Mideast

JANUARY 2016 MIDEAST OUTPOST

We wish all our readers and supporters a happy New Year which brings peace and determination to America and Israel and good tidings to the thousands of Europeans now poised to find new homes in Israel.

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: $50.

Americans for a Safe Israel
1751 Second Ave. (at 91st Street)
New York, NY 10128
Tel (212) 828-2424 / fax (212) 828-1717
Email: judy@afsi.org

Mideast

Foot Soldier :William Mehlman

Save for six years (1999-2005) as CEO of Cyote Corp., the technology-based anti-fraud company he co-founded and subsequently sold for $145 million, Education and Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett has been in combat mode ever since the IDF’s Sayeret Matkal tabbed him at 19 for a role in its elite reconnaissance operations.

At 43, the national-religious product of a San Francisco Zionist coupling has faced down some of the toughest interrogators in international television – CNN’s Chistiane Amanpour, Bloomberg News’ Charlie Rose, BBC Hardtalk’s Steven Sackur and Conflict Zone’s Tim Sebastian in Germany, among others – on everything from PA-inspired terrorism to his case for Israel’s annexation of the Gush Etzion bedroom communities outside Jerusalem. While his Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party’s eight Knesset seats in a two-seat Likud coalition majority, fell short of gaining him the Foreign Ministry portfolio on which he’d set his sights (Netanyahu is a holding it as a prize for a Zionist Union entry into the coalition) Bennett is packing a wallop rarely seen in the Education Ministry and never witnessed in the recently minted Diaspora Affairs Ministry. It has put him in combat on four fronts: with Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau, the secular portion of the state public school system, the powerful Council for Higher Education and the IDF head-hunting NGO “Breaking the Silence.”

Illustrative of the religio-political black hole shadowing any attempt to synchronize portfolios as ideologically loaded as public education and Diaspora relations is the one-two punch Bennett received from Rabbi Lau for having the temerity to stop by the Conservative Movement’s Solomon Schechter Day School on a recent visit to New York and from the “progressive” Hebrew daily Ha’aretz for perpetrating a “religious assault on public education.” Bennett, of course, gives as well as he gets. To Lau’s contention that he should have sought “the advice of a [ultra-Orthodox] rabbi“ before exposing himself to a Movement that “distances Jews from the past and the future of the Jewish people,” he replied “I consult with rabbis on halachic questions; I don’t consult with rabbis on my political actions or policies. As Israel’s representative to the Diaspora I will continue to meet with Jews of all denominations.”

Mideast

From the Editor: Rael Jean Isaac

Wuppertal, Then and Now
On Dec. 16, the Wall Street Journal published an article on the warm welcome extended to Syrian migrants in Germany’s “rust-belt” city of Wuppertal to which, the mayor hopes, they will give “a much needed economic boost.” Wuppertal’s Syrian community has quadrupled in the past year to 4,000 people; one Syrian who came years ago says: “When I first went to the local flea market, I barely heard any Arabic. Now, you barely hear German.”
Needless to say, the Wall Street Journal has nothing to say about the impact this wave of Muslims (and similar large migrations to other German cities) is likely to have on the Jewish communities in those places. In July 2014, before this newest Muslim population onslaught, three Muslims (by their own account, overwhelmed by a passionate concern for Gaza) threw bottles full of diesel at Wuppertal’s synagogue. “Pure anti-Semitism” is how Leonid Goldberg, Wuppertal’s Jewish leader, described it. The flames were extinguished quickly so the damage was manageable and the culprits were tried for arson. But reports at the time on the conditions in which the synagogue “normally” functioned were scarcely encouraging. Cameras were positioned to the left and right of the entrance which in any case was only used on special occasions with security guards in attendance. The synagogue’s windows are bulletproof from the outside, shatterproof on the inside.
The odds of the Jewish community of Wuppertal surviving the “passionate concerns” for the Palestinians of its greatly increased Muslim population in the years ahead are low.
This writer is torn in her reaction. There is a strong argument that Jews should never have returned to Germany after the Holocaust. On the other hand a Jewish community in Wuppertal dates back to 1691. In 1930 some 3,000 Jews lived there. Both the community’s synagogues were destroyed on Kristallnacht. (The new one, under attack, opened in 2002.) By May 1941 Wuppertal’s thousand remaining Jews were all deported “to the east.” Today the Jewish population—made up chiefly of Jews who fled the Soviet Union—is close to what it was in 1930. That they should be forced to leave by Moslems admitted because of a German sense of guilt toward Jews is at the very least a major irony.

A New Merkel
Israel has long looked on Angela Merkel as a bulwark of support in a hostile Europe. But now? Merkel must know (she has certainly been told) that her welcome this year of a million-plus Muslims (with untold more to come) is virtually certain to spell the end of Germany’s revived, now 200,000 strong Jewish community. Following upon this, to Israel’s surprise and chagrin, she has backed the EU decision to label Israeli products from Jewish communities beyond the old Green [armistice] Line. That’s after Merkel’s foreign policy spokesman in the Bundestag, Jurgen Hardt, just last month had spoken against the EU measure, saying the labeling movement “seeks to boycott products from the settlements.” And only last week Bundestag President Norbert Lammert, a member of Merkel’s own party, said “Germany not only didn’t agree to the [EU] decision, it rejected it.”
Merkel now professes to see no connection between labeling and boycotting (her administration insists “there will not be an Israel boycott in Germany”) but of course, as Hardt said, labeling is preface to boycotting.
For Israel, it’s not a happy conclusion to a year full of events celebrating 50 years of diplomatic ties. On the other hand Merkel, in her new role as Mama Merkel for Middle East migrants, has positioned herself to chalk up a Nobel Peace Prize to supplement her 2015 designation as Time’s Person of the Year.

Mideast

The Syrian Cauldron: A View from Israel Brig. Gen. Michael Herzog (Ret.)

(Editor’s note: The following is excerpted from a longer essay by Gen. Herzog, who is currently The Washington Institute’s Milton Fine International Fellow. He was formerly head of the IDF’s Strategic Planning Division and chief of staff to Israel’s defense minister.)

Syria has become the epicentre of global jihad, regional turmoil and a humanitarian catastrophe, emitting waves of terrorism, instability and refugees far beyond the Middle East. What started as a civilian protest five years ago has turned into a bitter sectarian and proxy battle-ground, drawing in thousands of young Muslims — Sunnis and Shiites — to rival camps, as well as external forces competing to shape the end-game.

Whilst the war in Syria sends destabilizing shock-waves to neighbouring countries, Israel has been the least affected, successfully staying away from a war in which it does not have a direct stake. But whilst it is part of neither the war nor the diplomatic efforts, Israel remains an important stakeholder in the future of its northern neighbour.

Looking at Syria and Iraq, Israelis naturally share Western concerns over the so-called Islamic State (ISIS), and its capacity to project both terrorism and its ideological message around the region and the world. ISIS not only represents a radical anti-Western ideology but is also virulently and explicitly anti-Semitic. It already has affiliates operating along Israel’s borders with Egypt and Syria and it poses a direct threat to key Western ally Jordan.

Mideast

Update on Climate Follies :Rael Jean Isaac

In December Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes” unfolded on the world stage as the representatives of 190 countries gathered together in Paris solemnly proclaimed they all saw the intricate fabric the climate warriors had woven — the “settled science” of global warming that forecast an uninhabitable planet if man did not scale back his use of fossil fuels to close to zero by the end of this century. Unfortunately there was no little child to prick the bubble. The Heartland Institute was in Paris with an alternate conference designed to do just that, but no one was paying attention. Too much money and hype had been invested in the global warming tailors. “Success” was ecstatically proclaimed far and wide as, by universal agreement, the 190 countries each pledged to sharply cut back carbon emissions and to meet every five years to up their pledges.

There were a couple of clear-cut winners at the conference. One was the rulers of the so-called developing nations who, as their price for signing on, held up the developed nations (notably the U.S. and the EU) for pledges of over $100 billion per year as penance for their historic responsibility in causing the supposed problem in the first place. In a specially absurd feature of the conference, Zimbabwe’s brutal despot Robert Mugabe, officially banned from entering the EU for his human rights record (and who has literally destroyed his once prosperous country), was not only in Paris, but as chairman of the African Union, the chief representative to negotiate Africa’s demands. One of those demands was for channeling those billions directly to African leaders rather than having them supervised by donor countries who might seek to make sure they actually went to the projects for which they were scheduled. To assorted African dictators all that money is a potential grand slush fund for everything from palaces to Maseratis to Hermes handbags (for the multiple ladies in their lives).

Mideast

Operation Thunderbolt: Flight 139 and the Raid on Entebbe Airport, The Most Audacious Hostage Rescue Mission in History By Saul David Reviewed by David Isaac

Operation Thunderbolt, in which Israeli commandos stormed a Ugandan airport terminal in 1976 to rescue hostages hijacked on an Air France flight, remains what Max Hastings calls “the high water mark of Israel’s standing in the world.” In his new book on the rescue mission, Saul David provides a fast-paced, suspenseful account of those tense summer days. While there have been several books (and movies) about the operation, this one draws on new sources and explores the motivations of the terrorists more deeply than earlier efforts.

Each chapter covers a single day over an eight-day period, from hijacking to rescue. Within each chapter the events are organized down to the hour, quarter-hour, and sometimes to the minute.
The rescue itself began when four C-130 Hercules aircraft, crammed with 91 commandos and paratroopers from Sayeret Matkal, otherwise known as “the Unit,” flew a hazardous 2,500 miles from Israel to Entebbe Airport. As the first Hercules landed, the ramp lowered and out drove Israeli commandos. They made their way past the cordon of Ugandan soldiers using a black Mercedes and Land Rovers—the typical vehicles used to shuttle around high-ranking Ugandan government officials. Once they reached the terminal where the hostages were held, they shot the terrorists, freed the hostages, and blew up 11 Russian MiGs.

From the start of the operation to the moment when the first Hercules took off with its cargo of 101 hostages—including dead and wounded—51 minutes elapsed. All this was carried out by soldiers who had only 18 hours of practice.

Mideast

Turkey’s Human Wave Assault on the West By Gregg Roman and Gary Gambill

For months, Western policymakers have agonized over what to do with the masses of Sunni Muslim migrants flooding Europe by the boatload, particularly Syrians. Largely missing from this discussion is the question of why this flood is happening.

For starters, it doesn’t have much to do directly with the civil war in Syria or the rise of ISIS. The vast majority of the 886,662 migrants who illegally entered Europe this year embarked from Turkey, a little over half of them Syrians who took shelter in the country over the past four years. “EU officials have said … Ankara was very effective in previous years in preventing the outflow of refugees from the country,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

What caused the spike in migration is that Ankara stopped containing it. Over the past year or so, the Turkish government has allowed human traffickers to vastly expand their operations, bringing prices down tenfold (from $10,000-$12,000 per person last year to around $1,250 today, according to one report. This spawned what the New York Times calls a “multimillion-dollar shadow economy” profiting from the traffic, ranging from the smugglers to manufacturers of cheap rafts, life vests, and other equipment.

By the spring of this year it had become easier and cheaper than ever before to illegally enter Europe through Turkey, and more people have taken advantage of the opportunity Ankara has created.

So why did Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan open the spigot? Put simply, to extract financial, political, and strategic concessions from European governments in exchange for closing it.
Ankara certainly hasn’t been shy about asking for money over the course of its negotiations with EU officials in recent weeks. On November 29 the EU agreed to provide Turkey with an “initial” $3.19 billion and take steps to expedite its bid to join the EU in exchange for Turkish promises to better patrol its coastlines.

Mideast

Jihad: “All the Fault of the West!” Lars Hedegaard

In 1995 a number of EU member states signed the Schengen Agreement, integrated into European Union law in 1999. The signatory powers promised to abandon their internal border protection in exchange for a promise by the EU authorities that they would police Europe’s external borders. Then the EU authorities, while demanding that the Schengen states keep their borders open, spectacularly failed to honor their part of the agreement. There can be little doubt that the EU packed up, walked out and left its populations to their own devices.
Sadly, their policies have achieved the exact opposite of what they claimed to strive for. Instead of tolerance, we have witnessed division and irreconcilable enmity between cultures and ethnicities that often have nothing in common except a desire to squeeze as much out of the public coffers as they can. Instead of “inclusion,” Europeans have seen exclusion, low-intensity warfare, terror, no-go zones, rape epidemics, murder and mayhem.

Governments, parliamentary majorities and the stars of academia, the media and the commanding heights of culture cannot have failed to notice that their grand multicultural, Islamophile game did not produce the results they had promised their unsuspecting publics. Yet to this day, most of them persist in claiming that unfettered immigration from the Muslim world and Africa is an indisputable boon to Europe.

Recently, in the wake of the so-called “refugee crisis,” some of these notables have thrown out the script and are expressing concern that immigration is out of control. European governments are still allowing millions of so-called refugees to cross all borders and settle anyplace. According to the EU agency Frontex, charged with protecting Europe’s external borders, more than a million and a half illegals crossed Europe’s frontiers between January and November 2015.

Right now there is an ever-widening gap between the people and their rulers. In a conference recently organized by the Danish Free Press Society to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the famous Muhammed cartoons, the British political analyst Douglas Murray noted that the European populations are reacting to decades of lies and deception by voting for political parties which, just a few years ago, were vilified as “racist” and “fascist.” Marine Le Pen, of the National Front party, has emerged as a strong candidate in France’s 2017 presidential election.

Mideast

A Great War Correspondent on the Palestinian Refugees From a Half-Century Ago: Part II Martha Gellhorn

Editor’s Note: This month we offer an excerpt from famous war correspondent and journalist Martha Gellhorn’s ground-breaking 1961 report on the “Palestinian refugee problem” that focuses on a Moslem refugee camp. (Last month’s excerpt was on a Christian camp.) Appallingly, little has changed in the last fifty years. Gellhorn’s report can be read in its entirely online in Mosaic Magazine (October 2015).

The Gaza Strip, from all accounts, would be a real hell hole. I imagined it as a sand dune, packed solid with human flesh, blazing hot, hideous, and filthy. It is none of these. The weather was so idyllic—a china-blue sky and a constant cool breeze—that I assumed this was special luck and at once asked my charming landlady about it. No, the weather in Gaza was always delightful.
Sizable villas are being built in what must be the fashionable section of Gaza. The main square boasts an array of parked Mercedes, finned pastel American cars, and humbler Volkswagens. The taxis in Gaza are new. There is an imposing movie theater, in the ugly world-wide chromium-and-junk style; there are abundant cafés and numerous ill-lit dingy shops, typical of the region.

The refugee camps are much larger than those in Lebanon, small towns by Middle Eastern standards. They are by no means luxury establishments, but many people live in a nastier state in American and European slums. The poor villagers of Gaza are not as well housed or cared for as the refugees. The Gaza Strip is not a hell hole, not a visible disaster. It is worse; it is a jail–with a magical long white sand beach, and a breeze, and devoted welfare workers (UNRWA) to look after the prisoners.

Mideast

Europe is Committing Cultural Suicide Ruth King

In Europe the influx of Moslem Arabs will only increase the growing anti-Semitism on the continent. Jews, in large numbers, are poised to leave. This will be a major blow to their host nations.
Please indulge me in a little ethnic pride.

Wherever they have alighted, Jews have had a disproportionate impact on every aspect of culture, the arts, science and technology.
Don’t believe me? Just go to the operas, concerts, hospitals, museums and research institutions throughout the United States—even in areas with a tiny Jewish population.

Mark Twain recognized this in 1897: “If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one quarter of one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous puff of star dust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly, the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk. His contributions to the world’s list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine and abstruse learning are also very out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvelous fight in this world in all ages; and has done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself and be excused for it. The Egyptians, the Babylonians and the Persians rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greeks and Romans followed and made a vast noise, and they were gone; other people have sprung up and held their torch high for a time but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, and have vanished.”

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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