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July 1, 2016 / 25 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘fight’

An Ally in the Fight Against Terror and the Questions That Don’t Get Asked

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

{Originally posted to the authors’ website, This Ongoing War}

With the sale of one of the world’s major repositories of news photographs recently, it has suddenly gotten a lot harder (we discovered just today) to locate many archived images of news events from the recent past.

This is relevant to us. We are passionate about wanting people to be aware of some of the less-well-publicized aspects of terrorism and what it means when it’s done to you.

Three news photos were published in October 2011 that recorded an event connected indirectly to our lives but basically unknown to almost anyone else.

The chief engineer of our daughter’s murder, sentenced a few years before to sixteen terms of life imprisonment, was set free by Israel in October 2011. A day later, she arrived in another country where most of her family had lived since before she was born (and still lives) and where she herself was born. There she was greeted with pomp, ceremony and emotion at an official reception in the Family Court of that country, located in its capital city.

People who know the Middle East and the ins and outs of terrorism probably don’t know any of this, and perhaps don’t care. The photos recording the reception in the court building may be the only evidence that it happened. And with the sale to a Chinese firm of the photo archive that housed them, that evidence is now hard to find.

Before we go into the background, we have just posted those pictures at the foot of this article. We have mentioned them numerous times in this blog. We want them to be seen. People need to appreciate the painful and damaging double-talk that is part of the global conversation about terrorism.

To the backstory:

Our daughter Malki, aged just 15, was murdered in a horrifyingly effective terrorist attack done by Hamas on a pizzeria in the center of Jerusalem on August 9, 2001. The attack’s chief engineer was a woman of 21. Arrested and then convicted, an Israeli court sentenced her to spend several lifetimes behind bars. But she boasted openly of the killings, admitting everything, gloating at the death toll, and asserting that she would soon be free.

Her words were prophetic. Today she lives a charmed life of total freedom in a city located no more than 90 minutes drive from us, in a country which has relatively good diplomatic relations with the United States and virtually all of Europe. It has relations, not so warm but nonetheless proper and ongoing, with Israel.

That country is Jordan.

Jordan says it is opposed to terrorism and to terrorists. As we noted here just three months ago, the State Department of the United States agrees – vigorously. In its annual survey of the war against terror, State singles out Jordan for unique and special praise. The most recent “Country Reports on Terrorism” annual survey, published in Washington in June 2015, says this of the Hashemite Kingdom:

Jordan remained a key ally and a model partner in combating terrorism and extremist ideology… Jordan demonstrated regional leadership in the fight against ISIL… and participated fully on the diplomatic, political, financial, and military fronts… Jordanian prisons have a religiously based de-radicalization program that seeks to re-engage violent extremist inmates into the non-violent mainstream of their faith.

We don’t make foreign policy, and have different priorities. As a result, we can’t exactly understand the State Department’s enthusiasm for its Jordanian key ally and model partner. And frankly, we’re appalled [see “18-Feb-15: Countering Vacuous Euphemisms“] by the vague and cloudy view the State Department’s people have of terrorism. Perhaps it’s because we feel more personally invested in the issues than the official State spokespeople do. Our post (“14-Sep-13: Memo to Secretary of State Kerry: Your staff need some urgent guidance“) tries to convey a sense of how and why that is.

So how opposed is Jordan to terror?

Sometimes – not always – the kingdom looks like a state that has a tough and uncompromising view of terror and its practitioners. In a blog post a year ago (“04-Feb-15: The stunningly different fates of two terrorists in Jordan and what they reveal about how the war against terror is going“) we took a look at how that works.

Jordan hanged a female terrorist that week. and we wrote this at the time:

Regular readers of this blog know about another Jordanian female, an ex-prisoner, also a terrorist, with a different fate: Ahlam al-Tamimi. Unlike Mrs al-Rishawi who was hanged today, Mrs al-Tamimi is a Jordanian, born, bred, educated and (following an 11 year-period spent outside Jordan) now living with her husband/cousin, in Jordan.
Tamimi has never spent time in any Jordanian prison, and never will. Quite the opposite: she was honored with a reception in Jordan’s Family Court in October 2011 when she returned home… She has her own weekly television program… recorded in Jordan by her friends and employers in the Hamas terror organization and beamed throughout the world on the Al-Quds TV Network. And she is free to travel throughout the Arab world which it seems she does often, giving lectures and being an honoured guest…
Tamimi has over and again confessed [via this video interview, among numerous other instances] freely, proudly and happily to the massacre at Jerusalem’s Sbarro pizzeria in 2001 for the engineering of which she was convicted. She was sentenced to 16 life terms in prison with a judicial recommendation that she live the rest of her life behind bars with no possibility of a commutation of sentence.
That is not how it worked out. She was one of 1,027 terrorists set free in the extortion-driven 2011 Gilad Shalit Israel/Hamas transaction, despite a campaign we personally waged for years. We urged our government to stand firm, to not give in, to keep this particular sociopath behind bars so that justice could be done… Today she is a globally-influential instigator of jihadist terror – an icon of hatred.
What Jordan – a sovereign state at least half of whose population defines itself as Palestinian Arab, and ruled by a dynastic family from Saudi Arabia – ought to do with its terrorists is emphatically not our concern. Jordan’s laws that purportedly outlaw terrorism… don’t get the critical attention in the West that they richly deserve.

Frankly there’s a lot about Jordan that doesn’t get scrutinized and should.

We wish there was wider awareness of the congenial environment Jordan has given the woman who masterminded the murder of our daughter since 2011, allowing her to operate unhindered from within its borders; to speak as an honored guest at its universitiesits professional guilds, its law courts and other venues; and to record her weekly television program in its capital city from where it’s beamed to millions of viewers throughout the global, Arabic-speaking world.

She is a genuine pan-Arab celebrity. The first female to join the ranks of Hamas terrorists, and an eloquent figure who advocates energetically from Jordan for more violence, more murder and more jihad – all of it directed at Jewish and Israeli targets. Inciting via television and a range of social media platforms (TwitterFacebookYouTube) and well-publicized personal appearances, she is a widely-recognized, very public face of the savage Islamist bigotry of Hamas.

Truly, people ought to know more about her.

A person wanting to understand how the war against the jihadists is going might now be asking these questions:

  • So which other key ally and model partner of the United States honors its terrorists via fancy receptions in its official courts?
  • What real messages are those partners and allies conveying to their people when they do it?
  • And why can’t a state (Jordan) that is part of the coalition against the jihadists stop the torrent of bigotry, barbarism and calls to murder that their inaction empowers this woman to issue forth from the heart of their capital city?
  • Why are the parents of a teenage girl murdered by a fanatical agent of jihad the only voices being heard exposing and decrying this appalling state of affairs?

 

Frimet and Arnold Roth

Report: Shaked to Fight Israelis Who Download Pirated Content

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) is in the advanced stages of preparing a government bill that would compel Internet providers to reveal which users are downloading pirated content, The Marker reported Wednesday. The content providers would then be able to sue home users for copyright infringement.

11 major Israeli content providers who formed the organization Zira (Hebrew acronym for Internet copyrights) have been complaining that existing laws are limiting their ability to stop distribution of pirated content, because today they can only effectively bring to justice providers who operate inside Israel, while enormous distribution resources are available online but off-shore.

Current Israeli law does recognize certain private downloads as copyright infringements, but to date Internet providers are not obligated to reveal information about their customers. According to The Marker, content providers in the US and in several other countries have been allowed by new legislation to force Internet providers to turn in clients who download illegally, and have sued them successfully.

In 2011 the Knesset passed in a first reading a law that combined compelling Internet providers to expose clients who download illegally as well as clients who are accused of spreading libel online. But the bill did not survive the committee deliberations and was put on hold.

Shaked would like the new version to focus on illegal downloads alone, which would mean that even if a user is downloading pirated content from abroad, they can be sued over it in Israel.

Attorney Jonathan Klinger is a fierce opponent of the proposed legislation. “This is a significant and severe violation of the privacy of citizens, as Internet providers would be demanded to expose private information about users,” he told The Marker. He cited similar litigated cases in the US, where, he said, content providers have had to spend as much as $1,000 on litigation to collect $1. “They’ve invested in expensive technologies to prevent infringement but to no avail. In Germany there’s a little more enforcement, but there, too, you don’t really see lawsuits, it’s more like sanctions by the Internet providers.”

Klinger believes the solution is in new models of distribution. The problem is that content providers have yet to change their archaic business model, which is why they require laws to protect them. He noted that wherevr content providers have used creative business models that came from an understanding of the product and the end users, there is no piracy.

“Unauthorized downloads happen when the content copyright holders won’t allow people to enjoy it. They should look for new, creative models.”

JNi.Media

French PM Announces $45 Million Plan to Rehab Muslim Extremists

Monday, May 9th, 2016

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Monday unveiled a program to establish regional centers across the country where locals will be “de-radicalized.” The centers will aim to prevent those identified as vulnerable to radical thinking from falling into the hands of the Muslim extremists.

Valls said the judicial authorities will be sending about half, if not more, of the clients for the new de-radicalization centers, primarily individuals “who cannot be put in prison.”

The Prime Minister said the “phenomenon of radicalization had widely penetrated into society” and that “it has deeply damaged the Republican pact.”

According to The Local, some 1,600 young French are already enrolled in state-run de-radicalization programs, which the new budget will increase 3,600 individuals over the next two years. In early February, Le Figaro published a leaked government report showing there were 8,250 committed Muslim radicals living in France — a number which had doubled since the previous year. Around 70% of the suspected Islamist radicals are male and 80% of the cases are considered “serious.” According to Le Figaro, there has been a significant rise in the number of women and teenagers who became radicalized.

In January, France announced the establishment of “de-radicalization” prison wings, where prisoners who have been convicted of terrorism are kept in isolated cells, unable to communicate with and influence fellow inmates.

The new rehab program has encountered the familiar NIMBY problem, as the opening of the first de-radicalization center, in Beaumont-en-Véron in central France, has provoke angry opposition from local residents who feared they could become the next terror targets.

“Yesterday it was Paris, tomorrow perhaps it could be us. Obviously we are scared,” one local resident told reporters.

The government established a “green number” in 2014, which French citizens can call to alert the authorities about their neighbors who have become radicalized. The green number has been a success and the Prime Minister plans to invest in more Jihadist threat hotlines.

David Israel

The Warrior’s Tale

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Originally published at Sultan Knish.

The warrior’s tale is a simple enough thing. Strong as steel, but fragile as chance. It is the wind in his soul and the wall we build around ourselves to tell us who we are.

Before there were cities or nations, and railways and airports, computers and telephones– the tale was told around campfires. Acted out in pantomime, dressed up in animal furs and cave paintings. But the tale was the same. The people were confronted with a threat and they called upon the best and strongest of their men to go out and fight it. These were their warriors. What they did in the face of that threat is the tale.

The tale has many variations. Sometimes there are many warriors, sometimes only a handful. They march into the village of the enemy in triumph, or they make a last stand on a rocky outcropping, spending the last of their heart’s blood to buy time they will never know. There is the weak man who becomes strong, the strong man who becomes weak, the woman who mourns the man who will never return, and the man who goes off to battle with nothing to lose. These tales have been told countless times in the ages of men, and they will be told again for as long as men endure.

It is not only the warriors who need the tale, or those left behind. Future generations learn who they are from this tale. “We are the people who died for this land,” is the unseen moral of each tale. “We bled for it. Now it is yours to bleed and die for.”

The warrior’s tale tells each generation that they stand on the wall against a hostile world. And that the wall is made not of stones, but of their virtues. Their courage, their integrity and their craft. Theirs is the wall and they are the wall– and if they should fail, then it will fail. And the land and the people will be swept away.

What happens to a people who forget the warrior’s tale and stop telling it around their campfires? Worse , what of a people who are taught to despise the figure of the warrior and what he represents? They will not lose their courage, not all of it. But they will lose the direction of that courage. It will become a sudden unexplained virtue that rises to them out of the depths of danger. And their wall will fail.

It is the warrior’s tale that makes walls. That says this is the land that we have fought for, and we will go on fighting for it. It is sacrifice that makes mere possession sacrosanct. It is blood that turns right to duty. It is the seal that is above law, deeper still to heritage. Anyone can hold a thing, but it is sacrifice that elevates it beyond possessiveness. And it is that tale which elevates a people from possessors of a land, to the people of the land.

Universalism discards the warrior’s tale as abomination. A division in the family of man. Their tale is of an unselfish world where there are no more divisions or distinctions. Where everyone is the same in their own way. But this tale is a myth, a religious idea perverted into totalitarian politics. It is a promise that cannot be kept and a poison disguised with dollops of sugar. It lures the people into tearing down their wall and driving out their warriors. And what follows is what always does when there is no wall. The invaders come, the women scream, the children are taken captive and the men sit with folded hands and drugged smiles dreaming of a better world.

The warrior’s tale explains why we fight in terms of our own history. The Great Swamp Fight. The Shot Heard Round the World. The Battle of New Orleans. Gettysburg, San Juan Hill, Belleau Wood, Pearl Harbor, Heartbreak Ridge, the Tet Offensive, Kandahar, and Fallujah. Generations of sacrifices must be defended. And those who wage war on us must be made to pay.

Universalism demands that war must answer to universal aims and objectives. That there is a universal law higher than war. But this is a children’s story. The laws of men derive from their own interests. Those who can rule by force or coalition make their laws to serve their own ends. This is the way of the world.

Those who pretend to live by universalism will still fall to the law of steel. Rhetoric is no defense against fire and lead, and international codes have no defense against those who will break them. The talk may go on, but it is the warriors who will end it. It is still the warrior’s tale to tell, even if all others have forgotten it.

The warrior’s tale is no happy thing. It is bitter as bile and dark as death. But it is also a grand and glorious thing. For even in its full naked truth, it is the story of perseverance in the face of every agony and betrayal. It is the tale of how we live and why we die.

Even when all others forget their tale, the warriors remember. Even when they are called peacekeepers and turned into an army of clowns for the satisfaction of their political masters. The armies may decay, but warriors still remain in their cracks, on their edges– men who are not wanted, but are needed because they are the only ones who can do the grim work and do it well. They may only be a hundredth of an army, or a thousandth. A fraction of a fraction. But without them there is no army, only empty uniforms.

When the warrior’s tale is forgotten, then they become shadows. Dangerous men despised and feared. Thought of as killers, dismissed as monsters and stared at like beasts in a cage. But the society cannot deny them. It cannot deny that part of them. When the warrior diminishes, the energy is directed elsewhere. Sport becomes an obsession and matches end in bloody violence. Crime increases. Prisons fill up. So do police forces.

As the external war fades, the internal one begins. Barbarians come from without. Buildings burn, mobs rage and there is a savagery in the air.

No law can protect a society that has forgotten the warrior’s tale. It will turn outward, and adopt the warrior tales of outsiders. The samurai will replace the cowboy. The sports star will be an outsider. Its heroes will become foreigners. Men who understand the virtue of violence and will do what their own people have been forbidden. Who have the vital energy that a society without a warrior’s tale lacks.

When a people give up their own warrior’s tale for that of others, they lose the ability to resist them. For each people’s warrior’s tale says that we are people, and they are enemies. We are warriors and they are murderers. When a people have no other warrior’s tale but that of their enemies, they will come to believe that they are monsters. And that their enemies are brave warriors.

The day will come when they are asked who they are, and they will not know. They will point to their possessions and the names of their streets and cities. They will speak of higher ideals and cringe for not living up to them. They will be asked why they fight, and they will say that they do not want to fight. That all they want is peace at any price.

Even the most powerful of civilizations with the mightiest of cities becomes prey when it forgets the warrior’s tale. It takes more than weapons to defend a city, it demands the knowledge of the rightness of their use. It is no use dressing men in uniforms and arming them, if they are not taught the warrior’s tale. And it is nearly as little use, sending them off to watch and keep, if the men above them discard the warrior’s tale as violent and primitive gibberish.

An army of millions is worth little, without the warrior’s tale. Strategy is technique, firepower is capacity, both begin and end with the human mind. “Why do we fight,” is the question that the warrior’s tale answers far better than any politician could. “We fight because this is ours. It is our honor, our duty and our war. We have been fighting for hundreds and thousands of years. This is what makes us who we are.”

We are the people, says the warrior’s tale. But we are every people, says the universalist’s tale. All is one. There is no difference between us and them. And we will prove it by bringing them here. Then the walls fall and it falls to the warriors to make their last stand. To tell another warrior’s tale with their lives.

This is the quiet war between the philosopher merchants who want trade and empire, and the warriors who know that they will be called upon to secure the empire, and then die fighting the enemy at home. It is how the long tale that begins with campfires and ends with burning cities goes. The story that begins with cave paintings and ends with YouTube videos. Whose pen is iron, lead and steel. And whose ink is always blood.

We have been here before. Told and retold the old stories. The forest, the swamp, the hill and the valley. And behind them the lie, the maneuver and the betrayal. The war that becomes unreasoning and the people who forget why they fight. And one by one the warriors slip away. Some to the long sleep in the desert. Others to secluded green places. And still others into the forgetfulness of a people’s memory. The hole in the heart of a people who forget themselves and become nothing.

Daniel Greenfield

Who by the Sword, Who by Wild Beasts, Who by Hunger, Who by the Plague

Saturday, October 19th, 2013

In the supplemental prayer of The Jewish New Year and the Day of Atonement, we say these words almost mechanically, theoretically, because this is the text. But in Syria this is reality. The regime’s war against the citizens’ demonstrations, which began two years and seven months ago, has become a dirty, despicable and accursed war, where everyone is fighting everyone else. People from both sides have lost the likeness of man, thrown human values to the winds, lost any semblance of humanity, and have become predatory animals, (“and who by a wild beast”).

Assad’s army has besieged the eastern neighborhoods of Damascus because they serve as a corridor of passage to the capitol for the jihadists who come from Jordan and Iraq. In these neighborhoods in recent weeks, tens of thousands of people have been besieged, cut off from all sources of life: food, water, electricity, and from Asad’s point of view they might as well all die from starvation. These were the neighborhoods that suffered the great attack of chemical weapons on the 21st of August in which approximately 1500 people were killed, men, women and children. As a result of the hunger, a group of Muslim religious arbiters issued a ruling that allows the residents of these neighborhoods to eat cats, dogs and donkeys, in order to survive the siege and the starvation.

There are reports about places like Mu’adhamiyat al-Sham where there have been many cases of death by starvation because of the siege imposed on these places, in addition to cases when injured people have died because they did not receive treatment in time. In addition, there are places where diseases like cholera are rampant, which are caused by spoiled food, contamination of water and the environment, and from pests such as mice, rats, and snakes that multiply alarmingly in ghost towns and ruins of cities like Homs, Hama and Idlib.

Approximately seven million Syrians are destitute refugees in neighboring countries and within Syria. The approaching winter threatens to pose great harm to their health and their lives, as if the misery that people – if it is possible to call them people – have caused them was not bad enough. Because of the distress and poverty, the refugees do anything they can in order to live: the men work for pennies, and many women are forced to do unethical things in order to earn a piece of bread. Families sell their daughters in forced marriages, to get a handful of dinars and reduce the number of mouths that they must feed.

Asad’s army systematically refuses humanitarian aid organizations to operate in the besieged cities, claiming concern that the lives of the volunteers will be endangered by fire from the opposition. But soldiers of the opposition to the regime are not guiltless either: they fight with each other over ideological differences, mainly regarding the future of Syria: will it be a civil state or an Islamic state. In the city of Aleppo “The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” is in control and the city is run by an Islamic court that imposes Islamic Shari’a by force of arm, whip and sword. Lately several tribes that live around Aleppo have announced that they have joined “The Islamic State” organization, in order to shelter in the shadow of the dominant force, and stay out of trouble.

The fact that children are present in the battle areas causes them severe emotional damage because of the terrible sights that they are exposed to. Children join the battle and take an active part in killing anyone who is thought to be an enemy. Asad’s militias, the “Shabiha”, are constantly on the lookout for the families of soldiers and officers who have deserted the army so that they can kill the men and abuse the women. In many cases they document and photograph this abuse to show it to those who are still serving, to discourage them from deserting.

This past month several dozens of jihad organizations operating in Syria came to the conclusion that the disagreements among them harm their fighting cause and strengthen Asad. This conclusion led dozens of organizations to put aside their differences and unify under an organizational umbrella by the name of “Jaysh al-Islam” – “The Army of Islam”. The other large organization – “The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria” – is considering joining the “Army of Islam”, and it may be that “Jabhat al-Nusra”, which blessed the consolidation with “The Army of Islam”, will also join in the future.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar

Why Ted Cruz Speaks for Me

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

Ted Cruz and his allies get it.  They get that Americans can’t afford to have Obamacare implemented against our groaning, near-collapse finances.  They get that we are disgusted (and alarmed) at the idea of being the GOP’s economic attrition strategy for the 2014 election: the strategy that says, “Let things get as bad as they’re going to with Obamacare, and then people will finally blame the Democrats.”  The problem with that strategy is that someone has to pay the price for it – has to accept the financial losses, which for many people could be disastrous, even permanently life-changing – and that someone is us.

Cruz – and Mike Lee in the Senate, along with Matt Salmon (AZ) and others in the House – show that they get what the stakes are, by being willing to take a big risk on a deliberate strategy.  They’re making an attempt they could actually be defeated in:  to galvanize the rest of the GOP and get it to take a risk.

Contrast that with the bet-hedging and consultation-begging we see from the GOP leadership.  Here’s where my confession of populism comes in:  I don’t recall ever having such a sense of revulsion against the air of protecting privileged insularity that hangs over Beltway insiders, both politicians and pundits.  As we understand it, GOP leaders sent unsolicited “opposition research” to Fox News on Sunday, in order to undermine Cruz in his appearance with Chris Wallace.  Karl Rove excoriated Cruz on the Sunday show for failing to properly “consult” with his colleagues.  Tucker Carlson, Charles Krauthammer, and even Brit Hume took up the cry on Monday’s Special Report, accusing Cruz of grandstanding, and personalizing their criticisms of him to a startlingly petty degree.

Meanwhile, as the GOP impugns Ted Cruz’s motives with slam-book-quality allegations, it quietly accepts Obamacare exemptions and special subsidies for Congress.  The whole scenario seems like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington come to life.  All that’s missing is misleading photos of Cruz making bird calls.

But the truth is, this isn’t Mr. Smith Goes to Washington – because the plot of Mr. Smith turned on a relatively small matter, one that might have had symbolism for the operation of the whole government, but that in a literal sense affected only a small number of citizens.  The implementation of Obamacare is the biggest issue America has dealt with since how to get rid of the atrocious institution of slavery, and what “union” and “states’ rights” mean.  It profoundly affects everyone who will ever be an American from this day forward.  Issues don’t come any bigger.   Obamacare is about government’s relation to the citizen; about what government can dictate and control in our lives; and about what our economic liberties will mean, not in a decade, not a year from now, but tomorrow — and for the rest of our life as a nation.

From where I sit, it looks like Ted Cruz gets that.  He gets that we can’t just sit still, paralyzed by bad press and Democratic talking points, and let these questions be decided through the back door by the implementation of brain-deadening regulations.  He gets that that’s what’s happening.  He recognizes that a time comes when risk must be taken: when it just isn’t good enough for the well-worn remedies of consultation and deferral to produce the same unsatisfactory outcomes that they always do.  This time, the cost of taking that risk-averse route is too high.

Cruz did what he had to do on Fox on Sunday, remaining on message with admirable rhetorical discipline.  What he said was an accurate and succinct representation of the alternative he and his allies are offering:  fund the government without Obamacare in fiscal year 2014, as the alternative to funding it with Obamacare.  Delay implementation of the individual mandate, if that’s the best deal we can get, but go for the most we can get while still funding the government.  Don’t shut it down.  I found him to be effective in getting his point across.

But the old-school GOP leaders won’t get onboard with that message, apparently preferring to emphasize that they haven’t been consulted with.  They might as well just concede the terms of the fight to the Democrats and have done with it.

There are an awful lot of Americans out here who don’t know when the next shoe is going to drop, as the predator in the dark stalks their jobs, insurance, and finances.  Despising these people and their worries about Obamacare and the trend of big government – in the manner of Harry Reid – is as much bad karma as it is bad politics.  Yet senior Republicans seem to join Reid in being annoyed with the people for not wanting to play the role of the sacrifice in an electoral-politics ritual.

Instead of deferring an Obamacare fight to a future point we can’t guarantee we’ll even reach – i.e., after a Senate victory in 2014 – Cruz and his allies propose to fight today, on ground we can at least define clearly and prepare for in the present.  Are they right?  There are arguments pro and con.  But I don’t hear GOP leaders making any of those arguments in a forthright or convincing manner – or in any other way, for that matter.

One thing we can guarantee: we, Republican leaders and voters, won’t come to a unified position on that by refusing to address the question on the terms proposed by Cruz and his allies.  Cruz is trying to force the issue, which accords it the weight and immediacy that I give it.  He’s carrying my water.  If GOP leaders want to lead, they need to get out in front of this issue.  Go in strong with Cruz to make the strategy theirs – give the people something to applaud or reject – instead of merely sniping from the shadows.

J. E. Dyer

Disconnect Israel’s Interests from America’s

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

I do not understand the Israelis who are eager for a U.S. attack on Syria. They are confused, willing to be at the receiving end of missiles and, down the road, the object of tremendous diplomatic pressure – to “prove” America’s balanced approach to the Middle East – just to preserve the U.S. hegemony in our region.

These people suffer from a blurred sense of identity. It diffuses their ability to identify an Israeli interest that is independent from, and not contingent upon, an American interest. I have the utmost respect for the U.S., but Israel must be able to look in the mirror without seeing stars and stripes.

Yitzhak Shamir, of blessed memory, was perhaps the best Israeli leader since David Ben-Gurion. Nonetheless, Shamir made a serious strategic mistake under circumstances similar to those we are currently facing. Five years ago, I wrote a column explaining why his actions were so detrimental to Israel. That 2008 column (see below) provides fresh insight into Israel’s current position. (The column was translated from the Hebrew version, which appeared in Makor Rishon.)

* * *

Shamir’s Blunder Nobody really expected Israel to react to the rockets fired on the town of Shlomi last week. And they were right. Israel is not going to retaliate.

From the end of the War of Independence in 1949 and until the First Gulf War in 1991, Israel’s civilian population was out of bounds. Israel had created a balance of fear that dictated that shelling its civilian population was not an option and would lead to all-out war. When the Syrians shelled Israeli towns in 1967, Israel retaliated by conquering the Golan Heights.

But in the First Gulf War, under intense pressure from Israel’s Left, Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir reversed two strategic principles that Israel had carefully preserved until then. The first principle was that only Israeli soldiers would be responsible for Israel’s security. The second principle was that the attack of Israel’s civilian population is completely unacceptable. When Iraqi Scud missiles rained down on Israel’s cities, Israel opted to hide behind the broad shoulders of the American and British soldiers, move U.S. Patriot missiles into strategic locations, and, of course, to instruct its citizens to cover all windows with sheets of plastic and masking tape.

Shamir enjoyed the support of the media, academia and Left for a time. No commission of inquiry was established to investigate the mistakes made in that strange war. By the grace of our Father in Heaven, there were very few Israeli fatalities and nobody criticized Shamir’s strategic turnabout. There were no bereaved families to point an accusing finger at the leader of the Right who had sacrificed their dear ones’ lives in vain. There were no reserve soldiers to stage hunger strikes outside Shamir’s home and not one Knesset member or public figure demanded that he resign.

I claimed then – and support that claim even more so now – that Shamir’s blunder was even greater than Golda Meir’s in the Yom Kippur War. In that war, Israel did not lose its power of deterrence. But by the end of the First Gulf War, Israel found itself facing new rules. Israel had entrusted its security to foreign armies and it soon had to pay for its mistake in hard currency. The Madrid Conference, to which the Left pushed the hapless Shamir to attend, was in effect Israel’s unofficial doorway to recognition of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Shamir still attempted to stick to his principles by speaking only with Yasir Arafat’s representatives and not with Arafat himself. But the Israeli public – justifiably – did not bother with the nuances and elected Yitzhak Rabin to succeed Shamir. The Oslo process was on its way.

Approximately 1,500 civilians have already been murdered in the Oslo process – more than all the civilian terror fatalities that Israel had suffered from the establishment of the state and in the pre-state days. Oslo placed a question mark over Israel’s very right to exist. It was only a matter of time until missiles, mortars and rockets began to rain down on Israel’s towns and cities.

Since Shamir’s blunder his successors have followed suit, criminally ignoring the fact that Israel’s neighbors are arming themselves with strategic missiles. They have brought Israel to its knees, waiting for the merciful final blow of tens of thousands of conventional and non-conventional missiles that will lift off simultaneously from launchers in Syria, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon and Gaza.

Moshe Feiglin

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/moshe-feiglin/disconnect-israels-interests-from-americas/2013/09/18/

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