Saturday, August 24, 2019

Revisiting the Principle of the “Legitimate Rights of the Palestinian People” - Col (Res.) Dr. Raphael G. Bouchnik-Chen

by Col (Res.) Dr. Raphael G. Bouchnik-Chen

A basic question: Is there a Palestinian people?

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 1,262, August 23, 2019

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The US administration is reportedly considering the principle of autonomy for the Palestinians as the political goal of the “Deal of the Century.” This framework was initially introduced by Menachem Begin during the 1978 Camp David summit and appeared in the signed accords. Though the idea was never brought to fruition, it enabled the entrenchment of the mantra known as “the legitimate rights of the Palestinian People” – a formula that owes much to Israeli Chief Justice Aharon Barak, who served as Begin’s legal advisor at Camp David.

The US administration is putting together plans for a new Middle Eastern summit meeting on the occasion of the inauguration of the political portion of Donald Trump’s “Deal of the Century.” The proposed location is Camp David – a historically appropriate choice, as it was the site of the hammering out of the first peace treaty between Israel and a leading Arab state – Egypt – in 1978.

Early hints from the US team suggest that the basic framework of the deal will reflect a revival of the idea of “full autonomy” for the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In July 2019, US ambassador to Israel David Friedman said, “We would like that the Palestinians will enjoy an autonomy which they will control on their own.”

This diplomatic idea might be hard pressed to find favor with either the Palestinians or the many other international players who profess themselves committed to a two-state solution as the ultimate goal of any proposed solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The historic Camp David Accords (September 1978), which recently reached their 40th anniversary, culminated in the March 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty signed by Begin and Egyptian president Anwar Sadat at the White House. This event was described by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as “one of the most impressive diplomatic achievements of the 20th century – and perhaps even the most impressive. This is no understatement.”

Less often remembered is the second achievement of the Camp David summit, the “Framework for Peace in the Middle East,” which called for full Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip within five years. Egypt’s documentation of that part of the summit remained classified until very recently. Less than a year ago, in September 2018, Cairo finally released newly declassified documents from Camp David referencing the matter of Palestinian autonomy.

The autonomy plan never materialized, and later attempts at solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including the 1993 Oslo Accords and the July 2000 Camp David summit, failed to produce a viable solution. But the autonomy notion first floated in 1978 nevertheless made a momentous contribution to all subsequent Palestinian negotiations with Israel. That contribution was the phrase “the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and their just requirements” – a disputed formula that was extremely hard for the Begin-led right-wing government to digest.

The formula was subjected to harsh bargaining at Camp David – so much so that President Jimmy Carter ended up authorizing the legality of two different versions of the Palestinians’ “legitimate rights.” Had he not done so, the accords would not have been signed.

The Israeli version of “the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and their just requirements” coincided with Begin’s ideological standpoint, in that it denied any recognition of the existence of a Palestinian People. In a separate letter sent to Begin on September 17, 1978, Carter acknowledged that
you have informed me as follows: In each paragraph of the Agreed Framework Document the expressions “Palestinians” or “Palestinian People” are being and will be construed and understood by you as “Palestinian Arabs.”
Prior to the final phrasing of “legitimate rights,” a tough debate within the Israeli delegation to Camp David almost led to a premature and fruitless end to the summit. Begin insisted on excluding any reference to the “Palestinian People” in the agreement. At that point, Aharon Barak – the former Israeli attorney general, invited by Begin to join the Israeli team at Camp David as legal adviser – provided the “magic formula.”

According to political journalist and writer Naomi Levitzky, who published a biography of Aharon Barak, it was he who broke through Begin’s resistance to the phrase “legitimate rights of the Palestinian People” by arguing, “Can there be any rights that are not legitimate?”

Barak’s influence can be heard in Begin’s words when he elaborated on the Israeli-accepted parameters in a closed-door session of the Foreign and Defense Committee of the Knesset on September 26, 1978:
When you read the document as it was accepted, you will witness the fundamental changes inserted vis-à-vis the Egyptian document and the American document. Our concession was that we, for the first time, adopted UNSC Resolution 242 inclusive of all its parts. We agreed that wherever the term “Palestinian People” appears, in our written version it’s “Palestinian Arabs”; wherever it’s written the “West Bank,” in our version it’s “Judea and Samaria.” We have agreed to write “Legitimate Rights,” though I thought the adjective is unnecessary. Is there any right that is not legitimate? … It was agreed that they use the term “Palestinian People” and we say “Palestine Peoples.” I have wondered why we need the meaning of this; but if someone claims that it has a meaning, we will say that it’s not legal.
Barak considered the term “legitimate rights” sufficiently ambiguous that Israel could live with it. According to Levitzky, Barak used such logic to persuade Begin that by conceding the Sinai Peninsula, he would be conserving entire Land of Israel. Barak’s philosophy of ambiguity was the key to the concluding of the peace treaty with Egypt. Years later, his formulation from Camp David would yield the Oslo Accords.

Barak himself, during the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Camp David Accords in Washington in 2003, admitted:
We used ambiguity. Ambiguity was the word. It was, I think, a constructive ambiguity, because there were many things that we couldn’t reach an agreement on. So we drafted these on a high level of abstraction. When we couldn’t meet on a low level of abstraction, we went higher and higher and higher until we came to such level of abstraction that allowed us to agree. But – and here is an important point – we realized the ambiguities. It’s not the situation where I had an ambiguity, they had an ambiguity, and everyone was throwing around these old ambiguities. We were honest with each other. They understood that we understood what their ambiguities were, and vice versa. So it was the use of ambiguity with the understanding that every side has his or her ambiguities and what are they and how it will be used. It’s a very interesting question, I think, that should be studied professionally about the use of ambiguity in international negotiations.
Justice Elyakim Rubinstein, then legal adviser for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, viewed Begin as a verbal statesman who quite deliberately used the phrase “Palestinian Arabs” rather than “Palestinians.” Zbigniew Brzezinski, then US National Security Adviser to President Carter, referred to Begin (on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Accords) as a “semanticist” and made a similar point:
…[Begin] did not say full autonomy for the Palestinians, because he didn’t believe they were Palestinians. He used the term Palestinian Arabs. That’s a very important distinction. He always emphasized that, because he didn’t accept Palestinian nationalism. Secondly, when he spoke of full autonomy for the Palestinians, he made it clear, at least in private conversations, that it was full autonomy for the people, but not for the people on the land. He had a very subtle distinction here in mind, that it’s autonomy for the people in the sense that they would have self-governing instrumentalities or authorities, but it would not involve self-government over land. And that was again, a very deliberate semantic distinction, designed to preclude the idea of a homeland for the Palestinians.
Brzezinski’s prognosis appears to reflect Begin’s thinking at the above-noted Knesset hearing on September 26, 1978, and it informs our understanding of the Israeli version of the Camp David Accords. At Camp David, Israel did not recognize the “legitimate rights of the Palestinian People” but “the legitimate right of the Palestinian peoples.”

The Egyptian version was unequivocal:
The solution from the negotiations must also recognize the legitimate rights of the Palestinian People and their just requirements. (In Arabic transliteration: Wayajib an ya’tarif al-hal al-natij an al-mufawadat bil-huquq al-mshrua’a li-sha’b al-falastini.)
This formula had been agreed to by Carter and Sadat during the “Aswan Summit” (January 4, 1978). The consistency of Sadat’s standpoint was manifested in a letter he sent to Carter on September 17, 1978, in which he stated that
to ensure the implementation of the provisions related to the West Bank and Gaza and in order to safeguard the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, Egypt will be prepared to assume the Arab role emanating from these provisions, following consultations with Jordan and the representatives of the Palestinian people.
In a 1982 CIA memo on “US-Israeli differences over the Camp David peace process,” a leading Middle East analyst revisited the limits of the Israeli position:
Prime Minister Begin asserts that the Camp David Accords rule out the emergence of a Palestinian state. In Begin’s view the agreements “guarantee that under no condition” can a Palestinian state be created. In practice, Begin effectively rules out any exercise of Palestinian self-determination except one that continues Israel’s permanent position in the West Bank… Begin’s view is that the Self-Governing Authority should be a solely administrative authority regulating the affairs of the Arab inhabitants and leaving control of the territory and all key security issues with Israel. In sum, autonomy is for people not territory and therefore does not prejudice Israel’s territorial claims to the West Bank.
The Israeli standpoint on the “legitimate rights” issue was not retained as a binding guideline for the negotiation teams that followed the Camp David Accords. In fact, the Israeli position eroded very quickly. Israeli diplomacy allowed it to be superseded by the “popular” interpretation of the phrase “the legitimate rights of the Palestinian People,” an interpretation that is now generally believed to have derived directly from the terms agreed to at Camp David.

In 1988, the Israeli delegate to the Third Committee of the General Assembly stated that
Israel believed that true negotiated peace with all its neighbors was feasible, and that within the framework a solution could be found to the problems and aspirations of the Palestinians. Israel had committed itself, as a signatory to the Camp David Accords, to seek and obtain a resolution to the Palestinian problem in all its aspects and had recognized the legitimate rights of the Palestinians (emphasis added).
Begin’s formula was completely abandoned in the wording of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements (DOP) signed on the White House lawn on September 13, 1993. The DOP’s preamble set the precedent of drawing a clear equivalency between Israel and the PLO, as follows:
The Government of the State of Israel and the PLO team (in the Jordanian-Palestinian delegation to the Middle East Peace Conference) (the “Palestinian Delegation”), representing the Palestinian people, agree that it is time to put an end to decades of confrontation and conflict, recognize their mutual legitimate and political rights, and strive to live in peaceful coexistence and mutual dignity and security and achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement and historic reconciliation through the agreed political process (emphasis added).
The gravity of the choice to ignore the Israeli government’s ideological standpoint as expressed at Camp David in September 1978 deserves special attention, as do the ramifications of Justice Barak’s testimony on the issue of the “legitimate rights of the Palestinian People.” As Levitzky made clear, to Barak, the phrase “legitimate rights” referred to the Palestinian People, not to Begin’s formulation of “Palestinian peoples.” Barak himself recognized that the enshrining of the phrase “legitimate rights of the Palestinian People” was the Palestinians’ greatest achievement at Camp David, regardless of the fact that it did not correspond to the official text of the agreement.

Barak hailed the tactic of ambiguity as a kind of magic wand to unlock the negotiations. To the Palestinians, ambiguity worked to their advantage, as the language they preferred – with its emphasis on “legitimate rights” – was indigestible to Israel on its face.

The Palestinian columnist and independent researcher Ramona Wadi wrote in Middle East Monitor on June 20, 2019:
What constitutes Palestinian legitimate endorsement? The PA has endorsed many narratives which are detrimental to the Palestinian cause, including its concessionary attitude regarding the right of return and its fluctuating interpretations of historic Palestine, of which Jerusalem is a part.
A Hamas official statement issued on July 11, 2018 rejected the US plan for the Palestinian cause on the grounds that Trump’s “Deal of the Century” violates “the Palestinian People’s legitimate rights.” The statement added that “all indications show that the deal violates our legitimate rights, mainly the right of return, liberating our land and establishing our independent state with al-Quds as its capital.”

Attention should be paid to a newly published book entitled Preventing Palestine: A Political History from Camp David to Oslo by Dr. Seth Anziska (2018), in which the author emphasized that Camp David called for an autonomous self-governing authority in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and recognized the “legitimate rights of the Palestinian people” but did not address the Palestinian right of self-determination. Anziska highlighted the role of Begin, who, besides wanting continuing the building of Jewish communities in the territories, opposed the idea of Palestinian statehood and proposed limited Arab autonomy. He described the peace agreement signed by Sadat and Begin as a paradox in which peace between Israel and Egypt stymied Palestinian aspirations.

The new US initiative to revive the concept of autonomy for the Palestinians rather than support the formula of self-determination could be an additional indication of the Trump administration’s distrust of the current Palestinian leadership. Should the autonomy principle become the political framework for a future settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it could drain all meaning from the phrase “the legitimate rights of the Palestinian People.”

Col (Res.) Dr. Raphael G. Bouchnik-Chen (Ph.D. Jinan University, China). Specializes in Middle Eastern and international affairs. Served for 26 years in IDF military intelligence in several senior assignments, including Head of the Review Department. Served for 3 years in the Prime Minister’s office and Ministry of Defense, and fulfilled a diplomatic mission in the Far East.


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Can Israel defeat Hezbollah? - Anna Ahronheim

by Anna Ahronheim

While former prime minister Ehud Olmert insists the 2006 Second Lebanon War was a success, former IDF deputy chief of staff Yair Golan calls Israel’s presence in Lebanon ‘a story of failure.’

More than a decade after the last shot rang out, the border between Israel and Lebanon is quiet.

There are no tanks rumbling in the distance, no artillery shells breaking the silence, no screams of the injured or dying. The pastoral green hills are welcoming farmers and hikers rather than IDF troops and Hezbollah militants.

With over 10 years of relative quiet along this explosive border with only isolated incidents, many feel that Israel’s achievements in the 2006 Second Lebanon War were greater in many respects than the more recent military operations in Gaza.

“The war was perhaps the most successful in the history of any military confrontation that Israel was ever engaged in since the War of Independence, because there never was a military confrontation which resulted in complete silence and lack of any military confrontation in the area where the military engagement took place,” former prime minister Ehud Olmert told the Magazine in his office in Tel Aviv.

Indeed, Hezbollah’s leader, secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah, had to apologize after the end of the war for the ambush that set everything off. He has since promised the Lebanese people that he is doing all he can to prevent another war with the IDF.

“Nasrallah has even said that had he known even 1% of my reaction of the ambush, he wouldn’t have done it,” said Olmert, who served as Israel’s 12th prime minister from 2006-2009 and oversaw the 2006 Second Lebanon War. “It was said before the war that they knew how to fight, but at the end of the day, they lost hundreds of their fighters and were on the verge of complete collapse and surrender.”

To him, Israel won the war.

“Over the past 13 years, there’s never been a quieter and more successful period for the northern part of the country,” he continued. “There are kids in Kiryat Shmona who are celebrating their bar mitzvah who have never heard of a rocket or missile or had to sit in a shelter for one minute. That’s unprecedented in the State of Israel. This is the ultimate proof of the success of the Second Lebanese War.”

But for former IDF deputy chief of staff Maj.-Gen (ret.) Yair Golan, who fought and served in various roles in Lebanon, the story of Israel’s presence there is “a story of failure.”

“I like to say that I grew up in Lebanon,” he said, explaining that he served there from 1982 until 1998 when he commanded the Eastern Brigade of Lebanon Liaison Unit.

“The story of Lebanon is the story of failure because, although the achievements of the first Lebanon War were formidable... After September 1982, we made almost every possible mistake,” he told the Magazine as we sat in his office in Tel Aviv.

Golan – who commanded the 91st Galilee Division from 2003-2005, preceding Brig.-Gen. Gal Hirsch who served in that role during the Second Lebanon War – said even back then it was clear a war with the Shi’ite group was imminent.

“I was sure that we were heading to war. I was sure about it the minute I got the command. It was 100% clear that we were going to fight Hezbollah,” he said. “Hezbollah provoked us over and over and over again. It tried to expand its freedom of action all the time, and I thought to myself at the time that if this is the momentum, there is no other way to fight Hezbollah than open war.”

Golan, who is running on the Democratic Union Party list in next month’s election, said he tried to explain and convince others in the military of his take on things. While he thinks he convinced the head of the Northern Command at the time, Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Benny Gantz, and others, he noted that he was never able to convince the General Staff and chief of staff Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Dan Halutz that Israel should prepare for war.

“There was a kind of common saying at the time in the IDF that the Katyushas are gonna rust, so alright, what are our plans for a possible deterioration? It’s totally unacceptable and it’s not an answer. In military life, you should prepare for the worst, not the best. It was against my nature to think, OK, they are going to rust,” he said.

FORMER IDF deputy chief of staff Maj.-Gen (ret.) Yair Golan (right) on a visit to supercarrier ‘USS George H. W. Bush’ in February 2017. (Credit: US EMBASSY JERUSALEM/FLICKR)FORMER IDF deputy chief of staff Maj.-Gen (ret.) Yair Golan (right) on a visit to supercarrier ‘USS George H. W. Bush’ in February 2017. (Credit: US EMBASSY JERUSALEM/FLICKR)

WHILE GOLAN was commanding the Judea and Samaria Division, he visited the North at times during the war to meet and encourage former subordinate commanders.

“It was a very depressing experience,” he recounted.

The first visit was to Tamir Yadai, then-commander of the Golani Brigade, after the battle in Bint Jbeil, Golan explained. 

“I asked him to portray the battle and he described the maneuvering and clashes and all the incidents, and by the end I asked, ‘Alright, but why did you go there?’ And he replied ‘I don’t know.’

“A brigade commander entered his most important experience without knowing the purpose and goal? It was a shock. I asked him why and he said, ‘Day after day I got missions and they were all canceled, so at the end of the day when someone told me I could go, I went without asking any further questions.’”

According to Golan, the incident with Yadai “shows the whole blunder of the war. We had no plans, commanders didn’t understand the goal of the war, they didn’t understand their missions, they did all sorts of things without purpose. And that’s totally unacceptable.”

For Olmert, Golan “proved in his comments why it’s always better to have civilians taking the strategic decisions on national measures rather than generals. His opinion is a classic military perspective, which is dominated by the performance in a specific military confrontation in one specific part of the front rather than a comprehensive review of the entire event and its long-range consequences.”

ASK ANYONE who lives along the border and they have stories upon stories of the Second Lebanon War, of loved ones lost, of the rockets that rained down on them, and of the fear and the determination they have.

Shula Giladi – known by many as Shula from Shtula – stayed in her community of Shtula during the last war when children were evacuated from the community of 100 families. She opened her home to troops, fed them and gave them a warm bed to sleep in before they went back to the battlefield.

Some never returned.

“I remember one Ethiopian soldier. He came to my home and I remember as he put on his camouflage before he went back across the border. He never came back. I still have his laundry.”

Shula cooks for large groups of tourists who come to visit the North, and her garden has Jewish National Fund flags fluttering in the breeze. When we visited, she was cooking for a group of 55 Israelis who were scheduled to arrive the next day.

She isn’t scared of Hezbollah.

“I was born on the border and I’ve lived through many wars. I was never afraid – of anything,” Shula said as she served a plate of home-cooked food.

“I was 20 when the Yom Kippur War broke out in 1973, and no one thought we could win that war. Now the IDF is the strongest in the world. When you have enemies surrounding you on all sides, you have no choice but to be strong,” she said.

She told the Magazine that she and other border community residents heard sounds of digging and knew of cross-border tunnels “before the IDF knew.” Even with the risk posed by Hezbollah infiltration, she said, she will never leave her home of 50 years.

“Hezbollah will never walk into Shtula. It will never happen. I trust the army with my eyes closed. But if Hezbollah kills me, it’s OK. The IDF would have done everything it could have before such a thing would happen.”

DURING THE war the IDF, in fact, did do all it could and dealt Hezbollah a blow that has kept if from launching another war against Israel.

While Hezbollah claimed to have lost 250 fighters during the war, other figures put the movement’s death toll above 600. More than 1,000 Lebanese civilians were killed and thousands more were evacuated from Lebanon during the fighting by various countries via Cyprus, Turkey and Syria.

Israel lost 121 soldiers during the 34-day 2006 Second Lebanon War, and 43 civilians were killed.

A section of the border fence where the Hezbollah ambush set off the war has 121 flowers painted on it; a flower for every soldier lost, explained Lt.-Col. (res.) Sarit Zehavi, a resident of the northern community of Kfar Vradim, as we drove along Route 8993.

At 8:40 a.m. at that same spot 13 years ago, Hezbollah ambushed an IDF patrol, sparking the war. Zehavi explained that for many years she would not drive along this road without a military escort of at least two armored Humvees.

But the road is now open to civilians, and we were alone with no army escort as we drove, passing by a poster of the IDF troops who were killed in the Hezbollah ambush that set off the deadly war.

Following the end of the war, UN Security Council Resolution 1701 tasked the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) with patrolling southern Lebanon.

UNIFIL   spokesperson Tilak Pokharel told the Magazine that major escalations have been prevented due to the “continued commitment” by all sides to UNSCR 1701, which ended the conflict.

According to Pokharel, the peacekeepers, who are from 44 countries, carry out more than 450 operational activities every day. These include foot, vehicle and air patrols; the setting up of checkpoints; training the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF); and community engagement activities.

Pokharel stated, “UNIFIL’s works center around securing a permanent ceasefire between the parties and a long-term solution to the conflict,” but Jerusalem has repeatedly slammed UNIFIL for failing to fulfill its duties by turning a blind eye to Hezbollah’s activities in southern Lebanon.

Israel accuses the terrorist group of continuously violating the resolution and storing much of its weaponry in villages along the border.

Golan said, “UNIFIL is useless and we should say it. It’s not a unique Israeli phenomenon. UN forces across the world are a failure. They are not willing to fight or confront Hezbollah,” he asserted, stressing that while he wouldn’t recommend removing UNIFIL from southern Lebanon, “Their benefits are limited. And if you ask me if we can trust UNIFIL to preserve our security? Not at all.”

EVEN THOUGH the border is quiet, Hezbollah isn’t asleep at the wheel. built its arsenal since 2006 and now is estimated to have hundreds of thousands of short-range rockets and several thousand missiles that can reach deeper into Israel.

It is believed that in the next war, the terrorist group will try to fire some 1,500-2,000 rockets per day until the last day of the conflict. With more than 40,000 fighters organized in battalions and brigades, Hezbollah forces have gained battlefield experience from fighting in Syria on the side of President Bashar Assad.

Olmert said that while he doesn’t underestimate the capabilities of Hezbollah, and though the next war might be harder to win, the outcome will be the demise of the terrorist group.

“They have missiles that can cause serious damage to the State of Israel, it’s obvious,” Olmert said. “In the event of a military confrontation, they will probably use some of them against areas that haven’t been attacked in the past, like civilian centers and strategic sites in the center of the country. However, Hezbollah knows very well that the outcome of the situation is the total and complete destruction of Hezbollah and I’m not sure if they want it.”

According to Olmert, Nasrallah knows his days are numbered if another war breaks out.

“The day he shoots the first missile, he can count the number of days until he will be dead and everyone in his organization will be dead. He knows it. He knows it better than anyone else,” he said.

But while Nasrallah sits in his bunker in Beirut, the order to strike will come from his superiors in Tehran.

The Magazine asked Olmert if he thought Maj.-Gen. Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, was as deterred as Nasrallah. The former prime minister leaned back in his chair clasping his hands and said, “Qassem Soleimani knows better than any person on Earth how volatile and unpredictable the course of life can be. He knows.”

Much of Hezbollah’s capabilities and infrastructure are intertwined with the civilian infrastructure of Lebanon, a country that receives millions of dollars in military aid and equipment from the United States and other Western countries.

LEBANESE SOLDIERS and UN peacekeepers (blue berets and turbans) serving with UNIFIL inspect areas targeted by IDF shelling in the Shebaa area, southern Lebanon, on October 8, 2014. (Credit:REUTERS/KARAMALLAH DAHER)LEBANESE SOLDIERS and UN peacekeepers (blue berets and turbans) serving with UNIFIL inspect areas targeted by IDF shelling in the Shebaa area, southern Lebanon, on October 8, 2014. (Credit:REUTERS/KARAMALLAH DAHER)

Many experts have said that one of Israel’s mistakes was to distinguish between Hezbollah and the Lebanese state and refrain from striking Lebanese infrastructure. Olmert, however, defends that decision, saying he wanted to focus on the group itself and its infrastructure.

According to Olmert, the army thought there was no need to differentiate. “But I didn’t accept it and thought it would have been a big mistake, because after the war, the Lebanese population and international community would be against us, and Hezbollah wouldn’t have been destroyed enough.”

But 13 years later, politicians and senior IDF officers have threatened to send Lebanon “back to the Stone Age” – all of Lebanon, not just Hezbollah. That artificial distinction between Hezbollah and the Lebanese state is gone.

Golan warned that Lebanon and Hezbollah need to understand that the next war will cause unbelievable destruction to the country.

“I have nothing against the Lebanese people, but I have a lot against the government. The Lebanese people are captives of Hezbollah and they will suffer from it,” he said. “The message should be sent that another open war with Israel could see major destruction to Lebanon as a whole and especially southern Lebanon south of the Zahrani River.”

According to Golan, there’s no reason to reoccupy Lebanon, but he warned that eliminating Hezbollah, “won’t be a matter of days. It could be a few weeks to a few months. You need to clean the area of Hezbollah’s presence and that takes time. The best way is to tell the people the truth. It’s not a terrible demand from the government.”

As we drove with Zehavi along the border with Lebanon, she stressed, “Contrary to what the Americans think, the Lebanese Armed Forces is not an alternative to Hezbollah. They coexist side by side in Lebanon, and in the next war the LAF will, of course, in my opinion, have to fight shoulder to shoulder with Hezbollah because they have to show the Lebanese population that they are protecting them. Otherwise, what good are they?”

EHUD OLMERT, the former prime minister who oversaw the 2006 Second Lebanon War: ‘Had [Hezbollah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah] known even 1% of my reaction to the ambush, he wouldn’t have done it.’ (Credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM) EHUD OLMERT, the former prime minister who oversaw the 2006 Second Lebanon War: ‘Had [Hezbollah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah] known even 1% of my reaction to the ambush, he wouldn’t have done it.’ (Credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

ISRAEL IS warily keeping its eyes on the North. 

While the primary threat posed by Hezbollah remains its missile arsenal, the IDF believes the next war will see the group try to bring the fight to the home front by infiltrating Israeli communities in order to inflict significant civilian and military casualties.

In December, the IDF launched Operation Northern Shield to discover and destroy all cross-border tunnels dug by Hezbollah into northern Israel. It has found and destroyed six such tunnels, but there are others which haven’t infiltrated into Israeli territory. 

The tunnels, Golan said, were on the edge of being a just cause for war as they were a serious violation of Israeli sovereignty. Nonetheless, he said, “Israel reacted correctly.”

Israeli officials have warned that any war that breaks out in the North will not be confined to one border – with Lebanon or Syria – but both.

Though originally a Lebanese group, Hezbollah and its patron Iran are continuing their work to entrench themselves on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights and now, Iraq. While Iraq may be much further away, Iran is believed to have transferred ballistic missiles capable of reaching Israel to terrorist groups.

Olmert contends that Iran’s military entrenchment in Syria has changed the strategic situation.

“The biggest security failure by the State of Israel was to not have prevented Iran from entering Syria,” he said. “It was done completely under the reckless and irresponsible and fearful leadership of Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu. He was making a world festival about Iran’s nuclear weapons, and right under his nose the Iranians penetrated into Syria. Every now and again we attack Iran and Syria, but they take it lightly and we don’t push.”

Admitting that there were failures in the last war, should another war in the North break out, Olmert hopes that Israel and the IDF are in a much better position to destroy the group than they were 13 years ago.

“I hope that they [the IDF] are more ready than 13 years ago. I don’t think we had a good opportunity since the Second Lebanon War – including the Gaza operations where there was no ground maneuvering at all. We have not had the opportunity to show that we manifested an improvement,” he said.

The IDF has not conducted a full and proper ground maneuver in enemy territory since troops entered Gaza in 2009 during Operation Cast Lead. During operations Pillar of Defense in 2012 and Protective Edge in 2014, the IDF and the political leadership chose to rely mainly on the Israel Air Force, directing ground troops and armored corps to stay out of the Gaza Strip, and in the border area to neutralize Hamas tunnels.

The military knows that in a war in the North, it will not be able to rely solely on the IAF. It has publicly boasted about the preparedness of the ground troops, showing off to journalists major drills simulating war with Hezbollah as well as new technology and techniques.

Though Golan believes the IDF is much better prepared for future challenges, he is concerned that the IDF hasn’t fought a war with a serious enemy since 1982. And while that’s a significant worry, Golan said the military is not willing enough to protect Israeli civilians, the real target of Hezbollah in the next war.

“I still have deep concerns that we are not willing enough to protect our civilians. It’s mainly a problem of the General Staff and chief of staff. But it’s also a problem of the political echelon and people because we are no longer fighting existential wars. And we ask ourselves that if it’s not existential maybe we don’t have to fight it,” he said, adding, “Wherever civilians are under threat... this is the time for the military to attack.”

According to Golan, the gap between IDF and Hezbollah is so large that even a future war with Hezbollah with the support of Iran won’t be existential.

“It’s wrong to go to war just because your enemy becomes stronger,” Golan said. “We need to be patient, and if Hezbollah doesn’t provoke us in an active manner, then there is no just reason for war.”

While it is generally accepted that Israel is stronger militarily than Hezbollah, the military and political leadership know the population still cannot tolerate soldiers coming home in body bags.

“At the end of the day, there is no alternative to a ground-to-ground confrontation in a war of whatever size, and therefore even with all the technology we possess, there will still need to be a ground operation,” Olmert said. Nevertheless, he added, it will be “completely different than before, with the protection we have on tanks and the precision artillery and UAVs and drones, which replaced a lot of what has been done in the past with ground forces.”

DESPITE THE war of words between Netanyahu and Nasrallah, it seems the two sides are far from interested in another military confrontation just yet, because when it does explode, it will be war at a whole new level not yet seen in the region.

“Both are big talkers and to curse each other gives them enough space to refrain from a real confrontation,” Olmert said. “It’s not likely that Hezbollah is interested in a military confrontation, and neither are we.”

Zehavi believes the IDF is “as ready as it can be,” having undergone a big change in the amount of drills and operations (including the exposure and destruction of Hezbollah cross-border tunnels). Nonetheless, the civilian population will be greatly affected.

“It’s hard for them to accept dead bodies. Can we beat Hezbollah? Yes. But at what price? Who knows? The Hezbollah we met in 2006 is different from the Hezbollah of 2019.”

While the likelihood for another war is still low, Golan warned that the next war in the North might cost hundreds of Israeli civilian lives.

“By our most severe predictions, a 30-day war against Hezbollah will end with a few dozen to a few hundred civilian casualties. It’s a low number when you put it in proportion... and it won’t erode the Israeli mentality to survive and flourish here. But from Hezbollah’s and Iran’s perspective this is the way to end the Zionist project,” he said.

Contrary to Olmert, Golan doesn’t believe the Second Lebanon War was a success. He suggested that Hezbollah’s role in the Syrian civil war might also play a role in their unwillingness to fight against Israel. But, he warned, Israel has no other choice than to prepare for war with Hezbollah.

“We are going to win this war, but it will take time and it will have a price. There is no war without a terrible price, but if we want to keep our presence here in this troubled region, there is no other way. That’s the truth.”

Anna Ahronheim


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Israel thwarted Iranian armed drone attack - Arutz Sheva Staff

by Arutz Sheva Staff

IDF confirms strikes against Iranian targets after intelligence reports of planned attack on northern Israel.

IDF fighter jets recently targeted a number of terror targets in Aqraba, Syria, southeast of Damascus.

The IDF has confirmed multiple strikes against Iranian targets outside Damascus following Intelligence that Iran was planning to launch armed drones at northern Israel.

The strike targeted Iranian Quds Force operatives and Shiite militias which were preparing to advance attack plans targeting sites in Israel from within Syria over the last few days.

The thwarted attack included plans to launch a number of armed drones intended to be used to strike Israeli sites.

"The IDF is prepared to continue defending the State of Israel against any attempts to harm it and holds Iran and the Syrian regime directly responsible for the thwarted attack," an IDF statement said.

Roi Kais, Arab Affairs Correspondent for Channel 11 News, quoted a statement from an official Syrian military source: "At 11:30p.m. the surface-to-air systems identified enemy targets [moving] from the direction of the Golan towards the Damascus area. We immediately gave the order to attack with excellent precision. So far, most of the Israeli missiles have been destroyed before reaching their targets."

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded: "With great effort, we thwarted an attack by the Iranian Quds Force operatives and Shiite militias against Israel. I will repeat: Iran does not have immunity anywhere. Our forces work against Iranian aggression in every region: 'If someone rises up to kill you, kill him first.'"

"I have directed that our forces be prepared for any scenario. We will continue to take determined and responsible action against Iran and its proxies for the security of Israel."

Arutz Sheva Staff


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The myth of Jewish influence in the Democrat Party - Rabbi Prof. Dov Fischer

by Rabbi Prof. Dov Fischer

Why were we never invited to any meetings of the International Zionist Conspiracy?

Take heart, antisemites. Or be depressed.  Because the myth on which so much antisemitism is built finally now is exposed as one more fantasy, one more falsehood, one more libel. The myth that Jews have influence in the Democrat Party. Turns out ‘taint so. Duh!

Don’t get me wrong. Like most American Jews, I love many of the main antisemitic myths and defamations. Lying Jew haters say that Jews control the banks. They say that Jews control the wealth. They say that Jews hypnotize the world. They say that Jews control everything.

As a Jew, what’s not to love when you read that stuff?  Think about how it feels for me:  I control the banks, the wealth, hypnotize the world, control everything. It’s like the guy in every eighth “Twilight Zone” episode that has a story built around that variation. Honestly, for me as a Jew — that is so unbelievably cool! Ah, to control everything. Everything.

But then it happens. Ouch! — reality sets in.  Back when I was in my thirties and forties, I would apply for a home mortgage, and for years and years I could not qualify.  But I’m a Jew — I control the banks, no?


I would look at my bank account every month, for all my wealth.  Where was it? Month after month, just breaking even.  I called my parents — were they hoarding our renowned Jewish wealth? Nope. Actually, Mom then asked whether I would be able to send her $100 a week. My sisters, better situated, sent more. We all sent money regularly to Mom. That’s what grown kids did for five thousand years until this generation of narcissism and texting.

So where was our fabulous Jewish wealth? The banks we control? And why were never invited to any meetings of the International Zionist Conspiracy?

I went around to the neighbors. Abe and Florence Goodman. The Bresnicks. The Pelikows. Irving and Claire Gold. Mrs. Neiman. Mr. Herskovitz. “Does any of you happen to have the secret combination to the safe where we Jews of the World hoard all our wealth? Anyone know which banks we own here, like just to get approved for a credit card” Nope. Not even Mr. Gold knew where the gold was. Nor Mr. Goldberg. Nor Goldstein. So it didn’t even pay to ask Dr. Silverman or Mr. Diamond. Thankfully, at least none of them also asked me for $100 a week.

But at least we owned the banks.  Just had to find where. So I went to Security Pacific. Not a Jew near the top.  Citibank.  No Jews in management. First National Bank. No Jews there. Gee, not even at Eighth National. Everyone turning me down for loans.  Like, the banks wouldn’t even approve me for a secured debit card back then.

But I’m a Jew!” I pleaded. “Don’t you read antisemitic literature? Don’t you know we control you?  And I’m not just any run-of-the-mill Jew. I am a rabbi!” (At that point, for added effect, I would stretch out my two arms and wave my fingers, like to put on a whammy.) “For goodness sakes, aren’t any of you Nazi sympathizers? Even a little bit?  How come there is not a single danged bank out here that is run by Jews and that acknowledges we control you?”

And so it went. No one hypnotized. No influence.  The best attorney I ever had representing me in a massive complex tort litigation was a non-Jew, Jim Elliot. (I should use Jacoby & Myers in such a case?) The surgeon who may have saved my life when my appendix decided to rupturea decade ago was a Chinese guy named Wang. Not even born to a Jewish mother. Although Chinese, not even any siblings with a first name of “Joo” or “Ju.” Just Peter Wang.

It was a known joke back in the 1960s that Jews would rent post office boxes so they could subscribe to the Nazi monthly and receive it secretly.Jews loved getting it and reading about all our power. Here we were, struggling to pay for food and utilities, buying used cars and getting second-hand clothes from the Gemach (Free Loan Society), but we could experience the once-monthly reassurance that in fact we really own everything.

And yet.  And yet. . . . I go to people in the Jewish community raising money, and they have nothing left after the cost of yeshiva tuition, kosher meat, synagogue dues, summer programs, giving tzedakah (chairty) to meshulachim (door-to-door fundraisers), and a Shlomo Carlebach tribute concert.

Y’know when I finally got a mortgage? When a bunch of non-Jews at the Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue law firm hired me to be an attorney after my first career change, subsequent to my first ten-year stretch as a congregational rabbi. And then later when I was hired for even more money to litigate at Akin Gump for Guatemalan farmers, Danish insurers, Swiss hoteliers, and Samsung. It was not until I was in my early 50s when I finally hit pay dirt. In return for working twenty-hour days (we called the firm “Jones, Day, Nights & Weekends”) and then at the next one, my wife and I finally had the income as we reached the precipice of our 50s to get a mortgage and buy our home.  I assumed that — because I am a Jew and control the world — we would not have to pay property taxes. I wuz wrong. Well, at least no Homeowners Association fees? Wrong again. Well, at least I can park my car outside the garage overnight because, uh, I am a Jew and control — y’know, stuff?

Wrong again. Those HOA low-lifes had my car towed when I fell asleep on the couch one night before I moved the car back into the garage. The next day my car was missing. When I got to the tow guys — who (need it be said?) were decidedly not Jewish — I tried hypnotizing them by reciting the Hebrew Alphabet. I waved my fingers. I showed my membership card in the International Zionist Conspiracy. Nothing worked. “How then can I get my car back?”

$280 (more than a thousand shekels) — and not payable to Rothschild.

Today I am financially blessed.  It took many years. It took lots of disappointments during certain segments of my rabbinical career. It took ten years of torture practicing big-firm litigation in return for big bucks. That is how it works: if you want something badly enough, you have to work and sacrifice for it.  It took family who came to my rescue, like after my divorce and like after a different financial disaster where someone else’s bankruptcy adversely impacted me and my life plans. But the one thing that never got me more than $18 was “I’m a Jew.” For that line, you get $18. It’s a thing.

And now The Last Great Anti-Semitic Myth explodes. The myth that American Jews have influence in the Democrat Party. If you want to see “powerful” Jews who are so bereft of power and influence that it would make even an anti-Semite feel pity, look at the Three Stooges: Charles Schumer, Jerrold Nadler, and Adam Schiff.

Boy oh boy, are they ever powerful!  One can just hear Schumer calling his parents on the phone: “Mama, your Chucky just became the head of the whole United States Senate!”  If Mama responds, “But Cholly, whatsabout der Rupublukins?” So Charley answers, “OK, quibbles, quibbles. Don’t be so picky. I’m almost in charge. Charles in Charge, Mama! Almost.”

And Nadler: “Bubbie, I’m going to get Trump’s taxes. Look at me, so powerful. (To the tune of “If I Were a Rich Man”) I’m going to get his taxes.”  And one can hear Bubbie responding, “Nu, Mr. Big Shot. You want I should be impressed? I will be impressed when you can earn the income on his taxes. And, meanwhile, Mr. Tax Returns: What about those two Nazi witches from Michigan and Minnesota? When are you going to stand up to them?  What about some loyalty to yourself and your roots? Nu?”

And then Schiff: “Uncle Seymour, I’m in charge of investigating the President!”  And Uncle Seymour’s response: “And what about investigatingthe two Nazi witches, Mr. Sherlock Holmes? What about some loyalty to yourself and your roots?”

Once upon a time, Trotsky thought he was going to run the Soviet Union. Didn’t quite work out that way — and he at least had the decency to abandon the Jews, his Jewish identity, to change his name, to deny his Jewishness. Karl Marx was even more open: he hated Jews and Judaism so much that he made a central thesis of his entire Marxist agenda the eradication of the Jews and of Judaism, following in the steps of his father who abandoned Judaism and converted to the Evangelical Church of Prussia before Karl even was born.

Schumer, Nadler, Schiff. They are the Three Stooges who symbolize and epitomize the utter emptiness and myth of “Jewish influence” in the Democrat Party. Jews who lack loyalty to themselves or their roots. Those Jews are pure freiers (suckers), just as the Democrats have hoodwinked Black America. When the Democrats know they have you in their pockets, they move on. For example, they figure they have Blacks in their pockets, so they now focus on importing Hispanic voters to leap-frog Blacks socially and economically — which is exactly what is happening. And the Democrats likewise know they have non-Orthodox Jews, Fake Jews, and anti-Semitic Jews in their pockets. (Orthodox Jews, who are the fastest-growing demographic in American Jewry, voted 90 percent for Romney over Obama, and are rock-solid as President Trump’s strongest constituency.)

When Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib attack Israel, the Three Stooges — plus Elliot Engel, nukh a schlemazel (“NAS”)— thought they had all that influence among Democrats. They really started to believe the anti-Semites bewailing Jewish influence. And then they could not even pass a simple resolution condemning anti-Semitism. A year later, with a new form of American Nazi in Congress — the Jew-haters Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib accusing Jews of controlling the world, hypnotizing the world, disloyalties, controlling power with their money . . . and now trying to destroy Israel by using anti-Semitic allies and Holocaust-denial organizations to promote their anti-Semitic BDS efforts and Nazi tropes — the Three Stooges Plus NAS are powerless, useless, hapless.

The Democrats rally ‘round two Islamist Nazis who happen to be among 435 elected Congressional representatives, and the Three Stooges Plus NAS cannot so much as lead a counter-charge. What about some loyalty to themselves and to their roots?  It takes Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Mike Huckabee, Sean Hannity, Bill Maher (yes, Bill Maher!), Laura Ingraham, and Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) to stand with Israel on banning those two Islamist Nazis from the Jewish State.

Omar and Tlaib have no right to be there, to set foot in Israel — ever.  That is the beauty of living in an era when Jews have one small country, the size of Delaware: Jews finally have one place on earth where they can keep Nazis out.  Tlaib waiting for how many  years to visit her grandmother? And then suddenly wanting to visit her, merely to get Israel to refuse. And as soon as Israel called her bluff and said she could come in privately and visit, Tlaib exposed her innermost garbage: no longer interested in visiting the nonagenarian, once Israel said she could.

One can imagine Tlaib's phone call to her grandmother:
Grandmother: Rashida, I have not eaten for years!

Tlaib: You mean because of Zionist oppression?

Grandmother: No, I just didn't want to have my mouth full in case you called.

So Tlaib and Omar have found real gold — millions of dollars — by leveraging their Jew hate. Beyond that, they seem to have thought they could hypnotize Israel. In reality, they can hypnotize only the Left Media and their Democrat associates. They can hypnotize Fake Jews, Pseudo-Jews, and anti-Semitic Jews.  But when it turns out that, to see grandma, Tlaib would have to fly on a private trip — since she just had refused to accompany dozens of Republican and Democrat Congressional representatives who had gone there to meet with both Israeli lawmakers and Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah people, she realized that we American taxpayers would not be financing her itinerary. Instead, she would have to pay to visit granny out of her own pocket. So she decided to forget about it. So maybe it is about the Benjamins, baby, after all.

And Schumer, Nadler, Schiff, and Engel lack the power or self-respect to do a danged thing about it. No loyalty whatsoever — not to themselves, not to their roots. Thus, we see alternatively the increasingly warm and ever-intensifying Orthodox Jewish alliance with conservative Republicans, American Evangelical Christians and devout Catholics on a broad range of national social, moral, and political issues. The Democrats do not have us Orthodox Jews in their pockets, and neither do the Three Stooges Plus NAS. And that's no myth.

Rabbi Prof. Dov Fischer is adjunct professor of law at two prominent Southern California law schools, Senior Rabbinic Fellow at the Coalition for Jewish Values, congregational rabbi of Young Israel of Orange County, California, and has held prominent leadership roles in several national rabbinic and other Jewish organizations. He was Chief Articles Editor of UCLA Law Review, clerked for the Hon. Danny J. Boggs in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and served for most of the past decade on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America. His writings have appeared in The Weekly Standard, National Review, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Jerusalem Post, American Thinker, Frontpage Magazine, and Israel National News. Other writings are collected at .


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Congressional Jew-Hater for 'Democratic Values' - Discover The Networks

by Discover The Networks

The many repugnant words and deeds of Ilhan Omar.

Ilhan Omar has once again thrust herself into the spotlight by joining fellow congresswoman Rashida Tlaib in shunning a bipartisan congressional delegation to Israel and announcing their intent to instead schedule an independent trip – sponsored by the notoriously anti-Israel nongovernmental organization Miftah – to the Jewish state. But Israel’s government – in accordance with an Israeli law barring the issuance of visas to any foreigners who, like Omar and Tlaib, advocate economic and cultural boycotts against Israel – stated that the two congresswomen would not be permitted to enter the country. Omar described Israel’s move as “an insult to democratic values and a chilling response to a visit by government officials from an allied nation.”

But in reality, this self-proclaimed champion of “democratic values” has cultivated a long track record of Jew-hatred and a pronounced affinity for radical Islamists.
In November 2012, for instance – just a few days after Gaza-based Hamas terrorists had launched more than 150 deadly rockets into the Jewish state, prompting an Israeli military response – Omar tweeted that “the apartheid Israeli regime” had “hypnotized the world” in order to conceal its own “evil doings.”

In a 2013 interview on the Twin Cities PBS show Belahdan, Omar mocked Americans for the anxiety they felt about Islamic terrorists: “When I was in college, I took a terrorism class…. The thing that was interesting in the class was every time the professor said ‘Al Qaeda’ his shoulders went up.” She then chuckled as she imitated the professor saying “Al Qaeda” and “Hezbollah.” “But you know,” added Omar, “it is that you don’t say ‘America’ with an intensity, you don’t say ‘England’ with an intensity. You don’t say ‘the army’ with an intensity. But you say these names [Al Qaeda and Hezbollah] because you want that word to carry weight. You want it to leave something…. It’s said with a deeper voice.” (See video)

During her tenure with the Minneapolis City Council from 2013-15, Omar acknowledged that she was a friend of several young men who had joined al-Shabab, a Somali jihadist terror group allied with al-Qaeda, several years earlier. “They were happy young men,” said Omar. “And then at some point, something happened. And that is what needs to be researched and studied. What is happening to make them feel disconnected from a community that has birthed them, that has nurtured them?”

Over the years, Omar has given multiple interviews to the Arab-American television host Ahmed Tharwat, who: (a) characterizes Israel as the “Jewish ISIS,” and (b) has compared members of Hamas to victims of the Holocaust. In the wake of a 2013 Islamic terrorist bombing that killed nearly 70 people in a Kenyan shopping mall, Omar and Tharwat discussed how news of that attack may have affected the way Americans were treating Muslims in the United States. When Tharwat asserted that “terrorism is a reaction” to injustices inflicted by the U.S. and other antagonists, Omar agreed:
“Yes…. Nobody wants to face how the actions of the other people that are involved in the world have contributed to the rise of the radicalization and the rise of terrorist acts.... Nobody wants to take accountability of how these are byproducts of the actions of our involvement in other people’s affairs.”
A few days after her election to the Minnesota House of Representatives in November 2016, Omar wrote a letter asking a Minneapolis judge to be lenient in sentencing nine young Somali-born men who had been found guilty of attempting to join the terrorist group ISIS. In her letter, Omar maintained that long prison terms would ultimately lead to the tragedy of unproductive lives and unrealized potential for the perpetrators. “The desire to commit violence is not inherent to people,” she explained. “It is the consequence for [sic] alienation.”
In 2016 as well, Omar stated that she was in favor of completely divesting the University of Minnesota of its Israel bonds. The following year, she opposed a bill designed to counter economic boycotts targeting the Jewish state. While making her case against the 2017 legislation, Omar likened Israel to apartheid South Africa.

In 2017, Omar was one of only two Minnesota House members (out of 129) to vote against a bill to allow life-insurance companies to deny payouts to the beneficiaries of people who died while committing acts of terrorism. That same year, she was one of just four House members to oppose legislation that would make it a felony for parents to subject their daughters to female genital mutilation, a common practice in some Muslim cultures.

Just five days after winning her congressional race on November 6, 2018, the publication Muslim Girl reported that Omar “believes in and supports” the Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions (BDS) movement, a Hamas-inspired initiative aimed at financially crippling the state of Israel.

On February 10, 2019, Omar tweeted her opinion that the pro-Israel lobby organization AIPAC — an American entity that receives much funding from American Jews but no funding from the state of Israel — was guilty of paying U.S. politicians to take positions favorable to Israel. “It’s all about the Benjamins [$100 bills], baby,” she wrote in a separate tweet quoting a 1997 rap song by Puff Daddy.

On March 7, 2019, former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke praised Omar for her repeated expressions of disdain for Israel and the Jewish people. “By Defiance to Z.O.G. [Zionist Occupation Government]” he tweeted, “Ilhan Omar is NOW the most important Member of the US Congress!”

In March 2019 in Los Angeles, Omar was the keynote speaker at a benefit event sponsored by the Hamas-linked Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). Sharing the stage with Omar was CAIR-Florida executive director Hassan Shibly, who rejects the notion that Hezbollah and Hamas are terrorist organizations.

This past April, Omar called for the release of Hoda Abdelmonem, a senior Muslim Brotherhood member who had been detained in Egypt since November 2018 as part of Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s crackdown on the Brotherhood’s activities in his nation.

And just last month, Omar and fellow Democrats Rashida Tlaib and John Lewis co-sponsored a House Resolution supporting the BDS movement and comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa and Nazi Germany.

From the very start of her political career to the present day, Ilhan Omar has shown herself to be one of the most vocal, unapologetic Jew-haters in the U.S. Congress.  

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CCW #333: U.N. Lies About Food Supplies and Climate Change - H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D.

by H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D.

The ongoing record crop production perfectly illustrates the difference between the Climate Delusion perpetrated by IPCC and other government-funded alarmists and what is happening in the real world.

In the run-up to the United Nations’ 68th Civil Society Conference, where the “climate crisis” and sustainable development will dominate discussions, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a new report in its ever-growing “Alarming Climate Crisis of the Week” series: “Climate Change and Land.”

IPCC’s new report paints a dark, disturbing picture about the current and future state of crop production and food availability. “Climate change, including increases in frequency and intensity of extremes, has adversely impacted food security and terrestrial ecosystems as well as contributed to desertification and land degradation in many regions,” the report claims.

“Warming compounded by drying has caused yield declines in parts of Southern Europe. Based on indigenous and local knowledge, climate change is affecting food security in drylands, particularly those in Africa, and high mountain regions of Asia and South America,” the report continues.

The fake news media eagerly hyped the alarmist report. For example, an August 8 NBC News headline reads, “Climate change could trigger a global food crisis, new U.N. report says.” Other major media outlets published similar stories.

There’s just one little problem with this report: its thesis and the facts. (Okay, we admit that’s two problems and they are both big.)

Evidently IPCC missed the fact the U.N.’s own data shows farmers throughout the world are setting new production records virtually every year. For example, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization reports new records were set in each of the past five years for global cereal production—the Big Three food staples of corn, wheat, and rice.

Indeed, CCW 324, a special issue devoted to agriculture and climate change, pointed out reports in 2016 world cereal production broke records for the third straight year, exceeding the previous record yield, recorded in 2015, by 1.2 percent and topping the prior record yield recorded in 2014 by 1.5 percent. In addition, government data from India (2017 through 2018) and Bangladesh (2016), show rice and coarse cereal production set new record highs. The subcontinent’s growth in food production is part of a long-term trend as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have increased. And Honduras also set new records in recent years for its production of staple and commercial crops, coffee, maize, rice, and wheat.

The Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Climate Change has documented hundreds of studies and experiments conclusively demonstrating plants, including cereal grains and fruits, generally thrive under conditions of higher carbon dioxide and modestly warmer temperatures.

The ongoing record crop production perfectly illustrates the difference between the Climate Delusion perpetrated by IPCC and other government-funded alarmists and what is happening in the real world.

To make the news gloomy, to fit the narrative humans are causing a dangerous climate crisis, IPCC’s report nefariously parses words and engages in semantic tricks to give readers a false impression of declining global crop production. The report refers to declining yields in “parts” of Southern Europe, ignoring data showing crop yields are rising throughout the world as a whole and across Southern Europe as well. Instead of highlighting this welcome development, IPCC focuses on what it claims are yield reductions in some small, isolated regions of Southern Europe. Readers who are not paying close attention will be led to believe, incorrectly, that crop yields are declining throughout Southern Europe. They are not.

Even if yields were declining in Southern Europe, it would be inappropriate to blame crop reductions in a small portion of the planet on global warming when study after study shows increasing carbon dioxide levels and the recent century’s modest warming are responsible for record yield increases globally and for a general greening of the Earth as forests, grasslands, and vegetation-cover expand even into marginal areas such as desert edges.

IPCC claims “indigenous and local knowledge” supports claims of declining food production “in drylands” in Africa, Asia, and South America. Such anecdotal evidence does not trump objective data, readily available to IPCC’s authors, showing crop yields are increasing throughout Africa, Asia, and South America as a whole, including on their drylands on average.

The irony of IPCC’s misleading claims and semantic tricks is that people who point out real data shows crop production continues to set new records almost every year are accused of “denying” climate change and attacking science. Point out facts about the increase of carbon dioxide having incontrovertible positive effects on plant growth and more efficient water use and contributing to increasing crop yields and a greening of the earth, and alarmists respond with the trite, derisive reply: “Climate change is real.” Yes, climate change is real, and record crop production is in fact consistent with and is partly explained by it.

Unfortunately, many people, having never examined actual crop production data, will believe the false claims of a food production crisis made by IPCC and other politically driven organizations. This is just the latest example of the ongoing Climate Delusion, as radical environmental activists, government bureaucrats, socialists, and a biased news media, looking to transform American society, continue to make ridiculous climate claims lacking any basis in actual climate and environmental conditions. Their hope is a constant drumbeat of authoritative-sounding claims will stampede people and politicians in the United States and elsewhere to give governments more power over the economy to combat the false climate crisis.

Fortunately, we can avoid that fate. Factual data, showing the truth about global food supplies and other climate conditions, is readily available to anyone willing to search the internet for it. Concerning climate and crops, a good place to start for a thorough presentation of the facts is the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change’s study Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts. In addition, as the UN’s Civil Society Conference starts in Salt Lake City, The Heartland Institute is hosting a livestreamed event online presenting the alternative view of the state of the planet, at which a number of notable climate experts will present good news about food supplies and global sustainability. Watch and learn.
  • James Taylor, guest essayist, with contributions from H. Sterling Burnett

SOURCES: United Nations; Climate Change Weekly 324; IPCC; The Heartland Institute; Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts; CO2 Science; YouTube

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D.


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