Category Archives: Israel

Iran To The Rescue

Foreign Policy, Iran, Iraq, Israel

“Leave ISIS To The Homies” (Sept. 2014) observed that “ISIS’s neighbors, Israel included, didn’t seem particularly concerned about the barbarians at the gate.” The column worried that the “promise of eternal American intervention had, likely, enabled inertia and apathy among regional players,” when the wise thing for “U.S. meddlers” would be to “quit degrading the Syrian Army,” and “leave ISIS to Syria, Tehran and Tel Aviv.”

It has come to pass. the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is leading Shiite militias in battle against ISIS, near “the Islamic State-held city of Tikrit,” Iraq. And Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, like myself, thinks “it could turn out to be ‘a positive thing.’”

Yes, “let the locals take out their trash.”


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

Israel: Why So Safe

Crime, Israel, Neoconservatism, South-Africa

The positions advanced by the “American” Israel Firster, neoconservative fifth column are riddled with contradictions. On his Facebook Timeline, Jack Kerwick points to one of many such gaping inconsistencies.

Jack Kerwick: I don’t speak much of Israel. It’s just not one of my interests. But to hear some movement “conservatives” in the so-called “conservative” media speak, you’d swear that Israel is infallible, for never, ever, do they utter a so much as a peep’s worth of criticism of it. And any criticism aimed at it is abruptly dismissed as a function of “anti-Semitism.” Israel, we are incessantly told, faces an “existential threat” to its existence. But then such ardent Israel supporters as Dennis Prager and Mike Gallagher, while encouraging listeners to sign up for the trip to Israel that they will be hosting later in the year, swear that Israel is among the safest places on Earth, and certainly far safer than many AMERICAN cities. But I thought that it faces an “existential threat?” Can someone please tell me: What’s really going on here?

My reply:

The Israeli state protects its own, unlike the US. I suspect it’s because even politicians can’t emigrate with ease; and their kids must serve in the army as well. No exemptions. Israel, in fairness, is not like the US, where elites and dynastic families, as opposed to the natural aristocracy, run the show to their advantage. Moreover, crime rates are very low. Last I checked, for my book, death-by-murder rates in Israel were 3.7 per 100,000 for civilians only; 4.3 when soldiers were included. That is dazzlingly low—read “Exodus from SA to Israel”—a function, in part, of population composition; its homogeneity, etc., although this too is changing.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

UPDATED: Rep. Steve Cohen On Bibi’s Bombast

Democrats, Ethics, Etiquette, Foreign Policy, Israel

“Lincoln Bedroom Or The American People’s House?” expressed my objection to the partisan practice of placing the American People’s House for hire by the foreign dignitary favored by the majority du jour. (The “Lincoln Bedroom” alluded to a practice Bill Clinton inaugurated of renting out this White House bedroom to big-time donors and political pals.)

As explained, “it was an abomination when Mexican President Felipe Calderon was allowed to address the Congress in May of 2010, and it is an abomination for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to have been permitted to issue forth before a joint session of the American Congress.”

Rep. Steve Cohen, Democrat from Tennessee, and obviously Jewish, had expressed similar disdain for the spectacle, in an official statement:

Speaker Boehner and other Republicans supporting the speech are giving a foreign leader the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives as a forum to present a counterargument to the foreign policy peace efforts of the President of the United States who has constitutional authority over foreign affairs. This speech is high theater for a re-election campaign in Israel and a political tool wielded against our President and his Administration by the Speaker of the House.

It is almost certain that, unlike this scribe, Cohen will have proven inconsistent: He likely objected not at all to the Democrats’ choice to pimp the Chamber to their pet client state of Mexico.

Nevertheless, Rep. Steve Cohen’s allusions, after the speech, to “political theatre” are reasonable too:

It was putting Netanyahu on an equal level with the president of the United States,” said Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn. “And that was wrong.”

UPDATE: Via CNN:

BLITZER: We’ve now just heard from the president of the United States. He’s in a meeting with the new secretary of defense, Ash Carter. And reporters were inside at the start of that meeting. The president said he did not have a chance to watch the Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech before a joint meeting of the United States Congress but he did say he read the transcript, and then added pointedly there was, in his words, “nothing new.” We’ll get that videotape, play it for the viewers as soon as that pool comes out of the Oval Office in the White House.

Let’s get more reaction, a different perspective. Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen is joining us from Tennessee.

Congressman, you didn’t want to attend the meeting. You didn’t attend the meeting. I assume you watched it, though, on television, right?

REP. STEVE COHEN, (D), TENNESSEE: I watched it with a group of AIPAC’s representatives from Memphis, about 15, in my office.

BLITZER: What’s your reaction? Did the prime minister convince you?

COHEN: It was a — no, he didn’t convince me. It was political theater and that’s why I didn’t attend. It used the chamber to put him in a position that the president is often in, address the Congress at the State of the Union. This puts him on equal footing with the president of the United States. I thought that was wrong. I wasn’t going to be part of it. I didn’t attend.

I think the political theater was worthy of an Oscar. It was a great speech for Prime Minister Netanyahu’s reelection in Israel, a good speech for Speaker Boehner connecting to the AIPAC and the Jewish republican force that was here, but it was not a good speech for the future of having a denuclearized Iran. That conversation should be taking place in Geneva, not here in Washington before the cameras. I’m afraid it created a greater schism between the president and the prime minister. And that’s not good for Israel and not good for world peace.

BLITZER: I’m sure that the relationship, which was bad to begin with, is a whole lot worse right now, that personal relationship between the president of the United States and the prime minister of Israel.

But on the substance, when he said, this current deal is really bad, will undermine potentially Israel’s very existence, what do you say?

COHEN: Well, he doesn’t know what the deal is. And he wouldn’t be in favor of any deal. He talked about a Persian bazaar and you walk away and they go back, and, oh, mister, mister, I’ll take this price. It’s not the same thing. If the Iranians have shown they don’t necessary make a deal. If they don’t make a deal, they’re not going to be down on their knees. They’re going to bend their back, straighten up their back and they may be tougher. I think it will hurt. 200 Israeli generals and security officials said this drives us further away from a good deal with Iran and I think it drove us away. BLITZER: Steve Cohen, the Democratic congressman from Tennessee,

[SNIP]


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

UPDATE III: Lincoln Bedroom Or The American People’s House? (Founders & Foreign Entanglements)

America, Israel, Reason, Republicans

The reference in the title to the Lincoln Bedroom alludes to a practice Bill Clinton inaugurated of renting out this White House bedroom to big-time donors.

By the same token, I’m wondering whether the American People’s House is for hire too. The White House is fulminating because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is playing a dangerous game. Fox News explains:

The Obama administration reportedly is fuming over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans to address Congress in March regarding the Iranian threat, with one unnamed official telling an Israeli newspaper he will pay “a price” for the snub. …

… In public, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest politely describes this as a “departure” from protocol. He also says the president will not meet with Netanyahu when he visits in early March, but has attributed that decision only to a desire not to influence Israel’s upcoming elections.

But in private, Obama’s team is livid with the Israeli leader, according to Haaretz.

“We thought we’ve seen everything,” a source identified as a senior American official was quoted as saying. “But Bibi managed to surprise even us. There are things you simply don’t do.

“He spat in our face publicly and that’s no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price.”

Background via The Atlantic:

Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday asked [Natanyahy] back to address a joint meeting of Congress for the second time in less than four years. In fact, Netanyahu would become the first foreign leader since Winston Churchill to appear before Congress three times. (He also spoke during his first run as prime minister in 1996.)
This invitation, however, is even more important for a number of reasons. First, the February 11 speech will come just over a month before Israel’s legislative elections, and the prestige of an address to Congress could boost Netanyahu domestically. (Never mind that it was Netanyahu’s own Likud party that accused Obama of interfering in Israel’s elections just two years ago.) Yet it also coincides with a mounting confrontation between Congress and President Obama over Iran sanctions legislation, and Boehner pointedly announced the invitation just about 12 hours after the president, during his State of the Union address, pleaded with lawmakers to give nuclear talks with Tehran more time.

This is not the first time Prime Minister Netanyahu has pulled a self-serving political maneuver by inserting himself into American politics. This time, Bibi’s move may backfire. Obama is a dreadful cur, all right, but he is OUR mongrel.

In any case, it was an abomination when Mexican President Felipe Calderon was allowed to address the Congress in May of 2010, and it is an abomination for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to have been permitted to issue forth before a joint session of the American Congress. Calderon, you recall, was toiling tirelessly for the benefit of millions of Mexicans living in the US illegally. From the White House Rose Garden, and then again in an address to Congress, he chastised overrun Arizonans for “forcing our people to face discrimination.”

Netanyahu is not as bad as all that (I’ve always “supported” him, in as much as a writer who is not a Fifth Columnist can.) And both these respective foreign leaders are patriots, looking out for their countrymen.

The American people’s representatives are the traitors here. (This time, it’d the stupid Republicans.) For it is they who’ve permitted this reoccurring spectacle; it is they who’ve turned the American People’s House into a House for hire; a one-way exchange program for foreign dignitaries.

Whose House is it, anyway?

UPDATE I(1/24): POLITICAL PROPRIETY. Reply to Facebook Thread:

It’s frustrating how intellectually inflexible readers are these days. For the most, they did not read (or absorb) the rationale of the post, simply because it is impartial, non-partisan, and articulates matters of decorum and political propriety from an American, not that of a Fifth Column’s, perspective. Why I say that readers reject reason and, rather, respond with the gut? The post says explicitly that letting Mexico’s PM parade his opinions in America’s parliament is just as pathetic/wrong; just as vulgar. There is no anger against Bibi; I like him a LOT. There is simply that matter, I repeat, of political propriety.

UPDATE II: Founders & Foreign Entanglements.

Yoni Isaacson: It is not uncommon for visiting heads of state to address the hosts Parliament though. Here,, Congress is just trying to reclaim its role as a centre of power that has been eroded so much by executive presidents. What a way to do it.
4 hrs · Like

Ilana Mercer: From the fact that it is not-uncommon, it doesn’t follow that is right. We do not judge right or wrong by might or majority or frequency of occurrence. However, your assertion, Yoni, is not necessarily correct. It is quite uncommon in the US to invite foreign leaders to yuk it up—make a case for their policy of choice— in the people’s Congress. (Obama certainly did not speak in the Knesset last he visited Israel. And why should he have?!!) The American Founders were very clear about staying out of foreign entanglements.

UPDATE III: PROCESS VS.CONTENT.

Craig Smith: Ilana, From experience, I know where you stand. but I was taken aback by that particular column. From an initial perspective there is a very abstract common denominator in the two cases. Beyond that, neither the circumstances behind nor purpose of the Mexican and the Israeli Prime Ministers appearing in the WH and Congress, respectively, are at all the same. I know you know this, and you went on to address that point in your comment above. Yes, I had a gut reaction. I do that sometimes.

Ilana Mercer: Craig Smith, it’s about process, not content. I don’t want any foreign dignitary appealing to my corrupt representatives. The American System, Craig Smith, is a system emphasizing process. It doesn’t say that we should honor freedom of religion only with the good religions.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

UPDATED: Fade To … Black

Anti-Semitism, Crime, Israel, Judaism & Jews, Racism

As far as I can tell, not Megyn Kelly. Not Pamela Geller. Not the Daily Mail. Not the New York Daily News. Not ABC News, on and on: None of the above has mentioned that Calvin Peters, the anti-Semite who stabbed a Jewish young man at prayer, “at the world headquarters of Chabad-Lubavitch at 770 Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights,” was black.

Oh I did.

Well-trained Israelis posting in Hebrew on a Facebook chat opted for “the suspect.” RT went with “knife-wielding man.” (And no, Peters was not “disturbed;” he was just evil.)

So here’s the lede without the lies: Calvin Peters, a black, anti-Semitic layabout, who stabbed a Jewish student in the temple (at a Brooklyn temple), is dead. Killed by some very able cops. Kudos.

UPDATE (12/10): Facebook thread:

Maty Aksenton: “In Israel Hayom, where I read about it today, it was actually mentioned. But it was also said in the article that according to Chabad the attack was not motivated by antisemitism.
I don’t know how good is your Hebrew, but you can see it here by scrolling to page 27. scroll to page 27 in the digital newspaper.

Ilana Mercer: Israel Today does call the man black, but quotes the “community” as saying the stabbing did not occur against an anti-Semitic background.

Ilana Mercer Good paper; Maty Aksenton, I’ll add it to Resources: http://www.ilanamercer.com/newsite/resources.php#ISRAEL

Maty Aksenton: So, if the Chabad community claims that it’s not motivated by anti-Semitism, what reason do we have to believe otherwise?

Ilana Mercer : Sure, Maty Aksenton, reality should be ignored. The man was shouting “Kill the Jews,” but I guess that could have been a nervous tic.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

UPDATED: Palestinians Share Sweets And Tweets To Celebrate Synagogue Massacre (CNN, Making-Up The News)

Israel, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Terrorism

Barack Obama shared not his moral outrage over the butchering of Israelis, but his penchant for moral equivalence. “The majority of Palestinians and Israelis overwhelmingly want peace,” he intoned (as the royal proboscis grew a bit). Not so. A preponderance of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza approve of attacks on Israeli civilians.

Duly, Palestinians shared sweets and tweets to celebrate the murder of four rabbis in prayer. A Druze Israeli policeman died of his wounds hours after he was shot in the gunfight that ended the attack. (Times Of Israel.)

MORE “sweet” images, via Powerline Blog.

“The Orthodox Jewish men were facing east,” reports the New York Times, “to honor the Old City site where the ancient temples once stood, when two Palestinians armed with a gun, knives and axes burst into their synagogue Tuesday morning, shouting ‘God is great!’ in Arabic. Within moments, three rabbis and a fourth pious man lay dead, blood pooling on their prayer shawls and holy books.”

UPDATE (11/19): CNN, Making-Up The News. On Tuesday, reports NewsBusters, “CNN initially broadcast to the world news that Israelis had shot two Arabs in a ‘mosque’ in Jerusalem. Only belatedly did they correct that false story and report that those terrorists shot in a synagogue had first murdered Jews worshipping [sic] peacefully. Those terrorists were armed with knives, axes, and a gun.”

CNN apologized, of course, and will doubtless defend themselves as reporting only the news as it first came to them. It is nonetheless the case that blaming the Israelis first is part of the “narrative” the Left employs whenever dealing with the Arab-Israeli conflict.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint