From the Editor Rael Jean Isaac

American Jews have gone ballistic over President Trump’s awkward effort to blame both sides equally for Charlottesville. It was a self-inflicted wound. All he needed to have done was include on Sunday what he said on Monday, when he specified the neo-Nazis and assorted white supremacists as “repugnant to everything we hold dear.” The emphasis should clearly have been on excoriating the neo-Nazis; It was one of their number who mowed down demonstrators, killing 32 year old Heather Heyer. Trump could then have added that there were counter-protesters who behaved badly. This, admittedly, would likely have set off paroxysms of rage In mainstream media outlets who viewed the scene as clear black and white, but the opportunities for assaulting Trump would have been limited. In National Review John Fund points out that antifa (short for Anti-Fascist Action) counter-protesters showed up armed with pepper spray, bricks and clubs. The New York Daily News reported how antifa demonstrators roughed up reporters. A videographer for a Richmond TV station suffered a concussion from blows to his head. Even Sheryl Stolberg of the New York Times had tweeted from the scene that the hard left seemed as hate-filled as the alt-right, saying she saw club-wielding “antifas” beating white nationalists.

But clumsy as Trump may be, he is no neo-Nazi and the Jewish reaction is over the top. If Trump suffers from not knowing where to strike a balance, it is nothing compared to the failures of the Jewish community in this regard. There was no comparable expression of outrage sweeping American Jewry when Obama rammed through his Iran nuclear deal, although Netanyahu cashed in his political chips to go directly to Congress to warn of the existential danger it posed to the Jewish state.

If the Jewish community would only open its firmly sealed eyes, it would recognize that anti-Semites on the left are a far greater threat to Jews than the small fringe group of neo-Nazis that marched in Charlottesville. It is the leftist anti-Semites, as former World Jewish Congress leader Isi Leibler rightly observes, who “promote the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and have transformed campuses into anti-Israel and anti-Semitic platforms.” Antifa—which also is behind the violent protests against conservative speakers on U.S. campuses—is part of a coalition of far-left hate-Israel groups that includes Black Lives Matter, which in its mission statement declares Israel an “apartheid” state carrying out “genocide.”

Antifa is almost certain to take an increasingly prominent role in anti-Israel actions on campus, now that two of its activists have launched a campus Antifa group for faculty, the Campus Antifascist Network (CAN). Its founders Bill Mullen of Purdue and David Palumbo-Liu of Stanford are leading figures in the BDS campaign. In an article on the new group, Rachel Frommer in Washington Free Beacon reports that Mullen, in 2014, issued a call to “de-Zionize our campuses.” Don’t bet that CAN makes a distinction between “Jews” and “Zionists.”

And don’t bet that most Jews (including their lamentable organizations like the Anti-Defamation League) give up their default position of “no enemies on the left.” When forced to confront the reality of such enemies they dismiss them as a “fringe” even when, like Keith Ellison, they are pillars of the Democratic Party. (Typically, the ADL refused to break with the Black Lives Matter movement on the grounds, Leibler reports, that the anti-Israel clauses were inserted by “a small minority.”) And that is ultimately the key blindness of the Jews. The neo-Nazis are a true fringe of the Republican Party while the anti-Israel left is increasingly the controlling core of the Democratic Party. Nothing better illustrates this than the recent decision of two Presidential hopefuls, Kristin Gillibrand and Corey Booker, to move away from their traditional pro-Israel stands. Booker, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, voted against the Taylor Force Act, which would make future aid to the PA contingent on their ceasing to reward terrorists and their families (this year $345 million–one half of aid to the PA from the U.S. and Europe–has been devoted to this), while Gillibrand has announced her opposition to the Israel Anti-Boycott Act.

Reducing Government Waste

One obvious and easy way to cut down on wasteful government spending would be to keep Kushner, Greenblatt and Powell (and their expensive entourage) at home. But no, they took off on a safari through the Middle East, seeking to give a “regional” push to the Trump administration’s new go at peace between Israel and Palestinian Arabs. Abbas has zero interest in peace with Israel. His idea of peace is to be left in peace to distribute U.S. aid to PA terrorists and their families. There’s only one way this silly charade can end—badly.

Editing Out the Temple Mount

To control words is to control thoughts, something no one demonstrated more brilliantly than Orwell in 1984. By persistently calling Judea and Samaria the West Bank for decades after it ceased to be Jordan’s West Bank, the media enforced Jordan’s claim. What makes this especially ironic is that Jordan’s title to the land, which it annexed in 1950, was recognized only by England and Pakistan. In any case the territory was Jordan’s West Bank for a mere 17 years. It was only after Israel conquered Judea and Samaria (as it has been known throughout history) that suddenly the entire international community endorsed Jordan’s title. Even after 1988, when Jordan formally relinquished its claims in favor of the PLO, for the world it remained the West Bank.

Full Story »

The Third Lebanon War: Not A Matter Of ‘If,’ But ‘When’ Ari Lieberman

In the weeks preceding the Six-Day War, Israel was faced with ever increasing existential challenges which warranted resolute action. Israel’s generals correctly argued to the political echelon that with each passing day, Israel’s strategic position became more compromised. The situation was particularly acute on Israel’s southern border with Egypt where the Egyptian army deployed seven divisions including three armored divisions. Official Arab government pronouncements, with ever increasing shrill and belligerence, made clear that the intention was to wipe Israel off the map.

On June 5th 1967, Israel launched a preemptive strike aimed at destroying the Arab armies before they could launch their own attack (some historians have argued that the Arabs fired the first salvo by closing the Tiran Straits). Codenamed Operation Focus, the Israeli Air Force implemented its well-rehearsed plan of action and struck first, catching most of the Arab air forces on the ground and destroying the bulk of them. Contemporaneous with the air assault, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) sprang into action, quickly routing the Arab armies in a matter of days.

It was a complete and decisive Israeli victory with few parallels in military history. Israel’s success in the Six Day War was attributed to many factors but chief among them was the fact that Israel had robbed the enemy of the initiative. Had the Arabs attacked first, Israel would have still emerged triumphant but at a much higher cost in terms of men and material.

The doctrine of preemption is one that is ingrained in Israel’s military thinking. Israel is a small country with little strategic depth and a vulnerable civilian population. Preemption, the concept of striking the enemy first when there is a clear, present and imminent danger coupled with intent to injure, is a strategically sound doctrine and this is especially true in Israel’s case given its unique vulnerabilities, regional challenges and genocidal enemies.

In addition to exercising its right of military preemption, Israel has also acted in a preventative manner. Conceptually, this doctrine differs slightly from preemption as the threat while real, is not necessarily imminent. In 1981 and 2007, Israel destroyed the nuclear facilities of Iraq and Syria – both implacable foes – after intelligence confirmed that those facilities were capable of manufacturing atomic bombs. Israel has also struck Sudan and Syria dozens of times in efforts to thwart weapons transfers to Hamas and Hezbollah.

Hezbollah is currently mired in Syria’s civil war with 1/3 of its forces actively engaged in Syria to prop up Assad. In light of this, most Israeli experts agree that the probability of war breaking out in the near future is low. The last thing Hezbollah needs now is a two-front war. Nevertheless, Hezbollah’s raison d’être is to serve the Islamic Republic’s interests and do battle with Israel. A showdown with the terror group is therefore inevitable. The only question is “when,” not “if.”

Confluences of several factors make the probability of war more likely in the intermediate term. First, thanks to Iranian, Russian and Hezbollah assistance, Assad’s grip on power is the strongest it’s been since the beginning of the civil war while rebel groups opposing Assad are divided and often battle each other. This development will enable Hezbollah to shift its emphasis and resources toward Israel.

Second, though Hezbollah has suffered substantial casualties since it began its military entanglement in Syria – at least 2,000 of its members have been killed – the group has emerged militarily stronger. It has been lavishly equipped by Iran with modern weapons, including T-72 tanks, weaponized drones, Konkurs anti-tank missiles and Yakhont anti-ship cruise missiles, and thanks to the Russians, improved its electronic warfare and special operations capabilities.

Third, in 2006, Hezbollah was believed to have possessed 11,000 rockets and missiles of various calibers and guidance systems. Today, Hezbollah is believed to possess between 100,000 and 150,000 missiles and rockets. To place things in proper perspective, that figure is more than the combined arsenal of all NATO countries, with the exception of the United States. Moreover, with Iran’s assistance, the terror group has managed to build subterranean factories buried 50 meters below ground. These factories are capable of producing everything from small arms to Fateh-110/M-600 surface-to-surface missiles, making Hezbollah partially self-sufficient in arms, a capability that it lacked in 2006. If Iranian claims are to be believed, the Fateh-110 has a range of 300km and carries a payload of 500kg. The missile is believed to possess an accuracy level of 100 m CEP, which means that there’s a 50/50 chance that the missile will fall within 100 meters of its intended target. Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah has made clear on numerous occasions that his missiles would target a vulnerable ammonia plant in Haifa, Israel’s nuclear research facility in Dimona and other critical civilian infrastructure in any war with Israel.

Fourth, in any future conflict with Israel, Hezbollah will be able to mobilize assistance from other Iranian proxies. Thanks to the Iran deal and concomitant cash infusion resulting therefrom, including $1.7b in ransom payments from the Obama administration, the Islamic Republic has successfully raised additional proxy Shia armies whose members include Pakistani, Afghani, Yemini, and Iraqi recruits. The largest of these militias is the Iraqi Hashd al-Shaabi, an 80,000 strong force that can easily be transported to Lebanon should Iran call upon them to fight.

Full Story »

Where is Israel? Shoshana Bryen

Shoshana Bryen was director of JINSA from 1981 to 1991 and is currently director at The Jewish Policy Center. This appeared in americanthinker.com on August 15th.

As the president sends his envoys back to Israel and the Palestinian territories, the usual flood of voices has offered advice – do this, do that, say this, say that. Whatever.

Let’s try something different.

When people talk about the “two-state solution,” their parameters are generally clear – the West Bank and Gaza more or less, give or take, some land swaps, and some arrangement for Eastern Jerusalem. The fact that the Palestinian Authority doesn’t control the Gaza Strip appears not to faze the two-staters at all. So, for now, let’s go with that. Rather than asking the Palestinians if they are willing to constrict their aspirations to land others have decided might make a good Palestinian State, why not ask the Palestinians where the State of Israel will be when the negotiation is concluded and a Palestinian state emerges?

Will East Jerusalem be in Israel?
Will Hebron be in Israel?
Will Jacob’s Tomb or Rachel’s Tomb be in Israel?
Will West Jerusalem be in Israel?
Will the Galilee or Jaffa be in Israel?
Will Tel Aviv be in Israel?

Without some understanding of where the Palestinians see Israel, how can anyone hope to understand where the Palestinians see Palestine? Are they looking at acreage or principle?

Yes, it is a trick question. To date, neither Yasser Arafat at or after Oslo nor Mahmoud Abbas of the P.A. has provided a realistic assessment of land to which Israel is entitled for the purpose of exercising Jewish sovereignty – nor can either be expected to. Folded into the question of acreage is the principle of the so-called “right of return,” Palestinian insistence that the original refugees of 1948-49 and their descendants should have the right to go to those places in pre-1967 Israel from which they claim to have been displaced.

Although President Clinton at Camp David in 2000 and American presidents following him have talked about the Palestinian refugees, it has been in the nature of compensation, not what they claim as their homes. Pretending Arafat’s and Abbas’s promises to their people don’t matter, or pretending for them that they will take “compensation” instead, is insulting. Who is President Clinton to give up their rights? Who are those Americans who didn’t live and die in refugee camps waiting for promises to be fulfilled to say, “Never mind. Israel gets what you claim, and you get something else, or ‘compensation’”?

Beating that horse again is…well, beating a dead horse.

Its not that the Palestinians aren’t clear. For years, textbooks in Palestinian schools use the map of Palestine “From the River to the Sea” to teach their children that they have a claim to all of it. President Trump’s envoys should ask for copies of the books – UNRWA sponsors some, the E.U. sponsors some, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find them.

But so what if they make maximalist claims? It’s their claim, right? Their “narrative,” as they say. Why should the Palestinian Authority offer anything to Israel?

Because Israel has a claim as well, enshrined in U.N. Security Council Resolution 242. Following the unwillingness of the Arab states to accept any boundaries at all for the Jewish State established in 1948, and following the Arab states’ determination to erase Israel in 1948 and 1967, the Security Council voted that Israel was entitled to:

“… [t]ermination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every state in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.”

Where the boundaries are is less important than that they are “secure and recognized” and accompanied by the “termination of all claims or states of belligerency.” Israel has already made it clear that it is willing to withdraw from territory occupied in 1967 – Sinai constituted 92% of the total.

Full Story »

Barcelona Attack Was Preventable Soeren Kern

Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. This appeared on gatestoneinstitute.org on August 22.

As details emerge of the August 17 jihadist attack in Barcelona, the evidence points to one overarching conclusion: the carnage could have been prevented if a series of red flags had not been either missed or ignored.

The failure to heed intelligence warnings, enhance physical security and report suspicious activity are all factors that facilitated the attack, which had been in the planning stage for more than six months.

The attack was also enabled by the idiosyncrasies of Spanish politics, especially the tensions that exist between the central government and the leaders of the independence movement in Catalonia, the autonomous region of which Barcelona is the capital.

The Barcelona attack could have been prevented had municipal officials complied with an order to install bollards, vertical poles designed to prevent car ramming attacks, on the Rambla, the city’s main tourist thoroughfare.

On December 20, 2016, one day after a Tunisian jihadist drove a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people and injuring 56, Spanish National Police issued a circular ordering all central, regional and municipal police departments in Spain to “implement physical security measures to protect public spaces” to prevent jihadist attacks “in places with high numbers of people.” The circular advised:

“Municipalities should protect these public spaces by temporarily installing large planters or bollards at access points to hinder or prevent the entry of vehicles.”

The measures were never implemented in Barcelona because the leaders of the Catalan independence movement did not want to be seen as taking orders from the central government in Madrid.

After receiving the directive, Catalan autonomous police, known as the Mossos d’Esquadra, accused the central government of “alarmism” and insisted that it would not order municipalities in Catalonia to implement this “indiscriminate measure.” The Mossos also claimed to have the jihadist threat under control, that local police were trained to “detect symptoms or radicalization,” and that there were “no concrete threats.”

After the Barcelona attack, Deputy Mayor Gerardo Pisarello blamed the absence of bollards on the Catalan Interior Ministry. “The City of Barcelona has never refused to install bollards. Whenever it has been requested, we have done so,” Pisarello said. Ada Colau, Barcelona’s leftwing mayor, however, has repeatedly refused to “fill Barcelona with barriers,” insisting that it must remain “a city of liberty.”

On August 19, hours after the jihadist attack in Barcelona, Spanish Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido repeated that it would be “appropriate” for all municipalities to comply with the December circular. His ministry issued a new letter calling on municipalities to install safety measures in the neuralgic points of cities. It remains to be seen if Catalan officials will now implement the recommendations.

In June, the CIA reportedly warned Catalan police that Barcelona was being targeted by jihadists: “Two months ago the Central Intelligence Agency warned Catalan police of a threat to Las Ramblas,” according to El Periódico.

Full Story »

Europe: The Censored Film They Do Not Want You to See Stefan Frank

Stefan Frank is a journalist and author based in Germany. This appeared on August 1st at gatestoneinstitute.org.

A Franco-German film that no one in Europe is allowed, by law, to see has become the source of a major scandal, and its creators the targets of unprecedented smear and hate campaigns from Germany’s public broadcasters.

At the center of the scandal are two of Europe’s biggest media companies, the Westdeutsche Rundfunk (WDR)—with 4,500 employees and an annual budget of 1.4 billion euros—and the Franco-German culture channel, ARTE.

The television documentary, “Chosen and Excluded – the Hate for Jews in Europe”, [was] shown in the United States for one night only, on August 9. The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles announced that it would screen the film after the German and French networks tried “to bury the documentary, before it could contaminate the viewing public with the truth,” according to the Center’s Associate Dean, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, in an interview with Gatestone Institute. “It is a film that needs to be viewed by anyone concerned about anti-Semitism and anyone concerned about the democratic future of Europe. It is a truth-telling, and ‘PC’-busting documentary”, he said.

The truth is that in today’s Europe, it is becoming more and more difficult to tell the truth.

ARTE had commissioned the film with the support of the WDR, but is now seeking to hide it. The film is not about anti-Semitism among neo-Nazis, but about its acceptance by the mainstream mass media, politicians, left wingers, Muslim “Palestine” activists, rappers and church organizations. Initially, it was said that the film was “a provocation”, that it “fans the flames”, and that “because of the terror situation in France, it cannot be broadcast.”

Later, “technical journalistic shortcomings” were cited as the reason why the film could not be released from the hazardous materials closet.

ARTE, as part of its programming, broadcasts films such as “The Little Stone Thrower of Silwan”—a report sympathizing with sweet Arab children in Jerusalem who just want to make their neighborhood “Jew-free”.

Would the station ever show a serious film about anti-Semitism?, Gatestone asked the journalist Jean Patrick Grumberg, editor of the French language news site Dreuz. Grumberg replied:

“France is a country in which Communist mayors celebrate Palestinian murderers of Jews as honorary citizens. If the directors of ARTE France had even been suspected of harboring pro-Israel or conservative sentiments, they would never have been hired. Being radical, though, is welcomed.”

According to Grumberg, journalists in France are “almost unanimously anti-Israel.” Anyone who is pro-Israel must conceal it, or deal with the threat of repercussions.

“In this incredible environment, the TV channels France Television and ARTE are the worst among the Islamo-liberals. Initially, the French program management team refused even to countenance the production of a documentary about anti-Semitism in Europe because they were well aware that Muslim antisemitism would come up—a subject that is taboo in France, especially among those on the Left and in the media.

Full Story »

The Foreign Press Association’s Unlimited Bias Bassam Tawil

Bassam Tawil is an Arab Muslim based in the Middle East. This appeared on August 4 at gatestoneinstitute.org.

The Foreign Press Association (FPA), an organization representing hundreds of foreign journalists who work for various media outlets in Israel, is upset. What seems to be the problem? In their view, recent Israeli security measures in Jerusalem are preventing reporters from doing their jobs. The FPA’s position, expressed in at least two statements, came in response to Israeli security measures enforced in the city after Muslim terrorists murdered two police officers at the Temple Mount on July 14.

The FPA, which has often served as a platform for airing anti-Israeli sentiments, went further by filing a petition to Israel’s High Court of Justice challenging the actions and behavior of the Israeli security forces toward journalists during Palestinian riots in protest against the installation of metal detectors and cameras at the entrances to the Temple Mount. The petition demanded that the Israeli security forces stop restricting journalists’ entry to the Temple Mount compound. It also complained of verbal and physical abuse against journalists by the police.

The FPA protest should come as no surprise to those familiar with the anti-Israel agenda of its leadership. This organization has a long record of black-and-white thinking about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—and somehow, the Israelis always come out in the wrong.

While the FPA is teeming with self-proclaimed “open-minded” journalists, their minds seem closed to facts surrounding Palestinian violence. Funny how enlightened folks—generally ready to side with the underdog—become suspiciously overcome by intellectual darkness when the underdog might be an Israel trying to manage Palestinian terror in the most humane manner possible.

Surprise or no surprise, the latest FPA onslaught against Israel serves as a reminder that many of the foreign journalists have no shame in advancing an anti-Israel agenda.

The journalists so distraught over Israel’s recent security measures are the very ones who refuse to enter Syria out of fear of being beheaded by ISIS. These are the journalists who have stopped traveling to Iraq, fearing for their lives. Many of these journalists, particularly the women among them, will not report in Egypt, lest they be raped, let alone targeted by a terror group.

These journalists, when they travel to most Arab and Islamic countries, are assigned government “minders” who accompany them, openly and covertly, 24/7. They will wait in vain to receive a visa to enter Iran or Saudi Arabia—or be made to wait and beg for months before receiving it.

What does one do, then, when one’s journalistic options in the Middle East are constrained by a rather realistic fear for one’s life? One stays where one feels safe—in Israel.

It is no secret that Middle East correspondents prefer their residences and bureaus in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv than in Ramallah, Amman, Damascus, Baghdad, Tehran and Riyadh. In Israel, no matter what they write today, they will live to write again tomorrow.

Unlike with most of the Arab and Islamic countries, most journalists do not need advance permission to visit Israel. Any journalist—or, more accurately, anyone even claiming to be a journalist—can disembark at Ben Gurion Airport and start reporting.

How is this relevant?

The FPA’s stance on the recent Israeli security measures in Jerusalem, which came in response to the murder of two police officers and violent Arab riots, reeks of hypocrisy and a severe misrepresentation of reality.

Full Story »

Once Again! Ruth King

After the Holocaust, “Never Again” emerged as the rallying cry of international Jewry determined to prevent recurrence of the murderous anti-Semitism that had slaughtered one of every three Jews in the world. Israel became the incarnation of Jewish renewal and its existence a guarantee of “never again.”

For a few decades, European nations were shamed by their complicity in the roundup of Jews. But, as writer Conor Cruise O’Brien noted “anti-Semitism is a light sleeper” and what may have started as ignorant criticism of Israel has morphed into international hatred of Jews. By 2017 anti-Semitism and anti-Israel harassment had become a pandemic. Evil, when committed against Jews, especially in Israel, has become banal. Jewish settlers in their beds, babies in cribs, toddlers in diners, soldiers at bus stops, shoppers in a kosher deli in France, are deemed not quite as innocent as other victims of terror. As far back as 1980, when terrorists placed a bomb in the Rue Copernic synagogue in France that injured ten and killed four passersby, Raymond Barre, then Prime Minister of France, lamented “They aimed for Jews but they killed two innocent French citizens.”

Today in the most perverse irony Jews are compared to Nazis.

Where did those comparisons originate?

Why in Israel itself where the late unlamented Yeshayahu Leibowitz coined the term” Judeo-Nazis” to describe fellow Israelis. Who praised the scoundrel? The Israeli elite bestowed honors upon him, including the government’s highest award, the Israel Prize. (When this caused a public furor, Leibowitz withdrew from taking the prize but never withdrew his slander of the Jewish state.) That didn’t stop Israel’s rag Haaretz, when a year later he slipped his mortal coil, lauding him for his “profound moral seriousness and the great relevance of his thought today.“ Herzliya’s Mayor eulogized him as “one of the greatest intellectuals of his generation” and named a street after him. Even in Jerusalem a street now bears his name.

Who is mining the bedrock of anti-Semitism in the West? Those unspeakable Jews who undermine, libel, defame Israel and give legitimacy to the avalanche of hatred that is spreading like wildfire.

Jewish-American voters were a powerhouse of political activism on behalf of Israel. Now their short attention span has guided them to policies inimical to Jewish survival. “Never again!” is still their motto but the focus has changed dramatically.

Never again will women be denied the right to end pregnancy even at late stage. Never again will the “settled science” of climate change be disputed. Never again will anyone claim that capitalism and Judeo-Christian principles are superior. Never again will any immigrants be denied entry into America. Never again will any religion be slandered, with the exception of Orthodox Jews and Evangelical Christians. Never again will any conservative legislators be supported. Never again will any conservative opinions be heard with respect. Never again will anyone vote for a Republican.

Writer Linda Goudsmit sums it up well:

“The liberal Jewish community has lost its way. Liberalism has replaced religion as the community’s organizing principle. The Jewishness of Judaism has been replaced with the secular anti-Semitic anti-American tenets of the radical left-wing liberal Democratic Party in America. It is completely counter-intuitive for Jews to support a platform that is clearly anti-Semitic — but the inconsistencies and hypocrisy do not seem to get in their way. How is that possible? Because the liberal Jewish community has surrendered its rational critical thinking abilities and embraced the feel-good emotional sloganism of the New Democrat Party. “

Full Story »

JULY/AUGUST 2017 MIDEAST OUTPOST

Outpost Editor: Rael Jean Isaac Editorial Board: Ruth King, Rita Kramer   Outpost is distributed free to Members of Americans for a Safe Israel Annual membership: $100.  Americans for a Safe Israel 1751 Second Ave.  (at 91st Street) New York, NY 10128   “Origins of Zionism Part 3: Modern Zionism” is now available. You can […]

Full Story »

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.

Full Story »

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.

Full Story »
Page 2 of 73«12345»102030...Last »

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

October 2017
M T W T F S S
« Sep    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031