Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Another knife-wielding Pal Arab teenage girl, another pointless, terror-driven death - by Arnold Roth

...It's simply their culture, and a matter about which, when the subject comes up, they are proud. The rest of us, at least some of us, can't shake from our minds the thought of a society living among us and right next to us that literally weaponizes its children, hijacking their education and wiping thoughts of a better future from their young brains, replacing them with a diabolical vision of the redemptive power of martyrdom.

Dead Pal Arab children are the logical culmination of a process that 
starts in their schools and homes. Scene from the wildly successful
Pal Arab video "Birds of Paradise" [Image Source]
Arnold/Frimet Roth..
This Ongoing War..
24 May '16..

Monday afternoon and the pattern of Arab-on-Israeli terror attacks appears to be in one of its quieter phases. But it's a deceptive quiet.

On Jerusalem's northern edge, where the Arab villages of Biddu and Beit Iksa meet the security barrier, a woman approaches a security checkpoint. Police of the Mishmar Hagvul (Border Guard) watch her warily and when she pulls a knife out of some hidden recess and brandishes it at them, they are probably thinking back - fast - to the training which seeks to prepare them for attacks of this sort.

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Updates throughout the day at http://calevbenyefuneh.blogspot.com. If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.Twitter updates at LoveoftheLand as well as our Love of the Land page at Facebook which has additional pieces of interest besides that which is posted on the blog. Also check-out This Ongoing War by Frimet and Arnold Roth. An excellent blog, very important work as well as a big vote to follow our good friend Kay Wilson on Twitter.
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(Part II) Adjusting the Moral Compass - by Vic Rosenthal

A Palestinian terrorist who tried to murder a Jew ended up dead. It’s war. Stuff happens in war. Get over it.


Vic Rosenthal..
Abu Yehuda..
24 May '16..
Link: http://abuyehuda.com/2016/05/adjusting-the-moral-compass-part-ii/

…European universalist ethics no longer promotes the survival of cultures that espouse it in the environment that is present-day Europe. We certainly see in present-day Europe all of the above responses to this pressure: adaptation, migration and cultural failure. – Part I

This is even more true for Israel. A nation-state whose moral code is based on the idea that all men are brothers will not survive in the Middle East. It needs to operate according to more tribalistic moral principles, in which the welfare of its own culture and people are given priority over others.

What are the practical implications of such a change to our moral principles?

The case of Elor Azaria provides a starting point. Azaria shot dead an already ‘neutralized’ Palestinian terrorist. This was a violation of standing orders as expressed in the IDFs code of ethics, which explicitly forbids harming prisoners of war.

In his defense Azaria argued that he believed the terrorist may have been wearing a suicide vest. But the military prosecutor, the Defense Minister and other officials apparently did not believe him.

When he was indicted for manslaughter, there were large demonstrations in various parts of the country calling for him to be freed. I suspect that many of the participants didn’t believe him either, but nevertheless they felt strongly that he was not guilty of a crime in any event. I believe they were thinking something like this:

Here is a 19 year-old soldier whom we have entrusted with protecting us, and whose job makes him a target at all times, even when he’s waiting for a bus. We send him into combat in places like Gaza or Lebanon where our tactics of doing everything possible to avoid civilian casualties put him at great risk of becoming a casualty himself.

Palestinian terrorists have been murdering Jews on our streets at random, and this one has just stabbed and tried to murder his fellow soldier. The terrorist will receive medical treatment and be incarcerated in a safe and relatively comfortable prison with other terrorists, until he is released in exchange for a hostage or because the PLO has told the American president that freeing terrorists will lead to ‘peace’ negotiations.

Meanwhile, our soldiers will continue to be targets and have to operate among restrictions designed to protect terrorists.

Perhaps Azaria violated orders. But in a larger sense, what he did was not wrong. The position we place our soldiers in is wrong.

This is a perfect example of the tension between the concern for the ‘other’ – in this case a deadly enemy – that is built into what I called ‘European universalist morality’, and our own need to protect ourselves. There are several asymmetries here: Palestinian terrorists are not bound to obey rules protecting civilians or prisoners; indeed, they prefer soft targets when possible. When they are caught they are treated well and often released to continue their activities. They act according to a genocidal ideology in which every Jew is a target for murder, while our soldiers are required to behave like policemen and ‘detain’ a ‘suspect’ who has ‘rights’ that must be protected.

In this case, not only was the shooter, Azaria, charged with a crime, but several IDF officers at the scene were reprimanded for failing to provide prompt medical care for the wounded terrorist.

Pitting Israel’s faith in democracy against the views of its military brass - by Bret Stephens

...The idea of a military coup in today’s Israel is preposterous. But it says something about the arrogance of Mr. Bergman and his military sources that they should think of themselves as impartial guardians of the national interest—as they see it—or that they should so brazenly dismiss the ideological, religious or electoral considerations that are the stuff of democracy. It was Israel’s security establishment, led by talented former officers such as Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak, that led Israelis down the bloody cul-de-sac formerly called the peace process. If their views are no longer regarded as sacrosanct, it’s a sign of Israel’s political maturity, not decline.


Bret Stephens..
Wall Street Journal..
22 May '16..

Netanyahu Against the Generals

In 2012 a former New York Times reporter named Patrick Tyler published an invidious book called “Fortress Israel,” the point of which was that the Jewish state is a modern-day Sparta whose “sabra military elite” is addicted to war.

“Six decades after its founding,” Mr. Tyler wrote, Israel “remains in thrall to an original martial impulse, the depth of which has given rise to succeeding generations of leaders who are stunted in their capacity to wield or sustain diplomacy as a rival to military strategy.” Worse, these leaders do this “reflexively and instinctively, in order to perpetuate a system of governance where national policy is dominated by the military.”

Israel’s reflexive militarists are at it again, though probably not as Mr. Tyler imagined. Last week, Moshe Ya’alon, a former army chief of staff and a member of the ruling Likud party, resigned as defense minister following ructions regarding the appropriate role of the military in political life. In his place, the prime minister intends to appoint Avigdor Lieberman, a right-wing political brawler whose military career never went higher than corporal rank.

The spat between the prime minister and Mr. Ya’alon began in late March, after an Israeli soldier named Elor Azariah shot and killed a Palestinian man who was lying wounded and motionless on the ground after trying to stab another soldier. Sgt. Azariah is now standing trial for manslaughter and faces up to 20 years in prison. Video of the killing suggests the wounded Palestinian was no threat to the soldiers when the sergeant put a bullet in his head.

The killing has been emphatically—and rightly—condemned by Israel’s military brass. But Israelis also have little sympathy for Palestinians trying to stick knives into their sons and daughters, and Messrs. Netanyahu and Lieberman have offered expressions of support for Sgt. Azariah and his family, to the applause of the Israeli right and the infuriation of senior generals. As often as not in Israel, military leaders and security officials are to the left of the public and their civilian leadership.

If that were the end of the story, you might have a morality tale about Mr. Netanyahu’s political instincts. Or you might have a story about the high ethical standards to which Israel holds itself. What you don’t have is anything resembling a mindlessly belligerent “sabra military elite” that wants to kill helpless (though not innocent) Palestinians to protect its own.

But that isn’t the end of the story. At a ceremony marking Holocaust Remembrance Day earlier this month, Yair Golan, Israel’s deputy chief of staff, compared trends in Israeli society to Germany in the 1930s. When Mr. Netanyahu rebuked him—correctly—for defaming Israel and cheapening the memory of the Holocaust, Mr. Ya’alon leapt to the general’s defense and told officers that they should feel free to speak their minds in public. Hence his ouster.

What BBC audiences aren’t told, but should be told about the UNHRC - by Hadar Sela

...information which BBC audiences obviously need to know in order to be able to put statements such as the one ... from Bryant into their correct context and its inclusion in the BBC’s profile of the UN would be a good place to start.

Hadar Sela..
BBC Watch..
24 May '16..

Readers may recall that in February 2016 the BBC’s UN correspondent Nick Bryant told listeners to BBC World Service radio that:

“The Israelis always believe that they are victimized at the UN; that they are singled out unfairly; that they are isolated…”

Bryant did not however provide BBC audiences with any relevant factual information which would enable them to understand the reality behind his portrayal of what Israelis “always believe”.

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Updates throughout the day at http://calevbenyefuneh.blogspot.com. If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.Twitter updates at LoveoftheLand as well as our Love of the Land page at Facebook which has additional pieces of interest besides that which is posted on the blog. Also check-out This Ongoing War by Frimet and Arnold Roth. An excellent blog, very important work as well as a big vote to follow our good friend Kay Wilson on Twitter.
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Will the Democratic Platform Dump Israel? - by Jonathan Tobin

...Those who say that Israel has a right to defend itself but then denounce its attempts to do so and, in effect, grant Hamas terrorists impunity to not only rain down missiles on cities but also to use civilians as human shields are undermining the Jewish state’s existence and the rights of its people.

2012 Democratic Convention Chairman Antonio Villaraigosa
calls for a vote to amend the platform on Jerusalem being
the capital of Israel. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
Jonathan S. Tobin..
Commentary Magazine..
23 May '16..

One of the most absurd moments of the 2012 National Democratic Convention was when officials sought to rectify an omission in the draft of the party’s official platform. The original language, as produced by the platform committee, failed to reaffirm a commitment to supporting Jerusalem being the capital of Israel, prompting a firestorm of criticism from Republicans and pro-Israel groups. But then convention chair Antonio Villaraigosa, acting under orders from the Obama campaign, which was in the middle of an election-year Jewish charm offensive, attempted to insert new language into the platform that simply said, “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel,” by a voice vote. The arena in Charlotte echoed with shouts of “no!” Villaraigosa tried three times to get the result he wanted before finally — and falsely — declaring that the ayes had it anyway.

But as foolish — and embarrassing — as that moment was for pro-Israel Democrats, what awaits them in Philadelphia this July when they gather for their next convention may be far worse. As the Washington Post reported last week, the Sanders campaign is planning to push for new language in the Democratic Platform that shifts the emphasis away from stalwart support for Israel and toward prioritizing Palestinian rights in an effort to form a more even-handed approach to the Middle East conflict. If they get their way, it will be a clarifying moment that will indicate just how far the party has drifted from its former stance as a dependable defender of the Jewish state. It may also give ammunition to Republicans trying to argue that, despite his widely inconsistent foreign policy statements and stances, Trump is the better choice for president from the perspective of friends of Israel.

That 2012 convention moment epitomized the shift within the Democratic Party whereby much of its liberal base had moved away from support for Israel. The people shouting “no” were not then or even now representative of the opinions of the majority of voters who identify as Democrats. The most recent Pew Research Center poll on American opinion about the Middle East indicated that a plurality of Democrats backed Israel over the Palestinians by a margin of 43 to 29 percent. But those convention delegates were party activists who represent the sort of rank and file left-wingers who go to conventions and provide the legwork and muscle for the Democratic Party around the country. The question facing the party now, however, is how hard the Hillary Clinton camp will fight Sanders on the issue of Israel and whether a convention where the challengers will be both numerous and itching for a chance to teach the nominee and the party establishment a lesson will be able to turn back this attempt to distance Democrats from Israel?

Sanders claims he is “100 percent pro-Israel” and claims that his support for “Palestinian rights” should not be interpreted as an attack on Israel’s right to exist. But Sanders’ approach to the conflict is actually anything but supportive of Israel. His claim that Israel’s counter-attacks against terrorists shooting rockets and using tunnels for cross-border murder and kidnapping raids were “disproportionate” illustrates just how much his stance is influenced by misleading Palestinian propaganda. Those who say that Israel has a right to defend itself but then denounce its attempts to do so and, in effect, grant Hamas terrorists impunity to not only rain down missiles on cities but also to use civilians as human shields are undermining the Jewish state’s existence and the rights of its people.

Monday, May 23, 2016

The French political gymnastics of offering the Palestinians no-cost recognition

...The Palestinians, on the other hand, are thrilled to have an international conference where others will make demands of Israel as the Palestinian experiment in self-government degenerates into poverty and chaos by its own economic, political and social choices, looking more like Venezuela every day.


Shoshana Bryen..
Gatestone Institute..
23 May '16..

The French government seems to be falling over itself to undo its craven vote in favor of a UNESCO resolution accusing Israel -- referred to as the "Occupying Power" in Jerusalem -- of destroying historic structures on the Temple Mount:

- Prime Minister Manuel Valls apologized. "This UNESCO resolution contains unfortunate, clumsy wording that offends and unquestionably should have been avoided, as should the vote."- Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve apologized. [I do] "not take a supportive view of the text." The resolution "should not have been adopted" and "was not written as it should have been."- President François Hollande apologized. [The vote was] "unfortunate," and, "I would like to guarantee that the French position on the question of Jerusalem has not changed... I also wish to reiterate France's commitment to the status quo in the holy places in Jerusalem... As per my request, the foreign minister will personally and closely follow the details of the next decision on this subject. France will not sign a text that will distance her from the same principles I mentioned."- Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault did not quite apologize: "France has no vested interest but is deeply convinced that if we do not want to let the ideas of the Islamic State group prosper in this region, we must do something."

It sounds as if they thought they had made a mistake. But the vote was not a mistake. Underestimating the depth of Israel's anger about it might have been a mistake, but not the vote. The French -- who, according to their foreign minister, have "no vested interest" but need to "do something" about Islamic State -- could not have thought that a UNESCO resolution that offended Israel would do anything to slow ISIS "in the region" or in Europe. There is no way it could; the two are not connected.

The French however, apparently thought a vote accusing Israel of something, anything, would keep the Palestinian Authority from presenting a resolution on Palestinian independence to the UN Security Council; Ayrault implied in Israel that the UNESCO vote was a quid pro quo. Why? The French have a veto they could exercise in the UN Security Council. But the Palestinians might then object to France replacing the U.S. as the "Great Power" in the "peace process." They already have experience with a veto-wielding interlocutor -- the U.S. -- and they do not want another. The price of an elevated status for the French appears to entail not vetoing Palestinian resolutions, voting for them in UNESCO, and sacrificing Israel in a process that will end in French recognition of a Palestinian State, whether Israel agrees to be bound to the altar or not.

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Updates throughout the day at http://calevbenyefuneh.blogspot.com. If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.Twitter updates at LoveoftheLand as well as our Love of the Land page at Facebook which has additional pieces of interest besides that which is posted on the blog. Also check-out This Ongoing War by Frimet and Arnold Roth. An excellent blog, very important work as well as a big vote to follow our good friend Kay Wilson on Twitter.
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(Part I) Adjusting the Moral Compass - by Vic Rosenthal

Questions of moral compass and conscience are the essence of the cultural struggle that is going on in Israel today, but few seem to understand what these questions actually are


Vic Rosenthal..
Abu Yehuda..
23 May '16..
Link: http://abuyehuda.com/2016/05/adjusting-the-moral-compass-part-i/


News item:

[Ya’alon] said Thursday that he has been “surprised” of late at a “loss of moral compass on basic questions” in Israeli society. “We need to steer the country in accordance with one’s conscience and not whichever way the wind is blowing…”

Questions of moral compass and conscience are the essence of the cultural struggle that is going on in Israel today, but few seem to understand what these questions actually are.

The incident in which a young soldier, Elor Azaria, shot and killed an already ‘neutralized’ Palestinian terrorist who had just stabbed another soldier has become a litmus test, but for what?

Former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon responded to the incident a few hours after it occurred, too quickly for many, when he and the Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, condemned Azaria for a “breach in IDF values.” Azaria was indicted for manslaughter, but large popular demonstrations in his favor broke out.

Later, Eisenkot’s deputy, Maj. Gen. Yair Golan, made a Holocaust Remembrance Day speech in which he said that he found “certain processes” in Israeli society today that were reminiscent of Germany “70, 80 or 90 years ago.”

This was considered by many – including PM Netanyahu – to be far too close to comparing present-day Israel to Nazi Germany, an outrageous comparison often made by our enemies to delegitimize the Jewish state. It was considered a political speech, forbidden to a serving officer, since he made references to the “responsibility of leadership.” Nevertheless, Golan received strong backing from Ya’alon.

A majority of Jewish Israelis believe that Azaria should be freed, and a majority strongly disapproved of Golan’s remarks. At this precise moment, Netanyahu moved to reinforce his coalition by bringing in the 6 seats of Avigdor Liberman’s Israel Beitenu party. Part of the price was the Defense portfolio for Liberman, and Netanyahu took it from the very technically competent Ya’alon and promised it to the somewhat mercurial Liberman. Ya’alon resigned from the government and from the Knesset. There is no doubt that Ya’alon’s opinions were part of the reason Netanyahu acted as he did.

I must interject at this point that I think Netanyahu made a serious mistake. But that is because of the abilities and personalities of Ya’alon and Liberman, not the moral questions involved.

Ya’alon and Golan had other things in mind in addition to the Azaria case. For the past few years a cultural gulf has been opening up in Israel. It is often referred to as “Right vs. Left,” but that is incorrect. Although the two sides do tend to be on the opposite ends of the political right/left divide, that is an effect rather than a cause.

On the one side, we have the primarily secular academic, cultural, military, legal and media elites, mostly Ashkenazim whose families have been in Israel for generations, who have become increasingly vocal, even frantic, about what they call ‘undemocratic’, ‘racist’, ‘ultra-nationalist’, ‘fascist’ and ‘theocratic’ trends in society.

On the other side – now a majority – are found many religious Israelis and those of Mizrachi or Soviet origin, who believe that the elites are anti-Zionist, self-hating, bigoted against religious people and ignorant about the true nature of our enemies.

Both sides believe that the other, if not reined in, will destroy the state.

This is a dispute about values and even style more than politics. Moshe Ya’alon is clearly on the side of the elites, but he is also politically right-wing. The real issue is deeper than whether the Oslo agreement was a good idea or whether Mahmoud Abbas can be trusted or whether Jews should be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount.

Human Rights Watch lies again about international law - by Elder of Ziyon

Why is HRW, which normally errs on the side of protecting civilians when interpreting international law, suddenly deciding to rule against Gaza civilians and for the Hamas terrorists who are deliberately digging tunnels underneath Gaza civilian homes?


HRW's Sari Bashi
Elder of Ziyon..
22 May '16..

From the New York Times:

Sari Bashi, a spokeswoman for Human Rights Watch and expert on international law regarding warfare, said that building tunnels in residential neighborhoods was not explicitly prohibited. But she said militant groups had “an obligation to take all feasible measures to protect civilians, including not taking the armed conflict to civilian areas, to the extent possible.”

Here's what the ICRC has to say:

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Updates throughout the day at http://calevbenyefuneh.blogspot.com. If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.Twitter updates at LoveoftheLand as well as our Love of the Land page at Facebook which has additional pieces of interest besides that which is posted on the blog. Also check-out This Ongoing War by Frimet and Arnold Roth. An excellent blog, very important work as well as a big vote to follow our good friend Kay Wilson on Twitter.
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Question - Are building terror tunnels in civilian neighborhoods a war crime? - by Jonathan Tobin

...But the main thing to understand about Gaza is that an Islamist terror group tyrannizes it and is expending enormous resources, from both its Iranian sponsors (newly enriched themselves by the nuclear deal it struck with the Obama administration) as well as more philanthropic donors with better intentions in order to create an infrastructure that will facilitate murder of Israeli civilians. To that, the international community continues to respond with merely the same shrug of the collective shoulders than Human Rights Watches gives the question of whether building terror tunnels in civilian neighborhoods is a war crime

AP Photo/Jack Guez, Pool
Jonathan S. Tobin..
Commentary Magazine..
22 May '16..

What does Hamas’s massive tunnel-building project mean to the people of Gaza? The answer can be summed up in one word: fear. They live in fear that the structures being dug beneath their homes will start a conflict that will bring down another round of death and destruction upon their families. Speaking off the record to the New York Times’ Gaza correspondents, various residents said anonymously what they couldn’t say in public at the fear of their lives. They had no doubt that much of the aid and building materials that has been sent to Gaza to rebuild the homes that were destroyed the last time Hamas started a war with Israel is being diverted to the Islamist terrorist group’s massive project.

But when asked as to whether Hamas building tunnels in residential neighborhoods whose only purpose is to facilitate cross-border terror raids into Israel is a war crime a Human Rights Watch official that the Times described as an “expert on international law regarding warfare, the best that Sari Bashi could come up with is a shrug of her shoulders. According to Bashi, building terror tunnels in residential neighborhoods is “not explicitly prohibited.”
Really? That, in a nutshell, sums up everything that is wrong with the international community’s response to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

While Bashi, an American-born Israeli lawyer, admits Hamas has “an obligation to take all feasible measures to protect civilians, including not taking the armed conflict to civilian areas, to the extent possible,” she won’t go farther than that. That’s bizarre because it would seem obvious, even to those who aren’t “experts” in international law that structures built solely to facilitate efforts to cross an international border to murder and kidnap is illegal. Indeed, terrorism, whether it is committed via a tunnel or with rockets shot indiscriminately at cities (as Hamas did several thousand times during the 2014 war) or suicide bombings, is always illegal.

But in the upside-down world of human rights activism that a group such as Human Rights Watch epitomizes, ambivalence about Palestinian war crimes is always accompanied by vicious condemnations of Israel’s efforts to defend its people against things like terror tunnels and rocket fire. But while such organizations purport to have great sympathy for the plight of Palestinians, especially those in Gaza, their ire is almost always directed at the wrong people.

The Times article is a reminder that as much as Hamas poses a terrible threat to Israel, the people who suffer the most from its despotic rule are the citizens of Gaza, who not only must cope with the consequences of the armed conflict that the terror group will not give up but also live the lives of silence that is typical of anyone under the thumb of a brutal dictatorship.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Guess what? No one has a monopoly on values - by Boaz Bismuth

...The media must always remember that here, the people are sovereign. We should remember that the chosen people (I suppose that this makes me a condescending fascist) is also the people that chooses, and its vote counts for more than ratings.

Boaz Bismuth..
Israel Hayom..
22 May '16..

No one has a monopoly on values, including the Left and the media. Nearly 40 years ago, in May 1977, the media witnessed the victory of Menachem Begin's Likud, the fulfillment of what was for it an apocalyptic prophecy. Almost 40 years have passed, the Likud is still in power (and an "unimportant" peace deal was signed with Egypt on the way), and the media still doesn't understand how the people can choose differently. Since the media is never wrong, it takes care to create an imaginary reality for us in which the citizens of Israel are dying of hunger in the streets, the survivors are fascist occupiers, and those who believe in the sanctity of the land of Israel are messianic or right-wing extremists. There is no other option.

After claiming a monopoly on values (just like the Left, and sometimes part of the Right), the media consistently tries to bring the latest person to leave the Likud into its ranks. In the past, it was Roni Milo, Ariel Sharon (both before the disengagement from Gaza and after it), and Gideon Sa'ar, and now outgoing Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon. Things must be really dreary on the Left if the media needs to pick on the Right time after time.

The desire to present current events (the Hebron shooting of an immobilized Palestinian, the speech by the deputy IDF chief) as watershed events in the history of relations between the military and the state is factually incorrect. Unpleasant to say, it's even nonsense. We've known much harder periods in terms of the military's relations with the country as a whole -- after the Yom Kippur War in 1973, for example, or the disengagement in 2005 -- but memories are short.

Do you remember that war more than four decades ago, in which 2,600 soldiers were killed due to a serious intelligence failure? Back then, people really did leave the country. They didn't just threaten to, they simply left. "A fallout of weakings," the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin called them. The schism was immense. The darkest scenario had come to pass: Society lost faith in the army. Is that the situation today?

Today, they are trying to create a new reality, like in 1973 after the war, but the opposite -- the upper military echelon has lost faith in the people. Yes, you read that correctly. The Middle East is so quiet that those in uniform have free time for a new pedagogical role -- handing out grades to society. The media, of course, welcomes it, because this conduct fits in with its own agenda.

Let's suppose for a minute that the Left was in power, and senior officers were to take matters of value and morality into their own hands, but in the other direction: to the right. Would the media embrace them in that case, too?

In the reality in which we live, a senior officer (major general) who compares processes taking place here to the Germans in the 1930s is a man of values, but an officer who invites his soldiers to pray before an action in Gaza? That's darker, even reminiscent of Iran. It's a shame that Albert Einstein isn't here to test the theory of moral relativism in our country. Perhaps we should recall Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower's command prior to the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, when he called on all Allied soldiers to "beseech the blessing of Almighty God" before the operation?

(Alleged) harassment of journalists as news-management strategy: The Hamas model - by Arnold Roth

...Oh, and did we mention that in rejecting the idea of Hamas harassment, Ms Rudoren of the New York Times confessed she had not been physically present in Gaza at any of the relevant times? What is it that makes some parts of the news reporting industry abandon all good sense and principle when it comes to reporting on murder-minded, thuggish Islamists?

Gaza: Hamas works the news-reporting media
Arnold/Frimet Roth..
This Ongoing War..
22 May '16..

Two summers ago, when war was raging here between the Islamists of Gaza and the IDF, an odd aspect of the way the media was covering events caused us to post here ["11-Aug-14: So did Hamas intimidate reporters or not?" and "13-Aug-14: A lesson about war-time nonsense from the New York Times"].

We were struck - astounded really - by how the then-bureau chief of the New York Times engaged publicly in a stark dismissal of some very serious criticisms of Hamas made by her professional colleagues and others. In fact, the things said at the time by the Foreign Press Association, and utterly rejected by Jodi Rudoren of the New York Times, about how the Islamist terrorists thugs strong-armed their way to changing how the news, and especially the images, of the fighting inside Gaza were covered, were about as serious and consequential as journalistic criticism ever gets.

We said then:

Perhaps in some parallel universe in the future, there will be some seriously critical public review of how it can be that a vast and incredibly influential medium like the New York Times aligns itself with the interests of the child-murdering Hamas... [here]

and we backed up our amazement with some concrete examples.

Other voices, much better informed than we and closer to the events, gave some invaluable context to what the news media did and not do, and what was and was not done them. We're thinking in particular of Matti Friedman, a long-time AP correspondent in the field, who wrote this at around the same time:

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Updates throughout the day at http://calevbenyefuneh.blogspot.com. If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.Twitter updates at LoveoftheLand as well as our Love of the Land page at Facebook which has additional pieces of interest besides that which is posted on the blog. Also check-out This Ongoing War by Frimet and Arnold Roth. An excellent blog, very important work as well as a big vote to follow our good friend Kay Wilson on Twitter.
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When Silence is Both Appropriate and Golden - by Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror

...As part of Israel's coming of age, it is time to formulate clear rules on these matters. Setting clear "do's" and "don'ts" would make things considerably easier, though any such determination would likely be followed by arguments about its meaning in practice. "Be careful what you say" (Proverbs 13:3) is good advice...

Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror..
Israel Hayom..
20 May '16..

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, one of the most valued officers in the U.S. Army, was named commander of the U.S. Forces in Afghanistan in 2009. He was doing very well when, in mid-2010, about a year into his command, he and his staff criticized Vice President Joe Biden, national security adviser James Jones, and other officials in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine. The piece ruffled feathers in Washington, and McChrystal's military career was over.

This was not the first case of its kind in the history of the U.S. Army, which has a very clear code of conduct that outlines strict limitations on military officials taking part in public discourse.

Traditionally, even during the president's inauguration, which the chiefs of staff attend as a sign of their subordination to the civilian executive branch, none of them applauds during the president's speech or afterward. They are barred from expressing any opinion on the president's statements, even wordlessly.

The recent controversial remarks by Israel Defense Forces Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Yair Golan allow for a wider discussion on the issue. As someone who has experienced this dilemma personally, and as someone who, when in uniform, had to fight more than once to have his opinion heard, one could say I am somewhat of an expert on the subject.

Rules to live by

There are several rules that bind defense officials and government ministers alike:

The first rule requires the political leadership to listen to the professional echelons -- such as the military, the intelligence community, and Foreign Ministry officials, each according to their area of expertise -- and ensure they can speak their minds with impunity, even when their opinions are utterly contradictory to or professionally critical of government decisions.

The second rule requires the professional echelons to be completely forthcoming when briefing the government. If a defense official feels he was denied the opportunity to speak his mind in the appropriate forums, he has the obligation to relay his thoughts to the ministers in writing, regardless of whether they are in line with his superiors' opinions.

Any deviation from these two rules undermines the military's efforts to perform its duty of presenting the government with professional security and defense assessments. This will only result in faulty decision-making, as the government would then lack the necessary professional basis upon which to make its decisions.

The third rule stipulates that even when the government and the military disagree, once the government has made its decision, the military must carry out its orders in full and not try to undermine those orders under any circumstances. Should any officer feel strongly enough about an issue to refuse to carry out his orders, he has the right to resign his commission.

Deviating from this rule undercuts democracy, as it undermines an elected government's ability to exercise the authority vested in it by the people. Maintaining this rule is the only way to prevent a military coup. When instrumental bodies attempt to thwart government decisions they violate the trust placed in them in the most egregious of ways.

Will This Be the Last Pro-Israel Democrat? - by Jonathan Tobin

It’s true that the bipartisan pro-Israel coalition can be shattered if a president decides to make an issue a litmus test of partisan loyalty as Obama did with the Iran nuclear deal. But it must also be understood that pro-Israel stands aren’t merely a matter of political contributions. They are a reflection of Israel’s popularity among Americans of all different parties and backgrounds. That is being chipped away at by people like Beinart and by others who go even further in their efforts to delegitimize Israel and its right to self-defense. But while they are winning on the left, the rest of the country is not with them.

Jonathan S. Tobin..
Commentary Magazine..
19 May '16..

Did Bernie Sanders miss a golden opportunity to contrast his standing as the avatar of liberal ideology with Hillary Clinton’s more centrist beliefs? Sanders chose to stay away from attacks that pointed to Clinton’s well-earned reputation for dishonesty–a reputation having to do with her email scandal as well as the serious conflict-of-interest charges resulting from the activities of the Clinton family foundation. But he was not shy about trying to tie the former secretary of state to Wall Street or painting her as a tool of the country’s financial and political establishment. But there was one issue where he might have appealed to the party’s liberal base as being more in line with their views than is Clinton: Israel. According to Peter Beinart, that might have been a mistake on Sanders’s part, and it won’t be repeated by another candidate the next time there is a Democratic presidential contest.

In his Haaretz column Beinart acknowledges that the two did highlight their disagreements over Israel at their Brooklyn debate in April. He might have also pointed out that this contrast was apparent even before that, in their contrasting Middle-East-policy speeches earlier in the campaign. Clinton gave a standard issue stalwart pro-Israel speech at the AIPAC conference. Sanders, who has gotten closer to winning a major party presidential nomination than any other American Jew in history, chose to boycott AIPAC and then gave a policy speech on the Middle East that was highly critical of Israeli policies while still reflecting support for Israel’s right to exist.

Yet Beinart is correct that aside from those two moments and the Vermont senator’s slanderous exaggeration of Palestinian casualties during the 2014 Gaza war, Sanders’s equivocal approach to Israel didn’t play a role in the campaign. It’s Beinart’s thesis that this was a mistake because of the way most liberals feel about the issue. Though I seldom agree with Beinart, he may be right about this. As I noted last week, Hillary Clinton’s decision to take a stand against the BDS — boycott, divest, sanction — movement against Israel before the convention of the Methodist church where a resolution on the topic was to be voted on, put her at odds with the base of the Democratic Party.

Like Beinart, I cited a new Pew Research Center poll that showed that while most Americans remained solidly pro-Israel, there were two groups that were not: liberals and Bernie Sanders voters. However, if we take it as a given that the left represents not only the base of the Democratic Party but its future — due to the fact that Sanders has captured the enthusiasm of younger voters — then there may be some truth to the thesis. He believes that just as Donald Trump won the Republican nomination by telling the GOP base what it wanted to hear about immigration (but wasn’t getting from other candidates) about immigration, trade, and isolationist positions in foreign policy, so, too, is there “an unserved market among grass roots Democrats for a candidate that is critical of Israel.”

Is he right about that? He might be.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Palestinian Museum that is as empty as its soul - by Daniel Greenfield

...The echoing emptiness of the Palestinian Museum has been blamed, with utter predictability, on the Jews. The Palestinian Museum had not wanted to taint its walls with the works of the filthy Jews. And so its overseers had to import from outside Israel since the only thing “Palestine” manufactures is death.

Daniel Greenfield..
Frontpagenews.com..
20 May '16..

150 years ago, Mark Twain visited Muslim-occupied Israel and wrote of “unpeopled deserts” and “mounds of barrenness,” of “forlorn” and “untenanted” cities.

Palestine is “desolate,” he concluded. “One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings.”

The same is true of the Palestinian Museum which opened with much fanfare and one slight problem. While admission is free, there’s nothing inside for any of the visitors to see except the bare walls.

The Palestinian Museum had been in the works since 1998, but has no exhibits. The museum cost $24 million. All it has to show for it are a few low sloping sandy buildings indistinguishable from the dirt and a “garden” of scraggly bushes and shrubs. The Palestinian Museum is open, but there’s nothing inside.

(Continue Reading Article)

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Israel is not going away. It’s not an experiment. It is a homeland. - by Liat Collins

...It wasn’t the word “failure” that riled – it was so demonstrably incorrect. It was the “experiment,” noble or otherwise. In my own reflections, influenced by just having celebrated Israel’s 68th birthday, I concluded that this indicates the real problem – the problem for Israel’s detractors, that is. Israel is not going away. It’s not an experiment. It is a homeland.

Liat Collins..
My Word/JPost..
19 May '16..

One of the perks of my is that I get to read – a lot – during office hours, without feeling guilty. It’s not an unmitigated pleasure, however. Along with opinion pieces that I enjoy for both their style and sentiment, there are plenty with which I don’t agree. In some cases, I’ll just appreciate the writing and move on. Others have no saving graces.

Such was the case of an article by David M. Gordis published in Tikkun magazine under the heading “Major American Jewish Leader Changes his Mind About Israel.”

The piece itself was titled “Reflections on Israel 2016.” I felt like I was looking in a cracked mirror.

David Gordis (not to be confused with his nephew Daniel Gordis) ended his reflections by saying, “Sadly, after a life and career devoted to Jewish community and Israel, I conclude that in every important way: Israel has failed to realize its promise for me. A noble experiment, but a failure.”

It wasn’t the word “failure” that riled – it was so demonstrably incorrect. It was the “experiment,” noble or otherwise.

In my own reflections, influenced by just having celebrated Israel’s 68th birthday, I concluded that this indicates the real problem – the problem for Israel’s detractors, that is. Israel is not going away. It’s not an experiment. It is a homeland.

It is no more a failed state, as has been pointed out, than the US is a failure for not being able to successfully spread its idea of democracy.

The State of Israel was born in 1948, roughly the same time as, among others, India, Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Myanmar (Burma), Pakistan and, of course, Jordan. How many other sovereign countries nearly 70 years old are told they should give up because they’re not what some people thought they should be?

In his introduction to the article, Tikkun editor Rabbi Michael Lerner wrote: “...We publish it with the same sadness that Gordis expresses at the end of this article, because many of us at Tikkun magazine shared the same hopes he expresses below for an Israel that would make Jews proud by becoming an embodiment of what is best in Jewish tradition, history and ethics, rather than a manifestation of all the psychological and spiritual damage that has been done to our people, which now acts as an oppressor to the Palestinian people. For those of us who continue to love Judaism and the wisdom of our Jewish culture and traditions, pointing out Israel’s current distortions gives us no pleasure, but only saddens us deeply.”

It saddens me too – not only because it is based on a false narrative, but because it also provides fodder for the campaigns of Israel’s many enemies, thus feeding the violence, not ending it.

The knife attacks, car rammings, roadside ambushes, and the mortar shells and rockets launched from Gaza are not the attempts by Palestinians to break out from unbearable oppression, they are the cause of the checkpoints, restrictions and security fence, better known in some circles as “The Apartheid Wall.”

The apartheid imagery is another falsehood.

The obvious concept behind it is to brand the Zionists – Israeli Jews – as colonialists with no place in the Middle East. Delegitimize them, boycott them, threaten them enough and they will either leave or hand over the reins to the Palestinians according to the White versus Black South African model.

Such thinking is both a mistake and more fuel for violence.


While there is a flow of “refugees” from the region seeking sanctuary in Europe, Israel still serves its original purpose as a Jewish homeland, taking in thousands of Jews being pushed by growing anti-Semitism in all its ugly forms and attracted by the life in what is far from a failed state.

Israel is not a foreign body in this land and, as I have often noted, it is was no more founded because of European guilt over the Holocaust than any other country formed as the British Empire crumbled post-World War II.