Tuesday, January 20, 2009


THE BBC IS NOT KNOWN FOR ITS PRO-ISRAEL STANCE!On the contrary, it is usually shrill in its condemnations of Israel at every opportunity. Hence it is surprising to see such an interview aired.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009
From the BBC ..strange that our Australian news organisations have decided not to show it...

BICOM - Videos - BBC News: Military analysis :interview of expert.



Standing against a tide of hatred

It is not Israel's action, but the vitriolic reaction to it that has been disproportionate. There's only one explanation: antisemitism

Elizabeth Wurtzel

guardian.co.uk, Friday 16 January 2009 10.00 GMT
Is it good for the Jews?

If you were so inclined, you could ask that question about the Madoff mess, the Gaza offensive, the latest screed from Alan Dershowitz – or about a new recipe for angel-food cake. Which is to say, if you are looking for antisemitism, you can find it anywhere, even in a dessert cookbook. But if even paranoids have enemies, I think it's fair to say that these are tough times for Jews.

While I would prefer to equate the fate of the Palestinians with that of Israel – meaning, I'd like to believe we're all on the same side – I think that might be a difficult political fiction to maintain at the moment. And while I'd like to artificially separate anti-Zionism from antisemitism, like most American Jews, I'm not willing to make that false distinction: when there is more than one Jewish state, the world's hatred of Israel might become no different from its exasperation with any other country, but since Israel is the only homeland, and really it is nothing more than six million Jews living together in an area the size of New Jersey, I can't pretend that the problem with Israel is that it's a poorly located country that happens to be at odds with its neighbours and only coincidentally happens to be Jewish. The trouble with Israel is the trouble with Jews.

This situation makes me profoundly uncomfortable. As the kind of left-leaning liberal who tends to agree with the positions taken by The Nation in most instances, I hate having to differ so completely on the Israel issue with many I otherwise would align with. As it is my good fortune to be American, I live in the only country that as a matter of policy is pro-Israel regardless of party allegiance; Democrats and Republicans equally unite behind the blue-and-white. But to communicate with anyone I think of as rightminded (and left-leaning) in any other part of the world is to experience the purest antisemitism since the Nazi era. In fact, in Europe right now, it is de rigueur to liken the current regime in Israel with the Nazi party, and to view the experience of the Palestinians as a form of ethnic cleansing. Hamas and Hezbollah are thought by the French and British to be social welfare organisations, and Israel is viewed as a terrorist state. Here, we honor the linguistic discoveries of Noam Chomsky and otherwise experience him as a quaintly brilliant crank, but in the bookstores in London there are entire sections devoted to his political thought – and he is read as if the distinctions between Leninist and Trotskyite philosophy had genuine consequence in today's world.

Excepting a business trip I took to England, Scotland and Ireland in early 2002, I have not been to Europe since 9/11. It's become an unbearable place to be, as the anti-American feelings in light of the Iraq war have mingled with antisemitism to a point where they are indistinguishable, the new phobias of the First World. Because I like taking the occasional trip abroad, especially now that even the Euro is sinking, I am doing my best to understand the European perspective, or somehow excuse it. After all, beyond being a Jewish homeland, Israel is also a geopolitical actor with nuclear weapons, and it might be construed as fair to criticise the actions the country has taken as a very well-armed American client that is dropping bombs on Hamas targets, to the terrible detriment of the civilian population. It's impossible not to feel sorry for the plight of the Palestinians, and it's even more impossible to imagine how any Palestinian could feel anything for Israel but animosity. I can see the problem.

But I think it is this very fact – my attempt to understand both sides – that disturbs me the most. Because trying to see all sides, such an instinct is particularly Jewish. The most vehement critics of Israel and champions of the Palestinians – hello, Professor Chomsky; greetings, Norman Finkelstein – are always Jews: we are always trying in our even, level, thoughtful way to see reason in the behaviour of those who are lobbing rocket grenades at us. As a people, we are hopeless Talmudists, we examine all the arguments and try to sort out an answer. What is both strange and difficult for Jews to watch in the case of Israel is that, as a nation surrounded by enemies, it does not make such calculations; it does not have the luxury of rationality that is eventually irrational. Israel fights back, which is very much at odds with the Jewish instinct to discuss and deconstruct everything until action itself seems senseless. Israel, hell-bent on survival, has learned to shoot first – or, at least, second – and blow away the consequences. Whereas it actually hurts my feelings when someone says something nasty about Israel, or even the United States, for Israelis, this is just the way of the world: they probably manufacture their flags to be flammable.

So, it is quite difficult to be Jewish, on the sidelines of this international crisis. Or maybe it's just difficult to be Jewish. Before his death, the literary philosopher Jacques Derrida described the experience of living in the Jewish ghetto in Paris during the Nazi occupation: because Jews were not allowed to work or attend school, but had always been the most brilliant professors and teachers, this shtetl existence was gloriously intellectual and incandescent – the only problem was that they were stuck, imprisoned by their Jewishness. This, Derrida explained, is what it's like to be Jewish: to know everyone around you is gifted, and to wish you could find a way out. Jews pride themselves on the over two hundred Nobel Prizes the group has won; and Jews pride themselves on being told: "But you don't seem Jewish." Or better still: "You certainly don't look Jewish."

Judaism will be enmeshed in pride and shame for as long as it endures. But to endure as a country, Israel must shun both these tendencies.

I watch the pro-Palestinian rallies that have been staged in capitals across the globe, and I try to tell myself that these people are not against me, or even Israel; that they just are dismayed with all the violence. I tell myself, as Jean Renoir pointed out with such pellucid irony in The Rules of the Game, that everybody has their reasons. But here is what I finally know: with all the troubles in the world, with the terrible things that the Chinese do in Tibet, and do to their own citizens; with the horrors of genocide committed in Darfur by Sudanese Muslims; with all the bad things that Arab governments in the Middle East visit upon their own people – no need for Israel to have a perfectly horrible time – still, the focus is on what the Jews may or may not be doing wrong in Gaza. And it makes people angry and vehement as nothing else does. The vitriol it inspires is downright weird. But that makes sense, because antisemitism itself – creepy, dark, ancient and insidious – is, more than anything else, just plain weird.


Gaza war's outcome determined in first 4 minutes

January 19, 2009, 9:12 PM (GMT+02:00)

The Israel air force demolished two key Hamas war systems in the first 4 minutes of its massive offensive on Gaza Saturday morning, Dec. 27, DEBKAfile's military sources report. The bombers destroyed six mosques in Gaza City which held the terrorists' biggest weapons arsenals and scores of "beehives" containing launchers primed for the simultaneous, automatic release of hundreds of powerful rockets against Israeli cities.

These launchers were rigged for precision-targeting in Israeli town centers. They were operated by a unit of 300 special Hamas operatives trained for their mission at a Syrian military bases under the instruction of Hizballah rocket specialists.

The aerial offensive knocked out 80 percent of the rockets Hamas had prepared to launch and saved Israel's southern cities. The Palestinian Islamists were left only with inferior projectiles. Therefore, 98 percent of the hundreds o f missiles they managed to fire in the 22-day war missed their targets and exploded in open ground.

Answering questions about the extreme destruction wrought in Gaza and the high number of casualties – more than 1,300 - Israel commanders described combat conditions as the most complicated they had ever faced: Every second apartment building was booby-trapped and every third building concealed arms caches. Weapons were concealed under children's beds and in basements. Inside of fighting out in the open, Hamas gunmen by and large avoided engaging Israeli troops, relying on these death traps.

Monday, Jan. 19, the second day of the ceasefire, the second-echelon of the Hamas leadership emerged from their fortified bunkers after three weeks underground, claiming they had vanquished the Israeli enemy. The top leaders remained invisible. The homeless people picking their way through the rubble for their broken possessions were not exactly welcoming.


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Sent: Friday, January 09, 2009 9:32 AM
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Daily Mail,
5 January 2009

War is always terrible and to be avoided if humanly possible. War in Gaza, where Hamas terrorists are embedded within densely crowded areas, is particularly awful. No one wants to see civilians being killed. Every decent person will be dismayed that it has come to this. What is profoundly troubling, however, is that as the Israeli ground offensive escalates hostilities still further, so many in Britain don’t understand that, appalling as this war is, the alternative is even worse.

This is a war that Israel spent more than seven years trying to avoid, while no fewer than 6,000 rockets and other missiles rained down from Gaza upon its southern towns. No other country in the world would have sat on its hands while its traumatised children were raised in bomb shelters!

The often-made comparison with IRA terrorism spectacularly misses the point. Hamas actually run Gaza. The equivalent would have been the Irish government firing 6,000 rockets at England. Does anyone seriously doubt that, in such a hypothetical situation, Britain would have been at war with Ireland long before that total had been reached?

Far from acting out of political opportunism, as some so offensively suggest, Israel has taken massive risks on every front with this operation. A ground war almost certainly means many of its soldiers will die. If just one of its shells were to go astray and hit a school or hospital, a hostile western world would unleash the furies against it.

And in Lebanon, Hezbollah may launch its ferocious arsenal of rockets pointing at northern Israel, forcing it to fight on two fronts. But the brutal fact is that tiny, besieged Israel is damned if it does and dead if it doesn’t. While Arab countries such as Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia as well as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas blame Hamas for provoking this war, it is Israel which is drawing western protests. These are not confined to the thuggish demonstrations organised by an alliance of Islamists and the far-Left we have seen on the streets of London at the weekend. Many others also share the view that Israel is in the wrong. So why is a country under attack from genocidal fanatics pilloried for defending its citizens against slaughter?

The main complaint is that Israel’s response is ‘disproportionate’, since some 500 Palestinians have been killed compared with ‘only’ four Israelis (now eight!) since the war started nine days ago. This is absurd. In World War II, 20 times more civilians were killed in Germany than in Britain. Did that make the war against the Nazis ‘disproportionate’? Of course not.

Then there’s the belief that the Hamas rockets are some kind of homemade, harmless Dad’s Army effort which could and should be ignored. But the only reason more Israelis haven’t been killed by them is that in the south, the population has been all but living in bomb shelters. And there is nothing ‘homemade’ about the Russian-designed Katyushas and Iranian Grad rockets now putting around one-tenth of Israel’s population within their range.

Contrary to Arab propaganda, the Israelis are taking enormous pains to avoid civilian casualties in their attempt to curb these rocket attacks. The UN has confirmed that the vast majority (75 per cent) of the dead in Gaza have been Hamas terrorists. Given the huge number of bombing sorties that have been conducted, this proves that the Israelis are specifically targeting the Hamas infrastructure. Alas, the civilian death toll will unavoidably mount, which is deeply regrettable. But what must be understood is that Hamas have deliberately situated their weapons under apartment blocks, in mosques and in hospitals.

The Israelis build bomb shelters for their civilians; Hamas store bombs underneath their civilians in order to create as many civilian casualties as possible to manipulate world opinion. What people find so hard to grasp is that Hamas actually want to maximise the number of Palestinians who are killed because, as they boast: ‘We desire death as you desire life.’ Despite this fanaticism, many fear that Israel’s attack will merely create yet more suicide bombers. There is a grain of sense in this — but only a grain. This is because every single act of self-defence against Islamist aggression is used as a recruiting sergeant for the Islamic holy war. So if this is allowed to dictate world responses, it follows that no one can ever defend themselves against Islamist rockets and bomb attacks — not just in Israel but in Afghanistan or against Al Qaeda anywhere.

Islamists such as Hamas are galvanised into battle by the perceived weakness of their victims, and are deterred only by implacable strength. That’s why the ferocity of suicide bomb attacks actually rises after peace initiatives. Gaza’s rocket barrage against Israel went up by 500 per cent after Israel ended its occupation. And the 2000 Intifada which killed thousands of Israelis was the Palestinians’ response to being offered more than 90 per cent of the West Bank and Gaza for a state of their own. What is so distressing is the desperate unfairness of so much Western reaction. Thus Israel is accused of causing a humanitarian disaster in Gaza, even though it is allowing hundreds of trucks of supplies through the crossing points — so that at one stage aid agencies in Gaza said their storehouses were full. Few are aware that wounded Gazans — 65 per cent of whom voted for Hamas — are continuing to be treated in Israeli hospitals. Nor are they aware that in a Gaza hospital, by contrast, Hamas shot dead five suspected Palestinian ‘collaborators’ — and murdered a further 30 elsewhere. Killing 35 of their own civilians?!

The reason for this grotesquely unfair reaction is that so many in Britain now believe as fact the Arab lies about the Middle East impasse. Many think, for example, that the Palestinians are the rightful inheritors not just of Gaza and the West Bank but Israel itself. But this is totally false. The Jews are the only people for whom ‘Palestine’ was ever their nation state, hundreds of years before Mohammed was even born. It was in recognition of that inalienable right that in the 1920s the British undertook the legally binding international obligation — never rescinded — to settle Jews in every part of Mandatory Palestine. That included not just modern Israel but the West Bank and Gaza, too. Despite this, Israel is willing for the Palestinians to have their own state — as was first offered to them in 1937 — but not if its only purpose is to be a launching pad for the final destruction of its Israeli neighbour.

No other country on the planet has ever been expected to make suicidal concessions to its enemies even while they continue to try to destroy it. Yet that is what the world expects of Israel. Now the British Government, among others, has called for an immediate ceasefire. But this would effectively mean victory for Hamas. Gordon Brown wouldn’t dream of calling for a ceasefire with al Qaeda. So why the double standard where Israel is concerned? Most important of all, this war is not actually about Israel and the Palestinians. Hamas is controlled by Iran. Unless Hamas is stopped, Iran’s growing influence in the region will be entrenched and put Britain and the West in even greater danger from Islamist aggression and blackmail.Israel may or may not eventually manage to stop the Hamas rockets. But the Middle East conflict will not end until and unless the West comes to realise that Israel is in the frontline of the West’s own fight for survival, and starts properly defending the country struggling to defend civilisation instead of siding with those waging holy war against it.

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