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Israel Takes Legal Aim AT BDS by William Mehlman

Patently untrue and totally irrelevant is the charge of a blow to “freedom of expression” and a misguided attempt at opinion change leveled against a 46-28 Knesset decision barring entry into Israel to non-citizens calling for the boycott of the Jewish state and its communities in Judea, Samaria, the Golan Heights and eastern Jerusalem.

Nobody challenges the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement’s right to attempt to bend Israel’s economic, political and security policies to its will–an effort against which 21 American states have, at this writing, legislated–but to demand that pursuit of that objective entitles its alien leaders and followers unrestricted access to the land they have targeted, is to turn freedom of expression on its ear. That “BDS activity” tops the list of 28 reasons for denying a non-citizen entry to Israel under a new, more muscular anti-BDS Law is testament to the gravity with which the Knesset views the movement’s expanding economic-political agenda.

Not surprisingly, for all its posturing as a strike force in the fight against BDS, the new law, which basically amends a 1952 statue granting Israel entry to any foreign visitor from a non-belligerent state, has not gone down well with the American Jewish establishment. Both the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Congress find themselves “troubled” by the law, a condition explicated in American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris’ observation that “banning entry to otherwise qualified visitors on the basis of their political views will not by itself defeat BDS, nor will it help Israel’s image as the beacon of democracy in the Middle East.” That, of course, completely misstates the anti-BDS law’s language and intent. Denial of entry to Israel is specifically conditioned on BDS action and public advocacy, not on political opinion. Driving for a touchdown on Harris’ handoff, a spokesman for the Association for Jewish Studies warned that the measure could turn Israel into “an isolated entity open only to those who ascribe to official policy.”

In an ironic departure from its mainstream American Jewish detractors, including both the Reform and Conservative blocs, the anti-BDS bill was enjoying a relatively sang-froid reception from a suddenly counterintuitive U.S. State Department. “While we oppose boycotts and sanctions of the State of Israel,” spokesman Mark Toner declared, ”that said, this is a sovereign decision for Israel to make regarding its borders.”

Six thousand miles removed from Washington, Tel Aviv-based Ha’aretz made it clear it wasn’t buying into the Israeli “sovereign decision” line being peddled by Foggy Bottom. In a top of the page opinion piece by Chemi Shalev, the nation’s bastion of post-Zionism–with a straight face–labeled what it called the “Entry to Israel” law “anti-Zionist and anti-Israel in its very essence,” a law, “compelling the many Jews and non-Jews who support the state of Israel, but vehemently oppose the ‘settlement project,’ to choose between the two. Feeling insulted and rejected, some, if not most, will abandon Israel altogether.” Sad, if true, but life is chock full of hard choices. What Ha’aretz and its minions fail to concede is the veracity-free impossibility, in a single breath, of declaring oneself a supporter of Israel and the participant in or condoner of a movement waging global economic warfare against that same national entity.

Back in Washington, CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) didn’t know whether to laugh or cry over the New York Times’ equally bloodshot eye-view, complete with errors, of Israel’s legislative stance on BDS. “You can love it, you can hate it,” averred the media sentinel, “but at least be correct, contextual and consistent when talking about it.” CAMERA has called out the “newspaper of record” for correction of its assertion in an editorial on the Israeli law that the U.S. has “consistently held that settlement building in the occupied areas is illegal,” when, in truth, “since the Carter Administration, the U.S. has consistently avoided such characterization.” CAMERA additionally charges the Times with “misleadingly downplaying BDS’ aims,” specifically the paper’s contention that the movement merely targets Israel for its occupation of the West Bank, when in fact, a “trifecta of BDS goals essentially amounts to a call for the elimination of the Jewish state.”

Finally, what the Times and most of the media have ignored in their reporting on the Israeli law, CAMERA submits, is that the U.S. employs similar restrictions in its entry policies, only far more encompassing ones. Section 212 (a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, it notes, bars entry into the U.S. for any alien whose “proposed activities the Secretary of State has reasonable grounds to believe would have potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences for the U.S.” The door is also closed to those who would “break laws for the purpose of opposition to the U.S.”

Putting the case for Israel’s anti-BDS legislation in further legal context, Fulbright scholar and Harvard Law School SJD candidate Elena Chachko, writing in the “Lawfare” blog, finds little reason to doubt that the law will survive review by Israel’s Supreme Court. She references in support of that opinion Justice Hanan Melcer’s position that boycotts are “meant to coerce, not persuade” and “do not merit the same level of constitutional protection as other forms of political expression.” A democratic state, Melcer held, “may legitimately defend itself against boycotts directed at its citizens by imposing proportional legal sanctions.” Chachko finally emphasizes that the ant-BDS law “only imposes limitations on the act of calling for a boycott, not the underlying criticism of Israel.”

Evelyn Gordon, in an April piece in Commentary, argues that the key question overhanging Israel’s anti-BDS law is not its text –“the law’s basic assumption that boycotters must be targeted personally is 100 percent correct”–but whether the Israeli government has the gumption and the intelligence required to enforce it. Her doubts on that issue were raised in late April by the government’s decision to grant a one year visa to Human Rights Watch researcher Omar Shakir. In Shakir, she finds the “epitome of someone who should have been denied entry…He has given lectures on college campuses in which he accused Israel of being an apartheid state, advocated anti-Israel boycotts, compared Zionism to ‘Afrikaner nationalism’ and called for ending Israel’s existence as a Jewish state.”

Omar Shakir

Shakir’s being allowed to take a post in Israel in the face all this, Gordon submits, is a testament to bureaucratic bumbling’s power to lay waste to an admirable legal endeavor. The border control authorities, as she relates, originally denied Shakir a visa not because of his abject hostility to Israel but on the “sweeping grounds” that HRW was an “anti-Israel organization.” However true that might be, it would have been a tough case to prove. Being an American construction, HRW predictably appealed to the State Department, which just as predictably put the screws to Israel. In Gordon’s words, “Israel capitulated completely.”

“If Israel is to fight the BDS movement effectively,” she warns, “anti-Israel activists like Shakir must be called out as publicly as possible instead of being allowed to pose as objective researchers…But if the Shakir case is any example,” she adds, “the new law will, at best, contribute nothing to this essential effort and at worst end up hindering it.”

Let us hope that courage and a modicum of common sense will prove that not to be the case.

William Mehlman represents AFSI in Israel.


From the Editor Rael Jean Isaac

A Moment to Savor

In June 2017, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, exactly 30 years after he completed a three year sentence in a Soviet labor camp for the crime of teaching Hebrew, spoke to the Russian Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament, in that language. He had been invited to address the Council by its chairwoman Valentina Matviyenko, the first Israeli to be honored in this way.

Edelstein begins his powerful speech in Hebrew: “I was imprisoned because I was teaching the language which spread to the world the ideas of rejecting tyranny, upholding the rule of justice, love of mankind and the hopes of freedom; the language in which the prophets of Israel foretold the day on which ‘Nation shall not lift up sword against nation; nor will they learn war anymore’….Today I stand before you as the Speaker of Knesset Yisrael, and, in the same language which I was imprisoned for teaching, I bless you with the ancient Jewish blessing: Shalom Aleichem! Even in my finest dreams, I never believed I’d reach this moment.”

Edelstein continues in Russian, but he has made his point nobly.

Sweden’s Enforced Silence

In this Outpost we have a review of Douglas Murray’s The Strange Death of Europe which describes what is happening—and the silence enforced upon those who want honest discussion of the impact of throwing open Europe’s borders to “the world,” in practice, chiefly the Muslim world.

Bruce Bawer (Pajamas Media, July 10) argues that Sweden “more than any other country in Europe has a government and a media that are in denial about the truth, a legal system that punishes those who dare to tell the truth, and a people who have been brainwashed for decades with the vile lie that they have a moral obligation to hand their country over to hostile, despotic strangers from far away.” According to Bawer the only source of information for Swedes on what is happening in their own country are a few Swedish and Norwegian websites and Jyllands-Posten, a newspaper in neighboring Denmark. On March 11 an editorial in that paper excoriates the Swedes’ “unwillingness to openly and honestly discuss the government-approved multicultural idyll” declaring “in the long run, the mendacity that characterizes the Swedish debate cannot be maintained.”

In desperation, the police, who are on the front line, are beginning to break the speech taboo. On Jihadwatch, Nicolai Sennels reports that Sweden’s National Police Commissioner Dan Eliasson went on national television in June to say “Help us, help us!” warning that Swedish police forces can no longer uphold the law. Stockholm police chief Lars Alversjo said much the same. “The legal system, which is a pillar in every democratic society, is collapsing in Sweden.” Terrorism researcher at the Swedish National Defense College Per Magnus Ranstorp says “In the worst areas, extremists have taken over.” And there are a lot of worst areas, 61 no-go zones according to a secret (leaked) government report. In them armed Muslim gangs and Islamic radicals replace Swedish law with a mixture of the law of the jungle and sharia. Columnist and lawyer Judith Bergman quotes the head of the Swedish Security Service as saying there are thousands of radical Islamists in Sweden (including returned ISIS fighters) posing a “historical challenge” to security forces.

Thus far the government’s chief response is figuring out ways to silence those few who spread the word. Peter Springare, a police officer who said migrants committed a disproportionate amount of crime, was investigated for inciting “racial hatred” and a 70 year old Swedish woman is being prosecuted for “hate speech” for criticizing migrants on Facebook. More systematic efforts are in the works. Bawer reports that on July 7 Jyllands-Posten reported the government plans to alter the Swedish constitution to control online speech. Bawer says “The mainstream Swedish media are already playing ball; it’s just a few recalcitrant websites that need to be scrubbed clean.” Whatever the limits on free expression, Bawer predicts “Reporters without Borders will keep Sweden at its ridiculous #2 spot on the World Press Freedom Index.”

France Outdoes Sweden

Bawer may be wrong in giving pride of place to Sweden, at least in the matter of legal punishment for jarring Islamic hypersensitivities. Thanks to Janet Levy for bringing attention to this unbelievable story (the details that follow come from her report) and for posting the link to the video in which Sebastien Jallamion speaks out from exile in Switzerland.

A fifteen year career police officer, Jallamion in 2014 posted on Facebook the face of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed caliph of ISIS, in the crosshairs. An offended female Muslim co-worker who saw the post denounced him and Jallamion was tried and convicted for “defaming an imam.” He was fined close to $6,000 (in euros). The prosecution, dissatisfied by what it considered the insufficient size of the fine, appealed, drastically increasing it, with imprisonment certain if he did not pay (which he could not). Cashiered from his job, he was badly beaten by Muslim “refugees,” requiring surgery for his wounds. Given the Muslim thugs who would inevitably be his prison companions, Jallamion realized prison was in fact a death sentence and fled to Switzerland, where he has written a book about his experiences with French “justice” in the era of Islam. It’s called A Mort Le Flic or Kill the Cop. Let’s hope it is translated into English.

Trump’s State Department

In its annual report on terrorism, the State Department crashes through the looking glass to slam Israel and give florid kudos to the PA and Abbas. The “drivers of violence” are held to be Israel’s responsibility: “a lack of hope in achieving Palestinian statehood, Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, the perception that Israeli government was changing the status quo on the Haram Al Sharif/Temple Mount, and IDF tactics that the Palestinians considered overly aggressive.” Abbas is praised for “his commitment to nonviolence, recognition of the State of Israel, and pursuit of an independent Palestinian state through peaceful means.”

Everything is from the PA’s point of view: the drivers of violence and Abbas’s impeccably peaceful response. The only problem is that every word of this is a lie: Abbas absolutely refuses to recognize a Jewish state and does everything possible to encourage violence against Israel, from the “educational” materials for schoolchildren to the stipends to terrorists that eat up an ever larger proportion of the PA budget (i.e. U.S. taxpayer dollars). Vicki Haley has been doing yeoman’s work going after UN agencies that demonize Israel; maybe she should turn her attention to our own State Department.

UNESCO Pornography

French history professor Guy Milliere points out the emptiness of Europe’s claim to respect human rights as European states repeatedly vote for UNESCO resolutions that deny the link between Jews and their historic sites. UNESCO, says Milliere, “has become simply an anti-Semitic fraud” which “falsifies history and wages a campaign of raw racism against the Jewish people and Judaism.” Rubbing salt in its ever lengthening list of infamies, on July 7 in Krakow, less than 50 miles from Auschwitz, UNESCO passed a resolution denying the historic Jewish connection to Hebron. Before the vote Carmel Shama-Hacohen, Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO, remarked that the meeting was held near the largest mass grave of the Jewish people. That didn’t faze the participants. Milliere writes: “Obscenely—and in a massive insult to the memory of those who died in Auschwitz—a minute of silence in memory of the victims of the Holocaust was immediately followed by a minute of silence in memory of the ‘victims of Israel.’” Milliere observes that such false moral equivalence illuminates the way Europe has turned its back on all the values it claims to embody.

Our Worst Ideological Enemy

Belgian author Drieu Godefridi has written an important article with an eye catching title: “The Worst Ideological Enemy of the U.S. is Now Europe.” He zeroes in on human rights groups like Amnesty International which have become a “new source of law” for the EU. It is the views of these groups that are institutionalized in Europe’s two Supreme Courts: the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg, and the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in Luxembourg, both of which are composed, as Godefridi puts it, of “appointed, unelected, unaccountable ideologues.”

So although Angela Merkel’s open door policy was a major factor, Godefridi points out that there is “another, more structural cause for the current situation. In 2012 the ECHR enacted the so-called ‘HIRSI’ ruling, named after the court case of Hirsi Jamaa and Others v. Italy, which states that the European states have the legal obligation to rescue migrants wherever they find them in the Mediterranean Sea—even just 200 meters away from the Libyan coast—and ferry them to the European shores, so that these people can claim the status of refugees.

“When the Italian Navy intercepted illegal migrants in the Mediterranean Sea and sent them back to their point of origin, Libya, not only did the ECHR condemn Italy for this ‘obvious’ breach of human rights; the Italians had to pay 15,000 euros ($17,000) to each of these illegal migrants in the name of ‘moral damage.’ This kind of money is equivalent to more than 10 years of income in Somalia and Eritrea (the countries of origin of Mr. Hirsi Jamaa and his companions).“

The ruling constituted a huge incentive to the entire population of Africa. Its inhabitants now knew that if they only could reach the Mediterranean, Europe’s navies would be obliged to ferry them to Europe. As Godefridi points out, “After HIRSI, the objective is now simply to be intercepted.” And human rights NGOs, with boats waiting off the shore, in communication with the traffickers, make sure that they are.

Godefridi observes that courts like the ECHR “have dismissed the sovereign laws of Italy as irrelevant and trampled the rights of the Italian state and ordinary Italians to approve who enters their country.” These courts accept NGO assertions “as an authoritative part of the process,” quoting their statements “as if fact or law.” Rule by the cultural left is Europe’s ideological “gift.” (Appropriately “gift” in German means poison, and a poisoned chalice it is.)

There is only one flaw in what Godefridi writes. Like others who have dared to criticize NGOs in all their accusatory virtue, he makes obeisance to them as “well-intentioned” and attempting to be “moral and just.” There is nothing well-intentioned about these NGOS. One need only look at their stance on Israel. Israel, a model state, is treated by them as the world’s worst human rights violator in the world. The NGOs are deeply morally corrupt, and need to be exposed as such.

The CUFI Conference

While the deplorables of J Street attack Israel and the Reform movement squabbles over Western Wall access, it is refreshing to see thousands of evangelical Christians gathering in Washington on July 17 for the annual Christians United for Israel conference. Founding director David Brog declared: “CUFI represents a base of voters that helped deliver the White House and both houses of Congress to Republicans. Now our members are coming to town to remind these leaders that Israel is and always has been a top priority for them.” Vice President Mike Pence addressed the gathering, among which was AFSI’s co-executive director Judy Kalish.


The Six-Day War Was a One-Time Event by Gershon Hacohen

The events of the Six-Day War of 1967 are often used by proponents of withdrawal from the West Bank as proof that Israel can defend itself from behind the “green line.” Since Israel won the 1967 conflict from this starting point, they argue, it will readily be able to do so again if necessary. There is, therefore, no strategic impediment to relinquishing control over these territories. However, this argument ignores all the military-strategic changes that have washed over the region in the fifty years since that conflict. It fails to take into account that the Six-Day War was a one-time event with unique circumstances that will not be seen again.

In many ways, the 1967 war was a “secondary tremor” from the tectonic earthquake of WWII. It used many of the same doctrines, and the same, or similar, military platforms, with the main exception being fighter jets that replaced propeller air force planes. Many of the ground platforms were the same in both wars, including Sherman, British-made tanks used by Israel, and Soviet-made T-34 tanks used by Syria and Egypt. The artillery guns were quite similar in both wars, as were the fighting techniques.

Senior Israeli defense officials flew to Germany to learn about WWII doctrines and spoke to German and British former commanders. They took off-the-shelf doctrines, like Germany’s WWII-era Blitzkrieg doctrine, and adapted them to the Israel Defense Force’s (IDF) needs in the best possible manner.

In the 1960s, wars in the Middle East occurred mainly in open areas, with military machines moving across such battle zones. The IDF, borrowing from Blitzkrieg doctrine, utilized the dynamics of surprise attack and the move-and-fire tactic. The Israel Air Force’s (IAF) surprise attacks on the air forces of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and, later, Iraq, were developed from a Luftwaffe doctrine. The IAF made optimal use of this doctrine in the Six-Day War.

This feat was never repeated, because the neighboring states, in subsequent years, hid their jets in underground hangars.

On the Arab side, the Syrians, Egyptians, and Jordanians relied on Soviet defensive doctrines during the Six-Day War, following them very closely. In 1964, three years before the outbreak of hostilities, Soviet military systems were being imported into Egypt and Syria in vast quantities.

The successful Israeli air campaign set the scene for the land war. Consider, for example, the southern front with Egypt. The IDF entered Sinai on the second morning of the war, on June 6. Egypt quickly began withdrawing as it lacked air cover, which was the main defense for ground forces. The order from Cairo was to retreat as quickly as possible. From day two, the IDF went from attack mode to advance and pursuit operations.

On the northern front, Syria too lacked air power. It realized that it was alone, as Egypt and Jordan were losing their combat capabilities. Syria’s defensive positions were deployed too far forward, and it had not placed sufficient backup armored units to realize the Soviet counterattack doctrine.

Had Syria placed more armored units on its front with Israel, the IDF would not have been able to seize the Golan Heights.

As the battles raged, airborne IDF units captured the southern Golan. They then progressed to Quneitra in the north, and the Syrian forces withdrew.

On the eastern front, the battle for Jerusalem lasted 27 hours. When it ended, IDF paratroopers and armored units were in control of the city.

The Jordanian defensive system was hastily created, relying on a territorial brigade that defended Jerusalem. These forces were shattered by IAF strikes in places like Ma’aleh Adumim, and had no chance in the war.

Jordan’s King Hussein ordered his “crown jewel” unit, Brigade 40, to withdraw from the northern West Bank.

None of these events can be repeated. Warfare has shifted from open areas to urban settings. Even in Jerusalem, in 1967, Jordanian military positions were out in the open, on Ammunition Hill, separated from civilian zones.

In modern warfare, military units must conduct street-to-street fighting, often without knowing where the enemy is located.

This means the whole idea of encircling an area and besieging it while knocking out the enemy’s centers of gravity, which was so successful in 1967, is no longer relevant.

In 2017, the enemy’s systems are decentralized. One need look no further than Hezbollah in Lebanon to see this. The organization possesses a deep understanding of the IDF’s advantages, and seeks to cancel them out. Hezbollah lacks F-35 jets, submarines, and tanks, and wishes to level the playing field.

It does this by stocking up on rockets with a variety of ranges. Quantity is what counts in this type of approach. Hezbollah has over 100,000 projectiles. Even if 80% miss their targets or are destroyed, 20,000 enemy rocket attacks is a substantial threat.

Hezbollah has also set up bases of operation in hilly Lebanese areas, dubbed “nature reserves.” This tactic cancels out Israel’s ability to conduct a rapid lightning assault. In war under these circumstances, a new battle develops every moment. Every village under enemy control is a new war.

The latest tactic being used by Hezbollah, and Hamas as well, is to set up elite forces designed to take the fight into Israeli territory. Hamas has the Nuhba force to this end, and Hezbollah’s Redwan unit was set up for this objective.

These types of threats mean Israel has to allocate more resources to defense. Israel’s aerial supremacy still goes a long way, but it cannot be described as decisive in modern warfare.

Twenty-first century enemies operate underground, in tunnels and bunkers. Their zones are interlinked with that of civilians, meaning that even if Israel gets excellent intelligence, it can’t always act on it, for fear of creating enormous collateral damage. Killing thousands of civilians in a few strikes would immediately lead to Israel’s delegitimization.

In 1967, Israel’s enemies made all mistakes possible. Israel’s modern-day enemies will not do that again.

War in the new era is based on local fighters, as the Syrian and Ukrainian battlegrounds have proven. Hamas has built up localized divisions and brigades, whose commanders live in the areas in which they operate.

In the Six-Day War, the Egyptian soldiers mobilized to Gaza and Sinai were expeditionary forces. When the battles ended, they went home, to Egyptian cities far from the conflict zones. In Gaza, when battles end, commanders hide their weapons at home and act like local civilian residents. They live among the people.

When one fights locals, the dynamics of post-conflict situations change. Occupying territory and hoisting a flag mean very different things in 1967 and 2017.

In the Six-Day War, Israel had the ability to get to Nablus and stay there. Today, if Israel leaves the West Bank, and Palestinian terrorists begin firing rockets at Israel, the IDF would return–but it would take years to reestablish control of Palestinian urban centers in the West Bank, not six days.

These fundamental changes mean defending Israel from the pre-1967 borders is no longer possible.

Today, with much of the West Bank’s territory under Israeli control, the IDF can send two Jeeps into a Palestinian village to conduct a pinpoint security operation. In Gaza, which Israel left in 2005, only major firepower and an entire operation would enable the IDF to reenter. If Israel leaves the West Bank, the area will turn into Gaza, and the possibility of nightly security raids–essential for Israel’s security–will disappear.

In addition, the character of the enemy and its motivation have been transformed. Israel has placed its faith in technological advantages while the enemies have become religious.

All these changes mean that the lessons of the 1967 War are not applicable to 2017, and should not be seen as such.

Maj Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen commanded troops in battles with Egypt and Syria. This appeared in BESA Center Perspectives No. 487 on June 5, 2017


A New Look at the Death of Europe by Rael Jean Isaac

With the publication of The Strange Death of Europe Douglas Murray has made a significant contribution to a crucially important, if still niche genre: the Islamization of Europe. A small number of writers (given the huge impact of this development) have focused on the issue, among them Bat Yeor, Oriana Fallaci, Mark Steyn, Christopher Caldwell, Bruce Bawer, Soeren Kern, Giulio Meotti, Guy Milliere, Ingrid Carlqvist, Melanie Phillips. This small band is all that confronts the blatant and pervasive coverup by politicians and mainstream media.

Murray’s contribution takes several forms. He brings the story of Europe’s civilizational suicide up to date. He provides a chronological tale of the debacle from the post-World War II importation of what were imagined at the time to be temporary workers from Muslim countries needed to fill labor shortages to the disastrous decision by Angela Merkel in August 2015 to throw open Germany’s borders without limits, with the slogan “We can do it.” He sets forth Muslim terrorist actions in Europe in punctilious sequence, including those targeting individuals, like the murder of Theo van Gogh and the Charlie Hebdo staff; the attacks against Jews, and the terror aimed at the general public, for example, the Bataclan massacre and the mowing down at random of people celebrating Bastille Day at the Nice beach. He describes the broader challenge to European society posed by Muslims who do not resort to terror, but espouse values wholly at variance with those of their host countries. Most important, he seeks to explain Europe’s “strange” behavior, why Europe is committing suicide with its elites leading a reluctant but passive public over the cliff.

In part, Murray’s explanation does not differ much from that advanced by several of those cited above. In Murray’s words, “The world was coming into Europe at precisely the moment that Europe has lost sight of what it is.” It was a Europe that had lost faith in its beliefs, traditions, its very legitimacy. But Murray is especially good in focusing on the importance of guilt, what he calls Europe’s “unique, abiding, and perhaps fatal sense of and obsession with guilt” in shaping its behavior. While not ignored by others, the role of guilt has not been given the attention it deservedly gets here.

To this reviewer, that the Holocaust should shake Europe’s faith in its civilization is only right and fitting. In the current issue of Commentary Terry Teachout points out how Europe’s great orchestras dutifully fired Jewish members and banned music by Jewish composers even as the music-loving Hitler in 1938 declared “Germany has become the guardian of European culture and civilization.” It can be no surprise if Europeans ask, “How could what Hitler conceived himself as zealously guarding be worth preserving?”

But as Murray sees it, guilt has become a “moral intoxicant”–Europeans have become “high” on it. They cannot fall back on their Christian faith because their “foundational story” was fatally weakened in the nineteenth century by the combination of Biblical higher criticism and Darwinism. The replacement beliefs in multiculturalism (and Murray quotes Samuel Huntington’s apt observation that multiculturalism is essentially an anti-Western ideology), tolerance, diversity, and “human rights” (as those who have seized control of the issue define them) are no substitute for the fervent divinely-grounded convictions of Islam.

Murray addresses the puzzling question: why there has been so little pushback from Europeans as they have been inundated by millions committed to ideologies anathema to their own? One reason is that the penalties for speaking out are high. Murray writes that those who have shouted fire over the years have been treated as arsonists. They have been “ignored, defamed, prosecuted or killed.” The media has been swift to silence those among them who dared to so much as raise the issue. Murray cites the fate of Erik Mansson, editor-in-chief of the Swedish paper Expressen, who as far back as 1993 published the results of an opinion poll showing 63% of Swedes wanted immigrants to return to their countries of origin. Noting the difference between those in power and public opinion, Mansson said he thought the subject should be discussed. The only result was that the paper’s owners promptly fired Mansson.

Being fired is the least of it. Those who are deemed to have “blasphemed” against Islam, whether cartoonists or filmmakers or forthright politicians, are hunted down by Islamists. All the government does in response is put them in hiding, provide guards or force them out of the country. The last is what the government of Holland did to Ayaan Hirsi Ali by taking away her citizenship. As far as government elites are concerned these people are not heroic champions of free speech but nuisances who have brought their troubles on themselves. Indeed the government is likely to join in the persecution, as Tommy Robinson of the English Defense League discovered in Britain and Geert Wilders in Holland, where he has twice been prosecuted by the state for “inciting discrimination and hatred.”

And the Holocaust again intrudes. When movements or political parties form to challenge the establishment parties on immigration, they are promptly labeled “racist” and “anti-Semitic” by the media and as a result neo-Nazis flock to them, making them off-limits to decent people. Murray points out that Geert Wilders is the only member of his party for precisely this reason. He fears that if he makes it a membership party skinheads will join and although he forfeits state funding (which depends on party size), he sees it as a necessary price to prevent neo-Nazis from possibly ruining the party.

The leadership of a few EU countries (all of them in Eastern Europe) have dared to confront the majority on Muslim immigration. Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and now, the Czech Republic, have all refused to take in what the EU has determined is their “quota” of immigrants. The most articulate member of the dissidents, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, has been defiant and blunt, saying the immigrant wave masquerades as a humanitarian cause but its true nature is occupation of territory. And he reminds the EU (although Murray surprisingly does not mention this) that Hungary was dominated by Islam for 150 years–and knows far better than Western elites what it is like to live with Muslim communities. The response of EU leaders is to treat Orban as a moral pariah and to punish the rebellious countries financially in the hope of forcing them to back down.

Murray is not optimistic about the future. He offers reforms–for example, finding ways to settle would-be migrants closer to their home countries, processing asylum requests abroad, evicting those whose claims to asylum have been rejected (most remain after they have been ordered to leave), ceasing and desisting the automatic demonization as “racists” of any party that raises objections to existing policy, among others.

But Murray sees scant chance of the reforms he suggests being enacted. Instead he sees the gap between political leaders and public opinion becoming more explosive. Murray reports on a survey of public opinion in 10 European countries released by the British think tank Chatham House in February 2017. In eight out of the ten (including Germany) a majority agreed with the statement “All further migration from Muslim countries should be stopped.” In Britain, one of the two where the majority disagreed, “only” 47% were in favor of halting all Muslim immigration. Ignoring public opinion as morally deficient, the governing elite goes on its merry way. Murray offers a telling anecdote from the small city of Kassel in the state of Hesse. Eight hundred immigrants were due to be deposited on Kassel and residents organized a meeting to ask questions of their politicians. A video of the meeting shows calm, polite but concerned citizens. At one point, the district president Walter Lubcke tells them that anyone who does not agree with the policy “is free to leave Germany.” Like those assembled who gasp and then hoot in anger, Murray is astounded: “A whole new population is being brought into their country and they are told to leave if they don’t like it?”

Thus far politicians have been able to beat back all challenges to their policies by tarring political parties that rise to oppose them as “racist,” “neo-Nazi,” or fascist. Murray fears precisely because of this success in marginalizing even those parties that seek to bar extremist elements, when the reaction finally comes it will be ugly. His last words: “Prisoners of the past and of the present, for Europeans there seem finally to be no decent answers to the future. Which is how the fatal blow will finally land.”

There are a few omissions in this excellent book. Murray does not sufficiently emphasize the coming together of Islamic elements with the far left, despite the huge differences between them on social issues. It is the radical left that passes out flyers telling failed asylum seekers how to outwit the system. Claiming the moral high ground, it is the radical left that organizes the boats that hug the Libyan shore, so that traffickers don’t even have to bother filling gas tanks on the miserable receptacles loaded with humanity they push out to sea. Murray refers to the way elites ignore the deep-seated anti-Semitism of the Muslim arrivals, even as they are quick to discredit anti-immigration parties with automatic charges of anti-Semitism. But Murray fails to point out the huge irony: largely on the basis of a sense of guilt for the Holocaust, Europe’s elites are embracing a population which in short order will make it impossible for the Jewish communities of Europe, rebuilt since the Holocaust, to remain there.

Lamenting the vacuum left by the retreat of Christianity, Murray writes that it is unlikely anyone is going to be able to invent an entirely new set of beliefs. He overlooks completely the movement that has provided a substitute set of beliefs to a significant part of the European public. That movement is environmentalism, a resurgence of paganism (with the earth as mother goddess) which has the great advantage of being antagonistic to Western culture–for its sin of despoiling the earth. The global warming apocalypse is the most recent environmental dogma. Professor emeritus of atmospheric sciences at MIT Richard Lindzen, who unlike most of those who hold forth on the climate, is an expert on the subject, compares the pseudoscience of global warming to Lysenkoism. Lindzen writes: “A surprisingly large number of people seem to have concluded that all that gives meaning to their lives is the belief that they are saving the planet by paying attention to their carbon footprint.”

Europe hangs in the balance. For all the chatter about terror by politicians and media (with caveats that this has nothing to do with “the religion of peace,” of course), the seismic changes, including the population replacement by proponents of a sharply different culture, are all but ignored. Murray’s clear and humane exposition of the seismic changes and the abject failure of political elites to face up to them gives those not willfully blind an opportunity to see.


Defending Israel and Fighting Anti-Semitism by Daniel Greenfield

The following are excerpts from a speech given by Daniel Greenfield at the annual Ariel Avrech Memorial in honor of Robert Avrech’s son Ariel.

Anti-Semitism has hit unprecedented levels. Defending Israel is harder than ever. But why is that? It’s 2017. Gay marriage is legal. Everything is more multicultural than ever. Everyone is tolerant of everything.

If Anti-Semitism were just a garden variety bigotry, then things should be better.

And if Israel is being attacked because of the so-called Occupation, then its situation should be much better than it was since 1967. Look how many peace deals Israel has made and how much territory it’s given away.

So why doesn’t it work that way? Why are Jews fleeing some of the most multicultural cities in Europe? Why is Berkeley a safe space for everyone except Jews?

Why is the anti-Israel movement much stronger after all of Israel’s efforts to make peace than it was when Israel refused to negotiate with the PLO?

The strategies we learned have failed. And, taking a page from George from Seinfeld, I’m going to suggest that what we should be doing is the opposite of what we think we should be doing.

If history is any guide, anti-Semitism isn’t going anywhere. In different countries and times it can get better or worse. But we are never going to wake up one morning in a world without anti-Semitism.

We have two options. The same options every minority group has. We can try to make the world like us. Or we can learn to like ourselves. The greatest anti-Semitic threat we face today is Jewish participation and collaboration in anti-Semitic movements. It’s Jewish insecurity, self-hatred and psychological trauma.

Scratch the BDS movement and you find Jews eager to be out front

But most Jews don’t knowingly collaborate with genocidal anti-Semitism. Instead they spend so much time being afraid of what the anti-Semites might think of them that they never resist them.

They worry about how to be liked. They’re insecure. They want to be nice.

Being nice is nice. Except when you’re too nice to defend yourself. When you’re so nice that you give up everything, including your self-respect, just so your enemies will like you.

And then, to add insult to injury, they hate you even more.

Let’s talk about a coat. The story of the coat comes from the Gemara, the Talmud.

Two men are fighting over who owns a coat.

They come to court still playing tug of war with the coat. And a Jewish court, in a Solomonic decision, says they have to split it. The man who claims the whole coat gets 3/4s of the coat. The man who claimed only half gets half of what he claimed. One quarter.

We are brought up to value compromise so that seems wrong to us. Being reasonable should be rewarded. But let’s look back at the original Solomonic decision. Two women come to King Solomon with a baby. Both claim the child. He declares that the child will be cut in half and half will be given to each woman. The true mother turns out to be the woman who won’t compromise and cut her child in half. Compromise can be good in some areas. But when there are compelling issues at stake, it shows a lack of conviction.

Two peoples walk into the court of international opinion. One says that the entire land of Israel, which is really Palestine, is mine. The other says that while the Jewish people do have a great historic attachment to the land, this was where our kings once ruled, where our temple once stood, from which we were exiled and desperately sought to return to for thousands of years, et cetera, we’ll be nice guys and take half the baby, the land and the coat.

Is it really that hard to see why we’re losing the argument? Why a terrorist organization that only came to its current position that it has the right to Judea and Samaria after the Six Day War, which can’t point to a single historic Palestinian state, king or dog catcher, has its demand widely accepted, while we, whose claim is recorded in the holy books of most of the world, can’t seem to convince anyone of it.

We can’t convince anyone, because we haven’t convinced ourselves.

The other side has made it abundantly clear that it won’t compromise. From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free. You can hear that chant at terrorist rallies and at University of California campuses. We announce as often as we can that we are eager to compromise. Take half the coat. Take 51% of the coat. See we’re the nice guys.

The other side believes that we’re compromising because we know we’re in the wrong. We’re that guy coming into court clinging to a coat who doesn’t dare lay claim to the entire coat, but who at least tries to get some of it. We’re more willing to make peace because we’re wrong.

That’s not the truth. But if you want to understand why we’re losing the argument, it’s a good place to start.

A compromise is still a negotiation. To negotiate successfully, you have to do it from a position of total conviction. And we lack conviction. Why do we lack conviction? Because we are afraid that they won’t like us. Who won’t like us? Everyone. And we desperately want to be liked.

There are two types of nice guys. There are those who are genuinely nice. And those who are insecure. Who want you to like them because they don’t like themselves.

That is who we are as a people. We lack conviction because we don’t value ourselves. We can give religion to the world, win impossible battles, invent, create, paint and transform history.

And we still go around needing everyone to like us.


Abide with Me in an Age of Posturing by Peter Smith

At my Anglican church on a recent Sunday the lady giving ‘the prayers of the people’, having delivered the accustomed collective environmental mea culpa, asked that we pray for Palestinians in Israeli jails who were apparently on hunger strike, to thank God for our multicultural and diverse society, and to help us resist hate speech. She made no mention of Jews killed by Palestinian terrorists, or of Christians being persecuted in the Middle East, or of underage Muslim girls in Australia being wedded off or subjected to FGM.

She brought her political agenda before the congregation and God. I have political views but there is a time and place to express them. And the time and place is not Sunday morning in church. There are standard words that all we Christian churchgoers of different political views can sign up to. Here is an abridged example, which I plucked randomly from a particular Episcopalian church service:

“Let us pray for the nations and peoples of the world [for] justice, peace, and prosperity [for] those who are sick, those who suffer, and those who struggle and who have died.”

The dissonance exhibited at my church stems from believing that one’s political agenda has moral authority, even godly authority. It is an extraordinary conceit. It is delusional. This kind of delusion is rampant within Christian churches from top to bottom. It is even more rampant, sans the godly part, among modern-day leftists who dominate public services, the media, universities and schools, and who infest our well-to-do suburbs.

Go back some decades and I doubt that nearly as many people—common sense was more abundant—would have conflated their personal political beliefs with moral authority. As it is, leftists now put a moral badge on their cockamamie views and therefore regard those who don’t share them as fair game for abuse. Virtue signalling passes for thinking and spawns deplorable childlike behaviour.

We see conservative speakers being refused venues and shouted down. And those who would provide them a stage intimidated by violence and threats of violence. Absurdity flourishes. Trade union bosses throw their members to the wolves by promoting pointless policies to curb CO2 emissions.

How did we get here? It is hard to say. The feminisation of schooling may have played a part. Tongue in cheek I have suggested alien body snatching. Let me go to something earthbound. I wonder whether the evolving structure of work has also played a part.

The industrial revolution has profoundly changed the structure of work since 1750 but only in more recent decades has it resulted in the wholesale switch out of manual work. In the US, for example, Greenwald and Kahn report that from 1970 to 2005 employment in managerial and professional roles grew by 153%, in service occupations by 123%, while employment in traditional manufacturing roles fell by 10 percent. It is safe to assume that this trend has not abated.

Manual work is grounding. You see first-hand that materials, power and effort are required to make things. Now there are far fewer workers down the pit, or on the factory floor, or on the docks; and, correspondingly, large segments of the population have no contact with them at all. Think of the inner-city latte sets.

In this sanitised world goods just appear, as though out of thin air. Let me speculate. The upshot is a cargo-cult mentality among the weak minded; and, more generally, an infantile disconnection from reality. Thus the wind and sun can replace coal, oil and gas and create millions of clean green jobs. Here is a mixed selection of more:

Ever more generous provisions of welfare, health and education are ‘rights’, the denial of which on the basis of affordability is unconscionable.

Taxing the rich is a bottomless wallet for making affordable the unaffordable.

Palestinians are willing to live in peace with Israel, even though their children are taught from infancy to hate, despise and kill Jews.

Islam is a peaceful religion no matter how much godless violence is preached and practised in its name; no matter how clear are the violent riding instructions in the Koran and Sunna.

Our Western past is shameful and we must be penitent in the ways of Obama.

All refugees must be welcomed across our open borders and everything will be fine.

Free speech is a right provided no-one outside of white men is offended; in which case it is hate speech.

Traditional marriage, and male and female demarcations, are dispensable affectations of less enlightened times when gender fluidity was not so de rigueur.

The list goes on.

Perhaps that old-style commie Mao had a point with his cultural re-education revolution. There might be nothing like working in the rice paddies or milking cows at 5:30 AM to refocus and ground the minds of the chattering classes. As that option is unavailable, it seems all too possible that puerile leftist posturing will go on undermining enlightened Western civilisation. Waiting in the wings is its Dark Ages replacement. I have prayer. My prayer is that God-given reason eventually prevails.

This appeared on Quadrant Online on May 31. Peter Smith is the author of Bad Economics.


Separation of Synagogue and State by Ruth King

American Jews have participated in outsize numbers in social movements and organizations. Among them Zionism and the effort to obtain security for Jews have taken pride of place and many organizations were formed whose mandate was to promulgate Zionist ideals and protect Jews from bias and harassment.

Haddasah, the largest women’s organization in the world, is a great example. At a meeting at Temple Emanu-El in New York City on February 24, 1912, Henrietta Szold encouraged Jewish women to promote the Zionist ideal through education, public health initiatives, and the training of nurses in what was then Palestine. The women called themselves “The Hadassah chapter of the Daughters of Zion” and Szold became its first president. Hadassah’s charter articulated twin goals: public-health initiatives and nurses training in Palestine, and fostering Zionist ideals through education in America.

Both the goal and the results were noble. Hospitals and public health systems were established in pre-state Israel and vocational training, counseling, housing, and succor were given to the traumatized and wretched survivors of the Holocaust. After Israel’s independence, dislocated Jews from Arab nations became the beneficiaries of Hadassah’s activities. Hadassah performed an epic role and attracted members in every state.

When a historically large number of Jewish voters strayed from their Democratic roots to help elect Ronald Reagan, some thought this was the harbinger of a sea change in American Jewry. But the putative tide of Republican Jewish voters quickly receded when several large Jewish organizations became alarmed by the large number of Evangelical Christians whose support for Israel was full throated, but whose social policies collided with Jewish adherence to the principle of separation of church and state.

Now here is the irony. Even as these organizations denounced the political involvement of Christian groups, they became increasingly involved in advancing the agendas of feminists, abortionistas, radical environmentalists, homosexual rights advocates and those demanding the removal of prayer and religious symbols in schools and public institutions. These issues are open to debate in a democracy, but what do they have to do with fostering Jewish and Zionist education and ideals?

Haddasah, again, is a prime example: To accommodate the growing feminist and “reproductive rights” movement, the organization’s mandate was formally altered to read: “But while Hadassah’s heritage and mission remain as strong as ever, the role of women and Jewish culture here and in Israel, has evolved over time. The organization, too, has evolved, taking on new challenges and developing new programs.”

Those new programs include legal and political advocacy for the Family and Medical Leave Act, opposition to government aid to religious schools, opposition to the posting of the Ten Commandments in public and national institutions, and demands for national funding of sex education programs that inform students about abstinence, contraception and methods of AIDS/STD prevention. The new challenges and programs also include climate change, e.g. a Hadassah-sponsored workshop on “Water Security and Climate change.”

And, of course, there’s the mother lode of feminist activism: Hadassah opposes any attempts—through state administrative regulations, legislation, public referendum, or court action—to restrict the right to reproductive choice and/or use of family planning programs delivering any and all services.

“Hadassah urges regions and chapters to educate their respective members and communities with regard to any attempt by their own legislatures to restrict or interfere with a woman’s reproductive rights and encourages Hadassah units to join in coalitions with freedom of choice advocacy groups, participating as full members in pro-choice activities.”

Ladies! How dare you? Why are you advocating for issues that have nothing to do with Israel or Jewish education and advocacy? You are entitled to your individual opinions on these issues but not to speak on behalf of women who may not share them. These are not Jewish concerns, especially at a time when Jewish survival is in peril throughout the world.

An irate member posted this ten years ago:

”Does a people whom the world is determined to exterminate need to champion the cause of abortion? Is this what Hadassah was designed to do? Does this bring glory to the membership? Why don’t we stick to Hadassah Hospital? (see her article: The Trouble with Hadassah) Aren’t there other organizations devoted to that cause?”

I could easily go on and on with hundreds of examples of Jewish support organizations (like the Anti-Defamation League) which have bowed to the dictates of political correctness and violated their charters and mandates.

Alas, it filters down to the pulpit where during the coming season of holy days, too many rabbis will sermonize about issues that have absolutely nothing to do with dedication, atonement and defense of our brethren. Where is the separation of synagogue and state?

While they inveigh against the Second Amendment which protects the right to militias and guns, they flout the Second Commandment which prohibits the worship and service of false idols– which is exactly what these hypocrites do.


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

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