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The disappearance of American will

by Speranza ( 157 Comments › )
Filed under China, Iran, Israel, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Syria at April 21st, 2014 - 7:00 am

Is there a more pathetic looking cabinet member than Chuck Hagel? Seriously, we would have been better off picking any random name out of the phone book and installing them in the Pentagon than having the drunken, incompetent, boob Hagel running the department.

by Caroline Glick

The most terrifying aspect of the collapse of US power worldwide is the US’s indifferent response to it.

In Europe, in Asia, in the Middle East and beyond, America’s most dangerous foes are engaging in aggression and brinkmanship unseen in decades.

As Gordon Chang noted at a symposium in Los Angeles last month hosted by the David Horowitz Freedom Center, since President Barack Obama entered office in 2009, the Chinese have responded to his overtures of goodwill and appeasement with intensified aggression against the US’s Asian allies and against US warships.

In 2012, China seized the Scarborough Shoal from the Philippines. Washington shrugged its shoulders despite its mutual defense treaty with the Philippines. And so Beijing is striking again, threatening the Second Thomas Shoal, another Philippine possession.

In a similar fashion, Beijing is challenging Japan’s control over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea and even making territorial claims on Okinawa.

As Chang explained, China’s recent application of its Air-Defense Identification Zone to include Japanese and South Korean airspace is a hostile act not only against those countries but also against the principle of freedom of maritime navigation, which, Chang noted, “Americans have been defending for more than two centuries.”

The US has responded to Chinese aggression with ever-escalating attempts to placate Beijing.

And China has responded to these US overtures by demonstrating contempt for US power.

Last week, the Chinese humiliated Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel during his visit to China’s National Defense University. He was harangued by a student questioner for the US’s support for the Philippines and Japan, and for opposition to Chinese unilateral seizure of island chains and assertions of rights over other states’ airspace and international waterways.

As he stood next to Hagel in a joint press conference, China’s Defense Chief Chang Wanquan demanded that the US restrain Japan and the Philippines.

In addition to its flaccid responses to Chinese aggression against its allies and its own naval craft, in 2012 the US averred from publicly criticizing China for its sale to North Korea of mobile missile launchers capable of serving Pyongyang’s KN-08 intercontinental ballistic missiles. With these easily concealed launchers, North Korea significantly upgraded its ability to attack the US with nuclear weapons.

As for Europe, the Obama administration’s responses to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and to its acts of aggression against Ukraine bespeak a lack of seriousness and dangerous indifference to the fate of the US alliance structure in Eastern Europe.

[…….]

Clearly not impressed by the US moves, the Russians overflew and shadowed the US naval ship. As Charles Krauthammer noted on Fox News on Monday, the Russian action was not a provocation. It was “a show of contempt.”

As Krauthammer explained, it could have only been viewed as a provocation if Russia had believed the US was likely to respond to its shadowing of the warship. Since Moscow correctly assessed that the US would not respond to its aggression, by buzzing and following the warship, the Russians demonstrated to Ukraine and other US allies that they cannot trust the US to protect them from Russia.

In the Middle East, it is not only the US’s obsessive approach to the Palestinian conflict with Israel that lies in shambles. The entire US alliance system and the Obama administration’s other signature initiatives have also collapsed.

After entering office, Obama implemented an aggressive policy in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere of killing al-Qaida operatives with unmanned drones. The strategy was based on the notion that such a campaign, that involves no US boots on the ground, can bring about a rout of the terrorist force at minimal human cost to the US and at minimal political cost to President Barack Obama.

The strategy has brought about the demise of a significant number of al-Qaida terrorists over the years. And due to the support Obama enjoys from the US media, the Obama administration paid very little in terms of political capital for implementing it.

But despite the program’s relative success, according to The Washington Post, the administration suspended drone attacks in December 2013 after it endured modest criticism when one in Yemen inadvertently hit a wedding party.

[……]

This week, jihadist websites featured an al-Qaida video showing hundreds of al-Qaida terrorists in Yemen meeting openly with the group’s second in command, Nasir al-Wuhayshi.

In the video, Wuhayshi threatened the US directly saying, “We must eliminate the cross,” and explaining that “the bearer of the cross is America.”

Then there is Iran.

The administration has staked its reputation on its radical policy of engaging Iran on its nuclear weapons program. The administration claims that by permitting Iran to undertake some nuclear activities it can convince the mullahs to shelve their plan to develop nuclear weapons.
[…..]

In a televised interview Sunday, Iran’s nuclear chief Ali Akhbar Salehi insisted that Iran has the right to enrich uranium to 90 percent. In other words, he said that Iran is building nuclear bombs.

And thanks to the US and its interim nuclear deal with Iran, the Iranian economy is on the mend.
[…….]

Rather than accept that its efforts have failed, the Obama administration is redefining what success means.

As Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz noted, in recent months US officials claimed the goal of the nuclear talks was to ensure that Iran would remain years away from acquiring nuclear weapons. In recent remarks, Secretary of State John Kerry said that the US would suffice with a situation in which Iran is but six months away from acquiring nuclear weapons.

In other words, the US has now defined failure as success.

Then there is Syria.

Last September, the US claimed it made history when, together with Russia it convinced dictator Bashar Assad to surrender his chemical weapons arsenal. Six months later, not only is Syria well behind schedule for abiding by the agreement, it is reportedly continuing to use chemical weapons against opposition forces and civilians. The most recent attack reportedly occurred on April 12 when residents of Kafr Zita were attacked with chlorine gas.

The growing worldwide contempt for US power and authority would be bad enough in and of itself. The newfound confidence of aggressors imperils international security and threatens the lives of hundreds of millions of people.

What makes the situation worse is the US response to what is happening. The Obama administration is responding to the ever-multiplying crises by pretending that there is nothing to worry about and insisting that failures are successes.

And the problem is not limited to Obama and his advisers or even to the political Left. Their delusional view that the US will suffer no consequences for its consistent record of failure and defeat is shared by a growing chorus of conservatives.

Some, like the anti-Semitic conservative pundit Patrick Buchanan, laud Putin as a cultural hero. [……]
.

Leaders like Sen. Ted Cruz who call for a US foreign policy based on standing by allies and opposing foes in order to ensure US leadership and US national security are being drowned out in a chorus of “Who cares?” Six years into Obama’s presidency, the US public as a whole is largely opposed to taking any action on behalf of Ukraine or the Baltic states, regardless of what inaction, or worse, feckless action means for the US’s ability to protect its interests and national security.

And the generation coming of age today is similarly uninterested in US global leadership.

During the Cold War and in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the predominant view among American university students studying international affairs was that US world leadership is essential to ensure global stability and US national interests and values.

Today this is no longer the case.

Much of the Obama administration’s shuttle diplomacy in recent years has involved sending senior officials, including Obama, on overseas trips with the goal of reassuring jittery allies that they can continue to trust US security guarantees.

These protestations convince fewer and fewer people today.

It is because of this that US allies like Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia, that lack nuclear weapons, are considering their options on the nuclear front.

It is because of this that Israeli officials are openly stating for the first time that the US cannot be depended on to either secure Israel’s eastern frontier in the event that an accord is reached with the Palestinians, or to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

It is because of this that the world is more likely than it has been since 1939 to experience a world war of catastrophic proportions.

There is a direct correlation between the US elite’s preoccupation with social issues running the narrow and solipsistic gamut from gay marriage to transgender bathrooms to a phony war against women, and America’s inability to recognize the growing threats to the global order or understand why Americans should care about the world at all.

And there is a similarly direct correlation between the growing aggression of US foes and Obama’s decision to slash defense spending while allowing the US nuclear arsenal to become all but obsolete.

America’s spurned allies will take the actions they need to take to protect themselves. Some will persevere, others will likely be overrun.

But with Americans across the ideological spectrum pretending that failure is success and defeat is victory, while turning their backs on the growing storm, how will America protect itself?

Read the rest - The disappearance of US will

 

Why Obama will not shift gears on foreign policy; and indivsible anti-Semitism

by Speranza ( 88 Comments › )
Filed under Anti-semitism, Cold War, History, Holocaust, Iran, Israel, Judaism, Koran, Libya, Palestinians, UK, World War II at March 19th, 2014 - 7:13 am

Miss Glick feels that Obama’s feckless foreign policy is motivated by his rather hostile feelings about America’s history both foreign and domestic.

by Caroline Glick

Just before Russian President Vladimir Putin orchestrated Russia’s takeover of Crimea, the US’s Broadcasting Board of Governors that controls Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty announced that it will be ending its broadcast to Iraq and the Balkans next year.

And this makes sense. As far as the Obama administration is concerned, Iraq ceased to exist in 2011, when the last US forces got out of the country.

As for the Baltics, well, really who cares about them? Russia, after all, wants the same things America does. Everything will be fine.

As Obama said to Governor Mitt Romney during one of the 2012 presidential debates, “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”

During the election, Obama was famously caught on an open microphone promising President Putin’s stand-in Dmitry Medvedev that he would have “more flexibility,” on missile defense after the presidential election.

He asked Medvedev to ask Putin to give him “more space” until after November 2012.

With a five-and-half-year record of selling US allies like Poland, the Czech Republic and even the Syrian opposition out to please Putin, it should be obvious that Obama will do nothing effective to show Putin the error of his ways in Ukraine.

Obama doesn’t have a problem with Putin.

And as long as Putin remains anti-American, he will have no reason to be worried about Obama.

Consider Libya. Three years ago this week, NATO forces supported by the US began their campaign to bring down Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

As Patrick Coburn noted in The Independent over the weekend, the same Western forces who insisted that their “responsibility to protect” the Libyan people from a possible massacre by Gaddafi’s forces compelled them to bring down Gaddafi and his regime have had nothing to say today about the ongoing bloodbath in post-Gaddafi Libya.

[……]

But Gaddafi, the neutered dictator who quit the terrorism and nuclear-proliferation rackets after the US-led invasion of Iraq, is gone. So no one cares.

Coburn mentioned the recent documentary aired on Al Jazeera – America that upended the West’s narrative that the bombing of Pan Am 103 in 1988 over Lockerbie, Scotland, was the work of the Libyan government. According to a credible Iranian defector, the attack was ordered by Iran and carried out by Palestinian terrorists from Ahmed Jibril’s PFLP-GC.

He wrote, “the documentary emphasizes the sheer number of important politicians and senior officials over the years who must have looked at intelligence reports revealing the truth about Lockerbie, but still happily lied about it.”

If the Al Jazeerah documentary is correct, there is good reason for the public in the US, Europe and throughout the world to be angry about the cover-up.

But there is no reason to be surprised.

Since its inception, the Iranian regime has been at war with the US. It has carried out one act of aggression after another. These have run the gamut from the storming of the US Embassy in Tehran and holding hostage US diplomats for 444 days, to the use of Lebanese and Palestinian proxies to murder US officials, citizens and soldiers in countless attacks over the intervening 35 years, to building a military presence in Latin America, to developing nuclear weapons.

[…….]
A similar situation obtains with the Palestinians. Like the Iranians, the PLO has carried out countless acts of terrorism that have killed US officials and citizens.

From the 1970 Fatah execution of the US ambassador and deputy chief of mission in Khartoum to the 2003 bombing of the US embassy convoy in Gaza, the PLO has never abandoned terrorism against the US.

No less importantly, the PLO is the architect of modern terrorism. From airline hijackings, to the massacre of schoolchildren, from bus bombings to the destabilization of nation states, the PLO is the original author of much of the mayhem and global terrorism the US has led the fight against since the 1980s.

And of course, the PLO’s main stated goal is the destruction of Israel, the US’s only dependable ally, and the only liberal democracy in the Middle East.

[…….]

In many ways, then the Obama administration is simply a loyal successor of previous administrations. But in one essential way, it is also different.

IN A 2006 op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, civil rights historian Shelby Steele argued that the reason the US has lost every war it has fought since World War II despite the fact that it has had the military might to vanquish all of its enemies is “white guilt.”

White guilt, he argued, makes its sufferers in the West believe that they lack the moral authority to act due to the stigma of white supremacy and imperialism.

Writing of the then raging insurgency in Iraq, Steele explained, “When America – the greatest embodiment of Western power – goes to war in Third World Iraq, it must also labor to dissociate that action from the great Western sin of imperialism. Thus in Iraq we are in two wars, one against an insurgency and the other against the past – two fronts, two victories to win, one military, the other a victory of dissociation.”

This neurotic view of America’s moral underpinning is what explains the instinctive American tendency to strike out at those who do not oppose the West – like Gaddafi’s regime in Libya and Hosni Mubarak’s regime in Egypt – while giving a pass to those who do – like the Palestinians and the Iranians.

But whereas white guilt has afflicted the US leadership for the past several generations, past administrations were willing to set it aside when necessary to advance US national security interests.

This cannot happen with Obama.

Obama owes his presidency to white guilt. His promise to American voters was that by voting for him, they would expiate their guilt for the sins of European imperialists and southern racists.

It was the American desire to move beyond the past that enabled a first-term senator with radical connections and the most liberal voting record in the Senate to get elected to the presidency.

But tragically for the US and the free world, Obama’s worldview is informed not by an appreciation for what Steele extolled as America’s “moral transformation,” on issue of race. Rather it is informed by his conviction that the US deserves its guilt.

Obama does not share Bill Clinton’s view that the US is “the indispensable nation,” although he invoked the term on the campaign trail in 2012.

From his behavior toward foe and friend alike, Obama gives the impression that he does not believe the US has the right to stand up for its interests.

Moreover, his actions from Israel to Eastern Europe to Egypt and Libya indicate that he believes there is something wrong with nations that support and believe in the US.

Their pro-Americanism apparently makes them guilty of white guilt by association.

So Iran, the Palestinians and Russia needn’t worry. Obama will not learn from his mistakes, because as far as he is concerned, he hasn’t made any.

Read the rest - Why Obama will not shift gears

Miss Glick feels that one cannot condemn anti-Semtism and the same time seek to demonize and harm the Jewish State. Hence she feels that the U.N. International Holocaust Memorial Day gives the world’s anti-Semites a fig leaf of “moral authority” to engage in virulent anti-Semitism.

by Caroline Glick

On March 19, it will be two years since Mohammed Merah slaughtered three Jewish children and a rabbi in the courtyard of the Ozar Hatorah Jewish day school in Toulouse, France.

Far from being a wake-up call that forced the French to their senses, and compelled them to purge their society of the Jew-hatred that inspired Merah to film himself blowing his victims’ brains out, his act served as an inspiration for other anti-Semites.

According to the French Interior Ministry, anti-Semitic attacks rose 60 percent in 2012 over 2011 levels.

Over the past decade and a half, anti-Semitism has moved from the backroom to the living room throughout Europe.

All aspects of Jewish life are under assault.

Religious observance has become an act of near rebellion against social graces.

In 2009, the British Supreme Court ruled that Jewish schools that followed religious tradition and only admitted children who have a Jewish mother were guilty of racial discrimination.

In other words, the British Supreme Court said that traditional Judaism is racist.

In country after country, campaigns to ban Jewish ritual practices are in full swing. Government after government has passed or moved toward passing bans on shechita, Jewish traditional slaughter of animals. Mila, infant male circumcision, is also under assault. Both, of course, are foundations of Jewish observance.

[…….]
Of course, even more popular than accusing Jews of subjecting cows and chickens to monstrous slaughter is the practice of accusing Jews of subjecting Palestinians to monstrous slaughter.

For Europe’s elite, radical and increasingly, violent anti-Zionism has become the anti-Semitism of choice. Among other things, anti-Zionists believe that Israel is inherently illegitimate and necessarily, and purposely, evil. For them, Israel is Nazi Germany.

And supporters of Israel are for them the greatest evildoers in the world. They should be accorded no courtesy, and be treated as human scum.

This has been made clear, most vividly in recent years on college campuses where pro-Israel supporters are run off campuses, shouted off stages and barred from presenting their views.

One recent episode of this sort occurred on March 5 at the National University of Ireland, Galway, where British professor Alan Johnson tried to speak in opposition to an initiative to get the university to join the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.

A YouTube video of the event showed how a mob of BDS supporters prevented him from speaking. They shouted curses at him and his colleagues and demanded they “get the f*** off our campus!” Writing of the experience and the hate movement that stands behind it in The Times of Israel, Johnson reported that the student leading the effort to silence him is the head of NUIG’s Palestine Solidarity Society named Joseph Loughnane.

[……..]

Johnson wrote that “the border between being radical and transgressive [toward Israel] and being anti-Semitic is now porous.”

Although accurate, Johnson’s assertion understates the problem.

Opposing Judaism and Jews, denying Jewish rights to education and ritual observance, and attacking Jews; and opposing the Jewish state, denying Jews their right to self-determination and attacking supporters of the Jewish state, are two sides of the same coin. There is no border – porous or solid between them. They are one and the same.

And all anti-Semites know it.

On Monday, The New York Times reported that attempts by French authorities to silence the anti-Semitic comic Dieudonne M’bala M’bala have backfired. The performer who invented and popularized the inverted Nazi salute has bridged the divide between French Muslim anti-Semites and French fascist anti-Semites.

The habit of Dieudonne’s fans to have their pictures taken at Jewish sites and Nazi death camps while performing the salute caused French officials to ban his public performances, arguing reasonably that his incendiary anti-Semitic incitement is a threat to public safety.

Rather than listen to authorities and recognize that Dieudonne’s actions are obscene, hateful and dangerous, the official ban on his performances has only raised his popularity. According to the Times, his most recent YouTube video had two million hits in its first week.

[………]
But this is not the real reason that the ban has backfired.

The ban backfired because the French don’t take the government seriously.

How can it be wrong for Frenchmen to parade through the streets of Paris ordering the Jews to leave the country, when the French government also trucks in anti-Semitism? How can French authorities’ 14-year defense of France 2 television network’s invention of the Muhammad al-Dura blood libel be squared with their denunciation of Dieudonne? It will be recalled that in October 2000, France 2’s Israel correspondent Charles Enderlain broadcast a story where he presented doctored footage that created the illusion Dura had been killed while crouching in fear, by venal IDF soldiers in Gaza. That doctored footage served as the impetus for massive anti-Semitic demonstrations, and murderous anti-Semitic attacks on Jews in Israel, throughout Europe and around the world.

In January 2006, Ilan Halimi was kidnapped and tortured to death because he was a Jew.

Despite the fact that during his 26 days in captivity Halimi’s kidnappers telephoned his mother 700 times, during which she heard the tortured cries of her son while his kidnappers recited verses from the Koran over the phone, French law enforcement officials insisted that Halimi’s abduction was a run-of-the-mill kidnapping for ransom, rather than an anti-Semitic hate crime. Consequently they refused to accept that his life was in danger, or that they should devote resources to finding and saving him.

And their denial of the nature of the crime didn’t end when Halimi turned up naked, at the railway siding, with burns over 80 percent of his body, only to die shortly thereafter.

It took French authorities another week to acknowledge that Halimi was murdered because he was a Jew.

Two years ago, French authorities tried to hide the fact that Merah was a Muslim, claiming instead that he was a Nazi. When they were finally forced to acknowledge the truth, they blamed Israel for his crime.

Speaking to reporters, then-French interior minister Claude Gueant said that Merah was associated with al-Qaida and that he was upset about what Gueant referred to as Israel’s “murder” of Palestinian children.

The 17,000 Frenchmen who marched through the streets of Paris on the eve of International Holocaust Memorial Day in January and called for the Jews to get out of France see through French authorities’ hypocrisy.

French and other European authorities who libel Israel by projecting onto the Jewish state the crimes committed by Muslim terrorists against Jewish children do not scare the likes of Dieudonne and his millions of supporters.

[……]

And they certainly are not convinced of the error of their ways.

The simple fact is that you cannot fight anti-Semitism by endorsing it. The only way you can fight anti-Semitism is by fighting all forms of anti-Semitism, including the demonization and delegitimization of Israel.

The European have good company in denying this basic fact. Senior American Jewish leaders similarly ignore it.

EARLIER THIS month, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee announced their opposition to state bills barring universities from using public funds to fund academic organizations that participate in boycotts against Israel. Bills of this type are being debated by the Maryland and New York state legislatures and are being drafted at the federal level by members of Congress.

Both groups claimed that they oppose the bills even though they oppose the BDS movement, because they claim that such actions limit academic freedom.

Three things stand out in their explanation.

First, preventing taxpayer money from being used to fund campaigns to demonize and criminalize Israel and so promote hatred of Jews has nothing to do with limiting academic freedom.

Second, the actions of BDS activists have nothing to do with academic freedom. By demonizing and intimidating students and faculty who oppose them, their aim is to end both free speech and academic freedom.

And conversely, fighting them advances both free speech and academic freedom.

Finally, it is simply bizarre that the ADL and the AJC felt compelled to weigh in on this issue to begin with. If they didn’t want to be associated with this action, they could have kept their mouths shut.

By entering the fray on behalf of the BDS movement, they gave legitimacy to it, despite their claims that they oppose anti-Israel boycotts.

Both the ADL and the AJC present themselves as among other things, Jewish civil rights groups that aim to defend Jews, including the Jewish state.

And yet, here they are making an artificial distinction between the two – a distinction not shared by the haters.

It is no doubt tempting to accept the artificial distinction between rejecting Israel’s right to exist and rejecting the right of Jews to practice Judaism. Doing so allows you to pretend that the problem isn’t as bad as it is, and to pretend that the fates of Israel and Jews of the Diaspora are not directly linked. It allows you to pretend that Jewish Americans who join the BDS movement are not anti-Semites. And it allows you to pretend that European leaders who minimize real anti-Semitic crimes by equating them with imaginary Israeli crimes are not inherently hostile to Jews.

But you cannot fight Jew-hatred by making distinctions between its various forms. They are all components of the same thing. And either you fight all of them, with no distinction, or you fight none of them, and even legitimize the bigotry.

Read the rest – Indivisible anti-Semitism

Virulent Turkish anti-Semitsm will not disappear with Erdogan

by Speranza ( 116 Comments › )
Filed under Al Qaeda, Anti-semitism, Gaza, Hamas, Iran, Islamists, Israel, Muslim Brotherhood, Turkey at February 21st, 2014 - 7:00 am

Appeasing the unappeasable is a fool’s errand. Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s anti-Semitsm has little to do with what Israel does but the fact that it exists as a Jewish nation. The fact is that Jew haters need no rational reason to hate Jews, it is just in their nature.

by Caroline Glick

Last Thursday, two Turkish businessmen stopped for lunch in a fish restaurant during a business trip to Edirne in the Babaeski region.

At some point during their meal, the restaurant owner figured out that they were Jews.

Rather than show them the hospitality Turkey is renowned for, he said he won’t serve Jews, and began cursing them and the Torah. He then took a long knife off the counter and threatened to kill them.

The men ran for their lives.

Anti-Semitic attacks have become regular events in Turkey. In December, after leaving an anti-corruption rally in Istanbul, a young woman was attacked by 10 to 15 supporters of Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan who had just left a support rally for the premier.

They accused her of being a Jew, as they beat her up.

In an interview with The Times of Israel, Turkish opposition MP Ayken Kerdemir said that Erdogan has cultivated Turkish anti-Semitism. “He is not only capitalizing on the existing sentiments, Kerdemir explained. Erdogan is “fueling some of that anti-Israel and anti-Semitic feeling… with his rhetoric, conspiracy theories, campaign slogans and actions.”

Kerdemir explained that Erdogan’s cultivation of anti-Semitism in Turkish society will continue to affect Turkey’s behavior and social values long after he is gone.  […..]

Once you let that genie out of the bottle, it is very hard to stuff it back inside.

Erdogan’s anti-Semitism is not opportunistic. He isn’t simply exploiting a popular prejudice for his own benefit. He is an anti-Semite. And his anti-Semitism informs his behavior toward Israel.

In Kerdemir’s view, Erdogan’s uncontrollable hatred of Jews makes it impossible for him to agree to reconcile Turkey’s relations with Israel.

As he put it, “Erdogan’s core values vis-à-vis Jews and Israel prevent him from dealing with this issue in a tolerant, embracing and sustainable way.”

Against this backdrop it should surprise no one that this week Erdogan sunk prospects for a renewal of Turkish ties with Israel.

Immediately after he took office 10 years ago, Erdogan began systematically downgrading Turkey’s strategic alliance with Israel. This process, which began gradually and accelerated after Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian elections, reached its peak in 2010.

In May 2010, Erdogan sponsored the pro-Hamas flotilla to Gaza whose aim was to undermine Israel’s lawful maritime blockade of the terrorist-controlled Gaza coast. The flotilla’s flagship, the Mavi Marmara, was controlled by the al-Qaida-aligned IHH organization. Its passengers included terrorists who, armed with iron bars, knives and other weaponry tried to kill IDF naval commandos when they boarded the Gaza-bound ship to enforce the blockade. […..]

Erdogan used the incident on the Mavi Marmara as a means of ending what remained of Turkey’s ties to Israel. For three years, he insisted that he would only restore full diplomatic relations if Israel ended its blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza, apologized for its forces’ actions on board the Mavi Marmara, and paid reparations to the families of the IHH terrorists killed in their assault on the IDF commandos.

In March 2013, Erdogan relented in his demand that Israel end the blockade and acceded to a reconciliation deal offered by US President Barack Obama in a three-way telephone call with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that took place during Obama’s visit to Israel.

Following the phone call, Netanyahu apologized for “operational errors,” by IDF sailors aboard the Mavi Marmara and offered to compensate the families.

[…..]

But just after Netanyahu made his required gesture of appeasement, Erdogan began delaying the talks, while continuing his anti-Semitic assaults.

Talks eventually did start. And according to Israeli sources, they were about to conclude this week.

Netanyahu was beginning to build political support for his decision to agree to Turkey’s demand for a massive $20 million settlement of claims against Israel by the dead terrorists’ families.

But then Erdogan walked away.

On Tuesday, Erdogan reinstated his initial demand that Israel must end its lawful naval blockade of terrorist-controlled Gaza before he restores ties to the Jewish state.

In many quarters of the Israeli media, Erdogan’s action was met with surprise. Reporters who for years have insisted that Israel can make the problem go away by bowing to Erdogan’s demands are stumped by his behavior.

[…..]

It isn’t simply that Erdogan cannot reconcile with Israel because he hates Jews. As is almost always the case with anti-Semites, Erdogan’s anti-Semitism is part of his general authoritarian outlook informed by a paranoid mindset.

Erdogan sees a Jewish conspiracy behind every independent power base in Turkey. And his rejection of Israel is an integral part of his rejection of all forces in Turkey that are not dependent on his good offices.

Over the past 10 years, and with ever increasing brutality, paranoia and intensity, Erdogan has sought to destroy all independent power bases in the country. He purged the military by placing hundreds of generals in prison in his delusional Ergenekon conspiracy in which they were accused of seeking to overthrow his Islamist government.

He has destroyed most of the independent media in the country and sent hundreds of journalists and editors to prison.

The same is the case with independent businessmen.

[…..]

This week, 17 people were sentenced to two years each in prison for “deliberately insulting the premier and not regretting their actions,” during a small demonstration in 2012 protesting the government’s health policy.

Also this week, Erdogan acknowledged that he calls television broadcasters in the middle of news shows and orders them to stop the broadcast of information he doesn’t want the public to know.

This has included ending the live broadcast of a speech in parliament by the opposition leader, ending coverage of the mass anti-government demonstrations last summer, and removing a news ticker that reported on the corruption scandals surrounding Erdogan and his cronies. [……]

To maintain the public’s support for his burgeoning dictatorship, Erdogan has adopted populist economic policies that have sunk the Turkish economy. To buy the public’s allegiance, Erdogan has borrowed heavily internationally and artificially lowered Turkey’s interest rates, even as the local currency dropped in value in international markets and Turkey’s current accounts deficits outpaced Greece’s on the eve of its economic meltdown.

As David Goldman explained last week in a financial analysis of Turkey’s incipient economic meltdown in The Asia Times, rather than raise consumer interests rates, Erdogan has blamed the Jews by railing against “the interest rate lobby.”

Indeed, since he first invoked the term during the anti-government demonstrations last August, Erdogan has taken to blaming the interest rate cabal for all of Turkey’s woes.

Goldman argues that part of Turkey’s credit crisis owes to its apparent reliance on interbank loans from Saudi Arabia. In part due to their anger at Erdogan for his support for the Muslim Brotherhood, the Saudis have apparently stopped loaning to Turkish banks.

The Saudis’ action has pushed Erdogan into the waiting arms of Iran’s ayatollahs. In an interview with Business Insider, Australia, terror financing expert Jonathan Schanzer said Turkey and Iran were able to minimize the impact of the international sanctions on Iran’s energy sector. […….]

Erdogan’s hatred of Jews, his authoritarian mindset and his Islamist ideology informed his decision to transform Turkey into one of the leading sponsors of terrorism. In addition to its massive support for Hamas, beginning in the 2006 First Lebanon War Turkey began providing assistance to Hezbollah.

Then there is al-Qaida. Turkey has long harbored al-Qaida financiers. And according to IDF Intelligence head Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Turkey hosts three al-Qaida bases on its territory that enable terrorists to transit between Europe and Syria.

Erdogan’s ideological underpinning directs his embrace of Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah and al-Qaida. But his decimation of Turkey’s economy has made him view Iran as Turkey’s economic savior. And that in turn pushes Turkey even deeper into the jihadist camp.

Obviously in this situation, the chances that Turkey will agree to reconcile with Israel, at any price, is inconceivable.

The surprise that many Israeli journalists have expressed over Erdogan’s seeming about-face on the reconciliation deal brings us to the larger lesson of his transformation of Turkey.

These journalists believe that Israel’s bilateral relations with other countries are based on tit for tat. If I do something to upset you, you will get upset. If I apologize and try to make things right, then you will be satisfied and everything will go back to normal.

This simplistic view of the world is attractive because it places Israel in a position of power. If the only reason that Turkey is mad at Israel is that Israel will not apologize for its response to Turkey’s illegal aggression, then Israel should apologize and pay whatever damages Erdogan demands.

Moreover, Israel should make Erdogan believe the sincerity of its apology by maintaining faith with the myth that he is a responsible actor on the world stage, rather than a prominent sponsor of terrorism and the hangman of Turkish democracy and economic prosperity.

Appeasement is a seductive policy because it is gives its purveyors a sense of empowerment. And at times, when faced with a simple, limited dispute it can work.

But Turkey’s rejection of Israel is not a linear response to a specific Israeli action. It is a consequence of the nature of Erdogan’s regime, and due to his anti-Semitic and anti-Israel incitement, it is increasingly a consequence of the nature of Turkish society.

Kerdemir argued that Turkish anti-Semitism does not necessitate a rejection of Jews and Israel. And that’s true.

The problem is that when anti-Semitism is tied to several other political and economic pathologies, as it is in the case of Turkey, it is impossible as a practical matter for any accommodation to be reached.

THE SWORD-WIELDING restaurateur who responded to the mere presence of Jewish diners in his establishment with murderous rage is no more exceptional than lynch mobs in Ramallah. And as Erdogan’s economic plight worsens and his embrace of Iran and jihadist groups tightens, Turkey’s behavior will only become more extreme, unappeasable and dangerous.

Read the rest-  Why Turkey is gone for good

Iranian trainer killed in Lebanon

by Rodan Comments Off
Filed under Al Qaeda, Headlines, Iran, Islamists, Syria at February 8th, 2014 - 1:18 am

Nusra Front threatened several weeks ago that their agents were in Lebanon ready to strike Hezbollah targets. As we have seen the last month, Hezbollah targets have been struck. Now a group calling itself the Free Sunni Baalbek Brigade killed an Iranian trainer stationed at a Hezbollah camp.

The “Free Sunni Baalbek Brigade” announced on Friday killing an Iranian military trainer in the Bekaa region.

“We claim responsibility for a heroic operation that targeted a top Iranian military trainer on Thursday at a drill camp,” the brigade said on its Twitter account, noting that the operation’s name is “in the heart of the enemy.”

It added: “The attack was carried out at a Hizbullah controlled site in the Hermel plains (in the Bekaa).”

The operation created an atmosphere of panic and confusion among party members, the statement remarked.

“Hizbullah is trying to conceal what had happened.”

This has Nusra Front written all over it.

In other Syrian War news, the US accuses Iran of playing a double game in the Syrian War.

BEIRUT: Tehran is assisting Al-Qaeda operatives based in Iran to transfer Sunni fighters to Syria, the Obama administration charged Thursday.

The accusation, detailed in new sanctions imposed by the U.S. Treasury Department targeting Iranian terror links, suggests Iranian officials are backing opposing sides in the Syrian civil war.

Olimzhon Adkhamovich Sadikov, described by the Treasury Department as an Iran-based Islamic Jihad Union facilitator who “operates there with the knowledge of Iranian authorities,” was designated for providing logistical support and funding to Al-Qaeda’s Iran-based network.

This is very interesting.

What we can learn from the twentieth century’s greatest diplomatic disaster – the Munich conference

by Speranza ( 152 Comments › )
Filed under Afghanistan, France, Germany, History, Iran, Iraq, Islam, Japan, John Kerry, Nazism, Syria, UK, World War II at January 16th, 2014 - 5:00 pm

As the author states, democracy was introduced into Japan and Germany at the point of a gun after those two nations were utterly devastated and had to submit to foreign occupations. No such thing has ever happened to any Islamic nation.  “Nation building” in Iraq and Afghanistan never had a chance in hell of succeeding. The analogies to Munich 1938 are interesting but often misleading.

by Bruce Thornton

During the recent foreign policy crises over Syria’s use of chemical weapons and the Obama administration’s negotiations with Iran, the Munich analogy was heard from both sides of the political spectrum. Arguing for airstrikes against Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, Secretary of State John Kerry warned that the nation faced a “Munich moment.” A few months later, numerous critics of Barack Obama’s diplomatic discussions with Iran evoked Neville Chamberlain’s naïve negotiations with Adolph Hitler. “This wretched deal,” Middle East historian Daniel Pipes said, “offers one of those rare occasions when comparison with Neville Chamberlain in Munich in 1938 is valid.” The widespread resort to the Munich analogy raises the question: When, if ever, are historical analogies useful for understanding present circumstances?

  what economic recovery
Photo credit: Anna Newman

Since the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans, one important purpose of describing historical events was to provide models for posterity. Around 395 B.C., Thucydides wrote that his history was for “those inquirers who desire an exact knowledge of the past as an aid to the understanding of the future, which in the course of human things must resemble if it does not reflect it.” [……..]

Both historians believed the past could inform and instruct the present because they assumed that human nature would remain constant in its passions, weaknesses, and interests despite changes in the political, social, or technological environment. As Thucydides writes of the horrors of revolution and civil war, “The sufferings . . . were many and terrible, such as have occurred and always will occur as long as the nature of mankind remains the same; though in severer or milder form, and varying in their symptoms, according to the variety of the particular cases.”  [………]

In contrast, the modern idea of progress––the notion that greater knowledge of human motivation and behavior, and more sophisticated technology, are changing and improving human nature––suggests that events of the past have little utility in describing the present, and so every historical analogy is at some level false. The differences between two events separated by time and different levels of intellectual and technological sophistication will necessarily outweigh any usefulness. [……]

An example of a historical analogy that failed because it neglected important differences was one popular among those supporting the Bush Doctrine during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Bush Doctrine was embodied in the president’s 2005 inaugural speech: “The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.” Promoting democracy and political freedom in the Middle East was believed to be the way to eliminate the political, social, and economic dysfunctions that presumably breed Islamic terrorism. Supporters of this view frequently invoked the transformation of Germany, Japan, and the Soviet Union from aggressive tyrannies into peaceful democracies to argue for nation building in the Muslim Middle East.

Natan Sharansky, a former Soviet dissident and political prisoner, used this analogy in his 2004 book The Case for Democracy, which was an important influence on President Bush’s thinking. Yet in citing the examples of Russia, Germany, and Japan as proof that democracy could take root in any cultural soil, including in Iraq and Afghanistan, Sharansky overlooked some key differences. Under Soviet communism, a highly religious Russian people were subjected to an atheist regime radically at odds with the beliefs of the masses. Communism could only promise material goods, and when it serially failed to do so, it collapsed. As for Germany and Japan, both countries were devastated by World War II, their cities and industries destroyed, the ruins standing as stark reminders of the folly of the political ideologies that wreaked such havoc. Both countries were occupied for years by the victors, who had the power and scope to build a new political order enforced by the occupying troops. As political philosopher Michael Mandelbaum reminds us, in Germany and Japan, democracy was introduced at gunpoint.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, neither of these important conditions existed when U.S. forces invaded. The leaders of these countries are Muslim, thus establishing an important connection with the mass of their people. Unlike Nazism and communism, which were political fads, Islam is the faith of 1.5 billion people, and boasts a proud, fourteen-centuries-long history of success and conquest. For millions of pious Muslims, the answer to their modern difficulties lies not in embracing a foreign political system like democracy, but in returning to the purity of faith that created one of the world’s greatest empires. Moreover, no Muslim country has suffered the dramatic physical destruction that Germany and Japan did, which would illuminate the costs of Islam’s failure to adapt to the modern world. Finally, such analogies downplay the complex social and economic values, habits, and attitudes––many contrary to traditional Islamic doctrine––that are the preconditions for a truly democratic regime.

More recently, people are invoking the Munich analogy to describe the Syria and Iran crises. But these critics of Obama’s foreign policy misunderstand the Munich negotiations and their context. The Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens, arguing that Obama’s agreement with Iran is worse than the English and French betrayal of Czechoslovakia, based his assessment on his belief that “neither Neville Chamberlain nor [French prime minister] Édouard Daladier had the public support or military wherewithal to stand up to Hitler in September 1938. Britain had just 384,000 men in its regular army; the first Spitfire aircraft only entered RAF service that summer. ‘Peace for our time’ it was not, but at least appeasement bought the West a year to rearm.”

Stephens, however, is missing an important historical detail that calls into question this interpretation. France in fact did have the “military wherewithal” to fight the Germans. The Maginot line had 860,000 soldiers manning it––nearly six times the number of Germans on the unfinished “Western Wall” of defensive fortifications facing the French—and another 400,000 troops elsewhere in France. Any move east by the French would have presented Germany with a two-front war it was not prepared to fight. Nor would Czechoslovakia have been an easy foe for Hitler. As Churchill wrote in The Gathering Storm, the Czechs had “a million and a half men armed behind the strongest fortress line in Europe [in the mountainous Sudetenland on Germany’s eastern border] and equipped by a highly organized and powerful industrial machine,” including the Skoda works, “the second most important arsenal in Central Europe.” Finally, the web of military agreements among England, France, Poland, and the Soviet Union was dependent on England backing France, which would not fight otherwise, and without the French, the Poles and the Soviets would not fight either. Had England lived up to its commitment to France, Hitler would have faced a two-front war against the overwhelming combined military superiority of the Allies. And he would have lost.

The lessons of Munich, and its value as a historical analogy, have nothing to do with a material calculation. Rather, the capitulation of the British and the French illustrates the perennial truth that conflict is about morale. On that point Stephens is correct when he writes that Chamberlain and Daladier did not have “public support,” and he emphasizes the role of morale in foreign policy. A people who have lost the confidence in the goodness of their way of life will not be saved by the material superiority of arms or money. And, as Munich also shows, that failure of nerve will not be mitigated by diplomatic negotiations. Talking to an enemy bent on aggression will only buy him time for achieving his aims. Thus Munich exposes the fallacy of diplomatic engagement that periodically has compromised Western foreign policy. Rather than a means of avoiding the unavoidable brutal costs of conflict, diplomatic words often create the illusion of action, while in reality avoiding the necessary military deeds. For diplomacy to work, the enemy must believe that his opponent will use punishing force to back up the agreement.

This truth gives force to the Munich analogy when applied to diplomacy with Iran. Hitler correctly judged that what he called the “little worms” of Munich, France and England, would not use such force, and were only looking for a politically palatable way to avoid a war. Similarly today, the mullahs in Iran are confident that America will not use force to stop the nuclear weapons program. Iran’s leaders are shrewd enough to understand that the Obama administration needs a diplomatic fig leaf to hide its capitulation to their nuclear ambitions, given his doubts about the rightness of America’s global dominance, and the war-weariness evident among the American people.  [……..]

The weakening faith in American goodness that afflicts millions of Americans, and the use of diplomacy to camouflage that failure of nerve and provide political cover for the leaders charged with protecting our security and interests, are a reprise of England and France’s sacrifice of Czechoslovakia in 1938. That similarity and the lessons it can teach about the dangers of the collapse of national morale and the risky reliance on words rather than deeds are what continue to make Munich a useful historical analogy.

Read the rest - The lessons of Munich

 

US and Iran both helping the Iraqi Regime

by Rodan ( 2 Comments › )
Filed under Al Qaeda, Headlines, Iran, Iraq at January 6th, 2014 - 11:24 pm

The US and Iran are both helping the Shia Regime of Iraq fight Anbar Tribal Fighters and al-Qaeda’s Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham.

TEHRAN — Even as the United States and Iran pursue negotiations on Tehran’s nuclear program, they find themselves on the same side of a range of regional issues surrounding an insurgency raging across the Middle East.

While the two governments quietly continue to pursue their often conflicting interests, they are being drawn together by their mutual opposition to an international movement of young Sunni fighters, who with their pickup trucks and Kalashnikovs are raising the black flag of Al Qaeda along sectarian fault lines in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen.

The United States, reluctant to intervene in bloody, inconclusive conflicts, is seeing its regional influence decline, while Iraq, which cost the Americans $1 trillion and more than 4,000 lives, is growing increasingly unstable.

At the same time, Shiite-dominated Iran, the magnetic pole for the Shiite minority in the region, has its own reasons to be nervous, with the ragtag army of Sunni militants threatening Syria and Iraq, both important allies, and the United States drawing down its troops in Afghanistan.

Why are we taking sides in the Iran vs. al-Qaeda fight? This is a fight between 2 evil forces who when allied, have killed thousands through terror. This is just a disgrace that we are getting involved in a terror fight.

The big question is what the US will do next time Israel and Hezbollah fight?

Al-Qaeda threatens Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps commander

by Rodan ( 4 Comments › )
Filed under Al Qaeda, Hezballah, Iran, Islam, Islamic Terrorism, Special Report at January 3rd, 2014 - 12:08 am

Once upong a time, al-Qaeda and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps were allies. With their offshoots Nusra Front and Hezbollah engaged in a death match in Syria, it was only a matter of time before the parent organization would turn on each other. Al-Qaeda struck first with their bombings of the Iranian embassy in Beirut. Now they up the ante and are threatening to strike Iran itself and kill the leader of the IRGC, Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Al Qaeda said that it is planning to assassinate Iran’s top military general, underscoring tensions in the rocky relationship between Tehran and the global terror network.

Al Qaeda claimed in a recent statement to have sent two of its terrorist forces into Iran with the goal of killing Qassem Soleimani, the general of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

“We will not assassinate the commander of Iran’s Quds Force by gunshots, but we intend to kill him by a suicide attack,” al Qaeda was reported to have said in a late December statement reported on in the Iranian state-run media.

It remains unclear who in al Qaeda issued the reported statement.

Grab the popcorn and enjoy the festivities on Islamic vs. Islamic violence.

 

 

John Kerry’s security guarantees are about as useful as a three dollar bill

by Speranza ( 85 Comments › )
Filed under Egypt, Gaza, IDF, Iran, Israel, John Kerry, Palestinians at December 26th, 2013 - 8:40 am

Netanyahu knows that Obama/Kerry/Brennan/Hagel are not exactly great friends of the Jewish State and therefore he needs to play “rope-a-dope” with this administration until hopefully the American people will put into office someone who sees the world as it is rather then as it ought to be.

by Caroline Glick

Like his supporters, US Secretary of State John Kerry has apparently been asleep for the past 20 years.

Kerry has proffered us security arrangements, which he claims will protect Israel from aggression for the long haul. They will do this, he argues, despite the fact that his plan denies the Jewish state physically defensible borders in the framework of a peace deal with the PLO.

There are several serious problems with Kerry’s arrangements. But in the context of Kerry’s repeated claims that his commitment to Israel’s security is unqualified, their most glaring flaws are rooted in their disregard for all the lessons we have learned over the past two decades.

Kerry’s security arrangements rest on three assumptions. First, they assume that the main threats Israel will face in an era of “peace” with the Palestinians will emanate from east of the Jordan River. The main two scenarios that have been raised are the threat of terrorists and advanced weaponry being smuggled across the border; and a land invasion or other type of major aggression against Israel, perpetrated by Iraqis moving across Jordan.

It is to fend off these threats, Kerry argues, that he would agree to a temporary deployment of Israeli forces in the Jordan Valley even after Israel expels all or most of the 650,000 Israeli civilians who live in Judea, Samaria and eastern, northern and southern Jerusalem.

We will consider the strategic wisdom of his plans for defending Israel from threats east of the Jordan River presently. But first we need to ask whether a threat from across the border would really be the only significant threat that Israel would face after surrendering Judea, Samaria and much of Jerusalem to the PLO.

The answer to this question is obvious to every Israeli who has been awake for the past 20 years, since Israel started down the “land for peace” road with the PLO. The greatest threat Israel will face in an era of “peace” with the Palestinians will not come from east of the Jordan. It will come from west of the Jordan – from the Jew-free Palestinian state.

[…….]

There is no peace camp in Palestinian society. There are only terrorist organizations that compete for power and turf. And to the extent there are moderates in Palestinian society, they are empowered when Israel is in control, and weakened when Israel transfers power to the PLO. Back in halcyon 1990s, Israeli supporters of “land for peace” told us, “It’s better to be smart than right.”

By this they meant that for peace, we should be willing to give up our historical homeland, and even our eternal capital, despite the fact that they are ours by legal and historic right. That peace, they promised, would protect us, neutralize the threat of terrorism and make the entire Arab world love us.

Over the past 20 years, we learned that all these wise men were fools. Even as the likes of Tom Friedman and Jeremy Ben Ami continue to tell us that the choice is between ideology – that is, Jewish rights and honor – and peace, today we know that they are full of it.

Our most peaceful periods have been those in which we have been fully deployed in Judea and Samaria. The more fully we deploy, the more we exercise our legal and national rights to sovereign power in those areas, the safer and more peaceful Israeli and Palestinian societies alike have been.

The only way to be smart, we have learned, is by being right. The only way to secure peace is by insisting that our rights be respected. We won’t get peace for land. We will get war – not from the Iraqis or anyone else to our east, but from the Palestinians. And since the Palestinians are the people Kerry is intending to empower with his peace plan and his security arrangements, both his peace plan and his security arrangements are deeply dangerous and hostile.

[……]

But this is ridiculous. When Israel withdrew from the international border between Gaza and Egypt, it wrongly assumed two things – first, that the regime of Hosni Mubarak would always be in power, and second, that Mubarak’s regime would secure the border.

In the event, Mubarak, Israel’s peace partner, did not secure the border. According to then Shin Bet director Yuval Diskin, in the three months after Israel withdrew from Gaza in August 2005, the Palestinians smuggled more weapons into the Gaza Strip from Egypt than they had in the previous 38 years, when Israel controlled the border.

And of course Mubarak did not remain in power. He was replaced by the Muslim Brotherhood.

While it is true that for now, the Egyptian military has wrested control over the country from the Muslim Brotherhood, and is reportedly cooperating with Israel in the Sinai, there is no reason to assume that the present conditions will prevail.

Kerry’s security arrangements along the Jordan Valley are predicated on two similarly dim-witted notions. First, that the Hashemite regime will remain in power forever. And second, that the Hashemites will want to protect the border forever.

Given the instability of the Arab world as a whole and the fact that the overwhelming majority of Jordanians are Palestinians, the most likely scenario is that the Hashemites will be overthrown at some point in the eminently foreseeable future.

Moreover, even if King Abdullah II manages to remain in power, his children are half Palestinian. So even if the Hashemites remain in power, there is no reason to believe that their commitment to peace with Israel will be maintained over time.  [………..]

The third foundation of Kerry’s security arrangements is that Israel can trust America’s security guarantees.

This position of course was completely discredited by the nuclear deal that Kerry and President Barack Obama have concluded with Iran, which paves the way for the genocidal Islamic Republic to acquire nuclear weapons.

After the Iran deal, only the most reckless and irresponsible Israeli leaders could take American security guarantees at face value.

Israelis frustrate the land-for-peace processors from Washington because we have actually been awake for the past 20 years. And we refuse forget what we know.

Land for peace was killed by Palestinian terrorists.

Jordan is not forever.

And US security guarantees are about as useful as a three dollar bill.

Read the rest - Kerry’s oh-so 90’s security nonsense

Musings from a Prague winter

by Speranza ( 231 Comments › )
Filed under Anti-semitism, Communism, History, Holocaust, Iran, Israel, John Kerry, Judaism, Nazism, World War II at December 12th, 2013 - 12:00 pm

Even the most casual visitor to Prague senses the melancholy that seeps from its very stones. The beauty of the city intensifies the sadness. The 20th century was cruel to the Czech lands.

by David Horovitz

PRAGUE — To visit Prague from Jerusalem in the dying days of 2013 is to grapple with a potent historical concoction.

Days before we leave, the leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has publicly branded my country the “sinister, unclean rabid dog of the region” and declared that we Israelis “cannot be called human beings.”

Evidently unperturbed by the vicious rhetoric, deaf or indifferent to its echoes from the genocidal days of Nazi-dominated Europe, world leaders have later that very same day entered negotiations with Khamenei’s representatives. And they have emerged not long afterwards with what gives every appearance of being a shoddy, inadequate accord that, for the first time, legitimizes Iranian enrichment of uranium — paving the way, at improbable best, for Iran to become a nuclear threshold state; at more likely worst, for Iran to defy the tired, indulgent international community and became a full-fledged nuclear power.

The deal is dreadful, the timing and the celebrations among the foreign ministers in Geneva frankly sickening. Khamenei publicly dehumanizes the Jews on Wednesday. By early Sunday, the world’s powers have signaled that he may gain the tools to expedite our destruction, and have warmly embraced his foreign minister for deigning to accept their capitulation.

And so to the capital of the Czech Republic, 75 years after the Czechs were betrayed by the world’s powers in slightly different constellation, a young nation handed over to the Nazis. Take this, just don’t come after the rest of us. Please, Herr Hitler.

When they’d first negotiated their parameters a mere two decades earlier, Czechoslovakia’s strategists had worried about how to protect so small a country in so treacherous and central a geostrategic position — for their new republic, at the seething heart of post-World War I Europe, was just 600 miles long and 150 miles wide at some points, barely half that at others. These, their diplomats had argued, were barely defensible borders. It’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry reading back over those discussions, when you’re living in a country nine miles wide at its narrowest point.

In the event, a combination of British and French perfidy, and their own uncertain leadership, meant the Czechs did not so much as attempt to defend themselves in the face of Hitler’s rapacious ambition. They had Europe’s 6th largest army at the time. It was deployed and eager for battle. The order never came.

From left to right: Chamberlain, Daladier, Hitler, Mussolini, and Ciano pictured before signing the Munich Agreement, which gave the Sudetenland to Germany. (photo credit: German Federal Archives / Wikipedia)

Bill Clinton’s secretary of state Madeleine Albright, born in Prague a year before Neville Chamberlain signed the Munich Agreement with Hitler that doomed her native land, bitterly charts the despicable sellout in “Prague Winter,” a fine and fascinating book that melds personal memoir with Czechoslovakia’s 1937-48 story. She writes, of the 1938 Munich surrender, and the British prime minister’s inability to recognize Hitler’s evil, that “in Chamberlain’s universe, people might be flawed, but they worried about their souls and did not set out to do monstrous things.”

Flash forward three-quarters of a century, sit in the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, and pray that it would be false, false, false, to substitute Obama’s name for Chamberlain’s in that sentence.

***

Two thousand Jews live in Prague today — officially. Unofficially, there may be as many as 10,000. A large proportion apparently prefer to eschew formal affiliation with the community. Why on earth would they do that, when officials argue that Prague is perhaps the best place in Europe to be Jewish these days?

Part of the answer is written on the walls of the Pinkas Synagogue, founded by one of my illustrious Horovitz ancestors almost 480 years ago. The nearby Old-New Synagogue is the oldest in Europe — dating back to the 13th century, replete with a wooden, Star of David-topped chair named for the community’s preeminent 16th century scholar and mystic Rabbi Judah Loew, widely known as the Maharal of Prague — and the oldest still in use outside of Israel. They don’t pray in the Pinkas shul anymore. They lament. For on its walls are inscribed the names of 80,000 Czech Jews murdered by the Nazis.

Endless rows of victims' names, inscribed on the walls of the Pinkas synagogue (photo credit: Courtesy)

The endless rows of Jews’ names were first rendered in the late 1950s. But after the Soviet Union was allowed to crush Czechoslovakia’s bid to break free of Communist domination in 1968 — the second betrayal — Moscow had the memorial destroyed.

[……….]

***

Jews here over the centuries, at the mercy of their national hosts, suffered their characteristic horrors interspersed with periods of relative calm. For more than 300 years, from the early 1400s through to 1787, they were barred from burying their dead anywhere outside the designated Jewish cemetery. An estimated 12,000 tombstones remain in the Old Jewish Cemetery now, including that of Rabbi Loew, but the body count is far higher — perhaps 200,000. Hopelessly short of space, the community laid its graves one on top of the other; ten deep in places. The level of the ground inside the cemetery walls is markedly higher than on the road alongside.Rabbi Loew's tombstone in Prague's Old Jewish Cemetery (photo credit: MKPiekarska/Wikipedia)

Unique among former centers of Jewish life in Nazi-occupied Europe, Prague’s Jewish ghetto survives to this day in part because it escaped bombing by the Allies, but mainly because the Nazis apparently intended to maintain the site as a “Museum Of An Extinct Race” — a memorial to the proud genocide that finally rid the world of the historical scourge of Judaism.

You visit the cemetery, with its desperate mash of crammed and crumbling tombstones. You read the names of the Nazis’ victims in the adjacent Pinkas shul. You head next to the Ceremonial Hall, which presents in nauseatingly excessive detail the activities of the Prague Jewish Burial Society. You watch the flow of politely interested gentile tourists, and you imagine them thinking to themselves, “Ah, how interesting, so these were the Jews. Ah, I see, this is how they lived.” And you have to suppress the urge to scream that, “No, we’re not all dead. We’re still here.” Still thriving, actually. And still threatened.

The 20th century’s two betrayals resonate, profoundly, in the psyche of the modern Czech Republic, Kraus believes. But 1968 had an inevitability. The US had liberated its third of the former Czechoslovakian Republic at the end of World War II, and gone, ultimately leaving the country under Soviet domination, and Moscow was not about to allow it to break free. In 1938, by contrast, the Czech boasted alliances, treaties, solemn pledges of military assistance. All of which proved empty.

For the reviving Czechoslovakia after World War II, Israel’s insistent 1948 fight for life, such a contrast to their undignified surrender a decade earlier, was particularly admirable. There were also Jews in high places in the new Czech leadership, returned refugees from Moscow and London. Misidentifying modern Israel as a potential Communist foothold in the Middle East, Moscow too smiled upon the nascent Jewish state. All that together helps explain Czechoslovakia’s affirmative response to beleaguered Israel’s War of Independence pleas for military assistance — in the form of crucial fighter planes, arms, spare parts, and the training of pilots.

Decades later, perceived parallels of small gutsy nations surrounded by enemies again help explain why today’s Czech Republic is arguably Israel’s biggest supporter in Europe; it was the only European country to vote with Israel, the US, Panama and four Pacific island states against the accession of “Palestine” to the status of nonmember observer state at the UN in 2012.  […….]

[…….]

German troops hold a military parade in Prague's Wenceslas Square, March 19, 1939. (photo credit: AP)

No. It did not require hindsight to realize that appeasement would not stop Hitler. Just the kind of willingness that Chamberlain lacked and Churchill possessed to honestly assess a deeply unpalatable reality. And not only did appeasement fail to stop the Nazis, it also made matters a great deal easier for them. Losing no time and no lives in the conquest of Czechoslovakia, they commandeered the Czech army’s invaluable weaponry, and rolled murderously forward.

***

Madeleine Albright is not the only US secretary of state to have learned late in life that her origins were Jewish. In Albright’s case, both parents were Jews — later converting to Roman Catholicism — and many of her relatives were killed in the Holocaust.

Madeleine Albright (photo credit: US State Department)

As I’m leaving Kraus’s office, and he’s urging me to read Albright’s “Prague Winter,” he happens to mention that the biography of the current secretary of state, John Kerry, is not dissimilar — that Kerry’s grandfather was Jewish, born Fritz Kohn, southeast of here in Moravia. Growing up in increasingly anti-Semitic Vienna, Fritz and his older brother Otto converted to Roman Catholicism and then, in 1901, Fritz Kohn changed his name, to Fred Kerry.

Turns out there’s more to the story. Grandpa Fritz/Fred also married a Jew, a musician named Ida Loewe, and she too converted to Catholicism.

If that family name rings a bell it’s because Ida Loewe was a descendant of the same family as Prague’s luminary Rabbi Judah Loew — buried right here in the Old Jewish Cemetery. So Secretary Kerry can trace his roots to one of Jewish history’s most eminent Kabbalists.

John Kerry is sworn in as secretary of state by Justice Elena Kagan, Feb 1, 2013 (photo credit: US State Department)

Not all of Ida’s family escaped their religion, or the Nazis. Two of Kerry’s grandmother’s siblings, Otto and Jenni, were killed in concentration camps, just around the period that, at Fitzsimons Army Hospital in Aurora, Colorado, Rosemary and Richard Kerry were celebrating the birth of their second child, and first son.

***

Ancestry on my mind, my wife, daughter and I take the 40-minute train journey from Prague to Horovice. Unlike our previous roots trip two years ago to Frankfurt — where my great-grandfather had founded the Borneplatz Synagogue in 1882, and where it was burned down on Kristallnacht 56 years later — our two sons cannot join us this time. They are protecting their country now, one in the north, the other in the south.

A vestige of Judaism at Horovice's former synagogue, now a church (photo credit: Times of Israel staff)

[………]

An early 20th century shul building remains, built hundreds of years after my ancestors had moved to Prague. It’s been turned into an Evangelical Church.

***

Panoramic view of Prague (Photo credit: DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0)

We walk south through the Czech capital, on an unremarkably freezing cold December day, to the church of St. Cyril and St. Methodius.

Reinhard Heydrich (photo credit: German Federal Archives/Wikipedia)

It’s getting dark and it’s easy to miss the memorial plaque above a bullet-scarred section of the church’s outer wall facing Resslova Street. Here is where, on June 18, 1942, hundreds upon hundreds of SS troops attempted to extricate seven Czech soldiers who had taken refuge in the church after assassinating Reinhard Heydrich — the Reich-Protector of Bohemia and Moravia (the occupied Czech Republic) and prime architect of the Holocaust. (He chaired that year’s Wannsee Conference, which formalized the Final Solution.)

Members of the Czech army-in-exile who had been airlifted in from the UK, the parachutists had killed a demonic figure, beloved by Hitler as “the man with an iron heart,” in an operation of astounding daring as Heydrich was being driven to his headquarters at Prague Castle on the morning of May 27. (The attack very nearly failed, when the submachine gun used by Jozef Gabcik, the principal gunman, jammed; his colleague Jan Kubiš then threw a modified anti-tank bomb at the car, fatally wounding Heydrich.) And the soldier-assassins had ended up here, surrounded and with no means of escape.

Jozef Gabčík (photo credit: Wikipedia Commons)

Three of them died in gunbattles high in the church; the remaining four killed themselves in the crypt after resisting tear-gassing and flooding, and fighting off the SS troops, for hours.

Jan Kubiš (photo credit: Wikipedia Commons)

The bronze memorial lists their seven names along with that of Bishop Gorazd, the clergyman who had earlier asked that the assassins take refuge elsewhere, but told the Nazis he took personal responsibility for their being there. Gorazd was arrested, tortured and executed by Nazi firing squad, along with the church’s priests and lay leaders.

The immediate consequences of the killing of Heydrich were devastating. An estimated 5,000 Czechs were murdered in reprisals ordered by Hitler; the entire village of Lidice, falsely implicated in the plot, was liquidated and razed. But the bullying Nazis’ veneer of invulnerability had been smashed, an incalculably valuable achievement.

The massacre at Lidice (photo credit: Wikipedia Commons)

That single act emphatically did not turn the tide of the war (though the brutality of the reprisals finally brought home Hitler’s unlimited capacity for evil to some in the international community). But there’s no telling what impact the ruthless, cold-hearted Heydrich might have had in restraining some of Hitler’s increasingly deranged military strategies as the war continued, and thus whether his presence might have prolonged the Nazi nightmare.

The memorial to Heydrich's assassins at the Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius (photo credit: Blanicky/Wikipedia Commons)

The assassination had been approved by the Czech government-in-exile in London — a belated assertion of sovereign responsibility and determination. It was a moment in which the Czechs demonstrably fought back, stood up to their aggressors, and said no to the Nazi emissary who had declared, on his appointment the previous September, his intention to “Germanize the Czech vermin.”

Heydrich had traveled in an open Mercedes convertible because he knew nobody would dare to tangle with him. They dared.

Read the rest - Ancestry, guts and betrayal: Musings from a  Prague winter

Farsi, Farce-y, What’s In a Word?

by 1389AD ( 133 Comments › )
Filed under Barack Obama, Iran, Nuclear Weapons, Open thread at December 9th, 2013 - 3:00 pm
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