Thursday, May 5, 2016

Revealed: When Clinton tried to quash 'right-wing Israel' - Ari Yashar

by Ari Yashar

New book exposes how Livni refused Clinton's 2009 demand she join unity government, and Clinton's tensions with 'f***ing Bibi.'

A new book reveals that back in 2009, during Hillary Clinton's first visit to Israel as US Secretary of State which came around a month after Israeli general elections, she tried unsuccessfully to press then Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni into a unity government so as to avoid a right-wing coalition.

The revelation comes from the book "Alter Egos" by Mark Landler, a New York Times political correspondent, reports Haaretz on Wednesday. Landler covered Clinton, who currently is the Democratic presidential frontrunner, before covering the White House and US President Barack Obama.

Livni's Kadima party got 29 seats in the 2009 election, but despite only getting 28 mandates Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's Likud was given first crack at forming a coalition government given his better likelihood of putting together a majority coalition.

Netanyahu proposed a national unity government to Livni, but despite that and despite Clinton's pressure, Livni at the time refused to join - even though she later did so in the 2013 elections with her new Hatnua party, before staging a "putsch" with Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid that led Netanyahu to disband the government.

The new book focuses on Clinton and Obama's relationship from 2009 to 2013, and also addresses the growing tensions with Israel under Obama's watch as well as failed attempts to force ahead the peace process.

Clinton's opposition to an Israeli right-wing government

Clinton visited in March 2009, at a time when Livni was still in her post as Foreign Minister and was holding coalition talks with Netanyahu.

According to Landler, Clinton wanted Livni to join a unity government so as to prevent a right-wing government in Israel that might not get along with Obama's new administration.

In a private meeting between the two, Livni refused Clinton's pressure, saying Likud would never accept her demands for being part of the government, according to the new book.

Another revelation in the book exposes that Clinton refused a request by the White House to fly to Israel for "damage control" after Obama's infamous Cairo speech on June 4, 2009, in which he criticized Israel at an event attended by Muslim Brotherhood members.

Mere days before the speech White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel said to Clinton that Obama's decision not to visit Israel after his Cairo speech may insult Jerusalem, and therefore he asked Clinton who was in Cairo with Obama to go on to Israel "to do damage control."

But Landler quoted a former senior administration official who said "she couldn't, wouldn't and didn't."

Obama's senior advisers were furious at her refusal, according to the book, accusing her of trying to avoid harming her image as a friend of Israel.

Landler writes that the refusal was a clear example of her desire to distance herself from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict out of fear it would hurt her chances in a future presidential bid.

Clinton's push for a "settlement freeze"

Tensions rose in 2009 between Clinton and Obama over her unwillingness to get involved in his efforts to force peace talks on Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA). Those tensions spilled over on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in 2009, shortly after Obama, Netanyahu and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas met.

Obama "chided her, telling her that she needed to travel to the Middle East more often and that she needed to become more personally involved in steering the process" instead of leaving the matter to special Middle East envoy George Mitchell, reveals Landler.

The gap between the two continued as Clinton held doubts over Obama's demand in 2009 that Netanyahu freeze construction in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem completely, reasoning that doing so would not be an effective way to force more concessions from Netanyahu.

But nevertheless she tried to press Netanyahu to agree to the freeze as Secretary of State.

In Netanyahu's first visit after forming a government in May 2009, during a State Department dinner in Washington, Clinton told Netanyahu that the construction freeze was very important to Obama, reports Landler.

He noted that a witness said Netanyahu replied, "I can't do that."

Then a week later, Clinton condemned the "settlements," and said Obama demanded a total freeze, even as talks were ongoing between Mitchell and the Israeli government for a deal allowing construction in the large blocs of Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria, accommodating natural growth only.

According to Landler, Clinton's statements derailed the talks on a deal, angering the Israelis even as Obama's advisers were annoyed that she "plussed up" his position to encompass a complete freeze.

Netanyahu soon afterwards folded and implemented a construction freeze in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem, and later on implemented a covert freeze during the 2013-2014 peace talks even though he publicly chose to release Arab terrorists as a "gesture" instead of the freeze.

A full 78 terrorists went free during the talks that were eventually torpedoed by the PA as it signed a unity deal with Hamas, and the near-total construction freeze remains ongoing.

"F***ing Bibi"

According to Landler's book, Clinton and Netanyahu generally got along during her stint as Secretary of State, although there was plenty of tension.

While she called him by his nickname Bibi, "often it was attached to the f-word," he wrote. 

During one of their conversations amid talks on the construction freezes, Clinton silently started knocking her cellphone against her head in a sign of frustration.

Landler reveals that a peak tension point in the relationship between the two came in an eight-hour meeting in November 2010 at New York's Regency Hotel, in which they worked on a formula to extend the construction freeze for another three months.

Clinton raised a number of suggestions, even including the early release of Jonathan Pollard, but Netanyahu contested every detail and made a hard bargain according to the book.

The US also proposed providing 20 F-35 stealth fighter jets worth $3 billion to Israel in order to extend the freeze, although Clinton was afraid that even if the deal went through it would not lead the PA to direct negotiations.

According to Landler, she told then special Middle East envoy of the Quartet Tony Blair that "she found the whole exercise a nasty business."

Several weeks later the deal collapsed as Israel's cabinet rejected the construction freeze extension, and "with it went any chance for a breakthrough during Clinton’s years as secretary of state," according to Landler.

Ari Yashar


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Anti-Semitism in the UK Labour Party - Denis MacEoin

by Denis MacEoin

Two of the Labour Party's senior members were suspended as a result of their anti-Semitic remarks, and there is talk that 50 secret suspensions have been made.

  • At least this time, the Jews know the signs of danger and have somewhere to run to, somewhere they are welcome. But many members of the Labour Party, including Labour Members of Parliament, would prefer them not to have such a haven, wishing instead for the land to be "returned" in virtually its entirety to the Palestinians.
  • The "Left" repeatedly calls for boycotts of Israel because it is, they claim, "an apartheid state." Israel is so totally free of apartheid that anyone who has spent ten minutes there knows the accusation to be an outright lie. So why keep on saying something untrue? That is anti-Semitism.
  • It is worth adding that existing anti-Semitism within the British establishment, not least the pro-Arab Foreign Office, means that little is done even by conservatives to tackle this Jew hatred on the left.

After the truth about the Holocaust came out in the late 1940s and 50s, being an anti-Semite was the biggest dishonour of all. No mainstream politician, whatever his or her personal views about Jews, would ever declare anything that hinted at anti-Semitism. The "far right" had gone (for a time) into oblivion. Israel was admired.

Germany paid reparations (wiedergutmachung, "making good again") to Holocaust survivors, as did France, an equally anti-Semitic country[1] out of which came the first ideologue of a "master race," Joseph Arthur, Comte de Gobineau (d.1882), whose books spread the message of Aryan supremacy. Oddly enough, Arthur was not anti-Semitic: Hitler and his acolytes embraced his Aryan supremacism and edited out Arthur's philo-Semitism.

Anti-Semitism continued, of course, but most people kept it to themselves. The horror of what the Germans had done to the Jews was, for a majority of British people, a token of the rightness of our cause in fighting and defeating Germany. Jews had never been safer than they were then in the UK. That anti-Semitism might return -- and viciously -- reincarnated inside a mainstream, anti-fascist and supposedly anti-racist political party, was simply inconceivable.

Imagine, then, the shock on waking up more than once last week to learn that a deep-seated anti-Semitism had widely infected the nation's Labour Party. Two of its senior members were suspended as a result of their anti-Semitic remarks, and there is talk that 50 secret suspensions have been made. Labour looks set to lose a lot of seats in the local elections next week.

The first the general public knew about all this was in February, when the co-chair of the Oxford University Labour Club resigned because there was so much anti-Semitism on campus, most of it coming from his own colleagues. A member of the club, a student in one of the world's top universities, had argued that Hamas was justified in killing Jewish civilians and had claimed that all Jews were legitimate targets. According to Aaron Simons, a former president of the Oxford University Jewish Society, "A committee member stated that all Jews should be expected to publicly denounce Zionism and the state of Israel, and that we should not associate with any Jew who fails to do so."

Most British Jews and their supporters had known for years that anti-Semitism, usually disguised as anti-Zionism, especially in the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, was rife on campuses, and that student anti-Semitism came from radical Muslims hand-in-hand with the communist and socialist left. The Labour party, despite its efforts to remain a force for moderation in British political life, had often been infiltrated by extreme Trotskyist activists. These Trotskyists are anti-Western anti-American, hyper-pacifist, anti-racist yet anti-white, anti-colonialist, anti-imperialist (yet never willing to criticize centuries of Islamic imperialism and colonization). They are aggressively feminist, pro-LGBT and pro-"victim" -- provided the victims are black, dark-coloured, Muslim or mistreated by the "neo-imperialism" of the Western powers.

Over the years, the Labour Party has turned a blind eye to the way in which activists of this kind, whether affiliated to the party or from movements to its left (the "Far Left") have for several decades dominated politics in British universities -- much in the way that their peers in the United States have transformed campuses into hotbeds of anti-Israel agitation.

Most shocking is that so many people either genuinely or falsely claim never to have guessed that such anti-Semitism was present in their midst. "Oh my, who knew?" Well, the truth is that many people knew -- and have known for years. The "new Anti-Semitism" is anything but a "new" phenomenon. According to Natan Sharansky, head of the Jewish Agency for Israel, the coming year will see 30,000 Jews, mostly from Europe, leave for Israel. As the level of anti-Semitic speech and actions worsens, Jewish communities are fleeing countries, for instance France. It is an Exodus that has been growing steadily for more than a decade. Welcome back to the 1930s.[2]

This time, at least, the Jews know the signs of danger and have somewhere to run to, somewhere they are welcome. But many members of the Labour Party, including Labour Members of Parliament, would prefer them not to have such a haven, wishing instead for the land to be "returned" in virtually its entirety to the Palestinians. Supposedly Palestinian terrorists are now the good guys and Jews are supposedly the "new Nazis."

A lot of this is good old-fashioned "far-right", neo-fascist anti-Semitism, easily dismissed as the ravings of shaven-headed neo-Nazis who have evidently learned nothing from history. In some places, that is true: there are plenty of "neo-fascists" with overt racist policies in Eastern Europe today. Some countries, such as Greece, Hungary and Romania, face a strong neo-fascist revival and are seriously anti-Semitic. But move farther West, and, for a long time now, European anti-Semitism, including its variants in the UK, has been driven for the most part by two groups: radical Muslims (many from countries where explicit, no-holds-barred anti-Semitism is expressed by 90% or more of the population) and radical "left-wingers."

It does not always look like anti-Semitism; it sometimes tries to disguise itself as "only" anti-Zionism, but it is in fact nothing but that, and a very nasty form of anti-Semitism too.

The present crisis in the UK has much to do with the election as Labour leader of Jeremy Corbyn, a lifelong supporter of Palestinian "resistance" and a self-declared "friend" of the terror outfits Hamas and Hezbollah, despite what must be total ignorance of the Hamas Covenant, which proclaims:
"There is no solution for the Palestinian problem except by Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are but a waste of time, an exercise in futility." (Article 13)
Corbyn claims to be a pacifist, but only regards Palestinian "resistance" and similar conflicts to be worth fighting. The alternative is usually surrender. The Second World War comes to mind, but perhaps that is not the best example. In any event, he has played a major role in the Stop the War Coalition, marched with anti-Semites and shared platforms with more than one. Presumably Corbyn hopes one day to become Prime Minister and is currently in denial of the evidence that shows the party he leads has embedded in its heart a form of anti-Semitism.

A lot of "left-wingers," including members of the Labour Party, claim, "We are not anti-Semitic because we are not racists," and every time they get away with that. Their claim to be anti-racist somehow expunges in the public's eye their actual anti-Semitism. They say their angry hatred for the Jewish state of Israel is merely ordinary politics. But this argument, voiced repeatedly over the past weeks, is shopworn, threadbare double-speak. Fair and balanced criticism of Israel is perfectly acceptable and makes for sound politics; but heavy-handed slurs, outrageous lies about Israel's policies and daily life, and support for terrorist organizations that plan to destroy Israel and commit a second genocide of (coincidentally) six million Jews in the country are, by any moral standards, breaches of every moral red line set in place since the Bible was first written.

Demonization of Israel, holding it to double standards not used against any other country, including the worst dictatorships, falls under the definition of anti-Semitism by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia and the U.S. Department of State. Here is a simple example: the "left" repeatedly calls for boycotts of Israel because it is, they claim, "an apartheid state." One might weep. Israel is so totally free of apartheid that anyone who has spent ten minutes there knows the accusation to be an outright lie. So why keep on saying something untrue? That is anti-Semitism.

When the "far left," including many radical members of the Labour Party, march hand in hand with "far right" Muslims chanting "Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas," their real motives are made clear. "Israel" and "Zion" are nowhere in sight. When pro-Palestinians march, chanting "Palestine will be free, from the river to the sea," do they know that the river is the Jordan and the sea is the Mediterranean, and that the Palestinians call daily for the elimination of Israel?

If you look at any Arab map of "Palestine" you will notice that it is actually map of Israel with the names of a few cities changed and "Palestine" (Filastin) stamped over it, plus Gaza and the West Bank. All reportedly Judenrein (free of Jews). And wholly in defiance of international law. The only law that applies is Islamic shari'a law, which declares that any territory once conquered by Islam must forever remain in Muslim hands. One might ask why so many Western non-Muslims are keen to replace the normative framework of international law with the regulations of an imperialist Islamic insistence based on a law of conquest.

Since the suspensions of Labour MP Naz Shah and former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone (a member of Labour's National Executive Council), there has been an astonishing outpouring of news, commentary, questions and advice throughout the media. But the greater part of this commentary misses the real target by miles.

Judging by the material I have read or watched online or on television, almost everyone thinks that Labour's problem lies in encouraging the old, familiar anti-Semitism, the sort of Jew-hatred that has existed for two millennia in Europe and which reached its climax in the actions of Germany's Nazi government in the 1930s and 40s. There is still a lot of that around, but it is chiefly found within "far-right" parties, and mainly racist, not religious, in character.

It is nice to agree that neither racist nor religious anti-Semitism plays a significant part in Labour's dilemma. Labour members are genuinely anti-racist (as long as "race" does not include white people or Jews of all colours), and there is no reason on the surface to think their issues with Jews resemble those of the far right. At least, the neo-fascist right. Many, perhaps most, are secularists for whom religious bias is a non-starter. Many Muslim members of the party certainly retain Islamic anti-Jewish feelings, but these are seldom if ever made public except with regard to Israel.

The problem is that Labour MPs and party members simply do not recognize their own anti-Semitism because they continue to foster the delusion that anti-Jewish hostility is all because of racism and they feel free of that because they are "not racists". But their anti-Semitism is, in fact, about Israel and their demonization of the Jewish state. They work hard to disguise their antipathy for Jews by pretending they love Jews but hate Israel (which just happens to be the only Jewish state). Most of the remarks on Twitter, Facebook, or in emails that have been cited as examples of anti-Semitism contain references to Israel because that is the socially acceptable way of saying you have nothing but contempt for Jews.

In a letter to MPs John Mann, Jeremy Corbyn and Corbyn's deputy John McDonell, Stephen Spencer Ryde identified some less known examples:

Here are samples of other Labour MPs who have shared anti-Semitic views and materials recently:
  • Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow. She publicly promoted blood libels and hatred against Israel for defending herself from Hamas rockets. She was the shadow Education Minister until she resigned due to her objections over attacking ISIS.
  • Rupa Huq, MP for Ealing Central was obsessively concerned that Party leader Ed Milliband was a Jew. She too delivered blood libels against Israel. And now her defence of Naz Shah's comments as "silly".
  • Shabana Mahmoud, Labour MP for Birmingham who actually took part in a violent protest to shut down Sainsbury's for daring to stock Israel produce.
  • Yasmin Qureshi, Labour MP for Bolton SE who compared Israel to the Nazis.
  • Imran Hussain, Labour MP for Bradford East who blatantly lied to delegitimise Israel in Parliament.
These are all Muslim MPs, but the common factor here is not religion but Israel, and Israel is a code-word for something like "world Jewry," for a religious and ethnic people considered by Muslims as "sons of apes and pigs."

Naz Shah, the first Labour MP to be suspended from the party, is also a Muslim, voted into her seat by the large Islamic community in Bradford; the remarks that got her into trouble were also anti-Israel with a lavish helping of anti-Jewish sentiment. Her approval of a proposal to "transport" Israel [the Jews of Israel] to America as the "solution" of the Palestinian problem carried echoes of Reinhard Heydrich's anti-Semitism.

Labour Party MP Naz Shah (left), recently suspended from the party, was voted into her seat by the large Islamic community in Bradford; the remarks that got her into trouble were anti-Israel with a lavish helping of anti-Jewish sentiment. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (right), is a lifelong supporter of Palestinian "resistance" and a self-declared "friend" of the terror outfits Hamas and Hezbollah.

Remarks made in Shah's defence by the second to be suspended, Ken Livingstone, who argued (and continues to argue) that Hitler was a Zionist, presented a perfect conflation of anti-Israel hatred and Nazi-style racism. In an interview with the BBC on April 28, Mr Livingstone said: "Let's remember when Hitler won his election in 1932 his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism. This is before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews."

How has this happened in a country that defeated Nazism? One explanation may be found in the assumption that Muslims are victims of the capitalist, colonialist West -- a concept that gelled perfectly with Communist and wider liberal opinion about how world economies work. Growth, or "win-win," economies, in which "a rising tide carries all ships" evidently was never even considered.

According to Britain's Campaign Against Antisemitism, in its National Anti-Semitic Crime Audit 2014-2015, the growth of anti-Semitism in the UK is "a core part of far-left and Islamist ideology." It is worth adding that existing anti-Semitism within the British establishment, not least the pro-Arab Foreign Office, the lure of Saudi oil and Qatari investment, and Britain's growing weakness in the Middle East, means that little is done even by conservatives to tackle this Jew hatred on the left.

When anti-Israel campaigners use traditional anti-Semitic tropes such as the blood libel (such as the lie that Israelis harvest the organs of Palestinians or Haitians); Jewish conspiracies to take over the world (such as the lie that the Jewish "lobby" controls UK politics); or the way Jewish wealth supports Israel and Zionism, it is abundantly clear that they have learned not a single thing from Europe's long history of Jew-hatred or, above all, the anti-Semitism of Hitler and his acolytes.

Today, Britain's Labour party is collapsing. The far left elements in the party will, if they do not abandon their anti-Israel postures and policies, leave Britain's second party less electable than it was in last year's general election. The only hope of saving Britain's two-party system will be for this awareness to act as a wake-up call for Labour's moderates. Sadly, there is little chance that the self-appointed anti-Israel morality police and the BDS campaigners are interested in either facts or insight.
Dr. Denis MacEoin, a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, is an expert on Islam and the Middle East.

[1] For an alarming study of official government anti-Semitism in France, see David Pryce-Jones, Betrayal: France, the Arabs and the Jews, USA, 2008.
[2] The fullest discussion of the deep-rootedness of anti-Semitism in Europe is Manfred Gertsenfeld's "The Deep Roots of Anti-Semitism in European Society," Jewish Political Studies Review, 17: 1-2, (Spring 2005).

Dr. Denis MacEoin, a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, is an expert on Islam and the Middle East.


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Archbishop of Cologne: “Whoever Says ‘Yes’ to Church Towers Must Also Say ‘Yes’ to Minarets” - Robert Spencer

by Robert Spencer

The Qur’an is specifically hostile to Christianity in a way that Christianity is not toward Islam.

The Cardinal Archbishop of Cologne, Rainer Maria Woelki, is alarmed. Not by jihad terrorism in Paris and Brussels, or by the Muslim migrants who committed mass rapes and sexual assaults in his city last New Year’s Eve, but by the growing opposition to the Islamization of Europe. He had harsh words for Beatrix von Storch, the deputy leader of Germany’s new anti-Islamization party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), who said quite correctly that “Islam is in itself a political ideology that is not compatible with the constitution.” Woelki insisted on the contrary that “the religion of Islam is compatible with the German constitution just as Judaism or Christianity are.” He also said that “whoever says ‘yes’ to church towers must also say ‘yes’ to minarets.”

How wonderful and broad-minded and forward thinking. Woelki reflects the thinking of Pope Francis, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and all decent folk.

There’s just one problem: the Qur’an is specifically hostile to Christianity in a way that Christianity is not toward Islam. A sampling:

Christians have forgotten part of the divine revelations they received: “From those, too, who call themselves Christians, We did take a covenant, but they forgot a good part of the message that was sent them: so we estranged them, with enmity and hatred between the one and the other, to the day of judgment. And soon will Allah show them what it is they have done.” — Qur’an 5:14

Jesus is not the Son of God and the Trinity a false doctrine: “O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not “Three” – Cease! (it is) better for you! – Allah is only One Allah. Far is it removed from His Transcendent Majesty that He should have a son. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is sufficient as Defender.” — Qur’an 4:171

“It is not befitting to (the majesty of) Allah that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! when He determines a matter, He only says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is.” — Qur’an 19:35

Those who believe that Jesus is God’s Son are under the curse of Allah: “The Jews call ‘Uzair [Ezra] a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah’s curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth! ” — Qur’an 9:30

Jesus was not crucified: “And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah’s messenger – they slew him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain.” — Qur’an 4:157

Muslims must wage war against and subjugate Christians: “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued” — Qur’an 9:29

What’s more, the statement that “Islam is in itself a political ideology that is not compatible with the constitution” is one that many Muslim leaders would proudly affirm. Woelki, and the Catholic hierarchy in general, are aiding and abetting the destruction of the free world.

Meanwhile, to say “Whoever says ‘yes’ to church towers must also say ‘yes’ to minarets” is just asinine. “Whoever says ‘yes’ to Merkel must also say ‘yes’ to Hitler.” “Whoever says ‘yes’ to peace must also say ‘yes’ to war.” “Whoever roots for the Yankees must also root for the Red Sox.” “Whoever roots for Manchester United must also root for Arsenal.” “Whoever roots for Real Madrid must also root for Barcelona.” “Whoever welcomes freedom must also welcome slavery.” “Whoever loves knowledge must also love ignorance.” “Whoever lives in Berlin must also live in Munich.”

One more: “Whoever says ‘yes’ to Muslims must also say ‘yes’ to Jews” — well, the illustrious Woelki probably wouldn’t go for that last one. Neither does the new Europe.

Robert Spencer


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Hamas directly responsible for escalation - Arutz Sheva Staff

by Arutz Sheva Staff

IDF believes Hamas is worried about anti-tunnel operations on Gaza border, escalating tensions to slow demolition work.

Hamas is responsible for the latest wave of mortar attacks emanating from the Gaza Strip, security experts believe, a departure from recent terror attacks in the area.

IDF officials said on Wednesday that the attacks were a clear message to Israel that Hamas would not accept any major operation to eradicate its massive terror tunnel networks.

While there has been sporadic rocket and mortar fire from the Gaza Strip in the two years since Operation Protective Edge, hitherto it has primarily come from competing terror organizations within Gaza, and not Hamas itself.

Wednesday’s escalations promoted the IDF to declare the Nahal Oz area near Gaza a closed military zone, following threats by Hamas to continue its attacks.

Blaming Israel for the recent violence, Hamas officials warned that the Jewish state would pay a heavy price for escalations along the Gaza border. A Hamas spokesperson, Moshir al-Masri warned Israel not to test Hamas’ patience.

“The enemy needs to understand that the more it increases its crimes, the stronger our response will be.”

Arutz Sheva Staff


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Undermining Israel's right to exist - Dan Margalit

by Dan Margalit

Distortion in all its forms is part of the overall effort -- if not necessarily an organized effort -- to question the justness of Israel's existence.

Israel was not established as a response to, compensation for or absolution of Europe's sins during the Holocaust. It is the realization of the biblical deed to sovereignty over the land of our forefathers, which is backed by the right to self-determination in the spirit of late U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and by decisions reached by the League of Nations. All of this was before the Holocaust. 

Israel is not the fruit of the most horrific tragedy in the history of mankind, rather, in a sense, that of its failure. The state was too late to save the 6 million heartbeats that were silenced at Babi Yar, Auschwitz and each of the other gates to hell.

The Holocaust is the worst of all the persecution and pogroms faced by the Jews throughout history, as they were helpless and defenseless. It does not stand alone, but it is unique in its proportions. It is anchored into day-to-day Israeli life in one crucial sense: The main role of the Jewish state is to prevent the recurrence of unilateral harassment.

If everything that happened earlier clarifies and justifies the Jewish people's need to defend itself, the Holocaust takes that need up a level. It allows for nuclear weapons to become a part of the Jewish flak jacket. 

Therefore, Holocaust denial is not a topic for academic discussion, just as the repeated claims doubting the historical narrative of the Bible are not simply part of a legitimate discussion between historians and archeologists (for example, what were the dimensions of David's kingdom? And when did the Nazis decide on the Final Solution?). The core purpose of these discussions, which are designed to dwarf the injustice done to the Jews, is to undermine Israel's right to exist as a strong sovereign entity with secure and recognized borders. 

Distortion in all its forms is part of the overall effort -- if not necessarily an organized effort -- to question the justness of Israel's existence. This is the malicious formula behind the claim that Zionism and Nazism stem from the same foundation. The standard argument relies on the Haavara Agreement -- which was in effect the expulsion of German Jews from their country and the seizure of most of their property in exchange for their immigration to other countries. Is that cooperation? It is a temporary arrangement between enemies.
Few sought further proof for their opinions. In Dr. Rudolf Israel Kastner's trial before Judge Benjamin Halevy during Israel's sixth year of independence, attorney Shmuel Tamir revealed chilling information: Kastner cooperated with Adolf Eichmann and his henchmen to calm down a million Hungarian Jews that the Nazis sent to be killed at Auschwitz. In return, the Nazis agreed to release a train carrying 1,600 Jews. Kastner then admitted to Tamir that he asked Eichmann if some of those Jews could be sent to Israel, and the mass murderer responded that he couldn't do that because when he visited Jerusalem in 1937, he promised Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini that Germany would not send any more Jews to Israel. What Jewish-Nazi collaboration are these evildoers talking about?

All these arguments -- from questioning the archeological and historical truth in the Bible to the attempts to undermine the Jewish people's unique victimhood in the Holocaust and the Holocaust's status as a singular crime -- are not designed to determine the boundaries of justice in a past event, rather the boundaries of injustice to be done to today's Jews. Danger is on our doorstep.

Dan Margalit


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The Great Western Retreat - Giulio Meotti

by Giulio Meotti

Of all French soldiers currently engaged in military operations, half of them are deployed inside France. And half of those are assigned to protect 717 Jewish schools.

  • This massive deployment of armed forces in our own cities is a departure from history. It is a moral disarmament, before a military one.
  • Why does anyone choose to fight in a war? Civilized nations go to war so that members of today's generation may sacrifice themselves to protect future generations. But if there are no future generations, there is no reason whatever for today's young men to die in war. It is "demography, stupid."

On March 11, 2004, 192 people were killed and 1,400 wounded in a series of terrorist attacks in Madrid. Three days later, Spain's Socialist leader, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, was elected prime minister. Just 24 hours after being sworn in, Zapatero ordered Spanish troops to leave Iraq "as soon as possible."

The directive was a monumental political victory for extremist Islam. Since then, Europe's boots on the ground have not been dispatched outside Europe to fight jihadism; instead, they have been deployed inside the European countries to protect monuments and civilians.

"Opération Sentinelle" is the first new large-scale military operation within France. The army is now protecting synagogues, art galleries, schools, newspapers, public offices and underground stations. Of all French soldiers currently engaged in military operations, half of them are deployed inside France. And half of those are assigned to protect 717 Jewish schools. Meanwhile, French paralysis before ISIS is immortalized by the image of police running away from the office of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo during the massacre there.

French soldiers guard a Jewish school in Strasbourg, February 2015. (Image source: Claude Truong-Ngoc/Wikimedia Commons)

You can find the same figure in Italy: 11,000 Italian soldiers are currently engaged in military operations and more than half of them are used in operation "Safe Streets," which, as its name reveals, keeps Italy's cities safe. Italy's army is also busy providing aid to migrants crossing the Mediterranean.

In 2003, Italy was one of the very few countries, along with Spain and Britain, which stood with the United States in its noble war in Iraq -- a war that was successful until the infamous US pull-out on December 18, 2011.

Today, Italy, like Spain, runs away from its responsibility in the war against the Islamic State. Italy's Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti ruled out the idea of Italy taking part in action against ISIS, after EU defense ministers unanimously backed a French request for help.

Italy's soldiers, stationed in front of my newspaper's office in Rome, provide a semblance of security, but the fact that half of Italy's soldiers are engaged in domestic security, and not in offensive military strikes, should give us pause. These numbers shed a light not only on Europe's internal terror frontlines, from the French banlieues to "Londonistan." These numbers also shed light on the great Western retreat.

US President Barack Obama has boasted that as part of his legacy, he has withdrawn American military forces from the Middle East. His shameful departure from Iraq has been the main reason that the Islamic State rose to power -- and the reason Obama postponed a military withdrawal from Afghanistan. This US retreat can only be compared to the fall of Saigon, with the picture of a helicopter evacuating the U.S. embassy.

In Europe, armies are no longer even ready for war. The German army is now useless, and Germany spends only 1.2% of GDP on defense. The German army today has the lowest number of staff at any time in its history.

In 2012, Germany's highest court, breaking a 67-year-old taboo against using the military within Germany's borders, allowed the military to be deployed in domestic operations. The post-Hitler nation's fear that the army could develop again into a state-within-a-state that might impede democracy has paralyzed Europe's largest and wealthiest country. Last January, it was revealed that German air force reconnaissance jets cannot even fly at night.

Many European states slumber in the same condition as Belgium, with its failed security apparatus. A senior U.S. intelligence officer even recently likened the Belgian security forces to "children." And Sweden's commander-in-chief, Sverker Göranson, said his country could only fend off an invasion for a maximum of one week.

During the past ten years, the United Kingdom has also increasingly been seen by its allies -- both in the US and in Europe -- as a power in retreat, focusing only on its domestic agenda. The British have become increasingly insular - a littler England.

The UK's armed forces have been downsized; the army alone is expected to shrink from 102,000 soldiers in 2010 to 82,000 by 2020 - its smallest size since the Napoleonic wars. The former head of the Royal Navy, Admiral Nigel Essenigh, has spoken of "uncomfortable similarities" between the UK's defenses now and those in the early 1930s, during the rise of Nazi Germany.

In Canada, military bases are now being used to host migrants from Middle East. Justin Trudeau, the new Canadian prime minister, first halted military strikes against ISIS, then refused to join the coalition against it. Terrorism has apparently never been a priority for Trudeau -- not like "gender equality," global warming, euthanasia and injustices committed against Canada's natives.

The bigger question is: Why does anyone choose to fight in a war? Civilized nations go to war so that members of today's generation may sacrifice themselves to protect future generations. But if there are no future generations, there is no reason whatever for today's young men to die in war. It is "demography, stupid."

Spain's fertility has fallen the most -- the lowest in Western Europe over twenty years and the most extreme demographic spiral observed anywhere. Similarly, fewer babies were born in Italy in 2015 than in any year since the state was founded 154 years ago. For the first time in three decades, Italy's population shrank. Germany, likewise, is experiencing a demographic suicide.

This massive deployment of armed forces in our own cities is a departure from history. It is a moral disarmament, before a military one. It is Europe's new Weimar moment, from the name of the first German Republic that was dramatically dismantled by the rise of Nazism. The Weimar Republic still represents a cultural muddle, a masterpiece of unarmed democracy devoted to a mutilated pacifism, a mixture of naïve cultural, political reformism and the first highly developed welfare state.

According to the historian Walter Laqueur, Weimar was the first case of the "life and death of a permissive society." Will Europe's new Weimar also be brought down, this time by Islamists?

Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.


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Divided Justice - Philip Ahrlich

by Philip Ahrlich

Disrespect for constitutional order is a political disease of the democratic form of government that progressive interests have vigorously encouraged for one hundred years

If governments are not guided by original principles, they are little more than toys of faction. Every democratic system has created its party of despots. Disrespect for constitutional order is a political disease of the democratic form of government that progressive interests have vigorously encouraged for one hundred years. Its pathogen, now metastasizing fully within the present administration, will lead inevitably to a loss of faith in democracy itself.

President Obama envisions an America ruled by a network of organized minority and special interests whose combined political force represents an illegitimate control over the democratic political process. But there is nothing democratic in the idea of coercion, whether by majority or minority interests -- for either lays a burden of prejudice on elected representatives who may enact laws favorable to one part of society at the expense of other parts.

In a republican system of government, the purpose of our rights is to protect individuals and vulnerable minorities from the tyranny of majorities. But how are majorities protected from combined and well-organized minorities that are keen to exact preferential treatment in law from the Obama administration? And how do Supreme Court decisions that favor these special interests not interfere with due process or the guaranteed rights of all persons?

The 2016 Democratic presidential campaign has erected a platform of false promises directly appealing to a social network of "severely wronged and persecuted" groups; but only now have we discovered all that we should have known: that in a cynical and corrupt activist environment, such as that which now threatens absolutism and the very nature of justice itself, those who stand on principle are soon defeated. Mr. Obama’s presidency and the Democratic supermajorities of the 111th Congress (2009 - 2010) confirmed how vulnerable our system is to hijacking and piracy. That was our first enlightenment. Two years of liberal steerage were quite enough to turn America from her founding purpose, well towards the salvage yards of the world. These policies successfully created the industry of grievance and entitlement necessary to divide and weaken society so that the people were no longer a threat to the new political order.

The assertion of “equality” under the new order sounds the very essence of democracy until one understands that the kind of social equality cultivated for political purposes can be achieved only through compulsion in law. Only among undemocratic regimes, as we now see forming under progressive leadership, can we find the assertion that preferential justice for a few represents a political value greater than that of equal justice for all.

Modern liberal doctrine in many ways distinguishes between the lawful and the fair. As an instance, under President Obama’s conception of redistributive justice, his administration can act fairly only if it acts unlawfully, which is to say that the just distribution of social goods can be achieved only if the laws do not apply uniformly to all persons. Justice, in this regard, since the administration seeks to rectify social imbalances through executive orders and selective enforcement of existing laws, rewards only parts of society while penalizing others -- an action that clearly promotes class warfare. There can be no question that Obama regards lawfulness as the lesser part of justice, since he deems the nation’s laws as a repression of minority interests -- a strictly progressive conceit that suffices to pardon his several attempts on the Separation of Powers.

The liberal gets with force what he cannot get with law. He cannot prove that what he intends to do shall be justly done. He has separated the principles of justice into a scheme of arbitrary authority and he has made a new dictionary of law. If the laws divide and burden society while benefitting those who govern society, then the laws are deviant. We find then, in progressive scripture, not an understanding of justice, but rather the conceit that injustice is stronger than justice. It is an elaborate invention of an ideology that regards justice as the rule of the stronger political faction, which can act unjustly only if it returns some measure of that rule to the common people.

“Progressivism” is merely a new name for a very old crisis of civilization -- it is the means by which the beneficial products of human intelligence fall into disorder. The emergent ideology represents the destruction of value. It is an acid that dissolves foundations, customs, laws, civility, knowledge -- history itself -- anything that falls into its language. Its power is that of negation, working its will through opposition to established social and political institutions -- destroying, like an Ebola virus, the capillaries of trust that supply them. Its corruption extends throughout the culture, bringing State interference, dysfunction and regulatory force to the sanctuaries of the private sector, of markets and self-regulating commerce, of respect for property and religious freedom. It creates a deviant system, a pathology -- a condition of stasis that resolves fundamentally into a conflict over power.

Force moves the argument. If despotism is the best hope for America that the progressive faction can deliver, then its activists have defined the best by the worst. We have discovered in the folly of the left’s pursuit of power the first cause of political stasis: a radical scheme of divided justice from which there can be no rest from civil strife -- a system in which truth opposes truth. Here, then, is our second enlightenment: if we are forced in our election to choose between our democratic longings for the principle of “equality” and its correlative principle of “freedom from government coercion” -- due to the ideological separation of political parties -- then we are at last a defeated people. The fate of American government will devolve into outrageous sways of parliamentary authority in which succeeding administrations, driven by well-established tribal hatreds and the urgency of revenge, expend their energies and political capital in taking down the accomplishments of their predecessors; and we are left in the end only with a politics of rubble.

Uncompromising differences among political ideologies are the causes of stasis, never of reconciliation. A resolution of these differences should emerge from social consensus, never through the coercive powers invested in the ruling faction. All things that plead for seeding and tending and gathering in our enterprise require us to rid ourselves of government interference. A free society disturbed by the operations of government cannot remain free. Only the people, through their power of election, keep the nation in trust. But if we cannot cancel the left's attempts on our Constitution now, or if we are unable or unwilling to turn the nation’s distracted culture from its regenerative narcissism and folly, then we shall answer to the children who come after us, to the generations who must bear the burden of our negligence -- in whose books we shall be remembered, and in whose curses we shall most certainly deserve the fate that waits on all fools.

Philip Ahrlich can be reached for comment at


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FSA-linked Commander Threatens Kurdish Civilians - John Rossomando

by John Rossomando

"We will deal with you in our own way, and we will find the Kurds wherever they go, in Aleppo or anywhere else."

A radio transmission between the commander of an Islamist brigade with ties to the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) and a Kurdish man contained a chilling message threatening to slaughter Kurdish civilians in Syria.

"My fighters are just like lions, and you know the people of Homs and that they always meet their words with action. We will crackdown on their mothers, sisters, fathers. We will target women before men. Do not talk to me anymore, and you can keep our martyrs with you," the commander said in Arabic.

"We will deal with you in our own way, and we will find the Kurds wherever they go, in Aleppo or anywhere else."

The exchange came in the retaliation for a video showing Kurdish forces parading the bodies of hundreds of FSA fighters killed after attacking the Kurds on the back of a trailer truck through a Kurdish town north of Aleppo. Representatives of the Kurdish factions condemned the incident as did the U.S. State Department.

A pro-Kurdish Twitter account @FuriousKurd published the exchange threatening the lives of Kurdish civilians on Saturday. The exchange originally was released by a pro al-Qaida account on Telegram.

Jaysh Al-Sunna, the commander's faction, also is part of the Army of the Conquest (Jaish al-Fateh), a coalition of Islamist and other rebel factions supported by that Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar that includes Al-Qaida's affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra. News reports show that CIA-backed groups have cooperated with Jaish al-Fateh. The FSA also has received CIA support.

John Rossomando


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A message to leftist pundits - Dr. Haim Shine

by Dr. Haim Shine

The incorrigible subversives are focusing their efforts on creating a rift within the Likud.

The Israeli Left, mired in the throes of its desperation and despondency, has turned its representatives in the media from pundits into agitators. As far as they're concerned, the truth is meaningless, integrity is passe and basic journalistic principles can be trampled across every news page and broadcast. Their primary objective: Topple the right-wing government that won the public's trust in democratic elections. According to the modus operandi of these "knights of democracy," there is value in democracy only if it serves them.

During the weeklong Passover holiday, I traveled in northern Israel, Jerusalem and the Hebron area. I met a great number of happy Israelis enjoying their time off. The Nature and Parks Authority reported an unprecedented number of visitors to the country's nature reserves. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis vacationed abroad, and Ben-Gurion International Airport looked like a giant conveyer belt working ceaselessly. The Israeli masses weren't buying the daily doses of depression being sold to them by the media.
For lack of options and as a last ditch effort, leftist pundits began creating crises and stirring discord. Any political topic instantly became a crisis, in the hope that it would eventually turn into one.

It is hard to imagine a unity government with the entire Zionist Union faction, a disjointed and dispersed camp with tycoon socialists, neo-communists and Palestinian supporters as members. Some are now trying to present the lack of such a virtual unity government as a disaster and a breakdown. 

By discussing the possibility of forming a unity government, some of the more clever political commentators are trying to foment disharmony between the Likud and Habayit Hayehudi -- implying that Habayit Hayehudi should be the one to pay the price of this unity. It is a baseless theory founded in a desire to cause tumult. The issue of the biennial national budget has also become a flashpoint for trying to force a wedge between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister and Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon; a useless and artificial attempt to be sure, because Kahlon signed off on this budget when he agreed to enter the coalition.

The incorrigible subversives are focusing their efforts on creating a rift within the Likud. They report that there are those in the Likud who support the proposal to limit the prime minister's tenure. It is a patently undemocratic proposal that infringes on the fundamental right of Israeli citizens to elect the person they want to lead them.

My advice to all these pundits from the Left: Enter politics. Stop hiding behind masks of feigned innocence. The citizens of Israel have already learned your methods and are aware of your goals.

Dr. Haim Shine


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ACLU wants Christian college to adopt ACLU's values - Robert Knight

by Robert Knight

The ACLU's latest perversion of "academic freedom" comes in a lawsuit on behalf of a philosophy professor at a Christian college, who assailed her school's continued commitment to biblical values.

In the warped world of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), "academic freedom" no longer means freedom of inquiry and expression; it now means forcing all institutions, including religious-affiliated colleges, to accept leftist values.

That's why it's okay to shout down or expel conservative speakers on liberal campuses while insisting that conservative religious institutions accommodate personnel who reject the colleges' worldview.

The ACLU's latest perversion of "academic freedom" comes in a lawsuit on behalf of a philosophy professor at a small Christian college in Wenham, Massachusetts, who took to the pages of a local paper to assail her school's continued commitment to biblical values.

Lauren Swayne Barthold says she has faced "discrimination and retaliation" since writing a letter in the Salem News blasting Gordon College's leadership and policies.  Don't read anything into this, but the paper's logo is a witch on a broomstick.  Seriously.

Professor Barthold is particularly ticked off that college President Michael Lindsay signed a group letter in 2014 urging President Obama to create a religious exemption from an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating in hiring on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Although she claims that all she wants is "dialogue," Professor Barthold's letter clearly suggests that economic sanctions against her employer for its unwillingness to parlay with activists who reject biblical teaching.  She laments: "Many, many times over the years that I have worked here, I have asked myself whether I should quit in protest over this discriminatory policy."

The ACLU's Orwellian defense of the professor was summed up by attorney Joshua Solomon, who said: "This case is important to preserving academic freedom and preventing the violation, in the name of religion, of important rights to be free from discrimination and retaliation in the workplace."

Professor Barthold might take note that the Massachusetts Bay Colony was founded in 1620 by the Pilgrims, who fled one-size-fits-all religious persecution in Europe.

Sixteen years later, religious reformer Roger Williams, who was at odds with the Pilgrims' version of Puritanism, went south and founded the Providence Plantation, precursor to the state of Rhode Island.

Classic examples of diversity in action.  Surely Prof. Barthold could find work at a non-religious school that better reflects her values or perhaps at a nominally Christian school whose sails are filled with the winds of progressivism.

Robert Knight is a senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union.


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