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What to Do after MH 17: Tom Rogan, National Review, July 17, 2014— Consider what we know so far. First, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down by a missile team operating in separatist-controlled territory proximate to Ukraine’s Russian border. Rebels in this area have a recent record of engaging aircraft.
Moral Clarity in Gaza: Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, July 17, 2014 — Israel accepts an Egyptian-proposed Gaza cease-fire; Hamas keeps firing.
‘Pro-Palestinian’ Activists Are Making Things Worse For the People They Claim to Support: Pat Johnson, National Post, July 17, 2013— Can we get some clarity around the term “pro-Palestinian”?
Paris Synagogue Attack: Yvette Alt Miller, Aish, July 14, 2013— “It was a meeting for peace – peace for the Israelis, and peace for the Arabs.”
Israeli Surgeons Save the Lives of Palestinian Children as Hamas Continues its Rocket Assault on Israel: Barbara Kay, National Post, July 16, 2014— Yesterday, 13 Palestinian children from Gaza and the West Bank arrived at Israel’s Wolfson Medical Center in Holon (near Tel Aviv) to undergo life-saving heart operations.
International Law and Human Shields: Erol Araf & Frederick Krantz, CIJR, July 16, 2014
Sixth Lesson of the Gaza War: Obama Should Learn From Canada: Moshe Phillips & Benyamin Korn, Algemeiner, July 17, 2014
Paris: Police Ban Pro-Palestinian Protest Due to Anti-Semitism: Arutz Sheva, July 16, 2014
Bloodguilt Over Jews Leads to Blood Libels Against Jews: Ben Shapiro, Frontpage, July 16, 2013
As Violent Anti-Semitism Rises, Will France Expel its Jews?: Seth Lipsky, Ha’aretz, July 16, 2014
National Review, July 17, 2014
Consider what we know so far. First, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down by a missile team operating in separatist-controlled territory proximate to Ukraine’s Russian border. Rebels in this area have a recent record of engaging aircraft. Second, Ukraine’s government has limited military presence where MH 17 was lost. Third, multiple sources (admittedly of varying reliability)have linked the attack to pro-Russian rebels. Fourth, it takes more than a thug with a grudge to knock down a plane flying 33,000 feet above the Earth.
As I’ve explained before, any antiaircraft engagement, let alone one at such altitude, takes “the collection and application of intelligence, the patience to hold fire until the critical moment, and the use of Russian surface-to-air” capabilities. The Donetsk rebels are agents of Russian policy. If they are responsible for downing Flight MH 17, Russia will bear significant culpability. Over the past few months, I’ve documented Russia’s calculating military strategy in Ukraine. Alternating among direct military intervention, economic blackmail, and covert action, President Putin has manipulated Ukraine’s chaos to his own advantage. Occasionally offering fig leafs, he’s kept the West on the back foot. His success has been striking. In fact, at West Point just a month ago, President Obama claimed a quiet victory for American policy in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, for weeks now, a river of Russian weapons and personnel has flooded into eastern Ukraine. This supply train is why, along with the EU, the White House imposed new sanctions on Russia earlier this week. Those sanctions are helpful but insufficient. Russian intelligence retains its institutional legacy from the KGB, and it’s operating in Ukraine as you’d expect. As the New York Times noted last week, epitomizing this tactic is Igor Girkin, who goes by the nom de guerre “Strelkov.” Leading a militia in Donetsk Oblast, with his Stalin-esque moustache and brutal ferocity, Girkin encapsulates Russia’s commitment to Putin’s 21st century iron curtain. While Putin pretends that Girkin and co. are independent actors beyond the Kremlin’s authority, the opposite is in fact true. A career Russian intelligence officer until last year, Girkin is the archetypal Russian contract agent (a former intelligence officer hired on an unofficial basis). Contract agents afford the Russian government operational assets in Ukraine to direct while retaining a pretense of deniability (for incidents like the MH17 tragedy). This strategy is Russian intelligence 101: arrogant, brutal and literally irradiated by violence.
Moreover, the rebels’ tactics suggests the Russians’ strategy. At times, they’ve been highly aggressive — they downed a Ukrainian military transport plane, killing all 49 aboard, last month — and at times they’ve been more subdued. This double-edged trickery has fostered the West’s belief that a softly-softly approach can win a compromise with Russia. It’s a delusion with high costs. And many analysts claim that Ukraine’s submission to the Russian orbit is ultimately inevitable. They’re wrong — there is much more we can do. We must realign our fundamental understanding of Russian power and ambition in Europe. We must realize that what Putin seeks is not simply a sphere of influence, but a sphere of domination. Whatever Western multilateralists might believe, from Syria to Ukraine, Putin embraces raw power to pursue his objectives. With formative years participating in the domination of East Germany, he’s a natural continuation of Soviet authoritarianism. He’s capable of anything. The Cold War has ended, but we must resist the warm blanket of self-deception. If MH 17 was downed by separatist rebels, a serious response, including full-spectrum sanctions on the Russian economy and provision of new military support to the Ukrainian Army, must follow. The “reset” has a tombstone, and its name is MH 17.
Washington Post, July 17, 2014
Israel accepts an Egyptian-proposed Gaza cease-fire; Hamas keeps firing. Hamas deliberately aims rockets at civilians; Israel painstakingly tries to avoid them, actually telephoning civilians in the area and dropping warning charges, so-called roof knocking. “Here’s the difference between us,” explains the Israeli prime minister. “We’re using missile defense to protect our civilians, and they’re using their civilians to protect their missiles.” Rarely does international politics present a moment of such moral clarity. Yet we routinely hear this Israel-Gaza fighting described as a morally equivalent “cycle of violence.” This is absurd. What possible interest can Israel have in cross-border fighting? Everyone knows Hamas set off this mini-war. And everyone knows the proudly self-declared raison d’etre of Hamas: the eradication of Israel and its Jews.
Apologists for Hamas attribute the blood lust to the Israeli occupation and blockade. Occupation? Does no one remember anything? It was less than 10 years ago that worldwide television showed the Israeli army pulling die-hard settlers off synagogue roofs in Gaza as Israel uprooted its settlements, expelled its citizens, withdrew its military and turned every inch of Gaza over to the Palestinians. There was not a soldier, not a settler, not a single Israeli left in Gaza. And there was no blockade. On the contrary. Israel wanted this new Palestinian state to succeed. To help the Gaza economy, Israel gave the Palestinians its 3,000 greenhouses that had produced fruit and flowers for export. It opened border crossings and encouraged commerce. The whole idea was to establish the model for two states living peacefully and productively side by side. No one seems to remember that, simultaneous with the Gaza withdrawal, Israel dismantled four smaller settlements in the northern West Bank as a clear signal of Israel’s desire to leave the West Bank as well and thus achieve an amicable two-state solution. This is not ancient history. This was nine years ago.
And how did the Gaza Palestinians react to being granted by the Israelis what no previous ruler, neither Egyptian, nor British, nor Turkish, had ever given them — an independent territory? First, they demolished the greenhouses. Then they elected Hamas. Then, instead of building a state with its attendant political and economic institutions, they spent the better part of a decade turning Gaza into a massive military base, brimming with terror weapons, to make ceaseless war on Israel. Where are the roads and rail, the industry and infrastructure of the new Palestinian state? Nowhere. Instead, they built mile upon mile of underground tunnels to hide their weapons and, when the going gets tough, their military commanders. They spent millions importing and producing rockets, launchers, mortars, small arms, even drones. They deliberately placed them in schools, hospitals, mosques and private homes to better expose their own civilians. (Just Thursday, the U.N. announced that it found 20 rockets in a Gaza school.) And from which they fire rockets at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
Why? The rockets can’t even inflict serious damage, being almost uniformly intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system. Even West Bank leader Mahmoud Abbas has asked: “What are you trying to achieve by sending rockets?” It makes no sense. Unless you understand, as Tuesday’s Post editorial explained, that the whole point is to draw Israeli counterfire. This produces dead Palestinians for international television. Which is why Hamas perversely urges its own people not to seek safety when Israel drops leaflets warning of an imminent attack. To deliberately wage war so that your own people can be telegenically killed is indeed moral and tactical insanity. But it rests on a very rational premise: Given the Orwellian state of the world’s treatment of Israel (see: the U.N.’s grotesque Human Rights Council), fueled by a mix of classic anti-Semitism, near-total historical ignorance and reflexive sympathy for the ostensible Third World underdog, these eruptions featuring Palestinian casualties ultimately undermine support for Israel’s legitimacy and right to self-defense. In a world of such Kafkaesque ethical inversions, the depravity of Hamas begins to make sense. This is a world in which the Munich massacre is a movie and the murder of Klinghoffer is an opera — both deeply sympathetic to the killers. This is a world in which the U.N. ignores humanity’s worst war criminals while incessantly condemning Israel, a state warred upon for 66 years that nonetheless goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid harming the very innocents its enemies use as shields. It’s to the Israelis’ credit that amid all this madness they haven’t lost their moral scruples. Or their nerve. Those outside the region have the minimum obligation, therefore, to expose the madness and speak the truth. Rarely has it been so blindingly clear.
National Post, July 17, 2014
Can we get some clarity around the term “pro-Palestinian”? After years of attending “pro-Palestinian” events in Canada and covering them for the media (admittedly including unapologetically pro-Israel media), I am convinced that most of those who self-define as pro-Palestinian are not making things better for Palestinians. They are making things worse. Israel’s air war in Gaza has now killed more than 100 people. Around the world, there’s concern and anger. These concerns are appropriate — war is horrible, and any number of deaths should trouble us. But given that this war is happening, let’s focus on the narrower question of how to minimize civilian deaths, now and in future conflicts. How bad is this war compared to others? Are Israel’s attacks indiscriminate?
First, it’s important not to get consumed by whether you love or hate Israel. There will be other wars in other places. We need to build rules that apply everywhere. Second, we don’t need to debate the conduct of Hamas. Hamas rejects the whole idea that it’s wrong to target civilians. So behaving better than Hamas isn’t a standard worth talking about. Let’s focus instead on what Israel is doing. The fate of Palestinians right now is a major global concern, judging by social media activity, outrage at the UN, protests over the weekend in cities across Canada, and a rally in Paris that ended in an attack on a synagogue by a mob shouting “Death to the Jews.” Yet, for all their chanting and occasional terrorizing of Jews, “pro-Palestinians” rarely do anything that helps actual Palestinians. They don’t raise much money for Palestinian aid. (In fairness, they don’t need to; Palestinians receive, by most accounts, more foreign aid per capita than any people on the planet, yet still the dystopic mess.) They do not volunteer for or fund organizations that might create the infrastructures of a civil society in an eventually independent Palestine. They have done nothing to encourage democratic development there. They do not advocate for academic freedom, promote economic growth or demand equality for women and minorities in Palestine. They are slacktivists who, as far as I can see, serve only as apologists for the tyrants and killers who lead Fatah and Hamas.
They absurdly accuse Israel of apartheid, while making common cause with a Palestinian Authority whose “moderate” leader Mahmoud Abbas repeatedly promises that an independent Palestine will be totally Jew-free. This implies a bigger problem: that elements in Canada — trade unions, liberal churches, campus groups, academics — have been poisoned by association with a “pro-Palestinian” movement that is not at all the progressive cause it’s prettied up as for domestic consumption. Even the group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid does not help LGBTQ Palestinians, instead seeking to harm them further. The group’s sole raison d’être seems to be to destroy Israel, the only sanctuary in the region for Arabs who want to live a gay life openly, safely and legally. For decades, “pro-Palestinian” activists have helped ensure that the lives of Palestinians remain mired in violence, poverty, oppression and hopelessness. Had overseas “friends” encouraged Palestinian leaders to stop inciting their people to blow themselves up and instead to accept any of the countless proposals put on the table by Israel, the United States, the Quartet, Arab states and others, going back to the UN in 1947, there would be peace and a Palestinian state now…
“Pro-Palestinian” activists are a fanatical, uncritical worldwide cheering section that goads Palestinians to seek nothing less than the complete eradication of Israel. They do not demand of Palestinians nor demonstrate themselves (as we saw in the brawl at Palestine House in Mississauga, Ont., this month) the moderation, compromise, tolerance or coexistence required for peace. Instead, they promote “resistance” — an absolutist, unyielding, hate-fired dogma that only prolongs the conflict. If there is such a thing as a genuine pro-Palestinian activist, I don’t think I’ve met one yet, despite spending most of my career in places where I might reasonably expect to find them. At the dozens of “pro-Palestinian” meetings and rallies I have attended, whenever a hat has been passed to raise money, it has not been to fund anything of value to Palestinians. It’s usually to facilitate yet more junkets by grandstanding Canadian tragedy tourists to embark on useless and sometimes fatal efforts like the 2010 flotilla to Gaza. The only value these publicity stunts seem to have is producing PowerPoint extravaganzas affirming that, yep, things are pretty bad over there. The apparent objective is not alleviating the problems, but crowdfunding more trips to conflict zones for thrill-seeking Israel-haters…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Yvette Alt Miller
Aish, July 14, 2014
“It was a meeting for peace – peace for the Israelis, and peace for the Arabs.” That’s how Monsieur Serge Benhaim described it in an exclusive interview with Aish.com. President of the one of the largest synagogues in Europe, Monsieur Benhaim and his colleagues wanted to do something to help promote peace in the Middle East. They decided to hold a special community wide service at Synagogue Don Isaac Abravanel la Roquette in Paris. Located in Paris’ fashionable 11th arrondissement, this Orthodox, Sephardic synagogue is a vibrant place. Hundreds of people throng its Shabbat services each week; many members are families with young children. As the day of the prayer service approached, the mood in France darkened. Anti-Israel rallies were planned for Paris and the French city of Lille; some of the language being used to describe the events was violent. “On Friday morning we also heard that there would be an anti-Israel rally nearby at the same time,” Monsieur Benhaim recalled…
Tensions continued to rise. Saturday night, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a synagogue in the Paris suburb Aulnay sous Bois and two armed men were arrested as they approached the entrance of another synagogue in the 20th arrondissement of Paris. On Sunday, July 13, 2014 as the anti-Israel rally in the heart of Paris began, 8,000 Parisians flocked to hear denunciations of Jews and the Jewish state. Jonathan Simon-Sellem, a French-Israeli journalist who was at the scene, wrote later that he couldn’t believe his ears. In the iconic heart of Paris, the Place de Bastille, a speaker stood at a microphone shouting “Death to the Jews!” then the Arabic call “Allah Akbar,” repeated by thousands of people. In nearby restaurants and cafes, Parisians observed the events without saying anything. The mob’s incendiary words went unchallenged. As the demonstrators moved through the streets of Paris, there were calls to kill Jews and to trash Jewish shops. A replica of a Hamas missile that hit an Israeli nursery was paraded and widely applauded by the crowd. Meanwhile, in the nearby Synagogue Don Isaac Abravanel, hundreds of men and women, many with babies and children in tow, were streaming in for the peace service. Despite their nervousness at the nearby demonstration – and with renewed assurances from the French police – the synagogue organizers felt ready to start…As the congregants started praying for peace in Israel, the anti-Israel demonstrators were getting closer and more provocative. Minutes into the service, at 6pm, a battle broke out outside between demonstrators and police, a mere 300 meters from the synagogue.
Police stemmed the march, diverting it down a boulevard away from the synagogue. Then a mob of 1,000 protestors doubled back, marching on the synagogue. “We heard a big cry and ‘Allah Akbar’ by one thousand people,” Monsieur Benhaim said. Congregants watched in horror as protestors – many armed with knives, axes and broken bottles – stormed the building. The synagogue’s security guards rushed to keep out the intruders. For a few long moments, they fought alone; five sustained light injuries. Then they were relieved by police. The battle outside raged for hours. Another nearby synagogue was pelted with stones. “So we closed the synagogue and we asked everybody to stay inside until everything would be okay,” Monsieur Benhaim said. He heard the mob outside “all the time singing ‘Allah Akbar’ and ‘Kill the Jews’ – if you can call that a song.”… In the aftermath of the siege, France’s president and major ministers were quick to condemn the attack. France’s Interior Minister Manuel Valls denounced it “with the greatest force.” Police were posted at the synagogue the following day, Bastille Day in France. French officials rushed to assure France’s Jews that they will be protected. But after the siege of his synagogue – one of the major Jewish institutions in Europe – Monsieur Benhaim isn’t so sure. For him and many others, the attack on the Synagogue Don Isaac Abravanel is a turning point. “People were really afraid. They didn’t dream of such a situation; people coming to a synagogue to fight and perhaps to kill people. The last time Jewish people have been endangered was the Second World War with the Germans…. A synagogue was something that was very respected; synagogues, cemeteries, schools or hospitals were something holy. This attack is something very new.”…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
National Post, July 16, 2014
Yesterday, 13 Palestinian children from Gaza and the West Bank arrived at Israel’s Wolfson Medical Center in Holon (near Tel Aviv) to undergo life-saving heart operations. After their surgeries, they will recover in the nearby Children’s Home. By now, when the sirens announcing in-coming rockets blow, the toddlers there instinctively raise their arms for the volunteers to scoop them to safety in the protected room. But mostly they are busy doing arts and crafts or watching movies (Alvin and the Chipmunks is a favourite).
The above reads like wartime propaganda to soften anti-Israel bias, but it’s a 18-year old routine: Palestinian children have been arriving at Wolfson’s clinic every Tuesday for 18 years for treatment by the politically and religiously non-partisan international charity, Save a Child’s Heart (SACH). In the last few weeks, SACH’s medical team, which might involve an Israeli surgeon, a Palestinian anesthetist, a Tanzanian resident and a Canadian intern, have, as usual, serviced children from the whole Arab region, including Syria, Iraq and various African countries. Half are from Gaza and the West Bank. “Children are not part of the conflict,” says SACH’s chief cardiologist, Dr. Akiva Tamir, whose Tuesday clinic takes place rain or shine. Or rockets. SACH is a remarkable multiple award-winning NGO…To date SACH, whose medical staff are not paid for SACH work (SACH’s entire budget is about US $4-million), has mended more than 3,200 young hearts from 46 countries, many in areas wracked by devastation, like Haiti, Sri Lanka and Syria. Their surgical early success rate of 95% is impressive, considering the risks are often higher for children from developing countries. SACH has trained over 80 physicians from all over the globe: China, Ethiopia, Moldova, Nigeria, the Palestinian Authority, Kenya, Russia, Vietnam, Zanzibar and Tanzania. They’ve conducted more than 60 clinics abroad, evaluating 7,500 children in Angola, Congo, Jordan (Iraqi children), Rwanda and Ukraine, and elsewhere.
Because they cannot enter certain countries, Israeli SACH doctors rely on Christian organizations to act as middlemen. One particular Jerusalem-based Christian group, Shevet Achim, has played a crucial role in identifying children in need of treatment — hundreds by now — from Iraq and Gaza. The group’s members accompany and transport those children to Israel, providing financial support as needed. (Shevet Achim is Hebrew for “brothers sitting together,” an apt gloss on a Christian organization working with Jewish doctors to save Muslim children.) SACH has affiliates in many countries: the U.S., The Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland and the U.K. And, of course, Canada. SACH Canada was started by the late A. Ephraim Diamond in 1999, with three board members and $60,000 in annual transfers to Israel. Today SACH Canada has 17 members on its senior board, 16 more on the Young Leadership board and annual transfers of $850,000. In a typical summer, 30 to 40 Canadian university and medical students volunteer at Wolfson or the Children’s Home. Dr. Bernard Goldman, now-retired head of cardiac surgery at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, chaired SACH Canada from 2008-13. Which is why SACH speaks to me in a personal way. Dr. Goldman — Bernie to family and friends — is a revered figure in our family. In the early 1970s, when Bernie was a rising star at The Toronto General Hospital, he saved my father’s life…Bernie is the lead author of a beautiful new coffee-table style book, Mending Hearts, Building Bridges, which tells the full story of SACH, with photographs of children SACH has saved that will swell the most cynical heart and give new depth to the words, “He who has health has hope, and he who has hope has everything.” That’s an old Arabic proverb.
[Barbara Kay is a CIJR Academic Fellow]
CIJR Wishes all its Friends & Supporters Shabbat Shalom!
International Law and Human Shields: Erol Araf & Frederick Krantz, CIJR, July 16, 2014 —The cacophony of voices accusing Israel of breaking "international law" and committing "war crimes" has reached a deafening decibel level.
Paris: Police Ban Pro-Palestinian Protest Due to Anti-Semitism: Arutz Sheva, July 16, 2014—Paris police have banned pro-Palestinian activists from demonstrating this Saturday night, an official told AFP Wednesday, after violent protestors blockaded French Jews in a local synagogue and attacked them earlier this week.
Bloodguilt Over Jews Leads to Blood Libels Against Jews: Ben Shapiro, Frontpage, July 16, 2013—If there’s one place on Earth that should understand the danger of Jew hatred, it is Frankfurt, Germany.
As Violent Anti-Semitism Rises, Will France Expel its Jews?: Seth Lipsky, Ha’aretz, July 16, 2014 —Shortly before Nicolas Sarkozy became president, he had lunch at the Four Seasons with a dozen or so New Yorkers. While the government in Jerusalem was trying to protect the Jews of Israel, I asked him, did he feel confident he could protect the Jews of France?
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