Latest Analysis & Commentary

How Europe's Pro-Gaza Movement Cultivates Violence, Anti-Semitism

by Timon Dias  •  September 16, 2014 at 5:00 am

"Arab leaders are a reflection of their people. Arab leaders don't come from Mars or the sun, they emerged from among the people and share the same beliefs... I challenge any Arab citizen who may become a ruler to do anything beyond what current Arab leaders are doing." — Anwar Malek, Algerian author.

If anyone was trying to commit "genocide" during the Gaza War, it was clearly Hamas.

What the protestors in the Netherlands also revealed is that a killed Palestinian is only worth demonstrating for when the blame can be pinned on Israel.

The normalization and common approval of slogans that actually call for the destruction of the entire Jewish State, Israel, contribute to an atmosphere of hatred, violence and anti-Semitism that now seems as acceptable as it is overt.

July 2014: Demonstrators in The Hague chant "Death to the Jews", while flying the black flag of jihad. (Image source: Twitter/@SamRaalte)

A Dutch Turkish driving school instructor, Sait Cinar, recently posted a video on his school's Facebook page in which he said, "Remember this, those cancerous Zionists, you have to compare them to zombies. And do you know that to do with zombies? You shoot them." The original Facebook page on which the video was posted had over 70,000 "Likes" before it was removed.

In the video, Cinar pulls out his 9mm pistol and fires eleven bullets before pulling out a .38 revolver. "But that's not enough," he continues, while firing another two rounds from his balcony. "You take your gun and this is how you break these cancerous Zionists, you have to kill them, you must compare them to zombies" Although the video was recorded in Turkey, upon Cinar's return from Istanbul he was arrested and is now in Dutch custody on the accusation of hate speech.

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The United Nations: World's Leading Purveyor of Antisemitism

by Anne Bayefsky  •  September 16, 2014 at 4:45 am

Why couldn't the UN... sponsor a conference on combating global antisemitism?

In theory the UN Charter demands equality of... nations large and small. In reality the UN mass-produces inequality for Jews and the Jewish nation.

The UN has launched a "legal" pogrom against the Jewish state. A "legal" pogrom is a license to kill.

Modern antisemitism targets Israel's exercise of the right of self-defense because self-defense is the essence of sovereignty.

Anne Bayefsky speaking at the United Nations, New York, on September 8, 2014.

My time is short, too short to try to emulate the diplomatic sophistry that passes for respect in the meeting rooms of the United Nations. So I will get right to the point.

The UN is not having a conference on the threat that global antisemitism poses to international peace and security. This is lunch-time. The courageous organizer, assisted by the principled representatives of the small state of Palau, is independent of the UN. The facilities are not free.

But why couldn't the UN, founded on the ashes of the Jewish people, and presently witnessing a widespread resurgence in antisemitism, sponsor a conference on combating global antisemitism?

The answer is clear. Because the United Nations itself is the leading global purveyor of antisemitism.

Photo-ops of the UN Secretary-General and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights at the gates of Auschwitz are not an alibi.

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Responses to Terrorism: Europe v. India

by Vijeta Uniyal  •  September 16, 2014 at 4:30 am

In Europe, displays of ferocity were clearly not a "spontaneous reaction" to the developing situation in Gaza. They were an opportune moment for many to act on their anti-Semitism by dressing it up as a supposedly "genuine concern" for human suffering.

In India, youth groups rallied to show their support for Israel, a fellow democracy under terrorist siege -- a pain known only too well by Indians, who have lost more than 30,000 of their countrymen to terrorism since 1994.

A majority if Indians, whose culture is not tainted by anti-Semitism, can see that Israel not only has the right to defend itself, but an obligation to protect its citizens from terrorism.

The media elites of Europe seem unable to see the threat posed to the West by radical Islamist ideology, which drives countless terrorist outfits, including IS, Hamas and al-Qaida. They also seem unable to distinguish their friends from their foes.

Subramanian Swamy, an economist and prominent member of India's ruling party, delivers a speech in support of Israel, August 3, 2014. (Image source: YouTube video screenshot)

Even as an Indian living in Europe, with no stake in Israeli-Arab conflict, the anti-Semitism was striking. I have often witnessed the nuanced anti-Semitism of the intellectual elites and the crude anti-Semitism of "the street." But I have never seen such a frenzy of anti-Semitism on the loose as in the wake of the latest round of hostilities between Israel and Hamas -- and in Germany of all places!

These latest displays of ferocity were clearly not a "spontaneous reaction" to the developing situation in Gaza. They were an opportune moment for many to act upon their hitherto-concealed anti-Semitism by dressing it up as a supposedly "genuine concern" for human suffering.

Meanwhile, I have also seen, however, the rising support for Israel among the Indians in diaspora and back home in India.

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Why Many Arabs and Muslims Do Not Trust Obama

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  September 15, 2014 at 5:00 am

Many Arabs and Muslims identify with the terrorists' anti-Western objectives ideology; they are afraid of being dubbed traitors and U.S. agents for joining non-Muslims in a war that would result in the death of many Muslims, and they are afraid their people would rise up against them.

Many Arab and Muslim leaders view the Islamic State as a by-product of failed U.S. policies, especially the current U.S. Administration's weak-kneed support for Iraq's Nuri al-Maliki. Some of these leaders, such as Egypt's Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, consider the U.S. to be a major ally of the Muslim Brotherhood. Sisi and his regime will never forgive Obama for his support for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Also, they do not seem to have much confidence in the Obama Administration, which is perceived as weak and incompetent when it comes to combating Islamists.

Will Sisi ever forgive the Obama Administration for its support of the Muslim Brotherhood? Above, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry chats with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo on July 22, 2014. (Image source: U.S. State Department)

"This is not our war and we should not be taking part in it."

That is how many Arabs and Muslims reacted to US President Barack Obama's plan to form an international coalition to fight the Islamic State [IS] terrorist organization, which is operating in Iraq and Syria and threatening to invade more Arab countries.

Islamic State terrorists have killed and wounded tens of thousands of Arabs and Muslims, mostly over the past few months. By contrast, Islamic State has targeted only a few Westerners, three of whom were beheaded in recent weeks.

Islamic State terrorists are also responsible for the displacement of millions of Iraqis and Syrians, and for the murder of many others.

Still, the atrocities committed by Islamic State against Arabs and Muslims, in addition to the immediate threat it poses to many of their countries, do not seem to be sufficient reason for them to declare war on the group.

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Will Scottish Independence Give Putin Pretext to Annex Eastern Ukraine?

by Peter Martino  •  September 15, 2014 at 4:00 am

Scottish independence would be a disaster for NATO, putting the UK nuclear deterrent in jeopardy. It would also put into question national borders all over Europe, including Catalonia, Belgium, France's Brittany and Corsica, Italy's South Tyrol -- and Ukraine.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned in 2008 that Kosovo's independence "would be the beginning of the end for Europe."

Crimea's recent secession from Ukraine was justified with a reference to "the Kosovo precedent," which Putin pointed out, "our Western partners created with their own hands."

The United Kingdom flag, flag of Scotland, and European Union flag flying outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons/Calum Hutchinson)

This Thursday, Scotland will be holding a referendum on independence. Polls predict that it may go either way; a narrow victory for those who want Scotland to become an independent nation or for those who want it to remain a part of the United Kingdom. While in most European capitals, governments are hoping that the 'No' side will win the day, Russian president Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin has several reasons to cheer if the Scots decide to go their own way.

Scottish independence would be a disaster for NATO. The Scottish nationalists have made it very clear that they want all British nuclear weapons to be removed from Scottish soil. This will put the UK nuclear deterrent in jeopardy. But Scottish independence is also likely to bring national borders into question all over Europe, including the fragile boundaries of the Ukraine.

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Portugal's Jihadists

by Soeren Kern  •  September 14, 2014 at 5:00 am

Portugal, like Spain, also figures prominently in a map produced by the jihadist group Islamic State [IS] that outlines a five-year plan for expanding its Islamic Caliphate into Europe.

"Holy War is the only solution for humanity." — Abdu, Portuguese jihadist.

"Every time these jihadists groups mention the recovery of al-Andalus, they are also referring to Portugal. Jihadists do not believe in national divisions, but in the existence of a single Muslim community that embraces the entire Iberian Peninsula." — Miguel Torres Soriano, Spanish terrorism expert.

Celso Rodrigues da Costa, the Portuguese jihadist known as Abu Isa al-Andalus, appears in an Islamic State recruitment video. (Image source: MEMRI)

At least a dozen Portuguese nationals have joined jihadist groups fighting in Iraq and Syria, according to new estimates by Portuguese counter-terrorism officials.

All of the Portuguese jihadists (ten men and two women) are under the age of 30 and most of them are children of immigrants, but so far none of the individuals is known to have returned to live in Portugal.

Portuguese authorities are—for now—downplaying the threat these individuals may pose to Portugal upon their return home from the battlefields.

Security analysts from Spain, however, are warning the Portuguese government against complacency. They argue that although the number of Portuguese jihadists may be small compared to other European countries, radical Muslims are becoming increasingly strident in their vows to reconquer Al-Andalus—of which Portugal is a key component—for Islam.

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Terror Tunnels: The Case for Israel's Just War Against Hamas - Chapter 1

by Alan M. Dershowitz  •  September 13, 2014 at 5:00 am

President George W. Bush's announcement in 2001 to support the creation of a Palestinian state offered a unique opportunity to Palestinians to end the violence and begin building a new future. Hamas's response came a few weeks later, when it fired the first Qassam rocket into the Israeli town of Sderot, population approximately 20,000.

It was only after Hamas's coup in June 2007, and the heavy rocket attacks that followed, that Israel imposed more extensive sanctions on Gaza. Palestinian rocket attacks against Israeli civilians were not a response to Gaza's increasing isolation, but the cause.

The sanctions imposed on Gaza -- not only by Israel, but the world -- were the direct result of Hamas's refusal to meet the international community's basic, reasonable demands: stop terror, recognize Israel, and respect previous agreements. Hamas and its fellow terrorist organizations deny the right to live in peace.

The Goldstone Report not only falsified the past; it had a negative influence by encouraging Hamas to repeat its own double war crimes: firing rockets at Israeli civilians from behind Palestinian human shields -- and killing and kidnapping Israeli civilians and soldiers through its terrorist tunnels.

Operation Protective Edge—The Historical Context

"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it." This truism, by philosopher George Santayana, well describes the current situation in the Middle East in general and Gaza in particular. Israelis and Palestinians have been condemned to repeat the tragedies of the past because history is neglected or misunderstood. That is why it is necessary to place the recent events in Gaza into a brief historical context.
 On October 2, 2001, only three weeks after the terror attacks of September 11, President George W. Bush announced that the United States supported the creation of a Palestinian state. It was a major milestone for the Palestinian cause, since no previous American administration had officially acknowledged a Palestinian state as an explicit goal of US foreign policy. The announcement was all the more remarkable given that the US was still reeling in the wake of 9/11, and that Palestinian extremists were still using terror against Israelis to achieve their goals. The American announcement came just months after Yasser Arafat had rejected an offer of statehood by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Bush's predecessor, Bill Clinton.[1]

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Turkey's Frankenstein Monster

by Burak Bekdil  •  September 13, 2014 at 4:00 am

Last June, Turkey's own Frankenstein, who went by the name of ISIS, attacked the Turkish consulate compound in Mosul, and took 49 Turks, including the consul general, hostage.

The hostages are still in captivity. So is Turkey.

For each [Islamic] sect, the other is "not even Muslim."

The wreckage of the Shrine of Jonah, in Mosul, Iraq, which was destroyed by insurgents of the Islamic State in July 2014.

It all began when Turkey's leaders thought they could build a Sunni belt under Turkish hegemony, and resting geographically under the Crescent and Star. For that to actually happen, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq had to be ruled by Sunni -- preferably Muslim Brotherhood-type -- leaderships subservient to Ankara.

This Turkish gambit came at a time when the turbulent Middle East was even more turbulent than it always is: the Arab Spring had unmasked a 14-century-long hatred between Islam's two main sects, a schism started by rival clans in the Prophet Muhammad's tribe, the Quraysh. This is a feud that would survive beyond even their imagination.

Syria, with which Turkey shares a 500-mile border, was sadly being ruled by a Nusayri (Syrian Alawite), an offshoot of the Shia faith. Bashar al-Assad soon became, as the Sicilians say, "a stone in (then Prime Minister, now President) Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's shoe."

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Pistorius Judge was Wrong
What if there were armed intruders in the bathroom?

by Alan M. Dershowitz  •  September 12, 2014 at 11:20 am

Oscar Pistorius sits in court.

The compromise verdict reached by judge Thokozile Masipa in the Oscar Pistorius case is wrong. It should be reversed on appeal.

The judge found reasonable doubt that Pistorius intended to kill his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, and concluded that the evidence supports his belief that armed intruders may have broken into his home through the bathroom window. If that is the case then he had a perfect right to defend himself, his girlfriend and his home from a home invasion by armed intruders. There would be nothing criminally culpable about a disabled man shooting through the bathroom door if he honestly believed his life was in danger.

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Terror Tunnels: The Case for Israel's Just War Against Hamas

by Alan M. Dershowitz  •  September 12, 2014 at 5:00 am

Hamas quickly produces photographs of dead babies to be shown around the world, while at the same time preventing the media from showing its rocket launchers in densely populated areas.

Unless Hamas's "dead baby strategy" is denounced and stopped -- by the international community, the media, the academy and all good people -- it will be coming soon "to a theater near you".

If Hamas's dead baby strategy works, why not repeat it every few years? And why shouldn't other terrorist groups, like ISIS and Boko Haram, adapt this strategy to their nefarious goals as Hezbollah has already done?

On June 13, 2014, the commander of the Gaza Division of the Israel Defense Forces took me into a Hamas tunnel that had recently been discovered by a Bedouin tracker who serves in the IDF. The tunnel was a concrete bunker that extended several miles from its entrance in the Gaza Strip to its exit near an Israeli kibbutz kindergarten.

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Will The New European Commission Be Less Biased Against Israel?

by Peter Martino  •  September 12, 2014 at 4:00 am

Barely two years ago, in 2012, Mogherini showed her pro-Palestinian sympathies by posting on her blog a picture of her visit to Yasser Arafat in 2002. The picture has meanwhile been removed form the blog but can still be found on the internet.

During the next five years, the EU's policies and attitudes toward Israel are not likely to change.

Catherine Ashton, the current EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security (left), and Frederica Mogherini, who is planned to be Ashton's successor.

A new European Commission will be installed on November 1 as the European Union's executive body for the next five years. The previous Commission, headed by the Portuguese politician José Manuel Barroso, will be replaced by one led by Jean-Claude Juncker, former Prime Minister of Luxemburg. Unfortunately, there is no indication that the new Commission will be less biased in its attitudes against Israel than the old one.

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Evaluating Mahmoud Abbas - And How to Relate to Him

by Malcolm Lowe  •  September 11, 2014 at 5:00 am

Everything has now gone wrong for Abbas. The destruction in Gaza matches the destruction of the Second Intifada, precisely what Abbas deplored in respect of Arafat. Hamas exploited the formation of the unity government for a scheme to overthrow Abbas in the West Bank. Haniyeh is projected to defeat him by 61% to 32% in the upcoming election for the Palestinian presidency.

Israeli politicians who propose to renew peace negotiations, with Abbas or whomever, are advised to make two basic stipulations. First, that Israel will negotiate only with a Palestinian government that officially recognizes its obligation to demilitarize Gaza. Second, that no agreements can be signed until the Palestinians hold the projected elections for their parliament and presidency -- and the outcome is known.

Best Frenemies? 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)

The recent hostilities between Hamas and Israel have prompted various Israeli figures, in the governing coalition as well as in the opposition, to advocate an enhanced role for Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority [PA], in an eventual solution for Gaza. The implausibility of this idea has been pointed out elsewhere. What both the proponents and the critics of this idea have not asked, however, is a more fundamental question: To what extent was Abbas complicit in the aggression of Hamas?

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Confusion over "Jihad"

by Burak Bekdil  •  September 11, 2014 at 4:00 am

Shortly after he founded the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928, Hassan al-Banna made very clear what jihad was about: "It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its laws on all nations and to extend its power to the entire world."

No idea how an inner struggle can be achieved with stones and missiles.

The "Turkish jihadist" is a part-time jihadist, playing the jihadist at home for domestic consumption and the blessed peacemaker in front of major world powers.

Who is the authority on the meaning of "jihad" -- Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna (left), its current spiritual leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi (middle), or Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu?

Although it is a common male name in Turkish (Cihat), the Turks, and apparently many others too, have a confused mind about the Arabic word "jihad." Most Turks have felt contempt for "the jihadist terrorists" of al-Qaeda. They feel the same for the "jihadist/Salafist" Islamic State that captured large swathes of Syrian and Iraqi territory this summer, and took hostage 49 Turks, including the consul general, at their consulate compound in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on June 11. At the same time, thousands of Turks identified themselves as "jihadists," just like the IS's men, when they took to the streets to protest Palestinian casualties and attack Israeli diplomatic missions in July and August.

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Undermining Justice: Israel-Hamas Cease-Fire Breaches International Law

by Louis René Beres  •  September 10, 2014 at 5:00 am

No authoritative system of law can allow or encourage accommodation between a proper national government and an unambiguously criminal organization. By definition, under pertinent rules, Hamas is an illegal organization.

Even if an insurgent group claims the legal right to wage violent conflict for "self-determination" -- Hamas's argument -- the group does not have the right to use force against the innocent.

In no circumstances, under international law, are states permitted to characterize terrorists as "freedom fighters."

Original document of the first Geneva Convention, 1864. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

Once again, Israel and Hamas have agreed upon a so-called "cease fire." Once again, as Hamas regards all of Israel as "Occupied Palestine," the agreement will inevitably fail. And once again, for Israel and the wider "international community," there will be significantly dark consequences for international justice.

In specifically jurisprudential terms, the immediate effect of this latest cease-fire will be wrongfully to bestow upon the leading Palestinian terror organization (1) a generally enhanced position under international law; and (2) a status of formal legal equivalence with Israel, its beleaguered terror target.

The longer-term effect will be seriously to undermine the legitimacy and effectiveness of international law itself.

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Britain's Hamas Appeal
Who is Raising this Money and Where is it Going?

by Samuel Westrop  •  September 10, 2014 at 4:30 am

Although the Disasters Emergency Committee claims that its member bodies only work with "carefully vetted" local partners, it does not oversee these partnerships, and could not even provide a list of those "local partners" that will benefit from the money raised and transferred through Islamic Relief.

One of the "partners" in Gaza used by Islamic Relief's branches appears to be the Al-Falah Benevolent Society, which, according to the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre, is one of "Hamas's charitable societies."

Al-Falah is run by Ramadan Tamboura, whom the Ha'aretz newspaper describes as a "well-known Hamas figure".

British celebrity Martin Freeman appears on a BBC broadcast of the DEC's "Gaza Crisis Appeal". (Image source: DEC YouTube video screenshot)

In early August, most of Britain's broadsheet newspapers published a full-page advertisement for a "Gaza crisis" appeal launched by the Disasters Emergency Committee [DEC], a British charity that serves as a fundraising body for its 13-member bodies, each one itself a prominent British charity.

Broadcast versions were also aired on major television channels, including the taxpayer-funded BBC television and radio stations. On August 15th, DEC announced the appeal had raised over £9 million.

Although DEC claims to use the appeal's funds "to reach hundreds of thousands of people with urgently needed food and safe drinking water," DEC does not provide these charitable services itself; it simply raises the funds. The money is then handed over to its 13 member-bodies, which are tasked with actually providing the humanitarian help.

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