Saturday, November 26, 2016

France on the Verge of Total Collapse - Guy Millière

by Guy Millière

In the 1970s, the Palestinians began to use international terrorism, and France chose to accept this terrorism so long as France was not affected.

  • France did not perceive it at the time, but it placed itself in a trap, and the trap is now closing.
  • In the 1970s, the Palestinians began to use international terrorism, and France chose to accept this terrorism so long as France was not affected. At the same time, France welcomed mass-immigration from the Arab-Muslim world, evidently as part of a Muslim wish to expand Islam. France's Muslim population has since grown in numbers while failing to assimilate.
  • Polls show that one-third of French Muslims want the full application of Islamic sharia law. They also show that the overwhelming majority of French Muslims support jihad, and especially jihad against Israel, a country they would like to see erased from the face of earth.
  • "It is better to leave than flee." -- Sammy Ghozlan, President of the National Bureau of Vigilance against Anti-Semitism. He was later mugged, and his car was torched. He left.
  • Villiers also mentions the presence in "no-go zones" of thousands of weapons of war. He adds that weapons will probably not even have to be used; the Islamists have already won.
  • Originally, France's dreams might have been of displacing America as a world power, accessing inexpensive oil, business deals with oil-rich Islamic states, and the prayer of no domestic terrorism.
France is in turmoil. "Migrants" arriving from Africa and the Middle East sow disorder and insecurity in many cities. The huge slum commonly known as the "jungle of Calais" has just been dismantled, but other slums are being created each day. In eastern Paris, streets have been covered with corrugated sheets, oilcloth and disjointed boards. Violence is commonplace. France's 572 "no-go zones," officially defined as "sensitive urban areas", continue to grow, and police officers who approach them often suffer the consequences. Recently, a police car drove into an ambush and was torched while the police were prevented from getting out. If attacked, police officers are told by their superiors to flee rather than retaliate. Many police officers, angry at having to behave like cowards, have organized demonstrations. No terrorist attacks have taken place since the slaughter of a priest in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray on July 26, 2016, but intelligence services see that jihadists have returned from the Middle East and are ready to act, and that riots may break out anywhere, any time, on any pretext.

Although overwhelmed by a domestic situation it barely controls, the French government still intervenes in the world affairs: a "Palestinian state" is still its favorite cause, Israel its favorite scapegoat.

Last Spring, even though both France and the Palestinian territories were in terrible shape, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault anyway declared that it was "urgent" to relaunch the "peace process" and create a Palestinian state. France therefore convened an international conference, held in Paris on June 3. Neither Israel nor the Palestinians were invited to it. The conference was a flop. It concluded with a vapid statement about the "imperative necessity" to go "forward."

France did not stop there. The government then decided to organize a new conference in December. This time, with Israel and the Palestinians. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, noting that Israel does not need intermediaries, refused the invitation. Palestinian leaders accepted. Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian Authority spokesman congratulated France, adding, not surprisingly, that the Palestinian Authority had "suggested" the idea to the French.
Now Donald Trump is the U.S. president-elect, and Newt Gingrich is likely to play a key role in the Trump Administration. Gingrich said a few years ago that there is no such a thing as a Palestinian people, and added last week that settlements are in no way an obstacle to peace. As such, the December conference looks as if it might be another failure.

French diplomats nevertheless are working with Palestinian officials on a UN resolution to recognize a Palestinian State inside the "1967 borders" (the 1949 armistice lines), but without any peace treaty. They are apparently hoping that outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama will not use the American veto at the Security Council, allowing the passage of the resolution. It is not certain at all that Barack Obama will want to end his presidency on a gesture so openly subversive. It is almost certain that France will fail there too. Again.

For many years, France seems to have built its entire foreign policy on aligning itself with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC): 56 Islamic countries plus the Palestinians. Originally, France's dreams might have been of displacing America as a world power, accessing inexpensive oil, business deals with oil-rich Islamic states, and the prayer of no domestic terrorism. All four have been washouts. It is also obvious that France has more urgent problems to solve.

France persists because it is desperately trying to limit problems that probably cannot be solved.

In the 1950s, France was different from what it is now. It was a friend of Israel. The "Palestinian cause" did not exist. The war in Algeria was raging, and a large majority of French politicians would not even have shaken hands with unrepentant terrorists.

Everything changed with the end of the Algerian war. Charles de Gaulle handed Algeria over to a terrorist movement called the National Liberation Front. He then proceeded to create a strategic reorientation of the France's foreign policy, unveiling what he called the "Arab policy of France."

France signed trade and military agreements with various Arab dictatorships. To seduce its new friends, it eagerly adopted an anti-Israel policy. When, in the 1970s, terrorism in the form of airplane hijackings was invented by the Palestinians, and with the murder of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics, "the Palestinians" all at once became a "sacred cause" and a useful tool for leverage in the Arab world, France, adopting the "cause," became rigidly pro-Palestinian.

The Palestinians began to use international terrorism, and France chose to accept this terrorism so long as France was not affected. At the same time, France welcomed mass-immigration from the Arab-Muslim world, evidently as part of a Muslim wish to expand Islam. The Muslim population has since grown in numbers, while failing to assimilate.

France did not perceive it at the time, but it placed itself in a trap, and the trap is now closing.

France's Muslim population seems anti-French in terms of Judeo-Christian, Enlightenment values, and pro-French only to the extent that France submits to the demands of Islam. As France's Muslims are also pro-Palestinian, theoretically there should have been no problem. But France underestimated the effects of the rise of extremist Islam in the Muslim world and beyond.

More and more, French Muslims consider themselves Muslim first. Many claim that the West is at war with Islam; they see France and Israel as part of the West, so they are at war with them both. They see that France is anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian, but they also see that several French politicians maintain ties with Israel, so they likely think that France is not anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian enough.

They see that France tolerates Palestinian terrorism, and seem not to understand why France would fight Islamic terrorism in other places.

To please its Muslims, the French government may believe it has no choice other than to be as pro-Palestinian and as anti-Israel as possible -- even though it looks as if this policy is failing badly in the polls.

The French government undoubtedly sees that it cannot prevent what increasingly looks like a looming disaster. This disaster is already taking place.

Perhaps France's current government is hoping that it might delay the disaster a bit and avoid a civil war. Perhaps, they might hope, the "no go zones" will not explode -- at least on their watch.

France today has six million Muslims, 10% of its population, and the percentage is growing. Polls show that one-third of French Muslims want the full application of Islamic sharia law. They also show that the overwhelming majority of French Muslims support jihad, and especially jihad against Israel, a country they would like to see erased from the face of earth.

The leading French Muslim organization, the Union of Islamic Organizations of France, is the French branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, a movement that should be listed as a terrorist organization for its open wishes to overthrow Western governments.

The Muslim Brotherhood is primarily financed by Qatar, a country that invests heavily in France -- and that has the comfort of its very own U.S. airbase.

Jews are leaving France in record numbers, and these departures do not stop. Sammy Ghozlan, President of the National Bureau of Vigilance against Anti-Semitism, repeated for many years that, "It is better to leave than flee." He was mugged. His car was torched. He left, and now lives in Israel.

The rest of the French population clearly sees the extreme seriousness of what is happening. Some of them are angry and in a state of revolt; others seem resigned to the worst: an Islamist takeover of Europe.

The next French elections will take place in May 2017. French President François Hollande has lost all credibility and has no chance of being reelected. Whoever comes to power will have a difficult task.

The French seem to have lost confidence in Nicolas Sarkozy, so they will probably choose between Marine Le Pen, Alain Juppé or François Fillon.

Marine Le Pen is the candidate of the far-right National Front.

Alain Juppé is the mayor of Bordeaux, and often campaigns in the company of Tareq Oubrou, imam of the city. Until recently, Tareq Oubrou was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Alain Juppé seems to believe that the present disorder will calm down if France fully submits.

François Fillon will probably be the moderate-right candidate. He recently said that "Islamic sectarianism" creates "problems in France." He also said that if a Palestinian State is not created very soon, Israel will be "the main threat to world peace."

Three years ago, the French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut published a book, The Unhappy Identity (L'identité malheureuse), describing the dangers inherent in the Islamization of France and the major disorders that stem from it. Juppé chose a campaign slogan intended to contradict Finkielkraut: "The Happy Identity".

Since the publication of Alain Finkielkraut's book, other pessimistic books have been published that became best-sellers in France. In October 2014, columnist Eric Zemmour published The French Suicide (Le suicide français). A few weeks ago, he published another book, A Five-Year Term for Nothing (Un quinquennat pour rien). He describes what he sees happening to France: "invasion, colonization, explosion."

Zemmour defines the arrival of millions of Muslims in France during the last five decades as an invasion, and the recent arrival of hordes of migrants as the continuation of that invasion. He depicts the creation of "no-go zones" as the creation of Islamic territories on French soil and an integral part of a colonization process.

He writes that the eruptions of violence that spread are signs of an imminent explosion; that sooner or later, revolt will gain ground.

Another book, Will the Church Bells Ring Tomorrow? (Les cloches sonneront-elles encore demain?), was recently published by a former member of the French government, Philippe de Villiers.

Villiers notes the disappearance of churches in France, and their replacement by mosques. He also mentions the presence in "no-go zones" of thousands of weapons of war (AK-47 assault rifles, Tokarev pistols, M80 Zolja anti-tank weapons, etc). He adds that weapons will probably not even have to be used -- the Islamists have already won.

In his new book, Will the Church Bells Ring Tomorrow?, Philippe de Villiers notes the disappearance of churches in France, and their replacement by mosques. Pictured above: On August 3, French riot police dragged a priest and his congregation from the church of St Rita in Paris, prior to its scheduled demolition. Front National leader Marine Le Pen said in fury: "And what if they built parking lots in the place of Salafist mosques, and not of our churches?" (Image source: RT video screenshot)

On November 13, 2016, France marked the first anniversary of the Paris attacks. Plaques were unveiled every place where people were killed. The plaques read: "In memory of the injured and murdered victims of the attacks." No mention was made of jihadist barbarity. In the evening, the Bataclan Theater reopened with a concert by Sting. The last song of the concert was "Insh' Allah": "if Allah wills." The Bataclan management prevented two members of the US band Eagles of Death Metal -- who were on stage when the attack started -- from entering the concert. A few weeks after the attack, Jesse Hughes, lead singer of the group, had dared to criticize the Muslims involved. The Bataclan's director said about Hughes, "There are things you cannot forgive."

Guy Millière, a professor at the University of Paris, is the author of 27 books on France and Europe.


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Why Did Obama Shut Down a Successful Aerial Surveillance Program along the U.S.-Mexican Border? - Ari Lieberman

by Ari Lieberman

Operation Phalanx may have worked too well for the administration’s tastes.

President-elect Donald Trump has made the construction of physical barriers along the border with Mexico, immigration reform and the dissolution of sanctuary cities the cornerstone of his campaign but it appears that in its twilight weeks of office, the Obama administration is intent on making that lofty goal as difficult as possible. According to the government oversight group, the Department of Homeland Security has recently and inexplicably shut down Operation Phalanx, an aerial surveillance program established in 2010 which aimed to interdict drug trafficking and illegal immigration along the U.S.-Mexican border. 

Phalanx authorized the allocation of 1,200 soldiers and airmen from the U.S. Army’s National Guard to assist U.S. customs and border patrol agents along the border. The program also employed advanced UH-72 helicopters to supplement other aerial surveillance platforms.

The move to terminate the project is in line with the Obama administration’s lackadaisical approach to illegal immigration and serves to underscore attempts by the administration to make the transition more difficult for the President-elect. In February 2016, the Obama administration cut funding to Operation Phalanx by 50 percent even though the project had been fully funded by Congress and was by all accounts, demonstrably successful. 

But therein lies the problem. Operation Phalanx may have been too successful for the administration’s tastes. According to, in the Laredo sector alone, “Operation Phalanx accounted for 10,559 apprehensions and 4,007 ‘turnbacks’ from March 2012 to December 2015. Phalanx was credited with seizing 12,851 pounds of narcotics during the period.” 

While the Obama administration authorized Operation Phalanx, one cannot discount the possibility that the establishment of Phalanx was designed to placate Congress rather than to address a serious border problem. Once realizing that the project was showing positive results and making a dent, albeit a miniscule one, on illegal activities on the border, the administration decided to terminate Phalanx.

Already, the DHS announcement to terminate Phalanx has been met with fierce bipartisan criticism. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, has promised to challenge the DHS action claiming that the project was “fully funded” for 2017. He plans to enlist the support of other congressional lawmakers including Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Reps. Mike McCaul, R-San Antonio, and John Carter, R-Round Rock.

Led by their chief executive, there appears to be a deliberate and concerted effort on the part of most Democratic lawmakers to subvert any attempt to enforce the rule of law along the U.S.-Mexican border and remove sanctuary cities – the asinine practice of shielding undocumented immigrants from federal enforcement. The tragic case of 32-year-old Kate Steinle, murdered by a multiple deportee and illegal immigrant with a lengthy felony rap sheet underscores this point. Following her murder, congressional efforts to redress some of the most absurd and egregious practices adopted by sanctuary cities in shielding felonious illegals have been stymied by the administration’s allies.

Kate’s Law, a bill that would mandate minimum prison sentences for returning deportees and would revoke federal grants to cities that failed to comply with federal law in detaining illegals, failed to garner the requisite 60 Senate votes required to move the bill along for presidential approval. Even if it had garnered the requisite number, it is a virtual certainty that Obama would have vetoed the bill.

The termination of Operation Phalanx and subversion of Kate’s Law must be viewed in the wider context as part of a continuous and concerted effort on the part of the Obama administration to undermine the rule of law. Phalanx was showing results and therefore had to be stopped even though the requisite funds for the project had already been appropriated. Kate’s Law would have brought some order to disorder and was therefore viewed as dangerous by many Democratic lawmakers. 

Any serious effort to implement immigration reform must begin with the construction of a barrier along the U.S.-Mexican border. The U.S. can model its effort based on the experience of other nations that faced and rectified similar infiltration problems.

Israel has erected a sophisticated barrier along its border with Egypt to thwart the flow of illegal African infiltrators and drug smugglers. A similar barrier was erected in central Israel to prevent Arab terrorist infiltration. Utilizing a network of concrete walls, razor wire, watchtowers, electrified fencing, electronic sensors and other forms of sophisticated surveillance equipment, the Israelis have managed to completely thwart illegal infiltration and have frustrated efforts by Palestinian terrorists to launch attacks. 

The 2,000 mile stretch of border between the U.S. and Mexico is dangerously vulnerable and eight years of deliberate neglect by the Obama administration has not helped matters. If Trump is serious about addressing this clear and present danger – and it appears that he is – he should look to Israel for some advice.

Ari Lieberman is an attorney and former prosecutor who has authored numerous articles and publications on matters concerning the Middle East and is considered an authority on geo-political and military developments affecting the region.


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The decline of freedom of thought - Dror Eydar

by Dror Eydar

The discourse this week over integrating women into the IDF's infantry and armored tank units highlights the conflict that exists in Israel and the West between supposedly "liberal" values and the freedom to disagree with them.

Dror Eydar


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The Amona demolition is in the Koran - Dr. Mordechai Kedar

by Dr. Mordechai Kedar

-- anyone who destroys Jewish homes, or decides that this is what must be done, adds to our enemies' motivation to continue the Jihad against us with greater force

Israel is getting closer to the time when, if no solution is found, Amona is going to be destroyed - and possibly homes in Ofra and other places in Judea and Samaria demolished - in order to carry out the decisions of the Israeli Supreme Court.  A vociferous public debate is in full swing in Israel, with those in favor of the demolition and those against it arguing about the Regulation Law, the standing of Supreme Court decisions and on the status of the court itself. No one cares about how the "other side"  sees the destruction of the homes, what the "other side" takes it to mean and the conclusions the "other side" - our enemies, draw from that destruction.

The Islamo-Arab side observes what is happening in Israel, hears the public debate and is astounded by the court's independence and its ability to force its world view on the entire Israeli government. Some Arab columnists openly wish for that to be the situation in their own countries, with a court that defends the ordinary citizen, and even those who are not citizens, from the arbitrary decisions of rulers and politicians. 

The Arab side, however, also has a totally different view and understanding of the home demolitions. This is a religious narrative, one that sees religion as the source of the underlying explanations for everything that happens in the world and Allah as the causal factor in everything that happens each day. Allah's words are in the Koran, a book that is relevant in every place at every time and in every situation. The destruction of the Israeli homes also has an explanation in the Koran, to be found in a paragraph at the start of Chapter 59, the Exile chapter.

"It is He Who got out the Unbelievers among the People of the Book from their homes at the first gathering (of the forces). Little did ye think that they would get out: And they thought that their fortresses would defend them from Allah. But the (Wrath of) Allah came to them from quarters from which they little expected (it), and cast terror into their hearts, so that they destroyed their dwellings by their own hands and the hands of the Believers, take warning, then, O ye with eyes (to see)!" (translation:

According to Islamic interpretations, this paragraph concerns a group of Jews known as "Bani Nadir" who lived near the city of Medina. They refused to convert to Islam and Mohammed expelled them from their homes allowing them to take with them only the goods that could be carried by one camel. Instead of complying, the Jews destroyed their own homes and took the beams away so the Muslims could not make use of them. What is significant here is an instance in which Jews prefer to destroy their own homes when Islam is stronger than they.

Since what is in the Koran is relevant in every period, including the present one in which Muslims see Jews destroying their own homes, the above-quoted Koranic verse immediately comes to mind: "They destroyed their homes with their own hands" to explain what is going on, but the rest of the verse is no less important "with the hands of the Believers," meaning that believers, referring to Muslims - Jews are not believers to Islam! - have acted so as to cause the Jews to destroy their own homes.

After the destruction of the Katif Bloc over  decade ago, the site wrote the following (my additions in parentheses, M.K.): "O, how today resembles yesterday, the Jews are as they were (in Muhammed's time), their characteristics are the same and their nature has stayed intact although so many generations and eras have passed. The Jews have given up trying to feel secure because of the Jihadist Palestinian opposition, and have decided to leave the lands they stole, after expelling and sending their owners all over the world... "

The writer clearly connects the Palestinian Arab "uprising" with the fact that the Jews fled from their homes after they despaired of every living in peace on the lands they had stolen. The only conclusion to be reached is that if the Palestinian Arabs continue their Jihad, the Jews will lose heart, flee and destroy their own homes. By Islamic logic, terror is what will bring about the destruction of Jewish homes, and the end of the entire Zionist project - to be carried out by the Jews themselves.

In Israel, no one has realized that this is the picture being painted on the "other side." There are some who think that it is destroying houses after court decisions to that effect that strengthens us morally and adds to the feeling of being just that has always been our guiding light. This is true, but only where we are concerned. It is totally false when it comes to our enemies, who are encouraged by the destruction and get a motivational shot in the arm that pushes them to more terror and greater Jihad so that Allah "will strike fear in their hearts" as it says in the Koran verses brought above.

A gap in perception

The yawning perception gap that divides Israel from its enemies concerning the importance of the religious factor in the dispute between them burst forth in 2014, during Operation Protective Edge. Res. Gen. Ofer Winter, then commander of the Givati Brigade, wrote a letter to his soldiers as they went out to war. At the end of the letter he wrote that he trusts them to "act in the spirit of other Israeli fighters who marched at the head of the armed forces [throughout Jewish history]." Continuing, he wrote "I raise my eyes to the heavens and call out 'Hear O Israel, the Lord our G-d, the Lord is One.'  O G-d of Israel, lead us along the path to victory, the one we traverse in order to fight for Your people, Israel, against an enemy that desecrates Your Name. In the name of the IDF's fighters and particularly those of this brigade and its commanders, grant that we fulfill the words 'Your G-d goes before you to fight for you against our enemies and to bring you salvation.' Amen. Together, only together, we will prevail." 

In the midst of the fierce fighting, all the Israeli liberal, humanistic "tired souls," awoke to attack Gen. Winter alleging that he is "turning the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs into a religious one." Heaven forfend! (note the sarcasm). Ofer Winter? He is turning the conflict into a religious one? And what exactly do the Palestinians/Arabs/ Muslims think of the conflict? Is it not Allah who commands them to go out to Jihad - the holy war - with Israel? What did they yell in the War of Independence? Didn't it sound like "itbach el yehud" - butcher the Jews? Not the Zionists, not the Israelis, but the Jews. Absolutely the Jews! So is this not a religious war? Doesn't religion make us Jews before we are Israelis?

And the struggle for Jerusalem is not a religious one either? Not motivated by religious energy in an attempt by Islam to suppress the rebirth of Judaism after Islam was born with the express goal of eliminating Judaism and Christianity? And the struggle for all of Israel is not the result of the fact that Islam believes that the entire country, from river to sea, belongs to the Holy Islamic Wakf  as sanctified land?

Does Islam separate religion and state? That would be a first! Separating the two is a European idea that Islam sees as completely alien to itself and its tradition.

Conclusion: Since the basis of Israel's conflict with its neighbors is most definitely religion, their motivation to fight us stems, first and foremost, from religion. And their religious works give them the explanation for the Jews destroying their own homes. That means that anyone who destroys Jewish homes, or decides that this is what must be done, adds to our enemies' motivation to continue the Jihad against us with greater force. The Supreme Court may not understand this, or simply may not take it into account.

But it is important for us to know that destroying Jewish homes helps motivate our neighbors to continue to fight us - and results in pushing any hopes for peace much farther away.

Translated by Rochel Sylvetsky

Dr. Mordechai Kedar is a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University. He served in IDF Military Intelligence for 25 years, specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena. Thoroughly familiar with Arab media in real time, he is frequently interviewed on the various news programs in Israel.


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Palestinians, Arab World Celebrate, Take Credit for Israeli Fires With #IsraelIsBurning Hashtag - Mark Tapson

by Mark Tapson

“The welcome acts of arson are a part of the Palestinian resistance against the Zionist entity.”

Palestinians and Arabs across the Middle East are celebrating as Israel struggles for the third day in a row to control dozens of fires that have sprung up between the center and the north of the country, according to The Algemeiner.

Posts written under the hashtag #IsraellsBurning are proliferating on Twitter, in which Arabs attack the Jewish state and rejoice about the blazes. They are encouraging Palestinians to set more fires.

“The welcome acts of arson are a part of the Palestinian resistance against the Zionist entity,” wrote Twitter user nrg.

“The fire is burning inside the settlements in occupied Haifa,” wrote another.

“It’s God’s punishment," declared a third.

“After a long and hard work day," wrote one more, "#israelisburning will give me an exceptional weekend , let’s party!!!!”

“Finally they got what they did to Palestinians," exclaimed yet another. "Now y’all feel how our hearts burned when you killed my brothers & sisters #israelisburning.”

“Even the lands and the trees says Get out,” wrote another.

Ofir Gendelman, Arab media spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, tweeted in response: “Arabs & Palestinians on social media rejoice over the wildfires that have erupted across Israel. Despicable fanatic hatred.”

He quoted Netanyahu as saying: “Every fire that is caused by arson or incitement to arson is an act of terrorism.”

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan announced that Israel will prosecute anyone caught celebrating the blazes on social media.

Arsonists are estimated to be responsible for at least 60 percent of the fires.

Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh said that the first fire, which ignited on Tuesday, may have been the result of negligence. It spread quickly because of the unseasonably hot, dry and windy weather. But now there appears to be an intentional, nationalistically motivated” effort to keep the blazes going, reports The Algemeiner -- "arson terrorism."

Israeli security authorities said they will investigate to determine whether the arson attacks were organized or are the work of "lone wolves" inspired by social media incitement. Meanwhile the Palestinian Authority apparently has announced that it would like to help extinguish the fires.

Mark Tapson, a Hollywood-based writer and screenwriter, is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and the editor of


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Bibi vs BG - The Distorted Israeli media coverage of Netanyahu - Dr. Martin Sherman

by Dr. Martin Sherman

Hat tip: Dr. Carolyn Tal

When you compare his [Netanyahu’s] lack of actual achievements compared to Ben-Gurion, whose record he’s eclipsed, it’s embarrassing - Jeff Barak, An empty record, Jerusalem Post, November 20, 2016

Last Tuesday Benjamin Netanyahu chalked up an unbroken stint of 2793 days (seven years and 236 days) as prime minister of Israel, thereby surpassing David Ben-Gurion’s record for the longest consecutive term in office.

Small-minded and spiteful

By any criterion, this would be a remarkable feat for anyone—under any circumstances. But for Netanyahu, it is even more remarkable—given the truly formidable obstacles and almost pathological animosity he had to overcome to achieve it.

This could—indeed, perhaps should—have been an auspicious occasion, in which his political rivals, his ideological adversaries and his detractors  in the media might have—ever so briefly—put away their animosity and expressed some congratulatory sentiment—however reluctant and insincere—even if only as a formal appearance of feigned courtesy.  

However, in the merciless and mean-spirited milieu of Israeli politics, any hint of such largesse was not forthcoming.

Quite the opposite!

Flummoxed and infuriated by their inability to dislodge him from power, his political opponents and their media cronies seized on any pretext, however flimsy and far-fetched, to besmirch and berate him.

A typical illustration of the mindless drivel and spiteful sniping that passes for journalism when it comes to excoriating Netanyahu, was provided this week by former editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post, Jeff Barak, in his column, perversely dubbed “Reality Check”.  Indeed, after only a few lines, it became apparent just how wildly inappropriate the column’s tagline is and just how tenuous the connection between what appears in it and reality, really is.

Barbs backfire badly

In this week’s alleged “Reality Check”, Barak (Jeff, the former editor) compares Netanyahu’s incumbency unfavorably with that of another Barak (Ehud, the former PM), arguably the worst prime minster ever to take office in Israel, and—inarguably—the shortest serving prime minister ever to hold that office in Israel.

Barak, J. attempts to trivialize Netanyahu’s years of incumbency with evident imbecility, and barbs that backfire badly.  He asserts: “Heavens, he’s even achieved less in his years in office than Ehud Barak during his ridiculously short term. Barak, at least, made good on his campaign promise to bring the IDF out of Lebanon.”

True, Barak, E. did get the “IDF out of Lebanon”…by ordering a hasty, unbecoming retreat (a.k.a an ignominious flight) in 2000, abandoning that territory to the Hezbollah, and Israel’s allies in the South Lebanese Army to their fate. Today, the territory Barak, E. ordered abandoned has become a veritable arsenal, bristling with rockets and missiles, in numbers estimated at up to 150,000, trained on Israel’s major urban centers. 
Of course the deployment of the IDF in South Lebanon did involve a tactical threat for the military, whose function, it should be remembered, is to protect the nation’s civilians. However, by hurriedly evacuating South Lebanon, to eliminate that tactical threat to the military, Barak, E., perversely created a strategic threat to the country’s civilian population.
Amnesia or ignorance?
Indeed, one can only wonder whether it was amnesia or ignorance on the part of Barak, J. to invoke the debacle of the evacuation of South Lebanon as an accomplishment that somehow can be exploited to reflect badly on Netanyahu. After all, it not only precipitated the 2006 Second Lebanon War, in which millions of Israelis were forced to huddle in shelters for weeks, but also according to several pundits, it provided the impetus for the bloody 2000-2005 Second Intifada, in which thousands of Israelis lost life or limb. 
Indeed, the unilateral retreat ordered by Barak was widely perceived by Arabs as an Israeli defeat "sending a message...which was to have a profound effect on Palestinian tactics during the AL AQSA INTIFADA” (Encyclopedia of the Palestinians 2000, p. 40). Similar sentiments were expressed in Beirut two years later, by  Farouk Kadoumi, often  dubbed the PLO foreign minister. Kadoumi declared that Hezbollah's successful guerrilla war in Southern Lebanon was a model for other Arabs seeking to end Israeli “occupation”: “We are optimistic. Hezbollah's resistance can be used as an example for other Arabs seeking to regain their rights…''
This, then, is the “achievement” that Barak, J., attempts to invoke in his venomous endeavor to demean Netanyahu, and compare him negatively with others. But, of course, holding up dismal failure as strategic success is fine, so long as it is employed (read “exploited”) in the “gainful” pursuit of belittling Bibi.
Not uncritical pro-Bibi apologetics

As readers who follow my column will know, I have never been an uncritical apologist for Netanyahu.  On the contrary, I have criticized a number of his policy decisions, regularly and severely. Thus, for example, I strongly condemned his 2009 Bar Ilan speech in which he accepted the idea of Palestinian statehood—and pointed out that he had, in a stroke,  transformed the strategic structure of the discourse from whether there should be a Palestinian state to what the characteristics of such a state should be– see here and here. Likewise, I was severely critical of the decision to release over 1000 convicted terrorists (2011) to secure the release of  Gilad Shalit—and was even more opposed to a subsequent (2013)  release of prisoners as a  futile gesture to assuage Secretary of State, John Kerry, in the vain hope of coaxing Mahmoud Abbas into renewing negotiations—see here and here.

More recently, I vehemently disapproved of the policy of rapprochement with Turkey—particularly the compensation paid for the casualties incurred when Israeli commandos had to defend themselves against attempts to lynch them on the Turkish vessel, Mavi Marmara, trying to breach the maritime quarantine of the terror enclave in the Gaza Strip. But above all, I warned that the presence granted the Erdogan regime in Hamas-controlled Gaza considerably increased the chances of armed conflict between Israel and Turkey in the event of future IDF operations there.

However, my most serious and ongoing criticism of Netanyahu is his enduring failure to adequately address the  problem of international de-legitimization of Israel and of the Zionist endeavor, by refusing to allot adequate resources to initiate and sustain a strategic diplomatic offensive to confront, curtail and counter the animosity of the Obama regime and the global assault on the legitimacy of the Jewish state—see most recently here.

Decades of distinction

As I have written elsewhere, these – and other – episodes indicate that a cogent case for concern can be made regarding the soundness of Netanyahu’s decision-making processes and the steadfastness of his resolve.

However, whatever his faults, there is little to justify the wholesale campaign of denigration, demonization and delegitimization, waged not only against him (both as a person and a politician) but his spouse as well, ever since he first took over the leadership of the Likud in the early1990s.

After all, Netanyahu has served his country with distinction and dedication for decades.

Prior to entering the political arena he served as a soldier and a diplomat; as an officer in an elite commando unit, participating in numerous daring combat operations; and later as a highly articulate and effective ambassador at the UN.

His impressive performance at the UN paved his way into politics in 1988. In 1992 he was elected to lead the Likud and head the opposition to Yitzhak Rabin’s government and the Oslo process it had instigated. His efforts were largely successful, and by the fateful night of November 4, 1995, on which Rabin was assassinated, Netanyahu was pulling steadily ahead of him in the opinion polls.

In his detailed study of the events leading up to the 1996 election, Prof. Gerald Steinberg reminds us of frequently forgotten – or perhaps, purposely obscured – facts: “In January 1995... polls showed Rabin trailing Netanyahu by a narrow margin. Continued terrorism... reinforced this trend. However, in the aftermath of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin...Netanyahu’s standing plunged. In February [1996], when Peres decided to hold early elections, the Prime Minister [Peres] maintained a substantial lead over Netanyahu.


Mean-spirited, mendacious malice

Yet, despite all the odds, Netanyahu managed to edge Peres out in the final ballot by a fraction of one percent. It was, perhaps, this totally unexpected – and for some, inexplicable, even inconceivable– victory that unleashed the torrent of enduring enmity toward him from much of the “Rabinesque” civil society elite.

Thus, despite his documented public disapproval of incendiary accusations against Rabin and his governmentsee for example here and here—Netanyahu was condemned for igniting the hostile ambience that allegedly culminated in the assassination. This precipitated the mood of mean-spirited and largely mendacious malice hurled at him from all quarters.

Open-season was declared on Netanyahu. His success, against all odds, had for all intents and purposes made him fair game to blame for every conceivable malaise, real or imagined, afflicting Israel, the Middle East and humanity as a whole.

Consequently, Netanyahu has been given little credit for the numerous impressive feats he, and the governments he headed, have achieved. Indeed, few seem even to remember that, on entering office after his stunning victory, the relatively inexperienced prime minister inherited a myriad of daunting problems, both economic and security, handed down to him by the previous Rabin/Peres government.  

Accordingly a brief reminder seems appropriate.

Forgotten feats

The Oslo process, initiated by his predecessors, had precipitated then-unprecedented levels of terror attacks against Israel. Netanyahu’s government managed to suppress the level of violence to the lowest for almost two decades. If the figures are “lagged” to account for the fact that an incumbent’s policy takes time to have an effect, and at the start of his term, events are affected by that of his predecessor, Netanyahu’s performance figures improve, while those of others deteriorate.

Indeed, it was under his successors, Barak and Sharon, that terror once again soared, resulting in Operation Defensive Shield, and construction of the much-maligned security barrier.

On the economic front, the much-vaunted growth commonly – but fallaciously – ascribed to the Oslo peace process, had ground almost to a halt, in no small measure due to the deteriorating security situation.

Indeed, much of the post-Oslo growth was fueled largely by a gigantic budget deficit that almost brought Israel to the brink of financial catastrophe, as befell several Asian countries at the time. It was only the fiscal prudence of the Netanyahu government which steered the nation clear of the looming economic disaster that the cavalier fiscal promiscuity of Avraham Shochat, finance minister during the Rabin/Peres term, almost brought upon it.

Many, myself included (“Netanyahu’s Pitfalls”, The Jerusalem Post, Apr. 24, 2003), were critical of the perceived “social insensitivity” of the economic policies Netanyahu undertook as finance minister under Ariel Sharon. However, it can hardly be disputed that they were in large measure responsible for the subsequent resilience of the Israeli economy and its ability to weather the global crisis better than most other industrial countries.

Moreover, while Netanyahu can hardly be portrayed as a champion of egalitarian “social justice,” it was on his watch that unemployment rates, perhaps the most pernicious of social ills, were kept at among the lowest in the developed world. 

Bibi vs BG

As Netanyahu neared Ben Gurion’s record incumbency, comparisons between the two were inevitable. Unsurprisingly, an almost universally unsympathetic press judged Netanyahu unfavorably relative to Israel’s iconic founding father. 

But any such comparisons are inherently unfair.  For, while both men faced daunting challenges and enormous difficulties, Netanyahu has had to contend with one problem that Ben Gurion was not called upon to face.

For the venomous ad hominem attacks on Netanyahu, and his family, by both his political opponents and most of the mainstream media (both domestic and foreign)  have long exceeded the limits of rational criticism or reasoned dissent, and have become a poisonous pathology. The fact that he has found the spiritual resources to survive and endure this, is, in its own right, a testimony to his remarkable strength.

Netanyahu is a man of tremendous talent and serious shortcomings. He should be judged on a judicious assessment of the balance between the two – not on some distorted, demonized image created by his obsessive opponents.  Until this can be factored into the equation, no really meaningful comparison can be drawn between these two towering figures, who dominated the politics of Israel for decades.

Dr. Martin Sherman served for seven years in operational capacities in the Israeli Defense establishment, was ministerial adviser to Yitzhak Shamir's government and lectured for 20 years at Tel Aviv University in Political Science, International Relations and Strategic Studies. He has a B.Sc. (Physics and Geology), MBA (Finance), and PhD in political science and international relations, was the first academic director of the Herzliya Conference and is the author of two books and numerous articles and policy papers on a wide range of political, diplomatic and security issues. He is founder and executive director of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies ( Born in South Africa,he has lived in Israel since 1971.


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Keeping Old Friends and Reaching Out to New Ones - Besa Center

by Besa Center

Israel’s continued success in global affairs will disprove the deluded claim that the Jewish state is isolated in the world.


By Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman

In the November issue in Mosaic Magazine, Arthur Herman of the Hudson Institute penned an essay entitled Everybody Loves Israel, in which he chronicled Israel’s resurgent foreign relations. Israel isn’t isolated, he argued, echoing Prof. Efraim Inbar’s famous 2013 study, Israel is Not Isolated.

This week, the BESA Center’s Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman published a response to Herman. Dr. Lerman was Israel’s deputy national security adviser for foreign affairs for six years prior to joining the BESA Center, so he is well placed to comment on this matter.

Dr. Lerman’s article, For Israel, the Task is to Work Even Harder to Keep Old Friends and Reach Out to New Ones, affirms that Israel’s continued success in global affairs will disprove the deluded claim that the Jewish state is isolated in the world. It’s also the right strategy, he says, and a deliberate and systematic one.

At the same time, Lerman emphasizes that none of Israel’s achievements in fashioning new partnerships on the world stage can or should in any way reduce the importance – “the absolute centrality” – of the US-Israel bond. “For the foreseeable future, Israel’s security and diplomatic support must continue to come from Washington. Whoever is in the White House, nothing is more important to Israel’s survival and prosperity than the bipartisan commitment of the world’s greatest power, which also happens to be the home of the world’s second-largest Jewish community. We Israelis must constantly be on our guard to nurture and sustain that commitment, and never take it for granted.”

Lerman adds that “for all the aid it receives, Israel does in fact repay America for its support, and much more. Not only do we Israelis fulfill our obligation to keep our immediate vicinity safe, and to seek political and diplomatic understandings wherever we can without jeopardizing that safety, but we also accept strict limits on our trade with America’s rivals. A case in point is China, a country with which trade could long ago have reached much higher levels had Israel not been bound by its promises to the US.”

Lerman also calls attention to Israel’s “seminal leadership role” in the field of cyber-defense. In recent years, a full 20 percent of global investment in cyber-defense has gone to a country with 0.1 percent of the world’s population – “a badge of honor and a tribute to Israel’s bright, inquisitive young minds and an encouraging thought in times of great and troubling uncertainty.”

Read the full article in Mosaic.

Besa Center


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Europe: Let's Self-destruct! - Judith Bergman

by Judith Bergman

The terrorist as poor, traumatized victim who needs help seems to be a recurring theme among European politicians. But what about the rights of the poor, traumatized citizens who elected these politicians?

  • A reasonable question that many Europeans might ask would be whether it is not perhaps time to review priorities?
  • Perhaps the time has come to look at whether it remains worth it, in terms of the potential loss of human life, to remain party to the 1961 Convention, which would prohibit a country from stripping a returning ISIS fighter of his citizenship in order to prevent him from entering the country?
Roughly 30,000 foreign and European Islamic State fighters from around 100 different countries, who have gone to Syria, Iraq and Libya, could spread across the continent once the terror group is crushed in its Iraqi stronghold, warned Karin von Hippel, director-general of the UK military think tank, Royal United Services Institute, speaking to the Express on October 26:
"I think once they lose territory in Iraq and Syria and probably Libya... they will likely go back to a more insurgent style operation versus a terrorist group that wants to try and hold onto territory... There has been about 30,000 foreign fighters that have gone in from about 100 countries to join. Not all of them have joined ISIS, some have joined al-Qaeda, Kurds, and other groups, but the vast majority have gone to join ISIS. These people will disperse. Some of them have already been captured or killed but many will disperse and they'll go to European countries...They may not go back to where they came from and that is definitely keeping security forces up at night in many, many countries".
Perhaps these scenarios are really keeping security forces up at night in many countries. Judging by the continued influx of predominantly young, male migrants of fighting age into Europe, however, one might be excused for thinking that European politicians themselves are not losing any sleep over potential new terrorist attacks.

According to a report by Radio Sweden, for example:
"Around 140 Swedes have so far returned after having joined the violent groups in Syria and Iraq. Now several municipalities are preparing to work with those who want to defect. This could include offering practical support to defectors."
The municipality of Lund has dealt with this issue, and Malmö, Borlänge and Örebro have similar views. As Radio Sweden reports:
"Lund's conclusion is that defectors from violent extremist groups should be handled like defectors from other environments, such as organized crime. After an investigation of the person's needs, the municipality can help with housing, employment or livelihood."
According to Sweden's "national coordinator against violent extremism," Christoffer Carlsson:
"...You need to be able to reintegrate into the job market, you may need a driver's license, debt settlement and shelter. When people leave, they want to leave for something else, but they do not have the resources for it, so it is difficult for them to realize their plan. If they do not receive support, the risk is great that they will be unable to leave the extremist environment, but instead fall back into it."
Anna Sjöstrand, Lund's municipal coordinator against violent extremism, says that people who have served their penalty should all have support. Last year, the Municipality of Örebro received criticism for offering an internship to a young man who returned after having been in Syria.

"There may be such criticism, but for me it is difficult to think along those lines. They get the same help as others who seek help from us. We cannot say that because you made a wrong choice, you have no right to come back and live in our society," says Anna Sjöstrand.

According to Sweden Radio, several of the municipalities stress that people who commit crimes should be sentenced and serve their penalties before they can receive support. According to Amir Rostami, who works with the national coordinator against violent extremism:
"If you are suspected of a crime, the investigation of the crime always comes first. But as long as there is no suspicion of a crime, then it is in our own interest to help those that come out of this extremist environment. The consequences for society are quite large if you do not."
So, in Sjöstrand's words, travelling to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS, a bestial Islamic terrorist organization with its sexual enslavement of women and children, rapes, brutal murders of Christians, Yazidis, and other Muslims is just "a wrong choice." You know, similar to embezzling money or getting into a drunken brawl at a bar, just ordinary garden-variety crime, which should not intervene with your "right to come back and live in our society". In other words, it seems to support the standard European idea that the terrorist is the victim, not the innocent people he is out to maim, rape, and kill.

According to the Swedish view, burning Christians and Yazidis alive, gang-raping and murdering women and children, and other such "wrong choices" should not get into the way of one's "rights." It also seems to ignore the rights of members of the peaceful society who are vulnerable to being attacked. It would be logical to posit that traveling for the express purpose of joining a terrorist organization such as ISIS, which has as its explicit goal the destruction of Western nations such as Sweden, should actually lead to the forfeiture of the "right to come back and live in our society" -- especially as those former ISIS fighters evidently do not consider Swedish society "their society."

Another word that comes to mind is treason. But not for Sweden, such logical moral and political choices. Better to have another go at politically correct policies, doomed to failure, at the expense of the security (and taxpayer money) of law-abiding Swedish citizens, whose rights to live without fear of violent assault, rape and terrorism clearly ceased to matter to Swedish authorities a long time ago.

This hapless attitude towards ISIS increasingly resembles criminal negligence on the part of Swedish authorities. It was recently reported that Swedish police received a complaint of incitement to racial hatred, after an unnamed Syrian-born 23-year-old used a picture of the ISIS flag as a profile picture on social media. Prosecutor Gisela Sjövall decided not to pursue legal action against the man. The reason, according to Sjövall?
"IS expresses every kind of disrespect; it is against everyone except those who belong to IS itself. There is the dilemma, it [offends] too big a group... You could say that merely waving a flag of IS in the current situation cannot be considered hate speech. It is not an expression of disrespect towards any [particular] ethnic group. It has been said there could possibly be some form of incitement, that IS urges others to commit criminal acts such as murder, but that is not the case."
Since ISIS hates absolutely everybody, according to Swedish law they can apparently engage in as much hate speech as their hearts desire. The terrorists, who are vying for a world-dominating caliphate, must be laughing their heads off.

Sjövall added that because the Nazi swastika is intrinsically linked to inciting anti-Semitism, this contravenes Swedish laws, and that maybe the ISIS flag would be considered as contravening Swedish law in 10 years.

At the rate that Swedish society is self-destructing, there may not even be much of Sweden to speak of 10 years from now.

On June 7, 2016, it was reported that British citizen Grace "Khadija" Dare had brought her 4-year-old son, Isa Dare, to live in Sweden, in order to benefit from free health care. In February, the boy was featured in an ISIS video, blowing up four prisoners in a car (pictured above). The boy's father, a jihadist with Swedish citizenship, was killed fighting for ISIS.

In neighboring Denmark, in March 2015, a Danish MP for the Social Democrats, Trine Bramsen, said about returning ISIS fighters:
"Some constitute a danger or can become dangerous. Others need help. We have actually seen that many of those who come home have experienced such horrors that they need psychological help".
The terrorist as poor, traumatized victim who needs help seems to be a recurring theme among European politicians. But what about the rights of the poor, traumatized citizens who elected these politicians?

Denmark happens to be the European country with the most ISIS fighters returning from Syria, according to a report released in April by the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism in The Hague. The report shows that 50% of the people who left Denmark to fight with ISIS in Syria have returned to Denmark. The UK is second, with 48%, and then come Germany (33%), Sweden (29%), France (27%), and Austria (26%).

In Denmark, four Syrian ISIS fighters were arrested in April when they returned from Syria.
The head of the Strategic Institute of the Defense Academy in Denmark, Anja Dalgaard-Nielsen, told a Danish newspaper in April that there are not enough resources to monitor all returning ISIS fighters and thereby ensure their arrest, adding:
"But then again, not all [ISIS fighters] are identical. Some will come home and be a threat to society, whereas others will return disillusioned. If we treat everyone in the same manner, we risk pushing some of those who are in doubt even further in. If someone returns and it cannot be proven that he has committed crimes and if he, besides that, is disillusioned, then he should get help to get out."
How do you determine with certainty that someone is "disillusioned," when he could in fact be a ticking bomb waiting to commit terror?

In Denmark, the authorities decided on a prohibition to travel to Syria to join ISIS. That, however, does not solve the problem of what to do with the returning ISIS fighters. It also does not do much to prevent those potential ISIS fighters who have been frustrated in their efforts to join ISIS, from unleashing their terror on European soil instead -- as ISIS has in fact commanded them to do.

Several countries, including the United Kingdom and Australia, have considered revoking the citizenship of returning ISIS fighters, thereby preventing them from returning. This is certainly feasible in those cases where the person in question has dual citizenship. Political obstacles aside, however, one of the main legal obstacles to countries taking this path is the 1961 UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, which prohibits governments from revoking a person's nationality if it leaves them stateless.

A reasonable question that many Europeans might ask would be whether it is not perhaps time to review priorities? Perhaps the time has come to look at whether it remains worth it, in terms of the potential loss of human life, to remain party to the 1961 Convention, which would prohibit a country from stripping a returning ISIS fighter of his citizenship in order to prevent him from entering the country?

Presumably, the European people care more about staying alive than the intricacies of international law. When will European leaders mobilize the political will to act?

Judith Bergman is a writer, columnist, lawyer and political analyst.


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