Saturday, August 16, 2014

The European Union Shows Bias Against Israel

by Michael Curtis

To adapt a saying of the British politician David Lloyd George, the European Union (EU) has sat on the fence so long on issues regarding Israel that the iron has entered its soul. It showed this once again in its one-sided approach in a new policy statement on the Gaza conflict between Hamas and Israel. The EU Foreign Ministers at their Council meeting in Brussels on August 15, 2014 declared they were “extremely concerned about the fragile situation on the ground following the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip.” Understandably, they strongly welcomed the ceasefire that has been in place since August 11, though only once is the word “Hamas” mentioned.

The declaration does mention just once the threat to Israel posed by Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza by their rocket attacks and tunnel construction. But its main trust and “concern” as usual is limited to “the disastrous humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip particularly the conditions of the displaced population, water supplies, electricity services, unexploded ordinance as well as destroyed and uninhabitable homes.”

Of course, the statement admitted that Israel had a right to protect its population, but using the current fashionable word it asserted that Israel must act “proportionally” and ensure the protection of civilians. The EU said nothing about the thousands of rockets and missiles that had rained down on Israeli civilians nor about the enormous wastage of resources by Hamas in building its more than 30 tunnels to be used for attacking Israel. Nor did it discuss the war crimes of Hamas in using children and other civilians as human shields to prevent Israeli retaliation against attack. Instead, it deeply deplored the loss of innocent lives and the high number of wounded civilians in the Gaza Strip and the rapid deterioration of the humanitarian situation.

The ministers of the EU therefore reiterated their readiness to contribute to a comprehensive and sustainable solution for the security, welfare, and prosperity of Palestinians and Israelis. To this end they proposed actions in a number of areas for relief, reconstruction, and rehabilitation. Surprisingly, disregarding the fact that Hamas occupies and controls Gaza, the ministers propose a training program for Palestinian Authority customs personnel and police for redeployment in Gaza.

Again, without concern for the security of Israel, the ministers will study options for full access and movements through all Gaza ports of entry. Israel must lift the blockade of Gaza to allow a fundamental improvement of living conditions of the Palestinian people in Gaza. The ministers are also preempting final-stage negotiations between Israel and Palestinians. In favoring a two-state solution, what they call “two democratic states,” the ministers hold that the Gaza Strip constitutes an integral part of the territory occupied in 1967 and will be part of a future State of Palestine.

Can the EU be taken seriously on this issue? Their recent actions, along with statements by their officials, cast doubt. The High Commissioner, Catherine Ashton, has never been the closest friend of Israel, but she believes she is concerned with the soul of the State. In November 2013 she expressed the view that the boycott of goods from Israeli settlements can save Israel from itself since the expansion of the settlements means the creation of a single bi-national state.

In similar fashion, Lars Faaborg-Andersen, the Danish diplomat who is the EU Ambassador to Israel, acknowledged he was losing patience with Israel because of the expansion of settlements beyond the Green Line. He argued that because of this, countries would issue warnings to their citizens against conducting business with companies in the settlements.

The EU actions speak even louder than its words. Most recently, at the UN Human Rights Council on July 23, 2014, those actions were significant. The resolution of the UNHRC condemned “in the strongest terms the widespread, systematic, and gross violations of international human rights and fundamental freedoms arising from the Israeli military operations” in Gaza. It also called for an “international commission of inquiry” to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law “in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” It was carried by a vote of twenty-nine nations to one, the United States.

All the eight members of the EU entitled to vote abstained, even the Czech Republic that in November 2012 was the only EU country to oppose granting nonmember state status to the Palestinians at the United Nations. Ireland was even prepared to vote in favor of the resolution. The behavior of the EU was all the more disconcerting because it explained that the resolution was unbalanced and inaccurate and prejudged the outcome of the investigation.

Indeed, the choice of William Schabas, the Canadian academic, as head of the commission of inquiry seems to bear this out. In 2001 he took part in a panel of the Russell Tribunal whose aim was to find Israel guilty of “the crime of apartheid.” He held that Benjamin Netanyahu should be in “the dock of an international court” and was the single individual most likely to threaten the survival of Israel. It is difficult to conceive how Schabas can approach the Gaza issue with an open mind.

In casting his negative vote at the UNHRC meeting on July 23, Keith Harper, the U.S. ambassador, spoke of the resolution’s one-sided approach to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and that it was essential that the community of nations take a balanced approach to these issues.” The European Union should take heed, act with some courage, and not see Hamas as morally equivalent to Israel.

Michael Curtis


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'I Dug Terror Tunnels in Gaza and Had No Idea'

by Orli Harari, Ari Yashar

Remarkable letter smuggled out of Gaza relates how Hamas manipulates Palestinian civilians to dig terror tunnels to Israel.
Diggers in Hamas Gaza tunnel
Diggers in Hamas Gaza tunnel
Flash 90
A gripping letter reportedly smuggled out of the Hamas terror enclave of Gaza reveals the nightmarish existence suffered by residents forced to dig terror tunnels for Hamas.

Fox News exposed the letter, which was hand-written in Arabic by a 30-year-old resident of Gaza City, and smuggled out to Itzik Azar, an Israeli living in the coastal region who was a friend of the writer's deceased father.

After his father was murdered by Hamas terrorists who seized his metalwork shop to produce domestic rockets, such as the M-75, the writer was forced into desperate financial straits, and seized a cryptic job offer.

He reports being picked up in a windowless truck with five others, which brought them to a building, from which they dug tunnels in intense shifts lasting ten days.

The writer reports arriving in the building the first time and being told to enter a hole in the ground.

"We walked for a few hundred meters, and when we got to the end, two Hamas members were waiting for us. They gave us working tools and explained to us what to do in order to make the tunnel longer," reports the writer.

The letter describes the grueling labor in unventilated shafts as Hamas terrorists shouted and occasionally assaulted the workers. Afterwards, they were transported home and given a paltry wage, not knowing "where we’d been, or what tunnel we dug."

As Hamas launched its terror war on Israel last month, using the tunnels to lethal effect on IDF soldiers in Operation Protective Edge and in several failed attempts to murder Israeli civilians, the writer "heard about the tunnels that Hamas dug and I understood that I helped them."

"We pray that the world will help to free us from the fearful and cruel Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip. I pray for death to all Hamas members and that we will get freedom and a chance to live a normal life for our children in Gaza. Inshalla (G-d willing)," concluded the letter.

A Hamas spokesperson recently told Al Jazeera that since Operation Pillar of Defense ended in 2012, "hundreds of our men were martyred digging the tunnels during the previous lull period. ...The mujahideen of the Al-Qassam Brigades were getting ready in the tunnels."

Many of those who survived digging the terror tunnels did not meet a better end than their fallen compatriots; according to reports, in recent weeks Hamas has executed dozens of the diggers to make absolutely certain they would not reveal information about the locations they were digging in.

Of the hundreds who died in the digging, "at least 160 children have been killed in the tunnels" reported the Journal of Palestine Studies in 2012, indicating how forced child labor was also committed by Hamas in its terror scheme.

The Hamas terrorists apparently were planning to use the massive web of tunnels into Israel to conduct a massacre on Israeli communities near Gaza on Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year.

Over 30 tunnels have been destroyed by the IDF in the course of the current operation, although that number is limited to the tunnels found until now, and may mean the threat posed by the tunnels has not been fully obliterated.

Orli Harari, Ari Yashar


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Hamas Has Grossly Humiliated World Media in Gaza

by David Singer

Hamas threats and manipulation in Gaza turned the media into pawns rather than a source of information.

A family of 11 previously reported dead in an Israeli air strike in Gaza has turned out to be false – further fueling the unprecedented furor caused by the Tel Aviv based Foreign Press Association (FPA) issuing the following statement on 11 August slamming Hamas for its treatment of journalists during the current conflict:

 “The FPA protests in the strongest terms the blatant, incessant, forceful and unorthodox methods employed by the Hamas authorities and their representatives against visiting international journalists in Gaza over the past month.

"The international media are not advocacy organisations and cannot be prevented from reporting by means of threats or pressure, thereby denying their readers and viewers an objective picture from the ground.

"In several cases, foreign reporters working in Gaza have been harassed, threatened or questioned over stories or information they have reported through their news media or by means of social media.

"We are also aware that Hamas is trying to put in place a 'vetting' procedure that would, in effect, allow for the blacklisting of specific journalists. Such a procedure is vehemently opposed by the FPA."

The FPA has also been mildly critical of Israel as this release on 23 July indicated:

“The FPA strongly condemns deliberate official and unofficial incitement against journalists working to cover the current warfare under very difficult circumstances as well as forcible attempts to prevent journalists and TV crews from carrying out their news assignments. While we do not condone the use of invective by any side, outright attacks on journalists are absolutely unacceptable."

On Tuesday, IDF forces aimed live fire at the Al Jazeera offices in Gaza City. The offices are on the 11th floor of a known commercial  centre. The IDF apologised claiming it was in error and said they would investigate the incident.

Also Tuesday, FPA member Firas Khatib of BBC Arabic was physically attacked and abused in the midst of a live feed on the Israeli side of the border. “

The FPA numbers some 480 members representing TV, radio, photojournalists and print media from 32 countries including Australia, Qatar, Brazil, Norway, China , USA. Austria, Dubai, Russia, Japan, Finland, South Africa, Denmark and Germany, Turkey, the UAE and the United Kingdom.

It represents amongst others Le Monde, The New York Times, Reuters, the Guangming Daily, CBS Television, the Associated Press, Der Spiegel, the BBC, Danish Broadcasting Corp. and Bloomberg News. On its website, the FPA lists Australian journalists Matt Brown (ABC) and John Lyons (The Australian) as members.

Paul T. Jørgensen of Norway’s TV2 states that:

 “several foreign journalists have been kicked out of Gaza because Hamas does not like what they wrote or said. We have received strict orders that if we record that Hamas fires rockets or that they shoot, we will face serious problems and be expelled from Gaza,” 
Alan Johnson reported in the Telegraph:
  • The Wall Street Journal's Nick Casey posted a photo of a Hamas spokesman being interviewed from a room in the hospital along with this tweet: "You have to wonder (with) the shelling how patients at Shifa hospital feel as Hamas uses it as a safe place to see media." After "a flood of online threats", the tweet was deleted.
  • John Reed of The Financial Times was reportedly threatened after he tweeted about rockets being fired from the same hospital.”
Yet Jodi Rudoren, Jerusalem bureau chief of the New York Times – who was not in Gaza - tweeted:

“Every reporter I've met who was in Gaza during war says this Israeli/now FPA narrative of Hamas harassment is nonsense,” 

It was a strange remark to make considering the above claims – and having regard to the following comment reportedly made by  New York Times vice president for corporate communications Eileen Murphy that the newspaper’s team in Gaza did not photograph any rocket launches, sent only “two very distant, poor quality images that were captioned Hamas fighters” and “hasn’t even seen anyone carrying a gun.”

Even more intriguing - Rudoren’s deputy at the NYT - Isabel Kershner - was one of the FPA board members who approved the condemnatory statement. How could two colleagues from the same newspaper observing the same sequence of events come to such different conclusions?

British freelancer Harry Fear said he was asked to leave Gaza by three plainclothes Hamas officials at Al-Shifa Hospital - apparently for referring to rocket launches near his hotel.  He reportedly said he did not feel any intimidation or interference.

Some reporters however reportedly received death threats. Sometimes, cameras were smashed. Reporters were prevented from filming anti-Hamas demonstrations where more than 20 Palestinians were shot dead by Hamas gunmen.

Evidence of Hamas controlling the flow of news is obvious in its failure to allow the media to:

independently determine, separate and verify the number of civilian and Hamas deaths photograph any Hamas forces launching rockets from residential areas or civilians being used as human shields.

A BBC investigation has uncovered photos of dead children from earlier conflicts being passed off as casualties in the current conflict – being fed to gullible reporters to send around the World to even more gullible target audiences.

Why would reporters keep going back into Gaza to be so humiliated by Hamas?

They are certainly not reporting what is actually happening.

 Maybe they should stay out of Gaza and let Hamas do its own media releases.

The media barons would certainly save a lot of money.

David Singer


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Krugerplein, Again

by Martin Bosma

There are people who see Islamic immigration as a positive thing; that it creates "cultural enrichment" and "thriving immigrant neighborhoods." This is the vision of the liberal elites. There is also the reality.

Krugerplein, or Kruger Square, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, is now the theatre of a series of incidents, starting with a woman who hung an Israeli flag outside her window. Muslims answered by displaying "Palestinian" flags.

The woman who hung the Israeli flag, Leah Rabinovitch, is originally from Mexico, and therefore probably may not have been aware of Islamic intolerance towards all things Jewish. Her neighborhood, however, is "non-western immigrants," meaning mostly Muslims.

She received death threats, had stones thrown through her windows, and had a Molotov-cocktail thrown at her home. The corporate owner of her apartment ordered her to remove the flag. Israel's flag after all, is considered a "provocation."

A view of the apartment building in Amsterdam where Leah Rabinovitch lives. After hanging an Israeli flag, she was subjected to stone-throwing, a death threat and a firebombing. (Image source: AT5 News video screenshot)

Checking at Krugerplein, last week, I counted seven "Palestinian" flags – flags which are never considered a provocation, of course.

The good news is that Israel's flag is back, again enjoying the Dutch sunlight.

What is revealing, however, is not what happened, but where it happened.

Krugerplein is at the very heart of the Transvaal neighborhood [Transvaalbuurt], built a hundred years ago. The streets are all named after the heroic Boer fighters, who waged a bitter guerrilla war against the colonial superpower of those days, the British empire. The names celebrate the traditional friendship between the Afrikaners/Boers and the Dutch. President Kruger, general Botha, Orange Freestate; they are all there.

In the 1920s and 30s, Jews from the overcrowded center of Amsterdam moved to Transvaalbuurt. In pre-World War II days, it counted 17,000 inhabitants, 70% of them Jewish. There was very little interest in religion. Many of them joined "left-wing" causes. Trade unions, and socialist and communist parties flourished -- a Dutch version of the Lower East Side.

Then the Hitler socialists came. The Germans sealed off the neighborhood with barbed wire. They named it Judenviertel II, Jewish Quarter Number Two. It became a ghetto, or better: a death trap. Jews from other parts of the Netherlands were forced to move to Amsterdam, and found refuge in the Transvaalbuurt. Deportations started, July 1942. The Jews were moved to the camps, and gassed.

Older people in the neighborhood can still tell stories. How, as young children, they were told by the Germans to stay away from the windows and not to peek outside when the Jews were marched off to the nearby Muiderpoort train station. Most seniors will still weep after two sentences as they will recall their lost schoolmates, or the kids they played with.

One sunny Sunday, it was all over. On June 20, 1943 the Nazis executed their last razzia in Transvaalbuurt. The remaining 5,000 Jews were ordered to go stand outside their houses, in the burning heat, and wait for German orders. Transportation was done by freight wagons, some of them also used for transporting cattle. It took them nine hours to arrive at Westerbork, a camp near the German border. After that: Auschwitz, Sobibor, Treblinka, death.

The Germans declared the Transvaalbuurt Judenrein ["free of Jews"]. It became a small ghost town.

In 1945, people said: Never again. Seventy years later, flying Israel's flag on Krugerplein will get you stones through your window, death threats, and a Molotov-cocktail.

There are people who see Islamic immigration as a positive thing; that it creates "cultural enrichment," and "thriving immigrant neighborhoods." But this is the vision of the liberal elites.

There is also the reality.

Leah Rabinovitch will probably not remain in Transvaalbuurt forever. It is too hostile there. Going to the supermarket and having to look over your shoulder constantly, fearing Muslim aggression, is not fun. If she moves, the neighborhood is again in the process of becoming Judenrein -- another step on our way to the multicultural paradise that awaits us all.

There is not even any outrage.

Razzia at Krugerplein, 1943. The people in the background are probably a Jewish family in front of their house, waiting for orders to march to the train station. The person on the left is a Jew from the Westerbork camp, who served the Germans as a member of the camp police. He wears a yellow star.
Jews from Transvaalbuurt rounded-up near Muiderpoort train station, waiting for trains to take them to the camps. Note the yellow stars!

Martin Bosma is a Member of Parliament, The Netherlands.

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Caroline Glick: Anti-Semitism and Its Limitations

by Caroline Glick

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post
Outside the US, throughout the Western world, anti-Semitism is becoming a powerful social and political force. And its power is beginning to have a significant impact on Israel’s relations with other democracies.

Consider South Africa. Following a lopsided vote by the University of Cape Town’s Student Union to boycott Israel, Jewish students fear that their own student union will be barred from operating on campus. Carla Frumer from the South African Jewish Student Union told The Times of Israel, “If they prove we are a Zionist organization and support Israel, they can have us banned and seek to de-register us.”

In Sydney, Australia, Jewish families received a triple blow last week when Jewish children on a chartered school bus were assaulted by eight anti-Semitic drunken teenagers.

The first shock was that their children, some as young as five, were terrorized on their school bus.

The second shock was that the bus driver made an unscheduled stop to allow the anti-Semites to board the bus and harass the children.

The third shock was that after catching six of the eight assailants, the police let them out of jail the same evening.

Taken together, the incident revealed an obscene comfort level among Australian authorities with the terrorizing of Jewish children. Jewish families cannot assume that their children will be protected by non-Jews, whether they are school bus drivers or the police.

Unfortunately, these stories do not begin to scratch the surface of the rising tide of anti-Semitism in the developed world. From Paris to San Paulo, from Berlin to Boston the public space Jews can enjoy without fear is becoming more and more limited.

The same is the case in leftist political circles.

Last week, Paul Estrin, the president of Canada’s Green Party, was forced to resign for his pro-Israel views. On July 25, Estrin posted a pro-Israel essay on the party’s website. His post caused a furor among the party faithful. The Green Party’s leader, MP Elizabeth May, distanced herself from Estrin. And almost the entire party leadership denounced him and demanded his resignation.

In an essay published this week in the Canadian Jewish News, Estrin explained that he joined the party because he wanted to make a difference in the spheres of the environmental protection and human rights. He did not believe that working to achieve these goals in the Green Party would require him to disavow his support for Israel. His recent experience showed him that he was wrong.

In his words, “I am now convinced that one simply can’t [support Israel] within the confines of Canada’s Green Party.”

Similar sentiments have been expressed in recent weeks by pro-Israel members of Britain’s Labor Party. After party leader Ed Miliband sided with the majority of the party membership and against Israel in Operation Protective Edge, Kate Bearman, the former director of Labor Friends for Israel, published an article in the Jewish Chronicle announcing that she was quitting the Labor Party.

Bearman wrote, “I feel Ed Miliband’s rush to a condemnation of Israel’s ground incursion into Gaza gave me no choice but to say goodbye to the party I have always voted and campaigned for.”

A survey of Britons taken at the end of last month by YouGov showed that 62 percent believed that Israel had committed war crimes in Gaza. This includes 72% of Labor supporters and 57% of Conservatives.

In other words, nearly two-thirds of Britons believe that Israel has no right to defend itself. And since Israel is surrounded by forces that seek its destruction, we can extrapolate that nearly two-thirds of Britons would, at a minimum, have no problem with Israel being wiped off the map.

This rising political force of anti-Semitism is already impacting previously supportive governments’ policies toward the Jewish state. Bowing to the anti-Israel positions of his Liberal-Democrat coalition partners, British Prime Minister David Cameron decided that arms exports to Israel will be suspended if Hamas continues its current round of war with Israel.

The primary engine propelling Western nation after Western nation to abandon their support for Israel and deny the protection of law to Jewish communities is the rising power of Muslim minority communities in these countries. As Douglas Murray explained in an essay published by the Gatestone Institute this week, when it comes to Israel and Jews, otherwise integrated, moderate Muslims in Europe are quick to join jihadists in denouncing Israel and rallying behind anti-Semitic curses and threats.

The unanimity of anti-Semitic prejudice among Muslim communities in the West, and its impact on the politics of Western nations, indicates that in the future, Western nations’ polities toward Israel may have more in common with the positions of Sunni Arab states than with those of the US.

Since the dawn of modern Zionism more than a century ago, Arab societies have united around the cause of destroying Zionism as a political force and Israel as a physical entity. As a result, the default position of Arab governments has been to support Israel’s destruction. They have advanced this goal through various means, including going to war against the Jewish state, supporting proxies and other irregular forces in their efforts to kill Jews and harm Israel, and using international organizations – first and foremost the United Nations – to institutionalize international anti-Semitism directed against the Jewish state and to criminalize Israel with the aim of expelling it from the international community.

In recent years, we have seen a gradual, quiet disassociation of various Sunni Arab regimes from the war against Israel as they viewed their interests as more aligned with Israel than with its battlefield foes.

The first time this occurred was during Hezbollah’s war with Israel in 2006. In the opening weeks of the war, Egypt and Saudi Arabia were demonstrably excited at the prospect of an Israeli rout of Iran’s proxy army in Lebanon. As they saw it, an Israeli victory over Hezbollah would deal a powerful blow to Iran’s hegemonic designs over the Persian Gulf and Egypt. It would end the Muslim Brotherhood’s romance with the mullahs in Tehran.

This Sunni Arab support for Israel only abated when then prime minister Ehud Olmert’s serial blundering in his leadership of the war convinced Sunni leaders that Israel would not score a strategic victory.

Over the past six weeks of Operation Protective Edge, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates have been even more open about their preference for an Israeli victory, which they view as a blow to the Muslim Brotherhood. Today these regimes feel far more threatened by the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran than they did eight years ago. Indeed, so great is their desire for an Israeli victory over the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza that they are willing to publicly express their position for the first time.

It is not that “the Arab street” in Mecca and Cairo has stopped hating Jews. It is simply that the regimes are willing to neutralize the political influence of Jew-hatred in order to ensure their survival.

In the future, such a commonality of interests may be the only way for Israel to cultivate strategic cooperation with Western nations.

All of this is greatly disturbing. But at least today, it is not Israel’s most pressing concern. The political salience of anti-Semitism in the West will have no impact on how the fighting ends.

The only players in the game today are Israel, Egypt and the Obama administration. And Israel’s problem today is not the anti-Semitism of Western societies. It is the hostility of the Obama administration.

Unlike the situation in Europe, anti-Semitism is not a significant force in the US. Due in large part to Obama administration actions, there is a growing acceptance in Washington of the false, anti-Semitic charge that Israel dictates US foreign policy.

But the US public views Israel as an ally and a fellow democracy. And as a consequence, the majority of Americans consistently support Israel and expect the US government to support Israel in its wars against Islamic terrorists and its desire to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. This general view is in turn reflected in the predominant pro-Israel positions taken by the vast majority of members of both houses of Congress.

Due to the fact that his position is out of step with the US public, Barack Obama has not been able to break openly with Israel. But behind the scenes, since the outset of Operation Protective Edge he has used his administrative powers to help Hamas and its Islamist sponsors in Turkey, Qatar and Iran to the detriment of Israel and the Sunni Arab regimes.

In other words, whereas David Cameron felt compelled by domestic political realities to turn on Israel, Obama feels compelled by domestic political realities to hide the fact that he has turned on Israel.

As The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, Obama’s latest anti-Israel action was the institution last week of an unofficial arms embargo against Israel. Ignoring standard procedures adopted over the years in accordance with the US’s strategic cooperation accords with Israel, Obama has chosen to deny the US military the power to automatically approve Israeli requests for resupply of ammunition and spare parts. All such requests must now receive specific approval from the White House.

To hide the hostile nature of his action, Obama has sought to present it as a simple reassertion of presidential control over US foreign policy – and so resonate the anti-Semitic undertones of allegations of Israeli control over US foreign policy.

In fact, Obama’s actions constitute a presidential decision to abandon his own official policy of upholding the US’s alliance with Israel.

Obama took a similar path last month with the highly discriminatory FAA flight ban on Ben-Gurion Airport. The FAA has not instituted such bans on countries like Ukraine and Pakistan where civilian passenger flights have actually been shot down. Yet, citing “an abundance of caution,” the FAA instituted a flight ban on Israel where no civilian passenger jet was endangered.

As the administration presented it, the FAA decision to directly threaten Israel’s economic viability did not derive from hostility to Israel, but from a concern for the welfare of airline passengers.

In a similar fashion, last month US Secretary of State John Kerry sought to misrepresent the administration’s adoption of Hamas’s cease-fire terms as the US’s official position. Kerry claimed that he was merely amplifying the Egyptian cease-fire agreement that the administration claimed it supported, when he was actually abandoning it.

The massive destabilization of the Arab world in the wake of the Arab Spring has led many Israelis to reevaluate our region and the opportunities and threats it presents us.

With the rise of anti-Semitism as a political force in the Western world, and with the radical shift in US foreign policy under Obama, it is vital that Israel conduct a similar reevaluation of its relations with Western democracies.

Caroline Glick is the Director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center's Israel Security Project and the Senior Contributing Editor of The Jerusalem Post. For more information on Ms. Glick's work, visit


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Rouhani’s One-Year Anniversary

by Majid Rafizadeh

At this time last year, Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian regime insider, assumed the office of presidency in the Islamic Republic. Rouhani was approved to run by the constitutionally-mandated and appointed 12 members of the Islamist and hardline Guardian Council, and after he gave empty promises of bringing “dignity” to the nation,  freeing political prisoners, promoting civil rights, normalcy, reintegrating Iran in the world economically and politically.

Other crucial reasons behind his election included his loyalty to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iran’s Islamist revolutionary principles, his background profile as a government insider and chief nuclear negotiator, the blessings of Supreme Leaders for him, and the low standards that the hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad set.

The purpose of having Rouhani as the president was evident from the beginning: for the first time, Ayatollah Khamenei and the senior cadre of the Islamic Republic’s Revolutionary Guards Corps deeply felt that their hold on power was being threatened. This was due to international economic and political sanctions, Iran’s nuclear defiance, along with disenfranchisement and discontent of Iranian youth (for reasons such as unemployment, human rights violations, suppression of freedom of press, expression, assembly, high inflation).

How has Rouhani served his regime? Under the first year of his presidency, Rouhani and his nuclear technocrat team were unprecedentedly and unexpectedly successful at reaching the regime’s objectives. He was capable of achieving the ideological, economic, and geopolitical goals of the Islamist agenda of the ruling clerics.

It is crucial to point out that, in the first year, Rouhani’s goal was to merge the Islamic Republic’s ideological and Islamist principles with its economic, strategic and geopolitical interests. Rouhani wanted to ensure the survival of the Islamist regime.

The game that Rouhani and his team played with the West and particularly the United States was anchored in utilizing softer tones while exploiting the fragile and weak position of the Obama administration.

First, by striking the nuclear interim deal with the P5+1 (the United States, Russia, France, China, the United Kingdom, plus Germany), Rouhani and his technocrat nuclear team were successful in obtaining sanctions relief– worth between $6 and $7 billion – and suspending certain sanctions on some Iranian industries including the automotive sector, gold and precious metals trade, and petrochemical exports.

On the other hand, currently, the Islamic Republic’s economy has been stabilized according to the International Monetary Fund, and oil exports have increased by approximately 25 percent, specifically to Asian countries, in the first six months of the year 2014.

While Rouhani has spent a considerable amount of his political capital on the international arena, nuclear talks, attempting to empower the Islamic Republic in the world affairs and economy, and removing economic sanctions, Iran’s fundamental foreign policies in the region, internationally and domestically remain ideological and intact.

For example, President Hassan Rouhani voiced his support for the Syrian government, as Iran’s support for the Syrian government financially, militarily, politically and advisory continues. Even after the use of chemical weapons against the civilians in Syria, Rouhani’s administration has not shifted its support and policies towards President Bashar Al Assad.

In addition, under Rouhani’s administration, the Islamic Republic continues to support non state actors such as Hezbollah and Hamas. In addition, the Islamic Republic’s foreign policies towards Israel remain intact as well.

On the other hand, billions of dollars gained by the ruling cleric, are tightly distributed among the top officials. Millions of ordinary Iranian people still encounter hardship economically. In addition, the unemployment rate remains to be in double digits for millions of Iranian people.

When it comes to human rights and freedoms (assembly, press and speech),  Rouhani has supported the status quo of repression. According to the Human Rights Watch, there has been “no sign of improvement” and the Islamic Republic continues to violate human rights under Rouhani.

On March 11, Ahmed Shaheed, the United Nations special rapporteur on the human rights conditions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, released his second annual report to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), pointing out that there exists an “apparent increase in the degree of seriousness of human rights violations” and he expressed his concern at the “rate of executions in the country, especially for crimes that do not meet serious crimes standards.”

In addition, in October, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released his annual report expressing concerns with regards to the continuing human rights violations in the Islamic Republic under Rouhani. Human Rights Watch points out that “The government continued to block access to Shaheed and to experts with other UN rights bodies.”

It is an illusion to believe that any political figure in the Islamic Republic, who rises to power, will shift the Islamist, radical, and ideological perspective of this regime. Loyalty to the Islamist principles, antagonism towards Israel, and supporting Hezbollah, Hamas, or other Islamists groups, are the underlying and basic rules that each Iranian politician believes in and has to pursue, in order to survive and rise the political ladder in Iran. The higher an Iranian politician is in his political life and position, the more loyal he is to the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the more he voices his antagonism towards the state of Israel publicly or covertly, and the more he views the United States as a Great Satan. This underlying rule is the political formula for survival and promotion under the Islamist and ideological regime of the Islamic Republic.

Majid Rafizadeh, an Iranian-American political scientist and scholar, is president of the International American Council and serves on the board of the Harvard International Review at Harvard University. Rafizadeh is also a senior fellow at the Nonviolence International Organization based in Washington, DC and is a member of the Gulf project at Columbia University. He can be reached at Follow Dr. Rafizadeh at @majidrafizadeh.


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Council of the European Union: "All terrorist groups in Gaza must disarm"

by Dr. Aaron Lerner

Once again the EU calls for disarming the terrorists without linking it to anything else.  The EU also mentions “expressed commitments of President Abbas”  - a clear reference to the commitment made by Mahmoud Abba that the PA would honor signed agreements – agreements that provide for the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip.
And this while disarming the terrorists appears to be dropped from the Egyptian brokered talks.  It would appear that the proposal allows the terrorists to manufacture an unlimited number of missiles from dual use materials as long as none are launched – for the time being – with Israel prohibited from doing anything more than adding them to the “target bank”.  And if the wording is correct – it appears that Hamas can even dig tunnels as long as the 
way that they reach Israel is by linking to existing tunnels that cross under the border (wink wink).]
PRESS RELEASE - Provisional Version
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Gaza and MEPP
The Council discussed the situation in Gaza and adopted the following conclusions:
"1. The EU is extremely concerned about the fragile situation on the ground following the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip. It strongly welcomes the ceasefire which has been in place since 11 August and calls on all the parties concerned to agree on and abide by a durable ceasefire. The EU commends the considerable efforts and commitment of Egypt to broker this and earlier deals.
2. The EU remains concerned about the disastrous humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip particularly the conditions of the displaced population, water supplies, electricity services, unexploded ordnance as well as destroyed and uninhabitable homes. The EU calls for increased efforts to facilitate, in accordance with international humanitarian law, immediate and unimpeded humanitarian access into the Gaza Strip including for humanitarian personnel and supplies, and for the mobilisation of humanitarian aid for the population of Gaza.
3. The situation in the Gaza Strip has been unsustainable for many years and a return to the status quo prior to the latest conflict is not an option. A durable ceasefire must lead to a fundamental improvement in the living conditions for the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip through the lifting of the Gaza closure regime, and it must end the threat to Israel posed by Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza as demonstrated by rocket attacks and
tunnel construction. All terrorist groups in Gaza must disarm.
4. In this context and subject to the requests of our partners based on the outcome of the Cairo talks, the EU reiterates its readiness to contribute to a comprehensive and sustainable solution enhancing the security, welfare and prosperity of Palestinians and Israelis alike. The EU will develop options for effective and comprehensive action in the following areas: movement and access, capacity building, verification and monitoring, humanitarian
relief and post-conflict reconstruction and rehabilitation through international donor efforts including the eventual organisation of a donors' conference. The EU is ready to support a possible international mechanism endorsed by the UNSC, including through the reactivation and possible extension in scope and mandate of its EUBAM Rafah and EUPOL COPPS missions on the ground, including the launch of a training programme for Palestinian Authority customs personnel and police for redeployment in Gaza.
5. In line with UNSCR 1860, the EU is prepared to contribute to arrangements that prevent illicit trafficking in arms and ammunition to the Gaza Strip and which can ensure the sustained re-opening of Gaza's crossing points. The EU will also study options for an internationally-supervised mechanism to enable full access and movement through all Gaza ports of entry.
6. The EU recalls that the situation in the Gaza Strip has to be seen within the broader context of the Middle East Peace Process and the prospect of comprehensive peace where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace with secure and recognised borders. This remains our ultimate objective. The Gaza Strip constitutes an integral part of the territory occupied in 1967 and will be part of a future State of Palestine.
The situation in the Gaza Strip cannot and must not be seen separately from the broader challenges and developments on the ground that continue to make the prospect of the two state solution increasingly difficult to attain.
7. The EU has demonstrated its commitment to working with the government of Prime Minister Netanyahu and with the Palestinian consensus government comprised of independent personalities under the leadership and expressed commitments of President Abbas, which must exercise its full government responsibilities in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip including in the field of security, civil administration and through its presence at Gaza's crossing points. The EU reiterates that commitment today."

Dr. Aaron Lerner


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Britain's "Murky Anti-Semitic Subculture"

by Samuel Westrop

For Israel to receive any leniency in the Western press, more Jews have to be killed; meanwhile, countless Muslims, it seems, can slaughter each other without eliciting any condemnation on the streets of London or Paris.

Recent anti-Israel protests have been attended by thousands across Europe. These protests come in opposition to attempts by Israeli forces to quell the rocket fire aimed at Israeli citizens by the Palestinian terror groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

In Britain, the protests in support of Hamas have been chiefly organized by a mixture of Sunni Islamist groups and groups aligned with the Socialist Workers Party. The attending protestors, though, seem to come from across the political and religious spectrums.

European hatred for the small Jewish state, or Jews in general, apparently continues to transcend all ideological differences to the point where pro-Assad activists can march alongside Sunni Islamists, while neo-Nazis stand shoulder to shoulder with Marxists.

Parliamentarians such as Andy Slaughter MP and George Galloway MP walked next to Islamist activists such as Ismail Patel, a supporter of the late French Holocaust Denier Roger Garaudy. Patel advocates the killing of adulterous women and has previously stated: "Hamas is no terrorist organization…we salute Hamas for standing up to Israel." Marching between Andy Slaughter and Ismail Patel was Hafiz al-Karmi, an official from the Palestinian Forum of Britain, one of the UK's leading pro-Hamas organizations.

Leading one of the largest anti-Israel protest marches on July 19 are Andy Slaughter MP (center, blue shirt) and George Galloway MP, next to Islamist activist Ismail Patel (second from left).

Activists from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, closely aligned with Britain's Socialist Workers Party, seemed happy to march alongside James Thring and Lady Renouf, two neo-Nazi activists. Thring, described as "an anti-Zionist activist who has been vocally supported by former the Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke," has been featured in revisionist pro-Nazi documentaries and is aligned with the "New Right" society, a British neo-Nazi organization.

Lady Renouf claims that Judaism is a "repugnant and hateful religion," and is described by Searchlight Magazine as "the chief cheerleader for disgraced Holocaust denier David Irving. Renouf has contributed to the defense of several other Holocaust deniers and has since become one of the most influential figures in this murky anti-Semitic subculture."

Activists from the Neturei Karta, an extreme anti-Zionist sect, have also been a recurring presence at recent anti-Israel protests. Neturei Karta recently protested in support of the Hungary's "neo-Nazi" Jobbik party, the officials of which have "rejoiced" at the deaths of Israeli soldiers killed by Hamas terrorists in Gaza. In 2006, Neturei Karta's UK branch leader, Ahron Cohen, stated that those Jews who perished in the Holocaust "deserved it."

A protester at a recent anti-Israel march in London

Other protestors have included activists from the Islamic Human Rights Commission, an Iranian-aligned Islamist group. Despite the Sunni-Shia fighting in Syria and Iraq, supporters of the pro-Assad terror group, Hezbollah, appeared to have no qualms about marching against Israel alongside supporters of Sunni jihadists waving the Black Standard, the preferred flag of Sunni Islamist terrorist organizations.

Other organizing groups behind the protests have included: the British Muslim Initiative, the president of which is Mohammed Sawalha, a fugitive Hamas commander who, the BBC reports, is "said to have masterminded much of Hamas's political and military strategy;" War on Want, a taxpayer-funded charity criticized for its use of "anti-Semitic themes to attack Israel" and its associations with a number of extreme anti-Semitic organizations; as well as Stop the War Coalition, the vice-president of which, Kamal Majid, has urged support for the Assad regime because of their "long history of resisting imperialism."

In July, at one anti-Israel march through London, Algerian protestors, some waving Socialist Workers Party placards, chanted "Heil Hitler." Leading anti-Israel activists such as Owen Jones, however, falsely claim that anti-Semitism only emanates from neo-Nazi groups. Jones also states that opponents to these anti-Israel protests are encouraging anti-Semitism themselves by devaluing the meaning of anti-Semitism through its overuse as a means to "silence critics of Israel's occupation."

Groups organizing these protests may claim that anti-Israel protests are not anti-Semitic, but these assertions are clearly contradicted by the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Britain that peak during moments of anti-Israel hysteria whipped up by these very same groups. The number of anti-Semitic attacks in July reached more than double the usual number.

Despite the organized mass-slaughter of Christians and Muslims by Islamist groups across the Middle East, the hotchpotch of extremist groups in Europe still find common cause in their outspoken hatred for Jews.

Groups such as the Palestine Solidarity Campaign are happy to protest the Jewish state, but have refused to express indignation over the tens of thousands of Palestinians currently being starved out by Assad's forces in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria. The Stop the War Coalition, meanwhile, continues to provide platforms to pro-Assad speakers.

In continental Europe, the hatred felt seems even worse. Protestors in Paris, Berlin and Antwerp chant death threats against Jews, set fire to synagogues and loot stores in Jewish neighborhoods.

As commentators have noted, the anger expressed at Israel's existence does not seem to apply to the far bloodier actions of Islamist terror groups across the Muslim world. Douglas Murray, writing in the Spectator, observed of the protestors: "These are the people who stayed at home throughout the Syrian civil war, stayed at home when ISIS rampaged across Iraq, stayed at home when Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab carried out their atrocities across central Africa and showed no concern whatsoever when the Muslim Brotherhood was running Egypt into the ground. Yet they pretend to care about Muslims."

How many Muslims and Christians must be murdered before these Western protestors look up from their obsession with the Jews?

Mehmet Gormez, head of Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate, recently claimed that around the world each day an average of 1,000 Muslims are killed – of which, he declared, "Almost 90 percent…are killed by other Muslims, by their brothers."

Or, to put it in another context, if the figure is accurate, every four days, Islamists murder more Muslims than those who have died in the last ten years of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
On the other hand, a number of Western commentators have complained that a lack of Israeli fatalities, due to the success of the Iron Dome missile-defense system, leaves the media with little choice but to blame Israel for the recent conflict with Hamas. As Hilik Bar, Secretary General of Israel's Labour Party, put it: "The coldhearted subtext is that Israelis must die in order for their military campaign to gain any sympathy."

Together, these concepts make for rather a grim arrangement: for Israel to receive any leniency in the Western press, more Jews are supposed to be killed; meanwhile, countless Muslims, it seems, can slaughter each other without eliciting any condemnation on the streets of London or Paris.

If anything unites these Western protestors of the Israeli state, it is not just their hatred for Jews, it is their zest for death and suffering.

Samuel Westrop


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