Editor: Rael Jean Isaac

Editorial Board: Ruth King, Rita Kramer

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Online now: Ben-Gurion Part 4: Freedom of Action Ben-Gurion Part 4 takes us from the end of World War II until David Ben-Gurion’s death in 1973. It describes his main achievements, including leading Israel in the War of Independence, orchestrating mass immigration, and guiding Israel during the Suez War of 1956.There are already 41 free videos on the site, covering everything from Zionism’s early years to Christian Zionism to Israel’s War of Independence.


Targeting a Janus-Faced Terror : William Mehlman

U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s publicized sitdown with defense ministers from key allied nations for the purpose of hammering out a strategy for the removal of ISIS (Islamic State) from the Middle East chessboard has triggered a debate among top tier Israeli defense analysts not seen since the think- tank slugfests that marked the bitter end of the 2006 Second Lebanese War. The contenders at this writing include Professor Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center (BESA) for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University and a Fellow at the Middle East Forum; Steven R. David, professor of international relations at Johns Hopkins University, and Col.(res.) Dr. Eran Lerman, a senior research associate at BESA and a former deputy for foreign policy and international affairs at the National Security Council. That others will be weighing in by the time these words are read is almost a certainty.

It was Inbar who lit the fuse with an August 2nd position paper entitled “The Destruction of Islamic State is a Strategic Mistake.” He avers that “the continuing existence of ISIS,” albeit a weakened ISIS stripped of much of its territorial base in Syria and Iraq, would still constitute a valuable Sunni Moslem obstacle to Iranian Ayatollah Khamenei’s effort (with his Russian partner and a compliant Assad) to establish a Shiite hegemonic bastion from Lebanon to the Persian Gulf. “The Western distaste for Islamic State’s brutality and immorality,” Inbar submits, “should not obfuscate strategic clarity. Is it in the West’s interests,” he asks, “to strengthen the Russian grip on Syria and bolster its influence in the Middle East? Is enhancing Iranian control of Iraq congruent with American objectives in that country?” Moreover, says Inbar, shearing Isis of all its territorial assets may not have the effect most important to the West—stopping its attacks on European and U.S. civilian targets: “[T]he energies that went into protecting and governing a state will be directed toward organizing more terrorist attacks beyond its borders. The collapse of Islamic state will produce a terrorist diaspora that might further radicalize Muslim immigrants in the West.”

It took barely a week for Inbar’s case for a continued Islamic State presence in the Middle East to be met with return fire. His by-line affixed to a BESA position paper headlined “Raqqa Delenda Est” –-“Raqqa (Islamic State’s Syrian headquarters) Must Be Destroyed” — a paraphrase of Cicero’s iconic charge to the Roman Senate in respect to Carthage, Col. Lerman left no question as to where he stood on his BESA Center colleague’s thesis: “[A] strategy that leaves ISIS bruised but alive would pose serious dangers.”

There can be little quarrel with this assessment, but Lerman weakens his position when he claims to adhere to the “norm that terror cannot be tolerated” yet is willing to accept “an uneasy modus vivendi” with bona-fide terrorist torch bearers Hezbollah and Hamas. Even more baffling he makes the stunning assertion that the two “have played a part in reducing tensions in recent years.” On the contrary, while ISIS, Hezbollah and Hamas are all committed to annihilating Israel, ISIS, at least at this juncture, represents a tangential threat; that posed by a powerfully armed terrorist Hezbollah, under the spell of a genocidally inclined Iran, is real-time and quite possibly imminent.


From the Editor : Rael Jean Isaac

Rule by NGOs

Israel has finally passed a law mandating that NGOs primarily funded by foreign governments be required to state this fact in their publications. Predictably, there have been cries of protest. The State Department decries a “chilling effect,” the New Israel Fund complains it will “stigmatize” NGOs, the European Union that it will result in “constraining their activities.”

But as Evelyn Gordon points out, NGOs that get most of their money from foreign governments are not non-governmental organizations at all, but government instruments. Case in point: if an Israeli organization that conducts activities in Judea and Samaria wants EU funding, it has to conform to EU foreign policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which explains why 25 of the 27 organizations affected by the law are far-left. There is nothing undemocratic (the law’s critics to the contrary) about letting Israelis know where the funding for these outfits comes from. As for the law’s effect in reducing trust in these ostensible “non-governmental” groups, Gordon points out that “in the years since the idea of legislating this law first arose, most of the organizations in question have made themselves so toxic that it’s hard to see how information about their foreign funding could make Israelis view them any more negatively.”

What Gordon does not say is that the Europeans themselves are subordinate to the NGOs they use against Israel. Who sets EU policy if not NGOs? They set the moral guidelines under which the EU operates. There are huge numbers of NGOs and the vast majority adhere to a common ideological framework. Why cannot the EU enforce its outer boundaries, while permitting free movement within? It’s because EU elites fear unleashing the righteous wrath of the “humanitarian” NGOs should they make a serious effort to keep migrants out. The best they can come up with is bribing Turkey to do the job and that deal is in danger of breaking down. Why can’t EU members rapidly screen out and deport those whom the courts find are not entitled to asylum? Writing in England’s Daily Mail, a judge describes the case of a Muslim who had lived in England for years with his wife and children and went back to his country of origin to marry three more women (permitted under Islamic law). The new wives and their children claimed British nationality and the right to come to England on the basis of the “right to family life.” Never mind that Britain does not recognize polygamy. Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights incorporates that right and the extended family (on appeal) won the case. There is no appetite for changing such crazy human rights legislation, given such change would marshal a vast “moral” upsurge of opposition by the NGOs. Looking at the damage NGOs do to Israel it’s easy to forget the greater damage they do to those governments who foolishly fund and unleash them.

The Good and the Evil

A horrible attack near Hebron, in which Arab terrorists fired over 20 bullets into a car driven by Rabbi Miki Mark, killing him and wounding his wife and two children, was accompanied by something unusual—Arabs who tried to help them. A Palestinian Arab, coming on the overturned car, pulled out the victims and his wife, a doctor, staunched the bleeding from one of the children’s wounds. But while the Arab man, identified only as “J” was widely praised in the Israeli press, his fellow Arabs responded differently. Even as “J” and his wife helped the Mark family, dozens of vehicles passed by, demanding that they stop helping Jews. More serious for “J”, the Palestinian Authority fired him from his public service job. A relative said: “Since it became clear that he was the first to arrive at the scene of the attack and he helped the victims, he and his family have been subjected to a smear campaign and received threats…They told him that he was let go because of budget cuts, but he was the only one who was fired a few days after the incident.”

As P. David Hornik points out, in the supposedly “moderate” (compared to Hamas) PA, “even a spontaneous, humanitarian act of salvaging a wounded, terrified woman and her children is seen—since they were Israeli–as treason.” Which underlines that unless and until these attitudes change—and given the way the PA instills hatred of Israel and Jews in its population that will not be anytime soon–all the peace processing in the world, so loved by the world’s political leaders– is a futile exercise.

U.S. Funds Hate-Filled Textbooks

If what Jules Isaac once called “the teaching of contempt” explains the outburst of hatred against individuals who exhibited decency and humanity, what is there to say of those who claim to be working for peace yet fund such teaching. That’s the case with the U.S., which currently shells out $400 million to UNRWA for schoolbooks preaching hatred and violence toward Israel and Jews.

The effort of the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal to elicit a response from the State Department to this scandal produced only soothing—and laughable–pablum. A spokesman emailed: “We are committed to ensuring that Palestinian refugee students receive an education that instills respect for and appreciation of universal human rights and dignity of all persons.”

UNWRA’s response to the Daily Signal was more of the same. It said of the textbooks: “These have been subjected to close examination, including by the U.S. Department of State, and found to be largely free of incitement. Moreover UNRWA has in place a system of checks and balances to ensure that no incitement is taught in our classrooms.”

Meanwhile, in the real world, the Center for Near East Policy acquired 200 new UN-funded textbooks for Palestinian schools; it concludes not only that the books promote incitement but that they are worse than ever. Textbooks published in 2014 and 2015 are about “delegitimization of both Israel and of the Jews’ very presence in the country.”

While busy whitewashing its role in promoting anti-Israel incitement in textbooks, the State Department has for the first time explicitly, in its annual report on religious freedom, accused the PA of promoting anti-Semitism in its media and textbooks.

In the State Department labyrinth, does one hand not know what the other is doing?


The Self-Destruction of the Jews : Rael Jean Isaac

Much has been made of the alleged self-destructiveness of Donald Trump who for two weeks lurched from gaffe to gaffe, but who speaks of the far more lethal self-destructiveness of organized Jewry in America? In this case what is involved is not off-the-cuff remarks but thought-out (incredibly foolish) policy positions.

There is nothing more detrimental to the future of Jews in America than a large, ever-growing Moslem population. So why do the major Jewish organizations seek to expand it? In 2013 the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) founded the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees as a coalition of Jewish organizations. As a start, it agitated for increasing the number of Syrian refugees admitted to the United States to 100,000 in 2016, roughly four times the already much-expanded number proposed by Obama and significantly larger than the 65,000 requested by the UN Refugee Association. Although the Multifaith Alliance is still heavily weighted with Jewish organizations, others (scarcely noted for their friendship to Israel) have joined, among them Church World Service, the United Church of Christ, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

As far as Jewish organizations belonging to the Multifaith Alliance go, it’s a veritable who’s who of them, starting with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which includes the entire spectrum of Jewish outfits, ranging from Americans for Peace Now on the left to JINSA and American Friends of Likud on the right. Not content with their support through the President’s Conference, some of its members have underlined their support by also joining individually, among them the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York, the Union for Reform Judaism, the National Council of Jewish Women, Ameinu and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. A substantial number of individual synagogues have also signed on. Perhaps the most egregious participant is the ADL, given that it raises over $50 million a year on the basis of its stated mission to fight anti-Semitism and it is 100% guaranteed that the more the Moslem population grows, the more anti-Semitism will gain strength.

It’s not as if the evidence is not overwhelming as to what can be expected. Terrorism, which the Multifaith Alliance cavalierly dismisses as an overblown threat (indeed it claims existing vetting is vastly overdone) is merely the tip of the iceberg. France provides the template. University of Paris professor Guy Milliere writes that there are over 570 no-go zones in France (the government calls them ”sensitive urban zones.”) Hundreds of thousands of young Muslims live there, many imbued with a deeply rooted hatred for France and the West. Recruiters for jihadist organizations tell them, directly or through social networks, that if they kill in the name of Allah they will attain the status of martyrs. Twenty thousand people are in the government’s “S-files”, an alert system meant to identify individuals linked to radical Islam and because the task of following so many is overwhelming, most on the list go unmonitored (including the Carlie Hebdo murderers and Mohamed Merah, the killer at the Jewish school in Toulouse).


How Peter Bergson Brought Activism into the Mainstream: Rafael Medoff

A major new novel features a Jewish activist organizing protests against the Roosevelt administration’s abandonment of European Jewry. A recent off-Broadway play (being made into a movie by an Academy Award-winning actor and director) depicted Jewish activists and leaders clashing over Holocaust rescue.

With his appearance in literature, theater, and film, the once-controversial Peter Bergson is finally entering the popular culture. And the U.S. Jewish community at long last seems to be coming to grips with one of the most painful chapters in its history.

Seventy-five years ago this summer, Bergson (real name: Hillel Kook) and a handful of colleagues launched what would become perhaps the most dramatic political action campaign in American Jewish history.

To advance their demands to rescue Europe’s Jews and create a Jewish state in Palestine, these activists placed hundreds of full-page ads in newspapers, lobbied in Congress, and organized a march by 400 rabbis to the White House. Such tactics were radical steps for Jews in the 1940s. Many immigrants and children of immigrants, still nervous about their place in American society, were uneasy about broadcasting Jewish concerns in the pages of the major newspapers.

Bergson liked to call himself a “nuisance diplomat,” and his group’s activities did prove to be quite a nuisance to the Roosevelt administration, which insisted the rescue of European Jews was impossible. The Bergsonites mobilized enough congressional and public pressure on President Roosevelt to help force him to create a U.S. government agency, the War Refugee Board, in early 1944. During the final fifteen months of World War II, the board played a central role in rescuing some 200,000 Jews from the Nazis.

Jewish leaders such as Rabbi Stephen S. Wise despised the Bergson Group. Wise at one point declared Bergson was “worse than Hitler” because protests such as marching through the streets of Washington might lead to increased anti-Semitism. A reasonable person could have made that argument only prior to the rabbis’ march. After the march took place and no pogroms ensued, it was absurd for anyone to still make such claims. Yet well into 1944, Wise and other Jewish leaders were so resentful of Bergson that they sought to convince the administration to “draft or deport” him.


Europeans, Hit by Terror, Exalt Palestinian Master Terrorist : David Hornik

On Tuesday July 26, terrorists broke into a French church, murdered an 85-year-old priest, and severely wounded another person. On Friday of that week it was reported that several French municipalities had initiated the granting of honorary citizenship to jailed Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti.

Arrested by Israel in 2002, in 2004 Barghouti was sentenced to five terms of life imprisonment on five counts of murder. Leader at the time of the Tanzim militia, he is seen as the mastermind of the most vicious sustained terror assault in history—the Second Intifada (2000-2005), which, in a country one-tenth the size of France, killed over a thousand people in five years.

As the Israeli ambassador to France, Aliza Bin-Noun, wrote in an open letter on Thursday: “Barghouti is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people. At a time when Western countries should unite against the threat of terrorism, the French support for Barghouti in fact legitimizes his actions.”

Barghouti’s popularity in France is of long standing. From 2007 to 2010, a dozen French municipalities made him an honorary citizen. In 2013 another municipality, Bezons, gave him that distinction along with Majid al-Rimawi, who took part in the murder of an Israeli cabinet minister in 2001.

And in December 2014 the Parisian suburb of Aubervilliers conferred the honor on Barghouti, three months after another Parisian suburb, Valenton, had done the same.

In all or most of these cases, the municipalities paying homage to the Palestinian terrorists were Communist-led. In recent years the French Communist Party’s fortunes have declined, and today it holds only a small minority of legislative seats and runs only a small minority of municipalities.

So far the reports on last week’s new round of moves to honor Barghouti don’t say whether the municipalities in question are Communist-led ones. But even if Barghouti’s fan club in France is not that large, he is a cause célèbre elsewhere in Europe as well.

Late in 2013, it was the Italian city of Palermo that made Barghouti one of its citizens. Meanwhile, in the current wave of Islamic terror in Europe, France has been the hardest hit. What happened in Brussels last March 22—32 killed in three terror bombings—makes Belgium the second hardest hit.


The Turkey-Russia-Iran Axis : Kenneth R. Timmerman

A tectonic shift has occurred in the balance of power in the Middle East since the failed Turkish coup of mid-July, and virtually no one in Washington is paying attention to it.

Turkey and Iran are simultaneously moving toward Russia, while Russia is expanding its global military and strategic reach, all to the detriment of the United States and our allies. This will have a major impact across the region, potentially leaving U.S. ally Israel isolated to face a massive hostile alliance armed with nuclear weapons.

Believers in Bible prophecy see this new alignment as a step closer to the alliance mentioned in Ezekiel 37-38, which Israel ultimately defeated on the plains of Megiddo.

Today’s Israel, however, is doing its best to soften the blow by patching up relations with Turkey and through cooperation with Russia.

Here are some of the moves and countermoves that have been taking place in recent weeks on a giant three-dimensional chessboard with multiple players and opponents.

Russia-Turkey: It now appears that Russian intelligence tipped off Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan just hours before the planned coup against his regime. When the coup plotters got wind of the Russian communications with Erdogan loyalists at the National Intelligence Organization (MIT), they moved up the coup from the dead of night to 9 PM, when the streets were packed.

For Erdogan, the Russian warning came just in the nick of time, allowing him to flee his hotel in Marmaris minutes before twenty-five special forces troops loyal to the coup-plotters roped down from the roof of his hotel to seize him.

With streets in Istanbul full of people, Erdogan’s text and video messages calling on supporters to oppose the coup had maximum impact.

After purging the military and government of suspected enemies, Erdogan’s first foreign trip was to Russia, where on August 8 he thanked Putin for his help. “The Moscow-Ankara friendship axis will be restored,” he proclaimed.

Two days later, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu blasted NATO for its “evasive fashion” of responding to Turkish requests for military technology transfers, and opened the door to joint military production with Russia.

Cavosoglu accused NATO of considering Turkey and Russia “to be second class countries,” and pointed out that Turkey was the only NATO country that was refusing to impose sanctions on Russia for its annexation of the Crimea and invasion of Ukraine.

Russia has also been in talks with Turkey to base Russian warplanes at the NATO air base in Incirlik, Turkey, where some 2400 U.S. personnel have been quarantined since the failed July 15 coup attempt as Turkey continues to demand that the U.S. extradite alleged coup-plotter Fethullah Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania.

These talks have alarmed the Pentagon, which on Thursday reportedly ordered the emergency evacuation to Romania of the estimated 50-70 nuclear B-61 “dial-a-yield” gravity bombs stockpiled at the base.


A Sloppy Hit on Israel Review: Milton Viorst, ‘Zionism: The Birth and Transformation of an Ideal’ David Isaac

Go to a library and toss a coin at the Israel shelf. You’re almost certain to bounce it off a title critical of the Jewish state. The latest contribution to this death by a thousand books is by journalist Milton Viorst. At the heart of this book is the assumption that Israel is wholly to blame for the conflict between Jews and Arabs.

Though himself a Jew, Viorst veers into racist-sounding rhetoric when he asks whether “the Jewish DNA contains an immunity to peace.” Given Israel’s many attempts to achieve peace, the question isn’t whether Jews are immune to peace but whether they are immune to reality. Viorst clearly is. Otherwise he could not declare that Israel adheres to the “Begin doctrine,” a “diplomatic principle” that purportedly maintains that if a small state “offers concessions at a time of pressure, it only invites more pressure upon itself.”

The manifold problems with this theory begin with Menachem Begin himself, who gave up the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt in 1978 in return for a peace treaty, few provisions of which Egypt honored. In 1993, Yitzhak Rabin handed over large swaths of the West Bank to Yasser Arafat, the man known as the “founder of modern terror,” who showed his gratitude by launching a wave of suicide attacks. In 2000, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak didn’t even bother getting an agreement before pulling Israeli troops out of southern Lebanon, paving the way for Hezbollah to turn it into a launching pad for rockets into northern Israel. Similarly, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon uprooted over 8,000 Israelis from their homes in the Gaza Strip, declaring “I am convinced in the depths of my soul and with my entire intellect that this disengagement … will win the support and appreciation of countries near and far… and will advance us on the path of peace with the Palestinians and our other neighbors.” It did neither, as “the world community” became ever more hostile and Gaza became another launching pad for rockets.

In 2008, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made Israel’s most far-reaching proposal, offering even to forgo sovereignty over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Judaism’s holiest site. Olmert proposed that Israel keep 6.3 percent of the West Bank (areas close to the pre-1967 armistice borders now densely occupied by Jews) but compensate by giving the Palestinians an equal amount of land that had been within the borders of pre-1967 Israel. Mahmoud Abbas was not interested.

Viorst examines the lives of eight Zionist leaders, from Herzl to Netanyahu, to answer his own question: “How did Zionism, over the course of a century, evolve from the idealism of providing refuge for beleaguered Jews to a rationalization for the army’s occupation of powerless Palestinians?” This question is based on a false premise. Israel’s purpose was and remains what Herzl set forth in The Jewish State: “We shall live at last as free men on our own soil, and die peacefully in our own homes.” Zionism has not a glimmer of oppression in it, which explains the Jews’ many efforts to find a solution to the conflict. Those whom Viorst calls “powerless Palestinians” enjoy the support of all Muslim countries, as well as Europe, the U.N., and the world media. Many of them are determined to annihilate Israel, indoctrinating violence in their young people, who then go out and slaughter children in their sleep, gun down families on the road, and ax rabbis at prayer. Those who commit these crimes are hailed as martyrs, and their families are given stipends. When Palestinians hear of a successful attack against Israelis—or Americans for that matter, as on 9/11—they hand out candy to children. A far better question Viorst might have asked is: How is it that the Jews have managed to keep their humanity in the face of such inhumanity?


A Perspective on Refugees: Ruth King

In 1924, after decades of free immigration from Europe, America enacted the Johnson-Reed Immigration Law which limited groups considered racially and ethnically “undesirable.” These were code words for Jews, Southern and Eastern Europeans, Africans, Arabs and Asians. When President Coolidge signed the law, his words were “America must remain American.”

It was scrupulously enforced on July 6, 1938 when an international conference convened in Evian, France to deal with Jewish refugees desperate to flee the racial laws of Germany and Austria which sought to make their nations judenrein– free of all Jews. But Jewish refugees found no succor from Western nations. With the British blockade of Palestine, Europe’s Jews were trapped and one of every three Jews in the world died during the Nazi genocide.

After World War II millions of people fled or were expelled from Eastern Europe. Many fled the Soviet controlled Communist tyrannies. Others, such as the displaced surviving Jews, found no welcome when they returned to their previous homes. Millions of Germans–even those that had lived in Hungary, Poland, Yugoslavia, Rumania and Czechoslovakia long before the war–were expelled. It has been estimated that in the peak year of 1946, about 14,000 people per day became stateless refugees.

Europe was devastated by the death and destruction wrought by the war. Food and housing were scarce and throughout the continent refugees and survivors were kept in displaced persons camps. American policy in the immediate post-war period limited immigration to those who had friends or relatives who could sponsor them and guarantee they would not become dependent on government assistance. This policy changed in 1948 when restrictions were eased by the Displaced Persons Act which offered sanctuary to refugees from Communist nations of Eastern Europe.

Restrictions were further relaxed in The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 and The Refugee Relief Act of 1953. By 1959 one million European refugees had been absorbed by free European countries, 476,000 had been accepted by the U.S. and another half million by Latin America and Asia. The bulk of Jewish refugees found a home in a liberated and independent Israel.

World Refugee Year, in 1959-1960, was designed as a ‘clear the camps’ drive. By the end of 1960, all the refugee camps of Europe were closed.


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

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