Tuesday, October 06, 2015

This week Vladimir Putin comprehensively humiliated Barack Obama at the UN


U.S. President Barack Obama, right, and Russia's President Vladimir Putin before a bilate
Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin before a bilateral meeting at the United Nations headquarters in New York this week. Source: AP
The contrast could not be starker. The US President spoke overtime, for more than 45 minutes, but did nothing. The Russian President spoke for 20 minutes and transformed the strategic environment in the Middle East.

Obama lectured Putin in public and in private, telling him not to intervene militarily in Syria.
Putin listened politely enough, then speedily launched bombing raids in Syria.

Putin said any Russian intervention in Syria would be directed against Islamic State forces. In fact, although Australian intelligence does not yet have this fully confirmed, it seems the strikes were mostly in locations where Islamic State is not a significant presence. They allegedly hit some rebel forces trained and approved by the Americans. US Defence Secretary Ash Carter said the Russian move was “throwing gasoline on the fire” in Syria.
The Russian moves transform strategic calculations in Syria and have left Washington completely flat-footed and almost irrelevant. The Russians now control the Syrian narrative.

Nikolas Gvosdev in The National Interest draws an even more alarming contrast between the strategic credibility of Russia and the US in Syria:
“While Russia is prepared to use deadly force to defend its interests and its clients, those who have accepted Western patronage will not enjoy such support”.

Obama has become that most grotesque of strategic players — an impotent enemy and a dangerous friend.

All this week at the UN, Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has argued it is essential to seek a political solution in Syria, that no option should be ruled out — meaning that Assad be allowed to stay in power — and that negotiating any solution must involve dialogue with Russia and, more important, with Iran.

For this she has been criticised by some US and Australian commentators, who believe she may be too accommodating to Iran or that Assad’s bloody record in the Syrian civil war means he must be deposed. In fact, Bishop has been absolutely right. She has been ahead of the curve and has helped create some extra diplomatic space for the Americans to go where they now need to go.

There is every chance the Russian intervention will prod Obama into some belated action, in a way that the slaughter of 250,000 innocent Syrian civilians and the exodus of millions of people from Syria, many of them now streaming into Europe, did not.

Australian diplomatic engagement has been led by Bishop, who has performed very well. It is not something affected by the change from Tony Abbott to Malcolm Turnbull. Rather, Canberra policy has had continuity and evolution, with Bishop providing important nuance and diplomatic energy.
Her long-held position that political talks must involve Iran was cleared with Abbott, as her more recent comments this week on both Iran and Russia were canvassed in conversations with Turnbull and with new Defence Minister Marise Payne.

Abbott had been arguing for months that Obama needed to convene a much more high-powered international political group to find a way forward in Syria. The problem is that most of the Sunni Arab nations such as Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states, as well as Sunni Turkey, several European nations and the US itself, had insisted that Assad leave office as a precondition for such talks.

Morally, this is justified. When the Arab Spring spread to Syria in 2011, it was initially through peaceful protests. Assad reacted with brutality. Unlike his father, he had not been an especially brutal dictator by Arab standards, certainly nothing to compare with Saddam Hussein in Iraq.
However, as the Arab Spring developed into civil war, Assad’s response became savage. There was a critical sectarian dimension. Assad is an Alawite, which is related to Shia Islam. Only a little more than 10 per cent of Syrians are Alawite. A similar number are Christians and they also tended to support Assad, who ran a secular regime.

About 70 per cent of the population is Sunni Arab and there is a Kurdish minority, Sunni but not Arab and with no general political affiliation with Sunni Arabs. The surrounding Arab states, except Iraq, are majority Sunni. This has reinforced the hostility of the Gulf Arab states to Assad.
However, Assad now has the strong backing of the Shia Hezbollah militia based in Lebanon, of Iran and now of Russia. If his regime collapsed there could easily be a genocidal slaughter of Alawites and Christians.

Given the degree of international support for Assad, his regime is no longer likely to collapse. Therefore Bishop’s position is the height of realism at its most noble — the West must negotiate with the forces on the ground.

When confronted by interlocutors demanding that Assad must go, Bishop has a series of questions she runs through: Who is going to remove him? How is this going to be achieved? Who is going to replace him? And what happens the day after he’s gone?

The praise for Bishop by Iran’s Foreign Minister in The Australian today may raise some eyebrows, but she has given away nothing in her dealings with the Iranians. Canberra still applies autonomous sanctions. There is no Iranian-ustralian intelligence-sharing agreement. Whenever Iranian leaders attack Israel, Bishop condemns them. But she recognises that you can’t just wish the Iranians away, and that no progress can come to Syria without some degree of Iranian involvement.

The strategic argument for removing Assad is that the brutal actions of his government act as a recruitment driver for Islamic State. But it is much more realistic to try to persuade Assad to confine his regime’s efforts to defending its core territory, the coastal area around Latakia and the strip of cities running down through Homs to Damascus, than it is to replace him with a new leader who has the military grunt to hang on but who is committed to moderation. There is no such leader.
Russia has no intention of trying to help Assad retake the territory he has conclusively lost. The Australian Defence Department prepared an analysis of Putin’s motives in his latest deployments. They involved three key purposes and overlapping scenarios.

One, Putin wants to maintain the rotation of his forces at Russia’s Tartus naval base.
Two, most critically, Putin wants to shore up Assad’s regime. This is much more important to Putin than combating Islamic State.

Three, Putin wants to maintain a Russian naval base in the Mediterranean. This complicates life for NATO, especially now that Putin has moved in highly sophisticated air defence capabilities, even though none of Syria’s rebel forces has an air force.

Putin has not moved a very big force into Syria but it is capable, and focused on air assets. Whereas the Western air campaign against Islamic State has been understandably so concerned to avoid civilian casualties that it has had limited military effectiveness, Putin can run devastating tactical air campaigns. They will be vastly more capable of providing close combat support to Assad’s troops in battle than Syria’s ageing and declining air force was.

Putin will be happy to attack Islamic State formations on behalf of Assad. But it is not that group which is most lethally attacking Assad’s core positions in western Syria and near the coast. He is being attacked there by other rebel groups. The fact that some of these forces received some help from the Americans adds to the confusion and danger. But here again is the catastrophic failure of Obama to have any effect at all in Syria.

It is difficult to work out who the US-trained forces are. As soon as they cross the border into Syria they seem either to disappear, get captured or defect to al-Qa’ida or one of the other militant groups. The original Obama idea of training rebel forces who would simultaneously fight both Assad and Islamic State turns out to have been strategic fantasy.

When the Americans engage in strategic fantasy they typically get people killed.
The Russian play does not materially affect Australia’s operations in either Syria or Iraq. This is partly a result of prudent Australian planning.

Although Obama went out of his way to cause Abbott political harm with his climate change hot gospelling in Brisbane in connection with the G20 summit, he nonetheless had Abbott on his speed dial whenever he needed a favour in an international crisis.

Obama rang Abbott to ask that Australia undertake airstrikes in Syria. Abbott was positive without formally agreeing. He spoke to then defence minister Kevin Andrews about it. Andrews instructed Defence to make sure the formal request would be one that Australia could meet within its interpretation of the legality of the mission, and which would involve Australia working only in eastern Syria, near the Iraq border, certainly venturing no further west than Raqqa, the de facto Islamic State capital. With Russian planes now in western Syria, that turns out to have been smart planning.

In late August, US Defence Secretary Carter wrote to Andrews saying: “I thank you for ­Australia’s continued vital contribution towards aiding the government of Iraq in countering ISIL (Islamic State). Your participation in planning efforts, airlifts, combat support to airstrikes, advise and assist and building partner capacity, have been a key element of the coalition’s efforts to date.

“As you know, operations in Syria are equally critical to the fight against ISIL. Coalition strikes have enabled our partners to retake significant territory in north-eastern Syria. We continue to work to build additional partners on the ground including through the (US) Department of Defence’s train and equip program which has already begun training new Syrian forces.

“I ask that your government join this effort to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL in Iraq and Syria. There are several areas where Australian capability could bring more pressure to bear on ISIL in Syria including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and support to manned strikes such as combat aircraft and aerial refuelling. I ask you to consider making these capabilities available and to remain engaged with US Central Command to identify other Australian capabilities that might play a role in Syria.”
If the Russian intervention does galvanise the Americans into trying to put together a new conference on Syria, perhaps under UN Security Council auspices, Australia might well be a direct participant. Washington and others would have to drop their demand for Assad’s immediate removal and have virtually already done this by talking of transition arrangements under which Assad could stay for a time (the time being infinitely negotiable).

Bishop has played a constructive role in this diplomacy. But only the powers with big capabilities on the ground can make a deal. The obvious political outcome is as much ceasefire as possible, with some sort of loose federal structure for Syria, with a separate Assad controlled area predominantly Alawite, de facto autonomy for the Kurds and a series of Sunni areas, perhaps under different leaderships with, hopefully, a broad anti-Islamic State alliance..

It’s a long shot, but it’s better than nothing. And for the last few years nothing has been all that Obama has offered.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Martians stone and firebomb Jews to death

From JNS.org, 17 Sept, by Stephen M. Flatow:

The facts of the murder were straightforward. Alexander Levlovich, 64, was driving through Jerusalem with two friends, on their way home from Rosh Hashanah dinner, when Palestinian rock-throwers attacked his car. The assault caused the car to crash, killing Levlovich, and injuring his friends.


But not according to the New York TimesJewish Man Dies as Rocks Pelt His Car in West Bank, the headline announced. Look at that language. Notice how there are no Arabs, no Palestinians, no attackers at all; the car is pelted” by rocks, but not by anybody in particular. Levlovich might as well have been murdered by Martians. Not even murdered, in fact; he simply dies, in the passive tense.


But dont blame it all on the headline-writers. The article itself was even worse. In her opening paragraph, correspondent Diaa Hadid noted that recently there have been rock-throwing incidents, mostly by Palestinian youths.


Mostly? So in other words, Palestinian rock-throwing attacks are only part of the problem? Jewish rock-throwers have been attacking Palestinian cars? Only in Diaa Hadids imagination, of course.


And she didnt stop there. Hadid, while posing as an objective journalist, went so far as to present a rationalization for Palestinian rock-throwing: Palestinians frequently argue that rocks and crude incendiary devices are among their only weapons to press for independence, and to defend themselves against Israeli forces during confrontations. For some young Palestinians in areas where there are frequent tensions, their use has become a rite of passage.


Wow. How many falsehoods and distortions can a New York Times correspondent pack into a single paragraph?


Crude incendiary devices?” Thats a code-word for firebombs. Hadid downplays their significance by labeling them crude.But even crude firebombs can wreak devastation. Evidently Diaa Hadid has forgottenor prefers to forgetabout 11 year-old Ayala Shapira, the passenger in a car driven by her father near Maale Shomron last December. A crude incendiary device was thrown by Palestinians at her car. She suffered severe burns to more than 50 percent of her body. Think for a moment about the pain she will endure for years, perhaps decades, to come.


Their only weapons to press for independence?” Independence from what? Its been 20 years since Israel withdrew from the cities where 98 percent of the Palestinians live. They are ruled by the Palestinian Authority, not Israel. Theyre not fighting for independence. Theyre trying to murder Jews.


Defend themselves against Israeli forces during confrontations?” But the Palestinian are the ones who initiate those confrontations. They throw rocks and crude incendiary devices at the Israelis. They are not defending themselves; they are the aggressors.


Throwing rocks is a rite of passage? Thats the language one uses to describe a bar mitzvah, not an attempt to murder someone. In trying to make rock-throwing seem understandable, Hadid inadvertently acknowledged that Palestinian society is so barbaric that stoning Jews to death is acceptable, praiseworthy, and almost obligatory. Which, of course, makes the pro-Palestinian slant of her reporting all the more reprehensible.


One final note on Diaa Hadidnews article. You wouldnt know it from reading the New York Times, but Alexander Levlovich is the 16th Israelisome of them dual Israeli-American citizensto be murdered by Palestinian rock-throwers since the 1980s. Who remembers their names? Who cares about their widows and orphans? When will American Jewish organizations step up and make this into a major issue?


Stephen M. Flatow, an attorney in New Jersey, is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in a Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Israel "apartheid" is a malicious slander

From JPost, 25 Aug 2015:

Boycott Israel sign
Boycott Israel sign. (photo credit:REUTERS)

A South African member of parliament said in an interview with Channel 10 Monday that Israel does not resemble the apartheid regime he grew up under, and spoke out against the BDS movement in the wake of a recent controversy involving Matisyahu.

Kenneth Rasalabe Joseph Meshoe, President of the African Christian Democratic Party, who is currently on a week-long visit to Israel, expressed his great admiration for the Jewish State in a brief interview with channel 10 and explained why it was inaccurate to call Israel an apartheid state.

"There are many Christians that support Israel, but they don't come out...Those who know what real apartheid is, as I know, know that there is nothing in Israel that looks like apartheid," Meshoe said, adding that those who voice support for Israel are usually faced with threats and "intimidation."

Meshoe went on to say that calling Israel an apartheid state "is an empty political statement that does not hold (any) truth," adding,"You see people of different colors, backgrounds and religions," interacting with each other everyday.  

The topic of conversation then touched upon the recent controversy concerning American Jewish singer Matisyahu, who was disinvited then reinvited to perform at a Spanish reggae concert after BDS organizers attempted to block the artist from performing.

"The BDS movement is a real pain... to us in South Africa who love the truth, (the) BDS movement is not a democratic movement; they are a movement of intimidation, a movement that performs hatred," the parliamentarian said. "People who don't believe in hatred should not allow the BDS movement to stop them from doing the right thing."

Meshoe is a well-known advocate of Israel in South Africa, battling the the narrative purported by the BDS movement that the Jewish State is an apartheid regime, and recently released a short video claiming that "slander" against Israel as an apartheid state is "malicious." 

"There is a widespread allegation, really a slander, that Israel is an apartheid state. That notion is simply wrong. It is inaccurate and it is malicious."

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

New Israel Fund: still demonising Israel

On August 20, NGO Monitor published an analysis of the latest available financial reports from the New Israel Fund (NIF), dealing with the facts and figures from 2014. 

...approximately 18% of NIF funding goes to 28 advocacy NGOs that are active, to varying degrees, in political campaigns that involve demonization of Israel, including BDS and lawfare.

....NIF funding for political advocacy NGOs such as Adalah, B'Tselem, Breaking the Silence, and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel increased significantly. These NGOs were also featured in the report of the United Nations Human Rights Council's Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza War (the Schabas-Davis report). (See here for more details on the involvement of NIF-funded NGOs in the UN commission.) 

Funding also continued to a number of radical fringe NGOs such as Social TV, +972 Magazine, and Human Rights Defenders Fund.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Jewish demographic tailwind

From The Ettinger Report, 1 August 2015, by Yoram Ettinger:

In 1898, the top Jewish demographer, Simon Dubnov, projected 0.5mn Jews in Israel in 2000. He was off by 5.5mn Jews. 

In 1944, the founder of Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics, Prof. Roberto Bacchi, projected 2.3mn Jews in 2001, a 33% minority. He was wrong by 3.7mn Jews. 

In 2015, there are 6.5mn Jews and 3.4mn Arabs in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel: a 66% majority, benefitting from a fertility and migration tailwind.

In June 2015, there is a 1.1mn gap between the real number of Arabs in Judea & Samaria (1.7mn) and the number claimed by the Palestinians (2.8mn).

The 1.1mn excess consists of the inclusion of 400,000 Arabs living abroad for over a year, in defiance of internationally accepted standards, which stipulate their inclusion in the count of their new country of residence.

The 300,000 Jerusalem Arabs are doubly-counted as Israeli Arabs, by Israel, and as Palestinians by the Palestinian Authority.

A 32% excess in the number of births claimed by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics was documented by The World Bank in a September 7, 2006 study.

While the Palestinians claimed net annual immigration, annual net-emigration of Judea & Samaria Arabs has been documented since 1950. For example, a 25,000 net-emigration was documented in 2014, 20,000 in 2013, 17,000 in the four prior years.  

Over 100,000 Palestinians, who received Israeli ID cards as a result of marrying Israeli Arabs, are doubly-counted as Israelis and Palestinians. 

The Arab population growth rate, in Judea & Samaria, trends sharply downward as a result of surging modernity: expanded education among women, declining teen pregnancy, higher wedding age, shorter reproductive age, intensified use of contraceptives, rapid urbanization and youth emigration. Judea & Samaria Arab fertility rate was 5 births per woman in 2000 and 2.76 births in 2015. Median age was 17 in 2000 and 22.4 in 2015.

Westernization of fertility rate characterizes all Muslim countries other than the sub-Sahara: Iran – 1.8 births per woman, Saudi Arabia – 2.3, Syria – 2.5, Egypt – 2.9, North Africa – 1.8, Jordan – 3.4.

In 2015, Israel's fertility rate (above 3 births per woman) is higher than all Arab countries other than Yemen, Iraq and Jordan.

A 68% increase in the annual number of Jewish births has occurred from 1995 (80,000) to 2014 (136,000), despite a moderate decline in the Ultra-Orthodox fertility rate. Modernity (integration) has lowered Israeli Arab fertility rate, stabilizing the annual number of Arab births at 40,000 during the same period.

The Arab-Jewish gap of fertility was reduced from 6 births in 1969 to 0.3 in 2015. 

The current potential of a 500,000 Aliyah wave (Jewish immigration) in five years - preconditioned upon a pro active Israeli Aliyah policy, which has been absent since 1992 - further bolsters the future of Jewish demography west of the Jordan River.

Demographic reality sheds light on the systematic squandering of the American taxpayers' money by the Palestinian Authority, which receives annual foreign aid, based - partly - on highly inflated numbers.

Once again, conventional so-called wisdom is refuted by reality. The demographic trend is Jewish. Anyone claiming that Israel must concede geography (Judea & Samaria), in order to secure demography is either dramatically mistaken or outrageously misleading.

What do Palestinian Arabs REALLY want?

From Fikra Forum, 21 Aug 2015, by David Pollock:

....In a mid-June poll conducted by the Palestine Center for Public Opinion (based in Beit Sahour, the West Bank), 52 percent of Palestinians living in Israeli-ruled East Jerusalem said they would prefer to be citizens of Israel with equal rights – compared with just 42 percent who would opt to be citizens of a Palestinian state.

This remarkable result confirms and extends a trend first observed five years ago.

In a similar poll in September 2010, one-third picked Israeli over Palestinian citizenship; by September 2011, that proportion had risen to 40 percent. As of today it has risen again to just over half. This is dramatically different from results in the West Bank or Gaza, where a mere 4 percent and 12 percent, respectively, would prefer Israeli citizenship. The latest poll was based on personal interviews by local survey professionals of a representative, geographic probability sample of 504 East Jerusalem Palestinians and comparable samples in the West Bank and Gaza, with a statistical margin of error of approximately 4.5 percent in each area.

In the earlier polls, East Jerusalem respondents mostly cited practical reasons for this preference: better jobs, income, health care and other social benefits, freedom of travel, and the like. Their Israeli residence permits (“blue identity cards”) already provide such advantages over West Bank residents, and they increasingly want to retain those advantages as the Israeli economy prospers while the West Bank stagnates. Similarly, in the current poll, around half (47 percent) say they would take a good job inside Israel. But since such benefits are available to them today even without Israeli citizenship, social taboos and the great practical difficulties of applying for that citizenship mean that only a very small proportion have actually acquired that full formal status to date.

Their everyday access to Israel has probably also made Jerusalem’s Palestinians more sanguine about that country’s long-term future. A majority (62 percent) think Israel will still exist, as either a Jewish or a bi-national state, in 30 or 40 years – compared with just 47 percent of West Bankers and 42 percent of Gazans who think so. They are also somewhat more aware of the city’s history, if perhaps not so much as might be expected. Thirty percent of East Jerusalem’s Palestinians, as against a mere 18 percent of West Bankers, say that there were Jewish kingdoms and temples in Jerusalem in ancient times.

In some other respects, too, East Jerusalem Palestinians have acquired relatively moderate attitudes toward Israel. A stunning 70 percent say they would accept the formula of “two states for two peoples – the Palestinian people and the Jewish people.”

In the West Bank, the comparable figure is 56 percent; in Gaza, 44 percent. An equally noteworthy 40 percent in East Jerusalem say that “Jews have some rights to the land along with the Palestinians” – as against just 13 percent in the West Bank or 11 percent in Gaza. And concerning Jerusalem itself, only 23 percent of its Palestinian residents insist on Palestinian sovereignty over the entire city – just half the percentage with that view in either the West Bank or Gaza.

This does not mean that Jerusalem’s Palestinians are moderate in every respect. For example, 55 percent say that even after a two-state solution, they would still want to “liberate all of historic Palestine,” though not necessarily to expel or disenfranchise Israeli Jews. Combined with their comparatively widespread preference for Israeli citizenship, this may indicate a drift among East Jerusalem Palestinians toward a “one-state solution.” Meanwhile, however, a majority (61 percent) also offer at least verbal support for “armed struggle and car attacks against the occupation.” This figure is somewhat lower than among West Bankers or Gazans, but not by much.

Most surprising of all in this connection are the findings about partisan affinity. Fully 39 percent of East Jerusalem Palestinians say that Hamas “most closely represents your political affiliation.” Possibly this is in part because they are relatively religious; 37 percent pick “being a good Muslim” as their first or second personal priority, from a list of ten diverse options. But even more (47 percent) East Jerusalemites say they are politically “independent.” These numbers may also be somewhat skewed by the reality that Fatah and the Palestinian Authority (PA) are not allowed to operate officially in Jerusalem.

Interestingly, declared support for Hamas is only half as high in Gaza, whose residents have had to live under actual Hamas rule since 2007. And in the West Bank, where the PA rules and sometimes arrests Hamas activists, a mere 11 percent openly affiliate with that party. A plurality of 44 percent identify as “independent.”

Beyond the intrinsic interest of these surprising survey findings, there may be several broader political lessons here.

First, the findings suggest that benefits from practical coexistence may produce a more moderate mindset.

Second, partisan affiliation may not be a good guide to underlying attitudes.

And third, most important, those who care about both democracy and peace would do well to pay more attention to the desires of the Palestinians who actually live in Jerusalem, not just of those who claim to speak on their behalf from outside the city.

Obama's "strategy"

John Kerry introduces Admiral Ace Lyons to speak at a private meeting

James Aloysius "Ace" Lyons, Jr. (born September 28, 1927) is a retired Admiral in the United States Navy who served as Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet.

On Obama's "strategy"
...It's anti-American, anti-Western...
...it's pro-Islamic, pro-Iranian, and pro-Muslim Brotherhood

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

700,000 Jews presently resident in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem, reside there legitimately


July 30, 2015
Mr. Ban Ki-Moon,
Secretary-General of the United Nations
1st Avenue and 44th Street
New York, NY 10017


Re:  Your declaration that: "Settlements are illegal under international law"

On Wednesday July 29, you responded to Israeli government decision to build 300 new apartments in Beit -El, by saying that " The Settlements are illegal under international law".

As the chairman of the Legal forum for Israel, that includes attorneys from across the world , involved in international law, as well as being closely concerned with the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, I want to clearly point out, that your declaration has no basis in international law, and the time has come to tell the world the truth.

The legal basis for the establishment of the State of Israel was the resolution unanimously adopted by the League of Nations in 1922, affirming the establishment of a national home for the Jewish People in the historical area of the Land of Israel. This included the areas of Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem, and Jewish settlement throughout such as Beit-El, an ancient Jewish village mentioned several times in the Bible. This was subsequently affirmed by both houses of the US Congress.

Article 80 of the UN Charter determines the continued validity of the rights granted to all states or peoples, or already existing international instruments (including those adopted by the League of Nations). Accordingly the above-noted League resolution remains valid, and the 700,000 Jews presently resident in the areas of Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem, reside there legitimately.

"The 1967 borders" do not exist, and have never existed. The 1949 armistice agreements entered into by Israel and its Arab neighbors, establishing the armistice demarcation lines, clearly stated that these lines "are without prejudice to future territorial settlements or boundary lines or to claims of either party relating thereto".

The Palestinians entered into the various agreements constituting what is known as the "Oslo Accords" in the full knowledge that Israel's settlements existed in the areas, imposing no limitation on building new homes in Judea, Samaria or Jerusalem, for Arabs or Jews, especially in a place like Beit-El, that was re-established as a modern Jewish community, 20 years prior to the Oslo accords.

Eugene Rostow, former Dean of Yale University law school, and the US undersecretary of state, who worded UN resolution 242, stated that "The Jews have a right to settle in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria just as they have the right to settle in Haifa or Tel Aviv".

We trust that you will protect the UN and its integrity and retract your declaration regarding the "illegality" of the settlements, because it is simply not true.


Yossi Fuchs, Adv.
Chairman of Legal forum for Israel

Cc: Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister
Mrs. Ayelet Shaked, Minister of Justice
Mrs, Tzipi Hotoveli, Deputy Minister of foreign Affairs
Dr. Dori Gold, CEO Ministry of foreign Affairs
Ambassador Ron Prosor, Israel's Permanent Representative to the United Nations

Monday, August 17, 2015

Congrees must act NOW

From The Washington Times, Sunday, August 16, 2015 b

Illustration on the loss of U.S. military options after the Obama/Iran nuclear arms deal takes effect by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times
Illustration on the loss of U.S. military options after the Obama/Iran nuclear arms deal takes effect by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times
Defending the Iran nuclear deal he negotiated in Vienna, Secretary of State John Kerry has repeatedly asserted ... that all options which the United States possesses today to stop Iran going nuclear will be there for a future U.S. president in 10 years.

Similarly, President Obama breezily assures us, “The same options that are available to me today will be available to any U.S. president in the future.”

Were it only true.

The major options available to the president in the face of an Iranian nuclear threat are covert (sabotage, cyberwarfare) and military (precision airstrikes with bunker-busting bombs). 

Mr. Obama has these at his disposal today. But his successor is unlikely to have them in 10 years.

Why? For seven reasons.

First, amazingly, the Vienna nuclear agreement requires the Europeans to assist Iran with training and technology in protecting its nuclear sites and program against sabotage. It is no coincidence that, in 2013, when Mr. Obama deviated from his earlier insistence on Tehran ceasing uranium enrichment in favor of negotiating a deal permitting continued enrichment, the CIA and NSA “drastically curtailed its cooperation with Israel.” This cooperation, aimed at disrupting the Iranian nuclear project, had enjoyed “significant successes over the past decade,” according to veteran military and intelligence analyst Ronen Bergman.

The nuclear deal thus renders future sabotage and cyberwarfare against Iran — such as the Stuxnet virus, which wrecked a fifth of Iran’s centrifuges in 2010 — more difficult; perhaps, in time, even impossible.

Second, Mr. Obama has himself admitted the possibility that, at the deal’s expiration, “the breakout times would have shrunk almost down to zero.” (So much for his current claim that “Iran [would be] further away from a weapon” in 10-15 years). This means there might not be time to act even militarily, since Iran may well already have one or more nuclear weapons.

Third, Tehran will have had the time to reinforce existing underground facilities and build new, deeper ones that might be impervious to airstrikes. This means that the 30,000-pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator, the bunker-busting bombs which can penetrate Iran’s underground nuclear facility at Fordow, might not be enough to do the job.

Fourth, Russia is already set to sell Iran its upgraded S-300 anti-aircraft system. The S-300 system is believed to have the capacity to knock out the latest American aircraft. The best weapon in the world is useless if the planes carrying it can’t get through.

Fifth, the nuclear deal permits Tehran continued research, development and production of its own missiles, including Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), the means of delivery for nuclear weapons. This particularly should have been rejected by the White House: Iran already has the missiles to strike Israel, but ICBMs will enable Iran to hit the United States, not now, but certainly in 10 years.

Sixth, the nuclear agreement will award Iran $150 billion in unfrozen assets and tens of billions annually in sanctions relief, enabling it to develop faster its military capabilities and lavishly fund its terror proxies around the globe. This means tens of thousands of new missiles for Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza and for the Shia Houthis taking over Yemen and threatening commerce through the Suez Canal. The existing Iranian potential to retaliate against and harm American allies in the Middle East will be vastly magnified in 10 years, making any U.S. strike on Iran more complicated.

Seventh, this agreement terminates international sanctions and, if the Congress approves it or fails to override a presidential veto, U.S. sanctions will also be ended. Failing internationally-recognized Iranian violations, the United States will not be able to reimpose sanctions in the face of the now-UN Security Council-approved nuclear deal that lifts them. And even if sanctions are reimposed, it will take years for these to have any real impact on Iran.

In other words, today, America has the ordnance, the capability and the time to destroy Iranian nuclear facilities without fear of anti-ballistic missiles or nuclear retaliation. It is likely to lack all of these advantages in 10 years.

So much for President Obama’s “same options” being “available to any U.S. president in the future.” So much for Secretary Kerry’s claim that U.S. options remain the same for 10 years.

Mr. Obama’s and Mr. Kerry’s flat-earth, rosy assertions about America’s future capacity to deal with an Iran headed for nuclear weapons warrant the Congress to oppose this deal. 

A future president could well use the moral, political and legal authority of Congressional rejection — as well as the consequent impediments this will create for other countries lifting their sanctions — to have a stronger hand in dealing with the nightmare President Obama is bequeathing us.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Israel has every right to criticise Iran N-deal

From: The AustralianAugust 15, 2015, by Alan Dershowitz:

Barack Obama’s condemnation of Israel ‘is an absurd and dangerous accusation that should
Barack Obama’s condemnation of Israel ‘is an absurd and dangerous accusation that should be universally condemned’.
Source: AFP

US President Barack Obama has accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of improperly interfering in US foreign policy by actively opposing the Iran nuclear deal.
In an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, Mr Obama said he couldn’t recall a similar example where a foreign head of government had injected himself into an American political debate. He continued: “The Prime Minister is wrong on this. And I think that I can show that the basic assumptions that he’s made are incorrect.”
This is an absurd and dangerous accusation that should be universally condemned. From Lafayette to Churchill, foreign leaders have tried, with varying degrees of success, to influence US foreign policy, as well they should when their national interests are at stake. Indeed, earlier this year, British Prime Minister David Cameron was personally lobbying senators regarding the Iranian nuclear negotiations; so, too, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Israel has a considerable stake in the Iran deal, a stake far greater than the members of the P5 plus one that negotiated the deal, yet it was excluded from the negotiation. It would be irresponsible for any democratically elected leader of Israel not to try to influence the congressional debate over the deal. Israel is the primary intended target of an Iranian nuclear arsenal.
This was made clear in 2004 when its former president, Hashemi Rafsanjani, a supposed moderate, boasted that were Iran to develop a nuclear weapon, it would kill as many as five million Jews. He later elaborated that “the dropping of one atomic bomb would not leave anything in Israel”. Despite Iran’s participation in negotiations, such rhetoric has continued unabated.
In May, General Yahya Rahim Safavi, a military adviser to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, stated that Iran and its allies had more than 80,000 rockets ready to fire and that “Iran, with the help of Hezbollah and its friends, is capable of destroying Tel Aviv and Haifa”. This was followed last month by Khamenei himself stating “Israel’s security will not be ensured whether there will be an Iran deal or not.”
Britain, Germany, France, Russia and China have little to fear from a nuclear Iran. The US does have something to fear but not as much as Israel. The risk- benefit ratios are very different for each country.
Yet Israel, which has had little or no input into the negotiations or final deal, is being asked by Obama to silently accept the consequences of what it regards as a bad and dangerous deal. Imagine if the shoe were on the other foot: if other countries had negotiated a deal involving our security but we had been excluded from the negotiation. Would we silently accept a bad deal as a fait accompli? Of course not. We would be aggressively trying to protect our legitimate interest. Any American leader who failed to do that would be justly condemned.
Nor can Israel be content with the Obama administration’s promises never to let Iran develop a nuclear weapon. Indeed, much of the opposition to the deal is based on the fact it crosses Obama’s own red lines. Rather than preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, it may merely postpone and legitimate this catastrophic outcome. It does not assure the immediate inspections that Obama originally demanded, nor does it provide the transparency he promised. We know that in a worst-case scenario, international inspectors would need 24 days to access a site.
The administration also has not released the content of side agreements between International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors and the Iranian government regarding the conduct of inspections.
Rather than attacking Netanyahu for advancing his nation’s legitimate national security interests, the Obama administration should stand by its own promise to encourage a substantive discussion about this important issue. Instead of attacking critics of the deal, the administration ought to welcome a spirited national debate.
With that in mind, let me propose a series of TV and radio debates between supporters and opponents of the agreement. I challenge any administration defender to debate me, or other opponents of the deal, on its merits and demerits.
The American public has the right hear all sides of this issue without Obama’s bully pulpit being used to bully loyal Americans and close allies who oppose the deal into silence.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

The US Congress can do something about the greatest evil of our time

From Prager University, 3 August 2015: 

Jew-baiting in the White House

Chuck Schumer, senior Senator from New York announced that he is opposing the Administration’s nuclear deal with Iran.

Some of us support the deal, because—like a majority of American Jews—we support the president, and we sympathize with his aims of ending Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons while keeping America out of another Middle Eastern war. Some of us oppose the deal because we believe that it falls very short of the criteria for meaningful limits on and inspections of Iran’s nuclear research programs that the Administration itself repeatedly promised to America and the world. Some of us are less concerned with the specifics of the deal than with the prospect of an American alliance with the theocratic Iranian regime, which the deal appears to be designed to cement.

As heated as the arguments between us can get, we can all agree that all of these positions, and their many variants, are entirely within the bounds of legitimate political debate

What we increasingly can’t stomach—and feel obliged to speak out about right now—is the use of Jew-baiting and other blatant and retrograde forms of racial and ethnic prejudice as tools to sell a political deal, or to smear those who oppose it. Accusing Senator Schumer of loyalty to a foreign government is bigotry, pure and simple. Accusing Senators and Congressmen whose misgivings about the Iran deal are shared by a majority of the U.S. electorate of being agents of a foreign power, or of selling their votes to shadowy lobbyists, or of acting contrary to the best interests of the United States, is the kind of naked appeal to bigotry and prejudice that would be familiar in the politics of the pre-Civil Rights Era South.

This use of anti-Jewish incitement as a political tool is a sickening new development in American political discourse, and we have heard too much of it lately—some coming, ominously, from our own White House and its representatives. Let’s not mince words: Murmuring about “money” and “lobbying” and “foreign interests” who seek to drag America into war is a direct attempt to play the dual-loyalty card. It’s the kind of dark, nasty stuff we might expect to hear at a white power rally, not from the President of the United States—and it’s gotten so blatant that even many of us who are generally sympathetic to the administration, and even this deal, have been shaken by it.

We do not accept the idea that Senator Schumer or anyone else is a fair target for racist incitement, anymore than we accept the idea that the basic norms of political discourse in this country do not apply to Jews. Whatever one feels about the merits of the Iran deal, sales techniques that call into question the patriotism of American Jews are examples of bigotry—no matter who does it. On this question, we should all stand in defense of Senator Schumer.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

The Iranian mullahs are crazy, for good reason

Someone should tell the mullahs in Tehran that there’s no way Hitler could have lost that war, if only he had had the Jews on his side. There’s more than a modicum of truth in the joke. Killing six million Jews diverted resources from the German war effort. More importantly, Jewish physicists, including Leo Szilard, Eugene Wigner, Robert Oppenheimer, David Bohm, Rudolf Peierls, Otto Frisch Felix Bloch, Niels Bohr, Otto Hahn, and Edward Teller, led the American effort to build an atom bomb. Enrico Fermi, whose wife was Jewish, left Italy for America after Mussolini imposed race laws in 1938. Albert Einstein had spent the First World War in Berlin; at the outbreak of the Second, he helped persuade Franklin Roosevelt to fund the Manhattan Project.
100,000 German Jews had served in World War I, 12,000 died on the battlefield, and 35,000 were decorated for bravery, a higher proportion than the general population. Jewish loyalty to Germany was not in question in 1933. The Jews of Eastern Europe, moreover, were in general more sympathetic to Germany than to Russia. Killing Jews served no rational German objective. Yet no-one can argue that Jew-hatred was merely incidental to the Nazi regime. On the contrary, it was the raison d’etre of National Socialism.
Hitler was crazy, if by crazy we mean that his obsessions caused him to act repeatedly against self-interest. He made costlier mistakes in the conduct of war to be sure, for example, declaring war on America after Pearl Harbor, as Andrew Roberts observes in his 2011 study The Storm of War.  But his Jew-hatred defined a deluded mind. In 1933, the vast majority of German Jews (including the Orthodox Jewish leadership) thought Hitler’s raving were just rhetoric. They learned better.
In the Nazi mind, race theory replaced the old religious notion of national election. Germany was the last of Europe’s great nations to arrogate unto itself the status of Chosen People, three centuries after Richelieu’s France and Olivares’ Spain fought it out during the Thirty Years War. For Germany to be the Master Race, the historic exemplar of national election had to be eliminated, namely the Jews. That is a big assertion, to which I devoted the much 2011 book How Civilizations Die.  After 1930, Germany’s total fertility rate fell below replacement for the first time in its history, to just 1.7 children per female when Hitler took power in 1933. His apocalyptic fears of the disappearance of the Germans were not unfounded. Germany had begun to die, and Hitler proposed a messianic, megalomaniac vision to restore it. Hitler may have been crazy, but even paranoids have things to worry about. Germany’s total fertility rate is shown below.
Germany: Total Fertility and Replacement Rate (Source: Kenzia and Zimmermann, IZA DP No. 6355)
Germany: Total Fertility and Replacement Rate (Source: Kenzia and Zimmermann, IZA DP No. 6355)
Source: Kenzia and Zimmermann, IZA Discussion Paper No. 6355
Source: UN

Source: UN
A fortiori, Iran’s self-interest would dictate cordial relations with the State of Israel. Israel was Iran’s ally under the Shah, and the alliance continued covertly during the first years of the Iran-Iraq War. By some accounts, Iran obtained 80% of its weapons imports from Israel at the onset of the war, and bought a total of $500 million in weapons from Israel between 1981 and 1983. Israeli technicians kept Iran’s Phantom F-4’s flying after America cut off spare parts. It did so with American sanction, to be sure. The Reagan administration wanted to forestall a decisive victory by either Iraq or Iran.
The last thing Iran should want is an alliance between Israel and its Sunni opponents—Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, but potentially Turkey and Pakistan as well. An open alliance between the House of Saud and the State of Israel is improbable in the extreme, but in the fluid and opaque fields of perpetual warfare that stretch from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf, there is ample room for covert collaboration. Shia communities from South Lebanon to central Iraq are vulnerable, and the last thing Iran should want is an Israeli role in the Sunni-Shia war.
But Iran’s leaders talk about the destruction of the State of Israel obsessively. The veteran Iran analyst Amir Taheri last week reviewed a new Persian-language book under the signature of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei that offers an intricate scenario for Israel, which he calls “a cancerous tumor” subject to “annihilation” and “effacement.” No land that once belonged to the Ummah may be left in infidel hands, Khamenei insists, much less a “hostile infidel” who has waged war on Muslims. He proposes a low-intensity war that will make life in Israel so unpleasant that most Israelis will leave. Taheri reports that “Khamenei boasts about the success of his plans to make life impossible for Israelis through terror attacks from Lebanon and Gaza. His latest scheme is to recruit ‘fighters’ in the West Bank to set-up Hezbollah-style units…Khamenei describes Israel as ‘a cancerous tumor’ whose elimination would mean that “the West’s hegemony and threats will be discredited” in the Middle East. In its place, he boasts, ‘the hegemony of Iran will be promoted.’
Iran’s national megalomania trumps rational self-interest. This is not a uniquely Muslim characteristic, nor a peculiarly Shi’ite one. Persian identity is imperial. It has been since Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon in B.C.E. 539. There is a scenario under which Persia might become a shrinking but successful nation of modest regional importance, but that is not accessible to the Persian psyche.
Khamenei’s existential problem is to persuade the Persians to continue to exist at all. The collapse of Iran’s fertility rate from 7 children per female in 1969 to between 1.6 and 1.8 children at present ranks as one of history’s great examples of genosuicide.
Iran’s reality is galloping demographic decline. Between 2010 and 2020, the number of Iranian females between the ages of 20 and 24 – prospective young mothers – will fall from 4.595 million to only 2.583 million, that is, by 43%. The number of women aged 25-29 will fall from 4.63 million to 3.47 million. That is the result of the unprecedented collapse of Iranian fertility after 1990. Iran’s present fertility rate is estimated at 1.6 to 1.8 children per female, and the number of Iranian women between 20 and 30 will fall by a third over just 10 years.
Source: UN
Source: UN
Nonetheless, the Tehran regime now says it wants to double its population, to 150 million by 2050. At current fertility, Iran’s population will reach about 80 million by mid-century, but 30% of Iranians will be over the age of 60, against only 8% today. To produce another 70 million Iranians by 2050 would require every Iranian woman between 20 and 40 to have between 5 and 6 children. The regime now offers incentives to prospective parents and has withdrawn public subsidies for birth control. It is probably much too late.
Before him, Ayatollah Khamenei visualizes a Shia revival and a reborn Persian empire; behind him, he observes what may be the most demoralized people in the world. Looking into the Persian future, Khamenei sees what Hitler saw in 1933.
Between 23% and 25% of Iranian couples claim to be infertile, which might be an excuse not to bear children. It also might be the result of the world’s highest reported rates of venereal infection, associated with Shi’ite “temporary marriage,” or clerically-approved prostitution. Iranian studies report Chlamydia infection rates of 12.6% in Tehran and 21.25% in Isfahan, vs. 0.6% in the United States and 4.3% worldwide.
Iran also has the worst drug problem of any country in the world. According to Iran’s interior minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, six million Iranians (20% of the population over age 15) have been affected by drug abuse, and 1.3 million (or 4.3% of Iranians over age 15) are addicts, using heroin as well as crystal meth. Only 36.7% of Iran’s population is economically active, one of the lowest counts in the world.
The clerical regime has ruined Iran and reduced its people to despair. It has nothing to lose and nowhere to retreat, because to continue in the present direction means that gradual extinction is inevitable. Asia Times’ Chan Akya observes that there is a precedent for the self-extinction of Persians, namely the Zoroastrian, or Parsi, community in India, whose numbers have fallen by half since 1940, and will fall again by half by 2020 as the aging community dies out.
The mullahs are crazy, and will act like crazy men. Like Hitler, they have good reason to do so.