ISRAEL’S EXISTENTIAL THREATS: MILITARY (IRAN, HAMAS, ETC…), DIPLOMATIC (BDS, UN) & POLITICAL (OBAMA?)

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication.

 

The New Government’s War on BDS: Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, June 9, 2015— Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government is less than a month old, but it’s already apparent that it is different from its predecessors.

Curbing the Self-Loathing Jewish Defamers of Israel: Isi Leibler, Candidly Speaking, May 19, 2015 — Most of us are thoroughly exasperated with the obnoxious Jewish deviants who are demonizing Israel with their global campaigns, falsely defaming the IDF as monsters and war criminals.

Attorneys at War: Willy Stern, Weekly Standard, June 10, 2015 — For three straight days starting on July 15, 2014, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) made thousands of phone calls to the residents of Shejaiya in northern Gaza.

Boost the Defense Budget: David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom, Apr. 24, 2015 — Israel's military urgently needs an infusion of cash. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the apparently incoming Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon must significantly boost the defense budget, despite other priorities.

 

On Topic Links

 

Watch: New IAI Suicide Drone Destroys Target: Yael Klein, Jerusalem Online, June 7, 2015

Col. Richard Kemp: The IDF Is Like No Other Army: Breaking Israel News, May 6, 2015

The New Knesset’s National Paralysis List: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Breaking Israel News, May 3, 2015

Israel’s New Rightist Government Takes a Startlingly Centrist Turn: Haviv Rettig Gur, Times of Israel, June 7, 2015

 

                            

THE NEW GOVERNMENT’S WAR ON BDS

Caroline B. Glick                                                                                                         

Jerusalem Post, June 9, 2015

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government is less than a month old, but it’s already apparent that it is different from its predecessors. And if it continues on its current diplomatic trajectory, it may do something that its six predecessors failed to accomplish. Netanyahu’s new government may improve Israel’s position internationally.

 

The stakes are high. Over the years, Israel has largely concentrated its efforts on developing the tools to contend with its military challenges. But as we have seen over the past decade and a half, Israel’s capacity to fight and defeat its enemies is not limited principally by the IDF’s war-fighting capabilities. Israel’s ability to defend itself and its citizens is constrained first and foremost by its shrinking capacity to defend itself diplomatically. Its enemies in the diplomatic arena have met with great success in their use of diplomatic condemnation and intimidation to force Israel to limit its military operations to the point where it is incapable of defeating its enemies outright.

 

The flagship of the diplomatic war against Israel is the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Participants in the movement propagate and disseminate the libelous claim that Israel’s use of force in self-defense is inherently immoral and illegal. Over the years BDS activists’ assaults on Israel’s right to exist have become ever more shrill and radical. So, too, whereas just a few years ago their operations tended to be concentrated around military confrontations, today they are everyday occurrences. And their demands become greater and more openly anti-Semitic from week to week and day to day.

 

Consider the events of the past seven days alone. Late last week Israel fended off a major international effort led by Palestinian Authority Soccer Federation chairman and former terrorist chief Jibril Rajoub to expel it from the Fédération Internationale de Football Association. Not only is Rajoub a man with blood on his hands. The Fatah luminary is admired by the Israeli far-Left while also being a favorite of Qatar, the chief state sponsor of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. Rajoub is sympathetically inclined toward enabling Hamas in Gaza to expand its presence in Judea and Samaria.

 

Before the government had a chance to sigh in relief that FIFA was settled, Britain’s National Union of Students voted to join the BDS movement. This means that the anti-Israel demonstrations and assaults that take place several times a week at Britain’s universities will now take place under the NUS banner. Also Wednesday, the French telecom giant Orange’s CEO Stéphane Richard told reporters in Cairo that he wishes to cut off his contract with Israel’s Partner telecommunications company, one of Israel’s largest cellular telephone services providers. Richard was apparently coerced into making his statement by the Egyptian BDS movement which has threatened to boycott Orange’s subsidiary in Egypt due to its contract with Partner.

 

Tuesday it was reported that last month the Dutch government issued a travel advisory to its citizens traveling in Israel. In an act of anti-Jewish inversion now common in the Western discourse about Israel and its enemies, the Dutch government warned that Jews in Judea and Samaria constitute a threat to Dutch travelers because they throw stones “toward Palestinian and foreign vehicles.” In the US, the Anti-Defamation League reported that this past academic year there was a 38 percent rise in anti-Israel events on college campuses over the previous year. The number of BDS campaigns doubled over the previous academic year. By ADL’s count, there were 520 anti-Israel events on campuses. BDS campaigns were initiated on 29 campuses…

 

The time has come, then, for Israel to take the wheels off the wagon. For the past dozen years or so, pro-Israel activists in the US in particular have been fighting an uphill, lonely battle against the organizations promoting the BDS movement. Among their top complaints has been the constant refrain that the Israeli government has undermined their actions by standing silent or denying what was happening or treating Israel’s defenders as the moral equivalents of its adversaries. To some degree, the reticence of the Foreign Ministry was understandable. The BDS Israel haters often claim that they wage political and economic warfare against Israel and isolate and humiliate Israel supporters in the West to promote peace. This claim has always been ridiculous. You can’t support peace and boycott Jewish-owned businesses in all or parts of Israel. You can’t support peace and boycott Israeli students and professors and dance troupes.

 

But so long as the word “peace” has been involved, or the boycotters have pretended that they are only referring to Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, the Foreign Ministry has by and large taken them at face value and pretended that their smear operation is nothing to worry about. To the extent they have tried to deal with the growing hate Israel phenomenon, they have run away from its essence. Instead, our senior diplomats have said that the best way to combat BDS is by rebranding Israel as the start-up, gay, friendly state with great beaches.

 

And largely as a result of this self-induced paralysis and blindness, pro-Israel activists have been isolated.

Jewish anti-Israel organizations such as J Street, Open Hillel and the New Israel Fund in the US, and European governments and government- funded organizations in Europe have operated largely free from criticism by official Israeli voices unwilling to take sides in the debate about the country’s right to exist and defend itself. All the while, Israel’s diplomatic standing has gone from weak to incapacitated.

 

Against this backdrop, statements and actions by the new Netanyahu government are encouraging because, unlike its predecessors, it seems to have stopped playing the fool. At the outset of this week’s cabinet meeting, Netanyahu spoke out angrily and specifically against the BDS movement and warned that Israel must not blame itself for the BDS haters’ assaults against it. As he put it, “The last thing we need to do is to bow our heads and ask where we went wrong, where we erred. We have done nothing wrong and we have not erred. We are not a perfect country; we do not pretend to be such, but they are setting standards for us that are both twisted and higher than those for any other country, any other democracy.”…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]                           

                                                                       

 

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CURBING THE SELF-LOATHING JEWISH DEFAMERS OF ISRAEL                                                                            

Isi Leibler  

Candidly Speaking, May 19, 2015

 

Most of us are thoroughly exasperated with the obnoxious Jewish deviants who are demonizing Israel with their global campaigns, falsely defaming the IDF as monsters and war criminals. Such reprehensible elements were always the bane of the Jewish people. But today the internet and the global media provide them with the opportunity of inflicting infinitely greater damage than in the past when their impact was more localized.

 

During the Middle Ages, some of the most venomous anti-Semitic propaganda emanated from self-loathing Jews, principally converts to Christianity, who represented an important element compounding the prevailing atmosphere of persecution, pogroms and expulsion. In the 19th century, Karl Marx who was born a Jew, spouted obscene anti-Semitic diatribes which his Jewish followers simply refused to acknowledge. In Russia in the 1880s, it was Jewish Social Revolutionaries who justified pogroms as incubators which would transform the masses into revolutionaries.

 

After the Bolshevik Revolution, the Soviet-appointed Yevsetskia (Jewish cadres), were more vicious than their gentile counterparts in demonizing and proscribing Judaism. More recently, during the Cold War, Diaspora Jewish communists defended Stalin as he murdered their kinsmen and applauded the Soviet regime which promoted state-sponsored anti-Semitism.

 

Today, there are a small group of Jews and Israelis who maintain this demented tradition of self-loathing by seeking to defame the Jewish state by portraying the Israel Defense Forces – undoubtedly the most moral army in the world – as craven war criminals. The principal Jewish group currently promoting this blood libel is a small Israeli NGO, “Breaking the Silence”, which was established in 2004 with the clear objective of undermining Israel. Its strategy is to defame the IDF, dramatizing “evidence” of alleged war crimes. However their “eyewitness reports” are anonymous, unverifiable and devoid of context.  Many of the alleged “crimes” were subsequently exposed as comprising anti-Israeli chatter with no basis in reality.

 

Indeed, allegations accusing the IDF of engaging in Cossack-like killing sprees were highlighted in cover stories by Haaretz in mid-2009 and subsequently syndicated as front-page stories in newspapers throughout the world. They were very soon proven to have been without substance. But the damage was done and the climate was created, paving the way for the notorious Goldstone report which accused Israel of war crimes.

 

Today we are witnessing a replay. “Breaking the Silence” has released a 237-page report of “testimonies” by unnamed Israeli combatants describing alleged war crimes during the recent war in Gaza. Again, citing anonymous sources and without context, these unsubstantiated accusations which effectively describe the IDF and Hamas as birds of a feather, made worldwide headlines. They undoubtedly represent a curtain raiser for the forthcoming United Nations Human Rights Commission report which promises to be as biased and as distorted as the discredited Goldstone report. The campaign is also intended to encourage the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israel for war crimes.

 

Of course war is horrendous, mistakes are made and innocent civilians become casualties. This applies especially in Gaza with Hamas, which aside from launching rockets and digging tunnels to murder and kidnap Israelis, also deliberately used civilians as human shields and located rocket and artillery launching pads and arms depots in densely populated locations including schools, hospitals, mosques and UN shelters.

If Israel had wantonly sought to kill civilians, it would not drop millions of leaflets and telephone hundreds of thousands of civilians urging them to evacuate areas four hours in advance of airborne attacks.

 

However, that is not to suggest that the IDF, even with its unique moral code of combat, is perfect. But there are procedures in Israel for dealing with legitimate complaints or infringements of the law and the Judge Advocate General systematically investigates every accusation and there were exceptional cases which led to prosecution of offenders. But there are no cover-ups and there has not been a single case of behavior that could be described as a malicious intent to kill a civilian without cause.

 

Had “Breaking the Silence” submitted evidence that was confirmed by the Judge Advocate General, who then failed to act, they would have been justified in condemning and protesting against the State. But they adamantly refused to either identify those primarily low ranking soldiers charging the IDF with war crimes or provide details of these allegations to enable their claims to be investigated by the relevant authority. Yet they have the gall to justify circulating such unverifiable defamatory allegations, on the outrageous grounds that whistleblowers would be “punished”, something inconceivable in a country which has a free press and would have a field day if there were an attempt to cover up any such incident.

 

Under normal circumstances, no responsible reporter or newspaper would risk publicizing such charges if prevented from verifying their veracity. Yet these monstrous libels against Israel are reproduced as though “Breaking the Silence” was a responsible government instrumentality or a transparent respectable human rights organization. The problem is compounded by the fact that the bulk of funding for breaking the Silence comes from anti-Israel NGOs, human rights associations, foreign foundations, and European governments, many of whom are engaged in boycott divestment and sanctions (BDS). Some actually made their grants conditional on obtaining a minimum number of negative “testimonies”.

 

Tens of millions of euros originate from European governments, including the United Kingdom, which would never conceivably tolerate such foreign interference in its own domestic arena by external organizations – especially governmental bodies – seeking to subvert a democratic government under the cloak of promoting human rights. This is documented in detail in a recent NGO Monitor publication titled NGOs, Anti-Semitism and Government Funding…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

                                                                       

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ATTORNEYS AT WAR                                                                                                        

Willy Stern                              

Weekly Standard, June 10, 2015

 

For three straight days starting on July 15, 2014, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) made thousands of phone calls to the residents of Shejaiya in northern Gaza. The locals were encouraged to evacuate their homes before IDF tanks rolled across the border. Tens of thousands of leaflets were dropped into the village. These leaflets suggested both a safe evacuation route and safe destinations to head for within Gaza City. The IDF sent similar messages daily via local television and radio. But that’s not all. The IDF also made dozens of phone calls to Shejaiya’s influential citizens, asking them to get out the word of the impending IDF incursion.

 

Thousands and thousands of warnings were given. The Israeli military authorities essentially told the enemy where the IDF troops would enter the village and when. And for three days, Hamas fighters, no dummies, took full advantage. They dug their own forces in deeper. They activated booby-traps. They hid IEDs. They got snipers into perfect positions. They brought in additional fighters. They pre-positioned weapons. They readied their terror tunnels. At this point, it was abundantly clear that IDF commanders had gone beyond any mandates that international law requires to avoid civilian casualties. No matter. Putting their own troops at even greater risk, IDF commanders decided to wait yet another day to allow more time for civilians to get out. Then all hell broke loose. Shejaiya was the location of nasty urban fighting between Hamas and the IDF during the 2014 summer conflict. Sixty-seven Israeli soldiers would die in that war, and many of the injured are still in hospitals.

 

One who survived is Ben, a deft-thinking IDF attorney who grew up outside Sydney, Australia, swimming off Bondi Beach. Ben (IDF policy does not allow the use of some last names) is standing today on a hillside near the Israeli village of Mefalsim, looking some 500 yards across a verdant field into the Gaza strip. He’s viewing a peaceful scene​—​the very same Gazan town of Shejaiya. Ben ponders the $64,000 question; namely, Does he think the IDF does too much to prevent civilian casualties? He stares into Gaza for a long time. A very long time. “Who knows? I can tell you that I am proud that we do what we do.”

 

What exactly is it that Ben and his colleagues do? Ben works in the IDF’s international law department, essentially the best little niche law firm you’ve never heard of. These distinguished attorneys carry assault rifles, get shot at frequently, and sit at the cutting edge of the law of armed conflict. The unit goes by “Dabla,” the acronym for the Hebrew name of the international law department; Dabla, in turn, sits inside Israel’s equivalent of the U.S. Army’s Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps. “Dabla is the Harvard Law School of the international legal community in Israel,” says Joel Singer, a partner at Sidley Austin in Washington, D.C., and a former head of this prestigious unit. “But it’s more than that. Alumni of this unit go on to be the elite of the elite.” The Dabla attorneys are a remarkable, if under-recognized, breed of officers—​extremely well educated and able to provide real-time advice on a range of international legal issues. Dabla has never lifted up its skirts and let a journalist peek inside the unit’s decision-making operation before.

 

But to understand Dabla is to understand the insanity of the avalanche of criticism raining down on Israel for the way its military fights. Let’s start by looking at two extraordinary documents. The IDF uses the first document​—​called a “target card”​—​when commanders prepare strikes against enemy targets. During the Gaza conflict, such targets included a weapons cache hidden on the second floor of a densely populated four-story residential building, a command-and-control center located in a mosque, and a surveillance platform hidden inside a hospital.  The cards contain a wealth of information about the targets from the intelligence and operations units. Before any attack can go forward, Ben and his fellow IDF legal advisers have to sign off. That’s when things get interesting. The lawyers must put their own check mark on the card​—​they call it a “tick”​—​indicating that it’s a lawful target.

 

Back to the Gaza conflict. After IDF professionals​—​weapons experts, operational planners, and so on​—​and the Dabla lawyers have all signed off on a target card, the strike is approved. As far as Dabla is concerned, anyway. The final decision rests with the commander. Here are just some of the steps and warnings designed to prevent civilian casualties that might take place before missiles start flying: The IDF may, variously, gather detailed intelligence on who lives in the building; call or text those who reside in a particular building with a warning that a strike is coming; drop Arabic-language leaflets over the area warning residents; fly a drone with sophisticated surveillance cameras overhead, as an extra set of eyes to make sure the civilians have vacated; drop a small charge on the roof which shakes the building, as a final warning signal that a strike is coming; and employ a highly precise and carefully chosen weapon system which, IDF lawyers and commanders hope, would destroy only the weapons cache but not surrounding rooms…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]                                                                                                                                                           

 

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BOOST THE DEFENSE BUDGET                                                                                              

David M. Weinberg

Israel Hayom, Apr. 24, 2015

 

Israel's military urgently needs an infusion of cash. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the apparently incoming Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon must significantly boost the defense budget, despite other priorities. Israel will likely fight several wars over the coming decade. The Israel Defense Forces will need to knock back the Iranian-proxy armies and jihadist militias camped on our borders. It may need to "decommission" Iran's nuclear facilities in Fordo and Arak. And only God knows what kind of instability Israel may yet have to overcome on its eastern border.

 

Given America's stampeding retreat from overseas commitments and U.S. President Barack Obama's creeping repeal of the protective diplomatic umbrella America has extended to Israel for many decades, Israel may be fighting truly alone. Consider the situation in Lebanon. In order to rout Hezbollah and destroy its missile stockpiles, in the next war Israel will have to reconquer southern Lebanon on the ground. Even with the Israeli Air Force working intensively from above (including massive leveling of Lebanese infrastructures), Israel could be facing eight weeks of real and unrelenting combat.

 

Readying the IDF for this requires a rollback of the misguided "Teuza" multiyear plan for the IDF promulgated in 2013 by then-Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz. That plan accepted a significant decrease in overall funding to the IDF and shifted priorities away from the ground forces in favor of air force and cyber capabilities, intelligence, special operations forces, and stand-off precision fire. Indeed, the ground forces budget was cut by 25 percent between 2002 and 2006. This trend was suspended pursuant to the 2006 Second Lebanon War, but was resumed soon afterwards in the Gantz era.

 

According to Amir Rapaport, publisher and editor of Israel Defense magazine and a research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, Gantz accepted the relative weakness of the maneuvering capabilities of the ground forces as a given. He did not think the IDF would need to fight a conventional army force in the foreseeable future, nor have to conduct large-scale ground maneuvers in enemy territory.

 

As far back as December 2013, Dr. Eitan Shamir and Dr. Eado Hecht of the same think tank have been warning that this is a mistaken prism. "Neglect of the IDF's ground forces poses a risk to Israel's security. There are real battles ahead against well-entrenched Hamas and Hezbollah armies," they wrote. Operation Protective Edge in Gaza proved them right.

 

Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, the new IDF chief of staff, along with Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, with the support of Kahlon, must now fix this. Here is how: Training: A gargantuan increase in training of front-line troops is necessary. It is a well-known secret that many of the infantry and armored forces that went into Gaza last summer were insufficiently trained for combat in built-up areas. Alas, training is expensive, especially for combined arms high intensity conflict — which involves multiple branches of the military working together. Training of the reserve forces is even more expensive. And unfortunately, budget lines for training are usually the first thing to be cut when the overall military budget is slashed — as it has been in recent years…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

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On Topic

 

Watch: New IAI Suicide Drone Destroys Target: Yael Klein, Jerusalem Online, June 7, 2015 —The Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has completed a series of successful operational tests of a suicide UAV, which answers the name Harop.

Col. Richard Kemp: The IDF Is Like No Other Army: Breaking Israel News, May 6, 2015—The IDF is not like other armies, says retired colonel Richard Kemp, who served as commander of the British Forces in Afghanistan. VOI’s Yishai Fleisher heard him speak at the Israel Law Center’s “Towards a New Law of War” conference.

The New Knesset’s National Paralysis List: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Breaking Israel News, May 3, 2015—The last few years in Israel have been witness to a longstanding argument over raising the country’s election threshold.

Israel’s New Rightist Government Takes a Startlingly Centrist Turn: Haviv Rettig Gur, Times of Israel, June 7, 2015—The dust of seven long months of electioneering and coalition building finally settled this week. The 20th Knesset’s committees are now staffed with lawmakers after the last outstanding disagreements between coalition and opposition parties were hammered out in the Knesset last week.