Tag: Canada


On Sunday, November 11, 2018, Remembrance Day, Doris Epstein and myself, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research’s Toronto Co-Chairs, drove out on a cold and windy Sunday night to Grace Life Centre in Scarborough. A Candlelight Vigil in commemoration of the victims of murders at Tree of Life in Pittsburgh was being held. Doris and I, along with Ann Samson of Congregation BINA, and Howard Kamen of Beth Torah were there to represent the Jewish community. The initiative was being organized jointly by proud Toronto Jewish leaders Shai Abraham and Ariella Daniels, and by Jay and Molly Banerjei of the Christian Music Festival. This vigil was a spontaneous reaction to the horrors of Pittsburgh and, for most of us, this was our first encounter with these Christian leaders. To say the least, we had no idea what to expect.

What struck me almost immediately, in addition to the large crowd that had turned up, was the diversity of the people in that audience. The audience was a distinct blend of Koreans, Filipinos, Jamaicans, Indo-Canadians, Sri-Lankans, French and Afghans. A sombre mood filled the air of the sanctuary, but informing it an excitement could also be felt. At the front of the room were eleven huge white Magen Davids, each with the name of a murdered congregant from Tree of Life. A lighted memorial candle was placed in front of each. Large Canadian and Israeli flags were proudly displayed in the background. The theme of the night was clear: I Stand With You.

Right off the top, Jay Banerjei began the night by marking the centenary of the end of World War I with a salute to the Veterans and a singing of O Canada. Immediately it not only reminded us of the many privileges we enjoy here in Canada, but it also acknowledged the unity of the audience as proud Canadians.

From there, the evening began. Pastor after pastor, rabbi and community leader came to the front to express, through speech and song, their support and solidarity with the Jewish people. Grace Life Centre Choir, under the leadership of Pastor Andrew Eastman, sang Psalms 23, 121, 137; Molly Banerjei sang “One People”, a song that epitomized the spirit of the occasion. Striking performances also included solo vocalists and musicians; Ms. Nelly Shin sang Psalms and the Filipino dance ensemble “danced their way to Jerusalem”, raising the Israeli flag.

El male rahamim was sung by Howard Kamen, Cantor at Beth Torah Congregation. Spontaneously, the entire audience stood in honour of the Jewish victims. CIJR Co-Chair Doris Epstein, in her remarks, stated that antisemitism is not just a Jewish problem but rather one that starts with Jews does not end with Jews. “Fighting all forms of antisemitism is a matter of basic human decency, human rights and, in Canada, of the rule of law. Ann Samson from Congregation BINA explained the importance of combatting antisemitism “because history has a painful way of repeating itself”.

Shai Abraham, related an anecdote by Rabbi Moshe Leib of Sassov which interprets  the Hebrew Bible’s “love thy neighbour as thyself” as listening to and empathizing with one another, and acknowledging to all those who were present that evening that by their participation they were true neighbors, true friends. Molly Banerjei declared that this is not just a one-time event but a beginning of an ongoing, vocal and united movement to fight antisemitism and hate of all kinds. “This is just the first step,” she said.

To conclude the evening, Howard Kamen led this audience of Jews and Christians in a passionate singing of HaTikvah, followed by a huge hora dance in the middle of the church.

Returning from this moving experience made me wonder, when was the last time I had heard such joy, enthusiasm, commitment and zeal for the Jewish people and Israel? I could remember Jerusalem auditoriums filled with thousands of youth, singing in Hebrew and waving flags during my long-ago Birthright Israel trip. I could remember the annual Israel Day rallies in Montreal that I looked forward to every year when I lived there. I also remember a sweltering summer’s day in 2006 during the Second Lebanon War when we rallied for Israel at Mel Lastman’s Square.

This vigil stands alongside these other proud memories. And it is just the start of a new alliance we, and the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, shall continue to build. The fight against antisemitism, “the longest hatred”, is ongoing, and I look forward to having more to tell you in the months to come.


(Alan Herman and Doris Epstein are the

Canadian Institute for Jewish Research Toronto Co-Chairs)


First Muslim Women in US Congress Misled Voters About Views on Israel: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 16, 2018— Ilhan Abdullahi Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Harbi Tlaib of Michigan will be the first two Muslim women ever to serve in the US Congress.

Is Canada Knowingly Funding Extremism and Terrorism?: Tom Quiggin, IPT News, Oct. 18, 2018— Canadian taxpayer money may be finding its way to Hamas, a listed terrorist group.

Laïcité Can Help Block Advance of Political Islam: Lise Ravary, Montreal Gazette, Oct. 22, 2018 — “We must get involved in all domains where we can have more Islam …”

Congress Has the Chance to Combat Terrorist Use of Human Shields: Rabbi Abraham Cooper, The Hill, Oct. 10, 2018 — Innocent civilian casualties are an inevitable legacy of any war.

On Topic Links

Don’t Expect Democrats to Obstruct Trump’s Pro-Israel Policies – or Punish Netanyahu: Jonathan S. Tobin, Ha’aretz, Nov. 8, 2018

Canada’s Welcome Mat for Jihadis Poses Threat to US: Clarion Project, Nov. 18, 2018

Jihad Jane’s Recruiter Sentenced to 15 Years: Abha Shankar, IPT News, Oct 31, 2018

Islamic State’s Future in Afghanistan – Part II: Daud Khattak, BESA, Nov. 19, 2018



MISLED VOTERS ABOUT VIEWS ON ISRAEL                                                                          Soeren Kern                                     

Gatestone Institute, Nov. 16, 2018


Ilhan Abdullahi Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Harbi Tlaib of Michigan will be the first two Muslim women ever to serve in the US Congress. Most of the media coverage since their election on November 6 has been effusive in praise of their Muslim identity and personal history. Less known is that both women deceived voters about their positions on Israel. Both women, at some point during their rise in electoral politics, led voters — especially Jewish voters — to believe that they held moderate views on Israel. After being elected, both women reversed their positions and now say they are committed to sanctioning the Jewish state.

America’s first two Muslim congresswomen are now both on record as appearing to oppose Israel’s right to exist. They both support the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. Both are also explicitly or implicitly opposed to continuing military aid to Israel, as well as to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — an outcome that would establish a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Instead, they favor a one-state solution — an outcome that many analysts believe would, due to demographics over time, replace the Jewish state with a unitary Palestinian state.

Ilhan Omar, who will replace outgoing Rep. Keith Ellison (the first Muslim elected to Congress) in Minnesota’s 5th congressional district, came to the United States as a 12-year-old refugee from Somalia and settled in the Twin Cities, Minneapolis and Saint Paul, in the late 1990s. In her acceptance speech, delivered without an American flag, Congresswoman-elect Omar opened her speech in Arabic with the greeting, “As-Salam Alaikum, (peace be upon you), alhamdulillah (praise be to Allah), alhamdulillah, alhamdulillah.” She continued: “I stand here before you tonight as your congresswoman-elect with many firsts behind my name. The first woman of color to represent our state in Congress. The first woman to wear a hijab. The first refugee ever elected to Congress. And one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress.”

Omar faced some controversy during the campaign, including a disturbing report that she had married her own brother in 2009 for fraudulent purposes, as well as a tweet from May 2018 in which she refers to Israel as an “apartheid regime,” and another tweet from November 2012, in which she stated: “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.”

After the tweets came to light, Omar met with members of her congressional district’s large Jewish population to address concerns over her position on Israel, as reported by Minneapolis’s Star Tribune. During a Democratic Party candidates’ forum at Beth El Synagogue in St. Louis Park on August 6 — one week before Omar defeated four other candidates in the party’s primary — Omar publicly criticized the anti-Israel BDS movement. In front of an audience of more than a thousand people, Omar said she supported a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict and that the BDS movement aimed at pressuring Israel was not helpful in trying to achieve that goal.

Pressed by moderator Mary Lahammer to specify “exactly where you stand on that,” Omar replied that the BDS movement was “counteractive” because it stopped both sides from coming together for “a conversation about how that’s going to be possible.”

Less than a week after being elected, however, Omar admitted that she supports the BDS movement. On November 11, Omar’s office told the website MuslimGirl.com that she favors BDS against Israel: “Ilhan believes in and supports the BDS movement, and has fought to make sure people’s right to support it isn’t criminalized. She does however, have reservations on the effectiveness of the movement in accomplishing a lasting solution.” On November 12, Omar told TC Jewfolk, a website catering to the Jewish community in the Twin Cities, that her position on the BDS movement “has always been the same” and pointed to her vote as a state lawmaker against House bill HF 400, which prohibits the state from doing business with companies or organizations that boycott Israel.

In a recent interview with the Star Tribune, Omar characterized the controversy over her tweets about Israel as an effort to “stigmatize and shame me into saying something other than what I believed.” In a July 8, 2018 interview with ABC News, for a segment entitled, “Progressive Democrats Increasingly Criticize Israel, and Could Reap Political Rewards,” Omar defended her tweets. She said the accusations of anti-Semitism “are without merit” and “rooted in bigotry toward a belief about what Muslims are stereotyped to believe.”

On September 22, Omar was the keynote speaker in Minneapolis at a fundraiser focused on providing monetary support for Palestinians in Gaza, which is ruled by Hamas. The US Department of State has officially designated Hamas a terrorist group. After the event, Omar tweeted: “It was such an honor to attend the ‘Dear Gaza’ fundraiser … I know Palestinians are resilient people, hateful protesters nor unjust occupation will dim their spirit.”

Writing in the New York Post, political commentator David Harsanyi noted that Omar’s rhetoric had anti-Semitic undertones: “Now, it isn’t inherently anti-Semitic to be critical of Israeli political leadership or policies. The Democratic Party antagonism toward the Jewish state has been well-established over the past decade. But Omar used a well-worn anti-Semitic trope about the preternatural ability of a nefarious Jewish cabal to deceive the world….

In Michigan, meanwhile, Rashida Tlaib, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, won a largely uncontested race for the open seat in state’s heavily Democratic 13th congressional district. In Tlaib’s acceptance speech, delivered with a Palestinian flag, she credited her victory to the Palestinian cause. “A lot of my strength comes from being Palestinian,” she said.

Like Omar, Tlaib has changed her positions on key issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. During her race for the Democratic nomination in the state primary, Tlaib actively “sought out the support and received the endorsement of J Street.” J Street is a left-leaning organization that is highly critical of the Israel government, and through “JStreetPAC,” it also allocates financial support to those who back J Street’s policies. J Street endorsed Tlaib “based on her support for two states” with the JStreetPAC website claiming that she “believes that the U.S. should be directly involved with negotiations to reach a two-state solution. Additionally, she supports all current aid to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.”

After her primary win on August 7, however, Tlaib radically shifted her positions on Israel, so much so that Haaretz suggested that she pulled a “bait-and-switch.” In an August 14 interview with In These Times magazine, Tlaib was asked whether she supported a one-state or two-state solution. She replied: “One state. It has to be one state. Separate but equal does not work…. This whole idea of a two-state solution, it doesn’t work.” Tlaib also declared her opposition to US aid for Israel, as well as her support for the BDS movement…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]                    




Tom Quiggin

IPT News, Oct. 18, 2018

Canadian taxpayer money may be finding its way to Hamas, a listed terrorist group. The Criminal Code of Canada forbids funding terrorism, as well as forbidding the facilitation of those funding terrorism. But last Friday, Minister of International Development Marie-Claude Bibeau announced that Canada would send $50 million in the next two years to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). This is in addition to the $110 million that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has committed to UNRWA since 2016. UNRWA has been repeatedly accused of supporting extremism, promoting violence and not checking beneficiaries against a list of known terrorists provided by the police. The announcement made no reference to UNRWA’s alleged connections, and said the money is meant to help provide education and health services to Palestinians.

Funding UNWRA is not illegal in Canada, although given the agency’s reputation, it is a questionable use of taxpayer money. For instance, in August President Donald Trump withdrew $300 million in UNRWA funding. The U.S. government would no longer “shoulder the very disproportionate share of the burden of UNRWA’s costs,” a U.S. State Department press release said, calling it an “irredeemably flawed operation.” In addition to funding UNRWA, the Trudeau government gave millions of taxpayers’ dollars to Islamic Relief Canada. Some of this money is forwarded to Islamic Relief Worldwide (UK), which has been repeatedly linked to Hamas…

The Canadian aid is funneled through government programs, including International Humanitarian Aid Program (2017), M103 Islamophobia Funding (2018), Canada Summer Jobs Program (2017 and 2018), Myanmar Crisis Relief Fund/Islamic Relief (May 2018), Canadian Humanitarian Assistance Fund CHAF, Canada’s Humanitarian and Development Assistance to Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon, and Prime Minister Trudeau’s volunteer work and promotional video for Islamic Relief Canada.

In June, MP Iqra Khalid of Mississauga announced that $23 million Canadian dollars would help fund her M103 Parliamentary Motion on “Islamophobia.” The money, she said, would go to Islamic Relief Canada and a local boys and girls club. Other members of Parliament who appear to have played a role in directing money to Islamic Relief Canada include Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Immigration and Refugees Minister Ahmed Hussen, Global Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, International Development Minister Bibeau and Parliamentary Secretary Omar Alghabra.

A variety of independent and credible sources have identified Islamic Relief Worldwide as funding extremist and terrorist activities. This includes American think tank studies and international actors. The following is a partial list of statements concerning the activities of Islamic Relief International. 1. In 2014 the United Arab Emirates produced a list of organizations they deemed to be terrorist entities. Among those was Islamic Relief Worldwide and Islamic Relief UK. 2. In 2017, Bangladesh banned three organizations, including Islamic Relief, from working with Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar out of concern about potential radicalization in refugee camps. 3. In 2014, Israel banned Islamic Relief from operating in the occupied West Bank, accusing Islamic Relief Worldwide of being a source of funding for the Palestinian Hamas Islamist movement. That led the UK Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) to remove Islamic Relief from its online donations page. The Financial Post of Canada similarly removed Islamic Relief from a charity page “since its international arm has been banned elsewhere (though not in Canada) for allegedly funneling funds to the terrorist organization Hamas.” 4. In 2015, the HSBC Bank of the United Kingdom closed Islamic Relief accounts citing fears that money could wind up with terrorist groups. 5. In 2012, the UBS cut ties with Islamic Relief due to concerns about counter-terrorist regulations.

The use of federally registered charities to fund terrorism is not a new practice. In the United States, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development was considered the country’s largest Muslim charity until it was shut down in 2001 for funneling millions of dollars to Hamas. Canada revoked the International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy (IRFAN)’s charitable status in 2014 for similar Hamas support. The Islamic Society of North America in Canada has suffered four different charity revocations – two of which were for funding the Jamaat e Islami terrorist group.

What is different in this case, however, is how the money is getting directed down the path to terrorism. In the recent past, it was private citizens exploiting weaknesses in government oversight of registered charities. Now, however, it appears that Canadian MPs are using their positions to direct millions of dollars to Islamic Relief Canada. Some of this money is passed to Islamic Relief Worldwide, which is in turn passing money to extremist and terrorist groups. Given that it is generally known about Islamic Relief Worldwide’s terrorism financing connections, Canadian officials appear willfully blind. Even if they don’t know better, this practice violates Canadian law and Canadian values. An investigation could determine if the money could wind up in the hands of a terrorist organization.



LAÏCITÉ CAN HELP BLOCK ADVANCE OF POLITICAL ISLAM                                                   Lise Ravary

Montreal Gazette, Oct. 22, 2018

“We must get involved in all domains where we can have more Islam …” “The more we are present, the more women are seen wearing hijab, discussing it, explaining their approach, explaining who they are, the more we will create habits and things will change.” “We must control school programs and stop them from propagating values that do not conform to our principles.” “We must move into public schools, using empty spaces to dispense complementary religious learning.”

These words by Swiss-born global superstar Muslim preacher Tariq Ramadan, grandson of Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, explain why so many francophones see hijabs and niqabs as symbols of political Islam, or Islamism: using the tools of the state in order to further a religious agenda. Before being jailed in France to await trial on rape charges, Ramadan was a frequent visitor to Quebec, where he gave interviews to mainstream media and spoke to large crowds at the Palais des congrès.

Francophones read newspapers, books and magazines from France, where relationships between immigrants from North Africa and Français de vieille souche are bad for reasons that mostly don’t exist here. France failed at integrating les Maghrébins who moved there after her North African possessions became independent. Algeria, in particular, was not just a colony, it was a full-fledged French territory, its inhabitants French citizens. The terrible war of independence created a lot of hatred, bitterness and resentment before de Gaulle said “enough” in 1962.

Islamists continue to make inroads in France. Newspapers often report comments by radical imams on women, non-Muslims or Jews that make people’s hair stand on end. Salafist imams are regularly expelled and hundreds of mosques have been closed in recent years. More than 500 French Muslims joined ISIS. Who can forget Charlie Hebdo, le Bataclan and the people killed in Nice on Bastille Day?

Many francophones worry that Quebec will turn into France, where crowds pray in the streets, because Canada’s multiculturalism, they feel, promotes apartness instead of togetherness. As Ramadan said to L’Express: “We are in favour of integration as long as we control the content.” Although his speeches in Arabic have always been more strident and extreme than in French, he cultivated the image of bridge builder, a man of peace. People bought into his mystique. The sexual assault accusations have not stopped many Muslims from admiring Ramadan. Being the grandson of Hassan al-Banna confers a lot of prestige although he denies being a member of the Brotherhood.

Laïcité, which has never been explained to Quebecers, cannot and should not silence people like Ramadan, unless they promote hatred or incite violence. In itself, political Islam is not a crime. But many Quebecers feel that laïcité could at least prevent attempts to change things toward “more Islam.” However, this strategy did not work so well in France, where laïcité has been the law of the land since 1905. Yet, with laïcité, public schools could not set aside rooms for prayer, separate boys and girls — even non-Muslim — for gym, pull students from music lessons or sex education, or agree to some parents’ requests for segregated school yards.

Last spring, a public school in Montreal was set to rent out its premises for the annual “cérémonie du voile,” a Shiite ritual during which 9-year-old girls agree to wear the hijab forever. Many Muslims feel the girls are too young to take on such a commitment. Religions should be kept out of all state institutions, not only to stop people like Tariq Ramadan and other insidious promoters of Islamism from scoring political points, but also to allow the faithful to worship without having fingers pointed at them. Let’s not forget that many Muslims who emigrated here did so to escape Islamism.




TERRORIST USE OF HUMAN SHIELDS                                                               

Rabbi Abraham Cooper

The Hill, Oct. 10, 2018

Innocent civilian casualties are an inevitable legacy of any war. But the idea that armies would use civilians as human shields to protect armed combatants from the enemy’s bullets is considered by most civilized nations and adherents to International Law (1949 Geneva Conventions, the 1977 Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions, and the 1998 Rome Statute) to be a War Crime.

During World War II, across Europe and in Asia, the Axis partners were accused of deploying human shields to secure military objectives, root out insurgents and in the Battle of Okinawa, use civilians in a ferocious battle the Japanese knew they would lose. Over 100,000 Okinawans perished.

Saddam Hussein took the deployment of human shields to a whole new level. In the lead up to the Gulf War of 1990-1991. Hussein detained hundreds of citizens of Western countries as human shields in an attempt to deter nations from launching military strikes. A number of these hostages were filmed meeting Hussein, and kept with him to deter any targeted attacks, whilst others were held in or near military, nuclear and industrial targets.

More recently, in 2016, Islamic State fighters began using human shields — hostages — in Fallujah. Fox News reported that the shields consisted of “several hundred” families — in other words, an entire neighborhood. USA Today reported that Islamic State thugs were “locking some families down inside the hospital building.” The Iraqi government and the UN also estimated at least 50,000 innocent people were trapped in Fallujah.

Which brings us to the new Capitol Hill initiative. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) have introduced an increasingly rare bipartisan bill to counter the use of human shields by Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Nigeria’s Boko Haram and other terrorist groups. Why the need for the bill now? What can it achieve? Most of the examples of cited above about the use of human shields in the past took place in the heat of battle or as a desperation move on the eve of a military confrontation.

In our time, we are confronted with Iranian-backed terrorist groups who brazenly have established the deployment of human shields as a core tactic and strategy for present and future battles with the enemy. For months now, Hamas has been using children as part of orchestrated riots at the Gaza-Israeli border. When Israel soldiers rush to the area and see children, their first reaction is to hesitate targeting children. These traps have already cost the lives of an Israeli soldier.

Rather than condemn Hamas, as outgoing US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley tried unsuccessfully at the Security Council and General Assembly tried to do, UN members always vote to condemn Israel for defending herself. This only encourages Hamas to put more children at risk. Every dead child is a social media bonanza. In early wars with Israel, Hamas used civilian infrastructures, including UNRWA schools to store missiles and launch them against the Jewish State. While using children as cannon fodder, the Hamas brain-trust found safe haven beneath a civilian hospital. Palestinian children have died building terror tunnels burrowing into Israeli communities…

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



On Topic Links

Don’t Expect Democrats to Obstruct Trump’s Pro-Israel Policies – or Punish Netanyahu: Jonathan S. Tobin, Ha’aretz, Nov. 8, 2018—The 2018 U.S. midterm elections were a mixed bag for U.S. partisans.

Canada’s Welcome Mat for Jihadis Poses Threat to US: Clarion Project, Nov. 18, 2018—Canada’s welcome mat for jihadis — including returning ISIS terrorists as well as numerous Islamists immigrants — is well known.  This not only threatens our northern neighbors but is an increasing threat to the U.S. as well.

Jihad Jane’s Recruiter Sentenced to 15 Years: Abha Shankar, IPT News, Oct 31, 2018—An Algerian man was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years in prison for conspiring with Americans and others to recruit men and women in Europe and the United States to a terrorist cell to wage violent jihad in the West.

Islamic State’s Future in Afghanistan – Part II: Daud Khattak, BESA, Nov. 19, 2018—Islamic State in Khorasan (IS-K) emerged in Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan, on the border of Pakistan’s volatile tribal region.


Israel Has Reached Decision Time on Gaza: Yaakov Lappin, JNS, Oct. 17, 2018 — Events in Gaza are moving quickly, and Israel has now reached a critical fork in the road with two main paths…

Putin May Not Want a Fight with Israel, But He May Get It: David J. Bercuson, National Post, Oct. 5, 2018— Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad can sleep a little better these days now that Russia has completed delivery of a new system of long-range S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Syria.

Russia and NATO Show War Games Aren’t Just Games: James Stavridis, Bloomberg, Sept. 6, 2018— Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad can sleep a little better these days now that Russia has completed delivery of a new system of long-range S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Syria.

Canada’s Fighter Jet Debacle: This is No Way to Run a Military: David Krayden, National Post, Oct. 3, 2018  — Last week the United States Marine Corps flew the F-35 joint strike fighter into combat for the first time.

On Topic Links

Israel’s All-Terrain EZRaiders Latest Law Enforcement Rage: David Israel, Jewish Press, Sept. 21, 2018

What Will the Next Israel-Hezbollah War Look Like?: Ehud Eilam, Israel Defense, Oct. 7, 2018

A Tale of A Lone Soldier: Ariel Rudolph, Jerusalem Online, Sept. 14, 2018

Two Junk Submarines, and Our Long Tradition of Terrible Military Procurements: Nima Karimi, National Post, Oct. 3, 2018


ISRAEL HAS REACHED DECISION TIME ON GAZA                                                  

Yaakov Lappin

JNS, Oct. 17, 2018

Events in Gaza are moving quickly, and Israel has now reached a critical fork in the road with two main paths: a significant military escalation, which has the potential to gain momentum and turn into a broader armed conflict; or a long-term arrangement, designed to restore calm to the area.

Opinions in the security cabinet have been split on whether to give Egyptian mediation efforts more time to reach an arrangement with Hamas or whether to respond more forcefully to Hamas’s border attacks. Until the middle-of-the-night rocket attack that smashed a house in Beersheva into rubble, and which saw a second rocket head towards central Israel, it was easier for proponents of the mediation efforts to make their case.

The Israel Defense Forces had been able to largely contain the Hamas-organized border rioting, which included grenade and IED attacks, and Israeli cities were not under fire. The western Negev region, however, was under constant low-level Hamas attacks, including arson, incendiary balloons and border disturbances; life for local residents there has not been easy these past six months. Gaza’s civilians—trapped between endless feuding between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority—have seen their situation deteriorate considerably, and are on the verge of an economic and humanitarian crash.

Hamas thinks that by playing a game of dangerous brinkmanship and ramping up the pressure on Israel, Jerusalem will be more likely to enter into an arrangement that lifts security restrictions on Gaza. It is a gamble that could blow up in Hamas’s face. At 3:40 a.m. on Wednesday morning, sirens went off in Beersheva and changed the direction. The family inside the home narrowly averted a terrible fate, thanks to the alertness and quick thinking of a mother who rushed her family into a rocket-proof safe room. A major red line had been crossed, and an intelligence investigation had begun in Israel to figure out who crossed it.

Already, in the hours after the attack, the IDF indicated that it was linking Hamas, Gaza’s ruling regime, and the Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the second-largest faction in Gaza, to the attack. Hamas and PIJ were quick to deny any link to the rockets, even going so far as to describe it as “irresponsible.” The IDF seemed unimpressed. A military spokesman noted that the attackers launched mid-range, locally produced rockets that “are in possession of only two organizations in Gaza: Hamas and PIJ, which very much narrows it down.”

The spokesman said the military was less concerned about which organization launched the projectiles, noting that Hamas “bears full responsibility.” The Israeli Air Force then struck 20 Hamas targets across Gaza, including an offensive terror tunnel that crossed into Israel, tunnel-digging sites in Gaza and a maritime tunnel shaft on the Gazan coastline, designed to let Hamas commando cells head out to sea without being noticed. Additional targets destroyed by Israel included rocket and weapons’ factories.

But that response still falls into the normal Israeli retaliation pattern and indicates that Jerusalem had not yet taken a decision on whether to take things further or not. Factors that sway that decision include the results of the IDF’s intelligence investigation, which should shed more light on exactly who fired the rockets, the result of the Egyptian mediation efforts and the status of other key fronts, particularly the highly explosive northern arena, where Israel is busy trying to keep Iran out of Syria. If Israel can avoid having to deal with multiple active arenas at the same time, it would prefer to do so. It is not so clear that this can, however, be avoided. The IDF has drawn up responses for a range of scenarios, and would be ready to strike Hamas and PIJ more severely if it receives a directive from the government to do so.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has taken the unusual step of publicly announcing his conclusion that the time for talk has passed, and that all of Israel’s efforts to de-escalate the situation—by injecting essential goods into Gaza, like fuel and electricity—have failed. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, following a military evaluation meeting that he took part in, that Israel “would act with great force”—a possible signal that Israel was not prepared to absorb the rocket fire and go back to business as usual.

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas views Gaza as a rebel Islamist province that should be brought to its knees for splitting away from Ramallah’s rule. He has played his own role in blocking chances for a truce arrangement. Abbas has placed heavy economic sanctions on Gaza and refuses to act as a channel for international investment in Gaza’s civilian infrastructure until Hamas surrenders to him.

The result is a highly unstable, explosive situation that is teetering on the brink of escalation. The coming hours should reveal in which direction Gaza and Israel will go. If the result is conflict, then it will be one that Hamas and its allies brought upon the heads of the Gazan people.

As IDF Southern Command chief, Maj.-Gen. Herzi Halevi said, “Hamas pretends to govern in Gaza, and tells the Gazan population that it seeks to improve their lives. However, in reality, Hamas specializes in riots at the border fence and in using explosive devices, incendiary and explosive balloons, and, as we saw last night, rockets. Hamas worsens the lives of ordinary Gazans.”



          PUTIN MAY NOT WANT A FIGHT WITH ISRAEL, BUT HE MAY GET IT                                                 David J. Bercuson                                                                                                                                   National Post, Oct. 5, 2018

Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad can sleep a little better these days now that Russia has completed delivery of a new system of long-range S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Syria. These missiles replace an obsolete system of S-200 missiles that Syria has operated for some time. The S-200s have proven useless in deterring or defeating Israeli air strikes aimed at Iranian military installations in Syria and at Syrian transfer of advanced weapons to its client, Hezbollah, based mainly in Lebanon. The sale — objected to by both Israel and the United States — came in the wake of the destruction of a Russian reconnaissance aircraft by Syria’s older anti-aircraft missiles, which were actually aimed at Israeli fighter-bombers raiding Syria but which brought down the Russian aircraft instead.

The sale of the S-300 missiles to Syria is an important step both in the deterioration of Russian-Israeli relations and in the slide to an even greater regional conflict, perhaps one as significant as the 1973 October War, during which Egypt (now at peace with Israel) and Syria attacked Israel and initiated an almost month-long conflict that almost drew in the Soviet Union and the United States. This sale, therefore, might prove to be Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most serious foreign policy mistake.

During the still-ongoing Syrian civil war, Iran backed the Syrian regime alongside Russia and Hezbollah. When Russia began to mount an intensive air campaign against the Syrian rebels, danger arose that clashes might occur between Russian and Israeli aircraft (this same danger existed between NATO aircraft bombing ISIL targets in Syria and Russian aircraft). In both cases protocols and secret communications networks were set up to allow NATO, Israel and Russia to avoid confrontations in the air. Why were the Israeli aircraft attacking targets in Syria? Not to intervene in the civil war, but to attack Iranian military installations that began to appear in Assad’s territory, and to continue to intervene in the transfer from the Syrian military to Hezbollah of sophisticated weapons systems.

The installation of the new Russian missiles sets up a variety of dangerous possibilities. If Russian missiles (presumably operated by Russian military personnel) begin to shoot at Israeli aircraft, the Israeli air force will undoubtedly attack the missile sites and possibly kill or injure members of the Russian military. The protocols that have allowed the two nations to operate in the same airspace will then break down, possibly triggering more clashes. No one can say whether the new Russian missiles are capable of bringing down the upgraded Israeli F-16 fighter bombers generally used by the IAF, or even the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighters that Israel is known to be operating in the skies over Syria.

If so, the propaganda coup for Russia will be immense, as will its arms sales to nations that might find themselves on the wrong end of F-35 strikes. If not, the opposite effect will occur — the S-300 will be shown to be ineffective against either the very advanced Israeli F-16s or their F-35s. That would mean political embarrassment to Russia and, no doubt, make it harder for them to sell their new missiles. It is virtually certain that Israel will not stop its air attacks, no matter what.

The other outcome, even more disturbing, would be United States intervening on Israel’s behalf to help the Israelis cope with the S-300s or to protect the reputation of the F-35 fighter, which has now been ordered — and in some cases delivered — to at least nine NATO nations aside from the United States.

So what can account for Putin’s decision to deploy the missiles? Perhaps it is this: there has been so much Russian intervention to save Assad’s regime, that the Russian Federation is now drawn deeper into Syria than was even the case in the days of the old Soviet Union. Back then the U.S.S.R. was not only an ally and major military supplier to Syria, but it was also an implacable foe of Israel. In the early 1970s, Israeli and Soviet aircraft even clashed in the skies near the Suez Canal. In trying to balance a live-and-let-live arrangement with Israel against protecting his now vassal state of Syria, perhaps Putin has decided to let Israel go.

Now that Assad, full of “his” military victory over the rebels, has announced that his next goal is to wrest the Golan Heights back from Israel (which captured that area in 1967), the Russians are in danger of being dragged into a far more serious and much more dangerous situation than they have been in in Georgia or even in eastern Ukraine.                              Contents


RUSSIA AND NATO SHOW WAR GAMES AREN’T JUST GAMES                                                                   James Stavridis

                                                Bloomberg, Sept. 6, 2018

Over the coming weeks, both NATO and Russia will launch a series of super-high-end war games. These games are hardly for fun — rather, they are deadly serious practice sessions for hundreds of thousands of soldiers, thousands of combat aircraft, and flotillas of combat ships. While no one will die (other than by accident, a not uncommon occurrence in such exercises), the messages going back and forth are crystal clear: We are prepared for war.

Russia’s exercise is called Vostok — which means “east” — and will be held principally east of the Ural Mountains. It is the largest military exercise by Russia since Soviet times (in 1981) and will deploy 300,000 troops and more than 1,000 military aircraft. Of note, China will participate with thousands of its troops operating alongside the Russians (there will also be a token contingent of troops from Mongolia, which has been a partner to both Russia and NATO at times).

The message to the West is obvious: Russia and China might work together militarily against NATO in the East or the U.S. and its allies in the Pacific. The futuristic novel “Ghost Fleet” by Peter Singer and August Cole gives an excellent description of a high-tech war that begins unexpectedly in the Pacific with Russia and China allied against the U.S. These war games provide a preview of that sort of military activity could look like — and it should be very worrisome to U.S. planners.

NATO will conduct its own huge military exercise, named Trident Juncture 2018. It will take place on the northern borders of the alliance and will involve 40,000 troops from all 29 nations, a couple of hundred aircraft and dozens of warships. While not as spectacularly large as Russia’s Vostok, it will serve as a “graduation exercise” for NATO’s new Spearhead Force, a serious, highly mobile capability that can put NATO combat troops into the Baltic states to repulse a Russian invasion within a matter of days.

Led by a highly motivated Italian unit that could be fully ready to fight in 48 hours, the spearhead force also includes Dutch and Norwegian forces. Advance word says the exercise will include a mock invasion of Norway by U.S. Marines. This robust event is part of a vast improvement over the anemic states of readiness in NATO just a decade ago.

Of note, two high-capability militaries that are not NATO members, but are close coalition partners — Sweden and Finland — will participate. When I was supreme allied commander of NATO a few years ago, I deeply admired the professionalism and military excellence of both nations, which participated with NATO in many global operations. The Russians are deeply concerned about the possibility of Sweden and Finland considering NATO membership, and their involvement in Trident Juncture will stoke those fears in Moscow. All of this means tension and the possibility of miscalculation. We should pay particular attention to four key elements of these very serious games.

First, we need to recognize that there are internal messages working here on both sides. In the Russian case (and especially from the perspective of President Vladimir Putin), the games signal the high capability and professionalism of the nation’s troops. This builds on the patriotic pride that was created by the invasion of Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea, and is a signal to the general population that their military is more than capable of holding on to those gains. As for NATO, the message is similar, and directed toward the front-line states that border Russia — Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Norway — and NATO partners Finland and Sweden. In the West, the message is one of capability and credibility — a willingness to fight if necessary.

Second, the role of China is nuanced. The Russian games were originally conceived as a deterrent not to NATO, but to China. Let’s face it: China, with its vastly larger population and need for economic growth, looks at the vast, natural-resource-rich tracts of Siberia the way a dog looks at a rib-eye steak. Yet a growing nationalism on the part of President Xi Jinping and unease over the Donald Trump administration’s hawkish policies on trade has China looking to develop a stronger relationship with Moscow. And Russia, frustrated with the antipathy of the U.S. (driven these days not by the White House but by Congress) is willing to draw nearer to China. While the longer-term relationship is fraught, it is a partnership (and a war game) of convenience at the moment.

Third, there is real military improvement that stems from such exercises. Pushing the European allies and Canada to deploy troops allows an increase in military interoperability on many fronts: technical synchronization of radio communications; alignment of targeting from different nations’ aircraft (a significant challenge in the NATO Libyan operation, for example); highly complex anti-submarine warfare operations; and multi-unit infantry and armor maneuver. All of these are challenging, and practice will make both sides much closer to perfect…

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




David Krayden

National Post, Oct. 3, 2018

Last week the United States Marine Corps flew the F-35 joint strike fighter into combat for the first time. That same day, one of the fighters also set a first: crashing in South Carolina — fortunately without the loss of life. As military aviators would remark, crap happens (or words to that effect). The state-of-the-art fighter jet first flew as a prototype in 2006 and has been flying with the United States Air Force since 2011. The Royal Air Force in the U.K. also uses the F-35. And just this year, in a moment of sheer historical irony, the Royal Australian Air Force took delivery of its first F-35s.

Why irony? Because just as Australia was welcoming its new jets to its defence inventory, Canada was at the doorstep begging for Australia’s used F-18s. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan had come calling because politics had again intervened in Canada’s storied but sorry defence procurement planning. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, not knowing what to do with the obsolescent CF-18s — ordered by his father in the late 1970s for a 1982 delivery — had been musing about buying some Super Hornets from Boeing but had decided not to in a peevish fit of trade retaliation.

Of course the Super Hornets were only a “stop-gap” measure anyway, as both Trudeau and Sajjan emphasized. The contract to replace the entire fleet of aging CF-18s would be delayed again because Trudeau did not want to buy the previous Conservative government’s fighter replacement choice: the F-35. But there’s an additional irony here. The F-35 was not just the choice of the Harper government. It was initially selected by the Liberal government of Jean Chrétien. The primary reason: interoperability with our primary allies. The U.S., U.K. and Australia would all be buying the F-35 so it just made sense.

I was working at the House of Commons at the time for the Official Opposition defence critic, who thought the decision to participate in the development, and eventually, the procurement of the F-35, was a refreshing but rare moment of common-sense, non-political defence planning on the part of the government.

It seemed the Liberals really didn’t want a repeat of the fiasco that surrounded the EH-101 helicopter, the maritime patrol and search and rescue helicopter that the Conservative government of Brian Mulroney had selected after an assiduous military assessment. The chopper was dubbed a “Cadillac” by Chrétien in 1993 and quickly cancelled when he won the election. This cost Canada millions in cancellation fees for backing out of the project, and then the Liberals ultimately purchased the same aircraft for search and rescue — now rebranded as “Cormorants.” They remain in service today.

This kind of debacle couldn’t be allowed to happen again with the F-35. But it did. And it is. And it seems it always has. In many NATO countries, national defence is a bipartisan or nonpartisan issue. Any cursory examination of Australian and British defence policy over the past five decades will reveal that no matter the party in power — ie: Liberal/Conservative or Labour — defence policy remains constant. Of course the defence departments are subordinate to the government of the day, but those governments don’t use defence as a political tool to punish the opposition.

In Canada, the Liberals and Conservatives work together as well — but often in the worst interests of Canadian Armed Forces. The F-35, again, illustrates that point. The previous Conservative government of Stephen Harper pointedly supported the acquisition of the F-35, but dithered over three terms because Harper thought the expenditure might erode his voter support.

Ironically, it was NDP leader Thomas Mulcair who was the most vocal proponent of the F-35 during the marathon 2015 federal election campaign. Had Harper been re-elected, I don’t believe the Royal Canadian Air Force would be looking at new fighter jets to fly or even the contract to manufacture them. But he wasn’t re-elected. Justin Trudeau is the prime minister, and our next generation of fighter aircraft is still nowhere in sight. The entire fleet of CF-18s is approaching absolute retirement age and that won’t be changed by the absurd plan to buy Australia’s used aircraft while our allies take delivery of planes that Canada was — in a fit of judicious, nonpartisan planning — eyeing decades ago. It really is no way to run a military, but there’s no end in sight.



On Topic Links

Israel’s All-Terrain EZRaiders Latest Law Enforcement Rage: David Israel, Jewish Press, Sept. 21, 2018—The EZRaider is presented by its maker, Israeli startup company DSRaider, as a breakthrough vehicle in a new category all by itself in all-terrain riding, allowing the user complete control with minimum training.

What Will the Next Israel-Hezbollah War Look Like?: Ehud Eilam, Israel Defense, Oct. 7, 2018—Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy and a non-state organization based in Lebanon, had fought the IDF in the 1980s and mostly in the 1990s when the Israeli military was deployed in Lebanon. In 2006, the two sides clashed again, for 34 days, a war that ended in a kind of a tie. They might fight again because of escalation or if Israel attacks Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, following an Iranian attempt to produce a nuclear weapon.

A Tale of A Lone Soldier: Ariel Rudolph, Jerusalem Online, Sept. 14, 2018—M. was born in Israel but after her parents divorced, when she was six years old, her mother left Israel and M. grew up in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England. She completely identified with her Israeli roots and maintained contact with her Israeli peers, visited Israel occasionally and associated with the Jewish community in England.

Two Junk Submarines, and Our Long Tradition of Terrible Military Procurements: Nima Karimi, National Post, Oct. 3, 2018—It was recently discovered that Canada (apparently Transport Canada) has expressed interest in purchasing a surveillance drone from Germany. This, however, as David Pugliese reports, is no ordinary drone: not only is it second-hand, it is also severely gutted, “without many core components it needs to fly.”



Jerusalem and Now Iran: Is Donald Trump Turning Into a Morally Serious President?: Jonathan S. Tobin, Ha’aretz, Jan. 02, 2018— In the summer of 2009, as the forces of the Iranian government brutally repressed mass demonstrations protesting a stolen election, the United States sent the people of Iran an unmistakable message.

If 'Canada's Back,' Like Trudeau Says, We Should be Supporting Iran's Protesters: Kaveh Shahrooz, National Post, Jan. 3, 2018— “Canada’s back,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau likes to say in progressive international circles. 

Hungry for Regional Hegemony, Iran Takes a Bite Out of Hamas: Charles Bybelezer, The Media Line, Jan. 4, 2018— One week of popular protests in Iran has brought into stark focus the country's deep internal divisions…

How Iran Became the Dominant Power in the Middle East: Prof. Benjamin Miller, BESA, Jan. 4, 2018— Iran has emerged as the winner of the so-called “Arab Spring,” a state of affairs some lay at the feet of the Obama administration.


On Topic Links


Iran’s Protests are Fading, but Iranians Are Still Angry: Amanda Erickson, Washington Post, Jan. 4, 2018

The Uprising in Iran: ‘This is What Revolution Looks Like’: Terry Glavin, Maclean’s, Jan. 1, 2017

What Washington Can Do to Support Iran’s Protesters: Richard Goldberg and Jamie Fly, New York Post, Jan. 2, 2018 Iran has a peculiar habit of surprising Americans.

Protests in Iran: Social Challenges vs. Foreign Policy Ambitions: Dr. Doron Itzchakov, BESA, Jan. 3, 2018






Jonathan S. Tobin

Ha’aretz, Jan. 02, 2018


In the summer of 2009, as the forces of the Iranian government brutally repressed mass demonstrations protesting a stolen election, the United States sent the people of Iran an unmistakable message. The man regarded as an international beacon of hope offered them no encouragement. President Barack Obama’s initial silence, and then continued restraint, in his remarks about what was going on, was a significant milestone along the road to the Iran nuclear deal he would later sign. It told Iranians they were on their own with respect to any international effort to secure their freedom.


But now, more than eight years later, as a new wave of protests spreads throughout Iran, those suffering under the theocratic rule of the ayatollahs are getting a very different message from the United States. President Donald Trump’s tweets reminded the ayatollahs that "the world is watching" as they sought to put down the protests against their regime’s tyranny, corruption and support for terror. Trump let Iranian dissidents know the world is with them and turned up the pressure on Tehran – just at the moment when he wants to start a conversation about renegotiating the nuclear deal, so as to remove the sunset clauses that make the regime’s acquisition of a bomb inevitable.


Yet, as was the case with Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, many on the left, as well as others on the right, who are still appalled by the Trump presidency, are not prepared to give him credit even when he is obviously in the right. In their view, Trump’s inappropriate behavior and statements rob him of any moral legitimacy, therefore nullifying the impact of anything that he does or says that they would approve of if someone else had done it.


But the contrast with Obama is instructive, not only in terms of the debate over Iran, but because it also undermines the narrative which portrays the Trump administration as patently illegitimate. As was the case with Jerusalem, it is Trump who had the courage and the will to state an important truth about Iran, while it was Obama who failed that great moral test.


That contradicts the assumptions of both the "resistance" on the left and the conservative "Never Trump" faction. This ought to force even the president’s sternest critics to reassess their belief that Trump’s administration cannot be taken seriously, especially when so much of the arguments against him are premised on the notion that his character is such that he must be opposed under any and all circumstances.


Rather than see the contrast between the two successive administrations as one of stark choices between good and evil, Trump’s ability to do the right thing on Iran while Obama conspicuously failed, means his administration should be judged, as all governments must be, in shades of grey rather than in terms of moral absolutes.


The attempt, principally by Obama administration alumni, to claim that the best course for the West on Iran is to be silent about the protests, is unpersuasive. As in other efforts to deal with tyrannies, such as that of the former Soviet Union, outside pressure aimed at bolstering internal dissent is a critical factor in undermining support for any such authoritarian government. Moreover, Obama’s diffident posture toward the 2009 protests gives us a clear example of how Western democracies encouraged the theocrats to believe they can murder with impunity and not face any international consequences.


Obama believed that the objective of obtaining a nuclear accord with Iran justified any concession. But that choice and others, such as the reports that he discouraged federal authorities from pursuing efforts to curtail Hezbollah’s drug-running operations in order to further appease Tehran, weakened his negotiating position, as well as undermining other Western interests. It also made it easier for the regime to convince Iranians they had no choice but to meekly accept the continued rule of a government that used the wealth it acquired from the pact to enrich regime entities, while doing little to help its people.


By contrast, Trump’s truth-telling sets the record straight in a way that ought to alter the debate not only about Iran, but on other foreign policy issues too. His critics generally dismiss the president as ignorant or foolish. But it is difficult to see how either former Obama officials or European governments (who have been conspicuously silent on recent events in Iran) are in any better position to preach to Trump about morality.


The implications for Israel and those who care about it from this discussion are clear. Trump’s more favorable attitude toward Israel, as well as his willingness to hold the Palestinians accountable for their rejectionism and support for terror, does not erase his other shortcomings. Yet, as with his reversal of a decades-long policy that denied the truth about Jerusalem, Trump’s ability to say what needed to be said about Iran, and in a way that Obama couldn’t or wouldn’t, needs to be acknowledged. It should be seen as a significant measure of how his administration should be judged going forward as it tackles the ongoing challenges relating to the Mideast peace process and terrorism.


Disgust with some of what Trump says and tweets is understandable. But we have no choice but to judge leaders by their choices, rather than our assumptions about their character and intentions. After the Jerusalem stand and the Iran protests, it’s getting increasingly difficult to pretend that the moral dichotomy between Obama and Trump is as clear-cut as the president’s detractors claim it to be. Hard as it may be for the "resistance" and the Never Trumpers to accept, it may be that it is possible that Donald Trump is turning out to be a morally serious president.






Kaveh Shahrooz

National Post, Jan. 3, 2018


“Canada’s back,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau likes to say in progressive international circles.  But since the outbreak of the growing protests that have rocked Iran, Canada has been nowhere to be found. The protests, which began in the religious city of Mashhad in northeastern Iran, have been raging across the country for nearly a week and, to date, have claimed nearly 20 lives. The protesters’ demands were initially about economic justice, but have quickly transformed into a rejection of Iran’s theocratic structure and the Iranian government’s military adventurism in Syria and Yemen.  


In the face of this, Canada’s Global Affairs department released a statement that indicated Canada is “encouraged” by the protesters’ exercise of their rights, and stated that Canada will continue to monitor the situation. This statement — tepidly recognizing the protests without endorsing their message, and emphasizing the protesters’ rights to free expression without giving any offence to Iran’s rulers — was the diplomatic equivalent of hedging Canada’s bets.


As of the time of this writing, neither Trudeau nor Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland have weighed in. Domestically, this is in contrast to a strong statement of support by Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer. And, internationally, it is inconsistent with the very strong statements by President Donald Trump and members of his administration. Why, then, is Canada hesitating to offer support to the protesters? The answer, likely, lies in the prime minister’s commitment to reverse Stephen Harper’s decision to cut off diplomatic relations with Iran and close the Iranian embassy in Ottawa. 


It is probable that Trudeau believes supporting the protesters will make it harder for him to deliver on his promise. Such failure may, in turn, entail political costs, as Iranian-Canadians are becoming an electoral force in at least two Greater Toronto Area ridings. The Liberals may believe that segments of the Iranian-Canadian community, some of whom legitimately suffer due to lack of access to consular services in Canada and some with financial ties to the Iranian government, will punish them in the next election if they don’t make good on their commitment.


But the prime minister should break his silence on Iran. The reason for that is simple: It is because doing so is the morally right thing to do. The cause championed by the brave protesters in Iran’s streets is just. They are calling for an end to a theocracy that has produced nothing for Iranians except economic stagnation, repression, mass executions, and gender and religious apartheid. Does Canada’s feminist prime minister wish to be on the side of a government that treats women as second-class citizens? Can he pay lip service to diversity and inclusion on the one hand, and keep silent in the face of a government that treats its Baha’i religious community as non-persons? In short, in the clash between a theocratic regime that murders its citizens (and Canadian citizens, as it did in 2003 with Zahra Kazemi) and young protesters calling for democracy, which side does Trudeau wish to be on?


Re-engaging the Iranian government may be a sincere Liberal government commitment, but it surely isn’t worth sullying Canada’s reputation as a force for justice and human rights in the world. And if the prime minister decides that he wants to express solidarity with the protesters, there are several concrete steps he can take. First, he ought to make a powerful statement that supports the protesters and their demands. The importance of such a statement cannot be overstated. Given the bellicose language of the Trump administration, the Iranian government would love nothing more than to paint the protesters as saboteurs doing America’s bidding. Given that Trudeau is the anti-Trump, the PM’s support of the protest would considerably weaken the Iranian government’s rhetoric. 


Second, Canada ought to make clear to Iranian authorities that any violation of the protesters’ rights would lead to significant consequences. For example, Iran ought to understand that in the face of a serious crackdown, re-engagement should no longer be on the table. In addition, now that Canada has its own version of the Magnitsky Act (a law that freezes assets and limits travel for government officials who engage in human rights abuses abroad), Iranian officials ought to be warned that they could end up on its list if they illegally silence protesters.   In addition, Canada should exert its influence to get other countries to stand with the protesters. Each year, Canada leads a resolution at the UN General Assembly that condemns Iran’s human rights abuses. We have the experience, know-how, and moral authority to lead on this issue, too.


Finally, Canada should take serious aim at Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the military and economic juggernaut responsible for so much domestic repression and regional conflict. It is now time to sanction the IRGC using a bill (S-219) that has so far stalled in the Senate thanks to Liberal-affiliated Senators. The prime minister ought to make the sanctioning of the IRGC a priority.   Iran’s protesters are taking tremendous risks these days to secure freedom and democracy. They need Canada’s support and solidarity. We should provide it.                   




Charles Bybelezer

The Media Line, Jan. 4, 2018


One week of popular protests in Iran has brought into stark focus the country's deep internal divisions, along with widespread resentment towards the mullahs, which have remained relatively dormant since regime forces brutally quashed the Green Revolution in 2009. What started last Thursday in the city of Mashhad as a small economic rally—with participants primarily venting frustration over the lack of trickle-down effect from some $100 billion in sanctions relief granted to Tehran in the 2015 nuclear deal—has morphed into nationwide, deadly demonstrations against the rulership of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.


Across Iran chants of "death to the dictator" have become common refrain as pictures of the ayatollah are set on fire. Among the many grievances being aired is anger over the Islamic Republic's deep military, and thus financial, involvement in conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, in addition to support for Lebanese-based Hezbollah. Somewhat less pronounced is the regime's bankrolling of the Palestinian terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, although protesters have reportedly recited slogans such as 'Let go of Palestine' and 'Forget Palestine' while invoking the Gaza Strip in particular.


In this respect, relations between Shiite Iran and Sunni Hamas have thawed since the former froze ties with Gaza's rulers after they refused to support the Assad government at the onset of the Syrian war. Now, Tehran's renewed funding of Hamas is part and parcel of the Islamic Republic's attempt to increase its regional influence and, on the micro level, its presence along Israel's borders. The latter entails accelerating Hezbollah's militarization in Lebanon and establishing a permanent presence in Syria, including the entrenchment of Shiite proxies in the Golan Heights.


According to Brig. Gen. Yossi Kuperwasser (ret.), former director general of the Israeli Ministry of International Affairs and Strategy, Iran's growing involvement in Gaza is based on a convergence of interests. "On the one hand, Hamas has become weaker as it lost the ability to rely on its usual supporters, while its effort to forge unity with the Palestinian Authority appears to have failed. "On the other hand," he explained to The Media Line, "the Iranians want to increase the strength of the 'resistance' axis that opposes Israel and promotes radical Islamic ideology and Hamas can be a useful ally in this cause."


Brig. Gen. (res.) Eli Ben Meir, who served as the IDF's chief intelligence officer, agrees that Iran is making inroads in the Strip to fill the vacuum created by Hamas' isolation, but also in response to developments in the north. "There is a potential for escalation in Syria," he told The Media Line, "as Israel has repeatedly talked about enforcing its red lines [and reportedly carried out multiple strikes against Iranian assets to uphold them]. So Tehran is sending a message that such action can be met with a response from Gaza." In fact, there has been a marked uptick in rocket attacks against Israel emanating from the Palestinian enclave since US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the Jewish state's capital. However, in the wake of last week's apparent targeting of a ceremony honoring an IDF soldier whose remains are being held by Hamas, multiple Israeli officials have publicly accused Tehran of deliberately raising tensions.


For his part, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman released a video in which he slammed the Islamic Republic for working to "destroy" Gaza while "hurting Israel as much as possible." Intelligence Minister Israel Katz referred to the Strip as a "ticking time bomb" caused by a "direct Iranian intervention," with Tehran allegedly having supplied some of the mortars fired at southern Israeli towns. Former defense chief Moshe Ya'alon warned that Iran, empowered by military successes throughout the region, is likely to shift some of its attention towards subverting Israel.


On Monday, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot revealed that Tehran has increased its funding to Hamas and Islamic Jihad from an estimated $70 million to $100 million annually in order to exert more influence over Gaza. Nevertheless, he described as "irresponsible" those calling for a stronger response to attacks, while confirming that the IDF is "carrying out various covert and open efforts including [the] promotion of restraining factors." Indeed, there appears to be disagreement within the Israeli political and military establishments over how to deal with the growing threat from Gaza, where the Jewish state has fought three wars over the past decade. "There are three main courses of action that Israel can take," Ben Meir explained to The Media Line. "The first is a full-scale operation that involves throwing Hamas out of the Strip. The second is conducting low-intensity warfare, a tit-for-tat approach—such as responding to rocket fire with airstrikes—in order to contain the situation. And the third option is finding a way to dramatically change the severe civilian economic conditions."…

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





Prof. Benjamin Miller

BESA, Jan. 4, 2018


Iran has emerged as the winner of the so-called “Arab Spring,” a state of affairs some lay at the feet of the Obama administration. When the US administration (together with five other powers) signed a nuclear accord with Tehran to curb its nuclear program, it did not insist on a halt to Iran’s assorted aggressions in the Middle East. But Obama is not entirely to blame for Iran’s success. In each of the four Arab countries in which Tehran has made incursions, its rivals inadvertently played a key role in strengthening the Iranian position through the trans-border Shiite connection.


In other words, interventions by other foreign powers unintentionally strengthened the pro-Iranian Shiite group in each of the countries in question. In some cases (though not all), the outcome was influenced by nationalist opposition to foreign interference. In all four cases, however, the interventions reinforced a regional transnational sectarian connection that is enabling the fulfillment of Iranian aspirations to become the dominant force in the Middle East.


How have the other intervening powers helped Iran win the Middle East game (at least for now)? In the case of Iraq, another enemy of the Islamic Republic accidentally brought about Iranian dominance in a country that used to be a major rival. In this instance it was the US that played the key role. Following their 2003 occupation of Iraq, the Americans tried to democratize the country. But elections in an ethnically and religiously fragmented state like Iraq mean that the largest ethnic or sectarian group is going to win.


The Shiites are the majority group in a polarized Iraq, and some of their leaders are allies of the Iranian Shiite regime. This trans-border connection has guaranteed significant Iranian influence in Iraq. Thus, the US invasion and democratization project in Iraq brought to power forces allied with its main enemy in the region – even if the alliance with Tehran is not welcomed by all Iraqis, including some Shiites.


The (next) case of an external intervention that resulted in growing Iranian influence is the Russian involvement in Syria. In this instance, the intervening power is not an enemy of Iran’s – at the moment. It was one for a very long time, however, and the future of the alliance is uncertain. At any rate, the Russian bombing in 2015 was the decisive factor that ultimately brought about the victory of the Assad regime in the Syrian civil war. This is the case even though Tehran, Hezbollah, and other Iranian-led Shiite militias had been fighting alongside the regime since well before the Russian bombing started.


As in the other cases, the support of Iran and its Shiite allies for the Alawite regime in Damascus is based at least partly on a common sectarian affiliation, as the Alawites are considered an offshoot of Shiite Islam. The Assad regime’s dependence on the Iranian/Shiite militias’ support seems to guarantee that Tehran will remain a major influence in Syria.


While the Russian bombing provided the coup de grâce, the Iranians and their allies continue to provide the ground forces necessary to preserve the regime. Israel is worried that the regime’s debt to Iran will translate into a continuous Iranian/Hezbollah military presence in Syria near the border with the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. Recent Russian statements seem to indicate Moscow’s acceptance of such a military presence. This forward military deployment of Iran and its allies creates the potential for escalation, whether intended or inadvertent…

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





On Topic Links


Iran’s Protests are Fading, but Iranians Are Still Angry: Amanda Erickson, Washington Post, Jan. 4, 2018—For just a moment around the new year, Iran seemed poised for something big. What started as a couple of scattered protests on Dec. 8 over the cost of eggs quickly erupted into a countrywide movement. Iranians took to the streets in nearly every province, calling for an end to corruption, a better economy and a less-oppressive government.

The Uprising in Iran: ‘This is What Revolution Looks Like’: Terry Glavin, Maclean’s, Jan. 1, 2017—The Iranian uprising that began last Thursday in Mashhad, Iran’s second largest city, was initially reported as an isolated protest over food prices and unemployment. By Sunday, the entire country was heaving in convulsions.

What Washington Can Do to Support Iran’s Protesters: Richard Goldberg and Jamie Fly, New York Post, Jan. 2, 2018 Iran has a peculiar habit of surprising Americans. —Even before the widespread anticlerical protests in Iran, President Trump made clear what he thinks of the regime. In recent days, he has even gone so far as to support those Iranians protesting the regime, in stark contrast to President Barack Obama’s desperate attempt in 2009 to curry favor with their oppressors.

Protests in Iran: Social Challenges vs. Foreign Policy Ambitions: Dr. Doron Itzchakov, BESA, Jan. 3, 2018—The social protests currently taking place in Iran arise from the gap between the Islamic leadership’s ambition for regional hegemony and ordinary people’s desire for a lower cost of living and an improved standard of living – expectations stemming from promises made by President Hassan Rouhani during his first term in office and reinforced by the July 2015 nuclear agreement (JCPOA) and the attendant release of Iranian assets worldwide.








Threatened South to North, IDF Seeks Calm While Steeling for Worst: Judah Ari Gross, Times of Israel, Nov. 14, 2017— With tensions rising in the south amid fears that the Islamic Jihad terror group will attempt to avenge a tunnel demolition two weeks ago…

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft: What It Brings to the IAF: Yaakov Lappin, BESA, Oct. 29, 2017— The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet is poised to become a key tool to help Israel stop Iran and its proxies from creating a threatening military outpost in Syria.

How Technology Is Revolutionizing War: Jeremy Rabkin & John Yoo, National Review, Nov. 14, 2017— In his 2017 inaugural address, President Trump protested that for decades the American people “subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military…

Canadian Forces Pull off a Rare Feat: a Procurement Triumph: Editorial, National Post, Nov. 3, 2017— The Canadian Forces may have recently pulled off a rare feat: a military procurement triumph.


On Topic Links


‘Israel Not Prepared for Drone Threat’: Yona Schnitzer, Breaking Israel News, Nov. 16, 2017

Don't Return Bodies For Nothing: Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror, Israel Hayom, Nov. 6, 2017

Canada’s Peacekeeping Incoherence: Richard Shimooka & Don Macnamara, Globe & Mail, Nov. 14, 2017

North Korea and the Threat of Chemical Warfare: Theo Emery, New York Times, Oct. 27, 2017






                                                       Judah Ari Gross

Times of Israel, Nov. 14, 2017


With tensions rising in the south amid fears that the Islamic Jihad terror group will attempt to avenge a tunnel demolition two weeks ago, the Israeli military is finding that striking a delicate balance between keeping terror groups from preparing for a future war and keeping the region relatively calm is easier said than done. While neither side may be gunning for a fight, a miscalculation by the IDF runs the risk of triggering a bloody tit-for-tat fight that can lead to all-out war.


For the past two weeks, the military has been trying to prevent such an escalation as the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group has vowed revenge for the army’s demolition of its attack tunnel that crossed into Israeli territory from Gaza. Israel Defense Forces troops in southern Israel have been on alert following last month’s tunnel razing. In the army’s most recent measure, on Monday it deployed its Iron Dome missile defense system in central Israel — including at least one battery in the greater Tel Aviv region — out of concerns the group may retaliate with a barrage of rockets.


In addition to preparing for attack, the Israeli military has also been trying to prevent one, repeatedly warning against a retaliation in direct addresses to both the Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Strip’s rulers, Hamas. The army blew up the tunnel, which originated in the Gazan city of Khan Younis and crossed into Israeli territory, near Kibbutz Kissufim, on October 30. In total, 14 terrorists were killed, two of them from Hamas and the rest from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, including two senior commanders. The bodies of five of the Islamic Jihad terrorists, who were working on the tunnel inside Israeli territory, were recovered by the IDF a few days later.


But according to the army, this high body count was not intentional. The goal for the operation, per the IDF, was the destruction of the tunnel, not assassination. In comments after the blast, IDF officials also noted that many of the terrorists died not in the explosion, but in botched rescue attempts. But the military stressed it does not regret the deaths of terrorists, after facing backlash from politicians who interpreted the officers’ comments as apologetic. In light of the body count, the military determined that the group “will have a hard time holding back.”


Incidentally, Tuesday also marks five years since the IDF killed then-Hamas military commander Ahmed Jabari in an airstrike, which sparked the week-long Operation Pillar of Defense campaign in Gaza. Palestinian terror groups have been known to carry out attacks to coincide with significant anniversaries. Former Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin praised the military on Monday for preparing to counter the threats from Gaza, but warned it not to forget that “the northern front is Israel’s main focus — Assad, Hezbollah, and Iran will seek to challenge the IDF.”


On Saturday, Israel shot down a drone from Syria with a Patriot missile in the third such incident this year, which military officials say is an indication of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s increasing brazenness in light of his successes in the country’s civil war. The army’s top brass and Israeli government officials are also currently locked in intense discussion with their American and Russian counterparts concerning a ceasefire agreement for southern Syria, especially the distance from Israel’s borders that Iran-backed militias will be allowed to operate.  While Iranian entrenchment along the Golan border presents a far greater strategic threat to Israel’s security in the long term, the more pressing concern seems to be the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which could attack at any time.


When the IDF uncovered two Hamas attack tunnels that also crossed into Israeli territory last year, there was also concern of a potential retaliation, but this faded fairly rapidly. In those cases, however, there were no terrorist casualties, as in last month’s demolition. Late Saturday night, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians, published a video message in Arabic directed to the Islamic Jihad leaders in Damascus, telling them that the IDF is aware of the group’s terror plots and that they are “playing with fire.” “We are aware of the plot that the Palestinian Islamic Jihad is planning against Israel,” Mordechai said. “Let it be clear: Any attack by the Islamic Jihad will be met with a powerful and determined Israeli response, not only against the Jihad, but also against Hamas,” warned the general.


The group responded a day later, saying the Israeli threats against its leaders constituted “an act of war,” and vowing to continue to try to carry out a revenge attack against Israel. “We reaffirm our right to respond to any aggression, including our right to respond to the crime of aggression on the resistance tunnel,” Islamic Jihad said.


In the eyes of the military, its strike on the tunnel was entirely justified, legally and morally, as it entered Israeli territory and threatened Israeli civilians. As such, the army feels, while it may smart, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad needs to just count its losses and move on. “They violated Israeli sovereignty. They were conducting an act of hostility against Israel. We were able to thwart that, and that is the end of the sentence,” said army spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus in an extended interview with the Israel Project’s podcast on Monday. “And if they will try to aggress again, that will be met with significant resolve and power,” Conricus added.


On Monday, Israeli forces arrested a top commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the West Bank, in what seems to be a non-verbal deterrent message to the terrorist group. The Shin Bet security service confirmed that Tariq Qa’adan, a senior officer in the Gaza-based terror group’s West Bank wing, was picked up by the IDF in Arrabeh, southwest of Jenin, in the northern West Bank. A Shin Bet official said Qa’adan was arrested “for being a member of a terrorist group.”


According to Yadlin, who now runs the esteemed Institute for National Security Studies think tank, the messages put out by Mordechai and the army’s spokesperson’s office are important tools to prevent escalation and also show a significant change in tack by the military since the 2014 Gaza war, known in Israel as Operation Protective Edge. “The messages and warnings that Israel has been sending to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) over the last couple of days are not incidental, but actually indicate concrete intel according to which PIJ plans to respond to the destruction of his terror tunnel into Israel,” Yadlin wrote on Twitter. “It seems Israel learned the lessons of Operation Protective Edge, and this time it will focus on hitting the heads of the organizations (with a particular focus on the chiefs of their military/terror branches) and their operational infrastructure,” he said.            




Yaakov Lappin

BESA, Oct. 29, 2017


The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet is poised to become a key tool to help Israel stop Iran and its proxies from creating a threatening military outpost in Syria. It will also play a leading role vis-à-vis Hezbollah’s heavily armed fortress in Lebanon. The Lockheed Martin-produced aircraft, which is due to become fully operational in December of this year, brings with it a number of new capabilities that ideally suit Israel’s requirements in terms of monitoring and, when necessary, striking Iranian-Hezbollah-Syrian military targets in Syria and Lebanon. The aircraft is well suited for the mission of selectively targeting the ongoing Iranian-Hezbollah weapons trafficking program.


The F-35 is an intelligence-gathering machine in a league of its own. It is able to deploy a range of sensors to gather detailed information on events on the ground. It can fuse unprecedented quantities of intelligence automatically, then share it with other aircraft and with the Israel Air Force’s (IAF) ground control stations.


This intelligence can then be sent to Israel’s Military Intelligence Directorate for further analysis and for the creation of a large databank of targets. This will provide Israel with a significantly enhanced picture of the activities of Iran, Hezbollah, and the Assad regime throughout the northern arena. It will also give Israel a strong starting position in the event of an escalation of the security situation, since these targets can be struck in the future.


In mid-October, an Assad regime SA-5 surface-to-air missile battery detected and fired upon Israeli jets, which were reportedly on an intelligence-gathering mission over Lebanon. That incident is an indication of a growing Iranian-Assad-Hezbollah determination to harass Israel’s intelligence operations. But the F-35, with its stealth capabilities, should be able to evade enemy radar detection, making such crucial missions smoother. Israeli F-35s could be sent to gather intelligence in contested air space filled with hostile radar systems and avoid detection.


IAF officials say they are also working on getting the F-35 to communicate effectively with the older, fourth-generation F-16s and F-15s. In combat situations, the F-35s would be able to spearhead operations, moving first into contested battle zones, striking enemy targets before being detected, and sending back valuable data to the fourth-generation aircraft. Such capabilities will be critical going forward, as both Syria and Lebanon have become filled with a variety of surface-to-air missile systems. Several different types of missile batteries are in the possession of Hezbollah and the Assad regime. In recent years, Russia has also stationed its advanced S-300 and S-400 batteries in Syria.


The F-35’s value in this increasingly complex and challenging environment is clear. It becomes even more pronounced when examining Israel’s need to improve its long-range strike capabilities in the event of a conflict with Iran. The F-35 has unique long-range capabilities. By 2024, Israel will have two full squadrons of F-35 A jets – a total of 50 aircraft. The last 17 of these jets were purchased by Israel in August of this year. The Planning and Organization Department within the IAF is in the midst of intensive preparations aimed at integrating the F-35 into daily operations.


The IAF expects the new aircraft to affect the way the rest of the air force operates and to boost Israeli capabilities across the board. The IDF’s ground forces, too, could experience its benefits. The F-35’s data could be relayed quickly to units on the ground, improving their lethality and battle space awareness. For now, the IAF is continuing to gather vast quantities of intelligence and engage in low-profile action against the radical Shi’ite axis to the north – but it is also planning for the possibility of open conflict. If such conflict unfolds, the IAF will unleash waves of heavy firepower never before seen in the region’s military history. The F-35’s unique awareness of its combat environment will let it take a leading role in such operations.                                                         




          Jeremy Rabkin & John Yoo

National Review, Nov. 14, 2017


In his 2017 inaugural address, President Trump protested that for decades the American people “subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military . . . spent trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.” No longer would the United States waste its blood and treasure fighting abroad for the interests of others. “From this moment on,” Trump declared, “it’s going to be America first.” During the campaign, Trump had launched even sharper critiques of U.S. foreign policy. Paying attention to the interests of foreigners had led the United States into disastrous wars, most lamentably in Iraq. “We shouldn’t have been there, we shouldn’t have destroyed the country, and Saddam Hussein was a bad guy but he was good at one thing: killing terrorists,” Trump said during the campaign.


Despite such rhetoric, the administration did not pursue a foreign policy of isolationism or even non-interventionism. In the Middle East, the United States has not only continued fighting foes from its recent wars but gone beyond them. In April 2017, the Trump administration set aside the passivity of its predecessor and launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles against a Syrian air base in response to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons. It expanded the American deployment of ground troops in the Syrian civil war, provided arms to Kurdish militias, and lent air and tactical support for Iraqi forces fighting the Islamic State terrorist group. U.S. troops continued to fight in Afghanistan against a resurgent Taliban, even going so far as to use a massive ordnance bomb against insurgent tunnels. Promising to “bomb the hell out of ISIS” during the campaign, Trump has authorized a significant increase in drone strikes and special operations by both the CIA and the U.S. armed forces.


In Asia, the Trump administration did not send U.S. forces into direct combat, but it resorted to the threat of force to support its foreign policy. To pressure the North Korean regime to halt its nuclear-weapons program, Trump dispatched the USS Vinson aircraft-carrier strike group and a nuclear submarine to the area. “There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea,” he said. “Absolutely.” His administration proposed a more aggressive response to China’s building of artificial islands in the South China Sea. “Building islands and then putting military assets on those islands is akin to Russia’s taking of Crimea. It’s taking of territory that others lay claim to,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in his confirmation hearing. “We’re going to have to send China a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops, and second, your access to those islands also is not going to be allowed.” To enforce such demands would require more frequent freedom-of-navigation patrols and could even call for naval blockades.


For all that, President Trump shows little sign of reversing the Obama administration’s caution on risking American lives. He continues to criticize the U.S. interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan as “costly” — by which he seems to mean costly in American lives but also in budget allocations. The Trump administration faces a quandary. Restoring a muscular American foreign policy will demand a higher rate of operations and deployments, increasing costs and risking greater casualties. Though the administration has proposed increases in military spending, it remains cautious about costly foreign commitments.


Technology can help resolve this looming impasse. Robotics, the Internet, and space-based communications have increased productivity across the economy. These same advances may have a comparably transformative impact on military affairs. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) allow pilots to strike targets more precisely at reduced cost, with less harm to bystanders and less threat to themselves. Cyber weapons permit nations to impose disruptions on an adversary in more precisely targeted attacks and without physical destruction. Space-based networks enable militaries to locate their forces exactly, lead their troops more effectively, and target their enemies more precisely.


These new advances are turning military development away from the 20th century’s reliance on draft armies equipped with simple, yet lethal, mass-produced weapons. As nations use force that becomes more precise and discrete, they can consider changing rules developed in the era of mass armies and attrition warfare. The laws of war need not fuss over the line between targetable military and immune civilian assets when nations can rely on UAVs to deliver precision-guided munitions on particular targets.


As it is, reluctance to use force has led western nations to rely on economic sanctions, which punish entire populations. Drones and cyber attacks might achieve comparable results to economic sanctions by inflicting harm on the target state’s economy, but in a more precise manner. Such an approach may avoid unintended effects of sanctions and operate much more quickly and reliably, leaving adversaries less time to adapt to (or circumvent) sanctions. To make the most of those new capacities, we should rethink current legal formulas purporting to regulate when “military force” is lawful, and against what targets.


New weapons technologies could help the United States and its allies protect international stability. WMD proliferation, international terrorism, human-rights catastrophes, and rising regional powers are threatening the liberal international order constructed by the U.S. and its allies after World War II. Nations will be discouraged from confronting these problems with conventional force. But if new technology reduces the costs of war while improving its effectiveness, nations may turn to force more often to promote desirable ends. Promoting international stability remains a global public good, in that peace benefits all nations regardless of who pays for it. This gives nations a strong incentive to free-ride off the efforts of others to maintain international peace and security. If using force becomes less expensive and more effective, nations may turn to force more readily when the times require it. New weapons may be particularly helpful in situations where a large-scale military response would seem excessive but mere words seem insufficient.


In fact, new weapons technologies may produce the welcome benefit of reducing the harms of individual disputes. While the United States, among others, is rapidly developing new means of fighting, these innovations may limit war. Robotics can reduce harm to combatants and civilians by making attacks more precise and deadly. Cyber can more effectively target enemy military and civilian resources without risking direct injury to human beings or the destruction of physical structures. Space satellites will provide the sensors and communications that make possible the rapid, real-time marriage of intelligence and force, and future orbital weapons may create a viable defense to nuclear missiles.






National Post, Nov. 3, 2017


The Canadian Forces may have recently pulled off a rare feat: a military procurement triumph. We are reluctant to even write these words, lest the cosmos note this aberration from the natural order of things and immediately smite the project. Barring otherworldly intervention, though, the recent conversion of MV Asterix is the kind of smart, efficient military procurement we see so rarely. Asterix is a large ship, originally intended to serve as a commercial vessel, which was rapidly refitted by Quebec’s Davie Shipyard to serve as a logistical support ship for the Royal Canadian Navy. She is completing sea trials now and will be ready for active service imminently, perhaps as early as this month.


A modern navy is only as effective as its logistics ships, floating warehouses that sail with the warships and provide stores of food, fuel, ammunition, spare parts and advanced medical care facilities for fleets on the move. In recent years, Canada had lost both of its support ships to a combination of old age, bad luck and political mismanagement.  Old age: the ships were well into their fifth decade when retired, and well behind the technological curve. Bad luck: both ships were suddenly retired after unforeseen crises — an onboard fire and a collision at sea, respectively. Political mismanagement: even though the fire and collision were unforeseeable, the need to replace the ships wasn’t, but both Liberal and Conservative governments had failed to invest the funds necessary to replace the vessels.


Without them, the Navy is essentially limited to being a coastal patrol force. New ships have been ordered, at an estimated cost of billions, but aren’t due until the early 2020s. Enter the Asterix. She will return a vital capability to the Navy, and the total cost of the project is less than $700 million — a comparative bargain. So much so that we question the need to wait for the new ships at all. The government should at least explore the possibility of repeating the process with another vessel, so that we can put one on both the east and west coasts. But at least the Navy can begin functioning as a proper fighting force again. We hope the success of this project, and its real economic and military advantages, are not overlooked by a government (and Navy) that needs all the good news it can get.




On Topic Links


‘Israel Not Prepared for Drone Threat’: Yona Schnitzer, Breaking Israel News, Nov. 16, 2017—he IDF has  yet to develop a suitable response to the threat of cross border drone attacks, State Comptroller Joseph Shapira said in a special report issued Wednesday that also looked at regulation of domestic drone use.

Don't Return Bodies For Nothing: Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror, Israel Hayom, Nov. 6, 2017—The Israel Defense Forces has racked up three recent achievements on the southern front: locating an attack tunnel leading into Israel and blowing it up; striking over a dozen terrorists, including senior Islamic Jihad operatives; and according to an IDF report on Sunday, holding on to bodies of the terrorists who were in the tunnel at the time of the strike.

Canada’s Peacekeeping Incoherence: Richard Shimooka & Don Macnamara, Globe & Mail, Nov. 14, 2017—Over the past few weeks there has been a renewed impetus toward Canada undertaking a new peacekeeping mission. While some of the motivations behind such an intervention are laudable, they present a number of challenges and considerations that should be fully understood before a commitment is made.

North Korea and the Threat of Chemical Warfare: Theo Emery, New York Times, Oct. 27, 2017—The war of words between President Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un over Pyongyang’s nuclear program has rattled nerves around the world. But the trial of two women in Malaysia for using the nerve agent VX to kill Mr. Kim’s half brother is a reminder that North Korea’s lethal arsenal isn’t limited to nuclear weapons. The North’s chemical weapons pose a grave risk to South Korea and to regional stability.







Surprise! Study Shows Islamic Terrorism is Islamic: Judith Bergman, Gatestone Institute, Oct. 31, 2017— Western leaders insist that Islamic terrorism has nothing to do with Islam.

The Jewish Blindspot to the Horrors of the Niqab: Barbara Kay, National Post, Oct. 31, 2017— Sir Salman Rushdie spoke at Montreal’s Jewish Public Library last week. We were two of an estimated 700-strong (mostly Jewish) audience.

Burkas, Niqabs Pose Public Safety Risk: Tarek Fatah, Toronto Sun, Oct. 24, 2017— The slur of "racism" has been hurled at Muslims who support Quebec's Bill 62 — the new law banning face coverings, for example the burka and niqab, when giving or receiving government services.

Islamic State Threat is Alive at Israel’s Doorstep Despite Terror Group’s Losses Elsewhere: Yaakov Lappin, JNS, Oct. 26, 2017— During the last several months, Islamic State has seen its self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria erode at the hands of a U.S.-backed coalition.


On Topic Links


Via Rail Plotters Weren’t Sick or Addicted — They Were Evil, FBI Undercover Agent Says: Tom Blackwell, National Post, Oct. 24, 2017

Rohingya Refugee Crisis: The Role of Islamist Terrorists: Lawrence A. Franklin, Gatestone Institute, Oct. 25, 2017

Saudi Women Behind the Wheel: Prince Mohammed’s Litmus Test: Dr. James M. Dorsey, BESA, Oct. 4, 2017

New Study: Most UK Jihadists Tied to Non-Violent Islamism: IPT News, Oct 2, 2017



SURPRISE! STUDY SHOWS ISLAMIC TERRORISM IS ISLAMIC                                                                      

Judith Bergman

Gatestone Institute, Oct. 31, 2017


Western leaders insist that Islamic terrorism has nothing to do with Islam. Evidence to the contrary appeared again this week from Mohamad Jamal Khweis, an ISIS recruit from the United States who said in a 2016 interview with Kurdistan24, "Our daily life was basically prayer, eating and learning about the religion for about eight hours." Khweis was sentenced to 20 years in prison on October 27 for providing material support to ISIS, according to CBS News. As early as 2001, immediately after 9/11, then-President George W. Bush gave a speech in which he claimed that in the United States, the terrorist acts in which over 3,000 people were killed "violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith" and that "Islam is peace".


Twelve years and many spectacular terrorist attacks later, in 2013, when two jihadists murdered Lee Rigby in broad daylight in London, the prime minister at the time, David Cameron, declared that the attack was "a betrayal of Islam… there is nothing in Islam that justifies this truly dreadful act". In January 2015, jihadists in Paris shouting "Allahu Akbar" attacked Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket, murdering 15 people. French President François Hollande said that the jihadists had "nothing to do with the Muslim faith". Two years later, when a jihadist targeted the very heart of European democratic civilization, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Bridge, British PM Theresa May said: "It is wrong to describe this as Islamic terrorism. It is Islamist terrorism and the perversion of a great faith".


In the face of hundreds of Muslim terrorists yelling "Allahu Akbar" while bombing, shooting, stabbing, and car-ramming thousands of innocent civilians to death and wounding thousands of others, it would be reasonable to assume that elected representatives might feel obliged to put their denial of reality on hold long enough to read at least bits of the Quran. They might start by reading the commands in "Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them…" (9:5), or, "So fight them until there is no more fitna [strife] and all submit to the religion of Allah" (8:39).


If that is asking too much, perhaps they might be willing to consider a recent study by Islamic theologian and professor of Islamic religious education at the University of Vienna, Ednan Aslan, which was commissioned by the Austrian ministry of Foreign Affairs. The purpose of the 310-page study, which was conducted over 18 months and involved interviews with 29 Muslims who were all jailed or in juvenile detention (over half for having committed terrorist offenses) was reportedly to investigate the role that Islam plays in the radicalization of young Muslims in Austria. The study showed that jihadists are not, as Western leaders claim, ignorant of Islam and therefore "perverting" it. On the contrary, the jihadists apparently have a deep understanding of Islamic theology. Aslan explicitly warns against reducing the issue of Islamic terrorism to questions of "frustrated individuals, who have no perspective, are illiterate and have misunderstood Islam".


The study found that three factors were particularly relevant to the radicalization process of the interviewees. The first factor was Islam itself: The interviewees had actively participated in their own radicalization, by engaging with the content, norms and standards of Islamic doctrine, and had apparently found this engagement to be a positive turning point in their lives. The study describes the approach to Islam of these men as "Salafism", which it defines as the view that Islam comprises all aspects of life, religious, personal and societal. Moreover, the majority of the men evidently came from religious Muslim homes and were therefore already familiar with the foundations of Islam. The study explicitly states that the prevailing assumption that the majority of radicalized Muslims know very little about Islam could not be confirmed by the interviewers' findings.


The second factor was the environment: the specific mosques and imams to which the men went and on which they relied. Although the internet evidently did play a role in the radicalization process, the study showed that face-to-face encounters were more important, and that dawa, proselytizing Islam, played a central role in this process, as the men themselves became missionaries for Islam. Notably, the study showed that the level of theological knowledge determined the individual's role in the hierarchy — the more knowledge they had of Islam, the more authority they had. The third factor was the establishment of a "them and us" distinction between the radicalized men and the rest of the world, especially the belief that the West is an enemy of the Muslim world. The distinction also involved a rejection of democracy and a commitment to the establishment of a caliphate governed by sharia law, which the men want to bring about either through dawa (proselytizing) or violence (jihad)…

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



THE JEWISH BLINDSPOT TO THE HORRORS OF THE NIQAB                                                  

Barbara Kay

National Post, Oct. 31, 2017


Sir Salman Rushdie spoke at Montreal’s Jewish Public Library last week. We were two of an estimated 700-strong (mostly Jewish) audience. Rushdie’s insightful and entertaining address on “literature and politics in the modern world” was excellent, but the evening’s most noteworthy moment arrived with the Q&A, when, inevitably, his response was solicited regarding Quebec’s new Bill 62, which bans face coverings in the realm of public services. Rushdie gracefully sidestepped any comment on the law itself, but did express a robust opinion on the niqab.


His own family, Rushdie said, ranged from atheism to full Islamic practice, but “Not even the religious members would accept wearing a veil. They would say it is an instrument of oppression.” My husband and I applauded loudly, but few others did. Rushdie added, “Muslim women in the West who see it as an expression of identity are guilty of what Karl Marx called ‘false consciousness.’ A lot of women are forced to wear the veil. To choose to wear it, in my view, assists in the oppression of their sisters in those parts of the world.”


At this point I clapped even more enthusiastically and (alone) bellowed, “Bravo!” But most of the audience continued to sit on their hands. To say I was disappointed in my fellow Jews is an understatement. Here, after all, is a man who knows Islamic fundamentalism and oppression first hand, having endured 20 years of tense vigilance following fatwas against his life for the alleged crime of insulting Islam.


The tepid reaction to Rushdie’s statements thus struck me as a rebuke both to Rushdie’s personal ordeal and to the wisdom he brings to the face-covering debate as a critical insider. It’s also proof that even someone of Rushdie’s moral authority is powerless to shift liberal Jews’ reflexive instinct to identify with a perceived underdog, whatever the actual stakes at issue. I even had the sneaking suspicion that if a niqab’d woman in the audience had risen to shake her fist at Rushdie, she would have sparked an approving ovation.


I understand why young people are loath to criticize any cultural practice by the Other. They’ve long been steeped in cultural Marxism, which encourages white guilt and forbids criticism of official victim groups, including Muslims (but not Jews). But how did so many of my pre-Marxist, classically liberal Jewish contemporaries, who were, age-wise, disproportionately represented in the audience — especially the women, feminists one and all — fall for what public intellectual Phyllis Chesler calls a “faux feminism” that is “Islamically correct”?


I had assumed that my opinion on Bill 62 — that it is a fair law that privileges socially-level communications over a misogynist tribal custom — had solid, if minority, support in my community. The Rushdie evening disabused me of that illusion. Yet, I remain bewildered that Rushdie’s words don’t ring as true to my peers as they do to me. And not just Rushdie. Many Muslims are as “triggered” by the niqab as I am, and for better reason: they came to Canada to escape what it represents in those Islamic countries where it is customary (or obligatory) to wear it. They’re eager to speak up, but most media are too busy romancing the niqab-wearers to hear them.


Here’s a thought experiment I’d put to my progressive Jewish friends: How do you feel about the “frumqa”? “Frum” means religious in Yiddish. A frumqa is the Jewish burqa, worn by a few hundred Haredi women in Jerusalem who are sometimes called the “Taliban women.” The frumqa’s creator, Bruria Keren says she wears it “to save men from themselves. A man who sees a woman’s body parts is sexually aroused … Even if he doesn’t sin physically, his impure thoughts are sin in themselves.”


I’m glad the frumqa exists for one reason: I can say I find it disturbing in itself and abusive to girls without being called Islamophobic. I can freely say that Haredi fundamentalism and the obsessive gender extremism it incubates is a blot on the Jewish halachic and cultural landscape. Please don’t speak to me of a Jewish woman’s “right” to wear such a travesty of “tzniut” (modesty in dress and behaviour). Indoctrinated women, like inebriated women, are not competent to give informed consent to practices that reduce them to sexual and reproductive “things.”


I’d wager there isn’t a single Jewish woman in that Rushdie audience who wouldn’t privately express her visceral disgust with the frumqa, and who furthermore wouldn’t turn a hair if it were banned in Israel (it can’t be: the Haredim hold too much political power there). But over the Other’s burqas they draw a politically correct veil. Forgive me if I conclude it isn’t just Muslim women in the West who are guilty of false consciousness.




Tarek Fatah

Toronto Sun, Oct. 24, 2017


The slur of "racism" has been hurled at Muslims who support Quebec's Bill 62 — the new law banning face coverings, for example the burka and niqab, when giving or receiving government services. From Ontario Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne to Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown, many white politicians and liberal media commentators have been quick to label any support of Bill 62 racist.


Since I, a Muslim, support Bill 62, I guess that makes me a racist. Indeed, it's not uncommon to hear whispers suggesting Muslims like me who support the burka and niqab ban are "sell-outs" within the Muslim community. And that white politicians who oppose Bill 62 are trying to salvage the reputation of our community, despite our supposed betrayal.


Ontario Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne and Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown are fierce political rivals, but both have been quick to label any support of Bill 62 racist. After all, what do these politicians have to lose? The political race to the bottom to curry favour with the so-called "Muslim vote bank" in Canada, as they see it, has worked well for both Conservatives and Liberals, charmed as they are by many second-generation radical Muslims who were born in Canada, some of whom hate Western civilization more than their parents do.


But none of the attacks on Quebec's burka/niqab ban were more disingenuous than one told by a well-coiffed hijabi on Canadian television recently, dismissing the public safety aspect of people wearing facemasks. This young Muslim woman claimed there has not been a single incident where someone wearing a burka committed a crime. To set the record straight, here are just a few examples of criminal activities committed by men and women wearing burkas and other face coverings in Canada:


Two months ago, on Aug. 17, 2017, an armed robbery took place at a Scotia Bank branch in Milton, Ontario. Police said one of the two suspects was wearing a balaclava; On Sept. 9, 2015, two burka-wearing male teens charged into a Toronto bank in the Yonge Street and Highway 401 area. Both were later arrested in Ajax; On Oct. 14, 2014, two men wearing burkas robbed a Toronto jewelery store in the York Mills and Leslie Street area, and walked away with $500,000 worth of gold and precious stones; On Aug. 18, 2010 an armed robbery by two masked men took place at a Scotiabank branch in Vaughan, north of Toronto; Ottawa police have in the past cited a handful of robberies in that city involving male suspects using Muslim women's religious garments as disguises.


Some of us will never forget how a young Toronto Muslim woman, Bano Shahdady, threw off her burka as she was divorcing her husband, only to be stalked by him disguised in a burka. He entered her apartment building and killed her in July 2011. It was a story few media were willing to delve into, but because I knew the family, one journalist did report about this burka-related murder that almost went unreported.


Around the world, numerous criminals have fled arrest wearing burkas, everywhere from London's Heathrow airport to the infamous Lal Masjid armed revolt by jihadis in Islamabad. My plea to vote-grabbing Canadian politicians of all political stripes in English-speaking Canada is, for once, be honest. Put the racist card aside and recognize burkas and niqabs pose a serious public safety risk.






Yaakov Lappin

JNS, Oct. 26, 2017


During the last several months, Islamic State has seen its self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria erode at the hands of a U.S.-backed coalition. With the recent liberation of Islamic State’s de-facto capital in Raqqa, Syria, by coalition forces, many experts see the jihadist group attempting to bounce back by shifting from “state-building” to bolstering its terror network, including by exploiting lawless areas of the Middle East.

In Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, despite ongoing efforts by the Egyptian military, an Islamic State-affiliated terror group continues to deliver a succession of painful, deadly attacks on the Arab country’s security forces. With Islamic State’s losses in Syria and Iraq piling up, the Sinai remains an area where the terrorist organization is active and on the attack.  Occasionally, Islamic State’s Sinai affiliate, known as Sinai Province, fires rockets into southern Israel—including an attack in mid-October, sending residents of the Eshkol region fleeing for cover.


Yoram Schweitzer, head of the Program on Terrorism and Low Intensity Conflict at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, pointed out that Egyptian authorities do not operate in the Sinai like they do in the Egyptian heartland. Egypt’s counter-terrorist campaign “has some achievements, but not enough to solve the problem and to significantly lower ISIS’s activities.”


Egypt has struggled to integrate its security forces effectively, or deploy sufficient special forces, but has been able to cause real damage to Sinai Province during the past year and a half, Schweitzer said. “I don’t think Sinai Province is getting stronger. To a certain extent, it is weaker, but not enough to be repressed,” he told JNS.org. Egypt’s efforts are now receiving support from Bedouin tribes in the Sinai—like the Tarabin tribe—who have grown resentful of Islamic State’s presence, said Schweitzer, a former head of the Counter International Terror Section in the IDF. “The effort is better, but we see that terrorism isn’t breaking,” he said.


“They are still able to strike and kill soldiers in high numbers. The Egyptians can’t solve this problem,” Schweitzer added. One possible reason for this, he said, is the fact that Egypt “still doesn’t see Sinai as central enough. So long as there are not massive attacks in the Egyptian heartland, hitting senior government officials or tourist sites, this view will not change.”


An Israeli security source closely familiar with the Sinai sector offered rare confirmation of what she described as “tactical cooperation” between Israeli and Egyptian security forces on the border. “We have the same interests,” the source told JNS.org. “We both want to defend the border. We both understand that we are targets for terrorism. Hence we coordinate. It is clear to everyone who the enemy is, and that it is not us or them.” As evidence, the source pointed out that for the past year and a half, Egypt’s border police forces have constructed posts so that their openings face the Israeli side. “They did this out of an understanding that we have a common interest,” she said. “They understand that Israel is the safe side.”


The Israeli security source said that once in a while, Islamic State’s Sinai affiliate finds “ways to signal to us that we are in their crosshairs.” Israel does not confirm or deny reports that it launches air strikes on Islamic State in the Sinai, though the terror organization has accused the Jewish state of doing so repeatedly. It is difficult to estimate the size of Sinai Province, but assessments range from between hundreds and a few thousand members, the Israeli source stated. “Its weapons capabilities are varied. It has explosives that are both industrial and homemade, and a rocket stockpile that is not large,” she said. 


Asked about the scope of the threat to Israel, the source said, “As of now, our understanding is that Sinai Province’s leadership has issued a directive to focus efforts against the Egyptian security forces. We see that this directive is being followed.” The source was quick to point out that “this does not mean they like us. We are taking into account the fact that a decision, and having the ability, is what separates us from an attack against us.”


The IDF is building up its ability to deal with a variety of potential attacks from terrorists in the Sinai—including attempts to infiltrate into Israel and conduct a major attack. “Anything that approaches this sector comes under intense surveillance,” the source said. The Israeli military’s surveillance goes far beyond the Israel-Egypt border fence; any unusual movements are “checked thoroughly,” the source said. Various Israeli intelligence forces have joined forces to keep the area “clean from terrorism,” she added.


The source does not believe that Islamic State is getting stronger in the Sinai, but rather, that the terror group has succeeded in maintaining its power there, while it grows weaker in the rest of the Middle East. “They created an ability to continue attacking, keeping up their ‘output,’ and it turns out they can continue to recruit successfully,” she said. “This has not happened in other ISIS zones.” One reason for Islamic State’s continued presence in the Sinai, said the source, is that “for many years…Sinai has been the backyard of Egypt. There was no orderly Egyptian political sovereignty there. This created fertile ground for terrorism to grow uninterrupted.”





On Topic Links


Via Rail Plotters Weren’t Sick or Addicted — They Were Evil, FBI Undercover Agent Says: Tom Blackwell, National Post, Oct. 24, 2017—By the time he was sentenced to life in prison for plotting to wreck a Via Rail train and other terrorist acts, Chiheb Esseghaier had been diagnosed as psychotic, having gone on incoherent rants, spit at a witness and fallen asleep during his trial.

Rohingya Refugee Crisis: The Role of Islamist Terrorists: Lawrence A. Franklin, Gatestone Institute, Oct. 25, 2017—Although the media has extensively covered the Burmese Army's expulsion of Muslim Rohingya people from Rakhine Province in Myanmar — and although no one is recommending the horrors of murder or mass expulsions — little attention has been paid to Rohingya ties to international Islamic terrorism.

Saudi Women Behind the Wheel: Prince Mohammed’s Litmus Test: Dr. James M. Dorsey, BESA, Oct. 4, 2017—If last week’s national day celebrations, during which women were for the first time allowed to enter a stadium, is anything to go by, opposition to the lifting of Saudi Arabia’s ban on women’s driving is likely to be limited to protests on social media.

New Study: Most UK Jihadists Tied to Non-Violent Islamism: IPT News, Oct 2, 2017—Ties to non-violent Islamism are strongly associated with an eventual embrace of jihadism, according to a new study that explores the trajectories of British jihadists.




Sally F. Zerker: I Don’t Want an Apology from Justin Trudeau






I Don’t Want an Apology from Justin Trudeau


Sally Friedberg Zerker


Canadian governmental spokespeople have been active lately in apologizing for historical wrongs. Everybody was getting into the act; Trudeau with regard to mistreatment of Indian immigrants, Wynne with respect to exploitation of native peoples, Toronto’s chief of police for a raid on a gay bathhouse long ago. Now, Justin Trudeau is considering an apology for Canada’s turning aside a boatload of Jews seeking asylum in Canada from Nazi persecution in 1939.


Let me say right up front. I don’t want an apology although the Canadian government did me irreparable harm by their rejection of Jewish immigrants during the 1930’s and well into the 1940s. The refusal to allow the entry of the Jewish escapees from Hitler on the ship St. Louis was only one part of a larger discriminatory policy of the Liberal government in power.


What malice was inflicted on me personally by the Canadian government? It was responsible for the early deaths of my aunt, uncle, and their children—my cousins. Of course, the Canadian authorities didn’t directly murder these members of my family, but nevertheless they were responsible.


How? My aunt Chaya was my father’s sister, she was married to Alter , and they had five healthy, bright children, who undoubtedly would have been a great asset to Canada.  Chaya and Alter lived in Lodz, Poland. In the 1930’s, they were all set to join their parents and siblings in Canada. By then, my father’s whole extended family, with the exception of Chaya’s, was already settled in Toronto, Canada.


My parents migrated to Canada in 1927, to join both their maternal and paternal parents and siblings. My father’s three brothers and one sister were newcomers to Canada. As you can imagine, these new immigrants were doing everything possible to earn a living. But they were determined to assemble enough money to bring their remaining sibling and her family to Canada. Unfortunately, it took a few years to accumulate the required amount.


By that time, in the thirties, the Canadian policy, with regard to Jews wanting to settle here, was in the hostile hands of Prime Minister Mackenzie King and Frederick Blair, head of immigration, who had the support of the Liberal cabinet and the caucus. They didn’t want any Jews to enter Canada. None! The result was that Canada had the worst record for the entry of Jewish refugees of any nation during the Nazi years.


The application of Chaya’s family to migrate to Canada was made in the normal way, and to my father’s surprise and disappointment, their visas were denied. An expert on immigration was hired to appeal the decision, but that too failed. A reason given for the rejection was that Alter, the husband and father of the family, had a limp, and was therefore liable to have tuberculosis of the limbs, which could threaten other Canadians. I don’t know how they came up with this excuse because it was a complete falsehood.  I know this for certain, because one cousin who survived the holocaust, and who came to Canada after liberation, was able to confirm that this accusation was utter nonsense. Her father was strong and young, was fully competent to work, walk and run, and with healthy legs.


Why then is it that I don’t want an apology for this cruel act? Because an apology can’t right this wrong.  It will not retrieve my relatives for me nor offer me any solace. Instead, it will whitewash a government and a Liberal Party that continued to do nothing to amend the type of antisemitism that was endemic in Canada until the 1970s. It is a shallow, empty, meaningless act for my extended family who lost part of this family for no reason except Jew hatred. It’s not as if Canada would have known any additional cost for my aunt’s family. In those days sponsorship meant total responsibility and upkeep for those committed to the newcomers.


And Canada was the undoubted loser. My father’s family of Friedbergs produced a generation that contributed very well to Canada’s interests. In total my cousins and I have three Ph.Ds in various fields, one Rabbi who led the largest Conservative congregation in Canada, two outstanding medical doctors, one excellent dentist, four who earned different kinds of post-graduate degrees, and were fruitfully employed in their respective areas of expertise, and a couple of cousins who took their talents to the USA, one who was a violinist in a Chicago orchestra. I often am filled with remorse for the loss to the Jewish community and to Canada that might have been had the bigotry and hatred not impaired the creativity and talent from thousands of Jewish refugees who were rejected. If Trudeau is set on making an apology, it is owed to Canada, not from Canada, and it should be in the name of the Liberal Party.


Dr. Sally F. Zerker is professor emerita at York University, Toronto, an economist with specialty in the international oil industry.


Why They Keep Leaving Jews Out of the Holocaust: Rafael Medoff, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 10, 2017— The Canadian government has announced it will correct a memorial plaque at its new National Holocaust Monument, which spoke of the “millions of men, women and children during the Holocaust,” but neglected to mention Jews.

An Antisemitic Smear Gets Another Hearing: Jonathan S. Tobin, JNS, Oct. 9, 2017— Last month, former CIA officer Valerie Plame crossed a line on social media that even the mainstream liberal media couldn’t ignore.

Out of Bethlehem: Mitri Raheb's Empire of Lies: Dexter Van Zile, Jerusalem Journal, Oct. 10, 2017 — Thirteen days after Palestinian terrorists murdered two Israeli policemen on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, Lutheran Pastor Mitri Raheb visited the scene of the attack to celebrate.

Poland 2017: Tears And Tribute: Ettie Kryksman, Jewish Press, Oct. 6, 2017— In awed silence we walked through a path of a forest just outside Tykocin, Poland. Towering above us, tall trees silently witnessed our return.


On Topic Links


Why Trudeau's Shocking Holocaust Blunder Caused Gasps Worldwide: Vivian Bercovici, National Post, Oct. 12, 2017

France: Extreme Right and Left Leaders Distort Holocaust History: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 18, 2017

In Erdogan’s Post-Coup Turkey, Anti-Semitism is on the Rise: Sophia Pandya, Tablet, Oct. 19, 2017

I am a Proud Pakistani and a Proud Zionist Too: Noor Dahri, Times of Israel, Oct. 11, 2017





Rafael Medoff

Jerusalem Post, Oct. 10, 2017


The Canadian government has announced it will correct a memorial plaque at its new National Holocaust Monument, which spoke of the “millions of men, women and children during the Holocaust,” but neglected to mention Jews. Unfortunately, Canadian Minister of Heritage Melanie Joly has compounded the original error, by announcing that the new plaque will acknowledge “the six million Jews, as well as the five million other victims, that were murdered during the Holocaust.”


There is, in fact, no historical basis for that “five million” figure. Yet it keeps cropping up, cited by people who apparently assume it’s true just because a lot of other people keep saying it is. After critics blasted the Trump administration for neglecting to mention Jews in its January 2017 statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, White House spokesperson Hope Hicks said the administration was trying to be “inclusive of all those who suffered.” She then provided a link to a Huffington Post UK article titled “The Holocaust’s Forgotten Victims: the 5 Million Non-Jewish People Killed by the Nazis.”


A busy White House spokesperson doesn’t have time to start researching Holocaust statistics. That’s understandable. Evidently she assumed a reputable news outlet would not run such an article without basic fact-checking. Also understandable. But she was mistaken. The author of the article was Louise Ridley, an assistant news editor at HuffPost UK who specializes in “media, social affairs and gender,” according to her tag line.


Ridley described some of the groups that were persecuted, in differing degrees, by the Nazis, such as gays, Roma (Gypsies), and the disabled. Her list also included “communists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, trade unionists, and resistance fighters.” And she pointed out that the Nazis murdered several thousand priests. The Nazis also murdered millions of Polish civilians and Soviet prisoners of war. In fact, the total number of non-Jews killed by the Hitler regime far surpasses five million. But none of that was part of the Holocaust.


The Germans murdered a lot of innocent people, for a variety of reasons. But the only ones who were targeted for complete annihilation, and whom the Nazis hunted down, in country after country, for the sole purpose of murdering them, were the Jews. The term “Holocaust” was coined to refer to that specific historical event. Don’t blame Louise Ridley or Hope Hicks for the confusion. It was Simon Wiesenthal, the famed Nazi-hunter, who was first responsible for spreading the “five million” figure. Confronted many years ago by Holocaust historian Yehuda Bauer, Wiesenthal said he invented the idea of “five million non-Jewish victims” because he thought it would help get non-Jews more interested in the Holocaust. One can understand Wiesenthal’s concern. But he chose the wrong way to address it.


The President’s Commission on the Holocaust, appointed by Jimmy Carter in 1978 and chaired by Elie Wiesel, specifically warned against “any attempt to dilute” the Jewish nature of the Holocaust “in the name of misguided universalism.” But the Wiesenthal formulation appealed to White House aides who liked the idea of making the Holocaust more ecumenical, even at the price of historical accuracy. As a result, Carter’s October 1979 executive order establishing the US Holocaust Memorial Council – which then created the US Holocaust Memorial Museum – referred to the Holocaust as “the systematic and State-sponsored extermination of six million Jews and some five million other peoples by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War II.”


Prof. Walter Reich, former executive director of the US Holocaust Museum, has written, “And so the executive order… officially defined the Holocaust in a way that realized Wiesel’s great fear – that the Holocaust would be defined as an event in which 11 million people, six million Jews and five million non-Jews, had been killed, and that the crucial distinction between the planned and systematic extermination of all Jews on racial grounds, and the killing of civilian non-Jews on, say, political grounds – in response to resistance, or because of acts of collective reprisal or brutality – would be lost.”


Simon Wiesenthal picked a number of non-Jewish victims that was high enough to seem substantial but still a little less than the number of Jewish victims. He thought that formulation would still keep Jews as the primary focus. Evidently he didn’t realize how easy it would be for someone – even an American or Canadian government official – to slide down the slippery slope from “a Holocaust of Jews and non-Jews,” to a Holocaust without Jews at all. It’s just not that far from a Holocaust of everybody to a Holocaust of nobody in particular.                                                           





                                        Jonathan S. Tobin

JNS, Oct. 9, 2017


Last month, former CIA officer Valerie Plame crossed a line on social media that even the mainstream liberal media couldn’t ignore. Plame gained fame due to her unmasking, which occurred when her husband was a prominent critic of the George W. Bush administration’s Iraq war policy. But her status as a liberal icon took a hit when she retweeted an antisemitic polemic that claimed that Jews were responsible for pushing the US into wars in the Middle East for Israel’s sake.


Plame defended the piece, before eventually issuing a weasel-worded apology that further damaged her reputation. But the interesting aspect of this incident was the way that some critics of Israel sought to disassociate their attacks on the Jewish state from the sort of antisemitic invective that Plame had promoted. The Washington Post’s Molly Roberts, for example, whined that Plame’s open hate discredited an otherwise reasonable argument about Israel and its friends playing the puppet master on unsuspecting Americans.


While almost all of the attention devoted to antisemitism in the weeks since the Charlottesville incident has been devoted to neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan, Roberts was unhappy that the attention devoted to Plame changed the narrative to one about the “intolerant left” and because it undermined her desire to have a debate about “the outsize role Israel plays in American foreign policy.” But the problem is that those who single out Israel and its supporters traffic in age-old antisemitic themes that cannot be disguised as scholarship or legitimate debate.


What Roberts seems to want is a rehashing of the “Israel Lobby” thesis, which was promoted by authors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt a decade ago. They claimed that Israel and its supporters, especially the AIPAC lobby, were buying the votes of members of Congress to do Israel’s bidding — and that this was harming the best interests of Americans. As it happens, Walt resurfaced this week with an article in The Forward, in which he claimed that “history proved us right” — and defended his smears against the pro-Israel community.


But the “Israel Lobby” thesis was based on two big lies. One was that, in Walt and Mearsheimer’s telling, the effort to impose the pro-Israel agenda on America was a conspiracy so vast that it contradicted the authors’ premise that a minority was manipulating a majority. Since most Americans support Israel and view it as a fellow democracy with common values, the claim that the Jewish tail is wagging the American dog is absurd. Second, the nature of Walt and Mearsheimer’s arguments hinged on antisemitic stereotypes about Jews buying influence or manipulating unsuspecting gentiles. The focus on the Israel “lobby” as the greatest force in US politics was also a distortion that ignored the work of other, more powerful lobbies. Singling out Israel and its supporters in this manner betrayed an agenda that was built on prejudice, not a defense of American interests.


While Walt continues to deny the antisemitic nature of his work, it is telling that in his Forward article, he cited — among other things — the rise of Jewish Voice for Peace, a group that engages in openly antisemitic and anti-Zionist incitement, as proof that his stand was correct. He and Roberts ignore the reality of the Mideast conflict, in which a Palestinian political culture rejects peace on any terms, and where Israel’s destruction is the only genuine obstacle to the conflict’s resolution.


While most Jews are still focused on President Donald Trump’s wrongheaded comments about Charlottesville, the Democratic Party is becoming increasingly hostile to Israel. After eight years during which President Barack Obama’s efforts to pressure Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government only worsened the conflict with the Palestinians — and Obama’s appeasement of Iran drove Sunni Arab states into the arms of the Israelis — talk of a suppressed debate about the Jewish state’s disproportionate influence in the US is ridiculous.


But now that we have a president who, despite other obvious faults, isn’t obsessed with the idea of “saving Israel from itself” or empowering an Iranian regime that is as much of a threat to the US and the Arab states as it is to Israel,it’s unsurprising that some on the left want to revive this dishonest discussion. In the 10 years since The Israel Lobby was first published, a rising tide of antisemitism has swept across the globe, fueled in part by smears of Israel and Jews — just like the ones that Walt has helped spread. That is an indictment of his work, not a vindication. Those who want to besmirch Israel’s supporters as undermining US interests without being rightly labeled as antisemites aren’t fooling anyone.




OUT OF BETHLEHEM: MITRI RAHEB'S EMPIRE OF LIES                                                           

Dexter Van Zile

Jerusalem Journal, Oct. 10, 2017


Thirteen days after Palestinian terrorists murdered two Israeli policemen on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, Lutheran Pastor Mitri Raheb visited the scene of the attack to celebrate. He did not celebrate the attack per se, but the mass protests that convinced the Israeli government to remove metal detectors it installed near the Temple Mount after the murders.


Raheb posted a video montage of his July 27, 2017 visit to Al Aqsa, two days after the attack. The montage, which was posted on Youtube and broadcast on Twitter and Facebook, shows Raheb standing arm-in-arm with other Palestinian pastors and paying his respects to Muslim leaders outside the mosque. In a Tweet linking to the montage, Raheb declared that his visit to Al Aqsa — where imams regularly spout hatred against Jews — was an “unforgettable night … demonstrating faith in the space of Empire and Christian-Muslim unity as a tool of creative resistance.” In response, one of Raheb’s fans declared the Lutheran Pastor from Bethlehem a Palestinian “national treasure.”


Most Christian peacemakers would consider it bad form to engage in exultant displays of solidarity with a political movement that uses anti-Jewish violence and hatred as a unifying agenda, but Raheb has been offering displays like this for years. From Raheb’s perspective as an anti-Israel agitator and approval-seeking dhimmi, his visit to Al Aqsa was a smashing success. It allowed him an opportunity to shroud jihadist violence behind veils of “creative resistance” and inter-religious “unity” between Christians and Muslims – never mind that the unity he lauded is rooted in a shared contempt for Jews and their state.


Raheb’s rhetoric was almost enough to make people forget that the drama surrounding metal detectors at the Temple Mount began with Palestinian terrorists shooting two unsuspecting Israeli police officers — one of them a father of a newborn baby — at close range, killing them. If Hail Stawi and Kaamil Snaan had not been ambushed by murderers who had been lying in wait for them on the Temple Mount, no metal detectors would have been installed, no protests would have taken place, and Raheb would have no “creative resistance” to celebrate.


The entire drama surrounding the metal detectors, and the murders that served as its opening act, were not rooted in a desire for freedom or self-determination for Palestinians, but in the unifying agenda of anti-Jewish hate, making the spectacle of Raheb’s visit — and his social media campaign drawing attention to it — ghoulish and horrifying. As a pastor, he should have been mourning the hatred that drove the drama he was participating in, but there he was fanning its flames — on the same stone pavement where the attack unfolded.


Instead of trying to calm and challenge the anti-Israel hostility that unaccountable Palestinian elites have used to stay in power for decades, Raheb aligned himself with it to stay in the good graces with the corrupt authoritarian kleptocrats who control the West Bank.


It’s good work if you can get it. Because of his ties and utility to the Palestinian Authority, Raheb has been able to build something of an empire in the West Bank. In addition to serving many years as pastor at the Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem (a position now held by Munther Isaac), Raheb is founder and president of the Diyar Consortium, a non-profit that provides social services to people in the West Bank. He is also founder and president of Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture in Bethlehem, often described as the third largest private employer in Bethlehem. An empire like this — which includes a medical center, a cultural center and a publishing house — cannot be built in the West Bank without the support of the Palestinian Authority, which does not come free.


Because of his entrepreneurial ways, Raheb was able to establish the college on land previously owned by Lutheran missionaries from Germany and which the British had confiscated during World War I. The land eventually fell under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority under the leadership of Yassir Arafat. Raheb approached Arafat with architectural plans prepared by a prominent architect and asked for the land back so he could start his college. “With some arm-twisting, we were able to get at least six acres back of that land,” Raheb told an American audience in 2016. “Arafat said, ‘OK, you have to prove that the first building will be up and running because many people want that piece of land.’ It’s really prime land.” These days the college has five buildings.


To support the college and other institutions in Bethlehem, Raheb has founded a U.S. charity, Bright Stars of Bethlehem. Between 2009 and 2015 the charity raised a total of $5.5 million, helping Raheb’s empire of non-profits become the third largest private employer in Bethlehem. Like all empires, Raheb’s promotes a story that legitimizes its existence to itself and to its core constituents, which in this case are proponents of Israel’s destruction in Palestinian society and anti-Zionist activists in North America and Europe.


Raheb needs the support of both groups to maintain his empire in the West Bank. The first group — Israel haters in Palestinian society — allow him to function as a Christian in the West Bank and the second group — Israel haters in the West — provide him with the funds he needs to maintain his empire financially. Both of these groups use anti-Israel hostility as an instrument to achieve and maintain status in their respective societies. Raheb simply gives them the story they need to justify their hostility.


An important aspect of this story, which was on display during his visit to the Temple Mount, is that Israeli violence against the Palestinians is highlighted and condemned while Palestinian violence is ignored or hidden behind a veil of euphemism and obfuscation. This narrative has been the bread and butter of Palestinian Christian propaganda for quite some time. Naim Ateek, founder of Sabeel, was an earlier (but not the first) purveyor of this story, which Raheb has propounded for years.


This narrative is clearly evident in Raheb’s 2004 book, Bethlehem Besieged: Stories of Hope in Times of Trouble (Fortress Press). In this text, the pastor from Bethlehem tells the story of Israel’s 2002 invasion of the West Bank, which began on April 2 of that year. He talks about the tanks, armored personnel carriers and helicopters that Israel sent into to the West Bank and he describes the destruction wreaked upon the church where he was pastor…

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




Ettie Kryksman

Jewish Press, Oct. 6, 2017


In awed silence we walked through a path of a forest just outside Tykocin, Poland. Towering above us, tall trees silently witnessed our return. It was a somber march to the end of the path where a huge memorial pit gave testimony to unspeakable atrocities. Walking through this forest we tried to but could not fathom the thoughts of those innocent souls whose footsteps still resound in the Lupochowa forest.


The entire Jewish community of Tykocin marched down this path to their deaths. Men, women, and children all passed these trees, fearing but not knowing their final destination – until they came to a huge clearing where there was no place left to go. The forest surely trembled as the trees stood in muted silence while the Nazis’ methodical campaign of death by bullets was carried out. Within minutes an entire village was exterminated.


I am a child of Holocaust survivors. I know what the Nazis did to my family and to the Jewish people. Everyone in my mother’s family was killed. I have never seen my grandparents. I have no photographs or family mementos from grandparents, aunts, or uncles. I always wondered what my grandparents looked like. I will never know. Why, people asked me, would I want to go on a trip to Poland? It’s so depressing. It’s too hard to bear. You already know what happened. Why go there? And yet, until I walked through the woods where an entire town was wiped out, until I stood in a forest just outside Tarnow, where 900 children were killed, I felt there was no way I could pay proper tribute to their memories.


We stared silently at a memorial where those hundreds of children were shot. Dolls and flowers had been placed there, commemorating those precious children, snatched from their parents in the cruelest of ways. We thought of our own children and grandchildren and realized how fortunate we are to have them. We cried as we imagined the confusion, the terror, the abject fear of those precious souls before they were killed. It was impossible to comprehend that this had really happened. And yet, in that place of unspeakable horror, the inconceivable did happen. Auschwitz-Birkenau, Treblinka, Majdanek, stand today as memorials to the atrocities perpetrated against the Jewish people fewer than eight decades ago. In each of the death camps, as were led by our tour guide, Rabbi Michael Olshin from Israel, we said Kaddish and made Keil Molehs.


It was the month of Elul and a member of our tour group had brought a shofar. We somberly remembered our grandparents and entire families who perished there as we listened to the cries of the shofar piercing the silence, assuring the souls surrounding us that we attest, here and now, that they will never be forgotten. Yet amid all the memories of an almost lost generation, new life rises from the ashes. We have come back with a promise fulfilled; a promise for the future. We have continued to build. Our families have continued to grow. We have not succumbed. We have not been defeated. We have not been reduced to relics of a once vibrant people. We are alive and thriving, Baruch Hashem. At each memorial we were uplifted by the sight of the blue and white flags of the state of Israel, placed there as reminders: “Never again.”


We will continue to visit, though our hearts are heavy and our tears flow freely. So, yes, the trip is an emotional and difficult journey, but at the very least those who perished merit our prayers and our tears. We came to tell them they are not forgotten and did not die in vain…

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


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!




On Topic Links


Why Trudeau's Shocking Holocaust Blunder Caused Gasps Worldwide: Vivian Bercovici, National Post, Oct. 12, 2017—Rarely do local Canadian events receive widespread “real-time” attention in Europe, America and Israel, with coverage in top-tier media, like The New York Times, The Washington Post and the BBC.

France: Extreme Right and Left Leaders Distort Holocaust History: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 18, 2017—The French admissions of Holocaust guilt, which came many decades too late, are currently being contested by important French politicians. This year the truth of contemporary France as the legal successor of the Vichy regime was denied by two extremist candidates in the presidential elections, Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Melenchon.

In Erdogan’s Post-Coup Turkey, Anti-Semitism is on the Rise: Sophia Pandya, Tablet, Oct. 19, 2017—On a visit to Turkey in 2011, I visited the Belek “Garden of Tolerance,” where a diminutive mosque, church, and synagogue are housed close together in an emerald-green park, apparently a testament of Turkey’s acceptance of other faiths.

I am a Proud Pakistani and a Proud Zionist Too: Noor Dahri, Times of Israel, Oct. 11, 2017—Landing in Israel was an experience like no other. I’d heard about the feeling of arriving at Ben Gurion from friends and colleagues I have met since founding the Pakistan Israel Alliance, but I certainly didn’t expect it to feel like this.







The Media Miss the Mark on Afghanistan: Peter Metzger, National Review, June 23, 2017 — The press is missing something lately.

The Terror Problem From Pakistan: Rahmatullah Nabil and Melissa Skorka, Wall Street Journal, July 10, 2017— With the Trump administration considering how to break the stalemate between Taliban-allied groups and the government of Afghanistan, terrorists detonated a car bomb in Kabul on May 31, killing more than 150.

To Win Afghanistan, Get Tough on Pakistan: Husain Haqqani, New York Times, July 6, 2017— President Trump’s review of American policy in Afghanistan should involve adopting a tougher approach to Pakistan.

Canada Rewards Terrorists; Israel Punishes Them: Tarek Fatah, Toronto Sun, July 4, 2017— Two news stories concerning terrorism should make Canadians realize that not only are we being governed under the doctrine of "sock and awe," but that our values have turned upside down in a bizarro world, one of our own making.


On Topic Links


ISIS, Despite Heavy Losses, Still Inspires Global Attacks: Ben Hubbard and Eric Schmitt, New York Times, July 8, 2017

The Islamic State of Al-Qaeda: A.J. Caschetta, The New English Review, July 2017

Trudeau Skips the Theme Socks for His Scheming Khadr Apology: Rex Murphy, National Post, July 7, 2017

No Justice, ‘No Value’ for Women in a Lawless Afghan Province: Mujib Mashal and Zahra Nader, New York Times, July 8, 2017





                             Peter Metzger

                                                  National Review, June 23, 2017


The press is missing something lately. The media myopia for the on-again-off-again Russia matters of late has drawn important attention away from one actual, ongoing threat: a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and the possibility of a renewed terrorist safe haven there. A toppled Kabul would provide a sanctuary in the Khorasan for al-Qaeda and the rapidly growing Islamic State presence — both clear and present threats to the United States that we fail to see covered in the media. Journalists’ nearsighted focus on all things Russian has blinded them to the intensifying dangers in the Middle East.


Recently, al-Qaeda emir Ayman al-Zawahiri issued a new but familiar statement calling for Muslims to wage jihad in defense of Islam regardless of country of origin. Notably, al-Qaeda released the message with an English transcript. The terror network seems to be taking a page from the Islamic State playbook in terms of mass communications and calling for jihadist global unity. So too has the heir apparent to al-Qaeda leadership and son of Osama bin Laden, Hamza bin Laden, begun to release targeted statements encouraging jihad. Al-Qaeda is, unfortunately, alive and repackaging itself for 21st-century extremists.


That brings us to the current state of affairs in Afghanistan — the same country that served as a pre-9/11 hub for al-Qaeda under Taliban rule. Less than three weeks ago, on May 31, a truck bomb destroyed an entire city block in Kabul, resulting in a staggering 150 deaths. It was a tragedy for our allies in the Afghan capital, and it evinces the badly faltering infrastructure in Afghanistan.


In the days following the attack on May 31, protesters took to the streets of Kabul to call for answers from President Ashraf Ghani. Several protesters died as Afghan police attempted to regain control. The following day, terrorists launched three separate attacks during the funeral of one of the protesters, the son of an Afghan official. In the northeastern province of Nangarhar, the fight with the Islamic State has ramped up significantly in 2017. On April 13, the United States executed a strike in Nangarhar, employing the much-touted “Mother of All Bombs” against Islamic State fighters. On multiple occasions in April and again this month, U.S. servicemen have been killed in the same province while conducting combat operations, also against Islamic State operatives.


All this to say that the security situation in Afghanistan is not stable, although it seems that few notice in the wake of the media’s Russian fixation. Should the government of Afghanistan fall, the Afghan Taliban would almost certainly regain control. The Taliban have had an increasing presence since Obama ordered the force withdrawal of 2014. By some reports, the Taliban now control or contest as many as 40 percent of the districts in Afghanistan.


“So what?” some might ask. The reason it matters is that if the Taliban again gain a foothold in Kabul and in the governance of greater Afghanistan, terror networks will once again have a safe haven — just as al-Qaeda did after their ouster from Sudan in 1996 and in the pre-9/11 years during the attacks on the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya and, later, on the USS Cole. The resurgence of the Taliban would be a near threat to our national security, and it would appallingly devalue the sacrifices our military and intelligence community have made in Afghanistan for almost 16 years to ensure that jihadist organizations have no such asylum.


As the media and partisans chase their tails on all matters Russian, they seem to be missing the critical news that Afghanistan appears to be drifting toward the brink of collapse — all while our allies in the Afghan government and their citizens continue to suffer at the hands of terrorists. In the eyes of too many reporters, the Kabul bombing in the middle of the capital’s diplomatic corridor, the deaths of more Afghans in the days after the bombing, and the escalating conflict against the Islamic State are far less newsworthy than the many fantastical notions of “Russian collusion.” The unbalanced coverage does not reflect the importance to our national security of stability in Afghanistan. That hard-won stability is under threat; the media should not avert its gaze.                                                   





Rahmatullah Nabil and Melissa Skorka

Wall Street Journal, July 10, 2017


With the Trump administration considering how to break the stalemate between Taliban-allied groups and the government of Afghanistan, terrorists detonated a car bomb in Kabul on May 31, killing more than 150. Afghan intelligence blamed the violence on Haqqani, a terror network with close ties to the Taliban, al Qaeda and Pakistan’s spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence. The attack demonstrates that Washington needs to focus on the threat from Haqqani, which has also consolidated militant factions across strategic regions of the war zone.


Haqqani’s ties to Pakistan make political solutions essential. Islamabad has shown no sign it is genuinely willing to end its support of terror proxies and reconcile with the Kabul regime. Yet the success of the administration’s recent decision to deepen U.S. involvement in the Afghan war will depend on whether Haqqani can be defeated, co-opted, or separated from the ISI, which for decades has relied on militant proxies to further Pakistani interests in Afghanistan.


Since 9/11, Haqqani has evolved from a relatively small, tribal-based jihadist network into one of the most influential terrorist organizations in South Asia. It is largely responsible for the violence in Kabul and the most notorious attacks against the coalition. It masterminded the 19-hour siege on the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters in 2011, and allegedly facilitated an assault on a U.S. Consulate near the Iran border in 2013 and a 2009 suicide bombing of a U.S. base in Khost province, which killed seven CIA operatives. The group also holds five American hostages in Pakistan. Since the 2013 death of Taliban leader Mullah Omar, Haqqani has become the only group with the cohesion, influence and geographic reach to provide Pakistan with “strategic depth”—a territorial buffer on its western border.


Pakistan denies sponsoring terror proxies and continues to work with the U.S. in counterterrorism against certain anti-Pakistan groups. But Western and Afghan officials say Islamabad also sponsors terrorism in order to undermine Afghanistan and India. In 2011 Adm. Mike Mullen, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called Haqqani a “veritable arm” of the ISI.


Haqqani is a central element of the strategic challenge that faces the U.S. and its allies. The network’s expanding operations in northern and southeastern Afghanistan, and especially in Kabul, over the past decade have enabled its Taliban affiliates to “control or contest” territory accounting for about one-third of the Afghan population, or nearly 10 million. That’s a higher proportion of the population than Islamic State controlled in Syria and Iraq at the height of its power in 2014, according to CNN’s Peter Bergen. The militants’ wide reach makes it hard for NATO forces to build enduring partnerships with Afghan civilians.


As the debate intensifies over how the U.S. should respond in Afghanistan, Washington must also change its approach to Pakistan. As a first step, the president should appoint an envoy who would lead diplomatic and intelligence efforts to buttress the Kabul regime against terrorism. The envoy would also sharpen the focus on Pakistan in bilateral diplomacy with countries that have good relations with Islamabad, such as China, Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states. The envoy would also oversee relations among Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Russia and India, focusing on the formulation of political solutions. A U.S. alignment with India would more effectively check Pakistan, while improved U.S. relations with China, cemented over shared concerns about escalating violence and economic security, could pressure Islamabad and its proxies into a political settlement.


The U.S. should also press Pakistan to stop providing sanctuary to terrorists. That would require Washington to consider publicly exposing the extent to which officials at the highest levels of the Pakistan military and ISI support terror. Such moves against an ostensible ally would be unusual and would require advanced measures to protect intelligence sources and methods. But the U.S. has tolerated Pakistan’s duplicity for 16 years, and it hasn’t worked.


Equally important, the Afghan National Security Forces are unequipped for infiltration by Haqqani factions. The U.S. and NATO allies should increase political intelligence and military resources to ease into a strengthened combat-support role, training and mentoring the Afghan forces. A more adaptive political-military NATO campaign would help reduce the threat from Haqqani, eventually enabling Afghan troops to move from defense to offense against increasingly capable adversaries.


Without a broader shift in the U.S. approach to build a more peaceful regional order, the Kabul terror attack may be a harbinger of a more dangerous war to come—one in which Haqqani would play a more important role in the Afghan conflict and global jihad than any other militant network in the region. Pakistan must account for its support of terrorists and face incentives to act more like an ally that would benefit from increased stability in South Asia and beyond.





Husain Haqqani

New York Times, July 6, 2017


President Trump’s review of American policy in Afghanistan should involve adopting a tougher approach to Pakistan. Although the Taliban are said to control or contest 40 percent of Afghanistan’s territory, Taliban leaders operate from the safety of Pakistan. United States incentives since the Sept. 11 attacks have failed to dissuade Pakistan from supporting the Taliban, and Mr. Trump must now consider alternatives.


Reading Pakistan correctly has not always been easy for American officials. Pakistan was a key American ally during the Cold War, the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan and the post-Sept. 11 operations against Al Qaeda. But for Pakistan the alliance has been more about securing weapons, economic aid and diplomatic support in its confrontation with India. The United States and Pakistan have both disappointed each other because of divergence in their interests in South Asia.


The George W. Bush administration erred in ignoring the regrouping of the Taliban in Pakistan after their defeat in Afghanistan in the aftermath of Sept. 11, considering Pakistan’s cooperation in capturing some Qaeda figures as sufficient evidence of its alliance with the United States. President Barack Obama’s administration tried to deal with a resurgent Taliban with a surge in troop numbers for a specific period. Mr. Obama deployed armed drones to strike at Taliban targets inside Pakistan, but that proved insufficient in dealing with the leadership living in the Pakistani cities of Quetta and Peshawar.


Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s former military dictator, had secretly authorized the drone strikes, and some of the drones operated from bases inside Pakistan — a policy that continued under his civilian successors. Under his rule, Pakistan audaciously denied having anything to do with the Afghan Taliban or its most sinister component, the Haqqani network.


But the United States presented evidence of Pakistan’s links to Afghan militants just as Pakistan transitioned from military to civilian rule in 2008. As Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States for the new civilian government, I urged Pakistan’s civil and military leaders to engage with Americans honestly instead of sticking to blanket denials. Islamabad’s response was to argue that Pakistan does, indeed, support insurgents in Afghanistan, but it does so because of security concerns about India, which is seen by generals and many civilian leaders as an existential threat to Pakistan.


But that excuse is based on exaggerations and falsehoods. India has no offensive military presence in Afghanistan and there has never been any evidence that the Afghans are willing to be part of India’s alleged plan for a two-front war with Pakistan. Afghanistan’s president, Ashraf Ghani, recently asked India to train Afghan military officers and repair military aircraft after frustration with Pakistan, which failed to fulfill promises of restraining the Taliban and forcing them to the negotiating table.


Pakistan’s leaders question Afghanistan’s acceptance of economic assistance from India even though Pakistan does not have the capacity to provide such aid itself.


It seems that Pakistan wants to keep alive imaginary fears, possibly to maintain military ascendancy in a country that has been ruled by generals for almost half of its existence. For years Pakistani officials falsely asserted that India had set up 24 consulates in Afghanistan, some close to the Pakistani border. In fact, India has only four consulates, the same number Pakistan has, in Afghanistan. Lying about easily verifiable facts is usually the tactic of governments fabricating a threat rather than ones genuinely facing one. As ambassador, I attended trilateral meetings where my colleagues rejected serious suggestions from Afghans and Americans to mitigate apprehensions about Indian influence in Afghanistan.


While evidence of an Indian threat to Pakistan through Afghanistan remains scant, proof of the presence of Afghan Taliban leaders in Pakistan continues to mount. Mullah Omar, the Taliban’s leader, reportedly died in a Pakistani hospital in 2013 and his successor, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, was killed in an American drone strike in Baluchistan Province in Pakistan last year.


The United States should not let Pakistan link its longstanding support for hard-line Pashtun Islamists in Afghanistan to its disputes with India. Both India and Pakistan have a lot of blood on their hands in Kashmir and seem in no hurry to resolve their disagreement, which is rooted in the psychosis resulting from the subcontinent’s bitter partition. The two countries have gone through 45 rounds of summit-level talks since 1947 and have failed to reach a permanent settlement.


Linking the outcome in Afghanistan to resolution of India-Pakistan issues would keep the United States embroiled there for a very long time. The recent rise in Islamophobia in India and a more aggressive stance against Pakistan by Prime Minister Narendra Modi should not detract from recognizing the paranoiac nature of Pakistan’s fears. The Bush administration gave Pakistan $12.4 billion in aid, and the Obama administration forked over $21 billion. These incentives did not make Pakistan more amenable to cutting off support for the Afghan Taliban.


The Trump administration should now consider taking away Pakistan’s status as a major non-NATO ally, which would limit its priority access to American military technology. Aid to Pakistan should be linked to a sequence and timeline for specific actions against Taliban leaders. Sanctions against individuals and institutions involved in facilitating Pakistan-based Taliban leaders and pursuing Taliban reconciliation talks without depending on Pakistan could be other measures signaling a firmer United States stance.


Moving away from an incentive-based approach would not be punishing Pakistan. The United States would be acting as a friend, helping Pakistan realize through tough measures that the gravest threat to its future comes from religious extremism it is fostering in its effort to compete with India. Negotiating a peaceful settlement with the Taliban also remains desirable, but it is important to remember the difficulties 21st-century negotiators face while seeking compromise with seventh-century mind-sets.





Tarek Fatah

Toronto Sun, July 4, 2017


Two news stories concerning terrorism should make Canadians realize that not only are we being governed under the doctrine of "sock and awe," but that our values have turned upside down in a bizarro world, one of our own making. first to Israel, where on Monday the government revealed it has filed a precedent-setting lawsuit against the family of a terrorist who drove a truck into a group of military personnel killing four Israeli soldiers.


Attacker Fadi al-Qunbar was shot dead shot and killed in January, and the matter would have rested there. But this time Israel has made the landmark decision to sue against any inheritance the terrorist left to his family. The lawsuit, which is expected to be the first of many similar cases, demands a total of more than $2.3 million. Israel's Minister of the Interior Arye Dery told the Haaretz newspaper, "From now on, anyone who plots, plans or considers carrying out a terrorist attack will know that his family will pay a heavy price for his deed."


Not so in Canada. On the same day as the terrorist Fadi al-Qumbar was being penalized by Israel, in Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government announced that convicted terrorist Omar Khadr, who in October 2010 had pleaded guilty to "murder in violation of the law of war, attempted murder in violation of the law of war, spying, conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism," was to receive a $10M "compensation" for his troubles and an official apology from the Government of Canada.


Mr. Khadr, now 30, was 15 in July 2002 when he lived in an Afghan compound with a group of bomb-building Islamic jihadis planting roadside explosives. Afterwards, U.S. troops stormed the house and this is where a grenade thrown by Khadr killed Sergeant Christopher Speer, a medic who was helmet-less and dressed in Afghan clothing. It is true that at the time Omar Khadr committed his act of terror and murder, he was only 15 years old, but in the context of the war against civilization by Islamic terrorists, be they from the Taliban, ISIS, Al-Shabab, or Boko Haram, the vast number of volunteers who have taken up arms and carried out war crimes are in their teens.


For bleeding-heart liberals whose guilt-ridden frame of mind cannot comprehend beyond the storybook picture of the child soldiers hired by African war lords, this may be a shock, but the ultimate hero of Muslims in the part of the world Omar Khadr was photographed making IEDs, is the 8th century 17-year old Arab invader of India called Muhammad Bin Qasim, and from Kabul to Karachi every child jihadi wishes to emulate the rape and plunder of this Arab jihadi. We are not dealing with the God's Army in Uganda or the Liberian child soldiers of the 1990s. The Muslim boys who go to fight jihad do so not under any pressure, but for the lure of entering Paradise and meeting the opposite gender for the first time. This may sound bizarre to the non-Muslim, but trust me, this is not fiction nor propaganda.


But there may still be some poetic justice in the end. Tabitha Speer, the widow of Sargent Speer, moved to finalize a default civil-suit judgment against Omar Khadr. The court granted the plaintiffs a total of US$134.1 million in damages. It would be sweet revenge if the $10M "compensation" went straight from Omar Khadr's pockets to Sgt. Speer's widow.



On Topic Links


ISIS, Despite Heavy Losses, Still Inspires Global Attacks: Ben Hubbard and Eric Schmitt, New York Times, July 8, 2017—Three years ago, a black-clad cleric named Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi ascended a mosque pulpit in the Iraqi city of Mosul and addressed the world as leader of a new terrorist state.

The Islamic State of Al-Qaeda: A.J. Caschetta, The New English Review, July 2017—With Iraqi forces now controlling most of Mosul and the siege of Raqqa underway, many are predicting the imminent demise of the Islamic State. ISIS propagandists argue that the caliphate can withstand the loss of territory, but without a "state" to fight for, many jihadis will look elsewhere for support and inspiration.

Trudeau Skips the Theme Socks for His Scheming Khadr Apology: Rex Murphy, National Post, July 7, 2017—How and when Canadians were let in on the Trudeau government’s lavish settlement and accompanying official apology to Omar Khadr are its most curious and telling elements.

No Justice, ‘No Value’ for Women in a Lawless Afghan Province: Mujib Mashal and Zahra Nader, New York Times, July 8, 2017—There are three versions of how Tabaruk, a mother of six, died this spring during a journey through treacherous snow-covered mountains in Afghanistan.













Do We Still Want the West?: Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 20, 2017— In the late 1980s Stanford University did away with its required Western civilization course after Jesse Jackson led students in a chant of “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Civ has got to go!”

What Does 'Western Culture' Mean Anyway?: Giulio Meotti, Arutz Sheva, Mar. 20, 2017— In a Wall Street Journal column, Bret Stephens recently wrote that Western societies lack the “civilizational self-belief” that others have.

Fear a ‘Post-West World’: Noah Rothman, Commentary, Feb. 21, 2017— Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov did the world a service this weekend when he abandoned coyly evasive and tiresome Russian diplo-speak by outright advocating for the creation of a “post-West world order.”

Europe: "The Era of Liberal Babble": Judith Bergman, Gatestone Institute, Mar. 14, 2017— Europe, so many years after the Cold War, is ideologically divided into a new East and a West.


On Topic Links


Whose West?: Daniel Larison, American Conservative, Feb. 21, 2017

It's OK to Say Western Civilization is Superior: Tarek Fatah, Toronto Sun, Mar. 14, 2017

"Celebrating" Orientalism: Richard Landes, Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2017

The West has Finally Woken Up: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz Sheva, Mar. 17, 2017





Bret Stephens

Wall Street Journal, Feb. 20, 2017


In the late 1980s Stanford University did away with its required Western civilization course after Jesse Jackson led students in a chant of “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Civ has got to go!” Campus conservatives tried to bring it back last year, but the effort failed in a student vote by a 6 to 1 margin. They should try pushing Western Civ again. To adapt the line in that Passenger song, you only know you love it when you let it go.


The thought comes to mind following Sergei Lavrov’s Orwellian speech last week at the Munich Security Conference, in which the Russian foreign minister called for a “post-West world order.” He also used the occasion to deny Moscow’s involvement in hacking U.S. and European elections, to announce that his government would recognize passports issued by its puppet state in eastern Ukraine, and to call for an end to the “post-truth” and “post-fact” state of international relations.


Mr. Lavrov understands something that ought to be increasingly clear to American and European audiences: The West—as a geopolitical bloc, a cultural expression, a moral ideal—is in deep trouble. However weak Russia may be economically, and however cynical its people might be about their regime, Russians continue to drink from a deep well of civilizational self-belief. The same can be said about the Chinese, and perhaps even of the Islamic world too, troubled as it is. The West? Not so much.


The United States has elected as president a man who has repeatedly voiced his disdain for NATO, the World Trade Organization and other institutions of the Western-led world order. He publicly calls the press “an enemy of the American people” and conjures conspiracy theories about voter fraud whose only purpose is to lend credence to his claim that the system is rigged. He is our first post-rational president, whose approach to questions of fact recalls the deconstructionism of the late Jacques Derrida: There are no truths; reality is negotiable.


Then there’s Europe, where youth unemployment runs close to 20% and centrist politicians wonder why they have a problem. In France, the National Front’s Marine Le Pen is gaining in the polls, despite expert predictions that she can’t possibly win the presidency. In Holland, nationalist politician Geert Wilders says of Moroccan immigrants: “Not all are scum.” Where have we heard these things before?


In Munich on Saturday, Mike Pence implored NATO members to spend more on their defense—a complaint Europeans also heard from the Obama and Bush administrations. Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s foreign minister, instantly brushed the vice president’s plea aside. “I don’t know where Germany can find billions of euros to boost defense spending,” he said, “if politicians also want lower taxes.” Berlin spends 1.2% of its GDP on defense, well below the 2% NATO requirement and among the lowest in Europe. As of 2014, it could deploy a grand total of 10 attack helicopters and one submarine. Does Germany still want the West, insofar as it’s able to contribute to its collective defense?


What about other countries? Twenty-five years ago, becoming a part of “the West” was the dream from Budapest to Ulan Bator. Not anymore. Russia took itself off the Westernization track shortly after the turn of the century. Turkey followed a few years later. Thailand is on its way to becoming a version of what Myanmar had been up until a few years ago, while Malaysia is floating into China’s orbit. Ditto for the Philippines. Mexico may soon follow a similar trajectory if the Trump administration continues to pursue its bad-neighbor policy, and if a Chavista-like figure such as Andrés Manuel López Obrador comes to power in next year’s presidential election.


One can point to many reasons, specific and general, why the West no longer attracts imitators. Let’s point to the main reason. There was a time when the West knew what it was about. It did so because it thought about itself—often in freshman Western Civ classes. It understood that its moral foundations had been laid in Jerusalem; its philosophical ones in Athens; its legal ones in Rome. It treated with reverence concepts of reason and revelation, freedom and responsibility, whose contradictions it learned to harmonize and harness over time. It believed in the excellence of its music and literature, and in the superiority of its political ideals. It was not ashamed of its prosperity. If it was arrogant and sinful, as all civilizations are, it also had a tradition of remorse and doubt to temper its edges and broaden its horizons. It cultivated the virtue of skepticism while avoiding the temptation of cynicism.


And it believed all of this was worth defending—in classrooms and newspapers and statehouses and battlefields. We’ve since raised generations to believe none of this, only to be shocked by the rise of anti-Western politics. If you want children to learn the values of a civilization that can immunize them from a Trump, a Le Pen or a Lavrov, you can start by teaching it.






WHAT DOES 'WESTERN CULTURE' MEAN ANYWAY?                                                                 

Giulio Meotti

Arutz Sheva, Mar. 20, 2017


In a Wall Street Journal column, Bret Stephens recently wrote that Western societies lack the “civilizational self-belief” that others have. Daniel Larison in the American Conservative replied to him that “in modern times, ‘the West’ has often been even more narrowly defined to exclude nations that objectively share the same intellectual and religious heritage for contemporary political reasons”.


Larison is right: “Western culture” is not what liberals have in mind. Europe’s political establishment is still suffering from shock at the election of Donald Trump and the wave of populist movements, from France to the Netherlands. “The West”, the liberal establishment repeats as a mantra, is under threat from Russian expansionism. But what are these “Western values,” according to our élites?  Gender ideology? Multiculturalism? Secularism? Ideological and mandatory open borders? Pacifism? Slander of Israel? Eugenics? Feminism? Cultural sanctimony?


Take Emmanuel Macron, the most Western of the French presidential candidates, the icon of the pro-European élite. He just decried French colonialism and preached more open borders for Europe. Malia Sorel-Sutter in an interview with Le Figaro explained the difference between Macron and his contender, Francois Fillon: “For one, French culture does not exist, when for the other it is part of a desire to continue France from a cultural point of view,” said the author of Decaying France.


Think about what just happened to Charles Murray, the conservative guru, who was almost lynched at the liberal college of Middlebury. “Western culture” for these liberals means that a conservative philosopher cannot take the podium in the socialist state of Vermont. “Western culture” for these liberals means that the Norwegian minister Sylvi Listhaug can be slammed for wearing a crucifix.  Western culture” for these liberals is under attack if Trump defunds the shameful abortion provider Planned Parenthood. “Western culture” for these liberals is under threat if the US Supreme Court refuses to hear the case for transgender rights in restrooms.


Steve Bannon’s ideas about the West, capitalism and the threat of Islam to the Judeo-Christian civilization seem much better to me than the oped pages of the New York Times or the London University students’ ideology, who just asked to remove from their curricula Plato and Kant, among other Western philosophers, because they represent “colonialism”. “Western culture” for me means Goethe’s books, Leopardi’s poems, Bach’s cantatas, the French abbeys, the Sistin Chapel, Solzenitsyn’s Gulag Arcipelago. For these puerile liberals, “Western culture” is a caricature to be protected by trigger warnings and safe spaces. No wonder Europe and the West are not respected today.                                  




                               FEAR A ‘POST-WEST WORLD’

                                                   Noah Rothman

                                                               Commentary, Feb. 21, 2017


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov did the world a service this weekend when he abandoned coyly evasive and tiresome Russian diplo-speak by outright advocating for the creation of a “post-West world order.” These comments, made before an audience of European and American security professionals who are already sufficiently spooked by Donald Trump’s campaign-trail flirtation with the abandonment of the Atlantic alliance, surely disturbed the conference’s Western attendees. Good. It is about time that someone properly framed the stakes of the ideological and strategic competition between revisionist powers and the Western-led post-War order. The West’s intellectual elite certainly are not up to the task.


Wall Street Journal editor…Bret Stephens observed in a recent column that the constructs of the West—cultural, educational, and geostrategic—are no longer defended by their inheritors and chief beneficiaries. Indeed, Western elites have for too long evidenced only shame in their shared heritage. A self-hating strain of liberal intellectual culture that equates the advancement of Western values and interests as some form of exploitive imperialism isn’t new (although adherents of this view are rarely so critical of revisionist powers’ military and commercial exploits). What is both new and worrisome is that this impulse among prohibitively self-critical Westerners has not abated even as revisionist powers like Russia are presenting as clear and unattractive a contrast with the West as they have in a generation.


Moscow is a unique threat to Western intellectual life, in part, because it is so interested in engaging in it. Unlike China, which makes no pretense toward democratic aspirations, Russia pretends to be a representative republic. It devotes extensive effort and vast sums to influencing the Democratic process in the West and to courting its agents of influence (or, in the Soviet parlance, “subconscious multiplicators,” aka “useful idiots”) to advance its self-serving propaganda. As its active measures campaigns intensify, so, too, do its abuses and crimes.


On the international stage, Moscow has become the first European power to invade and summarily annex territory in a neighboring country since Stalin absorbed portions of Poland in 1945. Those sovereign territories it does not seize and appropriate outright it destabilizes and gradually reintegrates into the Russian sphere (the Donbas region of Ukraine now joins the mock sovereignties of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which are being integrated into the Russian Federation). Moscow has discovered that it doesn’t need to invade and occupy whole nations in its near abroad to paralyze them and enjoy a veto over their political evolution.


The West often pursues its geopolitical interests in ways that trouble its critics on the populist right and the socialist left, but neither can convincingly draw a moral or strategic equivalence between these actions and those of Western capitals.


These are only the most destabilizing actions taken by Moscow that threatens to topple the post-War order. The way in which Moscow has partnered with its illiberal allies in Damascus and Tehran provide us with a window into what a “post-West” world would look like. In Syria, Moscow directed and participated in direct attacks on civilians, hospitals, and first responders, including the alleged use of bunker-buster and incendiary munitions on civilian targets. There is clear evidence that Russia has abetted in and facilitated starvation campaigns targeting whole cities.  The United States has provided evidence implicating Russia in an attack on a United Nations aid convoy that would have relieved the siege on rebel-held Aleppo.


Moscow’s disregard for civilian life in a warzone is as much deliberate is it is careless. The not-so-frozen conflict in Ukraine’s East opened with an attack by Russian-armed-and-funded “separatists” on a civilian airliner using a sophisticated surface-to-air missile, killing over two hundred Western civilians. The most recent flare-ups along the contact line between Ukrainian troops and separatists have often been preceded by OSCE monitors suddenly discovering truckloads of grad rockets headed for the front. These deliberate violations of the so-called “Minsk process” and the lives that are lost are of strategic value for the Kremlin. No international agreement or multilateral framework prevents Russia from pursuing its near-term objectives.


This is to say nothing of how Moscow treats dissenters on the home front. Modern-day Moscow is a place where prominent opposition figures are repeatedly shot within eyesight of the Kremlin, where auditors who allege government-sanctioned corruption are imprisoned on trumped-up charges and tortured to death, and where reporters who investigate the conduct of military campaigns are targeted for assassination. It is a place where homosexuals are attacked for their deviancy, where church life is regulated, and evangelism is legally prohibited. It is a place where abortions are prolific, and life expectancy is short.


Given all this, it boggles the mind that any classically liberal Westerner would even entertain the notion that a “post-West world order” is a desirable alternative to the order stewarded by the West and the United States, in particular. American voters flirting with the prospect of shrugging off the burdens bequeathed to them by the ambitious, self-sacrificing predecessors are playing with fire. Though they might imagine it as such, a “Post-West world order” is not one that absolves Americans of thankless responsibilities to global peace. Indeed, it would be one that would demand of them sacrifices they cannot possibly imagine.       






Judith Bergman

Gatestone Institute, Mar. 14, 2017


Europe, so many years after the Cold War, is ideologically divided into a new East and a West. This time, the schism is over multiculturalism. What Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has termed "liberal babble" continues to govern Western Europe's response to the challenges that migration and Islamic terrorism have brought, especially to personal security. The Western European establishment considers arming oneself against terrorists, rapists and other ill-wishers outlandish, even in the face of the inability of Europe's security establishments to prevent mass terrorist atrocities, such as those that took place in Paris at the Bataclan Theater or the July14 truck-ramming in Nice.


The European Union's reaction to terror has been to make Europe's already restrictive gun laws even more restrictive. The problem is that this restrictiveness contradicts the EU's own reports: these show that homicides committed in Europe are mainly committed with illegal firearms. In Eastern Europe, on the other hand, it is still normal to want to defend yourself. Last summer, Czech President Milos Zeman even encouraged citizens to arm themselves against Islamic terrorism. "I really think that citizens should arm themselves against terrorists. And I honestly admit that I changed my mind, because previously I was against [citizens] having too many weapons. After these attacks, I don't think so".


Since the president's remarks, the Czech Interior Minister, Milan Chovanec, has proposed extending the use of arms in the event of a terrorist attack. He explained that despite strict security measures, it is not always possible for the police to guarantee a fast and effective intervention. Fast action from a member of the public could prevent the loss of many lives. Such reasoning, often seen as laughable in Western Europe, reflects an understanding of the fear that has become a recurring theme on the continent. In Germany, a recent poll showed that two out of three Germans are afraid of becoming the victim of a terrorist attack and 10% perceive an "acute threat" to their safety. Among women, the figures were even higher. 74% responded that they sometimes feel unsafe in crowded places, and 9% said they felt permanently threatened and scared.


Western European leaders, on the other hand, pretend not to understand this fear. In 2015, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was asked how Europe could be protected against Islamization. Merkel, who does not move without her own personal security team consisting of 15-20 armed bodyguards around her, working in shifts, answered: "Fear is not a good adviser. It is better that we should have the courage once again to deal more strongly with our own Christian roots." In December, she told members of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), who were asking how to reassure the public about integrating migrants, "This could also broaden your horizons." (This is the same Merkel, who in 2010 said that multiculturalism had "utterly failed").


As Western Europeans are discovering, however, that the state is increasingly unable to protect them, they have begun acting on their fears: In France, a survey showed an increase of almost 40% in gun license requests since 2011. "Before the beginning of 2015, it was only a vague trend. Since the 'Charlie Hebdo', Bataclan and Nice attacks, [gun license requests] have become a growing phenomenon", wrote Le Nouvel Observateur.


In Belgium, requests for gun license applications soared in one major province, Liège, doubling in just five years. "The explanation may lie in the current security context, which generates feelings of insecurity among the population", said officials from Liège's Arms Service, the state body in charge of granting gun licenses in the province. In the wake of mass sexual attacks by migrants in Cologne, major German cities all reported an increase of requests for weapons permits. Cologne police estimated that they received at least 304 applications within just two weeks of the mass sexual assaults. In 2015, the city's police force saw only 408 applications total over the entire year.


Switzerland has also seen a drastic rise in gun permit applications, with all 12 cantons reporting an increase from 2015. Interim 2016 figures show a further escalation. "There's no official explanation for the rise, but in general we see a connection to Europe's terrorist attacks," said Hanspeter Kruesi, a police spokesman in the Swiss canton of St. Gallen. Gun sellers in Austria also said that interest in weapons grew after a large number of refugees arrived. "Fear is very much a driving force," said Robert Siegert, a gun maker and the weapons trade spokesman at the Austrian Chamber of Commerce.


Uninhibited by the obvious alarm of their citizens, the EU nevertheless carries on its immigration policies. "I believe Europeans should understand that we need migration for our economies and for our welfare systems, with the current demographic trend we have to be sustainable," said Federica Mogherini, the EU's high representative for foreign affairs and security policy. She added that the continent "does not and will not close its doors" to migrants. Mogherini is probably not interested in a recent Chatham House study, in which an average of 55% of the people across the 10 European countries surveyed wanted to stop all future immigration from mainly Muslim countries. Only two of the countries surveyed were from Eastern Europe. A ban was supported by 71% of people in Poland, 65% in Austria, 53% in Germany and 51% in Italy. In the UK, 47% supported a ban.


Ironically, Western political elites consider this clearly widespread sentiment against Muslim immigration "racist" and "Islamophobic" and consequently disregard it — thereby empowering anti-immigration political parties. Several countries in Eastern Europe, such as Poland, Hungary and Slovakia, have refused to take in more migrants, and several Balkan countries have completely closed their borders. Czech President Milos Zeman has openly stated, "The experience of Western European countries which have ghettos and excluded localities shows that the integration of the Muslim community is practically impossible"…

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




On Topic Links


Whose West?: Daniel Larison, American Conservative, Feb. 21, 2017—Bret Stephens thinks Western societies lack the “civilizational self-belief” that others have: Mr. Lavrov understands something that ought to be increasingly clear to American and European audiences: The West—as a geopolitical bloc, a cultural expression, a moral ideal—is in deep trouble.

It's OK to Say Western Civilization is Superior: Tarek Fatah, Toronto Sun, Mar. 14, 2017—Are those of us who believe contemporary Western civilization, rooted in Europe’s Enlightenment, is superior to what, say, modern China or Egypt have to offer, racist?

"Celebrating" Orientalism: Richard Landes, Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2017—Whether one views the impact of Edward Said (1935-2003) on academia as a brilliant triumph or a catastrophic tragedy, few can question the astonishing scope and penetration of his magnum opus, Orientalism.

The West has Finally Woken Up: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz Sheva, Mar. 17, 2017—Sometimes it's a good idea to take a step backwards, look at reality from a distance, and see the larger picture, taking in the whole forest rather than just the individual trees.