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September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘enemy’

They Got it Right: America is Their Enemy

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Visit Rubin Reports.

One of President Barack Obama’s main themes has been to convince Middle Eastern Islamists and Arabs generally that America is not their enemy. But the reason this strategy never works is that the radicals, be they Islamists or nationalists, know better. They see the United States as their enemy and they are right to do so.
No amount of sympathy, empathy, economic aid, apology, or appeasement will change this fact. Nor did such efforts succeed in making either Obama or the United States popular in such circles and the tens of millions of people influenced by them.  The only thing surprising about all of this is that so few “experts” and politicians seem to comprehend it.
There are a number of reasons why this is true, though many people mistakenly think they must find just one factor that explains this reality. The causes of this enmity include:
–American policies. True, the United States has supported Israel and also many Arab regimes over the years—including countries like Morocco, Tunisia, post-Qadhafi-Libya, Egypt, pre-Hizballah Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, post-Saddam Iraq, and the United Arab Emirates. The Islamists are equally unhappy with the U.S. support for the Palestinian Authority.
In short, U.S. support for any non-radical regime makes radicals angry and will always do so.
So what if the United States is nice to radical or Islamist regimes? Will that help?
No. The radicals still keep their goals—which include throwing U.S. influence out of the region and overthrowing its allies—no matter what Washington tries to do to please them. In the context of their ideology, they interpret U.S. concessions as signs of weakness which thus invite them to become even more militant and aggressive.
In Libya and Iraq, the governments have been pretty much directly installed by America. Thus, anyone who wants to overthrow those governments has a strong vested interest in hating and attacking Americans. The assassination of the ambassador to Libya wasn’t an accident or the result of a video but the inevitable and logical outcome of the political situation there.
As for Israel, giving that country less help would not change the radical view. Only if the United States had the same policy as Hamas, Hizballah, and the Muslim Brotherhood might it be forgiven. Merely putting more space between the United States and Israel, to paraphrase Obama’s stated intention, won’t do it. Even brokering a comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which isn’t going to happen of course, won’t help.
On the contrary, the radicals—especially Hamas, its Egyptian backers, and Iran—would go into a frenzy of denunciation and attempts to destroy the arrangements, which would be blamed on America. In the Middle East, peacemakers aren’t blessed, they’re assassinated.
The ultimate attempt to do away with these problems would be if U.S. policy would actually help Islamist regimes into power, give them money, and whitewash their extremism. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? And we can all see the results have not been good, neither in terms of U.S. interests nor even in terms of U.S. popularity.
–American values and culture. While the mere fact that a highly secular, largely hedonistic, and generally free lifestyle is practiced in the United States raises the Islamists’ ire, there is far more involved here.
The United States is the world’s leading exporter of culture regarding everything from tee-shirts, films, and democratic ideas. As such, it inevitably subverts traditional Islamic society and poses as a rival alternative to the kind of system the Islamists want to impose. There is simply no way around this conflict. It is not an imagined one and remains in effect no matter what political policy a U.S. government follows.
–America as an example to their own society. If the United States succeeds with a “Satanic” standpoint, how can Islamists persuade their people that Allah is on their side? America must be seen to fail, either through propaganda or by its actual collapse, at least in terms of the Middle East. Otherwise, the United States will remain an attractive model for many, prompting everything from immigration to political philosophy.
Many years ago in Istanbul I had dinner with the man who was the chief security officer in the U.S. embassy in Iran in 1979. I asked him what he thought was the critical detail that brought the seizure of the embassy and the holding of the staff as hostages. He replied that every day the new Islamist rulers saw long lines of Iranians outside the building applying for visas to go to America or, perhaps they thought, plotting the regime’s overthrow. It was not the unpopularity but rather the popularity of the United States and its style or standard of living that frightened them. Something must be done. A break must be provoked; hatred must be stoked.
Obviously a distinction can be drawn between, on one hand, winning over the radicals and their supporters, and winning over ordinary Arabs. Yet it is also true that the masses have also been fed anti-Americanism for decades, that their worldview, news, and spin comes from a radical direction, be the source Islamists, militant Arab nationalists, traditionalist clerics, or rulers who have good relations with the United States but demagogically use anti-Americanism to shore up their reputation as militants in the Arab or Islamic causes.
In other words, no matter what the United States does it will not be interpreted—especially by the masses–based on the U.S. government’s statements or intentions but through the filter of a very different culture and worldview that has a good deal of hostility in it and is prone to xenophobia and conspiracy theories.
By the same token, to be hated the United States doesn’t have to do something wrong. It just has to be itself and pursue its own legitimate interests. This is a point that many Americans—including “experts” and leaders—seem to have great difficulty in grasping. What you say is not what someone else hears; what you do is not what someone else sees.
Finally, the radicals—which include a large portion of governments, political movements, teachers, clerics, and journalists—will deliberately do everything they can to discredit the United States and foment popular hatred against it. That includes using anything they can, be it a video, the slaying of Usama bin Ladin, accusations of atrocities, and so on, whether the specific accusations are true or false, consciously misinterpreted or misunderstood on ideological grounds.
They will never run out of reasons to hate America and ammunition for trying to convince others to do so. One conclusion from this assessment is that the traditional arsenal of diplomacy—credibility, deterrence, power—is what’s important, not courting popularity. The same principle applies to allies, of course, who must feel that their friend or patron is strong and reliable.
Such an approach has not been the one pursued during the last four years. As for the next four years, the vote count is not in yet.

If Israel’s Defensive Measures are Called ‘Disproportionate,’ What to Call Hezbollah’s Aggression?

Monday, October 15th, 2012

There was not that much doubt, when reports of Israel bringing down an unidentified drone over the southern Hebron Hills first appeared a week ago [see our post "6-Oct-12: Someone's drone manages to reach southern Israel before being shot down. Questions outnumber answers for now"], that the spy plane originated with Iran and its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah.

The head of Hezbollah confirmed the suspicion on Thursday [report]:

Today we are uncovering a small part of our capabilities, and we shall keep many more hidden,” Nasrallah said, adding that it is Hezbollah’s “natural right” and the group “can reach any place we want.

The drone, he said, was made in Iran. And today, the defense minister in the Iranian government, Gen. Ahmad Vahidi, says on Iranian state television that this was a “great job by Hezbollah.”

How significant are the admissions? Yaakov Lappin analyzes it on the JINSA website and says they are crucially important

since it will be Hezbollah, with its tens of thousands of rockets, that will lead Iran’s reprisal attempts for any potential Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear weapons development program… Over the duration of the [2006 was with the Lebanese-based terrorist organization], some 4,000 Hezbollah rockets struck northern Israel. That’s a pattern the IDF believes must not be repeated, since Hezbollah is today armed with some 60,000 rockets, including projectiles that can strike any location in Israel including the heavily populated area of greater Tel Aviv. Hezbollah was founded in the 1980s by Iranian intelligence agents operating within the Lebanese Shi’ite community. Today, the organization is an alien feature in the Lebanese landscape, and represents Iran’s strike force in the Levant, situated right on Israel’s northern border.

Robin Shepherd publishes an excellent blog called The Commentator. On Thursday, under the heading “The banal realities of Israel’s self-defence“, he writes:

The key phrase [in the Nasrallah claim of credit] is this: “it is our natural right…” That is a precise and accurate reflection of how Israel’s enemies have always seen the rules of the game in their decades long struggle to annihilate Israel. They are justified in doing anything to anyone in pursuit of their ambitions; if Israel puts up the slightest resistance, it is Israel that must be held to responsible for what follows. And it is a measure of what Israel is up against in the wider world that the United Nations, the British Foreign Office, the European Union (absurdly just awarded the Nobel Peace Prize), most of the world’s NGOs, and all of the world’s Islamic states have to varying degrees internalised this narrative and made it their own… If an enemy state or organised military group sent drones over Russia, or Britain, or France, or China, or (your candidate here), as part of an openly stated campaign of ultimate destruction, there would not be the smallest word of dissent against the victim’s right to defend itself… To people of goodwill – i.e. none of the above – this underlines the daily realities that Israel has to confront in securing its borders and protecting its citizens.

Some sample complaints by distant onlookers about the scale of Israel’s response to attacks on its civilians territory:

* “Finland’s Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen has expressed his incredulity at the attack by Israeli commandos on an aid flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza. He added Israel all too often used disproportionate military force…” [An unpronouncable news-site from Finland - June 1, 2010];

* “Moscow condemns Israel for using disproportionate force against Palestinians” [Russia's Interfax news agency - October 9, 2012];
*”UN rights boss condemns disproportionate use of force” [Turkish newspaper Sunday's Zaman, June 1, 2010];

* “Israel’s increasingly aggressive stance on the regional stage is also reflected in its disproportionate response to the UNESCO decision to admit the Palestinians to full membership…” [From a November 4, 2011 editorial in the Irish Times entitled "A dangerous game"].
The Iranians, feverishly developing nuclear capacity even while their economy and currency crumble, are especially fond of dismissing Israel’s concerns.

The Israeli military frequently bombs the Gaza Strip. In the attacks, disproportionate force is always used, in violation of international law, and civilians are often killed or injured… [Iran's PressTV - Wednesday, October 10, 2012. And repeated verbatim on numerous other government-owned Iranian news channels like SaharTV andShiapost and Ahlul Bayt andTehran Times and so on.]

And finally a brief reminder, via Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post some weeks back of how proportionality actually works:

Israel [is] a speck on the map, at one point eight miles wide. Israel is a “one-bomb country.” Its territory is so tiny, its population so concentrated that, as Iran’s former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has famously said, “Application of an atomic bomb would not leave anything in Israel but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world.” A tiny nuclear arsenal would do the job… The mullahs have a radically different worldview, a radically different grievance and a radically different calculation of the consequences of nuclear war… Israel refuses to trust its very existence to the convenient theories of comfortable analysts living 6,000 miles from its Ground Zero.

Visit This Ongoing War.

Some Things I Believe

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

I am a Zionist. That means that I support a Jewish state in its historical homeland. I oppose efforts to change it into another Arab state, or to kill and disperse its Jewish inhabitants. It does not mean that I think that Jews are superior to Arabs or anyone else.

It makes sense to me to talk about a Jewish people and feel myself a part of it.

I believe that if the state of Israel were to disappear, it would unleash a wave of anti-Jewish violence in the Diaspora and the Jewish people as such would shortly cease to exist.

I am not ashamed of the circumstances of Israel’s birth, because I don’t accept the tissue of lies called the “Palestinian narrative.” If the Palestinian Arabs have been victimized, it’s been by their leadership and the Arab nations, not Israel.

I am not ashamed of the actions of the Israeli government, which is forced to fight a continuous battle, diplomatic, cognitive and military, against the large portion of the world that wants Israel to disappear.

I don’t claim that Israel is perfect or that its leaders always make the correct decisions. But I absolutely reject the vicious slanders that appear in Arab, European and — increasingly — American media, that invert reality and attribute to Israel the racist and genocidal motives of its enemies.

I am absolutely convinced that the Palestinian Authority (never mind Hamas!) is not interested in any solution to the conflict that leaves a Jewish state standing.

I don’t hate Arabs or Muslims. But I recognize that there is a growing segment of the Muslim world that believes in expanding the area ruled by Islamic law by means of a combination of threats, subversion, terrorism and war. I see these Muslims as the enemies of Jews, Christians and the secular West. I believe that it is our job to struggle to protect Western civilization against this very real opponent.

I think the “Arab Spring” has for the most part turned into an Islamist revolution.

I think the United Nations is so strongly influenced by enemies of Western civilization that it has long since ceased to be a force for good. At best it is a huge waste of resources, and at worst a tool of the barbarians.

I am very frustrated by American Jews who confuse Jewish ethics with a moral philosophy of naive humanism, who are incapable of understanding that there is such a thing as an enemy, and therefore embrace their enemies. They should all read Kenneth Levin’s book, The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People under Siege, in order to understand themselves (the Israeli Left should read this too, but they are probably to arrogant to be cured).

Visit FresnoZionism.org.

Islamo-Realism

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

Satellite communications, the Internet, even cheap air travel have brought our society face to face with the Muslim world in a way that we couldn’t have imagined as recently as 1960. The issue of how we, Westerners, Christians, Jews, ought to deal with our meeting with this almost wholly foreign portion of humanity literally exploded into our consciousness in September 2001. Today, with the worldwide Muslim fury associated with (or taking as a pretext) the Innocence of Muslims video, we see that nothing has been settled.

Attitudes in the U.S. are all over the map, from those who think that the problem is that our right of freedom of expression makes it possible for ‘intolerant‘ people like Nakoula Basseley Nakoula to provoke violence, to those who think that it is the Muslim propensity for violence when insulted (and it’s so easy to insult them) that is important.

The official response from our government has of course been to condemn violence. This is usually joined with a statement that while we find ‘denigration of any religion’ distasteful or worse, we can’t interfere with it (although we should note that Nakoula has been jailed for violating a — ridiculous — condition of parole forbidding him from using the Internet).

By a fortuitous combination of circumstances, the video controversy was quickly followed by yet another. In response to anti-Israel transit ads like this one -

– which, by the way, is much more professional and effective than anything our side does, managing to project an image of love and friendship while opposing Israel’s self-defense — blogger Pamela Geller managed to purchase space and install images like this one, below (it required a court order to persuade New York’s MTA to allow them):

These ads immediately provoked (are you surprised?) Muslim and ‘progressive’ outrage, and were immediately defaced. After all,vandalism (and assault) are considered by this crowd to be legitimate responses to expressions of ‘racism’, by which they seem to mean anything that offends Muslims.

The use of the word ‘savage’ (it’s a quotation from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged) seems to be the focus of those who object to the ad, who say that it claims that all Muslims are savages. Geller defended herself:

[The word 'savage'] is entirely apt. They claim that the ad refers to all Muslims, or all opponents of Israel. It doesn’t. It refers to those who rejoice in the murders of innocent civilians. The war on Israel is a war on innocent civilians. The targeting of civilians is savage. The murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens was savage. The relentless 60-year campaign of terror against the Jewish people is savage. The torture of hostage Gilad Shalit was savage. The bloody hacking to death of the Fogel family was savage. The Munich Olympic massacre was savage. The unspeakable torture of Ehud Goldwasser was savage. The tens of thousands of rockets fired from Gaza into southern Israel (into schools, homes, etc.) are savage. The vicious Jew-hatred behind this genocide is savage. The endless demonization of the Jewish people in the Palestinian and Arab media is savage. The refusal to recognize the state of Israel as a Jewish state is savage. The list is endless.

Unfortunately, ‘respectable’ voices in our society, even — especially — among Jews, are unable to understand what the deliberately outrageous, over-the-top Geller sees clearly. For example, here is what the head of the Union for Reform Judaism, Rabbi Richard ‘Rick’ Jacobs wrote in a recent NY Times op-ed:

By using the term “jihad” in the context of a war against savages, the ad paints Islam as inherently violent, evil and bent on overthrowing the Western democracies and their key ally in the Middle East, Israel — even though, for the vast majority of Muslims, “jihad” refers to a spiritual quest, not the more politicized idea of holy war.

Yes, these ads are lawful. But they are wrong and repugnant.

What other purpose can they have but to incite hatred against Muslims?

Jacobs is wrong about ‘jihad.’ Daniel Pipes, unlike Jacobs, is a bona fide expert on Islam, explains that the primary meaning of the word is, as a matter of fact,

the legal, compulsory, communal effort to expand the territories ruled by Muslims at the expense of territories ruled by non-Muslims.

Pipes does recognize variant, more benign meanings. But to say that the “vast majority” of Muslims perceive it as a spiritual quest is silly. Even if the vast majority does not participate in violent jihad, hundreds of millions support it and all understand it.

The Obama administration removed the word ‘jihad‘ and others relating to Islam from the National Security Strategy document in 2010 for the same reason that Jacobs wants these ads gone: Muslims don’t like it when it is suggested that more and more Muslims today are becoming radicalized, supporting the attempt to expand the territory under Shari’a.

There is a debate over whether violent radicalism is inherent in Islam. This is stupid: Islam doesn’t have to be anything other than what Muslims think it is, and the fact is — as should be evident from the daily news broadcasts — that more and more Muslims think it should be radical and violent, and that radical Islamist regimes are replacing conservative ones all over the globe.

Calling attention to this isn’t inciting hate against Muslims — it is asking for us to realize that there is an enemy of what we call Western civilization, an enemy that has already showed us its savage side on 9/11 and in the Middle East, an enemy that does not want to coexist with us but wants to replace our civilization. This enemy is radical Islamism, an ideology associated with a religion, but no less an ideology than communism and fascism.

Rabbi Jacobs would like us to believe that the ‘vast majority’ of Muslims are just like Reform Jews, except that they say “allahu akbar” instead of the shema, and he would like the others to be invisible.

But it’s not rational (or safe) to ignore them, even if it were possible to ignore the open sewers of hate speech pouring from the media in Egypt, Iran, the Palestinian Authority, etc.;  the rockets falling on Israeli towns (559 so far in 2012); the vicious threats from Iran to destroy Israel; religious wars, terrorism and more.

As another ad that Rabbi Jacobs finds hateful says, “it’s not Islamophobia, it’s Islamorealism.”

Visit Fresnozionism.org.

Ayatollah Launches Submarine as US Conducts Gulf Exercise

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Tensions between the US and Iran increased Tuesday, as Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei order the launch of a Tareq-901 submarine and a Sahand navy destroyer into the Persian Gulf Iran as US and allied navies held drills there to practice keeping shipping lanes open.

The report was made by the official IRNA news agency.

The United States, Britain, France and a number of Middle Eastern states are conducting a naval exercise in the Gulf this week in response to repeated Iranian threats to close the Strait of Hormuz, a prime route for oil transport from the Persian Gulf, if Israel attacks Iranian nuclear sites.

Khamenei visited the northern coastal city of Nowshahr on Tuesday to attend naval exercises involving planting mines, destroying enemy vessels, and freeing hijacked ships.

Why We Blow Shofar

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

Here’s a lovely image of two kids blowing shofars on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year celebration, at the Saint Paul Jewish Community Center, circa 1990.

We blow shofar 100 times, give or take, on each day of the two-day holiday of Rosh Hashanah, which is a two-day holiday not only in Diaspora but in Israel, too.

We blow our shofars so many times, a task which often proves quite challenging to the “ba’al toke’ah,” the shofarmeister, because of the mother of an ancient enemy, the Canaanite general Sisera who was defeated by an Israelite army led by a reluctant young man named Barak and a zealous prophetess named Deborah. Sisera himself was killed—with a tent peg smacked into his temple—by a young Kenite woman named Yael.

Sisera was a mythical enemy, whose army had been undefeated until that fateful day at the Kishon River—not far from today’s city of Haifa. When Sisera dipped in the sea, he trapped enough fish in his beard to feed his entire army.

This could mean either that he had a very small army or a very big beard.

In any event, General Sisera did not return from that last mission, and his mother, waiting for him with growing concern, sighed 100 times. And this mother’s anguish came up before the Divine Throne and served as an accusatory voice against the Jews. And so, each new year, we drown out her sighs with our 100 shofar blasts.

Shows you the value of a mother’s feelings to the Creator of the world. Shows you also the importance of drowning out negative publicity.

Have a sweet and meaningful holiday and a delightful new year, come back for more Wednesday morning.

Fighting In The South Pacific

Friday, September 14th, 2012

My name is Eli Freundlich. I was 18 and had just graduated Torah Voddath in Williamsburg. America had entered the war a few years before. I wanted to be drafted so was happy when I received my notice. It was July 1943 – July 27, 1943 to be exact – when I was sworn into the American Army.

My parents were not happy. They would have rather me stayed in yeshiva than be in the trenches. In my day you either went to college or went to work after high school. The yeshivas, though, set up a system where you could register as a divinity student and that way get out of being drafted.

In front of a downed Japanese plane

On August 18, I reported to Camp Upton in Long Island. We received our inoculations and uniforms and then we were sent to Camp Croft boot camp in South Carolina. This is where I received my basic training. I learned things like how to fire a gun, get around at night, dig foxholes and how to march.

Our day started with reveille at 6:00 a.m. – roll call, exercises and clean up. But I would always manage somehow to hole myself up in a corner to daven before breakfast. After breakfast, we “fell out” in formation.

There was another religious soldier in my barrack. He was a German refugee named Yitzchak Goldschmidt. He didn’t carry his weapons or any muktza item on Shabbos and did his training over on Sunday, which was our day off. He also made an arrangement with the guys in the barrack. Every Friday night we had to spotlessly clean the barracks, with a toothbrush, we would joke. We called it the “floor show.” Yitzchak agreed to clean all the windows by himself throughout the week so that Friday night he could go to chapel.

At the end of the training period, he came over to me and said, “They offered me an honorable discharge because my religious practices are incompatible with the army. I don’t want to take it because it might cause a chillul Hashem. The goyim will think I used this shtick to get out of the army.”

Firefight in the night sky over the Philippines

Later he was sent overseas to Europe. The last letter I sent to him was returned – killed in action. He stepped on a booby trap set by the Germans. I believe he was an only child. Yehi zichro baruch.

The army didn’t supply kosher meals in those days so I did not eat any meat and tried to stay away from anything mixed with meat. This was difficult as everything was fried in lard. I also made it my business to daven every day and put on my tefillin. As a matter of fact, once overseas, I spent a lot of time in the jungles of the Philippines looking for a quiet, private place to daven. I finally found it at the end of the war, in Japan. I asked the Catholic chaplain there if I could use his office to pray.

“By all means.” He said.

So I covered the crosses and finally got my privacy!

After 4 months of basic training, we were sent overseas. I hoped to be assigned to Europe but was sent to Asia instead and so I resigned myself to thinking that wherever Hashem would send me, that’s where I would fight.

Why was I so bent on being in the army in the first place? It’s true that I and most Americans had no idea at that time the extent to which the Jews in Europe were being exterminated. We just knew there was a lot of anti-semitism and sporadic Jew killings. Nevertheless it was enough for me; I wanted my chance for nekama– revenge.

In the Pacific Theater

Up until then I had been regularly sending letters home. I knew as long as my mother thought I was safe in South Carolina, she wouldn’t worry about me. So I prepared a batch of letters to be sent out weekly by a fellow soldier who was staying behind so she would continue to think I was in the States. I’m not sure how long she was fooled but I know it did work for a while.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/potpourri/fighting-in-the-south-pacific/2012/09/14/

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