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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Editor: Rael Jean Isaac

Editorial Board: Ruth King, Rita Kramer

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A Cloud Called Hezbollah by William Mehlman

Hezbollah, with an estimated 130,000-150,000 short, medium and long-range rockets steered by cutting-edge guidance systems, attack and suicide drones and the most advanced air defense hardware coming out of Russia, constitutes “the most serious conventional threat” Israel has faced since the major wars of l967 and 1973.

That’s the message coming out of the highly esteemed Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in Tel Aviv. It’s an arsenal which exceeds the combined total of all 27 NATO nations, rated as capable of hitting Israeli targets, civilian and military, with 260 missiles every six hours, 1,200 a day. That they have not been unleashed has little to do with either the dwindling constraints of the Lebanese government which hosts this terrorist phenomenon on its southern border or the zero constraints of UNIFIL. UNIFIL is the alleged peace-keeping force that opted out, before the ink was dry, of its obligation under UN Security Council Resolution 1701 to prevent the rearming of Hezbollah following the termination of the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

Two factors have kept the lid on a third Hezbollah strike against Israel, both of them linked to the terrorist organization’s financial and operational master, the Islamic Republic of Iran. The German daily Die Welt, citing Western sources, reported in April that Hezbollah is seriously overdrawn on its account with Tehran, the source of 75 percent of its weapons and the working capital critical to the support of 20,000 fighters and another 20,000 reservists. To put it bluntly, the “Party of Allah,” is flirting with bankruptcy, the direct result of its Iranian-ordered engagement in a war to defend and secure Bashar Hafez Assad’s power base in Syria. The generous remunerations to the families of the estimated 1,500-1,800 fighters who have been killed, the more than 6,000 wounded and the “hazardous duty” bonus allocations to the 8,000 on the front lines of this noble enterprise appear to have at least temporarily stalled plans for a major move against Israel.

The hidden danger to Israel lurking behind Hezbollah’s current financial straits is complacency. Major General Jim Molan, who served as Australia’s chief of operations in Iraq, writing in The Australian, contends that the current calm along Lebanon’s southern border with Israel may be as much a case of deception as necessity – an attempt to put Jerusalem off its guard. “It’s quiet,” he submits, “because Hezbollah wants it that way at present.” And that, of course, means Iran wants it that way until stagnant oil demand gets an expected summer boost and the till for a major operation against Israel is refreshed.

Indeed, any suggestion of permanency to the current quiet should have been dispelled by a Hezbollah sponsored “media tour” in April of the thin line separating Israel from its terrorist adversary. Conducted by a Hezbollah honcho in combat fatigues, it described in depth to the assembled journalists the IDF’s positions on the other side of the line, including a string of barricades designed to stall any breakthrough by infantry forces. Al Manar, Hezbollah’s official publication, quoted the tour leader as having told the journalists that the organization had developed “special tactics to deal with these structures” and boasted that it had compelled the “Zionist army for the first time in history to move to a defensive position.”

What was the real purpose of this “media tour”? Tony Badran, research fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, calls it a showcase of the “power dynamic” in Lebanon, a function of Europe’s and America’s acquiescence to the terrorist takeover of a sovereign nation. “Hezbollah laid it out for all to see, its position at the head of the table,” Badran argues. In a display of further chutzpa, he notes, they timed their dog and pony show to coincide with a meeting of Lebanese parliamentarians and officials in Washington with the World Bank and the IMF “to plead against harsher sanctions and to rattle the can for more aid.”

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From the Editor : Rael Jean Isaac

Migrant Crime Wave in Germany

According to Germany’s annual crime report, compiled by the Federal Crime Bureau, migrant crime rose over 50% in the last year to comprise more than a quarter of all crimes. Germany based journalist Vijeta Uniyal reports that the figures are the more alarming because of the narrow definition the German government uses of “criminal migrant,” excluding “foreigners who have been living and working in Germany for some time.” The new migrants make up less than 2% of the population but 9% of the criminal population. Moreover they are not merely engaged in petty crime but dominate serious and violent crime in Germany with nearly 15% of all those charged with serious bodily harm coming from this group. The German government’s response is to find ways to minimize not only reporting but actual arrests. For example Uniyal reports that the Berlin government prohibits law enforcement agencies from using video surveillance on the grounds it violates “civil rights.” The result is rampant but unreported lawlessness, especially in the city’s “no-go zones.” Meanwhile officials blithely spin and lie: “Refugees aren’t more criminal than Germans” and “migrants hardly committed any sexual assaults” declared a senior official of the Ministry of the Interior last summer.

It was impossible to hush up last year’s Christmas market attack in which a Tunisian migrant murdered 12 people and injured dozens more by driving a truck loaded with steel beams into a busy Christmas market. But it was telling, as Uniyal observes, that the Merkel government categorized those killed and injured as victims of a “traffic accident.”

Dismembering Israel, Peace by Peace

Since Israel’s creation, the only way the “world community” has been able to conceive of achieving peace is by dismembering Israel. It is generally forgotten that before 1967 (while Israel was within the armistice borders of 1949) the Eisenhower administration proposed that Israel give up part of the Negev for “peace.” Since 1967, the peace proposals advanced by successive U.S. governments have all involved Israel’s returning to the old green line (at best with “minor” adjustments thrown in). It doesn’t matter if the administration is friendly to Israel (e.g. Reagan, George W. Bush) or hostile (none more so than Obama), the prescription is always the same.

Now it looks as if the current friendly administration of Donald Trump is going to go back to thumping the old, endlessly failed program. Since September 1993, when Israel made the colossal mistake of transforming Arafat and his terrorist PLO from irrelevant exiles in Tunisia to “peace partners” Israel has been hiving off control of territory (most recently Gaza) only to produce vastly more terror. The “peace partner” is now Abbas to whom Trump is making friendly approaches.

But Abbas has rejected all proposed peace deals that do not include the right of return (i.e. the end of the Jewish state). As Caroline Glick points out “any hypothetical deal a hypothetical Palestinian leader would accept, would endanger Israel’s very existence. So in the unlikely event that he [Trump] reaches ‘the deal,’ his achievement would imperil Israel, rather than protect it.”

With the Middle East in chaos, the Arab-Israel conflict should go to the back burner where it belongs. That seems to have been Trump’s first instinct and the right one.

Kaiser Wilhelm to “My Beloved Jews”

The following (translated by Erich Isaac) is from Sammy Gronemann’s Hawdoloh und Zapfenshtreich published In 1924. Gronemann, a well-known Jewish writer, served as a translator of documents—into Yiddish—in the German army during the First World War on the eastern front. Given the transformation of attitudes barely a decade later, all one can say is “No Comment.”

To my Dear Jews
The Tsar at the Kishinev Cemetery

This satiric flyer was dropped by the High Command of the German Army over Jewish populations making fun of the Tsarist professions of friendship to the Jews.

“In the first years of the war there was pure jubilation with the discovery of the Jews of Eastern Europe as the guardians of German nature and speech. There were enthusiastic songs of praise concerning their loyalty. And a collection of German literati (not confined to Jews) proved in profound discourses that the Eastern European Jews are actually genuine, true Germans–stubborn, tough and loyal bearers of German culture, committed defenders of German peoplehood through centuries of Slavic oppression. In the imperial headquarters a beautifully bound manifesto on this matter was accepted with enthusiasm. Emperor Wilhelm’s first impulse was to free all Eastern European Jews who were prisoners of war.

Fortunately this decision was countermanded for it would have cost the life of thousands of Russian Jewish soldiers [whom the Russians would have considered traitors]. Such names as Silberfarb and Mandelstamm, which used to be the subject of ironic marks by Reichs-Chancellor Bulow, now became symbols of Jewish-German loyalty and the word “Ostjude” was highly esteemed in the eyes of German nationalist patriots. It became a real political effort. Field Marshal Hindenburg and His Excellency Ludendorff distributed (including by plane) leaflets in Yiddish to the Jews of Lithuania and Poland which proclaimed the liberation of oppressed Russian Jews from the Tsarist yoke by the freedom and Jew-friendly German armies and the tight relationship and spiritual connection of Germans and Jews. Briefly it looked as if Kaiser Wilhelm had mobilized his army especially to save his much loved Eastern European Jews.”

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Comparing Mideast Refugees with Holocaust Victims What Are the Similarities? by Rabbi Aryeh Spero

Editor’s note: Valerie Greenfield, author of Backyard Caliphate writes: “Recently almost 2000 rabbis wrote a letter to President Trump and Congressional officials to ‘ensure that our refugee program be maintained and strengthened, not halted, paused or restricted.’” To AFSI one rabbi with a brain like Rabbi Spero is of more value than 2,000 rabbinical lemmings self-righteously leading their flock over the cliff.

President Trump has been under relentless attack from those on the Left against his efforts to limit immigration from terrorist-producing areas and his call for comprehensive vetting and background checks. Beyond doubt, it is the first and most important duty of a President to protect the lives of a country’s citizens, especially where a possibility exists of terrorists being embedded within a particular immigration flow. As the President previously stated, to not strictly enforce our immigration laws is “not compassion but recklessness”.

Some groups are exploiting the Holocaust to promote unrestricted Syrian and other Mideast immigration into this country. However, it is incorrect to draw a parallel between the Jews who fled Europe in the 1930s, who were, as Jews, specific targets for genocide and Nazi concentration camps, and those today wishing to escape the civil war in their Mideast countries. The Syrians, for example, are not being targeted because they are Muslims, and there is no Final Solution planned against them. Their civil wars have placed them in very difficult circumstances, but it is not comparable to the deliberate and planned Final Extermination which was specifically directed at Jews as Jews during the unparalleled Holocaust. It’s a different category altogether.

Furthermore, comparisons to the Holocaust situation are improper, for (2) there were no Nazi agents embedded within the fleeing Jews; (3) the Jews did not harbor a cultural or religious ideology wishing to sow physical destruction on the American people; and (4) there were no rabbis in the 1930s sending forth commands worldwide to destroy the “infidels”. Indeed, (5) the completely innocent Jews of Europe had nowhere to go, no country to take them in — there was not yet a State of Israel—whereas there are 57 Islamic states, many exceedingly wealthy, who could be providing safe haven to their Islamic brothers.

Protesing attacks on Christians

If there is a genocide parallel it involves the Christians of the Middle East who have for decades been targets of the Muslim genocide against them simply for being Christian. And yet, the Left has been silent regarding the plight of Christians. During the Obama years, Christian immigration here from Islamic territories was, based on population percentages, 90% less than what it should have been. Mr. Obama moralized about “not using a religious litmus test” to over-weight Muslim immigration, while severely undercutting and ignoring thousands of Christian refugees begging to be rescued from the Islamic jihad against them.

Thus, one can’t be blamed for wondering if specific concern by the Left for Muslim migrants and lack of concern or outrage regarding oppressed Christian refugees has more to do with transforming our demographics and historic culture, our voting patterns and outcomes, and diminishing the historic Judeo-Christian outlook in our civic life.

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Reflections on Daniel Gordis’s Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn by Roger A. Gerber

Daniel Gordis’s widely praised Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn, chosen as the 2016 book of the year by the National Jewish Book Council, is a highly readable popular history that covers the history of the State of Israel in a mere 425 pages of text, plus 27 pages of appendices that include helpful reference material, plus maps.

Gordis’s history has earned accolades from a wide range of luminaries including Ari Shavit, Dennis Ross, Michael Oren, Deborah Lipstadt and Yossi Klein Halevi, blurbs from all of whom adorn the back cover.

The book, taken as a whole, is a good popular primer but since it has received nothing but praise (with the exception of a generally favorable review by David Isaac in Washington Free Beacon that pointed out flaws), I will take this opportunity to point out some of the problematic sections in this account of Israel’s history.

Gordis does not profess to be a trained historian and his felicitous style masks the superficial treatment of several controversial topics of major import in Israel’s history, including the Altalena episode and the murder of Haim Arlosoroff, both of which roiled Israel’s society and politics from the early 1930’s (in the case of Arlosoff’s murder) to the present. After noting that the conviction of Jewish suspects was overturned by the British Court of Appeals, Rabbi Gordis concludes darkly that the murder “would not be the last time Jews killed Jews over political disagreements in the Jewish State”. This is despite the fact that it was never established that the murder of Arlosoroff was committed “over political disagreements”, nor that the killers were Jews. While Gordis writes that “Arlosoroff’s assassination remains a mystery,” he fails to indicate why this is so. Space precludes a discussion of the various speculations regarding the murder, including a possible connection to Arlosoroff’s alleged affair, while a student in Germany, with a close friend of his sister who subsequently became the wife of Joseph Goebbels. The thirty-four year old Arlosoroff was killed two days after he returned from negotiations in Germany arranged through Goebbels’ wife. The most plausible theory is that the killers were the two Arabs who actually confessed to the murder.

What is important to note is that the Arlosoroff murder left such an enduring scar on the Israeli body politic that in 1982, almost half a century after the crime, Prime Minister Menachem Begin, with cabinet approval, established an official commission of inquiry headed by David Bechor, a respected retired judge of Israel’s Supreme Court. In June 1985, after Begin’s retirement, the three man Bechor commission submitted a 202 page report unanimously exonerating the Revisionist suspects but failing to identify the perpetrators or to adduce new evidence in the case. Rabbi Gordis’s account gives no indication of the enduring impact on Israeli society of the Arlosoroff murder.

In discussing the ship named Altalena, whose destruction was the most divisive and dramatic episode in the birth of the State, Rabbi Gordis writes: “Suddenly, Palmach fighters …fired on the Altalena.” He fails to say that they did so on Ben-Gurion’s order or to mention his subsequent statement: “Blessed is the cannon that fired on the Altalena.” Sixteen Jews were killed, many others wounded, and large quantities of badly needed arms for the War of Independence destroyed. Gordis does write that among the Palmach commanders on the beach was Yitzhak Rabin, but without indicating that it was Rabin who commanded the group that first fired on the Altalena. In The Revolt, Menachem Begin devotes 22 pages to the discussion of the Altalena affair and it remains one of the most painful and controversial topics in Israel 69 years later.

In discussing the death of Avraham (“Yair”) Stern, the leader of Lechi (the underground group subsequently headed by future prime minister Yitzhak Shamir), Gordis asserts definitively that “Stern was killed in February 1942 in a shoot-out with British forces after a massive manhunt” (page 138). This is despite the fact that one of the three British officers alone with Stern admitted in an interview forty years later that the unarmed Stern was murdered in cold blood by a British officer. Even if Rabbi Gordis did not know this—and he should have—the official British story was considered highly suspect within the Jewish community from the beginning.

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

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