Sunday, March 1, 2015

Iran's Second Front Against Israel - Jonathan Spyer and Benjamin Weinthal



by Jonathan Spyer and Benjamin Weinthal


The recent Hezbollah attack on an Israel Defense Forces convoy in the Har Dov area close to Israel's border with Lebanon, in which two Israeli soldiers were killed, was the latest move in a dangerous and high stakes game that is now underway on Israel's northern frontier.

Originally published under the title, "Iran Working as Strategic Partner with Hezbollah Against Israel."



IDF artillery prepare to return fire following a Hezbollah attack that killed two soldiers in the northern Mount Dov region along the Israel-Lebanon border on January 28.
All is not quiet on the northern front between Israel and Syria/Lebanon.

The recent Hezbollah attack on an Israel Defense Forces convoy in the Har Dov area close to Israel's border with Lebanon, in which two Israeli soldiers were killed, was the latest move in a dangerous and high stakes game that is now underway on Israel's northern frontier. Israel and Hezbollah are not the only players. The Islamic Republic of Iran, which the U.S. defines as the leading state-sponsor of terrorism, is also a key presence as Hezbollah's strategic partner.

The attack at Har Dov was the second move by Iran/Hezbollah in response to the Israeli operation on the Syrian Golan Heights on January 18th. In the Israeli operation, a senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards officer, Mohammed Allahdadi, was killed, as was Jihad Mughniyeh, the son of a famous Hezbollah commander.

Israel appears to have chosen not to immediately respond to the Hezbollah attack. As a result, fears of an imminent escalation to full conflict between the Jewish state and the Lebanese Shia Islamists have diminished. But the silence is deceptive. The border incidents cast a sudden light on an ongoing war between Israel and Iran that is more usually played out in the shadows.

The commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Aerospace force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh announced on February 2nd that his country has exported technology to Hezbollah "for the production of missiles and other equipment, and they can now stand against the Zionist regime."

Just last week, the IRGC, Hezbollah and Assad's soldiers launched an offensive in the direction of the Golan Heights to reclaim territory seized by Syrian rebels and jihadis. The offensive seems to have stalled amid the February snow for now.

But the Iranian/Hezbollah determination to drive the Syrian rebels away from the border area is clearly intact. This ambition lies at the root of the tensions on Israel's northern border.

The Israeli strike on January 18th was a response to an attempt by Iran and Hezbollah to re-write the delicate "rules of engagement" that pertain between Israel and the Shia Islamist organization in Lebanon and now in Syria.

Could the Golan Become a Front for Attacks on Israel?

The Iran/Hezbollah/Assad troika has long threatened to develop the Golan as a front for possible "jihad duties" against Israel. Syria is in chaos. The area east of the Israeli-held Golan is precisely the kind of lawless territory from where Iran's regime and its proxies would find it suitable to launch acts of violence against Israeli communities.

Syria and Hezbollah have made unambiguous public statements threatening military activity against Israel in this area.
Both Syrian President Bashar Assad and Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah, in the course of 2014, made unambiguous public statements threatening the opening of military activity against Israel in this area.

Iranian General Allahdadi, Mughniyeh and the others were in the Golan Heights as part of the effort to make these statements a reality. They were, it appears, in the process of preparing an infrastructure for attacks on Israel. Israel acted to prevent this, but also to send a broad and clear message to Iran/Hezbollah that it would not tolerate the establishment of a second springboard for attacks on Israeli communities, just east of the Quneitra Crossing.

Israel Does Not Want To Be Drawn into the Syrian Civil War

The emergence of a terror infrastructure facing the Golan, with regular attacks from Hezbollah or (more likely) un-named proxy groups could lead the Jewish state to face the alternative of accepting a war of attrition against northern communities or entering to prevent it. So Israel is determined to prevent the emergence of that reality.

In pursuing this mission, Israel relies only on its own capabilities. This is a stance born from bitter experience. The guarantees of the "international community" have proven to be an ineffective barrier to the ongoing march of Teheran's ambitions. Just north of Israel's border with Lebanon, Iran and Hezbollah have constructed a powerful war machine. The existence of UNSC Resolution-1701, intended precisely to prevent this, has done nothing serious to even hinder this process.

UNIFIL'S Mission Has Failed

Since Hezbollah last attacked Israel during the 2006 Second Lebanon War, a beefed-up UNIFIL's (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) mandate has been to restore peace to the border and assist the Lebanese Armed Forces in disarming Hezbollah. The mission has failed. Hezbollah has likely amassed over 100,000 rockets. It has also infiltrated the Lebanese Armed Forces, to the point wherein many ways it can no longer be reliably discerned where Hezbollah ends and the Lebanese Armed Forces begin.



Hezbollah is believed to have amassed over 100,000 rockets capable of striking Israeli territory.
By way of background, the U.S. designated Hezbollah a terrorist organization in 1995. The long bloody trail of Hezbollah's terrorism can be traced back to 1983. Hezbollah launched a suicide bomb attack against U.S and French military barracks in Beirut. The terror attacks resulted in the deaths of 241 American military personnel and 58 paratroopers. Hezbollah's jingoism against the U.S. did not end in Lebanon; its operative Ali Mussa Daqduq played a key role in murdering five U.S. soldiers in Iraq in 2007.

Recently, the Washington Post published details of U.S.-Israeli cooperation in the assassination of Hezbollah's terror mastermind, Imad Mughniyeh, in Damascus in February, 2008. The latest revelations cast light on the extent of ongoing behind the scenes cooperation against the common threat represented by Iran and Hezbollah. This campaign is a marathon, not a sprint, with achievements and setbacks, moments of greater intensity and periods of waiting.

Deterrence Is an Art

Deterrence, as Admiral Eliezer Marom, former commander of the Israeli Navy, said in an interview on Israeli Channel 1 News following the Har Dov attack, is not an exact science; it's an art. Israeli decision-makers have apparently decided to bring the current episode to a close with no further immediate escalation.

This decision was presumably not easily reached. Silence is not necessarily cost-free. With the Iranian ambition very clear, Israel needs to consider whether accepting Hezbollah's signal to the UNIFIL may mean that the organization and its backers will now feel emboldened to continue to regard the Golan as an "open" front, in the knowledge that Israel's responses, though kinetic, would be limited.

The broader picture, in any case, seems clear after the latest events. The eight years of relative quiet that followed the Second Lebanon War of 2006 are over. The northern border is back to being an active arena in the Israel-Islamist conflict.

Iran's Second Front Against Israel Should Not Be Ignored

Lastly, Iran's growing role in destabilizing Israel's borders should debunk any idea that President Hassan Rouhani is a moderate leader within the Middle East. The Iranian effort to open a "second front" against Israel in the Golan should be seen as part of a larger regional picture in which the Iranians are actively interfering in conflict areas throughout the Middle East — in Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank/Gaza, and now once again across Israel's northern border.


Dr. Jonathan Spyer is a senior research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs Center in Herzliya, Israel, and a fellow at the Middle East Forum. Benjamin Weinthal is a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Follow Benjamin on Twitter here.

Source: http://www.meforum.org/5058/iran-second-front-israel

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

Austria Passes Reforms to 1912 Islam Law - Soeren Kern



by Soeren Kern


The new law, which the Austrian government says could serve as a model for the rest of Europe, seeks to reduce outside meddling by prohibiting foreign funding for mosques, imams and Muslim organizations in Austria. It also stresses that Austrian law must take precedence over Islamic Sharia law for Muslims living in the country.
The Turkish government has expressed outrage at the financing ban, which it says amounts to "Islamophobia."
"Countries cannot have their own version of Islam. Islam is universal and its sources are clear. ... [E]fforts taken by state leaders to create a version of Islam that is particular to their own countries are futile." — Mehmet Görmez, Head of Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate.
The massive demographic and religious shift underway in Austria, traditionally a Roman Catholic country, appears irreversible. In Vienna, Muslim students already outnumber Catholic students at middle and secondary schools and are on the verge of overtaking Catholics in elementary schools.
At the same, time Austria has emerged as a major base for radical Islam.

The Austrian parliament has approved controversial reforms to the country's century-old Islam Law (Islamgesetz), governing the status of Muslims in the country.

The new law, which was passed on February 25, is aimed at integrating Muslims and fighting Islamic radicalism by promoting an "Islam with an Austrian character."

Among other changes, the new law seeks to reduce outside meddling by prohibiting foreign funding for mosques, imams and Muslim organizations in Austria. It also stresses that Austrian law must take precedence over Islamic Sharia law for Muslims living in the country.

The Austrian government says the new law is a milestone and could serve as a model for the rest of Europe. But Muslim groups say it is discriminatory and have vowed to challenge it in court.

The new law overhauls the original Islam Law, which dates back to 1912. The original law was passed in order to help integrate Muslim soldiers into the Habsburg Imperial Army after the Austro-Hungarian Empire annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1908. The law recognized Islam as an official religion in Austria, and allowed Muslims to practice their religion in accordance with the laws of the state.

After the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed in the aftermath of World War I, the number of Muslims in Austria was reduced to just a few hundred people. After World War II, however, Austria's Muslim population increased rapidly with the arrival of "guest workers" from Turkey and the Balkans in the 1960s, and refugees from Bosnia in the 1990s.

According to data compiled by the University of Vienna, the Muslim population in Austria now exceeds 574,000 (or roughly 7% of the total population), up from an estimated 340,000 (or 4.25%) in 2001 and 150,000 (or 2%) in 1990.

The massive demographic and religious shift underway in Austria, traditionally a Roman Catholic country, appears irreversible. In Vienna, where the Muslim population now exceeds 12.5%, Muslim students already outnumber Catholic students at middle and secondary schools. Muslim students are also on the verge of overtaking Catholics in Viennese elementary schools.

At the same time, Austria has emerged as a major base for radical Islam. A recent report by Austria's Agency for State Protection and Counterterrorism (BVT) warned of the "exploding radicalization of the Salafist scene in Austria." Salafism is an anti-Western ideology that seeks to impose Islamic sharia law.

Due to its geographic location, Austria has also become a central hub for European jihadists seeking to fight in Syria. In addition to being a transit point for foreigners going to fight with the Islamic State, at least 190 Austrian citizens have become jihadists in Syria and Iraq.

In an interview with Austrian Public Radio Ö1-Morgenjournal, Austria's Minister for Integration and Foreign Affairs, Sebastian Kurz, said the rapid rise of Islam in Austria has rendered the old Islam Law obsolete. A new law is needed, he said, to stipulate more clearly the rights and responsibilities of Muslims living in the country.

The new law (nine-page text in German here) regulates at least a dozen separate issues, including relatively non-controversial matters such as Muslim holidays, Muslim cemeteries, Muslim dietary practices and the activities of Muslim clergy in hospitals, prisons and the army. In this respect, the government has met all of the demands put forth by Muslim groups in the country.

The new law, however, goes far beyond what Muslims had wanted. For example, the law seeks to prevent the growth of a parallel Islamic society in Austria by regulating mosques and the training of imams, who will now be required to be proficient in German. The new law also requires Muslim organizations and groups to terminate the employment of clerics who have criminal records or who "pose a threat to public safety, order, health and morals or the rights and freedoms of others."

More significantly, Paragraph 6.2 of the law seeks to limit the religious and political influence of foreign governments within the Austrian Muslim community by prohibiting foreign countries -- presumably Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Arab Gulf states -- from financing Islamic centers and mosques in Austria.

The new restrictions -- including an employment ban for foreign clerics in Austria as of March 31, 2016 -- would apply especially to Turkey: 60 of the 300 Muslim clerics working in Austria are Turkish civil servants whose salaries are being paid for by the Turkish government's Religious Affairs Directorate, the Diyanet.

In an interview with the BBC, Kurz said the reforms were a "milestone" for Austria and were aimed at preventing certain Muslim countries from using financial means to exert "political influence." He said:
"What we want is to reduce the political influence and control from abroad and we want to give Islam the chance to develop freely within our society and in line with our common European values."
The Turkish government has expressed outrage at the financing ban, which it says amounts to "Islamophobia." The head of the Diyanet, Mehmet Görmez, said it was a "huge mistake" that would throw Austria's tradition of tolerance towards Islam "back 100 years." He added:
"Countries come together from time to time on the grounds of security concerns and try to construct a version of Islam peculiar to their own countries, rather than increase the freedoms that would lead to unity and remove obstacles before the religious education and services, and make an effort to remove anti-Islamic sentiments and Islamophobia.
"Countries cannot have their own version of Islam. Islam is universal and its sources are clear. Therefore, religion is not a matter of engineering. I would like to restate that efforts taken by state leaders to create a version of Islam that is particular to their own countries are futile."
Mehmet Görmez (left), head of the Turkish government's Religious Affairs Directorate, denounced Austria's new law and said that Austria should instead "make an effort to remove anti-Islamic sentiments and Islamophobia." Johann Rädler (right), speaking for the Austrian People's Party, said the law "guarantees Muslims more rights, and on the other hand it serves to counteract undesirable developments."

For many, however, the most contentious part of the law involves Paragraph 4.2, which states that Muslim organizations "must have a positive attitude toward society and state" or be shut down. According to the government, this formulation makes it clear that Austrian civil law has priority over Islamic Sharia law. Muslim groups say this is unfair because it casts a "veil of general suspicion" over the entire community.

Kurz has defended the clause: "In Austria there must be no contradiction between being a self-conscious Austrian, while at the same time also being a devout Muslim. That was always the intention behind this law."

Some say the law does not go far enough. The leader of the anti-immigration Freedom Party of Austria, Heinz-Christian Strache, says that the law is full of loopholes will be difficult if not impossible to enforce. He also expressed dismay that the law does not include a ban on minarets and burkas.

A spokesperson for the Austrian People's Party, Johann Rädler, said the law is the result of compromises that were made on both sides. He added:
"The goal of this law is to promote an Islam with an Austrian character, without being patronizing and without being dependent upon contributions from abroad. On the one hand, this law guarantees Muslims more rights, and on the other hand it serves to counteract undesirable developments."
Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter.

Source:  http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/5277/austria-reforms-islam-law

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

The New Shiite Crescent - Majid Rafizadeh



by Majid Rafizadeh

While the international community, primarily the United States, has been putting all of its eggs in one basket in regards to the Islamic State’s fighters, the growth and increasing number of pro-Iran Shiite militias can pose a daunting, long-term task to tackle in the future.



102507-IranGuards-500While the Obama administration’s agenda and policies with regard to fighting the Islamic State have been counter-productive, the administration is ignoring other larger threats in the region.

The profusion of Iran-trained Shiite militias in the region (particularly in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen) is unprecedented and represents the height of Iran’s support to militia groups. The incentives to recruit Shiite fighters can be either driven by financial means or religious/sectarian motives.

The emergence of this new Shiite Crescent has unintended consequences for regional and global powers. Currently, an estimate of 120,000 Shiite militants are fighting in Iraq and Syria including fighters from Abo Al-Fadl Al-Abbas brigade, Al-Imam AlHossein brigade, Tho Al-Faqar brigade, Kafil Zainab brigade, Asaib Ahl Alhaq, Ammar Bin Yasser brigade, Hezbollah Al-Nujaba’ movement, to name a few.

The use of these Shiite militia groups are not only restricted within a boundary of one state. As transnational non-state actors, they are mainly intertwined across borders. For example, several of Iraqi Shiite militias have been utilized in Syria to fight alongside President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and vice versa.

In addition, the employment of militants are not limited to solely Arab Shiite groups. Most recently, Pakistani and Afghan Shiite fighters, which are part of the Iranian-backed “Operation Quneitra Martyrs named for Gen. Ali Allah Dadi,” have been brought to the Golan Heights in Syria, near the border of Israel.

The Success of the New Shiite Crescent

While the international community, primarily the United States, has been putting all of its eggs in one basket in regards to the Islamic State’s fighters, the growth and increasing number of pro-Iran Shiite militias can pose a daunting, long-term task to tackle in the future.

In other words, the international community might succeed in defeating the Islamic State, but they will lose Iraq and other parts of the region to the Iranian-supported Shiite militias.
There are several reasons for the growth and success of Shiite fighters.

First of all, while dozens of countries are relying on aerial attacks to address the threat of the Islamic State, or other extremist groups that might pose instability to the security of the region, the Iranian-supported Shiite militias are among the few groups that are actually fighting on the ground.

The Shiite militias can be seen on the front lines of the battles in Syria and Iraq fighting other oppositional groups. As “boots on the ground,” these militias groups become much more appealing to the leaders of countries who like to consolidate their power and obtain military support. One cannot ignore the fact that these Shiite militia groups have often made significant advances in Iraq and Syria, outperforming the Iraqi and Syrian armies and security forces.

As a result, the Iraqi government is more likely to tilt towards the Islamic Republic than the United States (or other governments) due to the fact that Tehran can provide Baghdad with forces on the ground. In addition, solely airstrikes have shown to be ineffective and often counterproductive to increasing territorial gains.

Secondly, Iran’s proximity to Iraq and Syria, as well as the transnational nature of these Shiite militia groups, make it much easier for Tehran to support the emergence of Shiite fighters across the region. Third, Iran has been successful at building close ties with both Arab and non-Arab Shiite populations in various countries in the region.

Shiite Jihad and the “Hezbollzation” of the Region

Although the Iranian-trained Shiite militias have made advances in territories in Iraq and Syria, ignoring the profusion of these militants in the region could pose a long-term security dilemma to regional nations.

The common argument made by Iranian leaders and some of Shiite militia groups is that these militias are protecting the religious Shiite shrines, including Sayyida Zaynab, Sayyida Ruqayya, and shrines in Najaf.

Nevertheless, the operations of these groups in various countries reflect their effective role in tipping the balance of power in favor of the Syrian government, as well as taking over the security and military operations of both Iraqi and Syrian governments.

Secondly, as pawns for the Islamic Republic’s regional hegemonic ambitions, the continuing support of Iran to organize, coordinate and financially support the Shiite militants will create formidable Iranian-backed Shiite proxies in the region in the long-term. This might be called the “Hezbollazation” of the region. As time passes, defeating these organized proxies will be a much more strenuous task.

Finally, in the future, the growth of Iranian-trained Shiite militias will further instigate and sharpen the sectarian and the Sunni-Shia split. For instance, recently, Iraqi Sunni lawmakers have announced that they will boycott the Iraqi parliament until the government controls the growing influence of the Shiite militia groups.

If the international community succeeds in defeating the Islamic State, they will soon encounter a much more taxing challenge: The long-term security threat posed by the Shiite militias. Even if many countries are capable of driving the Islamic State out of Syria and Iraq, they will soon come to the realization that they have lost Iraq, Syria, and other territories in the region to the Iranian-trained Shiite militias.


Majid Rafizadeh

Source: http://www.frontpagemag.com/2015/majid-rafizadeh/the-new-shiite-crescent/

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

Pentagon now says no attack to take Mosul this spring - Rick Moran



by Rick Moran


The Iraqi army had suffered humiliating defeats last year at the hands of Islamic State. What possessed Pentagon planners to believe they would be ready to mount a complex urban campaign by the spring of this year? Clearly, there is some wishful thinking going on in the administration who appear to be desperate to score a major victory against IS.

After leaking plans to attack Islamic State and retake Iraq's second largest city of Mosul this April, the Pentagon is pulling back from the target date for the attack because the Iraqi army is far from being ready.

Tentative plans now call for a fall offensive on Mosul, but even that date may slip given the inadequacies of the Iraqi army.

Daily Beast:
The shift away from the Spring began in the last few days, in part because officials could not agree publicly about whether the Iraqi forces would be ready for the fight. Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart told the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday that it would be “six to nine months, best estimate,” before Iraqi forces could be able to launch a major counteroffensive against ISIS.
“When we talk about the six to nine months additional training, it is to deal with an urban fight, which is very, very different, very complex, requires a great deal of skill, great deal of precision to be successful,” Stewart said.
The timeline is expected to come up publicly again Tuesday when Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin Dempsey testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Dempsey isn’t expected to address the timeline for such an offensive directly. Rather, he’ll argue against the potential “rush to failure,” as one defense official explained.
In addition to the unreadiness of Iraqi forces to move on Mosul, there were other problems with the early timeline:
There were sectarian considerations, as well. The Iraqi divisions who would likely lead such a campaign are majority Shiite forces; Mosul is a Sunni-dominated town and such sectarian delineations are important to all involved. Many worried that Sunnis in both Iraq and the broader Arab world would not accept a Shiite-dominated military force leading the campaign.
Still others were angry that the U.S. military decided to telegraph the mission and the details of it. Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham blasted the announcement in a letter to President Obama, calling the disclosure a risk to “the success of our mission, but could also cost the lives of U.S., Iraqi, and coalition forces.”
The Iraqi army had suffered humiliating defeats last year at the hands of Islamic State. What possessed Pentagon planners to believe they would be ready to mount a complex urban campaign by the spring of this year? Clearly, there is some wishful thinking going on in the administration who appear to be desperate to score a major victory against IS. 

That fall date is likely to slip as well, as the disorganized Iraqi army is retrained and re-equipped. Will the shias really fight for a sunni town? At this point, it seems unlikely as shia militias are terrorizing sunnis across Iraq. Only a professional army adept at urban combat has a chance of levering Islamic State out of Mosul This suggests that American troops will have a much larger role in an operation to retake Mosul than the administration is willing to admit.


Rick Moran

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2015/02/pentagon_now_says_no_attack_to_take_mosul_this_spring.html

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

CJL Benefit Dinner 2015 Speech - Dr. Dan Schuftan



by Dr Dan. Schuftan

Here is an Israeli Jew who explains the essence of the Middle East conflict and why there can never be peace in our generation. He is brilliant and entertaining and presents a historical review of the Middle East conflict and also shows a terrific sense of humor in describing the Jewish and Arab mentality. It's a long speech, but quite enlightening and entertaining, especially the joke he tells as his conclusion.




Dr Dan. Schuftan

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9ZQGiBubb0&feature=youtu.be

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

Beware of Saudi bedfellows - Ruthie Blum



by Ruthie Blum


In the first place, by its own admission, the Saudi kingdom feels deeply threatened by a nuclearizing Iran. It is therefore in its interest for the problem to be eliminated. This is the sole impetus for allowing Israel use of its airspace. How dare it attach any kind of condition to a move it desperately wants? 

It sounds silly to say this about a regime that engages in egregious human-rights abuses as a matter of course (i.e. treating women as chattel, flogging bloggers, and chopping off the body parts of petty criminals), but Saudi Arabia has got a nerve.

According to a report on Israel's Channel 2 on Tuesday, an anonymous European official revealed that the "Saudi authorities are completely coordinated with Israel on all matters related to Iran." So much so, in fact, that they "have declared their readiness for the Israeli Air Force to overfly Saudi airspace en route to attack Iran if an attack is necessary."

Though Riyadh has yet to confirm or deny this claim, it sounds plausible.

As was spelled out by Jay Solomon in the Wall Street Journal last week, Sunni-Arab governments -- among them Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and, of course, Saudi Arabia -- have been expressing fears to the Obama administration about the direction in which the P5+1 negotiations with the Islamic republic are going. 

"At this stage, we prefer a collapse of the diplomatic process to a bad deal," one Arab official said, pointing out that a nuclear Iran "would likely drive Saudi Arabia, for one, to try to quickly match Iran's nuclear capabilities."

He was referring to the shift in rhetoric from Washington about its aims in the talks. While the West's initial stated policy was to dismantle all of Tehran's nuclear capabilities and infrastructure, now American officials are acknowledging that this is no longer feasible, and whispering that it is not even necessary. In addition, rumors have been circulating about a possible 10-year arrangement with Iran, which would guarantee the ayatollahs a stock of atomic bombs. 

Despite White House spokesman Josh Earnest's assertion this week that this is "inaccurate," nobody believes a word that comes out of his mouth, least of all Sunni Muslims. They have been witnessing President Barack Obama's leaning toward the Shiites in virtually every Middle East scenario. Even his original idea about fighting Islamic State was to join forces with Iran.

In addition, neither Obama nor Secretary of State John Kerry has been willing to tell the American public or anyone else what the terms of the agreement being cooked up with the mullah-led regime in Tehran actually are. 

This brings us back to Saudi Arabia. When King Abdullah died on Jan. 23, Obama and Kerry, along with a slew of past and current American statesmen, went to Riyadh to extend their condolences to his brother and successor, Salman bin Abdul-Aziz. 

Ahead of his trip, Obama said he would not be raising the touchy subjects of human-rights abuses or funding of terrorism during his visit. He was going to focus on shared interests with the new king.

Clearly, nothing came of that particular condolence call, because Obama's mantra about preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons must have rung just as hollow to King Salman as they do to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

It is for this reason that Netanyahu is remaining steadfast in his intention to appeal to Congress on Tuesday not to support a dangerous deal with Iran -- one that could be reached and signed by the end of March.

It is also why the new Saudi king is continuing on his brother's path, by securing his own arsenal of nuclear weapons from Pakistan. Yes, the West can be proud of itself for creating a nuclear arms race among all state sponsors of global terrorism, while chastising Netanyahu for making a speech. What an achievement for freedom and democracy.

Speaking of which, the Saudis apparently have made their clandestine cooperation with Israel conditional on -- you guessed it -- progress in peace talks with the Palestinians. 

Are they joking?

In the first place, by its own admission, the Saudi kingdom feels deeply threatened by a nuclearizing Iran. It is therefore in its interest for the problem to be eliminated. This is the sole impetus for allowing Israel use of its airspace. How dare it attach any kind of condition to a move it desperately wants? 

Perhaps it has to do with the fact that Iran has stepped up its warnings about wiping Israel off the map in the event of a strike on its "peaceful" nuclear facilities. And Saudi Arabia would shed no tears over the annihilation of the Jewish state. 

Secondly, there can be no "progress" with the Palestinians that has not already been attempted again and again by Israel. 

Third, Iran is a key backer of Palestinian terrorism. So sidling up to the Palestinians would seem to be counterproductive where curbing the Islamic republic's tentacles in the region is concerned. 

Finally, Saudi Arabia, like the rest of the Muslim world, couldn't care less about the Palestinians, as it repeatedly proves. 

The only question remaining is: How do you say "chutzpah" in Arabic?

Ruthie Blum is the editor of Voice of Israel talk radio (voiceofisrael.com).


Ruthie Blum

Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=11733

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

Obama Brings his Gun to the Fight with Israel - Laurie B. Regan



by Laurie B. Regan


Six years into President Obama’s eight-year tenure we are now seeing him with full guns blazing. Unfortunately, they are not directed at Russia, Iran, North Korea, or ISIS. The Bully-in-Chief apparently believes that the world likes “a good brawl” and has chosen Israel and its Jewish citizens as the target of his irrational and venomous rage.

In Philadelphia in 2008, Candidate Obama threatened his political opponents in stating, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” He continued, “Because from what I understand folks in Philly like a good brawl.”

Six years into President Obama’s eight-year tenure we are now seeing him with full guns blazing. Unfortunately, they are not directed at Russia, Iran, North Korea, or ISIS. The Bully-in-Chief apparently believes that the world likes “a good brawl” and has chosen Israel and its Jewish citizens as the target of his irrational and venomous rage. 

Despite clear indications well before Obama’s 2008 victory that he would not be a friend of Israel (articulately addressed by many conservative journalists, including AT’s prolific Ed Lasky), watching Obama unchained over the past several months has nonetheless been shocking and disturbing. Obama has aggressively and senselessly sicced his attack dogs on Israel’s Prime Minister. And the efforts to which he is going to block a speech that is intended to prevent the world’s largest purveyor of terrorism from attaining nuclear capability is astounding.

Obama believes, or at least would like the world to believe, that Netanyahu has begun a fight with him. What knives does Obama perceive as having been thrust at him by Netanyahu?  The issuance of building permits and the refusal to acquiesce to administration pressure to sign a dangerous deal with the Palestinians top the list. But apparently Bibi pulled out the butcher knife when he accepted an invitation to speak before Congress next week.

Alas, for a guy who supports gun control, Obama’s arsenal of AK-47s with which he has responded to Netanyahu’s actions is quite extensive. Netanyahu has been personally ridiculed, lambasted and yelled at by Obama and other administration officials, given a time out and abandoned to sit for hours in the basement of the White House while Obama dined on food prepared by his private chef, called names that only classless gutter inhabitants would utter, ignored, abused on the world stage, and generally treated like vermin. 

Furthermore, the detailed list of anti-Israel steps taken by Obama and his administration maintained at Discover the Networks is currently 36 pages long -- and counting. For instance, Obama has leaked and directly disclosed Israeli classified information and military secrets (including Israel’s involvement in developing the Stuxnet virus, outing Israel’s nuclear weapons program, and disclosing a secret agreement that would allow Israel to use Saudi airspace for an Iranian strike). 

Obama reneged on a deal that George W. Bush had made to ensure safe borders in any final deal with the Palestinians. He has blamed Israel for general strife in the region insinuating that if Israel would just make peace with the Palestinians, the civil wars and violence would end.  And he has blamed Israel rather than the terrorists when his attempt to ram a two-state solution down Israel’s throat failed. He has not unconditionally supported Israel at the U.N. as the constant threat of a veto of any anti-Israel resolutions hangs over Israel’s head. And he delayed sending rearmaments and weapons shipments that Israel needed during Operation Cast Lead this summer.

But all of that looks like small handgun-style combat in comparison to the automatic weapons that have been drawn over the past couple of months. Obama wants a deal with Iran and will do almost anything to achieve that goal. Netanyahu wants to ensure Israel’s survival and that of the Jewish people. That means that Iran, a country that is ruled by Jew-hating, Holocaust-denying Islamists who almost daily threaten Israel’s survival cannot be permitted to develop nuclear weapons -- period.  Based on the way the P5+1 negotiations are proceeding, it appears that Iran’s nuclear program will not be required to be dismantled. Like all of Obama’s empty promises, his vow to do everything in his power to prevent Iran from going nuclear was simply a lie uttered for political gain.

Obama will not be stopped in his quest to ensure Iran’s hegemonic takeover of the Middle East -- and certainly not by the likes of an adversary like Netanyahu.  So with all the fire power he can muster, Obama is on the attack as if preventing Netanyahu’s speech before Congress is a life or death matter. He has ordered to combat the big guns like National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who told Charlie Rose that Netanyahu’s speech is “destructive” to the U.S./Israel relationship (ignoring the prior six Obama years of tearing down and destroying what American presidents had recognized as a strategically and morally essential alliance). 

A year after threatening Israel with boycotts if she did not accede to a U.S.-mandated peace with the Palestinians, Kerry is back to bashing Israel. Kerry made the unmerited claim that Netanyahu cannot be trusted because he supported the Iraq war “and look how that turned out.” No mention that Netanyahu was not the prime minister at the time, that Kerry also supported the war, and most importantly, that the only reason Iraq is a failure is because Kerry’s boss chose to surrender the victory.

And despite claiming that the only reason that he won’t meet with Netanyahu when he is in town next week is because it is too close to Israeli elections with which he does not want to appear to interfere, Obama’s former campaign operatives were sent to Israel to help defeat Bibi’s re-election. As if a snub from the president is not enough, Obama has also ensured that Kerry and Biden will be out of town when Netanyahu addresses the joint session of Congress and has encouraged Democrats, including the Congressional Black Caucus, to boycott the speech. 

In preparation for post-speech spin claiming that Netanyahu has no idea what he is talking about, the administration has stopped sharing information with Israel regarding the P5+1 negotiations. Of course, Congress and Americans are being left in the dark as well. Obama is following Nancy Pelosi’s playbook when she claimed, “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it away from the fog of the controversy.” Obama wants to sign a treaty allowing Iran to go nuclear before Americans or Netanyahu can stop him.

There has been much conjecture over what motivates Obama in his war on Israel and Netanyahu. Some argue he is a closet Muslim who is anti-Semitic. Certainly he has an affinity for Islam and speaks adoringly of Muslims as he rewrites American history to include them in our founding. Furthermore, Andrea Tantaro questioned whether the White House was in fact anti-Semitic, stating, “I’m asking the question. Because look at the hostility towards Israel. We have never seen an administration more coordinated in their attacks, from Susan Rice to John Kerry to the president, repeatedly, at Netanyahu, calling him, 'destructive".

Obama also has a massive, ever-expanding ego that barely fits inside the White House. He does not take well to anyone who does not adhere to his worldview, bow to his every wish and command, or question his wisdom. Netanyahu’s fears regarding Iran are simply not acceptable to Obama and he will slap him down come hell or high water.

Obama has successfully used Netanyahu’s speech as a distraction moving the narrative away from the substantive issues regarding Iran. Rather than talking about the implications of a nuclear Iran and content of a final status agreement, the media is enthralled with the Netanyahu/Obama spat. Reporting during and after the speech may very well focus on how many Democrats boycotted rather than the content of the speech. 

Elliot Abrams concludes that there are three motivations for Obama’s current temper tantrum:
to damage and defeat Netanyahu (whom Obama has always disliked simply because he is on the right while Obama is on the left) in his election campaign, to prevent Israel from affecting the Iran policy debate in the United States, and worst of all to diminish Israel’s popularity in the United States and especially among Democrats.
Obama has found success is turning Israel into a partisan issue. But this was not a challenging endeavor since the Democrats have been moving away from supporting Israel for years. Susan Rice blaming Netanyahu as the cause of the partisanship is just one more Obama administration lie.

Historically speaking, Netanyahu’s speech may very well be the most important since World War II. At this point, only Congress can stop Obama from caving to the Mullahs and forever changing the world. For instead of preventing a nuclear Iran, Obama is going nuclear on Israel. And if he continues to elevate the type of weaponry he uses in his war against Israel, pulling out nuclear missiles in his final years in office, Israel will need all of the friends in Congress that Netanyahu can muster.


Laurie B. Regan

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2015/02/obama_brings_his_gun_to_the_fight_with_israel_.html

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

Students For Justice in Palestine Hides True Intentions - Ross Beroff



by Ross Beroff


SJP uses IAW as an attempt to delegitimize Israel as a Jewish State. They promote what they refer to as “the Palestinian narrative,” which is nothing more than an attempt to rewrite history, where true historical facts are rendered irrelevant.


ok[The poster on the Left is part of the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s new “Jew Hatred on Campus” Campaign.]

Reprinted from The Huntington News.

Next week, our campus will be hosting Israel Apartheid Week (IAW), a series of events hosted by Students For Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapters across the country. It is time that this event and this group are exposed for what they truly are. SJP does not stand for justice, instead they are a hate group and a more fitting definition of the acronym would be, “Students for Jewish Persecution.”

Let’s start with the naming of IAW. The use of the word “apartheid” in conjunction with Israel is not only false, but an insult to those who actually experienced true apartheid in South Africa. Most simply stated, there is no country in the Middle East that gives Arabs or other minorities more freedom than Israel does. Arabs can own land, vote, practice their chosen religion and speak their minds.

SJP uses IAW as an attempt to delegitimize Israel as a Jewish State. They promote what they refer to as “the Palestinian narrative,” which is nothing more than an attempt to rewrite history, where true historical facts are rendered irrelevant. All I can say to that is that narratives are what you want history to be. History is what actually happened. The close to 1 million Jews who were thrown out of the neighboring Arab countries at the time of Israel’s founding that are ignored in the “Palestinian narrative.”

In their campaign of terror, instead of advising civilians to take shelter, Hamas requires Palestinian civilians to stand on rooftops to increase their casualty counts. At the same time, Hamas leaders line their pockets with funds from international aid, while redirecting other resources to the construction of terror. Yet, when Israel fights back and defends itself, SJP shares gruesome pictures from other countries such as Syria, ignoring the flagrant violations of human rights. This is done to demonize Israel.

Earlier this semester I had the displeasure of sitting through an SJP chapter meeting. During introductions, everyone went around and said their name and preferred gender pronoun. This is ironic since homosexuality is a capital offense in Gaza and much of the Middle East, while Tel Aviv is one of the most LGBTQ-friendly cities in the world. Sharing such facts has elicited accusations of “pinkwashing” from NU SJP in the past, the irrational idea that Israel hides human rights violations (that don’t actually exist) by promoting their great record of LGBTQ rights.

SJP tries to hide their naked anti-Semitism by partnering with groups with misnomers such as Jewish Voice for Peace. Throughout history, whenever a new group arises to try and destroy the Jews, there have been members of the tribe assisting them. For months, SJP had its Facebook profile picture in support of convicted terrorist Rasmea Odeh. Other chapters have held fundraisers for her.

Legitimate criticism of Israel is perfectly acceptable.

Israel is the Jewish State and Zionism is the belief in this state and the right to Jewish self-determination. When you are against the right of the only Jewish State to exist and survive and use all methods to delegitimize and demonize Israel, then you are against the Jewish people. No amount of verbal gymnastics by SJP can deny this fact. Let me be explicitly clear: anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.

It is here that I must commend Hamas. In their charter, they very clearly call for the destruction of the Jewish people. They do not shy away from what their real goals are. So I ask, when will SJP take off its mask and admit its true intentions?


Ross Beroff

Source: http://www.frontpagemag.com/2015/ross-beroff/students-for-justice-in-palestine-hides-true-intentions/

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

Europe Without Jews? - Guy Millière



by Guy Millière


Even if many Muslims came to Europe seeking economic opportunity, they are often defined as victims of racism and oppression. So, the thinking goes, if you are a victim of racism and oppression, how can you be racist yourself?
The Palestinians repeat almost daily that they would like to kill the Israelis, while the Israelis say they would like peace. What follows are usually bitter, politically-motivated denunciations of Israel by Europe, masquerading as human rights.
Despite the increasingly savage state of the world and an openly genocidal Iran -- soon to be nuclear, if it is not already -- Israeli leaders remain the ones Europeans love to accuse, hate and demonize.
The terrorist attacks are denounced by journalists and political leaders, but their denunciations always sound sanctimonious and thin, condemning the "anti-Semitism" they themselves have been encouraging.
In Europe today, slandering Israel is widely conveyed by European Muslims, and if a political leader or journalist does not agree with what they say, he must be a racist.
There are now 44 million Muslims in Europe.

In Europe, evoking the memory of Auschwitz has become difficult; tomorrow, it may be impossible.

The ceremony marking the seventieth anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp was held on January 27 -- and will likely be the last commemoration of its kind. The Nazis wanted a Europe without Jews. They killed six million, but in their ultimate goal, they failed.

Three hundred survivors were invited; all were more than eighty years old. Although filmed testimonies will remain, there may be no more direct witnesses.

While European political leaders speak of Auschwitz with the solemn formula of "never again," it increasingly seems meaningless. Surveys show that in most European countries, including Germany, a growing number of people want to turn the page, and say they want [to] forget about the Holocaust in a way they do not say they want to forget about, for instance, the Crucifixion.

When articles on the Holocaust are published in major European magazines, an increasing number of people leave comments to point out that the Holocaust was just one genocide among others, and there is no reason to insist on this one in particular.

When other genocides are evoked, the fate of the Palestinians also quickly takes center stage, even though the Palestinians repeat almost daily that they would like to kill the Israelis, while the Israelis say they would like peace. The Israelis have never said they would like to kill the Palestinians.

What follows are usually bitter, politically motivated denunciations of Israel by Europe, masquerading as human rights.

Despite the monstrous crimes committed by the Islamic State, Boko Haram or Iran; despite two hundred thousand dead in Syria; and despite the massacres of Christians and Yezidis in Iraq, for European journalists, the Jewish state remains, it seems, the favored prime target.

Where else in the middle east but Israel can a journalist lead a comfortable life, file a story along the only lines his editor will like by noon, go to the beach, and have dinner with his family? Maybe if he bashes Israel enough, his story will even make the front page, and he will receive an award for courage in journalism. So, in the international media, Israeli Jews are often libelously described as criminals who simply are doing to other people what was done to the Jews seventy years ago.

Despite the increasingly savage state of the world, with an openly genocidal Iran -- soon to be a nuclear, if it is not already -- and with the squalid brutality of dictators such as Bashar al-Assad, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Kim Jong Un and Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, Israeli leaders remain the ones many Europeans love to accuse, hate and demonize.

The desire to forget the past, to hurl degrading charges against Israeli Jews, to slander the Jewish state, and to demonize Israeli leadership displays a growing animosity against Jews, in addition to encouraging renewed anti-Jewish violence on European soil.

Often anti-Israeli demonstrations are punctuated with explicit slogans targeting Jews. These demonstrations then lead to riots and physical attacks against synagogues and Jews.

The attacks are denounced by journalists and political leaders, but their denunciations always sound sanctimonious and thin, condemning the "anti-Semitism" they themselves have been encouraging. Most European journalists and political leaders claim to fight anti-Semitism. Most do not.[1] They almost never address the harsh words used about Israel, Israeli Jews or Israel's leaders. They speak and act as if those words had no influence. Their denunciations therefore always sound devious and glossy.

The long, persistent, European hatred of Jews, which led to Auschwitz, was a crime so sickening that, for a few decades, Europeans were crushed with shame. Since then, they seem to have sought unceasingly to alleviate this burden.

One attempt, Holocaust denial, merely sparked outrage and horror for a while. Attempts to trivialize the Holocaust persist. The growing desire in many Europeans to forget about those events could even be making trivializing the Holocaust a success.

Another attempt is to slander Israel. If falsely accusing it of being a criminal state; and Israeli Jews of being unacceptable; and Israeli leaders of having dark plans, then Europeans can see themselves as less criminal and allow themselves to feel less guilt.[2]

Slandering Israel in Europe is also effective because, although it comes from both extremes, it mostly comes from the "left."[3]

The "left" portrays itself as "anti-fascist"; anyone who does not agree with their views must therefore be a fascist.

They describe Palestinian Arabs as victims, which they are – but not because of Israel. No Palestinians are now governed by Israelis, only Arabs. Israel forcibly evacuated all the Jews from Gaza in 2005, so it could be, for the Palestinians, a "Singapore on the Mediterranean." Israelis left greenhouses in perfect condition for them, so the Palestinians could start out with a solid economy. The Palestinians destroyed the greenhouses within hours. Hamas threw Fatah members off the tops of buildings until Fatah ran away. Hamas now rules Gaza in a unity government with Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority. Support for Abbas's Fatah is support for Hamas.

But many Europeans – even now, faced with the same terror attacks Israel has faced for years -- do not let such facts get in their way. Never mind that the Palestinians had built secret death-tunnels for surprise attacks to kidnap and murder Jewish civilians Never mind that the Palestinians continually call for the death -- not just of Israelis -- but of Jews. Never mind that Palestinians rejected every partition, land or peace offer, granting them 98% of what they asked, since 1947. Many Europeans still describe Israeli Jews as fascist torturers, sometimes comparable to the Nazis.[4]

Slandering Israel is effective in Europe today because there has been a shift in its population. Millions of Muslim migrants have come there. Now they are European citizens. Even if many originally came to Europe seeking economic opportunity, they are often defined by Europeans as victims of racism and oppression. So, the thinking goes, if you are a victim of racism and oppression, how can you be racist yourself?

Many Muslims have been indoctrinated from childhood to hate Israel, hate the Jews and hate the West.[5] This view is helped along by genocidal Islamic texts; the Palestinian media, both Hamas and Fatah; the international media, who only accept articles that have an anti-Israeli angle, and European-funded, non-governmental organizations which pretend to defend "human rights" but instead are dedicated to the political agenda: trying to dismantle Israel.

European governments and the European Union each year spend hundreds of million of euros– transparency and accountability rigorously kept hidden -- for the political agenda of trying to bring Israel to its knees, diplomatically and economically. This international agenda is spurred on with the encouragement of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation [OIC], composed of 56 states plus "Palestine," and which makes up the largest bloc at the deeply corrupt United Nations.

In Europe today, slandering Israel is widely conveyed by European Muslims, and if a political leader or journalist does not agree with what they say, he must be a racist.

Hatred of Israel so permeates the European atmosphere that almost no journalists or political leaders -- with the exception of a courageous few, who are immediately and harshly punished -- seem prepared to confront it in a way that might actually bear results.

A few years ago, attacks against Jews in Europe could be violent, but rarely led to assassinations. But all this started to change in 2006, when a group in Paris kidnapped and tortured a young Jew, Ilan Halimi, for three weeks before finally killing him. In 2012, the man who attacked the Jewish school in Toulouse also wanted to kill Jews, and did. The man who attacked the Brussels Jewish Museum in 2014 wanted to kill Jews, and did. He did. The man who entered kosher supermarket in Paris on January 9 wanted to kill Jews, and did. The man who attacked a synagogue in Copenhagen on February 14 wanted to kill Jews; perhaps to his disappointment, he killed only one.

In response to the attacks, 1,000 extremely praiseworthy Muslims in Norway, in solidarity with the Jews, formed a "ring of peace" around the main synagogue in Oslo. "We do not want individuals to define what Islam is for the rest of us," said one of the demonstration's organizers, Zeeshan Abdullah. But more attacks in Europe will follow.

European populations remain passive and inert. They reacted in Paris on January 11 mostly because famous cartoonists were killed two days earlier than the attack on the kosher store. Had it been only Jews that were killed, there probably would have been no crowd reaction at all. There were no crowds after the Toulouse or Brussels killings. There was also, before the Muslim ring in Copenhagen, a small crowd reaction after the murder there – most likely because the killer had also attacked a meeting on free speech.

World leaders link arms at the Paris anti-terror rally on January 11, 2014. Guy Millière writes that had it been only Jews that were been killed, there probably would have been no rally at all. (Image source: RT video screenshot)

Israeli leaders, deciphering the situation, have for years denounced the rising anti-Israel atmosphere in Europe, and accurately predicted what the violent consequences would be.

Israel's Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has repeated that at least now there is a Jewish state where Jews can live freely.

More than 60,000 Jews have left Europe during the past decade, and thousands are still leaving.

While there were 9.8 million Jews in Europe in 1939, there are now 1.4 million: 0.2% of the population.

There are now 44 million Muslims in Europe. The number of those who are radicalized is on the rise, and the number who hate Israel and Jews is high.

Seventy years after Auschwitz, a Europe without Jews now seems a possibility.

[1] Manfred Gerstenfeld, Demonizing Israel and the Jews, RVP Publishers, 2013.
[2] Gabriel Schoenfeld, The Return of Anti-Semitism, Encounter Books, 2005
[3] Robert Wistrich, From Ambivalence to Betrayal: The Left, the Jews, and Israel, University of Nebraska Press, 2012.
[4] Robert Wistrich, op.cit.
[5] Christopher Caldwell, Reflections on the Revolution In Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West, Anchor Books, 2010.


Guy Millière

Source: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/5249/europe-without-jews

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

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