Archive for the ‘Israeli government’ category

Israel Tries Its Hand at a Travel Ban

January 12, 2018

Israel Tries Its Hand at a Travel Ban, American Thinker,  Michael Curtis, January 12, 2018

Israel is proposing to prevent foreign supporters of BDS from entering Israel, although ministers have the right to deny individuals entry on a case-by-case basis, as in the case of Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of BDS, who is married to an Israeli citizen of Palestinian origin.  On January 7, 2018, Israel announced it plans to establish a task force to identify the hundreds of activists already in Israel and deport or deny entry to individuals who support BDS.

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Commenting on President Woodrow Wilson’s “long overdue ” decision to enter World War I, Winston Churchill wrote that if the president had acted earlier, it would have meant abridgment of the slaughter, sparing of the agony, and prevention of ruin and catastrophe.  Even if the parallel is not exact, Israeli authorities are acting to prevent further harm to their country by imposing a travel ban blocking members of organizations supporting BDS, the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement, from entering the country.

Mark Twain in his book Innocents Abroad wrote that travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.  Unfortunately, as Israel has found, hostile activists can also encourage those qualities.

The travel ban implements the intention of the law passed in March 2017 that bars entry into the country by groups that actively promote anti-Israeli boycotts.  The ban is virtual recognition of the adage, “Oh, I have taken too little care of this.”  Israel has now taken the offense against those who are not simply rational critics of Israeli policies and actions, but either implicitly or explicitly refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of the State of Israel or seek its elimination.

By banning any foreign activist who has knowingly signed a public call to boycott Israel or pledged to take part in a boycott, Israel is preventing harm to its citizens.

On January 7, 2018, Israel issued a ban on 20 worldwide organizations, including 11 European and six U.S. groups, that are involved and active in BDS activities.  They include the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC); Code Pink; the U.S.-based Jewish Voice for Peace; the U.K.-based Palestinian Solidarity Campaign; of which Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is a patron; the British group War on Want; and BDS organizations in France, Italy, Norway, and the Netherlands.

It is worth looking, if only as illustration of hypocrisy, at War on Want, an organization founded in 1951 in London as an antipoverty charity.  It supported liberation movements in Africa.  For a time, the anti-Israeli George Galloway was its general secretary; during that time, there were accounting irregularities, and reports were “materially misstated.”  In 2006, War on Want launched its Palestinian Rights movement and advocated BDS, calling for an embargo on arms to Israel.

One controversial incident resulting from this policy of banning occurred in 2016, when Isabel Phiri, a Malawian citizen living in Switzerland, the assistant general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Geneva and former professor of African theology in South Africa, was refused a visa by Israel.  Israeli authorities maintained that she has been involved in BDS, and it was the first time a foreign national was refused for that reason.  Though the WCC has not formally called for an outright boycott against Israel, it believes that the “Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories is a tragedy for the Palestinian occupied.”

Let us be straightforward on this controversial issue.  The argument against the travel ban is that it violates freedom of expression, and of course, to some extent, this is true in a democratic country such as Israel.  The problem with this is that not only does the freedom to call for a boycott exist everywhere, but much of the expression on Israel is based on falsehood and misrepresentations and the Palestinian Narrative of Victimhood.

Taking two examples illustrates the point.  The AFSC that won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1947 announced extravagantly on January 8, 2018 that “for 51 years Israel has denied Palestinians in the occupied territories their fundamental human rights in defiance of international law. ”  Then there is the absurdly disproportionate announcement issued on February 13, 2015 by over 100 British artists, including some well known personalities such as film directors Ken Loach and Mike Leigh, explaining their cultural boycott of Israel as based on the fact that “Palestinians have enjoyed no respite from Israel’s unrelenting attack on their land, their livelihood, their right to political existence.”

The BDS campaign calls for economic, cultural, and academic boycotts against the State of Israel and Israeli citizens.  But its real intention is not to advocate measures to alleviate the condition of Palestinians, but to implement the Palestinian campaign for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel, founded mainly by Omar Barghouti, to refuse to recognize Israel as a legitimate state.

What is important is that boycott activity is counterproductive, against peace.  It results in increasing hatred, and as Israeli president Reuven Rivlin has remarked, it symbolizes all that stands in the way of dialogue, debate, and progress.  It is against cooperation toward a peaceful solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A reminder of the past may be helpful in understanding the Israel travel ban.  On November 9-10, 1938, Kristallnacht occurred in German cities, with a pogrom against Jews, involving murders; beatings; and destruction of Jewish property and businesses as well as synagogues.  At the core and the call to German citizens was a boycott of Jews in all forms.

Obviously, actions such as calling for Israel to be excluded from international oganizations such as the world soccer governing body FIFA and the insistent commands by rock star Roger Waters to fellow performers not to perform in Tel Aviv are not on a par with the Nazi Holocaust, but it would be foolish to ignore the implications of BDS.  Implicitly if not explicitly, it promotes anti-Semitism as well as tolerating terrorist activity against Israel.

It does this by not criticizing the funds that the Palestinian Authority (P.A.), through its Martyrs’ Fund, gives to terrorists in Israeli prisons or to the families of those terrorists killed by Israel.  It is encouraging that the U.S. Senate by the Taylor Force bill is considering the issue in an appropriate way.  Named after the American citizen, a former U.S. army officer and a Vanderbilt University student, murdered in March 2016 by a Palestinian terrorist in the West Bank, the Taylor Force Act, introduced in 2016, aims to stop all U.S. economic aid to the P.A. as long as it continues to pay those salaries to terrorists and families.

Israel is proposing to prevent foreign supporters of BDS from entering Israel, although ministers have the right to deny individuals entry on a case-by-case basis, as in the case of Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of BDS, who is married to an Israeli citizen of Palestinian origin.  On January 7, 2018, Israel announced it plans to establish a task force to identify the hundreds of activists already in Israel and deport or deny entry to individuals who support BDS.

The Israeli travel ban might be considered in the context of the continuing war on Jews.  It is three years since Hypercacher, the Jewish Paris supermarket, was attacked by terrorists.  Four were killed.  Coinciding with the Israeli travel ban, on January 9, 2018, an arson attack burned down a French kosher grocery store in Creteil, a suburb of Paris, and the store was completely gutted by fire.  Six days earlier, two stores in the area were targeted with paintings of swastikas.

Hatred and anti-Semitism: this is the real essence of the boycott of Israel and Jews.

Israel’s government under triple siege

July 26, 2017

Israel’s government under triple siege, DEBKAfile, July 26, 2017

Where the ministers went wrong was in failing to go after the perpetrators of the murders committed at one of the most sensitive world shrines. The killers belonged to the lawless Jabarin clan that rules the Israeli Arab town of Umm al Fahm. The ministers did not treat this clan as central to the crime, out of concern for the delicate relations with Israel’s Arab minority. Instead, Temple Mount, the lightening rod of Israel’s relations with the entire Muslim and Arab world, was treated as the core issue.

If Israel fails to draw a strong red line at this point in the standoff, a new crisis or terrorist outrage will be staged every few days to force the ministers to fall back step by step on measures pivotal to national security. Popular opnion at home, incensed over the Halamish terrorist outrage, was against the first concession and will oppose any more.

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Binyamin Netanyahu’s government is being forced back step by step on the Temple Mount standoff by a three-line siege imposed by the Palestinians, Sunni Arab governments, including Jordan, and public opinion at home.

The security cabinet can’t be faulted for approving its first rational steps for securing the worshippers and visitors frequenting Temple Mount, after three Israeli Arab gunmen desecrated the shrine on July 14 by shooting dead two Israeli police officers on guard at Lion’s Gate.

Metal detectors at the gates provided a quick fix for reopening the shrines the next day.

Where the ministers went wrong was in failing to go after the perpetrators of the murders committed at one of the most sensitive world shrines. The killers belonged to the lawless Jabarin clan that rules the Israeli Arab town of Umm al Fahm. The ministers did not treat this clan as central to the crime, out of concern for the delicate relations with Israel’s Arab minority. Instead, Temple Mount, the lightening rod of Israel’s relations with the entire Muslim and Arab world, was treated as the core issue.

The Jabarins felt safe enough to carry on breaking Israel’s laws. On Tuesday, July 25, a member was caught smuggling a truckload of illegal Palestinian workers from the Palestinian town of Jenin across into Israel. It was obvious that something is badly amiss in national homeland security policies.

In another example, the government finally, a year late, ordered the home of one of the Tel Aviv Sarona Market terrorists, who murdered four Israelis, to be knocked down. One story of a building in the Hebron village of Yata will be destroyed. At the same time, the Supreme Court of Justice in Jerusalem gave the police 30 hours to hand over the bodies of the three Temple Mount gunmen, members of the Jabarin tribe,  to their families for burial.

Razing the home of one of the Tel Aviv terrorists, who claimed to have been inspired by ISIS, in a timely fashion, a year ago, might have been some deterrent for the killers of Umm al-Fahm.

It now turns out that the shrine murders 12 days ago were the result of Israeli Arabs and Palestinians coming together for a joint terrorist conspiracy against Israel. The location was deliberately chosen as the catalyst for dragging moderate Arab rulers into a plot for compelling Israel to give up its sovereignty on Temple Mount and the Old City of Jerusalem.

This conspiracy was insufficiently addressed by the ministers taking part in the security cabinet’s deliberations. The removal of the metal scanners, security cameras – or any other measures Israel was been forced to cede – will not satisfy the Palestinians and Israeli Arab leaders, including their members of parliament. They are intent on drawing their community of 1.5 million into the bloody brew they have cooked up for the entire Arab world to consume.

As this juncture, the Israeli government has no choice but to brake hard on concessions – even as street violence escalates – and draw a red line against caving in any further. The Palestinians and their clerics should be firmly informed that if they choose to continue to boycott Al Aqsa and hold prayers in the street outside the shrine, so be it. Israel will not budge any further on its responsibility to secure Temple Mount against more violence. And their dream of a victory parade on the holy compound to celebrate their humiliation of the Jewish State will never come true.

Very few Israelis are aware of the origins of the 180,000 Arabs living in Jerusalem today. Most of them originate in Hebron and migrated to Jerusalem over the years since 1967. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan which ruled eastern Jerusalem and its shrines for 19 years up until the Six Day War, very carefully kept Hebron natives out of the city. Their extremist conduct over Temple Mount explains why.

If Israel fails to draw a strong red line at this point in the standoff, a new crisis or terrorist outrage will be staged every few days to force the ministers to fall back step by step on measures pivotal to national security. Popular opnion at home, incensed over the Halamish terrorist outrage, was against the first concession and will oppose any more.

Palestinians, Mother of Terrorist, Celebrate Slaughter of Jewish Family

July 24, 2017

Palestinians, Mother of Terrorist, Celebrate Slaughter of Jewish Family, Front Page MagazineJoseph Klein, July 24, 2017

(Another good opportunity for an American veto at the UN Security Council. — DM)

The United Nations Security Council is meeting in closed session Monday morning to discuss the crisis. Sweden, Egypt and France requested the special meeting. None of these countries have supported Israel in dealing with the ever present threat of Palestinian terrorism. They have bought into the Palestinians’ victimhood narrative.

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Palestinian mother extolled her 19-year old son’s “accomplishment” in the name of Allah. She exclaimed:  “Praise Allah. I am proud of my son. May Allah be pleased with him.” The mother was not celebrating her son’s graduation, new job, marriage, fatherhood or some other life-affirming event. Rather, she was celebrating the deaths that her terrorist offspring, Omar al-Abed, brought to a Jewish family on July 21st.  The family was about to sit down for a Sabbath dinner and to celebrate the birth of a grandson that same day when the Palestinian terrorist prodigy invaded the family’s home. Wielding a knife, he proceeded to kill a grandfather, his daughter and his son, and to seriously wound the grandmother. The massacre ended only after a neighbor, who belongs to an elite IDF unit and was home on leave, heard cries for help from the house and shot the terrorist. Al-Abed was eventually handcuffed and taken to a hospital for treatment of his wounds.  

The terrorist’s mother was joined in her celebration by Palestinians dancing in the street in Gaza. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh reportedly phoned Omar al-Abed’s father to congratulate him for what his son had done to bring “pride to the nation.” 

The trigger for this latest spurt of violence was said to be Israel’s decision to install metal detectors at the entrances leading to the Temple Mount. Israel took this action in response to the killings by terrorists on July 14th of two Israeli police officers guarding the holy site. The murders were carried out by Arab Israeli citizens who used guns previously smuggled into the compound. Israel installed metal detectors to prevent any further smuggling of arms.

Palestinian violence has been spreading since then, resulting in the deaths of four Palestinian rioters in confrontations with Israeli security forces trying to restore calm.

The spiraling violence is being spurred on by Muslim religious leaders and Palestinian officials claiming that Israel’s security actions were defiling the Al Aqsa mosque situated on the Temple Mount. Omar al-Abed picked up on this theme in the “will” he posted on Facebook three hours before his cowardly attack. He said he was acting against “the sons of apes and pigs who defile Al Aqsa.” Hoping for martyrdom, he posted: “I will go to heaven. How sweet death is for the sake of God, his prophet and for Al-Aqsa mosque.” The 19-year old terrorist, who is the apple of his mother’s eye, did not get his wish and will now have to answer for his crimes. No doubt, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will reward the terrorist’s family with a generous stipend while he remains in Israeli custody. That’s the way Abbas operates.

After first mouthing an insincere condemnation of the murderous attack on the police guarding the Temple Mount, Abbas has exploited the situation ever since. He announced that he was going to suspend all contacts with Israel until the metal detectors were removed. Abbas reached out to the United States and the so-called “international community” to pressure Israel into cancelling its heightened security measures. He reportedly said that unless Israel backed down, tensions over access to the holy site could spiral out of control. The United Nations Security Council is meeting in closed session Monday morning to discuss the crisis. Sweden, Egypt and France requested the special meeting. None of these countries have supported Israel in dealing with the ever present threat of Palestinian terrorism. They have bought into the Palestinians’ victimhood narrative.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government has been holding firm so far on its latest security measures. Tzachi Hanegbi, the minister for regional development and a senior member of the ruling Likud party, told Army Radio: “They (metal detectors) will remain. The murderers will never tell us how to search the murderers. If they (Palestinians) do not want to enter the mosque, then let them not enter the mosque.”

However, there is some division within the Israeli government on the utility of the metal detectors. Senior security officials have reportedly warned that the potential danger the metal detectors may pose in being used as a pretext for widespread violence may outweigh their usefulness. Thus, the government could be preparing a way to replace the metal detectors with a less controversial alternative. Israel has begun installing sophisticated security cameras at one of the entrances. While security officials have told Israeli media that the cameras are meant to complement the metal detectors, not replace them, the cameras may provide the Israeli government with a face saving way to defuse the immediate crisis. Prime Minister Netanyahu hinted as much when he said at his weekly cabinet meeting, “The only thing we want is to ensure no one can again take weapons in and carry out another attack. We’re willing to examine alternatives to the metal detectors, so long as the alternative ensures the prevention of the next attack.”

However, it is unlikely that any alternative security measure the Israelis institute will quell the rising level of violence. Indeed, it could have the opposite effect. Already, Abbas is said to be protesting the installation of the cameras. Only the Palestinians have the right to determine what security measures are appropriate outside the entrance to the site of their mosque, he said on Sunday. Moreover, some Muslim religious leaders may argue that photographing of people and other living animate moving beings is forbidden in Islam. They would likely rail against the “Zionist infidel occupiers” taking pictures of Muslim worshippers entering the “sacred” site of a mosque over which the Palestinians claim exclusive sovereignty.

The Palestinian grand mufti, the acting Palestinian chief justice and the Jordanian-sponsored Waqf religious trust issued a no-compromise joint statement:

“We stress our absolute rejection of the electronic gates, and of all measures by the Occupation (Israel) that would change the historical and religious status in Jerusalem and its sacred sites, foremost the blessed Aqsa mosque.” (Emphasis added)

Palestinians continue to reject all paths to a reasonable compromise on any issue related to the conflict that they created in the first place by not accepting a two-state solution seven decades ago. There is no reason to expect any different outcome this time. As Debkafile put it so well: “The Palestinians are consistent in their tactics: First shed Israeli blood, then tell the world they are victims and as martyrs are justified in seeking revenge.” As usual, much of the “international community,” as represented in the UN, will fall for this charade.

The IDF’s New Social Contract

January 6, 2017

The IDF’s New Social Contract, Front Page MagazineCaroline Glick, January 6, 2016

flickr_-_israel_defense_forces_-_karakal_winter_training_1

Azaria is the first victim of a General Staff that has decided to cease serving as the people’s army and serve instead as B’Tselem’s army. The call now spreading through the Knesset for Azaria to receive a presidential pardon, while certainly reasonable and desirable, will likely fail to bring about his freedom. For a pardon request to reach President Reuven Rivlin’s desk, it first needs to be stamped by Eisenkot.

A pardon for Azaria would go some way toward repairing the damage the General Staff has done to its relationship with the public. But from Eisenkot’s behavior this week, it is apparent that he feels no need and has no interest in repairing that damage.

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Sgt. Elor Azaria, who was convicted of manslaughter Wednesday for shooting a terrorist in Hebron last March, is a symptom of what may be the most dangerous threat to Israeli society today.

Azaria, a combat medic from the Kfir Brigade, arrived at the scene of an attack where two terrorists had just stabbed his comrades. One of the terrorists was killed, the other was wounded and lying on the ground, his knife less than a meter away from him.

A cameraman from the foreign-funded, Israeli- registered anti-Israel pressure group B’Tselem filmed Azaria removing his helmet and shooting the wounded terrorist. According to the military judges, the film was the centerpiece of the case against him.

The day of the incident, the General Staff reacted to the B’Tselem film with utter hysteria. Led by Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot and then-defense minister Moshe Ya’alon, Israel’s generals competed to see who could condemn Azaria most harshly.

For the public, though, the issue wasn’t so cut and dry. Certainly Azaria didn’t act like a model soldier. It was clear, for instance, that he acted without proper authority and that his action was not permitted under the rules of engagement then in effect in Hebron.

But unlike the IDF’s senior leadership, the public believed that the fact that it was B’Tselem that produced the film meant that it had to be viewed with a grain of salt.

The name “B’Tselem” was seared into the public’s consciousness as an organization hostile to Israel and dedicated to causing it harm with the publication of the UN’s Goldstone Commission Report in 2009. Among the Israeli-registered groups that provided materials to the biased UN commission charged with finding Israel guilty of war crimes during the course of Operation Cast Lead against Hamas in late 2008 and early 2009, B’Tselem made the greatest contribution.

The Goldstone Report cited B’Tselem as the source for its slanderous “findings” 56 times.

After the UN published the Goldstone Report, Michael Posner, the US assistant secretary of state for human rights, visited Israel and met with Jessica Montell, B’Tselem’s executive director at the time.

The US Embassy’s official report of their meeting was published by WikiLeaks.

During their meeting, Montell told Posner that her group’s goal in providing the Goldstone Commission with materials was to force the government to pay a heavy price for its decision to fight Hamas, by criminalizing Israel in the court of world opinion.

As B’Tselem saw it, Israel needed to come to the point where it would consider whether it could “afford another operation like this.”

Montell explained that from B’Tselem’s perspective the root of the problem with Israel is the Israeli public. The public is the source of Israel’s bad behavior, according to B’Tselem, because it “had zero tolerance for IDF killed.” As far as the public is concerned, she said, harm to Palestinian civilians is preferable to harm to IDF soldiers.

Since, in B’Tselem’s view, the public’s commitment to the lives of its soldiers meant that it would not constitute a “moral check on war,” and check the bellicosity of IDF commanders, it fell to B’Tselem to make the IDF brass and the government care more about world opinion than they care about what the public thinks.

The public’s condemnation of B’Tselem after its role in compiling the Goldstone Commission’s libelous accusations against the IDF was made public made no impression whatsoever on the group.

Following Operation Protective Edge in 2014, B’Tselem’s materials were cited 67 times by the report of the biased UN commission put together to slander Israel.

In 2007, B’Tselem launched its “Camera Program.”

The camera initiative involved providing video cameras to B’Tselem employees and volunteers in Judea and Samaria in order to document the actions of Israeli security forces and civilians in the areas.

In many cases, the videos B’Tselem produced distorted reality for the purpose of criminalizing both groups.

For instance, in 2011, B’Tselem gave a film to Ynet’s Elior Cohen that purported to show Israeli police brutally arresting a young Palestinian boy and preventing his mother from coming to the police station with him.

But as CAMERA showed at the time, B’Tselem’s portrayal of events was fanciful at best. In all likelihood, the event was staged by the B’Tselem photographer.

At the outset of the film the boy is unseen as he throws rocks at a police van. The boy is first seen as he runs toward the B’Tselem camerawoman. For her part, the camerawoman screams at the police and identifies herself as from B’Tselem.

The police are shown asking the boy’s mother repeatedly to join them in the car. As she stands poised to enter the vehicle, a Palestinian man is shown telling her in Arabic not to go.

In July 2016, B’Tselem released a film taken in Hebron during an attempted stabbing attack by a female Palestinian terrorist against Israel police at a security checkpoint outside the Cave of the Patriarchs.

The police reported that the terrorist tried to stab a policewoman who was checking her in an inspection room. Another policewoman shot and killed her.

B’Tselem claimed that its film proved that the female terrorist was shot for no reason. But the fact is that it does no such thing. As NGO Monitor noted, the B’Tselem film neither contradicts nor proves the police’s version of events.

Over the years, the public’s growing awareness of B’Tselem’s unwavering hostility went hand in hand with its growing distress over what was perceived as the IDF’s willingness to sacrifice the safety of troops to prevent it from receiving bad press.

For instance, in 2012, a film went viral on social media that showed a platoon of combat engineers fleeing from a mob of Palestinians attacking with rocks, Molotov cocktails and slingshots.

When questioned by reporters, the soldiers said that they had repeatedly asked their battalion commander for permission to use force to disperse the crowd and they were repeatedly denied permission.

Retreat was their only option.

In 2015, another film went viral showing a group of Palestinian women hitting and screaming at a soldier trying to arrest one of them for throwing rocks at his platoon. He did nothing as he absorbed the blows. And no harm came to the women who assaulted him.

Along with the films, came stories that soldiers on leave told their friends and family about the IDF’s rules of engagement. The tales were always the same. The rules of engagement are so restrictive that all initiative is placed in the hands of the enemy. Not only can terrorists attack at will. They can flee afterward and expect that no harm will come to them, because what is most important, the soldiers explain, is to ensure that IDF maintains its reputation as the most moral army in the world.

This was the context in which Azaria killed the wounded terrorist.

Although the headlines relate to Azaria, and his family members have become familiar faces on the news, the fact is the reason the Azaria affair was the biggest story of the year is that it really has very little to do with him.

There are three forces driving the story.

First of course, there is B’Tselem.

B’Tselem’s produced the film to advance its goal of obliging Israel’s national leadership, including the IDF brass, to care more about “world opinion” than about the opinion of Israeli citizens.

Second then, is the pubic that cares more about the lives of IDF soldiers than about what the world thinks of it.

Finally, there is the IDF General Staff that is being forced to pick which side it stands with.

Since Israel was established nearly 70 years ago, the relationship between the IDF and the public has been based on an often unstated social contract.

From the public’s side, Israel’s citizens agree to serve in the IDF and risk their lives in its service.

Moreover, they agree to allow their children to serve in the military and to be placed in harm’s way.

From the IDF’s side, the commanders agree to view the lives of their soldiers as sacrosanct, and certainly as more precious than the lives of the enemy and the enemies’ society.

The third side is the General Staff. In the years leading up to the Azaria affair the generals were already showing disturbing signs of forgetting their contract with the public.

The films of fleeing soldiers and the rules of engagement weren’t the only signs of our military leadership’s estrangement.

There were also the promotions given to radical lawyers to serve in key positions in the Military Advocate-General’s unit, and the red carpet treatment given to radical leftist groups like B’Tselem that were dedicated to criminalizing soldiers and commanders.

Since the shooting in Hebron, the General Staff’s treatment of the public has become even more disdainful.

Ya’alon and Eisenkot and his generals have repeatedly offended the public with comparisons of “IDF values” with alleged processes of barbarization, Nazification and ISIS-ization of the public by the likes of Azaria and his supporters.

If there was a specific moment where the military brass abandoned its compact with society once and for all, it came on Tuesday, the day before the military court convicted Azaria of manslaughter. In a speech that day, Eisenkot insisted that IDF soldiers are not “our children.” They are grownups and they are required to obey the orders they receive.

By making this statement the day before the verdict in a case that pitted society against the General Staff, which sided with B’Tselem, Eisenkot told us that the General Staff no longer feels itself obligated by a sacred compact with the people of Israel.

Azaria is the first victim of a General Staff that has decided to cease serving as the people’s army and serve instead as B’Tselem’s army. The call now spreading through the Knesset for Azaria to receive a presidential pardon, while certainly reasonable and desirable, will likely fail to bring about his freedom. For a pardon request to reach President Reuven Rivlin’s desk, it first needs to be stamped by Eisenkot.

A pardon for Azaria would go some way toward repairing the damage the General Staff has done to its relationship with the public. But from Eisenkot’s behavior this week, it is apparent that he feels no need and has no interest in repairing that damage.

As a result, it is likely that Azaria will spend years behind bars for killing the enemy.

Moreover, if nothing forces Eisenkot and his generals to their senses, Azaria will neither be the last nor the greatest victim of their betrayal of the public’s trust.

Why the Anti-Israeli Sentiment?

January 5, 2017

Why the Anti-Israeli Sentiment? Town HallVictor Davis Hanson, January  5, 2017

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Secretary of State John Kerry, echoing other policymakers in the Obama administration, blasted Israel last week in a 70-minute rant about its supposedly self-destructive policies.

Why does the world — including now the U.S. — single out liberal and lawful Israel but refrain from chastising truly illiberal countries?

Kerry has never sermonized for so long about his plan to solve the Syrian crisis that has led to some 500,000 deaths or the vast migrant crisis that has nearly wrecked the European Union.

No one in this administration has shown as much anger about the many thousands who have been killed and jailed in the Castro brothers’ Cuba, much less about the current Stone Age conditions in Venezuela or the nightmarish government of President Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, an ally nation.

President Obama did not champion the cause of the oppressed during the Green Revolution of 2009 in Iran. Did Kerry and Obama become so outraged after Russia occupied South Ossetia, Crimea and eastern Ukraine?

Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power was never so impassioned over the borders of Chinese-occupied Tibet, or over Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus.

In terms of harkening back to the Palestinian “refugee” crisis that started in the late 1940s, no one talks today in similar fashion about the Jews who survived the Holocaust and walked home, only to find that their houses in Eastern Europe were gone or occupied by others. Much less do we recall the 11 million German civilians who were ethnically cleansed from Eastern Europe in 1945 by the Soviets and their imposed Communist governments. Certainly, there are not still “refugee” camps outside Dresden for those persons displaced from East Prussia 70 years ago.

More recently, few nations at the U.N. faulted the Kuwaiti government for the expulsion of 200,000 Palestinians after the liberation of Kuwait by coalition forces in 1991.

Yet on nearly every issue — from “settlements” to human rights to the status of women — U.N. members that routinely violate human rights target a liberal Israel.

When President Obama entered office, among his first acts were to give an interview with the Saudi-owned news outlet Al Arabiya championing his outreach to the mostly non-democratic Islamic world and to blast democratic Israel on “settlements.”

Partly, the reason for such inordinate criticism of Israel is sheer cowardice. If Israel had 100 million people and was geographically large, the world would not so readily play the bully.

Instead, the United Nations and Europe would likely leave it alone — just as they give a pass to human rights offenders such as Pakistan and Indonesia. If Israel were as big as Iran, and Iran as small as Israel, then the Obama administration would have not reached out to Iran, and would have left Israel alone.

Israel’s supposed Western friends sort out Israel’s enemies by their relative natural resources, geography and population — and conclude that supporting Israel is a bad deal in cost/benefit terms.

Partly, the criticism of Israel is explained by oil — an issue that is changing daily as both the U.S. and Israel cease to be oil importers.

Still, about 40 percent of the world’s oil is sold by Persian Gulf nations. Influential nations in Europe and China continue to count on oil imports from the Middle East — and make political adjustments accordingly.

Partly, anti-Israel rhetoric is due to herd politics.

The Palestinians — illiberal and reactionary on cherished Western issues like gender equality, homosexuality, religious tolerance and diversity — have grafted their cause to the popular campus agendas of race/class/gender victimization.

Western nations in general do not worry much about assorted non-Western crimes such as genocides, mass cleansings or politically induced famines. Instead, they prefer sermons to other Westerners as a sort of virtue-signaling, without any worries over offending politically correct groups.

Partly, the piling on Israel is due to American leverage over Israel as a recipient of U.S. aid. As a benefactor, the Obama administration expects that Israel must match U.S. generosity with obeisance. Yet the U.S. rarely gives similar “how dare you” lectures to less liberal recipients of American aid, such as the Palestinians for their lack of free elections.

Partly, the cause of global hostility toward Israel is jealousy. If Israel were mired in Venezuela-like chaos, few nations would care. Instead, the image of a proud, successful, Westernized nation as an atoll in a sea of self-inflicted misery is grating to many. And the astounding success of Israel bothers so many failed states that the entire world takes notice.

But partly, the source of anti-Israelism is ancient anti-Semitism.

If Israelis were Egyptians administering Gaza or Jordanians running the West Bank (as during the 1960s), no one would care. The world’s problem is that Israelis are Jews. Thus, Israel earns negative scrutiny that is never extended commensurately to others.

Obama and his diplomatic team should have known all this. Perhaps they do, but they simply do not care.

MSNBC Slams Israel’s ‘Extreme Right-Wing’ Government in Wake of Terror Attack

June 9, 2016

MSNBC Slams Israel’s ‘Extreme Right-Wing’ Government in Wake of Terror Attack, NewsbustersKyle Drennen, June 8, 2016

(Please see also, ‘Uneaten birthday cakes next to pools of blood’.  

The MSNBC transcript does not suggest that the attack had anything to do with Ramadan, or even mention Ramadan. — DM)

During live MSNBC coverage of a terrorist attack in Tel Aviv in the 3 p.m. ET hour on Wednesday, NBC correspondents Ayman Mohyeldin and Martin Fletcher took turns blaming Israel’s “right-wing” government for Palestinian “frustration.”

Mohyeldin ranted: “…in terms of the context of what has been happening in the occupied Palestinian territories, the occupation, the shift of Israeli politics, including now the current government, more to the right, to what has been described by Israelis as even more of an extreme right-wing government, some of the measures that have taken place in the West Bank, the siege that continues in Gaza, all of those continue to fester.”

He then argued those policies created “the sense of depravation, the sense of frustration, the lack of any clarity on a political process”and declared: “There’s a tremendous amount of frustration among Palestinians who live in the occupied West Bank coupled with the shift of Israeli politics to the right, and that has led to even further measures of what Palestinians say is oppression in the occupied West Bank.”

Anchor Kate Snow replied: “A boiling point, perhaps.” She then turned to Fletcher and asked: “I just wonder whether this will be a call to action on – on both sides.” Fletcher responded: “Will it lead either side towards any movement towards peace or understanding that they need to make real progress? Probably not.”

He then joined Mohyeldin in hitting Israel:

I mean, as Ayman said, the Israeli government – you know, we keep – every few years we say, “Oh, this is the most right-wing government in Israel’s history,” and it just keeps getting more right-wing.So the chances that there’s going to be a move towards peace as a result of a violent shooting is probably the wrong conclusion. If anything, with the new defense minister, Avigdor Liberman, really an extremely right-winger, he will be – a settler himself – he will be calling, clearly as a defense minister, for a strong response of some kind.

Here is a transcript of the June 8 exchange:

Tel Aviv massacre

AYMAN MOHYELDIN: But in the bigger picture, in terms of the context of what has been happening in the occupied Palestinian territories, the occupation, the shift of Israeli politics, including now the current government more to the right to what has been described by Israelis as even more of a extreme right-wing government, some of the measures that have taken place in the West Bank, the siege that continues in Gaza, all of those continue to fester.

And as a result, the sense of depravation, the sense of frustration, the lack of any clarity on a political process that would lead to a – some kind of peace process, if you will, all of that has been brewing for the past several months. It’s been systematic for the last several years in terms of the ongoing occupation, but really, what we’ve seen is a spike, as Martin [Fletcher] was saying, in the past nine months with these wave of attacks. That has been a huge factor in why we are seeing this sudden spike.

There’s a tremendous amount of frustration among Palestinians who live in the occupied West Bank coupled with the shift of Israeli politics to the right, and that has led to even further measures of what Palestinians say is oppression in the occupied West Bank. The lack of any progress on the front with Gaza, it has been just a very – it’s been a recipe of disaster.

KATE SNOW: A boiling point, perhaps. Martin, as we – I’m trying to think back, and we’ve heard so much about the knife attacks that have happened last fall, I think, that was the last big spate of them – but is this – if you can put this in context, how significant is an event like this? And we’re talking about three people dead, multiple injuries. I mean, it looks a lot like what we saw in Paris, although not on the same scale. I guess I just wonder whether this will be a call to action on – on both sides.

MARTIN FLETCHER: Well, probably not much will change in the situation because of this. Because it was feared, the Palestinian – different Palestinian groups are trying to do this kind of thing. But it’s a shock, certainly to the Israeli public. It’s a shock because Tel Aviv is always sort of a rather hip, cool place outside the mainstream of the violence. Occasionally it reaches Tel Aviv with devastating effect. There have been bus bombs in Tel Aviv over the years and the attacks like this, but they have been far and few between.

The – I mean, from the point of view of the attackers, this was a successful attack that will shock the Israelis, but actually, will it change anything? Will it lead either side towards any movement towards peace or understanding that they need to make real progress? Probably not. I mean, as Ayman said, the Israeli government – you know, we keep – every few years we say, “Oh, this is the most right-wing government in Israel’s history,” and it just keeps getting more right-wing. So the chances that there’s going to be a move towards peace as a result of a violent shooting is probably the wrong conclusion. If anything, with the new defense minister, Avigdor Liberman, really an extremely right-winger, he will be – a settler himself – he will be calling, clearly as a defense minister, for a strong response of some kind.

MOHYELDIN: And this will be, correct me if I’m wrong, but really the first test on the security front for this new right-wing coalition government that was just formed within the last couple of weeks. This is the first, certainly the first significant major incident that has happened since this government has come into formation. And so I suspect, as Martin was saying, you’re going to hear tough talk in terms of measurements, in terms of if they identify and conclude that this is in fact the result of a Palestinian terrorist group or if a Palestinian individual was acting out.

(…)

No one has a monopoly on values

May 22, 2016

No one has a monopoly on values, Israel Hayom, Boaz Bismuth, May 22, 2016

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?

Since it was announced that Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Lieberman was joining the coalition, everyone has been whipped into a frenzy. As if the man hasn’t already served as foreign minister, as if Israel’s defense minister decided to launch wars and wasn’t overseen by the prime minister and the cabinet and the military leadership. Again, we have apocalyptic predictions by the chorus of pundits, which last week proved that its understanding of the political system is as limited as its understanding of the people’s wishes.

And another brief reminder, not from 1948 or 1973, but rather from March 2015, when Israel held elections. Remember? The people made the media eat dirt, and it can’t forgive them.

In that same election, the people spoke clearly and said “Right.” In effect, the Right had a bloc of 67 mandates. Yisrael Beytenu’s place was in the coalition. What just happened is a correction. Incidentally, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu actually wanted Isaac Herzog and the Zionist Union to join the government, but Herzog couldn’t supply the goods. What we’ve gotten instead is a stronger coalition. In other words, the government now has a better chance of surviving. The media, of course, can’t accept the move as a positive one so long as it hopes the government will fall. So what does it do? “Pollute” (a term from one of the news broadcasts on Saturday) the process. Lieberman, who as of Saturday was worthy as an anti-Bibi member of the coalition, has suddenly become a pathetic, inexperienced guy, and Netanyahu is supposedly busy just trying to hang on politically — as if Shimon Peres, in his time, only dreamed of resigning.

All the events of this past week are essentially political. It’s amazing to see how experienced journalists are horrified by coalition moves. Haven’t we seen dirty tricks and political opportunism in the past? Haven’t we sometimes made territorial concessions that matched the needs of the hour more than ideology?

This weekend, I returned from France, the nation of human rights. The news shows talked with concern about anarchists who were creating disturbances and damaging property. Their economy is bogged down; their political system is having a hard time producing leaders; absorbing refugees is a problem; and the extreme Right, which won the European Parliament election in 2014, is threatening to repeat its performance in next year’s presidential election. Surprisingly, I didn’t see any French analyst or journalist expressing concern on a live broadcast that his children might leave the country.

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.