Friday, February 21, 2014

Cold War Rematch in Kiev

by Joseph Klein

APTOPIX Ukraine Protests 

In a striking example of Cold War redux, the Ukraine has emerged as the latest geopolitical flashpoint between Russia and the United States, with Western Europe playing a secondary role. Ukrainians are caught in a tug of war, with Ukrainians in the eastern portion of Ukraine more aligned with Russia, and Ukrainians in the western portion of the country wanting to move closer to the democratic model of Western Europe and the United States. Protesters against the repressive government of Ukraine’s President Viktor F. Yanukovych are fighting for more freedoms within the structure of a pluralistic democracy, including checks on presidential powers. With the likely tacit blessing of autocratic Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is no stranger to using force to put down dissent, Yanukovych’s government has pushed back with increasingly repressive measures. These measures now include empowering the military to search, detain and shoot protesting Ukrainian freedom fighters as part of what the government is calling a nationwide anti-terrorism operation.

Protests in Ukraine began last November when Ukraine’s President Viktor F. Yanukovych decided to reject offers of a closer relationship and trade deal with the European Union, tilting towards Russia instead. Russia offered Ukraine an economic lifeline in the form of $15 billion dollars’ worth of credit, and put pressure on Yanukovych to rebuff Western Europe’s offers. After suspending its credit line briefly after the resignation under pressure of pro-Russian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov in January, Russia has now resumed its extension of credit with the purchase of $2 billion in Ukrainian government bonds. Russia took this action shortly after Yanukovych had met with Putin in Sochi on the sidelines of the Winter Olympics opening ceremonies, and just one day before this week’s bloodiest clashes yet broke out in the capital city of Kiev.

In the worst outbreak of violence so far in the stand-off between protesters and Ukraine President Yanukovych’s government, at least two dozen people have been reported killed and hundreds injured during clashes that began on Tuesday February 18th. Fires set by protesters raged in Kiev as the protesters tried to stave off police assaults, which had begun when police officers in two armored personnel carriers attempted to ram through barriers set up by the protesters. The protesters pushed back, resulting in the vehicles bursting into flames. Riot police then came out in force, prompting protesters to burn tires and whatever else they could to create a fiery barricade around their principal encampment on Independence Square. The police continued their assaults into the morning hours of February 19th. The protesters, though badly battered, are not giving up just yet. Lawmakers in one region declared independence from Yanukovych’s government, in support of the protesters.

Only a few days ago, there was optimism that peace would be restored as a result of an agreement by representatives of the opposition to have protesters abandon their occupation of government buildings in return for amnesty from prosecution. Putin’s response to this prospect of more concessions by Yanukovych, and to a meeting this past Monday of protest leaders with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to request assistance, was his decision to resume providing credit to Ukraine. The pro-Moscow government supporters in Ukraine’s Parliament followed up Putin’s action with actions of their own favorable to Russia’s interests. They blocked attempts by opposition leaders to reform Ukraine’s constitution towards a more Western style model with reduced presidential powers. That is when all hell broke loose. The result was the “pyre of violent chaos,” as the New York Times described this week’s bloody clashes.

The New York Times front page article on February 19th linked Yanukovych’s meeting with Putin in Sochi with Yanukovych’s apparent reversal of his earlier pledges not to use force to disband the protesters. After all, Putin’s own hold on power is a clear demonstration of how force and repression are more reliable tools in the hands of an autocrat than giving in to the demands of freedom fighters.

Russia wasted no time accusing the United States of interfering in the internal affairs of its neighbor and fomenting discord. Washington is trying to tell “the authorities of a sovereign state what they should do next and how they should do it,” declared a Russian state-owned news agency. The Foreign Ministry in Moscow blamed the escalation of violence on Western politicians’ “policy of connivance.” Only a few days ago, before the latest outbreak, a leading Russian Foreign Ministry official had said that the United States was displaying an attitude of “puppeteering” by trying to impose a “Western vector of development” on Ukraine.

These charges took on extra urgency in Russian circles as a result of the leak (most likely by Russia itself, obtained from its surveillance) of the infamous audio recording of a phone conversation between Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt. While Nuland’s expletive denunciation of the European Union revealed the Obama administration’s impatience with the European Union’s failure to deal adequately with the crisis in Ukraine brewing in Western Europe’s own backyard, the recording also revealed discussions between Nuland and Pyatt regarding whom should and should not serve in a new government. Russia has used this conversation as proof that its suspicions of U.S. meddling in the internal affairs of Ukraine are well-founded.

Russia has a significant stake in what happens to Ukraine. It shares a border with Ukraine, which heightens Russia’s national security concerns if Ukraine were to integrate economically and militarily with the West rather than turn towards Russia for support. Ukraine is also of commercial significance to Russia, both in terms of providing pipeline transit for energy Russia sells to Europe and providing access to the sea for its maritime export trade.

During several centuries up to the dismantling of the Soviet Union, Russia has been able to exercise control at various times over at least some portions of Ukraine. Putin, who admires Stalin as a leader, is trying to re-build a mini version of Russia’s former empire at least in what has been called the “near abroad” of former neighboring Soviet satellites. This would bring Ukraine back squarely into Russia’s sphere of influence.

Western European countries have expressed support for the opposition in Ukraine, while calling for restraint. They have also threatened sanctions against government officials responsible for the crackdown, but have not followed through, at least up until now. A concrete financial aid package for Ukraine outbidding Russia’s extension of credit has also not yet been forthcoming. Some of this might change as a result of the latest bloody clashes and Yanukovych’s evident determination to suppress the protests with a major display of force. However, as the recorded conversation of Assistant Secretary of State Nuland with Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt made clear, the Obama administration is not willing to let the European Union take the lead even though Germany in particular has more energy and economic interests at stake than the United States does.

The United States’ interest in Ukraine has little to do with energy or trade, in my opinion. Concern for the human rights of protesters fighting for greater freedoms may be part of what is driving some members of the Obama administration to seek greater involvement in the crisis. However, there may well be a more realpolitik strategy at work as well.

The Obama administration may be trying to resurrect a Cold War strategy to counter the Soviet Union championed by Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor whom has served as a senior adviser to President Obama on matters of national security and foreign policy. Brzezinski believed in exploiting the soft underbelly of the Soviet Union in the lead-up to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan during the Carter years, by which he meant at the time to stir up opposition within and nearby the Soviet Union among the Muslim population to weaken the Soviet state through implosion.  In Afghanistan, which had a pro-Soviet government at the time, Brzezinski’s idea was to funnel U.S. aid to the Muslim opposition in order to suck the Soviet Union into a costly war in Afghanistan that he believed would help demoralize the Soviet Union and lead to its break-up.

The following is an exchange between Brzezinski and an interviewer for Le Nouvel Observateur in 1998, as published by the Information Clearing House:

“Question:  The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs [From the Shadows], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan six months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?

Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, closely guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.

Question: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?

Brzezinski: It isn’t quite that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.”

Fast forward to today, when Vladimir Putin is flexing his muscles in areas of strategic concern to the United States, such as the Middle East. He outflanked Obama on dealing with the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons stockpiles, buying more time for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to remain in power. Putin is also making sure that Assad is armed with sophisticated weapons, prompting Secretary of State John Kerry this week to lamely complain that Russia is “enabling Assad to double down, which is creating an enormous problem.”

Putin is also being courted by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States, the Palestinians and Iran, who sense the diminishing of U.S. influence in the region and are looking to go with a winner.

A mini Cold War is returning under Obama’s watch as Russian autocrat Putin seeks to widen Russia’s sphere of influence in a bid to return to at least a modest version of the Soviet Union’s glory days.

The one card that the Obama administration may be playing is to dust off a modified version of Brzezinski’s underbelly strategy and put Russia on defense. The purpose would not be to induce a Russian invasion this time, which would unhinge Western Europe and potentially set off other unintended consequences. Rather, the Obama administration may be hoping to divert Putin’s attention away from the Middle East and cause him to redirect money and resources closer to home, in order to prop up Russia’s allies in Ukraine and prevent it from being pried away by the West from Russia’s sphere of influence. Covert support to the protesters may be part of this strategy. So far, however, Putin appears to be winning with little cost and no discernible effect on his involvement in the Middle East or power at home.

The fate of the freedom fighters protesting the Putin-style model of repression in Ukraine remains to be seen.

Joseph Klein


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

Iran Has the Bomb

by Peter Vincent Pry

For several years now, myself and others have been warning that Iran probably already has the bomb. Contrary to Obama Administration promises that they will know when Iran crosses "the red line" to build the bomb, we have warned that such claims are false. 

U.S. intelligence is not good enough to so precisely and with such high confidence monitor and verify the status of Iran's nuclear weapons program. 

Defense Science Board Report

A recently published Defense Department study "Assessment of Nuclear Monitoring and Verification Technologies" (January 2014), by the blue ribbon Defense Science Board, concludes the following:
"Closing the nation's global nuclear monitoring gaps should be a national priority. It will require, however, a level of commitment and sustainment we don't normally do well without a crisis. ...monitoring for proliferation... presents challenges for which current solutions are either inadequate, or more often, do not exist. Among these challenges are... Small inventories of weapons and materials.... Small nuclear enterprises designed to produce, store, and deploy only a small number of weapons...Undeclared facilities and/or covert operations, such as testing below detection thresholds, or acquisition of materials or weapons through theft or purchase... Use of non‐traditional technologies..."
These intelligence blind-spots align perfectly with U.S. monitoring gaps against Iran's nuclear weapons program. The Defense Science Board Report is tantamount to an admission that Iran probably already has the bomb. 

Clandestine Nuclear Weapons Program

Like the North Korean nuclear weapons program, Iran's nuclear weapons program is clandestine, mostly underground, mostly inaccessible to international inspections, and impenetrable to U.S. national technical means. Most of what we know about Iran's nuclear program has been disclosed voluntarily by Tehran to the International Atomic Energy Agency. 

The U.S. did not even suspect Iran was working on the bomb until 2002, after the program was in operation for some 15 years. 

We should know from our own experience that Iran probably already has the bomb. During its World War II Manhattan Project, when nuclear weapons were only a theoretical possibility, and working with 1940s era technology, the U.S. built two atomic bombs of radically different design that both worked perfectly -- in a mere three years. 

Iran, with access to copious unclassified information on nuclear weapon designs, working with 21st Century technology, helped by the A.Q. Khan network, North Korea, Russia, and China, supposedly has been unable to build the bomb -- after thirty years of trying. This is an implausibly optimistic assessment. 

North Korea developed its first nuclear weapons in no more than 8 years. 

Unreported by the mainstream media are warnings that Iran might already have the bomb by such experts as former Director of Central Intelligence R. James Woolsey; former Chairman of the National Intelligence Council Fritz Ermarth; President Reagan's Science Advisor Dr. William R. Graham; former Director of the Defense Nuclear Agency Vice Admiral Robert Monroe; former Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative Ambassador Henry Cooper; and Israeli intelligence officers, the latter going public in the Israeli newspaper Maariv in September 2013. 

Historically, the U.S. intelligence community has underestimated and been surprised by foreign nuclear weapon programs. They were surprised by the first Soviet A-bomb test in 1949, by the Soviet H-bomb test in 1955, by China's first nuclear test in 1964, by discovery after the 1991 Persian Gulf War that Iraq under Saddam Hussein was within 6 months of developing an atomic bomb, by Pakistan and India's nuclear tests in 1998, and by North Korea's nuclear test in 2006.

Nuclear Testing Not Necessary

Nuclear testing is not necessary to develop a nuclear weapon deliverable by aircraft or missile. The U.S. Hiroshima bomb (a "gun-type" uranium bomb) was not tested before use -- Hiroshima was the test. Israel, South Africa, and North Korea all developed nuclear weapons without nuclear testing. 

North Korea developed its first nuclear weapon by 1993, according to a declassified CIA report and Senate testimony by then Director of Central Intelligence R. James Woolsey. North Korea's first nuclear test years later, in 2006, was probably for political purposes -- nuclear blackmail of the U.S. and its allies -- and to develop more sophisticated nuclear weapons. 

Iran and North Korea are strategic partners and by treaty and in practice share science and technology. North Korean scientists are present in Iran helping its missile and nuclear programs. Iranian scientists reportedly have been present at all three North Korean nuclear tests. 

A prudent U.S. foreign and defense policy would assume that Iran's nuclear weapons program is probably on a par with North Korea's. 

See No Evil

America has a bigger problem with its intelligence community than the inadequacy of national technical means to monitor rogue state and terrorist nuclear weapon programs. 

Intelligence community leaders General James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, and Michael Morrell, until recently the Deputy Director of CIA, are proven liars, willing to lie to Congress and the American people to cover up the failures and transgressions of the Obama Administration. 

Clapper lied about National Security Agency spying on the American people. He lied again in covering for President Obama's false assertion that North Korea does not have nuclear missiles -- during the crisis over North Korea's threatened nuclear missile strikes in 2013 -- belittling the Defense Intelligence Agency's accurate assessment that Pyongyang does, in fact, have nuclear armed missiles. 

Morrell lied when he altered CIA talking points on Benghazi to protect then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration. 

Clapper and Morrell are clear indicators that the Obama Administration has corrupted -- the technical word is "politicized" -- the intelligence community. How can Congress and the American people trust their intelligence leaders to tell the truth about anything that reflects badly on this White House? The fish rots from the head down. 

The biggest liar is in the White House. 

The Obama Administration's Geneva interim agreement with Iran is probably calculated to kick the can down the road so some future administration will get blamed if Iran eventually does a nuclear test. The model is the Clinton Administration's Agreed Framework with North Korea, which never had any realistic chance of denuclearizing North Korea, but kicked the can to the Bush Administration, so they got blamed for the North Korean bomb when Pyongyang tested in 2006. 

Nuclear Surprise

If Iran already has the bomb, why have they not yet tested? 

Fritz Ermarth thinks Iran is following the example of North Korea, and probably wants to clandestinely build such robust capabilities so that its nuclear status will become irreversible.

Israel and South Africa never tested because they elected to pursue a policy of deliberate ambiguity, to reap the deterrence benefits of being known nuclear weapon states while avoiding the international opprobrium of making their nuclear status official by testing. 

However, most of my colleagues and I conclude from analysis of Iranian and Jihadi statements and writings that Tehran is not interested in the bomb for status or deterrence. The word "deterrence" does not even appear in their military writings about the bomb. It is all about nuclear use, in particular a nuclear electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack that would cause a protracted national blackout, potentially killing millions of Americans through starvation and societal collapse. 

For example: "If the world's industrial countries fail to devise effective ways to defend themselves against dangerous electronic assaults, then they will disintegrate within a few years.... American soldiers would not be able to find food to eat nor would they be able to fire a single shot." (Tehran, Nashriyeh-e Siasi Nezami) 

The mullahs who run Iran want the bomb for reasons of religious eschatology having to do with the Shiite version of Apocalypse, the return of their 12th Imam, and the ultimate triumph of Islam in the secular and spiritual universe. In this vision, the Jews and Infidels (that's us) must convert or die. 

The Islamic Bomb has nothing to do with deterrence theory or geostrategic calculations familiar to Western nuclear strategists. The Mullahs have their own timetable for the Apocalypse. They hold a "12th Imam Conference" in Tehran every year to study signs and portents. Their development of nuclear weapons, and the failure of the West to stop them, is itself interpreted as one of the "miracles" indicating the Apocalypse is nigh. 

The possibility of nuclear EMP attack is another "miracle" as it destroys the high-tech society and weaponry that is the source of U.S. strength. In this view, Western materialism and worship of the False God that is Technology becomes our downfall. 

A Nuclear EMP attack would cause us to destroy ourselves by means of the corrupt lifestyles of an anti-spiritual civilization wholly focused and dependent upon high-tech materialism. We would die for our sins in the perfect act of divine retribution: 

"In the context of the final battle... all of the planes and satellites will fall, computers will fail, other equipment will be made useless and... the Earth will be shaken ... by nuclear war," prophesy Abdallah and Shayk Muhammed an-Naqshbandi, "Technology will stop or turn against the Americans." 

The Congressional EMP Commission warned that Iran has several times detonated its Shahab III missile at high altitudes, apparently simulating a nuclear EMP attack. Iran has also demonstrated the capability to launch a ballistic missile from a freighter and make a nuclear EMP strike anonymously, and so perhaps escape retaliation. Iran has also orbited several satellites on trajectories consistent with practicing a surprise nuclear EMP attack against the United States. 

Iran has not conducted a nuclear test because its theocracy is not interested in diplomatic "signaling" or Western theories of nuclear deterrence and arms control bargaining. When the mullahs are ready, they will make a surprise nuclear attack. The vaporization of New York City and an EMP attack that crashes American society will be their nuclear tests.

The bottom line is that Iran is a nuclear truck bomb headed our way.

Dr. Peter Vincent Pry served in the CIA, the House Armed Services Committee, the Congressional Strategic Posture Commission, the Congressional EMP Commission, and is the author of Electric Armageddon and Apocalypse Unknown both books available through and


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

Free Speech and the Left’s War on AIPAC

by Jonathan S. Tobin

The failure of the Senate to pass a bill authorizing additional sanctions on Iran if the current nuclear negotiations fail has emboldened some critics of the pro-Israel community. The inability of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee to ensure the bill’s passage despite the support of a bipartisan coalition of 59 members of the U.S. Senate has some of the lobby’s detractors smelling blood even though it was unfair to expect it to prevail in the face of President Obama’s veto threats. Author and columnist Peter Beinart called last month for the administration to boycott the group’s annual conference next month and when New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio offended his liberal fan base by endorsing the group, the writer was among a host of left-wing celebrities who signed a joint letter warning the mayor that he risked their ire by aligning himself with AIPAC. That letter set off a controversy since two of those who joined with Beinart to denounce AIPAC were prominent Manhattan Rabbis Rolondo Matalon and Felicia Sol. When some of their congregants at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun expressed their outrage at having their house of worship implicated in a scurrilous attack on AIPAC, Beinart, who mocked their support of Israeli democracy, in turn denounced them. Now Rabbi Eric Yoffie, former leader of the American Reform movement, has weighed in on the issue in an honorable attempt to try and put this matter in perspective in a Haaretz column and I believe his thoughtful article deserves a response.

According to Yoffie, both sides are well within their rights in this dispute. The rabbis were expressing a legitimate point of view and so were their congregants. While he sides with those who defend AIPAC, he took issue with my assertion that the claim that rabbis who wish to criticize Israel live in fear for their livelihoods is something of a myth. Yoffie believes such pressures exist and should be resisted. He wants all sides of the debate about Israel and AIPAC to speak up candidly for the sake of building a vibrant community where no one should fear to speak up. To a large extent I agree with that formulation. But the problem with the anti-AIPAC campaign as well as much of the efforts on the left to pressure or boycott Israel is that it is, at its heart, an attempt not to promote democratic discussion but to essentially disenfranchise Israeli voters and silence their American friends. That is why I must dispute Rabbi Yoffie’s effort to assign equal virtue to the positions of Beinart and the rabbis as well as to their critics.

Rabbi Yoffie is right that some liberal rabbis who criticize Israel may worry about offending some of their congregants as do others who are, as he notes, pressured from the left to disassociate themselves from the Jewish state. But my point was not to deny that such rabbis have their critics but to point out that efforts to restrain them are almost universally ineffective, as the continued tenure of the B’nai Jeshurun rabbis illustrates. Moreover, my point was not merely about the way rabbis use their pulpits to undermine Israel but to highlight the fact that, contrary to the myth promoted by the left, such figures, be they clerics or not, are generally richly rewarded by the praise of the secular mainstream media. For a Jew to speak out against Israel and/or AIPAC is to invite praise from a liberal media that is always eager to lionize such critics and to falsely portray them as courageous.

It should also be pointed out that the anti-AIPAC letter signed by Matalon, Sol, and Beinart was not about promoting diversity of views or a debate about the peace process so much as it was an attempt to shun and delegitimize AIPAC and its supporters. Though Rabbi Yoffie believes the signers crossed no “red lines” of offensive conduct, I would insist that by seeking to demonize AIPAC, those letter-writers were reinforcing the offensive and bigoted stereotype about the pro-Israel lobby promoted by those who see it as a conspiratorial group that doesn’t really speak for Jews and manipulates U.S. policy against American interests. No one is saying that AIPAC’s critics don’t have a right to voice their differences with the group, but what they want is not so much to debate it as to destroy it. Much as one would wish to bridge such differences, this is one argument where both sides are not right. One must either defend the right of the pro-Israel community to speak out on behalf of the democratically-elected government of the Jewish state as the BJ congregants have done or one joins with those who wish to isolate and pressure it, whether to save it from itself as Beinart thinks or to destroy it as the open anti-Zionists who signed the anti-AIPAC letter seem to want.

What is at stake here is not a right to speak up against Israel and AIPAC but the ability of the pro-Israel community to survive an all-out attack designed to silence it. As Rabbi Yoffie eloquently states:
I don’t agree with AIPAC on everything, but I agree with them most of the time; and the harsh dismissal of AIPAC by the signatories to the letter troubles me greatly. A Washington without AIPAC would not mean an Israel at peace; it would mean an Israel isolated and vulnerable, lacking the anchor that AIPAC has long provided and without which peace would be impossible.
Freedom of speech is not an issue in a community where dissent against Israel is widespread and generally rewarded with praise while supporters are often dismissed as stooges or hypocrites. Those who would destroy what Yoffie rightly called “Israel’s safety net” are not going to be shut up, but they should be held accountable.

Jonathan S. Tobin


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

Rouhani: Iran hopes for 'liberation' of Jerusalem

by Dan Lavie, Shlomo Cesana, Israel Hayom Staff and News Agencies

Iranian president says the Muslim world is hoping for a solution to "occupation" • EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton says world powers and Iran made a "good start" at nuclear talks in Vienna • Gallup poll: Only 12% of Americans view Iran favorably.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
Photo credit: Reuters

Dan Lavie, Shlomo Cesana, Israel Hayom Staff and News Agencies


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

Kerry: Settlers might not have to leave their homes

by Shlomo Cesana, Daniel Siryoti, Israel Hayom Staff and News Agencies

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Paris • U.S. State Department: We are narrowing the gaps • Palestinian official: Kerry's proposal is not even a starting point.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (left) meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Paris on Wednesday
Photo credit: AP
Shlomo Cesana, Daniel Siryoti, Israel Hayom Staff and News Agencies Source: Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

The Phantom Establishment of the Jewish Anti-Israel Left

by Daniel Greenfield


Alan Alda’s wife signed a letter denouncing the newly elected left-wing mayor of New York for doing AIPAC’s bidding. The Sandinista supporter had been accused of many things, but being an Israeli stooge wasn’t one of them. Signing the letter, along with the spouse of that guy from MASH, were Martha Weinman Lear, the wife of the cousin of liberal producer Norman Lear,  Eve Ensler of the Vagina Monologues and diet guru Jane Hirschmann author of Overcoming Overeating who took a break from obsessing over food to sail on a Jihad cruise to Gaza.

Signing on to the attack on Bill de Blasio for being a dirty Zionist were such faded celebrities of the literary left as Erica Jong, who hasn’t written a single book that anyone can name in the forty years since Fear of Flying first came out and Gloria Steinem, who peaked around that same time.

These familiar names of the Manhattan cocktail party circuit who grind their teeth every time they hear Netanyahu’s name, give way to the professional activists, the board members of the toxic American Jewish World Service, the Nathan Cummings Foundation and Dorot, the Rabbis for Gaza and Rabbis for Obama and the men and women like Peter Beinart of Open Zion and Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voice for Peace who have built their lives around the war on Israel as much as any Islamic Jihadist tinkering with a Kassam rocket in Gaza.

The radical clergy sign on; Rachel Brown Cowan, a Unitarian who married a Jewish writer for the Village Voice, added “Rabbi” to her name and began attacking the Jewish State after her husband’s death, Rolando Matalon, who has yet to find a Latin American Marxist group he wouldn’t embrace and Sharon Kleinbaum, a lesbian supporter of the Fast for Gaza that aids and abets the not particularly pro-lesbian Hamas.

Reading these names feels like reviewing the membership of a small familiar club. Everyone knows everyone else and everyone in the club hates Israel.

Between Erica Jong and Alice Kessler-Harris (the biographer of Anti-Israel Communist playwright Lillian Hellman, whom Kessler described as having a “streak of Jewish anti-Semitism”) is Peter A. Joseph who pays for this whole dance, funding everything from Peter Beinart’s Open Zion to the Manhattan JCC whose anti-Israel turn has led to a pitched battle among members.

Peter A. Joseph revived the Israel Policy Forum, which had originally been folded into the Center for American Progress, and turned it into a machine for churning out anti-Israel letters. Before the IPF merged into CAP, it put out a letter urging the United States to work with Hamas. Afterward, its tactics have become slightly subtler, its letters appearing to be pro-Israel while advocating anti-Israel policies.

The Israel Policy Forum put out a letter in support of Obama’s nomination of Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense, despite his ties to the Iran Lobby, signed by Peter A. Joseph, hedge fund manager Neil Barsky, Marcia Riklis, the daughter of corporate raider Meshulam Riklis (not by his second wife Pia Zadora), Jack C. Bendheim, the president of a company that once dumped toxic waste in a Connecticut town, and Risa A. Levine, a real estate lawyer from New York.

Why was anyone supposed to listen to Pia Zadora’s stepdaughter and a guy who once made a documentary about Ed Koch when it came to nominating a Secretary of Defense? The same reason that Bill de Blasio was supposed to listen to Alan Alda’s wife and a diet guru who hates Israel.

Hating Israel has become a small petty club for the wealthy left. The Jewish Anti-Israel left likes to pretend that it’s a grassroots movement being squelched by the “Jewish establishment” when in reality it is an unelected establishment using its wealth and lingering fame to shout over the majority of American Jews who support Israel.

These fading Feminist writers, Wall Street millionaires trying to buy social relevance, hippie social scientists who hit it big with books about food, sex or childrearing, radical rabbis holding forth to congregations who believe in religion as little as their preachers, are a phantom establishment; community leaders without a community except their own mutual approbation.

Every few weeks the Israel Policy Forum churns out another letter headlined “Prominent Jews Urge Someone To Do Something” signed by Pia Zadora’s stepdaughter, a hedge funder, another hedge funder, the guy whose company left drums of toxic waste in Connecticut, the Rabbi who loves the Sandinistas even more than Bill de Blasio and a retired Democratic congressman who attends the same cocktail parties.

Some of these letters are anti-Israel. Others pretend to be pro-Israel. All the letters assert the importance of the signers, the self-proclaimed “100 Prominent Jews” or “150 Prominent Jews”.

These antics are not limited to the Israel Policy Forum or even the United States.

A year after British comedian Stephen Fry appeared on a genealogy show to trace his mother’s Jewish roots, he signed on to a letter by British Jews, a group that he had never considered himself a member of, declaring its “independence” from the British Jewish establishment. The list included the expected collection of fading feminist authors, Marxist playwrights, historians and philosophers, as well as radical sociologists, pop psychologists and professional activists.

The “coming out party” of Independent Jewish Voices consisted of Marxist Jews who were notorious for hating Israel, the UK, industry, facts, mirrors and human civilization announcing that loudly in a letter that was covered by their media friends.

There is a long history of such letters going back to the founding of Israel, the names of forgotten self-proclaimed leaders mixing with a few more notorious figures whose unfortunate legacy has survived into this time. None of these letters however have counted as much as a bullet in the rifle of an Israeli soldier standing watch in the night.

American Jews who worry over these letters from the phantom establishment of the cocktail party ought to look back and see how futile the rantings of I.F. Stone, New Dealer Joseph Proskauer, the rabid Elmer Berger and FDR speechwriter Samuel Rosenman proved to be.

Before J Street or the Israel Policy Forum, there was Jewish Alternatives to Zionism headed by “Rabbi” Elmer Berger who had claimed that the Communist revolution in the Soviet Union meant that Jews no longer needed “Palestine”.

Does anyone remember Lewis Affelder or Mr. and Mrs. Noel A. Buckner whose names appeared as sponsors on Jewish Alternatives to Zionism’s stationary? Their names are smeared ink on yellowed paper while children play in the streets of Jerusalem.

The phantom establishment is rootless; it has no links to a people or to a religion. Its aims are destructive and like all destructive forces, it carries its own futility with it.

American Jews should contend with them, but should not be too impressed by them. Their kind has been at it for generations and, despite all the venom and fury, the boycotts and screeds, have made less of an impression on Israel than a single Jewish family in the hills of Shomron.

The phantom establishment is money and words. There is no blood in its veins or heart in its chest. It does not go on the way that the Jewish people do because it is not of them, only against them.

When its anger is spent and its letters are signed, the children will play on in the hills and fields of Israel, neither knowing nor caring that there was once a Jane Hirschmann, a Mrs. Noel A. Buckner, a Rachel Brown Cowan or a Rebecca Vilkomerson that sought to do them harm.

Daniel Greenfield


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

Suing Americans under International Law - in American Courts

by Selwyn Duke

Imagine you go overseas and give a speech advocating a cause, only to come home and find you're being sued for "crimes against humanity." No, what you did wasn't illegal under American law or under the laws of the nation in which you expressed your words.

You're being sued under international law.

And here's the kicker: Your case will be adjudicated by an American court.

Foreign law in a U.S. court?

This is precisely what befell Massachusetts native Pastor Scott Lively after he gave some speeches critical of homosexuality in Uganda and elsewhere. The suit was filed on behalf of activist group Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMU) by an organization with the temerity to call itself the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) (emphasis added). The legal action is based on, wrote The New York Times in 2012, "the alien tort statute, which allows foreigners to sue in American courts in situations asserting the violation of international law." SMU claims that Lively incited "the persecution of gay men and lesbians in Uganda," wrote the Times.

Lively's speechmaking hit the radar screen because the Ugandan parliament recently passed a law broadening the criminalization of homosexual activity; moreover, the pastor has also spoken in Russia, whose new law against homosexual activism has figured prominently in the reportage on the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Yet this isn't -- or shouldn't be -- about what Lively did or didn't say; it's not about the particular. It's about the principle:

American courts can adjudicate cases of American citizens sued under law (international law) that the people's representatives did not in any way enact. Thus, Americans can conceivably be punished under legislation that they had not even an indirect hand in creating.

This is adjudication without representation.

This is an issue because last August federal judge Michael A. Ponsor rejected a motion to dismiss the Lively case filed by the pastor's lawyers, instead allowing it to proceed to the discovery phase. This is despite the fact that, as activist group Mass Resistance reported, the judge "told the CCR lawyer that he is 'struggling to see actionable behavior' in anything Lively did or said, and that he can't see that any of Lively's conduct that [sic] amounts to 'persecution' or 'conspiracy.'" Nonetheless, upon issuing his 79-page ruling, writes Mass Resistance, the judge accepted "all of the points raised by the [George] Soros-backed plaintiffs" and denied "all of the points raised by Lively's lawyers."

Again, though, this isn't about the facts of any particular case. It's about using extra-constitutional means to trump Americans' constitutional rights; it's about seeking to use international laws and philosophy regarding "hate speech" to circumvent Americans' First Amendment right to free speech.

Even staunch faux marriage proponent and committed liberal Jonathan Rauch recognizes the danger. As he wrote in a Feb. 3 Washington Post editorial, "On the facts as I read them, the plaintiff's theory would leave no clear line between speaking one's mind and engaging in a criminal conspiracy, at least if speaking one's mind could be plausibly connected to some bad outcome. That theory seems very easy to abuse."

That's the understatement of the year. Most any opinion could perhaps be connected to a bad outcome, and a multitude of opinions plausibly so. Did Barack Obama's post-Trayvon Martin shooting statement, "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon" help spark the revenge attacks on whites that occurred after the event? Could Ted Kaczynski (the Unabomber) and other eco-terrorists have been influenced by the rhetoric of Al Gore and other environmentalists? And what about the constant racial grievance-mongering of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton? The fact is this: everyone who does evil was influenced by someone.  


Moreover, even the expression of the most highly esteemed ideas can lead to negative outcomes (which, if the ideas are actually valid, are generally greatly outweighed by the positive ones). Will liberals consider ceasing environmental activism just because a McDonald's, a fur store and medical-research laboratories were once firebombed? And warning of pedophilia -- as I did in a soon-to-be-published piece on rampant child sex abuse in Hollywood -- is always a good work. But what if someone reads my piece and then, enraged, attacks an entertainment figure or sets fire to a production studio? Should I be legally liable?

The Lively case is only different in that the pastor engaged in unfashionable activism. And it's easy to see what placing Americans at the mercy of "international law" can lead to. Consider a short list of activities that could one day, under the CCR's conception of the alien tort statute (ATS), result in Americans being tried by American courts using international law:

  • Giving an overseas speech promoting Zionism: note that much of the world is very anti-Jewish. In fact, the United Nations once even adopted a resolution equating Zionism with "racism."
  • Christian evangelization, even in a nation where the majority welcomed it: evangelization is illegal in certain places and frowned upon in many others. If Christianity falls into even greater disfavor in the future, spreading the faith could come to be viewed as an invidious "imposition of values."
  • Giving a speech on what you view as the dangers of Islam in front of even a receptive foreign parliament: hate-speech laws prohibiting many types of criticism of Islam already abound in the West.

The above is absolutely possible -- all we'd need is for the social winds to blow in the right (or wrong) direction.   

And what of this ATS? It was enacted way back in 1789, possibly in an attempt to appease the British after they threatened to retaliate for states' refusal to satisfy British creditors, as provided for in the treaty ending the American Revolution. This is perhaps why courts based jurisdiction on the ATS only twice between 1789 and 1980. Not surprisingly, however, it has been expanded since '80, with judges struggling to determine what is applicable under it. My suggestion?

End the struggle by rescinding the ATS.

Little good comes from ambiguous laws that will continually be interpreted and reinterpreted by an ever shape-shifting judiciary. And these laws almost always benefit the left. After all, conservative judges tend to be originalists who vote based on the law and put their personal beliefs aside, so they generally won't use ambiguous legislation to advance traditionalism. Leftist judges, however, are relativists who often believe the end justifies the means, and ambiguous law is a favored vehicle through which they can impose their values from the bench.

I don't think the SMU/CCR will prevail in their case against Lively -- not now, anyway.  But with many American judges today having the mentality of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who once told a liberal attorneys' group that the law profession "must start looking for inspiration beyond our borders, to the laws and constitutions of other nations," the ability to consider international law when adjudicating should be strictly prohibited. If some foreign statute truly is a good idea, it's up to the people to enact it through their representatives. No adjudication without representation.

Selwyn Duke  Contact Selwyn Duke, follow him on Twitter or log on to


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Which Israeli will Europe and Arabs Target Next?

by Timon Dias

The fact remains that a Dutch soccer player was excluded from a training camp on the sole basis that he is Jew with an Israeli passport.
Not only is the Dutch Foreign Ministry's advice to "keep sports and politics separated as much as possible" bankrupt of any enforceable meaning; it conflicts with the Dutch Constitution, which states: "Discrimination on the grounds of religion, belief, political opinion, race or sex or any other grounds whatsoever shall not be permitted."
The hypocritical -- and, bluntly, racist -- restrictions of these countries become even more conspicuous when contrasted to the double-standards they practice when events happen to suit some other interest. When doing business or cooperating on security with Israel or Israelis, these same EU and UAE rules do not apply.
When added to the new calls for boycotts, divestment and sanctions, it seems appropriate to ask, is it not actually many Europeans, Arabs and Muslims who are the new Nazis?

While the rest of the Dutch Arnhem-based soccer club, Vitesse, attended a training camp in Abu Dhabi, the team left one of its Israeli-born defenders at home. Dan Mori, who was transferred from Tel Aviv's Bnei Yehuda club in 2012, was not allowed to enter Abu Dhabi -- so the club was told the day before departure -- because he holds an Israeli passport.

Three things stand out: First, it appears that The Royal Netherlands Football Association [RNFA] initially wanted nothing to do with the incident and submitted to Abu Dhabi's demand without a peep. This despite the fact that the RNFA, which is a member of FIFA and UEFA, demands strict compliance with 'anti racism' guidelines by Dutch soccer clubs if they wish to maintain their RNFA licenses. Second, the Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry advised Vitesse "to keep sports and politics separated as much as possible." Third, the Gulf states' tendency to ban athletes from Israel is totally inconsistent with their relationship to Israel when it comes to security or business.

Dan Mori, the player for Holland's Vitesse soccer team who was excluded from a training camp in Abu Dhabi because he is Israeli. At right, Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar. (Images source: Wikimedia Commons)

To further illustrate the RNFA's non-compliance with both FIFA and UEFA's anti-racism guidelines: After a Dutch amateur linesman was kicked to death by three teenage Dutch-Moroccan amateur soccer players last year, if you think the RNFA's anger would be directed at the murderers, you would be wrong. Instead, in the wake of the killing, Hans van der Liet, former chairman of the Amsterdam Committee of Referees and a sympathizer with Geert Wilders's Freedom Party, was formally asked to stop expressing his right to free speech on social media or else face a discharge. Van der Liet had written Facebook posts in which he playfully commented that, statistically, Dutch Moroccans are prone to delinquency and violence, a remark which unfortunately might convey a painful truth; half of all young Dutch-Moroccans have been arrested by police at least once, and one third of that group has been arrested more than five times.

While the leadership of the RNFA vilified Van der Liet as a racist – an accusation both the author and Van der Liet's former partners refuted – they were nonetheless reluctant to act when one of its members, Mori, was refused entry to a country because of his Jewish Israeli background. Eventually the RNFA did issue a report to FIFA on the matter, but only after the astonishment caused by RNFA's initial refusal to abide by its own "anti racism" guidelines became public. The fact remains that a Dutch soccer player was excluded from a training camp on the sole basis that he is Jew with an Israeli passport: so much for the RNFA's otherwise neatly abided by "anti-racism" guidelines.

Further, not only is the Dutch Foreign Ministry's advice "to keep sports and politics separated as much as possible," bankrupt -- in the mushiness of such language -- of any enforceable meaning; it is, above all, not in line with the Dutch Constitution, the first article of which states, "All persons in the Netherlands shall be treated equally in equal circumstances. Discrimination on the grounds of religion, belief, political opinion, race or sex or on any other grounds whatsoever shall not be permitted."

The Ministry, however, in another instance of what clearly seems to be an escalating European anti-Jewish racism, advised the Dutch club not to make a fuss. The club's cravenness in complying -- although in line with the Dutch Foreign Ministry's advice -- only serves to expose people who regard themselves as highly moral but who in fact are not. And when added to the increased calls for boycotts, divestment and sanctions [BDS], it seems appropriate to ask, is it not actually many Europeans, Arabs and Muslims who are the new Nazis?

Maybe the Dutch Foreign Ministry and RNFA could learn from the Davis Cup, which suspended Tunisia after Tunisian tennis player Malek Jaziri was ordered not to compete against an Israeli opponent; as well as from the main sponsor of the French soccer club, West Bromwich Albion, property website Zoopla, which withdrew its sponsorship because it no longer wanted to be associated with player Nicolas Anelka's anti-Semitic "quenelle" salute.

Moreover, what racist precedents are these Europeans setting? As recently as last December, the Israeli youth chess team, playing in Abu Dhabi, was forced to play under the flag of the World Chess Federation instead of under its Israeli flag; and one day after that, the Israeli flag was completely removed from the tournament's website.

Last October, when swimmer Amit Ivry won the silver medal at the women's 100 meter individual medley in Qatar, the Israeli flag was removed from the broadcast.

A few years ago, Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer was also not allowed to enter Qatar to compete in the Qatar Women's Open.

All clubs, hosts and sponsors of these tournaments need to be held accountable, sued and sanctioned. It is long overdue that rules be clearly established -- and enforced. If all members of a team are not welcome, another location can be found; if such a rule presents a problem, any country may graciously be excused from hosting international events.

The hypocritical -- and, bluntly, racist -- restrictions of these countries become even more conspicuous when contrasted to the double standards they practice when events happen to suit some other interest. When doing business or cooperating on security with Israel or Israelis, these same Qatari and UAE rules do not apply.

According to an Israeli Finance Ministry paper, Israel opened a diplomatic mission in one of the Gulf states, rumored to be the UAE, to increase Israeli effectiveness in combating the Iranian regime -– a nemesis of Israel as well as of the Sunni Gulf states. Israel was also, despite a Kuwaiti boycott, allowed to attend a recent renewable energy conference in the UAE.

Bilateral Qatari-Israeli relations date back to 1996, when a visit by then-Prime Minister Shimon Peres resulted in the opening of the first Israeli Trade Office in Doha, Qatar. Despite the freeze in the Arab-Israeli "peace process," Qatar, in a gesture that infuriated Saudi Arabia, invited Israel to the 1997 MENA economic conference it hosted there. Even after Saudi Arabia and Iran exerted enormous pressure that forced the official closure of the Israeli office in Qatar in 2000, secret meetings continued to take place, and co-operation resumed uninterrupted.

During the Israeli 2008 military operation "Cast Lead," however, Qatari-Israeli relations took a turn for the worse; Qatar severed ties with Israel, shut down the Israeli trade office altogether and expelled all Israeli representatives. After the media attention on "Cast Lead" had settled down, Qatar re-approached Israel in 2010; but this time the Qatari engagement was turned down by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

Qatar's conditions for the deal had been that Israel publicly recognize and express its appreciation for Qatar's role and prominent standing in the Middle East, and that Israel grant Qatar permission to ship large quantities of cement and construction materials to the Gaza Strip. In recent years, these materials were not used to build housing for the citizens of the Gaza Strip; instead they were used to construct vast, well-lit and ventilated underground tunnels through which to kidnap Israelis or to smuggle weaponry from Egypt into the Gaza Strip, as well as other contraband.

In 2011, Netanyahu is believed to have held secret meetings with the Qatari Prime Minister in London and various media reports suggested that Qatar offered to sell natural gas to Israel.

It appears, nevertheless, that the Gulf States, when not humiliating and ostracizing Israeli athletes and others, continue to obscure their relations with a free, open and democratic state, and to conduct meetings in secret.

Even sadder is that European governments, sports clubs and other organizations remain so eagerly complicit in the racism that so many pretend to deplore.

Timon Dias


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