Archive for November 18, 2018

Iran says it is expanding trade with Iraq despite US sanctions 

November 18, 2018

Source: Iran says it is expanding trade with Iraq despite US sanctions – Israel Hayom

 

Off Topic:  Trump, Nazis and US Jewry 

November 18, 2018

Source: Trump, Nazis and US Jewry – Israel Hayom

Isi Leiber

American Jews, who in the past would have united to face a common threat, are now laying the foundations for an unprecedented eruption of violent anti-Semitism.

The U.S. midterm elections took place in an unparalleled atmosphere of hysteria. As in virtually all midterm elections, the ruling party experienced some losses. But, despite predictions of defeat, President Donald Trump was the overall winner.

In this divided nation, the larger cities lean Democratic and middle America is overwhelmingly pro-Trump. Broad respect for the office of the presidency no longer exists. Most voters are either ardent lovers or zealous haters of Trump – with Jews at the forefront of the latter group.

The Republicans lost control of the House of Representatives, but they lost fewer seats than the Democrats did when losing the House in 1994 and 2010. More importantly, the Republicans held their majority in the Senate, giving Trump a free hand in directing foreign policy and appointing conservative judges.

The clear majority of Jewish Americans continued the tradition of voting for the Democrats and have emerged as leaders of the anti-Trump brigade. That many Jews with a liberal tradition oppose Trump’s conservative policies and dislike his aggressive tone is not surprising.

But it is incomprehensible that they shower abuse on him in a Jewish context. The attacks by a wide section of the community, including progressive rabbis, lay organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League and women’s groups, are unprecedented.

Some Jewish leaders even blamed Trump for the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre, claiming that his aggressive political style was responsible for the actions of the lone neo-Nazi anti-Semite who actually did the shooting. Buttressed by the ADL and other Jewish groups, the media claimed that there had been a surge of white nationalist anti-Semitism since Trump was elected, including in their fake figures internet hoaxes not motivated by Jew-hatred.

One thing is clear: American Jews, like every Diaspora community, now need to employ security services at synagogues, schools and community centers.

It is noteworthy that the ever-growing influence of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic elements seeking to radicalize the Democratic Party is rarely mentioned by the liberal press or the ADL. In the midterm elections, a number of Democratic candidates hostile to Israel and Jews won their races, some in districts with significant Jewish populations.

There have been no serious efforts to restrain burgeoning anti-Semitism from anti-Israel groups on college campuses.

There were few complaints when then-President Barack Obama related to Israeli self-defense and Palestinian terrorism as morally equivalent. And there are few complaints now, after it was recently revealed that in 2005, Obama met the radical anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan for a photo op.

The allegations that Trump has contributed to the current polarization of society with his aggressive rhetoric may be true, but that is more than matched by the hysteria from the Democrats.

All this is intensified by the revolution in social media, which provides a platform for promoting racism, violence, and, above all, anti-Semitism. It may be time to review the U.S.’s sacred credo of freedom of expression.

The most obscene aspect of anti-Trump mudslinging is the concerted attempt to portray him as an anti-Semite. This lie, frequently reiterated by progressive rabbis and Jewish lay leaders, has become embedded in the minds of many Democratic supporters.

But this reflects the madness in the air. Trump has a daughter who converted to Judaism and is religiously observant, he has always had Jewish friends and has appointed several Jewish key executives, and after the tragedy in Pittsburgh, he condemned anti-Semitism in a statement that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could not have expressed better.

Above all, Trump has proved to be the most pro-Israel president ever. He is the first to have reduced funds to the Palestinians that were being used inappropriately. He stopped funding UNESCO when that organization admitted Palestine as a full member, and he told the Palestinians to forget about their claimed right of return to Israel. He warned them that financially rewarding murderers and their families was unacceptable. He moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, despite enormous pressures. And he was the first to stand up, virtually alone, to promote Israel’s case to the world.

American Jews may hate Trump but to describe him as pro-Nazi qualifies them as collectively crazy.

If accusations that Trump harbors Nazi sympathies are not quashed, middle America, which enthusiastically supports his Israel policies, could unleash their frustrations against the “ungrateful” Jews and then the ADL predictions about anti-Semitism would be realized.

We live in troubled times. Throughout the Diaspora, anti-Semitism is rising dramatically, and now many American Jews seem to be acting like lemmings on a suicide march.

The tragedy is that Israel, which formerly helped maintain Jewish identity for those with limited Jewish education, has now drifted into irrelevancy for large swathes of U.S. Jewry. Unless a massive effort is invested into overcoming Jewish illiteracy, the future seems bleak.

Those concerned with having Jewish grandchildren should now seriously evaluate making aliyah or at least encouraging their children to do so.

Isi Leibler’s website can be viewed at http://www.wordfromjerusalem.com. Email: ileibler@leibler.com.

Off Topic: Trump, Nazis and US Jewry 

November 18, 2018

Source: Trump, Nazis and US Jewry – Israel Hayom

Isi Leiber

American Jews, who in the past would have united to face a common threat, are now laying the foundations for an unprecedented eruption of violent anti-Semitism.

The U.S. midterm elections took place in an unparalleled atmosphere of hysteria. As in virtually all midterm elections, the ruling party experienced some losses. But, despite predictions of defeat, President Donald Trump was the overall winner.

In this divided nation, the larger cities lean Democratic and middle America is overwhelmingly pro-Trump. Broad respect for the office of the presidency no longer exists. Most voters are either ardent lovers or zealous haters of Trump – with Jews at the forefront of the latter group.

The Republicans lost control of the House of Representatives, but they lost fewer seats than the Democrats did when losing the House in 1994 and 2010. More importantly, the Republicans held their majority in the Senate, giving Trump a free hand in directing foreign policy and appointing conservative judges.

The clear majority of Jewish Americans continued the tradition of voting for the Democrats and have emerged as leaders of the anti-Trump brigade. That many Jews with a liberal tradition oppose Trump’s conservative policies and dislike his aggressive tone is not surprising.

But it is incomprehensible that they shower abuse on him in a Jewish context. The attacks by a wide section of the community, including progressive rabbis, lay organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League and women’s groups, are unprecedented.

Some Jewish leaders even blamed Trump for the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre, claiming that his aggressive political style was responsible for the actions of the lone neo-Nazi anti-Semite who actually did the shooting. Buttressed by the ADL and other Jewish groups, the media claimed that there had been a surge of white nationalist anti-Semitism since Trump was elected, including in their fake figures internet hoaxes not motivated by Jew-hatred.

One thing is clear: American Jews, like every Diaspora community, now need to employ security services at synagogues, schools and community centers.

It is noteworthy that the ever-growing influence of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic elements seeking to radicalize the Democratic Party is rarely mentioned by the liberal press or the ADL. In the midterm elections, a number of Democratic candidates hostile to Israel and Jews won their races, some in districts with significant Jewish populations.

There have been no serious efforts to restrain burgeoning anti-Semitism from anti-Israel groups on college campuses.

There were few complaints when then-President Barack Obama related to Israeli self-defense and Palestinian terrorism as morally equivalent. And there are few complaints now, after it was recently revealed that in 2005, Obama met the radical anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan for a photo op.

The allegations that Trump has contributed to the current polarization of society with his aggressive rhetoric may be true, but that is more than matched by the hysteria from the Democrats.

All this is intensified by the revolution in social media, which provides a platform for promoting racism, violence, and, above all, anti-Semitism. It may be time to review the U.S.’s sacred credo of freedom of expression.

The most obscene aspect of anti-Trump mudslinging is the concerted attempt to portray him as an anti-Semite. This lie, frequently reiterated by progressive rabbis and Jewish lay leaders, has become embedded in the minds of many Democratic supporters.

But this reflects the madness in the air. Trump has a daughter who converted to Judaism and is religiously observant, he has always had Jewish friends and has appointed several Jewish key executives, and after the tragedy in Pittsburgh, he condemned anti-Semitism in a statement that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could not have expressed better.

Above all, Trump has proved to be the most pro-Israel president ever. He is the first to have reduced funds to the Palestinians that were being used inappropriately. He stopped funding UNESCO when that organization admitted Palestine as a full member, and he told the Palestinians to forget about their claimed right of return to Israel. He warned them that financially rewarding murderers and their families was unacceptable. He moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, despite enormous pressures. And he was the first to stand up, virtually alone, to promote Israel’s case to the world.

American Jews may hate Trump but to describe him as pro-Nazi qualifies them as collectively crazy.

If accusations that Trump harbors Nazi sympathies are not quashed, middle America, which enthusiastically supports his Israel policies, could unleash their frustrations against the “ungrateful” Jews and then the ADL predictions about anti-Semitism would be realized.

We live in troubled times. Throughout the Diaspora, anti-Semitism is rising dramatically, and now many American Jews seem to be acting like lemmings on a suicide march.

The tragedy is that Israel, which formerly helped maintain Jewish identity for those with limited Jewish education, has now drifted into irrelevancy for large swathes of U.S. Jewry. Unless a massive effort is invested into overcoming Jewish illiteracy, the future seems bleak.

Those concerned with having Jewish grandchildren should now seriously evaluate making aliyah or at least encouraging their children to do so.

Isi Leibler’s website can be viewed at http://www.wordfromjerusalem.com. Email: ileibler@leibler.com.

 

The price of restraint 

November 18, 2018

Source: The price of restraint – Israel Hayom

Uri Heitner

It was 3 p.m., and Israeli news reports broadcast that the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip announced that Israel had gotten the message: If the Israel Defense Forces hold fire, there will be quiet.

The commentator explained that this statement should be seen as psychological warfare. Surprisingly though, it seems the Israeli cabinet got the message loud and clear when it agreed to a cease-fire.

This insolence is the direct result of the last eight months, in which Israeli deterrence eroded in a shocking manner. For four and a half years following Operation Protective Edge, residents of the western Negev enjoyed a kind of quiet they had not known since 2000. The deterrence worked.

But on March 30, the Palestinians announced the “March of Return,” an ongoing operation that entails daily attacks on the border fence, the throwing of explosives, Molotov cocktails and grenades toward Israel, incursions into Israeli territory, and the culmination of all these activities: the arson terrorism that has burned Israeli farmlands and forests on an enormous scale.

The Israeli government has chosen to respond to all of this with restraint.

No normal country would allow such an assault on its sovereign territory. Israel should have made it clear from the outset that incendiary kites would be treated like rockets and that the terrorist cells launching them would be destroyed exactly like those that fire rockets at Israel.

But the Israeli government decided to act with restraint, and this restraint has eroded deterrence. The rockets returned. Israel responded to the onslaught and then agreed to a cease-fire – not a comprehensive cease-fire, but one that puts an end to the rocket launches and IDF attacks on Gaza. It is through this response that Israel has sent a clear message to the terrorist organizations: Arson is permissible. Terrorists can set fire to the western Negev as long as they do not shoot rockets at Israel.

Israel’s deterrent value continues to erode. Time after time, we agree to a quasi-cease-fire that is followed by yet another round of fighting. This time, 460 rockets and mortar shells were fired toward communities in Israel’s south over two days last week.

One would have expected the government to act to put an end to this erosion of deterrence. We should have dealt the terrorist organizations a blow that would have delivered loss and destruction on a massive scale and that would have made Hamas beg for a real, comprehensive, long-term cease-fire.

Instead, Hamas set the rules. We were sucked into the fighting, just as we have been in the past.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spoken of his honest desire to avoid a war. Indeed, leaders are expected to do everything in their ability to avoid a war, or at least delay it as much as possible.

But the means to that end is deterrence.

The erosion of deterrence encourages and emboldens the enemy and brings us closer to war. Had we responded to the first incendiary kites as if they were a barrage of rockets, the phenomenon would have been nipped in the bud. The restraint brought us around a thousand rockets in recent months. Hezbollah recognizes this failure, as does Iran. Our restraint in the south could set the north alight too.

Should Israel agree to a cease-fire or reach an agreement with Hamas? Absolutely, but only from a position of strength. And in order to restore deterrence, we should have hit them hard.

USS Truman carrier and strike force bound for waters off Syria amid Russian naval buildup – DEBKAfile

November 18, 2018

Source: USS Truman carrier and strike force bound for waters off Syria amid Russian naval buildup – DEBKAfile

The USS Harry Truman with a strike force of 5 guided missile warships were on their way on Sunday, Nov. 18 to waters off the Syrian coast.

They entered the Mediterranean on Friday, Nov. 16, just as the Russian Middle East fleet wound up a series of search and destroy exercises against enemy submarines and warships. They were led by two Russian guided missile frigates Admiral Makarov and Admiral Essen, armed with Kalibr-NK cruise ship-to-shore missiles. Russia air force helicopters took part in the drills. By week’s end, there were 8 Russian warships in the eastern Mediterranean.

Aboard the Truman are 9 squadrons of Carrier Air Wing fighter bombers . Its strike force consists of the Normandy guided missile cruiser and four guided missile destroyers USS Arleigh BurkUSS Forrest ShermanUSS Bulkeley and USS Farragut.

This US-Russian buildup of sea and air forces opposite Syria has accelerated in preparation for two events, DEBKAfile’s military sources report:

  1. The approaching meeting between Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin at Buenos Aires on the sidelines of the 26-30 Nov. G20 summit. Since it is assumed in both Washington and Moscow that  the Syria issue will be high on the agenda together with the expanding Iranian presence there, both powers are gearing up for a military event that will tilt the standoff one way or the other.
  2. A possible Israeli air strike against Iranian targets in Syria after a long pause.  The Russians may well decide to use their newly-installed S-300 air defense missiles to shoot down an Israel warplane to get even for the downing of their Il-20 on Sept. 17. For Moscow this is still an open book.

 

US IS IN SYRIA UNTIL IRANIAN ‘COMMANDED FORCES’ LEAVE

November 18, 2018

The US State Department had not spelled out a clear policy, and the Pentagon didn’t seem to know if removing Iran and Iranian proxies was actually the official stance.

BY SETH J. FRANTZMAN NOVEMBER 18, 2018 Jerusalem Post

Source Link: US IS IN SYRIA UNTIL IRANIAN ‘COMMANDED FORCES’ LEAVE

Bonus Link: The Model of Iranian Influence in Syria

{Bottom line…Iran must go. – LS}

The United States is laying the groundwork for a long-term commitment to eastern Syria that will include “stabilization” after the defeat of Islamic State and also the demand that “Iranian-commanded forces” leave Syria before the US withdraws. Over the last six months, this policy has increasingly crystalized. It was finally spelled out by US special representative for Syria engagement James Jeffrey at the end of last week.

US intervention in Syria to target Islamic State began in September 2014 to stop the extremists from taking the Kurdish city of Kobani. By April 2016, the US support for the Kurdish People’s Protection Units and the Syrian Democratic Forces, the main partner force fighting ISIS, had expanded to include hundreds of US special forces and teams assisting the effort on the ground. The US presence expanded during the battle to liberate Raqqa in the summer and fall of 2017.

Over the summer, rumors and then statements began to emerge that the US presence in Syria would remain until Iran leaves. In September, National Security Advisor John Bolton said, “we’re not going to leave as long as Iranian troops are outside Iranian borders.”

This would include Iranian proxies and militias. But the US-led coalition did not see that as part of their mission. In a press conference on October 2, the spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force, Operation Inherent Resolve was asked about the Iranian issue.

“First and foremost [our mission] is to destroy ISIS,” the spokesman said. “The second is to train local troops to eventually take over. And then for the Geneva process to start working.” A Pentagon Inspector-General report went a bit further.

The US State Department had not spelled out a clear policy, and the Pentagon didn’t seem to know if removing Iran and Iranian proxies was actually the official stance. Instead, a US Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs said that the US was “desegregating” efforts against ISIS, from the Iran policy, and that confronting Iran was an “ancillary” or “residual” benefit of having a US footprint in eastern Syria.

Jeffrey told a special briefing in Washington on November 14 that the US policy is the “enduring defeat of ISIS, a reinvigorated and irreversible political process in Syria led by the Syrian people and facilitated by the UN and a de-escalation of the conflict that will include all Iranian-commanded forces departing from the entirety of Syria.”

The US military role in eastern Syria “indirectly helps affect Iran’s malign activities,” he said. The goal is not clear: The Iranian commanded-forces must go. This also means a “fundamental change in Iran’s role in Syria,” which the US says helped fuel ISIS.

The US special representative also said that getting Iran out is not a military goal. That means the US won’t be trying to confront Iran on the ground in the Syrian areas held by the regime.

He also said that Iran’s presence was a threat to US allies and partners, including Israel, Turkey and Jordan. “The Syrian government invited them [Iran] in, we expect the Syrian government to ask them to leave,” he said.

Jeffrey noted that the US presence in Syria is made legally possible by a 2001 law that allows use of military force as part of the war on terror after 9/11. He also says that what the coalition calls “stabilization” is part of a “stage-four aspect to the military, political, diplomatic, and economic efforts” to ensure ISIS is defeated.

Spelling out how the US mission in Syria is in the process of shifting from an anti-ISIS mission, to one that includes using eastern Syria as leverage against the Assad regime and its Iranian allies is important for the region. Over the last several years, the US presence and end-goal in Syria were not clear. What began as a war on ISIS grew as the US found partners in eastern Syria, particularly among the Kurds, who proved effective warriors against ISIS.

Now, as “stabilization” takes place and the defeat of ISIS continues with battles along the Euphrates, Washington is seeking to explain what comes next. It appears that getting Damascus to remove not only Iranian forces but also those proxies and militias commanded by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, is the next step.