Israel’s reported strike January 18 on a joint Iranian-Hezbollah convoy driving on the Syrian Golan Heights was one of the most strategically significant events to have occurred in Israel’s neighborhood in recent months. Its significance lies both in what it accomplished operationally and what it exposed.
From what been published to date about the identities of those killed in the strike, it is clear that in one fell swoop the air force decapitated the Iranian and Hezbollah operational command in Syria.
The head of Hezbollah’s operations in Syria, the head of its liaison with Iran, and Jihad Mughniyeh, the son of Hezbollah’s longtime operational commander Imad Mughniyeh who was killed by Israel in Damascus in 2008, were killed. The younger Mughniyeh reportedly served as commander of Hezbollah forces along the Syrian-Israeli border.
Outstanding speech by Matti Friedman former AP journalist about Israel given at a BICOM dinner in London on January 26.
His speech is an absolute must-read. It is long but worth every minute you take to read it.
- I gradually began to be aware of certain malfunctions in the coverage of the Israel story – recurring omissions, recurring inflations, decisions made according to considerations that were not journalistic but political,
- we sought to hint or say outright that Israeli soldiers were war criminals, and every detail supporting that portrayal was to be seized upon.
- But an Israeli peace offer and its rejection by the Palestinians didn’t suit OUR story. The bureau chief ordered both reporters to ignore the Olmert offer,
- Neo-Nazi rallies at Palestinian universities or in Palestinian cities are not — I saw images of such rallies suppressed on more than one occasion. Jewish hatred of Arabs is a story. Arab hatred of Jews is not.
- Our policy, for example, was not to mention the assertion in the Hamas founding charter that Jews were responsible for engineering both world wars and the Russian and French revolutions, despite the obvious insight this provides into the thinking of one of the most influential actors in the conflict.
- 100 houses in a West Bank settlement are a story. 100 rockets smuggled into Gaza are not.
Court holds its not a crime to trash Islam as opposed to trashing Muslims which is a crime.
A French appeals court on December 18, 2014, overturned a hate speech conviction involving Christine Tasin’s condemnation of Islam. Tasin’s encouraging victory, won with Legal Project aid, demonstrates that not all threats to free discussion of Islam are violent like the subsequent Paris jihadist Charlie Hebdomassacre.
The retired classics teacher Tasin had appeared on October 15, 2013, in a parking lot before a temporary tent abattoir in use by local Muslims in the French city of Belfort near the Swiss border. During the ritual animal slaughter for the Eid al Adha (“Festival of Sacrifice”) Muslim festival, Tasin before Muslim bystanders had criticized Islam’s halal slaughter as unsanitary and cruel to animals. In an ensuing argument filmed and uploaded to the internet, she received “Islamophobe” accusations.
The Israeli political discourse has been afflicted by pronouncements that could have easily been drawn from the Orwellian lexicons of 1984.
The term “Jewish State” is totally misguided
– Isaac Herzog, April 2014
We, members of the People’s Council, representatives of the Jewish community of Eretz-Israel and of the Zionist movement…. hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel, to be known as the State of Israel
– Israel’s Declaration of Independence, May 1948
In a caustic opinion piece last week, a well-known columnist wrote, tongue in cheek, of “tectonic” shifts in Kibbutz Sde Boker, which was home to David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first and arguably most iconic prime minister.
The designated cause of this metaphoric earthquake was the dramatic metamorphosis overtaking the remnants of the once proud Israeli Labor movement, causing Ben-Gurion, a towering figure among its erstwhile leaders, to turn in his grave.
Last week, pro-Palestinian protestors disrupted a New York City Council meeting yelling slogans and brandishing a Palestinian flag. The demonstration was particularly offensive given that it occurred as council members were voting on a resolution commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
In an impassioned response, Councilman David Greenfield observed that every Middle East country — except Israel — is not democratic and persecutes people of other faiths, gays, women, and those with opinions inconsistent with those of their governments. He concluded, “What you saw here today was naked, blind anti-Semitism.”
No one is against the rule of law, they are just against the rulers of law. It is entirely consistent with the rule of law to change the rules legally and then to follow the new rules. This is what the fight against the Court is all about.
This article seeks to put a positive spin on Begin’s appointment before the detractors can respond, but respond they will.
Benny Begin’s decision to return to public life will benefit not only the Likud party, but also the rule of law in Israel.
When Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon suggested that Begin vie for a place on the Likud’s Knesset list, Begin reminded him that party members had voted him off the list in the 2013 primaries. Ya’alon told him that those who opposed him in 2013 — the supporters of MK Moshe Feiglin, who opposed Ya’alon himself during December’s Likud primaries — have followed Feiglin and have all but left the party.
Kurdish religious minority ‘loves the Jewish people,’ says commander, as he tries to fight the Islamic State
BY JTA AND LAZAR BERMAN, TOI
An official in a militia organized by Iraq’s Kurdish Yazidi minority has issued a public call for Israeli assistance.
Lt. Col. Lukman Ibrahim, speaking to Al-Monitor, said the militia needs weapons and aid, and would like Israeli assistance so it can fight Islamic State, or ISIS. He said the Yazidis support Israel and fight similar enemies.
By James R Corsi, WND
NEW YORK – Recordings of top Pentagon officials in 2011 strongly criticizing Hillary Clinton for leading a State Department “march to war” against Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi in 2011 and for working with the Muslim Brotherhood confirm the conclusions of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi, according to members who spoke to WND.
CCB members said the recordings revealed by the Washington Times provide additional evidence to support the group’s interim report concluding the Obama administration “changed sides” in Libya, rejecting an effort by Gadhafi to abdicate and choosing instead to arm al-Qaida-affiliated militia seeking to forcibly oust the dictator.
By Ted Belman
The latest poll puts Likud ahead of Labor/Livni. That’s a good thing. It is suggested by JPOST that that rise is due to Bibi’s handling of hostilities to the north. I am not so sure. In any event the poll didn’t reflect the last minute list changes, one of which is that Benny Begin will now be in a realistic spot on Likud’s list.
Leiberman took Bibi to task over his weak response. Once again Bibi’s timid policy of quiet for quiet rules the day.
It is fitting and proper–indeed essential for our very security–that Speaker John Boehner has extended an invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu to address Congress on Iran and its efforts to develop nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them anywhere in the world. The invitation has bipartisan support because many members on both sides of the aisle recognize the fundamental threat to world peace that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose. Like Winston Churchill in the 1930s with Nazi Germany, Netanyahu has been sounding the alarm about Iran’s ominous nuclear and terrorist activities.
One of the worst things about many “human rights” organizations is the way they actually undermine some very fundamental human rights. A prime example is B’Tselem’s new report on Palestinian civilian deaths during this summer’s war in Gaza. Few people would disagree that the presumption of innocence is an important right, but when it comes to Israel, B’Tselem simply jettisons it. In fact, the group states with shocking explicitness that it considers Israel guilty until proven innocent.
T. Belman. The same could be said if Israel decides to withdraw from J&S, i.e., that it makes the sacrifices to defeat our enemies and conquer the land, meaningless.
Seeing “American Sniper” made the State of the Union speech pretty unbearable
By Daniel Henninger, WSJ Jan. 21, 2015
Barack Obama was 15 minutes into his State of the Union speech when I arrived home to watch it, having just walked back from seeing “American Sniper.”
Watching a movie about a Navy SEAL who served four tours fighting in Iraq was not the best way to enhance the experience of a Barack Obama speech. As a matter of fact, it was pretty unbearable.
Because Clint Eastwood directed “American Sniper” the movie is about more than the story of Chris Kyle, the highly skilled rifle marksman from Texas. In 2006, Mr. Eastwood presented two movies about the famous World War II battle of Iwo Jima. “Letters from Iwo Jima” told the story from the perspective of Japanese soldiers, and “Flags of Our Fathers” from the Americans’ side.
Ted Belman. Martin Sherman, Moshe Feiglin and Nisan all agree on keeping all the land and on not giving citizenship a la Glick. This is key.
There are three possibilities with what to do with the Arabs,
1) offer them autonomy
2) pay then to leave (estimated at $100 Billion for the Arabs in J&S and another $100 Billion for the Arabs in Gaza.) Sherman and Feiglin both support this or
3) Offer Jordan the money to take them in.
Or perhaps a combination of all three.
Perhaps a deal could be cut with the Jordan monarchy and the Palestinians to become a constitutional monarchy like Britain. Thus Abdullah remains as king and the Palestinians have full rights.
Israel must be able to proceed unilaterally so that Jordan cannot frustrate her plans. Thus, until we have reached a deal with them or the Palestinians in J&S for autonomy, we should pursue the compensated emigration plan of Sherman and Feiglin.
The Oslo theory and policy was tested and failed.
- Inasmuch as the Israeli-Palestinian War has not been resolved, and the Oslo Accords could not overcome the multiple obstacles on the path to peace; Considering the adamant Palestinian refusal to recognize the legitimacy of the Jewish state of Israel, while demanding massive refugee return, terrorizing Israelis and murdering them, and spewing out hate education;
- Conscious of the repressive discourse of peace with its agenda for Israeli capitulation and destruction that camouflages a wicked scheme paraded as a vision of peace;
- Noting that the United Nations, the European Union, and other international forums serve as diplomatic arenas for pro-Palestinian political insurgency;
- While observing the Middle East aflame with Islamic barbarism, turmoil and warfare;
T. Belman. Yadlin asks rhetorically, “is there anyone who would like to go back into southern Lebanon” and implies , no one. He might have said the same about Gaza.
Before the Lebanon pullout an average of 6 soldiers per year were killed there But in the 2006 Lebanese war, Israel suffered 121 soldier casualties and 42 civilian casualties. At the previous average of 6 per year that is 30 year’s worth. Plus we are faced with 100,000 rockets and another war sooner and later. The same can be said about the consequences of disengagement from Gaza.
The real question should be if we could reverse the withdrawals and bring back to life the casualties in excess of 6 per year, would we? Probably.
Former MI chief Amos Yadlin says unilateral action preferable to status quo.
By Gili Cohen, HAARETZ | Jan. 28, 2014
The country’s leading strategic think tank recommended on Tuesday that if the diplomatic process with Palestinians fails, Israel unilaterally withdrawal from 85 percent of the West Bank – between the security barrier and the Jordan Valley.
The Institute for National Security Studies, headed by former Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin, urged that in such a move, Israel retain the large settlement blocs, the area known as the Ben-Gurion Airport corridor (for the purpose of thwarting potential Palestinian rocket attacks on planes), and keep military control over the Jordan Valley.
The INSS maintained that in the event of the peace talks’ failure, Israel should carry out the withdrawal plan even in the face of Palestinian opposition, while seeking out the support of the United States and major European countries such as the United Kingdom, France and Germany.
T. Belman. I fail to see what this would achieve. We would still be occupiers. Is he intending to abandon the settlers outside our new borders or uproot them. I think the answer is that the left want to offer them compensation if they leave voluntarily.
The net result would be that we have no internal security control of the remaining areas or right to reenter. How are we better off?
That’s the unspoken message of Amos Yadlin’s appointment as Labor’s candidate for defense minister
The most critical issue to be decided by the upcoming election came clear last week, yet it seems to have gone virtually unremarked. It isn’t tensions in the north, terror in Tel Aviv, Iran’s nuclear program, relations with America or any socioeconomic issue. Rather, it’s whether Israel will unilaterally withdraw from the West Bank.
There have been hints of this for a while. But the clincher was last week’s announcement by the Labor-Hatnuah joint ticket – the self-proclaimed “Zionist Camp” – that its candidate for defense minister, should it form the next government, is Amos Yadlin.
UPDATE: OHANA WITHDREW.
The furor over soccer legend Eli Ohana’s appointment to the Bayit Yehudi list continued late Tuesday night in a meeting between party leader Naftali Bennett and its MKs.
Bennett presented Ohana’s addition as a fait accompli, sparking outrage among the MKs.
Ohana, a former Betar Jerusalem star and coach of the National Under-19 Team, will be in the party’s top 10. Past statements supporting the Gaza disengagement, from which Ohana distanced himself this week, drew hostility from the Bayit Yehudi base.
PM Netanyahu decided Wednesday to fill two slots on the Likud list reserved for candidates of his choosing with women who teach at Israeli institutions of higher learning.
The 11th slot on the list will go to Dr. Anat Berko, a world-renowned terrorism expert who teaches at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center’s Lauder School of Government.
Targeted vehicles were two kilometers away from the Lebanese border.
A preliminary investigation following the Hezbollah attack on Israeli military jeeps near the border with Lebanon on Wednesday revealed that terrorists with the Lebanese Shi’ite group launched anti-tank missiles from a distance of at least four kilometers.
The military vehicles travelled on a civilian road in the village of Ghajar two kilometers away from the border when they came under a heavy Hezbollah ambush, consisting of five to six Kornet missiles, a senior army source said. He estimated that the attackers were four to five kilometers away from the vehicles.
The Israel Electric Company said Wednesday that it would shut off power to some communities in the Palestinian Authority this week, unless the PA paid off its enormous debt. According to IEC officials, the PA owes it over NIS 1.8 billion ($450 million).
The IEC has long tried to collect its money, with the PA adamantly refusing to pay, saying that various agreements with Israel qualify it for free electricity. The IEC has tried to sue the PA, and to collect its debts via the cash Israel transfers to the PA. Both approaches have been rebuffed by the courts.
DOES ANYONE KNOW ON WHAT BASIS?
By Vic Rosenthal
One of the most infuriating things about the struggle to keep a sovereign Jewish state is the degree of interference in its affairs by Western governments and interests — which are, with very few exceptions, anti-Israel in practice if not in word.
The Obama Administration has recently expressed its anger that Israel’s PM Netanyahu wants to ‘interfere in its affairs’ by accepting an invitation to speak to Congress on the subject of Iran. But interference in Israel’s affairs by Western governments is widespread and, unlike Netanyahu’s proposed speech, mostly hidden.