Friday, August 15, 2014

US Jewish leaders' deafening silence

Isi Leibler

Over the past few months, the Jewish state has been increasingly castigated by U.S. President Barack Obama and his spokesmen as part of botched efforts to bring about a settlement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The tense relationship deteriorated further in recent weeks when the U.S. ritual endorsement of Israel's right to self-defense was linked to criticisms of its behavior.
The U.S. is unquestionably Israel's principal ally. In contrast to most of the world, the American public and a bipartisan Congress remain overwhelmingly pro-Israel. Until this week, the U.S. has maintained the military partnership with Israel and exercised its veto powers to defend Israel from biased resolutions at the U.N. Security Council. Israel is therefore reluctant to confront the offensive statements emanating from the White House and has gone through the motions of minimizing differences.
Under such circumstances, one would have expected the American Jewish leadership to actively express its concern. Yet, other than the hawkish Zionist Organization of America, the Jewish establishment appears to have burrowed behind a curtain of deafening silence.

Raymond Ibrahim: The West’s Prostration to Islam

dhimmitudeI was recently interviewed by Fronda, a leading website in Poland.  The English-language version of the Polish interview, originally titled “Raymond Ibrahim: Prostration before Islam,” follows:
  1. Who is Raymond Ibrahim? A scholar, a writer, an activist? What is his mission and the main goal?
Raymond Ibrahim: I am a little of all that and more.  Due to my background, academic and personal, I have had a long interest in the Middle East and Islam, especially the historic and contemporary interaction between Islam and Christianity.  After the strikes of September 11, 2001, I took an interest in the current events of the region vis-à-vis the West, and what immediately struck me was how, on the one hand, the conflict was almost identical to the historic conflict, one of continuity—at least that is how many Muslims were portraying it.
But on the other hand, in the West, the narrative was very different and based on a “new paradigm,” one that saw Islam and Muslims as perpetual victims of all sorts of outside and material pressures, mostly from the West.  Thus the analyses that were being disseminated through media and academia were to my mind immensely flawed and, while making perfect sense to people in the West—for they were articulated through Western, secular, materialistic paradigms—had little to do with reality as I saw and understood it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

End the Arab-Israel War

In two sets of remarks, President Obama shared his concerns about what happens between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. He worries about the people of Gaza:
Long term, there has to be a recognition that Gaza cannot sustain itself permanently closed off from the world and incapable of providing some opportunity -- jobs, economic growth -- for the population that lives there…The question then becomes: can we find a formula in which Israel has greater assurance that Gaza will not be a launching pad for further attacks ... but at the same time ordinary Palestinians have some prospects for an opening of Gaza so that they do not feel walled off?
About Israel, not so much:
I don’t worry about Israel’s survival. ... I think the question really is how does Israel survive? And how can you create a State of Israel that maintains its democratic and civic traditions? How can you preserve a Jewish state that is also reflective of the best values of those who founded Israel? And, in order to do that, it has consistently been my belief that you have to [meaning Israel has] find a way to live side by side in peace with Palestinians... You [meaning Israel] have to recognize that they have legitimate claims, and this is their land and neighborhood as well.”

What Is to Be Done About Gaza?

Efraim Inbar
BESA Center Perspectives

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Operation Protective Edge has not weakened or threatened Hamas enough to encourage it to accept a ceasefire. Reconquering Gaza is an unlikely option. Involving international actors to help manage the conflict, uprooting Hamas leadership, and/or re-instating Mahmud Abbas as leader in Gaza are equally unlikely solutions. Consequently, the only option available to Israel is to once again "mow the grass" by launching another ground attack to the point where Hamas fears that its rule over Gaza is at stake.
Uprooting Hamas is not in the cards.
Hamas' refusal to accept a ceasefire indicates that the Protective Edge operation has so far failed to attain its modest goal of calm on Israel's border with Gaza. Jerusalem is not expecting peace or integration with its neighbors – it wants just to be left alone.
It is clear that Hamas does not feel weakened or threatened enough to accept a ceasefire. If most of their conditions are met, they might agree to a fragile ceasefire that can be violated at will, which will amount to a Hamas victory. Such an outcome will be disastrous for Israel, with negative political and strategic implications.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

“Barack Obama and David Cameron do not dare, even now, tell the truth about what Islamic State (or IS) are, or what motivates them”

ISISRobin Harris argues here for increased U.S. and U.K. military action, combined with active aid to trustworthy local factions. The problem with this is that no local factions favor pluralism and Western-style republican rule. Massive military intervention would just be a holding action postponing the fighting of various Sunni and Shi’ite factions, as it was before. There would have to be a massive change in the political culture of both countries, which is not on the horizon, before such an intervention could even have the possibility of being genuinely effective. But Harris is certainly correct that Obama, Cameron and other Western leaders don’t dare explain clearly or confront what the Islamic State is all about, for to do so would expose the catastrophic errors of the analyses on which both their countries have based key foreign policy decisions for years.
“ROBIN HARRIS: Our leaders are in denial about this Islamic revolution because it exposes their own naivety,” by Robin Harris, Daily Mail, August 11, 2014:

Monday, August 11, 2014

“Forecast Cloudy”

Before I look at that forecast, let me mention “Kaitana Savta,” which translates literally as “Camp Grandma” (it sounds better in Hebrew).  I am about to begin Kaitana Savta, which comes every year in August and is truly as much fun for me as for my grandkids. Starting tomorrow and in days ahead, I will have two and three kids sleeping here and going out where Savta takes them to have fun, or staying in to do games and arts and crafts.

This year especially, this time will help me regain my balance - after weeks of focusing on the war.
And so... I will be posting.  But less frequently, and perhaps – after today – with shorter posts.
Now, as to that forecast.  I use the term cloudy in two regards.  First, the clouds block our vision. And then, they suggest storms advancing. 
As most of you doubtlessly already know, an Israeli negotiating team is back in Cairo after Hamas agreed to yet another 72 hour ceasefire.  Hamas leaders had refused to extend the last one because they weren’t happy with the way negotiations were going.  And so, last Friday they began launching rockets again. 

Rocket strikes prompt Israel to briefly close Gaza border crossing

After rockets were fired at Kerem Shalom crossing, endangering workers transferring aid into Gaza, Defense Ministry closed crossing temporarily • Rockets fired on Tel Aviv just before cease-fire • IAF kills 12 terrorists in targeted strikes.

A rocket strikes the Kerem Shalom border crossing
Photo credit: Defense Ministry

Lessons of the war in Gaza

Daniel Pipes

As Israeli operations against Hamas wind down, here are seven insights into the month-long conflict:
Missile shield: The superb performance of Iron Dome, the protective system that shot down nearly every Hamas rocket threatening life or property, has major military implications for Israel and the world. Its success signals that "Star Wars" (as opponents maliciously dubbed it upon introduction in 1983) can indeed provide protection from short-range and also presumably from long-range rockets and missiles, potentially changing the future of warfare.
Tunnels: Tunneling behind enemy lines is hardly a new tactic; historically, it has had success, as in the 1917 Battle of Messines, when British mines killed 10,000 German soldiers. The Israel Defense Forces knew of Hamas' tunnels before hostilities began on July 8 but failed to appreciate their numbers, length, depth, quality of construction, and electronic sophistication. Jerusalem quickly realized, as the Times of Israel wrote, that "Israel's air, sea and land supremacy is not mirrored underground." The IDF thus requires additional time to achieve subterranean dominance.

Hiroshima's Lessons for the War on Terror

Sultan Knish
In the summer of '45, the United States concluded a war that had come to be seen by some as unwinnable after the carnage at Iwo Jima with a bang.

On August 6th, the bomb fell on Hiroshima. And then on the 9th, it was Nagasaki's turn. Six days later, Japan, which had been preparing to fight to the last man, surrendered.

For generations of liberals those two names would come to represent the horror of America's war machine when they actually saved countless American and Japanese lives.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Thousands march calling for Chile to sever ties with Israel


Pro-Palestinian rallies held in New York, South American country following similar demonstrations in London, Cape Town.

child palestinian
Supporters and members of the Palestine community attend a rally for peace in Gaza, in Santiago, August 9, 2014. Photo: REUTERS
Some 5,000 people marched through the streets of Santiago on Saturday, to call for the Chilean government to break all ties with Israel.
The protest consisted of members of various social organizations, human rights activists, university students, members of Chile's Palestinian community and civilians.
Palestinian descendent Uasim Barros participated in the march and said that Chile's continued ties with Israel would mean it is being an accomplice to the bombardment of the Gaza Strip.
"We are present at this march to demand that the Chilean state, once and for all, break all types of relationships with Israel. The government would be acting as an accomplice to this huge massacre that Israel is carrying out against Palestine," he said.
Another Palestinian descendent also pleaded for Israel to stop the destruction and killings of his people.