Saturday, February 9, 2013

Divestment and the Destruction of Israel

by Mike Konrad

Right now in Brooklyn, there is a major debate over whether Brooklyn College should allow speakers who advocate a policy of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel. The college president, Karen Gould, is allowing the scheduled forum to go ahead, under the rubric of free speech. The event is scheduled for February 7th. 

Opposed are Jewish and Zionist groups who are pulling out all stops to prevent the forum. There have been calls for Karen Gould's resignation. Political pressure at its rawest is being applied. New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a New York political heavyweight -- and a pitbull defender of Jewish rights -- is in the thick of the fight. Funding for the College is being threatened.

Politicians are being forced to line up one way or the other. New York, both City and State, is heavily Jewish, and crossing the Jewish community can be the third rail of political life.

We're talking about the potential for a second Holocaust here. - Assemblyman Alan Maisel

Adding to the irony is that Brooklyn College is famous for graduating some of the most famous Jews in American life, while Brooklyn was once -- and still is, to a lesser extent -- a heavily Jewish borough. Brooklyn is the veritable womb of the Jewish experience in America. How odd that its college should host a forum which is hostile to Israel?! It must be the final insult.

Recent UN votes have shown that the USA is the only real world power left which supports Israel. If American opinion is changed, then Israel will be all alone and the strangulation will start.

Of course, Jewish and Zionist groups will fight. They will fight hard! Wouldn't you?

While I am a free speech purist, and would not intefere with the forum, I feel obliged to speak up.

Assemblymen Hikind's and Maisel's methods may be wrong, but their motives are right. This is not about Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions. This is not about the settlements, or giving equal rights to Palestinians. This is about the extermination of Israel.

The BDS movement refuses to limit its goal. It would be honorable if all they did was call for Israel to extend civil rights to Palestinians -- and I might support that -- but BDS groups allow one-staters who call for the demise of Israel. Anyone can join.

During the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, no serious movement for the eradication of America was entertained, except by some lunatics. The goal was simply to enfranchise the black community fairly. Those who advocated the demise of America, like the Nation of Islam with its separatism, were relegated to the lunatic fringe.

The BDS movement will not state its limits; and it makes frightening alliances.

It is not enough for BDS organizers to declare they oppose anti-Semitism; they must also oppose the destruction of Israel. Then, and only then, can a legitimate discussion of Palestinian civil rights be addressed. Until they make such a declaration, which would probably gut half or more of their support, they should not be given the respectability they seek.

At the core, this is about destroying Israel, piece by piece. The supporters of BDS may not see it that way -- though I suspect more realize it than are willing to admit it -- but that does not negate the ugly reality.

What is being ignored, and here Assemblyman Maisel is right, is that there is a real potential for a Holocaust here. The Holocaust metaphor is overused; but in this case, it is appropriate. BDS is about destroying Israel by economic strangulation.

I am not like Newt Gingrich who denied Palestinian nationality. People have a right to define themselves -- and there is evidence that a Palestinian identity existed long before the PLO Covenant of 1964. However, a Palestinian nation would mean the destruction of Israel; and that is unacceptable.

Israel and Palestine are like conjoined Siamese twins, who share a vital organ (Jerusalem); but the organ is strong enough to only support one life. The twins have to be separated, and one will die.

If Israel lives, Palestine must die. If Palestine lives, Israel will die. If they are not separated, both will die.

This is the ugly truth. Compromise is impossible. Everyone with half a brain knows this. Much of the BDS movement -- not all of it -- is veiled anti-Semitism. The rest is fueled by a leftist ideology which is devoid of thought.

I suspect many of the BDS supporters know it. Certainly Assemblymen Hikind and Maisel know it, which is why they are fighting the BDS forum so fiercely.

The supporters of Palestine have to ask themselves, if they be honest, is the demise of the world's only Jewish state acceptable to prevent the demise of Palestinian nationality when there are dozens of other Arab states? No one is advocating the erasure of individuals; but there is only room for one nation in that small space.

Two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time. They cannot both exist. It is that simple; Physics 101. Israel or Palestine? To advocate for Palestine is to advocate for the destruction of Israel... and vice-versa.

No one is saying this is fair. Life is not fair.

No one can deny that Israel can be brutal to Arabs in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank); but I am not willing to see Israel destroyed over it. Neither can anyone deny that the Palestinians have spawned generations of psychopathic violence in defense of a culture that is barbaric.

My solution is for Israel to buy out willing Palestinian youth with generous packages of money and papers so they can immigrate to South America, which has a history of assimilating and converting Arabs. Others have expressed similar views.

Those Arabs who remain should be slowly enfranchised, given the vote, and equal access to building permits, upon demonstration of some facility in the Hebrew language at a sixth grade level, which used to be the standard for voting in New York State, albeit in English. Even if Judean and Samarian Arabs were enfranchised, Israel would still be 2/3rds Jewish; and that is assuming none would take the buyout offer.

What Messrs. Hikind and Maisel should have done is mobilize a grand forum at Madison Square Garden like the Jewish community did in the 1930s to reassert their case. There is no reason they cannot do it still.

In the future, what should be done is to mobilize tens of thousands of pro-Israel supporters outside each BDS forum meeting to let all attendees know that the destruction of Israel is not acceptable.

Free speech would not be hurt if the attendees had to walk through phalanxes of Israeli flags and supporters to get to their auditorium.

Messrs. Hikind and Maisel are right to expose the fraud of the BDS movement. Their fury is appropriate. Only their methods need honing.

It is to be hoped that in the future Messrs. Hikind and Maisel will respond more fiercely, but more appropriately: In the future, if the BDS movement ever schedules a conference at Queens College, which I am sure will be next.

Mike Konrad is the pen name of an American who is not Jewish, Latin, or Arab. He runs a website, he discusses the subculture of Arabs in Latin America. He wishes his Spanish were better.


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Raking Brennan Over the Coals

by Matthew Vadum


CIA director nominee John O. Brennan took heat during a confirmation hearing yesterday but not on the issues that matter most to America’s survival.

The nature of the struggle between the United States and the rest of Western civilization with totalitarian, irredentist Islam, was barely touched upon during Brennan’s confirmation hearing. Distressingly, Brennan is an intellectually vapid, double-talking bureaucrat and leading Obama administration apologist for Islamic terrorism who has exonerated radical Islamists again and again.

But instead of asking Brennan about his softness on terrorism, senators focused on the U.S. use of drone strikes abroad against terrorist targets. Despite his apparent inability to comprehend the nature of our Islamist enemies and the threat they pose to America’s democratic values, Brennan now serves as the Obama White House counter-terrorism and “assassination czar.”

Brennan is regarded as the architect of the administration’s overseas drone program that targets terrorists. President Obama has bragged about personally designating targets for assassination on his so-called kill list.

Although the drone program has scored some major successes, including the instant cremation of senior al-Qaeda operative Anwar al-Awlaki, squeamish senators raked Brennan over the coals regarding the controversial program. Although an enemy combatant, al-Awlaki was a U.S. citizen.

“It’s the idea of giving any president unfettered power to kill an American without checks and balances that’s so troubling,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore). “Every American has the right to know when their government believes it’s allowed to kill them.”

Wyden said he’s worried that Obama’s Department of Justice is “not following through” on making available “any and all” opinions on the legality of the drone-enabled killings. The Obama administration allowed senators to view classified papers explaining the legal rationale for the assassinations but the lawmakers said they wanted more. Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) complained about the limited access, saying “our staff was banned from seeing it.”

Brennan defended the drone strikes. “We only take such actions as a last resort to save lives when there’s no other alternative,” he said, adding that drone attacks are ordered to save lives, not to punish terrorists for past misdeeds.

During the Bush administration Brennan defended the use of water-boarding against terrorists. In the Obama era Brennan has flip-flopped, repeatedly calling water-boarding “reprehensible” and claiming that he previously raised “personal objections” to it.

At yesterday’s hearing he again characterized the practice as “reprehensible” and said, despite growing evidence to the contrary, that it is “not clear” whether water-boarding has yielded useful information.

When questioned, Brennan robotically regurgitated what he was said many times before. “We are at war with al-Qaeda,” he said.

But Brennan wasn’t challenged on various statements that suggest he is so rabidly politically correct that he doesn’t grasp the true nature of America’s Islamist enemies. Indeed the CIA nominee is part of the same crowd that accuses Americans of being bigoted “Islamophobes” for not obediently adhering to the Left’s party line on Islam.

In a 2010 speech to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Brennan said it was incorrect to use the words “jihad” or “jihadists” to refer to the war that al-Qaeda and its allies are waging against the U.S.

In the Obama administration, officials refuse to “describe our enemy as ‘jihadists’ or ‘Islamists’ because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community….”

Brennan’s intellectual contortions aimed at reinforcing the PC myth of moderate Islam didn’t end there.

He said it would be “counterproductive” to use the term jihad because doing so “play[s] into the false perception” that the “murderers” leading war against the West do so to on behalf of a “holy cause.” Calling it jihad, in other words, validates the terrorists’ justification for terrorism and propagates “the lie” that “the United States is somehow at war against Islam,” he said.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s front group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), has applauded Brennan and Obama for following its recommendations by avoiding the word Islamist. “Islamist is a stealth slur,” according to CAIR. “It exists as a piece of coded language.”

Brennan is also friendly to Iran and in 2008 called on U.S. officials to “cease public Iran-bashing.” (Investigative reporter Patrick Poole has compiled an excellent partial list of Brennan’s outrageous comments.)

Yesterday’s hearing was repeatedly interrupted by screaming protesters, including activists from Code Pink, who must deem Brennan insufficiently friendly to America’s enemies. Student interns from the group receive college credit for disrupting congressional hearings.

Brennan is part of President Obama’s Islamist-appeasement dream team, alongside defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel with his suspicious ties to Islamist Iran, and pathological anti-American John Kerry as secretary of state. None of this is a great surprise coming from an administration that has been   infiltrated by Islamist operatives.

 To read and order a copy, click here.

Brennan’s nomination is yet more confirmation of the Obama administration’s suicidal approach to the Global War on Terror, which the Obama administration rhetorically downgraded to the empty euphemism “Overseas Contingency Operations.”

Brennan embraces the Obama administration’s view on Islamist groups worldwide. The administration’s counter-terrorism strategy consists of rolling the dice and backing allegedly “moderate” Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood in the blind hope of reducing the appeal of groups such as al-Qaeda that work outside normal political processes.

Somehow these “moderate” groups and some formerly extremist groups, once they grab the reins of governmental power, will change their beliefs and begin to act more responsibly, doing things that redound to the benefit of America and its allies.

Obama officials refuse to recognize the obvious fact that radical Islam is at war with the United States. They stubbornly insist that only al-Qaeda and its affiliates are waging war against America, while refusing to acknowledge that al-Qaeda is just one player in a larger ideological conflict with totalitarian Islam. Domestically, the administration routinely refuses to label obvious Islamic terrorist attacks as such, preferring to call incidents such as the mass shooting by Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood as incidents of workplace violence.

As Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy, has written:
[D]uring John Brennan’s tenure at the White House, the Obama administration actually promulgated guidelines ensuring that, henceforth, “countering violent extremism” training materials and trainers paid for by the Homeland Security Department and used by any government agency – federal, state or local – must effectively be approved by these “community partners.” That means we are now allowing agents of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization sworn to our destruction, to determine our understanding and awareness of the threat they and their fellow Islamists pose to the rest of us.
And Brennan is fine with that.

Matthew Vadum


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The Folly of Sequestration and the Legacy of Andrew Jackson Higgins

by Seth Mandel

On May 25, 1942, the waters off Norfolk, Virginia played host to a dramatic competition between military landing boats designed by Andrew Jackson Higgins and those used by the Navy. Army Major Howard Quinn, after observing the contest, wrote to his commanding officer that “there was no comparison”–the Higgins boat was the better craft. Quinn was on hand to watch the competition along with a member of the Truman Committee, led by then-Senator Harry S. Truman to investigate waste in the U.S. military’s war production. The contest had come at the behest of Truman, whom Higgins had convinced of the superiority of his boat.

The switch was made; the boats were mass-produced, and were integral to the success of the landing at Normandy. Had the military not had the Higgins boats, Dwight Eisenhower later said, “The whole strategy of the war would have been different.” And it wasn’t just the boats. As William Lee Miller writes in his book about the intersection of the lives of Truman and Eisenhower, Truman claimed to have saved $15 billion with his committee’s recommendations, by tackling “the prodigious waste in constructing camps, the shortage of essential commodities like rubber, magnesium, and aluminum; the protection of the consumer economy and the expansion of the labor pool. The committee also exposed corruption in war production.”

The reason the committee was considered such a success is because it enabled the military to cut wasteful spending while improving military readiness, equipment, and combat capability. Six decades later, then-Senator Hillary Clinton sought to take advantage of the negative reporting and unpopularity of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by invoking Truman’s name in a Wall Street Journal column full of righteous anger at perceived corruption and incompetence in war management during the Bush administration. The following year she was serving as the public face of the foreign policy of an Obama White House proposing to make cuts to the military decried by his own secretary of defense and whose devastating effect on military readiness has already begun to encroach on the line separating theory from reality.

“Of course, we need far more than a Truman Committee,” Clinton declared back in 2008. “We need the Truman spirit in the White House, where the buck finally stops.” Clinton is strangely silent on her former boss’s proposal to slash the military unless he gets more tax increases (the president’s supporters in the media and blogosphere like to refer to this tactic as “hostage taking”–when Republicans do it). But perhaps she should speak up, unless back in 2008 she was merely playing partisan politics with the armed forces and grandstanding from her Senate perch instead of expressing genuine concern about the American military.

These cuts to the military are part of sequestration, intended to make a dent in deficit spending. Will risking “hollowing out” the military at least get our budget issues under control? No, it won’t. As Philip Klein writes over at the Washington Examiner, the Congressional Budget Office’s newest 10-year spending forecast expects federal annual tax receipts to increase by 65 percent, revenue as a share of the overall economy to increase, spending on social security to go up by 67 percent, spending on federal health programs to balloon by 94 percent, and defense spending to increase 20 percent over that time period, bringing overall defense spending as a share of the federal budget below the historical average. Klein concludes:
These numbers, taken together, make it abundantly clear that the only reason for additional tax hikes at this point would be to chase skyrocketing spending on entitlements. Paying for this spending wouldn’t be a matter of asking the very rich to pay a little more — it would necessitate large tax hikes on the middle class that far exceed historical levels.
Sequestration is not about cutting “waste, fraud and abuse” or improving the efficiency of the U.S. military. It is about raiding a piggy bank to pay (unsuccessfully) for an ever-expanding welfare state, to which the president’s health-care reform legislation will only add as costs continue to rise, premiums increase, Medicaid rolls are expanded, and insurance consumers are shoved off of employer health plans and into government-subsidized exchanges. The result will be a nation even more deeply in debt but now also, thanks to the president’s bright idea, far less able to defend itself from threats and less able to do its part on behalf of global stability and security.

Seth Mandel


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President Obama's Tactical Visit to Israel

by Yoram Ettinger

President Obama's March 2013 visit to the Middle East, including Israel, could signal a significant policy-change from his June 2009 visit, which excluded Israel. On the other hand, the introduction of the John Kerry (State Department) — Chuck Hagel (Pentagon) — John Brennan (CIA) team of "Palestine Firsters" may suggest that the March visit could merely be a tactical-change in pursuit of the same policy.

The 2009 visit was driven by an assumption that a newly-elected charismatic U.S. President could turnaround the U.S. economy and reform U.S. healthcare, while simultaneously implementing U.N.-like multilateralism, lowering the U.S. unilateral profile, transforming the world from confrontation to engagement, mollifying the Muslim World, coax Iran into abandoning its megalomaniac aspirations and resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. The 2009 visit reflected a worldview focusing on the Palestinian issue as the, supposed, core cause of Middle East turbulence, the crown jewel of Islamic policy-making, an essential link in forging an anti-Iran Arab coalition and the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Israel was perceived as a secondary ally, at best, and a burden, at worst.

However, the Middle East has defied Obama's assumptions and worldview. None of Obama's Middle East goals were achieved, highlighting the increasingly violent and unpredictable anti-U.S. Islamic Street, totally independent of the Palestinian issue. The tumultuous Islamic Winter — from the Atlantic Ocean to the Persian Gulf — has further accentuated Israel as the only stable, predictable, commercially and militarily capable, innovative, democratic and unconditional ally of the U.S.

The March 2013 visit to Israel will take place as the threats to critical U.S. interests — which are endangering the entire Free World — are intensifying daily. The Iranian nuclear sand clockis running out, causing panic among U.S. Arab allies, exposing the futility of diplomacyand sanctions. The lava on the Islamic Street threatens to sweep Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and additional members of the dwindling club of pro-U.S. Arab regimes, ridiculing the "Arab Springers." Iraq is disintegrating, becoming an Iranian subsidiary and an arena for global terrorism, rather than an island of free election, mocking the delusion of Arab democracy. Egypt has been transformed from a pro-U.S. outpost into a chief catalyst of the anti-Western transnational Muslim Brotherhood revolution. In contrast with the "Palestine Firsters," Arab leaders are preoccupied with their tectonic homefront and the lethal Iranian threat, not with the Palestinian issue, which has never been their top concern, irrespective of their rhetoric.

The March 2013 visit to Israel will take place at a time when the stormy Arab Winter clarifies that the win-win U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation does not evolve around the Palestinian issue, but around mutual regional and global threats. Thus, while the threats to U.S. targets on the mainland and abroad are mounting and U.S. power-projection is declining, Israel emerges as the only effective battle-tested allywhich can pull the hottest chestnuts out of the fire, for the U.S., without American boots on the ground.

In the face of dramatic threats in 2013, President Obama could facilitate a dramatic enhancement of the mutually-beneficial bilateral strategic cooperation. For example, the upgrading of Israel's port of Ashdod into a home port for the Sixth Fleet; the relocation of advance aircraft, missiles, tanks and counterterrorism systems, from Europe to Israel, for U.S. use in case of emergencies in Jordan and the Gulf area. U.S. focus on mutual threats, rather than on the Palestinian issue, would reassure Riyadh and deter Tehran.

The March 2013 visit follows the Jan. 22, 2013 Israeli election, which was dominated by "It's the economy, stupid!" The Israeli constituent is skepticalabout the "peace process" and the land-for-peace formula; does not trust Mahmoud Abbas; and is weary of further "painful concessions." The only national security challenge which concerns most Israelis is the Iranian nuclear threat.

In 1981, President Reagan pressured Prime Minister Menachem Begin brutally against bombing Iraq's nuclear reactor, lest it trigger a regional war. Israel defied the U.S., which thanked Israel following the 1991 Gulf War "for sparing the U.S. a nuclear confrontation." Will President Obama attempt to handcuff Israel, or will he leverage Israel's experienced hands to spare the U.S. and the Free World devastating consequences?!

President Obama may decide to ignore Middle East reality, subordinate U.S.-Israel relations to the Palestinian issue, and pressure/entice Israel into further concessions. He should note the negative results of U.S. pressure on Israel. For example, Israel's unprecedented November, 2009 ten-month construction freeze in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria radicalized Mahmoud Abbas' position. Israel's unprecedented concessions at Camp David, in July, 2000, triggered the Second Intifada's unprecedented wave of terrorism. The U.S. pressure to allow Hamas' participation in the Jan. 2006 election resulted in two wars in Gaza. According to Max Fisher's 1992 biography, "Quiet Diplomat," President Eisenhower admitted that "I should have never pressured Israel to evacuate the Sinai," which fueled President Nasser's anti-American radicalism.

The March 2013 visit to Israel will indicate whether President Obama is determined to learn from history by avoiding, or by repeating, critical errors.

Yoram Ettinger


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The New 'Silk Route;' Weapons to Gaza and Beyond

by Paul Alster

November's "Pillar of Defense" operation by the Israeli military included a couple of unpleasant surprises for Israeli citizens. For the first time, Palestinian terrorists fired missiles at the country's two population centers, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, sending residents scurrying for shelter.

For years, Palestinian rocket fire was isolated to smaller cities in southern Israel. Israeli military officials say weapons smuggled into Gaza via the new "Silk Route," a pipeline created and protected by governments including Iran, Sudan and others, made that dramatic new range possible.

In a wide-ranging interview for the Investigative Project on Terrorism, a senior source in the Israeli Defense Force, speaking on condition of anonymity, explained how that smuggling works and what it means.

"You can see how it goes between Iran, northern Sudan, via Egypt. It didn't gradually evolve and develop like the old merchant trail, 'The Silk Route.' It's not something built thousands of years ago. It is something that we believe government officials sat down and decided on. Let me put it this way; in such countries, under such regimes, we don't believe that anything is being done without the permission and knowledge of the local power."

The official, whose assessments are based on his day-to-day experience of combating efforts to supply terror groups in Gaza, said the smuggling of more sophisticated weaponry was facilitated in part by upheaval in North Africa.

"When we are talking about the smuggling of illegal arms into the Gaza Strip" the officer began, "we should focus on a few members of this notorious community; we are talking about Iran, north Sudan, Libya as a state, not a government, and of course, the Sinai Peninsula."

"Libya has become a serious problem since the fall of the Gaddafi regime because it is an open black market" he said. "Unlike Iran and Sudan, there is no government behind what is going on there. There were huge stocks of weapons (some of it western), that are now being offered to the one able to pay the highest price. The Palestinians are taking advantage of that. They will send procurements missions to look for specific items there (in Libya), or sometimes they are taking part in open auctions in Sinai to whoever will pay the most for weapons like SSR's, Anti-Tank Guided Missiles, MANPADs etc."

The flow of arms from Iran to specific groups in Gaza has long been a major concern for Israel and others seeking stability in the region. A Western intelligence report highlighted by Reuters back in September, confirmed a long-held Israeli view, saying "Planes are flying from Iran to Syria via Iraq on an almost daily basis, carrying IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) personnel and tens of tons of weapons to arm the Syrian security forces and militias fighting against the rebels."

"Iran continues to be the major arms supplier to the Palestinian organisations" the officer said. They have been for quite a few years, every year spending many tens of millions of US dollars. Their main transfer route to the Gaza Strip is via north Sudan and Syria, we believe in cooperation with local governments, or at least with the awareness of such governments. The Iranians have used civilian cargo and civilian flights in order to deliver such shipments even without the knowledge of passengers taking seats on such flights."

Israel believes that some of that weaponry found its way to arm Hizballah in South Lebanon, while some also arrived further down the line in Hamas-controlled Gaza. In September, news of the shipments reportedly prompted then-U.S. Sen. John Kerry to threaten to withdraw aid from Iraq, (where the planes sometimes stop in transit and through whose airspace the flights pass), unless such planes were stopped and searched as a matter of routine.

"These were flights that originated in Tehran and went to Damascus, cargo flights or civilian flights with passengers/tourists flying without knowing that in the belly of the plane there are explosives and other such materials" the Israeli officer said. "Right now there are bans against the Iran Air cargo planes and Mahan Air (which are supposed to be civilian companies).These are restrictions led by the U.S. and Europe."

No sooner had the recent Israel/Hamas conflict ended than Iran publicly pledged to re-arm its Gazan militias. The process had been made more difficult following the much publicised destruction of the Yarmouk factory in Sudan in late-October, blown up by a series of missiles strikes attributed by the Sudanese government to the Israeli air force. Sudanese Information Minister Ahmad Bilal Osman told Al Jazeera the day after the attack, "Israel has accused Sudan of sending arms to Hamas. These allegations are not correct."

Intelligence showed that the factory was being used as an assembly point for Iranian Fajr5 missiles and other weaponry shipped to Sudan and subsequently transported through Egypt's Suez Canal. From there it was smuggled into Gaza through the network of tunnels overseen by the Hamas authorities.

A massive increase in the trafficking of missiles from Sudan to Gaza corresponds with Hosni Mubarak's fall in Egypt, and the subsequent rise to power of the Muslim Brotherhood, (the parent organization of Hamas), and its leader, Mohammed Morsi.

Palestinian terrorists have obtained Fajr5 rockets, anti-tank and surface-to-surface missiles and rockets that can travel 40 kilometers.

What differentiates this route from others is the quality of arms coming through. It is what we call 'Equilibrium Breaking Arms,' things that are not that common in the area. Only the participation of governments in the armament process can deliver to Sinai. You don't get coastal missiles like we caught on the Victoria in March 2011 by purchasing them on Ebay. It is something that a government planned will come from a particular ship on its way to Egypt, then on through Sinai which is the bottleneck of all smuggling activities in the Gaza Strip."

The interception of the freighter Victoria was one of three high-profile weapons seizures at sea by Israel during the last decade in which more than 450 tons of weapons were seized. Katyusha rockets, thousands of mortars, F-704 anti-ship missiles, two rocket launchers, two British-made radar systems, and tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition suitable for AK-47 assault rifles, were just part of the haul. Despite those raids, weapons still get through.

"In 2009 Fajr5 rockets entered the Gaza Strip without us knowing about it. We discovered that later on. There is no 100 percent success in this field of business. We are doing our best to see that we are on any movement of such kind, but yes, of course we are never sure we know everything. We cannot allow coastal missiles to enter the Gaza Strip as then all merchant routes will be under threat. We have gas platforms now on the coast of Israel which could potentially be placed in danger by such missiles."

The discovery in recent years of vast quantities of natural gas off the coast of Israel could prove a huge boon to the Israeli economy over the next generation, but the terminals are viewed as a prime target for terrorist attacks and their security is clearly of paramount importance to the Israeli Defence Force and security services.

The other critical issue that the IDF officer touched on is the huge danger posed to both Israel and Egypt by the lawlessness in the Sinai Peninsula and the plethora of weaponry arriving there, much of it from the now dysfunctional Libya. Stopping those weapons from reaching Gaza has not proven to be a priority for Egypt, either.

"They do not want any part of the Palestinian problem on their shoulders. If they stop the tunnel industry they will have to open more border crossings and let more supplies in, and that they don't want to do. But when it comes to Libyan weapons any group can go there [Sinai] to buy, say, anti-tank missiles or MANPAD's."

Egyptian forces did intercept a consignment of U.S.-made anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles smuggled out of Libya in early January, and another again two weeks later. These came at a time when Morsi was desperately trying to convince the U.S. that its offer of billions of dollars of aid and F16 fighters should be honored despite concerns over Morsi's governance.

Last March, former IDF southern command head Yom Tov Samia went on the record on this issue, stating, "Egypt has been playing the same game since 1967: Whenever they want to be the bad guy, they're bad guys, when they want to be the good guys, they're the good guys. This situation has to come to an end. Egypt cannot continue to play the good and the bad guy whenever it's convenient for them."

Open air auctions of lethal weapons are taking place in Sinai, and whoever comes up with the most cash, whoever they are, takes the goods and walks.

"These weapons are then not under the control or 'political wisdom' of Hamas leaders or PIJ leaders. They might well end up under the control of a small group of Al Qaeda who might decide for themselves that they are now going to shoot at an airplane carrying European tourists travelling into Sharm El Sheik (Sinai resort), or shooting at an airplane landing at Aqaba [Jordan]."

Sinai's increasing instability is a concern far beyond Israel, the source emphasized, and already serves as an open market for arms, raw materials and technology flowing into the Gaza Strip.

"There are more and more contacts between Al Qaeda and the small groups in Sinai. Egypt finds it [Sinai] hard to police after years of neglect. As far I know there are a quarter of a million Bedouins that were never governed, that were, and still are discriminated against by local authorities...and they have lately become more and more religious. If at the beginning we saw these tribes supporting terror cells for the sake of money, now we see it becoming more an ideological support, and we see more and more cases that these groups of Al Qaeda-influenced extreme Jihadists are becoming more powerful than the tribes."

"The attack of August 5 that killed 16 Egyptian soldiers has brought home [to Egypt] that the threat is not only against those who don't follow Allah, but also against less religious Muslims."

This unique insight from someone so closely associated with trying to stop lethal weapons from reaching the hands of radical Islamists in the Sinai, paints a picture of a worrying broadening of the disparate groups and the massive danger that weapons from Iran and the barely functioning new Libya pose to the security of Israel and to Arab nations who don't currently espouse wholly radical Islamist views.

"I believe that most people do not understand the threat to targets other than Israel by the open markets of weapons in the Middle East" the intelligence officer concluded. "I don't think that an American, European, or British customer understands the connection between Libyan black markets and his holiday destination in Aqaba or Sharm El Sheik."

Then a final parting thought, (delivered with absolute certainty), and a wake-up call to those who believe that the reach of Islamic terror will not encroach on their daily life the way it does in other parts of the world.

"If they think this is just Israel's problem, or just a Middle East problem, it is not."

Paul Alster is an Israel-based journalist with a special interest in Israeli/Palestinian relations and Middle East politics. He is a regular contributor to and the Times of Israel, and blogs at


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Freedom of the Press (to Incite Murder)

by Daren Jonescu

Would you loudly accuse someone of being an anti-blue extremist if you knew there were deranged young men in the room with a history of killing people who criticize the color blue? 

Progressive media types around the world have spent years branding people like Lars Hedegaard as "haters," "racists," "promoters of intolerance," "alarmists," and "extremists," for warning of the dangers of the global caliphate movement. Throughout those years they have watched as numerous men and women they have so branded became targets of violence from Islamists, or of repression from their own politically correct governments. Now Hedegaard, already having suffered through his government's repressive machinations, has apparently become the latest famous victim of jihadist violence. (See Andrew Bostom's chronicling of the attempted murder of Hedegaard, here.)  And yet the penny never drops for the progressive media: their branding is helping to inflame violence and repression against people who speak their consciences regarding Islam.

If I say Noam Chomsky is a fascist whose writings are dangerous, the "violence" of the response from his defenders will likely be purely metaphorical.  Likewise if I say the same thing about Christianity or Judaism, for that matter. Not so in the case of Islam, however, and we have a lot of precedent, along with endless public threats from Islamists themselves, to prove it. 

And yet that precedent, and those threats, have no effect whatsoever on the progressive media's practices, except perhaps to make their accusations of hatred, intolerance and extremism even more virulent.  Why can't they see that this case is different -- that their heightened rhetoric is providing impetus to murderers, and fodder to apologists for global jihad? Criticizing Islam is not, at this time, the same as criticizing other religions, or any other group. It frequently results in violence and intimidation from an ever-growing radicalized faction. Everyone knows this. Thus, everyone knows that portraying a critic of Islam with the politically correct lexicon of "hate speech" and "racism" may contribute to bringing an always-simmering pot to a rolling boil. It is tantamount to helping jihadist leaders paint bull's-eyes on their targets.

With their politically correct smearing of brave men, these progressives are at least rationalizing, and possibly inciting, terrorism and government repression against innocent people who have merely voiced unpopular opinions -- often, as in Hedegaard's case, in defense of Muslim women -- and they are doing so in the name of freedom of the press.  They are claiming the "freedom" to shout "Infidel!" in a crowded radical mosque.  And then, when the inevitable happens, they either fall silent, or imply that the victim asked for it. (Read Douglas Murray's article at the UK's Spectator, including the readers' comments.)

Are these progressive media muckrakers merely too stupid to see that every jihadist attack, every assassination attempt, every French or Swedish woman frightened to show her hair in certain neighborhoods of her own country, reinforces how wrong they are in branding men like Hedegaard extremists?  Or are they secretly pleased to help Islamists silence their critics through death and fear, on the same "partners in crime" principle that has made international socialism and the global caliphate movement strategic allies since the Soviet era?

None of this makes any sense in rational, human terms.  But in today's Western political and media climate -- when the most powerful politician on the planet is touting the Muslim Brotherhood as a force for democratic reform, and the most powerful "free press" is carefully concealing its government's acquiescence in the Islamist killings of four of its own citizens -- not making sense merely proves you are at one with the forces of history.  Forward, cower!

Daren Jonescu


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

The Foreign Aid Racket

by Bruce Bawer

Are you one of those people who look askance at foreign aid because you think most of it ends up in the pockets of dictators, warlords, terrorists, and the like, and because even when it does get into the right hands, it tends to encourage dependency and work against economic growth? Well, have I got a book for you. Jonathan Foreman’s Aiding and Abetting makes a strong case that things are even worse than you thought – lots worse.

Foreman’s focus is on aid by the U.K., and his point is unambiguous: that in a time of severe budget cuts, the British Parliament’s determination to raise foreign aid to 0.7% of the country’s budget is insane. But everything Foreman says about pouring Brits’ hard-earned pounds and pence down a rathole applies in equal measure to Americans’ dollars and cents – actually, greater measure, for in a world of givers, nobody gives more, and hence more wastefully, than Americans. Besides the giveaways – throwaways? – of taxpayer loot, moreover, Foreman also examines groups like Oxfam, CARE, UNICEF, and Save the Children, many of which not only take direct contributions from the likes of you and me but also accept hefty subsidies from Western governments.

Where does all that money end up? And what good does it accomplish? As Foreman makes clear, most of the people in charge of spending it are astonishingly indifferent to such questions. In fact, they’re offended by them. To pose such reasonable queries, in their view, is to identify yourself as someone with a heart of stone. With good reason, Foreman refers to foreign aid as “faith-based” – meaning that its adherents believe in it “for reasons that have little or no connection with ascertainable facts.” Forget what the track record may show about the inefficacy, and indeed counterproductiveness, of throwing cash at various poverty-ridden hellholes; the pros in the aid game can’t conceive of doing otherwise. Call it sheer waste, if you will; in their eyes, it’s just plain good. In short, they second Bob Geldof’s 2005 comment at Live Aid: “Something must be done; anything must be done, whether it works or not.”

Of course, what the hellholes of Africa and elsewhere need is to get strong free-market economies going. But don’t tell that to a true aid-community believer – for them, capitalism is the enemy. Theirs is a zero-sum view – the West, they’re convinced, has gotten rich by making the non-West poor, and in transferring billions of dollars a year to them, we’re only giving back a small fraction of what we stole from them in the first place. The aid industry, you see, is heavily populated by folks who’re stuck in an ideological paradox: they went into this line of work because they loathe (or profess to loathe) Western consumerism and respect the simple, natural lives of the denizens of the “global South.” They want to “help”; or at least they want to be seen as helping, and certainly want to think of themselves as the kind of people who help. But they can’t face the fact that real “helping” would mean making Harari more like Houston. And they’d vehemently reject any suggestion that in their trademark admixture of compassion and condescension, they bear more than a passing resemblance to the Christian missionaries and Western-imperialist colonizers of yore whose memory they so despise.

So strong is these people’s faith in foreign aid, indeed, that they’re willing to tell gigantic, systematic falsehoods about it – pure whoppers – in order to keep the money rolling in. Greg Mortenson, the international hero who turned into a pariah when most of the Central Asian schools he’d bragged about building in his bestselling autohagiography, Three Cups of Tea, turned out to be fictitious, is, it would appear, closer to the rule than to the exception in this game. To keep donations flowing, and to make their own projects look more successful than the next guy’s, aid groups routinely inflate to a massive extent the number of people they’re feeding, educating, inoculating, and rescuing from certain death by starvation or disease. Pakistan alone has at least 5300 “ghost schools,” which exist only in the exultant reports of supposedly reputable aid groups. Ghost clinics are common, too. “The history of foreign aid,” Foreman laments, “is to an astonishing and depressing degree a history of untruths – of lies told for the greater good, of false or unverifiable claims of success, of exaggerated natural catastrophes and of dishonestly hidden deals with dictators and rebel forces.” Not to mention selective truth-telling: aid organizations, in their heart-rending TV pitches, like to cite striking statistics, such as the International Monetary Fund’s claim that half of Kenyans live on less than a dollar a day; what they omit to mention is that 75 percent of Kenyan adults own cell phones – meaning either that the dollar-a-day line is a bit of a fib, or that a dollar goes a hell of a lot further in Kenya than the aid industry wants you to believe.

The levels of improvidence, thievery, and bribery that are everyday fare in the aid racket boggle the mind. “Whole EU aid programmes, such as the $1 billion given to Russia…to help clean up unsafe nuclear power plants, have essentially disappeared,” reports Foreman, “with EU auditors apparently unable to find out where the money actually went.” After aids groups raked in their first big haul for victims of the 2004 Sri Lanka tsunami, they issued a new round of urgent appeals, insisting that the public kick in even more cash; what they didn’t mention was that they needed the dough to grease the palms of Sri Lankan officials who were holding up emergency supplies at customs. If a single aid agency had gone public with the news of this extortion, the problem would’ve disappeared in the blink of an eye; but you just can’t let donors know that the checks they write to save wide-eyed, emaciated orphans regularly end up buying yet another Mercedes for some public servant-cum-thug.

It gets worse. After the Rwandan genocide, refugees who’d fled to the Congo were paraded before news cameras by aid groups to persuade folks in the West to cough up cash. The effort raised over $1.5 billion. What the donors didn’t know was that the refugees weren’t the genocide’s Tutsi victims but its Hutu perpetrators, and that the money they’d donated was paying for “refugee camps” that were actually bases from which the Hutu were striking back at the Tutsis inside Rwanda. Meanwhile the Tutsis got zilch from the West. Everyone in the aid biz knew what was up, as did the mainstream media – but nobody reported on it for fear that donations would dry up. (The media’s willingness to cover up such monstrous prevarications is another part of Foreman’s tale.) Nor was this a unique happenstance. “Refugee camps have all too often become places of refuge and R&R for guerrilla armies or launching pads for terrorist attacks,” notes Foreman, “because the presence of foreign humanitarian NGOs works as a human shield, protecting the perpetrators from counter-attack.”

What’s perverse is that while the U.S. Congress and various Western parliaments manage to pass budget cuts that impose inconvenience upon, or even do serious harm to, their own citizens – from closing post offices to trimming veterans’ benefits to rationing potentially life-saving medical treatments – foreign aid remains sacrosanct. Quite simply, it makes no sense. India has its own space program and nuclear-weapons program, is building its third aircraft carrier, and itself gives foreign aid to other countries – yet Britain’s idea of a conservative financial move is not to entirely stop aid to India but to freeze it at 2010 levels. India’s finance minister actually tried to cut off British aid to his country in 2011, but changed his mind when U.K. officials explained that such an action would “cause grave political embarrassment” to their government.  

Foreman could’ve written a raging polemic. Instead, he’s decorous and understated throughout, and closes with a litany of policy proposals intended to make British foreign aid more reasonable and accountable. Plainly, he’s thinking in practical terms: the U.K. government is surely not about to stop aid altogether, but perhaps, just perhaps, it will heed some of his suggestions and save a bit of money. Still, the lesson’s clear: foreign aid, with exceedingly few exceptions, is a racket, a mess, a joke, a disgrace. It should also be a scandal, but for some reason it isn’t. Nearly every shred of available evidence suggests that cash transfers to destitute kleptocracies not only don’t foster growth and development but actually impede it. Consider this: while aid to sub-Saharan Africa skyrocketed from 1970 to 2000, per capita income dropped; while aid to the Palestinian territories more than doubled between 1999 and 2006, GDP was halved. Why don’t aid workers care? Because for too many of them, the whole shebang isn’t about results but about process – about the calling to a life of conspicuous virtue. As for government officials who allocate the funds that end up being squandered, some of them argue that aid wins influence. On the contrary, aid workers’ combination of noblesse oblige and staggering credulity only breeds resentment and contempt among the recipients of their – our – largesse.

Alas, the bottom line is that for all the virtue they honestly believe they embody, the players in the aid game are, at the same time, out-and-out hustlers. Even as they act in the conviction that they’re doing good for others, they’re also doing mighty well for themselves. Too many people who are traveling to the far corners of the earth to help people living on a dollar a day are flying there in first-class seats. Many of them, furthermore, are spending less time with the poor, huddled masses than at conferences in five-star hotels where they get together to celebrate their own heroic exertions. “Indeed,” as Foreman delicately puts it, “there is an argument that the aid industry’s primary economic function is as a system of ‘outdoor relief,’ or rather high-status employment, for members of the upper and middle classes in Britain and elsewhere.” Although Foreman doesn’t call for putting an end, once and for all, to this absurd boondoggle, no one has made a stronger case than he has for doing so.

Bruce Bawer


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

Questions and Answers on the Eve of Obama’s Visit to Israel

by Steven Plaut

Q: With Obama about to visit the country, should Israel agree to attend new negotiation sessions with the Palestinian Authority?
A: No. Nothing positive can come out of it. For twenty years Israel has been attending “talks” with the Palestinians and these have achieved absolutely nothing other than Israeli capitulation. In each round of talks Israel has given away more and more assets and made an ever-growing number of concessions, getting nothing in return.
Q: Why give up hope that the Palestinians will agree to some sort of deal?
A: Because they have yet to comply with a single punctuation mark in any of the agreements they have already signed.
Q: So what should Israel offer the Palestinians?
A: Nothing at all.
Q: Nothing?
A: Israel should make demands instead of making offers of concessions. It should make no new offers of anything until long lists of its own demands are fully met.
Q: But how then can Israel achieve peace with the Palestinians?
A: It can’t. Making endless concessions has no more chance of achieving peace than offering nothing. In other words, since the Palestinians are uninterested in peace, no offer of any sort will produce peace, and therefore they should be offered nothing at all.
Q: What is the best way to pursue a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict?
A: By abandoning all attempts to pursue a solution. The pursuit of “solutions” has been the root of all evil in the Middle East these past two decades. Israel should stop looking for solutions and instead pursue military victory.
Q: Do you seriously want Israel to send troops back into Gaza after the redeployment by Sharon and the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza?
A: Yes, of course. It was obvious at the time of the Israeli unilateral withdrawal that military reoccupation of Gaza was only a matter of time, inevitable and necessary. The sooner it is done, the better.
Q: Doesn’t Israeli occupation cause terrorism?
A: No, removal of Israeli occupation causes terrorism.
Q: What should Israel offer Syria?
A: The right to retain Damascus and other Syrian territory east of the Golan Heights in exchange for Syria’s abandoning its demands for the “return” of the Golan Heights.
Q: Do you seriously expect Syria to agree to that?
A: No.
Q: How should Israel deal with terrorism?
A: First and foremost, by recognizing that there is no NON-MILITARY solution to the problems of terrorism.
Q: What should Israel do with terrorists?
A: Summarily execute them without trial whenever they are captured while engaged in violence.  Capital punishment should be instituted for all other terrorists.
Q: How should Israel deal with the Hamas and Islamic Jihad?
A: By killing as many of their members as it can.
Q: What is the best strategy Israel can adopt with regard to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank?
A: R&D, or Reoccupation and De-nazification.
Q: How should Israel deal with the Qassam rockets?
A: By R&D, or Reoccupation and De-nazification. There is no way the Qassams will be halted through “talks.” They can only be halted by Israel’s reestablishment of complete military control over the Gaza Strip.
Q: Should Israel return Jewish settlers to Gush Katif in Gaza?
A: Yes, of course.
Q: What should Israel do about settlements on the West Bank?
A: Build more of them. It’s the best way to take Palestinian statehood off the table once and for all. In any future deal based on “limited autonomy” – which was of course the original concept Israel accepted at Camp David – “settlements” will represent no impediment at all to implementation.
Q: How should Israel deal with Hezb’Allah?
A: By helping to resolve the parking congestion problems in the towns and villages of southern Lebanon that are strongholds of Hezb’Allah and loyal to it. That is, by constructing large new parking lots there.
Q: How should Israel deal with domestic Arab radicals?
A: Israeli Arabs openly identifying with the enemies of Israel or endorsing terrorism should be stripped of their Israeli citizenship and deported. All Arabs sitting in the parliament, working as senior civil servants or as judges must be required to take an oath of allegiance, on a sacred book of their religion, to Israel as a Zionist state.  The extended families of any Arabs involved in terrorism or anti-Jewish violence should be deported and their property seized.
Q: What about the Temple Mount?
A: The PLO must be completely stripped of control over it.
Q.  How can “hope for peace” be created in the Middle East?
A:  By eliminating all hopes among the Arabs that they will destroy Israel.

Steven Plaut


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

The Hamas-Egyptian Alliance

by Khaled Abu Toameh

The collapse of the Mubarak regime has been a great blessing for Hamas, which has emerged as a major player. Now Hamas knows that it can always rely on Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood to stay in power and increase Hamas's influence.
Did Hamas dispatch 7,000 militiamen from the Gaza Strip to Egypt to protect President Mohamed Morsi, who is currently facing a popular uprising?

Reports that appeared in a number of Egyptian opposition media outlets in the past few days claimed that the militiamen entered Egypt through the smuggling tunnels along the border with the Gaza Strip.

The reports quoted unidentified Egyptian security officials as saying that the Hamas militiamen had been spotted in the Egyptian border town of Rafah before they headed toward Cairo, to shore up the Muslim Brotherhood regime of Morsi, which Hamas may have feared was in danger of collapse.

The officials claimed that the Hamas militiamen had been deployed in a number of sensitive locations in the Egyptian capital, including the Al-Ittihadiyeh Presidential Palace, as part of a plan to protect the Muslim Brotherhood regime.

Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood organization, is a staunch supporter of the Morsi regime.

This week, a Gulf newspaper Akhbar Al-Khaleej [Gulf News] published what it described as "secret documents" proving that Hamas, with the financial backing of Qatar, had plans to send hundreds of militiamen to Egypt to help Morsi's regime.

One of the classified documents, signed by Hamas's armed wing, Izaddin al-Kassam, talks about the need to send "warriors to help our brothers in Egypt who are facing attempts by the former regime [of Hosni Mubarak] to return to power."

The reports about Hamas's alleged involvement in the Egyptian crisis have been strongly denied by Hamas officials.

Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar lost his temper during an interview with an Egyptian TV station; he said the reports were lies intended to tarnish Hamas's image.

Zahar accused supporters of the Mubarak regime of being behind the reports depicting Hamas as a terrorist organization helping President Morsi to kill Egyptians.

But this was not the first time that Egyptians had accused Hamas of meddling in their internal affairs.

In August 2012, reports in the Egyptian media suggested that Hamas was involved in the killing of 16 Egyptian border guards near the border with the Gaza Strip. The perpetrators have never been caught.

Egyptians have also accused Hamas of involvement in a terror attack against a church and attacking prisons in Egypt.

Although the talk about Hamas's involvement in terror activities on Egyptian soil may in some cases be exaggerated, repeated accusations against Hamas show that many Egyptians continue to see the radical Islamist movement as a threat to their national security.

Hamas has further been accused by some Egyptians of helping other Muslim fundamentalist groups turn Sinai into a base for jihadis from all around the world.

During last week's street clashes in Cairo, anti-Morsi demonstrators torched Hamas and Qatari flags. They also chanted slogans condemning Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood organization for bringing Hamas militiamen to suppress Egyptian protesters.

There is no doubt that Hamas is prepared to do its utmost to help Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood organization stay in power, even at the cost of killing and torturing Egyptian civilians. The downfall of the Mubarak regime has been a great blessing for Hamas, which has since emerged as a major player in the Palestinian and regional arena.

Thanks to Morsi, an Egyptian prime minister visited the Gaza Strip for the first time ever last November to express solidarity with Hamas during Israel's "Pillar of Defense" military operation. Such a visit would have been unthinkable under Mubarak, who did everything he could to weaken Hamas and stop it from meddling in the internal affairs of Egypt.

But now Hamas knows that it can always rely on Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood to stay in power and increase Hamas's influence. In return, Morsi apparently expects Hamas to reward him by sending its men to defend his palace.

Khaled Abu Toameh


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