Category Archives: Israel

Updated: Israel Should Help Its Kurdish Friends

Iraq, Israel, Jihad, Middle East, Religion

I hope the following unconfirmed rumor is true. Accordingly, “Israel may be attacking positions held by the terrorist Islamic State, or ISIS, militia,” in Iraq.

Israel is the region’s superpower, not the US. It should save its friends the Kurds, who’re besieged—dying or soon to die—in the north. The Kurds have been loyal friends to Israel, and vice versa. (See “Why Israel Wants an Independent Kurdistan.”)

For its part, “The United States military launched a humanitarian operation in northern Iraq Thursday night,” reports National Journal. “The military air-dropped food and water for thousands of Iraqis who have been under attack by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). That drop is now over, and the aircraft that conducted it is out of the area, says the official.”

“Nearly all the displaced are members of the Yazidi sect,” seconds McClatchy, “ethnic Kurdish adherents to a religion that combines Islam and ancient Persian pagan beliefs and is considered heresy by the radical Sunni Muslims who make up the Islamic State. Since Islamic State militants took control of Sinjar on Sunday, there have been widespread, though unconfirmed, reports that Yazidis who failed to escape the takeover have been executed, tortured and raped.”

The United Nations said this week that at least 40,000 people, including 25,000 children, were in the Sinjar Mountains with no shelter, food, medical supplies and, most crucially, because of the brutal Iraqi summer heat, drinking water. While the mountains’ remoteness and barren terrain offers some protection from the Islamic State, the militants control all approaches to the area.

Local news outlets have reported that dozens of children and elderly already have died from dehydration and that thousands more could succumb if massive amounts of aid are not delivered. Efforts to confirm those accounts by dialing the cellphones of people believed to have fled into the mountains failed, most likely because after days without electricity the cellphones’ batteries have died.

This is the face of real religious persecution; this is what authentic refugees look like. Let us hope Israel rescues its Kurdish friends.

UPDATE: Do I want Israel to be involved militarily in fighting for the Kurds? No. It can drop supplies and air lift those poor people to safety. They should. They did this before for roughly 36,000 Ethiopian Jews, who were lifted to safety in a series of daring operations initiated by successive Likud governments headed by Menachem Begin and then Yitzhak Shamir. It’s hard to imagine an American government doing the same for say, white, persecuted, Christian farmers in South Africa or Zimbabwe, who are no less oppressed than these Ethiopian Jews were by the brutal Marxist-Leninist Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam, at the time.

Will I shed tears and twist into ideological pretzels over Israeli counter-aggression in the service of the Kurds? No.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

UPDATED: American Rabbis For Israel First (Good Column; Back Page On WND)

Ilana Mercer, Israel, Judaism & Jews, Left-Liberalism, Morality, Nationhood, Paleolibertarianism

“American Rabbis For Israel First” is the current column, now on WND. An excerpt:

“Here is an angry and cogent Israeli response to incessant provocation and violence, and one of the factors that triggered the Gaza campaign,” wrote a reader. In his missive, the reader had attached an article for my edification. Chief among the problems with the article is that its author, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, is not an Israeli. Rabbi Boteach is an American. Online, he describes himself as “‘America’s Rabbi,’ whom The Washington Post calls ‘the most famous Rabbi in America.”

Rabbi Boteach’s Huffington Post defense of Israel titled “Fed Up With Dead Jews” is thus not an “Israeli” response to the latest flare-up between Hamas and Israel, but a Jewish-American one.

Mistaking a Jewish-American defense of Israel for an “Israeli” one is understandable. When it comes to things Israel, very many American Jews sound like Israelis. While one would expect an Israeli to vigorously defend his homeland, in theory and in practice, one does not expect an American—Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist or Baha’i—to defend the interests of a foreign country, with the intensity ordinarily reserved for one’s own.

In “Fed Up,” Rabbi Boteach inveighs: “We have every right to be fed-up. No nation should have to live like this. No nation should have to die like this. … what we do know is that the option of dead Jews is no longer acceptable. We have a right to live.”

Rabbi Boteach and Israel are as one.

Far be it from me to question the Rabbi’s capacity to commit to two countries. Seamlessly does Boteach spread passion and “Kosher Lust” (his new book) wherever he goes. In question here is the unseemliness of dual patriotism; the conflict of interest, if you will. …

… Contra Boteach, my own passions are tempered by time and place. I live in America. My neighbors are American. This is my home. I may be a Jew, but I’m an American patriot first. My loyalties lie with my (war-weary) countrymen, first. …

An American writer’s intellectual energy ought to focus on American interests, first. Personal probity demands it! Otherwise, the columnist is a fifth column.

Read the complete column. “American Rabbis For Israel First” is now on WND.

UPDATE: GOOD COLUMN; BACK PAGE. From the Facebook Thread:

Kerry Crowel: “Whoa … Ilana, that is one hell of a good column.”

Ilana Mercer: “Kerry Crowel, thanks. I thought so. But it’s on second page, as usual, on WND. Second page is more or less the rule for one of the site’s longest standing columns. When thinking of where to publish next book, one takes into account the kind of promotion the column gets. Or no promotion, rather. But thanks for your kind comment.”


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

UPDATED: Standing Armies Are Worse Than Useless (Israeli Major Gen. To US: Pot. Kettle. Black)

Ethics, Israel, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Just War, Middle East, Military

First up today, a think-tanker with the surname of Haas told CNN’s Don Lemon that Hamas kills Israelis and exploits Palestinians. No doubt. However, if given the option—something the dead are not afforded—would I rather be exploited by Hamas or killed by an Israeli bomb? I think you know the answer. (I was unable to locate the interview online.)

Next, this time on Fox News, a gentleman by the name of Adam Ereli, former U.S. ambassador to Bahrain, informed anchor Shepard Smith—and I paraphrase—that too much emphasis is being placed on Palestinian civilian casualties. Really? Are their lives forfeit for the sins of others?

This does not look good for Israel. My sense of this Gaza offensive is that a standing army such as Israel’s is unequipped to deal with guerrilla warfare. Standing armies are fat, lazy, imprecise and careless.

Not much has changed since I wrote, in 2012 (“Standing Armies Commandeered by Cowards”), the following about Israel’s previous futile confrontation with Hamas:

… The fight was started by Hamas. Hamas hides among unwitting civilians, who have no way of controlling its activities. This fact does not give Israel the right to kill innocent non-combatants, not even unintentionally.

Besides, murder is not “unintentional” when you know it is inevitable.

To make matters worse, Gazans are helpless—they are without siren systems to warn them of an impending attack, or bomb shelters in which to hide.

After its 2006 Lebanon fiasco, I proposed that Israel deploy the best of its special-operations units. Israeli commandos such as the “Sayeret Matkal” are trained in surgical strikes, including modern urban counterterrorism operations. “Sayeret” soldiers can trace and neutralize the source of an attack against Israeli civilians sans “collateral damage.”

Yes, what’s the matter with Israel’s Special Operations capabilities? Where are Israel’s precision Pac Men? Did the Israel Defense Forces rain bombs, willy-nilly, on the civilians at the Entebbe Airport—in Uganda, on July 4, 1976—where the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine held 100 hijacked Jews and Israelis hostage?

Not on your life.

Led by Lt. Col. Yonatan Netanyahu, Bibi Netanyau’s late great brother, 100 members of the “Sayeret” traversed 2,500 miles to rescue their brethren. They killed only those who needed killing.

It used to be that leaders like “Yoni” Netanyahu charged with their men into battle. Not anymore. Nowadays, celebrity, champagne-swilling generals give the order to chubby men in armored machines, who then bomb the anthills from above and afar. …

MORE.

UPDATE: Israeli Major Gen. To US: Pot. Kettle. Black. Retired Major General Amos Yadlin responded to the moralizing of CNN’s Wolf Blitzer brilliantly:

BLITZER: Should Israel, the IDF, be doing more to prevent civilian casualties?

YADLIN: The IDF are doing more than the Americans have done in Fallujah and more than the Americans have done in Germany in the second world war. We are the moralist army in the world. We have a code of conduct that we are allowed to attack only terrorists.

This too is true, but how much does it mean, and is it enough?


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

New York Times (& Mainstream Media) Behind The Times

IlanaMercer.com, Islam, Israel, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Media, Middle East

Forty two minutes ago (7/30), the New York Times seconded the “analytical glimpse of the dynamic forces at play in the current Middle-Eastern conflict,” offered by DEBKAfile on July 29, and reported on by yours truly, yesterday.

After the military ouster of the Islamist government in Cairo last year, Egypt has led a new coalition of Arab states — including Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — that has effectively lined up with Israel in its fight against Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip. … “The Arab states’ loathing and fear of political Islam is so strong that it outweighs their allergy to Benjamin Netanyahu,” the prime minister of Israel, said Aaron David Miller, a scholar at the Wilson Center in Washington and a former Middle East negotiator under several presidents.

MORE of the behind-the-times (news-wise) NYT.

MORE DEBKAfile, via BAB, your preferred source of analysis.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

Hamas, Qatar, Turkey And A Turkey Named Kerry

Critique, History, Israel, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Middle East

The one “regional coalition” in the current conflict in the Middle East is said to consist of Benjamin Netanyahu, Saudi King Abdullah, Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi, the UAE ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and … the Palestinian Authority’s Mahmoud Abbas. The other, rival coalition is purported to be the “Save Hamas Squad.” It comprises “US Secretary of State John Kerry, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, “a brace of European ministers,” as well as Qatar and Turkey.

An interesting and certainly analytical glimpse of the dynamic forces at play in the current Middle-Eastern conflict is offered by DEBKAfile (and, naturally, not by the American press). Read it.

America thinks that it must and can be a decisive force for good in the Middle East. However, the region’s players march to their own drumbeat. In Empires of the Sand: The Struggle for Mastery in the Middle East 1789-1923, Efraim and Inari Karsh marshal prodigious scholarship to show that, “Twentieth-century Middle Eastern history is essentially the culmination of long-standing indigenous trends, passions, and patterns of behavior rather than an externally imposed dictate.” The trend continues.

And then there are the victims of the power players.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

Rabbinical Hypocrisy: Rabbi Is Liberal In America; Conservative In Israel

America, Israel, Judaism & Jews, Left-Liberalism

“We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right,” puffs Rabbi Menachem Creditor, writing at the HuffPost. Is the rabbi an Israeli, living in the thick of terrorism? Of course, not. He is a cloistered American liberal. The rabbi embodies everything I’ve come to despise in America’s mostly liberal Jewry, by which I mean this:

American Jews tend to stake out left-liberal positions with respect to the concerns of their fellow Americans, but are rightist on matters Israel. For America, leftist Jews advocate a multicultural, immigration free-for-all, pluralist pottage. At the same time for Israel, most Jews claim the right to retain a creedal and cultural distinctiveness and a Jewish majority. Israel, but not the US, should be allowed to control immigration and guard its borders.

Ask any left-liberal American Jew if he supports a “Right of Return” to Israel proper for every self-styled Palestinian refugee, and he’ll recoil: “Are you mad? Never. That’s a euphemism for Israel’s demise.” The very thing he opposes for Israel, the leftist Jew is inclined to champion for America: a global right of return to the US for the citizens of the world. When it comes to “returning” to America only (but not Israel), humankind is said to possess a positive, manufactured right to venture wherever, whenever. (This view is common among American liberals of all religious persuasions.) [From “The Titan is Tired”]

Without the remotest awareness of the logical and moral contradiction his position presents—rightist political prescriptions for Israel, but leftist prescriptions for the American people—Rabbi Creditor proclaims proudly that he is “a progressive American rabbi who leans left pretty hard,” and who believes “immigrants [are] treated like chattel by the US.”

I’ve been engaged, as a US faith leader, in work to reform gun laws, extend LGBT rights around the world, grant refuge to illegal immigrants, protect women’s reproductive choice, and more. Paint me blue.
So, when it comes to Israel, many of those with whom I engage in social reform expect me to react to Israel’s military actions in Gaza with scorn and criticism. To be fair, there are times when I do. …

… So I’m a progressive US faith leader. I’m a Zionist in Berkeley, CA. I’m a Jew in the world, worried for my family. So here is my response to those criticizing Israel this week. …”

More.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint