(Editor’s note: In this essay Berdichevsky describes three “international brigades,” the most famous of which is the International Brigade in the Spanish civil war. The second is the international volunteer group of 12,000 men that sought to help Finland when it was invaded by Soviet Russia during the short “Winter War” from November 1939 to March 1940. The third –the section reprinted here—consisted of the 4,000 (both Jewish and non-Jewish) volunteers who helped defend the nascent state of Israel from the invasion of seven regular Arab armies and a large force of Palestinian irregulars pledged to its destruction in 1948-49.)
With regard to the three International brigades, the most effective one without a doubt was Mahal – Mitnadvei Hutz la’Aretz (Volunteers from Outside the Country) who helped turn the tide of battle and constituted a major segment of the Israeli Air force. American Jewish military veterans, pilots and merchant seamen in the volunteer force were under supervision by orders of the State Department and the FBI to make sure that they were not carrying illegal immigrants or arms and more than once they were stopped.
American intelligence continued to buy the myth from 1947 to 1951 that the new Israeli state might be pro-Soviet because of the large presence of the Socialist-Zionist political parties and the proven success in combat of the Hagana and Palmach, units with a large participation of leftwing kibbutz members. Taking (as always) their lead from Moscow, the (hitherto anti-Zionist) Palestinian communist organizations merged their separate Arab and Jewish divisions in October, 1948, giving unconditional support to the Israeli war effort and urging the Israel Defense Forces to “Drive on toward the Suez Canal and hand British Imperialism a stinging defeat!” This alarmed the State Department which had been warned by British intelligence of possible Soviet infiltration or influence among the Israeli forces.
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1. Why are Western countries expected to take in unlimited Muslim “refugees” while far wealthier (and under-populated) Muslim countries like Qatar, Saudi, UAE, Bahrein, etc never are despite sharing the same religion, language and culture as the “refugees”?
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2. Why is it a cause for celebration when Americans, Brits or Arabs kill Islamic terrorists, but a ‘war crime’ when Israel does it?
3. Why is the only country in the Middle East that is not an apartheid state (Israel) the only one that is accused of being an apartheid state?
4. How is it that the people who call Israel an ‘apartheid’ state also generally insist that every single Jew must leave ‘Palestinian territory’?
5. Why are anti-Semitic activists who are dedicated to the destruction of Israel always called “Pro-Palestinians” rather than what they really are?
6. Can you identify a single pro-Palestinian activity (as opposed to anti-Israel activity) that has ever been carried out by any Western “pro-Palestinian” activist?
7. Why are anti-Zionist organizations like Yachad, J-Street and the New Israel Fund still referred to as being ‘pro-Israel’?
8. Why are bigoted, brainwashed Westerners who go to “Palestine” to throw rocks at Israelis called “peace activists”?
9. Why are scorecards of ‘civilians killed’ mandatory for conflicts involving Israel (as in “2000 Palestinians killed, only 10 Israelis”), but never used in any other conflict in the world (did you ever see the number of dead British or US civilians mentioned when those countries mount attacks against Arab countries)?
First: The population of Israel on the eve of 2015 was 8,296,000. The population of New Jersey in 2014 was 8.938 million.
Second: The size of Israel including Judea and Samaria…Well, it would fit cozily inside of Lake Michigan.
Third: Climate is generally arid with long, hot and dry summers and short wet winters. Water shortages were considered a major problem for Israel after 1948. Today, thanks to a cutting edge desalination industry Israel has agricultural output, farms, lush green parks, gardens, with the yearly anguish over the water level of Lake Kinneret a nightmare of the past.
Fourth: There are 35 colleges and universities in Israel. Four Israeli universities are ranked in the world’s top 300. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem was named the best university in Israel, coming in 138th overall—just behind Dartmouth College and just ahead of the University of Virginia. The Technion—Israel Institute of Technology—was Israel’s next highest, at 190th, followed by Tel Aviv University, at 195th, and Ben-Gurion University at 292nd.
Fifth: Nobel Prize Winners in Israel: I don’t count “peace“prizes whose recipients are, to put it charitably, a mixed bag. There are six winners in Chemistry, two in economics and one in literature. One of them Prof. Aaron Ciechanover, an Israeli Nobel-prize winner in chemistry (2004) is leader of a team at the Technion which recently discovered two proteins that can suppress cancer and control cancer cells’ growth and development.
In August of 2015 Israel will host the world’s biggest science conference.
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Editor: Rael Jean Isaac
Editorial Board: Ruth King, Rita Kramer
Outpost is distributed free to Members of Americans for a Safe Israel
In Memoriam: Beverly Bar Illan
AFSI mourns the death of Beverly Bar-Illan, author, editor and staunch proud Zionist. Her love of Israel, expressed in her columns, culminated in her conversion to Judaism and subsequent Aliyah with her husband David, the late pianist, editor of the Jerusalem Post and chief of information and planning for Benjamin Netanyahu during his first tenure as Prime Minister. We offer deep condolences to her sons Tony and Brian and her many friends and admirers in Israel and America.
Next AFSI Mission to Israel: June 2-10, 2015
Join us for an extraordinary, eye-opening experience.
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Learn about the real Israel.
Reservations now being taken.
Ynet News’ Alex Fishman easily took the prize for the most cogent analysis of the “framework” for a final agreement on Iran’s nuclear activities hammered out in Switzerland on March 31st. “There was nothing surprising in the Lausanne agreement,” he wrote. “The talks over the last few days were for show only. The Americans knew, just as Israel did, that the Iranians had been willing to sign the current version of the agreement and even a worse one from their perspective, already two months ago.”
The reason, despite threats to walk away from the deal from Ayatollah Khameini and his glib foreign minister, are evident in what is, and what has been, Tehran’s end-game since agreeing to these discussions with the U.S.-led P5+1 back in November 2013. And that is the lifting of the economic sanctions that have hobbled its ability to finance a hegemonic, terrorist-driven attempted stranglehold over a Middle East expanse covering major areas of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen. Iranian bickering over how and under what conditions the implausible nuclear inspection regime laid out by the P5+1 will operate has been little more than a diplomatic piece of stage business Nobody knows how many deeply hidden reactor facilities the Islamic Republic might have in operation in addition to Fordow or whether its military infrastructure might not already be invested with a nuclear profile. Under this agreement, nobody is likely to find out.
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A Bizarre Negotiation
In any normal arms control negotiations there is bedrock agreement between the parties about what is being negotiated—the size of a nuclear arsenal, the number of missiles, of warships, whatever. But in the current negotiations, Iran denies the existence of what it is supposedly negotiating over: it claims it has no nuclear weapons program. As recently as April 20 The Wall Street Journal reports that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said it was a “myth” that his country is trying to develop nuclear weapons. How do you negotiate with a myth? Judging from the Obama administration, it’s by conjuring up another myth: that you are doing anything meaningful to counteract the threat. Leaving this hall of mirrors aside, what the administration is doing of course, as William Mehlman says, is to leave Iran’s nuclear capacity intact while vastly increasing (by ending sanctions) its ability to sow mischief throughout the Middle East.
Protesting ISIS, EU Style
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Sixteen EU countries (with Germany the only major one which has not signed on) are pressing EU Foreign Affairs head Frederica Mogherini to demand labels on all products from Israeli communities beyond the Green Line. Yair Lapid, the head of Israel’s Yesh Atid party (scarcely a hard liner) has said: “This is a de facto call to boycott Israel.”
Blogger David Swidler has mocked the EU’s obsessive focus on Israel in the face of the monumental attacks on human rights going on in its neighborhood. Citing the mass executions of Christian Ethiopians and Eritreans in Libya, proudly filmed by the perpetrators and distributed to international media, Swidler writes:
“In response, the EU ministers vowed to take measures to protect those threatened by IS barbarism, and determined that the best way to prevent recurrences of mass beheadings in Syria, Iraq and Libya would be to apply a distinctive label to all products imported into EU nations from areas in the West Bank where Jews live….Said Frederica Mogherini, the head of EU foreign policy who presided over the conference of ministers ‘We can think of nothing better in our capacity as European leaders than this important measure.’…The annual assembly of ministers tackled a number of other important social issues affecting the Union, such as rising anti-Semitism, which the group decided to address by proposing a mandated minimum of three daily articles in each country’s leading newspapers warning of the dangers of Islamophobia.”
If only this were far-out parody rather than an all too accurate reflection of EU priorities.
Sixty-seven years ago, upon Israel’s declaration of independence, Life Magazine noted the odds facing the 600,000 Jews of the newly-born economy-starved and militarily-embargoed Jewish State: “King Abdullah of Trans-Jordan sent his Arab Legion against Jerusalem…. Egypt’s planes repeatedly bombed Tel Aviv. Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia pitched in…. The Arabs cut off Jerusalem from the coast by blocking the road to Tel Aviv…. The old walled city came under artillery fire…. A three-pronged attack was compressing the [Jewish] defenders into the Jewish Quarter of the Old City…. King Abdullah’s Arab legion was spearheading the Arabs’ land offensive…. The Jews had little but light anti-aircraft to fight off these attacks…. A country the size of Connecticut is ringed by hostile neighbors…. Time and geography favor the Arabs, and England, which does not recognize Israel, is sending the Arab states arms, [while] Israel’s friends in the US aim to lift our embargo on arms…. Can Israel survive?”
In spite of boycotts, sanctions, embargoes, condemnations, wars, terrorism and diplomatic adversity, the Jewish State has catapulted from the 1939-1944 Holocaust, and near-destruction during its 1948-1949 War of Independence, to world class stellar performance in the areas of economy, technology, science, medicine, health, agriculture, irrigation, military and counter-terrorism. It shares its exceptional achievements with the Third World, the West, and especially with the United States.
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AFSI was founded in 1971 by Americans committed to Israel’s religious, historic and strategic claims–as well as those stemming from victory in a defensive war–to the lands conquered in the Six Day War of 1967.
Early on AFSI warned that Israel must never risk its security on faith in allies, including the United States. Starting with John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State to President Eisenhower, there have been hostile administrations and even friendly administrations (like that of Ronald Reagan) pushed bad policies for Israel. To be sure, all pale in comparison to President Obama’s unsheathed hostility to Israel.
After the 1967 war, Israel’s cabinet unanimously offered to return all the land it had won in war in exchange for a peace settlement. This enormously generous offer was met by the famous three “nos” of Khartoum–no negotiations, no recognition, no peace with Israel.. Nonetheless, this Israeli offer became the default standard for negotiations and Israel’s legitimate claims were forfeited in what would become a never ending effort to appease Arab demands.
AFSI provided an American political support group for the Land of Israel Movement and, as time went by, for the growing resettlement of biblical lands in Judea, Samaria, Golan and Gaza. Today the “settlements” are thriving cities and towns with schools, parks, hospitals and citizens determined to remain and continue to thrive. We at AFSI are proud of our early and ongoing support for settlement of Judea and Samaria. And, we are more determined than ever, after the surrender of Gaza proved that any territory vacated by Israel would be sacked and ruined and turned into a war zone, vindicating AFSI’s conviction that treaties and surrenders of territory are viewed by Arab enemies as temporary hudnas (truces) to consolidate power in order to destroy the state.
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As a historian of the Holocaust I have always recognized its uniqueness. But without comparisons and the ability to correctly read the warning signals of looming catastrophes, such knowledge remains sterile and liable to paralyze timely action. Hence I respectfully disagree with The Jerusalem Post’s April 17 editorial, “Bad Comparisons,” which targets the “conflation” of Nazi Germany and contemporary Iran, allegedly made in my book A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad (2010).
The quotation from the book which is offered is not an assertion of identity between Nazism and Shi’ite fundamentalism.
It points rather to the similarity between Iran’s “apocalyptic anti-Semitism” (a term I coined 30 years ago) and the Nazi fixation on the annihilation of Jews as a necessary prologue to the “liberation of humanity.” This hideous project is now focused on the Jewish state in the Middle East and once again, six million Jews find themselves at risk. Not only that, but the Iranian leadership still uses a familiar Nazi language – describing the Jews of Israel as a “cancerous tumor” that must be totally excised. From Ayatollah Khomeini through president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the present supreme leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, the “Zionist entity” has been repeatedly dehumanized as a “filthy microbe,” a “deadly virus,” a “cancer,” or as an “agent of Satan.” The supposedly “moderate” President Hassan Rouhani is no different in this regard, having referred to Israel on July 31, 2014, as this “festering Zionist tumor.”
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Furthermore, Iran makes no secret of its aspirations for world conquest by Shi’ite Islam under its own leadership.
What country deserves more condemnation for violating human rights than any other nation on earth? According to the U.N.’s top human rights body, that would be Israel.
Last week, Israel was the U.N.’s number one women’s rights violator. This week it is the U.N.’s all-round human rights villain.
The U.N. Human Rights Council wrapped up its latest session in Geneva on Friday, March 27 by adopting four resolutions condemning Israel. That’s four times more than any of the other 192 UN member states.
There were four resolutions on Israel. And one on North Korea — a country that is home to government policies of torture, starvation, enslavement, rape, disappearances, and murder – to name just a few of its human rights violations.
Four resolutions on Israel. And one on Syria. Where the death toll of four years of war is 100,000 civilians, ten million people are displaced, and barrel bombs containing chemical agents like chlorine gas are back in action.
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