Saturday, August 23, 2014

Palestine & the UN a Deal made in Hell

If Palestinian demands are a problem for Israel, it is only because we are trapped on a merry-go-round of Arab creation that defines the conflict in terms of singular Arab injustice without reference to our own past.  There are those who view all history as no more than a point of view. The fascists will remind us that one persons history is another persons mythology.  That is no more than cant, humbug and an ethically neutral convenience for fools.  Nor is history the mistranslation of historical documents to suit a particular narrative preference. That is the stuff from which an Orwellian future controlled by bigots is made.   A brief recap of history – from our side is therefore in order.

In 634 CE the conquest of Israel began with Mohammed’s successor Abu Bakr.  What imperial Rome had begun, the Arab horde finished.  Co-existence which was, until the 7th Century CE a relatively (usually) benign accommodation between native Jews and Christians was substituted for an Arab conquest that rapidly left the land desolate, lawless, a place of destruction and despair.  But the Arab conquerors built some nice mosques (such as the Dome of the Rock). A conquering power stamps its domination on a nations psyche by creating an architecturally imposing physical presence.   While the indigenous Israelites starved it was important to supplant the local ethnic cultural symbols with those of the replacement authority.

In spite of the Roman destruction, Christian dominance, the Muslim degradation of minorities under its control, successive invasions by (in order of conquest): Arab Caliphates, Crusaders, Ayyubids, Mamluks, Ottomans and finally, the British Mandate for Palestine, Jews never completely abandoned Israel.  It has always been our spiritual home even when, as a minority in Israel, we were persecuted.

The return to Israel has been continuous, hampered only by natural disasters and human infamy. Starting with the Karaites in the Tenth Century CE, Jews returned in relatively large numbers all the way through to what is termed “The First Aliyah” in 1882.   The ‘other’ immigration that as a consequence of Jewish immigration accelerated once Britain took control of the territory was the Arab immigration to Palestine. Up to half a million people slipped into Palestine while Britain tried it’s hardest to keep Jews out, even as the Shoah cast its deadly shadow over European Jewry. 

Three important statements that we must never forget but equally important, that we must never allow anyone else to forget:  

  • The imprimatur of United Nations (UN) approval was important but not crucial to the creation of modern Israel. 
  • The State of Israel would have been born without international approval marking as it did the Jewish expression of self-determination in opposition to Arab oppression. 
  • With the Declaration of Independence by Israel on May 14, 1948 the Jewish intifada against Muslim colonial rule came to an end.
But in response to this successful revolution against Arab colonial oppression the UN created a time-bomb.  In an unprecedented act of cynical inhumanity, one that has not been repeated since, the UN created a bogus Palestinian identity that with the slightest irony, included Jewish Israelis (but for a couple of years only).

UNRWA (United Nations Relief Works Agency) defines a Palestinian refugee as a person "whose normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict. The descendants of Palestine refugee males, including legally adopted children, are also eligible for registration.

Incredible but true. What this means is that an Egyptian, Iraqi or in truth, a British or American migrant worker who arrived in Israel at the age of 47 and resided there sometime between 1st June 1946 and 15th May 1948 automatically became a Palestinian citizen by right. How they proved that residence is not apparent nor does it appear to have ever been a requirement. If 66 years later (in August 2014) a wealthy Palestinian family living for the last three generations in Qatar adopts a Polynesian infant, that same infant becomes a Palestinian refugee and is entitled to every benefit UNRWA’s refugee status bestows.

I am not going to say that this identity is not now legitimate or that their persecution by their Muslim brothers and sisters is not just unfair but cynical and immoral.  A conspiracy by Israel’s enemies have made them a tragic people – and helped all Arabs be something they are not.  They are not victims of Western colonialism, they are victims of Islamic indifference to fate; an instrument with which to attack the non-Arab peoples in their midst.

Some time ago Palestinian supporters in the West were accusing Israel (and her supporters) of the twin charges of 1) genocide and 2) suppressing the rights of ten million Palestinians.  When coupled with the accusation of genocide a 1,300 percent increase in population, over 50 years, was at best problematic. It did not make for good propaganda.  UNRWA’s current position is that after 66 years there are five million Palestinians under its care.  It would be interesting to hear from the UN what the justification is for losing some five million “refugees.”

Palestinian identity is eternal, or at least until they destroy the Jewish state.  But this also assumes that the Arab states, in the afterglow of their anticipated success, permit the Palestinians their own state.  Eternal Palestinian victim-hood means ‘a free ride’, money from out of the pockets of the 19 Western nations that fund the UN and the right never to be master or mistress of their own fate.  The Muslim world is happy because it is a distraction from their crimes. Palestinians receive ten pounds (dollars) for every pound (dollar) that Africa’s refugees receive. The logical conclusion is that Arab lives are worth ten times that of black refugees.  It is an unpleasant claim to appease but then how else to explain the global silence as Muslims ethnically cleanse every minority they gain control over? 

This is not a class – race distraction ‘fuelled by western imperialism’ or any other cliché the politically correct ‘jury’ likes to throw around as an accusation against the West. Nor is it a matter of white on non-white indifference.  The UN is controlled by a coalition of what is bizarrely referred to as “developing nations,” bizarre because this bloc of nations includes the world’s wealthiest oil-drenched dictatorships.  The UN is manipulated through the malevolent offices of the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation), the largest political bloc at the UN.  When churches, temples or synagogues are destroyed, no UN agency utters a syllable in protest.  When ancient treasures of beauty and antiquity are obliterated there is an uninterrupted but deafening silence which is only ever pierced by cries of indignation, mutilation and the death of many, many innocents, none of them Islamic, when the Muslim prophet Mohammed is allegedly insulted.   Such breathtakingly cynical behaviour is the reason the UN is the precision propaganda weapon the Muslim world is able to so successfully employ against Israel and it is not only Israel’s problem but one for the rest of humanity. While the UN continues to exist, international political cooperation is no more than a market place for thugs.  Cynical exploitation by rival power blocs resides in the abuse of people to the benefit of narrow sectarian agendas.  But there is a simple solution to the dilemma created by the existence of the benighted UN.

If only nations that shared full diplomatic relations with their adversaries were able to put forward agenda items or resolutions that affected either of the parties in conflict the UN in its current form, as an instrument of propaganda, might cease to exist.

Israel must first tackle the institutional bias against it inside the UN, before it will be able to resolve the conflict between it and the Arab nation.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hamas and Political Legitimacy

We are always told that it is better to deal with “the devil you know than the devil you don’t”. Put another way, given the example of the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq or civil war in Syria, the known is always preferable to the unknown?

It is a statement too often expressed.  I do not understand why.

HAMAS is a reactionary Muslim fundamentalist political entity. It has what I call a “Hitler Complex”.

This means that HAMAS is so sure of its own theological infallibility it is willing to sacrifice its own population in a destructive war to first humiliate its enemy and then, to destroy it, utterly.  It does not view the suffering of its people as an issue nor is time a factor for consideration in how long is needed to achieve victory.  The only possible issue that may make HAMAS pause, but never stop, is the possibility of being overthrown. In order to achieve victory HAMAS must retain control, which is why they executed dozens of ordinary Palestinians for protesting against the war being waged from their front yards.

Ben Caspit, writing in Ma’ariv on the 14th of August explained the HAMAS strategy thus: No agreement is possible unless it is on their terms, no deterrence will affect their goal. The Islamic nation must govern Palestine “From the River to the Sea”.  It’s supporters in the West are often heard in demonstrations chanting this genocidal slogan. Ben Caspit concludes by stating that “The only way to break the cycle of conflict is by removing the irritant completely.”

HAMAS have fought a war of attrition (with mortars, missiles and terror attacks) against Israel since their consolidation of rule in Gaza in 2007.  Between the Palestinian Authority and HAMAS there was little choice. The PA was and is a racist, misogynistic and hate driven organisation fuelled by greed.  It has received billions of dollars in aid since its formal return from exile.  Exchanging a secular but corrupt government with a theocratic but corrupt government was at best, unfortunate.  Major-General (res.) Giora Eiland (former head of Israel's National Security Council) writing in an Op-ed that was published in Ynet news on the fifth of August stated that Gazans are to blame for their situation just like Germans were to blame for electing Hitler.

It is certainly sad but true.  And the PA is no more deserving of trust now than when it lost control of Gaza to HAMAS.

The issue for Israel is that it seems incapable of fighting this war with any strategy that extends beyond the next military flare up. Its international Hasbara efforts are barely discernible and its professional cadre of PR people are almost incapable of scoring points in the propaganda war when dealing with hostile news agencies or journalists.    

Israel’s victory in Operation Protective Edge must be absolute. HAMAS must be overthrown.  Israel has to address the psychological war being waged against all of us, and not only the war being waged against Israel.   The threat of an expanding boycott is meant to ensure that Israel’s military victory is a Pyrrhic victory.  By demoralising Israel’s supporters and demonstrating the steadfastness of opposition to the Jewish state it is a reminder to Israel and all of us in the Diaspora of our vulnerability.

Resurgent antisemitism? This is our punishment for ‘disobedience’. There is much criticism on the Left about Israel’s own issue of religious intolerance and the ‘Settlements’, and not just outside Israel.  Israel has its fair share of near-sighted policies.  By not confronting religious intolerance, by not rejecting any attempt to impose a narrow particularistic template on society we encourage social exclusion, not diversity.  But by ignoring religious issues in the greater Near-East we do ourselves no favours. Islam is a deeply hostile, colonialist faith and unless we draw attention to this fact we cannot negotiate as equals.

Dealing with the political issue first will not defuse the religious issues because they are intertwined.  When Jews, as Israeli’s, are informed that Jerusalem is a Jewish fiction, that they have no rights other than as ‘paying tourists’ then this is more than a negotiating tactic. It is contemptuous disregard for over a thousand years of persecution under Islam and three thousand years of Jewish history.

In historical terms Judaism is not a colonialist faith, nor is Zionism. Zionism was guilty of incredible naivety in thinking that a Jewish-Arab Utopia was possible or that radicals on the Arab-Muslim political-religious continuum would ever accept Jewish self-determination.  But after 47 years in Judea and Samaria the lack of political will in policing the settlement enterprise has demonstrated to both Israeli’s and the outside world that the radicals are allowed to control the agenda.   That is not colonialism. It is political cowardice and an unforgivable ignorance of history.  Whether territory is disputed or occupied loses relevance as a legal term when the political will to control unregulated settlement is completely absent. That is when the term ‘colonialism’ becomes difficult to argue against.

Israel has failed to address the centrality of an antisemitic narrative to Muslim - Arab negotiations.  When it is clearly an everyday part of social discourse it is inevitable that it will seep into and inexorably suffuse the negotiating position of Israel’s enemies. Under circumstances such as these an enemy negotiating from a position of perceived international political advantage can not be trusted.

What is important is how we behave within our separate societies.  Trust has to be developed.  If we cannot explain the injustice that we have internalised how can we explain it to the doubters within the international community?

To return to the question of HAMAS, I can only repeat what Ben Caspit expressed. When an enemy is determined to break you, negotiations become no more than an interim tactic as part of an overall strategy of fighting an unequal war.  To this there can only be one reasonable response. You break them. The question of what may replace them becomes irrelevant. Of greater importance is how quickly, to quote Caspit, can we safely excise the irritant?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

How the BBC and Sky News side with HAMAS

Prior to the kidnapping of three Israeli seminarians a poll showed support for HAMAS at an all time low of 15%.  It acquiesced to a one-sided reconciliation agreement, signed in Cairo, with its also corrupt Palestinian Authority rival.  HAMAS received no ceremonial or actual positions in the new Authority ‘coalition’; it received no financial benefit. With this new agreement Gaza’s 40,000 HAMAS employees did not receive a single penny in contribution towards their salary bill.  It signed a piece of paper which we can assume they hoped would facilitate HAMAS infiltration into their rival’s power base. The aim was surely to eventually seize political control of the Palestinian Authority. 

In its past Gaza received cash, supplies and weaponry from Egypt, Turkey, Qatar (its principal fundraiser) and Iran (its main military supplier).   HAMAS was founded as an offshoot of the Egyptian racist, fascist political organization known as The Muslim Brotherhood.  But Egypt was fundamentally destabilized by the Muslim Brotherhood.  So when el-Sisi seized control he outlawed it.  He then blocked all funds to HAMAS (which had contributed to Egypt’s problems by its activities in the Sinai), shutting down the thousand or so tunnels that made Gaza’s military and political elite enormously wealthy amidst Gaza’s poverty. 

Qatar, without the tunnels was unable to transfer its funds to HAMAS while Iran has found it increasingly difficult to successfully smuggle weapons into Gaza.  The closure of tunnels made the task almost impossible.  During Operation Protective Edge Turkey exported ball bearings to Gaza amongst a civilian transport passing through Israel. Israel refused it because there was only one use in time of conflict for ball bearings and that was in fragmentation weapons that would kill large numbers of people.

It is against this background that HAMAS refused the offer by Israel not to escalate the cold war into a military conflagration.  It realized that it had nothing to lose and everything perhaps to gain by eliciting international support.  Support it needed for the lifting of the siege against it and the opening of a sea-port and airport under its control. It violated or refused seven separate ceasefires offered or accepted unconditionally by Israel.  HAMAS was desperate and desperate regimes are dangerous to themselves and their people.

It is estimated that Israel destroyed two thirds of Gaza’s military infrastructure and a similar percentage of its missiles.

And now a controversial statement:

The main barrier to the overthrow of HAMAS is the support shown by the press against Israel, a support that barely exists at this time in most of the Arab world but is growing throughout the Western World.

On the evening of August the 9th I listened to the British Broadcasting Commission. The BBC is funded by obligatory public taxation and is the largest News organization in the world. I also listened to Britain’s Sky News.  Both had extensive reports on the ongoing conflict between HAMAS and Israel.  Referring to what one of them labelled “the so called Humanitarian ceasefire” their video extracts emphasized the injured children on the Palestinian side. If I had not known better I would have been sold to the Palestinian cause.  In both cases the reports were crafted to eke out maximum sympathy for Gaza and the Palestinian people while reviling their Israeli ‘tormentors’. The BBC made clear by its report that it sided with Gaza (HAMAS).  The BBC ended its Gaza tale stating that after all the years of siege, HAMAS would not return to the “quiet” of the past without a lifting of that siege.

It is a perfectly reasonable statement in the aftermath of the devastation and loss of life.  One can never complain about the professionalism of either news outlet. The pathos was exquisite.  But both the BBC and Sky at that time behaved as activists for genocide. They erased the Islamist ideology, the aggressive military stance of HAMAS and the ethnic cleansing of Southern Israel.

They ignored the genocidal anti-Jewish rhetoric that suffuses Palestinian society and that Palestinian Arab children receive from kindergarten through to adulthood. 

As none of this is mentioned in any British news reporting HAMAS is rehabilitated rather than being damned.  Sky News led with a long interview with a paralyzed seven year old girl.  Her interview was eloquent and heart breaking. The interview was inaccurate and the reporter refused to take any questions from Israel afterwards even though his journalistic integrity is clearly in doubt.  Israel is damned by its deliberate exclusion from the narrative and Sky News won kudos for an excellent piece of tragic theater.

And then we have Channel 4 News which has its own special reputation for unbridled pro-Arab news reporting.  On the evening of August 11th Channel 4 News broadcast a clip on the desperate situation in Iraq.  They managed to completely subvert the message by overlaying a voice recording about four teenagers in Gaza, downplaying the significance of the Iraqi crisis while focusing on Israeli actions. I would not have thought it was possible.

So it is realistic to say that at least in the UK the press has abandoned all impartiality.  Its eagerness to draw us into one sided video presentations on Palestinian victim-hood against an evil Israeli juggernaut is professionally skillful even as it overlooks Palestinian complicity.

It is ironic that the real genocide happening in Israel’s neighborhood cannot be prevented without troops on the ground and air strikes that will inevitably kill many innocent civilians in Iraq.   But in the UK reports on the Yezidi genocide are sanitized, laundered so that what we see are geometrically ordered pictures of men in non-descript uniforms waving black flags while smiling sweetly for the cameras.  These same smiling heroes of Islamic supremacy in Iraq and beyond have crucified Christians, buried women and babies alive and while not independently verified, beheaded babies, filling a park with their spiked macabre trophies. IS (the fighters of “the Islamic State”) have lined up hundreds of civilians in ditches and murdered them just like the Nazis did in WW2. It is irrelevant whether IS’s victims are Assyrian Christians (Chaldean), Jewish, Kurdish, Yezidi, Turkmen, African, Mandaean, or even the wrong kind of Muslim. This black flag waving army of evil are storm troopers for the Muslim Brotherhood, al Qaeda, al Shabab, Boko Haram, Hezbollah and HAMAS.  Their provenance is a dishonorable line stretching back all the way down to 6th Century Arabia and they are as always an ever present tool of Muslim conquest.  But in the Western World we say very little in case we offend them!

None of what the Islamic State, Boko Haram et al is capable of committing compares though, according to Britain’s news networks, with acts of Israeli self-defense and juxtaposing this, Palestine’s slick cinematic pathos, fabricated film footage and scenes of devastation in Gaza.   There is a distressing visual impact to bombardment but Israel is at war and only a collaborationist thinks that turning the other cheek will make HAMAS or the Palestinians happy.  They want our heads.

So a reminder then.  HAMAS is an acronym for the Islamic Resistance Movement. HAMAS believes in a Hudna or temporary cease-fire to last ten years.  During this time Israel will withdraw to the pre-1967 disengagement borders.  Israel will permit all people classified as refugees by the UN to return to Israel. HAMAS affirms the right to establish an Islamic state in the area that is Israel, Gaza, Judea and Samaria (renamed in 1950 after its conquest by Jordan as “the West Bank”).  HAMAS remains committed to Israel’s destruction.

If HAMAS was weak and failing prior to Operation Protective Edge it is news networks such as the BBC, Sky News and Britain’s Channel 4 News that are now propping them up. As such they are responsible for killing Palestinian children.  It is they who give succor to an organization that willingly sacrifices its own women and children for the dream of annihilating the Jews, one of the many existential enemies it would wish to destroy.

If HAMAS provides the rocket fire that has violated seven cease-fires (in the current campaign) then Britain’s Left wing fascist press is guilty of War Crimes, by giving oxygen to this murderous organization.

If HAMAS provides the theater, Sky News, the BBC and Britain’s Channel 4 News provide the global audience.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Gaza and the Lessons Israel Must Learn

During the last few weeks I have been struggling to write anything about Gaza because I have been overwhelmed by the huge quantity of articles and emails relating to this, the third hot conflict to take place between Israel and HAMAS in six years.  What has transpired since the hot war began on July 8th should not have surprised anyone because the so called “cold war” has been ongoing since HAMAS seized power in 2007.

The problem I have with the global reaction to the Israeli campaign is that the world remained silent as approximately 15,000 missiles and mortar rounds were fired indiscriminately, at Israel, and all this since Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005.  Referring to the IS assault on Mosul and the flight of Christians from Iraq the world remained silent according to Patrick Coburn, (no friend of Israel) who, writing in The Independent said “It is the greatest mass flight of Christians in the Middle East since the Armenian massacres and the expulsion of Christians from Turkey during and after the First World War.”  Between 170,000 and 200,000 people have been slaughtered in Syria during the Syrian Civil War but Muslim and anti-war demonstrators have been all but silent throughout. The world has conveniently ignored over 10,000 Black people (mostly Christians) killed in Nigeria – and no-one mentions the hundreds of girls who were kidnapped there anymore. There are more conflicts that we have similarly ignored – either due to Muslim ‘sensitivity’ or for some other inexplicable, likely racist reason.

Another problem, as I referred to in my previous blog, is that there exists a pattern of condemnation and non-debate representing a relentless campaign of condemnation of Israel and an incessant assault on our senses.  This silence on the central role played by Gaza’s Muslim fundamentalists in ethnic cleansing and war crimes is not so mystifying when we understand the thought processes that afflict Gaza’s Western co-conspirators.  This silence should not surprise us even when actions from Gaza into Israel are clearly manufactured to cause as many civilian casualties as possible.  If a maximalist theology such as Islamism, views any casualty as no more than a sacrifice for the glorification of Islam then neither Israeli nor Palestinian lives are of any importance. Islam refers to itself as the religion of peace but its fundamentalist adherents have a frightening enthusiasm for what one article aptly described as “the human sacrifice of Gaza’s people on the altar of radical, Islamic ideology.”

There are five clear points to be made when looking at Operation Protective Edge.  Israel should have understood this and taken all of the following into account well before the current conflict erupted.

1.       The nation that controls the streaming of news to the outside world will win the propaganda war and as a consequence, the peace that follows on from the ceasefire. 
2.       Not everyone has the tools or the energy that is needed to defend themselves against incessant media attacks on Israel. Jews who have traditionally been Israel’s most fervent supporters are increasingly divided because of how Israel is portrayed in the media. It does not help that Jewish Uncle Toms become ever more vociferous in their condemnation of not only Israel but also ‘partisan’ Jewish support in the Diaspora.
3.        Diplomatic attacks on Israel increase with frequency and greater visibility as Palestinian casualties rise.  Politicians scramble to win votes from disgruntled Muslim and pro-Muslim voters.   Diplomatic isolation will encourage those people who call for Israel to be economically isolated.
4.       An asymmetric war is a war between belligerents with one side significantly weaker than the other.  Civilians become both willing and unwilling participants in battle, which in the case of Israel-HAMAS is fought in an urban environment.  Women and children become human shields for Arab fighters who quickly retire from the field of engagement. They deliberately leave the civilians to suffer the greatest proportion of the casualties while HAMAS fighters safely hide in those closeted underground shelters meant only for them.
5.        Active or passive collaboration by UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) has resulted in UN funded clinics being rigged with explosives to kill, UNRWA staff being active HAMAS operatives and operating from schools, clinics and hospitals. Know your enemy.

I want to put forward my impressions, from afar; my lessons for any future conflicts that Israel must deal with.  The sentences in quotation marks (excepting the Quote from the founder of the Huffington Post) come from an exhibition on propaganda, power and persuasion that took place at the British Library in London, England.

1.            “Using appropriate symbolism can generate deep psychological resonances.” When pictures of devastation and death are prominently displayed people do not care how many terrorists are embedded within Gaza’s civilian population, or that they use human shields as a matter of tactical military design.  Nor will they be interested in the niceties of international war crimes statutes which declare that it is illegal for a combatant to wear civilian clothing when engaged in hostile military activity.

 “Too many reporters have forgotten that the highest calling of journalists is to ferret out the truth, consequences be damned.” Arianna Huffington

2.            The truth is unimportant – only the sound bite counts.  “Decide on your message and stick to it, repeating it in as many different media as you can mobilize.”
3.      Israeli babies and Israeli children, brutally murdered by Palestinians, have been deliberately re-labelled as Gazan victims of the Israeli assault and then, their pictures forwarded, in some instances, hundreds of thousands of times, as proof of Israeli cruelty. The modern media is instantaneous, has no scruples and rarely apologies for its errors.    Even when it is forced to make amends it is by then too late to have any impact.  Initial impressions are what stick while afterthoughts are predictably disregarded.
4.            “Be selective about the truth. Control how and when information is released. Ensure only stories that support your position are reported.”  A picture tells a thousand stories. It is a cliché but nevertheless, in propaganda, it is truth.  HAMAS has willingly sacrificed hundreds of its own people in the current conflict and that is a tactical decision as well.  Every televised act of destruction, every picture of a wounded or dead child acts to create a lasting impression of unforgiving brutality.

There are eight issues:

1.      The bigots and their purveyors of hate will always tell you that we (the Zionists) control the media.  Gosh, wouldn’t it be nice if it was true? But it never has been. I once discussed this same issue with a senior Sikh manager at British Telecom plc (where I worked for many years).  He told me that ‘the Jews’ controlled the global press. I said if that was true, how is it possible that Germany was able to incite Germans against their Jewish compatriots and how was it possible that the Shoah was ‘permitted’ to occur? He looked momentarily sheepish and then recovering, he said “I meant that since the end of WW2….”  You cannot convince a racist that they are at fault, you can only isolate them.

2.      People are offended when Jews label another person or group ‘Nazi,’ as if once they were defeated the toxic entity that ruled Germany between 1933 and 1945 was banished forever.  The difference between fascism and Nazism is that the former may express an attitude of contempt for a minority but does not necessarily use violence as a means of controlling society. The latter expresses an exterminationist doctrine. HAMAS is a Nazi organization.  If its target group are all Jews, it does not mean that like the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS or ISIL), it will not turn on Christians and every other minority within its territory once it has disposed of us.

It may be argued that this war was inevitable given both the blockade of Gaza by Israel and Egypt, and continuous missile attacks from Gaza into Israel that preceded the initial blockade.  Most Israelis do not believe that Israel provoked the conflict but are certain that its military tried to minimize enemy casualties. We are frequently reminded by those people who want us punished that Gaza’s civilian population democratically chose HAMAS to govern them.  Gaza’s civilian population voted into power a Muslim Nazi political party.  Time and again it has expressed a desire to kill every Jew and not just those in Israel.  It is a message we should convey to reporters at every briefing or interview (but we fail to do it).

3.      It must be emphasized that HAMAS rules Gaza with an iron fist. It may not be lobbing missiles and mortar rounds into Israel but if it rules Gaza by right then it is obligated to exercise control over those other groups that have fired rounds into Israeli territory.  Governments cannot ‘have it both ways’.  In November 2012 when Operation Pillar of Defense came to an end HAMAS operatives did not fire any further missiles at Israel.  During 2013 five missiles per month on average, were fired at Israel but between January and June 2014 this increased to 33 missiles hitting Israeli territory each month.  This is, by definition, ethnic cleansing and each indiscriminately fired missile, a war crime.  Israel could never relax while missiles were being sent across its southern borders.  Sovereign authority, which HAMAS claims to exercise in Gaza, means that it is responsible for any weapons fired from its territory.

We seem reluctant to remind people that the estimated 600,000 tons of cement HAMAS  diverted from civilian projects was used instead to build a myriad of underground warrens to protect its ‘fighters’, to store offensive weapons and to launch attacks against Israeli civilian targets.  Those thirty two known tunnels that were extended into Israel were a legitimate casus belli for Israel’s Gaza assault.

4.      Michael Walzer explained the rule of proportionality thus:  “If you are aiming at military targets (rocket launchers, for example) and know that your attack will also cause civilian casualties (collateral damage), you must make sure that the number of dead or injured civilians is "not disproportionate" to the value of the military target. Needless to say, this is a highly subjective calculation and has rarely been much of a limit on military attacks: This target is very valuable, the generals say; almost any number of civilian deaths is justifiable. Nor has proportionality provided much of a guideline for moral judgments: Even a very low number of civilian deaths, the moralists say, are disproportionate and a war crime.”

It is that final sentence that creates the dream situation for HAMAS and the nightmare for Israel.

5.      After the Meir Amit Intelligence and Information Center (ITIC) published a list of hundreds of names of militants killed in the current conflict that same evening Gaza’s ministry of the interior issued a warning to all Palestinians not to divulge information about terrorist operatives killed in Operation Protective Edge.  The New York Times explained the debate thus: “The difference between roughly half the dead being combatants, in the Israeli version, or barely 10 percent, to use the most stark numbers on the other side, is wide enough to change the characterization of the conflict.”

HAMAS talks with one voice. All casualty figures are released via the HAMAS run Ministry of Health.  HAMAS does not draw a distinction between civilians and combatants. It categorizes all victims as civilian.  The Times of London analyzed the available data and showed that the age group of 20 to 29 years was “most likely to be militants”.  9% of Gaza fits this age group but 34% of the killed fitted into this age-group.  Other analyses put the militant deaths as high as 62% (based on fighting age alone).   HAMAS are alleged to have “executed” dozens of civilians for protesting against the war and dozens more accused of being collaborators (often grudge killings).    Then there are the misfires, the most infamous taking place at the Shifa hospital, plus at least two school ‘accidents.’  The following pattern would be amusing if it was not so tragic. The furore over a misfired rocket killing “dozens of civilians” and sparking outrage from presidents, prime-ministers, the secretary general of the UN and human rights commissioners subsides within a day if an Arab misfire is suspected but drags on for many days until the next alleged atrocity if it is the result of an Israeli strike.

6.      Many journalists have now admitted that they were hostages to HAMAS during the time they spent in Gaza.  Journalists not considered to be sympathetic to Israel have nevertheless reported that missiles were fired from densely populated civilian areas and that journalists were deliberately detained during military actions while HAMAS directed fire at Israel.  Most reported their plight only once they had left Gaza.

7.     The UN refuses to shut down what has become the largest (and arguably, the most corrupt) organisation inside the UN with some 30,000 staff (many of them HAMAS operatives).  UNRWA does not work for the benefit of the Palestinian people nor does it work to resolve conflict. It is an essential weapon in the war of attrition waged internationally against Israel by the Muslim – Arab world.

In an article in the New York Times, internal dissent and “open discourse” about the conflict were listed as two of the casualties in Israel resulting from Operation Protective Edge. 

8.      During a time of war or imminent threat we pull together to help and support each other. It is a human survival strategy and not as the New York Times bizarrely referred to it.  But the strategy which ensured that politicians kept their individual as well as collective mouths shut during the offensive failed when it came to Moshe Feiglin.  What anyone thinks of Feiglin is irrelevant. What he said was so controversial that it deflected attention away from the conflict and potentially, he created divisions within Israeli society at a time when the nation needed to be unified.

He should have been sacked from his post of Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and expelled from the Likud.  It should still happen.

In summary, you cannot win a conflict if your focus is on one threat at a time. The civilian campaign is both voluntary and coerced. It includes as its foot soldiers a whole swathe of the international press as well as Muslim and pro-Muslim – “anti-Zionist” activists in the West.  For the next round Israel must take all of this into account. It must begin working on strategies to defeat this enemy now.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Gaza and the Antidote to all that Bad News

My wife’s antidote to constant news bombardment about airplanes blown out of the sky over Ukraine and the conflict with HAMAS is an episode of “Everybody loves Raymond” followed by back to back episodes of “Frazier”.  I appreciate it sounds superficial but in a 24-hour a day news environment the twin news items I referred to at the beginning are pounced on by partisan journalists and international news agencies to fill the airwaves with speculation, misinformation, trite analyses meant for the soporifically inclined mind and propaganda. It could easily continue for weeks until something else replaces it (see how the airwaves were saturated with rumor, conjecture and excited gossip after Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared).  It isn’t too difficult to turn off the news completely, if that is what you want.  We do not need to be spoon-fed the news, 24/7.  But the issue is that unless you are utterly self-absorbed, constant media bombardment will have an impact, even, if only tangentially, on how you view events.

In Israel during times of increased conflict and war there is community and solidarity. Here in the UK, as in most of the developed world, there is no war and conflicts are viewed as entirely political.  Everything is viewed through a prism that is back lit by money and what can be achieved by spreading vast amounts of it around.  It is of course an obscene and unethical philosophy that feeds this thinking. Perhaps it is the source of the West’s infirmity.  In parts of our world that are labeled “developed” most nations have suffered centuries of needless, often fratricidal, blood soaked conflict.  There is little mood for understanding or acknowledging complexity.

 Jon Snow (principal news reader at Britain’s Channel 4 News) is pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel. Curiously, his bio on Wikipedia fails to mention his connection to MAP (Medical Aid for Palestine).  Nevertheless he expressed the common frustration shared by too many people when a few days ago he attacked the Israeli spokesperson by condemning Israel for failing to “speak to HAMAS”.  When you are informally negotiating with an enemy that has articles of its constitution declaring global annihilation for not just Israel but for all Jews everywhere issues such as talking and trust are not quite so simple.

But this does highlight the simplistic view that most people have of the war and its antecedents, even if Jon Snow is guilty of dissimulation and journalistic cant.

Conflict as an existential struggle is for the fanatic fringe that increasingly dominates street protests and campuses, and for philosophers teaching in our universities whose pathway to fame is linked to creating new, muscular disciplines around identity politics.  But for most of us, any conflict for survival is “so last century”.

Except it isn’t.  The fall of the Soviet Union left many on the far-left adrift and the Palestinian cause reunited them. There exists across most of the globe an intensifying communion of hate led by a Muslim-extreme Left coalition and the danger is that the extreme left will, with unwavering enthusiasm drift towards the center as society’s discomfort with acceptable bigotry ceases to be an oxymoron.  If passion determines commitment then it is the fanatic that is most committed to change and the people who are most vocal and visible in the press, in our universities and through the electronic media in influencing society.

This expanding coalition is the hell we face if our Hasbara (information) policy continues to be a combination of government indifference and ineffective counter propaganda. The "Jewish World" has been in ideological turmoil through religious upheaval and mutual sectarian disdain for so long that it is in danger of rushing blindly into self-imposed oblivion while the threat from political extremism and ever larger Muslim immigration into the West will create the conditions by which Nazism could easily return to the mainstream within another decade. The time to mobilize against multiple threats (and not just to the Western way of life) but also to a flight from most centers of Jewish life outside of Israel into a few concentrated ‘safe-areas’ is long past.

Of course we could always turn off the TV, ditch our cell-phones, stop reading the news and throw out the laptop but ignorance is not bliss, except to the fool.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Gaza and the British Reaction

In the aftermath of continuing operations in Gaza and missile strikes across Israel our reception at a town fair in Richmond, South London was mixed but much of it was hostile.  I did not handle my second activist fair at all well.

One picture on display at our stall was of a Palestinian Poster ‘Boy’ clutching an automatic rifle and surrounded by weapons and slogans – the kind of poster we have become accustomed to Islamist terrorist groups releasing in the calamitous aftermath of successful suicide (homicide) bombings against civilian targets.  The caption read ‘these are the Palestinian civilians.’  Any casualties can be portrayed in the international press as horrific. It is unfortunate when even a single civilian is killed in war but with entire families willingly becoming human shields for HAMAS the press will play this card of ongoing Palestinian victim-hood with immense enthusiasm and unadulterated zeal.  It is time to redefine the 4th Geneva Convention. Missiles fired from civilian homes are not, to quote French fascist political leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, ‘a minor point of detail.’

That poster led to a formal complaint which was lodged with police; names and addresses were taken down.  We were coerced into covering up the photo. This was our first failure. Perhaps we should have known better. It was an own-goal.

Next, the PSC (Palestine Solidarity Campaign) came and photographed our stall.  This was clearly, an act of intimidation.

One of the English PSC activists questioned a Christian friend of Israel on our stall. Upon learning of his religious identity he told him, without a moment of shame that he, a Christian, was lower that ‘those Jews.’  This Pro-Palestinian and British (‘Jewish’) racist is no different to any member of the extreme right.  I confronted him with my outrage.  I repeated his comments for all to hear.   He walked away.

His racialist demeanor is the Palestinian movement itself.  The horrifying aspect of this English PSC supporter is that he so easily slipped into the well established pattern utilised by all bigots of compartmentalising humanity into ‘friend’ (absolute supporter) and ‘enemy.’  But for the PSC and fellow believers the enemy is without any redemptive qualities that would save them. This is nascent Nazism.  These people are intellectually no different to the demons that lined up their opponents in Iraq and applied machine-gun justice to the settlement of their differences.  Of course our PSC campaigners are not IS (The Islamic State); they are the bureaucrats, the stoic, the ever smiling and calm but resolute supporter whose determination to eradicate their enemy has no boundaries.

Lots of people (including a gay couple) condemned the asymmetric unfairness of the conflict.   I was somewhat unhinged by this because there can be no ethical justification for this paradigm. If I asked how many Israeli or Jewish deaths would satisfy our interlocutor’s sense of balance they would reply by re-emphasizing the inequality of the battle with even greater vehemence.  I hoped that at least some of those questioners were expressing frustration at their inability to understand the roots of the continuing crisis in Gaza and also understood that any answer to the question (besides ‘zero’) would be unethical.  But I doubt it.  F16 fighter jets, drones and the 'Iron Dome' defense network deployed against ‘primitive’ Palestinian missiles create an asymmetry that the Judeophobic supporter of Palestine cannot or will not ever accept. The hundreds of millions of dollars that Israel has spent on bomb shelters and reinforced rooms in people’s homes will never be recognized by the anti-Zionist chauvinist.  HAMAS has no intention of investing money in protective structures or sirens for its citizens.  The higher the number of civilian deaths the greater is the global sympathy they garner for their cause.  Don’t forget also the millions that go directly into the pockets of the HAMAS Echelon.

Foolishly, I tried to explain that tens of millions of dollars of aid money had been diverted by Gaza’s religious (Islamist) regime for the purpose of constructing tunnels into Israel. Those tunnels are built with the purpose of kidnapping and committing mass murder against civilians. 

Attempting to illustrate that it is the choices we make that define us, was wholly futile.

And the Settlements.  Explaining that according to HAMAS and the majority of Palestinians, all of Israel is a settlement was similarly without benefit. The retort, even to those who professed ‘sympathy’ for Israel was that the settlements (to the uncommitted onlooker this is any construction in Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem) are nothing less than an abomination.

Two journalists (they said they were, and we failed to ask for their credentials) photographed some of our leaflets.  They ignored any questions from us and spoke at us with imperious and contemptuous disdain.  Why they simply did not take leaflets was beyond our simple understanding but they were there to make a point.  Again, this was intended to intimidate us.

One shameless fool said all Israelis are conquerors. He also said that the Palestinians (whose identity is defined as wholly Judenfrei) ‘owned’ Palestine and had owned Palestine for 5,000 years.  This was even too much for my normally unflappable friend. He was enraged. The final Roman conquest of the Israelites at the turn of the Christian era, some 1,900 years ago, did not wholly destroy the Jewish presence.   It was the Roman Emperor Hadrian who renamed the Land of Israel, Syria Palaestina (in 131 CE) as one of the measures undertaken to erase the cultural identity of the Jews.  The Arabs conquered the Land of Israel in 638 CE and it was their actions that ultimately decimated both land and people.

A Palestinian narrative that removes any Jewish claims to history is an essential pillar of the Palestinian faith.  Part of this strategy involves repositioning the Jewish Jesus as a Palestinian.  Any true person of faith should be enraged by the sacrilegious nature of this act. The Palestinian narrative is based on hatred, the worship of death and an involuntary identity constructed around ‘eternal’ (until victory) victim-hood that robs us, and them, of free will.  The voluminous amount of bile that oozes daily from Palestinian society is both a theological abomination and a secular aberration that defines an ethically corrupt people.

Through the Internet anyone with eyes and ears can marvel at the unforced conformity that characterizes this apparently irreparable flaw in Palestinian attitudes.  It is not however untypical of a people who truly believe themselves to be existentially superior to their enemy.  It guides their every interaction with both Israelis and Jews.

A Palestinian Jesus can only ever be a Jesus, not of love or of peace but a Jesus of brutality, hate and conquest.  What does it say therefore of the current Presbyterian Church (in the USA especially) and other reactionary followers, such as those members of the PSC that they so wholly embrace this devilish and Orwellian restatement of both Jewish and Christian history.

It was that first encounter with the PSC (which positioned pro-Israel Christians in a place ‘lower’ than ‘those Jews’) that ruined my day! But the blows were also cumulative.  To come that close to evil is an unnatural experience for most of us. Or perhaps when the individual chooses to wallow in ignorance it locates them on a plane below that of evil. But does it make them less guilty? In the PSC version of religious faith, mercy is only for the believer. One of those vile propagandists speaks against us at churches throughout the South of England.

It is that evil which we must confront if we are to be saved from an escalation of a magnitude similar to events that have arisen over the last few days in Toronto, Paris and Antwerp.  In Toronto the police stood by while a man was beaten up by Pro-Palestinian demonstrators, the same righteous souls who threatened an old and frail woman.  In Paris hundreds of demonstrators rioted outside Synagogues, trapping Jewish worshippers inside their buildings.  In Antwerp dozens of men shouted slogans about slaughtering Jews while three local (socialist, labour and green) politicians blissfully looked on.

In World War II, the Nazis set fire to synagogues with the local Jewish population trapped inside. In Africa, Muslims have done the same to Christian communities.

Immigration officers, governments run by elected officials who are more concerned with the powerful Muslim vote than with making a moral choice, and the police: They are all inactive.  This is where populist democracy fails.

This is Nazism – it does not matter whether it is inspired by the Right, by the Left, by the Liberal Democrats in Britain, or the Greens; by the Islamic faithful or by frustrated Arabs.

The propaganda war is violent; its intent from the Palestinian camp is terminal.

Wake up.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Censorship and Avoidance, Antisemitism and the Left

BDS stands for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.  To quote its founder Omar Barghouti (2013): “We oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine…no Palestinian will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.” He does not usually speak so bluntly but we hear what we want to hear and not all BDS supporters are quite so forthcoming in their desire to be labelled as antisemites.

HAMAS by its firing of missiles against Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa reminds us, this is not a conflict over territory but about an Arab desire to supplant any ethnic or religious minority that does not bow down to their particular version of Islamic domination.   We should give thanks to whichever deity we owe our allegiance that accuracy is not yet a selling point for those Arab missiles.   That they are fired at Jerusalem means the Muslim fundamentalists governing the Gaza Strip do not care who they kill. Jew, Christian, Muslim or person of other faith – the important goal for them is to cause death and fear.  And those missiles could as easily strike a Jewish holy site, a Christian holy site or a Muslim holy site; a school, a hospital or a playground filled with children.   Again, the target is of no consequence, much of the Western Press can be relied upon to blame Israel for any bloody successes.

HAMAS has incited against Israel since it was founded in 1987 as an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.  Since its failed revolution in Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood is banned although many in the West embrace this racist, fascist Islamic movement whose principle target is the Jewish state.  It is openly, theologically antisemitic. See this link:  Article Seven is the abomination that should have us all screaming from the rooftops and yet, presidents and prime-ministers afford this organization with its overt call for genocide a place at the table of civilized nations.

I wrote the following two paragraphs a little over a year ago (03 June 2013) and unsurprisingly things have only worsened as radicals across the Muslim world gain in murderous confidence.   HAMAS is an organization that wages war on women; murders gays and anyone contemplating leaving the faith.  The bigotry of HAMAS is only exceeded by the purity of its primitive vision.  They hate that which is not them and dream of a return to a time that existed almost fourteen hundred years earlier.  They represent the antithesis of modern civilization. They are the barbarians at the walls of Rome but armed with 21st Century weaponry.

HAMAS embodies ruthless rejection of the Age of Enlightenment that began some 350 years ago; the fantasists rejection of the modern era because we who are not them refuse to show obsequious fealty to their world view.  The horrifying reality is that these agents of a reactionary and puritanical society are enthusiastically supported by extremists of Left wing political ideology.   To appreciate how debased liberal political thought has become we need only to quote Judith Butler (American political philosopher and ‘ethicist’).  She instructs us: “Understanding HAMAS, Hezbollah as social movements that are progressive, that are on the Left, that are part of a global Left, is extremely important.” 

The issue over whether Israel should negotiate with people whose world-view is the antithesis of our own is only a difficult one if we try to muddy the waters.  HAMAS does not want peace with Israel, it wants our annihilation.  HAMAS is a Nazi political movement.  The Palestinian Authority is technically secular but this does not make it a preferred partner for peace.  If Israel has made some egregious errors in negotiating with the regime of Mahmoud Abbas it is because no vision of what a genuine peace would resemble exists on either side. But one thing is for certain, the credible threat of HAMAS must be eliminated before negotiations can proceed. Deterrence has to be sufficiently robust to ensure success because the alternative, failure, is viewed with such dread as to render its value, moot.  Being civilized when confronted by the Beast does not work.  Those for whom ‘the Jew’ or ‘the Zionist’ is forever damned cannot be negotiated with - they can only be controlled, poorly. Because of our history there is one thing the Jewish people must internalise, we can never appease fascism.  “An appeaser is one who feeds the crocodile hoping it will eat him last.” Winston Churchill was talking about the Nazis, but with nary a difference between them he very well could have been referring to today’s Islamists and their Jihadist militias.

I began this article by referring to BDS – many nations are flirting with adopting the principle of once more boycotting Jews. They can do this because they have no need to respond to the idea of Jewish self-determination or political sovereignty.  Intellectual subservience to a Left wing fascist narrative has subverted honest debate, call it ‘reverse McCarthyism.’ It has enabled an obscene coalition of secular and religious bigots to dominate any discussion and they have done this by simply controlling the debate and excluding, with violence if necessary, any Jewish-Zionist input to that debate. Noam Chomsky states in his book, The Common Good: “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.”  He is of course correct, but that tactic has been most successfully employed in the universities, in the press and in the pulpit in order to discourage debate about the threat against our way of life and against a Zionist enlightenment in the Mediterranean Basin.

The nation is a soul, a spiritual principle. Two things... constitute this soul or spiritual principle. One is the possession in common of a rich legacy of memories; the other is present-day consent, the desire to live together, the will to perpetuate the value of the heritage that one has received. (Ernest Renan, What is a Nation?)

Two peoples inhabit the geographical area called Israel – the first are Jews and the second, Arab conquerors that persecuted them and denied them any rights save the right to be humiliated and subjected to constant persecution. Israel exists because of those bigots.   To end the conflict our persecution by Arabs and their Turkish over-rulers must be our constant refrain and every negotiation must begin with a regurgitation of our tale of persecution until the Palestinians and their supporters are as familiar with our version of events as they have made the world fluent in theirs.  It will not shame them because ridicule, even hatred, fuels their theology. What it will do is to remove the twin façades of altruism and victimhood that justifies the concerns of so many antisemites and Jewish Uncle Toms.