Tuesday, September 30, 2014

US Launches Air Strikes on Islamists in Syria

Representatives from 26 countries attended a conference in Paris on the 15th of September 2014.  Diplomats from the UN, Russia, China, the USA, France, Germany, Canada, Britain and the Arab world attended. At the conclusion of the conference a statement was issued that condemned the Islamic State and ‘showed support’ for the newly elected government of Iraq.

Eight days later, on the 23rd of September, a coalition comprising the USA, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, The United Arab Emirates and Qatar began an assault on Islamic State (IS) positions in Syria.  They had notified the tyrant Bashar al-Assad of their intentions before commencement of operations but only because they did not want Assad’s forces shooting down the coalitions airplanes.

A couple of observations then:

ISIS is the unintentional progeny of Sunni extremism and yet they are also the predictable consequence of uncritical Muslim thought throughout Muslim history. The vision of a Global Caliphate is the cornerstone of this religious thinking.

The debate in Muslim history has always centered round the methodology of achieving a global caliphate (an empire ruled exclusively by and for the Muslim faithful). Accord has taken direction from military conquest; in modern times by creeping migration and incremental acceleration of demands for internal self-determination; and by hostile international diplomatic posturing.  It is inevitable that today it is being attempted by a combination of all three.

Islamist movements never saw themselves as anything but transnational.  They arose according to the contemporary ideological environment and if not checked, did not remain isolated to one geographical region. Fabulous economic wealth helped to propel the extremist ideology of the Islamic Levant onto a greater world stage but militancy was always present even when unable to express itself openly.

Charles Allen described one particular sect, the Wahhabis, as “God’s Terrorists.” They arose in Saudi Arabia in the 18th Century and are now concentrated in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE.  Wahhabis represent the governing aristocracy and administration of Saudi Arabia and have therefore provided the principle funding for a ruthless ultra-conservative version of Islam via its worldwide network of schools and mosques.  And Qatar is the world’s wealthiest country (per capita).  It also, has helped to spread the chaos - by providing much of the funding for the HAMAS movement. Moreover, it has funded the more extreme Islamist al Qaeda linked factions that oppose the Shiite regime in Syria.

A couple of years ago a scandal erupted in Britain when a newspaper investigation revealed a Saudi funded private school network that provided textbooks which taught children the ‘proper’ way to cut off the right hand and left foot of thieves. Exhortations to remain separate rather than to integrate into British society were part of the school ethos.  Some people will point out that Western foundations spread the ideals of democracy, equality and human rights in overseas aid programs, and they object to this teaching because it is a foreign, and to them, an alien and unwelcome implant.  This then, is one of the arguments liberals use for excusing schools that teach their children how to commit torture and mutilation, as punishment, in the name of their faith. While I disagree with this argument for the simple reason that a democracy is unlikely to kill those with whom it disagrees, the speed with which we try to excuse the behavior of Islamic organizations preaching the antithesis of our democratic system is far more worrying.

Extremism taught as Normal Behavior

Salafism follows the literal traditional texts of the first three generations of the founders of the 7th Century Islamic faith.

Wahhabis are also referred to as Salafis (even as many view the former as no more than a subset of the latter).   Both are universally recognized as being more extreme than the adherents of the Muslim Brotherhood which, has a similar ideology but is less inclined to maintain the strict defining code of Salafism. 

ISIS is the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.  ISIL is the same movement but stands for the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. The Levant defines the territorial ambitions of IS in far more grandiose terms unless both Iraq and Syria are viewed through ‘secular’ Ba’athist imperialist ambitions.   We may choose to place a Salafi label on them but whatever label we select to assign to them, the grisly and barbaric behavior of IS (the Islamic State) represents the logical consequence of the ideas behind Islamic purity.

The estimated 31,000 jihadis fighting for IS are not going to be cowered by a US led coalition of authoritarian Muslim regimes.  With ideological sympathy from amongst the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis they will disperse when attacked and hide amongst their coreligionists across the Arab and greater Muslim world.

In order to permanently degrade ISIL and prevent it from rising again we have to first accept that their genocidal theology and as a consequence, their abhorrent methodology will find resonance amongst many Muslims in every society. Until we accept this alarming fact we will not seriously approach the subject of how to initially a) contain this phenomenon and b) how to ultimately destroy it.

This is Part 1 of a 3 Part series.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Israel’s Foreign Policy Dilemma

The news headlines screamed out the terrible news “Turkey kills deal on gas with Israel”.  Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz stated that the deal was dead unless (until) Israel made peace and Gaza’s needs were fulfilled.  More specific he said that Israel must “instate a permanent peace there with all its elements”.  “All its elements” means to include all those Muslim Nazis who support a permanent state of war with the Jewish people.

For a generation or more the Western press has been incapable of relating to a theocratic justification for genocide so it ignores it.

An Egyptian lawyer, a woman, promotes her online video which advises all Muslim men to go out and rape Israeli women as punishment for Israel’s actions against its enemies.  This is from the Arab country where rape appears to have become a national leisure time sport.  Eighty three per cent of Egyptian women have experienced sexual harassment and 98% of foreign female visitors have suffered a worse fate if, they stupidly assume a right to appear in public.

A senior Palestinian official, Abbas Zaki in 2014 tells the faithful that “Allah is gathering the Jews (to Israel) so we can kill them.”

The Arab world assumes superiority over the rest of us because the prophet ‘chose’ the Arab peoples to conquer the globe for Islam.  This racist Aryan style doctrine has not always been at the center of the Arab self-image.

Moving forward from the late 19th Century, Western thought on nationalism heavily influenced Islamists who were deeply disturbed by the Muslim inability to shake off Western encroachment on their own conquered territories.   From the 1850’s onwards the period of European exploration in Africa excited Western audiences.  But articles and books that described the activities of the Arab slave traders in Africa deeply unsettled Western opinion as the barbarism of their trade was slowly revealed.  This need to protect Africans became the pretense behind Western colonialism in Africa.

The nation state of Israel did not exist in 1860 nor had the forced demographic superiority of the Arabs been disturbed.  However, from the 1860’s nationalism was an intellectually satisfying means of understanding Arab weakness against the infidel. It has continued to inform the Arab relationship with both Muslim and non-Muslim nations whether under the guise of Pan-Arabism or Ba’athism.

The Jewish state remains no more than an excuse pursued by racists for the partial failure of Arab racial or religiously inspired imperialism.

Turkey tried to ignore the political, tribal and religious nature of this inter-Muslim conflict. Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkish foreign minister (now Prime Minister) stated his policy as “Zero problems with its (Muslim) neighbors”.  But this doctrine soon turned out to be unworkable as instead, it alienated all of its neighbors. Syria fell into civil war, ‘accidentally’ shelling Turkish border towns in the process.  Egypt’s Muslim fundamentalist government seemed to desire nothing less than the bankruptcy of the entire country and events in Iraq threatened to spill over into Turkey, destabilizing Turkey’s south eastern (Kurdish) provinces.  Turkish military aid to their preferred insurgency groups added further oil to the flames of the Syrian inferno and helped to further destabilize the rest of the region.

Persia (Iran) and Turkey (Neo-Ottoman) are both former imperialist Muslim powers and like the Arabs, history is central to their identity, to the active exclusion of any other ethnic or religious group.

Ahmet Davutoglu, the current Prime Minister of Turkey has sagely informed Israel that Jews lived ‘better’ under Muslim protection and therefore they should return to this previous barbaric era of religiously prescribed slavery.   In the aftermath of Israel’s latest conflict with Gaza a respected Turkish journalist calls for Jews who live in or do business with Turkey to be taxed in order to pay for rebuilding Gaza. This is one way to blame a minority for something that is beyond its control and we can assume that it is not meant to demonstrate Islamic grace or charity towards one if its previously persecuted minorities in spite of Davutoglu’s dissimulation.

Prime Minister Davutoglu is a keen advocate of Neo-Ottomanism based on Islamic principles. To assume a humanly rational and ethical attitude from a religious bigot is naïve and demonstrates a dangerously unsophisticated knowledge of human nature. He was formerly chairman of the department for international relations at a Turkish university.  Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu like his president, Recep Erdogan, has no moral qualms about his nations seedy past or their present imperialist pretensions.

The Turkish president Recep Erdogan accused Israel of excessive use of force in its most recent conflict with HAMAS in Gaza.

President Erdogan accused Israel of committing genocide against the Palestinian people. He declared that “Israel has surpassed Hitler in its barbarities.”

I shall respond to those charges:

The number of dead in all of Israel’s conflicts since the 1880’s (in over 120 years of warfare) is estimated at between 100,000 and 200,000 victims of Jewish, Druze, Christian and Muslim faith. During a shorter period of recent history Turkey murdered between 1,000,000 and 1,500,000 Christian Armenians. It murdered up to 500,000 Assyrian Christians. Turkey murdered some 900,000 Greek Christians. Estimates vary but up to 3,500,000 Christians were murdered between the Armenian massacre of 1895 and the Anatolian massacre of 1922.  Up to 500,000 Kurds were murdered by Turkish nationalists

Turkey is an infamous trend-setter.  It was the rapidity with which the world forgot Turkey’s crimes against humanity that encouraged Hitler to undertake his genocidal war, a war which eventually killed over 60,000,000 people.  That is the entire population of Britain or France.  As late as 2012 it was reported in the German press that the Turkish Neo-Ottoman military gassed Kurds, yet another barely reported crime against humanity ignored by the United Nations Organization.  Turkey is guilty of ethnic cleansing, of occupying Northern Cyprus and transferring the Kurds into illegal settlements (a violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention).  In one of Turkeys more ironic crimes against humanity Kurds, forced off their own land have been transferred into land that is not theirs to settle.

Since the bloody massacres that crowned the Muslim conquest of Constantinople in 1453 Turkish Muslim rule has been an abomination of bloodshed and division, and saying sorry is rarely tolerated.  A journalist can be jailed for even referring to the past.

So excuse me if I become a little confused at Turkeys’ demands for Jewish restraint when confronted with thousands of mortar rounds and thousands more missiles deliberately fired by Arab supremacists at our civilian schools, at our civilian buses and at our civilian hospitals.

There are people, call them ‘moderates’ if you wish, they believe that being tolerant of bigots reaps a reward. They think that passion and self-censorship are unnecessary between people in conflict. They believe that trust can be achieved even after the most acrimonious of divorces and relationships can be mended over time.  They do not live in the real world where such anger as exists has an inter-generational memory seared into the consciousness of its adversaries, on both sides.

Just as the fascist left has taught many Jews and their non-Jewish supporters some important lessons about betrayal, so Israel’s relationship with the Muslim world in the Near East and beyond is approaching a crossroads.  The Left is in denial.  It has failed to address the religious element in the war between the two (Jewish and Muslim) civilizations.

Hate destroys but it also presents a warning to those people who are willing to listen. Calls from the past, calls for the rapist to attack the weak and calls from the idealist with his or her revanchist dreams are not meant to intimidate an adversary. They are messages from an enemy of their intent to demolish bridges not build them.

Israel must deliver a message that it will neither forget Turkish aggression nor will it turn the other cheek. It must begin by accepting the loss of its trade with Turkey. It should break off diplomatic relations with Turkey and not just because Turkey supports Israel’s enemies against it.  Incitement against minorities justifies its cultural dominance.  Turkey has actively encouraged the Muslim Brotherhood whether under the guise of al Qaeda, the al-Nusra Front or in its latest disguise, the Islamic State.

Israel needs Turkey as a major strategic ally, but not unless it can be trusted.

The reason that Israel has stayed clear of replacing Turkey with Greece is that Greece’s past antisemitism is both entrenched and unimpeded by any necessity it may feel warrants the establishment of closer ties.  If Israel is isolated in the world then acknowledging its own failures without complete reciprocity can neither create trust nor improve the relationship.

Sadly then, there is a perception that one of Israel's possible foreign policy options is 'that it is better to deal with the devil you know than the devil you don't.'

Unfortunately, this appeasement never works.  Turkey often behaves like a national criminal enterprise. It is the last nation in the world that should lecture Israel on ethical conduct during war-time. It is the last nation in the world that should set conditions for its participation in energy deals that profit it more than it profits Israel.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Progressivism and Radical Redemption

The spark that ignites a revolution may initially be progressive but in the aftermath of all that is created is embedded the seed for self-extinction. This is because in order to maintain the momentum of its creative spark, paradoxically, the revolution becomes reactionary, expending all of its energies strengthening its grip on a population that must be impelled to embrace the self-evident virtue of the embryonic political entity.  The rulers become bogged down in the minutiae of administration and the initial creative surge is followed by slow deterioration fed by the only thing left to them in order to retain control over the revolutions’ captive neophytes, terror. Fascism is the legacy of all revolutions and death, its inheritance. 

Note: The US and Israeli wars for independence were revolts against injustice and I would argue that they were not therefore true revolutions even if their birth surge created revolutionary changes to their societies.  But the impetus to the initial revolt was not revolutionary change but the overthrow of an oppressive master.

The central issue of the revolutionary process is that if the initial outburst is the expression of a violent ‘popular’ will and if its purpose is the overthrow of one or more tyrannies, it is inevitable that what replaces it will be another tyranny.  Idealism may drive revolution but it is often a cover for gross injustice.  As soon as it is challenged by an opposing ideology it can only justify its control by the willingness of its followers to continue to take orders.  Those people that are unwilling to follow must be excluded, marginalised even killed. Self-justification demands converts.  The greater the corruption of the cause, the higher is the price to be paid by those people that oppose it. This is how incipient religious faith develops its theological infrastructure; by sowing fear in friend and foe. 

It is ironic that while Communism may be a non-theistic faith, it remains the closest in structure to modern Islam.  Like all orthodoxies, deviation from the norm is viewed as ideological distortion and a threat to the prevalent camp.  If theology is the study of the supreme being and the attributes of divinity, then texts viewed as holy writ are to be regarded as inviolate truths and approached with appropriate reverence.

A theology that excludes the non-believer quickly adopts measures to enshrine its dominance over both public and private life. The ends cannot begin to justify the means but I can think of no revolution that has not used terror to enslave the masses even when the many embrace the terror for their own benefit against the minority.

The ends not justifying the means remains a key post-exilic, post second temple period, Jewish religious concept and it is the single most rigid reason that anti-Zionist ultra-orthodox Jews enjoy a measure of sympathy amongst ultra-orthodox communities worldwide. A state not begat by God, cannot be founded by men (and women).

Progressivism means moving forward.  It is defined as advocating progress, change and reform; viewed as moving towards an improved society and ‘therefore’ it has to oppose the status quo.  It must inevitably be measured by substantive improvement in the socio-economic conditions of its populace.  Democratic choice has no logical standing in the progressives’ revolution.  Clarity of vision demands personal subjugation to the greater ‘good’ and that can only be achieved by embracing fascism or dictatorship. Contempt for our opponents fosters dehumanization.  The increased sophistication of communication eases the commoditisation of human society.  When the granularity of existence has been reduced to the level of commodity worship, human beings become mere disposable objects. This happened in Roman times, it happened with Fascism in the 20th Century and in the 21st Century  it promises to depersonalise and objectify all human beings.

In its lust for the violent validation of its superior purpose the Islamic world could be compared with the era of western piracy that began with Henry IV of England (early in the 15th Century).  State legalised privateers engaged in acts of war but because of the privatisation of their activities this transfer of ‘services’ to the private sector effectively prevented all-out conflict from erupting between nations while successful privateers enriched the English treasury.  Exploited by governments eager to take advantage of the profits that acts of piracy generated, the down-side to this activity was the fear and destruction piracy sowed in weaker nations.

Piracy ultimately precipitated the degradation or collapse of society wherever it was tolerated.

To survive, nations were forced to rise up against it. Islamists today are being ignored in a not dissimilar, short-sighted policy of both benefit and fear.

Those people who preach hatred can rarely if ever withdraw from the language of violence.   To argue that time cools the passions of the radical thinker is to discount history, theology and the limitless influence of modern technology to reach out to poison the hearts and minds of every human being.

That fear manifests itself in the paralysis displayed by Western governments in dealing with all forms of violence. Hate is one of these violent expressions of extremism we refuse to adequately challenge.

One definition of fascism is that it is anything that is opposed to the established order. Fascism is characterised by chauvinism, authoritarianism and militant intolerance. Intellect without ethics leads in turn, to an apocalyptic betrayal of human values.  Harold James in “A German Identity 1770-1990” described progressive radicalisation as a loss of inhibition which contributes to its own momentum.  An ideocracy (a government derived from the claim to be fulfilling a supreme purpose) enables genocide to be explained away as the fulfillment of that supreme purpose. 

While Israel’s enemies often employ theocracy as justification for their prejudice, Operation Protective Edge created the excuse for an expansion (perhaps to the next level) of global antisemitism, an excuse that was masked as a protest against the war.  Radicals, hiding behind a unitary ethical conviction that has a sole victim (in Palestinians) and a multi-dimensional aggressor (in Israelis-Jews-Zionists) will never accept the concept of a war being waged by (radical) Muslim HAMAS against (Jewish) Israel.

Redemption enables the bigot to bed down with people whose usual behaviour would make them social lepers.  By equating Israel’s actions with that of World War 2 Germany not only are all debts cancelled but equally of importance, the revulsion we feel for past crimes may be transferred to a new global pariah. Redemption, like baptism, washes away not only sins of commission but also sins of omission and any future sins we hope to commit.

Redemption is a miraculous thing. In the Western world the ongoing breakdown of social order has created a radicalization of dissent.   Totalitarian political correctness has led to the cessation of cultural dialogue amongst the majority in society and a repetition of 1950’s style McCarthyism that leads to denunciation and suppression of any viewpoint running counter to the accepted political orthodoxy.  This time it is an unholy alliance of Islamists, left wing fascists, radical Greens and anti-globalisation activists who strive to exercise control over the global media.  Those of us who fight them are accused of harbouring hegemonic pretensions; it helps too, if we are Zionists. The clichéd Orwellian response of the fascist to any complaint by supporters of Israel is always to stifle our debate for the sake of their freedom of speech.

The doublespeak expresses itself most eloquently in examples such as follows: “Understanding Hamas, Hezbollah as social movements that are progressive, that are on the Left, that are part of a global Left, is extremely important.”  (Judith Butler)  When we scrutinize the ersatz philosophy of the Judith Butlers of the academic world we reveal the emptiness of the ideas they express.  It is frightening that they hold positions of intellectual authority in our universities because they are charlatans but more important than this, because they sanctify the bigot.

Zionism pictured a Jewish utopia in Palestine. Its vision was of a pluralistic, technologically advanced, secular society with equality for all.  Zionism, by its utopian nature was naïve. Nevertheless, its founding vision remains the only true progressive vision for the Near-East.  The question that remains is how to counter the reactionary totalitarian response to it as the anti-Israel movement bares its antisemitic teeth and builds a momentum fuelled by Muslim immigration and a ‘progressive’ fascist disinformation war that Israel has, until recently, refused to acknowledge, let alone engage.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Palestine & the UN a Deal made in Hell

If Palestinian demands are a problem for Israel, it is only because we are trapped on a merry-go-round of Arab creation that defines the conflict in terms of singular Arab injustice without reference to our own past.  There are those who view all history as no more than a point of view. The fascists will remind us that one persons history is another persons mythology.  That is no more than cant, humbug and an ethically neutral convenience for fools.  Nor is history the mistranslation of historical documents to suit a particular narrative preference. That is the stuff from which an Orwellian future controlled by bigots is made.   A brief recap of history – from our side is therefore in order.

In 634 CE the conquest of Israel began with Mohammed’s successor Abu Bakr.  What imperial Rome had begun, the Arab horde finished.  Co-existence which was, until the 7th Century CE a relatively (usually) benign accommodation between native Jews and Christians was substituted for an Arab conquest that rapidly left the land desolate, lawless, a place of destruction and despair.  But the Arab conquerors built some nice mosques (such as the Dome of the Rock). A conquering power stamps its domination on a nations psyche by creating an architecturally imposing physical presence.   While the indigenous Israelites starved it was important to supplant the local ethnic cultural symbols with those of the replacement authority.

In spite of the Roman destruction, Christian dominance, the Muslim degradation of minorities under its control, successive invasions by (in order of conquest): Arab Caliphates, Crusaders, Ayyubids, Mamluks, Ottomans and finally, the British Mandate for Palestine, Jews never completely abandoned Israel.  It has always been our spiritual home even when, as a minority in Israel, we were persecuted.

The return to Israel has been continuous, hampered only by natural disasters and human infamy. Starting with the Karaites in the Tenth Century CE, Jews returned in relatively large numbers all the way through to what is termed “The First Aliyah” in 1882.   The ‘other’ immigration that as a consequence of Jewish immigration accelerated once Britain took control of the territory was the Arab immigration to Palestine. Up to half a million people slipped into Palestine while Britain tried it’s hardest to keep Jews out, even as the Shoah cast its deadly shadow over European Jewry. 

Three important statements that we must never forget but equally important, that we must never allow anyone else to forget:  

  • The imprimatur of United Nations (UN) approval was important but not crucial to the creation of modern Israel. 
  • The State of Israel would have been born without international approval marking as it did the Jewish expression of self-determination in opposition to Arab oppression. 
  • With the Declaration of Independence by Israel on May 14, 1948 the Jewish intifada against Muslim colonial rule came to an end.
But in response to this successful revolution against Arab colonial oppression the UN created a time-bomb.  In an unprecedented act of cynical inhumanity, one that has not been repeated since, the UN created a bogus Palestinian identity that with the slightest irony, included Jewish Israelis (but for a couple of years only).

UNRWA (United Nations Relief Works Agency) defines a Palestinian refugee as a person "whose normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict. The descendants of Palestine refugee males, including legally adopted children, are also eligible for registration.

Incredible but true. What this means is that an Egyptian, Iraqi or in truth, a British or American migrant worker who arrived in Israel at the age of 47 and resided there sometime between 1st June 1946 and 15th May 1948 automatically became a Palestinian citizen by right. How they proved that residence is not apparent nor does it appear to have ever been a requirement. If 66 years later (in August 2014) a wealthy Palestinian family living for the last three generations in Qatar adopts a Polynesian infant, that same infant becomes a Palestinian refugee and is entitled to every benefit UNRWA’s refugee status bestows.

I am not going to say that this identity is not now legitimate or that their persecution by their Muslim brothers and sisters is not just unfair but cynical and immoral.  A conspiracy by Israel’s enemies have made them a tragic people – and helped all Arabs be something they are not.  They are not victims of Western colonialism, they are victims of Islamic indifference to fate; an instrument with which to attack the non-Arab peoples in their midst.

Some time ago Palestinian supporters in the West were accusing Israel (and her supporters) of the twin charges of 1) genocide and 2) suppressing the rights of ten million Palestinians.  When coupled with the accusation of genocide a 1,300 percent increase in population, over 50 years, was at best problematic. It did not make for good propaganda.  UNRWA’s current position is that after 66 years there are five million Palestinians under its care.  It would be interesting to hear from the UN what the justification is for losing some five million “refugees.”

Palestinian identity is eternal, or at least until they destroy the Jewish state.  But this also assumes that the Arab states, in the afterglow of their anticipated success, permit the Palestinians their own state.  Eternal Palestinian victim-hood means ‘a free ride’, money from out of the pockets of the 19 Western nations that fund the UN and the right never to be master or mistress of their own fate.  The Muslim world is happy because it is a distraction from their crimes. Palestinians receive ten pounds (dollars) for every pound (dollar) that Africa’s refugees receive. The logical conclusion is that Arab lives are worth ten times that of black refugees.  It is an unpleasant claim to appease but then how else to explain the global silence as Muslims ethnically cleanse every minority they gain control over? 

This is not a class – race distraction ‘fuelled by western imperialism’ or any other cliché the politically correct ‘jury’ likes to throw around as an accusation against the West. Nor is it a matter of white on non-white indifference.  The UN is controlled by a coalition of what is bizarrely referred to as “developing nations,” bizarre because this bloc of nations includes the world’s wealthiest oil-drenched dictatorships.  The UN is manipulated through the malevolent offices of the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation), the largest political bloc at the UN.  When churches, temples or synagogues are destroyed, no UN agency utters a syllable in protest.  When ancient treasures of beauty and antiquity are obliterated there is an uninterrupted but deafening silence which is only ever pierced by cries of indignation, mutilation and the death of many, many innocents, none of them Islamic, when the Muslim prophet Mohammed is allegedly insulted.   Such breathtakingly cynical behaviour is the reason the UN is the precision propaganda weapon the Muslim world is able to so successfully employ against Israel and it is not only Israel’s problem but one for the rest of humanity. While the UN continues to exist, international political cooperation is no more than a market place for thugs.  Cynical exploitation by rival power blocs resides in the abuse of people to the benefit of narrow sectarian agendas.  But there is a simple solution to the dilemma created by the existence of the benighted UN.

If only nations that shared full diplomatic relations with their adversaries were able to put forward agenda items or resolutions that affected either of the parties in conflict the UN in its current form, as an instrument of propaganda, might cease to exist.

Israel must first tackle the institutional bias against it inside the UN, before it will be able to resolve the conflict between it and the Arab nation.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hamas and Political Legitimacy

We are always told that it is better to deal with “the devil you know than the devil you don’t”. Put another way, given the example of the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq or civil war in Syria, the known is always preferable to the unknown?

It is a statement too often expressed.  I do not understand why.

HAMAS is a reactionary Muslim fundamentalist political entity. It has what I call a “Hitler Complex”.

This means that HAMAS is so sure of its own theological infallibility it is willing to sacrifice its own population in a destructive war to first humiliate its enemy and then, to destroy it, utterly.  It does not view the suffering of its people as an issue nor is time a factor for consideration in how long is needed to achieve victory.  The only possible issue that may make HAMAS pause, but never stop, is the possibility of being overthrown. In order to achieve victory HAMAS must retain control, which is why they executed dozens of ordinary Palestinians for protesting against the war being waged from their front yards.

Ben Caspit, writing in Ma’ariv on the 14th of August explained the HAMAS strategy thus: No agreement is possible unless it is on their terms, no deterrence will affect their goal. The Islamic nation must govern Palestine “From the River to the Sea”.  It’s supporters in the West are often heard in demonstrations chanting this genocidal slogan. Ben Caspit concludes by stating that “The only way to break the cycle of conflict is by removing the irritant completely.”

HAMAS have fought a war of attrition (with mortars, missiles and terror attacks) against Israel since their consolidation of rule in Gaza in 2007.  Between the Palestinian Authority and HAMAS there was little choice. The PA was and is a racist, misogynistic and hate driven organisation fuelled by greed.  It has received billions of dollars in aid since its formal return from exile.  Exchanging a secular but corrupt government with a theocratic but corrupt government was at best, unfortunate.  Major-General (res.) Giora Eiland (former head of Israel's National Security Council) writing in an Op-ed that was published in Ynet news on the fifth of August stated that Gazans are to blame for their situation just like Germans were to blame for electing Hitler.

It is certainly sad but true.  And the PA is no more deserving of trust now than when it lost control of Gaza to HAMAS.

The issue for Israel is that it seems incapable of fighting this war with any strategy that extends beyond the next military flare up. Its international Hasbara efforts are barely discernible and its professional cadre of PR people are almost incapable of scoring points in the propaganda war when dealing with hostile news agencies or journalists.    

Israel’s victory in Operation Protective Edge must be absolute. HAMAS must be overthrown.  Israel has to address the psychological war being waged against all of us, and not only the war being waged against Israel.   The threat of an expanding boycott is meant to ensure that Israel’s military victory is a Pyrrhic victory.  By demoralising Israel’s supporters and demonstrating the steadfastness of opposition to the Jewish state it is a reminder to Israel and all of us in the Diaspora of our vulnerability.

Resurgent antisemitism? This is our punishment for ‘disobedience’. There is much criticism on the Left about Israel’s own issue of religious intolerance and the ‘Settlements’, and not just outside Israel.  Israel has its fair share of near-sighted policies.  By not confronting religious intolerance, by not rejecting any attempt to impose a narrow particularistic template on society we encourage social exclusion, not diversity.  But by ignoring religious issues in the greater Near-East we do ourselves no favours. Islam is a deeply hostile, colonialist faith and unless we draw attention to this fact we cannot negotiate as equals.

Dealing with the political issue first will not defuse the religious issues because they are intertwined.  When Jews, as Israeli’s, are informed that Jerusalem is a Jewish fiction, that they have no rights other than as ‘paying tourists’ then this is more than a negotiating tactic. It is contemptuous disregard for over a thousand years of persecution under Islam and three thousand years of Jewish history.

In historical terms Judaism is not a colonialist faith, nor is Zionism. Zionism was guilty of incredible naivety in thinking that a Jewish-Arab Utopia was possible or that radicals on the Arab-Muslim political-religious continuum would ever accept Jewish self-determination.  But after 47 years in Judea and Samaria the lack of political will in policing the settlement enterprise has demonstrated to both Israeli’s and the outside world that the radicals are allowed to control the agenda.   That is not colonialism. It is political cowardice and an unforgivable ignorance of history.  Whether territory is disputed or occupied loses relevance as a legal term when the political will to control unregulated settlement is completely absent. That is when the term ‘colonialism’ becomes difficult to argue against.

Israel has failed to address the centrality of an antisemitic narrative to Muslim - Arab negotiations.  When it is clearly an everyday part of social discourse it is inevitable that it will seep into and inexorably suffuse the negotiating position of Israel’s enemies. Under circumstances such as these an enemy negotiating from a position of perceived international political advantage can not be trusted.

What is important is how we behave within our separate societies.  Trust has to be developed.  If we cannot explain the injustice that we have internalised how can we explain it to the doubters within the international community?

To return to the question of HAMAS, I can only repeat what Ben Caspit expressed. When an enemy is determined to break you, negotiations become no more than an interim tactic as part of an overall strategy of fighting an unequal war.  To this there can only be one reasonable response. You break them. The question of what may replace them becomes irrelevant. Of greater importance is how quickly, to quote Caspit, can we safely excise the irritant?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

How the BBC and Sky News side with HAMAS

Prior to the kidnapping of three Israeli seminarians a poll showed support for HAMAS at an all time low of 15%.  It acquiesced to a one-sided reconciliation agreement, signed in Cairo, with its also corrupt Palestinian Authority rival.  HAMAS received no ceremonial or actual positions in the new Authority ‘coalition’; it received no financial benefit. With this new agreement Gaza’s 40,000 HAMAS employees did not receive a single penny in contribution towards their salary bill.  It signed a piece of paper which we can assume they hoped would facilitate HAMAS infiltration into their rival’s power base. The aim was surely to eventually seize political control of the Palestinian Authority. 

In its past Gaza received cash, supplies and weaponry from Egypt, Turkey, Qatar (its principal fundraiser) and Iran (its main military supplier).   HAMAS was founded as an offshoot of the Egyptian racist, fascist political organization known as The Muslim Brotherhood.  But Egypt was fundamentally destabilized by the Muslim Brotherhood.  So when el-Sisi seized control he outlawed it.  He then blocked all funds to HAMAS (which had contributed to Egypt’s problems by its activities in the Sinai), shutting down the thousand or so tunnels that made Gaza’s military and political elite enormously wealthy amidst Gaza’s poverty. 

Qatar, without the tunnels was unable to transfer its funds to HAMAS while Iran has found it increasingly difficult to successfully smuggle weapons into Gaza.  The closure of tunnels made the task almost impossible.  During Operation Protective Edge Turkey exported ball bearings to Gaza amongst a civilian transport passing through Israel. Israel refused it because there was only one use in time of conflict for ball bearings and that was in fragmentation weapons that would kill large numbers of people.

It is against this background that HAMAS refused the offer by Israel not to escalate the cold war into a military conflagration.  It realized that it had nothing to lose and everything perhaps to gain by eliciting international support.  Support it needed for the lifting of the siege against it and the opening of a sea-port and airport under its control. It violated or refused seven separate ceasefires offered or accepted unconditionally by Israel.  HAMAS was desperate and desperate regimes are dangerous to themselves and their people.

It is estimated that Israel destroyed two thirds of Gaza’s military infrastructure and a similar percentage of its missiles.

And now a controversial statement:

The main barrier to the overthrow of HAMAS is the support shown by the press against Israel, a support that barely exists at this time in most of the Arab world but is growing throughout the Western World.

On the evening of August the 9th I listened to the British Broadcasting Commission. The BBC is funded by obligatory public taxation and is the largest News organization in the world. I also listened to Britain’s Sky News.  Both had extensive reports on the ongoing conflict between HAMAS and Israel.  Referring to what one of them labelled “the so called Humanitarian ceasefire” their video extracts emphasized the injured children on the Palestinian side. If I had not known better I would have been sold to the Palestinian cause.  In both cases the reports were crafted to eke out maximum sympathy for Gaza and the Palestinian people while reviling their Israeli ‘tormentors’. The BBC made clear by its report that it sided with Gaza (HAMAS).  The BBC ended its Gaza tale stating that after all the years of siege, HAMAS would not return to the “quiet” of the past without a lifting of that siege.

It is a perfectly reasonable statement in the aftermath of the devastation and loss of life.  One can never complain about the professionalism of either news outlet. The pathos was exquisite.  But both the BBC and Sky at that time behaved as activists for genocide. They erased the Islamist ideology, the aggressive military stance of HAMAS and the ethnic cleansing of Southern Israel.

They ignored the genocidal anti-Jewish rhetoric that suffuses Palestinian society and that Palestinian Arab children receive from kindergarten through to adulthood. 

As none of this is mentioned in any British news reporting HAMAS is rehabilitated rather than being damned.  Sky News led with a long interview with a paralyzed seven year old girl.  Her interview was eloquent and heart breaking. The interview was inaccurate and the reporter refused to take any questions from Israel afterwards even though his journalistic integrity is clearly in doubt.  Israel is damned by its deliberate exclusion from the narrative and Sky News won kudos for an excellent piece of tragic theater.

And then we have Channel 4 News which has its own special reputation for unbridled pro-Arab news reporting.  On the evening of August 11th Channel 4 News broadcast a clip on the desperate situation in Iraq.  They managed to completely subvert the message by overlaying a voice recording about four teenagers in Gaza, downplaying the significance of the Iraqi crisis while focusing on Israeli actions. I would not have thought it was possible.

So it is realistic to say that at least in the UK the press has abandoned all impartiality.  Its eagerness to draw us into one sided video presentations on Palestinian victim-hood against an evil Israeli juggernaut is professionally skillful even as it overlooks Palestinian complicity.

It is ironic that the real genocide happening in Israel’s neighborhood cannot be prevented without troops on the ground and air strikes that will inevitably kill many innocent civilians in Iraq.   But in the UK reports on the Yezidi genocide are sanitized, laundered so that what we see are geometrically ordered pictures of men in non-descript uniforms waving black flags while smiling sweetly for the cameras.  These same smiling heroes of Islamic supremacy in Iraq and beyond have crucified Christians, buried women and babies alive and while not independently verified, beheaded babies, filling a park with their spiked macabre trophies. IS (the fighters of “the Islamic State”) have lined up hundreds of civilians in ditches and murdered them just like the Nazis did in WW2. It is irrelevant whether IS’s victims are Assyrian Christians (Chaldean), Jewish, Kurdish, Yezidi, Turkmen, African, Mandaean, or even the wrong kind of Muslim. This black flag waving army of evil are storm troopers for the Muslim Brotherhood, al Qaeda, al Shabab, Boko Haram, Hezbollah and HAMAS.  Their provenance is a dishonorable line stretching back all the way down to 6th Century Arabia and they are as always an ever present tool of Muslim conquest.  But in the Western World we say very little in case we offend them!

None of what the Islamic State, Boko Haram et al is capable of committing compares though, according to Britain’s news networks, with acts of Israeli self-defense and juxtaposing this, Palestine’s slick cinematic pathos, fabricated film footage and scenes of devastation in Gaza.   There is a distressing visual impact to bombardment but Israel is at war and only a collaborationist thinks that turning the other cheek will make HAMAS or the Palestinians happy.  They want our heads.

So a reminder then.  HAMAS is an acronym for the Islamic Resistance Movement. HAMAS believes in a Hudna or temporary cease-fire to last ten years.  During this time Israel will withdraw to the pre-1967 disengagement borders.  Israel will permit all people classified as refugees by the UN to return to Israel. HAMAS affirms the right to establish an Islamic state in the area that is Israel, Gaza, Judea and Samaria (renamed in 1950 after its conquest by Jordan as “the West Bank”).  HAMAS remains committed to Israel’s destruction.

If HAMAS was weak and failing prior to Operation Protective Edge it is news networks such as the BBC, Sky News and Britain’s Channel 4 News that are now propping them up. As such they are responsible for killing Palestinian children.  It is they who give succor to an organization that willingly sacrifices its own women and children for the dream of annihilating the Jews, one of the many existential enemies it would wish to destroy.

If HAMAS provides the rocket fire that has violated seven cease-fires (in the current campaign) then Britain’s Left wing fascist press is guilty of War Crimes, by giving oxygen to this murderous organization.

If HAMAS provides the theater, Sky News, the BBC and Britain’s Channel 4 News provide the global audience.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Gaza and the Lessons Israel Must Learn

During the last few weeks I have been struggling to write anything about Gaza because I have been overwhelmed by the huge quantity of articles and emails relating to this, the third hot conflict to take place between Israel and HAMAS in six years.  What has transpired since the hot war began on July 8th should not have surprised anyone because the so called “cold war” has been ongoing since HAMAS seized power in 2007.

The problem I have with the global reaction to the Israeli campaign is that the world remained silent as approximately 15,000 missiles and mortar rounds were fired indiscriminately, at Israel, and all this since Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005.  Referring to the IS assault on Mosul and the flight of Christians from Iraq the world remained silent according to Patrick Coburn, (no friend of Israel) who, writing in The Independent said “It is the greatest mass flight of Christians in the Middle East since the Armenian massacres and the expulsion of Christians from Turkey during and after the First World War.”  Between 170,000 and 200,000 people have been slaughtered in Syria during the Syrian Civil War but Muslim and anti-war demonstrators have been all but silent throughout. The world has conveniently ignored over 10,000 Black people (mostly Christians) killed in Nigeria – and no-one mentions the hundreds of girls who were kidnapped there anymore. There are more conflicts that we have similarly ignored – either due to Muslim ‘sensitivity’ or for some other inexplicable, likely racist reason.

Another problem, as I referred to in my previous blog, is that there exists a pattern of condemnation and non-debate representing a relentless campaign of condemnation of Israel and an incessant assault on our senses.  This silence on the central role played by Gaza’s Muslim fundamentalists in ethnic cleansing and war crimes is not so mystifying when we understand the thought processes that afflict Gaza’s Western co-conspirators.  This silence should not surprise us even when actions from Gaza into Israel are clearly manufactured to cause as many civilian casualties as possible.  If a maximalist theology such as Islamism, views any casualty as no more than a sacrifice for the glorification of Islam then neither Israeli nor Palestinian lives are of any importance. Islam refers to itself as the religion of peace but its fundamentalist adherents have a frightening enthusiasm for what one article aptly described as “the human sacrifice of Gaza’s people on the altar of radical, Islamic ideology.”

There are five clear points to be made when looking at Operation Protective Edge.  Israel should have understood this and taken all of the following into account well before the current conflict erupted.

1.       The nation that controls the streaming of news to the outside world will win the propaganda war and as a consequence, the peace that follows on from the ceasefire. 
2.       Not everyone has the tools or the energy that is needed to defend themselves against incessant media attacks on Israel. Jews who have traditionally been Israel’s most fervent supporters are increasingly divided because of how Israel is portrayed in the media. It does not help that Jewish Uncle Toms become ever more vociferous in their condemnation of not only Israel but also ‘partisan’ Jewish support in the Diaspora.
3.        Diplomatic attacks on Israel increase with frequency and greater visibility as Palestinian casualties rise.  Politicians scramble to win votes from disgruntled Muslim and pro-Muslim voters.   Diplomatic isolation will encourage those people who call for Israel to be economically isolated.
4.       An asymmetric war is a war between belligerents with one side significantly weaker than the other.  Civilians become both willing and unwilling participants in battle, which in the case of Israel-HAMAS is fought in an urban environment.  Women and children become human shields for Arab fighters who quickly retire from the field of engagement. They deliberately leave the civilians to suffer the greatest proportion of the casualties while HAMAS fighters safely hide in those closeted underground shelters meant only for them.
5.        Active or passive collaboration by UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) has resulted in UN funded clinics being rigged with explosives to kill, UNRWA staff being active HAMAS operatives and operating from schools, clinics and hospitals. Know your enemy.

I want to put forward my impressions, from afar; my lessons for any future conflicts that Israel must deal with.  The sentences in quotation marks (excepting the Quote from the founder of the Huffington Post) come from an exhibition on propaganda, power and persuasion that took place at the British Library in London, England.

1.            “Using appropriate symbolism can generate deep psychological resonances.” When pictures of devastation and death are prominently displayed people do not care how many terrorists are embedded within Gaza’s civilian population, or that they use human shields as a matter of tactical military design.  Nor will they be interested in the niceties of international war crimes statutes which declare that it is illegal for a combatant to wear civilian clothing when engaged in hostile military activity.

 “Too many reporters have forgotten that the highest calling of journalists is to ferret out the truth, consequences be damned.” Arianna Huffington

2.            The truth is unimportant – only the sound bite counts.  “Decide on your message and stick to it, repeating it in as many different media as you can mobilize.”
3.      Israeli babies and Israeli children, brutally murdered by Palestinians, have been deliberately re-labelled as Gazan victims of the Israeli assault and then, their pictures forwarded, in some instances, hundreds of thousands of times, as proof of Israeli cruelty. The modern media is instantaneous, has no scruples and rarely apologies for its errors.    Even when it is forced to make amends it is by then too late to have any impact.  Initial impressions are what stick while afterthoughts are predictably disregarded.
4.            “Be selective about the truth. Control how and when information is released. Ensure only stories that support your position are reported.”  A picture tells a thousand stories. It is a cliché but nevertheless, in propaganda, it is truth.  HAMAS has willingly sacrificed hundreds of its own people in the current conflict and that is a tactical decision as well.  Every televised act of destruction, every picture of a wounded or dead child acts to create a lasting impression of unforgiving brutality.

There are eight issues:

1.      The bigots and their purveyors of hate will always tell you that we (the Zionists) control the media.  Gosh, wouldn’t it be nice if it was true? But it never has been. I once discussed this same issue with a senior Sikh manager at British Telecom plc (where I worked for many years).  He told me that ‘the Jews’ controlled the global press. I said if that was true, how is it possible that Germany was able to incite Germans against their Jewish compatriots and how was it possible that the Shoah was ‘permitted’ to occur? He looked momentarily sheepish and then recovering, he said “I meant that since the end of WW2….”  You cannot convince a racist that they are at fault, you can only isolate them.

2.      People are offended when Jews label another person or group ‘Nazi,’ as if once they were defeated the toxic entity that ruled Germany between 1933 and 1945 was banished forever.  The difference between fascism and Nazism is that the former may express an attitude of contempt for a minority but does not necessarily use violence as a means of controlling society. The latter expresses an exterminationist doctrine. HAMAS is a Nazi organization.  If its target group are all Jews, it does not mean that like the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS or ISIL), it will not turn on Christians and every other minority within its territory once it has disposed of us.

It may be argued that this war was inevitable given both the blockade of Gaza by Israel and Egypt, and continuous missile attacks from Gaza into Israel that preceded the initial blockade.  Most Israelis do not believe that Israel provoked the conflict but are certain that its military tried to minimize enemy casualties. We are frequently reminded by those people who want us punished that Gaza’s civilian population democratically chose HAMAS to govern them.  Gaza’s civilian population voted into power a Muslim Nazi political party.  Time and again it has expressed a desire to kill every Jew and not just those in Israel.  It is a message we should convey to reporters at every briefing or interview (but we fail to do it).

3.      It must be emphasized that HAMAS rules Gaza with an iron fist. It may not be lobbing missiles and mortar rounds into Israel but if it rules Gaza by right then it is obligated to exercise control over those other groups that have fired rounds into Israeli territory.  Governments cannot ‘have it both ways’.  In November 2012 when Operation Pillar of Defense came to an end HAMAS operatives did not fire any further missiles at Israel.  During 2013 five missiles per month on average, were fired at Israel but between January and June 2014 this increased to 33 missiles hitting Israeli territory each month.  This is, by definition, ethnic cleansing and each indiscriminately fired missile, a war crime.  Israel could never relax while missiles were being sent across its southern borders.  Sovereign authority, which HAMAS claims to exercise in Gaza, means that it is responsible for any weapons fired from its territory.

We seem reluctant to remind people that the estimated 600,000 tons of cement HAMAS  diverted from civilian projects was used instead to build a myriad of underground warrens to protect its ‘fighters’, to store offensive weapons and to launch attacks against Israeli civilian targets.  Those thirty two known tunnels that were extended into Israel were a legitimate casus belli for Israel’s Gaza assault.

4.      Michael Walzer explained the rule of proportionality thus:  “If you are aiming at military targets (rocket launchers, for example) and know that your attack will also cause civilian casualties (collateral damage), you must make sure that the number of dead or injured civilians is "not disproportionate" to the value of the military target. Needless to say, this is a highly subjective calculation and has rarely been much of a limit on military attacks: This target is very valuable, the generals say; almost any number of civilian deaths is justifiable. Nor has proportionality provided much of a guideline for moral judgments: Even a very low number of civilian deaths, the moralists say, are disproportionate and a war crime.”

It is that final sentence that creates the dream situation for HAMAS and the nightmare for Israel.

5.      After the Meir Amit Intelligence and Information Center (ITIC) published a list of hundreds of names of militants killed in the current conflict that same evening Gaza’s ministry of the interior issued a warning to all Palestinians not to divulge information about terrorist operatives killed in Operation Protective Edge.  The New York Times explained the debate thus: “The difference between roughly half the dead being combatants, in the Israeli version, or barely 10 percent, to use the most stark numbers on the other side, is wide enough to change the characterization of the conflict.”

HAMAS talks with one voice. All casualty figures are released via the HAMAS run Ministry of Health.  HAMAS does not draw a distinction between civilians and combatants. It categorizes all victims as civilian.  The Times of London analyzed the available data and showed that the age group of 20 to 29 years was “most likely to be militants”.  9% of Gaza fits this age group but 34% of the killed fitted into this age-group.  Other analyses put the militant deaths as high as 62% (based on fighting age alone).   HAMAS are alleged to have “executed” dozens of civilians for protesting against the war and dozens more accused of being collaborators (often grudge killings).    Then there are the misfires, the most infamous taking place at the Shifa hospital, plus at least two school ‘accidents.’  The following pattern would be amusing if it was not so tragic. The furore over a misfired rocket killing “dozens of civilians” and sparking outrage from presidents, prime-ministers, the secretary general of the UN and human rights commissioners subsides within a day if an Arab misfire is suspected but drags on for many days until the next alleged atrocity if it is the result of an Israeli strike.

6.      Many journalists have now admitted that they were hostages to HAMAS during the time they spent in Gaza.  Journalists not considered to be sympathetic to Israel have nevertheless reported that missiles were fired from densely populated civilian areas and that journalists were deliberately detained during military actions while HAMAS directed fire at Israel.  Most reported their plight only once they had left Gaza.

7.     The UN refuses to shut down what has become the largest (and arguably, the most corrupt) organisation inside the UN with some 30,000 staff (many of them HAMAS operatives).  UNRWA does not work for the benefit of the Palestinian people nor does it work to resolve conflict. It is an essential weapon in the war of attrition waged internationally against Israel by the Muslim – Arab world.

In an article in the New York Times, internal dissent and “open discourse” about the conflict were listed as two of the casualties in Israel resulting from Operation Protective Edge. 

8.      During a time of war or imminent threat we pull together to help and support each other. It is a human survival strategy and not as the New York Times bizarrely referred to it.  But the strategy which ensured that politicians kept their individual as well as collective mouths shut during the offensive failed when it came to Moshe Feiglin.  What anyone thinks of Feiglin is irrelevant. What he said was so controversial that it deflected attention away from the conflict and potentially, he created divisions within Israeli society at a time when the nation needed to be unified.

He should have been sacked from his post of Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and expelled from the Likud.  It should still happen.

In summary, you cannot win a conflict if your focus is on one threat at a time. The civilian campaign is both voluntary and coerced. It includes as its foot soldiers a whole swathe of the international press as well as Muslim and pro-Muslim – “anti-Zionist” activists in the West.  For the next round Israel must take all of this into account. It must begin working on strategies to defeat this enemy now.