Latest Analysis & Commentary

Israel's Security and Unintended Consequences

by Richard Kemp  •  October 23, 2014 at 5:00 am

Would General Allen -- or any other general today -- recommend contracting out his country's defenses if it were his country at stake? Of course not.

The Iranian regime remains dedicated to undermining and ultimately destroying the State of Israel. The Islamic State also has Israel in its sights and would certainly use the West Bank as a point from which to attack, if it were open to them.

There can be no two-state solution and no sovereign Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan, however desirable those things might be. The stark military reality is that Israel cannot withdraw its forces from the West Bank.

Fatah leaders ally themselves with the terrorists of Hamas, and, like Hamas, they continue to reject the every existence of the State of Israel.

If Western leaders actually want to help, they should use all diplomatic and economic means to make it clear to the Palestinians that they will never achieve an independent and sovereign state while they remain set on the destruction of the State of Israel.

General Douglas MacArthur (left) strongly believed in forward defense. General John Allen (right) also believes in forward defense -- but for U.S. forces only, not for the Israel's military defending its borders.

When in 1942 American General Douglas MacArthur took command of the defense of Australia against imminent Japanese invasion, one of the plans he rejected was to withdraw and fight behind the Brisbane line, a move that would have given large swathes of territory to the Japanese.

Instead, he adopted a policy of forward defense: advancing northwards out of Australia to attack the Japanese on the island of New Guinea. MacArthur then went on to play a pivotal role in the defeat of the Japanese empire.

At the end of last year, during the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations involving U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, another extremely able and widely respected American General, John Allen, drew up a plan progressively to withdraw Israeli forces from the West Bank and hand over Israel's forward defense to a combination of Palestinian Arab forces, international monitors and technology.

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Palestinian Statehood?

by Louis René Beres  •  October 22, 2014 at 5:00 am

The Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO], forerunner of today's Palestinian Authority, was founded in 1964, three years before Israel came into the unintended control of the West Bank and Gaza. What therefore was the PLO planning to "liberate"?

Why does no one expect the Palestinians to cease all deliberate and random violence against Israeli civilians before being considered for admission to statehood?

On June 30, 1922, a joint resolution of both Houses of Congress of the United States endorsed a "Mandate for Palestine," confirming the right of Jews to settle anywhere they chose between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. This is the core American legacy of support for a Jewish State that President Obama now somehow fails to recall.

A sovereign state of Palestine, as identified by the Arabs -- a Muslim land occupied by "Palestinian" Arabs -- has never existed; not before 1948, and not before 1967. From the start, it was, and continues to be, the Arab states -- not Israel -- that became the core impediment to Palestinian sovereignty.

No, no and NO. From left to right: 1) King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, President Nasser of Egypt, President Sallal of Yemen, Sheikh Sabah of Kuwait and President Arif of Iraq at the1967 Arab League Summit in Khartoum; 2) Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas; 3) Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal.

When U.S. President Barack Obama announces in the United Nations that he wants a two-state solution for Israel and "Palestine," and when U.S. Secretary of State repeated it recently -- and when Sweden and the UK vote for a Palestinian State, and now possibly Spain and France -- they should be more careful what they wish for.

Although there is no lawful justification for offering statehood, but Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, on September 26, 2014, told the United Nations that "the hour of independence of the state of Palestine has arrived." Earlier, in 2012, the PA had already received elevated status from the UN General Assembly to that of a "nonmember observer state," but this elevation fell short of full sovereignty.

There can also be no justification -- ethical, legal, or geopolitical -- for waging war against the ISIS jihadis in Syria and Iraq, while simultaneously urging statehood for the Hamas/PA jihadis in West Bank [Judea and Samaria] and Gaza.

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EU Tyranny: New Law against Democratically Dismantling EU from Within

by Timon Dias  •  October 22, 2014 at 4:00 am

It looks as if this new law is meant to serve as a severe roadblock to parties that would like to dismantle the EU in a democratic and peaceful way from within.

A rather dull semantic trick pro-EU figures usually apply, is calling their opponents "anti-Europe."

Nigel Farage (left), head of the UK Independence Party, and Marine Le Pen, head of France's National Front party. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

Two years ago, the European Commission proposed a law that would authorize an "independent authority" within the European Parliament [EP] to decide whether EP parties would receive an official legal status as EP parties. This legal status is needed for a party to obtain EP party subsidy, which is designed to cover 85% of party expenditures.

Despite a British and Dutch lobby against the law, it was passed by the EP on September 29, 2014.

Among the demands parties have to meet are that of "internal party democracy" and that they must "respect the values on which the European Union is based." Among these values are: "pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men." In addition, the parties must be active in at least 7 out of 28 EU member-state countries.

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Metropolitan Opera Stifles Free Exchange of Ideas about a Propaganda Opera

by Alan M. Dershowitz  •  October 21, 2014 at 12:45 pm

A photo of a scene from the opera "The Death of Klinghoffer" (Image source: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)

On Monday night I went to the Metropolitan Opera. I went for two reasons: to see and hear John Adams' controversial opera, The Death of Klinghoffer; and to see and hear what those protesting the Met's judgment in presenting the opera had to say. Peter Gelb, the head of the Met Opera, had advised people to see it for themselves and then decide.

That's what I planned to do. Even though I had written critically of the opera—based on reading the libretto and listening to a recording—I was also critical of those who wanted to ban or censor it. I wanted personally to experience all sides of the controversy and then "decide."

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Austria: Civil Law vs. Sharia Law

by Soeren Kern  •  October 21, 2014 at 5:00 am

Austria has emerged as a major base for radical Islam and as a central hub for European jihadists to fight in Syria.

The proposed revisions would, among other changes, regulate the training and hiring of Muslim clerics, prohibit the foreign funding of mosques, and establish an official German-language version of the Koran to prevent its "misinterpretation" by Islamic extremists.

Muslims would be prohibited from citing Islamic sharia law as legal justification for ignoring or disobeying Austrian civil laws.

Leaders of Austria's Muslim community counter that the contemplated new law amounts to "institutionalized Islamophobia."

Official statistics show that nearly 60% of the inhabitants of Vienna are immigrants or foreigners. The massive demographic and religious shift underway in Austria, traditionally a Roman Catholic country, appears irreversible.

The Austrian Islamist known as "Abu Hamza al-Austria," fighting in Syria, pictured from his jihadist recruitment video.

The Austrian government has unveiled a sweeping overhaul of the country's century-old "Islam Law" that governs the legal status of Austria's Muslim community.

The proposed revisions—which are aimed at cracking down on Islamic extremism in Austria—would regulate the training and hiring of Muslim clerics, prohibit the foreign funding of mosques, and establish an official German-language version of the Koran, among other changes.

The government says the modifications would give Muslims legal parity with other religious groups in Austria. But the leaders of Austria's Muslim community counter that the contemplated new law amounts to "institutionalized Islamophobia."

The updated Islam Law (Islamgesetz) was presented as a draft bill to parliament on October 2 and overhauls the current law, which dates back to 1912.

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UK: Iran Lobbies against Sanctions

by Samuel Westrop  •  October 21, 2014 at 4:00 am

Over 800 Iranians were executed during President Rouhani's first year in office.

Leading politicians, British government officials and businessmen nevertheless seemed happy to attend and speak at the Europe-Iran Forum.

The logo image for the Europe-Iran Forum, which was attended by leading politicians, British government officials and businessmen, and praised by the office of the President of Iran.

On October 15, the Europe-Iran Forum was held at the Grosvenor Square Hotel in London. Citing an "expected rollback of the current international sanctions against Iran," the event was organized to "properly prepare and evaluate the post-sanctions trade framework and investment opportunities."

Speakers and sponsors of the event included:

Rouzbeh Pirouz, the Deputy President of Iralco, an Iranian company subjected to sanctions by the European Union, which has accused it of "directly supporting Iran's proliferation sensitive nuclear activities." Pirouz sits on the board of the Iranian Heritage Foundation, a British charity established by Vahid Alaghband, an Iranian businessman linked with the regime.

Sifiso Dabengwa, who runs the MTN Group, which anti-regime lobby groups have accused of working to "help the Iranian regime terrorize and oppress its citizens," and acting as "a complicit partner of the Iranian regime.

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What The "Two State Solution" Has to Do with the Rise of Islamic Extremism: Zero

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  October 20, 2014 at 5:00 am

The "Arab Spring" did not erupt as a result of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Rather, it was the outcome of decades of tyranny and corruption in the Arab world. The Tunisians, Egyptians, Libyans and Yemenis who removed their dictators from power did not do so because of the lack of a "two-state solution." This is the last thing they had in mind.

The thousands of Muslims who are volunteering to join the Islamic State [IS] are not doing so because they are frustrated with the lack of progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

The only solution the Islamic State believes in is a Sunni Islamic Caliphate where the surviving non-Muslims who are not massacred would be subject to sharia law.

What Kerry perhaps does not know is that the Islamic State is not interested in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at all. Unlike Kerry, Sunni scholars fully understand that the Islamic State has more to do with Islam and terrorism than with any other conflict.

'Forget ISIS... let's talk more about a Palestinian state.' Above, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry greets U.S. Special Representative to Muslim Communities Shaarik Zafar during an Eid al-Adha reception on Oct. 16, 2014 at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. (Image source: State Dept.)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's claim that the lack of a "two-state solution" has fueled the rise of the Islamic State [IS] terrorist group reinforces how clueless the U.S. Administration is about what is happening in the Arab and Islamic countries.

Speaking at a State Department ceremony marking the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, Kerry said that the resumption of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians was vital in the fight against Islamic extremism, including Islamic State.

"There wasn't a leader I met with in the region who didn't raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation," Kerry said. "People need to understand the connection of that. And it has something to do with the humiliation and denial and absence of dignity."

The U.S. State Department later denied that Kerry had made the statement attributed to him.

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Will Mahmoud Abbas Reject Israeli Protection?

by Steven J. Rosen  •  October 20, 2014 at 4:00 am

Palestinian officials have generally been silent about security cooperation with Israel. They are loath to acknowledge how important it is for the survival of the Palestinian Authority [PA], and fear that critics, especially Hamas, will consider it "collaboration with the enemy."

"You smuggle weapons, explosives and cash to the West Bank, not for the fight with Israel, but for a coup against the Palestinian Authority. The Israeli intelligence chief visited me two weeks ago and told me about the [Hamas] group they arrested that was planning for a coup... We have a national unity government and you are thinking about a coup against me." — Mahmoud Abbas, PA President, to Khaled Mashaal, Hamas leader.

According to Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, if the IDF leaves the West Bank, Hamas will take over, and other terrorists groups such as the Islamic Jihad, Al-Qaeda and Islamic State would operate there.

In recent months, Abbas has been making a series of threats against Israel. If Abbas becomes another Arafat, it could be the Israeli side that loses interest in security cooperation.

Mahmoud Abbas (r) meets with the Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal in Qatar, July 20, 2014. (Image source: Handout from the Palestinian Authority President's Office/Thaer Ghanem)

Shortly after the death of Yasser Arafat on November 11, 2004, and the election of Mahmoud Abbas to the Palestinian Authority [PA] presidency in January 2005, the U.S. Department of State increased its security assistance to the PA and began to promote Palestinian security cooperation with the Israeli security services. The motive was not personal support for Abbas, but a belief that Fatah under Abbas could become a more reliable partner for maintaining order and keeping peaceful relations with Israel.

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Turkey's Love Affair with Hamas

by Burak Bekdil  •  October 19, 2014 at 5:00 am

It was the Islamists who, since they came to power in the 2000s, have reaped the biggest political gains from the "Palestine-fetish."

But the Turkish rhetoric on "solidarity" with our Palestinian brothers often seems askew to how solidarity should be.

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (right) gives a warm welcome to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, who travelled from Gaza to Turkey on an official visit in January 2012. (Image source: MEMRI)

"The Palestinian cause" is a unique charm that brings together Turks from different ideologies. Turkish Islamists view it as an indispensable part of "jihad;" the conservatives feel attached to it because it has a religious connotation; for the leftists it is part of an "anti-imperialist" struggle; the nationalists embrace it just because most Turks embrace it. In the 1970s, when a dozen Turks a day on average were killed in street violence, the "Palestinian cause" was the only issue that otherwise warring fractions of the Turkish left, right and Islamists could agree on.

But it was the Islamists who, in the 2000s, made the biggest gains from the concept. Since 2002, when they came to power, they have reaped enormous political gains from the "Palestine-fetish," to which they also love to be ideologically attached. For the Turks, it has been like abusing alcohol and wanting to have a healthier life. It still is.

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Maligning Malala

by Raheel Raza  •  October 19, 2014 at 4:00 am

One blogger writes that Malala hates Pakistan's military. I believe it is the other way around.

I would so like to see the day when Malala is welcomed back in Pakistan, with the whole country cheering.

Malala Yousafzai is awarded the Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought, by Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, in Strasbourg on November 20, 2013. (Image source: Claude Truong-Ngoc/Wikimedia Commons)

Ever since Malala Yousafzai -- winner this month of the Nobel Peace Prize -- came on the scene in October 2012 in a shocking way, after being shot in the face by the Taliban at the age of 15, I have been watching the conspiracy theories unfold.

One of the highlights of The Girl Summit, hosted by Prime Minister David Cameron in the UK last July, was that Malala attended, along with her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai. As a fellow Pakistani, I congratulated him on Malala's successes and for being the model father that every girl would want to have. He said thank you but acknowledged, sadly, that in Pakistan there is a lot of hostility against them.

This did not come as a surprise. Not everyone is proud of Malala. Sadly, Pakistan has not fully celebrated its Nobel laureates, and conspiracy theories still abound.

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What China Sees in Hong Kong

by Francesco Sisci  •  October 18, 2014 at 5:00 am

Democratic evolution in China was being seriously considered. The failures of U.S. support for democracy in Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt and Libya gave new food for thought to those opposed to democracy. Lastly, the United States did not strongly oppose the anti-democratic coup d'état that overthrew a democratically elected government in Thailand.

On the other hand, Russia -- dominated by Vladimir Putin, a new autocrat determined to stifle democracy in Russia -- provided a new model.

The whole of Eastern Europe and most of Latin America, formerly in the clutches of dictatorships, are now efficient democracies. This seems to indicate that while democracy cannot be parachuted into a country, there is a broader, longer-term global trend toward democracy and that its growth depends on local conditions.

As economic development needed careful planning, political reforms need even greater planning. The question remains: is China preparing for these political reforms?

Protesters occupy Harcourt Road, Hong Kong on September 29, 2014, in front of Admiralty Centre and the Central Government Offices. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

The current difficult situation and predicament in Hong Kong is not just about what is happening now or has been happening for the past decade in the territory, but also calls into question the future and overall political direction of China.

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UK: Political Earthquake Next May?

by Peter Martino  •  October 18, 2014 at 4:00 am

The United Kingdom Independence Party [UKIP] not only managed to halve the Conservative vote, but also the Labour Vote and the Liberal Democrat vote.

UKIP stands for small government, low taxes, and preservation of Britain's identity and sovereignty, values that appeal to Conservative voters; and it wants to pull the United Kingdom out of the European Union. UKIP also stands for strong policies on law and order and immigration, which appeal to the traditional old Labour heartlands.

Strategically, to pick up Labour votes, UKIP would need to move to the left, but examples in France, Switzerland, Denmark and Geert Wilders's PVV in the Netherlands, show that it is possible to attract voters from both the left and the right.

Nigel Farage, leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party [UKIP] (Image source: Euro Realist Newsletter/Wikimedia Commons)

Last Thursday, the United Kingdom Independence Party [UKIP] won its first ever seat in the British House of Commons. For years, UKIP, led by the flamboyant Nigel Farage, has been a major party among the British contingent in the European Parliament, but winning a seat in the British national parliament had so far never succeeded.

UKIP stands for the preservation of Britain's identity and sovereignty. It wants to pull the United Kingdom out of the European Union and aims for tougher immigration policies. Last August, Douglas Carswell, Member of Parliament for Clacton in Essex (a prosperous county to the East of London) defected from the Conservative Party to UKIP. Carswell had been elected for the Conservatives in 2010 with a 53% majority – a 28% lead over Labour. After his defection, he gave up his seat, so that a by-election had to be held. On October 9, Carswell was re-elected on a UKIP ticket, with 60% of the vote and a 35% lead over the Conservatives.

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Iron Dome: "Rigged Success"?

by Peter Huessy  •  October 17, 2014 at 5:00 am

Critics of missile defense must have seen their whole multi-decade, multi-million dollar campaign to stop U.S. missile defenses in danger of crashing to the ground.

"All flight tests of the weapon have been rigged," William Broad, New York Times, June 9, 2000.

The success of Iron Dome apparently gave the lie to the repeated claims that missile defense tests are rigged; that missile defense systems cannot work; that they do not save lives, and that the threat of rocket attacks must be dealt with through appeasement and concessions.

A battery of the Iron Dome missile defense system. (Image source: IDF)

Imagine that hundreds of armed terrorists from ISIS are in a secure sanctuary in northern Mexico. For nearly two months in 2015, they launch 4479 rockets into the United States. Their targets are schools, hospitals, apartment buildings and day-care centers in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.

Then imagine that not a single person is killed from this terrorist rocket barrage (although mortar fire at one border crossing kills two Americans).

Why are so few Americans harmed? A missile-defense system along America's border with Mexico was able to shoot down over 90% of the incoming rockets that were engaged, while others could be ignored as they fell harmlessly into the southwestern American desert.

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"Boxed and Packaged Islam" Trying to Pass Itself Off as Mainstream Islam

by Raheel Raza  •  October 17, 2014 at 4:00 am

In one short interview, the two Muslim speakers had ensured that: a Zionist conspiracy is in place; ISIS is not really dangerous; the West is at war with Muslims, and the killing must continue; Muslims must not speak out on Western media about violence within the faith, and those who do are liars desperately seeking the limelight. So most Muslims stay silent.

This brand of boxed and packaged Islam, started by Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini, has been so cleverly marketed that most Muslims do not even know what hit them.

Then there are those have moved outside the box -- scholars, reformers and academics, who, like me, are considered heretics but are still part of the faith. We do not accept the branded, "boxed" version of Islam -- exported largely from Saudi Arabia on the wings of billions of petro-dollars in unobtrusive packaging -- that is trying to pass itself off as mainstream Islam.

The debate about "Moderate Muslims" has gone viral. From Bill Maher to Ali Rizvi in his Huffington Post article, it is trending.

As someone who used to call herself a moderate, I am now moving away from that terminology. One reason is a recent interview a cable TV talk show called Bilatakalluf.

On the program were two members of The North American Muslim Foundation (NAMF) -- Imam Shehryar and Farooq Khan -- and the discussion was about ISIS and being a Canadian Muslim. Below is a translation of some of the "quotable quotes":

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UK Votes Overwhelmingly for a Racist, Terrorist, Apartheid State

by Douglas Murray  •  October 16, 2014 at 5:00 am

The House of Commons is filled with people who would like to flaunt their anti-racist credentials… and show they are tough on terrorists. Yet here they were trying to will into existence a state which in the words of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, speaking last year, "would not see the presence of a single Israeli -- civilian or soldier -- on our lands." It is a pre-Mandela apartheid they are willing into existence.

"Our enterprise extends far beyond Palestine: Palestine in its entirety, the Arab Nation in its entirety, and the entire world." -- Mahmoud al-Zahar, speech, 2010. It is what the proxies and officials of al-Qaeda and Iran have said in European capitals for years and what they say every day.

All efforts to stop the mad rush to declare Palestine a state, without the Israel's agreement as assured under international law, are dismissed as "Israeli propaganda." The idea that sensible people can sensibly object is washed away.

The United Kingdom Parliament in London. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

On Monday night British Members of Parliament passed a motion by 274 to 12 saying, "That this House believes that the Government should recognize the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution." It comes only weeks after the Swedish Parliament passed a similar unilateral motion.

Before coming to the alarming parts of this, let me break the good news. The motion is non-binding, having been proposed not by the government but by backbench MPs. Secondly the coalition government officially made it a "matter of conscience" vote, though behind the scenes advised its own MPs to stay away and so abstain from the vote. Thirdly the UK government announced in advance of the vote that if the result of the vote was a passing of the motion then the UK government would not accept the vote as in any way binding.

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