her own home?

In previous weeks, liberal Jewish clergy fulminated angrily at their more conservative counterparts in Israel over a religious controversy. Daniel Gordis, who makes an excellent living writing “pro-Israel books”, put forward his own version of BDS. Netanyahu and “Israel’s consuls-general in the US should be shunned and disinvited”. Americans should fly Delta and United instead of El-Al. “Meetings with hospitals’ fund-raisers should be canceled. The hospitals did nothing wrong, but when they start running out of money, Israelis will start to care.”

No doubt.

I don’t write to take a position on this issue. Only to note that some “pro-Israel” figures can dig into more reserves of anger when fighting the Jewish “right” than over the murder of Israeli Jews.

It’s easier for even professionally “pro-Israel” figures to rage at Israel than at the murderers of Jews. If only they could feel a fraction of the same anger when looking at the Salomon’s bloody kitchen floor.

Where is Gordis’ call to watch Muslims die in hospitals in Ramallah to make them care? It would be deemed monstrous. “Un-Jewish.” Anyone proposing it would be shunned in “pro-Israel” circles.

If Gordis has a position on cutting off aid to the PA after its murders of Israelis, I have yet to find it.

So much of pro-Israel advocacy consists of meaningless lip service. Israel is an abstraction for many of them. Chaya Salomon was a real person. She bled out on a white kitchen floor on Shabbat.

And so I offer a counterproposal. Instead of being pro-Israel, let’s be pro-Chaya.

Pro-Israel is a meaningless metric. Obama claimed to be pro-Israel while funding the terrorist murder of Jews from the West Bank to Iran. “I am 100 percent pro-Israel,” Bernie Sanders insisted after pushing for an anti-Israel platform, falsely accusing Israel of killing 10,000 “innocent” people in Gaza and putting a BDS activist in charge of his Jewish outreach. If that’s pro-Israel, what exactly is anti-Israel?

It’s easier to understand what it is to be pro-Chaya than to be pro-Israel. If you want to be pro-Chaya, don’t fund her killers. And not just pro-Chaya, but pro-Hallel. Hallel-Yaffa Ariel was a 13-year-old girl who came home from a dance recital and was stabbed to death by a Muslim terrorist in her bedroom. Or pro-Michael. Rabbi Michael Mark was driving home with his wife and children when he was murdered. Or Pro-Taylor. Taylor Force was a veteran of two wars who was stabbed to death in Tel Aviv.

The Taylor Force Act that would cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority if it continues funding terrorism is named after him.

Pro-Israel can cover a multitude of sins. It devolves easily into abstractions. And then we are told that giving money to Islamic terrorists is the pro-Israel position because Israeli security depends on the terrorists keeping the peace. For decades, we have been told that the two-state solution which creates a terrorist state inside Israel is actually pro-Israel. And therefore the destruction of Israel is pro-Israel.

The left is adept at such Orwellian insults to reality. In the same way that bringing Muslim terrorists to America is hailed as patriotic, funding Islamic terrorists and Iran’s nukes become vital to Israel’s security.

And so let’s take a step back from the hall of mirrors. Let’s consider instead what is pro-Sarah.

Sarah will be the next victim of Islamic terrorism. Somewhere she is getting on a bus or cooking dinner for her family. And the next Muslim terrorist, let’s call him Mohammed, is plotting to kill her.

Mohammed has been listening to the calls by Fatah to kill Jews. He has seen crowds cheer the murderer of Chaya, Yosef and Elad. He has been told by the preacher on Palestinian Authority television that if he kills a Jew, he will go to heaven. He sees Fatah’s Facebook message, “If I fall I will not be the first to die, and not the last to die #Rage!” And he knows that he will receive $2,000 a month if he succeeds.

What is the pro-Sarah policy?

Is it to pour millions more into the war chest of the terrorists so that they can pay Mohammed for her murder? Is it the continuing championing of the Palestinian Islamic State that Mohammed is killing for?

Let us break through the intellectual abstractions because Sarah and Mohammed are real. In a week or two from now, Sarah will be bleeding out on the living room floor while her children scream. Or she will lie dying on the back seat of her car with blood and broken glass surrounding her head. It’s happened before and it will go on happening until the pro-Israel position becomes the pro-Sarah position.

Everyone or almost everyone is pro-Israel in theory. As long as pro-Israel encompasses both opposing and supporting the murder of Jews, both opposition to BDS and support for BDS, both opposition to terrorists and support for terrorists, then anyone can join and it’s meaningless.

Israel is not an abstract idea. It is a nation of millions of individuals. And these individuals are being killed, one by one, by the genocidal imperative of Islamic Supremacism. If Israel, its geopolitical role, its complex political and religious institutions, its history of thousands of years, its relationship to the Jews of the diaspora is too much to take in, it may be easier to focus on the lives of those individuals.

There is a booming pro-Israel industry. Much of this industry accomplishes very little. It celebrates boosterism and eschews controversy. It seeks a meaningless middle ground. It believes that Israel is morally superior because it continues to strive for peace even at the expense of Israeli terror victims.

There is no pro-Sarah industry. But maybe there ought to be one. And in the future, if we want to determine whether someone is truly pro-Israel, we should ask whether they are pro-Sarah.

Are they for doing whatever it takes to stop her from being murdered tomorrow?

Because you can’t be pro-Israel if you aren’t pro-Sarah. You can’t be pro-Israel if you support funding the murderers of Israelis. You can’t support both Israel and her enemies or support Sarah and her killer.

Then we’ll know who is and isn’t pro-Israel. Because pro-Israel will finally mean something.

Incitement Over Temple Mount Spurs Continuing Clashes Between Palestinians, Israeli Police

[Photo: The Telegraph / YouTube ]

The Tower, July  21, 2017:

Violent clashes erupted in Jerusalem on Friday between Israeli police and thousands of Palestinians who protested the installation of metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount, following days of incitement by Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Palestinian Authority.

Three Palestinians were reported killed in the rioting.

The upgraded Israeli security measures were introduced in direct response to the deadly terrorist attack carried out by three Arab Israelis just outside the compound on July 14, in which two Israeli officers were killed. The terrorists used guns that had been smuggled into the al-Aqsa Mosque.

While searching the area after the lethal shooting, authorities reportedly found a stockpile of weapons, including knives, slingshots, cudgels, spikes, inciting material, unexploded munitions, stun grenades, and binoculars.

The decision to install metal detectors was met with opposition by Palestinian leaders and parts of the Muslim world, who accused Israel of upsetting the status quo. However, at all of the four entrances to the Western Wall Plaza, visitors are required to walk through a metal detector and place their bags in an x-ray machine to ensure that they are not carrying any weapons.

Tight security is a matter that has become routine in holy places because of terrorism. The Saudi government installed metal and explosives detectors at the Holy Mosque in Mecca in 2011. The UAE set up metal detectors in mosques in 2015 and they can also be found at the Vatican.

The United States has supported the Israeli position throughout the last week and has continued to make efforts to calm the situation. “The attack forced the government of Israel to temporarily close the Temple Mount to conduct its investigation,” the White House said in a statement, adding “We urge all leaders and people of good faith to be understanding as this process proceeds and reaches its conclusion.”

Meanwhile, the Fatah movement, headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, called for a “Day of Rage” on Wednesday and continued to call for “rage for al-Asqa” on Friday.

The Times of Israel reported Sunday that the Waqf—the Islamic trust that administers the Temple Mount—sent people to pray in the streets and led the opposition to the metal detectors, enforcing a strict no-prayer rule until the devices are removed. The paper also speculated that Waqf officials knew in advance that metal detectors now stood at the gate and used the large media turnout to stage a made-for-TV protest. Citing Israel’s Channel 2, The Times of Israel reported that only 150 Muslims passed through the metal detectors to pray on the Temple Mount.

The Temple Mount—the holiest site in Judaism and third holiest in Islam—has long been used as a subject of incitement against Jews by officials and hate preachers. President Abbas promised in 2015 not to allow Jews’ “filthy feet” on Temple Mount. A teacher at the Al-Aqsa Mosque school once described Jews who visit the area “monkeys and pigs.” And numerous hate preachers have called “to annihilate the Jews” and implored their followers to “slaughter Jews.”

Palestinian leaders often declare that al-Aqsa is in danger, an accusation that predates the founding of Israel.

In his testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in 2015, Washington Institute for Near East Policy distinguished fellow David Makovsky explained:

Sadly, the charge that Israel is out to destroy the mosque is not new. This claim was made in 1929, resulting in riots in Hebron that killed 63 people. More recently, fatal violence surrounding the Temple Mount occurred in 1991 (20 killed), 1996 (87 killed), 2000 (153 killed within the first month of violence), and 2014 (9 killed).

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Trump State Dept Unsure Why Palestinian Terrorists Kill Israelis

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson / Getty Images

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, July 21, 2017:

Officials in the Trump administration’s State Department are standing by a recent report criticized by Congress that blamed Israel for terror attacks and claimed Palestinians rarely incite violence, telling the Washington Free Beacon that it remains unclear why terrorists engage in violent acts.

Rep. Peter Roskam (R., Ill.), co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus, criticized the State Department Thursday for releasing a report portraying Israel as the culprit in terrorism and downplaying Palestinian incitement of violent acts against the Jewish state, the Free Beacon first reported.

Roskam demanded the State Department alter its report to bring it more in line with what he believes are the facts on the ground—that Palestinian leaders routinely incite violence against Israel, which has been forced to defend itself against a growing wave of terror attacks on Jewish citizens.

A State Department official, speaking on background, defended the report’s conclusions and said that it cannot precisely pinpoint the motivations behind Palestinian terror attacks on Israel.

“We recognize that in any community, a combination of risk factors can come together to create a higher risk of radicalization to violence,” the official said. “There is no one single pathway to violence—each individual’s path to terrorism is personalized, with certain commonalities. Therefore, it is difficult to pinpoint precisely what the sources of radicalization to violence are. What could drive someone to violence in one instance could vary significantly with someone else who is similarly situated.”

The State Department’s response prompted a fierce backlash among U.S. officials and Trump administration insiders, who said the State Department under the leadership of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has gone rogue and is out of line with the White House’s position on a range of sensitive diplomatic issues, including the Israeli-Palestinian impasse.

Sources pointed to the administration going into damage control mode last week after State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert stated during a press briefing that the U.S. was “upgrading” its diplomatic standing with the Palestinians, a declaration that came as a surprise to those in the White House.

The report singling out Israel is another clear example of the State Department pursuing policies that are well out of line with the White House’s stated agenda, which the sources said has been pro-Israel. One source who advises the White House Middle East policy described the State Department’s explanation to the Free Beacon as “spectacular bull—t.”

“The State Department report includes multiple findings that are both inaccurate and harmful to combating Palestinian terrorism,” Roskam wrote in a letter sent Thursday to the State Department. “This report wrongly insinuates Israeli security measures on the Temple Mount and a stalled peace process as key forces behind terrorism.”

The officials additionally maintained that Israel remains one of America’s “closest counterterrorism partners,” and that it continues to work closely with the Jewish state to combat threats from ISIS, al Qaeda, and the Iranian-backed terror group Hezbollah.

“Most egregiously,” Roskam wrote in his letter calling out the report, the State Department’s finding portray “the PA as innocent peacemakers far removed from being the source of terrorist activity.”

The State Department’s defense came just hours after three Israelis were killed and another severely wounded following a terror attack by a Palestinian terrorist that was described in the press as the “worst bloodshed” in years.

The official maintained that there is “no justification for any acts of terrorism,” but said the section of the report focusing on Israel is meant to help U.S. officials understand regional tensions.

“This section of the report—which is based on input from our embassies around the world—is intended to inform our efforts to counter radicalization to violence, and to better understand what might be assessed as motivations that could drive individuals towards violence,” the official said. “But this is not intended in any way to condone these acts or to justify them. As we said, there is no justification for any act of terrorism.”

The State Department would not specifically address Roskam’s concerns about the factual inaccuracies surrounding the report’s claims that Israel is to be blamed for terrorism, as well as its claim that Palestinian calls for violence against Israel are “rare” and not tolerated by Palestinian Authority leadership.

“Explicit calls for violence against Israelis, direct exhortations against Jews, and categorical denials by the [Palestinian Authority] of the possibility of peace with Israel are rare and the leadership does not generally tolerate it,” the original report stated.

Roskam called this characterization “demonstrably false,” citing multiple instances in which Palestinian officials and state-sanctioned media organs promote violence, terrorism, and attacks against Israel and Jews.

Multiple sources who spoke to the Free Beacon, including Trump administration insiders and senior Congressional officials, expressed shock at the State Department’s response to Roskam’s letter and cited it as proof that Tillerson department is dramatically departing from the White House’s own policy on these matters.

“Palestinians hate and kill Israelis because they’re taught from a very young age to hate and kill Jews,” one veteran Middle East expert who advises the White House on Israel policy said. “Of course the Obama administration never liked to admit that, but everyone around President Trump understands it.”

Officials appointed by the Obama administration still work in key State Department positions, the source noted.

“The problem is that the Obama team spent eight years filling the State Department with career staffers who think exactly like they think, and those people are still running things,” the source said. “Some really good people have tried to clean house, but every time anything got going Tillerson went to the president personally to protect the Obama holdovers. So they feel safe producing this kind of mind-numbing nonsense and sending it to Congress.”

One senior Congressional official who works on the Middle East situation expressed shock at the State Department’s defense of its report and subsequent claims about the unknown source of terror against Israel.

“Chalking up Palestinian terrorism to anything other than deep-seated anti-Semitism is not only disgraceful, but a reinvention of history,” the source said. “Palestinians are brainwashed by their governments from birth to hate Jews and celebrate suicide bombers. Countering terrorism against Israelis first and foremost requires clarity, which the State Department evidently lacks.”

The source slammed the State Department from departing from clear policy positions outlined by President Donald Trump and the White House.

“This is not what the American people voted for when they elected President Trump, and they deserve better,” the source said. “Members of Congress and the hardworking citizens they represent will not tolerate this nonsense.”

A second source, also a senior congressional official intimately involved in the issue, said the sources of Palestinian radicalization are well established.

“Money, fame, and education are the driving factors here, let’s not kid ourselves,” the source said. “We’re dealing with a community whose government openly lauds child murderers as national heroes and rewards terrorists with large sums of cash. Our State Department needs to focus on combating the PA’s heinous policies instead of praising terrorist-supporters and philosophizing incoherently about the sources of radicalization.”

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Fmr. Israeli Security Chief: Iranian Land Corridor, Bases in Syria Biggest Threats to Israel

Photo: Basel Awidat/Flash90

The Tower, July 19, 2017:

Iran’s efforts to build a “direct corridor” from Baghdad to the Mediterranean Sea and further entrench itself militarily in Syria are two of Israel’s most pressing concerns, Israel’s former national security adviser said Monday.

The corridor, referred to as a “Shiite crescent” by Jordan’s King Abdullah, would place Israel’s borders in “direct connection to Iran—a long line but still very easy to move forces, capabilities and everything that the Iranians will want to build around Israel,” Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror said. Iran’s ability to project its power along this route would “change the whole geostrategic situation in this area.”

The establishment of permanent Iranian bases in Syria would pose a more immediate and direct threat to Israel, placing it at risk of simultaneous confrontation with Lebanon and Syria. “Israel might face two battlegrounds,” Amidror explained, “one in Lebanon and one in Syria in which the Iranians and Hezbollah will have their infrastructure [that] can be used against Israel, in parallel, and of course it definitely will be connected to the corridor that I just described that it makes the situation even much [more] complicated for Israel.”

These bases would act as launching pads for Iranian and Hezbollah attacks against Israel from Syria, and should be prevented “whatever will be the price,” Amidror warned.

When asked what Israel might do to prevent Iran from establishing bases in Syria, Amidror said that if the United States and Russia won’t take action, “that might lead the IDF to intervene and to destroy every attempt to build infrastructure in Syria.” While he noted that Israel would first try to handle things diplomatically, he indicated that resorting to using “military capability” could also be an option.

On the implications of the underground weapons factories Iran is believed to be building in Lebanon for Hezbollah, Amidror answered that the facilities—one of which reportedly produces Fateh 110 rockets that can carry half-ton warheads and reach most of Israel—would have to be destroyed. “Lebanon as a state does not exist. But the price will be paid by the end of the day by the Lebanese,” Amidror observed.

He elaborated:

The fact is that the Iranians and Hezbollah are spreading more than a hundred thousand rockets and missiles in Lebanon. The day will come [that] we will have to destroy them and the price will be paid by the Lebanese. So, the world is allowing Hezbollah and Iran to build huge military capabilities in Lebanon and the day will come [that] we will have to deal with it and to destroy it and the price will be paid by the Lebanese. Whoever will be complaining then about the results—the devastating situation of the Lebanese who will have to pay the price—I don’t know what percentage of Lebanon will be destroyed in this struggle, but the world will have to reply to itself. The world is not stopping that and the price will be paid by the Lebanese.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday denounced Hezbollah’s ongoing military buildup, telling reporters after a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “I share Israeli concerns on the arming of Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.”

Israel’s former ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, wrote an op-ed in May calling on the world community to take action against Hezbollah, which he said has grown stronger than most NATO nations. He urged the UN Security Council to strengthen and enforce resolution 1701, in line with Chapter 7 of the UN’s charter, which mandates peace enforcement.

According to a July 2016 report by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Israeli officials believe that any future war with Hezbollah has the potential to cause “thousands of civilian deaths” in Israel. Hezbollah has, among other things, threatened to attack ammonium tanks in Haifa, which could kill tens of thousands of people.

Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, explained that month that Hezbollah’s widely-reported tactic of hiding military assets in civilian areas would lead to mass casualties. Reports emerged in 2013 that Hezbollah was offering reduced-price housing to Shiite families who allowed the terrorist group to store rocket launchers in their homes. An Israeli defense official told The New York Times in May 2015 that the buildup of Hezbollah’s terror infrastructure in southern Lebanese villages meant that “civilians are living in a military compound” and that their lives were at risk. A few days later, a newspaper linked to Hezbollah bolstered the Israeli assessment.

Brig. Gen. (res.) Nitzan Nuriel, a former director of Israel’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau, said in March that another war between Israel and Hezbollah was “only a question of time” due to the Iranian proxy’s efforts to acquire “game-changing weapons.” A week later, Eisenkot assessed that Hezbollah is building up its arsenal in Lebanon, which will bear the brunt of any future conflict between the Iranian proxy and Israel. Israeli security officials warned earlier in March that the Lebanese army, which receives American military aid, will likely fight alongside Hezbollah in a war against Israel.

A complete recording of Amidror’s call is embedded following the article here.