Connecting the Terror in Paris with the Terror against Israel

Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser for Haaretz (Dec 1):

kashmir_plo_isisSeemingly, the connection between the Islamic terror against the West and the Palestinian terror against Israel is confined to technical aspects and does not run deeper than that. It mainly involves the notion that terror is terror and any form of it is cruel and morally unjustified, induces feelings of fear and helplessness in the target population and has to be fought with similar intelligence and operational measures. As many Israelis have been saying, “Now the French understand how we live.”

Those who question the connection Israel draws between the two kinds of terror claim that, whereas the anti-Western terror stems from a militant interpretation of Islam calling for an assault on the West, its culture, and its behavior (this, it must be acknowledged, is certainly a possible interpretation of the Koran and the other central Islamic texts, even if not an exclusive interpretation), the anti-Israeli terror stems largely from nationalist motives, even if these are entwined and suffused with Islamic claims. It is, then, even if unjustified, an in-built reaction to Palestinian suffering and the supposed wrong that was done them with Israel’s establishment and its ongoing control of the post-1967 territories.

If there is a connection between the two, it lies – some say – in the fact that among the factors contributing to Islamic terror against the West are the injustices the West has done to the Muslims, including the creation of a nation-state for the Jewish people in the heart of the Islamic region at the Palestinians’ expense. Thus, they assert, in addition to the acceptable forms of fighting terror, the West must find a way to atone for its crimes and enable the fulfillment of the Palestinian national goals, even if it entails a risk to Israel’s security. With that, Islamic anger will be allayed.


Seemingly there is some justification for distinguishing between the two kinds of terror. One kind is perpetrated by “ultra-radical” elements within radical Islam such as ISIS, the other mainly by Palestinians, some of whom belong to the “realistic” camp within radical Islam (primarily Hamas, which is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood), and some of whom (belonging to Fatah) lean more to the “pragmatic” camp in the Muslim world. At the same time, the common denominator among all the actors who belong to the radical camp – the ultra-radicals and the realists – is the vision of a struggle against the West and its culture and against Muslims who are prepared to adopt elements of Western culture and are regarded as heretics.

The difference is that the ultra-radicals believe the time to fight the West and the heretics who are friendly to it has already arrived, especially given the West’s spiritual weakness and inability or unwillingness to fight back as it seeks to gratify its earthly desires in this physical world (recently reflected in its willingness to pave Iran’s path to the bomb, its reluctance to put “boots on the ground” in the war against ISIS and the fear of calling the radical Islamic threat by name and preference for the hollow term “violent extremism”). The realists within radical Islam believe that in this stage terror should only be directed at Israel, the West’s “extension in the Middle East,” and not against the West as a whole, which is not yet weak enough for the terror to be effective.

In this regard the struggle that the ultra-radical Islamists are waging against the West and its allies, on the one hand, and the Palestinian struggle against Israel, on the other, complement each other. Their common goal is to destroy the world order that the West created after the First World War, which included the dismantlement of the caliphate, the Sykes-Picot Agreement, and the adoption of the Balfour Declaration at the San Remo Conference as part of the British Mandate. This world order was reinforced after the Second World War, among other things by the decision to establish a Jewish State in Eretz Yisrael, whose implementation in the face of Muslim opposition is still rejected by the Palestinians and by radical Islam in all its variants. Thus, the terror against Israel and the terror against the West are two sides of the same coin from an ideological standpoint as well, not only regarding its methods and the means of fighting it. Israel needs to make this connection clearer to its friends in the West.

What disturbs the Palestinians is that as radical Islam’s direct warfare against the West expands, they lose a key asset for promoting their goals. If, as is becoming increasingly clear, the Palestinian issue is not the heart of the problem, then the West’s expression of regret for its “crimes” on this issue will not solve the greater problem. The request for penance must be much more far-reaching; Iranian President Hassan Rouhani recently made dialogue with the United States conditional on an American request for Iran’s forgiveness. In addition, the more the connection between the two kinds of terror grows, the more the radical Islamic component of the Palestinian rejection of Israel’s existence as the democratic nation-state of the Jewish people and preference for a violent struggle to eliminate it, is exposed. The West would better understand how difficult it is to promote a settlement and may (as Israel would hope) come to understand that the terror against Israel is essentially part and parcel of the terror against the West.

Israel’s outlawing of the northern branch of the Israeli Islamic movement, which is the arm of realistic radical Islam among the Israeli Arabs, is part of the struggle against this radical ideology. Unfortunately, many in the West still think that realistic radical Islam (Rouhani and the Muslim Brotherhood, for example) is a legitimate partner in the fight against the ultra-radical Islamists, and favor it over the pragmatic elements in the Islamic world. I’m afraid that even the current wave of attacks will not suffice to change this mindset.

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In migration crisis, Israel is EU’s life belt

Op-ed: The tools used by European officials to deal with Israel belong to the days when the Middle East was stable and the Jewish state was perceived as a problem. But now, as millions of Muslims are moving towards the continent, Israel is actually the solution, or at least part of it.

658203401001599640360noYnet NewsOne of the governments in Libya (there are a few) warned the European Union this week that if it won’t recognize it, it will send hundreds of thousands of additional Muslim migrants towards Europe: “We’ll rent boats and transfer them too.”

And so the immigrant issue has become an extortion tool: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is milking the fat European cow, Libya is milking it, and so is the Islamic State which controls part of Libya and is threatening to launch a simultaneous expulsion process. And Europe is giving in, drowning in a sea of millions of infiltrators/refugees/immigrants who will never leave it.

The EU’s dream is that those immigrants will remain in their countries, or at least in other Muslim countries, and for that purpose it is willing to pay Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon billions of dollars. And what about Israel?

The EU doesn’t have to make things difficult for Israel. On the contrary, it should even pay us billions of dollars too, because Israel and “the conflict” keep at least 10 million Muslims busy and stop them from immigrating to Europe. We are doing the opposite of what those extortionists who are threatening the EU are doing.

We must understand that everything has changed. An area of hundreds of millions of Muslims realizes today that its default option is to immigrate to Europe, and what was perceived until recently as impossible or illogical is now logical, ideal and common.

We are “employing” a million and a half Muslims in Judea and Samaria, another million and a half within Israel, another two million in Gaza, another seven million in Jordan, and another two million refugees from Iraq and Syria who reside in Jordan, which is supported by us.

Without the Israeli security dam, a major part of all these millions would have already begun the journey to EU countries. Imagine what would happen if the Gaza Strip would be opened towards the sea: Where would most of its residents move to? After all, the millions here have an eternal UN and UNRWA “refugee certificate,” which the EU must recognize.

If EU officials hurt Israeli factories which employ tens of thousands of Palestinians, where will those employees turn to with their families? Some 20,000 Palestinians are already leaving Judea and Samaria every year, according to figures compiled by the Israeli Immigration Authority, which supervises the borders, and many of them flow to the world’s countries through Jordan.

EU officials must understand that the tools they are using to deal with Israel belong to the past, when the Middle East was stable and Israel was perceived as a problem. But now, as millions are moving towards the continent, Israel is actually the solution, or at least part of it. What isn’t stopped in Israel will be stopped in Brussels, Stockholm, Berlin, Paris and London. The EU’s life belt passes through Israel…

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In Europe, the penny still hasn’t dropped

By Ben-Dror Yemini for Yediot Aharonot:

Ben-Dror Yemini contends that the penny still has not dropped in Europe. The author notes the frenzy that rocked the continent this past week, following the terror attacks in Paris and intelligence information that Islamic State members are planning to carry out further attacks against France, Germany, Belgium, Italy and Sweden, but points out that “the same Europe, in complete chaos, is busy helping moves initiated by the anti-Israel boycott campaign, which has turned into Hamas’ propaganda wing.”

The author argues that “years of accusing the Jews – in other words, Israel – of treating the Palestinians like the Nazis treated the Jews, years of total blindness towards the Palestinians’ rejection of any peace proposal, years of a self-brainwash, have led to intellectual disability among Europe’s elites in general, and Germany’s in particular,” and adds: “Terror isn’t opening the elites’ eyes, but is rather pushing them more and more towards self-deception.”

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Don’t forget Iran

Iran-Terror-Plot-NigeriaIsrael Hayom discusses global terrorism, and notes that “The Paris terrorist attacks sparked unprecedented shock around the world. A global mobilization effort is underway, with the goal being to crush the head of the Islamic State snake and prevent the group from carrying out further attacks,” but reminds readers of the far more lethal terrorist attacks conducted by Iran and Hezbollah in recent decades.

The author is baffled by the growing legitimacy granted to Iran by the international community since the signing of the nuclear deal this past summer, and points out that “Iran has missiles that can reach most of Europe and a nuclear-armed Iran would pose a far greater threat to international security than Islamic State.”

The author concludes: “What is the difference between Islamic State propaganda videos and the chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” on the streets of Tehran? Is there a difference between an Islamic State terrorist and a terrorist backed by Iran and Hezbollah? The difference is largely tactical. It is easier to deter Iran, as it has a wider range of interests than Islamic State. But the threat posed by Iran to Israel, for example, is no less than that posed by Islamic State.

In fact, Iran is more dangerous. It is an unfortunate twist of fate that the world is ignoring the threat posed by Iran for the sake of fighting a lesser threat.”

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In order to handle terror, France must end its denial

Op-ed: As long as Europe fails to understand that there should be no distinction between the ‘legitimate terror’ striking Israel and the ‘barbaric terror’ striking Europe, it will fail to find the appropriate way to deal with this horrible phenomenon.

66373500100084640360noYnet — … When Jews were murdered in Paris and in Toulouse, most French people saw it as a random and slightly troublesome spillover of a distant Middle Eastern conflict into their lives – but not as a cause for concern and for general mobilization. When journalists were murdered in the Charlie Hebdo newspaper offices, people explained that the reason was the fact that religious Muslim sentiments had been hurt. And even now, after terror attacks which have clarified that all of France is being targeted, many are refusing to acknowledge a simple fact: Terror is terror is terror.

The political-media discourse in France is now similar to the one which took place in Britain and Spain after the mass terror attacks in those countries a decade ago: There is no connection between the terror attacks in Europe and the terror attacks striking Israel.

The French are insisting on hanging on to their refusal to recognize the existence of a joint Israeli-French battle against a religious ideology of destruction. Commentators and politicians filling up the television and radio studios are refusing to mention Israel’s name as a country from which France can learn how to deal with a daily reality of terror, as the perception that Palestinian terror is the product of a legitimate national struggle – in other words, justified and understandable – has struck roots there.

Those creating distinctions between “legitimate terror” against Israel and “barbaric terror” against the West are singlehandedly sowing the atrocious bloody violence which is striking again and again in Paris and in all of Europe.

Islamic terror with its different names – PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, the al-Quds Brigades, ISIS, the al-Nusra Front, the Muslim Brothers – is one and has one goal: To impose Islam on the world – forcibly or through negotiations, by beheading people or through democratic elections, in the Middle East, in Europe, in Africa, in America and in Asia.

This is not a racist and paranoid conclusion. This is a quote of comments made by the spiritual leaders of the different Islamist factions. Racism is reflected in the Europeans’ chronic unwillingness to listen to what comes out of the Islamists’ mouth and accept their words literally.

When after the Paris attacks, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini tweets from the talks for an agreement in Syria that most of the countries present in the meeting suffer from terror – and willingly avoids stating that the talks are attended by many countries which uphold, fund and back Islamic terror – she is paving the way for the next terror attacks on European soil.

As long as Europe fails to understand that there is no difference between the terror striking Israel and the terror striking Europe, it will fail to find the appropriate way to deal with this horrible phenomenon.

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European Jewry’s bleak future

Israel Hayom comments on the implications of terror in Europe on European Jews:

“That a massacre of at least 129 civilians in Paris, in the heart of Europe, could be engineered by half a dozen militarily trained killers is an indicator of what we can expect in the future unless ruthless measures are taken to confront the terrorists in their home base and reverse the tide.

What is amazing is that, even after this last manifestation, many European leaders remain in denial and fail to recognize that we are not confronted by mindless nihilistic terrorists but by fanatically inspired Islamic extremists committed to the destruction of Western civilization and democracy.

The situation in Europe is catastrophic. Most countries, in particular France, now host large Muslim communities, a substantial proportion of which are radicalized, antidemocratic and sympathetic to terrorist acts. The last straw is the massive flow of “refugees” which threatens to completely change the demography of Europe. In the midst of this turbulent, massive migration and ongoing fears of new terror attacks, the future for European Jews appears bleaker than ever.”

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Welcome to World War Three

Analysis: The Paris attack is directly tied to events in Syria and Iraq; this was not an intelligence failure but rather the failure of the West to see itself as in a total war vs. radical Islam.

By Ron Ben-Yishai for Ynet (Nov 16) — It is time that we came to the realization: we are in the midst of World War III. A war that will differ from the others but will take place all over the globe, on land, air and sea. This is a war between jihadist Islam and Western civilization; a war between radical Islam and all those who refuse to surrender to its values and political demands.

… Therefore ISIS is attacking its enemies’ rear and Europe, as usual, is the first to get hit. ISIS and al-Qaeda prefer striking in Europe because it is considered the cradle of Christianity and Islamic fundamentalist organizations still see it as the homeland of the Crusaders, who just as in the past, are at present waging a religious and cultural war on Islam. France and Paris were chosen as a target as France stood at the forefront of the cultural and religious struggle against radical Islam. It is also the easiest target to attack.

map2_490_englishWhy France?

France was the target of a combined assault of radical Islam not just because it has a tradition of human rights and freedom of movement, but because France and French culture symbolize everything that radical Islam is afraid of and is in an all-out war against. France enacted a ban on women to wear the hijab in public places, the Supreme Court allowed the magazine Charlie Hebdo to publish caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad and President Francois Hollande recently refused Iranian President Rouhani’s request to not have alcohol served at a dinner in his honor. All these are challenges to the jihadists that no one else in the West have yet dared emulate. So that is the primary reason that France mourns the murder of at least 129 people.

The second reason is that France has the biggest and most established Muslim population in Europe that lives in large urban concentrations, mostly poor neighborhoods. These are ideal soil for the preaching of radical Islam in neighborhood mosques. The terrorists yesterday spoke French fluently and one can assume that at least some were French citizens of North African descent and other Muslim countries in Africa and Asia. They could thus assimilate into the population to choose destinations, collect information about them and flee from them after their attack.

… The third reason is the fact that France is in the heart of Western Europe and it is surrounded by states with large Muslim immigrant communities. The freedom of movement between European countries as per the Schengen Agreement allows the jihadists to utilize these communities to both find terrorist fighters who have been through the baptism of fire in the Middle East and to smuggle weapons required to perform attacks.

Another reason for choosing France is that it is considered the center of and the pinnacle of European culture and it is to a great extent a world city of the first order. Therefore the attack there has the greatest effect on people’s consciousness. Horror is effectively spread. It appears that the attackers were equipped with the pages of messages that declared so that those victims who survive would be able to cite to a media thirsty for every detail. “You bomb us in Syria and we bomb you in Paris,” was heard.

A change of perception needed

To carry out terrorist attacks in seven different locations requires lots of time and elaborate organization. One has to plan, to stockpile weapons and explosives, choose targets, collect information about the targets ahead of the attack, recruit attackers some of whom are willing to die in suicide attacks and tour the scene of the attack and prepare nearby before the actual attack. Therefore, it is reasonable to estimate that the attack was planned and prepared months ago and was kept on hold for a strategically opportune moment.

We need to prepare for further attacks not only in France, but throughout Europe…

The way Israel manages to gather intelligence and act on it quickly with the Border Police counter-terrorism unit and Shin Bet’s operational unit must serve as a model. It is clear that European bureaucrats, EU officials, will at first oppose the adoption of this model – but reality will probably force it upon them. They also will have to enact legislation to enable the mechanisms set up for intelligence gathering and rapid reaction to decisively prevent attacks before they occur and handle them quickly if they have already started to take place.

The world war between murderous fundamentalist Islam and Western civilization – and basically anyone and anything not Muslim – will have to be waged without compromise and without half-steps on land, air and sea. Brussels may not like it – but we’re all in the same boat. And no, the current wave of terrorism has nothing to do with the “occupation of Palestine.”

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This time it was Paris

Summary: “Whether or not people in the civilized world want to admit it, radical Islam has declared war on Western civilization,” and asserts that despite what many people have been insisting since 9/11, Israeli ‘occupation’ or ‘settlements’ are not the root of Muslim rage. The author argues that a clash of civilizations is the main cause of friction between Islam and Western civilization, and hopes that the world “will once and for all understand and appreciate that Israel is a Middle Eastern fortress of 21st century liberal democracy and human rights living in a region dominated by a seventh-century religion of conquest or submission.”

Israel Hayom (Nov 17) — … Since 9/11, many people have insisted on pointing to the Israeli “occupation” or “settlements” as the root of Muslim rage.

Nothing could be further from the truth. First of all, in various negotiations, Israel has offered to give up practically of the territories it was forced to conquer in the defensive war of June 1967. Every time, the Arabs have rejected the Israeli offers. They have chosen to remain in a continuous state of war, rather than accept the existence of a Jewish entity, which they view as a cancerous blight on what they deem to be “holy Muslim soil.”

There is ongoing a clash of civilizations and the fault line of this conflict runs right along the borders of Israel. Jews in Israel are despised for the exact same reason that attendees at a soccer match or rock concert in Paris or passengers on the London Underground are. Simply put, in the eyes of Islamist terrorists, they are all “the other.”

According to the Koran, the world is divided into two domains: Dar-al-Islam (the House of Islam), which submits to Shariah law, and Dar-al Harb (the House of War), which includes the rest of the world that does not submit to Shariah law and therefore must be conquered.

It is time for the West to wake up and realize that the war that Israel has been fighting for its survival ever since it came into being has nothing whatsoever to do with the shape of its borders. The terrorism that has been taking place in Israel has nothing to do with 1967 and everything to do with 1948.

Maybe this time, the world will finally wake up and understand the nature of the war the Islamists are waging against Western civilization. I erroneously thought the world had woken up from its slumber in 2001, but it proved that it would rather put its hand back on the snooze button and blame Islamic terrorism on extraneous and irrelevant factors, such as the “occupation.”

My hope and prayer is that the world will once and for all understand and appreciate that Israel is a Middle Eastern fortress of 21st century liberal democracy and human rights living in a region dominated by a seventh-century religion of conquest or submission. Israel is always willing and able lend a hand and to teach the painful lessons it has learned during its 67 years of survival in a tribal and primitive part of the world. It can teach about how to survive in a new globalized world where the friendly Islamist neighbor next door might suddenly wake up and decide to stab you in the back.

Sarah N. Stern is the founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth, a pro-American and pro-Israeli think tank and policy institute in Washington.

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Radical Islam – the invisible enemy

“Every day the US and its allies maintain their refusal to acknowledge that radical Islam exists.”

By Caroline B. Glick, senior contributing editor of the Jerusalem Post.

The Jerusalem Post (Nov 17) — As the cleaning crews were mopping the dried blood from the stage and the seats of the Bataclan concert hall in Paris, a depressing act appeared on stage in distant Iowa.

Saturday night the three contenders for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination took to the stage in Iowa for a debate. The moderator asked them whether they would be willing to use the term “radical Islam” to describe the ideology motivating Islamic terrorists to massacre innocents. All refused…

But of course, it is easy to understand what motivates Islamic terrorists. They tell us all the time.

They want the world to be run by an Islamic empire.

When they are in charge, they will kill, subjugate, convert or enslave all non-Muslims, except Jews.

The Jews will be obliterated.

The attacks they carry out in the Western world are viewed both as battles for the soul of Muslims worldwide and as a means to terrorize non-Muslims into accepting subjugation.

… The radical Islamic goal of destroying America – and the rest of the world – is the same regardless of who ends up winning the intramural jihad contest.

And as we have seen repeatedly in recent years, the sides are happy to come together to achieve their common goal of killing us and destroying our societies.

The Americans’ avoidance of reality is not unique.

The Europeans also refuse to see it.

Following the jihadist massacres at Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher in Paris in January, French President Francois Hollande insisted that the attackers who killed in the name of Islam had nothing to do with Islam.

After jihadists in London beheaded British soldier Lee Rigby outside his barracks in 2013, British Prime Minister David Cameron insisted that the attack, carried out in the name of Islam, had nothing to do with Islam.

The operational consequences of the West’s refusal to acknowledge the nature of the forces waging war against it have been disastrous.

Radical Islam is an ideology that serves both as an organizing principle for civil societies and a military doctrine. By ignoring it, the US and the rest of the free nations of the world have made it impossible to conceptualize or implement a strategy for either discrediting it or defeating its adherents.

Rather than develop comprehensive plans for dealing with this enemy, the Americans, the Europeans and others have opted for a mix of policies running the spectrum from appeasement to whack-a-mole operations.

Abroad, appeasement has taken its most significant form in the US-led nuclear deal with Iran. As the largest state sponsor of terrorism and the most active radical Islamic imperialist force in the Middle East, Iran is the ground zero of radical Islam. It not only oversees and directs the operations of its puppets, like Syrian President Bashar Assad, and its foreign legions, like Hezbollah. The Iranian regime has also played a key role in developing Muslim Brotherhood offshoots like al-Qaida, which received, and likely continues to receive training and direction from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. As for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, if Iran had been interested in preventing its rise, IS would never have taken over any territory in either country.

At home, appeasement of radical Islamic forces has involved embracing Muslim Brotherhood front groups and insisting that radical Islamic clerics are moderates because they aren’t pulling any triggers.

The West’s whack-a-mole war against radical Islam at home and abroad has meant that even as one group – like core al-Qaida – is cut down, it is swiftly replaced by other groups, like Islamic State. And if IS is eventually cut down, it too will be replaced by another group, and then reconstitute itself as IS when the West’s attention is taken up by the next major group.

Obama has enabled this state of affairs by defining the enemy as narrowly as possible, reducing the whole sphere of radical Islam to a few discrete groups – like al-Qaeda and IS – that he seeks to defeat or contain.

It is not simply that the whack-a-mole strategy doesn’t work. It is self-defeating. Since the radical Islamic trigger pullers in the West are usually no more than a few people who get together to murder people, insisting that someone has to be a card carrying member of a recognized terrorist group before authorities will go after him makes it almost impossible to find operatives and prevent attacks.

The murderers Friday may well never have received formal orders to commit their attacks from a central jihadist headquarters. They may have met at a mosque in Paris or Brussels and decided to do it.

Certainly they needed no advanced training to mow down people eating dinner or watching a rock concert. They didn’t even really need to know how to shoot straight.

As for their explosives vests, all they needed was a guy with a working knowledge of explosives to set them up with the means to turn themselves into human bombs. Maybe he trained in Syria. Maybe he has a degree in chemistry from the Sorbonne.

Maybe he is just good at following YouTube videos.

The most important component of Friday night’s massacre was the terrorists’ radical Islamic motivation.

Their belief in their ideology motivated them to die killing innocent people. Everything else was secondary. They may have been inspired and loosely directed by the heads of IS. But if Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed six months ago, they would have found another source of inspiration.

And that’s the main point. While Friday’s killers may have given their allegiance to IS, they were operationally and ideologically all but indistinguishable from their predecessors in the London subways in 2005 and the Madrid commuter rails in 2004 who hailed from al-Qaida. Likewise, while the US may have seriously degraded core al-Qaida in the Middle East over the past seven years, IS in Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Libya is an organic extension of al-Qaida.

To defeat these groups, the US and its allies need to adopt a strategy that is rooted in an acknowledgment of the nature of our true enemy: radical Islam.

Armed with this recognition, the nations of the free world can determine operational guidelines for combating not only specific, discrete groupings of adherents to this ideology, they can develop overall strategies for combating it at home and in the Middle East.

At home, such strategies require Western governments to penetrate, disrupt and destroy radical Islamic networks on the ground in a sustained, concentrated manner. In the Middle East, they require the free world to stop seeking to appease leaders, regimes and militias that support and ascribe to radical Islam.

… Every day the US and its allies maintain their refusal to acknowledge that radical Islam exists and that the regime in Tehran, al-Qaida, IS, Hamas and all the rest are mere expressions of this larger ideology, the danger radical Islam poses to the survival of free societies will continue to mount and grow. Saturday night’s Democratic debate was a depressing reminder how low we have fallen.

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Why the Paris Massacre Will Have Limited Impact

urlBy Daniel Pipes for National Review Online (Nov 15) — The murder of some 127 innocents in Paris by a jihadi gang on Friday has again shocked the French and led to another round of solidarity, soul searching, and anger. In the end, however, Islamist violence against Westerners boils down to two questions: How much will this latest atrocity turn public opinion? And how much will it further spur the Establishment to deny reality?

As these questions suggest, the people and the professionals are moving in opposite directions, the former to the right, the latter to the left. In the end, this clash much reduces the impact of such events on policy.

Public opinion moves against Islamists specifically and Islam more generally when the number of deaths is large enough. America’s three thousand dead on 9/11 stands out as by far the largest mortality but many other countries have had their equivalent – the Bali bombings for Australia, the railroad bombing for Spain, the Beslan school massacre for Russia, the transportation bombings for Britain.

Sheer numbers are not the only consideration. Other factors can multiply the impact of an assault, making it almost the political equivalent of mass carnage: (1) The renown of those attacked, such as Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands and the Charlie Hebdo office in France. (2) The professional status of the victim, such as soldiers or police. (3) High-profile circumstances, such as the Boston Marathon bombing.

In addition to the over 27,000 attacks globally connected to Islam since 9/11, or more than 5 per day (as counted by, a huge increase in illegal immigration from the Middle East recently exacerbated feelings of vulnerability and fear. It’s a one-way street, with not a single soul ever heard to announce, “I used to worry about Islamism but I don’t any more.”

These cases make more Westerners worried about Islam and related topics from the building of minarets to female infibulation. Overall, a relentless march rightwards is underway. Surveys of European attitudes show 60 to 70 percent of voters expressing these concerns. Populist individuals like Geert Wilders of the Netherlands and parties like the Sweden Democrats are surging in the polls.

But when it comes to the Establishment – politicians, the police, the press, and the professors – the unrelenting violence has a contrary effect. Those charged with interpreting the attacks live in a bubble of public denial (what they say privately is another matter) in which they feel compelled to pretend that Islam has no role in the violence, out of concern that to recognize it would cause even more problems.

These 4-P professionals bald-facedly feign belief in a mysterious “violent extremist” virus that seems to afflict only Muslims, prompting them to engage in random acts of barbaric violence. Of the many preposterous statements by politicians, my all-time favorite is what Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, said about the Charlie Hebdo jihadis: “They’re about as Muslim as I am.”

This defiance of common sense has survived each atrocity and I predict that it will also outlast the Paris massacre. Only a truly massive loss of life, perhaps in the hundreds of thousands, will force the professionals to back off their deeply ingrained pattern of denying an Islamic component in the spate of attacks.

That pattern has the very consequential effect of shutting out the fears of ordinary voters, whose views thereby have negligible impact on policy. Worries about Shari’a, rape gangs, exotic diseases, and bloodbaths are dismissed with charges of “racism” and “Islamophobia,” as though name-calling addresses these real issues.

More surprising yet, the professionals respond to the public’s move to the right by themselves moving to the left, encouraging more immigration from the Middle East, instituting more “hate speech” codes to suppress criticism of Islam, and providing more patronage to Islamists. This pattern affects not just Establishment figures of the Left but more strikingly also of the Right (such as Angela Merkel of Germany); only Eastern European leaders such as Hungary’s Viktor Orbán permit themselves to speak honestly about the real problems.

Eventually, to be sure, voters’ views will make themselves heard, but decades later and more weakly than democratically should have been the case.

Placing the murderous rampage in Paris into this context: it will likely move public sentiments substantially in one direction and Establishment policies in quite the opposite way, therefore ultimately having only a limited impact.

Mr. Pipes (, @DanielPipes) is president of the Middle East Forum.

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Turkey’s Election Results Stink of Fraud

By Daniel Pipes, known for accurately predicting political events in the Middle East. Read some of his predictions that came true here:

National Review Online (Nov 5) — Like other observers of Turkish politics, I was stunned on Nov. 1 when the ruling Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, or AKP) was reported to have increased its share of the national vote since the last round of elections in June 2015 by 9 percent and its share of parliamentary seats by 11 percent.

The polls had consistently shown the four major parties winning about the same number of seats as in June. This made intuitive sense; they represent mutually hostile outlooks (Islamist, leftist, Kurdish, nationalist), making substantial movement between them in under five months highly unlikely. That about one in nine voters switched parties defies reason.

Polling results between the June and November 2015 Turkish elections.

Polling results between the June and November 2015 Turkish elections.

The AKP’s huge increase gave it back the parliamentary majority it had lost in the June 2015 elections, promising President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan a semi-legal path to the dictatorial powers he aspires to.

But, to me, the results stink of fraud. It defies reason, for example, that the AKP’s war on Kurds would prompt about a quarter of Turkey’s Kurds to abandon the pro-Kurdish party and switch their vote to the AKP. As news of irregularities comes in, Michael Rubin of AEI summed up the problems at Commentary:

Turkish political analysts attribute Erdoğan’s cheating quotient at around 5 percent – that takes into account stuffed ballots, shenanigans on the state-run Turkish Airlines as it transports ballots from abroad, disappeared ballot boxes from opposition-run towns and districts, and pretty much everything involving the mayor of Ankara. In the case of Sunday’s elections, it appears that Erdoğan’s AKP won the votes of hundreds of thousands of dead people..

Given the history of fraud in Turkey’s elections, that this one was rigged should come as no shock, especially as rumors swirled in advance about sophisticated efforts to manipulate the results. (For methods, think the Volkswagen emissions scam.)

The citizens of Turkey now face the decisive question of whether to accept or reject the results of this election. Which will prevail – fear of Erdoğan’s ruthlessness or anger at his swindle? Sadly, because his electoral coup d’état has blocked the path of democracy, should Turks resist, they are compelled to do so in non-democratic ways.

Click here for original source.

The Russian Bear has joined the cardgame in the Middle East

An excellent analysis by Dr. Mordechai Kedar, senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University. He served in IDF Military Intelligence for 25 years, specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena.

2gO16x6IsraelNationalNews — Arab media reported on something this week that I did not see any mention of in the Israeli media: the Kremlin announced that by the end of this year – that is, within the next few months – Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud will pay a visit to Moscow. It doesn’t seem like a terribly important bit of information at first glance, just a blurb about one leader paying another a state visit, but this is not just a visit. This is a political gesture that signals Saudi Arabia’s move towards forging an alliance with Russia.

There are four reasons that lie behind this step. The most important is America’s weak standing in the region, obvious to all and exacerbated by Obama’s announcing his retirement from the position of world policeman and the beginning of the American electoral campaign. There is no one to talk to anymore in Washington, especially now that it has become clear that the Iran Agreement is a “done deal.” The Saudis are furious that the agreement was allowed to pass and see it as no less than a breach of trust towards their country on the part of the United States. In contrast to Israel, however, they are keeping their feelings to themselves and playing the international scene coolly with a clearheaded assessment of the new and future realities.

The second reason is the decisiveness Russia displayed in its Syrian involvement, all the more glaring in comparison with the ineffectual US and NATO responses. The Saudis fear that Assad, whom they consider a heretic Allawite whose blasphemous regime must not and can not be allowed to rule over Muslims, will remain in power. They are also furious at the “Butcher of Damascus” bloodbath that cost hundreds of thousands of people their lives, many of them Sunnis. King Salman wants to get Putin’s ear in order to influence him on this issue.

The third reason is Saudi fear of an Iranian-Russian alliance outside the range of Saudi influence. Without the backing of America and Europe, the Saudis prefer to act along the lines of “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” The king feels that he will have more influence on the Iranians with regard to Yemen, Iraq and Syria if he joins the club instead of remaining outside it.

The fourth reason is Saudi Arabia’s desire to be sure that Russia does not put “boots on the ground” in the war against ISIS. The Saudis do not like Caliph Abu Bakr’s Jihadists, mainly because they have given Islam a bad name, but the Saudi king does not want to see Russia – the land of the unbelievers who drink vodka and eat pork – eliminating large numbers of Sunni Muslims and conquering a Sunni-Islamic state. Remember, there were times when the Saudis supported Islamic State.

The sum total of these reasons has propelled the Saudi king right into Putin’s muscular arms.

But it is also important to note the meeting’s framework: the Saudi king will leave his palace and travel to visit Putin in Putin’s home. In the past, presidents and prime ministers would gather at the entrance to the Saudi King’s throne room, and today it is he who is going to visit Putin, the new kid on the block. And the block is that decaying slum known as the Middle East.

Israel, too, has discovered Russia and its growing sphere of influence in the region – and that realization is what sent Netanyahu to Putin a month ago and brought about the visits of high ranking Russian army officers to Israel. It looks as though Israel does not want to be left outside the equation now that Russia is becoming increasingly involved in Syria, especially since Iran is solidly placed on the other side of the equation.

Recently, there has been a noticeable and interesting change in the tone of Russian spokesmen appearing on the Arab media. Up to as little as a week ago, they spoke about Russia’s limited goals in Syria, including ensuring the continuation of the Assad regime even if it is limited to a small part of the country – the Allawite region on the coast near the ports of Latakia, Tartus and Banias. It did not sound as if Russia is planning a massive campaign against Islamic State, which wields control over 60% of Syria.

Now, the tone of Russian broadcasters has changed. They have begun expressing worry about the slow trickle of Islamic State into countries that were once considered Southern Soviet Russia: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tagikistan, as well as its infiltration into those Muslim minority groups who live within the Russian Federation: Chechins, Tatars, Pamiris, to name a few.

The Tatars have good reason to rise against Russia after masses of their people were expelled from the Crimean Peninsula, taken from Ukraine and annexed to Russia. The Chechens still have not avenged the destruction of their capital Grozny or the thousands the Russians murdered there in the nineties.

It is important to recall that there are large numbers of Muslims among the low- ranking soldiers in the Russian Army, making it quite possible for ISIS to try to enlist army men to do what Nidal Hassan did in Fort Hood – that is, kill 13 of his friends and wound 31. This is not far off the mark, because there are 200 Muslim rebel volunteers who come from Russia – and one of them, a redhead of Chechen origin – is the commander of the rebel forces near Aleppo. At least one film shows him butchering three regime supporters with his own hands.

He and those like him, can speak Russian or Chechen to their Russian soldier friends, and if just one soldier in a thousand becomes secretly loyal to ISIS, he could then sow death and destruction among his friends…

Click here for full article.

Why the Palestinian Authority Does Not Want Cameras on the Temple Mount

By Khaled Abu Toameh, an Arab Muslim, a veteran award-winning journalist who has been covering Palestinian affairs for nearly three decades.

Palestinian Arab young men with masks, inside Al-Aqsa Mosque (some wearing shoes), stockpile rocks to use for throwing at Jews who visit the Temple Mount, September 27, 2015.

Palestinian Arab young men with masks, inside Al-Aqsa Mosque (some wearing shoes), stockpile rocks to use for throwing at Jews who visit the Temple Mount, September 27, 2015.

Gatestone Institute (Nov 6):

  • The Palestinian Authority (PA) will continue to work against having cameras in the hope of preventing the world from seeing what is really happening at the site and undermining Jordan’s “custodianship” over Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem.
  • Another reason the Palestinians oppose King Abdullah’s idea is their fear that cameras would expose that Palestinians have been smuggling stones, firebombs and pipe bombs into the Al-Aqsa Mosque for the past two years.
  • The cameras are also likely to refute the claim that Jews are “violently invading” Al-Aqsa Mosque and holding prayers on the Temple Mount. The cameras will show that Jews do not enter Al-Aqsa Mosque, as Palestinians have been claiming. Needless to say, no Jewish visitors have been caught trying to smuggle weapons into the holy site.
  • It remains to be seen how Secretary Kerry, who brokered the camera deal between Israel and Jordan, will react to the latest Palestinian Authority escalation of tensions. If Kerry fails to pressure the PA to stop its incitement and attempts to exclude the Jordanians from playing any positive role, the current wave of knife attacks against Jews will continue.

… During the past two years, the Palestinian Authority and other parties, including Hamas and the Islamic Movement (Northern Branch) in Israel, have been waging a campaign of incitement against Jewish visits to the Haram al-Sharif. The campaign claimed that Jews were planning to destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque.

In an attempt to prevent Jews from entering the approximately 37-acre (150,000 m2) site, the Palestinian Authority and the Islamic Movement in Israel hired scores of Muslim men and women to harass the Jewish visitors and the police officers escorting them. The men are referred to asMurabitoun, while the women are called Murabitat (defenders or guardians of the faith).

These men and women have since been filmed shouting and trying to assault Jews and policemen at the Haram al-Sharif. This type of video evidence is something that the Palestinian Authority is trying to avoid. The PA, together with the Islamic Movement, wants the men and women to continue harassing the Jews under the pretext of “defending” the Al-Aqsa Mosque from “destruction” and “contamination.”

The installation of surveillance cameras at the site will expose the aggressive behavior of theMurabitoun and Murabitat, and show the world who is really “desecrating” the Islamic holy sites and turning them into a base for assaulting and abusing Jewish visitors and policemen.

The cameras are also likely to refute the claim that Jews are “violently invading” Al-Aqsa Mosque and holding prayers at the Temple Mount. The Palestinian Authority, Hamas and the Islamic Movement have long been describing the Jewish visits as a “provocative and violent incursion” into Al-Aqsa Mosque. But now the cameras will show that Jews do not enter Al-Aqsa Mosque, as the Palestinians have been claiming.

Another reason the Palestinians are opposed to King Abdullah’s idea is their fear that the cameras would expose that Palestinians have been smuggling stones, firebombs and pipe bombs into Al-Aqsa Mosque for the past two years. These are scenes at the PA, Hamas and the Islamic Movement do not want the world to see: they show who is really “contaminating” the Haram al-Sharif. Needless to say, no Jewish visitors have thus far been caught trying to smuggle such weapons into the holy site.

Click here for full article.

Debating Against BDS – and Winning

Famed lawyer Alan Dershowitz. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Famed lawyer Alan Dershowitz. (photo credit: REUTERS)

By Alan Dershowitz for the Jerusalem Post (Nov 3):

When I was invited to debate in favor of the motion “Is BDS Wrong?” at the Oxford Union, I fully expected to lose the vote of the 250 or so students and faculty who are members of the oldest debate society in the world. “Israel always loses at Oxford,” I was warned by colleagues who had debated other Israel-related issues. Nonetheless I decided to participate, hoping to change some minds.

I proposed as my opponent Omar Barghouti, the Qatari-born, Israeli-educated, co-founder and spokesperson of the BDS movement, but he refused to debate me. The Union then selected Noura Erekat, a Palestinian-American human rights attorney, who has been a vocal supporter of BDS.

When she backed out at the last minute, I began to get suspicious: was the BDS movement boycotting me? After all, BDS advocates have called for “common sense” academic boycotts against individuals who they feel are too vocal in their support for Israel, in addition to a blanket boycott of all Israeli academic institutions.  After speaking with the organizers of the debate at Oxford, I continue to believe that I was in fact being boycotted.

The Union then selected Peter Tatchell, a distinguished and popular British human rights activist who has participated in 30 Union debates, most of which he has won. I knew I was in for a difficult time, especially when the audience applauded his points more loudly than mine and when many of the questions seemed hostile toward Israel, though polite.

Mr. Tatchell’s main argument was that BDS was a nonviolent form of protest against Israel’s occupation and settlement policies that mirrored the boycott movement against apartheid South Africa, and followed the principles of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. He was articulate in arguing that boycott tactics generally were a non-violent alternative to war and terrorism. The force of his argument was somewhat weakened by the recent spate of terrorist knife attacks by Palestinians against Israelis, which leaders of the BDS movement such as Barghouti have justified as resistance to the “decades-old regime of occupation.”

I argued that BDS was not an alternative to war but rather an alternative to peaceful negotiations by the Palestinian leadership. This is because the BDS movement is firmly opposed to the two-state solution. Omar Barghouti confirmed as much when he said “definitely, most definitely, we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine.” Thus, the BDS movement makes it more difficult for the Palestinian leadership to accept the kind of painful compromises that both sides must agree to if there is to be a negotiated resolution.

Together with other efforts to delegitimate and isolate Israel, BDS also sends a false message to the Palestinian street: namely, that international economic and political pressure can force Israel to capitulate to all Palestinian demands, without any compromise on territorial issues. In turn, this disincentivizes the Palestinian leadership from accepting Prime Minister Netanyahu’s offer to begin immediate negotiations with no preconditions.

Such discussions are particularly important now, to halt the gruesome cycle of violence that has intensified in recent weeks. Both sides must return to the negotiations table, and both must be willing to make concessions. For the Israelis this means rolling back settlemesettlements, and granting greater autonomy to the West Bank; for the Palestinian Authority, it means renouncing violence against Israeli civilians, disavowing Hamas and other terrorist organizations, and accepting the need for territorial compromise with land swaps.

BDS opposes any effort at negotiation that isn’t premised on the recognition that Israel is an apartheid state. Indeed, many of its leaders refuse to recognize the right for Israel to exist as a nation-state for the Jewish people. In so doing, they are empowering radicals on both sides of the issue who have no desire to see a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

Many liberal activists such as Mr. Tatchell—whose advocacy on behalf of LGBT rights I greatly admire—have made common cause with BDS, hoping to pressure Israel to end the occupation, and afford greater self-determination to Palestinians in the West Bank. They seem to believe that a movement advocating non-violent tactics is necessarily the best way to achieve a lasting peace. But BDS is radically opposed to any negotiated settlement, and has increasingly begun to regroup bigots of all stripes who feel comfortable with the language used by its leaders, such Mr. Barghouti.

Mr. Tatchell and many pro-BDS academics also feel that Israel has committed human rights violations both in the occupation of the West Bank, and in its prosecution of the armed conflicts in Gaza. During the course of the debate I issued the following challenge to the audience and to my opponent: name a single country in the history of the world, faced with threats comparable to those faced by Israel, that has a better record of human rights, compliance with the rule of law and seeking to minimize civilian casualties.

I invited audience members to shout out the name of a country. Complete silence.  Finally someone shouted “Iceland”, and everyone laughed.  When the best is treated as the worst, in the way the BDS movement singles out Israel for accusation, the finger of blame must be pointed at the accusers rather than the accused. In the end, the case against BDS won not because of the comparative skill of the debaters but because I was able to expose the moral weakness of the BDS movement itself.

Click here for original source.

Analysis: Lone wolf terrorism and social media

An excellent and thorough analysis of the recent wave of terrorism in Israel.

terror social mediaThe Jerusalem Post (Nov 1) —  Israel is in the throes of a nationalist and religion-driven wave of terror fueled by incitement falsely accusing it of desecrating the al-Aqsa Mosque and changing the status quo on Jerusalem’s holy Temple Mount.

This kind of propaganda had been disseminated for some time by Palestinian terrorist organizations, especially Hamas and Islamic Jihad. But their inflammatory messages received a tailwind when senior Palestinian Authority (PA) officials and other Arab leaders joined the chorus, urging Israel not to “contaminate” the Temple Mount. This mainstream voice was the catalyst that drove inflamed young people into the streets, taking the law into their own hands and randomly wounding and killing Israelis.

The current wave of terror started as a succession of terrorist attacks carried out primarily by “lone wolves,” using knives and axes or ramming vehicles into bystanders.

By any rational cost-benefit analysis, the initial wave seems to have failed. In most cases, the terrorist perpetrators were killed, wounded or captured, and the strategic damage they were able to inflict was limited.

As a result, the Palestinian terrorist organizations led by Hamas stepped up their incitement on the Web and published instructions on how the attackers could be more effective. The instructions are usually accompanied by video clips with recommendations on the kind of knives to use, where to stab the victims, from which angle to attack and so on. In some instances, the terrorist organizations suggest attacking in pairs or larger groups, seizing rifles from prospective military victims and opening fire in all directions.

This institutional incitement and training via the Web reflects only one aspect of the growing importance of the social media in the current wave of terror. The social networks, especially Facebook and Twitter, are used by many of the young terrorists as a platform to convey their thoughts, feelings and political messages before leaving for their attacks.

Some see this as a way of putting their suicidal actions in the desired context, stressing their supreme sacrifice and altruism.

Their words serve as a kind of spiritual last will and testament, guiding friends and family on how to act after their deaths. Without these messages, the terrorist acts they are about to commit might lose their meaning and quickly sink into oblivion in the maelstrom of conflict-related events.

Another aspect, no less important, is the glorification bestowed by the social media on the lone wolves in the wake of their terrorist acts. Spurred on by the terrorist organizations and their supporters, the networks promote escalation and encourage other potential terrorists to attack.

Each terrorist act becomes a model for emulation, sparking a vicious cycle that is fueling a terrorist epidemic.

With regard to the number of dead and wounded and the degree of damage they cause, the lone wolf attacks are limited compared to the use of explosive charges, shootings or suicide bombings. But they are more difficult to prevent because of the inherent lack of early warning intelligence. As opposed to attacks by terrorist organizations, in which there are usually a number of people in on the secret and involved in the initiating, planning, preparation and implementation, making it possible for security forces to glean intelligence through infiltration of the terrorist chain and foil attacks before they are carried out, “private initiative” terror begins and ends in the teeming brain of the individual terrorist, with nobody else in the know.

Nevertheless, the current wave of terror points to the fact that gathering open intelligence in the public domain, especially through monitoring of the social networks, could become an effective and practical substitute for traditional intelligence gathering. This could help address the intelligence lacunae in the case of lone wolf terror and, in some cases, provide an early warning of lone wolf terrorist plans.

Moreover, the incitement and instructional activities of the terrorist organizations and their supporters out on the Web could also prove to be an Achilles heel. This could also be exploited to thwart some of the terrorist attacks. In other words, while the social media networks play a significant role in the initiation, guidance and escalation of knife-wielding terror, they could also be key in thwarting or preempting terrorist acts.

Nevertheless, we need to be absolutely clear that the current wave of terror will only subside after the incitement abates and the messages from the Palestinian leadership to the Palestinian public change. And since it is totally unrealistic to expect the terrorist organizations to make any such changes, we should concentrate our efforts on PA and Arab leaders, especially Jordan’s King Abdullah and PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

These two leaders adding their voices to the plaintive cries of the Palestinian terrorist organizations over the ostensible danger to the al-Aqsa Mosque and the alleged changes to the status quo on the Temple Mount was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. The change in their messages sparked the eruption of terrorist knifings because it signaled the mainstream’s joining the extremist bandwagon.

The reaction of the street was not slow in coming. Therefore, conversely, those two leaders, especially Abdullah, could play an important role in halting the terror.

They could issue a public call to end the violence, as soon as they are convinced that there is no danger to al-Aqsa and that there is no intention of changing the status quo.

For that it is not enough for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to declare that Israel hasn’t changed and does not intend to change the status quo. He has already done so several times.

As a confidence-building measure and gesture toward Abdullah, he should declare publicly and in detail what the principles of the status quo acceptable to the parties have been up until now, and solemnly pledge that they will remain exactly the same in future. His endorsement of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s understanding of the status quo, backed up by closed-circuit television cameras monitoring every move on the mount and broadcasting directly to the king’s palace in Amman, is a step in the right direction.

Now, if he so wishes, Abdullah could, as he has done in the past, quickly transform the Arab and Palestinian discourse and help restore order.

Prof. Boaz Ganor, the founder and executive director of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT), is the dean and the Ronald S. Lauder chair in Counter-Terrorism at the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya.

Click here for original source.

Boycott and Palestinian rejectionism are the enemy of peace

By Ben-Dror Yemini for Ynet (Nov 1) —  Op-ed: In an article in The Washington Post, Steven Levitsky and Glen Weyl claim they support the boycott against Israel for their love of Israel. But one cannot reach a peace agreement by supporting a campaign that opposes any peace agreement.

60886300991797640360no“When we say ’67 borders, we know that the greater goal is the end of Israel… Don’t say these things to the world. Keep it to yourself” – Abbas Zaki, Senior PLO official, Al-Jazeera, Sep. 2011.

“Muslims’ destiny is to kill Jews. Resurrection will come only after Jews are killed by Muslims” – the principal Palestinian Authority religious leader, the Mufti Muhammad Hussein, Jan. 2012.

We can keep on. It isn’t Hamas. It’s the senior officials of the Palestinian Authority (PA). When we read and hear this almost daily incitement, it isn’t simple for us, Israelis who strive for peace, who are willing to make painful concessions, to change public opinion.

From the south we have Hamas. From the north we have Hezbollah, and the Islamic State is coming closer. From the east we have the PA, where one of its senior officials is telling us that the ’67 boarders, for them, means the end of Israel.

Yes, we have to strive for peace. We cannot allow ourselves to give up. Peace is needed. But nothing is simple.

For two Jewish Zionists who love Israel, as they define themselves, everything is simple. They published an article supporting the boycott against Israel (“We are lifelong Zionists. Here’s why we’ve chosen to boycott Israel,” by Steven Levitsky and Glen Weyl, Washington Post, October 23, 2015). For them, reality, incitement, Palestinian refusal to make peace – shouldn’t be taken into account. Israel is the only player in the blame game. But for many others, reality should be part of the story. So let’s face some facts.

We can assume that the writers are very familiar with the boycott campaign against Israel, which is active on many campuses in the United States. The campaign has clear goals and excellent speakers. The campaign, publicly and openly, is not seeking a peace settlement or solution of two states for two peoples. One of the three main goals of the campaign is the “right of return,” which means the destruction of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people. This is not an interpretation. These are the explicit and declared goals of the heads and spokesmen of the campaign, as Omar Barghouti and Ali Abunimah, or as Professor As’ad Abu Khalil, declare: “The real aim of BDS is to bring down the State of Israel … That should be stated as an unambiguous goal. There should not be any equivocation on the subject.”

So it’s a bit strange to support the right of Jews to a state and at the same time to support the world’s most prominent campaign which seeks the destruction of this very state.

The main justification of the writers for the boycott is the continuation of the occupation. In their opinion, this proves that the occupation is not temporary, but permanent. We can and should expect the two authors to know what happened over the last two decades.

In late 2000, then-President Clinton presented parameters which described the basis for a peace agreement: Two states for two peoples, Israeli withdrawal from 95 percent of the territories (the settlement blocs include only about five percent), the partition of Jerusalem, and a solution to the refugee problem.

Israel accepted the plan. Arafat arrived in Washington to give the Palestinian response. Before going to the White House, Arafat met with diplomats from Arab states, led by Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who supported the initiative. At the end of the meeting, Bin Sultan said to Arafat: “If your answer is negative, it will not be a tragedy. It will be a crime” (The New Yorker, March 24, 2003). Arafat went to the White House, and committed a crime.

This happened again in 2008, when then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert submitted a similar proposal. The Palestinian answer, again, was negative. According to Condoleezza Rice, Abbas insisted on the return of “four million refugees,” not to the proposed Palestinian state, but to Israel proper.

In between, Israel carried out a unilateral disengagement from Gaza. The Palestinians could have seized the opportunity to promote welfare and prosperity. But, led by Hamas, they chose to establish an industry of death, rockets, hatred and terrorism. They did not refuse the proposals of Israel. They refused the offer of the Quartet, which offered them hope and huge investments. They chose violence.

The two authors indicate the increase in the number of settlers. Criticism of the settlements is justified. But it should be clear: The increase in settler population is limited, almost entirely, to those living in the big blocs of settlements, which will remain part of Israel according to any peace initiative. But when the basic facts are not clear, the impression is that the settlements are an obstacle to peace. The settlements are a problem. The Israeli government deserves criticism. But this is not an obstacle to peace.

The authors cite Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who said that that control of the West Bank is “not a matter of political debate. It is a basic fact of modern Zionism.” Well, Rivlin supports the “one state solution,” supported by a small fraction of the ideological right and the radical left. But it isn’t clear why the authors give credence to a person who holds a symbolic position, while at the same time, ignoring the official Israeli position presented, again and again, in all negotiations, over the last 15 years.

The authors admit that Israel “is hardly the world’s worst human rights violator”. They even admit that “boycotting Israel is double standard”. But they excuse it with their love for Israel.

This is an interesting argument. When haters demand a boycott, they do it because they deny the right of Israel to exist. When lovers of Israel do it, they suffocate Israel with their love. The result is the same. But what is more interesting is that there is no Palestinian or Arab movement that will demand self-responsibility from the Palestinian leadership. No calls for a boycott of the Palestinian Authority even if time and again the Palestinian leadership refused any settlement based on the idea of two states for two peoples. No calls for a boycott of the Palestinian Authority even though it makes monthly payments to terrorist murderers of Jews, including members of Hamas, who are sitting in prisons. There is no call for a boycott against the PA that continues to fund anti-Semitic incitement against Israel.

There is something very racist about the absolute exemption from criticism granted to the Palestinian side, but obsessive criticism, directed to the Israeli side. The day when supporters of peace understand that the Palestinian side has some responsibility; the day when they demand that Palestinians end incitement and terrorist funding – will be a better day for the prospect of peace.

We can assume the authors have good intentions. They strive for peace. But their way is wrong. One cannot reach a peace agreement by supporting a campaign that opposes any peace agreement. One cannot stop the occupation by ignoring Palestinian rejectionism of the two states for two peoples solution. You cannot support a campaign that opposes the existence of Israel and claim that this is due to your love of Israel.

Peace is the enemy of the boycott campaign, and the boycott campaign is the enemy of peace.

Click here for original source.

Israelis are being stabbed to death in the streets of Jerusalem − why doesn’t anyone care?

He is writing about the media in the UK, but it is just as applicable to the mainstream media throughout Europe.

By Yiftah Curiel, spokesperson for the Israel Embassy in London.

Palestinian students cover their faces and hold up axes as a fellow protester waves a national flag during an anti-Israel protest in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah Said Khatib/ AFP

Palestinian students cover their faces and hold up axes as a fellow protester waves a national flag during an anti-Israel protest in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah
Said Khatib/ AFP

International Business Times (Oct 30) — October was a bloody month in Israel, with over 50 terror attacks, mostly involving stabbings, but also using firearms and vehicles. Over 100 Israelis were injured, 14 in a serious condition, and 11 were murdered. Many of the Palestinian perpetrators died in the attacks, some were teens, motivated by religious incitement and lies concerning the site known as al-Aqsa to Muslims and Temple Mount to Jews.

Here in London, the past few weeks have felt like a veil was lifted over political-correctness and a veneer of journalistic practice with regards to Israel. This was no Gaza operation, not a drone war, nor an exchange of unequal firepower. The facts were clear and simple: Israelis, from children to the elderly, were being murdered in broad daylight in towns across the country.

Yet the media does not seem to get it right even under these circumstances. Headlines still run as “Israeli police shoot Palestinian”, then change to “Palestinian shot in knife attack”, and again to “Woman who planned knife attack shot dead” (she didn’t just plan it, she actually carried it out). An Israeli whose car is stoned with rocks steps out and “pays with his life for attacking Palestinian trucks”, while a terrorist “becomes seventh Palestinian killed by security forces after Jerusalem stabbing”.

All of the above headlines are real, and all were subsequently corrected; some of them undergoing three or four different versions, reflecting the clear fact that editors understood that they did not make sense, simply did not reflect reality on the ground. Yet these corrections ensued, week after week, as if media outlets were unwilling to accept reality and forgo their automatic mode of reporting on the region, in which Palestinians must play the role of victims, and Israelis the aggressors.

Anti-Israel groups also seemed confused by the situation, and so they did the only thing they know how to do − call for a protest outside the Israeli Embassy. Under the vague banner of “Protest for Palestine”, last week we saw the familiar scenes of Hamas and Hezbollah flags, and of people telling an Israeli journalist that “all Zionists should be killed”. Thankfully, his equipment wasn’t trashed this time, as it was in last month’s “peaceful protest”.

Countless headlines were corrected this month, nearly one for every deadly terror attack in Israel. Meanwhile, Palestinian incitement was dismissed by some as “an Israeli line”, a “distraction”.

Radical clerics brandishing knives and holding up explosive belts, Hamas spokesmen acting as cheerleaders for terror attacks, and Palestinian radio playing songs of praise to the “martyrs”, were of little interest to a media focused only on Israeli actions.

The willingness to disregard reality, to display this level of animosity toward Israel at a time when its civilians were facing a wave of rampant terror, sends a clear message: “Your lives are of no interest to us”.

Unfortunately, reality doesn’t conform to the attitude of the media, as we’ve seen in Syria, where civilians continue to die regardless of scant media coverage, or Gaza, whose population continues to suffer under Hamas even today.

When we read headlines focusing on Israel’s in-the-moment response to murderous Palestinian terrorism, rather than on the terrorist stabbings and shootings themselves, I wonder precisely what such people expect from Israelis? When a television presenter asks Jerusalem’s mayor if carrying a gun to protect oneself from a stabbing wasn’t “excessive”? Do they wish for Israelis to passively accept the terrorist’s knife in their chest, and not defend themselves lest this provokes another negative headline or protest abroad?

Solidarity and sympathy with Palestinians aside, what we have witnessed these past weeks has looked like solidarity with murderous Palestinian knife-wielders, mixed with callousness towards innocent Israelis’ lives.

Click here for original source.