JUNE 2017 MIDEAST OUTPOST

Outpost

Editor: Rael Jean Isaac

Editorial Board: Ruth King, Rita Kramer

Outpost is distributed free to Members of Americans for a Safe Israel Annual membership: $100.

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A Cloud Called Hezbollah by William Mehlman

Hezbollah, with an estimated 130,000-150,000 short, medium and long-range rockets steered by cutting-edge guidance systems, attack and suicide drones and the most advanced air defense hardware coming out of Russia, constitutes “the most serious conventional threat” Israel has faced since the major wars of l967 and 1973.

That’s the message coming out of the highly esteemed Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in Tel Aviv. It’s an arsenal which exceeds the combined total of all 27 NATO nations, rated as capable of hitting Israeli targets, civilian and military, with 260 missiles every six hours, 1,200 a day. That they have not been unleashed has little to do with either the dwindling constraints of the Lebanese government which hosts this terrorist phenomenon on its southern border or the zero constraints of UNIFIL. UNIFIL is the alleged peace-keeping force that opted out, before the ink was dry, of its obligation under UN Security Council Resolution 1701 to prevent the rearming of Hezbollah following the termination of the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

Two factors have kept the lid on a third Hezbollah strike against Israel, both of them linked to the terrorist organization’s financial and operational master, the Islamic Republic of Iran. The German daily Die Welt, citing Western sources, reported in April that Hezbollah is seriously overdrawn on its account with Tehran, the source of 75 percent of its weapons and the working capital critical to the support of 20,000 fighters and another 20,000 reservists. To put it bluntly, the “Party of Allah,” is flirting with bankruptcy, the direct result of its Iranian-ordered engagement in a war to defend and secure Bashar Hafez Assad’s power base in Syria. The generous remunerations to the families of the estimated 1,500-1,800 fighters who have been killed, the more than 6,000 wounded and the “hazardous duty” bonus allocations to the 8,000 on the front lines of this noble enterprise appear to have at least temporarily stalled plans for a major move against Israel.

The hidden danger to Israel lurking behind Hezbollah’s current financial straits is complacency. Major General Jim Molan, who served as Australia’s chief of operations in Iraq, writing in The Australian, contends that the current calm along Lebanon’s southern border with Israel may be as much a case of deception as necessity – an attempt to put Jerusalem off its guard. “It’s quiet,” he submits, “because Hezbollah wants it that way at present.” And that, of course, means Iran wants it that way until stagnant oil demand gets an expected summer boost and the till for a major operation against Israel is refreshed.

Indeed, any suggestion of permanency to the current quiet should have been dispelled by a Hezbollah sponsored “media tour” in April of the thin line separating Israel from its terrorist adversary. Conducted by a Hezbollah honcho in combat fatigues, it described in depth to the assembled journalists the IDF’s positions on the other side of the line, including a string of barricades designed to stall any breakthrough by infantry forces. Al Manar, Hezbollah’s official publication, quoted the tour leader as having told the journalists that the organization had developed “special tactics to deal with these structures” and boasted that it had compelled the “Zionist army for the first time in history to move to a defensive position.”

What was the real purpose of this “media tour”? Tony Badran, research fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, calls it a showcase of the “power dynamic” in Lebanon, a function of Europe’s and America’s acquiescence to the terrorist takeover of a sovereign nation. “Hezbollah laid it out for all to see, its position at the head of the table,” Badran argues. In a display of further chutzpa, he notes, they timed their dog and pony show to coincide with a meeting of Lebanese parliamentarians and officials in Washington with the World Bank and the IMF “to plead against harsher sanctions and to rattle the can for more aid.”

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From the Editor : Rael Jean Isaac

Migrant Crime Wave in Germany

According to Germany’s annual crime report, compiled by the Federal Crime Bureau, migrant crime rose over 50% in the last year to comprise more than a quarter of all crimes. Germany based journalist Vijeta Uniyal reports that the figures are the more alarming because of the narrow definition the German government uses of “criminal migrant,” excluding “foreigners who have been living and working in Germany for some time.” The new migrants make up less than 2% of the population but 9% of the criminal population. Moreover they are not merely engaged in petty crime but dominate serious and violent crime in Germany with nearly 15% of all those charged with serious bodily harm coming from this group. The German government’s response is to find ways to minimize not only reporting but actual arrests. For example Uniyal reports that the Berlin government prohibits law enforcement agencies from using video surveillance on the grounds it violates “civil rights.” The result is rampant but unreported lawlessness, especially in the city’s “no-go zones.” Meanwhile officials blithely spin and lie: “Refugees aren’t more criminal than Germans” and “migrants hardly committed any sexual assaults” declared a senior official of the Ministry of the Interior last summer.

It was impossible to hush up last year’s Christmas market attack in which a Tunisian migrant murdered 12 people and injured dozens more by driving a truck loaded with steel beams into a busy Christmas market. But it was telling, as Uniyal observes, that the Merkel government categorized those killed and injured as victims of a “traffic accident.”

Dismembering Israel, Peace by Peace

Since Israel’s creation, the only way the “world community” has been able to conceive of achieving peace is by dismembering Israel. It is generally forgotten that before 1967 (while Israel was within the armistice borders of 1949) the Eisenhower administration proposed that Israel give up part of the Negev for “peace.” Since 1967, the peace proposals advanced by successive U.S. governments have all involved Israel’s returning to the old green line (at best with “minor” adjustments thrown in). It doesn’t matter if the administration is friendly to Israel (e.g. Reagan, George W. Bush) or hostile (none more so than Obama), the prescription is always the same.

Now it looks as if the current friendly administration of Donald Trump is going to go back to thumping the old, endlessly failed program. Since September 1993, when Israel made the colossal mistake of transforming Arafat and his terrorist PLO from irrelevant exiles in Tunisia to “peace partners” Israel has been hiving off control of territory (most recently Gaza) only to produce vastly more terror. The “peace partner” is now Abbas to whom Trump is making friendly approaches.

But Abbas has rejected all proposed peace deals that do not include the right of return (i.e. the end of the Jewish state). As Caroline Glick points out “any hypothetical deal a hypothetical Palestinian leader would accept, would endanger Israel’s very existence. So in the unlikely event that he [Trump] reaches ‘the deal,’ his achievement would imperil Israel, rather than protect it.”

With the Middle East in chaos, the Arab-Israel conflict should go to the back burner where it belongs. That seems to have been Trump’s first instinct and the right one.

Kaiser Wilhelm to “My Beloved Jews”

The following (translated by Erich Isaac) is from Sammy Gronemann’s Hawdoloh und Zapfenshtreich published In 1924. Gronemann, a well-known Jewish writer, served as a translator of documents—into Yiddish—in the German army during the First World War on the eastern front. Given the transformation of attitudes barely a decade later, all one can say is “No Comment.”

To my Dear Jews
The Tsar at the Kishinev Cemetery

This satiric flyer was dropped by the High Command of the German Army over Jewish populations making fun of the Tsarist professions of friendship to the Jews.

“In the first years of the war there was pure jubilation with the discovery of the Jews of Eastern Europe as the guardians of German nature and speech. There were enthusiastic songs of praise concerning their loyalty. And a collection of German literati (not confined to Jews) proved in profound discourses that the Eastern European Jews are actually genuine, true Germans–stubborn, tough and loyal bearers of German culture, committed defenders of German peoplehood through centuries of Slavic oppression. In the imperial headquarters a beautifully bound manifesto on this matter was accepted with enthusiasm. Emperor Wilhelm’s first impulse was to free all Eastern European Jews who were prisoners of war.

Fortunately this decision was countermanded for it would have cost the life of thousands of Russian Jewish soldiers [whom the Russians would have considered traitors]. Such names as Silberfarb and Mandelstamm, which used to be the subject of ironic marks by Reichs-Chancellor Bulow, now became symbols of Jewish-German loyalty and the word “Ostjude” was highly esteemed in the eyes of German nationalist patriots. It became a real political effort. Field Marshal Hindenburg and His Excellency Ludendorff distributed (including by plane) leaflets in Yiddish to the Jews of Lithuania and Poland which proclaimed the liberation of oppressed Russian Jews from the Tsarist yoke by the freedom and Jew-friendly German armies and the tight relationship and spiritual connection of Germans and Jews. Briefly it looked as if Kaiser Wilhelm had mobilized his army especially to save his much loved Eastern European Jews.”

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Comparing Mideast Refugees with Holocaust Victims What Are the Similarities? by Rabbi Aryeh Spero

Editor’s note: Valerie Greenfield, author of Backyard Caliphate writes: “Recently almost 2000 rabbis wrote a letter to President Trump and Congressional officials to ‘ensure that our refugee program be maintained and strengthened, not halted, paused or restricted.’” To AFSI one rabbi with a brain like Rabbi Spero is of more value than 2,000 rabbinical lemmings self-righteously leading their flock over the cliff.

President Trump has been under relentless attack from those on the Left against his efforts to limit immigration from terrorist-producing areas and his call for comprehensive vetting and background checks. Beyond doubt, it is the first and most important duty of a President to protect the lives of a country’s citizens, especially where a possibility exists of terrorists being embedded within a particular immigration flow. As the President previously stated, to not strictly enforce our immigration laws is “not compassion but recklessness”.

Some groups are exploiting the Holocaust to promote unrestricted Syrian and other Mideast immigration into this country. However, it is incorrect to draw a parallel between the Jews who fled Europe in the 1930s, who were, as Jews, specific targets for genocide and Nazi concentration camps, and those today wishing to escape the civil war in their Mideast countries. The Syrians, for example, are not being targeted because they are Muslims, and there is no Final Solution planned against them. Their civil wars have placed them in very difficult circumstances, but it is not comparable to the deliberate and planned Final Extermination which was specifically directed at Jews as Jews during the unparalleled Holocaust. It’s a different category altogether.

Furthermore, comparisons to the Holocaust situation are improper, for (2) there were no Nazi agents embedded within the fleeing Jews; (3) the Jews did not harbor a cultural or religious ideology wishing to sow physical destruction on the American people; and (4) there were no rabbis in the 1930s sending forth commands worldwide to destroy the “infidels”. Indeed, (5) the completely innocent Jews of Europe had nowhere to go, no country to take them in — there was not yet a State of Israel—whereas there are 57 Islamic states, many exceedingly wealthy, who could be providing safe haven to their Islamic brothers.

Protesing attacks on Christians

If there is a genocide parallel it involves the Christians of the Middle East who have for decades been targets of the Muslim genocide against them simply for being Christian. And yet, the Left has been silent regarding the plight of Christians. During the Obama years, Christian immigration here from Islamic territories was, based on population percentages, 90% less than what it should have been. Mr. Obama moralized about “not using a religious litmus test” to over-weight Muslim immigration, while severely undercutting and ignoring thousands of Christian refugees begging to be rescued from the Islamic jihad against them.

Thus, one can’t be blamed for wondering if specific concern by the Left for Muslim migrants and lack of concern or outrage regarding oppressed Christian refugees has more to do with transforming our demographics and historic culture, our voting patterns and outcomes, and diminishing the historic Judeo-Christian outlook in our civic life.

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Reflections on Daniel Gordis’s Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn by Roger A. Gerber

Daniel Gordis’s widely praised Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn, chosen as the 2016 book of the year by the National Jewish Book Council, is a highly readable popular history that covers the history of the State of Israel in a mere 425 pages of text, plus 27 pages of appendices that include helpful reference material, plus maps.

Gordis’s history has earned accolades from a wide range of luminaries including Ari Shavit, Dennis Ross, Michael Oren, Deborah Lipstadt and Yossi Klein Halevi, blurbs from all of whom adorn the back cover.

The book, taken as a whole, is a good popular primer but since it has received nothing but praise (with the exception of a generally favorable review by David Isaac in Washington Free Beacon that pointed out flaws), I will take this opportunity to point out some of the problematic sections in this account of Israel’s history.

Gordis does not profess to be a trained historian and his felicitous style masks the superficial treatment of several controversial topics of major import in Israel’s history, including the Altalena episode and the murder of Haim Arlosoroff, both of which roiled Israel’s society and politics from the early 1930’s (in the case of Arlosoff’s murder) to the present. After noting that the conviction of Jewish suspects was overturned by the British Court of Appeals, Rabbi Gordis concludes darkly that the murder “would not be the last time Jews killed Jews over political disagreements in the Jewish State”. This is despite the fact that it was never established that the murder of Arlosoroff was committed “over political disagreements”, nor that the killers were Jews. While Gordis writes that “Arlosoroff’s assassination remains a mystery,” he fails to indicate why this is so. Space precludes a discussion of the various speculations regarding the murder, including a possible connection to Arlosoroff’s alleged affair, while a student in Germany, with a close friend of his sister who subsequently became the wife of Joseph Goebbels. The thirty-four year old Arlosoroff was killed two days after he returned from negotiations in Germany arranged through Goebbels’ wife. The most plausible theory is that the killers were the two Arabs who actually confessed to the murder.

What is important to note is that the Arlosoroff murder left such an enduring scar on the Israeli body politic that in 1982, almost half a century after the crime, Prime Minister Menachem Begin, with cabinet approval, established an official commission of inquiry headed by David Bechor, a respected retired judge of Israel’s Supreme Court. In June 1985, after Begin’s retirement, the three man Bechor commission submitted a 202 page report unanimously exonerating the Revisionist suspects but failing to identify the perpetrators or to adduce new evidence in the case. Rabbi Gordis’s account gives no indication of the enduring impact on Israeli society of the Arlosoroff murder.

In discussing the ship named Altalena, whose destruction was the most divisive and dramatic episode in the birth of the State, Rabbi Gordis writes: “Suddenly, Palmach fighters …fired on the Altalena.” He fails to say that they did so on Ben-Gurion’s order or to mention his subsequent statement: “Blessed is the cannon that fired on the Altalena.” Sixteen Jews were killed, many others wounded, and large quantities of badly needed arms for the War of Independence destroyed. Gordis does write that among the Palmach commanders on the beach was Yitzhak Rabin, but without indicating that it was Rabin who commanded the group that first fired on the Altalena. In The Revolt, Menachem Begin devotes 22 pages to the discussion of the Altalena affair and it remains one of the most painful and controversial topics in Israel 69 years later.

In discussing the death of Avraham (“Yair”) Stern, the leader of Lechi (the underground group subsequently headed by future prime minister Yitzhak Shamir), Gordis asserts definitively that “Stern was killed in February 1942 in a shoot-out with British forces after a massive manhunt” (page 138). This is despite the fact that one of the three British officers alone with Stern admitted in an interview forty years later that the unarmed Stern was murdered in cold blood by a British officer. Even if Rabbi Gordis did not know this—and he should have—the official British story was considered highly suspect within the Jewish community from the beginning.

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“Eight to Ten Million Migrants Are Still on the Way” Soeren Kern

At a press conference in Brussels on May 2, the EU Commissioner in charge of migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, called on Austria, Denmark, Germany, Norway and Sweden—among the wealthiest and most sought after destinations in Europe for migrants—to phase out the temporary controls currently in place at their internal Schengen borders over the next six months.

The so-called Schengen Agreement, which took effect in March 1995, abolished many of the EU’s internal borders, enabling passport-free movement across most of the bloc. The Schengen Agreement, along with the single European currency, are fundamental pillars of the European Union and essential building-blocks for constructing a United States of Europe. With the long-term sustainability of the single currency and open borders in question, advocates of European federalism are keen to preserve both.

Avramopoulos, who argued that border controls are “not in the European spirit of solidarity and cooperation,” said: “The time has come to take the last concrete steps to gradually return to a normal functioning of the Schengen Area. This is our goal, and it remains unchanged. A fully functioning Schengen area, free from internal border controls. Schengen is one of the greatest achievements of the European project. We must do everything to protect it.”

Border Check

The temporary border controls were established in September 2015, after hundreds of thousands of migrants arrived in Europe, and when EU member states, led by Germany, gave special permission to some EU countries to impose emergency controls for up to two years. Since then, the European Union has approved six-month extensions of controls at the German-Austrian border, at Austria’s frontiers with Hungary and Slovenia and at Danish, Swedish and Norwegian borders. (Norway is a member of Schengen but not the EU.) Since then, several countries have argued that they need border controls to combat the threat of Islamic militancy.

On May 2, Sweden, which claims to conduct the most border checks among the EU countries, announced that it will lift controls at its border with Denmark. Sweden received 81,000 asylum seekers in 2014; 163,000 in 2015; 29,000 in 2016, and the same is expected for 2017.

On April 26, Austria called for an indefinite extension of border controls. “In terms of public order and internal security, I simply need to know who is coming to our country,” Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka said. Austria, which accepted some 90,000 migrants in 2015, also called for a “postponement” of the EU refugee distribution program, which requires EU member states to accept a mandatory and proportional distribution of asylum-seekers who arrive in other member nations.

On March 9, Norway extended border controls for another three months.

On January 26, Denmark extended border controls for another four months. Integration Minister Inger Støjberg said that his government would extend its border controls “until European borders are under control.”

On January 19, Germany and Austria announced that border controls between their countries would continue indefinitely, “as long as the EU external border is not adequately protected.”

Meanwhile, the number of migrants making their way to Europe is once again trending higher. Of the 30,465 migrants who reached Europe during the first quarter of 2017, 24,292 (80%) arrived in Italy, 4,407 arrived in Greece, 1,510 arrived in Spain and 256 arrived in Bulgaria, according to the International Office for Migration (IOM).

By way of comparison, the number of arrivals to Europe during each of the first three months of 2017 exceeded those who arrived during the same time period in 2015, the year in which migration to Europe reached unprecedented levels.

The trend is expected to continue throughout 2017. Better weather is already bringing about a surge of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Europe. During just one week in April, for example, a total of 9,661 migrants reached the shores of Italy.

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Coddling Hamas on Campus While Trampling the First Amendment by Sara Dogan

Editor’s note: UCLA and the University of Chicago are the latest schools to join David Horowitz’s Freedom Center’s list of the “Top Ten College Administrations Most Friendly to Terrorists and Hostile to the First Amendment.” These campuses provide financial and institutional support to terrorist-linked campus organizations such as the Hamas-funded hate-group Students for Justice in Palestine while actively suppressing speech critical of Israel’s terrorist adversaries and their allies in the United States.

At the beginning of May, the Freedom Center placed posters exposing the links between Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Hamas terrorists on the UCLA campus. UCLA administrators such as Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Jerry Kang have previously labeled similar Freedom Center posters “ethnic slander” and an effort to “trigger racially-tinged fear.” These posters pose a challenge to the UCLA administration to abandon these attacks on speech that exposes the truth about SJP and its ties to terrorism, and to fulfill its constitutional obligation to uphold the First Amendment on campus.

Vice Chancellor Kang has undergone extreme intellectual and political contortions in defending the UCLA chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) as “an officially recognized student organization, based on political commitments, that is also in good standing” despite SJP’s constant manifestation of Jew hatred on the Los Angeles campus.

In one widely noted expression of the group’s anti Semitism, SJP members illegally questioned student government candidate Rachel Beyda about whether her status as a Jew would bias her decisions on campus matters. It also attempted to create a litmus test for student government candidates by introducing an initiative that would require them to sign a pledge to not take trips to Israel sponsored by pro-Israel organizations.

Such incidents violate UCLA’s Principles of Community which state, in part, “We are committed to ensuring freedom of expression and dialogue, in a respectful and civil manner, on the spectrum of views held by our varied and diverse campus communities.”

Despite his title as the UCLA administrator in charge of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, Vice Chancellor Kang has ignored SJP’s continual violation of these Principles of Community, disregarding the harassment of Jewish students forced to endure SJP’s mock “apartheid walls” plastered with Hamas propaganda and its rallies decrying the founding of the Jewish state as “Al-nakba” or “the catastrophe.” But when the David Horowitz Freedom Center hung posters on campus exposing SJP’s ties to anti-Israel terror group Hamas, and naming campus activists who had worked to bring about the destruction of the Jewish state, both Kang and UCLA Chancellor Gene Block were quick to condemn them. In an email to the entire 50,000 member UCLA community, Kang said the posters were “designed to shock and terrify,” and accused the Freedom Center of using “the tactic of guilt by association, of using blacklists, of ethnic slander, and sensationalized images engineered to trigger racially-tinged fear.” In a second diatribe, he claimed the posters caused “chilling psychological harm” and “focused, personalized intimidation.”

University Chancellor Gene Block also reacted to the posters by stating “Islamophobic posters appeared on campus, in complete disregard of our Principles of Community and the dignity of our Muslim students. But we can, and we will, do our best to hold ourselves to the standards of integrity, inclusion, fairness and compassion that are the hallmarks of a healthy community.”

Quick to defend SJP and its violent rhetoric, Kang and Block have been missing in action when Jewish students faced intimidation and harassment from anti-Semitic speakers and Hamas propaganda plastered across campus.

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Capital Losses by Ruth King

Promises! Promises! One cannot count the number of times that our leaders, from the White House to Congress, have issued the call to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital city Jerusalem. Those empty words fill the air during election cycles. Nonetheless the American Embassy remains in Tel Aviv.

What is an American Embassy on foreign soil? Here is how the State Department describes it:

“The mission of the United States Embassy is to advance the interests of the United States, and to serve and protect U.S. citizens. An embassy is the nerve center for a country’s diplomatic affairs within the borders of another nation, serving as the headquarters of the chief of mission, staff and other agencies. …

“Embassy staff interact with host governments, local business and nongovernmental organizations, the media and educational institutions, and private citizens to create positive responses to U.S. policy and the U.S. in general.”

There is absolutely nothing here that precludes placing the American embassy in Israel’s capital. Moreover, an embassy implies recognition of a country’s sovereignty and its status as a nation.

The United States currently does not have embassies in North Korea, Iran, and Bhutan. In Taiwan, there is no longer an embassy, but, rather, an “American Institute in Taiwan” located in the capital Taipei. Here hangs a cautionary tale for Israel, demonstrating how an embassy’s location impacts a host nation’s legitimacy.

In order to appease China’s tyrants, heeding Henry Kissinger’s advice, Nixon visited China in 1972, accepted mass murderer Mao’s “one China” policy and opened the door to more diplomatic ties. These were fully implemented in 1979 when President Jimmy Carter broke diplomatic relations with Taiwan and moved our embassy in Taipei to Beijing. In short order Taiwan lost its seat on the Security Council and was ousted from the United Nations. Its security and sovereignty have thus been weakened.

Out of the 192 UN member states, 161 currently recognize Israel. Thirty-one Arab/Moslem nations have no diplomatic exchanges with Israel.

There are currently over 86 embassies in Tel Aviv (not including honorary consulates). Due to America’s implied pressure, of the thirteen nations (Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Netherlands, Panama, Uruguay , Venezuela) that had earlier established embassies in Jerusalem, none remain.

As justification, the U.S. State Department claims that Jerusalem is “disputed territory.” This is balderdash, and the fully staffed United States embassy in Kosovo proves the hypocrisy of this argument.

In Kosovo, although 114 nations offered recognition in 2008, there are only 21 embassies in Pristina, the U.S. among them. Many nations question the legitimacy of Kosovo which was historically part of Serbia, and is considered “disputed territory.” Accordingly, Kosovo is not a member of the United Nations.

Why does the U.S. have an embassy in Pristina and not in Jerusalem? This upside-down diplomacy can only be explained by a stubborn anti-Israel bias that has always existed in the State Department swamps.

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MIDEAST OUTPOST MAY 2017

Outpost

Editor: Rael Jean Isaac
Editorial Board: Herbert Zweibon, Ruth King

Outpost is distributed free to
Members of Americans For a Safe Israel
Annual membership: $50.

In Memoriam: Paul Schnek

AFSI mourns the loss of longtime member and committed Zionist Paul Schnek. Paul stood outside the Israeli Consulate in NYC, every day from 12-2 PM, to protest the Oslo Accords. He did this for many years, until his legs would no longer allow him to stand for such long periods.

Zionism101

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“Chaim Weizmann Part 4: War and Statehood” depicts Weizmann’s activities from World War ll until his death as Israel’s first President. In the post-war years, he is sidelined by Zionists disillusioned with British policy, but brought back when his diplomatic skills are needed to help usher through the partition plan at the UN..

If you haven’t already, please watch our completed video courses.

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Move it! William Mehlman

“President Trump and the U.S. Embassy in Israel,” blared the headline over a CNBC report by Justina Crabtree. “What’s going on?”

What, indeed, is going on? The relocation of his embassy to Jerusalem, among the 45th president’s “top” priorities, according to election campaign co-manager Kellyanne Conway, has, eleven weeks into his administration, been reduced to an afterthought. Only Conway insists on its continued importance. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer replies to queries about it with the dismissive assertion that “we are only at the very beginning of even discussing this subject,” an apparent invitation to “get lost.” President Trump, on the same subject, informs us, albeit less testily, that “it’s too early” to speculate on an issue he’s been thumping since the primaries or that “we will see what happens.”

Too early? Barely fit for discussion? We’ll see what happens? Granted, the subject was bound to raise Chicken Little consternation from Amman and Riyadh to Paris and Brussels. But having made a promise he repeatedly promised to keep, Mr. Trump owes us more than the back of Sean Spicer’s hand. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, currently overseeing the president’s cyber intelligence operations, seems suddenly overwhelmed by the complexities of hanging a “U.S. Embassy” banner on a building waiting to be employed in western Jerusalem. Benjamin Netanyahu is being accused of caving in to President Trump’s apparent fixation on the “greatest peace deal” that isn’t ever going to be made with a money-grubbing charlatan solely interested in the disappearance of Israel. If health care, tax reform, immigration control, the taming of North Korea and the defanging of a nuclear-bent Iran are to share precious time and attention with the blind alley pursuit of Mahmoud Abbas’ consent to live in peace with a Jewish state, they could all terminate in the dustbin along with Trump’s Congressional majorities and his hopes for a second term.

The best of all reasons for moving that embassy out of Tel Aviv and doing it now are staring the president in the face. If there is to be the new order in the Middle East hinted at by his missile strike against Assad and the massive cave bunker buster directed against ISIS’s attempt to set up shop in Afghanistan, it must begin with the de-isolation of Israel, the region’s prime military and economic power. There’s nowhere else to turn. However impressed Mr. Trump may have been with King Abdullah’s Ivy League English, his majesty and his economic and political train wreck of a government would have been gone years ago were it not for Israel’s support. It is at least partial reliance on that same support that has underlined Sisi’s strategy in Egypt, confronted as he is by a deposed but not defeated Moslem Brotherhood and an increasingly radicalized Sinai Bedouin population. Saudi Arabia remains a corrupt oil oligarchy under a national flag incapable of dealing with a two-bit foe in Yemen. They’ll all carry on for the TV cameras over the embassy move even as they go to ground over their vulnerability to a Shia arc of power–Teheran to Sanaa and most everything in between–that could relegate Sunni primacy to the history books. Israel, its strengths and its links with the U.S., is their lynchpin, not a Palestinian nightmare.

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Outpost

Editor: Rael Jean Isaac
Editorial Board: Herbert Zweibon, Ruth King

Outpost is distributed free to
Members of Americans For a Safe Israel
Annual membership: $50.

Americans For a Safe Israel
1751 Second Ave. (at 91st St.)
New York, NY 10128
tel (212) 828-2424 / fax (212) 828-1717
E-mail: afsi @rcn.com web site: http://www.afsi.org

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