Saturday, March 19, 2016

Meir Dagan: From the shadow of the Holocaust to the top of the Mossad

From the JPost, 17 March 2016, by Yossi Melman:

When news of Meir Dagan's death broke on Thursday morning,  Mossad chief Yossi Cohen expressed on behalf of the organization's employees and its past chiefs deep sorrow at the news of his death and sent condolences to the Dagan family.
Dagan, the tenth Mossad chief, was appointed by his close friend Ariel Sharon and served atop the organization from 2002 until December 2010. He is most identified with clandestine operations to prevent and thwart Iran's nuclear program and its intentions to produce an atomic bomb.
During his tenure, he implemented far-reaching structural changes in the Mossad with the aim of making it a more operations-based organization. 
While Dagan headed the Mossad, a number of operations were attributed to the organization, including the assassination of five Iranian nuclear scientists, sabotage of equipment in Iran's nuclear facilities, and the implanting of viruses into the computers that operated the centrifuges to enrich uranium at the Natanz facility in Iran.
Another important intelligence feat that is attributed to the Mossad under Dagan was the information obtained by its agents from a computer owned by the chairman of Syria's Atomic Energy Commission. That intelligence was the smoking gun which shaped the decision by then-prime minster Ehud Olmert, with the tacit approval of US President George W. Bush, to bomb the Syrian nuclear reactor in December 2007.

...In 2008, Imad Mughniyeh, the man considered Hezbollah's "defense minister," was assassinated by Mossad agents, who played a major role in the operation with the assistance of the CIA in Damascus, according to foreign reports.
Dagan was born in the Soviet Union in 1945 to parents who were Holocaust survivors that moved to Israel after the founding of the state. He lived in Bat Yam and enlisted to the Paratroopers Brigade, becoming the commander of the Rimon Reconnaissance Unit which operated in the Gaza Strip during the height of the Palestinian terror wave in the early 1970s. Afterward, he was promoted to fill a number of roles in the IDF command, reaching the rank of Major General.
Among other things, he is considered one of the developers of guerrilla warfare doctrine in the IDF, based on his military experience fighting Palestinian terrorism in Gaza and later in south Lebanon. These operations cemented his image as a daring combatant who was ready to sanction any means to achieve his aim or target, including the assassination of terrorists. 
During his time in the IDF, and especially during the Yom Kippur War in 1973, Dagan was considered a confidant of Ariel Sharon. After Sharon became prime minister, he appointed Dagan to head the Mossad..
...and from the Forward, 18 March 2016, by JJ Goldberg:
Dagan was born Meir Huberman in Siberia in January 1945 to Polish-Jewish Holocaust survivors fleeing eastward from the Nazis. For years he kept a photo on his office wall of his maternal grandfather, Ber Erlich Sloshny, kneeling before Nazi soldiers moments before they shot him dead in 1942.

The deadly campaign alarmed the army’s General Staff and contributed to Sharon’s already growing notoriety for brutality. But for Dagan, Sharon’s young protégé, it was the beginning of his lifelong reputation for derring-do. In one incident, Dagan tackled a Palestinian preparing to throw a grenade and subdued him before the grenade could go off. That won Dagan a medal of valor.
Over the next quarter-century Dagan held a series of command positions. He saw combat in the Yom Kippur and First Lebanon wars, was in the first units crossing the Suez Canal in 1973 and entering Beirut in 1982. He spearheaded the creation of the pro-Israel Christian militia known as the South Lebanon Army and held several senior posts at General Staff headquarters.
Dagan’s retirement from the army in 1995 was short-lived. In 1996, following the Rabin assassination, he was tapped by incoming Prime Minister Shimon Peres to serve as deputy director and then director of his counter-terrorism staff, continuing in the post after Benjamin Netanyahu became prime minister later that year. In the 2001 prime ministerial election he led Ariel Sharon’s campaign staff, and then signed on as Sharon’s national security adviser. The following year, 2002, Sharon named him director of the Mossad. The agency was demoralized at the time, having suffered several embarrassing fumbles during the late 1990s. Sharon reputedly instructed Dagan to turn it once again into an outfit “with a knife between its teeth.”
Dagan did just that. Over the next eight-and-a-half years the Mossad played a central role in slowing Iran’s nuclear project and improving clandestine security ties with ostensibly hostile Arab states. Among its known operations, it is believed to have assassinated five Iranian nuclear scientists. In cooperation with American intelligence, it developed and tested the Stuxnet computer virus that destroyed about one-fifth of the uranium centrifuges at Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility. Dagan’s Mossad allegedly also gathered the intelligence leading to the 2007 air strike on Syria’s plutonium nuclear reactor, then under construction with North Korean assistance, by breaking into the laptop computer of an Iranian negotiating in Vienna.
Dagan later told an interviewer that heading the Mossad was a bit like running a Chevra Kadisha, a traditional Jewish burial society. “You provide an essential service for people who will never know about it,” he said.
One risky Mossad operation during this period turned into a fiasco: the assassination of Hamas arms purchaser Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. The assassination took place in January 2010 in a hotel room in Dubai, but the operation was captured on hotel security cameras. The hit squad’s 26 members were identified as Mossad agents in amateurish disguises, and their pictures were published around the world. Dubai obtained Interpol arrest warrants and the agents were forced to go aground in Israel. The incident also caused a diplomatic crisis between Israel and several friendly countries whose passports the agents had used, including the United Kingdom, Australia and Ireland. The Mossad had allegedly appropriated the passports from dual citizens living in Israel. Israel got an international black eye, but Dagan’s reputation remained intact....

POST SCRIPT, from the NYT, 17 March 2016, by Isabel Kirshner:

...Marking Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day in April 2010, the popular Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot printed the photograph of Mr. Dagan’s grandfather on its cover.
Speaking at the Tel Aviv rally, Mr. Dagan’s voice broke with emotion as he linked his personal connection to the Holocaust with his lifelong mission of trying to safeguard Israel.
“During all the years of my service...I carried with me from place to place the photograph of my grandfather taken a moment before he was murdered by the Nazis. I swore that that would never happen again. I hope and believe that I have done everything in my power to keep that promise.”

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Legal Case for Israel’s ‘Settlements’

From Legal Insurrection, 10 March 2016, by Miriam Elman:

Last Thursday I had the pleasure of hearing [Northwestern University Professor of Law Eugene Kontorovich] speak at a talk hosted by Syracuse University’s Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (INSCT)...

The full lecture (52 minutes):

Here’s the gist of Kontorovich’s talk...
  1. International law derives from treaties and custom, not United Nations General Assembly resolutions which are non-binding and thus don’t oblige any action.

Kontorovich began his lecture by noting that in July 1922 it was the League of Nations that established the Mandate for Palestine, deemed as “reconstituting” a “national home” for the “Jewish people”.

League of Nations | Official Opening | November 1920 | credit: Wikipedia
League of Nations | Official Opening | November 1920 | credit: Wikipedia

The word ‘settlement’ first appears in Article 6 of the Mandate: “close settlement by Jews on the land” was to be allowed and even encouraged. And it’s the League of Nations’ Mandatory borders that are binding.

Kontorovich, SU Talk, Mandates

  1. When new countries are established, the most recent administrative border is what counts.

...while the League of Nations’ mandates have been contested by states that have sometimes refused to be bound by them (for example, by Iraq in its claim against Kuwait), these objections have no basis in international law. In 1948 the borders of Israel were supposed to be those of Mandatory Britain.

The Green Line, or 1949 armistice lines [often erroneously called "the 1967 borders"], which are neither a political nor a territorial boundary and have no legal force under international law, didn’t correspond to any prior administrative border.

... once Great Britain left, the mandate over Palestine—which was explicitly for the purpose of re-establishing a Jewish national home—just expired. The area became essentially a territory without a sovereign.

Further, it was Jordan’s “belligerent occupation” of the West Bank that was illegal. Jordan unlawfully invaded and annexed Judea and Samaria. In 1967, Israel ended this illegal occupation in a war of self-defense, taking control of the territory.

... it’s actually Israel which has a strong claim of sovereign title to the territory, by virtue of its having retaken the area from an unlawful Jordanian presence. ...Israel has valid claims to legal title of the West Bank, and now legally holds it.

Kontorovich, SU Talk, Armistie Lines Text, revised
  1. The fact that Jewish civilians live today in the West Bank isn’t an international crime.

... the Fourth Geneva Convention’s Article 49(6) has been grossly misinterpreted over the years to be a prohibition against the occupying power’s citizens. In fact, it’s only a set of injunctions on the occupier, and was explicitly meant to prevent the kinds of deplorable forcible deportations and mass transfers of peoples perpetrated by Nazi Germany during World War II.

Article 49(6) doesn’t say that civilians can’t voluntarily move to live in occupied territory. Nor does it require occupying powers to make it difficult or burdensome for civilians to reside in these territories.

With regard to the West Bank, a sizeable portion of Jewish Israelis who live there today didn’t move into the area, much less were they transferred there by Israel—they were born there! And these settler babies and kids aren’t there illegally.

Shilo | Jewish West Bank Settlement | credit: The Blaze
Shilo | Jewish West Bank Settlement | credit: The Blaze

So Article 49(6) doesn’t create a “no-go zone” for the nationals of the occupying power who wish to migrate into the occupied territory. Israel has indicated a willingness to trade away some of this territory as part of a negotiated agreement—having rights and title to territory doesn’t mean a state can’t waive them. But until that day comes, nothing in the Geneva Conventions makes it unlawful for Israeli citizens to voluntarily settle in a territory with no other legal sovereign.
  1. Many other nation-states are regarded as occupiers under international law and have populated these territories with settlers, but these actions have garnered virtually no international opprobrium in comparison to the negative reactions toward Israel’s settlement of the West Bank.

At the conclusion of his talk, Kontorovich noted the double standards that have politicized international law, and undermined its integrity. Only Israel’s actions in the West Bank are deemed unlawful and worthy of boycott, even as plenty of other countries—including America—have occupied territories and enabled their citizens to live in them.

Kontorovich points to over a dozen other cases (e.g., Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara; Turkey’s occupation of Northern Cyprus) along with a few that are less well known, like the U.S. occupation of West Berlin which ended in 1990.

Americans were never prevented from living in West Berlin or from opening up businesses there. Nor were any third parties ever told that they had a legal obligation to boycott American-owned companies there. one made any fuss when Burger King opened a branch in West Berlin...

Why Kontorovich’s Lecture Needs to be Shared

[A typical media statement]:
..."The settlements in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights are defined as illegal under international law as Israeli forces captured the territories, where more than half a million Jewish settlers now reside, in the 1967 Six day War"
Such statements are a dime a dozen.

Even otherwise well-written articles note these fallacies as incontrovertible ‘facts’.

This is why Prof. Kontorovich’s lecture and larger body of work needs to be disseminated widely....


In a compelling new presentation that he’s now delivering on various U.S. college campuses, Northwestern University expert of international law Professor Eugene Kontorovich exposes the myth of an unlawful Israeli occupation.

If you’re interested in reading more of his work on Israel’s borders and territorial scope he has a new article on it (with Prof. Abraham Bell). It looks at how the customary international law doctrine of uti possidetis juris would support Israel’s claims to any or all of the hotly disputed areas of Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Kontorovich, SU Talk, body shot

After his lecture ...I was able to quickly ask him why he thought Israel’s detractors hinge so much of their argument on international law.

Here’s his response:
I think we have a mistaken notion of what an anti-Semite looks like. We think of such people as uncouth and uneducated. But, in fact, throughout history, anti-Semites have always been cultured and well-educated. Today’s anti-Semites are also well-read—many have multiple advanced degrees. And they insist that they can’t possibly be viewed as anti-Semitic because they speak about human rights. They claim that they’re not objecting to Jews as people, and only to the unlawful Jewish state’s actions. It’s a fallacious argument. Because anti-Semitism has always been phrased as objections to what Jews do and how they act—they killed the messiah; they created a capitalist society; they founded communism. It’s always been a unique, disproportionate, and irrational focus on the Jews”...

My fellow Jews...

Judaism is an ethnicity expressed socially, not just a religion practised in private and subordinated to the citizenship of a nation. The concept of "Jew in the home and German in the street" would ultimately destroy the Jewish community, whether in Germany, or any other nation, including the USA and Israel.

We are a people who emerged from Jacob who went to Egypt a family of 70, and emerged with 600,000 liberated slaves with a common objective: to find a homeland for our people. We found it and lived there, sovereign and self-determined for some 1500 years: speaking Hebrew, practicing Jewish traditions and treating citizens based on truth, justice and caring for the widow and orphan.

Judaism brought human rights to the entire world. To suggest that being a Jewish nation undermines human rights is absurd. Israel's enemies conceived this lie at the NGO forum associated with the UN conference in Durban that equated Zionism with racism. The "Durban strategy" of those NGOs is to portray Israel as an apartheid state, like South Africa was, and to boycott and sanction it with the same intent: to destroy the nation and replace it. The cloak of "human rights" hides its intent to destroy Israel by "lawfare" having failed to destroy her by warfare or terrorism.

This lawfare campaign is petro-dollar-funded (Qatar alone spends $100 million per year on al-Jazeera, not to mention all the Arab and European funding of NGOs active in the campaign).

What concerns me most is that some Jews and purportedly-Jewish NGOs have joined the campaign, accusing Israel of denying human rights because it's Jewish...

Ever since Titus destroyed the 1500-year-old Jewish nation, some say because of sinat chinam (unwarranted hatred), for 2000 years, we have prayed, dreamed, and written poems and songs about returning to our homeland.

Now we have returned. Don't allow yourself to be seduced into believing the self-defeating myth that you have to be less Jewish to be "acceptable" to the fake "human rights activists" who hate Israel. And don't descend into sinat chinum by dividing our people into "good Jews" and "bad Jews"... with the ultimate effect of destroying the nation again.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Antisemites who hide behind anti-Zionism are guilty of hate speech, says Angela Merkel

From, 14 March 2016, by Toby Axelrod:

Angela Merkel addresses the conference (Photo: David Burrowes/Twitter)Angela Merkel addresses the conference
(Photo: David Burrowes/Twitter)
Antisemitism masquerading as criticism of Israel must be recognised as pure hate speech, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told an international gathering of more than 100 parliamentarians.

Mrs Merkel said that anti-Israel demonstrators who call for the destruction of the Jewish state "as a pretext to giving vent to hatred of Jews abuse the fundamental rights in our country to freedom of association and expression".

In her address to the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism (ICCA) conference in Berlin, she also defended Josef Schuster - head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany - who she said was "harshly criticised" for expressing worries about antisemitism among refugees from war-torn Syria, Iraq and other Muslim countries. Germany has taken in around one million refugees in the past year.

She said it was "perfeclty legitimate for someone to share his concern about antisemitism. It may be that [some refugees] have grown up with certain stereotypes".

"It must be absolutely clear," whether to refugees or those born in Germany, "that antisemitism and other prejudices have no place in our society."

"The words 'never again' have to be followed by deeds," Mrs Merkel said.

Conference participants, who attended from over 40 countries, discussed internet hate, community relations and antisemitism in sport, as well as legal, parliamentary and governmental responses to antisemitism.

Model programmes for combatting antisemitism were presented.

The conference is taking place during Germany’s chairmanship of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

British delegates included Justice Secretary Michael Gove and Labour Shadow Minister Luciana Berger

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Antisemitic Activity on US Campuses

From Amcha Initiative, 14 March 2016:

Antisemitic Activity in 2015 at U.S. Colleges and Universities
With the Largest Jewish Undergraduate Populations

Full Report Executive Summary 


The Antisemitic Activity in 2015 at U.S. Colleges and Universities With the Largest Jewish Undergraduate Populations Report investigated antisemitic activity over the last year on more than 100 public and private colleges and universities with the largest Jewish undergraduate populations. Unlike previous studies, which assessed levels of campus antisemitism by measuring student attitudes and subjective reports, the current study assessed antisemitic activity by focusing on verifiable incidents compiled from media accounts and eyewitness reports.

The report serves as the first empirical study of its kind providing objective confirmation of student reports of widespread antisemitism, as well as evidence that the primary agents of antisemitic activity are anti-Zionist students and faculty boycotters and that Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) is the strongest predictor of anti-Jewish hostility on campus.

When examining the data, three different kinds of activity were distinguished: Antisemitic Expression, Targeting Jewish Students and BDS Activity.


  • Campus antisemitism is highly prevalent in public and private schools with significant Jewish undergraduate populations, irrespective of school size.
    • More than 300 antisemitic incidents occurred at top Jewish schools in 2015.
    • 70% of schools played host to one or more kinds of antisemitic activity.
    • Schools with the highest incidence of each kind of antisemitic activity: Antisemitic Activity Schools Chart
        ** School occurs on two lists *** School occurs on three lists. **** School occurs on four lists.
      • Strong correlation between anti-Zionist student groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and antisemitism.
        • 99% of schools with one or more active anti-Zionist groups had one or more incidents of antisemitic activity, whereas only 16% of schools with no active anti-Zionist student group had incidents of overall anti-Semitic activity.
        • 57% of the schools with one or more active anti-Zionist student groups had one or more incidents that targeted Jewish students for harm, 91% of the schools with one or more active anti-Zionist groups showed evidence of antisemitic expression, and 80% of schools with one or more active anti-Zionist groups showed evidence of BDS activity.
      • Strong correlation between the presence of faculty who have expressed public support for an academic boycott of Israel and antisemitism.
        • 81% of the schools with one or more faculty boycotters had one or more incidents of overall antisemitic activity, whereas only 17% of schools with no faculty boycotters had incidents of antisemitic activity.
        • 100% of the 33 schools with 10 or more faculty boycotters had one or more incidents of antisemitic activity.
        • 46% of schools with faculty boycotters showed evidence of targeting Jewish students for harm, 74% of schools with faculty boycotters showed evidence of antisemitic expression, and 62% of schools with faculty boycotters showed evidence of BDS activity.
      • BDS activity strongly correlates with antisemitic activity.
        • 56% of schools with evidence of BDS activity had one or more incidents that targeted Jewish students for harm, whereas of the schools with no evidence of BDS activity, only 23% had incidents targeting Jewish students. In fact, schools with more incidents of BDS activity tended to have more incidents that targeted Jewish students for harm.
        • 95% of schools with BDS activity had one or more incidents of antisemitic expression, whereas of the schools with no evidence of BDS activity, only 33% had antisemitic expression. Schools with more incidents of BDS activity tended to have more incidents of antisemitic expression.
      • Presence of SJP, faculty boycotters and BDS strong predictors of antisemitism.
        • The presence of anti-Zionist student groups and the number of faculty who have publicly endorsed an academic boycott of Israel are, in combination, very strong predictors of overall antisemitic activity.
        • BDS activity is the strongest predictor of incidents that target Jewish students for harm, the factor with the most deleterious effect on campus climate.
      • Anti-Zionism permeates and is inseparable from contemporary campus antisemitism.
        • More than 150 talks, rallies, statements, films, displays, agitprop, op-eds and social media posts contained expression that demonized or delegitimized Israel by drawing on classic antisdemitic tropes of Jewish evil, power and mendacity.
        • On more than 60 campuses, Israel was vilified with false accusations of racism, ethnic cleansing, genocide, crimes against humanity, brutal slaughter, state-sponsored terrorism, theft of land, water and human organs, settler-colonialism, apartheid, fascism, white supremacy and Nazism.  A speaker at one school called Israel “the embodiment of evil.”
        • At one-quarter of the schools, speakers and writers were explicit about their anti-Zionist stance, indicating that they were not simply critical of Israel’s policies but opposed to the very existence of the Jewish state.  In fact, at many schools there was a clear conflation of classic antisemitic and anti-Zionist expression, indicating that the speaker or writer did not distinguish between the two.
        • A majority of incidents that threatened the safety or well-being of Jewish students or violated their civil rights were linked to Israel or Zionism.
      The full report can be accessed here. An executive summary of the report can be found here.

Monday, March 14, 2016

A Quebec-oriented, UN-friendly Canadian Government

14 March 2016, by Norman L Roth:

Justin (R) and Sasha Trudeau at their father's funeral in 2000

The Israel friendly position of the former Harper government which prevailed for nearly a decade is now an object of scorn and derision among Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s elite advisors and foreign policy eminences. His campaign team received considerable advisory input from the Obama White-House during Canada’s 2015 Federal election, as did far left Labour party leader Edward Miliband in Britain’s National election that same year.

They are the same domineering Quebec-based ‘elite’ which has always regarded Israel and Zionism with cold apathy at best, and include the pro-“Palestinian” and BDS activism of the Prime Minister's brother Alexandre ("Sasha") Trudeau.

It’s hardly surprising, because repeated polls over the last twenty years persistently indicate a significantly higher level of support for the "Palestinian" cause among Quebecois people than any other comparable demography in North America.

But let’s have a closer look at some of the well known personnel who have emerged from their decade long cocoons. One of the most notorious is Louise Arbour, former UN Commissioner of “human rights” (2004 to 2008) and a former justice of Canada’s Supreme Court. Her international career began in 1996, when noted legal eminence Richard Goldstone recommended that she should be his ‘replacement’ on the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal. But, her finest hour came on January 24, 2008 when she welcomed the “entry into legal force” of the Arab Charter of Human Rights”, whose founding policy statement is: Article 2(3): “All forms of racism, Zionism and foreign occupation constitute an impediment to human dignity and a major barrier to the exercise of the fundamental rights of peoples. All such practices must be condemned and efforts must be deployed for their ELIMINATION”.

No wonder P.M. Trudeau campaigned so enthusiastically among Canada’s 1.3.million strong Muslim communities. He has rewarded them well. Many of them now serve his government in strategically inserted advisory positions.

No explanation of Quebec’s traditional isolationism and ambivalence toward a robust Canadian Military participation in world affairs would be complete, without reference to the long-standing ‘quid pro quo’  that exists between Quebec’s political elite and their ‘friends’ at the top of the UN food chain. This “arrangement” virtually guarantees near unanimous recognition of a unilateral declaration of independence by Quebec: Within its present borders, should the request be made to that august body...Which would mortally bisect Canada’s geographical contiguity East of James and Hudson Bay. It’s the most open diplomatic ‘secret” on Earth.

Canada's new Foreign Minister is Stephane Dion, who once ran against former PM Stephen Harper for Prime Minister of Canada. He was a dual citizen of France at the time. He still is. It’s quite taboo to bring this up in polite discourse in Canada. Just like his connections with the UN’s most toxic bureaucracies.  And his own ambivalence toward the BDS movement.

None of the foregoing  was unexpected. As is the inevitable recognition of the state of “Palestine” which is on the Trudeau-Dion’s short term diplomatic horizon.